5 Daily Moves to Reduce Your Back and Neck Pain
You use your back nearly every time you move—that’s why it is so important to keep it strong and healthy. However, your back and neck can easily be injured, causing you pain which can worsen over time. Back and neck pain are extremely common. In fact, four out of every five adults has back pain at least once in their life.
Your back and neck are made up of bone, muscle, nerves and other soft tissues that can all cause pain if strained, stressed or fractured. The most common causes of back pain are:
- Strained muscle, ligament or tailbone
- Herniated disc, causing nerve pain
- Narrowed spinal canal or spinal deformity
- Slipped or fractured vertebrae
To Reduce your Back/Neck Pain: Take Five
You can improve the strength in your midsection and prevent or reduce your back/neck pain by exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, good posture and proper lifting techniques. Taking these steps can help to improve your pain.
Here are five exercises you can do daily to find relief:
- Lower back: The Knee to Chest Stretch is an easy stretch to help lower back pain. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Pull your right knee up to your chest. Hold the stretch for five seconds. Then, put your right leg back down, and pull your left knee to your chest. Hold for five seconds.
- Mid-back: The Cat-Cow is a simple yoga exercise that encourages flexibility and builds core muscles. Simply get on your hands and knees on the floor, and then lift your belly button up toward your spine (Cat). Your spine will arch upward. Hold for five seconds. Then drop your stomach down and pull your shoulders up, which will create a dip in your back (Cow). Hold for five seconds. Do this two or three times.
- Upper back: Arm Across the Chest can be done from a seated position. To start, take your left arm and stretch it across your chest to the right. Use your right hand to press on your left upper arm to deepen the stretch. Hold for five seconds. Repeat by taking your right arm and stretching it across your chest to the left. Hold for five seconds.
- Neck: Stretch Front to Back, Side to Side, focusing on the natural movements by stretching your neck forward, then back, and then tipping your head to the left and the right. Hold each stretch for five seconds.
- Neck and shoulders: In a fluid motion, Roll Your Shoulders forward, up, back and down. This loosens muscles in your shoulders, upper back and neck.
What to Do if Your Back or Neck Pain Does Not Improve
If you do the daily exercises and don’t see an improvement, you should see your doctor right away to avoid further injury, increased pain or additional health risks. You should also see your doctor immediately if you’re in extreme pain. Your doctor will likely refer you to specialist who has received extensive training to treat back and neck pain.
At Bronson Neuroscience Center in Battle Creek, our team not only specializes in treating back and neck pain, we focus on doing so without the use of surgery, whenever able. Nonsurgical options can help with improving strength and movement of your spine while also decreasing pain. All without surgery.
Nonsurgical treatments and services for your spine health include:
- Spine therapy and rehabilitation services – Typically, this means physical therapy focusing on strengthening the belly and back muscles, flexibility and learning to move in a way that protects your spine. At Bronson, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians coordinate a multidisciplinary physical therapy and occupational therapy approach with the specially-trained therapists to ensure you make the best progress possible. If at any time they feel like you need to be seen by a physiatrist or surgeon, they can communicate directly with the team members to quickly set up an evaluation.
- Medicines and pain management – There are many options available to manage your pain if you don’t opt for surgery. Some medications we will recommend are over the counter, but we will tailor the dosing for you. Some medications are special topical medications you have never used before. Some others are muscle relaxants for medications for nerve related pain. Regardless of what is causing your pain, your physician will recommend a medicine that will work best for your specific type of pain, whether its arthritis or a pinched nerve, and make sure it’s safe for you to take.
- Diagnostic imaging – X-rays, electromyography (EMG) and other tests to evaluate your back, neck and spine, and the nerves that come from there
- Lumbar injections – Using an X-ray, the doctor injects pain medicines around the area of the spine that may be causing pain. Sometimes this is used to treat pain, other times it’s used to find the cause of pain. You get to go home the same day
- Trigger point injections – A pain management option that injects medicine into muscle to relieve pain from arthritis and similar conditions.
- Spasticity management – Help for a condition that causes your muscles to contract continuously, which in turn can make movement difficult as well as complicate your ability to speak
- Work and school reintegration – Learn to manage how and when to return to driving and work after neurological injury or surgery
- Ablations – These procedures are done for chronic pain conditions that have not improved with just medicine and physical therapy. In these procedures we “heat shock” the nerves that only carry sensation from joints with arthritis, not motor signals to your arms and legs. Joints in your neck, back, hips, knees and shoulders can all be treated with this technology.
- MRI and CT scan –MRI and CT scans have different indications, but they offer a better look into the structures of your body opposed to a plain X-ray. Your physician is needed to select which one is best for your particular problem.
- Surgical evaluation – Not all pain can be treated without surgery. Sometimes, surgery is emergently necessary. Your healthcare provider is always on the lookout for what needs immediate surgery, but sometimes, after trying all less invasive treatments, the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks. Trying all conservative treatment methods gives you and your physician more confidence in making the decision to proceed with surgery.
When Should You Consider Back or Neck Surgery?
If surgery is needed, our team is specially-trained to perform minimally-invasive spine procedures and surgeries so you have less pain and fewer scars and bleeding. This allows you to heal faster so you can get back to the things you love doing.
Meet the Team: Back and Neck Specialists Near You
Whether you need routine testing or a complex surgical procedure, you’ll be cared for by the capable hands of a multidisciplinary team that works closely together to ensure a coordinated, holistic approach to your care—all the way from diagnosis and medical or surgical treatment through rehabilitation.
Learn More About Back and Neck Pain
If you’re having back or neck pain, don’t continue to suffer. We can help! Learn more.