Back Injury and Nerve Damage
Low Back Pain
I hurt my lower back and went through chiropractic care and physical therapy as part of my recovery process. These two practices are different, but both helped heal my back and worked well together. Though my chiropractor and physical therapist might not agree with each other's practices, I found them to be a useful combination of healing an injured body.
I am only going to talk about physical therapy. You see, while on my road to recovery, I met Jamie Glick MS, PT. Jamie is a New York State licensed physical therapist and a graduate of Columbia University’s Program in Physical Therapy. His practice is on Long Island, New York.
Though Jamie did not personally work with me during my healing process, I was impressed with his ability to work with me and star in dozens of health and exercise videos in partnership with a physical fitness website. I will share some of the most helpful advice he told me about low back pain.
Now he offers a book and a podcast to help people recover from back pain and pain relief. I am a firm believer in education. With education, you can learn how to heal yourself through whatever means you find suitable for your body.
By educating yourself, you learn to make the right choices based on your unbiased knowledge.
Chiropractic or Physical Therapy
Would You Use Chiropractic or Physical Therapy for Your Injuried Back?
Joint Free Pain
Jamie practices what he preaches regarding keeping a healthy lifestyle. He makes daily smoothies in his Vitamix with whatever fruits and vegetables are around the house and have been known to go out for a quick 16 miler before the sun comes up during marathon training season.
He boasts completing 17 full marathons, including 5 New York City Marathons. His best time is 3 hours 37 minutes, and he hopes to one day qualify for the Boston Marathon.
The largest nerves in the body connect to two lumbar nerve roots. They are called sciatic nerves and are the size of a Sharpie pen. Because these large nerves join at the lowest point of the spine, they continue trailing in back of the hip joint, downward along the buttock, and the back of the leg, along the ankle, and ending at the foot.
My herniated disc in my lower back put pressure on my sciatic nerve causing shooting pain or buzzing down my left leg to my toes. Some describe the shooting pain like fire or tingling - as if the leg "goes to sleep."
The pain fluctuates from scarcely any annoyance to deep burn that's unbearable. It affects the range of motion of each leg. Some experience pain in one area of the leg and numbness in another area of the same leg.
I never experienced numbness in the leg. The worse it got for me was loss of range of motion and constant burning annoyance in the left leg.
Other body abnormalities cause sciatic pain such as spinal stenosis, slipped forward or backward backbone, pregnancy, and carrying large wallets or other objects in the back pocket.
In the video, Jamie shows three stretches to help relieve and remedy sciatica pain.
Back spasms have a replicating cycle. They come from injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the back. When the spasms flare up, the cause is an existing condition in the back or an accident. The existing condition stems from poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, and not enough exercise. The existing condition stems from poor posture, hereditary aliment, sedentary lifestyle, and not enough exercise.
Heavy lifting also causes back spasms but can be avoided by lifting correctly and exercising the core area of your body. Accidents include sports injuries and work-related or car accidents. Sports like football, wrestling, tennis, and golf lead to back spasms. They challenge the back by causing it to turn quickly again and again.
A degenerative lower back condition caused my lower back injury - not weak abdominal muscles. Meaning, my back had a slight defect. Once I discovered that my road to recovery became simple.
Weak abdominal muscles do cause back spasms and pain. It is vital one work out their core and other physical fitness. Muscles that are strong and limber are not prone to injury.
How Physical Therapy Helped Me
My first visit to the physical therapist worked on easing my pain. He gently encouraged my muscles to relax. He did this with massage, gentle stretches, and ice. Each visit, I knew my back spasms, and the pain was diminishing.
Because my chiropractor suggested back injury bed rest, my therapist taught me how to get into bed and out of bed without pain, and how to pick something of off the ground without pain. The videos within this article show how to do these actions without getting hurt.
Once we knew we had that under control, we shifted to rebuilding my strength and flexibility. The massage and icing continued with a gentle massage at the beginning and ice at the end of each session.
In between, we did a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises. These exercises kept the back muscles loose and retrained them to carry my weight and move comfortably and naturally. I also did the exercises at home, and then eventually at the gym.
Several weeks went by, and I noticed positive changes. My physical therapist continued to work with me until I worked on my own with success outside of our sessions. Then, he released me, and I continued the physical therapy on my own, and my back healed.
Log Roll out of Bed
Golfers Lift - Prevent Back Pain When Picking up Object
Back Pain vs Back Injury
As a last note, I want to stress the importance of using physical therapy if you have an injured back or back pain. Physical therapists can show you ways to get around without causing more injury and increasing the pain.
I hope I helped you on your road to recovery. Back pain is nothing new and happens when we least expect it. So, stay healthy, my friends, and let me know if you need any help.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2015 Kenna McHugh