Why Do I Have Neck Pain?
Have you woken up with a stiff neck, began to get headaches after working at your computer, or had to reach for painkillers to ease your neck pain?
If so, we have put together this blog which tells you how to cure neck pain fast!
Why Do I Have Neck Pain?
Neck pain can be caused by a number of things, but an increasingly common cause is people spending a lot of time staring down – whether that’s at a computer screen at work, driving, reading or looking at their smartphones.
All these activities have the same effect, and day by day, certain muscles in your neck become weak, the neck becomes misaligned and it can feel stiff because it no longer moves freely. This stiffness also usually coincides with neck pain.
Add on top of this potentially sleeping with your neck in a poor position, and you are creating lots of stress on the neck muscles which results in neck pain that won’t go away, and neck pain that keeps getting worse.
Finally, there are specific trauma-related incidents such as car incidents, falls or sporting injuries that can cause neck pain which can trigger long term neck pain that lasts for months, or even years.
How To Cure Neck Pain Fast Without Painkillers
If you want to know how to cure neck pain fast, the first thing to consider is the severity and nature of the neck pain.
If you are experiencing neck pain which is extremely painful, you suffer from other symptoms such as loss of consciousness, pins and needles, numbness, weakness, or a cold arm, you should seek medical advice immediately rather than trying to self-treat or wait for any upcoming appointments that you may have.
If you aren’t suffering with the above, then there are some simple, but effective home remedies to cure neck pain fast without painkillers.
How To Cure Neck Pain Fast Using Ice And Heat
A fast way to cure neck pain is to alternate using ice and heat. Ice works by lowering blood flow to the area which can reduce swelling and inflammation. Heat works by stimulating blood flow to the area.
This strategy can be a really effective way to cure neck pain that is caused by a strained, or torn neck muscle.
As general advice, we would recommend applying heat or ice for 20 minutes at a time, a few times a day. When using ice or heat packs, or even a bag of frozen peas ensure that the source of ice or heat is not directly touching your skin.
How To Cure Neck Pain Fast Using Stretches
Another way to cure neck pain fast is to use certain stretches such as shoulder rolls, shoulder blade squeezes, and head rotations.
However, the best stretches to do will depend on your specific neck injury so we would recommend speaking to our team who can create a tailored stretching plan for you, which enables you to cure neck pain fast and avoid it coming back in future.
As general advice, the stretches should be very gentle and slow, avoid sudden movements and over-stretching which may cause more damage to the affected area which slows recovery and increases pain.
How To Cure Neck Pain Fast By Avoiding Activities That Created The Pain
In the short term, avoiding the specific activities that caused, or contributed to the problem can be a fast way to cure neck pain. This gives the affected area time to recover.
How long to avoid specific activities, like heavy lifting, sports, and driving long distance will vary depending on the severity of your neck pain, but our team can ensure you recover much faster through a variety of solutions which may include massage, dry needling, stretching and exercises.
With our holistic approach to your overall goal, our goal is to help you recover from neck injuries and re-introduce the activities – we don’t tell you to stop doing the things you love if they are the cause of the pain. Instead, we can work with you so that you can do the things you love, without having to suffer with the current consequences (neck pain in this scenario).
How To Cure Neck Pain Fast By Better Sleeping Habits
Firstly, ensuring that you have a firm mattress means that your body, from your hips, shoulders and into your neck and head is in natural alignment. If you have a particularly soft mattress, this can contribute to neck pain because your body is resting in an unnatural position for a long time.
Finally, it is generally better to sleep on your back, or your side, compared to sleeping on your stomach. If you sleep on your stomach, it is likely that your neck will be twisted to one side, and being in this position for hours at a time over night can create a lot of stiffness and discomfort in the morning.
How To Cure Neck Pain Fast By Good Posture
This is more of a preventative tip, but if poor posture is the reason for your neck pain, then improving how you walk, sit and move can cure neck pain fast. When you are sitting at your desk, driving, or on the sofa reading a book or watching TV, try to avoid slouching and periodically think about how you are positioned.
Is your head pushed forward?
Are your shoulders slouched over?
Are your hips, shoulders and head in alignment or are they uneven? (for example, is your right hip raised up, your left shoulder dropped and your neck leaning forward?)
By correcting your posture, you can relieve pressure on overworked neck muscles which can contribute to neck pain that won’t go away.
