Walking is something we do every day; it is the most basic method of human transportation, and yet the average person hardly pays it much thought. However, if gait (the way in which someone walks) is properly analyzed, it can reveal so much about a person’s health and well-being. In this article, you will learn exactly what a gait assessment is, the advantages of getting one done, and how it relates to your chiropractic treatment.
What is a Gait Assessment?
A gait assessment is a thorough examination of your stride, or the way you walk. The purpose of a gait assessment is to provide valuable insight into how your body is aligned so that we can identify and diagnose the root causes of your pain or discomfort. In addition, many gait abnormalities are related to specific medical conditions. For example, someone with Parkinson’s disease may take small, shuffling steps or move slower than expected for their age. Therefore, it is important to consider the many factors that affect gait, such as injury, cognition, surgery, muscle weakness, balance, and more, to get a complete picture of possible causes of pain and/or medical conditions.
How to Analyze Gait
While gait assessments can range in complexity from a simple observation to a highly sophisticated computerized analysis, they all start with a visual evaluation. Here are some of the most important components of the gait cycle we pay attention to during your assessment:
There are many moving parts in between seemingly insignificant motions, but with careful observation, your gait can reveal problems in feet, ankles, knees, hips, and spinal alignment. Quality analysis means looking at the entire chain (foot, ankle, knee, and hip) to put the puzzle together. Through these observations, we identify unique movements in your gait cycle, determine your normal gait patterns, diagnose problems, and implement treatments to counter abnormalities.
Advantages of Gait Assessment
A comprehensive gait assessment is advantageous for a wide variety of circumstances. Whether you are an athlete looking to optimize your performance or an expecting mother experiencing discomfort, the information collected in the analysis will take you one step closer to a healthier, happier you.
Through gait assessment, we are able to make more precise conclusions about any underlying conditions you may suffer from, which greatly affects your care regimen. By having a greater understanding of your gait abnormalities, we can implement more personalized treatments, such as custom orthotics or specific strengthening exercises. Heightened insights into the way you walk allow us to better address your pain points and restore a healthy gait. Being able to walk without pain or discomfort builds a strong foundation for optimal mobility and independence.
Schedule Your Gait Assessment with Petrak Chiropractic Today
When it comes to chiropractic care, a gait assessment gives us many clues to the root source of your pain and allows us to build a more holistic treatment plan for you. At Petrak Family Chiropractic, we understand that each patient is different and we take great pride in creating a unique treatment plan tailored to the needs and goals of each individual. To get started on your journey towards a healthier gait, schedule your consultation today!
Did you know chiropractic care can also assist in orthotic treatment? In our practice of family-oriented chiropractic care, we are able to treat a variety of issues in people of any age, from back and neck pain to headaches and migraines. But what many people may not know is that chiropractic care can additionally use orthotic treatments to fix posture problems, foot and ankle pain, and issues with walking.
What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are a medical method of correcting the bone and muscular structures of feet, ankles, and legs using braces and other external support devices. The basic concepts of orthotics have been around for over 2,000 years, when wool was inserted into sandals for support and cushioning. Through the centuries, orthotics have been developed into a precise science used to treat a variety of afflictions, such as:
Types of Orthotics: Accommodative and Functional
The Benefits of Custom Orthotics
Orthotics will give you more stability when you stand/walk by improving the alignment and balance of your feet. Custom orthotics are specially designed to remove pressure from your pain points and may even assist in correcting foot abnormalities such as pronation (collapsed arches) and supination (high arches).
Daily activities such as walking, running, or standing on your feet for long periods of time put a lot of stress on your body. Orthotics can assist in stability and shock absorption, which may decrease your chances of injury. They also help prevent previous injuries such as stress fractures or muscle, joint, and tendon strains in the lower body from further harm.
Improve Overall Well-being
Having abnormal biomechanics can cause pain and irritation during daily activities which may negatively impact your quality of life. Many patients report they are able to return to normal activity with significantly less pain when using properly fitted orthotics. Custom orthotics may eliminate your discomfort and allow you to get better sleep at night or be more active during the day.
How Chiropractors Can Help
At Petrak Chiropractic Center, our offices are fully equipped for the creation of custom orthotics, plus we have the knowledge and experience to perform a full gait analysis. Simply put, a gait analysis is a breakdown of your stride (the way you walk).
By analyzing the way you walk, we are able to make more precise conclusions about any underlying conditions you may suffer from, which greatly affects your treatment regimen or need for orthotics. We are able to analyze the way you (literally) go about daily life. Having improper gait means that your weight distribution is off and is probably exacerbating issues in the spine that stem from poor posture. By having a comprehensive gait analysis, we are more accurately able to assess any underlying issues that orthotics may be used for to help improve your life on a day-to-day basis.
Contact Petrak Family Chiropractics Today
Patients are consistently blown away by the difference they see when properly fitted with well-made custom orthotics. We can help you too. To schedule a gait analysis and set yourself up with custom orthotics, schedule a consultation today.
