Increased Cases of Pre-Pregnancy Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

Back pain is one of the most common problems faced by women during pregnancy. Every 2 out of 5 pregnant women experience back pain at some stage. However, the pain can not be absolutely avoided; you can certainly prevent it from getting worse and ease the discomfort.

What Causes Back Pain during Pregnancy?

Our joints and bones are connected with tissues called ligaments. During pregnancy, the hormone called 'Relaxin' tends to loosen the ligaments. This generally occurs early on as the level of relaxin is at peak during 10-14 weeks of pregnancy. A woman is most likely to have lower back pain in the first trimester.

During the second and third trimester, the expanding womb and the weight of the fetus further puts stain on your back muscles and ligaments. This pain may even be worse if you are overweight.

Pre-pregnancy back pain may make the following difficult:

  1. turning over in the bed
  2. getting up after sitting for sometime
  3. lifting and carrying small weights
  4. walking for a long time
  5. dressing and undressing

Symptoms of Pre Pregnancy Back Problem

During pregnancy, a woman is most likely to feel pain at the point which joins the lower back to the pelvis. A number of times, this pain is easily confused with pelvic pain. The main difference between the two categories of pain is as follows:

Pelvic Pain

This pain occurs due to loose joints in your pelvis. You feel the pain at the back of your pelvis, at a joint between the bottom bone in the spine and the hip bone. This joint is known as Sacroiliac joint. The pain may come and go and may be shooting, burning, dull or stabbing.

Lower Back Pain

This is a kind of dull pain that you feel when you bend forward. Lower back pain restricts your ability to move the lower section of your spell. When pressed, certain muscles may hurt.

When you go to a spa physiotherapist, she will analyze whether you have lower back pain or pelvic pain or a combination of both. Based on her analysis, she will create physiotherapy sessions for you.

Can I Prevent Pain in the Back during Pre-Pregnancy?

The best way of 'trying' to avoid the pain is by working on your posture and fitness. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly may help protect you from pain during your pregnancy period. If you are not used to exercising, start at a slow pace.

It is essential to watch your back whenever you lift something heavy. Try to bend your knees rather than your back, while doing so.

If you are already suffering from pain, you can seek a doctor for back-pain treatment. There are a number of spinal physiotherapists who can assist you in getting rid of such problems.

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Understanding Mid Back Pain

Any pain that occurs in the region between your upper and lower back is called mid back pain. This area consist of the spinal, the spinal cord, discs, nerves, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments. Professionals usually refer to this area as the lower thoracic spine. Any of these parts of the spine may get inflamed or irritated due to various reasons, causing pain which could be severe or mild.

Major Causes and Risk Factors of Mid Back Pain

Vertebrae surround the nerves that are wrapped around the spinal cord. Between the vertebrae are spongy discs which are made of cartilage. These discs provide smooth motion to the back and act as cushions to them. The ligaments, tendons and muscles also have a similar role in order to give support to the system and improve movement within the body. If any of these parts get inflamed, it can lead to discomfort and pain.

Some of the more serious conditions that may lead to problems in the area include spondylitis, fibromyalgia or a herniated disc. If a disc is bulging, it can put pressure on the surrounding nerves and cause intense sensations. Sometimes, other problems which may originate in another part of the body may just radiate to the middle section of the back. For example, a problem with the digestive organs may suddenly come out though back pain.

Another very common cause of problems with the mid back is when you make a sudden movement, especially while playing sports or when trying to do some physical activity. Those who do not exercise much and lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk of having this problem.

This kind of pain can occur to anyone at any age but people who are between the ages of 30 and 50 are most likely to suffer from it. This is usually due to the kind of activities that are often associated with people who fall into this age bracket coupled with the increasing age of the different parts of the body, especially the spine and tissue around it. Other risk factors include obesity, a poor posture, a family history of back-related problems, pregnancy, smoking, weak abdominal muscles and stress.

Possible Complications of Middle Back Pain

The complications that are associated with this problem are usually related to the underlying reason for the pain. The best way to avoid these complications is to visit a healthcare professional and get a treatment plan which should be followed strictly. If it is not truly rated, it could affect your way of life.

Some of the possible complications include:
• A poor quality of life
• Chronic pain
• Permanent damage of the nerves (which in very serious cases could lead to paralysis)
• Some kind of disability

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Lumbar Spondylosis and Sciatica – Two Poorly Understood Terms

Low back pain is worldwide one of the largest reasons of loss of work. Increasing sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, lack of awareness about normal physiological posture and obesity has remarkably increased the prevalence of troublesome back pain. Back pain at one point or another affects everyone. However, back pain that is significant enough to cause loss of work, needs attention.

There are numerous causes of pain ranging from common muscle spasms, disc disease, to instability from weaknesses in ligaments or bony integrity. Covering different causes of back pain is beyond the scope of this article. The purpose of writing this is to explain the two terms used in common day parlance, lumbar spondylosis and sciatica.

Lumbar spondylosis is commonly implicated for low backache. Lumbar spondylosis is used to describe degenerative changes in the spine, that occur with age. More than 80% of adults over 40 years will have radiological changes of degeneration, but not all have back pain. Lumbar spondylosis is there not a disease, and does not require treatment. It is inevitable. However, normal degenerative process can be hastened due to obesity, lumbar disc surgery, abnormal posture, or conditions that increase stress on the spine. Keeping paraspinal muscles strong with regular exercise and controlling weight can slow down the degeneration process.

