Causes of Back Pain

10418151535_d230e6de16Back pain may occur due to various reasons; be it a sports injury, pulling a heavy object or a fall/ injury to the spine. If you are suffering from back pain, it would be wise to have a look at some of the common risk factors and causes of back pain before going to the chiropractor.

Risk Factors

The risk of back pain varies in different individuals, depending on their lifestyle. People who work in a mentally stressful job, smoke or go through strenuous physical work are more susceptible to back pain than those who don’t. Other factors such as pregnancy, anxiety, depression and obesity can also lead to this condition. Age is also a factor, as older individuals are at a higher risk than younger ones.

Causes Of Back Pain

Strain

The most common cause of back pain is strained muscles and ligaments, which may be a result of lifting something heavy or a sudden awkward movement. It can also be caused by improper posture due to a bad mattress or sitting position.

Structural Problems

The human body is a complex structure composed of bones, muscle, ligaments and joints. A fault in any of these can cause numerous problems, including back pain. Some particular structural problems that may affect the back are as follows:

Arthritis

Arthritis can cause various joint problems in the hips and lower back.

Bulging And Ruptured Disks

The vertebra in our spine is cushioned by a disk, so a ruptured disk would result in more pressure on the nerves, resulting in back aches. A bulging disk would put even more pressure on the nerves.

Sciatica

A bulging disk can also press on a nerve in the spine, causing a shooting pain through the buttocks and down the legs.

Curvature Of The Spine

An unnatural curvature of the spine can cause the space around the spinal cord to narrow, causing back pains.

Osteoporosis

A vertebra fracture can be caused by the bones becoming more brittle.

Spinal Cancer

A growth or tumor on the spine may press against a nerve.

Infections

Infection of the nerves (shingles) and spine may also cause pains.

Cauda Equine Syndrome

The growth of nerve roots at the bottom of the spinal cord can cause a dull pain, as well as lack of feeling in the upper buttocks.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: There’s pain in my head by Stefan Neuweger

 

Why Spinal Surgery is a Bad Idea

Illu_vertebral_columnBecause it takes the smallest mistake to permanently paralyze a healthy individual, a fact that any chiropractor will attest to. There is always a risk of injury involved in spinal surgery.

Almost 80% of the people in the country will complain about lower back pain at some point in their lives. More work days are missed because of spinal pain than any other sort of ailment. This also places it as one of the most common causes of disabilities right after cardiovascular disease.

However, most people would rather seek the services of certified chiropractors than their doctors. Doctors usually prescribe numbing medication or painful surgical procedures like spinal surgery for patients who complain of repetitive chronic pain. But that is hardly a permanent solution and also involves a great deal of risks.

What can go Wrong:

Transitional Syndrome

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the spine has to do with its behavior. Your spine behaves like a chain of repeated segments. Each of the individual segments works as a whole to share the workload that is involved in moving the body by sharing the load along the spinal column. In other words the stress that is imposed on the spine during the movement is shared amongst the segments.

However such a process can only happen seamlessly when the spine is healthy. When one or more of the segments doesn’t work as they should their neighboring segments have to pick up the slack and work harder. The segment that is closest to the dysfunctional one gets most of the stress. This means that the area near where the spinal surgery was performed takes on more stress.  This is what is known as transitional syndrome since it occurs due to the transition of a healthy area of the spine to the fused area.

General practitioners and even orthopedic surgeons can never claim to know what causes pain in the back. To them, complex procedures like spinal surgery appear as handy default treatments. This is not to mention the disastrous residual pain that is caused by inappropriate surgery. Such a complication is more of a possibility after common spinal surgeries, such as laminectomies, in which a disc is removed to give the nerve near the central spinal cord more space to move, or fusion, in which a vertebra is surgically joined to another to restrict excess movement.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Illu vertebral column.jpg

Treating Sprained Ankles with Chiropractic

4851542278_edc36ae122_oSprained ankles are one of the most common sports injuries and can become a rather large hurdle in anyone’s life if left untreated. Moreover, the longer the injury is left untreated, the longer it will take to return to the sport. Fortunately, there is a quicker way around it: chiropractic treatment. By treating your injury with chiropractic rather than conventional methods, not only does your injury heal faster, but the affected area grows stronger.

