Tag Archives: physical therapy

National Spinal Health Month: Tips for a Healthy Spine

During the month of October, organizations across the United States focus on the importance of spinal health, different approaches to pain treatment, and how massage therapy can improve our lives.

The America Physical Therapy Association (APTA) raises awareness about the benefits of physical therapy as a safe, effective option for long-term pain management while recognizing and celebrating physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who help improve people’s lives through movement. While the American Chiropractic Associate (ACA) shares back injury preventing and strengthening tips during National Chiropractic Health Month. The end of the month turns to massage during National Massage Therapy Awareness Week (NMTAW) put on by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Massage therapy can be a beneficial part of a pain management plan.

These initiatives put a spotlight on the importance, as well as the benefits, of self-care and those who help provide solutions for lasting relief. By working to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion, we can keep our spine happy and healthy as we age. Doing so allows us to live the life we want to, free from back and neck pain.

These simple guidelines and tips can help you take better care of your spinal health:

Massage Therapy

  • Increase blood flow, endorphins, and flexibility with regular massages
  • Speed up healing, relieve tense muscles from head to toe, and find comfort, spinal support, and deep relaxation.
  • Massage chairshandheld massagers, and massage cushions allow for a therapeutic experience any time of the day, for any amount of time, in the privacy of your home.

Proper Ergonomics

  • Create a custom workstation to fit your needs and your body.
  • Look for spine-friendly office equipment. A standing deskergonomic office chair, or footrest create a healthy work environment.
  • Flexibility is key. Be sure to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

Stay Active

  • Maintain a consistent exercise routine to help strengthen muscles, protect your spine, and prevent injuries.
  • Feel more energized and productive throughout the day when you get in your workout first thing in the morning.
  • Incorporate stretching into your daily regimen for increased flexibility in spinal muscles, tension relief, and increase blood flow.

Sleep Well

  • Create a sleep environment that promotes comfort, relaxation, and support.
  • A quality mattress and pillow ensures you’re getting a restful sleep by providing you with support where you need it most.
  • Improve your mood, personal performance, and cardiovascular health when you get adequate sleep.

6 Common Back Pain Myths

6 Common Back Pain Myths

Did you know 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time? There is a wealth of knowledge and information online regarding back pain however, finding the correct information isn’t always easy.

Below we are debunking a few of the most common back pain myths.

MYTH #1 Bed rest is the best solution until the pain goes away

TRUTH: Although resting for a day or two after an injury is expected, longer periods of bed rest can actually cause more damage to your back. Inactivity weakens the muscles and slows down your recovery time. Simple, gentle exercises for a few minutes a day will help keep your muscles actively engaged. Speak with your doctor or physical therapist to see what exercises you can perform.

MYTH #2 I work out regularly, I won’t get back pain

TRUTH: While physically active people are less likely to deal with back pain and discomfort than those who have a more sedentary lifestyle, they are not risk free. Back pain can affect all people regardless of how active they are. Sports like volleyball and golf are more likely to cause pain. Be sure to include conditioning and strengthening exercises for your back and abdominal muscles to prevent pain and injury.

MYTH #3 All back pain requires professional treatment

TRUTH: While there are many causes for back pain, there are also a variety of possible solutions to relieve pain. Studies have shown that stretching, yoga, and spine-friendly furniture, such as ergonomic chairs for the office and home and well-fitted mattresses and pillows, can provide the same amount of relief as medications.

MYTH #4 Surgery is the only option for long-term relief

TRUTH: Most back related pain can be treated with non-operative methods. Physical therapy and activity modification have proven to be incredibly successful in helping patients find relief and prevent pain in the future. Fitness and therapy products like the Mastercare Back-A-Traction Inversion Table or lumbar extenders have also provide lasting relief to customers. Spine surgery is a risky procedure and oftentimes, patients are overprescribed medication for simple back pain.

MYTH #5 Exercise is bad for your back

TRUTH: One of the most effective forms of back pain prevention and treatment is exercise. By strengthening the abdominal and back muscles, your spine is protected, lowering the risk of pain or injury – especially in the lower back. If starting a new routine, begin with gentle exercises that are low impact. As always, consult your physical before starting a new workout or stretch program.

MYTH #6 Back pain is unavoidable as I age

TRUTH: Back pain may be more prevalent with age however, there are ways to reduce the risk by looking at the common causes. Studies have found a number of causes that lead to age-related back pain. Inactivity, smoking, being overweight, high stress, inadequate sleep, and poor posture can all lead to major pain problems in the long run. By addressing these risks early on, you can prevent back pain and discomfort as you get older.

While many people may suffer from back pain, no two people will have the same experience with pain or recovery. At Relax The Back, we understand back pain can affect people differently. When you visit our stores, our trained specialists will work with you to determine what is causing you the most pain and product solutions to provide the most relief. Personalized comfort, personalized relief. Find a Relax The Back location near you and say goodbye to back pain.