Another poorly understood term is sciatica. Sciatica has become synonymous with any leg pain. Sciatica is again not a disease, but a symptom. Sciatica is pain, numbness or tingling that occurs in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. The pain occurs in gluteal region, radiates down along back of thigh, and depending upon the nerve root involved may radiate to leg and foot as well. The specific area of ​​leg pain represents the nerve root being compressed by the herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or degenerative listhesis. Let's suppose the L5 nerve root is compressed, the pain would be mostly in the distribution of the area supplied by the nerve carrying fibers from L5 level, that is numbness would be in the outer aspect of the leg and foot, and weakness would be in the foot and big toe. Similarly, if the L4 nerve root is compressed the pain would be on the inner aspect of leg, and weakness in the extensor muscles of the knee.Typical sciatica pain is sharp, shooting in nature and is aggravated by walking, turning, or climbing steps . The discomfort in legs may range from gnawing pain or deep ache, burning, tingling or numbness in the area of ​​nerve distribution. So, sciatica is not a disease but just a symptom, or more specifically a type of pain caused by nerve compression.

The irony is not only these terms are poorly understood by the population at large, but also by most healthcare professionals. The real purpose is to educate all, about these two common terms. These two terms should not be used to misguide the patients, but rather specific diagnosis should be made and disease described to the patients.

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What Treatments Will A Pain Clinic Perform On My Back?

When your back is stiff, you will feel it in your upper back, lumbar area, neck and sometimes in your tailbone. Everyone will experience this type of pain and it can be many issues that will trigger this pain. Most of the time, the pain will go away after a day or two, maybe even a week later.

But when the pain lingers or becomes more intense, it may be time to get medical attention. Most people will make schedule an appointment with their primary doctor first. He or she will examine the patient, ask questions, and take x-rays.

Once they a determination where the pain is at and what is causing it, they will prescribe pain medications. However, when that is not helping the patient any, their doctor may refer them to a pain clinic.

The Goal: Find The Problem

Before any doctor can heal an aching back, they must find out where the pain is and what is causing the pain. At the pain clinic, there will be several professionals assigned to a patient. They each have a focus on pain and will try to discover if there are any underlying issues that are causing the back pain. At a facility such as this, treating these types of conditions with the musculoskeletal system and each will have their own focus on the various pains.

They will start by eliminating things that may be causing the pain, such as bad posture, and injury or muscle strain. The most common cause of lower back pain is fractures, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.

If it is determined that one of these causes the back pain, the pain clinic team will determine which member of the team is best suited for helping the patient. It may be recommended that the patient work with one or more of the specialists depending on what kind of pain, what is causing the pain and where the pain is located.

There are varieties of treatments available at a facility like this which will either cure the pain or help ease the pain for the patient. The treatments that are most typical for back pain include the following and some not listed here:

Heat Treatment

For chronic back pain that is mild, a pain doctor may recommend using hot compresses. This is something you can do in your home once you have received instructions from the pain clinic staff.

Massage Therapy

For a patient that has been experiencing back trouble for a long time, the pain clinic team may recommend massage therapy with a therapist at there.

Physical Therapy

When the pain has become uncontrollable and you are not able to perform your daily activities, the pain clinic team may recommend physical treatment. The specialist that will be in charge of this will have numerous exercises for you to do there and home, all to improve your muscle performance.

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At What Point Do You Need To See A Pain Management Doctor?

Experts tell us that over 76 million Americans that are 20 years of age and older, which is about one-fourth of the country's population, say they have experienced pain for twenty-four hours or longer at some point. And it does seem that there are many people walking around with pain these days.

Is it because we're more active and take less time to prepare for that activity? Or are there more auto accidents, tripping, and falling accidents? Sometimes it is poor posture and the hours upon hours of sitting in the same position at work that has caused our body to almost lock up?

No matter the reason, pain has become a specialty in the medical industry and with that has guided us the pain management doctor. These are specialists that have studied different pains and know that it can be commonplace and yet tricky to identify the cause. Not all of these doctors cover all pains, though. Within this category, there are specialists depending on the type of pain you're having.

Just to name a few of the different specialist in this field:

· A neuro pain specialist will focus on treating stubborn migraines

· An anesthesiologist is a pain specialist that knows how to handle the pain from a delicate lung cancer operation

· An orthopedic pain specialist will address the issue of pain with joint replacements

As with any ailment or illness that someone may be having, their first stop is with their primary care doctor. You explain your pain and problems and they do an examination, maybe some blood work or x-rays. Then if they are not able to pinpoint the problem, they refer you to a pain management doctor.

What Does a Pain Management Doctor Do?

Before you can understand what a pain management doctor does, you should first understand that there are two different categories of pain:

Acute – usually caused by a sensation in your nervous system that alerts you to a possible ailment or injury that should be treated.

Chronic – It may have started off as an acute pain, but was ignored and left untreated, became chronic and canker a long time. Sometimes it may from a sprained back or from a serious illness and continues for a long period of time, sometimes never easing because it is pain from a condition that is ongoing.

