Let’s review what you’ve learned so far from this chiropractor Little Falls MN. Spinal adjusting, spinal exercises, and hands-on muscle therapy are very effective treatments for back and neck pain. Not only that, they’re incredibly less expensive and safer than medications and surgery.
Pretty impressive, but it’s not good enough. Why? Because good enough is never good enough. I want to deliver to you as a chiropractor Little Falls MN the most effective treatment for back and neck pain—The Solution—but before I can do that I need to unveil one more component.
You might be thinking: “What’s wrong with what you’ve laid out? That treatment sounds like the winning ticket.” The answer is just that—spinal adjustments, spinal exercises, and hands-on muscle therapy are treatment. They only address the dysfunction once it’s set in. They only repair what has already been damaged. They only slow the pathological protective changes once they’ve occurred. But what if you get all the way to your desired destination—to the point of being without pain—and then you unwittingly create another Buckling Point in your spine and cross the Tipping Point? That’s right; you’ll be pulled back in the Vicious Cycle faster than you can say ouch.”
The problem with what we’ve discussed in this section so far is that it’s all treatment. Spinal adjustments, spinal exercise, and hands-on muscle therapy only treat problems that are already there. They do not prevent problems from occurring like a chiropractor Little Falls MN can. Said differently, up to this point, I’ve shown you what the most effective mops are, where to find them, and how to best use them to clean up the mess, but I have not yet shown you how to turn off the faucet—which, in my opinion, is the most important component of The Solution.
Mistakes and Buckling Points
Imagine a really bad driver. He comes to a screeching halt at every stop sign and then accelerates like a bat out of hell. He never slows down to take corners, and red-lines the engine every chance he gets. And to top it off, he’s never changed the oil, replaced fluids, or had the “check engine” light looked at. One day, while driving like a maniac, his car violently lurches forward, then abruptly stops as smoke spews from under the hood.
A tow truck takes the car to a mechanic who reveals that the car is nearly totaled, and it’s going to take a lot of time and money to get it fixed. Let’s say, for the sake of this example, he cannot dump, exchange, or sell the car. He has to bite the bullet and fix it.
How would he go about doing that? First, find a mechanic that can do the job. Second, get the damaged parts repaired. And then, for Pete’s sake, drive better! That last part—learning how to drive better—is exactly what has to be done next to rid yourself of back and neck pain.
Let’s go back to the beginning. Remember the pathway to pain starts in one of two ways. Either a) Something Bad Happens To You or b) You Do Something Wrong. We have no control over the former, and it’s incredibly rare. The latter, however, is completely within our influence and is extremely common.
When you use your back and neck incorrectly, Buckling Points are created—that’s the start of The Vicious Cycle. Remember, the occasional mistake in using your back and neck won’t do you any harm. Your spine has the ability to “recover.” It’s only when that mistake goes uncorrected and repeated that the Vicious Cycle takes off. Therein lies the final component to The Solution: The mistakes you’re making are hurting you, and they have to be stopped by a chiropractor Little Falls MN. Otherwise, you will be forever caught in a Vicious Cycle, and getting pain-free will never be an option.
The final component for The Solution is to stop making mistakes, and start using your back and neck correctly. Once you start to do this, the rate of Buckling Point creation in your spine gets reduced drastically. This allows your muscles more time to recoup between mistakes, making the Tipping Point harder to cross. Mechanoreception gets maximized, and nociception minimized, which helps your nervous system function optimally. Lastly, the joints move more normally, which helps preserve your cartilage. All in all, becoming “anti-Buckling Point” in all your movements is the only way to turn off the faucet.
How do you do this? Hire a professional back and neck trainer or see a chiropractor Little Falls MN. She or he will be able to identify what you’re doing wrong in your day-to-day life, and then teach you how to correct it. For example, this person will be able to figure out if your lower back pain is coming from your sitting posture at work or your lifting mechanics at home. They will be able to determine if your neck pain is coming from how you stand, hold your child, or drive your car. Their job is to train you on how to use your back and neck better so that you don’t keep creating Buckling Points. This type of learning intervention goes by many names including “education” “back school,” and “cognitive therapy”, but the intent is the same: to give you the know-how necessary to use your back and neck correctly.
