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Category: Back Care

Why teens should sit up straight

Why teens should sit up straight

How many times did you hear, “Sit up straight!” as a child? How many times have you said this to your own child? There’s  a reason behind that famous advice: poor posture early in life may lead to a number of back problems and pain later on. That’s why researchers conducted a study to better understand slouching in adolescents.

Researchers had 1,5092 adolescents complete questionnaires about their lifestyle and experience with back pain. Their sitting posture,  body mass index (BMI), and back-muscle endurance were also measured. Researchers discovered that boys were much more likely than girls to slouch. Watching TV, having a higher BMI, and having lower self-efficacy also increased a teen’s likelihood of slouching.

Teens who slouched also tended to have lower back-muscle endurance and non-neutral standing position. Some teens noticed their back pain increased while sitting, and those teens often had poorer scores on a child-behavior test.

These findings suggest that whether or not a child slouches isn’t simply about whether they remember to sit up straight. Encouraging healthy lifestyle habits and a strong self-esteem could also play a big role in helping your teen develop good posture. A doctor of chiropractic can evaluate your child’s sitting and standing posture to help them avoid future back pain.

O’Sullivan PB, Smith AJ, Beales DJ, Straker LM. “Association of Biopsychosocial Factors With Degree of Slump in Sitting Posture and Self-Report of Back Pain in Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Physical Therapy 91.4 (2011): 470-83.

Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact

Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact

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You have no doubt overheard someone at work or at a party telling his friends that he never wears a seat belt—and that he has some really good reasons.  The story usually goes something like this:  He heard from a buddy he knows that a friend of a friend who was not wearing a seat belt had a bad car accident and walked away from it because he was thrown clear of the car.  This is one of the most pervasive car safety myths out there. And if you believe this myth, you could be setting yourself up for serious injury or death.

Although there are a small handful of cases in which someone has survived a car accident after being thrown from the car, this is a very rare occurrence.  In fact, you actually have a 25 percent greater chance of being killed if thrown from the car.  Just consider the physics of the situation.  The force applied to your body when a collision occurs can be strong enough to propel you 150 feet, which is equivalent to about 15 car lengths.  And you would not just be flying gracefully through the air either.  First, your body may go crashing through the windshield, it may scrape along the rough asphalt for yards, and then you could end up getting crushed by your own car or someone else’s.  This is not to mention the other objects you may be hurled into when flung from the car.  Statistics from a study performed by researchers at James Madison University show that the proper use of a seat belt reduces serious injuries from traffic accidents by 50 percent and fatalities by 60 to 70 percent.  It’s a simple thing that can protect your health and save your life—wear seat belts.

Another common myth is that bracing for impact causes more damage to your body, and that it’s best to remain relaxed.  Of course, actually having the ability to choose one way or another about bracing has a lot to do with how much time you have before impact.   Many accidents occur in the blink of an eye, so suggesting that someone should “stay relaxed” has really limited practical value.  However, the most current science indicates that if you have time, bracing for impact will likely reduce the amount of injury, particularly to tendons and ligaments.

One of the most common types of injury from an auto accident is whiplash, which occurs in about a third of all collisions.  If you see a car approaching in your rear view mirror that you believe is going to collide with yours, the best thing to do is to press your body against the seatback, with your head pressed firmly against the head rest. This way you are less likely to suffer injuries to the ligaments in your neck, as your head will not be slammed back against the head rest, then flung forward.

Auto accidents are never pleasant, but by knowing the facts about auto safety you can help reduce your chances of sustaining a serious injury.  If you do end up in an accident, it’s always a good idea to get a medical evaluation promptly, even if you think you haven’t suffered any significant injuries.  Many auto injuries take time for their symptoms to become apparent or significant enough for victims to recognize how badly they may have been hurt.  By the time the symptoms are obvious, the victim and his or her doctor may have lost a valuable opportunity to treat the underlying injuries.  Please call or visit the office if you or someone in your family has recently been involved in an auto accident.

