The most common form of back pain is associated with occupational and postural habits. Poor posture while sitting at the desk, lifting objects improperly, contact sports, and carrying an overloaded backpack daily, are examples of activities that can cause repetitive stress on your back muscles. This muscle strain can affect both the upper and lower parts of your back, and the higher the pain is in the back, the more serious the potential problems can become.
60-90% of the population will experience back pain in Singapore. Chances are you or someone you know has suffered from back pain at some point in their life. It can catch you by surprise and drastically limit your mobility and function. 1 in 2 employees took 4-7 days off work for their back pain in the past year. It decreases productivity and one’s quality of life.
However, back pain doesn’t have to be the norm. At the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, our experts can help you bounce back from back pain and prevent future incidents.
What Causes Back Pain?
The back is a complicated structure, consisting of neural networks, the spine, and muscles.
However, everything in the body is connected. Back pain may be caused by a tight muscle, structural abnormalities, neurological issues such as nerve compression, and more.
The spine consists of small bones called vertebrae. In between each bone is a disc. These discs prevent bone-on-bone contact, as well as act as shock-absorbers. Within the spine is the spinal cord. The spinal cord contains the nerves that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body, allowing your brain to communicate to your muscles and joints to perform certain movements.
Further, muscles connect to various points of the spine and pelvis. The condition of these muscles, such as strength and flexibility, can impact your posture and alignment. If these muscles aren’t functioning properly, back pain may occur.
There are a variety of causes of back pain. Some of the most common causes include a slipped disc, osteoarthritis, poor posture, and tight muscles.
A Slipped Disc
A slipped disc, or herniated disc, is the displacement of the shock absorbing disc in between the spinal vertebrae. It may occur due to twisting or moving incorrectly or due to wear and tear over time. Consequently, it may place pressure on nearby nerves.
‘Sciatica’ is the common term used in conjunction with a slipped disc condition. The disc may place pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing numbness, pain, tingling, and weakness to occur down the legs.
Osteoarthritis is the wearing down of the protective cartilage between bones. In the spine, it is often due to the wearing down of the protective discs. With age, these discs naturally become dehydrated. Some refer to this as ‘degenerative disc disease.’
It frequently occurs in the neck or low back, and may cause varying degrees of pain and functional limitations.
Your body is made to move a certain way. Further, your joints, muscles, and tissues are optimized for proper posture. Unfortunately, a lot of people lack proper posture.
Today, many people lead fairly sedentary lives. We sit at desks all day, jeopardizing our posture and causing certain muscles to shorten. Flexibility and strength decrease.
When we place our body in unnatural positions, dysfunctions occur. For example, if you are leaning forward all day with your head protruding toward your computer screen, you are placing stress on your neck and shoulder muscles, bones, and tissues.
Bad posture can also lead to added stress on the lower back. The body isn’t made to sit in such positions for prolonged periods. And as much as it tries to adapt, back pain is often inevitable without proper intervention or education.
Sitting for long periods may also contribute to tight muscles. The hamstrings, hip flexors, and piriformis muscles may become tense or shortened. Due to their attachment points and locations, these muscles can pull on the pelvis and spine causing pain.
Frequently called ‘Piriformis Syndrome,’ the piriformis muscle may spasm and compress the sciatic nerve creating radiating pain down the legs.
However, sports doctor can educate you and help you overcome these conditions. With proper treatment and care, you can decrease and eliminate your back pain issues.
How is Back Pain Treated in Singapore?
Back pain is treated in a number of ways. It frequently depends on the cause.
Pain relievers, such as over-the-counter NSAIDs, may help decrease initial pain and inflammation. However, it isn’t recommended to use these medications in the long-term. Negative side-effects, including gastrointestinal issues, may occur with chronic use.
Exercise, supervised and provided by a trained professional, can help decrease your risk of back pain and eliminate future injuries. Frequently, back pain in Singapore is caused by inactivity and muscle weakness.
