Beyond High School Gym: Physical Therapy Exercise

The visit to the physical therapist is just one step in the road to recovery. Patients will be required to participate in exercises directed at their problem and condition. Some of these physical therapy exercises can be performed at home while others must be assisted by the therapists.

The psychical therapy exercises will vary due to the area of concern. All exercises should be performed just as the therapist directs as any deviation may result in injury or be ineffective. The physical therapy exercises run the gamut from basic stretching to the intense exercises required in rehabilitation such as learning how to walk again.

Some of the examples of basic physical therapy exercises, like stretching, may seem easy enough but must be done in a precise way to avoid a pulled muscle. One of these physical therapy exercises is the sitting stretch. This is a relatively easy exercise. Sit on the floor and wrap a towel at the end of your foot. Use the towel to pull the foot towards your body and hold for a few seconds. You will then repeat this with the other foot. Go slow and do not over stretch yourself.

Other exercises used after an operation are necessary to improve blood flow and circulation to reduce the risks of clots and to ensure that the operation was a success. As such, these physical therapy exercises will be more intense and focused. The patient may be required to perform these exercises for certain durations up to several weeks, months, or even a lifetime to maintain a quality of mobility required for day to day life. An example of an advanced exercise required after hip replacement surgery involves an elastic tube that increases resistance to the leg and thus forces the hip muscles to work harder. This will improve muscle strength and aid in rehabilitation.

Other physical therapy exercises will help the patient in learning how to use a cane, walker, or crutches. These devices aid in walking and are very important. It may take time to learn how to use such devices effectively. These devices can even be used in other exercises to enable increased mobility and allow the patient to cast them off and walk on their own again.

Physical therapy exercises take a certain amount of dedication. Patients must understand that any exercises prescribed by the therapists are necessary and should be done exactly as given. These exercises will improve the body and quicken recovery time. Some of the physical therapy exercises will be assisted by the therapists. It is up to the patient to keep up with any exercises that need to be done in the home. Rehabilitation is made up of many steps and each of them needs to be followed. Dedication and commitment, as well as the exercises, will help when recovering from an operation or just living a full life.

Back Pain Relief….Give Me a Break!

Going on a hunt for back pain relief becomes a critical mission for someone looking for a break from the pain. A lot of back pain issues can actually be handled at home with easy treatments you can learn to do yourself. For example, simple muscle sprains normally don’t need a doctor and can be handled with some bed rest. Even if you have bouts of pain that come and go, or chronic pain, you want to know all the techniques that might at least give you some temporary relief.

Back pain should never be minimized. Any pain that affects your sleep and your daily activities needs to be addressed. There are some symptoms or causes that indicate you should see a doctor right away for back pain relief. These include injuries, weak legs, and unbearable pain that never subsides. But most pain lasts less than a month and doesn’t keep you from living a normal life. For that kind of pain, you just need forms of relief while the muscle or sprain heals.

Back pain relief can often be found by following some very simple guidelines. For example, when you are having a “back attack”, getting any sleep or rest may be difficult. Lack of sleep increases the stress of the situation and adds to the pain. The best way to sleep when you’re having back pain is on your side with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. This is the position that puts the least amount of stress on the spinal discs. You can also sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees.

Anti-inflammatory medicines can often provide back pain relief also. There are several over-the-counter medications that can reduce muscle swelling and thus reduce pain. Many people use ice packs or heating pads in conjunction with the anti-inflammatory drugs to find relief.

Exercise can also provide back pain relief. Unfortunately, when people have back pain they tend to think they shouldn’t do any exercise. Yet strengthening the back muscles is often the cure when the pain is due to injuries resulting from weak muscles. It can also reduce pain in backs with vertebrae problems by creating a strong muscular support system.

Of course, if you can’t find back pain relief using these simple ideas, and the pain continues or gets worse, a doctor should be consulted. There are many options the doctor can offer to provide a break from the pain. They include physical therapy exercise programs and massage, electrical stimulation, prescription medications, nerve blocks and surgery. There is a wide range of choices for back pain relief therapy, and the doctor will review the ones that will work best in your situation.

