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Why Gait Analysis Is Important With Chiropractic Care

The way a person walks, their gait, can be very telling. It can reveal problems in the feet, ankles, knees, and hips – even in spinal alignment. A problem with gait can indicate pain in a patient as well as serious conditions like diabetes and arthritis. It is a diagnostic tool for many conditions, injuries, and syndromes including autism. When it comes to chiropractic care, a patient’s gait can offer very important clues regarding the root of their complaints, allowing for a more well-rounded, whole body approach to treatment. If you think that the way you walk or moves doesn’t really matter, think again. It most certainly does matter.

What is Gait Analysis?

Gait analysis is a set of tests that are designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of a person’s gait. It is a systematic study of human motion that involves observation as well as the use of instruments that measure body movements, muscle activity, and body mechanics.

It is intended to be used as an assessment tool and provide insight into devising a treatment plan for people who have conditions or injuries that affect their ability to walk. It is often used in sports biomechanics to aid athletes in more efficient movement and to identify problems with movement or posture, particularly those with injuries.

During the analysis, the patient may walk in a prescribed pattern or on a treadmill, that is often connected to a computer, while the chiropractor observes them from various angles. Often cameras are used, places at various points in order to capture different views including the anterior, posterior, and sides.

The patient may have markers applied to certain points on the body such as the knee, ankle, pelvis, and other areas. As they move, the computer captures specific data of the movement, providing a three-dimensional calculation of each marker. It them applies a model to assess the movement of the skeletal structure, resulting in a detailed analysis of each joint’s movement.

Factors that Affect Gait Analysis

There are certain factors that affect a person’s gait and that information must be included in order for the gait analysis to be accurate. The gender, age, height, and weight of the person is vital because men and women move differently and as a person ages their structure changes.

Excess weight or they physique can affect a person’s posture and their gait. The individual’s shoes (or lack of shoes) is important, as is their clothing, the terrain they are walking on, and anything they may normally carry, such as a purse. Other factors include:

  • Physiological factors such as body proportion
  • Psychological factors such as their state of mind, emotions, stress level, and personality type
  • Pathological factors such as neurological diseases, psychiatric disorders, trauma, and musculoskeletal anomalies

It will also measure and factor into the analysis data that includes the patient’s:

  • Length of stride
  • Cadence
  • Hip angle
  • Foot angle
  • Step length
  • Walking or movement speed
  • Other areas as needed

Advantages of a Gait Analysis

Getting a gait analysis can be very advantageous because it can provide invaluable insight into how your body is aligned and how it moves. It is a great diagnostic tool for identifying health issues related to the gait, spine, and feet and can also help provide early detection of health issues prior to the onset of symptoms.

If your chiropractor recommends that you get a gait analysis it could be that he or she suspects that something is going on, or it could simply mean that they want to more thoroughly examine you to provide optimal care. If you have any concerns, you should sit down with your chiropractor and ask them any questions that you have prior to undergoing the analysis. Stress and anxiety can put tension on the muscles and body, affecting the results.

How Chiropractic Helps Those That Suffer From Acromioclavicular Pain

When most people think of chiropractors, the first thing that comes to mind is back pain. However, chiropractic care can be used to treat a variety of conditions from joint pain to migraines. When a patient comes in with complaints of pain in the shoulder and restricted motion in the joint, one possible diagnosis may be acromicioclavicular (AC) joint injury. While it is often an injury that is common among athletes, it can happen to anyone. Fortunately, chiropractic is a very effective treatment.

What is an acromioclavicular joint injury?

There are two bones, the clavicle and acromion, that make up the AC joint. Four ligaments hold the joint together. When those ligaments are strained to stressed, it results in an AC joint injury, often causing at least some joint separation. AC injuries fall into one of two categories: overuse and traumatic.

Overuse injury occurs over a period of time and is caused by excessive stress on the joint that is repeated or consistent. This causes damage to the cartilage and can lead to AC joint arthritis.

