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By Marc Heller, DC
May 25, 2016
Category: To Your Health

How to Avoid Injury and Pain

What are the high-risk times and events for your lower back? Why can you get into more trouble doing something as simple as picking up a loaf of bread from the trunk of the car, rather than doing something more challenging? What simple steps can you take to avoid injury and pain? Let's get the answers to these questions and more.

Two Critical Moments

When it comes to your lower back and injury risk, there are two critical times when you need to be especially careful. One is first thing in the morning. Your back is actually swollen at that time. You are substantially taller, and the discs have extra fluid in them. A careless forward bend or twist first thing in the morning can do substantial damage to your discs or other back structures. It doesn't seem fair that such a simple thing, bending and twisting, something you have done thousands of times before, can suddenly cause big problems.

The other critical time is after you have been sitting. Long car drives or airplane trips are especially challenging. In this case, the culprit is something called "creep." This means that your ligaments and tendons lengthen into the position that you have been in. Think of sitting as a bent-forward position, as your legs are forward. The ligaments and tendons do not provide protection properly when they have been lengthened by creep. When you first get up from sitting, you are at risk. The longer you have been sitting, the higher the risk. If you sit more upright, with good lumbar support, you will have somewhat less risk.

man with boxes - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Here are some common events that can contribute to lower back pain. Keep in mind that in all of these scenarios, your back was already vulnerable.

Scenario #1: You didn't sleep well last night, perhaps from sleeping in an unfamiliar bed after travel, after sitting too long. You get up, feel stiff, but ignore it. You sit down in a soft chair to enjoy your morning hot drink. You get up and get a sudden sharp stab in the back.

Scenario #2: You get up from sleeping, and sit at your laptop, and get entranced by a video or article. You end up sitting far longer than you planned. You get up, and can't completely straighten up.

Scenario #3: You get up from sleeping, drink your morning coffee, which wakes up your gut, and you go to bathroom to empty your bowel. You are a bit constipated, and have to strain. When you get up from the toilet, your back spasms.

Overnight sleeping, even a good sleep on your favorite bed, leaves your back somewhat swollen. Swollen may be an exaggeration, but the reality is that there is extra fluid in all of your joints.

If you have a good back, none of this matters. If you have a vulnerable back, it all matters. Ideally, when you get up, you should do some kind of activity that warms up and "wrings out" the excessive fluids. A short walk, some simple movements, can make a real difference. Sitting down at the computer, sitting on the toilet, etc., can get you in trouble.

So, who has a good back versus a bad back? Unfortunately, most of us have bad backs, at least in the sense that they can be subject to injury and pain at any time. In fact, studies suggest that as many as eight in 10 people experience low back pain during their lifetime. That's a lot of back pain already happening or waiting to happen. And as you can tell from the above discussion, some of the scenarios whereby people experience back pain are all too common.

How to Avoid Injury and Pain

Don't bend over immediately after sitting. Sitting, even in good posture, puts you at risk. The longer you sit and the worse the seat, the more at risk you are. Airlines are very risky; it's hard to get up and move around because of the tight quarters, and the minute the plane stops, you bend over and get stuff from under the seat, or reach up, and twist and lift to get your bag from the overhead compartment. After a long sit, give yourself at least a few seconds of backward bending and/or moving around to reset your spine. Then you can carefully, using your hips rather than your back, bend over to pick up something.

When you sit, don't slump. Slumping reinforces the risks, makes it more likely for something bad to happen to your discs or joints or muscles. So, sit up straight, and keep your back in neutral. Neutral means that you keep a bit of a lordosis in your lower back, keep the lumbar spine from slumping forward, stay more upright. This simple action can make a huge difference. Like any habit, this will require you to "Just Do It" for a few weeks.

Talk to your doctor about these and other high-risk moments for your lower back and what you can do to relieve low back pain or avoid the pain altogether. And make sure to review "Self-Care for Back Pain" in the May 2010 issue, which provides information on exercises your doctor may prescribe if you are experiencing back pain.


Marc Heller, DC, maintains a chiropractic practice in Ashland, Ore. He is a nationally recognized expert in treating tailbone, sacroiliac and lower back pain.

By To Your Health November, 2015 (Vol. 09, Issue 11)
April 13, 2016
Category: Neck Pain

When you're suffering low back pain, shoulder pain or any number of similar musculoskeletal conditions, who gets the call: your medical doctor or your doctor of chiropractic? Your choice of health care provider in those situations could make a big difference, and research is continuing to prove it. According to the latest study, chiropractic care is at least as effective as medical care for certain musculoskeletal conditions, while reducing health care costs and leaving patients more satisfied with the results.

