4 Ways to a healthier back:
Most of us have experienced moderate to severe neck, mid-back or lower back pain, in fact back pain ranks second only to common cold as the most frequent cause of sick leave in the United States. Contrary to popular belief spines do not just give out, rather it takes months and years for a condition to develop if left untreated. In most cases, any back problems can be prevented with lifestyle changes and habits. What you may not know is how the health of your spine is directly related to your overall health and aging process.
Your spine has many muscles, tendons and ligaments that serve as connections to areas throughout your body. Your spine also houses your nervous system which in turn controls all of your vital organs. Every cell in your body is dependent on the energy that it gets from the brain which travels through your spine. So keeping your spine in top condition is the best things you can do for both your back and your overall health.
1. Lose the Extra Pounds
Most people know that obesity contributes to the development of coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer. However, did you know that being overweight is a contributing factor to back pain? It is true. The spine is designed to carry the body’s weight and distribute the loads encountered during rest and activity. When excess weight is carried, the spine is forced to assimilate the burden, which will lead to structural compromise and damage.
2. Get Fit & Strong
While keeping your weight down is important, it is also crucial to strengthen the core muscles and the ligaments around your spine. Lack of exercise and bodily conditioning leads to poor flexibility and weak muscles in the back, pelvis, and thighs. Your increased strength and fitness will keep your joints well lubricated and prevent your body from tightening up, and minimize the chances of debilitating injuries.
3. Sit Straight
Your posture has a direct correlation to your overall health. Examine how you are sitting right now… are your shoulders hunched over? Is your head tilted to one side? Do you have a forward head posture? Do you notice that when you are stressed you tend to slouch more? Poor posture can cause insomnia, general fatigue, headaches, neck pain, tightness in the shoulder blades, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, as well as a wide range of other issues. By becoming more conscious of your posture and by strengthening your core you can prevent back problems from developing altogether.
4. Schedule a Checkup
As it was mentioned earlier your spine is essential to the overall health of your vital organs because it holds your nervous system. It is highly recommended that anyone who would like to get on the path to a healthy back, to first schedule a complete spine checkup by a specialist to determine if there are any structural issues that need to be addressed first. Give us a call at Wellness Choice Center in Newport Beach, Orange County, and we will set up a time for us to sit down one-on-one to meet and talk about your health concerns. We will study the x-rays and address any core issues prior to starting a strengthening and fitness program. Without a complete checkup, any sudden fitness programs or strengthening exercises could exacerbate your current condition. Call us at 949-847-1333 for a complimentary consultation.
Before You Consider Spinal Surgery:
Your nervous system is the most important asset to your health. Your health is a direct reflection of how your nerves flow energy throughout your entire musculoskeletal and visceral organ systems (Heart, Lungs, Intestines, etc). Your nervous system is the only system in your body that is completely encapsulated and protected by bone. Your spine/back bone houses the nervous system with 26 vertebrae shielding them from any damage. Thus it is extremely important to make sure your spine is extremely stable.
A disc herniation, a bulging disc, compressed disc, or a ruptured disc are all terms that describe irritation of the nerves. This is due to the rupture of a less elastic disc which creates a bulge out from between vertebrae. This process puts a lot of pressure on the spinal nerves as well as the spinal cord and can cause severe pain in the area.
Electric Shock Pain:
Pressure on the nerve can cause abnormal sensations, commonly described as electric shock pains. When compression occurs, a lot of patients will feel shooting pain down their arms/hands or legs.
Tingling and Numbness
Patients often experience tingling, numbness, or pins and needles sensation in the innervated areas (usually in the upper or lower extremities).
When the nerves exit the spine, each will innervate a specific group of muscles, and is responsible for their strength, sensation, and general function. In a case of nerve irritation, signals from the brain may be interrupted causing muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, as well as lack of or decreased sensation.
Bowel or Bladder problems:
The exiting nerves from the spine will also innervate and control your organ systems such as bladder, lower digestive organs, and reproductive organs. In more severe cases of a disc herniation, patients will experience constipation, irregular bladder function, infertility or sexual dysfunction.
Four non-invasive therapy methods before you consider surgery:
1. Spinal Decompression Therapy
Non-surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy is your best bet if you are suffering from a herniated disc. I have personally treated hundreds of patients with this form of therapy with great results, but you have to understand that not everyone with a disc bulge is a candidate for this treatment. Please consult your chiropractic doctor to see if you are a good candidate.
