Low Back Pain and The Feet

If you want to build any structure, a strong foundation is one of the key components. The human body is no different. Alignment of the bones in the feet can influence the functional stability of the rest of the body! Each foot contains 26 bones. It takes 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and numerous tendons to hold the bones in place and to allow for proper movement. As a musculoskeletal specialist, your South Elgin chiropractor Dr Tim Schening, is well-aware of the amount of brain-body coordination needed to keep these structures working properly.

Syndromes Related to Your Feet The following is a list of common conditions that are related to your feet, plus recommended solutions from your chiropractor.

Plantar Fasciitis – a painful conditioninvolving inflammation of the soft tissue in the arch of the foot. This condition is usually related to overuse or fallingarches.Icing and rest help to decrease pain, and muscle or joint manipulation can help restore proper function. Orthotic shoe inserts may also help provide structural support and reduce strain.1

Shin Pain – often caused by strain of the posterior and anterior tibialis muscles. These two muscles help give the arch of your foot mechanical support during walking or running. With increased stress due to repetitive use or falling arches, strain on the tendons of these muscles can cause the muscles to pull away from their bony attachments on the shin. This can cause periostitis, better known as shin splints. Improper footwear, combined with increased physical activity, is often the culprit. Rest, ice, muscle manipulation and orthotic inserts can help with this condition.2

Iliotibial Tract Syndrome (IT band syndrome) – pain located on the lateral side of the knee, thigh and hip, related to an inflammation of the tendon of the TFL muscle as it crosses the knee. This is one of the most common leg/hip syndromes found in runners, and it can be related to instability of the foot or pelvic misalignment. It is very often related to over-pronation of the foot, whereby the ankle joint turns inward – usually associated with falling arches. Chiropractic adjustments for the pelvis, foot and knee joints may help, as well as muscle manipulation, reduced exercise, and orthotic inserts to correct for the over-pronation.

Stress fractures – represent incomplete fractures (cracks) in any bone that is under an increased mechanical load. This condition is usually related to a structural imbalance, which creates an abnormal distribution of stress and strain. Rest is often the only treatment that helps mend this problem. Your chiropractor should also check the movement and alignmentof the feet and/or pelvis to help identify potential causes for the abnormal stress patterns.

Nerve Pain/Sciatica – radiating pain from nerve irritation/inflammation can be felt in the feet. Numbness, tingling, burning or aching pain can be a sign of lumbar nerve irritation. Disc herniation is a common cause of nerve root irritation. Chiropractic adjustments are often used to help balance the mechanical causes of disc herniations.

Pelvic Conditions – with respect to the kinetic chain, imbalances in foot bio-mechanics can lead to imbalances in pelvic mechanics. Restrictions or instability in the joints of the feet can lead to recurring symptoms in your pelvis and lower back.3 Common painful syndromes in the pelvis may include SI joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, and lumbar facet joint irritation. If your chiropractic adjustments are not holding as long as you’d like, you should have your chiropractor check your feet. Bouts of low back and pelvic pain that follow increased periods of walking, running or climbing may be pointing to the mechanical instability of your body’s foundation.

How to Take Care of Your Feet There are several things you can do to keep your feet healthy.Avoid activities that cause recurring pain in your feet, knees or hips.Wear appropriate, properly-fitting athletic shoes when you exercise. It is recommended you replace your athletic shoes at least once per year if you exercise at least once a week. Orthotic inserts, when required, can provide customized support for your feet in every shoe that you wear. Be sure to have Dr Schening check the mechanical movement patterns of your feet, knees and hips when walking or running. A routine gait analysis can pick up minor imbalances before they create major problems.Active lifestyles are also recommended to stay healthy. The best form of general exercise is walking. A gentle weight-bearing exercise like walking is known to help improve circulation, contribute to weight control and promote overall well being. Be sure to have your feet checked by  chiropractor on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to take you where you want to go in a pain-free way.

References and Sources:1. Karl B. Landorf, Anne-Maree Keenan, and Robert D. Herbert Effectiveness of Different Types of Foot Orthoses for the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 2004 94: 542-549.2. Nawoczenski DA, Ludewig PM: Electromyographic effects of foot orthotics on selected lower extremity muscles during running. Arch Phys Med Rehab, 80:540-544, 1999.3. Dananberg HJ, Guiliano M: Chronic low-back pain and its response to custom-made foot orthoses.Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association 1999; 89(3): 109-117.

S. Elgin Chiro says backpacks may equal pain

As parents, we are focused on providing the very best for our children. As we send them off to school, our intention is no different.

We are often told that carrying a bag of books on one shoulder is bad for posture. So, we confidently turn to the 2-strap backpack thinking we are taking stress off the little ones’ backs.

However, contrary to popular belief, these backpacks can be just as bad for the health of your children’s spines. When worn improperly or packed too heavily, even the 2-strap backpack can negatively affect the neck, shoulders, upper back and lower back.1

In a 2003 article published in SpineJournal, researchers revealed that out of 1122 backpack users, 74.4% suffered back pain. When compared with adolescents who had no back pain, adolescents with back pain carried significantly heavier backpacks compared to their body weights. These facts led the researchers to conclude “the use of backpacks, and especially the backpacks carrying heavier loads, was independently related to the incidence of back pain in adolescent students.”2

In another study, researchers found backpack weight was effective in predicting back pain in a sample of 3,498 students in California. They also found that girls and students who walk to and from school were more likely to report back pain. When the severity of pain was taken into account, older age, walking to and from school, and method of wear were all statistically significant.3

Knowing the harmful effects of a backpack on a child’s musculoskeletal health, what can parents do?

