Lower back pain and the dreaded herniated disc

So you slipped/popped/herniated a disc.  Nope nothing sipped or popped really. But this sucker hurts.  Like a lot.

Let’s back up a minute. What the hell is a herniated disc and why does it cause so much back pain?

Ok here is a bit of a small anatomy lesson.  The spine is made up of bony vertebrae and in between them sits a disc that is made of connective tissue with a gel filled middle.  Picture a jelly donut with the donut part actually made up of concentric rings layered like an onion.  Are you with me so far?  Ok, so then really close to these discs are nerves on either side of the spine at each disc level (kind of).  Now that you have that picture in your head I can explain what happens to the discs sometimes when we injure them.

Sometimes with repetitive movement, lots of flexion, sitting, moving, lifting, standing (and just life in general – because these things are cumulative) the jelly in the disc starts to make its way through the concentric rings causing the outer layers of the jelly donut to bulge outwards.  If this bulging is anywhere near the nerve the nerve gets ANGRY. Nerves do not like pressure. Nerves. Do. Not. Like. Pressure.  In fact it only takes 8 mm of pressure to cause the nerve to have altered function and possibly cause pain, numbness or a whole host of other symptoms.  8 mm of pressure is the amount of pressure you feel on the back of your hand if you place a dime on it. So not much pressure on the nerve and you get back pain. This is just mechanical pressure but the nerve can also be irritated by chemical mediators released in the area such as inflammation… ok lets not get too complicated.

Where were we?  Ok, we have a bulging jelly donut and this is causing pain in the nerve.  This could translate into back pain, back pain with leg pain or even numbness and tingling in the leg.  This can get even worse if the jelly makes its way all the way out of the  donut rings and we call this a herniated disc.

Right so what do we do?

Firstly most herniated discs do not like flexion of the lower back or increased intra abdominal pressure.  That means sitting, bending and often coughing and sneezing too.  These things will cause increased symptoms and should be avoided if possible.  Because of the common course of herniation bending forward at the waist actually forces the jelly in the donut backwards causing the bulge or herniation to get worse.

For this reason those with a herniated disc may respond really well to the McKenzie protocol which I prescribe to patients in my clinic.  I am going to upload a video with a simple exercise below but you have to promise me that if you suspect you have a herniated disc to please go check with your health care professional to make sure that this is the thing for you to do. If you do try it on your own and symptoms worsen – STOP.

Ok now that that is out of the way  – the easiest (but not always the correct) McKenzie exercise to show you are simple back bends or extensions.  All I want you to do is stand up and put your hands on your lower back. Then bend backwards keeping your neck in neutral and arching only your back then stand up again.  I want you to do that 5-6 times in a row – all of this should take less than 15-20 seconds.  That is it. If you are doing this right and you do have a herniated disc the pain or numbness in the leg should feel better a little bit better.  If it feels worse please discontinue the exercise!!!

****Important note – if you have bowel or bladder changes such as a loss of control you need to seek emergency care – as in go to the Emergency Room.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Ok?

Good.

Right, so if this exercise does make the leg pain or numbness less but increases the lower back pain that is actually ok and expected… If it does some of all of these things you can do this up to once an hour.

You still need treatment and fast so please contact me or another health care provider so that we can help you  – hope this helps!!!

Exercise video listed below (underlined: “McKenzie Exercise” please click it and it will take you to the video)

McKenzie Exercise video click here

Fast and Easy Amazing Toasted Brussel Sprouts (Keto)

Want a really healthy keto friendly side dish?

 

Seriously easy. Like 5 minute prep time easy.

I never NEVER liked brussel sprouts until my husband’s Aunt Lainey made them for me this way. It is the ONLY way to make Brussel  sprouts in my opinion.  Made too many? No problem.  You can turn the leftovers into a yummy salad the next day. No Down Sides. Really.