National Physical Therapy Month: #ChoosePT

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October is National Physical Therapy Month. Each year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recognize and celebrate physical therapists assistants and physical therapists who help improve people’s lives through movement. Physical therapists also help people who are suffering from osteoporosis, stroke, sprains, arthritis, and so much more.

This October’s campaign is focused on choosing physical therapy over opioid pain medication. #ChoosePT raises awareness of America’s opioid epidemic and the dangers of prescription opioids while providing information on safer alternatives for treating chronic pain conditions.

Since 1999, sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled even though the amount of pain that Americans report has not changed overall. In relation, as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term, for non-cancer pain, struggle with addiction. These are just a few of the staggering statistics of opioid use in America.

In response to these recent studies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidelines and recommendations for prescribing medication. It is understood that if properly dosed, prescription opioids are an appropriate treatment option in certain cases such as cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations.

For other pain management situations, Physical Therapy is recommended as a safe, non-opioid alternative. Move Forward PT provides a few reasons why patients should choose physical therapy over pain medication:

  • If the risks of opioid use outweigh the rewards: Potential side effects of opioids include, but are not limited to, depression, overdose, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms when stopping use. With these risks in mind, the CDC guideline states, “opioids should not be considered first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain”.
  • If patients want to do more than mask pain: Physical therapists treat pain through movement, helping patients improve or maintain their mobility and quality of life. Physical therapy offers benefits that will help patients live a pain-free and active life for many years while opioids offer a short-term solution to reduce the feeling of pain.
  • If pain is related to low back pain, hip or knee osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia: The CDC explains there is “high-quality evidence” that supports exercise as an effective treatment plan for these types of conditions.
  • If pain lasts 90 days: If you are suffering from pain symptoms for 90 days or more, it is considered “chronic”. This leads to an increased risk for continued opioid use. The CDC guidelines recommend and prefer non-opioid therapies, such as physical therapy, for chronic pain.

If you’re suffering from pain and discomfort, consult your doctor and ask about all treatment options including non-opioid therapies. The APTA also makes it easy to find a physical therapist in your area.

Follow along all month on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more physical therapy tips and information.

#AgeWell At Any Age: America’s Attitude on Aging

 

From the hopes of staying healthy to the fears of not being able to live independently, we all think about aging in some degree, regardless of gender or age. Even so, a recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association showed many Americans are unaware of how and when old age will begin to affect them.

While half of those surveyed expect to lose flexibility and strength with age, a majority of American adults still expect to be living independently at the age of 80. The APTA feels these contradictory beliefs mean we have a lot to learn about healthy aging.

Negative effects of aging are avoidable. Physical therapists can help adults improve strength and flexibility, without straining hips, the lower back, and knees or causing injury, with tailored exercise routines. During Physical Therapy Month the APTA hopes to educate adults on the benefits of physical therapy as a preventive measure as well as a way to improve physical problems and slow down the effects of aging.

See more information from the survey in the infographic below. You can find more information on physical therapy month at MoveForwardPT.com.  The American Physical Therapy Association also makes it easy to find a physical therapist in your area.

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7 Myths About Physical Therapy

Each October, physical therapists and physical therapists assistants are recognized for their hard work and dedication to restore and improve motion in people’s lives during National Physical Therapy month (NPTM). Lead by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), this month is intended to recognize the work of these trained specialists who help people restore or improve mobility, reduce pain, and stay fit and active throughout their lives.

At Relax The Back, we want to thank physical therapists and physical therapists assistants for all that they do and for referring our products to patients to aid in pain relief.  The role physical therapy can play in our lives is sometimes misunderstood. These misconceptions can discourage people from seeking out a physical therapist in their area.

Move Forward PT is debunking some of these myths to help people find pain relief in their daily lives:

Physical Therapy Myths

Common Neck Pain Myths Debunked

Neck Pain MythsWhether a dull ache or a sharp stab, many of us will experience some form of neck pain sooner or later. Solutions for relieving pain aren’t always the most straightforward, with some people finding relief quickly and others dealing with nagging pain for longer periods of time. Below we debunk some of the more common neck pain and treatment myths.

 

 

Myth: The best way to deal with neck pain is with rest

Truth: While short periods of rest can help ease acute pain of the neck or back, doctors generally do not advise more than one to two days of bed rest. On the contrary, general inactivity and rest can cause more pain and allow for an unhealthy cycle of pain/inactivity/more pain/more inactivity to occur. Physicians recommend for most conditions a long-term rehabilitation program consisting of physical therapy and exercise.

Myth: Pain is inevitable so I should just tough it out

Truth: Chronic neck and back pain (pain lasting more than 2-3 months) is very debilitating and can interfere with one’s ability to complete daily activities. If this is the case, treatment for pain must be sought out right away. Allowing the pain to worsen and go untreated can impede the healing and rehabilitation process by interfering with exercise. There is also a risk of increased psychological distress such as depression, stress, and sleeplessness.

