Where there is pain, there is often an injury that has caused that pain. Physical therapy is an important component on the road to healing, especially when dealing with neck and lower back injury. The most common physical therapy programs will combine strengthening exercises, stretching, aerobic conditioning, and trigger point work. At Pain Medicine Group, we use this combination to help strengthen your neck and lower back and put you well on you way to recovery!
Neck pain is often connected to other kinds of pain, and can affect parts of the body like the arms, fingers, shoulders, and the head. There is more than one kind of neck pain, but dealing with chronic neck pain that won’t go away should be checked out by a qualified physical therapist.
Stiff, painful necks can benefit from a gentle regimen of stretching. Stretching exercises are proven to help increase flexibility in the neck, and should be completed several times per day. With a stretching regimen put into place, stiffness can be relieved, and range of motion can be recovered. Neck stretches can be very helpful before exercising, and may help avoid additional pain and injury to the neck.
A common stretch that helps alleviate neck pain is the Corner Stretch, which is performed in the corner of a room.
• Stand two feet away from the corner while facing it. Feet should be placed together.
• Place forearms on both walls, making sure the elbows are slightly below shoulder height.
• Lean into the wall, making sure you feel a stretch in the shoulders, as well as the chest. This should not hurt.
• Depending on your pain, hold the stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.
• When performing this exercise for the first time, it is recommended that you stand with your spine directly up against a door jamb. Feet should be out about 3 inches from the bottom of the jamb on the door.
• Making sure to keep the spine pressed up against the door jamb, pull both the upper back and head back until the head can touch the door jamb. The chin must be down for this to work properly.
• Hold the head against the door for 5 seconds.
• Repeat 10 times.
• After performing the exercise against the door 10 times, begin completing it either sitting or standing without the door to support you. Exercise can be repeated 5-7 times per day.
Lower back pain is frustrating, and can often impact everyday life for patients that suffer from it. Dealing with low back pain includes stretching, dynamic stabilization exercises, and core strengthening. Starting a lower back pain physical therapy regimen involves a varied amount of these exercises, depending on the patient.
This exercise helps with core strengthening, as well as strengthening of the arms and legs.
• Place both hands and knees onto the floor. Hands should be placed under the shoulders, while the knees should be under the hips.
• For arm strengthening, straighten the right arm first, slowly. You should be reaching forward while keeping the neck and back straight at the same time.
• Hold 5 seconds, then slowly lower your right arm back to your starting position.
• You should complete 3-5 repetitions of this on both sides.
• For leg strengthening, start with your right leg. Slowly begin to straighten it, without arching your back. The leg should be extended behind your body.
• Hold your leg in position for 5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
• Repetitions should be completed 3-5 times on each side.
• For optimal strengthening, this exercise may be completed using an exercise ball.
Cat curls can help with back strengthening, as well as improvement in the core.
• Get down on the floor on all fours, making sure your back and neck are straight but neutral.
• Tighten your lower abdominals slowly, and round your back towards the ceiling.
• Hold this pose for 5 seconds.
• Release the cat curl and return to your original position.
• Arch the back slightly, then hold for 5 seconds.
• Release, returning to original position. This can be repeated in 3-5 repetitions.
If you are looking for even more guidance on how you can relieve your back and neck pain, be sure to contact us at Pain Medicine Specialty Group!