Chiropractic Care and Other Ways to Prevent Low Back Pain

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There is hardly anyone who has not suffered from back pain. You may be among the eight out of ten people affected by back pain. Based on data from the American Chiropractic Association, at any given time, there is an estimated 31 million Americans who experience low-back pain. Back pain is a health complaint with one of the highest occurrences and one of the top reasons for absence from work. Aside from the huge negative financial impact it has because of American workers’ loss of productivity, it also accounts for at least $50 billion in annual spending on back pain treatments.

Causes of Back Pain

Injuries from accidents, work and sports are the most obvious causes for back pain. Other factors can contribute significantly to back pain and they include:

  • Improper posture
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Poor physical condition from inactivity
  • Kidney stones and other internal diseases, infections and blood clots
  • Osteoporosis, a bone loss condition
  • Psychological or emotional stress

Tips to Prevent Low Back Pain and Back Problems

Health care professionals recommend these simple pointers to prevent back problems and back pain:

  • Before any activity requiring strenuous physical exertion, do stretching.
  • Always stand and sit up erect. Do not slouch.
  • Use chairs or seats with good back support, especially in the lumbar area, when sitting.
  • Do not sit continuously for long periods of time. Take periodic breaks to stand and walk around to stretch muscles and relieve tension.
  • Avoid bending over to pick up or reach for objects.
  • When lifting, use your legs, not your back, to carry the load. Keep your back straight.
  • Wear low-heeled and comfortable shoes.
  • Control your weight to an ideal level.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking reduces the flow of blood to the lower spine and leads to spinal disc degeneration.
  • Keep your spine and bones strong by taking enough Vitamin D.

Other Ways to Prevent Low Back Pain

Aside from following these simple steps, which are mostly self-care and personal lifestyle changes, experts also suggest the following therapy methods for low back pain treatment and prevention:

  • Chiropractic Care. Chiropractic is on top of the list. It is far safer, more cost efficient and more effective natural therapy for low back pain than medical treatments. Chiropractic emphasizes the body’s innate healing capability when it is free from spinal abnormalities. Both the American College of Physicians and American Pain Society concluded in a paper published in 2007 that spinal adjustment is the only active treatment recommendation for acute low back pain in patients whose conditions do not improve after other self-care options have been availed.
  • Neuro-Structural Integration Technique (NST). It is a non-invasive and gentle technique that stimulates the body’s reflexes. In this process, NST “resets” the body so it can heal itself. The results have been reported to be profound and lasting and observed as early as after the second and third sessions.
  • Mind-body techniques. Examples of this method used in treating severe low back pain are Emotional Freedom Technique/Meridian Tapping Technique (EFT/MTT). They are mostly used by psychiatric and psychology professionals who maintain that pain can have psychological or emotional origin. They are reported to have a higher than 80% success rate. Practitioners of these types of treatment techniques believe that underlying emotional issues as well as unresolved trauma can greatly influence one’s physical health, especially as it relates to pain.
  • Massage therapy. The iliopsoas, muscles that connect the lumbar region to the femur, can shorten by sitting for extended periods of time. A massage therapist can apply deep but gentle massage technique to the pulled iliopsoas to release it, and the pain that goes with it. Mild stretching can also be done to counteract the shortening action of the iliopsoas.
  • Intensive interdisciplinary rehabilitation. For chronic low back pain, experts recommend the application of any combination of exercise therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, yoga, progressive relaxation and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

With so many different effective and safe options to treat low back pain, there is little or no reason at all to turn to medications or surgery that do little to address the underlying causes of back pain and might bring additional health issues with their use.

 

 

My Back is Aching. When Should I Visit my Chiropractor?

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It is little surprise that you may have an aching back. Statistics tell us that 80% of the population will be afflicted with back pain at a certain point in their life.

Back pain is one of the vertebrogenic disorders, which are disorders of the body caused in part or in whole by spinal faults. Unlike other vertebrogenic conditions that are seemingly unrelated to the spine, such as tension headaches, pain in the arms, shoulders, knees and legs, certain digestive problems and issues with menstrual cycle, back pain can be easily associated with the spine as it emanates from the very areas where the spine is. As with the other vertebrogenic disorders, back pain is caused by spinal anomalies that directly or indirectly irritate the nerves.

