In The Back Pain Book physical therapist Mike Hages shows how you can take control of your back pain problems through sefl-treatment. instead of addressing, surgery medical diagnoses, medications, surgery, or nutritional adjustments, Hage gives guidance on how you can use postures and movements to ease relieve, and even prevent your pain. With the help of The Bock Pain Book, you can participate in your own rehabilitation.
I welcome this text. Eighty percent of our population will experience some form of transient or permanent pain in the neck or back during their lifetimes. A certain number of these individuals experience pain beyond a reasonable period of both time and medical intervention.
When the pain becomes chronic, it can become a “Bio-Psycho Socio-Economic Syndrome.” Twenty to 30 billion dollars per year is spent by individuals seeking relief of pain of the spine, which also results in 25 to 30 million lost workdays per year.
When the pain becomes chronic, it is often efficient and economically wise for the patient to interact with a team of health- care professionals who present an integrated, multidisciplinary team approach to the treatment of chronic pain—an approach that emphasizes patient education. When patients are educated toward understanding the anatomical and physiological aspects of their pain, the results of their treatment and the prognosis for their problem are enhanced.
This need for such a team was recognized at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in 1974 with the formation of the inpatient Low Back and Pain Clinic (the first in the Midwest), which, over the years, evolved into the Center for Pain Studies. The program demonstrated how a dedicated pain team of physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, vocational counselors, and recreational therapists can be effective in dealing with a major physical and economic problem in the United States.
Michael Hage, MS, PT, was the physical therapy supervisor for the pain program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for a number of years. Mike, in the development of this text, has recognized that there is a need for an instrument to assist individuals in pain who may or may not have interacted with a pain team, but who need to understand their problem more fully, to become actively involved in their recovery process, to increase their understanding of their life activities, and ultimately to examine their environment in order to make adaptations that will decrease their episodes and duration of pain. . . and ultimately improve their overall quality of life.
This text will be of great value in helping individuals with neck and back pain learn coping behaviors and carry these behaviors their homes and workplaces. The text is written in clear language and is made even more easily comprehensible by the well-done illustrations. I congratulate Mike Hage and wish this book all the success that it deserves.
Taking Control of Your Pain
This book is a self-help guide for people who have neck or back pain. It provides a practical and balanced strategy for delivering self- care, helping you redirect how you move, position yourself, rest, and exercise. The major emphasis of the book is to improve your posture and body movement during your everyday activities so that you may decrease your pain and improve your efficiency and appearance.
You may be experiencing pain anywhere from your head, neck, and shoulders to your low back and pelvis, as well as pain in your arms and legs that is actually coming from your neck or back. Your pain may have begun recently, or it may have been troubling you for many years. It may have started as a result of any combination of the following: an accident, degenerative structural changes due to aging, prolonged poor posture, and/or an actual disease process. You may have been told that you’ll just have to learn to live with it, or simply to stop being active. Regardless of the cause or location of your problem, or how long you have suffered from it, you can ease your pain and remain active in a constructive way by applying the good moves described in this book.
This book will not address specific medical diagnoses or the use of medications, surgery, and nutritional adjustments for various problems with the neck and low back. Instead of providing information on how to diagnose and medically treat your problem, this book shows you how to take control of your problem through self-treatment. Its premise is that you can directly address any musculoskeletal problem of the spine by learning how to position and move yourself with better alignment, less effort, improved breathing habits, and a constructive outlook.
These are the good moves that will be described throughout this book. Your goal should be to incorporate these moves into every activity you perform, from driving to work to walking for exercise This will take some concentration on your part, and will require you become conscious of your body’s responses to various movements and postures. In order for you to achieve truly lasting relief, you have to be aware enough to recognize when you are performing bad moves (bad alignment, tension, poor breathing habits, and/or negative thoughts and emotions), and disciplined
enough to replace these bad moves with the appropriate good moves. In this way you can stop being a victim of your pain and start taking control of your life.
How This Book is Organized
Chapter 1 briefly describes your electrical and structural systems and explains how they are involved in decreasing or increasing your pain. Your electrical system is your nervous system. But thinking of this system in terms of electricity makes it easier to understand its role in carrying, storing, and interpreting both pain and comfort messages. This will help you learn how to utilize “comfort circuits” to decrease your pain. The structural system is the same as your musculoskeletal system. Regardless of your specific diagnose, if your pain has been traced to structural problems of the improving your ability to position, move, and strengthen your structural system will decrease your pain.
