Total Back Newsletter

What you may not know about scoliosis!

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Did you know this about scoliosis?

scoliosis

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a common condition that we treat at The Center for Total Back Care. Our goal is to decrease pain and increase spinal stability with people affected by this condition.  Here are some things you may not know about scoliosis.

  1. Scoliosis affects about 3% of the population.  You may have scoliosis and not be aware of it!
  2. Women are more likely to have scoliosis than men.
  3. Scoliosis often doesn’t require surgery and can be treated by a physical therapist or chiropractor that specializes in spinal conditions
  4. The position and spine curve size doesn’t determine the severity of the condition.  Often people with the most severe spinal curvatures may experience little or no symptoms, while people with mild scoliosis may have very pronounced symptoms.
  5. There are 2 types of scoliosis.  One is degenerative scoliosis and the other is idiopathic scoliosis.  Degenerative scoliosis usually occurs as one ages and progresses based on normal wear and tear.  Idiopathic scoliosis develops at an earlier age and can get progressively worse as one ages.
  6. Smoking can contribute to scoliosis progression.  Recent studies suggest that smoking has a very negative impact on the spine by increasing the rate of disc degeneration.
  7. Keep exercising.  It is important to maintain a proper exercise and core stabilization program to improve symptoms and potentially reduce the degeneration of the spine related to scoliosis.  Make sure you consult with a spine care specialist before you start exercising.

The Center for Total Back Care specializes in the treatment of many spinal conditions including scoliosis.  Contact us today for more information about how we can help you treat scoliosis!

 


Top Low Back Stretches: Piriformis Stretch

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Top Low Back Stretches: Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis stretch is one of the best stretches you can do to protect yourself from a low back injury and to help relieve pain during the rehabilitation from a low back injury.  When people injure their low back, the muscles surrounding the area of the injury will tighten to guard the area from further injury.  The problem is that this constant tension in these muscle groups, can increase pain when a nerve is involved and decreases blood flow to this area.  Decreased blood flow increases the time for healing.  So stretching the muscles in this area help break this cycle and allow for the body to heal.  The piriformis muscle is one of the muscles that commonly tightens to guard the affected area.

There are many ways to perform the piriformis stretch, so the best thing to do is to find the most reasonable and comfortable way you can perform the stretch. When performing this stretch you should feel the stretch across the back of the leg being stretched.   You may feel increased tension in the buttocks or back of the knee area.  It is important that when performing stretches that the individual does not have pain or numbness, but a mild stretching sensation in the muscles of the targeted area.  Please consult with a doctor if you have any questions about this exercise.  Below are 2 examples of how you can perform this stretch.

Less Aggressive Piriformis Stretch

Perform this stretch when in significant low back pain and you cannot perform the more Aggressive Piriformis Stretch

piriformis stretch pain-First lie on your back and bend both knees keeping feet flat on floor

-Take one leg and lift it so the ankle is crossing the other leg at the knee (refer to picture)

-Gently apply pressure on the “crossed” leg’s knee, pushing away from the body (refer to picture)

-Hold stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, then switch legs and repeat.

-Perform stretch 2-3 times daily as needed.

 

More Aggressive Piriformis Stretch

Perform this stretch when low back pain is less or back is healthy.  This more aggressive version of the stretch will allow you to get a deeper stretch for the piriformis muscle.

Active piriformis stretch-First lie on your back and bend both knees keeping feet flat on floor

-Take one leg and lift it so the ankle is crossing the other leg at the knee (refer to picture)

-Reach behind leg that is supporting the crossed leg and gently pull towards chest (refer to picture)

-Hold stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, then switch legs and repeat.

-Perform stretch 2-3 times daily as needed.

FAQ
When should I perform the Piriformis Stretch?

The Piriformis Stretch can be performed prior to or after any workout program, especially with back loading is involved.  This will help prevent injury.  Performing this stretch after injury will help expedite the healing process.

When should I avoid performing the Piriformis Stretch?

The piriformis stretch needs to be approached with caution if you are dealing with back pain.  If you feel an increase in pain or numbness, stop and contact your doctor.

 


Top Low Back Stretches: Hamstring Stretches

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Top Low Back Stretches: Hamstring Stretches

The hamstring stretches are some of the best stretches you can do to protect yourself from a low back injury.  Most low back injuries happen when our posture is not set up to take the load that one is lifting.  People with tight hamstring muscles have a difficult time maintaining proper spinal alignment during the lift which can minimally cause a strain in the muscles of the lower back, but potentially it can cause a more serious disc injury and lead to a lifetime of pain.

There are many ways to perform the hamstring stretch, so the best thing to do is to find the most reasonable and comfortable way you can perform the stretch. When performing this stretch you should feel the stretch across the back of the leg being stretched.   You may feel increased tension in the buttocks or back of the knee area.  It is important that when performing stretches that the individual does not have pain or numbness, but a mild stretching sensation in the muscles of the targeted area.  Please consult with a doctor if you have any questions about this exercise.

