Archive for the “Back Pain” Category

Posted on 05 Oct 2012
Back Pain

What Is A Spinal Adjustment?

A spinal adjustment, or what chiropractors call a chiropractic adjustment, are terms used to describe the manipulation of a patient’s spine through some form of physical movement.

In addition to Chiropractors, adjustments are also done by some osteopaths who typically use the term “adjustment.”

Depending on who you talk to, the benefits of spinal adjustments range form simple, short-term pain relief to on-going, long-term cures and general wellness. Many claims are controversial and the debate continues as to the effectiveness and safety of these spinal treatments. In this article, I make no claims as to the validity of any the descriptions provided. They are merely meant for general information.

Spinal Adjustment Description

The term “spinal adjustment” is the one used by chiropractors and is also know as spinal manipulation. When used by a trained chiropractor, the goal of spinal manipulation is to correct what are called vertebral subluxations.

A vertebral subluxation is a known medical term for a lesion or dysfunction in a biomechanical spinal segment. Chiropractors further assert that the dysfunction actively alters neurological function in the spinal column.

Spinal manipulation has documented use going as far back as Hippocrates and even the ancient Egyptians. In those days, techniques were usually handed down from one generation to the next often by families that were known as bonesetters.

Today, a Chiropractor must attend an accredited Chiropractic College and receives not only chiropractic technique training but also basic medical training as well.

Today’s form of spinal adjustment or manipulation has a fundamental biomechanical feature, and the adjustment is often associated with a “popping sound.” Some have said this popping is a result of something called cavitation which is much like the sound heard when someone cracks their knuckles.

Chiropractic Cavitation can be described thusly…

When your spine is being manipulated a small gas bubble appears in the joint. This happens because during the chiropractic adjustment the volume of the joint increases suddenly. This sudden distention “snaps” the joint capsule. Because there is gas, from the cavitation, on one side of the snapped membrane, the capsule act a little like a drum and gives us the cracking noise.

Spinal Adjustment Details

The International Chiropractor’s Association (ICA) states that…

Chiropractic spinal adjustment is unique and singular to the chiropractic profession”, and that it “is characterized by a specific thrust applied to the vertebra utilizing parts of the vertebra and contiguous structures as levers to directionally correct articular malposition. Adjustment shall be differentiated from spinal manipulation in that the adjustment can only be applied to a vertebral malposition with the express intent to improve or correct the subluxation, whereas any joint, subluxated or not, may be manipulated to mobilize the joint or to put the joint through its range of motion… Chiropractic is a specialized field in the healing arts, and by prior rights, the spinal adjustment is distinct and singular to the chiropractic profession.”

However it is done or whatever it is called, the goal is to correct misalignments in the vertebrae of the spine and to return the body to it’s normal, balanced state. Once in this normal healthy state the body can resume it’s normal self-healing abilities and overall health can be reinstated.

Posted on 04 Oct 2012
Back Pain

All About Sciatica Relief Info

If you are experiencing pain, numbness and tingling that stretches out from your lower back down through your buttocks and legs, then perhaps you have a condition called sciatica.

Within a couple of weeks or months, some people who are diagnosed with this condition could feel better by undergoing simple non-surgical treatments. However, there are some cases in where the patient is experiencing too much pain and is not able to do his or her normal daily routine.

Since the sciatica nerve covers many muscles, starting from the lower back down through the legs, sciatica patients feel different kinds of symptoms. One of the most common manifestations that you are probably experiencing with sciatica is when you feel pain on one side of your buttocks or in one of your legs that bursts into a burning sensation every time you sit. Sciatica nerve splits into two nerves when it reaches the tailbone, and this explains the reason why you only feel pain in either one of your legs. The weakness, numbness and difficulty in controlling a leg or a foot are also symptoms of the sciatica condition. But more than these symptoms, people with sciatica may also feel tremendous pain in the buttocks, which may cause difficulty in walking or in merely standing up.

