Oakland Spine News

Easing the Pain of Spinal Stenosis

lowbackpain

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…

 

Why Website Words Seem Familiar

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The Common Denominator of Chiropractic Searching

If you do much online research on chiropractic care, you are bound to see an amazing amount of repetition on practitioners’ websites. We’re talking word-for-word by the hundreds, and though this might be technically defined as plagiarism, nobody seems to complain too much.

That is because much of the purloined parlance is within the industry, so to speak. Quoting information that educates the public on the advantages of chiropractic care and mainstream studies that cite its many advantages, seems to be shared material for chiropractic practices all over the country. Plus it is proven and factual.

Aside from informational pages on these websites, you’ll also see this wholesale misappropriation of wordage in blogs on sites promoting everything from nutrition to acupuncture. Bloggers should know better, since they are usually professional writers and copywriters, but, then again, why not repeat someone else’s writing if you can’t state it any better?

Look at it this way. If it was your writing showing up on websites all over the country, you might actually feel complimented because so many people in the field preferred your words over their own.

WhiplashChiropractors are not alone. This seems to be particularly pervasive in the healing arts, including medical doctors, dentists and even healthcare financial advisors. Their websites are replete with hundreds of words lifted from elsewhere, and it is almost impossible to trace their origin.  

We’ve found numerous websites that are sharing writing without attribution, but we doubt anyone is going to mind all that much, because what’s good for one is apparently good for all— as long as the author doesn’t complain.

Take, for example, the following 65 words (part of several hundred but we don’t need to devote that many words to make the point):

In the United States, chiropractic is often considered a complementary health approach. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey of the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, about 8 percent of adults (more than 18 million) and nearly 3 percent of children (more than 2 million) had received chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation in the past 12 months…

Even though this survey is pretty much outdated more than a decade later, we found the above passage unchanged on 54 different sites all over the country and once in the UK. Most were chiropractic sites, but it was also on sites promoting pain therapy, yoga, cancer treatment, Chinese martial arts, holistic nursing, massage therapy, a suburban newspaper and even Wikipedia (the subject was therapeutic touch).

 

Diversity Among Chiropractors

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Not All Chiropractors Are the Same

There have been some simple stereotypes associated with chiropractors over a history of almost 125 years, but there are now as many as 150 techniques recognized by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

“Much like the medical profession, there are many different styles of practice,” says Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at the Oakland Spine & Rehabilitation Centers in Oakland and Wayne, NJ. “A traditional chiropractor typically uses just spinal manipulation or some basic modalities. Then there are chiropractors who follow more of a model of spinal ‘correction,’ which is to use additional techniques to bring the patient’s spine back to a normal structural state.”

Finally, there are chiropractic rehabilitation offices like Oakland Spine with multiple techniques and disciplines. These may include advanced technologies and modalities such as physical therapy, massage therapy and acupuncture.

“This is the model we utilize because I feel it’s giving the patient the overall best opportunity to heal and recover from more chronic and advanced spinal conditions,” Dr. Butler adds.

TorticollisWithin the realm of chiropractic medicine itself, there are five basic or common techniques. They might be generally defined thusly:

  1. The simplest hands-on technique is typically confined to adjusting the low back or pelvis. It is a fundamental phase of chiropractic education and students learn it early in schooling and training. Targeted are stiffness and pain, as well as increasing mobility.
  2. Another technique involves using a hand-held instrument that transmits a gentle impulse into sections of the spine. There is very little discomfort in this process, known as the activator technique, and it is used to alleviate lower back pain and even for headaches and migraines.
  3. Decompression manipulation is a technique commonly used in chiropractic clinics and preferred for treating herniated discs, sprains to the facet joints between discs, and scoliosis. The treatment is described as a gentle stretching motion on an adjustable table.
  4. Speaking of adjustable tables, the drop-table technique relies on a padded table with platforms that drop slightly in sequence with thrusts of the chiropractor making adjustments to both the spine and extremities.
  5. Finally there is the diversified technique that, like the drop-table technique, is used on both the spine and extremities. These are very precise manual applications,  that are effective at restoring normal alignment and movement of the spine.

There is great diversity in training and schooling. For example, there are 10 post-graduate programs or specialties endorsed by the ACA and offering diplomate certification for chiropractors:

  • Chiropractic Pediatrics
  • Chiropractic Physical and Therapeutic Rehabilitation
  • Chiropractic Acupuncture
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Diagnosis and Internal Disorders
  • Nutrition
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Occupational Health
  • Sports Physician

 

Sitting and Slouching Our Way to Back Pain

Sacroiliac Joint

The Back Pain Epidemic

Eighty percent of Americans will suffer from back pain in their lifetime, but what we are observing here at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy is that people are experiencing this all-too common aggravation at younger ages. It’s an ordeal that may lead to lack of mobility and disability at an age when you should be enjoying life at its fullest.

“Cases that we are used to seeing in people in their thirties and forties, we are seeing in teenagers,” reports Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at the Oakland Spine & Rehabilitation Centers in Oakland and Wayne, NJ. “Cases that we are used to seeing in sixty year olds, we are seeing in thirty and forty year olds.”