Back Lying Hamstring Stretch

The back lying hamstring stretch is most often comfortable for people experiencing back pain.  This position decreases pressure on the spine when compared to the other positions.

Hamstring Stretch Supine– Lie on back and bend one leg placing hand behind the knee

-Slowly raise the knee perpendicular to the ground

-Extend lower part of leg you are stretching until you feel a stretch (pull the toes towards the knee to increase stretch)

-Hold stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, then switch leg.

 

 

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Best when in an office environment.

seated hamstring stretch-Carefully sit on the edge of a chair

-With one leg extended fully, place heal into the ground

-Maintain a straight back posture and slowly lean forward until you feel the stretch

-Hold stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, then switch leg.

 

 

 

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Best when you cannot sit or lie down.  Make sure you have something to hold onto to maintain balance

Standing Hamstring Stretch-In standing position, extend one leg forward putting heel into ground and pull toes toward knee

-Staying balanced, keep back straight and lean forward slowly until you feel a stretch.

-Hold stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, then switch leg.

 

 

 

 

FAQ
When should I perform the hamstring stretch?

The hamstring stretch is good to use when you are feeling tension in the back of the legs, or have difficulty touching toes in a standing position.  Perform after working out or if you are sitting for long periods of the day

When should I not perform the hamstring stretch?

The hamstring stretch needs to be approached with caution if you are dealing with back pain.  If you feel an increase in pain or numbness, stop and contact your doctor.

 


Get an accurate diagnosis before you treat back pain

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Middle Back PainGet your physical therapy on track with an accurate diagnosis first

Not all back pain is alike and definitely shouldn’t be treated the same way.  This is why it is important to get an accurate diagnosis of what is going on in order to effectively treat the problem.  The pain you are experiencing is just a symptom and just treating the symptom results in continued recurrence of the problem.  Back pain can be related to joint integrity issues, disc issues, nerve issues, strength imbalance issues, strain injuries, etc.  The list can go on and on.  As a specialized neck and back pain treatment facility, we create an individualized back pain treatment program to meet your individual needs.  A recent article on lohud.com, interviews a physiatrist on the importance of getting the right diagnosis.  Check out this article at Back Pain:  Correct diagnosis is vital.


How a back injury can redefine your life

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

tiger woods

Just Google “Back Injury” in the news and you will see a long list of athletes that are dealing with back pain.  Often these types of injuries redefine the athletes career as pre and post-back injury.  One of the most notable examples is Tiger Woods.  While Tiger has been plagued with knee injuries over the years, he was still able to win multiple tournaments and majors while dealing with some considerable knee issues.  But this past year Tiger has been dealing with back issues that have contributed to him posting some of his worst scores as a professional and at times has literally brought him to his knees.   Will his career be defined as pre and post-back injury?  That is still to be seen.

A majority of people will deal with back pain of some kind in their lifetime.  Back pain is often a result of overexertion, repetitive motion, or slip/fall, but often you can limit the impact of these types of injuries by addressing them immediately with the right kind of treatment.  Tiger Woods is known to try to push through his injuries to achieve his goals, but he recently began heading his medical professionals to take his back injury seriously.  Make sure you do too, listen to your body and seek professionals that specialize in treating back pain.  How are you going to let your back injury define you?

 


Acetaminophen may not help with back pain

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

A recent Australian finds that acetaminophen may not help treat back pain.  The researchers found the drug was no more effective than a dummy pill for more than 1,600 people suffering from acute lower back pain.  Besides showing no effect in easing discomfort, the study also found the drug was no help in improving sleep woes tied to back pain, nor did it improve patients’ overall quality of life.  For more details about this check out WebMD’s article “Acetaminophen May Not Help Against Back Pain, Study Contends“.


9 words you don’t say to your insurance company

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Over the years of working with patients that are processing reimbursement for auto accidents we have to agree, in order to process your insurance claim there are right and wrong words to say to your insurance carrier.  This is good advice provided by Ed Leefedt at Insure.com.

1. Sorry- You may say “I’m sorry” out of habit or embarrassment after a car crash, but hold your tongue at the scene of an accident. There’s no need to admit fault or assign blame – let a police officer determine fault. You don’t want your words to cause confusion about your role in an accident, especially if you weren’t at fault.

2. Whiplash- Say “whiplash” and the insurance adjuster will probably speed-dial the in-house counsel. Whiplash claims are the bane of insurance companies, which are on constant alert against bogus medical claims. Don’t self-diagnose your injuries from an accident. If you suspect trauma, see a doctor and get the medical report. After a car accident, never speak to the other party’s insurer before you speak to your own.

