Introduction to Cold Laser Therapy

If you are experiencing problems with chronic inflammation or painful arthritis, you may be surprised if your doctor offers you the option of laser therapy. Don’t be alarmed: you won’t be facing a bizarre device that looks like it was used in the latest science fiction movie. Your physician is actually on the cutting edge of medicine by deciding to implement the use of cold laser therapy.

cold-laser-therapyCold laser therapy is a method of medical treatment that is nor commonly known by most individuals. Although it has been in use for years, you may have never heard of it. When most people think of laser surgery, they picture the operating room, where a surgeon is using a laser to cut into the body of a patient during surgery. And although there are special lasers that are used in invasive surgical procedures, that is a totally different type of laser altogether.

So what is a laser? Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.(1) A laser is, essentially, a beam of light. High energy is concentrated within that beam of light. As the light is focused in a particular area of the body, the light is absorbed by the body’s mitochondria; this leads to a chain reaction, causing the body’s natural healing ability to accelerate. More and more physicians and other medical professionals are using the technology of cold laser therapy in their treatment of a variety of medical ailments.

Cold laser therapy uses low power light in order to stimulate the healing process. (2) Cold laser therapy is used in many different medical applications, as will be explored in this article.

What is Cold Laser Therapy? (also called low level laser therapy)

Cold laser therapy, also known as low level laser therapy (LLLT), is a type of medical treatment that utilizes a specific type of laser to treat patients suffering from acute or chronic conditions. The laser uses a specific wavelength of light that interacts with the body’s tissue. This type of therapy is believed to speed up the body’s natural healing process, as the light is absorbed by the body’s mitochondria, which increases the energy production within the cells. (3)

What Are the Classes of Cold Lasers?

The F.D.A. has classified medical lasers into categories of surgical vs. non-surgical. Class 3A and 3B are non-surgical lasers: they cannot be used to cut tissue. Class 3A lasers are used to aid in the healing of superficial wounds and are generally not used to penetrate beneath the surface of the skin. Class 3B lasers, however, are designed to penetrate through the skin where they can aid in healing deep tissue and joint issues. (4)

What is Cold Laser Therapy Used For?

There is a wide variety of medical applications that can benefit from the use of low level light therapy. Since LLLT is a non-invasive treatment option, many medical professionals are jumping onboard and using it in their practices.

For dentists, the cold laser can aid in treatment of mouth sores and ulcers, hastening the healing process. They are also finding it is useful in the treatment of pain from Temporomandibular Joint Injury (TMJ). Dentists and oral surgeons are using LLLT following extractions to reduce swelling and hasten the healing time. It is used in cases of dry socket, and it is used following dental implants. (5) More and more dentists are finding the cold laser therapy can greatly enhance their ability to offer relief to their dental patients.

For pain management clinicians, cold laser therapy is something that can be added to a patient’s pain management plan. Think of it as another layer in the overall care for the individual suffering from chronic pain. Cold laser therapy offers a non-surgical treatment that may provide greatly needed relief for patients.

For the family doctor, cold laser therapy enables the physician to find an innovative way to enhance medical care for the patients. For the woman suffering from arthritis, cold laser therapy can provide relief by decreasing inflammation. For the high school athlete, the physician can treat sports-related injuries by decreasing inflammation and by enhancing the body’s own ability to heal itself. The applications of cold laser therapy are practically endless, as additional medical specialty groups are finding ways to utilize this technology to help patients feel better.

Pain

The most common reason physicians are consulted in the US is due to pain. With one-third of Americans experiencing chronic pain, physicians are looking for effective treatment options for their patients, while also keeping in mind the need for the lowest risk possible. The common pain therapies in use today include anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, pain medications and surgical intervention. (6)

Keeping all of this in mind, it is clear why physicians are beginning to turn to cold laser therapy as a viable option for patients suffering from chronic pain as well as those suffering from short-term situations when pain is experienced, like in the instance of a muscle strain or whiplash.

In cases where someone is suffering from chronic pain, a medical professional may choose to use cold laser therapy in combination with therapeutic massage in order to decrease chronic pain symptoms. The use of cold laser therapy does not necessarily take the place of other modalities of pain management; instead, it can be used to enhance the treatment of chronic pain.

Pain management clinicians and other medical professionals use cold laser therapy to treat individuals who are suffering from chronic pain. In some instances, cold laser therapy is used in conjunction with therapeutic massage in order to decrease chronic pain symptoms. Cold laser therapy would be another tool for the physician to use to reduce pain.

In chronic pain situations, doctors often recommend medications that reduce swelling, or inflammation. They may also offer pain medication to reduce the level of pain the individual is dealing with on a daily basis. Many pain management clinics can provide steroid injections or even use radiofrequency to decrease sensation in an area of nerve tissue.

There are a variety of circumstances when your physician may suggest the use of cold laser therapy for pain issues. These include:

  • Pain and stiffness from arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (hand/wrist pain)
  • Pain connected with fibromyalgia
  • Pain in the knee
  • Neck pain
  • Tendonitis

Inflammation

 

low-level-laser-therapyCold laser therapy is used by a variety of medical professionals. For example, dentists sometimes use cold lasers when they are treating inflammation in a patient’s mouth; they may also use it to treat mouth ulcers.

Physicians may use cold laser to decrease inflammation from numerous conditions such as arthritis or other situations where inflammation is present. By lowering inflammation, the body’s own healing process can begin.

Inflammation can increase the pain a patient is experiencing. For example, if a patient who suffers from herniated or bulging discs develops inflammation in an area of their spinal column, the inflamed tissue can actually press upon particular nerves, leading to pain that appears in other areas of the body. Inflammation in the lower spine can cause a patient to experience pain that runs down the back of their leg and even all the way down to their foot if the inflammation is impacting the sciatic nerve. Physicians are exploring ways that cold laser therapy can be used to treat a variety of causes of inflammation to determine if they can decrease pain and discomfort their patients are experiencing.

Healing

Some physicians are using cold laser therapy to promote faster healing. By releasing stored energy the cold laser speeds up the cellular repair. It also widens arteries and veins around the injury site, allowing more nutrients to reach the damaged area. Cold laser even improves white blood cell activity. In addition, the laser stimulates collagen, an essential protein that is key in repairing wounds and other injuries. (7)

Physicians may choose to use cold laser therapy to aid in the repair of acute injuries such as:

  • Muscle sprain or strain
  • Repetitive motion-caused injury
  • Sports injuries like tennis elbow, tendonitis, shoulder injuries

The Safety of Cold Laser Therapy

When individuals are offered the option to allow their doctor to utilize cold laser therapy in their treatment, one of the main concerns expressed by patients centers around the safety of the device. The two main issues are the possibility of eye damage and concerns about possible burns resulting from the heat produced by the laser.

