5 Do-it-Yourself Ways to Prevent Back Pain and Stay Active

Best Bethlehem PA Chiropractor for Back PainYour family and friends love you, and your health care provider’s job is to take good care of you. The bottom line, however, is that only you can take the very best care of yourself physically, emotionally, and energetically.

Without your own willingness and do-it-yourself attitude in self-care, your health and life may suffer. There are certain things that can put you on your back, literally. Some of these things are body pains in your neck and back as well as injury and severe fatigue that can accumulate.  These problems can take you out of doing what you love during your days and weekends.

The fact is, in any activity you can tell when you are beginning to feel some degree of body resistance or pain. What’s important to remember is that no matter what the activity or the intensity you put into it, your muscles are going to be in constant use. Because of this, almost anything you do from high-intensity cycling to desk and computer work can lead to a buildup of tension in your muscles and stress on your joints, leaving you in pain. You may feel tension or strain in your shoulders, neck or back or just feel exhausted, aged and achy.

As an experienced chiropractor serving Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I know true change starts with you. I can show you methods that will help you stay active, remain healthy, and enjoy a beautiful body for decades to come!

To get a handle on your own pain, here are five do-it-yourself ways to prevent back pain:

  1. Understand Your Body

Pay attention to the way your muscles move when you sit for a long time, walk, work out, or run. Learn to take notice of what you are feeling before, during and after you are hard at work so you can stop or try to work the problem out before it turns into back pain, neck pain, or other pain.

Take a moment to feel the muscle groups that are tensing. Does it feel like there’s a problem? Like your body is telling you something? Where do you feel burning or tightness? Concentrate on these areas during your actions and after you take a break from what you’re doing. Look for the warning signs of problems sticking around like: increased muscle pulling, burning pain or severe achiness and soreness during and after your activities.

  1. Learn How to Triage

If you are experiencing body pain, before you go any further with your day, learn to take time to assign degrees of urgency to your situation. Triage from your standpoint, means preventing a pain or injury from happening or from getting worse. It means noticing the level of activity you are doing during your hard work at the gym, out-and-about or at your desk and considering how it’s going to leave your body afterward. Once you are aware of a new problem or pain starting, this is the time that you can identify with what makes it feel worse or better.

For example, if you are running and you feel your hip get painful and weak, this is the moment to pay close attention. If it feels better with no weight on it, notice it. If it feels better when you keep walking, take note of that too. This will help you learn how to go forward and make small shifts to help heal the area.

The severity of a problem with your body is typically witnessed in the following ways:

The movement has changed– if you can’t move or lift a body part like you used to, this is very important information to be aware of.

The sensation is bothersome– if the body area feels different than it usually does, like its numb, aching, very tender, burning or the pain begins to travel down a limb you may have a bigger problem. This is a good time to stop what you’re doing and take action to heal.

The appearance of the body part is different– if your body part looks different than usual, like it’s red, swollen, white, bruised or firming up, especially if the appearance changes after use of the body part, you will want to take note of exactly what happened and try to rest, seek experienced attention or partake in healing activities right away.

  1. Recognize Chronic Pain

There’s a difference between a little bit of neck pain after you’ve been lifting or carrying something for a long time and feeling plagued by neck pain when you’re at rest. If you feel neck or back pain long after your activities or workout is over or when you’re simply sitting at rest, this could be an indication of a much deeper problem. You may benefit from muscle work and corrective chiropractic services that will help solve the issues that cause your chronic pain.

  1. Prevent Knots of Tension from Building

It is normal to feel a bit of body tension after a challenging activity or workout and even when you’ve been slaving away at the computer all day. More severe areas of body tension happen when these small areas of muscle knots or back and neck pain are not treated immediately. The small areas of body tension can start silent but turn into chronic or increased pain than you never expected. Sometimes you feel this pain move down other areas of your body, like your arms when the pain started in your neck. Large muscle knots can lead to symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, radiating pain or weakness. By preventing knots of body tension from building, you won’t have to worry about debilitating injuries that could keep you from being active.

Take actions to heal. Some suggestions that may help you are to: engage in self-massage, increase or decrease the types of movement that you’re doing according to comfort, stretch, or use ice. I can give you a specific plan to feel better after a thorough evaluation.

