Friday February 28, 2014
If you read my blogs and articles, then you know how I feel about maintaining proper posture if you have low back or neck pain. It is so important to make sure the everything is in correct alignment as things are healing after an injury.
Maintaining proper posture while sitting is pretty simple. Slide your hips to the back of your chair, and then place a lumbar roll behind your back at about the level of your belt. Sit up nice and tall and allow the lumbar roll to support your low back. This should also help put your neck in the proper place over your shoulders.
But what about keeping good posture while sleeping? How can you support your neck as you are sleeping?
To keep proper support of your neck as you sleep, use a cervical roll. A cervical roll is a small pillow that fits inside your pillow case and helps to keep your neck in the correct position while you sleep. You can get one on the internet at OPTP for about $20 (US).
To use your cervical roll, simply slide your it into your pillow case and make sure it supports your neck when you lie down. If you roll onto your side, the roll helps to fill the space between your head and shoulder to support your neck.
Neck pain can be a real nuisance, and it can disturb your normal sleep routine. Using a cervical roll can help you keep your neck in the correct position while you sleep.
Tuesday February 25, 2014
One of the more frequent questions I get from patients is about what to do first when pain strikes. An important part of any physical therapy program is to make sure you are equipped with the tools necessary to help you stay healthy and the knowledge of what to do when pain first strikes.
If you develop a sudden onset of acute neck pain, what should you do to manage it? Heat? Ice? Rest? Cervical traction? There are a myriad of treatment Read More...
Sunday February 23, 2014
If you have neck pain or arm pain that is coming from your neck (cervical radiculopathy) you may benefit from physical therapy to help you decrease your pain and return to your normal activities. Your physical therapist will likely prescribe exercises for your neck and instruct you in proper sitting posture. He or she may also use various treatment techniques or modalities to augment your exercise program.
Cervical traction is one treatment that is often used for people with cervical radiculopathy. Traction helps to separate joint surfaces to help take pressure off of the nerves that exit your spine and travel down your arm.
A recent study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy examined the effectiveness of using various types of neck traction along with exercises during physical therapy.
The researchers randomized 86 patients with neck and arm pain into one of three groups. One group was an exercise only group performing neck exercises and scapular stability exercises. One group used mechanical traction along with the same neck and scapular exercises, and the final group used over-the-door cervical traction along with the exercises. The treatments were provided over a 4 week period for 10 sessions lasting 30-45 minutes.
The main outcome measures used in the study was changes in the Neck Disability Index (NDI) and changes in pain intensity level. Measures were taken at initial evaluation, at 4 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months after treatment began.
The data indicates that the NDI scores were lower at the 6 month point for the mechanical traction group when compared to the exercise-only group and the over-the-door traction group. At the 12 month point, the mechanical traction group showed better results when compared to the exercise only group. Thirty-two patients were lost to follow up for various reasons including receiving injections or surgery or due to crossing over between groups.
The results indicate that using mechanical neck traction along with exercise may provide better long-term results when compared to exercise with over-the-door traction or exercise alone.
If you have neck pain and cervical radiculopathy, your physical therapist may choose to use cervical traction along with exercises and postural correction to help treat your problem. This particular study shows that you may receive long-term benefits when doing exercises and using traction in the initial treatment period for cervical radiculopathy.
Friday February 21, 2014
Recently a reader commented on a previous blog post about what to wear to physical therapy. This reader stated she is going to have surgery to repair her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and wanted to know what she should wear to PT during her rehab.
After ACL surgery, you may benefit from physical therapy to improve knee range of motion and strength and to get back to normal functional mobility. If you doctor has recommended you follow a post-op rehab protocol, your PT can help guide you through the process.
Often after knee surgery, your quadriceps muscle does not function properly. Your physical therapist may choose to use neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) to help improve the contraction that you can make with your quadriceps. If so, your PT will need to have access to the front of your thigh where your quadriceps muscle is located. Therefore, shorts may be your best option to wear to physical therapy.
Before starting therapy, it is always a good idea to contact your PT to ask a few essential questions, and inquiring about what to wear (or what NOT to wear) should be included.