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.
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.
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.