back pain

Back Pain – Causes, Self Care, FAQ and Home Exercise

Eighty percent of us will experience back problems at some point in our lives. Back pain is ranked second only to headaches as the most frequent cause of pain, and tops the list of workplace injuries, causing more loss of time, disability and money than any other workplace injury. Our backs are a carefully engineered network of bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves that help balance and bear the weight of our bodies and the loads we carry. Any minor damage or imbalance to this delicate system can stress muscles and joints, causing pain and injury. A lifetime of poor posture, poor lifting, bending and reaching, and twisting activities can gradually weaken your back’s supportive structures as well as cause pain and injury.

Risk Factors for Back Pain
Being overweight. Your back has to support too much weight when you’re carrying extra pounds.
Poor muscle tone. If your muscles are not well toned, they can’t meet the challenge when you ask something extra of them.
Poor posture. Poor posture creates bodily stress, which can result in pain.
Improper lifting. Heavy lifting, carrying children, as well as occupational lifting can cause injury.
Desk /computer jobs. Our bodies don’t thrive sitting for long periods of time hunched over keyboards or other workspaces.
Unhappiness. Researchers have found that general dissatisfaction with our social and economic situations can double or triple the risk of low back pain.

With all these risk factors, it’s no wonder so many of us suffer from back pain. But it’s not a part of life you have to passively accept.

Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look at the following frequently asked questions—they’ll help you further understand this condition, and better care for yourself and your family.

Do I need surgery for my bad back?
No, not usually. More times than not, your back pain can be treated without going under the knife. However, some conditions, like a herniated disk, may benefit
from surgery. Even still, herniated disks may heal on their own. Bottom line—you should carefully consider your options, and then consider them again, before thinking about surgery.

What about alternative therapy?
Non-traditional therapy is becoming more widely accepted these days. It wasn’t long ago that chiropractic treatment was viewed as an “alternative” therapy. Now these specialists are a common part of the back care landscape. Other alternative therapies have received praise from sufferers, too. The choice is up to you.

Sit at a desk all day. Am I at risk for back pain and injury?
Yes. It’s a common misconception that physical laborers and construction workers are at a higher risk for back injuries. The fact is, those individuals in sedentary jobs are at risk for back injury, too. Exercise and regular movement are important factors in maintaining a healthy back.

How can I arrange my office environment to protect my back?
A chair with good back support and height adjusters that allow you to keep both feet flat on the floor can do wonders to keep your back in a healthy state. If you don’t have an adjustable chair, try to use a chair with a simple straight back whenever possible. Also, when it comes to your desk, arrange items (phone, keyboard, monitor, etc.) where you won’t have to twist and turn excessively to access them.

Will my back pain ever go away?
There’s good news and bad news. First the good news. With proper self-care and good prevention techniques you can be well on your way to fighting off back pain. Now the bad news. Considering that 80 percent of Indians experience back pain at some point in their lives—much of it recurring—you may never get rid of back pain altogether. That’s why it’s important to practice the prevention tips included in this section—and keep doing them even when you’re feeling better.

You may see an expert at ReLivaTM Physiotherapy & Rehab to ease your back pain and get a customised plan to keep your back happy.

This article is purely for general information. Please contact your healthcare expert for specialised medical care. Please go through our Disclaimer and Privacy policy.

pain relief exercises in office

Stretching Exercises in Office: Neck, Back pain

Quick tips for pain relief!

Be Active at workplace. Do these simple stretching exercises while standing anywhere in office to avoid that pain – either in the back or neck! This poster from ReLiva is intended to support individuals and organisations in the promotion of physical activity in the workplace and to reduce sedentary behaviour.

Taking the time to stretch throughout the day anywhere – in office or at home, can have numerous health benefits. Stretching can improve flexibility and is an important activity to warm up or cool down after exercise. Stretching can also be a fun and healthy break from your computer screen during the work day. This along with correct posture while sitting at your desk, also helps you to keep all those pain in the back and neck away.

This newly developed Standing Stretch Sheet is perfect to do before a lunchtime walk, and for those who have standing roles. The 5 Minute Office Stretch Sheet while sitting at your work desk also provides you with 6 simple and effective stretches that you can complete whilst sitting at your work station.

