I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share this with you or not but I finally decided to do it. So I have been suffering from back pain for a while now. Mostly it was lower back pain that made it nearly impossible to bend over and would hurt so bad in the morning that I felt like crying. A friend of mine gave me the name of her physical therapist and said she was a miracle worker so I called her. She started working on my lower back to help with the back pain and gave me a set of exercises to strengthen my back. It worked almost immediately and now I rarely have lower back pain. But of course she couldn’t stop there, she was going to get me in much better shape if it killed me.
So what I have is called “postural dysfunction of the cervical and lumbar spine”, sounds terrible doesn’t it? Well at least it is treatable and she says, fixable. She has me on a regiment of exercises to strengthen those muscles that are not working and to release those muscles that are overworked and as tight as a drum.
Here is what she writes about my problems
The impairments you have include: stiffness (hypomobility) of the upper cervical spine because of the backward bending that occurs when you lose that nice curve in your upper back (slouching posture). From there, the mid cervical spine has to work a bit harder as well as the top of your thoracic spine (hypermobility). Wherever there is a “hypermobility” meaning a segment of your spine is moving too much and making up for the stiffness in other places, you can get whats called chemical holding. This is where the tissue looks swollen(like in your upper back). The plan for you is to stretch out the front of your body (chest muscles) ,get the stiff segments moving in your spine so that the ones that are moving too much can stop compensating, and get your muscles working in your spine and core so they can hold a better postural position. This is what we have been doing for your lumbar spine, but now its time to move to the upper back.
Did you notice the chemical holding part? I had puffiness in my upper back that looked to the untrained eye like fat but was actually this chemical holding that causes swelling in that region. When she showed me the above picture I was horrified. I couldn’t believe how ugly I looked. Notice the neck and how it is hyper-extended forward. YUCK! Totally gross. Well that picture was worth a thousand words and got me motivated to do these crazy chin tuck exercises, but I’m so happy to announce that my neck looks much more normal now.
If you have pain in the back, or anywhere else, I would urge you to see a really good PT. My PT does not take insurance and works on her own so she isn’t held back by insurance constraints. That does mean we pay more, but she does so much more than any other PT I have worked with before. She is now working on my husband and my mother and she is the first person to ever make a difference in their ailments, and they have seen tons of other professionals over the years.