Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

154017705_083d825445_oChiropractors that are experienced in chiropractic and pregnancy know the importance of proper back care during such a sensitive period. All chiropractors are trained to work with women especially when it comes to back conditions that are associated with pregnancy. This is because chiropractic and pregnancy involves the maintenance of the spinal column, discs, bone geometry and the related nerves without the inclusion of invasive surgery. In other words, the medical practice adjusts the misalignment of joints especially when it comes to the spine.

Any formerly pregnant woman can attest to the muscle strain that is a part and parcel to pregnancy. Researchers say that almost half of all expecting mothers will experience lower back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Spinal surgery is out of the question when it comes to the well being of two lives and this is exactly why chiropractic care is the perfect non-invasive solution for such problems.

 

Why does a Pregnant Woman need Chiropractic care?

The human body undergoes a series of physiological and endocrine changes to prepare itself to sustain a life during pregnancy. No one knows that better than expecting mothers. However, such a sensitive stage may also cause misaligned joints that are symptomatic of –

  • Pelvic changes
  • Protruding abdomen and curved back
  • Poor posture

A woman’s pelvis may not have enough room for a developing baby if it is misaligned. This is also why establishing pelvic balance is such an important task in chiropractic and pregnancy care. A pelvis that is misaligned may also cause complications during the actual birth as well. This may also prevent the expecting mother from having a natural birth and her doctor to resort to invasive c-sections.

Chiropractic care during pregnancy also comes with the following benefits –

  • Ensuring a healthy pregnancy
  • Relief from back, neck and joint pain
  • Prevention of a potential cesarean delivery
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Reduce morning sickness

The benefits of chiropractic and pregnancy speak for themselves. This is also why more women are seeking chiropractic care now more than ever before and why health care providers recommend such services to expecting mothers. It is easy to see why. Medical specialists who specialize in back care invest more in the fertility and overall wellness of pregnant women or women who try to conceive.

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Causes of Back Pain

Back pain may occur due to various reasons; be it a sports injury, pulling a heavy object or a fall/ injury to the spine. If you are suffering from back pain, it would be wise to have a look at some of the common risk factors and causes of back pain by consulting a Chiropractor.

Risk Factors

The risk of back pain varies in different individuals, depending on their lifestyle. People who work in a mentally stressful job, smoke or go through strenuous physical work are more susceptible to back pain than those who don’t. Other factors such as pregnancy, anxiety, depression and obesity can also lead to this condition. Age is also a factor, as older individuals are at a higher risk than younger ones.

Causes Of Back Pain

 

Strain

The most common cause of back pain is strained muscles and ligaments, which may be a result of lifting something heavy or a sudden awkward movement. It can also be caused by improper posture due to a bad mattress or sitting position.

Structural Problems

The human body is a complex structure composed of bones, muscle, ligaments and joints. A fault in any of these can cause numerous problems, including back pain. Some particular structural problems that may affect the back are as follows:

Arthritis

Arthritis can cause various joint problems in the hips and lower back.

Bulging And Ruptured Disks

The vertebra in our spine is cushioned by a disk, so a ruptured disk would result in more pressure on the nerves, resulting in back aches. A bulging disk would put even more pressure on the nerves.

Sciatica

A bulging disk can also press on a nerve in the spine, causing a shooting pain through the buttocks and down the legs.

Curvature Of The Spine

An unnatural curvature of the spine can cause the space around the spinal cord to narrow, causing back pains.

Osteoporosis

A vertebra fracture can be caused by the bones becoming more brittle.

Conditions, There are also some conditions which may cause back pains.

Spinal Cancer

A growth or tumor on the spine may press against a nerve.

Infections

Infection on the nerves (shingles) and spine may also cause pains.

Cauda Equine Syndrome

The growth of nerve roots at the bottom of the spinal cord can cause a dull pain, as well as lack of feeling in the upper buttocks.

Dietary Tips

3829063385_8e46d16540_oA Good Diet Equals Healthy Living

In order to live a healthy lifestyle, there are some essential nutrients which need to be present in your diet. A good chiropractor will also include a diet plan in his treatments to reduce the risk of disease. Here are some dietary tips you can use to improve your health.

