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.



Could Uneven Shoulders Indicate Any Issue? by charlestlee

image source: helloamanda.com

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

Uneven shoulders can be observed in a couple of planes. One of the most common observations is when one shoulder looks higher than the other. This could indicate either a structural, muscular or neural imbalance.

Structurally, the patient may have a leg length discrepancy or a scoliosis that causes the shoulders to be raised on one side.

Muscularly, the shoulder blade or scapula has multiple muscles that stabilize it in position. Muscular imbalances can easily occur that cause certain muscles of the scapula to pull it in a certain direction. For example, in many single arm-dominated sports such as baseball or tennis, the dominate arm tends to over-develop the latissmus dorsi which is your ‘wing’ muscle. With more muscular development it actually pulls the shoulder blade down. In standing postures, most of these athletes will look like their shoulder is lower on the same side. This can create problem for the lowered shoulder, especially when the arm is required to repetitively raise over their head. With the shoulder lowered it takes greater work of the opposing muscles to raise the arm overhead. Over time, it can cause poor shoulder mechanics and lead to injury of the shoulder.

When someone has chronic nerve symptoms in their neck and arm due to a radiculopathy or pinched nerve in their neck, many times you may see that the shoulder on the same side looks elevated. This is due to the adaptation of the muscles to shorten or spasm to elevate the shoulder girdle and allows more room for the nerve to conduct. Patient’s with this pattern often feel tight in their neck and upper shoulder. When they try to stretching the muscles it makes their nerve symptoms worse. This happens because the muscle is not tight but in protective spasm keeping the nerve from being injured further. In this case it is important to treat the nerve first before trying to lower the shoulder girdle.



How is a Pinched Nerve Treated? by charlestlee

Image Source: bykowskichiropractic.com

Post by Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

When treating a pinched nerve it is important to take pressure off the nerve so the nerve can conduct properly. In Physical Therapy, we can use mechanical traction or hands-on techniques to reduce the nerve compression. With these techniques we look for a reduction of pain and intensity. Typically, the further the symptoms go down the arm or leg, the worse the nerve symptoms are. Therefore, any treatment that the patient feels their symptoms are lessening further down the leg or arm means that the nerve is being pinched less.

The nerve itself should also be treated. When the nerve is pinched it can become inflamed and irritated. We use techniques called nerve mobilizations or ‘neurodynamics’ to improve the nerve’s mobility. Think of a nerve being like a bungy cord. Normally the nerve has enough elasticity to lengthen with the arm to reach and stretch. But when the nerve is irritated, it loses its elasticity and ability to lengthen the way it supposed to. It is important to improve the mobility of the nerve back to its normal length, like you would with an elbow that just had a cast removed from it.  With improved mobility of the nerve it has the ability to heal and have less pain.