Magnolia PT: How Posture Affects Back and Neck Pain

FREEDOM FROM PAIN The Newsletter About Your Health and Caring for Your Body

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INSIDE: How Posture can Affect Your Neck And Back Pain this spring • What can Good Posture do for You? • Staff Spotlight • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

HOW POSTURE CAN AFFECT YOUR NECK AND BACK PAIN THIS SPRING

Remember back when your mother used to tell you that if you wouldn’t stop hunching your shoulders, they’d be stuck that way forever? An idle threat, one that barely anyone took seriously. Yet, fast forward a few decades and it turns out that mom might have been on to something, after all. (continued inside)

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HOW POSTURE CAN AFFECT YOUR NECK AND BACK PAIN THIS SPRING

(Continued from outside) A poor habit of bad posture can have a lasting impact on your neck and back. The worse your posture is, the more intense your back and neck pain can become. Unfortunately, once you start experiencing neck and back pain, simply squaring your shoulders isn’t likely to be much help. Working with a physical therapist can help you to train the muscles in your back, neck and shoulders so that you can improve your posture permanently, and in doing so bring relief to your chronic neck and back pain. The Posture and Pain Connection Not all back pain is caused by poor posture, and it is true that you can have poor posture for years without feeling the consequences of that slouch right away, but in time the habit is likely to catch up with you. There are certain ways that you can tell if neck or back pain may be a result of poor posture, including: •Thepain inyourback isworsenedatcertain times of day. For example, after you’ve spent a day at the office, or after a few hours on the couch.

find standing or sitting with straight posture to be uncomfortable. This is because your muscles have grown accustomed to the slouching, and standing up straight will require some thorough stretching. That doesn’t mean that once you have bad posture you can never correct it. Working with a physical therapist to improve your posture is a great way to overcome chronic neck and back pain. In physical therapy, you will be guided through a series of stretches and strength building exercises that can help you begin training your body to practice better posture, thereby reducing your back and neck pain.

• The pain frequently starts in your neck and moves into your upper and lower back. Pain that seems to travel from one area of the back to another is frequently an indication of posture concerns. • The pain will subside after switching positions, such as switching from sitting to standing or vice versa. • Back or neck pain that develops soon after a change in circumstances, such as starting a new job with a new desk chair, or getting a new car.

After years of practicing poor posture, your back, shoulder and neck muscles will likely

STAFF SPOTLIGHT DR. BRITTANY QUIRK, DPT CBD CLINIC DIRECTOR

Brittany earned her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in Alexandria with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.

She then received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from University of St Augustine in St Augustine, Florida.

Brittany enjoys outdoor activities like running, cycling, and hiking as well as yoga and traveling.

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WHAT CAN GOOD POSTURE DO FOR YOU?

Of course, there are ways that you can improve your posture at home, as well. Here are several strategies that are typically helpful:

• Try to stand tall whenever you are standing or walking. Hold your head high and square your shoulders, but more importantly work on being the tallest version of yourself. Hunching over is the leading cause of poor posture. • Use support when you sit to keep your posture correct. Lumbar support in office chairs and car seats will help a bit, but for improved posture you may need to add additional cushioning that will help you keep your back straight. • Be mindful of how you lift heavy objects. Keep your shoulders square and your chest forward. When lifting something that is over 50 lbs it is important to take extra care. Lead with your hips and try to keep the weight close to your body. Lifting something improperly can lead to injury to your neck or back, which may make proper posture uncomfortable. There are a lot of benefits of having good posture. Aside from saying goodbye to neck or back pain, improving your posture can provide several unexpected benefits to your lifestyle and personal well-being. Here are a few of the additional benefits of having good posture:

• Improved respiratory health

• Added protection for your organs, bones, joints and muscles

• Reduced risk of arthritis

If you are experiencing chronic neck and back pain, there is a good chance that it could be related to your posture. Contact your physical therapist to learn more about how you can take steps to start improving your posture today. MagnoliaTherapyLA.com

• Proper posture creates quality exercise for your core and back

Common gardening activities, such as digging, planting, weeding, mulching, and raking can cause stress and strain on muscles and joints. This is especially true for senior citizens and people who are normally sedentary. Different body areas such as the shoulders, neck, back, and knees can be vulnerable to injury during gardening. These tips can help prevent injuries: • Warm up before you garden. A 10 minute brisk walk and stretches for the spine and limbs are good ways to warm up. AVOID ACHES IN THE GARDEN THIS SPRING • Make use of a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move heavy planting materials or tools. Be sure to keep your back straight while using a wheelbarrow. • If kneeling on both knees causes discomfort in your back, try kneeling on one and keep the other foot on the ground. Use knee pads or a gardening pad when kneeling. • Avoid bending your wrist upwards when pulling things or using gardening tools. Instead, keep your wrist straight and use your shoulder muscles to pull and lift. • Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness or cramping.

FEATURED SERVICE BACK AND NECK PAIN RELIEF

STANDING EXTENSIONS While standing, place your hands on your hips and lean back to arch your back. Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeat when necessary. EXERCISE ESSENTIALS TRY THIS EXERCISE FOR BACK PAIN RELIEF

Patients who seek treatment from their neck and back pain are often surprised to learn that some other problems they’ve been experiencing might be related. So even if you think you can “live with” not being able to turn your neck fully, other problems can accumulate. For example, if you have chronic migraines or frequent bouts of tension headaches, a pinched nerve in your neck may actually be the culprit, rather than your diet or your busy schedule. In addition, you may find that the problems you’ve been having with shoulder mobility — or shooting pains down your arms and hands — might actually spring from your spinal issues. How can back and neck pain be treated? Our patients are often referred to us by their primary physicians or by a specialist, and we’ll continue to work with your medical team to treat the specific cause of your pain. Our highly trained physical therapists will also give you a full evaluation, including a spinal alignment assessment, simple tests to evaluate muscle strength in the areas that support your back or neck, and range-of-motion evaluations. Once we’ve pinpointed the main cause of your neck or back pain, we’ll develop a treatment plan with you. In your sessions, you’ll be taken through moves that build strength and flexibility. Our team of physical therapists will also help you learn how to better position yourself during your daily life to avoid relapses, including ergonomic and posture tips.

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Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you are unsure of doing.

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Freedom From Pain

The health and safety of our patients & staff is always our top at Magnolia Physical Therapy. We are monitoring updates to the Coronavirus or COVID-19. We want to reassure you that we are committed to using preventive measures such as disinfecting our equipment and countertops, washing our hands frequently, and using alcohol-based sanitizer to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, as well as cold and flu. In addition, we are emphasizing and encouraging proper hand hygiene among our patients and have strategically placed hand sanitizers throughout our clinics. We kindly ask that if you are experiencing any of the common cold or flu-like symptoms, that you reschedule your appointment. CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE

DIRECT ACCESS WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Physical Therapy is Easier to Get Than You Think! • A physician referral

by a licenced physical therapist.

is no longer needed, unless your insurance requires it.

• Patients sent by their physician can choose where they want to receive therapy.

• Therapy may begin with a full evaluation

We will continue to monitor the latest Coronavirus updates and will make any changes necessary to help keep our patients and staff healthy.

Don’t let your pain hold you back. Call us today at (504) 733-0254 or visit our website at MagnoliaTherapyLA.com.

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