I had a new patient in here last week asking just this question, “When is back pain serious?” Back pain will affect most adults at some point in their lives. Since it can interfere with the activities you love so much, it’s helpful to know when back pain is serious and when it is not.
First question, how long has your back pain been there? Any back pain that has bothered you for more than a couple weeks probably isn’t going to improve on it’s own.
Secondly, does your back pain travel anywhere? Does it radiate down your arms or legs? This gives us very helpful clues diagnosing where the pain is coming from. If the pain has a neuritic quality and is radiating down the front of your thigh, there is a good chance it is coming from the L3-L4 disc, back of the thigh, we look at the L5-S1 disc. There can be lots of other explanations, so please use caution when trying to diagnose things on the internet. Leave that part to a chiropractor.
Has chiropractic care helped your back pain resolve? If someone is starting to see improvement over time, we can guess that will most likely continue. Most insurance companies require a trial of conservative care before they will pay for MRI’s. In my office, we tend to use a six week standard of care. If we aren’t getting significant results and your back pain isn’t starting to resolve within six weeks of complying fully to my treatment plan, I tend to worry if there is something more serious going on. In those scenarios, we refer for MRI’s or CT scans depending on what we are suspecting we will see.
The bottom line is that if back pain is interfering with you doing what you love, you need to see a chiropractor to resolve it. Chiropractic care is the #1 choice for resolving back pain. Chiropractors get the best results with back pain of any health professional around. If you would like our help improving your health and getting you back to doing what you love, please call our office today at 763-553-0387
I am frequently asked about pillows for less neck pain and better sleep. I am in the middle of my most recent stop on this quest myself. The unfortunate truth is that the pillows that help you have less neck pain and better sleep today, might be your neck and sleep’s worst enemy tomorrow.
I have tried all sorts of pillows; foam, down, contoured pillows, and “my pillows”. My awesome pillows will cause me to feel less neck pain and sleep better for months and then all the sudden, they don’t. Incredibly frustrating, especially for a chiropractor.
The biggest determiner of the type of pillow you need is which position you sleep. If you sleep on your stomach, which you shouldn’t, don’t use a pillow. If you sleep on your side, you need a thick pillow to avoid nerve compression. Back sleepers must support their necks.
My favorite pillow is one I sell in my office. https://www.footlevelers.com/products/orthopedic-pillows It’s made by measuring you in four places. We also ask you which position you sleep in which then determines the shape of the pillow. I have bought three over the years for myself.
I have tried My Pillows. While I have heard rave reviews from many of my friends and clients, I think they are tough to find the appropriate size if you are a woman. If you are going to go that route, definitely buy it in store. The online questionnaire to size it based on a woman’s t-shirt size, certainly didn’t do it for me.
The other pillow I have had good luck with is the Brookstone tempurpedic pillow. Though this isn’t exactly my model, it looks like this: https://www.brookstone.com/pd/tempur-pedic-swedish-neck-pillow/175414p.html
Sadly pillows aren’t returnable so most of us with neck issues end up with a collection. Your neck is definitely worth the price. The biggest thing that will help your neck feel better is getting regular chiropractic adjustments to keep everything moving properly and encourage good posture.
If you don’t have a chiropractor, we would love to be yours! Call us today for your new patient appointment.
The most frequent way our website is found is the google search, “When your back goes out and you can’t stand up”. While we would prefer to see you when the first warning signs of this problem appear, if you are currently lying on your floor unable to move, let this short video help.
The take home message, alternate ice and walking, then call us so we can correct the problems that led up to this. Ignoring the problem once you are out of the woods only leads to more episodes later on. If you have found yourself in the position where your back goes out and you can’t stand up, listen to your body and call for chiropractic help now.
I have had two requests already this morning for warm up and cool down stretches for golfers. A good video sess on warm up and cool down stretches for golfers sounds like a good way to conquer my writers block. By the end of these videos, you will clearly see why being a chiropractor was my calling and not an actress or hairstylist. In fact, after the freeze frame in the first one with the constipated face, it will also be clear I don’t know how to edit videos at all. That’s ok. In the name of all of you feeling good, I will sacrifice my dignity once again!!
It isn’t hard to understand why 80% of golfers have back pain, especially this time of year. When you add up the swings you take during your round including your shots and all of your practice swings, it ends of being a lot of one directional repetition. The golfers that I see tend to be really limber in one direction and very stiff in the other. There are a few simple steps you can take to minimizing your chances of injury with warm up and cool down stretches for golfers. This will help you feel good while doing the sport you love.
Tip 1-Warm your body up BEFORE you golf. This does NOT mean stretch. A lot of us rush to the course after work, hop out of our car hoping not to be late and run up to the first tee to take our swings.
