neck pain

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW 7 EASY EXERCISES TO RELIEF NECK PAIN, read on…

Putting the back in a static position for long periods increase the risk of back or neck strain. The best preventative medicine for neck and back strain is movement. Take frequent breaks away from the computer screen to stretch.

(1) NECK GLIDE

Begin with a straight neck position. Move your chin forward and maintain comfort. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times and increase reps over time up to 20.

(2) TOWEL PULL

Place a rolled towel around your neck in a U Shape holding both ends just below your shoulders. Move your head up and down rolling the towel up and down the neck in the process. Apply pressure as needed to give yourself a neck massage.

(3) SHOULDER SHRUGS

Start in a straight forward position. Raise both shoulders as upward as far as possible and hold for 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and rest for 10 seconds then repeat. Repeat 10 times and increase reps over time up to 20.

(4) NECK ROTATION

Begin with a straight neck spine. Move your head to the left as far as possible while retaining comfort. Hold for 10 seconds and return to a forward-facing position. Move the head to the right and follow the same instructions.

(5) FORWARD FLEXION

Begin in a straight-ahead position. Lower your head until your chin touch your chest, IF POSSIBLE. Only move to a comfortable level when beginning. Return to starting position after 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times and increase reps overtime to 20.

(6) NECK EXTENSIONS

Begin in starting position facing forward with a straight spine. Slowly move your head back as far as possible while remaining comfortable. Hold for 10 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat 10 times and increase reps overtime to 20.

(7) DEEP STRETCHES

Never stretch to a point that is not comfortable for you. Begin in a seated position facing forward. Move your head to the left and hold for 10 seconds, return to start and follow same instructions to the right. Repeat 10 times and increase reps overtime to 20. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/flexibility-exercises/

back pain

BACK PAIN

Back pain commonly result from injury, strain or tension on the back. Activities that can lead to strains include but not limited to:

  • lifting something that is too heavy
  • making an abrupt and awkward movement
  • lifting something improperly

STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS

A number of structural problems may also results in back pain. Some of them are:

  • Arthritis on the back – osteoarthritis can cause problems with the joints in the hips and lower back. In some cases the space around the spinal cord narrows, this is known as spinal stenosis.
  • Ruptured disc – each vertebra in the spine is cushioned by discs. If the disc ruptures there will be pressure on the nerve resulting in back pain.
  • Bulging disc – in much the same as ruptured disc, a bulging disc can result in more pressure on a nerve.
  • Sciatica – a sharp and shooting pain travels through the buttock and down the back of the leg caused by a bulging or herniated disc pressing on a nerve.
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine – if the spine curves in an unusual way, back pain can result. An example is scoliosis in which the spine curves to the side.

Back pain can also result from some everyday activities or poor posture, examples include:

  • twisting
  • over-stretching
  • coughing or sneezing
  • muscle tension
  • bending awkwardly or for long periods
  • pushing, pulling or carrying something
  • standing or sitting for long periods
  • straining the neck forward, such as when driving or using a computer
  • long driving sessions without a break, even when not hunched
  • sleeping on a mattress that does not support the body

Some medication conditions that can cause back pain include but not limited to:

  • Cauda equina syndrome – the cauda equina is a bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the lower end of the spinal cord. Symptoms include a dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks, as well numbness in the buttocks, genitalia & thighs. There are sometimes bladder and bowel function disturbances.
  • Cancer of the spine – a tumor on the spine may press against a nerve resulting in back pain.
  • Infection of the spine – a fever and tender warm area on the back could be due to an infection of the spine.
  • Other infections – pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder or kidney infections may also lead to back pain.
  • Sleep disorders – individuals with sleep disorders are more likely to experience back pain.
  • Shingles – an infection that can affect the nerves may lead to back pain. This depends on which nerves are affected. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/causes/

The following factors are linked to a higher risk of developing lower back pain:

