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by Taylor Trahan Henry
We’ve all heard the story – or even been the main character. Someone leans over to pick up something off the floor or they reach awkardly for something on a shelf and just like that, they throw their back out. A sharp pain followed by days of dull, achy back and remedy upon remedy. It’s common, but it’s certainly doesn’t have to be normal.
“I think it’s a misunderstanding about the cause and treatment available,” says Dr. Ryan Herold, Chiropractor with Mayfield Chiropractic. “The thought process is, well, I have back pain but I can’t do anything about it. I’ll just push through.” That’s a way of thinking that Dr. Herold says lands most people in his office.
Among men, one of the most treated ailments is general lower back pain. The aformentioned story of the straw that broke the camel’s back makes it easy to place the blame on one moment but Dr. Herold says it’s an accumulation over time. “Our pain threshold is higher than our body’s ‘something is wrong’ threshold,” he says. “Back pain occurs, you’ll rest a few days, maybe use ice and heat for relief, but never allowing for full recovery, only alleviation of pain.”
Treatment options for lower back pain vary depending on severity. Dr. Herold and the Mayfield Chiropractic team center their care around The Resiliency Model. “We want to not only help our patients recover from injury but become more resilient and robust with their health and to help them become antifragile,” he says. The first step in that process is understanding a patient’s lifestyle and goals for mobility and wellness. Understanding a patient’s work environment, home life, and leisure activities can paint a complete picture of potential problem areas.
Diagnostic tools include patient history, a full orthopedic exam, and xrays to determine the best path forward. “Our first focus is usually calming things down, getting the patient comfortable so we can focus on recovery,” Dr. Herold says. “Men tend to push through pain so when they do end up in our office, quick relief is typically their first priority as they’ve likely been in pain for some time.”
From there, treatment options abound. Dr. Herold is trained in multiple techniques including Gonstead, Diversified, Logan Basic, Cox Flexion/Distraction, and SOT. He also holds a certification in Dry Needling, which he has been using since May of 2018 to treat patients.
“Sometimes, it’s as simple as making a few ergonomic changes,” says Dr. Herold. For those of us who work mainly sedentary positions with a computer, he offers the following tips:
Put your monitor at eye level. Looking up or down at your monitor all day can cause stress to the neck and shoulders.
Keep your keyboard at forearm height. Elbows bent over or under 90 degrees to rest on your keyboard can cause discomfort in the shoulders and carpel tunnel issues.
Adjust your seat the correct height. Your seat should allow your legs to be even with the hips with your feet resting on the floor. Otherwise, you run the risk of sitting in a curved or arched position all day.
“This is my most common advice to men who work throughout the petrochemcal industry in Southwest Louisiana,” Dr. Herold says. “Many of them are sitting and staring at monitors for 12 hours straight and our bodies weren’t made for that. They were made for movement.” Another preventative technique is to add microbreaks into your day. Simply standing up in your workspace and doing a few simple exercises can reduce the risk of back, shoulder, or neck pain.
The Resiliency Model emphasizes whole-person care – physically, physiologically, and psychologically. This approach seeks to promote self-suffiency and better equip the body to handle the invevitable stresses of life. “The current mindset in medicine is one of being reactive. We wait until the body breaks down before we react,” says Dr. Herold. “Chiropractic care is built on the idea of preventive care. Building the body up to prevent injury.”
Mayfield Chiropractic is located at 1709 W. Prien Lake Road, Suite, B in Lake Charles. To learn more, visit www.mclcchiro.com or call 337-656-4514.