Traumatic injury occurs when the damaged ligaments cause a disruption of the joint called a shoulder separation. This is different from a shoulder dislocation which involves the actual ball and socket shoulder joint.

What causes acromioclavicular joint injury?

The cause of an AC joint injury depends on the type of injury.

Overuse AC joint injuries is caused by overuse and is commonly seen in people who perform tasks that involve lifting heavy weight (including military or bench presses) or that perform physical labor that involves often stretching their arms over their heads.

Traumatic AC joint injuries are often caused by a fall. The person may fall and land on their shoulder or fall on their hand then they put it out to brace their fall. It is often seen in cyclists who are involved in crashes, football players when they are tackles, or a laborer who falls from a high place, such as a ladder. These injuries are graded from mild to severe, depending on how much the separation there is in the joint.

What are the symptoms of acromioclavicular joint pain?

A patient with AC joint pain may experience the following symptoms:

  • A bump that sits above the shoulder and is easily visible
  • A catching sensation or popping sound when the shoulder moves
  • Pain and swelling in the shoulder
  • Loss of range of motion of the shoulder
  • Loss or decrease in shoulder strength
  • Tenderness and swelling over the AC joint
  • Pain when lying on the affected side
  • Discomfort and pain in the shoulder when performing activities that place stress on the AC joint, including:
    • Carrying heavy objects at the side
    • Reaching across the body
    • Lifting objects overhead

What are the treatments for acromioclavicular joint pain?

Mild cases of traumatic AC joint injuries are often treated with physical therapy and chiropractic. Ice, rest, and immobilization can also be used to manage the pain.

Overuse AC joint injuries can also be treated with immobilization and ice as well as physical therapy and chiropractic. More severe cases may require surgery. Doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants, pain medication, or NSAIDs to help manage the pain.

Is chiropractic for acromioclavicular joint pain effective?

Chiropractic has been proven to be very effective for AC joint pain. The chiropractor performs what is called an AC adjustment which involves manipulation of the shoulder.

While it can be a little uncomfortable for the patient, it is one of the best ways to quickly decrease the pain. After the procedure, the chiropractor may recommend icing the area to minimize or prevent swelling and pain. Regular chiropractic care can ensure continued mobility and continued decrease in pain.

What Chiropractic Patients Want To Know About Herniated Discs

The spine is a very intricate structure and when one component fails to function properly it can affect the entire body, causing pain and loss of mobility. Tiny bones, called vertebrae, are stacked on each other to form the spine. They are joined in such a way to facilitate movement, flexibility, and a wide range of motion. There are small, fluid-filled discs that rest between each vertebra, providing a cushion between the bones. When one of these discs becomes damaged it can affect the surrounding nerves, causing pain and making movement difficult. A herniated disc is one of the most common spinal disc issues.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is a common spinal condition that typically affects the cervical spine (neck region) or the lumbar spine (lower back), although it can occur in any part of the spine. Most often, a herniated disc occurs at the L4 – L5 and at the L5 – S1.  This is because this portion of the spine, the lumbar region, bears the bulk of the body’s weight.

It is often referred to as a ruptured disc or slipped disc and occurs when the disc moves or slips out of place. It can also be the result of a disc that has a small tear and is leaking the jelly-like substance that is inside. This can put pressure on the surrounding nerves, causing pain and discomfort.

What are the Progression and Symptoms of Herniated Disc?

There are four stages of a disc herniation:

  1. Disc protrusion
  2. Prolapsed disc
  3. Disc extrusion
  4. Sequestered disc

The first two stages are called incomplete herniations while the last two stages are called complete herniations.

Symptoms of a herniated disc may increase or worsen as the condition progresses although some patients do not experience any at all Typical symptoms include:

  • Pain in the affected area
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Leg or arm pain
  • Loss of reflex
  • Loss of mobility
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Decreased range of motion

What Causes Herniated Discs?

A herniated disc can have several causes. The most common are aging and degeneration, overuse, and normal wear and tear on the body.