This one has 3, count ’em, 3, ingredients:

Brussel Sprouts

Extra virgin Olive Oil

Garlic Powder

Ok so here is what you do – go to the grocery store and buy brussel sprouts – a man in the store once told me to pick the small ones because they taste better.  I have no idea if this is at all true but I do try to pick the smaller ones – this stuff seems to stay with you. I bet you try to find the small ones too now – I think they are sweeter if that is a possibility.

At home – cut the old stem or end off and cut each sprout in half.  Throw whatever amount you want in a bowl and add olive oil – if you have garlic flavoured oil use that. If not use enough oil (Extra virgin regular flavoured) to cover the sprouts in a thin layer and add garlic powder to desired amount  (I use lots) – that’s it. 3 ingredients.

Place on a single layer on a foil covered tray – I use the toaster oven for this one and broil until the sprouts turn a tiny bit black on the up side facing the element.  Make sure to watch these babies I have burnt my share of them (I eat them anyways because they are still tasty). they only take between 5-10 minutes in my toaster oven but it depends on the oven you use.

If you have left overs add lettuce (green leaf), avocado and some chicken with some toasted coconut, a bit more oil and apple cider vinegar for an amazing salad.

You got a 2 for 1 recipe today! Sweet.

Hope you like it!

 

Foot pain, Fallen Arches and Tight Muscles

So I put it out there on facebook and I did get a request for this article…  Its a pretty broad topic but suffice it to say that I do treat these things. Often.

Feet are amazing things really.  We walk on them all day and pretty much forget about them until they hurt.  There are a huge number of diagnoses related to feet some of the most common being plantar fasciitis, fallen metatarsal head (fallen arches), stress fractures, tarsal tunnel syndrome, turf toe, sesmoiditis and the list goes on and on and on…

From a simple sprain to chronic pain, there are a host of different solutions for different problems.

One of the things you hear associated with foot pain is often the prescription of custom made orthotics.  These little insoles can be amazing as therapy for the right foot condition. The drawback is that they are also expensive.  Although lots of people have plans to cover some or all of the cost, some people aren’t as lucky.  While they are a useful tool for things like fallen arches (fallen metatarsal heads) they aren’t the only solution.

When a patient comes to me with foot pain, fallen arches and tight calves I always prescribe strengthening exercises for the small muscles of the feet.  – these are easy to do exercises that will help support the natural arch and help a person retrain themselves to avoid the problem in future.  These include fun things like picking up marbles with your toes, and scrunching towels with the toes as well as learning to position the foot in the proper “short foot” position. (this one is much harder than the other two and really needs to be shown in person in a hands on fashion).

Also effective are muscle techniques such as ART for the muscles of the foot and scar tissue treatment if that is deemed to be a problem in the specific patient and adjustments of the small bones of the feet. If these bones are ‘stuck’ and not moving through their normal range of motion it causes inflammatory changes surrounding the joints and irritation and inflammation in those regions – this decreases the range of motion even further and increase the pain – all super easy to solve with a small corrective adjustment in the area.

The last thing I did want to mention was that if you have a fallen arch it tends to put a bunch of strain on the calf or back of the lower leg – the mechanics of the arch falling actually pulls on the gastrocs/soleus complex- those two giant muscles at the back of your leg attached to the Achilles tendon. This makes the muscle appear tight or reflexively be tight – stretching it will really do very little as the problem is in the foot to begin with  – correcting the arch with exercise, hands on treatment and an arch support (custom or otherwise) is the first course of action – this will likely improve the tightness in the back of the lower leg – if not then we can show some stretches to remedy this at that point but in general it corrects itself if we have done the rest of the therapy.

So, if you are suffering with foot pain please don’t wait any longer! Call us to find out how we can help you.

Essential Oil Lip Balm

This is the first full week of February and it kicks off Doctor with a Heart month at the practice.  So what are we doing that is different?  We are trying to do little things that show we care- care for the world, care for our patients and care for ourselves and families.

