Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Common Cause of Low Back Pain


We see patients every day who have injured their backs in various ways.  However, there always seems to be a common theme to almost all of the low back injuries.  Whether the pain is a 2/10 or a 10/10, it was almost always due to an overuse injury of some kind.  Usually, people can pinpoint the exact moment their back began hurting and what caused it.  These are the easier cases to treat since we now understand the mechanism of injury.  The more difficult cases are when the pain begins as an "ache" and slowly gains momentum until the patient can no longer function without experiencing pain.  It's harder to determine what exactly started the pain, thus the mechanism is harder to understand and treat. 

If you ever start experiencing back pain, try to remember what activities you did the days leading up to the first sign of pain.  This will always help us to better diagnose and treat you.  If we know what you were doing before the pain began, we can understand which muscles were being used and in which way.  This helps to determine which muscles might have become overused and which muscles are part of the compensatory mechanism.  The types of activities to be aware of can include working around the house or yard (or some other activity that you do not normally do), changing your workout (going from elliptical to stationary bike or trying a new workout class or video), driving for long periods of time, sitting for long periods of time, or any other activity that is not part of your normal routine. 

Sometimes patients have a hard time determining if they have done anything abnormal.  Honestly, it can be as simple as picking up a small child off the floor.  This can be the "straw that broke the camel's back".  You may have had an overuse injury lingering for a long period of time causing stress in the low back muscles, specifically the lumbar spine erectors and when you reached down to pick up the small child, it created just enough stress to put those muscles into spasm.  The injury did not occur because you picked up the child.  The injury occurred because of a long standing problem of overusing the erectors in some other way.  It could be that you sit at a desk all day long, or have a long commute to and from work.  There are hundreds of different ways to overuse these muscles, so it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is causing the overuse.

The best treatment is to treat the actual overuse problem.  If you can stabilize and strengthen the correct muscles and learn to stretch and relax the compensatory muscles, you can remain pain free for a very long time.  So, the next time you experience some low back discomfort, start taking notes as to what you have been doing for the few days leading up to the pain beginning.  Then give our office a call, bring in your notes, and we can start to figure out what exactly is causing your pain and get you back to a pain free life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tight Hamstrings

Probably one of the most common questions I get asked is how to get rid of tight hamstrings.  People always tell me they stretch and stretch and stretch and still they suffer from pulling and tightness in the hamstrings.  First of all, I know most people do not spend their entire day stretching their hamstrings, and if they do and the hamstring is still tight, then maybe the problem is not the hamstring.  Maybe, the problem lies somewhere else.  We have found that more times than not, the hamstrings are so tight because they are compensating for another muscle.  It may be as simple as figuring out which muscle is not working properly and that will usually allow the hamstring to finally loosen up.  Once the hamstring is responsive to stretching, I recommend stretching the hamstrings 2-5 times per day for a few weeks.  This is something that we can treat in our office, so if you have any questions, don't hesitate to call.  We are able to figure out which muscle is not working correctly and also give you proper stretches for the hamstrings. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Purification Success Story - MM

Here's my testimony of this great journey.

When I started the detox program my intention was to balance my sugar and perhaps loose a bit of weight, for I had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. I love my carbs, my meat, and my sugar, but I'm not an exercise lover. The first week was hard and I really missed the bread and the meat, specially when I was challenged at different festive events where healthy food was not served. After the second week, I started noticing the changes. I started sleeping through the night like a baby without waking up. Now, I am not craving the sugar or carbs anymore. I stopped trembling when I get hungry, and I'm consuming more fish than meat.  I started walking every day and I now my clothes are fitting bigger on me. I have so much energy to do things, when before I needed a nap every day after work just to get a second wind for the evening. For years I had intestinal and acid reflux issues and now they are gone. My skin and my hair look better and feel soft. I took allergy pills every day for many years and I have not taken one allergy pill since I started the program.I feel very light and great about myself! I only crave all good and healthy foods, I'm reading labels, which I never thought I would be doing. I stopped making excuses for not eating healthy. I'm learning to listen to my body and know the discomforts of eating the wrong foods. I am so glad I decided to take this journey, for it has been the hardest and greatest thing I've ever done in my life.

According to my last evaluation, I have lost 18 lbs., this is a huge accomplishment for me. My goal is to keep a healthy lifestyle.

Thank you Tiffany for the support!

MM