First Choice PT. Is It Back Pain Or Sciatica?

NEWSLETTER

IS IT BACK PAIN OR SCIATICA? LEAVE YOUR BACK PAIN BEHIND

• Understanding Back Pain • Patient Success Story • Healthy Recipe INSIDE:

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AUGUST 2019

NEWSLETTER

IS IT BACK PAIN OR SCIATICA?

Does life ever feel like one large pain in the back? Back pain is difficult to deal with on a daily basis, yet for so many people, this is a total reality. By certain estimates, as many as 85% of adults in the United States struggle withbackpainatsomepoint in their lives.Themostcommon typeofback pain experienced is in the lower back, and it can happen for any variety of reasons. Being in a car accident can cause you to experience lingering back pain for years after the accident. Accidents at work can lead to similarconsequences.Butsometimes thecauseofyourbackpain isn’tas straightforward. Back pain can also develop for any number of common reasons— things thatyoudoeverydaywithout thinking twice.Anolddesk chair that doesn’t provide much lumbar support can take its toll over time, ascanwearingshoesthatdon’thavemuchsupport,orevengainingweight, particularly around the stomach area.

Too many people consider back pain a normal experience of their lives and don’t immediately seek support that could make the pain an issue of the past. Working with a physical therapist is, hands down, the best thing that you can do when you are looking to overcome back pain. A physical therapist can identify the cause of the back pain and present you with helpfulstrategies thatcanstrengthenyourbackandreduce theseverityof your pain. Physical therapy for back pain often includes a combination of targetedmassage,flexibilityandrangeofmotiontraining,musclebuilding, andtargetedstretchingtechniques.Usingthesestrategies incombination withanti-inflammatorymedication,as recommendedbyyourphysician, is often considered the most-efficient approach to handling back pain and is recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

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UNDERSTANDING BACK PAIN

How to use ice: Ice is useful when you want to reduce swelling. For example, your ankle balloons up after a sprain. This is because blood and fluid collect rapidly, making it both painful and stiff. At this point, an ice pack helps to close off those tiny vessels. The blood flow slows down. Small nerves become numb, so the pain reduces. The muscles also relax. The inflammatory reaction is sloweddown.Asa result,yourankle is lessswollen and painful. Icepacksareveryuseful inbruises,strains,and joint swellings.Use them foranyacuteswelling,over the first 24 to 48 hours (except back strains). Ice helps later too, while exercising the limb. Our friendly therapists can show you how to make movements less painful and more flexible by using an ice pack just before or during exercise. Being educated about your back pain can help you make the right choices to overcome it as quickly as possible.Oneof thebiggestproblemswithbackpain is that it lingers.This leads many people to deal with back pain for years on end without seemingly any end in sight. While there is back pain that develops as a result of strainorsprain,there isalsosomethingcalled lowback degenerative disc disease, which happens when the discs inyourspineweaken.Thisfrequentlydevelopsas a resultof repetitiveback injuryandcanalsodevelop as a result of age. With degenerative disc disease, the space between the discs begins to collapse and becomeunstableandwillcausebackpaintodevelop. Whenyouworkwithaphysicaltherapisttoovercome back pain as a result of degenerative disc disease, your physical therapist will begin by strengthening core muscle groups, which includes the abdominal wall,andwillprovideyouwith targetedmassageand stretching techniques to alleviate pain. Whilesomebackpain iseasyto identifyaspain,such as isthecasewithdegenerativediscdisease,thereare other situations in which the pain may be a bit more

How to make an ice pack : Wrap a plastic bag of frozen peas or ice cubes in a thick cold wet towel. Place it on the injured part. Check after a few minutes to make sure the skin is not red, an early signof frostbite.Generally, icing for15 to20minutes is enough. Repeat every 2-4 hours. Our therapists will help use ice properly for healing and pain relief. How to use heat: Heat packs, bottles, or infra-red lamps can be very useful if you have a muscle spasmor if it is48hoursafter injury. Icingamuscle spasm contracts the muscle fibers, so they would hurt intensely. On the other hand, heat improves the circulation, soothes and relaxes the muscles by carrying away toxins and bringing in healing oxygen. Heat can comfort a back or neck strain, especially if it has been persisting for some time. When you use a heat pack, wrap it in a towel and check the temperature so it doesn’t burn the skin. complicatedtounderstand.Oneofthemostcommon back issuesexperienced intheUnitedStates issciatica 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?Theanswer is that sciatica pain is characterized by the following factors: • Constant pain is only present in one side of the buttocks or leg •The legpaindevelopsmoreasaburning, tinglingor 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 • The pain is radiating, shooting down the leg and sometimes even into the feet and toes Sciaticapaindevelops in thenerves thatconnect the lower back to the legs, and so while the pain itself is •The pain becomes worse when you are sitting

generatedfromtheback,a lotoftime,theexperience of the pain is more largely associated 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 andweakness inthe lowerbackandupper legs,andthe pain isn’tconsistenteither.Thesensationwilltypically run through the leg in waves, causing discomfort at seemingly unpredictable times. If you are experiencing back pain and you haven’t talked to a medical professional about the concern, then now is the time to take action. Working with a physical therapist can cut your time struggling with backpain literally inhalf. Formore informationabout overcoming back pain, contact us.

WHEN TO USE ICE & HEAT FOR PAIN RELIEF

When not to use heat : Don’t use heat if you have a painful, red or swollen joint. This increases circulation so that fluid collects, worsening the swelling and stretching or compressing the nerves and surrounding healthy tissue. This makes it still more painful. You’d be better off icing it.

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SPINACH & EGG SWEET POTATO TOAST

PATIENT SUCCESS STORY

INGREDIENTS • 1 large slice sweet potato (¼ inch thick) • ⅓ cup cooked spinach • 1 large egg, fried or poached

• ½ teaspoon sliced fresh chives • ½ teaspoon hot sauce • ½ cup seltzer water • 6 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

“My pain is virtually gone.”

“I can’t thank the staff at the Indian Harbour Beach office enough! I’ve sufferedwithbackpain foryearsso I thought IwouldgivePTa try.Boywas I impressed!Whydid Inot try thissooner?Mypain isvirtuallygone.Yesterday I walked two miles with no discomfort. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be back exercising and living without that horrible pain.” - R.V.

INSTRUCTIONS Toast sweet potato in a toaster or toaster oven until just cooked through and starting to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.Top with spinach, egg, chives and hot sauce.

1. Feel free to call us and ask to speak to your therapist. Has Your Pain Come Back? 2. Your therapist can discuss with you why your pain is bothering you again and what you might do about it at home. 3. If further assessment is warranted, your therapist might recommend you come in for an appointment. Call To Talk to Your Therapist Today 321-802-5814

EXERCISE ESSENTIAL Try this movement if you are experiencing back pain.

STANDING EXTENSIONS While standing, place your hands on your hips and lean back to arch your back. Hold, then repeat 6-10 times.

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