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Low Back Manipulation – How Does it Work? | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson DC


Low back pain (LBP) is such a common problem that if you haven’t suffered from it yet, you probably will eventually. Here are a few facts to consider:  1) LBP affects men and women equally; 2) It is most common between ages 30-50; 3) Sedentary (non-active) lifestyles contribute a lot to causation; 4) Too much or too little exercise can result in LBP; 5) A BMI around 25 is “ideal” for weight management, which helps prevent LBP; 6) Causes of LBP include lifestyle (activity level), genetics – including, but not limited to, weight and osteoarthritis; 7) Occupation; 8) Exercise habits, and the list can go on and on. Let’s next look at how an adjustment is done.

When spinal manipulation is performed in the low-back region, the patient is often placed in a side lying position with the upper leg flexed towards the chest and the bottom leg kept straight. The bottom shoulder is pulled forwards and the upper shoulder is rotated backwards at the same time the low back area receives that the manipulation is rotated forwards. This produces a twisting type of motion that is well within the normal range of joint motion. When the adjustment is made, a “high velocity” (or quick), “low amplitude” (a short distance of movement) thrust is delivered often resulting in “cavitation” (the crack or, release of gases). So, WHY do we do this?

Most studies show that when there is back pain, there is inflammation. In fact, inflammation is found in most disease processes that occur both within and outside the musculoskeletal system. We know that when we control inflammation, pain usually subsides. That is why the use of “PRICE” (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) works well for most muscle/joint painful conditions. We have also learned that IF we can avoid cortisone and non-steroidal drugs (like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.), tissues heal quicker and better, so these SHOULD BE AVOIDED! If you didn’t know that, check out:

Please see our prior discussions on the use of anti-inflammatory herbs and diets that are MUCH safer than non-steroidal drugs! But what does spinal manipulation DO in reference to inflammation?

Different things occur physiologically during a spinal adjustment or manipulation. We know that the mechanical receptors located in muscles, muscle tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules are stimulated and this results in muscle relaxation (reduced spasm or tightness), increased measurable range of motion, and a decrease in pain. A recent study also reported that inflammatory markers (CRP and interleukin-6) measured in a blood test, NORMALIZED after a series of nine chiropractic low back manipulations! So, NOT ONLY do spinal adjustments give immediate improvements in pain, flexibility, and muscle relaxation, they also REDUCE INFLAMMATION without the use of any pharmaceuticals!

So, let’s review what manipulation does for your low back pain: 1) Pain reduction; 2) Improved flexibility – now you can put on your socks with less pain and strain; 3) Improved functions and activities of daily living like sitting more comfortably, getting in or out of your car, bending over to feed the cat, etc.; 4) Improved sleep quality; and 5) Faster healing time by actually reducing the inflammatory markers in the blood! If you have LBP, PLEASE don’t delay – make that appointment TODAY!

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 for more information.

CTS, Exercise, and Chiropractic | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson DC

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition characterized by numbness, tingling,
and/or pain located on the palm side of the wrist, hand and into the index,
third, and half of the ring finger. It’s caused by pressure exerted on the
median nerve as it passes through the “tunnel” located in the wrist. The “floor”
of the tunnel is a ligament while the “walls” are made up of eight small carpal
bones that lock together in the shape of a tunnel. There are nine tendons
(tendons attach muscles to bones allowing us to move our fingers), sheaths
covering the tendons, blood vessels, and the median nerve that ALL travel
through the tunnel, so it’s packed pretty tight. ANYTHING that increases the
size of any of these structures or anything “extra” that shouldn’t be there can
increase the pressure inside the tunnel, pinch the median nerve, and result in
the classic numb/tingling symptoms that wake people up at night, or interfere
with work or driving.
In the Unites States (US), about 1 out of 20 people will suffer from CTS.
Caucasians have the highest incidence rate and women are affected more than men
by a 3:1 ratio between ages of 45-60 years old. Only 10% of the reported cases
of CTS are under 30 years old. Occupational CTS (as of 2010) affects 8% of US
workers with 24% attributed to manufacturing industry jobs. This equates to
approximately 3.1 million cases of work-related CTS in 2010. The risk of
developing CTS increases with age, diabetes, hypothyroid, pregnancy, taking
birth control pills, having an inflammatory arthritis, being obese, pinched
nerves in the neck, thoracic outlet, elbow, and others. Therefore, managing CTS
requires a thorough evaluation in order to assure accuracy in the diagnosis.
With this background information, let’s look at the question, WHAT CAN YOU DO TO
HELP CTS? One answer is, don’t age – good luck with that! In addition to keeping
your weight under control, exercise can be VERY effective and YOU can be in
charge of that process, but we have to teach you the exercises.
1) The Carpal Stretch (“nerve gliding”): Place your palm on the wall near
shoulder height with the fingers pointing down at the floor and press the palm
of the hand flat on the wall. Lastly, reach across with the opposite hand and
pull your thumb back off of the wall and hold for 5-15 seconds.
2) The Wrist Extensor Stretch: Do the same as #1 but place the back of the hand
on the wall in front of you, again fingers pointing downward. Here, there is no
need to stretch the thumb.
3) The “Bear Claw”: Make a fist and then open up the hand. Keep the small
finger joints flexed while extending the knuckles at the base of each finger
straight (not bent). Repeat 5-10x.
4) Putty Squeeze: Simply squeeze putty in your hand for two to five minutes
until fatigued.
5) Yoga has been shown to reduce pain and improve grip strength in CTS
Now the question, “…can these exercises prevent surgery?” The answer is “maybe.”
They certainly help in some cases, but a multi-dimensional treatment plan is the
BEST approach. This includes: 1) Chiropractic manipulation of the hand, wrist,
elbow, shoulder, and neck; 2) Soft tissue “release” techniques of the muscles in
the forearm, upper arm, shoulder, and neck; 3) Cock-up wrist splint to be used
at night, and in some cases, at times during the day; 4) Ergonomic management of
your work station or situation (to minimize repetitive insult to the area); 5)
Nutritional support that may include an anti-inflammatory diet and nutrients
(vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.), and 6) Managing any contributing conditions
like diabetes, hypothyroid, and/or the others. Here’s the GOOD NEWS:
CHIROPRACTIC can manage these six steps, though some cases will require
co-management with primary care and/or specialist.
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 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, we
would be honored to render our services.  Visit for more information.



What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, simply stated, is a health science which is used to successfully treat both pain and dysfunction in the body.

Acupuncture has its roots deeply planted in China. In fact, authorities agree the science is between 5,000 and 7,000 years old. Its use spread throughout ancient Egypt, the Middle East, the Roman Empire and later into Western Europe as merchants and missionaries to China told of the amazing discoveries the people of the Orient had developed. Acupuncture did not become known on a national level in the US until 1971 when diplomatic relations between China and America were relaxed.

At first glimpse, Acupuncture appears strange, as its primary notoriety is the utilization of needles placed in the skin at various locations to relieve pain or affect a body part.

Early Chinese physicians discovered there is an energy network traversing just below the surface of the skin which communicates from the exterior to the internal organs and structures over 1,000 “Acupoints” on the body. This energy works in harmony with the body’s circulatory, nervous, muscular, digestive, genitourinary and all other systems of the body. When this vital energy becomes blocked or weakened, an effect in a body system or anatomic location becomes evident. Stimulation of one or a combination of key “Acupoints” on the body may restore harmony to the affected area.

Historians have stated, “More people have benefited from Acupuncture over the course of fifty centuries than the combined total of all other healing sciences, both ancient and modern.”  Visit for more information.