Chiropractic Vs Conventional Treatment for Low Back Pain: A Comparative Look

Low back pain has always been a common health issue, but it is becoming seemingly much more common and it seems there are more and more “quick fixes” and unproven remedies out there. It seems like it is getting harder and harder for the average American to figure out who to believe when it comes to low back pain remedies. Let's take a look at the difference between two different methods of treating low back pain: chiropractic therapy and conventional treatments.

Chiropractic Treatment
The practice of chiropractic medicine involves the manipulation of certain joints that have been hindered by injuries to the tissue surrounding them. This tissue can be damaged by trauma like being in a car accident, falling down or a sports injury, while they can also be damaged by overuse and improper support of the back while sitting, sleeping or lifting. When the tissue begins to heal it can sometimes develop scarring which can create knots in the tissue. These formations that develop in the tissue limit the total mobility of the joints.

When the chiropractor manipulates those joints the tissue loosens and the joint can begin to move around. The ability to have a more varied range of motion allows the pressure to come off the healing tissue or surrounding muscles, which results in an elimination or reduction of pain and the ability to be more active.

People see chiropractors for a myriad of reason, most commonly however is back pain caused by overuse, improper support, sitting too much in the same position or a number of other causes. Other reasons someone might see a chiropractor may include chronic headaches, shoulder pain, constant “crick in the neck,” neuralgia, pain caused by whiplash, hip pain, knee pain, disc disorders or degeneration, just to name a few.

Conventional Treatments
The category of conventional treatments for intermittent low back pain generally includes at home treatment such as using a heating pad or soaking in a hot bath, taking over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs and starting a daily stretching regimen. At home remedies may also include improving support when sitting or sleeping by adding a lumbar cushion. If the low back pain has become chronic, there are other conventional treatments that can be tried such as physical therapy or pain control by prescribing prescription strength pain medications.

To summarize, chiropractic treatments offer a more natural alternative to conventional treatments which often include the use of prescription drugs that can cause dependence and do not actually do anything to fix the problem that is causing the pain that the drugs are merely masking. Often times, chiropractic treatments can be used in conjuction with some of the more conventional types of treatment to see even better results. Other alternative therapies can be included as well, such as acupuncture or massage. Some recent studies have also found that stretching exercises and the practice of yoga can help prevent low back pain from coming back after seeing results from a combination of conventional and chiropractic treatments.

{ Comments are closed }

Natural Therapies for Low Back Pain

Low back pain is something that plagues hundreds and thousands of people, in the United States alone. Low back pain can make it difficult to walk, stand or sit for long periods of time, cause pain and complications in other parts of the body and make it difficult to get everyday or work related tasks completed. Luckily, there are a lot of natural therapies to help reduce low back pain when the alternatives like surgery or prescription pain pills are not the desired form of treatment. Take the next few minutes to learn about these various nature therapies for the treatment of low back pain, or at least the reduction in the pain.

Seeing a chiropractor is a great natural remedy or therapy to deal with low back pain as they are experts in the spinal and how it can cause pain disorders in the low back or worse back pain caused by problems other than spine issues. A chiropractor can use various techniques to help loosen the various joints in the back that are causing pain due to repetitive stress, improper back support or traumatic event. These causes often result in a tissue injury that restricts the joints from being able to move properly. This inability to have a full range of motion puts stress on other parts of the body, like the lower back for example, which causes pain. When the chiropractor manipulates those joints they are helping to restore the mobility of the joints.

Aside from just manipulating or adjusting the spinal and joints affected, they generally also make recommendations to your diet and the vitamins and minerals you are taking in. They may also recommend various exercises you can do at home to prevent further pain and injury.

Another alternative, natural therapy for low back pain is soft tissue manipulation or mobilization. This type of therapy is generally performed by a physical therapist, but can also be done by a properly trained massage therapist who you can usually get a referral for through your chiropractor, if they feel it may be beneficial to your particular cause of low back pain . This method involves using the hands to move the soft tissues in such a way that the affected muscle becomes loosened and the natural and proper muscle balance is restored, eliminating stress and overuse in the wrong areas. The physical therapist will also give you a variety of exercises you can do at home to enhance the therapy you receive from them.

While there are still many other alternative, natural therapy methods to help alleviate low back pain, the last one we'll discuss here is acupuncture. While, like most types of therapies, acupuncture does not work for everyone, but because it can be beneficial on a number of levels it does not hurt to try it out. Acupuncture is the process in which a professional inserts needles into specific areas of the back in order to unblock the natural pathways in which energy flows through the body. When it works, acupuncture reduces the pain and helps increase your ability to be more active.

{ Comments are closed }

The Pettibon System of Chiropractic and Spinal Rejuvenation

Studies show that disc disease is the most common cause of back pain and costs Americans over $ 65 billion annually. Roughly 700,000 Americans receive spinal surgery every year and the costs begin around $ 25,000 and can range to over $ 100,000 for surgically implanted rods or other fusion devices. Insurance companies may not cover all of the expenses, so patients end up paying a large chunk for procedures that can give them very little hope for a normal life in the future. A recent 2006 study from the Journal Spine found that the use of implanted hardware in spinal fusion surgeries for lower back pain does not improve the results and carries a higher risk of complications. Dr. Gary M Franklin, medical director of the Washington Department of Labor and Industry, which financed the study, said, “It was clear that the devices did not benefit patients”. He added that “the high rate of long term disability in all the patients, regardless of whether hardware was used or not, was of little benefit. This procedure does not do much to help people.” When surgery fails to help it is often diagnosed as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome or FBSS for short, which is an actual diagnosis.

Today advances in spinal Traction have brought promising results for patients with disc herniation and degenerative disc disease. Non-surgical disc decompression is one such treatment, being advertised increasingly, that has reached initial relief for many with debilitating back pain. However, decompression / traction often only brings temporary results since gravity will continue to re-compress the structurally weakened disc and injured spinal areas over time. Subluxation, abnormal spinal angles, and loss of the normal lordotic curves of the spine will gradually collapse with gravity once again. I have received patients or have had patients return to me who have spent thousands of dollars for decompression therapy only to have their problem and pain return within three to six months. I began to call this Failed Back Decompression Syndrome or FBDS!

It is very important to know that muscles support and maintain spherical curves. Ninety percent of disc problems are caused by postural breakdown of the normal lordotic curves of the cervical and lumbar spine. Therefore, without postural curve correction with muscle rehabilitation, the effects of decompression / traction will be lost over time and once again, the degenerative process will advance. To permanently correct the lumbar spine, at least 60% correction of the normal lordic curve of the cervical spine must be achieved. This is why, for many acute lumbar disc cases decompression of the lumbar disc is performed only during the acute pain episode. Once pain reduction occurs, the patient is then decompressed from the cervical spine down, in order to correct and restore the cervical curve, the original cause. In other words, you must fix the neck with postural rehab and curve correction, in order to stabilize and enhance the benefits of spinal decompression of the lumbar spine!

The Pettibon System of Chiropractic Spinal Rejuvenation goes beyond simple decompression with the Spinal Rejuvenation Table (SRT) utilizing Whole Body Vibration (WBV). With higher contractility of the muscles occurring with WBV, muscles fatigue occurs 50% faster allowing spasm and splinted muscles to relax, enabling quicker decompression of the compressed disc and greater pain relief. This essentially reduces the decompression time from the standard 30 minutes of traditional methods, to 15 minutes or less with the use of WBV. Whole Body Vibration was developed over 40 years ago in the Soviet Union to train their Olympic athletes and rehabilitate cosmonauts returning from outer space who commonly suffered muscle atrophy and loss of bone from zero gravity. With the right vibratory frequency, WBV has been shown to increase endocrine activity. Growth hormone increased by 361%, testosterone increased by 7%, cortisol, the fat producing stress hormone decreased by 32%, blood flow increased by 100%, and back pain reduced by 66%.

Traditional rehabilitation involves performing resistance exercises through a range of motion (ie weights, machines, bands, etc.), which only works the fast twitch muscles. Exercising the fast twitch muscles will make you strong but they will not change the structure or remove the underlying cause of your disc problem. These muscles will help you carry your groceries better, while your spinal structure continues to degenerate and your body becomes sick. The spinal muscles that support the spiral curves and determine your future and health are slow-twitch postural muscles. These slow twitch muscles require isometric exercise (sustained resistance) to strengthen and restore postural health. Once the spinal is specifically decompressed, specific body weighting of the head, shoulder, and hips, exclusively tailor to each patient, are essential parts of the corrective isometric exercise program designed to predictably restore ones optimal spinal and postural alignment, permanently!

The Pettibon System of Chiropractic Spinal Correction in conjuction with the Pettibon Spinal Rejuvenation Table (SRT), utilizing Whole Body Vibration and decompression, is one of the only systems proven, with evidence based research, to achievable disc re-hydration, structural correction, with neurological and physiological restoration of health and function, that sticks.

At Gold Coast Chiropractic Center we're dedicated to reach, teach, and touch as many people as possible, bringing hope and restoration of health to those whom standard medical treatment and regular chiropractic care have proven insufficient.

{ Comments are closed }

Treatment of Back and Spine Conditions With Massage Therapy

When individuals think about the treatment of their spine they think of a number of ways they can treat it. Commonly prescribing thinking under mainstream medicine is to medicate it. While medication can help reduce the pain level and help fight inflammation, it masks the pain by hiding it; thereby not resolving the undering cause of the pain. Medication allow us to go on with our day to lives in our demanding schedules, but do nothing to correct the problem. The problem may be stemming from a number of things. Pain is a broad term and very subjective; as subjective as the person experiencing it. Acute pain (that arriving of a new injury or trauma or ocean) is easier to determine the cause. By assessing what the individual did prior to the sunset uncovers a lot of the mystery. But sometimes it's not that simple. Back pain affects some 8 out of 10 people statistically at some point in the lives according to the NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. It is the number one reason of disability of persons under the age of 45 as well as the second leading cause of doctors visits in American, second only to the common cold.

By taking an assessment of the history of the patient a better determination can be made. A proper diagnosis makes recovery easier to treat. Simple muscle strains and strain makes up for a lot of discomfort in individuals as well emotional, physical and physiological stress, poor nutrition, poor body mechanics, repetitive use dysfunction, spinal abnormalities, scar tissue formation from past unresolved traumas and or surgery and other abnormalities including underlying diseases can exhibit symptoms of back pain. So as simple as the diagnosis is of having back pain, it may have other dimensions that create a complexity of findings. Most health care providers as well as insurance companies policies require, which is a practical approach, is to start with the most cost effective and least evasive (non intrusive to the body) care in managing pain of a patient.

Massage therapy happens to be one of the conservative, more natural approaches of healing for back and spinal pain. By addressing the connective tissues in relaxing the tissue, giving it normal length and range of motion, eliminating scar tissue and inflammation and increasing circulation you allow healing to take place naturally. The attachments of soft tissue correspond to underlying structures (bone and cartilage) of the body giving it the ability to be flexible. By lengthening the tissues and addressing these attachments (connections to the structure or skeletal system) you are able to affect the body and it s structures naturally by changing the formation of dysfunction. Muscles and the soft tissues sounding and making up the muscular system are malleable and conduct behavior by patterning itself to conditioned response from the nervous system. Trauma, disease, stress, lifestyle, surgery and other dysfunctions as noted prior can disturb, change and affect adversely this response creating a repatterning that when becoming chronic (long-standing) can assert as “normal” conditioning or patterning. By changing the repatterning of dysfunction through soft tissue manipulation the body find restoration and balance.

http://www.harmonymassagetherapy.com

Copyright 3/30/2012

{ Comments are closed }

Handle Low Back Pain Effectively With Physical Therapy

How many times have you heard about or seen someone dealing with lower back pain? Pain of the lower lumbar and related areas comprising the lower back may be among the most common types of frequently occurring pain. This kind of pain affects people of all ages and both men and women. Many people affected with chronic lower back pain are turning to physical therapy professionals to help less the severity and alleviate the symptoms.

In the US, it is estimated that as much as 80% of the population in the 25 to 55 year-old bracket will deal with this kind of discomfort in their lives. Some deal with it as a regular part of life. With this kind of influence, it becomes vital to recognize those activities that may prolong or aggravate the occurrences of lower back pain.

It also benefits sufferers to seek the most beneficial treatment methods. Natural treatment by a skilled physical therapist may be just the ticket to providing a helpful solution to this common problem.

This kind of therapy is among the methods that address the conditions or activities causing the pain or discomfort through the use of physical movements. This can be beneficial in a lot of instances and presents an excellent option. It is a non-invasive alternative treatment modality, and does not call for any kind of surgical or specialized medical intervention. Yet patients can still obtain pain-relieving results without the associated recovery time or trauma associated with medical treatment.

The objectives of this kind of therapy are designed to address these primary goals:

– Decrease the intensity and level of back pain

– Boost overall performance

– Provide knowledge about routine care and maintenance regimens to lessen or end repeated episodes

There are two usual approaches to providing you with maximum relief from chronic pain of the lower back. They are:

Passive Therapy Treatment:

There are various kinds of physiotherapy utilized. Your therapist may first focus on decreasing the pain with passive treatment. These particular treatments are viewed as passive therapy options because they are performed passively while patients are relaxed and often in a state of rest. Some of these kinds of treatment are:

– Ice as well as heat packs administrated directly to the areas of discomfort

– Ultrasound

– TENS units

– Iontophoresis

Often your therapist will recommend using the methods above in a combination that is beneficial to each patient.

Active Treatment Methods:

Along with the passive treatment plans, active therapy will also often be essential to rehabilitate the small of the back. Typically, an active back exercise routine for patients will include using these combinations of active movement:

– A stretching program

– Movements for strengthening and conditioning lower back muscles

– Low-impact aerobic exercise routines

There are numerous benefits associated with low back pain physiotherapy. Both passive and active kinds of treatment plans work hand-in-hand to boost the speed and effectiveness of healing, while also delivering pain relief. To attain ideal results, it will be important to proceed with treatments for a few days.

Using a therapist for reducing conditions of the lower back is the most effective method to manage back problems without the need for under the risks of taking drugs or other substances. With effective treatment, the use of medications, surgical procedures and interventions can be greatly minimized or eliminated altogether.

Prior to getting physiotherapy for the purpose of treating low back pain, it is advisable to seek advice from your physician. They are the experts that can assess and pinpoint if there are any other conditions that may be exacerbating or causing the symptoms or problems you are having.

S / he may occasionally provide you with various beneficial recommendations so you can get relief from the discomfort associated with lower back pain. If physiotherapy is a viable option for you, it is always almost a prerequisite that it come in the form of professional advice from your primary health care provider.

Physical therapy may be used to treat lower back pain and utilized to care for the effect handicapped that are at the extreme upper levels for this kind of pain. These are the people that are incapacitated of functioning with any typical sense of normalcy.

For these individuals, a combined treatment regimen of physical activity and therapy is a dual-pronged approach to effective treatment on a couple of levels. An exercise routine can stretch muscles and reestablish healthy flexibility and functionality. To protect yourself from recurring problems, you can continue this kind of exercise regimen after you obtain pain relief for long-term alleviation of the symptoms.

{ Comments are closed }

Minimising Injury From Using a Personal Computer

In the event that you spend a large quantity of your work time using a PC, the chances are you are going to injure yourself over time. It is likely that you may not have any physical signs and symptoms like an uncomfortable back, tense shoulders, stiff neck or pins and needles and tingling in your fingers. However, prolonged use of a PC computer system may very well be adding significantly to long-term injury. Research is demonstrating that the repetitive stress of using a PC is unexpectedly unhealthy in the long term. Fortunately there are a number of actions available to use combat these issues.

Protect your muscles and joints:

Joints and muscles do not usually show clear and straight signs that they're under strain. Over time, muscles slowly change length and cause the position of our joints to change.This places stress on abnormal structures such as nerves, blood vessels and ligaments. This often goes unnoticed until the body suddenly gives up adapting and signals a crisis by triggering pain. It is usually only then that we seek help. At this point, the process of degeneration took many years and consequentially, the recovery process is similarly protracted. So act now to preserve your body and stay healthy.

The most important piece of advice is to take frequent rests. The key reason for taking frequent breaks from sitting is that the human body finds it really demanding to sit in a static position for a long period of time. When you are active, multiple muscles are joints moved and exercised. However, when sitting, a specific set of muscles are used in the same way meaning that certain muscles are traditionally lengthened and other muscles are traditionally shortened.

Frequent breaks are the best method to avoid future health problems. If you commonly tend to get consumed in what you're doing, arrange some type of alarm clock to remind you it's time to stop and take a break. Using an alarm clock is an excellent way to track time. However, set it up somewhere else so you have to get up and walk to turn it off. This will ensure you do actually get up out of your seat. You are there before more likely to take a break.

Do some kind of light activity such as walking around the office. Even better, swing your arms as you walk. If your breaks are frequent they do not need to be very long. Five or ten minutes every hour or so is fine. Even better, perform a few simple neck and shoulder stretches as well.

Protect your overall stress levels

A high abundance of stress continuously overworks the body's neurological system. Our bodies are designed with a flight or fight response that has evolved over millions of years. This is to protect us from danger as we become more responsive and alert. However, this mechanism is only designed to be used in the rare instances of actual danger. By constantly accessing this mechanism, through stress and deadlines, we are overloading our bodies, which can lead to long term health degeneration.

Taking a break relieves us from the mental stress associated with our work and calms our body's neurological system. When we are up against a deadline, it is often tempting to continue to work on a task even when we are feeling it's time to stop. Mental fatigue is counterproductive and is dangerous to long-term health. We often get more done in the long term by taking breaks. This is because as we become tired we make more frequent mistakes. A change of scenery often helps. If you do not have access to a park or green area, try closing your eyes and imagining you are in a relaxing place.

Maintain Energy and Focus

Avoid unhealthy eating in the office. Take a bag of fruit to work and eat that instead of snacking on chocolate. Sit away from the vending machines. If healthy meals are not provided at work, take your own food so you can control what you are eating.

Consuming sugary snacks may seem to give you a lift, but this will be temporary and you will feel tired later on in the afternoon. This is because sugar consumption causes an insulin response in the body, which lowers the body's overall sugar level.

Protect your eyes

By constantly looking at a computer screen for long periods of time, our eye muscles become weaker as our eyes become used to focus on near distances. To protect your eyes, take frequent breaks outside so you can focus on far away objects.

You can perform a simple exercise to your eye muscles by rapidly and repetitively focussing on near and far away objects for 1 minute when you take a break.

Outside the office

We can offset some of the daily damage done in the office by investing in a healthy lifestyle when we finish work. While we do not have 100% control over our work environment, we have control over our free time. Eating a wholesome diet, watching our weight, exercising and sleeping well are habits which will protect us from the destructive habits imposed by our office routine.

By investing in our health at work and after work, we can become more productive and productive at work. This in itself will lead to less work-related stress. Consequently, we will have energy to enjoy our free time, which is what life is all about. So here's wishing you a healthy and happy life.

{ Comments are closed }

Avoid Back Pain From Playing The Guitar

Playing an instrument is a rewarding pastime for some and a way of life for others. Whatever your level of investment in your instrument, you may find that you experience pain after practicing, especially if you practice for a long period of time.

Whether sitting or standing, right-handed or left, you are using one side of your body differently than the other when playing guitar. The shoulder, hand and forearm on the side that you use to navigate the fretboard are working more than those on your strumming side. If you stand when playing, this imbalance is exacerbated by the strap. Right-handed players support the weight of their guitar on the left side, which is also the fretting side, and vice versa for left-handed players. The extra work these muscles do causes them to become tense and shortened after prolonged use. Muscles that are tight become weak, as they are not flexible enough to perform work without possible injury. This can cause the muscles of the other side to attempt to compensate for them through your day, leading to tightness on that side as well.

The following tips will help to prevent neck, shoulder and back pain caused by overuse when playing the guitar.

Warm Up

You may think that a warmup for guitar playing means finger exercises on the fretboard. These are important, both for playing quality and for your finger and forearm muscles. However, the rest of your body should be warm up, too. The neck, back, shoulders and hips should be stretched before your practice session. This ensures that the muscles are flexible and have received fresh nutrients and oxygen from increased blood flow to perform work with.

Proper Posture

One of the most important postural tips to keep in mind when playing guitar is to keep your shoulders low and you spain straight. Many people, especially new players, will hunch over the instrument sitting down and tense their shoulders as they concentrate on their playing. Body awareness is one of your best protections against poor posture when playing guitar. Whether you're sitting or standing, make every effort not to hunch over the guitar. For new players or those used to looking at the fretboard, this may take some practice. Begin relying on the dots that indicate fret numbers on the side of your guitar's neck, or make your own indicators with colorful tape. Keep your neck as upright as possible. Make sure your shoulders are not creeping up toward your head.

If standing, play around with the length of your guitar strap. Some people prefer to keep the guitar low, while others like it very high. Ergonomically, the best position is that which sets the weight of the guitar's body at your center of gravity, which is around navel level for men and hip level for women. If the guitar is lower, your shoulder strain will increase. If it is higher, you may find yourself raising your shoulders. Check out the DuoStrap, designed to allow the weight of your guitar to be shared by both shoulders: http://www.gruvgear.com/duostrap-signature .

Seating position for standard guitars involves resting the “waist” of the guitar (the indent between the upper and lower half of the body) on the thigh of your strumming side with your legs in an open stance. Resist the temptation to cross your legs; This causes your body to twist, increasing stress on your hip muscles, spine and lower back muscles. Your strumming arm should rest lightly on the lower half of the guitar. Classical guitarists support the weight of the guitar on the thigh of the fretting side with the neck pointing more upward. Classical or standard, your shoulders should be low and loose.

Those who would like to learn more about proper body mechanics, both when playing and not, should refer to the Alexander Technique. See their website at http://www.alexandertechnique.com/ for more information.

Breaks

Some people can grab their guitars and stay put for hours, but your initial warmup will not keep your muscles loose for that long. After half an hour of play, take a break and move around. If you play sitting, stand up and allow your hip muscles to elongate. If you play standing, give your legs a break and take a seat. Repeat your warmup stretches. Taking a two-minute break every half hour or so will allow your muscles to refresh themselves.

Playing guitar should not cause you pain. Paying attention to posture, warm up and taking breaks will help prevent prevent back pain during your practice sessions.

{ Comments are closed }

Help! My Low Back Pain and Sciatica Are Killing Me!

The pain in your low back drops you to your knees again. All you did was bend over to pick up the pen you dropped on the floor. This time is different, though. It's worse than it's been in the past. This time you feel pain shoot down the back of your leg. A white-hot dagger is stabbing you in the rear end and you feel numbness and tingling in your leg, sometimes all the way down to your foot. You can not straighten up to walk and you are limping along like you've been shot. You remain still and pray the pain goes away … but it does not go away. In fact, it's getting worse. Your thoughts come in rapid-fire success, “what is happening to me, what should I do, who do I call, should I go to the emergency room, will I need surgery?” Good questions.

If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, chances are you have a herniated disc in your lower back, one of the causes of mechanical back pain. The swapping from inflammation or the disc itself can cause an impingement or “pinching” of the spinal nerve root. The lower lumbar nerve roots eventually form the sciatic nerve in your leg. Inflammation of this nerve is commonly known as sciatica. “Mechanical low back pain is one of the most common patient complaints expressed to emergency physicians in the United States for more than 6 million cases annually.” Nearly two-thirds of adults are affected by mechanical low back pain at some point in their lives, making it the second most common complaint in ambulatory medicine and the third most expensive disorder in terms of health care dollars spent, surpassed only by cancer and heart disease. ” 1

But just because you have these symptoms, does not need to mean that you need to rush to the surgeon. According to a landmark study published in the medical journal Spine, “an operation should not be performed if other treatment will give equivalent results within an acceptable period of time … the patient with low back pain and sciatica should not automatically be referred to the surgeon. ” 2 If that's the case, then what are some of your other options? If you are like most people, the first place you will think to visit will be your family doctor's office (or an emergency room, if you are really in a panic). Traditionally, medical doctors will prescribe medications, such as pain killers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories or any combination of these. There are three problems with taking medication, if this is all that is done.

  1. Medication only treats the symptoms.
  2. Medication only provides temporary relief.
  3. Medication has many unhealthy side-effects. Take the time to read the warning insert with any of these medications and you will know what I'm talking about.

By contrast, chiropractic care has been shown to be more effective in treating chronic low back pain than traditional medical care. In one study published in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), it concluded that “… the improvement for chiropractic patients was 5 times greater than for medical patients.” Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors show greater improvement and satisfaction at 1 month than patients treated by family physicians. ” 3

Are there times when surgery is necessary? The answer is, most definitely, yes. Absolute signs for surgical intervention are those patients with cauda equina syndrome (which is rare), in the presence of severe motor deficits resulting from a large extruded or migrated disc fragment, and in patients with intractable pain. None of these conditions is present, chiropractic care for the treatment of discogenic or mild to moderate sciatic pain from intervertebral disc herniation has been proven to be safe and effective. One study shows that chiropractic treatment (in this case in the cervical spine) is 100 times safer than using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like asprin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. 4 Another study shows patients had an 86% improvement in chronic low back pain after a course of chiropractic care. 5

As a side note, let me also say that medical care and chiropractic care are not mutually exclusive ways to treat mechanical low back pain and sciatica. In my experience, I have seen great results with the most severe cases when managing these conditions cooperatively with a patient's primary care doctor or pain management specialist. In these cases the medication is useful or necessary in order for the patient to tolerate conservative care; for example, when it is extremely difficult for the patient to move or to be moved.

Lastly, not every case of sciatica is caused by a herniated disc. A condition called piriformis syndrome can cause impingement of the sciatic nerve as it exits the pelvis. Basically, the piriformis muscle attaches at the sacrum, passes through the greater sciatic notch of the pelvis, and attaches to the top of the femur (the upper leg bone). Atheletes who participate in sports where they are sitting, such as rowing or cycling are particularly vulnerable to strains of the piriformis. Runners who overpronate are also susceptible to piriformis injury. When the muscle is injured, it causes swelling due to inflammation, which can then irritate or compress the sciatic nerve as it exits the pelvis. It is important to rule out spinal injury as the cause of sciatica, but the following video will demonstrate a stretch for the piriformis muscle . If your symptoms resolve after performing the stretch for a week or two, then you probably had piriformis syndrome and should continue this stretch as part of your daily routine to help prevent future injury. However, if you are still experiencing the same symptoms or if they intensify, seek professional help as soon as possible.

  1. Kinkade S. Evaluation and treatment of acute low back pain . Am Fam Physician . Apr 15, 2007; 74 (8): 1181-8.
  2. Weber H. Lumbar disc herniation: a controlled prospective study with ten years of observation . Spine 1983; 8: 131-40.
  3. Nyiendo J, Haas M, Goodwin P. Patient characteristics, practice activities, and one-month opportunities for chronic, recurrent low-back pain treated by chiropractors and family medical doctors: A practice-based feasibility study . JMPT 2000 May; 23 (4): 239-245.
  4. Hurwitz EL, Aker PD, Adams AH, Meeker WC, Shekelle PG. Manipulation and mobilization of the cervical spine. A systematic review of the literature. Spine 1996 Aug 1/21 (15): 1746-59.
  5. Harrison DE, Cailliet R, Harrison DD, Janik TJ, Holland B. Changes in sagittal lumbar configuration with a new method of extension traction: nonrandomized clinical controlled trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2002 Nov; 83 (11): 1585-91.

{ Comments are closed }

Lower Left Back Pain – The Facts

Lower Left Back Pain
Lower left back pain can be caused by a large majority of different ailments, a large number of which are resolved with traditional back exercises and stretching, or therapy.

Causes
The most common cause of lower back pain, which may be due to lower left back pain, or lower right back pain is caused by muscular knots. These knots themselves can be caused by a large number of issues, but generally due to the center of gravity of the body being shifted from neutral. This in turn causes the smaller supporting muscles to work a lot harder to allow the body to balance, and fatigue sets in. These injuries may not get the opportunity to heal as the undering cause may still be upsetting the center of the body.

Kidney Problems
A common cause of lower left back pain can be kidney problems, specifically ailments such as kidney stones, or a kidney infection. The reason the pain occurs, besides the problems in the kidney is that the kidney may be inflamed, and can displace the internal organs and tissue in that area. This will in turn cause the body's center to be away from its neutral position, putting the muscles under pressure.

Intestinal Problems
Other causes of pain can be intestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. This sort of problem will also lead to inflammation in the intestine, which could lead to cramping, and those cramps could also cause further imbalance and pain. The swelling itself can have a direct impact on the body's center and may well result in pain in the back.

Muscular Strain
Something as simple as a closed muscle in the back from lifting incorrectly, or from a sporting injury can lead to lower left back pain. The muscles of the back may then compensate for this weakness in the muscles with other maker muscles, which will become tired more quickly, and lead to knots and possible spasm in the muscles. It is possible that lower left back pain may be felt for a problem that exists is the lower right of the back, and is due to the muscles of the left side of the back compensating for this.

Pregnancy
During pregnancy pain may also be felt in the lower left, this is due to the internal organs and tissues being moved around, causing a shift of balance for the body. Add to this the fact that a baby of considerable weight is growing, and pulling the body forwards, causing the back to work harder. In this situation it is important to stretch, and exercise lightly, as well as maintaining good posture, and resting more often if necessary.

Medication
For any pain in the back, taking medication should only be considered as a short-term measure, as the underlying problem needs to be resolved, especially as the cause may be something that will make the pain get worse. As with all pain in the back, unless it is a short-lived pain caused by and easily recognizable problem, such as a strained muscle, you should seek medical advice, to ensure that the pain is not indicative of a more serious problem that you are not aware of.

{ Comments are closed }

Understanding Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is an ailment that you can not just ignore. If you are suffering from this, it would be difficult to do your daily tasks because your movements are hindered. Aside from that, it would be almost impossible to concentrate too because the pain will be a distraction that you can not easily brush off.

The pain that you are feeling may not really be serious. However, if you would like to get rid of this annoying feeling, the first step is discovering the cause. Once you have pin pointed the actual reason why there's pain in the area, then the right cure follows.

One thing that you have to keep in mind when experiencing upper back pain is that you should not immediately drink pills. These will only dull the pain without really dealing with the root cause of the problem. You may not be feeling the pain but the problem is still unsolved. Even worse, it might actually result in a bigger problem.

Muscular irritation is one of the primary causes. This is also called as myofascial pain. This can be a result of careless lifting of heavy objects or strenuous use of the shoulders and arms. When the arms, hands and shoulders are overworked, the upper back muscles are also strained.

Myofascial pain is also common for sudden impact caused by sports injury, vehicular accident, hitting a hard surface or receiving a heavy blow. For mild pain accompanied by bruising, application of cold compress and sufficient rest will do. However, more serious cases may need bandaging and support which should be placed by a professional medical practitioner. Sometimes, when muscles are badly torn, rehabilitation which involves stretching and strengthening would be needed.

Joint dysfunction can also be the reason. This is typical for athletes who get injuries during a game because of a bad fall. The joints within the shoulder and that which connects the ribs to the thoracic spinal can cause pain when these are injured.

Before you immediately assume that the pain you are feeling is on your upper back, you might want to consider other possibilities too. Sometimes, people mistakenly describe upper back pain when in fact the origin of the ache is in their chest. This is very common and can lead to misdiagnosis since the sensation is not well described to the physician. If you are not quite sure where the pain really starts, be honest with the doctor so that necessary exams and tests can be performed.

When it comes to treating upper back pain, there are different experts that you should rely on. For joint and bone problems, the chiropractor is the one you should go to. They are knowledgeable when it comes to doing adjustments and realignment so that the pain will go away. For muscular problems, physiotherapists are the ones to consult. They can perform procedures that will relax and heal the muscles. Do not try to medicate on your own so your recovery from the pain would not take such a long time.

{ Comments are closed }

Understanding Back Exercises For Spondylolisthesis

Exercise and stretching are two great treatment options for spondylolisthesis. However, performing the wrong exercise or stretch can be harmful and lead to greater pain and discomfort. It is important to understand that the purpose of exercise is to reduce spondylolisthesis related pain.

The Purpose of Exercise For Back Pain

The purpose of exercise and stretching for those who suffer from pain associated with spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis is to correct and strengthen areas of weakness, tightness, or overuse. For a majority of those who suffer from lower grade spondylolisthesis (grades 1 and 2) those weaknesses and tightness lie around the spine. The areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Quads and hip flexor muscles
  • Glutes
  • Core
  • Hamstrings
  • Mid to upper back
  • Ankles / calves
  • Pelvic muscles

The previously mentioned areas should be targeted in the exercise and stretching program to help improve the chances of long-term relief.

Why Not Work The Back?

The reason the low back is not included in this list is due to the fact that those who suffer from spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis usually overuse the muscles and soft tissues of the low back with daily activities.

The back is often blamed for things that should be rewarded for. When playing sports, sitting at work, or exercising your muscles are working together to achieve proper movement. The hips, core, hamstrings, quads and most importantly glutes are working together like the gears of a finely tuned machine.

When one of these gears is tight, weak or not working on all cylinders the back sometimes steps up to assist. Not long after that the back gets tired, stressed and overworked. If a spondylolysis is present slippage could occur in the vertebrae causing inflammation, tightness and discomfort in or around the back.

A Common Mistake

A common mistake is to think the presence of back pain means the back is “weak”. More often than not, back pain is caused by overuse of the muscles or tissue around the spine due to the fact that they are picking up the slack for something else.

A big mistake is to rush to the gym and perform multiple back exercises designed to strengthen the back muscles. Exclusively working your back muscles is only going to make your back more painful and irritated.

Try This

Instead you should be focusing on strengthening and extending the support system of the back. Give the gears of your machine (the areas in bullet point above) the stretching and fine tuning they need to stay strong and work correctly. This will help you to increase your chances of avoiding back pain all together.

Instead of blaming the back, give it a thank you and some relief by focusing your workouts on the areas around it.

{ Comments are closed }

Understanding The Causes of Middle Back Pain

Middle back pain is one of the most common problems that hit a lot of people, particularly the adults. It is easy to absorb that it is caused by long hours of sitting due to work or a bad sleeping position. However, the truth is that there is more to back pain than just these simple explanations. If you are feeling pain in the mid-section of your back, then you need to pay attention to it and discover the reason why you are suffering from such.

Do not be quick to dismiss that the pain you are feeling is nothing more than the ordinary. Keep in mind that the middle back is where you will find 12 vertebrae which are also part of the thoracic section of the spine. Yes, there is cartilage between each bone and these enable smooth movement. The cartilage also acts as shock absorber. When any of these parts do not function the way it is provided to, that is when you feel the pain.

What are the different reasons why a person feels pain in their mid-back section?

• Improper Posture-A lot of people tend to slouch while walking, standing or sitting. If your body is not aligned the right way, the pressure on the mid-section of your back increases. Slouching for a long period of time also jeopardizes the condition of the vertebrae and cartilage, resulting to pain.

• Extensive Muscle Use-Whether it is due to sports, labor or workout, overusing your muscles will lead to back pain. Lifting heavy objects can also tear the tissues of the muscle.

• Sudden Twisting-This could be a result of a simple bad stretch, slipping or an accident. A sudden twist could impair the muscles, cartilage or even the actual vertebrae.

• Herniated Disk-This is the problem when a bulge forms in between the vertebrae which causes leakage to the spinal column. Aside from that, the lump will also pinch the nerves which will make the pain even more intolerable.

• Arthritis-This is a normal problem for the older people. The cartilages lose its elasticity and smoothness. Here, when movement is done, the vertebrae tend to painfully rub with each other.

• Osteoporosis-This is a problem related to the health of the bones. When bone degeneration occurs, it would be harder to support the body. Here, there will be more pressure which could trigger pain.

Simple back pains are often resolved by getting sufficient rest until the body heals itself. This could take a couple of days to a week and the pain should gradually decrease.

Contrary to what other people think, intensive workout or exercise would not resolve the problem. It is okay to allow the middle back part to do some light movements like careful stretching or gentle yoga but this has to be done very cautiously.

Before you even do anything to try and resolve your back pain, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor. That way, you would not aggravate the situation.

{ Comments are closed }

Alternative Aids to Achieve Relief From Sciatica Pain

Many people suffer from sciatica pain. These people certainly need to be informed of any possible solutions that may help them experience relief from such terrible pain. There are various sciatica cures, but some individuals prefer non-invasive forms of treatment. Natural methods in curing sciatica are proven to be effective, and compared to other types of help for sciatica which pose no side effects.

Here is some of the alternative sciatica cures that can help you alleviate or lessen the pain:

• Vitamin B12
One of the symptoms of sciatica is back pain, which vitamin B12 can help with. Vitamin B12 helps keeping your brain and bones healthy. Intake of this vitamin will enable you to have increased muscle control and will help you avoid an illness called pernicious anemia. Aside from taking vitamin B12 supplements, you may consume vitamin B12 by eating poultries and meats.

• Vitamin D
When our unscreened skin is exposed to the sun, our bodies manufacture vitamin D. Because it is naturally produced vitamin D is abundant, and there is not hard to acquire if we allow our skin a regular time in the sun. Vitamin D is known to help in curing back pains. To help you stay clear from serious musculoskeletal disorders a daily intake of vitamin B12 in a supplement form and exposure to more sunlight is recommended.

• Magnesium
Relief from sciatica may be achieved by having ample amounts of magnesium in the body. Because more than 300 chemical reactions that occur in the body require this mineral, magnesium is deemed essential for our body to function normally. Magnesium-rich foods include vegetables such as parsley, carrots, cauliflower, celery, spinach, and broccoli.

• Yoga
According to recent studies, practicing yoga for sciatica is effective in relieving pain and other sciatica symptoms. The practice of yoga not only improves flexibility but it also helps in enhancing the body's balance. Aside from its physical benefits, preforming yoga yoga calms the body and mind and leads to a more relaxed emotional and mental state.

• Chiropractic Visits
Visit a back specialist, a qualified Chiropractic for sciatica problems is another non-invasive form of natural help for your sciatica cures. Contrary to other known perceptions of chiropractic, it is more than just a form of massage therapy. Chiropractic focuses on the spinal alignment and this will remove any pinched sciatic nerve which will also help in improving acute sciatica attacks and chronic back pains.

• Balanced diet
Unknown to some people, there are some foods that contribute to chronic inflammation in the body which leads to pain. Change to a healthier daily diet that will include foods that can help decrease and alleviate infection, such as fish and nuts. Also, drink plenty of water through the day.

• Hot compress
For patients who experience acute sciatica attacks, avoid taking long naps and lifting items that are too heavy. Exercise is good for improving the health of your body and any problematic conditions but limit the physical activities that will put too much strain on your back. After the physical activities, apply a hot compress to your back.

• Stress
The final factor is stress. Stress is the scourge of our body. It does terrible unseen things to our health, immune system and particularly our spine. Good back health is reliant on adequate energy in the spine. Unfortunately stress depletes the spine of its natural life force, and people with any back problems will suffer more at times of increased stress. So if you have sciatica do all you can to banish stress from your life. Regular deep breathing and meditation will bring you more control over your thoughts and emotions. Do not underestimate the power of this remedy!

Although the taking of pain killers can sometimes help in curing sciatica pain, this is only a short term answer which does not reach the root cause of the problem, and the pain will only return again later if not probably treated. It is always best to seek out natural treatments because they will not entail you to load your body with chemicals. Visit a natural alternative therapy professional and ask for their recommendations on the various treatments that are available. Do not suffer in pain because you need to find help quickly. Remember it will never get better by itself.

{ Comments are closed }

How Stress Affects Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is common and most adults have suffered from it at some point in their life. Chronic pain is any type of pain that last for an extended amount of time. The pain that you feel is actually a symptom caused by some type of injury or disease but in some cases, this pain is a symptom created by having too much stress in your life.

Stress Can Create Pain or Make It Worse

Did you know that stress could affect pain in two different ways? It can create the pain you're feeling or it can make an existing pain caused from an injury or disease worse. Your body and mind work together as one and when the emotional side of your brain becomes too stressed, you could begin feeling pain in your lower back, neck, shoulders or some other part of the body.

This type of pain is very real. The brain uses it as a type of defense mechanism designed to distract you from the stress because the pain is less destructive to your overall health and well-being than the stress is. Simply put, your brain is protecting itself from a lifetime of stress.

If you're suffering from pain in your lower back or other areas of your body, stress can make this pain worse than it should be. It will not make the actual condition worse but it can make the pain more intense.

Why and How Stress Affects Pain

To understand how stress affects pain, you need to understand why and how it happens. People are subjected to stress at a very early age. Stress is created by everything from becoming angry over something to grief over the loss of a loved one.

After going through a stressful time, it becomes a bad memory that's stored in your unconscious mind. Over the years, these memories begin to build and indeed they start to surface to the conscious mind. As a way for your brain to prevent this from happening, it decrees the blood flow to a certain part of the body such as the lower back.

Restricted blood flow reduces the amount of oxygen sent to this part of the body. Less oxygen causes waste products to build up in the tissues around the spinal and before long pain will develop in that area. The pain will then take the focus from the memories trying to surface and put it on the pain. This pain is very real but it will not cause any permanent damage to that area of ​​the body.

This whole process occurs because the brain sees this pain as being less dangerous to the body than what the effect would be if these unconscious memories surfaced. It's designed to protect you, even though the pain can be severe and last for a long time.

Everyone has stress in one form or another. It's part of life and there is no way to avoid it. However, there are ways to reduce or eliminate the lower back pain caused by stress.

{ Comments are closed }

Can A Chiropractor Help Your Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain is a very common condition that most people experience at some point in their lives. In the United Kingdom, almost 10 million Britons deal with this condition daily and it is now considered to be a leading cause of disability by medical experts.

Fortunately, there are some very effective treatments available for lower back pain. One of the most best options is chiropractic treatment. It involves the non-surgical manipulation of the spinal to correct alignment issues and ensures the body's musculoskeletal structure is correct. This article will explain how a chiropractor can help you alleviate your pain.

There are multiple potential causes of lower back pain, but the most common include:

Strains or tears in muscles and ligaments (mechanical pain)

Many people suffer from lower back pain because they have injured the muscles or ligaments in their back. Often, this has occurred from sports injuries, picking up heavy objects, lifting while twisting the spine, or a serious accident. Damage to your muscles and ligaments can even be caused by sleeping in an awkward position or having improper posture for many years.

Slipped (herniated) disc

The final column consists of a series of bones that are stacked upon one another. It includes bones in the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, sacrum, and coccyx.

Each bone is cushioned by a disc, which helps your body absorb shocks. The discs have two sections – a soft inner section and a tough outer ring. If a disc has been damaged or weakened, the soft section may push through the tough outer lining. This is called a herniated or slipped disc. It can be very painful and cause inflammation in your lower back.

Pinched sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. It consist of many nerve roots that branch out from the spine in the lower back. If a part of the sciatic nerve is compressed by a poorly aligned spine or an injury, it can cause a significant amount of back pain. The pain from a pinched sciatic nerve can also appear in the buttocks and legs.

Referred pain

Referred back pain is pain caused by the legs, ankles, feet, and hips that affects the back. This can often be corrected by improving a person's posture.

How can a chiropractor help you?

Chiropractic treatments involve a hands-on manipulation of the body to properly align the spine and the body's musculoskeletal structure. This helps the body heal without the need for surgery or medication and can relate lower back pain.

Chiropractors often perform a spinal adjustment to realign the spine and surrounding muscles. This procedure involves the use of controlled force to the joints of the spine to bring the spine back into its natural position. This kind of procedure can restore mobility, help the body heal and heal pain in the lower back.

Some of the techniques that may be used by a chiropractor when performing a spinal adjustment include:

  • Direct robust technique
    The chiropractor uses high velocity force to realign a specific part of the back. This is what people commonly called having your back cracked .
  • Functional technique
    Force is primarily applied to a joint until a release is felt and the joint is re-aligned.
  • Table adjustments
    The chiropractor may use a table with a drop piece that releases when they apply pressure to the spine.
  • Pelvic blocking
    The chiropractor places wedges under the patient's body, then gently moves a spinal disc away from a nerve. The wedge helps the chiropractor move the spine with less pressure. This technique is often used to treat a pinched sciatic nerve or slipped disc.
  • Articulatory
    The chiropractor will move joints through their full range of motion.

Over the years, various studies have looked at the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments for dealing with lower back pain. One study, published in 2013, found that chiropractic treatments significantly reduced pain and improved function in military veterans suffering from back pain.

Other studies have found that:

  • Chiropractic treatments produce equivalent or superior results compared to other treatment methods like medication and exercise for lower back pain relief.
  • Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy in conjunction with standard medical care offers a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning.
  • Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians.

If you are suffering from lower back pain, consider visiting a chiropractor. They may be able to correct any issues that you are experiencing and help you enjoy life without lower back pain.

{ Comments are closed }