Category Archives: Back Pain

Why Does My Back Hurt? Part 2

 

Why Does My Back Hurt?

Why Does My Back Hurt?

 

Last month, we discussed common causes of back pain including mattresses, shoes, diet, exercise, and posture. Here are some additional considerations…

6. OFFICE CHAIR: Because of vast differences between people’s height, weight, body type, and preference, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to find a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to office chairs! In the ideal world, the option to sit, stand, walk, and stretch as needed would be perfect but this simply is not reality! Low back pain (LBP) from sitting is common due to the excess pressure it places on the joints and disks (the “shock-absorbers” of the spine). Here are some remedies: 1) Find a chair that FITS YOU. 2) Get up and move at least once every hour (set the timer on your smartphone as a reminder). 3) Place the computer monitor directly in front of you and keyboard/mouse so the elbows bend only 90°. 4) Keep your feet on the floor at your desk (use an upside down box if you have short legs). 5) Perform “in the chair” stretches when your timer goes off!

7. BODY TYPE: We’ve discussed obesity as an obvious cause of back pain, but other factors are important as well. A very common cause of back pain for women is breast size. Here, the topic of a supportive bra is important, as carrying more weight in front of you adds additional stress on the back and shoulders.

8. SHOULDER BAGS: Back pain can be caused and/or perpetuated by a heavy purse, bag, briefcase, and even a thick wallet in the back pocket! To keep your eyes level, your body has to compensate and assume a less-than-ideal posture that may place unnecessary stress on your back! So before leaving the house today, CLEAN OUT that bag and/or put your wallet in a front pocket and lessen the load on your spine!

9. SMOKING: Smoking can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your cells, which can cause them to function at a less than optimal state. You’ve perhaps heard that a conscientious back surgeon will NEVER operate on a smokers’ back due to both the prolonged healing time and subsequent bad outcomes. So in addition to giving your heart, lungs, and those around you a break, if you want your lower back to heal, STOP SMOKING! Studies also show smokers are TWICE as likely to develop LBP compared with non-smokers, so quit. Better yet, DON’T START in the first place!

10. STRESS & DEPRESSION: Remember, “health” is a balance between structure, chemistry, and mental factors. Stress increases muscle tightness and alters posture in a way that can lead to or exacerbate existing LBP. Exercise, meditate, eat smart, and resolve your differences with family members and friends to minimize this problem! When needed, your doctor of chiropractic can refer you for counseling!

11. ERGONOMICS: How we “fit” into our job, lifting properly, workstation set up, work pace, and work stressors ALL play into LBP management. Have an assessment to see what can be fixed!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.  Visit http://www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information.

 

 

Why Does My Back Hurt?

Low Back PainIt’s been said that if you haven’t had back pain, just wait, because (statistically) some day you will! The following list is a list of “causes” that can be easily “fixed” to reduce your risk for a back pain episode.

1. MATTRESS: Which type of mattress is best? The “short answer”: there is no single mattress (style or type) for all people, primarily due to body type, size, gender, and what “feels good.” TRY laying on a variety of mattresses (for several minutes on your back and sides) and check out the difference between coiled, inner springs, foam (of different densities), air, waterbeds, etc. The thickness of a mattress can vary from 7 to 18 inches (~17-45 cm) deep. Avoid mattresses that feel like you’re sleeping in a hammock! A “good” mattress should maintain your natural spinal curves when lying on your sides or back (avoid stomach sleeping in most cases). Try placing a pillow between the knees and “hug” a pillow when side sleeping, as it can act like a “kick stand” and prevent you from rolling onto your stomach. If your budget is tight, you can “cheat” by placing a piece of plywood between the mattress and box spring as a short-term fix.

2. SHOES: Look at the bottom of your favorite pair of shoes and check out the “wear pattern.” If you have worn out soles or heels, you are way overdue for a new pair or a “re-sole” by your local shoe cobbler! If you work on your feet, then it’s even more important for both managing and preventing LBP!

3. DIET: A poor diet leads to obesity, which is a MAJOR cause of LBP. Consider the Paleo or Mediterranean Diet and STAY AWAY from fast food! Identify the two or three “food abuses” you have embraced and eliminate them – things with empty calories like soda, ice cream, chips… you get the picture! Keeping your BMI (Body Mass Index) between 20 and 25 is the goal! Positive “side-effects” include increased longevity, better overall health, and an improved quality of life!

4. EXERCISE: The most effective self-help approach to LBP management is exercise. Studies show those who exercise regularly hurt less, see doctors less, have a higher quality of life, and just feel better! This dovetails with diet in keeping your weight in check as well. Think of hamstring stretches and core strengthening as important LBP managers – USE PROPER TECHNIQUE AND FORM; YOUR DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC CAN GUIDE YOU IN THIS PROCESS!

5. POSTURE: Another important “self-help” trick of the trade is to avoid sitting slumped over with an extreme forward head carriage positions. Remember that every inch your head pokes forwards places an additional ten pounds (~4.5 kg) of load on your upper back muscles to keep your head upright, and sitting slumped increases the load on your entire back!

We have only scratched the surface of some COMMON causes and/or contributors of back pain. Stay tuned next month as we continue this important conversation!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.  Visit www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information.

Is Sitting Bad For My Back?

sitting

A major manufacturer of workstations reports that 86% of work computer users have to sit all day, and when they do rise from sitting, more than half (56%) use food as the excuse to get up and move. In addition to sitting at work, for meals, and commuting to/from work, 36% sit another one to two hours watching TV, 10% sit one to two hours for gaming, 25% sit one to two hours for reading/lounging, and 29% use their home computer for one to two hours. In summary, the average American sits for thirteen hours a day and sleep for eight hours. That’s a total of 21 hours a day off their feet!

The manufacturer’s survey also notes 93% of work computer users don’t know what “Sitting Disease” is but 74% believe that sitting too much can lead to an early death. “Sitting Disease” represents the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle and includes conditions like “metabolic syndrome” (obesity and diabetes), which is rapidly becoming more prevalent, especially in the young – even in adolescence and teenagers! Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a policy encouraging employers, employees, and others to sit less citing the many risks associated with sitting including (but not limited to): diabetes, cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Standing is SO MUCH BETTER as it burns more calories than sitting, tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow, reduces blood sugar, and improves metabolism. Standing is frequently overlooked as “an exercise” and it’s both simple and easy to do!

So, what about the low back and sitting? You guessed it – sitting is hard on the back! The pressure inside of our disks, those “shock absorbers” that lie between each vertebra in our spine (22 disks in total) is higher when we sit compared with simply standing or lying down. It’s estimated that when we lay down, the pressure on our disks is the lowest at 25mm. When lying on one side, it increases to 75mm, standing increases disk pressure to 100mm, and bending over from standing pushes disk pressure to 220mm. When we sit with good posture, our disk pressure may reach 140mm but that can increase to 190mm with poor posture. To help relieve the pressure on our disks, experts recommend: 1) Getting up periodically and standing; 2) Sitting back in your chair and avoiding slouched positions; 3) Placing a lumbar roll (about the size of your forearm) behind the low back and chair/car seat; and 4) Changing your position frequently when sitting.

Because certain low back conditions “favor” one position over another, these “rules” may need modification. For example, most herniated disk patients prefer low back extension while bending over or slouching hurts. In those with lumbar sprain/strains, bending forwards usually feels good and extension hurts. Modifying your position to the one that is most comfortable is perhaps the best advice.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.  Visit www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information or call 605-665-2434.

Yankton Chiropractor discusses the “Aging” Lower Back – Part 1

 

Low back pain (LBP) can arise from many causes. Nearly everyone has or will suffer from LBP at some point in time, though it is most common in the 30-year-old to 50-year-old group and it affects men and women equally. However, what about the elderly population and low back pain? Let’s discuss back pain unique to the geriatric population…

We’ve all heard of the “wear and tear” factor as it applies to clothing, automobiles, shoes, and tires, but it affects our bones and joints too! A condition that none of us can fully avoid is called osteoarthritis (OA). OA is the “wear and tear” factor on our joints, particularly the smooth covering called hyaline cartilage located on the surfaces of all moving joints. It’s the shiny, silky smooth surface that we’ve all seen at the end of a chicken leg when we separate it from the thigh. Osteoarthritis is the wearing away of that shiny, smooth surface and it can eventually progress to “bone-on-bone” contact where little to no movement is left in the affected joint. Bone spurs can also occur and be another potential generator of back pain. OA is NOT diagnosed by a blood or lab test but rather by an accurate history, physical examination, and ultimately, an x-ray. However, when the low back is affected by OA, it may not even hurt! Yes, in some cases, there may be a significant amount of OA on an x-ray and that patient may not have significant problems. Or the opposite can occur and some patients with very little arthritis can have a lot of back trouble. It’s FREQUENTLY very confusing. The “take-home” message with OA is that, in and of itself, it does not always generate pain. This is why the history, physical examination, and the response to treatment (chiropractic adjustments, exercise, and possibly some lifestyle changes in diet and activity) are MORE important than the amount of arthritis found on the x-rays. Ultimately, we will ALL get OA sooner or later. It’s usually a slow, gradual process that may slowly change our activity level. Ironically, KEEP MOVING is the best advice we can give to the patient with OA.

There are a number of conditions associated with OA that affect the spine and respond well to chiropractic treatment. Degenerative disk disease (DDD) is one of those conditions found in association with OA. In fact, another name for OA is “degenerative joint disease” (DJD)! The normal anatomy of the intervertebral disk (IVD) consists of a thick, tough outer layer of fibroelastic cartilage and a central “nucleus” that is more liquid-like and allows the IVD to function like a shock absorber. As we age, the water content gradually “dries up” and the shock absorbing quality is lost.

As chiropractors, we address OA (DJD) and DDD with a number of HIGHLY EFFECTIVE treatments but most important (in many cases) is the use of spinal manipulation or adjustments. “Exercising the joint” with manipulation and mobilization reduces the tightness and stiffness associated with OA and DDD. Exercises are also important and can give the OA/DDD patient a way of controlling this condition on their own. Diet, activity modification/encouragement, and periodic adjustments help a lot! Next month, we will continue this discussion!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.  Visit http://www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information.

Intersegmental Traction | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson DC

Intersegmental Traction

Intersegmental Traction is a particularly useful and effective therapy to treat and help prevent painful muscle spasms and muscle guarding specifically in spinal muscles.

Back Muscles

The back is a marvelous wonder.  There are many muscles in your back used singly or in combination to achieve a tremendous range of motion (forward flexion, lateral flexion, rotation, and extension).   In your core muscles there are small muscles (semispinalis, intertransversarii, interspinus, Rotatores, etc) connecting one vertebrae to the next and there are the muscles of the Erector Spinae (Iliocostalis, Longissimus, and Spinalis) which are longer and connect different sections together.  When fatigued, or affected by accident, injury, or repetitive stress, these muscles can spasm and can lead to chronic muscle guarding.

Vetebral Discs

In between the vertebrae there are shock absorbing structures called vertebral discs.  The outer layer of a vertebral disc (like the dough of a jelly donut) is comprised of multiple layers of annulus fibrosus which is a very tough fiber.  The inside of the disc contains nucleous pulposus (the jelly) which is really very jelly-like and contains about 90% water.
The vertebral discs cushion the vertebrae from movement and act as a shock absorber during more strenuous movements like walking or running.
When Back muscles are tight and spasming they can pull vertebrae out of alignment (because the muscles are attached to the vertebrae and they shorten during a spasm).  When vertebrae are out of alignment they may cause the vertebral disc to be displaced or in severe cases rupture which may lead to mild to severe pain.

Intersegmnetal traction is a great intervention.  Intersegmental traction is delivered through the use of a traction table.  It is a table that you lay down on (on your back) and there are rollers just underneath the surface of the table.  These rollers are adjusted for your condition and weight to gently and specifically elongate and stretch your spinal joints and muscles.  This benefits in reduction and prevention of muscle spasm and begins to reestablish normal range of motion for your spinal joints (each vertebrae).  When your muscles become more relaxed and vertebrae begin to move normally your vertebral discs now have their normal space and can return to their normal position and functioning.  This also helps to prevent abnormal wear and tear on the vertebral discs and vertebrae which in turn prevent further injury and reduce the arthritis process.  Visit http://www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information.

Low Back “ON-THE-GO” Exercises (Part 2) | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson DC

Low back pain (LBP) is a reality in most of our lives at one point or another. It can range from being a “nag” to being totally disabling. Let’s look at some exercises for the low back that can be done from a STANDING position so that they can be: 1) Performed in public (without drawing too much attention) and 2) Repeated every one to two hours with the objective to AVOID LBP from gradually getting out of control (STOP the “vicious cycle” so LBP stays “self-managed”).