Why are we experiencing what might be described as an epidemic of back pain at a time when our challenges are supposedly being eased by technology. Our ancestors, after all, labored long hours every day in agrarian pursuits or working at industrial jobs. Their more physically demanding lives started at an earlier age, as adolescents and even young children, and chronic back injury would seem virtually inevitable.

There even seems to be a marked increase in back pain since the 1970’s and 1980’s when early technology were easing the load on farms and in factories and an increasing number were earning their pay as white-collar employees.

LaptopThe reason back pain is worse than ever, affecting people younger than ever, is that the world in which we live and work today is so different from the decades before computers, cell phones, and various technologies constantly available to us.

We spend an inordinate amount of our time squinting at laptop screens and scrolling through our cell phones. We’re sitting more and moving less, consuming hours every day huddling over digital devices with stress and strain moving down the body and into the neck and back.

Poor posture can exert extraordinary stress on your spine and even change its shape over time, impacting blood vessels and nerves. From there the stress can move to joints, muscles and the discs. Unchecked it will inevitable lead to back pain.

So if the effects of poor posture will inevitably lead to back pain and decreased mobility, is it possible that correcting your posture before it’s too late reverse the deterioration and save you from years of back pain?

The good news is yes. If there is no relief in sight, mobility will continue to worsen. That relief is up to you, and we’re here to help at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy.

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

 

How Much Is a Pound of Cure Worth?

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When we talk about medicine and medical doctors, we are not denigrating them as adversaries of chiropractors or chiropractic care. It’s not a case of either one or the other. The two may go hand in hand, and often do,

Both are healing sciences, but the chief difference is that one is preventative in nature and purpose, more about bolstering our immunity and keeping disease away than treating disease that is already there.

‘Medicine is the best at treating the symptoms of disease after it’s already present We will all need it at some point in our lives and I am grateful that we have the best medical doctors in the world in our country,” says Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at the Oakland Spine & Rehabilitation Centers in Oakland and Wayne, NJ. “However, medicine is limited because it’s mainly centered on either early detection of disease or treating the disease after it’s already present.”

We are essentially prisoners in a high-priced healthcare system that is run primarily by medicine. The treatment of existing disease is a lot more expensive than preventing disease and adopting healthy lifestyles.

Prevention Best Option of All

There is a big push in medicine toward early detection, which is just another justification for drugs and surgery, chiropractic professionals believe. Finding disease early when it is most treatable is certainly better than dealing with it in an end-stage scenario. However, the best option of all is to prevent disease before it can happen.

A growing number of medical doctors are seeing the light by using preventive approaches in their practices, including educating patients on nutrition and healthy habits like exercising, refraining from tobacco use, moderation in alcohol consumption and overeating.

A big part of preventative medicine is to motivate the patient or individual to adopt the practices that would prevent diseases that might otherwise occur with continued poor lifestyle choices.

For example, as many as eighty percent of American adults suffer from back pain. Do you wait until the pain is so great that potent drugs and surgery are the only options?

Poor Richard (a.k.a. Benjamin Franklin) admonished us that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That pound of cure was costing each of us on average of $10,348 per person in 2016 for health care. The per capita cost for prescription drugs alone, as of the spring of 2018, was about $1,500, according to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

If the medical doctors can see the toll this is taking it is truly a time for dramatic changes in health care.

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

Avoiding Hazards of Holiday Excess-Holidays and Nutrition

Only a third of men eat five or more servings of fruits and veggies each day

The holidays, as enjoyable as they may be for family gatherings and just plain vegging out from a busy work schedule, can take their toll on your health. This is the time of year when you are most likely to abandon a faithful exercise schedule and a healthy dietary regimen. The plan is that you’ll get right back in the saddle again, and, after all, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not the time for self-denial.

Psychologists tell us that people who are not overweight may gain a pound or two over the holidays. After all, it takes 3.500 extra calories to gain a pound. Five pounds translate into 18,500 extra calories. The average man requires in the neighborhood of 2,500 calories a day just to maintain healthy bodily functions, which should mean zero weight gain. This does not figure in metabolism and activity levels but is a vivid illustration of how even short-term overeating affects weight gain.

Now when you consider that you have to cut that daily calorie intake to 2,000 calories to lose a pound a week, it indicates how hard it is to get back on track. As far as compensating by initiating a daily exercise routine, consider that you burn only 100 calories by either walking or running a mile.

People who are already significantly overweight or obese are more likely to pack on five or more pounds during this celebratory span each year and barely 150 calories over an hour of running or walking.

Massive Calorie Intake During Holidays

Post-holiday from Thanksgiving until the start of the new year is when we often assess the massive amounts of calories we have consumed— much of it off the beaten path from our usual try-to-eat healthy lifestyle. January and February is when we are most likely to get serious about healthy living, including serious exercise and dieting.

To make up for our eating excesses, we too often set unrealistic goals in returning to a healthy lifestyle, relapsing to some of our unhealthy ways. You need an expert in preventative health, which simply means preventing ill health and injury through healthy practices and habits.

