Nonsurgical Treatment for Spinal Stress Fractures

The spine is a very strong part of your body – it keeps your body erect, withstands lots of pressure, facilitates all kinds of movements, and protects the delicate nerves from stress and injury. However, even the resilient bones and joints of the spine are subject to injury on occasion.

One common injury of the spine is a stress fracture, also known as spondylolysis. Stress fractures are relatively common in younger people — particularly adolescent athletes — but can happen to just about anyone.

Although surgery is an option for treating spondylolysis and its subsequent problems, many individuals are able to recover from stress fractures with non-invasive treatments like rest. At Ideal Spine, we encourage chiropractors and other spinal experts to familiarize themselves with non-surgical treatments for spondylolysis.

Using our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) technique, we strive to put patients on their road to recovery.

Stress fractures and their side effects

Spondylolysis occurs in one (or more) of the spinal vertebrae. These cracks are most common in the fifth or fourth vertebrae of the lumbar spine, and they typically form in the weakest part of the vertebra called the pars interarticularis.

The formation of stress fractures can lead to another related condition called spondylolisthesis, which introduces more problems within the spine. This condition is when a fracture weakens the vertebrae so much that it cannot maintain its position in the spine and slips out of place or down over the vertebrae below it.

These two conditions, whether separate or together, can lead to back pain that radiates down the back into the buttocks and thighs, as well as numbness and limited mobility.

Treating stress fractures without surgery

Although surgery may be necessary in some severe cases of spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis, many people with these conditions are able to manage their pain without any surgical procedures. Instead, at-home, chiropractic, and physical therapy treatments may be instrumental in restoring mobility and function to the back and minimizing pain as the fracture heals.

In most cases, non-surgical approaches are usually the first line of action, and many patients are able to heal and live free of pain using these treatments.

  • Rest: One of the most important aspects of non-surgical treatment for a stress fracture is rest. The patient must take time to rest and stop engaging in any strenuous activities, including sports. If activity continues, pain may worsen and the fracture may not be able to heal, potentially developing into a more serious problem. However, light exercise should be conducted regularly – bed rest is often not required for the full duration of the healing period.
  • Pain medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be a temporary way to reduce swelling and alleviate pain as the fracture begins to heal.
  • Back brace: A back brace may be necessary to maintain proper alignment of the spine for optimal healing of the fracture. A brace may also help to minimize pain because it prevents unnecessary movement of the spine.
  • Chiropractic and PT: Chiropractic care and physical therapy may help the patient reduce pain and return to normal activity later in the healing process. Professional-led exercises may help strengthen muscles around the spine to keep the spine in place, and other exercises and stretches may help improve flexibility and range of motion by restoring function in the joints surrounding the fracture.

Stress fractures can worsen if the right treatment plan is not created at the start of the problem. Visit a chiropractor trained by Ideal Spine and see what they can do to potentially help your stress fracture heal, so you can return to your normal activities.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Bend at the Knees and Don’t Jerk or Twist: A Brief Guide to Proper Lifting

At one point or another, every one of us has probably gone to lift or move something heavy, only to feel pain in our backs. Improper lifting is one of the most common causes of back pain, whether it’s due to a minor muscle sprain that clears up overnight or a much more severe problem with the spine and discs.

Of course, the solution to this problem is not to avoid lifting things altogether; it’s to learn how to lift with the proper form, so your body is supported in the ways it needs to be to avoid injury. At Ideal Spine, we teach chiropractors how to coach their clients in proper posture to mitigate back pain and reduce the risk of injury.

There are many dangers to lifting improperly. Muscle strains, or tiny tears in the muscle due to stress, are some of the most common injuries. However, other problems may develop if you lift improperly often, such as herniated or bulging discs and injured joints.

Use this lifting form to mitigate injury risks

The first thing to remember while lifting is to only try to lift things you feel comfortable with. If you have to strain and push yourself to lift something, it’s probably too heavy for you, and you won’t be able to maintain proper form during the lift.

When going to lift something, always avoid bending at the hips, rounding or arching your back, and pulling with your back. These mistakes are some of the easiest ways to sprain a muscle, wear down your spinal discs, or injure yourself in other ways, since you’re putting all of the pressure of the weight onto your back.

The most important tip when lifting is to bend at the knees into a squat position and keep the spine straight. This puts the weight of the lift onto your legs, not your back.

When attempting to lift, place your feet shoulder-width apart firmly on the ground. Bend your knees to squat and pick up the object, focusing on keeping your spine as straight as possible. Tightening your abs and pushing with your legs will help you maintain this posture.

Keep the object close to your body with a firm hold and maintain proper balance of the object in your hands. Stand up slowly – don’t jerk upwards too fast. Make sure the lift is a smooth, slow, and controlled motion until you are standing tall again.

You don’t want to twist while lifting the object, either. Stand straight up, then pivot with your feet to walk where you need to. Twisting prematurely may put pressure on certain parts of your spine.

When you need to put the object down, follow the same pattern of lifting movements in reverse. Stand firmly and squat, bending your knees to gently place the object on the ground. Avoid dropping the object quickly or bending with your hips and back.

Speak with a chiropractor for back pain advice

Even with proper lift form 100 percent of the time, back pain can still develop. If you’re experiencing back pain, waste no time in visiting a chiropractor trained in Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), a holistic approach to spinal health care by Ideal Spine.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Hot vs. Cold: Which Temperature Should You Use and Why?

Back pain is a common complaint amongst people of all ages, stemming from a vast variety of acute and chronic injuries. Aside from pain medications, some of the most prevalent advice for treating back pain at home is the application of heating pads or ice packs.

Cold and heat therapy — also known as cryotherapy and thermotherapy — may provide minor relief to symptoms of pain, inflammation, stiffness, and swelling. However, it’s not always clear when one is more useful over the other.

The experts at Ideal Spine often recommend heat and cold therapy to patients experiencing back pain. It’s important to understand what heat and cold can do for your body and when it’s appropriate to apply each.

Examining the benefits of cold and heat therapy

Applying ice is often recommended after an injury because cold temperature can reduce the inflammation in the affected area. Cold temperatures reduce blood flow by constricting blood vessels, limiting the natural inflammatory chemicals the body creates and sends to injured tissue. For this reason, ice is typically used to reduce swelling.

Cold therapy may also reduce sensitivity in the nerves to reduce pain, as well as prevent scar tissue from forming in the injured area.

Heat therapy, on the other hand, does almost the exact opposite. Applying heat may increase blood flow to the injured area, assisting the body’s natural inflammatory response. This brings oxygen and nutrients to help the body heal.

Heat may also be useful in reducing stiffness and relax tense muscles and tissues, reducing soreness and pain.

Which is best, and for what?

When it comes to choosing the right temperature for at-home therapy, the trick is understanding your injury and what your body needs. For many types of acute, or fresh, back injuries, the answer of hot versus cold is actually both.

Generally, applying ice is recommended for the first few days (24 to 72 hours) after an injury. This may help relieve the immediate flood of inflammation, since the injury will begin to get inflamed right away.

After the inflammatory response dies down, the choice between heat and cold is up to you. It might be useful to alternate between the two for pain relief and to promote healing. Heat may make inflammation worse and cold may make stiffness worse, so it’s very important to try to identify the symptoms you’re experiencing and choose the form of therapy that will counteract that.

Whether you use heat or cold, never use ice or heat for longer than 20-25 minutes at a time. Make sure you wrap a cloth around the ice or heat pack you use and avoid direct contact with skin to avoid damage and burns.

Chronic pain is different

It’s also important to note, treating acute injuries is not the same as managing chronic back pain. Chronic pain problems are very individual and will require individual treatment plans. You’ll want to experiment with ice and heat therapy to figure out which temperature helps ease your pain, stiffness, and inflammation the best.

Unfortunately, heat and cold therapy is not the be-all-end-all form of treatment for chronic back pain issues. You’ll most likely want to combine at-home treatments like heat and cold therapy with professional therapies like chiropractic care.

A chiropractor may be able to create a more comprehensive treatment plan for you, including adjustments, exercise, physical therapy, stretching, and massages, in addition to at-home pain relief treatments.

If you’re experiencing back pain, whether acute or chronic, visit a skilled chiropractic professional trained by Ideal Spine. Our network of chiropractors uses a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach to examine your symptoms holistically and treat the problem at its source.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Making Cold Laser Therapy an Effective Part of a Chiropractic Regimen

Cold laser therapy, also called low level laser therapy, is an FDA-approved treatment that’s becoming increasingly common for patients seeking relief for a wide range of afflictions. Cold lasers are flashlight-sized devices chiropractors and other holistic healthcare professionals can hold in their hands. They emit a specialized laser light that travels beneath the skin.

High-powered lasers are used in a number of medical applications, from destroying tumors to removing blood clots. The lasers used in cold laser therapy emit a much lower frequency of light than these larger, more risky machines.

While receiving cold laser therapy, patients don’t feel a thing. The only sensation they’ll experience is the tip of the laser device itself, moving against their skin.

The positive effects of cold laser therapy are well documented. In fact, studies demonstrating its effectiveness date back as far as 1967! Savvy chiropractors can incorporate cold laser therapy into their pain management treatments for patients suffering from a bevy of uncomfortable conditions:

  • Sprains: Sprains and light muscle trauma are easily treated by cold laser therapy. The laser stimulates and encourages blood flow, resulting in faster healing times and a more effective healing experience.
  • Aches and pains: If you have a patient that is struggling with pain management, consider introducing them to cold laser therapy. It’s a safe and effective way to treat a number of aches and pains, including chronic conditions like fibromyalgia.
  • Inflammation: People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, mouth ulcers, and other chronic inflammation conditions can benefit from cold laser therapy, which is a safe, effective and non-invasive way to address inflammation and the complications that come with it.
  • Wounds: When wounds need assistance healing, particularly those caused by diabetes, cold laser therapy is an effective treatment. It can stimulate blood flow to the affected area and may result in faster healing, as well as protection against infection.
  • Skin rejuvenation: Psoriasis and other skin conditions are often addressed by cold laser therapy. In fact, cold laser therapy is even used to treat acne and to remove acne scars. It can be an effective and safe way to naturally rejuvenate damaged or aging skin.
  • Acupuncture replacement: When patients are afraid of needles, cold laser therapy may be an effective replacement treatment for traditional acupuncture. Cold laser therapy is able to stimulate the same areas and in much the same ways as an acupuncture needle, without breaking the skin.

Cold laser therapy may sound like a treatment of the future, but it’s actually been around for decades. At Ideal Spine, we advocate its use within a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) regimen, so patients can reap any benefits that come from this complementary procedure. Because it has wide-ranging benefits, it’s also a great support treatment to complement things like manual adjustment, lifestyle change, diet, myofascial stimulation, and more.

If you’re looking for ways to continue elevating the way that you treat your patients, consider visiting the next Chiropractic BioPhsyics seminar near you.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.