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Flip-Flops, is the Convenience Worth the Pain?

Flip-flops are a quick and easy solution when you’re running out the door or want something comfortable to wear. They’re easy to put on and take off and appealing to wear when the weather is warm because they let your feet stay cool. Unfortunately, flip-flops give no foot and ankle support, have minimal cushioning and make it easier to trip and fall. They also cause you to walk differently than you would walk if you were wearing a regular shoe.

What happens to you when you wear flip-flops?

When you’re wearing flip-flops, you have to pinch or curl your toes, so they stay on while you are walking. You’re also shortening your stride because of this, putting strain on your feet, hips, and lower back muscles. When you walk in flip-flops, your feet contact the ground differently. More pressure is put on the outside edges and less pressure is put on the heel. When this happens, it causes a slight rotation of the lower portion of the leg, changing the angle of your pelvis, which prompts increased torsion of the lower spine. These changes can cause stiffness and pain in the lumbar region that can worsen over time.

Do you have to give up flip-flops?

They still have legitimate uses. Flip-flops are good for public locker rooms and showers. They’re good for a quick walk to the backyard or the beach. Since they lack arch support and are thin with floppy rubber soles, they aren’t made for leisurely long walks or any kind of quick movement. They aren’t great for continuous use while shopping, or for going anywhere where you will be on your feet for a long time.

Listen to your body.

Your body will let you know when something is wrong. Experiencing back pain while wearing flip-flops means you should stop what you are doing, ice the area, and change into shoes with better support. Ignoring the pain and letting it linger means your body is going to compensate for the area that is in pain by putting the strain on other muscles and joints. This can cause further injury. You’re more likely to experience a fall that can be dangerous because of the impact your altered gait, making your stability suffer. When wearing flip-flops, it’s best to avoid running, jumping, and quick movements to the side because there is a greater risk of falls and there is a lack of support and shock absorption.

Alternatives.

Sports sandals can help offer good alternatives, so you still have comfortable shoes that also offer support. They mimic sneakers in the way they hug your feet and offer arch supports and heel cups, thereby providing greater stability.

Do your research to help you find the right alternatives for you. Pay attention to how stable you are when you are standing and walking when you’re trying on shoes. You want to make sure you can maintain your normal stride in the shoe, and that the sole of your foot stays connected to the sole of the shoe.

If you’re in need of a consultation for your back pain, give Cross Valley Chiropractic a call at 570-822-4848.

Backpacks Can Cause Back Pain

A backpack will allow someone to carry several school books and other items in a way that is practical. Backpacks distribute the heavy load across the back and shoulder muscles, but there is a risk of overloading the backpack which cannot only strain the back but also the neck and shoulders. Carrying a heavy backpack is a frequent cause of back pain in children and in adolescents.

While the back will compensate for any load that is applied to it for an extended period, heavy weight in a backpack can:

  • Cause shoulders to round and a person to lean forward, reducing balance which makes it easier to fall.
  • Cause distortion in the middle and in the lower back which causes muscle strain and irritates the spine, joints, and the rib cage.
  • Pull on neck muscles and contribute to headaches, shoulder pain, lower back, neck, and arm pain.

By following a few guidelines back pain can be avoided:

  • Carry the backpack over both shoulders. By carrying a backpack over one shoulder, the muscles will strain to compensate for the uneven weight. The spine leans to the opposite side which stresses the middle back, ribs, and the lower back on one side more than the other. This causes muscle imbalance that causes muscle strain, spasm, and back pain for the short term and it can speed the development of back problems later in life if it isn’t corrected.
  • Adjust the straps so the backpack fits snugly to the body, holding the bottom of the backpack two inches above the waist and keep the top just below the base of the skull. Don’t carry the backpack low near the buttocks.
  • When lifting the backpack, use leg muscles and keep it close to the body, don’t pick it up by bending over with arms extended.
  • Limit backpack weight to 10% of the child’s body weight.
  • Alleviate back pain caused by backpacks with rest or reduced activity. If the pain is persisting, it’s uncommon and should be evaluated.
  • Pack the heaviest objects first, that way they are carried lower and closest to the body. Fill compartments so the load is evenly distributed throughout the backpack and so the items don’t shift during movement. Pack any sharp or bulky objects so they don’t contact the back.
  • Don’t lean forward when walking. If it’s necessary to lean forward when walking, there is too much weight in the backpack.

Call Cross Valley Chiropractic at 570-822-4848 for a consultation, or to learn how Chiropractic care can help with back and neck pain.

Condition of the Month: My Blooming Back!

Oh, My Blooming Back!

