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St. Louis chiropractic blog & videos by Dr. Jeffrey S. O'Guin

Rethinking What it Means to Feel Stiff

Does Feeling Stiff Correlate to Being Stiff? This might surprise you, but not always and usually not ever. Current research shows that there is no correlation between feeling stiff and actually being stiff. However, the people who reported feeling stiff had a protective mechanism in which their bodies over-responded to forces applied to the body. This suggests lack of coordination and almost definitely an instability of some kind. Essentially, their body doesn’t trust itself to hold everything together and upright so it responds to certain movements but tightening and tensing in order to protect itself. The instinct of most people who experience this faux “tightness” is to stretch, stretch, and stretch some more. This may even offer some temporary relief but the sensation of being tight all the time will likely be relentless until the underlying problem is addressed. And the constant stretching is likely making the problem worse, so before...

Functional Rehabilitation

What It Is Functional rehabilitation is a way of assessing and correcting musculoskeletal imbalances and faulty movement patterns. Movement screens are used to discover imbalances or inadequate movement, and exercises are given based on each patient’s individual needs. Additionally, limiting activities are evaluated, with exercises being tailored to enhance the performance of necessary activities of daily living. The primary objective of functional rehabilitation is to educate patients on how to move their bodies more effectively and efficiently in order to maintain better posture and alignment. A good sense of body awareness, posture, balance and coordination are continuously stressed and encouraged. How It’s Different This approach differs from traditional physical therapy in that less emphasis is placed on finding and treating specific injured tissues. Finding an exact diagnosis can be difficult due to the close proximity of possible pain generators, this being especially true for spinal pain. Also, false negatives are very common with orthopedic...

Physical Therapy vs. Chiropractic; Which is Right for You?

Choosing a healthcare professional to work with on your treatment is an important decision and the more you know about your options, the easier that decision can be to make. In this video we learn the differences (or lack thereof) between Physical Therapy and modern-day Chiropractic.   What’s the difference? Traditionally chiropractic includes mostly the hands-on therapies: manual adjustments, myofascial release, stretching, etc.  These therapies are focused on loosening up the body and improving mobility. Physical Therapy, on the other hand, focuses on finding areas of instability and using exercises to improve stability in those areas. Although traditionally these treatments are very different, the modern practice of both Chiropractic and Physical Therapy is very similar. There is a vast amount of research out there touting the benefits of both the manual therapies of Chiropractic and the stability exercises of Physical Therapy. The trick of a good treatment plan is implementing the right therapy in...

Simple Stability Exercise; For the Pain In Your Neck

We are constantly striving for stability in our core with the hopes of improving posture and relieving back pain. Don’t get me wrong, core stability is the foundation of all movements and should be a major focus for everyone. However, let’s stop neglecting neck stability. Neck stability not only helps to maintain correct posture but can help relieve neck pain, upper back pain, and even headaches. Strengthening and Stabilizing Exercises Before I go over specific exercises, I would like to differentiate between the concept of strengthening and stabilizing as it pertains to exercising your neck. Strengthening involves moving against a force while stabilizing requires resisting movement under a similar force. When it comes to your neck, and the spine in general, it’s a good idea to focus on stabilizing exercises. Simple Neck Stability Exercises It is important to start any movement or exercise with good posture. For your neck this means shifting your head back...

The Gift of Injury; Rehab Low Back Pain on Your Own

Once upon a time there was a power lifter, Brian Carroll, who was trying to recover from a low back injury. He sought out specialists in the field including a number of orthopedists, all of which said that he would need surgery and that he would have to stop power lifting. However, lifting was too important to him to call it quits. So he found Stuart Mcgill and they worked together on rehabilitating his back. Within a year and a half he came back stronger than ever and went on to break several world records. In an effort to help others with the same age old problem of low back pain they wrote a book together, The Gift of Injury. They went on to live happily ever after- pain free! This book goes over several key components of rehabbing low back pain. Although the book is geared toward power lifters and...

