Ask a Therapist

Our patients and community have asked some great questions about both our articles and about what we do as a therapist clinic. We’ve gathered some of them and presented the answers on this page.

If you have a question you’d like to ask one of our therapists, please use the form on the Ask a Therapist a Question page.

Ask A Therapist A Question

Q: I am 85 and I had 3 falls the latest in Dec. since the last fall I developed severe pain in my lower back and it really hurts when I sit or reach out with my arms and when I lean back my head to gargle. I do not hurt anywhere else and I am in good physical condition for my age because of ongoing exercises and Pilates and Yoga. I use a tens machine for treatment at the accupuncture points with heat and it helps, but it comes back. I know our mattress is old so we ordered a new Sealy Gilliam medium firm pillow top, memory foam with gel, along with a new medium pillow. When the pain in unbearable I take Advil every 4/5 hours, but I am not used to taking any type of medicine so it is starting to hurt my stomach. I had an XRay of my complete back taken and I am waiting for the results. Do you have any suggestions for me while I wait for these results? it would be greatly appreciated. I believe I would need a Kinesiologist.

A: Hello and thank you for your question. First, I think it was wise for you to see your Doctor after your falls, because of the increased risk of fractures as people age. An undiagnosed fracture has the potential to render even the best rehabilitation program useless, or at least prolong or intensify the pain and physical limitations caused by your injury.

In your case, it sounds like certain positions or postures aggravate your pain, while others relieve it. In fact, it is very common for people to subconsciously fall into those painful patterns, leading to pain that never seems to improve over time. Since sitting, reaching, and leaning back increases your pain, I would expect that trying to avoid those triggering positions or movements could help you to manage your pain in the short term with fewer of those “unbearable” moments you are experiencing.

Also, make sure you ask your doctor about appropriate pain medications you can take. NSAIDs, like Advil, are well known to have harmful gastrointestinal side effects in older adults, which could be the cause of your stomach pain when you take them.

An important point about back pain, however, is that it is not a diagnosis – it is a symptom. So there could be a number of reasons for your back pain, and that can only be done through a private consultation with a regulated health professional having training in low back pain. Make sure you ask your doctor for her or his opinion on this, and please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance to help you feel better and return to pain-free activity.

Thank you again for your question, I hope I have been able to provide some information and understanding to help in your pathway back to health.

John.


This service pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about therapy, health and related sub­jects. It is not meant to replace advice and/or treatment from your health care professional.