Thank you to all that serve and have served in the Armed Forces from the Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractic office of Dr. James J Schofield.
Most of us know that lower back pain afflicts many people. Pain can be classified as acute which is pain lasting less than three months in duration or chronic which is pain lasting more than three months. It is estimated in the United States 25% of all older people suffer from chronic lower back pain. With baby boomers (those born between 1946-1964) 51% of all costs (over $10 billion) are due to chronic lower back pain. This article will discuss chronic lower back pain and what can be done to bring about relief of chronic back discomfort.
As a practicing chiropractor of over 38 years, I have treated thousands of patients for lower back pain. Acute lower back pain, which is of short duration, usually responds to chiropractic care rather quickly. A couple visits to a couple weeks of visits usually takes care of the problem.
However, chronic back pain which has existed, episodically or constantly, for a longer period of time, is much different than an acute condition. Chronic back discomfort involves irritated and inflamed tissues such as the spinal and pelvic joints, ligaments, nerves, spinal discs, fascia and muscles.
There is a myriad of treatment options patients face in the treatment of chronic back discomfort. These range from surgery to medication’s to more conservative treatment such as chiropractic care and physical therapy.
Before surgery is attempted most experts agree that a conservative approach is best taken. Medications can be helpful for short term pain relief, but they are not without risk. A research article on this subject published in Scientific American, November 2021, notes: “There is no such thing as a risk free-drug and that goes for most trusted painkillers.” Pharmacologic side effects of back pain medications include gastrointestinal and kidney complications.
Chiropractic care for chronic low back pain relief can be multifaceted. Chiropractic spinal and pelvic adjustments gently and safely help to realign malpositioned joints. This can allow irritated nerves, ligaments and spinal discs to heal. Cold packs applied to the area can help reduce inflammation. Electrical muscle stimulation can bring relief for muscle spasms and pain. A deeper pressure point therapy can help to release constriction and strain of the fascial tissues.
Since chronic back pain has existed in most patients for a longer period of time, correspondingly it may take some treatment time to respond and heal, which may involve weeks or months. It is very important that the patient invest their energy and time to enhance their healing. Treating chronic back pain truly involves teamwork between the doctor and the patient.
Chiropractic care has been a conservative safe effective, source of pain relief for chronic lower back pain for over 125 years. Surely it will continue to play an important role in helping with this pervasive condition.
Back, Neck and Hip Pain Relief
Many times, in my 38 years as a practicing chiropractor, I have had a new patient with pain in their low back, neck or hips come to my office and make the statement: “I have arthritis and my doctor told me I have to live with it.” Yet, I have hundreds of other patients with arthritis, and they have little or no pain. Often it comes as a surprise to those who suffer with osteoarthritis that this very common condition can be helped. This article will discuss osteoarthritis and how one can achieve relief of osteoarthritic pain.
Osteoarthritis is simply degeneration of a joint. It may be mild or severe. A good example of this type of arthritis would be a football player who suffered an injury to his right knee in high school. As he becomes middle age, that knee may have arthritis, but the left knee might be perfectly fine. Osteoarthritis is almost always the result of an injury or repetitive stress that occurs to a joint. It is simply a wear and tear condition.
Although, osteoarthritic pain can occur with any joint, perhaps the most painful and debilitating results of this condition affect the lower back, hips and neck. Fortunately, one can take steps to gain pain relief for the back, neck and hips.
A study published in February 2022 in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation revealed chiropractic treatments of spinal manipulation and soft tissue therapy is effective for reducing osteoarthritic pain and improving joint function of the hips and spine.
Chiropractors evaluate their patients spinal and pelvic alignment. If there is misalignment of the spinal vertebrae or the pelvic joints, it can create pain in these areas. If these areas also have a degree of osteoarthritic degeneration the pain can be magnified. By performing chiropractic spinal and pelvic adjustments a Doctor of Chiropractic can bring pain relief to spinal, hip and pelvic joints. Chiropractors are the preeminent healthcare specialists to provide safe, effective realignment of malaligned spinal vertebrae of the neck, lower back and of the pelvis and hips.
Chiropractors also have techniques and are trained to work with the soft tissue of these areas. Specifically, muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia respond well to mechanical treatment. There are a number of soft tissue techniques that chiropractors can use to bring relief. Some of these techniques involve using the hands to provide deep pressure point therapy and some use modalities such as electrical muscle stimulation to release tension and stress in the soft tissues.
Today’s modern practice of chiropractic allows for people to gain pain relief osteoarthritis of the neck, lower back and hips. Chiropractic care is safe, gentle and effective and chiropractors are expertly trained to help their patients with relief of pain for spinal and hip osteoarthritic conditions.
Happy Mother’s Day!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! From the Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractic office of Dr. James J Schofield.
In my 38 years of chiropractic practice, I’ve had quite a few patients whose sleep was being disrupted due to neck or lower back pain. I recall a patient I saw many years ago named Paul, who was having back pain and sciatica. On his first visit with me he said he’d barely had any normal sleep in over a month due to his pain. He’d already tried medication, but it was of no help. This article will discuss why people may have sleep problems due to spinal pain and how chiropractic care can help with this condition.
Sleep, especially proper sleep, is important for our health. If we do not get adequate sleep, which is generally defined as eight hours per night, it can create problems over the long haul. Lack of sleep can cause learning and memory complications. Weight gain can occur by altering the way our metabolism and hormones should normally function. Cognitive abilities such as mood, concentration and industrial and automotive safety can be affected.
If neck or lower back pain is occurring it may make it difficult for a person to fall asleep, stay asleep or awaken too soon.
Taking sleep medications may help symptomatically, but does not address the cause of the problem.
If a person has misalignments of the spinal bones of the neck or lower back that is causing pinched nerves or irritated spinal joints, it can be challenging to find a comfortable position in bed to fall and stay asleep. This was the case for my patient Paul, who I mentioned earlier.
Another patient, Lindsay, was having such excruciating neck pain that no matter which way she laid her head on her pillow she could not find a comfortable position and was getting no sleep.
When patients like Paul and Lindsay come to me, I initially perform an evaluation to check for misalignments of their spine. Once these are located, I can perform chiropractic spinal adjustments to realign malpositioned vertebrae. Many patients get so much relief after their first or second visits that they end up sleeping 10 to 12 hours to catch up on the sleep they’ve been missing.
This was the case with Paul and Lindsay. As they gained lower back and neck pain relief, their sleep patterns returned to normal. I worked with them to correct their spinal misalignment and showed them how to do stretching and strengthening exercises at home to help prevent the problem from returning. We also talked about the proper type of mattress and pillows to use to provide proper spinal support while sleeping.
I’m happy to report that both Paul and Lindsey never had sleep problems due to spinal pain again. Back and neck problems do not have to interfere with one’s sleep. Try chiropractic care for neck and back pain relief and see if it doesn’t help you to sleep better. It has for millions of patients.
As a practicing chiropractor of 38 years, experience helps me to observe certain trends. Currently it is late April where I live in Western Pennsylvania. Every year at this time I see patients coming to my office suffering from lower back pain due to what I call “The 3 G’s Of Springtime.” These three activities that begin with the letter “G”: Golfing, Grass cutting, and Gardening tend to get people in trouble. Since knowledge and precaution are valuable, this article will discuss why the Three G;s cause back pain and what you can do to prevent back discomfort from happening to you.
Golf. Many golfers experience lower back pain. To prevent this don’t let your enthusiasm to get the season started lead you into back problems. Remember you haven’t had much, or any golf activity over the winter. Muscles, ligaments and back joints should be engaged gradually. Don’t go to the driving range and hit 500 balls the first day. Instead take only enough golf swings to feel like you had a mild workout. Build and progress slowly and steadily by degrees, until you are back in shape to play that usual round of golf you enjoy.
Grass cutting. Don’t feel you have to do the entire yard in one session. It might be better to do your cuttings over a couple or a few days. If cutting grass is too much for you to do and you always hurt your back, I’ll give you the same permission I’ve given many patients. Hire a landscaper. I’ve had many patients tell me it was the best advice they’ve ever taken. There is no shame in having someone else cut your lawn if it saves you visits to the chiropractor.
Gardening. Gardening typically involves a lot of stooping and bending at the waist. Normally we can perform these movements without harm. There is one time of the day however when it is best to apply a degree of caution. The first hour after awakening our bodies are not sufficiently warmed up for extreme physical exertion. This especially applies to the lower back. It is best to stretch your back for a while early in the day. Then, do some lighter work activities to help you warm up. Following a slow and reasonable first hour routine will go a long way to avoid lower back pain. Another helpful tip to prevent low back discomfort is to apply a cold pack to the lower back for 20 minutes after you have finished gardening to reduce inflammation.
It’s important to be reasonable and prudent with the Three G’s Of Springtime. It’s no fun to start this wonderful time of year being debilitated by a lower back problem. By following the ideas and suggestion noted you can have a fun and productive outdoor season.
Have a HAPPY EASTER! From the Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractic office of Dr. James J Schofield.
Have a happy and kosher Passover. From the Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractic office of Dr. James J Schofield.
