Training to Walk

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We are in the final countdown for the first ever “Be the Hope XOXO” walk for all cancers here in our very own Maple Valley. Created by the Valley Girls and Guys, this walk is raising money for cancer awareness, treatment, and research that stays in our local community. PT4EB is honored to be a part of the post-walk treatment team offering free calf, quad, and hamstring massages to all the walkers.

What does it take to train for an 18 mile walk?

The following are the top 5 tips to keep in mind before beginning a walking program.

1) Start with the right shoes – Many people believe that walking can be done in just any shoes but I guarantee bad shoes lead to foot, knee, hip, and low back problems in the future. Start yourself off on the right foot by heading out to find a pair of proper walking shoes for you. In general you are looking for a good level of support balanced with cushion to help absorb the shock. If you are planning on spending most of your time on trails, look into a trail shoe that has a better sole to handle the rougher roads.
2) Use a comfortable pace – When you are beginning a new program you may be very excited and ready to charge forward. This can lead to quick injuries that will end up sidelining you for so long that you lose your motivation. Start with a pace that gets your heart rate up but you can easily talk through.
3) Grab a friend – Having someone on this journey with you gives you someone to talk to during your walks to make sure that you are keeping your breathing steady. It will also help increase your accountability. Have you ever said you were going to start a walking program only to find that months later you still hadn’t started? Having a partner can help keep you accountable. You can even enlist your dog to help. Once they get used to daily walks they can be great motivators to keep you going!
4) Drink more water – The great thing about exercising is that it makes us thirsty, so we want to drink more water. Make sure you are drinking enough water to meet your increasing exercise demands. How much is enough? Well, there are several formulas but I prefer to keep it simple. Drink enough water that your pee is clear and then keep drinking water to keep it clear.
5) Keep going and progress regularly – If you are new to exercise, or it has been awhile since you have used a regular exercise program, start off with 1-2 miles a few times per week. As you build up your endurance, add ½-1 mile per week. When you increase your distance you might have some increased muscle soreness, but you should not have increased pain in your muscles or joints.

Muscle soreness is normal after starting an exercise routine but pain is another matter completely. Muscle soreness feels better after you are moving around and stretching out. Pain may increase the more you move. Painful muscles do not like to be stretched. Stretching them may actually make the pain even worse.

If you find yourself having increased pain with a new exercise program we can help with that. We will help locate what is causing the pain and get you on a personalized plan to get you back to your training program. At PT4EB we believe that movement is life. So, we design all of our treatments and exercise programs to get you back to the movements your life requires.

For all those who are joining this walk, we here at PT4EB give you a standing ovation. We hope you will come see us after your walk to help work out any muscle soreness in your calves and legs. Or just stop by so we can give you a high five and thank you for walking.

Medical Bills

Please Call Me!

By | Pain Relief | No Comments

The picture above is the bill from my husbands’ recent trip to the Emergency Room (ER).  He had a painful toe that started to get REALLY bad quickly.  He called the doctor to make an appointment and they said he hadn’t been in recently so he would have to wait 3 weeks.  When my husband explained how bad the pain was they said he should go to the ER.  So, he did.  Turns out it was an ingrown toenail that was getting infected.  He was treated very well and the toe was completely taken care of.  I am grateful for the level of care he was provided.

But, I am not grateful for the bill that came out of it!

The bill you see above is ONLY for walking into the ER.  We have also received a bill from the doctor.  And, of course, there was the co-pay.

I was very angry when I found out he had gone to the ER and NOT called me first.  If I couldn’t fix it I am sure I could have found a doctor who would have seen him that day.  Yes, it may have been expensive but I am sure it wouldn’t have cost as much as that trip into the ER.

(Side note – he was also offered a prescription for Codeine which is a narcotic but that is a rant for another day.)