Avoid Junk Food

Avoid junk foods with low nutritional values and additives such as artificial flavoring and coloring, as most of them contain chemicals that your body isn’t familiar with and can cause certain problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and irritable bowel movements.

Eat Foods with Good Nutritional Values

Let’s suppose a person has a calorie requirement of 1600 calories a day. He can either get these calories from healthy foods with good nutritional values, such as beans, vegetables or salads, or he can get them through unhealthy foods such as bagels, donuts or junk food. The calorie requirement is the same but he would be getting a more nutritious diet by choosing the former option, thus making him healthier.

Add Unrefined and Uncooked Foods in Your Diet

Natural foods contain relatively more nutrients as compared to their refined counterparts. For example, refined flour lacks the fiber and other nutrients that whole grain contains. Cooking can also destroy many of the beneficial nutrients in food, so it is important to add some raw fruits and vegetables in your diet to balance out the nutrient requirement.

Avoid Fried Food Items

Though they may seem tempting, a high consumption of fried foods can directly lead to certain health problems such as high cholesterol and heart problems. If you live a busy lifestyle which doesn’t give you time to exercise, fried foods can also cause obesity.

Don’t Use Too Much Salt and Sugar 

Too much salt results in high blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of developing health problems. High levels of sugar can also increase the risk of diabetes. Try to reduce the amount of salt or sugar you use in food items.

Ask Your Chiropractor for Advice

As most chiropractors have information on nutritional requirements, you can ask your chiropractor to advise you further on what you should include and what you should exclude from your diet. A chiropractor can also formulate you a proper diet plan which you can follow to stay healthy.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: A Matched Set by Tony Alter

Disc Injuries -Thoracic Disc Herniation and Chiropractors

290644114_fa50ce417aThe demanding activities and tasks at the workplace and the lifting of heavy objects at home, causes pain in the back and neck region of the body, which if not treated appropriately, can result in serious disc injuries. Thoracic spine herniation is a medical condition, for which chiropractic offers effective treatment methods.

What Is Thoracic Disc Herniation?

Thoracic disc herniation is a type of disc injury in which the upper back region of the body is affected and a tingling pain permeates throughout the affected area. In some cases, the patient might feel pain in his chest and rib cage, which might be because of the pressure exerted on the nerves in the area.

The thoracic spine of the body consists of 12 vertebra, referred to by doctors as T1 to T12. The thoracic spine begins at the base of the neck, and continues until the end of the rib cage, where the T12 vertebra joins with the first vertebra of the lumbar region.

Thoracic disc herniation is a medical condition caused by the bulging or swelling of the pulpous and nerve material, located in the center of the disc. The material squeezes out of its narrow space and becomes exposed. The pressure exerted by the disc on the exposed nerves causes extreme pain to the individual which hampers him in engaging in different everyday activities.

Disc generation is also a probable cause of thoracic disc herniation, as the disc experiences wear and tear due to age and strenuous usage. This medical condition is more likely to develop in individuals who are in the 40 to 60 year age bracket.

Medical professionals conduct MRI scans in order to determine that there is no pressure and damage to the spinal cord because of the degeneration of the disc. In extreme cases, where the herniated disc exerts pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves, an individual can even suffer from a paralysis in the lower region of the body.

If the disc herniation is more to the side, it might cause pressure or impingement on the nerve root, causing pain in the abdomen and chest walls. In other cases, the pressure on the nerves might cause a combination of different symptoms ranging from upper back pain to tingling sensations all down the spine.

Chiropractic and Disc Injuries

Chiropractic offer non-invasive treatment methods for different spine, neck and disc injuries. They provide services for joint adjustment and relief from various musculoskeletal disorders.  Chiropractic is gaining popularity for effective treatment of different painful muscle strains and disorders.

 

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: the neck thing. ouch. no really…ouch! by Beth Punches

Ergonomics and Employee Productivity

020614-N-0552D-001Ergonomics has become a very popular field, which deals with designing suitable furniture, which is comfortable for individuals, both at home and in the office environment. The absence of ergonomically fit furniture and surroundings, results in different muscular problems in individuals like back pain, neck ache, strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractors provide treatment for alleviating the pain caused because of engaging in strenuous activities throughout the day.