When Is Intervention Needed?

When the general healthcare provider can not find a way to relieve their patient's pain, they will make the referral to a specialist. A pain management doctor may choose one of the several ways to proceed in controlling this pain, depending on the patient's background and the doctor's expertise. The pain specialist will work closely with the general healthcare provider, making sure that both are up-to-date on the medications and treatments that the patient is taking and undergoing.

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5 Ways Bad Posture Leads To Back Pain

Have you ever wondered why after a long work day one may feel pain in the back or when after seating for long or even lying on a couch you may tend to feel some pain? The reason to this is mainly as a result of back pain due to changes in posture. Posture has been linked to back pain in a lot of studies conducted the world over. It is so important to note some of the most common postures that many people might be engaged in without knowing that these very postures cause back pain.

Here are the 5 most common postures that have been shown to cause back pain.

The first posture is the hunchback. This comes about when one forms a C- shape when they are working on a desk. This twists the column column and if one presents days on end doing this, the spine tend to get acclimatized to being curved. This causes back pain as well as pain in the shoulder and neck. Continued use of this posture over months or years causes the chest muscles to curve. Muscles of the upper back loosen as well and there is prominence of pain in the upper back.

To avert this problem, it is suggested that a person should avoid hunching at the desk and rather sit upright where the item they are working on is at eye level. Simple exercises such as twisting the head and shoulders every so often with hands on the head causes the back to relax. It is also suggested that one should at least take a short break every 30 – 40 minutes where they can stand and change posture for a short while before going back to their seating posture. Yoga and regular cardiovascular exercise such as swimming, jogging or even taking a walk are great ways to avert this problem and strengthen the back.

Another bad post that is common is the rounded shoulder. This is a posture caused by activity such as typing when one is listed. His can also be caused by a poor exercise period which overworks the chest muscles, causing back, shoulder and neck pain. This can simply be averted by stretching every once in a while twice or thrice during ones work day. These stretches helps realign the vertebral column and prevent pain. Exercises that are aimed at strengthening the trapezius should be included in normal exercise regimes if one spends most of the day working on a computer.

Another common cause of back pain is over pronated feet which is caused by the arch in the feet being forced flat. This is caused by pregnancy, choosing footwear inappropriately as well as obesity. The weakened feet may cause pain in the hip, knee and back. This condition may vary in severity where in some cases its mild while in some, the knees torn inwards to face each other, making mobility a very painful affair. If it goes untreated, it results in conditions such as metatarsalgia which is a pain in the feet joints. Devices to correct foot alignment are recommended. This, however, must be prescribed by a doctor for the best results and advice on when and how to use.

Another problematic posture that causes a lot of back pain is the anterior pelvic tilt. IN this condition, the pelvis tilts forward and that pushes the torso forward, causing a bend which is awkward. This may cause sever back pain, especially in the back. The main cause of this condition is sitting down for extended periods of time without stretching.

This is mostly seen in people who work in busy offices as well as long distance truck drivers who have to be seated while driving for extended periods of time. When one sets for extended periods, the hip flexors tighten and there is loosing of the gluteal muscles, then there is pain which results. To avert this, regular cardiovascular exercise is recommended. Exercise should focus on stretching the hip flexors while at the same time tightening the gluteal muscles.

The last posture that causes back pain is the one where the head slants forward, especially for people who do desk jobs and have to deal with a lot of paper work. In most cases, pain in the neck and shoulders is also common. Simple exercises to loosen the neck and shoulders can be used to get the head used to this type of exercise and prevent back pain. IF you find that a pain persists for far too long, especially after 6 weeks, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

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How To Overcome Irreversible Back Pain?

According to the study carried out by world health organization (WHO), pain in the lower and upper back is the major cause of disability for persons under the age of 45 in the world. Many people are spending billions of money looking for solutions to aching backs.

On a daily basis, many people experiencing severe or moderate pain in their lower back or upper back tend to find temporary ways to relate their pain instead of knowing the real cause. It affects people of all ages, although a study carried out by mayo clinic revealed that those people between 35 and 55 years are more vulnerable to back pains. Most of the time they twist and bend hoping that the pain will go away, but unfortunately, the pain may be irreversible. Pain experienced in the upper back may be caused by growth in the chest, spelling swelling and ailments of the aorta whereas pain in the lower back may be related to lower back muscles and tendons around the disc and spell. Below are ways of overcoming irreversible back pain;

1. Start doing corrective circuits and exercises

Whatever we do on a daily basis have an impact on our healthy. Poor posture and our everyday activities such as standing for a longer period, pulling or carrying something heavy, muscle tension, sitting in a bent position for a long can lead to severe pain in our back. In this era of technology, many people tend to sit in a bent position for a long period when using computers. This is very unhealthy for the back since it results to increased pain in the area.

Doing regular exercises helps to activate the core muscles such as back muscles that are responsible for lifting the spine that you have not been using. It, therefore, keeps mobility in the spine since inactive and weak muscles make a person experience severe pain. In addition, those people who spend most of their time sitting in the office for more than 8 hours a day are advised to take a break of at least once an hour to stretch and move around to reduce the pain experienced.

2. Fashion Accessories

Many ladies are used to carrying heavy bags on their shoulders and wear high heels on their feet on a daily basis. However, these fashion choices have consequences such as causing pain in the back and other related health issues. It is recommended that ladies handbags should not be more than 10 pounds and their boots should also be less than 2 inches always to reduce the back issues.

3. Eat anti-inflammatory diet

Nutritionist recommends that we include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet such as eating nuts, omega-3 fatty acids such as fish. Avoiding too much intake of dairy and grains products plays a major role. Inflammation causes lowers back pain so when you have a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods you reduce the pain and make sure you maintain proper nutrition.

Dr. Spallino advises that when you eat fruits, avocados, green vegetables such as spinach, green tea and use olive oil you reduce inflammation in your spinal cartilage, which helps to control the back stiffness and pain. They contain anti-inflammatory properties that help fight the pain. Also, make sure that you are getting enough calcium in your body by taking milk, yogurts and cheese.

4. Stop what is causing the pain

Medics say that it is not the back that is causing pain, but its other imbalances around that is making you feel the pain. It is recommended that you fix those areas in your body that are causing the pain. You can change you sitting posture; avoid standing in one position for a long period and by doing so, we will reduce the pain that we experience more often.

5. Changing the intensity of your Workouts

At times, you tend to think that if you do intense workouts, you will heal the pain in your back. Unfortunately, you are worsening it because intense workouts put a lot of stress on your back. You should, therefore, do small light weight exercise and avoid the use of heavy machines that lead to muscle imbalance.


Most of the pain in the upper and lower back is irreversible. However, if you do the above things your back will not experience frequent severe pain. The pain will not go 100% but instead, will reduce the number of days you be feeling the pain. Make sure you have the right sitting posture always especially if you are sitting down in your office for a longer period, and avoid lifting or pulling heavy things. In addition, eat a diet full of anti-inflammatory foods.

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6 Easy Ways On How To Effectively Cope With Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is any type of pain that lasts for more than three months. While this is a pain that can trigger whirlwind of emotions, if well coped with, a person can still be able to enjoy life normally. When you experience chronic pain, you do not need to beat yourself up or spend everyday wishing the pain away; by just learning various coping skills, you can find yourself facing each day with joy and peace. Here are the 6 easy ways on how to effectively cope with chronic pain:

Control your mind
Our mind and body are connected. This is why, according to research, when you face any circumstance in life, by just taking charge of your mind you can completely manage the situation. Try as much as possible to turn your mind away from the pain or any other disturbing situation. There are various techniques that you can use to control your mind including, meditation, relaxation and visualization. You can as well enroll in a Yoga class to learn various relaxing exercises.

Fun activities
This is another effective tip on how to cope with chronic pain. Engaging in fun-filled activities such as hiking, swimming, watching movies or going for vacation or even walking your dog can help you shift your mind from your pain to what makes you happy. There are different mood-lifting activities that you can engage in regardless of the pain you are going through. The amazing thing about such activities is that they make you feel good which intern boosts your immunity making the pain less severe, and thus boosting your ability to cope.

Whether your chronic pain is mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, there is still a type of exercise that you can engage in. Only that you should not try involving in what your doctor has not recommended or what you feel is magnifying the pain. Exercise enhances smooth circulation of blood to all the parts of the body which intern triggers quick recovery. By exercising, you reduce stress and increase the energy level in your body making your mind more powerful to cope with the chronic pain.

Nurture your spiritual life
There is nothing as freeing as knowing there is a high power above that cares and is able to take away all your pain, fears, worries or any other debilitating circumstance in your life. Taking a moment each day to connect your spirit to the high power can significantly strengthen your coping skills and even hasten the whole healing process. You can take some time everyday to pray; read and visualize on the word of God in order to increase your intimacy with Him. Another way to strengthen your spirit is joining online forums and groups where you can learn and share with people who have faced similar challenges and how they made it through.

Avoid spending time alone
Unless you are meditating or visualizing, you should always ensure there are people around you. This is important especially if you usually find yourself falling in the rut of worrying, self-pitying or self-criticizing about your pain whenever you are alone. In addition to the physical group, with internet, you can always have a virtual company in your day-to-day endeavors. This you can achieve by joining online forums, groups or even connect to various counselors online and enjoy the miraculous support. These groups share copying tips, ideas and success stories of people who have been able to overcome the pain or coped with it completely.

Be grateful and embrace the moment
Life will always happen; and that there are situations that we can not fully take control of but we can change our perception. You should stop focusing on what you do not have, what you are going through or circumstances you wish were different in your life. Take deliberate action to dwell on what you already have; be grateful for the supportive people in your life, your family, your children and the fact that you've seen another beautiful day. The past has happened and gone forever, the future only exists in our minds but the present is all we have; dwell on it. When you focus on the present good things in your life, your future will always be bright. Remember, the chronic pain may not cease but by learning how to cope with it, you can still face and enjoy your life normally and to the fullest.

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Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Work For Back Pain?

Here's where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy comes in and chronic pain sufferers should consider exploring this method as an avenue to back pain relief.

So what is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how can it help?

