Working from Home is Causing More Back Pain

Digital technology has impacted every industry through the last few decades. With communication abilities and opportunities driven by laptops and home computers, as late as 2016 43% of the workforce worked from home some of the time. As trends continue and goals are met that number will increase. 30% of the workforce will begin to work multiple days at home in a week.

With the current pandemic challenges forcing many office workers home those numbers are skyrocketing. With these work from home scenarios comes the introduction of unwanted back pain. Strain and pain from sitting on a computer for hours on end in a less than ergonomically encouraged position. As employers deal with new challenges every day thrown at them by the pandemic, they are seeing cost savings. This only suggests that working from home will impact many office workers post pandemic. One statistic claims that a typical employer can save about $11,000 a year for every employee that works remotely 50% of the time.

Picture someone sitting in the bathtub, lounging in a hammock, on the couch, in the recliner or on a barstool. Work from home ergonomics are being challenged as entire families are struggling to share space at home. Not every chair is designed and constructed the same. A table and chair may catch your eye because of a striking color but be terrible for your spine and your posture. Too often we find ourselves saving a dollar at a wholesaler to end up in the doctor’s office dealing with back pains.

Let’s identify ergonomics and the implications in setting up a correct workspace at home. Then we’ll go through and encourage some daily tips that will help your posture and ward off back pain issues.

  1. The desk or work surface. You’re at home desk, whatever it might be, needs to have your keyboard and mouse at the height of your elbows. If you can’t adjust the height of the desk, then adjust the height of your chair.
  2. Since laptops continue to be the popular option, they are not the best ergonomically. It is best to have the top of the monitor slightly below your eye level. If you are on a laptop, consider hooking up a second monitor for this reason. Or, if you use the laptop monitor than consider a remote keyboard.
  3. The placement of your mouse should be near the keyboard with overextending your arm.
  4. Sit Pretty! Sitting properly begins with your feet flat on the floor. Your thighs are then parallel to the floor. Keep your chest out pinching your shoulder blades together to relieve scapula pain.
  5. Consider a standing desk option. Alternating from sitting to standing is terrific and healthy option. You must also stand straight with a neutral spine to make this option beneficial.

While working from home create the habit of getting up once an hour and take a few minutes to perform these six stretches from the Mayo Clinic.

  1. A standing hamstring stretch for 30 seconds on each leg.
  2. A shoulder stretch for 30 seconds with each arm.
  3. A standing thigh stretch for 30 seconds for each leg.
  4. A lower back stretch for 30 seconds bringing up each leg.
  5. A neck stretch, turning your head each direction for 30 seconds.
  6. A calf stretch, 30 seconds on each leg as you press against a wall.

Working from home is here to stay. Exercise common sense in your workspace and take care of your body as you spend hours on your computer. By doing these simple things you can avoid unnecessary back pain.

Using Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong to Treat Back Pain

Lower back pain is amongst the most common afflictions in adults and effects roughly 80% of Americans. Be it a strain from overuse, injury, or a misalignment of vertebrae, most patients will experience back pain at some point in their life. Patients suffering from back pain often find themselves unable to perform their normal routines which can lead to depression, disturbances in sleep, anxiety, and social isolation.

There are a number of treatment options available to combat the issue, but some patients may be wondering if they could find relief through the practices of yoga, tai chi, or qigong. In this article we will examine the three practices and discuss their efficacy in combating back pain.

Yoga is a group of mental, spiritual, and physical practices that originated in ancient India. While there are several different forms or varieties of yoga available, they all focus on creating harmony between the mind and body in order to improve health and happiness. The practice revolves around low-impact physical activities or postures combined with relaxation, breath control, diet, and meditation.

Originating in ancient China, Tai Chi and Qigong also focus on integration between the body and mind. Through controlled movements, meditation, and breathing techniques, tai chi and qigong aim to cultivate life energy, known as qi (pronounced “chi”), to achieve harmony between mind and body. The practices’ focus on tranquility and clear thought are believed to improve health and wellness.

While all three practices have similarities aimed at improving overall physical and mental wellbeing, questions remain regarding their effectiveness in combating back pain. A review of 32 case studies across the three practices indicate that movement-based interventions may be effective for the treatment of low back pain. Some practitioners reported reductions in pain, lower levels of depression and anxiety, as well as improved functional abilities.

