Author Archives: Charlie
Author Archives: Charlie
As a physical therapist, one of the things I enjoy is helping people get back to normal. Meet Mark- Mark began having back pain from a herniated disc several months before coming to my office- we actually met at one of my free back pain workshops in Royersford, PA. While his back pain had begun to improve, he started to have pain in the back of his left leg. His leg bothered him when he sat too long, and especially if he tried to touch his toes or run… After 4 weeks and 2 visits he was 95% improved…
Here we are…
Here is what he had to say about his physical therapy experience in Royersford, PA.
My wife and I went to a free workshop that Dr. Charlie hosted and took him up on his offer to give us a free evaluation. I went because I couldn’t even sit in my car without chronic back pain. I was impressed that Dr. Charlie took the time (about an hour session each) needed not only to understand but also to educate me on why my back was malfunctioning. Three sessions later I am pain free! His excellence with heart definitely earns my five stars. Thanks for caring, Dr. Charlie!
Mark had a condition (herniated disc resulting in scarring down of the nerve) that caused the sciatic nerve in the back of his leg to become very limited in motion- causing tightness and pain in the back of his leg when sitting, bending over, or stretching his leg. It was originally caused by a herniated disc in his lower back that occurred after a long car ride (lots of sitting and slouching). While his back pain was much improved by the time he saw me- the healing of his disc caused his nerve to scar down- leaving it with less motion and feelings of tension in the back of his leg.
Through some gentle stretching and exercises for his sciatic nerve and lower back- he’s now able to run, sit, and touch his toes- PAINFREE.
If you’ve got lower back pain or leg pain (sciatica) and you live in Royersford, Limerick, Phoenixville, Collegeville, King of Prussia, or Philadelphia- call 484 552 3767 to get to the root cause, and to start feeling better today.
One of the most common questions I get when people with lower back pain come to see me for physical therapy is “So what’s causing my lower back pain?”
And the truth is- all lower back pain (or any pain for that matter) is created by the BRAIN. Meaning- pain is an experience created by the brain to protect you from some perceived threat or danger. In other words, a problem in the back isn’t really the cause of your lower back pain… it’s just that the signals from the back are being sent to the brain- where the brain is processing them to be painful. Now, don’t think for a second that I’m trying to tell you that you’re lower back pain isn’t real.. or that “it’s all in your head”- NOT TRUE…
Get this… Pain is normal.
Pain is an experience created by the brain to protect you from threatening situations and injury.
Even if no problems exist in your body, nerves, or immune system…you may still feel pain if the brain thinks you are in danger.
Simply put, without your brain, you feel no pain.
Think of your brain and the pain you experience as your alarm system…
In everyday life, you have a “normal” threshold for pain – as your nerves buzz around happily waiting to react to whatever your body feels.
So your alarm system is set and ready to go. Your nerves are just buzzing along waiting to be stimulated…
If you hit your finger with a hammer, it hurts like heck, but eventually after several hours/days, it calms down to where it was before.
Now, imagine you’ve had lower back pain for a long time…it’s likely that your alarm system has become extra sensitive leaving you with little room for you to do things before your alarm systems goes off.
When we are not in pain and life is grand, it takes a lot for your alarm system to go off — just like a car’s alarm when you have to break the windows in order to set the alarm off.
Now, when your body’s been in pain for some time, the alarm system becomes extra sensitive — Instead of having to break and bash the windows before the alarm goes off, a leaf blower goes by and your alarm goes berserk!
Simply put… your body’s alarm system becomes sensitive and leaves little room to move and do things without feeling lower back pain.
Important Point: Pain does not equal damage or injury…it is simply an experience created by the brain when it thinks your body is in danger.
Imagine you get a paper cut…
Wouldn’t you be worried if the pain stuck around for months?
Sure you would, because normally the pain goes away in minutes to hours.
Then what makes your back any different?
Most people live with lower back pain for years…yet this simply couldn’t be caused by a simple injury to your lower back muscles or disc.
All tissues in your body heal, including the muscles, ligaments, discs and nerves in your lower back within about 3-6 months.
When pain lasts longer than 3-6 months or becomes chronic and lasts for years, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with your back or your back didn’t heal properly, it simply means that your alarm system is sensitive…and for some reason, your brain still senses danger.
Think about when you get a bruise and are not aware of it…
As long as your brain doesn’t sense danger, you won’t feel pain.
Another Point: You’re not crazy…pain is very real.
BUT remember, pain is an experience…
We’ve all heard about the crazy stories of people who are injured and feel absolutely no pain.
Picture the soldier injured in war who continues to run in order to save his life.
OR the man who had his arm trapped in between two rocks and cut his own arm off in order to escape the wilderness and survive. Yikes… but a true story.
On a more basic, less extreme level…think about the pain someone would feel if they hurt their back while running across a busy highway versus getting out of a chair.
I’d be willing to bet that the person running across the highway feels much less pain than the person who’s getting out of the chair.
So, situation can impact pain.
Other things that can change your pain experience include emotions, beliefs, sleep, your job, or your pain memories… just to mention a few.
