SOCC
60 1st St
South Orange, NJ 07079

973-761-0022
60 1st St  |  South Orange, NJ 07079  |  973-761-0022

Wellness Blog

The blog for South Orange Chiropractic Center, South Orange NJ

Don’t Be Fooled by These Treatments for Back Pain

Understand the Implications of the Most Popular Treatments for Back Pain

Published Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Girl With Back PainSometimes, the debilitating back pain that you’re experiencing is so intense that you would do just about anything to make it go away for good. Unfortunately, identifying and addressing the underlying causes of back pain is not always a straightforward task, especially when you decide to take this matter into your own hands. You should always discuss your treatment options with your chiropractor.

Those who, for some reason or another, avoid doctor visits, often end up exploring a combination of less effective, and potentially dangerous, treatments for back pain, including medication and DIY cures. In reality, lack of information leading to misguided decisions can worsen the problem and affect your overall state of health, potentially triggering further complications. Here are a few things that you should know about four of the most common treatments for back pain:

1. Pain Meds. Many people complaining about frequent painful episodes make a habit of taking pain medications. Painkillers merely address the symptoms of a health concern, without actually tackling its cause. Moreover, these pills could lead to a serious addiction problem and affect several other systems or organs, including the stomach and the liver.

An article published by The New York Times reveals that opioid medication used to address the symptoms of chronic pain could be linked to a broad spectrum of side effects, including lethargy, hormone production depression, and sleep apnea. This type of painkiller may also cause a strong psychological dependency, without actually doing a good job at improving the condition they were taken for to begin with.

2. Surgery. Many patients are intimidated by the implications of back surgery, given the potential risks, pain and expenses that this type of procedure may involve. Even so, some consider giving it a try, tempted by the permanent positive changes that a surgical procedure may help them achieve. In fact, recent statistics indicate that out of the 56 million U.S.-based individuals complaining about back pain, only 5% of them actually need surgery. According to the same source, back surgeries can fail to achieve their goal for one simple reason: the surgeon may never actually manage to pinpoint the true source of pain. As a result, the patient may feel the same (or worse) after the surgery and lose his or her hopes for a full recovery. Given its side-effects, long recovery time, and permanent results, surgery should be seen as a last-resort option by patients struggling to overcome the impact of chronic back pain.

3. Braces. Many patients consider the idea of wearing back braces and just taking it easy. As it turns out, this is not the best approach to alleviating back pain. While staying in bed all day and wearing some sort of armor to protect your body may sound like a great plan to you, in reality, an effective pain relief plan is based on a number of factors, including limited bed rest (those who wear braces and stay in bed for hours in a row have a more difficult time with daily operations and experience more pain than the ones who stay active);  correct posture; spinal adjustments performed by a skilled chiropractor; and a moderate, personalized workout designed to strengthen your core. While braces can and should be worn while conducting strenuous activities, they should only be used for less than 15 minutes at a time. By wearing back braces all day, you may actually end up weakening your muscles and reducing your core strength.

4. MRI. Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (MRIs) enable doctors to identify abnormal spinal structures and pinpoint the main causes of back pain. These imaging tests enable specialists to investigate and address anatomical causes of discomfort. A physician can correlate the patient’s symptoms with the results of the MRI to come up with a proper clinical diagnosis. While MRI scans are an effective tool used by healthcare providers to diagnose a wide range of health concerns, they are usually required only when conservative treatment fails to deliver the expected results, and the doctor is contemplating a more aggressive and radical back pain treatment, such as surgery or steroid injections.

Instead of opting for back pain treatments involving potentially dangerous medication or contemplating the idea of going under the knife, you may want to follow a different path to a smoother, risk-free recovery and start exploring the benefits of chiropractic care aiming towards a perfectly aligned mind, body and spirit. Chiropractic sessions target the body as a whole, and can improve your general state of health and wellbeing by boosting your pain-coping capabilities, straightening your spine, and allowing you to battle daily stressors in a more effective manner. 

[VIDEO] Why We Shouldn't Ignore Our Pain

Dr. Levine explains the hidden danger to undiagnosed back, neck and shoulder pain

[VIDEO] Why We Shouldn't Ignore Our Pain
Published Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Video Transcript

That's a good question. A lot of times we hope that the pain goes away, but if the body is giving us a warning signal that something's not right, it's just like the check engine light on your car. That light comes on the dashboard, you hope for it to go away and if it does go away now you're worried.

Why did it come on? Chances are something is not right. Maybe it's a loose wire in the car. Maybe it's a bigger problem. You don't know unless you get it checked out and the pain in the body's the same thing.

If we don't find out what's causing it and listen to the body and its infinite wisdom is telling us something, there might be bigger problems looming. Many times we'll check a patient out, we do our infrared thermal imaging which tells the patient is there a nerve-related problem, or a spinal problem, or not?

The Smallest Changes Can Make The Biggest Impact in Diabetes

One small change you can make today to improve your health

Published Wednesday, 09 November 2016

Chiropractic Nutrition Nuts Prevent DiabetesThere are a lot of extreme diets out there today. Low Carb, Paleo, Low Glycemic, and Perricone…just to name a few. It can be a little overwhelming to consider making any change to your eating habits for fear of following the wrong advice. Also, the extreme nature of these diets does little to motivate those of us that need to make healthy changes. Completely overhauling your entire way of eating is very difficult to maintain for long.

If diet and exercise are on your mind as a way to halt chronic diseases in their track, we have good news for you. Preventing diabetes may be easier than you think!

Replacing just 5 percent of the calories you get from saturated fat (think butter and cheese) or carbohydrates (such as bread, cake, and crackers) with unsaturated fats (such as those found in avocados or nuts) could cut your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 percent and your risk of heart disease by 7 percent. This is according to a recent analysis led by researchers at Cambridge University in England. (They analyzed 102 studies involving 4,220 people.)

Here’s how this might look in real life: if you consume 1,800 calories per day, that means exchanging a slice of white bread or a 1-ounce piece of cheese for a quarter of an avocado or a tablespoon of peanut butter. That’s it!

For information on natural supplements that can help support diabetes and blood sugar, contact our chiropractors today at (973) 761-0022.

The Downside of Managing Pain with Pills

Dr. Levine explains what pain really means

Published Wednesday, 09 November 2016

What Back Pain Really Means

Medication, there's a time and a place for it. There are people that are managing their diabetes. They're managing certain health conditions with medication, and that's fine. Their body has gotten to a point where they need that assistance. But if we're popping pills for pain and we're not really solving the problem, we're treating, potentially, a mechanical problem with chemistry. You're not going to move a bone off a nerve with chemistry. If my finger gets caught in the door, I can take all kinds of drugs to feel better. But doesn't someone have to open that door to free the finger up? It's the same thing in the human body. We are masking the symptoms and not treating the problem. 

Research has shown that a lot of painkillers are actually prolonging that recovery process. That's not chiropractic research; that's medical research. On the same token, that when you feel better artificially, you tend to do more. When the drug wears off, isn't the problem worse? Potentially yes. 

[Video] What is Thermal Imaging?

Drs. Levine and Roczey explain...

[Video] What is Thermal Imaging?
Published Monday, 24 October 2016

Video Transcripts- What is Thermal Imaging?

Imaging is just like a doctor doing a blood pressure cuff on you. You don't know you have high blood pressure until you get checked. Thermal imaging is testing the heat of the nerve and checking for nerve root irritation, which could detect a possible problem before there's even pain.

It's an infrared camera. It's the same technology that police, military, and fire departments use. The technology is sound, it's scientifically accurate, and it's reproducible. We use that as a screening tool or as a baseline assessment for which nerves are hot if the muscles are imbalanced, and by using that, we know if the patient's improving on the inside. Even if they're feeling better, there still could be issues. There's never a cost to talk to the doctors here at South Orange Chiropractic, and there's no cost for the thermal imaging. We believe everyone should have a checkup. We don't know that anyone needs care, but we certainly know that they need a checkup, and that's real important.

Yoga Alone Is Not Enough For Back Pain Relief

Discover the link between Yoga and the best methods to relieve back pain

Published Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Yoga For Back PainThe annoying back pain that keeps rearing its ugly head might have you reaching for the Tylenol or aspirin, or might leave you entertaining thoughts of more radical treatment methods like surgery or injections. Before you let your achy back call all the shots, consider these other approaches to pain relief FIRST. Because the pain you are experiencing is probably more within your control than you may believe.

Why Should You Look for Alternative Treatment Methods for Back Pain?

Given that back pain affects most Americans to some extent, leading to multiple medical visits, it is often overtreated. As a matter of fact, it seems that many American adults get addicted to one or more types of painkillers while trying anything that might reduce their discomfort. Moreover, those who are desperately seeking the best remedy for their lower back pain may also be exposed to a series of side-effects linked to their treatment plan, including the dissatisfying results of ineffective procedures, such as surgery or steroid injections, or stomach ulcers and bleeding caused by common anti-inflammatory medications.

What Works Best When It Comes To Alleviating Back Pain?

If you are a fervent supporter of the Movement Is Medicine system, then you are probably wondering if practicing yoga is enough to help you overcome persistent back pain. In some cases, you may need more than a few yoga lessons to reach your goal; it all depends on what’s causing the pain that is disrupting your balance and daily activities. For example, if your body is misaligned as a result of an injury, yoga may not manage to provide the most effective solution to your problem.

On the other hand, regardless of its underlying causes, back pain can be alleviated through a combination of natural remedies, including quality chiropractic care, stretching via the Egoscue Method, strength training, osteopathic manipulation, better stress management tactics, meditation, massage, and acupuncture. To begin with, you may want to schedule your first appointment with a chiropractor who could help you treat musculoskeletal pain through a series of gentle spinal adjustments. Stretching (especially Egoscue) contributes to a correct skeletal alignment and reestablishes your lost muscular balance, offering you a longer-lasting pain relief. Strength training leads to stronger core muscles, which play an important part in preventing injuries and reducing pain.

Believe it or not, even less conventional options, such as meditation, acupuncture, and massage, can lead to major signs of improvement, as long as they are associated with other key elements, such as chiropractic sessions and a moderate workout. For instance, meditation may act as a potent pain reliever, allowing people to decrease the intensity of their discomfort and gain more control over their mind and body. Through a relaxing massage session, you could release endorphins, stimulating your body to relax and relieve pain. At the end of the day, it is your duty to test all the pain-banishing factors listed above and recreate the combination that works best for your body. 

What are the Back Pain Benefits of Yoga?

A regular Yoga practice ensures better stress management and allows you to achieve a longer-lasting balance between body, mind, and spirit. Yoga enables you to achieve a state of serenity, banish daily problems and concerns, and focus on movements that put your muscles to work in ways that benefit your back. Finding significant pain relief is a complex process that usually involves a trial and error system; however, each yoga session will give you the chance to stay active, boost core muscle strength and increase your flexibility. Quite often, patients that practice yoga at least once a week feel better than the ones who receive physical therapy and medication to improve their physical condition and win the battle with chronic back pain. There are several specific poses that you should master to reduce the discomfort that you’re experiencing, including Bird Dog, Boat, Cow Face Pose and Forearm Plank. All poses will tone several parts of your body, promoting mobility, improving your mood and stimulating you to stay active. For instance, the Cow Face Pose can stretch out your buttocks, hips, upper back and shoulders, letting you work on different key areas to strengthen your body and develop stronger pain coping capabilities. 

Quite often, patients who practice yoga at least once a week feel better than those who utilize physical therapy and medication alone to relieve chronic back pain. A couple of Yoga poses to consider for stretching tight muscles and ligaments as well as for building balanced muscle strength, include: 

  • Bird Dog Pose- starting on your hands and knees (on all fours) extend one arm out straight in front of you, and the opposite leg out straight behind you. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Boat Pose- balancing on your behind, create a 45-degree angle between your upper body and lower body and hold. At first, you may not be able to straighten your legs, and that is ok. 
  • Cow Face Pose- Sitting with legs crossed, one over the other, and arms linked behind the back. 
  • Forearm Plank- In a plank position on the floor, with your arms bent so your weight is resting on your forearms and your toes. 

All poses will tone several parts of your body, promoting mobility, improving your mood and stimulating you to stay active. Yoga, meditation, and regular chiropractic adjustments are a powerful combination for not only reducing the debilitating effects of chronic pain in the back but also for promoting flexibility and strength. This approach goes beyond just eliminating pain, to promoting an overall state of health and wellbeing. 

Lower Back Pain Relief With Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Natural Methods of Healing Chronic Low Back Pain Once and For All

Published Monday, 10 October 2016

lower back pain and stressThere is a vicious cycle the exists when it comes to chronic low-back pain. The pain cycle may begin with an acute injury from a car accident or with a movement in the wrong direction, but often the cycle continues because of habit. The tension created as a result of the initial injury and pain creates a habit of tensing up muscles and modifying movement because of the fear of the pain. This chronic stress and tension keeps the back pain from truly improving and it can keep you in the pain cycle. 

We've known for a long time that our patients improve when they combine overall wellness practices, like nutrition and meditation, with their chiropractic adjustments. A recent study from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington clinically proves the physical benefit of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the level of pain experienced by chronic low-back pain sufferers. In this study, adults with chronic low-back pain showed significant improvement after eight weekly two-hour sessions of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a program that combines meditation with simple yoga poses, a new study found. Participants also practiced MBSR at home. 

After six months, 60% of those who did MBSR reported less pain and could more easily perform activities such as walking, climbing stairs and standing for long periods--a better result than those who treated their chronic low-back pain with medication and/or physical therapy.

If you think you might be caught in a stress-pain cycle, reach out to us at (973) 761-0022 to set up an appointment for a complimentary health assessment. Together we can find a path to wellness and pain relief that works for you.

Reference: Daniel Cherkin, PhD, senior investigator, Group Health Research Institute, Seattle.

Harmless Energy Drinks?

Think again...don't let this become a habit.

Published Thursday, 06 October 2016

Natural Energy Boosting Drinks Are Out ThereIn today’s go, go, go society, it is not uncommon to hear people complaining about not having enough energy or wishing they had more energy to tackle their day. Reaching for caffeine in the form of a highly concentrated energy drink like 5-Hour Energy or Red Bull is one way some have resorted to for increased levels of mental and physical energy. Recent studies have pointed to the dangers and risks of supplementing your energy with highly caffeinated drinks.

A study from Sean Nordt, MD from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles states that energy drinks may even be deadly. Large amounts of the caffeine-containing beverages, especially if drunk in rapid succession, may cause anxiety, chest pain, gastro-intestinal upset, insomnia, palpitations, seizures and other problems. 

At greatest risk: People with seizure disorders or atrial fibrillation, a heart arrhythmia.

Did you know that energy drinks and sports drinks can also damage teeth? Beverages such as Red Bull and Gatorade are highly acidic—they can erode tooth enamel and the underlying dentin.

Here's a self-defense: Rinse your mouth with water after drinking any of these beverages…do not brush for at least an hour—brushing can make the damage worse.

For all natural energy booster drinks and other ways to naturally boost your energy, contact our doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center! As always our health evaluation is complimentary.

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