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Can Losing Weight Really Help Reduce Back Pain?

If you suffer from back pain and are more than 10 pounds above your ideal weight, losing that weight may significantly reduce the amount of pain you are experiencing. According to Dr. Andre Panagos, co-director of The Spine Center at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, “Although research on weight loss and back pain is minimal, in big-belly-200-300my clinic, every single person who loses a significant amount of weight finds their pain to be significantly improved.”

The muscles, tendons and ligaments that work to keep the spine upright and aligned can be put under a great deal more stress when there is more weight for them to support. Even simple everyday tasks such as reaching over to put an item on your pantry shelf can be harder on your back when those supporting muscles have extra weight to maneuver. Losing weight reduces the extra strain on your spinal muscles.

Although no studies have conclusively shown that being overweight is the cause of back pain, being overweight or obese can contribute to back pain in a couple of ways. First, for those who are overweight, short periods of exercise often cause fatigue, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, which can discourage people from exercising. This can indirectly cause pain in the back because inactivity and lack of exercise are major contributors to back pain. Insufficient exercise leaves your back muscles, stiff, weak and out of condition. Second, excess weight, particularly around the stomach, pulls the pelvis forward and causes an excess curvature in the vertebrae of the lower back, causing pain and stress on the muscles and supporting structures of the back.

Another way in which excess weight can contribute to back pain is by the development of a herniated disc. When vertebral discs have to carry an excess load and are mis-aligned, they can become herniated. Imagine each vertebral disc as a small water balloon. The more weight that presses down on it, the more it bulges, sometimes tearing and losing fluid. This can cause the space between the vertebrae to narrow, leading to possible nerve compression.

Extra body weight can also cause arthritis of the spine. The American Obesity Association advises that weight loss can lower the risk of osteoarthritis, as those with a body mass index (BMI) more than 25 are at greater risk of the disease.

If you are overweight, consider starting a low-impact exercise program to slowly and gently lose weight. Walking, swimming, or weightlifting using slow and controlled movements are all examples of this type of exercise. Studies have shown that sticking with a regular exercise program can help to reduce episodes of back pain and prevent or lessen any future episodes.

 

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Best Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

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Plantar fasciitis can cause more inconvenience than almost any other type of ligament inflammation, since the injured ligament is put to use every time you take a step. This means that resting it is difficult and recovery is prone to setbacks. The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel to the ball of your foot. When extra stress is placed on it, or if it is stretched in an irregular manner, it can become inflamed and cause pain in your heel. Luckily, it does not have to become a chronic condition and can be managed with some extra care and specific exercises.

First of all, you should be aware of the types of exercise that make the condition worse. Anything that involves using your foot in a repetitive motion that involves force against a hard surface

should be avoided, such as running and jogging.

People who are at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis are those who have either flat feet (“fallen arches”) or high arches, and whose foot tends to roll inward (overpronation). These all contribute to a weakness in the foot, so strengthening the foot muscles is particularly important for these people. Other factors that contribute to plantar fasciitis are short and tight calf muscles, standing for long periods of time, particularly in improper footwear, and being overweight, which puts undue strain on the bottom of the sole.

Stretching the Achilles tendon (which attaches your calf muscle to your heel) is important, as tightness here can keep you from flexing your foot freely, putting more strain on the plantar fascia. And the plantar fascia itself should be stretched gently on a regular basis as well to keep inflammation from becoming a problem. These both tend to tighten overnight, which is why those with plantar fasciitis tend to find their condition worse first thing in the morning when taking their first few steps from bed.

Following are some simple exercises you can do to help treat plantar fasciitis:

  • Sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, loop a towel or belt around the ball of your foot and pull back slowly until you feel a good pull in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Repeat with the other leg.

 

  • Stand facing a wall at about arm’s length and lunge forward with one leg while keeping the other behind you with the heel flat on the floor. You should feel the stretch in the calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg. Repeat the sequence a few times a day.

 

  •  To stretch the plantar fascia, use a wall or stair to press the bottom your toes against so that they extend upward, while the ball of your foot remains touching the floor. Hold for 45-60 seconds on each foot and repeat twice. Sports doctors recommend this be done twice a day.

Massaging the plantar fascia by rolling your foot slowly back and forth over a rolling pin or drink can for a few minutes each day can also help to relieve plantar fasciitis.

At Bailey Chiropractic, our LiteCure Laser Therapy is also a great modality for relieving plantar fasciitis.   It decreases inflammation in the plantar fascia and helps to relax tension in the calf muscles.  In addition, it increases ATP synthesis in the cells which allows for faster healing of the involved tissues.

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Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal decompression therapy is a treatment option for people with long-term back pain, sciatica, leg pain, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, numbness and other conditions that have not responded to initial treatments such as manipulation and physical therapy. All of these conditions may be the result of compressive forces on your vertebrae, which can cause spinal misalignment and compressed discs.

Compressed discs can lead to herniation or bulging of the discs, thus pressure on the nerves. In addition to the pressure and compression, the nerve itself may not be able to receive the nutrients it needs to heal and work properly.  Often, surgery is used to decompress the spine, which is invasive, painful, and carries significant risks. Medications to reduce pain are also often used, but they do not treat the source of the pain and only mask it.    spinal (1)

Spinal decompression therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical alternative that offers gentle spinal decompression through the use of specially designed, FDA-approved equipment. Prior to treatment, patients are thoroughly examined.

Patients are placed on a decompression table in a comfortable posture that depends on which area of the back needs treatment.  The treatment applies a specific force to the compressed discs, and a computer alternates the decompression force with relaxation periods. Usually, there is a series of 45 second alternating decompression and relaxation cycles, for an individual treatment time of 12-15 minutes. This process serves to gently elongate the spine and to create a vacuum that pulls the disc back into its proper location and shape within the vertebrae. Realigning the discs in this manner can reduce pain and promote healing. However, it may take up to 24 treatments for complete relief.

In some cases, we may use a laser therapy prior to the decompression treatment.  This is very good for promoting a better stretch of the tissues while doing the decompression therapy and also promotes healing and blood flow in the area.  Combining the LiteCure laser with decompression has been shown clinically to improve the patient’s outcome over decompression therapy alone.  Bailey Chiropractic is one of the few offices in Miami to have invested in this laser.