Treating Sciatic Nerve Pain

Your sciatic nerve is a nerve that leads from your back down your leg and if it becomes inflamed or injured it can cause a lot of pain.  However, there are potential solutions for pain relief.  The article below gives a list of solutions to try.  Chiropractic care is listed at the top because it is a method you can frequently seek.  We often see patients with sciatica at Integrated Wellness in South Jordan, so if you suffer from sciatica schedule an appointment with us after continuing to read below.

11 Effective Solutions For Sciatica Pain

When it comes to sciatica, there’s no shortage of treatments.

December 18, 2017
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is leg pain caused by a pinched nerve in the lower back. Although the pangs begin in nerve roots located on either side of the lower spine, they then course through the sciatic nerve, which runs the length of each leg from the buttock down to the foot. The leg agony, called radiculopathy, “is often worse than the back pain,” says William A. Abdu, MD, medical director of the Spine Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Usually felt in one leg, the sensation “can be intolerable,” says Birgit Ruppert, a physical therapist at the Spine Center. “Some people liken it to the nerve pain you experience if you have a toothache.” 
Why it happens

The most common cause is a herniated disk: When a disk develops a tear or crack and bulges into the spinal canal, it can pinch the sciatic nerve. Usually, symptoms clear up within about six weeks, but for some people, the pain can last far longer.

Ready to start feeling better? Here are a few treatments worthy trying:

Chiropractic Care

Sixty percent of people with sciatica who didn’t get relief from other therapies and then tried spinal manipulation experienced the same degree of pain relief as patients who eventually had surgery, found a 2010 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. The 120 people in the study saw a chiropractor about 3 times a week for 4 weeks and then continued weekly visits, tapering off treatment as they felt better. In people who responded to chiropractic care, benefits lasted up to a year. “Spinal manipulation may create a response in the nervous system that relieves pain and restores normal mobility to the injured area,” says study researcher Gordon McMorland, DC, of National Spine Care in Calgary, Alberta. “It also reduces inflammation, creating an environment that promotes the body’s natural healing mechanisms.”


“You can get relief as soon as the first session, though it takes about 12 sessions to see improvement,” says Jingduan Yang, MD, assistant professor at the Jefferson Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. A small study in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that of 30 people with sciatica, 17 got complete relief and 10 saw symptoms improve with warming acupuncture, in which the needles are heated.


A study in the journal Pain reported that people with chronic back pain who practiced Iyengar yoga for 16 weeks saw pain reduced by 64% and disability by 77%. Although yoga’s effects on sciatica are less clear, gentle forms may be beneficial. By strengthening muscles and improving flexibility, a yoga practice can help sciatica sufferers “move and function better so they don’t fall into a posture that aggravates the sciatica,” says James W. Carson, PhD, a psychologist at the Comprehensive Pain Center at Oregon Health & Science University. For extra grip and stability, try these Natural Fitness Grip Socks ($13, ).

Trigger Point Massage

Don’t expect a chilled-out spa massage if you have sciatica. In this instance, trigger-point therapy is best, says Jeff Smoot, vice president of the American Massage Therapy Association. The sciatic nerve sits underneath a muscle called the piriformis, which is located beneath the glutes. “When the piriformis muscle gets tight, it pinches the sciatic nerve, causing tingling and numbness down into the leg,” says Smoot. He applies pressure to irritated and inflamed areas, or trigger points, in the piriformis muscle, as well as in muscles in the lower back and glutes. Typically, Smoot schedules treatments 7 to 10 days apart. If patients don’t see progress by the fourth visit, “they need to try another form of therapy,” he says.

Topical Preparations

St. John’s wort oil ($10,, a liniment, is “one of my favorites for nerve pain,” says Tieraona Low Dog, MD, director of the fellowship at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Apply the anti-inflammatory oil two or three times a day where there’s pain. Another option: an OTC cayenne pepper cream ($17,; capsaicin, found in chiles, hinders the release of pain-causing compounds from nerves. For severe cases, Low Dog uses the prescription chile patch Qutenza, designed for shingles pain. “One application is effective for weeks,” says Low Dog.

Ice or Heat

Because the sciatic nerve is buried deep within the buttock and leg, ice or heat on the surface of the body won’t ease that inner inflammation. But the time-honored treatments can act as counterirritants—that is, “they give your body other input in the painful area, and that brings the pain down a notch,” says Ruppert. Apply an ice pack or a heating pad ($28, as needed for 15 minutes.