Now, I am grateful that we have doctors who are skilled in medical emergencies who can literally pull people back from the brink of death.  I am grateful that they work the long hours in the ER and keep their skills honed for such an emergency.  We do need ER’s for those life threatening emergencies.  But, we need options for those really scary pain situations where we don’t know what’s going on.

One Saturday morning I had just finished eating breakfast when my phone started ringing.  It was one of my favorite patients and I immediately answered.

“What’s up?”

She was crying and had difficulty getting her story out to me.  She had been plugging in her vacuum to do her Saturday morning housework and her back exploded in pain.  She was stuck perched on a chair and afraid to move.  She didn’t know what to do.

Should she call 911?

Have her husband take her to the ER?

She was afraid.  This was really bad.

We spent about 30 minutes on the phone that morning.  I suspected that she had ruptured a disk (this later was confirmed).  Once we got her breathing back to normal I explained what I thought had happened.  I gave her a 72 hour treatment plan.  I explained what she was going to feel during those 72 hours.  I told her what she could and could not do.  And, I did tell her that if her symptoms did not proceed EXACTLY how I described that she should head directly to the ER.

72 hours later she was in my clinic and said “How did you know?  Everything went EXACTLY how you described!”

I know because I know how disks behave.  I know the signs and symptoms of a disk herniation.  I know the initial treatment techniques.

I also knew her body. Since she was a current patient (being treated for her neck) I had put my hands on her.  Based on my previous knowledge of her body and what she described to me I was pretty certain about what had happened.

That patient made a full recovery and is now living pain free in her back AND neck.

I offer this free phone consultation to any of my patients – current or previous.  If you suddenly find yourself in excruciating pain feel free to call me.  I am happy to talk with you and see if we can come up with a treatment plan over the phone.  If I am uncertain about what is going on and feel that you need to see a medical doctor, I will tell you that.

My goal is to help my patients make the best decisions for their health.  To help them avoid unnecessary surgeries, procedures, and medications.  So everybody can get back to moving pain free and living the life they choose to live.

If that means we need to spend 30 minutes on the phone discussing your pain, I will do it.  If you find yourself searching on YouTube for exercises to help alleviate your pain, please call me.  Put down the YouTube and pick up the phone.  Let’s find answers that will work for YOUR body.

Why I Don’t DIY

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It was dark the first time I saw our house 12 years ago.  I couldn’t see the backyard very well.  We live on a pie shaped piece of a cul de sac so the backyard light only went so far that first night.  I remember asking Matt “How’s the yard?”

His reply – “The yard is fine”

You may or may not be surprised to hear – the yard was not fine!  The yard was a hot mess.  There were planter boxes that had not been put together well and were never maintained.  There was a spot where the playground used to sit that was covered in wood chips.  And the retaining wall was bowing outward.

Imagine my shock the first time I saw our new yard – on the same day we signed the paperwork to make it ours.  But we loved the house so we could figure out the yard.  Or so I thought.

We spent 10 years trying to figure out that yard.  We raked up all the wood chips and planted seeds to renew the grass.  We tore up the planter boxes and used the dirt to make flower beds.  And we completely rebuilt the retaining wall so it fit together correctly.

We weeded non-stop to try and stay on top of it.  And every year I bought different plants trying to get my yard to grow.  I had friends give me plants that they were sure would survive.  Most of them did but some of them, well, not so much.

I spent 10 years trying to make this yard into an enjoyable place to hang out.  I bought different patio furniture, planted, weeded, trimmed – in short, I spent a lot of money, time, and energy.  And no one wanted to hang out in my backyard.  Except the dog.  Who does not have very discriminating tastes.

I was so frustrated that when Wendee entered my life I sprung at the chance to get help with my yard.  Have you ever been to that point of frustration that you are willing to do whatever it takes to find an answer?  Well, Wendee had the answer and a magic touch with plants.

