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"You are only as young as your spine is flexible" -Joseph Pilates

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Repost By @drtyna 

 True story here. If you spine is all glued together from lack of conditioning, inflammation and immobility, you are gonna hurt.

Keep your spine moving. Spinal pain is a very different beast than pain in your extremities (shoulders, knees, hips, etc).

Spinal pain may be due to an actual traumatic injury, but most of the time, as I've seen in my practice of over a decade, it's usually a combo of deconditioning and stiffness (the two go hand in hand, deconditioned spines like to "glue" up).

If your spine hurts, chances are you've been too sedentary for too long. My entire spine starts to hurt if I miss too much gym time.

Keeping your spine strong and flexible is KEY to aging well, longevity, decreased pain and mobility.

You have a bunch of little muscles all around your spine holding it together. Then you have ligaments holding it together too. The muscles are supposed to support and move it, the ligaments hold it together. When the muscles become deconditioned the ligaments have to take up a lot of the job of structural integrity and ligaments that are constantly being "hung on" HURT. Where they insert on bone is highly innervated and it hurts a LOT when it gets pulled on. If your muscles around your spine are not well-conditioned and doing their job, I can promise your ligaments are being over-worked and over-taxed and ultimately, over-stretched.

Ligaments that weaken allow other things to weaken, like your discs. This is a recipe for disaster.

Also, as your spine begins to degenerate, you will feel pain in your extremities. A lot of hip pain is actually coming from the spine, for instance. Shoulder pain is often coming from the spine as well. You get the picture.

Yes, you can do this work at home daily. TONS of #Pilates, yoga and stretching videos online. It really wasn't until I started deadlifting on the regular that my pain significantly improved.

#Deadlifts fix everything, IMO. However, they can be dangerous if done wrong

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Dr. Bartoszewski completes the 'Fix Your Own Back' course

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This past weekend, Dr. Bartoszewski took a weekend continuing education course with Dr. Snell, regarding the evaluation and treatment of lumbar disc injuries.

If you've ever bent over to pick something up and got "stuck", have a history of sciatic pain down the back of your leg, pain rolling over in bed, getting in or out of a car or chair, or pain that's worse in the morning, you've more than likely experienced a disc injury at some point in your life.

Dr. Bartoszewski is able to evaluate your condition to determine if you are currently suffering from a lumbar disc injury.  The good news is that most disc issues do resolve with time and proper treatment.  To prevent these symptoms from coming back again and again, Dr. Bartoszewski is able to instruct you on specific movements you can do for pain relief and exercises to help strengthen your back and core, to prevent your low back pain from returning.

Dr. Bartoszewski actually experienced her own disc injury after moving to Portland.  Dr. Snell's rehab program got her moving and back to practicing and lifting in the gym after completion of the program!

Schedule your appointment at Stumptown Chiropractic today!

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October is National Chiropractic Health Month

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"During National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM) 2017 this October, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is sharing back injury prevention and strengthening tips as well as information on the value of a conservative approach to back pain treatment with the theme “Back to Basics.” 

"Back pain remains one of the most prevalent and disabling conditions worldwide. It is one of the most common reasons that patients visit their doctors, and one of the most common conditions for which doctors prescribe pain medications. It is estimated that up to 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. In addition, with the overuse and abuse of prescription opioid painkillers in the United States still a major public health issue, it’s essential for health care consumers to understand that spinal manipulation and other conservative treatments can treat common musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain effectively and safely. 

NCHM 2017 focuses on back health “basics” -- the importance of overall health and injury prevention as key strategies in maintaining spinal health throughout a lifetime -- and highlights the growing body of research supporting a conservative approach to back pain treatment. "

  • Exercise, ergonomic workspaces and proper lifting are a few things that can help you avoid

    serious injury.

  • Sleeping on your back puts excessive pressure on your spine. Choose a side position instead.

  • When texting, bring your arms up in front of your eyes so that you don’t need to look down at

    the screen.

  • When reaching for something above shoulder level, use a stool rather than straining your

    neck/pain to reach.

  • When sitting, keep your knees higher than your hips with your head up/back straight. Don’t

    slouch.

  • If an item is too heavy, push it instead of pulling it. Use your legs, not your back when doing so.

  • When sitting at a computer, make sure your feet are firmly flat with your knees lower than your

    hips.

  • Never pinch your phone between your ear & shoulder. Use a headset to reduce shoulder strain.