  1. Educate Yourself

Injuries can often be prevented with some education. Learn about the warning signs that happen before most injuries occur so you know when to head to your chiropractor for preventative treatment. My free report,Understand if you are heading towards a foot, ankle, or knee injury and how to prevent it”, can provide the information you need to stop injuries in their tracks.

The Importance of Prevention

An active lifestyle has several benefits beyond staying in shape and allowing you to enjoy a beautiful body. Frequent exercise and the participation in activities you love also allow for the positive feelings that come with reaching goals and conquering challenges that may come with age. The feeling that you’re doing something good for yourself and the results you see when you do, are things you can count on, look forward to, and use to boost your mood on a regular basis.

Prevention of pain or injury means stopping problems before they happen and strengthening your physical and emotional healthy habits every day. The benefits of preventative actions are to allow you to stay active and expel the worry of slowing down and being left behind because of injuries. With prevention and a mindful eye on your own body, you’ll be hindered less by fatigue, injury or the feeling that you are losing steam and get back to all the good things that come with staying alert to your body and choices.

Inquire Today About Chiropractic Services

Dr. Nicole Muschett is the Bethlehem, PA chiropractor that is dedicated to helping you stay active in whatever way you choose. Reach all of your goals and feel great about your body without worrying about incurring injuries at home, the gym, at the desk and on the running track. Complimentary consultations are available to help you find out what causes your pain and what can keep you energetic and feeling young. Inquire today and learn more about how you can prevent back pain and stay active so you will never have to feel the stresses of giving up your bliss. Enjoy your body and all that it can do!

Relieving Back Pain: Learn about the #1 Most Effective Method that Surpasses Medical Treatment in Studies

palpation-images-200-300Back pain is a common complaint for many people of all ages. It can really hold you back from making the most out of your day, your workouts- or even out of your life.

That means that getting the right diagnosis for your back pain is crucial. Of course, we’ve all experienced difficulty in getting the exact correct diagnosis and treatment from general medical practitioners. Unlike a swollen ankle, finding visible signs of pain and an overall cause of back pain can be difficult, if not impossible to pinpoint. And often the reason for your pain may or may not be present on an x-ray film or even in an MRI image.

Because of these difficulties in diagnosis, many medical practitioners will simply assess your symptoms and prescribe medication. As a result, you may find yourself frustrated and without the right advice and treatment to help your ongoing pain.

Did you know you can get a more effective assessment, diagnosis and treatment for your pain with a more fine-tuned method? This method is through the use of skilled, experienced hands – through the power of touch. As a matter of fact, a trained sense of touch and an acute knowledge of the spine is exactly what have proven through several studies to provide the #1 method of relieving mechanical low back pain.

“Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians…56 percent vs. 13 percent reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse.”

– Nyiendo et al (2000), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

The skill of touch assessment and treatment begins with a professional chiropractor feeling for the small degrees of joint swelling and lack of, or increased, motion which signifies problems. The small joints in between your spine can hold the same type of swelling you see with a sprained ankle but on a much smaller level.  This swelling will cause pain that you experience as stiffness, soreness or weakness. Often you have difficulty getting comfortable throughout the day or sleeping well because of it. Although you have a huge amount of discomfort, the exact problem area is not as obvious to you or other professionals as a sprained ankle would be. You don’t see the telltale expansive swelling like you would see with an injured ankle.

The Power of Touch: Understanding Your Body

This is why the power of touch in your back pain diagnosis and treatment can make such a difference. Many medical practitioners are not aware of the way your skin, body and muscles work together and holistically affect common pains. Chiropractors, on the other hand, use the power of touch to get a better understanding of your back pain and its causes.

Truly Understanding How to Heal Your Pain with Palpation (Try it yourself!)

Chiropractors use a technique called palpation to better understand your body pain. Palpation is a method of determining where a sufferer may have either structural or functional problems in the body.  Chiropractors will assess your pain by using their hands, which is completely non-invasive for patients.

The best way for you to start to identify the areas in your body that might be injured or “locking up” and ready to cause pain is to develop your observation skills. You can observe through the power of your own touch. Start with comparing either side of your body. You can palpate the motion of your wrist by trying to push the tiny little bones in your wrist back and forth. You can also do this in your spine. Run your fingers down either side of the back of your neck, on either side of your spine. See if you feel more swelling and tenderness on one side versus the other. Now take it a step further and bend your neck around. See if one side bends and flexes better than the other. Often just this little motion can make things feel better.

How Does Palpation Work to Diagnose Your Pain?

