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9 Risk Factors for Developing Sciatica

Posted on 20 January, 2020 at 6:50 Comments comments (1)

Sciatica is a common pain problem that affects about 5% of adults. Sciatica is a symptom rather than a specific diagnosis: sciatic pain can have a number of different causes, and getting a proper diagnosis is key in getting relief from this condition.

 

While pinpointing the root cause of sciatica can be challenging, the medical research has established the factors that increase the risk of a person developing sciatic nerve pain.

 


Here are the nine most common risk factors for developing sciatica:

 

1. Aging

 

As we get older, we lose flexibility and it takes us longer for our body to heal from injuries. One of the most common types of pain associated with aging is lower back pain, and back pain is very closely linked to sciatica.1,2

 

2. History of Low Back Pain

 

Research shows that patients who have problems with low back pain are more likely to eventually develop sciatica. Low back pain can result in a general inflammation in the lumbar spine, and this can start to spread to the sciatic nerve.

 

3. Smoking

 

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health, and it’s also clear that smokers are more likely to suffer from back pain and sciatica.3

 

Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs and cardiovascular system; it’s also associated with inflammation, poor circulation, and a weakened immune system. This makes it harder for your body to function properly and makes it more difficult for your body to heal from injuries.

 

4. Overall Poor Health

 

Wellness is about flexibility and movement, and if our general health is poor, it’s difficult to stay active and healthy. Research shows that physical fitness is a great way to prevent and treat back pain.4

 

In addition, poor cardiovascular health is closely associated with a general inflammatory response in the body, which also increases the chances of musculoskeletal pain and sciatica.5

 

5. Obesity

 

Being overweight is one of the strongest predictors of back pain and other musculoskeletal problems, including sciatica.

 

Research shows that adipose tissue actually creates inflammatory markers which can affect our whole body, including our cardiovascular and nervous system. Remember: all sciatica pain is caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve, and sciatica is more likely if your whole body is in an inflammatory state.

 

6. Work-Related Injuries

 

Repetitive movements or being too sedentary are detrimental to your musculoskeletal health, and this holds true for sciatica, as well.

 

Studies show that work-related activities can lead to sciatic nerve pain. Here are a few of the work conditions that have been associated with sciatica in the medical literature:

 

Standing or walking for long stretches.

Driving for long periods of time.

Pulling or kneeling for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Whole-body vibration.

If your work includes any of these activities, it’s critical to take breaks frequently, rest, and stretch a bit to prevent muscle injury and pain.

 

7. Sleep Problems

 

Research shows that poor sleep quality is associated with back pain and sciatica. This is a difficult issue, as poor sleep is also associated with other health issues, such as poor general health, obesity, and chronic pain. Sleep dysfunction is also associated with generalized inflammation, which is also linked to chronic pain.

 

8. Direct Injury

 

Less frequently, sciatica can be caused by an injury to the hip or buttocks, resulting in pain. One example of this would be sitting on a bulky wallet, which puts pressure on the nerve directly.

 

9. Psychological Distress

 

Low back pain and sciatica are linked to stress, as well. Monotonous or unsatisfying work and general stress can lead to chronic musculoskeletal pain.

 

A Whole Body Approach to Recovery

 

As you can see, many different factors play a role in the development of sciatica. Typically, it’s not just a single issue that results in pain, but a combination of factors. That’s why the most effective treatment and prevention of future episodes require a whole-body approach that looks at the root cause of your pain.

 

Medical References

 

Cook CE, Taylor J, Wright A, Milosavljevic S, Goode A, Whitford M. Risk factors for first time incidence sciatica: a systematic review. Physiotherapy Research International 2014 Jun;19(2):65-78. doi: 10.1002/pri.1572. Epub 2013 Dec 11. Review. PubMed PMID: 24327326.

Parreira P, Maher CG, Steffens D, Hancock MJ, Ferreira ML. Risk factors for low back pain and sciatica: an umbrella review. Spine J. 2018 Sep;18(9):1715-1721. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2018.05.018. Epub 2018 May 21. Review. PubMed PMID: 29792997.

Lee J, Taneja V, Vassallo R. Cigarette smoking and inflammation: cellular and molecular mechanisms. Journal of Dental Research 2012;91(2):142-9.

Gordon R, Bloxham S. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain. Healthcare (Basel). 2016;4(2):22. Published 2016 Apr 25. doi:10.3390/healthcare4020022

da Cruz Fernandes IM, Pinto RZ, Ferreira P, Lira FS. Low back pain, obesity, and inflammatory markers: exercise as potential treatment. J Exerc Rehabil. 2018;14(2):168-174. Published 2018 Apr 26. doi:10.12965/jer.1836070.035

8 Reasons Why Chiropractic is best for Back Pain

Posted on 16 December, 2019 at 6:20 Comments comments (0)

Low back pain is an expensive and frustrating problem for many adults. Nearly 80% of adults suffer from some kind of back problem and the total cost of this common health condition is about $240 billion a year in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

Many patients get frustrated by medical care for their pain. Most medical doctors simply don’t have the time to work with a patient with musculoskeletal complaints, and the most common treatments are medications and maybe some home exercises.

Millions of people use chiropractic care to help themselves stay pain-free. Chiropractic uses spinal adjustments to restore your back’s natural function and flexibility, and is a fantastic choice for relieving and preventing back pain.

Here are eight reasons why chiropractic is a great solution for back pain:

Chiropractic patients are less likely to use medications. The opiate epidemic in the US takes 150,000 lives every year, and many people are first exposed to these dangerous drugs after being prescribed them for back pain. Research shows that patients who see chiropractors are less likely to use drugs for their pain. That means fewer side-effects from medications and a dramatically reduced chance of getting addicted to pain medications.1

Chiropractic is effective for acute pain. It is well-established in the scientific literature that chiropractic adjustments are an effective way to relieve new episodes of back pain. In fact, a review study2 by the AMA has found that chiropractic was an effective option for new episodes of back pain.

Chiropractic is effective for chronic back pain. Research shows3 that chiropractic is also useful for patients who have been suffering from back pain for months or even years.

Chiropractic is safe. Every intervention is going to have some risk, and this is true of chiropractic, as well. But the research4 shows that the vast majority of negative effects from chiropractic involve muscle soreness or pain that lasts a few hours after the adjustment. Compared to the ill effects of drugs or surgery, chiropractic is a much safer and effective approach to musculoskeletal pain. Research also shows that chiropractic care is safe for children.

Chiropractic helps prevent future episodes of back pain. The philosophy of chiropractic is not to treat the symptoms, but to restore the body’s balance and function so that you can avoid future pain. The research5 backs this up, showing that regular chiropractic maintenance adjustments are effective at preventing future back problems.

Chiropractic is less expensive than medical care. We’re all aware of the outrageous costs of medical care, and we all want to have health care that’s effective and affordable. Chiropractic fits the bill in both regards. A number of studies6 have found that chiropractic for back pain costs less than medical care.

Chiropractic can help prevent back surgery. Conservative, non-surgical care is always the preferred first step when dealing with low back pain, and even the American Medical Association7 has admitted that chiropractic adjustments are a good first line of treatment.

Chiropractic is a whole-body approach. Most chiropractors don’t just adjust your spine and send you on your way. Chiropractic is about maintaining your body’s wellness, and that includes exercises and stretches that will help you be stronger, more flexible, and help prevent later episodes of back pain.

You don’t have to suffer from low back pain. Chiropractic is a natural, non-drug treatment that’s proven to be safe and effective.

Why Chiropractic is Superior for Musculoskeletal Pain

Posted on 18 November, 2019 at 6:45 Comments comments (0)

Countless studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to treat musculoskeletal complaints like back pain, neck pain, or sciatica. Now a new study from Switzerland has looked at the relative benefits of chiropractic compared to medical care for the most common types of pain issues.

 

In this study, the authors examined data from people who reported spinal, hip, or shoulder pain. 403 patients saw a medical doctor for relief; 316 people saw a chiropractor. Four months after treatment, the patients were asked to fill out a survey reporting on their recovery.

 

The authors found that:

 

“Patients initially consulting MDs had significantly less reduction in their numerical pain rating score…”

Patients who saw MDs were significantly less satisfied with the care they received and the outcome of that care.

Patients who saw a chiropractor had significantly lower healthcare costs for their treatment.

The authors conclude that patients should first be sent to a chiropractor for musculoskeletal problems, rather than a medical doctor:

 

“The findings of this study support first-contact care provided by DCs as an alternative to first-contact care provided by MDs for a select number of musculoskeletal conditions. Restrictive models of care in which patients are required to contact a medical provider before consulting a chiropractic provider may be counterproductive for patients experiencing the musculoskeletal conditions investigated and possibly others. In addition to potentially reducing health care costs, direct access to chiropractic care may ease the workload on MDs, particularly in areas with poor medical coverage and hence enabling them to focus on complex cases. The minority of patients with complex health problems initially consulting a chiropractic provider would be referred to, or comanaged with, a medical provider to provide optimal care.”



