Back in Action

Tips for spinal comfort. 

Back pain: it’s a common ailment that prevents or diminishes the enjoyment of outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, and skiing. But rest assured, there are things we can do to prevent back problems, and thus enjoy these great mountains and rivers of southwest Montana. 

An Ounce of Prevention
Many outdoor enthusiasts experiencing back pain believe that the problem is muscle tension or weakness. What they need to understand is that the muscles listen to the nerves to determine how tight or relaxed to be. Of course, if a muscle is not in shape, it won’t function properly; however, even people in decent muscular shape can experience back pain because of nerve damage caused by subluxations—vertebrae (back bones) that don’t move properly and cause stress to the nerves. The spine is designed to be in motion, and a safe exercise that puts a great amount of motion into the spine at a minimal amount of stress is swimming, so while the water is still relatively warm (assuming you're reading this before November), hop into the river and take a few strokes.

Dehydration is another element that can contribute to back pain, so drink a lot of water to prevent discomfort. Coconut water is one of the healthiest drinks out there, and fish oil has anti-inflammatory effects that can prevent and manage pain.

A Pound of Cure
Safe exercises, stretching, and other preventive measures are no-cost investments you should be doing daily. But when suffering subluxations, exercising and stretching can sometimes cause further pain. In this case, professional treatment may be in order.

To hone in on the root of the problem, your chiropractor may employ a variety of tools and techniques. X-rays are essential, of course, but motion x-rays in the problem area can identify vertebrae that are not moving properly. This new and highly specialized technology allows a chiropractor to make a very specific adjustment to restore motion and function of the nerves.

That tough climb at Allenspur you’ve been working on all summer? The tight line at Bridger that requires fast, precise turns at the pinch? Proper assessment and subsequent treatment might just allow you to nail it.

Spence Jahner owns We Care Chiropractic in Bozeman.