Is Back Pain All in Your Head?

 

Is Back Pain All in Your Head?

Post by Brian Yee, PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT What a great article from NPR! This article identifies that recurring back problems are not solely from the structure in your spine such as a herniated disc or degeneration or the vertebra, but rather it brings attention to the nervous system itself. Your nervous system, located within your spine, is your main transducer that signals to your brain that you are or are not in pain. This article states: “Research is showing that the pain often has nothing to do with the mechanics of the spine, but with the way the nervous system is behaving, according to Dr. James Rainville of New England Baptist Hospital in Boston.” “This is a different way…

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It’s All in How You Breathe…

Post by Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT Here’s a link by a well known Physical Therapist, Mike Reinold, which was passed onto me, that discusses the role of breathing and its correlation with low back pain. Many people think core strength for spinal stability is simply done by your abdominal muscles, but your diaphragm and respiratory patterns are also shown to help improve spinal stability. This article goes into further detail to discuss how a study has shown that people without low back pain tend to inhale slightly at the time of lifting an object, where people with chronic low back pain tend to exhale. The staff at Motion Stability are versed in breathing recruitment techniques that can help…

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Nerve Injuries in Athletes

Post by Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT If you know me, you know I’m a big Lakers fan! I was absolutely excited when the Lakers traded for Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns two years ago. Steve Nash has been one of the best point guards of our time. However, last year Steve had a freak injury that fractured his fibula and caused nerve damage in his leg as well. It took him out of a large chunk of games last year to recover. I will be the first to say that I am not his Physical Therapist, nor do I even know the extent of his injury. In this article, he does state that the team’s Physical Therapist…

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What Does Unresolved Pain Mean to You?

Post by Maggie Gebhardt PT, DPT, OCS When people hear the words unresolved pain, they often mistakenly think “chronic pain.” While chronic pain has a more negative connotation regarding pain that is unrelenting and persistent in nature, unresolved pain can mean a variety of things… For example, how many of you have had 1-2 episodes of back pain for the last 5-10 years? We hear all the time, “Yeah I throw my back out a couple of times a year.” That is unresolved pain. Those episodes are not separate incidents, but a continuation of an unresolved back injury from years ago. How about, “I roll my ankles all the time. It’s no big deal.” Well, it is a big deal and…

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Exercises To Prevent Lower Back Pain

What Exercises for My Core Can Help Prevent Lower Back Pain? Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT First – generally there are different roles of muscles in your trunk. Typically the smaller ones closest to your spine are considered ‘local’ muscles. Such muscles as the transversus abdominis, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and lumbar multifidus provide segmental control of your lumbar vertebra. Real-time ultrasound imaging can be used to visualize the proper contraction of these muscles as we cannot see these muscles from the superficial skin. So first step in core stability is to ensure that the smaller muscles are engaging properly. Then you have ‘global’ muscles which are the larger muscles – such as rectus abdominis, obliques, paraspinal muscles. These muscles…

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How Does Posture Affect Back Pain?

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT The way you sit and stand significantly affects your back. Especially for prolonged duration, the tissues around the spine experience what clinicians call ‘creep phenomenon’. Think of a cold piece of taffy. As you hold it, warm it up, and then hold it by its ends, it slowly stretches and lengthens. Very similarly, the tissues in the back can due the same thing. The fascia, muscles, nerve, joints all experience increased strain when the spine is statically held in one position for a long duration of time. When you then place yourself in a poorly sitting or standing posture, that then accentuates the amount of tissue loading that is placed on the spine and…

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How Can a Weak Core Lead to Back Pain?

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT According to Panjabi’s model, we can view spinal stabiilty based on 3 key elements:1. Passive Structures: The spinal column itself and the ligaments, fascia and other static tissues that hold it together. 2. Active Structures: The muscles that surround the trunk and pelvis ‘actively’ contract to provide muscle support. 3. Cognitive / Motor Control: The brain has a way to coordinate how muscles will be used to anticipate how the spine is used with functional activities. The passive structures and the spine itself is limited in its ability to stabilize the spine, especially in dynamic function or prolonged positions such as standing or sitting. The brain thus needs to coordinate the proper timing of…

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How Is Rehabilitation Used to Treat Neck and Back Pain?

In Physical Therapy we treat neck and back pain by the following interventions: 1. Examination: Take a thorough subjective and physical examination to determine the causes and severity of pain. The examination helps determine what specific interventions need to be done. Each patient is unique in the medical history and interventions should also be individualized to the patient’s progress. 2. Reduce Pain: Especially in more severe pain complaints, it is important to reduce the symptoms to allow for the patient to simply feel less pain. This can include manual therapy to decrease muscle spasms, restricted joint mobility, or decrease nerve irritation. Modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation and traction can also be used. 3. Restore Motion: As pain decreases, it…

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How long will I need therapy for chronic neck and back pain?

  Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT It really depends, as chronic neck and back pain are usually from a multitude of problems. Some areas could be from tissue dysfunctions such as muscle trigger points, fascial restrictions, joint dysfunctions, or herniated discs. It could be from abnormal movement patterns such as poor muscle stability, muscle imbalances, or improper ergonomics or technique in sports/lifting. Pain itself can be categorized into different types as well..so depending on the type of pain you have, should dictate the type of treatment you get. Lastly, internal issues such as medical pathologies, food intolerances, vitamin/hormonal imbalnces can be causing your pain. Receiving a thorough examination to determine the major contributing factors is vital in comprehensively treating…

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Are crunches the best exercise to eliminate my back pain?

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT  No. There is a misunderstanding that the stronger your abs are, the better it is for your back. Although strong abs can help stabilize your spine, current research indicates that there are different roles of muscles in the trunk. Generally speaking, the smaller muscles of your spine called ‘local’ muscles help stabilize the spine in low load situations such as prolonged standing, sitting, and light movements such as bending to brush your teeth. While, there are ‘global’ muscles that are the larger muscles –  such as the rectus abdominis, obliques, and back paraspinal muscles that are designed more for movement, power, and stabilization at higher impact. It is important to have both ‘local’ and…

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