Wendee came out to my house for the first time a year ago and we spent the entire day playing in the yard.  She tasked me with rebuilding the “river stream” we have running around the yard.  She helped me build a pea gravel path to get to the air conditioner.  Wendee decided that the extra rock needed to be used to build a pathway to the little table in the corner of the yard and we should plant succulents along the side.  Along the way, she trimmed, pruned, weeded, and worked her magic on my yard.

Then she taught me about the difference between mulch and bark.  Let me just say, mulch is good and helps your yard.  Bark is just pretty and washes away.  Trust me, mulch!

After our first day together, the yard looked amazing and I finally found some peace in spending time in the backyard.  The mulch greatly reduced the number of weeds so the yard stayed weed free for the rest of the year.  Plus, the bushes weren’t going out of control so it made mowing way easier.  For the first time in 10 years we actually hung out in the backyard.

Wendee has been back twice since then and each time my yard looks better.  This spring I almost didn’t have Wendee come out because the yard was looking great.  But a few hours of her magic hands and my yard looks amazing! I am so glad that I had her over and so grateful for how she magically transforms my yard into an oasis that we enjoy hanging out in.

Why didn’t I hire Wendee sooner?  Well, you see, I thought I could do it on my own.  I mean, it’s yard work.  I grew up doing yard work.  I can pull a weed!  And it seems ridiculous to pay someone to do something so simple.  But I didn’t weight the cost of the stress I was carrying from having a yard that I didn’t enjoy.  The frustration from not being able to do yard work right.  I mean, who can’t do yard work right?

Three lessons from my DIY experience:

  1. After 10 years it’s time to give up and hire a professional. How much time, energy, and money are you willing to spend before you solve this problem for good?
  2. Professionals make their work look easy and the solutions appear out of thin air. We pay people good money not just for their skill but also the expert knowledge they carry in their heads.
  3. Getting the problem taken care of clears up head space. What are you focusing on that could easily be taken care of by someone else?  What would clearing that space allow you to create?

Sometimes we are like a dog on a bone in our fierce independence to get something done by ourselves in our own way. What would it look like to allow someone to help us with that problem so we can put our brains to work on more interesting tasks?

Let me know if you need help solving any body aches, pains, or movement limitations.  Let’s free up your body so your mind can go and do great things.  And, if you need a landscaper, please let me know.  I am happy to give you Wendee’s contact information.

Memories from DC

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Do you have a city that holds an emotional place in your heart? They may be positive emotions:

  • where you got married!
  • where your first child was born!
  • where you ran your first marathon!

Or they may be negative:

  • where you got your first speeding ticket
  • where you broke your leg
  • where your parent died

Sometimes, you have a city that just triggers you.  There is a memory or a time that was spent in that place that was either so positive or so negative that you constantly place that emotion on that particular city.

Every time I think of Paris I remember waking my 3 year old up at 11 pm to watch the pretty lights sparkle on the Eiffel Tower.  It is no surprise she dreams of living in Paris to this day.

I should have expected the trigger when I landed in DC after a red eye flight.  But, in my sleepless haze, I found my way to the Metro and figured out which direction I needed to go to reach my destination.  I stood on the platform and enjoyed the sunshine.  When the Metro arrived and I sat down, all the memories came flooding back.

Lorelei and I were medevac’d from Germany to Walter Reed Medical Center 12 years ago.  Since Lorelei was not a big fan of sleeping we arrived in DC pretty groggy.  I remember searching for the shuttle I had arranged to take us to the base while carrying enough suitcases to last us who knew how long.  We had a return ticket for 2 weeks later but there was no guarantee we would be going home then.

The shuttle was only able to drop us off at the gate for the base.  This was post 9-11 and there were civilians on the shuttle.  I had to carry my baby and all our stuff up the ¼ mile long driveway to the hospital.  But it was okay.  I was finding answers for my baby.  We would be fine.

You see, Lorelei was very sick as a baby.  She cried constantly whenever she wasn’t being held.  She didn’t eat very well because she couldn’t poop.  Lorelei had become a ‘failure to thrive baby’.  They had sent us to a specialist in Germany who ran all the big, scary tests.  No, she didn’t have any life threatening disease. Yes, she did have muscles to push things out from that end.  No, we don’t know what’s wrong with her.

Lorelei was so sick that they had pulled Matt out of Iraq to come home and care for Ainsley so Lorelei and I could go to DC.  Okay, let’s be honest, first they told me to leave my 3 years old with friends in Germany while my husband was in Iraq and I took Lorelei to the US.  When I explained (read: yelled) about how I wouldn’t do that, they brought Matt home from Iraq.

I finally found the place in the hospital where we were supposed to check in and get our lodging assignment for our time in DC.  When I explained that Lorelei was the patient and not my husband the lady at the office said those fate filled words “Then I cannot help you”.  This was during the height of the war and this office was focused on helping families of soldiers who had been injured in Iraq and medevac’d to Walter Reed.  My baby didn’t count.

I was alone in DC with a very sick baby and no clue where I would sleep that night.  No clue what answers we would find in this place.  No clue what the next step was.  As I got back on the elevator to go back downstairs my luggage literally exploded all over the place and I started bawling while trying to grab all my luggage and pull it into the elevator.

Luckily an intern walked by and took pity on the crazy woman crying with a baby strapped to her chest and luggage that was all over the place.  He finally got the story out of me and figured out what needed to be done.  He marched me downstairs and had the information desk get me a hotel room for the night with a shuttle to come pick me up.  I continue to offer up thanks to that intern. I was, and am, so grateful for his help.

As it turned out the trip was non-productive.  They ran the same tests they had already run in Germany which led to the same diagnosis that we had received in Germany.  Which was “we have no idea why your kid can’t poop but she needs to be on medication for the rest of her life”.  It would be 5 years before we found the naturopath and nutritionist who would finally give us the diagnosis of celiac disease.  This would allow all the pieces of the puzzle to come together and allow for the healthy teenager we now have.

Therefore, I should not have been surprised when 12 years later the Metro brings about all those fears, anxieties, and tears.  But I was surprised.  I had difficulty breathing.  I became nearly paralyzed with fear.  And I had to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other.

I started with gratitude for how much our lives have changed in 12 years.  That fussy, failure to thrive baby has turned into a beautiful dancer/8th grade President/super fun teenager.  And I was in the DC area for a conference to help me with business development.  Because I own my own business.  Which is so very awesome.

I was honest with myself and the people around me about what was going on.  I texted Matt to get some support and I also told my group what was going on.  I acknowledged that these were old memories surfacing which decreased their power.

I moved forward with what I was in DC to do in the first place.  I did let the memories have their time while I went for a walk before the conference started.  But, once the conference started, I let go of those memories and focused on what I was there to do.

Grateful, honest, and moving forward.

Maybe you find yourself in a place filled with fear, anxiety, pain, or overwhelm.  I encourage you to remain grateful for all the good you have in your life.  Be honest about where you are with people you can trust to vault that information.  And then figure out how to move forward.  You are not meant to live in this place.

Movement is Life

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You need to be able to bend over to work in your garden, pick up your grandchild, or do yoga.

You need to be able to squat to give a child a hug at their level, to do home renovation projects, or tie your shoelace on the side of the trail while you are out running.

You need to have foot flexibility to walk so you can go hiking with your friends, take the dog out for a potty walk, or keep up with the kids while they are riding their bikes.

You need to have shoulder motion to play basketball, do Pilates, or paint a wall in your house.

You need to have neck motion so you can check your blind spot while you are driving, lay on your stomach while you are sun bathing, or use your “third eye” to watch the children.

Movement is required for life.  Movement is required to be able to do the things we want to do every day.  They may not feel like amazing things but they are the things that you want to do.  The activities that make up your life.

Perhaps you are a stay at home mom who spends your day reaching down for little ones, picking up their toys, standing while preparing meals, or hauling all of their stuff everywhere.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

You may work in an office which requires you to drive to work where you are walking between meetings, standing for discussions, typing to communicate with your team.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

Retirement brings a whole new set of movements depending on what that looks like for you.  It may be renovating your forever home, outfitting a boat for sailing around the world, or loading up the fifth wheeler to travel the US.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

The tissues in our body need movement to get stronger, to become more flexible, and also to heal.  Muscles need heavy weight applied in order to grow and become stronger.  Bones need the muscles pulling on them to regenerate and avoid osteoporosis.  Spinal discs require rotation to bring in fresh nutrients to remain healthy.

Just as you need motion to live your life, your body needs motion to maintain your life.  If you stop moving then you stop living.  Your body has a harder time healing itself as it becomes more difficult to get the proper nutrition to the proper locations.

Movement is life.  Movement allows you to live the life you love.  Movement teaches your body to adapt thereby allowing you to do the things you love.

If you are not moving, you are not living your life to the fullest.  If you are not moving, you are not helping your body to heal itself.

When a muscle is tight it holds on to all the extra stuff that is meant to be pumped out on a regular basis.  This makes it harder to bring in fresh nutrition for the muscle to feed on.  As you challenge that muscle with your daily activities, it starts to hold on for dear life.  No amount of ice or heat will cause it to release.  It simply can’t because it has gotten into this holding pattern.

That muscle may be compressing a joint.  The joint needs movement in order for the cartilage to get its nutrition.  When cartilage becomes dry it leads to arthritis.  Arthritis leads to pain and decreased movement.

Or that muscle may be compressing a disc.  Spinal discs are like sponges that absorb nutrition when the pressure is released.  If they are constantly compressed they cannot receive the needed nutrition.  This causes degenerative disc disease.  It comes down to a lack of movement.

Movement is life.  Movement allows the tissues in our body to heal. Movement allows us to do all the things we value doing in life.

How is your movement?  How is your life?

If you are having difficulty with movement please reach out to us.  We are movement experts that love seeing you achieve the movement you need for your best life.

Where headaches are born

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Have you ever had a headache that started at the base of your skull and wrapped itself over your head finally lodging behind your eyeballs?  Those headaches really hurt.  And, it seems like they can last forever.

But where do they come from?  Headaches that start at the base of the skull actually start in the upper neck.  You see, there are two special vertebrae in your upper neck that are different from all the other vertebra.

First you have C1.  AKA: The Atlas because it holds up the entire world.  Well, it holds up your head which feels like the entire world.  C1 is special because it is shaped like a ring which allows it to move more than the other vertebra.

Next you have C2.  AKA: The Axis.  The entire world (or head) spins around C2.  That’s why it’s called the axis. C2 has a part that sticks up so that C1 can rotate around it.

This intricate design can get out of place, causing increased pain that translates into headaches.  Specifically, headaches that go up over the top of your head and lodged behind your eyeballs.

The good news is that there is help for these types of headaches.  You can finally stop having to deal with the pain and frustration of never knowing when the next headache is going to strike.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, I don’t have neck pain.  I know.  These headaches usually do not have neck pain associated with them.  In fact, when we start working on the source of my problem my patients often tell me that they didn’t know there was pain there.

As we get C1 and C2 playing nice with the rest of the spine, the headaches can clear up for good.  No more need to take pain medication on a regular basis.  No more missing out on activities because of your neck pain.  No more wondering why you keep getting these headaches.

Are you ready to put an end to your headaches and get on with your life?  Please feel free to contact us and find out more about how we can help eliminate your headaches.

Chewing on another cause of headaches

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Have you ever had a headache that started in your jaw?  Maybe you have noticed that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating a big meal.  Perhaps you grind your teeth at night and wake up every morning with a headache.  Some people chew gum all day long, causing jaw and head pain.

Have you ever wondered how jaw pain is related to headaches?

