How I Fixed My Aching Back

Chronic lower back pain can result from working in a desk job for any extended period. In some jobs, you might be up and down a lot, walking between buildings or doing work in the community. When you begin sitting for the majority of your work day, your back can begin to hurt – and hurt a lot. This pain can consume you. This is what happened to me, and it required taking a stand to heal my aching back. First, I went to a physical therapist, an acupuncturist, an osteopath and several massage therapists, but nothing appeared to offer a permanent solution.

The pain was not always the same. Sometimes it was more my hip, sometimes it was on one side of my lower back (lumbar area), sometimes it ran all the way across. But the pain was constant. I knew something had to change. Since I was already a yoga practitioner and maintained a healthy weight, I suspected it was the new work “lifestyle” that was getting to me.

There has been a lot in the news the last few years about the dangers of sitting. But what can you do if you're stuck in a desk job? Well, here are a few things to try. I've done all of these and the result has been a healthy back.

  • A standing desk: This is a good solution and is inexpensive and easy to accomplish in many office scenarios. Before making elaborate plans, I made a standing desk by stacking cardboard boxes on my desk, different levels for my computer monitor and my keyboard. Standing up definitely helped my back. It did not solve all my problems, but it was much better than sitting all day. You can buy standing desk arrangements; you can also get easy instructions from a number of websites. But a cardboard box is just as good as anything, in my opinion!
  • A balance ball, or yoga ball: These inexpensive, inflatable balls are a great invention. You can use it to sit on, but it's great for stretching through the day. Lie on your back on the ball, giving your spine a lovely stretch. This is a really relaxing position. Also, lie on your side, alternating sides, to give your spine a stretch to the side. This is also really relaxing and feels great on the hip, too. You can get a balance ball from Gaiam, among other places. They even make a chair frame for the ball that's a nice accompaniment.
  • A gravity inversion table: I bought one of these after trying one at my massage therapist's house. I fell in love with it right away. An inversion table is just that – a table you lie on and then tilt so that your head is lower than your feet. This takes pressure off your spell. It feels amazing! You can get inexpensive inversion tables, or pricey ones. I have a mid-range table made by IronMan . I love it. My whole family uses it. My favorite time to invert is after a workout. It's very meditative and makes my back and neck feel great. Check out inversion tables made by IronMan, Body Champ and Body Flex and choose one that's right for you.
  • A foam roller: Foam rollers or cylinders are often sold as yoga props. They are inexpensive and easy to find at Wal-Mart, Target or online from Gaiam, etc. Lying over the cylinder for a stretch feels lovely. Lying on the ground, position the cylinder across your lower back and then roll up and down. Then, turn it to lie along your spine, lengthwise, and allow your arms to flop out on either side. This position feels great. It allows the chest muscles to open up and relax in a way that's hard to achieve any other way.
  • A treadmill desk: This is now my favorite thing on Planet Earth. After much research and consideration of my back problems (and issues of fatigue, post-lunch dip at work, etc.), I came upon the concept of using a treadmill desk. Right away, I knew this was going to be an important part of my personal health plan. A treadmill desk is a desk set-up that fits over a treadmill, so you work, type, make phone calls, etc., while you walk. This is a reliably new concept, but one that has really got on and is getting a lot of media attention. You can purchase a treadmill desk from companies like SteelCase, Lifestyle Fitness and TrekDesk. When I was looking at these machines and trying to figure out how to get permission to bring a treadmill desk to my office, I corresponded with several of these companies by email. TrekDesk , in particular, was really informative and helpful to me. If I had a somewhat larger budget, I would have purchased one of these all-in-one set-ups.

I ended up purchasing a sturdy, midline Nordic Track treadmill from Sears. Incidentally, I was able to apply for a Sears card and purchase the treadmill interest-free (for a year). This made paying it off pretty easy, particularly considering how much I was spending on a chiropractor, massage therapist and acupuncturist for my back problems. I have not been back to the chiropractor or the acupuncturist since getting my treadmill!

The Nordic Track treadmill has a really nice cushion system, so it's quiet. It has a simple console and arms that are perpendicular to the floor. Arm position was important, since I planned to use a simple board, secured across the treadmill's arms, as my “desk”.

Once I got my desk set up (which did not take long, basically just banging boards together on my back porch), I began to use the treadmill desk. Now, some people say they need time and practice to get used to working – typing, reading on the computer monitor, etc. – while walking on the treadmill, but I honestly did not. I got right on and started walking and typing away. Keep in mind that you walk quite slowly on a treadmill desk. You're walking to keep your metabolism moving and your back in shape, not for aerobic exercise. I usually walk at around 1.5 miles / hour, which is a lot slower than you might walk, for instance, while out for your evening constitutional.

Since I began using my treadmill desk, my back problems are almost completely gone. It has made a world of difference. I still have occasional twinges, which is usually a sign I have not been stretching enough. That's when I use my balance ball and my inversion table. Walking while working is an amazing remedy for the mid-afternoon blahs I used to experience just about every day. And weight maintenance is much easier. In fact, many people who begin using a treadmill desk report losing weight quite steadily. One study indicated that the average person lost twenty pounds in the first year of using a treadmill desk.

So, go out and do some research, try some things and see what works for you. There are a few things worse than an aching back, so you have nothing to lose!

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Lumbar Disk Decompression

Lumbar disk decompression is gaining popularity as a non surgical technique for low back pain. Many patients have experience chronic low back pain and undergone numerous treatments for low back pain.

A lumbar disk has two distinct layers, the outside fibrous layer and the inside nucleus pulposus. The nucleus is pulposus is gel like. It is similar to a jelly donut, the thick outer layer surrounding the gel. Disk herniations involve the nucleus pulposus bulging the fibrous layer towards the lumbar nerve. This can cause painful radiating lumbar pain.

The procedure separates two lumbar bones by a few millimeters, which decreases the lumbar disk pressure. Decreasing lumbar disk pressure can reduce the mechanisms that cause back pain. Increased lumbar joint motion and nutrient blood flow have been indicated by lumbar distraction.

Traction or lumbar disk decompression can decrease back pain by improving the mechanisms that cause pain. Disk decompression decreases the pressure on the lumbar disk, facet joints, opens the neuroforaminal canal, and decrees the stress on the fibrous disk layer. All have been associated with low back pain.

Lumbar disk decompression is an effective treatment for treating low back pain, especially if the decompression is combined with proper strength and stability exercises. Disk decompression decrees the pain and the exercises stabilize the lumbar spine.

The lumbar spine is controlled by a series of muscles that stabilize the spinal joints. With chronic back pain, weakness, and time the muscles often lose coordination and stabilization. Proper exercise can activate and strengthen the weak muscles.

