MRI is a technique that uses magnetic field and computer-generated sound waves to obtain detailed images of organs and tissues in our body. The magnetic field inside the MRI machine temporarily realigns water molecules in your body. The aligned molecules produce faint signals with radio waves, and create cross-sectional MRI images. 3D images can be produced with MRI by viewing the organ or tissue in various angles.
This noninvasive imaging technique gives high-resolution images of our body tissues which helps identify different health issues. MRI is the most frequently used method to obtain images of the brain and spinal cord. Other common organs and tissues imaged with MRI include heart, blood vessels, internal organs (liver, kidney, pancreas etc.), bones and joints, as well as the breasts.
However, since MRI uses powerful magnets to generate a strong magnetic field, any presence of metal in your body can be attracted to the magnet and can be a safety hazard. Metal can also distort the MRI image. Tattoos or permanent makeup might contain metal and might affect the MRI result. Report to the doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, as the effects of the contrast material that has to be injected are still not well understood.
Patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is the inflammation of the patellar tendon, which connects your knee cap to your shin bone. This condition can weaken the connective tissue and can possibly lead to tears in your tendon. Possible causes of the inflammation of the patellar tendon include practicing repetitive movements, overusing the tendon or adding too much pressure to your tendon repeatedly.
Knee pain is one of the most common symptoms of patellar tendonitis. If you feel pain especially when jumping, running, stretching and bending your leg; tenderness or swelling at the lower part of your knee cap, it is likely that your patellar tendon is inflame. Some symptoms resemble other medical condition, X-ray is one of the best ways to diagnose patellar tendonitis.
Once diagnosed for patellar tendonitis, it is important to stop the activities that caused the problem until fully recovered. Other treatments such as applying ice packs to your knees helps reduce inflammation, and shockwave therapy speeds up the healing process.
Facet joints are sets of synovial joints between two adjacent vertebrae. There is a pair of facet joints on each vertebra. The joint’s main function is to guide and limit movements and motions such as rotation. Lumbar facet joints also have some minor impact on limiting the range of motion of side bending.
Definition and symptoms of facet syndrome:
Facet syndrome is defined as the unilateral or bilateral backpain that originates from the facet joint and/or its capsule. Though it might not be common, the pain could radiate to one or both buttocks, the sides of groin and/or the thigh, and usually stops above the knee; but in most cases, the pain is localized which helps practitioners easily located its source. Patients would experience more pain when they extend their back (bend backwards) than when they flex (bend forward).
Physical examinations and diagnostic facet joint block detect and indicate facet syndrome, but false positive rate for both diagnostic methods are high. Interventional radiology such as MRI is a more accurate way to detect the syndrome.
Chiropractic adjustments are great ways to treat facet syndrome; the syndrome responds to standard chiropractic treatment procedures like heat and modalities really well. Trainings that can improve time of response and proprioception help with the pain as well.
There are many ways to maintain a good posture and avoid the experience of back pain.
- Pay attention to your standing and sitting posture throughout the day.
- If you are sitting for long periods of time, stand up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour.
- A rolled towel can be used to maintain the normal lumbar curve while sitting.
- Doing physical activity regularly can help build strong abdominal and back muscles.
- Aquatic exercises can help with your strength, posture, and balance.
- Phones or books should be held at eye level.
- Make sure your shoes are comfortable and supportive.
- Consider placing a small pillow under your neck and a rolled towel at your lower back when you sleep.
Poor posture, traumatic injury, strain, or sprain can cause our muscles, ligaments, and tendons to have abnormal tension. This can cause pain, tenderness, and/or movement dysfunctions. Soft tissue therapies are a type of therapy where soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons are pressed and kneaded with the hand or a mechanical device. This can be performed by chiropractors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, or massage therapists. Soft tissue therapy can help relieve pain and inflammation, reduce stiffness and movement dysfunction, reduce spasm, and increase the range of motion of the injured area. Moreover, it can improve circulation by increasing the local blood flow. It can also assist with tissue healing, fix abnormal postures, and help avoid further injury. Overall, soft tissue therapy can help with your pain and musculoskeletal health.
The spine consists of spinal disks and vertebrae and similar to a jelly donut, the disk has a softer “jelly” center. When the “jelly” pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior, it is known as a herniated disk. Disk degeneration can cause disk herniation in the lower back or in the neck. The water content in the disks decrease as we get older and the flexibility of it decreases. Therefore, a minor strain, twist, and improper lifting can easily lead to a tear or rupture in the disk.
