Total Care PT: Where Is Your Back Pain Coming From?

Health &Wellness The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body


With summer weather just around the corner, many people will be finding themselves venturing out and taking advantage of the warming fresh air. A common excursion that people enjoy doing in the summer is taking hikes. This is a great form of exercise that contains several benefits, such as endurance training, core exercise, and strengthening of the leg muscles. However, hiking can also have some downfalls if you are not careful. Because of this, it is important to be prepared beforehand so you can avoid any unnecessary injuries. What are some of the most common hiking injuries? Twisted ankle. This is perhaps the most common injury that hikers experience. Hiking terrain is uneven and can sometimes contain hidden obstacles or slippery surfaces. We’ve all seen it before: you’re on the trail, taking in the scenery, when suddenly… you slip on an unsteady rock. This can leave someone hindered for the rest of the trail, not to mention how it will pose an unfortunate and possibly painful recovery period ahead. Twisted ankles can be avoided by wearing appropriate hiking boots with ankle protection, as well as carrying a hiking stick or some other form of stabilizing equipment with you along the trail. If you do twist your ankle, make sure to follow the R.I.C.E method afterwards – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If pain persists, make sure you contact a physical therapist as soon as possible to relieve pain and prevent further damage.

Muscle cramping. Muscle cramps can be limiting and even debilitating during a hike. Nothing can leave a hiker feeling more defeated quite like feeling a leg cramp with every step they take up the mountain. Cramping is often caused by dehydration, and can be avoided by keeping a water bottle with you during the hike and making sure you drink a large amount (if not all) of it throughout your journey. However, cramping can also be caused by tight muscles that are not used to the physical activity you are putting them through, especially for new hikers. Stretching before you hike, specifically in your ankles, calves, and thighs, can help avoid any pesky cramps that may leave you hindered. Scrapes and abrasions. Many hiking trails contain thorny bushes, branches, or twigs that you may have to maneuver through. Some are so subtle that you may not even notice it right away, but they can scrape up your arms and legs pretty badly if you are not careful. Wearing long pants and sleeves can make a huge difference in protecting your body against scrapes and abrasions, but they may not always provide full coverage or complete protection. If you do find yourself sustaining a cut while you’re on the trail, make sure to apply an antibiotic lotion and band-aid to the affected area as soon as you get home, after washing it thoroughly. Keep an eye on it for a few days, and if it doesn’t seem to get any better, contact your primary physician as soon as possible to make sure it is not infected.

Health & Wellness The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body


Inside: • How Can I Tell If My Neck Is Causing My Back Pain? • Exercise Essentials • Patient Success Spotlight Happy With Your Experience? We would love for you to share your story of success with others! Please visit and click on to get started!

Your spine is a complex part of your body – it requires proper posture, flexibility, coordination, and strength, in order to do its job correctly. When one of these elements is altered, your spine can emit painful responses that can settle in other nearby parts of the body. According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 80% of adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is actually the most commonly reported location of pain across the globe. But how often is the source actually another part of your body? Pain is usually connected: Your spine is a lengthy structure, and pain can travel along it. Let’s say you are prone to neck pain – perhaps you have a slouched posture from sitting at a desk all day and the pressure radiates in your shoulders. Or, maybe you’ve had a previous injury, such as whiplash, that still elicits painful stings every now and then. Now, let’s say you begin feeling pain in your lower back in addition to your neck pain. Why does this happen? Basically, the pains are connected to each other. Your head weighs about 10-12 pounds, which is roughly the weight of a bowling ball. When you slouch, or compensate pain by realigning your body, your back muscles have to work extra hard to keep you from toppling forward. Have you ever been so tired that your head begins to bob and it jolts you awake? That’s because your head is heavy! The weight from the motion wakes you back up because your body isn’t used to carrying it in that way.

