May 2017 - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Monthly Archives: May 2017

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Just What is Back Pain and Some Surprising Stats About It

Just What is Back Pain and Some Surprising Stats About It

For decades, the medical profession has been observing back pain to be common in society. Most noted victims to chronic back pain being our senior citizens. The annoyances of back pain causes distress and can also prevent people from their regular activities including their work schedule and play time with family. Back pain can be the most difficult and frustrating type of pain to treat for both patients and their doctors.

Here are some of the common causes of back pain:

  1. Muscles strains are considered to be the most common.
  2. A ruptured intervertebral disc, otherwise known as a herniated disc which can lead to discogenic back pain
  3. Improper posture, heavy lifting and repetitive motion can also cause back pain.
  4. At the ageing stage, the spinal cord is likely to get constricted which can cause back pain. This is known as Spinal stenosis.
  5. A person suffering from arthritis in the lumber region is commonly subjected to back pain.
  6. Due to generative changes, the adjacent vertebrae in the spinal cord can become unstable and start to slip, resulting in back pain. This is called spondylolisthesis.
  7. Sometimes psychological issues like fear, anxiety and depression too can add to discomfort and pain.

Types and treatments of back pain:

It can be classified into two categories.

  1. Acute or short-term pain – Also known as lower back pain, the pain is probably due to lower back trauma of some sort. Incurred sports or vehicular injuries may have been the root cause of this undesirable back pain.
  2. Chronic back pain: If the back pain persists for more than three months, it is considered to be chronic.

Here are some interesting facts about back pain:

  • Through 1997 – 2001, the average days of work lost due to back injuries was 45.
  • Around 30 to 40 percent of all workplace absences have been known to be due to back pain.
  • Back strain accounts for 25% of all claims to the WCB.
  • From 1997 – 2001 the WCB received 63,900 claims for back strain from males and 26,800 claims for back strain from females.
  • More than two-thirds of back strains are caused by lifting and other exertions like pulling and pushing.
  • Lower back pain accounts for two thirds of all back pain related cases.

Victims need to consult a Chiropractor if their back pain persists for more than 72 hours. Surgery is not a great solution at any time, sometimes pain relievers will lessen the pain followed by the consumption of anti-inflammatory medication. Certain exercises are also recommended to strengthen the muscles and to overcome back pain. But they should be practiced in the presence of a professional or else they might make the situation worse if practiced in the wrong way.

If the pain spreads to legs, numbness in legs, rectal area and foot, development of nausea, fever, stomach pain and vomiting accompanied by back pain a person should immediately be reported to a doctor.

The key to proper treatment of back pain is to understand the cause and take preventative and pro-active measures to eliminate the pain. Remember, pain is always a sign that something else is wrong and if continually ignored may lead to more serious harm.


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Your Total Guide to Cluster Headache

Two heads are better than one! A cluster of heads is still better! But this cluster headache is definitely not desirable! One should not suffer from this chasing disease.

It is chasing because once this headache starts, it occurs daily over a period of weeks extending up to several months! Then it may suddenly disappear and dramatically reappear during the same season in the ensuing year. Its timing is marked and it is perfect!

Who or what is responsible for this cluster headache? Nothing is known for certain. But it is reasonably proven that changes in the walls of blood vessels in the head have a role to play in the advancement of the cluster headache!

The brain by itself is a non-committal entity. It feels no pain. The pain of headache comes from the tissues surrounding the brain, the attaching structure at the base of the brain. The muscles, the scalp vessels, the vessel of the face and neck, may cause cluster headache. Or it may be specifically to blood vessels dilation or to inflammation of nerves behind the eyes.

The pattern of cluster headaches is very interesting. There are active periods and passive periods. Headache occurs in clusters. It may be days, weeks or even months, during which headache bothers you in clusters, every other day or ten times during a particular day. Head-ache free intermission may last for several months and years.

During the active period, you have to be careful about your lifestyles and discipline. Attacks may be triggered and intense suffering may bother you. The reasons may include: intake of alcohol, going to a place of high altitude, air travel, intense heat due to sunlight or due to any other reasons like taking of those items of food which are high in nitrates and many more.

Since cluster headaches are a serious type of headache, you have to budget your day, in all its aspects according to a strict schedule that is suitable to you. You can only know what is suitable for you by past experience!


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Your prescription for sinus headache

Your Prescription for Sinus Headache Relief

“Prevention is better than cure.” Well said and well understood! But there are certain types of headaches, which are part and parcel of you; gifted to you by birth! Sinus headache is one of them, unfortunately.

