For those who are skeptical, acupuncture might conjure up anxieties about needles or an image of Pinhead from Hellraiser. For those who have found relief from chronic pain, acupuncture is a miracle. From your father’s ever-sore back to your bum right knee, many of us have struggled with the effects of chronic pain. From depression to sleeplessness to loss of mobility, it often goes far beyond the pain itself. Unable to ease the pain, people often try to learn to live with it, but there’s no need: acupuncture can effectively treat chronic pain.
What makes pain chronic? It lasts longer than 12 weeks, and can persist for months or more. While it is often the result of a known injury or trauma (ie. why you should come in and see us as soon as you get injured), sometimes illness or undiagnosed problems are the cause.
You might think “Aches and pains are a part of aging!”, and decide to just tough it out, but the localized pain itself isn’t the only problem. Pain has an effect on the nervous system that can cause you to become more sensitive to other pain, known as “central sensitization.” Even things that wouldn’t normally hurt can become painful, and it can persist far longer than in a pain-free individual. There’s also an emotional burden attached to constant pain, leading to anxiety, anger or fatigue. If that wasn’t bad enough, those emotions can decrease the body’s natural pain defenses, creating a vicious cycle. Oh, and long-term chronic pain has been shown to suppress the immune system. Bad on all counts.
Acupuncture may not be the treatment you think of, but you should really reconsider. It is currently being used to treat everything from headaches to cramps, back pain to asthma, and with good reason: a large scale study with data from over 18,000 people showed acupuncture to be an effective treatment for chronic back, neck and should pain, osteoarthritis and headaches. These were clinical studies, meaning it’s been proven to work.
If you or a loved one is dealing with chronic pain, any of our physiotherapists can help you figure out if acupuncture is the right way to go. No horror movies necessary.
Your mother always told you not to stare at a screen for too long because it’d ruin your eyes. Turns out it’s doing a lot more than that. As people are using more screen-based technology (computers, smart phones, tablets, etc.), health professionals are seeing an increase in problems like headaches, neck pain, back pain, and even pain felt the face. Not good.
Why exactly are these gadgets causing a problem? People’s posture is often horrible while they use them. Heads forward, eyes cast down, shoulders forward – these can all spell bad news. Staring at a screen often takes your head off the vertical, bending it forward up to 45° – moving your head forward just an inch increases the pressure on your neck by 10 pounds. Sitting with your shoulders forward causes tightness in both the pectoral and back muscles – it can also compress the veins and nerves of the arms which increases the chances of problems like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Getting rid of technology isn’t going to happen, so what can you do? Seeing a massage therapist can help with tightness and pain. To really fix the problem though, you’ll need to actively work on your posture. Stretches and exercises to strengthen your muscles are essential and here’s a great video series to get you started.
If you’re looking for solutions specific to your posture and mobility, give us a call and any of our physiotherapists can help find the exercises that will work best for you.
While lower back pain means you get to avoid helping your brother move for the 133rd time, that’s probably the only benefit. It can keep you home from work, stop you from playing sports, and even make a mess of your looooove life.
Wait, what does back pain have to do with, uh, relations? Well, studies indicate 84% of men and 73% of women have seen their sexy times decrease on account of lower back pain. That may seem shocking, but back pain is one of the most common things we see in the clinic. It affects 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives, and that point could very well be while you’re with your sweetie in the bedroom.
However, a set of papers from the University of Waterloo is providing suffers with some hope: there are certain positions that could help to keep back pain at bay between the sheets. By tracking the spine movements of 10 heterosexual couples while they did the deed, the researchers gained some insight on how to lessen spinal motion and potentially prevent back pain caused by flexion (forward bending) through intercourse:
- The gentleman uses hips & knees to control movement instead of his back, while his partner maintains a neutral spine position (eg. missionary position supported on your elbows)
- The gentleman kneels behind his partner to prevent flexion of the back
Hopefully those tips will help you experience bliss back pain free, but remember there are many different triggers for back pain. If your back pain is putting intimacy in the bedroom on the back burner: CALL US! Solving your back pain problems is going to make EVERY aspect of your life better.