Category: Blog

What Is Spinal Manipulation?

Could “cracking your back” be the solution for backaches and headaches? The answer is yes, claim advocates of spinal manipulation.

Spinal manipulation, also called spinal manipulative therapy or manual therapy, combines moving and jolting joints, massage, exercise, and physical therapy. It’s designed to relieve pressure on joints, reduce inflammation, and improve nerve function. It’s often used to treat back, neck, shoulder, and headache pain. Chiropractors use it to treat other disorders too, such as menstrual pain and sinus problems.

Today, spinal manipulation is used in both Western and traditional Asian medicine. In North America, it’s usually performed by chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, and physical and occupational therapists.

A Long History

Forms of manipulative therapy have been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world, including Indonesia, Asia, India, Russia, and Norway. Writings from China in 2700 B.C. and from Greece in 1500 B.C. mention manipulating the spine and legs to ease back pain. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who is viewed as the founder of medicine as a rational science, describes manipulative techniques in his writings.

Spinal manipulation gained and lost favor with physicians many times through the mid-1800s. It was viewed as a practice of folk healers, called bone setters, whose successes were attributed to luck.

How Current Methods Evolved

Modern spinal manipulation traces its roots to nineteenth century America. Disillusioned by the deaths of his three children, a doctor named Andrew Taylor Still developed the theory that diseases were caused by displaced bones and muscles interfering with the body’s circulatory system. He turned to spinal manipulation as a non-drug, holistic method of correcting body imbalances and restoring health. In doing so, he became the father of modern osteopathy.

Daniel David Palmer developed the theory that diseases were caused by spinal misalignments, or subluxations, that block the transmission of the body’s own healing power through the nervous system. His theories would eventually form the basis of chiropractic medicine.

What Does It Involve?

There are over 100 types of spinal adjustments used by chiropractors worldwide. Some use force and twisting (spinal manipulation), while others techniques are more gentle (spinal mobilization). In addition, practitioners use ice and heat therapy, electric stimulation, traction devices that stretch the spine, and ultrasound for deep tissue heating. Most procedures are done on a padded, adjustable table. Parts of the table can be dropped as an adjustment is being done, adding different forces to the movement.

Does It Work?

Measuring the effectiveness of spinal manipulation is difficult because it doesn’t lend itself to traditional studies. A 2007 study found spinal manipulation to be moderately effective in easing chronic low back pain lasting four or more weeks. Researchers said it was also slightly to moderately effective in easing the acute low back pain that lasted less than four weeks. Another study showed that six weeks of mobilization treatments helped treat neck pain in almost 70 percent of participants.

Is It Safe?

Spinal adjustment is usually safe when it’s performed by someone trained and licensed to deliver the care. Serious complications are rare but can include herniated disks, compressed nerves, and even a stroke after neck manipulation.

 

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Chronic Knee Pain: Causes & Symptoms

What is chronic knee pain?

Chronic knee pain is long-term pain, swelling, or sensitivity in one or both knees. The cause of your knee pain can determine the symptoms you experience. Many conditions can cause or contribute to chronic knee pain, and many treatments exist. Each person’s experience with chronic knee pain will be different.

What causes chronic knee pain?

Temporary knee pain is different from chronic knee pain. Many people experience temporary knee pain as a result of an injury or accident. Chronic knee pain rarely goes away without treatment, and it isn’t always attributable to one incident. It’s most often the result of several causes or conditions.

Physical conditions or diseases can cause knee pain. These include:

  • osteoarthritis: pain, inflammation, and joint destruction caused by degeneration and deterioration of the joint
  • tendinitis: pain in the front of the knee that is made worse when climbing, taking stairs, or walking up an incline
  • bursitis: inflammation caused by repeated overuse or injury of the knee
  • chondromalacia patella: damaged cartilage under the kneecap
  • gout: arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid
  • Baker’s cyst: a buildup of synovial fluid (fluid that lubricates the joint) behind the knee
  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA): a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disorder that causes painful swelling and can eventually cause joint deformity and bone erosion
  • dislocation: dislocation of the kneecap most often the result of trauma
  • meniscus tear: a rupture in one or more of the cartilage in the knee
  • torn ligament: tear in one of the four ligaments in the knee — the most commonly injured ligament is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • bone tumors: osteosarcoma (second most prevalent bone cancer), most commonly occurs in the knee

Factors that may make chronic knee pain worse:

  • injuries to the structure of the knee can cause bleeding and swelling and can create a chronic problem over time if not treated properly
  • sprains and strains
  • overuse
  • infection
  • bad posture and form when doing physical activity
  • not warming up or cooling down before or after physical activity
  • improperly stretching the muscles

Who is at risk for chronic knee pain?

People who are overweight or obese are at a greater risk for knee problems. For every pound that you are overweight, your knee must absorb an extra 4 pounds of pressure when you walk, run, or climb stairs.

Other factors that increase your risk for chronic knee pain include:

  • age
  • previous injuries or trauma
  • athletic activity or physical exercise

What are the symptoms of chronic knee pain?

The symptoms of chronic knee pain are different for each person, and the cause for the knee pain often affects how the pain feels. Chronic knee pain may present as a:

  • constant ache
  • sharp, shooting pain when in use
  • dull burning discomfort

You may also experience chronic swelling and pain when the knee is touched.

Diagnosing chronic knee pain

Each possible cause of chronic knee pain requires different diagnostic tests. These include blood work, physical examination, X-rays, CT scan or MRI, and other imaging tests. The condition your doctor thinks you have will determine the types of tests you will undergo to see what’s causing your chronic knee pain.

Treating chronic knee pain

Each underlying cause of chronic knee pain has a specific type of treatment. These treatments may include:

Bursitis, a common cause of knee pain, is treated in the following ways:

Ice the knee for 15 minutes once an hour for three or four hours. Do not apply the ice directly to the knee; instead, cover your knee with a cotton towel. Place ice in a plastic zip-close bag, and then place the bag on the towel.

Wear cushioned, flat shoes that support your feet and don’t exacerbate your pain.

Avoid sleeping on your side. Use pillows positioned on either side of your body to prevent you from rolling onto your side. When lying on your side, keep a pillow between your knees.

Stay seated when possible. If you have to stand, avoid hard surfaces and keep your weight equally divided on both legs.

Lose weight if you are overweight or obese.

What is the long-term outlook for chronic knee pain?

Some knee pain, especially pain caused by osteoarthritis, will likely be permanent. That’s because the structure of the knee is damaged. Without surgery or another type of extensive treatment, you’ll continue to feel pain, inflammation, and swelling in your knee.

The long-term outlook for chronic knee pain involves managing pain, preventing flare-ups, and working to reduce irritation to the knee.

How can chronic knee pain be prevented?

You can prevent some, but not all, of the possible causes of knee pain. But you can’t prevent chronic knee pain. There are things you can do to alleviate the pain.

If your chronic knee pain gets worse because of overuse or tends to be the most painful after physical activity, you can make lifestyle changes to help treat the pain. These approaches include:

  • Warm up before exercise. Stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings before and after exercise.
  • Try low-impact exercises. Instead of tennis or running, give swimming or bicycling a shot. Or mix low-impact exercises with high-impact exercises to give your knees a break.
  • Lose weight.
  • Walk down hills. Running puts extra force on your knee. Instead of running down an incline, walk.
  • Stick to paved surfaces. Rough roads or pocked walkways may be hazardous to your knee’s health. Stick to smooth, paved surfaces like a track or walking area.
  • Get support. Shoe inserts can help treat foot or gait problems that may be contributing to knee pain.
  • Replace your running shoes frequently to ensure they still have proper support and cushioning.

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13 Foods That Are Good for High Blood Pressure

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, refers to the pressure of blood against your artery walls. Over time, high blood pressure can cause blood vessel damage that leads to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems. Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer because it produces no symptoms and can go unnoticed — and untreated — for years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 75 million Americans have high blood pressure. Many risk factors for high blood pressure are out of your control, such as age, family history, gender, and race. But there are also factors you can control, such as exercise and diet. A diet that can help control blood pressure is rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber and lower in sodium.

Read on to learn which foods can help you fight hypertension.

1. Leafy greens

Potassium helps your kidneys get rid of more sodium through your urine. This, in turn, lowers your blood pressure.

Leafy greens, which are high in potassium, include:

  • romaine lettuce
  • arugula
  • kale
  • turnip greens
  • collard greens
  • spinach
  • beet greens
  • Swiss chard

Canned vegetables often have added sodium. But frozen vegetables contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables, and they’re easier to store. You can also blend these veggies with bananas and nut milk for a healthy, sweet green juice.

2. Berries

Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. One study found that consuming these compounds might prevent hypertension and help lower blood pressure.

Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet. You can put them on your cereal or granola in the morning, or keep frozen berries on hand for a quick and healthy dessert.

3. Red beets

Beets are high in nitric oxide, which can help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Researchers also found that the nitrates in beetroot juice lowered research participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours.

You can juice your own beets or simply cook and eat the whole root. Beetroot is delicious when roasted or added to stir-fries and stews. You can also bake them into chips. Be careful when handling beets — the juice can stain your hands and clothes.

4. Skim milk and yogurt

Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. You can also opt for yogurt if you don’t like milk.

According to the American Heart Association, women who ate five or more servings of yogurt a week experienced a 20 percent reduction in their risk of developing high blood pressure.

Try incorporating granola, almond slivers, and fruits into your yogurt for extra heart-healthy benefits. When buying yogurt, be sure to check for added sugar. The lower the sugar quantity per serving, the better.

5. Oatmeal

Oatmeal fits the bill for a high-fiber, low-fat, and low-sodium way to lower your blood pressure. Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to fuel up for the day.

Overnight oats are a popular breakfast option. To make them, soak 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1/2 cup of nut milk in a jar. In the morning, stir and add berries, granola, and cinnamon to taste.

6. Bananas

Eating foods that are rich in potassium is better than taking supplements. Slice a banana into your cereal or oatmeal for a potassium-rich addition. You can also take one to go along with a boiled egg for a quick breakfast or snack.

7. Salmon, mackerel, and fish with omega-3s

Fish are a great source of lean protein. Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides. In addition to these fish sources, trout contains vitamin D. Foods rarely contain vitamin D, and this hormone-like vitamin has properties that can lower blood pressure.

One benefit of preparing fish is that it’s easy to flavor and cook. To try it, place a fillet of salmon in parchment paper and season with herbs, lemon, and olive oil. Bake the fish in a preheated oven at 450°F for 12-15 minutes.

8. Seeds

Unsalted seeds are high in potassium, magnesium, and other minerals are known to reduce blood pressure. Enjoy ¼ a cup of sunflower, pumpkin, or squash seeds as a snack between meals.

9. Garlic and herbs

One review notes that garlic can help reduce hypertension by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps promote vasodilation, or the widening of arteries, to reduce blood pressure.

Incorporating flavorful herbs and spices into your daily diet can also help you cut back on your salt intake. Examples of herbs and spices you can add include basil, cinnamon, thyme, rosemary, and more.

10. Dark chocolate

A 2015 study found that eating dark chocolate is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study suggests that up to 100 grams per day of dark chocolate may be associated with a lower risk of CVD.

Dark chocolate contains more than 60 percent cocoa solids and has less sugar than regular chocolate. You can add dark chocolate to yogurt or eat it with fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, as a healthy dessert.

11. Pistachios

Pistachios are a healthy way to decrease blood pressure by reducing peripheral vascular resistance, or blood vessel tightening, and heart rate. One study found that a diet with one serving of pistachios a day helps reduce blood pressure.

You can incorporate pistachios into your diet by adding them to crusts, pesto sauces, and salads, or by eating them plain as a snack.

12. Olive oil

Olive oil is an example of a healthy fat. It contains polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that can help reduce blood pressure.

Olive oil can help you meet your two to three daily servings of fat as part of the DASH diet (see below for more about this diet). It’s also a great alternative to canola oil, butter, or commercial salad dressing.

13. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a healthy fruit that you can enjoy raw or as a juice. One study concluded that drinking a cup of pomegranate juice once a day for four weeks helps lower blood pressure over the short term.

Pomegranate juice is tasty with a healthy breakfast. Be sure to check the sugar content in store-bought juices, as the added sugars can negate the health benefits.

The bottom line

Through a heart-healthy diet, you can reduce your risks for hypertension and promote good health overall.

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Regular Massage Benefits

If you’ve ever had a massage, you know it is pleasant and relaxing. You may not have realized it can also have physical and emotional benefits if it is done regularly. There are several types of massage, from deep-tissue therapies to gentle Swedish treatments. They don’t replace medical treatment, but they can benefit your body and mind if you have them done on an ongoing basis.

Pain Relief

Regular massages help with pain management. The therapist can concentrate on stiff muscles and specific problem areas, loosening them and increasing blood circulation. This temporarily relieves pain from sports injuries, arthritis, and other conditions. You may not need as much pain medication if you get massages regularly.

Immune System Support

Many studies have shown regular messages support immune system function and decrease stress-related hormones that can lower immunity. For example, New Jersey researchers found college students who were stressed about an upcoming exam had better immune system function and less anxiety when they received a message.

Fibromyalgia Relief

Studies at the Touch Research Institutes in Miami showed that massage relieves fibromyalgia-related pain. The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology reports massage therapy lowered stress hormones, anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia sufferers and worked more quickly than transcutaneous electrical stimulation.

Stress Management

Regular massages are an effective stress- management technique. Stress is often caused by being overcommitted and overwhelmed with home, work, and family obligations. A weekly or bi-weekly massage forces you to take time out for yourself for a pleasurable, relaxing activity.

Management of Emotional Disorders

Massage therapy can help you to manage emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety as part of an overall treatment plan. Massage is soothing, nurturing and relaxing. It can improve your state of mind if you concentrate on releasing negative thoughts during the treatment. You can incorporate visualization exercises in which you picture yourself in pleasant surroundings during the massage.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Tiffany Field, executive director of the Touch Research Institutes (TRI) in Miami, discovered massage can improve ADHD symptoms in teenagers. Adolescents who received ten or 15-minute massages for 10 consecutive days all showed positive changes. They felt happier and their teachers reported better behavior. Other TRI studies have shown that youngsters with ADHD benefit from twice-monthly massage therapy.

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How to Avoid Back Injuries

A lower back injury is not the only cause of lower back pain. Repetitive stress and poor posture can be detrimental to the spine by inducing muscle strain and problems with the soft tissue. The lower spine has only five motion segments, so it’s no surprise that over time, they get worn down.

What are some habits you can practice to avoid lower back pain? Let’s take a look.

  • Be wary when traveling. Traveling long distances in cramped little settings is everything but comfortable. The body starts to ache and complain when it’s been stationary for too long. Pay attention to these cues! You’re not weak, your body is trying to signal discomfort and potential injury. If you’re on a road trip, make stops to get out and walk or do some lunges. If you’re on the plane, be that passenger who takes frequent strolls down the aisle- you’ll thank yourself later.
  • Correct posture. Incorrect posture requires the back to do more work, as it has to protect itself from the lack of support you are providing. Keep your shoulders back, set and your core tightened. Check yourself out when you walk my windows- can you look a little straighter?
  • Exercise your core. This is so important! The world works to achieve equilibrium, and the body compensates when one muscle group is weaker than another. A strong core combats an overworking back. Think of the entire middle section being utilized to lift, to twist, to keep your organs nestled inside nice and safe. They must work in tandem. If your core is weak, the back does all the heavy lifting. So help your lower back’s muscle groups and get that six pack. If that’s too lofty a goal, no need to worry. Any exercise is good for your lower spine- going up and down the stairs, walking outside, or sitting on an exercise ball (more difficult than it sounds).
  • Keep general health in tip-top condition. Health is the best defense against all aging setbacks and injuries. Make lifestyle adjustments and health improvements whenever possible. Drink plenty of water, move often and eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
  • Lift heavy objects correctly. If and when you have to lift remember- use your legs! Don’t dump all the weight and strain into the lower back. Let your legs that have so diligently carried you through your life provide some additional support.
  • Practice athletic integrity. It doesn’t matter how strong or fit you are, new activities and physical forms jeopardize the body if not done correctly. Even if you are a triathlete and think a yoga class will be a synch, be careful moving into each posture. Correct form- no matter how easy it looks- is the only way to practice athletics safely.
  • Stretch the hamstrings

Tight hamstrings leave little wiggle room for the lower back to solicit help when moving, lifting, twisting or bending. Flexible hamstrings provide additional support to the lower back muscles. If you are already experiencing lower back pain, be careful with which hamstring stretches you choose. It’s best to consult your physician, PT or chiropractor on which stretches to practice.

A preventative measure can make a world of a difference when it comes to back treatment. Whether you struggle with sciatica or face no symptoms of pain, do yourself a favor and take these cautionary measures. If you need more intensive care and treatment for your pain, come see us at BackFit Health + Spine.

What Is Spinal Decompression & How Does It Work?

What is spinal decompression?

Back decompression is a nonsurgical therapy used to alleviate back and/or leg pain. Spinal decompression treatment involves used a traction table to stretch the spine so that pinched nerves or bulging discs can return to their appropriate place.

Traction and decompression create a conducive healing environment for bulging and herniated discs that tend to cause pain in the back and legs. Decompression creates space in the spine, relieving intra discs of pressure, allowing any bulging material to return to its respective space. By taking pressure off the discs, the material has a chance to breathe, to slow and to accept nutrients necessary for its healing.

How does decompression therapy work?

In a controlled setting, a chiropractor uses a traction table to intermittently and consistently stretch and relax the spine. During the intervals of additional space, bulging material is brought back into the disc and a passageway for healing nutrients is created to the spine’s misalignments can heal.

When patients undergo lumbar spine decompression therapy, they lie face down on the table and get harnessed in around the hips. The harness attaches to the lower table near the feet; this part of the table will slide back and forth, subtly, to create the sensation of relaxation and physically introduce new space into the spine. Some therapies have patients lie facing up- leave it up to your chiropractor to determine which method is best for your healing.

What can I expect from decompression therapy?

Except to sign up for 15-30 treatments, each at 30-45 minutes, depending on the chiropractor’s suggested. The treatments should be completed in a four to six-week span.

The chiropractor might apply additional treatments during your sessions, such as cold therapy, heat therapy, ultrasound or electric stimulation.

Some insurance providers cover traction therapy, but it varies plan to plan. Make sure to check with your provider or switch to a carrier that can help cover the costs.

Are there any precautions to take during therapy?

  • Drink extra water during your treatment period
  • Rest often
  • Consult your chiropractor about nutritional supplements
  • Complement your program with appropriated at-home exercises  

Who are the ideal candidates for spinal decompression?

  • Patients with sciatica, back pain or neck pain caused by herniated, bulging or degenerated disc(s)

Who should not receive spinal decompression?

  • Pregnant women
  • Patients with failed back surgery
  • Patients with spinal fusions
  • Patients with vertebrae fractures
  • Patients with artificial discs or other spinal implants

Herniated discs can cause severe discomfort. If left untreated, they can impact one’s livelihood. If you experience pain in the lower limbs or tingling and numbness through the shoulders and arms, it’s important to see your physician or chiropractor right away. These tell-tales are not immediate signs that you have a bulging disc, but they’re reliable indicators that something is not functioning as it’s supposed to. In the event of bulging material, it is likely that you can remedy the situation without resorting to surgery.

At BackFit Spine + Health, we believe passionately in assessing the body from a holistic point of view. We get to know your work habits, your life style, your posture tendencies, your diet and your stresses. We evaluate your spinal health by looking at the entire body and your entire life.

If spinal decompression is the most appropriate treatment for you, we will be here to guide you through every session, and we will work with you to create an optimal exercise or physical therapy rehabilitation program to supplement the therapy. Your spinal health is so important, don’t take it for granted or assume any lingering pain will pass. Come in and see us, and get the best chiropractic care in AZ.  

Do You Have a Bulging Disc in Your Lower Back?

Bulging discs are common in adults and often associated with lower back and leg pain. Most often, the discs herniate (bulge out of place) in the lower back, also called the lumbar spine. Sometimes, discs bulge near the cervical spine.

Although leg and lower back pain are not alone sufficient to assume you have a bulging disc, you should pay special attention to the following symptoms:

  • Weakness

Muscles that receive signals and energy from the respective disc’s nerves will begin to weaken. Notice if you are developing tendencies of stumbling or failed capacity to lift and hold weight or objects.

  • Arm and leg pain

Herniation in the lower spine can manifest as pain in the lower body, specifically the buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet. Herniation near the neck can manifest as pain in the upper body, including the shoulders and arms. In both cases, you might notice intensified pain upon twists or coughing.

