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Low Back Pain

As an adult, you probably have experienced low back pain, in fact the AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) states that 75-85% of adults will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime.  As you may know, low back pain can greatly affect your life and make daily activities very difficult. Before we dive into how to treat low back pain, let’s take a look at why you may be dealing with low back pain in the first place.

Causes

Because the low back is a main area of stabilization, support and rotation, many different factors can contribute to pain felt there. Some of the causes include strained muscles, sprained ligaments, nerve irritation, degeneration, overuse, intervertebral disc injury, spinal stenosis, scoliosis as well as an acute injury.

Overuse/acute injury is a very common cause of low back pain. A low back injury can occur by doing a lot of activity that our body isn’t prepared to do. This could be anything from repetitive lifting to being a weekend warrior.  Acute injuries can happen from activities you perform on a regular basis or an activity you have never done before.

As we age, our bodies slow down. The low back experiences a lot of wear and tear over the years which may result in damage.  One form of damage that can occur is in the form of disc degeneration (the wear and tear, shrinking, and collapse of intervertebral disc).  Another is spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space around the spinal cord).

When an intervertebral disc (the shock absorbers of the spine) is damaged the result can be a stretching known as an intervertebral disc bulge or a rupturing known as an intervertebral disc herniation.

Scoliosis may also be a cause of low back pain.  Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine.  A scoliosis can cause your back to be off balance and become strained, thereby causing pain and stiffness.

Symptoms

Low back pain symptoms can vary greatly from person to person in nature, frequency and intensity and are often different depending upon the cause. Your pain may be dull or sharp. It may constant or intermittent.  It may get worse with standing, sitting, bending, or walking. Pain may even extend into your buttock or down your leg.

Symptoms can vary a lot from person to person. Getting an examination with Dr. Boroditsky is the best way to assess what treatment plan is best for you.

Treatment

Prior to starting any type of treatment, it is always advisable to first see an appropriately trained spine specialist to develop an appropriate treatment program for your specific condition and medical history.

The main goals for managing back pain in the lumbar spine (lower back) usually include:

  • Providing enough pain relief to be able to actively participate with physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Preventing further injury or stress to the spine through improved ergonomics and posture
  • Maintaining an ability to function enough at home and at work

Non-Surgical Back Pain Treatments

There are a wide variety of non-surgical options for back pain treatment of the lumbar spine. The more common treatment approaches include:

Pain medication. Typical pain medications used to treat the lower back pain include acetaminophen, NSAIDs, oral steroids, narcotic drugs, muscle relaxants, and anti-depressants. Each type of medication has strengths, limitations, and risks, and the patient’s particular problem in the lower back and overall health will determine which pain reliever, if any, is indicated.

Heat or ice. Application of a cold pack or heating pad can help relieve low back pain. Some people find that alternating between the two works best.
Manual manipulation. This treatment maybe applied by a Dr. Boroditsky! He can improve your pain by manually and gently  manipulating the vertebrae away from the nerve, reducing pressure. This will greatly improve your pain.  Manipulations also increase flexibility, improving blood flow and reducing muscle tension.
Therapeutic massage. Massage therapy is thought to improve blood flow, reducing muscle stiffness, and decrease stiffness.
Exercise. A program of back exercises and physical therapy will usually include a combination of strengthening, stretching, and low-impact aerobic exercise.
Call 763.390.1323 today to schedule an appointment, we can help with your low back pain!

What is Pronation?

When a foot is severely “pronated,” it means its arches have fallen and the foot is flat. Flat feet are less shock-absorbent, and make for a less stable “base” for everything above—the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the entire body. They can also:

  • Shift the entire body out of alignment
  • Cause aches and pains in the feet, knees, hips, neck and/or spine
  • Lead to injury and problems like shin splints, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis
  • Women with flat feet are 50% more likely than those without to have low back pain
  • Up to 1/3 of people suffer from flat feet

 

Causes of Pronation

The connective tissue, called the plantar fascia, on the underside of the foot is critical to maintaining the foot’s healthy arched shape. Injury and certain health conditions can cause the fascia to stretch out and flatten, but so can everyday, ongoing stressors like walking and standing. Once the fascia stretches out, it is unable to “spring back.” With the foot structure flattened, the body’s very foundation is in trouble.

Treatment

  • Extremity adjusting to ensure proper positioning of bones and joints
  • Functional orthotics in every pair of shoes for pronation control, support and comfort
  • Rolling feet on a tennis ball to help soften foot musculature and connective tissue

How Your Feet Can Cause Leg & Back Pain

Problems with your feet can affect your entire body, from your legs to your back, your neck, and even your shoulders. The entire human body is connected, which is why one affliction can easily affect a seemingly unrelated part of the body.

Oftentimes, pain and discomfort don’t directly relate to flat feet, but rather to how they affect your gait (your stride or the way you walk). Some people have one leg that’s shorter than the other (usually because of scoliosis, an unusually curved spine); this would affect their gait and affect their feet and spine. That can affect their ribs, internal organ locations, and how their bones are structured all over their bodies.

