Low Back

How Heavy is that Backpack?

Even though an iPad can store an entire library worth of books, most kids still trudge to and from school each day carrying an oversized and overweight backpack filled with heavy textbooks and loads of school supplies. While it may not seem like a big deal, recent studies have shown that carrying the weight of a typical backpack is one of the top reasons for kids to have back pain.

A vast majority of kids wear backpacks every day that weigh 15 lbs. or more. That’s a heavy backpack! Over time, the stress of the load can result in back pain, a rounding of the shoulders, and postural changes. The spinal compression caused by heavy backpacks often has kids leaning forward to compensate, which begins a vicious cycle of postural issues, compensation, and pain.

  • Up to 30% of kids may suffer from back pain due to carrying a heavy backpack.

  • Limiting the total weight of the backpack to less than 10% of your child’s body weight is recommended.

  • Instruct your child to wear their backpack with both shoulder straps fit snugly, so the backpack isn’t carried below the waistline.

Kids typically choose their backpack based on what makes them look cool. We recommend taking a second look and making sure the straps are wide and padded, the size is appropriate (and not too big) and that it has compartments to help distribute the load. If your child has pain, numbness, or tingling, give us a call. We would be happy to help get them back on track!

Your Body is Designed to Move

Your body is built to move. Every spinal disc and joint is designed to help you sit, stand, run and well...move! Your discs are soft enough to flex as you bend forward and back. The spinal facet joints slide as your turn and twist. The ligament-connected spinal bones keep you supported as your muscles push and pull. It’s an incredibly strong and resilient system when you stop and think about it.

New research has started to give us a glimpse at just how important movement is in our life. For example, movement of the spine has been shown to stimulate and accelerate the healing process. In fact, movement is so crucial in the healing process that even people who have spine surgery are encouraged to get up and to move as quickly as possible after surgery.

-All the bones, muscles, ligaments and joints of your spine are specially designed to support movement.

-Movement of the individual segments of your spine can affect how you heal.

-Blood flow, strength, and flexibility are all enhanced through movement.

I believe that encouraging healthy movement and activity is part of my job as your Chiropractor. If you have any questions about stretches, exercises or other ways you can pro-actively stay healthy, ask! Have you ever heard that old saying “you don’t get old then stiff, you get stiff then old?” We want to help you stay young by helping you keep your spine and body moving better!

Facet Joints: Gliding Your Way to Better Health

If you’ve had neck or back pain that you could pinpoint with your finger, or experienced sharp pains when you move, it may be related to the facet joints of your spine. It’s easy to think of your facet joints like the “knuckles”of your spine. They are small joints and have a capsule and cartilage pad that glides and slides, allowing your spine to move.

As you go through life and your spinal discs go through the aging process, your facet joints end up taking on extra load. Unfortunately, this excess stress and pressure can wear down your facet joints. What results is the beginning of the degenerative process,which means you can end up with adhesions, restricted motion, bone spurs and pain.

-The facet joints of your spine slide and glide as you move.

-Restrictions or adhesions in the facets can occur with age and injury.

-Chiropractic adjustments help the facet joints move freely and decrease painful restrictions in motion.

The facet joints of your spine love to move, and, in fact, movement helps them stay healthy and may even slow down the degenerative process. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce adhesions on these joints ,allowing you to move more freely and with less pain. In our office, we believe that when you’re moving better, you’re feeling better, and we’re proud to be a part of the healthcare team that helps you stay active!

Finding Relief From Disc Herniations

So, you’ve suffered a disc herniation, and it’s causing severe pain. Do you need an injection or surgery? What type of doctor should you see? Can a Chiropractor make it...worse? These are all common thoughts that may race through your mind after you’ve experienced a spinal injury. First, take a deep breath and relax. Leading research journals have shown that you made a smart decision by choosing chiropractic care. Many leading health organizations are now recommending chiropractic as a top choice to find relief from disc herniations.

Studies have shown that over 90% of people with a lumbar disc herniation that were treated with spinal adjustments improved within 3 months, and 88% improved within 1 year. Perhaps even more impressive was another study, which indicated that, for disc herniations in the neck, 86% of people found relief with chiropractic adjustments compared with less the 50% of people who underwent a spinal injection. We continue to learn that, most of the time, the benefits of medications, injections, and surgery just don’t outweigh the risks.

  • Top healthcare organizations recommend taking a conservative approach to care, such as chiropractic. In most cases medications, injections, and surgery should only be used when conservative treatments have failed.

  • In a recent study, researchers found that over 90% of patients with a lumbar disc herniation improved within the first 3 months of receiving chiropractic adjustments.

  • Over 35% more people with cervical disc herniations found relief with chiropractic adjustments than with spinal injections.

Discovering the most up-to-date Research That Matters is part of our practice. We focus on using this research and combining it with our clinical expertise and experience to provide you with the best care possible. So, if you are suffering from a disc injury, please know that you’re in the right place, and we are grateful you have trusted us with your recovery.

Disc Bulge vs Disc Herniation

The bones, discs, ligaments, and muscles of your spine are designed to help you maintain

proper spinal alignment, posture, and movement. Between each set of bones or vertebrae is a

small rubbery disc. These discs act as small shock absorbers for your spinal bones and nerves.

They have a tough, rubber-like outer layer called the annulus fibrosis and a soft jelly-like center

that is called the nucleus pulposus. As you age or encounter injuries, the curve of your spine

may fall out of alignment. This can place uneven stress on your spinal column and

discs,increasing the chance of having a disc break down and herniate.