A herniated disc resulting from an injury or trauma, such as a blow to the back, is less common, but it does happen. Because the back does bear most of the body’s weight, it can put a significant amount of pressure on the spine and discs. Over time, the discs may begin to weaken and a herniation can occur.

Injury or trauma that results in a herniation may include a car accident that involves sudden jerking, or incorrectly lifting heaving objects can put excessive pressure on the spine, causing it to herniate.

How is a Herniated Disc Diagnosed?

A physical examination is usually the first step in diagnosing a herniated disc. The physician or chiropractor will examine the spine while the patient is standing, then while they are lying down. Depending on the severity and location of the herniation, they may note a decrease in spinal curvature.

Radicular pain will also be assessed, when the spine is unmoving, while in motion, and when pressure is applied. Other tests may also be administered. X-rays may also be taken, but an MRI is usually more accurate and provides greater detail.

What are the Treatments for Herniated Discs?

Medications may be recommended or prescribed, including NSAIDs, narcotics, muscle relaxers, and anticonvulsants. Some doctors may advise cortisone injections to reduce inflammation. Physical therapy may be recommended as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunctions with other treatments. Surgery for herniated discs is rare and usually reserved for a last resort option.

Chiropractic has been very effective in helping patients manage their pain and regain their mobility so they can return to their normal life. Therefore, it should be your first option for treatment before you go down the road with drugs or surgery.

Chiropractors in our office have experience managing cases of herniated discs. Check out our website @ www.ocwc.ca or gove us a call @ 780-455-2112.

How Chiropractic Helps Alleviate Back Pain In Pregnant Woman

Pregnancy is an exciting time. As you prepare for your baby to arrive you may get caught up in the excitement. At first you may not notice the twinges of pain now and then as your body goes through the incredible changes of pregnancy. However, the further along you get, the harder it is to ignore that nagging lower back pain. That pain can make you tired and make it hard to take care of the things you need to handle to get ready for the big day. Chiropractic can help relieve that pain and increase your mobility. It can make all the difference and help ensure that this very special time is pain free.

What causes lower back pain in pregnancy?

It is believed that between 50 and 70 percent of pregnant women get lower back pain. There are several reasons why a woman may experience back pain. As the woman’s girth increases, her weight is thrust toward the front. This can pull her spine forward, putting additional stress on the spine. The more weight she gains, the more her center of gravity is thrust forward and the more her spine is pulled out of alignment.

Hormones can also play a significant part in the pain. One of the many changes that occur in a pregnant woman’s body is an increase in the production of a hormone called Relaxin. The job of this hormone is to “relax” the ligaments or soften them. This allows the pelvis to spread so that the baby can be born. However, while the body is making these positive and necessary preparations, it can also allow bones to shift or move in directions that they shouldn’t. The result is an impingement or compression on the nerves exiting the spinal canal, causing the tissues in the area to become irritated and inflamed.

Another effect of the increased production of relaxin is that it can lead to intrauterine constraint. This condition causes the pelvic bones to become misaligned which obstructs the baby’s natural movement in utero while it develops. This can keep the baby from moving into the birthing position with the head down. As the bones move out of their natural place, it can stress, pull, and twist the attached ligaments. The baby doesn’t have as much space as it should so it can’t move like a normal fetus can. This can also cause breech births. Stress, poor posture, and overexertion can also cause pregnancy back pain.

Why is pregnancy low back pain so difficult to treat and what treatments are available?

Medications given to the mother will cross over the placenta delivering a dose of the medication to the baby. Because of this, pain medications are generally off limits for pregnant women. In order to protect the baby, natural pain control is preferred. This makes chiropractic a preferred treatment for pregnancy low back pain. The chiropractor may perform a spinal subluxation to bring the spine back into alignment and the body back onto balance.

