As traveling increases during the holiday season, it's important to recognize that everyone knows that getting into a car accident
can cause whiplash
, neck pain
, and even low back pain
. So please be careful on the roads out there! But did you know that driving can cause low back pain all by itself? Even without crashing into anything?
It is well-established that a sedentary lifestyle can cause low back pain and even earlier death. Naturally, when driving or riding in a car, we're prolonging the amount of time we sit and reducing the amount of time we're standing or being active. Additionally, car seats rarely allow you to sit properly with the correct low back and neck curvature, so usually you'll end up slumped in your low back and neck with your shoulders rounded forward. This posture increases the pressure and load in the ligaments and discs of the low back and neck. So simply by sitting in a car seat, we're inviting trouble!
This is nothing new. Even back in in the late 1980s, research studies were beginning to correlate driving with low back pain and sciatica.
City bus drivers also face potential low back pain due to the amount of time that they remain seated, as well as the whole body vibration that they experience when bouncing around large vehicles.
Truckers also face potential low back pain, and not only because of the time spent in the cab. Often, truckers will have to jump out of their truck in order to unload the back of the truck. Unless the trucker is able to walk around for a few minutes prior to lifting anything heavy, it is possible that his/her low back will not be stable enough to withstand the pressures and load of lifting immediately after prolonged sitting.
In order to prevent car-related low back pain:
- Keep your car seat as upright as possible.
- Make sure that your low back is not slumped. Use a cushion or lumbar support if necessary. Often, pre-installed lumbar supports are not sufficient or are poorly placed for your body.
- Sit with your rear end as far back in the seat as possible, to avoid additional low back slumping.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you drive. This keeps your shoulders back and helps maintain proper neck posture.
- Lean your head back against your head rest, if possible. This eases the tension on the muscles at the front of your neck. If your seat is as upright as possible, you'll still easily be able to see the road. If your seat is reclined, it is more difficult to rest your head and neck, which may well cause tension headaches.
- On long trips, stop frequently and walk around your car to re-engage your back and leg muscles.
- Don't be upset if you have to park a long way from the front door at shops, stores, and malls. A little extra walking can only help stimulate your low back and leg muscles.
- Make sure to keep your spine neutral as you get into and out of your car.
- Don't keep your hands at 10 and 2! That's no longer recommended. Try these tips instead.
- Ask your chiropractor for more postural advice that's specific to your car and your situation.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we participate in the excellent tradition of remembering all our blessings. Especially when we have been impacted personally by tragedy or misfortune in this year, we are reminded of the two most fundamental blessings: life and health. Without life and health we'd have nothing to be thankful for!
This year (and every year), I'm thankful for the extraordinary healing art that we call chiropractic. And here's why:
Arlington, Va.—The Chiropractic Summit, an umbrella leadership group of prominent chiropractic organizations, met on Nov. 7 in Seattle, Wash. and approved, by unanimous motion, the following historic statements of agreement:
Summit Promotes Drug-Free Approach: The drug issue is a non-issue because no chiropractic organization in the Summit promotes the inclusion of prescription drug rights and all chiropractic organizations in the Summit support the drug-free approach to health care.
Summit Supports the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE): The Summit fully supports the continued recognition of CCE. Even though there are some issues of concern remaining, such as CCE’s governance model, many good things have occurred the last couple of years. In addition, CCE has agreed to carefully review governance models for possible improvements beginning in 2014 in connection with the Summit Roundtable. In addition, the Summit voted unanimously to reaffirm its support of CCE before the Department of Education’s (DOE) National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) this December.
Marketing Language: After multiple focus groups,the following marketing language was passed: The Summit acknowledges the concepts of spinal health and well-being as credible marketing messages and we encourage further efforts to refine and test such efforts.
“I am proud to say today that after much time, effort and energy, the Summit partner organizations—representing the leadership of our profession—have come to an agreement on the long divisive issue on drugs,“ said Summit chair Lewis J. Bazakos, MS, DC. “This truly was an historic meeting.”
