Although many of us are well-educated adults, so much of what we “know” comes from off-hand remarks from people at work, exchanges on social media with family and friends, pop-culture in the media, and from what we see on television. How reliable are these sources? We are not even aware of how much information we’re assimilating and how it is impacting our perceptions of everything and everyone around us. Most of what we take in isn’t even first-hand information, but from second-hand or even less credible sources. Unfortunately, this is often the case when it comes to our health.View full article →
If you don’t know better, golf can seem like a laid-back sport that carries little risk of physical injury other than being hit by a stray ball or having a foot run over by a speeding golf cart. But the truth is that a correct golf swing requires a great deal of balance, flexibility and core strength and that it can place a great deal of strain on the golfer’s back.
Unfortunately, many golfers don’t recognize the importance of warming up before teeing off until it’s too late. With more men and women playing golf than ever before, the incidence of golf-related back pain is also growing. Frequent play can aggravate chronic or intermittent low back pain that, in turn, can interfere with your ability to play golf. However, warming up before you play can go a long way to stop the cycle of golf and back pain. Not only can it keep you on the course, it can also improve the quality of your game.
Focus on Stretching and Taking Practice Swings
1 Trunk rotations allow you to warm-up the torso by mimicking the motion you will use to swing your club. Place a golf club across the back of your shoulders and slowly twist from left to right to stretch the torso and the shoulders. The lower body should remain stable with the movement taking place in the torso.
2 Stretch quadriceps by standing with a chair or bench behind you with your arms crossed over your chest. Bend your knee so that one foot is resting on the seat of the chair or bench. Squeeze your buttocks muscles to cause a contraction of the quadriceps (muscles in the front of the thigh). Follow the motions of your golf swing. Repeat on the other side.
3 Stretch your back by standing behind the back of a chair with your feet apart. Hold the back of the chair while keeping the back straight. Still holding the chair, drop your body down and pull it away from the chair to create a stretch near the armpits.
4 Sitting on a bench or chair, place the ankle from one leg on top of the thigh of the other leg. Use your forearm to push down on the bent leg. Lean forward to create a gentle stretch in your hip. Repeat on the other side.
5 Woodchops is a good golf warm-up because they reach the abs, legs, and back. To perform these, stand holding a golf club straight up and down, perpendicular to the ground. Raise the club slowly over the head while holding your arms straight. Keep back slightly arched to stretch the chest. Next, bring the club down and between your knees while you go into a squatting position. Maintain a flat back and hold abs in throughout the stretch. Move slowly enough that it takes 30 seconds to complete the entire stretch.
Good Swing Mechanics For a Healthy Back and a Healthy Back for Good Swing Mechanics
It really does work both ways. Golf-related back pain is often the result of muscle sprains or strains that can be prevented with appropriate preparation and warm-ups. But poor swing mechanics will also take their toll over time—even for golfers who are relatively young and fit. Swings that are off-balance or that rely on the wrong muscle groups to generate power put players’ backs at risk. The reverse is also true—players who are nursing back injuries (and other types of injuries, for that matter) frequently compensate for them by making changes in their golf swing that hurt their performance and that may increase the risk of additional injuries.
Golfers of all skill levels can benefit from regular chiropractic care. Many chiropractic physicians have specialized training in biomechanics and some have made a particular study of golf performance and golf-related injuries. If you’re a golfer who’s interested in getting or staying healthy and improving your game, call or visit our office today!
As unfortunate as it is, loss of normal spinal curvature and poor posture are extremely common. Given the amount of time we spend staring at various screens—whether sitting at an office desk or walking down the street—it’s not surprising that our bodies are being affected. It’s also not surprising that back and neck pain has become the second most frequent reason for visiting a doctor.
Many people presenting with back and neck pain also suffer from a loss of normal spinal curvature. Luckily, there are a number of treatment options that can be used to restore the normal curve and to help patients relearn good posture. Broadly speaking, loss of the normal curve most commonly involves one of three conditions: lumbar hyperlordosis, scoliosis, and abnormal kyphosis. Each has a number of curve rehabilitation techniques associated with it.
