Is Your One Leg Longer Than The Other?

A particularly pleasant gentleman entered my office recently with left sided low back pain after raking up the pine needles through his own yard. He had spoken to a physiotherapist who had described his problem as “a rotated hip”, which was explained in “one leg being longer than the other”. He had heard that chiropractors commonly treat a problem like his, so he entered my office seeking help.

First of all, I had to clarify that it was not really his hip joint that was causing his problems. The “hip joint” is the ball and socket joint between the bone of his thigh (femur) and a bone in his pelvis (ileum). I continued by telling him that his pain was actually being caused by the “sacroiliac joint”, which is located in the back portion of his pelvis. Health care practitioners and patients alike mistakenly call the “sacroiliac joint” the “hip joint”. In fact, the sacroiliac joint is much different than your hip joint. There is one sacroiliac joint on each side of the back portion of your pelvis, made up of a sacrum bone in the middle (where the bottom of your spine attaches to and your tailbone projects downwards from) and an ileum bone (the large bone you feel at the side of your waistline).

The sacroiliac joint on each side of the pelvis is a very common and often misdiagnosed source of low back pain, which may or may not cause pain or numbness to travel down into the groin or leg (sciatica). This particular gentleman put too much stress on his left sacroiliac joint as he repetitively reached forward and twisted his lower back with each stroke of his rake. Although he was not in any pain prior to raking his lawn, it was likely that the individual mobility of his low back and pelvis joints were not at their full potential to begin with. Therefore, when he challenged these joints by working long and repetitively, they could not handle the stress and inevitably became sore and inflamed.

As for the leg length difference, this is a complicated item to explain accurately so lets see if I can help you understand. The movement within the sacroiliac joints allows the ileum bones at each side of the pelvis to rotate or “tip” forward and backward. This motion occurs when you walk, run, bend forward, bend back, or raise your knee to your chest. In the past, it was thought that the sacroiliac joints did not move at all. However, high quality medical studies have shown that they do move and actually play an important role in actions I just mentioned. One of the sacroiliac joints can become “restricted” or “jammed” in a “rotated forward” or “rotated backward” position when they are injured or even simply become stiff. It is very important that you understand that the sacroiliac joint does not have to be injured or sore for this to occur! As we discussed above, the real “hip joint” is made up of the pelvic bone (ileum) and the thigh bone (femur). Therefore, if the left ileum were rotated forward or backward, it would have a direct effect on the left leg. For example, if this gentleman was lying down and his left sacroiliac joint was jammed or restricted in a position that had the left ileum “rotated forward”, his left leg would appear shorter than the right when you compare the bottom of his heels. The other possibility, and what this gentleman actually had, is when the left ileum is rotated backward. This made his left leg appear longer than the right. I hope this explanation makes sense to you. If it does not or you think you have one leg longer than the other, please drop by my office so I may clarify it for you further.

As far as treatment goes, the task of the chiropractor is to restore the proper positioning and mobility of the sacroiliac joints. He or she does this by performing a series of treatments consisting of “manipulating” or “adjusting” the affected joints. Once this mobility is restored, the remaining treatments are done to maintain it that way until the joint is able to heal fully and naturally.

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Tips for Doing Yard Tasks Safely

Have you noticed how the spring weather triggers many people's primal residential urges to pull weeds, plant flowers, and get the garden started? In my office, the spring weather also signifies something. It is the sunset of an influx of people coming into my office with a sore back as a result of working too long and hard in their yard. In order to prevent this from occurring, please be conscious of the following tips while gardening or doing yard tasks.

First of all, give your muscles a chance to warm up before working in the yard or garden. Practice stretching with the various movements you will be performing while working in the yard. Another option is to take a short ten to fifteen-minute brisk walk around the block to warm up your muscles.

When using a hedge trimmer, keep your back straight and use short side to side strokes to avoid repetitive excess rotation of your upper and lower back. Wide sweeping side to side motions will irritate the joints of your spine. Make sure the shoulder straps are at least a few inches wide and ideally they are padded. Otherwise, the shoulder straps will dig into the muscles of your shoulders and neck. Pause after three to five minutes.

Keep overhead work to five-minute episodes. This is especially true if you are holding a hedge trimmer or some other weighted tool above your head. Avoid extreme reaching with one arm. Not only is this stressful on your shoulder, but it can result in a fall if you are on a ladder.

One of the most notorious gardening activities that often results in back pain is shovelling. This activity requires repetitive bending and twisting of the back, while lifting a shovel full of material. The lower back is generally a strong and stable part of the body. However, when used improperly, problems will arise. When shovelling, both feet should be planed firmly and the pelvis should be facing where the shovel is digging. When a person digs at an angle or at the side of their body, this puts the back in a vulnerable twisted position. This is especially true when a person is digging in front of themselves and then twists to throw the dirt to a different spot. Doing this for a long period of time is really a bad idea. If a person has to move dirt from one spot to another, he or she should dig in front of them and then reposition his or her feet and pelvis to face the spot where the dirt is to be deposited. This prevails the back from twisting at all and keeps it in a safe and neutral position.