Hip pain is a problem that affects many people. Problems with the hip can vary from mild and occasional to constant, excruciating and incapacitating. There are many reasons and causes for pain of the hip. There are also many treatments available for hip discomfort. This article will discuss causes of hip pain and types of treatment including a non-surgical, non-pharmacologic approach for hip pain relief.
Anatomically, we can look at the hip as two separate elements making up the whole part. The first element is the joint itself. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. It is the largest joint in the body. There are two main injuries that occur with this joint. One is simply osteoarthritis or, wear and tear, that occurs over time. The end stage of this problem results in bone-on-bone degeneration. At this stage many people require a hip replacement. The other injury is called a labral tear. The hip labral tissue is a form of cartilage that provides stability to the joint. A labral tear does not show up on x-ray and must usually be diagnosed by MRI.
The second element of the hip joint are the soft tissues and other bones surrounding it. There are many muscles involved with movement of our hip. Muscle fibers transition into tendons which attach to bone. Injuries of these tissues are classified as muscle strains and tendinitis. The hip joint also has bursas surrounding it. Bursas can be considered as lubricating structures that allow parts to move smoothly, without friction.
Hip pain can be experienced by some people specifically, directly at the joint itself. Others may have pain elsewhere such as the groin, buttocks, thigh or the back of the pelvis. This can be confusing as people do not know what exactly is causing their pain.
The hip joint is associated with the pelvis. The pelvis is made up of three bones. The outer wing bones, called the iliac bones, make up the socket part of each hip joint. Third bone of the pelvis is the middle tail bone, which is called the sacrum. Between the iliac bones and the sacrum are the gliding joints of the pelvis, called the sacroiliac joints.
If there is a misalignment of the pelvis and the sacroiliac joints a person may experience hip pain. If this is the case, there is a non-surgical, non-pharmacologic treatment to help provide pain relief. Chiropractors perform treatment to correct the condition by utilizing a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments are very safe, gentle and will reposition a malalignment of the bones. Chiropractors can also utilize manual soft tissue techniques such as trigger point therapy to help with muscular imbalances. Modalities such as electrical stimulation and utilizing cold packs can help reduce muscle spasm and inflammation. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help restore normal motion to the joint.
Once surgery of the hip is performed it cannot be undone if it doesn’t resolve the problem. It makes sense to exhaust non-surgical options, such as chiropractic care first for hip pain relief.
For over 125 years chiropractors have been providing hip pain relief for their patients. These patients have found their treatments to be safe, pleasant, cost effective and have been pleased with the non-invasive, drug-free approach.
Forty plus years ago when I was enrolled in chiropractic college, I recall other students and myself always pestering our instructors about the best rehabilitation exercises to help patients gain pain relief from conditions like neck and lower back discomfort, sciatica and degenerative discs. Invariably they always replied that walking would be optimum. And now in my three plus decades of chiropractic practice I’ve come to agree. This article will discuss the matchless benefits of walking, some tips and words of advice.
Let’s review the basics. My neurology professor gave an analogy regarding walking that I’ve always remembered. He said that every army from antiquity, be it the Greeks, Romans, Napoleon’s infantry and now more modern militaries, have always taken teenage young men who were certainly less than coordinated into their various forms of boot camps. First, they taught them to stand at attention. The recruits are supposed to keep their chin back, lower abs tight and elongate their spine. Once this is accomplished, they march and march and march with that good posture. By the end of bootcamp, marching with good posture, along with their other training, transforms them into the ablest military personnel on the planet.
We can all profit from this advice: as we are walking stand tall, tighten our stomach muscles and swing our arms as if we were marching under the watchful eyes of a drill sergeant.
There are many health benefits from walking. It helps strengthen our muscles in a gentle way, aids in weight control and improves overall conditioning. Our spinal discs, which are like spongy shock absorbers between our vertebrae, are lightly “pumped” as we walk which brings nutrients in, washes waste products out and keeps the discs healthy. The motion of alternatively swinging our arms and legs gives input into the brain and nervous system which helps coordinate and regulate systems of the body – digestion, endocrine, immunity and cardio/respiratory functions are improved
It’s a good idea to walk on a soft surface like a trail, grass field or a track versus walking on a sidewalk or asphalt road to lessen the impact on the spine and lower extremities.
My experience of helping patients gain neck and lower back pain relief has led me to discover that continuous walking is much more advantageous than an interrupted stroll such as walking the dog or playing a round of golf. Fifteen minutes of steady walking is better than an hour walk where Fido is stopping you every thirty seconds.
Anyone who knows me, will confirm that my favorite exercise is walking. Walking with good, upright, erect posture while swinging the arms appropriately is what human beings have done for millennia and what we are designed for. I’ve come to learn that my patients who are lifetime walkers are the healthiest overall, especially well into their later years. Try walking and enjoy its many benefits!