COULD YOUR POSTURE BE CAUSING YOUR NECK PAIN and HEADACHES?

Do you have neck pain and/or headaches that get worse after sitting long periods, or after prolonged cell phone, laptop, or tablet use? The way you are holding your head up could be overworking the muscles of your head and neck, contributing to your pain. With the increasing use of hand held electronics, slouched posture has become more prevalent than ever. In neutral, upright posture (as depicted in diagram below), the head is positioned over the shoulders and should present as a 10-12 pound load for the spine and muscles to support. As we increase neck flexion and look further and further down, the weight of the head progressively increases. Notice at the far right of the diagram the head can begin to mimic a 60 pound load on the spine and neck muscles due to the slumped posture. When you think of your head as a 12 pound weight versus a 60 pound weight, it’s no wonder your neck and head begin to hurt with improper posture!

Neck and Head Pain Posture
DR. KENNETH HANSRAJ/SURGICAL TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

It is important to think about creating space by brining your lower ribs up and away from your pelvis, drawing your breast bone up, and imagine you are putting your head on the ceiling.  Be sure not to arch your lower back.  These are all cues that can help facilitate abdominal elongation and proper upright posture that will place your shoulders over your hips and your head over your shoulders.

The next time you sit down to read a book, use your tablet or cell phone, think about the way you are holding your head, and try to bring the reading material up towards eye level so you do not allow your head to bend down and pull on your spine and neck muscles.  Fixing your posture alone may not be enough to eliminate your head and neck pain, but it is certainly a great place to start.  If you have persistent head or neck pain, call today to come in for an evaluation and individualized treatment plan at North Jersey Physical Therapy. 

LOW BACK PAIN BEYOND the STRUCTURE BASED DIAGNOSIS

According to statistics, Low Back Pain has a lifetime prevalence of 65% to 80% . With a prevalence so high, there is a good chance you will experience low back pain at some point in your life. Perhaps you have in the past, or you have some low back pain right now. When it comes to the proper treatment, how do you know what is right for you? Chances are, you’ve probably seen a physician, possibly received some medications, maybe even an x ray and MRI, and perhaps your physician has recommended you try a course of Physical Therapy. At North Jersey Physical Therapy, we have a unique approach to the treatment of your low back pain.

According to statistics, Low Back Pain has a lifetime prevalence of 65% to 80% . With a prevalence so high, there is a good chance you will experience low back pain at some point in your life. Perhaps you have in the past, or you have some low back pain right now. When it comes to the proper treatment, how do you know what is right for you? Chances are, you’ve probably seen a physician, possibly received some medications, maybe even an x ray and MRI, and perhaps your physician has recommended you try a course of Physical Therapy. At North Jersey Physical Therapy, we have a unique approach to the treatment of your low back pain.

Now that it is understood that your MRI findings might not even be showing the true root cause of your pain, you may be asking yourself, what is causing my low back pain? At North Jersey Physical Therapy we look at how your body moves, we look for compensatory patterns that may have become long term strategies due to muscle inhibition elsewhere, leading to wear and tear in certain areas which eventually leads to pain. Often, the site of the pain is not the same as the cause of the pain. For example, your pain may be in your low back, but the reason it hurts at that segment is because your body is moving too much from that same segment because something else isn’t moving well enough, or certain muscles have become inhibited, or you are overusing muscles that aren’t designed to be used in such a way. You are beating up that one section of your back because something, somewhere else, isn’t doing its job.

Now that it is understood that your MRI findings might not even be showing the true root cause of your pain, you may be asking yourself, what is causing my low back pain? At North Jersey Physical Therapy we look at how your body moves, we look for compensatory patterns that may have become long term strategies due to muscle inhibition elsewhere, leading to wear and tear in certain areas which eventually leads to pain. Often, the site of the pain is not the same as the cause of the pain. For example, your pain may be in your low back, but the reason it hurts at that segment is because your body is moving too much from that same segment because something else isn’t moving well enough, or certain muscles have become inhibited, or you are overusing muscles that aren’t designed to be used in such a way. You are beating up that one section of your back because something, somewhere else, isn’t doing its job.

The physical therapists at North Jersey Physical Therapy will give you a comprehensive initial evaluation, go over their findings and share with you their physical therapy diagnosis, assessment, and treatment plan to address the root cause of your low back pain. They will design a home program to reinforce new movement strategies that will help improve carryover between treatment sessions and promote progress. Call today to improve the way you move!


1 Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD  “Epidemiology of Low Back Pain” ;Pain Physician Vol. 3, No. 2, 2000

2 Boden SD et al.  “Abnoral magnetic resonance scans of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic subjects.  A prospective investigation.” J Bone Joint Surg. Am.  1990 Mar; 72(3):403-8.

