Back Pain – Being Prepared for Your First Visit to a Chiropractor

Folks are often faced with this dilemma: I feel discomfort in my back, but it’s probably nothing, right? It’ll just go away in a matter of days or weeks. I probably just need to rest more or eat better.

It’s true that a handful of back pain dilemmas arise from notably bad posture, a poor or inadequate diet, bad sleeping habits or even using bad form while exercising. Unfortunately, the average individual is not qualified to properly diagnose these problems, which can often prove to be fatal down the road.

It may be wise to consult a Chiropractor at this stage; an expert who can provide extensive knowhow and diagnoses into each and every kind of back-related issue. This article aims to prepare you somewhat, so you know some of the things to expect when you visit a Chiropractor for the first time.

In the event that your back pain turns out to be more serious than just symptoms of discomfort or overuse, here’s how a Chiropractor would generally diagnose causes:

Potentially Serious

This can range from conditions like tumors, infections, a local open wound or burn to major neurological problems such as cauda equina – a rare but serious condition nevertheless that’s best described as extreme pressure and swelling of the nerves at the lower tip of the spinal cord. This is considered a serious medical emergency and may need urgent surgical attention.

Other conditions in this category include prolonged internal bleeding and joint infection.

Nerve Problem

In cases where the nerve root in the lower back is compressed or pinched, you experience sciatica. One of the typical causes of this condition is a lumbar herniated disc or spinal stenosis – with age, the general makeup of the spine often changes, leading to degeneration of the bones, muscles, ligaments and discs surrounding the spinal cord. A common symptom of this condition is leg pain. This pain is often accompanied by a tingling sensation in the buttocks and legs.

Non-Specific

This can be categorized as “mechanical back pain” in the lumbar region; also known as axial back pain, this is categorized as either a sharp or dull pain and can be either felt intermittently or constantly. It’s referred to as mechanical since the lower back pain can get worse with certain physical movements such as sports. Or symptoms can worsen as a result of sitting long hours for example. This is also a common type of back pain and is typically non-specific.

Spondylolysis and Lower Back Pain

385px-Spinal_column_curvature_2011.pngSpondylolysis is one of many conditions that chiropractic practices have to deal with. The condition occurs due to a weakness in the section of the vertebrae that is known as pas interaticularis. This is a thin piece of bone that is responsible for connecting the lower and upper portion of the facet joints. These join in the vertebrae’s upper and lower section to form a comprehensive network of bone that allows the spine to move.

The defect can lead to small fractures in the spine that cause certain vertebrae to slip out of place.

Some chiropractic practices say that Spondylolysis is a hereditary disease especially considering infants who are born with a thin vertebrae, a condition that puts them at a higher risk for fractures.   Repetitive trauma to the lower back may also cause the pars interarticularis to weaken over time.

Symptoms

Those who have spondylolysis do not experience any symptoms and which is exactly why they might not be aware of it once it does occur. Low back pain is the most common symptom once the pain from the condition spreads. It feels like a muscle in the lower back has been sprained and usually gets worse with exercise or activity. It can also occur during a teenager’s growth spurt after puberty which is why the typical age of a person who acquires the condition is usually between 15 to 16 years.

The condition usually occurs in 3 to 4% of the population and is the most common cause of lower back pain in children or people below the age of 26. Spondylolysis is more common in kids or teenagers who take part in vigorous activities that over extend their spines such as weightlifting, gymnastics and football.

Treatment

The condition calls for a more conservative approach. Chiropractic care of Spondylolysis would aim to reduce the pain, let the fracture heal and help return the patient to normal activities. Patients are also advised to refrain from any vigorous physical activities such as exercise or sports to help them heal faster. Treatments for severe cases often involve the use of a back brace or support which helps stabilize the back and prevent lower back pain to aid the healing process.

The condition might not be preventable in some cases however certain steps can be taken to reduce the risk of fractures in the lower back.

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Spinal column curvature 2011.png

 

Diet for your Disc Injury – Know what Works

images-22.jpegAn Apple a Day Keeps the Spinal Surgeon Away

One of the cardinal rules that all chiropractors go by is to rely on the human body’s own abilities to heal its own self. In fact, this is exactly why most chiropractors say that patients who suffer from potentially debilitating conditions such as herniated discs can prevent the condition by eating the right kind of foods. Almost 80% of the population suffers from back pain and would rather resort to minimally invasive back treatments to make their pain a passing memory.

Sadly, most people do not see the connection between what they eat and the affect it might have on their backs. Remember, your body needs to ingest the appropriate amount of nutrition in order for the muscles in your back to move as they should. Here is what you can include in your diet to ensure just that –

Power Foods

Your muscles need power foods in order to, well, become powerful enough to support your movements. These are natural food items that provide a great boost of energy in small doses over the course of a few hours. In other words, they can supply an ample amount of energy to keep you going without craving for a sugary donut that will deplete you of any reserves you might have in minutes.

