Friday, April 11, 2014

Biomechanics and Physio Therapeutic Efficacy of Intersegmental Traction Tables


Intersegmental traction is not "traction" in the colloquial sense. Standard spinal traction known to most doctors and patients offers a longitudinal force applied to either the cervical or lumbar spine via attachment of a pulling apparatus from either the head or pelvis.  On the contrary, intersegmental traction may more appropriately be termed "passive spinal mobilization".  In practice, this therapy is applied by taking advantage of the user's bodyweight while lying in a supine position and having their spine lifted segmentally, in a linear sequence. This creates extension at the intervertebral junction by virtue of bilateral, paravertebral, mechanical rollers that massage and move longitudinally up and down the spine on a track.

Roller motion follows a path that is elliptical in nature, lifting (forcing into extension) 2-4 contiguous vertebral segments at a time as rollers rotate and apply a dorsal to ventral force. This is valued because most of us endure daily work routines and tasks involving purely spinal flexion, without  counter-balancing such repetitive action with movements in the antagonist direction (i.e. extension). Activities like dance, yoga and gymnastics are the exception to such. The forces of intersegmental traction serve to counter the prevalent, repetitive daily spinal movements or postural stresses experienced by most of us - even the fit and active folks.

Some advanced Chiropractic Intersegmental Tables like the Quantum 400 offer reversible direction roller massage and will exert dorsal to ventral  force with either a cephalad or caudad component.  Cephalad-directed roller rotation offers the greatest traction benefit for the cervical spine and top half of the thoracic spine, while caudad-directed roller rotation offers the greatest traction benefit for the lower thoracic and all of the lumbar spine.

Therapeutic Effects and Benefits of Intersegmental Massage

1) Centripedal forces or negative pressure inside spinal discs - by nature's design, the anterior placement of the spinal disc benefits from vertebral extension because negative pressure resulting from such, applied in combination with concurrent stretching of the anterior longitudinal ligament, creates suction that may encourage reduction of a disk herniation.
2) Researcher resources like Cyriax demonstrate muscle relaxation, recognized in EMG activity during and after application of intersegmental traction. This relaxation is not only noted in paraspinal muscles,  but perhaps more importantly in the deep spinal muscles known as rotatores and multifidi.
3) Passive mobilization of posterior facet joints of the spine is facilitated with intersegmental traction therapy.

Indications for Use of Intersegmental Tables

  • Lumbar facet (posterior joint) syndrome
  • Scoliosis, Hyperkyphosis and/or anterior posture syndromes
  • Stress and tension
  • General joint stiffness or hypomobility
  • Resolving nerve root compression syndromes
  • Herniated or protruded discs (not when recommended when severely acute or with trouble lying supine)
  • Anklosing Spondylitis (Marie Strumpell Syndrome)
  • Retrolisthesis
  • Osteoarthritis or degenerative spondylosis
  • Muscular spasm
  • General spinal maintenance
Suggested Alternatives For Very Acute Cases

For acute back syndromes with antalgic postures, nerve root compression, foot drop and or signs of disk rupture, this author would recommend substituting either: 1) prone  Cox flexion-distraction table techniques, or 2) the use of conventional longitudinal traction with knees bent in lieu of the intersegmental variety.  It may however be appropriate to engage intersegmental traction for the non-acute healing phase of such conditions.

Contraindications for Use of Intersegmental Spinal Traction

  • Infection or malignancies affecting the spinal vertebrae or contiguous tissues
  • Anterior spondylolisthesis
  • Acute Lumbar Disc Syndrome with disk rupture, extrusion and/or severe nerve root compression
  • Severe Lower back pain concommitant with antalgic anterior postures
  • Acute spinal fractures or known severe spinal instability/hypermobility
  • Acute rib fractures or dislocations
  • Chemical radiculopathy or radiculitis
  • Severe osteoporosis

The material and essays of clinical experience contained above are copyrighted (2014) on behalf of Dr. Brad R. Lustick dba: BackBeNimble.com

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Avoid Back Pain With Core-Conditioning Yoga Poses




Two words strike fear into the heart chakra of even the most courageous yogis: Back pain. You've heard it before — a strong core is key to minimizing injuries and enabling you to take yoga practice to the next level. But should the pangs of back pain strike, redirecting your focus on core strengthening movements could be the answer. Your core muscles — specifically your abdominal, chest and back muscles — support the spine from the lower to the upper back. Core body strength and wellness is so essential to spinal health that spine experts at Community Wellness Blog even recommend therapeutic yoga postures for patients recovering from back surgery. So before surgery becomes the only viable option, take on back pain with these top four yoga poses for core conditioning.
One caveat: If you are experiencing chronic back pain, consult your physician before performing these poses.
Image via RelaxingMusic via Flickr.

Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)

While arm strength is the focal point of this pose, the abdominal muscles work to stabilize the body, particularly the obliques. From plank position, shift your weight onto your right arm and the side of your right foot. Stack your left foot on top of your right foot and raise your left arm toward the ceiling, lifting your gaze to the left fingertips. Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on the
alternate side.
Beginner variation: Keep your right knee on the ground as you shift your weight. Position your left foot on the floor with toes turned slightly inward. Advanced variation: From the full pose, lift your left foot so that it hovers above the right.

Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

Half moon pose strengthens the abdomen and spine while stretching the chest, shoulders and legs. From a right side lunge position, bring your left hand to your waist. Place your right fingertips about a foot in front of your right big toe while straightening your right leg and lifting your left leg parallel to the floor. Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on the other side.
Beginner variation: Rather than reaching all the way to the floor, use a block to support your hand. Advanced variation: Bend the knee of the lifted leg and reach your hand around to meet your ankle.

Boat Pose (Navasana)

An intense move for the entire core, boat pose strengthens the key muscles of the back, abdomen and hip flexors. From a seated position, bring the legs straight up to a 45-degree angle while keeping the spine straight. Bring the arms out parallel to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds with the goal of gradually
holding for a minute.
Beginner variation: Bend your knees so that your shins are parallel to the floor. Hold the backs of your thighs for support if necessary. Advanced variation: From full boat pose, lower the legs to the floor and hover, keeping the back straight. Lift the legs back up to boat pose and repeat at least twice.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Locust pose focuses on strengthening the muscles of the spine while stretching the chest, belly and legs. Lying on your belly with your forehead resting on the mat, bring hands alongside your body. Extend your legs straight behind you while lifting your torso and arms straight behind you. Hold for at least three breaths, building up to 1 minute. Rest on alternating cheeks between holds.
Beginner variation: Keep your hands on the floor under your shoulders as you lift your legs. A half locust as shown to left raises one leg at a time; also a  great choice for beginners. Advanced variation: Clasp your hands behind you as you hold. (Please note that the picture to the left shows a man performing a half locust pose rather than full because he only has one leg up rather than both at once as in a standard locust pose).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CAN YOUR TOOTHPASTE OR LIPSTICK CAUSE BREAST CANCER?



The surprising answer is "quite possibly".  Although we know that genetics does play a role in developing breast cancer, we also know that genes affecting such seem to have a biological switch that can be turned on or off with exposure to certain positive or negative factors. Some of the negative factors are contained in products we use everyday. Other things that influence development of breast cancer are: emotional stress, environmental elements, chemicals, diet, lifestyle and degree of wellness.