Spotlight on Massage and Lower Back Pain

Spotlight on Massage and Lower Back Pain

According to the National Institutes of Health, lower back pain is the second most common form of chronic pain after headaches. Experts estimate that approximately 80% of Americans will seek help for low back pain at some point during their lives. Public health officials and insurers estimate that Americans spend $50 billion each year on treatments that are often ineffective. The standard treatment for lower back pain is to take muscle relaxants, painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, along with physical therapy and back exercises. However, few medical interventions relieve pain reliably, and continuing to take painkillers on a long-term basis is not advised. Massage, on the other hand, has been found to be an effective way of dealing with back pain on a regular basis.

Treatment for lower back pain accounts for approximately a third of all visits to a massage therapist. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients suffering from lower back pain of unknown origin were helped more by massage than by conventional medical treatment. Of 401 total study participants, 133 received traditional medical care with no massage, 132 received structural massage (which addresses particular muscular and skeletal structures that cause pain) and 36 received relaxation massage (a general form of massage, such as Swedish, intended for overall relaxation).

Participants in the massage groups received one hour-long massage once a week for 10 weeks. All participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the study, then again at 10 weeks, 24 weeks and a year after the beginning of the study to report on their perceived pain. Both kinds of massage groups reported greater pain relief and ease of motion after 10 weeks of treatment than the medical group.

An average of 37% of the patients in the massage groups reported that their pain was almost or completely gone, while only 4% of the usual care group reported similar results. This was also the case at 26 weeks. However, at the one-year mark, the benefits to all groups were about equal. The type of massage used did not seem to matter, with both massage groups experiencing comparable levels of pain relief. The massage groups were less likely to report having used medication for their back pain after the 10 weeks of intervention, and they also reported having spent fewer days in bed and had lost fewer days of work or school than those in the usual care group.

Dr. Richard A. Deyo, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland says of the study, “I think this trial is good news in the sense that it suggests that massage is a useful option that helps some substantial fraction of these patients. Like in most other treatments, this is not a slam dunk, and it’s not like a cure, but it’s something that seems to offer a significant benefit for a substantial number of patients.” Deyo sees massage as a way of people being able to break out of the pain-inactivity cycle. He notes, “I don’t see massage as the final solution, I see it as maybe a helpful step toward getting people more active.”

As always, chiropractic care shows the greatest success in the treatment of all types of back pain. We have found that chiropractic care combined with massage can be a very effective option for many of our patients. If you are currently experiencing back pain, be sure to call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander. 406-652-3553

 

Preventing Sciatica

Preventing Sciatica

Learning the risk factors of sciatica can help you minimize your risk of developing it. A recent study sheds light onto what makes you more likely to develop sciatica.

The study evaluated 5261 participants aged 40-60. Researchers collected data on participants’ occupational class, physical and psychosocial working conditions, body mass index, smoking, leisure-time physical activity, and history of neck and back pain.

Risk factors for sciatica varied based on gender. Women were more likely to have sciatica if they worked in manual occupational class, were overweight, smoked, lived a sedentary lifestyle, and had previous neck and back pain. Among men participants, those employed in semi-professional and manual occupational classes had higher risk levels. Researchers concluded that occupational class, unhealthy lifestyle and a personal history of back and neck pain made patients more likely to develop sciatica.

Chiropractors have been successfully treating sciatica patients for years. If you are having sciatic pain, be sure to call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander to assess your risk factors for sciatica and/or receiving effective treatment.

Kaaria S, Leino-Arjas P, Rahkonen O, Lahti J, Lahelma E, Laaksonen M. Risk factors of sciatic pain: A prospective study among middle-aged employees. European Journal of Pain. 2010 Dec 14.

Shared from www.chironexus.net
Why Chiropractic is Superior for Musculoskeletal Pain

Why Chiropractic is Superior for Musculoskeletal Pain

Countless studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to treat musculoskeletal complaints like back pain, neck pain, or sciatica. Now a new study from Switzerland has looked at the relative benefits of chiropractic compared to medical care for the most common types of pain issues.

