There are two types of leg pain… REFERRED and RADIATING. leg pain… OR BOTH. One is Sciatica- the other is not… but they can feel similar and be felt in the same places- in the back, buttock, hamstring, or calf area.
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 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… which can be felt in the buttock, hamstring, or calf area.
The key to solving either of these is to understand the “TRIGGERS” or the activities, things, or positions that make your back, buttock, leg, or calf pain worse. Once you understand what makes it worse- you can often make it better.
Natural treatment involves using movement as medicine to move the spine and leg in ways that reduce pressure on painful structures allowing your body to heal.
I know- complicated right? Well, if you’re in the Royersford, Limerick, Collegeville, Phoenixville, or Trappe, PA area- and have questions about back pain treatment or need specialized physical therapy- call 484 552 3767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you or someone you know have sciatica? OR do you THINK you have it? Most people think they have sciatica- when in actually they don't. Truth is, if you're dealing with some form of back, buttock, or leg pain- there's only a 4% chance that it's caused by sciatica. Despite what you've been told (and how it seems like everybody says they have sciatica) it's actually pretty rare. Keep reading or watch my video below to learn 5 telltale signs of sciatica, including one simple 30 second self-test to confirm if you have it.
Now, sciatica is simply an irritation of the sciatic nerve as it runs from the back, down the back of the leg, into the foot. Causes include many things like herniated discs, piriformis syndrome, and spinal stenosis. Common telltale signs that you have a problem with the sciatica nerve (sciatica) include:
1-Feelings of Numbness, Tingling, Burning, Shooting down your leg
2-And these feelings travel down your leg in a very narrow path/band (usually 1-2 inches in width that can be traced with your finger down the back of your leg).
3-And your leg pain is now worse than you back pain.
4-And you have pain below the level of the knee (maybe even into the foot).
5-Stretching the sciatic nerve is painful, limited, or uncomfortable. (watch second half of video for self movement test)
If you've got all 5 of these signs- research shows that there is a greater than 90% chance that you have sciatica as the cause of your leg pain.
The first step to relief is to find out what triggers your back pain, numbness, or tingling and modify or tweak those things. The next step is to use specific movements to reduce irritation on the nerve.
If sciatica is keeping you from doing the things you love (or just keeping you up at night) give us a call at 484-552-3767 and we can help get you back to normal.
Many people with lower back pain or sciatica have pain driving or sitting for too long. In this case, it's helpful to understand why you might be feeling what you're feeling. Watch this video below to learn why most people have back pain when sitting or driving, what 10 second microstretch you could be doing to completely eliminate your pain (and allow you to stand up without being hunched over), and simple DIY changes you can make today to feel immediate lower back pain and sciatica relief. Click the video below to watch...
If you have lower back pain only, start to tweak or modify your sitting position- to see if you can change your lower back pain or leg pain.You could do this first by either slouching or sitting up super tall (rocking pelvis forward so you create an extreme arch in your lower back). You should then ask yourself- do things feel same, better or worse. If slouching makes things feel better- move your seat one inch closer and keep doing that. If slouching makes you feel worse- then try sitting up super tall... and see what that does... IF this helps- do more of this- consider adding a lower back support (small towel roll) behind your lower back while driving. You could also try sitting on a wedge, or tilting the front of your seat down. "Bucket seats" in many cars will cause your knees to be positioned slightly higher than your hips- which often causes your pelvis to rock backwards- resulting in you slouching. Sitting on a wedge or tilting the front of the seat slightly down will help to lessen this. What you'll often find is that changing the position of your spine will change either your back or leg symptoms. If this is the case- GREAT... you've found a switch.
As we know- if something is REPRODUCIBLE it is likely RE-DUCIBLE...
If you primarily have leg pain while you sit (but especially as you drive- because of how your legs may be extended to push on the gas/break...) then you may benefit from doing a couple things. First, move your seat one to two inches closer, or sit on a soft surface (you may find that the surface is a main issue... as sitting may be causing compression/too much pressure on the sensitive structures caused by nerve irritation...In either scenario- the idea is to tweak what bothers you- to see if you can change symptoms or pain... ideally you find a position that gives you relief... so that your pain and problem can start to calm down AND so that you can stop aggravating it every time you need to sit or drive.