PINK WASHING OR WHITE WASHING THE TRUTH

Being that October is breast cancer awareness month, ad campaigns have flooded the market with products adorning pink ribbons in the name of breast cancer research. Naysayers and many researchers have condemned these tactics and have even coined such events as "pink washing" or using the friendly color pink to whitewash underlying monetary gains and/or bad intentions.
It might intrigue you to know that prevention of breast cancer is not in the best interest of some very powerful corporate giants.  On the contrary, breast cancer is making them lots of money. There is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that certain pesticides and chemicals play a factor in development of breast cancer.  Chemical producers like Mosanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical are deemed to have financial interests in companies that develop treatment for cancer. At the same time, some of the chemicals they produce are known to cause cancer. Do you see the irony here?
Parabens are chemicals that function as preservatives and anti-fungals and are often used in shampoos, deodorants, and cosmetics like lipstick. They are easily absorbed through the skin or by way of the gastro-intestinal tract.  Problem is that they act like estrogen in the body (often called "estrogen mimickers") and modern medicine has proven that excess estrogen plays a role in breast cancer. I find it interesting that more than 75% of breast tumor biopsies contain significant amounts of parabens.
Parabens are ubiquitous because they offer a relatively inexpensive way of preserving products used on the body.  Perhaps some companies may actually feel guilty. One example - Avon sold make-up containing parabens and formaldehyde, while at the same time contributing a portion of their sales to cancer research.  This is pink-washing in action.  One might suggest that the so-called charitable portion may better be spent on a safer preservative alternative.
HOW DO MAMMOGRAMS FIT INTO THE PICTURE?
This may not be as well as one might think. Through the years there is no doubt that mammograms have detected breast cancer and saved lives. That’s the god news, yet the overall impact may not be as favorable as touted by medical community; nor are the reliability of integrity of the results women have spent years relying upon. Several reliable sources document a high rate of performance of unnecessary surgeries, due to false positive on mammograms.
Although this author would suggest that focus on prevention is at least as important, if not more important than early detection, reliance on detection by mammogram may be less than prudent.  One reason I say this is because regular bi-yearly doses of radiation from mammograms, regardless how low the dose, seem counterintuitive. The dose received in a typical mammogram is approximately 75 times the amount of radiation we typically receive in a normal day. Although a spinal X-ray delivers about twice as much radiation, most people don’t have spinal X-rays every two years.  Being that radiation is cumulative and known to cause cancer, repeated exposure to radiation in the same area is a little disheartening because ionizing radiation has the ability to alter our DNA.
EARLY DETECTION ALTERNATIVES
Certainly, breast self-examinations and yearly physical exams are prudent preventive measures.
When it comes to high tech diagnostics, look to solutions that do not use “ionizing radiation”, or perhaps completely non-invasive diagnostics, such as “thermograms”.  Thermograms sense heat in areas with fast growing cells like cancerous tumors, and give us a map of such. This is likened to those heat-sensing infrared scopes that function to pick out humans or animals in military operations.  Sonograms use ultrasound, a form of non-ionizing radiation that can find abnormalities in the breast. Neither of these procedures offer the perfect diagnostic solution, but they may be a prudent tool worth discussing with your physician.
BE YOUR OWN BEST SOURCE OF PREVENTION
As I would say about health care reform, there is no better insurance for good health than a patient who takes accountability for making sure they offer their body the best chance to maintain, rejuvenate and repair itself. The greatest healing power exists in our own innate powers of recuperation and maintenance of homeostasis or everything in balance. Cancer cells are merely normal cells that are no longer being recognized or regulated by our own physiology. Here are wellness and prevention suggestions for your consideration:
  • “Breath is life” and our breathing capacity is the first thing to go as we age. Learn to oxygenate with good Yoga-like breathing techniques. Most cancers develop in areas of the body that have poor oxygenation.
  • Breathe healthy non-polluted air ( may want to use a good whole house HEPA filter in your home and change filters when indicated)
  • Have your home checked for radon, the most common source of unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation
  • YOUR DIET: Eat a diet that WILL NOT increase inflammation in the body.  Eat healthy, live (vs. all cooked food), unprocessed and organic foods grown without hormones, pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Make sure to have a minimum of 5 servings of organic fruits and veggies every day (all different colors with lots of reds and purples), with at least some of them raw. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts are wonderful and proven to help female hormone balance.  Use organic, unpasturized apple cider vinegar in place of white vinegar. Use olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil vs. corn oil, canola oil or other polyunsaturated oils. Oils should be cold-pressed.
  • If you have gluten sensitivity stay away from it. Brown rice (GF) is better than white rice and quinoa (GF) or brown rice based pastas are wonderful tasting and much better for you than white flour or semolina.  
  • If it comes from a plant, that’s great; if it’s made in a plant, stay away from it.
  • Substitute well-planned vegetarian meals for animal proteins and limit your intake of red meats, pork and poultry to not more than three meals per week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and balanced blood sugar (5-6 small healthy meals throughout the day rather than 2-3 big meals).
  • Take a good natural comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement and extra Vitamin C containing bioflavonoids. Total vitamin C daily dose should be a minimum of 2000 mg per day
  • Exercise 6 days per week
  • Drink lots of well purified or distilled water daily. Avoid drinking or cooking with tap water.
  • Don’t use anything on your skin or as make-up  that you couldn’t actually eat without hurting you. Particularly avoid anything with parabens, formaldehydes, or sodium lauryl sulfates. Check your hand soaps, body cleansers, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, make-up, lipstick, etc.
  • Clean your home and do pest control with healthy alternatives to harsh chemicals. The vapors and residues from chemical can remain harmful for a long time
  • Laugh a lot, live in the moment with positivity and remember platitudes like: “Attitude is everything, so pick a good one”; AND “happiness is not found upon reaching your destination, but making a decision to enjoy the journey”.   Our attitudes literally change our physiology and that is proven science.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Swim for Back Pain Relief: How Swimming Helps Your Back

Improve range of motion, cushion stiff joints or fragile bones and alleviate stiffness and pain with a few laps across a pool. The body only bears 50 percent of its weight when immersed in water to the waist, 25 to 35 percent when immersed to the chest and just 10 percent when immersed to the neck, according to exercise physiologist Robert A. Robergs. Swimming may be the ultimate low-impact activity for easing back pain with minimal stress on the joints. Swimming and aquatic exercises also strengthen the back and core muscles.

Water Walking

Water walking takes pressure off your muscles, joints and bones as a low-impact activity. Even in a fairly large above ground pool like those from In The Swim or simply the pool at a local YMCA or fitness club that has water deep enough to reach your waist, walk back and forth across the pool swinging your arms in the same manner as you would on land. Keep your back straight, tighten your abdominal muscles and avoid walking on your tip toes. Wear web hands or other pool devices to increase resistance.

Pull Freestyle

Rotating your body in a freestyle pull can result in reduced back pain. Pulling freestyle means to swim with your legs trailing behind. Keep the body high in the water with the help of a pull buoy. Concentrate on keeping your head steady, your body elongated and the muscles in your back stretched.

