Experiencing Back Pain From A Slipped Disc?

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Do you have a Slipped Disc?

Spinal Discs are a specialized type of cartilage that connects and cushions the 24 moveable bones of your spine. Each disc attaches to the vertebrae above and below it, as well as providing proper spacing for pairs of nerve roots to exit the spine from between each joint.  The cartilage disc should not be confused with the boney vertebrae.  They are each separate and distinct structures.

Impossible to “Slip”

Have you been told you have a slipped disc?  If so, you may be surprised to learn it’s simply impossible for a disc to “slip.”  A disc can thin, decay, wedge, bulge, protrude, tear or herniate, but because of tight bands of ligaments which support the disc firmly between each vertebra, it is simply impossible for a disc to “slip.”

The Spine’s Shock Absorbers

Spinal discs are often referred to as “miniature waterbeds” or “shock absorbers” for the spine.  Their normally soft, cushiony texture protects the vertebrae from cracking or breaking against the normal forces of gravity and body movements.  Each spinal disc has a pressurized jelly-like core that is contained by bands of fibrous tissue.

When viewed from the top, the disc looks much like a jelly-filled doughnut and the fibrous bands which contain the jelly-like core are wrapped around it like the rings of an onion.  Healthy discs give you flexibility, allowing normal turning and bending of the body.  This movement produces a pumping action that supplies proper disc nutrition and waste removal.

However, long-term spinal misalignments and postural distortions can prevent adequate amounts of oxygen and nutrients from entering into the disc, allowing it to decay into various types of disc challenges.

Decayed or Degenerated Disc

The most common cause of back or neck pain from a damaged disc is a thinning disc, also known as disc degeneration, disc decay or spinal arthritis.

This challenge develops over time, and most often due to reduction of normal spinal movement and postural imbalances over a lifetime that place uneven wear on the discs – much like a bent hinge on a gate will wear down two pieces of metal rubbing against each other over time.

This leads to improper disc hydration causing the disc fibers dry out and become subject to being torn more easily.  As gravity presses down upon the decayed disc, this causes people to experience daily pain.

Bulging Disc

Like a bubble that forms on the weak spot of an inner tube, disc tissue can bulge and place pressure on your nerves or spinal cord, much like ice cream that bulges out from underneath the cookie in an ice cream sandwich.

The pressurized inner core of the disc pushes out against the fibrous rings, the bulge occurs where the disc wall is the weakest.  The bulge balloons out against nerve, which is the mechanism that causes pain from a bulging disc.

As the problem worsens, muscles tighten to protect the damaged joint.  More muscle tightening creates more pressure on the nerves, which creates more pain and muscle splinting, and the process continues until proper intervention is applied.

Herniated Disc

If the destructive cycle that has led to a bulging disc is not interrupted, many people find themselves moving into the most dangerous aspect of disc degeneration, known as a ruptured or herniated disc, also known as total disc failure.

As more and more of the fibrous rings tear, the pressurized, jelly-like substance breaks through the containment wall and leaks out, much like toothpaste squirting out of a tube, placing pressure on the spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself and creating intense pain.

One should do all they can to preent a disc bulge from becoming a herniation, as the ability for a non-surigcal solution to correct the probem becomes more difficult.

A Common Denominator in Back & Neck Pain

While there are several reasons for back or neck pain, in the majority of back and neck problems the disc is involved in some way, with the disc often being the common denominator; the major underlying cause of most patients’ condition.

By applying the correct types of procedures and if caught before permanent damage occurs, disc tissue often returns to more normal size, shape and function.

For a complete article about spinal disc problems and non-surgical disc decompression therapy, please go to http://www.drjackadrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic. He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

Meniscal Rebalancing Technique For Knee Pain

Friday, January 21st, 2011

A Non-Drug, Non-Surgical Treatment For Knee Pain

Just like any joint in the body, knee joints frequently become misaligned, enter into a process of joint degeneration and cause pain.

Knee joint misalignments are a far greater factor in knee pain than most doctors realize, leading to many unnecessary surgeries.  As little as a 1/8th inch misalignment of the knee joint can cause serious pain and dysfunction.

This leads to wearing of the meniscus as well as other aspects of the knee, pain and a distortion of the ligaments necessary to hold the joint in proper alignment.

No Such Thing As A Chemical Cure For A Mechanical Problem

The most common temporary intervention for chronic knee pain is cortisone injections.  Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory but can only be used sparingly as it erodes away bone tissue, leading to an increased chance of a break or fracture of an all important weight bearing joint.

One of the more recently touted procedures is silicone injections into the knee.  While a blessing for some, approximately  half of those who’ve had these injections say they simply didn’t work, with many not experiencing even 6 minutes of relief, much less the 6 months they advertise.  They’re very expensive, and even when they do provide temporary relief they usually need repeated once or twice per year.

The real problem with silicone injections is they never address the underlying cause of the knee problem – that of chronic, long-term misalignment and wearing of the joint, which speaks of the usual temporariness of this procedure.

Structural challenges need a structural solution.  A chemical injected into your knee can’t bring about realignment to a misaligned structure that is the underlying of most chronic knee pain.   That would be sort of like hoping an oil change will realign the front tires on your car.

Knee Replacement Surgery Doesn’t Always Work

For many people, knee replacement surgery has been their only option.  When it works it’s often considered a miracle, but like any surgical procedure it doesn’t always work.

