Back Pain Statistics in The United States
Chronic back pain is a serious affliction that can greatly impact not only your physical health, but also other aspects of your life. It affects millions of Americans each year; and while there are numerous causes to each case, one thing is certain: lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease. Far too many people turn to harmful painkillers for relief, unaware that there are sufficient, drug-free alternatives. Painkillers merely treat the symptoms — it doesn’t acknowledge the root of the problem. It’s important to recognize how common chronic back pain is in order to raise awareness about feasible, non-invasive and drug-free remedies such as chiropractic.
Back Pain By The Numbers
Most Common Causes of Back Pain
Fitness level: back pain is more common in those that don’t exercise very often. Constant exercise helps to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine. Even going for a walk every day will go a long way in maintaining spinal health.
Rapid weight gain: obesity and sudden weight gain can put a lot of stress on the spine and neck.
Smoking: smoking restricts oxygen flow to the spinal tissue.
Inactive lifestyle: desk jobs with uncomfortable seats or those with poor posture are more susceptible to back pain.
Genetic disorders: arthritis and other genetic disorders can be at play when it comes to back pain.
Bulging or ruptured disks: since these disks are protective cushions for the vertebrae, ruptured or bulging ones can cause nerve pain within the spine.
Improper lifting: always lift with your legs, not your back. Repetitive, strenuous and improper movement will put you at higher risk.
If you suffer from back pain, it could be temporary or it could be a more serious underlying issue. Either way, it's never a good idea to let these things fester and worsen, so schedule a free consultation to be sure. Petrak Family Chiropractic offers many variations of chiropractic care for any situation at any age.
What It Means To Be A Family Chiropractor
As a chiropractor, I often get asked questions about my practice, the conditions I can treat, and to whom the treatments may apply. I always tell people that I am a family chiropractor, meaning...well, exactly what it sounds like: I can treat the whole family. Yes, including the kids. Yes, including infants and yes including seniors. The human body is constantly changing and developing; and having a chiropractor will help to ensure everything is in the right place. Additionally, it strengthens the spine to improve range of motion and balance in order to prevent injuries from occurring later on.
Whether that means helping a young child in development avoid future back and neck pain, disc problems, or sciatica -- or if it means helping an adult get into shape or improve recovery from an injury, as a family chiropractor, I'm ready to meet all of your needs.
Chiropractic Care For Children
Kids experience rapid bone growth throughout the first years of their lives. That's why we give them the apt name 'growth spurts'. And while we may tend to think about kids as being fragile, the fact of the matter is that chiropractic treatment is perfectly safe and even beneficial to toddlers and young children. Kids are like blank slates that are constantly learning and exploring the world around them. In their early years, while they are learning to walk, tripping and tumbling sort of come with the territory. Periodic chiropractic exams will ensure that bones are developing properly and that hard tumbles don't cause any subluxations (spinal misalignments) or nerve stress during development.
Once they get a little older, they might get into sports -- little league, gym classes, ice hockey and peewee football leagues, etc. This is when it's especially important to ensure that everything is in place and unharmed. When it comes to sports, especially full-contact ones, injuries are prevalent. And proper chiropractic care makes injury recovery smoother and even strengthens core muscles to prevent future incidents.
Chiropractic Care For Seniors
As we age, our bodies naturally begin to gradually degrade in terms of mobility and range of motion. Many people loathe the idea of becoming a senior citizen, but as a wise person once said, "do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many." and chiropractic care is one of the most effective ways to make the aging process a bit easier, physically. It offers pain relief, improves balance, range of motion and coordination, and studies have shown that seniors who regularly visit chiropractors have lower rates of arthritis.
It's never too late to seek treatment for an injury, growing pains, or just to check in to make sure everything is in the right place. Chiropractic care is the best non-invasive and drug-free pain relief method. Coupled with massage therapy and at-home stretching/exercise recommendations, family chiropractic visits will help everyone you care about stay healthy. If you're ready to take a step in the right direction to pursue a healthy you, then schedule a consultation. I begin with each patient by doing diagnostics, discussing your health history, and running other tests to develop a treatment plan that best suits your individual needs. Give me a call today!