  • Numbness

The same areas that get affected by muscle weakness might experience a sensation of tingling or numbness. Do not avoid these tell-tale signs of a herniated disc!

Again, these are the common symptoms of bulging discs; they are not alone enough to diagnose a herniated disc. Bugling spinal discs can only be diagnosed by an MRI. If you experience pain in the arms and legs, and it is accompanied by numbness or tingling, it’s time to see a doctor and get an MRI.

Here are additional disc insights to bear in mind when diagnosing your lumbar health:

  • Some bulging of discs is normal and nothing about which to be concerned. Throughout the day, the water content discs fluctuate. Depending on when you get your MRI, the spine might show some natural filling of fluid, making it appear that discs are bulging, even if only slightly.
  • The body is compromised when a disc is injured enough to obstruct its nerve tissue. When the nerve tissue is affected, its attached muscles and function will be affected, resulting in larger issues in the body. If the bulging disc is not imposing on any nerves, it might not be problematic in the patient.

What causes my discs to bulge?

  • Age-related disc degeneration is the most common cause of herniation. As the body gets older, discs lose their water content. Without protective fluid, the discs are left without great flexibility and become subject to rupturing.
  • Lifting from the back instead of from the legs and thighs can severely increase your likelihood of herniated discs.   
  • Overweight patients are prone to placing too much stress on the discs, causing them to slip.
  • Some patients with herniation are burdened by genetics that presents a predisposition to developing bulging discs.
  • Occupation-based disc herniation is also common; if your job requires you to lift and twist often, you might develop this condition.

What are my options for bulging disc treatment?

  • Avoid heavy lifting, jumping, bending and sitting for too long at a time
  • Eliminate processed foods from the diet
  • Practice bulging disc exercises. Try lying on the back and tucking the knees into the chest or take an assisted bridge position for a few breaths at a time.
  • Consider using an inversion therapy table- you will want to ask your chiropractor about this option.

If you think you might have a bulging disc or bulging discs, don’t hesitate to come and see one of our specialists at BackFit Spine + Health. We can readily assess your spinal health and determine the course of action to take to keep you feeling healthy and limber.

The Role of Micronutrients in Sports Nutrition

INDIVIDUALIZED NUTRITION for the ATHLETE

From a nutritional standpoint, the athlete’s focus should include both macronutrients – protein for muscle rebuilding, carbohydrates for energy renewal, fats for nerve function – as well as the critically important micronutrients – which are the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids your body needs to function optimally every day and over a lifetime.
We are all biochemically unique, and several factors affect our personal micro nutrient needs – age, lifestyle, intensity of physical training, prescription drug usage, past and present illnesses or injuries, absorption rate, genetics and more. The “normal” amount of each micronutrient varies from athlete to athlete, and even in the same athlete depending on circumstances in his or her life.
SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing measures 33 vitamins and minerals in your body, but goes even further – it measures functional, long-term levels within the cell, which means SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing evaluates how well your body actually utilizes each nutrient.

DEMAND, SYNERGY, and BALANCE of MICRONUTRIENTS

The athlete’s need for micronutrients may fluctuate wildly depending on the intensity and duration of training. Even with a superb diet, deficiencies often exist. For example, higher levels of folate and vitamin B12 are needed to repair damaged cells as well as to synthesize new ones, especially red blood cells. Mineral depletion is common after strenuous activity. Plus, micronutrients work synergistically – the status of one affects the function of another. Vitamin C replenishes the antioxidant glutathione. Vitamin A is better absorbed in the presence of oleic acid. Vitamin D and calcium only protect bones when both are present. And although athletes may have higher requirements for some nutrients, a “more is better” approach can be dangerous when applied indiscriminately. Too much zinc ingestion can induce a copper deficiency, for example. Over-supplementation with antioxidants can actually have a pro-oxidant (harmful) effect. Nutrients need to be balanced. Targeted supplementation and personalized nutrition is key.

MUSCLE RECOVERY and FATIGUE

The speed in which major muscles recover after an intense workout is largely dependent on the body’s nutritional reserve. Supplementation with vitamin C can reduce post-exercise muscle soreness and decreases levels of an enzyme (creatine kinase) associated with damaged muscle. Supplementation with the amino acid carnitine yields similar results: less muscle soreness and fewer biochemical indications of tissue damage after physical exertion.
In addition to repairing muscle tissue post-workout, micronutrients also delay muscle fatigue during workouts. Supplementation with the amino acids asparagine and carnitine increase the capacity for muscles to utilize free fatty acids and spare glycogen, thus improving endurance. In one animal study, time to exhaustion was increased by 40% in the supplemented group. Nutrients benefit more than skeletal muscle. A study on female runners demonstrated that folic acid improves vascular function. Clinically, this meant that folic acid improved the smooth muscle function of their arteries leading to better blood flow during training.

CELLULAR ENERGY PRODUCTION

Inside every muscle cell, there is a “cellular powerhouse” known to biologists as a mitochondrion, whose primary function is to generate energy. Although smaller than a cell, the mitochondria need copious amounts of micronutrients to power the muscles, nerves, and heart. Lacking even a single micronutrient can compromise the efficiency with which the mitochondria fuel muscles. For the athlete, this means decreased endurance or strength. Powerful nutrients like carnitine, lipoic acid, and coenzyme Q10 are critical cofactors specific to the mitochondrial function. Many B vitamins – biotin, B1, B2, B3, and B6 – directly impact energy pathways in the mitochondria. Vitamin E protects ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the energy “currency” of our bodies, while vitamin A maintains cellular equilibrium when energy production ramps up.

Vitamin K helps harness the energy once it is created. Clinical nutrition vitamins and minerals such as magnesium are needed to activate the entire energy production process. The implication is clear: correct deficiencies to optimize energy metabolism. Ultimately, this improves gross motor function like muscle contraction and power.

MINIMIZING OXIDATIVE STRESS

Intense physical training generates substantial oxidative stress. Maximizing antioxidant status in athletes is critical in order to heal post-workout damage. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and cysteine prevent exercise induced damage to cells. Vitamin E reduces lipid peroxidation (protects cell membranes) during strenuous exercise and decreases the amount of damaging compounds in the blood called isoprostanes, which are formed during times of high oxidative stress. Antioxidants play multiple roles. A study on elite athletes showed that in addition to protecting cells from damage, supplementation with vitamin E influences mineral metabolism. Men who took 300mg of vitamin E daily maintained higher levels of chromium, manganese, copper, zinc, and calcium after training than a similar but un-supplemented group.

SpectraCell’s Spectrox™ test measures total antioxidant function giving the athlete a picture of how well his or her body is responding to the exercise-induced stress that occurs. When male runners were monitored using SpectraCell’s Spectrox™ test, results showed a dramatic decrease in antioxidant function after running at max speed for 20 minutes daily. The Spectrox™ score enables the athlete to monitor cellular “wear and tear” and develop an appropriate supplementation regimen based on the results.

OMEGA-3 FATS for CONCUSSION PROTECTION

For athletes, the threat of concussion is real. One particular nutrient – DHA – which is a type of fatty acid, protects against concussion. Although concussion is usually associated with swelling and bleeding in the brain, tearing of neurons and their connecting fibers is also a major component of traumatic brain injury that occurs so often in athletes. And although the moment of impact often causes much of the physical damage to nerve tissue, we now know that this damage also sets off a cascade of events in the brain that continues to damage nerve tissue after the initial trauma. DHA stimulates the growth of healthy neuronal tissue in response to injury. Omega-3 fats also decrease cell death in the brain, reduce oxidative stress caused by the injury and enhances the activity of antioxidant enzymes needed for healing. Clinically, this has been demonstrated in animal studies. After an induced brain injury, rats given DHA supplements had less evidence of tissue damage than did their non-supplemented counterparts.

The effects of omega-3 supplements for athletes go beyond concussion protection. Studies show omega-3 fats can improve lung capacity, reaction time and mood in athletes. In addition, muscle soreness is decreased in those with higher Omega-3 levels. Given the link between oxidative stress and pain, these results are not unexpected, since omega-3 fats have powerful pain reducing effects in other tissues besides muscle.

IMMUNITY and HORMONE REGULATION in the ATHLETE

The amino acid glutamine is synthesized in skeletal muscles. Evidence suggests that while moderate exercise is associated with improved glutamine function, exhaustive training programs induce glutamine deficiency, resulting in decreased immunity. Nutrients affect hormone levels as well. A study on men during intensive weight training for two weeks showed that supplementation with a form of the amino acid serine (phosphatidylserine) decreased post-exercise cortisol levels, reduced muscle soreness and minimized psychological depression that often accompanies overtraining.

A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH

Since so many nutrients are needed to keep our amazingly complex bodies functioning properly, a comprehensive assessment of your nutritional status is key. SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing evaluates every nutrient referenced here and more.

By SpectraCell Laboratories

Whiplash: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

Whiplash, also called neck sprain or neck strain, is an injury to the neck. Whiplash is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck. In whiplash, the intervertebral joints (located between vertebrae), discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots may become damaged.

What Causes Whiplash?

Whiplash is caused by an abrupt backward and/or forward jerking motion of the head, often as a result of a car accident.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. However, people who experience whiplash may develop one or more of the following symptoms, usually within the first few days after the injury:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
  • Low back pain
  • Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue

How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?

In most cases, injuries are to the soft tissues such as the discs, muscles, and ligaments, and cannot be seen on standard X-rays. Specialized imaging tests, such as CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be required to diagnose damage to the discs, muscles or ligaments that could be causing the symptoms of whiplash.

How Is Whiplash Treated?

Pain relief medications, along with gentle exercises, physical therapy, traction, massage, heat, ice, injections and ultrasound, all have been helpful for patients.

In the past, whiplash injuries were often treated with immobilization in a cervical collar. However, the current trend is to encourage early movement instead of immobilization. Ice is often recommended for the first 24 hours, followed by gentle, active movement.

Backfit Health + Spine has the most professional chiropractors that perform whiplash injury treatment with the best care.

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Chiropractor Care: Beyond Back Pain

Most individuals think that chiropractors are only useful when they experience neck, back or low back pain and seek relief. However, chiropractic adjustments and treatments have been used for a variety of ailments and conditions, many that you’d never believe. Gone are the days of chiropractors only being utilized when patients have back pain. Instead, chiropractors are being used for proactive and reactive treatments that address issues far more widespread than just back pain. The methods used are drug-free and surgery-free alternatives to provide patients with a route to healing naturally. While drugs and other conventional “treatments” may only treat or mask the symptoms, while chiropractic treatment can fix the problem at the source. Here are the main benefits of that you can receive when you choose to see your chiropractor.

Drug-free Chiropractic Pain Management– in a world that is dominated by quick fix prescriptions for all ailments, it is promising to know that chiropractic care can be a comparable alternative to drug options when it comes to certain conditions. By focusing more on what the cause of the pain or disruption to the body is, chiropractors are able to offer a holistic approach to correcting the problems at the source instead just reducing the symptoms. This is often one of the main benefits that patients of chiropractic care list as the most important benefit.

Customizable Treatments

Instead of treating every patient with the same treatment, chiropractic care is unique in the fact that there are a variety of tools and techniques that can be utilized. In doing so, chiropractors are able to develop and apply customized treatment plans that fit each patient specifically. Not all patients are created equal and everyone is affected by things differently, so it is important to note that each treatment plan should be as unique as the patient.

Low Risk/Non-Invasive

The most common side effect of chiropractic treatment is muscle soreness that comes from the muscles readjusting to proper joint alignment following a chiropractic adjustment. Unlike the crazy side effects of many medications on the market today, chiropractic treatment results in minor side effects such as fatigue and headaches. Obviously, chiropractic treatment is non-invasive and only conducted on a superficial level, so there are inherently no risks or side effects that are associated with invasive treatments.

 

Improved Nervous System Functioning

When the spine or other structures are out of alignment, nerves can become pinched and their function is compromised. The nerves in our nervous system alert us of pain and control all systems in our body including our immune system. So, it is very common that various illnesses or symptoms can be alleviated through chiropractic adjustments. Making sure that the body is functioning properly at the core is crucial to allowing the rest of the body to function as normal.

Treatment for Other Conditions

Besides treatment for back and neck pain, adjustments can be extremely beneficial for alleviating other conditions such as:

  • Headaches
  • Ear infections
  • Arthritis
  • Scoliosis
  • Asthma
  • Blood pressure
  • Posture
  • Stress
  • And More

 

Hopefully, it has become very evident that chiropractor for back pain is not the only reason to schedule your next appointment. At BackFit Health + Spine, we are committed to providing the very best chiropractic treatment for all your issues and conditions. You’ll find the very best chiropractors at each of our six Valley locations and be back to your normal life in no time with our customized treatments. Visit www.backfithealth.com/contact-us/ today to schedule your appointment with us and get rid of your aches and pains.

 

The Health Benefits of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a health technique used to cure people affected with pain due to some kind of illness, injury, or disability caused by exercise or wrong movement. It promotes health and fitness for a better well- being.

The therapy works on the science of movement. In addition to that, this practice helps people to expand their physical strength and overcome any kind of dysfunction caused by the pain. It is suitable for all ages, as it encourages patients to manage and recover from their illness and help them to remain independent after the treatment.

Physiotherapy profession is a degree-based profession that comes under healthcare. The Physiotherapists are skilled in figuring out the injury and treating them. Moreover, this treatment cures various ailments that are listed below:

  • It can cure strokes, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s that comes under Neurological disorders. In addition, it helps in treating patients with damaged spinal cord or brain resulting from trauma.
  • Orthopedic problems such as arthritis and amputations can be cured with the help of physiotherapy.
  • Musculoskeletal problems such as back and neck pain are treated with the help of physiotherapy.
  • Cardiovascular cases such as chronic heart diseases and rehabilitation after the heart attack is usually done by physiotherapy techniques.
  • Respiratory problems such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases can be cured with physiotherapy techniques.
  • Women’s health concerns through physiotherapy treatments involve pregnancy, breastfeeding, bedwetting, menopause, prolapsed, loss of bladder or bowel control, etc.
  • It helps in relieving patients with any kind of pain resulting from any treatment or injury.

Role of Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy is a profession based on science to ensure the well- being of the patient. It takes into consideration the general lifestyle of the patient. As this therapy involves direct participation by the patient, it ensures that the patients are sensitized through education, empowerment, and awareness in taking care of themselves. Thus, in turn, it helps them to recover faster. On the other hand, this treatment is beneficial all lifelong.

Physiotherapist cures back pain or sudden injury and manages the treatment of any kind of long-term medical conditions like asthma, childbirth, orthopedic, chronic pain, neurological, cardiorespiratory, etc. Besides, they also treat the sportsperson during an injury in the sporting event.

Physiotherapy Techniques

Various techniques come under physiotherapy, a variety of techniques are used depending on the nature of the injury. Let us have a look at some of the techniques: –

  • Manual manipulation- The movement of joints and soft tissues helps to improve the blood circulation, drained body fluid with this technique. It also helps in the relaxation of tight muscles or muscles with spasms.
  • Electrical nerve stimulation- In this technique small electrical current are applied to areas affected by the pain. This, in turn, blocks all the pain signals that are transferred to the brain. As a result, the patient is relieved from the pain.
  • Acupuncture- In this technique needles are used to minimize pain and functionally improve the muscles by releasing pain. The immune system and various body functions can be regulated with the use of this technique.
  • Demonstration- Making patients learn various movement patterns of the body to help them to recover by helping themselves.
  • Functional testing- This technique helps to determine the endurance and physical abilities of the patient.
  • Device provision- This involves prescription, fabrication, and application of the necessary equipment as required.

Physiotherapy has consistently increased over the years and many people opt for this physiotherapy treatment, as it is economical and the services are easily available. This technique, when applied on body improves the overall set up and in turn, makes the patient turn hale and hearty.

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3 Ways to Protect Your Joints and Avoid Injuries

Protect Your Joints and Avoid Injuries

No matter what type of training or sport you take on, it’s likely that you’ll have to think about your joints at some point. Even if you’re doing low-impact activities like yoga, cycling or swimming, repetitive movement coupled with less-than-ideal nutrition can cause significant problems later in joints like knees, wrists, and shoulders.

“Once you have an issue with your joints, it takes a while to rehab back to health, because you have to change your movement patterns and build up the muscles around the affected joint,” says Brad Leavelle, a Minneapolis-based physical therapist.

He notes that it’s much better to focus on prevention, if possible. Or, if you already have minor issues, to make recovery a priority so they don’t become major problems. Here are some strategies that can help:

 

STRENGTHEN MUSCLES AROUND THE JOINT

Avoid Injuries

 

Anyone who’s had surgery on a joint knows the drill: Before you go under the knife, you’re usually tasked with doing pre-surgical physical therapy to build up the muscles that surround and support the joint.

But you don’t have to wait until the joint is at that point to make muscle development a priority, Leavelle says. For example, to reduce the chance of knee strain, focus on exercises that strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings.

Those might be calf raises, step-ups, wall squats and hamstring curls. He suggests starting with bodyweight exercises before moving on to weights or machines. Strong quads, in particular, help stabilize your knee so it will be less affected by impact — like you’d find in running — or by twisting.

Sometimes, stretching is a more appropriate tactic, especially for joints like the wrists. Range-of-motion exercises done slowly and deliberately can lengthen tendons and muscles, creating a more supportive framework for joints.

 

USE YOUR PLATE TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION

Healthy food

Working your muscles to the point of fatigue helps to make them stronger, but it may also temporarily increase inflammation as your body rushes toward recovery. If your joints are weakened in any way, that amount of inflammation can be higher, because the body is trying to heal them.

Although some degree of inflammation is healthy, too much can become a problem.

Fortunately, there are numerous foods that can lower inflammation levels throughout your system, providing benefits not just for your joints, but also your thyroid, immune system and digestion. Choices like nuts, tart cherries, dark leafy greens, like kale, and fatty fish such as salmon. Also try turmeric and ginger, two spices that are particularly high in anti-inflammatory compounds.

 

BE MINDFUL — EVEN IN YOGA

Yoga

Although yoga is often used as a way to regain mobility and flexibility after injuries, the practice can also lead to joint problems if a yoga student is trying to do too much, too quickly, according to Dr. Dennis Cardone.

“Yoga can bring knee and wrist injuries, in particular, based on certain poses,” he says. For example, some students push themselves forward while in a plank position, which can tweak the wrists. Another pose, called a hero, calls for the student to sit with legs bent to either side and then lower back onto the floor.

He adds that any sport can have questionable moves that put joints at risk. To minimize them, he suggests paying very close attention to how you’re moving to make sure you’re using your muscles, not your joints. Also, if there’s even a moment of pinching, strain, pain or numbness in joints, back off immediately.

“Feeling challenged during a workout is good,” he says. “But feeling pain, especially in your joints, could set you up for problems. If you keep ignoring that pain, you could be creating a chronic issue.”

 

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Recreational things to do in San Tan Mountain

Have you visited one of our newest locations in Queen Creek? There are plenty of great things to do and see in the surrounding areas. San Tan Valley, for instance, is a reservoir of natural beauty.

Here are 5 events and things to do that will get you outdoors and in the fresh Arizonian air.

 

Sunset Photography Walk

Thursday, July 13, 2017
07:00 PM – 08:00 PM
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
6533 W. Phillips Road
Queen Creek, AZ 85242
Thursday – Short walk to explore some great vantage points for capturing a desert sunset. We’ll discuss some artistic elements that help create a great image and test different photo techniques. This is a great way to get acquainted with your standard digital or phone camera.
What to bring: Closed-toe shoes, water, camera. Meet at the Main Trailhead.

Lunchtime Learning – Monsoon Season

Thursday, July 13, 2017
01:00 PM – 02:00 PM
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
6533 W. Phillips Road
Queen Creek, AZ 85242
Thursday – Many people think of Arizona summer as being dry and hot. While that is true to a point, those who have lived here for a while also know that the desert summer is Monsoon Season. This is the time for intense thunderstorms, lightning, downpours, and haboobs.
Bring your lunch to this indoor discussion that explains how this weather pattern happens, why it is important for the desert and what you can do to “weather the storm”. Meet in the Nature Center.

