So many people suffer from chronic, low back pain. It's something that's just constantly with them, a persistent annoyance in their low back. OR Sometimes it's something that just reoccur if they move a certain way. For some people they know if they do this one motion (or activity) they're going to pay for it later. Then for others, they don't know why the pain comes and goes, it just cycles through every so many months.
No matter which version of chronic low back pain you have, it’s not a very comfortable place to live. Constantly being worried about what's going to set your back off next. Constantly thinking “What can't I do today?”
People start really thinking about where they're going to go on vacation.
Considering things like how many hours in the car, how much walking starts to determine the types of vacation they’ll take. They don't do certain exercises. They say things like “Well, I used to golf, but you know, my bad back, I can't do that anymore.” or “ I used to run, but every time I run, I have back problems.” And depending on how young you are, when that first happens, your world shrinks very quickly. And that is just very stressful on you and ways that you may not even pick up at the time.
Hi. I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. Are you tired of the herniated discs in your low back, coming back every few months with a vengeance. You go several weeks without any back pain at all so thinking that you're finally over the hump you try running at the park. AND NOPE back pain comes right back. Then you give it a couple months off again, having no pain for a really long time you think, I'll go get a trainer. And that trainer will help me. NOPE. You make it through two, maybe three weeks of training. But Then you're just doing an incline on the treadmill or some exercise that isn't supposed to be related to your back at all and all of a sudden you have a huge back spasm.
You can barely get out of bed for a week. If that describes you, then you are not alone.
Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. I spent a lot of my time helping people recover from back injuries, either from an injury that happened just the other day, or maybe it's been problems that they've had for a very long time. And there are a few similar parts of many people’s stories. Or another way of saying that is there are things that they're doing throughout their day, that adds stress to their back. These actions are things they have done for years and are not even thinking about. And honestly, they’re not even thinking about them because ultimately during the activity, it doesn't normally hurt.
That’s right, it doesn't normally hurt their back while they're doing these things. And so they don't realize that they're stressing their back out until eventually their back gets so tired and overused that these motions start to cause a lot of pain. Now for some people they have been dealing with some sort of back pain for years.
I wanted to talk about just three things that you are doing every day without thinking about it that’s adding extra stress to your back.
Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy, have you ever coughed or sneezed and had sudden low back pain? You are not alone. It happens more often than you would think. Of course it’s very disconcerting when this happens. How scary it has to be that you just sneezed and now your low back hurts. And for people the pain is so severe that it's hard to move afterwards. It can be hard to catch your breath. No matter the intensity of the pain, it was just so shocking that a lot of people ended up at the doctor's office. How on earth could coughing or sneezing cause your back to hurt this much?
I want to explain how that happens. I want to explain what is going on in your back that would allow simply coughing to create that much pain.
For an illustration, let's talk about what happened with my daughter the other day.
Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. Today's video should be titled ‘How the outlet won! or rather “How to plug won”. But anyway, um, I got this really interesting phone call the other day from somebody who obviously had a bit of a sense of humor. They called and they told me that they had just bent down to plug the light back into their wall and they threw their back out.
So they're calling me because they're scrolling on their phone, laying on the floor, hoping to find somebody who can help them resolve their back pain. It was very interesting phone call to say the least; it went a little bit like this. This poor woman, literally apparently, had just bent down to plug a cord for a light, just a regular sits on your table light, into the wall.
And when she did that, something grabbed in her back so strongly that she fell to the floor and she's laying on her back in one position, afraid to do much more than breathe heavily because the pain was just so severe. She thankfully had her phone on her because, you know, we all it's like an attachment, right? So she's scrolling through and she, she decided she was going to try just calling, physical therapy places. And I was like, the second or the third person that she called trying to get an appointment.
Hi, I’m Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. I want to give a little tip on how to tell early on if you have a back issue.
And my example of this is, if you can't lay flat in your bed, like 100% flat on your back with your legs straight and your heads flat on your bed, then that is a very early sign that something in your lower back has a problem. Because most people ignore that pain since you can bend your knee or you can roll on your side, and that back pain goes away. So why would you pay any attention to this type of pain, you just adjust your position and the discomfort is gone.
The reason I know this is the start of a problem is because I see what happens five or 10 years down the line when that same problem has progressed.
Running has a bad reputation especially as we get older. But really running is an amazing workout! And when done correctly with the proper conditioning it is completely safe. I have helped train a 99 year old to complete a 1 mile down hill run. So Age is not the issue!
But all jokes aside, running is a very intense activity. You are basically doing a single squat over and over again. Lots of people start running as adults to lose weight or get back into shape. And this is why many people struggle with running injuries. They don’t realize that running is not the entry-level exercise. Running requires a lot of strength that we don’t think about. For instance, when was the last time you stood comfortable on one foot? How comfortable are you doing squats?
I remember Sally’s face when I asked her those questions. She looked at me like I was crazy. “Why would I stand on one foot? I don’t like squats because they hurt my knees.” Were her answers.
Sally called me because her back hurt when she ran and she was scared she herniated a disc.
By the time you’re 40 year old you have at least one episode of back pain and unfortunately once you’ve one episode there is a high likelihood the back pain will return.
This is why one of the most common questions I get is why does my back hurt when I bend down?
Sammy is a 42 year old mom of 3 who started to have back pain at the end of her day. She didn’t think much about the back pain when it started, about a year ago, it was just a mild ache at the end of the day. She just stretched a little bit and by the next morning everything was fine. After a few weeks she started taking ibuprofen at the end of the day to get rid of the pain because it started to interrupt her sleep.
Slowly over time she wasn’t able to find a comfortable sleeping position; she tried to use a pillow to adjust herself at night with minimal relief. As she thought about all the times her back hurt she remembered it she stopped playing on the floor with her kids because her back hurt too much. Her back pain was like a new friend that just hung around all the time and was part of every aspect of her life.
Let’s talk about SI joint pain. We can start by talking about what it is and then I will show you a few stretches to stop it.
The SI joint (sacroiliac) is where your hip bones meet your spine and it is a common site for pain for several reasons: your joint could be moving too much, your joint could not be moving enough or your joint could be slightly out of place (subluxed). Since there are several reasons for pain at this joint it's hard to say specifically why any one person has pain at their SI joint without a hands on physical exam.
Typically, the pain is sharp and it's found on one side of the lower back. The pain gets worse with single leg activity for instance: walking, going up the stairs, running. Some people notice discomfort on one side while squatting, laying flat on your back also.
If these symptoms are what you are dealing with now...try these stretches.
Just an ordinary day of cleaning your home when you bend over to pick up a shoe..when BAM! Your lower back grabs you leaving you with a sharp searing pain that runs all the way down to your foot. You are very familiar with this feeling...it's your disc going out AGAIN. Now you are looking at having to spend a week on muscle relaxers laying flat on your back. Until finally the pain subsides and you can get back to your life. Only to have the pain return after taking your groceries from the car into your house.
I mean...How dare you try to take care of your family by cleaning your house and buying groceries! All jokes aside. Having reoccurring back pain was very frustrating for Karen.
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald