Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Foot Bone's Connected to the . . .

Remember that song about the foot bone being connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the hip bone, the hip bone connected to the back bone, and on and on from the toes on your feet to the top of your head?

Well, whoever wrote that silly song knew what they were saying. That's why chiropractors who care about your whole body will either work from the "ground-up" or the "top-down." In the article from January 29th's "Dynamic Chiropractic" publication, Mark Charrette, DC, explains the importance of Orthotic Support for the Unlevel Pelvis.

"Evaluation and correction of the pelvis is a very important part of chiropractic care. However, there are several variables affecting pelvic structural support which can interfeere with chiropracti corrections. If these variables are allowed to persist, the patient will not be able to achieve maximal response to adjustments and will become chronic. Pelvic function during daily activities is due primarily to two major joints - the sacroiliac (SI) joints. These are the joints we need to adjust and stabilize.

SI Function and Movement
The main function of the SI joints is to support the vertebral column and transmit motion and weight-bearing between the spine/pelvis and the lower extremities. A small amount of movement occurs in these joints in spite of their irregular surfaces and very strong anterior, interosseous and posterior ligaments.
In the fifth decade of life, fibrosis begins to take place between the cartilage surfaces, reducing mobility. True bony anklyosis is a rare phenomenon late in life. No muscles cross the SI joints, but the gluteurs maximus, piriformis, and long head of the biceps femoris muscles attach into the sacrotuberous ligament, and may influence joint movement and stability.
Most of the important work of the SI joint occurs during gait. The ground reaction forces generated during gait result in two specific phenomena:
* Because of the irregular contour of the joint surfaces, SI movement occurs only when there is enough force to overcome ligamentous resistance. This is thought to constitute a shock absorbing mechanism.
* When there is a difference in leg lengths, the increased ground reaction force from the longer leg causes that hip to rotate more posterior. The higher forces and repetitive stress of the SI joint may be the underlying cause of lower back pain seen in patients with a leg-length discrepancy.

The Unlevel Pelvis
Some patients have a difference in the anatomical components of the lower extremities that result in an unlevel pelvis. However, the most frequent cause of pelvic unleveling is loss of support from the lower extremity - and the foot, in particular - due to the collapse of the medial longitudinal arch. This is classified as a functional imbalance. When the foot arch drops, the leg rotates medially and the femur head drops, causing an unlevel pelvis. Excessive pronation may occur from a young age through lack of development of the arch, but most commonly occurs in later years, when the ligaments that support the arches undergo plastic deformity.
Since this process usually happens gradually, there is no significant foot pain. The patient with this condition often begins to develop chronic low back and pelvic problems, but doesn't describe any foot symptoms.

Orthotic Support
Since the pelvis and SI joints are so intimately involved in gait, it's not surprising that orthoic support for the feet is often a necessary treatment component. Orthotic support for low arches and calcaneal eversion will reduce pronation, which decreases the medial rotational stress on the SI joints. In addition, orthotic correction of a functional or anatomical leg length discrepancy will diminish the ground reaction forces being sent through the joint on the side of the longer leg. And finally, shock absorbing materials in the orthotic can diminish heel strike shock. The additional padding is necessary when there is instability, degeneration, or even an inflammatory arthritis in the SI joint.

Support with Every Step

Once a pelvic subluxation has been found, effective treatment can be planned. The first step is to evaluate the gate cycle to determine if there is any lack of support from the lower extremities. This may require accurate standing x-rays. After that, a determination of anatomical assymetry or functional imbalance will help guide chiropractic care. In many cases, orthotic support for foot pronation, knee rotation or femur angulation will be needed. Additional shock absorption can help to decrease symptoms due to degenerating joints and spinal disc. Those few patients with a true anatomical leg-length discrepancy will also need to be supplied with the appropriate amount of lift."

So, what does this mean for you?

It means that the lower back pain you feel today may start at your feet. That means you can get your back "worked on" a couple of times a month and "feel better," but until you address the real issue - an imbalance that starts with your feet - you're not going to GET BETTER. At Bee Cave Chiropractic, we offer Spinal Pelvic Stabilizers by Foot Levelers. We'll take an infrared scan of your feet and have custom orthotics made just for you.

