Back & Neck EBook - US

Naturally Relieve Your Back and Neck Pain



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Table of Contents

02 Why Does My Back & Neck Hurt?

04 Step 1: Improve Your Posture

06 Step 2: Enhance Your Flexibility

08 Step 3: Improve Your Spine’s Stability

10 Step 4: Enhance Your Spine’s Strength

12 Step 5: Lasting Results With Coordination

14 Why Physical Therapy Is The Right Choice

*medical disclaimer

Always consult your physical therapist before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional todesignanappropriateexerciseprescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these tips, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

Why Does My Back & Neck Hurt?

Pain is a symptom of the underlying mechanical problem. The vast majority of back, sciatica or neck pain is caused by poor mechanical movement of the spine. This occurs from poor posture, alignment, flexibility, coordination, and weak spinal muscles. Many people turn to over-the-counter medications, see their doctor for prescription medications, and even have expensive MRI’s and x-rays, without achieving any long-lasting results. These approaches focus on the symptom, not treating the root cause of the problem. As pain therapists, we get results, because we are the mechanics of the body, treating the root mechanical problems of spinal pain. In this book, we are going to teach you what we do to alleviate back pain, so you can help the health of your back and get back to the activities you enjoy.

Back pain is a mechanical problem and therefore, must be treated as such. Here are the main causes most back pain:

Cervical spine

• Poor daily posture

Thoracic spine

• Lack of flexibility

• Poor spinal joint stability

• Inadequate core muscle strength • Lack of spinal coordination and balance

Lumbar spine

Sacrum and Coccyx

Getting To The Root Of The Problem

Back pain can be occasional or chronic. Whichever your back pain is, your body is telling you that something is wrong and if you don’t fix it, there will be more serious consequences in the future. Many chronic problems such as arthritis, stenosis, herniated discs and sciatica can be dramatically helped with the right treatment. The sooner you address the root of the problem, the less risk for long- termdamage to your spine. Take time to read and implement these back pain relief strategies in this book. Your spine will thank you! If you want to know more about how we can help you alleviate your back pain for good, call us today to speak with one of our specialists. About Physical Therapy Physical therapists typically have doctorate degrees in medical science. Licensed by the state, they evaluate orthopedic and neurological conditions that effect movement. Many years of medical training go into being a physical therapist. Our focus is on evaluation of your joint, muscle, coordination, walking, and balance movements. This allows us to pinpoint the exact mechanical problems of your spine. Physical therapists are also experts in hands on treatments such as massage, joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization and much more. In addition to gentle hands on therapy, a physical therapy session also involves specific therapeuticexercises that target affectedareas, rebuilding flexibility, strength and coordination. Finally, a physical therapist teaches you how to take care of your body with exercises, posture techniques and more for long-lasting results.

Step 1: Improve Your Posture

Everyday, your spine wages a war against gravity. How well it is aligned during the day, will dictate howwell it survives. Do you sit for long periods at work or at home? Do you find yourself slouching during the day? Poor posture strains spinal muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues. This causes areas of the spine to become stiff, weak or even too loose. The center of gravity in your body falls along the natural curves of your spine. With poor posture, your spine loses its normal curvature, which places strain on different parts of the spine. For example, the lower spine can become too curved (lordosis) or flat (kyphosis). Protecting Your Spine With Better Posture The best way to alleviate back pain is to begin with better posture. Sitting causes the most pressure on the spine itself, so it is important that if you do sit a lot during the day, you take extra care of your spine. Here are some simple tips to help you improve your posture with doing different tasks: 1. When sitting at a desk, make sure that you are sitting tall, with your feet flat on the floor. A computer screen should be high enough so that the top 1/3rd of the screen is eye level. The screen should also be directly in front of you and not off to the side as this rotates your spine 2. When walking, make sure to look ahead and pretend that an invisible string is pulling you up through the top of your head. This brings your body into better alignment 3. Avoid sitting at home in soft couches or in recliners for long periods. This causes an abnormal slouching in your low spine and a severe forward head posture strain 4. When lifting objects, keep themclose to your body and keep your back straight. Kneel down or squat to pick up objects off the floor. Use your legs, not your spine

Step 1: Improve Your Posture (cont.)