We recommend you repeat each stretch twice, and hold each time for 20 seconds.

Print a copy and pin it up next to your workstation to remind you and your colleagues – Have you stretched today?

ReLiva stretching Exercises for back, neck pain in office, standing

pains and aches

Muscle Strain, Sprain or Injury – The RICE Protocol

Muscle Strain, Sprain & Injury: RICEStrains and Sprains - RICE Protocol

Muscle Strains or Muscle pulls often happen when you put a lot of pressure on a muscle or you push it too far, such as when lifting heavy object. Strains are more likely to happen if you haven't warmed up first, to get blood circulating to the muscles. They're also common for someone returning to a sport after a break or suddenly taking up rigorous exercises.
Sprains are caused by injuries, such as twisting your ankle. This kind of injury is common and can happen any time you trip or fall. One lady sprained her ankle when she was crossing a pot-holed road!
Muscle pain - no matter how you describe it - "pulled muscle", "muscle strain", "muscle injury" or "torn tear" the end result is injury to your muscle potentially resulting in muscle spasms, pain, weakness and reduced muscle performance.

Symptoms of Strain, Sprain or Injury
You can suspect a muscle strain or injury if you experience:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Muscle tightness
  • Inability to fully stretch your injured muscle

What to do?
Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your strain or tear. Until you've been accurately diagnosed by a medical practitioner, RICE is usually very helpful.

What is RICE Protocol ?

RICE is used as the first treatment for many muscle strains, ligament sprains, or other bruises and injuries. RICE is used immediately  after an injury happens and for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help reduce the  swelling and pain and help you heal faster.

REST

After a muscle, bone, or joint injury you need to take some time off from your activities to allow your body to heal. For example, if you sprained your ankle, you need to not walk around or put weight on your ankle. You should rest the injured body part until it no longer hurts to use it or put pressure on it. You should rest the injured body part for at least 1 to 2 days. If the injury is serious, you may need to see a healthcare provider.

ICING

Icing helps control swelling and inflammation around the injured area. Ice should be put on an injury as soon as possible as early application usually helps the injury heal faster. Never put ice directly on the skin. Wrap a bag of ice in a towel or a piece of clean cloth. If ice is not available, use a cold water bottle.
Leave the ice on for 10-15 minutes then remove it for 10 minutes so the area can warm up to room temperature. You may repeat this process two to three times. Ice helps particularly during the first 1-2 days after an injury.

COMPRESSION

Compression helps limit swelling to the injured area. It also provides some additional support to the injured area. You may use a doctor's bandage, crepe bandage, a dupatta or even a piece of clothing to tie around the injured area. Be sure not to tie it too tightly. Putting it on too tight can cut off the blood supply to the area.

ELEVATION

Elevation is another way to help decrease swelling by using gravity. If you can, keep the injured part above the level of your heart. This helps blood go back to the heart. If you can't raise the injured body part above the level of your heart, at least keep it parallel to the ground.

When to seek Physiotherapy Treatment?
Returning to your routine activities or sport can be easy or complicated depending on the muscle affected. Some muscle tears such as hamstrings are notoriously difficult to get right. That's when it is very important to seek professional assistance. Ideally your physiotherapist should undertake at least:

  • an assessment of your muscle function, core stability and biomechanics to avoid injury recurrence.
  • a muscle rehabilitation program that incorporates components of strength, endurance, flexibility and speed that is specific to your routine activities or chosen sport.

If you suffer a muscle tear which fails to respond after a few days or continues to niggle, please contact ReLivaTM Physiotherapy & Rehab for more specific advice.

In case there is bleeding or shooting pain or excessive swelling or the symptoms do not subside after a day of RICE, you should see a doctor.

Readers are advised to use their own discretion while using the contents of this article. Please go through our Disclaimer and  Privacy Policy.

knee pain

Five Ways to check your Knee health

Whether you are walking, running, cycling or exercising; you are likely to be using your knees a lot. While the common sense says that the more you use the joint the more mobile or lubricated it will remain. The better sense says that it will all be worthwhile only if you know how NOT to ruin them instead.