Breathstroke

Swimmers of all skill levels use the breaststroke because of its simplicity and it is one of the swimming strokes that is very easy on the spine. Control the swimming pace for a low-impact or more intense workout. During the breaststroke, the swimmer remains above the surface of the water, arms extended straight in front and the legs in the back. Push your arms apart to create a diagonal with your body. Face your palms outward and keep the elbows straight. Pull your elbows into the sides of the body, and bring your hands together in front of your chest. Lift your head, neck and upper chest out of the water while bending your knees and bringing your feet toward your torso. Gently glide across the surface of the water.

Butterfly

The butterfly stroke targets your chest, shoulders and back. It builds powerful upper body and abdominal strength, but is not the stroke most advisable for those with severe back ailments.

Swimming Frequency

Swimming should begin gradually. Practice twice a week at first and progress to four to six times a week as your body adapts to the techniques. In a study performed by the Department of Surgery at Kyoritsu Hospital in Kitakyusya, Japan, 35 people with lower back pain were enrolled in an aquatic exercise program. Nearly all the patients showed low-back pain improvements after six months, but the patients who participated a minimum of twice a week showed significant improvements over those who swam just once a week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fitness, Not Age, Is Key To Successful Surgery

Fit older people recovered better and had shorter hospital stays following surgery, suggests a 2013 study conducted by Newcastle University and the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Participants pre- and post-surgery fitness levels were tested to make these determinations. Other advantages of being fit before and after surgery are that fitness can: (1)enhance balance and coordination (2)improve cardiac health aiding the flow of blood to the affected surgical area, and (3) reduce the risk of falling and other injuries. Let's explore what this may imply as it pertains to successful spinal stenosis surgery.


How Pre-surgical and Post-surgical Fitness Can Affect Spinal Stenosis Surgery Outcome and Long-term Wellness


1. Choosing the right types of fitness is essential for daily wellness and preventing future injury. With a myriad of exercise routines out there, choose one that is most ideal for everyday wellness and recovery from spinal stenosis surgery. One good adjunct to physical therapy is aquatic therapy:

  • Exercising in water increases strength, mobility, balance and coordination without having to bear weight.
  •  
  • Following spinal stenosis surgery, states brainline.org, water provides a natural environment to give the brain a boost to re-teach everyday ranges of motion and accelerate healing. The YMCAhealthylivingcenter.com offers one place for specialized water walking, water therapy and water aerobic classes in almost all communities across the country.
  •  
  • In a life guard-supervised pool, aquatic therapy can be used as a self-guided exercise.


Other good calisthenic type exercise maybe performed before getting out of bed or perhaps on a carpeted floor or exercise mat. Ask your physical therapy professional.

2. Professionally guided pre- and post-fitness support is key for successful surgery and long-term wellness. Best practices combine therapeutic exercises, occupational therapy and physical therapy to shorten healing time and help you return to the activities you love most. Sometimes patients may be so debilitated from their spinal condition, that simple activities such as driving to and from appointments and walking long distances to and from buildings can be difficult without assistance. Assisted living environments can be useful when patients do not have access or help from family members nearby. One such facility is the Emeritus Assisted Living Facility as it offers multi-faceted therapeutic support in one location. There are many such facilities across the nation.

Get Active, Stay Active


Motivation to exercise can be difficult to muster up when experiencing discomfort. Patients who have onsite support staff are more likely to regain fitness and regular activities of daily living because rehabilitation is more convenient to access. The National Care Planning Council supports the idea that an onsite community of trained professionals combines well in an enviroment whereby a patient is surrounded by others their age who can help boost morale and make the recovery phase an engaging experience. Once one recovers from spinal stenosis surgery and returned to an optimal fitness level, your physical therapist can offer customized suggestions for the right types of continuing exercise. This routine should include ways to correct posture and demonstrate exercise techniques to avoid future injury and maintain daily wellness.

Friday, July 19, 2013

8 Superfoods That Silence Back Pain & Fight Inflammation

Chronic back pain is debilitating, and treating the pain is even more of a pain, figuratively. If you're one of the 35 percent of Americans who suffer from back pain, then you're most likely very familiar with visiting a pain specialist, receiving physical therapy and dealing with medical billing and coding. Complement your pain treatments with a holistic approach, such as adopting superfoods into your diet that fight inflammation and lessen pain.

Jalapeño Peppers



These inflammation-fighting superfoods not only punch the palate with spicy heat but relieve pain as well. Red and green chili peppers contain a pain relief agent known as capsaisin.  This substance has demonstrated an ability to deplete the "pain neurotransmitter known as substance P, thereby hiding pain signals from the brain. Why not lessen your back pain by mixing up a spicy-cool blood orange jalapeño margarita. TheKitchn.com's smokin' hot recipe mixes freshly squeezed blood orange juice, lime juice, Cointreau, and jalapeño-infused silver tequila. Infuse a whole pepper in a half cup of tequila, and your cocktail will take the edge off indeed.



Salmon


Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon combats inflammation and helps prevent pro-inflammatory components from being produced in the body. Omega-3 fats suppress inflammation-causing cell signalers. Studies have shown that absorption of these essential fatty acids is often improved when consumed in a diet containing certain fish, rather than just taking a supplement. Put on your chef's hat and cook up jalapeño salmon burgers for the ultimate pain-relieving meal. Between two grilled pitas, the jalapeño and tabasco-seasoned salmon patties topped with avocado will make your mouth water.


Raw Spinach, Cherries and Red Grapes

Just when you thought your pain-silencing meal couldn't get any better, pair it with a red grapes and dried sour cherries spinach salad. Red grapes, cherries and raw spinach are all pain-reducing superfood ingredients.


Because red grapes contain resveratrol, these flavorful fruits can lessen back pain by protecting against cartilage damage. Resveratrol also blocks enzymes that cause tissue to regenerate. Cherries help reduce pain because the fruits contain anthocyanins, a phytonutrient which contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anthocyanins neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and help block enzymes that trigger tissue inflammation. Raw spinach also fights systemic inflammation, both as an antioxidant-rich vegetable and additionally by alkalizing the body's pH.


Along with dried sour cherries, sliced grapes and chopped spinach, mix scallions, a thinly sliced green apple and chopped walnuts into your salad. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese, and drench the salad with an apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing with freshly ground black pepper.


Green Tea


To start your morning or while relaxing at night, sip on a cup of warm green tea. Green tea is proven to help alleviate arthritis. The powerful component EGCG helps inhibit the production of molecules that can harm bone and cartilage. Drink one to three cups of the natural substance a day. Stir in freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, lemon juice and honey for a delicious cup of citrus-honey green tea. On a hot day, mix up a pitcher of iced ginger green tea. (Turn it into a cocktail by adding prosecco!) Ginger also contains gingerol, the phytonutrient that supplies pain-relieving properties. Fresh ginger is believed to relieve pain just as well as anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Intelligent Design of the Human Back

http://www.backbenimble.com/backcycler/images/moveme1.gifOur spines and low backs were very intelligently designed. The functional anatomical design of your spine is truly a marvel of nature. Our spines are meant to be incredibly strong, and highly bendable in all directions. That being said, the stresses of daily living exert incredible forces on the human frame. Unforeseen accidents, poor ergonomics, carrying groceries, putting kids in car seat, recreational activities and working in chairs rather than in the field, are all factors that subject our back to destructive forces capable of damaging our neck and back.

What are the most common causes of back pain?

