Millions of people struggle with back and neck pain. Doctors say it’s a common complaint but often it can be correct by movement and lifestyle changes.
Dr. Donna Lanthier, a physiatrist with Lee Health, says typically patients come to the spine center after years of struggling with back pain. “Every day, all day long. Back pain, neck pain and quite often it turns out to be more hip, buttock, lower extremity pain. We can try to nip it in the bud because we don’t want them to get deconditioned and out of shape. A lot of people are fearful of moving. They’re scared they’re going to exacerbate their condition, and the body is meant to move. So we try to treat them how to move that won’t exacerbate the underlying condition.”
Whether it’s back or neck pain, patients are often referred to outpatient physical therapy for a few weeks to teach them exercises to help manage the pain. Doctors say lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, are also important. “For your low back you really need to strengthen your core muscles which are your muscles of posture. For the neck, you have these muscles, but quite often it’s from tension and poor posture,” said Dr. Lanthier.
Smoking can also contribute to the pain. “It causes a problem with circulation to the back. The disks don’t have blood supply so it’s more by diffusion. So if you’re smoking it can affect the arteries and the veins and it interferes with healing,” said Dr. Lanthier.
Daily exercises and movement can help alleviate pain caused by stiffness. “Neck pain can cause headaches and quite often it will radiate into people’s shoulders. We have a lot of problems with people checking their blind spot when they’re trying to drive, and a lot of people have trouble sleeping at night because of their neck pain,” said Dr. Lanthier.
Learning some exercises to improve your core strength and posture can help patients battle neck and back pain.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.