What are we doing that is special?

On February 1st I cut off all of my hair – ok well around 13 inches anyways – in order to donate to a charity that makes wigs for kids with cancer.  More on this later – I think we have chosen the charity we are just waiting to hear back on how to go about making the donation.

February also marks our patient appreciation month.  I have give aways for every patient who comes in in February – I have made (yes MADE) essential oil lip balm for everyone in this shortest, coldest, lip chappy-est month of the year. You can make your own too in case you miss it but just come in and get one from me to avoid the hassle.

Actually this lip balm was given to me by my friend Sjoukje Remark – she is an RMT and my essential oil guru.  She made it for me and later gave me the recipe.  I loved it so much I made it for all of you.  It has to be the cleanest, safest, chemical free-est and loveliest lip balm I have ever used.  I had to make some.

And of course I labeled it “Badass Chiropractic Lavender/Peppermint Lip Balm” so that is awesome.

 

Come on in and get one this February, your lips with thank you (lavender is amazing for the skin and peppermint feels tingly and fresh).

Here is the recipe:

1/4 cup Cocoa butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup beeswax

2 tsp calendula oil

2 drops vitamin E oil

60 drops of essential oil (I used 15-20 lavender and 30-40 peppermint)

Melt all ingredients over a double boiler and add essential oil. Pour into tubes and allow to cool. Cap and Label that Badass stuff.

 

Safe lifting techniques

So this week I was at a retail store where they were gearing up to do inventory.  They asked me to come in to review safe lifting techniques – which by the way is a great idea.  Although many people have been taught this along the way it is always good to review.  And I find that the more people you get information from the more you remember and you tend to learn a different little tip from each source.

So I thought it may be a good idea to review.  Just this week I have had a patient move homes, another continue to pack and go through things to move homes, patients travelling, and patients who work in retail or warehouses who lift regularly.  Also there are the rest of us who continually lift and carry throughout our days: small children, bags and boxes for work, groceries, hockey bags you name it and we lift it. (does the question ‘hey doc why does my back hurt?’ seem a bit more clear cut now?  Ya life is full of busy and we are hard on our bodies… this stuff is cumulative and one day when you bend over the bathroom sink to brush your teeth you can’t stand back up.  Toothbrush too heavy? Nope. Just all of that catching up with you and the bending in the morning was the straw (or toothbrush) that broke the camel’s back so to speak).  Ok so lets do our best to protect the camels shall we?  (the camel is you in case you were confused).

Lifting tips and rules to live by:

Before you lift anything brace your stomach muscles (see Brace2 video link below)

Brace2

Bend at the knees not at the back

Keep the load as close to your body as possible

take breaks

share heavy or awkward loads with a partner

Do not twist while lifting

Here is a helpful poster I found on line:

Also for smaller items try the golfer’s lift – see video link below !

Golfers lift

Steak and Spinach Spicy Salad (Keto)

Stumbled upon this combo this week because it was what I had in the fridge.  Actually I way over cooked three steaks and Ryan wouldn’t eat them.  I hate wasting food so I found another way – this became my lunch all week and I looked forward to it each day. You can also do it with perfectly good medium rare steak left overs…. my steak was well done eye of round that was pre-seasoned on the outside with a peppercorn mix from the store.  I upped the anty with red pepper infused olive oil and sriracha mayo… Me likes it hot.

Ok, you can tone it down but I loved it.

I even made my own dressing (it was really simplified because who has time…)

If you like spicy follow my recipe otherwise tone it down a bit.  I ended up eating a whole box of baby spinach this week. Yay for iron and calcium intake not to mention folic acid.

