Health-E-News. April 2010
empowering you to optimal health
Chiropractic Aids In The Recovery of Shoulder Injuries
A new analysis shows that chiropractic care speeds healing of shoulder injuries.
According to the report, “this was a randomized controlled trial in a primary care setting in the Netherlands. A total of 150 participants were recruited from December 2000 until December 2002. All patients received usual care by the general practitioner.”
“In addition to usual care, the intervention group received manipulative therapy, up to 6 treatment sessions in a 12-week period. Twenty-four physical examination tests were done at baseline and after 6, 12, and 26 weeks.”
No significant difference was seen between the groups at 6 weeks. However, at 12 and 26 weeks it was evident that the patients receiving chiropractic care had reduced levels of shoulder and neck pain — and increased levels shoulder and neck mobility.
JMPT – February 2010;33:96-101.
Having A Purpose In Life Prevents Alzheimer's Disease
Feeling that your life has purpose may ward off Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and its precursor, mild cognitive impairment, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.
“Purpose in life, the psychological tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and to possess a sense of intentionality and goal directedness that guides behavior, has long been hypothesized to protect against adverse health outcomes,” write the researchers.
Specifically, individuals with a score of 4.2 out of 5 (90th percentile) on the purpose in life measure used in the study were approximately 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer’s disease than individuals with a score of 3.0 (10th percentile).
The study’s authors conclude: “In particular, these findings may provide a new treatment target for interventions aimed at enhancing health and well-being in older adults. Purpose in life is a potentially modifiable factor that may be increased via specific behavioral strategies that help older persons identify personally meaningful activities and engage in goal-directed behaviors.”
Archives of General Psychiatry – March 2010;67:304-310.
Exercises To Strengthen Neck Muscles And Reduce Neck Pain
In general, there is no one cause of neck pain that applies to every patient. If you have chronic neck pain, you may have received a diagnosis of disc herniation, whiplash, strain, sprain or something else. Regardless, most of these conditions have one thing in common: Certain muscles are affected, and these are the muscles we need to target before progressing to more challenging exercises or activities.
There are certain muscles in the neck that are designed to help us maintain our normal and healthy curve of the spine. In addition, these muscles are designed to hold our head up all day. The technical names of these muscles are the longus capitus and longus colli, more commonly known as the deep neck flexors. They are the muscles that attach to the front of your spine. Because they're located deep in the front of the neck, we often ignore them.
In people with chronic neck pain, these muscles are often fatigued a lot quicker than in people without neck pain. That means other muscles pick up the slack and begin working harder. The muscles that begin working harder are the ones we generally end up stretching. Have you ever noticed that when you stretch stiff muscles, they feel good for a short period of time, only to get tight again? The thing is, if you don't address the other muscles, the ones that get fatigued and gradually stop working, then your stretching program will not work as well. All these muscles need to be in "balance."
The best way to see if your deep neck flexors fatigue is to try and lift your head off the ground when you are lying down. The technique is simple: Simply tuck your chin in to your chest and lift your head off the ground, and then attempt to hold it there for 10 seconds. If the neck begins shaking, or your chin is unable to stay tucked in, your deep flexors are fatigued and need to be addressed. For most people with chronic neck pain, this can be a difficult exercise. That's why you can begin your exercise program by doing simple chin tucks while sitting or standing.
Simply tucking your chin in and holding it until you fatigue will help reactivate these muscles. You can start with 6 repetitions of this exercise, working your way up to three sets of 6 repetitions each. Ensure you take adequate rest (several minutes) in between each set.
Once you get comfortable with basic sitting/standing chin tucks, you can try doing the exercise lying down. The goal is to be able to do it 12 times, holding each one until you fatigue. The next goal is to work your way up to three sets of 12 repetitions, with rest in between each set. Then work your way to three sets of 15 repetitions and then three sets of 20 repetitions. Remember, this is a marathon, not a race. The goal is to increase the endurance of your muscles rather than their strength. Your neck is designed to carry the weight of your head all day, not to lift trains or buses! That's why building up endurance should be your first priority.
Backpack Safety Tips
Do you know what's in your child's backpack, how much it weighs, or how that weight is affecting their neck, shoulders, back and spine? You need to know, because studies suggest far too many children are carrying far too heavy loads to and from school, and with serious consequences.
For example, a 2003 study in Spine found a significant relationship between the incidence of lower back pain among schoolchildren (ages 12-18) and both the weight of their backpacks and the amount of time the backpacks were used. Some backpacks were inordinately heavy; 18.9 percent of the students surveyed carried backpacks that weighed more than 20 percent of the student's body weight when full.
In another study, published in the same journal a year earlier, four of five children said their backpacks were heavy, and two-thirds said they felt fatigue when carrying theirs. The study also showed that lifetime prevalence of low back pain was related to the amount of time children carried backpacks on their shoulders.
Not very good news, is it? So, what can you do as a parent to help your children in this regard? Here are a few simple suggestions courtesy of National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Ill.:
- Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10 percent of their body weight.
- Also ensure that it doesn't hang more than 4 inches below their waistline.
- Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. The straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be easily fitted to your child's body.
Improper backpack use is an important but often-overlooked cause of back pain. Ask us to evaluate your child's backpack and provide additional suggestions on how to ensure your child goes to and from school every day without putting their spine at risk of injury.
How To Improve Your Golf Game
Have you ever noticed that the most famous and well known golfing professionals have their own chiropractor who accompanies them when they go on tour? The art of being a top golfer includes correct alignment of the pelvis, shoulders and neck in order to achieve the magic swing that takes them to the pinnacle of their class. The swing of the golfer is actually pelvic rotation which involves the lumbar spine, the sacrum and most importantly the sacroiliac joint.
In particular the sacroiliac joint can become subluxated or fixated so that the sensitive cartilage between the sacrum and hip bone or ilium becomes inflamed and painful. If this happens, then the golfer has no chance at all of performing to the best of his or her ability.
The shoulders also swing around when the golfer rotates the pelvis, one shoulder rotating backwards with the hip and the other shoulder rotating forward in the opposite direction. At the same time the shoulder blades or scapulae move also, and the head turns, placing pressure on the neck or cervical spine.
Are you starting to get the idea that maybe the chiropractor who goes on tour with the top golfer is not such a bad idea! There are many things that can affect the game of golf and all of them need to be looked at carefully and adjusted where needed,
Other than receiving regular Chiropractic care, here are some more tips:
- The first recommendation is to choose the right equipment. The clubs you use should fit your height. Clubs that are too short can put significant strain on your low back. Professional measurement is a good idea.
- Have properly fitted shoes that support your ankles, If necessary wear orthotics that have been prescribed.
- Do stretching exercises to warm up and then cool down before and after the game. The blood needs to circulate in the muscles and waste products need to be flushed out of the muscles
- Take lessons from a pro. Of all sporting activities this is possibly the game that needs the correct instruction. Poor technique overloads the body.
Don't forget, you're playing for fun and recreation; don't get injured doing something you should be relaxing and enjoying. Golf has a funny way of bringing out the weaknesses in us - even it is just bending over to place the tee.