Chiropractic Works with Dr. Birk

Fix the Problem and Don\'t Worry about Low Back Pain

Posted: June 25, 2012
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

It's strange how we tend to look at our health. When pain strikes the low back we usually think it's due to a new problem or injury. But why then was coughing, bathing, or doing the laundry, so different this time? We do these things everyday. Rarely is a new episode of low back pain brought on by a well-defined injury or trauma. We confuse pain as a signal for something that is physically changing each time.

So what is the problem? The problem: joint sprain or subluxation. This is a ligament problem and occurs with small micro traumas over many years, or sometimes with acute events such as car accidents or falls. Over time the ligaments stretch, causing the joints and vertebrae to displace, irritating the delicate nerve fibers. But over a few days or weeks, the pain that accompanies this injury gradually lessens, and in many cases goes away all on its own. But the problem has not gone away. This is because when ligaments are traumatized, the repair mechanism involves scar tissue, which is less elastic than the original, and makes the joint vulnerable to re-injury and sometimes impairs the free and symmetrical motion of the spine. The doctor of chiropractic examines for this type of joint sprain using palpation for tenderness and edema, and x-rays to see the directions the vertebrae have moved towards. These specific analyses can tell us the vulnerable directions and how the vertebrae need to be repositioned to promote good alignment and good posture.

The adjustment is designed to reduce this misalignment, and induce more symmetric motion. When movements are asymmetrical in the spine, they can lead to premature degeneration of the spine and arthritis. This may be why a simple task such as unloading dishes can flare up the back so easily. You may do this activity with good form and posture but with an asymmetrical spine, this is very off balance. Sometimes the disks are so damaged that a simple sneeze is enough to cause excruciating pain. So when these trivial events seem to trip you up, it means there is an underlying problem that is not getting corrected.


Fibromyalgia and Exercise What is the Verdict?

Posted: June 18, 2012
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

Fibromyalgia has been a very frustrating disease for many patients and physicians since drug treatments seem to provide minimal benefit.  But as health care evidence accumulates, hopefully this leads to better treatsments for patients.

Cochrane (Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007;4:CD003786), a highly prestigious scientific review group, recently reviewed supervised aerobic exercise and strength training as a treatment for fibromyaglia. They conclude that: "there is 'gold' level evidence (www.cochranemsk.org) that supervised aerobic exercise training has beneficial effects on physical capacity and FMS [fibromyalgia] symptoms". But have you started yet? Is aerobic exercise and strength or resistance training part of your daily routine? If not, then I have to ask, why not?

For many patients they may need a personal trainer or a skilled doctor of chiropractic, who will help you to work around your injuries and help to keep you motivated, on tract, and accountable. If you've sprained your low back in the past this can severely limit your ability to exercise pain-free. The spine IS the core of the body so it needs to be flexible and healthy for you to exercise effectively over the long-term. Taking drugs to cover up the pain while you train can lead to further injury. You need to listen to your body to know when to slow down and take it easy. Muscle pain is inevitable with exercise. Joint pain is another story and needs to be avoided.

I have found that adding chiropractic care to your active lifestyle can help keep you going as embark on this new and hopefully long journey.  For others, long-term inactivity has led to weight gain that needs to come down first before hitting the gym. And when weight-loss is occurring it is hard to repair muscle strain, so it is very easy to over-train which usually results in the patient quitting their new program

Exercising while you are excessively overweight will often lead to failure and injury to your knees or spine. So it is important to proceed with caution. Don't enter a marathon tomorrow. I want you to start right to ensure the best chances for success.

Atlantis Chiropractic and Wellness offers complementary consultations to see how chiropractic can fit into your new exercise lifestyle. Just call Dr. Birk at 905-264-9355 to schedule an appointment. If you have fibromyalgia, you need to get moving. Start today!


Headaches and High Blood Pressure - A New Link?

Posted: June 11, 2012
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

Headaches are one of the common pains we get. High blood pressure is also very common, affecting about 60 million Canadians. Could they be linked? Yes, but not in the way you may think. Some doctors question a whether the cause of a headache can be corrected by taking pain pills. But there are also other, more seemingly silent concerns. Is simply cutting the fire alarm when the house is on fire ever a good idea? If your headache is coming from a problem such as a sprained and subluxated neck, is taking a pill going to do anything to help the joint injury?

We all see the TV commercials and the long pill aisles at the grocery store. We must be consuming quite a bit and could are excessive use of these drugs be causing another problem, one that may not be explained on the pill bottle label?

Researchers have looked at over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) and ibuprofen (e.g. Advil), to see if taking them over the long-term elevates the risk for developing high blood pressure (Hypertension 2005;46:500. Women's Health Study I and II) The study investigated 5,123 women between the ages of 34 and 77 and followed them over many years.

The relative risk for those who took >500 mg per day, compared with women who did not use acetaminophen, was 1.93 (1.30 to 2.88) among older women. and 1.99 (1.39 to 2.85) among younger women.  A relative risk of 1.93 is a 93% increase in risk. The range was a 30% increase to a 185% increase.

The risk of developing high blood pressure in older women who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammartory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen) also increased, ranging from a 78% to a 161% elevation. For younger women, the increased risks ranged from a 10% increase to a 132% increase.

Aspirin use was not associated with developing high blood pressure. The authors concluded that because acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used, they might contribute to the high prevalence (percent of the population with this disease) of high blood pressure in the United States.

If you'd like to learn more about how chiropractic care may be an appropriate non-drug alternative form of health care, without the long-term side effects seen with some medications, just call for a complementary consultation. Dr. Birk can be reached at 905-264-9355 to make an appointment.