  • Working in a seated position, especially when exhibiting a slumping posture over many years
  • Imbalance between the flexors and extensors of the torso (we do everything in a flexed or sitting position, but do very little extension of our spine during our normal routine).
  • Lifting with tight hamstring muscles
  • Weakness and inflexibility of the core muscles of the torso (abdominals, gluteal, hamstrings, hip flexors, TFL, rectus femoris). This requires abdominal compression back braces with mechanical advantage until strength to the core muscles is restored.
  • Old soft tissue injuries or sprains/strains that have led to immobility and/or generative arthritis
  • "Weekend Warrior Syndrome"
What are the 4 regions of the spine?

The first 3 segments are made up of 24 moveable vertebrae as follows:
  1. Cervical Spine (neck) - consisting of 7 vertebral segments, with the majority of rotation occurring in the upper two segments known as C1 and C2 while flexion/extension is most prevalent in the lower five known as C3-C7. 
  2. Thoracic Spine (upper/mid-back/rib cage) - consisting of twelve vertebral segments and more limited motion due to the organ protection and support of the rib cage.  Interestingly enough, more folks suffer pain in between their shoulders or in the thoracic area than anywhere else in the spine.  One reason for such is because ribs fasten to the spinal vertebrae via a synovial joint and these joints become easily inflamed through postural stress, emotional tension or fast rotational movements of the spine (e.g. pushing a vacuum, swinging a golf club or tennis racket). Pain in this region is more often misdiagnosed than in other spinal regions and although maybe not as debilitating, the pain can be quite nagging, sharp and bothersome.
  3. Lumbar Spine (lower back) - consists of five vertebral segments that run from the lower thoracic spine to the sacrum. The majority of pain is sourced from the discs at the L4 and L5  because they are angled and form a major pivot or stress point with the less mobile spinal base. Fifty percent of forward bending (flexion) occurs in our hip joints while the rest occurs in the lumbar spine. The majority of motion is focused at the bottom two segments (L4/L5), and that is another reason the discs wear out more here than anywhere else.
  4. Sacral Region (base of spine) - this region consists of 5 fused or semi-fused vertebral segments that form a heart-shaped spinal base that is wedged between and forms a synovial joint with the pelvic bones. These are known as the "S/I Joints" and are the source of a great majority of lower back pain. The bottom of the sacral region (sacrum) joins with your coccyx or tail bone.
The 24 moveable vertebral bodies are stacked upon one another with a disc between each pair. The main bodies of these vertebrae function to support the human frame and the discs act as hydraulic shock absorbers. Did you know that only half of your body weight is supported by your muscles and the other half is supported by the stacked vertebral bodies? Another note of interest is the fact that 80% of energy we expend every day is simply just to maintain posture against the forces of gravity. That is why ergonomics and good posture is so important -- it conserves energy and prevents us from getting fatigued.

Common Areas of Spinal Failure

  • Spinal Discs -- our spinal discs function as shock absorbers and space occupiers to allow room for spinal nerves. They are composed of (1) a tough outer material, and (2) a soft, gelatinous (jelly-filled) inner core. This is very similar to the design of a hydraulic shock absorber for your car.

    Our hydraulic discs are made up of 75% water. Often, the discs may dehydrate, leading to dessication or degeneration; becoming inflexible or stiff. This, in itself can become what some describe as their typical morning stiffness. A logical progression of this degenerative process can lead to breaks in the outer tough fibers and actual leakage of the soft inner core. This is often referred to as a slipped or herniated disc because this herniated portion can apply pressure to sensitive nerve roots.

    Sometimes a twisting injury damages the disc and can subsequently cause degenerative spondylosis (this is a special name given to arthritis when it involves the spinal disc) in this area. Much of the pain in these cases is the subsequent swelling that compresses the nerve root. Over much time, the body's amazing ability to heal lessens the amount of inflammatory proteins in the area, especially after age 60. Therefore swelling goes down and many of these low back conditions that had been chronic can sometimes subside on their own. This is nature's normal course, but assumes a lifestyle consisting of: a healthy weight, consumption of lots of water,  a nutritionally sound diet and performance of a sound, regular exercise routine.

  • Muscles, Tendons, Ligaments and how they affect your back:
    Injuries to back muscles and soft tissues can cause spasm, immobility and pain.

    If the pain lasts for more than two weeks, and proper treatment methods are not instituted,  muscle weakness and tightness may occur; leading to chronic, recurring bouts of back pain.

    HAMSTRING MUSCLE TIGHTNESS: I want draw particular attention to this most common instigator of low back injury. Not only do low back pain suffers often develop tight hamstrings leading to a chronic backache, but those folks with tight hamstrings will almost always eventually develop lower back pain. This is even true of young athletes who do not properly obtain and maintain good flexibility of these muscles. Remember, I said earlier that 50% of our flexing forward occurs at the hip joints. This CANNOT happen if the hamstrings are tight because they must release their hold on the pelvis, allowing it to rotate forward at the hip joints. If this motion is limited, then the slack is taken up at the L4-L5 vertebral levels, often discs and/or ligaments at that level.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Is Your Pillow Causing You Pain?

Buying Neck Pillows
Many folks scratch their heads, wondering why they wake up with so much neck pain, and yet they don't know how to solve the problem. It could be as simple as their choice of pillow. Here are solutions to the five pillow mistakes you may not know you're making:

Long Lifespan

If you can fold your pillow in half and it doesn't rebound within 10 seconds, it's time to say farewell and throw that old thing out. Dead skin flakes, dust and sweat fill pillows with extra weight and bacteria. Aim to replace your pillow every 12 to 18 months to best maintain firmness and support for a restful sleep. See this Interesting Pillow Choice Article for some thought provoking suggestions. I often recommend the Nimblepedic Pillow brand (contoured version) as one of the best all-around support pillows for the neck.

What's the Use?

If sleep quality is the only benefit you are receiving from your current pillow, you may be missing out on other benefits and therapeutic value over that eight hour period. Specialty pillows keep your face from wrinkling, acids from refluxing and snores from waking up the whole house. If you have sinus congestion, make sure your pillow is hypo-allergenic. Make sure your head is propped up so your nose is higher than your heart. If you fear wrinkles, find a memory foam pillow like Nimblepedic, so wrinkling pressure on your skin is reduced.

Neck Pillows Should Be Versatile

If you have a conventional, fairly thick, non-contoured pillow for side-sleeping; yet you spend a portion of time on your stomach or back, you may be doing yourself a disservice. To not cause neck or back pain you need a contoured pillow that adapts to all your positions, or you will need to change pillows for each sleeping position. Michael Breus, PhD, told WebMD that sleepers must find the right pillow to fit their specific needs.

Side sleepers should use a pillow that is firm enough to sufficiently accommodate the distance from the ear to the shoulder, so that your head rests parallel to the mattress. Back sleepers need neck-contour-orthopedic pillows. This ensures that their heads aren't pushed up too high or sunk down too low in relation to their shoulders and that they have support for the natural neck curvature (lordosis).

