Spondylolisthesis – definition and treatment

Introduction

The spine goes through plenty of stress in most human beings. Whether it’s from recreational activities such as sports to work all activities will place some sort of stress on the spine. Unfortunately, as stress builds up diseases and injury will eventually come about. Disc herniation, facet syndrome, and Degenerative Disc Disease are three common injuries that we have already covered in our past blogs. Today, we’ll go through another injury; spondylolisthesis.

 

The definition of spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is when a vertebra slips out of position. This slipping out of position is different from vertebra subluxation (something that we will cover soon). This is usually caused by fractures in the pars interarticularis. The pars interarticularis is the part of the vertebra which connects the facet with the body. Once that area fractures, only the ligaments will be holding on to the vertebra thus causing the vertebral body to slip (usually) forward over the vertebra below it. This is pretty easy to see on X-rays as the back of the vertebral body will not line up with the one below it. You can find pars fractures too as that will be an indication that there could be a sign of spondylolisthesis, however, it is very difficult to see with untrained eyes.

 

Spondylolisthesis – those at risk, symptoms, treatment

Spondylolisthesis often appears in adolescence and adult men. This is because during this time there will be the most stress put on the spine due to daily living. This fracture mostly occurs in the lumbar spine (low back) and usually seen in people who do plenty of physical work. Personally, I’ve seen a couple of builders who’ve suffered from this injury along with some footballers too. You would think people who extend their low back spine are more likely to obtain this injury, but that is not true. Anyone who puts enough stress on their spine is prone to an injury like this.

 

Spondylolisthesis is painful and annoying. This is because it is pressing on your spinal cord! The main highway for nerve transmission! Since it affects the spinal cord, it is likely that both limbs will feel numbness, tingling, and pain. If the spondylolisthesis happens in the lumbar spine which is the most commonplace, some other symptoms include persistent low back pain, weakness in the limbs, and tight buttocks, and hamstrings. Fortunately, most cases of spondylolisthesis will not need surgical treatment. However, therapy such as chiropractic allows it to heal and recover properly. Even this injury may not be caused by an extension, it is best to avoid any movement that requires this motion in the lumbar spine. This is because it encourages the slipped vertebra to slip even more resulting in more spinal cord irritation. It is best for rehabilitation exercises that consist of more neutral and spinal flexion! However, always consult before doing these exercises!

 

Conclusion

Spondylolisthesis, a spinal injury that is characterized as the vertebra slipping forward in reference to the one below. An injury is seen in adults and adolescents who are often active. The best way of treatment is always prevention. So see your chiropractor and take care of your spine!

 

Spondylolisthesis and its grades

 

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Chiropractic Care for Kids

Paediatric Chiropractic

Chiropractic is all about looking after the spine and the nervous system. This means that anyone with a spine and nervous system can benefit from chiropractic, and this includes children and babies! Many people are unaware that children can benefit from chiropractic care, as children don’t tend to have ‘back pain’. However, there is much more to chiropractic than assisting with neck and back pain. And the earlier someone gets under chiropractic care the sooner they can start seeing the benefits in their life.

 

What can Chiropractic Care affect?

While many people come to chiropractors to get relief from neck or back, there is actually much more what chiropractors do. Chiropractors feel for dysfunction in the spinal joints, and do specific adjustments in these areas in order to restore normal function. This can slow down the degenerative process, prevent injury, and minimize pain. Because the nervous system is so closely related to the spine the malfunction of any segment of the spine can impact the flow of information between the brain and the body. When chiropractors get the spine function correctly, they are also allowing the nervous system to function at its best. Because the nervous system controls every little thing in our body, it is very important to look after our nervous system.

 

Kids’ spinal development issues

Due to stresses from our daily lives, our spine can stop functioning properly. And children are not exempt from these stresses. Every child’s life begins with one of the biggest traumas we ever have to go through – birth. No matter how straightforward birth is, it still places a large amount of stress on the newborn’s spine and nervous system. Many births aren’t always straightforward and require interventions such as a Caesarean section or a ventouse. As children grow and learn to crawl and then walk, they will fall down thousands of times. While each fall may not hurt the child, the cumulative effect can place stress on their spines and stop them from working at their best.

