Did You Know That a Herniated Disc Can Cause You Serious Back Pain?

One of the most common reasons people visit Total Body Therapy & Wellness each day is to get relief from chronic back pain. While back pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, in many cases, it is the result of a herniated disc. Herniated discs can occur anywhere along the spine but typically affect the lower back area. Physical therapy patients may also be familiar with other terms used to describe a herniated disc including ruptured disc, bulging disc, or protruding disc, but the treatment for the condition is the same. It is estimated that about 60 to 80 percent of people will experience some level of lower back pain in their lives, and many may experience the issue due to a herniated disc. While they can be very painful, with the help of our experienced physical therapist, patients of all ages can find fast relief and learn to manage their pain with regular physical therapy appointments.

Ask Our Physical Therapist: What Causes a Herniated Disc to Develop?

Spinal discs are soft and rubbery pads, designed to work as shock absorbers, located between the bony vertebrae that help make up the spinal column. Made of a thick outer ring of cartilage and an inner gel-like substance, spinal discs work to allow the back to bend with ease. Additionally, your spinal column helps protect delicate nerves and your spinal cord. If the cartilage in your spinal disc somehow tears or develops a defect, the gel-like substance or nucleus can break through. This bulging or herniation can then put pressure on the nerves, resulting in intense pain. In fact, even small amounts of pressure on your spinal nerves can cause weakness, numbness, and pain.

 

Herniated discs in the lower back can be particularly painful because they put pressure on the sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatica. The sciatic nerve is actually made up of several spinal nerve branches that travel from the spine and down into the leg. If the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, pain can radiate from the buttocks area, down throughout the back of the leg, and into the shin and foot. Luckily, physical therapy can work to reduce the pain caused by the condition.

When you are young, your spinal discs have a high water-content level, made up of almost 80 percent water. However, as you age, the water content in your spinal discs lowers. This causes the discs to become less pliable and increases the risk of tears or other defects. Some of the other common causes of herniated discs include:

 

  • Excessive body weight or obesity
  • Traumatic injury
  • High-impact sports
  • Repetitive twisting movements (workplace injuries)
  • Heavy or incorrect lifting

Common Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Symptoms associated with a herniated disc may vary depending on where the injured disc is located. Some of the most common symptoms you may experience include:

 

  • Pain when bending or twisting
  • Burning, numbness, or tingling in the back, buttock, legs, and/or feet.
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Pain that intensifies when sitting, coughing, sneezing, or bending

 

If you think you may have a herniated disc or other back pain issues, physical therapy can help. We recommend scheduling a consultation with our physical therapist as soon as possible.

How Can Physical Therapy Help Lower Back Pain?

Physical therapy is a safe and non-invasive pain treatment option designed to help patients of all ages heal from the inside out. By using targeted physical therapy treatments, our skilled physical therapist can work to relieve back pain and reduce inflammation, stimulate blood flow, and restore your range of motion.

 

Call our Lillington, NC office today to learn more and schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable and highly skilled physical therapist.

Tired of Lower Back Pain? Here’s What To Do

Lower back pain is the nemesis of many. That familiar ache can limit time spent working, relaxing, and enjoying life. It can lead to irritability and a whole host of other health problems. And, yet, it’s surprisingly common.

The World Health Organization estimates that in the United States, 149 million days of work are lost due to low back pain. Back pain is the leading cause of inactivity and loss of work, and it appears in 60 to 70 percent of people in industrialized nations.

If you’re experiencing this type of pain, you know how important it is to find relief. Fortunately, Total Body Therapy & Wellness can guide you towards a pain-free life. Here are some ways that we can help, and reasons to call our office today.

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy includes treatments that focus on the management of disabilities and injuries. It helps to alleviate lower back pain, encourage healing, and bring about restored function and movement. It is performed by a trained physical therapist who is knowledgeable in evaluation and conservative management, including rehabilitation, of orthopedic, neurologic, and cardiovascular conditions.

There are two components to most physical therapy programs: passive physical therapy to reduce the patient’s pain so that it becomes more manageable, and active exercises that the patient engages in independently.

Passive Physical Therapy

When you’re suffering from lower back pain, it can be debilitating and makes it so you can’t be as active as you would like. As such, it’s important for a physical therapist to reduce your pain as much as possible so that you can actively participate in your treatment. These tools are often used as a form of ‘passive therapy’ because they are done to a patient by the physical therapist.

  • Electrical stimulation, such as TENS Units
  • Heat/ice packs
  • Ultrasound
  • Iontophoresis
  • Dry needling
  • Manual therapies
  • Massage
  • Hydrotherapy

We use some of these methods, such as hot/cold packs and massage therapy, to improve blood flow to the affected area, thereby reducing pain and swelling. We also utilize electrical stimulation therapy, which is a painless treatment that delivers tiny electrical waves through your nervous system to relieve pain, reduce muscle spasms, and encourage your body to produce pain-relieving hormones. Some of our clients are best suited for hydrotherapy treatment. This involves performing low-intensity movements in water which relieves pressure on muscles while allowing you to move your joints without discomfort.

