A very common condition we see in our office is knee pain with no particular mechanism of injury (in other words, the knee became painful over time and didn’t occur as a result of a specific trauma or disease.)
When there is a specific traumatic event (like having your legs knocked out from under you in a football game) or a disease process (like rheumatoid arthritis), It is very easy to understand why the knee tissues have failed.
Most knee injuries fall outside of these categories. Most knee injuries happen over long periods of time as a result of repetitive abnormal stress. The condition is usually unilateral, meaning that only one knee is symptomatic.
The question is, why are knees so problematic? Really, as far as joints go, they are relatively simple. They only move along one plane of motion – they flex, as in moving the heel toward the buttock, and extend, as in straightening the leg. There is a tiny bit of normal rotation in the knee joint, but let’s not split hairs here. Compared to the shoulder, which moves in many directions, the knee is very simple.
The answer lies in the fact that most knee problems do not originate in the knee. Most knee problems originate in either the pelvis/lower back region (above the knee) or the foot/ankle region (below the knee).
Dysfunctional hip, pelvic, or lower back motion transfers a lot of extra stress to the knees. In these cases, one knee is usually taking more impact than the other, and the impact is occurring at an abnormal angle. This quickly wears out the cushioning tissue and over-stretches the ligaments that support the knee joint.
Sometimes the root of the knee problem lies in the foot or ankle. Collapsed longitudinal arches in the feet are a frequent cause. The tibia and fibula (leg bones) sit on top of the arch of the foot. When the arch collapses (there are many reasons for this – we’ll save those for another blog), the leg bones fall as well, causing uneven stress on the knees.
Chiropractic manipulation has a very good track record of restoring normal motion patterns to the hip/pelvis/lower back complex. Foot dysfunction also responds well to chiropractic care, along with orthotics in some cases (refer to blog on orthotics). There are also some minor manipulations that we can perform on the knees. We have found, though, that this is often not necessary if we restore normal motion to the hips, pelvis, lower back, and feet!
In summary, if you have knee problems, try our office first. Your knee problem may turn out not to be a knee problem at all! We will assess the situation and if we can help you with it, we will gladly do so. If we feel that it is a problem that would best be handled by another professional (orthopedist, physical therapist, physical trainer) we will gladly refer you to the appropriate professional.
We are frequently asked a question that is actually quite troubling to me.
The question is: “will I have to sign a contract to get care in your office?” Another variation of that question is, “how do I get out of a contract that I have signed with another chiropractic office?”
We do not require our patients to sign a contract for care. We do not require up-front payment for multiple visits.
We only charge fees for services rendered. We only prescribe treatment that is necessary, no more, and no less. Each patient is different, requiring a different treatment plan based on the patient’s NEED for care. We do not have a “package” to sell you for “unlimited visits,” because most patients do not need an unlimited number of visits. In fact, part of being a doctor is prescribing the right amount of care. Not too little, not too much. Furthermore, if the patient is not progressing at a satisfactory rate, this individual should have the freedom to seek care somewhere else, without the burden of having signed a contract.
It is not illegal for a practice to do this. However, it does bring up some ethical questions. It is very important to question the motive of any contract BEFORE you sign it. Remember, a contract is typically written for the benefit of the person writing the contract, not the one signing the contract! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to discuss setting an appointment for care. We also appreciate any feedback.
Guest Post by Marah Harrington, Office Manager at East End Chiropractic.
I will admit it: I am a terrible traveler. Over the years, I have flown so much that I’ve developed a long list of travel habits and, if I’m being honest, I always arrive at my destination with neck and back pain. So clearly I’m doing something (or many things) wrong… but what?
My biggest problem is that I am a carry-on queen. If at all possible, I will not check a suitcase. I once talked my husband into traveling with only a carry-on when he and I went on a three week trip (8 flights). Not only did we not have enough clothes with us, we were also miserable from lugging around heavy suitcases in airports and onto planes. Needless to say, he hasn’t taken my advice in the matter since. I don’t blame him!
I happen to have married someone who travels quite a bit for his job so I try to visit regularly when he is gone for long stretches. This past weekend, I headed up to New Hampshire and before I left, Dr. Olsen gave me a few tips for traveling by plane.