What Is the Impact of Age on Flexibility?
Many people assume that as you age, your physical capabilities become limited. While it’s true that the elderly are generally more fragile and likely to hurt themselves from slips and falls, it’s not true that your quality of life has to change just because you’re aging. On the contrary, caring for your body throughout life prepares it for aging while maintaining your physical capabilities.
One of the most notable changes people often notice when they get older is they aren’t as flexible as they used to be. Loss of flexibility is a common byproduct of aging, but there are steps you can take to maintain and even regain some of your flexibility as you age. In this blog, we’ll cover how aging impacts flexibility and how chiropractic care can help you preserve your flexibility as you age.
How Aging Impacts Flexibility
Flexibility refers to a person’s range of motion in any joint or group of joints throughout their body. As we age, our muscles gradually become weaker, and our joints and ligaments become more rigid and aren’t able to bend as easily. However, the good news is that you can slow these changes down and improve your flexibility no matter how old you are.
Staying physically active can help increase your range of motion and slow down the rate at which your muscles weaken. Being physically active doesn’t mean you need to exercise rigorously. Even simple stretching exercises can positively impact your overall flexibility. Another factor that can improve your flexibility is receiving chiropractic care.
Can Seniors Receive Chiropractic Care?
A common misconception is that the elderly can’t receive chiropractic care because it’s too intensive on the body. The truth is that chiropractic care works the same regardless of age; everyone from infants to octogenarians can benefit from chiropractic care, which is always tailored to your specific needs. In fact, chiropractic care strengthens your body and makes it more resilient and flexible.
Chiropractic care for the elderly is treated according to your individual needs. If any treatment is painful for you, it will be adjusted just as it would be for an injured athlete, a pregnant mother, or a person recovering from surgery.
Why Should Seniors Consider Chiropractic?
Chiropractic treatment is an excellent health investment for seniors because it assists in other health regimens. Chiropractic care isn’t a cure-all for the symptoms of aging; however, it helps your body make the most of things like a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Chiropractic care promotes whole-body wellness. As a drug-free and non-invasive treatment option, chiropractic care addresses the root causes of problems and helps you achieve your health goals.
Some common goals when starting chiropractic treatment include things like:
Your chiropractor will design a treatment regimen customized to your specific goals and needs.
How Does Senior Chiropractic Work?
Treatment will begin on your first visit with an evaluation of your current physical health, your health history, an onsite X-ray, and an assessment of your goals or what you want to achieve through your chiropractic treatment. This information helps Dr. Petrak form a tailored treatment plan just for you.
After these comprehensive assessments, your second visit will start with a review of your results and a discussion of your personalized treatment plan before beginning that treatment to help you achieve your goals. This plan could include chiropractic adjustments, or various exercises, stretches, and dietary recommendations when necessary.
Chiropractic care combined with diet and exercise can significantly improve your quality of life by relieving stress, reducing inflammation, aches, and pains, and strengthening your spine.
Petrak Family Chiropractic Can Help You On Your Fitness Journey
When people talk about their retirement plans, they often talk about their finances, when they’ll retire, or the things they’ll do, but one thing you rarely hear people talking about is how they’re preparing for their health and their bodies. Yet, investing in your health and body is one of the most important decisions you can make. With the addition of consistent chiropractic care to complement exercise and a healthy diet, you can preserve your range of motion, improve your balance, and keep yourself strong and limber for years and years to come.
Fortunately, one of the best things about chiropractic care is that it’s never too late or too early to begin. No matter your age or ability, chiropractic care is an important step toward a healthier, happier you. So if you’re ready to invest in your body and your future, contact Petrak Family Chiropractic today to schedule a consultation.
Throughout the years, we’ve fielded a lot of questions from patients regarding chiropractic care. Many of these questions are rooted in misunderstandings and misinformation surrounding chiropractic care, so we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions we get from both potential and existing patients and provide the relevant answers.
Q: What is chiropractic care?
A: Chiropractic is a non-invasive, drug-free method of physical treatment to alleviate a myriad of conditions, although it is most commonly sought after for back and neck pain. Chiropractors physically manipulate specific areas of the body to fix subluxations (spinal misalignments) that negatively affect nerves, muscles, and organs and can lead to other physical complications.
Q: At what age is it safe to start receiving chiropractic?
A: The short answer is: any age! Now for the longer answer; we are a family-oriented chiropractic practice, meaning we are licensed to treat people of all ages -- from toddlers to young kids and teenagers to the elderly.
Q: Is chiropractic painful?
A: No. While you may feel some pressure or temporary discomfort, chiropractic treatment is rarely painful. There may be some soreness the day after your first couple of sessions, but your body will get used to it, and the soreness fades over time. However, tell your chiropractor before you begin treatment if you've recently undergone surgery or experienced some sort of injury. If treatment starts to become painful, immediately let your chiropractor know.