Sciatica May Be One of The Most Difficult to Diagnose

Sciatica is a term used to describe a problem with the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that starts at the lower back and runs down the back part of each leg. It is responsible for the movement of the muscles in the back of the lower leg and knees. It also is what gives you feeling in the back of your thigh, your lower leg and sole of the feet. Symptoms of sciatica are numbness, weakness or tingling. Although, it’s usually only on one side of your body and starts in your lower back, it can affect your thighs, calf, foot or your toes.

Many people don’t fully understand sciatica and don’t realize they are victims of sciatica because of where the pain is located. The majority of their pain may be in their thigh or calf and assume they have a problems with their legs rather than the sciatic nerve in their back. In some situations, sciatica may go away on its own, but it often needs medicine, exercises or possible surgery. Although at times, doctors can’t find a cause for sciatica, it my come from a pelvic fracture, ruptured intervertebral disc or spinal stenosis.

Some of the symptoms of sciatica are different changes in the sensation you feel in the back of the thigh, calf or sole of your feet such as tingling, numbness or a burning sensation. These are usually the first signs that something is wrong. Any sensations that are abnormal may be signs of sciatica, especially if they are mixed with pain. The pain may start minor and become severe or vice versa. In some of the more severe cases of sciatica, the patient may experience inability to move the feet or bend their knees along with having trouble walking.

Patients are usually diagnosed with sciatica after seeing a doctor for pain in the lower back that extends downward. The doctor will first run blood tests, take X-rays as well as MRIs or EMGs. Nerve conduction tests to determine nerve damage are also taken.

Treatment of sciatica may vary depending on the severity of the illness. The first part of the treatment involves pinpointing the exact cause of the nerve disorder. In some cases that are minor, there will be little or conservative treatment. They will only do this if there appears to be little or not trauma to the area or no degeneration of the nerve area.

If the sciatica is caused from a herniated disc, they may choose to remove the parts that are putting pressure on the nerve. Other forms of treatment for sciatica are injections to reduce an inflammation near the nerve or pain relievers. Physical therapy may also be recommended in some cases to help rebuild the strength of the muscles.

Chronic Back Pain…No End in Sight

Chronic back pain is pain that generally lasts longer than 3 months. Like any long lasting pain, it can interfere with normal daily functioning and create emotional and psychological, as well as, physical problems. There can be a fine line distinction between recurring and chronic pain, when the incidences of pain come close together over a long period of time. No matter how the pain is defined, it’s important to deal with all of the contributors to chronic back pain.

Medical science has slowly been coming to the conclusion that controlling pain for some people is as much as about controlling the pain center responses in the brain as it is to fixing the physical cause of the pain. In other words, you may have a physical reason for the chronic back pain, but the pain can be much worse due to psychological factors such as stress or worry. You can also increase your back pain by reducing your physical activity in response to the pain, resulting in an increasing deteriorating physical condition.

There are many approaches that can be taken to deal with chronic back pain. A doctor can prescribe medicine that blocks the pain response in the brain. Surgery is sometimes suggested, though it’s seldom the first choice. Often, the best way to deal with back pain is by increasing physical activity on a planned schedule.

All too often, people with back pain quit doing certain activities because of the pain. As a result, the muscles in the back weaken and are not exercised regularly. This can create even more pain as the spinal column fails to get adequate muscular support. Many people believe the only way to deal with chronic back pain is to take medicine, but that should be only one option you consider. Chronic back pain can often be temporarily lessoned with simple measure like ice or hot packs and massage. But when these fail, there are other alternatives.

* Trigger point injections of an anesthetic into the muscle area causing the most pain

* Minor surgery to implant electrodes along the spine to block pain signals from the brain (called spinal column stimulation)

* Spinal epidural which deadens the area on the spine where the pain is emanating

* Major surgery which such as a spinal fusion

Most of time some form of medication will be tried before deciding to have surgery. Surgery is the last resort, because it’s the most invasive. Also, since the source of a lot of back pain can’t be pinpointed, surgery becomes more exploratory than curing. Medications used to deal with chronic back pain include painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxants and sedatives or anti-depressants. Since the feeling of pain starts in the brain, some drugs intended to calm a person mentally can sometimes result in less pain due to the changes they bring to brain chemicals.

As you can see, there are many alternatives to deal with chronic back pain. They range from temporary relief enabling you to handle a bout of long term recurring pain to invasive solutions.

