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

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...

Low Back Pain- In a Nutshell

Dealing with low back pain can be frustrating and confusing because what works for some may not work for you. The type of therapy that will be most effective depends mostly on what is causing the pain. In order to better understand your treatment options, it’s important to consider the different tissues that can be injured. Structures of the Spine There are essentially four different structures of the spine that can be injured and cause low back pain. Discs are the cushions in between vertebrae that allow us to be mobile. Over time they can become injured and basically wear down. Joints are where bones come together. There are small joints along the vertebrate in your spine and larger joints such as the in the hip; any of which can become restricted and cause pain. Muscles are the movers of the body and can develop trigger points or knots and muscle spasms....

How to Naturally Heal a Pinched Nerve or Disc Bulge

Learning that you have a pinched nerve or disc bulge can be discouraging. However, there is good news; our bodies are capable of healing these injuries on their own. Nerves can regenerate and discs can re-absorb, if not completely eliminating the pain associated with these injuries that at least minimizing it. In this video I lay out several key strategies to help your body along while it heals. Controlling Inflammation Aside from the tradition anti-inflammatory drugs that may be prescribed to you, nutrition plays a significant role in inflammation. Essentially, avoiding refined foods is the best course of action. Recovering from an injury is a big task for your body and nutrition can either help your body heal or get in the way of the healing. So this is the time to take extra care of your body while it works to put things back together. For a more in depth look...

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