An Open Letter to our Medical friends.

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In the past year, many trusted medical establishments including the FDA (1), CDC (2), Joint Commission (3,4), JAMA (5), and The American College of Physicians/ Annals of Internal Medicine (6) have encouraged medical providers to prescribe spinal manipulation as a first line treatment for acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain.

Most recently, The Lancet echoed that endorsement, and provided a unique perspective:

The reduced emphasis on pharmacological care recommends nonpharmacological care as the first treatment option and reserves pharmacological care for patients for whom nonpharmacological care has not worked. These guidelines endorse the use of exercise and a range of other non- pharmacological therapies, including massage, spinal manipulation, and acupuncture.

Gaps between evidence and practice exist, with limited use of recommended first- line treatments and inappropriately high use of imaging, rest, opioids, spinal injections, and surgery. Doing more of the same will not reduce back-related disability or its long-term consequences. The advances with the greatest potential are arguably those that align practice with the evidence. (7)

Unfortunately, personal experience skews our perception of each other’s merit, i.e., we primarily see each other’s failures since the successes don’t need to seek additional care. Regardless of our professional degree, we all have failed cases mixed into our many clinical successes. We must not lose sight of the evidence supporting each other’s overwhelming proven value for a given diagnosis. If we judge each other by our successes rather than our failures, we will work toward an integrated model where the patient wins. Together, we will help more patients than either working alone.

We are honored for the opportunity to co-manage your patients.

 

References
1. FDA Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Management or Support of Patients with Pain. May 2017. Accessed on May 12, 2017
2. Dowell D, Haegerich TM, Chou R. CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain- United States, 2016. MMWR Recomm Rep 2016;65(No. RR-1):1–49.
3. The Official Newsletter of The Joint Commission. Joint Commission Enhances Pain Assessment and Management Requirements for Accredited Hospitals. July 2017 Volume 37 Number 7. Ahead of print in
2018 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals.
4. Joint Commission Online. Revision to Pain Management Standards. http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/23/jconline_november_12_14.pdf
5. Paige NM, Miake-Lye IM, Booth MS, et al. Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain; Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2017;317(14):1451-1460.
6. Qaseem A, et al. for the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(7):514-530.
7. Foster, Nadine EBuchbinder, Rachelle et al. Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions. The Lancet, Published Online March 21, 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(18)30489-6

Trigger points and fibromyalgia

Myofascial pain syndrome (trigger points) and fibromyalgia are often confused to be the same condition and while there is a lot of interrelatedness between the two they are not quite identical. The clinical definition of a trigger point is “a hyper irritable spot associated within a taut band of skeletal muscle that is painful on compression or muscle contraction, and usually responds with a referred pain pattern distant from the spot”. Trigger points form from an overload trauma to the muscle tissue. This is contrasted with fibromyalgia which is defined as “a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. Other symptoms include tiredness to a degree that normal activities are affected, sleep problems and troubles with memory. Some people also report restless leg syndrome, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling and sensitivity to noise, lights and temperature. It is also associated with depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder”. Fibromyalgia will also present with localized tender points which are often mistaken for trigger points. Where these two conditions become somewhat interrelated is via the nervous system. Fibromyalgia patients suffer from a super-sensitization of the nervous system causing hyperirritability and pain. Myofascial trigger points can be caused by,or be the cause of, super sensitization. An active trigger point will irritate the sensory nerves around it eventually leading to super-sensitization. Trigger points have also been showed to form of become active due to super-sensitization. Both of these conditions can perpetuate the other, leading to layers of pain and symptoms. This being the case, trigger point therapy can have a very positive effect on decreasing the severity of pain and symptoms in patients suffering from fibromyalgia.

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Mobility Myth #1

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Great stuff from our friends at Shape.com:

Myth: Stretching and foam rolling will address all of my mobility problems.

Truth: Stretching and soft tissue work (like foam rolling and massage) may seem like the bread and butter of mobility, but there’s more to know. “If you have a true mechanical mobility problem, soft tissue work and different stretching techniques are definitely great options,” says Ardoin. But you might experience tightness or a loss of motion that doesn’t have anything to do with tissue restrictions like tight muscles or joint stiffness.

“In these particular people, they actually have the mobility needed, but their brain doesn’t know how to access it,” says Ardoin. This sort of muscle-brain disconnect could be because of current pain, previous injuries, or, “sometimes people just forget how to move,” he says.

In this case, your muscles are working against each other instead of synergistically—and it’s not something stretching or foam rolling will fix. The good news is that there’s not actually anything physically wrong. The bad news: This is tough to diagnose on your own. “If you have a loss of motion while you perform the motion yourself but have full ROM when performed passively, then it’s safe to assume that you have the ROM available but your brain doesn’t know how to access it,” says Ardoin.