5. If your job or activities require you to be sitting for long hours, make sure that you get up and move around every 20-30 minutes for 1-2 minutes to give your back a break 6. When sleeping, try to sleep on your back or side. Ideally, use a pillow under the back of your legs when lying on your back and between your knees when lying on your side. This keeps your spine in better alignment 7. When you first get intobed in the evening, lie on your side for 10minuteswith a pillow between your knees and legs tucked up close to you in a fetal position. This allows the discs between your spinal vertebrae to rehydrate after being compressed during the day

Posture helps your joints heal The strain of daily activities causes inflammation deep in the tissues of the spine. This in turn irritates nerve endings, causing aches and pains. Proper posture helps to reduce the strain on the spine throughout the day, reducing the build up of inflammation. How physical therapy helps your stride Physical therapists are experts in posture and evaluating alignment of the body. Our well-trained physical therapists have years of medical training to spot deviations in your body alignment due to compensation and underlying problems. Often the painful area is compensating for poor posture and alignment in other areas. By working on these other problem areas, better posture can be restored, allowing your body to function normally and move through a pain free range.

Step 2: Enhance Your Flexibility

We are creatures of movement and our body systems rely on movement to function properly. Studies show that even for young people, 2 weeks of physical inactivity leads to 30% loss of musclemass2. In turn, inactivity also leads to loss of flexibility within the joints of the body. Your spine is made up of multiple vertebrae (the bones), each with a pair of joints on the left and right. These joints are called facets, gliding upwards and downwards at various angles.

Did you know...

Your spine relies heavily on your hips joints and pelvis to be flexible. The majority of movement when you squat or bend down during the day comes from your hips. When your hips lose their flexibility, the strain is transferred to your spine, causing abnormal pain, wear and tear.

Step 2: Enhance Your Flexibility (cont.)

How to improve the flexibility of your spine It is never good to stretch into pain or be aggressive. Stretch your muscles and joints within a comfortable range and gradually ease into deeper stretches Depending on your age, you should stretch more frequently. The older you get, the longer andmore frequent your stretching routine should be. Your tissues become less elastic as you age Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates can be great ways to stretch. However, make sure you start at a basic level, listen to the instructors and stay within your limits Dynamic stretching is a very beneficial way to improve your flexibility and coordination of the joints. The goal is to stretch while going through a series of movements. This re-educates the body on the propermovement patterns to restore proper flexibility. How physical therapy helps your flexibility One of the core principles of physical therapy is restoring correct movement. A physical therapist improves the mobility of your spinal joints with advanced, but gentle hands on manual techniques. These gentle techniques specifically improve the flexibility of joints in the spine and hips. This takes many years of medical training and skill to be able to correctly evaluate and treat. In addition, physical therapists focus on teaching you how to prevent your problem from returning through specific exercises, retaining your flexibility. Start with gentle stretches for the whole body. Focus on your hips, low and mid back. Even gentle neck stretches can help your posture

Step 2: Enhance Your Flexibility (cont.)

Try these exercises to improve your joint flexibility Always consult your physical therapist or physicianbeforestartingexercises you are unsure of doing.

Quadruped Alternate Arm And Leg While in a crawling position, slowly draw your leg and opposite arm upwards. Your armand leg should be straight and fully out-stretched.

Levator Scapulae Stretch Grasp your armon the affected side and tilt your head downward and to the side until a stretch is felt.