Lumbar disk decompression can be summarized into three phases.

  1. Decompress the intervertebral space
  2. Mobilize and strengthen the lumbar spinal muscles
  3. Educate and prevent further injury

Some patient's have reported undergoing lumbar disk decompression therapy without an extra exercise program. Going for disk decompression lowered their low back pain, but the muscles could not stabilize the spine and pain returned. The core and lumbar muscles were not rehabilitated and could not stabilize the spine through its entire range of motion. This increases the risk and chance of returning pain.

Strengthening and stabilizing the lumbar spine reduces the risk of future recurrence of pain.

Treatment involves:

  1. Treating the pain with active and passive therapies. This can involve heat, ice, electric, ultrasound, cold laser, or massage therapy .
  2. Posture Training – correcting postural habits and postures that combine the low back. This can include sitting, standing, and working postures.
  3. Stabilization – Core muscle stabilization and strengthening exercises. Improving lumbar muscle patterns, strength, and endurance of the lumbar spine.
  4. Work, ADL, and Sport Specific exercises – Exercises to stabilize the lumbar spine for specific work, home, and sports activities. It is important to strengthen the low back to participate in your specific activities, whether it is sitting at the computer, golf, or sports with the kids.

Lumbar disk decompression therapy and rehabilitation has several specific goals

  • Restore function
  • Restore Pre-injury activities
  • Reduce risk of future injury

The level of pain and improvement varies person to person, but a combination therapy of disk decompression and rehabilitation improves outcomes for back pain.

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Herniated Disks

A friend once said, “I thought people who complained of chronic back pain were babies, until I injured my back. Now I understand.”

Herniated discs are common causes of low back pain. They can cause dull aching pain or severe sharp staining pain with muscle weakness and loss of feeling. The pain will often radiate from the back down the leg. The severity of symptoms and the time it takes to heal varies depending on the extent of the herniation.

If our spines were one solid piece of bone we would be stiff and unable to move. Our spines were built with multiple moveable pieces to allow us to bend, twist and rotate. The hard spinal bones, or vertebrae, are separated by discs. The discs have a tough outer covering and a fluid filled inside. The disks serve as shock absorbers between the spinal bones and safely allow the bones to move.

Discs can be thought of as jelly donuts. If they become injured or torn, the jelly can be squished out toward the spinal nerves. The “jelly” release will cause inflammation and put pressure on the nerves resulting in pain, muscle weakness, or change of sensation. More severe injuries will cause more “jelly” to be pushed towards the nerve, creating more inflammation and problems.

What are some causes of herniated Discs?

Disc problems are associated with age-related degeneration, or years of wear and tear on the disks. Years of repetitive stress cause small tears on the outside of the disc. Combined with age-related water loss in the disc, repetitive stress causes the discs to become less flexible and more prone to damage. Occasionally, a small movement or twist will cause the disc to rupture the “jelly” toward the nerve. The “jelly” will cause inflammation to form and will create pressure around the nerves, and this will result in radiating pain, loss of sensation, decreased muscle strength or decreased reflexes associated with disc problems.

“I had spinal disc decompression in the past with sciatic pain, but the treatment was much better with the Chiropractor and Physical Therapist working together. The massage therapy helped too.” – JR Chandler, AZ

What are the risk factors of herniated discs?

Discs injuries are a factor of time, force and repetition. Herniated discs are more prone in occupations that involve repetitive lifting, bending, twisting, pushing or pulling. Jobs that are physically demanding Obviously place more stress on the disks and lead to greater injuries. Additionally, jobs that involve extended periods of standing or sitting also have greater rates of disc injuries. Sitting actually places more stress on the discs than standing, and sitting for extend periods of time can be just as damaging to the back as lifting activities can be.

Other factors that increase disc injuries are associated with forces placed on disks or factors that affect the disc's health. Extra body weight places more stress on the discs and older discs are less pliable than younger ones. Previous injuries create weakened spots in the disks and increase likelihood of further injury. Smoking and diabetes affect the health of the discs by limiting oxygen and nutrients to the discs.

How are disc injuries diagnosed?

Discs injuries are different from other low back injuries because of the “jelly” affecting the nerve root. Treatment of the injuries will there be different than a simple muscle sprain, so it is important to correctly identify disc injuries.

Disc injuries can be identified through a physical exam, where certain tests will identify the type and severity of symptoms. If pain is radiating down the leg, the doctor will probably test muscle strength, reflexes and sensation, as these factors can be affected by disc herniations. Additionally, MRI and X-Ray may be utilized for further information and may also be used to rule out other causes of low back pain.

Are there complications of disc herniations?

Since the symptoms associated with herniated discs are caused by increased pressure around a nerve root, additional pressure can cause sever damage to the nerve. In extreme cases, the pressure can cause equine syndrome whereby the increased pressure increase will cause loss of bowel or bladder control, significant and increasing pain, and a loss of sensation in the inner thigh and back of legs. This is an emergency medical situation that requires surgery.

How are herniated discs covered?

Most disc herniation can be treated through conservative methods that involve reducing stress to the disc, relieving muscle spasms, and increasing joint motion. Light exercises and stretches prescribed by your healthcare provider will speed recovery and prevent future problems.

Chiropractic therapy will improve the joint motion, will relax the muscles, and will reduce pressure on the disc. Distraction therapy, which involves directly taking pressure off the disc and reducing pressure on the nerve root, can also be employed. These techniques can be safely performed by a licensed professional and will quickly reduce the pain and discomfort. Most people will feel some immediate relief after therapy.

Modification of activity and identifying activities that increase stress to the disc is very important, and this will be addressed by your healthcare professional. Disc injuries commonly take several months to completely heal, so it is important to recognize and reduce risk factors and activities that will cause the injury to reoccur.

Long term goals of therapy are to properly strengthen the core musculature to prevent future injuries to the discs. Establishing better core muscle control will reduce future stress to the disc and spine, thereby reducing future injuries. Research has shown tremendous improvement in strengthening the core muscles and reducing back pain, particularly in patients with chronic low back pain.

Medication is often combined with treatment to reduce inflammation and muscle spasm and to decrease pain. Surgery is performed in cases that fail to improve with proper conservative treatment.

How do I prevent disc injuries?

Several factors will help prevent disc injuries which include proper exercises, maintaining a proper body weight, and improving posture. Poor posture places bad stress on the disc, especially with extended periods of sitting or improper lifting.

Low back injuries are often associated with poor control of the core musculature which leads to re-injury. Specific exercises will improve this performance and improve quality of life. People who properly retrain the core musculature will see a decrease in future occurrences and reduction in low back pain.