The most common form of rehab exercise for back pain involves the strengthening of the neglected transverse abdominals, or TA. The TA muscles are the deep and lower core muscles. They help support and stabilize the spine and pelvis, acting as a girdle. When this muscle is weak, we try to compensate in other ways. However, this often results in injury and pain, specifically in the low back.
A back pain exercise program will focus on strengthening these abdominal muscles, as well as stretching out shortened or tight muscles. Doing so helps reduce pain and dysfunction of the spine. A basic TA exercise to get you started involves:
- Lying face up, with your knees bent and your feet planted on the ground.
- Imagine a tightrope pulling your hip bones together or stopping the flow of urine. You can feel with your fingers in between your hip bones to determine if you are tightening your TA muscle or not. Your stomach should not bulge upward, just tighten.
- Your low back should remain on the ground or bed. Make sure to keep breathing throughout the exercise. A lot of people tend to hold their breath. However, this is incorrect.
- Try holding the contraction for 5 seconds to start. Build up to 10 second holds. Perform the exercise 10-12 times and at least 2-3 times per day.
Common problematic muscles that may also lead to back pain, include the hamstrings, hip flexors, and piriformis. The hamstrings or hip flexors may become tight, which may pull on the pelvis. In turn, this creates alignment issues. Your lower back may become under stress in this unnatural position. Thus, pain may occur. To correct these issues, your sports doctor will prescribe exercises to stretch out and elongate these muscles. They may also use manual techniques to promote healing and to release muscular tension.
The piriformis, as aforementioned, can spasm and compress the sciatic nerve, causing back pain and radiating pain down the legs. Myofascial release techniques and stretches can help release this small muscle, reducing and preventing future incidences.
In combination with exercise, a manual therapist or sport doctor can perform joint manipulations, traction, myofascial release, and other techniques to help alleviate your pain levels. Each treatment protocol is suited to your particular needs.
In severe cases and where other treatment options fail to work, surgery may be used as a last resort. At the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, our sports doctor are qualified to perform such surgeries. They can prepare you before surgery and help guide recovery post-surgery.
Types of Back Surgery
There are many types of back surgery. Again, it depends on the cause of your back pain as to what kind of surgery you have. Also, surgery is only considered when other interventions have failed to work. The 3 most common surgeries include:
Discectomy: This surgery may be performed when an individual has a slipped disc. The doctors removes the damaged part of the disc.
Laminectomy: Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal column, which can cause neural issues to arise. In this type of surgery, the lamina portion of the spine is removed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
Spinal Fusion: 2 or more vertebrae are fused together in this type of surgery. It limits movement between the 2 vertebrae, reducing pain brought on by the motion of these 2 bones. This is often done in cases where the spine has been damaged or a deformity has occurred.
Your sports doctor will thoroughly explain the surgery prior to. Again, these surgeries are only performed when all other interventions and treatments have been unsuccessful. Frequently, surgery will improve one’s pain levels. However, in some cases, it may not fully fix the problem. Exercises and other treatment protocols can help manage the remaining pain post-surgery.
Orthopaedic Care & Treatment of Back Pain in Singapore
At the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, our injury experts can help you thwart back pain in Singapore and get you back to your regular activities.
Your sport doctor will conduct a thorough assessment. From their assessment, they will come up with an appropriate treatment plan, including exercise, manual techniques, and education. Call or visit our clinic today! Regain back control of your life and rid yourself of back pain for good.
A laminectomy procedure on the lower back is one of the most common procedures to treat spinal stenosis, a narrowing of space around the spinal cord. In a laminectomy, surgeons remove the lamina, a bony structure that protects the spinal cord, to relieve pressure causing neural issues and pain. Following a laminectomy surgery, orthopaedic care can aid in the recovery process and help you get back to feeling your best.
Reasons for Undergoing a Laminectomy
Essentially, a laminectomy is performed when other options to alleviate the problem fail to work – it is often a last resort.
The spine is a complex structure. It is made up of 33 vertebrae or bones. These bones of the spine protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is home to an intricate network of neural bundles stemming from the brain. The brain and spinal cord are the structures that comprise the central nervous system. The central nervous system drives every movement, breath, and thought we make. It is the center of our being. Damage to the spinal cord can cause varying degrees of problems, including paralysis and regulatory functioning issues.