About 40% of our patient’s state they still have pain and/or various forms of dysfunction after their knee replacement surgery, with many saying the pain is worse than before surgery.  For each person who says they had a successful experience with knee replacement surgery, there’s another who says they “wouldn’t go through it again for anything.”

For these reasons, surgery should be viewed only as a last resort – – and only if everything else should fail.

MRT – A Conservative, Non-Surgical Approach for Knee Pain

For many people, there’s a conservative solution for chronic knee pain.  It’s called MRT and stands for Meniscal Rebalancing Technique.  If the misalignments causing the degeneration of the knee joint can be caught in time before too much damage has been done, surgery can frequently be avoided.  Those who’ve been told their knee is “filled with arthritis” frequently receive very good results, as do many who’ve been told they are “bone on bone.”

How well you respond with MRT depends upon many things, including the type, cause and extent of your knee challenges, the specific type of misalignment, your willingness to follow instructions, the health of your knee and your overall health in general.  Age alone seldom has much to do with the success of MRT.

Even many people in their 70’s and 80’s have found great success with this technique!

Before Submitting To Surgery, Check Your Knee For Hidden Misalignment

A total knee replacement is a very extreme measure to take for a condition as common as knee misalignment, and which goes undetected in so many people.   If surgery fails, there is seldom any turning back.  With 30 years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of people overcome knee pain without drugs or surgery.  The percentage of success is very high.

For a complete report about this new treatment that is helping so many people with the misery of ongoing knee pain, please go to http://www.drjackadrian.com/

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

Decayed, Degenerated, Bulged, Herniated & Ruptured Discs

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Different Kinds of Spinal Disc Conditions

The three most common conditions involving spinal discs are those involving degenerated, bulged and herniated discs.  This short article will explain the differences and how they occur.  First, a brief description of what a spinal disc is.

Shock Absorbers of the Spine

Not to be confused with the vertebrae themselves, discs are soft, cushiony pads that fit between the vertebras.   They provide shock absorption for the spine against the weight of gravity, in order to help prevent the vertebrae themselves from fracturing and breaking under gravitational stress and movement.

Discs are often described as looking like a jelly-filled doughnut and are made up of two parts.  The outer aspect of the disc is called the annulus fibrosis.  It is layered together like the rings of an onion, and is known as the containment ring that holds in the nucleus.  The nucleus is the inner part of the disc containing a pressurized gel-like substance, that when contained within the annulus forms the shock absorbing qualities of the spinal discs.

The discs also form a joint between each vertebra in order that the spine can bend, flex, turn and rotate from side to side.  Because the discs are composed of approximately 70% fluids, they are often referred to as “miniature waterbeds” for the vertebrae to rest upon.

Degenerated Disc

Also known as a decayed or thinned disc.  Discs are composed of a highly specialized, fluid-filled cartilage.  Under normal circumstances, a spinal disc can be likened to a can of new play dough.  Fresh out of the can, the play dough is soft, flexible and pliable.  If the lid is left off the can, the play dough dries, causing it to become hard, inflexible and subject to shrinking.

When the fluids dry out, caused by deficient disc nutrition brought about by mechanical distortions in the vertebra, the disc begins collapsing under the weight of the body.  This is much like taking your hands and squeezing together a sandwich, making it thinner.  The thinned disc allows the vertebra to compress the nerves, resulting in pain, numbness and a vast array of other symptoms.

If neglected, it most always develops into spinal arthritis, which is just another word for spinal decay.

Bulging Disc

Also known as a wedged or protruding disc.  A bulging disc is formed when the outer, rings in the disc weaken and tear.  The pressurized jelly-like center pushes out toward the weaker area of least resistance in the outer wall.  The weaker the outer wall become, the more the bulge grows and protrudes.

A bulging disc is like a weak spot on an inner tube that forms a bubble on the area of weakness. When the bulge pushes out so far as to put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, pain usually appears.

The larger the bulge the more pain it produces.  This disc problem is typically found when you see an individual all bent over and leaning to one side or the other because of back pain.  It happens because the disc bulge forms itself into something that looks like a door stop. A bulging disc is just one step shy of a herniated disc.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is what happens when the fibrous rings on the outer aspect of the disc give way to the pressure of the jelly-like nucleus inside, allowing these substance to leak outside the disc.

A herniated disc is also frequently referred to as a ruptured or prolapsed disc.

It is much like toothpaste squirting out of tube, or the bursting of a water balloon.

A herniated disc represents a total failure of the disc structure, and is often viewed as the most serious disc challenge of all.

“Slipped” Disc

A slipped disc is a misnomer; a commonly misused term that is usually associated with the most common use of layman’s terminology, and usually represents a disc bulge.

As the disc shrinks and expands as is commonly found with disc bulges, it provides the sensation of something going “in” or “out” of place.

In reality, nothing goes out.  Rather, the fibrous containment band tears.  This leads to the term false term of a disc that has  “slipped.”

It surprises most people to learn that disc can decay, degenerated, thin, bulge, protrude, wedge, herniated, rupture or prolapsed, but because of tight ligament bands that surround the disc, it is simply impossible for a disc to “slip.”

Only as Strong as Its Weakest Link

The 24 moveable vertebrae and the disc that fit between them that form the spine as a whole are much like the links making up a chain.   A chain is only as strong as it weakest link.  A damaged disc is most always that weak link in the spines of most people.