Initial Analysis

The first step in any chiropractic treatment is to analyze the area and determine the degree of damage. In case of tears or any fracture, the person is usually sent to the hospital. It is important to note that if you do not know how to treat a sprain, we suggest you do not touch the sprained ankle until the swelling goes down. In case of severe pain, a hospital referral is recommended.

Reducing the Swelling

Just like many other sports injuries, a sprained ankle should be treated with an ice pack immediately. This will help reduce the swelling until you can reach proper medical help. In the case of a severe ankle sprain, the swelling does not go down very fast and, in order to recover faster, most people seek out chiropractic help.

Without using any drugs or any surgery, chiropractic reduces the swelling fast using chiropractic techniques such as ultrasound, Kinesio taping and light Graston.

Joint Manipulation

No chiropractic treatment will include joint manipulation until the swelling has gone down. Once it has, joint manipulation is usually performed. Here, the ankle is moved slowly in a variety of motions. This is done to increase blood circulation around the ankle and subsequently reduce recover time. This is usually done to properly gauge the level of damage to the ankle and check for any possible weaknesses.

Rehabilitation Training

Once the swelling has gone down and the ankle can move freely once again, it is important to place the person on the rehabilitation stage. During this stage of chiropractic, an expert trainer will help you do a range of motion extending exercises, usually without any sort of weight/resistance. However, in order to strengthen the body and the ankle, some resistance is placed after a while.

Sports injuries, particularly ankle sprains, can become a big problem for anyone, especially athletes. Fortunately, Chiropractic treatment helps the ankle heal faster but extends the ankle’s degree of movement, allowing it to move more freely than before. Finally, it helps prevent any further injuries.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Homemade Ice Pack by Vince Viloria

Back Pain – Understanding Spinal Manipulation Techniques

images (21)The time comes when every home remedy you’ve experimented with simply doesn’t get rid of that nagging back pain, and you’re left with no choice but to get a professional opinion.

Lucky for you, chiropractors are well-versed experts who have been trained in the art of remedying back problems and it certainly pays to get to know some of the spinal manipulation techniques that are employed.

Spinal Manipulation Vs Spinal Mobilization 

Remedial techniques essentially zero in on a common objective – restoring or improving joint function by significantly reducing joint inflammation as well as general discomfort due to back pain. Certain approaches make use of more force, such as spinal manipulation, while others are comparatively more gentle – spinal mobilization.

What originally came to be known as spinal manipulation is referred to by many chiropractors as “high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust (HVLA). Newer spinal adjustment approaches entail a variation of existing techniques and often borrow their names from the chiropractor responsible for developing them.

Specific treatment plans are adapted to meet individual needs of every patient. In order to curb back pain, forceful and less forceful spinal adjustment techniques are administered either in a single visit or multiple ones.

Let’s take a closer look at spinal manipulation and mobilization techniques commonly practiced today.

 Spinal Manipulation – HVLA

The HVLA thrust is the most frequently used technique in spinal manipulation today. Your practitioner uses his/her hands to apply a controlled force that is quick and focused, resulting in an audible “pop”. You will be asked to position your body a certain way so as to target a specific joint.

Spinal Mobilization – Low-force / Gentle Chiropractic Techniques

Certain pre-existing conditions like osteoporosis and patient-specific factors – comfort level, size, pathology, preference – warrant a gentler approach. Also, some patients and even clinics simply prefer going with mild spinal mobilization techniques that leave twisting the body or a forceful thrust, out of the equation.

Apart from manipulation, a lot of chiropractors make use of adjunctive therapy like ice or heat. Other physical modalities include electric stimulation and ultrasound that form part of the overall program. As a patient, you need to discuss your symptoms and preferences beforehand, so that a thorough examination can be conducted to determine an ideal course of action.

