Chronic back and neck pain can come from multiple sources.
Sometimes small adjustments can lead to big results in back pain. Over the years I have found that it takes a bit of sleuthing to help people decrease or eliminate their pain. Using these 3 steps may help you find relief for your patient or yourself.
A patient I worked with had injured his neck, and the pain would not go away. After a few months of decreased activity and increasing pain, he finally pursued Physical Therapy. These are the guidelines i followed to help him recuperate and return to pain free activity!
Don’t allow back pain to let you become inactive.
Studies are showing that physical activity can help decrease chronic back pain! I reinforced his decision to pursue help, and instructed him on how to resume safe activity.
His neck and upper back joints were tight, so treatment was done to increase his mobility. His postural muscles were tight and weak, so stretches and exercises were given to relax and strengthen his muscles. After a few weeks his pain was significantly improved…
Stretching tight structures and strengthening weak muscles, are both important in decreasing back and neck pain.
Patients are never too old to improve their strength and mobility! We can all improve flexibility and strength. Improved mobility and strength will help reduce our pain.
Even though his pain was improved, he continued to have an irritating ache. We looked at posture and positioning at rest and with activity, and body mechanics with daily activities. He made some changes that helped…
However, we finally figured out the mystery: He was watching TV at night, lying down with his head flexed on a large pillow-causing a long “overstretch” of his neck muscles. Once he changed his ‘TV watching’ position, the rest of his pain slowly disappeared!
Posture and alignment, body mechanics, and positioning at rest can all effect our back pain.
Take the time to do some ‘sleuthing’ regarding sleeping position, sitting position, and body mechanics with your patient’s work, hobbies, and home activities, to help minimize their pain.
Cardiovascular exercise, stretching, strengthening, and adjusting activities and positions all play a part in minimizing back pain!
Understanding these principles is more important than ever for seniors who may be struggling with chronic back pain. Due to being limited to their home or apartment, they are getting less walking exercise/activity. They may not be able to attend exercise groups for stretching and strengthening, and they are sitting more than usual. These 3 areas can all impact someone’s back health.
What I love most about Home Health Care, is that you can have a team of specialists helping you manage pain from many angles. Nurses, with education and medications, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists with stretching, strengthening and safe performance of daily activities… Teamwork is dreamwork!
Stay tuned for common components of, and patient handouts for, activities that may reduce back and neck pain!
Do you have any tips that you use to help with back pain? I would love to hear from you!