Actually, sciatica is not a medical diagnosis. The condition itself is a symptom for an underlying lower back problem. Having the condition of sciatica may infer that you have a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, which compresses or irritates various nerve roots. Instead of relieving the symptoms of sciatica, it is more necessary to trace and treat the true origin of the symptoms in order to cure or lessen the burning sensation brought by the sciatica nerve pain.

By doing exercise routines that strengthen the lower back and leg muscles, sciatica patients may reduce the level or amount of symptoms that they are experiencing. Walking, for instance, is an effective exercise to ease sciatica symptoms. You can begin exercising by walking through short distances. But when you get the hang of it or feel that it is too easy for you, try to walk three miles a day with a quick pace. This is a low-impact exercise that develops the flexibility of your muscles and relieves sciatica pain. You can also try doing any form of aerobic exercise. It is also good in relieving sciatica pain.

But if you want to immediately and precisely address the symptoms and pains associated with sciatica pain, the best way to do is to seek the help of a medical practitioner. A medical professional could provide you the right diagnosis for your condition to prevent you from having further health implications. Remember not to self-treat your condition because the proper treatments for sciatica vary widely, depending on the condition that causes the sciatic pain.

Posted on 27 Sep 2012
Back Pain

Easy Exercises to Relieve Sciatica Pain

With the right sets of exercises performed in an equally right manner, one can stop the pains of sciatica while keeping the back muscles strong and healthy.

Most people believe that bed rest is the best treatment for sciatica. However, this is untrue. Although resting for a day or two can actually help relieve the pain temporarily, sciatica symptoms will just become apparent once more as physical activity is lessened. Worse, the pain may just become doubled. The reason behind this is the weakening of the spine and back muscles as it misses the usual movement and activity it is used to experiencing. Aside from sciatica, a weakened back may even lead to more serious injuries and thus elevating the pain that the patient is going through. Moreover, exercise is highly important for the spine as it keeps the spinal discs in good order and excellent health.

Below are the group of muscles and the recommended sciatica exercises that you may carry out to relieve common sciatica pains.

Core muscle workout

A core muscle workout routine involves the back, stomach, groin and hip muscles. These muscles are basically responsible for supporting the spine properly. Once these muscles are not properly worked out and conditioned, they may compress and put pressure on the spine. Moreover, unconditioned core muscles will also lead to poor posture and other health problems, which may also be related to sciatica. Generally, a core workout includes back exercises such as leg lifts, bicycle kicks, balance exercises and several sessions of back stretches.

Stretching the core muscles mentioned above will help keep them conditioned and prepared to support the spine appropriately. Basically, tightened muscles are more prone to straining and are more likely to pull the hips and spine out of proper alignment. Stretching bouts must be performed before and after back exercises sessions. These stretching exercises include simple routines, such as touching the toes. Depending on your needs and your condition, you may be asked by your athletic trainer to do more active stretching exercises.

Hamstrings workout

Aside from back exercises, strengthening and stretching the hamstrings is also known to alleviate sciatica symptoms that are most apparent through the legs and lower back. The hamstrings are the long muscles positioned at the back of the thighs. When these muscles are tensed, they may compress on the knees and hips. Strong and limber hamstrings can definitely help you achieve and maintain a healthy lower back. A popular hamstring exercise is performed by lying flat on your back, then pulling your legs up to a 45 degrees angle. Next, one of the legs must be crossed with the other, and then the legs are pulled towards the chest. The position should be held for about a minute and then released gradually. The same must be done with the other leg.

Posted on 26 Sep 2012
Back Pain

5 Ways to Banish Back Pain

Back pain is such a big problem in today’s society with over half the population suffering from some sort of chronic back pain. We seem to let it get the best of us and end up taking a ton of over the counter anti-inflammatory painkillers.

Below I have outlined some simple strategies to rid you of the back pain for good.

1- Assess your posture

The first step to fixing your back pain is to identify your posture, in particular, your hips; what way do they tilt? Ideally they should sit level, this is known as neutral spine. However an anterior pelvic tilt is most common, this is where your hips tilt down at the front causing an ‘s’ shape in your lower back. It is this ‘s’ shape that causes excessive pressure on your lower back leading to tightness and pain.

