all care physiotherapy blog
Practical back pain management tips and videos
4 June 2013
Recently on Facebook we ran a series of practical back care videos and suggestions for everyday movement. Here is a summary of the key tips.
Lifting: Obviously lifting is a major risk area with back pain. The fundamentals for lifting safely are …..Bend your knees, activate your lower abdominals, bring the weight close to you and use your leg and bottom muscles to do the majority of the lift. Remember lift straight up don’t lift and twist!
Sitting: Every patient with back pain reports that sitting aggravates their pain. I then look at how they sit all day and it is no wonder why their back is continually sore. Most patients sit in a slouched or slumped position with increased stress on their spines in that position. This places a continual prolonged stress on the posterior muscles, ligaments and joints leading to irritation of their underlying problem. The worst thing is the human body doesn’t naturally correct a position that is aggravating a painful condition! It fact it often assumes a position that will aggravate back pain more. So you need to think about growing tall through the top of your head which will naturally activate the stabilising muscles of the spine and generally realign the curves of the spine to reposition them back to its neutral position. But to do this is one of the hardest things when many of us sit for long periods of the day. Sitting ‘tall’ regularly and repeatedly requires practice and repetition but your back will thank you for it!
Sleeping: Is your back sore in the morning? We often ask our patients this question and then check what position they sleep in overnight. Often sleeping on your stomach or in a twisted position will lead to increased pain in the morning. We regularly suggest that people sleep on their side with a pillow between their knees which are on top of each other so the spine is in a neutral position whilst sleeping. Remember when you are asleep your muscles are having a rest as well so the more we can assume a neutral position the less stress on the spine.
We also posted 4 stretches via video. These were some of the more common simple stretches that may help get your back moving again. The general rule with all these stretches is to do 6-10 repetitions at a time and don't stretch or push to the point that you have pain, build up slowly. Remember the correct technique is most important. Because every back problem has different causes if any of these stretches cause you discomfort please cease them and consult your health practitioner.
All the stretches can be found on our You Tube channel http://www.youtube.com/allcarephysio
7 steps to prevent Chronic Low Back Pain
24 April 2013
As part of my constant clinical improvement, I am always researching and reading the latest articles to stay on top of the latest knowledge. After 25 years it is clear that Low Back Pain (LBP) is not a condition that resolves spontaneously. In fact articles have shown that 62% of patients who don’t seek treatment still have LBP after 12 months and the percentage of patients with relapses of pain are 60 to 78%.
How do you stop the pain becoming chronic??
Still one of the greatest predictor of whether a person will get LBP is a past history of LBP. Recent research into how spinal muscles work, have shown that deficits in these muscles have a major part to play in recurrences of episodes of LBP. We also know that patients who have LBP start to compensate with how they move which can maintain increased stress on injured joints and ligaments leading to increased pain. We also know that just because the pain settles doesn’t mean the muscles and movements go back to normal.
At All Care physiotherapy, we look at the underlying factors in why LBP occurs and especially in treatment strategies to overcome the statistics of recurrences. Our detailed examination directs our treatment process and we then are looking for long term solutions for your problem.
So to prevent having chronic LBP we would suggest the following;
1. Seek treatment early for back pain as we know and the research shows that early treatment lessens the risk of chronic pain
2. If you have back pain, keep mobile as much as possible. Generally no more than 2 days bed rest is necessary.
3. Think often of the back care principles of safe lifting with the weight close to you, bending at the knees, keeping the back straight and using your legs to lift
4. Maintain good posture at all times. Modern western society involves far too much repetitive sitting. It is best to change your position regularly every 30 min and practice how to sit and stand correctly.
5. Engage in regular moderate exercise.
6. If you have had episodes of LBP seek an assessment of the state of health of your back. Professional athletes have sports screenings all the time to be proactive in preventing injuries and you should do the same for your back to prevent episode of back pain. You do not need to be in pain for us to pick up deficits on how you move, how your muscles work and to assess and re educate your posture.
7. If you have had an episode of LBP, then maintain your rehabilitation exercises after the pain settles to maximise your muscle and movement recovery
If All Care Physiotherapy can help you recover faster from LBP or provide a screening for your back then give us a call today on 1300 291 133.