Next time you golf, try this. Start with spinal twists-spread your feet shoulder with apart, interlace your fingers, point your hips forward and rotate your shoulders INDEPENDENTLY of your hips. This will help loosen up your spine.
Second–Try some walking lunges. This will help loosen up your hips and start firing your muscles.
Third- Activate your hip flexors with some high knee marches.
Lastly, try some standing crunches to activate your abs. While your standing, grip your finger tips LOOSELY behind your head. Crunch your opposite elbow to your opposite hip. Do about 15 of these on each side. ( Sorry, my expert videographer Sue went into a massage before I could make this video. You can figure out how to do standing crunches though. If not standing, lie on your back. Now you are ready to golf!
Tip 2-While you are out on the course, take a practice swing in the opposite direction before each hole. This will counter the effects of always swinging the same way. More and more we are seeing the pros on the tour do this. It will help keep you limber in BOTH directions.
Tip 3-Stretch yourself out after you golf before your body has a chance to cool down. Try a gentle forward fold while dropping your head down to stretch your back and hamstrings.
Make sure you stretch your hip flexors out doing a lunge as well and holding it. (Also no camera woman for this one, sorry!)
Any spinal rotation stretch you can do would help too.
(I was pretty much sick of taking these pics of myself by this point…couldn’t help it.)
Most people don’t hold their stretches long enough. Stay in your stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Also, keep in mind, the first point of injury is wrestling the golf bag out of the trunk.
If you have any questions on how to customize a stretching plan for yourself and your sport, call me. I’m happy to help!
Here is a little video I made to show kinesiotaping for one of my patients who has runner’s knee. It’s a great tape job for those of us with sloppy slightly arthritic knees without major ligament damage. As with any kinesiotape job, the taping is only as good as the person putting the tape on and you need a correct diagnosis to find the right tape job.
Primarily I am making this video for a specific patient but thought I would share so that I can send people back to this link.
If you click here, you can follow along with your own roll of tape.
Winter fitness is critical in cold climates. Your heart, lungs and muscles know no season. We all need regular exercise and activity to stay healthy regardless of how cold it is outside.
If you hibernate during the winter, it will have fitness consequences. Not paying attention to winter fitness in your 20’s will be different than in your 60’s. The consequences for cumulative poor health choices snowball as we get older. As with any health habit, consistency is the key to fitness.
In your 20’s and early 30’s, you have an opportunity for building speed and power that will be unlike any time in your life. As we watch the Olympics, we realize the competitors are all young. Not young as in “50 is the new 30” young. As in actual young—25.
When a 30 year old chooses not to participate in winter fitness, they are going to lose their athletic performance but odds are, in a month they will gain it back quickly. Between 20-35 is really the time to pay attention to intervals. Core training to keep your body from becoming injured is also critical. Now is also the time to take care of little injuries and get yourself back in the game. How many of us know 55 year olds who are still blaming that bum knee they injured in high school for their 50 lb weigh gain?
As we reach middle age, between 35-50 you have the opportunity to build your endurance if you pay attention to winter fitness. Consistency becomes much more important as you lose your fitness a lot quicker than when you were young. Those years are the most easy to fall off the bus with raising kids and traveling for work. When you are short on time, make sure to still get it done. If you need to start bike commuting to work to make sure you get exercise, do it. If you have an opportunity to do a workout class at lunch through your company, take advantage of it. Injuries will inevitably limit when you can do. My choice at 35 was continuing to play tennis and be sore all the time or find something without so much stop and start. If this age group takes the winter off, they will lose their entire base or habit.
If you can’t do your full workout, at least do a partial workout each day to keep it top of mind. Instead of watching your kids sports practices, do your own workout.
As you hit the 50-65 year demographic, hopefully you start to find more time for yourself. Now is the time to set your body up for a happy retirement. If you’ve let others rule your calendar, now is the time to recommit. Some of the fittest people I know are in their 50’s and 60’s. Fitness has been a life long habit and priority for them. If it hasn’t been for you, it is never to late to start. With some quality instruction and consistent chiropractic care for the injuries that inevitably pop up, you can become fitter.
How you manage your excuses now will determine how you spend your retirement. Will you still be hiking and biking? Or will you be making excuses for your injury from 30 years ago? As a reminder, manage your joint health NOW. At Active Family Chiropractic, we can help you.
Do you ever wake up with tingling numb fingers? I certainly have had a problem with this at times. Tingling numb fingers are one of the most common complaints in my office. Fingers that are tingling and numb can be cause by multiple different problems.