Devil’s Claw

The herbal medication devil’s claw is “quite a potent anti-inflammatory, working like ibuprofen and similar drugs to inhibit substances that drive inflammation,” says Low Dog. She generally starts patients on 1,500 to 2,000 mg twice a day. Look for a brand that has a standardized extract of roughly 50 mg of harpagoside, the active compound. Safety reviews show that the supplement is well tolerated by most people but should be avoided by patients with peptic ulcers or on blood-thinning medications. (Find supplements you can trust here.)

Pain Relievers and Muscle Relaxants

Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, either OTC (like ibuprofen) or Rx, can ease the distress. Because painful muscle spasms may also accompany a disk herniation, doctors sometimes prescribe muscle relaxants or pain-reducing tricyclic antidepressants. (Just don’t make any of these 13 common mistakes you’re making with your pain meds!) A caveat: “These won’t help with the pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve,” says A. Nick Shamie, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Epidural Steroid Injections

People whose pain doesn’t lessen within about a month and who aren’t helped by other therapies may find their pain remedied by an x-ray-guided injection of steroid into the lower back near the sciatic nerve, says Raj Rao, MD, a spokesperson for the AAOS. “The hope is to reduce inflammation within that nerve branch,” explains Rao. Because of concerns about side effects, such as loss of bone density, the epidural shots are limited to three a year.

Exercise and Physical Therapy

Moving is usually the last thing people dogged by sciatica want to do, but it’s important to be physically active. “Lying in bed makes it more likely that the pain will last longer,” says Ruppert. “Exercise increases blood flow to the disk and the nerve, helping to get rid of the chemicals causing the inflammation.” Take 15- to 20-minute walks. If that hurts too much, give swimming or water aerobics a try; there’s not as much pressure on the back when you’re in the water, says Ruppert. It may also be worth seeing a physical therapist, who can prescribe stretching exercises to restore flexibility to the back or moves that strengthen core muscles, helping to stabilize the spine and reduce the likelihood of a similar injury.


After 4 to 6 weeks of unremitting symptoms, patients may qualify for surgery. The Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial found that those who had surgery for a herniated disk had greater decreases in pain and disability 3 months afterward than patients who did not. The benefits lasted up to 4 years.


Neck Cracking

When you visit a chiropractor, one thing that commonly happens is when the chiropractor aligns you, your back and/or neck are cracked.  Some people are even capable of cracking their neck on their own.  It is one of the body’s strange capabilities that sometimes leaves us wondering why it happens and how.  The article below describes this in depth.  Start reading the first part below and then follow the link to continue reading on!

What is neck cracking and why does it happen?

By Tom Seymour  | Last reviewed Tue 7 November 2017

Reviewed by William Morrison, MD

The term “cracking” when referring to neck cracking is the popping sound that occurs when quick motions loosen the joint and ligaments in the neck.

Any joint can be “cracked,” and it is common for people to also crack their knuckles, lower back, hips, ankles, and toes.

People often do this themselves, although it can also be done by a professional. In general, in the case of neck cracking, the professional who performs this maneuver would be a chiropractor.

In this article, we take a look at when neck cracking might occur, what the risks might be, and why chiropractors might do it.

Why does neck cracking happen?

There are three key reasons why joints, and specifically the neck, will crack:

Escaping gas

There is fluid in the joints that helps the bones and tissue to move together smoothly. This fluid contains oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.

In the neck, there are paired joints, known as facet joints, that run up and down each side. Each of these facet joints has a capsule around it that is filled with fluid and gas.

When the joint capsule is stretched, gas is rapidly released in the form of bubbles. This release of gas makes a popping or cracking sound.

The process is also referred to as “boiling” or “cavitation.”


When a joint moves, it also affects the tendons and ligaments, which are the fibers connecting the bones and muscles in the joint.

If a tendon moves slightly out of place, it can make a snapping noise when it returns to its original position.

Similarly, the ligaments can tighten when the joint is moved and can make a cracking sound. This will often occur in the ankle or knee.


If a joint is affected by arthritis, the cartilage can lose its smoothness. As the joint surface becomes rougher, it can make a noise when it moves.

When to see a doctor

A person is normally advised not to try and crack their neck themselves if they are experiencing pain or problems with this part of their body. This is because there are nerves and blood vessels that run through the neck that can be damaged if cracking is not done properly. Gentle stretching is advised instead, as a home treatment.

If someone is experiencing pain or a lack of mobility in their neck, they are advised to go to a doctor to seek treatment.