Vision Safety

Since lasers produce a high intensity light, your medical provider should advise you that you should not look directly at the laser emitter. Some medical offices will provide the option of wearing safety goggles in order to prevent possible eye injury. (8)

Heat Production

Lasers that are used during actual surgery are used in order to cut, burn and/or vaporize tissue during the surgical procedure. The lasers used in this type of situation are often referred to as hot lasers. This is a different type of laser than the cold laser. In cold laser procedures, the rays of the laser will penetrate the skin but will not burn it. In other words, unlike surgical lasers, the cold laser does not heat up the skin tissues upon which it is focused. Some patients do feel a slight warming in the area being treated, as the increased blood circulation that results may create a mild sensation of warmth.

Other Safety Concerns

Cold lasers should not be used in the general region of the heart in patients who have pacemakers in place; anyone with a pacemaker who is offered the option of cold laser therapy needs to discuss this with their cardiac professional in order to obtain appropriate guidance.

Women who are pregnant should discuss the use of cold lasers with their physician for current recommendations.

There are other guidelines and recommendations for physicians to consider when they are determining whether or not cold laser therapy is appropriate for a particular patient. The treating physician should have the patient’s medical history in mind when deciding if cold laser therapy is appropriate for the individual.

Super Pulsed Cold Lasers (see Multi Radiance Medical)

In addition to the typical low level cold laser, there is a class of LLLTs called super pulsed cold lasers. This type of cold laser emits controlled pulses of light at a high power for a short length of time. The series of controlled pulses is able to better penetrate the skin without burning the body’s tissue.

The benefits of super pulsed cold lasers include:

  • Better penetration. This type of laser achieves enhanced penetration of the skin.
  • Quicker Action. This type of laser is able to act faster than the traditional cold laser.
  • No Heat Sensation. This type of laser uses a series of pulses that are so short in duration that they do not cause any sensation of heat.

What Is The Typical Cold Laser Therapy Regimen?

Keeping in mind that each individual treatment plan will vary greatly, the typical cold laser therapy treatment takes place over a course of weeks. On average, it can take 8 to 30 treatment sessions for maximum effect to be achieved. In some instances, a patient may expect to have 2-4 treatments per week. It is up to your medical professional to determine the frequency of sessions and the length of the overall treatment, which depends upon the type and severity of medical condition under treatment. (9)

Conclusion

If you are considering cold laser therapy, your physician has determined that this therapy should provide beneficial treatment of your particular physical ailment. Make sure that your medical provider is aware of your medical history, and do not be reluctant to ask questions. The use of cold laser therapy is becoming more and more common each day, thanks to its low risk profile and the wide variety of medical ailments that benefit from its use. If your physician or clinician is recommending it for your particular ailment, cold laser therapy may just be the answer to what ails you.

References:

1. https://www.multiradiance.com/chiropractic/faq/faq/

2. https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-laser-therapy#is-it-for-you

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4291815/

4. https://www.chiroeco.com/therapeutic-lasers/

5. https://www.oralhealthgroup.com/features/low-level-laser-therapy-an-untapped-resource-in-the-dental-industry/

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743666/

7. https://www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/physical-therapy/pain-relief-healing-laser-therapy

8. https://www.multiradiance.com/chiropractic/faq/faq/

9. https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/pain-management/cold-laser-therapy-advantages-and-disadvantages

What Are The Most Common Causes of Neck Pain?

neck pain treatment

It is likely that at some point during your lifetime you will experience aches and pains in your neck and cervical spine. Even someone in the best of physical health may experience a traumatic injury to the neck that leads to an acute incident of pain. For others, the natural aging process lends itself to the development of degenerative changes that may end in neck pain. This article will look at some of the main causes of neck pain as well as the symptoms for recognizing such. We will also look at some of the treatment options that may be recommended by medical personnel.

Neck Anatomy and Functions

Let’s begin by looking at some basic cervical spine anatomy. The structure of the neck begins at the top of the thoracic spine and continues up the neck to the base of the skull. Within that small area is found seven vertebrae, nerves, the spinal cord, and the vertebral discs. In addition there are various muscles, tendons and ligaments designed to enable the neck to flex, to turn in different directions, and to hold up the weight of the head.

The vertebrae are made up of small bones that are lined up on top of each other. The vertebrae, starting at the top, are listed as C1, C2 and so on, until you reach the bottom vertebrae, C7. If you have ever been told that you sustained an injury, your physician may have referred to the injury site by its cervical segment location.

The vertebrae are separated by vertebral discs. The discs have three main purposes:

  • They are flexible cushions, acting like shock absorbers
  • They are strong enough to actually connect the spinal vertebrae together
  • They serve as joints, giving the spine a little mobility (1)

Another purpose of the vertebrae in the cervical spine is to protect the spinal cord. There are eight nerve roots that are number C1-C8 in the cervical spine as well, and these nerve roots control specific motor functions and/or sensations in various areas of the body. For example, if there is an injury in the area of the C8 nerve root, which controls part of the function of the hands, pain or numbness could be experienced in the hand.

Now that we have a basic picture of the physical anatomy of the cervical spine, let’s address some causes of neck pain.

Mechanical Neck Pain

 

causes of neck pain

Mechanical neck pain refers to pain that is triggered by movement of the cervical spine itself. The pain results because something is either not functioning properly in the cervical spine or because there is something wrong within the muscles, ligaments, etc. Mechanical neck pain can be acute (resolving within a few weeks) or chronic (lasting 3 months or more). Over 100 million people in the United States, and 1.5 billion people around the world, suffer from chronic pain. (2)

In general, the exact source of the mechanical neck pain is not known, although strains and sprains often contribute towards this type of injury. Some other causes of mechanical pain include:

  • Poor posture
  • Misalignment
  • Strength imbalance
  • Holding head at an odd angle
  • Working for long period of time on computer where monitor is not at proper eye level
  • Repetitive motion (3)

Some mechanical neck pain can resolve itself over time. If a strain or sprain is suspected, applying ice to the affected area may alleviate inflammation. Other treatment options include resting the affected area and applying heat after inflammation has abated to help relax the muscles.

If a physician is consulted, the patient may expect to receive a prescription for anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers or pain medication. In addition, physical therapy may be warranted. In cases of chronic pain, epidural injections or other options may be explored.

Another cause of neck pain may be the discs located in the cervical spine.

Intervertebral Disc Pain

Intervertebral discs are found between the vertebrae, where they act like small shock absorbers. These discs are filled with a jelly-like substance called mucoprotein gel. When the vertebrae move, the gel redistributes itself to absorb pressure caused by the action.