He or she may also make some recommendations to help the woman manage her pain on her own, including improving her posture, stretching, and special exercises. Other recommendations may include:

  • Not wearing high heels. They put strain on the back when a woman isn’t pregnant. On a pregnant body, the strain is even worse.
  • Avoid bending over to pick up things, but instead, squat – or ask for help.
  • Sleeping on the left side and use pillows under the belly to support it as well as a pillow between her legs.
  • Rest, lots of rest and elevating her feet.

Regular chiropractic care and following the doctor’s instructions can help greatly decrease low back pain for the mom to be so that she can better enjoy the excitement and joy of her pregnancy. Chiropractors in our office have helped many women fell comfortable during their pregancies. You can check out our clinic @ www.ocwc.ca. To book an appointment, give us a call @ 780-455-2112 to get started.

Why This 7-Minute Workout Is So Beneficial

Doctors are always telling us to exercise, exercise, exercise but they don’t really give us many realistic options. Going to the gym is a pain, especially if you are short on time. Exercising at home can be a real pain too. You might be limited for space or tripping over kids – and although no one really talks about it, do you really want your significant other watching you sweat and gasp for air as you struggle through one of those insane workout DVDs? They say walking is good, but if you are in a neighborhood that doesn’t have sidewalks or it is hot as blue blazes outside just how likely are you to get up and do it (not to mention safety can be an issue)? Now suppose you could get all your exercising done in a 7-minute span. Would you do it? Is it even possible?

The answer is most definitely!

7 minutes 12 moves

An article published in the Health & Fitness Journal for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) takes everything we’ve learned about exercise and turns it upside down. Just 12 exercises in 7 minutes is all it takes to get fit, according to these fitness experts.

Nowhere are there heavy weights or fancy equipment, just a wall, a chair, and the person’s own body weight. Say hello to high intensity interval training- it’s about to change your world!

This 7-minute workout is the equivalent of a serious weight training session and long run, but without the weights or the running. That isn’t to say it is easy though. It requires a great deal of effort.

There’s a lot packed into those 7 minutes. It provides many of the benefits that are achieved by disciplined, long term endurance training, it just skips over the long-term part.

Make no mistake though, short does not mean it is easy – or pleasant. In fact, it may be one of the longer 7 minutes of your life.

The good news is, it’s over in 7 minutes. That’s a little more than 5 but less than 10.

It’s worth it though, when you look at the numerous health benefits that exercise provides. Plus, it’s great for people who are super busy and can’t seem to squeeze a workout into their schedules. Say hello to no more excuses!

The Science Behind the 7

These 12 exercises were not chosen at random. The reason it works is actually rooted in some pretty deep science. When you exercise for even a few minutes and are working at or near your maximum capacity (that means you are working very hard), it causes your muscles to experience molecular changes that are much like those that occur after several hours of riding a bike or running.

Interval training takes it a step farther. You engage in an activity that is extremely intense, then you have a brief recovery period, then back to a high intensity activity. That is the basis of this workout.

Each exercise should be done for about 30 seconds with a 10 second recovery period – but there’s a twist that ups the effectiveness even more. The exercises are arranged so that they engage the large muscles in the upper body, then in the lower body.

This alternating focus on muscle groups is important because while the lower body is working like crazy, the upper body can be catching its breath, so to speak. This makes for a much more efficient workout but it is also why the order of the exercises is critical.

The exercises are intense, but are movements that just about anyone can do. Many can also be adapted for people at different fitness levels. If you are looking for a great workout that will work for you but won’t eat up a lot of your time, you just might have found it.

Why Chiropractic Is A Better Choice Over Drugs & Surgery

Say you have neck or back pain. How will you treat it? Many people will go to a medical doctor who will look at the symptoms, such as pain, and treat it with prescription or over the counter medications. In some cases, they may recommend surgery to manage the pain or correct the problem.

However, an increasing number of people are foregoing the medical doctor and opting for chiropractic care for pain management – and often with very good results. So, what is it about chiropractic that people feel makes it a better choice than drugs or surgery for their pain or mobility issues? There is more to the answer than you may realize.