Myth: The spine is easily injured due to sensitive nerves

Truth: Muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround the spine provide a great deal of support, flexibility and strength. Smoking, lack of sleep or nutrition, and other generally unhealthy factors along with poor posture and body mechanics (ex. Improper lifting techniques) can harm the spine. Proper conditioning such as stretching, aerobic exercises, and strengthening are required in keeping the spine healthy and injury-free. Proper ergonomics and neck supports, such as Dr. Riter’s Real-EaSE Neck Support, can help keep neck pain at bay.

Myth: The pain must all be in my head since the doctor found nothing wrong

Truth: Regardless of a physician finding the anatomical cause of pain, pain is always real. It is especially important to proactively seek treatment for pain if one is suffering for more than 2-3 months. It is important to look at all options, , including nonsurgical treatment options, when searching for ways to help alleviate pain.

Why Physical Therapy?

Often we do not think about or appreciate our ability to move freely and without pain until physical impairments or disabilities occur. These may be due to illness, injury, or muscle stiffness, to name a few.  Physical therapists are trained to restore mobility and functional ability, as well as prevent injury and assist in overall health and wellness of their patients. If you are wondering if physical therapy can help you, here are some reasons why it is a good choice:

  • Avoid Surgery: When it comes to relieving stiffness and moderate to severe pain from knee, back, and neck injuries, research has shown that physical therapy, combined with comprehensive medical management, is just as effective as surgery.
  • Eliminate Pain: No matter which part of your body is in pain, physical therapy can alleviate and help manage pain and discomfort through specific exercises based on your injury, without invasive methods or expensive medications.
  • Improve Mobility and Motion: Physical therapists create personalized treatment plans to help improve one’s balance, reduce the risk of injury and prevent falls.
  • Health and Wellness: In addition to helping with injuries and illness, a physical therapist can create a plan specific to your fitness goals to help restore your health, as well as prevent injuries.

Physical therapists can also help you with arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, sprains, and much more. Find more information on physical therapy at MoveForwardPT.com.  The American Physical Therapy Association also makes it easy to find a physical therapist in your area.

 

National Physical Therapy Month & The McKenzie Method

Each October, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) commemorates National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) as a way of recognizing the impact physical therapist assistants and physical therapists make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.
Earlier this year Robin McKenzie, a pioneer of musculoskeletal disorders and their treatment, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Robin developed the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnostics and Therapy (MDT) in 1950.
The McKenzie Method is based on the idea of self-care and patients managing their own pain. The MDT system consists of the following:

  • Assessment: A well-defined algorithm leads to simple classification of spinal-related disorders and is unique to MTD. Disorders are addressed according to their unique nature with mechanical procedures utilizing movement and positions.
  • Treatment: In order to restore function and independence, minimize visits to the clinic and diminish pain quickly, MTD uniquely emphasizes active patient involvement and education.
  • Preventive measure: Educating patients to self-treat the present problem minimizes the risk of relapse and gives patients the skills to manage the pain themselves when symptoms occur.

Robin believed that self-treatment was the best way to achieve long lasting improvement of neck and back pain. MDT is recognized worldwide as a standard for management of low back pain as well as the basis on which Relax The Back was founded. Robin made great strides in the field of physical therapy and his legacy will live on through the McKenzie Institute International. You can find more information on the McKenzie Method and the McKenzie Institute International at McKenzieMDT.org.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) can be painful, but it’s not quite as dire as it sounds due to its misnomer. The term “degenerative” implies to most people that the symptoms will get progressively worse with age, but this is not the case. And technically, it’s not a disease, but a condition of a degenerative or damaged intervertebral disc. This occurs as a natural part of aging due to strain, overuse, and maybe even misuse. As you age, discs – which act like pillow-like cushions between your vertebrae – start to lose its flexibility, elasticity, and its ability to cushion your movements.  DDD occurs when the outer layer of a disc becomes structurally unsound, usually with small cracks and tears. These tears in the disc can cause nerve inflammation or irritation, making it uncomfortable to sit for long periods of time. Over time, this can cause instability and misalignment of the spine. Fortunately in many cases, people with DDD actually improve over time.

If you find yourself having back pain flareups generally made worse with sitting, consider talking to your doctor to get officially diagnosed with an MRI scan. In the meanwhile, here are some tips to help manage degenerative disc disease pain:

  • Physical Therapy – Seek out a physical therapist that can help design exercises and movement habits tailored to your evaluation and physical needs.
  • Seat Cushions – Make prolonged sitting at home, at work, or in the car more bearable with seat cushions. We have a variety to choose from to match you wherever and anywhere you’re seated.
  • Cold/heat therapy – Sooth flare-ups and tired muscles with hot & cold therapy. Alternate with our ProtoCold Reusable Cold Therapy Pads followed by our MediBeads Moist Heat Pads. They’re both safe, effective, clean, convenient, and easy to use.
  • Medications: In the case that pressure on nerves is caused by inflammation, take over-the-counter pain relievers.

Explore one of our more than 100 stores for additional information and a personal assessment by one of our trained associates.