In palpation, chiropractors apply their detailed, accurate knowledge of the body’s anatomy to effectively understand what is happening in the spine, as well as its supporting structures. This can include, for example, the muscles, the tendons and the ligaments.

Just like a symphony, your body is trying to work well with all of its moving parts in the most rhythmic way it can so you don’t feel pain. When something is out of key, just like listening to a symphony as a bystander, you may not hear a problem. It’s only a trained musician who can accurately identify it.

In such a way, your chiropractor has the skill that a trained musician has to recognize what’s out of sync in your body with one of her main tools being through the use of palpation.

Finding the Best Treatment for Your Pain

Often after initial palpation, your chiropractor will use other diagnostic tools to complete a fully detailed and accurate exam to identify the best treatment. This can include visual assessments, x-rays, other body scans, and an evaluation of your medical history. Based on all these diagnostic tools, your chiropractor can better determine the type and frequency of treatment necessary to resolve your condition in a way that is quick, holistic, drug-free and non-invasive.

Your Complimentary Palpation Back Consultation

Dr. Nicole Muschett, Chiropractor of Bethlehem PA is offering a complimentary back pain consultation to any readers suffering from back pain in the Bethlehem PA area.

Please contact us via email or call us to discuss your pain and how we can help.

3 Common Causes of Back Pain, Neck Stiffness and Headaches and How to Bounce Back From Pain Quickly

It’s obvikenetic chain back painous that our energy levels, motivation to get up and out the door, as well as our sports performance is affected by our general, whole-body health. The thing about our bodies is, when there is a problem in one small area of our body, it can affect our health in general. As a result, different symptoms appear, and where the symptoms originate is not always obvious. All you may know is that your motivation for movement is down, you are in pain and not able to perform well in your sports or recreation.

The good news is that by understanding how our body works, we can learn how to listen to its signals. This way, we are in a better position to bounce back to optimal health and sports performance more quickly.

How to Tune in to Your Body

We learn from a young age that the different parts of the body are connected and work together. We learn from studying a fake skeleton in museums that bones connect to each other to help us move.

Actually, the body is interconnected beyond the skeleton frame thus affecting energy, performance, organ health and sometimes even mood.

By understanding how the body is connected as a whole, we can start to tune in to the different subtle signs that our body sends to us. These signs clearly tell us about hidden health problems, once we know how to listen to the body and understand them.

This interconnectedness is referred to by chiropractors as the Biomechanical Chain.

How to Use the Biomechanical Chain to Understand Your Body Simply

The important fact to remember with the biomechanical chain is that, when one link becomes broken in the interconnectedness of the body, other parts of the body will react adversely as part of the chain.

This chain is useful for the human body, which is designed to “know” how the different parts can compensate to help the whole body to repair.

However, the way that the body unfortunately compensates can often lead to other parts of the body absorbing unusual, extra stresses that it is not designed to deal with.

For example, when misalignment of one single vertebra occurs in your back, the consequent pain down one leg can cause you to use one leg more than the other to help you walk. However, over-using one side of the body will usually cause the posture to distort further and the misalignment problem in the body can worsen. As a result, even more problems and pain can appear in the body.

Working like a Chiropractor to Understand Your Pain…

Here’s how to identify 3 Common Posture Problems that may be causing your pain:

  1. Are you in pain when you sit for a while or are on your computer? If so and your sitting arrangement is causing the problem, you may notice a stiff or flattened lower back. Often trying to bend backwards is difficult. You may also have a more rounded upper back; right below your neck, which if it gets very advanced may give a hunched back appearance. You likely will experience pain in your upper and lower back as well as regular headaches. Some other symptoms you may be experiencing are feeling tired, having difficulty breathing, having jaw pain or you may be feeling a lack in motivation.
  2. Do you walk with a limp? Favoring a foot, knee or hip can express itself in a limp. This can indicate several things: incomplete healing of past injuries of your foot, ankle, knee or hip may now show up as a persistent limp. A limp can also stem from weaknesses of the muscles or nerves in your legs because of an old back injury, disc problem or a current sciatica problem. You may likely experience pain in your hip, ankle, knee or back that continues because this limp is sticking around too long. Each step you take jars the body the wrong way and because of this you feel pain in one or more joints. You may have varicose veins, painful or irregular periods and many different types of knee and leg pain may come up.
  3. When you look at yourself straight on in the mirror, are your shoulders level or is one higher than the other? This is a key sign that we see in neck pain, upper back pain and before shoulder injuries. Often people with unleveled shoulders have difficulty bringing one arm over their head without feeling some pinching or strain in the neck. This is causing a lot of stress in the upper back and neck and may also present with headaches or a stiff neck. You may be getting sick often with a lower resistance to colds or be experiencing some chest pains or stomach problems.

