If you've ever had a crick in the neck you know it's pretty awful, especially when you turn your head real quick to the side. It hurts! A lot of people think: well maybe if I just don't move my head that direction it will get better. This is a bad idea. If you don't move your neck, you're going to get even more stiffness and the pain is still going to be there. Let's go over some things to help you get rid of that pain in the neck. First, start with a side bending stretch. You're going to bend your head to the side and apply a gentle pressure. Hold that for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times to each side. If you're getting pain, just keep it real gentle to begin with, and eventually you're going to be able to handle more pressure.
Next, try some rotation. So, starting with your head in a neutral, midline position rotate your head as far as you can without pain. Hold that for a few seconds, then return to midline. Repeat that 10 times to each side. Even if you only have pain going one direction. As your pain and motion begin to improve, increase that to 20 repetitions. If you need to you can perform this exercise lying down on your back which is sometime more comfortable.
Final exercise is isometrics. So you're going to take your hand and press it on your head. And push your head and your hand together. You're going to hold that for 5 seconds, and repeat that 5 times. You're going to want to do that to each side. Going back. and going forward. And yes, you're going to look awesome while doing these exercises!
Motion is the key to getting better, but not too much. You want to go up to the point of pain, or just shy of it. But not through it. Remember, with pain, you can go to it but not through it.
Most of the time you should be able to rid of the pain by doing what I've shown you. If not, come in for a visit. The sooner you come in, the easier it is to treat and the faster you get better. If it persists for several weeks or more, then it becomes more difficult to treat and can take longer to get better.
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Sciatica, or nerve pain that goes down the leg, can have multiple causes including disc herniation, spinal stenosis, a little pain in the butt muscle called the piriformis. In this video we're going to focus on piriformis syndrome which is sciatic nerve pain caused by the piriformis muscle being too tight. Now the piriformis muscle can cause problems because it passes right over the sciatic nerve. Therefore, when it gets tight it compresses that nerve. And this can be particularly problematic because we sit on that nerve and muscle everyday which, when it's irritated, can be quite painful. Symptoms of piriformis syndrome include pain in the buttock, pain down the leg, numbness and tingling into the leg and foot, pain with sitting especially but also with standing and squatting. It can sometimes cause swelling in the leg as well.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if the sciatic nerve pain is coming from the piriformis or from the spine. But in general piriformis syndrome will feel like it originates in the buttock not the spine. Also with piriformis syndrome you usually won't get weakness in the leg whereas you can if it has spinal origins.
In some people sciatic nerve pain can be caused or aggravated by sitting on a thick wallet. Make sure to remove your wallet from your back pocket if you suffer from piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis syndrome can also be accompanied by S.I. joint problems, so if you feel like this is the case see my S.I. joint correction and exercise videos for help with that.
To get some relief we're going to do some exercises. We'll start with releasing and stretching the piriformis muscle.
Get on a foam roller in a figure 4 position and lean towards the affected side. Roll slowly 10-20 times. WARNING: this can be pretty intense! Don't beat yourself up too much! You can ease your pressure by pushing more with arms and opposite leg. It can also be performed with a tennis or racquetball, but these are likely to be even more intense.
Follow up the foam roller release with a targeted piriformis stretch. While lying on your back or sitting in a chair, get in a figure 4 position and pull your knee toward your chest. You should feel this stretch in your buttock where your pain begins. If not you may need to adjust the angle of your hip or pull harder until you do. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. If you need to get a little more aggressive this can be performed standing with your leg in the same position up on a table or a bed.
Next while you're on your back hold your hip at 90 degrees and extend your knee while actively pushing you ankle back until you feel a moderate to strong stretch. If this causes your leg pain, don't push it too hard. Just go up to the point where your symptoms begin, or just short of that point. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10-20 times. This exercise can flare you up if you push it too hard, but if done correctly it can really reduce your nerve pain.
Last we'll do an exercise that activates the piriformis and gluteal muscles. While lying on your back, perform a single leg bridge. Lift your hips as high as you can off the table without aggravating your pain. Hold for 5-10 seconds. repeat 10-20 times.
Do these exercises 2-3 times per day. If there is any particular exercise that seems to give you more relief you can do it even more frequently. Try to avoid positions or activities that aggravate your pain the best you can. If you have to sit for prolonged periods during the day get up every 30 minutes or so and walk for 2 or 3 minutes or do some of your stretches to help break the pain cycle.
These exercises have worked quite well for my patients in the clinic and I hope they do the same for you. If you need more help, dry needling effective in getting that piriformis muscle to let go, which is available here at Stronglife Physiotherapy.
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AJ here, with Stronglife Physiotherapy. Back pain during pregnancy is extremely common and popping Tylenol all day long isn't the answer when it comes to getting relief. In this video i'm going to show you how to prevent back pain during pregnancy and how to get relief from back pain if you already have it!