Patients with lumbar hyperlordosis (also known as “swayback” or “saddle back”) have developed an exaggerated arch in the lower back (the lumbar region of the spine) that typically makes the buttocks and belly appear more prominent. The treatment approach will often depend on the severity of the abnormal curve and the amount of mobility that still exists in this area of spine. If the curve is not flexible, then it is more likely that treatment will be necessary.
Since hyperlordosis places unusual stress on the vertebrae and spinal discs, failing to seek treatment increases the risk of accelerated spinal degeneration, disc herniation and other structural problems. These, in turn, can cause pain and limit function. Over time, other areas of the body—including the hips, legs and internal organs—may also be affected.
Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions that affect the back and neck. Depending on the situation, they may use a combination of chiropractic adjustments, spinal molding blocks and foam rolls to restore the normal curve. They will also work closely with patients to make postural adjustments, strengthen core muscles and increase range of motion. When a child has hyperlordosis, treatment may involve a brace, which helps to ensure that the abnormal curve doesn’t worsen as he or she grows.
For the most severe and painful cases of hyperlordosis, surgery may be necessary. The objective of this surgery is to correct the severity of the curve and provide additional support for the body’s frame. Such surgery may involve metal rods, hooks, or screws. Surgeons may also use a bone graft to stimulate new growth and strength.
The word “scoliosis” is more widely recognized than hyperlordosis among the general public. It refers to an abnormal c- or s-shaped lateral curvature of the spine—one that is apparent while looking at an individual from the front or back. In some cases, a patient’s head may appear off-center or one shoulder or hip may be higher than the other.
In about 80% of cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known. This is generally referred to as “idiopathic”. Scoliosis may also be “functional” (an abnormal curve develops because of a problem elsewhere in the body), “neuromuscular” (a curve is caused by abnormally formed vertebrae) or “degenerative” (the curve is the result of deterioration, damage or weakness in the spine’s supporting structures—bone or soft tissue—during later years).
Treatment options for scoliosis depend on the severity and location of the curve, its cause and the likelihood of it getting worse as the patient gets older. Treatment typically involves braces for children and adolescents if their spinal curves are between 25 and 40 degrees. However, the brace’s straightening effect only lasts as long as the patient wears it. Those with a curve beyond 40 degrees to 50 degrees are often candidates for scoliosis surgery. As WebMD puts it, “The goal is to make sure the curve does not get worse, but surgery does not perfectly straighten the spine. During the procedure, metallic implants are utilized to correct some of the curvature and hold it in the correct position until a bone graft, placed at the time of surgery, consolidates and creates a rigid fusion in the area of the curve. Scoliosis surgery usually involves joining the vertebrae together permanently—called spinal fusion.”
Abnormal kyphosis is an outward curvature of the thoracic spine (middle back) that results in a “hunched forward” or “hunchbacked” appearance. It is often caused by poor posture. In these cases—referred to as “postural kyphosis—a chiropractor can reduce the hump by prescribing lifestyle changes and strengthening exercises that improve posture. He or she may also use a variety of spinal adjustment techniques to reduce pain and inflammation, calm muscle spasms, restore range of motion and slow the rate of disc degeneration in the middle back.
America’s roads have become far safer over the past three decades. By just about any measure, travelers are much less likely to be injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident than they were in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And this is true even though we’re driving more miles each year!
However, automobile accidents are still notoriously hard on the musculoskeletal system, and there is still a very real risk of back and neck injuries—even when drivers and passengers are protected by the latest safety equipment. In fact, recent research suggests that some types of injuries—particularly to the thoracic and lumbar regions of the back—may actually be more likely when safety belts are used. There is also some evidence that airbags may contribute to more severe neck injuries when they deploy.
At the same time, other developments are also changing the nature of auto injuries. For instance:
So even though the overall fatality rate and the rate of serious injuries should continue to fall as safety systems continue to improve, minor to moderate injuries from auto accidents will continue to be a fact of life for the foreseeable future.
