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Why Do Chiropractors Use “Palpation”?

Why Do Chiropractors Use “Palpation”?

Palpation is the most frequently used diagnostic technique in chiropractic care and is a clinical cornerstone of most physicians’ practice. It is a manual, non-invasive method of determining where a patient has structural or functional problems in the body.

In palpation, chiropractors use their hands and their detailed knowledge of anatomy to effectively see what is happening in the spine and its supporting structures, such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments. As your chiropractor palpates your spine, he or she will look for subluxations in your vertebrae, which are misalignments that may be causing pressure on spinal nerves, or other abnormalities that may be causing problems in your musculoskeletal system.

There are essentially two forms of palpation—static and motion. As the name suggests, in static palpation the patient remains still while the chiropractor palpates the spine and tissues to identify any misaligned vertebrae, protruding disks, and areas of pain or inflammation. In motion palpation however, the patients joints are mobilized, bending and flexing under the expert eye and hand of the chiropractor. He or she will move various joints through different planes, observing the patient’s range of motion and where a joint may “lock up.” They will also measure the patient’s amount of flexibility, muscle strength, stiffness, reflexes and general neurological function.

Palpation may be used at every visit to your chiropractor so they can quickly determine whether your condition has improved or not since your last visit and they can see which areas need the most care and attention. Based on what your chiropractor finds during palpation, he or she may then order additional diagnostic tests—an x-ray, MRI or CT scan, for example—to get a more detailed view of your condition.

Your chiropractor will also perform a visual examination to detect any swelling or abnormal curvature of the spine, and will observe your gait to see the coordination of your head, neck and pelvis as you move. They will also take a full medical history and ask about the location, frequency and severity of any present and past conditions.

Based on all these diagnostic tools, your chiropractor can better determine the type and frequency of treatment necessary to resolve your condition in a way that is holistic, drug-free and non-invasive. Palpation is simply another tool in the chiropractor’s arsenal of techniques to keep you moving well and pain-free.

With all of the snowy weather we have had, you may need your back palpated! Be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander by calling 406-652-3553.

 

Tips for a Healthy Spine

Tips for a Healthy Spine


A healthy spine is an often overlooked and essential part of a healthy lifestyle. People who suffer from back pain, particularly if it is long-term, are generally less healthy than those who do not. In fact, back pain costs are staggering not only financially, but also in terms of lost time from work and because of psychosocial problems that arise during the healing process associated with long-term back pain.

Unfortunately, approximately 80-90% of the population suffers from spinal pain at some point. People who are overweight or obese, and who smoke, lift heavy objects, or had a previous episode of back pain, are more likely to experience back pain.

Because so many people suffer from spine pain, it’s important for you to try to keep your spine as healthy as possible. Following simple posture, lifting, and healthy lifestyle guidelines can help you keep your back in good shape. One of the best things you can do for your spine is to get regularly adjusted. If you are in need of an adjustment, be sure to call our office at 406-652-3553 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander. In the meantime, here are some good ways to take care of your spine:

The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following spinal health tips:

Standing

• When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent. This position helps to take the pressure off your low back.

• Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. The muscles in your low back become deconditioned in this position, which may lead to pain.

Lifting

• At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your —spine, especially while lifting.

• If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.

• If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.

Sitting

• Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, with your head up and back straight.

• Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).

• Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.

Reaching and Bending

• When reaching for something above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Straining to reach such objects may

not only hurt your mid-back and neck, but it can also bring on shoulder problems.

• Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or a table.

• Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you are lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up.

• Or bend at the knees, keep the item close to your body, and lift with your legs, not your back.

Carrying

• When carrying objects, particularly if they are heavy, keep them as close to your body as possible.

• Carrying two small objects—one in each hand—is often easier to handle than one large one.

Healthy Diet and Exercise

• While the proverbial jury is still out, we suspect that extra weight puts undue strain on your spine. Keep within 10 lbs. of your ideal weight for a healthier back.

• “Beer belly” is likely the worst culprit, as it puts unwanted pressure on the muscles, ligaments and ten- dons in your low back.