For a complete article about spinal disc problems and how non-surgical disc decompression therapy may be able to help, please go to http://www.drjackadrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

Will I Have To Live With It Forever?

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Why Some People Get Well – And Others Can’t

When discussing the subject of why some people get well and others can’t, there are many different variables that come into focus.   While it is true that science has yet to come up with a cure for the common cold, much less for serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many others, there are often more common reasons that are in each individual’s control.

Many people choose the wrong kind of doctor for their condition, and hence, often end up with the wrong kind of treatment.  Other individuals are too impatient, often expecting an overnight cure for a long-standing condition.

Still others accept advice from their doctor, but choose not to follow it.  Regretfully, there are some who don’t value their health and body performance enough to try to protect it until it’s gone.

Masking Symptoms – Ignoring Causes

While it is true that not all causes of health conditions can be found, one of the largest reasons for a growing number of chronic health conditions is the use of too many symptomatic relievers, including those who never even think to search for a cause of their condition.

While I belief that everyone has to do what they have to do, the truth about symptom relievers is they merely mask symptoms and ignore the cause of the underlying condition.  In other words, pain medications fool the mind into believing all is well with the body – when in fact, it isn’t.  This only provides the underlying cause of the symptoms time to grow worse, often irreversibly.

Given enough time, the cause of many conditions will grow so bad that no matter what is done, the body can’t turn itself around and heal the condition.

This is called “The Limitations of Time and Matter.” Don’t be confused by the name. Through the use of metaphors, it’s actually quite easy to understand……….

Rotten Meat And Spoiled Milk

At one time or another, most of us have left a piece of raw meat sitting in the open air a bit too long, and by the time we get around to it the meat has spoiled and no longer any good.

The longer it sits, the more spoiled it becomes.  Once the meat has spoiled, it can’t become unspoiled.

The same is true with dairy products.  Have you ever tried to unspoil milk?  Quite impossible, isn’t it?  In both of these cases, the products can be said to have gone beyond the limitations of time and matter. Too much time has passed.  The matter has changed.  They can’t be brought back.  They can’t be made good again.

Ever Try To Unboil A Hard-Boiled Egg?

Have you ever tried to unboil a hard-boiled egg?  This too, is also quite impossible.  Once the matter changes, it can’t be changed back.  The same can be said for failing to grease the moving parts of a machine.  If there is not enough lubricant in the moving parts, metal will begin rubbing against metal until the parts are destroyed – or damaged so significantly they can’t be made to function normally again.

If the engine in our car was knocking profusely, we wouldn’t turn up the stereo so we couldn’t hear the knock and pretend there wasn’t a problem.

If the fire alarm woke us in the middle of the night, we wouldn’t get up, shut off the alarm, ignore the smoke and flames and go back to bed, believing that by shutting off the alarm it was going to put out the fire.

Yet, this is exactly what happens when we take symptomatic relievers.  They shut off the body’s warning system and ignore the fire within.

Fooling The Mind At the Expense Of The Body

The majority of chronic conditions were once just a small symptom that was covered up with symptomatic relievers for too long and allowed time to grow worse.   This fooling of the mind at the expense of covering a body ailment through symptomatic relievers has led many people into chronic conditions for which they now have no recourse.

The chiropractic profession does not represent itself as a cure-all for all of mankind’s ailments.  However, it has an enviable safety and success record of helping people where other things have been tried and failed, even for many who’ve been told “Nothing more can be done.”  Perhaps chiropractic can help you, as well.

To summarize the law of “The Limitations of Time and Matter”……….  Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!

For more information about the wonderful benefits of chiropractic care and how chiropractic may be able to help you, please go to http://www.DrJackAdrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

Where Did My Back & Neck Pain Come From?

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

What did I do to cause it?

Most of us don’t truly learn to appreciate the good function of our bodies until we’ve lost it, especially as we grow older and tend to lose more of it – much like falling dominoes.  Failed health is sort of like failing to appreciate that we don’t have a sore throat – until we do.  We often tend to take a lot for granted, don’t we?

Concerning spinal problems, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “What did I do to cause it?”  There is usually a big difference in what a patient perceives as the cause of a problem, and what has really caused it.  This leads us to an understanding of the differences between processes and events……

Symptoms – Always The Last Thing to Appear

Nearly all forms of disease (meaning a body that is not at ease) and pain syndromes are the results of processes, and NOT events.

One doesn’t just go to bed one night with a perfectly functioning body and then wake up the next morning with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, spinal degeneration or disc decay.  Rather, these things all begin as slow silent processes which grow unnoticed (often for years) until the time comes they’ve become bad enough to produce symptoms.

So what comes first, the symptom or the cause of the symptom?   Though they are the first thing to become evident to us, symptoms are never the first stage of a problem.  Rather, symptoms are always the mid to end-stages of processes which have been developing over the long term, and are the last things to appear.  This is why it is important to be proactive, and not reactive.

Again, symptoms are the last thing to appear.  If you cut your finger, it hurts after the cut – not before.

Getting Sick & Getting Well – Processes Not Events

Let us use the example of a heart attack.  Though we mistakenly view symptoms as events, when one has a heart attack, even though the attack itself is the disabling effect, the attack (event) is the usually the end sequence of long-term clogging arteries (the process) which existed and worsened for years before the actual heart attack occurred.  Therefore, the process of clogging arteries is the underlying cause.  The attack itself is the end effect.

