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Chiropractor for Algonquin and Lake in the Hills
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Tips For Easing Back Pain

Help, My Low Back Hurts and I Can’t Get Up!

Without a doubt, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are an epidemic in the US. In fact, MSDs are the single largest category of workplace injuries, responsible for almost 30% of worker’s compensation costs. Without a doubt, they are a common and costly problems for people and companies. In 2011 alone, US companies spent 50 billion dollars on MDS for their employees. Not to mention, MSDs cost the average person almost 15 thousand dollars.

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Image of a woman's hand scrolling through a low back pain article on a tablet

Dr. Galante On How the Media Treats Low Back Pain [Video]

Learn Dr. Anthony Galante's Thoughts on What the Media Says About Treating Low Back Pain

Recently, I came across an article on low back pain in the Lifestyle section of AOL. It was titled, “10 secret reasons for your back pain" by Reader's Digest author Alyssa Jung.

I read this article with curiosity to see how the media's message compared to the truth about back pain. After all, articles like this have the potential to affect the thought processes of millions of people.

The fact is 80% of people will have disabling low back pain at some point in their lives. And roughly 33% of all adults are currently suffering from low back pain. Furthermore, with the current opioid crisis, low back pain is a hot topic, and the media knows this.

So, let's take a look at this article and see if its take on low back pain lines up with reality.

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Is the Sun Being Bad for You Actually Just a Myth?

Research Suggests the Benefits Outweigh the Risks

“Avoid the sun, it will give you skin cancer, use lots of sunscreen, wear protective clothing and hats…” It goes on and on, we’ve all heard these statements.

Yet, have you ever heard this statement:

Sun Avoidance Promotes Early Death

I am sure you never heard your doctors tell you this. Why?Photograph of the sun shining from behind some clouds.

Listen to this:

Sensible sun exposure on bare skin promotes optimal physical and psychological health and helps prevent chronic diseases of all kinds. As noted in a scientific review by dermatologist Dr. Richard Weller, sun exposure has cardiovascular benefits independent of vitamin D, and cardiovascular disease is a far greater public health problem than skin cancer.

Could you imagine your doctor telling you this? Your dermatologist?

In fact, research suggests your risk of dying from heart disease or stroke is 800% greater on average than your risk of dying from skin cancer. One of the key messages in Weller’s paper is that public health messages really should be determined based on all-cause mortality, not a singular disease.

“Sunlight is a risk factor for skin cancer, but sun avoidance may carry more of a cost than benefit for overall good health,” he writes.

Another study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition in 2011 also concluded that:

“The overall health benefit of an improved vitamin D status may be more important than the possibly increased CMM (cutaneous malignant melanoma) risk resulting from carefully increasing UV exposure. Important scientific facts behind this judgment are given.”

Even though Weller is ahead of the pack in recognizing the importance of sun exposure, he and most other physicians don’t understand why this is so. There are many reasons, but two large ones are:

  1. Exposure to the sun increases nitric oxide production, which will relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and decrease platelet activation. This makes your blood thinner and less likely to clot and form a stroke or heart attack. Nitric oxide will also improve your immune function.
  2. Red and infrared rays are rarely discussed but recent research has shown that red at 660 nm and near infrared at 830 nm both have powerful benefits on improving the function of the mitochondria (the organs in each cell that produce energy). This is because when cells absorb that energy the efficiency of ATP and mitochondrial cellular energy is increased.

Is Avoiding the Sun as Risky as Smoking?

A study driving home this risk-benefit reality was done in Sweden. More than 25,500 Swedish women between the ages of 25 and 64 were followed for 20 years. Detailed information about sun exposure habits and confounding factors were obtained and analyzed in a “competing risk” scenario. Overall, women who got regular sun exposure did have a higher risk for melanoma compared to sun avoiders, but they also had a lower all-cause mortality risk, likely due to their increased vitamin D levels.

Women with active sun exposure habits ended up having a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and non-cancer death compared to those who avoided the sun. According to the authors:

“Nonsmokers who avoided sun exposure had a life expectancy similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking. Compared to the highest sun exposure group, life expectancy of avoiders of sun exposure was reduced by 0.6 [to] 2.1 years.”

