Posts tagged physical therapy

Common Neck Pain Myths Debunked

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Neck Pain MythsWhether a dull ache or a sharp stab, many of us will experience some form of neck pain sooner or later. Solutions for relieving pain aren’t always the most straightforward, with some people finding relief quickly and others dealing with nagging pain for longer periods of time. Below we debunk some of the more common neck pain and treatment myths.

 

 

Myth: The best way to deal with neck pain is with rest

Truth: While short periods of rest can help ease acute pain of the neck or back, doctors generally do not advise more than one to two days of bed rest. On the contrary, general inactivity and rest can cause more pain and allow for an unhealthy cycle of pain/inactivity/more pain/more inactivity to occur. Physicians recommend for most conditions a long-term rehabilitation program consisting of physical therapy and exercise.

Myth: Pain is inevitable so I should just tough it out

Truth: Chronic neck and back pain (pain lasting more than 2-3 months) is very debilitating and can interfere with one’s ability to complete daily activities. If this is the case, treatment for pain must be sought out right away. Allowing the pain to worsen and go untreated can impede the healing and rehabilitation process by interfering with exercise. There is also a risk of increased psychological distress such as depression, stress, and sleeplessness.

Myth: The spine is easily injured due to sensitive nerves

Truth: Muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround the spine provide a great deal of support, flexibility and strength. Smoking, lack of sleep or nutrition, and other generally unhealthy factors along with poor posture and body mechanics (ex. Improper lifting techniques) can harm the spine. Proper conditioning such as stretching, aerobic exercises, and strengthening are required in keeping the spine healthy and injury-free. Proper ergonomics and neck supports, such as Dr. Riter’s Real-EaSE Neck Support, can help keep neck pain at bay.

Myth: The pain must all be in my head since the doctor found nothing wrong

Truth: Regardless of a physician finding the anatomical cause of pain, pain is always real. It is especially important to proactively seek treatment for pain if one is suffering for more than 2-3 months. It is important to look at all options, , including nonsurgical treatment options, when searching for ways to help alleviate pain.

Why Physical Therapy?

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Often we do not think about or appreciate our ability to move freely and without pain until physical impairments or disabilities occur. These may be due to illness, injury, or muscle stiffness, to name a few.  Physical therapists are trained to restore mobility and functional ability, as well as prevent injury and assist in overall health and wellness of their patients. If you are wondering if physical therapy can help you, here are some reasons why it is a good choice:

  • Avoid Surgery: When it comes to relieving stiffness and moderate to severe pain from knee, back, and neck injuries, research has shown that physical therapy, combined with comprehensive medical management, is just as effective as surgery.
  • Eliminate Pain: No matter which part of your body is in pain, physical therapy can alleviate and help manage pain and discomfort through specific exercises based on your injury, without invasive methods or expensive medications.
  • Improve Mobility and Motion: Physical therapists create personalized treatment plans to help improve one’s balance, reduce the risk of injury and prevent falls.
  • Health and Wellness: In addition to helping with injuries and illness, a physical therapist can create a plan specific to your fitness goals to help restore your health, as well as prevent injuries.

Physical therapists can also help you with arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, sprains, and much more. Find more information on physical therapy at MoveForwardPT.com.  The American Physical Therapy Association also makes it easy to find a physical therapist in your area.

 

National Physical Therapy Month & The McKenzie Method

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Each October, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) commemorates National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) as a way of recognizing the impact physical therapist assistants and physical therapists make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.
Earlier this year Robin McKenzie, a pioneer of musculoskeletal disorders and their treatment, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Robin developed the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnostics and Therapy (MDT) in 1950.
The McKenzie Method is based on the idea of self-care and patients managing their own pain. The MDT system consists of the following:

  • Assessment: A well-defined algorithm leads to simple classification of spinal-related disorders and is unique to MTD. Disorders are addressed according to their unique nature with mechanical procedures utilizing movement and positions.
  • Treatment: In order to restore function and independence, minimize visits to the clinic and diminish pain quickly, MTD uniquely emphasizes active patient involvement and education.
  • Preventive measure: Educating patients to self-treat the present problem minimizes the risk of relapse and gives patients the skills to manage the pain themselves when symptoms occur.

Robin believed that self-treatment was the best way to achieve long lasting improvement of neck and back pain. MDT is recognized worldwide as a standard for management of low back pain as well as the basis on which Relax The Back was founded. Robin made great strides in the field of physical therapy and his legacy will live on through the McKenzie Institute International. You can find more information on the McKenzie Method and the McKenzie Institute International at McKenzieMDT.org.

Degenerative Disc Disease

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Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) can be painful, but it’s not quite as dire as it sounds due to its misnomer. The term “degenerative” implies to most people that the symptoms will get progressively worse with age, but this is not the case. And technically, it’s not a disease, but a condition of a degenerative or damaged intervertebral disc. This occurs as a natural part of aging due to strain, overuse, and maybe even misuse. As you age, discs – which act like pillow-like cushions between your vertebrae – start to lose its flexibility, elasticity, and its ability to cushion your movements.  DDD occurs when the outer layer of a disc becomes structurally unsound, usually with small cracks and tears. These tears in the disc can cause nerve inflammation or irritation, making it uncomfortable to sit for long periods of time. Over time, this can cause instability and misalignment of the spine. Fortunately in many cases, people with DDD actually improve over time.

If you find yourself having back pain flareups generally made worse with sitting, consider talking to your doctor to get officially diagnosed with an MRI scan. In the meanwhile, here are some tips to help manage degenerative disc disease pain:

  • Physical Therapy – Seek out a physical therapist that can help design exercises and movement habits tailored to your evaluation and physical needs.
  • Seat Cushions – Make prolonged sitting at home, at work, or in the car more bearable with seat cushions. We have a variety to choose from to match you wherever and anywhere you’re seated.
  • Cold/heat therapy – Sooth flare-ups and tired muscles with hot & cold therapy. Alternate with our ProtoCold Reusable Cold Therapy Pads followed by our MediBeads Moist Heat Pads. They’re both safe, effective, clean, convenient, and easy to use.
  • Medications: In the case that pressure on nerves is caused by inflammation, take over-the-counter pain relievers.

Explore one of our more than 100 stores for additional information and a personal assessment by one of our trained associates.