9 Risk Factors for Developing Sciatica

Posted on 4 November, 2019 at 4:00 Comments comments (0)

Sciatica is a common pain problem that affects about 5% of adults. Sciatica is a symptom rather than a specific diagnosis: sciatic pain can have a number of different causes, and getting a proper diagnosis is key in getting relief from this condition.

While pinpointing the root cause of sciatica can be challenging, the medical research has established the factors that increase the risk of a person developing sciatic nerve pain.

Here are the nine most common risk factors for developing sciatica:

1. Aging

As we get older, we lose flexibility and it takes us longer for our body to heal from injuries. One of the most common types of pain associated with aging is lower back pain, and back pain is very closely linked to sciatica.1,2

2. History of Low Back Pain

Research shows that patients who have problems with low back pain are more likely to eventually develop sciatica. Low back pain can result in a general inflammation in the lumbar spine, and this can start to spread to the sciatic nerve.

3. Smoking

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health, and it’s also clear that smokers are more likely to suffer from back pain and sciatica.3

Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs and cardiovascular system; it’s also associated with inflammation, poor circulation, and a weakened immune system. This makes it harder for your body to function properly and makes it more difficult for your body to heal from injuries.

4. Overall Poor Health

Wellness is about flexibility and movement, and if our general health is poor, it’s difficult to stay active and healthy. Research shows that physical fitness is a great way to prevent and treat back pain.4 

In addition, poor cardiovascular health is closely associated with a general inflammatory response in the body, which also increases the chances of musculoskeletal pain and sciatica.5

5. Obesity

Being overweight is one of the strongest predictors of back pain and other musculoskeletal problems, including sciatica.

Research shows that adipose tissue actually creates inflammatory markers which can affect our whole body, including our cardiovascular and nervous system. Remember: all sciatica pain is caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve, and sciatica is more likely if your whole body is in an inflammatory state.

6. Work-Related Injuries

Repetitive movements or being too sedentary are detrimental to your musculoskeletal health, and this holds true for sciatica, as well.

Studies show that work-related activities can lead to sciatic nerve pain. Here are a few of the work conditions that have been associated with sciatica in the medical literature:

Standing or walking for long stretches.

Driving for long periods of time.

Pulling or kneeling for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Whole-body vibration.

If your work includes any of these activities, it’s critical to take breaks frequently, rest, and stretch a bit to prevent muscle injury and pain.

7. Sleep Problems

Research shows that poor sleep quality is associated with back pain and sciatica. This is a difficult issue, as poor sleep is also associated with other health issues, such as poor general health, obesity, and chronic pain. Sleep dysfunction is also associated with generalized inflammation, which is also linked to chronic pain.

8. Direct Injury

Less frequently, sciatica can be caused by an injury to the hip or buttocks, resulting in pain. One example of this would be sitting on a bulky wallet, which puts pressure on the nerve directly.

9. Psychological Distress

Low back pain and sciatica are linked to stress, as well. Monotonous or unsatisfying work and general stress can lead to chronic musculoskeletal pain.

A Whole Body Approach to Recovery

As you can see, many different factors play a role in the development of sciatica. Typically, it’s not just a single issue that results in pain, but a combination of factors. That’s why the most effective treatment and prevention of future episodes require a whole-body approach that looks at the root cause of your pain.

Chiropractic for Sports-related Elbow Pain

Posted on 21 October, 2019 at 4:25 Comments comments (0)

A new study demonstrates how chiropractic care provided significant pain relief for a basketball player with an elbow injury.

The case study, published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, involved a 41-year old man who had fallen on his left elbow during a game of basketball five weeks prior. The man reported moderate pain, and could not play basketball or perform other activities involving his left elbow without experiencing pain. After a physical examination, it was discovered that not only did the patient show signs of tendon injury in the elbow, he also had dysfunctional segments in the mid-back (thoracic spine), along with a forward shoulder posturing.

The patient was treated with multimodal chiropractic care which included high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation of the thoracic spine, as well as acupuncture and Active Release Technique applied to the elbow. Active Release Technique is a specific soft tissue therapy in which the practitioner applies deep tension to an area of tenderness as the patient actively moves the tissue through specific movements in order to release fibrous adhesions. The patient was also prescribed home exercises following the Brugger’s exercise protocol to address postural dysfunction.

One week after receiving his first session of the multimodal chiropractic care, the patient reported a near resolution of symptoms. His pain had dropped from a 5 out of 10 to a 1 out of 10, and he said he felt he could engage in his regular recreational activities with only minimal pain. His relief remained constant at the six-month follow-up. No adverse events were reported.

Although this study specifically examined the effects of chiropractic for an acute elbow tendon injury, chiropractic care can also help with chronic elbow pain caused by repetitive motions, like tennis elbow.


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