Maintain Your Spine

This week I’d like to talk about a concern of mine for others. A statistic came out stating that about 80-90% of all Americans will have a serious bout of back pain sometime in their life. It wouldn’t be the case if people learned how to maintain their spine.

Think about it. How many people maintain their spine? How many people actually know how to maintain their spine? Were you taught how to? No, because we weren’t taught that way.

We’re taught how to take care of our teeth. We know we have to brush and floss regularly, eat right, and get regular check-ups with a dentist, but we aren’t taught how to take care of our spine.

It’s a big concern of mine. I had a lady come in yesterday. Her first visit was in 2006, she had a serious bout of back pain; I adjusted her and her back pain went away. But, people don’t realize that if you don’t maintain your spine, it can create problems. One thing that can happen is that your spine can form a situation called Degenerative Disc Disease; most of the time is a silent process.

When you look at the neck, there should be a nice arc. But if you look at the patient who came in 2006, you can see she had a reverse forward posture. The posture resulted in decreased discs and a big bone spur in her neck. We went ahead and adjusted her, she felt fine after one adjustment, so she thought she was fixed. We talked about how to correct and maintain her spine, but the problem was that she thought that if she felt okay, she was okay. That’s the way we were taught to take care of our health and this concerns me.

She came back just yesterday, 5 years later, she had back pain again. We took another picture of the neck, and you can see that the area where she had the bone spur before is almost fused together and that there are other bones that are starting to do the same thing. She was completely shocked; she couldn’t understand. She hadn’t experienced pain since the last time she had come in.

“How can that be?” she asked. “Because,” I said, “if you don’t maintain your spine, it will degenerate.”

If you don’t maintain your spine, it will go down hill. That’s what we do here at Bates Chiropractic, we correct and maintain the spine. You want to maintain your spine and not your problems. Unfortunately, a lot of people only manage their problems. So, the key to it is really maintenance.

If you want to learn more about maintaining your spine and that of your family, you can contact us at Bates Chiropractic at (310)545-4188 or online at www.chiropractormanhattanbeach.com

Importance of Blending Chiropractic Care with Back-Strengthening Exercise

Side_PlankBack problems often are a result of a bad posture that could cause severe pains.  Restoring the back to its original and natural condition takes time, and a combination of chiropractic care with the recommended exercise can dramatically enhance recovery.

A combination of the two provides numerous benefits.  Exercise keeps muscles in their proper tone, increases blood circulation around the body, improves digestion and develops a better lifestyle all together.

The following back-strengthening exercises complement the healing process greatly:

Hip Bridge

The Hip Bridge exercise strengthens those muscles near the lower back that play an important role in stabilizing the spine.

It can be carried out by lying on the back with the feet flat and about hip width apart; the knees should be bent.   The arms should be relaxed.  The person then squeezes their buttocks as they lift their hips in a straight line towards the shoulders.  After around 3 seconds, return to the starting position, slowly.

Around 12 repetitions are recommended.

Bird Dog

The bird dog exercise aims at strengthening the lower back, hip, butt and thigh muscles.

The person kneels on the floor with both hands spaced out about a shoulder-width apart.  Tuck in the belly towards the spine and raise one leg straight backwards while raising the other hand in opposite direction.

Hold in this position for 15 seconds and then return to starting point, carrying out the same procedure on the opposite side hand and leg.

Side Plank

The side plank exercise strengthens the lower back.  It is done by the following method:

The person is to lie on their right side, straight from head to the feet while resting on their forearms.  The elbow should be directly under their shoulder.  The abdominals are to be gently contracted and the hips slowly lifted off the floor – in the same straight position.

This position should be held for at least about 30 seconds before lowering the hip.

Lunge

Lunge exercises enhance a person’s overall control of their body.  This tends to protect the spine in daily activities, such as walking and running or even stair-climbing.

Starting off with the abs gently contracted.  The hands are placed on the hips; the person then takes a big step-forward using the right foot while sinking the right knee at a right-angle.

The person should then slowly return to the starting position, switch the legs and repeat – 10 repetitions are recommended.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Side Plank.jpg

Chiropractic Can Reduce Blood Pressure!

Web MD Health States:

Chiropractic Reduces Blood Pressure!

 

Web MD Health has stated that chiropractic adjustments lowered blood pressure!

According to a study in the Journal of Human Hypertension, test subjects had specific chiropractic adjustments applied to their upper neck area. They had absolutely no neck pain, but suffered from high blood pressure. 88% of the people who received the specific adjustment saw an average of 8-14 mm Hg (Mercury) drop in their blood pressure. This drop would take the equivalent of two prescription drugs to get the same results as this one adjustment.

A follow up study done 8 weeks down the line showed that blood pressure levels were still lowered. The equivalent to that would be approximately 112 pills taken over the course of 8 weeks to get the same results. Incredible!

