Chiropractic Works with Dr. Birk

Walking Your Way to a Better Back

Posted: August 20, 2012
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

This back is made for walking. Scientists have concluded through the study of the spine that it is made for walking, which may come as a surprise as we humans do very little walking these days. Over thousands and millions of years, we have gone from days filled with walking and scavanging for food, to one that is largely sedentary.  Inactivity has become a major problem to our spinal healthy as many of us spend the majority of our day working at a desk. Studies have shown prolonged sitting leads to decreased strength of the spinal and leg muscles and increases the pressures in the disk.

Some of us engage in heavy and repetitive lifting tasks during our daily activity.  The heavier the loads we lift, the greater is the risk for spinal degeneration. Whether it is heavy lifting or sedentary life, the effects are the same: low back pain. Low back pain has now become an epidemic in society. Studies have shown up to 90% of us will experience low back pain at some point in our lives.

We tend to think our children are immune to back troubles, but statistics show otherwise.  A study of adolescents in Norway showed about 57% had back pain in the past year. Back pain seems to start in adolescence, and follows us into adult life.

When low back pain was compared to activity levels, an inverse relationship was shown. Results showed the less time children spent at the computer or watching television, the less likely they were to report back pain. Walking decreased the occurrence of back pain.

Significant differences were noted between people who engaged in regular, low to moderate activity (ie. walking) and those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. The group of patients who exercised, had improved mood, reduced need for physical therapy, and used less pain medication. They also tended to have less work disability.

The positive effects of walking continue into old age. Those who walk regularly show less lower body disability.

There was a time when medical doctors thought bed rest for two weeks was a good treatment for patients with low back pain. However, over the past two decades, multiple research studies have shown this prescription will actually increase your low back pain.

Whether you have back trouble or not, it is important to stay active and walking is one of the best ways to keep you pain free. You don't need a gym membership to do it-just some comfortable shoes. It lowers your risk for back trouble, and is also the best activity to engage in during rehabilitation following an injury.

The Headache Epidemic

Posted: August 13, 2012
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

Chronic migraine headaches have dramatically increased among the North American population, especially in adults younger than 45 years.  There has been an approximately 60% increase in rates over the years and it has been noted that women are slightly more affected than men.

Headaches clearly have a big impact on society today.  Major dollars are being spent on hospitalizations, doctor visits, disability payments, and medication prescriptions. The use of over-the-counter drugs has also increased exponentially over the past ten years. All of this "treatment" has failed to show a healthy way to any sort of lasting cure or has had little effect on the occurrence of headaches.

Studies show that 70% of men and 80% of women reporting chronic migraine headaches visited a physician for migraine headaches at least once a year; 7% and 8% of men and women, respectively, were hospitalized because of the condition at least once a year. In addition, 4% of men and 3% of women reported a chronic limitation in normal activity because of migraine headaches and associated symptoms.

The chiropractic approach to headaches is much different. The chiropractor looks at injuries to the spine (e.g. sprain/subluxation), which are affecting the nervous system. Headaches are just one of many symptoms than can occur when the spine is injured.

The chiropractor treats the cause of the problem rather than masking the symptom with ineffective and potentially unsafe medications. They use specific adjustments and postural exercises to improve how your spine functions, which may in turn reduce your need for medications, lower the intensity of the pain, or even eliminate the headaches all together. Depending on how badly your spine is injured or how long you have suffered, will both affect how you may progress during care.

Only a comprehensive examination will determine if you are good candidate for chiropractic care. The examination should include a detailed history of how the pain has affected your life, tests of your nervous system, and x-ray examination, to see how the vertebrae are positioned in your neck.

If you are a part of the headache epidemic, it can be a sign that you have a spinal condition the chiropractor may be able to help. Taking medications to cover-up the problem rarely makes the actual problem go away.