Have you ever woken up with neck or low back pain after a night of sleep and wondered what did I do? Like anyone, you probably wait a few days hoping the pain and stiffness will resolve on its own and that you slept wrong. When your neck pain hasn’t resolved after a period of time, you may consider seeking help from a physical therapist, doctor, or chiropractor. If you get to this point, you may ask yourself how may have hurt yourself without any acute injury.
To better understand what may be occurring, imagine a pot of water on a stovetop. The water remains within the pot until a certain temperature is reached. Eventually the water boils, becomes steam, and then evaporates. Our bodies work in a similar fashion that we have a resting tolerance for activity and stress. Our body can only take so much “heat and pressure,” whether it be the internal or external stresses in life, before our soft tissue begins to experience pain. The secret to building soft tissue resiliency, avoiding pain, and preventing injury is Diet, Sleep, Meditation, and Exercise.
By reducing sugar and increasing fiber in your Diet you can reduce the inflammatory processes that may make you more susceptible to pain.
Sleep is another item that plays a major role in how we function. By going to bed at the same time each night, reducing screen time prior to bed, avoiding caffeine after noon, as well as dial your thermostat between 60 and 65 degrees will result in improved quality of sleep.
Meditation can improve quality of sleep by deregulating your nervous system. If you have experienced pain for a while, your nervous system can be overactive perceiving every stimulus as pain. Alternatively, there are mindfulness apps you can download.
Exercise enables my patients to transition from PT rehab to incorporating strength training as a weekly part of their lives. If the heaviest object you lift is a bag of groceries, your body has not been challenged and, therefore, your resilience is low. Consider seeking help from a physical therapist to get your exercise plan started today.
Dave Pruszynski is a physical therapist in Atlanta, GA who is certified in the clinical management of the fitness athlete (cert-CMFA) through the Institute of Clinical Excellence. Dave graduated from Emory University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program and has advanced training in osteopathic manipulative medicine through Michigan State University. He is licensed to perform dry needling and has training in myofascial release techniques and blood flow restriction therapy. Dave has a passion for treating orthopedic injuries so that his patients can make a quick return to their active lifestyles.
If you would like to set up an appointment with Dave, please call our office at 678-430-8107.