First convened in September 2007, the Chiropractic Summit represents leadership from some 40 organizations within the profession. The Summit meets regularly to collaborate, seek solutions and support collective action to address challenges with the common goal of advancing chiropractic. For more information about the Summit and its leadership, visit www.chirosummit.org
Johnson Family Chiropractic is pleased to serve a large number of veterans who have served our country with courage and honor. Thank you for your service and sacrifices! Thank you for the constant examples you give us of selflessness, dedication, loyalty, and patriotism. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in return. May you have a blessed day, and may we never forget the debt we owe to you.
A very happy Veterans Day!
Near the end of an excellent article about physicians and pain management
by Dr. Joseph Mercola, MD, are these excellent nuggets, tips, and advice. If you have chronic pain or chronic inflammation (which can manifest as back pain
, neck pain
, and many other conditions), it's well worth your time to scan through these tidbits.
Every Physician Should Have an Arsenal of Non-Toxic Options for Treating Chronic Pain
And at the top of this list should be an explanation of why dietary changes are so important for long-term pain relief. If you suffer from chronic pain, there’s a good chance your physician has neglected to tell you this:
Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat like krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, they positively influence prostaglandins.) The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA contained in krill oil have been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for pain relief.
Reduce your intake of most processed foods as not only do they contain sugar and additives but most are loaded with omega-6 fats that upset your delicate omega-3:omega-6 ratio, which will contribute to inflammation, a key factor in most pain.
Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars (especially fructose) from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production. That is why eliminating sugar and grains is so important to controlling your pain.
Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.
- Try These Natural Options Before Even Considering Painkillers for Chronic Pain
Once you’ve addressed the basics above, your physician should be able to suggest a number of non-harmful methods to give you pain relief now, while you wait for your body to become rebalanced and heal thanks to the foundational lifestyle changes you’re making. If your physician is not familiar with pain-relief techniques other than prescription drugs, it may be time to find one who is. Non-drug options may include:
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Few people want to be told that their pain is psychological or emotional in origin, but there's quite a bit of evidence that backs this up. Underlying emotional issues and unresolved trauma can have a massive influence on your health, particularly as it relates to physical pain. According to Dr. John Sarno, a psychiatrist who uses mind-body techniques to treat patients with severe low back pain, EFT has a greater than 80 percent success rate
- Chiropractic adjustments: According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health, patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor and/or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain free in 12 weeks compared to those who took medication.
- Massage: Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline – reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure. It is a particularly effective therapy for stress-related tension, which experts believe accounts for as much as 80 to 90 percent of disease.
- Acupuncture: Researchers concluded that acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing chronic pain, such as back pain and headaches – more so than standard pain treatment.
- Relearn proper posture: The Gokhale Method addresses the root cause of physical pain, which is typically caused by improper posture. The method teaches you to reclaim your primal posture, which is the way your body was designed to stand, sit and move. You can also try Foundation Training—an innovative method developed by Dr. Eric Goodman to treat his own chronic low back pain. The exercises are designed to help you strengthen your entire core and move the way nature intended.
It has known for some time that antibiotic-resistant bacteria exist
, and can actually communicate their resistance to each other. The rate and transmission of the resistance is reaching new highs, however, and our antibiotic weapons in the fight against bacteria are becoming less and less effective. Some foresee a day when antibiotics will actually be completely ineffective.One man says that they already are.Dr. Arjun Srinivasan
, an associate director at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, paints a startling picture of modern medicine. He says, "We know that there’s a lot of overuse, of misuse of antibiotics, and what’s discouraging about that is it’s been an issue for a very long time." His entire interview, which is well worth your time, can be found here
.He says that it is time to take action, both in hospitals and in the community. He says:
So we’ve recommended ways to prevent the spread of these bacteria.
We’re also calling upon people and trying to educate people about how to improve the way that we use antibiotics in our hospitals and outside of our hospitals, because we know we have to approach resistant bacteria on two different fronts.
We have to prevent them from spreading when they develop, but we also have to take steps to stop them from developing in the first place, or at least slow down their development. And the best way to do that is to improve the way we use antibiotics.
Antibiotics are generally used to combat an infection. Infections occur when bacteria overwhelm the body's natural immune systems, both the physical immune system (like your skin) or the cellular immune system (like your immunoglobulin response).Beyond using antibiotics better and more effectively, it is likely that public health officials will begin looking for ways to prevent infections in the first place.