Over the recent couple of decades cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has become an accepted first line psychosocial treatment which can help patients to deal with chronic pain, including low back pain. CBT states that individuals, not the outside environment, create their own experiences, including pain. The theory behind CBT is that the process of changing the patient's thoughts about their pain can bring about changes in how the body responds to that pain.

The sensation or perception of pain actually occurs in the brain, so the theory behind CBT works on the promise that the sufferer can change the perception of physical pain by controlling the thoughts and behaviors that feed it.

The patient can not physically stop or alter the level of the pain, but with practice, he or she may become able to control how their brain deals with that pain. For example a negative thought such I can no longer do this activity anymore might be changed into a much more positive outlook along the lines of “I will do it again just like I used to do.”

What the therapist will seek to do is to encourage the patient to focus his or her thoughts (Cognitive), and then focus on subsequent actions which to address (Behavioral). This process may take place over many sessions with the therapist seeking to help the patient to identify negative thoughts and feelings encountered during bouts of back pain. These CBT sessions would attempt to train the patient in how to convert this negativity into positive thoughts and actions, and to develop healthy thinking. This healthy thinking involves positive thoughts and calming your mind and body by using techniques such as yoga, massage, or imagination. Positive or healthy thinking helps to make you feel better, and feeling better reduces the pain perception.

This transition of negative to positive thoughts processes has been demonstrated to help in enabling the patient to better manage their pain, and change the way in which the patient's body actually responds to the pain. So despite the physical pain is still present, changing the patient's mindset can alter and improve their ability to deal with it.

CBT can treat pain in several ways. It transforms the way in which the patient perceives the pain. It changes the thought processes, emotions, and behaviors in relation to pain, helps to develop coping strategies, and puts the level of discomfort into an improved context. As a result the pain tends to interval less with the patients quality of life enabling the patient to function better. In addition we can also alter the brain's physical responses that tend to worsen pain. When we are in pain, this causes stress which can negatively affect the production of pain control chemicals like Norepinephrine and Serotonin, which are the body's natural painkillers. CBT can therefore positively impact on the natural pain relief response.

CBT can also help the patient to become more active, which is important because regular, low-impact exercise, for example yoga, pilates, walking and swimming, can help to reduce back pain in the long term.

So how does CBT work in practice?

In order to effectively treat chronic pain, CBT is usually used in conjunction with other pain management treatment such as pain relief medications, physiotherapy, weight loss regimes, various massage techniques, or indeed surgery. In a lot of instances CBT is considered to be one of the more effective forms of treatment, having less risk or potential side effects than pain relief medications or invasive surgery.

CBT sessions can be transported out through a range of formats ie

  • Individual sessions
  • Group therapy with other patients addressing the same pain issues
  • Self Help modules – usually in the form of a book from which assignments are carried out
  • Computer program or App (CCBT)

Group and individual CBT sessions generally last between 30 minutes and a hour over anything from six to twenty sessions

During the CBT sessions the therapist will work with the patient to break down their problems surrounding their pain into separate components ie their thoughts, physical feelings and actions. These would then be analyzed jointly to determine which are unrealistic or negative and then analyze the effect they have on each other and the patient. The therapist and patient will then draw up an action plan to alter unhelpful or negative thought patterns and behaviors.

The challenge then for the patient to practice the application of these changes in their daily life and provide feedback at the next session, with the objective being to teach the patient the application of these skills during the CBT sessions to daily life. By doing this the patient is learning to manage their issues or problems to prevent or reduce the negative impact on their life, and to carry this on after the CBT has been completed.

To summarize cognitive behavioral therapy involves

Developing a positive or problem solving attitude in the patient to reduce the sense of helplessness over their pain and giving them a sense of control

The patient carrying out homework or assignments designed to keep track of thoughts or feelings associated with pain and recording these for review

Developing life skills and coping mechanisms for not only in pain control but in other problems encountered in life such as stress or anxiety

Self help for pain management.

How to benefit from CBT for pain control

  • Have faith in the concept. There are many research papers demonstrating its effectiveness in assisting pain relief or pain reduction so its important to engage with the process
  • Actively engage with the concept. You have to put the effort in to get a positive exit from the sessions
  • Ensure that you finish all the modules. For CBT to be effective its important to attend each session and complete all the assignments given to you. Indeed one of the major drawbacks of CBT is that of patient non compliance. Ie skimping or not bothering with all the elements of the CBT program
  • Be open minded about the possibility that CBT could work for you, but it does need your full commitment.

What now with CBT

If you are interested in trying CBT for pain management, talk to your GP or healthcare professional in the first instance. They can point you in the direction of cognitive behavioral therapists specializing in back pain available in the UK through the NHS although there are likely to be waiting lists.

If you wish to have CBT privately then ask your GP to recommend, or alternatively contact the British Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) who will be able to provide details of accredited CBT practitioners.

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What Kind Of Treatments For Managing Pain Do Pain Doctors Offer?

When you suffer from chronic back pain or any type of pain, sometimes it is necessary to visit with a pain doctor that specializes in managing that pain. The basic MD can help up to a certain level. A pain specialist has had a focused study on specific areas of the body.

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5 Reasons To Visit A Chiropractor

There are many reasons to visit a Chiropractor, as they treat and manage a wide range of conditions, ages and health condition.

Even if you do not currently suffer with back pain, visiting a chiropractor can provide a number of benefits including, preventing any future back pain.