As every individual has different levels of strength and injury, it is important to seek professional help when trying to rehabilitate core strength after low back injuries. Many people make the mistake of starting exercise programs that are too intense, and ultimately lead to injuries instead of preventing them.

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Sciatic Pain Treatments

Sciatica is a term for pain radiating down the leg. It is a general term like “car.” It does not tell us where the injury is located or how much the tissue is damaged. Sciatica can be caused by several different injuries and types of hurt tissue. How, when, and where the pain radiates down the leg gives us indications of the actual injury.

During the examination different tests will be utilized to differentiate between different injuries. Often an MRI does not need to be utilized if the orthopedic testing can give us the necessary answers about the injury.

Not all radiating low back pain is the same and should be treated differently. Each cause of sciatic back pain responds to different treatments. A proper examination and treatment can speed any recovery and quickly get you out of back pain.

Below are several examples of conditions that cause radiating low back pain.

PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME BACK PAIN VS. DISC HERNIATION

Piriformis syndrome is a commonly missed diagnosis and injury. The piriformis muscle is located under the gluteal muscles from the sacrum to the femur. When the large muscle is injured it spasms and can compress, or entrap, the sciatic nerve. Entrapment of the sciatic nerve can trigger severe pain radiating from the butt down to the foot, numbness, weakness, tingling, or a deep ache. Some people describe more burning or a constant ache in their gluteal and hamstring regions.

The pain and tingling symptoms can look very similar to a disc herniation. Both conditions have pain that is worse when getting up from a seated position, going up and down stairs or prolonged walking. Positions that treat the sciatic pain are the same for both piriformis syndrome and disc herniations.

Proper examination and orthopedic testing differentiates disc herniations from piriformis syndrome. The exam is critical. We have commonly seen people who have been misdiagnosed with a disc herniation and have been treated with traditional disc treatments for weeks.

A disc herniation will increase the sciatic pain whenever tension is increased on the sciatic nerve, such as with straight leg raise test, Braggard's test, or slip test. The radiating pain should also increase with tests that increase in abdominal pressure, such as with sneezing (Valsalva's test), Milgram's, or Bechterew's test. The above mention orthopedic tests increase the stretch or compression on the sciatic nerves and positive findings are indicative of herniated discs.

A differentiating test between Piriformis Syndrome and spinal disc herniations are those that radically pain can be significantly increased or decreased by changing the hip angle. Moving the hip and leg changes the piriformis muscle spasm levels. By decreasing the piriformis pressure on the sciatic nerve the radicular pain subsides, and then increases with the opposition movement in Piriformis Syndrome. With lumbar disc herniations the sciatic pain will not change during the procedure.

The other big differentiating test is pushing on the piriformis muscle and gluteal area. If pressure on the muscle reproduces the radiating pain it indicates the problem is coming from that region. Likewise, releasing hand pressure will get rid of the pain. Palpation of the piriformis muscle will not affect the radiating pain from a lumbar disc herniation.

When a treatment protocol for piriformis syndrome is introduced the sciatic leg pain, numbness, and tingling is quickly improved. Chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy, and laser treatments focus on decreasing the piriformis muscle spasms and sciatic nerve entrapment.

LUMBOSACRAL SPRAINS

Lumbosacral sprains can radiate pain from the low back down the leg. There are stabilizing ligaments that connect the lumbar spine to the pelvis. Injuries that stretch the ligaments can cause enough injury to produce the radiating sciatic pain.

Think of the ligaments as rope, it is meant to be keep something from being pulled apart. However, a large and sudden force can stretch and damage the rope fibers. Low force repetitive pulling over time can often stretch the rope fibers and cause damage. The “rope fibers” became frayed and need to repair. However, during the repair process they are constantly being rolled on with normal activity, further damaging the fibers and preventing healing. This is one reason why the pain can last for months, or become a chronic source of pain over years.

Common injury mechanisms include bending forward and twisting, especially when lifting. Repeated forward bending, twisting, sitting, or pulling can quickly injure the ligaments. People often describe a sharp stabbing low back pain than begin to radiate down the leg over a few days.

The pain is usually worse in the low back. It can be a constant dull ache with sharp stabbing pains with movement, getting up from seated positions, twisting, leaning forward, and extending backwards. The pain radiates down the low back into the gluteal, hamstrings, leg, and even the foot. Usually the sciatic pain stops at the knee, but the pain can travel past the knee in more severe injuries.

Treatment utilizes chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy stretching, exercises, traction, ice, electric, and laser to decrease the pain and inflammation. Therapy speeds the healing of the injured ligaments, reducing the sciatic pain, limitation, muscle spasms, and returning you to normal activities.

This is an injury that can easily become chronic. People describe this as a chronic source of pain. It used to be a mild ache with activity a few times a year. It then begins to occur more often and be more severe. Usually people describe pain regularly occurring in the low back with any prolonged sitting, bending, or lifting activity. They then can experience several episodes of radiating sciatic pain per year. The sciatic pain usually only lasts for a few days or a week per episode, but is becoming more common and severe with time.

SARCROILIAC SPRAINS

Sacroiliac Sprains are a very common injury that causes radiating leg pain. The sacrum is the bone at the base of the spine, with an ilium bone on each side. The sacroiliac joint is slightly off center at the belt line. It feels like a “nub in your low back.”

The sacroiliac joint slides back forth as we walk or run. Sitting causes the joints to be flexed forward stretching the joint ligaments. Injuries often occur with chronic sitting, such as on long car rides or plane flights. The sacroiliac is being slowly stretched and strained for hours, which leads to the injury and back pain. Sacroiliac injuries also occurs with bending and twisting activities. It is a common injury after moving furniture, working in the yard, or any heavy lifting activity.

When the ligaments that surround the sacroiliac joint are stretched it can produce a localized dull and sharp pain at “the nub.” The pain can also radiate from the joint into the gluts and hamstrings. The sciatic pain usually does not go past the knee, but it can radiate to the foot in more severe injuries.

Several orthopedic tests identify the sacroiliac pain. Usually people point directly to the sacroiliac joint and say right here! It always starts here. The pain travels down the leg from here with getting up from a seated position, bending, and lifting.

DECOMPRESSION MAKES A SACROILIAC SPRAIN WORSE

Spinal disc decompression treatments make this area worse because it stretches the injury the wrong direction. Treatment is about getting the pain and inflammation down first. Second stretch and increase flexibility of all the muscles above and below the pelvis. Next is to increase core and stabilizing strength. In more chronic sacroiliac sprains, the scar tissue should be broken down to speed the proper remodeling and repair of the ligaments.

SCAR TISSUE IN SACROILIAC SPRAINS

In some cases the sacroiliac joint develops scar tissue in the joint and surrounding muscle and tendon junctions. The scar tissue is a “bad patch” that keeps getting aggravated and triggering the pain. Treatments to reduce the scar tissue quickly reduce the duration of treatment and risk of returning severe pain.