The knee joint is particularly vulnerable to damage and pain because it takes the full weight of your body and any extra force when you run or jump. You’re more likely to experience knee pain as you get older, and people who are overweight or do lots of sports have a higher risk of damaging their knees. And it’s not just athletes who suffer. Knee problems can happen to anyone.

It’s difficult to strike the correct balance between mobility and stability. The knee needs to move back and forth, twist a little, and pivot too. The knee’s ligaments can tear, its tendons can swell up, one may get osteoarthritis, and even everyday wear and tear can ruin a perfectly good set of knees,” says Dr Shreya Sahasrabudhe, the Musculoskeletal specialist at ReLiva.

Ask yourself the following five questions and find out if you’re being nice to your knees.

  1. How much weight are you carrying?

If you’ve ever loaded your car’s trunk with heavy objects or driven with four adult passengers, you may have noticed that the ride wasn’t as smooth. Your car’s shock absorbers probably didn’t soak up the jolts from the bumps and the potholes as well as they would have with a lighter load. Similarly, if you’re carrying too much weight on your body, your knees may also be in for a rough ride.

Every kg of excess weight exerts about 4 kg of extra pressure on the knees. So a person who is 10 kg overweight has 40 kg of extra pressure on his knees; if a person is 100kg overweight, that is 400kg of extra pressure on his knees. So if you think about all the steps you take in a day, you can see why it would lead to premature damage in weight-bearing joints.

  1. Are you exercising?

In case your knee hurts, whether due to an injury or due to a chronic condition like Arthritis – Exercising the knee may seem counterintuitive, but regular exercise can actually lessen — and even relieve — arthritis pain and other symptoms, such as stiffness and swelling.

There are several reasons to exercise with knee arthritis. For example:

  • Exercise maintains the joint’s full range of motion.
  • Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the joint.
  • Strong muscles help the joint absorb shock.

“If all the benefits of exercise could be put into a single pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medicine in the world,” says Dr. Neelam Patel, a Physical therapist specializing in sports injury.

  1. Are you overusing some muscles and joints?

The quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh) and the hamstring muscles (back of the thigh), which straighten and bend the knee respectively, are susceptible to strain (“pulled muscles”).

If your work requires you to frequently sit low or climb up and down stairs or stand, you are more prone to overuse. Initially your may feel fatigued. If this fatigue is not resolved prior to your return to work the next day, or shortly thereafter, microtrauma may occur. Microtrauma is when small soft tissue tearing occurs from overuse. Eventually your muscles and tissues become more traumatized, resulting in pain and loss of use.

  1. Is your body properly aligned?
    body alignment
    Is your Body Properly aligned?

Anyone who’s ever driven and maintained a vehicle is likely to have dealt with an alignment problem. The effects of a minor collision may create a misalignment that’s not immediately obvious. Our bodies are very much like these vehicles, and we may not realize that our own alignment is off until an ankle sprain leads to knee trouble or certain random ache develops into a chronic pain. When we lose proper alignment, we see knee joints begin to break down or wear out. This is due to uneven weight distribution.

  1. Are you wearing the right shoes?high heels for knee

Shoes with very high heels or those that lack the arch and heel support that your feet require, can place added pressure on your knees and throw them out of alignment. This, in turn, can cause pain under and around your knee. Wearing the right shoes when you exercise, go to work and for other daily activities, will help prevent knee discomfort.

Be Good to Your Knees Now

Arthritis of the knee is common, but it is not necessarily a compulsory consequence of aging. Taking care of your knees now will cost you a lot less time and effort than rehabilitating them down the road.

REMEMBER: When in doubt, rest and have your pain checked out. It’s better to spend a little time and money seeing a qualified physiotherapist than to be sidelined for months by an injury that you could have prevented or minimized.

Contributed by Dr Manali Jain (PT), consultant Physiotherapist at ReLiva Physiotherapy & Rehab. She has an avid interest in knee and knee conditions and looks forward to extend her knowledge to put to use for every common man.

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