Other Good reasons to visit a chiropractor are:

1. Improve or Maintain Posture

Your chiropractor understands the importance of posture as part of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you spend your days sitting or standing, bending and twisting or even driving, your well-being depends a great deal on your posture.

Over time we place additional stress on the joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves by the post we hold during daily activities. Often you will not notice these changes and as your post deteriorates and stress and tiredness kicks in, you will begin to notice the painful implications of not correcting and optimizing your posture.

Note that bad posture is a significant cause of back and neck pain.

Before your postural habits become an issue, it is always a good idea to have a chiropractor check your spelling and assessment any issues that may be caused by poor posture. Apart from pain and discomfort, good posture can make a big difference to your energy levels and self-image. Your chiropractor can give valuable advice on keeping a good posture at work so you will feel less tired and have more energy.

2. Pain Relief

Some people suffer with longstanding or chronic pain, not enough to cause intestinal discomfort, but have significant effect on productivity and well-being. Such pain is bothersome, and sometimes can be so bad that it affects your psychological health.

Aside from usual medical treatment, you can also get relief by regular visits to a chiropractor. Chiropractors aim to treat the underlying cause of pain rather than the symptoms themselves, providing longer lasting relief. They do this without drugs or surgery and often include, specialist massage, acupuncture and mobilization techniques to improve the results.

3. Improve your performance

Your chiropractor can also help you achieve better physical performance, which is useful if you are an athlete or in a stressful workplace. This includes improved flexibility and strength. Your chiropractor can give you specialized massage and range of motion exercises designed to improve your mobility of your joints and increase your flexibility of muscles.

You should know that neck and low back discomfort is also a significant source of stress. Your chiropractor can help aid in managing these conditions to help you perform more efficiently.

4. Chiropractic Care is Surprisingly Cost-Effective

It has been proven that chiropractic care is very cost-effective providing long-term relief compared to drugs and surgery.

5. All Chiropractors are Fully Licensed

If you want to receive correct and safe care, you should always choose qualified professionals. You may not know this, but all chiropractors must have been registered and fully qualified to call themselves a chiropractor, therefore maintaining the standards of these highly trained professionals. For example, in the UK all chiropractors by law must be registered by the General chiropractic Council.

The Chiropractic industry is strictly regulated like other health medical care professionals, so you can rest assured that you are having appropriate care.

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Learn The Best Instant Home Remedy For Kidney Stone Pain In 24 Hours Or Less

The pain caused by kidney stones can often become unbearable. No matter what drinking a lot of water is the best instant home remedy for kidney stone pain.

The pain these stones cause can lead to extreme nausea and fatigue. Doctors can only do so much and pain killers are not everyone's forte. There are many solutions recommended to those with this problem but only a select few do any good for relieving pain in the kidney.

What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones form when excess minerals are not excreted from the kidneys and begin to form into a stone. Most stones are very small and can pass on its own while others are so big that a surgical procedure may need to be done. Some habits that lead to these stones are:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not getting enough calcium and magnesium
  • Eating an unhealthy diet

Why do kidney stones hurt so much?

When bladder stones become solid enough to cause blockage within the kidneys extreme pain is felt. No matter how big or small the pain is it will hurt. The body uses the kidneys to filter any toxins through the urine when there is a blockage within the kidneys toxins are blocked from leaving the body.

How do I relieve my bladder stone pain?

Most stones 6mm – 8mm can be passed within 3 to 4 days. Stones 8mm and up may need hospital kidney stone treatment. When dealing with any kidney problem its always best to drink as much water as possible. Water will flush the kidneys and is the main substance to pass the stone. The more water that is consumed the faster the stone will pass and the pain will instantly decrease.

One of the best instant home remedies for kidney stone pain is to consume 1-2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar everyday until the pain decreases. Apple Cider Vinegar is good for breaking the minerals up so it is easier to pass as well as removing the toxins left over.

It can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days before the kidneys are flushed from any toxins and pain free. This will depend on the amount of water your body is consuming.

A good tip is to use a hot wash cloth and place it on the lower back area where the pain is present. This has helped for me personally and I could not imagine going through the pain without it.

Along the prescribed pain meds from the doctor it is advised to take 3 tablets of Vitamin B as well as 300mg of fish oil.

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Degenerative Disc Disease and Back Pain

The spinal discs are a unique structure. They are round (ish) in shape, with a flat top and bottom that attach securely to the vertebra above and below. The discs consist of 2 parts, a tough outer ring (anulus fibrosis) and a softer, fibrous inner component (nucleus pulposus).

There are 23 spinal discs in our spinal column. Their primary function is to act as a shock absorbber between the bones in our spine (the vertebra) to stop them banging or rubbing against each other. They also hold the vertebra together and allow movement between them.

The spinal disc itself has very few nerve endings and no blood supply. Without a blood supply the disc is unable to repair itself, and this means that pain coming from a damaged disc can last for years.

As we age, the spinal discs start to dehydrate (the discs are 80% water at birth!). As a result of this loss of water over time, the discs start to stiffen. This means they are less able to adjust to the compression forces of every day activities. Although this is considered a part of the natural aging process, in some individuals, it can cause pain.

