Archive for the ‘herniated disc Los Gatos’ Tag

Parents: Children Need to Practice Good Computer Ergonomics, Too   Leave a comment

 

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At least 70 percent of America’s 30 million elementary school students use computers, according to a recent New York Times article. As a result of this increased usage, doctors of chiropractic are treating more young patients suffering from the effects of working at computer stations that are either designed for adults or poorly designed for children. Many children are already suffering from repetitive motion injuries (RMI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic pain in the hands, back, neck and shoulders.

A recently published study conducted by a team of researchers from Cornell University found that 40 percent of the elementary school children they studied used computer workstations that put them at postural risk. The remaining 60 percent scored in a range indicating “some concern.”

“Emphasis needs to be placed on teaching children how to properly use computer workstations,” stated Dr. Scott Bautch, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Occupational Health. “Poor work habits and computer workstations that don’t fit a child’s body during the developing years can have harmful physical effects that can last a lifetime. Parents need to be just as concerned about their children’s interaction with their computer workstations as they are with any activities that may affect their children’s long-term health,” added Dr. Bautch.

What can you do?
To reduce the possibility of your child suffering painful and possibly disabling injuries, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and its Council on Occupational Health offer the following tips:

  • If children and adults in your home share the same computer workstation, make certain that the workstation can be modified for each child’s use.
  • Position the computer monitor so the top of the screen is at or below the child’s eye level. This can be accomplished by taking the computer off its base or stand, or having the child sit on firm pillows or phone books to reach the desired height.
  • Make sure the chair at the workstation fits the child correctly. An ergonomic back cushion, pillow or a rolled-up towel can be placed in the small of the child’s back for added back support. There should be two inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of the knees. The chair should have arm supports so that elbows are resting within a 70- to 135-degree angle to the computer keyboard.
  • Wrists should be held in a neutral position while typing – not angled up or down. The mousing surface should be close to the keyboard so your child doesn’t have to reach or hold the arm away from the body.
  • The child’s knees should be positioned at an approximate 90- to 120-degree angle. To accomplish this angle, feet can be placed on a foot rest, box, stool or similar object.
  • Reduce eyestrain by making sure there is adequate lighting and that there is no glare on the monitor screen. Use an antiglare screen if necessary.
  • Limit your child’s time at the computer and make sure he or she takes periodic stretch breaks during computing time. Stretches can include: clenching hands into fists and moving them in 10 circles inward and 10 circles outward; placing hands in a praying position and squeezing them together for 10 seconds and then pointing them downward and squeezing them together for 10 seconds; spreading fingers apart and then closing them one by one; standing and wrapping arms around the body and turning all the way to the left and then all the way to the right.
  • Your child’s muscles need adequate hydration to work properly and avoid injury. Encourage your child to drink four 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Carbonated beverages, juices and other sweet drinks are not a substitute.
  • Urge your child’s school or PTA officials to provide education on correct computer ergonomics and to install ergonomically correct workstations.

“If your child continues to complain of pain and strain from sitting at a computer, see a doctor of chiropractic,” urges Dr. Bautch. “A chiropractor can help alleviate your child’s pain and help prevent further injury.”

What does health mean to you?   Leave a comment

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Another happy patient!   Leave a comment

A review from Tam H. from Saratoga, CA:

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OUTSTANDING care, knowledge, skills, and methods! I have been to three other chiropractors, and Dr. Brad is the best. I took my 83 year old mom there, who, by default, is very mistrusting of doctors and resistant to receiving medical help. She came in with leg, foot, and shoulder pain. Dr. Brad listened to my mom talk, and through this process, was able to determine the root of her problems. He asked numerous questions, tested and re-tested different areas to see the body’s response, and has been using a wide variety of modalities in her treatment. Dr. Brad is one of kind. He is innovative in his approach, intuitive in his decisions, and works according to the body’s response. Since I take my mom to her appointments, I am able to sit in on her treatments. It is FASCINATING to watch what Dr. Brad does, and he does an excellent job explaining to me and my mom what he is doing and why. He is not a “one-size fits all” doctor who gives the standard procedure to each patient. Dr. Brad goes the extra mile with my mom’s individual needs and spends the needed time with her. My mom and I are so impressed with Dr. Brad’s high quality care!!

 

 

Hamstring Stretch for Back Pain Relief   Leave a comment

The hamstrings run through the back of each thigh. Tightness in this muscle limits motion in the pelvis which can increase stress across the low back and corrupt correct posture. Stretching the hamstrings with these following exercises (or as part of a routine of back exercises) can gradually lengthen them and reduce the stress felt in the lower back.Image

Options for hamstring stretching exercises, listed from most difficult to least difficult, include:

Standing Hamstring Stretch

This is the most common technique. While standing, simply bend forward at the waist with arms hanging down and with legs relatively straight. Try to touch the toes but do not strain to do so. Stop when a stretch is felt in the hamstring.