The lamina is the back arch of the vertebrae bone. It protects the spinal cord from outside impact or harm. When abnormalities or bony overgrowths develop on the spine, neural functioning may become significantly impaired and pain may occur. Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal, may create pressure on the nerves that run through the spine. Bony overgrowths due to age or arthritis may also compress these fragile neural networks.
Consequently, pain, numbness, and weakness may occur. In severe cases, the individual may struggle to walk and may lose control of their bladder and bowel movements. When the symptoms become severe enough that they impact day-to-day function and when other treatment options fail to work, a laminectomy is performed. In other words, the lamina portion of the vertebrae is removed.
What Does a Laminectomy Involve?
A laminectomy surgery in Singapore involves the use of general anesthesia. However, before surgery the appropriate tests and examinations are performed to ensure as little risk as possible. Your doctor will also ask you to avoid food and drinks for a set time before surgery. Your doctor will also ask that you avoid NSAID, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the week before your surgery.
Depending on the part of the spine that the laminectomy is performed on, it often lasts 1-2 hours. The medical team measures your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels throughout the procedure.
An incision is made at the affected vertebrae. The aggravating part of the lamina is removed, relieving pressure off of the spinal cord. Depending on the severity and type of condition you have, the surgery may also involve spinal fusion or the removal of a slipped disc. Your surgeon will discuss the plan with you beforehand.
Following a laminectomy surgery, the surgery team will take you to a recovery room. Some will be required to stay in the hospital of a few days, while others may undergo a same-day discharge. It entirely depends on the severity of your situation and how invasive the surgery was.
What Are the Risks of a Laminectomy Surgery in Singapore?
As with any surgery, there are varying risks involved. These risks include:
- Damage to the spinal cord
- Spinal fluid leak
- No change in back pain
- Heart Attack
- Blood loss
- Blood clots
- Respiratory issues
Frequently, individuals experience relief after surgery. However, surgery may not fully eliminate the cause and it will only remove the decompression in the part of the spine operated on. For example, arthritis or spinal stenosis may still progress after surgery.
The Immediate Recovery Process
The surgeon will likely require you to walk and perform movements right after the surgery. These tests will ensure no damage was done to the spinal cord. They may also prescribe pain relief medication during the initial recovery stage.
Take the advice of your surgeon, and slowly and gradually increase your activity levels. Follow-up appointments will help guide you through the recovery phases. Recovery is often 2-6 weeks. Again, it may depend on your condition and the exact type of surgery performed. For example, if a bone fusion was also performed your doctor may recommend a back brace as part of the recovery process, and your recovery may be slightly longer.
You will have to work to keep the incision clean and dry, particularly the first few days after surgery. If swelling or tenderness occurs at the incision site, seek out medical attention immediately. An infection could potentially develop. Your surgeon will outline how to avoid infection following the surgery.
General advice following a laminectomy surgery in Singapore includes:
- Avoid sitting for long durations.
- Avoid driving for 2-4 weeks right after surgery. Discuss your options and prognosis with your surgeon.
- Avoid heavy lifting.
- Do not bend or twist the torso. This could potentially open the incision and cause other problems.
- Do not smoke. Smoking may interfere with your body’s ability to heal properly and quickly.
- Avoid travelling. Car rides or plane rides may increase your risk of developing a blood clot.
Back surgery sounds scary. It is absolutely normal to experience worries or concerns regarding your surgery and recovery. Ask questions beforehand and after the procedure. Our team of surgeons and doctors would be more than happy to address any concerns you may have.
At the 6 week mark, regular activities can often gradually be resumed. Neural pain may subside in about 4-6 weeks. And pain and swelling will decrease over time and eventually, with use.
Following a laminectomy, chiropractic care and physiotherapy may be recommended to help guide the rehabilitation process. Chiropractic treatment can also coincide with physiotherapy treatment, and vice versa.