Back pain more common than you think!!
3 April 2013
Flicking through some of the latest lifestyle magazines to arrive in our waiting room it was amazing to see several articles reporting on research into Back Pain. Some of the figures quoted were not surprising to us…..
80% of people will experience significant back pain in their life – Better Homes and Gardens April 2013
Lower back pain and osteoarthritis are now ranked second only to cancer as a cause of disease burden in Australasia and this is likely to increase – Australian Women’s Weekly March 2013
Some of the suggestions given in the magazines our patients hear from us all the time:
• Keep moving – try not to sit for long periods of the day, get up and move between tasks (see Pat's last blog)
• Moderate exercise regularly
• Increase core strength and flexibility.
What if the pain is acute and not mild?
This is where specific and targeted treatment is important. Recent research has shown that people with acute back pain who receive physiotherapy early recovered quicker and used fewer medical services overall as a result of the back pain (Spine 2012:37:775-782).
This research supports what we know at All Care that early treatment will result in better outcomes for our patients. If you have pain, don’t let it linger, or ignore it! The longer pain persists the longer it often takes to settle with treatment. Or you can run the risk of pain becoming chronic leading to spending more money on other health services.
You don’t need a Doctors referral to see one of our All Care Physiotherapists. You will receive treatment to help with the immediate pain and also address the underlying issues that are the cause of your pain. At All Care, we have a strong belief in the benefits of muscle control with back pain and regularly use the start of the art ultrasound imaging to assist in teaching this before progressing onto more “core stability” exercises.
If you have a complex spinal problem (which is more common than not), we often will have more than one physiotherapist consulting on your problem leading to the best outcome for you.
So if you have a sore back make sure you book in to see one of our physios today.
7 February 2013
I can’t believe that it is almost mid-February already. Most of us have been back at work for weeks and probably the XMAS holidays are a distant memory.
I hope you have spent the holidays doing a variety of activities and generally being active, changing postures regularly and spending less time sitting than at work. I thought it would be a good time to talk about what we can all do to improve our spinal health.
People who have a desk based occupation return to work and recommence prolonged hours of sitting. Our spines are meant to move and change position regularly to change the stresses of being in one position. If we stay in a static position for a sustained period, we have more chance of assuming a slouched posture leading to increased and sustained loading of our spinal joints and ligaments. This may lead to irritation of these pain sensitive structures leading to back or neck pain.
At our clinic we regularly will get our patients to send in photos of them at their work station so we can review a patient’s sitting posture and desk set up. We can then instruct them on the correct spinal positioning and talk about what ergonomically needs to be adjusted at their work station.
So some simple tips to follow are
• “sit up tall” at your desk. Practice growing tall through the top of your head and retracting your shouder blades back together. Hold this for at least 30 sec and do regularly.
• Get up from your chair regularly every ½ hour. Change position often.
• Do small walks often. We need to balance the amount of time sitting with time at moving. Research has shown that even going to the gym 3-4 times per week is not enough to balance the amount of time we spend sitting.
• If you sit all day at work then spend less time sitting at home at night
• Complete regular exercise. Daily exercise has been shown to be good for general health as well.
If you are suffering from neck, shoulder blade pain or back pain then our experienced physios at All Care can assess and treat what needs to get you back on track with your spinal health.
11 October 2012
Don’t let a pain in the heel slow you down!
Spring is upon us and many people are starting their exercise programme after a winter lay off. Unfortunately, we have seen a recent number of patients suffering heel pain from a sudden increase in exercise.
Common sites of pain are the insertion of the Achilles tendon into the heel, the plantar fascia attachment into the heel underneath the foot and pain outside the heel from the peroneii tendons that run down the outside of the leg.
Most problems start with poor biomechanics of the lower leg or foot combined with an increase in load from ramping up the exercise regime.
Treatment to settle the injured area plus an assessment of a person’s biomechanics often leads to addressing the underlying cause of the symptoms. At All Care, we address these underlying issues and use the state of the art Gaitscan to help diagnose these.
If you are exercising then start slowly, wear the best running shoes and increase the amount of exercise in length or resistance by 10 percent at a time. If you have any problems then book in to All Care to help you get back on track with exercising as quickly as possible.