Oakland Spine News

Screen Time to Back Pain

NJ Spinal Stenosis Treatment - Bergen/Passaic County

Is “Screen Time” Back Pain Culprit?

Even though many tend to think of back pain as something that is relegated to the middle-aged and elderly, Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at the Oakland Spine & Rehabilitation, recently reported a dramatic increase in young adult and even adolescent patients over his almost 20 years of practice.

Why?

You can blame that on technology, and even though it is a big reason why back pain is tormenting younger people, it remains a culprit in what might be called an epidemic of back pain in virtually all age groups except for children. However, childhood is the beginning of using laptops, tablets and cell phones, restricting their mobility.

It only gets worse when they reach their teens in terms of  “screen time,” which includes television, computers, cell phones and digital tablets. Surprisingly to some, adults are well ahead in the amount of screen time, but most of it is due to an older technology.

phoneVarious authoritative studies— all fewer than two years old— tell us the following: American adults spent an average of 11 hours a day staring at screens, according to a 2018 Nielsen study. Most of that time is likely in seated or reclining positions. Four years ago adult screen time averaged an hour-and-a-half less.

Although we might think that teens and pre-teens (tweens) would spend more time in front of the screen because of game consoles and social media, adults, who often have to work with computers on the job, are still the biggest devourers of screen time. That’s mostly because adults are still hooked on television— and the older they are the more so.

This is the older technology that puts them ahead of  tweens, teens and the youngest adults in their hours of screen time. Teens, by the way, devote at least 6.5 hours a day on screen media and tweens are at 4.5 hours and climbing. This was determined by a separate Nielsen study in 2015, but indications that has gone up dramatically too since that study. They are not as fond of television as their parents and grandparents, but they are definitely huge consumers of computer games, texting and other digital communication.  

Technology is designed to motivate us not to move. We don’t even have to cross the room and turn on a light switch anymore, because we now have Alexa and other voice-recognition devices there to turn off the lights.

Obviously, exercise and increased movement is one remedy, but holistic, chiropractic care often nips back pain in the bud and prevents more serious back pain issues as we age.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

 

 

 

One Stop for Chiropractic & PT Care

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Integrating Chiropractic and PT Care

Physical therapists often separate themselves from chiropractors on their websites and in their advertising with an “us-versus-them” approach. The truth is they have much in common and both are being provided under one roof by an increasing number of specialists.

A typical disclaimer is offered by one physical therapy provider thusly: “Chiropractors have suggested that physical therapy… is a subset of chiropractic. That is not the case. Chiropractic and physical therapy are not the same and are two separate professions licensed by governing bodies in each state.”

Obviously, there are differences in the two disciplines, but the chief difference is that typically most of PT involves treating patients after an injury or surgery while chiropractic care is more preventive in its goals. This is not an either-or distinction, because there are times when the physical therapist offers preventive treatment and when your chiropractor does invoke a healing touch after injury or surgery.

Physical therapy generally associates itself with mainstream medicine and many hospitals have their own PT units or prescribe sessions with physical therapists before and after surgery. Hospital-affiliated physical therapists are not likely to ask you to avoid surgery or explore options to avert it, because they are part of the surgical agenda. Chiropractors, although they respect our doctors and hospitals as the best in the world when health issues reach a crisis stage, are dedicated to offering treatment that circumvents surgery and prescription medicine.

Bradford ButlerSome physical therapists widen the separation with chiropractors by dismissing them as providers of “alternative health care,” even though their goals are remarkably similar.  Their common healing ground is the injured or afflicted musculoskeletal structure. No need to be oppositional. We believe that both can be used in an integrated system and benefit a wider range of patients. By combining the two— not necessarily in the treatment sessions themselves — we can provide a program that works best for you in what you might call a one-stop shop.

Dr. Brad Butler, who provides such an integrated system at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy, describes how he was first introduced to chiropractic care as a youngster:

In the eighth grade, I had an injury and my mother brought me for chiropractic treatment and the results were miraculous. I thought it was the coolest thing and made up my mind right then and there. And you know what? I have been doing this for (more than) eighteen years, and there is nothing I’d rather do than help people heal and get better naturally.