However, initial healing must take place before you seek out chiropractic or physiotherapy care. The body is fragile after surgery and a certain amount of rest and time must take place before any spinal manipulation is performed. Often, physiotherapy and chiropractic care can begin about 2 weeks post-surgery.
Research has also supported post-surgery chiropractic and physiotherapy treatment. In the case of a laminectomy, patients reported improved function, mobility, and decreased pain with treatment. No adverse or detrimental effects were reported.
What Can I Expect Post-Surgery?
Most experience reduced back pain symptoms. A Laminectomy surgery improves pain in about 70% of patients.
If you follow proper guidelines and instructions, your quality of life may significantly improve post-surgery. A positive attitude and proper care following your surgery can go a long way and can drastically impact your results. However, you may not notice the results straight away. It may take up to 6 weeks to notice any notable difference.
Chiropractic care and physiotherapy can also help restore mobility and reduce incidences of pain during the later stages of your recovery. Your healthcare provider can recommend exercises throughout the recovery process to help you get back to your regular activities and improve your outcome.
Make sure to always follow the direct advice and instructions from your doctor.
For more information regarding laminectomy procedures and post-surgery care, contact us at +65 9734 3087. If you wish to have your back pain assessed, book an appointment. At the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, our orthopaedic specialists are ready to help you get back to the activities you know and love. Call us today. Start your journey toward a better life.
Have you ever woke up to a stiff neck before? That uncomfortable and tight feeling that makes movement almost impossible and causing you a lot of discomfort throughout the entire day. Stiff neck are frequently experienced by many and it will usually go away by itself after a few days. You may rest assure that stiff neck is not an indication of any serious problems with your neck.
A stiff neck is typically characterized by difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain or arm pain. In order to look sideways an individual may need to turn the entire body instead of the stiff neck. Most people are familiar with the pain of a stiff neck. In most cases, pain and stiffness go away naturally within a week.
If a stiff neck has not improved after a week, it should be checked by a doctor. Also, regardless of how long it has lasted, a stiff neck accompanied by fever, headache, nausea or unexplained sleepiness should be treated by a medical professional immediately.
Causes of Stiff Neck
Injuries are one of the most common reasons that one will experience stiff neck. A sudden jerking movement at the neck region can injure the muscles and ligaments, causing injury and subsequent pain and stiffness. Injuries can be caused by sports, accidental falls or even a car accident.
Our body response to stress is the natural tensing of our muscles. If you did not suffer any injuries recently and is experiencing stiff neck, it could be an indication that you are under tremendous stress. It’s time to take things easy and relax.
Muscle spasm are due to the signalling of certain messages from our nerves to the muscles which will result in them involuntary contracting, causing stiff neck.
Improper sleeping posture
Improper sleeping posture is probably the most common reason for stiff neck. Our body is in a relaxed state when we are asleep and an improper sleeping posture can cause the pulling of the neck muscles without us being aware of it. Only when we finally wake up do we realise it and it is often too late.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the joints, especially those in the neck. It will result in neck pain and stiffness.
Meningitis is a very serious inflection of the fluid that surrounds our brain and spinal cord and if you suffer from neck pain and stiffness and they are not caused by the factors listed above, you should consult a doctor immediately as a stiff neck is a common symptom of meningitis.
Diagnosis of Stiff Neck
Your doctor will take a medical history and do an exam. He or she will check for tenderness, numbness and muscle weakness, as well as see how far you can move your head forward, backward and side to side.
Your doctor might order imaging tests to get a better picture of the cause of your stiff neck. Examples include:
- X-rays can reveal areas in your neck where your nerves or spinal cord might be pinched by bone spurs or other degenerative changes.
- CT scans combine X-ray images taken from many different directions to produce detailed cross-sectional views of the internal structures of your neck.
- MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of bones and soft tissues, including the spinal cord and the nerves coming from the spinal cord.
It’s possible to have X-ray or MRI evidence of structural problems in your neck without having symptoms. Imaging studies are best used as an adjunct to a careful history and physical exam to determine the cause of your pain.