When using a wheelbarrow, the same rules apply. The back should remain straight when lifting and pushing a wheelbarrow and be sure not to twist the back. Do not fill the wheelbarrow completely full, as it will be “top-heavy”. If the wheelbarrow is in the process of tipping and a person tries hard to prevent it, this is a prime scenario for a back injury to occurrence.

Keep these tips in mind when doing your spring and summer yard tasks. As well, see your chiropractor prior to trying the yard tasks so that your back is functioning at its full potential. As much as I love helping people with their low back injuries, I feel that preventing an injury from occurring in the first place is much better than trying to treat it after the fact.

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A Muscle That Needs To Be Worked for Relief of Neck Pain

Today what we're going to be talking about is neck pain levator scapula issue. A common mistake that many people make, is thinking that neck pain is only a bony issue. There are many things that can go wrong. Let's discuss this more in depth, by looking at a particular muscle that actually helps alleviate tight neck muscles. The levator scapulae is a muscle that runs at an angle, in the back part of your head and neck. Massage therapists work with this a lot because it's so easily accessible. I'm going to show you how to fix neck pain by taking a deer look at this muscle function. Since the levator scapulae connects the base of the neck to the base of the skull, its main function is to move your shoulders. The tissue in this muscle can adhere to itself, creating a big knot around your shoulder.

Many therapists use cross-fiber friction to start breaking up the knot, yet this is not the main issue. Why is it there in the first place? It's because muscle tissue is trying really hard to support the shoulder. The problem is not the knot, but the binding that occurs within the levator muscle, due to its twisted direction.

So if you have trouble moving your neck because of the tight neck muscles, do not go after the big knot that's there, but slightly higher. You're going to have to find that twist and get it to start learning how to move better. It's common to confuse the twist of the levator muscle with the erector spinae muscle, a muscle that runs length-wise along your back. All you have to do is get these muscles to separate and start learning how to move individually. If you do that, your neck pain is going to subside, but that does not mean you're going to get rid of the pain completely. The majority of the time, this technique will stop the pain almost instantly, but usually it will steadily decrease.

The more you move your head from left to right, the more flexible the levator muscle will become. As a result, this will get your shoulders to drop a little bit more. Doing shoulder scratches will then start to get easier which will create more movement in the neck. It's all about incremental movements.

So if you can not move your neck very well, this is one muscle tissue that will actually work with you. It works with you but it can become tight, so you have to work with it bit by bit by getting it to move ever so slightly. Perform shoulder shrroughs through the day and get the muscle to learn how to move all over again. Your neck pain will then start to subside relatively quickly, as long as you follow the terms of your body.

So do not go after the big knot at the shoulder, but after the twist inside the levator. You'll see a dramatic change in how fast things will improve and how much your shoulders will drop. The density within your traps will start to subside as well.

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The Dangers Of Sitting For Too Long

Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a number of health hazards, especially with older people. In most cases, people can not help sitting for extended periods of time due to the nature of their work, but it's good to always know what kind of risks they are running into with matters relating to their well-being. Below are some of the complications and diseases that may arise as a result of sitting for too long.

Cardiovascular diseases: Sitting down means that there is zero mobility, so no energy is used and no calories are burnt. These results in fats accumulating in the heart, and sometimes causing blockage of veins; thus hindering blood flow in and out of the heart. This often causes heart related diseases, such as heart attacks and high blood pressure.

Swayback: This is a spine condition caused by too much stretching forward of the spinal cord. If a person does not sit straight up or simply slumps into a chair, the end result is a painful back due to a strained spine. Sitting on a chair with the back and the legs at a ninnty degrees angle can significantly reduce the risk of this painful condition.

Deep vein thrombosis: Sitting causes slow blood circulation in the legs. It results in accumulation of fluids in the legs leading to blood clots and swollen ankles. While sitting, make sure that your feet touch the floor, this reduces the strain on the spinal cord and also helps in the circulation of blood.

Obesity: As one must eat, and no fat is converted to energy due to the inert position, it increases cholesterol in the body and it all ends up in the stomach and other parts of the body. This makes the person big and obese, which is a type of disease. Avoid snacks when not doing anything physical, instead take liquids, preferably water.

In order to avoid or reduce the risk of suffering from too much sitting related complications, exercise regularly. If finding time to perform any physical activities is impossible, then take small breaks in between your work. Walk around the office for five minutes after every two hours, it ensures free blood flow through the whole body. Movement stimulates the production of antioxidants, which remove toxins from the body through the lymphatic system. This will also help with good brain functions, because the more blood flows into the brain; the better it functions.

