You might not know this but pediatricians are regularly reporting more and more cases of injuries in school-age children and teens from back strain. The main culprit in these injuries and pains are often too-heavy backpacks.
Studies have shown backpacks usually weigh in at 20 to 40 percent of a child’s body weight, meaning a 90-pound child could be hauling around a 36-pound backpack day after day.
Simply put, this is too much strain on a child’s spine. That coupled with sitting for long hours each day at desks can make for numerous back pains and strains in children at a time when their spines and bodies are developing.
When a person of any age tries to carry a heavy weight across their backs for a long period of time, the body compensates and this can lead to everything from reduced balance because the person leans forward; rounded shoulders; muscle strain and damage to the rib cage and joints in the spine, and distorting the curves and alignment in the back.
What can be even worse is when a child carries a backpack over one shoulder, which weighs down one side of the spine more than the other. This leads to straining muscles, back pain, spasms, and even developmental issues.
Heavy back packs also strain neck muscles, leading to headaches, shoulder pain, lower back pain and arm pains.
There are two major ways to help your child reduce possible back pain issues related to their backpacks.
First, make sure the backpack itself is a good one.
– It should have a hip strap, belt or frame to distribute the weight from the shoulders to the pelvis;
– Canvas backpacks are lighter than leather;
– Adjustable shoulder straps and a padded back or even lumbar support;
– Multiple compartments distribute weight better;
Second, make sure your child is properly using the backpack.
– Don’t sling the pack over only one shoulder, use both straps;
– Use all compartments;
– Make sure the straps are tight and snug against the child;
– If the child has to lean forward while walking, the backpack is too heavy;
– Lighten the load as much as possible by having your child carry only necessary items. Other items can be left at home or in a locker;
– Use a weight limit of 10-15 percent of the child’s weight;
– Clean the backpack out regularly;
– Get the smallest backpack you can that will still allow them to carry everything necessary;
As a new school year approaches, keep these ideas top of mind when picking out your child’s next backpack and on a daily basis as they pack for school. But also you can help by being proactive and asking questions. Talk to your child to see if they’re having any pains, watch the weight of the backpack, watch to see if the child looks is having any issues. Talk to teachers to see how you can minimize the weight of a backpack and what gets carried to school each day.
Allison Family Chiropractic welcomes families and children who seek to feel better and want total body health. Our caring atmosphere and expertise can be a major benefit to you and your children. If you want to make an appointment today, call 419-991-0713 or email us today.
Running takes its toll on the body.
Whether you’re a pro or a recreational runner; whether you’re training for a 5K, a 10K, a marathon, or just put in a few miles on the treadmill during the week, your body absorbs a pretty good pounding. And you’ll feel the constant impact up and down your body – day and night, running and resting.
But you can address those pains and aches with regular chiropractic care, and not only will you feel better, it has been shown to help runners in other ways, such as:
– Improved coordination;
– Better reaction times;
– Increased balance;
– Heightened focus;
– Strengthening muscles.
Most runners who regularly visit a chiropractor will testify to the benefits, but for a really strong advocate consider 2014 Boston Marathon champ and Silver Medalist Meb Keflezighi. In an article by Dynamic Chiropractic, Keflezighi discusses how important his Doctor of Chiropractic is to his recovery and therapy.
How it works
Whether you’re concerned with preventing injuries, optimal performance or quick recovery, the key is proper alignment of the spine and pelvis. Runners constantly experience general problems such as pain in your feet, shoulders and lower back and pinched nerves. More specifically, some of the regular injuries consist of hip bursitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, knee patella problems and plantar fasciitis.
Whether runners know it or not, many of these issues begin from misalignment. A misaligned spine puts undue tension on one part of the body while proper alignment distributes stress and pressure evenly.
Often, before your chiropractor can deal with any specific injuries, he will first make sure you’re spine and pelvis are aligned correctly to avoid future strains and injuries. Then, your DC can focus on a specific area for treatment.
Also, alignments allow runners their full range of motion, helping them perform at a better level.
Tips to stay aligned
Obviously, seeing your chiropractor on a regular basis is the best way to keep your body running at full speed. But there are some things you can do on a regular basis to maintain correct alignment.
– Always warm up and stretch. Along with traditional stretches, arm swings, neck and waist rotations and lunges are great warm-ups.
– Train your core. Add some core exercises to your daily routine. Your abdominals are your stabilizing muscles and therefore crucial to endurance and feeling good.