As springtime approaches, the weather warms up and leaves turn green, many people will spend more time outside planting bulbs, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. Gardening can provide a great workout, but with all the bending, twisting, reaching and pulling, your body may not be ready for an exercise of the garden variety. Gardening can be enjoyable, but it is important to stretch your muscles before reaching for your gardening tools. The back, upper legs, shoulders, and wrists are all major muscle groups affected when using your green thumb. A warm-up and cool-down period are as important in gardening as it is for any other physical activity.

Performing simple stretches during these periods will help alleviate injuries, pain, and stiffness. To make gardening as fun and enjoyable as possible, it is important to prepare your body for this type of physical activity. The following stretches will help to alleviate muscle pain after a day spent in your garden.

Garden Fitness Stretches 

  • Before stretching for any activity, breathe in and out, slowly and rhythmically; do not bounce or jerk your body, and stretch as far and as comfortably as you can. Don’t follow the ‘no pain, no gain’ rule. Stretching should not be painful.
  • While sitting, prop your heel on a stool or step, keeping the knees straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh or the hamstring muscle. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Do this once more and repeat with the other leg.
  • Stand up, balance yourself, and grab the front of your ankle from behind. Pull your heel towards your buttocks and hold the position for 15 seconds. Do this again and repeat with the other leg.
  • While standing, weave your fingers together above your head with the palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds, then to the other. Repeat this stretch three times.
  • “Hug your best friend.” Wrap your arms around yourself and rotate to one side, stretching as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 10 seconds and reverse. Repeat two or three times. Finally, be aware of your body technique, form and posture while gardening. Kneel, don’t bend, and alternate your stance and movements frequently.

When the Bulbs are Planted

If you already feel muscle aches and pains and did not complete the warm-up and cool-down stretches, there are ways to alleviate the discomfort. Apply a cold pack on the area where the pain is for 15 minutes at a time for the first 48 hours. Or apply a heat pack on the area after 48 hours for 15 minutes at a time and consider chiropractic care.

Treatment

Chiropractic care works on correcting misaligned or out of place vertebrae and can remove the pressure placed on the nerve endings that line the surface of the joint and course through the space between the joints, reducing pain and improving flexibility and function.

To see if chiropractic may be able to help you call Cross Valley Chiropractic today at 570-822-4848 for a complimentary consultation.

 

Why you shouldn’t keep your wallet in your back pocket

Wallets are the go-to for receipts, business cards, cash, cards, coins, and whatever else you can throw in there. Putting that bulk in your back pocket and then sitting on it, even for a simple thirty-minute commute, puts stress on your hip joint and your lower back. You aren’t sitting evenly, either. Imagine sitting on an object only on one side of your body, and how it would cause your body to tilt to one side. It causes one side of your pelvis to be higher than the other, instead of them being even. This affects your spine and the tissues and structures underneath.

When you’re sitting on your wallet it distorts your pelvis and hips, which is bad for your back and your sitting posture. It causes you to tilt your pelvis to one side which puts stress on your spine. When you sit down, you end up rounding your lower back instead of sitting upright. The bigger your wallet, the more lopsided you sit.

The imbalance caused by sitting on your wallet leads to pain and degeneration. It agitates your sciatic nerve, which is located behind your hip joint, which causes pain that starts in the hip that can run down your leg. When you sit on your wallet, the nerve is pinched between the wallet and your hip. Sitting on your wallet for prolonged periods of time can press on the sciatic nerve and raise one hip. This causes your body to adapt and compensate for these imbalances.

The pelvis and hips are the foundations of the spine. What sits on that foundation will be affected by your wallet. Your body will compensate for your wallet in your back pocket by pulling your spine towards the side where the wallet is to even out the imbalance. Another way your body compensates is that your head can be pulled to one side to keep your eyes level with the floor.

Two halves of the pelvis can rotate slightly due to the constant force being applied to one side which can lead to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Long-term compensation results in spinal and postural stress which then leads to pain. Important tissues and structures in the buttock area, such as the sciatic nerve, can become compressed which can lead to sciatic leg pain, tingling and/or numbness.

What can you do to keep discomfort to a minimum?

  • Switch your wallet to your front pocket. This isn’t a cure-all, however, as it can create a pinch between your thigh and torso.
  • Remove your wallet when you sit down or drive.
  • Keep your wallet in your jacket pocket.
  • Keep only important and needed items in your wallet to avoid them being too bulky.
  • Try card-holder style wallets, or billfolds.
  • Avoid wallets that are bulky, such as wallets with zippers or buttons.

Call  Cross Valley Chiropractic for a consultation today at 570-822-4848.

Common Causes of Back Pain

There can be pain in different areas of our back, and it can be there for many different reasons. Everyday activities can affect your spine health. Muscle spasms are a common form of back pain. Most aches are caused by strains or sprains. Strains are injured muscles or tendons, and sprains are damage to ligaments. Injuries typically happen because of overuse, an accident, heavy lifting, or even a new activity. Simple things like sitting at a computer or crawling into bed at night can hurt us. Sometimes, pain comes from a compressed nerve, also known as a pinched nerve. A herniated disk can be the cause of pain.