MUSCLE TRIGGER POINT CAUSE SCIATIC PAIN

Muscle trigger points can refer pain down the leg. Trigger points are frequently associated with other low back injuries, which is why they are often missed. An injured muscle tightens up to protect itself. With larger injuries the muscle begins to refer pain away from itself. Usually the pain radiates a few inches, such as around the neck and shoulders. In the low back, there are some common trigger points in the lower lumbar muscles, gluteal, and hip muscles that radiate pain towards the leg.

The radiating pain is reproduced with pushing on the injured muscle or stretching it. Releasing the pressure decreases the radiating pain. Muscle trigger point pain often increases the longer a person is using the muscle, such as walking or standing. It is relieved with rest, heat, and ice. The pain returns once the muscle is under stress or prolonged use.

We commonly treat trigger points involved with neck, shoulder, and headache pain that is worse with sitting, slouching, driving, computer work, or any position that requires the head to be forward. They are less common in the low back, but are still as separate and limiting.

We like finding trigger points because the pain quickly decreases with the right treatment. Physical therapy, heat, electric, ice, stretching, cold laser, and ultrasound do help. However, trigger points respond quicker to deeper muscle therapy such as massage therapy or Graston Technique .

GETTING RID OF SCIATIC PAIN IS ABOUT IDENTIFYING THE CORRECT INJURY

Proper diagnosis of sciatic back pain is critical. Applying the wrong treatments will either have little effect or be inefficient. Most sprains and strains can be significantly improved within two weeks. Treatment beyond that point depends on the history, severity, age, physical condition, and amount of effort put towards home therapy treatments.

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Handling Upper Back/Shoulder Pain

Some back pain masks itself as shoulder pain or chest pain or even under your arm pain. One muscle in particular bears the responsibility for causing these referred pains that have little or nothing to do with the shoulder, chest, or underarm: the subscapularis muscle. The subscapularis muscle is a muscle that lies mostly under (sub) the shoulder blade (scapula).

The subscapularis is almost a vestigial muscle, meaning it was a muscle we used to use a lot but do not really employ much now. It was a hunter / gatherer muscle used to stabilize the shoulder blades while harvesting grain or pulling up root vegetables or maybe even skinning animals. These days we do not do much in the way of toting barges or lifting bales so the subscapularis is strictly underused and it does not like it much. If you find yourself sort of rotating your shoulder around because it just is not comfortable, you probably have some subscapular issues.

Symptoms of subscapularis can include any of the following:

  • Discomfort, sometimes pain, in the upper quadrant of your back usually on your strong side.
  • A band of pain or discomfort around the upper part of your arm just under your shoulder.
  • Pressure on your upper chest just under your collar.
  • Achy pressure between your shoulder blade and your under arm.

Because of the attachment points for this muscle and the muscle groups it interacts with, it is very hard for the sufferer to identify where the discomfort is coming from. If I had a dollar for every time someone complained to me of shoulder pain or just vague discomfort in an upper right or left quadrant of their back and it turned out to be their subscapularis muscle, I would have a fistful of dollars.

The problem stems from the fact that because we do not use the muscle, it becomes deconditioned and easily irritated if we move wrong or even just sleep in a bad position. Usually a bit of acupressure is enough to stop the muscle spasm but what the muscle really needs is to be exercised and stretched.

Acupressure of the subscapularis
You can self-apply acupressure but it is not easy and usually does not work as well as if someone does it for you.

  1. Lie flat on your stomach on a comfortable surface.
  2. Place the hand on the side of your body that has the discomfort on your back at your waist. Note that this causes the shoulder blade to lift up and move away from the center of your back.
  3. Have the person who is going to apply the acupressure palpate the newly exposed are, meaning they should evaluate the texture of the muscle tissue under your shoulder blade. If the person giving the massage is at all sensitive, they may even be able to feel the muscle spasm under their fingers. That is what is causing the discomfort.
  4. Have them find the center of the muscle, the lump that is easily discernible when it is irritated, and press firmly with their thumb for a count of 7.
  5. Follow with a cold pack or ice massage.

Muscles do not have a mind of their own so stopping the spasm sometimes is enough. The cold pack or ice massage removes the last bit of inflammation caused by the spasm and then the acupressure itself.

To self-apply acupressure, use a hand ball or racket ball. They are firm without being so firm you could easily congratulate yourself:

  1. Sit on the floor.
  2. Position the hand ball or racket ball on the floor behind you so that when you lie back, the scapula on your affected side would be on the hand ball or racket ball. You will probably need to be on a rug or use a towel to anchor the ball. A carpet may be too thick. Experiment a bit.
  3. Cross the arm of your affected side across your body as if you were grabbing your opposite shoulder.
  4. Lie back, trying to put the exposed muscle on top of the ball. You may need to squirm around a bit to position the ball correctly.
  5. Allow the weight of your body to apply the pressure of the ball to your muscle for a count of seven.
  6. Follow-up with ice pack or cold pack.

Exercising the subscapularis

As I mentioned before, the reason we consistently have a problem with the subscapularis is because we do not really use it much anymore. To exercise the muscle, we have to intend to focus on that muscle:

  1. Kneel with your left knee on a padded bench and your right foot stabilizing your frame on the floor.
  2. Place your left hand on the bench at a comfortable distance from your left knee. Make your body create as square a frame as possible.
  3. Using the lightest weight possible, 2 lb for a woman or 5 lb for a man, hold the weight in your right hand so that the weight is just hanging freely from your shoulder.
  4. With your arm and elbow staying firmly at your side, lift the weight up to your chest.
  5. Keeping the weight in complete control, allow your arm to straighten back to the original position.
  6. Relax completely.
  7. Repeat 10 times and then switch sides.

You should use the lighter weight while you get comfortable with the exercise. This is true of any new exercise with a free weight: learn the motion and then start adding weight gradually. This is especially true when you are rebuilding a muscle.

Stretching the subscapularis
Stretches are always a good idea and can usually be done anytime, anywhere. For the subscapularis, because it is a deep muscle and not very big, getting into the stretch can be a bit difficult.

  1. Sitting or standing, cross your arm over your body and place your hand on your opposite shoulder. Do not grab your opposite shoulder because then you are using the muscles trying to stretch. That does not always work well.
  2. Using the opposite hand, anchor your elbow in place. With your arm across your body, your elbow is usually right in front of your face.
  3. Gently bow out your back. This pulls the shoulder blade up away from the muscles of your back and creates the stretch.
  4. Hold the stretch for a count of 6 and then switch sides.