Despite some positive conclusions from the case study reviews, there remains difficulty in drawing firm conclusions from the data currently available. One of the primary limitations is that the study was a narrative review. A narrative review generally collates information on a topic rather than providing any data analysis. Many of the studies lacked clear explanation of how the teams conducted the experiments which makes any reported results suspect. Some studies even showed adverse events that only further contributed to joint and back pain. Additionally, some of the case studies analyzed were relatively brief making any long-term effects difficult to ascertain.

Clearly, more thorough clinical trials and tangible evidence are needed in order for doctors to comfortably prescribe these interventions for lower back pain. Despite the significant doubt that remains regarding their overall efficacy, there is a psychological component to chronic lower back pain that could be improved by engaging in mind and body exercises associated with yoga, tai chi, and qigong. Future testing to address the brain and body connections that these practices stress, will be needed. As it stands now, we cannot say with a high degree of certainty if yoga, tai chi, or qigong are effective in relieving lower back pain.

Proper Sleep Habits Help Lower Back Pain Recovery

Sleep. Something that many Americans chase. Something that many of us dream of. To take a day off and just sleep all day. It is very intriguing that with something we spend a quarter to a third of our lives doing we know so little about. We also don’t take the necessary steps to improve our sleep patterns. Your body needs sleep just like it needs air and nutrition to function. During sleep your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Sleep deprivation can lead to a lower quality of life.

A lack of sleep affects your central nervous system. Sleep deprivation can leave your brain literally exhausted creating mental and emotional instability. It can prevent your immune system from building necessary forces to combat illness. It can upset your respiratory system and your digestive system. Your cardiovascular system is ay risk with the lack of sleep.

Sleep problems have been proven to inhibit successful lower back recovery allowing the pain or discomfort to persist. A huge study that took place over a 10-year span researching data from over 120,000 participants has proven that when they had chronic lower back pain and also had insomnia or regular sleeplessness that the musculoskeletal pain would not go away. This occurred no matter the age, the body mass, physical activity, educational level or even smoking. The constant factor was the lack of sleep. This study did exclude any individuals with anxiety or depression and anyone that was using a sedative or sleep medications. The connection between sleep deprivation and constant and reoccurring back pain is not totally understood. The suggestion is that poor sleep may increase inflammation in the body and therefore change how the brain processes the pain.

The chances for long term recovery are not good unless you address the lack of sleep. Most adults from the ages of 18 to 64 need on the average of seven to nine hours a night for adequate sleep. Some of the steps you can take to improve your sleep are to refrain from caffeine after noon. You should try your best to go to bed about the same time each night and wake each morning at around the same time. This also includes sticking with the sleep schedule during weekends and holidays. Avoid heavy meals two hours before bedtime and refrain from using electronic devices right before you go to bed. For some people relaxing activities before bedtime is advantageous; such as a bath, reading or meditating. Developing a regular exercise schedule has many benefits for your overall health, which includes sleeping.

Lower back pain can affect 80% of Americans at some point in their lifetime. Lower back pain can have many underlying reasons and often times not a specific cause. There are quite a few simple floor exercises that you can do at home that will help with lower back pain. It is also the second most common reason for a doctor’s visit right behind the common cold and also second to a headache for regular neurological complaints.

Chiropractors: Helping Chronic Pain Without Opioids or Other Medications

The opioid epidemic has slowly overtaken America. What started out as a method of treating patients with chronic pain has now become a menace. People are addicted, even though they may no longer inpain, and turning to street drugs in order to feed their habits. Police officers and other first responders carry opioid overdose reversal drugs on them, despite public outcry, and things just seem to be getting worse. People with actual chronic pain, such as the type that stems from arthritis, either can no longer get the medications that make their lives bearable, or they are forced into pain management and physical therapy. The end result is a major problem that seems to have very little in the way of a solution – until you consider chiropractic care.