Another often overlooked cause of neck pain is carrying heavy items such as bags, children, or grandchildren on one side. Over time, this places much greater stress on one side of the body and to protect itself, your posture will change to help with the load. Unfortunately, this can be a cause of neck pain so try to switch the shoulder you carry your bag on, and which side you carry your children/grandchildren.
How To Cure Neck Pain Fast Using Massage
The final tip we have to cure neck pain fast is to get massages regularly which can loosen and stretch tight and overworked neck muscles that are contributing to the regular neck pain you are suffering with.
Massage also helps by increasing blood flow to the area, and is a great way to speed up the recovery time from a neck strain.
It is important to seek professional help if you are suffering with neck pain – sure, it might be tempting to ask your partner to massage your neck and this might provide some short term relief, but as they are not trained in this area, it could actually make the neck pain and stiffness worse. Massage is an important part of the healing process at Blue Wave.
When To Get Help To Cure Neck Pain
With neck pain, you may find that without any help, pain gradually reduces within a few days and it may heal itself within a week or two.
However, if it doesn’t go away, the pain or stiffness gets worse, or the problem keeps returning, then it’s likely that you will need some expert help to cure neck pain.
If you are in the “suffered with neck pain for weeks, and it’s not getting any better” group, then our team is here to help.
At Blue Wave Physical Therapy & Wellness, we have worked with many patients that experience neck pain without resorting to strong painkillers or injections.
To find out more, we offer complimentary Discovery Visit Consultations, where you can speak to a member of our team, ask any questions that you have, and find out what’s stopping you from getting the life you want.
We also have free, downloadable reports for people with neck and shoulder pain where you can learn how to ease annoying, daily, irritating neck and shoulder pain naturally – before it gets any worse…
Suffering with annoying knee pain when walking, finding it harder and harder to do the weekly shop, and missing out on weekend strolls around or festivals?
Knee pain is an extremely common problem for people over 50, and we understand how frustrating it can be.
A lot of patients visit our clinics after seeing their GP and being told to take painkillers and rest, or that it’s just something that they will have to live with as they age…
But what if you don’t want to rely on painkillers, and you don’t want to miss out on spending quality time with your friends and family in your retirement because of nagging knee pain?
That’s where we can help…
In this blog article we will cover:
The Most Common Causes of Knee Pain When Walking
Knee pain when walking can be caused by many reasons, but generally the pain will fall into two categories:
Fast Knee Pain Relief
There are some simple things you can do for fast knee pain relief that don’t involve reaching for the painkillers.
When you are suffering with knee pain, especially stiffness, the application of heat can be incredibly beneficial – Use a heat pack to the affected knee for 15-20 minutes which should reduce stiffness, and will likely provide fast knee pain relief.
If you are having sharp pain with each step or swelling in the joint, and ice pack to the front and/or back of the knee for 10 min should decrease pain.
Another important thing to remember is that pain behind the knee when walking will be made worse, and occur more often if you go through long periods of inactivity – so an effective tip can be to keep active (during the day, and throughout the week).
For example, try to avoid sitting for long periods of time each day and aim to move every hour if you find that knee pain and stiffness is a problem for you.
If you feel like you need to increase your activity level, we recommend doing this gradually which will help avoid making the problem worse.
Finally, there are a number of exercises which can be very powerful at reducing knee pain, and minimizing the severity and frequency in future…
Quick And Easy At-Home Exercise If You Suffer With Knee Pain When Walking
Watch Catherine demonstrate a quick and easy at-home exercise that you can do if you suffer with knee pain when walking. This exercise is very safe for people of all ages, and helps to stretch tight muscles, and loosen stiff joints which should reduce discomfort behind the knee.
If your condition or injury is relatively minor, then applying the advice of keeping active, and regularly exercising may be enough to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, and avoid the knee becoming stiff and painless.
However, if your condition or injury is more severe and the discomfort is getting worse, you may benefit from some more advanced pain relief techniques, and more specific exercise tailored to your individual needs…
Start Your Journey To A Life Without Knee Pain
If you realize that your knee pain is only getting worse, and you are missing out on creating treasured memories with your friends and family and you want expert help for your knee pain in the New Orleans area, take advantage of a FREE taster consultation today.
A taster consultation is the first step to a happier, healthier and more active life so click the link below to arrange your Free Discovery Visit!
