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5 Ways to Relieve Back and Neck Pain

There are common causes of both back pain and neck pain and at Babin Physical Therapy we can help with both. Changes in the spine’s anatomy often cause back pain. There may be lumbar disc herniation, lumbar degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis or sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Disc herniation occurs when the gel-like interior of the disc leaks outward and irritates the nerve roots. It typically causes a stabbing pain in the back of the legs and back pain. Wear and tear on the spinal discs can lead to lumbar degenerative disc disease. It causes low-level back pain. Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear of the facet joints in the spine. Friction can cause a pinched nerve from osteoarthritis. And when the sacroiliac joint has too much or too little motion, it can cause lower back pain.

Muscle strain is a common cause of neck pain. It can be due to sleeping in awkward positions, whiplash or poor posture. Other common causes of neck pain include cervical osteoarthritis, cervical degenerative disc disease and cervical herniated disc. Back pain and neck pain can range from moderate to severe. If you’re experiencing back pain or neck pain, call our office today to see how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free life. Get back and neck pain relief with help from our skilled physical therapists.

How Physical Therapy Can Deliver Pain Relief for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Physical therapy is a common treatment for pain relief in the cervical area and lumbar area. The goals and benefits of physical therapy for neck pain and back pain include:

  1. Improving neck and back range of motion- By engaging in flexibility exercises in the neck and back area, you’ll be able to move easier.
  2. Reducing pain and stiffness in the back and neck area- Passive treatments by a physical therapist will accelerate healing and lessen pain.
  3. Developing strengthening of the neck and back- With specific physical exercises, you’ll be building up the muscles in the neck and back areas.
  4. Developing strategies to prevent neck pain and back pain from recurring- Learn proper body mechanics to avoid future injury.
  5. Improving the quality of life- With physical therapy, you’ll be able to return to your regular routine must faster.

The two forms of physical therapy are passive treatments and active treatments. Passive treatments for neck pain include electrotherapy, ice packs, ultrasound, massage therapy and heat therapy. These treatments help reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness. Active physical therapy treatments include exercises and stretches. By engaging in active exercises with a physical therapist, strength and flexibility are improved in the neck, and the muscles become less painful. In addition, stress on the cervical spine is reduced.

Like physical therapy treatments for neck pain, back pain physical therapy treatments include both passive and active methods for the patient. “Current medical literature suggests moderate to strong evidence supporting the benefits of physical therapy’s role in reducing neck pain and back pain and improving range of motion.”

How Back Pain and Neck Pain Are Diagnosed

If you’re experiencing neck or back pain, a doctor will perform a physical exam and may even order X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI provides pictures of blood vessels, ligaments, tendons and soft tissues. It can provide the root cause of your back pain or neck pain. It’s quite common for a doctor to recommend physical therapy to treat neck and back pain

Back and neck pain can lead to a loss of productivity. It’s a common cause for disability. It can also lead to nerve damage, depression and even weight gain. If you’re suffering from back pain or neck pain, it’s time to take action. Get neck pain relief with the help of a physical therapist. A physical therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan just for you.

Why suffer when physical therapy can give you pain relief? Contact our Kenner, LA office today to see how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free life.

Suffering with Back Pain? Check Your Posture!

If you are like most people, you have had someone tell you to sit or stand up straight — probably during your teenage years. At the time, the demand was probably annoying and one you did your best to ignore. But it turns out that good posture is important for more than just looking confident and respectable. Sitting and standing with good spinal alignment can help prevent back pain.

One major focus of physical therapy is to teach patients how to practice good posture. Your physical therapist can help you understand the importance of posture and give you valuable training to help you achieve it, day in and day out.

 

Let us help you discover the benefits of physical therapy for back pain. Please contact Babin Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist!

Good Posture — What It Does to Relieve Back Pain

Your spine is designed to operate in a certain way. When you move, sit and stand in ways that disrupt the correct operation of your spine, you can create problems over time. Practicing good posture — with the help of your physical therapist — is one way that can work with your spine to minimize back pain.

When you are in physical therapy, you will learn good posture and discover several ways in which the healthy movement patterns taught by your physical therapist will minimize your back pain. These include:

Avoid Undesirable Anatomical Changes

The ways that you use your spine can actually cause changes in your anatomy. The stress caused by sitting hunched can eventually lead to damage of your spinal discs, muscles, joints and the nerves and blood vessels traveling through your spine. Many times the damage can be reversed, though, if you engage in targeted physical therapy and learn to sit and stand correctly from your physical therapist.

Promote Good Circulation

When you maintain proper spinal alignment, your veins are not constricted by the press of your vertebrae. All of the numerous components of your spine require good circulation to operate correctly and to regenerate from damage and wear and tear.

When your physical therapist guides you through the different physical therapy exercises that help with posture, you will get better at keeping the alignment required for optimal circulation.

Encourage Strength and Flexibility

If it has been a while since you have regularly had good posture, chances are that trying to maintain such posture over a long period will be difficult. It may take some time in physical therapy to gain the strength and flexibility necessary to keep the ideal posture.

Fortunately, the work you do with your physical therapist to achieve your goal will lead to greater overall fitness. The stronger and more flexible you get, the less likely you are to suffer from back pain on a regular basis.

