Patients guide to low back pain

Low back pain is one of the most common disorders in North America.  About 80% of people suffer from low back pain at least once in their lifetime.

There are a number of things that increase your risk of developing low back pain.  These include smoking, obesity, older age, female gender, physically strenuous work, sedentary work, stressful job, job dissatisfaction anxiety and depression.  This is not to say that these factors cause low back pain, however they are linked to it.

Low back pain can have many causes.  However, most people suffer from non-specific low back pain, which means that there is not a specific disease or abnormality in the spine clearly causing the pain.  Many people attribute their back pain to a degenerating disc or arthritis, although problems in the muscles, ligaments or joints may be equally responsible.  Many of these problems cannot be seen on imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRIs or CT scans, however it may be important to undergo these examiantions to rule out more significant pathology.

Rarely, back pain is caused by a potentially serious spinal condition, such as infection, fracture, tumor or cauda equina syndrome.  It is a health practitioner’s role to identify these conditions and manage it appropriately.

There are many forms of treatment for low back pain.  People who suffer from non-specific low back pain or mechanical low back pain can undergo many forms of formal or informal treatment.  These include heat or ice therapy, exercise, physical therapy, manipulation, mobilizations, acupuncture, massage, yoga and interferential current.

The risk for low back pain can be reduced from occurring or returning.  The most important factor is exercise and staying active. Regular exercise that improves cardiovascular fitness can be combined with specific exercises to strengthen the muscles of the hips, torso and core without putting additional strain on the back.  It is also important to avoid repetitive bending or twisting and high-impact activities that increases the stress in the spine.

People with low back pain should learn the right way to bend and lift.  As an example, lifting should always be done with the knees bent and the abdominal muscles tightened to avoid straining the weaker muscles in the lower back.

People who sit or stand for long periods of time should change positions often and use a chair with appropriate support for the back.  An office chair should be readjusted several times through the day to avoid sitting in the same position.  Taking brief but frequent breaks to walk around will also prevent pain due to prolonged sitting or standing.  People who stand in place for long periods can try placing a block of wood on the floor, stepping up and down every few minutes.

Your healthcare provider is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to your health related problems.  Chiropractors are specialists in treating back pain and are trained in identifying all back related problems, including serious conditions.  The providers at MOBO PHYSIO are more than happy to meet with you to review your case.

Dr. Justin Arseneau, DC

Posture and a healthier work environment

As more and more of us are working office jobs, we have changed into a sitting population putting more stress on our bodies.  As a society, we are sitting more and becoming increasingly sedentary.

Chronic inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity.  It also leads to weight gain, weakness and postural changes.

People who work at a computer all day commonly work in a head forward position.  This increases strain on the muscle, ligaments and joints in the neck, often leading to neck pain, which may require treatment and intervention.

A poor workstation can also lead to health issues.  When we reach for the mouse or keyboard, or use them with our wrist or arm in a strained position, stress is put on our wrist, arms and backs that can lead to strains and postural syndrome.

Conversely, people who live a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle and who operate in a healthy work environment perform better at work, have less sick days and are more satisfied with their work.

Although it may seem like a complex and expensive problem, providing a healthier work environment can be simple and inexpensive.  By simple getting up and moving around through your work day, you will improve your posture and will prevent injuries.  Take regular “postural breaks” by getting out of your work chair and stretching.

The professionals at MOBO PHYSIO can help to treat chronic postural changes and aches and pains related to work related pain or help you to provide a healthier workplace in order to prevent injuries.  Visit our website www.mobophysio.com for more information.

Dr. Justin Arseneau

UNDERSTANDING ARTHRITIS

The Osteoarthritis Society of Canada predicts that within the next generation one person will be diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA) every 60 seconds. OA is a painful condition caused by a gradual loss of cartilage and inflammation in the joint. There are over 100 types of arthritis and OA is the most common. 1 in 10 Canadians are affected by OA. It is the leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. It affects predominantly the knees, hips, hands and spine and common symptoms include pain and stiffness in these joints. The prevalence of OA increases with age, and factors such as lifestyle, work and family history can contribute to this condition. What can you expect to determine a diagnosis of osteoarthritis? OA requires a combination of patient history, discussion of symptoms, manual examination and diagnostic imaging. The combination of imaging and a diagnostic examination leads to a better understanding of the patients symptoms. Based on the examination findings and your symptoms, your chiropractor will work with you to determine an appropriate course of treatment. How can we treat OA? Because OA is a multifactoral condition, a combination of treatments modalities and techniques is generally required to adequately treat it that is tailored to the patients specific condition. It is important to work with your healthcare provider to create an effective and acceptable long-term plan for managing with arthritis. Exercise has been proven to be beneficial and leads to an increase in quality of life of OA patients. This includes specific aquatic, stretching, aerobic and resistance exercises that are beneficial and effective for this condition. Spinal adjustments (SMT) have also been shown to be beneficial. Patients who undergo SMT report positive results, including pain relief and increased function. Acupuncture has also been show to be beneficial in controlling the symptoms of OA. Education and support is a major component of arthritis treatment. By learning more about arthritis you can better participate in your own care. It is important to discuss OA treatment options, the effects of OA on daily activities, and the strategies for coping with limitations imposed by OA with your chiropractor. Other treatments that are effective include weight loss, orthoses, certain assistive devices, heat and cold therapies and TENS treatment. There are many treatment options for OA patients and a customized balance of treatment options is generally required for maximum benefit. Patient commitment is a crucial component to establish an effective treatment plan. A working relationship between your chiropractor and other health care providers is also beneficial. Your healthcare provider is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to OA. Dr. Justin Arseneau, DC