Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The reason why chiropractic care is so important after an accident has little to do with you being in pain (although it's good for that too). A vertebra that moves out of its normal alignment can wreak havoc on your neck and its associated nerves. You may not be in a lot of pain immediately following the accident, but research indicates that most people will experience a bulk of their symptoms after a few days.
Once you start to feel symptoms, this is a good indicator that something has moved out of place, and likely that you're experiencing a sprain/strain kind of injury. Sprain and strain don't sound horrible, but really they are describing tears of various tissues in your body. The severity of the tear will indicate the type of treatment you should probably consider first. The chiropractor can help make the determination.
Eventually, your body will heal with scar tissue. Scar tissue is more sensitive than the previously uninjured tissue that you had within you before. Once scar tissue sets up (this takes about 3 weeks following the trauma), it will become increasingly difficult to get you back to your pre-accident state. Receiving some chiropractic adjustments to your spine will help assure that your spine is in its best position as that scar tissue begins to form. The better your spine is when all of this occurs, the more likely you can return pain-free following your therapy and treatment.
So why can't you just rest and take the medications? That may be your best first course of treatment for a couple of days following your accident, but certainly can't be the best choice long term. The medications are there to help you with pain, to help you get through the difficulty of the initial phase of your injury. However, they're certainly not fixing anything.
In addition to the chiropractic adjustment, you can typically receive additional therapies that will help your muscles and other soft tissue heal more quickly than just "resting" alone. The additional therapies also help with pain, swelling, and inflammation and can be a big help in the speed of your recovery.
Will your auto insurance or health insurance company give you any trouble? You have insurance for just this type of situation, when you need health care and you can't afford to pay for it yourself. Your health insurance company may have issue if the accident wasn't your fault and the other person should be paying for it (or their insurance), but otherwise you shouldn't have trouble here.
Your auto insurance policy will determine the amount of coverage and just how much help the company has to give. Still, it's your body and your health and you'll need to make sure your injuries are taken care of following the accident. Where you will have trouble is if months have gone by and you haven't gone to see any doctors, just hoping it will go away. Then you decide to tell your insurance company that they need to pay for it all. That doesn't go over too well.
If you've been in an auto accident, it's a good idea to see a chiropractor and do it as quickly as possible once you realize you've been injured. The faster you get some type of treatment, usually the better your results.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
It makes sense that no matter what your occupation, if you spend extended amounts of time in the same position, your body will begin to stay that way. Your body loves to adapt. If you lift weights, your body thinks that you must need bigger muscles to accomplish your daily activities. On the other hand, if you don't lift weights, your body assumes there's no need for big muscles.
If you are hunched over the keyboard, your body begins the process of creating a computer posture for you. A postural change that will help you stay in the position that you are in the most.
So to solve this problem (yes, computer posture is a problem), you're going to have to do activities that tell your body that your desire is to sit up straight -- and out of pain.
The great thing about your body is that you won't have to do the additional activities nearly as much as you are doing the position that is contributing to your computer posture.
You just have to do it effectively. You have to target the muscles of your back that support your posture and help you maintain a straight position. Just going to the gym and bench pressing is not going to get you the results you're after.
Spend time exercising your back and you'll make it difficult for you body to keep you hunched over your desk.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Your back pain is not necessarily caused by a lack of exercise, but it's probably a good place to start looking. When I ask patients if they exercise, most are still saying "no." Those that do exercise tend to stick with the same machine or routine for their entire program. (And almost none of their "routine" exercises focus on improving their back muscles.)
So on one hand, we have those that don't exercise and have lower back pain. It's easy to take a guess and see that their spine is having problems due to a lack of muscular support. While their spine may need more work at this point (check with your healthcare professional), eventually they'll exercise lower back pain away by creating a muscular back support around their spine with regular exercise.
Those that do exercise, but are not performing a variety of movements are causing a different problem; muscular imbalance. They are likely only developing certain muscle groups while largely ignoring others. Worse, they may be performing activities that are alarmingly similar to what they already do all day.