Improved Posture in all Activities

Most people think of posture in static positions, like sitting at a desk or standing for a period of time. But good posture is important in everything that we do.

 

In physical therapy, your physical therapist can instruct you on how to maintain good posture during all of your favorite activities, such as running, playing sports, and walking. The improved posture you adopt in each activity will lessen the wear and tear you put on your spine, which minimizes the risk of developing back pain from these activities.

Prevent Back Pain Caused by Improper Lifting

Good posture is a vital component of lifting objects without injury. When you lift and fail to use good posture, there is a much greater chance that you will wind up hurting your back.

Ask your physical therapist about proper lifting posture. He or she can show you how to lift correctly and guide you through some exercises to clarify the right posture.

Help With Your Back Pain

If you are suffering from back pain, please contact us Our Kenner, LA physical therapy team can help you get the relief you deserve!

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

One of the most common reasons people visit Babin Physical Therapy 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.

 

Contact our Kenner, LA 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, Babin Physical Therapy 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.

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

Your physical 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, contact Babin Physical Therapy 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 physical therapist has a reason to recommend one over the other.

  • Passive PT includes the application of specialized ice packs and heating pads. The physical 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.

Contact Babin Physical Therapy today and speak to our experts.

Neck Pain and Headaches from Stress

Stress is nothing more than our reaction to a provocation that upsets our physical and/or mental equilibrium. Therefore, stress is an inevitable part of life. Nevertheless, when we are faced with stress, our “fight or flight” response can be triggered; this causes the production of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol to increase and rush through your body.

 

About Your Neck Pain and Headaches

 

Simultaneously, muscles in our neck and scalp may contract. These muscle contractions occur when we are faced with stress, anxiety, or depression. When these muscles contract they often cause dull, nagging headaches that often turn into full-blown migraine headaches.

 

Robert Gotlin, DO, director of Orthopaedics and Sports Rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City says this about neck pain,

 

“As stress goes up I definitely see more patients with neck pain. Every year around tax time, the number of patients with neck pain increases, especially among Wall Street types here in New York.”

 

Another cause of neck pain is structural and results from a neck joint issue. This type of a headache is known as a neck headache or more properly as a Cervicogenic headache. Research shows that fixing the neck can end a headache. The joints usually associated in a neck headache are:

  • Atlanto-occipital joint (O-C1)
  • Atlanto-axial joint (C1/2)
  • C2/3 cervical spine joints

When your neck joints are too tight, a headache can result in just a few minutes. Not all stress is bad, however. Stress within your comfort level helps you to perform under pressure, keep you motivated and to keep you safe when danger is evident.

 

How Many Types of Headaches Are There?

 

Headaches come in many sizes and pain levels, however, there are four distinct types of a headaches:

 

  1. Tension
  2. Sinus
  3. A migraine
  4. Cluster

 

Tension headaches are the most common of all headaches and can occur simply from holding your head in one position for too long. Some of the activities that can lead to a tension headache from this source are:

 

  • Staring at a computer screen
  • Working with a microscope
  • Fine work with one’s hands

Other causes of tension headaches include:

 

  1. Physical or emotional stress
  2. Caffeine (too little or too much)
  3. Sinus infections from a cold or the Flu
  4. Alcohol consumption
  5. Eye strain
  6. Fatigue
  7. Tobacco use

 

Serious debilitating headaches are a warning that you should seek medical attention; tension headaches, however, are most often just a nagging annoyance, though some can be painful enough to disrupt your daily activities.

 

How Do I Deal with a Tension Headache?

 

Since tension headaches are the most common of all headaches, here are three tips on how to deal with tension headaches.

 

Relax – Tension headaches are called this for a reason; relaxation and stress relief can help alleviate your headache. While stress is an undeniable part of life, an overabundance of stress can lead to more serious diseases such as high blood pressure or heart disorders. Activities that strain your neck and back should be curtailed and stretching breaks should be a regular part of your work day.

 

Fix Your Workplace Ergonomics – A headset for your telephone, proper monitor positioning for your computer, a desktop riser that lets you work while standing. In addition, make sure your eyeglasses and contacts prescription are current.

 

Stretch Your Muscles – Stretching is a great way to release tense muscles in the neck. Try stretching with a general exercise program designed by a trainer or physical therapist that is specific to your needs.

 

Headaches can be inconvenient and painful. Talk with your physical therapist today to see if your headaches are stemming from neck pain or stress and learn how to treat them effectively! Contact Babin Physical Therapy and speak with our physical therapists!

 

Sources

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-causes-and-effects.htm

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000797.htm

https://www.everydayhealth.com/neck-pain/neck-pain-reduce-stress.aspx

https://www.painscience.com/articles/tension-headache.php

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tension-headache/symptoms-causes/dxc-20211470

https://www.healthline.com/health/tension-headache

https://physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/neck-headache-cervicogenic-headache

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 physical therapist has a reason to recommend one over the other.

Passive PT includes the application of specialized ice packs and heating pads. The physical therapist may also use various types of pulsing equipment, which stimulate nerves and release pain.

BabinPT Physical Therapy 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.