Why is my spine important?

Your spine runs down the centre of your body from the base of your skull to your tailbone.  It serves many important functions including:

  • Protecting your spinal cord and related essential nerves which make up the central nervous system.
  • Giving structure and connection for your hips, legs, shoulders and arms
  • Serving as an attachment to muscles that enable movement
  • Providing a framework and support for skull and ribs

Because the spine plays such a key role in the functions of the body, it is easy to see why proper spinal care is important to your overall health and wellness.

How do I know if I have a spinal condition?  What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of an underlying spinal condition is back pain.  Another give away that there is something wrong with your spine is if you are unable to participate in activities that you once enjoyed due to pain or mobility issues.  Symptoms will vary depending on the extent of the injury and may take the form of:

  • Back and/or neck pain
  • Leg, arm and/or shoulder pain
  • Gait or foot problems
  • Balance issues/dizziness
  • Mobility issues
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Neck stiffness
  • Poor concentration or memory

Can children develop spinal conditions?

Yes, in fact spinal conditions can develop at all stages of life, from infant to senior. Monitoring your spinal health should be as routine as checking your blood pressure and watching your diet.  Knowing the signs and symptoms of an underlying spinal condition can help you identify an issue early before it becomes a bigger problem later in life.

What factors lead to spinal conditions?

There are three main factors which can lead to spinal conditions:

  • Physical stress: Heavy lifting, repetitive action, poor posture, car accident, falls, dehydration.
  • Chemical stress: Poor diet, alcohol, smoking, vitamin deficiency, medications.
  • Emotional stress:  Financial problems, marital/family issues, loss of loved ones, general depression.

I’ve been in a car accident.  What are my recovery options?

Collisions can result in many different types of injuries.  ICBC recognizes chiropractic treatment as an effective recovery method in patients with injuries involving the spine, including back and neck trauma.  If you have been injured in a crash, contact Dr. Soroush Khoshroo as soon as possible.  In most cases your treatment will be covered by ICBC.  Get more information on chiropractic coverage through ICBC.

I injured myself playing sports.  How can I find relief from the pain?

If you are injured playing sports or doing any activity for that matter, you will most likely not be able to continue with what you enjoy due to pain and immobility.  If you are experiencing symptoms of an underlying spinal condition as a result of your injury, ask Dr. Khoshroo if treatment can play a role in your recovery.

Is bed rest great for treatment of low back pain?

NO. At one time, many people believed this to be true. But in fact, bed rest may worsen your back pain unless it is so severe that you cannot move. See a health professional such as a chiropractor about chronic or new back pain.

Is pain the only indicator that something is wrong?

Pain in your back is definitely an indication that something is wrong, especially if the pain is chronic and stops you from doing everyday chores and activities. But you don’t always feel pain in your back when there is a problem. Restricted movement or discomfort in your arms, legs and shoulders are also indications that something’s up with your spine.

Is chiropractic care safe and effective? What is the link between neck manipulation and stroke?

To answer this question let’s look at what the research is suggesting regarding the risk associated with neck manipulation and stroke in comparison to other routine procedures.

  • Almost all researchers and scientists studying this issue agree that whatever the risk of stroke in association with neck adjustment, it is exceedingly rare.
  • Recent studies suggest risk of stroke from neck manipulation = 1 in 1,000,000 manipulations
  • This is significantly lower than risks that have been reported for other routine procedures:
    • Strokes from birth control pills = 1 in 24,000 persons
    • Fatalities caused by NSAIDS (Aspirin, Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Motrin) = 1 in 1,200 persons
    • Fatalities in association with cervical spinal surgery = 1 in 145 surgeries
    • Canoeing = 1 in 100,000 persons
    • Playing soccer – 1 in 25,000 persons
    • Automobile driving (United Kingdom) = 1 in 5,900

**Information courtesy of “NECK ADJUSTMENT: BENEFITS AND SAFETY” provided by the
College of Chiropractors of BC.**

What is the bottom line?

Good overall health is the first step towards making sure your spine stays healthy.  Prevention is also key to long-term back health.  Here are a few tips:

  • Warm up and cool down before beginning physical activities such as running, sports and even gardening.  Take a few minutes to stretch and ease into the activity.
  • Be mindful of repeat motions such as shoveling or reaching.  Take frequent breaks and when possible switch hands.
  • Maintain good posture especially in situations where you are seated for a long period of time.  Stand up periodically or take a short walk.
  • When lifting heavy objects, pay close attention to the way you are lifting.  Bend your knees, tuck in your pelvis and hug the load.  Never reach for a heavy object.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and limit sugar, caffeine and alcohol consumption.  Drink plenty of water.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Ensure you get enough sleep each night.
  • Manage emotional stress as best you can.