 

Benefits of Chiropractic for kids

Children’s bodies and brains are radially growing and changing. Chiropractic can greatly benefit children as they physically and mentally grow. Because we are removing dysfunction from their spines, we allow their bodies to fully respond and recover to all their little bumps and falls. By making sure there is no interference to their nervous systems, we are ensuring that their brain can develop to its full potential. It also means that the brain can communicate effectively with their body in order to know exactly what is going on. This creates better body awareness which can help them heal when they do get hurt.

Some common childhood issues that chiropractic care can assist with include delayed milestones such as:

  • Crawling, walking, or other gross motor skills
  • Colic (crying and distress in an otherwise healthy baby)
  • Problems with latching, or feeding on one side
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bedwetting, among many others.

When a child’s spine and nervous system are functioning without interference, the brain can better understand what is happening in order to make a change.

 

Conclusion

Some people may be wary of getting their baby or child under chiropractic care as they may have been adjusted themselves or seen an adjustment done on someone else. However, babies and children are not adjusted in the same way that adults are. Chiropractors are specially trained in assessing and adjusting young spines. There are many different techniques that can be used on children that are safe and gentle and use significantly less force than adjustments used for adults, however, they are still extremely specific and provide amazing results.

Even if your child doesn’t seem to have any issues, it is a great idea to get them under chiropractic care early in order to assist their growing brains and bodies and to ensure their spines are healthy to prevent issues later on in their lives.

 

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Kids

 

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Children’s Posture and Wellbeing

Children’s Posture and Wellbeing

While adults may be aware of their own posture and how it affects them, they may not be aware that it is also very important to look after the posture of our children. Poor posture in kids can have detrimental effects not only while they are young but throughout their entire lives.

 

What is good posture?

Posture is the position our body is in when we are sitting or standing. Good posture places the least amount of stress on the joints and muscles within the body, especially in the spine. This helps keep the joints in the spine healthy and prevents damage over time, which usually leads to pain and other difficulties. When facing sideways our spine has natural curves that help take the stress of gravity off the individual joints. Good posture ensures that these curves don’t get increased or decreased. To maintain these curves our head should sit over our shoulders, and our shoulders should be in line with our hips. Our weight should also be going down evenly through our feet. When facing forward our head should be straight (not turned or tilted), and our shoulders and hips should both be at equal heights. Common posture mistakes in kids include bringing the head too far forward, rounding the shoulders forward, and flattening out the lower back when slouching in chairs.

 

How can a posture affect your child?

Poor posture

Poor posture may seem like something that just doesn’t look very nice, but having poor posture can actually be very detrimental to your child and their health. Here are just some of the effects of poor posture:

  • Back and neck pain, which can become chronic over time
  • Excess stress on spinal joints increases the degenerative process. You may think degeneration is only common in older spines, but it is becoming increasingly more common in the spine of teenagers and young adults
  • Compressing internal organs. This can cause breathing and digestive issues in children and can lead to issues such as heart disease and varicose veins later in life
  • Tight muscles. This can reduce the range of motion and can also lead to headaches
  • Decreased balance.

 

Good posture

And while poor posture can have some negative effects, there are many benefits of having a good one! Other than preventing what is mentioned above these benefits include:

  • Increased energy levels. When we have good posture our muscles aren’t working harder than they need to so that energy isn’t being wasted and can be used elsewhere
  • Improved core strength. When we are in a correct posture out core muscles stay engaged. This improves the strength of these muscles and also leaves us less susceptible to injury.
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Improved mood and decrease in anxiety levels. This is because when we hold our body in poor posture our muscles become tight, and this can trick your brain into thinking there is a threat. When we have good posture and our muscles are relaxed, this helps to calm our brain.

 

What can you do to help your child improve their posture?

It is quite clear that good posture is important, but it is not always as easy as telling your child to ‘stand up straight’. Here are some ways you can help your kid maintain a good one in order to keep them as healthy as possible:

  • Make sure they are eating healthy and getting enough exercise. Excess weight is currently one of the biggest causes of poor posture in children
  • Show them what good posture should look like. Practice with them in front of the mirror so they know what good posture looks and feels like
  • When they are using a phone or iPad encourage them to either lift it up to their face or lie on their stomach while using it. This will prevent them from leaning their head forward and decreasing their neck curve
  • When wearing a school bag make sure they are always wearing it on both shoulders in order to evenly distribute the weight
  • If possible when at home and sitting at a desk or table, get them to sit on something like an exercise ball. This discourages slouching when sitting and activates their core muscles, increasing strength and stability.