Emotions: People who feel sad or worried often feel more pain. People who are happy and relaxed generally feel less pain.
Beliefs: Growing up, some people were taught to be afraid of pain or that pain is bad. Others were taught to “get up and brush it off.” Depending on your beliefs about pain you may feel more or less pain.
Sleep: People with good sleep habits generally feel less pain. I recommend 8 hours of sleep per night. Restful sleep has been shown to decrease the sensitivity of your alarm system.
Job: People who have stressful jobs and are unhappy with their careers often experience more pain compared to those who enjoy their work.
Memories: If your back was injured in a car accident…just thinking about driving could make your pain worse. Pain memories can be powerful.
Now, you should be asking yourself, “How do I calm my alarm system down?”
First things first, in order to calm your alarm system down, we need to review a few key points:
Point Number 1: Understand that pain does not equal harm.
Just because you feel pain doesn’t mean anything serious is wrong…it just means you’re alive and your alarm system is on high alert, that’s all! Your back heals itself in 3-6 months, but your alarm system might still be sensitive.
Point Number 2: Pain does not equal gain. Remember, even though pain is created by the brain, which can sometimes cause your alarm system to become extra sensitive…even when everything has healed, it is very real. And you should still listen to it.
Okay, now that you understand these two big points, here’s how you can begin decreasing the pain that you experience…
Respect pain and listen to it, but do not fear it.
Again, pain is normal…sometimes the brain gets a little confused and senses pain incorrectly.
Sometimes the brain senses pain incorrectly OR it thinks there is actually something dangerous when really everything is just fine.
Gentle movement and exercise helps relieve pain and release chemicals that soothe nerves and calm down your alarm system.
Choose a form of exercise you enjoy…walking, biking, or swimming are all great options.
Slowly increase the amount of time you exercise week by week. Exercise up until the point you start to experience your pain, then stop. If you stick with it, you should notice that you are able to do a bit more week by week with less pain.
Okay, so this is really going to make you think…
Recent research has clearly shown that there is little to no relationship between the issues found on an X-ray or MRI and the pain you feel in your lower back.
That is to say, just as many people with pain have bulging discs as those who have absolutely no pain at all.
The same goes for things like spinal stenosis.
Wrapping things up here…
If you’ve given up hope- and have lower back pain in the Royersford, Collegeville, Phoenixville, King of Prussia, OR Philadelphia areas- call 484 552 3767 for specialized lower back pain treatment.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a man named Harry from Collegeville, PA. Harry is an awesome guy who enjoyed riding his motorcycle, taking care of his lawn, and doing things with his family. That was until his back and hip pain became so severe he could barely sleep, let alone enjoy being outdoors. In fact, on father’s day he had to “call it quits” because he couldn’t tolerate moving around. He had expensive MRI’s, injections, and other treatments that weren’t giving him relief. He had yet to try physical therapy and specialized back pain treatment… until one day he decided he had HAD ENOUGH…
After 5 visits of treatment to his lower back, including hands on manual therapy, specific back pain exercises, and back pain education- He just sent me a text… “Charlie, motorcycle trip went without incident…” Pretty Cool- NO PAIN! Harry’s back to living life without the constant thought of lower back pain… and he’s way more in control of his back pain- so that he can keep it from coming back.
Meet Harry- at my physical therapy clinic in Royersford, PA… where we specialize in treating lower back pain… (see the other happy campers on the wall behind him)
Here’s what Harry had to say about his physical therapy experience… Right here in Royersford, PA
“I encountered hip pain so severe I could not walk, sleep or stand due to spinal stenosis, arthritis and degenerative disc disease. I sought relief from medical doctors, but they failed to give any solution after prescribing tests, medications, x-rays, and MRI’s. Dr. Charlie guided me within five weeks to where I am no longer in constant pain, and I am able to resume normal activities.
|Severe Left Hip Pain||Stretches and strength exercises.||Able to resume everyday activities within 3 visits.|
|Pain prohibited sleep due to discomfort||Understand the contributing factors to pain and use knowledge tools to reduce pain.||Able to get comfortable lying in bed after three visits. I now know how to reduce or eliminate the pain through stretches.|
|Unable to sit in car or chair||Use of proper seat adjustment and back supports to reduce pain.||Able to drive and sit without discomfort within three weeks.|
|Walking short distances, unable to go far.||Use exercise and stretches to relieve pain||After three office visits, I can walk without restrictions.|
Dr. Charlie took the time to listen and understand my pain issues and develop a remedy plan specific to my needs. I highly recommend Dr. Charlie and his PT skills above seeking relief through medical professionals. PT is much quicker, less expensive, less stressful.”
If you have back pain and are looking for back pain treatment and specialized physical therapy treatment in Royersford, Collegeville, Phoenixville, Limerick, King of Prussia, OR Philadelphia, PA- call 484 552 3767 or email email@example.com.
