Is your MRI Misleading?
Do any of these terms sound familiar to you? Maybe you have suffered from back or neck pain for far too long and underwent MRI. And maybe one of these terms were mentioned on your MRI report. Or maybe you have suffered from back or neck pain for far too long but have been afraid of being assessed as you are afraid of what could be causing your pain? Or, if you have been “diagnosed” with one of these diagnoses, you have assumed that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to relieve your pain and you have given up doing the activities that you love because you just hurt too much.
Low back pain affects nearly everyone in the United States at some time during their lifetime with most having their first episode of low back pain by their mid- thirties. For most people suffering from neck or low back pain, the cause of their pain is unknown and often it starts without warning or obvious reason. These acute episodes of pain often become recurring episodes of pain that occur more frequently, are more severe, and often can become a chronic debilitating condition. The pain begins to affect seemingly basic everyday activities such as sitting, walking and standing. Less simple activities such as participation in sports or exercise programs, participating in family events, driving a car or playing with your children become downright unbearable. As the condition progresses, people find they cannot get a good nights rest and without adequate rest, every aspect of their health and well-being is affected. Individuals suffering from this chronic pain focus their priorities on getting relief… and often in their pursuit of relief, they assume that there is nothing that can help them.
For some, the acute back pain episode subsided after a few days or weeks for no apparent reason. As soon as they recover from the acute episode of pain, most forget they even had the pain until it recurs again. And often these recurrences become more and more frequent and severe, and people are left feeling hopeless as they don’t understand what CAUSED the pain in the first place and secondly they don’t know how to relieve or prevent it.
So it is only natural, when faced with this dilemma, that people opt to ask for a MRI because surely if the MRI tells them what is “wrong” surely there must then be a “fix” or a “cure” for their particular ailment. Sadly, MRI results do not always lend answers to the true nature of the pain. Inexperienced clinicians treat the “MRI report” instead of performing a thorough evaluation of the patient and their symptoms.
Getting a MRI report before physical therapy treatment can cost $4793 more than getting Physical Therapy First.
That is why at Britt Zink Physical Therapy Services we are passionate about helping people get to the root of their pain and then PARTNER WITH the patient to relieve their pain and PREVENT recurrence in the future. At our clinic we use the McKenzie Method to assess and treat our patients to EMPOWER our patients to help themselves without pain medications, injections, surgery or expensive MRI studies.
What is the McKenzie Method ® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy?®
The McKenzie Method® is an evidence-based method of active patient care and education for back, neck and extremity problems.
It works in three primary steps: assessment, treatment and prevention. The key distinction is its initial assessment component — a safe and reliable means to accurately reach a diagnosis and only then make the appropriate treatment plan. Treatment principles are guided by the effects of movement, usually a defined repeated movement that directly reduces or abolishes pain and restores function. Patients gain hands-on knowledge to learn how to self-treat, helping to minimize the risk of recurrence. Even patients who’ve suffered from chronic musculoskeletal pain for years can find success with an McKenzie assessment in as little as two to three visits.
What providers use the McKenzie Method of MDT?
The McKenzie Method relies heavily on a unique approach to
assessment followed by a focus on self-treatment principles. An MDT provider does not simply “fix” a patient. It is not a “one size fits all” solution. Each treatment plan is unique to that patient based on the individualized assessment (or evaluation). The goal of the McKenzie Method is patient independence once they have learned how to self-manage their problem.
ARE YOU READY TO FIND RELIEF FROM YOUR PAIN WITHOUT MEDICATIONS, INJECTIONS OR SURGERY?
ARE YOU READY TO WORK WITH A PHYSICAL THERAPIST WHO PROVIDES 1:1 DIRECT CARE TO THEIR PATIENT?
If you want to partner with a physical therapist to find relief for your pain, to be empowered to treat yourself and not be dependent upon someone else to make you feel better, than give Britt Zink Physical Therapy Services a call… we can help!
Does your Neck Hurt? Having Headaches? Is your Smart Phone to blame?
Recently my daughter asked how old I was when I got my first "cell phone." I'm going to age myself with this story but here goes.... I proceeded to tell her that I got my first "cell phone" when I was in Physical Therapy Graduate School and that my "cell phone" was in a mini suitcase of sorts and that when I got it, I thought it was the coolest thing... I could literally TALK ON THE PHONE IN THE CAR!!!!
She stared at me so utterly perplexed and then asked how I talked on the phone before I got this "suitcase." I proceeded to explain that when I was her age, we talked on a phone that was secured to the wall WITH A CORD!!!!! She looked at me in disbelief "YOU MEAN YOU HAD TO STAND BY THE WALL TO TALK ON THE PHONE???? HOW DID YOU TEXT????" My how our lives have changed....
Chances are that you probably haven’t given much thought to how your neck and back are faring in the era of the smart phone, but studies show that you most certainly should. It’s practically a reflex these days to pull out our smart phones when we’re standing in line, sitting at the airport or riding the subway. And while it’s great that we rarely need to venture beyond our pockets for entertainment, our bodies are beginning to retaliate—and mourn the pre-texting days. So, what exactly are these contemporary conveniences doing to our bodies?