The same is true for problems involving the spine and nervous system.  Though many individuals mistakenly believe “bending over to pick something up” or “lifting something too heavy” or ”the onset of immediate pain” to be the event which caused their problem, these things are usually just the end effect of a slow and silent spinal decay process which was taking place years earlier that predisposed them to the challenges they are experiencing today – and which otherwise would not have happened had the decay process not been there  – or at least been caught in time.

Just like breaking down and losing one’s health is a process and not an event – so too gettting well is also a process and not an event.

Maintenance For Optimum Function

The development of improper spinal function is most always the result of a slow, silent process often leading to chronic pain or a dangerous event.   Like clogging arteries in the heart, spinal decay which frequently leads to overall health dysfunction, give few if any warning signs before disaster strikes.

Whether it be your car or any appliance in your home, the older a machine becomes the more maintenance it needs to continue functioning properly.

Such maintenance will frequently extend its life and function.

Your body is no different.

And When You Understand This…….

Think about spinal maintenance another way.  What shape would your teeth be in after 50 years if you ignored and never faithfully brushed them?  What kind of shape do you think your spine will be in after that long if you don’t faithfully take care of it, as well?

Like you can’t wait until the engine blows in your car to change the oil, you can’t wait until your spine self-destructs and then hope to reverse it.

Spinal maintenance is your best insurance guarding against the process of spinal breakdown, and a wonderful step to take to preserve overall health aimed at giving yourself the best chance possible that your spine will serve you well, as intended, for your entire lifetime.

…..The Answer May Very Well Surprise You.

So, “What did I do to cause it?”  The most accurate answer is… quite possibly nothing!   Instead, it’s what you didn’t do to protect yourself – or know to do – which caused the problem.

Just like disease processes are called “processes” for a reason – because they are not an event, most successful treatment resolutions to halt or reverse the problems are also processes.  The proper function of all body functions depend upon adequate nerve flow through your spine.  That’s why spinal maintenance is so important.

For more information about the wonderful benefits of chiropractic care and how chiropractic may be able to help you, please go to http://www.DrJackAdrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

Why Spinal Discs Go “BAD”

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Why Spinal Discs Go Bad

Spinal discs, or spinal disks, are known as “shock absorbers” for the spine.  They protect the vertebrae from cracking against the normal forces of gravity and body movements and create an opening for the spinal nerves to exit the spinal cord and enter into the body.

Disc have a pressurized core, known as the nucleus that is contained by bands of fiber, known as the annulus.

When viewed from the top, the disc looks much like a jelly-filled doughnut and the fibrous bands which contain the jelly-like core are wrapped around it like the rings of an onion.  Healthy discs give you flexibility, allowing normal movements of the body.  This movement produces a pumping action that supplies proper disc nutrition.

However, long-term spinal misalignments and postural distortions can prevent adequate amounts of nutrients from entering into the disc, allowing it to decay into various types of disc challenges.

Living Tissues Needing Fed

From the time we’re approximately 12 years old, the blood vessels which supply the discs with nutrient rich blood dry up and disappear.  No one knows why.   This leaves the spinal discs as the only structures in the body without a blood supply to provide nutrients and oxygen.

Like A Sponge In A Bucket Of Water

After these blood vessels disappear that provide the spinal discs with nutrients, the disc receive their nutrients through a process known as imbibation – or infusion.  Imbibation can best be described as being like the squeeze-release motion of a sponge in a bucket of water.  One motions squeezes out the waste products, and releasing of that squeeze allows new fluids to come in.

Each time our spines bend, twist, or turn, this motion pumps nutrients into the disc between the vertebra, much like an old-fashioned hand water pump, where we pump the handle and the water comes to the surface and when we stop, the water stops flowing.  Normally, this function takes place in our spines without interruption, verified by the fact that most people have many more healthy disc than bad ones.

But Here Comes The Problem……

When two or more vertebra become stuck (fixated) together due to misalignments or distorted postural curves, the disc between the vertebra that are locked do not receive adequate motion enough to ‘pump’ the nutrients into them.

As this process continues, the disc tissues become weak and dry out, much like a child leaving the lid off a can of play dough.  Then, rather than being soft and pliable, the discs become dry and hardened; and subject to chipping, cracking, bulging and degeneration.

Once the process of poor disc nutrition has been going on long enough (usually years in most people), the inner contents of the disc either bulge or break through the outer wall and compress the nerves coming off your spine resulting in pain.

Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with age, but is due primarily to lack of spinal maintenance.

Few Warning Signs

During the early phases of disc destruction, there are seldom any warning signs.  Because the spine contains many joints, few people recognize small losses in range of motion.  This is dangerous because the disease process occurs and continues without any warning signs at all.

As the process develops further, many people experience warning signs of mild to moderate back or neck pain, which are usually ignored, because after all, “everyone has a little back or neck pain from time to time.”

As the disc become weaker and weaker, a common lift, twist or turn – or something so simple as picking a pencil off the floor can result in a pain crisis.

By the time this takes place, the disc are well on their way to creating a major problem.  Of course, this wouldn’t have happened had the disc not been predisposed to injury in the first place.

Proper Attention Essential

The key to preventing a disc disaster, or to provide the best chance of reestablishing a healthy disc once it has entered into crisis, is to restore proper joint motion in order that the flow of nutrients into the disc can resume.  Only by doing this does an individual have a chance of overcoming the problem and avoiding a catastrophe that results in the unpredictable results of spinal surgery.