Is it Possible to Stretch Too Much?

Short answer: yes.   Not only is it possible, it’s probable that you are stretching too much. Stretching is a common problem behavior when it comes to joint pain. Here is why. Stretching in itself is not bad at all. In fact it is a very beneficial therapy that I use in treatment plans all the time. The problem does not lie in the act of stretching but in doing so when that is the last thing you need. This can be tricky because a lot of times the joint feels like it needs to be stretched even when it doesn’t. If we think about the mechanics alone, stretching serves as a way to loosen the connective tissue surrounding joints. But often times these joints are already unstable, and because stretching is essentially the opposite of stabilizing, it can do more harm than good. So you are only further destabilizing a joint and...

Clinical Neurodynamics

What is Clinical Neurodynamics? Clinical Neurodynamics is a system of evaluating and treating nerve tension and restrictions. It makes use of the fact that the nervous system is intricately connected throughout the body, with attachments at all ends. Nerves attach to connective tissue within the central nervous system via meninges. They also have attachments into peripheral tissues such as skin, muscles, bones and fascia. With knowledge of how to isolate and place tension on specific nerves, diagnosing and treating can become more specific.   How it Works In order to accommodate for the body’s natural movements, the nervous system itself has mechanisms allowing it to be mobile. First, nerves are capable of elongating, this especially takes place on the convex side of joint movement. Once nerves become lengthened, they eventually develop tension. At the end ranges of a stretch, once tensioned, nerves are capable of sliding through adjacent tissues. This sliding component is essential,...

How to Stop “Throwing Out Your Back”

What does it mean to throw out your back? The phrase “throwing out my back” takes on different forms. Sometimes it happens immediately after a certain activity (usually this entails moving incorrectly) and sometimes it comes on gradually. In either case, what is happening in your back is almost always the same. Under certain stress the spine buckles and the surrounding muscles seize up as a protective response. This usually results in a lot of pain and restricted movement. And, unfortunately, it tends to happen again.. And again.   How to stop the cycle! In order to stop the cycle of throwing out your back, we have to look at what causes it. As mentioned above, usually it is brought on by incorrect movements. This can include using pore posture when lifting or twisting in a way that your back doesn’t appreciate. Essentially, anything that brings your spine out of alignment creates a greater...

How to Keep Your Spine Healthy

Back pain is the worst! As I'm sure many of you already know, chiropractic usually involves treating back PAIN. However, I want to take that a step further and help you to prevent it entirely. In this video I go through some basic guidelines to keep your spine healthy and happy. Things to Avoid Avoiding postural stresses is one of the most simple and effective ways to maintain a healthy spine. The most common postural stress is spinal flexion or rounding of the back. We have all caught ourselves at one time or another slouching in our chair at work or lazily picking something heavy up. These are exactly the sorts of postures that you want to avoid. Studies have shown that these postural stresses can increase pressure on discs by up to 80%.   Start with Mobility Stretching is a good place to start. Restrictions are major indicators that something isn’t right so keeping...

C.R.I.S.P

Clinical Reasoning In Spine Pain Clinical reasoning in spine pain (CRISP) is an evidence based approach for the evaluation and management of spinal pain conditions. It sorts out the multitude of theories and methods, leaving only the most practical and relevant treatment options. This approach combines and utilizes effective techniques from a variety of therapeutic disciplines. Most importantly, there is the recognition of the need for patient education and self-management strategies. The Current Model Could Benefit From Some Improvements There are several reasons why a new model is necessary. First, costs for the treatment of spine pain have been rising for decades. Recent estimates are as high as $87 billion/year. The  increase in cost can be attributed to unnecessary imaging studies and premature utilization of invasive procedures. Also, there are many chiropractic and physical therapy clinics that tend to treat more than necessary. CRISP advocates to treat as little as possible during acute...