How To Ease Back Into Working Out
Working out and maintaining strength is critical for reducing back pain and stress. When back and abdominal muscles are weak they cannot support the back properly. Back strengthening exercises help reinforce supportive muscles around the spine that prevent straining and increase range of motion. If you’ve been hibernating all winter (or even longer) here are some tips to get back on the fitness train!
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
The worst thing you can possibly do is jump straight into an advanced workout routine. This is an easy way to cause injury and delay your overall goals even further. Keep it short and sweet — the key is being active on a regular schedule. You don’t need to be a super athlete each day, especially if you're recovering from an injury. Go for a light jog even just twice per week and ramp it up from there over time. Be sure to listen to your body - pain is an indicator that you are pushing yourself too hard.
Warm-Up And Cool-Down: Non-Negotiable
A proper warm-up prepares your body for the increase in activity in a natural and healthy way. Stretching is also a must - it keeps you limber and strengthens the muscles to facilitate healthy recovery and avoid serious injury, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a long time. Check out some of our previous posts on effective stretches.
Just as warming up is important, so is cooling down. You will likely experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) on your fitness journey. This is completely normal and warming up/cooling down will help mitigate this from happening.
Don’t Lose Motivation
Set realistic goals for yourself. Start with small, easily attainable goals to keep yourself feeling accomplished and motivated. Motivation can wane if you start to feel discouraged or lazy. Take your gym bag to work and go straight to the gym instead of stopping by home. Make working out a part of your daily routine. The first few weeks will be difficult but once it becomes habit you will enjoy going even more.
Make Sure You’re Good-To-Go Before Starting
Ultimately, your chiropractor is the best resource you have when it comes to injury recovery. When it comes to my patients, I expedite the recovery process and constantly monitor and consult with them to make sure they’re properly prepared to continue the activities they love.
Consult with your chiropractor to find out if you’re ready to get back into a rigorous workout routine, or get in touch today for an initial appointment!
Common Myths About Chiropractic Care
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding chiropractic care. This is most likely due to ignorance about how chiropractic actually works, the methods that are utilized, and a lack of knowledge about the schooling that chiropractors actually go through in order to be able to practice. Here I'll address some of the 3 most common misconceptions that I hear.
Myth 1: Chiropractors Only Treat Back Pain
This simply isn't true. A chiropractor takes many similar courses to traditional medical students: anatomy, neurology, pathology, and biochemistry. They know more about the human body than just the spine, but through their practice, they acknowledge that significance that spinal strength can play in overall wellbeing. The spine is connected to the nervous system, so if there are pinched nerves or other issues, symptoms can surface elsewhere in the body. Here are just a few common conditions that can be neutralized by comprehensive chiropractic care:
Myth 2: Chiropractors Aren't As Educated As Physicians
As I stated above, not only do chiropractors take similar university courses when compared to traditional medical students, but they also are licensed and qualified graduates to serve as health care providers in the United States and several other countries. Chiropractic school is rigorous and at the completion of the D.C. degree, students must then pass a four-part national board exam to obtain their licenses. From there, chiropractors continue to attend regular seminars on latest research and techniques.
Myth 3: Chiropractic Costs A Lot Of Money
Actually, the majority of health insurance plans will cover chiropractic care expenses. Regardless, in my practice we will sit down with you to go over all of the exact costs, examine your health benefits, and work with your insurance provider regarding the details of your coverage. You will be aware of every cost, at all times and any out-of-pocket cost will be discussed prior to treatment. We want our patients to be completely comfortable, and part of that means complete transparency when it comes to costs.
Easiest Ways To Get Healthy This Year
It's the new year, yet again. That means that new year's resolutions to stay healthy, lose weight, etc are at an all-time high. There's a reason gyms and fitness studios see the most traffic in January. People tell themselves that they want to live healthier lifestyles, which is great, but their motivation and commitment tends to slowly fizzle out during the course of the year. In fact, a study from 2012 showed that nearly 2/3 of American adults make fitness-related new year's resolutions, but 73% of them give up before meeting their goal, many before even 6 weeks' time.