Treatment Regime for Stiff Neck
An individual can do several things to begin treating a stiff neck. Some common self-care strategies include:
- Rest. Taking it easy for one or two days gives injured tissues a chance to begin to heal, which in turn will help relieve stiffness and possible muscle spasm. For example, someone who swims may want to avoid certain swim strokes that involve lots of head twisting for a few days. However, it is recommended to limit rest to one or two days, as too much inactivity can lead to a weakening of the muscles, and weak muscles have to struggle to adequately support the neck and head.
- Cold and/or heat therapy. Cold therapy/ice packs help relieve most types of neck stiffness by reducing local inflammation. Applying ice during the first 24 to 48 hours of a painful flare-up usually has the most benefit in terms of reducing inflammation. Applying heat to the neck can spur blood flow, which fosters a better healing environment. Some patients prefer ice, whereas others prefer heat. Both may be used alternately.
- Over-the-counter medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which work by reducing inflammation, are typically a first line of treatment for neck stiffness and soreness. Even non prescription medications have risks, possible side effects, and drug interactions, so be sure to discuss any medications with a doctor.
- Gentle stretching. Stretching, as soon as tolerated, helps ease the stiffness and restore the neck to a more natural range of motion. For many, it is a good idea to learn appropriate stretches with the help of a physical therapist.
- Low-impact aerobic exercise. Stretching or any form of low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, is often helpful in relieving any type of stiffness. Even if walking does not directly involve the neck, it helps circulate oxygen to the soft tissues throughout the spine, which in turn promotes healing.
Stiff Neck Treatment in Singapore
You can contact us for counselling regarding stiff neck treatment. We are closely working with more than 35 Insurance companies for cashless payments. We are an Accredited Specialist Clinic. E-filing facility is also available at our clinic.
Everyone wants to be healthier and stronger. One way to do that is with a healthy diet plan and exercise, combining both cardio and strength training. While strength training is a great method of toning and getting stronger, there are some very common weight lifting injuries that you should be aware of before getting started. They range from shoulder injuries to knee and back injuries. Learning what they are and how to avoid them to be safe when lifting is key in making the type of progress you wish to make.
When you are performing such tasks as overhead lifting like bench presses or shoulder press, you can run into an injury called shoulder impingement. This injury is when you have inflammation and swelling in the rotator cuff area. At first you may only notice pain in the shoulder when you’re lifting your arms, but eventually the pain can be felt no matter what you’re doing as it progresses. If you’re not cautious, then this shoulder impingement injury can also lead to a tear in the rotator cuff itself.
Lifting heavy weights with your back instead of your legs can result in serious back strains or sprains. If you’re lifting with your back, you may also experience a herniated disc which is quite painful. Sprains are typically caused by acute injuries or trauma to the back making the ligaments stretch to far or even tear. Strains typically affect the muscles instead of the ligaments in the back. Most of these weight lifting injuries can be treated with medication and relaxation. The herniated disc however may require physical therapy or even surgery to correct the problem.
Remember to also protect your knees as you’re lifting weights. The knee joint or patellar tendon can be injured by repetitive squatting motions, deep knee bends, and extension of the knee. As you are bending and squatting during your weight lifting, the tendon can start to get tiny tears in it. Then you may start to feel pain below the kneecap. It is important that you keep an eye on this and get treatment as soon as you can. Some cases are helped with patellar tendon strap or physical therapy. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to repair the knee.
Lifting weights is a great way to get your body into shape and to help you feel and be stronger. While you’re lifting, it’s very important that you take the necessary safety steps and precautions to prevent yourself from having any weight lifting injuries.
Chronic back pain is a condition that many people go through but too often overlooked or treated with wrong methods because of common misconceptions. Like other similar medical conditions, chronic back pain should be diagnosed and can be treated and managed, as long as these mistaken beliefs are out of the way.
1) Resting in bed helps to recover from back pain.
While resting in bed for 1 to 2 days is recommended to reduce stress on the discs of the spine and lessen the pain, any longer than that would backfire on the recovery. Long hours in bed would cause an increase in pain, muscle atrophy, loss in bone mineral and a higher risk of blood clots forming due to the lack of movement.