Night Shredders Mountain Biking

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
08:00 PM – 10:00 PM
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
6533 W. Phillips Road
Queen Creek, AZ 85242
Wednesday – Welcome to the San Tan Bikes sponsored “Night Shredders”! If you’re looking for an adventure where your trail riding abilities will be challenged, then look no further than the Night Shredders. When you’re on a bike on the trail at night, every bump, dip, and shadow gives an extra pop of adrenaline. Darkness heightens your senses, sharpens your skills and makes you feel more alive. And isn’t that why you bike in the first place? Our policy, “No Rider Left Behind,” means we ride together in a group for safety reasons. It is mandatory to wear a helmet and please bring plenty of water, an extra tube, and tools to change a flat tire, and 2 sources of light; LED rechargeable lights with at least 650 lumen. Why? The desert gets very dark at night. Riders under 18-years of age must complete a Parental Consent form. Hope to see you on the trail soon.
Meet at the Flag Pole at 7:50 PM

All About Scorpions

Saturday, July 22, 2017
07:00 PM – 07:30 PM
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
6533 W. Phillips Road
Queen Creek, AZ 85242
The County Parks are getting Wet ‘n’ Wild this Summer!

Saturday – On a warm summer night, scouring the desert floor, the scorpions of San Tan look for their next meal.  But who are the “BIG 3” of San Tan?   Learn about the facts, myths, and reputation behind these mysterious creatures during a short presentation in the Nature Center. After the talk, we will give away a 4-Pack of tickets to Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park!  And then, we’ll be ready to meet some scorpions face to face on trail during an exciting Scorpion Scavenger Hunt starting at 8 p.m. Maximum class size 50 participants.

Raffle tickets will be issued one per family. Must attend classroom program in full and be present to win.

 

Lunchtime Learning: Heat Safety

Thursday, July 27, 2017
01:00 PM – 02:00 PM
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
6533 W. Phillips Road
Queen Creek, AZ 85242
Thursday – Summer doesn’t mean that you need to pack away your hiking shoes and hide indoors. Hitting the trail early (really early!) is one way to get your workout in before the heat becomes dangerous. There are also other things you can do to prepare and protect yourself, including pre-hydration and wearing proper clothing and accessories. Bring your lunch to this indoor discussion that shares tips on how to have a successful summertime hike. Meet in the Nature Center.

The History of Massage Therapy

The Origins of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy history dates back thousands of years to ancient cultures that believed in its medical benefits. The first written records of massage therapy are found in China and Egypt.

2700 BCE: The first known Chinese text is called “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine.” This book was first published in English in 1949, but has become a staple in massage therapy training and is also often used as a textbook for teaching many other forms of alternative medicine such as acupuncture, acupressure, and herbology.

2500 BCE: Egyptian tomb paintings show that massage therapy was also a part of their medical tradition. Egyptians get the credit for pioneering reflexology. Their studies and traditions greatly influenced other cultures such as the Greeks and Romans.

1500 and 500 BCE: The first known written massage therapy traditions come from India, but practice may have actually originated around 3000 BCE or earlier. Hindus used the art of healing touch in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word, translates to “life health” or “life science.” It is regarded as the basis of holistic medicine, combining meditation, relaxation, and aromatherapy.

 

Into the West

The early 1800s: It was from this early massage therapy history that the Swedish doctor, gymnast, and educator Per Henrik Ling developed a method of the movement known as the “Swedish Movement System.” This is regarded as the foundation for Swedish massage most commonly used in the West today.

Although the “Swedish Movement System” was developed by Ling, it was Dutchman Johan Georg Mezger who defined the basic hand strokes of Swedish massage.

Today the most common types of massage practiced in the western hemisphere are Swedish massage and the Japanese massage practice of Shiatsu.

 

Where the Industry Is Going

Considering the long history of massage, its incorporation into Western medicine is only in its infancy. The potential for growth and research of the healing properties of therapeutic massage and body work has gained great momentum over the last fifty years, and the public demand for massage therapy is at an all-time high.

As a preventative practice, therapeutic massage is used in spas, gyms and work places all over the country. Using massage therapy to promote balance and maintain internal and external health is something that is now a standard part of the North American lifestyle.

In the health care industry, massage is commonly used in hospitals, nursing homes, and birthing centers. It is also used in physical therapy and in chiropractic clinics to treat pain, increase circulation and expedite the healing of injured muscles.

The treatments from BackFit Health + Spine’s Massage Therapy introduces us to the benefits of knowing how chiropractic treatment in conjunction with the techniques from a well-trained massage therapist, can help us with our pain management so that we aren’t facing these daily stresses and tensions within our bodies.

 

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8 Steps to Improve Your Health

Health is not a black and white issue and nothing is set in stone when it comes to ways to improve your health.

But improving your health doesn’t have to be such a painful process and strict diets are not required in order to do so either.

So take a few minutes and consider these 10 steps.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

1. Clean it Out

clean out fridge pantry

First things first, you have to prepare your home for a healthier you, so the first step you should take to improve your health is to clean out your fridge, pantry, and your freezer in order to get rid of foods you don’t plan on eating soon, or that aren’t in line with your health goals.

When it comes to what you should buy, stick to whole foods. This means fruits, veggies, greens, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), lean meats, and a few, select treats.

2. Feel Great With 8

eight hour sleeps

Getting 8 hours of sleep is so commonly recommended that most of us just let it go in one ear and out the other. But when it comes for one of the best ways to improve your health, getting adequate sleep each night is simply not optional. Your body must have at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night in order to operate at its best.

Some people actually need 8-9 hours in order to feel energetic the next day and function at their best which is no surprise when you consider how big of an effect sleep has on your overall health.

Sleep affects your hormones, digestion, and your weight so aside from your diet, getting enough rest each night should a top goal that you focus on when you’re looking to improve your health.

So if you’re consistently tired all day long or have trouble sleeping, be sure you look into these helpful tips to help you sleep better so you can start getting to bed on time and waking up more refreshed.

3. Balance Your Macros

eat balanced diet

Macronutrients are carbs, fat, and protein. They are the number one sources of fuel our bodies use to do various tasks to help us operate at our best.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals which are also important, but micronutrients are found in all fruits, vegetables, greens, whole grains, nuts, and seeds which make them pretty easy to get enough of if you’re eating whole foods.

Macronutrients, on the other hand, tend to be an issue some people struggle with. An imbalance in your macros can lead to less than optimal health, so be sure you take a look at your diet to balance out your macros.

You don’t have to count your macros or go on a specific macro-friendly diet, but it’s still very helpful to be mindful of what you’re eating. And if you want to be more precise, counting macros can be very helpful.

So the answer is to start with whole foods and then take a closer look at what you’re eating each day.

4. Get Up and Move!

take a walk

Tackle your movement goals first thing in the day within the first hour you wake up. It won’t only help you feel more focused and energetic all day long but it also takes away the “I still have to workout” mentality that nags you the rest of the day when you postpone your activity time.

Set a goal to move for just 30 minutes each morning and do more if you wish.

Think you don’t have enough time? Along with getting that 8 hours of sleep you should be, you can adjust your sleep schedule to allow you an extra 45 minutes each morning to get dressed for your morning activity. You’ll be so glad you did, trust me.

5. Organize Your Life

organise your calendar

There are multiple resources that you can take advantage of to organize your life in less time, even on the go.

Even just using your Google Calendar can save you a huge amount of hassle each day and take away the “Did I forget to do something else important today?” panicked feeling.

As you become more organized and your life feels more structured, you’ll feel much less stressed and happier. This one change can benefit everything from your weight to your sleep health in the short-term and the long-term.

6. Limit Added Sugars

eat natural sugars

For natural sweetness, use real fruit or a natural sweetener with no calories made from plants such as monk fruit or stevia.

Some small amount of added sugar is fine, but make sure you stay mindful of how much you’re consuming. Those calories are easy to overeat and add up quickly.

Check the labels on these to make sure they only contain one ingredient (monk fruit or stevia).

7. Hydrate

stay hydrated

You can enjoy plain water, water with lemon or lime, or drink herbal tea to get enough water each day.

8. Learn to Enjoy Health

eat healthy

As you look for ways to improve your health, be sure to enjoy the process. Get excited about trying new healthy, whole foods and explore new cookbooks with the types of eating styles you’re interested in.

The key takeaway is to enjoy the process of becoming healthier, even if you have a few slip-ups from time to time or make a few mistakes. In just 30 days you’ll not only have a better handle on your health but also be happier doing so too!

 

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Chronic Pain: Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment

Symptoms

  • Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even longer.
  • Chronic pain may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair.

Diagnosis

  • Pain is a very personal and subjective experience. There is no test that can measure and locate pain with precision.  So, health professionals rely on the patient’s own description of the type, timing, and location of pain. Defining pain as sharp or dull, constant or on-and-off, or burning or aching may give the best clues to the cause of the pain. These descriptions are part of what is called the pain history, taken during the start of the evaluation of a patient with pain.
  • Since chronic pain may occur in a variety of locations in the body and for many different reasons, patients and their health professionals need to work together to identify the causes and symptoms of that pain and how it can be relieved.
  • Although technology can help health professionals form a diagnosis, the best treatment plans are tailored to the person, with input from healthcare team members, who each have different training backgrounds and understand chronic pain. The person with pain and his or her loved ones also must be actively involved in the treatment.

Treatment

With chronic pain, the goal of treatment is to reduce pain and improve function, so the person can resume day-to-day activities. Patients and their healthcare providers have a number of options for the treatment of pain. Some are more effective than others. Whatever the treatment plan, it is important to remember that chronic pain usually cannot be cured, but it can be managed. The following treatments are among the most common ways to manage pain.

Medications, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, nerve blocks, or surgery are some treatments used for chronic pain. Less invasive psychotherapy, relaxation therapies, biofeedback, and behavior modification may also be used to treat chronic pain. These methods can be powerful and effective in some people. When it comes to chronic pain treatment, many people find adding complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) approaches can provide additional relief. These may include tai chi, acupuncture, meditation, massage therapies, and similar treatments.

Self-management of chronic pain holds great promise as a treatment approach. In self-management programs, the individual patient becomes an active participant in his or her pain treatment—engaging in problem-solving, pacing, decision-making, and taking actions to manage their pain. Although self-management programs can differ, they have some common features. Their approach is that the person living with pain needs help learning to think, feel, and do better, despite the persistence of pain. Improving communication with the healthcare provider is part of that empowerment.
Through NIH-supported research, starting successful self-management programs has reduced many barriers to effective pain management, regardless of the underlying conditions. Individuals who participate in these programs have significantly increased their ability to cope with pain. They improve their ability to be active, healthy, and involved members of their communities. In fact, new research suggests that the best self-management programs teach people different ways of thinking about and responding to pain, making their actions to relieve it more effective.

 

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Pain Management: Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder pain can be classified in many different ways. Some people experience only neck pain or only shoulder pain, while others experience pain in both areas.

What Causes Neck Pain?

Causes of neck pain include:

  • Abnormalities in the bone or joints
  • Trauma
  • Poor posture
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Tumors
  • Muscle strain

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with a large range of movement. Such a mobile joint tends to be more susceptible to injury. Shoulder pain can stem from one or more of the following causes:

  • Strains from overexertion
  • Tendonitis from overuse
  • Shoulder joint instability
  • Dislocation
  • Collar or upper arm bone fractures
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Pinched nerves (also called radiculopathy)

How Are Neck and Shoulder Pain Diagnosed?

  • X-rays: Plain X-rays can reveal narrowing of the space between two spinal bones, arthritis-like diseases, tumors, slipped discs, narrowing of the spinal canal, fractures, and instability of the spinal column.
  • MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging is a noninvasive procedure that can reveal the detail of neural (nerve-related) elements, as well as problems with the tendons and ligaments.
  • Myelography/CT scanning: This is sometimes used as an alternative to MRI.
  • Electrodiagnostic studies: Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) is sometimes used to diagnose neck and shoulder pain, arm pain, numbness, and tingling.

How Are Neck and Shoulder Pain Treated?

The treatment of soft tissue neck and shoulder pain often includes the use of anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn). Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) may also be recommended. Depending on the source of pain, drugs like muscle relaxers and even antidepressants might be helpful. Pain also may be treated with a local application of moist heat or ice. Local corticosteroid injections are often helpful for arthritis of the shoulder. For both neck and shoulder pain movement, exercises may help. For cases in which nerve roots or the spinal cord are involved, surgical procedures may be necessary. Your BackFit Health + Spine doctor can tell you which is the best course of treatment for you.

 

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Migraines: Symptoms, treatments, and causes

A migraine is a severe and painful headache. They can be preceded or accompanied by sensory warning signs, such as flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.

The excruciating pain that migraines bring can last for hours or even days; migraines are a common problem in the United States

According to the American Migraine Association, they affect 36 million Americans; that’s about 12 percent of the population

Migraines can be preceded by an aura of sensory disturbances followed by a severe, often one-sided headache. The cause is still largely unknown and they tend to affect people aged 15-55.

Fast facts on migraines:

  • Some people who suffer from migraines can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause the headaches, such as allergies, light, and stress.
  • Some people get a warning symptom before the start of a migraine headache.
  • Many migraine sufferers can prevent a full-blown attack by recognizing and acting upon the warning signs.
  • Over-the-counter medications can eliminate or reduce pain, and specific medications can help some sufferers.
  • People who have severe attacks can take preventive medicines.

Symptoms of migraines

Symptoms of migraine can start a while before the headache, immediately before the headache, during the headache, and after the headache. Although not all migraines are the same, typical symptoms include:

  • Moderate to severe pain, usually confined to one side of the head, but can occur on either side of the head.
  • The pain is usually a severe, throbbing, pulsing pain.
  • Increasing pain during physical activity or when straining.
  • Inability to perform regular activities due to pain.
  • Feeling sick and physically vomiting.
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound, relieved by lying quietly in a darkened room.
  • Some people experience other symptoms such as sweating, temperature changes, stomach ache, and diarrhea.

Migraines with aura

For many migraine sufferers, the auras act as a warning, telling them that the headache is soon to come. However, many people do not experience auras. Auras are perceptual disturbances, such as:

  • Confusing thoughts or experiences.
  • The perception of strange, sparkling or flashing lights.
  • Zig-zag lines in the visual field.
  • Blind spots or blank patches in the vision.
  • Pins and needles in an arm or leg.
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Stiffness in the shoulders, neck, or limbs.
  • Unpleasant smells.

If any migraine sufferer experiences unusual or worrying features that they do not normally have, then they should seek medical help rather than blaming the migraine.

If the following symptoms are unusual for the sufferer, they should not be ignored:

  • unusual severe headache
  • visual disturbance
  • loss of sensation
  • difficulties with speech

When migraines with aura affect vision, the patient may see things that are not there, such as transparent strings of objects, not see parts of the object in front of them, or even feel as if part of their field of vision appears, disappears, and then comes back again.

It is common for patients to describe the visual disturbance as similar to the sensation one has after being photographed with a very bright camera flash, especially if one walks into a darker room straight away.

Treatments for migraines

There is currently no single cure for a migraine; treatment is aimed at preventing a full-blown attack, and alleviating symptoms if they come.

Some lifestyle alterations might help reduce migraine frequency, including:

  • getting enough sleep
  • reducing stress
  • drinking plenty of water
  • avoiding certain foods
  • regular physical exercise

If the above changes do not alleviate the symptoms or frequency of migraines, then treatment and prevention focus on avoiding triggers, controlling symptoms, and taking medicines.

Migraine medication

There are many different types of migraine medication including:

Painkillers

Painkillers should be taken early rather than allowing the headache to develop.

Over-the-counter medications include:

  • naproxen
  • ibuprofen
  • acetaminophen

Other analgesics, like aspirin with caffeine and acetaminophen, can often stop a headache or substantially reduce pain.

Nausea treating (antiemetic) drugs

Metoclopramide may be used to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Serotonin agonists, such as sumatriptan, may also be prescribed for severe migraines or for migraines that are not responding to over-the-counter medications.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antidepressants such as tricyclics are prescribed to reduce migraine symptoms, although they are not approved in all countries for this purpose.

Ergots

Another class of treatments is called ergots, which are usually effective if administered at the first sign of a migraine.

Preventive medications

Migraine prevention begins with avoiding things that trigger the condition. The main goals of preventive therapies are to reduce the frequency, painfulness, and duration of migraine headaches and to increase the effectiveness of other therapies.

There are several categories of methods used to prevent a migraine, ranging from diet changes and exercise to prescription drugs; these include:

  • prescription beta blockers
  • anticonvulsants
  • antidepressants
  • gabapentin
  • botulinum toxin A (Botox)
  • herbs and vitamins such as cannabis, coenzyme Q10, feverfew, magnesium citrate, riboflavin, B-12, melatonin
  • spinal cord stimulator implantation
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • vision correction
  • exercise, sleep, sexual activity
  • visualization and self-hypnosis
  • acupuncture

Some people find that special diets such as gluten-free can help. It is worth noting that some people can get a medication overuse headache (MOH) – or rebound a headache – when taking too many medications in an attempt to prevent a migraine.

Surgery

In the last decade, novel approaches the treatment of migraines have been developed. Botulinum toxin (Botox) injection and surgical decompression of the extracranial sensory branches of the trigeminal and cervical spinal nerves have been shown to reduce or eliminate migraines in patients who don’t respond to traditional medical management. This was highlighted in a review published in the journal Plastic and reconstructive surgery in 2014.

What causes migraine headaches?

The exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown; it is thought to be due to abnormal brain activity causing a temporary alteration in the nerve signals, chemicals, and blood flow in the brain.

How common are migraines?

A migraine and headache are leading causes of outpatient and emergency department visits; migraines remain an important public health problem, particularly among women during their reproductive years. This was highlighted in a large review of migraines published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.

The National Headache Foundation states that healthcare providers have properly diagnosed fewer than half of all migraine sufferers. Migraine is commonly misdiagnosed as tension-type headache or sinus headache.

Migraine triggers

Some people who suffer from migraines can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause the headaches, but many cannot. Potential migraine triggers include:

  • allergies and allergic reactions
  • bright lights, loud noises, flickering lights, smoky rooms, temperature changes, strong smells, and certain odors or perfumes
  • physical or emotional stress, tension, anxiety, depression, and excitement
  • physical triggers such as tiredness, jet lag, and exercise
  • changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
  • smoking or exposure to smoke
  • skipping meals or fasting causing low blood sugar
  • dehydration
  • alcohol
  • hormonal triggers such as menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, and menopause
  • tension headaches
  • foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami)
  • other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods
  • medication such as sleeping tablets, the contraceptive pill, and hormone replacement therapy

Triggers do not always cause migraines and avoiding triggers does not always prevent migraines.

How is a migraine diagnosed?

Migraine can be difficult to diagnose, and there are no specific tests to confirm the diagnosis. The International Headache Society recommends the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 criteria” to diagnose migraines without aura.

This stands for:

  • 5 or more attacks.
  • 4 hours to 3 days in duration.
  • At least 2 of unilateral location, pulsating quality, moderate to severe pain, aggravation by, or avoidance of routine physical activity.
  • At least 1 additional symptom such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, or sensitivity to sound.

To help diagnose migraines, it can be useful to keep a diary of symptoms noting the time of onset, any triggers, how long the headache lasted, any preceding factors or aura and any other symptoms as well as the headache.

A headache diary is ideally used for a minimum of 8 weeks and should record:

  • The frequency, duration, and severity of headaches.
  • Any associated symptoms.
  • All prescribed and over-the-counter medications taken to relieve headaches and their effect.
  • Possible triggers.
  • Relationship of headaches to menstruation.

During the initial diagnosis of migraines, the doctor may suggest some tests to exclude other causes of a headache such as electroencephalography (EEG), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and spinal tap.

 

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What is Primary Care?

Primary care is the initial point of contact between a patient and the healthcare system that provides individuals with access to the information and resources they need for optimal health outcomes.

Primary healthcare professionals typically work with many different patients and have broad knowledge about various physical, psychological and social ailments that may affect their patients.

Aim of Primary Care

The main purpose of primary care is to improve the health of the public by providing easy access to medical care. It also focuses on the whole individual rather than on the illness of a specific organ, system or disease. It aims to improve their entire health and wellbeing by preventing or solving any health problems that may be present or potentially present.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are several key roles that primary care practitioners fulfill in their pursuit of this goal. These include:

  • Providing a wider coverage of health care
  • Preventing social disparities in health care
  • Organizing health services to meet health needs
  • Helping to make health and health care a part of public policy in every sphere
  • Helping to train leaders in effective health care
  • Increasing the level of participation by all those who have a stake in health, whether patients, physicians, public health workers, or those in the allied health services

Primary care practitioners are responsible for the ongoing health of their patients by preventing, diagnosing early and managing common health conditions. An important aspect of their work is making referrals to specialists as and when needed.

They are also in a unique position to understand and study the natural course of the disease, the family setting in which the patient is placed, and to treat and follow up chronic or recurrent health conditions.

Benefits and Challenges of Primary Care

When implemented correctly, primary care is very beneficial for the health of patients and also reduces the financial burden on the public health system. This is partly because of fewer hospitalizations and less need for secondary and tertiary healthcare services.

Other benefits of primary health care include:

  • Increased access to healthcare services
  • Improved quality of health care
  • Focus on preventive health
  • Early intervention to prevent health conditions from developing
  • Improved patient relationships
  • Reduced need for specialist care
  • Economic benefit in the form of several linked jobs

However, there are also several barriers that inhibit the benefits of primary care. A shortage of primary care physicians is a significant challenge, and the demand for new practitioners is currently growing at a faster rate than the supply. Additionally, the quality of care is variable between different practitioners, regions, and countries.

After-hours care is typically available in less than half of primary care centers.

Types of Primary Care Providers

There are various types of primary care providers who are responsible for the ongoing healthcare of patients. Each of them is capable of acting as the point of entry for the patient into the health system for advice or referrals.

  • Primary care physician
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Family practice doctor
  • Internal medicine doctor
  • Gynecologist
  • Obstetrician
  • Geriatrician
  • Pediatrician

Each of these practitioners typically has a certain patient group with which they are most suited. They have a deeper knowledge of the health conditions that commonly affect these patients.

The primary care physician or general practitioner is the most common type of primary healthcare provider, and has the most general knowledge of patient illnesses, along with the widest variability in their patients.

It is important to note that non-primary care physicians do not offer the same degree of comprehensive and ongoing care as they relate to particular medical specialties. Primary care providers who are not physicians do offer some services at first contacts, such as dietetic and lifestyle changes for diabetics and cardiac patients.

However, they function best as part of a team involved with primary health care.

Patient-Practitioner Relationship

The presence of trust between a primary care practitioner and the patient is important to maintain a strong relationship and get the most benefits from primary care. As the primary care practitioner is the point of entry for the public into the health system, patients should feel comfortable to discuss any signs or symptoms that they may be experiencing.

They should be free to share the complications and adverse effects of any treatment they are taking. They should also be ready to accept advice and recommendations from their practitioner accordingly.

It should be noted that each practitioner has a unique way of interacting with patients, and so individuals may need to try several physicians before finding one that they are happy and comfortable to work with on improving their health and wellbeing.

 

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Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain: What to Expect

Physical therapy is often one of the best choices you can make when you have long-term pain (also called chronic pain) or an injury. It can make you stronger and help you move and feel better.Ask your doctor to recommend a physical therapist. You’ll probably need a series of visits, and you should practice some of the exercises at home for the best results.

Physical therapists have a lot of training. Still, it’s a good idea to ask them about their experience in working with people who’ve had conditions like yours. You can also ask them how many sessions you’ll need.

How Does Physical Therapy Treat Pain?

Physical therapists are experts not only in treating pain but also its source. Yours will look for areas of weakness or stiffness that may be adding stress to the places that hurt.  And they will treat those areas with certain exercises to reduce pain and help you move better.

In a physical therapy session, you may do more than one of these things:

Low-impact aerobic training. These workouts will rev up your heart rate and still take it easy on your joints. For instance, you might walk fast or use a stationary bike to warm up, instead of running, before you do your strengthening exercises.

Strengthening exercises. You might use machines with your physical therapist’s office, resistance bands, or your own body weight (think lunges, squats, and push-ups). You may work on your core muscles (belly, glutes, and back), as well as other parts of your body.

Pain relief exercises. These moves target areas where you have pain, so you’re stronger and more flexible — which should make it easier to live your life.

Stretching. This will be gentle, and your therapist will make sure that you’re warmed up and you don’t stretch too far.

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What’s a Herniated Disc, Pinched Nerve, Bulging Disc…?

There are many terms used to describe spinal disc pathology and associated pain, such as “herniated disc,” “pinched nerve,” and “bulging disc,” and all are used differently and, at times, interchangeably.

Unfortunately, healthcare professionals do not agree on a precise definition of any of these terms, and patients may be frustrated when they hear their diagnosis referred to in different terms. The unusually wide range of terms used to describe spinal disc problems (such as a ruptured disc, torn disc, slipped disc, collapsed disc, disc protrusion, disc disease, and black disc) can add to the confusion.

Rather than caring about which term is used to describe the disc, it is more useful for patients to gain a clear understanding of the precise medical diagnosis.

The medical diagnosis identifies the actual cause of the patient’s back pain, leg pain, and other symptoms.

Medical professionals determine the cause of the patient’s pain through a combination of the following three steps:

  • Review of the patient’s medical history
  • A complete physical exam
  • One or more diagnostic tests (if needed)

Two causes of pain: pinched nerve vs. disc pain

In identifying the cause of the patient’s pain, there are two general types of spinal disc problems used by physicians:

Pinched nerve. When a patient has a symptomatic herniated disc, the disc itself is not painful, but rather the material that is leaking out of the inside of the disc is pinching or irritating a nearby nerve. This type of pathology produces pain called radicular pain (e.g., nerve root pain) leading to pain that may radiate to other parts of the body, such as from the low back down the leg or from the neck down the arm. Leg pain from a pinched nerve is usually described as sciatica.

Disc pain. When a patient has a symptomatic degenerated disc (one that causes low back pain and/or leg pain), it is the disc space itself that is painful and the source of pain. This type of pain is typically called axial pain.

Either of the above two conditions can occur in the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper) or lumbar (lower) spine. They tend to be most common in the lower back because the lower back bears the most torque and force on a day to day basis.

It should be kept in mind that all the terms—herniated disc, pinched nerve, bulging disc, slipped disc, ruptured disc, etc.—refer to radiographic findings seen on a CT scan or MRI scan. While these test results are important, they are not as meaningful in determining the cause of the pain as the patient’s specific symptoms and the doctor’s physical exam results.

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Manipulation Under Anesthesia: An Effective Treatment

An estimated 80 percent of Americans suffer from back pain at some point during their lives and finding relief can be the biggest challenge. While the duration and degree of pain can vary greatly, those experiencing the pain can all agree that any time or pain is too much. The most common causes of back pain are muscular or nerve issues, degenerative disk disease, and arthritis.

Whatever the cause may be, finding the right solution is all that matters and manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) may be the answer you have been looking for.  

Chiropractic manipulative treatment is a non-invasive treatment that can help treat acute or chronic conditions like neck, back and joint pain, muscles spasms, shortened muscles, fibrous adhesions and others. The premise behind MUA is to address certain patient impediments that are unresponsive to the conventional care of doctors, physical therapists or even chiropractors.

During MUA, chiropractors use their hands or a device to apply adequate pressure to proper align vertebral column to alleviate conditions like:

  • Scar tissue adhesions surrounding spinal joints
  • Chronic muscle spasms
  • Hypersensitivity to traditional manipulation
  • Persistent shortening of muscles, ligaments, and tendons
  • Nerve entrapment
  • Pseudo-sciatica
  • Complications from back surgery
  • Traumatic torticollis
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Many more

Once the patient has been medically cleared, utilizing anesthesia allows the chiropractor to manipulate without the worry of causing pain but also anesthesia:

  • Shuts off the muscle spasm cycle
  • Sedates the pain perceiving nerves that become activated due to spinal issues
  • Allows complete muscle relaxation so that the doctor can stretch the shortened muscle groups and break up scar tissue formations

Types of Manipulative Techniques

Once the patient has been cleared and evaluated, the doctor will determine the proper technique for the patient’s condition. Some of these techniques include:

  • Soft tissue– includes lateral stretching, linear stretching, deep pressure, traction and/or separation of muscle origin and insertion. These techniques are used to treat the periarticular tissue and decrease the muscle spasms and increase mobility.
  • Articulatory– this technique aims to treat the periarticular and articular tissues to increase both the quality and range of motion. The articulation is put through a full anatomic range of motion while passive force is used in the direction of restriction.
  • Specific joint mobilization– this manual manipulation technique focuses on restoring the joint’s range of motion, reducing restrictions, decreasing muscle tension and to stretch out shortened, scared connective tissues.

Following your MUA treatment, you may experience a slight increase in muscle soreness depending on the technique that was required to address your condition but you should immediately gain an increased range of motion. It is often suggested to follow up with additional therapies such as electrical muscle stimulation, stretching, ultrasound, heat or even massage to help prevent the reformation of the initial problems.

The MUA treatment is done as an outpatient procedure but you will be required to have someone drive you home. Once under anesthesia, intravenous, and you have fallen asleep, the treatment takes around 15 minutes but can be longer depending on the specific details and response. Some cases will require up to four consecutive days of treatment to achieve the desired results but the post-treatment therapies will be prescribed in conjunction to give you pain-free movement once again.

If you are struggling with back pain like so many other Americans are, head to a chiropractor and get the relief that you deserve. BackFit Health + Spine has six convenient locations throughout the Valley (Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, and Tempe), so you are never far from a trusted name in chiropractic care. To learn more about MUA and other chiropractic techniques and treatments offered by BackFit or to schedule your appointment, visit https://www.backfithealth.com/chiropractic-care/manipulation-under-anesthesia.

BackFit Health + Spine Can Offer You Neck Pain Relief

If you suffer from neck pain, you’re not alone. Neck pain is an extremely common ailment that Americans suffer from can be caused by a variety of reasons and results in numerous symptoms ranging from annoyance to debilitating. The cervical spine that runs from the top of the shoulders up to the base of the skull and contains the coordinated network of nerves, bones, joints and muscles.

From poor posture to auto accidents, your neck can only withstand and knowing when to seek medical help for the pain is what many people struggle with.

Causes of Neck Pain 

Because the average adult head weighs roughly 11lbs, it does not take much to throw the structure of your neck into a spiral of pain and symptoms. There are several common causes of neck pain that most people will experience at some point in their life. Those causes include:

  • Sleeping- you may have woken up in the morning at some point with a stiff or painful neck, often called a “kink”. This comes from sleeping for any extended period in awkward position for your neck.
  • Sports- collisions, falls or even sudden, unnatural movements can commonly cause stingers, which is the impingement of a nerve in the cervical spine or shoulder. If you have ever had one of these, you probably remember the pain, numbness, tingling and weakness that radiated down to your hand.
  • Posture- poor posture either at home or work is an extremely common cause of neck pain. Whether it is working at the computer or just watching TV, your head most likely tilted and leaning forward putting excessive stress on the muscles and joints in your neck.
  • Whiplash- this cause of neck pain is generally associated with auto accidents. Whiplash occurs with the head and neck are suddenly forced forward and then immediately backward (or vice versa).
  • Degenerative diseases- a form of arthritis where the spinal discs begin to lose fluid and breakdown. This can lead to painful arthritis, herniated disks or spinal stenosis.

Range of Symptoms

Neck issues can present a wide range of painful and debilitating symptoms like:

  • Stiffness and loss of mobility
  • Sharp or radiating pain
  • Soreness
  • Tingling, numbness or weakness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Spasms

These are just a few of the most common symptoms associated with neck issues. What is important when you experience any of these symptoms is how you address and respond to them. While it is rare for neck pain to be early warning signs of more serious conditions or diseases, neck pain often has a relatively mild cause. The main aspects to keep in mind about when you should seek medical help regarding your neck pain are:

  • Severe pain and/or spreads down arms or legs
  • Not improving or worsening after a few days
  • Impacting daily routine or work
  • Accompanied by headaches, numbness, weakness or tingling

BackFit Health + Spine of Phoenix is committed to providing patients not only relief from their spinal issues but also an alternative to traditional medicine for a healthy life. By emphasizing a healthy lifestyle, BackFit helps individuals focus on reducing their risk of pain and illness. Chiropractic treatment for neck pain relief with BackFit may include: Gentle, precise spinal adjustments to correct any misalignments

  • Medical relief from associated headaches or pain
  • Massage therapy for improved circulation and reduced inflammation
  • Physical therapy to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion

Visit one of six locations throughout the Valley (Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek and Tempe) the next time you are suffering from any spinal pain that is impacting your quality of life. There is no need to live with back or neck pain, so let BackFit Health + Spine help! 

What Is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal Decompression Therapy is a non-invasive way to relieve back and leg pain. The technique stretches the spine by using a traction table or motorized device.

The alleviating treatment allows patients to forego surgery and still reap the benefits of pain relief and optimal healing conditions.

What are the benefits of Spinal Decompression Treatment?

  • Retract and reposition herniated or bulging discs
  • Optimize nutrient delivery to impacted discs to speed healing time

What exactly happens in a spinal decompression session?

In a controlled setting, the chiropractor stretches and relaxes the spine. By creating more space along the backbone, there is an opportunity to create negative intradiscal pressure. This means that the disc itself will become less pressurized, allowing the herniated or bulging material to return to the respective disc. The negative pressure also creates space for nutrients to enter the disc and catalyze the healing process.

When the treatment focuses on the lower spine, which it commonly does, the patient lays face down, fully clothed on a motorized table. A harness attached to the table’s feet fastens at the patient’s hips while the upper body stays fixed. As the lower half of the table moves, the patient’s lower, harnessed body moves with it. The table slides back and forth, encouraging relaxation and traction in the spine.

Will I feel pain during the treatment?

No, patients should not feel any pain during nor after the treatment. There will be some noticeable stretching sensation along the spine, but not pain.

How long does the treatment series take?

Generally, chiropractors administer 15 to 30 treatments over a four to six week period. Each session lasts 30 to 45 minutes.

What should I do when I’m not in for a treatment?

While going through Spinal Decompression Therapy, it’s important to adequately nourish your healing body. Drink a half-gallon of water each day, rest often, consult with your chiropractor or physician about nutritional supplements and consider adopting daily at-home back strengthening exercises.

Am I a candidate for Spinal Decompression treatments?

While the alternative therapy is useful to anyone looking to absolve their bodies of pain and generate more optimal healing environments for herniated and bulging discs, the treatment sessions are better for some candidates than others.

Common symptoms patients experience due to herniated, bulging or degenerated discs:

  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Neck pain

Patients who are generally healthy, committed to regular sessions and willing to practice at-home care are good candidates for the chiropractic technique.

The stretching and relaxation technique is not suitable for some patients. Do not commit to spinal decompression if you fall under the following categories:

  • Pregnant women
  • Previous pain improvement surgeries without recovery
  • Patients who had unsuccessful back surgery
  • Patients with any broken vertebrae
  • Patient with an artificial disc in their spine
  • Patients with any implants in their spine
  • Patients who had undergone spinal fusion
  • Patients with osteoporosis
  • Patients with spondylolisthesis
  • Patients with spinal stenosis, infection or tumor

Backfit Health+Spine offers unparalleled chiropractic spinal decompression therapy. If you think you might be a candidate or want to get started on the pain relief procedure, come into our Chandler location for a consultation. Meet the staff, get to the know the chiropractors and see what a world of difference our noninvasive treatments can make in your life.

Neck Strain: Causes and Remedies

By definition, a neck strain is not a serious injury. However, the pain and dysfunction that it causes can be significant. This article reviews both first aid approaches to alleviate the pain, as well as signs and symptoms that indicate when to see a doctor.

Causes of Neck Strain

The anatomy of the cervical spine is a marvelous construct that houses and protects the delicate spinal cord, provides support for the head and allows for a high degree of mobility and range of motion. But the same engineering that allows this area of the spine to be so flexible also leaves it vulnerable to injury.

Triggers for the onset of neck muscle strain can be traced to several common activities that strain the neck anatomy, such as:

  • Too much time in an awkward position, such as hunched over a steering wheel while driving, hunched forward to view a computer monitor, or cradling a phone in the crook of the neck
  • Sleeping in a position that strains the neck, such as with a pillow that is too high or too firm
  • Carrying a heavy suitcase or other object on one side of the body
  • Any form of trauma that impacts the neck, such as from whiplash in a car accident, or from a fall in which one lands on the top of the head

Most episodes of neck muscle strain (or other soft tissue strain or sprains, such as ligaments or tendons) result in a stiff neck and/or pain in a shoulder muscle. Symptoms typically include difficulty and pain when moving or rotating the head or neck.

Neck Muscle Strain Remedies

Most minor strains of ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the neck heal in a relatively short amount of time (e.g. one or two days).

Until the symptoms subside, there are many self-care remedies that are effective in alleviating the pain and stiffness, such as:

  • Applying ice or cold packs. The cold helps reduce inflammation in the area, which in turn allows it to heal. The ice or cold pack should be applied in twenty-minute intervals during the initial 24 hours.
  • Applying heat. The heat helps bring nutrient-rich blood flow to the area to stimulate a healing response. Some people prefer moist heat, such as from a hot bath or shower. Others find more relief from applying continuous low-level heat from a heat wrap (such as brand name Thermacare, or store brand heat wraps)
  • Over-the-counter medications. Taking anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) or naproxen (e.g. Aleve), will reduce the inflammation, which in turn will help reduce the pain. One can also take pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol), which reduces the perception of pain.
  • Massage. A gentle massage will stimulate blood flow in the area, which helps it heal.

When to See a Doctor for Neck Strain

For more severe pain and stiffness, if the symptoms last for more than a day or two, or if the pain is accompanied by arm pain, numbness or tingling, a visit to a health professional, such as a chiropractor or primary care physician, is generally advisable.

Also if the symptoms started after any kind of trauma or accident it is a good idea to get a full examination from a health professional to diagnose or rule out any serious problems.

 

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9 Lesser-Known Tips for Easing Neck Pain

For many living with chronic neck pain, conventional treatments such as medications or chiropractic care won’t always provide relief.

Some of our Spine-health Forum members have offered us a wealth of simple yet unique techniques for neck pain management, from their own experience. Keep in mind that not all of these are proven as evidence-based treatments for chronic neck pain, and you should speak with your doctor before beginning a new therapy.

Take a look at some of the best of forum members’ neck pain treatments:

1. Stay hydrated

The discs between the vertebrae in your spine require water to maintain disc height and spinal alignment and to take pressure off the spine. Each individual spinal disc is roughly 80 percent water at when we’re born, with this ratio decreasing as we age and the disc degenerates.

Over time, maintaining strong daily hydration habits may prevent further degeneration of cervical discs, which may reduce neck pain.

Here are tips for drinking more water:

  • Some of our forum members have reported that carrying a 1-liter water bottle with them all day serves as a reminder to stay hydrated.
  • Pair your water intake with your daily habits, such as drinking a full glass of water after each time you brush your teeth.

2. Be careful how you use your phone

One way you may not even realize that you’re aggravating your neck is by cradling your phone in your neck while you’re talking. This puts unneeded strain on your cervical spine.

In addition, many people are starting to experience text neck by craning their neck down to look at their phone while they text or browse the internet.

Avoid neck pain from phone use with these tips:

  • Use a Bluetooth or hands-free headset to make calls.
  • When you’re browsing or texting, hold the phone up high to decrease the angle at which you’re holding your neck.
  • Take frequent breaks to stretch your neck.

3. Get in the pool

Many Forum members note the therapeutic effects that swimming has on their neck pain, specifically in reducing inflammation, providing quick pain relief, and easing neck stiffness. Interesting tips have included:

  • Getting the water level up to the neck and simply moving around.
  • Squatting until the water reaches the chin, then moving back and forth and to the right and to the left.
  • Using a swimming pool that is quite warm.
  • Finding a stroke that is gentle on your neck for swimming laps, or consults with a physical therapist or other health professional for recommendations. Depending on your swimming skill, you may be able to do “Texas 25s”—either crawl or breaststroke—which is swimming a length of the pool without taking a breath. If you can do this, then you can get a lot of aerobic exercise without twisting your neck at all.

For some, swimming is too strenuous on the neck. In that case, water therapy, which is a gentle exercise done in a warm swimming pool, is often a great alternative to land-based exercises.

4. See a physical therapist

It’s common to think of physical therapy as a treatment aimed at reducing symptoms from a given injury. While this is correct, physical therapy for the neck can also have other benefits, such as:

  • Identifying secondary causes of pain.
  • Teaching you how to reduce the risk of reinjury.
  • Strengthening the weak areas of the neck through targeted exercises.

5. Consider acupuncture

Acupuncture provides varying degrees of neck pain relief for forum members. Some people swear by its effectiveness, while others note success about half of the time. Others get no relief from acupuncture.

One forum member raised the interesting point that the efficacy of acupuncture and deep tissue massage often depends on the skills of the practitioner, making it important for patients to research these treatment methods and to really understand how to identify a skilled professional.

6. Choose a neck-supporting chair

Maintaining good posture is a good way to keep neck pain under control. A headrest can help to keep your cervical spine in a neutral position, so consider getting an office chair with one…and using it. Also make it a point to use the headrest on your recliner and in your car, when you can.

7. Use ice therapy in unusual places

Neck pain may also be joined by nagging headaches and numbness or tingling in the back of the head, neck, shoulders, and hands.