If you are experiencing the warning signs of advancing back or neck pain, you are encouraged not to ignore them.  It’s always easier to prevent a problem rather than correct one.

For a complete article about spinal disc problems and non-surgical disc decompression therapy, please go to http://www.drjackadrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

Removing Postural Stress For Day and Night

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Suggestions to Improve Postural Comfort

Most people are unaware that a full 70% of the bodies energy is spent keeping them in alignment with their center of gravity.  This leaves only 30% for the other needs of the body.

The efforts to improve posture will take perseverance at first, but can yield wonderful benefits by decreasing pain and increasing your energy level throughout the day.

It is typical to feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but over time the new posture will begin seeming natural.  The following are some elementary guidelines to follow to improve posture and ergonomics in the home, workplace and other surroundings.

SITTING POSTURE

  • Be sure your upper back is aligned against the back of your chair.  Avoid slouching, slumping or leaning forward, especially when tired from sitting in a chair for long periods.
  • When sitting at a desk, your arms should be flexed at a 75-90 degree angle at the elbows.   If this is not the case, the chair should be adjusted accordingly.
  • Your knees should be even or slightly higher than your hips when sitting in an office chair.
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor.  If there is a problem with your feet reaching the floor comfortably, a foot rest can be used.
  • Don’t sit in one place too long.  When possible, get up, walk around and stretch.
  • To reduce neck stress, be certain your computer monitor is at eye level or slightly above.  If it is not, use a monitor riser, or any available books to place the monitor on to raise it to a higher level.
  • If you sit a great deal and read or do activities with your hands, don’t lower your head to the activities.  Instead, place your objects on a pillow sitting on your lap to raise the activates upwards towards your eyes.

STANDING AND WALKING POSTURE

  • Stand with your weight mostly on the balls of your feet, not with the weight on the heels.
  • Keep your feet slightly apart; about shoulder width.  Avoid locking the knees.
  • Tuck your chin in a bit to keep the head level on top of your shoulders – not leaning forward.  Stand tall and straight, with your chest out and your shoulders back.
  • If standing for long periods of time, shift your weight from one foot to another, or rock back and forth on your heels.
  • When walking, keep your head up and eyes looking forward.  Keep the shoulders in alignment with the rest of your body – not slouching forward.  Allow your arms to swing naturally.
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes whenever possible, as this is not the naturally intended position of the feet when making contact with the ground.
  • Take an occasional walk and lookup at the sky or stars to help counter the effects of looking forward and down all day long.

LIFTING AND CARRYING POSTURE

  • Always bend at the knees, not at the waist.  This is especially true when lifting heavy weight.
  • Use the leg and stomach muscles for lifting, not the back.
  • When carrying a heavy object, keep it close to the body – your center of gravity.
  • If carrying something with one arm, switch arms frequently and or counterbalance the weight by carrying something of equal weight with the other arm at the same time.
  • When carrying a backpack, keep it as light as possible and balance the weight on both sides as much as possible, or alternate from side to side.   For ergonomically sound posture, it is actually best to carry a backpack on your chest.

SLEEPING POSTURE

  • Avoid sleeping on a broken down mattress.  They frequently will not provide your spine enough support to remain straight at night.
  • The fetal side position is the most natural sleeping posture as it allows the majority of your muscles to shorten and relax during sleep.
  • When sleeping on your back, consider a pillow under your knees.
  • Avoid stomach sleeping
  • Keep your head horizontal with your mattress with a pillow that is not too high.
  • Avoid using more than one pillow.
  • For optimal back sleeping, a pillow under your head should be replaced with a small roll under your neck.  These can be purchased on line or one can be made simply by rolling up a small towel.
  • When waking the morning, take time to stretch each of your muscles.  Stretching activates your microscopic muscles fibers and lengthens your muscles in general for better performance throughout your day.

These suggestions help provide most people with more comfort during the day and night.  If challenges persist, feel free to call our office.  You may be dealing with a more in-depth problem than posture alone.

For an at-home posture exam that may uncover hidden causes of pain, please go to http://www.drjackadrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

WHIPLASH NECK PAIN FROM AN AUTO ACCIDENT

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Injured In A Car Collision?

A car accident is capable of causing injury to any area of the body.  Extremely common are injuries that include the joints and muscles of the musculoskeletal system, particularly those of the head, neck, back and extremities.

One very unique form of neck injury is known as a hyperflexion-hyperextension injury, commonly called whiplash.   Pain from whiplash can show up immediately, the next morning, a day or two after the accident, or may not show up in some people for several weeks, or even months after the accident.

Experiencing Neck Pain?   Whiplash Is Real!

The first thing to realize about whiplash is it’s real.  Research also shows that whiplash injuries can happen at surprisingly slow speeds, often with very little damage to the vehicle.  It occurs in collisions at any angle; rear-end, head-on, any of the four corners or from the side, often described as being “T-Boned.”

In an auto collision, the heavier weight of the head continues on through space, then “whips” the neck causing the weaker neck structures to experience stress and injury.

Even though the neck is designed to move, it is not meant to move at a hyper accelerated speed beyond normal ranges of motions brought about by the weight of the head, and then suddenly stopped.

This leads to pulling, stretching, tearing and compressive injuries to the neck and spine, again known as whiplash!