Some habits that put your spine at risk for injury:

  • Tasks such as cleaning the garage or spending hours in the garden can be hard on your back. Exercise is a good preventative measure for this, as it stretches and strengthens your core muscles.
  • Simple tasks like washing dishes or taking the garbage out can hurt your back if your spine is bent out of shape.
  • Bending and lifting improperly can cause injury to your back. Engaging your abs to support your back will help prevent this. Don’t bend at your waist, instead bend your knees and keep your back straight. Keep objects close to you, if they’re far away from your body, it puts stress on your back. Don’t pivot, turn, or twist when you are lifting. Instead, point your feet at the item you’re lifting and face it as you pick it up. Change direction with your feet, not your waist. Holding an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees will add strain to your back.
  • Simple tasks like sitting at work, driving, or sitting in front of the television can hurt your back. The discs in your spine have poor blood supply and when you move, fluid circulates through the disks. When you sit still the fluid is wrung out, depriving disks of nutrition. Sitting puts more pressure on your spine than lying down or standing up. Too much time spent sitting is hard on your back and neck and can do long term damage.

Chiropractic care can help with back pain, give us a call at Cross Valley Chiropractic at 570-822-4848.

Why Seek Out Chiropractic Treatment?

Chiropractors may be sought for adjustments or aligning vertebrae for preventative care. Others may want help with managing serious pain resulting from conditions such as whiplash or scoliosis. The goal is to help return you to your prior state of health and then see if you have any further problems. You can also seek out regular preventative maintenance that can range from weekly to monthly visits, or visits every few months.

Chiropractors can treat common back and neck pain in a few sessions. Depending on your individual condition and any underlying factors, you may need frequent visits. Previous injuries can affect treatment times, along with any care and rehabilitation you may have received.

Hours at a computer and not enough exercise will contribute to common back and neck pain. Regular adjustments can prevent problems like these. Serious pain requires more intensive chiropractic treatment. This means two to three adjustments a week, but the number of adjustments will gradually decrease as your condition gets better. Meaning the amount of time that you see your chiropractor depends on your condition and how severe the damage is to your body, and your level of pain combined with how well your body responds to chiropractic care.

You can see improvements within a few weeks, if you don’t, the treatment is likely not working and you may need to consider other options, either by evaluation from a medical doctor or even seeing a different chiropractor who uses a different approach to see if that will work better for you.

It is hard to know how many treatments you may need in advance, so your treatment plan should be adjusted as your treatments progress.

How will you know if you need a chiropractor? You can decide if you want to take care of minor misalignments before they cause problems, seeing a chiropractor a few days a year, or a few months out of the year as an option. You can wait until you feel pain or tension to see a chiropractor. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if you want to see a chiropractor, and it is up to them to see what kind of adjustment you need, and how long you may need adjustments for.

Knowing your body and how it responds to adjustments, you can make the decision on what will work best to you. Give us a call at Cross Valley Chiropractic at 570-822-4848.

Common Back Pain, How Chiropractic Can Help

Muscle spasms are the most common cause of back pain, but the spine can be susceptible to some of the same problems as other parts of your body. There are many ways to injure your spine, all of which are painful and can temporarily limit movement. Chiropractic care can help relieve your back problems and give you back range of motion.

Common back injuries include:

Sprain/Strain

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which support the spine and its joints. A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, which connects muscle to a bone.  A spinal sprain or strain can happen if you fall, are in a car accident, or if you’re lifting and twisting things simultaneously.

Degenerative disc disease

This not at actual disease, but is usually an age related spine problem. Our bodies go through changes at a cellular level as we get older. The intervertebral discs dehydrate, and their shape and height can change which affects the space between two vertebral bodies and a nerve passageway narrows.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

When sacroiliac joints aren’t functioning properly, the symptoms include lower back pain and leg pain. The sacrum and the ilium meet at the left and right sides of the back are the sacroiliac joints, which are supported by strong ligaments. The moments of the joint are small, and they may move too much, or not enough.

Lumbar herniated or bulging disc

A herniated disc can result in nerve compression or damage. Because of this pain can be felt in the leg, thigh and buttock

Spinal Nerve Compression

A spinal nerve root becomes inflamed when it is compressed, pinched, or entrapped, causing pain.

Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation in order to properly align the body to enable it to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation restores mobility to joints. The treatment plan for back pain can involve one or more adjustments. This safe, effective treatment for a natural way to help your back pain. For more information about chiropractic care at Cross Valley Chiropractic call us at 570-822-4848.