They are strengthening muscles that are already overworked (muscles in the front of the body) and not strengthening muscles that are typically ignored (back muscles). This is a standard recipe for developing lower back pain problems and should be avoided.
Overall, maintaining a variety of activities that includes exercises to enhance cardiovascular health, strengthening and stretching will help exercise lower back pain away for good. The same formula works for almost everyone. First, due some exercise regularly. Next, make sure you take some time to strengthen your back muscles (especially if you already know you need it!).
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Then one morning you get up, accidentally drop your socks on the floor, bend down to pick them up and you can't get back up. You are having so much pain that you barely manage to make it to your bed and hang on. You start taking pills like crazy until you manage to pull out the yellow pages and find a nearby chiropractor.
On your visit to the chiropractor, he explains that your spine is showing signs of wear and tear, that your problem likely began years ago. "What? I just bent down to pick up my socks. My problem started this morning." The problem with believing that your problem is new is that you will also likely believe that your pain should go away quickly.
You are likely forgetting about all the times you felt warning signals and quickly dismissed them or medicated them away. You don't realize that you haven't been able to touch your toes in years, you don't exercise regularly, and your job entails you sitting for extended periods of time. These were all factors in the building of your spinal problem, long before you ever felt your first symptom... the back pain.
The back pain ended up as the final result of the years of build up on your spine. Now you can either go for stronger drugs to cover things up, or you can begin to undo the years of ignoring the warnings and work to build up a healthy and normally functioning spine. The good news is that it rarely takes nearly as long to put your back together as it took to make it bad in the first place.
There is a point of no return. There is a point when you've ignored and dulled the warning signals for so long that the degeneration in your spine and the bulging of your spinal disc have eliminated some of the more conservative treatments. There is a time when your only choice is a spinal surgery or injections to stop the pain even if they aren't fixing anything.
What can you learn from this? When the back pain hits, take a good look at when your problem began and not just when your symptoms began. Seriously evaluate what its going to take to get your spine back to a good place and pain-free. The longer you wait in taking the proper steps, the more difficult the journey.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Getting healthy usually means all the normal steps. Eating better, getting some regular exercise, and addressing various ailments and symptoms that have begun to show up. Still, most people are going to take a passive approach to their health. They want to do things and go places where things will be "done to them" rather than them having to "do stuff."
Let's take eating better for example. There's no real mystery any more for you in which foods are good for you. Fast food is usually bad (even the stuff they try to make seem like it's good for you), and vegetables are good. When you are snacking on potato chips, you can't honestly be telling yourself "I sure am eating healthy."
Eating healthy things, putting only healthy things in your shopping cart, and worse, planning your meals ahead of time so you don't get caught starving and nothing to eat but fast food requires effort.
Exercise is the same thing. Remember those belts that people used to strap around their waist and get shaken into better health? You don't see them anymore because exercise really is not a passive thing. You've got to get out of your chair and regularly move around to make anything happen. After awhile, just walking around is not really going to get you the results you want either. You'll have to put in more effort to increase the intensity of your exercise to hit the next level.
Here's the good news for those people that want to do something healthy, but don't want to put forth a ton of effort. Get a chiropractic adjustment. You don't have to wait for headaches, neck pain, or back pain to decide to visit a chiropractor (even though that's what a lot of people do). Getting a chiropractic adjustment is one of the easiest things to do, and one of the healthiest.
It's an insidious thing. You don't see that your spine is breaking down. You don't see the degeneration process start to occur in your spine and the spinal discs. You just know that things aren't quite right. I've had patients that never complained of anything more than low back stiffness, before coming in for their first chiropractic visit.
However, their x-rays showed advanced spinal degeneration something that simply could not happen overnight. The best part of all in starting this type of program is that the only "action" you have to take is to show up. The chiropractor will do the rest, and you get to just sit back and feel better about taking a healthy step toward a better you.