Chiropractors Treat Pain and Inflammation

Many people with chronic pain conditions never think of going to a chiropractor. It just doesn’t dawn on them that these medical specialists can do more than just realign the spine. This is due to the fact the profession is still misunderstood. In reality, a chiropractor can relieve chronic pain and inflammation without the help of any drugs. They are trained in the fine art of pain relief, and yes, realignments are a major part of this. However, there are other factors at play, most of which a chiropractor will inform you of in order to help with your arthritis and other types of pain.

Whole Body Wellness Not Medications

The first time that you go to a chiropractor, they will sit down and ask you a lot of questions. Some of them may seem unusual, but it’s important for the practitioner to know whether or not you’ve been under a lot of stress or how much sleep you get each night. They need to know what types of food you eat. Of course, many of these questions will be about the pain that you’re in, and x-rays may possibly be taken if medically necessary in order to further diagnose any issues. Basically, before your chosen chiropractor even attempts to relieve your pain, they will be able to discern any and all of the potential causes – beyond basic arthritis and inflammation.

Why does this matter? Well, your pain might be caused by the breakdown of your cartilage, but it might be exacerbated by a lack of sleep or a lot of stress. Certain foods can wreak havoc on your system, making your inflammation worse. A chiropractor looks at your overall wellness in order to find additional solutions to your pain. They might suggest cutting certain foods and beverages out of your system or even getting more sleep at night. If stress is an issue, they might have some good solutions and suggestions. By getting to every root cause of your pain, a chiropractor is more likely to help prevent it in the future. Of course, a realignment is a part of this, but you’ll feel better overall once you make those suggested lifestyle changes. Compare this to a pain management physician, who simply provides medications.

Deconditioning Yourself and Helping Your Pain

People, in general, are conditioned to take medications to help with their problems. Pain? “Here, take pain medication.” However, there’s much more to it than that. The pain might be caused by a diet full of foods that simply aren’t good for you, a lack of exercise, or far too much stress. By making overall lifestyle changes recommended by a chiropractor, you’re deconditioning yourself from quick fixes and setting the scene for some real pain relief. No addictive medications required.

What Does the VA’s Whole Health Model Say About the Future of Chronic Pain Treatment?

Chronic pain doesn’t get as much attention as some high-profile diseases, but it affects more than 50 million Americans every year according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.) Chronic pain can have impact far beyond the physical pain it causes, impacting your ability to work, sleep, and enjoy personal time with your family and friends.

Whole Health is a new initiative from the VA that looks at chronic pain in a holistic way. By understanding the impact that chronic pain can have, it hopes to provide much-needed relief – and may point the way forward for others in the medical field to treat chronic pain.

What is the Whole Health Model?

The goal of the Whole Health Model is to evaluate each patient and provide a “personalized and patient-driven experience” that’s designed to help an individual coping with chronic pain to live the best, most productive life possible.

Some of the services that Whole Health includes are:

  • Yoga classes
  • Tai chi classes
  • Diet and nutrition classes
  • Mindfulness classes
  • Acupuncture treatments
  • Spinal manipulation

In other words, the primary goal is to provide non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive ways for patients to manage their pain.

The VA offers group classes that encourage congregation and socialization, both of which can help people cope with chronic pain. There’s evidence to show that pain is exacerbated by loneliness and depression.

How Can Whole Health Help Non-Veterans?

While the Whole Health Model is specifically for United States military veterans, the program itself offers a roadmap for healthcare professionals who treat chronic pain.

In the world of chiropractic, the idea of finding non-pharmacological and non-surgical ways of reducing and managing chronic pain is not new. In fact, it’s the driving philosophy behind what we do.

However, some mainstream physicians still default to prescribing pain medication and recommending surgery instead of attempting less invasive methods of pain management first.

The hope is that the doctors in the VA who are in a position to see the beneficial effects of Yoga, tai chi, mindfulness training, and spinal manipulations will spread the word to their colleagues outside of the VA. If they do, then the Whole Health Model could become the gold standard for how we treat chronic pain going forward.

Because chronic pain affects so many people in the United States and around the world, it’s essential that we find effective ways to treat it. That’s especially true when you consider how the over-prescription of opioid pain medications have led to the huge opioid addiction problem that is currently impacting many people around the country. Ultimately, pain medicine only treats the symptom of pain without addressing the underlying issues causing it.