In short, if you’re concerned about mortality, and not just mortality from one specific disease (melanoma), the scales are decidedly tipped toward sun exposure being of tremendous benefit.

However, we do want sensible sun exposure but we do not want to burn the skin.

Is Sunscreen the Answer?

Avoid shielding yourself from the sun’s rays by slathering on chemical sunscreens, many of which have been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer, as noted by clinical laboratory scientist Elizabeth Plourde, Ph.D.Photo of woman applying sunscreen on shoulders.

We have always been told that the sun causes skin cancer, even though generations of humans for thousands of years have been exposed to the sun most of their life and never developed cancer. Dr. Plourde tells us it’s actually the sunscreen that will increase your risk to cancer.

Researchers estimate sunscreen-wearing beachgoers introduce as much as 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen into the world’s oceans each year.

Oxybenzone may be the worst of all the chemicals used in sunscreens.

Sunscreens Contain Many Potentially Hazardous Chemicals

While some sunscreen manufacturers have switched from oxybenzone to avobenzone, no studies have been done to confirm whether avobenzone is actually a safer choice. Chances are, it’s not.

Disturbingly, recent research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found 96 percent of the U.S. population has oxybenzone in their bodies, and this chemical is a known endocrine disruptor linked to reduced sperm count in men and endometriosis in women.

At least nine of the sunscreen ingredients the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved are known endocrine disruptors.

Many sunscreens also contain vitamin A and/or its derivatives, retinol and retinyl palmitate, which have been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer by increasing the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread.

Are Spray-on Sunscreens Safer?

Spray-on sunscreens pose an additional hazard by releasing toxic particles into the air. The FDA has previously expressed concern that inhaling these products may be risky, especially to children, and has warned parents to avoid spray-on sunscreens.

The two agents of greatest concern are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as these are the two most often used in spray-on sunscreen products. These two minerals are the safest topical sunscreen agents around, but inhaling them is a whole different story.

Most studies to date have shown that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safe and unlikely to penetrate your skin when applied topically, as long as they are not nanosized.

But when these minerals are inhaled, they have been shown to irritate lung tissues and potentially lead to serious health problems, and the finer the particles, the worse their effects appear to be.

“Internal Sunscreens”

As mentioned, one of the primary risk factors of skin cancer is sunburn, which is an inflammatory process. Aside from paying careful attention to covering up before you get burned, you can reduce your risk of sunburn by eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and/or taking an astaxanthin supplement. The latter has been shown to work as an effective internal sunscreen, protecting your skin from UV radiation damage.

Safer Alternatives

When choosing a sunscreen, your safest choice is a lotion or cream with zinc oxide. It’s stable in sunlight and provides the best protection from UVA rays. Your next best option is titanium dioxide. Just make sure the product:

  • Does not contain nanosized particles
  • Protects against both UVA and UVB rays

Keep in mind that SPF protects only from UVB rays, which are the rays within the ultraviolet spectrum that allow your skin to produce vitamin D. The most dangerous rays, in terms of causing skin damage and cancer, are the UVA rays. Avoid sunscreens with an SPF above 50.

While not intrinsically harmful, the higher SPF tends to provide a false sense of security, encouraging you to stay in the sun longer than you should. Moreover, higher SPF typically does not provide much greater protection. In fact, research suggests people using high-SPF sunscreens get the same or similar exposure to UV rays as those using lower-SPF products.

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) ranks sunscreens based on their effectiveness and safety of ingredients. This year, nearly 1,500 sunscreen products, including beach and sport sunscreens, moisturizers with SPF, and SPF-containing lip balms, were reviewed.

As you can imagine, most popular commercial sunscreens are not on the safe list. Here are better options:

  1. Mercola SPF 50 Sunscreen
  2. True Natural Neutral Unscented Sunscreen SPF 50
  3. Loving Naturals Adorable Baby Sunscreen stick SPF 30+
  4. Blue Lizard Australian Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30
  5. BurnOut Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen SPF 30

Fourteen of the worst-scoring sunscreens for kids included several popular brands, including two Banana Boat products, seven Coppertone products, a CVS branded sunscreen and two Neutrogena products. Avoid those, and stick with these alternatives.

Be Well!

Medical Journals Finally Say Chiropractic Helps Lower Back Pain

The Medical Establishment Finally Admits Chiropractic Improves Patients’ Lower Back Pain and More!

There have been dozens of studies over the last 20+ years showing how effective chiropractic care is for the treatment of neck pain, lower back pain, headaches, sciatica and more. Chiropractic care is not only more effective, meaning it gives people faster, longer-lasting relief from their pain, but also more cost effective. That means it costs you less money to get well.Photo of a doctor with a clipboard and stethoscope doing research on a laptop.

These studies for the most part have fallen on deaf ears, meaning the medical establishment as well as the press would ignore these studies. They even offer rebuttals saying “more research is needed,” “see your medical doctor first,” or even that the study must have been somehow flawed.

After the research piles up, sooner or later you cannot ignore it anymore.

Who Are the Major Players in this Research?

The American College of Physicians is a large group of medical doctors. From their website: “ACP is a national organization of internists, the largest medical-specialty organization, and second-largest physician group in the United States. Our 148,000 members include internists, internal medicine subspecialists, medical students, residents, and fellows.”

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is the journal published by the American Medical Association (who have a history of being anti-chiro). According to their website: “JAMA, which began publication in 1883, is an international peer-reviewed general medical journal. Key objective is to promote the science and art of medicine and the betterment of the public health.” They really exist to promote the betterment of medical doctors but that is a topic for another time!

Psychology Today is a popular psychology publication. According to their site: “Psychology Today is devoted exclusively to everybody’s favorite subject: Ourselves. On this site, we have gathered a group of renowned psychologists, academics, psychiatrists and writers to contribute their thoughts and ideas on what makes us tick. We’re a live stream of what’s happening in ‘psychology today’.”

When you read the articles below, you will read “spinal manipulation” or “SMT.” In the United States, 94% of spinal manipulation is provided by chiropractic physicians. Another way mainstream medicine avoids coming out and saying “chiropractic.” Substitute “chiropractor or chiropractic” wherever you read spinal manipulation.

American College of Physicians Issues Guidelines for Lower Back Pain Treatment

The American College of Physicians (ACP) published a new lower back pain treatment guideline. It recommends first using non-invasive, non-drug treatments, including spinal manipulation, before resorting to drug therapies. The guideline was published Feb. 14, 2017 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

On May 1, 2017, the New York Times published an editorial by Aaron E. Carroll, M.D., that mentions the new guideline in a generally positive light. The article is generally positive and appeared in a major, mainstream publication read by millions of people. “Spinal manipulation—along with other less traditional therapies like heat, meditation and acupuncture—seems to be as effective as many other more medical therapies we prescribe, and as safe, if not safer,” he wrote.

Talking points on new ACP guideline:

  • The chiropractic profession has advocated for decades that conservative care choices such as chiropractic be the first line of treatment for lower back pain. Now, with this new guideline, the medical profession is recognizing the benefits of conservative care for this huge, worldwide problem.
  • Thanks to this guideline, it’s possible more everyday medical doctors will choose to refer their patients with lower back pain to chiropractors.

Article and Editorial on Spinal Manipulation Published in JAMA

The April 11, 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA) featured the article “Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain.”

This systematic review and meta-analysis found that of the 26 eligible RCTs (Randomized Controlled Trials) identified, 15 RCTs (1,711 patients) provided moderate-quality evidence that SMT (chiropractic) has a statistically significant association with improvements in pain. Twelve RCTs (1,381 patients) produced moderate-quality evidence that SMT has a statistically significant association with improvements in function. One of the RCT’s included in this analysis, which was called “Adding chiropractic manipulative therapy to standard medical care for patients with acute low back pain: results of a pragmatic randomized comparative effectiveness study,” was led by investigators at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research.