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Topical Pain Cream Therapy for Upper/Middle Back Pain

Four out of five people experience some degree of Upper / Lower Back Pain at some point in their lives. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons that people call in sick at work or make an appointment to see their doctor. There are several common causes for back pain that is bad enough to interfere with a person's daily routine.

Strained Muscles:

Strained muscles are the most common cause of back pain. Straining often happens when we lift something improperly, carry an item which weighs too much, experience a muscle spasm, or make an awkward or abrupt sudden movement that pulls on our muscles and ligaments.

Chronic Diseases:

Such as arthritis and osteoporosis can cause constant aging of the upper or lower back. A ruptured or bulging disc in the spine can also create upper or lower back pain on a regular basis. Even poor posture or wearing ill-fitting shoes that do not provide the proper amount of support for our legs and back muscles can create back pain.


Over the counter drugs such as aspirin or pain relievers containing acetaminophen to help reduce inflammation can be helpful in relieving back pain. Sometimes applying a hot pack or ice pack to the area can also help to reduce inflation and increase healing blood circulation to the affected area of ​​the upper or lower back. One of the easiest and most convenient ways to seek relief from Upper / Lower Back Pain is the application of a quality prescription grade topical pain cream returned by your doctor.

Prescription Grade Topical Pain Creams:

A topical pain cream is applied directly to the skin over the affected area of ​​the back where the pain is felt most intensely. Soon after the cream is properly applied, it will be absorbed directly into the skin and then move deeply into those areas of the muscle that are experiencing pain due to inflammation.

A topical pain cream that has an anti-inflammatory as its main active ingredient can be very effective in reducing swelling and eliminating pain and inflammation surrounding the site of the application. Topical pain creams are also very safe to use because their anti-inflammatory dose is very minimal with no side-effects.

Most insurance carriers cover the cost of treating Upper / Lower Back Pain by using a prescription topical pain cream. Check with your insurance vendor about obtaining topical pain cream free of charge to help relieve the aches and pains occurring in the upper or lower back.

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Non Invasive Topical Pain Cream for Back Pain

Back pain is a common ailment that strikes both men and women, and can cause sever discomfort. Disease, nerve irritation, and various stretches and strains can cause and contribute to this issue. The aches and pains associated with the ligaments and muscles in this area of ​​the body can result in people missing work or being unable to perform various daily duties around the home. Localized lower back aches are most common, but mild to acute strain and stress can be felt anywhere in the back tissues and muscles. While pain often clears up on its own over time, it is very unpleasantly while it lasts. To gain relief, many people rely on rest and hot pads or cold packs, or alternating combination of both.

For those who need additional relief, consider using a pain relief topical cream. There are a wide variety of options, including over the counter and prescription medical grade creams. Regardless of the cream that you choose, be sure to read all directions and precautions. Topical creams work best when used as directed, and those prescribed by a doctor. When using pain creams remember to always wash your hands before and after applying them, and consult your doctor before starting any new treatments for your condition.

If you are feeling drained by physical discomfort, give serious consideration to topical creams. They offer non invasive fast relief, and are convenient to obtain and easy to apply. They are non addictive and do not upset your stomach the way that some oral medications can. They are really a great way to meet your pain head on and be able to enjoy life again.

To prevent future back pain, try to take care of yourself and avoid slouching, carrying large heavy handbags, smoking, or engaging in overly strenuous activities. If you have chronic back pain, this could be related to simple daily activities like mowing the lawn, picking up your infant, or even reaching to serve the daily dinner.

Also, staying physically active and keeping your weight at an ideal level will reduce back pain considerably. Incorporate exercises that strengthen all areas of your body, especially areas that you are prior to experiencing pain in.

However, you should ever experience severe back pain, seek the advice of your family doctor. Topical creams will always be available to offer fast and soothing relief. but they do not take the place of a professional diagnosis.

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Melatonin May Help Manage Insomnia, Prevent Osteoporosis in Elderly

As we age, we face a number of health concerns. However, there are many things we can do to lessen the impact of age on our health and vitality. Two health problems that affect many older people are insomnia and osteoporosis. According to new research, one simple supplement may help combat both.

Insomnia occurs in many older people because our circadian rhythms tend to go out of whack as we age. This means that, among other things, melatonin levels, or the rhythmms that control them, may be abnormal. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland when we're in the dark, and its production ceases when we're exposed to light. We need melatonin in order to fall and stay sleep.

Sleep and Bone Health

In the human body there are osteoblasts – cells that form bone – and osteoclasts – cells that break bone down. The former are primarily active in the daytime, while osteoclasts kick in at night when we sleep.

It may seem that less sleep would amount to less breakdown of bone and, therefore, stronger bones. Unfortunately, this is not so. When you get less sleep, your osteoclasts go into overdrive and tend to break down bone at an accelerated rate. This leaves older people in a particular precarious position concerning osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis occurs when bones become weak and brittle, fracturing easily. The condition is especially common in post-menopausal women, since the decline of estrogen in their bodies contributes to bone weakness. For older men and women with chronic insomnia, osteoporosis risk is significantly higher than for those who sleep well.