– Avoid training errors. Make sure shoes are replaced on a regular basis and try to switch between shoes every so often. Vary your running surfaces and avoid slanted surfaces when possible.
– Mind your daily routine. You can get your alignment off-kilter when not running also. Maybe it’s your sleeping position – sleeping on your back is the best – or your chair at work. If you don’t have an ergonomic chair, try to vary your posture every 30 minutes and stand up and stretch each hour or two. Be mindful throughout the day of tendencies that may be causing your form to slip.
Keeping these tips top of mind during your training will do wonders for how you feel and perform in all of your upcoming races. The key is to regularly visit your DC, stay aligned and get great advice for how to stay that way throughout your regimen.
At Allison Family Chiropractic, we have an excellent track record of helping athletes of all ages and skill levels with injury prevention, treatment and overall success. Contact us today at 419-991-0713 to schedule an appointment or to get your questions answered.
Summer is as good a time as any for men of all ages to take control of their health. With June being National Men’s Health Month, it’s a great reminder that simple health steps can make a huge difference in the lives of men.
First, some facts:
— Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death for men of all races, with the most commonly diagnosed cancers being prostate, lung, colon and bladder, according to the Center for Disease Control.
— The leading causes of death in men include: Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, suicide, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, some good news: In most of these cases, there is a lot you or the men in your lives can do to prevent, monitor and/or control these health issues. By doing so, you or the men in your life increase their life expectancy and can feel exceptionally better in the process.
Unfortunately, men are 24 percent less likely to than women to see a doctor for help, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
It’s time to end that trend and get healthy.
The top causes of death in men – heart disease and many cancers – can often either be prevented and/or treated so long as they are diagnosed early.
Men should begin having their cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly at age 35 and even earlier if he has diabetes, a family history of heart disease and smokes.
By the way, stop smoking, it’s one of the main contributors to a variety of health problems — namely heart disease and lung cancer. If high blood pressure and/or cholesterol are detected, it’s also a good idea to be checked for diabetes, which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and nervous system damage.
Also, men should start being tested for prostate and colon cancers as early as 45 and certainly by 50.
Men should also make a major effort to:
– Stay or get physically active;
– Make healthy food choices;
– Maintain a healthy weight;
– Drink in moderation;
– And manage stress effectively.
Once you’ve taken the steps to begin preventing these health issues – say, by losing weight or quitting smoking – it’s important you don’t back off. Talk to your health care provider about how often you should be screened for many of these issues. Also, continue to maintain an active lifestyle and a solid diet.
If you are diagnosed with a disorder or disease or your doctor finds you’re on your way toward one, work hard to adjust your lifestyle and stay on top of the issue through the steps your healthcare provider plans out for you.
Don’t ignore the issue because whatever it is, it won’t go away or be kept at bay on its own. You need to take control of the issue and fight it as best you can.
The key to good health often boils down to a simple habit: Awareness. Don’t ignore issues that crop up and make sure you are staying on top of any problems that arise.
June isn’t the only month we should all be more aware of our own health, but it can act as a good reminder or trigger to get the ball rolling.
Want another way you can help your body? See a chiropractor. Low back pain affects 31 million people in America each year and ranks as the leading cause of disability worldwide. At Allison Family Chiropractic, Dr. Allison has exceptional skills for diagnosing and treating many physical ailments we all battle every day. Contact him to make an appointment today at 419-991-0713.
We’ve written extensively about the many issues chiropractors see and treat on a regular basis. But when confronted with the sheer numbers of what people fight daily and how chiropractic care helps them, it paints a pretty staggering but interesting picture.
Here are 23 stats to back pain issues worldwide and how chiropractic care helps ease spinal and health issues:
1) 31 million Americans experience low-back pain each year.
2) 62 million adults worldwide report low-back pain per year.
3) Low back pain is the leading cause of worldwide disability.
4) 50 percent of all working Americans have back pain annually.
5) 80 percent of the population experiences a back problem during his or her life.
6) Back pain is a leading cause of missed work.
7) Back pain is the second most common reason for doctor’s visits.
8) $86 billion is spent on back pain each year.
9) Nearly $30 billion in productivity is lost each year from chronic back pain.
10) More than $6.5 billion is spent on pharmaceutical sales for spinal conditions each year.
11) 32.3 million adults report neck or cervical pain.
Regular chiropractic care has been shown to:
12) Reduce hospital visits by 60 percent.
13) Reduce days in the hospital by 59 percent.
14) Reduce outpatient surgery by 62 percent.
15) Reduce pharmaceutical costs by 85 percent.