Also, they found that the study had a zero placebo effect, meaning the test subjects who received the sham adjustment did not see a drop in their blood pressure.

 

In other words, you could have some areas that are out of alignment in your spine that are creating central nerve system pressure – called a subluxation – and have no neck pain or no pain that one may associate to the spine, which could actually create malfunction to the body, like hyper-tension. That’s what they’re finding; that’s what is so powerful about this study.

 

If you want to hear more contact us at www.chiropractormanhattanbeach.com or call us at (310) 545 – 4188.

Types of Back pain

Posterior_view_of_lumbar_region_for_electrostimulation_electrode_placementAs any good chiropractor would tell you, there is no single cause of back pain. This is because back pain can occur due to various reasons, and affect different areas. It is important that you have an understanding of the nature of your ailment before going to the chiropractor for treatment.

Location Of The Pain

Back pain is classified in two categories, depending on where the pain occurs.

Upper Back Pain

Pain in the upper back, shoulders or neck is termed as upper back pain. There can be certain causes of upper back pain, such as stretched tendons or damaged ligaments due to strenuous physical work. Upper back pains aren’t as common as lower back pains, and can be treated by taking pain relievers such as Paracetamol or by visiting a Chiropractor.

Lower Back Pain

Like the name suggests, lower back pains are directed at the base of the back, and occur due to the overstretching of muscles in the lower back or direct injury to that area. This pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as lifting something heavy or bending in an awkward position. Treatment for lower back pains is the same as for upper back pains.

Duration Of The Pain

Besides location, pain can also be classified according to duration.

Acute Back Pain

A short term pain, lasting from a few days to weeks, is called an acute back pain. There may be numerous causes of this pain, the most common being blunt trauma caused by Ankylosing spondilytis, arthritis or other medical conditions.

The symptoms of this pain can range from muscular aches and incorrect posture to shooting pains in the buttocks and back of the legs. Acute back pain can lead to serious problems, but is generally harmless, and most people tend to let it heal itself.

Chronic Back Pain

If the pain lasts for more than 3 months, it is termed as chronic back pain. The cause of chronic back pain can rarely be determined without the help of a Chiropractor or other medical professional. This long term pain gets progressively worse with time; immediate treatment is necessary to prevent further complications.

Now that you know what type of back pain you suffer from, you can act on them by looking up for home treatments online, or doing exercises which may stimulate the back. It is also recommended that you visit your nearest chiropractor who could suggest you treatment options.

 

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Posterior view of lumbar region for electrostimulation electrode placement.jpg

How Do You Treat Your Chronic Spinal Pain?

Hi this is Dr. Rob with your weekly health blog and this week we’re going to talk about pain; chronic pain. One of the most common uses of Cox-2 inhibitors (drugs) is to treat pain.
In 2004, they temporarily took one of the Cox-2 inhibitors called Vioxx off the market. The reason being it was associated with 50,000 deaths over a five year period of time due to heart attacks and strokes. The other Cox-2 inhibitors like Celebrex and Bextra have similar problems. They have many dangerous side effects, but we want to talk about a study that came out on The Journal of Spine, a highly respected orthopedic journal, in July of 2003. They studied the effects of chiropractic adjustments versus the Cox-2 inhibitors, the Celebrex, the Vioxx, and the Bextra. They study found that spinal adjustments worked five times better in treating chronic back pain than the Cox-2 inhibitors. Interesting enough, the drug group had more side effects than it relieved the pain while chiropractic adjustments had no adverse effects.
Now, we should always go with the most conservative route especially when in treating chronic spinal pain. The medical studies show that chiropractic is more conservative than the its counter part.
If you are experiencing chronic spinal pain or know someone who does, contact us at Bates Chiropractic at (310) 545- 4188 or via our website: www.chiropractormanhattanbeach.com.

Chiropractics is a Proactive Approach to Healthcare

A nurse practitioner came into our office and talked to me about the differences between chiropractics and our present healthcare system with medicine. He said that their approach was more of a reactive type of approach to healthcare as opposed to a proactive type of approach to healthcare. The reactive type is when your body’s breaking down, you’re starting to get symptoms, and you need a first-aid situation, like medication or surgery. This course of healthcare is the most expensive and the least effective, because it doesn’t really get to the cause. This was pointed out by the nurse practitioner, which I believe is an accurate portrayal of our present form of healthcare with medicine.
What we do here at Bates Chiropractic is more proactive, because we practice corrective care. Corrective care is designed to correct the cause so that the body can self correct and heal on its own.
More on that later, but for now, just a friendly reminder that our Nutrition Talk will be held @ the Manhattan Beach Library on Tuesday, April 20th @ 6:45pm. Call us @ (310) 545-4188 to reserve a seat for you and your loved ones.

Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

154017705_083d825445_oChiropractors that are experienced in chiropractic and pregnancy know the importance of proper back care during such a sensitive period. All chiropractors are trained to work with women especially when it comes to back conditions that are associated with pregnancy. This is because chiropractic and pregnancy involves the maintenance of the spinal column, discs, bone geometry and the related nerves without the inclusion of invasive surgery. In other words, the medical practice adjusts the misalignment of joints especially when it comes to the spine.

Any formerly pregnant woman can attest to the muscle strain that is a part and parcel to pregnancy. Researchers say that almost half of all expecting mothers will experience lower back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Spinal surgery is out of the question when it comes to the well being of two lives and this is exactly why chiropractic care is the perfect non-invasive solution for such problems.

 

Why does a Pregnant Woman need Chiropractic care?

The human body undergoes a series of physiological and endocrine changes to prepare itself to sustain a life during pregnancy. No one knows that better than expecting mothers. However, such a sensitive stage may also cause misaligned joints that are symptomatic of –

  • Pelvic changes
  • Protruding abdomen and curved back
  • Poor posture

A woman’s pelvis may not have enough room for a developing baby if it is misaligned. This is also why establishing pelvic balance is such an important task in chiropractic and pregnancy care. A pelvis that is misaligned may also cause complications during the actual birth as well. This may also prevent the expecting mother from having a natural birth and her doctor to resort to invasive c-sections.

Chiropractic care during pregnancy also comes with the following benefits –

  • Ensuring a healthy pregnancy
  • Relief from back, neck and joint pain
  • Prevention of a potential cesarean delivery
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Reduce morning sickness

The benefits of chiropractic and pregnancy speak for themselves. This is also why more women are seeking chiropractic care now more than ever before and why health care providers recommend such services to expecting mothers. It is easy to see why. Medical specialists who specialize in back care invest more in the fertility and overall wellness of pregnant women or women who try to conceive.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: pregnant profile III by mahalie stackpole

Backpack Attack

It’s back to school week. One of the big problems we have when going back to school is Backpack Attack! We have severe problems with kids going to school, because their backpacks are loaded down with books, and kids start coming up with backpack injuries. In fact, some kids have backpacks that weigh 50 to 60 pounds. Compare that to their little bodies that only weigh 50-80 pounds, that is just way too much weigh for their bodies to take, and it creates postural imbalances as time goes on, and as their bodies are growing. It’ll create subluxations in the body and health problems down the line.

Now, one of the biggest problems heavy backpacks will create is Forward Head Posture, where the head goes forward in front of the shoulders. It creates a lot of undue stress on the ligaments, the nerves, the discs, and joints of the spine, and will set the tone for future degenerative disease like degenerative disc disease or arthritis.

So, what we want to do is keep the spine in alignment. One of the best thing you want to do for your kids regarding their backpacks is keep the straps tight with no more than 15% of the body weight in the packs.

Also, they need a strap or a buckle attached to the waist. So the weight of the backpack is more evenly distributed across the spine, this will help bring back the head a little closer.

Most kids wear their straps loose, which creates a lot of weight down low making the kids push their heads forward in order to counter balance the weight.

The key now would be to fix the cause, which is the backpack attack to where it is over-weighting the body and creating the turtle effect. Said effects create a lot of undue pressure on the areas mentioned before.

The other thing is to get your kids checked for subluxations, because if it’s already been going on for a few years, they’ll have degenerative disc disease building up. Since this is a silent process, their symptoms may then seem like they’re coming out of nowhere, such as severe neck pain, headaches, back pain, discs problems, and may end up with surgeries down the line.

Checking your children is a proactive, instead of a reactive, type of healthcare. First we have to fix the backpack problem, then get your kids checked for subluxations, and create the subluxation problem, so that they may lead a healthy life.

Spondylolysis and Lower Back Pain

385px-Spinal_column_curvature_2011Spondylolysis 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

 

Would You Give Your Pets Cola In Their Water Dish?

This is Dr. Rob with your weekly health blog: I have a question for you. Would you ever think of giving your dog or cat a can of Coca-Cola in their water dish as if you’re giving it a treat? If you think that I am crazy saying, “of course not, I wouldn’t do that, it’s not healthy for my pet”, why would you give it to your kids or yourself?
We have to revisit these areas where we think it’s okay to have these “treats.” It really isn’t ok, because they’re not promoting health. We, as parents, have to develop the skill to know what is good to eat and pass it along to our kids so that they can grow up healthy and strong. That is why it’s important to get regular spinal adjustments. A lot of people that come into the office leave their kids at home to develop the same problems they originally came in with.
The time to act is before problems occur. That is true health maintenance. If you have any questions about these things, you can always contact me at Bates Chiropractic at (310)545-4188 or www.chiropractormanhattanbeach.com