There are several mechanical things that can go wrong with the intervertebral discs, resulting in pain. First we will look at some of the reasons these discs may tear or rupture. Then we will look at the two resulting conditions that can lead to serious pain issues: bulging discs and herniation of the discs.

Why Discs Tear or Rupture

In a typical adult, the gel within the discs are comprised of almost 90% fluid. (4) Over time, the gel gradually decreases. The loss of fluid within the disc decreases the efficiency of the disc’s action as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. You may hear this referred to as degenerative disc disease. As the discs become thinner due to loss of fluid, the space between the vertebrae decreases.

The outer layer of the intervertebral disc will also slowly deteriorate over time. As an individual ages the disc can weaken. If the disc begins to flatten and lose its shape, it can lead to pain issues caused by a bulging disc. A disc could also actually develop small tears or ruptures, which can lead to pain issues causing by a herniated disc.

Bulging Discs

A bulging disc results when there has been a loss of fluid inside the disc but there was no tear in the outer wall. The flattening of the disc caused by the decreased content causes the disc to bulge outward.

The symptoms of a bulging disc in the cervical spine are:

  • Pain
  • Tingling and/or numbness in neck, shoulder, arm, hand, fingers
  • Loss of Fine Motor Skills (in the fingers)
  • Problems with walking can also result from compression of the spinal cord

The treatment for bulging discs in the cervical spine includes the application of ice and heat to the area, pain medication, steroid injections, exercises and/or physical therapy.

In severe cases or cases where several months have passed after conservative treatment options have been exhausted, a physician may want to explore surgical options.

Herniated Discs

neck pain treatment in canton ohio

Herniated discs can result when the outer layer of the disc ruptures and some of the gel actually squeezes out through the tear. The disc can place undue stress on a nerve, causing a pinched nerve.

Symptoms of a pinched nerve include pain at the site of the nerve that is impinged upon as well as tingling and/or numbness in the neck, shoulder, and arm.

Treatment for a pinched nerve can include:

  • Rest
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Pain medication
  • Corticosteroid injections

In extreme instances where the herniated disc actually presses on the spinal cord itself, there can be a resulting weakness in the legs causing difficulty with walking. This type of compression can even cause problems with bowel control. This type of problem requires immediate medical assistance.

Pressure placed on the nerves or the nerve roots can lead to serious problems. One of the most common nerve pain that developed in the cervical spine is a pinched nerve.

Nerve Pain

The medical term for a pinched nerve is cervical radiculopathy. As discussed above, this is often a result of changes that occur as a person ages. Herniated or bulging discs can often result in a pinched nerve. In younger individuals, it can be caused by an injury that resulted in a herniation of a disc.

A pinched nerve may also occur as a result of thinning discs. When the discs lose fluid, they begin to flatten, narrowing the space between the bony vertebrae. The body creates more bone to protect the disc. The bone spurs that are created make the spine stiffer, which leads to some increased levels of pain and stiffness in the neck. In some instances, the bone spurs cause a narrowing of the opening through which the nerve roots extend from the spine, leading to a pinched nerve. (5)

Symptoms of this type of medical issue include local pain at the site of the entrapment, or pain that radiates down the arm. Physicians usually begin treatment of these types of pain with conservative medical treatment. In instances where it is clear that the bone spurs are compressing the nerves, a surgical procedure may be necessary to correct the problem.

There is another cause of pain that can develop as a result of changes within the area of the vertebrae: facet joint pain.

Facet Joint Pain

As discussed above, the cervical spine has vertebrae that are separated by intervertebral discs. On each side of the back of a particular vertebra, there are two facet joints. The purpose of the facet joints is to enhance stability and allow for the neck to turn smoothly. The facet joints are lined with cartilage; the cartilage is covered with a capsule of fluid.

When the cartilage begins to break down a degenerative arthritis results. This is referred to as cervical facet osteoarthritis. This condition creates pain and stiffness in the neck. Pain from cervical facet osteoarthritis can be felt in the shoulders, between the shoulder blades and radiate into the upper area of the back. Another symptom includes headaches that are often felt in the back of the head.

Inflammation in this area also leads to pain in the facet joints. As cartilage breaks down, bone spurs, called osteophytes, may also develop which can compress nerve roots.

Symptoms of osteophyte impingement include:

  • Pain in the immediate area
  • Weakness or tingling that follows the path of the nerve that can be felt down the arm or even all the way into the hand. (6)

Although there are many non-surgical interventions that your medical professional will try first, such as hot/cold therapy and various medications, your physician may decide that facet injections are warranted.

Facet joint injections may be referred to as a facet block by your doctor. A steroid medication can be injected directly into the capsule that protects the joint in order to facilitate the application of strong anti-inflammatory medication.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Earlier we mentioned degenerative disc disease, the medical condition that results when the discs deteriorate due to normal aging and wear-and-tear. As the discs experience degenerative changes, the resulting condition is referred to as arthritis or spondylosis. Half of the individuals who develop worn discs do not experience pain whereas others do. (7)

Once a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease has been reached, your physician may put you on a course of medication designed to reduce pain. Some of the commonly prescribed medication include:

  • NSAIDS (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Acetaminophen
  • Anti-depressants (lower pain signal sent to the brain and raise endorphin level, also enhancing pain relief)
  • Muscle Relaxers
  • Neuropathic agents that specifically target nerve pain
  • Epidural steroid injections that send steroids—very strong anti-inflammatories—right to the inflamed nerve root(s)

The above-referenced mechanisms leading to neck pain are a result of mechanical problems within the structure of the cervical spine. The last cause of pain we will look at involves the soft tissue located around the cervical spine and neck.

Soft Tissue Pain

Some instances of neck pain occur due to overuse, misuse or injury to the soft tissue located in the cervical spine. By soft tissue, we mean the muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

Whiplash

An episode of sudden pain may occur if you are rear ended in a car accident; the violent forward-and-backward-and-the-forward-again movement can create an injury referred to as whiplash.

Typically when we think of whiplash, we think of car accidents; however, there are other causes of whiplash injuries to the neck. These can include sports injuries (football in particular), bungee jumping, and even having the neck injured while riding on a rollercoaster. But how do you know if you may have suffered a whiplash injury? Here are some symptoms to be aware of:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Dramatic change in range of motion
  • Pain in shoulder and/or upper back
  • Headaches
  • Pins-and-needles feeling radiating into the shoulder or down the arm

If you suspect that you have suffered whiplash, early medical intervention is important. (8)

Other Triggers of Neck Pain

Other instances of neck pain can result from things as simple as sleeping in an awkward position or even hauling around a heavy object like a loaded suitcase. For simple muscle sprains and strains caused by minor injuries, treatment may include hot/cold therapy, pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and rest.

