Monday, January 6, 2014

That Annoying Low Back Pain

Eighty percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor's office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. In fact, it is estimated that low back pain affects more than half of the adult population each year and more than 10% of all people experience frequent bouts of low back pain.
The susceptibility of the low back to injury and pain is due to the fact that the low back, like the neck, is a very unstable part of the spine. Unlike the thoracic spine, which is supported and stabilized by the rib cage. This instability allows us to have a great deal of mobility to touch our toes, tie our shoes or pick something up from the ground, but at the cost of increased risk of injury.
As long as it is healthy and functioning correctly, the low back can withstand tremendous forces without injury. Professional powerlifters can pick up several hundred pounds off the floor without injuring their low back. However, if the low back is out of adjustment or has weakened supporting muscles, something as simple as taking a bag of groceries out of the trunk of their car, picking something up off the floor, or even simply bending down to pet the cat can cause a low back injury.

Until recently, researchers believed that back pain would heal on its own. We have learned, however, that this is not true. Recent studies showed that when back pain is not treated, it may go away temporarily, but will most likely return. It is important to take low back pain seriously and seek professional chiropractic care. This is especially true with pain that recurs over and over again. Contact our chiropractor . . . we can help!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Difference - Stabilizing Orthotics vs. Arch Supports

If your feet don't get proper support from your footwear, simple movements such as walking, running, and jumping can eventually pull your body out of alignment, causing stress and fatigue to your lower body. Devices commonly known as arch supports are highly recommended as they are designed to reinforce your feet, saving you from the pain and discomfort of a misaligned body.
The feet are the most abused parts of the human body. From regular activities such as walking and running to more intense actions such as dancing and playing sports, the feet consistently absorb the force generated by body weight and gravity combined. And without proper support, your feet will be overwhelmed by the constant stress. This will lead to arch pain or plantar fasciitis–a very common condition affecting the plantar fascia that can be difficult to treat if not looked after properly.
Other conditions you may develop from unsupported arches include: low back pain, neck pain, hip pain, and ankle pain. 
To ensure that your feet stay in good form, inserting arch supports on top of each shoe's insole is often recommended by over-the-counter manufacturers. However, it's important to note that not all arch support inserts are made the same. Most arch support insoles, especially over-the-counter arch support for flat feet, are designed to only assist a single arch on each foot. Such generic products often overcorrect one arch, causing more harm than good as discomfort will only shift from one area of the body to another. Furthermore, over-the-counter products may not be very durable, and may result in more costs due to frequent replacement.
Here at Pinnacle Chiropractic, we recognize the fact that there are three arches that form the plantar vault, and that all three need orthotic reinforcement to properly support the rest of your body. This is why we offer individually designed Stabilizing Orthotics based on impressions of your feet. This ensures that our products are tailored to your specific stabilizing needs for longer-term symptom relief.

Even better, our Stabilizing Orthotics are created using Foot Levelers' patented Gait Cycle System®. This ensures your feet are provided with adequate shock absorption and support through each phase of the gait cycle.
Ensure better posture and support chiropractic adjustments by getting orthotics made specially for you. If for any reason you are not satisfied with our products, we offer a 100-percent money back guarantee. 
Aside from providing products for everyday use, we also design orthotics for runners. These specialized orthotics are made to endure even more rigorous activities.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How Much Exercise Is Enough Exercise?

Chiropractic Care and Healthy Exercise 
Regular chiropractic care is an important part of achieving our long-term goals for health, wellness, and well-being. In terms of participating in consistent, vigorous exercise, regular chiropractic care helps us stay on track by minimizing the chances of sustaining an exercise-related injury. Also, regular chiropractic care helps us get back to our exercise program as quickly as possible if we have, in fact, suffered a strain, sprain, or other injury while engaging in our exercise activities.
Many exercise-related injuries occur because muscles and tendons have become tight and joints such as the shoulder and knee have lost their full mobility. Spinal muscles and joints can also lose range of motion as a result of tightness and inflammation. By identifying and correcting the sources of irritation and limitation, regular chiropractic care helps ensure that you get the most out of the time you spend exercising.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tennis, Anyone?

Repetitive stress injuries are typically very difficult to treat successfully. These injuries are the result of actions done repeatedly, frequently, and consistently over time. They've taken a long time to build up and, therefore, the healing process also requires a fair amount of time. Shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome, and rotator cuff syndrome are examples of common repetitive stress injuries. These problems are also known as overuse injuries. Tennis elbow is another common injury that is likely caused by repetitive stress.

Tennis elbow usually involves pain on the outer bony surface of the elbow joint (the lateral epicondyle). A variant involves pain on the inner surface of the elbow (the medial epicondyle). Regardless, tennis elbow pain interferes with many activities, not only those involving tennis and golf. Even the simple act of firmly twisting the lid on a difficult-to-open jar can cause significant pain. Driving for more than 30 minutes and prolonged keyboard activity are other examples of activities that may become quite troublesome when one is hampered by tennis elbow. Treatment usually involves rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and even injections of steroid compounds.1, 2But such treatments tend not to provide more than short-term relief. Ultimately tennis elbow may be frustrating and disheartening, as there doesn't appear to be an effective solution.

Chiropractic Care and Injury Prevention

Some exercise- and sport-related injuries are random. Stuff happens. But most exercise- and sport-related injuries are preventable. If you're a beginner, making sure you don't do too much too soon is a major principle in injury prevention. If you're an intermediate, intermediate-advanced, or advanced exerciser or athlete, not suddenly doing way more than you're used to is another major injury prevention principle. For example, if your training runs are from 3 to 4 miles, and you've never run more than a 4-mile road race, then running a half-marathon (without additional extensive preparation) is usually a very bad idea.
Again, stuff happens, and common sense is the best method of injury prevention. Regular chiropractic care assists your overall exercise program by helping make sure that your musculoskeletal system is operating at peak efficiency. When your bones, joints, muscles, and other musculoskeletal tissues are working in harmony, the likelihood of experiencing an injury is reduced. For people who exercise and/or do sports, regular chiropractic care helps to get the most benefit out of any exercise time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Golf Injury Specifics

The typical amateur golfer can swing golf club 90 miles an hour or more. When golfers, both amateur and pro alike, swing their clubs out of swing path or out of balance, they put tremendous strain on their joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. When the force applied to the tissues exceeds their ability to resist the force of the golf swing, they most likely will tear.

We call ligament and tendon tears "strains" or "sprains," depending on their severity and whether it is a tendon or ligament injury . Soft-tissue injuries can heal in six to eight weeks, depending on the severity of the injury and the age and fitness of the patient. However, when soft tissue heals, it replaces the injured tissue with less flexible scar tissue, and becomes weaker than before the injury occurred. Scar tissue replaces the original tissue in and around the injury site in an attempt by the body to stabilize the injured joint . Scar tissue is weaker, less elastic and more pain-sensitive than original soft tissue, making it less resistant to further injury. When challenged by the movement of the body, scar tissue will not stretch like the original tissue; instead, they get irritated which results in further inflammation of the joint, which in turn leads to more pain and tenderness and decreased range of motion(joint stiffness).

Golf injuries fall under two general categories: acute and chronic. Acute injuries are new injuries, and are usually associated with painful swelling. An acute injury prevents you from playing golf altogether. The first four to six weeks are crucial in the management and treatment of a new joint injury. In addition to pain relief, the goal of treatment is to break down the developing scar tissue in an effort to realign the healing tissue in a way that will lead to proper movement and function of the damaged joint and surrounding tissue, and the prevention of further injury in the future. Failure to treat the injured joint as early as possible may lead to irreversible diminished range of motion of the injured joint.

Golfers with acute injuries should follow the RICE format of treatment immediately. REST, ICE, COMPRESS, and ELEVATE. First of all, rest the injured joint. An ice packs should be applied as soon as possible in an effort to reduce painful swelling. The ice should be applied for as long as 20 minutes per hour (20 minutes on and 40 minutes off per hour). Repeat as often as possible during the first 72 hours of an acute injury. To avoid skin irritation, do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Instead, place the ice pack inside a towel before applying to the skin, or apply the ice pack over your shirt. Compress the injury with the ice pack. Compression will assist in the prevention of further joint swelling. Elevate the injured joint above heart level. This step will also assist in keepink the joint swelling to a minimum. Finally, seek professional care. Some Chiropractors, like myself, specialize in specific joint injuries. I have helped numerous golfers over the years with great results.

Golfers with chronic injuries, those that have persisted for years, have a unique problem to overcome. Old injuries are often infiltrated with dense binding scar tissue preventing normal joint function and inhibiting normal range of motion within the damaged joint. Chronic injuries are more difficult to work with and typically take a longer time to see results, but these joints can be returned to a close to normal level of functioning. My goal with chronic injuries is to return the joint to a functional level while decreasing joint pain, and reducing the risk of further joint injury.

