HOW TO GET UPSTAIRS WHEN IN PAIN…

How to get upstairs when in pain …

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ONE SIMPLE LIFESTYLE CHANGE THAT CAN SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE YOUR BACK PAIN…

One simple lifestyle change that can significantly reduce your back pain is a guest post from Tavistock Clinic in Crawley.

None of us are strangers to back pain.

It’s the leading cause of disability in the UK. In addition, 80% of the population experience back pain at one stage or another in their life and it is one of the most common causes for absence days at work.

Back pain is often a mystery. The reason being, it can be caused by such a wide variety of reasons.

You may twist your back whilst reaching something on the floor, and the pain is caused by overstretching the muscle. You may have had a car accident, where the pain is caused due to the physical impact to the muscle. You may even be getting back pain from emotional trauma or certain foods that you react to unknowingly.

Many of us also know the importance of ‘bending at the knees’ and not your back when lifting items.

This is staple (and correct) advice that everyone should follow. The notion is that you should use your leg muscles to pick something up off the floor, instead of putting the pressure into your back.

There’s something missing though: what about all the things you pick up from that mid-range area, between the knees and torso region?

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone in a squat position whilst lifting something off the kitchen counter, dining table, or when putting dishes into the dishwasher.

The vast majority of ‘bending’ we do is at the mid-line level – where squatting by the legs simply does not cross our minds, nor is it practical, or swift enough.

Yet, we still put the pressure into our backs, and not into our legs. How do we resolve this?

In truth, there is another posture of bending that everyone needs to know about, but no one actually does… yet.

‘Hip hinging’ is bending by your knees and ‘hinging’ by your hips at the same time.

It means you still get to bend down from your back and reach down (from the bend in the knees), without having to do a full squat (with your back perfectly upright) but without any undue stress into your spine.

Buffalo Rehab provides a picture-perfect demonstration of the difference between a normal pick up and a hip hinge:

Picture number 1 on this image slide is how the vast majority of people would pick something up from knee level.

Picture number 2 on this image slide shows the perfect position of lifting. You can see I the back is almost horizontal, which may make you think it’s terrible for the spine.

Picture number 3 offers a separate alternative of lifting, also known as the golfers’ grip, which is still safer for your spine than the first picture.

The question should always be, however, ‘why is the spine in that position?’

In picture number 1, the spine is bent because the spine itself and the spinal muscles are folding forward (flexing).

In picture number 2, the spine is not actually bent at all – it’s straight (no, it’s not an illusion!).

The reason it’s horizontal is that the hips are hinged forward.

This is a perfectly normal and safe movement for the hip to do, and when you lift an item from the ground the force goes into the hip and back of the legs primarily, with less stress on the lower and upper back.

There are a number of examples in the professional sporting and exercise world that demonstrates the importance of the hip hinge.

Whenever you see someone doing a squat in the gym, if done correctly, they will be hip hinging:

The same goes for if you are doing one of the staple back strengthening exercises, the deadlift:

Many people think this exercise is dangerous because you are not specifically ‘bending by the knees’ as much as you would think, but the truth is the spine is completely neutral in this position, so the stress is primarily on the hip and legs, where it is supposed to be.

At Tavistock Clinic we offer physiotherapy in Crawley and we advise strongly to every one of our sports and exercise clients to ensure they are hip hinging both during their rehabilitation from injury but as well as part of their prehabilitation to minimise the chance of future injuries. 

So how do you learn to do the hip hinge?

The PTDC demonstrates, through use of video, a series of highly effective exercises to help you make the hip hinge second nature for you as much as possible.

With these exercises and awareness of your hip and spinal posture during any lifting activity, you are much more likely to save your spine in the future and prevent unnecessary and potentially severe back pain.

I hope you’ve found this article useful and informative. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly on kulraj@tavistockclinic.com

Happy Hip Hinging!

THE SALI STUDY (SIGNIFICANT ANKLE LIGAMENT INJURY)& DAY FOUR AFTER INJURY…

It’s four days since I went over on my foot and sprained my ankle. Even with crutches the effort of getting up and downstairs on my back side was playing havoc with my low back but today I think I’ve turned the corner.

I’ve managed on one crutch for most of today and could walk down one step at a time on the stairs and got a fairly good nights sleep last night. I knew the crutches would bother my arm and neck but I forgot about the crawling I had done after I went over on my foot and what trouble the stairs could cause me.

I’ve been religiously doing exercises I found online for a sprained ankle as it soon goes stiff but it’s no where near as swollen as I have been using one of my five a day vegetables to freeze the ankle and reduce the swelling 🙂

Over the past 48 hours I’ve kept myself busy by making some new handmade cards. I’ve created some new styles to my usual ones using needlecraft and painting some of them. Do let me know what you think of them?