A patient came into the clinic last week limping with knee pain and asked:
"I've had this knee pain for a few weeks now, I'm not sure what I've done to it but I've tried taking paracetamol and that didn't help. I was trying to rest it so that it wouldn't hurt, but whenever I stood up and started moving, it hurt again so I had to sit down. Now I'm wearing a brace to see if that helps, but I can still feel the pain when I take it off. Is there anything else I can do to get rid of the pain?"
I know how frustrating it can be when you're not sure what you've done to hurt your knee, and even more frustrating when everything you're trying to do to get rid of the pain - doesn't do a thing to make it feel any better.
Everyone always thinks and hopes that there will be a "quick fix" to their problem.
And because we see people confused, fed-up and even skeptical about what can be done to help with their knee pain, I wanted to address this idea of "quick fixes" for your knees - or for any joint problem, whether it's your knees, back, neck, wherever, and tell you why they're no good.
With that said here's the 3 most common "Quick Fixes" that people THINK ease their knee pain, but that actually do the opposite:
1. Reaching for Painkillers
When you're in pain, let’s face it, one of the easiest things to do is reach for the painkillers to "kill" the pain, quick.
It's also unfortunately the first option that your Doctor or GP will give you to help your knee pain.
But the thing is painkillers won't get to the root cause of your problem and actually do anything to fix it - they just mask the pain instead, which doesn't help anyone.
And at the end of the day, that pain will still be there when the painkillers wear off. So it's better to do something to fix your pain long-term instead.
When pain strikes, it's very tempting to do nothing but rest "in case the pain gets worse", which means many people end up laying on the sofa watching their favorite TV shows...
But when it comes to knee pain, 'rest' actually means to not do 'too much'.
If you rest too much (A.K. not move much at all), your joints will become stiff and tight, which can make your knees feel even more achy when you try to move them.
To actually help your knee, you could go swimming, go for a light walk, yoga or go for a cycle - basically any low impact exercise will help keep you moving and not place any added pressure on your knees.
3.) Wearing a Support
Things like knee supports should ONLY be used as a last minute resort.
Wearing a support on your knee on a daily basis to try and ease the pain is actually masking the pain and creating an even bigger problem!
The best way I can explain it is to imagine you have a broken leg or arm and you have a cast put on.
After 6 weeks or so, when the cast is taken off, the muscles underneath are weak - it's exactly the same as wearing a support everyday.
Because it supports your joint, it takes the pressure off your muscles, but doing this everyday will make your muscles lazy which will make them weaker.
Once you take off that support because it's eased the pain, there's a very strong chance it could come back quicker and worse than before!
So there you have it, 3 'quick fixes' that people think ease their knee pain, but do the opposite!
Painkillers, rest, and wearing a support.
When it comes to your joints, these quick fixes are not the way forward to fix your problem long-term
If you want more information to recover from knee trouble, you can book a Discovery Visit with us to find out how to really help with the pain and not just mask it. We only have limited availability, so to make sure you secure your Discovery session in time, give us a call on: 504-313-6502, and if you know anyone who is suffering at the moment and they could benefit from this, pass our number their way to help put an end to it, quick.
During the holidays we often find ourselves standing for long periods of time while cooking, shopping, or going to parties. If you aren’t used to standing for long periods your low back may feel tight or stiff, sometimes nagging for the rest of the day.
Do not fear! This is a common problem and it is estimated that 80% of our population suffers from back pain at some point in their life. We want to share some possible causes, a few tips to prevent this from happening and some stretches to help relieve the pain when it does.
Postural Stress and Muscle Fatigue
Postural Stress - In standing, the pelvis pushes or drops forward, increasing the curve in the lower back and thus increasing the pressure on the spine and the surrounding muscles. The increased pressure on your spine can make the lower back muscles tighten and go into spasm and cause pain.
Muscle Fatigue - Without good core/abdominal muscle strength AND endurance to offset the load on the spine during prolonged standing, the muscle spasm or pinching of the nerves will occur sooner and may be more intense. People who are overweight may be at increased risk for muscle fatigue while standing for long periods.
Common Underlying Spinal Changes
If your body and spine has any underlying degenerative changes, pressure on the nerves may be increased and pain may be more intense with postural stress and fatigue. Here are some common causes of back pain...
Spinal Stenosis- This is a narrowing of the spaces along the spine which increases pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal stenosis symptoms may include leg weakness, numbness in the buttocks or the back of the legs, and relief by leaning forward.
Degenerative Disc Disease - With age, the protective discs between each vertebrae may have “wear and tear”, shrinking or loss of height due to loss of water, or bulging/herniated discs. The degeneration of the disc leads to pressure between the vertebrae and along the nerves coming out along the spine.