Interestingly, an editorial by Richard A. Deyo, M.D., M.P.H., titled “The Role of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Low Back Pain,” was published in the April 11 issue of JAMA. “If manipulation is at least as effective and as safe as conventional care, it may be an appropriate choice for some patients with uncomplicated acute low back pain,” wrote Dr. Deyo. “This is an area in which a well-informed patient’s decisions should count as much as a practitioner’s preference.”

National Public Radio story on April 11 quoted Dr. Paul Shekelle, a medical internist with the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center and one of the study authors, as saying the JAMA study found patients undergoing spinal manipulation experienced a decline of one point in their pain rating. He added that the study also found spinal manipulation modestly improved function.

Article and Editorial on Spinal Manipulation Published in STAT News

An article published April 4 in STAT News, a medical journal, discussed the ACP guideline and how it’s strengthening the cause of non-pharmaceutical pain control methods like chiropractic care and acupuncture. Another article published May 10 in STAT News covered proposed FDA recommendations that medical physicians learn more about chiropractic, acupuncture and other drug-free pain treatments as therapies to help patients avoid prescription opioids.

Article on Chiropractors Helping with Lower Back Pain Published on Psychology Today

On May 19, the Psychology Today website ran a piece about new research on chiropractors helping people with lower back pain. This article, “The Evolving Evidence on Chiropractors for Low Back Pain,” covered the ACP guideline and its recommendation for conservative care first, as well as the Annals of Internal Medicine systematic review that found evidence spinal manipulation (chiropractic) helps to reduce pain for people with chronic lower back pain (pain more than 90 days). It finished by saying, “On the whole, the evidence suggests that seeing a chiropractor can reduce pain levels and increase function for people with chronic low back pain.”

At our clinic we use spinal manipulation in addition to massage therapy, laser therapy, physical therapy, vibration therapy, and much more!

This is the most positive press chiropractic has received in a short period of time in the history of our profession. Now is the time to utilize the effective, safe services of a chiropractic physician. Give us a call at (847) 854-2000 and set up a consultation for your lower back pain in Algonquin, IL today!

You and your family deserve great health!

Be Well!

How Science Makes It Easier to Lose Weight and Relieve Back Pain

Weight Loss is Now Easier

“I want to lose weight.” Have you ever heard that before? Excess weight and obesity contribute to many harmful conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and joint and back pain. Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:

Fast Facts

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010:Weight Loss Helps Back Pain

  • More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese.
  • More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.
  • About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese.
  • More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese.

Adults Age 20 and Older

  • More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese.
  • More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese.
  • More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity.
  • Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese.
  • The prevalence of obesity is similar for both men and women (about 36 percent).
  • About 8 percent of women are considered to have extreme obesity.

Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (excess fat and inflammation in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol)
  • osteoarthritis (a health problem causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints)
  • some types of cancer: breast, colon, endometrial (related to the uterine lining), and kidney
  • stroke
  • back pain, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease

What is Causing this Problem?

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests:

Causes of Overweight and Obesity

Overweight and obesity result from an energy imbalance. The body needs a certain amount of energy (calories) from food to keep up basic life functions. Body weight tends to remain the same when the number of calories eaten equals the number of calories the body uses or “burns.” Over time, when people eat and drink more calories than they burn, the energy balance tips toward weight gain, overweight, and obesity.

Children need to balance their energy, too, but they are also growing and that should be considered as well. Energy balance in children happens when the amount of energy taken in from food or drink and the energy being used by the body support natural growth without promoting excess weight gain.

Many factors can lead to energy imbalance and weight gain. They include genes, eating habits, how and where people live, attitudes and emotions, life habits, and income.”

This is a polite way of saying we are eating too much and exercising too little. Now we know there are many factors that go into this; however, the bottom line is too many bad calories in, too few burned.

What Can Help Us Get a Healthy Body Weight and Relieve Back Pain?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in our gastrointestinal tract, especially the small and large intestine. Numerous studies have shown probiotics to be beneficial for gastrointestinal health, improving the immune system and helping with antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Recent research has shown specific probiotics to be helpful for the management of body weight; however, the World Health Organization has stated, “not all probiotics are the same.” The health benefit of probiotics are genus-, species-, and strain-specific and probiotics should be chosen based on the desired health benefit.