Melatonin Supplementation

Researchers recently conducted a study on rats to assess the role melatonin supplement may play in bone strength and density. They administered melatonin supplementation to older rats for 10 weeks, then compared their bone strength and density to a control group of older rats that had not received melatonin. The rats that took melatonin for 10 weeks (equivalent to 6 human years) had stronger and denser bones than those that did not.

See more on the study at .

This study suggests that melatonin supplementation may help to prevent osteoporosis in humans, although this is not certain. Rats and humans, though biologically similar in many ways, of course are not the same. It should also be noted that this study does not suggest melatonin as a treatment method for already-present osteoporosis.

That said, melatonin supplementation is a reliably safe thing, and it serves a second purpose of helping to manage insomnia. If you decide to try melatonin for a better night's sleep, consider seeking out lower-than-normal doses. In the store, you'll likely find 3mg pills, and maybe even higher. But, according to one small study conducted on individuals over 50, this dose contributed to poorer sleep quality and more daytime tiredness than a lower dose of only 0.3mg. See more on this at .

Melatonin may help older individuals both sleep better and achieve stronger bones. A well-rounded osteoporosis prevention plan should include weight-bearing exercise along with plenty of calcium and vitamin D.

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Selecting the Most Appropriate Pillow Case Intended for Neck As Well As Rear Troubles

The back and neck are among the most vulnerable parts of the body to pain and then the main reason people go to massage centers to get therapy to ease sore muscles. More than 80% of the globe's population sufferers from back and neck problems at some point of their lives. While there are many over-the-counter drugs available to treat pain, this type of treatment will not save your pennies.

What is Back and Neck Therapy?

A type of physical treatment and rehabilitation focuses on the body structures that support the spine, namely the back and the neck. With countless causes, neck and back pain can progressively worsen if left untreated. Therapy inhibits the need for surgical intervention. With several sessions of back and neck therapy, acute pain can be managed.

Back and neck therapy:

  • Strengthens and stretches back muscles
  • Promotes muscle healing and relaxation
  • Reduces pain
  • Restores joint mobility
  • Manages exacerbations

Back and neck therapy can take the form of physical massage (therapy delivered by hand), cervical and lumbar exercise (patient-specific exercise), or the use of devices (electrical stimulation and heat and cold application).

Is There a Pillow that Relieves Pain?

During a back and neck massage, the most common item used by therapists is a pillow. Pillows found in massage and chiropractic centers are not just the ones commonly seen at home, they are therapeutic. These pillows calm, relax and de-stress muscles of the back and neck.

A neck pillow is contoured for the head and neck and is usually made for people with cervical spine problems. This type has a depressing depression designed to provide extra support under the neck.

On the other hand, a back pillow provides lower back support which is very helpful for those who regularly experience regional pain. Sitting for long periods of time without support can generate pain and muscle tension.A back pillow specifically works by supporting the lumbar curve of the spine.

How to Choose the Right Therapeutic Pillow?

It should be mentioned that pillows for the back and neck wear out over time and may need replacing every two years. How long a pillow lasts entirely depends on the material, frequency of use, and handling.

  • Choose a pillow made from foam or synthetic fibers. Pillows made from these materials are less allergic and are easier to wash. People who have sensitive skin should avoid feather (down) -filled pillows.
  • For optimal support, look for orthopedic pillows. They are not similar to conventional pillows. Orthopedic pillows are more effective in relieving muscle tension and supportingbody joints. However, they are pricier.
  • Whenever your pillow starts to lose its support and shape, it's time to get a new one.
  • When finding the right neck pillow, choose one that keeps the neck in a neutral position.
  • When selecting a back pillow for sitting, choose one that lumbar support in particular. This not only gives maximum support and improvements posture, but it also absorbs the pulling force of gravity that may hurt the spell.
  • A donut pillow is beneficial for people suffering from coccyx (the triangular bone located at the base of the spinal column) pain. It can be a pillow of choice for pregnant mothers.

There are many types of pillows for the back and neck. These cushiony items are not just useful in back and neck therapy centers, but they come in handy anywhere and everywhere – homes, cars, airplanes, etc. A good quality pillow is not necessarily expensive. One has to do some research to select the best pillow that is budget-friendly and can provide the most efficient support.

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Tips for Lower Back Pain Relief

Lower back pain affects millions of people each day. It can range from an ache to a debilitating pain that requires medical attention. If you have a history of lower back pain, you know how uncomfortable it can be. There are some simple things you can do at home to help relate lower back pain. You do not have to suffer, here are some tips you can use to relate lower back pain at home.

