Excel Physical Therapy: Back Pain Or Sciatica

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IS IT BACK PAIN OR IS IT SCIATICA?

“I think I may have sciatica, but I’m not sure. I have pain that travels down my leg, isn’t that sciatic pain? The discomfort in my back and leg seem different, how do I know if they’re related to each other? How do I just get rid of this pain?”

By Josh Tizzard, PT

(continued inside)

INSIDE : • Is It Back Pain Or Is It Sciatica? • Understanding Back Pain

• Workstation Posture • Featured PT

www.excelphysicaltherapy.com

THE NEWSLETTER ABOUT YOUR HEALTH AND CARING FOR YOUR BODY Health Tips Newsletter

IS IT BACK PAIN OR IS IT SCIATICA?

(continued from outside)

INSIDE : • Understanding Back Pain • Featured PT

• Workstation Posture • Patient Success Spotlight

Chances are you, or someone you know, has experienced thoughts like these before. You may have heard others talk about sciatic pain and the symptoms associated with it, but have been unsure how accurate their information is or what to do with that information. So where does sciatic pain come from? How can someone know if their leg pain is the result of low back problems? These are great questions that a licensed physical therapist can help answer, and also address.

sciatic nerve, like other nerves, serves a specific purpose for our bodies but can be compromised by abnormal stresses. Sciatica refers to the presence of symptoms arising from sciatic nerve irritation in one leg. Those symptoms can include tingling, burning, muscle weakness, discomfort, or pain. Determining whether those symptoms are the result of a localized problem in muscles, abnormal nerve function, or a low back issue requires specific testing. Licensed physical therapists understand the specific anatomy of the body, and are trained to perform special measurements/tests to determine the potential root causes of a patient’s symptoms. By performing a thorough clinical examination, a physical therapist can then identify what may be causing these symptoms, and address the source. In doing so, a physical therapist can help a patient with leg pain or low back pain gain the ability to effectively address their symptoms and progress towards regaining normal movement. Our licensed physical therapists at Excel Physical Therapy spend one-on-one time with each patient and are specially trained to perform evaluations of low back pain, as well as sciatica. Contact us today to help you or a loved one recover and achieve their physical therapy goals. Sources: 1.RubinDI.Epidemiologyand risk factors for spinepain.NeurolClin.2007;25(2):353–371. 2.FritzJM,etal.Primarycare referralofpatientswith lowBackpain tophysical therapy impacton futurehealthcareutilization and costs.Spine.2012;37(25):2114–2121. 3.DavisD,VasudevanA.Sciatica. [Updated2019Feb28]. In:StatPearls [Internet].Treasure Island (FL):StatPearlsPublishing; 2019.Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/?report=classic.

By JoshTizzard, PT

Our low back, or lumbar spine, absorbs and transmits forces throughout our lives. The lumbar spine is also the source of excess force in many cases, whether it be from vigorous physical activity, or prolonged stress from poor posture. As much as 80% of individuals will have at least one episode of back pain during their lifetime (Rubin et al. 2007), which often effects their daily activities. There are a wide variety of potential causes of low back pain, and therefore a wide variety of treatment options to address these causes. Low back pain research has shown that early participation in physical therapy was associated with a reduced risk of advanced imaging, additional physician visits, surgery, injections, and opioid medications, compared to delayed participation in physical therapy (Fritz et al. 2012). The sciatic nerve is made up of nerves that originate in our low back, and then travel along a specific route into each of our legs to allow them to work effectively. The sciatic nerve is relatively large as it can be as wide as two centimeters in diameter (Davis and Vasudevan. 2019). The

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Matthew Johnston, PT, DPT Matt is the new Clinic Director at our Northeast Philadelphia clinic location. Read his full profile here: FEATURED PT

Understanding Back Pain

Being educated about your back pain can help you to make the right choices in overcoming it as quickly as possible. One of the biggest problems with back pain is that it lingers, which leads many people to deal with back pain for years, without any end in sight.

1. How did you decide to become a physical therapist and what motivates you to work with patients? I never thought of becoming a physical therapist! My mom suggested it to me when I was in high school and, ultimately, she was right. I started my schooling and have enjoyed the profession ever since. I love working with patients to help them achieve their goals. I am passionate about helping others succeed and enjoy learning each individual patient’s story.