Hyperlordosis - Also known as “swayback”, this is an excessive curvature of the lumbar spine causing the stomach to stick out and the buttocks to become more prominent. This increased curvature places pressure along the back of the spine. It also creates a muscle imbalance between the abdominal muscles and back muscles, leading to core weakness and decreased spinal stability.
Osteoarthritis - This is wearing of the cartilage along the bones in the joints, which affects the smooth movement of the bones and can cause pressure on surrounding nerves.
Pinched Nerves or Sciatica -Pain from the nerves may be caused by pressure from any of the above changes in the bones, cartilage, or muscles surrounding the spine.
How to Relieve the Pain Standing for a Long Period of Time
What if I Can't Relieve My Back Pain When Standing or Walking?
If the low back pain remedies listed above do not help, it may be worth seeing a physical therapist. We are movement specialists and can get to the root cause of your pain and assess exactly what exercises and pain relieving techniques you need to use. Click Here if you need to speak with a movement specialist!
9 Things You Should Know About Pain
If you have been watching the Olympics this week you have seen stories of athletes performing remarkable feats while having some sort of injury.
How do they do that? High pain tolerance? Pure motivation?
For us Non-Olympians, regular people, we frequently feel “fine” during the day, but then at night “it (back, knee, hip) REALLY hurts”. Does that sound more familiar to you?
Each of us perceive pain totally differently and there are multiple factors that affect our pain, besides just having a “high tolerance”.
Here are nine things you should know about pain.
1. Pain is processed in the brain, not at the site of injury.
We used to believe that pain originated within the tissues of our body. We now understand that pain does not exist until the brain acknowledges the signals from the nerves. It is a warning sign that your body, or a specific part of the body may be in danger. It is the way our brain and body communicate and serves as a defense against injury. For example: Your hand is on the hot stove. Your nerves send a message to the brain of extreme heat, you feel pain and you move your hand away quickly.
2. The degree of injury does not always equal the degree of pain.
Think of a paper cut, those suckers hurt!! That may hurt more than a broken bone because we have more sensory receptors in our fingertips than in bone.
3. Despite what diagnostic imaging (MRIs, x-rays, CT scans) shows us, the finding(s) may not be the cause of your pain.
Advancements in imaging have been a powerful tool for modern medicine, but they are often give too much information. For example, multiple studies have shown that MRI of the back frequently find herniated discs in patients who don’t even have back pain. See my previous blog that gives more information on MRI and false positives.
4. Psychological factors, such as depression and anxiety, can make your pain worse.
Pain can be influenced by many different factors, such as psychological conditions. One symptom of anxiety can be joint pain. Some research notes that back pain is more common in those with anxiety or mood disorders than those without. According to the Harvard Health Publishing “researchers have learned more about how the brain works, and how the nervous system interacts with other parts of the body, they have discovered that pain shares some biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression.”
5. Your social environment may influence your perception of pain.
Frequently, people’s pain level increases in a stressful situation, such as work or at a doctor’s office. The pain signals may kick in as a form of “self-protection”.
6. Understanding pain through education may reduce your need for care.
According to a study of post-operative pain management, those who were educated pain expectations and management prior to surgery reported less severe pain during the first 24 hours postoperatively, experienced fewer and less severe pain medication side effects, returned to normal activities sooner, and used more nonpharmacologic pain management methods postoperatively compared with those who did not receive the education.
This makes complete sense, because if we understand what is about to happen, the fear and anxiety levels are much less, and therefore pain perception is lower.
7. Our brains can be tricked into developing pain in prosthetic limbs.
Also known as “phantom limb pain”, patients who are recovering from an amputation can experience pain or tingling from the limb that is no longer there. This confirms that pain in processed in the brain and it’s not always from the site of the injury.
8. The ability to determine left from right may be altered when you experience pain.
Networks within the brain that help you determine left from right can be affected when you have severe pain. If you are experiencing pain, have you noticed your sense of direction is a bit off, or that you have difficulty focusing? You can’t answer questions quickly, or you forget what you were going to get when you walked back into your bedroom? Communication between your brain and your body is not always sharp when pain signals are involved and the experience of pain may not be exactly where the cause of pain is. You may hear of this a radiating pain. For example, people with a rotator cuff tear may feel the pain along the lateral side of their arm, not at the shoulder.