2- Stretch your hip flexors

If I had a pound for every time I assessed someone with tight hip flexors I would be a very rich man. Tight hip flexors (the muscles that run down the front of your hip) tend to occur from too much sitting down. Everyone I know sits down far too much. We begin our day by sitting down to eat breakfast, we then drive to work, sit at our desk all day, sit on the exercise bike for our lunchtime training session and then finally sit down to watch television and eat dinner. The problem with tight hip flexors is that it pulls down the front of your hips leading to excess curvature of your lumber spine (hyperlordosis).

3- Activate your glutes

Your glutes are the biggest and supposed to be the strongest muscles in your body. As we sit on our butts all day, our glute muscles tend to disengage and switch off causing faulty firing patterns. When you bend down to pick something heavy up, your glutes and legs should do most of the work, unfortunately if your glutes are not firing then the next big muscle will come in and take over. That next big muscle is your lower back and becomes a recipe for disaster. Exercises to strengthen your glutes are hip extensions and clams. Practice these every day for at least 5 minutes to get your butt working again.

4- Learn to brace your core

If I told you I was going to punch you in the stomach, you would automatically tighten up your stomach muscles. This is known as bracing your core. Bracing your core will help to stabilise your spine, protecting it from trauma. When you exercise, focus on movements like planks, side planks and pallof presses. These exercises naturally work on bracing your core muscles preventing unwanted back movement.

5- Stop doing crunches and sit ups

Endless crunches and sit ups will do nothing for flattening your stomach and will more than likely leave you with back niggles and pains. When you perform hundreds of crunches and sit ups, you are shortening the abdominal musculature ultimately pulling your chest down towards your belly. This will weaken your spine and leave you vulnerable when picking heavy objects off the floor. Instead focus on anti-flexion, anti-extension and anti-rotational movements. Exercises as I mentioned before such as planks, side planks and pallof presses work perfectly here.

Implement these simple strategies on a daily basis and see how quickly your back pain disappears for good.

Results Personal Training based in Hampstead, North London, are specialist in Fat Loss, using a holistic approach to diet and exercise. Results have helped thousands of individuals gain health, confidence and a body of their dreams.

Posted on 19 Sep 2012
Back Pain

The History of Chiropractic Care

With its roots deep in history, the practice of maintaining a healthy body through maintaining a correctly aligned spine dates back to the time of the ancients.

The profession of chiropractic, as a distinct form of health care, dates back to 1895. Many of the earliest healers understood the relationship between health and the condition of the spine. Hippocrates advised: “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”

A contemporary of Hippocrates, Herodotus, gained fame by using therapeutic exercises to cure diseases. If the patient was too weak to exercise, Herodotus would adjust the patient’s spine. Aristotle was critical of Herodotus’ tonic-free approach because, “he made old men young and thus prolonged their lives too greatly.”

It was not until Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer discovered specific spinal adjustments that Chiropractic Care was officially born. “I am not the first person to replace subluxated vertebrae, but I do claim to be the first person to replace displaced vertebrae by using the spinous and transverse processes as levers…and to develop the philosophy and science of chiropractic adjustments.”

D.D. Palmer, Discoverer of Chiropractic

Born in Ontario, Canada, D.D. Palmer moved to the United States when he was 20 years old. He spent the years after the Civil War teaching school, raising bees and selling sweet raspberries in the Iowa and Illinois river towns.

In 1885, D.D. learned of the work of Paul Caster, a magnetic healer who was having some success in Ottumwa. In order to learn more, D.D. moved his family to Burlington, near Ottumwa. He learned the techniques of magnetic healing, a common therapy of the time. Two years later, he moved to Davenport and opened the Palmer Cure & Infirmary.

On September 18, 1895, D.D. Palmer was working late in his office when a janitor, Harvey Lillard, began working nearby. When a noisy fire engine passed by outside, surprised to see that Lillard didn’t react at all, Palmer approached the man to strike up a conversation. He quickly realized Lillard was deaf.