This is also why pain in your lower back may occur as a result. Your back muscles are working in overdrive and may be constricting to try and hold you up. If you notice neck and back pain at the same time as one another, try sitting up straighter – it should help ease some of the stress! Is your neck the culprit? The most common combination of pain is in the neck and the back. If you are experiencing both, it is most likely stemming from the neck. We don’t typically think about it, but we use our necks for a lot of our daily activities. Even simple things, such as turning to grab something out of the cupboard or looking over your shoulder when backing out of a driveway, use a lot of neck muscles. When you do simple tasks such as these, do you find yourself turning your entire body, as opposed to just your head? If so, you could experience back pain along with your neck pain. When you have limited motion in your neck, your body compensates by twisting more than it usually would, thus over-rotating your lower back. This could cause a source of pain or general discomfort in the area, due to abnormal overuse. If you are experiencing neck pain, back pain, or a combination of both, our physical therapists would be more than happy to meet with you for a consultation to discuss how they can help. Call us today to talk to an expert about how we can relieve your aches and pains!


It can sometimes to be difficult to determine if your back pain is rooted in your neck. This simple, at-home test can assist you in figuring it out:

1. Stand straight in front of another person. They will be your eyes regarding the movements you make.

2. Once they are watching you, turn your head as far as you comfortably can to the left. Repeat the same motion to the right. Have them take note of how far you are able to go. 3. Now, sit down in front of the same person. Repeat the same turning motions from a chair or couch. Again, have them take note of how far you are able to comfortably turn your head. 4. Ask if there were any differences in the turning movement. Did one side seem to turn further than the other? Was there a difference in standing vs. sitting? This test is helpful in finding out if your neck is causing (or is at risk of causing) pain in your lower back. If your movement is limited, especially sitting down, it means that the muscles in your back or upper back are tight. These constricted motions can cause pain in the lower back. How can physical therapy help me? Physical therapy is the leading recommendation for back pain. Physical therapists are trained to evaluate muscle and joint movement, and

they can easily assist you in finding the root of your problem. They will thoroughly evaluate you to figure out why you are experiencing pain, determining the source and treating all affected areas. After your initial consultation, they will create a specialized treatment plan for you, based on their diagnosis of your specific needs. A physical therapist’s end goal is the same as yours – to get you feeling better, healthier, and more comfortable! If you are experiencing lower back pain and think it may be caused by an issue occurring in your neck, give us a call today. We’ll get you moving comfortably again in no time.

Healthy Recipe Apple, Goat Cheese, and Pecan Pizza INGREDIENTS • 1lb six-grain pizza crust • Cooking spray • 3 cups thinly sliced Fuji apple • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

• 1 tsp fresh lemon juice • 1 1/2 tsp honey • 2 cups baby arugula • 3 tbsp chopped pecans, toasted

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 450°. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Arrange apple slices evenly over pizza crust; top with cheese. Sprinkle thyme evenly over cheese. Bake at 450° for 8 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Combine oil and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add arugula; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle pecans evenly over pizza; top with arugula mixture. Cut pizza into 6 wedges.

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Patient Success Spotlight

At Total Care Physical Therapy, you will receive hands-on therapy treatments by our friendly, caring health experts during focused and individualized sessions. 1. CALL AND TALK TO YOUR THERAPIST 2. DISCOVER WHY YOUR PAIN HAS COME BACK 3. GET YOUR CUSTOM RECOVERY PROGRAM FIND US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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“From thefirstday Ihobbled in toTotalCarePT Iwas treatedwithcourtesy and respect. With the family-like atmosphere they provide, I never felt pressured. Instead, I had a support team that really wanted me to get better and stronger as soon as possible. Thank you!” - S.A.

• Cost Effective • Non-invasive • Safe & Natural • State-of-the-art Facility Features of Physical Therapy: DO YOU SUFFER FROM BACK PAIN?

Exercise Essentials Try this stretch if you are experiencing back pain. Relieves Lower Back QUADRUPED ALTERNATE ARM & LEG RAISE While on your hands and knees, slowly raise up an arm out in front of you. Then, slowly raise the opposite leg behind you, while keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times on both sides. Exercisescopyrightof

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