Also, consider that movement is your medicine. You should understand that sitting and driving puts you most often in a bent or "flexed" forward position. Many times the spine and nerves can become sensitive to this position and need more of the opposite... and upright or "extended" position.
To apply this concept- try doing 10 standing backbends (I call this a microstretch) before, during, and immediately after driving or sitting for an extended period of time. While sitting- use a small towel roll shoved behind your lower back (at the level of the belt line) to keep you up tall. Every hour- be sure to stand up and take your medicine (10 backbends). This will likely help reduce the stiffness you feel when going from a sitting to standing position. Be sure to end the routine with 10 more backbends after you've gotten up.
Hope this helps.
If you're located in the Collegeville, Royersford, Limerick, Phoenixville, or King Of Prussia area and are struggling with lower back pain or sciatica- but can't seem to find relief... call 484-552-3767 now to speak with a Back Pain & Sciatica Specialist.
If you've ever experienced a pain in the butt- you may have searched around (or been told) that it could be a back issue, hip issue, or piriformis syndrome... and so, I wanted to touch on piriformis syndrome and highlight a trap in the treatment of piriformis syndrome that you could be falling into. This mistake often leads to little progress and prolonged suffering from buttock pain or sciatica...
The single biggest mistake I see people with buttock pain and supposed "piriformis" syndrome is stretching not strengthening...
People in this type of pain are trying to "stretch" their pain away...
They go to yoga, do their own stretches, and think that stretching is the answer to every bodily ache or pain. People are doing "hip openers" and "opening up their chest" or being told to "pull their shoulder blades down and back." And, while there is nothing wrong with stretching, it's making many of their problems worse (rather than better). I've recently told 5 people (in the past week) to stop stretching (like stop stretching COLD TURKEY... just cut it out all together)...
I told them to "STIFFEN UP" instead... and guess what...
Suddenly, their pain started to go away... and instead of stretching (making things longer/more flexible) we began to make things shorter by contracting muscles and strengthening things up.
You might be thinking to yourself- What? That's totally odd and against what everyone else has told me.
Think about it- the chiro cracks your back, the massage therapist works out your knots, yoga twists you up, acupuncture releases your trigger points- all with the goal of getting you to loosen up- or MOVE MORE.
I'll be the first to say... sometimes you just need to MOVE LESS and be more stiff (less mobile)...
A youtube video I created last year is causing a total ruckus on youtube by talking about this concept... and has helped hundreds of people who have been stretching the heck out of their lower back and hips to finally feel relief...
Click the video below to watch.
FYI- this concept applies to people who have chronic neck and shoulder pain and have been "stretching things out" or seeing the chiro and massage therapist for years without relief.
Applied correctly to the right person- this idea can work for any body region where things "feel tight"... and stretching only gives temporary feel-good relief...
And so, if you're in pain and have been "stretching things out" with little to no long term relief then consider that stretching is not the solution... In fact, I say- rock the boat and do the opposite- stiffen up.
Comment below if you're searching for physical therapy in Royersford, Collegeville, Limerick, or Phoenixville, PA and are dealing with any form of pain that has NOT been relieved by "stretching" things out.
Consider one person who goes to the doctor with back pain and is told by a surgeon that most back pain heals, and that the best treatment for back pain is actually not surgery- it’s exercise. Now, consider another person who sees a surgeon and is told that their MRI shows they’ve got the worst back he or she (surgeon) has ever seen. And are told that the only way they won’t be crippled is to have back surgery. Who do you think will be better in the long run? Who is more likely to be in pain 1 year from now? I can tell you from personal experience, and from what research tells us, that the person who’s been led to believe that they cannot heal- will not heal.
Everyone feels pain- but not everyone will stay in pain. Some people who injure themselves go on to recover nicely- and return to living life painfree. Others end up suffering- and limit their lives due to pain that just won’t go away. What’s the difference?
Don’t believe me… here is the headline of an article recently published in the Journal Of Bone And Joint Surgery…
Even the surgeons admit it!