What You Need to Know
Even in cases where drivers and passengers walk away from a wreck believing they’re “uninjured”, accidents can have profound, long-lasting health consequences for those involved. It’s not uncommon for some types of symptoms to appear only gradually days or weeks after the event itself, delaying effective diagnosis and treatment. Symptoms may also come and go intermittently, making it more difficult to associate them with the accident.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to safeguard your health and improve your chances of a more rapid, complete recovery following an auto accident. Clinical studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care can shorten recovery time and decrease the amount of permanent physical damage sustained in a collision.
An auto accident can affect your health (and your lifestyle) for years if you don’t receive the proper treatment. So if you or someone you care about has been injured in a collision, please call our office and make an appointment today.
Chiropractic care can help put your recovery in high gear!
Knee pain is one of the most common orthopedic ailments treated by chiropractic physicians. This isn’t too surprising when you stop to think about it. After all, the knee absorbs an enormous amount of stress and is designed to bend in only one direction. At the same time, though, many of the movements we make (particularly in sports) force the knee to bend slightly in other directions while still requiring it to support the full weight of the body in motion above it. If the biomechanics are off or the joint and surrounding muscles aren’t strong enough, this is a recipe for potential knee pain and injury.
But athletics don’t account for as much of today’s knee pain as you might suspect. The larger culprits are obesity and sedentary lifestyles. You may not realize it, but this combination isn’t just bad for cardiovascular and metabolic health. It’s also bad for musculoskeletal health! All that extra weight adds to the daily wear and tear on the body’s frame—bones, muscles, and joints. But especially the knees! We suspect this is one of the key reasons we’re seeing a dramatic increase in some types of knee surgery as well as full knee replacements among patients who are still relatively young.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that it doesn’t have to come to this. The chiropractic approach to knee pain starts with prevention and favors early, conservative treatments that don’t involve the risks associated with surgery and drugs.
Wear the proper shoes for your needs and use custom orthotics if appropriate. If your feet are overpronated (roll to the inside) or supinated (roll to the outside), or if you have fallen arches, it can affect your biomechanics when you stand, walk or run. Over time, this can lead to compensation higher in the body that produces uneven wear and tear on your knees and increases the risk of injury. The same thing is true for your hips and back.
Your chiropractor can analyze the structure of your foot as well as your posture and gait (the way you move when you walk and run) to assess your biomechanics. If necessary, he or she may recommend custom orthotics as well as exercises or changes to your biomechanics in order to relieve pain, prevent future problems and (if you’re an athlete) improve performance.
Be smart about how you exercise and listen to your body. This can be a particular problem for “weekend warriors.” Many middle age adults (more men than women) overestimate the physical condition they’re in. They often can’t or don’t exercise regularly during the week but still want to go all-out in weekend competition. This can contribute to an overloading of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in knees that aren’t strong enough to handle the sudden surge in physical demands. It’s not surprising that acute knee injuries and/or an accumulation of micro-tears are frequently the result.
Lose weight if you need to—and the sooner the better. Any high-impact activities are extra hard on the knees if you’re overweight, but exercise is clearly critical to burning more calories and reversing the situation. What can you do? The answer is to focus on lower-impact activities that burn lots of calories while saving your joints until you achieve a more normal weight. Swimming, rowing and cycling are all good candidates.
It’s important to recognize and get ahead of this issue early, since being overweight or obese can lead to chronic joint problems, which can reduce your ability to be active. This in turn increases the risk that you’ll gain even more weight in the future. One of the best ways to reduce unnecessary wear-and-tear on your knees, hips and back and to avoid the vicious cycle of weight gain, musculoskeletal pain and inactivity is to lose extra pounds EARLY!
Increase your strength and flexibility. Concentrate on strengthening and stretching the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) muscles, since these provide the greatest support to the knees and ensure that the patella tracks properly. Women are especially prone to improper patellar tracking, which places more stress on the ligaments of the knee. This creates a popping or grinding sound when you bend the knee, often accompanied by pain. Yoga and Pilates are good ways to keep the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the leg and knee strong and flexible.
