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Back pain is prevalent in obese Americans

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According to the American Obesity Association, episodes of musculoskeletal pain, and specifically back pain, are prevalent among the nearly one-third of Americans who are classified as obese.

They also report that more obese persons say they are disabled and less able to complete everyday activities than persons with other chronic conditions.

Some of the most common obesity-related problems include musculoskeletal and joint related pain. For people who are overweight, attention to overall weight loss is important as every pound adds strain to the muscles and ligaments in the back.

In order to compensate for extra weight, the spine can become tilted and stressed unevenly. As a result, over time, the back may lose its proper support and an unnatural curvature of the spine may develop.

In particular, pain and problems in the low back may be aggravated by obesity. This occurs for people with extra weight in their stomachs because the excess weight pulls the pelvis forward and strains the lower back, creating lower back pain. According to the American Obesity Association, women who are obese or who have a large waist size are particularly at risk for lower back pain.

Conditions Related to Obesity

Obese or overweight patients may experience low back pain from a herniated disc. This occurs when discs and other spinal structures are damaged from having to compensate for the pressure of extra weight on the back.

In addition, pinched nerves may result when extra weight is pushed into spaces between bones in the low back area.

Arthritis of the spine that causes back pain may be aggravated when extra body weight strains joints. Those patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 25 are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than those with a lower BMI. The American Obesity Association recommends modest weight loss as a treatment for some types of osteoarthritis.

The effectiveness of back surgery may also be affected by a patient’s weight. Obese patients are at higher risk for complications and infections after surgery compared to patients who are not obese. For seriously overweight patients, paying attention to weight loss before undergoing back surgery may improve the healing process after surgery.

Identifying the Need for Weight Loss

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure commonly used by medical practitioners. BMI is a mathematical formula (BMI=kg/m2) that takes into account a person’s weight in kilograms and height in meters and calculates a number. The higher a person’s BMI falls on a pre-determined range of values, the higher the likelihood for obesity.

Although there is some debate over the specific meaning of BMI measurements, a BMI of 30 or higher is typically considered to be obese, while a measure of 25 to 29.9 is typically considered to be overweight.

It is also important to evaluate where excess fat is carried on the patient’s body. Patients who carry more weight around their midsection are at greater risk for obesity-related health problems, such as low back pain. Weight loss for health considerations is often advisable for women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches.

For advice on any of the conditions mentioned or an honest opinion on treatment methods regarding your aches and pains, contact Lagos Health Chiropractic to book a consultation, where we will be more than happy to help.

Can I exercise with my back and neck pain?

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The use of some type of physical therapy or exercise is integral to almost all forms of back and neck pain treatment. Sometimes physical therapy and exercise are the first lines of treatment, other times it may help manage chronic pain, or provide rehabilitation after surgery. But did you know that both gentle exercise and physical therapy play a vital role in relieving pain?

Physical therapy and exercise are perhaps the most mainstream of all non-surgical treatments for back pain and neck pain. And unlike other treatments (medication, injections, etc.), physical therapy can also help prevent and/or lessen future recurrences of back pain or neck pain. Below are a few steps you can take to get pain relief from incorporating physical therapy or another kind of exercise into your routine.

  1. Find the right type of help.

Depending on your condition, you may need a healthcare professional to help you develop an appropriate list of activities to engage in and to avoid, as well as to develop and instruct you on an appropriate exercise program.

Several different types of health professionals may provide physical therapy, including physical therapists, chiropractors, and physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians.

  1. Alleviate the acute pain before you begin to exercise.

When you’re in a lot of pain, the thought of active rehabilitation and exercise can be pretty daunting. one or a combination of the following passive pain-relieving techniques (modalities) may be used:

    Electrical stimulation (e.g. TENS units)
    Heat and/or cold therapy
    Ultrasound
    Massage therapy
    Manual manipulation

Other treatments may also be needed to sufficiently reduce your pain. All of the above therapies are designed with one goal in mind: providing enough pain relief to help you progress to an active exercise program.

