Non-Surgical Alternatives to Alleviate Knee Pain

There are numerous causes for chronic or degenerative knee pain be it an injury, arthritis, or old age. Patients may believe that surgery is their only option when it comes to finding long-term relief. While many patients find surgery beneficial, there are things that should be taken under advisement when deciding whether to undergo a surgical procedure. One important consideration is the recovery time involved with surgery as it will vary for each patient and could impact daily life and work activities. While infrequent in nature, infections can also occur with any surgical procedure which could lead to further necessary treatment and recovery. Additionally, surgery may not be able to fully alleviate an issue and patients can still experience underlying pain. Lastly, as healthcare premiums continue to increase, cost must be considered as surgery can be expensive.

Given all that must be considered with surgery, patients are often left looking for other non-surgical options to treat their knee pain. One option is working with a chiropractic acupuncturist. These practitioners use safe, natural treatments to alleviate pain and focus on therapies and lifestyle changes that will allow the patient to return to normal life without having to endure surgery. A chiropractor can help alleviate pain by manipulating, pressing on, or realigning surrounding painful joints whereas an acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into the skin around various pressure points or nerve centers. Some patients may find the reduced physical stress associated with acupuncture to be a good alternative to chiropractic treatments. Patients should note that for both acupuncture and chiropractic therapy, several treatment sessions may be needed before results are seen.

With the myriad reasons for knee pain, patients need a practitioner that is committed to understanding the full body system in order to identify the underlying cause of their pain and recommend treatment. Because our body systems are interconnected in nature, a chiropractic acupuncturist will use a complete physical evaluation and comprehensive laboratory testing to get a full picture of the patient’s overall health. With this whole-body focus, the practitioner can determine the underlying causes of pain rather than solely focusing on treating symptoms.

Beyond simply treating conditions, a chiropractic acupuncturist will also work to educate their patients on their health condition so that the patient is best equipped to make informed decisions regarding their health goals. Any lifestyle changes that could be beneficial to the patient, will also be communicated by the practitioner. These practitioners are a great option for patients seeking natural remedies to treat their pain rather than relying on the expensive medications and surgeries associated with traditional medicine.

For any patient that has been told they need surgery, injections, or medications to alleviate their knee pain, getting a second opinion from a chiropractic acupuncturist could be beneficial. While surgery may ultimately be the best course of treatment, the chiropractic acupuncturist will help you evaluate your health needs and provide the treatment and education needed to get you back to a pain free life.

Three Easy Floor Exercises to Help with Lower Back Pain

Two important concepts in a healthy lifestyle to consider are Balance and Moderation. In a sense they are synonymous with each other. If your diet is poorly managed and you don’t do exercise on a regular basis you are out of balance. If that diet is unhealthy and driven by packaged foods, fast foods or excessive sweets and sugars you are not exercising moderation.

The part of the core of the body that takes the brunt of this neglect, or abuse, is the back. In fact, eight out of 10 Americans will experience back pain in their lifetime. Lower back strength allows us to stand and lift objects. These muscles also support spinal function. They are important for your posture and to alleviate any lower back pain.

There are several exercises to strengthen the lower back muscles, but the following three are both simple and intelligent and also can be performed while you are having back discomfort. They can be easily done at home without a gym membership.

Bird Dog– The first exercise begins with you in the kneeling position with your hands on the floor directly below your shoulders. Now you begin by raising your right leg straight behind you, feeling like you are kicking your heel into a wall. Raise the opposite arm, the left in this case, and reach out as well as far as you can. Keep your core engages through the process. Do these ten times for each side and then repeat the set about four or five times. This floor exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles, your lower back muscles, your butt and your thighs.

Bent-Knee Hollow Hold– Now you are going to roll over on to your back. You want to concentrate on keeping your lower back flat towards the floor. No arching or space between the back and the ground. Raise both knees so they are not at 90 degrees but in front of your hips and let your legs bend at the knees, so your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Do not get the knees to 90 degrees or beyond or you will nullify the work being done by the abdominals. If you want to increase the challenge lift your arms up and reach your arms to the knees or parallel to the floor. Do this exercise five rounds holding those knees up for 20 to 30 seconds each time.

Side Plank– Finish your set of three exercises with the side plank. Chose a side to lay on, and then come up to your elbow or totally extending your arm. Now lift your hips off the floor. You want a nice straight line from your armpit to your knee and your ankle. This very simple exercise does marvelous things for your core as well as strengthening your wrists and shoulders. It can improve your balance and improve your concentration as well but most importantly it is the core work that we are focusing on to improve the back discomfort or pain. Do these for 10 to 20 seconds per side, four to five rounds total. As the exercise gets easier extend the duration of the hold.

