In my attempts at educating patients, I look at their postural habits which they present. I address their questions and concerns, as I try to resolve their problems as they relate to their pain and discomfort. Beyond the medical intake form, my questions include but are not limited to:
What position do you sleep in?
-stomach sleeping puts pressure on your low back thereby aggravating your back and neck
-sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees alleviates discomfort
-the best position is side-lying which takes the pressure off your low back and knees
Can you raise your arms over your head?
-difficulty with this movement could signify frozen shoulder
-limited ROM could be from an injury, when therapy may be appropriate
Do you have tingling fingers?
-this could signify Carpal Tunnel syndrome with compression of the median nerve
-if your neck muscles are involved, it could be Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
-if you sleep with your arm over your head, you may be compressing your brachial artery
Are you stressed out?
-you may be breathing in short, shallow breaths thereby adding to your stress levels
-inhale to a count of 10, and exhale to a count of 6, try this 3 times
Did you suffer an injury?
-notice your decreased pain level or decreased ROM, this could be attributed to a recent fall
-did you treat it using the RICE method
Do you exercise?
-do you sufficiently warm up and cool down to prevent muscle strain
-are you experiencing decreased energy or fatigue, as this could be a sign of dehydration
Do you clench or grind your teeth?
-see your Dentist for possible intervention (plate for grinding/bruxism)
-perhaps you need help in releasing the muscles of the jaw to prevent TMJ
What is your reflection in the mirror?
-if your shoulders are at ear level and your head in a forward position, focus on dropping your shoulders down to relax the tension
Are you happy with your posture?
-do you spend a lot of time in front of the computer
-do you slouch in your chair or on the couch
-learn to sit and stand tall keeping your back and neck in proper alignment
A therapist should be asking questions similar to the above to pinpoint your area of pain or discomfort and with proper testing, will be able to treat accordingly.
See your doctor if the pain persists or doesn’t go away within a day or two
See your therapist if treatment is recommended.