HAPPY HALLOWEEN from Dr James Schofield
One of my patients, Norm, originally came to me with a health problem that affected his ability to enjoy a recreational sport and that also affected his relationship with his wife. Norm had a lower back problem that was limiting his ability to golf. You might ask: “I can see why this would affect his ability to enjoy a recreational sport but why was it affecting his relationship with his wife?” I wondered about this also. Norm told me: “When I can’t golf I just sit around the house all day and drive my wife crazy!”
For Norm’s sake and for the sanity of his wife I was motivated to help eliminate his back pain and get him golfing again. I am a chiropractor and treating lower back pain is one of my specialties. This article will explain why many golfers have back pain and how it can be helped.
Recently a study noted in the South African Journal of Physical Therapy, March 2018 stated that almost half of golfers have back pain. The research showed that among a group of 271 recreational golfers, 45% suffered from mechanical lower back pain and 23% had sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Further analysis showed that nearly 96% of the golfers with sacroiliac joint dysfunction had mechanical lower back pain.
Mechanical lower back pain simply means that there is a movement and/or an alignment problem. The sacroiliac joint is a pelvic joint, in the hip pocket area. There is a sacroiliac joint on both sides our pelvis. Dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint means that it is misaligned and/or isn’t moving properly.
As a chiropractor, I am trained to evaluate the sacroiliac joints in golfers with lower back pain. Through a simple physical examination, it can be determined if one or both of the sacroiliac joints may be misaligned or moving improperly.
If this is the case it is a problem that can be treated with chiropractic care. Usually, a series of “chiropractic adjustments” are given to the patient with misalignments and/or improperly moving sacroiliac joints to correct the cause of the problem. Once corrected, 90% of these back conditions are improved and most golfers can resume the sport.
Many professional golfers undergo regular chiropractic care. I encourage any recreational golfer who is being limited by his lower back pain to explore chiropractic care for their condition. If it’s good enough for the pros it certainly is good enough for the rest of us.
I’d like to tell you about a patient of mine named Ed. Ed originally came to me for chiropractic care when he was 65 years old due to chronic lower back pain. He’d suffered with varying degrees of back pain for over 10 years. When his back pain was particularly bad it affected his ability to walk normally. Ed said: “I feel like I’m stumbling along. I always feel like I’m going to fall.” Since Ed’s problem had persisted for many years it took some time for his chiropractic care to help him. But gradually his back pain lessened and, as it did, he was able to stand up straighter and he began to walk normally with a proper gait. He said: “Now that my back doesn’t hurt I can stand straight and walk better. I feel much steadier on my feet.”
What Ed noticed makes complete sense: people with lower back pain are not as steady on their feet and are more likely to fall. Falls are more common in the elderly. This article will discuss back pain and the link to the possibility of falling, causing further injury. It will also discuss a possible solution that might lessen falls among the elderly.
A recent report in the Journals of Gerontology, Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, September 2017 confirmed strong evidence that older man with back pain are more likely to fall. Surveys completed by 5568 elderly men indicated that 67% experienced back pain during the year, 25% fell at least once, and 11% had recurrent falls. Further analysis showed that participants with back pain had at least a 20% increased risk for falling, with an even higher risk for those with greater back pain severity and frequency. This data suggests that reducing back pain among the elderly population could reduce their risk for falls.
We’ve all seen people who are suffering from an episode of strong low back pain. They are usually not able to stand upright well and are hunched forward. They also may be leaning more to the side. When this is the case they’re also not able to walk well. If they must walk in on uneven surface or if they stumble they are more likely to fall. If an elderly person falls it is more likely to be traumatic than if a younger person falls. Older people are more likely to suffer fractures and dislocations after having a fall. Most of us know a senior who has had a hip fracture after falling. These types of traumas require extensive medical care, possibly surgery and may involve an extended period of rehabilitation. The person may even have to leave their home and be in a rehab facility for a lengthy time period.
One way to prevent falls is to reduce or eliminate lower back pain. Chiropractors are specialists that are trained to find the cause of lower back pain. Chiropractic care can then be given to reduce or eliminate pain in the lower back. The research study noted earlier suggests that reducing back pain could reduce a person’s risk for a fall. It is highly recommended that anyone with low back pain who feels unsteady on their feet should consult with a chiropractor for help. This is applicable for people of any age but especially the elderly.
Having been self-employed for the last 33 years I have not actually had a boss for a while. But in prior years I had many bosses and employers. While there were certainly some who were stinkers, most of them were great people. I look back at them as mentors and people who helped me gain maturity. I not only look at employers, but even people like my high school sports coaches. They helped me learn discipline, persistence and teamwork.
So today, National Bosses Day, I want to extend best wishes to those who employ, coach and provide opportunities for all the rest of us. Many thanks!!
Happy National Bosses Day from Dr James Schofield.
“I think this is helping me breathe better.” That is what one of my patients said after he had received several chiropractic treatments. He’d come to me originally for a sharp pain that he was having in his shoulder blade area. As I treated him for that pain he noticed it seemed to help his breathing. He’d had asthma since childhood, used an inhaler daily and, despite the best efforts and intentions of therapists and doctors, his asthma condition persisted. In my 33 years of chiropractic practice it is not uncommon for me to hear my patients saying something along these lines after receiving their chiropractic treatment. They notice a definite improvement in their breathing.