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.

Exercise Common Sense While Shoveling Snow

That first snowfall every year is so beautiful. There is something about the quiet white blanket draped over trees, bushes and lawns that is just so peaceful. Then the months roll by and its just not fun anymore. Driveways and sidewalks must be cleared after snowfalls. This is when that pretty snow shows her evil face. Thousands of Americans find themselves in the Emergency Room every winter thanks to shoveling snow. A recent study had over 11,500 patients in the ER. Another recent study documented 1,647 Americans dying from this activity. It’s time to exercise some common sense before you charge outside to shovel.

Shoveling Snow is like Exercising at the Gym

Lifting a snow shovel and throwing snow can be likened to pushing around weights at the gym. As your heart rate increases in the cold it can be like running on a treadmill. Shoveling puts quite a demand on your cardiovascular system. If you have heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol or other medical conditions you might want to consider having the snow moved professionally.

Physical Common-Sense Ideas

  • Eat Light- don’t consume heavy food before you head outside. This only adds stress to your heart.
  • Don’t Smoke- this can change your circulation.
  • Caffeinated Beverages- any caffeine can stimulate your heart rate and cause the constriction of your blood vessels.
  • Stay away from alcohol- this can trick you into thinking you are not cold or are not working as hard as you are.

Outerwear Suggestions

  • Layers- anytime you head outdoors consider dressing in layers.
  • Comfortable- wear clothing that is easy to move in when shoveling or pushing a snowblower.
  • Stocking cap- you lose a lot of body heat through your head.
  • COLD air- consider breathing through a scarf to warm up that icy air entering your body.
  • Boots- not only will this help keep your feet warm it will help with your footing.
  • Gloves- in fact, don’t hesitate to buy some mittens. Keep those fingers warm as they grip the shovel.

The Ergonomics behind a Snow Shovel

  • Smaller shovel-consider using a smaller shovel to lighten the load when it comes to either pushing or lifting the snow. This will be easier on your body.
  • Ergonomics-a curved handle might help you keep your back straighter reducing stress on your spine.
  • Plastic or metal- don’t you think a plastic blade might be lighter than metal? Research this before you buy, after all, the snow is heavy enough.

Know your Body

  • Push don’t lift-handling wet, heavy snow if very, very hard on your lower back.
  • Watch your footing-pay attention to the surface and how slippery it is. Falling contributes to those ER statistics.
  • Take breaks often- it doesn’t have to be done immediately. Take your time, listen to your body.
  • Know when something is wrong- STOP shoveling! If you have chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or any discomfort in your back, arms, neck, jaw or stomach it might be a sign of cardiac stress or even a heart attack. Stop and consider calling a medical professional immediately.

 

Car Accidents, Injures & Chiropractic Care

Often times after a fender bender or being rear-ended folks jump out of the vehicle and shake off the fact that they don’t have any immediate injuries. Many people chose to walk away and do nothing after an auto accident because they don’t have any major damage or trauma to their bodies. There are a lot of other issues that can develop. Sometimes in hours, sometimes in days.

The First Adrenaline Rush

After having been involved in an accident your body reacts with an immediate adrenaline rush. This happens to all of us. The excitement of the event causes the heart to race which results in the body generating endorphins and adrenaline which can energize you and mask any pain. Once the accident victim has calmed down the pain might be more evident. Some people think the pain will just go away, others find the filing of a personal injury report intimidating and chose to avoid the process.

Different Types of Injuries

Car accidents generate a lot of force. Even slow rollers at low speeds. The driver and passengers can get thrown around, jerked back and forth, which is hard on the joints and all soft tissues. An umbrella term that covers most soft tissue injuries is that of whiplash. Most often this relates to damaged neck muscles resulting in pain and swelling. Whiplash symptoms can take days or even weeks to start showing and unfortunately soft tissue damage cannot be diagnosed by x-rays. You can consider seeing a chiropractor as a proactive or preventive measure in dealing with potential whiplash.

Concussions are another common injury from car accidents. The brain can strike the inside of the skull with a lot of force causing a concussion. Sometimes these are immediately evident and sometimes not so. The symptom can include dizziness, headaches, blurry vision, lack of energy, feeling sort of foggy, memory issues and unusual sleep patterns.

See a Doctor No Matter How You Feel

You only have one body and you should always make it your top priority. Having just experienced a life event like a car accident you should let a professional examine your body as soon as possible. Even if there are no immediate symptoms the examination is on record in the event that difficulties develop later. This will be advantageous in the event that the insurance company needs to become involved down the road.

