At Empire Performance PT, we help patients daily with lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and knee pain… and it’s safe to say that imbalances in the body are typically the number one root cause of pain.
If you’re feeling pain when you walk, get out of bed, exercise, or during your everyday life, this might be because something is out of balance – and it might not be an obvious problem.
Imbalances often aren’t easy to spot, because not many people understand WHAT they are and how to recognize them (including most doctors!)…
The most common advice you get for things like lower back, knee and neck pain not only fails to bring you the relief you’re after – but it can also make your pain WORSE. For instance, you might have heard from professionals, family members and friends that you need to “strengthen your back” to get rid of the pain…
Whilst strengthening the area may be true in some cases, if the muscle imbalances associated with your pain have been there for a while and have been tight for months (… or even years!) then exercise will more than likely aggravate them even more. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to recognize your own imbalances, how they cause pain in different parts of your body, and what you can do to ease the pain that you just can’t seem to get rid of.
How Do I Help My Neck Pain?
Your neck pain often stems from the thing it sits on – your shoulders.
Let me explain…
An easy way to find out if you have problems with your shoulders is to stand in front of a mirror and see if one shoulder is higher than the other.
If one of your shoulders is higher than the other, there is more than likely an imbalance, which means that there’s less room for your shoulder to move properly. When the tension builds up in your shoulder muscles, the pain is often sent to your neck.
Stretch to help neck pain:
Try the single-arm doorway stretch (see the below photo for an example of this
stretch) – this stretch is used to open your chest muscles and create more room in your
shoulder for movement, making them more flexible in the long run.
To make this stretch more challenging, place your hand on the side of a doorway and
lean forward to stretch your chest and shoulder further… but keep your feet flat on the
But what if your shoulders are even? Your pain or headaches could be coming from a forward leaning head…
If you look in the mirror and you don’t see any imbalance in the height of your shoulders, turn to the side – if your head is leaning further forward than your shoulders, this could be limiting the amount of blood flow to your head and neck, which could be causing headaches.
How Do I Help My Lower Back Pain?
Much like knee pain, back pain often isn’t caused by your back at all. If one side of your pelvis is higher than the other, this can trigger back, hip, groin, and even knee pain. Unevenness in your hips can pull on your lower back, causing extreme tightness, especially whilst you’re sitting.
Stretch to help fix this:
Doing the right stretches will help reduce the pain and allow you to move freely once
again. See below photograph for a great lower back stretch that you can try at home.
If you want to fix these imbalances, you should consider asking for some help from a physical therapist. So many of our patients initially put off getting treatment as they believe the pain will ‘go away with time’, but then they come to us 6 months down the line with a problem which is much worse.
Many of our patients have found that since COVID started they’ve been suffering from more aches and pains than they did before, this is because we all stayed at home either working or spending our days in front of the TV.
What Else Can I Do?
You’ve made a great first step by reading this blog post! So many people procrastinate for so long, thinking that their pain will ‘just go away in time’, but then 6 months down the line they’re still waiting for that time to come… and their pain has actually got worse.
Expert advice, exercises, and hands-on treatment provided by a physical therapist can help improve your pain, as well as improve posture and strengthen weakened muscles.
Would you like to see a Physical Therapist for free?
We realize some people want more than just some free health tips… That’s why we offer expert advice about the worry and frustration of life-changing aches and pains – for FREE, in under 30 minutes.
Here are just a few of the things you will learn in one of our free discovery sessions:
1. What is the underlying cause of your back pain? (hopefully nothing too
2. Roughly, how long will it take to fix my problem?
3. What to do to help – which doesn’t include painkillers, resting or surgery etc.
4. What other, natural, drug-free methods are there to speed up recovery alongside treatment?
Our discovery sessions are great for anyone that may be “unsure” if Physical Therapy is right for them, and they give you the opportunity to ask questions and see for yourself if we can help you.
We’ve got 5 discovery sessions available this week. If you would like one of our limited discovery sessions, please get in touch with Chloe at 845-225-2000 and mention you would like a free discovery session.
By: Dr. Tony Tanzi, PT, DPT, CSCS
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Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach