Why does your low back pain keep coming back?

Why does your low back pain keep coming back?

Reoccurring Low Back Pain            

Low back pain will affect roughly 80% of the population at some point in their lives. A common problem that people have is that their back pain comes and goes. They go through periods of having no pain and then all of a sudden their back can “go out” causing a lot of pain and inability to move well.  Usually, these episodes of low back pain last for several weeks and the person gets better. However a few months later the SAME low back pain returns. This leaves people frustrated with low back pain that doesn’t ever seem to fully resolve. Watch the video to learn more about low back pain flare-ups and what to do about it.

3 Most Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

3 Most Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

3 Most Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

        Shoulder blade pain is a common condition that affects office workers, manual laborers, athletes, and weight lifters. Many times pain in the shoulder blade can be caused by a problem with the muscles in your upper back which is also called the thoracic spine. Shoulder blade pain can also occur due to problem at with the spine itself. However, a little-known fact is that pain in the shoulder blade may be referred pain from the neck. Often times people fail treatment for their shoulder blade pain because the root cause of the pain (which can be the neck) was not treated. In this article we’ll cover the different possible causes of shoulder blade pain.

  1. Upper Back/Thoracic Spine

The upper back (which can also be referred to as the thoracic spine) is the part of the spine that runs down from our neck between the shoulder blades.  The upper back plays a roll in the ability to maintain good posture, move the neck, throw a ball, and lift objects at overhead. Good mobility in the thoracic spine is necessary in order to move the arms, upper back, and neck without difficulty. When there is a loss of mobility in the thoracic spine then pain can set it. Some of the common signs of pain related to the upper back include:

  1. Pain with prolonged sitting postures
  2. Pain with overhead lifting
  3. Pain with twisting your back side to side

  If the pain is caused by the upper back region it may feel tight, sharp or a dull ache.  Normally the pain can begin as stiffens and gradually worsen into a sharp sensation if left untreated. This type of pain is usually felt on one side between the spine and the shoulder blade. It can be hard to pinpoint on yourself where the pain is coming from as it may be coming from the muscles in that region or the spine itself. If you feel pain with moving that area of your upper back in certain ways then the pain may be due to a restriction at the thoracic spine.

  1. Referred Pain from the Neck

In order to determine the root cause of the shoulder blade pain sometimes areas AWAY from the site of the actual pain need to be considered. For instance, it has been well documented that the neck can actually refer pain down into the shoulder blade region.  There have been studies conducted that have shown that certain parts of the neck when pressed upon can refer pain into the shoulder blade region.  It is important for any case of shoulder blade pain that the neck be assessed as the possible root cause. Common signs of shoulder blade pain that comes from the neck includes:

  1. Pain reproduced with moving the neck
  2. Pain with prolonged looking down
  3. Multiple sites of pain including top of the shoulder, neck, and shoulder blade

Pain in the shoulder blade pain from the neck can be described as a burning or tingling sensation. Often time people will get a massage to the area because it feels as if the muscles in that region have been “pulled”. Unfortunately, the relief from the massage usually does not last long because it does not address the underlying root cause of the pain. A simple way to decipher whether or not your shoulder blade pain is to move to turn your head side to side and look up then down. If this reproduces some of the pain that you feel in shoulder blade region then there is a possibility that the pain you are experience could be coming from the neck.

  1. Poor Posture and Muscle Weakness

Modern desk jobs and increased use of technology have led to greater demands being placed on our upper back and shoulder blade region. Larger amounts of stress are placed on the shoulder blade muscles and upper back as sitting becomes the majority position during the day.  When muscles get overworked they then become “fatigued” and tighten up because they are no longer able to perform their job well.  This will give the sensation that your shoulder blade region feels “tight” causing you to “stretch” the area out. However typically the underlying root case of the pain is from a “weakness” in key shoulder blade muscles and not a true tightness. Some common signs of this pain include:

  1. Pain that increases with sitting as the day progresses.
  2. Pain that is relieved with laying down
  3. One sided pain that feels tight or dull ache.

People that experience shoulder blade pain associated with weak muscles typically report they do not notice their symptoms as much during their off days or on the weekend. If the shoulder blade pain occurs during certain lifting or sporting activities and not during rest periods then that can also be a sign indicating muscle weakness.  This is because during the “down time” or “off time” the muscles are not placed under as much stress and thus do not get “overworked”. Below is an exercise that can be worked on to improve muscle endurance in your shoulder blades. Start with your elbows and arms up against the table and then slide your arms up the wall. Then return back to start position. Perform in a slow and controlled manner until you feel fatigue in the upper back/shoulder blade region.

               Start                                                                                                                   End

     

 

 

How to Sit Longer WITHOUT Back Pain and Sciatica

How to Sit Longer WITHOUT Back Pain and Sciatica

How to Sit Longer WITHOUT Back Pain and Sciatica

Low back pain and sciatica can often keep you from sitting comfortably. It can cause pain during long car rides or while sitting at work. The different positions and postures we sit in during the day have a great effect on low back pain and sciatica. There are certain sitting positions that can help relieve your pain. However, there are also positions and postures that can aggravate your sciatica and low back pain. Learn how to fix sciatica and back pain in sitting below!

What is sciatica?

