Chiropractors/back pain flare up

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QUESTION: about 1 1/2 yrs ago I was in a 4 car collision car accident and I was hit by a car going 55mph  anyway I was treated by a chiropractor for about 6 mos. she said i may have flare ups now and then the rest of my life. well...I bought a relaxation for yoga video that had tons of side twists and arm stretches to relax the back..I wondered why my back started burning after i kept doing it but figured it would go away as I got used to it. also there was a lot of neck rolling.. SO, now my entire back is killing me and my neck too..my feet hurt too..i bought some new balance shoes and used those back patches. since i still hurt i called my old chiropractor whom i cant see due to insurance.  she told me to give it a good 2 wks ..said anyone with back injuries should never do twisting and that sort of thing. She told me the heat patches aren't good to use.. that I should put ice on my back 3 times a day for 20 mins n take 800mg of ibuprofen every 8 hrs. and no vacuuming or dishwashing.  I was wondering if you have anything else to add as my back feels like it did when I was firsthurt. she said i am having muscle spasms

ANSWER: Hi Jen,

Sorry to hear you're in such a quagmire with your condition.    First, research has demonstrated that those in whiplash related crash injuries often have symptoms of some sort ten to fifteen years later, symptoms they never had before the crash injury.   However minor, it therefore is not uncommon to have issues for a while after a crash injury.    We also have learned over the years that prolonged static stretching can be detrimental, and stretching has been eliminated from many athletic repertoires in exchange for dynamic movements.   So, no hamstring or quad stretching, but swap it for "Frankenstein walks" and "butt-kick" runs.     Light resistance exercise to your muscles is therapeutic, so you're better off hitting the gym and working out, and not stretching.   Resistance exercise in general, meaning weights, bands, and various calisthenics are stimulating to your muscles and tendons, and are rehabilitative.   You won't rehabilitate sitting around, and surely not by twisting and stretching.   Heat patches are not bad.  They can be alleviating.   But, nothing knocks out pain than a big bag of ice.   You actually can ice a large body part like your back muscles for up to 45 minutes.    I recommend ice in a plastic bag, directly on the skin with no towels, and 30 minutes direct contact.   It won't fix anything.  It will just take the pain away for a while, possibly making it easier to do other things, like exercise or sleep.    Making your back stronger and more stable will help greatly.   Someone needs to do the "Prone Instability Test" on you (google it) and see if it is positive or not.   Either way, I'd recommend adding core stability exercises to your program.    Prone planks, side planks, and use of a physioball and BOSU are excellent ways to build core strength and stability.   When your back is stronger and more stable, it handles more easily the daily stress and strain of daily activities, like sitting, bending or carrying.   Then, you'll relax...     A really good personal trainer at the gym can be your ticket to getting out of this predicament.  

'Hope this was helpful.

Dr. G


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: btw I'm not sure what to do about my back. I can't afford to go to the gym and get a personal trainer. I can afford to go to my GP but not a chiropractor cuz my insurance doesn't pay for x-rays, office visits, plus a $15 copay each visit. (I'm on disability for other health issues and we are low income) So I don't know what to do.

Answer
Jen,

The GP is the absolute last place to go with a back problem.   With all due respect, they are not trained to deal with it.  They are trained in areas like internal medicine.   You don't need x-rays.  Don't get them.    You need to consider the $15 copay to get the right care for your back from the DC or the PT.    

Best of luck in this.

Dr. G

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Scott F. Gillman, DC, DACBSP

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21 Years in practice: I can answer any question regarding chiropractic and sports medicine treatment. Mostly, I can help the unknowing public understand what is safe, valid, reasonable and evidence-based, and what kinds of unscrupulous chiropractors and fraudulent methods to stay away from. I have an advanced specialty degree in Chiropractic Sports Medicine. I have experience treating elite and Olympic athletes.

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