Do Not Sign Anything without an Objective Review

The first call you might receive will be from the other driver’s insurance company. They will ask about your health and if you feel any pain. They will want you to legally disclose that you have no discomfort or injury so the liability will be shifted from them if any discomfort or pain appears at a later date. Even though this pain might be the result of this accident you have waived their responsibility by agreeing to sign the waiver. Wait on signing anything.

Seeing a chiropractor or a family physician will not only make common sense moving forward but the chiropractor might be able to do an adjustment or two to neutralize the stress you have just endured.

Chiropractic Science is SO much more than a Manual Adjustment

Even though spinal adjustments and manual manipulations do dominate the landscape of a chiropractor, this approach has been successful in dealing with arthritis, headaches, constipation, asthma, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, sciatica, ear infections and high blood pressure. Chiropractic care has prevented some invasive surgeries and has helped with childbirth.

The science of chiropractic was founded in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer. Palmer performed a chiropractic adjustment on a gentleman who was deaf in one ear and his hearing was restored. The word spread quickly about a new method of healing based on the nerves in the spine. Chiropractic science is based on the nervous system. It is an art, a science and a philosophy. The fundamental belief is that misalignments in the spine result in both pain and manifestations of health-related negative symptoms. Our body is one massive electrical system that communicates with neurotransmitters, chemicals, hormones and other messengers. Spinal realignments can make these elements easier to communicate to each other.

The art of chiropractic science starts with the doctor knowing the 55 established techniques in applying adjustments and treatment. Then there are specialties from there such as exercise medicine, pediatrics, functional neurology and wellness care. The beauty of the chiropractic approach is that it is drug-free. Years of studying and training is necessary to be a licensed and practicing chiropractic doctor. The foundation is anatomy and physiology, radiology, stress management, understanding nutrition and finally a holistic health approach to treatments. This requires four years of school in which extensive hands-on training is provided in learning the proper diagnosis and the appropriate treatments.

How does the spine actually become misaligned? Any kind of physical trauma like falling is an easy starting point. Taut and tight muscles can create spinal issues as can an unhealthy diet. Poor eating habits and bad diet choices can cause an inflammation that isn’t visible to the eye. Stress is a frequent contributor as is degeneration of the spine with aging. The discs in the spine will show wear and tear with time and become thinner also. With that having been said, you do not have to be aging for a chiropractic adjustment. Children, with much lighter manual pressure, can benefit from a chiropractic treatment. In fact, a well-adjusted child can fight off sickness better as well as being less susceptible to injuries.

A common patient for a chiropractic doctor is a professional athlete. They have proven that they have improvements in their athletic performance. This is from an increased range of motion and a heightened awareness of how their body moves. The latter, called proprioception, actually decreases injuries. Often times the immune system is improved with chiropractic adjustments increasing respiratory function. This art and philosophy of chiropractic science has been classified as an alternative medicine. The manual adjustments of the spine, joints and soft tissues may also include valuable and needed counseling on exercises, overall health and lifestyle choices. Back and neck pain are the leading candidates for chiropractic therapy with the highest level of quantifiable success.

There are NO Age Restrictions in Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic therapy is becoming a nice complimentary approach in dealing with young children, remembering to allow your pediatrician to be their primary physician. Think about the trauma a newborn goes through making their way through the birth canal. Pediatric chiropractic care is a gentle approach to realigning your infant’s spine after this trauma and allowing for improved digestion. Chiropractic care wouldn’t be your first choice if your infant has an ear infection, pneumonia, or strep throat but can aid in the prevention of these illnesses along with being proven beneficial in treating infants with colic. Colic, which is characterized by excessive crying, is often severe and fluctuating pain in the child’s abdomen caused by intestinal gas or an obstruction in the intestines. Soft spinal manipulations have resolved this condition quickly.

The Chiropractic profession is a discipline grounded in the general health of the nervous system. The primary focus is the spine with the massive amount of nerves found here. It is also an art and a philosophy based on a drug-free approach. Education consists an undergraduate degree followed by four years of studying anatomy and physiology as well as nutrition and radiology concluding in stress management and holistic health treatments. While in chiropractic school a chiropractic doctor will get extensive hands-on training learning proper diagnosis and the 55 established adjustment techniques. This training includes infants and children.

Most chiropractic doctors would recommend taking the infant or child to the primary physician first from a medical standpoint to see if the treatment is serious enough to come from that office. In fact, 17% of all chiropractic patients are under the age of 18 and of that 17% almost half are five years old or younger. Chiropractic care is growing in the field of pediatrics. It can become an essential part of the child’s overall wellness. Chiropractic adjustments call allow the child’s nervous system and spine to grow optimally without any interference.