9. There is no way to know whether you have a high tolerance for pain or not. Science has yet to determine whether we all experience pain in the same way. While some people claim to have a "high tolerance" for pain, there is no accurate way to measure or compare pain tolerance among people. We cannot compare how someone “feels” pain. Pain experience may even vary in the same person depending on what is going on around them.
If you have pain that limits your movement or keeps you from taking part in work, daily living, and other activities, call us for a free 30 minute consultation to find out how we can help. 504-313-6502
We are getting older every day, whether we like it or not, and aging frequently brings on new aches, pains, and changes in our bodies that we aren’t very keen about. But with the right type and amount of physical activity, we can help stave off many age-related health problems and continue to do the activities we love. Research done in the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study in 2013 shows keeping active outside the home with social activities and clubs directly correlates with long term physical health. So the two mirror each other... staying physically fit keeps us doing things we enjoy, and doing things we enjoy helps keep our physical independence and mobility.
Here are 7 tips from a Physical Therapist to help you "Age Well" and enjoy the Golden Years.
So what’s the common denominator here? Exercise and Physical Activity.
If you need some guidance to get started, keep active, or just need a push to the next level, call for help at 504-313-6502 or leave us some information and we will call you! Physical Therapists are Movement Experts and our fitness trainers can also set you up with a program and some accountability!
Knee Arthritis Doesn’t Mean the End Of An Active Lifestyle, It Means You HAVE to Stay Active
Knee pain is one of the most common diagnoses that I see in the clinic and more often than not it is due to arthritis. One source states that up to 2 million of the 14 million people with knee pain from arthritis are UNDER the age 45 when diagnosed. But getting that diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to stop walking, running, or living an active life, it means you have to be active to take care of your knee joints. You have a lot of years of road life left on the knees and taking care of them now can prolong or avoid any future disability or discussion of surgery.
It's All About the Hips
Last week I spoke on WWL about the importance of hip strength and how to do a quick screen at home to see if you have significant hip weakness. Enjoy!
FAQ's on CBD
FAQ's on CBD? That seems like a lot of letters, right. Well, I'm talking about CBD Oil or the full name, cannibidiol. CBD oils and muscle rubs are the most popular products we sell in the clinic because they provide topical pain relief. Each time someone tries it, we usually get a lot of questions, so I put together a short list of questions and answers (because inquiring minds want to know!)
1. What is CBD? CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a natural cannabinoid found in the industrial hemp plant. The cannabidiol interacts with our bodies by mimicking and augmenting the effects of the compounds in our bodies called “endogenous cannabinoids”. The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes that affect our everyday experience – our mood, our energy level, our intestinal fortitude, immune activity, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, how we experience pain, stress, hunger, and more.
2. Where Does CBD come from? CBD comes from the hemp plant, which is part of the cannabis family of plants. It’s harvested to produce industrial products, including everything from CBD products to rope, clothing, and paper. It’s important to note that while hemp and marijuana are both plants in the cannabis family, they’re different in a few key ways. Hemp contains a higher concentration of CBD and a lower concentration of THC, while marijuana contains higher amounts of THC and lower amounts of CBD. THC is the intoxicating compound of cannabis. Our Nature’s Ultra CBD products are tested rigorously to ensure that they contain 0.0% THC (so no worries if you have to take a drug test 😉)
3. Why add essential oils to CBD? Research has shown that CBD work best in conjunction with THC for a "broad spectrum" effect; however, THC is still regulated by the DEA as a schedule I drug. One reason the two molecules work together is the terpenes found in THC help deliver the molecules move through cell membranes. Terpenes found in essential oils can increase the spectrum effect of the CBD to communicate better with nerves, neurotransmitters, protein receptors and enzymes. In addition, the fragrances from the essential oils activates our olfactory system and stimulates regulatory brain activity for emotions, stress, and memory recall.
4. What is the recommended dosage for first timers? According to Dr. Oliver Wenker in his book "The Power of CBD and Essential Oils" the recommended dosage is 50-200 mg/day for overall health and 100-700 mg/day for serious matters, if using an CBD isolate (which means no THC). The doses vary per person, but many see effect with very lose doses.
We sell Nature's Ultra CBD products infused with Young Living Essential Oils. Call us at 504-313-6502 for more information about our products or look at our Young Living Website
We help active adults get back to exercising, feeling fit, and participating in the activities they love without medications, injections, or surgery.
Catherine Courtney, PT
Specialist Physical Therapist