Chiropractors are among the most well-trained, learned and experienced health care practitioners who serve as a homing beacon for those suffering from continuous back pain and other more serious conditions.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: chiropractic technique by Michael Dorausch

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain may occur due to various reasons; be it a sports injury, pulling a heavy object or a fall/ injury to the spine. If you are suffering from back pain, it would be wise to have a look at some of the common risk factors and causes of back pain by consulting a Chiropractor.

Risk Factors

The risk of back pain varies in different individuals, depending on their lifestyle. People who work in a mentally stressful job, smoke or go through strenuous physical work are more susceptible to back pain than those who don’t. Other factors such as pregnancy, anxiety, depression and obesity can also lead to this condition. Age is also a factor, as older individuals are at a higher risk than younger ones.

Causes Of Back Pain

 

Strain

The most common cause of back pain is strained muscles and ligaments, which may be a result of lifting something heavy or a sudden awkward movement. It can also be caused by improper posture due to a bad mattress or sitting position.

Structural Problems

The human body is a complex structure composed of bones, muscle, ligaments and joints. A fault in any of these can cause numerous problems, including back pain. Some particular structural problems that may affect the back are as follows:

Arthritis

Arthritis can cause various joint problems in the hips and lower back.

Bulging And Ruptured Disks

The vertebra in our spine is cushioned by a disk, so a ruptured disk would result in more pressure on the nerves, resulting in back aches. A bulging disk would put even more pressure on the nerves.

Sciatica

A bulging disk can also press on a nerve in the spine, causing a shooting pain through the buttocks and down the legs.

Curvature Of The Spine

An unnatural curvature of the spine can cause the space around the spinal cord to narrow, causing back pains.

Osteoporosis

A vertebra fracture can be caused by the bones becoming more brittle.

Conditions, There are also some conditions which may cause back pains.

Spinal Cancer

A growth or tumor on the spine may press against a nerve.

Infections

Infection on the nerves (shingles) and spine may also cause pains.

Cauda Equine Syndrome

The growth of nerve roots at the bottom of the spinal cord can cause a dull pain, as well as lack of feeling in the upper buttocks.

Top 4 Core-Building Exercises

PlankThe human body has 29 core muscles located in the back, abdomen and pelvis regions.  They help to give a person a stable center of gravity, while helping in controlling movements, supporting whole of the back and giving out a semblance of stability.

These core muscles form the foundation on which the movement of the body is based.  Strong core muscles tend to resist injury and form a protective cushion for the whole spinal column.

However, weak core muscles can cause a person to develop a poor posture, pain all over the body, and make the individual more prone to injuries from everyday activities.

Exercise on a regular basis can make these muscles stronger, but it is necessary to get the posture right before getting on with the exercises.

Good Posture

Good posture not only makes a person look attractive, but it does wonders for the overall skeletal structure.  Chiropractic practice pays a lot of attention to proper posture.  Correct posture will ensure that a person’s muscles, organs along with joints and bones are in their correct, natural positions.

A bad posture can result in a lot of problems for the body, following are examples of a poor posture:

  • Drooping shoulders
  • Head or neck held forward
  • Lower back arching too much
  • Sitting with a wallet in the back pocket
  • Phone receiver being held between neck and shoulder
  • Drooping forward while sitting

These postures must always be avoided.

Bridge

The person should lie on the back with knees bent.  Then the abdominal muscles should be contracted while the person slowly raises the hips off the floor then holding the position for around 10 seconds.

The hips should then be lowered to the floor and the same method repeated again.

Bird Dog

The person should get down on their hands and knees while keeping the head and neck aligned with their back. The core muscles are then contracted; one arm raised meanwhile raising the opposite leg.

Plank

The person should lie on their stomach with the palms facing down.  They should then slowly start to rise off the floor while resting on toes and elbows.  The back should be kept as flat as possible, core muscles in a contracted position and held for at least 12 seconds before lowering themselves to the floor.

Segmental Rotation

In this exercise, the individual is to lie on the back with their knees bent and the feet should be flat on the floor.  While keeping the shoulders flat on the floor, they should let their knees fall slowly towards the left. After returning the legs back to the original starting point, the same action should be repeated.