Sciatica” is the term used to refer to pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve happens to be the largest nerve in the body (It is actually a bundle of nerves). It is comprised of several different nerves that branches off the spinal cord in our low back. This nerve then travels down the back of our leg and splits into two nerves around the back of the knee and goes into the foot. This is why when people have “pain in their leg” it can be a bit confusing because while the pain is felt in the hip, leg, or foot region it can actually be coming from the back. For a little more information about nerves and what they do you can refer to this article here (Signs of a Pinched Nerve).

sciatica

What are the signs and symptoms of sciatica?

There are several signs and symptoms to be aware of when determining whether or not you have sciatica. Some of the more common include:

  1. Pain, numbness, or tingling that goes down your leg (it can be just in the upper leg or go all the way down into the foot)
  2. Pain in the back, hip or leg with long periods of sitting
  3. Pain in the back/leg when bending forward to pick up objections.
  4. Radiating or sharp pain into buttock/hip region

What can cause sciatica?

Sciatica can arise from several different causes. It is important to understand what is causing your sciatica and to understand that the majority of the time the pain is originating from your low back. Even if you just have some mild low back pain or stiffness it can still be the cause of your sciatica pain. Many people will get confused with this because often times the sciatica pain down the leg can be more severe than some of the back pain that they may be experiencing. A history of back pain before a bout of sciatica can also help indicate where the root cause of the pain is coming from.

Below are some of the common causes of sciatica.

  1. A Herniated or bulging disc is the most common cause of sciatica. This occurs in the age range typically 50 yrs and younger. Some of the common symptoms include pain down the leg when sitting in a slouched posture, pain when bending forward, and relief when getting up to walk around. If the sciatica is caused by a herniated disc it is very important to pay attention to sitting posture which I will discuss later in this article.
  2. Stenosis is a condition which affects the 50 yr and older population. This causes sciatica down the leg during standing and walking activities . Stenosis occurs when the holes where the nerve exit the spine encroach upon the nerve causing irritation. Typically sitting down will help relieve this condition.
  3. Degenerative disc disease. As we get older our discs loose some of the cushion that they naturally have in our younger years. This can lead to changes in the ability to move our back through natural motions. Once we have lost the ability to move through a natural arc of motion we can start to impose an effect on our back and it’s surrounding structures including the nerves. When a loss of motion occurs the sciatic nerve is unable to move a freely as before causing sciatica symptoms down the leg.

What steps need to be taken if back pain and sciatica is making it difficult to sit?

The first step that needs to be taken is to identify which sitting posture gives you the “most relief”. This is not to say that your pain will completely go away but you will need to find the “position of most relief” in order to take some of the bite off the pain. Here are three different sitting postures you can try out.

You will need to ask yourself several questions when you are sitting in these postures.

  1. A. Does my pain increase or decrease?
  2. B. Do the symptoms in my leg/hip become less noticeable or more?
  3. C. Does my back pain increase?

1.Sitting slouched. This posture typically brings about the most pain in sitting. HOWEVER in a rare occasion you may actually get relief from the sciatica when doing this which is why I am discussing it now. All you need to do is slumped down in your chair so that your low back presses against the back rest.

2.Sitting in an extended upright position. The majority of people will get relief when sitting in this position. From a slouched position you will rock your hips forward. This will cause your back to straighten and you will immediately sit up taller. Keep moving forward and stick your bottom out so that you now have a backward bend in your back. (Think sitting with an extreme lumbar support in your back). You may also roll up a towel and place it behind your back so that you can hold this position.
sciatica

3.Sitting in a neutral position. The first two sitting postures we went over are on the ends of extreme. One causes you to slouch to the extreme and the other to arch up to the extreme. The third posture involves sitting in a more “neutral position”. As you rock back and forth from a slouched posture to and upright posture stop mid way. You should feel your tummy tighten and have the sensation that you are “holding yourself in place”. This is the neutral spine position.

 

Watch this video that discusses the different sitting postures that you should be aware of and how to closely find the position of relief.

 

Aside from finding the position of most relief for you in sitting it is important to perform micro stretches. This allows for pressure to be taken off the nerve and can reduce the sciatic pain. If you have the option for a standing desk you may want to switch over to standing instead of sitting for the majority of your day at work. Taking a short “walking break” every 30 minutes to 1 hour from sitting can also be beneficial as it can help loosen up a stiff back or hips which is often accompanied by sciatica. More stretches and exercises are talked about in detail here.

Keep in mind that these are some of the beginning steps to ending your sciatica pain. It is not just about one magic exercise or stretch to fix the issue but also about changing your movement patterns and postures throughout the day. Being aware of how you sit and move during the day will be one of the first steps you need to take in order to allow for proper healing!

If you would like more information on Back Pain the get our Free Report on Back Pain ” 7 Simple Steps to Naturally End Your Back Pain (and Stiffness) Without Needing Medications, Injections, or Surgery!”

Click Here to Get This Free Report

 

Why does Sciatica treatment fail?

Why does Sciatica treatment fail?

Why Does Sciatica Treatment Fail?      

Sciatica is a painful condition that can affect the way we move and limit our ability to participate in our favorite activities. Sciatica pain can be difficult to treat because the nerve is often easily irritated. Treatment for sciatica often fails because several areas were not addressed. In order to get lasting pain relief the way we move around and sit during the day needs to be changed. Watch the video below to find out more.

Top 3 Causes of Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Top 3 Causes of Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Top 3 Causes of Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Low back pain and sciatica can be a painful and debilitating condition. In order to get lasting relief from your pain, you must determine what is causing your low back pain and sciatica. Some of the common causes include herniated disc, bulging disc, stenosis, arthritis, and an SI Joint problem. Watch this video below to learn more about what might be causing your low back pain and sciatica.