Many say about sinus, “that which cannot be cured, must be endured!’ You can control it, reduce its impact. Can it be ever eradicated? The answer is in the negative, as far as the present day medical research can take you!

In sinus, invariably you have the headache, but every headache is not sinus! Sinus and nasal passage problems are the cause of headache, mostly! It is not that you have pain in the sinus area and you need to conclude that you have a sinus disorder. When the nasal passage and sinus are inflamed, it can result in a severe headache. In acute chronic sinus, the intensity of headache varies with the severity of the sinus. Sinus patients complain about many other problems. The sinus patient is more likely to experience:

  1. Chills and fevers
  2. Swelling of face
  3. Nasal stiffness
  4. Tension in the upper teeth, which will give lots of pain
  5. Or, yellow or green discharge.

If you are suffering from sinus, you must live a controlled life, and must remain highly disciplined, with regard to the diet. There are strict laws as far as do’s and don’ts are concerned! Singers will have to take special care about maintaining the vocal chords of their throats! Sinus remains ever ready to sabotage their plans.

Pranayama and Yoga asanas go a long way in controlling and curing the sinus headache! Regular light exercise must be done and tough and heavy exercises need to be avoided. The use of steam vaporizer must become the part of your life, if you detect the sinus! Develop the habit of morning walk. Do not walk too briskly or too slowly, and avoid too chilly or too hot days. Breathe moist air.

Sinus and headache are two different problems. When they club together and make a joint attack on you, your only defense is to find out the root cause of their arrival and then check them. So far, it has not been possible for the medical science and research, to defeat the sinus headache. But to erect barricades in its onward march is certainly possible!


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Trying yoga for back pain part 2

Trying Yoga for Back Pain? Then Pick the RIGHT poses (Part 2)

I went over in detail the use of the shoulder stand sequence as ‘the’ Yoga exercise for back pain in part one of this article. Now let’s go over the rest of the applicable poses shall we.

FORWARD STRETCHES

Wind Relieving Pose: (Vatayanasan)

Lie down flat. Now take a deep breath and hold it. Now fold your right leg at the knee and press the folded leg against the abdomen. Make sure to keep the alternate leg straight while doing this. Now, switch legs and to conclude this use both legs at the same time.

5-15 Seconds

Plough Pose (Halasana)

Lie flat on your back on your blanket. Keep the hands, palms down near the thighs. Without bending the knees, slowly raise the hips and the lumbar part of the back and bring down the legs till they touch the floor or go as far as you can. The key here is to get as deep a stretch for the lower back as possible.

5-15 Seconds

Forward Bend (Paschimothanasana)

Lie flat on your back on the blanket, with arms overhead on the floor. Keep the legs and thighs firmly on the floor. Stiffen your body. Slowly raise the head and the chest and assume a sitting position. Now exhale till you are able to catch you toes, ankles or heels. You may even bury your face in between your knees.

5-15 Seconds

BACKWARD STRETCHES

Inclined Plane Pose (Purvottanasana)

Rest on your hands-on heels, keeping the body straight.

5-15 Seconds

Bow Pose: (Dhanurasana)

This pose is hailed as the best backward bending exercise. Lie Prone on the blanket. Relax the muscles. Now bend the legs over the thighs. Catch hold of the right ankle with the right hand and the left ankle with the left hand firmly. Raise the head, body and knees by tugging at the legs with the hands so the whole-body rests on the abdomen.

Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

Lie down. Bend the arms and legs. Raise the body and rest on the hands and feet. Tuck your head firmly in between your shoulders.

5-15 Seconds

Spinal Twist: (Ardha Matsendrasana)

-Sit on the floor with both legs out in front of you.

-Bend your right knee, lift your right leg over your left, and place your right foot on the floor next to your left knee.

-Sitting with spine straight, place your left elbow on the right side of your right knee.

-Bend your left arm so that your left fingertips are touching your right hip, while at the same time, twisting to look over your right shoulder.

Since this actually involves a twisting of the back, make sure you go only as far as it is comfortable.  As a matter of fact, it is advised that depending on the severity of your case, you only go as far as the poses allow you to at any time.

5-15 Seconds

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

This is the relaxation pose. From experience, after the spinal twist above, if you immediately get into this pose, there is an indescribable feeling of relief from tightness in the back. You ought to try it out for yourself.

-Lay motionless on your back with the arms and legs slightly extended.