According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) and the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the idea is to “Pack it Light, and Wear it Right.” Both the CCA and the ACA agree on the following recommendations regarding the choice, packing, and carrying of backpacks.4,5

1. Choosing a Backpack

An important factor is the size of the backpack relative to the size of the child. The top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder, and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.

The backpack ought to be as light as possible – made from materials such as nylon or vinyl instead of leather.

The shoulder straps should be at least two inches wide, adjustable and padded. The straps themselves must leave ample room for movement of the arms. The back portion of the backpack should also be padded for protection and comfort.

Backpacks should always include a hip strap or waist belt. This redistributes as much as 50 to 70 percent of the backpack weight to the pelvis, which decreases the load on the upper back, neck and shoulders.

Choosing a backpack with several individual pockets instead of one large compartment makes it easier to prop-erly distribute the weight. Another option is to use a backpack-style carrier with wheels and a pull handle for easy rolling.

2. Packing a Backpack

The total weight of the backpack plus its contents should never exceed 15 per cent of a person’s body weight (e.g., a 90-pound child should not carry more than 14 pounds in a backpack). For elementary-aged children, reduce this number to below 10 percent of their body weight.

Pack contents so the weight is evenly distributed in the backpack. Place heavier items closer to the body. This reduces the pulling effect on the shoulder straps. It also makes it easier for the child to maintain balance without leaning forward.

To help stay under the recommended load, only pack items needed for that day. Load odd-shaped items on the outside to prevent them from digging into your child’s back.

3. Carrying a Backpack

Both shoulder straps should be adjusted so the pack fits snugly to the body but not too tight. A parent’s hand should be able to slide between the backpack and the child’s back. Always fasten hip straps.

If you’re still not sure what to do, ask  chiropractor Dr Schening for advice. In addition to helping fix spinal misalignments caused by an improperly fitting back-pack, Chiropractor Dr. Schening of Life Time Health and Wellness can help prevent these problems from happening in the first place.

References and Sources:

1. Whittfield J, Legg SJ, HedderleyDI. Schoolbag weight and musculo-skeletal symptoms in New Zealand secondary schools – Applied Ergonomics2005: 36(2): 193-8.2. Sheir-Neiss GI, Kruse RW, RahmanT, Jacobson LP & Pelli JA. The Association of Backpack Use and Back Pain in Adolescents – Spine Journal 2003; 28(9): 922-930.3. Siambanes D, Martinez JW, ButlerEW & Haider T. Influence of School Backpacks on Adolescent Back Pain. – J Pediatr Orthop 2004;24(2): 211-217.4. Pack It Light, Wear It Right – Canadian Chiropractic Association publication.5. Backpack Misuse Leads to Chronic Back Pain, Doctors of Chiropractic Say – AmericanChiropractic Association.

Back Pain and Headache Help in S. Elgin

Can Back Pain Really
Be“All In Our Heads”?
Researchers analyzed a survey
distributed to college students to find
out the prevalence of back pain in this
population. The survey revealed up to
38% of the students reported having
significant back pain within the previous
school year.
Of the students with back pain,
researchers found that only psychosocial
factors remained statistically
significant as being associated with the
symptoms. In the end, it appeared that
chronic fatigue or emotionally-abusive
relationships were the most strongly
associated with their back pain.3
Dr Schening your South Elgin  chiropractor knows that
life-stress can be a significant cause of
muscle tension and subluxations.
Chiropractic adjustments help relieve
tension throughout the body and reduce
fatigue associated with it.

The “Pop” and Pain
Relief
Researchers wanted to know whether
the pop heard during the chiropractic
adjustment really makes any difference
to the level of pain relief perceived by
the patient versus when no noise was
heard during the adjustment.
The researchers enlisted 40
asymptomatic patients and first tested
them for thermal pain sensitivity on
their legs and lower backs to create
baseline values. Then, the patients
underwent a lumbar adjustment. For
some, the audible pop was associated
with the movement and for others it
was not. All subjects were then
re-tested for thermal sensitivity.

The results may surprise you.
Researchers found that there was a
significant reduction in thermal pain
sensitivity after the lumbar adjustment,
whether or not a sound was heard
during the maneuver!4 So, you don’t
need to hear a pop to know that the
chiropractic adjustment is helping you.

References and Sources:

2. Weber Hellstenius, SA.
Recurrent Neck Pain and
Headaches in Preadolescents
Associated with Mechanical
Dysfunction of the Cervical Spine:
A Cross-Sectional Observational
Study With 131 Students. JMPT
2009 (Oct.); 32(8): 625-634.
3. Gilkey DP, Keefe TJ, Peel JL,
Kassab OM & Kennedy CA. Risk
Factors Associated With Back
Pain: A Cross-Sectional Study of
963 College Students. JMPT 2010
(Feb.); 33(2): 88-95.
4. Bialosky JE, Bishop MD,
Robinson ME & George SZ. The
Relationship of the Audible Pop to
Hypoalgesia Associated With
High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude
Thrust Manipulation: A Secondary
Analysis of an Experimental Study
in Pain-Free Participants. JMPT
2010; 33: 117-124.