While this sounds disheartening, part of the problem lies in overzealous goal setting, which in turn makes fitness feel unattainable. Realistic goal setting and measuring progress in smaller increments is one of the keys to success. Here are some easy ways to get started on living a healthier lifestyle in 2019 and beyond.
Get A New Morning Routine
Living a healthy lifestyle is exactly that: a lifestyle. It's not starving yourself on a juice cleanse or participating in a fad diet only to return to old habits. It's fundamentally changing how you go about your day -- and it all starts in the morning. Are you the type of person that hits your snooze alarm 4 times before rolling out of bed, showering, dressing and leaving for work at the last minute? Yeah, that's pretty common -- and it needs to stop. One of the best ways to stay on-track with a healthy lifestyle is to start your day correctly.
Set Realistic Exercise Goals
Here lies the problem for the majority of aspiring fitness junkies. They may get a free trial at a gym, go for a week or two, and then become discouraged or intimidated despite enjoying their time. Don't go into it thinking you'll wake up at 4:00AM every day to workout for 2 hours before work. That's not realistic, you probably won't live up to that high bar (in the beginning, at least), and you'll begin to feel discouraged. Here are a few tips to keep things realistic:
Visit A Chiropractor
Regular visits for chiropractic care will help to keep you limber, increase your range of motion, and improve muscle recovery after your workouts. Chiropractic will help to keep you on track in your quest for fitness by helping to avoid injury and by providing supplemental assistance and motivation. Additionally, your chiropractor can give you overall health advice. For instance, one of my specialties is chiropractic for athletes. I make recommendations and perform treatments that are meant to bring athletes to peak physical condition so they can more effectively tackle their workout regimens. I also aid in injury recovery that may occur during extreme physical exertion.
If you're ready to get on the road to a healthier you, give me a call to schedule a consultation. Results may take a while -- the sooner you get started, the better!
Advantages Of Chiropractic In The Winter Months
It’s that time of year again. As the weather gets colder and the snow gently falls, it’s easy to be lulled into tranquility by the peacefulness that comes with winter. Unless, of course, you slip on the ice. An unfortunate byproduct that comes with these freezing Midwestern temperatures is frozen, hazardous patches of ice scattered throughout the streets and sidewalks. The last thing you need as you walk out of your house on your way to work in the morning is to slip and create a surprise snow angel in your driveway. But it still happens. In 2014 alone, there were over 42,000 workplace injuries due to falling on ice. That’s just in the workplace; who knows how many falls happen at home that never get reported or treated.
When you slip and fall (whether on ice or not), your body is susceptible to serious injury. If you experience an unexpected impact without bracing yourself, especially on the spine, it can cause serious subluxations, or misalignments, that lead to pinched nerves, vertebrae dislocation, and/or other issues. Ironically, your first reaction to slipping on ice would probably be to put ice on the injured area. And while that definitely helps with inflammation and may relieve some pain temporarily, it doesn’t help to correct the root of the problem. The spine is connected with the nervous system, so problems within them can cause significant, sometimes debilitating, conditions. I have extensive experience with treating injuries of all kinds. My individualized approach will:
Winter is notorious for causing an increase in accidental fall injuries. Take extra precaution this season by adequately salting your driveway, sidewalk and porch — but most of all, don’t rush. Take your time and watch your step when you’re not on your own property. You can’t always count on others to be as responsible as yourself.
But if you do wind up taking an unexpected winter tumble, schedule a consultation. There could be subtle injuries to your spine that you may not notice now, but will become worse over time. It’s better to be safe than sorry and nip those injuries in the bud before they become serious.
Orthotics and Chiropractic Care
In my practice of family-oriented chiropractic care, I’m able to treat a variety of issues in people of any age. From back and neck pain to headaches and migraines, chiropractic methods help to neutralize pain and fix subluxations (aka misalignments) in the spine. But what many people may not know is that chiropractic care can also assist in orthotic treatment to fix posture problems, foot and ankle pain, and issues with walking.
