People whose mama told them to keep their back straight often develop a “flatback”. In this condition, the shoulder is behind the hips. Women who have flatback may also think they are fat whereas they may be as skinny as a rail. This is because when their shoulder is behind the hip the abdomen is pushed forward where it is visible to the eye. These women (men too) think that if they can see their abdomen that they are fat.
However, sustained flatback can result in unremitting low back pain as the angled posture presses and inflames the sciatic nerve that exits in the low back. Furthermore, this angled posture can collapses the intervertebral disks causing permanent damage and more pain. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men (drugs, therapy, or surgery) provide temporary relief at best. The only true therapy is correcting the posture.
Your mama told you to straighten your back. She did not tell you how. That’s my job.
Baby Steps was the name of the book the Richard Dreyfuss character wrote in the very funny movie “What about Bob”. It was supposed to help people overcome their psychological problems. However, I see “baby steps” or short steps as a major cause or contributor to severe sciatic pain. People who take short, stiff legged steps generate shock waves which travel up the leg to the back every time they hit the pavement. This severe trauma to the sciatic nerve splints the muscles along the sciatic nerve causing severe pain. Medical treatment including drugs (Percocet and the like) and injections to the spine mask the pain for a short time but does not provide long lasting relief.
Sometimes the pain is so great that the patient cannot move normally so that a proper evaluation cannot be made. In this situation, one or two treatments of acupuncture and massage can alleviate the pain to the point where the patient can move well enough so that an evaluation can be made. In many cases, there are multiple causes for the pain and there may be pain in other areas of the leg besides the lower back, hip area and upper leg. Both a postural and gait analysis must be undertaken to evaluate the causes of pain. If there are no clear postural or gait anomalies then a referral should be made for an MRI or a CAT scan to determine if there are any organic or histopathologic issues involved.
In complex cases, the method of discovery requires testing and eliminating causes of the symptoms one by one. This method is frustrating to the patient and the therapist as it takes time while the patient is in pain. However, acupuncture and massage do provide significant pain relief while testing is underway.
I would like to point out that “bulging” discs or other disc anomalies in the spine are not in themselves a cause of pain. Many people have disc issues and have no pain whatsoever.
If you or someone you know has sciatic pain then come in for an evaluation of your symptoms. Call 718 258 1829 for an appointment.
Wisdom Tooth Pain: A fellow martial arts student could not concentrate in class because of wisdom tooth pain. A five second application of finger pressure to the tooth anesthesia point relieved his pain sufficiently so that he was able to continue with much reduced pain.
While the Tai Chi may look easy and is a low impact exercise that does not mean that you can learn it in a couple of classes. Tai Chi involves a way of moving that is quite different than the way it was learned a child growing up. It is a new way of walking. It is a skillful method of movement. That is why it takes a while to absorb and requires a commitment of time and energy. However, as my teacher says, you pay for the lessons but the practice is free!
I had a great time at the fair. A big Thank You to Michele Dobbelaere L.Ac. who carried a big part of the load and did many ear treatments for four straight hours! I got to do some baby colic treatments which I had not done in years but which was very helpful to the children and, of course, is lots of fun to do.
One woman was amazed at how a minute of acupressure relieved her sinus pressure. She thought it was magic.
We informed people of acupuncture and massage treatments; discussed the benefits of tai chi exercise and distributed lots of literature.
How likely is your “scientific” medical treatment going to be effective? Less than 40%. Just how “scientific” is it? Scary thoughts on this subject in the linked article. Nevertheless, you still need to see your doctor on a regular basis. I do.
Stilettos… A Pain In The????
By Erik Dalton, Ph.D.
The biomechanical effect of heels in everything from running shoes to stilettos has puzzled researchers and fired controversy for almost a century. In a highly functioning body, the neuro-myo-skeletal system ‘hangs’ in dynamic equilibrium, each part balancing the other. But when a woman wears high heels, a new dynamic equilibrium occurs (Fig 1) If one body part becomes ‘fixed,’ the whole system must compensate with altered movement patterns resulting in kinetic chain ‘kinks.’ Here’s an interesting experiment that’ll help you get a feel for biomechanical adjustments high-heel wearers deal with every day:
• Stand barefoot with the back against a wall. Observe how your ‘upright’ body column forms a perpendicular line (ninety degree angle) with the floor (Fig 2A).
• Slide a two inch wedge of some kind (phone book, etc.) under both heels and notice that by keeping your body column rigid, you’re forced to tilt forward from ninety to about seventy degrees (Fig 2B).
• Now replace with a three inch heel wedge and straighten up so you’re touching the wall again and feel the dramatic myo-skeletal adaptations that take place. Can you feel your ankles shift from dorsi to plantar-flexion? In this standing posture, the knees are buckled, hips flexed, low back swayed, and the shoulder girdle retracted (Fig 2C). (more…)
Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Health
on April 14th, 2011
Matzoh, Wine, Marror, Lettuce, Potatoes, Eggs, Meat, Mass Quantities. These rapid and large changes to our diet wreck havoc with our digestive systems. My suggestion to myself and all others is to drink lots and lots of water, especially in the morning and preferably shortly after awakening. Drink several cups of water before breakfast, at least two cups. Four cups is better. Never drink cold water. I like to mix boiling water and either tap or spring water.
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- Tai chi can reduce pain, stiffness and fatigue. (Eric O’Connell, Getty Images)
Don’t let arthritis slow you down
Adopting a few lifestyle changes can slow, or stop, joint damage.
THE DOCTORS • January 9, 2011
For the first time in 40 years, the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is on the rise, researchers at the Mayo Clinic say. An estimated 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with it. RA is a form of arthritis that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the membrane lining your joints (often in the hands, wrists and feet), causing pain, swelling and stiffness. No one really knows what causes RA or how to cure it. Most people with the disease take a combination of medications. But just as pivotal in the treatment of RA are lifestyle changes you can make to also help reduce pain and slow, or even stop, joint damage. Here are a few simple strategies (some of which may surprise you):
Do 20 minutes of cardio daily. It may be last on your priority list when your joints hurt, but it’s actually one of the best things you can do to preserve mobility. A new study published in Arthritis Care & Research shows that with a little aerobic exercise every day, you’ll reduce pain, move more and live better. Just keep the pace moderate, take breaks when you need it, and stop if you feel any new joint pain. Walking, water aerobics and even biking are good choices.
Cut calories. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that up to 30% of overweight and obese Americans have arthritis. Extra weight puts extra strain on joints, which puts you in extra pain. Though some research suggests consuming fish oils may reduce joint inflammation, it’s most important to focus your diet on a healthy mix of fruits, vegetables, protein and calcium — and count calories to keep the scale in check.
Try tai chi. This ancient Chinese form of meditative therapy reduces pain, stiffness and fatigue, and it improves balance in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, according to preliminary research presented at this year’s American College of Rheumatology annual meeting. Tai chi combines slow, gentle movements and stretches with deep breathing and relaxation to build strength and flexibility. To find a class, contact your local YMCA, health club or senior center.
Reconnect with your spouse. You’ll feel less pain and enjoy a better quality of life if you’re in a happy marriage, according to new research. Previous studies have found that married people with RA show less disability than unmarried patients. But the new study showed the strength of the relationship actually makes the difference. Researchers talked to 255 adults with RA, and found that those in supportive marriages had less physical and psychological disability. For those in distressed relationships, study authors suggest improving communication and coping skills through couples therapy might boost health for the RA patient.
From USA Today Weekend Jan 9, 2011.
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