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.

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.

Can Physical Therapy Save you from Spine Surgery?

From athletics to aging, it’s not uncommon to find that certain parts of your body become damaged and torn over time. This is especially true in areas like the knees, the hip, the shoulder – any area that has delicate cartilage that is relied on regularly for most motor movements and prone to arthritis related challenges. One wrong movement, and your joints and cartilage can quickly become inflamed or shredded.

If you have ever played Fantasy Football, then you know that something as simple as a small tear can cause season ending surgery. That is because traditionally, damaged cartilage, tissues, and joints are treated by undergoing surgery. It has long been believed that the only way to effectively repair these damaged ligaments and tissues was with surgical intervention. But if you’ve found yourself with this type of injury, studies are starting to show that surgery may not be necessary at all.

Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Atlanta

Physical Therapy as an Alternative to Surgery

Over the past several years, many long term studies have shown that physical therapy (PT) may be a successful alternative to surgical intervention, and that you can avoid surgery altogether simply by working with a trained physical therapist.

  • One study from the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery looked at 381 patients between the ages of 30 to 90. They found that that, when treated with physical therapy, 75% of all patients with rotator cuff issues were able to avoid surgery with only 3 months of PT.
  • Another study posted in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Journal, found that patients that struggled with moderate hip arthritis were 44% less likely to require a hip replacement after 6 years if they went through only 12 weeks of physical therapy.
  • Yet another study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that those with meniscus (knee) damage could avoid surgery at a rate of 70% if they engaged in physical therapy before considering surgery, rather than waiting until after surgery.

While some patients in every group still required surgery for severely damaged joints and cartilage, those with mild to moderate issues often found that physical therapy alone was enough to prevent or delay the need for surgery. Given the high costs of surgery, the risks, and the recovery time, anyone that is struggling with some type of tear or damage to their joints may want to consider physical therapy first. If you’re interested in learning more, call Spine Center Atlanta 404-351-5812, today.