Your chiropractor has a detailed understanding of how different forces act in the body. As a result, chiropractors are able to understand and identify the true sources of your injury.

How Can You Jump Back to Health As Quickly As Possible

  1. It’s time to take notice of and identify the kinks in your biomechanical chain.
  2. Take notice of the area of their body that is not working right and possibly causing their pain and other uncomfortable conditions.
  3. Contact a chiropractor. Chiropractors are experts at identifying problems in the structure of the biomechanical chain and can then advise you about the best options for effective treatment.

Are you based in Bethlehem, PA?

Dr. Nicole Muschett ( Chiropractor in Bethlehem, PA ) is offering a complimentary foot, ankle and knee pain consultation to help you look after yourself, and bounce back to optimal performance more quickly.

Contact us today to discuss the pain you are experiencing and how I can help you. By understanding how the different parts of your body and the different symptoms you have are connected, your chiropractor can work with you and show you how to reduce or stop pain in its tracks.

By getting an experienced evaluation and timely advice, you will make sure that you recover and are back to functioning at your best as quickly as possible.



Why Bed Rest Isn’t the Best Medicine When It Comes to Back Pain

Back Pain Bethlehem PAIf you find yourself struggling with back pain, you likely want to recover quickly and regain your strength.

It’s natural to feel that you need to take it easy and get lots of bed rest to reduce the strain on your back and muscles.

But beware; bed rest is not the best medicine for fast recovery and lasting back strength. Many medical professionals prescribe it too frequently. Both the National Institute of Health and Dr. Michael S. Wilkes of the Western Journal of Medicine claim that “Despite a plethora of research intended to guide physicians in their management of back pain, physicians still hold strong non-evidence based beliefs dating back to the 19th century.”

The idea of bed rest for back pain is one that has ingrained itself deep into society. Despite evidence otherwise, the idea pervades.  According to the Daily Mail, one study surveying a thousand people from the ages 25–65 years of age, found that 35% believe that bed rest is the best way to handle aches and pains such as back pain.

Where is all of this information originating?

Chiropractors have long understood the need for early introduction of motion into the injured back and have found that patients have a phenomenal success rates when this is done. This has everything to do with the skills chiropractors use to administer pain-free amounts of motion back into a very tight and guarded back. Success and recovery has little to do with lying in bed, in pain for an extended period of time.

Here is why bed rest is not the best medicine:

Bed rest produces a mentality of being in a weakened state. Michael Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine says, “The mind’s expectation of pain can itself cause protective movements to persist for longer than necessary”.

Certainly our minds are part of an important feedback loop in the effort to heal from intense pain.  Often what our minds are feeling: guarded, tired, scared, our bodies are being. It’s a strong connection. Thus, the tendency to use bed rest as a solution puts us in a state of being weak and petulant which keeps the body in a state of guarding itself, tightening up, and in protection-mode which can extend the time we have painful muscle spasms. This also ensures our bodies are not open to new movement patterns that we actually need to free us from pain quickly.

Evidence shows that extended bed rest does not help. For most types of back pain, there is powerful evidence that extended bed rest does not help. One study showed that when comparing routine care, bed rest, and exercise, bed rest resulted in greater intensity of pain, greater disability and more work days lost.

Exercise had the most favorable outcome. According to Dr. Wilkes, “14 of 18 controlled studies report that active exercise can improve outcomes.”
In order to feel ready to get some exercise in your day, light chiropractic adjustments will help you feel better quicker and your back will move well so it heals properly. These light and specific, motion-inducing adjustments to your back can help produce better results in the long run.

When you are experiencing your most acute back pain, you may need to temporarily change your routine…that’s okay. But the majority of the time you should consider the fact that you need to minimize bed rest for your back to heal like it needs to. It’s better to get moving so your back has the opportunity to get stronger. This is best when the joints fit and move together well as chiropractic adjustments help.

