Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Back Pain and Band Aids

Don't Treat Back Pain with a Band-Aid

We’ve all been there… we’re reading the newspaper or opening the latest piece of mail and suddenly we cut our finger. Without hesitation we’re off to the kitchen for a Band-Aid. That’s all good and well, but what happens when we hurt ourselves more severely? When we, for example, slice our finger open with a chef’s knife, or cut our arm on a rusty nail? Do we place a Band-Aid on it and hope it stops the pain and prevents infections? NO! We get stitches, we disinfect the area, and we take any steps required to heal the real problem so that future issues don’t arise.

So the question is this: Why do most people who suffer from back pain believe it will heal itself or that it might disappear overnight? The unfortunate truth is that many people today think if they ignore their back pain it will just “go away”. Well, I’m here to tell you that covering up that stabbing, pulling, or dull aching feeling in your back could lead to major issues sooner rather than  later. 

One of the most important things to be aware of is that a tight back, hurt muscles, pinched nerve, or any other back-related issues, cannot be treated in the same way as a paper cut. You can’t just put a bandaid on it. What’s a “bandaid” for back pain? Painkillers...injections...sitting around hoping the pain will go away if you just “rest for a week”.

Why do these solutions NOT work? Because they don’t address the real reason your back pain started in the first place. They’re just bandaids.

All too often back pain goes untreated, leading to prolonged suffering, oftentimes increased damage, and, ultimately, a sense of general unhappiness in a patient who, otherwise, could have been treated effectively had the problem been addressed sooner.

So, why do most people turn a blind eye to back pain, and why do back issues not get treated with the seriousness they deserve? Well, the answer is a complex one, but mostly it’s because it is oftentimes easier to mask the pain than to tackle it head on. Fear of pain, as well as the spread of misinformation, often lead to lots of people taking painkillers and sitting on their couch for a week. Let me tell you more...

Though most people don’t put a Band-Aid on their lower back, many people do precisely the same type of action by covering up their aches in different ways. One of the most prevalent of these cover-up mechanisms is painkillers. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen patients with severe back pain turn to painkillers to numb the ache, feel temporarily better, and to carry on with their daily routines. The truth is, painkillers do nothing but mask the pain for a short duration of time; they cannot cure the injury, point the patient in the right direction, or even promise any sort of sustainable and pain-free future. All painkillers do is delude: in fact, long term painkiller abuse can be so detrimental that the back pain might, eventually, be the least of the patient’s problems. Kidney failure, stomach ulcers, and even brain damage can be seen in patients who use painkillers for extended periods of time. Do you want that to be you? No, of course not!

But even taking into account the overwhelming evidence pointing to the dangers of painkillers, one of the most worrying aspects of painkiller usage is still the fact that the CAUSE of the pain is hidden. That’s right – the pain can never be healed if the root-cause of the pain isn’t looked for. Painkillers do not heal pain – they promote the longevity of pain by covering up the cause of the discomfort. I have seen so many patients aggravate their back-issues, and potentially set their healing processes back considerably, by masking the pain through the use of painkillers such as opioids. I do not want this to you be you! You do not need to live a life of ever-present pain – don’t mask the pain, DEAL WITH THE PAIN. Here’s how:

The single most effective way of dealing with back pain is by visiting a professional, qualified physical therapist. Far from applying a Band-Aid, a PT will advise the patient, heal the problem area, and promote the maintenance of a healthy back through the application of hands-on treatment, do-it-yourself stretches, and ongoing support and advice. Seeing a PT gives you the best shot at overcoming back pain as well as preventing future back-related issues from arising. Remember, masking the pain through the use of painkillers and other alternatives doesn’t treat the CAUSE; visit a PT today to find out the root-cause of the issue in order to effectively relieve pain, heal the problem area, and to prevent further injury.

Please remember, your back pain is NOT a paper cut and it shouldn’t be treated in the same way as one. If you want to talk to a professional PT about your back pain and are interested in ways of treating the CAUSE, not just masking the issue, click here NOW.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Waiting for Low Back Pain to "Go Away"

Why Waiting For Back Pain To 'Go Away' Is The Worst Thing You Can Do!