Instead of taking an adversarial approach to physical therapy, he has developed an integrated practice where patients benefit by using the best of each.

 

 

 

Chiropractic Care & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Neck Pain

Healing Hands Assuage Chronic Fatigue

It is difficult to diagnose and there is no acknowledged cure in medicine. It is known as chronic fatigue syndrome, and for some sufferers getting out of bed is a triumph. It doesn’t seem like something that would involve chiropractic care, but, believe it or not, there are documented cases where patients proclaim they are energized after chiropractic adjustments.

As its name suggests, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) means that you always feel tired. You might call it dead tired, because there is no drug or surgery that is known to be a remedy. Others dismiss it as laziness or lethargy and that often leaves the person who has it feeling guilty or somehow at fault. Then, even after it is diagnosed, the solution is often up to the patient, with appropriate counsel of the health care provider, to “manage” your activities. There are apparently random periods when the patient feels better. Naturally, the patient wants to take advantage of them and live like an active “normal” person, even if briefly. There is even a temptation to overdo it and “get stuff done” while you have the energy to do it.headache

This is known as “push and crash,” because the former usually leads to the latter among those diagnosed with CFS. And the crash might make it worse than it has ever been before.

To understand how chiropractic care might help people with CFS (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis) you might take a closer look at the so-called “contributing factors” that mainstream medicine recognizes as opening the door for full-blown CFS. They include chronic headaches, arthritis pain, restless leg syndrome, allergies and stress. These often combine to rob you of the healing properties of sleep. Of course, pain issues are often resolved or assuaged by chiropractic care, so it is logical that relieving any of the aforementioned without medication and its side effects could make a difference.

We all have those days of fatigue and listlessness, but we can somehow jump start ourselves to get important things done or to make sure we are there for the people we love. Sufferers of CFS may even be able to temporarily push beyond the constraints of CFS for something important in their lives, but the crash might be extremely devastating.

There is only one natural treatment for CFS and that is in the healing hands of a chiropractor. Is it a cure? A recent report in Chiropractic Now put it this was:

“Although chiropractors do not know the cause of this ailment either, the chiropractic approach to helping the body to help itself is often a welcome and winning approach to helping those who suffer from this condition.”

 

You Can Avoid a Health Emergency

Pain Management

Why Wait for a Health Crisis?

You might call our system of health care “crisis medicine” as utilized by consumers (i.e. potential patients). That includes most kinds of illness and injury, and the luxury of having the best doctors and hospitals in the world. They are the best at taking care of the problem after it has arisen to crisis level, and there are few options other than surgery, drugs and severely restricting diets and activity.

“Patients should always take the most conservative approach possible before taking pain medication or ever considering surgery,” suggests Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy. “I think the confusion for the patients out there is that they just don’t know where to go.

We are accustomed — you might say culturally educated— toward going to the medical world to resolve an ailment or injury when there is a crisis. Limiting the discussion to back and neck pain, we can more readily explain why we should be dealing with the initial symptoms to avoid reaching crisis stage. Statistics tell us that the majority of Americans will experience back pain at some time in their lives. The lucky ones, whether they deal with it or ignore it at that stage, happily and healthfully live out the rest of their lives without dealing with a chronic back condition. Then there are the 10 percent of the world’s adults who live with lower back pain, according to a study by the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

healthChiropractic care is a preventive approach that starts dealing with back and neck pain, stiffness or discomfort BEFORE it becomes an invasive health threat that changes the course of your life in terms of the things you love to do that make you feel happy and complete. Obviously, demanding physical activities will likely be affected, but consider that it also interferes with the things you do sitting down like driving, playing cards with your friends or even watching television and movies. It may even affect your job and career when you consider that more than half of the people who suffer from lower back pain, for example, spend the majority of their workday sitting.

Two of the top three treatments among adults that bring the most relief from back pain are chiropractic care and physical therapy, according to a nationwide survey by Research/America, charting at 54 and 48 percent, respectively, in terms of effectiveness. No. 1 in the top three, however and unfortunately, is prescription medication (58%)— the one least likely to correct chronic back pain.

Some critics have falsely proclaimed that going to a chiropractor is addictive, while remaining mum about pain medications. If the prospect of a productive life is addictive, we in chiropractic healthcare plead guilty.