The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), went so far as to state that for certain musculoskeletal conditions, visiting an MD first instead of a DC may actually be a mistake:

"The findings of this study support first-contact care provided by DCs as an alternative to first-contact care provided by MDs for a select number of musculoskeletal conditions. Restrictive models of care in which patients are required to contact a medical provider before consulting a chiropractic provider may be counterproductive for patients experiencing the musculoskeletal conditions investigated and possibly others."

easy - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The study sample included 403 patients who saw medical doctors and 316 patients who saw doctors of chiropractic as the initial health care providers for their spinal, hip or shoulder pain complaint. Four months following care, all patients completed a questionnaire that evaluated pain on that day and four months earlier (11-point scale); satisfaction with care received and the results of that care (5-point scale from "very satisfied" to "very unsatisfied"); and other variables. The researchers evaluated related costs of care by reviewing an insurance claims database.

"Patients initially consulting MDs had significantly less reduction in their numerical pain rating score and were significantly less likely to be satisfied with the care received and the outcome of care." What's more average per-patient costs over the four-month period were significantly lower in patients who initially consulted DCs ($368 difference compared to MD care).

JMPT Editor-in-Chief Claire Johnson, DC, MEd, emphasized the importance of the latest findings: "Comparative studies – in other words, research that compares the outcomes between two different providers or modalities – are rare for chiropractic care," she said. "Thus, this study ... is especially important if payers and policy-makers are to better understand the ‘triple aim' as it relates to chiropractic. Specifically, this study helps us better understand what type of care provides better patient satisfaction, is more cost effective, and improves population health."

The answer, suggests an increasing body of research, is chiropractic care.

By To Your Health February, 2012 (Vol. 06, Issue 02) Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA
February 18, 2015
Category: Back Pain

Stress is a part of life, and so is back pain. Ironically, stress is a leading cause of episodic back pain. Your body experiences a cascade of physiological responses during chronic stress setting the stage for injury. The human body is genetically programmed to respond to stressful situations by stimulation in a survival part of your brain known as the limbic system. Otherwise known as the reptilian or primal brain, it is responsible for the emotional "flight or fight" (run or stand and fight) response to negative stimuli. Your brain response functions the same in stressful situations regardless of the source and extent of the threatening stimuli. The limbic brain does not recognize differences between types and degrees of stress. It simply reacts. Your body releases hormones (chemical messengers) which cause a physical reaction to stress; shortness of breath, sweating, increased heart rate, muscle tension, tightness or stiffness in joints, etc., in preparation for survival reaction. So whether you are about to be chased by a rabid dog, cut off in traffic, or had a tough day at work the same response occurs. The same negative physical impact also occurs on the body. There are several different types of stress and learning how to control them can make all the difference. You have physical stress (lack of exercise, illness, sleep habits, etc), mental stress (how you deal emotionally with life) and chemical stress (nutritional and environmental).

Stress and Back Pain - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkStress alters breathing patterns by causing you to breathe more from the chest/lungs than the diaphragm. This altered pattern increases tension in the neck and upper back leading to poor posture, muscle tightness and headaches. The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that sits in the lower part of the ribcage underneath the lungs. Optimal breathing patterns should occur from the diaphragm first, followed by the lungs. Most often people have dysfunctional patterns where this sequence is reversed. Breathing is the foundation for relaxation. Learn to control your breathing and you will have discovered a secret weapon of relaxation and stress reduction. To check your breathing pattern lie on your back with knees bent. Close your eyes and place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose. The lower hand should move first and the upper hand second. If the upper hand moves first you have an altered breathing pattern. Luckily it is fairly easy to learn how to breathe again properly. In our quick tip help guide below you will learn how to restore normal breathing patterns.

Stress increases tension in the body 24/7. It is like flipping the light switch on for self- protection, muscle tension and tightness. Think about how stiff and tight you feel when walking across ice. Your body tenses up in anticipation of falling and is trying to protect you from injury. Imagine how your muscles would feel if you were in this constant state of tension for weeks at a time. It would not feel good! That is what chronic stress is doing. Stress increases production of specific hormones known as cortisol and adrenaline located in the adrenal glands. These are two small glands that rest on top of the kidneys, one on either side. Cortisol is nicknamed the "stress hormone" and it can cause many negative reactions in the body if it is unbalanced. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline will cause increased inflammation in the body. In essence, your own body begins to turn on itself.

So what are some simple and effective tips you can start doing today to help alleviate stress? Below are suggestions for helping physical, mental and environmental stress in your life.

Nutrition: Eat healthy and eat often to control blood sugar levels. When you wait long periods between meals, you have a spike of a hormone known as insulin. This hormone controls how fast sugar enters your bloodstream after eating. Big surges in insulin occur when you wait too long between meals which may increase stress on your body chemistry. You can get cravings and mood swings. Eating only three meals a day is insufficient in keeping this delicate balance of hormones in check. It is recommended to eat three meals a day, mixed in with 2-3 healthy snacks. You will notice a renewed sense of energy and vitality with regular feedings.