16) Reduce back pain in pregnant women by up to 84 percent.
17) More than 20 millions American seek chiropractic care each year.
18) 60 percent of those people are female.
19) Chiropractic adjustments are performed on average 1 million times each business day in the U.S.
20) Chiropractic care has been around for more than 100 years.
21) 58 percent of the people who use chiropractic care cite it as essential to a health care/insurance plan.
22) Patients save 45-55 percent more money when they see a chiropractor for treatment instead of a medical doctor.
23) Nine out of 10 chiropractic users believe their treatment is effective.
If you still aren’t convinced about the importance chiropractic care could play in your life, check out an earlier article about why you might want to give it a chance today.
And when it’s time to begin chiropractic treatment, consider Allison Family Chiropractic. Dr. Allison’s safe, effective care has been shown to help patients dealing with everything from back and neck pain to migraines to asthma to allergies, scoliosis and any number of physical conditions. Contact Allison Family Chiropractic today at 419-991-0713 or click here for our online contact form.
(Sources: American Chiropractic Association; the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapy; acatoday.org)
Walking around with back pain all day is no way to go through your week. Unfortunately, many of us do. In fact, statistics draw up a pretty disturbing picture.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans are battling low-back pain. At least half of all working Americans feel some back pain symptoms each year and low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Oh, and one last stat: Americans drop a minimum of $50 billion every year on back pain.
And while we highly recommend chiropractic care to handle back pain, you can also improve daily habits that may be killing your back.
First, it’s important you understand your back is made up of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles that work together to form a solid structure. Sprains, strains, stress or injuries – regardless of the severity – result in back pain.
And while issues such as sports injuries, heavy lifting, car accidents, fighting certain diseases, etc. are obvious causes of back pain, many smaller issues can contribute in a major way.
Here are some of the biggest causes of regular back pain many people inflict on themselves without even realizing it.
You aren’t exercising enough
Exercise, especially walking and stretching the legs and hips, are excellent for alleviating back pain. However, according to some studies nearly half of all people who report back pain avoid exercise when it strikes.
Regularly working the abdominals strengthens the lower back and helps with good posture. In fact, core strengthening is good for stability muscles in the back and stomach. Cardio exercises like cycling, swimming and walking also help with flexibility.
You’re sitting a lot, and it’s killing you
Not only is sitting considered the new smoking because it’s so bad for your overall health, but sitting also puts 40 percent more pressure on your spine than standing. On top of it, poor posture while you’re sitting adds to the strain on the back muscles. That bad posture can also change the characteristics of your spine.
So make sure you are taking time to stand and stretch regularly throughout the day to keep your joints active and strong. Consider either a sit-stand work desk or make sure you’re sitting at a 135-degree angle to reduce the pressure on your spine. The office chair you use should support the curve of your spine, your lower back and keep your head straight.
Your lifestyle is unhealthy
A lifestyle that includes being overweight, smoking and sedentary habits could be very harmful to your back.
— Smoking directly hurts your back because nicotine leads to disc degeneration by restricting the blood flow to your vertebrae. It also restricts calcium absorption, which prevents new bone growth and increases the risk of fractures.
— Being overweight in the mid-section strains your back by pushing your center of gravity forward.
— Generally speaking, a sedentary life is bad for many reasons. Specifically for your back, activity helps because it increases blood flow and reduces muscle tension and inflammation.
You drive … a lot
Maybe you’ve got a long commute every day, or your job involves a ton of travel or you just enjoy road trips, but if you spend a lot of time slumped over a driving wheel in your week it can lead to poor posture and back/neck pain.
Be sure you’re sitting in a good position in a drive to lessen the strain. Sit at a 90-degree angle, close to the wheel. You don’t want to be stretching to reach for the wheel or over-extending your legs.
Your mattress isn’t quite right
Studies show a mattress too firm or too soft can cause back pain and hurt your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. So consider a medium-firm mattress, according to the ACA, to “minimize any curve in your spine.”
Also, consider replacing your mattress every five to seven years. According to Prevention magazine, a study at Oklahoma State showed people who get a new mattress after five years experience much less back pain and sleep better.
You ignore the pain
Many people simply try to ignore the pain or fight through it so they can get through their day. But aches and pains are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. And the more you ignore them, the worse they can get until the problem requires some major work.
So why not get the problem looked and treated by a doctor or chiropractor and start feeling better?
And if you live in the Lima, Spencerville and Shawnee areas, Dr. Zach Allison can not only treat your back pain issues but will work to make sure your daily habits help you perform at an optimal level at all times. Call him today at 419-991-0713 to schedule an appointment or for any questions you might have.