Extended Bed rest restricts the spine’s ability to stay healthy and be strong. Bed rest can be helpful to reduce painful muscle spasms which are usually right after an injury. Such spasms are an attempt for the body to limit movement in an injured part of the body. However, for an extended period of time, this is not good. Bed rest restricts the spine’s motion and unlike other body parts, spines require motion in order to get nutrients so it stays healthy. Restricted movement can result in lost strength and can make it harder for the spine to recover.

Whenever there are problems with your back, chiropractic care is the most logical and proven effective first step. Studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective than conventional medical care in cases of low back pain. In some cases, significant relief from back pain can be immediate. Contact us if you feel your back is talking to you; it’s in pain or feeling weak. When you do this, you have a strong chance of getting stronger and back into your day-to-day routine soon.

The Chiropractor’s 6 Secrets to Avoid Back Injuries at the Gym!

back pain relief at the gym chiropractor paA large-scale University of Arkansas study found that after injuries to the hand, back injuries from the neck to the lower back were the most common type of gym-related injuries.

Back injuries at the gym are more common today due to the large amounts of time we spend sitting at a desk or hunched over a computer. Even when you’re inside dreaming of the outdoors or enjoying your time at the gym, you can set yourself up for injury if you’re not preparing correctly.

According to personal trainer Justin Price, a specialist in functional fitness and corrective exercise, “If someone is rounded throughout the day in their upper back, and then they go to the gym…their lower back has a nervous breakdown because it gets all the stress.”

Whether you are like one of my athletes training for competition or just someone who visits the gym regularly to keep fit, protecting your back and spine from injuries during workouts is important.

Here are 6 of my best secrets for gym-goers, to prevent injury when exercising or lifting weights:

1.  Start with focusing on a strong core muscles– Price suggests that in order to avoid injury you should consider getting a personal trainer who can show you the proper way of performing exercises and using equipment. The most important way to maintain good spinal health is to strengthen your core muscles. These are the muscles that lend strength and support to the spine and they are also the muscles that tend to become weak from long periods of sitting.

2.  Infuse your back muscles with energy – When muscles are left in a stretched-out state (like the outer part of an hunched-over back), they have to work harder than usual to tighten up when you need them. This can exhaust your muscles and drain your energy. When muscles are left in a state where they are constantly tightened (like the inside curve of a back with scoliosis – often present if your shoulder heights are not equal), they also get fatigued because they are constantly contracting. Either way you and your body will be tired without really doing anything.

To avoid fast fatigue by over-stretched or over-tightened muscles, have your back curvature checked by your chiropractor. He or she will be able to diagnose the subtleties of your back posture – whether it’s becoming over-rounded in some areas, over-straightened in others, or if you’re developing levels of scoliosis. If any of these is present in your back, you can exercise all you want but your muscles will not be working at their strongest (or highest performance) and you will be setting yourself up for pain and injury to your back, legs, arms, and shoulders. 

3.  Protect your back from bending stress– Tighten your gluteus (buttocks) muscles.  When performing a squat, deadlift, or pushup, be sure to squeeze your glutes. This ensures that the muscles connecting your lumbar and sacral areas are locked so your hips and lower back move as a single unit. Otherwise there is a tendency for the lower back to curve or bend, with the vertebral discs being exposed to more stress than they are designed to handle.

4.  Support your spine from a different angle– To provide stability to the spine as you bend and lift, you need to also consider supporting it from another angle. Like a tent needs all corners to be secure, your spine needs strength from all sides. Tighten your abs to keep your spine from arching too much in either direction and tighten your abdominal muscles like you are preparing to be punched in the stomach while you are bending and lifting. 

5.  Prevent one of the top causes of disc herniation– Pull your shoulders down and back – A rounded upper back is one of the leading causes of back injury. It increases pressure on the front side of the vertebral disks which is one of the leading causes of disc herniation.

6.  Get your hips and shoulders working together– Keep your hips and shoulders aligned – Back injuries happen more often when twisting and bending. If you lead first with the shoulders, the hips tend to fall behind and react too late which results in excessive strain to your lower back muscles.  Ensure that your hips and shoulders move as one unit. If you need to change direction, lead with the hips and the shoulders will follow.

Are you concerned about preventing injuries to your ankles, knees and hips? You’ll want to check out our free report right here on our website, “10 Questions to See if you are Heading Towards a Foot, Ankle or Knee Injury…and How to Prevent It”. You’ll learn how to identify issues ahead of time, even if you’re currently pain free.