3. Intentional- Insurance will cover bad luck and bad judgment, like driving too fast on ice and crashing, but it won’t cover intentional acts. If your wife took a bat to your car hood during an argument, or you broke your car window in order to get your keys, get ready to pay for damage yourself.

4. Customized- Your souped-up car might be your pride and joy, but auto insurers are not interested in covering drivers who are careening around in modified vehicles trying to look cool. Remember that customizing and upgrades to your car may not be covered by insurance — or only up to $2,000, warns Insure.com’s consumer analyst Penny Gusner. In fact, some modifications can void your auto insurance policy.

5. Breakdown- Your car won’t start in the morning. Your axle snaps while you’re turning a corner. You don’t have an insurance claim; you have a mechanical breakdown. And breakdowns aren’t covered by auto insurance unless you specifically added mechanical breakdown coverage to your policy. If your insurer offers it, make sure you understand the details. Does it include roadside assistance and a rental car? What is the coverage limit for repairs and what is excluded?

6. Fine- Many people have a misplaced tendency to assure everyone they’re fine after an accident, says Gusner, even when they can barely crawl out of the wreck. Let the doctor say you’re fine before you give this information to your insurer — or anyone else.

7. Ride-share- Ride-sharing services are flourishing in urban areas, but that doesn’t mean they’re a smart choice. If your car is used for a purpose other than that for which the policy was issued, you may not be covered. Renting out your car as a taxi service could void coverage. So don’t turn your car into a side business unless you’ve checked with your agent.

8. Off-premises- “Off-premises” could indicate that your problem isn’t covered by your policy. Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a non-profit group that helps consumers, tells of a man who told his insurer that his water damage may have been caused by a backup from an outside sewer rather than a problem inside his property. The insurer told him that the damage had to originate on-premises or it wasn’t covered. The case went to court, but the owner lost.

9. Coincidence- Insurance companies cast a wary eye on anyone who insists an unusual situation was just “coincidence,” according to Jim Quiggle, director of communications for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.  “It’s just a coincidence that my car was in that vacant lot on the other side of town and the driver’s seat mysteriously caught fire,” says Quiggle as an example. Insurers will suspect your car fire was on purpose rather than coincidence.


Yoga moves that can help save your back!

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

f0505_Hot-YogaCertain exercises can help reduce back and neck pain.  Yoga is very popular for maintaining flexibility, balance, and proper core strength.  These are all fundamental to ensure a healthy neck and back.  Check out  this recent article from Time magazine: These 5 Yoga Moves Will Save You From Back Pain.


Getting Older and Back Injuries

John Naumann Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Lower Back Pain

As we get older our body’s mechanisms to repair tissues decreases in its ability to heal.  This is why younger people who have back sprain/strain injuries can sometimes heal fairly quickly with little or no treatment, while people over 35 begin to take longer to recover from these same types of injuries. A recent article in ChiroNexus on Why Aging Aggravates Spinal Injuries, helps explain some of the science behind this phenomenon.  As chiropractic and physical therapy providers our job is to help encourage the body’s ability to heal itself and speed up the recovery process.  As we get older it is important not to ignore or try to “work through” these types of injuries, because there is a strong likelihood they will only get worse.  If you are struggling or know someone struggling with a back injury, have them contact us at 480-633-8293.


Running to a Healthier Lifestyle

Dr. Jolley Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Running is one of the best forms of aerobic conditioning for your heart and lungs. It can significantly increase your metabolic rate and the amount of calories you burn, leading to loss of excess body fat. Those who run regularly are also less likely to experience bone and muscle loss due to the body’s positive response to additional physical demands.

Pay attention to your shoes:
Shoes wear out after 300 to 500 miles. You often can’t see the wear, but, your knees, hips and back will feel it. Visit a running specialty store for quality shoes and talk to your doctor for suggestions on the best shoes to get. Not just any shoe will do.

Run on different surfaces:
See how many different surfaces you can run on in a month: asphalt, gravel, trail, grass, track, treadmill and beach. Each stresses your leg muscles in a slightly different way, helping to prevent overuse injuries. (If possible, avoid concrete, the hardest and most harmful surface for runners.)

Keep a training journal:
A journal can be a great way to maintain motivation and consistency. Keep it filled with running times, routines, motivational quotes and how your body reacts to various routines. You should have a documented road map for reaching your running goals.

Introduce high-intensity interval training into your running routine:
Alternate, pace, speed, tempo and rest periods during a single running session. For example, keep a steady pace for a mile and then sprint for 30 seconds. Do this for several cycles and notice how your heart rate and muscle fatigue threshold increase by your efforts.

So, now that you know more information than the “average Joe” about running, it’s time to take that first step toward a healthier you. Every great journey starts with a single step; now just put one foot in front of the other to see how far this new journey takes you. I have a feeling you will discover a passion for the open road you never know existed. Welcome to the wonderful world of running.

Source: to your Health –By: Perry Nickelson, DC


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