First, let’s do a brief demonstration.  I want you to take your pinky fingers and place them inside your ears with your pinkies facing forward.  You don’t have to shove them all the way in just enough that the pads of your fingers are inside.  Next I want you to open and close your jaw.  Do you notice that when you close your jaw a bony part butts into your pinky finger?  That is the TMJ (TemperoMandibular Joint)!

Congratulate yourself on finding your TMJ!

Now, the part that moves is your jaw bone also known as the mandible.  This is the “mandibular” in temporomandibular.  The part that stays still is the temporal bone.  You put the two together and you have the temporomandibular joint.  See, they really didn’t get that fancy when they named this stuff.

The part that stays still is connected to your skull.  This is one way that TMJ pain can radiate into a headache.  Often this pain will be described as “temple pain”.  People will point to one or both sides of their temples and say “it always hurts here”.  This is a common sign of TMJ pain.

There is also a big muscle called the temporalis muscle.  It helps you to do things like close your jaw and chew your food.  This muscle can be found by placing your hands flat on the sides of your head.  Open and close your jaw and you will feel this muscle activating.

This muscle covers the side of your head and can cause pain to travel up the side of your head.  People with this type of pain often point along the sides of their faces, up to the top of their head.  They describe the pain as going behind their eyeballs.  People with this type of TMJ pain often say their pain increases after eating.

What if you have pain that starts in the back of your neck and comes up over your head to the front?  This type of pain often starts from the upper neck.

Is it still related to the TMJ?

Often, yes.  You see, there are many small muscles that cross from the TMJ to the upper neck.  They are coordinated to work together to allow for very small motions in your upper neck and jaw.  So when the jaw starts becoming a problem, the upper neck will feel the effects too.  And the upper neck will send it’s pain up the back of the head, over the top, and down into the front.

So there you have it.  The TMJ can cause headaches along the temples of up the side of the head.  Further, the TMJ communicates with the upper neck which tends to send it’s headaches up the back of the head, along the top, and down into the forehead.

Do you suffer regularly from the headaches types described above?  Are you ready to find the real reason behind your pain and get rid of it once and for all?  Please contact us and we will get you scheduled for an absolutely free 20 minute consultation to see if we are a good fit for each other.

What not to wear

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Recently, I had a memorial service to attend right after treating patients.  So I wore my dress and flats while I was treating.  That afternoon, while I was standing at the memorial service, I felt my back tighten up.  “Oh well, it will be fine” I though like every other person does.

That evening I tried to avoid my low back pain by walking around the house and getting some things done.  I went and ran an errand at the mall to get more steps in.  My thought was – “move more and my low back pain will settle down”.  What I did NOT do was take off those flats.

The next morning I rolled out of bed and tried to stand up straight.  As I hobbled on my aching feet, holding my back and trying to stand up straight, I was reminded that it was not fine.  There are consequences for improper footwear and low back pain is at the top of the list.

Here’s the thing – I usually wear very supportive shoes all the time.  Especially when I am going to be working with patients.  I thought that I could get away with one day of wearing improper footwear and not have it bother my back.  I thought that doing it wrong, just this once, would not cause increased low back pain.  I thought these shoes were good enough to get me through my day.

What I am learning is that since I have hit the big 4-0, my body has less tolerance for these deviations.  My body requires me to work out daily.  My body requires regular stretching to maintain its performance.  My body requires me to not sit for more than 60 minutes while I am working on the computer.  And my body requires me to wear supportive shoes.

I have many people ask me what brand of shoes they should wear for work.  That is a complicated question as everyone has a different foot structure.  Also, your daily work requirements are different than your neighbors.  But I would be happy to discuss what works for me.  Feel free to send me an E-mail at amy@physicaltherapyforeverybody.com

One key way to decrease your low back pain?  Wear supportive shoes!  I have an order for new ones on the way as we speak.