Some forum members suggest putting ice on different areas of the body (such as between the thumb and index finger, on the bone behind the ear, on the indent between the middle of the eyebrow) to help achieve relief from such symptoms.

One creative forum member noted using a headband to secure the ice in these different spots and on the temple.

8. Increase magnesium intake

Neck pain is most frequently the result of a muscle strain or sprain. Increasing your intake of magnesium, a mineral that aids in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, may help avoid these pain causing problems.

  • Magnesium is commonly found in fruits, vegetables, beans, soy products, and whole grains. Read the nutrition labels on products to see how much of your daily recommended amount of magnesium they provide.
  • Magnesium can be absorbed through the skin by taking a bath with Epsom salt, or a similar supplement.
  • Some forum members have reported success with the use of magnesium oil, which is applied directly to the skin after a warm shower or bath.

To prevent adverse reactions, you may want to consult with your physician before beginning use of any supplement or oil.

9. Use a water pillow

Some patients note the rejuvenating effects of water pillows that allow patients to dictate the firmness of their pillow. Specifically, more water equals a firmer pillow; less water provides a softer pillow.

Various water pillow products are available and may be worth considering if you’ve tried more traditional neck pillows and braces to no avail.

These little-known tips have worked well to relieve others neck pain, and may work for you, as well.

 

SOURCE

 

Am I seeing the right type of doctor?

Getting relief for your back and/or chronic pain means connecting with the right medical professionals and being honest and open about your pain.

To find the right type of doctor for you, look for someone who can offer the full range of treatment options for your chronic or back pain. If your doctor is unable or unwilling to offer you further treatment options, ask for a referral to a surgeon or pain management specialist—or, find a specialist in your area now.

As you explore treatment options for your back or chronic pain, your medical team could include some or all of the following healthcare professionals.

Primary Care Doctor

If you see a primary care doctor for annual visits and screenings, he or she is probably the first person you’d talk to about your chronic back pain. And if non-surgical treatments like over-the-counter medications don’t help, your primary care doctor can refer you to a surgeon or pain management specialist to help determine how to best relieve your pain.

If you’ve been seeing your primary care doctor for treatment and your pain isn’t going away, ask to have a consultation with a specialist.

Surgeon

Depending on the treatment options you consider, you may have a surgeon on your medical team. From neurosurgeons to orthopedic surgeons, surgeons have extensive training in diagnosing back conditions and will refer you to other specialists if you don’t need surgery. Aside from performing the surgery itself, your surgeon will also act as a consultant with you and your medical team on the risks and benefits of a variety of surgical options for your particular situation. He or she may perform a range of corrective back surgeries and/or use chronic pain therapy devices, such as neurostimulators and pain pumps to help with your particular pain treatment strategy.

Just because you are seeing a surgeon does not mean you will get surgery. In fact, most surgeons do not offer surgery to more than two-thirds of patients they see and settle them with non-surgical therapies instead.

Pain Management Specialist

A pain management specialist’s primary concern is your quality of life. Working with other members of your medical team, your pain management specialist will coordinate your care, including diagnosing the causes of your chronic or back pain and determining treatment options.

Physical or Occupational Therapist

A physical or occupational therapist may work with you to make daily activities less painful, such as walking, driving, doing dishes, and working. In addition, if surgery is part of your treatment plan, you will probably need a physical or occupational therapist to help you get back to your everyday tasks.

If you’re still in pain after trying non-surgical treatments, it may be time to take the next step. Ask your doctor for a referral or find a specialist.

SOURCE

 

Neck Pain – Causes and Treatments

Your neck is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper torso. Cervical discs absorb shock between the bones. The bones, ligaments, and muscles of your neck support your head and allow for motion. Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.

Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally. In many cases, it’s due to poor posture or overuse. Sometimes, neck pain is caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or whiplash.

Most of the time, neck pain isn’t a serious condition and can be relieved within a few days. In some cases, neck pain can indicate serious injury or illness and require a doctor’s care. If you have neck pain that continues for more than a week, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Causes of neck pain

Neck pain or stiffness can happen for a variety of reasons.

Muscle tension and strain

This is usually due to activities and behaviors such as:

  • poor posture
  • working at a desk for too long without changing position
  • sleeping with your neck in a bad position
  • jerking the neck during exercise

Injury

The neck is particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in falls, car accidents, and sports, where the muscles and ligaments of the neck are forced to move outside of their normal range. If the neck bones, or cervical vertebrae, are fractured, the spinal cord may also be damaged. Neck injury due to sudden jerking of the head is commonly called “whiplash.”

Heart attack

Neck pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack, but it often presents with other symptoms of a heart attack, such as:

  • shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • arm or jaw pain

If your neck hurts and you have other symptoms of heart attack, call an ambulance or go to the emergency room immediately.

Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. In people who have meningitis, a fever and a headache often occur with a stiff neck. Meningitis can be fatal and is a medical emergency. If you have the symptoms of meningitis, seek help immediately.

Other causes

Other causes include the following:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, swelling of the joints, and bone spurs. When these occur in the neck area, neck pain can result.
  • Osteoporosis weakens bones and can lead to small fractures. This condition often happens in hands or knees, but it can also occur in the neck.
  • Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes muscle pain throughout the body, especially in the neck and shoulder region.
  • As you age, the cervical discs can degenerate. This is known as spondylosis or osteoarthritis of the neck. This can narrow the space between the vertebrae and adds stress to your joints.
  • When a disc protrudes, as from a trauma or injury, it may add pressure to the spinal cord or nerve roots. This is called a herniated cervical disc, also known as a ruptured or slipped disc.
  • Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal column narrows and causes pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots as it exits the vertebrae. This can be due to long-term inflammation caused by arthritis or other conditions.

In rare instances, neck stiffness or pain occurs due to:

  • congenital abnormalities
  • infections
  • abscesses
  • tumors
  • cancer of the spine

When to see your doctor

If symptoms persist for more than a week, consult with your doctor. You should also see a doctor if you have:

  • severe neck pain without apparent cause
  • a lump in your neck
  • a fever
  • a headache
  • swollen glands
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • trouble swallowing or breathing
  • weakness
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • pain that radiates down your arms or legs
  • an inability to move your arms or hands
  • an inability to touch your chin to your chest
  • bladder or bowel dysfunction

If you’ve been in an accident or fall and your neck hurts, seek medical care immediately.

How neck pain is treated

You doctor will perform a physical exam and take your complete medical history. Be prepared to tell your doctor about the specifics of your symptoms. You should also let them know about all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications and supplements you’ve been taking. Even if it doesn’t seem related, you should let your doctor know about any recent injuries or accidents you’ve had.

Treatment for neck pain depends on the diagnosis. In addition to a thorough history and physical exam by your doctor, you may also need one or more of the following imaging studies and tests to help your doctor determine the cause of your neck pain:

  • blood tests
  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • electromyography, which allows your doctor to check the health of your muscles and the nerves that control your muscles
  • a lumbar puncture, or a spinal tap

Depending on the results, your doctor may refer you to a specialist.

Treatment for neck pain may include:

  • ice and heat therapy
  • exercise, stretching, and physical therapy
  • pain medication
  • corticosteroid injections
  • muscle relaxants
  • a neck collar
  • traction
  • antibiotics if you have an infection
  • hospital treatment if a condition such as meningitis or heart attack is the cause
  • surgery, which is rarely necessary

Alternative therapies include:

  • acupuncture
  • chiropractic
  • massage
  • transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

Make sure you’re seeing a licensed professional when using these methods.

How to ease neck pain at home

If you have minor neck pain or stiffness, take these simple steps to relieve it:

  • Apply ice for the first few days. After that, apply heat with a heating pad, hot compress, or by taking a hot shower.
  • Take OTC pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Take a few days off from sports, activities that aggravate your symptoms, and heavy lifting. Resume normal activity slowly as your symptoms ease.
  • Exercise your neck every day. Slowly stretch your head in side-to-side and up-and-down motions.
  • Use good posture.
  • Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder.
  • Change your position often. Don’t stand or sit in one position for too long.
  • Get a gentle neck massage.
  • Use a special neck pillow for sleeping.
  • Don’t use a neck brace or collar without your doctor’s approval. If you don’t use them properly, they can make your symptoms worse.

What is the outlook for people with neck pain?

Many people experience neck pain because of poor posture and muscle strain. In these cases, your neck pain should go away if you practice good posture and rest your neck muscles when they’re sore. Make an appointment with your BackFit Health + Spine doctor if your neck pain isn’t improving with home treatments.

 

Spinal Decompression Therapy

If you have lasting back pain and other related symptoms, you know how disruptive to your life it can be. You may be unable to think of little else except finding relief. Some people turn to spinal decompression therapy — either surgical or nonsurgical. Here’s what you need to know to help decide whether it might be right for you.

What Is Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression?

Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction that may help relieve back pain. Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine. That changes the force and position of the spine. This change takes pressure off the spinal disks, which are gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine, by creating negative pressure in the disc. As a result, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine. This, in turn, helps promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.

Doctors have used nonsurgical spinal decompression in an attempt to treat:

  • Back or neck pain or sciatica, which is pain, weakness, or tingling that extends down the leg
  • Bulging or herniated disks or degenerative disk disease
  • Worn spinal joints (called posterior facet syndrome)
  • Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots

More research is needed to establish the safety and effectiveness of nonsurgical spinal decompression. To know how effective it really is, researchers need to compare spinal decompression with other alternatives to surgery. These include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Limited rest
  • Steroid injections
  • Bracing
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture

How Is Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression Done?

You are fully clothed during spinal decompression therapy. The doctor fits you with a harness around your pelvis and another around your trunk. You either lie face down or face up on a computer-controlled table. A doctor operates the computer, customizing treatment to your specific needs.

Treatment may last 30 to 45 minutes and you may require 20 to 28 treatments over five to seven weeks. Before or after therapy, you may have other types of treatment, such as:

  • Electrical stimulation (electric current that causes certain muscles to contract)
  • Ultrasound (the use of sound waves to generate heat and promote healing)
  • Heat or cold therapy

Who Should not Have Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression?

Ask your doctor whether or not you are a good candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression. It is best not to try it if you are pregnant. People with any of these conditions should also not have nonsurgical spinal decompression:

  • Fracture
  • Tumor
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Advanced osteoporosis
  • Metal implants in the spine

What Is Surgical Spinal Decompression?

Surgical spinal decompression is another option for treating certain types of back pain. But it is usually used as a last resort. If other measures don’t work, your doctor may suggest surgical spinal decompression for bulging or ruptured disks, bony growths, or other spinal problems. Surgery may help relieve symptoms from pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, including:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness

Are There Different Types of Spinal Decompression Surgery?

Your doctor may suggest one or more types of back surgeries relieve the pressure in your spine. In addition, you may need spinal fusion to stabilize your spine. The following are the more common types of back surgery:

  • Diskectomy: In this procedure, a portion of the disk is removed to relieve pressure on nerves.
  • Laminotomy or laminectomy: A surgeon removes a small portion of bone — a section of a bony arch or the entire bony arch — to increase the size of the spinal canal and relieve pressure.
  • Foraminotomy or foraminectomy: A surgeon removes bone and other tissue to expand the openings for nerve roots.
  • Osteophyte removal: During the surgery, bony growths are removed.
  • Corpectomy: This procedure involves removing a vertebral body along with disks between the vertebrae.

What Are the Risks of Spinal Decompression Surgery?

As with any surgery, there are risks. These are some of the more common risks associated with spinal decompression surgery:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Nerve or tissue damage

Another risk of surgery is that it may not improve back pain much. It can be difficult to determine who will benefit from spinal decompression surgery.

 

SOURCE

Herniated Disc – What is it and how it’s treated

Summary

Your backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between them are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. As you age, the disks break down or degenerate. As they do, they lose their cushioning ability. This can lead to pain if the back is stressed.

A herniated disk is a disk that ruptures. This allows the jelly-like center of the disk to leak, irritating the nearby nerves. This can cause sciatica or back pain.

Your doctor will diagnose a herniated disk with a physical exam and, sometimes, imaging tests. With treatment, most people recover. Treatments include rest, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.

Also called: Bulging disk, Compressed disk, Herniated intervertebral disk, Herniated nucleus pulposus, Prolapsed disk, Ruptured disk, Slipped disk

Diagnosis and Tests

  • Computed Tomography (CT) – Spine(American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)Also in Spanish
  • Discography (Discogram) (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)Also in Spanish
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – Spine(American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)Also in Spanish
  • Radiographic Assessment for Back Pain (North American Spine Society)

Treatments and Therapies

  • Artificial Disc Replacement (North American Spine Society)
  • Epidural Injections for Spinal Pain(American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)Also in Spanish
  • Laparoscopic Spine Surgery (Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons)
  • Lumbar (Open) Microscopic Discectomy (North American Spine Society)
  • Spinal Fusion (North American Spine Society)

Related Issues

  • Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve) (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)PDFAlso in Spanish

Specifics

  • Herniated Cervical Disc (North American Spine Society)
  • Herniated Disk in the Lower Back (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)PDF
  • Herniated Lumbar Disc (North American Spine Society)Also in Spanish

 

Peripheral Neuropathy

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves. Your peripheral nerves are the nerves that travel to your arms and legs. When the nerves are damaged, they don’t function properly. People with peripheral neuropathy have decreased or abnormal sensation in their toes and fingers. Sometimes, they develop problems moving these parts of the body as well.

Causes

In the United States, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes will develop neuropathy within their lifetime.

Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Certain medications, including some chemotherapy drugs.
  • Heredity. Some people have a family history of peripheral neuropathy.
  • Advanced age. Peripheral neuropathy is more common as people age.
  • Arthritis. A Certain type of arthritis, especially involving the back, can cause peripheral neuropathy.
  • Alcoholism. According to the US National Library of Medicine, up to half of all long-term heavy alcohol users develop peripheral neuropathy.
  • Neurological disorders. Certain neurological disorders, including spina bifida and fibromyalgia, are associated with peripheral neuropathy.
  • Injury. Acute injury to the peripheral nerves may also cause peripheral neuropathy.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include burning, numbness, tingling, or shooting or stabbing pain in the toes and/or fingertips. Any change in sensation in the fingers or toes may be a symptom of peripheral neuropathy. Be sure to report any abnormal sensations to your doctor. Those sensations may be the first sign of another problem, such as diabetes.

Home Care

If you have peripheral neuropathy, it is important to inspect your feet regularly. Because decreased sensation may develop eventually, you might not notice an injury or infection. Someone who has diabetes and peripheral neuropathy with loss of protective sensation, for instance, could step on a tack without noticing it. Regularly inspect your feet so you can note any injuries or infections and seek appropriate medical attention as needed.

If you’re unable to properly inspect your own feet, enlist a family member or friend to help you, or use a mirror. It’s absolutely essential that any injuries are caught and treated promptly. Otherwise, an infection can develop and progress.

People with peripheral neuropathy should wear properly fitted shoes and avoid walking barefoot to prevent injury. If you have diabetes, it’s important to control your blood sugar as well, because out-of-control blood sugar leads to increased nerve damage. Take your insulin or medication as prescribed and follow the recommended diet.

 

Diagnosis and Treatment

A podiatrist, family physician, internist, or physician who specializes in diabetes can diagnose peripheral neuropathy. The diagnosis is made on the basis of a physical exam, health history, and your reporting of symptoms. The doctor may order a blood test to check your blood sugar level because high blood sugar levels and diabetes are an important cause of peripheral neuropathy.

There is no known cure for peripheral neuropathy. The goal of treatment is to slow the progression of the disease, to maintain foot health, and to decrease pain (if present) and improve the quality of life.

The podiatrist may prescribe oral medication to help with symptoms. He or she will also perform a thorough foot check to look for any injuries or infections and will teach you how to do the same. Your podiatrist will also show you how to take care of your feet at home. People who have peripheral neuropathy should have their feet examined by a podiatrist at least once per year.

If you also have diabetes, the podiatrist will work closely with you and other health-care professionals. Controlling the patient’s blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, and medication (if needed) can slow the progression of peripheral neuropathy and maintain foot health.

Prevention

The best thing you can do to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Peripheral neuropathy is common in people with diabetes, but the degree of neuropathy generally corresponds to the degree of blood sugar control. Someone whose blood sugar is kept under tight control will usually have much better sensation in their fingers and toes than someone with poorly controlled diabetes.

 

SOURCE

Massage Can Help Treat Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the leading cause of job disability in the world.

About one in ten people have it, and for many who develop back pain, the condition becomes chronic.
Now, a new study finds that massage may provide lasting relief fo10r chronic lower back pain, according to research published in the journal Pain Medicine.

To see how people in the real world respond to massage, researchers looked at 104 people with persistent back pain who were referred by their doctors to licensed massage therapists. They went to 10 sessions over 12 weeks, and the practitioners were free to design massage programs that were individual to the patients, rather than all using the same technique.

At the end of the study, most people completed a questionnaire, and more than 50% reported clinically meaningful improvement in their back pain. Several people improved so much that their scores on a standard screening test dropped below the threshold for disability, says lead author Niki Munk, an assistant professor of heath sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. (Munk, who is also a licensed massage therapist, conducted the research while at the University of Kentucky.)

Many of those improvements lasted. Three months later, with no further massage sessions, 75% of the people who reported initial improvement said they still felt better. “They’d reverted back a little bit, but they were still significantly more improved than they were at the start of the study,” says Munk.

More research is needed to figure out exactly how massage works to reduce pain, but some research suggests that massage directly reduces inflammation in muscles.

Munk points out that the study included a diverse group of patients; some were obese, some had other health conditions that contributed to their back pain and others were taking opioid pain medications. “They reflect real-life,” Munk says. When a patient comes in with chronic lower back pain, it’s rare that they don’t have more, she says.

The researchers saw improvement across the board, but they did notice a few trends based on demographics. Adults ages 49 and older were more likely to meaningfully improve than younger patients. While people with obesity tended to improve, those gains didn’t last over time. And people taking opioids were two times less likely to experience meaningful changes, compared to those not taking them.

Studies like this have the potential to influence how doctors practice, says William Elder, the study’s other lead author and director of behavioral health at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

“Guidelines already say to use massage therapy for chronic pain, but it is not used much,” Elder told TIME in an email. Clinical trials have shown that treatments work in ideal, controlled situations, but doctors often want real-world evidence as well, he says. “They want to know if it ‘translates,’ meaning that the intervention will help their patients who may be receiving medications already or often have other conditions besides the back pain.”

This study provides more evidence that doctors may suggest massage to their patients as a potential treatment. “Providers may not even need to specify a certain type of massage,” says Elder. “That could be left up to an experienced therapist.” Techniques practiced in the study varied widely and included Swedish massage, active isolated stretching, myofascial techniques, lymphatic drainage, trigger point therapy, neuromuscular therapy, craniosacral therapy, reflexology, Reiki, acupressure and positional release.

However, the researchers note, massage is rarely covered by health insurance. While study participants received their sessions free of charge, people who can afford it will need to weigh the costs with potential benefits.

That’s why more studies are needed, says Munk: to help people decide whether massage is really worth the out-of-pocket cost. Future research should investigate whether massage can help people avoid back surgeries, she says, and how many sessions are really needed to provide lasting improvement.

SOURCE

6 Leading Causes of Sciatica

Several lumbar spine (lower back) disorders can cause sciatica. Sciatica is often described as mild to intense pain in the left or right leg. Sciatica is caused by compression of one or more of the 5 sets of nerve roots in the lower back. Sometimes doctors call sciatica a radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is a medical term used to describe pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms or legs caused by a nerve root problem. If the nerve problem is in the neck, it is called a cervical radiculopathy. However, since sciatica affects the low back, it is called a lumbar radiculopathy.

Pathways to Sciatic Nerve Pain

Five sets of paired nerve roots in the lumbar spine combine to create the sciatic nerve. Starting at the back of the pelvis (sacrum), the sciatic nerve runs from the back, under the buttock, and downward through the hip area into each leg. Nerve roots are not “solitary” structures but are part of the body’s entire nervous system capable of transmitting pain and sensation to other parts of the body. Radiculopathy occurs when compression of a nerve root from a disc rupture (herniated disc) or bone spur (osteophyte) occurs in the lumbar spine prior to it joining the sciatic nerve.

What Causes Sciatic Nerve Compression?

Several spinal disorders can cause spinal nerve compression and sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy. The 6 most common are:

  • a bulging or herniated disc
  • lumbar spinal stenosis
  • spondylolisthesis
  • trauma
  • piriformis syndrome
  • spinal tumors

Common Sciatica Cause #1: Lumbar Bulging Disc or Herniated Disc

A bulging disc is also known as a contained disc disorder. This means the gel-like center (nucleus pulposus) remains “contained” within the tire-like outer wall (annulus fibrosus) of the disc.

