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Low Back Pain: Where does it come from?

Our doctors at Chicago based Advanced Spine and Sports Care treat low back pain and other spinal disorders on a daily basis. When it comes to low back pain, there are many different structures that can cause the pain. Differentiating what is causing the pain is important because it guides how the doctor treats the problem. Two of the typical low back pain producers are facet joints and the spinal disc. The facet joints are the joints in the back of the spine that allow for motion and various types of movement. When these joints get misaligned or have restricted motion, there can be an increase in pain due to irritation of the joints and the surrounding nerves.

Pain resulting from a spinal disc can often be different in nature than pain arising from facet joints. The spinal disc is a shock absorber located in-between the vertebrae (bones in your spine). A healthy disc space between the vertebrae also allows for proper spacing for the nerves to exit the spinal cord. There are a few different ways the disc can be involved in causing low back pain. A disc that is degenerating is one that is shrinking in size and losing a good amount of fluid contained within the disc. This is a process that typically takes place over a number of years and is a problem that you may not be aware of until it gets to the point where enough of the space is lost and pressure is applied to the nerve. A second way that the disc can cause pain is a disc bulge or herniation. This is when the outer edges of the disc become injured and can not properly contain the disc material and a bulge is formed. If this bulge or herniation is large enough, pressure can be put on a nerve and a number of symptoms can result from this pressure. Some of the symptoms caused by this pressure are: pain shooting into the buttocks or down into the leg, numbness or tingling in the leg or foot, loss of muscle strength in the leg or foot, and in an emergency situation there can be loss of bowel or bladder function (this would be a hospital emergency).

The doctors in Uptown’s Chicago Spine and Sports Care may treat these two conditions differently and always do a thorough evaluation to find out what joints and nerves are causing the pain and why they are causing the pain. For example, if it is the facet joints causing the pain, there is a good chance that a patient may respond better to traditional chiropractic care. If the patient has a disc bulge or herniation, treating the patient with non-surgical spinal decompression on the DRX 9000 may be beneficial.

Chicago based Advanced Spine and Sports Care is located on the north side of Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood. Uptown is close to both the Lakeview, Andersonville, and Edgewater neighborhoods. For more information or to schedule an initial evaluation for your low back pain, please call 773-649-5531.

3 Things to Look for When Buying New Shoes

Reflecting on 2014

As 2014 nears its end I reflect and think back on a year filled with incredible transition. It was our first full year in the new space in Lakeview, Electronic Health Records and my third employee graduate from my alma mater Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas TX. Nearing the end of the year we had decided to adopt a family to share our love and fortune and I was absolutely overwhelmed by the out pouring of support from all of our patients. I don’t get a chance often enough to share my sincere thanks and gratitude! I have had the most amazing first fifteen years in practice and feel so incredibly fortunate for all of you! May you and your family have a 2015 filled with love, health and happiness!

Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Are All Vegetables the Same?


If you were to get all of your vegetables from conventionally farmed sources, this would be better for your health than eating no fresh vegetables at all. However, conventionally farmed vegetables are not your best choice. Organic vegetables are a much better option. Why?

USDA Organic farmers (and many small, local organic farms working without certification), must use different standards when growing vegetables. These standards include never using:

• Pesticides

• Synthetic Fertilizers

• Sewage sludge

• Genetically modified organisms

• Ionizing radiation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic, and most are damaging to your nervous system as well. In fact, these powerful and dangerous chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as:

• Neurotoxicity

• Disruption of your endocrine system

• Carcinogenicity

• Immune system suppression

• Male infertility and reduced reproductive function

• Miscarriages

• Parkinson’s disease

This information alone should give you pause when considering whether to buy local, organic vegetables or not. But I encourage you to do further research about organic versus conventional farming conditions. We believe that after researching the facts and statistics, you’ll come to the conclusion that organic vegetables are far more nutritious than conventionally farmed vegetables.

National Institute of Health Study

NIH Report Says Spinal Manipulation Unlikely to Cause Stroke


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a report stating that chiropractic care is unlikely to cause stroke as some opponents of chiropractic care have asserted. The report was based on a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics on January 15, 2015.

The NIH report, first published January 15, and updated on March 3, 2015, starts by stating, “An analysis of Medicare claims data from older Americans who sought care for neck pain from chiropractors suggests that cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke.” This newest study adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that shows that chiropractic care is safe and does not increase the risk of stroke. The NIH report further noted, “This is the first population-based study in the United States to examine the risk of stroke after spinal manipulation and the first such study on older adults.”

The study was conducted by researchers from Dartmouth College and the Southern California University of Health Sciences and was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The authors note that this study research plan was reviewed and approved by the Dartmouth College Committee for Protection of Human Subjects.