Lower back pain occurs in up to 80 percent of pregnant women. That's almost all of them! And if you have had back pain before becoming pregnant there is an 85 percent chance that you will have it during your pregnancy. There are multiple causes of lower back pain in pregnant women. One major factor being a growing belly that pulls the spine forward exaggerating the curvature in the lumbar spine which can lead to pain. To counteract the weight of the belly there is a tendency lean back to balance yourself which also exaggerates that lumbar curvature, leading to more pain. Hormonal changes are also likely playing a role in your pain. Relaxin is a hormone that causes the ligaments to become more relaxed or elastic, this allows the pelvis to expand during childbirth, allowing the baby to pass through. The amount of relaxin in your body increases to about 10 times the normal level during pregnancy. This causes the joints to be not quite as stable and can lead to pain, particularly in the pelvis. In fact, what many women think of as low back pain is actually pelvic pain coming from the SI joints.
So how do we prevent the pain or get relief once it has settled in? There are a few simple exercises that can help. These exercises are very safe for you and baby, but if you have any concerns or have a complicated pregnancy, talk to your doctor first. Now I don't have a pregnant lady to demonstrate these, so you'll just have to imagine me as a very large, masculine, pregnant woman.
While laying on your back with your knees bent, tilt your pelvis back causing the small of your back to flatten and press your back down. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
While lying on your back, or sitting down, wrap a belt around your thighs just above the knees and press your legs outward against the belt. Give it a good hard push or as much as your pain will allow. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. This strengthens the muscles around your hips and pelvis allowing them to stabilize more effectively.
Now while lying on your back, or sitting down place a ball or pillow between your knees and squeeze your legs together compressing the ball or pillow. This doesn't need to be an all out effort but give it a good hard squeeze or as much as your pain will allow. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
The last exercise is a pelvic bridge, while lying on your back with your knees bent lift your hips as high as you can. Hold 5 seconds, repeat 10 times. If this is too difficult or painful you can do a glute isometric by wrapping your hands around your knee and pressing your leg down into your hands. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times on each leg. This can also be done in a seated position.
If you are in your second or third trimester You'll want to limit the amount of time spent on you back with these exercises, especially if you get some discomfort or feel light headed. Just roll onto your side for a few minutes or sit up until it passes.
These exercises can be very helpful in preventing and reducing pain during your pregnancy. Physical activity in general, such as a regular walking program, is also very helpful in preventing pain and has many other benefits during pregnancy. If you have access, a pool can be especially helpful in reducing pain and getting some pain free exercise.
Just remember, most back pain goes away soon after delivery and when you're holding that little baby in your arms, it'll all be worth it!
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AJ here, with Stronglife Physiotherapy. Sir Isaac Newton once said: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” One of the giants in the physical therapy profession when it comes to low back pain is Dr. Stuart McGill. He's fixed the backs of professional fighters, olympians and other elite athletes allowing them to return to high level competition. He has what he calls the big 3 exercises for spinal stabilization and in this video we're going to show you how they're done.
Dr. McGill emphasizes that the muscles of the spine are designed for stabilization or rather, to prevent too much motion from occurring. Exercises and activities that have a lot of motion through the spine like full sit-ups can cause excessive strain and lead to potential injury. He also makes the point that endurance is especially important in these muscle since they are postural muscles, which means they are required to stay activated for long periods of time through out the day.
Get on your hands and knees. Find your neutral position by fully extending the spine then fully flexing the spine. Your neutral position should be somewhere in the middle but still have a slight curve in the low back. Stiffen your core, lift your opposite arm and leg and hold for 10 seconds, bring the arm and leg down without putting any weight on them. Then raise them again and repeat 5-10 times on each side. For added difficulty form circles or squares with your arm and leg.
McGill Curl Up
Lie down flat on your back. One leg straight and the other bent. Place your hands under the small of your back for lumbar support. Lift your head and shoulders slightly. Hold this position for 10 seconds, repeat 5-10 times. Get on your side with your top foot in front and supporting yourself on your elbow. You can place the top hand on the opposite deltoid to help support the shoulder. Lift your hips to straighten your body, keep your core stiff and your back and your hips straight. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 5-10 times. Work up to a minute long hold. If this position is too difficult or painful, it can be performed from your knees instead of from your feet. But you'll want to eventually work up to performing it from your feet.
These are 3 great exercises to help improve your ability to stabilize your spine. If you have low back pain do them 2-3 times a day. Once your pain is gone, do them 2-3 times per week as a maintenance program to prevent the pain from returning.
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AJ here, with Stronglife Physiotherapy. I'm going to show you two techniques to correct your SI joint dysfunction. A lot of people are able to get rid of their SI joint pain with these techniques so I hope you find them useful as well. They work by using your body's own musculature to reset the joint. Sometime you'll hear or feel a pop, click or shift in the pelvis region. And that's OK. That what we're going for.
First, while sitting, push your legs apart and use your hands to resist the motion and hold for a few seconds. Then put one or two fists between your knees and squeeze nice and hard. Usually it's best to do two or three cycles of this.
Second, lay down with your knees bent. Put one hand on top of your knee, and the other hand behind the other knee. Now push against your hands in opposite directions and hold for a few seconds. Repeat twice, then reverse your hand position and repeat twice on the other side.
I prefer a variation of this technique in which you put your heel on the opposite knee and push down with your heel while simultaneously pushing up your knee, so that your legs are pushing against each other. Repeat a couple times on each side. This technique generates more force, which is often needed to get the desired effect.
I hope you find these techniques useful in getting rid of your SI joint pain. Please like and subscribe, and stay strong!