Q: What kind of conditions can chiropractic treat?
A: While chiropractic treatment is most commonly used for back and neck pain, it can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including:
Q: Why do chiropractors require so many visits?
A: One of the most prominent chiropractic myths is that once you start seeing a chiropractor, you need to see one for the rest of your life. While chiropractic care will have many benefits throughout your life, the truth is it’s entirely up to you how often you visit a chiropractor. Your chiropractor may recommend multiple weekly visits, but this depends on the severity of your spinal issues. New patients with several misalignments might be asked to come in for treatments multiple times a week, but treatments will become less frequent as your conditions improve.
Q: Do you need a referral to see a chiropractor?
A: In most cases, a referral is not needed to see a chiropractor. Some insurance plans may require a referral before covering chiropractic treatments, so check with your provider if a referral is needed. Petrak Family Chiropractic Center does not require a referral for new patients.
Q: Are chiropractors doctors?
A: Although chiropractors don’t usually have medical degrees, they are doctors nonetheless. To become licensed providers in the United States, chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and pass a rigorous four-part national board exam.
Q: Does insurance cover chiropractors?
Yes, most insurance policies will cover chiropractic care. According to the American Chiropractic Association, an estimated 87% of insured American workers have policies that will cover it.
Q: Is chiropractic safe to receive after an injury?
A: Eventually, after the healing process, yes. However, it also depends on the injury. Breaking an ankle shouldn't affect treating back pain much, but recently undergoing back surgery will. Before you begin treatment, inform your chiropractor of any recent surgeries or injuries you've had during the initial consultation page.
Q: When should I see a chiropractor?
A: Any time! While chiropractic care is most often used for treating pain, seeing a chiropractor regularly, even if you don’t have any pre-existing pain. Chiropractic care strengthens the core muscles, preserves the spine, and promotes a healthier lifestyle that includes stretching, exercise, and a balanced diet.
Schedule Your First Chiropractic Appointment Today
It’s understandable to have many questions before starting any new medical care. The professionals at Petrak Family Chiropractic Center are here to answer any other questions you have about chiropractic care. Give us a call anytime or schedule a consultation today to see just how beneficial chiropractic care can be.
How to Know If You Need a Chiropractor: 8 Signs to Look For
Over 80% of the US population will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Sometimes, it's only temporary. For example, maybe you slept in an awkward position or strained yourself working out. Any number of things can cause pain and irritation in the back and neck. But at what point does the pain become such a burden that it's time to see a professional?
Unfortunately, your back can not speak for itself, so you need to understand the warning signs that your back pain is something that needs to be treated. Here are eight signs that you might need a chiropractor.
1. You Have Chronic Muscle and Joint Pain
When we experience pain, we often turn to the medicine cabinet. However, pills will only treat pain temporarily and can be dangerous if you become dependent on them. Taking pain relievers is like trying to mop up a puddle under a leaky pipe: it works momentarily, but you're not addressing the source of the issue.
Instead, a chiropractor provides a non-invasive, drug-free treatment that tackles the root of pain rather than just the pain itself. Although chiropractors are primarily thought to treat spinal issues, chiropractors can also treat muscle and joint pain throughout the body. In fact, some muscle and joint pain are caused by spinal misalignments. Chiropractic adjustments can help improve blood flow and circulation to the affected areas.
2. You Experience Radiating Pain
If the pain in your back or neck travels down your arms, legs, or lower back, or if you experience numbness/weakness in your feet or legs, you could have irritated nerves. Your spinal cord houses the central nervous system, which is the powerhouse of the many functions of your body. A slipped disc could cause a pinched nerve, leading to pain and other irritating sensations in your extremities.
3. Your Pain Worsens at Night
If your pain worsens at night, that is not normal and could indicate serious health issues such as disc degeneration, spinal fractures, or even spinal tumors. The worst thing you can do is take sleeping medication or painkillers. This only addresses the issue on a surface level when real problems could be at large.
4. You Have Difficulty Walking
If you suffer from back or neck pain and you're changing how you walk to avoid it, a trip to the chiropractor is long overdue. For example, if you have difficulty walking more than a block and find that you are leaning a certain way to alleviate the pain, there is a chance you have stenosis, which causes your spine to narrow, putting extra pressure on your nerves. Again, treatment is vital if you've been experiencing this for extended periods of time.
5. You’ve Had a Recent Trauma or Injury
If you have recently been in a car accident or a situation that caused strain on your body and new back pain occurs, it’s best to see a chiropractor. Even if you experience little to no pain immediately following an accident, you may start experiencing problems at a later time. The sooner you make an appointment, the better off you will be in the long run.
6. You Have Frequent Headaches
Many different factors can cause headaches, but if you experience frequent headaches, a chiropractor may be able to help. Your headaches could be caused by misalignments in the neck or spine that limit the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain.
7. You Have an Office Job