While there is back pain which develops as a result of strain or sprain, there is also something called low back degenerative disc disease, which happens when the discs in your spine weaken. This frequently develops as a result of repetitive back injury and can also develop as a result of age. With degenerative disc disease, the space between the discs begins to collapse and become unstable, which will cause back pain to develop. When you work with a physical therapist to overcome back pain as a result of degenerative disc disease, your physical therapist will begin by strengthening core muscle groups, which includes the abdominal wall, and will provide you with targeted massage and stretching techniques to alleviate pain. While some back pain is easy to identify as pain, such as is the case with degenerative disc disease, there are other situations in which the pain may be a bit more complicated to understand. One of the most common back issues experienced in the United States is sciatica pain, and this sort of pain is often a lot more difficult to identify — especially by those who aren’t familiar with the problem. How can you tell the difference between back pain and sciatica pain? The answer is that sciatica pain is characterized by the following factors: • Constant pain is only present in one side of the buttocks or leg • The pain becomes worse when you are sitting • The leg pain develops more as a burning, tingling or searing sensation, and not as a plain ache • There is a sharp pain that occurs at times, making it sometimes difficult to stand or walk Sciatica pain develops in the nerves which connect the lower back to the legs. While the pain itself is generated from the back, many times the experience of pain is associated more with the upper legs. What’s more, sciatica pain doesn’t always develop like pain in the traditional sense. Sciatica pain instead causes a buildup of tingling, numbness and weakness in the lower back and upper legs, and the pain isn’t consistent either. The sensation will typically run through the leg in waves, causing discomfort at seemingly unpredictable times. If you are experiencing back pain and haven’t talked to a medical professional about this concern, then now is the time to take action! Working with a physical therapist can cut your time struggling with back pain literally in half. For more information about overcoming back pain, contact us today!

2. In your words, what makes Excel Physical Therapy different from other Physical Therapy clinics? I think our model of care is what sets us apart. We are able to focus on each patient as individuals. It is that individual focus that makes our treatment approach successful. I get to understand my patients’ stories and what their goals are for their treatment. This information is crucial in helping me help them to achieve full recoveries. 3. What was your most memorable patient experience? I am not sure I have a single most memorable patient story. I think getting to be a small part in each patient’s health journey is very valuable. As physical therapists, we have a special relationship with patients and get to experience their successes, but also help them with their challenges.

4. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why? A dog – they get to sleep most of the day, relax and enjoy their family. Plus everyone feeds them!

5. If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be and why? Focused – I enjoy focusing in on my patients’ needs to help them achieve their goals. I also tend to get focused on hobbies – cooking, bread making, and exercise. I like to dive right into a challenge and use all of my energy to complete it. 6. What do you like to do in your off time, outside the clinic? Outside of the clinic, I enjoy hiking in Fairmount Park, playing with my dogs, and cooking. I have recently developed a love of baking bread and fermenting pickles.

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CALL US TODAY IF YOU ARE IN PAIN

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Patient Success Spotlight

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I came here for 12 weeks because of a back injury. When I started it was difficult to sit, stand, and walk without a lot of sharp pain. Jack took the time to evaluate and figure out what I needed to specifically work on. Jack and the entire team were very accommodating to any pain issues I had along the way. I greatly appreciate all of the help to be able to get back to all of my regular activities with no pain. Thank you! “ - J.D. Don’t delay we can help you! Contact us: Downtown Philadelphia & South Jersey, Northeast Philadelphia and Lower Bucks County, Montgomery County, The Main Line, Delaware County, Chester County, Allentown, Lancaster: www.excelphysicaltherapy.com/contact-us Ergonomic Desk Set Up For The Office WORKSTATION POSTURE YOUR HOME PROGRAM “I greatly appreciate all of the help to be able to get back to all of my regular activities with no pain. Thank you!” Sit at your desk on a comfortable and adjustable chair with back rest to maintain lumbar curvature and use an ergonomic keyboard. Do not slouch. Your desk should be set up so that the monitor is at or just below eye level. The elbows, hips and knees bent 90-110 degrees. Adjustments can be made for monitor height, keyboard

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Coupon Corner!

Home Exercise Program Created by Joe Grugan May 2nd, 2019 View at "www.my-exercise-code.com" using code: X6VL4C9

COMPLIMENTARY PAIN ASSESSMENT

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Your complimentary pain assessment may be conducted via telephone Adjustments can be made for monitor height, keyboard height, seat height, desk height and/or foot rest height in order to achieve proper alignment. Electronic desk is preferred if available to be able to adjust the height of the desk with buttons. WE OFFER 32 CONVENIENT LOCATIONS CALL TO SCHEDULE TODAY! ADL - DESK ERGONOMIC SET UP Sit at your desk on a comfortable and adjustable chair with back rest to maintain lumbar curvature and use an ergonomic keyboard. Do not slouch. Your desk should be set up so that the monitor is at or just below eye level. The elbows, hips and knees bent 90-110 degrees.

height, seat height, desk height and/ or foot rest height in order to achieve proper alignment. An electronic desk is preferred, if available, to be able to adjust the height of the desk with buttons.

THIS IS DESIGNED FOR PAIN PREVENTION CALL YOUR THERAPIST IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ANY PAIN!

Call to schedule. Expires 7-31-19

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