  • poor physical fitness
  • a sedentary lifestyle
  • pregnancy
  • occupational activities
  • older age
  • obesity and excess weight
  • smoking
  • strenuous physical exercise or work, especially if done incorrectly
  • genetic factors
  • medical conditions such as arthritis and cancer
back pain

LOWER BACK PAIN, SIGNS & SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF LOWER BACK PAIN

Pain in the lower part of the back is the primary symptom of low back pain. Below are the signs:

  • the pain may radiate down the front, side or back of the leg or it may be confined to the lower back,
  • occasionally, the pain may be worse at night or with prolonged sitting such as on a long car trip,
  • the pain become worse with activity,
  • there may be numbness or weakness in the part of the leg that receives its nerve supply from a compressed nerve. This occurs when first sacral nerve is compressed or injured. This can cause inability to plantar flex the foot. This mean a person affected will have inability to stand on toes or bring foot downward,
  • another sign is inability to raise the big toe upward. This results when the fifth lumbar nerve is compromised.

CAUSES OF LOWER BACK PAIN

Back pain is a symptom. Common causes of back pain involve disease or injury to the muscles, bones and/or nerves of the spine. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/causes/ Below is the list of possible causes of lower back pain, this list is not inclusive:

  • herniated disc. This develops as spinal discs degenerate or grow thinner. The jellylike central portion of the disc bulges out of the central cavity and pushes against a nerve root. Intervertebral discs in humans begin to degenerate by the third decade of life,
  • nerve root syndromes. These produce symptoms of nerve impingement (this is where a nerve is directly irritated). Sciatica is an example of nerve root impingement. Impingement pain tends to be sharp, affecting a specific area and associated with numbness in the area of the leg that the affected nerve supplies,
  • spondylosis. This occurs as intervertebral discs lose moisture and volume with age which decreases the disc height,
  • cauda equina syndrome. This is a medical emergency whereby the spinal cord is directly compressed. Disc material expands into spinal carnal which compresses the nerve. A person would experience pain, possible loss of sensation and bowel or bladder dysfunction. This could include inability to control urination causing incontinence or the inability to begin urination,
  • fibromyalgia. This results in widespread pain and tenderness throught the body. Generalized stiffness, fatigue and muscle aches are reported,
  • infections of the bones (osteomyelitis) of the spine are an uncommon cause of low back pain,
  • tumors, possibly cancerous, can be a source of skeletal pain,
  • inflammation of nerves from spine can occur with infections of the nerves with the herpes zoster viruses that causes shingles. This can occur in the thoracic area to cause upper back pain or in the lumbar are to cause lower back pain.
back pain, Truck drivers and back pain

WHY TRUCK DRIVERS SHOULD SEAT ON A MEMORY FOAM SEAT CUSHION WHEN DRIVING TRUCKS?

As a truck driver you are on your rear for long periods of time. A great memory foam seat cushion can save you from having back issues like sciatica, muscle degeneration or other health issues related to prolonged sitting while driving. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/

Driving long distances is very common for truck drivers, so its common to expect truck drivers to sit for long periods of time. While driving truck doesn’t sound too bad, sitting for long periods of time inside a vibrating vehicle can cause damage to human body.

Since truck drivers sit for long period of time driving trucks most of the day, its important for them to think about the type of seat they may use. The benefits of sitting on memory foam seat cushion may be more than sitting on a regular seat. Not only does memory foam seat cushion provide much needed support, but it also feels more comfortable to sit down on for hours at a time.

Sitting for a long period of time while driving, without taking a break, can do various things to the body, especially to your bones, posture, ligaments and muscles. Sitting while driving encourages the body to slouch into a rounded, usually C-Shaped posture, which can roll the pelvis and cause strain in ligaments and muscles. This also can increase pressure within the body’s intervertebral discs leading to more pain and discomfort.

Sitting for long period of time while driving can cause the back to curves causing the head to push forward and cause strain to neck muscles. The strain within neck muscles radiates down the back. It also creates muscle contraction that creates fatigue while limiting blood flow to the neck and back.

