Back Problems in Teens

1109px-Heelstretch_PyramidWill a chiropractor ever treat an adolescent during his professional career? Junior took a baseball right in the back. Julie fell off the human pyramid during cheerleading practice and landed on her back. Needless to say, parents of athletic adolescents are usually first in line at the chiropractic office.

Can Teens Suffer from Back Problems?

While back problems are more common in adults, they are a rarity in teens since the latter is more flexible and agile. That is why any backaches that accompany any athletic event (such as contact sports) should be immediately checked by a chiropractor.

Back Conditions in Teens

Back conditions that can affect teens or kids include –

  • Any pain that worsens by performing gymnastic activities such as handsprings or the butterfly stroke in swimming may be indicative of spinal conditions such as Spondylolysis. Younger athletes have more chances of developing the condition than older kids who take part in sporting activities.  The condition is often caused by over-use that causes constant trauma and is one of the most common causes of back pain in kids.
  • This is also why the condition has more chances of occurring during a teen’s growth spurt, which is also why it is more common in boys rather than girls. A chiropractor might diagnose Spondylolysis in teens who are aged between 15 and 16. 
  • Any type of backache that causes compromises a teen’s balance or coordination may be caused by a problem in the spinal cord.

Adolescents and teens might put themselves in dangerous situations more than the average five year old, but the fact remains that they are still kids.  In other words, they tend to be more aggressive in their activities than younger children. A four year old will probably not stick his hand in a light socket if he has been electrocuted once. However an adolescent will have to keep stressing his back especially if he is pressured to make a tackle or prevent a touchdown in order for his team to win.

Parents cannot stop commercial advertising or peer pressure that expects their kids to push the envelope, but they can educate on taking better care of themselves. A teenager can always be grounded if he/she doesn’t comply to the rules, but parents will be helpless if a backache worsens or worse, ends up paralyzing their child.

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Why Spinal Surgery is a Bad Idea

Illu_vertebral_columnBecause it takes the smallest mistake to permanently paralyze a healthy individual, a fact that any chiropractor will attest to. There is always a risk of injury involved in spinal surgery.

Almost 80% of the people in the country will complain about lower back pain at some point in their lives. More work days are missed because of spinal pain than any other sort of ailment. This also places it as one of the most common causes of disabilities right after cardiovascular disease.

However, most people would rather seek the services of certified chiropractors than their doctors. Doctors usually prescribe numbing medication or painful surgical procedures like spinal surgery for patients who complain of repetitive chronic pain. But that is hardly a permanent solution and also involves a great deal of risks.

What can go Wrong:

Transitional Syndrome

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the spine has to do with its behavior. Your spine behaves like a chain of repeated segments. Each of the individual segments works as a whole to share the workload that is involved in moving the body by sharing the load along the spinal column. In other words the stress that is imposed on the spine during the movement is shared amongst the segments.

However such a process can only happen seamlessly when the spine is healthy. When one or more of the segments doesn’t work as they should their neighboring segments have to pick up the slack and work harder. The segment that is closest to the dysfunctional one gets most of the stress. This means that the area near where the spinal surgery was performed takes on more stress.  This is what is known as transitional syndrome since it occurs due to the transition of a healthy area of the spine to the fused area.

General practitioners and even orthopedic surgeons can never claim to know what causes pain in the back. To them, complex procedures like spinal surgery appear as handy default treatments. This is not to mention the disastrous residual pain that is caused by inappropriate surgery. Such a complication is more of a possibility after common spinal surgeries, such as laminectomies, in which a disc is removed to give the nerve near the central spinal cord more space to move, or fusion, in which a vertebra is surgically joined to another to restrict excess movement.

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Spondylolysis and Lower Back Pain

385px-Spinal_column_curvature_2011Spondylolysis is one of many conditions that chiropractic practices have to deal with. The condition occurs due to a weakness in the section of the vertebrae that is known as pas interaticularis. This is a thin piece of bone that is responsible for connecting the lower and upper portion of the facet joints. These join in the vertebrae’s upper and lower section to form a comprehensive network of bone that allows the spine to move.

