Stretching for Pain Relief

One of the first things a personal trainer will teach you is the importance of stretching. Stretching is believed to be a critical tool for preventing injury, and has the ability to increase flexibility.

But stretching may have additional benefits as well. One such benefit is pain relief. Stretching has many positive advantages to the muscles that can assist in long term pain relief.

Stretching For Back and Neck Pain

If you struggle with back and neck pain, daily stretching can help. Stretching is a long term pain relief strategy, capable of providing less back and neck pain the longer you stretch regularly. Some of the benefits of stretching on pain relief include:

  • Improving Range of Motion – Often when some part of you feels injured, your body tends to overcompensate by leaning on other muscles, which in turn start to become overworked and harden. This eventually leads to further pain. Stretching helps make sure that the muscles stay loose, and make it easier for all of your muscles to stay mobile and active.
  • Greater Blood Flow – Blood flow is important for reducing pain and improving the healing process. It also moves oxygen throughout the body. Stretching improves blood flow throughout the body, which allows blood and oxygen to reach your muscles and speed up the healing process.
  • Endorphins – When you stretch, your body releases neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) known as “endorphins.” These brain chemicals play two roles in your body – they make you feel happy, and they reduce pain. Both of those are beneficial for those that are struggling with back and neck pain.

Stretching also simply makes it easier for you to move freely, and movement is known to reduce pain. That is why, if you suffer from back and neck pain, you do not just stretch your neck and back. You also stretch other areas of the body, like your calves and abdomen. This is because when your legs and core are loose, you’re able to have better posture and walk more often, both of which are important for improving blood flow and reducing pain.

Stretching alone is not a short term cure. Those that engage in stretching need to be prepared to commit to it, and combine it with other back and neck pain reduction strategies. But stretching is surprisingly beneficial, and because it can be completed in only a few minutes every day, it is something you should strongly consider if you’ve been suffering from chronic pain.

If you have been suffering from long term back or neck pain, contact SpineCenterAtlanta to learn about the wide range of treatment options we have to help you find relief.

How Acupuncture Works to Ease Neck Pain Stiffness

When you examine the biology of the neck, it’s easy to see why neck pain and stiffness can occur. Your neck is tasked with balancing the weight of your head and skull on the top of your spine. The muscles, tissues, and joints in your neck are under extended pressure, especially if you have had:

  • Poor Posture
  • Recent Car Accident
  • Stress and Tension, and More

Something as simple as sleeping in the wrong position or staring at a laptop puts a great deal of tension of the tissues in the neck, and can quickly lead to developing neck stiffness.

Acupuncture as a Neck Stiffness Treatment

At Spine Center Atlanta, we perform a variety of spine treatments for those that have persistent neck pain. One of our most popular non-invasive treatment is acupuncture, which has proven success at relieving back and neck pain.

In ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture works by restoring the flow of qi (energy) within the body. Small needs are placed in specific points in the body (acupoints) that release blocked qi and help energy flow throughout the body.

In modern times, acupuncture is still a popular treatment for neck stiffness. In addition to restoring the flow of qi, acupuncture:

  • Stimulates Natural Healing – The needles of acupuncture stimulate the natural healing process, helping support your neck muscles and tissues.
  • Releasing Natural Pain Killers – When the needles are placed in the neck and back, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are the pain killers of the body, reducing neck pain and increasing good feelings.
  • Reduces Local Inflammation – Research has shown that acupuncture seems to reduce local inflammation in the targeted areas. This makes it easier to move neck muscles, and alleviates neck tissue stiffness.

For those that are struggling with neck pain, acupuncture provides a targeted treatment that can address your neck discomfort symptoms and give you greater range of motion again. With a combination of both ancient Chinese medicine and modern technology, acupuncture provides a natural treatment that can relieve your neck pain symptoms.

Is Acupuncture Right For You?

Acupuncture is one of many effective treatments for neck pain, and a great choice for those that struggle with stiffness and discomfort. Our certified Acupuncturist, Taian Wang at SpineCenterAtlanta is top-notch. For more information about acupuncture or to learn more about some of the other useful treatments for neck pain, please call SpineCenterAtlanta today at (404) 620-6409.

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy After Spinal Fusion

Water exercises

As you recover from spinal fusion surgery, part of your recovery and rehabilitation will be to find exercises to re-strengthen the muscles in your back. But not all exercises will do. You’ll need to be able to exercise without putting pressure on your spine – a tall task for some of the more common gym-style exercises.

One strategy that chiropractors and physical therapists recommend is to use aquatic therapy for spinal fusion recovery. Aquatic therapy involves exercising in water. The natural buoyancy of the water reduces pressure on the spine, yet the resistance of the water also helps ensure that exercises are able to condition the muscles. At Spine Center Atlanta, we also use a heated pool to relax the muscles even further.

Why Use Aquatic Therapy?

Immediately after spinal fusion, rest and relaxation is important to help recover after surgery. But once you’ve rested, you’ll need to rehabilitate the muscles, many of which were weakened by the procedure, and you’ll need to make sure that the muscles in your back help support your newly repaired spine.

Exercise is a critical part of healing. But you’ll also want to avoid damaging the muscles and the surgical site. Exercising in heated water has many benefits for your recovery, including:

  • Less Injury Risk – Because there is less pressure on the spine, the risk of injury is low – especially when you engage in recommended exercises.
  • More Difficult Workouts – Within water, your muscles are better supported. But the resistance of the water makes certain exercises more physically demanding. Walking in water, for example, is often a better aerobic activity for those that need to exercise, and puts less strain on the joints in the process.
  • Muscle Therapy – The warm water used in aquatic therapy is known to relax the muscles, which means less tension and pain over time.

In addition, there is evidence that the pressure caused by water, known as hydrostatic pressure, can help with the healing process by promoting greater blood flow.

Exercises for Spinal Fusionwater exercise

The best way to learn what aquatic therapy exercises are best for those recovering from spinal fusion is to work with your physical therapist at Spine Center Atlanta. But some of the exercises you may complete include:

  • Water Walking
  • Water Squats
  • Leg Extensions

These are only a small sample of the types of aqua therapy spinal fusion exercises available. If you’re interested in learning more about aquatic therapy, a safe, effective exercise and recovery process for many spine conditions, please call us today at 404-649-0783.