Foot Movement

The way you walk is dependent on the shape of your feet and the shoes you wear. These factors can affect your entire body over the years. For example, if you wear unsupportive high heels every day, your feet become susceptible to hammertoes, bunions, calluses, and corns. The rest of your body may develop joint problems, back problems, stiffness, fatigue, and strain.

Wearing supportive shoes distributes weight evenly when you land and encourages a stable gait. People with flat feet often walk on the sides of their feet or have balance issues, so it’s essential to wear supportive shoes.

How Feet Affect The Legs

Your feet are connected to your legs by tendons and ligaments, some of which connect the arch of your foot to the back of your calf. Problems with your feet can affect your lower legs because of this, but the way you walk may also play a part.

The human body is pretty amazing and can be influenced or manipulated. The body has been bound and reshaped in a number of ways across cultures in history, including:

  • Binding the feet to make or keep them small.
  • Corsetry; using a corset to manipulate the body’s shape into an hourglass figure.
  • Elongating the forehead through binding, practiced most famously by the Mayans.
  • Lip stretching.

It’s a little scary because there could be a massive number of health issues that stem from things like these, but people do it anyway. Consistently wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight can cause other, less desired types of reshaping like hammertoes, claw toes, bunions, and corns, and the way a person walks can affect the way the feet, legs, and back function.

Some milder problems include:

  • Stiffness
  • Soreness
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Leg pain
  • Plantar fasciitis

Prolonged or continuous strain can cause permanent problems.

Foot and Back Pain

Everything is connected, which is why your feet can cause so many problems all over your body. If you have a foot deformity, you change the way you walk to avoid pain subconsciously. Have you ever noticed that if one of your toes hurts, you avoid hurting it more while you take each step by limping or walking differently on that foot? Usually this is temporary, but for someone with a foot deformity, this adjustment in gait can be permanent.

Having flat foot in particular can cause misalignment with the ankle, which causes joints to connect differently, which can cause misalignment in the knee joint. That can affect your hips, which also affects the way you walk. That affects the spine, especially your lower back. It makes sense that this could happen… our feet are actually pretty delicate and our bodies are complex.

The Easiest Solution: Orthotics (Custom Shoe Inserts)

Orthotics, or custom insoles can be customized to your feet, are affordable, and will fit into your shoes subtly. Though they won’t solve everyone’s foot pain problems, they are a great place to start for relieving foot pain, leg pain, and lower back pain caused by your feet.

Consult with a Shane Boroditsky, D.C., for  possible orthotics, which are usually custom-made. Though store-bought orthotics may work temporarily, custom orthotic inserts are built to last and customized to your feet, your specific foot problems, and your gait.

If you’d like to see whether custom orthotics are right for you, please give us a call today at Minnesota Chiropractic and Rehabilitation! 763.390.1323

Chiropractic Care for Stress

What Is Stress?

Some of the most stressful things in life are the death of a spouse or loved one, severe or prolonged illness of oneself or a loved one, divorce or separation, mving home or across country, and strangely reconciliation. These great disasters of life aren’t the only things that cause stress. Work related stress, which continues daily, can be very damaging to your health. A poorly functioning relationship, a child with physical or mental problems, even mild can add to the daily stress as well. Simple unhappiness with your life over a long period will also take its toll on your physical health.

physical problems caused by stress

Spinal joints and the surrounding muscles tend to be affected by stress. There are often some minor joint problems in the spine, which do not bother you until a moment of great or continuous stress. Then the brain seems to multiply those minor problems until pain is surrounding the spine either in the shoulders, the mid back or the low back. Often the upper neck muscles and joints are affected and this may result in headaches.

Many people take over the counter medicines in the hope of relief. At first it may help, but in the long run, you are just masking the symptoms and not dealing with the primary causes of the pain.

Spinal manipulation (an adjustment) will gently move the vertebrae away from the nerve. This allows full nerve innervation back to your muscles and brain. Full functioning nerves support self healing, dealing with stress better, and less pain.

Spinal manipulation, together with the understanding we give you of your body and how it responds to mental and physical stress, is the best way to improve and maintain your health on a long-term basis.

For tips on how to respond to stress at home, check out our blog post, “Responding to Stress.”

How we can help

One mother has two children, each with small health problems and a husband who had had a minor illness. She had low back pain and tension in her shoulders and neck. After 3 treatments, she feels 90% better and is able to cope with life much better. Another young man who recently changed his job after being unfairly dismissed, has been hoping to marry his girlfriend. He has had two months of constant headache. Treating his stiff and tender neck and upper back, together with some at home stretching, gave him ne
w hope of a pain free life. After four treatments he now knows how to minimize his headaches and has some coping techniques to lower his stress.