  1. Get others in your camp.

The common belief is that to heal back problems, those who experience pain should refrain from physical activity. Consequently, many of your friends or family may encourage you to rest if the exercise is causing you to struggle. By explaining ahead of time, they can understand how active rehabilitation is best for managing your condition. If you want support or help, you can also ask them to join you or encourage you during your exercises.

This type of plan is encouraged here at Lagos Health Chiropractic clinic, as soon as the problem is under control, movement and exercise is encouraged and we will show you how and what to do for your particular case.

Any questions, or to book a consultation, please contact Lagos Health Chiropractic on +351 282 768 044.

Preventing Back Pain in School Children

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Each school year millions of children walk to, from and around school carrying backpacks filled with books and materials. Parents should be aware that overly stressing the back with a heavy backpack could cause back pain in their child. Following a few guidelines can help avoid this type of back pain.

How Kids’ Backs Respond to Backpacks

Using a backpack allows a child to carry a number of schoolbooks and items in a practical way, distributing the heavy load across the strong back and shoulder muscles. The risk, however, is overload, which can strain the back, neck, or shoulders.

backpack with school books and pens

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
  • Habitually carrying backpacks over one shoulder will make muscles strain to compensate for the uneven weight. The spine leans to the opposite side, stressing the middle back, ribs, and lower back more on one side than the other. This type of muscle imbalance can cause muscle strain, muscle spasm, and back pain in the short term and speed the development of back problems later in life if not corrected.
  • A heavy backpack can pull on the neck muscles, contributing to headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain, and/or neck and arm pain.

Medical Research on Backpacks

While the medical literature on backpacks is often inconclusive, and sometimes contradictory, a review of current medical literature suggests several general conclusions:

  • Carrying heavy backpacks, or carrying them in a way that strains the back, is a frequent cause of back pain in children and adolescents
  • The back pain caused by back packs is short term (e.g. muscle strain) and alleviat
    ed with a short period of rest or reduced activity; any type of back pain that persists is uncommon and should be evaluated by a medical professional

Although there are very few studies and the medical literature does not agree on specific guidelines for backpack safety to avoid back pain, parents can use common sense to reduce the chance that their child or teen will suffer back pain due to carrying a backpack.

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
  • Consider using a separate bag for the child’s laptop or other heavier electronic items

Teach your child how to properly load and wear the backpack to avoid back pain:

  • Always use both shoulder straps and wear the backpack on the back rather than over one shoulder
  • Pack heaviest objects into the backpack first so they are carried lower and closest to the body
  • Fill compartments so that the load is evenly distributed throughout the backpack and items do not shift during movement
  • Pack sharp or bulky objects in the backpack so they do not contact the back
  • Adjust the straps to fit the backpack snugly to the child’s body, holding the bottom of the backpack 2 inches above the waist and keeping the top just below the base of the skull; do not carry the backpack low near the buttocks
  • Lift the backpack by using the leg muscles and keeping it close to the body, not by bending over with arms extended
  • Do not lean forward when walking; if this is necessary, there is too much weight in the backpack

Maintain a mindset to watch the weight carried in the backpack to reduce back pain:

  • If the child complains of discomfort, reduce the weight in the backpack immediately
  • Consider applying a guideline backpack weight limit as a percent of the child’s body weight. The American Physical Therapy Association suggests 15-20%; the American Chiropractic Association advises 5-10%
  • Coach your child to carry only those books needed in the backpack, leaving unnecessary items at home and making frequent trips to his/her locker during the day
  • Train your child to clean out the backpack at least once a week

Become a Proactive Parent on the Issue of Backpacks and Back Pain

  • Ask your child if they feel any back aches or pain
  • Help your child choose the smallest backpack that will meet his/her needs
  • Talk to teachers about how to minimize the need for children to transport heavy books back and forth daily in their backpacks; keep one set of books in the classroom for daily work while leaving heavy books at home; make photocopies of homework chapters and assignments that are easily carried
  • Attend PTA meetings and discuss any proposal by school administrators to remove lockers or to reduce time between classes making it difficult to store unneeded books and materials

Help for Back Pain

If you have any concerns or questions regarding anything mentioned here, feel free to contact us at Lagos Health Chiropractic Clinic on 282 768 044.