 

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Snow Shoveling 101

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Snowpocalypse hit the Pacific Northwest and left behind snow, sleet, hail, slush, and ice.  Last I heard, the groundhog was awaiting extradition from the Bahamas for his poor forecast this year.  As we move forward to finally getting out of the house, here are some key tips to remember while you are shoveling all that snow.

#1 – Use the shovel to push the snow – Walk with the shovel in front of you to push the snow out of your way.  Kind of like your very own snow plow.  This puts the snow in a nice pile ready to be lifted.

#2 – Bend your knees – do a squat to pick up the snow with the shovel.  Bend your knees and keep your back straight.  This is critical when the snow is heavy as it is now.  Make sure you have two hands on the shovel to distribute the weight.

#3 – Pivot your feet – when you are getting ready to throw the snow make sure you pivot your feet.  This allows your back to stay in a neutral position.  Twisting of the spine with a weighted load (like snow!) is the most common cause of injury to the low back.

#4 – Make sure to breathe – keep your breathing regular.  Holding your breath while you are lifting increases the pressure on your back.  Breathing also helps to improve your endurance.

#5 – Take a break – we’ve gotten a lot of snow this year and clearing it away will take some time.  Make sure you take regular breaks to head inside, warm up, and drink some water.

Snow shoveling is a great workout when you can’t get to the gym, yoga studio, or Crossfit box.  If you need more of a workout, offer to clear your neighbor’s driveway too!  Be careful with your body if you are not used to performing heavy lifting or endurance type activities.  Give yourself lots of breaks and keep an even pace.

If you have any questions regarding proper snow shoveling technique or if you hurt yourself in the snow, please reach out to us at PT4EB.

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So, you have a herniated disc

By | Pain Relief, Physical Therapy | No Comments

There are few things in life as painful as a herniated disc.  But it’s not just the pain that is difficult to deal with – it’s also the fear.  What is going on in my spine and am I going to live?  That may sound extreme but herniated discs are extreme.  They can cause extreme fear, extreme panic, extreme frustration, and extreme pain.

The first time I herniated my disc was in college.  I was in Air Force ROTC (don’t ask, long story) and we were doing physical training.  All of a sudden, I felt a ball of glass explode in my lower right spine.  Okay, I know that a ball of glass didn’t explode in my spine but that is absolutely what it felt like.

Of course, training must go on so I got up and went for a 3 mile run.  Each step caused a mini explosion of the glass shards in my right spine.  And I was one of the lucky ones.  My pain never touched my sciatic nerve and went down into my leg.

For many people, the disc herniates and then it irritates the nerves in the area.  The nerves are located close to the spine and right next to the disc.  When the disc herniates, the material inside the disc leaves the fibers of the disc and is hanging out right next to the disc.  This can cause increased pressure on the nerve which responds by sending pain down into your leg.

What are your initial steps when you have a herniated disc?

  1.  Breathe – Easy for me to say when the glass shards aren’t flying around my spine, right?  I know.  But it’s really important to breathe slow and steady.  Holding your breath increases the pressure on your spine which is not what you want right now.  I now it is incredibly painful right now but I promise it’s going to get better.
  2. Grab an ice pack and your favorite chair, floor, or bed.  You need to rest for the first 24-48 hours.  Find a comfortable position (as comfortable as possible) and an ice pack.  You might want to grab some magazines or the remote control.  You are going to be there for a day or two.
  3. Small movements matter. During the first 24-48 hours it is important to keep the area moving in small PAIN FREE ways.  This can mean trying to stand up straight while you walk to and from the bathroom.  Rolling your shoulders to get some movement in your upper spine.  Sitting and rotating your spine from side to side.  Don’t go crazy right now but keep those small movements.
  4. Get help. Once you can walk to and from the bathroom pain free you are ready to get some help.  A Physical Therapist will help you get back to moving pain free.  Yes, you will get back to all those activities you loved doing before.

Yes, the pain will go away.

Yes, we can help you figure out your path on this journey of healing.  Please fill out this simple form and we can get you started healing and back to living life on your terms.