Chapter 2 focuses on those times when your immediate concern is pain relief. During short or extended periods when your has increased, you can use the methods described in this chapter to obtain quick relief. These methods include relief positions movements, relief breathing and imagery, and use of relief “blankets” (heat, cold, vibration, corsets, etc.).
Chapter 3 spells out good moves and bad moves relative to sitting, standing, walking, bending, and lifting. If you learn to about some of the simple methods for improving your posture and body mechanics described in this chapter, you will certainly reduce wear and tear on your back and neck. The ultimate effect will be decreased pain, improved function, and a healthier, more appearance
Chapter 4 continues to describe good moves and bad moves relative to your daily activities. Patterned on the average person’s 24- hour cycle, it addresses specific situations such as bathing, dressing, commuting, and doing housework, yard work, and office work.
Chapter 5 describes a strategic approach to exercise for individuals with back or neck pain. It clarifies why such individuals will benefit from improving their flexibility, strength, and endurance, and it describes safe methods for doing so. This chapter also warns you of bad moves to avoid while exercising; it steers you away from the wrong type of exercise and/or poor performance of exercises, which can aggravate your pain as much as total inactivity can. It is important for you to understand the quality of good, healthy exercise versus bad, stressful exercise.
How to Use This Book
Attempting to read through the entire book in sequence may be a bit overwhelming and may not be very efficient. The following recommendations are meant to help steer you directly to the information that may be the most important and beneficial to you.
Chapter 1 is short and provides the framework for using the rest of the book. It will be beneficial for everyone to read this first.
If you are currently in the midst of increased pain that limits your ability to perform daily activities, you should proceed directly to chapter 2. Read about the recommended relief positions and try the ones that seem to address your pain pattern. You’ll find the breathing, imagery, and relief “blankets” sections useful no matter what your specific problem.
If your pain increases or starts up as a result of specific positions or movements, refer directly to the related
information contained in chapters 3 and 4. For example, if your pain seems to increase in sitting situations go directly to the “Focus on Sitting” section contained in chapter 3 and to the specific sitting functions described in chapter 4.
It is very important that you feel comfortable with the strategies and methods presented in chapters 2, 3, and 4 before you get very involved with the exercise chapter (5). Many references are made in the earlier chapters to specific exercises in chapter 5. If you have questions or problems with specific exercises in chapter 5, refer back to these earlier references first to examine recommended good moves and bad moves.
At the back of the book there are blank pages for you to write out your own personalized program of self-care in quick-reference form. You may wish to include any or all of the following:
list the positions or functions that you suspect most often aggravate your pain (see chapters 3, 4, and 5 for ideas);
list the page numbers of the relief positions (see chapter 2) and postural recommendations (chapters 3 and 4) that are most closely related to your problem positions, movements, or functions;
and/or make a list of the exercises that, according to their descriptions in chapter 5 as well as earlier recommendations, sound as if they may have a beneficial effect on you.
Getting Help/Helping Yourself
Anyone with back or neck pain could benefit from an evaluation and recommendations from a physical therapist and physician who specialize in the care of musculoskeletal problems of the spine If you are currently under the care of a physical therapist, this book will provide you with an additional source of information regarding what you can do to help yourself, and the therapist will be able to direct you most efficiently to those recommendations that are most specific to your situation. If you have not seen a physical therapist or physician who specializes in back or neck care, then you should at least have an evaluation to determine the problem, to rule out other possible medical problems, and to learn about other possible medical and hands-on therapy approaches that might help you.
It is not necessary to undergo a medical examination prior to using the information contained in this book; however, it is important that you listen carefully to your body. If your symptoms do not respond to your attempts at relief, if they seem to recur, and/or if they seem to be getting worse, you are advised to seek medical attention.
There is no way to predict for you the level of relief you may achieve by following the recommendations presented in this book. You may achieve a quick or gradual reduction of the pain you are currently experiencing, or you may only achieve a minor reduction of your pain. In either case, becoming more active in your pursuit of comfort and your ability to function means gaining greater control over your pain and the effect it has on you.
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