Poor posture caused by sitting for a long period of time while driving can also compromise circulation within the legs.

EFFECTS OF VIBRATION

Vibration happens when a moving vehicle is in operation and can get worse if the vehicle passes over uneven road or pavement. The design of a large vehicle like a truck makes it more susceptible to harbouring minute vibrations, which do get ”absorbed” by the human body as the reverberate throughout the entire vehicle.

CHOOSING A SEAT CUSHION

Although many trucks and larger vehicles are fitted with comfortable seats, sitting on top of a memory foam seat cushion can add more benefit.

The memory foam in a seat cushion helps reduce pressure on the tailbone (coccyx) and lower back. The curved design also help improve circulation to the legs and improves posture, reducing pressure on the spine while evenly distributing body weight.

back pain, Spinal fusion

SPINAL FUSION

This is the surgery to permanently connects two or more vertebrae in your spine to improve stability, correct a deformity and reduce pain. https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/search?ps=50&q=spinal+fusion+operation Spinal fusion is recommended to treat:

  • herniated disk – may be used to stabilise the spine after removal of a herniated disk
  • spinal weakness or instability – spine may become unstable if there is abnormal or excessive motion between two vertebrae. This is the common side effect of severe arthritis in the spine, spinal fusion can be used to restore spinal stability in such cases
  • deformity of the spine – such as sideways curvature of the spine (scoliosis)

RISKS

Spinal fusion, as with any surgery, carries the potential risk of complications such as:

  • bleeding
  • blood clots
  • poor wound healing
  • injury to blood vessels or nerves in and around the spine
  • recurring symptoms
  • pseudarthrosis – this is the condition in which there is not enough bone function. Causes of pseudathrosis include diabetic, older age. Moving too soon before the bone is able to fuse may also result in pseudarthrosis

REHABILITATION

The fusion process takes time. It may take several months before the bone is solid. During the healing time, the fused spine must be kept in proper alignment. Right after surgery, your doctor may recommend only light activity like walking. Physical therapy is usually started from 6 weeks to 3 months after surgery. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following doctor’s instructions will increase chances for successful outcome.

back pain

IS KEEPING MOVING GOOD WHEN YOU HAVE BACK PAIN?

Depending on the cause of the back pain and intensity of the pain, some exercises may not be recommended and can be harmful. However, moving is good for back pain. Moving can help ease stiffness, improve movement in joints as well as helping to get fitter in general.

The benefit of keeping moving are that, it:

  • facilitates increased blood flow and circulation. Improved blood circulation promotes tissue healing, reduced swelling and reduced pain
  • improved feeling of overall well-being
back pain

GABAPENTIN & CHRONIC BACK PAIN

Gabapentin is a drug used to treat nerve pain. It can be used in combination with other pain killers to improve pain relief. It works by changing the way in which nerves send messages to your brain. When something presses on a nerve, or when the nerve doesn’t work properly in some way, the nerve can send false messages to your brain. The brain thinks that a part of your body is being hurt when it is not. This makes you actually feel pain. By altering the way nerves work, gabapentin may reduce your pain.https://www.nhs.uk/search?collection=nhs-meta&query=gabapentin

Research has shown that gabapentin has efficacy in treatment of neuropathic pain and spasticity in patients with MS. However, the research show that there is lack of efficacy in prescribing gabapentin for chronic lower back pain.

Gabapentin has effects in similar brain pathways to those that are affected by drugs like benzodiazepine. It can cause dizziness, forgetfulness, drowsiness and confusion. Gabapentin commonly causes diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and feeling of wanting to vomit, tremors, flatulence, increase in blood pressure, weight gain.

back pain

LORDOSIS AND BACK PAIN

Lordosis refers to natural lordotic curve of the spine. Everyone’s spine curves a little in the neck, upper back and lower back. These curves, which create spine’s S shape are called lordotic (neck and lower back) and kyphotic (upper back). Lordotic and kyphotic help to absorb shock, support the weight of the head, align the head over the pelvis, stabilize and maintain structure.

If lordotic curve arches too far inward, it can affect the lower back and neck. This can lead to excess pressure on the spine, causing pain and discomfort. It can affected the ability to move if it’s severe and left untreated.

Treatment of lordosis depends on how serious the curve is and how the person got lordosis. There is a little medical concern if lower back curve reverses itself when the person bend forward. If this is the case, the person affected can probably manage the condition with physical therapy and daily exercises.https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/search?q=Lordosis

HOW TO TREAT LORDOSIS?

In most cases treatment is not necessary unless lordosis is severe. Treatment for lordosis will depend on how severe the curve is and the presence of other symptoms. Treatment options include medication to reduce pain and swelling, daily physical therapy to strengthen muscles and range of motion, weight loss to help posture, braces in children and teens, surgery in severe cases with neurological concerns. Nutritional supplements such as vitamin D.

RECOMENDATIONS

Recommended seat cushion for people with lordosis is available on the following site:https://www.baraimporting.uk/innova-orthopedic-seat-cushion.html

back pain

Bowen therapy (or Bowen technique)

Someone asked me to explain what is Bowmen Therapy?

I answered the person as follows:
The Bowen therapy (or Bowen technique) is an alternative type or physical manipulation named after Australian Thomas Ambrose Bowen (Tom Bowen). The Bowen therapy is a distinctive move applied at very precise points on the body. It involves the movement of soft tissue in specific way that stimulates the body’s natural responses to bring about self-healing both for medical conditions and physical. The therapy enhances cellular function via gentle manipulation of soft tissue. The pressure applied to muscle tissue during a Bowen move distorts the muscle fibres and interrupts the resting membrane potential within muscle cells.https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/search?q=bowen+technique

back pain

6 STRETCHES TO RELIEVE LOWER BACK PAIN

  • KNEE TO CHEST. Lie flat on your back with toes pointed to the sky. Slowly bend your right knee and pull your leg to your chest. Wrap your arms around your thigh, knee or shin and gently pull the knee towards your chest. Hold for 20 seconds and slowly extend the leg to starting position. Repeat three times, each leg at a time.
  • LYING KNEE TWIST. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out. Bend the right knee up and cross it over the left side of your body. Hold in a position that allows you to feel a gentle stretch through the back and buttocks muscles for 20 seconds. Tighten your core muscles and rotate back to centre. Repeat three times on each side.
  • YOGA CAT/COW. Start this stretch by kneeling on all fours with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Exhale and gently arch your spine. Inhale, tighten your core muscles and round your back, like a cat. Move slowly between movements and hold in each position for 5-10 seconds. Repeat up to 10 times if able to.
  • PIRIFORMIS SEATED STRETCH. Sitting with your straight back, cross your left leg over your right leg placing your foot next to your thigh and tuck your right leg in towards your buttocks. Place your right arm over your left leg and slowly ease into a stretch. Be sure to keep your back straight and chest lifted. Hold for 20 seconds and alternate sides, three times on each side.
  • COBRA STRETCH.  Start by lying on your stomach with legs extended and with palms planted on either side of your head with forearms and elbows flat on the ground. Slowly, push your body upwards so your weight is resting on your forearms. Try to keep your hips on the ground. Once you reach a comfortable position that gentle stretches your abdominal muscles and lower back, hold for 10 seconds. Slowly return to starting position and repeat three times. If you are flexible, try straightening your arms.
  •  REST POSE. Position yourself on the floor on hands and knees, your knees should be just wider that hip distance apart. Turn your toes in to tough and push your hips backwards bending your knees. Once you reach a comfortable seated position, extend your arms forward fully and allow your head to fall forward into a relaxation position. Hold this pose for 20 seconds and slowly return to starting position. Repeat three times.https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/lower-back-pain-exercises/