Soft (and Not-So-Soft)-Tissue Overview

Posted on: Apr 2011


In my opinion, quality chiropractic care begins with combining soft-tissue techniques with joint manipulation and rehabilitation exercise. Muscles move bones. If you are not addressing the dysfunction in the muscles, your adjusting is much less likely to have long-term success.

This article, the first in a series on soft-tissue techniques, reviews some of soft-tissue methods I have been introduced to over the past 35 years.
One underlying theme when it comes to the various soft-tissue methods is that pain is a liar. The pain generator may be the local joint, or the nerves affected by disc pathology or impingement, but we need to look beyond that. “He who treats (only) the site of pain is lost” has been attributed to Lewit. Research proving that soft tissue is the source of a particular pain is difficult. Sometimes the pain generator can be identified, but the question remains, what is pulling on the pain generator?

One underlying theme when it comes to the various soft-tissue methods is that pain is a liar. The pain generator may be the local joint, or the nerves affected by disc pathology or impingement, but we need to look beyond that.

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To ease back pain, don’t sit up straight

Posted on: Apr 2011

Back Posture

The strain of sitting upright for long hours is a perpetrator of chronic back problems

The longstanding advice to “sit up straight” has been turned on its head by a new study that suggests leaning back is a much better posture.

Researchers analyzed different postures and concluded that the strain of sitting upright for long hours is a perpetrator of chronic back problems.

Using a new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), researchers studied 22 volunteers with no back pain history. The subjects assumed three different positions: slouching; sitting up straight at 90 degrees; and sitting back with a 135-degree posture—all while their spines were scanned.

“A 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture was demonstrated to be the best biomechanical sitting position, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal,” said study author, Waseem Amir Bashir, a researcher at the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada. “Sitting in a sound anatomic position is essential, since the strain put on the spine and its associated ligaments over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness.”

Back pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is the most common cause of work-related disability in the United States. It costs Americans nearly $50 billion annually. Sitting appears to be a major cause of this ailment.

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Warning Repetitive Stress Injuries

Posted on: Apr 2011


I imagine it was intended to say something like… use of a keyboard or mouse may be linked to serious injuries or disorders.

It’s no wonder people are still suffering from Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI), which are primarily caused by overuse of computer keyboards, computer mice, and other electronic gadgetry. Sadly, I don’t see the situation getting any better, regardless how hard chiropractors and other healthcare professionals work to educate consumers, on proper work environment ergonomics.

Earlier this year, in preparing for a patient education class on proper computer ergonomics, I flipped over a PC keyboard at my chiropractic office to take a photo of the RSI warning label. Nearly every keyboard I have checked (computer mice may not have a sticker, but some sort of health information is usually included with the packaging) has had some type of health warning posted on the keyboard bottom.

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New treatment for muscle pain

Posted on: Apr 2011


Olympian Jeff Pain swears by active release therapy to get sore or injured muscles moving again, and to generally improve his athletic performance.

“There’s no better therapy out there,” says Pain, as chiropractor Conrad Tang uses his thumbs to work the quadriceps muscle of the 2006 silver medallist in skeleton.

So-called “manual release therapies” such as active release therapy, Graston technique and Kinesio Taping are all the rage -Jon Montgomery reportedly used active release therapy prior to his gold-medal win at the 2010 Olympics.

But there’s little scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of the therapies, says Tang, also a kinesiology researcher with the University of Calgary who is embarking on a study to determine if manual release therapies, at the cutting edge of injury treatment and performance enhancement for elite athletes, can help regular folks with kneecap pain.

He’s looking for 20 active people between the ages of 18 and 45 with patella pain femoral syndrome, a common problem that affects about 30 per cent of the population, to participate in a free, eight-week treatment program.

Pain and injuries often lead to muscles that shut down and become dormant, explains Tang. Weakness and pain further hampers a person’s ability to move. By manipulating and applying pressure, manual therapy techniques are said to “wake up” these muscles and improve mobility and range of motion.

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Laptops are crippling millions with back problems

Posted on: Apr 2011


Girls as young as 12 are being diagnosed with nerve damage caused by slouching over screens

Booming sales of laptops have led to a surge in the number of computer users with back and muscle problems, experts have warned.

Girls as young as 12 are being diagnosed with nerve damage caused by slouching over screens, a group of leading chiropractors said.

Millions of others are at risk of “irretrievable damage” to their spines, necks and shoulders because of poor posture when using laptops, it was claimed.

Back specialists say as many as four in five patients have chronic nerve damage caused by working on portable PCs.

The problem is being driven by falling prices and the increasing availability of wireless technology, which makes portable computers more attractive.

Laptop sales in PC World went up by more than 25 per cent last year.

In addition, laptops used at work are not subject to the same health and safety regulations as desktop computers.

This makes it more likely they will be used incorrectly.

A common problem is perching a laptop on the legs so users stare down at the screen and put strain on their necks, spines and legs.

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Is There a Chiropractor in the House?

Posted on: Apr 2011

Daniel David Palmer

Daniel David Palmer: world’s first chiropractor

1895: The first chiropractic adjustment is performed, and a new field of medicine is born, along with a healthy number of skeptics.

It was the age of the talented dilettante, and the world’s first chiropractor certainly qualified on that score. Daniel David Palmer, variously a beekeeper, school teacher and grocery store owner, dabbled in magnetic healing and mysticism on the side, while perusing the medical journals to keep abreast of developments in physiology. He began practicing magnetic healing during the 1880s, while living in Davenport, Iowa, but his big break came in 1895, when a deaf janitor with a back problem happily came his way.

Upon examination, Palmer located a lump in Harvey Lillard’s back. Palmer had already advanced the theory that spinal abnormalities caused most, if not all, diseases and conditions by virtue of disrupting normal nerve flow. When he performed an adjustment on Lillard, which involved the manual manipulation of the spine and surrounding joints, the man’s deafness vanished. Palmer knew he was onto something big.

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Dr. Rob Sanfilippo