A systematic research review found that patients with chronic back pain can experience improvements in pain, disability, and quality of life if they engage in some form of ongoing physical activity, whether it is an exercise routine or simply taking daily walks.
Basically, just plain ol' walking is good for your low back pain.
But most people don't walk more than in and out from the house, or in and out from the store - short walks. You need a long walk for the body to really relax into a rhythm and extend the hips.
It is the opposite of sitting...
My guess is most of you don't look like that when you're sitting though...
Sitting shortens the hip muscles in the front, and reduces flexibility of the low back so that it can't react to the stresses of daily life as well.
So get out and stretch those legs!
Source: Disability and Rehabilitation, December 2017
There are two types of muscle fibers that stabilize and move the hips and lower extremities. The first kind are called Tonic muscle fibers and they are always working to keep us stable when we're not lying down. They tend to be tight and short. During rest, they can get tight and need to be stretched when we are active again.
Important Tonic muscles in the hip area are the Iliopsoas (or hip flexor) and hamstring muscles. Below I will describe two stretches for them:
For the Iliopsoas, stand and take a step forward with one foot. Make sure your hips are facing forward and you're not twisting to one side. Tuck your butt so that your lower back curve flattens out a bit. This should create a stretch in the groin on the leg that is behind you. Hold for 30 seconds and take a few deep breaths. Do this multiple times per day - and the longer you sit, the more you should do it.
The hamstring stretch you're going to do lying down on your back. Scoot close to a doorway where you can put one foot up against the front of the door jam with the other leg extending through the doorway opening. (If you're really inflexible, you may only be able to put your foot up on the door jam a couple feet. The more flexible you are, the further up the door jam you can put your foot and the more straight up and down your leg will be.) Then do the following:
The other type of muscle fibers are called "phasic". They only work when needed and tend to be weak and thus require strengthening instead of stretching. Important phasic muscles of the hip area are the abdominal and buttock. Below are two strengthening exercises for them:
For the abs, a basic "crunch" will do. Lie on your back, clasp your hands behind your head and lift your head and shoulders off of the floor a couple inches and hold it for as long as you can while taking a few deep breaths. Repeat 3 times.
For your Gluteal muscles or your Butt, stand and bring one leg slightly behind you so that the toes of that foot are pointed touching the floor. Shift your weight to the leg in front so that the foot in back is just for balance and lift the rear leg up being careful to feel your butt contracting and doing the work. Squeeze it as tightly as you can as you lift your back leg while standing strong on your forward leg. Repeat 10x. Do the same thing on the other side.
Depending on what kind of hip pain you have, I may recommend further exercises that you can perform at home as part of your treatment plan.
Driver distraction is one of the most important factors in a car crash. According to a survey of 6,000 drivers by the NHTSA, 20% of those in the 18-20 year old group and 30% of those 21-34 years old believed that texting did not affect their driving.
Of the 6,000 drivers surveyed, 6% had been in a crash the previous year and 7% with near misses. Here are some interesting things from the survey:
Researchers from the Monash University Accident Research Centre in Australia found that texting severely impaired driving skills, as participants spent 400% more time with their eyes off the road.
Hands-free devices aren't without risks either. The brain is distracted when talking, as attention is shifted from the road to the conversation—especially if the conversation is tense. Interestingly, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute reported that voice-to-text offers no safety advantage over manual texting while the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported voice-activated in-car technologies “dangerously undermine driver attention.”
To summarize, avoid all distractions while driving and keep your eyes on the road!
Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS for short, results from the compression of a nerve as it travels through the wrist. Typical symptoms associated with CTS include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the thumb, index, middle, and ring finger (usually not the pinkie).
In non-emergency situations, standard treatment recommends that patients undergo conservative care before considering more invasive procedures, like surgery. This article will look at the differences between standard medical care vs. chiropractic care to treat CTS.
In a case study series, researchers divided 91 patients with confirmed signs and symptoms of CTS into two groups: one receiving standard medical care utilizing ibuprofen and night splints; and one group receiving chiropractic care which included manipulation of the upper extremity bony joints and soft tissues, as well as spinal manipulation.