Exercises copyright of

Step 3: Improve Your Spine’s Stability

Spinal instability is a big problem for many people. The spine has very complex movements, with hundreds of muscle groups, over 48 joints, and thousands of nerves. This requires a complicated ballet of precision balance and movement. With injury, or if you have a sedentary lifestyle, the coordination of the spinal muscles can become unbalanced. This places an enormous amount of pressure on key spots in the lower back, increasing inflammation and pain. A large area of instability in the lower back is found at the levels of L3- S1. This is due to the inward curvature of the spine at this level. In some people, this curvature is too great, causing a damaging shear force. If left unchecked for years, this can cause ligament andmuscle damage leading to a condition called spondylolesthesis. The lower back also depends on the strength and stability of the core muscles. These include the abdominal, pelvic, and lower back muscles. They maintain the correct alignment and stability of the lower back. With injury and inactivity, your core muscles weaken, causing a sagging of the lower back and protrusion of the abdomen. This is especially noted when you become tired, or stand for a long period. Core muscle weakness occurs frequently in women during and after pregnancy. These muscles are severely stretched during pregnancy and delivery. Many women suffer with abdominal or pelvic floor muscle damage, which increases spinal instability.

Step 3: Improve Your Spine’s Stability (cont.)

How physical therapy helps your spinal stability Physical therapists are experts in treating back and neck problems. They have years of medical training in examining how the body moves. By evaluating your spinal movement, muscle strength, coordination and spinal stability, we pinpoint the root cause of your problem. For example, discovering that you have a weakness around a specific segment of your spine, we then make a plan to perform specific hands on therapy and exercises to target that problem area. As a result, your body’s natural movements are restored, alleviating pain. • Perform exercises that involve multiple body parts at one time. This engagesmoreof thecoremuscles. Forexample, insteadof justperforming exercises towork out your arms, then legs separately, do exercises such as alternating leg / arm lifts • Improve your balance. Performing balance exercises increases your ability to engage your core muscles and improves your stability How to improve your spinal stability • Work on simple exercises to increase the strength and stamina of your coremuscles. These include exercises to strengthen your abdominals, hip, pelvic, and spinal muscles. A physical therapist teaches you the proper exercises for your particular condition • Practice keeping your lower abdominals gently drawn towards your belly button. This helps to align the spine and tighten your internal muscle support • Keep your abdominals gently tightenedwhen you bend, squat or reach. This helps you keep your spine in alignment, during these moments of greater spinal stress


Step 3: Improve Your Spine’s Stability (cont.)

Try this exercise to improve your spinal stability Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you are unsure of doing. Alternating Step Touch Stand “tall”, with sturdy step stool positioned in front. Step one foot at a time onto the stool. Alternate legs.

Step 4: Enhance Your Spine’s Strength

When you sit for prolonged periods in the day, your spinal muscles atrophy or become weak. In addition, with repetitive bending or lifting injuries, certain segments of the spine can be injured. Injuries weaken all themuscles around the affected area, especially the smaller muscles that control spinal coordination. By strengtheningyour specific spinalmuscles, especially thesmaller ones calledmultifidi, your body can restore control to the spinal movement. This decreases strain and daily inflammation, resulting in long-term pain relief. The spine has very long muscles that run vertically to hold you upright during the day. In addition, there are many small muscles deep within the spine that fine-tune the movements of each segment.

Step 4: Enhance Your Spine’s Strength (cont.)

How to improve your spinal strength Strength comes fromperforming the right exercises with the right amount of control. You are far better off doing small, specific spinal strengthening exercises, than trying tomove largeweights. It is safer and youwill achieve a better result A lot of strengthening actually involves restoring your brain’s ability to connect with the right muscle groups. When you perform abdominal exercises, do them slowly with focus on tightening your muscles, and controlling the movement The pelvic and hip muscles are an important part of strengthening your spine. Weak hipmuscles fail to take the load when walking, change your posture, spinal movement, and result in straining the spine. Performing leg lifts out to the side and back help to strengthen the hip musculature Perform coordinated strengthen exercises. For example, doing mini- squats while keeping your abdomen tight helps to engage the core, pelvic and leg muscles together How physical therapy helps your spinal strength Physical therapists have years of training in kinesiology, which is the study of human movement. Through proper evaluation of what muscles are weak in your spine, we pinpoint the exact area that needs strengthening. We then teach you specific exercises that target particular muscle groups. We naturally progress your from very simple exercises to more complex coordinated exercises as your spinal muscles heal and begin to work together. You are empowered with the knowledge of how to keep your spine strong and healthy.