Diagnosing the Problem
The first step when someone visits my Plymouth chiropractic clinic with tingling numb fingers is taking a detailed history. My questions revolve around investigating which fingers are numb and tingling. Different nerves affect different fingers. Each nerve that supplies your hand takes a distinct path. Your radial, ulnar and median nerves can all be caught in different places. Each nerves will cause different symptoms. A quick google search will provide you with many interesting diagrams detailing the nerve pathways throughout your upper body: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/axillary-nerve/?lp=true
Once someone explains their problem in a detailed way, I can determine the potential problem areas. Nerves can be caught as they run through your spine. Nerves can be entrapped as they run down your arm. They can become entrapped through your cubital or carpal tunnel. If you have tingling in your hand, pay attention to which fingers are tingling and numb. Also, pay attention to where in your arm you feel the symptoms.
Developing a Treatment Plan
After we gather all the information, I can work with my patient to develop a treatment plan. Depending on which nerve is entrapped the treatment is different. On some of my patients we need to do deep muscle work to make all the tissues in the arms glide better. Some people need to make changes in how they sleep; perhaps not falling asleep with their elbows bent or their neck scrunched up. Some people need their necks adjusted and others their wrists bones.
The bottom line is that you can’t resolve your tingling numb fingers on your own. If this problem affects you, please see a highly recommended chiropractor to help resolve your problem. I am always happy to help you at my Plymouth chiropractic office if you call me. 763-553-0387 www.activefamilychiropractic.com
I was invited to give a presentation on the best stretches for downhill ski instructors last week. As we talked about to the Blizzards instructors; the most loaded muscle group in downhill skiing is the hip flexor group. On top of that, most of us here in Minnesota aren’t making our living on the slopes. It’s a part time hobby. Most money making is happening while sitting at a desk. Prolonged sitting causes chronically shortened hip flexors.
Chronically shorted and stressed hip flexors cause lower back pain, knee pain and all sorts of other pains.
Here are a couple stretches you can do to stretch your hip flexors.
This is me in the picture and I will be the first to admit that the picture does a poor job of representing that your pelvis, shoulders and head should be facing forward. Make the correction on yourself and see how different it feels.
Here is another great stretch for downhill ski instructors. It is vital for people with chronic knee pain. If you need a modification, grab on to your pant leg, use a band around your ankle or put your foot on a chair. If you have balance issues, you can also do this one lying on your belly. If you have balance issues you should however work on standing on one leg.
This is the stretch I was demonstrating this weekend on top the circular table. It is a great IT band stretch for people with knee pain and hip pain. IT bands are notoriously hard to stretch so if this one doesn’t work for you, change the angle a little bit and see if you can find your stretch point.
If you want to take these stretches to the next level, here is a little video to follow along with that I put together specifically for hip flexors stretches. https://activefamilychiropractic.com/wordpress/index.php/hip-stretches-for-bikers-and-runners/ It is more related to runners and bikers but really the stretches aren’t much different.
As I stressed in our talk, you want to start the ski season healthy. If you have nagging injuries that you’ve been ignoring or stiffness and soreness that is causing you to feel old before your time, call me. I would love to be your chiropractor and help you feel better. Like you, I want to be still enjoying my sports 20 years from now and taking care of small injuries before they become big injuries is the best way to do that.
Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints that chiropractors address. Lower back pain from sitting seems inescapable in our tech driven world. There are however plenty of ways to combat it. Common sense goes a long way in improving your lot and there are a lot of tools that will improve your life and your spinal health.
The first thing you can do is free. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and drink; a lot. Nature’s call will force you get up from your desk regularly AND you will stay hydrated. Making sure you get up and take a small walk around the building every hour is a great way to make sure you prevent lower back pain from sitting.
Exercise is also an important tool to combat lower back pain. Strengthening your core keeps your body more stable and resistant to injury. Here is a video that I made with basic core exercises: https://youtu.be/bUWDEvZxj9Y While it’s clear I will never star in Hollywood, doing these regularly will go a long way in strengthening your body.
If you really want to avoid lower back pain from sitting, the obvious answer is don’t sit. Does that mean I think standing desks are the perfect cure? No. Standing desks come with their own challenges. The key to avoiding lower back pain is varying your position frequently. If you have a standing desk, get a thick mat to stand on and go back and forth between sitting and standing frequently throughout the day.
One of the best things you can do to relieve the damage that comes to your lower back from sitting is to get adjusted by a chiropractor regularly. A weekly adjustment is the best insurance policy you can buy to combat the long term effects of sitting. It will help your nervous system work properly to fire your muscles in patterns that your nerves are meant to fire and activate. It will also help knock the “fuzz” out that builds within your fascia and winds everything up into muscular patterns that cause compensation and pain over time.
At Active Family Chiropractic, we are always here to help. Conveniently located in Plymouth, we are just a quick phone call away.