Don't Let Your Back and Neck Pain Hold You Back
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 and neck 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. Your doctor will likely refer you to physical therapy or a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who has extensive training to treat back and neck pain without surgery. The specialists will refer you to a surgeon, if needed.
What if you need additional therapy?
At Bronson, our physical therapists and physical medicine and rehabilitation team coordinate a multidisciplinary physical therapy and occupational therapy approach with specially-trained therapists to ensure you make the best progress possible. This means physical therapy focusing on strengthening the belly and back muscles, flexibility and learning to move in a way that protects your spine. They may also recommend nonsurgical treatment options like:
- Medicines and pain management – 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.
- Over the counter medicine
- Muscle relaxants
- Topical medicine
- Rehabilitation therapy – Coordinate multidisciplinary physical and occupational therapy.
- 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
- Ablations – Procedures 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.
When Should You Consider Back or Neck Surgery?
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. 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
At Bronson Neuroscience Center, our team specializes in treating back and neck pain. Whether you need routine testing, rehabilitation, and medical or surgical treatment, 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.
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.