Most of these ways involve creating the strongest natural immunity possible for each individual, including washing and cleaning wounds immediately, proper dietary considerations, reducing stress, etc. Chiropractic care is considered a way to naturally help the neuroimmune system to function properly and reduce stress.Antibiotics also should not be overused. Many doctors have begun adopting the practice of "watchful waiting" when it comes to relatively common conditions such as sinus or ear infections. Chiropractic care has also been suggested as a positive and non-invasive way to help the body resolve these types of infections.As the world begins to move towards better husbandry of antibiotics and their use, I believe it will also look for better ways to promote healthy immune systems and prevent infection in the first place. I believe that chiropractic care will continue care have an essential role in health care of the future.
The Peoria Journal-Star reports
that both OSF and Methodist hospital systems will be offering FREE lung cancer screening tests in the month of November for high-risk patients. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and, if you qualify for the free test, you should certainly take part! Knowledge is the first step in fighting cancer.To qualify for the free lung cancer screenings, you must be:-- Between the ages of 55 and 80-- Have no current symptoms of lung cancer-- And either a current smoker with a significant history of smoking (30 pack-years, which can be defined as variously as a pack a day for 30 years or three packs a day for 10 years)-
- or a former smoker who quit within the last 15 years and also had a prior 30 pack-year smoking historyIf you think you qualify for a free test, the Peoria Journal-Star gives the
contact information as "contact Methodist at 671-8296
or St. Francis at 624-5864."
The human body is a constantly amazing place!For the best news of the weekend, we have to look no further than Chicago, where University of Illinois senior Tatyana McFadden made history on Sunday by being the first person ever to win three major marathon
s in a single season.Tatyana cannot use her legs.She was born with a condition called spina bifida, and has been paralyzed from the waist down since birth. However, she has not let this medical condition stop her, and has trained the rest of her body so thoroughly that she has become a dominant
athlete. In addition to her amazing record set yesterday, she also has multiple Paralymic medals to her name.To learn more about her incredible journey, visit her website
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
(F4CP) calls for chiropractic care as the first approach for addressing low-back pain and many common conditions before the utilization of drugs-OTC or prescription. According to a CNN
report, "Let’s End the Prescription Drug Death Epidemic
," a significant danger of prescription medication is overdoses which have become a primary cause of unintentional deaths in the U.S. — surpassing car crashes — with claims of one death every 19 minutes.
“Chiropractic care offers an evidence-based, non-drug approach to effectively addressing many common conditions, and should be the first option of care,” states Gerard W. Clum, DC, spokesperson, F4CP. “Doctors of chiropractic have the diagnostic skills and training to evaluate and provide appropriate care and rehabilitation, including counseling on nutrition, ergonomics, and lifestyle. Evidence confirms that the care provided by a DC is linked with better clinical outcomes, greater patient satisfaction, and noteworthy cost savings.”
Clum points out that while there is wide availability of effective non-invasive approaches for managing low-back pain, the first approaches often used are epidural spinal injections and prescription drugs. Reports state that utilization of these usual care methods, which are associated with high costs and unpredictable outcomes, continues to rise. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the distribution of morphine, the main ingredient in prescription painkillers, increased 600 percent between 1997 and 2007
“Ironically, a study published in Anesthesiology
found little difference between the amount of relief provided by steroidal and non-steroidal epidural injections,” says Clum. “But the incidence of back pain and its mismanagement continues to rise,” he says, echoing the findings of Worsening Trends in the Management and Treatment of Back Pain.
“The risks associated with usual care need to be acknowledged and conservative alternatives explored as a primary option.”This press release provided by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. A not-for-profit organization, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress aims to inform and educate the general public about the many benefits associated with chiropractic care. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit them on the web at www.f4cp.com or call 866-901-F4CP (3427).
As a healthcare practitioner, I am regularly asked what patients can do for themselves at home. Many times, an application of heat, ice, or topical lotion can go a long way towards soothing tired muscles and relieving simple back pain
. However, heat and ice have very different methods of action and are not always appropriate. It is important to realize that at certain times heat can actually make the problem worse by bringing additional swelling and inflammation to an already inflamed area.
My colleague Dr. Dan Sallee, DC, has created an easy reference diagram for the usage of heat and ice. Visit his chiropractic website and blog
, or better yet, if you're in the Kansas City area, visit his office!