Sleeping prone (aka: face down) is for the most part not recommended. Such stomach sleeping notoriously wrecks havoc with the ligaments and spinal disks of the neck, leading to loss of normal curvature and arthritis over time. If you still choose to sleep on your stomach, use a thin pillow, and try to place a portion of it under your shoulder and chest on the pillow portion opposite the way you turn your chin. Ultimately, the proper pillow aligns the neck and spine, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Filling Material Matters

Pillows should provide comfort and support the same way a mattress should. It’s great if you think a down pillow is super comfortable, but if you are having constant neck pain it could be because you aren't getting enough neck support when you sleep. A  good orthopedic neck pillow can solve this problem, and so can occasionally switching your sleeping position. When you experience neck or back pain, choose a high-density foam or firm cotton pillow that offers more support. Feather pillows are pretty much a non-viable alternative unless you purely sleep on your back and don't really have neck problems.

Money Isn't Everything

Just because a pillow is expensive doesn't mean its less expensive counterpart won't work. ConsumerReports.org sent 71 people home with expensive and inexpensive pillows and instructed them to sleep on each pillow for five consecutive nights. What were the results? Pillow quality relied mainly on each sleeper's personal preferences about pillow firmness, fluffiness, flatness and size, according to the site. When buying, don't just go for best price. Find the right pillow for you by testing its comfort and seeing if it offers you the right neck support.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Back Be Nimble Introduces HealthTap


PRESS RELEASE  -- HEALTHTAP LAUNCHING APRIL 15TH, 2013

HealthTap brings the Full Spectrum of Doctors’ Knowledge to Mobile Health
Leading mobile health platform unveils results of nationwide Top Doctor Competition, and announces new ways to interact with winning doctors and their insights. 


HealthTap is an Interactive Health Information company, backed by some of the top investors in the Silicon Valley. The unveiling of HealthTap will change the face of health information online and redefine how people connect with physicians.  On HealthTap:
  • Users can: find real answers to their questions from leading physicians, quickly discover what information other doctors agree with, and find the best physicians in their area
  • Users can also find ratings for doctors nationwide
HealthTap puts the relationship between people and doctors first. They offer mobile and internet access to relevant, reliable and trusted health knowledge that is kept current through daily contributions  from top physicians. Web and mobile apps connect  a vast Medical Expert Network of  U.S.-licensed doctors with people seeking answers to their health-related questions.

•  Concise doctor updates on the latest health findings
•  Daily health tips created by doctors in more than 100 topics
•  Quick, personalized doctor answers to health questions
•  Deep Health posts where doctor share their opinions and insights
•  Transparent doctor-doctor consults and dialogues


“HealthTap is putting care and trust back into healthcare by placing the doctor and patient relationship back at the center of the healthcare experience,” says HealthTap Founder and CEO Ron Gutman. “By giving top doctors a simple way to share their knowledge and opinions and get recognized by their colleagues for their expertise, and by users for their bedside manner and care, we’re creating a healthy competition that motivates the best doctors to stand out and help millions everywhere. In a world where we expect to get immediate, reliable and deep insights on movies and restaurants on our mobile devices anytime anywhere, it’s high time we have an easy way to get the same when it comes to our health and well being. With the new HealthTap Spectrum we’re leading the way to comprehensive, caring, trustworthy and high quality mobile health.”


About HealthTap
HealthTap is the best way to connect with trusted health information and doctors. With top-rated web and mobile apps, HealthTap offers immediate and free access to personalized, reliable, and trusted health answers and tips from a network of over 36,000 U.S.-licensed doctors. Sign up today and download HealthTap’s free app for iPhone, iPad or Android at www.healthtap.com.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Physical Therapy Yoga For Pain Managment

Low-back pain is one of the most common physical ailments with over 80 percent of people in the United States suffering some degree of back pain. According to one my colleagues, Dr. Grey Gardner of Van Chiropractic Clinic, chronic lower-back pain can be debilitating—limiting sufferers from performing daily activities, causing sleep deprivation, negatively affecting intimacy and triggering weight gain.

Although chiropractic treatment is often an effective solutions for eliminating lower back pain, practicing yoga serves as complimentary, natural-pain management. The practice of Physical-therapy Yoga and Pain-management Yoga focuses on many advanced and innovative therapeutic techniques to heal injuries and eradicate back pain (as mentioned by physical therapist Reach Krentzman in his interview with LAYogaMagazine.com). Not only can therapeutic yoga target the source of the physical pain, it is thought to deepen spiritual connection, cleanse the soul and foster vitality. This offers a more comprehensive approach to wellness. The practice of yoga helps to alleviate stress and pain while enriching the mind and enhancing awareness.

Pain Management

Yoga followers can encourage healing of mental, emotional and physical pain by engaging in postures. Senior Pastor Ed Young is dedicated to helping people live optimally and healthily. On his official Ed Young Facebook page, he posts a quote by C.S. Lewis: "pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world." Suffering from lower-back pain can be an indirect result of mental and emotional pain. Suppressed emotional pain, stress and the self-internalized pressure of over-achieving can manifest as physical pain in either the torso or lower back.

Healing Yoga Postures

Whether you're resorting to holistic healing methods or experimenting with therapeutic yoga to compliment your therapy, you can practice various yoga exercises at home.
Release tension or help heal nagging pain and stress in the neck, upper back and shoulders with the following sample of therapeutic yoga practices:
  • Postural Awareness & Breathing: Target and relieve neck tension by breathing deeply into the abdomen using your diaphragm. In a seated upright position, plant feet on the floor and lower knees below below the hips. Relax while taking 10 deep breaths with exaggerated inhalation (through the nose) and exhalation (through pursed lips). Push the vertex of your skull skyward to maintain proper posture during the exercise. NOTE: if you place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth while inhaling, it will facilitate diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing vs. chest expansion.
  • "The Clock:" Standing with your right torso next to a wall, place your right hand at 12 o'clock on the wall and slowly move it clockwise until you are at 3 o'clock. Watch here: The Clock Yoga Exercise Video. Put your left hand on the right rib cage. Inhale deeply and rotate your right torso forward while exhaling. While holding for six deep breaths, you'll stretch your right shoulder down and forward away from your hand.
  • Overhead Arms With a Strap: Stretch a fitness strap over your shoulders with your arms apart. Palms should face outward. Place arms on the strap so that you can keep elbows straight. Dropping your chin into your chest will relax the neck. Inhale and hold for six deep breaths. Repeat twice.
  • Wall Downward Dog: Put your hands against the wall in a downward dog pose such that your torso is bent forward at 90 degrees with your arms in line with your torso. Legs are underneath hips creating a tabletop. Lift sitting bones into the air while "opening the chest and lengthening the spine." For a demo picture visit "PracticeYoga.net"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Reduce the Hurt of Low Back Pain When You Sit

Reduce Back Pain When Sitting

How many people do you know that say: "I have back pain when I sit". This was a prevalent complaint among many of my patients before I retired from chiropractic practice. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do that will go a long way in helping you manage your back or neck condition on a daily basis. One of the most important is to have proper support and posture while you're sitting at your desk.


People who sit at a desk for long periods of time are definitely at risk for developing back pain, as sitting (especially slouching) can add a lot of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs.

Sitting with your back properly supported without slouching helps to minimize the strain on your back. Supporting the natural inward curve of your lower back (lordosis) is very important if you're sitting for a long time.

