August Newsletter: Low Back Pain

by Dr. Joshua Leuppie

It’s finally happened. The day that I have been worried about since I first understood just how much back pain can limit a person’s life. Last week I suffered my first real low back pain issue, forcing me to miss two days of seeing patients and quite frankly I couldn’t do a single thing throughout any aspect of my day- to-day life. I finally got it under control enough to make it back into work last Friday, but I’ll tell you I still felt like I had been in a tussle with a grizzly bear. Of course, everyone is thinking, “You’re a chiropractor this shouldn’t happen” or “You’re a chiropractor you should be able to fix yourself easy, squeasy, lemon peasy” The answer to that is a simple “Um no, not how it works”. Despite having spent my adult life working on spinal health, all it took was a few months of not really working on mobility/stretching for my body to change enough that simply getting up off the floor while working on a TV stand could sideline me for a week.

The reality is that almost all of us will experience low back pain at some point in our lives, and because of that I wanted to put together a Low Back Pain Emergency Tip Sheet so that everyone can have access to relief when they need it.

Step 1
When you feel like the world is ending remember it isn’t, if you act with purpose, especially in the first few days you can get most things under control relatively quickly. Not to sound cliche but:

Take a breath and try not to freak out!

Step 2
ICE! The goal is to reduce inflammation and decrease pain as soon as we can. Ice will squeeze out excess inflammation but getting the blood vessels to constrict and pushing it out like a tube of toothpaste (It’s more complicated than that but you get the idea) . Not only that but ice is a natural pain reliever, you must however keep it on for a minimum of 15 minutes, and no more than about 25. You will go through 4 stages, cold, achey, burning, and numb, we want to get to the numb stage and unfortunately a lot of people prematurely take the ice away during the burning stage. Greater than 25 and you will actually increase the inflammatory response.

General Rule of Icing: 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off. Repeat as needed

Step 3
Call a professional. I have the luxury of being able to call up one of many wonderful chiropractors that I know, and if you’re reading this, so do you. We can help get the pain levels down immediately, we can also give you additional tips that may be applicable to you specific issue, we can give reassurance that you will make it through this, or if you did hit the unlucky lottery we will recognize that this is an issue that we can help but not solve and get you into the appropriate specialist.

Step 4
Rest during the first 2 days or so, then get moving. Get up, move, try to stretch as best as you can without straining yourself. The body naturally moves inflammation through joint motion, we don’t want you immobile so long that the area becomes chronically inflamed instead of acutely inflamed. In addition the body responds to force, meaning if you don’t move and it starts to heal, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons will start to mold to whatever position you are in, most likely in a shortened position. A way to visualise this is similar to how clay holds it’s shape when it cools down after being heated. You don’t want to be an ashtray when you were meant to be a beautiful vase!

Step 5
Have patience. Remember your back is involved with everything we do, whether is be breathing, moving, going to the bathroom, or just laying down. We rarely ever truly get to rest it. The process, depending on what happened in your situation, may take time but you will get back to living life and doing what you love.

Below is a Spinal Cheat Sheet with things you can do and things you should avoid.

Spinal Care Program
Good posture allows you to use your body without strain on muscles, joints, ligaments and internal organs. Good posture must be considered in all activities whether they be sitting, standing, resting, working, playing or exercising. It is not simply a matter of “standing up straight.”

This guide is designed to help you begin to correct the movements and positions that may cause poor spinal conditions. Particular emphasis is placed on rest positions, because it is possible to strain the biomechanics of the spine even at rest. By learning to adjust to good posture in all of your activities, your spine will gradually return to a comfortable and functional part of you.

Office News

  • Our next round of essential oils classes kicks off this month! Join us on Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 PM for an in-person class focusing on “Back to School” for both kids and parents. This class will be taught by guest speaker, teacher and oily mama, Melissa Bunce! Class will cost $5 which covers your materials to make and take home your choice of essential oil rollerball. RSVP at the office ASAP as space is limited to 10 guests!
  • lf you have previously signed up for appointment reminders via email or text and are no longer receiving them, please notify the front desk so that we can get your email address into our new scheduling system.

Recipe of the Month

Southern Style Collard Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound collard greens, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and butter.
  2. Saute the onions until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic, cook another minute.
  4. Add collard greens and cook another minute.
  5. Add the vegetable stock, cover and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cook until greens are tender, about 40 minutes.
  7. Add tomatoes and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Reminder
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