Drug Therapy

When it comes to certain types of pain, particularly neck pain, medication is not the best way to manage it. Studies show that patients who opted to undergo chiropractic treatments and exercise regularly were more than twice as likely to significantly reduce their pain or even eliminate it completely than those who choose to take medication.

Aside from efficacy though, many medications have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Even over the counter medications can cause problems.

For instance, acetaminophen has been linked to serious health issues like pancreatitis and impaired liver function. NSAIDs like ibuprofen can upset the stomach and can cause rebound headaches in migraine patients (studies show that chiropractic is extremely effective in preventing migraines).

Prescription drugs can be highly addictive and lead to overdose. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared opioid addiction and overdose in the United States to be an epidemic. They have set forth guidelines for doctors who prescribe opioids for chronic pain, but the epidemic continues.

Surgery

Any treatment that can help a patient avoid an invasive surgery is an optimal alternative and chiropractic care provides that. One study shows that patients who saw a medical doctor as their first treatment option when dealing with back pain were more likely to have surgery than patients who say a chiropractor first.

Almost 43% of the medical patients eventually underwent surgery while only 1.5% of chiropractic patients had surgery. This means that if you are a medical patient trying to resolve your back pain you are 28 times more likely to eventually have surgery for it than you would if you went to a chiropractor.

Aside from the obvious invasiveness of the procedure as well as recovery time and probable physical therapy that would be required as part of your after care, there are many other downsides. The time and money required for the surgery, pre-surgery appointments, post-surgery appoints, recovery, and therapy can be significant.

However, a major concern in hospital settings is the risk of C-diff (clostridium difficile). C-diff are bacteria that can cause C. diff colitis, an inflammation of the colon or large intestine that can make you very sick. It can be passed from person to person but can also occur in people who take antibiotics – which are often given when a person undergoes surgery.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care gets to the cause of the problem instead of treating the symptoms like most medical doctors. The whole-body approach also empowers patients to make lifestyle adjustments that aid in their care and healing. It allows them to take ownership of their own health and pain management so that they feel more in control.

Chiropractors take a natural, holistic approach to pain management by bringing the body back into alignment if necessary and recommending exercises. They may also recommend other activities to help patients regain their normal range of motion and flexibility . This can relieve not only the pain symptoms, but often correcting the problem that is causing the pain.

Call (780)455-2112 to schedule your chiropractic assessment with one of our wellness chiropractic doctors! Visit www.ocwc.ca to learn more about our clinic and practitioners.

3 Stretches Chiropractic Patients Can Do For Neck Pain

Stretching is often an outstanding complement to chiropractic care. Blood flow to the muscles is increased and it helps lower the risk of injury and improves physical performance. More importantly, stretching is good for the joints, helping them function through their full range of motion.

Additionally, some studies show that muscles work and move more effectively when they are stretched regularly. These benefits of stretching make it a great practice to incorporate into your daily routine, especially between chiropractic treatments.

The muscles all along the spine respond well to stretching. However, sometimes it is difficult to manipulate specific muscle groups and get an effective stretch.

The cervical spine is a prime example. Although the neck turns in so many ways, finding positions that provide an effective stretch are surprisingly difficult.

These three stretches effectively work the muscles through the neck and shoulders, and are simple enough to do at home whether you are between chiropractic appointments or if you wake up with a crick in your neck.

Before You Stretch

If you are under a chiropractor’s care, you should check with him or her before you start a stretching program. This is especially important if you have a neck injury or have a spinal condition that causes deterioration or pain.

When you begin stretching, you may feel a little discomfort, but it is important to note that it should never cause pain or worsen it. If this occurs, or if it just doesn’t feel “right,” you should stop immediately and call your chiropractor.

Neck and Trap Stretch

If standing: Stand up straight with your pelvis slightly tucked (not swayback), feet shoulder’s width apart, knees soft.

If sitting: Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.