Drink Water To Help Healing

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The importance of high quality drinking water is vastly understated. Comprising approximately 75 percent of the body, water is found both inside and outside the cells and is the basis of all body fluids including blood, lymph, saliva, digestive juices, urine, and perspiration. Therefore, an unadulterated source of pure drinking water and learning how to optimize hydration is one of the most fundamentally important things one can do for their health.

Because of this I encourage all my patients here at Lagos Health Chiropractic Clinic, to drink plenty of it all year round, not just when the sun comes out.

Water’s role in the body

Since water is the regulator of all the body’s functions, it is equated with life. It is the main source of energy transport for every cell in the body, conducting electrical and magnetic energy that supplies the power to live.

Water also facilitates energizing the skin’s many photo-sensitive and energy-sensitive nerve endings that receive and transmit signals, making them more responsive and enhancing the skin’s vitality. It also protects both the skin and mucous membrane barrier functions and acts as an antioxidant by flushing oxidants and other toxins out through the kidneys. In addition, the sinuses drain better when they are well hydrated and their mucous membrane is more resistant to infection.

One must also consider that the brain is made up of 80 percent water. Severe dehydration can lead to the inability to think clearly, and in severe cases, mental derangement.

Conditions and habits related to dehydration

According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, author of Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, most people unknowingly suffer from chronic dehydration. This condition contributes to toxic overload in the body, which can lead to a hyperactive immune system and cause or contribute to a variety of diseases, including:

• Arthritis
• Asthma
• Colitis
• Depression
• Diabetes
• Dyspeptic ulcer
• Duodenitis
• Gastritis
• Heartburn
• Headaches
• High blood pressure
• High Cholesterol
• Low back pain
• Neck pain
• Osteoporosis
• Kidney problems

Instead of water, most people drink alcohol, coffee, non-herbal teas, fizzy drinks, and other caffeine-containing beverages. These liquids tend to further exacerbate the dehydration, making it much worse.

Recommendations for optimal hydration

According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, the body needs an absolute minimum of 6 to 8 glasses a day. Other sources suggest up to half your body weight in pounds should be consumed in ounces of water on a daily basis. For someone who weighs 160 pounds, that’s 80 ounces (10 glasses) of pure water on a daily basis.

The best time to drink water is first thing in the morning to wake up the digestive system from its dehydrated and contracted state, and 30 minutes before each meal. Water should be avoided during meals so as to not interfere with stomach acid and proper digestion. It should also be consumed around room temperature, save exceptionally hot days where extra cooling of the body may be required.

Since tap water all too often contains a variety of unhealthy contaminants, including microorganisms, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, and other impurities, it is recommended that this water be filtered to remove these harmful impurities.

Water is available in a wide variety of formats. Some of the most common ways people consume it is through bottled water and filtering units such as reverse osmosis and alkaline water systems. Each of these ways has varying levels of convenience, purity and minerals, and the benefits and drawbacks should be closely considered with each before choosing.

Bottoms up!

 

Good Posture – It’s Not Just To Look Good

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Good posture – head up, shoulders back, rear tucked under – and light bracing of key areas in the body, such as the abdominals, plays a key role in your spinal health, helping to prevent back and neck pain and even injuries to spinal structures. If you have a spinal condition, try to be aware of your posture and make good posture part of your normal routine.

If you suffer from back pain, you may consciously or subconsciously adopt an unnatural posture to try to limit movements that you fear will create potential pain. However, unless there is a fracture or other serious problem, try not to take on an unnatural or stiff posture.

Be on the lookout for any of the following possible warning signs of poor posture:

  • Back pain that is worse at certain times of the day or week
  • Pain that starts in the neck and moves downwards into the upper back, lower back and extremities
  • Pain that goes away after switching positions while sitting or standing
  • Sudden back pain that is experienced with a new job, a new office chair, or a new car
  • Back pain that comes and goes for months

If any of these warning signs apply to you, take note of your posture, seek help to identify the problem and areas that may need work, not only to reduce or manage the symptoms but help identify the cause. At Lagos Health Chiropractic Clinic we will identify and treat your problem and advise on the best way to manage it. Call us on +351 282 768 044 to book an appointment.

Discomfort from Text Neck is nothing to LOL about

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Reading and sending text messages and emails on a mobile device all require an awkward downward tilt of the head for extended periods of time. This can lead to a condition that popular and medical media are calling TEXT NECK.

Heavy Burden

The human head weighs about the same as a tenpin bowling ball at about 5 kg (12lbs). But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about two bowling balls (12kg or 27lbs) and at 45 degrees it’s almost four balls (22kg or 49lbs).

text neck and how to avoid neck painThat’s the burden that comes with staring down at a smartphone. Over time, this poor posture  can lead to severe neck and upper back pain, as well as choking the nerves of the neck leading to tingling in the fingers. It could also lead to degeneration of the spine and perhaps surgery.

And It’s Becoming More Common

Smartphone users spend, on average, two to four hours a day hunched over reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours a year that people are putting stress on their spines. And for teenagers, it’s worse – they are spending an additional 5,000 hours in this position!

“It’s extremely common.” says Dr Wen Oates of Lagos Health Chiropractic. “Just look around you – everyone has their head down…on the street, in restaurants and at home.”

Not Just Youngsters

“But now, it isn’t only young people.” says Dr Oates. “The older, retired generation are sitting up in bed at night reading their Kindle or tablet for several hours. In recent months, I’ve seen more and more patients complaining of neck and shoulder pain that has developed solely from prolonged, late-night ‘mobile-technology’ reading”.

Some Good Advice

“Be aware of the position of your head. Instead of bending your neck, try to look down at your device with your eyes, or try holding the screen close to eye level. To relieve pain, exercise your neck muscles and improve the range of movement of your neck, you can try gently moving your head to its end-range up and down, turning left and right, and bending side to side a few times every day.

Continue to enjoy your smartphone and tablet…just make sure your head is upright!”

I’ve Got Arthritis…Can Chiropractic Help?

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Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain of the joints and bones. The main symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness and restricted movements of the joints. And Chiropractic Care can help with the management of that pain.

There are many types of arthritis, but the most common form is osteoarthritis (OA), where the affected joints are typically in the hands, spine, knees, and hips. You may also have heard of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which is an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the cells lining the joints, resulting in the joints becoming stiff, swollen and painful.

You may be surprised to hear that OA affects around 8.5 million people in the UK alone.

You may hear people tending to pass off osteoarthritis as ‘wear and tear’ and saying that the symptoms they experience are just ‘a part of getting older’. This leads to many sufferers believing that very little can be done to help, or that their only option is going to the chemist and buying painkillers.

Chiropractic Really Can Help Arthritis

Because it’s a condition that gradually worsens over time, it’s important to try to take steps to limit the further progress of osteoarthritis…and this is where chiropractic comes in!

Clearly, the joints in your body are meant to be moving, but when you stop using them due to discomfort or pain, you’ll find that they’ll deteriorate further. This will lead to an increase in symptoms, such as neck pain, back pain, hip pain or shoulder pain.

Non-impact sports like swimming can help arthritis sufferersTherefore, it’s important to keep as active as you can. However, try to avoid high-impact activities that put stress on your joints…avoid jogging, for example. You should choose activities that don’t place too much stress on the joints. Swimming is particularly helpful.

Chiropractic Can Help Mobilise Your Joints

In addition to keeping active, chiropractic can be extremely beneficial in relieving the symptoms of arthritis by getting your joints moving properly again. Remember, it’s what chiropractors do…they help get your joints moving again!

So if you are looking for relief from arthritic pain, or help for arthritis pain in hands, hips or knees, your doctor of chiropractic will find a way to help. A typical chiropractic treatment for arthritis sufferers will include very careful and gentle joint mobilisation, some therapeutic massage and special individualised exercises to get the best possible results.

Here’s The Good News!