Conclusion

The VA’s Whole Health program offers hope to military veterans who need practical, non-invasive methods to manage their physical pain. In the future, it may also provide guidance to doctors operating outside the VA who are struggling to find ways to help their patients who live with chronic pain every day.

The Results Are In – Chiropractors Are Becoming More Popular

In the past, chiropractors were overlooked by people with aches and pains. They went to traditional doctors and treated their back and neck pain with plenty of over the counter and prescription medications. This is no longer the case. A recent study has shown that many people in the United States now believe that a chiropractor can treat their pain without the involvement of these medications. As a result, more and more are making appointments with the chiropractors located near them. What are the reasons behind this change? We’ll get into them below.

People Are Moving Away From Pain Medications

After years of doctors giving prescription pain medication to patients for even the slightest ache or pain, people are now seeking out alternative methods of pain relief. This includes seeing chiropractors since they can perform physical manipulations that are designed in order to make you feel better without having to take a pill. The heroin and opioid epidemic, which has been published in every news source, is the major reason for this. Everyone knows just how addictive those medications are, and now they want to avoid having to take them.

On top of this, over the counter pain medications aren’t any better for you. If you take them too much, they can lead to stomach ulcers and internal bleeding-based problems. Plus, they wear off quickly and don’t even relieve many types of pain. As a result, people end up hurting even more. Many are now realizing that instead of reaching for these medications, no matter how accessible they are, an alternative method is needed – they have to seek out the source of the pain and deal with it properly.
This leads to them reaching out to chiropractors, who take x-rays, perform examinations, ask plenty of questions, and then come up with a holistic method of treating that pain, no medication required.

Chiropractors Do More than Spinal Manipulations

Not only do chiropractors physically manipulate your body in order to relieve your pain, but they also do things like help you adjust your diet and your stress levels. In some cases, your pain may stem from these things. For example, did you know that when you’re stressed out, you tend to contract your body, simply because you’re tensed up? Or that something in your diet, such as an overabundance of sweet or salty snacks, can cause you to feel back pain? Your chiropractor understands how your whole system works. They can get to the root cause of your pain, even if it’s not something that’s overly physical. As a result, you’ll start feeling better and won’t need to take any medication.

As you can see, there’s a reason why over half of all American adults say that they’ve seen a chiropractor – these specialists know how to treat and relieve your pain without making you reliant on any type of medication. They’ll get to the main source and find ways to help you change your life for the better.

Chiropractic Care and Migraine Relief

Migraine headaches are debilitating. They can lead to symptoms of a pounding headache, dizziness, nausea, and the inability to think clearly. Some migraine sufferers find it hard to put words on a page, make a decision, or do much other than linger in a dark room until the pain goes away. In other words, a migraine can really ruin your day. Although relief can sometimes be found in certain medications or lifestyle changes, one of the best things that you can do is see a chiropractor. Yes, many chiropractors are able to do what even the strongest pain medication cannot – stop your migraine in its tracks.

What Exactly Is A Migraine?

You may have been suffering from migraines for years without realizing what they really are. You probably just refer them as “bad headaches” or even think that you have a tension headache instead. The main difference is that a tension headache encompasses the whole head. You’ll feel as though your head is in a vice. A migraine only affects one side at a time. You might have pain on the left side of your head one day, and then a repeat of that same intense pounding on the right side the next day. These are migraine headaches. Once you know that you’ve had one, you won’t mistake it for anything else ever again.

Migraine headaches tend to last anywhere from several hours to several days. More females get them than males. It’s possible for a migraine to come on at night and wake you up. The main symptoms include the aforementioned pain on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, horrendous pain, visual sensitivity, auditory sensitivity, and the inability to think clearly. Many people who have migraines end up sitting or lying in a quiet, dark room, in order to get away from painful stimuli.

Are You A Migraine Sufferer?

There’s a big difference between someone who had a migraine one time and someone who suffers from them regularly. If you’ve had a migraine, just as described above, at least on five separate occasions, no matter how far apart, then you’re a migraine sufferer. You have to have at least two of the symptoms described above during each instance. Although taking medication can stop or at least lessen your migraine symptoms, there’s a better solution: your local chiropractor.