Contrary to popular beliefs, patients with chronic back pain should not rest for too long. On the other hand, doing back exercises regularly would strengthen the muscles and speed up recovery.
2) Only painkillers can help to relief pain.
Painkillers may be prescribed to help manage the pain for daily activities. However, without proper treatment, the condition does not get better. Physical therapy like ultrasound treatment and electrotherapy can help to reduce the inflammation and joint mobilization helps to decrease tension in the muscles. Other pain management methods include having a healthy diet, a better sleep routine and exercising.
3) The pain would go away with heat and back massage.
Heat and massage would help to manage pain for the short-term. But for chronic pain, the soothing effect wears off and the pain would be just as bad as before. This method is good if you just need a quick alleviation from acute pain. However, the condition would not get any better without appropriate treatment advised by the doctor.
4) Chronic back pain is a natural occurrence of aging.
Many people live with chronic back pain undiagnosed and untreated, thinking that the symptoms are due to aging. Back pain can happen to people of any age, with or without injury. In fact, those that go through chronic back pain at a younger age tend to feel less pain when they get older with proper treatment and exercise. Even though disc degeneration occurs between ages 35 and 55, it does not necessarily come with pain. Never ignore any kind of pain or discomfort and always get it checked.
5) If I have chronic back pain, I should not exercise.
Exercising helps strengthen the back muscles, giving a stronger support for the spine. Though vigorous exercises that add pressure on the back should be avoided, regular light exercises are good for long-term recovery.
Coming public forum this coming Thur 6 November 2014 at 6.30pm
At: Level 3 Gleneagles Hospital
No Charge for registration, refreshment, Orthopaedic and Oldest Singapore marathon runner’s book work S$20 each.
A chance to check BMD and also meet Singapore oldest Marathon Runner.
Photos of our forum on 31 Oct 2014 – Full house!
Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) is commonly administered to patients suffering from lower back or leg pain. Lower back pain is due to the inflammation of spinal nerves, causing pain and discomfort to patients as the nerve passage is narrower compared to healthy patients. Corticosteroids are extremely strong pain relief medication that is injected directly into the area of concern, providing immediate relief. However, most patients undergo the procedure with the mentality that they will be “cured” from their lower back pain. This is a misconception of it and in fact, there are many more misconceptions out there about ESI.
ESI is extremely safe
Well, this is a misconception although it is true to a certain extent. Many people think that steroid injections are much safer than oral consumption of steroids. However, this really depends on the medication that is prescribed as the toxicity differs. While oral consumption of medication may cause irritation to the stomach and with the fact that it “travels” a longer distance down, there is a higher risk of allergy. However, ESI are injected directly into the affected area and when something bad occurs, it happens immediately without providing you much reaction time.
Repeated treatments are required for visible results
Many doctors tell their patients that a minimum of 3 ESI is required before they are effective. However, this is the average value comprising data from hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. In fact, the exact amount of dosage required by each patient is never the same due to the differing genetics of each of us. Some patients get immediate relief after just a single injection while some may need a lot more to see results.
Multiple invasive sites are required
Most of us would have visited the hospital for one reason or another and a high percentage of us have had multiple needles injected into us. ESI are totally different from your usual invasive treatments. Only a single needle is required to be injected as ESI is done under the guidance of an X-Ray machine, providing the doctor with the exact spot to inject.
Immediate pain relief is obtained
While you may get immediate pain relief from the compressing of spinal nerves, you may suffer temporary pain in the form of bruises and tenderness due to the injection. Although the technique is conducted under the guide of an x-ray machine, human error is bound to happen. Bruising and swelling will go away on its own in just a couple of days.
Epidural Steroid Injections have been performed for a long time and it has a track record of being rather safe and successful. Since the procedure is an outpatient one, patients do not need to spend a night in the hospital, making it much more flexible and economical for them.
No one in this world is born perfect. There are imbalances in various parts of our body and this can cause injuries if mishandled. Many sports athletes are now turning to an ancient form of practice – Yoga. Yoga helps to increase the flexibility and physical as well as mental strength of oneself. It helps to prevent injuries associated with overuse and speed up recovery of existing injuries.