How Is Employee Productivity Linked To Ergonomics?

Ergonomics or human factors, focuses on designing furniture and workplaces, so as to ensure convenience and ease for individuals, both at home and at the office. An ergonomically fit work environment is designed to ensure, that the working stations and the furniture used, are in accordance with the industry standards. It facilitates the functioning and activity of employees, engaged in work at the computer or at the factory floor.

Employees working in an environment, in which the work spaces and the computer equipment are stationed within easy reach, and do not cause any strain, will remain fit and healthy, resulting in efficient productivity. A considerable percentage of employees, contract different muscular pains and strains, which affects their work efficiency. In cases of extreme pain, sometimes individuals have to take time off from work in order to regain enough fitness to resume work.

Benefits of Ergonomically Fit Surroundings

An office having a work station and space, specifically designed keeping in mind the ergonomic standards prevalent in the industry, facilitates the factory workers and office employees in performing their duties efficiently and on time. This improves the overall productivity, resulting in increasing profits for the business.

By designing a safe and ergonomically fit factory production site, companies can ensure minimum accidents and absences of workers. The suitably designed production lines, with the appropriate equipment, increase productivity and worker efficiency, and reduce the wastes to a minimum.

The correct usage of lights and space in the workplace improves productivity and minimizes errors, which results in high job satisfaction.

An ergonomically fit work place is not only convenient for the employees and workers, but it also benefits the business by improving the productivity levels of the company. The improved morale and work efficiency of the employees, increases job satisfaction, and also minimizes the risk of accidents and muscular strains, caused because of inconveniently and unsuitably designed work places. Chiropractors provide treatment to employees suffering from various muscular strains and pains, contracted while working in an office.

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Understanding Ergonomics – How Seat Design Plays a Vital Role

FreedomChairIt is estimated that at least 50% individuals in the industrialized world suffer from some kind of back problem, most notably due to a poor or inadequate seat design. How we sit all day in front of our workstations has a marked impact on the overall health of our spine. As a result of bad posture, the lumbar region in the back bone is what takes the most pounding. Here’s what you need to know, and many chiropractors will stand by it.

There is no universal seat that’s designed to accommodate every single person. But there are a number or ergonomic factors that come into play when we’re talking seat design. These generally work well for the average person.

Seat height should be set in a way so as to support a knee angle of 90 degrees. This takes undue stress off the thighs and buttocks. A chair that’s too high will increase the pressure at the underside of the knees, reducing blood flow and increasing unnecessary pressure on the nerve.

A chair that’s too low places pressure on the ischial tuberosities – this is where the upper thigh originates in the gluteus maximus region. Normally, the glutes cover them in the upright position, but they are exposed and at an ergonomic disadvantage when we’re sitting.

Optimal seat depth is recommended at 16.5”; between 14” and 18.5” for adjustable seats.

You should avoid hard seats. Seat pan contouring and cushioning should be designed in a way so that pressure is distributed over a larger area and the pelvis rotates forward – this encourages better posture.

Ideal seat cushioning is about 2” thick. The cushioning needs to be firmer and thicker in the back, while being less firm and thinner at the front. Too much cushioning and your body is going to sink into the chair, restricting movement. A soft chair may be very welcoming and comfortable at first, but it goes against basic ergonomic sense; as the body sinks, blood flow is reduced and skin temperature rises as you experience more compression under the thighs. At the end of the day – more discomfort.

A seat width that’s between 20” and 23” generally works well.

An ideal seat angle helps you maintain good contact with the backrest; a 5 to 10 degree angle is good.

There many more ergonomic factors related to optimal seating, and these are just some of them at a glance. A good chiropractor can help you determine exactly what type of chair best suits your body type.

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Why Spinal Surgery is a Bad Idea

Illu_vertebral_columnBecause it takes the smallest mistake to permanently paralyze a healthy individual, a fact that any chiropractor will attest to. There is always a risk of injury involved in spinal surgery.