Get regular chiropractic treatment. A well-trained and experienced chiropractic physician will be able to perform a variety of specialized adjustment, manipulation and mobilization techniques that can relieve pain and improve function in the knees. In certain cases, manual therapies such as chiropractic care may offer just as much benefit to knee injury patients as arthroscopic surgery. A group of researchers who recently published their findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looked specifically at the effectiveness of a common procedure called “arthroscopic meniscal debridement” for age-related meniscus tears in middle-aged patients and concluded that more conservative (non-surgical) treatment should actually be the preferred first-line option.
Know your options. All of this is NOT to say that surgery isn’t sometimes necessary or helpful to relieve pain and help people lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Knee replacement surgery offers new mobility to patients whose joints have been compromised and has allowed millions of people to be active once again, when previously they would have had to be confined to a wheelchair.
However, we believe that patients should explore more conservative options before deciding on surgery. Chiropractic care and other manual therapies have many advantages over treatments that involve surgery and drugs. This has been pretty well established when it comes to relieving chronic back and neck pain and restoring mobility. Now there’s new evidence that this may apply to a common knee injury as well. For instance, a recent study conducted in Finland found that patients who underwent a partial meniscectomy to address problems related to torn knee cartilage were actually no better off than patients in a control group who received a “simulated” surgical treatment (the surgical equivalent of a placebo). And another recent study demonstrated that physical therapy was just as effective as knee surgery for patients with both a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis.
So—in our view—the best thing you can do is to take good care of your knees NOW, before the need for surgery arises. Remember—the things you do today can prevent serious problems tomorrow. Call or visit our office today to learn more!
Chiropractic medicine is based on the idea that your body can help to keep itself healthy if your spine, neck, and head are aligned properly and free from abnormalities that impair the proper flow of energy along your spinal column. Doctors of Chiropractic thus work with spinal structures, using manipulative techniques to correct injuries and abnormalities and to speed healing of health problems—particularly musculoskeletal and neurological ones—that arise from misaligned bones.
At the same time, however, the bones of the spine are surrounded by muscle tissue and connective tissues (such as ligaments and tendons) that enable and control its movements. These soft tissues are affected by the spinal abnormalities, and may either cause or exacerbate structural problems. So massage therapy (which works to relax muscles, increase blood flow and improve mobility of connective tissues) is often a perfect complement to chiropractic manipulation (which works to resolve the structural problems).
Chiropractic and massage are not only compatible, they are complementary.
Massage is often recommended as an integral part of a broader chiropractic treatment plan, either in the form of massage to loosen muscle tightness before an adjustment, or after an adjustment to help the muscles adapt to the newly-repaired spinal structures. Many patients report that the combination of these two therapies works better than either therapy alone.
There is even objective evidence of this, in the form of an extensive survey of alternative health care treatments conducted by Consumer Reports magazine. Asking over 34,000 readers to rate both conventional and alternative treatments as to whether they "helped a lot," "helped some," or "helped a little," the researchers found that chiropractic and massage rated higher than any other alternative health care methodologies, and in some cases higher than conventional medical care. Chiropractic, for example, was rated most effective in relieving back pain, while deep tissue massage was rated most effective in treating osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. As researcher Tiffany Field explained, "Moderate pressure to muscles and soft tissues stimulates a cascade of biological effects… We find that moderate pressure is essential for the effects we see from massage, and may be one way that chiropractic works as well, because typically a chiropractor applies moderate pressure."
How is massage integrated into chiropractic treatment?
Many Doctors of Chiropractic work closely with trained massage therapists to provide the proper combination of therapies. For example, massage is often recommended before spinal adjustment because it relieves muscle tension that may be pulling joints out of alignment, and makes it easier for the chiropractor to move them back into place. Alternatively, many patients who seek pain relief from massage therapists but find that their discomfort persists experience more lasting relief by adding chiropractic care to their health regimen.
Many patients have discovered that they recovery from injuries much more quickly and much more completely with the combination of chiropractic care and massage therapy. This is most noticeable with conditions that cause chronic pain—the chiropractor works to relieve the structural problems and the massage therapist works to resolve the soft tissue problems. Most chiropractors who work hand-in-hand with massage therapists collaborate to find the most effective treatment regimen for each patient—the one that returns them to a feeling of health and well-being as quickly as possible.
