Vitamin D and Your Spinal Health

Researchers have found a potential link between vitamin D and your spinal health. In recent studies, they’ve observed that those about to undergo spinal-fusion surgery due to spinal health issues also have shockingly low levels of vitamin D in their system. Students and professors conducted this study at Washington University of St. Louis and recently presented at the conference of the North American Spinal Society.

The Study

For the study, researchers at Washington University of St. Louis checked 313 different patients that had been scheduled for the spinal-fusion surgery mentioned above. Slightly over half, or 57 percent, of the patients scheduled for that surgery had low enough vitamin D levels that they would be deemed deficient at any regular health screening. The operation they were scheduled for to correct their spinal issue requires new bone to be made by the body, which takes quite a bit of vitamin D, tremendously concerning for their doctors.

They performed this study with the hope that revealing a previously unheard of link between vitamin D and your overall spinal health would lead to less spinal problems for patients in the future and a decrease in spinal-fusion surgeries. This could mean a vast improvement in the quality of life for future generations.

What It Means

This research means a much more prominent change for doctors than the patients. This study very well could lead to a change in medical practices where doctors are required to check the vitamin D levels of the patients they want to recommend for spinal-fusion surgery. This would ensure that the patient has enough vitamin D in their system to help with the new bone growth and prevent possible complications later down the road. The need to check the vitamin D levels of the patient is heightened for those that are obese, have diabetes, have a history of smoking, or are over the age of 55. It also raises questions about what vitamin D does for your overall spinal health. Could increasing your vitamin D intake help prevent the need for severe spinal surgeries like spinal-fusion later down the road? There’s still more research to be done, but the discovery is enough to spark the inquisitive minds of our society and inspire further research.

While this study may not seem as flashy as others that are deemed as significant breakthroughs, the discovery of a potential link between vitamin D and your overall spinal health is not only fascinating but could also lead to new ideas on how to prevent spinal issues or injuries from occurring. The research found could change the way we view and treat spinal injuries and concerns and even prevent them from happening in the first place.

Help Ease Chronic Lower Back Pain from Wearing Painful Shoes with Shoe Orthotics

Back pain is one of the most common complaints amongst people, especially those that are middle-aged or older. Our backs handle a lot of our weight and a lot of strain that we put on them daily, from walking or standing with poor posture to hunching your back to work at a computer. We’ve all seen the endless lists of potential remedies or preventative measures that never seem to help. Researchers have set out to fill this void in medical research and find something to help relieve your ever-present back pain. The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published a study in 2017 that researched the effects of orthotics on patients’ lower back pain.

The Study

Researchers split up 225 subjects (all adults that suffer from lower back pain) into three different research groups, one of which, of course, being a control group with which to compare the others. Each group was studied for six-weeks’ time.

Research Group 1
Each member of the first group was given shoe orthotics that were made custom for them and asked to wear them for six weeks. They were monitored as to the relief they experienced in their lower back pain and, after six weeks, were compared with the other two groups.

Research Group 2
The members of the next research group were given orthotics as well, but they also received an additional treatment: chiropractic manipulation. They underwent many of these procedures and received soft tissue massages, completing the treatment by alternating ice and heat packs on the lower back. This was done for six weeks before being compared to the control group and the other manipulated group.

Research Group 3
The last group received no orthotics or treatment whatsoever. They served as the control group and still showed signs of placebo effects.

Results
Both groups that received orthotics reported significantly less pain in their lower back, with Group 2 indicating the most significant positive change. However, the control group that received no treatment whatsoever, also reported a substantial decrease in their back pain, raising questions about the level of placebo effect these groups experienced. It has been proven, however, that using orthotics can not only correct gait issues, but could also alleviate dysfunctional movements that worsen the pains in the lower back and can help restore the symmetry in your body. Orthotic usage corrects the issue.

While researchers say that custom orthotics will help significantly improve your back pain, the orthotics you can purchase at retail stores or pharmacies will work better than no orthotics at all. The APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) recommends that you take your shoes with you when you purchase orthotics to ensure the perfect fit. You should make sure to get orthotics with the correct amount of support to accommodate your daily activity. It’s encouraged that you consult with a podiatrist before you pick an orthotic, but especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation as the wrong orthotic in this case could make the problem far worse.

Reaves Chiropractic
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