For example, let’s say you have a “tight” shoulder. Make a large, slow circle with your right arm. Then totally relax your arm while someone else rotates your arm in a circle for you. Did it go farther while you let the motion happen passively? Ding, ding! Could be a brain problem, not a muscle problem. Think this might be you? Seeing a trainer or physical therapist to confirm it (and help you work on the issue) can’t hurt.

5 Tips for healthy living

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https://www.ndtv.com/food/5-tips-and-hacks-to-lead-a-healthy-life-1807791

Keeping fit and health is not a one-day job, but it’s rather a lifestyle and gradually needs to be developed into a habit. There’s no magic key to a healthy lifestyle, but one must beware of hit and trial methods too, as these can be detrimental to the overall health, as well as mental state. With so much being said and heard about how to develop a healthy lifestyle, it’s confusing to decide what’s good and bad for one’s health. As work schedules all over the world become crazier by the day, there’s a general concern about and increase in unhealthy life choices.

However, there are certain universally accepted ways of leading a healthy life. These are some things that you should never compromise on, if you want to be happy and healthy:

1. Don’t Compromise On Sleep

Although more and more people nowadays call themselves fashionably insomniac, sleep deprivation is ruinous for health. You may not know it, but a lot is riding on whether or not you get a good night’s sleep. It’s crucial to understand sleep cycle and dedicate a fixed time period to sound sleep in your everyday schedule.

2. Drink Enough Water

It’s not just about the amount of water you drink, but also the timings of drinking water that can make or break your health. Water has numerous benefits. Besides regulating your body environment and ensuring optimum rate of body processes, water can rev up your metabolism and even fight food cravings, helping you stay in shape. It’s commonly recommended that all human adults drink from 1.5 to 2 liters of water every day.

3. Balanced Diet

A well-balanced diet is one that meets the right amount of daily nutrient requirements of a person. Bodies of males and females require different kinds and quantities of nutrients like the various vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and roughage, etc. An excess of any one nutrient or a deficiency might lead to diseases.

4. Take Care Of Your Mental Well-Being

Nowadays, there’s a lot of awareness regarding the need to maintain the sanctity of a calm and peaceful mind. However, a lot still needs to be talked about, as in a lot of countries, including India, mental health problems and seeking therapy remains a taboo. Your mental ailments can affect your body and have an indirect and harmful impact on your lifestyle. Taking care of your mental well-being is essential for leading a healthy life.

5. Eat Clean

A lot of emphasis is being laid on the need to eat simple and clean meals, devoid of excess grease. In fact, some of the hottest food trends for 2018 revolve around natural plant proteins and use of herbs for preparation of meals. Eating clean means eliminating processed foods with excess salt and sugar from your diet and relying heavily on what you get fresh.

Apart from this, eating small meals at frequent intervals help your body sustain optimum energy levels for longer. Including raw fruits, vegetables and nuts in your daily diet is also important. Don’t eat too much in any meal and remember the simple philosophy of ‘eating to live instead of living to eat.’

The Thoracic Disc Lesion

Your spine consists of 24 individual vertebrae stacked on top of each other. Flexible cushions called “discs” live between each set of vertebra. A disc is made up of two basic parts. The inner disc, called the “nucleus” is like a ball of jelly about the size of a marble. This jelly is held in place by the outer part of the disc called the “annulus,” which is wrapped around the inner nucleus,

much like a ribbon wrapping around your finger. The term “thoracic disc lesion” means that one or more of the 12 discs in the center section of your spine has been damaged.

Disc problems start when the outer fibers of the disc become strained or frayed. If enough fibers become frayed, the disc weakens and when compressed, may “bulge” like a weak spot on an inner tube. If more fibers are damaged, the nucleus of the disc may “herniate” out of the disc.

Surprisingly, thoracic disc bulges are present without any symptoms in almost half of the adult population. Disc bulges that cause pain commonly occur in the neck or lower back but are relatively infrequent in the thoracic spine – accounting for less than 1% of all symptomatic disc problems. The condition is most common between the ages of 40 and 60. Certain occupations or activities place you at greater risk, especially physically demanding activities that involve repetitive twisting, awkward postures.

Pain can range from dull, localized discomfort to sharp, radiating pain. Your symptoms may change unpredictably. If the disc bulge is bad enough to compress your nerve, you could experience sharp, burning, or shooting pain in a band-like distribution around your rib cage. Thoracic disc herniations commonly mimick other conditions like heart or lung problems. Be sure to let our office know if you notice chest pressure; shortness of breath; pain radiating into your arm, face, or jaw; pain with deep breathing; clumsiness; loss of bowel or bladder control; unexplained weight loss; night sweats; pain that awakens you at night; fever; indigestion; nausea; flu-like symptoms or if you notice a rash following the margin of one of your ribs.