So massage therapy can be seen as almost a perfect "partner" for chiropractic care. Both treatment methodologies are holistic and focus on helping patients without the use of drugs or surgery, and both are dedicated to finding and treating the underlying cause of your pain rather than just treating the symptoms.
It does not matter if you’re an Apple enthusiast, an Android fanatic or a keen Microsoft customer, you cannot ignore the worldwide popularity of tablet devices. The statistics are clear - technology marketplace experts determine that over 200 million units are bought in America annually. Although you might not be up to date with the most recent technology developments, you will be aware mobile gadgets - mostly mobile phones and tablets - are very common place. From cafes and grocery stores to airport terminals and train platforms, they appear to be everywhere. Additionally more and more companies are starting to provide their sales and service personnel along with their management teams with this innovation. They’re even showing up in hospitals and offices of health care professionals!
Although tablets definitely have their advantages, recent scientific studies indicates that they definitely include their disadvantages in terms of musculoskeletal well-being. It has previously been proven that regular text messaging on your mobile device results in issues with neck problems (the “text neck” epidemic), and people who utilize their tablet for all sorts of things from work related functions to simply browsing the net and viewing full-length films could be in for additional pain. The anecdotal proof has been showing up in the waiting areas of chiropractors around the nation, and research studies at top educational institutions are starting to really investigate the ergonomics and dangers of using a tablet.
The outcomes of an academic study printed in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation discovered that the tablet use was related to increased head and neck flexion when compared to conventional desktop PCs and that putting the tablet higher on a desk and making use of a case to position the tablet at the ideal angle might alleviate problems with the neck and shoulders.
Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Microsoft Corporation investigated 15 volunteers who were frequent tablet users. The individuals carried out simulated routines on an Apple iPad2 as well as a Motorola Xoom, when the positioning of the head and neck, the individual’s position and gaze length were calculated by a 3D infrared motion evaluation procedure. They browsed the web, sent e-mails, viewed videos and played games.
Every tablet had a patented case that allowed subjects to place the tablet at various angles. The Apple case made it possible for 15° and 73° slant angles, whereas the Motorola case permitted angles of 45° and 63°. Increased flexion of the neck was discovered with the iPad2 once utilized in its own case. As expected, tablets placed at a minimum perpendicular position resulted in more neck and head flexion compared to when the individuals made use of a desktop or laptop. Head and neck positioning only started to move toward a neutral placement once the tablets were placed in their cases at the Table-Movie position in which they were nearest to being upright.
The scientists suggested that tablet users position the gadgets on a work table and at the highest watching angle practical to prevent neck and shoulder discomfort. But, they warned that this set up could cause issues for the hands and wrists, which in such a setting are not ideally positioned for input. This obviously might result in its own range of musculoskeletal ailments in the extremities. Therefore, the inescapable fact is that tablet ergonomics require a number of difficult compromises or trade-offs for end users. A posture that’s perfect for watching is problematic for inputting and expressions and vice-versa.
For many folks, tablet devices are actually a compulsory element of work and home way of living (for good or bad). If you happen to be one amongst these persons and can’t envision of possibly cutting off your iPad or minimizing the amount of time spent working with it, then it’s absolutely essential to create sound ergonomic routines that alleviate musculoskeletal tension and have the least effect on your posture. It’s also wise to think about visiting a chiropractic doctor fairly often. Chiropractic treatment has proven to be more powerful in the treatment of neck and shoulder pain compared to using pain pills. Chiropractic realignment will straighten out your neck bones and reduce the pressure off squeezed nerves, delivering pain reduction in a gradual, natural way so that you can work with your tablet in greater comfort. Together with dealing with the ailments you currently have, your chiropractor can certainly provide you with individual ergonomic suggestions to assist in preventing them from coming back or turning out to be chronic.
We want to help! If you have certain questions regarding a musculoskeletal complication or additional overall health and well-being concerns, we suggest that you speak to us or pay a visit to our office as soon as possible!