In instances where neck pain lasts for an extended period, medical professionals may do further diagnostic testing to determine if there is a specific mechanical issue that is underlying the pain.(9)

Conclusion

Even before someone begins to experience neck pain, developing the habit of maintaining good posture and doing simple stretching exercise to keep the neck limber is one way to try to avoid neck problems in the future.

With all of the numerous possibilities for the origination of neck pain, it is essential to consult with a medical professional in order to determine the cause of the pain and to develop a course of treatment that is appropriate for one’s lifestyle and medical condition. With so many options available for treatment, it is a matter of determining which combination works best to alleviate the pain and discomfort that any one individual is experiencing.

Sources Visited In Preparation of This Article Include;

1. https://www.spineuniverse.com/anatomy/intervertebral-discs

2. https://www.thegoodbody.com/chronic-pain-statistics/

3. https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/joint-pain/mechanical-neck-pain.html

4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266630.php

5. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/cervical-radiculopathy-pinched-nerve

6. https://www.spine-health.com/video/cervical-facet-osteoarthritis-video

7. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/cervical-radiculopathy-pinched-nerve

8. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/what-whiplash

9. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/types-neck-pain

The feet are absolutely the foundation of the entire human body. Your feet literally cover tens of thousands of miles during your lifetime. If there is a problem with the feet due to some abnormality or medical condition, the result often shows up in other areas of the body, typically the knee, hip or even lower back. Foot pain can also lead to a serious reduction in activity level.

A recent podiatric survey done by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) found that a majority of Americans (77%) stated that they have dealt with foot pain.(1) With that percentage in mind, it is highly likely that you will deal with foot pain at some point during your lifetime. Fortunately, advances in technology have made it possible for customized orthotics to be created for individuals that can improve improper mechanics and alleviate pain.

In order to determine how best to treat pain associated with improper foot mechanics, let’s first take a look at the basic anatomy of the foot and ankle.

The Foot and Ankle

The foot and ankle are amazing structures made of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Feet are designed to be flexible, and to move in different ways in order to enable us to stand, walk, run and leap. The ankle, which must undergo great stress, is surrounded by ligaments that are designed to enhance stability.

The foot has three main sections:

  • The forefoot, where we find toes and long bones called metatarsals
  • The midfoot, where we find a collection of bones that create the arches of the foot, and
  • The hindfoot, where we find the heel and ankles in the foot

Considering the multitude of moving parts that are located within the feet, it is clear that there are numerous possibilities where foot damage can occur, leading to foot pain.

Arches

The arches of the feet are a crucial feature of the underlying foundation. The arch is where the foot absorbs a vast amount of pressure each time we take a step.

There are three arches in the foot. These are the anterior transverse arch, the medial longitudinal arch and the lateral longitudinal arch. If there is a lack of support underneath the arches, persistent pain may result.

For some individuals, certain shoes may not supply proper support which can be remedied by the addition of appropriate arch supports. In other instances, such as when a person has a condition such as plantar fasciitis, the addition of arch support may actually eliminate most of their pain.

Flat Feet

For individuals who suffer from a condition referred to as ‘flat feet’, which occurs when the arches in the foot have collapsed to the point that most of the sole is in contact with the ground, there may be a need for artificial arch support. This medical condition can lead to a wide variety of additional chronic pain issues.

Now that we have considered the basic mechanics of the structure of the feet, let’s look at proper foot movement.

How the Foot Should Move

There are two phases involved in walking: the stance phase and the swing phase.

Normal Foot Movement

Stance phase. This is the time when the foot is actually in contact with the ground. Surprisingly enough, this phase is almost two-thirds of the entire walking cycle.

Swing phase. This is the time when one of the feet is in contact with the ground whereas the other foot is in the air. The foot that is in the air actually goes through several stages to complete the swing phase.

Here are the stages of swing phase:

  • Heel strike. This begins when the heel of the foot touches the ground and lasts until the entire foot is in contact with the ground.
  • Early Flatfoot Stage. This begins when the entire foot is on the ground during the person’s stride. This stage is where the foot acts as a cushion for the pressure of the body’s weight. This stage ends when the center of gravity has reached a neutral position.
  • Late Flatfoot Stage. This begins when the center of gravity has shifted ahead of neutral, and ends as the heel begins to lift up.
  • Heel Rise. This begins when the heel propels the body forward.
  • Toe Off. This is when the toes lift off the ground. Once this has occurred, the swing phase is complete. The cycle of taking a step begins again.

The mechanics of running are very similar to that of the walking gait, although the speed of the phases is increased. When running, the mechanics of gait includes a ‘float phase’, when both feet leave the ground during the stride. (2)

Abnormal Foot Movement

As one is walking or running, abnormal foot movement can create unusual stress, creating chronic pain issues. One such movement is called pronation.

Overpronation can occur when the foot rolls upon landing on the ground or when standing. Underpronation can occur when there is inadequate rolling of the foot after landing on the ground, leading to excessive pressure on the outside of the foot.(3) Both of these conditions, when taken to the extreme, can result in a variety of medical complications and/or pain issues.

Abnormal foot movement, which we refer to as poor foot mechanics, can place pressure on joints over time, resulting in chronic pain issues.

Conditions Related to Poor Foot Mechanics

What are some common conditions related to poor foot mechanics? Let’s look at four of them.

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs the length of the foot, running from the heel to the tip of the foot. In cases where the arches of the foot are very high or very low, this ligament may be stretched to the point that the tissue becomes aggravated. When inflammation of this type occurs, the resulting pain can be severe. This is a common complaint in many individuals.

Ankle Pain

When the feet are not properly supporting the weight of the individual, it results in increased pressure on the joints above the ankle, typically the knee and hips. This pain can even extend to the lower back. One common cause of ankle pain is flat feet, or collapsed arches.

Knee Pain

There are many causes of knee pain. Poor foot mechanics can have a definite impact on the knee. In cases where ankle mobility is limited, it can result in pain to each joint above the ankle: the knee, the hip and even as far as the shoulder.(4)

Ankle mobility issues can also hamper the foot’s ability to toe off to move the body forward. A problem with ankle mobility is a common cause of overpronation as discussed earlier that may lead to knee problems.

Hip Pain

Poor foot mechanics can also lead to issues within the hip joint, resulting in chronic pain. If an individual’s feet roll in towards each other, it can result in a twisting action. The stress that results can be cumulative and even have a cascading-type effect. Once the feet are out of alignment, they can lead to pressure on the ankle joints. If the ankle joints become unstable, they can lead to a twisting action through the knees and upwards into the hip joints. The result is often pain and, in some instances, erosion of the impacted joints.

An individual suffering from foot or ankle pain usually goes to see their family physician, or in some instances, a podiatrist. There are several ways that a medical professional can evaluate the feet to determine what can be done to alleviate the pain.

Evaluating Your Feet

If poor foot mechanics are suspected as the culprit causing pain, an evaluation will be done to determine what is wrong. Two of the newer tools for this type of evaluation include multi-step gait analysis and 3D foot scanning.

Multi-step Gait Analysis

One relatively new technique that allows for detailed analysis of an individual’s foot is by use of a computerized multi-step gait analysis system. This allows for scanning of the individual’s gait while in motion. The platform records the individual’s footsteps and then provides data on the force exerted on the foot as well as the pressure placed on the foot. By identifying gait abnormalities, this device can aid in the development of a plan to alleviate pain.

An additional benefit of this device is that it can be used to evaluate improvements that take place following treatment. Comparisons can be drawn, as the data gathered prior to treatment can then be compared to data gathered in the midst of treatment and at the culmination of treatment. This allows for professionals to tweak the treatment plan as necessary to obtain optimal results.

3D Foot Scanning Systems

The use of the laser foot scanning system has resulted in advances in the creation of customer-specific orthotics that are based upon the individual’s unique foot shape. These scanning systems obtain highly accurate digitized images of the foot.(5)

Today there are even portable scanners, allowing medical professionals and orthotic specialists ease of access to accurate and detailed information of an individual foot. These scanners allow for images to be obtained while the foot is in a resting position and in various weight-bearing positions.

Once the scan is complete, 3D representations can be viewed on a computer screen. These images can then analyzed by a computer program to inform the creation of an individualized custom orthotic.

Once a diagnosis is determined, a custom orthotic device is often part of the recommended treatment plan.

The Difference Between General Shoe Inserts and Custom Orthotics

General Shoe Inserts

In-store kiosks where you can have your foot problem diagnosed by a machine are found in many of your local pharmacies and superstores. You may have seen them before: you stand on top of a platform and the machine evaluates where you place the most pressure on the bottom of your feet and then recommends a particular product. But do these over-the-counter diagnostic tools really work?

Off-the-shelf insoles or shoe inserts can make an ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoe feel a little better. But consumers should be aware that the wrong insole can actually exacerbate a pre-existing condition.

This is where custom foot orthotics come into play. With a custom orthotic, a medically trained individual evaluates the foot, taking into consideration the medical complaints and pre-existing conditions that may come into play with causing the pain in the foot, knee or hip.

Custom Orthotics

A custom foot orthotics will be custom made in order to align your foot and ankle into what would be the more anatomically correct position. It will be designed to correct the specific foot imbalance that is personal to your foot. With the ability of this device to conform to your foot, it can lower stress and strain and work to bring your feet—and body—back into alignment.

Back in Action Through Proper Foot Mechanics

Once the underlying medical explanation for foot pain has been reached, in many instances the addition of a properly-manufactured custom foot orthotic can improve gait, reduce pain and allow the individual to return to increased activities.

Current technological advances in 3D scanning in order to create custom foot orthotics are viewed as one of the optimal means available to improve foot mechanics. (6)

If you are suffering from foot or other joint pain that may be associated with poor foot mechanics, perhaps it is time to consider consulting a professional about the medical avenues that are available to you.

Your feet will thank you for you.

 

If you have been having problems with your feet, ankles, knees or hips, the issues may be arising from poor foot mechanics.  Call us today to schedule a 3D foot scan at 330-493-0009.

 

 

 

1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-survey-reveals-majority-of-americans-suffer-from-foot-pain-259775741.html

2. https://www.footeducation.com/page/biomechanics-of-walking-gait

3. https://draxe.com/pronation/

4. https://mcore.myshopify.com/blogs/news/55725505-what-happens-when-we-have-poor-foot-mechanics

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944246/

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4114407/

Whether you’ve had low back pain for a few days or a few months, the results are the same.  Low pain pain hurts, it causes many to have difficulties with simple daily tasks and it can certainly put people in a grumpy mood.

If you have low back pain you are certainly not alone.  In fact, experts believe that 80% of the population will experience a bout of low back pain within their lives.  Take a look at some of these statistics.

  • Low back pain impacts 31 million Americans at any one time.
  • Back pain is the number 1 cause of lost work days in the U.S.
  • Low back pain is the leading cause of disability for those under 45 years of age.
  • Approximately 2/3 of the costs of
  • Americans spend $50 billion on back pain every year

Those who suffer from back pain understand how disabling it can be.  Some can have localized pain that remains in one are of their low back while others may have pain that radiates into the buttock area or leg.  In addition the type of pain can also vary.  Some suffer from deep aching while others may feel sharp pain, especially with specific movements.

Whatever the symptoms feel like, the cause of the pain is what most, who experience low back pain, what to better understand.  Where is the pain coming from?

The Structures of the Lower Back

In order to understand where pain comes from, we first must understand the basic normal anatomy of the low back.  So, let’s have a quick anatomy lesson of the low back region.

treatable low back painThe lower back is made up of 5 lumbar vertebrae, separated by intervertebral discs (jelly doughnut-like structures).  These vertebrae surround and protect the spinal cord and the large nerves that descend from the lower cord.  These vertebrae also allow movement when we bend forward, backward, side to side or even rotate. Nerves exit out of the sides of the vertebral areas and these nerves descend into the pelvis, buttocks, legs and feet.

The base of the low back is called the pelvis.  The pelvis is made up of several strong bone structures called the sacrum and one pelvic bone on each side of it.  The tailbone, or coccyx, sits at the bottom.  This area is also a region where many nerve structures are found.

In front of the pelvis and vertebra are a variety of organs including the intestines, reproductive structures, bladder and other important soft tissue.

On top of, and surrounding the vertebrae and pelvis are vast muscular structures that gives us the ability to move.  Other additional important soft tissue elements, like ligaments and tendons, attach the many structures found in this area together.

Common Causes of Low Back Pain

Now that we have a better understanding of the normal low back structure, let’s talk about the potential causes of low back pain.  There are many ways that low back pain can occur.  Most forms of low back pain occur with treatable outcomes.  However, some forms of low bak pain provide signs that other, more ominous problems exist.  This is why you should always be evaluated when you have low back pain that isn’t resolving.

Soft Tissue Pain

Overuse or injury to muscle, ligament or tendon can cause pain in that particular area.  Often those with muscle injuries describe the pain as ‘sharp’ when the injury happened, but then changes to a dull ache or throbbing sensation.

