Looking at the Lumbosacral Joint as a Cause for Sciatica

Sciatica is one of those persistent problems that’s broadly prevalent in patients suffering from lumbar ailments. Because of the prominence of the sciatic nerve, nearly any lumbar condition has the ability to disturb it, leading to chronic nerve pain. Diagnosing it isn’t difficult, and for many chiropractors, it starts by looking at the lumbosacral joint (L5-S1).

As is the case for most lumbar conditions, it’s best to start the investigation from the bottom and work your way up. The lumbosacral joint is a prime area of sciatic intervention because of its proximity to a broad range of nerve bundles and at-risk discs. If sciatic nerve issues are going to develop, odds are the problem will start (or at least intersect) this region of the lumbar spine.

At Ideal Spine, we stress an informed, tactile approach to investigating sciatic nerve pain. Starting at the lumbosacral joint can yield tremendous insight into the nature of radiating pain in the lower back and legs.

Why investigate the lumbosacral joint first?

As mentioned, the lumbosacral joint features the most common denominators for sciatic nerve interference. This makes it a natural starting point for diagnosis. Some of the features that make it ground zero for sciatic pain include:

  • The L5 vertebrae is prone to forward slippage over the connecting S1 vertebrae. The sciatic nerve passes through this segment, which means it’s prone to compression.
  • Similarly, disc herniation or inflammation in this region will also stress the sciatic nerve bundle.
  • Deterioration of lumbosacral facet joints is common (especially with age), which can lead to nerve compression that irritates the sciatic nerve.
  • Other conditions such as piriformis syndrome generally affect the area around the lumbosacral joint, causing nerve compression and general inflammation.

The natural biomechanics surrounding the lumbosacral joint make it a frequently-used, often-stressed joint. Everything from overuse to poor posture trickles down to this lowest region of the lumbar spine, meaning it bears much of the brunt. And, because of its proximity to the sciatic nerve, this is generally one of the first systems affected.

Affiliation with other conditions

Beyond subluxations and inflammation, the lumbosacral joint also experiences problems borne of chronic conditions – most of which involve some form of sciatic pain as a symptom:

  • Degenerative disc disease;
  • Spondylolisthesis;
  • Lumbar stenosis;
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Remember, sciatica is a condition in its own right, but more often, it’s a symptom of another condition’s effect on the sciatic nerve. As spinal conditions like the above grow more severe, they’ll bring undue stress and strain to the lumbosacral joint and, by affiliation, the sciatic nerve. Working backwards from sciatic pain and investigating the lumbosacral joint may actually yield insight into these conditions.

Knowing where to start is half the battle of diagnosis

The key to robust treatment and a sound Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach is an accurate diagnosis. Being able to affiliate symptoms with conditions and having an idea of the origin of certain types of pain often aids in more rapid diagnosis. For patients with chronic sciatica, lumbosacral joint investigation should be at the top of the list.

Ideal Spine not only encourages our chiropractors to thoroughly investigate pain back to the source, but to use imaging and other diagnostic tools to test the hypotheses of palpation and observation. When it comes to investigating sciatica, the lumbosacral joint is an obvious point of first contact.

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.

Good Office Ergonomics is a Must-Do for Chronic Pain Patients

Just about every profession these days involves sitting in front of a computer for no small amount of time. Not coincidentally, there’s never been a greater number of cervical spine and lumber issues among the general population. More and more people are choosing to take their aching back and neck to a chiropractor.

Many of these same patients are often disheartened to hear that their pain is a symptom of something they can’t readily change: Their job. They feel relegated to living in pain because they’re unable to stop using their computer so much or simply get up and walk away in regular intervals.

Thankfully, chiropractors can offer insight into ergonomics as a way to restore a little bit of hope to chronic pain patients. At Ideal Spine, we encourage chiropractors to not just provide ergonomic tips, but to educate patients on the value of ergonomics and how to implement them across every aspect of the job that’s causing them pain.

Establish the pattern

Teaching good ergonomics starts by identifying the pattern inducing chronic pain. Have patients sit down at a mock desk and ask them to do a few basic tasks. Type a short paragraph, answer the phone, turn around to talk to you at different angles – these will help inform how their daily posture is affected.

Keep this going for several minutes to see how their posture naturally adjusts in their chair. You can also take pictures for visual aids later on.

The goal is to make clear the poor posture or movements contributing to a patient’s chronic pain. Then, address these issues through and education on ergonomics.

Make patients keenly aware of posture

Using notes and visuals from the mock workstation, walk chronic pain patients through their postural and behavioral problems. A few common focal areas bound to pop up include:

  • Slouching or sinking, leading to stress on the lumbar spine;
  • Forward head posture, leading to cervical stress;
  • Shoulder tensing or raised shoulders, leading to cervical and thoracic pain;
  • Head tilt, which can cause cervical subluxations or pain;
  • Crossed or bent legs, leading to stress in SI joints, hamstrings, quadriceps and more.

As you pinpoint and illustrate these postural problems, explain how they affect the body. Showing patients the holistic effects of their poor posture stimulates them into understanding the scope of their pain. It can also inspire more dedicated action to fix it.

Educate on the topic of ergonomics

Once the pattern is defined and the problems are illuminated, teach ergonomics. Use examples specific to the patient, such as proper head and hands position while typing or having feet flat on the floor with proper chair height. As you recommend these adjustments explain the effect on the body.

Work with patients to make a checklist or a pneumonic device so they remember their own ergonomic adjustments. This way, they’ll be more apt to adjusting their posture throughout the workday.

Finally, have them review basic ergonomic literature about some of the most common postural problems that can stem from constant sitting and computer use.

Build ergonomic education into a CBP regimen

When using Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) adjustment schedule, Ideal Spine recommends building in ongoing ergonomic education as part of your interaction with a chronic pain patient. Not only will they begin to experience relief from a targeted adjustment schedule, they’ll walk away from treatment armed with the knowledge to preserve these positive adjustments and avoid them in the future, thanks to an informed understanding of ergonomic best practices.

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.

Seniors Need to Safeguard Against Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Age is the number one catalyst for most spine conditions, purely because of the strain that comes after decades and decades of wear. Among the most damaging of age-related spinal conditions is spondylosis or arthritis of the vertebrae, which can lead to everything from vertebral fractures to herniated discs.

Spondylosis puts an aged spine at risk for cervical spondylotic myelopathy, as well. This condition is marked by the compression of the spinal cord, which puts strain on nerves, discs and supporting soft tissue.

For chiropractors working with senior patients, Ideal Spine recommends educating them on the damaging effects of cervical spondylotic myelopathy and how to safeguard against it.

Signs of cervical spondylotic myelopathy

The slow compression of the spine due to spondylosis generates the onset of numerous symptoms to qualify it. Seniors need to be aware of these symptoms and recognize them at their onset. More than that, they need to be vocal about them.

  • Numbness in the extremities, such as fingers and toes;
  • Loss of balance and coordination, or symptoms of instability;
  • General neck pain or discomfort at the base of the neck;
  • Referred pain in areas of the body such as the legs.

Additionally, aging patients with preexisting spinal conditions are prone to developing cervical spondylotic myelopathy, purely based on preexisting stresses. Common conditions further devolving from spondylosis include:

  • Herniated discs;
  • Disc degeneration;
  • Disc inflammation.

These conditions, coupled with the symptoms above and a diagnosis of spondylosis invariably point to cervical spondylotic myelopathy.

Identifying the catalyst

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy is generally triggered by either a traumatic event or an underlying condition atop spondylosis.

The first and most common in elderly patients is trauma. Slip and fall accidents can cause damage to the cervical spine that takes much longer to heal than it would’ve in their youth. This stress incites further compression of the vertebrae due to the body’s need to support itself. Moreover, traumas tend to affect muscles and ligaments, which weaken the overall level of support for the spine, bringing about more of a burden.

Another common catalyst for cervical spondylotic myelopathy, as mentioned, is arthritis. This autoimmune condition can affect the facet joints of the spine, causing instability that eventually leads to compression.

Safeguarding spine health

Most seniors are well aware of their increased risk of accidents and injury. Taking the time to inform them of this is important, but focus more on helping your patients address specific conditions they have or are at-risk for.

For patients with spondylosis or those at-risk for cervical spondylotic myelopathy, consider a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) plan that involves decompression techniques, as well as strengthening components for core muscle groups. This, coupled with routine adjustments and routine wellness examinations by a physician, can provide a sound foundation for avoiding the deteriorating effects of cervical spondylotic myelopathy.

Ideal Spine encourages chiropractors to recognize at-risk patients through thorough spine health assessments, paying special mind to populations (like seniors) prone to degenerative conditions.

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.

Diagnosing Adult Scoliosis: What to Look for and How to Measure the Severity

Scoliosis is often associated with adolescents and teens. If addressed during the developmental phases of the body, it can be largely corrected with proper bracing and adjustments, and sufferers can go on to lead a normal life. For adults, however, correcting the problem is much more difficult.

Thankfully, cases of adult scoliosis are few and far between. Those that do exist tend to fall on a spectrum of nearly undetectable, as most severe idiopathic cases were addressed in childhood. Cases that linger into adulthood require comprehensive diagnosis to determine severity and scope, while thoracolumbar scoliosis cases (adult onset) require an understanding of the catalysts to properly treat.

Ideal Spine encourages chiropractors to use a full scope of diagnostic tools in measuring the severity of adult scoliosis cases.

Diagnosing adult scoliosis

Like juvenile scoliosis, adult scoliosis is simply the presentation of abnormal curvature of the spine. It can occur in the thoracic or lumbar spine (or both), in varying degrees of severity. While severe adult scoliosis is readily apparent through visual assessment and palpation, more nuanced cases require a complement of diagnostic tools:

  • Imaging: X-rays will show the deviation of the spine from neutral, but more importantly, they’ll show asymmetry that’s indicative of scoliosis. This asymmetry may be present in the hips or shoulder, and it’s usually qualified by spinal misalignment indicative of scoliosis.
  • Gait assessment: Checking the wear on a patient’s shoes or having them perform a series of walking tasks can reveal problems with gait indicative of scoliosis. In adults, this may also present in the form of instability, such as issues with balance or fast-twitch muscle response.
  • Neuromotor assessments: Testing left and right coordination or tactile capabilities is a good way to measure the severity in which improper spinal curvature has affected development of a person’s motor functions.

These tests are generally more qualitative in nature and taken first, to get a baseline for the presence of adult scoliosis and the context for how it’s affecting the body’s biomechanics. Following are several quantitative options for measuring the severity of adult thoracolumbar scoliosis:

  • Cobb Angle Measurement: This will determine the maximum degree of spinal variation, providing context for severity in a quantifiable angle.
  • King Classification: This looks at the vertebral alignment to determine variance in key vertebrae from neutral center position.
  • Lenke Classification: This assessment of the spine relies on measurements of three positions, providing context for flexibility.

When used together, qualitative measurements and quantitative analyses combine to form a picture of total severity. When assessing adult scoliosis, this is extremely important for understanding how to proceed with treatment. The body is no longer developing, meaning bracing isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach as it may be with juvenile idiopathic cases.

At Ideal Spine, our reliance of Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) adjustments makes us keenly familiar with the assessment modalities used to investigate adult scoliosis cases. We believe in the value of having both qualitative and quantitative insights, and we encourage chiropractors to combine them for a superior treatment approach.

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.