If you are not gentle enough, you will know it-later, unfortunately. Fortunately, the cure for any soreness caused by not being gentle enough is the same as the cause: exercise, stretch, ice.

If you are like me, you will be amazed at the relief you get from exercising and stretching this muscle. Who knew?

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Reduce Your Back Pain Now – 3 Simple Steps to Get Relief From Your Back Pain

Do you suffer from lower back pain on a daily basis? I'm not surprised if you do as over 80% of adults will at some stage in their lives have back pain. The good news is that there is a high chance of you reducing your pain by introducing a few easy routines.

There are a number of causes of lower back pain, these 3 being the most common of those causes.

  1. Bad posture- Sitting or standing for hours at a time causes us to hunch and strain our delicate backs.
  2. Weak core muscles- The stronger your core is the less strain is placed on your back when doing everyday regular activities.
  3. Stiff muscles- Having inflexible muscles causes our back to be strained because it is essentially having to work harder to stay upright

By stretching for a mere 10 minutes a day you could greatly reduce your pain by becoming more supple. I recommend focusing on your hamstrings, quads, thighs, hips and lower back when performing your stretches. My current routine consistors of me stretching for 5 minutes in the morning and evening while showering or bathing as the hot water allows a more efficient stretch.

For core exercises I try spend at least ten minutes every alternative day performing core bridges with my back against an exercise ball. I have found this to be incredibly effective in strengthening my core, as well as building great abs, and thus reducing lower back pain to a manageable level. I do 3 sets of these one being on my back and the other two I perform on my left and right side. Google “lower back injury prevention with rener gracie” to watch the YouTube video so you can see exactly how to do these and benefit from them the most.

Improving your posture will be the hardest to do naturally as we have ingrained the habit of slouching from the countless hours sent sitting. I try to monitor my post but even then you will tend to revert to what you have done for years, hunch. For me this is the largest cause of back pain as our spines were not designed to be located 8 hours a day without proper support.

I would recommend getting a specially designed chair especially if you are bound to a desk for the majority of the day. Placing you lower back under strain for 8 hours a day will only cause the pain to increase over time.

Take a look at this comparison between a regular chair that we tend to spend most of our waking life on a chair designed to support your back: Chair for back pain

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Are You Really Going The Right Way About Preventing Recurrent Low Back Pain?

If you have had back pain a couple of times, it is easy to think it is just due to 'doing something silly' and it will not happen again. If you keep getting worsening pain or pain that makes it difficult to move or pain that lasts for a few days, you might be driven to take it more seriously – and you should. Manipulation (such as chiropractic manipulation) can be very helpful in relieving the symptoms when you have low back pain but is not going to reduce recurrent pain unless you correct the cause.

Faulty Movement Patterns

The important thing to remember is that the underlying cause of recent low back pain is often faulty movement patterns (bad habits that we form where we move in a way that our body is not designed for). These faulty patterns lead to reduction in our ability to control stability of the low back. We must have stability in our spines in order to perform our daily activities, walk and play sport without pain chasing sooner or later. It is these faulty patterns and the resultant lack of stability that contribute to recurrent low back pain more than general weakness. We need to be taught how to stabilize our spines and rectify our faulty movement patterns if we really want to gain control over our back pain.

Rectifying your faulty movement patterns

Stabilizing your spine and rectifying your faulty traffic patterns does not mean simply joining a gym and increasing 'core strength'. This may increase strength of some muscles but can not change HOW you move. This does not mean that these exercises are not effective, and it is well established that exercise (any type, really) is a very effective intervention for low back pain. What it does tell us is that recurrent low back pain might be due to reduced spinal stability rather than just a 'weak core'.

So what does influence spinal stability?

Research shows that the diaphragm, which is primarily a breathing muscle and effectively cuts our body in half, separating the abdomen from the thorax (lung cavity), also plays a significant role in stability of the spinal and pelvis.

When you hunch over a desk for hours, or drive long distances, getting tense, you tend not to breathe using your diaphragm, instead you breathe with your chest. You also tend to hold your breath or breathe in a shallow way, the more tense you become as you focus on your deadlines or get stuck in traffic. The resultant reduction in stability causes other areas of your back to react to try to help stabilize your spine and pelvis which means back muscles getting tight. That is why, when you get out of your car or up from your desk, you often feel stiff and sore. You then do not move properly, often without realizing and how long do you move in an unbalanced way before you overload your disks or back joints and pain results? The answer to this is going to be different for us all but the body needs symmetry in movement patterns in order to remain pain free.

The Answer

The answer is to focus on breathing correctly, sitting correctly and taking regular microbreaks during the day then changing the way you move. Only then should you think about strengthening exercises, once you are moving correctly and can really benefit from them.

What is Correct Breathing?

Correct breathing involves breathing three-dimensionally, using the abdomen and the lower ribcage, by allowing the in breath to expand your lower ribcage sideways as well as your abdomen expanding forwards. If you sit straight, in a neutral spinal position, relax your shoulders and focus on deep abdominal breathing, you immediately feel less tense and more upright.

You then need to perform exercises that activate your deep abdominal wall and coordinate these with diaphragmatic breathing and then you can use the same techniques to perform activities of daily living. Having mastered correct breathing while sitting, standing, lying and moving, you can start to breathe correctly while you perform strengthening exercises, safe in the knowledge that you are doing so with correct spinal control and without overloading your spell.

Using these simple but effective means to change your faulty motor control patterns, you gain control and reduce the likelihood of recurrent back pain … and reduce the need to visit your chiropractor!

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Chiropractic And Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition that involves an abnormal curvature of the back bone. The medical term for back bone is spine. The main part of the abnormal curvature goes side to side. When looking at the person from behind with scoliosis it may appear that the back bone or tube is shaped like an “S” or “C” instead of straight up and down.

Scoliosis most commonly progresses during adolescent years and affect females in this age group more than males. The condition may begin as simple bad post but then progressively get worse over time. Once a person reaches skeletal maturity, they are less likely to worsen the condition. If scoliosis becomes sufficient enough, it can cause diminished lung capacity and pressure on other vital organs such as the heart. The condition can cause sever physical limitations for the individual affected.

The condition results from three main causes. One of these causes is congenital. Scoliosis sometimes runs in families. This is why it is important to have other family members checked for the condition when another family member has been diagnosed. Another cause is from poor postural habits over time. The last cause is idiopathic or of unknown cause. In any of these causes, early detection of the problem can be helpful to prevent its progress. Certain clues can help detect if an individual has scoliosis.