Most noteworthy, we are not saying that every pain and ache is due to stress.  We see people who have been in accidents, have postural and repetitive strain, wear and tear, work and exercise injuries as well. As a result, stress will contribute to further pain if  these injuries aren’t taken care of in the early stages.

If you know someone who is suffering with pain, do not underestimate the damage it can do to them. Pain spoils your mood and ruins your concentration. Not to mention the untold damage it can cause to your digestive, hormonal and cardiovascular systems to name a few. Pain is just a symptom, telling you something is wrong. Covering it up and suffering a long time will harm you. Get some help and if it is joint or muscular pain, come in for an Examination and Consultation. We can help. Call 763.390.1323 today!

Responding to Stress

After decades of research, it is clear that the negative effects associated with stress are real.  Although you may not always be able to avoid stressful situations, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the effect that stress has on your body.  The first is relaxation. Learning to relax doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some simple techniques to help get you started on your way to tranquility.

Relaxed breathing

Meditation or Yoga is great for stress!

Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you’re stressed? Stress typically causes rapid, shallow breathing. This kind of breathing sustains other aspects of
the stress response, such as rapid heart rate and perspiration. If you can get control of your breathing, the spiraling effects of acute stress will automatically become less intense. Relaxed breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, can help you.

Practice this basic technique twice a day, every day, and whenever you feel tense. Follow these steps:

  • With your mouth closed and your shoulders relaxed, inhale as slowly and deeply as you can to the count of six. As you do that, push your stomach out. Allow the air to fill y
    our diaphragm.
  • Keep the air in your lungs as you slowly count to four.
  • Release the air through your mouth as you slowly count to six.
  • Complete the inhale-hold-exhale cycle three to five times.

Progressive muscle relaxation

The goal of progressive muscle relaxation is to reduce the tension in your muscles. First, find a quiet place where you’ll be free from interruption. Loosen tight clothing and remove your glasses or contacts if you’d like.

Tense each muscle group for at least five seconds and then relax for at least 30 seconds. Repeat before moving to the next muscle group.

  • Upper part of your face. Lift your eyebrows toward the ceiling, feeling the tension in your forehead and scalp. Relax. Repeat.
  • Central part of your face. Squint your eyes tightly and wrinkle your nose and mouth, feeling the tension in the center of your face. Relax. Repeat.
  • Lower part of your face. Clench your teeth and pull back the corners of your mouth toward your ears. Show your teeth like a snarling dog. Relax. Repeat.
  • Gently touch your chin to your chest. Feel the pull in the back of your neck as it spreads into your head. Relax. Repeat.
  • Pull your shoulders up toward your ears, feeling the tension in your shoulders, head, neck and upper back. Relax. Repeat.
  • Upper arms. Pull your arms back and press your elbows in toward the sides of your body. Try not to tense your lower arms. Feel the tension in your arms, shoulders and into your back. Relax. Repeat.
  • Hands and lower arms. Make a tight fist and pull up your wrists. Feel the tension in your hands, knuckles and lower arms. Relax. Repeat.
  • Chest, shoulders and upper back. Pull your shoulders back as if you’re trying to make your shoulder blades touch. Relax. Repeat.
  • Pull your stomach in toward your spine, tightening your abdominal muscles. Relax. Repeat.
  • Upper legs. Squeeze your knees together and lift your legs up off the chair or from wherever you’re relaxing. Feel the tension in your thighs. Relax. Repeat.
  • Lower legs. Raise your feet toward the ceiling while flexing them toward your body. Feel the tension in your calves. Relax. Repeat.
  • Turn your feet inward and curl your toes up and out. Relax. Repeat.

Perform progressive muscle relaxation at least once or twice each day to get the maximum benefit. Each session should last about 10 minutes.

Listen to soothing sounds

If you have about 10 minutes and a quiet room, you can take a mental vacation almost anytime. Consider the following avenues to help you unwind, rest your mind or take a visual journey to a peaceful place.

  • Spoken word. Calm (a Free app)  uses spoken suggestions to guide your meditation, educate you on stress reduction or take you on an imaginary visual journey to a peaceful place.
  • Soothing music or nature sounds. Music has the power to affect your thoughts and feelings. Soft, soothing music can help you relax and lower your stress level.

No one method works for everyone, so try a few apps or songs to find which works best for you.

Exercise

Exercise is a good way to deal with stress because it is a healthy way to relieve your pent-up energy and tension. It also helps you get in better shape, which makes you feel better overall.  By getting physically active, you can decrease your levels of anxiety and stress and elevate your moods.  Numerous studies have shown that people who begin exercise programs, either at home or at work, demonstrate a marked improvement in their ability to concentrate, are able to sleep better, suffer from fewer illnesses, suffer from less pain and report a much higher quality of life than those who do not exercise.  This is even true of people who had not begun an exercise program until they were in their 40s, 50s, 60s or even 70s.  So if you want to feel better and improve your quality of life, get active!