Active Physical Therapy

Active physical therapy treatments are exercises performed by the patient and are often used in the later stages of physical therapy — once the lower back pain has subsided enough so that the patient can perform them without excessive discomfort. There are many different types of exercises that a physical therapist may recommend, including stretching, stability training, and strength training. Some of these will help you with your flexibility and range of motion, while others help build the muscles around the painful area to provide those parts of the body with support.

What to Expect During Your Visits

When you first visit our clinic, your therapist will ask you several questions about your health, history, and lower back pain specifically. Having this information will help your therapist provide you with the best treatment plan possible so that you see long-lasting results as quickly as possible.

Your therapist will also provide a thorough examination. Depending on your symptoms, your physical therapist may assess your strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, posture, blood pressure, and heart and respiration rates. This may include using his or her hands to palpate your back and surrounding area, as well as a visual examination of your mobility.

You may learn special exercises to perform at home so that you can minimize pain, avoid re-injury, lessen strain, and speed up your recovery time. Your PT specialist may recommend special equipment and will undoubtedly spend a great deal of time educating you about your source of pain and pain management strategies. He or she will also perform hands-on exercises to deliver you immediate relief.

When you’re ready to alleviate or eliminate your pain, call our physical therapy Lillington, NC office to see how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free life.

Without Intervention, Your Lower Back Pain Could Be Here to Stay

Ask any physical therapist, and you’ll get confirmation that lower back pain is the most frequent complaint they’re asked to treat. Often, back strain goes away on their own, especially with the classic “RICE” treatment. But when rest, ice, compression and elevation just can’t cut the pain, physical therapy is often your most reliable path back to a pain-free life.

Where Does LBP Come From — and What Can Prevent it?

Among the most common causes of lower back pain (LBP) is an improperly aligned spine, stemming from incorrect posture. Most office desk setups don’t provide lumbar support or ergonomic positioning, while poor work habits keep us from giving our spines much-needed relief by moving around during the day.

Non-desk jobs have their own perils. Standing all day, especially when combined with heavy lifting or frequent bending, is also bad for spinal health. The muscles surrounding the abs and lower back may not get the support they need as you pace, bend and lift, resulting in LBP.

In either case, supporting those back muscles is key to reducing the risk of chronic lower back pain. Insist on an ergonomic desk chair, or at least take the opportunity to stretch and move around more frequently. If you’re a cashier, wait staff or warehouse worker, invest in shoes with good arch support, which helps keep your entire body better aligned. If needed, wear a specialized brace to help support heavy lifting.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways for easing lower back pain. Medical professionals generally urge their patients to try PT before turning to prescription medications or surgery. The reasons are obvious: Some medications can have long-term health consequences, despite the advantages of delivering temporary pain relief, while invasive procedures carry risk of complication and prolonged recovery time.

Lower back pain PT typically takes the two-pronged approach of using both active and passive physical therapy, unless the therapist has a reason to recommend one over the other.

  • Passive PT includes the application of specialized ice packs and heating pads. The therapist may also use various types of pulsing equipment, which stimulate nerves and release pain.
  • Active PT involves the patient performing stretches and exercises that build the kind of flexibility and strength needed to both prevent future flare-ups and reduce current pain. Some of these are done under a physical therapist’s supervision, on specialized equipment, while others can be carried out at home after the patient learns the basics.

Call Total Body Therapy & Wellness today and speak to our experts.

Neck and Migraine Pain

We all have experienced neck pain whether it was short lived from making a wrong turn or lasting longer than planned due to an accident.  Neck pain is the top three pain that can become a long-term problem if not addressed early on. Neck pain can affect anyone. There is no race, age, or gender that is significantly affected the most.  However, those that do office work are more at risk for developing neck pain in the long run.  A study was conducted where 512 office workers filled out a survey over a course of the year and by the end of the study over 45% reported neck pain.

Chronic neck pain is having consistent neck pain for more than 3 months and it can be harder to treat if put on the back burner.  That is why if you encountered an injury at work or home or been having consistent neck pains it is important to see your doctor.

Migraines can also be a chronic condition and can be debilitating.  Migraines and headaches are easily mistaken as they have similar characteristics.  According to the Mayo Clinic, a migraine is a type of headache that is more severe in pain and disabling.  Migraines usually happen on one side of the head and are followed by sensitivity to light or sound, nausea/vomiting, dizziness which can last for days and be disabling.   While a headache is a general description of head pain there are different kinds of headaches that are classified depending on the cause.

