Jake: Hey, I’m Jake of Body by Jake with your health and wellness tip of the day. I’m here with the great Dr. Art Mollen. Sports injuries – I have a neck injury, I have neck pain that’s preventing me from working out. Help us.
Dr. Art: So a lot of times people will be working out, say they’re lifting weights, you know, and they all of a sudden they start to get some neck pain and it goes on and on. Or they’ve been in an automobile accident and you know, three weeks later their neck starts bothering them.
So you have to discern whether or not it’s simply a slight sprain or if you’ve actually had a bulging disc in the neck. So what you need to do is get it not only an x-ray, but sometimes even an MRI of the neck and that’ll show you whether you actually have a disc bulge or actually a herniation.
So what can you do about it? Can you continue to work out? So yes, you can continue to work out as long as you’re not doing the same exercise that seem to have precipitated the pain in the first place.
One of the things I like in terms of treating neck pain for patients to do at home is a cervical traction device. You can buy that in the pharmacy and it actually clamps around your head and it pulls up you hang it over a door, Jake and it will pull up on your neck. So what it does, it opens up the disk space and takes the pressure off the discs.
Because what’s happening when you have neck pain is the disc is bulging out and putting pressure on the nerve and that’s what’s radiating down.
So if you get numbness and tingling in your fingers, in your hands that’s coming out of your neck and a lot of times people get neck pain and it’s actually coming from something in the middle of their back. So it’s referring that pain. So they don’t realize it’s their neck.
They think something’s wrong with their back, but it’s really not lower back, everybody. A lot of people have cranky low backs, you know, 80% of patients that come in to the office usually have lower back pain at some time or another. I mean you either have it or you’re going to get it at some time in your lifetime. So exercises, again stretching exercises, are really important for the lower back.
The other thing for lower back that people often forget: They go to the gym. They want to lift weights. They want to have big muscles. They’re not worried about their low back. They’re not worried about this, it’s you know, they want to rip their abs up and everything like that.
But they’re not really doing abdominal exercises. So if you strengthen your core and you can do back exercises by simply laying on the table and pressing the small of your back down to the table, that will strengthen your low back as well. So those types of exercises…It can be great for people at home that have low back problems.
Jake: As always, perfect!