-Breathe deeply in counts of 5 that being in a ratio of 5:5:5

(inhalation-retention-exhalation)

-Lay as such for as long as you desire and you could mentally send relaxation messages to your body parts such as “My …. is hereby relaxed” (filling in the space with whatever body part. Remember to start from the toes working upwards.)

Other factors to keep in mind when I say try ‘yoga for back pain’ are that Yoga involves the consumption of a healthy diet. This brings to mind Hippocrates’ quote: “Let your foods be your medicine…”

That considered, do make sure your diet is primarily made up of the right stuff, raw and cooked fruits and veggies.

This will relieve constipation and this reminds me of a true experience with my father years back. He had suffered a severe back pain for weeks and an alternative health consultant told him to eat a meal of plain fruit on a given night and 2-3 hours afterwards, he was instructed to drink a laxative tea. After a really good bowel movement the next day, the pain magically subsided. That said you may want to try this tip as well.

It is my hope that all these pointers above will come in handy in your use of yoga for back pain relief-with the right poses. So, go on and give it a shot today.


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Trying yoga for back pain part 1

Trying Yoga for Back Pain (Part 1)

Studies have shown that Yoga may be one of the most effective exercises for back pain relief. In fact Health-First reporter Leslie LoBue says twisting your body into those sometimes awkward positions may actually be just the thing for lower back pain.

However, as effective as Yoga may be to reduce the pain of back problems, knowing exactly what poses to use, for how long, what to offset the poses with and in what sequence to execute them, are other factors that should be taken into consideration before using it as a therapeutic relief from back pain.

I can see a reader go “Wait a minute…if I have to go through all that, then maybe I should just take some painkillers and call it a day.”

If that applies, it is hardly my intention to scare you away from Yoga for back pain, in fact I’d rather you embraced its use as an alternative to drugs-prescribed or otherwise-for your problems, however, for your success with its use, a little bit of awareness of the correct poses to use for back pain is required and will come in handy for a lasting use of this drug-free alternative.

I will go over the common, simple yet very effective poses for back pain and also give you instructions on the proper poses to offset the spinal motions when applicable. Moreover, I will discuss the factors of the duration of time needed when executing these poses as well.

Though some of these poses may best be learned under the supervision of a certified Yoga Instructor or avid expert, with the descriptions given below-and if need be, the use of image searches on related Yoga sites and search engines-

I believe you should be able to get a good concept to at least be able to practice these poses at home.

Here are some of the best poses for back ache and since the aim here is more so back pain relief versus exercising, it is not mandatory that you hold them more than 5-15 seconds, depending on your level of comfort. Moreover, a use of a yoga mat or any other soft surface is highly recommended in the execution of these asanas.

The Shoulder-stand (Savangasana)

This, folks, is a noted panacea for near any human ailment.

Don’t panic, it is extremely easy to execute, however, depending on the severity of your case, use discretion in its use.

-Spread a thick blanket on the floor and place your yoga mat on it. Lie on the back.

-Slowly raise the legs. Lift the trunk, hips and legs to a vertical position.

-Rest the elbows firmly on the floor and support the back with both hands.

-Raise the legs till they become vertical. Press the chin against the chest..

-While performing this pose, the back of the neck, the posterior part of the head and the shoulders should touch the floor. (I can assure you that you will say “Hey, I’ve done this before as a kid…this is yoga?”)

-Breathe in counts of 5-5-5 (inhalation, retention and exhalation).

-Don’t allow the body to shake.

Now for the counter poses to the Shoulder-Stand, try to incorporate the following:

Bridge Pose (Sethu Bhandasana)

From the Shoulder Stand position, stretch the legs and slowly touch the floor with the feet. It is done to bend the spine in the opposite direction.

Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Lie on your back. Stretch the legs and keeps the hands palm down under the thighs. Raise the chest with the help of the elbows and, bending the neck as much as possible backwards, rest on the top of the head.

Suggested Duration:

Try to use the ratio below to time the execution of these three poses.

6:1:2 (meaning the fish pose is held for a third of the time spent in the shoulder stand and the bridge pose held for half the time spent in the fish pose (or a sixth of the time spent in the shoulder-stand)

Or as an alternative, you could simply forego the bridge pose and apply a 2:1 ratio (shoulder-stand to fish pose) but this is only advised if you intend to do the parent pose (the shoulder-stand) for only a few seconds.

Obviously, a lot of detail has gone into the description of these poses, however, that is because my intention is for you to be well informed, but for the sake of time and space. I will briefly go over the other poses you could do well to include AFTER you try the sequence above. This is if you decide to use it by the way. If not, you could do very well to simply start from the stage to be depicted in part 2 of this article.