Here are a few guidelines for good posture, support for your lower back while sitting at a desk:

  • Adjust your chair to make sure your knees are slightly lower than your hips and the weight of your thighs is held more by your feet than by the seat of the chair.
  • Sit as close to your desk as possible.
  • Make sure your computer screen is about at eye level.
  • It's good to have armrests on your chair to support your elbows at a 90-degree angle when your shoulders are relaxed.
  • The backrest of your chair should support with some pressure in your lower back. If you can, get a new chair that provides this support, or place an orthopedic support in your chair.
  • It sometimes helps stabilize your back to put something under your feet to elevate them slightly. There are good adjustable foot rests made for this purpose.
  • If you spend lots of time on the phone, consider using a headset or speakerphone to take the strain off your neck.

Support your back while driving:

Driving for long periods of time, or during a stressful daily commute, can place a lot of strain on your back. When you're driving, remember to:

  • Make sure your car seat provides enough support for your lower back. If it doesn't, try using a good back support like the Skwoosh Gel Cradle Lumbar  or Thermarest BackRest by Cascade Designs. 
  • On a budget? Try rolling up a small towel and placing it between your lower back and the seat.
  • Slightly recline the seat back and move the seat closer to the steering wheel to compensate.
  • Sit so that you don't have to stretch to reach the steering wheel, as reaching increases the pressure on the spine and can stress your neck and shoulders.

Move about throughout the day:

Even if you're sitting with correct posture, holding the same position for a long period of time can build up stress and cause discomfort, so it's important to move about during the day. Try to take frequent breaks to stretch and walk around. Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the escalator and walk/bike, rather than drive.

High tech help for lower back pain while sitting:

We hope that these suggestions for simple changes you can make to your sitting posture will help you reduce the hurt of lower back pain. Be Well !

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Best Results With Cervical Neck Traction

WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC CERVICAL TRACTION?
Cervical traction is a physio-therapeutic modality (treatment) whereby a linear stretching force is applied to the head in an effort to reduce compression of the spinal structures by increasing space between vertebrae of the spine. These methods becomes therapeutic when any of the following desired results are achieved. Traction can be applied (1) in the supine or “lying face up” position or (2) from a sitting up position utilizing an over-the-door traction type of device. Although some users experience relief from the simple over-the-door units, the associated traction harness tends to place undo stress on the jaw and can cause problems like TMJ. Additionally, only 20 lbs. of traction can be applied by the over-the-door method. Supine cervical traction devices like Comfortrac Cervical Neck Traction or the Saunders Cervical Traction units are the units preferred by most doctors.

DESIRED RESULTS FOR CERVICAL TRACTION
  • to reduce nerve pressure
  • to overcome muscle spasm
  • to reverse the forces of gravity
  • to break the cycle of pain/spasm/pain/spasm
  • to facilitate disk hydration and healing
CERVICAL TRACTION FOR DISC HERNIATIONS, BULGES AND ARM PAIN

One important functional benefit of traction is that such application of tensile force to the interwoven fibers of the spinal disks, literally creates a vacuum effect that may pull back to center a bulging or herniated nucleus pulposus (center material of disk). Such herniations are often responsible for the pain that radiates to the shoulder, arm and hand. When utilized in a safe, proper manner; traction can offer effective therapy for:
  • reduction of disc herniation and associated symptoms
  • improvement of joint mobility
  • relief of nerve and disc compression
  • improvement of posture
  • relief of pain

The disc spaces
Before Traction and During Traction
applied by a Comfortrac Supine Cervical Traction Device
Cervical Spine Before Traction with Comfortrac
BEFORE TRACTION
Cervical Spine During Traction with Comfortrac
INCREASED DISK SPACE













ANATOMY OF CERVICAL TRACTION To better understand the therapeutic value of traction it is important to have at least a basic understanding of anatomy and structures of the cervical spine (neck). As a matter of fact, Medicare and Medicaid authorities define a cervical traction device as one that applies traction to the cervical “anatomy”. Why this is true may be explained by anatomical facts like the following: There is a ligament or band of strong binding material that runs the length of the back side of the cervical spinal vertebrae, actually tying them together. It is interesting to note that when traction is applied to this band, also known as the “posterior longitudinal ligament”, the resulting pull on fibers of the spinal disk causes movement of fluid that creates and draws a vacuum, literally sucking a herniation or bulge back toward the center of the involved disc.

 THE FACTS:
  • VERTEBRAE OR BONES OF THE NECK - The cervical neck vertebrae are the smallest of all the spinal vertebrae. The purpose of the cervical spine is to house and protect the spinal cord, support the skull, and enable versatile head movements like rotation, flexing forward, and extending backward. The cervical spine is composed of 7 vertebrae with shock-absorbing, space-occupying disks in between the vertebral bodies of each vertebrae. Behind the vertebral bodies and in front of the weight bearing joints of the vertebrae is the spinal cord. Nerves come off the spinal cord and exit through holes formed at joining portions of each pair of vertebrae. These nerves sense pain and control muscles and organs.
  • POSTURE AND CURVE OF THE NECK - the neck has a special curvature called a cervical lordosis that transfers the weight of head to supportive joints rather than the placing pressure on the disks. Spinal disks would wear out quickly if they were forced to carry the weight of our head. This natural curve helps protect our spinal disks.
  • SHOCK ABSORBING DISKS - spinal disks are sort of like the inside of a golf ball. They have a gel-like center (nucleus) that is contained by woven rubber-band like structures known as fibro-cartilage. The gel being contained within these fibers acts like a hydraulic shock absorber similar to what is on your car. The disks are also 75% water, functioning to bring nutrients to the live fibro-cartilage cells. Loss of such water decreases nutrient supply and shock absorption, leading to weakness in the fibers that hold the gel nucleus. Weakness can lead to a bulge known as a herniation and can place pressure on the nerves as they exit the spine. Understanding the anatomy helps us understand the physiology of developing symptoms and helps us develop a comprehensive therapeutic approach including sensible lifestyle modifications and good nutrition for the healing spinal disks. With this understanding it is often possible to resolve associated nerve irritation and symptoms without surgical intervention.

CONDITIONS THAT RESPOND TO CERVICAL TRACTION
  • Lack of mobility (hypomobility)
  • Spinal misalignment
  • Disc bulging or herniation
  • Cervical spinal nerve impingement
  • Cervical spondylosis, osteoarthritis or degenerative disks
  • Muscle spasm and general tightness in the neck and shoulders
  • Shoulder, arm and wrist pain or numbness
  • Cervical neuralgia or radiculo-neuropathy
MAKING CERVICAL NECK TRACTION SAFE FOR HOME USE

Good News - when traction is applied to the spine it tenses the fibrous outer portion of the discs. This tension will open channels for the influx of nutrients and water (hydration) to the cartilage cells, helping restore normalcy to injured disks.
Bad News - however, if application of traction is prolonged beyond a certain threshold, the fluid entering the disk can create excessive osmotic pressure and predispose a disk to rupture. Understanding things like this creates awareness of the need for professional guidance prior to embarking on self treatment with traction.

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING CAUTIONARY ADVICE:
First and foremost, never utilize traction without first consulting an attending physician for proper protocol.

Furthermore, let me begin by saying that the use of any mechanical traction should always be preceded by the use of manual traction (i.e. done by hand) performed by your chosen practitioner, whether a skilled chiropractor, physical therapist or orthopedic doctor. This is most safely applied with one hand under the occiput of the skull and the opposing hand on the forehead of the patient. Pressure applied to the jaw puts excessive pressure on the TMJ joint and is not recommended by this writer or most experienced neuro-musculo-skeletal practitioners.