Take, for example, a time when you noticed a bruise but have no idea how it got there. Or the stories of people in extreme conditions who were shot, or impaled- and managed to survive these conditions. Or, what about the man who cut his arm off to escape being trapped between two boulders in the middle of the woods! OR, ever taken a warm shower after being in the sun all day- feels like it’s burning you- but as you know- IT”S NOT… it’s simply hypersensitive receptors on your skin… causing you to think that the warm water is actually very hot.
You see- pain is an experience. It is more than just tissue damage- infact, that has very little to do with it. Consider that being told you have a slipped disc, and being shown pictures of a slipped disc actually make you feel more back pain! Basically, your brain is always attempting to answer the question- “How dangerous is this input?” And, the answer is largely influenced by many factors- including actual tissue damage, stress, what we’re told, x-ray and MRI results, and sleep quality. We now know that someone who has an MRI and knows the results of those tests feels more pain than someone who knows nothing at all!
Watch this video below. It explains the complexity of pain- and answers the question- What is Pain?
So, the takehome… don’t let x-rays and MRI’s disable you. Understand that pain is a complex thing that doesn’t mean your broken- it’s simply your body’s alarm system telling you something isn’t quite right… And sometimes, your alarm system keeps going off even when your tissue is completely healed… making you feel pain when there is actually no damage or problem.
Keep your head up! There’s hope.
Call 484 552 3767 to speak to a specialist physical therapist who can help guide you on the road to recovery.
A common question people ask me (on a near daily basis) is- Can my herniated disc heal… or will I need surgery? The answer is a quick YES (meaning yes it can heal.. and NO you likely will not need surgery). This is great news- your body has an amazing ability to send specialized healing cells to the area that’s injured to help the tissue heal.
Truth is, your back is no different than a papercut… both get injured and both can heal. Now, I get it- having back pain is mysterious- most of the time we have no clue what brought it on… and even when we do- WE CAN’T SEE A THING! This can be scary… and leave us wondering what could be going on down there. In many cases- people get images to try and “figure out” what the issue is… Unfortunately- that rarely works… Why? Well, it’s been shown that there is little to no correlation between what is found on the image and what causes your pain. Who’s to say what was found on your x-ray or MRI wasn’t there 10 years ago… and you never knew about it until someone went searching for a problem.
Send your cell phone into the lab to be “swabbed” for germs… do you think they’ll find any? OF COURSE… same goes for your back. Now, do you go around worrying about all those germs… probably not. Your back is no different.
Most people can’t handle the truth (but I tell them anyways) that in many cases of lower back pain- we have no idea what the root cause it… meaning- we don’t know what’s going on.
Crazy, but true. So, if you’ve been told you have a herniated disc- take it with a grain of salt… and know that IF it actually is the source of your back pain- chances are high that it will heal up just fine within 3-6 months.
If you’re looking for quick relief- call us at 484 552 3767.
Did you know that the biggest predictor of whether or not you’ll have lower back surgery is your ZIP CODE? AND people who have an MRI are more likely to have spine surgery. Even more fishy… if the surgeon who recommends the MRI owns the MRI machine, well- the likelihood of spinal surgery increases 34%. – (Lurie, Birkmeyer et al. 2003).
If you live in the Limerick, Royersford, Phoenixville, or Collegeville area… you’re aware that surgery centers (Rothman) are popping up everywhere. And you guessed it… the more surgeons in your area… the more likely you are to have back surgery- NOT COOL… and straight up wrong if you ask me.
With spinal surgery, especially spinal fusions, on the rise… I can’t help but ask myself- What’s going on? Why not PT 1st…
And, I’d be okay with more spine surgery… if research supported that it was the best thing for people with back pain…
Unfortunately, commercials and many surgeons are still recommending fusions despite growing evidence that suggests spinal fusion is NO BETTER THAN conservative treatment (physical therapy).
Spinal fusions were originally performed to help those with severe scoliosis, fractures, and a condition where the spine is unstable (fusing the bones helps make it stable again)… they were not designed to help people with general back pain.
The only true reasons for back surgery are for problems where your nerves are being compromised… losing function- if you notice severe leg weakness or numbness in your leg that is getting worse, or loss of bowel or bladder function. In these cases, back surgery may be used to restore health of the nerve.
Here’s a video I created that chats about when you need back surgery…
I’m consistently amazed by the number of people who have general lower back pain that are recommended to have injections or even surgery as the first step in relieving their back pain or sciatica. Makes no sense.