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Plank.jpg

The 3 most Common Sports Injuries and How to reduce their Risk

images (20)Over 200 million Americans participating in a sport at any given time, so there are bound to be sports injuries. Every year, up to 5% of the American population incurs a sports injury and has to rest at home while the injury heals. Chiropractors know that this number can be reduced significantly. Here is a closer look at the 3 most common sports injuries and how the risk of attainment can be reduced.

1 – Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic sports injuries are probably the most common types of injuries in sports. They are frequently seen in a variety of contact sports such as rugby, football and ice hockey. Possibly the most common of traumatic sports injuries, the main reason why people see chiropractors, are sprains.

When muscles are stretched beyond their limits, they cause pain. Stretched too far and they can tear. Chiropractors work with people to not only help treat these injuries but reduce their frequency. Using a variety of techniques, they help improve the joints, ensuring they can withstand more stress and perform better as well.

2 – Repetitive Stress Injuries

In many sports such as cricket, table tennis, football, running and weightlifting, players repeat a number of movements and stress the same area of their body. As such, these people are prone to a number of injuries classified as repetitive stress/motion sports injuries. In part, considering the nature of these sports, these injuries are inevitable. However, their frequency can be reduced.

Chiropractors work with athletes of such sports and help them reduce their risk of injury. How? Chiropractors simply use a number of techniques to help strengthen their joints. As a result, a stronger joint is less prone to injury.

3 – Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue sports injuries are regarded as a separate type of injury as they usually occur when a severe sprain has been incurred, usually coupled with a contusion. Such an injury involves localized swelling and the production of a lot of heat. However, chiropractors know that if left untreated for too long, it takes quite a while to heal.

As such, chiropractors work to reduce the swelling as fast as possible, allowing them to properly manipulate the affected area and help reduce pain and enable faster recovery.

In many cases, sports injuries are inevitable. However, according to many medical experts, including chiropractors, their frequency can be significantly reduced.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Shane Williams scores try at Ravenhill.jpg

Nutrition and Diet for Scoliosis

150px-Blausen_0785_Scoliosis_01A chiropractor will advise a scoliosis patient to follow a specific type of diet. Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine bends to one side. The lower part of the spine is the most common area in which the condition occurs.

The condition is more prevalent in girls rather than boys and usually happens during puberty when the child experiences a growth spurt. Back specialists recommend an adequate amount of nutrition for children who suffer from the condition. The diet is meant to increase bone mass.

Since the condition is hereditary a proper diet might not prevent the onset of scoliosis. However foods that support bone mass are likely to prevent osteoporosis. In fact, according to the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine osteoporosis can actually worsen scoliosis since it can worsen the curve of the spine when the child reaches adulthood.

If your child suffers from scoliosis it is best that you enrich his/her diet with foods that contain vitamin D and Calcium. Not only do they increase bone mass, they also prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium

Children who suffer from scoliosis are recommended to consume between 1200 to 1500mg of calcium on a daily basis. Just make sure that any low fat sources of calcium do not contain high levels of saturated fats. For example, such a diet should contain food items such as skim cheese or yogurt.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps a person’s body absorb calcium. This is also why your mom nagged you about consuming milk on a daily basis. It is packed with the nutrient. Other sources of Vitamin D include saltwater fish, eggs, cod liver oil and cereal.

The nutrient phosphorous is also responsible for bone growth. The human body also uses phosphorus to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D and encourage proper absorption of calcium.

Vitamin E

Vitamin D and calcium aren’t the only nutrients that can prevent a case of scoliosis from getting worse. After all, a child who suffers from the condition will also need a healthy dose of Vitamin E everyday to build strong muscles to support a compromised spine.

Some of the best sources of the nutrient include liver walnuts, almonds, mayonnaise, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, safflower oil, olive oil and others.

Remember a child who suffers from scoliosis needs a diet that prevents his/her condition from getting worse especially after puberty.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Blausen 0785 Scoliosis 01.png

Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

154017705_083d825445_oChiropractors that are experienced in chiropractic and pregnancy know the importance of proper back care during such a sensitive period. All chiropractors are trained to work with women especially when it comes to back conditions that are associated with pregnancy. This is because chiropractic and pregnancy involves the maintenance of the spinal column, discs, bone geometry and the related nerves without the inclusion of invasive surgery. In other words, the medical practice adjusts the misalignment of joints especially when it comes to the spine.