This consult should be concluded with a suggested and monitored course of therapeutic traction. Supine home traction devices can be extremely beneficial if this protocol is followed. Conversely, without proper direction, one could cause more harm than benefit.

WHAT IS THE BEST CERVICAL TRACTION DEVICE?

It is this writer’s opinion and upon the recommendation of most savvy physicians, supine cervical traction units like Comfortrac Cervical Neck Traction or the Saunders Traction Unit are the most suitable for safe home use. They both use pneumatic pumps that can easily be operated by the user and offer both intermittent or continuous traction. See more details in the 2nd paragraph of this article above.

BEST CERVICAL TRACTION TREATMENT METHODS…

  1. Two Traction Protocols: sustained or intermittent traction can be applied in a sustained or intermittent manner. Pneumatic supine traction units can administer sustained or intermittent traction.
  2. Sustained traction is recommended when treating degenerative disc disease, muscle spasm and nerve root impingement. Care must be taken not to apply sustained traction whereby the amount of time exceeds that recommended by an attending physician.
  3. Intermittent traction is recommended for treating facet joints and disc protrusion.
  4. When applying intermittent traction, the “rest ” period involves a reduction of traction force (about 50%), not the complete removal of force. Some authorities recommend to reduce the force by 1/3 during the rest phase.
  5. Cervical Traction Application to Open Up Space: a minimum of 15 degrees of flexion is necessary to open the cervical posterior facets. To maximally separate the cervical posterior facet articulations, open the intervertebral space, widen the intervertebral foramen and stretch the posterior tissues, 25-30 degrees of flexion is recommended. This position also straightens the normal cervical lordosis.
  6. Applying Force to Upper or Lower Neck: traction in the neutral cervical spine position causes the greatest separation in the upper cervical spine; 30 degrees of flexion directs the forces more to the lower cervical spine.
  7. Supine Cervical Traction Best: cervical traction should be applied in a supine position for optimal benefit.
CONTRAINDICATIONS, TRACTION CONCERNS AND TMJ PROBLEMS
  • Traction contraindicated for cervical distraction injuries at any level (this includes acute and/or unstable, severe sprain/strain injuries of the cervical spine as might occur in a whiplash).
  • Traction contraindicated for certain fractures like Type IIA hangman's fractures
  • Traction contraindicated for joint hyper-mobility
  • Caution must be exercised when performing traction on anyone with TMJ problems. As suggested above, supine cervical traction whereby forces are not exerted on the jaw is not only better traction protocol, but safer for those who already suffer with a TMJ condition.
WHAT SHOULD I FEEL AFTER CERVICAL TRACTION?
 IS THE RELIEF IMMEDIATE? DOES TRACTION HURT?

Although cervical traction can be uncomfortable, it is not suppose to be painful when properly applied. Some folks will complain that they feel soreness of a different kind after application of the therapy. This is quite normal. As a matter of fact, the majority of traction users do not feel better immediately after the traction. It is more common to feel better the next day. On the contrary there are those that experience immediate relief and absolutely enjoy the entire therapeutic experience. This writer is one of those persons. I feel completely relaxed during my traction sessions and feel like the weight has been removed from my shoulders.

Now, this being said, please understand that I’m referring to traction being performed in the supine or “lying face up” position. As discussed earlier, other sitting up methods like over-the-door units present their own set of problems and they make it really hard for the user to relax.

If, after reading this article you feel you are a good candidate for cervical traction you should discuss the possibility with your health care provider. Often, they will prescribe a home cervical traction unit. Ask your doctor if he or she agrees that a supine cervical traction unit like Comfortrac Cervical Neck Traction might be better than the over-the-door type. With a prescription, you may seek reimbursement from your insurance company even though you will often have to make the purchase on your own.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Piriformis Syndrome - self diagnosis - best treatment


I received an interesting email from a lady with the following described signs/symptoms:

Hope you can send me in the right direction. For about 6 weeks I have suffered pain in my right buttock with tingling and pain down my right leg and into the calf of my leg. After reading all the posts that have been sent to you I can understand that my symptoms are likely related to the sciatic nerve. I did not have a fall but simply overdid fast walking which I think is the cause (the music in my headphones was quite lively!). Have been to the physical therapist which made it really hurt, been to the doctor who prescribed a lot of ibuprofin and a muscle relaxer. This is painful when I have to stand still but not when walking. It is painful when sitting for a long period of time. I can bend in any direction and the spine works fine with no pain. After reading online I thought perhaps it might be piriformis syndrome. I see that others recommend Stretching for that. However, you often tell people to avoid stretching because it makes sciatica worse. What to do? Are there certain diseases that can cause this (I had a bladder infection about two weeks after the pain started and took the medication for that and that is gone.) Thanks for your help.

THOUGHTS ABOUT DIAGNOSING AND TREATING PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME
Your self-diagnostic train of thought is remarkably intuitive. It would seem logical that you do not have a lumbar disk problem causing the sciatica, although there are rare cases of such that present with absolutely no back pain. I think you're very likely to have a "Piriformis Syndrome".  Stretching is indeed an important aspect of treatment for such in the long run. However, it is often very much contra-indicated in the initial treatment phase because it could very well have been the long strides (during your fast walking exercise) that over-stretched the Piriformis, causing the initial and likely current spasm. You will almost certainly benefit from appropriate physiotherapy modalities like electrical muscle stimulation over the belly of the muscle and perhaps some deep-pressure massage to relieve the spasm. Sleeping, especially on the side could be irritating the condition and it might be advisable to place a large, fluffy, pressure-reducing foam pillow between your knees to relieve the stretching on the piriformis muscle. The side that is is up, is the side that will get stretched. I personally use and recommend the Nimblepedic Comfort Touch Memory Foam Pillow for this purpose.

Anti-inflammatory meds and muscle relaxors I find to be pretty useless in these cases. Stretching will often irritate until the initial spasm is overcome. This is because stretching the tight muscle often forces it into contact with an already inflamed sciatic nerve. In the long run you might need to have your gait evaluated to note whether there is a problem with shoes or bio-mechanical dysfunction of the foot and ankle that might have led to the onset. For example, pronation, a functionally short leg, or toeing out while walking can all be related. Shoes and/or orthotics can often be a sensible solution. I suspect that the reason walking is not seeming to exacerbate the pain is because you are not being as overzealous with your stride as you were before. However, this does throw up a red flag that makes us want to make sure that your lower abdominal or pelvic organs are not referring pain down your leg. You should have a good evaluation from you internist as well.

When it comes to conditions affecting nerves from the lumbo-sacral area, the nervous system regulation of organs in that region can be affected, leading to a weaker organ that is more prone to infection. Although it may have indeed been coincidental, either condition could have impacted the other.

I think this case is an interesting one that a lot of folks might relate to, so I decided to make a post of my advice to her.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best Weight Loss Drink Beverage


Want a super-concentrated green tea drink that tastes great, sheds pounds and inches, retards aging and heals your body? It's now possible with Green Tea HP, a proprietary blend of pure and highly concentrated EGCG-rich, live green tea extract, healing nutrients, natural stress reducers and trace minerals. Consider the addition of an anti-aging super-fruit blend and WOW -- GreenTeaHP wins my vote as the most effective and sustainable way to achieve health and well-being while changing the way you look forever.

