Tag Archives: pain reduction techniques

Low back pain is a symptom of other musculoskeletal disorders

How Does the Range of Motion of All of Our Joints Really Affect Us?

Morning movement and stretch programs can do more for you than you think.

Low back pain is common and often misdiagnosed.

Points to changing how you move.

It does not matter what we do for work, outside of work, or where we are, movement is key to doing anything.  Even static positions are movement.  Muscles must attain a certain level of synchronized firing or you would not have the ability to sit.  Anyone that has even minimal neurological deficits understands this. This truth is never more important than as we age!

Certain joints are designed to provide stability, while other joints promote mobility.  Ball and socket joints are more mobile, while hinge joints such as the elbow and knee are more for stability.   In the diagram below, you can see alterations between stable and mobile from one joint to the next.

Some joints promote stability, others mobilityThe lumbar spine (low back) should be more stable, but because of hip or thoracic joint movement limitations, the low back must become the more mobile part.  In these cases, chronic low back pain and injury result. Looking at the model, “S” meaning stable and “M” meaning mobile, notice that the S’s and M’s alternate.  Now further look and compare between the model’s right side: “How We Should Be,” and the model’s left side: “How Most of Us Are.” One joint limitation can impact all other joints—not only how they move but more importantly their job function!

Also notice that if the hip range of motion becomes limited—stable—then the knee, a hinge joint that is considered stable, becomes more mobile.

The approach to morning stretch/movement programs and work place wellness programs linked below begin to address this.



Your Time in the Gym Can Be Bad for Your Health!

Your Time at the Gym, on the Bike or on Your Horse Can Be Bad for Your Health

Your Time in the Gym Can Be Bad for Your Health!Finally, data analysts and orthopedic surgeons have gotten together to conduct a study of cervical injury across the United States, with a particular focus on sports-related injuries.  The findings of the study were presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Guess what?  Football is bad for your neck! No surprise there.  In sporting related neck injuries, the study found that football leads as the most common cause of neck sprains in men.

But unexpectedly, the study revealed that the most common cause for cervical fractures in men is cycling injuries.  The study’s lead author J. Mason DePasse, MD, orthopedic trauma surgery fellow at Brown University, stated that “the biggest takeaway was that cycling is the number one cause of neck fractures, which suggests we may need to investigate this in terms of safety.”

For women, weightlifting and aerobic exercise were the leading causes of cervical sprains, along with trampoline and cheerleading.  Cervical fractures for women occurred primarily during horseback riding, followed by cycling and time in the pool diving or swimming.

The study was conducted using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database. The database is managed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and collects information on emergency room patients from 100 U.S. hospitals.  27,546 patients who sustained a neck injury during a sporting activity were identified in the database by using data analytics to sift through 50,000 specific cases.

“Cervical spine injury is a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality, and, as far as injuries go, one of the more devastating injuries that we as orthopaedic surgeons can treat,” said lead study author J. Mason DePasse, MD, orthopaedic trauma surgery fellow at Brown University.

From 2000 to 2015, the study found that neck sprains increased 66% during weightlifting and aerobic exercise.  The very things we’re doing to keep us strong and healthy turn out to be a major cause of pain and debilitation.  Take those injuries into work with you, and your woes will likely be compounded.

So, what can you do to reduce your chances of sustaining exercise-related neck injuries and pain?

  • According to Harvard Health, maintaining core strength is key. “If your core muscles aren’t strong, your neck and shoulder muscles will be overworked,” according to Dana Kotler, instructor in physical medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Once you strengthen your core muscles, everything falls into line a little better. It has an effect similar to adding a pillow to support your back.” Also, we are now learning that muscles will remember incorrect firing patterns, which create movement dysfunction patterns. This dramatically increases risk for injury – even during exercise.
  • Harvard Health also recommends creating awareness of and correcting your posture when performing any exercise to avoid neck pain and reduce your chance of injury. Checking your posture when performing particular tasks at both home and work can help, too. To be redundant, posture patterns are movement patterns too. It is actually more important to focus on increasing your posture awareness to correct movement patterns that improve your flexibility and create better muscle firing patterns than your exercising. If you are exercising incorrectly, you are inadvertently increasing your risk for soft tissue injuries, including joints. Health care professionals trained in this area are your target contacts to help you to correct posture and movement pattern dysfunctions.
  • A study conducted by Denmark’s National Research Centre for the Working Environment found that using three particular strength-building exercises using weights—shoulder shrugs, upright rows and reverse flies—can reduce neck pain by 80% in less than three months, according to Prevention. The other side of the coin is that too many of these exercises that isolate muscles without looking at the whole leads to shoulder movement pattern dysfunction. Some of the problems with “exercises” is that we are looking at parts instead of the whole system: the body.
  • Lastly, each of us is aging. Whenever you engage in a sporting activity, keep in mind that your body is changing and a different approach to exercise may be required over time. But, please!  Don’t stop exercising!  Your cells are aging, too, and a recent study in Preventative Medicine concluded that high levels of physical activity help curb and even reverse cellular aging as well as sarcopenia, or muscle loss.
Professional Early Symptom Intervention

Early Symptom Intervention (ESI) & Its Benefits

What is Early Symptom Intervention, or ESI, and how can both employers and employees benefit by focusing on it?