Any pain, numbness in limbs, or loss of strength experienced by neck cracking should be assessed by a medical professional as well. Doctors will often recommend chiropractic care or referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

The chiropractor will examine the person to try and work out what is causing the problem. They will then try and restore normal body movement through gentle manipulation techniques.

Continue reading:

Source: Medical News Today

A Different Way to Manage Pain

When most people are in pain, they tend to turn to medicine for relief.  Whether that be over-the-counter meds like ibuprofen or prescription painkillers, pills give quick but temporary relief.  However, there is another way to manage pain that doesn’t involve any pills, and it is chiropractic care.  Some of you probably already knew this if you are Integrated Wellness patients.  Regular adjustments along with a little work on your own, can give you long-term relief instead of just temporary relief.  Learn more about this by continuing on to the article below.

Can Chiropractic Care Help with Pain Management Better than Prescription Drugs?

In 2011, the National Institutes of Health reported that 76 million individuals in the United States live with chronic pain. Of the adults who have pain, over 60 percent have had it for over a year. The most common types of pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are neck pain, lower back pain, and severe headaches or migraines. When patients visit traditional physicians about their pain, there is a good chance they’ll receive a prescription for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids, or triptans for headaches. While these solutions might bring some relief, they’re not the only option available. Many find that chiropractic care, paired with exercise and other lifestyle adjustments, help treat the underlying cause of pain and allow the body to heal.

Possible Effects of Prescription Painkillers

Exploring natural options for pain management, such as chiropractic techniques, is a worthwhile pursuit, as prescription drugs pose the risk of dangerous side effects. The Cleveland Clinic, for example, states that painkillers decrease pain perception. This is troublesome because the body depends on pain signals to alert you to ailments and injuries. Other side effects related to pain medication include:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Constipation and other digestive problems
  • Increased pain
  • Infertility
  • Depression
  • Weakened immune systems
  • Liver toxicity
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Drug abuse or dependence

Chiropractic Care for Pain Management           

Chiropractic techniques benefit individuals who live in pain, including those with conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder pain, back pain, neck pain, headaches, arthritis and fibromyalgia, according to the NIH. When chiropractors perform spinal manipulations and manipulations of the extremities, they promote your body’s ability to self-heal. The treatments don’t just mask the symptoms; they help combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals and promote DNA repair on a deep cellular level.

The numerous benefits that chiropractic care offers prompted the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society in 2007 to recommend that physicians consider spinal manipulation when self-care is not effective. In numerous studies, individuals who received chiropractic treatments for 12 weeks or longer experienced greater reductions in pain than those who did not. In many cases, chiropractic treatments were as effective as traditional prescription medications. Researchers continue to explore if the efficacy of chiropractic manipulations depend on the length and frequency of treatments.

Complementary Treatments and Lifestyle Changes

As researchers investigate why chiropractic care is so effective, they agree that patients experience the greatest benefits when they pair spinal manipulation with exercise and other lifestyle changes. Exercise helps relieve stress and improve range of motion and posture. It strengthens the core muscles that support the body and may help treat the underlying source of pain. The exercises that patients perform do not have to be strenuous. They can be gentle exercises that use a patient’s own body weight or even yoga. It is best to consult with a chiropractor regarding the best exercises to perform.

To aid with a patient’s pain management efforts, a chiropractor may also recommend relaxation techniques and electrical stimulation using a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, or TENS, unit. The professional may also offer nutritional counseling and recommend dietary supplements, weight loss or lifestyle changes. For example, for pain that involves inflammation, a chiropractor might recommend consuming turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory, and limiting refined carbohydrates. Refined, or simple, carbohydrates increase the body’s levels of cytokines, which cause inflammation, glucose and insulin problems, and other diseases, according to Harvard Medical School.

As a patient with pain, you have numerous options for managing your symptoms and regaining a healthy, active lifestyle without the use of drugs. Before discontinuing prescription pain medication, it is best to consult with a physician or chiropractor, as you may need to taper down the dose gradually to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Find a chiropractor in your area to begin reigning in your pain.


Source: The Palmer College of Chiropractic 

Who Gets More Headaches?

Headaches and migraines are some of the most common causes of pain in men and women.  Did you ever notice, however, that women seem to get more headaches than men?  It’s not something of our imagination, either.  Actual biological processes lead women to experience more headaches than men, overall.  The article below explains this all.  If you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines, make an appointment with us to discuss treatment options so you can have some relief!

There’s A Biological Reason Why Women Get More Headaches Than Men


Why do women get more headaches than men? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Keck Medicine of USC, 500+ internationally renowned doctors at a leading academic medical center, on Quora:

Why Women Get More Headaches Than Men

No, it’s not that women are more sensitive to pain than men; there’s a biological reason behind the difference.

Throughout their lives, women are more likely than men to experience headaches. In particular, women are three times as likely as men to experience migraines, those nasty debilitating headaches that typically occur on one-side of the head and increase light and noise sensitivity, according to the U.S. National Medical Library.

The reason why women get more headaches than men can be explained in one word: hormones. Changes in estrogen levels can act as a trigger to a protective response from the brain.

“The migraine generator flips on, which communicates directly to the fifth nerve, also referred to as the migraine nerve, which is basically the freeway of pain on the face and head,” said Soma Sahai-Srivastava, MD, associate professor of neurology at Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of the Headache and Neuralgia Center at USC Neurosciences of Keck Medicine of USC. “Once this is flipped on, it spills toxic, inflammatory chemicals on the roadmap of the brain. Then the blood vessels start acting out, which produces throbbing; it’s like an orchestra on the surface of the brain.”

There are four occasions that bring on the most dramatic hormone fluctuations.

1. Before a period: Many women report having migraines right before they get their period and during the first few days, when estrogen levels dip. If this sounds like you, talk to your doctor about preventative medications so you don’t experience migraines in the first place. You may also want to consider taking birth control pills to help regulate the dip in your hormones.

2. Pregnancy: During pregnancy, estrogen levels rise rapidly and remain high until the baby is born. Many women find that their migraines improve during pregnancy, when estrogen levels are stable. (However, pregnant women often still experience other types of headaches including tension headaches.)

3. After giving birth: It’s after the baby is born that may be a troublesome time. Hormones shift again, with a sharp decrease in estrogen levels. New moms often don’t get a lot of sleep and are under increased stress — more triggers for migraines.

4. Perimenopause: The years leading up to menopause (perimenopause) can be particularly challenging for migraine sufferers as hormones shift up and down with seemingly no predictability. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been shown to improve headaches in some women, make them worse in others and sometimes have no effect. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the best treatment.

After menopause, when periods — and the hormone fluctuations that accompany them — stop, many women find their migraines improve, only to find tension headaches get worse.

Are you a migraine sufferer? See your primary care physician to find out what the most effective treatment options are for you.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.


Mobility Aids

Have you ever looked around in a public place like a shopping mall, for example, and made note of how many people are using some sort of mobility aid like a wheelchair or cane?  Try this experiment the next time you go out, and you might be surprised at just how many people use mobility aids.  If you do not know that much about mobility aids, the article below will teach you a lot!  We think it is beneficial to learn about this subject because you or a loved one might need one at some point in time.

Mobility aids: Types, benefits and use

By Jayne Leonard | Last reviewed Tue 18 July 2017

Reviewed by Gregory Minnis, DPT

Mobility aids are devices designed to help people who have problems moving around enjoy greater freedom and independence.

Typically people who have disabilities or injuries, or older adults
who are at increased risk of falling, choose to use mobility aids.

These devices provide several benefits to users, including more
independence, reduced pain, and increased confidence and self-esteem.

A range of mobility devices is available to meet people’s needs – from canes and crutches to wheelchairs and stair lifts.

Types of mobility aids

The type of mobility aid required will depend on the mobility issue or injury. The most common types of mobility aids include:


Crutches help to transfer weight from the legs to the upper body. They can be used singly or in pairs.
Crutches help keep a person upright and may be used by those with short-term injuries or permanent disabilities.

There are many different types of crutches, including:

  • Axillary (underarm) crutches. One part of an axillary
    crutch is placed against the ribcage under the armpits, while users hold
    onto the hand grip. These crutches are typically used by those with
    short-term injuries.
  • Lofstrand (forearm) crutches. This type of crutch
    involves placing the arm into a metal or plastic cuff and holding a hand
    grip. Forearm crutches are more commonly used by people with long-term
  • Platform crutches. With platform crutches, the hand
    holds a grip while the forearm rests on a horizontal platform. Platform
    crutches are not commonly used, except by people with a weak hand grip
    due to conditions such as arthritis or cerebral palsy.


Canes are similar to crutches in that they support the body’s weight and help transmit the load from the legs to the upper body.

However, they take less weight off the lower body than crutches and place greater pressure on the hands and wrists.

Assistive canes are useful for people who have problems balancing and
who are at risk of falling. In the United States (U.S.), it is
estimated that 1 in every 10 adults over the age of 65 uses a cane.