• The most efficient and effective way to reduce weight is by eating a sensible diet and exercising regularly.

• Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, particularly if you have a health condition.

Sleeping

• Sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine. Other positions may be better

.
• Placing a pillow under your knees while lying on your

back cuts the pressure on your spine roughly in half.

• Lying on your side with a pillow between your ——– knees may also reduce the pressure on your back.

• Never sleep in a position that causes a portion of —- your spine to hurt. Most often, your body will tell you what position is best.

Quit Smoking

Smokers have more spine pain than nonsmokers, and they also heal more slowly when they have an episode of back pain because the chemicals in tobacco smoke restrict the flow of blood to the tissues in and around your spine.

While following these instructions is no guarantee that you’ll be free from back pain for your entire life, it can certainly reduce your risk of developing it. These simple steps will help you keep your spine in good shape, making you a healthier, happier person.

Lawrence H. Wyatt, DC, DACBR, FICC, Professor, Division Of Clinical Sciences, Texas Chiropractic College, Writer

Nataliya Schetchikova, PHD, Editor

This health article was shared from the following website: http://www.chiroworkscarecenter.com/documents/Articles/ACA_healthy_spine.pdf

AMA: Chiropractic Effective for Acute Back Pain

AMA: Chiropractic Effective for Acute Back Pain

Statistics compiled by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) tell us that back pain affects a large majority of the population, with roughly 80 percent of people enduring at least one back-related issue during the course of their lives. In fact, there are currently 31 million people in the U.S. alone dealing with chronic, daily back pain.

With these types of numbers floating around, chiropractic patients may feel as if their back pain is inevitable, making the seeking of treatment futile. However, one recently released study review says otherwise, that is, as long as the treatment plan includes chiropractic.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by 10 medical professionals from medical centers, universities, and healthcare systems across the U.S. The main question this group set out to answer was, “Is the use of spinal manipulative therapy in the management of acute (≤6 weeks) low back pain associated with improvements in pain or function?”

After taking a more in-depth look at 26 different randomized clinical trials occurring between January of 2011 and February of 2017, all of which involved spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), this set of researchers found that, in 15 of the studies, this particular treatment option provided “statistically significant benefits” for the 1,711 patient subjects when it came to lowering their levels of pain. In this same group of studies, almost half of the cases (12) also found major positive effects in regard to the level of function of the 1,381 participants when compared to sham chiropractic or other treatment methods.

It should also be noted that, while 50 to 67 percent of the participants in these studies reported experiencing headaches, muscle stiffness, or even increased pain after SMT, no serious adverse events occurred. This helps confirm chiropractic’s safety, making it a viable method of treating acute back pain episodes quickly and effectively.

These findings are extremely important as another statistic offered by the ACA is that approximately 50 percent of the working population has struggled with some type of back-pain issue in the previous 12 months. Thus, one very effective way to keep them earning an income and supporting their families in a manner that treats the symptoms and cause of their pain is regular and consistent chiropractic care.

This saves them both time off work and money due to unnecessary (and usually costly) medical bills, enabling them to spend both on the things they enjoy instead.

  • American Chiropractic Association. (n.d.) Back Pain Facts and Statistics.
  • Paige NM, Miake-Lye IM, Booth MS, Beroes JM, Mardian AS, Dougherty P, Branson R, Tang B, Morton SC, Shekelle PG. Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. 2017;317(14);1451-1460. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.3086
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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.

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Risk Factors for Spinal Degeneration

Risk Factors for Spinal Degeneration

As we age, the discs in our spine start to naturally break down due to normal, everyday living . This is commonly referred to as disc degeneration and can result in pain in the neck and/or back area–pain that is felt by almost half of the population 40 years of age or older . For those over 80, this rate doubles to a whopping 80 percent, which makes understanding what factors promote this particular condition critical to raising the quality of life as we enter our later years. Fortunately, recent research provides some very important information in this area.