There’s a lot that can be done to help you. Principal Chiropractor at Lagos Health Chiropractic, Dr Wen Oates, has several patients who come to her for help for their arthritic pain…so you can too! To make an appointment, please call the clinic on +351 282 768 044.

Why have I got neck and back pain…and can a chiropractor help me?

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Did you know that more than 2 hours’ of continuous sitting is considered a mild spinal strain? Long hours of sitting still can jeopardize your lumbar spine and can even be felt in the middle-back and neck. You feel neck pain and back pain as a result of the curves in your spine straightening, which, over time, deform and damage the ligaments and discs in your spine that are meant for support.

Furthermore, you put the surrounding muscles under undue strain, only adding to the pain. Unfortunately, long periods of sitting are becoming more commonplace in today’s computer age and are linked to increased back and neck pain.

Get Off The Sofa

This process begins all too early in life. So maybe it’s time to ask: “How many hours a day do I spend sitting?” Back pain usually strikes well after the problem first began. So, is it time for you to get off the sofa and get your spinal alignment checked by a qualified and registered chiropractor?

lagos health chiropractic can treat neck pain and back pain from poor sitting position

How to avoid neck pain and back pain

In the meantime, here are some things to think about:

  • You should adjust your seat so that your feet are flat on the ground or on a foot rest.
  • You should be sitting with your hips higher than your knees and your eyes level with the centre of the computer screen.
  • Relax when sitting into your chair, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back and your shoulder blades are touching the back-rest of the chair.
  • Your arms should be flat and your elbows level with the desk or table you are using. Try to use a seat with arm rests.
  • Make sure you take regular breaks. Never sit at the computer for more than 40 minutes. When you take a break, walk around and stretch a little.

Get Checked Out

If you have back or neck pain, or are just feeling a slight twinge somewhere, perhaps now is the time to have a comprehensive examination by our Principal Chiropractor at Lagos Health – we promise to advise you on all posture and pain-related issues. Find us online and follow us on Facebook and Twitter…but don’t spend more than two hours at a time doing it!

I’m In Pain. What Can I Do About My Bad Back…See A Chiropractor?

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Have you ever heard friends or family say, “My back’s playing up, I can’t do any gardening today!” or, “I can’t help you move those boxes, I’ve got a bad back!”

lagos chiropractor relieves bad back pain

“Ouch, I’ve got a bad back!”

A bad back is often an indication of a chronic, long-standing injury or a problem that was never detected or corrected when it first occurred. Often, “bad back” sufferers will experience repeated acute episodes.

The key to avoiding these episodes is to get to the source of the problem and not simply mask it with ‘over-the-counter’ medication or fool yourself into thinking that “it will go away”.

Why is it happening?

Often the cause of a bad back is not a major single incident, but a series of minor or micro-traumas that slowly accumulate and which will, over time, weaken the spine and connected tissues.

The normal curves of the spine are essential for shock absorption and normal biomechanical movement of our bodies. These curves can be lost or straightened over time as a result of the major and minor traumas we endure on a daily basis. This improper alignment places extra stress and pressure on the joints and discs in your spine.

Also, the surrounding ligaments that support the spine’s normal alignment can deform, resulting in the surrounding muscles over-reacting because of the increased demand…and giving you your ‘bad back’. These muscles are the ones that can get stiff and sore during or after our favourite activities, such as golf, sailing, surfing, gardening or walking.

All of these physiological changes can irritate the delicate nerve fibres located in and around the soft tissues of the spine, which then respond by sending messages of pain to our brain.

The reason it keeps re-occurring is often because the underlying cause is going undetected and uncorrected.

The good news is that a thorough examination from your chiropractor will often reveal the underlying cause. As chiropractors have studied and trained for more than four years to become qualified doctors, they are specialists in detecting and correcting vertebral misalignments and back pain. They are the REAL ‘spine experts’ and therefore have an excellent success rate in easing these chronic problems, so you never again have to give that age-old excuse of having a “bad back”.

Lagos Health Chiropractic Blogs can help ease your Back and Neck Pain in the Algarve, but an actual visit will help even more

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Email: quiropraticalagos@gmail.com
Tel: +351 282 768 044

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