 

Is Surgery Your Best Option?

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Surgery: Quick Fix or Best Choice

When is surgery the sole solution? It is often a quick fix to a condition that has taken years to develop, and a missed opportunity to correct a problem naturally, allowing the body to achieve its healing potential..

“In our clinics, we have a significant number of patients who were headed for surgery,” reports Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy. “They experienced such significant healing and improvement that they no longer needed to have surgery,”

As many as 20 percent of all surgeries are statistically shown to be unnecessary, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a medical research agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A significant number of those surgeries were performed on the spine and complex joints.

Whiplash Injury Prevention“Strikingly, in the 21st century, we still have to come to terms with the absurd reality that it is significantly safer to board a commercial airplane, a spacecraft, or a nuclear submarine, than to be admitted to a U.S. hospital,” stated a January 13, 2017, NIH report entitled, “Why Do Surgeons Continue to Perform Unnecessary Surgery?”

Medical errors ranked third among the leading causes of death behind heart disease and cancer at the time of the NIH report.

What is unnecessary surgery? The NIH defines it as surgical intervention of any kind “that is either not needed, not indicated, or not in the patient’s best interest when weighed against other available options, including conservative measures.” 

This has long been realized in chiropractic medicine, although we are not anti-surgery or other mainstream medical care by any means. We will all need it at some point in our lives and should be grateful that we have the best medical doctors in the world in our country.

We see ourselves as among the “other available options” to surgery and the use of prescription drugs. Sometimes our care is more of an intervention that works if we are able to treat patients before it is too late.

“Sadly, we also see a very significant number of people who came to us after a failed spinal surgery. In many cases, their lives are permanently affected and the possibility of having a normal life again is limited,” Dr. Butler explains. “The good news for these patients is that we can get significant improvement for them as well, but once you have spinal surgery there is no going back.”

 

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy.

 

Including PT in Integrated Care

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Counting Physical Therapy In

Like chiropractic care, a primary goal of physical therapy is to heal and treat without relying on drugs and therapy. One of the chief differences is that physical therapy is more closely associated with mainstream medicine and is even prescribed by medical practices before and after surgery.

PT (and chiropractic care, for that matter) goes back to ancient times when massage and the relief that comes from water that we now call hydrotherapy are believed to be used by Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine. In a sense, you could say he is also the father of physical therapy. However, it took centuries before PT was regarded as accepted health care, although one element, fitness training, pre-dates it by centuries. PT went mainstream with the polio epidemic in the 1940’s and 1950’s when manual therapy techniques were used to help restore muscle function.

The modern physical therapist is also trained in massage, but specialties now include post-operative care, orthopedic, cardiovascular and neurologic and pulmonary rehabilitation. Those specialties are usually just that, and few physical therapy practices provide treatment in all of these areas.

TorticollisIntegrating Multiple Therapies

Physical therapists and chiropractors can work together under the same roof, so to speak, to provide integrated care.

Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy believes that “physical therapy is probably the best thing out there for treating the muscular components of the spine.” It is also critical for functional improvements, postural improvements, flexibility and strength.

“However, the big difference between hospital-based physical therapy, a stand alone physical therapy center, and an integrated center like ours, is the applied philosophy of what works best,” Dr. Butler reports. “We believe that integrated physical therapy with other therapies lead to a faster and more comprehensive patient response.”

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) explains that PTs examine each care recipient (“patient” is generally not used because it applies to medical care) and “develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.” In addition, PTs develop fitness programs for individuals as a means to maintain or improve mobility, as well as ensuring more active and healthier lifestyles with programs they can follow on their own. In post-operative therapy, for instance, care continues after leaving PT via programs the individual can use on his or her own.

There are obviously many similarities between PT and chiropractic care, and the integration of the two healing disciplines is a natural transition under the all-encompassing umbrella of health care.

 

Healing Thwarts Surgery

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Joint Pain: Healing Before Surgery

When joint pain becomes part of your life, you typically have two choices. Do you want to treat what is causing the problem or do you want to wait for significant deterioration and then choose your fate? At some point, when it comes to your joints, especially the knees, hips and ankles that carry your weight around, the only choice is surgery.

