NJ Pain Management

Easing the Pain of Spinal Stenosis

lowbackpain

Corraling Sneaky Spinal Stenosis

When it comes to easing the pain of spinal stenosis, the narrowing of spaces within your spine, it’s all about relieving pressure. That would seem obvious, and it should also come as no surprise that one of the most effective healing tools is decompression. That’s why the Butler Spine Program at Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy includes decompression in its multi-faceted approach to treating spinal stenosis.

This is nonsurgical, as is another spinal stenosis breakthrough— the LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) Laser, which not only eases symptoms like pain but has been shown to slow, even stop, degeneration.    

Spinal stenosis can be sneaky, and often is, and that means you may have a full-blown problem before you know it. It strikes most often in the neck and lower back, known as cervical and lumbar stenosis, respectively. You may not notice the symptoms for a while, and they may be so gradual that your pain threshold, for example, may adapt as the condition worsens. It may be detected via an MRI before you actually feel anything, but MRIs are usually conducted after reporting symptoms, so it might be a slippery slope toward reaching a diagnosis. And, of course, there is no specific treatment until there is a diagnosis.

Women with Back PainHowever, many of the fundamental features of chiropractic medicine, being noninvasive and an alleviator of pain, might actually precede the symptoms of spinal stenosis and stymie the degeneration.

The most common symptoms are pain in the lower back and/or neck. Lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common of all, but we say “and/or” because it could be both.

What are other notable symptoms aside from blatant pain? Let’s start with the neck, where, as is often the case with spinal issues, the symptoms may not seem related to the source at all. Tingling or numbness in extremities— legs, feet, arms or hands— may be a symptom. Another symptom is weakness in the extremities. You may notice that your balance isn’t what it used to be. Sometimes walking seems a struggle. Blame it on aging and being out of shape, but it may be a sign of cervical stenosis. Finally, bladder and bowel concerns, including sudden and unexpected urination or incontinence, may be a long way from the neck, but…

As for the symptoms of lumbar stenosis, weakness, numbness or tingling in the extremities emanate from the lower back too. Cramping and aching from standing for long spans of time might be blamed on deteriorating knees or poor circulation, but it is also a symptom of lumbar stenosis.

The Butler Spine Program is all about relieving the pressure and taking the woes of spinal stenosis out of your life.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

 

Why Website Words Seem Familiar

Computer

The Common Denominator of Chiropractic Searching

If you do much online research on chiropractic care, you are bound to see an amazing amount of repetition on practitioners’ websites. We’re talking word-for-word by the hundreds, and though this might be technically defined as plagiarism, nobody seems to complain too much.

That is because much of the purloined parlance is within the industry, so to speak. Quoting information that educates the public on the advantages of chiropractic care and mainstream studies that cite its many advantages, seems to be shared material for chiropractic practices all over the country. Plus it is proven and factual.

Aside from informational pages on these websites, you’ll also see this wholesale misappropriation of wordage in blogs on sites promoting everything from nutrition to acupuncture. Bloggers should know better, since they are usually professional writers and copywriters, but, then again, why not repeat someone else’s writing if you can’t state it any better?

Look at it this way. If it was your writing showing up on websites all over the country, you might actually feel complimented because so many people in the field preferred your words over their own.

WhiplashChiropractors are not alone. This seems to be particularly pervasive in the healing arts, including medical doctors, dentists and even healthcare financial advisors. Their websites are replete with hundreds of words lifted from elsewhere, and it is almost impossible to trace their origin.  

We’ve found numerous websites that are sharing writing without attribution, but we doubt anyone is going to mind all that much, because what’s good for one is apparently good for all— as long as the author doesn’t complain.

Take, for example, the following 65 words (part of several hundred but we don’t need to devote that many words to make the point):

In the United States, chiropractic is often considered a complementary health approach. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey of the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, about 8 percent of adults (more than 18 million) and nearly 3 percent of children (more than 2 million) had received chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation in the past 12 months…

Even though this survey is pretty much outdated more than a decade later, we found the above passage unchanged on 54 different sites all over the country and once in the UK. Most were chiropractic sites, but it was also on sites promoting pain therapy, yoga, cancer treatment, Chinese martial arts, holistic nursing, massage therapy, a suburban newspaper and even Wikipedia (the subject was therapeutic touch).

 

Diversity Among Chiropractors

Running

Not All Chiropractors Are the Same

There have been some simple stereotypes associated with chiropractors over a history of almost 125 years, but there are now as many as 150 techniques recognized by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

“Much like the medical profession, there are many different styles of practice,” says Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at the Oakland Spine & Rehabilitation Centers in Oakland and Wayne, NJ. “A traditional chiropractor typically uses just spinal manipulation or some basic modalities. Then there are chiropractors who follow more of a model of spinal ‘correction,’ which is to use additional techniques to bring the patient’s spine back to a normal structural state.”