In this study, the authors examined data from people who reported spinal, hip, or shoulder pain. 403 patients saw a medical doctor for relief; 316 people saw a chiropractor. Four months after treatment, the patients were asked to fill out a survey reporting on their recovery.

The authors found that:

  • “Patients initially consulting MDs had significantly less reduction in their numerical pain rating score…”
  • Patients who saw MDs  were significantly less satisfied with the care they received and the outcome of that care.
  • Patients who saw a chiropractor had significantly lower healthcare costs for their treatment.

The authors conclude that patients should first be sent to a chiropractor for musculoskeletal problems, rather than a medical doctor:

“The findings of this study support first-contact care provided by DCs as an alternative to first-contact care provided by MDs for a select number of musculoskeletal conditions. Restrictive models of care in which patients are required to contact a medical provider before consulting a chiropractic provider may be counterproductive for patients experiencing the musculoskeletal conditions investigated and possibly others. In addition to potentially reducing health care costs, direct access to chiropractic care may ease the workload on MDs, particularly in areas with poor medical coverage and hence enabling them to focus on complex cases. The minority of patients with complex health problems initially consulting a chiropractic provider would be referred to, or comanaged with, a medical provider to provide optimal care.”

Houweling TAW, Braga AV, Hausheer T, et al. First-Contact Care With a Medical vs Chiropractic Provider After Consultation With a Swiss Telemedicine Provider: Comparison of Outcomes, Patient Satisfaction, and Health Care Costs in Spinal, Hip, and Shoulder Pain Patients. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2015;38(7):477-83.

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money

Back pain is an expensive health problem for both patients and businesses. A 2012 study reported that we spend about $635 billion on pain every year, with a significant amount of that spent on back pain. Over the years, quite a few studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective for back pain than medical care, plus chiropractic patients spend less money on their care than medical patients do.

Because back pain is such a common problem, a group of Canadian researchers recently investigated the role that the type of primary caregiver has on financial compensation.

This was a large study of 5,511 patients who experienced a work-related back injury in Ontario, Canada. The patients saw the following providers for their first visit:

  • 85.3% saw a medical doctor
  • 11.4% saw a chiropractor
  • 3.2% saw a physical therapist

The authors set out to “compare the duration of financial compensation for back pain” among patients from each care group.

The study found that chiropractic patients had the shortest amount of time receiving compensation for their pain and also were less likely to have a recurrence.

In addition, chiropractic patients didn’t need to see other healthcare providers for their pain. 75% of chiropractic patients saw no other provider, while 58.6% of physical therapy patients also saw a medical doctor.

The authors conclude:

“The type of healthcare provider first visited for back pain is a determinant of the duration of financial compensation during the first 5 months. Chiropractic patients experience the shortest duration of compensation, and physiotherapy patients experience the longest.”

Blanchette M, Rivard M, Dionne CE, et al. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2016 Sep 17.

Today’s chiropractic news shared from the following website: https://www.chironexus.net/2016/09/chiropractic-patients-recover-faster-spend-less-money/
Spinal Health at the Gym—Form Matters!

Spinal Health at the Gym—Form Matters!

Whether you are an athlete training for competition or someone who visits the gym regularly just to keep fit, protecting your back and spine from injuries during workouts is important. A large-scale University of Arkansas study found that after injuries to the hand, injuries to areas ranging from the neck to the lower back were the most common type of gym-related injuries.

Back injuries at the gym are more common today due to the large amounts of time we spend sitting at a desk or hunched over a computer. According to personal trainer Justin Price, a specialist in functional fitness and corrective exercise, “If someone is rounded throughout the day in their upper back, and then they go to the gym and do an overhead shoulder lift standing, their upper back cannot extend properly. They straighten and arch upward from their lower back, which has a nervous breakdown because it’s getting all the stress.”

