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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.

swimming injuries

Chiropractic Treatment for Swimming Injuries

Swimming is a low-impact activity but that doesn’t mean you can’t injure yourself. Micro-trauma can happen when swimming, shoulders can be unstable, leading to shoulder pain and tendinitis. Swimming injuries depend on the stroke you’re using, and most injuries affect knees, hips, shoulder, or the back. Repetitive injuries include inner knee and hip problems and back injuries.

Some examples of swimming injuries are listed below:

Impingement syndrome

Also known as swimmer’s shoulder. The shoulder is the joint that is most commonly affected by swimming injuries. Impingement syndrome is a condition that affects the shoulder joint, caused by the inflammation of the tendons surrounding the rotator cuff. When pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade is lifted, it can cause rotator cuff impingement. This causes painful inflammation of the bicep tendon. Shoulder instability, which is when the structures that surround the shoulder joint don’t work to maintain the ball within the socket, can result from fatigue and weakness of the rotator cuff and the muscles that surround the shoulder blade.

Breaststroke knee

When performing the breaststroke frequently, knee injuries are common. This is due to the position of the knee during the ‘whip kick’ movement. The rotation of this kick affects the medial collateral ligament, which runs along the inner side of the knee. Knee injuries involve the tendons and ligaments. Breaststrokers can also experience pain in their hip from inflammation of the hip tendons.

Spondylolysis

Lower back disk problems or problems at the junction between the spine and pelvis, termed spondylolysis, can be increased by the ‘dolphin kick’ which is used often in competitive swimming.

Butterfly back Injury

Swimming is generally thought to be beneficial for a lot of cases of back pain. The butterfly stroke is best avoided by those suffering from back pain. Butterfly back is another name for lower back pain because it is prevalent among butterfly swimmers.

How Can You Help Swimming Injuries?

Chiropractic care is highly effective for treating neck and back pain, strengthening back muscles, improving posture, flexibility and mobility. Chiropractic care performed on swimmers can help reduce inflammation and discomfort. Also, chiropractic care can help speed up swimmer’s recovery time from injuries due to its nature of relieving tension and improving the body’s balance.

Chiropractic care can help treat neck and back pain. To learn more or schedule a consultation, give us a call at Cross Valley Chiropractic at 570-822-4848.

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.