This is known as Degenerative Disc Disease .

It is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. However it is also the most misunderstood.

That is partly because few medical professionals agree on exactly what a diagnosis of Degenerative Disc Disease means, and also when exactly, it is the cause of back pain. The symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease can be quite varied, and this just makes it even more difficult to diagnose.

It's also important to note that you can have a problem with the disc (such as degeneration or even a bulge) and do not have any pain at all. In fact a reliably high percentage of the population over the age of 40 has a disc disorder that can be seen with MRI studies (disc bulges and annular tears are very common). This does not mean that you will experience pain or any other symptom.

Maybe not surprisingly, Degenerative Disc Disease is almost universal in the population. The discs can start to show degenerative changes as early as in our 20's. Most people will have varying degrees of mild to moderate Degenerative Disc Disease by the time they are in their 30's. Some are even severe by this age.

Strangely though, not everyone experiences pain. One person may have crippling pain, while someone else may have no pain at all. This is one of the difficulties of knowing when, and how to treat Degenerative Disc Disease.

Signs of Degenerative Disc Disease:

Although it varies widely, signs of Degenerative Disc Disease generally follow a pattern.

Pain in the midline (not off to one side)

Intermittent back pain (flares up from time to time) but generally does not get worn over time.

Pain is often worse with weight bearing, and improves with lying down.

Pain aggravated by physically demanding activity.

Pain aggravated by forward bending, particularly for extending time periods (sitting, working at a bench).

The pain from Degenerative Disc Disease is due to a combination of inflammation and instability of the spinal segment (which puts further stress on the surrounding tissues).

As the disks degenerate, they lose water and start to shrink, losing height and the ability to flex and absorb pressure. This process is often sped up as a result of poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, lots of sitting, and incorrect movement patterns. It is even worse if there has been an injury, particularly if a consistent injury has damaged the disc at some point.

The shrinking disc is a tolling sign of Degenerative Disc Disease. It is easily visualised on X-rays, where you can see a decrease in the space for the disc.

Treatment Options for Degenerative Disc Disease.

Medications such as pain killers and anti-inflammatories can treat the pain, but do not fix the underlying problem.

Spinal surgery , usually fusion, has unreliable outcomes and a long recovery time. Surgical intervention of any kind is fraught with risks and can lead to further complications down the line. In several cases this may be the only option, but all other possible avenues should be tried first.

Chiropractic manipulation can increase spinal range of motion, relieve nerve pressure, restore blood flow and reduce muscle tension. It is low risk and has a very good success rate.

Ultrasound and massage can help to restore blood flow and reduce muscle tension.

A specific exercise program designed to progressively stabilize the spine and increase flexibility is often the only way to achieve long-term healing for most sufferers of Degenerative Disc Disease.

Hot and cold therapy , losing weight and quitting smoking are all known to be beneficial as well.

Exercises for Degenerative Disc Disease.

The best exercises for DDD are stretching exercises to help to improve spinal flexibility. Walking is also of great benefit.

Low Back Stretch

Start in a knee position, then sit back onto you feet.

Stretch your arms out in front of you along the floor.

Feel the stretch in your low back and hold for 10 seconds.

Move back onto your hands and knees, then gently lift one leg behind you as far as you comfortably can.

Kneeling Leg Raise

Start in a knee position, then slowly raise one leg up behind you.

Hold for 10 seconds then do the same on the other side.

Back Extensions

Lie on your tummy, and gently lift your head and shoulders off the floor using your muscles and propping your self up on your elbows for 10 seconds.

Begin this one very carefully and slowly as it can be quite painful at the start.

This is also good to strengthen the abdominal muscles, which are important spinal stabilizers.

First off, try this in a standing position with your hands on your hips, and just gently arch backs over your hands.

If you have any pain aggravation then do not do this exercise. If it is okay, after doing this for 2-3 days you can progress to doing extension exercises on the floor.

It is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis from your health care professional before starting any exercises, particularly if you are suffering with back pain. You have to be very careful before trying any exercise period. There is a real possibility that you could aggravate your condition if you do the wrong thing.

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Reduce Your Pain by Adjusting Your Sleeping Position

Poor posture can adversely affect your health – this is not debatable. Correct sleeping posture is vital if you are trying to correct post imbalances and reduce back, neck, and shoulder pain. By making adjustments to the positions in which you sleep at night, you can actually reduce postural strain and eliminate a major cause of pain! By minimizing the stress on certain parts of your body, namely the neck, shoulders and back, while sleeping 7-9 hours at night, your posture will improve, and so will your overall health.

Your Mattress

Your mattress will not support you after 8-10 years at maximum – even if it is the best one on the market. Sorry, but it's true. While I do not endorse a specific brand, the best one for YOU will be something that's firm, while offering you good support and a great night's sleep. If you choose one that is excessively firm, while it may be good for your spell, if you can not sleep, that will be bad for your health – and the people you hang out with.

You should also regularly turn your mattress so the inner springs stay fresh. Some mattress manufacturers even suggest that you turn your mattress so the top is at the bottom and vice versa. They recommend you do this every 6 weeks or so.