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The importance of stretching

The Importance of Stretching

Among the methods applied in sport training, one that has been used more and more lately is stretching. The word, English in origin, is used as such in many other languages and it comes from the verb to stretch (meaning, in this sense, ‘to make your arms, legs and body as straight as possible so that your muscles become long and tight’). More exactly, we talk about stretching the muscles, the joints, the tendons, the ligaments, etc.

Even before the term itself and the specific methods gained individuality, stretching was used a lot, especially in sports or activities which require a very good mobility of the joints and special muscle suppleness (gymnastics, martial arts, ballet, etc.). The positions specific to hatha yoga were a source of inspiration for the different movements practiced in stretching, but these positions underwent many transformations, adaptations and simplifications.

The most important effect of stretching is suppleness of muscles and joints, which enables increased effectiveness during the training. There are different opinions about the exact time when stretching should be introduced in the training program.

Thus, there are authors who support the idea that stretching is indicated for both warming up and relaxation, and even for the main part of the training. On the other hand, there is the opinion that stretching must be done only in the relaxation faze, because the movements that are specific to it induce a state of relaxation that you do not want at the beginning of the training. This state comes as a result of maintaining the passive faze of the positions.

Anyway, everybody agrees that stretching needs to be anticipated by general warming up, this way the practitioner will avoid tightening of the muscles.

General warming up takes about 5 minutes and it contains aerobic exercises. Stretching muscles that have not been warmed up might be dangerous for the integrity of the muscle fibers, which could rupture easily.

Both weight and resistance training should include stretching; the effectiveness will only increase once this type of movement is done during training.

Another reason for higher effectiveness is the fact that a bigger number of motive units are involved in the movement and they are mobilized faster once the volitional order is transmitted, through the motive impulse, to the muscles. Given the fact that the range of the movements is larger, the sportsman can cover bigger distances, larger scopes, saving, at the same time, energy, which is important especially in very demanding sports (athletics, canoeing, etc.).

You can have a whole training only with stretching exercises. However, this is not advisable: the muscles will quickly get used to only relax, without contracting, which can produce a certain misbalance.

Another possible negative effect of exaggerated stretching movements (over the physiological limit of a joint) is laxity of the joints or even accidents like sprains, dislocations, tightening of ligaments or tendons, etc.). The main joints (knee, shoulder, elbow, etc.) are protected not only by their own mobility, but also by the elasticity of the muscles which surround them (periarticular).

In conclusion, stretching must be accompanied by other forms of training so that the sportsman will have a complete and secure fitness program.


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What you should know about massage therapy

What Should You Know About Massage Therapy

What should you know about massage therapy? Well apart from it being able to help relieve sore muscles, a few other things like what are the different types, what are the risks, if there are any side effects and whether or not it should substitute conventional medicine.

For starters, there are more than 10 types being used to date. Some examples of these include reflexology, shiatsu, back massage, Thai, hot stone, deep tissue, aromatherapy and Swedish.

There are only a few serious risks with regards to massage therapy and this can be avoided if you take the proper precautions. The best thing to do will be to consult with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to see a masseuse.

Patients who have the following conditions should not undergo massage therapy. These include deep vein thrombosis that happens to be a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the legs, a bleeding disorder or taking blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin, damaged blood vessels and weakened bones from osteoporosis, a recent fracture, or cancer.

You also should get a massage if you have a fever, have an open injury, been diagnosed with a tumor, have damaged nerves, have an infection or acute inflammation.  Certain conditions could also be dangerous if you decide to have a massage. These include pregnancy, cancer, fragile skin, heart problems, dermatomyositis and a history of physical abuse.

There are certain side effects associated with massage therapy. These include temporary pain or discomfort, bruising, swelling and sensitivity or allergy to massage oils.

Massage therapy should not be used a substitute for regular medical care. If your doctor tells you that you can see a specialist, do some research about the person.

You should check on their credentials or licenses, years of experience and training.  If you need massage therapy to help cure medical condition, find out beforehand if they have specialized training in this field.

It wouldn’t hurt to also ask if they use other CAM practices aside from massage therapy to help their patients. Some examples of these include the use of herbs and requiring the patient to go on a special diet.

If everything checks out, then this is the time you find out how many treatments will be needed, the cost and if this will be covered by your insurance. In most cases, this will not be honored. Some people may even ask for a free ten-minute test to see how well they perform.

