Do you suffer from back pain especially when sleeping? Back pain upon awakening in the morning? Back pain prior to going to bed at night? Looking for answers? Read on.
Have you ever heard of the story “The Princess and the Pea”? If so, remember any of the underlying themes from it? If you haven’t read it or need a refresher, here’s the gist: A very small thing, a pea, caused so much pain & bruising to the princess whilst she slept. There are 2 themes that I took away from the story.
The First major theme from “The Princess and the Pea” I took away is How Can Something So Small Cause So Much Pain including bruising? Often people have no inkling why they have back pain. They may seek common ‘answers’ from the web, friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers without success but to seek an answer from a medical professional may be the last person they seek an answer for their pain. Why?
Because maybe people are tired of being only offered “medications”?! Or, not being informed of the true reason for their pain?! Or, often being dismissed by medical providers who essentially say – live with it?! Or, being told there is nothing else we can do for you?! Or, being passed on to another ‘specialist’ or ‘expert’ for the cycle to start all over again?! And the list of reasons goes on and on.
You think that this doesn’t happen? It happens every day. And we see it weekly in our physical therapy clinic! This week I treated an individual with back pain…pain that she lived with daily for 12 years. The medical providers, we call them ‘doctors’ in this instance…well…because they are, Never Offered Her The Option Of Physical Therapy. Not once in 12 years! They couldn’t help her in 12 years so they thought no one else could. They Were Wrong! Physical Therapy was able to! We changed her life for the better – immediately – that day!
What were the poor and wrong conclusions made in this case? Many. One, that pain medications were the only way to help. Two, that no-one else could help her. Lastly, the reason and cause of her pain. I got frustrated with how she was treated and I wasn’t even the one in pain seeking help!
The Second theme that I took away from “The Princess and the Pea” is something very, very tiny can cause significant pain and have a massive impact. The body so interconnected that it doesn’t take much to cause pain, imbalance, or disrupt normal movement. For instance, a very teeny tiny pebble in your shoe. Personally, I have gone on many of a ‘witch hunt’ for item in my shoe that is irritating my foot and driving me near to insanity.
Just like a teeny tiny pebble, some of the smallest joints and muscles can cause the greatest pain and chaos. For instance, your big toe joint (I won’t get overly medical on you here) handles approximately 80% of your body-weight during walking. This joint, when not healthy, has ended multi-million athletic careers due to the pain.
Or how about the sub-occipital muscle that resides high up on the neck (cervical spine) just below the skull…when it goes into spasm it can cause debilitating neck pain and/or headaches? Or a lumbar (aka low back) disc being irritated? Or a pinched nerve in the upper back / lower neck?
All of these structures are not big or massive but can cause debilitating pain and make living miserable. Remember, it doesn’t take something massive to cause you pain and/or cause you to not move normally. But like finding a needle in a haystack…the painful or debilitating structure may take some effort, time and patience. A quick 5-10 minute evaluation most likely won’t find the ‘irritating pea’!
So if you have back pain, what are your options? Well if you have tried medications and injections without or limited success, I am here to tell you there is another path. Actually two. One is to ignore it and hope it goes away. Research says ‘most’ conditions, not all, with improve over time. Improve does does mean back to pre-pain normal. Improve means that it won’t hurt as bad with an improvement in motion. If you want to hope it gets better – then that may be your best course of action.
The second choice is a path where you can influence the outcome. This choice would be Physical Therapy. Through a thorough evaluation, you will learn: movements & positions that exacerbate your back pain; movements & actions to reduce and eliminate your pain; strategies &
How do I know if I need Physical Therapy for my back pain?
If you answer Yes to one or any of the following, you may want to consider Physical Therapy for your back pain:
- Back pain limits your daily activities
- Back pain has been frequent for 6 weeks or more
- Back pain is worse after sitting
- Back pain preoccupies your thoughts
- Back pain is preventing you from being you
Let’s see how well you move, or don’t!
You should be able to perform simple functional movements without any back pain and difficulty. Take this self-test to see how well you feel and move. Standing, feet not moving & shoulder width apart, and moving slowly & safely:
- Bend forward and touch your toes keeping your knees straight
- With your arms above your head, perform a backwards bend
- Hands by your side, side-bend to Right, then to the Left sliding your hand along your thigh down towards your knee
- Arms & hands out like you are making the letter ’T’, rotate as far as you can go to the Right, and then to the Left
Did you feel any abnormal symptoms and pain? Did you any natural movement limitations? If so, maybe should pay a visit to Physical Therapy.
Stop letting back pain limit you and dictate your life. Take control!
What can you do to help yourself… Read on for our top tips!
If you wake up every day and you aren’t doing something body positive, an action that benefits your body in a physical manner, you
These trifecta tips can be both restorative and preventive:
- Move – This is simple enough yet very difficult at the same time. Stay active. But I mean not only performing daily physical exercise but also when you are sitting. Every 15 minutes you should stand up and walk around. Get up and move. And when it comes to exercise, choose something that you will enjoy doing daily and that will provide benefit and not harm. As we say in the clinic – motion is lotion.
- Proper Posture – Simple concept but difficult to execute. Here is the gist: don’t force your spine to move into an improper position, compromise its’ integrity for a lack of mobility elsewhere, or hold . If you are always ‘tall’ through your spine, that’s a very good start.
- Keep Your Muscles Mobile – This should be a part of Move but too often we see individuals in pain due to movement restrictions. Most often people perform cardiovascular exercises and weight lifting but give no love to keeping flexible and mobile. If you keep your muscles mobile, then pain from being immobile and limited won’t be the cause.
If you practice this daily trifecta, you are less likely to come see us.
So if you are in pain, can’t move well and life is miserable…maybe you should try something new AND different.
We are experts in locating the ‘peas’ that are bothering you and causing you strife. There is hope!
If you want to live an Active, Independent, Dynamic, & Enjoyable Life and are not getting answers and no-one can find what is causing your symptoms & problems – Choose Physical Therapy…First! And, If You Need Physical Therapy And You Want Your Health To Last…Choose PEAK PT FIRST!™
Until We Chat Again…
Be & Stay Well!
If you would like to learn more on this topic, please click HERE (the link is internal – not external…we want you always to be safe whether you are in the clinic or on our website).
Remember, We’re here to help…
If you’re in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some pain relief help, an evaluation, or if you are looking for physical therapy treatment, remember we are always here to help you.
If you would like to to speak with a Physical Therapist, schedule a Meet & Greet or a Physical Therapy Evaluation, please Click Here to complete our Contact Us form or Call Us at 757-564-7381.
P.S.: Do you know someone suffering with aches & pain?
Who do you know that is always telling you about their aches and pains? We would love to help them live a pain free life too. That person could be someone who you live with, work with, or an extended friend or family member, who is maybe suffering with some kind of ache or pain that we can fix.