Stretching Is NOT For Everyone!

Stretching is not for everyone! Yet, for most in pain seeking the help of an expert, it’s one of the first things that is recommended to do.

Why?

That’s the question you should be asking! Go to a PT or a chiropractor and you’re likely to get a handful of stretches recommended to you to increase flexibility. But why are you so tight?

Is it because you sit at a desk all day? Maybe it’s because you have been exercising a lot lately? These still don’t answer the question. Your body is telling you something is wrong!

You feel stiff and tight. There is a very good reason why (and its not because you haven’t been stretching)! You need to find out why and also what needs to be done! Here are the 2 most common reasons you feel the need to stretch and why you shouldn’t:

Adhesion: Adhesion is the most common, most misdiagnosed, and mistreated condition in the human body. Adhesion is like glue on the muscles. It makes them stick together. Adhesion forms most frequently from overuse, like sitting at a desk all day or doing repetitive activities (sound familiar?). When present, it causes decreased range of motion, weakness, and pain. In order to fix it, it must be broken down manually with very precise and specific treatment.

Nerve Entrapment: Nerve entrapment goes hand-in-hand with the adhesion. Nerve entrapment happens when adhesion wraps itself around a nerve. This can create symptoms of radiating, tingling, burning, aching type symptoms. Similarly, the adhesion has to be removed from the nerve(s) in order for symptoms to go away.

Stretching will not help these conditions! Trying to stretch these conditions may make you feel better temporarily, but will make you feel the need to do it more, and you will never see the long term benefit.

If you are healthy, a daily/weekly routine of stretching or yoga can absolutely be a benefit to staying healthier longer! But if you have symptoms of pain or stiffness, it serves very little purpose. You have a problem, and it’s a BIG deal! You deserve it to yourself to find out why you feel the way you do! If your provider can’t explain why, get yourself a new provider!

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At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion!  If you, or someone you know, find yourself in a continuous need to stretch, or struggling to get out of pain, you deserve a better answer!  Call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment below!

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Chiropractic, PT, or an Educational Booklet: Which Is Better Treatment For Low Back Pain in Cedar Rapids?

Would you believe me if I told you that an educational pamphlet is just as effective as chiropractic care or physical therapy in relieving low back pain?

In 1998, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked to compare the effectiveness of chiropractic, physical therapy, or an educational pamphlet for low back pain.  The conclusion of the study fueled a lively debate.  What the study found was that there was little difference in outcomes between low back pain patients treated with standard chiropractic manipulation, McKenzie exercises, or the educational booklet!  Not surprising, chiropractors and physical therapists alike were outraged from the findings.

While many previous studies done prior have shown chiropractic and physical therapy to be effective for helping with low back pain, why did this study show an educational pamphlet was just as effective?

To start, let’s look at the study design.  The patients were diagnosed with a regional diagnosis, low back pain, after pathology had been ruled out (herniation, cancer, etc.).  This would be no different than saying someone has shoulder pain.  Patients were randomly assigned to either chiropractic, physical therapy, or the educational readings.  This is where things got interesting.

Patients sent to a chiropractor were diagnosed with a sprain/strain 50% of the time, and another 30% of the chiropractic group was diagnosed with facet syndrome, or misalignments of the spine.  The same group of low back pain patients sent to the physical therapist were diagnosed with disc derangement 92% of the time.  This should raise some alarm!  The same group of randomly assigned patients sent to two different providers had significantly different diagnoses!

While it is entirely possible that the provider’s diagnoses were correct, it is highly unlikely that the difference was that dramatic.  It has often been demonstrated that nearly 70 percent of low back pain arises from 3 different sources; disc (39%), facet (15%), and Sacroiliac (SI) joint (13%).  This is where the study inherently failed.

While the study was not specific enough to sub classify low back pain patients into their respective groups, the providers themselves seemed to have classified patients based on what they can fix, not what the patient necessarily had.  McKenzie exercises have been shown to be effective in treatment of pain arising from the disc.  Likewise, chiropractic manipulation would be most effective in treating those struggling with facet and SI joint complications.

While this was not the intent of the study, this ultimately showed where modern day health care has gone wrong!  Too often, providers of any profession try to categorize patient’s problems into what they can fix, and not what the patient actually has.  It comes without saying that patient outcomes would be much higher if patients were given the treatment they need, and not the treatment the provider is certified to practice.   When providers try to fix patients by classifying them into what they can fix and not what the patient actually has, an educational pamphlet has just as much value as chiropractic and physical therapy.

Reference:

Excerpt modified from [Original DC article] by William Brady, DC. Used with permission. www.integrativediagnosis.com