School Back Packs and Back Pain

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: Every year millions of children walk around with heavy school back packs filled with books and supplies. While this is a good way to carry their school materials, by using their back and shoulder muscles, the tendency is to place too much strain on their neck and back due to overloading the back pack. The back will compensate for any load applied to it for an extended period of time. A heavy weight carried in backpacks can:

  • Distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage
  • Lead to rounding of the shoulders
  • Cause a person to lean forward, reducing balance and making it easier to fall

This problem can be made worse by carrying the pack on just one shoulder. Doing this causes the body to adapt by causing the body to lean to the other side placing additional stress on the mid and lower back as well as their associated muscles. This can lead to the children having headaches, shoulder, neck and back pain as well as pain down the arms and legs.

There is not a consensus among doctors on the correct amount of weight that a child can carry or the perfect back pack design, but parents should use common sense in choosing the best back pack for your child.

Look for backpack design features that help reduce the chance of back pain:

  • Lightweight material (canvas as opposed to leather)
  • Two padded, wide (2-inches), adjustable shoulder straps on the backpack
  • Padded back
  • Individualized compartments
  • Hip strap, waist belt, or frame to redistribute the weight of the backpack from the shoulders and back to the pelvis
  • Wheels so that the backpack can be pulled rather than carried
  • Consider using a separate bag for the child’s laptop or other heavier electronic items

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Backpack flickr photo by slgckgc shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

Houston Chiropractor Comments: Periodically I will have patients who come in to the office with hip or knee pain that have not responded to typical medical care. X-rays or MRI’s do not show any degeneration of the joint or the cause of pain. Upon examination, it is determined that the pain is not coming from the joint, but instead it is originating in the iliotibial band (ITB).

The iliotibial band is a thickened portion of the tensor fascia latae (TFL) along its lateral aspect. The TFL attaches on the top of the pelvis and runs down the side of your leg to the knee. Pain is caused either from aggravation of the greater trochanteric bursa (for hip pain) or from rubbing on the outside of the knee joint (for knee pain).

Typically we see ITBS in patients who have increased their mileage in running, began using more stairs or being in a hilly area and in patients who are doing a lot of bike riding or spinning classes. The pain will increase with motion, either bending or straightening the leg out. Tenderness will be located along the outside of the thigh with the area above the knee usually the most tender.

The best treatment for ITBS is rest, ice, NASID’s, ultrasound, sports massage and rolling out the muscle with either a foam roller or rolling stick. The patient should also have their low back / pelvis, knee and ankle joints examined for alignment issues. Typically on patients with long standing ITBS the gait of the person has changed and the affected joints will need to be adjusted by a qualified chiropractor. After the problem has been addressed, the patient needs to keep the hip muscles stretched, strengthen the muscles on the outside of the hip and modify their training as to prevent a reoccurrence of the initial problem.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Best Walking Shoes for Knee Pain for Women flickr photo by gm.esthermax shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Things to Reduced Inflammation Quickly

Houston Area Chiropractor Comments: Every now and then, after care is completed, patients will say that they feel sore and achy in multiple muscles and joints even when not doing strenuous activity. While the most common culprit is dehydration, it can also be due the body being generally inflamed. Now this is a systemic inflammation, not an isolated swollen joint. Chronic inflammation can have negative effect on the body in numerous ways, and recent research has shown a link in chronic inflammation to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even depression.

Chronic inflammation occurs when the immune system believes that it is under a constant threat, causing it to attack the body’s cells. Inflammation can damage the body and be a key culprit in weight gain. The body can benefit from the addition of foods that help to reduce inflammation. Some of these foods are leafy green vegetables, pineapple, blueberries, celery, walnuts, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic and chia seeds. While incorporating these foods into your diet, make sure to stay away from foods that cause inflammation, such as those containing sugar, artificial ingredients, chemicals, and gluten, for those who have gluten sensitivity.

Food isn’t the only way to help your body fight harmful inflammation. You can also avoid certain medications such as NASID’s, antacids and antibiotics. These medications can affect your gut and affect the way you digest food. Reduce toxin exposure by using safer natural products for cleaners, soaps and detergents. By being active regularly. You should try and do different activities every day. Studies have shown that by performing exercise for 2 ½ hours a week, it will reduce your chronic inflammation. You should try and get at least 15 minutes of sunshine daily. Vitamin D has been shown to help reduce inflammation. Getting enough sleep and a periodic massage will also benefit the reduction of inflammation.

inflammation
Human brain illustrated with millions of small nerves flickr photo by Ars Electronica shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Is Chiropractic Care Safe During Pregnancy?

Clear Lake City Chiropractor Comments: Recently we have had numerous patients asking me if it is safe for them to be adjusted while they are pregnant. After congratulating them on their good news, I tell them that there are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. Chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant. The wellness of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive is a routine care for most chiropractors.

Now some people are wondering why a woman would need to be adjusted during their pregnancy. The simple answer is so that they can feel better. The better answer is that their body is changing at a rapid rate. Weight is being added and moved to different areas. This puts new strains on joints that the body isn’t use to. As the pregnancy progresses, the joints become looser to allow for delivery during the birth. By keeping the joints mobile, we can minimize the muscle discomfort and typically keep the mother moving and not needing any extended bed rest while making the ultimate delivery easier.

What is chiropractic care? Chiropractic care involves diagnosing spinal misalignments and correcting them by using the hands or instrument to manipulate, or adjust the spine, joints, and muscles. With pregnant women, chiropractors typically use gentler pressure than the more forceful manipulations that can be done on other adults.

There are other treatments if the child is presenting breach, such as the Webster Technique, but that will be another blog.

Pregnancy Test flickr photo by http://snow.ipernity.com shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!