Common types of canes include:

  • White canes. These are designed specifically for
    assisting people who are visually impaired. White canes are longer and
    thinner than traditional canes and enable the user to detect objects in
    their path. They also inform other people that the user is blind or
    visually impaired.
  • Quad canes. These have four feet at the end of the cane, providing a wider base and greater stability.
  • Forearm canes. Offering extra forearm support, these canes allow greater weight to be distributed from the wrist to the arm.

Some canes are adjustable or foldable. Canes which are used for
non-medical purposes, such as by hikers, are known as walking sticks.


Walkers, also known as Zimmer frames, are made up of a metal
framework with four legs that provide stability and support to the user.
These very stable walking aids are used by 4.6 percent of adults in the U.S. over 65.

Basic walkers have a 3-sided frame that surrounds the user. Users
lift the frame and place it further in front of them, they then step
forward to meet it, before repeating the process.

Some walkers have wheels or glides on the base of the legs, which
means the user can slide the walker rather than lift it. This is
especially helpful for people with limited arm strength.

Types of walkers beyond the basic model include:

  • Rollators. This common style of walker consists of a
    frame with four wheels, handlebars, and seat so the user can rest as
    needed. Rollators also include hand breaks as a safety feature.
  • Knee walkers. Similar to a rollator, this device allows
    the user to rest their knee on a padded cushion while propelling
    themselves forward with their stronger leg.
  • Walker-cane hybrids. A cross between a cane and a
    walker, this mobility aid has two legs rather than a full frame. It can
    be used with one or both hands and provides greater support than a
    standard cane.


Wheelchairs are used by people who should not put weight on their
lower limbs or who are unable to walk. They can be more suitable than
walkers for people with severe disabilities or when travel over greater
distances is required.

Wheelchairs can be manually propelled by the user, pushed by someone
else, or electrically powered. A wheelchair that can be propelled by
neural impulses was designed in 2016.

Examples of specialized types of wheelchairs include standing
wheelchairs, where users are supported in an almost upright position,
and sports wheelchairs, which have been developed for use during
specific sports.

Mobility scooters

Similar to a wheelchair, these devices have a seat set on top of either 3, 4, or 5 wheels.

The user’s feet rest on foot plates, and there are handlebars or
steering wheels to control direction. They are typically battery

Mobility scooters are beneficial for those without the upper body
strength or flexibility to use a manual wheelchair. Many scooter users report a positive impact on their lives due to their choice of mobility aid.

Rules for the use of mobility scooters on sidewalks and roads vary by
location. Training is usually available for people wanting to use a
mobility scooter for the first time.

Guide dogs

Guide dogs are specially trained service animals used to escort
people who are blind or visually impaired by helping the owner navigate

Having a guide dog or therapy animal also has positive psychological, physiological, and social effects.

In the U.S. and several other countries, service animals must legally
be allowed access to any business or agency where the general public is
permitted (except where health or safety risks exist).

Safety Modifications

Several home or office modifications can be made to help navigate
within a building or in other areas where there are changes in surface

These include:

  • Ramps. Access ramps are especially important as some
    people, including those with wheelchairs and scooters, cannot manage
    stairs. People with walkers, canes, and crutches may also find that
    ramps provide easier access than steps.
  • Stair lifts. These devices move people and wheelchairs up and down stairs, either through the floor or along the staircase.
  • Hand rails. Special handrails are fitted in many
    restrooms and by entrances to provide support and stability to people
    with mobility issues.

Who can benefit from mobility aids?

Anyone who has a mobility issue, either temporary or long-term, can
benefit from mobility aids. The type of mobility aid used will depend on
the needs of the individual.

Mobility aids may be beneficial for people with:

  • arthritis
  • cerebral palsy
  • developmental disabilities
  • diabetic ulcers and wounds
  • difficulties maintaining balance
  • fractures or broken bones in the lower limbs
  • gout
  • heart or lung issues
  • injury to the legs, feet, or back
  • obesity
  • spina bifida
  • sprains and strains
  • walking impairment due to brain injury or stroke
  • visual impairment or blindness

Older adults, people who have had an amputation, and those recovering from surgery also benefit from the use of mobility aids.


While mobility aids provide a number of benefits to users, there is a risk of injury associated with their use.

For example, underarm crutches may lead to a condition called crutch
paralysis, which is caused by excess pressure on the nerves in the

Improper or excessive use of mobility aids may contribute to other injuries. Research indicates
that many users are not properly trained in the use of their mobility
aid, with only one-third of users receiving their mobility aid from a
medical professional, and only 20 percent receiving training.

