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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!

Kids Care Part 2

Last week, we discussed how Chiropractic Care can help children with colic or asthma. Today, we want to continue this topic about kids with how Chiropractic Care can help with Ear Infections and Bed Wetting.

Ear Infections: 

Almost half of all children will suffer from at least one middle ear infection (otitis media) before they’re a year old, and two-thirds of them will have had at least one episode by age three. The symptoms of otits media include ear pain, fever, and irritability. If you look into the ear of a child who has otitis media, you will be able to see a buildup of fluid behind the ear drum, and the inside of the ear will appear inflamed. Otitis media is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection and frequently results from another illness such as a cold. For many children, it can become a chronic problem, requiring treatment year after year, and putting the child at risk of permanent hearing damage and associated speech and developmental problems.

Otitis media commonly emerges when there is improper drainage of the lymph system in the neck, or when the muscle that is supposed to keep bacteria or viruses from entering the eustacean tubes (the tubes in the back of the throat that lead to the inner ear) doesn’t work correctly. While both of these things can happen in adults, it usually does not result in an ear infection for two reasons: First, the shape and the length of the eustacean tubes are different in adults, allowing easier drainage and making it more difficult for a bacteria to invade. Second, adults tend to spend more time upright than young children do, which also encourages better drainage and decreases risk of infection.

In either case, the underlying root cause of otitis media is usually a mechanical problem. There is either a reduced or blocked drainage of the lymph vessels in the neck lymphatic chains that causes a build up of fluid in the inner ear, or a loss of normal function of the small muscle at the opening of the eustacean tube in the throat that allows bacteria and viruses from the mouth to enter the inner ear. Instead of treatment that tries to kill the bacteria or virus, a more natural approach would be to restore normal drainage of the ears and neck lymphatics. This is most effectively done through chiropractic.

Unfortunately, the current treatment of choice for medical doctors is to prescribe oral antibiotics, usually amoxicillin, which can be helpful to get rid of a bacterial infection. But, according to many research studies, antibiotics are often not much more effective than the body’s own immune system. And repeated doses of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacteria.

Most people have heard about the common practice of placing ‘tubes in the ears’ to relieve the pressure, and therefore pain, of otitis media. During this surgical procedure, a small opening is made in the eardrum and a small tube is placed in the opening. This opening helps to relieve the pressure in the ear and prevents fluid buildup. After a couple of months, the body pushes the tube out and the hole closes. Although the treatment is often effective, it does not address the underlying cause of the infection, which is the abnormal mechanical functioning of the lymphatics, muscles and nerves.

If your child experiences recurrent ear infections, it is important that you talk to your chiropractor. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children. By helping to restore the normal function of the tissues of the neck, otitis media can usually be significantly reduced or completely eliminated in most children, without the use of antibiotics and surgery.

Bed-Wetting:

Bedwetting is stressful for everyone involved. Lack of bladder control can cause embarrassment, shame, and interfere with normal social development. All of the causes of bed-wetting are not fully understood. There are children whose bladders are underdeveloped for their age and who have difficulty recognizing when their bladder is full. This is much more common in children under four years of age.

If a child, who had been dry at night for a period of time – weeks or months – suddenly starts bed-wetting again, this may be a sign that something is wrong. Most often this happens when some form of stress is in the child’s life: a new baby in the home, moving to a new neighborhood, or a divorce. Bedwetting may also be a sign of physical or sexual abuse or some other disease process. If your child wets the bed after having been dry at night in the past, it is important that they be seen by a doctor. The bed-wetting may be a sign that stress or a disease is causing the problem.

Chiropractic can help by removing any irritation that may be affecting the nerves that control bladder function. These nerves exit an area of the spine called the Sacrum. In adults, the sacrum is one large fused bone that is very resistant to injury. However, during childhood, the sacrum is separated into five individual segments. If these segments become misaligned, due to a fall or other type of trauma, they can compromise the nerves that are responsible for bladder function. While chiropractic is not typically a treatment for bedwetting, countless children have been helped by being adjusted. In fact, a number of clinical research studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care can help many children suffering from bedwetting. Contact us today!

Kids Care

Everyone is the perfect candidate for Chiropractic Care…even babies and kids! Many adults think that chiropractic care is used only for injuries, while the truth is that chiropractic care is most effective when used all throughout life as a preventative tool against injury and to keep yourself healthy.