Sources: American Chiropractic Association, Everyday Health, Prevention Magazine.
Anyone who has ever experienced carpal tunnel syndrome will tell you it’s no joke. Months with tingling or numbness in your hand and wrist can suddenly be broken up by sharp, shooting pains up your arm during work or the middle of the night.
This progressive and painful condition essentially happens when the median nerve in the wrist becomes compressed. For more on the causes, symptoms and statistics associated with carpal tunnel, check out our previous blog on the topic.
The symptoms normally develop gradually and can improve and even stop because of rest or a change in activity. However, in many cases these symptoms become a significant problem that leads to loss of work, money and workman’s compensation payments.
The good news is proper diagnosis and treatment normally alleviates the pains and restores strength in the hand(s) and wrist(s).
If you have any of the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s important you see a doctor early to get a clear diagnosis.
The doctor will check on the patterns associated with your symptoms, which will illustrate if it is indeed a carpal tunnel issue or something else.
Carpal tunnel patients often experience problems when gripping something or during the night. Also, because the median nerve does not affect all the parts of the hand, other tests can exclude carpal tunnel syndrome as the issue.
During the examination, the doctor will test feeling in your fingers and strength in your hand. Also, tapping or pressing on the median nerve can trigger the symptoms if indeed it is CTS.
Doctors will perform further tests and x-rays to see if the problem is something else.
X-rays can indicate arthritis, fractures, etc.
Electromyography evaluates electrical activity in your muscles and can determine any damage to muscles or if other conditions.
Nerve conduction is similar in that small shocks are sent through the median nerve to gauge if impulses are slowed through the carpal tunnel.
In some cases, a doctor may want a patient to see a neurologist or specialists trained in other areas of the nervous system to see if the issue is a symptom of arthritis or a mental disorder.
Once carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed, it should be addressed immediately under a doctor’s supervision.
Normally, the first treatments include resting the affected hand/wrist followed by splinting and avoiding any activity that will contribute to the symptoms. Also, cold packs can be used to reduce swelling.
Aspirin, ibuprofen and other pain relievers can help in the short run while certain steroids and vitamin supplements may also be prescribed.
Certain stretches and strength exercises can also help CTS sufferers. Physical and occupational therapists are also often helpful in working with patients to alleviate symptoms.
If the symptoms last for more than six months, surgery is often necessary. In fact, carpal tunnel release is one of the most common procedures in the U.S. according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Though there are different procedures available, all involve reducing pressure on the median nerve by severing the band of tissue around the wrist. A local anesthesia is used and normally doesn’t require an overnight stay in a hospital.
Full recovery can take months and physical therapy is often essential in helping the patient gain back strength in the wrist.
To avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, workers can do everything from wear splints to take more breaks to stretching exercises to adhering to proper ergonomics techniques.
Employers can develop programs and make sure workplace conditions are ideal to help employees avoid future CTS problems.
It turns out chiropractic care is also often sited as a way to not only help prevent and diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, but can also help reduce pain and increase wrist and hand strength among patients who suffer from CTS.
If you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about developing carpal tunnel syndrome, call Dr. Zach Allison today at 419-991-0713 or stop by our office at 3643 Shawnee Road in Lima, Ohio. At Allison Family Chiropractic we help people combat pain and get back to work every day.
(Sources: WebMD, The Mayo Clinic)
Ready for an eye-opening statistic? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the “most expensive of all work-related injuries,” according to the American Chiropractic Association.
CTS might not necessarily be the first work-related injury that pops in your mind when it comes to “most expensive” but the fact is a person fighting this injury is looking at a $30,000 loss over time from medical bills and time lost from work.
Essentially, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome happens when the nerve that runs from the forearm to the hand, the median nerve, is compressed in the carpal tunnel. This tunnel at the wrist is comprised of bones, nerves, tendons, blood vessels and ligaments. As this tunnel compresses, the individual can experience pain, weakness and even numbness in the hand, wrist and up the forearm.
CTS mostly happens to adults, and women are three times more likely to develop it, according to the ACA, and it normally hits in the dominant hand first with severe pain.
– Burning, tingling, itching, numbness in the palm of the hand, thumb, index and middle fingers.
– Some complain the fingers feel useless.
– The fingers feel swollen despite not looking so.
– The symptoms can first appear while sleeping because wrists are usually flexed during sleep.
– Difficulty forming a fist or grasping objects.
– Wasting of the muscles in the palm/base of the thumb.