Almost 80% of the people in the country will complain about lower back pain at some point in their lives. More work days are missed because of spinal pain than any other sort of ailment. This also places it as one of the most common causes of disabilities right after cardiovascular disease.

However, most people would rather seek the services of certified chiropractors than their doctors. Doctors usually prescribe numbing medication or painful surgical procedures like spinal surgery for patients who complain of repetitive chronic pain. But that is hardly a permanent solution and also involves a great deal of risks.

What can go Wrong:

Transitional Syndrome

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the spine has to do with its behavior. Your spine behaves like a chain of repeated segments. Each of the individual segments works as a whole to share the workload that is involved in moving the body by sharing the load along the spinal column. In other words the stress that is imposed on the spine during the movement is shared amongst the segments.

However such a process can only happen seamlessly when the spine is healthy. When one or more of the segments doesn’t work as they should their neighboring segments have to pick up the slack and work harder. The segment that is closest to the dysfunctional one gets most of the stress. This means that the area near where the spinal surgery was performed takes on more stress.  This is what is known as transitional syndrome since it occurs due to the transition of a healthy area of the spine to the fused area.

General practitioners and even orthopedic surgeons can never claim to know what causes pain in the back. To them, complex procedures like spinal surgery appear as handy default treatments. This is not to mention the disastrous residual pain that is caused by inappropriate surgery. Such a complication is more of a possibility after common spinal surgeries, such as laminectomies, in which a disc is removed to give the nerve near the central spinal cord more space to move, or fusion, in which a vertebra is surgically joined to another to restrict excess movement.

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Preventing Osteoporosis through a Proper Diet

SONY DSCDiet and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease which thins bone density, leading to weaker bones and a higher risk of herniated disks, which can causes back problems such as Sciatica. Osteoporosis can be very tough to endure, as there is no proper cure for it besides chiropractic, and even then some patients may not respond positively due to the damage done. Therefore, chiropractors advise that a proper diet should be followed, as it can improve bone and muscle density, consequently reducing the chances of Osteoporosis.

The Proper Diet

There are some nutrients in the diet that can help you improve the quality of your bone structure. Vitamin D for example, found in flaxseed and fish oil, strengthens your bones and makes them less susceptible to diseases. However, other substances present in food, such as phytates, can reduce your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Here are some examples of foods that can affect bone health.

High Sodium Foods

Food items high in sodium can cause your body to lose calcium, which is essential in maintaining bone health. This can lead to weakening of bones, eventually resulting in bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Processed foods usually contain a high amount of sodium, so look for their nutritional values and avoid them if they have a high percentage of salt.

Legumes

Although it is true that beans and legumes contain a high amount of calcium, they also contain magnesium and phytates. You can reduce the amount of phytate by boiling the beans before the cooking them.

Wheat bran

Just like beans, wheat bran also contains a high amount of phytates, which reduce calcium absorption.

Caffeine

Similar to phytates, caffeine also interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium. The consumption of caffeine drinks such as tea, coffee or sodas should be moderated, if not completely avoided.

Alcohol

Research suggests that alcohol, among other health problems such as liver disease, can also contribute to loss in bone density.

Spinach

Spinach, though a very healthy source for other nutrients, shouldn’t be counted as a sole source for calcium as they contain oxalates, which doesn’t allow the body to absorb the calcium effectively.

High Protein foods

We all know Protein is good for our health, but too much protein in our diets can also cause our bodies to lose calcium. Eat meat and other high protein foods in moderation.

You may also contact a chiropractor who could recommend you nutritional supplements if you are lacking any of the basic nutrients required in the daily diet.

 

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Fish for dinner by Denise Mattox

Neck Disc Injuries – Cervical Disc Prolapse and Chiropractic Treatment

1024px-FEMA_-_32323_-_FEMA_photographer_Mark_Wolfe_working_at_a_computer_in_Findlay,_OH_JFONeck disc injuries are contracted by individuals mostly because of the different body postures, during work. The long hours spent in front of the computer start to take their toll, and individuals experience tingling pain and sometimes a numb feeling in their arms and fingers, which are signs of a neck disc injury. Chiropractic is very effective in the treatment of individuals suffering from different neck disc injuries, like cervical disc prolapse.