One way is to look if the person has a high shoulder or high hip on one side compared to the other. As a result, clothing may also fit poorly. Uneven wearing of the shoes is another clue. As the condition progressively gets worse, it is not uncommon to have accompanied back pain. The methods used to treat scoliosis can be very invasive. One of these is surgery which involves attaching steel rods to the spine at the top and bottom of the curvature. This is done to force the spine to straighten and prevent the curvature from progressing. Other methods involve an external brace worn by the individual. This is worn through the day to apply pressure on the spine.

Chiropractic is an all natural method of treating scoliosis which has been found to be very effective for many with the condition. Chiropractors are well trained to detect scoliosis. They will perform an evaluation to see if there is an abnormal curvature in the spine. They will examine tomorrow which often involves looking for the high hip or shoulder. They will also palpate the back bone to feel if there is an abnormal curvature. Range of motion is also checked to see if there are any restrictions in the joints of the spell. X-rays are often taken from the area which provide a clear picture of the curvature. The abnormal curvature can also be measured to determine the degree of severity.

A period of chiropractic adjustments has proved to be successful for treating individuals with scoliosis. Chiropractic treatments have even shown lessened the curvature associated with scoliosis. As the structure of the spine is corrected, muscles and ligaments are strengthened and posture improvements. Many suffering with scoliosis have seen chiropractic and have reported significant improvement in their condition.

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Coccydynia – Pain In The Tail-Bone Relieved With Homeopathy

We are all very familiar to getting treated with allopathic medicines. Antibiotics, analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or anti-allergic tablets appear commonly in our conversation when we talk about treatment modalities. In there, the treatment is targeted more towards the diseased organ or tissue, thereby trying to eradicate the pathology.

Homeopathic system of healing, one of the most frequently practiced holistic healing technique around the world, differs from the modern medicine in many areas. The main aim of homeopathic treatment is targeted towards restoring the constitutional balance within, to aid in setting the body-equilibrium. It does not target the organs or tissues, unlike allopathy, but focuses on the inner balance of the health-equilibrium. It is achieved by carefully selecting an appropriately satisfied remedy for an individual patient, considering the various characteristics at the physical, emotional and intellectual sphere. A professionally trained homeopath knows how to find out these qualities and arrive at the most-similar remedy selection by analyzing them.

This makes it a challenging situation to select the most-similar homeopathic remedy for each case. Although the clinical diagnosis happens to be same for two patients, the remedy selected may be completely different for both. Each case that raises the interest- quotient and a homeopath needs to be highly alert not to miss any significant characteristic symptom from the narration of the patient.

Although causative factor ranks the highest in remedy selection process, one may come across a case that can demand overlooking the causative modality and prescribe on the characteristic particular symptom. This following case will show exactly the same.

Case introduction:

Mrs SM, a 44 years old woman, visited Swaroop Clinic for the complaint of severe coccydynia, which involves pain at the tail-bone. She was suffering for almost 8 years with that excruciating pain along the tail-bone. The pain had started after a fall on a hard surface while climbing down a hill. The pain wasaching kind and on prolonged sitting in one place, for more than half an hour, she used to get intense burning in the affected region. It had made her difficult to travel long-distance. She could not even sit comfortably in a movie-theater, where the seats have enough cushioning, and that could not enjoy movies or theater performances which were her favorite hobbies. She has had taken treatment from a few orthopedic surgeons, who had prescribed her some analgesics, but without any significant relief. One of our patients had referred her to Swaroop clinic for trying homeopathic treatment for the first time.

Remedy selection:

Hypericum was selected considering the causative factor of fall and possible injury to the nerve-endings. Incidently, hypericum is one of the most commonly indicated remedy for coccydynia.

Follow-up:

The patient was prescribed hypericum in different potencies and repetition patterns but there was no relief at all. After exhausting all possible combinations of hypericum, the case was reviewed for the presence of any significant symptom.

Burning pain, which is not usually documented, referred the attention and guided us to the selection of Apis mellifica. It is a remedy made with honey-bees and just like the bee-sting; it too presents an inflammatory process.

Apis was selected on the basis of the burning pain that gets aggravated by prolonged sitting. Apis given in medium potency, thrice a day, relieved the pain completely within a month.

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Back Pain Cause: Over-Supination

The lower back bears a double burden: supporting the weight of the upper body and being highly mobile – rotating, flexing and extending. The lumbar spine and the lower back muscles work hard to perform these varied tasks, but they do not work alone. Proper lower back muscle engagement and spinal alignment rely heavily on other joints and muscles in the body, particularly from the lower body. Often enough, lower back pain has its source beyond the back itself.

Back Pain and Supination

Your feet – your main point of contact with the ground – are a good place to start looking for causes of back pain. The way your foot strikes the ground determines the angle of every joint up to the lower back, including the ankles, knees and hips. The angle of your joints in turn determines the length and tension of the muscles from your feet to your back. If muscles are tight or overstretched, they can not do their jobs right.

Over-pronation, or the condition in which the ankle rolls inward when your foot strikes the ground, is the more common and more discussed type of gait dysfunction that can cause back pain. But, for some, the problem is the opposite: over-supination. This occurs when your weight is primarily distributed along the outside edge of your foot, meaning your ankle rolls to the outside. If you're unsure as to whether you over-suinate, look at the bottom of a pair of shoes you've worn for some time; If there is more wear on the outside edge, you're an over-supinator.

Over-supination can cause back pain and other problems in a number of ways. First, since normal muscle recruitment is inhibited, your lower back muscles end up being employed to help swing the leg forward from the hip on each step. Also, the ankle, knee and hip joints are susceptible to injury as they are misaligned when the foot rolls outward. Add to misalignment the fact that the joints are exposed to excess shock; the arch of the foot normally absorbs shock when the foot strikes the ground properly. If you over-supinate, your weight is not distributed over the arch and the rest of your body is left to absorb the shock. Ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, joint wear, chronic back pain and bone fractures are all risks for the over-supinator.

Generally, over-supination is caused by physical abnormalities like bow-leggedness or very high arches. It can be exacerbated by tight calf muscles that encourage the ankle to roll to the outside. You should have your gait analyzed by a physical therapist or sports therapist to determine 1) what muscles need to be stretched or strengthened to encourage a more efficient foot strike and 2) what type of shoe would be best. There are special shoes available to over-supinators whose padding encourages the foot to land more towards the center; These are particularly helpful to athletes. Custom or standard suplinator insoles may be more appropriate for your situation.

Taking steps to correct your gait will give you whole-body payoffs. When seeking out back pain causes, do not forget to look towards other parts of the body.

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5 Health Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is one of the most reliable and proven methods used as a primary or supplementary form of treatment. Various diseases, injuries and conditions can be helped with regular visits to the chiropractor. They include issues and discomfort relating to joints, back, wrists or any part of the body that results from improper posture or strain.

The techniques chiropractors do can be performed concurrently with a medical regimen for best results.