Spinach Salad:

As much baby spinach that will fill you up for lunch

half a well done steak cut in small chunks

Cucumber cut in quarters

half an avocado scooped out and chunked

sriracha mayonnaise to taste

top with coconut smiles (I got these at Costco and they are way addictive)

 

Dressing:

1 tablespoon red pepper infused olive oil

a splash of apple cider vinegar

 

Sore throats and head colds – something you can do to help yourself

Ok, so you know the chicken soup, lots of fluids, vitamin C thing but here is a  technique you can do at home to help your own sore throat and cold symptoms.  It’s not magic, just simple physical manual medicine and works by helping your lymphatic system drain.

Hold up. What the hell is they lymphatic system?

“The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and an important part of the immune system, comprising a network of lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin, lympha meaning “water”[1]) directionally towards the heart.”

(Thanks Wikipedia!)

Ok so these lymptatic thingies (vessels and nodes) can get backed up if there is an excess of fluid – like when you are fighting a cold.  It gets all congested with fluid, dead white blood cells and dead bacteria/virus corpses and then the fluid slows down and gets literally backed up like Highway 400 Northbound at 4:30 pm on a Friday of a summer long weekend. Ain’t nobody going nowhere fast.

You have a ton of these vessels and nodes in and around your head, face and neck and if you can get them to drain just a bit your sore throat can go away or get better.  Below is a chart of the head and neck lymphatic chains so you get an idea where they are:

There is a simple soft tissue technique you can do for this that will be posted on my clinic fb page under videos.  I do this to help patients all the time with their symptoms and it works great.  basically you gently stroke the areas of the lymphatic vessels from top to bottom to encourage them to drain. Don’t push too hard and rub your skin raw and like with anything else you read here check with your health care provider first as there are some contraindications to this.  Or come on in to see me and I can let you know if it is safe for you.

Here is a link to my fb clinic page to check out the video – when I figure it out I shall also post it here.  Hope this helped!

https://www.facebook.com/drkarenhudes/

I figured out how to add it here but have no idea why it is sideways – if I can fix it I will if not sorry!!! turn your screen 🙂  Click on the link below to view my sideways video:

sore throat

Home made Chocolate (Keto)

Yes, Keto Chocolate is possible.  Even recommended to get your fats in a really yummy way.  This recipe was given to me by a friend who did not want credit because it was given to her.  So thank you who ever made this one up!

I will be using this thing for molding the chocolate – I got it on Amazon for under $20 but you can do make it on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and break it up afterwards.

Try adding fresh berries (blue or rasp) or nuts (not in my house – allergies) or coconut for added interest.  You can even at chilies or curry if you want to get fancy.  There are also some cooking and food grade essential oils you can get from Young Living now you can add to it – They make a chocolate that has some oils in it that are amazing I bet I will try to replicate at some point. The possibilities are endless… And I shall try them ALL I tell you!!!

Ingredients:

1 cup cocoa butter

2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup honey

1/4 tsp vanilla

Note: you can half the honey and add 5-10 drops of stevia to decrease the sugar for Keto – I bought these chocolate flavoured stevia drops.

Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler and remove from heat as soon as melted – whisk in honey till smooth and add vanilla and stevia if you are using it. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.  Pour into molds or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Top with toppings or sink in fruit if in molds.  Place in freezer or fridge to harden and store in the fridge.

Easy peasy!

 

Sore Achy Knees – And What you can do about it

So do you or someone you know have sore aching knees?  There are tons of potential knee problems out there and obviously I cant diagnose them over a blog – nor should you try to diagnose yourself by reading one!

But…

If this sounds familiar – intermittent or constant aching pain in the front or sides of the knees that came on for no apparent reason (no injury you can remember), pain on going up or down stairs or with prolonged sitting, nothing seems to help, the doctor can’t really find anything wrong even after imaging (Ultrasound, MRI or CT scan), you tried physio and strengthening exercises and it didn’t really help, you tried arthroscopic surgery and it didn’t help…. this post is for you.

If you have a combo of these symptoms or even if you have one of these symptoms you may have irritation to the coronary ligaments of the knee and fascial scar tissue.