Over the Counter Meditations

NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) help to reduce inflammation in the area causing you pain. They are an effective over the counter choice for treating back pain. Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), aspirin, and naproxen (Alleve) are examples of NSAIDS you can get at your local store. Be aware however that these medications can cause stomach upset, and if used as a long term solution may increase the risk of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also an effective pain reliever. Acetaminophen works differently than NSAIDS in that it works on the nerves to relieve the pain instead of reducing inflammation. According to the Mayo Clinic acetaminophen is just as effective as NSAIDS for back pain relief. If you're concerned about the risk of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding, acetaminophen may be a good choice for you. Check with your doctor if you're unsure which over the counter oral medication is best for you.

Topical Options

Deep heat lotions are a popular choice. They work by heating up the area affected and some people have reported relief from pain from these lotions. Ice packs and heat have also been shown to give relief from back pain. Alternating ice and heat may help to reduce inflammation and relax your muscles to give you relief.

Be careful not to use your heating pad on high to prevent burns. You may want to use a warm damp towel directly on your skin, cover the towel with a sheet of cling wrap and a towel, and then apply the heating pad to the towel. This will give you a moist heat that is very soothing. Also do not place ice directly on your skin. Place the ice in a zippered bag, wrap it in a soft towel, and then place it on your back.

Stretching Exercises

Many people find that stretching exercises help to relive back pain. One example of a stretching exercise if to place your hands on a counter and place one foot out behind you like you're going to do squats. Next bend your leg near to the counter while slowly leaning back on the extended leg. Repeat this exercise five or six times, and then change the position of your legs. This exercise stretches and strengthens your back muscles. Take it slowly and check with your doctor about which exercises are best for your condition. Laying with your legs up on a few pillows to stretch your back muscles can also help, as will sleeping with a pillow between your legs if you are a side sleeper.

If you are experiencing lower back pain, check with your doctor to rule out any causes such as a kidney stone or UTI. Most doctors recommend returning to normal activities as soon as possible, and do not recommend more than a 48 hour down time. Try these simple home remedies to see if they help you get relief from lower back pain.

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Osteopathic Assistance for Back Pain

Depending on the cause there are many medicines and procedures which can be used in assisting the problem; most of them are invasive or chemical.

Osteopathy can provide additional support with a completely natural, holistic approach. The difference with osteopathy is that it is a 'whole body' treatment which concentrates on a person's well-being as a whole and not on identifying specific causes and symptoms. The osteopathic philosophy believes that the musculoskeletal system is key to achieving this well-being.

So Where did Osteopathy Originate and Why?

Andrew Taylor Still was the man who bought his idea of ​​osteopathy to the public eye, creating the new area of ​​treatment as far back as 1874 because conventional medicine did not recognize his theories. He promoted not only the belief that the musculoskeletal system is central to well-being, but that the body has an innate power to heal itself, and that the various parts of the body are just pieces of the whole body jigsaw.

The main feature of osteopathy is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) in which practitioners restore balance to the body and relieve pains and stresses with the use of their hands.

Osteopathy and Back Pain

Back pain is just one of numerous problems that osteopathy can help with. The NHS recognizes the role of the practice in treatment regimes. It is not just about OMT, a registered osteopath talks to patients about their life; what job do they do, what leisure activities do they take part in, what are their eating and exercise habits? Knowing the individual helps the osteopath to determine a treatment plan, there is no one size fits all. They then use their OMT techniques to assist the patient's whole body health. They also provide advice on exercise to keep the body healthy.

How do you get to use an Osteopath?

Osteopathy and chiropractic medicine are the only two complementary medicines that are registered in the UK. The Osteopathy Act of 1993 ensured that all chiropractors have to register with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) in order to practice so patients should always ensure that this is the case. Generally the council only accepts qualified practitioners who are expected to attend to a code of practice; those that do not can be reported to the council. For those back pain sufferers who believe osteopathy could help the service is generally purchased privately, outside of the NHS. But the expense is made worthy by the relief that can be achieved.

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Reduce Muscle Strain With Ergonomic Luggage

Traveling can be a real pain in the back, neck and shoulders. It's a good idea to keep moving as much as possible, although your options are limited when riding a bus, train or plane. One area of ​​your travel plans you can work on to decrease the toll on your body is your luggage.

When it comes to travel bags, there are plenty of options out there to accommodate different needs and preferences. When approaching your shopping with an ergonomic mind, one of the most important things to consider is carrying method. The primary designs are:

• Backpack: two traps; bag carried on back
• Duffel: hand strap; may have single shoulder strap for carrying on back or side
• Wheeled: designed with telescope handle and wheels for easy rolling

There are a few ergonomic rules of thumb to follow for all these carrying methods. Backpacks should have wide, padded straps that spread the weight of your pack across the shoulders; they should also contain several compartments that allow you to spread weight evenly within the pack. When carrying a duffel bag or briefcase-style bag with one hand, the bag should be light to avoid strain, and you should switch hands frequently to avoid one-sided strain. Single shoulder straps are not ideal; they apply uneven force to the body, and the weight within the bag, hanging low to the side or on your back, can easily strain the shoulder in use. Finally, wheeled bags should have a handle designed to facilitate neutral wrist position, and they should maneuver easily to avoid jolting and jerking of the shoulder. Switch arms regularly for symmetrical use.