Whiplash G Force Means Injuries Are Common

Research shows that during a car accident, your body can move back and forth 8 to 10 times faster than the speed your vehicle was moving during impact.  This means that in as little as a 10 mph collision, your head can cause your neck to whip at a rate of 80 to 100 mph – in less than a second!  The risks of injuries in higher speed impacts are self-explanatory.

G’s are measurements used to indicate the force to which a body is subjected when accelerated.  Each G is equal to 1 times gravity.  In a car collision of less than 10 miles per hour, the body is subjected to hyper acceleration at a rate of 5 to 10 G’s. The force of 10 G’s is greater than a fighter pilot will experience during air to air combat.

Time-Delayed Symptoms Very Common

Muscles, ligaments, tendons, placement of vertebrae and other tissues of your body react much differently to the trauma of an auto impact than does the metal, plastic and glass of your vehicle during an auto collision.

Time-delayed symptoms of several weeks to several months are extremely common; therefore it’s important not to sign away your rights too quickly.

Research shows that approximately 50% of auto accident victims develop mysterious headaches, neck, shoulder or back pain months down the road from the initial impact that were not present at the time, or shortly after the accident.

Indeed, untreated or improperly treated whiplash is a major reason for neck pain and cervical disc destruction that only surfaces many years after an impact injury.

Chiropractic – The Smartly Chosen Treatment Of Choice For Whiplash

There are more than 1,000 research articles addressing the effects of whiplash neck injury and it’s many negative and potentially devasting effects.

One such study found 93% of patients studied who were under chiropractic care had improved, and further stated “no other conventional medical treatment has proven to be as effective in these established cases.”

Whether it is headaches, neck, shoulder or back pain, the research shows chiropractic care is the smartly chosen treatment of choice for a vast majority of these challenges caused by vehicular accidents and impacts.

Do You Need Help With Whiplash Neck Injury?

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and are experiencing pain or other symptoms, something is obviously wrong.  With nearly 30 years experience, Dr. Jack Adrian of ChiroCenter in Troy has helped more than 1,000 people injured in auto accidents get rid of pain and get their life back.  A complimentary injury evaluation will help provide the information necessary to come up with the best approach for you.

For a complete report about whiplash please go to http://www.drjackadrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

Self Help For Acute Back, Neck and Musculoskeletal Injuries

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Self-Help For Acute Back Or Neck Pain

These instructions are meant to provide you with information in the unforeseen event you experience an acute injury or flare-up and are unable to reach our office such as on weekends, holidays or night.  Acute means “sudden or severe.”

Depending upon condition, severely acute flare-ups are uncommon, but do occasionally happen.

If they should, this will help you know what to do.

  • The use of ice is one of your best allies. Ice helps reduce swelling and inflammation, and acts as a topical anesthetic.  Apply it for periods of 10 – 15 minutes and remove.  You can detect if you have swelling by appearance, or by pushing into the area with your finger and noticing changes in tissue color.  Never apply ice directly over the skin as the skin can become irritated and suffer “freezer burn.”   Instead, apply ice over a layer of thin, wet paper towel or a most was cloth.  If you would rather use an ice pack but don’t have one, a bag of frozen peas easily mold around body surfaces.  Use ice as often as needed for pain and inflammation control.

  • Heat is not advisable for acute conditions as it adds increased temperature to an already inflamed area, and therefore leads to more swelling and pain.  Swelling is one of your body’s ways of immobilizing and injury in order to avoid further injury.  However, if you just can’t stay away from the the temporary relief that heat may bring, be certain to use moist heat such as a moist heating pad, hot tub or warm bath.  Never use dry heat such as a dry heating pad, and never sleep on a heating pad in an acute condition.  This can lead to even more extreme pain.  If you do use heat, follow it up with an ice pack for 10-15 minutes.  Alternating ice and heat does often flush swelling, though in general ice alone is still more advisable as it suppresses inflammation in acute condition.

  • Gently massage the muscles around the injury to bring about improved flexibility, but never force the area beyond its normal range of motion or into an area of increased pain as thismay cause further injury.  In acute injuries, muscles frequently splint to tighten up around the injury site, also another your body’s primary responses to help avoid further injury to the injury site.

  • Avoid heavy lifting and do not work around moving machinery, as the pain may cause you to become imbalanced with a resulting fall into the machinery.  Also avoid overhead work until your condition improves.  Allow others to drive you if you must be somewhere.  We will provide you with an excuse in the event an acute episode prevents you from safely partaking in your employment if we are unreachable, providing you are an active patient and contact us the first day back in the office.

  • Short, easy walks may help relax you. Discontinue if too painful.  Don’t walk on rough surfaces or uneven terrain.  Be sure to wear shoes with a secure grip to the surface, especially true during rain or winter months of snow and ice to best avoid a chance of a fall.

  • Avoid high heeled shoes. High heeled shoes change the natural arc of your back and neck and frequently increase pain.  Tennis shoes provide better shock absorption for the spine, provide more natural posture and give a more secure footing.

  • Clear your environment of anything that could cause you to slip or fall around the home, such as loose rugs, pets, or wet floors.  Be sure to keep your shoestrings tied to prevent stumbling.

  • When sitting, sit erect and keep yourself balanced. Otherwise lie down and take all the pressure off the injured area.  Avoid close work such as sewing, reading or paperwork that causes you to keep your head down and the muscles in your neck and back tense and painful.