Dr. Charlie Johnson, PT
While there are many causes of lower back pain and/or leg pain, there are two causes that are MOST common. In most cases, leg pain is caused by pressure on a nerve or the discs in the lower back. Physical therapy treatment is aimed at relieving pressure on one or both of these structures.
Watch the short video below to learn more…
There are two types of leg pain… REFERRED and RADIATING. leg pain… OR BOTH.
Referred pain is just as it sounds… pain referred or signals sent from one place to another. So, in the spine- the structures like the joints and discs in the back can send pain signals to parts of the body (other than just the back) into the buttock and down the leg. Depending on which structure is irritated will determine where you feel your symptoms… Referred pain is “non specific” and LARGER in coverage than radiating pain. It is often described as deep and achy and hard to pin point exactly…
On the other hand- Radiating pain is often involves irritation or compression of the nerve in the back… often termed as sciatica. Radiating pain takes a more specific path- and is often described as electric, shooting, or burning… you might even feel numbness or tingling.
And because a herniated DISC is the number one cause of SCIATICA many people have BOTH types of pain…
Think of the Sciatic nerve like a garden hose… Now, imagine you’re outside watering your plants when all the sudden the flow of water stops… What do you do? You check for a KINK! When you find the kink and undo it, the water starts flowing again. Now, nerves carry information such as FEELING and MOVEMENT… meaning depending on where they travel- they allow you to feel things touching you, and they “plug into” muscles- allowing your muscles to move and fire. When there is a KINK (or compression) on the nerve, you may notice that you develop numbness or tingling, OR even weakness in the leg. Any great physical therapist is trained to find the KINK and relieve the pressure on the nerve so that you feel normal again.
I know- complicated right? Well, if you’re in the Royersford, Limerick, Collegeville, Trappe, Phoenixville, King of Prussia, or Philadelphia, PA area- and have questions about back pain treatment or need specialized physical therapy- call 484 552 3767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve got lower back pain or leg pain numbness or tingling- check this video out…
Click the video below to learn about “Sciatica”… it’s a short video that talks all about it.
WHAT IS SCIATICA?
Sciatica is numbness, tingling, burning or shooting that is felt down one or both legs in a narrow band that occurs when pressure is placed on a nerve.
WHAT DOES SCIATICA FEEL LIKE?
The most common feelings are pain, numbness, and tingling in a narrow band down the leg. Everyone is unique though… here are some common ways people may describe feelings from sciatica:
• Bee Stings
• Trickling Water
One lady even told me, “It feels like ants are crawling on me…”
Point being… sciatica can create many unusual and scary feelings…
Good thing is… sciatica goes away.
The number one cause of sciatica is a herniated disc- due to pressure that is placed on the nerve by the disc herniation….
People who have pain due to a herniated disc USUALLY (but not always) have pain when sitting, bending, lifting, and when going from a sitting to standing position. It may, at times, feel like it’s hard to stand up straight… OR if things are really bad- your who body might be shifted to one side (usually away from the side of the leg pain).
If this sounds like you… and you’re looking for back pain treatment or specialized physical therapy in Royersford, Collegeville, Limerick, or Phoenixville, PA? Call 484 552 3767 or email me directly at email@example.com
Do you live in Royersford, PA or the surrounding areas? Are you sick and tired of lower back pain or sciatica? If you’re looking for back pain treatment and first-class physical therapy to help you heal naturally from your lower back pain call 484-552-3767.
You should know that the single most common cause of lower back pain and sciatica is a herniated disc.
What is a herniated disc?
A herniated disc, also known as a bulging or slipped disc, occurs when the inner jelly is pushed outwards through a tear in the outer portion of the disc resulting in a bulge or herniation (kind of like when the jelly is squeezed out of a donut). They can happen in any part of the spine, but are most common in the lower back.
A herniated disc can cause dull, achy pain in the back, buttock or leg… and if large enough, may even press on nerves in the spine- causing sciatica.
In this video I share with you the 7 tell tale signs of a herniated or bulging disc. Here they are…
1. Back pain that comes and goes. Does your lower back “got out” on you every once in-a-while…then just seems to go away on its own only to return next year?
2. Central lower back pain that feels achy or stiff.
3. Sciatica down the back of the leg or wrapping around the front of the leg from the lower back. Did you know that the number one cause of sciatica is a herniated disc?
4. Pain worsens with sitting. When we sit we put pressure on the front of our disc- which causes the stuff inside the disc to move backwards and puts pressure on the disc and nerves…causing pain, numbness, or tingling.
5. Pain worsens with going from sitting to standing.
6. Pain worsens with coughing or sneezing
7. Feels better standing
There you have it- 7 tell tales signs of a herniated or bulging disc…
Now, you might be wondering… can a herniated disc heal? Fortunately, they can! Physical therapy is often the first line of defense (or should be) and is a wonderful and effective all natural treatment solution that helps people with herniated discs heal.
If you’re in the Royersford, PA area and are looking for a physical therapist who specializes in lower back pain treatment- call 484-552-3767
Visit https://www.physicaltherapyjohnson.com/backpainroyersford/ to learn more about what successful treatment looks like for herniated discs…