The human body is a complex electrical system that communicates via chemical messengers, neurotransmitters and hormones to mention a few. Spinal realignments have reduced bed wetting, asthma and allergies. It can improve the immune system of the child as well as the digestive system. Limiting colic was mentioned earlier and it can also limit constipation. With optimal nervous system communication, it can even encourage brain development. A chiropractor performing an adjustment of a pediatric patient is aware of the fact that the spine is far more flexible with the cartilage and the growth plates. An adult high velocity, low amplitude thrusting adjustment will be replaced with just light thumb pressure. Gentle touches have a calming effect on the infant or child.

Chiropractic care is an alternative approach but in dealing with pediatric patients it is a valuable compliment. The philosophy may introduce other joint manipulation and soft tissues but also include the value of exercise and counseling for both health and lifestyle concerns. What better time to introduce the benefits of a good diet than in childhood? Or to make the child aware of stress and the negative health symptoms that come from the inability to handle stress.

The Worst Bag for your Posture, According to a Chiropractor

There are a variety of things used to transport personal items ranging from totes, to shoulder bags and purses. Many people who carry large amounts of items or heavy loads opt to use a rolling backpacks. Others may prefer a canvas messenger bag or tote. The method we use is often selected based on the latest fashion trends. According to chiropractors, we should be placing far more importance on the bags we use on a daily basis to transport our belongings.

Unfortunately, we are spending a significant amount of time hunched over our computers typing, eating at our desks, texting and many other things. The issue with this is that we are positioning our body in a forward motion which causes increased problems with our posture. These negative effects of our posture eventually lead to lower back and neck pain. When you use a bag that isn’t well balanced on your body, the pain is just emphasized. Having good posture means maintaining the natural curvatures in the spine and activating the necessary muscles to stay upright Even worse and compounding the issue, we are selecting the biggest bag possible and carrying around everything we might possibly need. For most of us who are not minimalists, our bags contain a laptop, charger, phone, lunch, hand sanitizer, wallet, cosmetics, water and anything else we might possibly need, Chiropractors warn that as the size of our bags increases, so does the problem with our posture. When we carry a heavy load over one shoulder, we tend to slouch to the dominant side to counteract the imbalance. The preferred method is to use a backpack with two straps to evenly distribute the weight.

Backpacks typically have a chest strap and a waist strap. But many of us opt to not use these additional straps as they can look tactical or don’t work well with our outfit. Though poor posture or chronic back pain is far worse than looking like you’re going for a hike, many of us fail to come to this conclusion on our own.

Due to the impact they have on posture and inability to evenly distribute weight, shoulder bags are the worst option and they are closely followed by a cross body bag. Anything that doesn’t allow for even weight distribution can lead to a muscle imbalance and your body will naturally try to compensate. This is why opting for a backpack or rolling bag is the best option.

Some people are unwilling to sacrifice when it comes to style and refuse to give up their shoulder or cross body bag. There are still ways to improve the impacts these options have on your posture. One way is to reduce the load you are carrying. Another suggestion is to take care of your body when you are not carrying a bag. Take the time to stretch, use a foam roller and participate in yoga or other gentle movement classes to help correct your posture. There are many different class options which can help people improve their alignment and balance. For some people, an online class may work well as they can easily fit it into a busy schedule and the classes be done from the comfort of their home.

Three chiropractor recommended rules for selecting the perfect pillow

For many couples, finding the right setup for sleeping can be a difficult balance. One specific area of conflict can be the number and types of pillows to use. While one person may prefer a single pillow, their partner may prefer to use two or more. This may seem like an arbitrary preference, however, according to chiropractors, pillows play an important role in sleep and overall alignment.

Chiropractors confirm that the pillow you use is critical and if used incorrectly, can cause issues down the road. Using the wrong pillows can lead to a misalignment of the spine. Over time, this imbalance can result in pain and lead to other problems.

For good alignment, both your pillow selection and your sleeping position play important roles. The purpose of a pillow is to help maintain the proper curve in your neck while you are sleeping. When you are standing and looking from the side, the bones in your neck are supposed to curve toward the front. The upper and mid-back they should curve towards the back. And in the lower back, the spine should curve back towards the front. Ideally, this will create a reverse C shape in the neck.

The number, shape and density of your pillow all play important roles to ensure you are getting the best alignment. The following are three rules endorsed by chiropractors to achieve the perfect pillow setup.