How a Chiropractor Can Help

Your local chiropractor can treat your migraines. The first step involves an examination and some x-rays. This will help your chiropractor determine whether or not there are any misalignments in your neck and spine that are causing the headaches. If he or she sees any, a spinal adjustment will be made to relieve that pressure or get rid of the stress. On top of this, a spinal adjustment can improve blood flow in that area, making your pain less intense. There might be some additional follow-up advice included in your treatment as well, such as nutritional advice or lifestyle suggestions, in order to keep the pain from coming back.

Relieve Sciatic Pain with these 5 Natural Ways

Sciatic pain is moderate to severe nerve pain that can run from the buttocks down the legs. It is very common, with more than 3 million cases in the United States each year. Thankfully, chiropractic care can help relieve sciatic pain naturally and gently. Studies have shown that, unlike medications or surgery, chiropractic medicine can be useful in treating sciatic pain without harmful or costly side effects. With that said, the body is a complex system, and all pain relief takes time. Restoration and relief of pain won’t come quickly, but remaining committed to chiropractic care can help in the long term, but what about now? How can you get relief now?

Your chiropractor understands and is here to help. There are so many complementary therapies you can explore while working with your chiropractor to release your sciatic pain. Remember to keep an open mind, and that each body will respond differently to the methods outlined below. It’s tough living with nerve pain, but by learning more about your body, you’ll be able to find out what therapies
work for you!

Here are five all-natural ways you can help reduce your sciatic pain now:

Acupuncture

Originating in Ancient China, acupuncture has gained popularity in the United States for the past few years and has been proven to help with muscle injuries and pain. The way it works is by tapping into our body’s “meridians” or energy fields. By using needles, your provider will stimulate these meridians and improve the healing process, reducing pain. In a study involving acupuncture for the treatment of sciatica, it was found that acupuncture has a significant effect on pain relief compared to two other groups that were using medication.

Stretching and Yoga

Sciatica and exercise are not the best of friends, and strenuous activity can worsen or trigger pain. Therefore, it might seem best just to relax, but inactivity can also wreak havoc on not only your sciatic nerve but the rest of your body. Yoga and stretching are gentle exercises that lengthen your spine, release tense muscles, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the core. You might be hesitant to give it a try, but studies show yoga is safe and effective for relieving sciatic pain!

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation is the leading cause of sciatic nerve pain and issues but can be reduced by making diet changes to fight and lower inflammation in the body. A diet that is high in trans-fats, cholesterol, and processed sugars will cause a lot of swelling. Replacing these dietary choices with natural and organic food will promote a body free of inflammation. Some delicious anti-inflammatory foods to try are green tea, blueberries, and fresh ginger.

Heat and Cold Therapies

Heat and cold can work wonders on sciatic pain when used correctly. Heat can release tight muscles and dull pain away. Cold therapies slow blood flow and help reduce the symptoms of inflammation. Consult your chiropractor on which treatment is better for you, or if you should use both.

Epsom Salt Soaks

Epsom baths have been used for decades to restore and heal the body. When combined with warm water, the salts will draw out toxins, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation and pain.

Hip, Knee, Ankle Chiropractic Care

Pain in the lower extremities, like your hips, knees, and ankles, are common physical ailments for which chiropractic care is typically sought out. These pains can be caused by injury, overexertion, or simple wear and tear from repetitive movements that break down the soft and hard tissues in your joints. Hips, knees, and ankles are the most frequent areas for pain, with almost 7 million individuals in the United States living with a hip or knee replacement in 2015. Completing surgery to fix these issues is expensive and time-consuming. There are quite a few less invasive methods to explore that can help with lower extremity pain, like chiropractic care.

Hip Pain

The hips contain important muscles that are involved in critical movements of your body. Inflammation or injury to the area can express itself in sharp or dull pain or even numbness and tingling. These aches and pains are symptoms of conditions like sciatica -nerve pain that goes from your buttocks to the legs); bursitis – joint pain associated with burning and swelling; and inflammatory-related strains and arthritis. All of these conditions can be treated with chiropractic care!

