Many people with stiffness, aches or pains have been told, “Hey, just rest for a couple of weeks, see how it feels and then get back to things.” Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things to do… and actually slows healing. Watch below or keep reading…
While some form of rest might be needed if things are really hot n’ bothered- the concept of resting does not work for most people in pain.
So here’s the truth about what’s happening when you rest. So if you’ve had an injury, and you’ve been laying off things for a couple of weeks, and tried to go back to running and it just didn’t work… you’re likely thinking, what’s wrong? I got to go get an image… I’ve got to go see this doctor or that doctor. And you start looking around for answers as to what could be going on and why your pain keeps coming back (even after you’ve rested)
It doesn’t mean you’re broken and that you can’t heal and that you need fixing via surgery or something like that. You just need to understand what’s actually happening. So here’s what’s happening when you rest…
Get that there is a certain amount of strength or horsepower needed to do specific activities in life. Sleeping requires little to no effort or horsepower, whereas sprinting or jumping might require a lot of horsepower. And of course, there are activities in between. At the time the ache or pain started you had a certain amount of strength… but, as we rest- we lose strength, function, and horsepower. In other words, when we rest, we trade in our Ferrari for a Toyota.. and naturally we have less ability to go, jump, move, run- LIVE LIFE! Make sense?
So, what happens is you hurt yourself, you rest- things calm down, and your strength starts to reduce.
This is where most people mess up. A few weeks later they’re feeling pretty good and try to go for a run again or get back to the thing which hurt them to begin with. But your horsepower, your strength, your conditioning has reduced well below what’s needed for that activity. So then you go back to that activity and boom, it hurts again. And you just keep hurting. You just keep hurting yourself. Frustration sets in and you begin to wonder what the heck is going on here? Why am I not healed? And, what most fail to realize is that they are healed… but they need to build the strength of the tissue back up again or they risk overloading the area (doing too much too soon) and re-injuring.
Have you gone through this before?
Now is when most people go down the path of MRI’s, injections, whatever, a bunch of useless stuff- when the problem is that you tried to jump the gap… rather than bridge it with progressive strength training needed to get back up to speed.
So the point is this… As you’re resting, your strength and conditioning starts to go down a little bit. A few days- no biggie, but if you take two, three, four, six weeks, two months, or longer… and then you try to go back to that same activity that bothered you- you’re likely to have serious problems. The takehome is that rest doesn’t work because you’re deconditioning as you rest, and then certain activities in life require certain amount of horsepower or energy to do. And as you’re resting, if you’re deconditioning, and fail to build that back up- this is why you keep re-injuring yourself.
A better way is “relative rest.”
Part of the problem as to why you probably hurt yourself in the beginning is that you didn’t have enough horsepower or capacity to do the activity that hurt you to begin with. So you were underpowered to begin with and now you’ve rested, so you’re really underpowered and then you wonder why you can’t get back to running. So this is where physical therapy comes in… you’ve got to take your Ferrari back!
Start by modifying, tweaking or temporarily avoiding things to calm the fire. If squatting hurts, it’s not that squatting is bad… just don’t go quite as low- or as with as much weight. If running hurts, try power walking, limit the speed, reduce the miles. Begin physical therapy and strength training to gradually build it back up.
This whole post could be summed up with this… “Calm Things Down, Build Them Back Up.”
For anyone in the Collegeville, Royersford, Phoenixville, King of Prussia, or Main Line area who’s serious about getting better naturally- call 484 552 3767 to speak with me directly.
Quite often, Back Pain, Hip Pain & Piriformis Syndrome is caused by excessive compression or strain on the tissue in or about the back/hip. This includes things like the joints in the lower back, sciatic nerve, deep hip muscles (including the piriformis), hip joint, labrum, and the glute tendons. The result is often pain, numbness, or tingling in the buttock, groin, hip, or leg.
In actuality, most of time, stretching things just makes these problems worse! (watch the video below to learn more)
Stretching tissue or compressing it- increases strain and lengthens tissue very temporarily, causing less blood supply and oxygen to get to the tissue. What most people don't realize is that there are likely positions throughout the day that are making these issues worse (or keeping them from healing). Positions that have become habits... Like- crossing your legs, standing with weight shifted onto one leg, or sleeping with the hip in a funky position (falling across body). These positions place strain and compression on tissues around the hip and can often continue to "spark" the fire or knick the scab.
Without correcting these positions, exercises may help, but often- the pain will return. To create a more optimal healing environment for problems like piriformis syndrome, sciatic nerve pain, hip bursitis/arthritis, hip impingement, back problems, or gluteal tendinopathy- be sure to correct day-2-day habits (seen in video above) to create the most optimal healing environment.
Call my office at 484-552-3767 to speak with me directly and to see if you qualify for a complimentary Lower Back & Hip Diagnostic Assessment.
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 email@example.com
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.