After I’d seen the nurse at A&E she asked me if I would mind joining a study which is researching the recovery from significant ankle ligament injury’s. The purpose of the study called SALI, is all about Osteoarthritis. I will be sent a questionnaires to fill in shortly after my injury, 3 months, 1 Year, 3 Years, 5 Years, 10 Years and 15 years. The study will help them understand why some people who have an ankle injury go on to develop osteoarthritis, and why others don’t.

Of course I said I was happy to take part as this study will mean I am part of and contributing to a large body of research being conducted within The Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis. They said I will be sent updates on the SALI study with a newsletter, and kept up to date with any developments regarding the study, ankle injury prevention and recovery from it, and other news of interest which I can then post on here for others to benefit from.

I really hope I don’t end up developing Osteoarthritis due to this ankle injury and I am now keeping my fingers crossed that my appointment with a spinal consultant on Tuesday will mean that I will soon be booked in for an injection.

A ROUGH COUPLE OF DAYS…

I guess we all get our share of rough days but mine have definitely exceeded that over the last few days.

As many of you know I am waiting to see a spinal surgeon next week about my constant pain going down my arm from my neck as well as pins and needles down to my middle finger.  Initially, we thought it may have been my ulnar nerve again. I say ‘again’ as I had surgery the year before last for a trapped ulnar nerve which was a total success but they said it can come back even after surgery.

A nerve conduction test showed no problem with the ulnar nerve so I was then sent to have an MRI scan. Those results have shown that I have another disc bulge which is compressing a nerve and giving me the pins and needles and pain and it also showed that I have arthritis in that area.

Mine is definitely in the ‘wear and tear’ category as I have had two previous surgeries on the C3/4 area of my spine which has meant the disc below it has had to do all the work. The worst pain is doing the simplest of things like cleaning my teeth or drying my hair so I am hoping my appointment with a spinal surgeon next week is a success.

The MRI scan also showed a disc bulge at level L3/4 above my previous spinal surgery. I miss the facet joint injections that I had for this but keep myself topped up on my meds. During the last month I’ve had a couple of bad spasms with it which left me completely bent over and unable to straighten but it then settles down.

I also noticed that my foot was becoming more and more numb underneath but never thought anything else about it until yesterday when I stood up and it completely gave way and I went over on my foot, not once but twice. The pain was so acute I thought I was going to throw up.

Last night we iced and elevated it but I was unable to stand on it and could only get from a to b on my hands and knees which played havoc with my neck. After a terrible nights sleep we decided I should pop to A&E and get it checked out.

I am now on crutches and have the foot strapped up as I have a bad sprain but fortunately no break. The only problem is that a sprain can take as long as a break to heal so at the moment I am following the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) routine and hope it settles sooner rather than later.

They have told me I should mention to my spinal consultant what has happened with the foot and the numbness as this could definitely be related to my lumber spine.

INFRARED LIGHT THERAPY FOR PAIN RELIEF…

How to use infrared light therapy for pain relief at home - how it works and the best infrared home devices

There are three reasons you may want to try Infrared Light Therapy for pain. The Infrared Light Therapy Company say –

1. It’s a natural, non-invasive and side-effect free pain relief method.

2. It’s scientifically proven for over 40 years.

3. It’s cost-effective and will save you time and money.

So, what do we know about Infrared Light Therapy? Well, Infrared Light Therapy is a unique treatment which harnesses the healing power of specific wavelengths of light. When infrared energy is delivered to injury sites and other painful areas, it dramatically increases circulation, reduces inflammation, and promotes healing. The result is rapid relief of discomfort.

Infrared light therapy is an effective, tested treatment for any condition characterized by pain and inflammation. Here’s just a partial list of conditions that benefit from treatment:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Blunt trauma
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Neck pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
  • Tendonitis
  • Surgical Incisions
  • Wounds

Is Infrared Light Therapy safe? Well, The Infrared Light Therapy Company say Infrared light therapy is gentle, painless, safe, noninvasive and nonabrasive.

So where can we buy these lights for pain? Well, I was surprised to find quite a lot available in the UK on Amazon and Stress No More who also have a large selection. My knowledge of this type of lamp was how it was used years ago as a type of tanning lamp in the ’60s but I can see it’s quite different from that.

I find heat amazing for pain and at this time of year and with my low back and neck causing me so much pain at the moment I am using lots while sitting while lying in bed and so I do feel one of these would help me. At the end of the day, these lights are from around £20-£70 so they don’t break the bank and if they help with pain then I am all for it.

I would love to know if any of my readers have tried one and if so if they found it helped their pain?