Yoga is normally conducted in a room that is slightly warm. This increase in temperature will allow muscles to expand and relax, allowing for an increase in stretching capabilities. Enhanced stretching will help to lower the risk of injuries. Yoga will help to build up physical strength and tone muscles, especially vulnerable ones such as the back muscles. It also increases flexibility, reducing injuries that are sustained due to the inability to flex. Since yoga causes perspiration, it will draw out toxins and impurities from the body, burn excess calories and help to build up endurance levels.
Orthopaedic injuries are all about the joints and musculoskeletal system. Having strong joints and muscles will help to significantly lower the risk of injuries. For example, athletes that are involved in high tempo activities such as basketball and soccer are at a high risk of ankle sprains. Due to the constant running and jumping motion, this causes a lot of high stresses to build up at the joints. Without sufficient rest, it can lead to overuse injuries and eventually soft tissue damages. Not only does yoga help to strengthen these joints, it also helps to reduce body weight to reduce the cyclic stresses acting on weak areas of the body.
You may be thinking basic warm up and cool down stretches also help to increase body heat and relax the muscles, increasing flexibility. What is so special about yoga? Well, the main difference is that yoga goes beyond stretching the “common” muscles. Normal stretches simply stretch the muscles in a one direction plane. However, this is rather useless for sports since sports is a 3 dimensional activity whereby the stresses come in the x, y and z plane. Yoga helps to stretch all the muscles in all the directions including the small ones to better prepare for what is to come during the games. Additionally, how yoga differs from ordinary stretching lies in its breathing during the practice. The emphasis of muscles isolation, works on specific muscles and in general stronger muscles would reduce the risk of sustaining orthopaedic injuries. In fact, stronger muscles also reduce the extent of an injury as well as recovery rate. Generally a stronger individual would be able to recover faster than an individual with weak muscles.
Yoga is an ancient activity that helps to warm up your muscles, increase the flexibility and build up your physical and mental strength through various poses and motion. With thousands of years of history, it is tried and tested by many.
Relief from back pain can be obtained from simple back exercises that helps to stretch, loosen and strengthen the back muscles. Our body is designed in a way that the back muscles must work in tandem with the spinal cord and the soft tissues such as the ligaments and tendons. If there are any restriction to the movement, it will cause discomfort and pain for the patient. Back pain is an orthopaedic condition that requires special attention to be given to it. There are some good exercises that can help to provide pain relief and let’s discuss them below.
Lie down on a gym mat or on your bed depending on your comfort level as different surfaces will provide different level of pressure. Lay on one side of your body and place an exercise ball beneath it. The ball should be positioned at the muscular region at the side of the spine and slowly place your entire body weight onto the exercise ball. Do not attempt to move about or bounce up and down.
Forward stretch on a chair
Sit down on a chair that does not have any rollers. Place both of your feet firmly on the ground and sit upright. Slowly start to lean forward and stretch towards your toes while keeping your neck in a relaxed position. When you feel tightness in your back, hold in that position for 15 seconds and slowly return to the original position. Repeat this exercise for 10 times and whenever you can throughout the day. This will help to stretch and relax the back muscles.
Knees to chest
Lie down on a soft surface such as a gym mat or on your bed. Maintain a straight posture and slowly bring both of your knees towards your chest. You should be able to feel tightness in your back and hold in that position for 15 seconds. Repeat this exercise for 10 times and whenever you can throughout the day. This will help to stretch and relax the back muscles.
Strong gluteus muscles can help to better support the body’s weight and take some load off the spinal cord. The piriformis muscles is at the buttock region and if the muscles are weak, it can cause pain in the lower back. Lie down on a soft surface and place one leg over the other and pull towards your stomach. You will be able to feel a tightening sensation at the buttock region and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position and change legs. Repeat this exercise for 20 times.
Exercises will help to stretch and strengthen the back muscles to provide pain relief. Most exercises require minimal space and can be performed throughout the day whenever you are free. Do not attempt to stretch beyond your limits and remember not to over exert the injured muscles.