1. Firm or fluffy thickness

Some people prefer thin, flat pillows while others choose a dense and thick option. According to chiropractors, there isn’t a catch-all answer in selecting the perfect pillow. Pillows which are too soft or too fluffy can both cause issues as they do not properly support the neck while sleeping.

The proper pillow shouldn’t be too thick or too soft. The most important factors are the positioning and fitting well under your head. People should look for pillows that are about three inches high and ensure it also has enough give to allow your head to fall back.

2. Unique shapes beyond the rectangle

An ideal pillow has space for your head while simultaneously providing your neck the necessary support. Some pillows are designed specifically with an extra ridge for your neck and hole or opening for your head. This provides the ability to keep your neck supported in a straight line. Some chiropractors recommend that their patients purchase a custom-made pillow from companies such as Pillow Wise. Another popular brand, Pillo-Pedic, has firm ridges to support the neck and a soft, memory-foam center for your head. Some doctors also suggest using a V-shaped pillow which provides space for your head to rest flat and protects the curve of your neck.

3. How many pillows should be used

The suggested number of pillows for correct alignment is one. Using two or more pillows will push your head forward and tilt your chin down toward your chest. This position adds tension to your neck and goes against the natural C-curve that helps encourage proper alignment while sleeping.

Some people prefer sleeping without pillows altogether. It really depends on the person’s posture whether or not this is suitable. Some chiropractors support this and recommend using either one or zero pillows in order to achieve proper positioning. Not using a pillow can be challenging for people who have a forward neck posture. When they lie down without a pillow, their head may not be properly aligned because it naturally tilts forward. Sleeping without the use of a pillow is only suggested for those who are in proper alignment. In conclusion, chiropractors recommend using one, high quality and supportive pillow to achieve proper alignment for your head and neck while sleeping.

5 Things To Know If You’re Experiencing Pain Or Numbness In Your Buttcheeks

Everyone is familiar with the numb feeling that occurs in your leg after sitting for extended periods of time. This is similar to what people with sciatica experience, however with sciatica, the tingly, painful feeling does not go away. Sciatica nerve pain affects up to 40 percent of people at some point, according to data from Harvard Medical School.

While sciatica is very common, it’s also quite misunderstood. The misconceptions about sciatica can range from the definition to how it affects the body and the treatment options. Many people believe sciatica is a medical condition and don’t know that it is actually a symptom.

Sciatica is a symptom of different conditions and causes pain along the sciatic nerve. This nerve begins in the lower back and runs down through both legs into the buttock, thigh, calf, and foot.

Below are five things to know about sciatica pain:

1. Sciatica pain can occur in many places

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and pain can occur anywhere. This helps better understand why sciatica can effect so much of the body. Sciatica can impact the lower back, the buttock, go down to the knee or calf and even cause issues into the foot.

2. Sciatica can manifest in a wide variety of ways

Sciatica can affect multiple body parts and also present different sensations. For some it can cause numbness, muscular weakness and most commonly it causes pain. Regardless of how it manifests, sciatica can interfere with daily life and feel debilitating. In addition to the physical symptoms, it can affect your sleep and mood.

3. Anyone can experience sciatica

Sciatica symptoms can happen to people who are out of shape and well-trained athletes alike. A common misconception is that sciatica is a result from trauma such as an accident or herniated disc. Some people experience sciatica simply from sitting incorrectly at their desk or in their car seat. In addition, sciatica can arise from an injury, repetitive stress, a herniated disc or variety of other causes. While rare, it is also possible to experience sciatica from stenosis (narrowing) of the lower back, arthritis, spinal tumors or simply from a person’s physical anatomy.

4. A musculoskeletal specialist should be seen for medical attention related to sciatica

If you experience sciatica for three or more days or if it is interfering with daily activities, you should seek medical attention. Because sciatica can be so broad, it is critical to determine the root of the problem. It is recommended that patients consult with a medical professional who specializes in back and musculoskeletal conditions. The specialists can include chiropractors, physical therapists or orthopedists. An evaluation may include a simple orthopedic and neurological assessment or more complex diagnostic tools such as X-rays or MRIs.

5. Treatment options can vary

Treatments for sciatica can range from conservative, natural approaches (i.e. physical therapy or chiropractor visits) to more aggressive measures which can include injections or surgery. Most medical professionals recommended pursuing the less aggressive treatments first. Recovery times can vary widely regardless of the treatment approach. As an example, recovering from sciatica caused by a slipped disc can take a few months while a more simple issue may be resolved after a few physical therapy appointments. A common misconception is that once you develop sciatica, it is something you have to live with for the rest of your life. Fortunately, that is not true.

Reaves Chiropractic