What Is Cervical Disc Prolapse?

Cervical Disc Prolapse is a medical term for a slipped disc in the neck of a patient. A slipped disc condition is more common in the back than in the neck, and individuals in the 30 to 50 age bracket are more prone to this medical condition.

The 7 vertebra, the bones which constitute the spinal cord, have discs in between each bone. The 7 vertebra are termed from C1 to C7, and a slipped disc in the neck is more common between the C5 to C6 and the C6 to C7 vertebra.

In cervical disc prolapse, the discs have a tough outer covering which tends to degenerate because of the constant exertion and movement experienced by an individual, especially when engaged in different work related activities like operating  a machine or a computer for a long number of hours. In extreme cases, where there is acute degeneration of the outer fibrous layer of the disc, the soft nerves become exposed, and bulge out of the disc. This results in extreme pain for the individual as the disc exerts pressure on the nerves, causing inflammation.

In some cases, the disc might slip towards the back and the side, which causes extensive pain in the shoulder and arm of the individual. A slipped disc in the neck, or cervical disc prolapse, might also exhibit symptoms like a numb feeling or pins and needles in the whole arm, and pain in case of any neck or shoulder movement.

Chiropractic Treatment for Disc Injuries

Chiropractic is a non-invasive form of treatment, which focuses on the treatment and prevention of different musculoskeletal disorders, muscle strains and disc injuries. Chiropractors provide different treatment methods which include massages, joint adjustment procedures for pain and strains in the back and neck areas of the body. Spinal manipulation is a forte of chiropractic, in which it focuses on relieving the pain of the patient and improving muscular disorders, to facilitate movement. It is gaining popularity as a highly effective treatment method for neck and spinal pains and strains.

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Types of Diets Recommended by Chiropractors

4846334195_77c3c91886_oChiropractic Care gives great importance to a healthy and balanced diet.  A lot of ailments and diseases can be avoided just by adhering to a proper diet.  A good diet can help a person to lead a long, healthy life, control weight, blood pressure and heart rate.

It is a fact that Americans are overfed, while being undernourished.  Scores of fast food chains have made unhealthy eating habits a part of the American lifestyle.  Such high cholesterol foods coupled with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity.  With obesity come a lot of complications including heart diseases and blood pressure problems.

There is no doubt that a well-balanced diet consists of a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, a reduction in caffeine intake and saturated fats.

A chiropractor may recommend one of the following diets based on your body’s needs:

High Protein Diet

A high protein diet is recommended for those who aim to build muscles without accumulating too much fat. High protein foods include:

  • Turkey breast
  • Fish
  • Cheese (low fat varieties)
  • Beef (low fat)
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Nuts

Heart-Healthy Diet

A heart healthy diet usually consists of a lot of vegetables and fruits along with large intakes of whole grains.  It may also contain low-fat meats, including fish and poultry. Special emphasis should be given to fish as it is a very healthy source of protein, Omega 3 and little fat.

Following combination of fruits and vegetables are extremely nutritious and a healthy choice for heart-healthy dieters:

  • Pineapples
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges

Vegetarian Diet

A vegetarian diet can be recommended for those who prefer to lead a meat-free lifestyle, for whatever the reason.  Several types of diets are based on vegetarianism:

Lacto-Vegetarian: These diets include no meat of any kind or eggs.  However they do include dairy products like butter, milk, cheese and yogurt.

Ovo -Vegetarian: This diet contains no red meat, seafood, poultry or even dairy products, however it does include eggs.

Vegan: The strictest of all, excludes all meats, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Flexitarian: As its name implies, this diet is flexible. It mainly consists of vegetables and fruits, with occasional consumption of meat, fish or poultry.

No matter which diet is recommended by a chiropractor or dietician, a balanced lifestyle that includes plenty of activities can go a long way in extending the life of a person.

 

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Blueberry Maple Quinoa by SweetonVeg