Early Intervention and its Impact on Back and Neck Injury

Back & neck pain are the common causes of movement restriction among youngsters & adults. These are pervasive and is associated with chronic pain and disability. A study reveals that 60-80% of adults and youngsters experience back pain and 20-70% experience neck pain that interferes with their daily routine. In the US, back and neck pain has become a major cause of work disability.

The cervical and lumbar area of the spine is made up of a network of bones, nerves, and muscles, all of which are subject to stress, injury, and impairment. So, neck and back pain is extremely common, affecting a majority of adults and youngsters. Luckily, there are treatment options available for the alleviation or complete elimination of neck and back pain.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Neck and back pain are the main causes of chronic pain in the United States. It is also a prime factor that leads to work absences. Most people believe that neck and back pain is normal and think it’s just part of the aging process. The rest does not bother to talk about the chronic pain to their medical practitioner.

But the truth is that early physical therapy can make a significant improvement in disability compared to the usual care. In a recent study, when patients who received physical therapy within the 4 weeks of first experiencing pain was compared to patients who delayed their treatment for four weeks or longer, the former was able to achieve better results and was able to prevent disability with physical therapy. The physical therapy provided at our early intervention physical therapy center in Wall Street helps to improve your health condition and lead a pain-free life as quick as possible.

Early intervention of back and neck pain is indeed the best way to return to a pain-free life. It decreases the chance of injury and optimizes performance as it involves loosening or strengthening the injured region with individually prescribed exercises and techniques.

Physical therapy can help to improve many problems and symptoms related to neck, back, and shoulder. The physical therapists at Optimum Rehab Physical Therapy provide neck pain and back pain early intervention program at Wall Street, Upper East Side, and Astoria, NYC.

  • Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic exercise program helps patients restore physical strength, balance, coordination, agility, stability, muscle endurance, and flexibility. It includes stretching and strengthening the appropriate neck, back and shoulder muscles. The ultimate goal of a physical therapist who performs therapeutic exercise is to return an injured person to a pain-free and fully functioning state.

  • Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy helps to treat pain and promote tissue and bone fracture healing. It not only decreases pain but also increases muscular function and enhance circulation to the muscles.

  • Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscles, tissues, tendons and can heal your body and repair muscles, tissues, and joints. Deep tissue massage is an effective method to enhance overall health and wellness for individuals who suffer from chronic pain.

Rather than being unaware of the severity of the pain and the symptoms, it is good to have a better understanding of the back and neck pain and how to avoid them to prevent further complications.

Back Pain

Back pain is very common with one in three people getting it every year. It’s often caused by muscle, tendon or ligament strain. Acute pain can be sudden or gradual and may affect a specific point in your back or may be widespread over the whole lower back. It might subside over a period of 4 to 6 weeks by taking the necessary measures. The cause of this pain is nonspecific in most cases. Contrary to this, chronic back pain is a deep, achy, burning type of pain that persists on and off for several weeks, months or even years. Due to the pain, you are most likely to get leg pain as the pain in the back radiates down to the legs and feet in most cases. As spinal cord is one of the most vulnerable parts of your body, try to avoid serious injuries. Chances are there for the tissues to get damaged during a back injury. Falling from a height or accidents can cause a severe injury to the vertebrae.

The most significant thing is to understand various causes that lead to back pain so as to avoid them. The most common causes of back pain include:

  • Strains in muscle or ligament
  • Poor posture
  • Structural problems
  • Spasms
  • Herniated disc
  • Accidents or Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sudden, abnormal twisting
  • Unsupportive footwear
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Occupational hazards
  • Spondylitis

The signs and symptoms of back pain include:

  • Muscle ache
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Pain that radiates down your leg
  • Limited flexibility or range of motion of the back
  • Weight Loss
  • Severe pain that doesn’t improve with rest
  • Muscle tightness and fitness
  • Pain in the buttocks
  • Numbness in the associated area and limbs

Neck Pain

Your neck is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull and protects the cervical spinal cord. Neck pain is caused by almost similar conditions that cause back pain. Though in most cases the neck pain is due to poor posture, there can be situations like injuries from fall, whiplash that may lead to neck pain. In the case of extreme neck pain, there are chances that the pain might radiate into the arm.

Some of the several factors that cause neck pain are:

  • Muscle strain or ligament strain
  • Nerve compression
  • Injury
  • Cervical Arthritis
  • Referred pain
  • Poor posture
  • Sports injury

The symptoms of neck pain include:

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Soreness in the shoulders, upper back or neck
  • Weakness in arm or hand
  • Spasms
  • Stiffness in the cervical region
  • Radiating pain in the upper back, shoulders, and neck

How does Back and Neck Pain Occur?

Back, neck and shoulder pain are the most common work-related health problems. The main factor that leads to back and neck pain is the poor posture that one follows at work and at home. An average person, depending on their job type may spend 25 to 40 hours a week either sitting in a static position working at a computer or standing for a prolonged period. The traveling to and from work may also involve either sitting or standing for long period of time. Even after getting home, we spend the rest of the evening switching between a TV, computer, smartphone, or tablet rather than going out and getting some exercise. Eventually, it may lead to an imbalance in the way we use our bodies, causing pain and discomfort.

How to prevent the work-related problems that lead to Neck and Back pain?

Though back and neck pain is a common work-related health problem, it can be easily prevented by following some back and neck friendly methods at work. Here are several changes you can make at your work environment to reduce or get rid of your pain.

  • Set up workstations to ergonomic standards

Make sure your workstation is set up according to ergonomic standards that optimize your posture.

  • Sit with support

Always ensure that your chair is comfortable and provides support to your back. Use chairs with armrest so that your forearm can be supported. Try to avoid awkward sitting positions. Sit in such a way that your hip comes in contact with your chair’s backrest.

  • Adjust your computer screen so as to look straight at your monitor

Position your computer screen in such a way that the top of the screen comes slightly above or at the eye level.

  • Get up and move around every 20-30 minutes.

Sitting in an office chair for long hours can be fatiguing. If you have back, neck or shoulder pain, it’s best to stand up and walk around the office every half hour.

  • Set up the keyboard tray at a comfortable height

Ensure the keyboard is set up at a comfortable angle so as not to slump down your shoulders

  • Exercise and stretch your neck

Try doing some simple neck exercises while you are at your desk. This won’t take much time and will help reduce the strain on your neck and back.

  • Take your high heels off

If your job type requires long hours of standing, then avoid high heels. Try wearing flat shoes as high heels might badly affect your back. It is recommended to wear them rarely or to not wear them at all.

  • Keep Moving

If your job requires prolonged hours of standing, then ensure that you keep moving rather than just standing and being immobile.

  • Lean where you can

When you are standing for a long time, leaning your back or leaning sideways against a solid support will help reduce the fatigue.

  • Stay hydrated

Make sure you drink lots of water to nourish and hydrate the discs. Staying well hydrated will help keep the discs of the neck strong.

  • Consult with a Physical Therapist

A good physical therapist will perform a detailed assessment of your body and go through your previous medical history and will guide you about how to check your posture and correct it. They will also suggest treatment plans and strategies that best match your lifestyle to help you minimize injuries and achieve a good control over your body.

Early Intervention of neck and back pain certainly helps to lead a pain-free life. Injuries left untreated take much longer time to heal and you will have to go through lingering pain. So, go to a physical therapist today or take an appointment at Optimum Rehab to rejuvenate your body and improve your overall fitness.