Researchers monitored improvement with self-reports, nerve conduction studies, and vibrometric sensation testing of the affected hand. Both groups experienced an improvement in comfort, finger sensation, and nerve conduction velocity; however, vibrometric sensation testing revealed greater improvements among members of the chiropractic treatment group (3.05 decibels vs. 1.37 decibels).
The authors of the study point out that chiropractic provides an alternative form of non-surgical care, and patients with CTS should be offered the option, especially for those who cannot take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) due to intolerance like stomach irritation or liver-kidney issues.
Personal preference is also important in the decision making process for CTS. Other options suggested by doctors of chiropractic include work modifications, ice therapy, and nutritional options such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia, bromelain, fish oil, amongst others.
Specific stretching exercises are also recommended that can be done at home and work. The treatment plan for the CTS patient will often include a combination of these options in order to achieve a satisfying outcome.
Torticollis, also called "wry neck", is a condition where a person has a twisting of the head and neck outside of a normal neutral position without consciously trying to. There are many potential causes for torticollis from sleeping in the wrong position to an injury to the neck, like whiplash. However, it’s commonly not known what causes it.
Torticollis often occurs wihout warning, and with no obvious cause or history. Typically it presents in the office like “When I woke up, I couldn’t turn my head!” It can occur at any age and may disappear on its own in a few days to weeks, but in rare cases, it can persist for months or years!
Because of the painful nature of it, most people quickly seek healthcare services, which can include going to a doctor of chiropractic. Once the more serious causes of torticollis are ruled out (such as bacterial meningitis or fracture), conservative treatment can proceed.
Chiropractic care often includes things like stretching, manual cervical traction, spinal mobilization, and myofascial release massage techniques help to restore the lost range of motion that happens with this condition. Your chiropractor may also use physical therapy modalities and or provide instruction on home-based exercises and other self-management strategies.
Low back pain is a common problem that many of us have had at some point. Research shows that about 80% of adults experience low back pain in their lifetime. It's the leading cause of job-related disability and missed work days and according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 25% of adults have had a recent episode.
Men and women are equally affected by Low Back Pain. It can occur abruptly following a specific incident (such as lifting incorrectly), or it can develop slowly over time due to wear and tear on the spine. Studies show a sedentary lifestyle can set the stage for developing Low Back Pain, especially when it’s followed by strenuous weekend workouts.
Although about 80% of acute Low Back Pain (defined as lasting a few days to weeks) resolves with self-care or short-term management, about 20% of those with acute Low Back Pain will still have persistent symptoms after a year. (then termed chronic) So what can be done to manage chronic Low Back Pain and prevent disability?
One study looked specifically at spinal manipulative therapy or SMT (What Chiropractors do) to determine its effectiveness in managing chronic Low Back Pain, which they defined as Low Back Pain that persists for more than six months.
Researchers assigned a group of patients to receive either sham treatment for one month, treatment for one month but no treatment at all after that one month period, or the month of treatment followed by SMT 2x/month for the following nine months.
The researchers found that both groups two and three experienced lower pain and disability than the sham treatment group at the end of the first 30 days. However, only the third group had more improvement with pain and disability at the ten-month evaluation!
Without continued treatment, the second group’s pain scores almost returned back pre-treatment levels. The authors conclude that SMT is effective for chronic nonspecific LBP, but to obtain longer-lasting benefit, patients should continue to receive care on an ongoing basis.
I would add that it would be important to refer to another professional if the cause of the Low Back Pain can't be found.
Using Functional MRI brain scans, researchers found that those with lower levels of activity in the Prefrontal Cortex were more anxious, moody and depressed.
The Prefrontal Cortex is the area of the brain responsible for complex mental tasks, and activity here is critical if you want to be a high functioning human being.
The researcher Dr. Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, explained how the findings could greatly help those with anxiety and depression related conditions.
The article didn't talk about ways to increase activity in the Prefrontal Cortex but I know that meditation is one of the most powerful.
source: Cerebral Cortex, Nov 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhx304