Watch Your Back

Could one injury produce other injuries in the same body? A recent study examined workers with injuries in areas other than the low back. They found that those with hand, wrist, ankle, or foot problems compensated with their backs unconsciously, to “make up for” the distant injury. They might twist faster when pulling objects off shelves, or alter their pacing and coordination when leaning over. The next question will be: if the low back is forced to compensate for an ankle injury, would this result in a low back problem as well? It wouldn’t seem quite fair! However, if you’ve injured a wrist or ankle, I might suggest that you take extra good care of your back while you heal!

Straighten Up America
This could be exciting: a new spinal exercise program, called “Straighten Up America,” has just been introduced. It has been featured at national research conferences, and taught to members of Congress. It is a 3 minute-long series of simple exercises, easy to perform, developed by a pair of expert and review panels (spearheaded by chiropractors!), and is receiving widespread approval from experts across all disciplines. If you’re looking for an easy, gentle, enjoyable way to improve spinal strength and prevent back pain, or just need a good work break, check this out. You can access the entire program, currently designed for healthy adults and children, at the following location: www.life.edu/Chiropractic_and_Wellness/pdf/Straighten_Up_America.pdf.

Mobilization Therapy
A couple of years ago, a study in the American Journal of Public Health reported that gentler manual therapy for the neck (“mobilization”) is probably just as helpful as traditional adjusting (i.e. “cracking”) for neck problems. This year, the lead researchers also concluded that the gentler therapy causes fewer side-effects, such as stiffness or headache afterward.

I’m neither surprised nor disturbed to read this research; in fact, mobilization is my manual therapy of choice for the neck. I have been very satisfied (as have many patients) with the results of gentler therapies for the neck. In addition, many patients who feel nervous about having their necks worked on have been relieved to find that neck therapy, in my office, can be gentle enough to fall asleep to!