The signs and symptoms that someone will experience includes pain, numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness due to the irritation on the nerves. Pain can be felt in the thigh and calf when the herniated disk is in the lower back. Pain can be felt in the shoulder and arm when the herniated disk is in the neck.
Excess body weight and duties performed on the job that put extra stress on your lower back can increase the risk of disk herniation. A few things that you can do to prevent a herniated disk includes lifting heavy objects properly, strengthening trunk muscles, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Lordosis is located in your neck and spine. Cervical lordosis is when there is an inward curve in the region of your neck. When there is an inward curve in your lower back, it is known as lumbar lordosis. It is more common for an individual to have lumbar lordosis than cervical lordosis. Obesity, osteoporosis, poor posture, spondylolisthesis, and kyphosis are a few causes of lordosis. Someone who does not have this condition would notice their ears are lined up over their hips, shoulders, and ankles.
Individuals who experience lordosis would have a noticeable curve that could be seen. In addition, they might experience discomfort, severe back pain and/or tense muscles around the curve. Lordosis could restrict their movements and create a space in between their neck or lower back and the floor when they are laying down.
Physical therapy can help with strengthening, and increase your flexibility and range of motion for your neck and spine. Exercising, stretching, using extra pillows when you go to sleep to support your spine, and wearing a neck immobilizer or thoracic spine brace are all possible treatment options for lordosis.
A healthy spine is made up of vertebrae that look like cylinders put on top of one another to form a column. Kyphosis is when the vertebrae in the upper back is more wedge shaped, which leads to an excessive, forward rounding of the back. It can appear in infants or teens, but it is most commonly found in older women.
In addition to an abnormal curvature of the spine, someone who has mild kyphosis can experience back pain and stiffness. Fractures, disk degeneration, birth defects, osteoporosis can all lead to an abnormal vertebrae. Kyphosis is linked to weak back muscles and an individual can have difficulty walking, driving, and looking up. Pain can also be felt when the individual lies down and there can be problems with breathing and digestion if the situation is severe. Depending on the individual’s age and the cause, the treatment can vary for each individual.
Educate on nature and course of LBP, provide reassurance, and advise on physical activity and self-management strategies. Based on patient preference and practitioner experience, we suggest:
Acute (0-3 months) Low Back Pain
- Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT), other commonly used treatments or a combination of SMT and commonly used treatments to decrease pain and disability in the short term.
Remark: Other commonly used treatments may include advice on posture and physical activity, and usual medical care when deemed beneficial.
Chronic ( > 3 months) Low Back Pain
- Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT) over minimal intervention to decrease pain and disability in the short term.
Remark: Minimal intervention includes manually applied forces with diminished magnitude or 5-minute light massage.
- Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT) or other treatments for short-term reduction in pain and disability.
Remark: Other treatments include extension exercises, advice plus exercise, myofascial therapy, or usual medical care when deemed beneficial. Pain relief is most effective within the first 6 months and functional improvement was most effective at 1 month.
- Multimodal therapy with or without Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT) to decrease pain and disability.
Remark: Multimodal therapy with SMT treatment may also include exercise, myofascial therapy, advice, educational material, usual medical care when deemed beneficial. SMT (2 sessions per week for 4 weeks) plus standard medical therapy has shown better pain and functional outcomes than standard medical care alone. Pain and functional improvement was also shown at 3 and 12 months.
Chronic ( > 3 months) Back-Related Leg Pain (Sciatica or Radicular Low Back Pain)
- Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT) plus home exercise and advice to reduce back pain and disability.
Remark: Reduced chronic back-related leg pain (sciatica or radicular LBP) and disability were observed at 12 weeks follow-up. Home exercise includes positioning and stabilization exercises.
Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative
December is approaching and snowy weathers could be coming your way! With every snowfall, comes with shoveling and keeping your street free from snow turning into ice and avoiding others to fall on the street. If you are helping others preventing injuries, shouldn’t you be taking care of yourself as well?
Shoveling can put a lot of strain on your back muscles so you may need to take caution of how much stress you are actually applying to these muscles. Here are 4 tips you can follow to reduce your chances of injuring your lower back.
- Warm up your muscles first. Try to do some stretches as warming up your muscles can be less susceptible to injury.
- The method you use to shovel. Bending at the knees and hips and using your leg muscles instead of your back, it can relieve stress off your back muscles and reduces risks of straining them.
- If you are already experiencing low back pain, avoid the job. Try and see if it’s possible to find another volunteer, who doesn’t have back pain, to shovel the snow.
- Use a different shovel. Try a shovel with a curved handle which provides you with an upright stance with adjustable length.
Try and experiment with these tips and your back muscles will definitely thank you!