- Check bags that are more than 5-10% of your body weight. Overhead lifting of any significant amount should be avoided. We always end up twisted in strange positions when trying to get a heavy bag in the overhead compartment quickly so we are not holding up the line behind us. If you are lifting something overhead, be sure to stand right in front of the overhead compartment so your spine is not rotated.
- Bring a small pillow to place behind your lower back when you are seated on the plane. Airplane seats are built to accommodate people of all sizes. The way this is accomplished is by hollowing out the back of the seat, thereby removing all lumbar support. No lumbar support = unhappy back.
- Move around as much as possible. End seats are best for this and offer us the opportunity to get up and walk around. Middle and window seats offer more of a challenge. Try to keep the space under the seat in front of you clear so you can stretch your legs out a big and move your feet around.
- Bring a neck pillow. This will help you steer clear of the inevitable kink in your neck that happens when you fall asleep on the plane. A neck pillow may not completely prevent the problem, but it will certainly help.
- Use proper technique when lifting luggage off the carousel. Bend both of your knees, keep your back straight and in the upright position, and move your feet instead of twisting your back when trying to get your luggage off the carousel. Those belts move fast. Be ready.
Armed with these guidelines, I headed to the airport. Let me tell you, they made a world of difference for me! I am happy to report that I did not arrive at my destination with sharp pains in my neck and back. Hopefully the above tips will prove helpful to you as you prepare for your next plane ride.
After the coldest March in 17 years, I think it’s safe to say that spring is here to stay!
To kick off this season, we will be participating in the East Nashville Honeybee Festival on April 20th from 10am to 4pm. The festival will be located in the brand new East-Centric Pavilion at 1006 Fatherland Street. If you have not seen this place yet, prepare to be impressed! This is the Honeybee Festival’s first year and it’s sure to be a lot of fun: local honey, gardening & planting tips, live music, summer brews, a Mutt Strutt contest (at 11:30am) for your talented furry friends, food trucks, and so much more. Come join us for a fun day out!
We love spring anyway but this one is especially exciting for us as we just launched a new website and logo! We decided it was time for us to freshen things up a bit. Many thanks to the team at Spark Marketer for their hard work and dedication to our rebranding. We’ve been working with them for years and they really are incredible!
Our new website is a much more modern format, (2009 is ancient history as far as the internet goes) with our most recent blog post headlining the home page. As the list of blog posts grows, our plan is to index them in a way that makes our website increasingly informative as time passes. The home page also lists our office hours, a link to our physical location, and announcements/upcoming events. There is a convenient link to download our new-patient paperwork.
We now also have a functioning Facebook page! We’ve attempted this before – I think we may have even had a MySpace page way back in the day—but this time it’s going to stick! Each new blog post will be posted on Facebook. So “like” us, why don’t you!
In other news, I would like to welcome Allan Redash, M.D. to our building! Dr. Redash specializes in functional, restorative, nutritional, and anti-aging medicine. We’re excited to have him as our neighbor, and you can expect some guest-blogs from him on a variety of topics that relate to his medical specialties.
Earlier, in part 2 of this series, we discussed the second of the 3 issues regarding self-manipulation of your spine: 1) Is it safe? 2) Is it useful? 3) Is it a sign of a deeper problem? Finally, we’re going to talk about the bigger picture regarding cracking your own neck and back.
Is the need to self-manipulate the neck or back indicative of a deeper problem?
Yes. As explained earlier, we often develop abnormal motion patterns in the spine, which cause some spinal joints to become too tight, and some joints to become too loose.
As for the loose (hypermobile) joints, this causes unconscious distress to your body. When your brain senses that there is too much slack in a joint that is so close to your spinal nerves, it will take measures to stabilize that joint. At first, these measures are limited to inflammation and muscle spasm. If not addressed soon enough, the spinal bones will actually change shape and begin to lock together to stabilize the joint. This is known as degenerative joint disease. Degenerative joint disease can be quite painful and can greatly limit your ability to do the things you need to do and want to do.
Tight (hypomobile) joints can be adjusted/manipulated by a qualified chiropractor or osteopath. Restoring normal motion to hypomobile joints allows hypermobile joints to “rest,” in that they do not have to move so much to maintain your normal activities.
In summary, self -manipulation will probably not cause immediate harm. Long-term self-manipulation can cause harm by further moving joints that move too much already. A qualified chiropractic or osteopathic physician can recondition the spinal bones to move normally, usually eliminating the urge to self-manipulate in the first place.