People using a new mobility aid should make an appointment with a
doctor or physical therapist to learn how to properly use the device.


Easing Symptoms of Anterior Pelvic Tilt

If you feel like your hips or pelvis are out of alignment, you might have anterior pelvic tilt.  This condition is easier to develop than you think — especially if you sit the majority of the day.  Make an appointment with us to help determine if you do have an anterior pelvic tilt.  We can help you find relief in many ways.  The exercises in the article below are a great start.  They will give the area around your pelvis more strength and relief.

Six fixes for anterior pelvic tilt

By Jayne Leonard | Last reviewed Thu 11 May 2017

Reviewed by William Morrison, MD

Anterior pelvic tilt is a change in posture that happens when the front of the pelvis rotates forward, and the back of the pelvis rises.

Some research suggests that as many as 85 percent of men and 75 percent of women, who do not show any symptoms, have anterior pelvic tilt.

Anterior pelvic tilt is caused by excessive sitting or lack of physical activity.  It affects posture and the shape of the spine, and may lead to other symptoms.

Contents of this article:
1. Six fixes for anterior pelvic tilt
2. Causes
3. Symptoms

Six fixes for anterior pelvic tilt

In cases of anterior pelvic tilt, the pelvis can gradually be returned to a neutral position, using a variety of stretching and strengthening exercises.  These exercises include the following:


Squats strengthen the buttock muscles, hamstrings, and other leg muscles.

  1. Stand with the feet slightly wider than hip-width. Turn the toes slightly outward.
  2. Squeeze the stomach muscles, and keep the back in a neutral position.
  3. Breathe in. Lower the hips back and down, causing the knees to bend, until the thighs are parallel to the floor. The knees should not extend beyond the toes, and the heels should be firmly on the floor.
  4. Breathe out and slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Pelvic tilt

This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles.

  1. Lie on the floor, face upward, with knees bent.
  2. Squeeze the abdominal (stomach) muscles, so that the back is flat against the floor. Bend the pelvis slightly upward.
  3. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat for five sets of 10 repetitions.

Kneeling rear leg raises

This exercise stretches the back and buttock muscles, while strengthening the stomach muscles.

  1. Begin on all fours on an exercise mat. The hands should be directly under the shoulders, and the knees directly under the hips. Weight should be evenly distributed between the hands and knees.
  2. Tighten the stomach muscles.
  3. Reach the right leg back in line with the body, keeping the toes pointed and the leg straight. Do not arch the back.
  4. Hold the leg in position for 5 seconds. Lower and repeat 10 times.
  5. Switch sides and repeat the above process with the alternate leg.

Kneeling hip flexor stretch

This stretch helps to loosen and lengthen tight hip flexor muscles.

  1. Kneel down on the left knee, ensuring that the right knee is directly over the right ankle.
  2. Place both hands on the right thigh for stability. Ensure the spine is tall and straight.
  3. Tighten the buttock and stomach muscles, and keep the pelvis in a neutral position.
  4. Lean forward into the right hip, ensuring the pelvis and back remain stable. There should be a stretch in the hip flexor and inner thigh.
  5. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat five times, aiming to stretch a little more with each repetition.
  6. Switch sides and repeat the above process to stretch the other hip.

The glute bridge

This exercise targets the buttock muscles and the hamstrings.

  1. Lie on the floor, face upward, and knees bent.
  2. Place the feet hip-width apart.
  3. Squeeze the stomach muscles so that the back is flat against the floor. Keep the stomach muscles engaged throughout the exercise.
  4. Breathe out and lift the hips off the floor, so the upper body and thighs form a straight line.
  5. Breathe in and gently lower the body to the floor.
  6. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

The plank

The plank exercise helps to target the stomach muscles and back.

  1. Lie face down on an exercise mat.
  2. Place the hands on the mat, palms down. Keep the hands directly under the shoulders.
  3. Tighten the stomach muscles and the thigh muscles.
  4. Slowly lift the upper body and thighs off the ground, moving into a push-up position. Keep the body rigid and straight. Ensure the stomach muscles are engaged throughout the exercise.
  5. Hold the plank pose for as long as possible, working up to 60 seconds. Gently lower the body to the floor.

Prevention tips

The following tips may reduce the risk of anterior pelvic tilt.