 

A poor vs. good posture

 

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Injury Prevention and Chiropractic

Injury Prevention and Chiropractic

More and more people are becoming aware of how beneficial chiropractic care is when they have sustained an injury. However, what people may not be aware of is that chiropractic care can actually help prevent injuries. Injury prevention is important for all types of people, from elite athletes to elderly people. Being injured can slow us down from living our lives to our full potential. Here are some ways that chiropractic can help prevent injuries from occurring.

 

By making sure your structure is strong:

Chiropractic addresses specific joints within the body, usually within the spine, and makes sure they are functioning correctly. Malfunctioning of spinal joints can affect the overall structure of the spine and place excess stress in some areas. These areas of weakness can leave you more vulnerable to an injury than you would normally be. When chiropractors find and adjust these segments of the spine, your structure becomes much more strong and stable. A stable structure ensures that there aren’t weak spots left vulnerable to injury. While chiropractors usually deal with the spine, they are also trained in checking and adjusting extremities. They make sure that the structure of these is also strong and stable in order to minimize the chance of injury.

 

By improving your sense of body awareness and balance:

Chiropractors aren’t only affecting the spine, but also the nervous system that runs through it. A proper function of the spine allows the nervous system that runs through it to transfer messages between the brain and the body accurately. If the transfer works at its best, it allows your brain to receive the best possible information about where your body is in space. This helps improve balance, decrease clumsiness, and improve reaction times to the environment around you. This body awareness is beneficial to all types of people of all ages. It can help young children decrease clumsiness and minimize the chance of any accidents or injuries. It also improves the balance in the elderly, because falls are a major cause of serious injury. Finally, the athletes can benefit from better perceiving where their body is. This can result in the prevention of numerous injuries that come along with all different types of sport and exercise.

 

By increasing healing times:

A proper-working nervous system also allows your brain to better perceive what is happening within your body. This is extremely beneficial when it comes to injury prevention. Minor injuries can often get worse and turn into more serious injuries. When your brain is able to detect these little things easier, you become much more aware of your body. Minor injuries that may have gone unnoticed previously, you may now become aware of more easily. This allows you to take the proper precautions to let this heal properly before placing more stress on the injury, and aggravating it so it becomes more serious. On top of this having a well-functioning nervous system increases healing times. This means that minor injuries will heal much faster, reducing the amount of time that your body is left susceptible to further, more serious injuries.

 

Common benefits of Chiropractic Care

 

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Runner’s Knee and Chiropractic

What is the runner’s knee?

Runner’s knee is a general term that covers several conditions that cause pain at the knee. These conditions include:

  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome – generalised pain at the front of the knee that can be caused by many different issues.
  • Patellar malalignment – misalignment of the patella (kneecap), usually causing pain.
  • Chondromalacia patella – abnormal softening of the cartilage beneath the patella due to improper alignment. This is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain.
  • Iliotibial band syndrome – irritation of the iliotibial band, usually due to overuse of the knees, causing pain at the lateral part of the knee.

There is a lot of overlap between these conditions, as they all present very similarly and similar things cause them. Therefore, they can be managed similarly, hence why they are all under the umbrella title of runner’s knee.

 

Runner's knee - area of pain

 

Cause and traditional treatment

Runner’s knee can occur by a number of things such as:

  • Trauma to the knee
  • Misalignment of the knee joint
  • Overuse of the knee
  • Flat feet
  • Repetitive stresses from activities such as running, walking, biking, jumping, or sports like football.

It tends to be more common in women than men and is more common in middle age. People who are overweight are more prone to runner’s knee as the extra weight places extra stress on the knee joints.

 

With runner’s knee pain appears around or behind the patella. Pain is also usually worse by activities such as walking, climbing up or downstairs, squatting, kneeling, running, sitting down, or standing up. The knee can also sometimes pop or grind and can swell in some cases. The normal treatment for a runner’s knee includes rest, ice, compression, and anti-inflammatory pain killers. Medical professionals often recommend physical therapy and exercises, and in serious cases, surgery.

 

How can chiropractic help with a runner’s knee?

A large cause of the runner’s knee is a misalignment of the knee joint, causing extra stress to be placed on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage in and around the knee. This results in inflammation and pain. Chiropractors can adjust extremities and have a lot of knowledge around how the knee works. They know how best to adjust it, to keep it strong and stable so that it does not get worse during movement. This helps in preventing the runner’s knee from happening or helping it recover if it does happen. Not only does adjusting the knee help prevent and treat runner’s knee, but chiropractors can also adjust the pelvis and the ankle. Runner’s knee doesn’t always have to occur due to dysfunction at the knee. Our bodies are one big system so if there is dysfunction above or below the knee, this too can place extra stress. On the muscle, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage in and around the knee, causing the inflammation to happen.

 

Conclusion

By making sure everything in the leg is aligned, strong, and stable, this allows the knee to be able to do it’s job without excess stress being placed on it. This can prevent not only runner’s knee from happening but other conditions of the knee, ankle, and pelvis, as there is no excess stress in the system, and allows for fast, efficient healing if these conditions ever do come about. As chiropractors are knowledgeable about all parts of the body and how they can work at their best, chiropractors can give lifestyle advice, stretches, and exercises to increase strength and stability in the knee to prevent injuries, or to help them recover if they do occur6.

 

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Ice or Heat for Back Pain

As a chiropractor, I have seen many back injuries. Injuries can be acute or chronic. Many people ask me the same question, Which is better for back pain, Ice or Heat?  I want to put an end to this debate so you’ll know next time what to do for the painful area.

Ice or Heat for Back Pain – Which is better?

Both heat and ice have their advantages and are used for different purposes. Let’s start with the advantage of using a heat pack.

HEAT

Heat packs are great for promoting blood flow. This is because heat causes blood vessels to dilate. As a result, it allows more volume of blood to be pumped through. This has many advantages for the human body.

Firstly, due to the increase in blood flow, more oxygen, nutrients and minerals will be able to flow to the area of damage allowing more recovery and healing to occur.

Secondly, the increase in blood flow can help with muscle pain. This is because all the harmful toxins and lactic acids (which is often the cause of muscle pain) will be flushed away. Leading to healthier cells around the area of damage.

Finally, using a heat pack to promote vessel dilation can lead to the relaxation of muscles. This is because heat increases muscle elasticity. The muscles in our body are just like rubber where heat allows for the rubber to be more elastic and further stretched. This leads to tight muscles being able to stretch and relax more.

ICE

Ice or cold therapy does the opposite promoting blood flow, it decreases blood flow. This is because cold temperature and ice packs lead to vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessel). There are also benefits to constricting blood flow.

Firstly, it decreases inflammation. After a traumatic incident, the body naturally tries to heal instantly by increasing blood flow suddenly, to allow white blood cells. By constricting the blood flow, there will be a decrease in inflammatory reaction causing less swelling. It is this swelling that compresses nerves which will cause pain in the damaged area.

Secondly, ice can also soothe muscle pain temporarily after an intense workout. This is because it reduces inflammation caused by the workout. This leads to a decrease in lactic acid build-up thus minimising pain in the overworked muscles.

For a brief summary, there are many benefits to both heat and ice therapy. The main point of heat therapy is to promote blood flow allowing for quicker recovery. Whilst, ice/cold therapy helps minimise inflammation in the body by constricting blood flow. As a suggestion, if your pain is chronic I would suggest heat therapy would be the way to go. However, if you have just finished a workout or had a recent injury, ice would be the best way to go. This way you can stop the inflammatory response as quick as possible.

Hopefully, this clarifies the debate of which is better; heat or ice. Next time, you will be better informed about what to do!

When to visit a Chiropractor?

If you are applying therapy to an injury, your a most likely going to benefit from visiting your Chiropractor.

For treatment, advice and relief of acute or chronic pain, you can visit our chiropractic and wellness clinic in Auckland, North Shore. 

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland for acute and Chronic pain.

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ice vs heat back pain - chiropractor

 

 

Are Adjustments Painful?

Are Adjustments painful? Myth!

One of the most common mistruths about seeing a chiropractor is that adjustments are painful. Ok, let’s bust this Myth! The truth is – getting adjusted by a trained Chiropractor is holistic, safe and comfortable.

There are many techniques available to adjust the spine, the classic dynamic thrust, to very light forces or contacts. The delivery of adjustments come from the Chiropractor themselves, or via instrument assisted delivery. And your position can be sitting, standing or lying on a cushioned table.

At Revolution Chiropractic we utilise an array of safe and effective procedures suitable to the patient’s age, condition and comfort levels.