Think of it this way…
Imagine being dropped off in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. You have no food or water and no way to communicate with the outside world. What gives you the best chance of staying alive: To rely on your own survival skills or have a guide who has already taken thousands of people out? The answer is obvious!
Studies show that simply learning how you use your back and neck better provides a pretty good amount of relief, even if you do nothing else. (38-45) In fact, there’s evidence that shows that “back to school” can be as effective as spinal exercise. (46) This is probably because if you’re using your back and neck better, it means that you’re activating your deep Stabilizers more often.
Let’s be clear: learning how to use your spine better, and then implementing those changes, is vital. However, if you’ve crossed the Tipping Point, using your spine better is not enough. The dysfunctional muscles, nerves, and joints feed off each other, and have to be addressed individually with treatment targeted directly at them to become functional again and reverse the Vicious Cycle. See a chiropractor Little Falls MN to determine if you’ve already received damage. As we’ve found throughout this section, it’s not the ingredients that make a pie delicious—it’s how you combine the ingredients that determine whether the pie is worthy of the dinner table or a trash can.
For Best Results, Use as Directed
* The advice must be custom-tailored. It’s been found that the most successful outcomes result not only from being taught improved body mechanics and lifting techniques, but also having someone show you how to apply this newfound knowledge to your life—your job, your activity level, your age, your body type, etc. In order to turn off your specific faucet, whatever that may be, it has to be done in a way that is unique to you. The best way to do this is consulting a chiropractor Little Falls MN for a plain. Yes, you can get a suit jacket from a discount store, and it’ll probably look and feel good enough, but let’s be honest, good enough isn’t really good enough. If you want to look and feel your best, your jacket should be custom-tailored, and so should your back and neck advice.
* Roll up your sleeves. Don’t go someplace where you sit and listen to a teacher and later try to remember what you’ve learned. That doesn’t cut it. You must be involved in the process, and the process must involve you. Knowledge without action is useless.
* Using your spine better is different from spinal exercises. I can’t tell you how many times a patient has come to me frustrated, saying something like, “I’ve been doing the exercises, but I’m still getting pain in my back!” I’ll ask, “Well, when did the pain start to worsen again?” They answer with, “After I was loading wood in the trailer,” or something to that effect. “Could you show me how you were lifting?” I ask. Then I’ll see their back contort as they pretend to pick something off the ground. “Well, I think I know your problem. You would do well to remember that spinal exercises strengthen your Stabilizers so that your joints can handle more mistakes, but they don’t make them impervious.”
* Never trust a skinny chef. Not too long ago one of my patients came in for treatment with an obvious chip on his shoulder. I asked what the problem was since normally he’s a happy-go-lucky guy. At his annual checkup, his doctor told him to lose weight. He then turned to me and scoffed “And he’s fatter than I am!” The persons whose advice you seek must practice what they preach. If you have better posture than they do, they’re not the trainer for you.
* Lean on me. Time after time I’ve worked with athletes and self-proclaimed health “gurus” who thought they knew it all, but couldn’t pass the simplest of proper-usage tests. You may think you have a pretty good grasp on this stuff, but the truth is unless you’ve had professional grade training, you don’t. Accept that you’re going to need some help. Besides, I bet you don’t have the time, interest, or money to spend the next ten years of your life going back to school and learning about pain relief, biology, chemistry, and human biomechanics. By finding an expert and learning from them, you can obtain a decade’s worth of schooling and probably decades’ worth of real-world practice in a short amount of time.