Price suggests that in order to avoid injury you consider getting a personal trainer who can show you the proper way of performing exercises and using equipment. The most important way to maintain good spinal health is to strengthen your core muscles. These are the muscles that lend strength and support to the spine, and which tend to become weakened with long periods of sitting. Following are a few tips on how to use proper form when exercising or lifting weights in the gym.

Tighten your gluteus muscles – When performing a squat, deadlift, or during pushups, be sure to squeeze your glutes. This ensures that the muscles connecting your lumbar and sacral areas are locked so your hips and lower back move as a single unit. Otherwise there is a tendency for the lower back to curve, with the vertebral discs being exposed to more stress than they are designed to handle.

Tighten your abs – So as to keep your spine from arching too much in either direction, tighten your abdominal muscles like you are preparing to be punched in the stomach. This will provide stability to the spine as you bend and lift.

Pull your shoulders down and back – A rounded upper back is one of the leading causes of back injury. It increases pressure on the front side of the vertebral disks, increasing the risk of disc herniation.

Keep hips and shoulders aligned – Back injuries happen more often when twisting and bending. Ensure that your hips and shoulders move as one unit. If you need to change direction, lead with the hips and the shoulders will follow. If you lead first with the shoulders, the hips tend to fall behind, too late to keep from overstraining the low back muscles.

 

Chiropractic Care and Professional Baseball: The Philadelphia Phillies and Dr. Michael Tancredi

Chiropractic Care and Professional Baseball: The Philadelphia Phillies and Dr. Michael Tancredi

When it comes to helping elite athletes prevent and recover from injuries—as well as achieve peak performance—chiropractic care can offer many advantages. That’s why large numbers of professional and college sports teams throughout the U.S. have turned to chiropractors over the past decade. The Philadelphia Phillies is one such team, and Dr. Michael Tancredi is one such chiropractor. As a Doctor of Chiropractic, a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, an Active Release Technique Instructor and Practitioner, and a certified athletic trainer, Dr. Tancredi clearly understands the valuable role that chiropractic care can play in keeping teams healthy and performing at their best.

By almost any measure, Dr. Tancredi has had a long and successful career in sports medicine. He has worked extensively with the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Phillies, and Villanova University. While Dr. Tancredi has accomplished a great deal in his professional life (and he continues to work with patients through his practice in Broomall, Pennsylvania), he is perhaps best known as the chiropractor who went all the way to the 2008 World Series as a consultant with the Philadelphia Phillies. From 2008 through 2010, he was a chiropractor and Active Release Technique provider for the team.

Cole Hamels, a member of the 2008 Phillies team, has been very vocal about the difference chiropractic care has made for him. “Being introduced to chiropractic care has definitely helped my game. When you add it with a lot of the physical therapy exercises and the in-game exercises, I think it just prevents a lot of injury. I went through a lot of injury in my career, and the first time I actually was introduced to chiropractic care, it pretty much kept me on the field. It’s something that helps me feel much better when I’m on the field and off the field.”

As a pitcher, Hamels is particularly aware of the complex biomechanics involved in throwing a baseball, and recognizes how the larger muscle groups—not just the shoulder and elbow—must work together to perform well. “Your body starts from the ground up, and in order to pitch, you have to use everything. You have to have a good back in order to get the good torque. Most of your power comes from your core.”

It’s a challenge staying healthy through a 162-game regular season, and players at the elite major-league level do what they can to avoid injuries. Hamels recalls how chiropractic care became popular among his teammates and coaches. “It’s another way to help us get out on the field… We’ve seen more and more players start to go in to get adjustments, to get the ART. And I think that’s good for our whole team because you want them to be able to go out on the field every day because we’re very good at what we do, but you’re not going to help the team out when you’re not playing.”