The first choice is almost always a mechanical issue, which is the core of chiropractic care. Most definitions of chiropractic care in the healthcare field mention “manipulation,” specifically of the spine and other bodily structures. Technically, manipulation does take place within the multiple disciplines of chiropractic care, but just in the physical sense.  Manipulation literally requires being manipulative, and that tends to be a negative characteristic when referring to feelings and emotions.

What we’re really talking about in both chiropractic care and physical therapy, are mechanical treatments,

“They stimulate the body to begin the repair process while, at the same time, recovering the condition that caused the pain to begin with,” explains Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy. “What we have found is that at the extreme end stages of joint deterioration, there is a point of no return and surgery is typically the only option.”

Deterioration Complicates the SituationKnee Pain

Time flies and the initial phase of joint pain will ultimately pass. Eventually the mechanical treatments won’t resolve this dilemma of deterioration, even though we might be able to temporarily ease the pain and keep prescription medicines and surgery at bay.

Joint pain is a dilemma that is growing, and it appears medicine is evolving into an increasing number of remedies and techniques that treat the end-result of painful joint issues instead of actually striking early enough to heal.

We at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy submit that only mechanical therapies can treat the mechanical dysfunction that created the problem that started it all. Medical advances, however, are still committed to treating and recovering the effects, even though surgical approaches, for example, are becoming less traumatic and less invasive. In the end they are offering the same old thing.

Replacing that knee, which is now your sole option after living with and medicating the pain over the years, is now a smoother, faster and more efficient surgical process. Additionally, its design and components are commonly giving that new knee a lifespan of thirty years.

What if the alternative were a healing process that corrects the mechanical dysfunction before it turns into a deteriorating arthritic joint that can only be resolved in the operating room? What if knee pain were only a fleeting memory, allowing you to remain mobile and pain-free for decades on the knees you were born with?

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

 

Easing the Pain of Spinal Stenosis

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Corraling Sneaky Spinal Stenosis

When it comes to easing the pain of spinal stenosis, the narrowing of spaces within your spine, it’s all about relieving pressure. That would seem obvious, and it should also come as no surprise that one of the most effective healing tools is decompression. That’s why the Butler Spine Program at Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy includes decompression in its multi-faceted approach to treating spinal stenosis.

This is nonsurgical, as is another spinal stenosis breakthrough— the LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) Laser, which not only eases symptoms like pain but has been shown to slow, even stop, degeneration.    

Spinal stenosis can be sneaky, and often is, and that means you may have a full-blown problem before you know it. It strikes most often in the neck and lower back, known as cervical and lumbar stenosis, respectively. You may not notice the symptoms for a while, and they may be so gradual that your pain threshold, for example, may adapt as the condition worsens. It may be detected via an MRI before you actually feel anything, but MRIs are usually conducted after reporting symptoms, so it might be a slippery slope toward reaching a diagnosis. And, of course, there is no specific treatment until there is a diagnosis.

Women with Back PainHowever, many of the fundamental features of chiropractic medicine, being noninvasive and an alleviator of pain, might actually precede the symptoms of spinal stenosis and stymie the degeneration.

The most common symptoms are pain in the lower back and/or neck. Lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common of all, but we say “and/or” because it could be both.

What are other notable symptoms aside from blatant pain? Let’s start with the neck, where, as is often the case with spinal issues, the symptoms may not seem related to the source at all. Tingling or numbness in extremities— legs, feet, arms or hands— may be a symptom. Another symptom is weakness in the extremities. You may notice that your balance isn’t what it used to be. Sometimes walking seems a struggle. Blame it on aging and being out of shape, but it may be a sign of cervical stenosis. Finally, bladder and bowel concerns, including sudden and unexpected urination or incontinence, may be a long way from the neck, but…

As for the symptoms of lumbar stenosis, weakness, numbness or tingling in the extremities emanate from the lower back too. Cramping and aching from standing for long spans of time might be blamed on deteriorating knees or poor circulation, but it is also a symptom of lumbar stenosis.

The Butler Spine Program is all about relieving the pressure and taking the woes of spinal stenosis out of your life.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…