When to Get Chiropractor Help

It is a wise idea to visit a chiropractor for consultation and examination if you suffer from pain or better try to prevent it, including back pain. It becomes even more imperative to do this if home remedy or self-care is not helping you relieve your symptoms and discomfort. Most musculoskeletal pains are caused by misalignments in the spine structures, and they are the chiropractors’ specialty. If your back pain is caused by subluxation, any treatment, including drugs, lotions, potions, massage, surgery or other therapies cannot be relied upon to eliminate the pain. Chiropractic care can remove subluxation or misalignment in your spine if it is the source of your pain, and your back pain will be addressed. It will avoid all sorts of potentially dangerous and complicated medical interventions. Pain killing medications are good in providing temporary relief to the pain but they do not tackle the main issue or the root of the problem. They are also likely to cause side effects when used long-term. Surgery is the last therapy you would want for your back pain. It is invasive, complicated, painful and costly.

Chiropractic treatment is a therapy, which is undoubtedly, most effective for chronic or long-term back pain and sub acute back pain, or a back pain condition persisting for three months or less.

Many spinal problems have their origin from childhood, long before clinical symptoms manifest. When identified early, these disorders are mostly reversible and can be treated. That is why spinal examinations even for children are necessary. Other reasons in relation to your back pain to consider visiting a chiropractor are the following:

  • When you have been injured in your work or in a vehicular accident and are bothered by the pain
  • If you are active in sports and you have stiff joints and pains after the game
  • When you are pregnant and have an aching back
  • When you are getting older and pains are preventing you from enjoying retirement
  • When your job requires either very long hours of sitting or strenuous activity like lifting loads, is taking its tolls on your back

If you have other specific problems or symptoms that go with your back pain, be sure to tell your chiropractor about it and do not hesitate to ask questions. This will let both of you to make appropriate decisions for your treatment and prepare the best treatment plan for you.

Chiropractors themselves will not let you undergo chiropractic adjustments if you have any of these conditions that go with your back pain:

  • Bone tumors or bone fractures
  • Severe arthritis
  • Infections of the bones or joints
  • Severe osteoporosis or bone loss

A good chiropractor is your indispensable partner to your spinal and general health and wellbeing. Chiropractic care is to spine health what dentistry is to dental health. You should take good care of your spine before it’s too late.

 

Burns: First Aid and Preventive Tips

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Being exposed to fire is no joke. It can cause serious and permanent damages to the body. Hence, it is always best to know the proper preventive measures in order to avoid the danger of burns.

First Aid Treatments

For superficial burns, prepare a solution of vinegar, water, and two heaping teaspoonfuls of baking soda or a rounded teaspoonful of common salt in a one pint container (450 cc). Any soothing or protective grease, such as petroleum or 5% csulfathiazole ointment, can be used as a substitute. However, application of grease is not ideal if the burn is to be checked up by a physician in the future.

For deep or extensive burns, put the patient to bed, removing clothing from burned areas carefully. If the clothing adheres to the skin, cut out the adherent portions and remove the rest of the clothing so the patient can be undresses. Be careful not to tear the skin or other tissues in the body. Do not let the patient become chilled because of the danger of shock. Send for a physician at once.

After the burn, one of the greatest perils is infection. As soon as possible, and continuously until the physician arrives, cover the burned areas with sterile gauze, kept wet with a solution of baking soda or common salt to keep out dirt and keep the gauze from sticking to the raw flesh. Never put absorbent cotton next to the skin as a dressing over a burned area. Before preparing and handling any dressing for a burn, be sure your hands are clean, and preferably rinsed in a Lysol solution and dried on a clean towel.

Preventive Measures

The prevention of burns is obviously an important objective. Since a burn may be fatal, crippling, or permanently disfiguring, you should know how to protect yourself against burns. Here are several useful preventive measures against burns and fire:

When going outside, do not forget to apply sun-screen lotion on your skin. Make sure that it contains at least 98% UV protection to ensure that the heat of the sun will not cause your skin to burn.

Fireproof your home. Install smoke alarms and plan emergency exits. Moreover, make sure that your child wears appropriate protective gear. Teach him to observe safety precautions when he is around heat or radiation.

Be cautious with uncovered electric wires. Do not touch wires and electric outlets with wet, bare hands. Discard extension cords with a pronged plug on one end and a bulb socket on the other as these are hazardous.

Teach children safety rules about handling matches and electrical outlets. If there are small children on the house, ensure that there are safety caps on unused outlets.

First-Aid Measures for Aspirin Poisoning

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Just when you thought that aspirin is always good because it heals, you should also know that it poisons when taken in excessively.

Aspirin poisoning is an acute emergency in childhood caused by accidentally swallowing a large amount of aspirin. People may take a purposeful overdose in a suicide attempt or gesture. There are many aspirin-containing over-the-counter medicines with many different names. If you suspect a loved-one has ingested such medicine, read the label carefully on the container to determine its exact contents.