How Inactivity Changes the Brain   Leave a comment

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

A number of studies have shown that exercise can remodel the brain by prompting the creation of new brain cells and inducing other changes. Now it appears that inactivity, too, can remodel the brain, according to a notable new report.

The study, which was conducted in rats but likely has implications for people too, the researchers say, found that being sedentary changes the shape of certain neurons in ways that significantly affect not just the brain but the heart as well. The findings may help to explain, in part, why a sedentary lifestyle is so bad for us.

Until about 20 years ago, most scientists believed that the brain’s structure was fixed by adulthood, that you couldn’t create new brain cells, alter the shape of those that existed or in any other way change your mind physically after adolescence.

But in the years since, neurological studies have established that the brain retains plasticity, or the capacity to be reshaped, throughout our lifetimes. Exercise appears to be particularly adept at remodeling the brain, studies showed.

But little has been known about whether inactivity likewise alters the structure of the brain and, if so, what the consequences might be.

So for a study recently published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology, scientists at Wayne State University School of Medicine and other institutions gathered a dozen rats. They settled half of them in cages with running wheels and let the animals run at will. Rats like running, and these animals were soon covering about three miles a day on their wheels.

The other rats were housed in cages without wheels and remained sedentary.

After almost three months of resting or running, the animals were injected with a special dye that colors certain neurons in the brain. In this case, the scientists wanted to mark neurons in the animals’ rostral ventrolateral medulla, an obscure portion of the brain that controls breathing and other unconscious activities central to our existence.

The rostral ventrolateral medulla commands the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which among other things controls blood pressure on a minute-by-minute basis by altering blood-vessel constriction. Although most of the science related to the rostral ventrolateral medulla has been completed using animals, imaging studies in people suggest that we have the same brain region and it functions similarly.

A well-regulated sympathetic nervous system correctly directs blood vessels to widen or contract as needed and blood to flow, so that you can, say, scurry away from a predator or rise from your office chair without fainting. But an overly responsive sympathetic nervous system is problematic, said Patrick Mueller, an associate professor of physiology at Wayne State University who oversaw the new study. Recent science shows that “overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system contributes to cardiovascular disease,” he said, by stimulating blood vessels to constrict too much, too little or too often, leading to high blood pressure and cardiovascular damage.

The sympathetic nervous system will respond erratically and dangerously, scientists theorize, if it is receiving too many and possibly garbled messages from neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla.

And, as it turned out, when the scientists looked inside the brains of their rats after the animals had been active or sedentary for about 12 weeks, they found noticeable differences between the two groups in the shape of some of the neurons in that region of the brain.

Using a computerized digitizing program to recreate the inside of the animals’ brains, the scientists established that the neurons in the brains of the running rats were still shaped much as they had been at the start of the study and were functioning normally.

But many of the neurons in the brains of the sedentary rats had sprouted far more new tentacle-like arms known as branches. Branches connect healthy neurons into the nervous system. But these neurons now had more branches than normal neurons would have, making them more sensitive to stimuli and apt to zap scattershot messages into the nervous system.

In effect, these neurons had changed in ways that made them likely to overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system, potentially increasing blood pressure and contributing to the development of heart disease.

This finding is important because it adds to our understanding of how, at a cellular level, inactivity increases the risk of heart disease, Dr. Mueller said. But even more intriguing, the results underscore that inactivity can change the structure and functioning of the brain, just as activity does.

Of course, rats are not people, and this is a small, short-term study. But already one takeaway is that not moving has wide-ranging physiological effects. In upcoming presentations, Dr. Mueller said, he plans to show slides of the different rat neurons and, echoing the old anti-drug message, point out that “‘this is your brain.’ And this is your brain on the couch.”

Fighting a Cold   Leave a comment

Victoria Roberts
by C. Claiborne Ray

Q. What’s the best remedy for a cold?

A. “The best remedy for the cold remains effective prevention,” said Dr. Orli R. Etingin founder and medical director of the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

The viruses that usually cause the common cold are spread by touching virus-laden skin or surfaces or by inhaling airborne drops of mucus.

“Current theory is that the cold is more common in winter months because there is less ventilation of common spaces, allowing for increased spread of infection,” Dr. Etingin said. “Holiday airplane travel is an almost certain way to increase one’s risk of a cold.”

If prevention fails, she said, symptoms can be treated. Congestion, low-grade fever and nasal discharge resulting from inflammation of the respiratory tract are most effectively addressed with rest and 60 to 80 ounces of fluids a day.

Remedies for a cold’s inflammation, fever and achiness include acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Steam and nasal spray can decrease discharge and keep the airways open. Over-the-counter decongestants can also ease congestion symptoms, and mucus-loosening agents like guaifenesin can help decrease coughing.