I have seen countless patients who have experienced a sudden onset of lower, upper, or middle back pain – or even a stabbing, unexplained pain throughout the region – make the same mistake: directly after experiencing the pain they stagger to the sofa, lay down, and don’t get up for a week or more! Their reasoning… bed rest is the best thing you can do, right? WRONG. 

In PT school professors used to drill it into us: “Motion is Lotion”! That’s right. It’s difficult to believe at first, but contrary to popular belief, moving the joints and muscles in your back is the fastest way to recover.

Let’s think about this for a minute. All too often I hear my patient’s say that they’ve tried not to move, but that the pain seems to be increasing by the day. This result really isn’t that surprising. Let me explain... 

So many people believe that the least amount of movement might help them get back to health faster, but what happens to our muscles when we don’t move? They become stiff and usually they just become a whole lot more difficult to mobilize later on. 

The thing is, we want to believe that motion increases the problem, because moving your back may hurt at first. In reality, our minds trick us into thinking we shouldn’t move our back when in fact the very best thing you could do.

Now I know what you’re thinking… it’s a lot easier said than done. Yes, it may seem that way, but I promise that the benefits of that initial movement well exceed the pitfalls of not doing it. So, let me give you a little incentive to go for that walk.

As you lie on the sofa your muscles begin to get stiff and tighten. As time goes by, the muscles get so stiff that any movement hurts. Many people find themselves stuck here, unable to move because it hurts but the reality is they need to move to get it to hurt less! 

Why do you need to move? Because once you start moving again, the muscles stiffness and tightness will go away and the pain will ease. The longer you take to start moving, the longer it will take for the back tightness to go away.

You see, back pain is so often related to not moving: the simple truth is, the more you move the sooner you will experience a pain free life. Getting over the initial fear of movement will ensure that you are able to recover at a much faster rate. Not moving or doing exercise will, eventually, result in prolonged pain and back issues. Remember, MOVING is the key to a healthy back.

So, how can we push through the desire to sit around and get moving? Well, the absolute best thing you can do is see a physical therapist right away. A professional PT will be able to correctly diagnose the problem, give you invaluable advice, and most importantly, get your joints and muscles mobilized again. In this way you will be well on your way to recovering from your injury. 

In conjunction with helpful PT advice, hands-on treatment, and stretches tailored to you personally by a PT, you can also embrace the following back-friendly exercises:

Swimming – this is one of the safest and most effective ways of mobilizing a painful back. Doing this 2 – 3 times a week for even 15 minutes will greatly increase your chances of a quick recovery.

Walking – walking isn’t only good for your heart! Every step you take will bring much needed blood-flow to your back. Walking is an excellent way to incorporate a healthy exercise into your daily life. Even just 20 – 30 minutes a day will already give you amazing results. 

Stretches and Yoga – after seeing a qualified PT you will have been given a toolbox of invaluable stretches to do at home. Those stretches will  loosen your upper and lower back, and pave the way for a pain free life. In addition, though, you can also do some yoga – breathing techniques, resting poses, and core strengthening will all give you a positive result on your journey to recovery. 

Lastly, the best thing you can do, alongside visiting a PT and doing the exercises above, is to be mindful of the amount of time you are sitting. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your back (and not in a good way!) So often we are blind to the amount we spend in a sitting position. Make an effort to keep your body moving at least 5 minutes every hour. 

Please remember that back pain should always be taken seriously and, as such, you should always consult a professional PT IMMEDIATELY if you experience any discomfort. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that lying down, sitting, or being immobile for long periods will help solve the issue. The truth is, you are most likely going to make the problem worse – the best thing you can do is to keep mobile. Don’t mask the symptoms thereby making them worse. Get moving TODAY!

Remember this little bit of advice the next time you lay on the sofa in the hope that the pain might disappear: MOVEMENT is your key to a healthy back. Don’t be a statistic. Stop waiting for back pain to go away and make a change, TODAY! Want more info? Download our popular back pain guide here:  GET LOW BACK PAIN GUIDE NOW