Green Tea HP Superiority

  • Formulated with super-concentrated amount of green tea's most beneficial ingredient known as EGCG (equivalent to 8-10 cups of organic green tea)

  • GreenTeaHP is like a "drinking fountain of youth and wellness"

  • Single-serve pixies mix instantly with water so you can take GreenTeaHP with you anywhere, anytime.

  • Potent energy drink, sports' drink, and great for general hydration

  • A great compliment and adjunct to all diet plans including the HCG diet

  • Reduce consumption of high-calorie, poor-nutrition beverages like coffee, energy drinks, unhealthy weight-loss or soda drinks

  • IN SUMMARY, you eliminate extra calories and unhealthy chemicals from your diet, while increasing your metabolism, energy level, productivity and longevity.

Key Ingredient

Healthy Benefits for Various Conditions

Green Tea (EGCG)

Anti-oxidant that Improves overall wellness, increases metabolism, promotes weight loss, increases energy, lowers blood pressure, reduces risk of various cancers, dilates coronary and peripheral arteries, helps reduce mouth bacteria and gingivitis. It should also be noted that green tea reduces "platelet clumping" and therefore the risk of stroke or heart attack. It also helps diabetics utilize insulin and reduces hemoglobin A1C.

Noni

General well-being, vitality, potent anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy benefits

Pomegranate

Potent anti-oxidant that is an endothelial dilator by increasing nitric oxide, reverses arteriosclerosis and vessel disease, hypertension, shrinks enlarged prostates, reduces symptoms of menopause and lessens the risk of breast cancer

Acai

High ORAC value anti-oxidant that reduces cholesterol, fights infection, anti-tumor properties, a stress reducer

L-Theanine

An amino acid that is relaxing and stress reducing

Resveratrol

Retards aging, cardio-vascular benefits

Sea-sourced Trace Minerals

Promotes a multitude of necessary bodily functions, including the regulation of heart beat, the contraction of muscle, and the facilitation of enzymes and anti-oxidants.




GET READY TO BE COMPLEMENTED -- Everyone is going to notice the new you!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

BackCycler - Passive Motion Healing Your Back



BackBeNimble.com announces the re-launching of the BackCycler®, their most popular back pain product ever. BackCycler® was previously awarded the Good HouseKeeping Seal of Approval for the best back pain product they tested.
BackCycler - CPM Exercise
This amazing product uses computerized continuous passive motion to exercise your back while you drive or sit.

The BackCycler improves posture and keeps the spinal disks hydrated while you sit. Sitting is inherently hard on the spine and the continuous passive exercise provided by BackCycler prevents stiffness and fatigue often occurring with long drives or prolonged sitting.

At a modest price of $79.95 BackCycler® is a must for back pain sufferers.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cervical Kyphosis - Loss or Reversal of Neck Curvature

Most commonly known as a “military neck” a straight or forward curve of the neck is abnormal and may cause an unkind progression of symptoms leading ultimately to cervical disk degeneration.

A healthy neck manifests a normal lordotic curvature as portrayed in the picture to the right. The pathology leading to a neck curve reversal (cervical kyphosis shown below right) may be inspired by a multitude of conditions as follows:
  • Post whiplash
  • Post head injury
  • Stomach sleeping
  • Poor sitting/working postures
  • Congenital spinal curvatures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Degenerative cervical discs (a form of osteoarthritis that can either be the cause of or the result of a cervical kyphosis)
  • Compression fracture of vertebral body
  • Infection of the cervical spine


ANATOMY: STRAIGHT VS. CURVED

“I’ve always heard that it was good to stand up straight.”

“Stand upright, stick your chest out and hold your shoulders back! Otherwise you’re going get widows hump.”

Are these expressions as familiar to you as they are to me? One might think that having a curved neck goes against what we heard from parents and teachers as we were growing up, but the reality is that there is a little bit a truth in both. Maintaining good posture throughout our lives is crucial to both the health of our spine and vital organs. On the contrary, a special type of curve called a “lordosis” is a good thing, both in the neck and lower back.

When we look at a person from the back their spine should be truly straight, so that the left and right sides of one’s body is symmetrical. However, when we view a person from the side, the front and back of their body is different and this is reflected in a coinciding curvature of the spine. Both the lower back and neck are hollowed out (concave) and the mid or “thoracic” spine is protrudes (convex). Thus there is an alternation of curves functioning to provide stability, shock absorption and aid in propulsion. A straight spine would be very stiff and not flexible. Imagine the plight of a pole vaulter with an inflexible pole.

Nature’s design of our spine and rib cage facilitates breathing and offers protective and supportive framework for vital organs. Spinal disks are shock absorbers and because they are in the front of the spine, lordotic curvatures keep them from having to bear weight. Kyphosis or loss of such curvatures bears weight upon the disks, leading to their ultimate degeneration. This process of deterioration is a form of osteoarthritis and in the spine is known as degenerative spondylosis.

DIAGNOSIS
Although most chiropractors or conservative orthopedists can recognize a cervical curve reversal upon viewing the patient’s posture, a definitive diagnosis may be obtained via a standing lateral (side view) X-ray of the neck. Cause can often be determined by corroborating a comprehensive history, a thorough examination, X-rays and questions about sleep, work and lifestyle.

In my professional career as a chiropractic physician, I found that the majority of young adults presenting with cervical kyphosis either had a whiplash or were stomach sleepers from an early age. For desk jockeys 40-60 years of age, many hours of sitting with their head flexed forward almost dictates the fate of developing kyphosis. In prior years I considered cervical kyphosis a job hazard for the careers of accountants, attorneys and often teachers because of years spent with their head in a book or paperwork. However, the digital age offers some relief in that respect. A well-planned, ergonomically-friendly office can do wonders for protecting the spine in the sedentary worker.

TREATMENT FOR CERVICAL CURVE REVERSAL (KYPHOSIS)
During my chiropractic practice I had the opportunity to note a good percentage of correction toward a more normal lordosis (noted on X-ray) for 70% of patients under my care. This was almost always consistent with those patients that followed all recommendations and were model participants in their own care. Here is the recommended treat plan:

  1. Spinal manipulation of stiff and fixated spinal segments by a qualified physician
  2. Flexibility exercises for flexion and extension of cervical spine
  3. Resistance exercises for flexors and extensors of the neck
  4. Learn the Alexander Technique for maintaining good posture (HINT: the basic philosophy is to sit and stand like you were hanging by a string from the vertex of your skull. Liken it to a puppet on a string).
  5. Elimination of stomach sleeping
  6. Avoid standing on your head, although some yoga postures may be beneficial
  7. Use of orthopedic neck pillow while sleeping
  8. Establish and ergonomic friendly work environment while working at your desk
    • top of computer monitor should be at eyebrow level
    • ergonomic chair should remain in a slightly forward tilted position to facilitate an upright posture. If you do not have such a chair, try a wedge cushion with a built in forward tilt.
    • prudent use of an ergonomic footrest to balance the forward tilt of an ergonomic chair
    • elbows must be at your side during mousing, track pad or keyboard entry. DO NOT reach for these items