Patiently, Palmer managed to communicate with the man, and learned that he had normal hearing for most of his life. However, one day when he was bent over in a cramped, stooping position, and felt something “pop” in his back. When he stood up, he couldn’t hear. Palmer deduced that the two events — the popping in his back and the deafness — had to be connected.

As D.D. ran his hand carefully down Lillard’s spine, he felt one of the vertebra was not in its normal position. “I reasoned that if that vertebra was replaced, the man’s hearing should be restored,” he wrote in his notes afterwards. “With this object in view, a half hour’s talk persuaded Mr. Lillard to allow me to replace it. I racked it into position by using the spinous process as a lever, and soon the man could hear as before.”

Over the next several months, other patients came to Palmer with every conceivable problem, including flu, sciatica, migraine headaches, stomach complaints, epilepsy and heart trouble.

D.D. Palmer found each of these conditions responded well to the adjustments which he was calling “hand treatments.” It was later he coined the term chiropractic — from the Greek words, Chiro, meaning (hand) and practic, meaning (practice or operation).

Although he never used drugs or medicines, under Palmer’s care fevers broke, pain ended, infections healed, vision improved, stomach disorders disappeared, and of course, hearing returned.

By using adjustments to correct vertebral misalignments, or subluxations, he realized he was eliminating the nerve interference causing the patients’ complaints. This was the birth of Chiropractic care.

Posted on 30 Aug 2012
Back Pain

What To Do For Back Spasms

There are a lot of ways on how to relieve back spasms. There is the stretching exercise, relaxation and rest technique, deep breathing exercises, ice or heat therapy, over the counter (OTC) drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants such as Acetaminophen/ Methocarbamol, strengthening of the back muscles, and finally, massage therapy.

If back aches are still occurring? First, you will need to try stretching exercises since the spasms might have occurred due to a strenuous exercise. Stretching exercises can help relieve back spasms since stretching exercises is needed after every exercise so maybe you forgot to cool down after a strenuous exercise thus experiencing the back ache. You will also need to rest, try sitting down, lying down or massaging the muscle. Massaging the area that is painful will stimulate the area and increase the blood flow, thus reducing the pain. You can also do deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercise as we all know is a relaxation technique and is very helpful in relieving the pain during back spasms. You can also apply some ice packs on the affected area. Ice therapy is only recommended if the back spasms is said to be caused by an injury. Ice therapy is said to be applicable for the next 48 to 72 hours and after that, heat therapy is recommended. But, some people also suggest you use alternate heat and cold therapy. It could depend on your needs since every individual has unique needs.

If your back problem do not subside after rest and relaxation, deep breathing, ice and heat therapy and massage therapy? You may need some over the counter (OTC) drugs. Some OTC drugs such as ibuprofen and other analgesics (pain reliever) can help to relieve pain as soon as the drugs take effect. Since the pain caused by back spasms may be unbearable, you may need to take some medications to relieve the pain so that you can go on with your day. Pain relievers can also be accompanied by muscle relaxants such as Acetaminophen/ Methocarbamol. These drugs can help because since there are spasms, the muscles will have to relax with the aid of these OTC drugs.

You have to strengthen your back muscles. Strengthening your back muscles will help because when the muscles are weak, after a strenuous exercise, spasms may occur. Information are available on the internet on how to strengthen lower back muscles so if you are experiencing recurring back spasms, you may need to do those exercises.

If the back pain does not subside after doing all the recommendations above? This is the time that you will have to seek the advice of a physician. Spinal structures or surrounding soft tissues might have been damaged causing the back to spasm. If this occurs, surgical operation might be necessary to solve the problem. There are also times that even after a surgical operation, back spasm may still occur. If back spasms that still occur even after an operation? Things like these could occur after an operation. Maybe the operation was not very successful, so you will have to see your doctor again to correct the unsuccessful operation.

Posted on 29 Aug 2012
Back Pain

Secrets To Different Techniques Used By Chiropractors

Chiropractic is one of the numerous alternative medicines that are available for those who are in need of it. Specialists in this field are called a chiropractor or Chiropractic Physicians. This medical field usually focuses on musculoskeletal system.