* Seeking a long-term relationship. How long do you see a dentist? If you want a healthy, bright, pain-free smile, and to avoid tooth decay and root canals, you’ll want to see a dentist periodically for your entire life. Chances are you’ve already accepted this as a fact. It is the same with your back-and-neck professional-grade trainer, chiropractor Little Falls MN. Different seasons of life require different skills. Using your back and neck correctly as a teenager requires a different set of skills than in your twilight years and this “trainer” will serve as your guide through those years.
Where do you find a professional back and neck trainer?
Your best chance of getting pain-free does not rest in the arms of medically trained doctors or surgeons or even a chiropractor Little Falls MN. It does not rest in magic potions, lotions, or pills. Nor does it rest in your average chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, or osteopath. It rests in finding a non-drug, non-surgical, professionally trained expert. You’re probably not too happy to read that these experts are hard to find. I personally know of only a handful of doctors who understand all of this, and even fewer with the ability to teach it. Although I can’t provide you with a list of names, I can share with you some telltale signs you’re in the right place.
- If they’re found in a clinic, gym, or some other professional setting with rehab space.
- If they have good posture.
- If they host a special workshop about this type of thing.
- If, when they assess you (and they should in order to figure out how to apply the rules of correctly using the back and neck to your life), they check things like how you pick up objects, walk, stand, squat, sit, etc.
There’s an important note to be made here. Everything that’s been described so far are components of The Solution, but not The Solution itself. You’ve learned a lot, and you’ve been patient. Now your patience is about to be rewarded as I unveil The Solution. But before we take this next step, I have one last thing to say about learning how to use your spine correctly.
Our Future: Starting Young
I shudder to think of the magnitude of chronic pain our children are facing. Kids these days are simply not told about the importance of their posture and using their spine correctly. And we have no one to blame but ourselves. Most parents, guardians, teachers, and adults are unaware of the spine’s impact on health and how to take care of it—how to safely do simple movements like lifting objects off the floor, sitting posture, walking posture, etc. This lack of understanding is directly feeding into the onslaught of chronic pain that Americans are experiencing, and it has to change. So consult a chiropractor Little Falls MN.
Spinal development happens only over a handful of years, and it’s the only time when children are developing habits that will last for the rest of their life. What if during that period we taught them how to use their back and neck correctly? What if they were taught how to sit properly, stand properly, and get up from a seated position properly? What if we ensured that, during this phase in their life, that their back and neck created as few Buckling Points as possible? Then, if a Buckling Point was created, it was corrected immediately? If we did that back and neck pain could be all but eradicated.
Indeed, starting with kids is an important part of getting out of this chronic pain and mess we’re in. The fact that this isn’t happening is a problem, but an even bigger problem is that it doesn’t seem to be on anybody’s radar.
If you have kids and you’re reading this, I hope you teach them the importance of maintaining a healthy spine with the same intent as you do with brushing their teeth, taking a bath, and applying themselves in school. Because protecting your kids’ spines when they’re young, will ensure that their spine protects them when they’re old.
- Eberhard Lang, K. L. (n.d.). Multidisciplinary rehabilitation versus usual care for chronic low back pain in the community: effects on quality of life. Spine Journal, pp. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1529-9430(03)00028-7.
- Heymans MW1, v. T. (2005, Oct 1). Back schools for nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review within the framework of the Cochrane Collaboration Back Review Group. Spine, pp. 2153-2163.
- Koes BW, v. T. (1994, Aug). The efficacy of back schools: a review of randomized clinical trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, pp. 47 (8): 851-62.
- Lønn, J. H., Glomsrød, B. P., Soukup, M. G., Bø, K. P., & Larsen, S. M. (1999, May 1). Active Back School: Prophylactic Management for Low Back Pain: A Randomized, Controlled, 1-Year Follow-Up Study. Spine, pp. 865-871.
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- Sedigheh Sadat Tavafian1, A. J. (2007, Feb 28). Low back pain education and short term quality of life: a randomized trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, p. 8:21.
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- Roger Chou, M. F. (2016, February). Noninvasive Treatments for Low Back Pain. Effective Health Care Program.