1. Pain management

When the nervous system is overworked, there is a tendency for the body to receive pain responses very quickly. Chiropractic care is ideal for managing pain by relieving stress on the nervous system and blocking the transmission of pain messages. The approach can also increase the body's ability to tolerate pain and discomfort so individuals can do more tasks for a longer period of time.

2. Enhancing the immune system

The immune system can improve significantly through chiropractic care. People are less likely to develop allergies, cold, flu and other common diseases. Also, those who are at risk for serious health conditions like cardiovascular and heart problems, diabetes and cancer are shown to lower the likelihood of development with regular chiropractic treatment.

3. Improving range of motion

Since the approach involves doing a variety of movements and positions, people can increase muscle strength and flexibility. Individuals requiring physical therapy due to trauma or injury can improve their range of motion in a shorter period of time. There are special techniques incorporated by chiropractors depending on the affected areas to boost recovery.

4. Treating bone and joint problems

The approach can also treat and treat various bone and joint conditions like wrist and arm pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, ankle, knee and foot problems and back and neck disorders. Circulation is enhanced through the body so diseases and injuries are prevented. These issues are commonly experienced by office workers who sit long hours at work or school carrying cargo overweight bags.

5. No side effects

Chiropractic care is a form of natural treatment so patients do not have to worry about side effects. Surgery, drugs and pain medications all have possible side effects and complications. The techniques will also be performed based on the pain tolerance and physical capacity of patients.

There are several other advantages that chiropractic care can provide. It is recommended to discuss the treatment plan with the chiropractor and track progress over the next few weeks.

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Gently Stretching A Stiff Neck

A stiff or sore neck can always benefit from some gentle stretching. After all, some of the discomfort you feel is the muscles shortening in spasm and pulling on their attachment points. You can loosen your neck muscles with some shoulder shrugs and apply heat before you stretch. Use moist heat and for more than 20 minutes. If you use heat for longer than 20 minutes, there is some danger that your body will tense up the muscles even more in an effort to regulate body temperature. More on that later.

Posterior neck stretch

  1. Sit in a chair facing a mirror. Keep all movements relaxed and very gentle.
  2. Sitting with good posture, allow your head to drop onto your chest. Allow your chin to touch your chest but do not force it. Just let the weight of your head create the stretch. This makes it a passive stretch, which means you are not using the muscles while you are stretching them.
  3. Repeat at least 5 times, holding each time for a count of 5.

Lateral neck stretch

  1. Ensure your post is good.
  2. Grab the bottom of your chair with your right hand to stabilize the right-side of your body.
  3. Allow your head to fall to the left side as if you wanted to rest your left ear on your left shoulder. You will not get anywhere close to putting your ear on your shoulder, so do not even try. Allow the weight of your head to create the stretch. Keep your eyes on the mirror to ensure you are maintaining your alignment.
  4. Repeat at least 5 times, relaxing into the stretch for a count of 5. Remember to keep breathing filling your lungs and releasing slowly with each stretch.
  5. Repeat on the right side.

When you are fairly comfortable with this stretch, add the following stretch:

  1. While your head is dropped to the left side, reach across your head with your left hand, resting your hand on your head.
  2. Allow the weight of your hand and arm on your head to increase the stretch. DO NOT pull with your left hand.
  3. When this becomes easy, with no soreness the next day, try GENTLY looking up at the ceiling while your head is bent to the side.

Depression and Neck Pain

Anyone who has had a neck injury or just a really sore neck understands that neck pain is more than just a pain in the neck. Most people with neck injury also have some sense of depression. The reasons for this are two-fold:

  • You can not do what you want to do for any period of time without having muscle pain and sometimes headache and nausea.
  • Your muscle injury is causing some inflammation around the brain stem which, while so minor that no one bears to mention it, leads to that same kind of depression that occurs during PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome).

So you have a situational and a physiological cause but the result is the same: neck injury and inflammation is depressing. The depression plays on your nerves and makes you tense and you feel that tension right where you do not want to, in your neck. So in understanding neck pain and recovery, understand that you may be unaccountably blue and just suck it up. It will get better.

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Stretches to Relieve Common Muscle Tension

The body of today faces unique challenges, mainly because we spend so much time sitting and using electronic devices. The following stretches are designed to target muscles that are tight in the general population.

Neck Circles

It's common for people to crane their necks forward when staring at a screen; This causes a significant amount of tension. Doing frequent stretches can restore blood flow to tension muscles and remind us to maintain better posture through the day.

Center your head between your shoulders (this is where it should be all the time, but we often stray). Bend your neck to the right, bringing your ear closer to your shoulder. Roll your head forward slowly until your left ear is closer to your left shoulder. Now slowly roll your head back. Once you get back to your right ear being over your right shoulder, reverse direction, going backward first. Keep alternating. Do this about 10 times, 3 times a day.

Shoulder Roll

When the neck is craned forward, the shoulders generally slip forward as well. These strains upper back muscles.

Get your shoulders in a neutral position. Slowly, beginning making circles with them, raising them, pushing them backward, bringing them up in the front and doing it again. This helps us remember what neutral shoulder position is and gives them some fresh blood flow. When bringing your shoulders down in back, really squeeze your shoulder blades together; this will stretch the muscle in the front of the body that tighten when you're slumped over. Do this 10 times, 3 times a day.

Psoas Stretch

The hip flexors, sometimes the psoas, are muscles that stretch from the top of the thigh bone to the lumbar vertebrae. When we sit, these muscles are held in a shortened position. Over time, they learn this position and become chronically tight. Tight psoas muscles can pull the pelvis down in front, increasing the arch in the lumbar spine and causing a number of biomechanical problems.

Get on the ground with your weight distributed over your left knee on the ground, calf against the floor, and right foot flat on the ground with your right knee bent. Lean forward. Your right knee should not go past your toes; if the latter happens, readjust your position. This stretches your left psoas. Reverse legs to stretch the right. Hold this stretch for at least 15 seconds, and do it 2 or 3 times a day depending on how much sitting you've done. See an image of the stretch at http://chiropractorkeller.com/keller-chiropractors-secret-weapon-against-back-pain/ .

Hamstring Stretch

Like the psoas, the hamstring in the back of the thigh is tightened when we sit. Giving it a stretch through your day can help relieve leg and lower back pain.

There are many ways to stretch your hamstrings; the following is one of the easiest to do wherever you are. Stand with your right foot forward, heel on the ground. Bend you left knee and push your buttocks back (this will prevent your left knee from going past your left toe line); you'll be leaning slightly forward. Hold for 15 or more seconds, then switch legs.

