NECK AND BACK PAIN

1. A Spinal disc herniation is a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc that allows the soft, central portion to bulge out and compress a near-by nerve. A herniated disc can be caused by age related degeneration or from an injury during bending, lifting or twisting. Symptoms vary greatly depending on position and size of herniated disc. Send me more on spinal disc herniation.

2. Spinal Stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal leading to nerve compression.
Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness/ Tingling
  • Loss of motor control

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3. Muscle Strains/Tears: Muscle strains can occur during strenous physical activity, work tasks or sports, especially when partisipating in a new activity where strength, flexibility or technique are lacking. The muscle damage that occurs can be in the form of tearing (all or part) of the muscle fibers.

Common signs and symptoms include bruising, swelling, redness and warmth over the area as well as pain with pressure to or contraction of the muscle. Because nerves exit from your spinal column and supply your limbs, low back strains can cause pain to refer to other areas of your body. When a muscle strain is suspected it is best to call your healthcare provider immediately. Our physical therapists know that patients respond best when treated quickly after injury so that the swelling, bruising, pain and tissue inflammation can be treated immediately and lessen your recovery time.

4. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: The sacroiliac (SI) joints are formed by the connection of the sacrum at the end of your spine and the right and left iliac bones (hip bones). The most common symptom of SI dysfunction is pain on one or both sides of the lower back. Pain can manifest in the thighs and groin as well. SI pain is commonly worsened with standing, bending forward and walking. Send me more on SI pain.

5. Upper back/interscapular pain is pain felt between the bottom of the neck and bottom of the rib cage. Most commonly, pain in this area is from muscle irritation, too little motion (hypomobility) in the vertebral joint and ribs or soft tissue pain from fascia and spinal ligaments. Contributing factors include poor posture, inadequate strength, overuse injuries due to sports/ hobbies or from trauma such as a car accident. Pain in this area can be aggravated with prolonged upright spinal postures as in sitting and standing as well as with twisting or reaching. Send me more on upper back and interscapular pain.

6. Sciatica: The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body and runs down the back of each thigh. A variety of back conditions can cause pressure or irritation to one of the five nerves in your low back that supply the sciatic nerve, or by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve itself. Most commonly, symptoms only occur on one side of the body. Symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Pain in the low back
  • Shooting pain down the thigh, sometimes below the knee
  • Burning or tingling sensations in leg
  • Partial leg numbness or weakness
  • Pain, burning, tingling, numbness or weakness on only one side of your lower body
  • Difficulty sitting, trying to stand and walking

Please send me more information about sciatica and how to manage symptoms.

7. Postural/ occupational stresses cause pain in the neck, upper back and lumbar spine as well as headaches due to poor posture sustained over time while at work or school. This condition causes pain with prolonged sitting, standing or other sustained postures although there is no significant damage to the tissues. When sitting or standing slouched, considerable compression and stretching force is placed on the joints of your neck and back causing achiness and the need to change positions often. Click here to see more on exercises you can during your workday. Send me more on how to stay healthy during my workday.

8. Work ergonomics are essential to avoiding postural stress. Your physical therapist can guide you in properly setting up your work station for your work desk, home office or study space. By doing this you will avoid pain and potential injury caused by poor posture and will be better able to concentrate, stay on task and be efficient with your work or study! Click here to learn more about work ergonomics.

9. Post-surgical rehabilitation covers a variety of neck and back conditions including procedures to correct spinal stenosis, bulging discs, nerve compression and traumatic injuries to the spine. Based on your condition and goals, your physical therapist will work together with you to build a treatment plan to safely and effectively return you to your best self.