Knee Pain

Your knees contain many different elements that can be injured, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. The knee is one of the most commonly injured joints of the body, but can also be helped with chiropractic therapy. Knee pain can be sharp or dull but will vary based on the cause. Frequent conditions that cause symptoms are bursitis, tendonitis (inflamed tendons), degenerative arthritis, strains (Meniscus, ACL, MCL), and runner's knee (outside and front knee pain).

Ankle Pain

Ankle and foot pain are quite often related to a strain and can even make it painful to walk around your house. Other offenders could be Achilles tendonitis (pain in the heel and back of the ankle related to inflammation of the Achilles tendon), plantar fasciitis (sharp pain near the heel), heel spurs, and shin splints (pain radiating from the shin to the ankle and foot)

How Can Chiropractic Care Help My Lower Extremity Pain?

If you are experiencing pain in your lower extremities like your hips, knees, and ankles, a chiropractor can help create a plan tailored to your individual needs to not only find the cause of your pain but treat it. Chiropractors are experts on the movement and structure of the body. By using a variety of chiropractic manipulations and modalities, your chiropractic physician can improve your range of motion, erase pain, and restore function to your joints. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor for a full assessment and individualized plan of care.

Brace Options for Lower Extremity Pain

Wearing a brace as a treatment for pain is a safe, efficient, and clinically proven therapy that could be complementary to your chiropractic care as determined by your chiropractic doctor. A variety of brace options can be worn such as knee or ankle brace. Bracing can help athletes protect their joints while still enjoying their sport. Each brace can be adjusted to fit your life and provide the stabilization you need to reduce pain in your body.

Get back to how life was before your lower extremity pain and schedule your chiropractic appointment today!

Six Ways to Keep Your Holidays Healthy and Fun!

When it comes to eating healthy, holidays are the worst time even to try. With family get-together caulked-full of calories, to eating fast food while shopping, the months of November and December are some of the hardest of healthy-living. No matter how discouraging it seems, don’t totally kick nutrition out the door this year – we’ve put together a list of six simple ways that you can enjoy the holiday season without completely giving up.

  1. Trick Your Brain. While you may head to the table ready to eat the entire turkey, you’re really not as hungry as you think. Before you load a huge plate down with food, consider taking a smaller plate and just putting a lot of food on it. The smaller plate will seem like it has a ton of food while actually sporting only half the calories of a regular- sized plate. You can do the same thing with drinks by using tall glasses that hold fewer
    ounces. Your mind thinks you’ve had the regular amount, and it will pass the news on to your stomach!
  2. Get Some Sleep! Yes, the holidays are stressful, and there doesn’t seem to be time enough to think about napping, but it’s important to get a full seven-hours sleep a day. The less you sleep, the more you eat, and calorie-loaded foods will be more attractive when you’re tired.
  3. Eat Before the Meal. It sounds crazy, but you might consider eating before you head off to the big meal. Healthy foods such as fruits and veggies can help calm your appetite and keep you from totally stuffing your face at the dinner.
  4. Take Time to Chew. Sometimes, eating at family get-togethers can become a race to see who can pack in the most food the fastest. Aunt Edith’s famous chocolate pie? Sure I’ll take another slice…just like me woof this one down first! Take time actually to enjoy your meal by chewing slowly. Not only will this give your food time to digest, but it’s another trick that makes you feel stuffed even when you’re not.
  5. Make Good Choices. Strangely enough, the foods that you put on your plate first are the ones you will eat the most of. Before you grab for the macaroni and cheese, head for the low-calorie veggie tray first. It may not seem like the most attractive food, but your waistline will thank you!
  6. Add Some Nutrition to the Meal. If you’re going to eat with friends or family, talk to the host about bringing along a healthy dish. Most chefs are happy to have something extra at the meal and would welcome a low-calorie dish that goes along with what they are serving. While you can still enjoy the other food, your healthy dish will ensure you that there is something nutritious available for your main course.

Yes, the holidays bring along a lot of festive meals and some very unhealthy eating choices; however, you don’t have to entirely give up on your plans to get in shape. By using the six tips listed above, you can continue to enjoy the fun while staying on course for a healthier new year!

Reaves Chiropractic