  • Do not sleep on your stomach. Sleep on your back with your spine straight and pillows under your knees or on your side with your knees bent.  Your neck should be slightly curved with a small pillow under it, which also frequently helps with severe headaches.

  • Do not hold in a sneeze, as this creates extra pressure on the internally injured areas leading to more pain.

  • The use or non-use of pain medications, either over the counter or prescription, are at your own discretion.  In extreme circumstances, don’t be afraid to contact the emergency room immediately.  Contact us as soon as our office reopens.

In general, these procedures and advice will help see you through an acute injury or flare-up of an existing injury until you can contact us.

For more information about how chiropractic may be able to help you resolve your pain issues, please go to http://www.DrJackAdrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

WHAT KIND OF MATTRESS SHOULD I BUY?

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Selecting The Proper Mattress For You

Note from ChiroCenter: Many patients ask our advice as to the best kind of mattress to buy for themselves and/or their families.  “Which would you buy, doctor?”  While all chiropractors have their personal preference, it’s important to understand that most advice provided by any doctor in any branch of healthcare is usually based upon their personal preference.

It’s also important to understand that a mattress is the single-most piece of furniture in a home that an individual will spend their most time with – approximately 1/3rd of your life or about 8 hours a day.  So, above all it’s important to be happy with it.

Your mattress can be your “best friend” or your “worst enemy.”  In general, support and comfort are the two major things to consider when purchasing a mattress.  After those two things have been considered, purchase the best one you can afford.

Some of the better mattresses can cost over $2,000.  While this represents a considerable investment, most really good mattress can last upwards of 20 years if properly cared for.  20 years divided by 365 days per year equals 7,300 nights, or approximately 3.5 cents per night, so it’s important to keep price in perspective.

With this in mind, ChiroCenter offers this reprint of an article written in Consumer Reports Magazine in May of 2010, which offers comparison and advice on how to purchase a mattress.  We did not write this articleWe are merely passing it on to you.

Consumer Reports, May 2010

Buying a mattress is one challenge in life that you should take lying down. Though salespeople might tout a particular design or technology, the best mattress for you is the one you find most comfortable and supportive, and the only way to know for sure is to try some out.

Mattress shopping is further complicated by the pricing games manufacturers and retailers play. Markups are so high that stores routinely announce “sales” of 50 percent or more off.   So if you don’t time it right, you can end up overpaying by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Different stores might also sell similar beds under different names to thwart comparison shopping. Those practices are hardly new; we have criticized them for years as a disservice to consumers, perhaps the worst for any major household purchase.

To cut through the hype, we cut through 11 firm mattresses from the big three brands, Sealy, Serta, and Simmons. We also tested Select Comfort (adjustable air) and Tempur-Pedic (memory foam).   Before we started our dissection, 54 staffers participated in blind rest tests of the mattresses, assessing each for comfort. The role played by personal preference, as well as store-to-store product differences, make it impossible for us to rate mattresses in the same way we do cars, TVs, and kitchen appliances, but we did glean information that can help you make the right choice.

WHAT WE FOUND

Within brands, the innerspring mattresses we dissected were fairly similar inside, regardless of price, and they came with the same foundation, or box spring.   Most innerspring products bearing the same brand name incorporated the same coil design, though we observed differences in the ticking, or outer fabric; stitching patterns and design; and padding.  Some pricier models had a higher coil count, but that’s no big deal. All of the mattresses we examined had more than enough coils to provide adequate support.

In our panelists’ tests, every mattress had supporters and detractors, regardless of what we paid. Overall, panelists judged all of the mattresses at least moderately comfortable on average.  Panelists perceived the Sealy Posturepedic Reserve Spring Blossom Cushion Firm (Sears), approximate retail $1,800, as slightly more comfortable, and the Tempur-Pedic ClassicBed Advantage, $2,100, and Sealy Posturepedic Reserve Loring Park Firm (Macy’s), $1,730, a bit less so.  But the differences were slight and far from unanimous.

Our panelists were especially divided on the memory-foam mattresses, which use your body’s heat to help conform the foam to your contours.  Forty-eight percent of panelists who tried the Tempur-Pedic liked that feeling, but 36 percent didn’t.  Don’t automatically dismiss memory foam based on your assessment of one bed. Some panelists who were critical of the Tempur-Pedic didn’t find the Sealy Comfort Series Blue Lake Firm (Sears, $2,120), another memory-foam mattress, as objectionable.

The bottom line from both sets of tests:  If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

HOW TO CHOOSE

If your mattress is at least eight years old and you’re not sleeping as well as you used to or are waking up with aches and pains, it might be time for a replacement. But first be sure that your bed is at fault by ruling out other common causes of sleeplessness, such as anxiety, stress, and habits such as consuming caffeine or snacking too close to bedtime.

The best mattress for your back will support your spine at all points while allowing it to maintain its natural curve, according to Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics and director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Laboratory at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.  If you sleep on your side, for example, it should let your shoulders and hips sink in while it fills in your body’s curves.

Any new mattress will probably be better than your old one.  In a survey of Consumer Reports online subscribers last year, 72 percent said their new bed was an improvement.  If you decide it’s time to go mattress shopping, here’s what to do:

Pick a Size

Couples often choose a queen-size bed, according to industry data. It measures about 60×80 inches and provides substantially more personal space than a full-size one (about 53×75 inches).  A king-size mattress measures about 76×80 inches.