The defect can lead to small fractures in the spine that cause certain vertebrae to slip out of place.

Some chiropractic practices say that Spondylolysis is a hereditary disease especially considering infants who are born with a thin vertebrae, a condition that puts them at a higher risk for fractures.   Repetitive trauma to the lower back may also cause the pars interarticularis to weaken over time.

Symptoms

Those who have spondylolysis do not experience any symptoms and which is exactly why they might not be aware of it once it does occur. Low back pain is the most common symptom once the pain from the condition spreads. It feels like a muscle in the lower back has been sprained and usually gets worse with exercise or activity. It can also occur during a teenager’s growth spurt after puberty which is why the typical age of a person who acquires the condition is usually between 15 to 16 years.

The condition usually occurs in 3 to 4% of the population and is the most common cause of lower back pain in children or people below the age of 26. Spondylolysis is more common in kids or teenagers who take part in vigorous activities that over extend their spines such as weightlifting, gymnastics and football.

Treatment

The condition calls for a more conservative approach. Chiropractic care of Spondylolysis would aim to reduce the pain, let the fracture heal and help return the patient to normal activities. Patients are also advised to refrain from any vigorous physical activities such as exercise or sports to help them heal faster. Treatments for severe cases often involve the use of a back brace or support which helps stabilize the back and prevent lower back pain to aid the healing process.

The condition might not be preventable in some cases however certain steps can be taken to reduce the risk of fractures in the lower back.

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Spinal column curvature 2011.png

 

Eagan Chiropractor describes intermediate neck exercise

Here is a simple exercise that you can do at home with no exercise equipment.
It works the longus capitis, longus colli, SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscles.
The purpose of this exercise is to increase neck strength and muscular endurance.
The benefits are improved stability, functional strength and injury prevention.

Begin by lying on the back with the head extended off the table, maintaining a chin tuck position.
Slowly extend the head back towards the floor and then raise the head, returning to the initial neutral starting position and repeat as instructed.
Move slowly through the range of motion.
Slowly return to start position.
Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.

© 2005-2010 WebExercises, Inc., Patent Pending, All Rights Reserved.

Sciatica, Chiropractic and Pregnancy – What to Expect

SciaticaPregnancySciatica – What is it?

According to chiropractic practices, Sciatica is a common type of pain that affects the sciatic nerve which is a large nerve that extends from an individual’s lower back down the back of each leg. The sciatic nerve also happens to be the largest single nerve in the human body. It is composed of individual nerve roots that branch out from the spine in the lower back and come together to form the sciatic nerve.

A person who suffers from the condition may exhibit the following symptoms –

  • Burning or tingling sensation down the leg
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Constant pain on one side of the rear
  • Shooting pain that increases when the individual tries to stand up

The pain that is associated with sciatica usually extends from the lower back through the back of the thigh and down the leg. It often occurs on one side of the body. It can also be debilitating to some. The symptoms of sciatica also vary according to where the nerve is pinched. For example, an impingement in the lumbar segment 5 (L5) can cause weakness in extending the big toe and in some cases, the ankle.

Sciatica and Pregnancy

Sciatica is also a common condition in pregnant women and usually appears during the third trimester of pregnancy. It is caused when a woman’s expanding uterus ends up putting pressure on the sciatic nerve on the lower spine. The same occurrence is also known to cause lower back pain during pregnancy. The reason the condition occurs during the third trimester is due to the fact that the growing baby shifts into the proper birthing position during this time. This makes the developing fetus rest directly on the nerve which causes the mother major pain in the buttocks. The pain also radiates to the back and legs.

The pain can be constant or intermittent depending on how many times the baby changes position. However, the lower back pain may also persist after birth.

Fortunately there are ways through which a person might be able to rid herself of the pain. Some women say that a cold or hot compress to the affected area can help lessen the pain. Just make sure that the heating pad isn’t too uncomfortably hot. Getting off your feet and walking around can also help get rid of the pain.

