What Bones and Joints are in my Back?

Nearly 30% of our joints in our entire body are found in our spine. The bones of our spine are called vertebrae and most of them are shaped like short cylinders with a bony arch on the back side that surrounds the spinal cord and spiny projections coming from the arch where muscles attach.  There are 7 vertebrae that make up the cervical (neck) region and 12 that make up the thoracic (mid-back) region. Attaching to the thoracic vertebrae are our 12 ribs that house our heart and lungs. Making up our lumbar (low back) region are 5 larger vertebrae. Below that are 5 vertebrae and another set of 4 that have fused during adolescence to form the sacrum and coccyx respectively. Some of us may have one more or one less vertebrae in any region due to natural variations.

Sandwiched between each of our unfused vertebrae, with exception of the the first two cervical vertebrae, are intervertebral discs that are rings of firm rubbery material with a gelatinous middle, something like a jelly doughnut. (By the way, these are the most Primal sandwiches and jelly doughnuts you’ll ever come across!). These discs provide shock absorption and, along with spinal ligaments that connect each vertebrae to the next, allow our spine to bend or rotate and then come back to a resting position.

 

How Chiropractic Helps Improve Circulation

Did you know that regular chiropractic care can improve the body’s circulation?  Many people think of chiropractors as only “back doctors”. Although it is true that chiropractors spend a good part of their day treating neck and back pain, the whole body benefits from regular chiropractic care. One of the body’s systems that may improve with chiropractic care is the circulatory system.

Blood flow to the brain, as most people can imagine, is critically important. Nausea, dizziness, fainting and migraine headaches can be caused by reduced cerebral blood flow (called hypoperfusion). Reduced circulation can damage your brain’s cells, due to the reduction of nutrients and oxygen. Decreased blood flow can also lead to an increased risk of cell death, stroke and dementia. Cerebral hypoperfusion may cause other disorders as well, including hearing, visual and spatial problems.

A recent study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics has shown that there is an association between vertebral subluxations, neck pain and cerebral hypoperfusion.

The study was performed on 45 people who had chronic upper back pain, neck pain, or both. The study subjects were examined and assessed for neck pain by using a standard scale, the Neck Disability Index (NDI).

Subjects’ brains were then scanned using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), which creates imaging of the brain’s blood flow. Patients were also examined to determine the number of vertebrae that were out of alignment.

Subjects were consequently put into one of three groups, based on their NDI scores: mild, moderate and severe.

 

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Chiropractic Care for Back Pain

Among people seeking back pain relief alternatives, most choose chiropractic treatment. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 7.7 million, or 35%, are seeking relief from back pain from various causes, including accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Other complaints include pain in the neck, arms, and legs, and headaches.

What Is Chiropractic?

Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments, the theory being that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, will enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation is used to restore mobility to joints restricted by tissue injury caused by a traumatic event, such as falling, or repetitive stress, such as sitting without proper back support.

Chiropractic is primarily used as a pain relief alternative for muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue, such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. It is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.

The initials “DC” identify a chiropractor, whose education typically includes an undergraduate degree plus four years of chiropractic college.

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Back Pain Facts & Statistics

Although chiropractors care for more than just back pain, many patients visit chiropractors looking for relief from this pervasive condition.  In fact, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.1

A few interesting facts about back pain:

  • Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
  • One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.2
  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
  • Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
  • Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.3
  • Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.4

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What Chiropractic Patients Should Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

If you find yourself becoming depressed, increasingly irritable and suffering from more bouts of insomnia as winter approaches, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Your risk of having this condition increases the further you get from the equator.

The prevalence of SAD is estimated to be only 1.4 percent in Florida, but jumps to 9.7 percent in New Hampshire. Although it is not listed as a mental disorder in itself, it is categorized as a specific type of depression.

Dr. Norman Rosenthal was the first researcher to study and name this phenomenon, motivated by his desire to understand what caused his depression in the long dark days of the northern winters. Rosenthal and colleagues conducted a placebo-controlled study of SAD that used light therapy, which was found to be effective in alleviating some of the symptoms of SAD.

Although the exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, scientists believe that the hypothalamus is negatively affected by the relative lack of sunlight in more northern latitudes (or more southern latitudes for people in the southern hemisphere). The hypothalamus regulates our circadian rhythm and produces the hormones that influence sleep, mood and appetite.