2. Chiropractic Manipulations, and Manual Therapy
Chiropractic management of a herniated disc has shown to be effective when combined with other methods. Therapy may include pelvic traction, myofascial release, cryotheray, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, and stretching exercises.
3. Yoga and Specific Exercise Programs
In some patients, the pain response may limit their flexibility. Prescribed stretching exercises that are monitored by a health care professional can help widen the space that the bulge is protruding out of and alleviate pain. These exercises can help maintain the spine’s natural lordotic curve, but must be under supervision of your physician in order to prevent any additional damage to your spine.
4. Natural Anti-inflammatories
Typical prescribed drugs for an acute disc may include muscle relaxants, narcotics, steroid, and anti-depressants. If you are choosing the natural way, you should try Omega 3/Fish oil to reduce inflammation. Staying away from red meat and dairy products can also reduce the inflammation in and around the disc. Drinking a lot of water will also hydrate your discs and helps with replenishment. Icing your lower back (even though the pain may be in your buttock or legs), and icing your neck will also help reduce the pain.
The most invasive procedure before surgery is prolotherapy. If you are choosing this, you have exhausted all your other non-invasive methods. This treatment consists of the injection of a proliferant solution into the area of pain. The solution will cause controlled inflammation at the site of injury and your ‘repairing cells’ will show up at the area to rebuild the ligaments and tendons. As with many treatments, prolotherapy is not without risks and side effects.
In summary, a combination of these non-invasive treatments would be ideal and can manage your pain and help reduce the disc bulge. Consult with your physician to best benefit from this information. If you reside in Orange County, give us a call for a complimentary consultation @ 949-387-1333
Everyday challenges and obstacles specifically with today’s political and economic news media are sometimes overwhelming and the pressure can be too difficult to handle; we experience stress. Stress is defined as mental or physical tension, and one can cause the other.
Smaller doses of stress can be beneficial in motivating you to do your best and stay balanced in life and are inevitable part of life; however it can become a threat to your mental, physical, and emotional health when life’s demands exceed your ability to cope. Excessive amounts of emotional or mental stress can influence your immune system and exacerbate your physical symptoms. The link between your mental health and physical wellness is very strong. We are often not too surprise to catch a cold while we are dealing with a stressful situation.
Research has shown that excessive and or chronic stress through a chain of events can cause low back pain, stomach pain, high blood pressure, skin outbreaks, misalignments of the jaw, headaches, tension in the neck and shoulders as well as weight gain.
It is not only impossible, but also unhealthy to eliminate stress completely.
A healthy alternative is to learn ways to minimize, deal with and control negative effects of stress in your life. Incorporating healthy habits into your daily activity will reduce your stress level and help you live a more balanced life. Here are a few hints to keep in mind.
Environmental stressors can set off the stress response in your body. In today’s world, politics, economics, and our financial difficulties can send stress levels skyrocketing. It is great to be aware of all economic and political issues that we are surrounded by these days, but it can also be overwhelming. To survive this political season, and combating media-induced stress, limit your time on the phone, listening or watching the news, and tense conversations or interactions with others. Turn the T.V. off and try a yoga pose or two.
Trim and or prioritize your to-do-list. Analyze your schedule, appointments, responsibilities and daily tasks and tackle them in order of importance. Poor time management, feeling like you are stretched too thin and running behind can cause severe stress. Try to find a balance between work and social activities. Spend time with friends and family.
Your to-do-list should have an enjoyable activity on it whether it is reading a book, dipping in the hot tub, window shopping, watching a funny movie, listening to music or my favorite taking a walk on the beach.
Exercise and eat healthy. Healthy diet and regular exercise can detox your body of all stress related byproducts and give your mood a natural boost and leave you relaxed. Cut down on caffeine and sugar and try post-exercise euphoria instead. A fit and well-fed body can give you more energy, ability to concentrate, improved quality of sleep, and thus reduce your stress reactivity; and you never know maybe even a slowed aging process! There is no substitute for a healthy and well balanced diet and exercise regime so get some veggies in your diet, call up a work out buddy and hit the gym.
Last but not least, don’t ignore the pain and discomfort in your lower back or the tension you have been feeling in your neck and shoulders. Stress hormones lower the threshold of our pain receptors, tighten muscles and ligaments, reduce blood flow into the tissues and increase overall inflammation in our bodies. Visit our website park your car at a distant, take a walk to our stress-free office and enjoy a chiropractic adjustment to help you with your musculoskeletal discomfort and relax. Call us if you need help with your pain management or if you need nutritional advice at 949.387.1333