The more informed you are the better able you are to make informed decisions. This applies to just about everything which life confronts us with, but is especially important when dealing with our wellness. Taking care of our bodies should be a priority so that they serve us well not only in our youth but as we age. Become knowledgeable, ask the questions and listen to the answers as they may prevent you from incurring physical damage or turning a simple issue into a debilitating one.
One of the more commonly occurring health issues is Low Back Pain. Many of us have had this or will experience it at some stage in our life whether in an accidental domestic situation or as a result of a sports injury. This pain may range from mild to serious discomfort. When patients present themselves in my clinic, I make my diagnosis by taking a detailed history as well as making a physical examination and I then explain to them the cause of their discomfort, my recommended treatment and how we will proceed from there.
Basically there are two categories of back pain - Acute and Chronic. Acute covers sudden-onset pain caused by incidents such as a fall, a car accident, lifting something incorrectly or tight hamstrings. Chronic, on the other hand, is long-term pain and can be caused by arthritis (wear and tear usually associated with age), damaged discs in the spine or pinched nerves as in Sciatica. Muscle spasm causing pain is the body’s reaction to an underlying issue. Very often someone seeking relief will take an over-the-counter medication, perhaps a Tylenol or similar analgesic or a liniment to rub on the skin. Or, in more serious cases get prescription medication; but it is extremely important, and I can’t stress this enough, that although this may temporarily mask the pain it does not address the cause of it and therefore cannot cure it.
At Genesis Physiotherapy, we have a wide range of therapies all designed to treat muscle spasm and reduce or eliminate pain: I may use some of them or all of them, tailoring treatment to each individual’s particular issue. The options and how they work are listed here:
- Heat treatment improves blood flow and relaxes the muscle.
- Dry Needling is similar to Acupuncture and is used to relax tight muscles and treat pain.
- Cupping uses suction to draw fresh blood into the congested area allowing tight muscles to relax which then reduces the pain.
- Decompression or Traction stretches the torso and helps create space between the vertebrae of the spine and relieves pinched nerves.
- Mobilization involves gentle graded movement of the spinal bones which will restore a normal range of movement and relieve stiffness and pain.
- Postural Realignment is extremely important for restoring the body’s proper alignment before rehabilitation otherwise any exercises will only strengthen the dysfunction which is exactly the opposite of what we need to do to restore health.
- Rehabilitation is used to strengthen the back as well as the stomach muscles and achieve normal alignment to prevent further dysfunction.
- Home Exercise, specifically tailored to your needs, is issued when the patient is discharged so that persons can continue to stretch and strengthen at their leisure.
You can perform these exercises at your leisure. They are designed for you to continue to stretch and strengthen your body. Again, this is something that I can’t emphasize strongly enough and I encourage you to take this on-board so that it becomes something that you do on a regular basis.
Movement is imperative for maintaining a healthy core and being able to move freely and without pain. We all mostly do far too much sitting or, in some cases standing, and give little or no thought to how little we are really moving. If we do not maintain our flexibility and ease of movement, we run the risk of incurring injuries which may cause pain that could easily be avoided. Mobility is key, as preventing accidents or issues which will cause pain necessitating treatment, is always the better option. You know the saying “Use it or lose it”.
For questions and comments, call Hannah Foster-Middleton at Genesis Physiotherapy: 356-4806; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.physiotherapybahamas.com.