A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus breaks through the annulus fibrosus. It is called a “non-contained” disc disorder. Whether a disc bulges or herniates, disc material can press against an adjacent nerve root and compress delicate nerve tissue and cause sciatica.

The consequences of a herniated disc are worse. Not only does the herniated disc cause direct compression of the nerve root against the interior of the bony spinal canal, but the disc material itself also contains an acidic, chemical irritant (hyaluronic acid) that causes nerve inflammation. In both cases, nerve compression and irritation cause inflammation and pain, often leading to extremity numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.

Common Sciatica Cause #2: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a nerve compression disorder most often affecting older adults. Leg pain similar to sciatica may occur as a result of lumbar spinal stenosis. The pain is usually positional, often brought on by activities such as standing or walking and relieved by sitting down.

Spinal nerve roots branch outward from the spinal cord through passageways called neural foramina comprised of bone and ligaments. Between each set of vertebral bodies, located on the left and right sides, is a foramen. Nerve roots pass through these openings and extend outward beyond the spinal column to innervate other parts of the body. When these passageways become narrow or clogged causing nerve compression, the term foraminal stenosis is used.

Common Sciatica Cause #3: Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a disorder that most often affects the lumbar spine. It is characterized by one vertebra slipping forward over an adjacent vertebra. When a vertebra slips and is displaced, spinal nerve root compression occurs and often causes sciatic leg pain. Spondylolisthesis is categorized as developmental (found at birth, develops during childhood) or acquired from spinal degeneration, trauma or physical stress (eg, lifting weights).

Common Sciatica Cause #4: Trauma

Sciatica can result from direct nerve compression caused by external forces to the lumbar or sacral spinal nerve roots. Examples include motor vehicle accidents, falling down, football and other sports. The impact may injure the nerves or, occasionally, fragments of broken bone may compress the nerves.

Common Sciatica Cause #5: Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is named for the piriformis muscle and the pain caused when the muscle irritates the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is located in the lower part of the spine, connects to the thighbone, and assists in hip rotation. The sciatic nerve runs beneath the piriformis muscle. Piriformis syndrome develops when muscle spasms develop in the piriformis muscle thereby compressing the sciatic nerve. It may be difficult to diagnose and treat due to the lack of x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings.

Common Sciatica Cause #6: Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors are abnormal growths that are either benign or cancerous (malignant). Fortunately, spinal tumors are rare. However, when a spinal tumor develops in the lumbar region, there is a risk for sciatica to develop as a result of nerve compression.

If you think you have sciatica, call your doctor. The first step toward relieving pain is a proper diagnosis.

SOURCE

What You Need to Know About Sciatica

The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain—and possibly tingling, numbness, or weakness—that originate in the lower back and travel through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg.

Sciatica (pronounced sigh-at-eh-kah) is not a medical diagnosis in and of itself—it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Common lower back problems that can cause sciatica symptoms include a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, or spinal stenosis.

Sciatica Nerve Pain

Sciatica is often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
  • Pain that is worse when sitting
  • Leg pain that is often described as burning, tingling, or searing (versus a dull ache)
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg, foot, and/or toes
  • A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk
  • Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes (it rarely occurs only in the foot)

Sciatic pain can vary from infrequent and irritating to constant and incapacitating. Symptoms are usually based on the location of the pinched nerve.

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While symptoms can be painful and potentially debilitating, it is rare that permanent sciatic nerve damage (tissue damage) will result, and spinal cord involvement is possible but rare.

The Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body and is made up of individual nerve roots that start by branching out from the spine in the lower back and then combine to form the “sciatic nerve.” Sciatica symptoms occur when the large sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed at or near its point of origin.

  • The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back, typically at lumbar segment 3 (L3).
  • At each level of the lower spine a nerve root exits from the inside of the spinal canal, and each of these respective nerve roots then come together to form the large sciatic nerve.
  • The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the back of each leg.
  • Portions of the sciatic nerve then branch out in each leg to innervate certain parts of the leg—the thigh, calf, foot, and toes.

The specific sciatica symptoms—the leg pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and possibly symptoms that radiate into the foot—largely depend on where the nerve is pinched. For example, a lumbar segment 5 (L5) nerve impingement can cause weakness in extension of the big toe and potentially in the ankle.

The Course of Sciatica Pain

Sciatica rarely occurs before age 20, and becomes more commonplace in middle age. It is most likely to develop around age 40 or 50.

Perhaps because the term sciatica is often used loosely to describe leg pain, estimates of its prevalence vary widely. Some researchers have estimated it will affect up to 43% of the population at some point.1, 2

Often, a particular event or injury does not cause sciatica—rather it tends to develop over time.

The vast majority of people who experience sciatica get better within a few weeks or months and find pain relief with nonsurgical sciatica treatment.1 For others, however, the leg pain from a pinched nerve can be severe and debilitating.

Seeing a doctor for sciatica pain is advised, both for learning how to reduce the pain and to check for the possibility of a serious medical issue.

When Sciatica Is Serious

Certain sciatica symptoms, while rare, require immediate medical, and possibly surgical, intervention. These include, but are not limited to, progressive neurological symptoms (e.g. leg weakness) and/or bowel or bladder dysfunction (cauda equina syndrome). Infection or spinal tumors can also cause sciatica.

Because sciatica is caused by an underlying medical condition, treatment is focused on addressing the cause of symptoms rather than just the symptoms. Treatment is usually self-care and/or nonsurgical, but for severe or intractable pain and dysfunction it may be advisable to consider surgery.

SOURCE

Neck & Back Exercises for Whiplash

Whiplash is the most common injury caused by car accidents. This painful condition causes the muscles in your neck and upper back to tighten, making it difficult to move. Exercises improve movement and strength after whiplash.

Range of Motion Exercises

Range of motion exercises improve your ability to move after whiplash. Only move as far as you can without pain.

Chin-Tucks

Chin-tucks gently stretch the muscles along your neck and upper back.

Step 1

Sit up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together throughout this exercise.

Step 2

Slowly pull your head backwards as if you are tucking your chin. Look straight ahead throughout the movement. Stop when you feel stretching along the back of your neck.

Step 3

Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row.

Flexion

Flexion is bending your neck forward.

Step 1

Perform a chin-tuck. Maintain this position throughout this exercise.

Step 2

Slowly bring your chin down toward your chest until you feel stretching along the back of your neck.

Step 3

Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times, working up to three sets in a row.

Side-Bending

Side bending exercises improve your ability to tip your ears toward your shoulders.

Step 1

Sit up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder until you feel a stretch along the left side of your neck.

Step 2

Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times on both sides. Work up to three sets in a row.

Step 3

Repeat this exercise on the opposite side.

Extension

Neck extension allows you to look up toward the ceiling. Maintain good posture during this exercise to avoid pinching nerves in the back of your neck.

Step 1

Perform a chin-tuck and maintain this position during your extension exercise. Slowly tip your head backward as you look up toward the ceiling.

Step 2

Stop when you feel stretching along the front of your neck and hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row.

Rotation

Rotation exercises allow you to look over your shoulders.

Step 1

Sit up straight and maintain proper posture throughout this exercise. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch along the left side of your neck. Hold 3 to 5 seconds, then relax.

Step 2

Repeat 10 times. Work up to three sets of 10 rotations to each side.

Isometrics

Isometric exercises strengthen your neck and upper back muscles without allowing any movement. As with the range of motion exercises, maintain good posture throughout these movements.

Step 1

Place one hand on your forehead. Press into your hand with your head as if you are trying to bend your neck forward. However, do not allow your neck to move. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.

Step 2

Place one hand on the back of your head. Using a chin-tuck motion, push your head backward against your hand. Hold 3 to 5 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times.

Step 3

Place one palm against the side of your head, just above your ear. Press your head sideways as if you are trying to bring your ear toward your shoulder. Meet the resistance with your hand and hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides and repeat this exercise.

Step 4

Place one palm against your temple. Rotate your head against your palm while meeting the resistance with your hand. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.

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Neck Strain and Whiplash

Neck strain is often just called whiplash. Although it’s usually associated with car accidents, any impact or blow that causes your head to jerk forward or backward can cause neck strain. The sudden force stretches and tears the muscles and tendons in your neck.

Neck strain afflicts many amateur and professional athletes. People who play contact sports like football are especially prone to neck strain.

Neck strains are often confused with neck sprains. They’re a bit different. Neck strains are caused by damage to the muscle or the tendons, bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Neck sprains are caused by tearing of the ligaments, the tissues that connect the bones to each other.

However, the differences between these strains and sprains probably won’t mean much to you. The causes, symptoms, and treatment of neck sprains and neck strains are usually the same.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

The pain of whiplash is often hard to ignore. The symptoms may include:

  • Pain, decreased range of motion, and tightness in the neck. The muscles may feel hard or knotted.
  • Pain when rocking your head from side to side or backward and forward.
  • Pain or stiffness when moving your head to look over each shoulder.
  • Tenderness.
  • Headaches at the base of the skull that radiate towards the forehead.

Sometimes, the pain of a neck strain is immediate. In other cases, it can take several hours or days before your neck begins to hurt.

The blow that causes neck strain can sometimes cause a concussion, too. Since concussions can be serious, you need to see a doctor right away. You need emergency medical care if you have a headache that worsens or persists, have weakness or trouble talking, or are confused, dizzy, nauseous, excessively sleepy, or unconscious.

To diagnose neck strain, your doctor will give you a thorough examination. You may also need X-rays, CT (computed tomography) scans, and other tests, to rule out other problems.

What’s the Treatment for Whiplash?

Here’s the good news: given time, whiplash should heal on its own. To help with recovery, you should:

  • Ice your neck to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you can after the injury. Do it for 15 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. Wrap the ice in a thin towel or cloth to prevent injury to the skin.
  • Take painkillers or other drugs, if recommended by your doctor. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), will help with pain and swelling. However, these medicines can have side effects. Never use them regularly unless your doctor specifically says you should. Check with your doctor before taking them if you take other medicines or have any medical problems. If over the counter medications do not work, prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants may be necessary.
  • Use a neck brace or collar to add support, if your doctor recommends it. However, they are not recommended for long-term use, because they can actually weaken the muscles in your neck.
  • Apply moist heat to your neck — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your neck only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use warm, wet towels or take a warm bath.
  • Other treatments, like ultrasound and massage, may also help.

When Will My Whiplash Feel Better?

Recovery time depends on how serious your whiplash is. Most cases resolve in a few days. But other neck strains may take weeks or longer to heal. Remember that everyone heals at a different rate.

Once the acute symptoms of neck strain are gone, your doctor will probably want you to start rehabilitation. This will make your neck muscles stronger and more limber. It will help you both recover and reduce the odds of straining your neck again in the future.

You might start with gentle stretching exercises that become more vigorous as you get better. But don’t start exercising without talking to your doctor first.

Whatever you do, don’t rush things. People who play contact sports need to be especially careful that they are fully healed before playing again. Your doctor will clear you to resume your activity when you are ready. Do not try to return to your previous level of physical activity until you can:

  • Look over both shoulders without pain or stiffness
  • Rock your head all the way forward and all the way back without pain or stiffness
  • Rock your head from side to side without pain or stiffness
    If you start pushing yourself before your neck strain is healed, you could end up with chronic neck pain and permanent injury.

How Can I Prevent Whiplash?

There’s not much you can do to prevent whiplash caused by an accident, of course. But there are some things you can do to improve your odds:

  • Practice strengthening exercises to keep your neck muscles strong and limber, especially if you have had neck strain before.
  • People who sit in the same position all day, like office workers, should take regular breaks to stretch and exercise their necks.

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Stretches to Do at Work Every Day

Is your work causing physical pain?

Work-related disorders aren’t just limited to heavy manufacturing or construction. They can occur in all types of industries and work environments, including office spaces. Research shows that repetitive motion, poor posture, and staying in the same position can cause or worsen musculoskeletal disorders.

Staying in one position while doing repetitive motions is typical of a desk job. An analysis of job industry trends over the past 50 years revealed that at least 8 in 10 American workers are desk potatoes.

The habits we build at our desk, especially while sitting, can contribute to discomfort and health issues, including:

  • neck and shoulder pain
  • obesity
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • stress
  • lower back pain
  • carpal tunnel

According to the Mayo Clinic, more than four hours a day of screen time can increase your risk of death by any cause by 50 percent. There’s also a 125 percent risk for cardiovascular disease.

The good news is that moving or stretching is a buildable habit. For starters, you can set a timer to remind you to take a quick walk or stretch. If you’re pressed for time, there are even certain stretches you can do at your desk. Scroll down for the tutorial on working out those computer kinks.

Remember to breathe normally throughout the stretches, and never hold your breath. With each stretch, you may find yourself more flexible. Don’t go further than is comfortable.

Stretching out your arms

Triceps stretches

  • Raise your arm and bend it so that your hand reaches toward the opposite side.
  • Use your other hand and pull the elbow toward your head.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Overhead reach, or latissimus stretch

  • Extend each arm overhead.
  • Reach to the opposite side.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Upper body and arm stretch

  • Clasp hands together above the head with palms facing outward.
  • Push your arms up, stretching upward.
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

Stretching out your torso

Shoulder, or pectoralis stretch

  • Clasp hands behind your back.
  • Push the chest outward, and raise the chin.
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

Forward stretch

This stretch is also known as the rhomboid upper or upper back stretch.

  • Clasp your hands in front of you and lower your head in line with your arms.
  • Press forward and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Torso stretch, or trunk rotation

  • Keep your feet firmly on the ground, facing forward.
  • Twist your upper body in the direction of the arm that’s resting on the back of your chair.
  • Hold pose for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on other side.

Tip: Exhale as you lean into the stretch for a greater range of motion.

Stretching out your legs and knees

Hip and knee flexion stretch

  • Hug one knee at a time, pulling it toward your chest.
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Alternate.

Hamstrings stretch

  • Remaining seated, extend one leg outward.
  • Reach toward your toes.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Be sure to do this one leg at a time, as doing this exercise with both legs out can cause back issues.

Head and shoulder stretches

Shoulder shrug

  • Raise both shoulders at once up toward the ears.
  • Drop them and repeat 10 times each direction.

Neck stretches

  • Relax and lean your head forward.
  • Slowly roll toward one side and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat on other side.
  • Relax again and lift your chin back to starting position.
  • Do this three times for each direction.

Upper trap stretch

  • Gently pull your head toward each shoulder until a light stretch is felt.
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Alternate once on each side.

Benefits

Did you know?

A review of stretching programs in workplaces found that stretching improved range of motion, posture, and provided stress relief. Research also suggests that periodic workplace stretching may reduce pain by up to 72 percent. And some studies show that a bit of exercise in the workday can relieve both physical and mental stress.

While research on stretching in the workplace is still limited, a recent study found that rest breaks can minimize discomfort without compromising productivity.

Get Moving

Other ways to get moving

All of these stretches are productive. The goal is to move in new position throughout the day to avoid repetitive stretch injuries. According to The Harvard School of Public Health, physical activity — even for short periods of time — can improve your mood. You may experience benefits from:

  • standing up while on the phone or eating lunch
  • getting a flexible standing desk so you can change your position
  • walking laps during quick meetings
  • getting up from your seat every hour and walking around the office

Ask your manager or human resources department about ergonomic furniture. You can also download StretchClock, a break reminder app, that alerts you every hour to get up and move around a little. They even provide no-sweat exercise videos, if you can’t leave your desk.

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Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for Injury Treatment

During the past several years, much has been written about a preparation called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and its potential effectiveness in the treatment of injuries.

Many famous athletes — Tiger Woods, tennis star Rafael Nadal, and several others — have received PRP for various problems, such as sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries. These types of conditions have typically been treated with medications, physical therapy, or even surgery. Some athletes have credited PRP with their being able to return more quickly to competition.

Even though PRP has received extensive publicity, there are still lingering questions about it, such as:

  • What exactly is platelet-rich plasma?
  • How does it work?
  • What conditions are being treated with PRP?
  • Is PRP treatment effective?
  • What Is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)?

Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries.

PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual.

To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation. Then the increased concentration of platelets is combined with the remaining blood.

How Does PRP Work?

Although it is not exactly clear how PRP works, laboratory studies have shown that the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP can potentially speed up the healing process.

To speed healing, the injury site is treated with the PRP preparation. This can be done in one of two ways:

PRP can be carefully injected into the injured area. For example, in Achilles tendonitis, a condition commonly seen in runners and tennis players, the heel cord can become swollen, inflamed, and painful. A mixture of PRP and local anesthetic can be injected directly into this inflamed tissue. Afterwards, the pain at the area of injection may actually increase for the first week or two, and it may be several weeks before the patient feels a beneficial effect.

PRP may also be used to improve healing after surgery for some injuries. For example, an athlete with a completely torn heel cord may require surgery to repair the tendon. Healing of the torn tendon can possibly be improved by treating the injured area with PRP during surgery. This is done by preparing the PRP in a special way that allows it to actually be stitched into torn tissues.

What Conditions are Treated with PRP? Is It Effective?

Research studies are currently being conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of PRP treatment. At this time, the results of these studies are inconclusive because the effectiveness of PRP therapy can vary. Factors that can influence the effectiveness of PRP treatment include:

  • The area of the body being treated
  • The overall health of the patient
  • Whether the injury is acute (such as from a fall) or chronic (an injury developing over time)
  • Chronic Tendon Injuries

According to the research studies currently reported, PRP is most effective in the treatment of chronic tendon injuries, especially tennis elbow, a very common injury of the tendons on the outside of the elbow.

The use of PRP for other chronic tendon injuries — such as chronic Achilles tendonitis or inflammation of the patellar tendon at the knee (jumper’s knee) is promising. However, it is difficult to say at this time that PRP therapy is any more effective than traditional treatment of these problems.

Acute Ligament and Muscle Injuries

Much of the publicity PRP therapy has received has been about the treatment of acute sports injuries, such as ligament and muscle injuries. PRP has been used to treat professional athletes with common sports injuries like pulled hamstring muscles in the thigh and knee sprains. There is no definitive scientific evidence, however, that PRP therapy actually improves the healing process in these types of injuries.

Surgery

More recently, PRP has been used during certain types of surgery to help tissues heal. It was first thought to be beneficial in shoulder surgery to repair torn rotator cuff tendons. However, the results so far show little or no benefit when PRP is used in these types of surgical procedures.

Surgery to repair torn knee ligaments, especially the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is another area where PRP has been applied. At this time, there appears to be little or no benefit from using PRP in this instance.

Knee Arthritis

Some initial research is being done to evaluate the effectiveness of PRP in the treatment of the arthritic knee. It is still too soon to determine if this form of treatment will be any more effective than current treatment methods.

Fractures

PRP has been used in a very limited way to speed the healing of broken bones. So far, it has shown no significant benefit.

Conclusion

Treatment with PRP could hold promise, however, current research studies to back up the claims in the media are lacking. Although PRP does appear to be effective in the treatment of chronic tendon injuries about the elbow, the medical community needs more scientific evidence before it can determine whether PRP therapy is truly effective in other conditions.

Even though the success of PRP therapy is still questionable, the risks associated with it are minimal: There may be increased pain at the injection site, but the incidence of other problems — infection, tissue damage, nerve injuries — appears to be no different from that associated with cortisone injections.

If you are considering treatment with PRP, be sure to check your eligibility with your health insurance carrier. Few insurance plans, including workers’ compensation plans, provide even partial reimbursement.

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All About Neuropathy And Chronic Back Pain

Neuropathic pain is distinct from other types of pain. If a person breaks a bone, pain signals are carried via nerves from the site of the trauma to the brain. With neuropathic pain, however, pain signals originate in the nerves themselves.

How Neuropathic Pain Develops

In many cases, the nerves become damaged or dysfunctional after responding to an injury or trauma, causing hypersensitivity to pain. The nerves then send faulty signals of pain even when the injury has healed. The initial injury can occur in either the peripheral or central nervous system.

Neuropathic pain, or neuropathy, is a chronic condition, meaning it does not go away. Instead, the pain becomes the disease process. The terms sensory peripheral neuropathy and peripheral neuritis are sometimes used to describe neuropathy affecting the peripheral nerves.

An estimated 7 to 10% of people have neuropathic pain. This article examines neuropathy and chronic back pain, and how the two conditions are related.