1. Drop your shoulders and roll them slightly back. Let your arms hang down.

2. Reach behind your back and, with your left hand, grasp your right wrist. If you can’t reach to grasp your wrist, grab your fingers. If you can’t reach your fingers, sit in a straight back chair and put your right arm as far behind you as you can and slide your right hand under your right buttock to provide stability.

3. If clasping your hands behind you, gently pull your arm behind you to the left. If unable to reach behind you, drop your right shoulder.

4. At the same time, tilt your head to the left, bringing your ear to your shoulder but don’t raise your left shoulder. You will feel the stretch all along the right muscles of the neck.

5. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

6. Do the same movement for the left side.

7. Repeat the full move 3 to 5 times.

Gentle Neck Extension

If standing: Stand up straight with your pelvis slightly tucked (not swayback), feet shoulder’s width apart, knees soft, hands relaxed and at your sides.

If sitting: Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, hands relaxed and at your sides.

If lying down: Lie flat on the floor. If necessary, put a pillow under your knees to take pressure off of the lower back. Stretch your arms down by your side.

1. Push your shoulders down towards your feet.

2. Tuck your chin to your chest but don’t let your shoulders lift.

3. Slowly raise your chin, feeling the stretch along the front of your neck. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.

4. Return your head to its normal, upright position for 30 seconds. Repeat the entire movement 5 to 7 times.

Stretch for Traps

If standing: Stand up straight with your pelvis slightly tucked (not swayback), feet shoulder’s width apart, knees soft, hands relaxed and at your sides.

If sitting: Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, hands relaxed and at your sides.

If lying down: Lie flat on the floor. If necessary, put a pillow under your knees to take pressure off of the lower back. Stretch your arms down by your side.

1. Start with your head in the normal, upright position.

2. Bend your neck to the right side, moving your ear towards your shoulder.

3. Raise your left hand to your head and apply gentle pressure to facilitate the stretch while drawing up your left shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds.

4. Return to your starting position.

5. Repeat the same movement on the right side.

6. Do 3 to 5 sets.

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Driving

3 Tips To Alleviate Back Pain While Driving

When you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, whether you are going on a long trip or your job requires you to drive around town all day, it can be a real pain – in the back. Many car seats may be comfortable for short jaunts, but they are not built to support the back on the long hauls. However, there are some things that you can do to offset a non-back friendly seat design and alleviate, or even prevent, back pain while driving.

Create a Comfortable Space

Before you settle in behind the wheel, you want to make sure that you are comfortable. Keeping things like your wallet and cellphone in your pocket may be convenient when you are moving about, but can be an irritant when you are basically sitting on them mile after mile. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Any type of discomfort can put stress on your body so even if it is not necessarily pain related, it can exacerbate pain as your body’s sensitivity heightens in response to the stress.

Adjust your seat so that you are comfortable, but sitting fairly upright. If you recline, it could put stress on your neck and upper back, causing pain. Your seat should also be high enough so that you can place your feet flat on the floor – at least for a while (you can do this while driving if you have cruise control). There should be a slight bend in your elbows as you reach for the steering wheel and you should not have to stretch to reach the pedals. Make sure that your mirrors are adjusted so that you don’t have to bend or crane your neck to get good visibility.

Put Together a Healthy Back Kit

Bring along some things to help keep your back comfortable and pain free – even if you’ve never experienced back pain while driving. There is always a first time. Some of the items you might want to bring along include:

  • A towel that you can roll up and place behind the small of your back
  • A lumbar support pillow
  • A cold or hot pack
  • Something for pain relief
  • A cushion for your car seat to absorb the vibration
  • Water (so you can stay hydrated)
  • Essential Oil like lavender or peppermint (put a few drops in a carrier oil and apply to the sore areas)

Take Breaks and Move a Little

Driving straight through without any breaks is never a good idea. In fact, it can make you more tired, stiff and sore – and less alert on the road. Instead, take breaks to get out of the car, walk around, and stretch. When you move, you stimulate your circulation which brings oxygen and vital nutrients to your muscles. You’ll feel better, be more alert, and will be less likely to experience back pain.

