Thursday, April 28, 2011

Does Spinal Decompression Work?

We were one of the first chiropractic and pain management centers in New York City to employ the DRX9000 technology to help patients suffering from back pain. From personal experience its become very clear that using the DRX 9000 to treat people with herniated or bulging discs has a great and clear effect on a patient's life.

Yes. Spinal Decompression works.

Spinal decompression, unlike surgery is non invasive and does not require the use of foreign materials of fragments of your own bone to treat painful conditions of the spine. It requires no drugs or injections, and does not have harmful side effects. The reason spinal decompression may be hard to find is because it is a very specialized piece of equipment. It treats back and neck pain, and it does it well. Most patients who are suffering from back pain and/ or sciatica and other forms of pain stemming from problems with intervertebral discs are never made aware of this amazing, non surgical option.

From my own personal experience it has become clear that it definitely helps alleviate painful symptoms and improve quality of life. Our patients who have received spinal decompression have demonstrated great results and sometimes the relief is even imminent.

Is anyone a candidate for spinal decompression?

Not everyone is a candidate for spinal decompression. Those that are very obese, have certain metal implants form surgery and other health issues and conditions, and people that have undergone spinal fusion surgery, along with a few other conditions, are not suitable candidates for spinal decompression. You cant know for sure until you schedule a consultation and get evaluated by a doctor. This can actually be done for free since we have been offering free consultations to people who are looking for surgical alternatives.

Specifically I recall one patient that had undergone chiropractic and physical therapy treatment with us for a long time. Due to time, wear and tear and age this particular patient was not improving much. Most people that get chiropractic adjustments feel better almost immediately and we combine our chiropractic adjustments with physical therapy, massage, the Graston Technique, and Cold Laser Therapy among other treatment protocols to help almost any painful condition. However due to their age and the amount of time and the intensity of the symptoms, they were evaluated for spinal decompression. It was a huge step in the right direction, not only did the painful symptoms decrease, but after continued treatment there was a very noticeable remission of pain, numbness and loss of sensation.

There aren't any long term studies done of spinal decompression, but the short term results have been very promising. We have done case studies ourselves on patients that were taking some very strong prescription medication with many side effects that interfered with their daily lives greatly. The results were overwhelmingly positive, and they were able to get off prescription drugs and get back to living their lives.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sciatica and leg pain

It’s extremely common, extremely painful and extremely frustrating. It’s sciatica, one of the most
common problems contributing to people missing work in the US. Contrary to popular usage
in everyday speech, it’s not a condition. Rather, it’s a grouping of symptoms which include
everything that stinks about back troubles.

Here’s a short list of sciatica’s greatest hits (tongue firmly planted in cheek):

Lower Back Pain
Leg Pain
Burning Sensation
Muscular Weakness

So you read that list and think, I have some one or more of these symptoms and it’s the worst
- you might be a sciatica sufferer. One of the tricks that back pain causing conditions pull,
is to have very similar results. As a form of radiculopathy (when related to herniated discs
compressing the sciatic nerve, the namesake of sciatica), these types of symptoms are often
associated, although the direct cause may differ. That’s why spinal decompression practitioners
and other pain specialists typically require MRIs to determine the root cause of pain.

In many cases, disc irregularities like herniation or degeneration cause the nerve compression
that leads to irritation, inflammation and pain. Spinal decompression is one of our mainline
treatments for conditions like these, but Living Well Medical in NYC is multidisciplinary facility;
physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, Active Release Technique and so many
other techniques are available under one roof. Based on what we find, we create a unique
treatment program that is built around what’s wrong with you - none of these cookie cutter
programs you find in other pain clinics.

Sciatica is a major problem - it puts your life on hold completely. I talk to patients who can’t
stand, can’t sit, can’t even lie down to sleep properly because the pain is always there. The
most important thing is to see a doctor if the pain doesn’t go away in short order. Call us at 212-

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Hurt Myself While Carrying My Laptop

We sometimes see patients come in who haven't had a slip or fall or an accident or have any sudden trauma occur, but instead they complain about pain resulting from every day activities, like running to catch the train, or just carrying your laptop around in a messenger bag.

Up until a few years ago, messenger bags weren't very popular, backpacks with shoulder straps were really the only method of carrying your stuff. As messenger bags became more popular, and more accepted in the workplace, partly due to their ability to not look awkward and out of place with a business suit, we started seeing more patients with neck and shoulder, and hip pain from carrying awkwardly secured loads.

Recently a patient complained of neck pain, while he was running late, with his heavy laptop and a few other items loaded in to his messenger bag. There was no accident, no fall, so sudden impact, just running around Manhattan like most of us do on a daily basis.

Messenger bags are fairly hard to secure firmly against the body, and will pretty much always move around and they require constant adjusting, and most people have a preferred side to carry the load on. Not to rail against messenger bags, but they can be a cause for some serious long term chronic, painful conditions. That said there are some helpful ways that we can modify the behavior of the owner of the bag to reduce the incidence of pain and injury.

What does the bag do to cause pain/ injury?

Well, the messenger bag only has one strap and must carry the load to one side while pulling across the body, this causes the opposite oblique and abdominal muscles to contract much harder and more often than is the load was centered on the body.

The Leg to the side of the bag, must work harder, and required much more hip flexor activity to lift the leg while walking, fighting the load of the bag.

The quadriceps and glute muscle to the side of the bag must work harder when going up stairs and bear more impact when going down stairs.

Bearing the load across the body also causes the opposite trapezius muscle to contract for long periods of time, and also recruits the sternocleidomastoid to the same side and causes them to contract in unison to fight the load.

The load often causes the owner of the bag to "lead with their head", leaning the head forward and out, and may lead to developing Forward Head Posture (FHP).

These misalignments in the body can lead to neck pain, back pain, and over time, lead to postural distortions that can develop in to chronic, painful conditions.

How do I avoid Potential Pain?

Switch it up: Switch between the messenger bag and a backpack, and make sure each is carried sung, and securely

Tighten: Make sure the items inside the bag fit securely, that they don't move around too much, tighten straps, and cords to keep things from moving around too much.

Posture: Pay attention to when you are leaning, or moving in a way you naturally wouldnt, and switch sides, switch between carrying the bad over either shoulder equally.

Train: Make sure you are training your body so that your "core" isnt used to handling awkward loads.

Get Help!

We usually treat neck pain and back pain stemming from carrying awkward loads with a combination of Physical Therapy, Behavior Modification, Chiropractic adjustments, and we also use techniques like Graston Technique, and Gaitscan Analysis to address the surrounding musculature and find other problems with the body that may be contributing to the pain/ injury.