A surgeon-led study that published in Surgical Technology International assessed what impact surgeons’ head and neck posture during surgery—a posture similar to that of smart-phone texters—has on their cervical spines. With each degree that our heads flex forward (as we stare at a screen below eye level), the strain on our spines dramatically increases. When an adult head (that weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position) tilts forward at 30 degrees, the weight seen by the spine climbs to a staggering 40 pounds, according to the study.
How pervasive of a problem is this? According to the study, the average person spends 14 to 28 hours each week with their heads tilted over a laptop, smart phone or similar device. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 700 to 1400 hours of strain and stress on our spines. As a result, the number of people dealing with headaches, achy necks and shoulders and other associated pain has skyrocketed. Trained to address postural changes and functional declines, physical therapists are well-versed in treating this modern-day phenomenon, widely known as “text neck.”
Over time, this type of poor posture can have a cumulative effect, leading to spine degeneration, pinched nerves and muscle strains. Recently I had a woman tell me that she had degeneration and "stenosis" in her neck and lamented that nothing could be done to alleviate her pain. Unfortunately, this misconception is pervasive in our society. Patients begin to "put up" with the headaches and neck pain and find themselves not able to enjoy the activities they love because they feel it is a normal part of aging and just something to be put up with.
What I can tell you is that there is relief in sight... you don't have to put up with the pain and headaches any longer. You don't have to miss the activities you love any more.
Our therapists at Britt Zink Physical Therapy Services LLC are credentialed in the McKenzie Method and specialize in the evaluation and treatment of neck and back pain. Our therapists can provide you with an individualized plan to get relief of your neck pain and headaches without injections, medications or surgery.
Exercise is an important part of taking care of our spines as we age, but what we do when we’re not in motion matters, too. So next time you pick up your smart phone or curl up with your e-reader, do a quick check of your head and neck posture. Your body will thank you for years to come.
Call our clinic today to discuss how we can help you with your neck pain and headaches!
I am a SOCCER MOM. I love being a SOCCER MOM. I love watching my daughter play in all kinds of sports. And I really like watching her and her Socca Sistas play Soccer. (I also love coaching her Basketball Team but the joys of that I will save for another post). Yes, I know we're in the middle of dead, cold bitter South Dakota Winter and you're wondering how these kids are going to play soccer this weekend when we have freshly-fallen, beautiful (and COLD!!) snow outside as I write this. But we are blessed to live here in Sioux Falls where there are great venues for kids to play indoor soccer.
We have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time because it is her soccer club's annual Winter Games. She and her teammates have been practicing for this for several months. AND, because of the bitter cold this week, the kids haven't been outside for recess at school all week. OH THEIR POOR TEACHERS!!!! So its time for them to burn off some energy!
But as much as I love watching soccer, I hate the sitting. Or I should be more specific- I hate the sitting on BLEACHERS! Sitting can wreak havoc on your back, especially if you have suffered from back pain or bulging discs as I have. So, I tend to not sit. Or if I do, I don't sit for very long periods of time. I tend to stand. Or Walk. Or do anything I can do to keep moving because despite being a PHYSICAL THERAPIST who tries very hard to practice what I preach, if I'm not attentive to my OWN sitting posture, I pay for it. I pay for it big time- usually as a sharp, hot, stabbing pain in my buttock.
Our bodies were not meant to sit for long periods of time. We were designed to move. When we sit, there is far more pressure exerted on our intervertebral discs and associated soft tissue structures than when we walk or stand.
And even with good sitting posture, sitting over a period of time can cause increased pressure on the intervertebral discs and the soft tissues surrounding the spine. And if left unattended to, the disc can begin to bulge, creating pressure on associated structures which often presents as pain in the low back, hip, buttock or down the entire leg. Mine tends to refer to my buttock.
So, the Physical Therapist in me knows I need to be attentive to my posture and I need to change positions frequently. I need to get up and move. Any you'll probably see me performing some back bends too.
Being attentive to good posture means sitting with the natural curves of your low back and neck supported and in good alignment. It means sitting TALL, not SLOUCHING! Improving your posture alone can be the first step in getting relief of back and neck pain.
There is help for bulging and herniated discs. Bulging and Herniated Discs does not mean you are destined to a lifelong battle with low back pain. In fact, these types of conditions respond very favorably to joint mobilization, manual therapy and exercises prescribed by a Physical Therapist Credentialed in the McKenzie Method. What I love about the McKenzie Method is that it empowers patients to help themselves without medications, injections or surgery. And patients usually have significant relief within a few visits.
If you get pain need help with your back, buttock, and/or leg pain... give me a call. Or download my Free E-Book on Tips you can Implement to Ease Your Back Pain.
I'm going to sign off for now. I'm going to go watch some great youth soccer.
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