Disc Degeneration Risk Factors Revealed In Recent Study

On November 9, 2015, a study conducted by health experts from Mie University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, Osaka University (also in Japan), and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois was published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. In this research, these experts followed 197 individuals living in Miyagawa, Japan who were over the age of 65 for a 10-year period, measuring their disc height at two year intervals to determine what factors, if any, contributed to their spinal discs degenerating at a faster rate.

What they discovered was that, over the time span of the study, the participants’ disc height gradually reduced an average of 5.8 percent, with roughly 55 percent experiencing degeneration in one or two of their discs. Furthermore, there were three factors that they identified that increased the likelihood of disc degeneration. They were: 1) being female, 2) having radiographic knee osteoarthritis, and 3) the presence of low back pain when the study began.

Based on these results, women should take extra care to protect the discs in their spinal column, potentially saving themselves from experiencing neck or back pain later in life. Some options for doing this include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding repeated lifting of heavy objects, and not smoking as studies have found that smokers tend to experience disc degeneration at greater rates than non-smokers . Chiropractic can help with the other two factors.

For instance, in one study published in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, researchers looked at 43 different individuals between the ages of 47 and 70 who were experiencing osteoarthritic knee pain. Some participants received treatment three times a week for two weeks and others served as a control. The subjects who engaged in treatment reported more positive results than those who did not, citing that, after the treatments they experienced fewer osteoarthritic symptoms, had greater knee mobility, and felt that it was easier to “perform general activities.” And this was after just two weeks of care.

Chiropractic can also help lower back pain, further reducing the likelihood that your discs will degenerate at a faster rate when you age. That makes this specific remedy beneficial both now and well into the future–ultimately raising your quality of life. If you need to see Dr. Oblander for an adjustment, please be sure to give our office a call at 406-652-3553!

 

 

  • Akeda K, Yamada T, Inoue N, et al. Risk factors for lumbar intervertebral disc height narrowing: a population-based longitudinal study in the elderly. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2015;16(1):344.
  • Fogelholm RR, Alho AV. Smoking and intervertebral disc degeneration. Medical Hypotheses; 56(4):537-9.
  • Pollard H, Ward G, Hoskins W, Hardy K. The effect of a manual therapy knee protocol on osteoarthritic knee pain: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Associations 2008;52(4):229-42.

 

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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.

Why Chiropractic is the Best Solution for Sciatica Pain

Why Chiropractic is the Best Solution for Sciatica Pain

Sciatica pain is often so debilitating that it forces people to miss work and other normal activities.  Of all patients with low-back pain, sciatica patients have the highest level of disability (1).  In fact, patients with sciatica are disabled for an average of 72 days according to Norwegian public-health records.

Fortunately, a recent study offers hope to sciatica patients: chiropractic care can speed the recovery from sciatica flare ups and allow patients to return to work sooner (2). The study evaluated 44 Norwegian workers after they came to the hospital with severe sciatica pain. Most of those patients had been experiencing pain for three or more weeks prior to their hospital visit.

The hospital chiropractor examined each patient to evaluate his/her posture and gait, range of motion, and palpation of the lumbar spine. The chiropractic then performed various joint adjustments to the spine and other limbs that had been injured through patients compensating for pain. Ice treatment was also used to relieve soft tissue soreness.Patients were treated daily in the hospital and later three times a week for the first two weeks. Some patients needed additional follow-up treatment but typically did not exceed 14 treatments.

In matter of 21 days, 91% of patients returned to work full-time. Two patients returned to work part time. Researchers concluded this study demonstrates the potent benefits of collaboration between chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons. Chiropractic care can put an end to your sciatica pain so you can begin living your life fully again.

  1. Arana E, Marti-Bonmati L, Vega M, et al. Relationship between low back pain, disability, MR imaging findings and health care provider. Skeletal Radiology 2006;35(9):641-7.
  2. Orlin JR, Didriksen A. Results of chiropractic treatment of lumbopelvic fixation in 44 patients admitted to an orthopedic department. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2007;30:135-139.
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