You would know that somebody is poisoned with aspirin if he has rapid heartbeat and breathing, fever, lethargy, vomiting episodes, confusion, and seizures. These happen because the overdose of aspirin causes the kidney to excrete excessive amount of potassium and sodium, to increase metabolic rate, and to lower blood sugar. With severe poisoning, excessive bleeding, liver damage, and coma can occur.

Aspirin poisoning occurs when somebody intentionally or accidentally swallows more than 95 tablets of children’s aspirin or about 20 tablets of aspirin tablets. While complete recovery can be achieved with appropriate treatment, possible complications can also occur including dehydration, bleeding disorders, accumulation of fluid in the lungs or brains, heart and kidney failure, and even death if not treated quickly and competently.

First-aid treatment for aspirin poisoning can be done through the following steps:

  1. After determining how much aspirin the patient has swallowed, call your doctor or poison control center immediately.
  2. If recommended by the doctor or the poison control center, try to make him vomit with syrup of ipecac. This is a non-prescription liquid that you should keep on hand when there are young children at home. Specific instructions are on the bottle. Do not give more than what is recommended on the label though. Then, give about one-half to one full glass of water immediately after the ipecac. Do not let the patient drink milk or carbonated beverages.
  3. Following are important reminders you should take note about medication for aspirin poisoning:
    • Ipecac is not recommended for children under 6 months of age.
    • Children six to eight months should take a dose of one teaspoon only.
    • Children eight months to one year old should take a dose of two teaspoons.
    • Children one to three years old should take a dose of up to three teaspoons.
    • The recommended doses can be repeated after 30 minutes if vomiting does not occur.

4. Whether the patient does or does not vomit, call your poison control center or physician again within 30 minutes. His stomach may need to be pumped

5. If none of the above works, bring the patient to the nearest emergency facility to have his stomach washed out.

Diverticulosis: Top 6 Hazards to Watch Out For

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Steer clear of these six potential troublemakers that can literally leave your intestines tied up in knots.

High-protein diets: These eating plans call for you to cut your carbohydrate intake. This means losing out on fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some doctors and nutritionists think diverticulosis can be avoided by eating foods high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And even if you already have the little pouches, you can avoid infection by eating lots of fiber to keep your digestive system squeaky clean.

Refined grains: When it comes to flavor, refined grains are the featherweights of the grain world. The refining process strips the fiber out of bread, cereal, and other grain prod¬ucts – and the hearty flavor goes out right along with it. Trade in your white bread for whole grains, like whole wheat and rye and brown rice instead of white. It may take a while to get used to the nutty taste and heavier texture of these foods, but after a while, white bread and white rice will taste bland by comparison.

Drinking lots of water should also make your stools softer and decrease the chances that you’ll develop diverticula. And if you already have the little pouches, extra water can help fiber flush out bits of food that could cause problems.

Red meat: Harmful bacteria form in your gut when you digest red meat. They weaken your colon walls and make you more prone to those diverticular pouches. As if that weren’t bad enough, the fat in red meat raises your risk of diverticulosis, too. For better results, beef up your diet with chicken and fish, and avoid red meats. For anyone who wants to avoid diverticular disease, red meats are just a bum steer.

Stimulant laxatives: They irritate your colon more than they help. Instead of stimulants like senna, try natural laxatives like prunes, prune juice, or psyllium.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): You risk severe complications if you have diverticulosis and use NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Seeded foods: Traditional wisdom says pass up foods like popcorn, strawberries, and tomatoes. The kernels and seeds may get stuck in the diverticula and cause diverticulitis. Yet many scientists say there’s no proof. So ask your doctor what’s safe for you.

Chiropractic Care and Neck Pain

AXXHW2 Female chiropractor adjusts the head, neck and spine of female patient.
AXXHW2 Female chiropractor adjusts the head, neck and spine of female patient.

Long hours of work in front of workstations and driving very long distances non-stop are examples of common activities that our modern life entails. Most often hunching cannot be totally avoided in these activities. This and other bad habits related to our posture, work, play and sleep can take their tolls on our neck and cause chronic pain. Next to back pain, neck pain is the most common condition chiropractors treat. Millions of people suffer from neck pain at some point in their life and most seek chiropractic treatment.

Causes of Neck Pain

Many factors contribute to neck pain, some are controllable such as overuse and posture, while others are beyond our control such as trauma and degeneration. These factors can cause injury to the structures surrounding the upper region of the spine, such as, joints, muscles, discs, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves.