Step 4: Enhance Your Spine’s Strength (cont.)

Try this exercise to improve your spinal strength Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you are unsure of doing.

Mini Squat Start with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees inline with hips and ankles. Focus on bending at the hip. When bending, do not let your knees travel forward past toes or fall inwards.

Exercises copyright of

Step 5: Lasting Results With Coordination

Our goal is to not only quickly relieve your pain, but to make sure your spine stays healthy for the long run. One of the most important features of a healthy spine is the ability to coordinate your muscles. This provides long-term spine health and the capability to handle strenuous motions. Your spine is complexwith 33 bones andover 48 joints that all have tomove at the right time and place to make smooth movements. Your spine has hundreds ofmuscles that give it strength, andmost importantly, coordinate thosemovements. It’s nowonder that things can gowrong when you have that many moving parts. With prolonged sitting or injury, muscle segments of the spine are traumatized, resulting in weakness, poor balance and coordination. In addition, as we age, the nerve impulses that control our balance slow down. The good news is that with the right exercises and treatment, your coordination and balance can be vastly improved.

Step 5: Lasting Results With Coordination (cont.)

How to improve your spinal coordination

1. Workonyourwholebalance.Whileholdingontoasteady surface, try to balance on one leg at a time. Tighten your abdominal muscles while you do this and don’t let your hip / pelvis sink down 2. Perform alternating arm and leg lift exercises. Using multiple body parts causes rotation and activation of the smaller muscles in the spine 3. Work on controlling the tightening of your abdominal muscles, hips and spine throughout the day. Practice this lying down, sitting and standing to have a different effect on the abdominal muscles in different positions

4. Perform core exercises such as modified planks

How physical therapy helps your spinal coordination A physical therapist can pinpoint your exact problem through the examination of your flexibility, strength and coordination. You are put through specific movement patterns that show where your spine lacks coordination and if you have any challenges with your balance. With this knowledge, a complete plan is designed to restore your spine’s natural coordination.

Why Physical Therapy Is The Right Choice

When you have to be careful about what you can or cannot do, because of your back or neck hurting, it’s time to do something about it.

Medication masks the pain and does not treat the underlying problem, which is mechanical. Surgery and injections are a last resort and should only be considered when all else has failed.

For the vastmajority of backpain, sciatica andneckpain sufferers, physical therapy is the perfect solution that naturally restores spinal health.

With physical therapy, there is no cracking or popping, no injections, no pushing through pain. Physical therapy evaluates how your spinemoves and functions. Our evaluation process easily pinpoints the root cause of your spinal problems. Then, through an specific plan of gentle hands on techniques and exercises, we restore your spine’s flexibility, strength, posture and coordination. Imagine, your sore muscles soothed, your joints moving freely, and feeling strong. Imagine being able to easily bend down or lift something without fear of your back or neck hurting. All this can happen with trying physical therapy first.

You should always try physical therapy first with a certified physical therapist, before tryingother aggressivemedical procedures. Many studies point to the fact that trying physical therapy first, achieves much higher results and costs significantly less than other forms of treatment. In the rare instance that more invasive procedures are required, physical therapy is also an important part of your recovery and helps you return to work, play and living a pain-free life.

Call us today or schedule a free phone consult with one of our expert physical therapists.

Discover simple actions you can take, to relieve your pain quickly and naturally.

You and your spine, will be glad that you did.

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