  1.  Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. Those who have desk jobs, and other roles that require sitting for long periods, should take regular breaks that involve walking around or stretching.
  2.  Engage in regular physical activity. This should include both stretching and strengthening exercises.
  3.  Ensure proper posture, especially when sitting. A comfortable and healthful workspace with correctly positioned desk, screen, and seating is important.

Continue reading at:


Improving Blood Flow to Injured Spinal Cords

When someone experiences a spinal cord injury, blood flow to the spine is usually compromised. Blood is responsible for delivering oxygen and other vital components to parts of the body, and an injury in any region of the body needs those components to properly heal. Scientists recently made a discovery involving getting more blood and oxygen to an injured spinal cord which, in turn, greatly helps the healing process. Learn more in the article below.

A new discovery at the University of Alberta will fundamentally alter how we view spinal cord function and rehabilitation after spinal cord injuries. Neuroscientists found that spinal blood flow in rats was unexpectedly compromised long after a spinal cord injury (chronically ischemia), and that improving blood flow or simply inhaling more oxygen produces lasting improvements in cord oxygenation and motor functions, such as walking.

Previous work had shown that while blood flow was temporarily disrupted at the injury site, it resumed rapidly, and it was more or less assumed that the blood flow was normal below the injury. This turns out to be wrong.

“We’ve shown for the first time that spinal cord injuries (SCI) lead to a chronic state of poor blood flow and lack of oxygen to neuronal networks in the spinal cord,” says co-principal investigator Karim Fouad, professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and Canada Research Chair for spinal cord injury. “By elevating oxygen in the spinal cord we can improve function and re-establish activity in different parts of the body.”

Published in Nature Medicine, the study demonstrates chronic ischemic hypoxia (lack of blood and oxygen) after spinal cord injury and how blood flow plays a key role in the cause and treatment of motor disorders. Simply put, this could mean restored activity and ability in parts of the body that stopped working after spinal cord injury in the near future.

The discovery, like most “eureka moments” in science, happened by accident. The lead author Yaqing (Celia) Li, rehabilitation science post-doctoral fellow, and David Bennett, co-principal investigator and professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, were looking at the injured spinal cord of a rat under a microscope and noticed the capillaries contracting in response to application of dietary amino acids like tryptophan.

“I thought, ‘why would capillaries contract, when conventionally arteries are the main contractile vessels, and why should dietary amino acids circulating in the blood cause these contractions?'” says Bennett. “That is just plain weird, that what you eat should influence blood flow in the spinal cord.” So they set out to answer these questions.

Li, Bennett and Fouad found that the AADC (Aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase) enzyme that converts dietary amino acids into trace amines was upregulated in specialized cells called pericytes that wrap capillaries. Unexpectedly, these trace amines produced in the pericytes caused them to contract, clamping down on the capillaries and reducing blood flow. This surprising finding led them to make basic measurements of blood flow and oxygenation below the spinal cord, which led to the discovery of the chronic ischemic hypoxia. They reasoned that the capillaries were excessively constricted by these pericytes after SCI, since there is ample supply of tryptophan. So they decided to try blocking AADC to improve blood flow.

“Since blood flow below the injury is compromised, the neuronal networks function poorly with a lack of oxygen. So we blocked the AADC enzyme and found that it improved blood flow and oxygenation to the networks below the injury,” Bennett says. “More importantly, this allowed the animals to produce more muscle activity.”

As an alternative treatment to blocking the AADC enzyme in the spinal cord of rats, the neuroscientists exposed the animals to higher oxygen levels and even they were surprised to see what happened next.

“The rat could walk better!” Fouad says. “The change in oxygen restored function, albeit temporarily.”

Though the team knows their discovery can have big implications in the world of neuroscience, rehabilitation and spinal cord injury, they are quick to mention a disclaimer.

“There is still a long way to go when it comes to treatment and helping patients with spinal cord injuries,” says Fouad. “But this discovery has helped us understand the etiology of spinal cord injuries in a way we never did before. We can now design treatments that improve blood flow to produce long-term rehabilitation after SCI.

Possibly even simple therapies such as exercise or just breathing will play a role in preventing long-term hypoxia and damage to the spinal cord. It’s a small but important step in the right direction, stemming from studying an obscure enzyme in the spinal cord – and that’s the beauty of basic science.”

Article: Pericytes impair capillary blood flow and motor function after chronic spinal cord injury, Yaqing Li, Ana M Lucas-Osma, Sophie Black, Mischa V Bandet, Marilee J Stephens, Romana Vavrek, Leo Sanelli, Keith K Fenrich, Antonio F Di Narzo, Stella Dracheva, Ian R Winship, Karim Fouad & David J Bennett, Nature Medicine, doi: 10.1038/nm.4331, published online 1 May 2017.