Consider the Type

Innerspring models are the best sellers. If it’s been a while since you bought one, the major change you’ll see is that they’re now one-sided and no longer have to be flipped to extend their useful life (though it’s still a good idea to rotate them from time to time).

Solid-foam mattresses, either a single block of foam or several layers of different types laminated together, also offer a wide choice of “feels.” Some are memory foam, and some aren’t.  Michael Breus, a sleep specialist who is board-certified in clinical sleep disorders, says you might want to avoid a memory-foam mattress if you sleep “hot,” that is, tend to be warm in bed, because the foam can make you feel hotter. Latex foam, on the other hand, is more resilient and might offer better ventilation.

An inflatable air bed such as Select Comfort’s allows you to adjust the firmness level on each side with an electric pump.  Forty-percent of our panelists who tried the Select Comfort Sleep Number Performance Series P5, $2,000, liked that feature, but some thought the pump system was noisy and should have come with a second controller for their partner’s side.

Work Your Way Up the Price Ladder

In the showroom, try out various mattress brands, starting with their less expensive models. Once you find a bed you like, look at others in that price range, and stop there. There’s little reason to buy any higher up a manufacturer’s line.

Evaluate the Bed

The best way to judge a mattress is to wear comfy clothes, remove your shoes, and lie down on it for at least five minutes in each of your sleeping positions.  Breus says it takes at least 15 minutes for your body to relax sufficiently to accurately judge comfort.

Haggle for a Better Deal

With so much price variability, there’s usually room to negotiate.   Among the mattress buyers we surveyed last year, 72 percent who tried to negotiate for a lower price were successful.

Inspect it on Arrival

Lie on the mattress to be sure it is what you expected, and check it and the box spring for damage. If you discover any damage, as we did in several cases, you should refuse delivery and ask for a new one.

8 MATTRESS MYSTERIES

Consumer Reports gets hundreds of mattress questions from readers each year. We put some of the most frequent ones to our in-house experts and our consultant on this project, who has worked in research and development, manufacturing, and product design for several major mattress companies.

1.  Why do mattresses cost so much?

Because they carry hefty markups.   In a furniture store, for example, the margins are usually higher for mattresses than any other product.  Mainstream innerspring mattress sets from major labels carry gross profit margins of 30 to 40 percent each for wholesalers and retailers.  More luxurious models are even bigger moneymakers, with margins for the retailer of around 50 percent.

2.  What’s the difference between a $2,000 mattress and a $1,000 one?

Less than you might think.  Generally speaking, you get more of the same, maybe six inches of cushioning instead of four, more coils, heavier wire, fancier fabric, and extra support around the edge or lumbar region.   A lot of the niceties are overkill for many people.   A queen-size mattress set from a major manufacturer with a list price of $1,000 is a satisfactory product that should last most people eight to 10 years, the same as a pricier model.

3.  Are those really cheap mattresses advertised in store ads worth considering?

Probably not for everyday use.  They often skimp on support and comfort, even durability.  The padding might be so thin that you can feel the springs. Often, the foams and fabrics are of an inferior quality.  The spring systems are usually just enough to get by. Stores use promotional or sub-premium mattresses to draw customers in and up-sell them to a fancier model.

4.  What’s most likely to go wrong with a mattress?

Most of the time it’s the cushioning materials.  Plush pillow-tops and euro tops, which add layers of foam and other soft padding to the top, are usually more prone to sagging and indentations.  Also, king-size mattresses can get a ridge down the center (head to foot) because their foundations come in two pieces.

5.  How can someone return a defective mattress?

Call the retailer where you bought it or the mattress manufacturer.  But bear in mind that aside from obvious flaws such as a broken spring or ripped seam, a mattress has to sag at least 1½ inches before it’s considered defective and eligible for replacement.  If you file a claim, the manufacturer will send a representative to your home to measure the indentation.  An estimated 5 percent to 8 percent of new big-brand mattresses are returned either because the mattress was defective, damaged in delivery, or just plain uncomfortable.

6.  Will pairing an old foundation with a new mattress void the warranty?

Not necessarily, but check with the store or manufacturer.   As long as it’s in good shape-no cracks, rips, warps, or dips-the old foundation ought to provide adequate mattress support and perform as it’s supposed to.  But when in doubt, replace it.

7.  What’s the difference between the warranty and comfort guarantee?

A warranty covers manufacturing defects, while a comfort guarantee allows dissatisfied consumers the opportunity to exchange a mattress if it doesn’t live up to expectations, typically within 21 to 100 days. But note that most comfort guarantees carry a penalty of as much as $400 or 15 percent of the purchase price, and there could also be a redelivery charge.  So be sure to ask.

The models we tested from Sealy, Serta, and Simmons offered a non-prorated 10-year warranty; the Select Comfort and Tempur-Pedic warranties were for 20 years. The Select Comfort warranty was prorated after a few years, and the Tempur-Pedic was prorated after 10.  Prorating refers to a warranty that covers less and less of the original purchase price the longer you’ve owned the mattress.  If your mattress is stained, that could also void the warranty.

8.  Are all mattresses flame-retardant?

They should be.  On July 1, 2007, the first new federal flammability regulation for mattresses in more than 30 years took effect, requiring all mattresses to have a much slower burn rate if they’re ignited by a lighter, match, or candle. That’s supposed to allow you more time to discover a mattress fire and escape from it.

For more information about how chiropractic may be able to help you, please go to http://www.DrJackAdrian.com

Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.