While these rules of thumb can help reduce the impact of luggage on your body, there is another step you can take to decrease musculoskeletal strain from luggage. Consider investing in a bag that can be adjusted to different carrying methods, such as the following.

The Wheeled Backpack

How do you make an ergonomic backpack more ergonomic? Put it on wheels! Wheeled backpacks give you the option to carry your beloveds on your back or to pull them behind you. High Sierra is a popular manufacturer of this type of bag, along with Samsonite and California Pak.

The Wheeled Duffel Bag

If backpacks remind you too much of school days, consider a wheeled duffel bag. High Sierra and Olympia are two big sellers.

The Duffel Backpack

This final combination can either be transported on your back or by a single hand. Kelty Bremen and Black Diamond manufacture duffel backpacks.

No matter how ergonomic your backpack, duffel bag or wheeled bag is, lugging it around for long periods of time can lead to strain and pain. Adjustable luggage allows you to change up the muscles you use through your trip. This can help reduce back, neck and shoulder pain.

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Is It Your Back or Hip Causing Your Leg Pain?

Last week I had an elderly male patient enter my office complaining of “sciatica” (leg pain that refers from the low back). He simply assumed that the pain in his groin and front of his thigh was originating from his back because he had experienced symptoms similar to this before and ended up having low back surgery to correct it. Although the leg pain he was describing could have been originating from his low back, a detailed examination of that area revealed nothing significant. Knowing well that hip problems can cause similar pain patterns, I examined that joint next. By asking a few simple questions and moving the joint around different directions, it was very obvious that there was a problem. By turning the leg inward and outward, the leg and groin pain could be reproduced or intensified. It was then obvious that the past treatments he was given should have been directed to the hip joint and not the low back.

Once this gentleman's hip was x-rayed, my suspicion of osteoarthritis (“wear and tear” arthritis) was confirmed. I then explained to him that just because he had arthritis does not mean he should “baby” the joint. In fact, an arthritic joint will not last longer and the arthritis will not slow down if the joint does not get used. Because of the leg pain, he had not been getting seriously any exercise. This would have made the problem even worse. Any joint, arthritic or not, must get as much movement as possible to prevent further stiffness and pain. So, I started him on a light stretching and strengthening program for the muscles in and around the hip joint. He also received some chiropractic treatment of the muscles and the actual joint. This gentleman could also have benefited from losing a few pounds. For every pound extra he rented, it is three pounds more stress on his hip joint when walking. Jokingly, we decided that he should not consider taking up sprinting but instead should start a pool exercise program. This allowed him to use the muscles and move the joint without putting too much pressure on the arthritic joint. Within two weeks, his ability to walk was significantly improved and the intensity of the leg pain was much less.

If you are experiencing leg, thigh, groin, or knee pain, consider having the hip joint examined by your chiropractor or other health care practitioner.

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Proper Ergonomics For Using a Computer

As you may have noticed, occupations in today's work that require physical labor are decreasing in number. They are being replaced by faster and more efficient computer based equipment. Due to this, the average employee is spending much more time located in front of a computer or monitor. Also, as the number of households that have computers is increasing in leaps and bounds every year, people are spending even more time at home in front of the computer. Whether your computer is at home or at work, you need to make sure that your computer workstation is set up properly. Many repetitive strain injuries such as shoulder / arm tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and upper back pain are directly related to an improperly set-up computer workstation. To start with, make these few configurations:

1) In regards to the monitor, the height of the screen is important. The top level of the written text should be at your eye level. If the monitor is too low, raise it by stacking something such as old books underneath to raise it. If the monitor is too low, it will cause neck stiffness and possibly headaches.

2) The distance between your eyes and the screen should be about an arm's length or 33 to 70 centimeters away. Being too close or far away will cause eye strain.

3) If your keyboard is at the proper height, you should be able to type without bending the wrists backwards. If your wrists are bent backwards, put a spongy support under the wrists and palms in order to straighten them. These can be purchased at any office supply store. You can also fold in the little legs that are under the keyboard. This will level out the keyboard and maintain the wrists in a neutral position. If the wrists are kept in an improper position, tendinitis of the forearm will likely arise.

4) When using a mouse, be sure your wrist is not angled left or right. This will cause tendinitis or carpal tunnel if done for prolonged periods of time.

5) If you are typing while reading from a piece of paper or book that is lying on your desk, do not have it placed too far to the left or right. It should be leaned in an upright position and reliably close to you. When you have your head turned too far one way for a prolonged period of time, the neck will inevitably get sore.