Giving your upper and lower body a good stretch a number of times through your day will help heal aches and pains caused by muscle tension. While stretching helps, it's not the cure; you'll need to find ways to incorporate more movement into your day as well.

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Back Pain? 7 Great Tips For Fighting Back Pain More Effectively

1. When you are about to go to sleep, use a good mattress to avoid aggravating your back pain. Soft mattresses may seem more comfortable but they often do not give the needed support. A mattress with the right firmness will give adequate support, although one that has too much firmness can also cause back stiffness and pain. Try out several different mattresses until you find one that suits your immediate needs.

2. During your waking periods, you must adopt good postures. Many people believe that all back problems stem from mishaps during physical activity. There is some truth to that but more to the point is that the spine does lend support to the rest of the body. That support sometimes fails for no particular reason.

Make sure you sit up straight. Bad posture will put unnecessary strain on your spine. If you do have to sit for a long time at work, make sure you have a comfortable chair to sit in.

3. In the case of breastfeeding-feeding mothers, back-pain is a constant accompaniment. The body-position, held by the mother, could easily trigger back pain or spasms. She would be best served by using a comfortable pad to lean on.

4. In the case of pregnant women, some do pain at different times. The 'load' that the baby generates in the front of the mother can make the body compensate by leaving backwards. This puts a lot of pressure on the lower part of the body. Gently massaging the muscles of the back would lessen the pain and discomfort.

5. If you must carry bags or other such items, you must distribute the weight you carry evenly. If you find yourself carrying things often, such as a handbag or schoolbooks or your laptop, try a backpack that spreads the weight over a wider surface area of ​​your body. By so doing, you will be limiting the pain in the back.

6. It is important to have proper support for your lower back when you do spend a lot of time in an office chair. If the chair does not properly support the lower back area (lumbar region), serious back pain can result. Buy a special pillow to support your lower back area.

7. If you do need to lift heavy objects and do so often, it is very important to follow the one rule of weight lifting: 'let the lifting be done more with the legs and not with the back'. Use your knee to get leakage and not the back for picking up heavy items

It is always a very good idea during the pain phases to partner with your medical practiceer.

He / she may recommend the following:

a. Yoga

Yoga helps to increase muscle flexibility and can stave off injury.

b. Massage

A good massage can ease back pain. Many people suffering from such pain get much benefit from it. It can help to loosen tight muscles helping you to relax and in the process give you relief from pain. Getting a massage about once per week can help you to exercise some control over your back pains.

c. Water Therapy

Water therapy is beneficial. Submerging your body in a pool of water will lessen the direct pressure on your body and then ease your pain.

d. Chiropractic care

Visiting your chiropractor before you experience pain is a must-do activity. Seeing one regularly may help you to fix small issues before they snowball into more serious injuries.

e. Lose weight

Losing weight will ease the burden on your spell. Losing just a few pounds will lessen the strain you put on your back.

f. Heat

Try a heating pad to ease the pain in your back. A hot-water bottle is ideal.

g. Surgery

If, with all of your attempts to ease the pain and you fail, your doctor may recommend back surgery. This should only be considered after all other methods have not worked.

Through your battles to beat the pain, one thing you must avoid at all cost. You must never stress over the fact that you are suffering pain, for by so doing, you will only worsen it.

If you do accept the evidence on back pain, you must also accept that it is universal. What I attempted were things you can do to ease the pain. The list is not complete but there will definitely be many of the strategies that will be useable in your search for some relief from your back pain.

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What You Really Need To Know About Physical Therapy For Fibromyalgia

When you think of physical therapy for Fibromyalgia you should have a certain expectation as to what this particular treatment and the methods it uses may be like.

You should expect it to be gentle, but effective. You should expect it to be thorough with the ability to tackle deep-roaming issues without just treating the surface. You should also expect it to be varied, in the event that if a particular treatment method is not successful, then there are others to fall back on.

In addition to all of these, you should expect that any treatment for fibromyalgia that you are investing your time, as well as your money in, is specialized enough that it can only be applied by a trained practitioner.

That's why it's so important that if you try physical therapy for Fibromyalgia, you ensure you are getting a highly knowledgeable therapist that is trained in many treatment methods.

Unfortunately because sometimes physical therapy does not always live up to our expectations when it comes to treating Fibromyalgia chronic pain. Some treatment methods can be more than just a little disappointing and can lead to feelings of frustration and despair.

Why is this? Especially when so many many doctors refer patients with musculoskeletal pain to a physical therapist? And why do so many people still have the belief that physical therapy is the best go to treatment for chronic pain?

It could have something to do with most people's lack of knowledge when it comes to complementary medicine for musculoskeletal pain. It could also have something to do with general practitioners really not having sufficient training, skills or knowledge themselves regarding muscular issues.

So what do you really need to know about physical therapy for Fibromyalgia to ensure that you get the best treatment possible and an effective alleviation of your pain?

Understanding Physical Therapy Methods

Like other types of treatments for muscular aches and pains, the practice of physical therapy has a number method's it can utilize. A group of these are known as physical therapy modality methods, which are machine operated, or electronic devices used to improve soft tissue pain. They can include ultrasound, laser therapy, TENS machines and even hot and cold packs.

These machines and devices can certainly give the impression that they are going to relate a lot of pain. Heat treatments in particular can reduce muscular aches and distress and all of these modalities do not have a certain level of effectiveness. However in many cases their ability to lessen Fibromyalgia pain is quite limited.

That's because in so many Fibromyalgia cases it's not fancy electronic machines or nifty electronic devices that effectively treat pain. If such devices worked definitively, we would all own them and would never be required to see a physical therapist or any other type of practitioner for musculoskeletal pain.

Some people do of course own these devices for home use, but for the most part, and especially in the case of Fibromyalgia, they work to minimize or treat pain, in between actual professional physical therapy appointments.

So what types of physical therapy for Fibromyalgia can you expect to give you a better relief of pain? It's not these modality methods but rather the gentle yet highly skilled 'hands on', manual techniques that most commonly bring not only the greatest relief, but also the longest lasting relief of pain.

Such manual physical therapy treatment methods can include: soft and deep tissue massage, joint mobilization and spinal manipulation, dry needling as well as assistance with passive and active rehabilitation exercise.

If you are considering physical therapy for Fibromyalgia, ensure you inquire beforehand exactly what your therapists is trained to do. A standard physical therapist may rely heavily on the modality methods that can work to improve some conditions but may not give enough relief for Fibromyalgia.

It's an excellent physical therapist however, who will know the limitations that come with treating Fibromyalgia. These are the types of therapists who will know there may be some occasions where the use of such modality methods are required, and know when they can be beneficial. They will also know that in the long run, it takes a different treatment approach, and gentle hands on techniques that will really work to tackle Fibromyalgia pain.

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