It's just another way we're helping people Get Well and Live Well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

All in a day's work. . .

I'll be up and at 'em in the morning, going to check out a new core strengthening program that maight be useful for my patients. This program was originally designed to help a group of Himalayan climbers and is now being offered in Austin by my friend, James Garland. You can check out his offerings here or email me for more information.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A picture's worth 1,000 words. . .

and this one may also be worth 700 billion dollars! Time to pay up, buddies. . .

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home again, home again. . .

Back to the blog!
We had a great time in Europe. It was great to see my buddy and his family, and we really appreciated his first-class tour. Of course we did the touristy stuff. Here we are at St. Stephen's Basillica:

And we also spent a few nights just hanging out on the back patio, American-style.
But, of course, the main highlight of our trip was Oktoberfest! We were there for opening day,
and we enjoyed as much beer and pork products as we could get our hands on! When they roll it in by the cart. . .

and serve it up by the litre. . .

You just can't help yourself but to have a good time!

Monday, September 8, 2008

No Place Like Home

I am leaving for Europe in a few days. While I am certainly excited about the trip, my mind is on other things as well.

I seem to spend a lot of my evenings and weekends working around the house lately. I have been building cactus gardens and flower beds and creating a "jungle" that will provide privacy and a pleasant atmosphere in years to come. While most people in my shoes would be dreaming of the architecture, aromas and experiences that overseas travel will bring, I find myself dreaming of elephant ears and banana plants and birds of paradise!

I guess you could say I am "putting down my roots" in our home in Spicewood. I know we'll call that place "home" for many years to come, and I look forward to it. When it comes time to board the plane and go see the sights in Hungary, Austria and Germany, I know I'll be ready. For now, though, I have a greater understanding of the phrase, "There's no place like home."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time for a shower. . .

Don't miss the Perseid Meteor shower. Peak viewing is on the night of August 12th into the morning of the 13th. 

The Perseids are remnants from the comet Swift-Tuttle and are named for the constellation Perseus. Just like train tracks seem to come together at the horizon, 'shooting stars' of a meteor shower also seem to originate from a single point. In this case, they seem to emanate from the stars that make up the constellation Perseus.
a perseidf meteor

Meteors are small pieces of rock and dirt varying in size from tiny dust particles to sand grains with an occasional pebble thrown into the mix. When a comet travels through our solar system, the sun heats the comet causing some evaporation. The comet leaves behind a dust trail. When the earth's orbit travels through such a trail, the dust hits our atmosphere at a great speed causing it to burn up. Often, these meteor showers are recurrent and predictable to a certain degree. 

The Perseid meteor shower is an annual event but the intensity of this year's shower (how many shooting stars per hour) is uncertain. Under a dark sky, 60 - 100 per hour is typical for this shower. However, there are indications this year's Perseids might be a lot better (say 300 an hour). There is always a tiny chance for a spectacular event with 1000's or more per hour, but don't count on it! 

The moon cooperates nicely this year for the Perseid Meteor shower. Although the moon is a fat waxing gibeous, it is far to the south and will set early enough to have several hours of good observing before the Sun rises. If the sky is clear and you are away from city lights, conditions should be ideal for observing. The darker the spot you can find the better. Also, make certain you have a clear view of (especially) the North-North Eastern sky.

Unfortunately, for most, the best time to observe meteor showers is very early in the morning with the peak around 3 a.m. But with meteor showers things are always uncertain, and you might catch a terrific show before midnight. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Scream, You Scream. . .

We all scream for ICE CREAM!! And here's a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and help a good cause. . .

On Thursday, June 26, from 6-9 p.m., Ben & Jerry's in Westlake will be donating 25 percent of its proceeds to the Austin Valkyrie's Women's Rugby Club. The money will be used to help the team with uniforms, transportation and gear for the next season. Members of the team will be at Ben & Jerry's Thursday night to thank you for your support!

It's not every day that you'll have a chiropractor suggesting that you ice cream, but I love Austin, my wife loves ice cream, and we both love anything that gets people on their feet and moving around like rugby.  Giving to a good cause has never been so delicious!