Thursday April 17, 2014
Image: Michael J.
A 2004 review of medical studies compared spinal manipulation and mobilization for neck and back pain with doing nothing as well as with trying conservative care and physical therapy. The review also compared manipulation - basically getting a chiropractic adjustment - with mobilization, which is more about releasing soft tissue around joints. (Mobilization is often gentler than manipulation, as well).
For acute low back pain, the researchers found moderate evidence that getting an adjustment provides better short term pain relief that soft tissue mobilization. They also found limited evidence that manipulation speeds recovery more than physical therapy.
For chronic low back pain, manipulation seemed to yield the same effect as taking an anti-inflammatory. Both manipulation and mobilization were comparable to physical therapy for chronic back pain.
For neck pain, manipulation seemed to offer the most similar pain relief to rehabilitative exercise both in the short and long term. Unfortunately, no studies on acute neck pain were available, so this finding only applies to chronic neck pain.
Wednesday April 16, 2014
Facet joints, discs, sacroiliac joint, spinous processes, oh my. The typical spine doctor will likely use the tools available to her - x-rays, mris, and more - to find out which part of your spine causes your back pain.
But Dr. David Rakel from the University of Wisconsin Madison suggests that physicians tend to "overmedicalize" low back pain by prescribing too much medicine and using too many diagnostic imaging tests. Patients are a part of this picture, as well, he says. For example, avoiding therapeutic activities (i.e. doing your back exercises) may contribute to a perceived need for drugs, surgery, procedures and more appointments. Rakel says fear of worsening the pain may underlie this kind of avoidance.
Related: Fear of Movement
One tool an examining doctor has at her disposal is a bit of a lost art, and that is the medical history.
Tuesday April 8, 2014
If you're interested in a more holistic way to work with your back pain, I invite you check out my new completely digital course called 8 Weeks to Healing Your Body . You'll learn breathing and alignment techniques that may help you release chronic muscle tension and related pain. I'll give you the opportunity to experience me as a Health Coach for the spine, which is an approach many people really like. Read my bio for more information about my approach, and don't forget to sign up for the course.
Tuesday April 1, 2014
|Image: Anne Asher
For most of us, April 1st is still too early for planting a garden. But it's not too early start readying your body for the upcoming season. This is likely particularly true if you're prone to back problems.
Have I got resources for you! For starters, you might want to check out Gardening Chores and Your Back.
Here are two other options for an avid gardener with back pain:
Sign up for my free e-course, Back Safe Gardening. Start today, and in one month, your back will be ready! (Just be sure to get help when you need it, use gardening posture aids and learn about - and use - the least stressful positions for weeding, digging, managing a wheel barrow, etc. All 3 resources on linked on this page will help you achieve these objectives.)
The 2nd resource is an interview I did with Deborah Giraud, Farm and Community/Economic Development Advisor at University of California Agriculture Extension. Read this one early to give you enough time to implement her suggestions this year: Garden Smart: Strategies for Reducing the Need to Weed