Back Pain – Understanding Spinal Manipulation Techniques

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

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

Spinal Manipulation Vs Spinal Mobilization 

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

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

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

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

 Spinal Manipulation – HVLA

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

Spinal Mobilization – Low-force / Gentle Chiropractic Techniques

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

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

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

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

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Achilles Tendon Sport Injuries And Chiropractic Treatment

800px-03042012Ccm_gamosuma_juvenilA231Professional athletes and individuals with a specific sport hobby suffer from a multitude of different injuries, contracted during the course of their activities. Some popular sports like football, soccer, baseball, golf, hiking, basketball, etc., while highly enjoyable, involve extensive exertions which result in various sports injuries in players. Chiropractic has become a popular mode of treatment for the different sports injuries and medical conditions, like Achilles Tendon injury, dislocated shoulder and spinal alignment.

What Is Achilles Tendon Injury?

The achilles tendon is one of the longest tendons in the body, which is stretched from the heel to the calf muscles of the human body. It assists in the engagement of different activities which require movement and flexible physical activity.

The Achilles tendon is used by sports athletes and enthusiasts for practicing and playing the different strenuous sports, like football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, running, etc. Over-exertion on the Achilles tendon results in swelling and pain in the tendon which hampers an athlete from engaging in different sports activities. If too much pressure and exertion is put on the tendon, it causes it to tear partially or completely rupture.

Symptoms 

An injured Achilles tendon becomes swollen and causes acute pain whenever the leg is stretched. The patient feels stiffness and tenderness in the affected area, which makes it difficult to engage in different everyday activities. If the tendon completely ruptures, then the patient experiences excruciating pain, and is unable to move around.

If an athlete experiences difficulty in flexing his legs or pointing his toes, he might have a partial or complete rupture in the Achilles tendon. Prompt medical attention is required for the diagnosis and treatment of the Achilles tendon injury, before the patient suffers more acute damage due to movement or strain.

Treatment 

Achilles tendon injury requires prompt treatment from medical professionals to ensure that the affected area does not suffer further damage. A patient with a ruptured or injured tendon is required to rest his leg and apply ice to ease the swelling. Patients are also advised to use an elastic bandage on the leg to keep the swelling down.

Anti-inflammatory pills can be prescribed which tend to bring down the swelling of the tendon, and different exercises are advised for keeping the tendon in shape. But chiropractic treatment is quickly becoming the preferred mode to heal sports injuries, especially Achilles tendon injury.

 

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit:03042012Ccm gamosuma juvenilA231.JPG

 

 

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Preventing Osteoporosis through a Proper Diet

SONY DSCDiet and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease which thins bone density, leading to weaker bones and a higher risk of herniated disks, which can causes back problems such as Sciatica. Osteoporosis can be very tough to endure, as there is no proper cure for it besides chiropractic, and even then some patients may not respond positively due to the damage done. Therefore, chiropractors advise that a proper diet should be followed, as it can improve bone and muscle density, consequently reducing the chances of Osteoporosis.

The Proper Diet

There are some nutrients in the diet that can help you improve the quality of your bone structure. Vitamin D for example, found in flaxseed and fish oil, strengthens your bones and makes them less susceptible to diseases. However, other substances present in food, such as phytates, can reduce your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Here are some examples of foods that can affect bone health.

High Sodium Foods

Food items high in sodium can cause your body to lose calcium, which is essential in maintaining bone health. This can lead to weakening of bones, eventually resulting in bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Processed foods usually contain a high amount of sodium, so look for their nutritional values and avoid them if they have a high percentage of salt.

Legumes

Although it is true that beans and legumes contain a high amount of calcium, they also contain magnesium and phytates. You can reduce the amount of phytate by boiling the beans before the cooking them.

Wheat bran

Just like beans, wheat bran also contains a high amount of phytates, which reduce calcium absorption.

Caffeine

Similar to phytates, caffeine also interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium. The consumption of caffeine drinks such as tea, coffee or sodas should be moderated, if not completely avoided.

Alcohol

Research suggests that alcohol, among other health problems such as liver disease, can also contribute to loss in bone density.

Spinach

Spinach, though a very healthy source for other nutrients, shouldn’t be counted as a sole source for calcium as they contain oxalates, which doesn’t allow the body to absorb the calcium effectively.

High Protein foods

We all know Protein is good for our health, but too much protein in our diets can also cause our bodies to lose calcium. Eat meat and other high protein foods in moderation.

You may also contact a chiropractor who could recommend you nutritional supplements if you are lacking any of the basic nutrients required in the daily diet.

 

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Fish for dinner by Denise Mattox

Nutrition and Diet for Scoliosis

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

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

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

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

Calcium

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

Vitamin D

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

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

Vitamin E

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

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

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

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

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Dangers of Spine Surgery: What Doctors Won’t Tell You

800px-Flickr_-_Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_A_doctor_performs_surgery.Low back pain has become a very common occurrence nowadays with over 12 million Americans visiting their doctors with complaints of chronic back pain every year; while over a 100 million visit a chiropractor.

Problems with the spinal column can cause devastating effects on a person’s life. It deprives them of their mobility and flexibility.  Even everyday activities become a challenge in some cases.  With so many of such cases and the advancements in medical science, it is ironic to see a huge number of people being misdiagnosed and prescribed spinal surgery as the only treatment.

Spinal surgery itself carries around a 20% risk of a failure.  Failed spinal surgeries often result in no improvement, worsened pain, and sometimes, even death.

General Physicians, spine specialists and orthopedic surgeons have proven in many cases that they have no clue as to the root causes of back problems.  In a review of low back-pain causes, Andrew Frank, a physician in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation concluded ‘Up to 85% of patients with low back pain cannot be given a definitive diagnosis because of the poor associations between symptoms, signs, imaging results and pathological findings’ (BMJ, 3 April 1993).

Risks Associated with Specific Surgical Procedures

Apart from incorrect diagnoses, each type of spinal surgery procedure carries its own set of risks:

Laminectomy

A laminectomy requires removal of parts of a bone, bone spurs and ligaments from the back with the aim of relieving pressure on spine nerves.  This procedure can result in a less stable spine, leading to another surgery.

Spinal Fusion

A spinal fusion procedure is the most common type of surgery carried out for back pains.  A surgeon joins the vertebrae together to restrict movement between the spinal bones.  This in turn limits the stretching of spine nerves.

An incomplete fusion requires the patient to undergo another surgery.  Smoking on the other hand, increases the chances of an incomplete fusion to occur.

Foraminotomy

Foraminotomy requires a surgeon to remove a bone from the sides of the vertebrae in an attempt to widen the space for spine nerves.

This surgery can also cause the spine to lose stability.

Disc Replacement Surgery

A damaged spinal disc is removed and replaced by inserting an artificial disk.  The introduction of a foreign object into the body always carries a risk of dislocation or breaking, leading to a hardware fracture.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Flickr – Official U.S. Navy Imagery – A doctor performs surgery.jpg

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