There are several “remedies” that do not work. “Since the common cold is viral, antibiotics are not useful or necessary,” Dr. Etinginsaid, and studies have shown that vitamin C, ginger and zinc are ineffective.

 

An Osteoarthritis Primer   Leave a comment

by Paula Span

Maybe we should rewrite that quote usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Nothing is certain except death, taxes — and arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the United States.

Dr. C. Thomas Vangsness Jr., an orthopedist and chief of sports medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, has just published (with co-author Greg Ptacek) “The New Science of Overcoming Arthritis.” I asked him about the most common form, osteoarthritis, in which cartilage wears away, causing joint pain, swelling and stiffness. I’ve edited and condensed our conversation.

Q. It sounds like we’re all headed for osteoarthritis, eventually.

A. Pretty much. If you’re 55 or over, you have a 75 percent chance. By 79, almost everyone has some symptoms.

Q. Do you find that people dismiss it because it’s seen as a normal part of aging?

A. Yes. Besides, it doesn’t kill people. It’s more of an ache-y break-y nuisance, and it doesn’t hit the radar. If a couple of senators’ wives died from this disease, they’d make more effort to fund research.

Q. Why do you say the prevalence of arthritis will get worse before it gets better?

A. The pervasiveness of obesity is one issue — if you’re heavy, it affects your joints. Plus, we’re living longer, so we take more steps and use our joints more, and they wear out over time.

Q. And there’s some genetic component?

A. Absolutely. Some people are predisposed to arthritis. We’ll know more about that in time.

Q. Your recommendations emphasize diet and exercise, which sometimes seem like the prescription for everything.

A. You lose weight by picking the right grandparents or by eating right. Exercise by itself won’t cause weight loss. But exercise is still important.

Every time you do a heel strike, that puts shattering force up through the bones, increasing the wear and tear. If the muscles stay strong, they decrease the force across the joint. They take up some of that pounding, sort of like shock absorbers.

Also, joints like to be lubricated. Movement helps slosh the synovial fluid in your joints around and that nourishes the cartilage.

Q. What kind of exercise do you recommend for people with arthritis?

A. Nothing pounding. I use an exercise bike; you’re still putting weight on your joints, you get the aerobics, but it’s not like a treadmill. Less stress on your knees. Jogging isn’t as good an idea. Swimming is the best — moving your joints in a weightless environment.

Q. Every supermarket sells dietary supplements that claim to decrease arthritis pain. Do any of them work?

A. There’s conflicting scientific evidence. Good, unbiased randomized controlled studies don’t exist. Even for glucosamine and chondroitin, the studies are financed by the manufacturers and they’re flawed. But they suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin can be helpful, and they’re not harmful or expensive.

The scientific rigor I look for as a medical school professor says that the evidence is not there, but my patients tell me they feel better. So I say great, continue taking them — but let’s not kid ourselves. We don’t have F.D.A. regulation for these supplements.

Q. Green tea? Flaxseed? Herbs?

A. Where’s the beef? Show me the studies.

Q. How good are the drug options?

A. I tell patients they fan the smoke away from the fire, but the fire is still there. At this point, there’s nothing we have that can resurface cartilage.

Acetaminophen — Tylenol — just works on the pain. The NSAIDS –- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — work on the inflammation. Celebrex is a little different pathway, and it’s safer for your stomach but a lot more expensive.

We have new drugs coming down the road, probably in the next decade.

Q. You’re a surgeon so, not surprisingly, you see surgery as a good option.

A. On younger patients, we can transplant cells or do whole cartilage grafts — harvest cartilage cells, grow and expand them, and replant them. We can also do partial knee replacements, and that’s been a big improvement.

In an older patient, the inclination is to do the definitive single operation, the hip or knee replacement. The risks of surgery are higher with age — blood clots, infections. So, one operation and then they’re done.

Q. Your book sounds very optimistic about stem cells. You did your own double-blind trial using a stem-cell treatment.

A. To me, it’s one of the more promising approaches. We injected stem cells into people’s knees to try to regrow torn and removed meniscus tissue. We had it grow back nicely at the one-year follow-up; at two years, that didn’t hold up statistically.

But we found that the procedure was safe and that people with arthritis had a big response. And that improvement lasted. Now, I’m starting a study of injecting stem cells into the knee for arthritis relief. I hope to start in the next five or six months.

Q. Do you see any role for alternative therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic or meditation?

A. Chiropractic, unproven and unrelated to nonspine osteoarthritis. But to have a health care provider touching patients might make them feel better.

We don’t know how acupuncture works; I wouldn’t rule it out, but I wouldn’t use it for an extended period.

Do I think meditation will decrease inflammation? No, but it may decrease your perception of pain.

I live in California. I advise people to see what works.