This article is the archived version of a report that appeared in May 2009 Consumer Reports Magazine.

About 80 percent of U.S. adults have at some point been bothered by back pain. The Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center recently surveyed more than 14,000 subscribers who had lower back pain in the past year but had never had back surgery. More than half said pain severely limited their daily routine for a week or longer, and 8 percent said it recurred through the year. Many said the pain interfered with sleep, sex, and efforts to maintain a healthy weight.

Back pain can be tough to treat. Most of our respondents tried five or six different treatments. They rated the helpfulness of the treatments tried and their satisfaction with the health-care professionals visited.

Hands on therapies were among the top rated. Fifty eight percent of those who tried chiropractic manipulation said it helped a lot, and 59 percent were "completely" or "very satisfied" with their chiropractor. Massage and physical therapy were close runners up.

Many of those who tried spinal injections found them to be very helpful, although the techniques their doctors used varied. Most respondents had used some type of medication. Forty five percent of those who took prescription drugs said they helped a lot, double the percentage of those who said they were helped by over the counter medications.

Who helped the most?

The percent of people highly (completely or very) satisfied with their back pain treatments and advice varied by the practitioner visited.

Professional Highly Satisfied
Chiropractor 59%
Physical Therapist 55%
Acupuncturist 53%
Physician, specialist 44%
Physician, primary care 34%

*Differences in Ratings for physical therapists and acupuncturists were not statistically significant

Common Knee Pain in Runners Effectively Reduced, Eliminated by Hip Exercises

Medical News Today recently came out with an article in June of 2010 that stated that twice weekly hip strengthening regimen performed for six weeks proved surprisingly effective at reducing, and in some cases eliminating, knee pain referred to as patellofemoral pain in female runners. The study was done by IUPUI assistant professor in the department of physical therapy Tracy Dierks. Her basis was on the theory that stronger hips would correct running form errors that contribute to patellofemoral pain. Patellofemorall pain, is one of the most common running injuries, and caused when the thigh bone rubs against the back of the knee cap. These patients typically don't feel pain when the start running, but once the pain begins, it gets increasingly worse. Once they stop running, the pain goes away almost immediately. Over time it wears away cartilage and can have the same effect as osteoarthritis. The exercises performed included single leg squats and execises with resistance bands. All of which we perform with many of our patients at Fall Creek Chiropractic. Of note, many previous studies have focused on the feet as a possible root cause for patellofemoral pain. Now more people are looking at the hip and their relationship. So far the studies have found an association between patellofemoral pain in women and weak hips. At Fall Creek Chiropractic, Dr. Wiggers always looks at possible links between what we call the kinetic chain. Otherwise, the affects of how the ankle, knee, hips, and lower back work in direct relationship with one another, and that during the evaluation all components need assessment for proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Mobility, Stability and Efficiency in Movement

Efficiency equals strength, speed, power, endurance, and most important, injury prevention.

Many athletes today work harder to become faster, stronger, and healthier. They improve their fitness by increasing their endurance, speed, power, strength, and flexibility. Yet, many of them are still inefficient in their fundamental movements. A lot of people have problems with both mobility and stability. Mobility is the combination of muscle elasticity, joint range of motion and the body's freedom of movement.

Stability is the ability to maintain posture and control movements freely. An example is the avid runner. He/She will develop compensatory movement patterns to overcome functional insuffiuciences. Hip stiffness will occur as a result of repetitive running and will lack the end range of flexion, extension, and other normal motions. As a result of this stiffness the lower back muscles have to sacrifice their stability to achieve greater mobility for the hips limitations. These imbalances decrease running efficiency and increase the chances of not only hip injury but also the likelihood of back dysfunction.

Devoting just a little time each week to strengthening your biomechanical weak links can do wonders for your athletic performance. Your body has the innate ability to compensate for weak links, which cause inefficient movements. It is this type of inefficiency that can cause a decrease in performance and an increase in injuries. Ask yourself if your training program is doing anything to improve the stability and mobility of your body. Call our office and allow us to discover your weak links, thus preventing compensation and possible injury.

10 Reasons to Stay Away from Sodas and Energy Drinks

  1. The average soda has no nutritional value - only sugar, carbonated water, caramel color, natural flavors, caffeine, phosphoric acid and high fructose corn syrup.
  2. According to Harvard researches, the risk of childhood obesity increases 1.6 times with each additional daily serving of soda consumed.
  3. Soda adds more sugar to a typical 2 year old's diet than cookies, candies and ice cream combined.
  4. Numerous studies indicate that the sugar and acids in soda may cause tooth decay.
  5. According to some household cleaning web sites, soda can be used as a toilet cleaner and rust and grease remover.
  6. A Harvard study of teenage athletes identified a strong association between soda consumption and bone fractures in 14 year old girls.
  7. An average can of soda has 35-38 mg of caffeine and as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar.
  8. Most energy drinks contain about 80 mg of caffeine, along with other legal stimulants like guarana and ginseg.
  9. Certain energy drinks contain huge blasts of caffeine (up to 280 mg) - almost triple the caffeine in a cup of coffee.
  10. Energy drinks can boost heart rate and blood pressure, increase anxiety, dehydrate the body and cause insomnia.

Active Care Keeps Boomers Young

The youngest of the baby boomers have turned 40 last year, the oldest turned 60, and as a group they have one thing in common: They will be proactive in their quest to age well. Many companies are providing what the market demands. The baby boomers demand to keep moving has already given rise to a number of different providers offering various treatment modalities:

Pharmaceutical companies sell new and improved drugs for arthritis Orthopedic surgeons sell increasingly high tech surgeries with fast recovery times Retailers sell ergonomically engineered products, such as beds, chairs, shoes, & sports gear

Chiropractors also have an opportunity to achieve relevance to the baby booming community. In the public eye, chiropractic has focused on a passive therapy -manipulation. We at Fall Creek Chiropractic are providing a combination of active and passive care. At this office, we have a posture focused practice catering to boomers' desire to keep going.