A new approach, UltraFlora Control, by Metagenics, offers targeted probiotic support with 10 billion colony-forming units (cfu) of Bifidobacterium lactis B-420. This probiotic has been clinically shown to help control body fat and body weight, offering patients another tool in their quest for a healthy body weight.

Diet and exercise is the “gold standard” for weight loss. It always has been and always will be. UltraFlora Control may help patients achieve body weight regulation by modifying gut microbiota composition, or changing the type of microorganisms in the gut.

With 10 billion CFU of the targeted probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis B-420, UltraFlora Control may help:

  • Support body weight regulation
  • Control body fat
  • Reduce waist circumference
  • Control abdominal fat

In a 6-month clinical trial of overweight individuals, those taking Bifidobacterium lactis B-420 showed reduced energy intake (eating less calories), as well as reduced body fat mass, body weight, waist circumference, and abdominal fat. The probiotic also promotes more short-chain fatty acid production(SCFA) when compared to a placebo, making it a powerful tool in your weight loss program.

When Bifidobacterium lactis B-420 in UltraFlora Control is used as part of a sensible program of diet and exercise it may help contribute to long-term weight maintenance, which helps minimize risks of conditions like heart disease, back pain, and more.

What is a “Sensible” Diet and Exercise Program?

First of all, starvation diets, one- or two-food diets, prolonged periods with multiple meals of powdered drinks and juice “cleanses,” and prolonged Selection of food that is good for the heart, rustic wood backgroundstrenuous exercise programs that you are not ready for are not “sensible.”

Diet—One definition according to Merriam-Webster is: food and drink regularly provided or consumed.

We tend to think of a diet as restricting and limiting yourself from the foods you like for a period of time until you reach a target weight. Then you go back and eat how you used to eat.

Instead, think of a diet as Merriam-Webster tells us: food and drink regularly provided or consumed. A life-long change in the way we eat—this is the only way to achieve long-term success and this is why so many programs fail.

A sensible program may be:

Find the program you will be able to stick to for the rest of your life. Changing your diet is hard, but once you’ve made the change it gets easier.

And Exercise?

This is a big topic and cannot be covered here in detail, but here are a few recommendations.

If you want to burn fat, increasing your activity is very important. There are programs that use as little as 10 minutes of walking a day and all the way up to hours of exercise.

  1. If you have not been regularly exercising and time is limited – get a pedometer and track your steps for a week. Take the average number of steps you take in a week and add 10%. If week 1 is 5000 steps, week 2 would be 5500 steps.
    How do you increase your steps without going to the gym and on limited time? Every time you go to a store park in the back of the lot, park in the back of the lot at work, take the stairs at work, take the long way to the bathroom at work, drink more water which will force you to get up more frequently, and walk for 5 minutes at lunch and after work.
  2. If you have been exercising regularly you may want to add High Intensity Training to your program. H.I.T. can be done with virtually any aerobic exercise, but we will use biking in this example. During your biking session you would do 1-7 intervals that last from 10-60 seconds where you pedal “all out,” then fully recover before you start the next one. The number of intervals and the length of the intervals will depend on your fitness level.

Be Well!

As with all diet and exercise plans, consult your doctor to make sure your heart is ready for exercise and you are on a “sensible” diet plan. The programs presented above are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional help and guidance.

For a consultation about weight loss, back pain, and more with a licensed healthcare professional, speak with a chiropractor at the Algonquin Chiropractic Center. We’re your go-to healthcare provider for joint and back pain in Algonquin, IL. Give us a call at (847) 854-2000 and schedule a consultation—we’re always here to help you be well!

Mention this article and receive complimentary consultation.

 

Our Mission – To educate and inform patients so you can make educated decisions to improve your health.
Algonquin Chiropractic Center
2210 Huntington Drive North
Algonquin, IL 60102
(847) 854-2000

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