When Back Pain Causes Neuropathy

Neuropathy can result from any type of pain that compresses or impinges on a nerve. A herniated disc, for example, could press against a nearby nerve, causing pain. Neuropathic pain originating from the back or spine may include:

  • Chronic pain radiating down the leg (lumbar radiculopathy, or sciatica)
  • Chronic pain radiating down the arm (cervical radiculopathy)
  • Pain following back surgery that starts gradually and persists, commonly called failed back surgery syndrome

Diabetes and regional pain syndrome (RPS), are common causes of neuropathy. Additional causes of include injury, disease, infection, exposure to toxins, and substance abuse. It is not always possible to pinpoint the cause.

Why Early Treatment is Crucial

Early treatment is important, since more aggressive treatment may be needed if symptoms are not addressed soon.

Over time, exposure to significant pain can cause changes to the central nervous system that make the body become more sensitive to even slight touch—a phenomenon known as central sensitization.

As with other types of chronic pain, delays in treatment may also make other health problems more likely. Depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and an inability to work and take part in other activities are some health issues associated with untreated neuropathy.

Understanding Neuropathy Symptoms

Neuropathic pain symptoms are often unpredictable, and vary significantly from person to person. Pain may be triggered by a specific stimulus, or occur on its own. In the case of a sudden impact, the area surrounding the site of the trauma may be affected in addition to the immediate area.

Some people have constant pain, while others may experience pain that occurs on and off.

Neuropathy May Limit Daily Functioning

Neuropathic pain often makes movement painful, leading an individual to limit mobility. Being sedentary can cause muscles to weaken, further restricting physical functioning. Many people with neuropathy are unable to work.

Back pain or other pain caused by neuropathy is typically described in the following terms:

  • Severe, sharp, electric shock-like, shooting, lightning-like, or stabbing
  • Deep, burning, or cold
  • Persistent numbness, tingling, or weakness
  • Pain that travels along the nerve path into the arms, hands, legs, or feet

Skin in the painful area may be discolored, appearing more pink or red than usual. In some cases, the skin may have a blue or mottled appearance. Changes in color are usually related to changes in blood flow. Some individuals also experience swelling.

Many people with neuropathic pain also experience sleep difficulties and depression, both of which can increase the perception of pain. A multifaceted pain management approach may be beneficial to address all aspects of the person’s health.

Unusual Sensations in Neuropathy

People with neuropathic pain may experience sensations in unusual ways, such as:

  • Hypersensitivity to light touch that would be barely noticeable to others, is known as allodynia. The feeling of clothing against the skin, for instance, could trigger a reaction.
  • Hyperalgesia is an extreme sensitivity to something slightly painful to others.
  • An unusually low sensation to hot or cold is called hypoesthesia.
  • An electric-shock or pins-and-needles feeling when there is no contact, a known as paresthesia.

Sensory tests may be conducted to see how the individual responds to different types of physical contact.

Treatment for Neuropathic Pain

Electromyography and nerve conduction studies, blood tests, and diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to determine the cause—or rule out a potential cause. Test results can be helpful in finding the most effective therapy.

Some cases are more straightforward than others. If a nerve is compressed by a herniated disc, for instance, decompression surgery can relieve the pain by removing the pressure on the nerve.

If no underlying cause of the pain is found, treatment typically emphasizes pain relief. There is no single medication that eliminates the symptoms of neuropathy, but a combination of medications and treatments may be helpful Care from an interdisciplinary pain management team may be advised for individuals with neuropathic pain.

Anatomy Of Nerve Pain

The human nervous system has a tremendous capacity to constantly relay vital messages throughout the body. If this complex system is damaged, nerve signals can go awry, causing intense pain.

The spinal cord is the main transportation hub of the body’s central nervous system, carrying signals from the brain to nerves throughout the body. Nerves coming from and leading to all parts of the body enter and exit the spinal cord along its entire length.

The Spinal Cord and Peripheral Nerves

Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves exit the spinal cord through openings between the vertebrae. The point at which a nerve exits the spinal cord is called a nerve root. The nerve root then branches out into many smaller peripheral nerves that control different parts of the body.

Damage to any part of the central nervous system or peripheral nerves can cause neuropathic pain.

A nerve that exits the lower back has peripheral branches that extend all the way down to the toes. Peripheral nerves comprise the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nerves include both motor nerves and sensory nerves:

  • Sensory nerves are nerves that receive sensory stimuli, telling us how something feels—whether it is hot, cold, or painful. These nerves are made up of nerve fibers, called sensory fibers (mechanoreceptor fibers sense body movement and pressure against the body, and nociceptor fibers sense tissue injury).
  • Motor nerves lead to the muscles and stimulate movement. They are made up of nerve fibers called motor fibers.

Neuropathy may damage either the inner or outer part of the nerve cell. The axon is the inner information pathway of the nerve cell. Myelin—the fatty outer sheath—protects the nerve cell and assists in conveying information throughout the nervous system.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy generally appear first in the body’s longest nerves, initially affecting the feet, then the hands. Over time, the symptoms typically move up the arms and legs.

How Nerves Cause Pain

Spinal structures and nerves are in close proximity, creating the potential for irritation and pressure on the nerves. Many structures in the spine can cause back pain, such as when:

  • Large nerve roots that go to the legs and arms are irritated
  • Smaller nerves that innervate the spine are irritated

One common example of nerve pain occurs when a person has a lumbar herniated disc. The discs between the vertebrae can herniate and press against a nearby spinal nerve root. Leakage of the gel-like material inside the disc may also aggravate a nerve.

After the nerves are damaged and neuropathy develops, abnormal signals from the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system prevent the pain from easing.

Types of Back Pain

Strategies to address back pain vary widely, depending on the type of pain as well as other factors.

Learning about the major types of back pain can be helpful for people with back pain who are considering their treatment options. The medical community typically places back pain in one of the following categories:

When Pain Is Clear-Cut: Nociceptive Pain

The type of pain most people know best is called nociceptive pain. Our body has sensors, called nociceptors, which spot potentially harmful stimuli. These receptors alert us to an injury to a muscle, soft tissue (ligaments, tendons), bones, joints, or skin (or other organs). Pain signals are then relayed to the brain and the central nervous system, resulting in a feeling of pain. Nociceptive pain is also called somatic pain.

Nociceptive pain is often described as a deep aching, throbbing, gnawing, or soreness. Common examples of nociceptive pain related to back pain include pain after trauma, such as back pain after a car accident or a fall; pain after back surgery; and arthritis pain. Nociceptive pain is usually localized and eases as the injury heals.

When Nerves Malfunction: Neuropathy

Pain caused by damage or injury to the nerve tissue is called neuropathy, or neuropathic pain. Nerve damage can result from an infection or injury elsewhere in the body. It is not known why some injuries lead to neuropathy, while others do not. Once the damage is done, the nerves continue to send pain signals long after the original injury has healed.

Sciatica is a symptom of back-related neuropathic pain. It occurs when something presses against a nerve root in the lower back, triggering pain and numbness along the sciatic nerve, stretching from the buttocks to the feet. Other examples include pain that travels from the spine down the arm, and pain that persists after back surgery.

It is thought that some cases of prolonged nociceptive pain may progress to neuropathy.

Acute vs. Chronic Pain

Within the categories of nociceptive and neuropathic pain, pain can be further broken down into acute and chronic pain, which differ greatly in form and function:

  • With acute pain, the severity of pain is tied to the level of tissue damage. The body has a protective reflex to avoid this kind of pain: the reflex to pull back quickly after touching a sharp object. Acute pain is a sign of injured or diseased tissue; when the underlying problem is cured, the pain goes away. Acute pain is a form of nociceptive pain.
  • Chronic pain does not serve a protective or other helpful biological function. Instead, the nerves continue to send pain messages after the earlier tissue damage has healed. Neuropathy is a type of chronic pain.

Causes of Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain differs from other types of pains and in order to start talking about neuropathic pain, it’s important to remember what pain actually is. So, nociceptive pain or pain that we sense usually is nerves transmitting an impulse and letting us know that there is a damage or injury to part of our body. Neuropathic pain is an actual pathology of the nerve itself. Nerve consists of its body, which is the axon, which is the part that usually gets injured and when that axon is injured what happens is abnormal transmission of impulses. It’s important to remember that it’s not nerves communicating an injury elsewhere, but the process in the nerves themselves.

Neuropathic pain itself presents differently from other types of pain. So, neuropathic pain is likely to be severe. It is usually sharp. It is electric shock-like sensation that people usually describe. It is lightning or lancinating type of pain that most people talk about when they describe neuropathic type of pain. Accompanying that, it can be a deep burning or, at the same time, it can also present as coldness in the limbs or distribution of that nerve. It also comes, at times, with persistent numbness, tingling, or weakness of the muscles that nerve supplies.

Neuropathic pain usually travels along the path of the nerve itself. Because the nerves have different function – some nerves are motor nerves, some nerves are sensory nerves – if the sensory part of the nerve is affected, it can alter sensation. Now, it can actually decrease sensation – in other words, create numbness – or it can heighten sensation where normal stimuli are now painful or altered – so something that would usually be a normal muscle sensation, such as light touch, can become a painful sensation.

There are many causes for neuropathy or neuropathic pain affecting the nerves. Some of those are compression of the nerve. Now, compression of the nerve can occur anywhere along the path of the nerve. It can be as it exits the spine and travels onward, as in radiculopathy – or in other words, pain arising from compression of the spinal nerve before it exits the spinal column – or it can be peripheral nerve compression. And many of us know what it feels like when we cross our legs and the leg goes numb – that is compression of the peripheral nerve and usually that recovers by itself, but if that compression remains for a longer period of time, then that can become not necessarily permanent, but the recovery from that can take months and sometimes even a whole year.

Other sources of the neuropathy can be systemic processes, such as diabetes. Diabetes is a microvascular process decreasing the supply of nutrients to tissues as well as nerves and that tends to be what’s called a “length-dependant process,” in other words, nerves that are longer tend to be affected first and that’s why people with diabetic neuropathy tend to feel their feet being affected first because the nerves are that much longer, so those nerves tend to be affected first, then the hands follow that because they are the next longest nerves in the body.

That being said, any process that can damage tissue can also damage nerve tissue. So, what I mean is treatments like chemotherapy – there are different chemotherapy agents that can alter different processes that the nerves depend on and some are actually neurotoxic – in other words, they are damaging the nerves directly. Now, chemotherapy affecting the nerves can appear at the time of the treatment, but it can also be a delayed presentation of that neuropathy. Also, radiation; a process that radiation causes, in the long run, can come up as post-radiation fibrosis. In other words, tissues fibrose and contract and can affect the nerves and that can cause neuropathy as well.

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10 Ways to Relieve Knee Pain

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Carrying extra pounds can exert additional pressure on your joints and contribute to knee pain. If you’re overweight, losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight can help relieve the stress on your knees. Talk to your doctor about developing a healthy eating plan and exercise program to help you lose weight sensibly.

2. Find a Low-Impact Exercise You Enjoy

Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Good choices for people with knee pain include walking and swimming. Be sure to warm up before and cool down after exercising. Avoid hilly terrain and high-impact activities like running and jumping, as these can worsen knee pain.

3. Give Physical Therapy a Try

Physical and occupational therapy often are helpful for people with knee pain. A physical therapist can help design an exercise program that fits your individual ability level and teach you proper techniques to spare your joints. Occupational therapy can teach you how to reduce strain on your knees in your daily activities.

4. Get Enough Rest and Relaxation

Sure, physical activity is important, but R and R can go a long way to promote good health – and reduce pain. Achieve a healthy balance in your life by learning stress-relief techniques like deep breathing and meditation.

5. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep

No question – arthritis pain can interfere with a good night’s sleep. However, proper sleep is necessary for overall health, so if you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor. Proper pain management can help break the cycle to help you slumber soundly.

6. Use Ice and/or Heat

For many people with arthritis pain, ice can help relieve pain and swelling and heat can help ease stiffness. Ask your doctor about how to safely use an ice pack and/or a warm towel or heating pad. A hot shower in the morning or warm bath before bed at night also may be helpful.

7. Apply a Topical Pain Reliever

A number of over-the-counter and prescription creams, gels, sprays and patches are available to help relieve arthritis pain. These pain relievers contain ingredients like capsaicin, salicylates, menthol, or a combination of medicines. Ask your doctor if one of these products might be right for you.

8. Use an Oral Pain Reliever

Oral pain medications are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis symptoms. The first choice is usually an over-the-counter drug like acetaminophen. Ask your doctor about your options – several medications are available, including prescription drug options.

9. Consider Injections

Persistent arthritis pain may respond to treatment with injections. Available options include corticosteroids, which can be used up to 2 or 3 times a year to relieve severe pain, and hyaluronic acid, which can help replenish lubricating substances in the knee. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of injectable treatments for knee pain.

10. Talk to Your Doctor about Surgery

If you have severe osteoarthritis symptoms that interfere with daily life and do not respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary. Ask your doctor about arthroscopic procedures or total knee replacement, may be necessary.

SOURCE

Combating wear and tear

Bioengineers detect early signs of damage in connective tissues such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage

By the time someone realizes they damaged a ligament, tendon or cartilage from too much exercise or other types of physical activity, it’s too late. The tissue is stretched and torn and the person is writhing in pain.

But a team of researchers led by University of Utah bioengineering professors Jeffrey Weiss and Michael Yu has discovered that damage to collagen, the main building block of all human tissue, can occur much earlier at a molecular level from too much physical stress, alerting doctors and scientists that a patient is on the path to major tissue damage and pain.

This could be especially helpful for some who want to know earlier if they are developing diseases such as arthritis or for athletes who want to know if repeated stress on their bodies is taking a toll. “The scientific value of this is high because collagen is everywhere,” Yu says. “When we are talking about this mechanical damage, we’re talking about cartilage and tendons and even heart valves that move all the time. There are so many tissues which involve collagen that can go bad mechanically. This issue is important for understanding many injuries and diseases.”

The team’s research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published this week in the latest issue of Nature Communications.

Before, scientists thought collagen — which are strands of protein braided into a ropelike structure that give tissue its strength and stiffness — would just stretch or slide by each other during repeated stress. They never knew if they actually got damaged. As a result, patients who put repeated stress on their body would not know if they were on the road to something worse from tough physical activity.

But now the team discovered that the collagen molecule does in fact get unraveled at a molecular level before complete failure of the tissue occurs. This type of minor damage, called “subfailure damage,” is associated with common injuries to connective tissues such as ligament and meniscus tears and various types of tendinitis such as tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendinopathy.

“Accumulation of subfailure damage can go on for a long time with no catastrophic failure, but repeated damage results in inflammation,” says Weiss, “So this vicious cycle continues, the inflammation breaks down the tissue, making it more susceptible to damage, which then can result in a massive tear.”

The team used a new probe called collagen hybridizing peptide (CHP), a tiny version of collagen that binds to unraveled strands of damaged collagen, to figure out where and how much damage has occurred in overloaded tendons.

This paves the way for medical researchers to use CHP probes in the future as a way of diagnosing if a person has damaged collagen and if so, how much and where, before a massive tear happens. Weiss and Yu also believe it can be used as a way to deliver drugs straight to the damaged tissue because the CHP targets only the damaged collagen. Finally, it will tell doctors even more about what happens to our bodies during repeated physical activity.

“A fundamental understanding of the loads and strain that cause molecular damage has eluded us until now,” says Weiss. “Our findings can translate into recommendations for athletes on how to train or what rehabilitation protocols people who are injured can use.”

SOURCE

The Speciality of Chronic Pain Management

1. What does a pain management specialist do?

A pain management specialist is a physician with special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. Pain is actually a wide spectrum of disorders including acute pain, chronic pain and cancer pain and sometimes a combination of these. Pain can also arise for many different reasons such as surgery, injury, nerve damage, and metabolic problems such as diabetes. Occasionally, pain can even be the problem all by itself, without any obvious cause at all.

As the field of medicine learns more about the complexities of pain, it has become more important to have physicians with specialized knowledge and skills to treat these conditions. An in-depth knowledge of the physiology of pain, the ability to evaluate patients with complicated pain problems, understanding of specialized tests for diagnosing painful conditions, appropriate prescribing of medications to varying pain problems, and skills to perform procedures (such as nerve blocks, spinal injections and other interventional techniques) are all part of what a pain management specialist uses to treat pain. In addition, the broad variety of treatments available to treat pain is growing rapidly and with increasing complexity. With an increasing number of new and complex drugs, techniques, and technologies becoming available every year for the treatment of pain, the pain management physician is uniquely trained to use this new knowledge safely and effectively to help his or her patients. Finally, the pain management specialist plays an important role in coordinating additional care such as physical therapy, psychological therapy, and rehabilitation programs in order to offer patients a comprehensive treatment plan with a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of their pain.

2. What should I look for in a pain management specialist?

The most important consideration in looking for a pain management specialist is to find someone who has the training and experience to help you with your particular pain problem and with whom you feel a comfortable rapport. Since many types of chronic pain may require a complex treatment plan as well as specialized interventional techniques, pain specialists today must have more training than in the past, and you should learn about how your pain physician was trained and whether he or she has board certification in pain management.

The widely accepted standard for pain management education today is a fellowship (additional training beyond residency which occurs after graduating from medical school) in pain management. Most fellowship programs are associated with anesthesiology residency training programs. There are also fellowship programs associated with neurology and physical medicine and rehabilitation residency programs. The fellowship consists of at least one year of training in all aspects of pain management after completion residency training. When a physician has become board certified in their primary specialty and has completed an accredited fellowship, they become eligible for subspecialty board certification in pain management by the American Board of Anesthesiology, The American Board of Psychiatry and The American Board of Neurology, or the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. These three are the only board certifications in pain management recognized by the American College of Graduate Medical Education.

In addition to learning about your pain physicians training and board certification, you also should ask whether they have experience with your specific pain condition and what types of treatments they offer. Do they only perform procedures or do they use a multidisciplinary approach to pain management? Who do they refer to for other treatment options such as surgery, psychological support or alternative therapies? How can they be reached if questions or problems arise? What is their overall philosophy of pain management?

3. How can I be referred to a pain management specialist?

The best way to be referred to a pain management specialist is through your primary care physician. Most pain physicians work closely with their patients’ primary care physicians to insure good communication, which in turn helps provide the optimum treatment for their patients. Patients are also often referred by specialists who deal with different types of pain problems. Back surgeons, neurologists, cancer doctors, as well as other specialists usually work regularly with a pain physician and can refer you to one.

4. What should I expect during my first visit to a pain management specialist?

On your first visit to a pain management specialist, he or she will get to know you and begin to evaluate your particular pain problem. This will usually involve a detailed history, a physical exam and review of tests that you have had performed. The questions you are asked and the physical examination will focus on your particular problem, but your pain physician will want to know about past and current medical history as well.

Often you will be given a questionnaire before your first visit that will ask detailed questions about your pain problem, and you will probably be asked to bring any imaging studies (such as X-rays, computed tomography [CAT] scans, or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] scans) or other tests that have already been done. You should know before your first visit whether or not a procedure is anticipated. If so, you may need a driver to take you home.

Most importantly, this visit is an opportunity for your pain physician to begin to analyze all of this new information and discuss with you an initial assessment of your pain problem. He or she may know exactly what is causing your pain, or perhaps further diagnostic procedures will be needed. But no matter what type of problem you have, you should leave this first visit with a clearer understanding of your pain and the course of further evaluation and treatment that is planned.

SOURCE

Top 5 Foods for Healthy Joints

You can keep your body healthy by maintaining a diet rich in nutrients and foods for healthy joints. Natural antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, and strong antioxidants can all be found in foods that help protect the body’s joints as we age.

No matter old or how active you are, joint health is a smart consideration.

Here are the top foods for joint health from Backfit Health + Spine:

1. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are full of healthy fats- particularly, Omega-3s, which have helpful anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3s can also be found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout.

2. Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

The more colors in your fruit and veggie intake, the more antioxidant vitamins your body gets to absorb. Antioxidants fight radicals and reduce inflammation-related damage.

3. Ginger and Tumeric

Ginger and turmeric are used for treat cold ailments for a reason, and they can be used generously when you’re healthy, too. Add the two into your cooking regimes to soak up their anti-inflammatory compounds.

4. Lean Protein

Lean protein includes poultry, fish and plant-based options such as beans. These proteins are essential to building healthy connective tissue to keep muscle mass and strength up. The stronger your muscles, the less pressure on your joints.

5. Leafy Greens and Whole Grains

Dark greens and grains are packed with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins which keep joints healthy through activity!

Hungry for more tips? Visit Backfit Health+Spine, Chandler’s premier chiropractic health care practice. Our knowledgeable, well-trained, highly experienced staff holistically approach every case, from injury to knee rejuvenation, from preventative health care to acute back pain. Come see us for an appointment!

