Chiropractic Works with Dr. Birk

Low Back Injuries in the Workplace

Posted: March 18, 2013
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

Approximately one third of people who experience low back pain will consult a doctor of chiropractic and of these people, it is often people who injure their low back on the job. One study (Wasiak R, Kim J, Pransky GS) looked at how chiropractic care was used for these on-the-job injuries. In this report from Massachusetts, about 89% of workers initiated chiropractic care within 30 days of the injury and approximately half (48%) were done with their care within the 30 day time frame.

The lower spine and disks are vulnerable to injury at work and during lifting. Heavy loads or simply awkward or stooped positions can be risks and should be avoided. Of interest, more people tend to injure their back in the first two hours of a work shift. It has been suggested that this is because the disks swell up with water during sleep and are more pressurized first thing in the morning. Or perhaps we’re not as attentive to lifting with good form, first thing in the morning.

It is imparitive to get checked soon after suffering a back injury so you have the best chance of recovery and getting back on the job quickly. Bed rest and staying inactive are usually not healthy options for treating the low back. Inactivity can make back sprains worse by causing the muscles to weaken. Walking keeps pressure off of the disks and keeps the muscles engaged. If walking aggravates your pain, then it has to be avoided in the short term. Of course lifting following a back injury has to be limited. It's important to lift with your legs and to avoid twisting motions.

Chiropractic adjustments are designed to improve the mobility of the spinal joints, improve posture and decrease tension on the delicate ligaments and nerves. In many studies chiropractic care has exceeded the results seen with conventional medical treatments such as medications or surgery.

When a back injury occurs, commonly the vertebrae move out of their normal position from the stretch of the supporting ligaments. Simply leaving the ligaments in this stretched-out position may not be healthful in the long run. Since the ligaments are injured, the vertebral joints tend to move abnormally. This is called a mechanical back problem and is one of the most common diseases of the lumbar spine.

Stress Management with Chiropractic

Posted: March 18, 2013
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

Facts About Stress:

  • Stress-related disorders are fast becoming the most prevalent reason for worker disability according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • The World Health Organization calls job stress a "worldwide epidemic."
  • 40 million North Americans take antidepressant drugs daily!!!
  • After the death of a spouse, the average life span of the surviving spouse is one year.
  • Stress destroys the immune system, and ruins health to destroy lives.

Stress Management Techniques

1. In with the Good Air, Out with the Bad - Take a breathing break. Frequent short breaks during the day allow you to breathe deeply and relax your mind, preventing stress build-up.

2. Know the Enemy - What, exactly, is stressing you out? Is it your job? Your home life? Your relationships? Without knowing the root of the problem, you are unlikely to resolve it

3. Move It or Lose It - Begin an exercise program. Exercise helps release endorphins, which relieves stress.

4. Let Go - Recognize the difference between the things you can control and the things you cannot. Make a list of these two categories. Starting today, make a pact with yourself to stop stressing about the things in your job you have no control over.

5. Beware of the To Do List - Take note of all the good work you do and give yourself credit for it. Set short-term goals and allow yourself to take satisfaction in achieving them.  Most people have too many long term goals, and have too many things on their minds at the same time.

6. Develop a Tough Skin - Try not to personalize any criticism you receive. Look at negative comments as constructive criticism that allows you to improve your work.  “Who cares what other people think?”

7. Share the Load - Delegate or share work whenever possible. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are the only person who can do the job right. Your coworkers and boss might start to buy into that concept as well.

8. Don’t Make Work a Four Letter Word - Job stress builds when our minds are constantly focused on work. Strive for balance in your life. Make time for family, friends, hobbies and, most importantly, fun.

9. Get Adjusted - Your nervous system is how your body deals with stress!  The easier it is for your body to deal with stress, the less of a deal it will seem to be!

Prevent Re-injury of a Wrist Sprain

Posted: March 7, 2013
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

Aside from carpal tunnels syndrome, one major cause of wrist pain is a sprain of the delicate ligaments.  These ligaments hold the 12 wrist bones together. Range of motion is limited by these 12 small bones and ligaments connecting the hand to the arm. During a sprain, the range of motion of the bones is exceeded and the ligaments are stretched. Inflammation follows with symptoms of tenderness, swelling, altered function, redness and heat. This is similar to how one would sprain their ankle or neck.

It is vital to reduce the sprain through adjustments and minimize the tension on the sprained ligaments. Certain movements and stretches are very helpful but others, which move the joint to the direction of the injury, can be harmful. Because of this, it is imperative your chiropractor carefully explains the nature of your injury to prevent the joint from being re-injured.

If this is a chronic/long-term issue, the wrist needs to be stretched in directions that promote mobility and loosen shortened tissues. Your chiropractor can guide you through specific wrist stretches which promote function and minimize re-aggrevating the joints/ligaments. Although there are adjustments a chiropractor need to make, there are important home stretches that need to be done to enhance the quality of life.  You need to be an active participant during your rehabilitation process.

It's imperitive to not move the wrist in an unprotected way. Pay close attention to your movements to avoid moving it in the direction of your injury.  Also, you should not be lifting heavy objects during the acute phase of a wrist injury as you can risk worsening the injury.

In general, wrist stretches should be uniplaner. This means you move the wrist from side to side and, up and down, but not combinations of these movements. The wrist is not a "ball and socket" joint like the shoulder, and should not be moved around like it is. You may also need to address the shortened tissues of the arms and various muscle attachments. "Pin and stretch" techniques and trigger point therapy may need to be used to more intensely address the muscular components.