Addressing Back Pain: Physiotherapists’ Tips
As part of our series about treating back pain in Shanghai, Body & Soul practitioners will share how they address back pain and provide some valuable tips for those suffering from this common problem. Previously, Body & Soul’s osteopaths and chiropractor covered how they help with back pain. Today, physiotherapists John Zhong and Dong Yu offer tips to prevent and manage back pain.
Resolving the Causes of Back Pain
The majority of people getting physiotherapy treatments suffer from low back and cervical spine pain (and related conditions like sciatica, tinnitus, headaches), mostly due to a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting too long at the office and commuting, with little regular movement and exercise, causes many of them to have muscle imbalances. Weak core muscles play a key role in the majority of back pain.
Physiotherapy focuses on relieving pain, strengthening the muscles and correcting the posture. Through manual therapy, it can improve the mobility by developing, restoring and maintaining movement and functional abilities. It promotes muscle functions, back and abdominal strength and proper alignment.
Shockwave Treatment for Chronic Soft Tissue Problems and Pain
Shockwave is an acoustic wave that carries high energy to the affected spots. The energy promotes tissue regeneration and cell growth and helps reduce pain and increase mobility. The treatment consists of a direct transfer of energy around the area of inflammation or trigger point. Physiotherapist John Zhong offers shockwave therapy, which is used for conditions such as calcific tendonitis of the shoulder, frozen shoulder, past muscular injury and back and neck pain from Myofascial trigger points.
Back Pain Prevention Tips
Some things you can do every day to keep muscles balanced and avoid the likelihood of pain:
- Plan some exercise into every day. Do what you enjoy to stay motivated. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym. Consider walking, riding a bike to work, or taking classes such as yoga or dance.
- Move around as much as possible when you’re at the office. Take short breaks to stand and stretch. Shift positions in your chair, roll your shoulders back, and roll your pelvis. Engage the core when seated and reposition yourself regularly.
- Stretch and move areas that start to feel tight. People commonly hunch their shoulders and jut their neck forward when working at a computer, so roll your shoulders back and be aware of your positioning at your desk. Elbow and wrist problems are also common when working on the computer, so try to adjust your position. Take a look at the ergonomics of your workspace. For example, a raised screen might reduce neck strain and the height of your office chair and desk should allow you to be in a proper position.
- Do exercises for the deep core muscles. Many clients know about doing common core exercises like sit ups, but aren’t familiar with exercises for the deep core muscles. Simple exercises that work these muscles and create a more stable pelvis help prevent pain and injury. One example: lie on your back with hands placed under your lower back (to feel that you maintain proper positioning—not lifting the lower back to do the work) with legs lifted 90° in hips and knees. Keep the 90° flexion in your knees and try to touch the floor with toes or heel with alternating legs without moving the lower back or pelvis (no movement under your hands).
Key Pointers When You Experience Back Pain
When you have pain, it is important to treat it as soon as possible. This way you can address the cause and do some targeted exercises to keep it from worsening.
Most importantly, do not let pain keep you from moving for long periods. Resting too long is one of the worst things you can do, as it creates a cycle of chronic pain. The electric impulses in the spinal cord change and hold onto patterns of pain, even if the cause is no longer present. You may need to avoid high intensity activity when in pain and rest briefly, but this generally should not be longer than 1-2 days. Then, you can reinstate some kind of movement. Your physiotherapist can work with you on a safe plan to stay mobile and build up to increased strength and movement.
Body & Soul’s physiotherapists offer services at locations throughout Shanghai and can create a treatment plan tailored to keep you pain free, strong and healthy. If you’re experiencing pain or wish to work with a physiotherapist to strengthen your core muscles, click here to schedule an appointment.