Motion Stability's Blog


Why can sitting lead to back pain? by charlestlee

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT
Sitting, especially for a long time, can put undue stress on the low back structures. There is a clinical term called ‘creep phenomenon’ that describes how prolonged sitting can hurt the back. ‘Creep’ is like holding the ends of a piece of hard taffy and then watching it slowly stretch out over time. Similarly, with prolonged sitting the structures of the lower back can slowly deform and tissue breakdown occurs. This breakdown can include the muscles, fascia, ligaments, joints, and intervertebral disc in the back. Eventually with enough microtrauma to the tissues back pain occurs.

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Are there alternative treatments for back pain? by charlestlee

image source: backpainreliefdaily.org

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

Even though Physical Therapy is not considered as an ‘alternative treatment’, what a specific Physical Therapist provides may be alternative to the ‘stereotypical’ regimen of hot/cold packs, electrical stimulation, traction, and basic exercises to improve core stability.

At our facility, we determine the type or category of pain the patient is experiencing as well what factors are contributing to the pain. This can include joint, nerves, or soft-tissue tissue pathologies. We also assess muscle and movement control patterns that can cause undue stress on the back. We then investigate if there are other factors such as vitamin / hormonal deficiencies, food allergies, or other systemic issues that could potentially be a source of back pain.

Once this is determined a treatment plan is implemented that encompasses the best evidence-based research to correct the contributing factors. This can include ‘alternative’ techniques such as trigger point dry needling, nerve mobilization techniques called neurodynamics, and utilizing real-time ultrasound imaging to visualize proper muscle control around the spine.



What are natural treatments for nerve pain? by charlestlee

image source: laserspineinstitute.com

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

In Physical Therapy, nerve pain can be treated naturally through techniques called ‘neurodynamics’. According to Michael Shacklock in Australia, a worldwide leader in nerve pain and rehabilitation, there are three major areas to address. This includes the mechanical sites that can compress a nerve, the nerve itself, and the tissue the nerve innervates.

First, nerve pain can be caused by a tissue that pinches on it. This could be a herniated disc, a muscle spasm, or arthritic changes in the spine. Such treatments as mechanical traction or soft tissue massage around the pinched area of the nerve can alleviate the nerve pain.

Second, the nerve itself can become injured. Physical Therapists use manual therapy techniques to mobilize the nerve itself to reduce its pain and improve it mobility. Similar to having a knee surgery, it is important to calm the swelling and pain down in a nerve while progressively improving the range of motion back to its normal length. Nerve is just as much of a connective tissue as ligaments or tendons are.

Lastly, when nerve pain occurs it becomes inflamed, a term called neurogenic inflammation. Like a hose spraying with water, when the nerve is inflamed it sends inflammation to its termination sites – such as muscle, joint, or ligaments. It is important to improve muscle or joint restrictions that surround the nerve to fully treat the nerve pain and its residual effects.



What is Tennis Elbow? by charlestlee

image source: physiotherapy-treatment.com

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

Tennis elbow is pain that occurs on the outside aspect of your elbow is traditionally due to repetitive overuse of the forearm musculature. Tennis elbow is common with people performing repetitive tasks with their hand and arms. This can include manual labor jobs, repetitive typing, or sporting activities.

Tennis elbow pain can also be caused by elbow joint degeneration, a bursitis or nerve compression from the neck that causes referred pain to the elbow. Trigger points of muscles around the elbow can also cause referred pain in the elbow.



Can Strengthening your neck muscles prevent headaches? by charlestlee

Image Source: healthyliving.azcentral.com

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

There are different types of headaches. One common type is called a cerivcogenic headaches or neck-related headaches. There is lot of research coming out of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia that has discovered how proper stabilization of the neck muscles can reduce neck pain, whiplash injuries, and cervicogenic headaches.

Proper stability of the neck muscles comes first from the smaller muscles closest to the spine. This includes a wafer thin muscle on the front of the cervical spine called the longus colli. A skilled Physical Therapist can instruct a patient how to contract this muscle in isolation and train its endurance. As the longus colli function improves it is important to incorporate strength of the larger muscles such as the sternocleidomastoid and posterior neck muscles to provide stability and strength for the neck to function during the day and in sport.

Cervicogenic headaches are typically generated from dysfunction of the upper neck vertebrae such as C1-3 vertebra levels. With poor postures or previous whiplash injuries the smaller muscles can weaken or inhibit leaving the joints vulnerable to injury due to lack of muscle support.

By improving proper muscle stability, the cervical vertebrae have better support and can last longer in prolonged postures and sporting activities. In turn, the prevalence of headaches can be reduced.



Why is back pain such a medical mystery? by charlestlee

Image Source: ll-media.andersoncooper.com

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

Many patients are fixed solely on what medical imaging says structurally about their spine and how it causes their back pain. This includes disc herniations, joint degeneration, or stenosis. Patients should understand that other factors can cause back pain as well. This can include poor muscle control and movement patterns, nerve pain, referred pain from muscle trigger points, and even the fascia around the back can cause pain. Food allergies or internal organ dysfunction can also cause referred pain in your back. 

Even pain itself is a mystery. Over the last decade there has been growing research on what pain is and how it presents itself, what the medical community calls Pain Sciences. Although we have a better understanding of what pain is, there is still much more we need to know.