Chiropractors don’t just ‘Click’

What may come as a surprise is that some of the most effective changes to our nervous systems are made using the lightest techniques. For instance, the upper cervical area there is no ‘clicking’ of the joints. To clarify, ‘Clicking’ is not required to create changes in our nervous system. This is because the upper cervical techniques are so specific that they can change the biomechanics of your whole body and change your structure completely.

Are adjustments painful? chiropractor

After a spinal adjustment, often a great sense of relief can be experienced. However, on some occasions with certain injuries or issues, it may feel slightly awkward momentarily as your body adjusts to it’s optimum position. To illustrate, this experience can be similar to the sensation of tender muscles after starting an exercise program. Of course later, as your nervous system integrates the effects of the adjustments, most people feel a continuing sense of ease and enhanced relaxation.

So this is just one reasons many people make chiropractic treatment a regular cornerstone of their wellness lifestyle.

Gentle Chiropractor Auckland

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Children and Mobile Phones

Children mobile phones - text neck

Research has shown us not to let children use mobile phones, either as a toy or to talk on. Their skulls are thinner and smaller than an adults and they will absorb more radiation into their developing brain.

If you have not already seen the documentary Mobilize, there is now an opportunity to watch it for free here. You can also find out more about the film by going to the Mobilize website here.

There are more informative links on cell phones and cancer, and also tips for safer cell phone use below.

Mobile phones and cancer in humans

Links to more studies are below:

Radio-frequency (RF) radiation in the microwave range produced by cordless and mobile phones. Cordless phone bases and cell phone towers have been classified by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “possible carcinogen” (type 2B).

Cellular phone use safety tips:

We realise that many people have jobs that require them to use a cellular phone in their day to day lives. While there is probably no way to make cellular phone use completely safe, there is information to help you reduce the risks of unavoidable cellular phone risk.

Ideally, cellular phone use should be minimised. The more cellular phones are used, the more cellular phone infrastructure is needed to support the phones use. Living close to cellular phone base stations has been associated with increased risk of cancer in several studies.

Mobile Phone use and Skeletal Alignment

If exposure to radiation and providing endless distraction isn’t enough… cell phone usage is responsible for yet another hazardous side effect! Text neck!

Chiropractors have observed that most people hunch over their mobile phones and developing neck and back strain, headaches, achy shoulders and even in their arms and hands.

If you are experiencing symptoms similar to the above and would like a professional opinion, then go see your chiropractor or feel free to contact Revolution Chiropractic.

Chiropractor Auckland

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 5 Sleep

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 5 Sleep

Sleep

Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…

If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.

Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.

The parents role

As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.

It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
younger years.

Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We’ve got you covered! 🙂

Chiropractor Auckland

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This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & SPARTAFIT

Deadlift Technique (Part 2)

Last week I talked about the deadlift stance. This week I want to cover another significant error I see in deadlift technique that can lead to injury and give this great lift a bad name. Properly performed deadlifts are great for strengthening the lower back and glutes. Performed poorly they can lead to significant lumbar injury.

When starting my strength training journey in 2010 I injured my lower back by making the foolish mistake of adding too much weight to the bar too soon, causing my lower back to round partway through the lift. Bang, my back went into spasm. I sheepishly put away the weights and limped to the shower and was forced to take a few weeks off to recover. Since then I have been meticulous about working on my deadlift technique.

After I recovered I spent months drilling the technique by having my training partners hold a broomstick along the length of my spine while I would perform my deadlifts. The goal is to keep three points of contact with the broomstick:

Broomstick-Deadlift method

  1. The back of your head
  2. Your midback between the shoulder blades
  3. Your tailbone

Image result for deadlift 3 points of contact

This drill will help you stay aware of what your back is actually doing during the lift and not fool yourself into thinking your form is good.

Filming yourself during deadlift sessions is paramount when starting out, and even for more advanced lifters to keep an eye on your form especially during your heavier sets. Review the footage between sets and don’t keep adding weight if you notice your form is looking rubbish!

Excessive rounding of the lower back, technically called lumbar flexion, puts a lot of strain on the back of the discs of your spine. Repetitively loading your spine in a flexed position is a great way to increase your risk of a disc herniation. Repetitively loading the spine in a neutral position (within a properly designed training program) is a great way to strengthen the spine and reduce low back pain and injury risk.

So grab a broomstick and a camera and work on your technique so you can build a strong, healthy spine!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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