Finally, there are chiropractic rehabilitation offices like Oakland Spine with multiple techniques and disciplines. These may include advanced technologies and modalities such as physical therapy, massage therapy and acupuncture.

“This is the model we utilize because I feel it’s giving the patient the overall best opportunity to heal and recover from more chronic and advanced spinal conditions,” Dr. Butler adds.

TorticollisWithin the realm of chiropractic medicine itself, there are five basic or common techniques. They might be generally defined thusly:

  1. The simplest hands-on technique is typically confined to adjusting the low back or pelvis. It is a fundamental phase of chiropractic education and students learn it early in schooling and training. Targeted are stiffness and pain, as well as increasing mobility.
  2. Another technique involves using a hand-held instrument that transmits a gentle impulse into sections of the spine. There is very little discomfort in this process, known as the activator technique, and it is used to alleviate lower back pain and even for headaches and migraines.
  3. Decompression manipulation is a technique commonly used in chiropractic clinics and preferred for treating herniated discs, sprains to the facet joints between discs, and scoliosis. The treatment is described as a gentle stretching motion on an adjustable table.
  4. Speaking of adjustable tables, the drop-table technique relies on a padded table with platforms that drop slightly in sequence with thrusts of the chiropractor making adjustments to both the spine and extremities.
  5. Finally there is the diversified technique that, like the drop-table technique, is used on both the spine and extremities. These are very precise manual applications,  that are effective at restoring normal alignment and movement of the spine.

There is great diversity in training and schooling. For example, there are 10 post-graduate programs or specialties endorsed by the ACA and offering diplomate certification for chiropractors:

  • Chiropractic Pediatrics
  • Chiropractic Physical and Therapeutic Rehabilitation
  • Chiropractic Acupuncture
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Diagnosis and Internal Disorders
  • Nutrition
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Occupational Health
  • Sports Physician

 

Sitting and Slouching Our Way to Back Pain

Sacroiliac Joint

The Back Pain Epidemic

Eighty percent of Americans will suffer from back pain in their lifetime, but what we are observing here at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy is that people are experiencing this all-too common aggravation at younger ages. It’s an ordeal that may lead to lack of mobility and disability at an age when you should be enjoying life at its fullest.

“Cases that we are used to seeing in people in their thirties and forties, we are seeing in teenagers,” reports Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at the Oakland Spine & Rehabilitation Centers in Oakland and Wayne, NJ. “Cases that we are used to seeing in sixty year olds, we are seeing in thirty and forty year olds.”

Why are we experiencing what might be described as an epidemic of back pain at a time when our challenges are supposedly being eased by technology. Our ancestors, after all, labored long hours every day in agrarian pursuits or working at industrial jobs. Their more physically demanding lives started at an earlier age, as adolescents and even young children, and chronic back injury would seem virtually inevitable.

There even seems to be a marked increase in back pain since the 1970’s and 1980’s when early technology were easing the load on farms and in factories and an increasing number were earning their pay as white-collar employees.

LaptopThe reason back pain is worse than ever, affecting people younger than ever, is that the world in which we live and work today is so different from the decades before computers, cell phones, and various technologies constantly available to us.

We spend an inordinate amount of our time squinting at laptop screens and scrolling through our cell phones. We’re sitting more and moving less, consuming hours every day huddling over digital devices with stress and strain moving down the body and into the neck and back.

Poor posture can exert extraordinary stress on your spine and even change its shape over time, impacting blood vessels and nerves. From there the stress can move to joints, muscles and the discs. Unchecked it will inevitable lead to back pain.

So if the effects of poor posture will inevitably lead to back pain and decreased mobility, is it possible that correcting your posture before it’s too late reverse the deterioration and save you from years of back pain?

The good news is yes. If there is no relief in sight, mobility will continue to worsen. That relief is up to you, and we’re here to help at Oakland Spine & physical therapy.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

 

How A Sneeze Can Lead To Back Pain

Back Pain

Is Back Pain Really Nothing to Sneeze at?

The idea that a sneeze can actually injure your back is not as farfetched as it may seem. It’s a fact that sneezes trigger back pain misery and, in some case, may be the first step in the painful journey wrought by the inclusive condition we call a “bad back.”

It is difficult indeed to acknowledge that a sneeze could have this kind of impact on your spinal health.

After all, you may have lived an active life up to this point, doing all kinds of things that may not be good for your back— playing football and enduring and initiating tackles and blocks, as well physical labor requiring lifting heavy objects, often incorrectly, and all kinds of pushing, pulling and straining.