A disc herniation occurs when the outer portion of the disc ruptures (or tears) and the soft

inner portion squeezes out. This type of injury can cause pain at the site of herniation, or

sometimes the herniated disc can pinch a nearby nerve, causing pain that can radiate down into

your arms or legs. Similarly, a disc bulge occurs when the outer wall of the disc is weakened, but

the inner portion has not yet broken through.

  • A disc herniation occurs when the inside of a spinal disc breaks through its outside wall.

  • Disc herniations often contribute to nerve compression, which can send pain, weakness, or numbness into your arms or legs.

  • By maintaining proper spinal alignment, you can reduce added wear and tear on your discs and potentially decrease the likelihood of a disc herniation.

Now that you know what a disc herniation is, be sure to stay tuned. Next week, we’ll reveal the

best ways you can find natural relief. Can you guess what type of care resulted in over 90% of

people with a disc herniation finding improvement within the first few months? We’ll be back

next week with the answer!

How to Keep Your Spinal Discs Healthy

Spinal discs are the shock absorbers between the bones, or vertebrae, of your spine. The discs have a tough outer ring and a jelly-like center. Their job is to help us move, bend, and twist while absorbing the weight of gravity. But, over time, our spinal discs can become degenerative. Injuries, aging, and the effects of gravity all contribute to disc degeneration. The good news is that degenerative discs rarely cause pain unless they bulge or herniate, placing pressure on the spinal nerves. So how you can slow down the degenerative process and keep your discs healthy?

Top research journals have recently discovered that movement and hydration are two important factors to keep your discs healthy. A well-hydrated disc can more easily adapt to movement and is less prone to injury. Many chiropractic techniques are designed to “pump” your spinal discs. This motion helps bring nutrients into the disc and pushes out inflammation and waste. That is a fancy way to say that chiropractic care can help keep your spinal discs healthy!

Here are the key takeaways:

-Your spinal discs act as small shock absorbers between the bones of your spine

-Movement helps bring nutrients into the disc and pushes out waste and inflammation; helping them stay healthy

-Torn, herniated, or bulged discs can cause pain by irritating the nearby nerves. Researchers have found chiropractic care to be one of the best ways to heal and feel better!

A combination of chiropractic care and staying well-hydrated are two ways to keep your spinal discs healthy and pain-free. But, don’t forget to stay active between your adjustments. And here is one more tip to slow down Father Time-daily exercise and stretching. Exercise and stretching will not only keep you fit and trim but can also potentially slow down the degenerative changes of your spine keeping you healthy and active for many years to come!

Shot or Not: Should You Get an Injection for Spine Pain?

You probably know someone who has received a recommendation from their medical doctor to sign on for a spinal injection to treat their neck or back pain. Maybe you’ve been down this road yourself! What you may not know is that recent research indicates patients should think twice before scheduling that next shot. Not only have spinal injections been shown to increase the risk of experiencing a spinal fracture afterwards by 21%, but also that they do not provide as much pain relief as Chiropractic adjustments. That’s right - researchers have found that Chiropractic care can offer more significant relief than riskier treatments like spinal injections.

Using Medication Off-Label and Why You Should Care

Think of the most recent pharmaceutical commercial you watched. Do you remember that list of possible side effects and complications you heard - everything from diarrhea to death? Believe it or not, any of those crazy side effects and complications are to be expected when a medication is prescribed “on-label,” or for a particular condition as approved by the FDA. Of course, medications can also be prescribed by your doctor for any number of conditions that are not specifically on that FDA approved list. In other words, medication can be prescribed “off-label,” and it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that using any medication “off-label” can increase your risk of experiencing even more side effects outside of those crazy commercial lists.

Injections Can Be Back Breaking

Did you know researchers have discovered a correlation between epidural steroid injections and spinal fracture risk? Specifically, new studies have indicated that there is a 21% increase in the risk of a patient experiencing a cracked or broken back after receiving an epidural steroid injection. The scary part is, over 9 million of these injections are given every year for spinal pain!

Can Pain Be a Good Thing?

Pain is your body's way of signaling to you that something needs your attention. In other words, when a problem occurs in your body due to ergonomic stress, restricted spinal motion, or degenerative changes, it uses pain to get you to take action and correct the problem. Think of PAIN as your body saying: “Pay Attention Inside Now!”

Believe it or not, pain is usually the last thing to show up and the first thing to leave after an injury. Just because your pain goes away, doesn’t mean the root cause that lead to that pain has been corrected. Many pain relief methods simply mask symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments, along with specific stretches and exercises, work to provide pain relief while also correcting the underlying problem.

You may know someone who has visited a medical doctor in the past with neck or back pain. Perhaps, an injection was given. Perhaps, as is often the case, their pain returned in a matter of days or weeks. Why? Because the medication had worn off and ultimately the real cause of the pain was not corrected. Often times pain has a mechanical cause, that chemicals only mask. The best approach for a mechanical problem is a mechanical solution!

Research has proven that Chiropractic care effectively treats the underlying mechanical and neural causes of neck and back pain. In fact, studies have shown that people seeking relief from their neck and back pain who received Chiropractic care often reported a 60% decrease in pain, which was nearly 10% MORE relief than those patients who opted for an injection instead.

▪ Pain is your body’s signal that something is wrong, especially when it comes to neck or back pain.

▪ Injections and medications often provide short-term relief from neck or back pain without correcting the cause.

▪ Adjustments have been shown to successfully treat the root mechanical & neural causes of neck or back pain.

If someone you know has or is considering receiving an epidural injection to treat their neck or back pain, share this research with them. Let them know that integrating ongoing Chiropractic adjustments into their care plan will result in a more significant outcome than that injection alone. If that someone is you, you’re in the right place! Give us a call or stop in and see us so we can get you on the path to relief from pain today!