Soft tissue pain is usually isolated to the specific area of the involved muscle(s) and the pain will increase should you try to engage that specific muscle.  For example, if you strain the right lower back muscles while lifting, trying to use these large muscles again will often aggravate the problem.

Mechanical low back pain

Mechanical spine pain (often called subluxation) occurs when the free-flowing movement of the spinal joints is not working properly.  This abnormal motion pattern (or lack of motion pattern) can cause the area to become inflamed or produce abnormal pressures on small structures in the area, like nerves, causing pain.

Mechanical low back pain can cause pain (dull ache or sharp) that is generalized in the area, but has been known to cause radiating symptoms when a nerve become involved.

Disc herniation or disc bulge

disc herniationSeparating the vertebrae are padded structures, called intervertebral discs.  These discs are like jelly doughnuts (with a jelly-filled center).  Discs provide the cushion that provides shock protection and also allows for the movement of one vertebrae on another.

Discs are susceptible to certain types of injuries.  Most commonly, the disc structure tears and the jelly-like substance inside can ooze out of the disc.  This can in itself cause pain, however, if that jelly-like substance pushes out far enough and comes in contact with a nerve, the pain can significantly elevate.  Because of the nerve involvement, this can cause the symptoms of nerve pain.

Tears in a disc can occur because of aging of the disc or due to a sudden injury.  Those occurring from sudden injury often cause a sharp pain directly over the affected area.

Pelvic Pain

The pelvis is the strong bone structure that serves to protect us and supports the hips that allows us to move.  This region has a significant amount of soft tissues including tendons, ligaments, muscles and nerves.  Although the strength of this area is superb, pain in this area can also be concerning.

Since there are so many ‘connections’ in the region (hips, sacroiliac joints, lumbosacral joint) there are many possibilities of cause of pain.  Pain in this area can often feel “deeper” and feel dull and achy or be sharp in nature.

Nerve Pain

Nerves are delicate structures that are found throughout our bodies that carry signals to and from the brain.  In the low back, the nerves that come off of the lumbar spine are slightly larger and traverse into the buttock area, legs and feet.

If a nerve is irritated, in any way, symptoms may occur.  This includes pain, numbness, tingling, burning or even weakness of muscle.  Since nerves extend for some distance, the symptoms may occur throughout the entire extent to the nerve involved.

Previously we spoke of disc herniations.  It is common that a disc herniation, which involves a nerve and the compression of that nerve, causes a variety of symptoms.

Nerve involvement can also occur when muscles, which can form the tunnels for the nerves, tighten and pinch off the nerve.  This is called a nerve compression syndrome.

Injuries

Low back pain can also occur following an injury to the low back region.  This may involve a variety of structures, like bone, muscle, nerve, etc.  Severity levels of pain due to injury can depend upon the severity of the injury.  However, the severity of pain and the severity of injury are not directly related.  In other words, a person can have a serious injury with little pain. In contrast, another person can have a minor low back injury with significant pain.

The types of injuries are varied.  Injuries can be anything from lifting incorrectly to a car accident.  Injuries that include trauma are always worrisome due to the possibility of fractures or internal damage.

Degenerative Changes

Another common cause of low back pain is degenerative changes of the spine.  With ‘wear and tear’ and injuries, the spine can build up arthritis over time.  These arthritic changes can cause ‘bony bridges’ to osteoarthritis and low back painform in the area, which take up the needed space for nerves.  A very common type of arthritis of the joints is called osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis can increase in severity over time.  It can begin as minor changes on the ends of the bones.  In time, these change can continue to worsen causing other structures, like nerves, to become involved.  Severe osteoarthritis can cause bones to fuse together causing reduced motion, pain and trapped nerves.

Those who have chronic osteoarthritis often complain of dull achy pain in the region where the osteoarthritis has formed.  It is not uncommon to have several joints simultaneously degenerating.

 

 

 

These are seven causes of low back pain that with proper treatment, can resolve fully or often receive significant pain relief.

With the common occurrence of low back pain, it is necessary for those low back pain sufferers to find the proper healthcare provider that is able to both properly identify and effectively treat their type of low back pain.

As you can see, not every person has the same cause of their low back pain.  Without understanding the source of the pain, a proper treatment plan for resolving the condition is simply not possible.

Fortunately, there are certain providers that can identify and properly treat low back pain and get you on the road to recovery.

Managing Pain With Out Prescription Drugs

pain management

For sufferers, chronic pain can be debilitating. Whether that chronic discomfort comes in the form of back pain, neck pain, a head ache or something else, it can have a serious negative impact on your quality of life. It can also interfere with work. In the worst cases, chronic pain can result in job loss. And, while family and friends are often sympathetic, they may not fully understand.

You can treat chronic pain conditions with a variety of medical therapies such as opioids and muscle relaxers, but medical therapies generally carry side effects. Even those that are relatively safe may carry side effects when taken for an extended period of time.

Sometimes the best treatments are alternatives to standard medical treatment. They do not involve drugs that carry the possibility of side effects. This can reduce the risks for using these treatments long term and make them a better option. Here are some chronic pain conditions and some of the medical and alternative treatment options available for dealing with chronic pain.

Chronic Pain Conditions

Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million Americans. That is more Americans than suffer from diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer combined. 20% of Americans report a difficulty sleeping as the result of pain. The costs to the American people in terms of treatment, lost wages and lost productivity were estimated to be between $560 billion to $635 billion in 2010. Here are some of the three most common types of chronic pain reported.

Headaches– Everyone has headaches now and again. Chronic headaches, however, are characterized by a frequency of at least two a week or 15 a month for a period of three months or more. Approximately 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, with twice as many women suffering than men. While the causes for chronic headaches are not well understood some possible causes can include stress, inflammation, injury or even a brain tumor. If the headache is a migraine, other symptoms may include nausea and light sensitivity.

Back Pain– 80% of adults suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. It is one of the leading reasons for job-related disability claims and is a major contributor to missed work days. Most back pain is short-term. It is considered chronic when it has persisted for 12 weeks or more– even after the perceived underlying causes have been treated. Roughly 20% of people who suffer from back pain will develop chronic back pain.

Neck Pain– Chronic neck pain is neck pain that persists for longer than three months. It is generally believed to be initially precipitated by an injury. 15% of people who report suffering from chronic pain, suffer from chronic neck pain. Like all chronic pain, chronic neck pain prevents the sufferer from being able to function fully.

Current Medical Treatment Methods for Chronic Pain

The medical profession has developed a number of ways for treating chronic pain from injections to pills. Here are some of the most commonly used types of treatment.

NSAIDs and Acetaminophen– NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and include medications such as ibuprofen which can generally be purchased over the counter. Acetaminophen is also a medication that can be purchased over the counter. These are popular for an acute or short-term pain. Be careful not to take more than 4000mg of acetaminophen in 24 hours as serious side effects may occur.