Ok bringing that back a little bit – the coronary ligaments are little forgotten about thingies that hold the menisci (much more popular with orthopaedic surgeons and surgery) on to the tibia (lower leg bone). I wrote a paper about these once – it got published – you can Google it if you feel like it.  These suckers are pretty good little pain generators and all they want is a tiny little bit of attention and they will settle down.

Additionally if you have ever injured your knee (or anything anywhere) you will have scar tissue.  Just a fact of life.  Ok, so fascia. What the hell is that?  …. did you ever skin a chicken?  when you peel the skin off of the muscle do you remember seeing that little saran-wrap-like layer? That’s fascia. When I went to school eons ago we didn’t really even learn about it much – they didn’t think that it did much of anything then. Boy were we wrong.  Now it seems the fascia is an important part of our anatomy allowing muscles and bones to slide past each other easily and it even has contractile properties and moves a bit on its own. It is also a good pain generator because as soon as you get an injury there is bleeding and swelling and mess in the area and which causes fascia to stick to itself (kinda like saran wrap).  That is scar tissue and it can cause an altered movement to the surrounding area and a strange pull on the tissue – which in turn cause pain.

Ok, so that is what is going on in your knee maybe… what do we do?  Luckily with deep tissue work, instrument assisted fascial massage and adjustments to the knee, foot and hip these things are actually manageable.  Even if you have had this problem for years.

I have seen patients with this problem go back to playing tennis or skiing after getting themselves treated even if they haven’t gone and done these sports for a long time (years).  I have had patients carried in to the office or come in on crutches that could walk out after treatment – all because of these amazing little pain generators – because the great thing about them is that they just want a tiny little bit of attention and then a lot of the time they quiet down again…. call me if you have any questions!

My Mother’s Bone Broth Soup Recipe

This is a recipe from the old country I thought was my Grandmother’s – and it was originally, but my Mom (at my Dad’s prompting) modified it to make it even better.

Penny Hounsome (trainer extrodinare and wellness coach)  were talking about this on a Facebook Live post this week so this one is for you Penny!

Some of the benefits touted of bone broth soup are as follows (from Google): Bone broth is one of the most beneficial foods to consume to restore gut health and therefore support immune system function and healthy inflammation response. Collagen/gelatin and the amino acids proline, glutamine and arginine help seal these openings in the gut lining and support gut integrity.

This soup came about because nothing NOTHHING used to be wasted and sometimes food was scarce especially after the WWII in Europe.  Now bone broth soup is all the rage for it’s health benefits.  I have made it for years with people exclaiming “yuck” (if they weren’t of European or Asian descent and were used to these things).  I make it because it reminds me of childhood and is delicious.  It’s actually Healthy and Keto friendly too? SWEET.

It’s actually really easy.  Throw all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil then let simmer for 2-3 hours- perfect for a rainy or snowy Sunday afternoon.  The marrow amazingly can be spread on rye toast with a bit of salt (please someone point me to a keto bread before I make this again!) – we fought over this part as children.

 

Ingredients:

4-5 beef bones (cut) – they have these at most grocery stores – ask the butcher/meat counter

1 package of chicken giblets

Liquid Chicken Broth

Water

Salt to taste

1-2  carrots peeled but whole

1 onion quartered

 

That’s it really – toss it all in a pot and make sure the liquid covers all of the meat and bones with a bit of room at the top (say an inch or two – this is an old country recipe which means there is no recipe really so I’m guessing)

 

When you serve the soup you can serve the giblets in it (I love them – another item we kids fought over – look up giblets and make sure it doesn’t gross you out – perfectly healthy to eat just some of our non old country sensibilities may be offended).  The soup bones can be fished out and the marrow plopped on toast, spread and salted… super yummy.  AAAANnd you can eat the ‘chewy stuff’ off of the outside of the bones – this grossed my mother out entirely but again fought over by kids and dad this time…

I hope you like it ! I will add a picture when I make it next!