  • Did you know that back pain is one of the leading reasons why people are prescribed opioids?

    Chiropractic spinal manipulation is widely recognized as one of the safest, non-drug therapies

    available for the treatment of back pain.

  • A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) adds to a

    growing body of recent research supporting the use of spinal manipulative therapy, a treatment

    used by chiropractors, as a first line treatment for acute low back pain.

  • Did you know injured workers with similar injuries are 28 times less likely to have spinal surgery if the first point of contact is a chiropractor, rather than a surgeon?

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World Spine - October 16, 2017

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  • 50% of workers will experience back pain at least once per year, often due to lack of movementor incorrect posture.

  • Back pain is the most common reason for a visit to the doctor’s office next to the common cold.

  • 50% to 85% of those who experience neck pain report symptoms again within 1-5 years.

  • Back pain is the most common reason for a visit to the doctor’s office next to the common cold.

  • You can help to prevent neck and back pain by having good posture and keeping active. Make sure you Straighten Up and Move Today!

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Gardening without back pain

Gardening, like most other forms of yard work, is exercise!  The mistake many people make is starting to do yard work and gardening without warming up first and not knowing your limits.  Have you ever heard of the term, "weekend warrior"?  These are people that do excessive amounts of work around the house/play sports sporadically, without properly warming up, stretching, cooling down, with improper ergonomics, or continue to work through the pain, and then are in a great deal of pain by the time Monday comes along.

Gardening is a fun way to get outdoors and stay active without going to the gym.  Raking and carrying leaves is a great way to build endurance and strength, while pulling weeds and other tasks can help to maintain and improve flexibility.  Gardening is not only good for the body physically, but also mentally.  Getting outside to garden is a great way to de-stress from work, technology and other things that complicate life.

Gardening/Yard Work injuries can include traumatic injuries. Commonly from improper tool use and repetitive stress injuries (RSI) from repetitive work, many times due to improper form.

Common Repetitive Stress Injuries:

  • Back injuries from heavy lifting
  • Hands/arms/shoulder pain
  • Knee pain

 

ALWAYS-->

  • Warm up/Stretch BEFORE
  • Use a wheelbarrow/cart/friend to help carry heavy loads or make frequent trips if working alone
  • Lift with your hips, not your back
  • Alternate sides when raking, hoeing, etc.
  • Know your limits
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Pace yourself
  • Stay hydrated
  • Don't work through pain
  • Use long-handled tools to avoid kneeling, bending, or squatting
  • Alternate tasks in the garden/yard (kneeling work for 20 minutes, standing work for 20, etc.)
  • Cool down post gardening
  • Never bend and twist; always "square up" your hips and shoulders
  • Don't sit/lay down for extended periods post yard work.  Warm muscles are pliable and will mold to whatever position you cool down in; ie: a chair

To minimize injury

  • Foam tubing for garden tools
  • Dig weeds from a standing position (various alternatives available online)
  • Use long handed tools
  • Use the right size tool for you; smaller hands need smaller tools
  • Choose lightweight tools whenever possible
  • Stop working immediately if you think you injured yourself, don't continue to work!
  • Seek chiropractic treatment to address any muscular or joint pain; the sooner after injury, the better
  • A chiropractor can also suggest different ways to modify your positioning, specific to your injury and activity
  • Avoid laying on the couch/bed for prolonged periods after intense work/possibly injury
Tools with foam to cover the handles for decreased grip strain

Tools with foam to cover the handles for decreased grip strain

 

Sources: http://www.slideshare.net/ElisaMendelsohn/can-you-dig-it-the-ergonomics-of-gardening

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Sugar and Pain

Have you heard all of the news about sugar lately?  Some sources are even saying that sugar is far more harmful to our bodies than fat!   Whether you are in chronic or acute pain, sugar may play an important role in the inflammatory process, which may be contributing to your persistent symptoms.  Read on to find out more!

Excess sugar in the blood leads to a pathological process, called glycation. Glycation is the process of sugar molecules adhering to fascial proteins, causing stiffness and thickening (Cameron, 2014).  Robert Lustig, MD has become an anti-sugar advocate, exposing just how toxic sugar is.  See his presentation, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" here.  Dr. Lustig has published several peer reviewed research articles regarding sugar and its connection to degenerative diseases.  Throughout his research, Dr. Lustig has concluded that about 75% of all diseases in America are in fact, preventable.  UCLA conducted a study on the impacts of fructose and high fructose corn syrup on the brain.   The professor of neurosurgery concluded that, "eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information" (Schmidt, 2012).  Based on the research study, he believes that "eating too much fructose could block insulin's ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar for the energy required for processing thoughts and emotions". 