Birth can be traumatic on the spine, and if you think about any kids you know, they are constantly falling and getting hurt. That’s just the way kids are. Everything kids do from learning to crawl and walk to learning how to ride a bike can also be traumatic on the spinal column. Getting your child in for regular adjustments is a very effective tool to ensure they are healthy and that their spinal column is functioning well.

Aside from the normal wear and tear kids put on their bodies, many kids go through some other difficulties as well. A few include colic, asthma, ear infections and bed-wetting. Did you know Chiropractic Care can also help your child in these areas?

Colic

Colic is a condition in young infants characterized by an unusual amount of crying. When they cry, they may draw their arms and legs toward their bodies as though they are in pain and may even turn bright red. Colic usually appears between the 3rd and 6th week after birth and is typically resolved by the time they are 3 months old. Although no one is certain what causes colic, there are a number of things that likely contribute, such as an immature and irritated nervous system, food sensitivities and gastrointestinal upset.

The theory that an irritated spine may contribute to colic is supported by the frequent improvement in symptoms with gentle chiropractic adjustments. Because the birthing process is very stressful on the neck of a newborn, it is very common for there to be several subluxations in the neck and back that can irritate the tiny and delicate nervous system. It has also been observed that babies with colic seem to need more attention and are more sensitive to the things around them than other babies – again indicating that there are some neurological differences. Gentle chiropractic adjustments can improve symptoms of colic in newborns.

A potential dietary contributor to colic is the mother’s diet while breastfeeding. Women who breast feed should stay away from spicy foods, alcohol and tobacco, as well as to avoid  eating too much of any one particular food. A semi-bland, high-protein diet that excludes dairy is probably best – at least during the first three or four months of breastfeeding.

If your baby suffers from colic, there are a few things that you can do to help:

  • Seek regular chiropractic care, especially during the first four months.
  • Place a warm water bottle on your baby’s stomach.
  • Rock your baby in a rocking chair or cradle.
  • Give your baby a warm bath.
  • Gently rub your baby’s stomach.
  • Go for a drive with your baby in the car seat.
  • Feed your baby more often with less food at each feeding.
  • If you feed your baby formula, avoid soy or dairy-based formulas.

Asthma:

Allergies are often treated with chiropractic care. Many allergic and asthmatic reactions are caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system and/or respiratory system. Researchers have found that the immune and respiratory systems depend on normal communication from the brain and spinal cord to control and coordinate their functions properly.

Therefore, if your neck is misaligned, it could cause an imbalance in your nervous system function. This upper cervical spinal joint irritation could possibly produce or exaggerate asthmatic and allergic symptoms. For example; many asthma and allergy sufferers experienced traumas such as head injuries, auto accidents, or falls which could have injured their upper cervical spines. The good news is that we can perform an upper cervical examination to determine if chiropractic care can reduce your allergic and asthmatic reactions. Schedule an appointment today!

Next week we will have another blog discussing how Chiropractic Care can help with Ear Infections and Bed wetting. If your child has issues with either of these problems, stay tuned!!

 

Snow & Ice

In the winter months, we Minnesotan’s tend to do lots of shoveling. Shoveling is a chore that is very stressful on our body, especially when we don’t use the correct body mechanics. To ensure you take care of yourself for the rest of the winter season, we would like you to incorporate these tips when you get outside and shovel:

  • Make sure your body is properly conditioned before donning your winter coat and grabbing your snow shovel. Warmed-up muscles will be less likely to tighten up or snap when under the strains of snow shoveling. You can warm up by taking a brisk walk or doing simple stretching exercises, such as knee-to-chest pulls, trunk rotations, and side bends with hands above your head and fingers locked.
  • Layer your clothing to keep from overheating. This helps to keep your muscles warm, and flexible.
  • Stand erect and push the snow straight ahead, avoid lifting and tossing heavy loads of snow. And especially avoid twisting when holding a shovel full of heavy snow. Bend at your knees, not at your waist to lift when shoveling.
  • Rest frequently to take the strain off your muscles.
  • Try to stand as erect as possible.
  • Take your time, you will minimize injuries

If something does happen, and you strain yourself while shoveling, remember we can help you heal your injury more quickly. Until you can come in for an adjustment, rest and ice the injury.