Part of the criteria should include giving you privacy when you change, he or she covers your body for modesty and warmth, inquires before beginning the session what part of the body you want worked on, asks for feedback as to how they are doing and accommodates requests for less or more intense pressure.

The best part about massage therapy is that it can provide relief without the need to ingest pain killing drugs and knowing some facts about it is good so you know what you are getting yourself into once you visit the place. You can read more about this by doing some research which isn’t bad even if you just go for a session to relieve some stress or pain and not have to visit because of a medical condition.


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Your Spinal contour and good posture

Your Spinal Contour and Good Posture

Spinal contour

Either you are sitting, standing, working, sleeping or relaxing; your back spine is most comfortable in what is called a neutral posture. The neutral posture is a position about halfway between full bending and arching.

Your neutral back spine has three natural curves: the inward curve at the neck (cervical lordosis), the outward curve at the upper back (thoracic kyphosis), and finally the inward curve at the low back (lumbar lordosis).

The neutral spinal curves differ in shape from person to person. Neutral spinal curves can change for the better with exercise and training; And sometimes for the worse with injury, aging, poor posture habits or a disease.

The amount of curving in your spine when you are in a neutral posture determines your support needs. A spinal support product should be deep enough to support your particular curves without pushing beyond your neutral postures. Meaning it should feel natural and not too arched; you should also feel supported; meaning there must not be a gap between you and the support.

Good posture

Time and again some people still have back pain while sitting with a back support. That is because there are three main components to back spinal pain: movement, load & Posture. Movement refers to the effect of excessive or inadequate motion on the body’s circulatory and neuro-musculo-skeletal system; Load is the weight one puts through one’s back spine; Posture refers to the curve of the back spine.

Unfortunately, not everybody can avoid back and neck symptoms by correcting their posture. Cushions can only improve one’s Posture, not necessary take away all the pain.

If you show signs of any of the following symptoms, you might need more than good posture support from your spinal care product.

1) Impaired tolerance for upright postures (weight-bearing loss)

2) Inability to stay in one posture, even a good neutral posture, for prolonged periods of time (constrained posture intolerance)

3) Discomfort when furniture or supports come in contact with your body (pressure intolerance)

If a good posture can reduce or help you to control your back or neck symptoms, a trained product consultant can help you find the best product fit. If a good posture cannot do that, you should talk to your Chiropractor. In some cases, a comprehensive fitting evaluation might be necessary.


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4 Easy ways to relieve headaches

4 Easy Ways to Relieve Headaches

Having headache is annoying and sometimes it is difficult for us to avoid. Mostly when we are under pressure, headache appeared automatically. If it gets worse, we might faint due to the pain we felt.

A headache is a condition of mild to severe pain in the head. It can also attack at our upper back or neck. There are different types of headache, but most of the time headache brought on by stress, too long in front of computer, noise and others.

One of the main causes of headache is tension in the muscles of the neck, scalp and jaw. We usually deal with it by taking some sleep or consume over-the counter aspirin to release our pain. However, can we do this at any place?

Obviously, we cannot sleep at the office or at the mall. In addition, we might run of aspirin when headache strike us.

Do not worry! The easiest way to handle headache and we can do it everywhere is through massage. Massage is the practice of applying pressure or vibration to the soft tissues of the body, to heal injury, relieve psychological stress, manage pain, improve circulation and relieve tension.

When we suffer from headache, we can help ourselves with self-massage. Simple and everybody can do it, either at work or home.

Here are four easy ways in massage to heal our headache.

  1. Eyes Area Massage – Close your eyes. Place your middle fingers to your eyes that are above cheekbones. Massage that area gently but firmly in circular motion for 1 minute,
  2. Eyes to Nose Massage – Using thumb, go along the underside of eyebrows (along the bone on top of eye socket). Feel where this bone meets the bridge of your nose and eyes and find a point where there is a small indentation. Very gentle pressure, press your thumbs into the points. You can do it four times by holding and press that area for 10 seconds in each press.
  3. Neck Massage – Massage a point where you can feel it by moving the middle fingers of your hands to the back of your head and feel the base of your skull. Specially, at the tops of your neck that meets the base of your skull. Massage for a minute using finger tips gentle in circular movement.
  4. Scalp Massage – Let your palms of your hands massage your scalp on the top of your skull for a minute gently.

Once you have done all those massages, start taking a deep breath. Lift your shoulders towards your ears for five to 10 seconds to relief remaining pain, and then let them drop back down into their natural position.

You are going to feel better when you can do that for a couple of times. Your massage will relief your headache and your head will feel less weighty.


 
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