Tips On Working Remotely

Neck and Lower Back Pain Relief

The past year has introduced great changes in how the American workforce has had to radically change day to day activities. At the beginning of March 2020 many workers were expected to be physically present at their office. However, once the viral pandemic set in a large percentage began to work at home. As a practicing chiropractor of 36 years, I have seen how poor ergonomic situations have caused increased neck and lower back pain. This article will discuss changes in how many workers have had to compensate with working at home and how they can improve ergonomics so as to minimize spinal and other mechanical pain.

When the pandemic began many workers were given a laptop computer, internet access and possibly Zoom meeting technology and were expected to do the same job they had previously performed in their offices. I’ve been told by numerous patients that they were sitting on the couch, lying in bed and even sitting on the floor using their laptops. Not surprisingly, these folks soon began to develop spinal neck and back discomfort.

While I am more than happy to help them achieve pain relief through safe, gentle chiropractic care I also stress that it is imperative that they take proactive, preventative measures to keep from developing musculoskeletal pain all together.

I explained that they must, at least, have a chair and a desk. These must be at a proper height so as to sit straight and erectly. If possible, the chair’s back rest should have the ability for slight inclination forward and backward. The computer screen height should be oriented directly in front of the person. A separate keyboard and mouse are preferable to using a laptop’s keyboard and mouse. Ideally these items would fit on an adjustable keyboard and mouse tray.

A sit-stand workstation should be strongly considered. They are not expensive and can readily be purchased from sites on the Internet. Workers should be encouraged to use them liberally. I have found that many people enjoy standing all day to accomplish their tasks. However, even if a person stands only 10% of their workday it will still improve their ergonomic situation.

If a person has to participate in virtual meetings or take telephone calls it is certainly recommended that these be standing and walking opportunities. With a headset and microphone this can easily be accomplished.

While it has been said that there is nothing like the comforts of home, many would consider remote working to be a strong exception. Taking the right steps to create an improved ergonomic situation can make all the difference in the quality of one’s health.

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Work-Related Back Pain Relief

Work-Related Back Pain Relief

Work related back pain is unfortunately too common in nearly all industries. There are many actions we can take to reduce painful back conditions from occurring. Some are simple, daily lifestyle modifications. Another novel approach might be implemented. This article will discuss work related low back pain injuries and steps that can taken to reduce this painful and costly malady.

There have been many studies investigating the prevalence of back related work injuries. Aside from being painful for an employee, it tends to lead to higher insurance premiums for the employer.

Prevention of injuries is certainly a preferred course of action for everyone concerned. Steps such as modifying work to reduce the amount of reaching and bending performed daily should be considered. A proper workstation to improve posture is certainly an imperative in reducing repetitive or prolonged desk work/computer occupations. Taking frequent breaks needs to be encouraged during a work shift. Short, quick walks to dissipate occupational stress might be considered, if practicable.

If a worker suffers work-related lower back pain, chiropractic care has been shown to be effective for pain relief, reducing lost work time and lowering costs and expenses. Chiropractic patients have less expensive services and shorter periods of disability then cases treated by other practitioners such as primary care physicians, physical therapists and surgeons.

A novel approach taken by a Midwest company has been to provide on-site chiropractic services. Brewer’s Distributing, located in Peoria Illinois, is a wholesale distributor of Anheuser Busch products. Because their employees must lift heavy kegs and cases of beer, they were subject to frequent, costly lower back work-related injuries.

Brewer’s Distributing decided to have a chiropractor come to the facility, on site, weekly to provide free chiropractic services to their employees. The idea is to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. By treating minor musculoskeletal injuries on site,  serious work-related back complaints are kept from becoming worker’s compensation claims.

Brewer’s Distributing saved a significant amount of money in the first two years of implementation. The number of employee sick days declined by 22%, while the accident rate was cut in half. Consequently, the worker’s compensation cost experienced was dramatically reduced, with premiums declining by more than 25%.