– Inability to feel the difference between hot and cold.
How does CTS happen?
Interestingly enough, studies have shown that the most commonly affected individuals aren’t those who type on a computer for many hours a day. Instead, it normally shows up in assembly line workers and those who sew, clean, are in the meatpacking industry or similar occupations.
Also, CTS may develop simply because some individuals have smaller carpal tunnels, making the nerve more likely to be compressed. Other times, a wrist injury that causes swelling, “an overactive pituitary gland, hypothyroidism, diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, mechanical problems in the wrist joint, poor work ergonomics, repeated use of vibrating hand tools and fluid retention during menopause,” can lead to CTS according to the ACA.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome isn’t something that should be ignored, it needs to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. In our next blog article, we will discuss diagnosis, treatment and prevention techniques to help you understand how to combat this debilitating syndrome.
If CTS is something that concerns you, or a friend or family member, contact Dr. Zach Allison today at 419-991-0713. At Allison Family Chiropractic we help people combat pain and get back to work every day. So don’t waste another moment or dollar, stop by our office at 3643 Shawnee Road in Lima, Ohio and start to relieve the pain today.
Numbers can paint a pretty interesting picture. For instance, there are between 25-to-30 million amateur golfers in the United States, and yet statistics show a very low number of them actually see a chiropractor.
Some studies have shown even less than 5 percent of golfers visit chiropractors regularly, and yet statistics also show around 80 percent of all golfers experience back pain.
In fact, often on websites and in articles designed to help golfers, rarely is it pointed out how much proper chiropractic care can help golfers play and feel better. However, most every golfer who does visit a chiropractor not only experiences less pain but regularly reports huge improvements in his or her game.
Check out this article about a study that directly links chiropractic care to improvements on the course.
It makes a lot of sense, when you think about it. Chiropractors understand all the intricacies of the spine and the many joints of the body on the highest level. And golf, perhaps more than any sport, relies on optimal form and body function.
A full swing with less pain
How exactly could chiropractic treatments improve your golf game? Golfers understand how important full mobility in a swing is to making a good, consistent shot.
To do that, and to do it consistently, all the joints in the spine must function properly. When one or more of these joints aren’t doing their job, the others have to work harder. Two things can happen as a result of this: One, errant shots and inconsistent play; and two, pain.
For example: Let’s say the joints in the lower back aren’t firing on all cylinders, that could mean the middle of the back and/or neck must work harder to pick up the slack. This leads to pain in the short run (through the hips, shoulders, neck, lower back) and possibly arthritis and degeneration in the long run.
It also leads to poorer play on the course with slices and hooks as the swing is slightly off one way or another because different parts of the back are working too hard to overcompensate for a weak spot.
Another incredible benefit is the overall impact treatment can have on body function as a whole. Chiropractic care directly improves the nervous system by aligning the spine and helping it perform at optimal capacity. Believe it or not, patients will immediately feel their sinuses, their vision, etc. feel sharper and more awake.
What do you think that extra boost means to your golf game? More precise striking? Better feel for the greens? Not getting tired around the 16th hole?
None of these are ridiculous assertions; in fact Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson along with other professional golfers are huge proponents of chiropractic treatments.
The nature of a single golf swing, which torques the torso and unleashes a violent motion that can strike a ball with 100 mph of force, reveals exactly the pressure the sport puts on your body and the spine.
Having a strong back that can endure the twisting, turning and pulling motions the body endures over and over on a golf course not only will lower scorers but you’ll feel better the next day.
At Allison Family Chiropractic, located near the beautiful Shawnee Country Club no less, we regularly help golfers and all athletes maintain top form with our total body treatments. Call us today at 419-991-0713 for any questions or to make an appointment.
From youth baseball all the way up to the high school and college ranks and Major League Baseball, the spring and summer seasons are highly anticipated by the athletes and fans around who love this sport.
The players will spend many of the upcoming months between the white lines practicing their craft and competing on a daily basis. But it’s a long season, a long, at times, grueling season.
From the torque of a single swing to the stress on a throwing arm to the many pains catchers endure, the very nature of the sport itself can take a toll on the human body.
In order to stay on the field for a long season, and even a long career, baseball players can do a lot of things to help themselves avoid severe injuries. First of all, they should never ignore a serious pain, which might become worse and even result in a career-ended condition.
Second, it’s imperative baseball players understand common injuries and how chiropractic treatment can prevent and care for these injuries.
