Is Neck Or Back Pain Interfering With Your Sleep?

Lower Back & Neck Pain Relief

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.

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The Three “G’s” Of Springtime That Can Hurt Your Back

Neck & Lower Back Pain Relief

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.

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Relief For Hip Pain

Hip Pain Relief

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.

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Try Walking

Walking helps with neck & lower back pain relief.

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!

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How Chiropractic Care Brings Pain Relief For Chronic Neck Pain

Chronic Neck Pain Relief

A patient named Tim was referred to my chiropractic practice of 38 years by a coworker for the chronic neck pain he was experiencing. Tim had been experiencing strong neck discomfort for over six years. His pain was constant and was worsened considerably when he spent long hours in front of his computer and with stressful situations. This article will discuss how Tim was helped by chiropractic care and introduce some relevant research as to how chiropractic care can help bring pain relief for chronic neck pain.

Tim’s case was similar to many I’ve seen in my over three-plus decades of chiropractic practice. Like many of us, Tim’s years involved sitting at a desk through elementary and high school, then in college and at his desk/computer occupation. Tim said after five years at his job his neck and upper back muscles felt as hard as rocks. His pain caused him to be fatigued. His tiredness was further worsened because his neck discomfort affected getting a good night’s sleep.

Perhaps most distressing to Tim was that his neck pain condition was interfering with his ability to perform in a local amateur musical theater group that he belonged to. His performances required him to sing and dance as a member of the chorus. He said that rehearsals and shows, although stressful, were normally very invigorating and enjoyable for him. However, as his neck pain became worse the stress of the shows exacerbated his neck pain and caused him to get tension headaches.

Before visiting my office, Tim had resorted to taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications on a daily basis. After experiencing intense stomach pains – a side effect of the medication – he made the decision to seek chiropractic care to correct the cause of the problem. When I initially examined Tim, I found that he had misalignments of the neck spinal bones. This alignment problem caused pinching of the nerves and irritated the joints of his spine. As a reaction the muscles of his neck, shoulders and upper back went into spasm. All these factors were causing his pain.

We settled on a multi-faceted course of chiropractic care to correct his problem. To correct the spinal misalignments we used safe, gentle chiropractic spinal adjustments. Electrical muscle stimulation and pressure point therapy helped to relieve his muscle spasms. Cold pack applications, which he applied at home to his neck, quickly reduced swelling and inflammation. As Tim improved, he was given stretching and strengthening exercises to help his posture. We also talked about how Tim could improve the ergonomic situation of his workspace.

After a few weeks of care Tim found the neck pain relief he was seeking. He no longer having pain at work or while sleeping. He was also able to perform normally with his theater group.

It’s been five years since I initially treated Tim. He continues to do well and comes in occasionally for what we call a “tune-up” chiropractic adjustment if he feels some stress in his neck.

There have been several research studies comparing the use of medications versus chiropractic care for chronic neck pain. All the studies show that medication only works while the patient is taking it. Since chiropractic care corrects the problem, patients maintain their improvement and gain pain relief for chronic neck problems.

Tim’s only complaint is that he wished he had tried chiropractic care sooner. I agreed with him and told him that, unfortunately, I had heard that statement many times before!

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4 Nutritional Tips To Help Manage And Obtain Lower Back Pain Relief

Lower Back Pain Relief

As a practicing chiropractor of over 38 years, I have been able to help many patients gain lower back pain relief. I typically use physical mechanical measures such as chiropractic adjustments, pressure point therapy, traction, cryotherapy and other therapies. Patients who have recent, acute lower back pain will usually respond positively with these approaches. These measures will also help most patients with chronic lower back pain. However, patients with chronic back discomfort are always looking to find other means by which they can manage and minimize future back complaints. This article will discuss nutritional tips that anyone can use to help them achieve lower back pain relief.

All the suggestions I will offer are generally safe and effective. However, each individual has specific nutritional needs. I encourage anyone with questions or concerns regarding this topic to seek guidance from an appropriate healthcare specialist.

When it comes to low back pain, reducing inflammation is a top priority. The entirety of the items I will discuss are aimed at lessening inflammation.

The most important nutritional element we can consider in gaining lower back pain relief is our everyday diet. An anti-inflammatory diet as I will propose should be a top priority.

Sugar creates inflammation in our bodies and must be eliminated. Sweets like cookies, candy, donuts, and others must be rejected. If one has an insatiable sweet tooth, I will make a concession that they limit themselves to one small helping of ice cream, a couple cookies or a small piece of cake per week, but no more.

The real key to an anti-inflammatory diet is to reduce the amount of starchy carbs that we eat. These types of carbohydrates would include grains, cereals, pasta and bread. Large amounts of these types of carbs increase inflammation in the body which leads to increased pain. I recommend 200g or less of grains/day.  It’s a fairly simple process to read the labels on the food containers to inform you of each products grams per serving. It’s best to stay away from wheat because this particular grain contains gluten for which many people have an inflammatory sensitivity. Rice, potatoes with the skin, and oatmeal are the preferred carbohydrates to consume.

It’s perfectly fine to eat meat, eggs, fish, nuts and grains and olive, coconut, and flaxseed oils. Of course, it’s important to eat plenty of vegetables. I suggest only consuming one serving of fruit per day as fruits contain a degree of sugar.

Another nutritional gem to utilize in reducing lower back formation and pain is to take anti-inflammatory enzymes. If digestive enzymes are taken with a meal, they help to digest food. However, if taken on an empty stomach, enzymes will be absorbed by our digestive tract and go out into the body to break down and reduce chemicals associated with swelling and inflammation. It is important to remember to take the enzymes on an empty stomach.

A third nutritional step to take to reduce inflammation of the lower back and to gain pain relief is to take supplements containing good fats. These are essential fats which our bodies can’t make and must obtain through our diet. Omega-3 is the main fatty acid to be considered. Omega-3 fatty acid is obtained from fish, nuts and seeds, and certain plant oils such as flax and olives. Consuming 2 grams of supplemental fish oil is a good way to obtain a sufficient amount of good fats.

Our fourth step to obtaining nutritional health to reduce lower back inflammation and pain is to have sufficient vitamin D3 levels in our blood. We can have a simple blood test to check the range of vitamin D3. It is helpful to be in the high end of the range. Vitamin D3 can be obtained by getting sufficient sunlight exposure on our skin or through taking a nutritional supplement. There are numerous research studies showing that pain relief through reducing inflammation is a key component of vitamin D3.

Following all or any of these nutritional hints to help reduce and manage chronic lower back pain can have significant benefit. Some of these are quite easy and others may take more self-restraint and discipline. However, the value of a pain-free lower back and the improved  lifestyle it affords is well worth the effort.

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