Different Therapeutic Methods for Adolescents with Scoliosis

Researchers and medical professionals in Canada have been developing and researching new physical therapy exercises and methods for young people with scoliosis. The exercises are called Schroth physiotherapy and are a new method of helping treat scoliosis without a brace or surgery, for example. To learn more about this read the article from Medical News Today below.

For teens with scoliosis, a new study shows specialized physical therapy exercises can improve the curve of the spine, muscle endurance and quality of life, as researchers advocate for conservative management to be added to the standard of care for patients in Canada.

“Currently patients diagnosed with scoliosis are either monitored for progression, treated with a brace, or, in severe cases, offered surgery,” explained Sanja Schreiber from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. “Our study showed that 88 per cent of patients who did the Schroth physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises showed improvements or prevented progression in their scoliosis curves over six months compared to 60 per cent in the group receiving only standard of care.”

For 14-year-old Ava who had to wear a brace for her scoliosis since she was 11, the scoliosis-specific exercises, Schroth, have meant less pain, more confidence and more control over her own body. “I don’t have to look like I’m crooked for the rest of my life. I now have control over my own body,” she said. “While my brace is very important, the exercises have helped me change my outlook on my condition.”

The randomized control trial, recently published in PLOS ONE, studied 50 adolescents with scoliosis aged 10 to 18 years with curves of 10 to 45 degrees (Cobb Angle). After six months of Schroth physiotherapy, (30-45 minute daily home program and weekly supervised sessions), 88 per cent of patients either had improving curves beyond or remaining within 5 degrees of their baseline curve magnitude. The average curve in the control group deteriorated by 2.3 degrees. Overall, the difference between the Schroth and the control group was 3.5 degrees.

“These short term results are clinically significant and show that Schroth physiotherapy exercises could help many patients with scoliosis if this type of conservative management is added to the standard of care,” said Eric Parent, associate professor of physical therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. The results have justified further research, with the establishment of the Multicenter Schroth Exercise Trial.

People with scoliosis, abnormal lateral curvature of the spine, are mainly adolescent and female. The most common signs of scoliosis include trunk and pelvis asymmetry, a rib and a lumbar hump, as well as a prominent shoulder and/or hip. As scoliosis progresses, the symptoms, such as back pain, problems breathing, osteoarthritis, psychological issues, and a decreased quality of life become more apparent.

Schreiber has dedicated most of her career to studying scoliosis and trying to find conservative treatment that will work. “I’ve even tried general corrective exercises, yoga and pilates.” she said. “It’s hard when a young teenager gets diagnosed with scoliosis and is told they will either wear a brace all the time or get surgery when the curve becomes severe enough, more than 45 degrees.

“The current standard of care for smaller curves is very much ‘wait and see’ while parents and patients demand a more proactive approach. I’d like to encourage them to ‘try and see,'” Schreiber continued. “Try Schroth and see if it helps. Not only in our study, but also in my clinical practice, I’ve seen so many teens who have experienced pain improvement and feel better overall with Schroth exercises. Also, they feel they are in control of their scoliosis, because the Schroth method teaches them how to stand, sit, walk, and do other daily activities correctly, so that they can keep their best posture. It’s just better quality of life overall.”

For Ava, after only wearing a brace every day for over a year, she felt she had weak muscles and experienced pain trying to hold herself up. Though the Schroth exercises can be hard work, she sees the results of her commitment.

“I used to get a lot of pain and felt really weak without my brace. Now I have gained strength and hold myself up with my own muscles,” she said.

The study also showed positive effects the Schroth had on pain, body image and muscle endurance. “The Schroth group showed improved muscle endurance by increasing the average holding time by 32.3 seconds after three months, while the controls increased by only 4.8 seconds,” said Parent.

For Ava, the change in perspective is what she values most throughout her experience.

“I used to think I’d be this way forever and there’s nothing I can do to fix it. But now I have control over my own body, and I know I don’t have to feel that kind of pain for the rest of my life.”

Article: Schroth Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercises Added to the Standard of Care Lead to Better Cobb Angle Outcomes in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis – an Assessor and Statistician Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial, Sanja Schreiber , Eric C. Parent , Elham Khodayari Moez, Douglas M. Hedden, Douglas L. Hill, Marc Moreau, Edmond Lou, Elise M. Watkins, Sarah C. Southon, PLOS ONE, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168746, published 29 December 2017.