Gone are the days when only elders used to complaint of neck and back pain. Nowadays, even youngsters are falling prey to it and that too at an alarming rate! But most of them take the pain lightly and reach out for pain relievers to combat the pain. What they forget is that medication cannot cure the underlying cause of the pain. While medication maybe a shortcut to relieving pain, its long term effects can cause serious issues.
Fast facts on neck and back pain
- 90% of people experience spine symptoms at least once in their lifetime
- Many people suffer from neck and back pain, but it is not always restricted to those regions. The pain can also transfer into arms or head/eyes as well as into the gluts, groin, hip and legs/feet
- Each episode of back pain can become progressively worse and last longer and travel farther from its place of origin if ignored for long
- If you don’t stop the cycle and figure out the cause, accumulation of damage to structures lead to eventual failure of the spinal structures
- If the symptoms are addressed early, 95% of herniated disc patients would NOT require surgery
What is leading to the rise in neck and back pain cases?
Technology may have improved by leaps and bounds in the past few years, but it is leading people to spend more and more time on their electronic devices. If you are constantly using a mobile device or working on your laptop, your arms are bent by your side and your hunched back is even more profound. Whether you are aware of it or not, the position you are in is definitely causing you pain. ‘Text neck’ is a relatively new medical term, coined by American Chiropractor Dr. Dean L. Fishman. It refers to the pain and damage caused on the neck due to looking down at one’s electronic device (laptops, tablets, and smartphones) for too long. According to his research, regular smartphone users spend up to four hours a day looking down at their phones, which only worsens the problem.
Other medical conditions include:
- Disc Herniation
- Spinal Stenosis
- Sprains and Strains
- Spinal Osteoarthritis
- Vertebral Compression Fracture
- Underlying condition like arthritis, infection, osteoporosis, tumor etc.
How effective is physiotherapy for neck and back pain?
Physiotherapy is considered to be the most effective and easy way of getting rid of any pain, stiffness or pain in the neck and back areas. The practice encompasses joint mobilization, stretching, massaging, exercises and techniques that reduce episodes of pain and discomfort; strengthen your muscles; reduce tension or soreness in the muscles; and give you the freedom to move your body as it pleases you. If you want to ease the pain permanently, then medication is not a solution. You have to take control of the problem through physiotherapy.
Types of physiotherapy treatment:
Physical therapy for back and neck pain typically includes two components:
- Passive physical therapy to reduce pain and help the patient achieve a more effective pain management level. It is usually achieved using techniques of heat/ice packs, ultrasound, TENS units, and lontophoresis among others
- Active exercises: From stretching your back to performing low impact aerobics; a combination of exercises are used to rehabilitate the neck and spine area. These exercises can be performed daily, for 20-30 minutes, within the comfort of one’s home to alleviate the problem and achieve the desired results.
Apart from this, other modalities include:
- Comprehensive treatment plan – A comprehensive treatment plan, such as a mix of manual adjustments, massage, and cold laser therapy can provide a long-term solution.
- Postural awareness: Physiotherapists advise taking frequent mini-breaks while using any mobile device or computer. Stand up, roll your shoulders and neck or take a short walk to improve blood circulation every 30 minutes.
Passive modes of physiotherapy for neck and back pain like heat application, ice packs and electrical stimulation, and active physiotherapy treatment like stretching, dynamic stabilization exercises and core strengthening exercises can work wonders if practiced regularly.
Goals of physiotherapy for neck and back pain
Physiotherapy for neck and back pain typically includes the following goals:
- Educating the patient about the underlying cause of the pain
- Educate patient on the techniques of holding proper posture while performing day-to-day tasks
- Accelerate the stages of healing with the help of various techniques and exercises
- Restore joint flexibility and mobility
- Prevent the future occurrence of the same problem/prevent further damage to muscle and joints because of the current problem
- Manage episodes of severe pain through therapies
- Restore to the normal lifestyle
How much time does it take to heal using physiotherapy?
You have to understand that even physiotherapy isn’t an overnight cure. Recovery from physiotherapy can take time depending on various factors. These factors include:
- The severity of the problem
- The state of your tissue prior to injury or pain
For example, if you are a 60 year old man, your spinal tissue may have degenerated previously. This would may mean a slower recovery. While in a 20 year old person with less degenerative changes in the spine, the recovery is expected much faster.
Other contributing factors can include:
- Your general health
- If you are a smoker
- If you suffer from depression
Other lifestyle tips to prevent the pain
Lifestyle factors can also be a big contributor to neck and back pain. It occurs due to wrong postures and stressing your back and neck more while working. You should adopt a few healthy habits to combat this pain.
- As soon as you slip into a slumped position, take a deep breath and sit up straight. Studies show, slouching can reduce the capacity of your lungs by as much as 30%
- Use a headset, phone dock or wrist-support bands to ease the weight of a mobile device
- Try to position your cell phone, laptop or tablet at eye level. Then you do not need to bend your head forward or look down to view it
- Switch to a desktop computer or place your tablet at an angle on a desk in case you have to use it for too long
- Regain full control of your core spinal muscles by following an episode of neck or back pain exercises
- Optimal spinal health should be your goal for proper flexibility in all directions. If your thorax has limited rotation movement, more stress can be passed on to your lower back, neck or other body parts. So, you should check your rotation by sitting in a chair with your arms crossed across your stomach; with a flexible spine, you should be able to turn equally to the right and left, and see behind yourself easily. Try!
These are some of the simple changes you can adopt in your daily life to minimize the negative effects of strain or pain in the neck. If you find yourself forgetting and switching back to old habits, just correct yourself again.
Self- awareness is a key component of making impactful changes, and being mindful of the damage is the first step toward success and saving your back and neck.
Get rid of pain in your neck and back at home
At HealthCare atHOME, our expert and trained physiotherapists will assess the causes for your back and neck pain, mobilize your spinal joints, and will give you advice on how to best maintain your mobility, which is essential for a healthy low back and neck.
We also understand that each individual is different from one another, that’s why a customized treatment plan is designed depending on each patient’s condition and requirements.
Our physiotherapists start by providing you with a thorough examination of your spine and thoracic mobility. Using manual therapy and other treatment techniques, we help you regain lost mobility, provide you with instructions on how to achieve ideal postural alignment, and prescribe therapeutic exercises to support your spine.
For world-class physiotherapy at home in Delhi, get in touch with our well-trained and experienced therapists. HCAH’s team of expert home physiotherapists are trained to guide you through a series of exercises to help strengthen both your neck and back muscles and devise a customized treatment plan, as needed.
To avail expert physiotherapy services at the comfort of your home, contact us at 1800-102-4224.