Foods that contain a high amount of antioxidants such as blueberries and salmon that contains omega 3 fatty acids are good examples of power foods. Chiropractors say that foods such as these can keep your body supplied with the fuel it needs to maintain or support your spine thereby preventing you from acquiring a disc injury.

Foods that contain vitamins and minerals can also prevent your back from failing you when you need it the most. Power foods such as these actually aid the body in releasing energy from the food it ingests to keep itself healthy. Calcium and Vitamins such as vitamin D keep your bones strong and durable as well.

Eating right can seem like a difficult prospect in the fast paced societies of today. However, your body shouldn’t suffer for it. Spinal injuries such as a disc injury are nothing to scoff at. Therefore it’s best that you include food items such as whole grains, whole wheat bread and vegetables in your diet.  Not only will this help keep your back in shape for the long run it will also help you run on a full tank of gas till lunch time.

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Neckpain no Longer an Interference on the Job, Thanks Dr. Glenn J Perryman D.C.

At Pacific Hills Family Chiropractic our doctor, Dr. Glenn Perryman DC, is committed to bettering the health and wellness of each and every patient he treats.

Chiropractic care by Dr. Perryman at Pacific Hills Family Chiropractic offers a solution to neck ache.
Dr.Glenn Perryman is offering a free consultation and comprehensive spinal exam for new patients. Call (949) 367-0407 to set up an appointment.

Visit our office at 28281 Crown Valley Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

http://www.chiropractorlagunaniguel.com
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Chiropractic Care to Relieve Symptoms of Pregnancy

Pregnant_woman2.jpgA woman has to get used to the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy for 38 to 42 weeks. There are ways to relieve such pain through medication, but they can pose potential side effects on the mother and the child. Chiropractic care, on the other hand, has shown to have remarkably alleviated the symptoms of back problems associated with pregnancy. Therapy, nutrition and exercise are the basics of the treatment that makes chiropractic and pregnancy go hand in hand.

Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy

Chiropractic treatments are non-invasive and address the misalignment in the spine to alleviate pain. Studies have also shown chiropractic care to have no known side effects on pregnant woman and the innate child. It promotes development in the mother and the baby. The Webster Technique is commonly employed to treat pregnant women, as it tends to apply as less pressure on the abdomen as possible.

Common Symptoms of Pregnancy

Back pains are very common during pregnancy. Women put on extra weight during the period, thus increasing the pressure on the spine. This leads to nerve stress, which can halt the development of a child. Other common symptoms during pregnancy include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Morning sickness
  • Heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Swollen ankles
  • Hormonal changes

Complications That Can Arise

Dislocation of the vertebra, or better known as vertebral subluxation, can interrupt the nervous system and affect the ability of communication within a body. Subluxation can result in:

Nerve Tension – Muscles around the spine become tight and experience inflammation on areas with misalignment in the spine. This adds stress on the nerves, and these nerves lead to various parts and organs in the body, like muscles, glands and blood vessels. Neglecting nerve tension can cause degeneration in various body systems.

Body Imbalance – Subluxation in the neck can lead to head tilting on one side. The righting reflex in the brain causes lower cervical spine to bend on the opposite direction of the head tilt. This can cause one side of the pelvis to draw up, making one leg appear shorter than the other. The uneven distribution of weight puts more stress on the joints. Extremely painful for the mother, it may even cause problems for the baby to get into the right birthing position.

A visit to the chiropractor throughout pregnancy can help you get started with the treatment, and can make the pregnancy and delivery comfortable and faster.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Pregnant woman2.jpg

Causes of Back Pain

10418151535_d230e6de16.jpgBack 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

 

Diet for a Herniated Disc – Heal through Nutrition

images-19.jpegChiropractic treatment plans also include diets for herniated discs. A herniated disc is a back condition that occurs when one of the spongy discs that cushion the vertebrae breaks open or bulges. The condition is also known as a ruptured or slipped disc.

As discussed the spine is made up of 24 moveable vertebrae each of which is separated by a soft tissue like shock absorbers that are known as discs.  A traumatized disc inflames painfully. If it is left as it is it can often lead to disc degeneration or bulging. This can irritate the sensitive nerves that pass through the spinal column and is where the pain is at its absolute worst.

While a herniated disc can occur in any part of the spine it is more common in the back. You can prevent yourself from ever having to suffer from a herniated disc if you include the following in your diet –

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids have the ability to form collagen which the body uses to prevent or repair any damage to cartilage or discs that is caused by inflammation.

Glucosamine Sulfate

This nutrient is naturally found in the body and is important for the repair and maintenance of collagen which is the primary component of discs. It needs glucosamine sulfate to create the chemicals that it needs to repair cartilage, ligaments, tendons and synovial fluid that bathe the spinal joints and occurs naturally in the body.

Fiber

Include this nutrient in your diet and you will do your digestion a huge favor. Fiber smoothens out the digestive process and prevents any strain on discs that may place pressure on the abdomen. It also heals the spine at the cellular level. Super foods that contain fiber include shellfish such as crab, fish, prawns and oysters. Other food items that are rich in fiber include fruits and veggies such as beets, stewed or fresh tomatoes, red peppers, black as well as blueberries. Soy products such as tofu, soy cheese and soy milk also contain a high amount of the protein.