RULES: 1) DON’T do any exercise that creates SHARP pain; 2) Stay within “reasonable” pain boundaries; 3) DO these multiple times a day WHEN you feel tight, stiff, sore (take 10-30 sec. every hour rather than 15 min. twice a day).

STANDING LOW BACK EXERCISE OPTIONS:

1)  STANDING HAMSTRING / GROIN STRETCH: 1) Place your heel on a chair/bench. 2) Arch your low back until you feel a “draw” or pull in the back of the leg. 3) Bend your ankle towards you – feel the pull in your calf). 4) If needed, bend forwards or bend the support leg knee for additional stretch. 5) Hold for 3-10 seconds or until it feels loose. 6) ROTATE your body to the opposite side until you feel the pull in your groin and hold 3-10 sec. 7) Switch legs!

2)  STANDING BACK EXTENSIONS: 1) Place the backs of your hands on your low back. 2) Slowly arch the lower back over your hands – stop if you feel pinch/sharp pain. 3) Release the pressure and re-apply multiple times. 4) Hold for 3-10 seconds or, until it feels loose. 5) REVERSE and bend over to touch your toes and hold until you feel loose.

3)  STANDING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH: 1) Stand straddled with one leg behind the other. 2) Rotate your back leg hip forwards (try to line up the left with the right so the pelvis is square). 3) Tuck in your pelvis (flatten the curve in the low back). 4) Bend backwards until the pull in the groin increases. 5) Hold for 3-10 seconds or, until it feels “loose.” 6) REPEAT on the opposite side.

Remember, DO these MANY times a day (at least once every hour). We have many others as well (ask us)!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.  Visit http://www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information.

Low Back “On-the-Go” Exercises (Part 1) | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson DC

Low back pain (LBP) is a reality in most of our lives at one point or another.
It can range from being a “nag” to being totally disabling. Let’s look at some
exercises for the low back that can be done from a SITTING position so that they
can be: 1) Performed in public (without drawing too much attention) and 2)
Repeated every one to two hours with the objective to AVOID LBP from gradually
getting out of control (STOP the “vicious cycle” so LBP stays “self-managed”).
RULES: 1) DON’T do any exercise that creates SHARP pain; 2) Stay within
“reasonable” pain boundaries; 3) DO these multiple times a day WHEN you feel
tight, stiff, sore (take 10-30 sec. every hour rather than 15 min. twice a day).

SITTING LOW BACK EXERCISE OPTIONS:
1) SITTING BEND OVERS: 1) Slowly bend forward from a seated position and
attempt to reach the floor; 2) Spread the knees as needed to allow for a full
range of motion; 3) Hold for 3-10 seconds or until it feels “loose.” 4) Do the
opposite – sit and arch your low back as far back as is comfortable. Repeat
frequently for short hold-times – make it “fit” your time limitations/schedule!
2) SITTING HIP / BACK STRETCH: 1) Cross your leg; 2) Raise the knee to the
opposite shoulder; 3) Arch the lower back until you feel an increase stretch in
your buttocks; 4) Twist your trunk to the side the knee is raised; 5) Move your
knee up/down and around to “feel” for the tightest “knots” and “work” them
loose; 6) Modify by bending forward 7) REPEAT on the opposite side.
3) SITTING TRUNK ROTATIONS: 1) Slowly twist your shoulders and trunk to one
side while keeping your knees straight; 2) Reach back and pull for additional
stretch if comfortable; 3) Hold for 3-10 seconds or, until it feels “loose;” 4)
REPEAT on the opposite side.
Remember, DO these MANY times a day (at least once every hour). We have many
others as well (ask us)!
We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision
and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.
If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be
honored to render our services.  Visit www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information.

Sacroiliac Low Back Pain Adjustment | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson, DC

Sacroiliac joint problems can cause lower back pain and/or leg pain and is often treated first with chiropractic care. Click on the link below to watch and adjustment of the sacroiliac joint.

http://www.spine-health.com/video/chiropractic-adjustment-sacroiliac-joint-video

You can also visit http://www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com