As an avid golfer myself, I know the obsession golf creates. With the help of proper fitness and nutrition, and of course, regular Chiropractic care, I have been able to avoid any golf related injuries. As I continue to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of my body, I look forward to a lifetime of pain free and injury free golf. What else could a golfer ask for?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Green Thumbs & Back Pain

Can you smell it?
-The freshly cut grass.
-The scent of newly blooming flowers.
-The clean breeze blowing in.
Can you feel it?
-The warmth of the sunshine on your face.
-The cool soil between your fingers.
-The pain and stiffness in your low back.

Gardening season is underway, and we are all looking forward to working in our gardens and planting flowers with the all the colors we have been dreaming about since last summer. Lawns are in need of mowing and the shrubs are begging to be trimmed. Mulch needs to be applied after 50 pound bags of topsoil are carried from car to flowerbed. Maintaining our lawns and gardens is a national pastime. In my mind it is exercise cleverly disguised as work. To most others it is a hobby, a form of meditation, and a form of stress relief from the long work week. Regardless of your viewpoint, working on the lawn and in the garden is stressful on the low back.
A recent poll of 2,000 adults revealed that greater than 50% of them have suffered low back pain at some point over the past year, and more than half of them attribute the problem to gardening and yard work. Most gardeners fail to realize how stressful this activity is to their spine and joints. Just like any form of exercise (I mentioned my opinion!), warm-up and stretching must be included as part of your healthy gardening experience. This is not to say that warming up and stretching prior to working in the yard will rid you of your backache and stiffness, but rather prepare our body for the hard work ahead and prevent more serious injury that may keep you away from your garden for extended periods of time.

Go for a walk before starting your work to get your muscles and tendons loose, and to help get the joints moving. Follow up your walk with a simple stretching routine. Stretching is the most overlooked function of health and flexibility. I spend time with many of my patients going over basic stretching movements in an effort to prevent injury and to help assist my spinal adjustments to be more effective. Also, be sure not to remain in the same position for any extended period of time. Movement is the key to staying free of stiffness (This is true as well for sitting in a chair or on the couch for extended periods of time.) and injury.

Chiropractic focuses on movement at the spinal joint level. Just as every joint in your body needs to be freely movable in order to function properly, the same is true for the 32 individual joints that make up your spinal column. If you do experience any joint pain, muscle spasm, or discomfort, apply ice to the region for 15 minutes and give me a call. I will get those stubborn joints functioning properly again, and you will be back to your lawn and garden before the next pruning session.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pain As Self Defense

The human body is an incredible, well oiled machine, but every now and then a problem occurs and the amazing body kicks into Self Defense mode. Our body is equipped with an extremely sensitive protection system that reacts to the slightest changes in it's environment. Take for example the simple act of shivering. Shivering is a self defense mechanism turned on by your body when it senses it is getting too cold. Your body's thermostat signals the brain that it is in danger of a temperature drop that may be harmful. Within fractions of a second, the brain sends a signal down your spinal cord and out through your spinal nerve roots telling all the muscle groups to start spasming. This muscle spasm utilizes energy and causes the muscles to heat up, thus causing your body temperature to rise preventing injury to your body, brain, or organs. This happens without us even thinking about it. It is purely an innate response by your body. You couldn't stop shivering if you had to....your body has taken over to protect itself.

Pain is also a response by your body telling you that something is not quite right. When you move in a certain direction and your body screams "DON'T DO THAT," it is sending you a message that should not be ignored. It is not telling you to take pain killers or muscle relaxants to minimize the pain. Drugs and medications effect the body's natural responses and self defense mechanisms. By turning off or ignoring these messages, you are setting yourself up for further injury. Remember, symptoms (muscle spasm, headaches, pain, numbness, tingling, etc.) are there for a reason and by eliminating these symptoms you are allowing your body to do things, and move in certain ways that it was protecting against in the first place. You hear about athletes playing with injuries all the time. They take cortisone injections or pain killers to get through the game or the season only to find out he injury is worse than first expected. If the athlete had listened to his or her body and stopped playing, there is a very good chance the damage would have been minimized and the recovery time from the injury shortened dramatically. These athletes get paid millions to put their body's at risk, but that is not the case for the rest of us. If we suffer a major injury it effects our work, our quality of life, and even our emotional state(which will also effect our family).

The bottom line is this: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.....IT KNOWS BEST! As a Chiropractor I help patients listen to their body and to understand the message it is sending. And, rather than just treating their symptoms, I find the cause of the problem causing those symptoms, fix the problem, and let the body do what it does naturally.....heal itself. The body is an incredible machine, but it is the owner's job to listen to it and to act accordingly, not to ignore the important messages it sends.

I look forward to future discussions about Wellness and the workings of the Amazing Human Body.

Yours in Health,

Daniel Bart,DC