Dr. Teitelbaum has written many books on chronic pain and is currently a medical director at a fibromyalgia center.  He notes that, “Sugar aggravates low blood sugar and adrenal problems, yeast (Candida) overgrowth, and nutritional deficiencies that worsen fibromyalgia,”.  He has seen patients experience a decrease in their pain, a sharper memory and more energy after coming off of sugar in as little as 10 days.

The Oxford Journal of Rheumatology performed a 2 year study, and found that 45% of patients had an increase in symptoms after consuming sweets and refined sugar.

Not only does sugar cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, release of cytokines (inflammatory messengers), and contributes to your risks of developing diabetes, it also attacks cells and tissues in the body.  The sugar and inflammation/chronic pain connection has been researched more and more over the past several years.  Many medical providers are advising all patients to reduce their sugar intake, now more than ever before.  White flour and other simple carbohydrates break down into sugar, so it is essential to eliminate/reduce actual sugar, along with white flour.  Chronic low grade inflammation, greatly contributes to atherosclerosis, strokes, memory loss, and more scary health conditions.

Common chronic conditions negatively affected by sugar:

  • fibromyalgia
  • arthritis
  • autoimmune conditions
  • leaky gut
  • adrenal fatigue
  • strokes
  • peripheral artery disease
  • irritable bowel disease (IBD)
  • arthritic conditions
  • colon cancer
  • diabetes
  • cataracts
  • poor memory
  • heart disease
  • osteoporosis

As you can see, sugar is not only costly to the human body, but also on the economy.  An estimated 40% of healthcare costs are due to excessive sugar intake (and this is probably a low estimate).  When you make the commitment to quit sugar for good, you will realize just how sweet today's foods are!  Sugar is addictive, don't get me wrong, but the more we consume, the more we crave it, like a drug.  There are several resources online that can help you to wean yourself off of sugar, and structured programs and books, such as the "21 Day Sugar Detox".  I remember seeing a baking tip years ago, that you could half the amount of sugar in any recipe and not notice a difference.  Since I've gone Paleo, I use honey or coconut sugar in recipes, but they usually only call for a few tablespoons, not multiple cups of refined white sugar!  After eliminating sugar and you taste sweet things that you used to crave constantly, you will realize just how sweet and sugar laden they were.

Consider going cold-turkey, signing up for a monthly sugar detox, or start tracking your daily meals, just to see how much sugar you are consuming!  Many products contain sugar, that you might not realize, such as: ketchup, salad dressings, yogurt, dried/dehydrated fruit, sauces, and more. 

If your pain is not going away with over the counter products or routine care, consider eliminating sugar from your diet!  Chiropractic and other holistic forms of healthcare can help to resolve musculoskeletal conditions with a proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan, but sugar may be hindering your progress and overall health and well being.  Remember, things labeled as "sugar free", are not necessarily better alternatives, if they contain harmful artificial sweeteners; always check the label and choose minimally processed foods.

 

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Do you have a Baker's Hump?

Are you a professional baker, chef or even a tattoo artist? Constantly looking down to chop or knead away?  You may start to develop, or already have, what is known as Dowager's Hump, or a "Baker's Hump", as it is sometimes known in the culinary industry.  Standing all day in a slouched posture can wreak havoc on your spine. 

A lot of recent news articles discuss the dangers of sitting at a desk all day and how detrimental it can be to one's health.  But, standing on your feet all day in a slouched posture, can be just as harmful, causing a myriad of acute and chronic symptoms.  I've also noticed similar conditions in tattoo artists.  While, one's job may require you to be in such a poor posture for long hours day in and day out, the long-term effects can be extremely frustrating. Read through the tips below and schedule an evaluation with a chiropractor today!

What Can You Do?