Tricyclic Antidepressants– Tricyclic antidepressants have been found useful in treating pain when taken at lower doses than are used to treat depression. To be effective these medications must be taken every day whether pain is present or not.
Anti-Seizure- Anti-seizure medications can be helpful with burning or shooting nerve pain. Like tricyclic antidepressants, in order to be effective, they must be taken every day whether pain is present or not.

Opioids– When used properly these can be good for treating certain types of pain such as post-surgical pain and pain associated with cancer treatment. It has been shown to be less effective on nerve pain.

Muscle Relaxers– Muscle relaxers are generally only prescribed for short-term use due to the likelihood of forming a dependence. They can be effective in treating lower back pain, muscle tension and mobility.

Injections of Nerve Block– There are several different types of nerve block that can be employed. Most involve injecting a numbing or blocking agent or a steroid to reduce inflammation at or near the area of the pain.

belden village chiropractic

Possible Side Effects of Common Treatments for Chronic Pain

While many medications offer varying levels of effectiveness for treating pain, for every medication there are possible side effects. Those side effects can occur because of misuse, overdose or a personal biological intolerance. Here are some of the possible side effects of the most common treatments for chronic pain.

NSAIDs and Acetaminophen– While these drugs are fine for short-term use, taken over an extended period of time they can result in disastrous consequences. Negative effects may include harm to the kidneys, blood clotting and digestive problems. Also, because some opioid medications contain acetaminophen, over-the-counter medications should not be taken with prescription drugs to avoid overdose.

Tricyclic Antidepressants– Side effects may include blurred vision, nausea, dry mouth, changes in weight, low blood pressure, rash, increased heart rate and sexual dysfunction. This medication may increase the risk of seizure for people who experience seizures.

Anti-seizure -People taking anti-seizure medications may experience weight gain, drowsiness and dry mouth. Anyone with a history of kidney stones, kidney disease or glaucoma may not be able to take these medications.

Opioids– The most common side effects of opioid use are constipation and drowsiness. Physical dependence can occur when taken regularly over a long period of time. Addiction can occur as the result of physical dependence. More recently, the overprescription of opioids has become a major concern.

Muscle Relaxers– Possible side effects of muscle relaxant use includes dry mouth, drowsiness or dizziness and urinary retention. Most notably, however, is the possibility of forming a dependence if used in appropriately or over an extended period of time.

Injections of Nerve Blocks– Most common side effects include pain or numbness at the injection site. Some may include facial drooping or difficulty swallowing.

Alternative Treatment Methods

Over the past couple of decades there has been a growing interest in alternative mind-body therapies for treating chronic pain. While many medications offer some benefits, when you take into account the possible side effects, it’s no wonder. As sufferers look for ways to avoid harmful potential side effects of accepted medical therapies, there have been more people willing to try traditional medicines and alternative treatments. While medical research into these therapies is limited, there have been enough people reporting relief to keep interest in alternative therapies alive. Here are a few of the most popular therapies people are trying to manage their chronic pain.

Acupuncture– Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese therapy. It has been gaining ground in the treatment of chronic pain such as back pain, neck pain and knee pain. Many people also swear by it for treating migraines. It involves stimulating certain points on the body by inserting thin needles into the skin. When performed by a well-trained specialist with clean needles, this therapy is generally considered safe.

Diet and Exercise– Hypocrites famously said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food.” Nearly everything we eat either contributes to inflammation or reduces it. Processed foods, excess fats, sugars and salt all contribute to inflammation. Whole plant foods tend to decrease it. Choosing a diet such as the Mediterranean diet, can go a long way toward reducing inflammation.

Similarly, exercise has also been shown to be useful in the management of chronic pain. Having an exercise program can help you to stay flexible and manage pain better. You should not begin an exercise regime without professional guidance. Some exercises that are popular for those who suffer from chronic pain include low impact work outs like swimming, yoga and walking.

Chiropractor– 22 million Americans visit chiropractors every year, many of whom are seeking assistance with pain. Chiropractors provide care that allows the body to function properly.  They use gentle spinal adjustments to reduce stress related interference with the nervous system, thus allowing the body to resume normal function and, in effect, heal itself. Chiropractic care has been shown to be a safe and effective in treatment for many types of pain.

Massage– Receiving a minimum massage of one hour a week has been shown to improve functionality in people suffering from chronic pain. It helps to relieve stress and reduce pain. Studies showed massage therapy to be more effective on back pain than on neck or shoulder pain or headache. It is considered a safe therapy.

Meditation/ Relaxation– There are several things that fall into this category. They include meditation, relaxation techniques, autogenic training, hypnosis and self-hypnosis. They all center around retraining your brain to relax and deal better with not only stress but pain– especially as stress has been shown to intensify one’s experience of pain. These therapies are recommended to be used in conjunction with other treatments and not on their own.

Low Level Laser Therapy– This type of therapy has only been used in the United States since 2002 although it has been used in Europe and Asia much longer. In one U.S. trial, people who were given low level laser therapy were 70% more likely to report a reduction in chronic pain than those who received a placebo treatment. Where high powered lasers are used in medicine to cut or destroy tissue, low level lasers (cold lasers) are believed to stimulate cell function and relieve pain.

TENS therapy– TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It involves using a device about the size of a pocket radio with two electrodes and attaching those electrodes to your skin. They are placed at the location of the pain or at a pressure point where they create an electrical circuit that sends current through your nerve fibers. People often experience less pain at this time. Effective settings for this device are best determined by a doctor, physical therapist or acupuncturist. Once a professional has instructed the patient in how to use the device, patients can often manage treatment themselves. TENS treatment should always only be initiated with the assistance of a medical professional. When done properly, this treatment is considered safe.

Chronic pain can be debilitating. It can hamper one’s ability to work, get a decent night’s sleep and just to function in general. The most widely accepted medical treatments involve administering powerful drugs to patients, all of which– even the most safe– carry some risk of side effects. Risk of negative effects increases with long-term use of medications. Patients who wish to manage pain with out the constant threat of side effects, risking dependance, addiction or overdose have been increasingly seeking out alternative treatments and traditional remedies that they hope or have reason to believe will have less risk of side effects.

belden village chiropractic
The American College of Physicians Recommends Chiropractic Treatment for Low Back Pain

treatment of low back painMore than 80% of Americans experience low back pain at some point in their lives. These people may be interested to learn that the American College of Physicians has recently released new recommendations regarding the best way to treat low back pain. According to the new guidelines, a patient’s first resort should be noninvasive, drug-free treatments like spinal manipulation by a Doctor of Chiropractic or superficial heat. These types of treatments have high rates of success in alleviating back pain, and do not come with the major risks associated with treatment by drugs or surgery.