So why do people continue to get spine surgery and whose fault is it anyway? 3 reasons that I can think of…
1- People think it will be a “quick fix” to their pain.
2- People/society continues to have a “fix me” vs “fix myself” mindset.
3- Healthcare providers not advocating for or educating their patients as they should (lack of time, insurance constraints, MONEY?!)
The takehome? If you’ve got lower back pain- stay active, be informed about your options, and remember- surgeons do surgery!
If you live in the Limerick, Royersford, Phoenixville, Collegeville, Valley Forge, King of Prussia, or Philadelphia area call 484 552 3767 to resolve your back pain naturally.
1. Institute of Report from the Committee on Advancing Pain Research., 2011)
2. Surgical predictors: Lurie JD, Birkmeyer NJ, Weinstein JN. Rates of advanced spinal imaging and spine surgery. Spine. Mar 15 2003;28(6):616-620.
3. Mannion AF, Brox JI, Fairbank JC. Consensus at last! Long-term results of all randomized controlled trials show that fusion is no better than non-operative care in improving pain and disability in chronic low back pain. Spine. 2016;16:588-50
I’m seeing a trend… and I don’t care for it.
People getting injections for their back pain before they ever try physical therapy! CRAZY… what’s the rush… why cut the lock when you could simply unlock the door… and walk inside? In other words- why do more than necessary…
Quick, but funny real-life story that I think helps represent how crazy getting injections as the first line of defense for back pain really is…
So about 3 months ago, I was pulling a late night in the clinic… it was a long day and I was tired. I was closing up shop… and locked my clinic keys inside the clinic… I had no car keys, and from what I could recall… no spare set of clinic keys. I was screwed…
I called my wife Heather annoyed, and she came to the clinic with a “So what are we going to do?” type attitude. First things first, I asked- “Do you just so happen to have a spare set of keys.” NOPE- was her response…
I said- okay then, we can try the old credit card trick, maybe a bobbie pin to pick the lock, or I’ll pry/cut the handle off (cheaper than calling a locksmith at that time of night… plus, I needed in… and had a full schedule starting at 7 the next morning).
To make a long story short… nothing worked.. and so I began prying the door handle apart… it was my last resort.
Halfway into the process, handle half ripped to shreds… my wife says- “Oh, wait- I HAVE A KEY…”
And just like that, she opened the door.
WHATTTTT- I sat there in disgust trying to channel my energy and find the fun in it…
Eventually we laughed at the silly mistake…
AND NOW- looking back, I think of how unnecessary all that was…
Why would anyone in there right mind know that they could simply “unlock” the door, but instead choose to break the handle off?! HAHA
They wouldn’t… or at least I hope not.
Point being, going to injections as your first step to manage your back pain.. is like breaking the door handle off before trying the key (physical therapy)…
I have a couple issues with and injections for back pain…
Of all these issues… the fact that injections act like a bandaide and cover up the symptoms is a MAJOR PROBLEM…
This leaves many people feeling good temporarily… and they keep lifting, sitting, bending, and twisting all the ways that got them there in the first place…
And then… people wonder why their back pain COMES BACK? It’s a no-brainer… in fact, people should expect it to…
I created a short video that chats about why meds and injections are mostly USELESS in the treatment of back pain (if you actually want to solve the root cause).
So, if you’re scheduled for an injection… and are looking for the best solution for your back pain… call 484 552 3767 or email me directly at email@example.com
Also, if you know of anyone who’s suffering with back pain… and thinks injections are “all that can be done”… could you share this post with them?
Thanks a million,
Dr. Charlie Johnson, DPT
If you’re in Royersford, PA and are looking for natural back pain treatment- call 484 552 3767… you’ll be glad you did ;-)…
Lizzy suffered with back pain for about 12 years… and she tried almost everything. Images of her spine showed “nothing was wrong” with her, and acupuncture, chiropractic, reiki, yoga, and massage were only temporary fixes… the pain always came back and she always went back to treatment, searching for a “fix.”
I explained to Lizzie that we could likely help her, with SNIPER PT… that is super focused treatment tailored just to her. Not a “shotgun approach” to giving her 15 exercises and just hoping and praying that found relief.