Every type of food you consume impacts your health. Give your body the chance to heal faster by watching what you eat. Your back will be better off for it and prevent any herniated disc from cramping (pun intended) your style.

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Ergonomics and Employee Productivity

US_Navy_020614-N-0552D-001_SPAWAR_award_winning_employee.jpgErgonomics has become a very popular field, which deals with designing suitable furniture, which is comfortable for individuals, both at home and in the office environment. The absence of ergonomically fit furniture and surroundings, results in different muscular problems in individuals like back pain, neck ache, strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractors provide treatment for alleviating the pain caused because of engaging in strenuous activities throughout the day.

How Is Employee Productivity Linked To Ergonomics?

Ergonomics or human factors, focuses on designing furniture and workplaces, so as to ensure convenience and ease for individuals, both at home and at the office. An ergonomically fit work environment is designed to ensure, that the working stations and the furniture used, are in accordance with the industry standards. It facilitates the functioning and activity of employees, engaged in work at the computer or at the factory floor.

Employees working in an environment, in which the work spaces and the computer equipment are stationed within easy reach, and do not cause any strain, will remain fit and healthy, resulting in efficient productivity. A considerable percentage of employees, contract different muscular pains and strains, which affects their work efficiency. In cases of extreme pain, sometimes individuals have to take time off from work in order to regain enough fitness to resume work.

Benefits of Ergonomically Fit Surroundings

An office having a work station and space, specifically designed keeping in mind the ergonomic standards prevalent in the industry, facilitates the factory workers and office employees in performing their duties efficiently and on time. This improves the overall productivity, resulting in increasing profits for the business.

By designing a safe and ergonomically fit factory production site, companies can ensure minimum accidents and absences of workers. The suitably designed production lines, with the appropriate equipment, increase productivity and worker efficiency, and reduce the wastes to a minimum.

The correct usage of lights and space in the workplace improves productivity and minimizes errors, which results in high job satisfaction.

An ergonomically fit work place is not only convenient for the employees and workers, but it also benefits the business by improving the productivity levels of the company. The improved morale and work efficiency of the employees, increases job satisfaction, and also minimizes the risk of accidents and muscular strains, caused because of inconveniently and unsuitably designed work places. Chiropractors provide treatment to employees suffering from various muscular strains and pains, contracted while working in an office.

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: US Navy 020614-N-0552D-001 SPAWAR award winning employee.jpg

Understanding Ergonomics – How Seat Design Plays a Vital Role

FreedomChair.jpgIt is estimated that at least 50% individuals in the industrialized world suffer from some kind of back problem, most notably due to a poor or inadequate seat design. How we sit all day in front of our workstations has a marked impact on the overall health of our spine. As a result of bad posture, the lumbar region in the back bone is what takes the most pounding. Here’s what you need to know, and many chiropractors will stand by it.

There is no universal seat that’s designed to accommodate every single person. But there are a number or ergonomic factors that come into play when we’re talking seat design. These generally work well for the average person.

Seat height should be set in a way so as to support a knee angle of 90 degrees. This takes undue stress off the thighs and buttocks. A chair that’s too high will increase the pressure at the underside of the knees, reducing blood flow and increasing unnecessary pressure on the nerve.

A chair that’s too low places pressure on the ischial tuberosities – this is where the upper thigh originates in the gluteus maximus region. Normally, the glutes cover them in the upright position, but they are exposed and at an ergonomic disadvantage when we’re sitting.

Optimal seat depth is recommended at 16.5”; between 14” and 18.5” for adjustable seats.

You should avoid hard seats. Seat pan contouring and cushioning should be designed in a way so that pressure is distributed over a larger area and the pelvis rotates forward – this encourages better posture.

Ideal seat cushioning is about 2” thick. The cushioning needs to be firmer and thicker in the back, while being less firm and thinner at the front. Too much cushioning and your body is going to sink into the chair, restricting movement. A soft chair may be very welcoming and comfortable at first, but it goes against basic ergonomic sense; as the body sinks, blood flow is reduced and skin temperature rises as you experience more compression under the thighs. At the end of the day – more discomfort.

A seat width that’s between 20” and 23” generally works well.

An ideal seat angle helps you maintain good contact with the backrest; a 5 to 10 degree angle is good.

There many more ergonomic factors related to optimal seating, and these are just some of them at a glance. A good chiropractor can help you determine exactly what type of chair best suits your body type.

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General Chiropractor Laguna Niguel | Pacific Hills Family Chiropractic | (949) 367-0407

Are YOU living with pain and discomfort?
A Chiropractor can work with YOU to get your body back to peak physical health!

Pacific Hills Family Chiropractic
28281 Crown Valley Pkwy #100 Laguna Niguel CA 92677
(949) 367-0407
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