How the recommendations were selected

The American College of Physicians (ACP), a national physician’s group that uses scientific knowledge to recommend treatments for patients, released their new recommendations in February of this year. They reviewed several systematic reviews of scientific research on the treatment of low back pain and compiled their findings in the new guidelines document. The systematic reviews were summaries of the most rigorous scientific experimental research from the past several decades, so patients can be assured that these recommendations are based on the best scientific evidence.

The reasons behind the new recommendations
Diagnoses of low back pain ranges from acute cases (lasting less than 4 weeks) to chronic (lasting more than 12 weeks), and can be debilitating for many people who experience it. Treatment options include natural, noninvasive methods like chiropractic adjustments, heat application, and particular exercise regimens, as well as more invasive and risky methods like medication and even surgery. The new guidelines note that medication has a low rate of success in treating back pain and can cause serious side effects, while noninvasive methods have few risks or side effects.

When assessing the success of treatment options, the ACP considered several positive outcomes. These outcomes included decrease or disappearance of pain, improvement in back-specific and overall functioning, increased quality of life, return to work from disability, and patient satisfaction. The ACP also considered the adverse effects of treatments, which was a major reason for the recommendation that prescription of medication should be a last resort. They noted that even taking medicines as gentle as over-the-counter acetaminophen may lead to liver damage over time. Patients who struggle with low back pain for several weeks or more are at an even greater risk for suffering from side effects. This means that natural, noninvasive treatment is especially important for chronic cases.

belden village chiropractic

Types of noninvasive treatment
The recommendations from the ACP include many different types of noninvasive and non-drug treatments. They stress the importance of first attempting to ease pain using non-drug treatments, and moving on to prescription medicines only if you have tried several different types of therapies and have not seen improvement. The recommended “first response” therapies fall into three main categories, which are physical treatments, lifestyle changes, and stress reduction treatments.

The physical treatments are the most likely treatments to help people with a recent onset of low back pain, since acute back pain is most often related to physical problems as opposed to chronic stress or something similar. These physical treatments include spinal alignment by a chiropractor, low level laser therapy, massage, and superficial heat application. All of these treatments can correct different root problems, so your healthcare provider should be able to help you select which method to try first.

The second category of noninvasive treatments is lifestyle changes. Depending on the source of your low back pain, particular exercise regimens may help alleviate your pain long term by strengthening certain muscles or making them more limber. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you select exercises to appropriately treat low back pain or lose weight.

The third category includes stress reduction treatments, which can help alleviate back pain caused by chronic stress. These types of therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy with a licensed psychologist, which will train you to handle stress more effectively and healthfully. Your doctor may also recommend practicing breathing exercises in stressful situations or making a regular practice of mindfulness meditation. Yoga is also commonly used for stress reduction.

Out of these three categories, the physical treatments have the possibility of treating the broadest range of root problems because they can help with low back pain related to stress and weak muscles, but also can treat other sources of pain. Spinal alignment by a licensed chiropractor is a particularly beneficial treatment.

What is chiropractic treatment?
Many Americans haven’t sought treatment from a chiropractor because they do not understand what their treatment methods are or inaccurately believe that they may not understand their condition. However, the truth is that chiropractors have a great deal of specialized training before they are allowed to practice. In fact, they earn a doctorate degree (a DC, or Doctor of Chiropractic) just like your primary care physician has earned a doctorate degree (likely an MD, or Medical Doctorate, or a DO, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Chiropractors attend a college or university  and an additional four-year Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Many chiropractors also train under more experienced chiropractors before they earn their degree. So if you know someone who warns you that chiropractors are less qualified, you can tell them their fears are unfounded and ill informed.

Your visit to a chiropractor will begin in a similar manner to your visits with a primary care physician. The chiropractor will ask questions about your general medical history and your current low back pain, such as when it began and how frequently you experience this pain. Your chiropractor will likely do some diagnostic tests, like checking the range of motion of your spine, and this will help your chiropractor to more accurately pinpoint the source of your pain. Your chiropractor may also use techniques like X-rays to get a better look at your spine. Low back pain can often be treated with spinal alignment, so your chiropractor will probably recommend this treatment.

In addition to spinal adjustments, many chiropractors offer other types of treatments that are recommended for low back pain, such as massage therapy, physical therapy, and laser therapy. These are all included on the ACP’s recommendations for treating low back pain. Your chiropractor will help you choose the most appropriate and beneficial treatment for your needs.

 

Spinal Manipulation
Spinal manipulation (or spinal adjustment) is a standard procedure that chiropractors use often. It typically involves repositioning the vertebrae or joint. Although this can sometimes cause temporary, minor discomfort, this discomfort won’t last long. Most often, patients report a feeling of relief.

In certain cases (for example, if you have osteoporosis or particular health issues), your chiropractor may use a gentler approach known as spinal mobilization. Spinal mobilization can take many forms. Sometimes your chiropractor may help your lower spine to stretch using a series of slow, repetitive rocking motions. In other cases your chiropractor may use equipment like an Activator tool or a drop table. You chiropractor will choose the method that has the highest likelihood of alleviating your particular problem with minimal negative effects.

Good chiropractors will also explain why they have chosen particular treatments and how it will help you before beginning. Patients shouldn’t be shy about asking questions and providing as much information as possible.

Low Level Laser Therapy

Low level laser therapy, often called ‘cold laser therapy‘ is also a treatment that can be used to resolve low back pain.  By directing specific wavelengths of light into the painful area, the cold laser can increase the cellular activity in the region, can reduce inflammation, and can allow for improved healing.  Combining the recommended therapies can have added improvements.

Benefits of the new low back pain recommendations

In addition to having higher rates of success, the new recommendations for treating low back pain come with a host of benefits for patients. Many of the recommended treatments are less expensive than buying medicine regularly. They also don’t come with side effects associated with pharmacologic treatment, which can cause liver damage, stomach ulcers, allergic reactions, and more.

Additionally, patients now have the option of getting treatment much closer to home since most people can find excellent chiropractors in their area. For example, people suffering with low back pain who live in the area of Canton, Ohio can easily find a chiropractor near them. Seeking treatment at a nearby location is an excellent way to ensure that you have easy access to good care and can visit as often as necessary. Because follow-up visits for maintenance are often recommended for low back pain, choosing a treatment option that’s conveniently located can help you to feel your best more often. Belden Village Chiropractic & Wellness Center is especially convenient because they offer multiple methods of noninvasive, non-drug treatment for low back pain. Having easy access to superior treatment can change patients’ life for the better.

belden village chiropractic