Some of the most common warning signs of seasonal affective disorder include can be found here

Improve your Body’s Physical Function with Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic adjustment is defined as a procedure in which chiropractors use their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint.  Chiropractic adjustment is also referred to as spinal manipulation.  The goal of chiropractic adjustment is to correct structural alignment.  Chiropractic care helps to improve your body’s physical function.

Chiropractic care can be effective in treating lower back pain.  Studies suggest that chiropractic treatment also may be effective for those suffering fro headaches, and other spine-related conditions, such as neck pain. Chiropractic treatment helps to improve your body’s physical function by promoting self-healing.  No preparation is required before a chiropractic adjustment.  Some patients may require a series of visits to your chiropractor.

To find out how chiropractic care can help improve your physical function, contact Lavanga Chiropractic today!

Chiropractic care may ease back-related leg pain

People with leg pain related to back problems had more short-term relief if they received chiropractic care along with exercise and advice, rather than exercise and advice alone, a new study has found.

Patients with back-related leg pain, such as sciatica, are usually treated with prescription medications, injections and surgery.

Increasingly, spinal manipulative therapy by chiropractors, exercise and self-management are being recommended as low-risk strategies for back-related leg pain, but good research studies have been lacking, experts say.

“Spinal manipulation combined with home exercise may be worth trying for those with back-related leg pain that has lasted more than four weeks,” Gert Bronfort told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

Bronfort, who led the study, is a researcher with the Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“This combination resulted in advantages in pain reduction, disability, global improvement, satisfaction, medication use and general physical health status after 12 weeks,” he said.

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Bench Pressing and Upper Body Muscle Activation

To efficiently develop muscle mass and strength while bench pressing muscular activation is essential. Authors at the European Journal of Sport Science sought out to discover the effects of muscle activation during bench pressing at various degrees. The degrees being, 0, 30, 45, and -15. If greater or lesser angles can enhance muscle activation, then those result will enable lifters to plan successful exercise programs.

What they found was that at a bench incline of 30 or 45 degrees the result was increased muscle activation, this provided insight into effective adaptations in the benches angle to optimize strength and tone. The concluded that “the present investigation demonstrate(s) the importance of considering the effects of muscle activation throughout different time points of the contraction/lift as variations may be evident…in an effort to optimize a resistance-training program with the goal of improving muscle strength and development of the pectoralis major, it would be beneficial to include horizontal bench press and an incline bench of 30 degrees.”

The study consisted of 14 resistance trained participants who undertook 2 training sessions. The first session they were asked to complete a one rep max. For the second session they were fitted with electrodes to assess the activation within muscles. They completes 6 reps for each of the four angles at a resistance of 65% of their one rep max. Effects of the angle of the bench were noted and the duration of muscle contraction and the contraction phase of the upper and lower pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and lateral triceps brachii were observed.

If you have any questions regarding upper body muscle activation or are experiencing upper body pain, contact Lavanga Chiropractic today!

Deliciously Deceptive Kale Hummus

Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free

 

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp tahini

3 cloves garlic

2-3 cups kale leaves, stems removed

2 tbsp lemon juice

¼-1/2 cup vegetable broth

1 ¼ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp pepper

 

COMBINE all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until smooth. Start with ¼ cup of the broth, adding a tbsp at a time until smooth. 

Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve with: cut vegetables or your favorite chip.

Can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week.

The Health Benefits of Walking

With today’s fast paced lifestyle and culture, it is sometimes easy to miss out on the simple things in life that will have a positive effect on your health: meditation, yoga, healthy eating and most importantly walking.  Most of us walk in some way, shape or form every day.  We walk to and from the car, around the office or at work, around the house – but do just as many of us walk for our health?  Some people take walks to clear their heads and have some alone time while others take group walks to catch up with friends or family as a way to stay in touch!

Walking has many positive impacts on your health and well being that have little to do with weight.  Taking a daily walk, even as slow as two miles per hour, can improve heart health and cardiovascular endurance!  The average adult is suggested to require 10,000 steps per day – minimum.  This seems like a LOT of work; however, taking a stroll at your lunch hour at work can take up a large chunk of those steps!  Most smart phones are even compatible with apps to track these steps.  Maintaining good posture during these walks will also improve your muscles required to maintain good posture while sitting and other non-walking activities!

For those who aren’t used to a more aggressive exercise regimen, walking is a great place to start!  Take the time you need and the pace that is (not too) simple for you and get started.  As with all exercise, consult with your doctor prior to starting a new regimen.  Contact Lavanga Chiropractic today to assist with your plan today!