In most cases, pain in the back and neck occurs not as the result of one specific, isolated incident but as a result of prolonged, sustained and repetitive strain or “loading” on certain parts of the spine. If you can relate the onset of pain to one incident, the latter was probably the proverbial “last straw”. The process started long before that.
To understand this concept of loading, just stick out your left thumb and slowly to pull it back over you left wrist with your other hand. Pull it back until you feel discomfort at the base of the thumb. We are now “loading” this joint. We can increase the loading at this joint and sooner or later cause pain. Another way we can cause pain is to apply only mild pressure but don’t let go for a long time.
If you think about it, this is exactly what we subject our spinal joints to, everyday of our lives, by bending, twisting and assuming bad postures. Some of these movements and postures are required in our work but some are just bad habits. It is no wonder that our neck and back hurt.
The good news is that when we can unload the patient’s painful joint in treatment, relief is surprisingly rapid. It sure is better than taking a pill or lying in bed feeling sorry for yourself. The crucial thing, however, is that your therapist must recognize the type of pain you are experiencing and apply the correct unloading treatment.