Tag archives

preventative care

Preventing Back Pain in Adults

If you have been reading this blog, you know by now that back pain is a huge problem in our society. In affects over 80% of people at least once in their lives, and can lead to high costs in terms of diagnostic testing/imaging, treatment, medication, decreased productivity and time off work.

A systematic review was recently done in The Spine Journal to evaluate which methods were best for preventing back pain in adults. They evaluated studies including exercises, advice, back supports and other props, activity modification or social/workplace policy changes.

What they found is that the only intervention that consistently showed good results in preventing the occurrence of back pain was exercise. This reinforces the general tenet that you must get your back in motion for it to be healthier.

A simple, but consistent exercise plan is a vital component to healing existing back problems, and more importantly to stop them from recurring. Exercise, whether general aerobic or specific strengthening/mobilizing should be part of every patient’s plan of manangement.

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

Improve Your Golf Game

Proper spine flexibility and strength is essential to a good golf game. Increasing either of these variables will more than likely lead to longer drives and strokes off your game. That is why most professional golfers know that chiropractic care is a necessity to keep them healthy and give them a competitive edge.

In addition to chiropractic care, a proper warm-up and stretching can ensure you have the best day possible out on the course. I regularly refer patients to the Canadian Chiropractic Association‘s golf stretching pamphlet. These quick and easy exercises will help to prepare your body for the increased forces that occur during your game.

You can download the Golf Stretches pamphlet by clicking on the following link:

Golf Stretches

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

Prevent Hockey Injuries

Most injuries in hockey tend to be traumatic – cuts, bruises, breaks and concussions from collisions with players, equipment or the boards. However for the more casual player, muscle injuries tend to be very common. Most weekend warriors are guilty of not enough strength and conditioning, and improperly warming up/stretching before the game.

The Canadian Chiropractic Association has developed an informative pamphlet to help hockey players stay healthy. Besides giving tips on how to prevent injury through proper equipment, they also lay out some stretches for both before and after the game. These stretches will help to prepare, and help recover, the most commonly injured and stressed muscles with hockey.

You can download the pamphlet by clicking on the following link:

Hockey Stretches

As I usually tell my patients, its way easier to prevent the problem from happening than to fix it once its bad. Take the time to stretch properly before and after your game!

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

How Much Chiropractic Treatment Do I Need?

Each new patient that comes in for a consultation in my Comox Valley Chiropractic office receives a personalized and detailed report of findings. In this report, I explain the patient’s diagnosis in everyday language and what that actually means with respect to their spine or other joints. I explain what I think caused the problem, and why they were so susceptible to the injury. We talk about what the treatment is going to entail and the results I hope to see. I then will go through the various stretches and strengthening exercises that are necessary to address the problem when the patient is out in the world. Finally, I always sit down and discuss my proposed treatment plan and make sure that it sounds reasonable to the patient.

Every chiropractor uses their own education and clinical judgment to determine what a patient will need in terms of treatment. This will vary from person to person based on such characteristics as their age, the nature of their injury (car accident? workplace injury?), their previous history, their response to treatment, how active they are, genetic factors etc. etc. etc. The bottom line is that you can’t determine how much care someone will need until you see them, evaluate them and then see how they respond to an initial course of care.

In my office (and I would like to stress I speak ONLY for myself), I will usually start off with a course of 6 visits over the course of 3 weeks. This plan consists of the initial visit, 4 subsequent visits and then a re-evaluation. Its with this re-evaluation that we can see how much improvement has been achieved, and we can perform all the testing done on the first visit for comparison purposes. At this point, we will have a much better idea of recovery time. If more treatment is needed, the frequency of treatment will usually go down with time (i.e. from twice a week to once a week).

People who come in with simple uncomplicated pain – mild ache in the low back or a crick in the neck – will often be feeling better by the 4th or 5th visit (or sooner!). I usually will schedule the re-evaluation 1-2 weeks later in order to ensure that the problem hasn’t returned and that the home program is working. People who have very chronic complaints, are in great amounts of pain, have been in a car accident or have suffered a workplace injury will take longer. I’ve had people get better in one visit, and people who take 2 years.

I do speak about prevention with most of my patients. Its not something I push on them, I simply educate them on the benefits and its up to them if they want to do it. I would say about 50% of my patients seek preventative care, anywhere from once per month to once per year. The other 50% pop in for a course of visits when they hurt themselves. When you look at each of these groups, the funny thing is that on average I see them both for the same amount of treatment.

I welcome your questions and comments, as I am sure every chiropractor and every person has a different opinion on this subject.

The Top 4 Chiropractic Myths

Day in and day out in my Comox Valley Chiropractic practice, I encounter new patients who confess that they didn’t try a chiropractor sooner due to hearing negative (and misleading) information. I spend a lot of my time explaining the true situations behind they myths they’ve heard. Over the next few weeks, I’ll expand upon my favourite 4 myths that I hear again and again. They are as follows:

  1. Chiropractic is addictive – once you go, you have to keep going back for the rest of your life.
  2. Chiropractors aren’t doctors, they have very little education compared to medical doctors.
  3. There is no evidence to show that chiropractic works.
  4. Chiropractic treatment is dangerous.

I will start with myth #1 – once you go to a chiropractor, you have to go over and over again, and keep going for the rest of your life. This one amuses me for many reasons, not the least is which its a perfect example of why people seem to measure chiropractic with a completely different yardstick than any other health profession.

I like to compare chiropractic to dentistry. Most of us are born with a beautiful and healthy mouth of teeth. Over our lifespan, we are encouraged to go to the dentist twice a year for check-ups, cleanings and the occasional cavity filling. If we are diligent with our prevention, hopefully we will never have to have a tooth pulled or a root canal performed.

Similarly, you are also born with a beautiful and healthy spine. Over our lifetime, our spine will also undergo stress and strain due to our relative inactivity, prolonged sitting and excessive amount of computer work (similar to too much candy and soda for the teeth). Just because you can’t see your spine every day in the mirror, doesn’t mean that stress doesn’t accumulate – just ask someone with bone spurs. Seeing a chiropractor for prevention, or treatment of small episodes of back pain, will help to avoid those major episodes which can lead to more invasive treatment such as surgery.

So, are you addicted to your dentist? What would happen if you didn’t go? You’d either have a horrible set of teeth, or you would be forced to go for major work when the pain became too unbearable. Also, more research is starting to surface between a healthy mouth and a decreased risk of heart disease.

What would happen if you didn’t go to a chiropractor? Your episodes of back pain would probably still resolve, albeit much slower and with more of an effect on your life. Its possible that the simple back strain you didn’t address would just keep coming back over and over, until it ended up becoming a chronic condition.

People don’t become addicted to chiropractic. They simply discover a simple and effective treatment to get rid of their aches and pains quickly, so that they don’t become major events. That being said, in my opinion a good chiropractor will also be providing home stretching and strengthening exercises that will help the patient to maintain as much self-sufficiency as possible. So why do we completely accept regular visits to the dentist, but scream bloody murder when a chiropractor suggests preventative care?

In my next post, I’ll discuss what is considered a normal treatment plan in my office and what I think is reasonable for preventative care. “How long until I get better?” is the most common question I have to answer in my office.