What is Back Decompression?

Spinal decompression is a surgical procedure which aims to eliminate pain caused by neural impingement. Neural impingement, or pinched nerves, is commonly felt as un uncomfortable sensation. When pressure is applied to the area of irritation, a numbness often occurs. If left untreated, a pinched nerve can lead to damaged peripheral nerves. Pain varies amongst patients. It is usually felt as prickling, burning, stabbing or tingling.

To alleviate the symptoms of a pinched nerve, patients can consider spinal decompression surgery or spinal decompression therapy. Back decompression surgery removes bone from over the nerve root to allow it space to heal and to deactivate the pressure that is causing the pinching sensation.

The surgery is performed in one of two ways:

  • Microdiscectomy

In a microdiscectomy, the procedure is aimed to alleviate pain from a lumbar herniated disc. This condition is typically umbrella’d under sciatica, which is known to cause leg pain in patients.

  • Lumbar Laminectomy

A lumbar laminectomy is performed on lumbar spinal stenosis. This is the procedure that creates more space for the nerve root to heal. This procedure relieves pain for patients suffering from both physical weakness and neurological symptoms.

Increasingly common is the opting for spinal decompression therapy over surgery. Therapy stretches the spine using a traction table to achieve the same goal as decompression surgery. By stretching the spine, space is created for the pinched roots to heal, to be free of pressure and most importantly, liberated from pain.

For many years, chiropractors and osteopaths have implored the basic premise of spinal traction therapy by way of decompression devices. The devices and therapy remedy a range of pain levels caused by bulging, degenerating and herniated discs.

Spinal decompression is just one type of traction therapy that has long been used by experts. Decompression imposes a negative intradiscal pressure on the spine, which instigates retraction and repositioning by the herniated or bulging disc. It also creates a lower pressure in the disc, which allows more space for healing and a better path for healing nutrients to get to the root of the disc.

Not all patients are ideal candidates for decompression therapy. Many people suffer from leg pain (sciatica), lower back pain and neck pain, but unfortunately, not all can be remedied through non-invasive therapeutic measures. Amongst those for whom therapy is not appropriate are the following:

  • Pregnant women
  • Patients with broken vertebrae
  • Patients with history of a spinal fusion
  • Patients who have had an artificial disc or other implants
  • Patients who have had ineffective back surgery
  • Patients who have had previous surgeries intended for pain relief that did not work
  • Patients with osteoporosis
  • Patients with spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, spinal infection or spinal tumor
  • Patients with ankylosing spondylitis
  • Patients with any conditions that compromise the spine or require the patient to be on blood thinner medication

That said, many patients are good candidates for therapy. Many sufferers of pain wish to forego surgical options and focus on remedies that do not require going under the knife. At Backfit Health+Spine, we hope to accommodate as many of these preferences as is safe and possible.

If you suffer from the symptoms described above, it is time to consider which spinal decompression treatment is right for you. Come into Backfit Health+Spine to thoroughly review your case and determine which treatment route to take. Whatever you decide, the Backfit team is here to guide you back into your healthiest self. Life without back pain is not far away!

The Health Community in Chandler

The Chandler Health Care Center takes special pride in its community’s wellness. At BackFit Health + Spine in Chandler, we are proud to partner with the best individuals and teams to bring you the best comprehensive care.

Handling pain is about more than reducing daily aggravation and discomfort. It is about taking a holistic approach to health and surveying the entire body to find out which pieces are causing another member in the system to malfunction.

At BackFit Health + Spine, we believe that every patient requires a particular approach to their wellness. That’s why we enlist a diverse team of chiropractic health care professionals, a physical therapist, two family nurse practitioners and a medical doctor to be on call for you. Get to know our Chandler medical staff when you come in for an appointment so that you, too, can believe in finding and eliminating the root of the cause of your pain.

Remember, staying healthy is about more than scheduling appointments when ailments arise. Take preventative action in your wellness by eating right, exercising daily and prioritizing a work-life balance.

For staying fit in both body and mind, we recommend exploring yoga classes in Chandler AZ. Studios are diverse and well-suited for any skill level, from beginner to guru. And if you want to take advantage of the desert’s glorious weather, hiking is a beautiful way to stay outside and fit. Depending on your trail of choice, hiking in Chandler AZ can offer a surprising challenge.

For more expert advice on maintaining a healthy life as preventative medicine, get in touch with our team at BackFit Health + Spine. You’re certainly not required to be in pain to consult with our Chandler staff and determine the best way to embody your healthiest self.

Overcoming Injury with Chiropractic Therapy

Getting an injury comes with a responsibility to address that injury. For too many of us, it’s easy to justify injury neglect based on busy schedules and a self-prescribed dosage of over-the-counter pain relief.

Sustaining an injury can wreak havoc on the body. What you chalk up to a sprained ankle can affect different parts of the body. Even though the effects can at first be small, they take a profound and troublesome toll on the body over time.

Whether you’ve encountered a sports or accident injury, seeing a chiropractor is an excellent first step. A chiropractor examines the mechanics of your entire body to best assess your injury and recovery. Is the injury making certain muscular groups atrophy? Or did a weak muscular group make you more prone to injury in the first place?

Getting the full scope of your injury and its interplay with the rest of your body is invaluable in determining how long you need to heal and how to live your life to accommodate any susceptibilities you might have.

Chiropractic care works to address the root of the problem instead of simply remedying the current ailment. Chiropractors focus on the muscular and skeletal systems, making sure that skeletal alignment and join function are operating well. Looking at your body as a whole, instead of honing in on the particular malfunction gives the chiropractor a better sense of your health so they can properly diagnose and heal your situation.  

Of course, some injuries happen suddenly; these are considered acute. Although a chiropractor will still want to look at the entire function physical system, you are more likely to be prescribed a set recovery regime that gives the isolated injury back to working optimality in no time.

What are the benefits of chiropractic or physical therapy?

  • No surgery or medication. Chiropractors use hands-on manipulation of the musculoskeletal structure to initiate the body’s self-healing.
  • Pain relief for muscles, bones, joints and connective tissue.
  • Likely inclusion of nutritional counseling into PT regime as certain nutrients can aid in healing and pain reduction.
  • Gain an understanding of your entire musculoskeletal system. Develop awareness of the laws of compensation in your body so you can be mindful when exercising, eating and in the case of pain development.

You can see a chiropractic anytime, even if just to monitor and maintain your current health. Chiropractors are always excellent resources for pain management. Below are the most common reasons patients head into the chiropractor:

    • Lower back injury
    • Lower back pain
    • Chronic pain
    • Acute back pain

 

 

One of the most important tips to remember when it comes to injury is to not delay your visit to a chiropractor. You’ve only got the one body in your life, and only you can take care of it. It’s not going to take itself to the doctor, so you’ve got to commit to helping out. The human body is designed to move, so the sooner you address the aching issues, the more speedily your body is going to cooperate to get over the pain and heal.

A visit to the community chiropractic center is worth it just to hear an opinion on the holistic operation of your body. You can always get a second and third opinion and go forward with the care that best matches your needs and wishes for recovery. When you are ready to explore the benefits of chiropractic care, come into Backfit Health + Spine.

Chiropractic Treatment Can Improve Common Health Problems

Many people have heard about chiropractic care, but not everyone understands the types of chiropractic treatment that is available at a chiropractic care center. A health care professional with a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree focuses on treating disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous system through careful adjustments that can correct misalignments that cause pain. Together with your doctor, a chiropractor can help treat a number of common ailments that cause pain and may have a negative effect on your life, such as:

Back Pain

Chiropractors are well-known for providing chiropractic treatments for lower back pain. Living with chronic lower back pain can be debilitating, and many people turn to chiropractors to find relief. One of the more common procedures done is a manipulation of the sacroiliac joint, which connects the lower spine to the pelvis. Spinal decompression and manipulation can be very beneficial for patients suffering from lower back pain.

One of the greatest frustrations for people with chronic back pain is the fact that in many cases doctors are not able to determine exactly why the pain is occurring. But according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is evidence that people experiencing lower back pain can find relieve through chiropractic treatment. Physical therapy in conjunction with chiropractic treatment may be helpful if the lower back pain is associated with a previous accident or injury.

Neck Pain

When the spine is out of alignment, it is not uncommon for pain to travel up through the neck. Since most everyday activities require a person to have a full range of motion in their neck, living with neck pain can be very difficult and disruptive. Realigning the spine and spinal manipulations can often solve the problem. In fact, a study found in the Annals of Internal Medicine discovered that chiropractic treatment for neck pain was more effective for trial participants than using medications.

Chiropractors are trained to carefully assess where the root of the pain is. In some cases, neck pain is not related to the spine at all but actually, stems from issues with the shoulders. An experienced chiropractor will do several movement assessments with a patient to determine where the issue is stemming from before using different manipulations and adjustments to resolve the issue.

Pain Experienced During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is not known for being a comfortable time for a woman, and as pregnancy progresses and the fetus grows larger, many women complain of lower back pain and sciatica. In many cases, the pain and sciatica are caused when the pelvis becomes misaligned as the weight and size of a woman’s stomach increases. When a pregnant woman seeks chiropractic care, the chiropractor will typically focus on manipulating the sacrum and sacroiliac joint, which can realign and balance the pelvis, thus reducing pain and sciatica.

Chiropractic care during pregnancy has not been extensively researched, but there has been one study that has shown a link between chiropractic care during pregnancy and a decrease in extremely painful back labor. Another published study found that 75% of women who received chiropractic care during pregnancy reported that the treatments did help relieve their pain.

Serious Digestive Problems

Most people do not think about seeking chiropractic care when they experience chronic abdominal pain and digestive problems. But, there are nerves in the thoracic spine that can affect digestion; when there are thoracic vertebrae that are out of alignment, the nerves can spasm and send impulses to the intestines and stomach that can cause a variety of digestive problems.

Herniated thoracic discs can also play a part in digestive problems and persistent abdominal pain. A small study in the journal International Surgery found that out of 27 participants that complained of abdominal pain and digestive issues, 66% had a thoracic disc herniation.

For professional insight into your back pains and proactive solutions that will keep them at bay, contact a BackFit Health + Spine chiropractor today!

How Chiropractors Are Reducing Healthcare Costs

Aching neck and back pain is all too common in our society. In fact, two-thirds of our country has sought relief for this pain- that is the majority of us! First things first, if you have pain in your neck or back, no need to sound the alarm. It is uncomfortable, but it is common and treatable.

One matter to which you will want to pay attention to is your treatment plan. Pain manifests differently in everyone, and there are different approaches to remedying aches and chronic discomfort. Our first reaction is often to rush to our primary physician. However, scheduling a visit to the doctor does not always yield the most successful or affordable results.

Lately, more people are turning to a chiropractic physical therapy to cut down on healthcare costs. Whoa – let’s back up a minute. That is a big association to draw. How exactly does a chiropractor reduce medical costs?

  • Chiropractors are less likely to prescribe aggressive treatments. This would include any type of surgery or long-term medication, both of which ring at high price tags.
  • Chiropractic care reduces hospitalizations amongst back pain patients
  • Chiropractors reduce back surgeries
  • Chiropractic care reduces the cost of medical imaging, including X-rays and MRIs. The need to image patients is must less, as the chiropractor or therapist takes a different, less invasive approach to healing.
  • Chiropractors are trained to offer organized, integrated approaches to back pain. A chiropractor can work with the patient to determine where lifestyle choices can be changed, where supplements can be added to round out nutrition and how physical therapy might be used to rehabilitate before surgery is necessary.
  • Chiropractors are so well and specifically trained that there is little need for experimental medicine or treatment plans. During your chiropractic physical therapy, your chiro will know what type of exercise to prescribe and get you on a program that allows for the safest, most successful recovery. Resolving the pain in one sweep helps save money down the road, too. In the majority of cases, no long-term medications are necessary, and no complications from the invasive procedure will arise.

For most of us, affordability of a treatment plan is one of, if not the most important factors in determining how to get on track in a healthy routine. Thankfully, seeking physical therapy for injuries and optimal physical function is cost effective.

Today, seeing a chiropractor might be second nature. Most of us have been in for an appointment or know someone who has. A few decades ago, scheduling a time to see a chiropractor was not easy. Patients were required to have a direct referral from a physician, blatantly stating that seeking an alternative medical route was necessary. It was a slow, state-by-state fight to allow all patients access to chiropractors. Today, patients in all fifty states are free to see physical therapists and related professionals.

Many limitations still exist, but legislation continues to grant more responsibility to chiropractors, allowing more patients the affordable option for their healthcare. As more patients opt for chiropractic treatment, the word about the alternative healing option increases and chiropractors are able to help more people regain comfort in their everyday lives.

Whatever your choice of medical care is, it is important to remember that you have options! Seek advice from a practitioner to discuss which type of healthcare is most suitable for you. If you are curious about the chiropractic physical therapy we provide at BackFit Health, come into one of our locations. Meet with our staff and see what this alternative therapy is all about.

Proactive Medicine – Changing “Sick Care” to “Healthcare”

Technology has infiltrated our lives in ways we believed only to ever be fantastical. We are sharing thoughts from opposite ends of the world through tiny boxes, our thumbprints grant us access into private, sometimes virtual quarters and our need to use our memory has largely ceased- instead, a giant, invisible cloud which stores all of our memories and information.

Medicine has been no stranger to the 21st Century adaptation to technological advancement, and through its modern evolution, we’ve been able to turn from a reactive health society to a proactive health society.

A proactive approach to health involves implementing measures that keep the body high functioning to avoid injury, whereas a reactive approach prescribes remedy upon injury. Shifting from “sick care” to “healthcare” is beneficial for so many reasons! Staying healthy and active keeps our energy and wellness top priority. It keeps us working to stay fit, which increases our metabolism, triggers many essential functions and makes our bodies healthy, so we don’t break under pressure or in an accident. Prioritizing our physique usually welcomes our attention over to our diets, as well. We eat more healthily, feeding our body exactly what it needs to perform at its best. Today, we are exposed daily to superfoods and anti-inflammatory agents that promise to keep us well and ailment free.

There are many moving pieces to keep track of as we stay on the preventative health care train. It can be overwhelming! And there is new information available to us every day- new workouts, new food ideologies, new ways to stay in the fittest mental shape alongside physical. Thankfully, technology moves just as quickly as health trends so it can keep up succeeding at all of the above.

The medical industry has slipped technology and entertainment into our understanding of health so subtly that you might not even notice how often you are monitoring your own physical functioning. Let’s look at two of the biggest tech trends in health.

  • Nutrition. We are wild about our nutrition these days. Information is available anywhere and everywhere, and we are sharing every tip and meal we try. Our phones can scan barcodes to detect certain ingredients, take a nutrition panel and even sync with our preferred diet to let us know when something is off limits.
  • Fitness. We are similarly eager about our step counts. Medical experts have essentially gamified exercise, and it could not be more brilliant. Apps and wearables allow friends to share workouts and step-statuses, to compete in weekly challenges and to exchange info on personal progress. Wearables keep us constantly reminded that moving is the best way to a healthy, happy life.

Proactive medicine involves projecting likely physical changes or future hurdles and prescribing lifestyle changes to avoid them. In some cases, physical change will appear inevitable. Though you will likely encounter it, a physical therapist can prepare the body in ways that eliminate the need for surgery or other invasive, reactive methods. Proactive physical therapy keeps you mentally and physically fit, but more importantly, it cares for your body in ways that on your own, you would not be able to predict.

Preventative therapy is a good idea for anyone. Each body is different, has been through different trauma, sustained different injury, been moved around in different lifestyles. Working with a physical therapist allows you to follow a regimen that uniquely suits your body’s needs. Making sure to enhance your physical performance now is the best way to combat potential wear and tear in the future.

When you are ready to look at proactive treatment plans that best accommodate your lifestyle and future goals, come into BackFit Health + Spine, the most trusted chiropractor in Phoenix.

Fitness and Views: Hike Phoenix

As spring approaches, residents of the Valley can begin to enjoy the wonderful outdoor activities again without fear of the overpowering sun and temperatures. Hiking in Phoenix during the scorching heat of the summer can be a dangerous adventure because dehydration and heat exhaustion/stroke are serious concerns. But now that the temperatures are ideal, it is the perfect time to go explore some of the top hiking trails for incredible views, desert wildlife and exercise!

Best Hikes in Phoenix

Ranked as one the best cities for hiking in the U.S., there are miles and miles of trails that can be found with a short drive in any direction from downtown Phoenix.

Deem Hills, Circumference Trail

Image of Tom’s Thumb from North Side in Phoenix Arizona.

The Deem Hills Park opened up in 2010 and is a very popular spot for locals to hike. The Circumference trail is 5.73-miles in length as it circles the entire recreation area and offers great views of Phoenix, Hedgepeth Hills, Hieroglyphic and Bradshaw Mountains.

Tom’s Thumb, North Side

Image of preserve at Gateway Loop Trail in Phoenix Arizona.

While it is only 3.7-miles in length, Tom’s Thumb trail is very strenuous due to the elevation that is gained to reach the landmark. Hikers that reach the top are rewarded with stunning views of Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Four Peaks.

Gateway Loop Trail

Image of walking trail leading up Pinnacle Peak in Phoenix Arizona.

Located in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, the 4.2-mile loop hike circles around one of the foothills of the McDowell Mountains and offers great exposure to the natural desert vegetation include many giant saguaros.

Pinnacle Peak

Image of walking trail leading up Pinnacle Peak in Phoenix Arizona.

Offering several stretches of inclines and declines, the out-and-back trail is 1.75-miles one direction. Hikers get great views of saguaros, cholla cactus, pristine golf courses and gorgeous homes of North Scottsdale.

Piestewa Peak Summit

Image of hiking trail up Piestewa Peak Summit in Phoenix.

This hike is close to downtown and tends to be on the more difficult side but offers some great views of the city. Piestewa offers a great workout for those hikers looking for a fitness hike.

Before you set out to explore the awesome hiking trails that are located around the city, make sure that your back is up to the challenge. BackFit Health + Spine can get you straightened out and enjoying all the health benefits of hiking in no time! With five locations throughout the Valley, BackFit makes it convenient to see a chiropractor in Phoenix, no matter where you live.

Natural Lemonade Recipe to Help Headaches

In a society that is bombarded by big pharmaceutical companies releasing new drugs on what seems to be a daily basis, it is easy to get caught up in the convenience that over-the-counter drugs offer. However, there is a very large movement that is geared towards natural remedies, therapies, techniques and cures that include essential oils, diet, supplements and non-traditional Western medicine approaches to many common and complex health issues. Perhaps one of the most common ailments that plagues Americans are headaches that are induced by stress and anxiety. There are numerous over-the-counter drugs that provide treatment for headaches but if you are one who is open to trying natural cures for headaches try this recipe for Lavender Lemonade.

Lavender Lemonade Recipe:

1 cup raw honey

12 cups of water

1 drop of lavender essential oil

6 juiced lemons

  • You can add more water or honey to taste.

Research has shown that lavender oil is beneficial for reducing anxiety and lowering heart rate, which both can be factors that contribute to headaches. Lavender helps reduce stress by inducing relaxation, and it possesses properties like anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, detoxifier, hypotensive and sedative. So before you reach for the easy option of over-the-counter drugs, give this simple lemonade recipe a try to help eliminate your stress and anxiety headaches.

However, headaches can be caused by a variety of reasons, and if you think that your headaches stem from a muscular or skeletal issue, you could benefit from seeing a chiropractor. BackFit Health + Spine has just introduced the brand new MiRx Protocol for the treatment of headaches and migraines. With 5 locations throughout the Valley, visit their page on the MiRx Protocol for more information and make sure to fill out the new patient exam special form to schedule your appointment today!

T/LifeTime Fitness Open House

Arrival time 8:45am

9:00am-1:00pm

This is an open house at the Tempe Lifetime Fitness located at 1616 West Ruby Drive, Tempe 85284.

Lifetime fitness has a spa in the facility so we will not be offering chair massage at this event, and we’ll focus more on the medical aspect to draw people in since they don’t have medical providers. At this event we will only need 1 host in addition to myself as the staff say these open house’s become extremely busy!

Host1: Darien

Host2: Open

 

Lovin’ Life After 50 Expo

Mesa Convention Center

201 N Center St, Mesa, AZ 85201

Details: Explore 80+ interesting and informational exhibitiors.  Not just for seniors, bring the whole family!

Setup/Arrival:  7:30 am -noon

Attire:  Blue Polo/Khaki pants

1LMT:  Kyle

2LMT/Host:

POC:
Kim Brooks
480-219-2599
kbrooks@evarmobile.org