6) Be sure you are using a quality chair. The backrest should give good lumbar support and be angled 95 to 110 degrees. If the chair has armrests, they should support the elbows lightly. The elbows should be bent at 90 to 110 degrees. The shoulders should be in a comfortable position and hanging loosely, not in a shr position. Do not let the roll roll forward as this will allow the back to slouch.

Try to make these changes to your computer workstation. You will notice a difference immediately and it will help prevent chronic problems such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, headaches, and back pain. As a chiropractor, I am constantly treating many patients with neck, wrist, forearm, shoulder, and upper back problems that are mostly related to how their computer works are set up. As I mention to all of my patients, the best cure for these problems is prevention.

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Applied Biomechanics of the Golf Swing: Sports Osteopathic Perspective on Spinal Motion Part: 1

The biomechanics of the spinal during golf swing biomechanics and the relationship to cases of low back pain and performance have become of concern within within professional and amateur golf. Golfing performance is orientated around hitting the ball further and more precise, whilst putting as minimum stress through the spine as physically possible. It is therefore due to this reason that a high amount of studies have been performed in relation to the biomechanics of the spine (typically the lumbar spine) and how performance can be improved. Now, with the growing number of amateur golfers in development, this particular concern grows with importance, particularly with the fact that the majority of golfers does not understand the importance of 'out of season conditioning training', which is crucial for preparation for the on -going season. This in my clinical opinion coming from a performance background is one of the most valued reasons for why accident of injuries develops, along with 'under-performance syndrome'.

As an Osteopath, I believe it is not only the anatomical factors that should be acknowledged and examined, but in my opinion it is more important to assess and evaluate the whole functional biomechanical relationship between the ground reaction forces to the functional biomechanical loads placed upon the lumbar spine. This is where my background in sports and exercise physiology is perfectly adopted. When we use specific motion of the lumbar spell in the initiation of a proper golf swing, we can see that the deep stabilizing muscles are extremely important, as too are the global, prime mover muscles. Vast amounts of evidence shows that the spinal segmental stability during motion is essential to minimize rotational stress on the joints.

The deep inner-core muscles that act to stabilize the spinal during dynamic movements are more effective and anatomically suited for specific spinal stability and are activated first and are the muscles involved in prime rotation of each individual spinal segment. The fine control of these muscles are controlled by neurological innervations (nerves), whereby, any irritation to the neurological supply can consequentially result in functional alterations and performance adaptations.

It is broadly established that back pain has a huge relationship to spinal instability and visa-versa, which ultimately affects performance. Any decreases of the neuromuscular control will decrease spinal stability. Therefore it is essential to evaluate the golfers swing in detail. Recent reports have shown that professional golfers, as opposed to amateur golfers tend to show better overall body conditioning. They also tend to have greater single leg functional control. In addition there is an advantage in superior club head speed, which is related to the amount of spinal rotation and scapular glide at the top of the backswing.

Functional Evaluation:

Evaluation of correct technique when performing any activity is important in order to produce an advantage functional dynamics. For instance, if during the evaluation it is determined that the erector spinae and the external oblique muscles (exquisite muscles) are firing as the primary spinal stabilizers instead of the stronger, deeper transverse abdominus and multifidi muscles (deep core muscles), then the individual may be compensating for lower back spinal dysfunction. Consequently, this can develop chronic cases of overuse injuries due to poor biomechanics during the golf swing.

Spinal degeneration is also of huge importance with golf performance, due to the can biomechanical alterations (reduced range of motion, reduced spinal stability, reduced spinal curvature and so on …). The curvature of the spine is of huge importance also in golf as increases lordotic (lower back) curve can increase stress on the posterior segments, particularly during the backswing, and also reduces the range of motion in this area. However, this can result in extension, which then can facilitate improved rotation. Reductions can limit the backswing and directly affects the power generated to ball connection. A declined lumbar curve (common in the older generation) will also decrease the segmental range of motion. Its effect on the backswing will be similar, however, the approach to improve proper biomechanics in the region will differ. In my clinical opinion, it is extremely important to examine the lumborsacral angle (lower back), which if increased, will result in decreased range of motion within the extremely prominent area of ​​injury within the majority of sports medicine.

Sacroiliac joint:

The sacroiliac joint is an extremely important joint between the base of the spinal (sacrum) and the pelvic bone, which has the role in load transfer from the pelvis to the spine. Dysfunction within this joint is commonly seen with golfers and is associated with cases of lumbar spinal dysfunction or instability and pain, associated with overuse. Due to the complexity of this integral joint, dysfunction is often associated neurological alterations, increased muscular deficits and spasm within the lower back and the gluteal muscles. Thus, extremely creating alteration in the range of motion of the lumbar spine on the backswing and reductions of strength

Ground reaction:

Evaluation is of the lower extremities and their effects on the postural biomechanics of the spine are very important and should be considered. The lower extremities play an important role in the output of the golf swing, particularly the mechanisms of the foot and ankle joint and how they impact the ground and react in rotation. Assessing the foot and ankle for any structural defects that may interfere with the normal segmental movements of the spinal is of extreme importance in biomechanics. This involves assessing the presence of pronation and navietal integrity. If dysfunction if present this can well result into biomechanical alterations, muscular imbalances and spinal motion dysfunction, ultimately affecting spinal segmental stability. Since there will always be some biomechanical stress put on the spinal and sacroiliac joints during the swing, it is very important to have balance and stability in your foundation, particularly on your backswing. The transfer of force from the back foot on the backswing, to the front foot on the downswing and acceleration, will determine the distance of the ball.

The importance of posture and proper spinal biomechanics during the golf swing is essential to preventing injuries in the low back and maximizing the distance and accuracy of golf shots. The lumbar spine must be in a stable position during the phase phase; the lower spinal segments to approximately L3-L4 are locked in flexion and the upper lumbar vertebrae are in extension. The transitional level where there is a slight shift from flexion to extension becomes a stress point for the lumbar spine. It is necessary for there to be normal neuromuscular function in this phase. When evaluating a patient's stage phase, I have found that if there is interference with the neuromuscular innervations, the deep muscles, particularly the multifidi, the erector spinae, and external oblique muscles are activated too soon.

Adam R. Whatley, PT., M.Ost (Med) Sports Osteopath

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Relieving Back Pain: Tips To Help

Lower back pain is a workplace hazard when it comes to being a trucker. Long hours spend in the same position with your arms raised combined with getting in and out of the cab of your truck can cause a range of different problems. Add to that the issues of what you might be asked to life and load you are definitely in a place where back injuries are common.

Another source of back injury for trucks is the combination of intense physical work combined with long periods of inactivity. Most truckers do not get out and do some stretching before they climb up on the load or pull themselves up into the trailer, creating the perfect chance for a dropped muscle or a strain. Then, after all that, typically another few hours of driving rather than having the ability to rest and try to give the body time to recover.

The worst thing about back pain for trucks is that often it is left untreated for years, even if there is significant damage to the disks, nerves and the spell itself. Truckers may not go and see their doctor for fear of how that information may be used in their fitness evaluation or because they simply do not have the time or ability to schedule a medical appointment. The result is a minor issue that then becomes a chronic problem. The key to lower back pain is to stay active but not do any type of strenuous exercise.

While exercise alone will not correct an actual medical issue, for muscle pain and to treat lower back pain due to stiffness there are some simple exercises that you can do. You do not need any special equipment and you can do these exercises literally anywhere you have enough physical room.

A Simple Stretch

On breaks, before going to bed for the night or as you are getting up and going in the morning you can do a quick stretch that will relieve any tension that occurs because of the position you slept or sat in.

Start by lying flat on a surface that is comfortable but firm. The floor of the sleeper or a bed will do or, if the weather is nice, a blanket on the ground is a good option as well. It can not be anything soft or without support or you may actually cause further discomfort.

Bend both knees up until your feet are flat on the floor a comfortable distance from you buttocks. Keeping your head on the floor and your neck, shoulders and back relaxed, lace both fingers until the thigh on one of your legs. If you can not get your hands all the way around, just grip your comfortable comfortably. Lift your leg so your knee comes towards your chin, but just as far as comfortable. Your other foot and your head stay on the floor relaxed. Hold about 20 seconds and relax slowly, repeating on the other leg. Do this 5 or more times on each leg.

Alternately you can grip both thighs and pull both knees towards your chest as well, just relax and think about your lower back becoming round to allow your knees to come as close to your chest as you can.

Once you are comfortable with that, and to get a bit more stretch, cross one bent leg over the other and then, holding the leg that is on the ground, pull that up to your chest. This will stretch the muscles through the lower back, side and the hip area.

Remember, it is not about how far you can stretch, it is about creating a stretch. Do not worry if you are not flexible, that will come with time and with practice. This is a really good stretch with several variations that will immediately help to reduce lower back or hip pain associated with muscle stress or pain.

Get An Ergonomic Seat Support And A Good Mattress

You can buy an ergonomic seat support or a lumbar support that fits over your driver's seat and is held in place with straps. This actually pushes into the small of your back, allowing those muscles to relax and not strain to hold you up in the seated position.

There are a lot of different options out there but with all the hours you will spend going for the best you can afford. Look for options that provide a lot of support, memory foam is a good option, but also ones that are cool and breathable to prevent heat building up across your back and creating a problem as you drive.

Last but certainly not least if you have back problems invest in a good quality mattress for your sleeper. Most of the top mattresses can be custom ordered for size. Good options for people with lower back pain include memory foam, latex or pillow top mattress. An air bed is also a great idea for those with back pain and it can be used on top of your existing mattress for a firm yet supportive sleep.

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