What is orthotics?
Orthotics is a medical method of correcting the bone and muscular structures of feet, ankles and legs using braces and other external support devices. It’s used to treat a variety of afflictions such as:
What is gait?
Gait is just another word for stride, or the way in which someone walks, but it is one of the major components of orthotics as a treatment method. The reason analyzing it is so important is because a number of gait abnormalities are caused by particular medical conditions. For example, Parkinsonian gait describes the posture and walk of somebody that suffers from Parkinson’s disease or other condition(s) that cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms such as chronic drug use.
How to analyze gait
One important part of analyzing the gait cycle in my practice is the heel strike to toe off. When I watch someone walk, I pay close attention to how their heel strikes the ground and then how their foot rolls to push off the big toe. Some may find it surprising that there are a lot of moving parts in between these two seemingly insignificant motions. The next step is that I look at their knees to see how they are moving during the gait cycle, especially if they have a knee valgus (knock-kneed) or knee varus (bow legged). Finally, I check the hips for rotation. Hip rotation will also play a big factor into how much pressure is being put on each leg. All of these play a big role in determining how that gait cycle is doing. Quality analysis means you really have to look at the entire chain (foot, ankle, knee and hip) to put the puzzle together.
By analyzing your gait, we are able to make more precise conclusions about any underlying conditions you may suffer from, which greatly affects your treatment regimen. 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, I am more accurately able to assess any underlying issues to help improve your life on a day-to-day basis.
My practice also has the technology to do on-site creation of orthotics and perform your full gait analysis. Patients have been amazed at the difference they see when properly fitted with well-made orthotics. It also helps athletes train their movements properly in order to avoid injury and future wear and tear on the body. If you’re ready for your custom orthotics and gait analysis, schedule a consultation today.
The Connection Between Sciatica And Chiropractic
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that causes pain in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, branching at the buttocks and all the way down each leg. Typically, sciatica will only affect one side of the body, the pain shooting through the back of the thigh and throughout the leg. Occasionally, it can also affect the feet or even the toes. Although it’s sometimes described as a disorder, sciatica is actually more of a symptom of other disorders. The severity really depends on the person — in some cases the pain is constant and completely debilitating, but in others the pain could be occasional and annoying at worse. Even if the pain isn’t all that bad now, if left untreated, it has large potential to become much worse.
Chiropractic care is the safest, non-invasive and drug-free way to treat sciatica. But in order to understand the connection between sciatica and chiropractic, we first have to understand what causes the condition.
What Causes Sciatica?
The causes of sciatica vary, but there are a number of disorders and conditions that can trigger the pain at any time, including:
How Does Chiropractic Help With Sciatica?
The majority of disorders that cause sciatica start with subluxations (aka misalignments in the spine). Since sciatica is merely a symptom of a larger issue, chiropractors don’t necessarily treat sciatica — they treat the root issue of the cause. In my practice, I usually use several different adjusting techniques. There are a few different types of traction (to help take pressure off of the disc), and/or soft tissue release techniques to relax some of the musculature around the problem area. These techniques and modalities are dependent on the exam and my findings. I start by properly diagnosing what’s causing the sciatica, since this factor will drastically change the treatment method. Once a cause is determined, I’ll create a customized treatment plan specifically tailored to the patient’s needs.
If you or a loved one suffer from the nerve pain of sciatica, it’s important to get it checked out before it becomes a debilitating issue. Get in touch today to schedule an initial consultation and to start down the road to a healthier you.
Back pain affects millions of Americans each year. While back pain is often written off as “part of the aging process” or “unavoidable”, there are actually a lot of common, everyday habits that contribute to the prevalence of it. There are a lot of factors that go into someone’s health and the same goes for those that suffer from back and neck pain. But by breaking these habits — and it’s not always easy — you drastically decrease your odds of suffering from back pain in the future.