Neck and arm pain is often the result of an irritated or compressed nerve (sometimes called a pinched nerve) somewhere in the spine or shoulder area. Neck or arm pain is any pain that begins in the neck and travels below the level of the shoulder into the arm. People with sensitive or pinched nerves in their neck may experience feeling of pain, numbness, or tingling throughout their shoulder blade area extending into their arm or even their hand.
Now, just a fair warning… while the link between a problem in your neck and the pain you feel in your arm can be super obvious… it may not be clear at all. In fact, many people I see only have shoulder, elbow, or wrist pain… and only have some mild neck pain or stiffness. So yes, it is possible that what you think is a problem only with your shoulder, or your elbow, may actually be a problem coming from your neck.
Healthy nerves can glide, compress, or tension. When a nerve can no longer do these things due to injury, prolonged postures, or overuse it can become temporarily unhealthy. Also, know that Healthy nerves also need a strong blood supply. Unhealthy nerves will often cause feelings of
weakness, burning, shooting, numbness or tingling. Simply put, there is a problem somewhere
along the highway.
A pinched nerve is an unhealthy nerve due mainly to nerve compression or lack of blood supply. Most often this compression occurs at the level of the neck. But as we know, each nerve is like a garden hose, that can be “kinked” or compressed anywhere along its path. Take carpal tunnel for example, the compression of the nerve in this case is not at the neck, but at the wrist.
For the purpose of this post we will discuss pinched nerves that occur due to compression of
the nerves as they exit the neck. But be aware- sometimes nerves just become sensitive and are not actually pinched…
Just as an FYI- the fancy name for a pinched nerve is cervical radiculopathy- look it up and you’ll likely find all kinds of scary stuff…keep reading and I’ll try to ease your mind while explaining what a pinched nerve really is.
You should understand that nerves are like highways. I’ll repeat again. Say it with
me…Nerves are like HIGHWAYS! Pinched nerves are like highways with traffic jams that cause
temporary closure of some or all the lanes. If we close one of these lanes we slow the sending
of information and we end up with feelings of pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling
(Keep reading to discover the two most common causes of pinched nerves). Just as you make
take certain highways to get from one destination to another, nerves do the same. Feeling and
movement to different parts of the body are controlled by certain nerves.
While there are 8 big nerves or highways that branch from the neck. We will focus on 3 of these big nerves that travel from the neck down your arm that allow you to feel and move your hand and fingers. These nerves are the sixth, seventh, and eight cervical nerves. Cervical meaning neck and the number referring to the specific nerve level. Think of them as highway C6, C7, C8. Each of these nerves allows a certain area of the arm and hand the ability to feel and move. When we talk about feeling, the C6 nerve (the 6th nerve in the neck) generally gives feeling to the thumb and pointer finger, the C7 nerve gives feeling to the pointer and middle finger, whereas C8 gives feeling to the ring and little (pinky) fingers. The most commonly pinched nerve is C7 followed by C6, with C8 rarely being pinched. Why are these nerves commonly pinched you might ask??
For two reasons- the hole where the nerve exits is smallest between the 6th and 7th neck bones- leaving less space for the nerve to exit…
AND- the C7 highway, or the 7th nerve in the neck, is the largest nerve. Put these two things together and the nerve has less room to travel and is easier to become pinched.
Depending upon the nerve(s) that are pinched will often determine where you feel your
feelings of pain, numbness and tingling.
There are two major causes (or accidents if you like my “nerves are like highways” idea) that
may result in a pinched nerve.
1. Herniated Disc- usually causes only one nerve to be compressed and is most common in people aged 35-55
2. Arthritis or bone spurs-may cause multiple nerve levels to be compressed and is most common in people over 40 years old.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to recall what caused your pinched nerve. And often, there
may seem to be no obvious reason at all for a pinched nerve to occur…
More obvious causes of a pinched nerve include heavy lifting, car accidents or falls, and prolonged postures that occur throughout our days at home and while at work.
What does a pinched nerve feel like?
The most common feelings are pain, numbness, and tingling. Although everyone is unique and
may describe feelings from a pinched nerve as:
One lady even told me “It feels like ants are crawling on me…”
Point being, pinched nerves can create many unusual and scary feelings.
To determine if you have a pinched nerve- take this neck pain and pinched nerve self-test.
How’d it go? Have questions or need help? Call 484-552-3767 to learn about how you can naturally heal neck pain and pinched nerves or email me directly at 484-552-3767
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.
Herniated Disc Treatment: Step One- A self question and answer quiz to help you get in touch with what’s going on and help you determine if you have the symptoms of a herniated disc… Knowing what could have caused your back pain, when it started and what makes it better/worse as well as where you’re feeling things- are all super important questions to know and understand.
Once we know the answers to these questions we can start to to get to the root cause of your back pain and begin treatment for you herniated disc and begin specific exercises to get you relief from your lower back pain.
Click the video below to learn how to start healing your own back..
If you live in the Philadelphia or King Of Prussia area- and are looking to get to the root cause of your pain naturally, over drugs, injections, or surgery…
Call 484 552 3767 to learn about our lower back pain treatment program.
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