Buteyko Breathing Course

Suffer from asthma, allergies, sleep apnea, insomnia or anxiety?

Come to our Buteyko Breathing Course!

Saturday, January 30 and Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lunch Included

North Jersey Physical Therapy Associates
95 Madison Ave.
Morristown, NJ 07960

Practitioners:
$250 CE Pending
Saturday and Sunday
9:00 – 4:30 P.M.

Patients:
$50
Saturday OR Sunday
10:00 – noon

Call for your reservation today: (973) 538-8877

Speaker Patrick McKeown is the Director of Education and Training at the Buteyko Clinic International. Patrick is also the author of the Oxygen Advantage and many other books.

Patrick-McKeown

Pain and Injury from Improper Breathing

By John Vicchio, PT, CCTT

Breathing is unquestionably a key function of the human body. It sustains life by providing oxygen needed for metabolism and removing the by-product of these reactions, carbon dioxide. Breathing has other functions that affect motor control, postural stability and roles in maintaining homeostasis function (maintain internal stability such as balance and equilibrium) in the autonomic nervous system and circulatory system. When breathing becomes dysfunctional it affects people’s lives, challenging homeostasis, creating symptoms that most patients do not associate with their pain and compromising health.

The primary muscles of breathing are the diaphragm, intercostals (muscles running between the ribs) and abdominals, which allow the average person to take over 21,000 breaths per day. These muscles are located in the chest wall compromised of the rib cage/thorax and the abdomen, creating an effective respiratory pump. The respiratory pump can become dysfunctional due to many factors, which are altered and paradoxical motion between rib cage and abdomen called paradoxical breathing, thus increasing use of upper body muscles such as the scalenes, upper trapezius and sternocleidomastoids. Abdominal weakness and rib cage stiffness are common dysfunctions that we see at North Jersey Physical Therapy Associates (NJPTA).

At our clinic we evaluate and treat on how breathing affects postural stability and motor control. Muscles such as the diaphragm, transverse abdominals and pelvic floor muscles are important for motor control and postural support as well as for breathing. If their function is compromised there is an increased susceptibility to low back pain and injury.

At NJPTA, we take a unique approach in treatment, which includes an extensive assessment and treatment using manual therapy interventions, neuromuscular exercises (90/90 Diaphragm breathing, Buteyko breathing) and dry needling. These are all helpful tools in restoring and maintaining motor control/postural stability.

Below is an illustration of optimal breathing from Integrative Core Dynamics:

zone

NJPTA’s Kathryn Haskins Now Board Certified as Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS)

katie
Kathryn Haskins, PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 80,000 members throughout the United States, and established the specialist certification program in 1978. The specialist certification program was created to provide formal recognition for physical therapists with advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in a special area of practice, and to assist consumers and the health care community in identifying these physical therapists.

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) coordinates and oversees the specialist certification process. One such designation, received by North Jersey Physical Therapy Association’s (NJPTA’s) Kathryn Haskins, is the Orthopedic Clinical Specialist certification. It is important to note that as of June 2014, according to ABPTS, only about 10% of PTs in the U.S. are certified as Orthopedic Clinical Specialists.

As an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS), PTs strengthen their knowledge in the following body regions:

  • Cranial/Mandibular
  • Spine: Cervical
  • Spine: Thoracic spine/ribs
  • Spine: Lumbar
  • Upper Extremity: Shoulder/shoulder girdle
  • Upper Extremity: Arm/elbow
  • Upper Extremity: Wrist/hand
  • Pelvic Girdle/Sacroiliac/Coccyx/Abdomen
  • Lower Extremity: Hip
  • Lower Extremity: Thigh/knee
  • Lower Extremity: Leg/ankle/foot

Additionally, OCSs have increased their orthopedic practice dimensions in the following areas:

  • Examination
  • Evaluation
  • Diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Intervention
  • Outcomes

More focus and study is placed on knowledge areas and procedures that orthopedic clinical specialists use in their work, which are as follows:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Movement Science
  • Pathophysiology
  • Orthopedic Medicine/Surgical Intervention
  • Evidence Based Orthopedic Theory and Practice
  • Critical Inquiry/Evidence Based Practice
  • Examination
  • Procedural Intervention

NJPTA’s Kathryn Haskins has her doctorate in Physical Therapy, is certified in Dry Needling, and now in Orthopedic Clinical Specialty. These unique credentials enable her to provide the upmost in services for those suffering from conditions that may include, but are not limited to sports injuries and spinal disorders, in addition to pre- and post-orthopedic surgeries. By using dry needling, myofascial release, neuromuscular reeducation, manual therapy techniques and laser as well as key exercises, Kathryn and NJPTA are dedicated to bringing patients sustained pain relief and pain-free function.

To schedule an appointment with Kathryn or our other well-qualified PTs, please Contact Us.