It is almost laughable, therefore, that after taking such risks over all those years, something like a sneeze could embark you on a voyage through back pain misery, including slipped or herniated discs, upper and lower back spasms that may, in themselves, lead to back injury, as well as, in extreme cases, paralysis of the limbs. It is quite probable that because of the aforementioned activities a disc may be on the precipice of herniation, or protruding from the spine, which means that at least one part of the spine may be vulnerable to any jolt or spasm. Stress, pressure and the jarring impact of a violent sneeze can indeed cause harm, especially if you are not in a stable position.

Sneeze“If you already suffer from musculoskeletal issues, sneezing can make matters worse for you,” reports the Accident and Injury Center, which suggests bracing yourself for stabilization and maintaining the natural arch of your back.

Consider that most of us who suddenly sneeze with people nearby, politely turn away just before the sneeze. This results in turning the head and twisting the spine as it is jolted by this convulsive expulsion.

If you experience sudden sharp pain down the spine after a forceful sneeze, you might want to check it out with your chiropractor or family doctor, who may refer you to a specialist if disease is already present.

Analyzing a sneeze indicates that it does indeed have potential for injury, and the spine— especially one already compromised by injury or deterioration— takes on the brunt of the impact. It’s like launching a missile. You arm the launch by holding your breath and therefore tightening the chest muscles, increasing the air and pressure in your lungs.

The result of a so-called violent sneeze is high-pressured expulsion of mostly air and droplets of mucous leaving the body. The velocity is nowhere near 100 miles an hour as recent laboratory testing has disproved.

It just feels like it at times.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

Feeling, Tolerating and Measuring Pain

Pain is both internal and subjective, and its impact on those who experience it is as diverse as how people deal with it. For some, it may have little impact on their lives and careers, because they manage it through medication, surgery or find relief through chiropractic care.

Pain is a part of the healing process in any injury, especially traumatic ones, and it is a sign of normalcy that it will eventually go away. Yes, the body seems sometimes to have mystical ways of dealing with pain when your life is on the line.  Science tells us that the body, when injured, will literally release what one study calls “natural opioids,” which are beta-endorphins and other pain relievers.

It is safe to say we all feel pain in different ways and cope with it differently. At the same time, it can be detected and measured so it is not something just solely perceived by the person who is feeling it. Neuroscientists can objectively measure pain through brain scans and other imaging, which may eventually replace the traditional way physicians measure our pain. They ask us.

So even if you have two patients and they, coincidentally, are both suffering from the same injury and you measure it at the same level, is it affecting both patients the same? The truth is that one may actually be able to function by doing basic tasks and the other may be unable to do anything but lie in bed, possibly in a protective coma.

What’s Your Pain Threshold?

Pain ManagementHow we handle pain is just one of the things that makes us different, and though the pain may be the same, the tolerance of it isn’t.

Pain tolerance is also known as the pain threshold. Our pain thresholds may be low or high. If your pain threshold is high, it means that you can handle a lot more of it than most people. When the threshold is low, you can’t take very much of it.

So does that mean that the person with high tolerance to pain is comfortable when most of us aren’t? Or is it that he or she has some kind of inner fortitude to ignore it or virtually will it away? It is true that you can ignore pain longer if distracted, but is that proof of anything regarding pain thresholds?

How we tolerate pain definitely has something to do with these natural pain-killers and how they are released.  These, too, can be measured, and we are told by neuroscience that women generally have a lower pain threshold than men, because they don’t release as many of those endorphins. Then again, the average healthy adult male has supposedly never experienced the pain that women feel in childbirth.

We also know we don’t have to live with a low pain threshold, because deep breathing, meditation and other so-called distractions have been shown to increase one’s tolerance of pain. You can hide your pain with medication, but the pain is still there and there is no healing taking place. So why settle for that when we can offer you true healing and escape from pain?

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

Exercises for Hip Pain

Exercises for Hip Pain

There are two types of muscles that help facilitate motion in our hips and lower extremities: tonic and phasic.

Tonic (postural) muscles are always working or contracting to keep us upright. Therefore, these muscles tend to be tight and short. When we sleep, they contract or shorten and are taut upon waking and need to be stretched on a regular basis. Examples of tonic muscles include the hamstrings and the iliopsoas or hip flexors muscles. Here are two great stretches for these muscles:

Read More

Management Strategies for Chronic Low Back Pain

lowbackpain

Chronic Low Back Pain (cLBP) is a BIG problem in our society, accounting for about 33% of work-related disability. So, what is the best management strategy for cLBP?

One study looked at the effectiveness of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) using three groups of patients with Chronic Low Back Pain. Each group received either: 1) “sham” spinal manipulation (twelve treatments of sham or “fake” SMT) over a one-month timeframe and then discontinued; 2) “real” SMT (high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust) twelve times during a one-month timeframe and then discontinued; and 3) the SAME as the second group but with additional SMT treatments every other week for nine additional months.

Read More