Physical Therapy can help with both conditions with Therapeutic Exercises, Massage, Traction, Electrical Muscular Stimulation, and working on a Home Exercise Program.  Studies have shown including, Effectiveness of Physical Therapy in Patients with Tension-type Headache: Literature Review, that going to Physical Therapy for neck pain and Migraines can help reduce pain and muscle tension while improving neck stability and flexibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Effectiveness of Physical Therapy in Patients with Tension-type Headache: Literature Review

Gemma Espí-López-Anna Arnal-Gómez-Teresa Arbós-Berenguer-Ángel González-Teófila Vicente-Herrero – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4316547/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low Back Pain?

Low back pain is one of the most common sites for pain in the American population.  Since back pain can caused by several different things, it is very important to see your doctor when you experience symptoms.  Pain can range from dull, nagging or aching to stabbing, burning or shooting.  Nerve symptoms such as numbness and tingling may occur as well.  Severe back pain can also produce symptoms in the butt or legs.  There are three different categories of musculoskeletal back pain:  Postural, Overuse and Injury.

Poor posture is a common culprit when the pain begins ‘all of a sudden’.   It is caused by holding your body in a position that is not natural.  Common causes are slump sitting on the couch, in the car or at work.  You may want to think about which activities cause the pain to start.  For example, if you feel back pain after working at your desk, readjusting your posture, computer monitor or chair may help.

 

getty_rm_photo_of_woman_with_lower_back_pain

Overuse injuries commonly start as a small nag and get increasingly worse over time.  They are caused by doing the same movement over and over again over a long period of time.  For example:  lifting a pot from the cabinet usually will not hurt your back, but bending and lifting that same pot every day for 20 years will.

 

shutterstock_128570972

 

Injuries are the last cause of pain.  This is when you can identify as specific incident that caused you pain.  Things like: car accidents, falls and feeling “pops” or “snaps” while pulling an object fall into this category.

In any of these incidents you will first want to contact your doctor.  The doctor will check for injuries to muscles, discs and bones.  After any initial swelling has subsided the doctor may refer you to a physical therapist.  A physical therapist will help stretch your muscles to regain your range of motion and to reduce pain and tightness.  Modalities such as Cold Laser, Dry Needling, massage, E-stim, traction, heat and cold may be used in conjunction with exercise to reduce pain, swelling and spasm.

Once your range of motion is restored your muscles will be ready to strengthen.  Strengthening is an important step in recovery to prevent reoccurrence of symptoms.  Your therapist may also instruct you in postural re-education, proper body mechanics and other ways to reduce strain on the injured area.

Back pain is easiest to treat at the first signs.  As the pain persists your body learns to compensate for the pain.  Your body’s compensation can alter your walking pattern and posture.  This will cause tightness and pain in the muscles around the original injury.  The longer one goes on “dealing with the pain” the longer it will take to recover.  Consult your doctor or physical therapist with any questions you may have and remember:  It is your back, treat it right.

5fe015f3942bba53a413db2232679086

Blogger: Dr. Sara S. Morrison, PT, DPT, CDT, FCE, CFT, Cert DN, Cert FMT

Neck & Headache Workshop at TBTW

images (2)

We all have experienced neck pain, it was short lied from making a wrong turn or lasting longer than planned due to an accident.  Neck pain is one of the top three pains that can become a long term problem if not addressed early on.  Neck pain can affect anyone. There is no race, age, or gender that is significantly affected the most.  A study was conducted where 512 office workers filled out a survey over a course of the year and by the end of the study over 45% reported neck pain.

Due to this high volume of individuals who currently suffer from neck pain, Total Body Therapy and Wellness is hosting a FREE Workshop on Neck Pain and Headaches on April 27th, 2017 at 6 pm.  The workshop will discuss how you can treat your neck pain and headaches without expensive treatments like medication, injections, or surgeries.  Come out to our workshop to learn more about your neck pain or headaches and how to get stop the pain!

download (9).jpg

Chronic neck pain is having consistent neck pain for more than 3 months and it can be harder to treat if put on the back burner.  That is why if you encountered an injury at work or home or have been having consistent neck pains, it is important to see your doctor.

00a

Migraines can also be a chronic condition and can be debilitating.  Migraines and headaches are easily mistaken as they have similar characteristics.  According to the Mayo Clinic, a migraine is a type of headache that is more severe in pain and disabling.  Migraines usually happen on one side of the head and are followed by sensitivity to light or sound, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, which can last for days and be disabling.  While a headache is a general description of head pain, there are different kinds of headaches that are classified depending on the cause.

images (3).jpg

Physical therapy can help with both conditions with therapeutic exercises, massage, traction, electrical muscular stimulation, and working on a home exercise program. Studies have shown including, Effectiveness of Physical Therapy with Tension-type Headache: Literature Review, that going to physical therapy for neck pain and migraines can help reduce pain and muscle tension while improving neck stability and flexibility.

Don’t suffer with your neck pain and headaches any more!  Come to our Neck Pain and Headache workshop to learn how you can eliminate your pain!  RSVP at (910) 893-2850!

References

 

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Blogger: Christina Williams, PTA