Some of the more frequent baseball injuries include:
– Shoulder tendinitis is when the rotator cuff or biceps tendons become inflamed. This leads to pain and/or tenderness in the shoulder and results in a player having difficulty keep the arm in a certain position. Pitchers have this problem often because of the regular, overhead throwing motion.
– A torn rotator cuff happens if the tendons and muscles in the arm can’t support, stabilize and allow for the regular shoulder movements. The result is deep aches, less range of motion and even extreme pain, most noticeable in the morning and/or night. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to arthritis and chiropractic care should start immediately.
– Stress fractures normally are found in the shins, hands and feet. They are basically an incomplete fracture from extreme and repeated stress.
– Muscle spasms are common in baseball because the same muscles are used so regularly. The spasms are often described as knots in the back. Chiropractors are known to prevent this from happening or ease the pain associated by improving the biomechanics of the player and their alignment.
– Herniated discs are the result of a disc in the spine bulging or rupturing, pushing on the nerves. Usually, herniated discs happen by repeated or sudden strain on the back. Symptoms include numbness, pain in the legs, inability to straighten the back and weakness in both arms.
So what now?
While “playing through the pain” is admirable, it’s not a good idea. Unfortunately, many athletes who let these conditions go unchecked may have to endure expensive surgeries that keep them out of the game for long periods of time.
However, addressing these pains immediately through chiropractic care can not only prevent many of these injuries, but help athletes once they happen. Chiropractors are skilled at diagnosing problems in the early stages and using specific treatments to restore proper arm, shoulder, neck and back movement.
By addressing these symptoms, athletes don’t have to endure daily pains, are better at the sport and avoid more problems long term. Improving alignment and biomechanics are the best way to combat injuries that often come from repetitive motions required in sports like baseball, golf, tennis, running, etc.
At Allison Family Chiropractic, we work with many competitive and weekend athletes to keep them feeling and playing at their best. Be sure to call us today at 419-991-0713 and let us know how we can help you get more enjoyment out of the spring and summer months ahead.
From mild discomfort to constant, deep pain, anyone familiar with sciatica understands how disruptive this condition can be to his or her daily lives.
Typically, sciatica affects one to 10 percent of the population in the 25 to 45 age range. Normally, treatment can alleviate the pains within three to six months but chronic sciatica can call for more supportive treatments including possible surgery.
But what is sciatica exactly?
The term “sciatica” comes from pain felt along the sciatic nerve, which starts at the lower back and branches down through the hips and each leg. Normally, the pain affects one side of the body.
Sciatica is usually the result of a herniated disk or bone spur on the spine pressures part of the nerve, causing pain, inflammation and even numbness in the leg that is affected.
Descriptions of sciatica vary but normally consist of burning or cramping sensations. And the frequency and severity of the pain can be anything from constant to inconsistent and can be annoying to excruciating pain. Some factors such as sitting for long periods of time or coughing and sneezing can make it worse.
And while sciatica tends to peak in middle age it rarely, if ever, causes permanent damage.
Symptoms include one or more of these:
– Tingling or numbness in the leg or foot.
– Pain down the leg.
– Pain that gets worse when sitting.
– Muscle weakness in the leg or foot.
Causes and Risk Factors
Sciatica usually happens when the nerve becomes pinched, either by a herniated disk in the spine or from bone spurs on the vertebrae. Though it is rare, there are some cases in which a tumor can compress the nerve.
Some of the risk factors include:
– Age: Changes in the spine from age-related growth can cause herniated disks and bone spurs.
– Obesity: Being overweight causes stress on the spine and could cause changes that trigger sciatica.
– Diabetes: Because diabetes affects how your body uses blood sugar, it could increase the risk of nerve damage.
– Sedentary lifestyle: People who sit for hours on end have a higher risk of sciatica than active people do.
Should you see a doctor?
Time and patience normally is enough to get through a mild case of sciatica, but if the pain lasts longer than a week, or gets worse, it’s time to call a doctor.
Also, you should seek immediate care if you get sudden and severe pain in your lower back or leg, numbness or muscle weakness in your leg, pain following a violent injury or you have trouble controlling your bowels.
Sciatica can be very painful and disruptive to those who experience it, but understanding the causes and the severity this condition is to your overall total body health can help you through it if it strikes.
One great way to prevent, treat and ease the pain associated with sciatica is through chiropractic care. Dr. Zachary Allison has a strong record of helping patients improve their health goals and combat pain. For an appointment or to discuss how chiropractic care can help you, call 419-991-0713 or stop by the office at 3643 Shawnee Road, Lima, OH 45806.