Stopping every hour or so will help considerably with alleviating back pain. It doesn’t have to be a big production, just walk around for a few minutes, stretch your neck, shoulders, and back, then get back on the road. In between stops you can move your ankles up and down or rotate them to increase circulation to the lower leg. You should also adjust your position or your seat about every 20 minutes. Even these slight movements can help keep the blood flowing which will prevent your muscles from getting stiff and sore.

Regular chiropractic care as well as a consistent exercise routine can help prevent back pain in many situations, including while driving. Your chiropractor can also recommend some back strengthening exercises and stretches that will help make your spine even healthier.

Give our clinic a call at (780)455-2112 to schedule your assessment today! Visit www.ocwc.ca to learn more about our clinic and doctors!

Ankylosing Spondylitis chiropractic benefits

Ankylosing Spondylitis Sufferers Find Relief Through Chiropractic

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a type of arthritis that typically begins during adolescence or in a person’s early twenties and occurs more often in men than in women. However, once experiences onset, they are affected for the rest of their lives. It is estimated that between 0.2% and 0.5% of individuals in the United States suffers from ankylosing spondylitis.  It can cause significant pain, discomfort, and immobility. While there is no cure for the condition, the symptoms can be treated, bringing some degree of comfort and mobility.

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis, or AS, is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the spine. While the vertebrae are primarily involved, it can also affect other joints as well, including the hips, shoulders, heels, ribs, and the small joints of the feet and hands.

In some cases, the heart, lungs, and even eyes can be involved. If left untreated, the condition can progress, causing chronic pain that can be severe as the spinal inflammation increases. More advanced cases can cause the spine to grow new bone formations so that it is immobile, or fixed, sometimes resulting in kyphosis, which is a bowed or forward stooped posture.

What Causes Ankylosing Spondylitis?

While genetics is believed to be a key player in the development of Ankylosing Spondylitis, the exact cause has not yet been determined. The majority of people who have AS also carry a specific gene that has been linked to the condition.

This gene produces HLA-B27, a protein or genetic marker, that more than 95% of Caucasians with ankylosing spondylitis have. However, there are people who don’t have this protein who develop AS and there are many people who do carry this marker yet never develop the condition.

Researchers theorize that there may be other genes that may be involved, as well as environmental factors that trigger the gene activation, such as a bacterial infection, causing people who are susceptible to AS to activate it. Scientists have identified more than 60 genes that are believed to be associated with AS with only about 30% that are linked to HLA-B27 regarding overall risk. Other genes that have been identified as key to AS include IL-23, IL-17, IL-12, and ERAP.

It is also believed that AS can be triggered when the intestinal defenses break down, allowing certain bacteria into the bloodstream. This can, in turn, cause an immune response.

How is Ankylosing Spondylitis Treated?

AS cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be treated to relieve stiffness and pain as well as delay or prevent spinal deformity and other complications. The damage that it does to the joints is irreversible, so it is best if treatment is started before that occurs. There are several ways that AS is treated:

  • Medication – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like indomethacin (Indocin) and naproxen (Naprosyn) are commonly used to treat the symptoms of AS. They can be effective in relieving pain, inflammation, and stiffness but may cause some side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding. This makes long term use impractical and even unsafe. If NSAIDs do not help, other medications may be prescribed, including:
    • Golimumab (Simponi; Simponi Aria)
    • Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
    • Adalimumab (Humira)
    • Etanercept (Enbrel)
    • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Physical therapy – PT is often recommended to help with flexibility, strength, and pain relief. It can help with posture and prevent some of the more debilitating symptoms.
  • Surgery – Most people with AS do not require surgery, but it may be recommended if there is severe joint damage or pain. In some cases, it can cause significant damage to hip joints and they will need to be replaced.
  • Chiropractic – Many patients with AS have with very good results with chiropractic treatment. It is non-invasive and does not have the unpleasant side effects that many medications have.