NYC Back Pain Treatment Uses Some of the Newest Methods for Pain Relief

Individuals that suffer from certain kinds of back pain in the New York area may be in luck as the doctors there have a new NYC back pain treatment at their offices known as New York City DISC. This new type of treatment is known as Disc Decompression. This method is quite successful for people with degenerative disc problems, disc herniation and similar chronic back pain. The NYC back pain treatment is gaining popular with many back pain sufferers because it is not surgery and has a very good success rate, especially for those with disc herniation.

What the NYC back pain treatment does is lessen the disc herniations by enlarging the disc space and making the outer ligaments stronger so the herniated parts can move around freely and slip back in place. When there is more space between the discs, they are less apt to rub together causing pain. It also uses negative pressure on the area to reverse the pressure from the intra discs. Eventually the ruptured or herniated disc can move back to its original position.

The NYC back pain treatment is used as a good alternative for those that have disc-related back problems as well as other chronic back pain and have been told they need surgery. Many patients that have already had back surgery that has failed have also opted for the NYC back pain treatment. This gives them the hope of living a pain-free life without going through another surgery.

There are many other methods used as part of the NYC back pain treatment including:

• Botox injections are used when they have pinpointed the pain to a certain muscle or area and want to inject just that area. With most pain relievers, they are used in the entire body. With Botox, it is going in the exact muscle that has the pain. It’s used to release the muscle tension, reduce muscular contractions and give better range of motion.
• Epidurals are a series of injections given regularly. These are injected in a small area of the back and are especially effective for strained ligaments and inflammation in the back.
• Medication is still used for back pain. Some of the more common ones are antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and anticonvulsants. Traditional pain relievers are also prescribed. Some doctors recommend patches or creams for pain as well.
• Nerve blocks are successful for some back pain sufferers by stopping the pain signals in the brain from transmitting. This is accomplished by injecting pain medicine directly into the nerve.
• Physical Therapy with a trained therapist is often used in the NYC back pain treatment. The therapist can work with your back problems by exercises, massage and electrolysis.

Identifying the Causes of Upper Back Pain

Regardless of the causes of upper back pain, it is still as miserable and agonizing as any other type of back pain. Although not as common as lower back or neck pain, it can cause significant soreness, discomfort, agony, and inconvenience and requires proper treatment. The most common causes of upper back pain are strain or injury, which includes joint malfunction, muscular irritation, and poor posture. Statistics show that one of the major causes of upper back pain today is people sitting in one position for extended periods. Upper back pain is a very common problem for individuals that spend their days sitting at a desk or working on the computer. They are at more risk from back pain than most. It is important to find the causes of upper back pain in order to have it treated properly and successfully.

Causes of upper back pain include a joint malfunction usually resulting from an injury or strain to the joints between the upper back and ribs. Muscular irritation is another of the causes of upper back pain normally as the result of inactivity or inadequate muscle strength. A vertebra compression fracture can cause chronic or acute upper back pain. Complaints of upper back pain in women over fifty may indicate osteoporosis and a vertebral compression fracture. Although osteoporosis is more common in postmenopausal women, it can develop in perimenopause women and in men. Some of the treatments for a painful vertebral compression fracture are rest and pain medication, or kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty surgery. A ruptured or herniated disk and degenerative disk disease are other causes of upper back pain but these are very uncommon and found in a very tiny percentage of people that are unfortunate enough to suffer with upper back problems.

Loosening your upper back muscles along with strengthening them are important because it helps relieve the stress put on your upper back and may prevent reoccurrences of the causes of upper back pain in the future. A physical therapist or chiropractor can help you do this. Regular stretching and strengthening exercises and practicing appropriate posture are necessary to help avoid many of the causes of upper back pain. Poor posture strains the ligaments and joints leading to weak muscles and pain. You can also treat upper back pain through, stretching exercises, deep muscle massage, ice and/or heat therapy, and acupuncture. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory, pain medication, or muscle relaxant to help you deal with the pain.

To find out the exact causes of upper back pain, never try diagnosing yourself as that could possible do more harm than good. Instead, talk to your doctor about your pain so he or she can run the necessary tests to find the exact cause.