Many might wonder how chiropractic care can help patients to have improved breathing. Actually, there is a scientific basis as well as a common-sense reason why a person might breathe easier. This article will describe how chiropractic care can improve one’s ability to breathe and the implications this has on improving lifestyle and even longevity.
Let’s first begin with some simple anatomy and physiology. We all know that our lungs are in the upper chest area. They function like a bellows. On inspiration the lungs expand and on expiration the lungs deflate. It is important that the muscles between our ribs, the intercostal muscles, function properly in allowing us to breathe normally. The intercostal muscles are innervated by nerves which exit from our spine. If the nerves are irritated or pinched the intercostal muscles won’t perform properly and the person won’t be able to take a full, deep breath. Also, our ribs form movable joints with the breast bone in the front of our body and with the spine in the back of our body. There should be a subtle rotational movement at those joints. But sometimes those joints can get somewhat locked up or fixated. If this happens it is another reason why a person might not be able to fully breathe deeply. A chiropractic treatment, sometimes called an adjustment or a manipulation, to the mid back has been found to remove irritation from the nerves of that area and can help restore normal motion at the rib joints. This care will then allow proper inflation and deflation of the lungs. Of course, if one can take a full breath they are able to deliver abundant oxygen to the blood stream which we all know will help with many aspects of health.
A recent research study in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, August 2018 revealed improved pulmonary function when participants received chiropractic treatment, called an adjustment, to the mid back which is known as the thoracic spine. The research study showed an improvement of measurement when the patients exhaled out a full breath.
Not breathing to full lung capacity has been shown to be associated with increased risk of stroke, heart attacks and other potentially life shortening cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, a long-term follow-up study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 1996 showed that subjects that had good breathing ability at age 50 were more likely to survive to age 75.
Anyone with cardiovascular diseases and problems should of course consult with the proper medical healthcare provider to be certain there is not an imminent emergency situation. Once it is established that the patient is medically stable an appointment with a chiropractor is an option. The chiropractic profession has had decades of experience in treating patients with a safe, nonsurgical, medication free method to help give improvement to patients who have various breathing difficulties.
Text neck. Poor circulation. Fatigue. Arthritis. Depression and moodiness. Headaches. Tension across the tops of the shoulders. What do all these have in common? During my 33 years in chiropractic practice, they are all conditions and symptoms that patients tell me they have acquired from long periods of required sitting at jobs, school, and hobbies. There is a whole science called ergonomics which has evolved and addresses the problems and concerns that arise from the increased amount of sitting that we are exposed to. This article will discuss how prolonged sitting affects us and what we can do to mitigate the deleterious effects we suffer when we sit too long.
Historically, human beings have not had the opportunity or ability to sit around much. Until around 5000 years ago most human populations were nomadic. They walked to productive hunting areas to obtain food. Or they walked to productive grazing areas necessary for the cattle they raised. They didn’t get much of a chance to sit in one place for very long.
About 5000 years ago human beings acquired the technology of farming. The Egyptians are credited with the first large-scale farming operations. While this did not require a nomadic lifestyle it also did not allow these folks to become couch potatoes. Anyone involved with farming knows it involves a lot of manual labor.
Even during the more recent industrial age our predecessors were involved in very physical manual jobs.
So, when we think about it, mankind has only started sitting for long periods in the last 50 to 75 years. Before that, through all of human history, we were creatures of movement. Our bodies are evolved to walk extensively, stand fully erect, exercise large muscle groups by having to carry and lift objects necessary for our survival.
However, now with preschool, elementary school, high school, college and sedentary occupations, to say nothing of our use of computer and handheld technology devices, many of us sit more than proceeding generations could ever imagine.
It’s no wonder that we suffer from maladies listed earlier in this article. Our great grandparents and great, great grandparents would probably be amazed that we go to health clubs and exercise classes in order to exert ourselves and work our muscles. Most likely they only wanted to come home from work and rest.
Yet, it looks like we are going to be creatures of a sedentary lifestyle for many generations to come. So, it will be necessary for us to take measures to counteract harmful physical effects of our relatively inactive style of living.
One area to be aware of is the ergonomic condition of our environment at work and home. It is important to have a proper chair, desk, and computer station. There is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all recommendation for an ergonomically perfect situation. We are all different sizes and shapes. There are many different types of chairs we can use. Trial and error may be the best we can hope for in finding a good chair. Additionally, don’t ignore seat cushions and padding which can make a mediocre chair into one that is ergonomically sound. Likewise, our desks and computer stations can almost certainly be improved by a little attention. Anything we can do to sit erectly, have our wrists and hands in a comfortable neutral position, have our lower backs supported in a stress-free posture and have our legs and feet in a properly supported way should be pursued.
It is certainly recommended that we also consider a workstation that allows us to stand. A quick Internet search for a variable or upright desk will yield many choices for this technology. Most of these are inexpensive and easy to install. In my practice I have suggested this for many of my patients in recent years. Those who have been able to follow my advice have been very positive and pleasantly satisfied with the improvements ergonomically achieved.
Of course, the old standby of getting up and taking a walk is probably the best antidote to prolong sitting. Whether it’s a walk to the water cooler or a stroll at lunch time or a relaxed brisk walk after work, nothing beats walking to counteract harmful effects of a long day of sitting.
Take time to evaluate and assess your workstation and determine how you can physically, initiate appropriate movement and exercise into your everyday lifestyle. In the short and long-term these measures can make a huge difference in our health and mental behavior.