You should avoid excessive bed rest while recovering. Researchers have shown that disc bulges may be successfully managed with exercise and conservative care, like the type we will provide.

Trigger points in the adductor longus and brevis.

These muscles are located in the groin. The longus originates on the pubic body just below the pubic crest and inserts on the middle third of the linea aspera.The brevis muscle originates on the inferior ramus and body of the pubis and has its attachment to the lesser trochanter and linea aspera of the femur. Trigger points in these muscles are the most common muscular cause of groin pain. Distal trigger points refer pain to the upper medial knee and down the tibia. Proximal trigger points refer into the anterior hip area.

The Most Common Work Injury We See? This Might Be It…..

Your “lumbar spine”, or low back, is made up of five bones stacked on top of each other with a shock-absorbing disc between each level. Your low back relies on muscles and ligaments for support. “Sprains” and “strains” are the result of these tissues being stretched too hard or too far, much like a rope that frays when it is stretched beyond its normal capacity. The term “sprain” means that the

tough, durable ligaments that hold your bones together have been damaged, while “strain” means that your muscles or tendons that move your trunk have been partially torn.

Most people experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime, and 70% of those patients can attribute their symptoms to sprain/strain injuries. Lumbar sprains and strains may result from sudden or forceful movements like a fall, twist, lift, push, pull, direct blow, or quickly straightening up from a seated, crouched, or bent position. Most commonly, sprains and strains are not the result of any single event, but rather from repeated overloading. The spine can generally manage small isolated stressors quite well, but repetitive challenges lead to injury in much the same way that constantly bending a piece of copper wire will cause it to break. Examples of these stressors include: bad postures, sedentary lifestyles, poor fitting workstations, repetitive movements, improper lifting, or being overweight.

Symptoms from a sprain/strain may begin abruptly but more commonly develop gradually. Symptoms may range from dull discomfort to surprisingly debilitating pain that becomes sharper when you move. Rest may relieve your symptoms but often leads to stiffness. The pain is generally centered in your lower back but can spread towards your hips or thighs. Be sure to tell your doctor if your pain extends beyond your knee, or if you have weakness in your lower extremities or a fever.

Sprain/strain injuries cause your normal healthy elastic tissue to be replaced with less elastic “scar tissue.” This process can lead to ongoing pain and even arthritis. Patients who elect to forego treatment and “just deal with it” develop chronic low back pain more than 60% of the time. Seeking early and appropriate treatment like the type provided in our office is critical.

Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need to limit your activity for a while, especially bending, twisting, and lifting, or movements that cause pain. Bed rest is not in your best interest. You should remain active and return to normal activities as your symptoms allow. The short-term use of a lumbar support belt may be helpful. Sitting makes your back temporarily more vulnerable to sprains and strains from sudden or unexpected movements. Be sure to take “micro breaks” from workstations for 10 seconds every 20 minutes. Following acute injuries, you can apply ice for 15-20 minutes each hour. Heat may be helpful after several days or for more chronic origins of pain. Ask your doctor for specific ice/heat recommendations. Some patients report partial relief from sports creams.

A weak lateral chain will stop you in your tracks.

One very important job of your hip muscles is to maintain the alignment of your leg when you move. One of the primary hip muscles, the gluteus medius, plays an especially important stabilizing role when you walk, run, or squat. The gluteus medius attaches your thigh bone to the crest of your hip. When you lift your left leg, your right gluteus medius must contract in order to keep your body from tipping toward the left. And when you are standing on a bent leg, your gluteus medius prevents that knee from diving into a “knock knee” or “valgus” position.
Weakness of the gluteus medius allows your pelvis to drop and your knee to dive inward when you walk or run. This places tremendous strain on your hip and knee and may cause other problems too. When your knee dives inward, your kneecap is forced outward, causing it to rub harder against your thigh bone- creating a painful irritation and eventually arthritis. Walking and running with a relative “knock knee” position places tremendous stress on the ligaments around your knee and is a known cause of “sprains”. Downstream, a “knock knee” position puts additional stress on the arch of your foot, leading to other painful problems, like plantar fasciitis. Upstream, weak hips allow your pelvis to roll forward which forces your spine into a “sway back” posture. This is a known cause of lower back pain. Hip muscle weakness seems to be more common in females, especially athletes.

You should avoid activities that cause prolonged stretching of the hip abductors, like “hanging on one hip” while standing, sitting crossed legged, and sleeping in a side-lying position with your top knee flexed and touching the bed. Patients with fallen arches may benefit from arch supports or orthotics. Obesity causes more stress to the hip muscles, so overweight patients may benefit from a diet and exercise program. The most important treatment for hip abductor weakness is strength training. Hip strengthening is directly linked to symptom improvement. Moreover, people with stronger hip muscles are less likely to become injured in the first place. The exercises listed below are critical for your recovery.