Researchers reviewed 1.1 million Medicare claims from 2006 through 2008. Cases included in the data were all Medicare patients ages 66 to 99 who had a diagnosis of neck pain and who had visited either a chiropractor or a medical doctor for that condition. The researchers then checked the records to see how many of these patients had suffered a stroke within 7 days or within 30 days of their visit to either provider.

The results of this study showed that the rate of vertebrobasilar stroke, the type of stoke some had tried to suggest was associated with chiropractic adjustments, is extremely rare. The researchers noted that when reviewing the data for all types of strokes, there was no statistical risk shown when comparing Medicare patients who went to medical doctors or chiropractors for the complaint of neck pain.


Osteoarthritis and Chiropractic Care


By 2020, nearly 6.5 million Americans between the ages of 35 and 84 are expected to be diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. More than half of the new cases will appear in people as young as 45 to 64 years, and by 2020 the average age of diagnosis is expected to fall from 72 to 55.1

Why are so many young people suffering from this painful degenerative joint disease, which has historically been associated with wear-and-tear and joint deterioration that occurs over a lifetime? Rising rates of overweight and obesity likely play a role. Arthritis rates are more than twice as high in obese people as those who are normal weight, because the extra weight puts more pressure on your joints, as well as increases inflammation in your body.

This not only leads to osteoarthritis, it can also make joint pain from any cause exponentially worse. Another clue as to why knee osteoarthritis is on the rise? It occurs about twice as often in women as in men. This is partly due to anatomy – women tend to have wider hips, which adds stress to your knees.2 Another contributor, however, is women’s footwear, specifically high-heeled shoes.

Research from Northwestern University School of Medicine found that over 40 percent of men and 56 percent of women with knee osteoarthritis were inactive, which means they did not engage in even one 10-minute period of moderate-to-vigorous activity all week. This is unfortunate because the notion that exercise is detrimental to your joints is a misconception. There is no evidence to support this belief. Instead, the evidence points to exercise having a positive impact on joint tissues. It can also improve bone density and joint function, which can help prevent and alleviate osteoarthritis as you age.

And if you exercise sufficiently to lose weight, or maintain an ideal weight, you can in fact reduce your risk of developing joint pain due to osteoarthritis rather than increase your risk. As Harvard Health Publications stated. “Each pound you lose reduces knee pressure in every step you take. One study found that the risk of developing osteoarthritis dropped 50% with each 11-pound weight loss among younger obese women.”

If older men lost enough weight to shift from an obese classification to just overweight… the researchers estimated knee osteoarthritis would decrease by a fifth. For older women, that shift would cut knee osteoarthritis by a third.”

Did you know that chiropractic can also slow this progression? Keeping movement in the spine increases active and passive range of motion decreasing the onset of early degeneration to include DJD, Disk problems and arthritis.

April is Patient Appreciation Month! If you have a friend or a loved one that you feel could benefit from our Chiropractic care please refer them to our office and mention Patient Appreciation Month. This enables them to receive their first at no charge as a gift from you.

One never knows if Chiropractic can help unless they get checked and find out. Please feel free to use this yourself if you have not been in the office recently! This includes consultation, examination, and any needed x-rays. (This Program Expires April 30th.)

What is Chiropractic?

Story of Chiropractic Care

Like conventional medicine, chiropractic care is based upon scientific principles of diagnosis through testing and empirical observations. The word “chiropractic” comes from the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (action) and literally means “done by hand.” Instead of prescribing drugs or performing surgeries, chiropractors use manual treatments of the spine and joints, exercise therapy, massage, trigger point therapy and lifestyle changes to allow the body’s natural state of health to fully express itself.

Treatment is based upon the practitioner’s rigorous training and clinical experience. Unlike conventional medicine, which focuses on attempting to treat disease once it occurs, chiropractic attempts to improve the health of the individual in an effort to avoid illness in the first place. Most people would rather be healthy and avoid illness if they could. This is one of the main reasons for the big upsurge in the popularity of chiropractic. People are recognizing the benefit of seeking an alternative to traditional medicine; one that will help them achieve and maintain optimal health.

Chiropractors understand that one of the main causes of pain and disease is the misalignment and abnormal motion of the vertebrae in the spinal column called a subluxation. Chiropractic works by removing these subluxations in the spine, thereby relieving pressure and irritation on the nerves, restoring joint mobility, and returning the body back to a state of normal function.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care is one of the most effective treatments for back pain, neck pain, headaches, whiplash, sports injuries and many other types of musculoskeletal problems. It has even been shown to be effective in reducing high blood pressure, decreasing the frequency of childhood ear infections and improving the symptoms of asthma. The chiropractic approach to healthcare is holistic, meaning that it addresses your overall health. It recognizes that many lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet, rest and environment impact your health. For this reason, chiropractors recommend changes in lifestyle’ eating, exercise, and sleeping habits in addition to chiropractic care.

