Comox Valley Chiropractor – Tips for your Health

Health tips from your Comox Valley Chiropractor

Preventing Back Pain in Adults October 24, 2009

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

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Exercises For Spine Stabilization July 20, 2009

Over the years, research has clearly shown that exercise and stabilization of the lower back are key to making a full recovery from back pain. Stu McGill, a leader in this field of research has consistently guided our thinking in terms of specific exercises that optimally stabilize the spine, while minimizing the amount of stress and strain on its structures (disc, joint, ligament etc.).

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An article published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation further clarifies our knowledge when it comes to stabilizing exercises for the low back. This study focuses on the three main exercises recommended for back stabilization, and aims to help guide clinicians in determining how to progress patients through these exercises.

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Curl UpCurl Up: This classic curl-up involves keeping one leg straight, one leg bent, both hands under the back and curling the shoulder blades up off the ground. Progressions can involve pre-bracing, adding in arm movements (dead-bugs), and deep breathing during the exercise.

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Side Bridge

Side Bridge: This involves lying on your side with our elbow and knee on the floor, while lifting the hips up off the ground and holding. Progressions can involve using feet instead of knees as lower balance point and moving arm positions.

Bird DogBird Dog: This involves starting on all fours with hips and shoulders at a 90 degree angle. Progressions can involve raising one arm, one leg, opposite arm and leg together, and movements of the limbs while elevated.

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These three simple exercises are easy for clinician’s to prescribe, and can be done safely by a patient with little or no supervision. Its important for us to take the time to teach these exercises properly, so patients can attain the improvements they need with minimal stress on their spine.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

 

Chiropractic Success in Hospitals June 22, 2009

A great article (which can be found here) recently appeared in the Toronto Star talking about academic research and collaborative practice amongst Chiropractic doctors. With new Chiropractic research chairs being added each year (University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, McMaster University to name a few), more and more people are realizing that Chiropractors have a valuable contribution to make to understanding the spine and its problems.

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One such contribution came in the form of a pilot project at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. This program saw chiropractors added as staff to treat patients in a collaborative way with other departments (such as the family medicine department). The project has been a huge success.

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For those of us who see the results of chiropractic care first hand, it makes perfect sense to have chiropractors on staff in a hospital. The few times I’ve been to the ER with a bad sprain or broken finger, I can’t believe how many people I see waiting 8 hours with back pain. Most of those people will simply be given an X-ray, pain medication and discharged in the same state in which they came in.

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I know that if they had come to my office instead, I could have at the very least made them feel better than when they arrived. More importantly, chiropractors are educated in differential diagnosis, which means we can determine when someone should go to the ER instead of being in our office. On two different cases this year I sent someone back to the ER or their family doctor only to find out that the diagnosis was ureter cancer and a tumor of the nerve sheath.

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Including chiropractors in a hospital setting is a great way to ensure patients get quick and effective relief from their pain, and also to save time and money on needless diagnostic tests or harmful medications.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor (soon).

 

Routine X-rays Not Needed March 25, 2009

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Following up on my previous post about the necessity of X-rays, I came across a review of the literature for low back imaging.

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In 1994, the AHPR began recommending against imaging of the low back in the early stages of acute low back pain. This study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between the use of immediate X-rays for the low back and the clinical outcome of the case.

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479 articles were identified and reviewed. The authors found no differences in long term and short term outcomes between those who were X-rayed immediately and those who simply received treatment.

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They concluded that for patients who present with simple uncomplicated low back pain (no red flags present), X-raying their back did not lead to any greater improvements. Since there is no benefit to imaging the back, but there are draw backs (radiation exposure, cost), routine imaging should be avoided.

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Ultimately, every clinician has to rationalize their decisions when it comes to the assessment and treatment of their patients. I will often explain my decision not to X-ray with the fact that the X-ray result will not change my clinical management of their case. We know already from previous studies that many things are seen on X-ray and MRI that don’t have clinical relevance and may actually confuse the issue.

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If you would like to read the original article, it can be found here.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

 

Alexander Technique Can Help February 8, 2009

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As a Comox Valley Chiropractor who’s practice is mainly comprised of back pain, neck pain, headaches and other limb pain, I often hear of people’s adventures with other forms of treatment.  Many of these techniques are “named techniques”, or in other words they are named after the person who invented them. One of the techniques I hear about from time to time is the Alexander technique, and I dind’t give it much thought until this article appeared in the British Medical Journal.

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In this study, 579 patients were randomly assigned into 4 different groups, and each intervention was applied with and without general exercise prescription:

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  1. Normal care from a GP
  2. 6 massage therapy treatments
  3. 6 lessons of Alexander technique
  4. 24 lessons of Alexander technique
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Questionnaires were completed at 3 and 12 months. Overall, there was little improvement in the control group, while at 3 months significant improvements were found in the other 3 intervention groups. The massage benefits did not last through 12 months, while both the  Alexander technique lesson groups maintained their benefits. In fact, the group which received 24 lessons acutally showed a better result at 12 months than at 3 months. When exercise was added to the interventions, it significantly improved the outcome of the 6 lesson group, but not the 24 lesson group.

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This is a very large and well-structured study showing the potential benefits of the Alexander Technique in improving pain and disability levels for chronic back pain patients. Obviously this is just one study, but the fact that this study involved many clinics and many different practitioners gives it more validity. Below you will find a video produced by the BMJ demonstrating the Alexander Technique and describing their research.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

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How Chiropractic Can Help You December 14, 2008

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Chiropractic is a safe and effective form of treatment for neuro-musculoskeletal complaints. Below is a 30-minute video produced by the BC Chiropractic Association detailing how chiropractic can help you. Whether its a workplace injury, motor vehicle accident or chronic headache, discover how your local chiropractor can get you back on the road to recovery.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

 

Daily Chuckle December 5, 2008

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Today's Reality

Today's Reality

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Sigh. So true.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.