Chiropractic Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Chiropractors strongly recommend chiropractic treatment for the non-acute inflammatory stage of AS. Once the condition has progressed to acute joint disease, there is a very high risk of injury or damage to the connective tissue. Adjustments and exercise are used to relieve symptoms, but some of the traditional spinal manipulation treatments are not performed.

A chiropractor will also make recommendations to the patient regarding lifestyle changes that can help with symptoms, such as stopping smoking. Tobacco use can increase inflammation and damage connective tissue. They may also advise increasing their intake of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. Regular chiropractic care can help patients manage symptoms and prevent disease progression, improving their quality of life.

Visit www.ocwc.ca to learn more about our clinic.

yoga chiropractic

How Combining Chiropractic & Yoga Can Be Beneficial To Your Spine

Yoga has long been touted as a healing activity that extends beyond its known fitness benefits. It can help alleviate depression, relieve stress, and decrease anxiety as well as tighten and tone the body.

In fact, a 2016 study by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal shows that the more than 20 million people who practice yoga spend in excess of $10 billion on related classes and products. Chiropractors have picked up on the benefits of yoga and are recommending it to their patients. Why? Because it helps to improve flexibility as well as spinal health.

Chiropractic and the spine’s role in the body.

Chiropractic is primarily intended to align the spine and balance the body. The spine is the main support for the body. It houses most of the central nervous system and provides pathways for neural impulses to move throughout the body.

When the spine is out of alignment it can affect how the central nervous system functions. It can also affect flexibility and even overall mobility as well as cause pain and stiffness.

Chiropractic treatment brings the spine back into alignment. It helps to balance the body and treat injuries as well as help with the changes the aging body experiences.

One of the best-known uses for chiropractic is to treat pain. It is a medication free, non-invasive treatment for chronic pain, sports related injuries, and even automobile accidents. Many patients have reported finding relief with chiropractic when nothing else worked.

Combining yoga with chiropractic increases the effectiveness of the treatment while strengthening the body and making it better able to respond to it. Yoga is the perfect complement to chiropractic care and many patients are discovering tremendous health benefits from this winning, healthy combination.

What is Yoga?

In its purist form, yoga is an ascetic and spiritual discipline that comes from Hindu culture. It involves simple meditation, conscious breathing or breach control, and performing certain body postures.

While an ancient practice long used for spiritual and emotional healing as well as physical wellness, yoga has been adopted in western culture and is widely accepted as a form of fitness as well as a therapeutic practice used for relaxation and overall good health. It focuses on inward healing for outward results.

People who regularly practice yoga find they are more centered, handle stress better, and aren’t as likely to experience depression and anxiety. They also are more flexible, have better mobility, and have stronger, leaner bodies.

What happens when you combine yoga and chiropractic care?

Because yoga helps to lower blood pressure, decrease stress, and strengthen the body’s core, it is a perfect therapy for the chiropractic patient. While chiropractic care is working to bring the spine into alignment and balance the body, yoga is helping to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, providing better support. The numerous health benefits, particularly regarding blood flow and relaxation help to increase chiropractic’s effectiveness as a pain management tool.

Patients who combine yoga and chiropractic will also often find that they see the effects of both treatments much faster than they would if they were only doing one or the other. Both chiropractic and yoga help with balance, flexibility, and mobility, but they come at it from somewhat different approaches. This provides a more balanced, well rounded treatment in these areas as one supports the other.

Yoga also tones and tightens the body, preparing it for much deeper levels of healing, cleansing and releasing the body of tensions that may have been held for years. It also works to stretch muscles that have been restricted for years, or even for the patient’s entire life. It prepares the body to accept the full benefits of chiropractic and respond faster and more fully.

Give us a call at (780)455-2112 to hear about our one on one yoga classes offered! Visit www.ocwc.ca to learn more about our clinic, practitioners and services.