Excel PT: Why Does My Back Hurt?

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

WHY DOES MY BACK HURT?

Back pain is one of the most common conditions that physical therapists treat on a daily basis and can be caused by a variety of sources, such as sitting at your work desk for hours at a time with limited movement, lifting an object incorrectly, or bending to pick up your child. Back pain can also be associated with medical diagnoses ranging from arthritis, scoliosis, and many more. (continued inside)

By Anthony Reid, PT, DPT

INSIDE : • Why Does my Back Hurt?

• Exercise Of The Month • Featured PT

• Is My Neck Causing My Back Pain?

www.excelphysicaltherapy.com

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

WHY DOES MY BACK HURT?

(continued from outside)

INSIDE : • Is My Neck Causing My Back Pain? • Featured PT

• Exercise Of The Month • Patient Success Spotlight

Depending on how we sit, stand, move, and sleep, certain muscle imbalances, weakness, and tightness can develop leading to low back pain. Many patients, when it comes to the core and back, have difficulty activating muscles due to compensating or favoring certain muscles with daily activities. Back pain can be extremely limiting for anyone, regardless of age. In fact, around 50% of

increases pressure in your lungs when you exhale. To activate and engage this muscle, simply lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Exhale to let out the air in your lungs and force your stomach down towards your backside without tilting your pelvis or back. For most patients, this muscle is either weak or is just not kicking in as much. With the transverse abdominis fully activating, it will allow for other core muscles to not have to work more than they should. It won’t burn many calories, but it can help prevent and aid in treating low back pain. Physical therapists at Excel commonly treat low back pain with simple, nonstrenuous core exercises while adapting to each person’s diagnosis to develop an individual treatment plan. That way, we are fixing YOUR back and not providing an assembly line of exercises that you may see with various popular workout videos or 30 day fixes. The goal is to educate patients on how our bodies are designed to move, and in what manner, while incorporating manual therapy and exercises you cannot just do on your own.

By Anthony Reid, PT, DPT

individuals will experience an onset of back pain at one point in their life. At Excel, we perform extensive one-on-one evaluations by a licensed physical therapist to determine your cause of back pain. We are mechanical experts of the human body and recommend simple exercises where no equipment is necessary. With proper hands-on and verbal cuing, we can teach a patient to engage the transverse abdominis muscles to perform their mechanical job, where as other muscles will take over for these imbalances. The transverse abdominis is the innermost abdominal muscle of the front lower part of your torso that helps provide stability to your abdominal organs and

Call your physical therapist to help you to achieve a pain-free life!

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Samantha Orkin, PT, DPT Samantha is a therapist at our Society Hill - Queen Village clinic location. Read her full profile here: FEATURED PT

Is My Neck Causing My Back Pain?

1. How did you decide to become a physical therapist and what motivates you to work with patients? After seeing a family member struggle with a debilitating disease, I understood the importance of maintaining independence and function.

I decided to become a physical therapist because I learned how special it is to get the chance to help someone overcome the physical and mental barriers that prevent them from functional independence. I am motivated by the idea of helping my patients reach their personal goals and return to living their best life. 2. In your words, what makes Excel Physical Therapy different from other physical therapy clinics? Excel is unique because unlike all clinics, the quality of patient care is really the #1 priority. Everyone is constantly striving to learn more, expanding their knowledge, refining old skills, and asking questions to advance the quality of the care we deliver to our patients, based on the most current and relevant research out there. 3. What was your most memorable patient experience? I had a patient who was a professional dancer and dance instructor. Due to a hip injury, she was completely limited from both her passion and full-time job. Together, we worked hard to improve her strength, stability, stretching regimen, and body mechanics. When we started her PT, she couldn’t walk comfortably. A few weeks after her discharge from therapy, I received a picture from her atop a 14,000-ft mountain that she had just hiked in Ecuador. That was a really exciting day. 4. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why? I would be a dolphin. They are playful, social animals and enjoy having fun. Living in the tropical waters would be pretty cool too. 5. If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be and why? Compassionate; my most genuine personal happiness comes from seeing my patients, friends, and family happy. I enjoy being there for other people, and usually connect with people very naturally. 6. What do you like to do in your off time, outside the clinic? Spending time with family and friends is my favorite way to spend my free time. I love trying new foods and new restaurants. Traveling and cooking are both passions of mine. You can always catch me with my head in a cookbook or brainstorming new recipes!

It can sometimes 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 can easily assist in determining the root causes of your symptoms. A physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine why you are experiencing pain, investigate its source and treat all affected areas. After your initial consultation, they will create a specialized treatment plan, based on their diagnosis to address 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.

www.excelphysicaltherapy.com

CALL US TODAY IF YOU ARE IN PAIN

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Patient Success Spotlight

Art Museum Area - Philadelphia

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Bensalem

Berwyn

Lie on your back with arms resting at your sides, palms up. Bend hips and knees, placing feet on flat surface. “Pull” your belly button inward and execute by lifting your hips off the surface to make a bridge. Do not arch your back and squeeze glutes during movement. Lower slowly and repeat 5 times. Bridge - Arms Flat EXERCISE OF THE MONTH “I tripped up a step and re-injured my already sore lower back to the point where I could not walk, or even breathe, without pain. Lying down seemed the only solution, as living on pain medication was not an option. My internist suggested physical therapy, and after speaking with some friends for recommendations, they said the best place is Excel in Berwyn. Scheduling an appointment was a breeze. Kathy set it up, sent all of the paperwork electronically and made my evaluation appointment. The facility has a great vibe and the staff is friendly and supports one another. In my mind, this atmosphere aids in the healing process. Steven Lee was assigned as my therapist and was very knowledgeable, personable and passionate. He asked me questions about my pain, when it is most painful, etc., and it was in that evaluation that I was able to finally understand my pain. He listened carefully and often repeated my own descriptions back to me when talking about the next step in the therapy process. Each therapy session started simply and the goal of each exercise was explained to me and demonstrated with the proper technique. Steven would check in on how I was doing and was sensitive to my comfort level. He was no pushover either! The exercises were cumulative and before I knew it, I was able to lie down and get up from the table without pain. The final test was my trip to Maine -an entire week on my own without PT. I knew what to do if there was a flare-up -check my posture, do back extensions, do the Cobra. It worked! I was not at Excel just for the therapy. Steven taught me strategies to use to avoid future pain and what to do if the pain came back. I visited my physician and she was very pleased with the results. Thank you so very much, Steven Lee, for your exceptional diagnostic skills, teaching skills and professional care.” - A.S. (Berwyn, PA) “...before I knew it, I was able to lie down and get up from the table without pain.”

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