Posture Tests

The Wall Test:

Pull your shoulder blades down and in until they actually touch the wall.
Elongate your neck by imagining someone pulling your head up from the back.
Move your head back so that it is against the wall.
Position your chin so that it becomes parallel to the floor.
Stand with your weight equally distributed on both legs.

The Mirror Test:

Stand in front of a mirror and look to verify that your shoulders and neck are straight.
With your shoulders even, move them down as far as they will go.
Your abdominal muscles should be kept tight as you stand in this position.
Did you pass the tests? If you have failed or are unsure – it's time to see a chiropractor. A good chiropractor (like us â~º) can assess your post and determine areas that you will need to work on –
undoing the computer and TV time may seem impossible – but it is actually quite attainable with a little diligence.

Your Pillow

This is one of the most difficult questions I get asked on a daily basis – “What is the best pillow?” The answer is always, “It depends on how you sleep.” Your pillow should support your neck wherever you are on your side or back. I personally like a pillow that is a bit unusual in its shape- the Align-Right pillow – it is measured to your size and actually has research behind its effectiveness of helping with reducing pain – which is why it is the only pillow I have confidence in recommending.

Sleeping Position

Avoid sleeping face down at ALL costs – while it may be comfortable – it will cause years of pain down the road. We were not designed to sleep with our heads wrenched to one side night after night. While I will admit that face down sleeping post is not an easy change, it can be done. Just start your sleep out in one of the positions I will be discussing below and every time you wake up on your stomach, change back to the correct position. Slowly your bad habit will change and you will be significantly healthier for it!

Back & Side Sleeping

The best position for sleeping is alternating between your side and your back (which usually happens automatically during the night). If you start on your back, a low pillow should be used so that your head and neck are not pushed forward too much (which contributes to forward head posture (FHP)). As well, placing a pillow underneath your knees will take some pressure off your low back, which will help prevent low back pain and sciatica.

For side sleeping, the best sleeping posture, it is vital that your pillow fits you! If your pillow is too thin, your head will bend towards the mattress and if it is too thick your head will bend toward the ceiling – both less than ideal scenes if you are trying to stay healthy, correct your posture, and out of pain. As well, your head should be positioned parallel to the base of your bed, not bent down towards your chest.

Finally, slightly bend your knees and place another pillow between your knees. This will allow your pelvis and lower back to maintain the best possible alignment during sleep. While you will never become inherently invincible to occasional discomforts in your life (due to our lifestyles), you can be sure that your sleeping post is not the main source of your daily spinal stress following the above guidelines.

Sweet dreams,

Dr. Jon Saunders

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What Is Manual Therapy?

Back and neck pain have become epidemic in our society. Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to find a solution to this problem. Everything from popping an aspirin, to taking major narcotic drugs to performing surgery is tried every day to solve the problem that is neck and back pain.

Sometimes new interventions are superior to the old. I certainly prefer my iPhone 6 to the old flip phone that I had only 10 years ago. But sometimes the best answer to a problem is millennia old.

Enter manual therapy.

We have records of different types of manual therapy being performed as much as 2500 years ago in Greece. In fact during the time of Hippocrates, manual therapy was a treatment used for many different maladies. There are also records of a type of Chinese MT called Tui na. Tui na is still performed today.

So what is modern manual therapy and who processes it.

Manual therapy is a clinical approach to treating pain and dysfunction involving the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system. The soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system include the muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and nerves.

Manual therapy involves both a diagnostic element and a stimulating element and involves manipulation, mobilization and stretching of the various tissues involved to effect a positive change in the tissues. During a treatment the doctor will place his hand on some part of your body and feel for tightness, crepitus (crackling), knots, or stiffness in the soft tissues. Next he will perform a technique to change the texture of the soft tissue and improve the ability of the affected joints to move easily. This technique will usually involve some sort of pressure being applied to your soft tissues and some type of stretching of your joints. Manual therapy is generally very comfortable and pleasant to receive.

Problems that manual therapy can often alleviate include:

  1. Pain caused by moving any joint of the body
  2. Stiff muscles
  3. Soft tissue infection and congestion
  4. Stiff and painful joints
  5. Difficulty moving any part of the body
  6. Muscle pain

Manual therapy is also useful for inducing relaxation, which can have many health benefits since excessive stress has been implicated in most chronic illness.

So what modern day healthcare practitioner performs this type of therapy?

There are several professions which utilize manual therapy to one degree or another but chiropractors are the only current modern day profession that utilizes MT as its central treatment modality.

For a practitioner, what is important is to have a number of different techniques available to use and an understanding of what each technique can offer his patient and what effect it will have on the patient. The “trick,” if you will, is to match the correct technique or techniques to the patient in order to have the best output possible.

For the patient, what is important is to feel comfortable that your doctor has a good understanding of what he is doing and that he cares about you getting better. It is also important that the patient communicate with his / her doctor about their comfort level with any given technique because if you are not comfortable having a technique performed on you, that technique is inadvertently to have a beneficial effect.

The great thing about having multiple manual therapy techniques at a doctors finger tips is that the doctor can customize a treatment to the specific needs of the patient instead of just applying some generic technique to every patient and hoping that they will respond to it.

What was old is new again. If you experience back pain, neck pain or headaches; you should find a good chiropractor who can provide you with a quality manual therapy treatment. You will be happy that you did.

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