Low Back Pain: Is It Your Feet?

The foot and ankle are unique in that their range of motion includes not only the front-to-back, hinge-like motion we associate with walking but also the lateral or side-to-side movement needed to change directions quickly. A problem in the foot can have a “domino effect’ that alters the biomechanics or the ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, low back, and even the neck—potentially increasing the risk of injury in each these areas.

Back in 1995, Rothbart and colleagues reported that hyperpronation—or excessive rolling inwards of the foot and ankle—is a leading cause of pelvic repositioning and mechanical LBP. Just watch people from behind as they walk in a mall, airport, or grocery store and you’ll notice almost everyone’s ankle rolls inwards as they step downward. To maintain proper foot posture, the use of foot orthotics is the most practical approach— coupled with wearing well-fitted, comfortable shoes, of course.

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In a 2017 study, researchers recruited 225 adults with chronic LBP (more than three months) and randomly assigned them into one of three treatment groups: shoe orthotic (SO)-only, a “plus” group (SO + chiropractic manipulation/CM), or a waitlist group. The research team measured each participant’s pain and function/disability initially, after six weeks (the length of the treatment period), and then three, six, and twelve months later.

After six weeks, only members in the intervention groups reported any improvement in function. When comparing the waitlist and SO-only groups, the SO-only group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in both pain and function. The researchers also noted that members of the SO+CM group experienced even greater levels of clinically significant functional improvement.

This large-scale study supports the importance of examining the whole patient to identify and treat all factors that may contribute to a patient’s chief complaint.

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Got Sciatica? Here’s How Chiropractic Can Help Stop that Annoying Pain Shooting Down Your Leg!

Research I found on the internet estimates that up to 40 million people suffer with sciatica pain each year. Yet it seems to remain a relative ‘secret’ how effective chiropractic care has been in reducing and often completely eliminating sciatica pain.

Did you know that the sciatic nerve is the longest of all the body’s nerves? In fact it runs from the spinal column near the pelvis… all the way down each leg… and it can be as wide as your thumb! Each sciatic nerve is made up of five smaller nerves that branch into the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, and foot. This is why sciatica can effect people in many different ways! But the bottom line is that sciatica occurs when this nerve is compressed, irritated, or inflamed.

How do you know if you have sciatica pain? Sciatica pain can either be dull and aching… or… it can be a shooting pain down the leg sometimes all the way to the toes. This pain can last for several days or weeks or it can subside for even a few hours. However, someone who has had sciatica for a long period of time will find that the pain localizes in the buttock and thigh. In severe cases it can damage nerves and reflexes or cause the calf muscle to deteriorate, so if you have sciatica pain you do not want to ignore it and “hope it goes away.”

What will a chiropractor do to treat sciatica pain?  The first thing we’ll do is take a look at your medical history to identify possible causes. Then a thorough but gentle chiropractic exam is performed.  Often we will discover the source of the nerve “blockage” and we’ll use adjustments to fix the problem, often resulting in immediate reduction of the sciatica pain. Sometimes massage therapy is used to reduce muscle spasms as is ultrasound and/or ice therapies. Chiropractic works and is 90% less expensive than the cost of surgery… without having to deal with recovery time.

If a loved one seems to be suffering with sciatica pain and you would like to get them into our office to be examined, or you have concerns about their health, please give us a call. We’re here to help!

Interested in learning more how chiropractic can help with sciatica pain? Call (309) 692-6800 today, to discover chiropractic benefits.