  • sit to chop/prepare foods if possible
  • raise/lower table heights so you don't have to bend or reach up; elbows relaxed at your sides is an ideal height to chop at
  • take regular stretching micro breaks before, during and after work
  • set a timer to take breaks if standing/sitting too long, every 10, 20 or 30 minutes
  • add a rubber floor mat to your work station; prolonged standing on hard/concrete surfaces can aggravate your symptoms and increase pain
  • wear supportive/comfortable shoes
  • stay hydrated; dehydrated muscles cause more pain and are more prone to injury
  • use a foot stool to alternate bending one leg as needed
  • make sure you square up your hips/shoulders when lifting heavy items; half kneel instead of squatting if necessary (the half kneeling position can also be helpful when plating items, etc.)
  • Get adjusted by a chiropractor as needed!
  • Strengthen back and gluteal muscles on a regular basis to help to counteract constant flexed/hunched posture

Image Sources: http://chefschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/sous.jpg

http://www.baker.edu/site_media/244/m/

http://www.bakerchiropractic.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Dowagers-Hump.jpg

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Sitting Sucks!

I'm often asked by patients about what they can do to prevent acute or chronic back pain.  Moving every day is vital! Not just rolling out of bed, sitting in your car while driving to work, sitting 8-10 hours at work, then sitting again on your commute home, and sitting on the couch to watch TV before bed.  As a nation in general, we sit too much, hence the new "sitting is the new smoking" campaign.  Sitting diseases are a real thing.  We just aren't moving enough anymore. There's even a #sittingisthenewsmoking hashtag!

Sitting diseases are shown to reduce your life expectancy.

What are sitting diseases:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Breast and colon cancers

You also have an increased risk of:

  • Forward head posture
  • Forward rounded shoulders
  • Hyperlordosis
  • Thoracic hyperkyphosis
  • Tight psoas = low back pain
  • Deconditioned core and spinal musculature

Your chances of developing a sitting disease increases the more sedentary you are.

For more information, check out this article I wrote titled, 'Standing up for your Health' in 2012.


<div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" xmlns:dct="http://purl.org/dc/terms/" about="http://www.juststand.org/tabid/674/default.aspx"><span property="dct:title">Sitting Disease Infographic 1</span> (<a rel="cc:attributionURL" property="cc:attributionName" href="http://www.ergotron.com">Ergotron</a>) / <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/">CC BY 3.0</a></div>

<div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" xmlns:dct="http://purl.org/dc/terms/" about="http://www.juststand.org/tabid/674/default.aspx"><span property="dct:title">Sitting Disease Infographic 1</span> (<a rel="cc:attributionURL" property="cc:attributionName" href="http://www.ergotron.com">Ergotron</a>) / <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/">CC BY 3.0</a></div>

What Can You Do?

1. Change your desk!

Alternatives to traditional desks:

  • Standing desks
  • Treadmill desks
  • Half kneeling at your desk

Benefits:

  • Improved posture
  • Improved blood flow
  • Possible increase in productivity and energy levels
  • Burn more calories

2. Bike/Walk to work if at all possible.  If not daily, then try a few days per week

3. Set a timer to get up every 30 minutes to stretch and move around.  Many new activity trackers will alert you when you've been inactive for a certain period of time.

4. Get up during commercials at home to do chores or perform squats, jumping jacks, etc.

Next blog topic will cover stretches and specific exercises to keep your spinal muscles and joints healthy!

*Main image source: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sitting-standing-walking-work

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October is National Chiropractic Health Month

October is known as 'National Chiropractic Health Month'.  According to Dynamic Chiropractic, One in 10 suffers from chronic musculoskeletal pain. Of these, more than half don't understand chiropractic care is an effective, non-drug choice for their pain.  Prescription pain killers mask your pain, leading to over-exertion, delayed/improper healing, and possibly a permanent injury.

This year's American Chiropractic Association's campaign is about the overuse of prescription pain killers and stressing a "pain free nation".  The number of deaths from prescription opioids (pain killers), is on the rise and considered an epidemic by the CDC.  Having a conservative care first approach is one of the key messages from the ACA.  Not only is chiropractic care effective for pain management, but also more economical than having unnecessary imaging and surgeries.  The Joint Commission recently revised its' pain management standards to include chiropractic and acupuncture.

Chiropractors are trained to identify joint dysfunction, muscle over or under activation, faulty gait patterns and more.  A combination of these things may be contributing to your pain, something a pain killer or muscle relaxer will never fix. #painfreenation #NCHM2015

To find out more, you can see the ACA's campaign here!

To find an evidence based chiropractor in your area, click here!

Main image source: http://www.premierptsolutions.com/pages/integrative_physical_therapy.aspx

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