It is important to be proactive with employer/employee lower back pain injuries. If a back injury is sustained chiropractic care can be utilized for back pain relief. Chiropractors can also provide on-site services to further the prevention of back related injuries and the associated costs.

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Why Is My Low Back Pain Recovery Taking So Long?

Back Pain Relief

During my 35 years of chiropractic practice, I have found that pain and the treatment of pain is a significant health problem in America. It is estimated that 50% of Americans suffer from chronic pain. The majority of chronic pain emanates from spinal problems of the neck and back. This article will discuss chronic spinal pain, its causes, the most efficacious treatment and recovery time prognosis.

I recently had a patient, in his mid-50s, come to me who had been suffering with lower back pain for several years. The condition was gradually getting worse. In the month or two preceding his visit to me the discomfort had become bad enough that he was having trouble walking for more than 10 to 15 minutes. He had been taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and using moist heat on his back, but these measures didn’t seem to be helping. He said that he had had a number of back pain episodes through his life. When he was younger medication and rest readily produced pain relief. However now that he was older, he wondered “why is my back pain recovery taking so long?”

When I performed an examination and took x-rays of his lower back, I was able to explain and show to him why he was having the intensity and duration of his present discomfort. His examination revealed several pieces of information. He could not bend forward, backward or side to side much at all. Additionally, I could feel swelling in the area of complaint of his back. This area also felt warm to the touch. This indicated he was having inflammation of the area.

We all know that if we stove our finger or sprain our ankle motion becomes restricted and it becomes swollen and inflamed. This also happens with the neck and back. Inflammatory chemicals and fluids invade the injured area, and it feels puffy and warm when we touch it with our fingers and movement is limited.

His x-rays revealed a degree of bone on bone narrowing of the spinal disc spaces with small bone spurs present. This is considered to be wear and tear arthritis. Medically, it is termed degenerative joint disease or spinal spondylosis. This arthritis or degeneration is simply the result of accumulated lifetime injuries to an area.

This underlying degenerative change will certainly affect how quickly or slowly an area will heal. When my patient was younger and did not have any spinal wear and tear, his back would heal quickly. Now that he had accumulated a number of injuries and had spondylosis it is apparent why his back was taking longer to heal.

Fortunately, as he received chiropractic care his discomfort began to lessen. He also found that he was able to walk longer periods without experiencing back discomfort. His treatment consisted of utilizing gentle, chiropractic spinal adjustments to correct the misalignment of the spinal bones of his back. It took some treatments of safe, chiropractic adjustments to correct the problem as much as possible. His remaining symptoms were negligible, and he was able to return to walking significantly longer. I told him to remember that he did not have the back of a 25-year-old anymore and that he needed to exercise some caution with his activities. He was also given some daily stretching and strengthening exercises to perform in order to maintain his improvement.

As he left on his last day of treatment he said: “Doc, if my back starts giving me the least little problem I promise not to wait so long. I’ll get into your office right away.”

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Is It OK If I Drink Coffee?

Coffee For Health

In my chiropractic office I get asked many questions. Usually, I am asked about how to help with musculoskeletal problems. I personally, have an interest and have studied a good bit about nutrition. Many of my patients know this and will ask me questions on the subject.

Recently a patient asked me: “Is it OK if I drink coffee?” Since I drink coffee a couple times a week, I didn’t see any harm in it, but I wasn’t sure if there was a nutritional benefit, so I did some research. This article will discuss nutritional benefits of moderate coffee drinking.

Coffee is one of the most popular and consumed beverages on the planet. I found that there is quite a bit of scientific documentation on the benefits of drinking coffee. Most of the studies noted that moderate coffee drinking (one to three cups/day) was optimal. However, some showed that drinking more than 3 cups a day was even better.

I was surprised to find a 2015 study showing the association of coffee consumption (decaffeinated and caffeinated) linked to increased life longevity. The study included tens of thousands of men and women and found that regular coffee drinkers (one to five cups a day) had less risk for an early death. I found it interesting that those who consumed more than 5 cups of coffee a day did not necessarily show increased longevity.

The Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology, September 2020 found that caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee seem to benefit patients with colorectal cancer. This study of 1171 patients tracked their coffee consumption for five years. It was observed that those who consumed 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day had not only an increased survival rate but that their cancer was less likely to progress.

In 2019 scientist used MRIs of the brain to look for amyloid plaque build-up, which is a feature found in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The study involving 411 seniors, without cognitive impairment, found that those consuming two or more cups of coffee per day had lower brain levels of amyloid. This suggests a reduced risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

There were also studies showing that moderate coffee drinking may benefit those with type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.

I believe everyone should take these findings and adapt them to their personal preferences and benefit. I know that if I drink coffee every day I do not do well. I get jittery, and don’t sleep well.

I seem to do just fine with green tea (which has its own benefits) and alternate days of coffee with days of tea. I also periodically like to take some days without any caffeine consumption.

Take this article and utilize it in whatever way you feel is optimal for you. Don’t be afraid to do your own research on the benefits of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Also, if you are interested in other topics on nutrition there is a plethora of science research that you can investigate. Have fun with it!

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Providing Natural Shoulder Pain Relief After Surgery

Shoulder Pain Relief

A painful condition of the shoulder is a common complaint. Shoulder pain is the third leading cause of musculoskeletal discomfort. Two thirds of adults will experience shoulder discomfort at some point in their life. A painful shoulder occurs most commonly in middle age (40-65 years).

Some patients shoulder pain is such that they will undergo surgery. Many will gain a great deal of pain relief. However, some will continue to have a painful shoulder even after surgery. This article will discuss a natural method for providing shoulder pain relief after surgery. It will also introduce research detailing a non-surgical, drug free approach in helping post-surgical shoulder problems with persistent pain as well as two successful case study presentations.

As a practicing chiropractor of over 35 years, I have treated many people for shoulder pain. It is a complex joint. There are several bones, bursas, tendons, muscles and ligaments associated with the shoulder. There is also a fibrous capsule, containing fluid, surrounding the joint. It is a joint that moves in every direction.

A very important feature of the shoulder is that it is associated with our neck which is also called the cervical spine. Nerves exit openings between the bones of the cervical spine that travel to muscles which help the joint to move freely and properly.

Chiropractic treatment for shoulder pain looks to improve improper movement or misalignment of the bones of the cervical spine, and thus improve muscular function of the shoulder joint. Additionally, treatment aimed at injury of the shoulder joint itself must be addressed with chiropractic care.

I recall a patient named George, who came to me after having rotator cuff surgery. His surgery had improved his shoulder movement significantly, however he still had moderate discomfort with certain shoulder motions. When I examined George, I found he had some misalignments of the bones of his neck and some mild restrictions of movement of the bones of the shoulder socket. Chiropractic manipulation (sometimes called the chiropractic adjustment) helped to realign his spine and restore normal movement of the shoulder joint. Following this George had full shoulder pain relief and normal shoulder motion.

Another patient of mine, Tom, had surgery for a labral tear of the shoulder. His recovery was initially quite good but seemed to plateau a couple months after the surgery. He said his pain level was improved approximately 80% from the surgical procedure. However, he still felt some mild postsurgical shoulder pain both at rest and with activity. My examination of Tom revealed spinal misalignments of his neck and upper back and some restriction of movement of the scapula bone which is familiar to most people as the shoulder blade. By utilizing chiropractic adjustments, we restored proper movement and alignment of these areas and Tom had full resolution of his shoulder discomfort.

A 2018 research study showed post-surgical shoulder patients with persisting pain, receiving spinal manipulation significantly increased shoulder movement and stability. Other studies have reported similar improvement of pain, motion and shoulder stability when chiropractic care was performed, post surgically for lingering shoulder pain.

Most patients who go to chiropractors find that having a chiropractic adjustment is a safe, pleasant experience because it corrects spinal misalignments and locked up movement of fixated extremity joints.

For this reason, many patients turn to natural, drug free, gentle, chiropractic care for shoulder pain relief after surgery.

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