Chiropractic and Pregnancy

Chiropractic tips for Pregnant Women

Be sure to get adjusted regularly. Chiropractic care is important to help maintain a healthy skeletal structure and nervous system function throughout a pregnancy and childbirth.

Do some gentle exercise each day. Walking, swimming, or stationary cycling are relatively safe cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women. Avoid any activities that involve jerking or bouncing movements. Stop exercise immediately if you notice any unusual symptom, such as nausea, dizziness or weakness.

Wear flat shoes with arch supports. Your feet become more susceptible to injury during pregnancy, partially due to a rapidly increasing body weight, but also because the ligaments that support the feet become more lax.

When picking up children, bend from the knees, not the waist. Your low back is much more prone to injury during pregnancy.

When sleeping, lay on your side with a pillow between your knees to take pressure off your lower back. Full-length “body pillows” or “pregnancy wedges” are very popular and can be helpful.

Eat several small meals or snacks every few hours, rather than three large meals per day. This will help alleviate nausea, stabilize blood sugar and allow your body to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the foods that you eat.

Take a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day; 800 micrograms is even better. Folic acid has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of neural tube defects in a developing fetus. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any vitamin or herbal supplement to make sure it’s safe for you and the baby.

Deaths From Prescription Pain Killers Now Outnumber Deaths From HEROIN AND COCAINE COMBINED


Overdose deaths from abuse of prescription painkillers in the U.S. now outnumber deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

Last year drug overdoses caused 36,450 deaths in the U.S. One or more prescription drugs were involved in 20,044 of these deaths, CDC researchers wrote in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Opioid pain relievers, including oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone, were involved in 14,800. In 1999, only about 4,000 people were killed by overdosing on this type of drug, the CDC said.

Death rates among non-Hispanic whites and American Indians were three times higher than rates in blacks and Hispanic whites, and were highest among people ages 35 to 54. People in rural counties were about twice as likely to overdose on prescription painkillers as people in large cities. Sales of the drugs soared along with the death rates, rising fourfold from 1999 to 2015.

In 2014, 4.8% of Americans 12 years or older used opioid pain relievers non medically — that is, without a prescription or purely for the feeling the drug causes. The report calculated that by 2010, “enough opioid pain relievers were sold to medicate every American adult with a typical dose of 5 mg of hydrocodone every four hours one month.” The CDC recommended interventions including tracking prescription patterns, tracking overdoses, and limiting reimbursements to reduce inappropriate prescribing, but cautioned that officials “must strike a balance between reducing misuse and abuse and safeguarding legitimate access to Treatment.”

Chiropractic is an alternative to drugs and allows your body to heal naturally. What Chiropractic does, is that it simply “takes the handcuffs off Nature”, as it were. By finding the particular vertebra that had shifted and restoring it to its natural position, the adjustment thus releases the natural flow of nerve impulse. When the maze of nerves, or Nature’s communication system, supplies the body with the energy it needs for well-being, you have health.

The purpose of chiropractic is to assist Nature where Nature cannot assist itself. This is done either by removing hindrances to transmission of energy, or restoring the channel to its original and normal condition. This restoration is achieved by chiropractic adjustments.

Water and Weight Loss

Water and Weight Loss

So many new food product created today not only contain high amounts of energy from added sugar and fats; they also contain very little water. Foods today need to be stored for longer periods and foods with a high water content tend to spoil much faster, think about milk, yogurt, eggs, fruits and vegetables. It may be great to think that we can stock our cupboards full of all these tasty foods that last for months, trouble is, it means less water consumption from foods.

If a weight loss diet doesn’t allow much food or if food consumption is mainly in the form of processed, TV dinners it may be necessary to drink even more water to help stop strong cravings for food.

For the average person experts suggest getting at least 64 ounces of water daily or eight 8-ounce glasses. If you are on a diet to lose weight it is more important to consume more and keep drinking water throughout the day. A good guide for daily intake is to drink 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight. A 200 pound person should be drinking around 100 ounces (12.5 cups) of water in order the gain the benefits of increased energy and metabolism.

If exercising is part of a weight loss program a bit more water should be included to account for water loss from sweating. Drinking water before, during and after exercise will keep energy levels high and help recovery after training.

Many people don’t like drinking pure water. Gaining water from eating fruit high in water content is a great way to boost water consumption without drinking it directly. Fruit will also help fill up the stomach with low calories and gain tons of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to increase vitality. In fact any food with high water content can boost water consumption, most foods high in water are naturally occurring, healthy foods, another reason to eat a healthy diet!