There are numerous individuals who are suffering from backaches, neck pain, and pain in the limbs. This is where a chiropractor comes in. Many critics still do not fully accept chiropractric treatments as proven technique. However, there are different proven techniques that are being utilized by a Chiropractic Physician.

Different Techniques Used By Chiropractors

1. Diversified Technique
This is one of the most common and highly used techniques by a chiropractor. This technique uses low amplitude thrust with high velocity. It is used to properly align spine and joint dysfunction and fully restore proper movement.

2. Activator Method or Technique
This chiropractic technique was actually developed by Alan Fuhr. Its sole purpose is to be an alternative to manual manipulation of the spine and joints. The physician will be using a hand-held device called the activator. This gadget is used to deliver small impulses to the spine. Its purpose is to move the vertebrae into position without causing any injury to the patient.

3. Gonstead Technique
This is a chiropractic technique, which was developed by Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead. This particular technique uses a Gonstead Set, which is actually an adjusting table. It became a popular chiropractic technique. It was highly used by numerous Chiropractor Physicians in treating their patients.

4. Craniosacral Therapy or Body Work (CST)
According to some Chiropractic Physicians, this technique is highly used in treating patients that are suffering from headaches, migraines, mental stress, fibromyalgia, neck pain, and back pains.

5. Applied Kinesiology (AK)
It was George J. Goodheart, who has shared this technique to other Chiropractic Physicians. There are even dentists, naturopaths, and some medical doctors do utilize this technique are benefitting from it.

You can know more about a chiropractor. Instead of taking in loads of medications on a daily basis, you might want to consider chiropractic treatment. Although, it is not for everyone still it has its own benefits. There are numerous patients who have been cured with various ailments and joint pains. They all have benefitted from this particular treatment. It can be an amazing alternative treatment, which just might be the right fit for you. Still, it is better to look into things before deciding.

Posted on 29 Aug 2012
Back Pain

How to Relieve Back Pain Using an Inversion Table

Today, more people are purchasing inversion tables than ever before. The main reason for this is that this “hang upside down machine” enables spinal decompression thereby relieving back pain. Unfortunately, despite the increase in the number of people buying this particular machine, many people still don’t know what to do with it once they get home. Below is a beginner’s guide on how to relieve back pain using an inversion table.

Step 1
The first thing that you should do before you begin your lower back exercises is to adjust the height setting. To ensure that you leave enough space between your head and the floor, the height setting should be about 2 inches more than your actual height.

Step 2
Once you have adjusted the height setting, go ahead and adjust the tether strap. Remember, it is the tether strap that determines your angle of inversion. If you want to achieve a full, 90 degree, inversion, do away with the tether strap.

Step 3
While standing on the foot platform, put the ankle clamps around your ankles and adjust them until they feel secure enough.

Step 4
Raise your arms above your head one at a time and the inversion table will begin to tilt. That’s because many inversion tables are designed to respond to shifts in body weight distribution.

Step 5
Once your body is inverted, you can remain in that position for between two and seven minutes. During this time, you can perform any of the following back strengthening exercises.

• Jackknife Stretch
To perform this simple stretch, just raise your arms so that they are below your head and remain in that position for 30 seconds. The purpose of this exercise is to increase blood flow to your back’s muscles.

• Inverted Crunches
In order for your spine to maintain its natural shape, you need strong abdominal muscles. To perform an inverted crunch, cross your arms over your chest and slowly raise your upper body towards your legs until you are in a sitting position. Repeat this exercise as many times as you want.

• Arches
To perform an arch, just grab the frame of the table and raise your stomach away from the table so that you back looks like an arch.

Step 6
To return to an upright position, slowly place your arms at your sides and bend your knees slightly.

Step 7
Loosen the ankle clamps and slide your ankles out.

Posted on 23 Aug 2012
Back Pain

What Is Spinal Stenosis Laser Surgery?

A major hindrance for many people, especially those beyond the age of 50, is a disease known as spinal stenosis. This type of body disorder occurs in the spinal column hence everyday task such as walking and bending is now becoming a tough activity. Fortunately, much like other body ailments, spinal stenosis has a cure.

Spinal stenosis is a body condition that narrows the spinal canal, where the spinal cord, nerve roots and vertebrae are located. Often, the lumbar vertebrae – or the lower back – is at risk and this can result in pain and numbness all through the body, especially in the legs. In severe cases, body imbalance which may result in regular falling occurs, as well as the loss of bladder control.

For patients who are experiencing spinal stenosis at milder level, non-invasive methods can be applied. Some of these methods include medications and physical therapy. But for more serious cases, a spinal stenosis laser surgery is greatly recommended.

There are three types of laser surgeries that are commonly utilized to treat spinal stenosis. One is foraminotomy, or the process of cutting the foramen so that the nerves can pass the inside of the spine easily and at a normal level. The opening on each side of the vertebrae lining in the spine is called the foramen. In case the foramens are narrowed, much strain can be applied to the nerves and thus can be what is causing your pain.

The second type of surgery is the lamonitomy. This procedure involves the cutting of the lamina. This will enhance the space in the affected area in order to release trapped nerves. The bony walls on each side of the vertebrae are called lamina. These walls protect the spinal canal and must maintain their size and position, otherwise, it will apply more pressure to the spinal cord.

The laminectomy is the third type of common laser surgery and it is often required in more severe cases. The laminectomy means the complete removal of the lamina. The difference between the lamonitomy and the laminectomy is that the former is less invasive as the latter is often deemed as an open surgery.

Undergoing laser surgery can ultimately treat spinal stenosis. These surgeries are simple procedures and often take few hours for recovery after the treatment is done. Most importantly, these types of surgeries have greater rate of success and hence are highly recommended to those with severe cases of spinal stenosis.

Posted on 23 Aug 2012
Back Pain

How to Find a Chiropractor

Visiting the chiropractor on a regular basis is a great way to improve your health in more ways than you can imagine. There are many different reasons why a person may choose to visit the chiropractor, and if you don’t already have one, now is the time to find a chiropractor.

Chiropractic uses safe, gentle and precise techniques. These techniques should only be used by a person who has been trained in chiropractic work in order to avoid injury.

Some of the state of the art techniques include:

  • Atlas Orthogonal
  • Laser
  • Activator
  • Arthrostim
  • Vibracussor
  • Digital X-rays
  • Nutrition
  • Acupuncture

When visiting a chiropractor it is essential that the doctor focuses on a treatment plan that is catered to your individual needs. Look for a chiropractor that provides treatment through an all-inclusive focus on overall health. Each patient should receive treatment that is specific to their condition, and the treatment plan typically involves a multi-faceted approach, including: chiropractic adjustments, exercises, and therapies to help your body achieve the maximum correction.

Reasons to Visit a Chiropractor

Many people associate only back pain as the reason to visit a chiropractor, however there are other health conditions that can benefit with chiropractic treatment including: headaches, sleep problems, spinal injuries, disc problems, muscle injuries, scoliosis, stress, sports injuries, upper and lower back pain, neck and shoulder pain, and pregnancy care.

Remember that there are different methods that a chiropractor may use, but you want to research the health condition before jumping into a treatment plan without the information that is needed.

To see if a chiropractor can help you, a thorough exam is recommended. Chiropractic care is very safe, especially when gentle techniques are being used. Additionally, chiropractic treatments sometimes decrease the risks that are associated with invasive medical treatments.

How Long to Visit the Chiropractor

A chiropractor’s goal is to treat what is causing the problem, not just give temporary symptomatic relief. Many chiropractors focus on using the minimum amount of treatment appointments that are needed in order to maximize the benefits that your are receiving from the process. But, occasionally there may be a chiropractor that tries to draw out the appointment schedule longer in order to earn more money with the appointments.

You should consider finding a good, reliable source who can provide you with the information about the chiropractors in your area. Additionally, don’t be afraid to change the doctor that you are working with if you don’t experience the relief that you desire.

One good way to locate a chiropractor in your area is by reading the online reviews that other customers have left about the doctor that you are meeting with. There are many great websites out there that contain reviews and comments by other people who have visited with the doctor that you are using.