Motion Stability's Blog


The Pains of an Entrepreneur by Motion Stability

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

Did you know that 8 out of 10 people experience back pain sometime in their life?

image source: plywoodpeople.com

image source: plywoodpeople.com

Unresolved back pain leaves people feeling stuck, perhaps even losing hope with the belief that they may have to live the rest of their lives in pain, which often significantly impacts every aspect of their lives.

I can usually pick out the entrepreneurs as they walk through my door, even before I actually talk to them. You are a highly motivated, self-driven, and goal-oriented group. As an entrepreneur, you do not conform to the 40-hour workweek. Instead, entrepreneurs are obsessively focused on creating that one big thing. So you go through periods where you’re stuck on the computer for hours writing a business plan, or finding yourself traveling from city to city to make business happen, or eating a meal at odd hours of the night as you’ve lost track of time. What becomes of you is a person who puts a huge amount of stress on your body while you try to do what your entrepreneurial spirit drives you to do.

Ultimately your back pain occurs not only once, but starts to happen more often. Simple rest does not alleviate it anymore, and even injections or medications do not make a difference. Guess what? You now have unresolved back problems due to the lifestyle you live.

What’s different about the entrepreneur’s back pain than others is that it’s driven more by the mindset within you than a simple herniated disc that came from nowhere. The countless hours where you sit slouched on your sofa typing away on your laptop creates a physiological pathology called ‘creep phenomenon’. Think of a cold piece of salt-water taffy. If you were to warm it up in your hands and slowly mead it and pull it, slowly the taffy would stretch out. Essentially the same thing can happen to your back. As you sit there for hours upon hours, a slow ‘creep’ stretch of the ligaments and muscles of your back get stretched out. Over years they lose their inherent capacity to hold your back up. And just like a bending a paper clip back and forth, eventually something breaks and back pain occurs.

The entrepreneur in you also wants to exercise either for an outlet of stress or simply because you are goal oriented by nature. What ends up happening is that you perform at levels or distances that eventually your physical body may not be able to handle. There is nothing wrong with striving to achieve a goal, but many times the entrepreneur’s mind will tell them “do it anyways, even though I did not have the time to train” or “just keep going, like I always have.” Over time, your brain ends up outlasting your body, especially the structures in your back. Eventually too much compressive or shearing force happens and back pain occurs. Most importantly, your entrepreneurial spirit tends to have an all-or-none persona. Your mentality weighs more on the side of “it’s on me and no one else.” What becomes of it is an affective component that tells you to keep going, even if it hurts.

To see the conclusion of this article, read it on Plywood People.

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Natural Nerve Pain Treatments by charlestlee

image source: espaifisioterapeutes.com

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

In Physical Therapy, nerve pain can be treated naturally through techniques called ‘neurodynamics’. According to a colleague of mine, Michael Shacklock in Australia, there are three major areas to address. This includes the mechanical impingement sites, 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 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.



Can stretching my hamstrings get rid of my low back pain? by charlestlee

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

There are cases when stretching your hamstrings can be good for your back and other cases when it can make it worse. It can be good to stretch your hamstrings when they are tight due to poor mechanics and posture. Many times people use their hamstrings too much to move and stand. Your hips and butt muscles, as well as your ankle/foot joints and muscles should be the primary areas that provide stability and movement. If they don’t work correctly or fatigue easily, then your hamstrings will, by default, have to be used to get you through the day. Your hamstrings attach to the bottom of your pelvis that connects with your back. If they get tight it can put excessive stresses on your pelvis and back. In these cases, stretching the hamstrings followed up with exercises to improved the strength and mobility of your hips and feet can help reduce stresses and pain on your low back.

One reason not to stretch your hamstrings when you have back pain is when you also have current or recurring sciatic nerve pain. The sciatic nerve starts from the low back and runs down the back of your leg, in between your hamstrings. When sciatica occurs not only do you get pain down the back of your leg, but the muscles that surround the sciatic nerve can spasm and a feeling of ‘tightness’ can occur. The patient at times may perceive what they think is ‘hamstring tightness’ may actually be muscle tightness or guarding from an irritated sciatic nerve. We have seen patients trying to stretch their hamstrings and make their back pain worse because they were essentially overstretching their sciatic nerve instead. Nerves don’t like to be ‘stretched’ as much as muscles. The sciatic nerve also comes directly from the back. Over-stretching the sciatic nerve can thus put more stress on the back. In these cases, it is important to consult with a Physical Therapist that understands how to differentiate whether the sciatic nerve is involved.



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.



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.