Waiting too long to address an employee discomfort issue is no doubt a contributing reason to why organizations find themselves trying to cover missed shifts, dealing with FMLA forms, watching their employees suffer, and blowing budgets.

Whether it’s the employee’s delay or our own, the outcome is the same: pain that finally insists on being dealt with, often at great expense to all involved. Continue reading

Enhance Your Culture of Caring for Employees

A Possible Component to Your “Culture of Caring”

A recent EHS Today article by Janice Berthold of Heffernan Insurance discusses the ways companies have reduced workers’ compensation insurance claims by demonstrating care for their employees in various ways.

It’s not difficult to argue that companies should care for the people they employ, and any attempts to demonstrate true care are to be lauded. What corporate leaders may not know is how the work their employees do every day affects them.

Does the line worker talk to her boss or her boss’ boss about the pain in her hands, or does she keep it to herself? Is she missing sleep because of that pain, endangering her own safety both at work and at home, and also while traveling between the two? Is her dire need to keep her job stopping her from taking time off to go see a doctor and care for herself, or even to visit the on-site nurse?

All those things might possibly be true, are relatively hard to discern without very candid conversations, and are therefore often dismissed instead of being pursued for resolution.

As a company leader, if you are seriously dialoguing with your employees, you may already have put in place some solutions which have been helpful, and for that, you should be congratulated. Here’s another strategy that may prove fruitful for you: it’s called “on-site pre-injury discomfort mitigation,” or, early intervention.

Through on-site delivery of expert discomfort/pain mitigation treatments consisting of advanced ergonomic assessment, movement retraining, and targeted massage therapies, employees can pause, receive personalized treatment, and return to work refreshed; hence, less physical and mental fatigue, and a better ability to focus on job tasks.

Providing employees with a regularly scheduled on-site resource that helps reduce their discomfort makes them feel cared for because they are being cared for! Employees look forward to that special day or two of the week when they know they will receive their treatment and relief.

Although it sounds costly to implement, this strategy pays for itself many times over through cost reductions related to workers’ compensation claims, and is a boon to the on-staff occupational nurse seeking innovative ways to reduce health and safety issues.

If you’d like to find out how implementing an on-site discomfort mitigation program would benefit your employees and your company, give us a call at 888-716-2777.

The Internet is Not an Expert on Your Body

When dealing with pain, it’s very tempting to turn to the ubiquitous oracle known as Google to find a solution. And there certainly is plenty of pain advice to be had on the Interwebs!

Just visit Google.com’s home page and type “pain in…” and suggested searches instantly appear: “left side,” “right arm,” “right side….” All you have to do is click and away you go to receive a plethora of interpretations, possible diagnoses, and suggestions for treating that pain.

Some of these information providers are well-known experts, such as the prestigious Mayo Clinic.  How can you argue with the Mayo Clinic, right? There are plenty of less equipped providers of advice, too, from entities whose business models are often focused on the revenue generated from the ads they serve around their health content.

Lastly, there are the forums, where everyday people dealing with pain share long stories—mostly of the horror variety—about their myriad symptoms and what each contributor has personally tried in order to treat themselves.

The problem is, even with the most experienced of these web-based sources, the people and learned professionals providing the information have never seen your body.  They have no idea of your history.  They don’t know what kind of work environment you find yourself in all day long.  They’ve never seen you move.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, for example, is it due to the fact that you have a job that requires repetitive motion, and that puts daily strain on your shoulder?  If that is indeed the explanation, but you’d also had a pretty bad car accident a few years ago that caused upper body injuries, do you think the treatment for you should be the same as for someone who’d never experienced such a traumatic physical event? What about if you had previously been diagnosed with arthritis?  Or played baseball on a regular basis?

The Internet doesn’t know you.  Choosing an Internet-provided solution to your pain can be not only pointless, but detrimental to your health or wallet.

For example, let’s say you’re experiencing that shoulder pain. A few websites report that you could have bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis, or even a fracture.  Well, you’re pretty sure it’s not a fracture.  You think that would hurt a lot more. So, you begin to treat yourself for inflammation, probably with ibuprofen or some other anti-inflammatory drug, and maybe you ice it.

A few things can happen.  You were right, the problem is resolved, and as long as your gastrointestinal tract has handled the drug well, the pain disappears and no ill side effects result. Hopefully, it will stay gone.

Or, you try all of that, and the pain persists.  You up the anti-inflammatory and the icing, add some heat, maybe you even stop playing baseball on Saturdays, but although the pain seems a bit more tolerable it doesn’t go away, and now you’ve got a raw stomach from all of that ibuprofen as well.

Or, despite all of your best attempts to apply all that Internet advice to yourself, the pain becomes even more intense.  You end up having to take some time off work to visit the doctor and possibly to recover from an injury that has been worsened by inappropriate treatment.

None of this Internet diagnosis and treatment advice takes into account that you are the only you in existence.

What the Internet can’t do is make a sophisticated diagnosis of your pain that includes the historical, environmental and other factors that make you a unique human being with a unique human body.

Your body deserves better.  Turn to a pain resolution specialist first instead.