  • Trauma – Neck injuries from accidents at work, sports or a car accident can result to neck pain. Whiplash, a neck injury sustained from the sudden backward and forward or sideways movement of the head, often from a car accident, is also a common trauma that leads to neck pain.
  • Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) or overuse – They are injuries resulting from overuse or repetitive motions that cause imbalance in the way our body repairs broken down tissues. Injury and pain can occur when the human body’s tissue repair function cannot cope with the rate of the tissue breakdown from overuse or repeated physical movements. RSI causes damage to nerves, tendons, muscles and ligaments.
  • Wear and tear – Osteoarthritis or joint degeneration and wear and tear are the results of the accumulation of trauma and stresses in the body, over time. Due to the pressures of daily life, the spine is made to withstand tremendous strain. The degenerative development in the spine leads to spinal mobility and stiffness.
  • Poor and static posture or inactivity – Poor posture and being static can contribute to muscle imbalance and lead to muscle pain. Sitting for long periods of time, for example, will not only put pressure in the lower back but can also affect the muscles in the neck, legs and arms. Dynamic activities help the blood to flow through the musculature. It helps flush away lactic acid build up in the muscles and other by-products, which can lead to pain.
  • A slumped posture causes stress to the musculoskeletal structures, which can lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, jaw pain and numbness in the hands or arms
  • Pillow – Poor quality pillow will not support your head nor hold your neck in alignment but cause muscle tension around it.

 

Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain

 

The chiropractor will first conduct a thorough diagnostic examination to determine the specific cause of the neck pain before deciding on the approach to treat the disorder. The chiropractor may use imaging techniques as such as x-ray or MRI to zero in on the exact cause of the neck pain.

The chiropractor, based on the results of the diagnosis, may use spinal manipulation techniques, manual therapy or a combination of these with other techniques for the treatment of the neck pain.

The spinal manipulation techniques that the doctor of chiropractic may employ are:

  • Flexion-distraction technique – a hands-on gentle spinal manipulation involving pumping action, instead of direct force, on the vertebral disc.
  • Specific spinal manipulation – a technique that uses a gentle thrusting action to help restore movement of the joints.
  • Instrument-assisted manipulation – a technique that allows the chiropractor to apply force to the spine without thrusting action through the use of a hand-held instrument.

As the chiropractor sees appropriate and necessary, a wide range of other techniques can be included in the treatment plan and employed. They may include:

  • Soft tissue therapy – diagnoses and treats muscle tension through the use of a special instrument
  • Joint stretching technique/resistance technique – helps relieve neck pain
  • Therapeutic massage and exercises – helps in muscle relaxation and improves range of motion in the neck
  • Trigger point therapy – relieves muscle tightness and pain

We should not find consolation in knowing that neck pain is common. It is not normal and that should cause us to be concerned. It is important to address it sooner, instead of dilly dallying or worse, ignoring it. It is more difficult to get rid of a health problem, the longer you have it. Get help from your chiropractor with your neck pain. An effective diagnosis and treatment can get you out of further trouble with your health and improve your quality of life.

Do NOT Take Heartburn Lying Down

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It hardly seems fair, but most folks who have heartburn say the flames burn higher at night. In fact, as many as eight out of 10 heartburn sufferers may have this problem. Even worse, it keeps them from falling asleep or wakes them up with that burning feeling in the chest. This can have a resounding impact on anyone’s ability to function the next day.

This heartburn is a problem that no one should ignore. After all, the consequences of nighttime heartburn can be far more serious than just feeling tired and sleepy after a restless night. According to one study, it means you are 11 times more likely to develop cancer of the esophagus than other people.

That’s why it is important to see your doctor if you have ongoing heartburn. He will prescribe a medication to calm your acid reflux. In a recent survey, however, about half of those who take medicine said they still have some symptoms. So, consider these ways to turn out the lights on stomach acid and help yourself to a better night’s sleep:

  1. Rest on your left side. Your esophagus angles a bit to the left where it connects to your stomach. If you sleep on your right side, stomach acid is more likely to flow into your esophagus and stay there. Lying on your back brings on more frequent reflux, but, even then, the acid tends to clear out faster than when you are on your right side. Sleeping on your left side seems to be the best solution. You may want to use a sleeping wedge behind your back to keep you facing left.
  1. Raise the head of your bed about six inches with wooden blocks or sleep with a foam wedge under your upper body. At this angle, gravity helps keep the juices in your stomach. Pillows do not work as well because they make you bend at the waist, and that just puts more pressure on your stomach.
  1. Stick with light suppers. If you stretch your stomach with a lot of food, you practically force acid back into your esophagus. If you eat lightly and wait a few hours after your last meal before you go to bed, you will have less acid in your stomach to cause problems. This strategy may also help you lose weight – and that could ease heartburn, too.
  1. Wear loose clothing. For example, choose a nightgown rather than pajamas. Elastic around your middle can put pressure on your stomach and boost your chances of nighttime heartburn.
  1. Look for ways to unwind and grow calm before bedtime. Worries can bring on heartburn, so try to set aside any problems and relax before you turn in for the night. Professional counseling, relaxation techniques, and regular exercise can all help. If symptoms continue, it is important to see your doctor.
  1. Nicotine relaxes the valve between your stomach and esophagus, allowing the acid to back up. So, give up smoking as soon as possible. And if you are already trying to quit, do not wear your nicotine patch to bed. The nicotine it releases can cause heartburn.

Allergic Shock: First Aid and Prevention Tips

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Anaphylaxis or allergic shock is a severe allergic response to medications and many other allergy-causing substances. It is usually caused by eating or being injected by something that usually causes allergic reactions. The allergic response to neutralize or get rid of the material results in a life-threatening overreaction. Often, they are caused by medications that are either taken orally or being injected. Insect stings and bites, chemicals, and particular food are also causes of allergic shock.

Within seconds or a few minutes after exposure to the allergy-causing substance, a person may display the following signs and symptoms: sneezing, tingling or numbness around the mouth, itching on random parts of the body, watery eyes, tightness in the chest, difficult breathing, swelling of the throat, and pounding heart. The patient may even lose his consciousness and faint. In some cases, not all symptoms occur. If most of the signs are present, however, it is best to seek immediate help.

An allergic shock attack requires first aid. If a friend or family member stops breathing due to anaphylaxis, here are the things you need to do:

  1. Shout for help. Do not leave the victim alone.
  1. Begin mouth-to-mouth breathing immediately.
  1. If you feel that he still has no heartbeat, give external cardiac massage.
  1. Have somebody call an ambulance or medicinal help. Do not stop CPR until help arrives.

To prevent further complications and recurrence, here are the things you need to do:

  1. Tell the patient’s doctor how serious his condition is. Before accepting any medication, ask the doctor what it does.
  1. Keep an anaphylaxis kit in the house and make sure that it is accessible to the patient. Be sure that you and other family members know how to use it.
  1. Have the patient wear a Medic-Alert bracelet or pendant that warns people that he is allergic to a particular substance and can be attacked anytime.
  1. For an effective treatment, inject adrenalin to the patient immediately in case of attack.

If not cured properly and promptly, anaphylaxis may cause more severe shock, cardiac arrest, and even death. However, with prompt treatment, a full recovery is possible.

Abdominal Masses: What to Do When the Abdomen Swells

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Swelling of the abdomen is not something to be taken for granted, especially on children. They are serious body illnesses that bring complication and health risks. They are not just ordinary lumps on the abdomen, but masses that can bring discomfort, pain, and other difficulties in the body.

Abdominal masses are usually characterized by lumps or swollen sections that normally develop in the abdomen – anywhere from the ribs to the upper legs. They are usually associated with the intestinal tract, kidneys, adrenal glands, spleen, or genitals, occurring to anyone of any age. These masses often do not look discolored, but they may cause pain when touched or hit accidentally.

Often, abdominal masses are results of injuries on the abdomen. However, they can also be due to the abnormal development of the kidneys, stomach, intestine, genital, adrenal, liver, and bile ducts. Some cases of abdominal masses are congenital, with the disorder present already during birth. Most abdominal masses in newborn babies are caused by hydronephoris, a condition that occurs when urine is blocked from the kidney and becomes difficult to excrete.

Abdominal masses can easily be identified through slight swelling or substantial bulge above the surface of the abdomen with the mass being so deep and invisible. When the mass is pressed, there is usually a significant degree of pain that can be felt. When these symptoms are taken for granted, possible complications may occur such as serious malignancy of congenital masses. Failure to treat the illness quickly and effectively may cause permanent damage to the patient.

To properly cure abdominal masses, it is better to consult the expertise of doctors. They usually require the patient to submit a medical history, physical exam, computerized tomography, CT scan, and x-ray results of the gastrointestinal tract to evaluate the case effectively. Medication, suggested home care strategies, and proper diet (but don’t try too hard!) and fluid intake are usually advised according to the nature of the masses.