Slouching is all-too-common, especially among those that work in office jobs. Sitting in front of a computer all day is uncomfortable. It’s an unavoidable fact. You’re bound to shift positions throughout the day and unfortunately, using a computer for 8+ hours every day will distract you as you shift into unhealthy positions without you even realizing it. Shoulders cocked forward, leaning in and head held forward — the worst possible position to work in all day. Experts estimate that for every inch you hold your head forward, you add an additional 10 pounds of weight for your spine to support. Over time, this wear and tear will cause lasting and serious damage.
To stop slouching, there are a few steps you can take. First off, if you notice at work that you’re slouching, STOP. Sit up straight, feet flat on the ground and head held high while you work. Take frequent breaks to do some simple stretches and go for a walk. Once you’re off work, don’t continue to be sedentary! Go work out, go for a light jog, go for a walk. Get the blood flowing and stand up straight. And lastly, look into an ergonomic chair. Many manufacturers realize the importance of good posture and have created perfectly affordable chairs so you can sit comfortably without sacrificing your spine.
Being overweight is one of the largest causes of back pain in Americans because it heavily restricts their movement. They lose flexibility and the ability to really bend the spine, which it needs to do in order to stay limber. Additionally, overweight people are less likely to exercise and are more likely in general to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity contributes to joint and muscle stiffness, which can create weakness and fragility in the spine. Additionally, the spine is also responsible for carrying the majority of a person’s weight. Having excess weight in addition to a weakening spine creates a perfect storm for conditions such as osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
So, to start improving your spinal health, it’s important to take care of other aspects of your body. People tend to forget that the body is all interconnected — by improving one thing, you improve other things too. Simply by eating healthier, quitting smoking and getting some exercise you’ll drastically improve your overall health and your spine will thank you!
Yes, working out and improving your overall health is important to your spine’s integrity. But don’t forget that you need to work out properly! Whether you work in general labor or go to a gym, know that lifting with your back is EXTREMELY unsafe and can lead to serious injury. To learn more about proper lifting techniques in any situation, let your legs do all the work.
Never Seeing A Chiropractor
Sure, you may say I’m biased, but the truth is unavoidable: chiropractic is the best drug-free, non-invasive and safest method of treating back pain, strengthening the spine and avoiding future injuries. Schedule a consultation today to begin a road to a healthier you.
It’s estimated that at any given time, around 31 million Americans are afflicted with back pain. It could be a one-time instance or it could be chronic. But considering that lower back pain is the most common cause of disability in the United States, it’s not something one can simply ignore. But why is back pain so common among Americans? What causes it?
Well, consider these questions answered and read on to find out!
Torn Muscles and/or Ligaments
The most common causes of back pain are torn muscles and ligaments. It’s actually one of the most common complaints that healthcare professionals receive. Now, you may be thinking back on all the advice you’ve heard throughout your life: “lift with your knees, not your back”, “always stretch before working out”, etc. While, yes, improper lifting technique can tear muscles and cause lower back pain, muscle tearing can also slowly develop over time. They don’t have to suddenly strike. Torn muscles in the back are commonly caused by:
Your spine is made up of stacks of bones (vertebrae) and discs — a jelly-like substance that acts as a cushion between each of the stacked vertebrae. Each disc is contained within a tough exterior casing. A herniated disc is when the soft jelly within the disc leaks out of a tear in the exterior. The protruding jelly will begin to put pressure on nerves in the spine which can cause pain, tingling or numbness in the extremities. Some people can suffer from herniated discs and not even realize it — but if you experience pain, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, it’s time to see a chiropractor!
Sure, injuries are a major cause of sudden and (hopefully) temporary back pain, but many people live with chronic conditions and illnesses that cause constant pain. Some of the most common back pain causing conditions:
If you’ve recently suffered an injury or if you’re affected by pain-causing conditions, you don’t have to live with the pain. A well-trained chiropractor will be able to bring you pain relief using safe, non-invasive and drug-free techniques. As a family-oriented chiropractor, my practice can treat all members of the family, regardless of age — from infants and kids to teens, adults and seniors. Stop living with pain and take some steps to a healthier you by scheduling a consultation today.