In a brief interview published in ACA Today, Dr. Tancredi described his own experience with the Phillies and explained why chiropractic care is such a good fit for professional baseball. “It was a dream job and a dream season. The whole sports medicine staff was phenomenal. They were all really open to the benefits of chiropractic care. Athletes at this level rarely have an acute injury. However, a little hamstring pull can turn into a major problem when they have no time off. Baseball’s schedule is grueling in that the players are on the field 28 out of 30 days a month, so we have to do what we can to help them heal while keeping in mind the long-term consequences. Chiropractic has cut the injury rate; the players love it, the athletic trainers see how effective it is and the orthopedic surgeon is totally open to my suggestions—it’s a win-win situation.”

Whether you’re playing professionally or at an amateur level, baseball puts unique demands on the body’s musculoskeletal system, from asymmetrical movements (throwing and hitting) and extreme acceleration and deceleration to sudden impacts. Take it from the Phillies and Dr. Michael Tancredi, chiropractic care can help players stay healthy and perform at their best.

If you need to make chiropractic a part of your success protocol, be sure to give our office a call at 406-652-3553 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Oblander!

 

What Are “Manual Therapies” and How Are They Used?

What Are “Manual Therapies” and How Are They Used?

Manual therapies have been used to treat musculoskeletal disorders for thousands of years. Practitioners around the world—in countries with many different cultural influences and diverse medical traditions—have used their hands to manipulate various parts of the body to stimulate healing. “Manual” literally means “by hand.” Thus, manual therapies consist of healing techniques that use the hands. There are more than two dozen techniques used worldwide. Among the most commonly known are acupressure, chiropractic, massage therapy, physiotherapy, reflexology, Rolfing and shiatsu.

There are also dozens of other, lesser-known manual therapies, including the Bowen technique, cranio-sacral therapy, the Dorn method, manual lymphatic drainage, muscle energy technique, myofascial release, myotherapy, naprapathy and zero balancing. We examine the most common therapies here:

Acupressure

Using the hand, the elbow or various devices, an acupressure practitioner applies a light force on various parts of the body following the patterns found in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. More than half of the scientific studies on acupressure showed that this technique was effective, but some critics have claimed “a significant likelihood of bias.”

Chiropractic

Most chiropractic work involves manipulation of the spine to achieve better vertebral alignment. Lower back pain is perhaps the primary complaint which leads patients to a chiropractor. Chiropractors are expert at treating musculoskeletal conditions without the use of drugs or surgery. Among others, many top athletes swear by their chiropractor’s hands to keep them performing at their best and help them avoid injuries.

Massage Therapy

This is perhaps the oldest of the manual therapies. Massage was (and still is) used in ancient Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, and other parts of the world that gave rise to early civilizations. Massage practitioners chiefly use their hands, but also other parts of their body to apply pressure, rolling motions and other techniques to muscles and joints, to stimulate circulation and relax the patient. In today’s high-stress world, massage is proving ever more popular.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy has been used for years as standard treatment for patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions. A physical therapist uses a variety of techniques to help their patients regain function—particularly mobility. Repetitive, assisted motion can help the patient strengthen muscles that have been damaged through injury or disease. Assisting the patient in the performance of targeted exercises can help a patient regain greater range of motion.

Reflexology

A trained reflexologist applies pressure to various parts of the feet, hands or ears to stimulate organs within the body associated with the part to which pressure is being applied. It is a Chinese therapy with a philosophy that is similar to acupuncture—using points on the body to restore energy flow. Although there is not yet much scientific evidence to support its effectiveness, anecdotal evidence shows that patients are happier and more relaxed after treatment.

Rolfing Structural Integration

Rolfing specifically targets the body’s connective tissue to release tension, realign and balance the body. Rolfing techniques involve deep-tissue massage to achieve therapeutic benefits such as better posture and greater freedom of movement, including reducing stress and relieving pain.

Shiatsu

A traditional Japanese therapy, the term Shiatsu means “finger pressure,” but can include palm pressure and other approaches to massage. A Shiatsu practitioner uses touch, comfortable pressure and manipulative techniques on specific points of the body (similar to the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine) to adjust the body’s physical structure and balance its energy flow. Anecdotal evidence shows it to relieve patients of stress, nausea, muscle pain, depression and anxiety.