Chiropractic and Pregnancy

There are also patients who have sought out chiropractic services instead of opting for spinal surgery for cases such as these. It is easy to see why. Chiropractic care is non invasive and relies on the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

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Chiropractor in Eagan explains knee exercises for beginners.

Here is a simple exercise that you can do at home with no equipment.
It works the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus muscles.
The purpose of this exercise is to increase knee strength and muscular endurance.
By doing this exercise you can have the benefits of improved stability, functional strength and injury prevention.

Begin lying on floor facing up.
Bend knees so feet are firmly on floor.
Extend arms upward toward ceiling.
Activate core muscles.
Lift hips off floor to attain a bridge position with knees, hips and shoulders in alignment.
Slowly return to start position.
Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.

Initially, you may develop some cramping in the back of your thigh. A simple hamstring stretch before and after may prevent this from occurring.
Slowly return to start position.
Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.

© 2005-2010 WebExercises, Inc., Patent Pending, All Rights Reserved.

Dietary Tips

3829063385_8e46d16540_oA Good Diet Equals Healthy Living

In order to live a healthy lifestyle, there are some essential nutrients which need to be present in your diet. A good chiropractor will also include a diet plan in his treatments to reduce the risk of disease. Here are some dietary tips you can use to improve your health.

Avoid Junk Food

Avoid junk foods with low nutritional values and additives such as artificial flavoring and coloring, as most of them contain chemicals that your body isn’t familiar with and can cause certain problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and irritable bowel movements.

Eat Foods with Good Nutritional Values

Let’s suppose a person has a calorie requirement of 1600 calories a day. He can either get these calories from healthy foods with good nutritional values, such as beans, vegetables or salads, or he can get them through unhealthy foods such as bagels, donuts or junk food. The calorie requirement is the same but he would be getting a more nutritious diet by choosing the former option, thus making him healthier.

Add Unrefined and Uncooked Foods in Your Diet

Natural foods contain relatively more nutrients as compared to their refined counterparts. For example, refined flour lacks the fiber and other nutrients that whole grain contains. Cooking can also destroy many of the beneficial nutrients in food, so it is important to add some raw fruits and vegetables in your diet to balance out the nutrient requirement.

Avoid Fried Food Items

Though they may seem tempting, a high consumption of fried foods can directly lead to certain health problems such as high cholesterol and heart problems. If you live a busy lifestyle which doesn’t give you time to exercise, fried foods can also cause obesity.

Don’t Use Too Much Salt and Sugar 

Too much salt results in high blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of developing health problems. High levels of sugar can also increase the risk of diabetes. Try to reduce the amount of salt or sugar you use in food items.

Ask Your Chiropractor for Advice

As most chiropractors have information on nutritional requirements, you can ask your chiropractor to advise you further on what you should include and what you should exclude from your diet. A chiropractor can also formulate you a proper diet plan which you can follow to stay healthy.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: A Matched Set by Tony Alter

Choose Chiropractic Care for Healthier Living

Activator_II_adjustment_instrumentChiropractic care is a medical system that aims to eliminate the root of a problem rather than just suppressing the symptoms.  Chiropractors manipulate the spinal column along with other parts of the body with the aim of easing pain, promoting the body’s systems to naturally heal it along with prescribing exercise to eliminate postural problems.

This approach introduces a healthier lifestyle for an individual.

Chiropractic Treatment Techniques

Here are numerous chiropractic treatment techniques that are used in treating patients:

Activator

The activator is a device that is used to correct minor misalignments in the spine.  It sends a small impulse that is sufficient enough to move the vertebrae without causing any injury.

Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique (BEST)

This is a non-forceful technique that is used to remove blocked energy in the body and allows it to heal itself.
Cox Flexion Distraction

This procedure is a safe alternate to back surgery and is designed to relieve lower back pain by altering the spinal column.  However, it is also used to treat disc herniation, stenosis, arm and neck pains as well as many other complications.
Applied Kinesiology

Applied Kinesiology gauges a muscles’ strength or weakness to find an illness.
Thompson Terminal Point

This technique utilizes a special drop table to adjust the full length of the spine.

Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT)

The SOT technique is designed to reduce and sometimes completely eliminate pain in the head, neck, spinal cord, TMJ as well as improve function of many organs.

 

 

Logan Basic Technique

The Logan technique applies a gentle and sustained pressure at the base of the spine, that corrects the balance of the spinal column and releases tension.
A gentle, sustained pressure is exerted at the base of the spine. Correcting the sacrum corrects the rest of the spine.

Nimmo Technique

Nimmo technique is designed to relieve people of their chronic pain, whether in the muscle system, nervous system or skeletal system.

Orthotics

Orthotics focuses design and construction of external devices that help in modifying the structure of the body, such as uneven leg length, incorrect spinal curvature and tilted pelvis.

Emphasis on Exercise

Chiropractors believe that physical exercise is essential for the well-being of the human body.  This is why they prescribe exercises that are easy to carry out at home.  These exercises aim at reducing or preventing obesity that is a major factor in causing heart diseases, diabetes and many other diseases.

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Dangers of Spine Surgery: What Doctors Won’t Tell You

800px-Flickr_-_Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_A_doctor_performs_surgery.Low back pain has become a very common occurrence nowadays with over 12 million Americans visiting their doctors with complaints of chronic back pain every year; while over a 100 million visit a chiropractor.

Problems with the spinal column can cause devastating effects on a person’s life. It deprives them of their mobility and flexibility.  Even everyday activities become a challenge in some cases.  With so many of such cases and the advancements in medical science, it is ironic to see a huge number of people being misdiagnosed and prescribed spinal surgery as the only treatment.

Spinal surgery itself carries around a 20% risk of a failure.  Failed spinal surgeries often result in no improvement, worsened pain, and sometimes, even death.

General Physicians, spine specialists and orthopedic surgeons have proven in many cases that they have no clue as to the root causes of back problems.  In a review of low back-pain causes, Andrew Frank, a physician in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation concluded ‘Up to 85% of patients with low back pain cannot be given a definitive diagnosis because of the poor associations between symptoms, signs, imaging results and pathological findings’ (BMJ, 3 April 1993).

Risks Associated with Specific Surgical Procedures

Apart from incorrect diagnoses, each type of spinal surgery procedure carries its own set of risks:

Laminectomy

A laminectomy requires removal of parts of a bone, bone spurs and ligaments from the back with the aim of relieving pressure on spine nerves.  This procedure can result in a less stable spine, leading to another surgery.

Spinal Fusion

A spinal fusion procedure is the most common type of surgery carried out for back pains.  A surgeon joins the vertebrae together to restrict movement between the spinal bones.  This in turn limits the stretching of spine nerves.

An incomplete fusion requires the patient to undergo another surgery.  Smoking on the other hand, increases the chances of an incomplete fusion to occur.

Foraminotomy

Foraminotomy requires a surgeon to remove a bone from the sides of the vertebrae in an attempt to widen the space for spine nerves.

This surgery can also cause the spine to lose stability.

Disc Replacement Surgery

A damaged spinal disc is removed and replaced by inserting an artificial disk.  The introduction of a foreign object into the body always carries a risk of dislocation or breaking, leading to a hardware fracture.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Flickr – Official U.S. Navy Imagery – A doctor performs surgery.jpg

Chiropractor Eagan shares low back exercises for beginners.

Here is a simple exercises that you can do at home with no equipment.

It works the multifidus, erector spinae, transverse abdominus, oblique muscles.

The purpose of this exercise is to Increase low back strength and muscular endurance. By doing this exercise you can have the benefits of Improved stability, functional strength and injury prevention


Begin lying on your back.

Extend arms above head flat on floor.

Activate core and lift knees above hips and maintain a 90/90 hip and knee position.

Activate core.

Lift one arm off the floor and raise it towards ceiling until above shoulder level while simultaneously extending one leg downward towards floor.

Pause momentarily.

Return to start position, alternating sides.

Core activation should be maintained throughout entire exercise.

Repeat for recommended repetitions and sets.

© 2005-2010 WebExercises, Inc., Patent Pending, All Rights Reserved.