At Oakland Spine & Therapy we believe that nutrition and what you eat are directly connected to your health, critical to maintaining the musculoskeletal system. That means it is important in building and rebuilding the tissue that carries nervous system impulses.

Chiropractic care is all about preventative approaches, and that includes nutrition as a tool, reports Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Therapy: “Medicine is the best at treating the symptoms of disease after it’s already present,” he says. . “By contrast, preventative healthcare, of which we are a part, looks to prevent disease before it happens.”

Nutrition is a big part of that, and sometimes you just need a nutrition-savvy preventative health practitioner on your side.

 

How A Sneeze Can Lead To Back Pain

Back Pain

Is Back Pain Really Nothing to Sneeze at?

The idea that a sneeze can actually injure your back is not as farfetched as it may seem. It’s a fact that sneezes trigger back pain misery and, in some case, may be the first step in the painful journey wrought by the inclusive condition we call a “bad back.”

It is difficult indeed to acknowledge that a sneeze could have this kind of impact on your spinal health.

After all, you may have lived an active life up to this point, doing all kinds of things that may not be good for your back— playing football and enduring and initiating tackles and blocks, as well physical labor requiring lifting heavy objects, often incorrectly, and all kinds of pushing, pulling and straining.

It is almost laughable, therefore, that after taking such risks over all those years, something like a sneeze could embark you on a voyage through back pain misery, including slipped or herniated discs, upper and lower back spasms that may, in themselves, lead to back injury, as well as, in extreme cases, paralysis of the limbs. It is quite probable that because of the aforementioned activities a disc may be on the precipice of herniation, or protruding from the spine, which means that at least one part of the spine may be vulnerable to any jolt or spasm. Stress, pressure and the jarring impact of a violent sneeze can indeed cause harm, especially if you are not in a stable position.

Sneeze“If you already suffer from musculoskeletal issues, sneezing can make matters worse for you,” reports the Accident and Injury Center, which suggests bracing yourself for stabilization and maintaining the natural arch of your back.

Consider that most of us who suddenly sneeze with people nearby, politely turn away just before the sneeze. This results in turning the head and twisting the spine as it is jolted by this convulsive expulsion.

If you experience sudden sharp pain down the spine after a forceful sneeze, you might want to check it out with your chiropractor or family doctor, who may refer you to a specialist if disease is already present.

Analyzing a sneeze indicates that it does indeed have potential for injury, and the spine— especially one already compromised by injury or deterioration— takes on the brunt of the impact. It’s like launching a missile. You arm the launch by holding your breath and therefore tightening the chest muscles, increasing the air and pressure in your lungs.

The result of a so-called violent sneeze is high-pressured expulsion of mostly air and droplets of mucous leaving the body. The velocity is nowhere near 100 miles an hour as recent laboratory testing has disproved.

It just feels like it at times.

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

Full-Service Chiropractic

Bradford Butler

Diversity Typifies Today’s Chiropractors

If you think of chiropractors as all doing pretty much the same thing, you need to get out more. The truth is that, much like the medical profession, there are many different approaches in practice, procedure and specialization.  

Cardiologists don’t do the same thing as urologists and their differences in diagnoses and treatments extend to divergent parts of the body. The same may be said for chiropractic medicine.

There is what is known as relief care, which is usually associated with a traditional chiropractor who specializes in spinal manipulation and other basic modalities. Relief care reduces spinal pressure in chronic cases, lessening pain and stiffness while increasing mobility. This is for people who need immediate relief and visits are generally more frequent, reports Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy in Oakland and Wayne, NJ.

Another kind of chiropractor is one who follows the model of “spinal correction” which includes additional techniques to bring the spine back to a normal structural state. A typical patient might be someone who is afflicted with a chronic back condition over a prolonged span of time without receiving treatment. This may result in serious spinal damage that requires more of a therapeutic approach through multiple sessions.

Multiple Treatments in One Setting

Neck PainFinally, there are chiropractic rehabilitation offices where multiple techniques, modalities, and even other disciplines such as physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and advanced technologies can be used.

“This is the model we utilize because I feel it’s giving the patient the overall best opportunity to heal and recover from more chronic and advanced spinal conditions,” Dr. Butler noted.

Whatever the state of your health, whether you are seeking immediate relief or preventative or maintenance treatment over the years, chiropractic care is the nonintrusive answer. Maintenance care may come after recovering from injury and subsequent rehabilitation.

Consider all the conditions that may be treated where multiple modalities are available that may not have been available from your father’s chiropractor. They include but are not limited to: chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches and migraines, tennis elbow, herniated discs, carpal tunnel syndrome, follow up to failed back surgery, low back, mid back, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, sprains, strains and sports injuries, whiplash and car accident injuries and even allergies and asthma.

Modern chiropractors rely on a battery of equipment that essentially makes them technicians, including various tables that are effective for treatment of different conditions plus ultrasound, cold laser, acupuncture and activator adjusting tools for expanded patient care.

So all chiropractors are not alike and neither are the conditions they treat and the modalities they use.