Back Pain – Understanding Spinal Manipulation Techniques
The time comes when every home remedy you’ve experimented with simply doesn’t get rid of that nagging back pain, and you’re left with no choice but to get a professional opinion.
Lucky for you, chiropractors are well-versed experts who have been trained in the art of remedying back problems and it certainly pays to get to know some of the spinal manipulation techniques that are employed.
Spinal Manipulation Vs Spinal Mobilization
Remedial techniques essentially zero in on a common objective – restoring or improving joint function by significantly reducing joint inflammation as well as general discomfort due to back pain. Certain approaches make use of more force, such as spinal manipulation, while others are comparatively more gentle – spinal mobilization.
What originally came to be known as spinal manipulation is referred to by many chiropractors as “high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust (HVLA). Newer spinal adjustment approaches entail a variation of existing techniques and often borrow their names from the chiropractor responsible for developing them.
Specific treatment plans are adapted to meet individual needs of every patient. In order to curb back pain, forceful and less forceful spinal adjustment techniques are administered either in a single visit or multiple ones.
Let’s take a closer look at spinal manipulation and mobilization techniques commonly practiced today.
Spinal Manipulation – HVLA
The HVLA thrust is the most frequently used technique in spinal manipulation today. Your practitioner uses his/her hands to apply a controlled force that is quick and focused, resulting in an audible “pop”. You will be asked to position your body a certain way so as to target a specific joint.
Spinal Mobilization – Low-force / Gentle Chiropractic Techniques
Certain pre-existing conditions like osteoporosis and patient-specific factors – comfort level, size, pathology, preference – warrant a gentler approach. Also, some patients and even clinics simply prefer going with mild spinal mobilization techniques that leave twisting the body or a forceful thrust, out of the equation.
Apart from manipulation, a lot of chiropractors make use of adjunctive therapy like ice or heat. Other physical modalities include electric stimulation and ultrasound that form part of the overall program. As a patient, you need to discuss your symptoms and preferences beforehand, so that a thorough examination can be conducted to determine an ideal course of action.
Chiropractors are among the most well-trained, learned and experienced health care practitioners who serve as a homing beacon for those suffering from continuous back pain and other more serious conditions.
Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: chiropractic technique by Michael Dorausch
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain may occur due to various reasons; be it a sports injury, pulling a heavy object or a fall/ injury to the spine. If you are suffering from back pain, it would be wise to have a look at some of the common risk factors and causes of back pain before going to the chiropractor.
The risk of back pain varies in different individuals, depending on their lifestyle. People who work in a mentally stressful job, smoke or go through strenuous physical work are more susceptible to back pain than those who don’t. Other factors such as pregnancy, anxiety, depression and obesity can also lead to this condition. Age is also a factor, as older individuals are at a higher risk than younger ones.
Causes Of Back Pain
The most common cause of back pain is strained muscles and ligaments, which may be a result of lifting something heavy or a sudden awkward movement. It can also be caused by improper posture due to a bad mattress or sitting position.
The human body is a complex structure composed of bones, muscle, ligaments and joints. A fault in any of these can cause numerous problems, including back pain. Some particular structural problems that may affect the back are as follows:
Arthritis can cause various joint problems in the hips and lower back.
Bulging And Ruptured Disks
The vertebra in our spine is cushioned by a disk, so a ruptured disk would result in more pressure on the nerves, resulting in back aches. A bulging disk would put even more pressure on the nerves.
A bulging disk can also press on a nerve in the spine, causing a shooting pain through the buttocks and down the legs.
Curvature Of The Spine
An unnatural curvature of the spine can cause the space around the spinal cord to narrow, causing back pains.
A vertebra fracture can be caused by the bones becoming more brittle.
A growth or tumor on the spine may press against a nerve.
Infection of the nerves (shingles) and spine may also cause pains.
Cauda Equine Syndrome
The growth of nerve roots at the bottom of the spinal cord can cause a dull pain, as well as lack of feeling in the upper buttocks.
Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: There’s pain in my head by Stefan Neuweger
Why We Need to Unhook From the Internet?
Last week I had internet problems. Not a small glitch that resolved itself with a quick reboot either of the computer or the modem. No this one was persistent, requiring a phone call to my internet provider to get me back online and able to communicate with the outside world. And while I waited I discovered a couple of things. I’m addicted to the internet. I like to check my emails throughout the day. In fact to make sure I don’t miss anything, I have my cell phone next to my work station so that when I’m working offline I still know when I have a new email come in. Sometimes it is an important email and once every two or three months even vital that it be answered very promptly. But the rest of the time, I don’t need any enhancement of any kind and your limited offer to improve my business or teach me the latest in social media technology could be handled at the end of the work day.
The problem was compounded when I loaned my car to my daughter for the day because hers was in the shop.
So there I was. Stranded. Without internet access unable to focus on my current projects. That seemed strange to me, until I began to evaluate the reasons behind my discomfort.
I’d joined the ranks of “immediate gratification.” If a question popped into my head, whether it was the date of a particular astronaut’s retirement or if a certain recipe I’d recently seen on my Facebook account (I WAS on my professional account, so it counts as work, right?) would be helpful for the gluten-free article currently in front of me, I wanted the information right now.
When had this happened?
When had I become this addicted to constant and instant connection to information? There was a day when I had to wait until I actually walked through the doors of a library before I could look something up. With the internet, I have found that when I wake up with a question in my head, I can just get up, turn on my laptop and find out. That way I returned to slumber with my mind at ease.
I know, everyone reading this is now chiding me for my poor sleep habits, my self-proclaimed addiction, and my inability to control my impulses. I’m going to challenge you to do the same thing. For a full 24 hour period, turn off all your electronics that can connect to the internet in any capacity. ALL of them.
You’ll think in the first fifteen minutes, “Oh, this is a breeze.” But as the day passes, you want to check and see if your client responded to your request for an expansion of the project you discussed yesterday. (Yesterday was Friday, you aren’t supposed to be working on the weekend…at least it used to be we didn’t work on the weekend.) Then you wonder about your friends and their outing at the new club last night. Oh, now you have a question that needs to be answered in order to be on top of that project for Monday morning.
Your reasons for connecting to the internet may be different from mine, but the point is, our addiction is insidious. We believe we don’t really need to be connected. But the moment I discovered I couldn’t have instant access to information I began to behave like a junkie needing a fix. I became agitated, frustrated, irritated. My behavior shocked even me.
Since then, I’ve discovered that by disconnecting from the internet for about four to six hours a day, I’m much better focused on projects, I get more done, and I find access to the internet more of a reward than a fix. What’s the longest you can go unplugged?
photo credit: William Hook via photopin cc
Treatment and Prevention of Muscle Cramps during Exercise
Muscle cramps that are caused by exercise can be very painful and can cause athletes to drop out of competitions. Muscle cramps can happen in any types of sports and are usually a result of muscle fatigue, a loss of electrolytes or dehydration.
Cramps are not limited to sports, they can happen even to people who are not involved in any type of sports. Repetitive cramps can be healed by a chiropractor by aligning the vertebrae correctly in the spine using various techniques.
Causes of Cramps
The American College of Sports Medicine published a review on the causes of muscle cramps during exercise – two possible causes were identified that lead to muscle cramps.
The first was credited to muscle fatigue. Neuromuscular systems are embedded into muscles to allow control of contraction of the muscles. When this system malfunctions, contraction of muscle takes place and then causes the cramps.
Muscles that are regularly used, such as those of an athlete or a person with a very active lifestyle, are at a higher risk of experiencing cramps or spasms.
The second major cause is a result of an excessive fluid loss from the body (sweat), which decreases the body’s electrolytes level. This depletes the body of sodium.
Body’s Natural Cooling System
The body is designed to cool itself by sweating when body temperature starts to rise beyond normal levels. The loss of electrolytes due to sweating can cause depletion of body’s electrolytes and if it is not replenished properly, it will cause cramps.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals including sodium, chloride, magnesium and potassium. They are dissolved in the body and directly control the required muscle contractions and nerve conductions.
Consuming bananas to treat muscle cramps has no solid ground and there is no evidence to support such a remedy.
Treating Muscle Cramps
– Fatigued Muscles
Treatment of muscle cramps depends upon the initial cause. For those people who experience a muscle cramp due to a strenuous workload such as exercise or sports, chiropractors recommend treatments such as a massage, application of cold packs to the affected muscles and passive stretching.
Proper rest must be given to those muscles which have experienced an overload due to stress.
– Cramps due to Loss of Electrolytes
For those people who suffer from cramps as a result of excessive sweating and a deficit of sodium, the same methods of treatment can be used besides replenishing the lost fluid levels.
Image Used Under Creative Commons Licensing: 111002-A-XY792-430 by Minnesota National Guard
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