Mental: Take some "me" time every morning before you start the day. Use this time to reflect on yesterday and plan out today's events. With the craziness of non-stop information overload in today's society it's more important than ever to take quiet moments. Set your alarm 15-minutes early and wake up to silence. Do not turn on the television or open the newspaper. You may find that problems which have plagued you suddenly become more manageable and put into perspective. When was the last time you sat in a room without white noise all around? Try it and see what happens.

Physical: Learning how to breathe with your diaphragm takes some practice, but in time it will become second nature. Practice the following technique on a daily basis for 3-5minutes. Lie on your back, putting a pillow support under your knees to relax your lower back. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Slowly inhale through your nose and make sure the only hand to move is the one on your abdomen. Try to keep the hand on your chest as still as possible. Exhale through pursed lips and repeat. You may become temporarily lightheaded after your first few, but this is a normal response to the increase in oxygen uptake by the body. Do this before bed time and you will have a more restful sleep leading increased recovery and regeneration.

You do have power over your body. Simple changes in your life to help reduce stress can have a profound impact on your health. Take back control of your life from pain. Empower yourself to feel good again mentally and physically. Start with the simple strategies above and when you feel the positive difference you will want more for yourself.

To decrease the stress in your life, talk to your chiropractor about your concerns.


Perry Nickelston, DC, is clinical director of the Pain Laser Center in Ramsey, N.J., where he focuses on performance enhancement, corrective exercise and metabolic fitness nutrition To learn more about Dr. Nickelston, visitwww.painlasercenter.com/Our_Practice.html.

By Romo Chiropractic
February 18, 2015
Category: Holiday
Tags: Chiropractic   Wellness   Romo Chiropractic   health   Chinese   New Year   2015   Goat   Sheep   Happy   Prosperity  

Is the year of  Goat or sheep?

On Thursday, February 19, 2015 is the Chinese New Year, the longest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.

2015 is the year of the Goat, but you may see it referred to as the “Year of the Sheep” too.

The confusion stems from the Chinese character “yang”, which can translate in colloquial Chinese as either sheep or goat.

Those born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1967, 1979, 1991 or 2003 are goats, who can count their lucky colours as brown, red and purple.

Their characters are supposedly kind and peaceable, while their best months are supposedly August and November and their lucky flowers are primroses and carnations.

Facts about New Year:

There are a number of interesting Chinese New Year facts. Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar and each of the year is associated with an animal. Given below are some interesting facts on Chinese New Year: 
 

  • According to the legends, Chinese New Year started on month 1 during the reign of Xia Dynasty. However, in 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang shifted it from Month 1 to Month 10. Again in 104 BC, Emperor Wu changed it to month 1. 
     
  • According to the myth, Lord Buddha once invited all the animals for Chinese New Year. However, only 12 animals had come and Buddha blessed them by naming New Years by the names of those animals. These animals are Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, and Dog. 
     
  • Chinese New Year is called Lunar New Year in China. 
     
  • According to the tradition, Chinese people age one year together and the on the 7th day of the first month of New Year, Chinese people become one year older.
     
  • On the lantern festival, all the members of the family come down to the street with a lantern in their hands. 
     
  • The lantern festival marks the official ending of the festival. 
     
  • A fortune cookie, ‘tsujiura senbei' is associated with the Chinese New Year celebrations. 
     
  • In Chinese New Year, the married couples present Ang Pow to each other. It is a red envelop that contains even numbered amount of money but the amount should not have a 4 at the end, because 4 is considered equivalent to death.
     
  • China Central Television broadcast a special presentation of Lunar New Year's Eve. 
     
  • Bamboo stems were filled with gunpowder and were burnt. The sounds are believed to wipe away all the evil spirits. 
     
  • The Chinese New Year is based on the lunar cycles. An entire cycle of the Chinese calendar is completed after every 60 years.
     
  • Chinese calendar is the oldest calendars in the world.
     
  • According to the Chinese New Year traditions, red is the lucky color for Chinese New Year and it is widely used in decorations.
By Romo Chiropractic
February 12, 2015
Category: Holiday

 

Did you know...?

♦ 188 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year, making it the second-most popular card-giving occasion (EXCLUDING kid’s valentines for classroom parties)!

 ♦ Over 50% of all Valentine's Day cards are purchased in the week prior to the holiday. Talk about procrastination!

♦ There are 119 single men in their 20s for every 100 single women in the same age group.

♦ There are 34 single men for every 100 single women over 65.

♦ The dating services industry brings in $489 Billion annually.

♦ There are more than 6,000 marriages a day

♦ The average American consumes 25.7 pounds of candy a year.

This Valentine's Day, Gift the Gift of Aaaaaah!

This Valentine's Day, make the special someone knows how important they are to you by giving them the gift of massage from Romo Chiropractic! It’s a wonderful way to show how much you care for them

 Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Edgar Romo and staff