Any formerly pregnant woman can attest to the muscle strain that is a part and parcel to pregnancy. Researchers say that almost half of all expecting mothers will experience lower back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Spinal surgery is out of the question when it comes to the well being of two lives and this is exactly why chiropractic care is the perfect non-invasive solution for such problems.

 

Why does a Pregnant Woman need Chiropractic care?

The human body undergoes a series of physiological and endocrine changes to prepare itself to sustain a life during pregnancy. No one knows that better than expecting mothers. However, such a sensitive stage may also cause misaligned joints that are symptomatic of –

  • Pelvic changes
  • Protruding abdomen and curved back
  • Poor posture

A woman’s pelvis may not have enough room for a developing baby if it is misaligned. This is also why establishing pelvic balance is such an important task in chiropractic and pregnancy care. A pelvis that is misaligned may also cause complications during the actual birth as well. This may also prevent the expecting mother from having a natural birth and her doctor to resort to invasive c-sections.

Chiropractic care during pregnancy also comes with the following benefits –

  • Ensuring a healthy pregnancy
  • Relief from back, neck and joint pain
  • Prevention of a potential cesarean delivery
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Reduce morning sickness

The benefits of chiropractic and pregnancy speak for themselves. This is also why more women are seeking chiropractic care now more than ever before and why health care providers recommend such services to expecting mothers. It is easy to see why. Medical specialists who specialize in back care invest more in the fertility and overall wellness of pregnant women or women who try to conceive.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: pregnant profile III by mahalie stackpole

Introduction to Chiropractic

images (8)What is Chiropractic?

Being a type of manual therapy, the practitioner utilizes techniques, forces and manipulations that are administered chiefly by hands. The spinal cord is the center of all therapies for a chiropractic doctor. Their belief is that the spine is the central structure as it allows messages from different parts of the body to reach the brain and vice versa. Under the state of paralysis in any part of the body, it is the spinal cord that can make any limb completely nonfunctional.

Spine Manipulation

Keeping the vitality of the spine in mind, D. D. Palmer brought to life the concept of spine manipulation to deal with vertebral subluxation. It is the practice of applying varying amounts of force to the area of concern in the spine to restore normal functioning.  Palmer is popular for applying this technique to a deaf individual (deafness not present at birth) and being successful at restoring his hearing capabilities.

Subluxation

Primarily a chiropractic practitioner deals with a vertebral subluxation. A subluxation is when the spine loses its normal positioning and the neural pathway dysfunction causes a compromise in the functioning of several different parts of the body including the visceral system. A subluxation occurs as a result of a trauma, injury or even a chemical imbalance in the body.

Chiropractic’s Forte 

A thorough examination is undertaken before your doctor performs any chiropractic techniques to relieve your pain. Several conditions are beyond the realm of this care. If you have a neurological condition, then you will be recommended to a neurologist and will not be administered any care procedures under a chiropractic practitioner. Other such conditions that cannot be dealt with manual therapies include tumors, broken bones, osteoporosis and arthritis. Areas that can be called its forte are pain in the upper and lower back, neck pain, and headaches, minor injuries related to sports, asthma, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, menstrual pains and the like.

Neck pain

This is said to be the second most valid reason for paying a visit to a chiropractic practitioner. However, neck pain can be caused by a variety of reasons. Several of which can be dealt with utilizing chiropractics. With cervical disc degenerative diseases, pinched cervical nerve, minor injuries to ligaments, herniated disc disease and the like, chiropractic can be very effective.

When the neck becomes an area of concern, several other parts of the body can suffer the impact. Weakness in the arms, shoulders and hands, the tingling sensation in parts of the body supplied by the neck suffer along with the pain in neck. Therefore, dealing with neck pain with the help of a chiropractic practitioner is a wise decision.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Spine and Disc Herniation by Michael Dorausch