You see, as a specialist physical therapist, I have been trained to find THE root cause of your issue, and attack it with just a couple VERY SPECIFIC exercises (1-3… max)- this way, when you feel relief- you know exactly what to do to continue healing yourself… what a powerful thing…
So, I started off by telling Lizzie that we would teach her to heal herself… so if she ever does feel something in the future- she can correct it (on her own) immediately… without having to rely on someone else to put her back in line- or fix her.
To her surprise (remember, she had seen many people before with little relief… and was a tad bit skeptical that we could actually do something for her) she was painfree of back pain in 4 visits… 12 years of back pain gone in 4 visits.
She was so pleased with her treatment- she agreed to create a video for you… to share her experience and try to let others know about specialized physical therapy… at Physical Therapy & Johnson in Royersford, PA.
Here’s what she had to say about her experience.
“I struggled with lower back pain for 12 years. Doctors have x-rayed me and told me everything looks fine. I’ve tried Chiropractic, acupuncture, Reiki, yoga and massage to varying degrees of relief but nothing corrected the problem. A friend recently recommended Dr. Charlie. He listened to what I described and together we investigated what was going on. We worked out a series of exercises and simple adjustments to my daily life and within weeks I finally had relief. I am so very grateful to have found a healthcare practitioner who truly paid attention to me and was committed to figuring out what was going on.”
Watch the video below to meet Lizzie and hear her story…
Also, I want to let you in on a secret… most people with back pain (who’ve had it for as long as Lizzie and have tried everything) think that back pain treatment needs to be complicated in order to get results…
Honestly, this is exactly why most back pain treatment fails…
Treatment that is complicated… with lots of fancy techniques and many exercises can backfire… causing confusion for both the healthcare practioner and YOU the person with back pain… because there are just too many variables. And at the end of the day, you have no idea what’s working and what’s not… make sense?!
Secondly, most back pain treatment causes you to rely on someone or something else… versus taking ownership of things and getting in the game… working together with someone else to help yourself relieve your back pain. While this isn’t the easy road… it brings you to the ultimate solution… one where you have the knowledge, understanding, and tools to heal yourself (versus spending money on someone else to “fix you.”)
Click here to watch my video and learn more about “Why Most Back Pain Treatment Fails.”
If you live in the Royersford, PA area, and have tried everything… but still have some fight in you and are looking for natural relief (and want to feel better like Lizzie) call 484 552 3767 today.
Dr. Charlie, PT, DPT, OCS
Hip pain and arthritis can cause groin pain, buttock pain, outer hip pain, and even knee or shin pain. If you’re having trouble crossing your legs- or sitting indian style… then you might benefit from hip treatment to make you move and feel better…
Just the other day, a women came to me with buttock, knee, and shin pain- after she had been told it was coming from her lower back… she even had injections to her lower back- with NO RELIEF.
After listening to her story, and looking at how she moved, It was clear that all of her symptoms were caused by a problem in her hip- NOT her back… in fact, she had no back pain… had someone taken the time to listen- it was clear that she had no back problem.
When I asked- what do you feel is causing your problem- she said, “My Hip!”
Sad, but true…
Anyways, there are several common signs of hip arthritis… click the video to learn the 4 Telltale Signs…
Hip arthritis often sounds and feels like a problem coming from the back— you might even have a problem in the back and the hip!
But, if you’ve been treated for your back pain and nothing is working- consider that perhaps you have no problem in your back…
If you’re 50 years of age or older, and feel buttock, groin, or outer hip pain… even knee pain or shin pain- be aware that your hip could be the problem.
The hip can refer or send pain to all of these areas… many mistake a problem in the hip as a problem in the back… or even sciatica.
It can be easy to miss…
There are even stories of people who have knee replacements (get new knees) and afterwards feel no relief. But when they later get treatment for their hip- or even a hip replacement- all their knee pain is gone…
Hip pain treatment is aimed at improving motion in the hip and then getting you stronger, so you can move better and get back to normal. Many times a hip surgery/replacement is not needed. Physical therapy and specialized hip treatment can completely relieve your pain… cool stuff.
Anyways, if you’re in the Royersford, Limerick, Collegeville, or Phoenixville, PA area- call 484 552 3767 to figure out the cause of your buttock and groin pain.