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Give Your Back a Holiday

Vacations can be a great opportunity to relax and recharge. Whether you’re flying to a tropical destination or simply heading up to the cabin, holidays are always a welcome event. Despite the time away, I often see patients after their recent vacation or a long weekend. Why? Because they didn’t consider their back during their vacation. Here are a couple things that are far too often overlooked that will help you remain injury free during your next holiday:1) Pack it Light – It doesn’t just apply to your child’s backpack. Be considerate of what you pack in your suitcase as it follows you around for the duration of your holiday. A heavy suitcase can wreak havoc on your spine.2) Watch those lifts – One of the most common causes of back and spine injury is lifting. This includes picking up those bags and placing them in and out of the trunk of your car. Lifts over the head put you at an increased risk of injury so be extra careful when lifting your luggage in and out of the overhead storage containers on airplanes.3) Vacations usually involve long commutes. If you are travelling by car, take advantage of some rest stops along the way to allow yourself and your passengers to stretch. When taking a trip by plane, get up every so often to stretch and walk the aisles [once the captain switches off the seatbelt sign of course!].4) Keep well hydrated. Our bodies are at least 60% water so it makes sense that we need to drink plenty of water. Bring bottles of water or fluids along with you for especially long commutes.5) Stay calm and try to relax. Travelling can be stressful. Keep your eye on the prize… your destination ahead or if you’re heading home, think of all of the wonderful new memories that you made.

Research finds back pain assessments show room for improvement

Most people who experience back pain will consult their medical doctor first for treatment and advice. In fact, one third of all office visits to a medical doctor are for spine and spine related problems. Not only is back pain a huge burden on our health care system, it has many causes and is therefore difficult to diagnose. Dr. Jason Busse, Chiropractic Research Chair at McMaster University is conducting research into ways to improve medical assessments for low back pain and create greater efficiency when determining the most appropriate course of care.8629595Dr. Busse’s research reinforces the notion that most medical doctors are not confident in their diagnosis of spine conditions. Back pain can result from physical, chemical or emotional stress. It can be difficult to pin down the individual factors that are causing each patient’s case of back pain. As a result, many doctors consult advanced medical imaging such as CT Scans or MRIs as part of the assessment process when in reality, these types of imaging are best used to reinforce or rule out a diagnosis. Imaging used for assessment purposes is generally not helpful.In order to gain confidence in the patient’s diagnosis, Dr. Busse is investigating better assessment techniques that include the involvement of a chiropractic doctor in conjunction with a medical doctor. Through this collaborative approach, Dr. Busse’s research suggests that patients who require conservative care, advanced imaging or surgical assessment would be easier to identify and triage appropriately.With our current system, back pain patients who do not recover or “fail” are usually referred by their medical doctor for surgical consult to a spine surgeon. The wait time for this consult in Canada is approximately six months. When Dr. Busse polled Canadian spine surgeons he found that 20% of referred patients are rejected without a consult. These patients are left to find another way to manage their condition. Of the patients that do receive a surgical consult, only one in every ten is an eligible candidate for surgery. These patients must then wait another six months for their surgery.A recent study into the early predictors of lumbar spine surgery after occupational back injury also highlighted another interesting point about the incidence of spine surgery amongst injured workers. Of these patients, 42.7% of those who first saw a spine surgeon had surgery while 1.5% of those who saw a chiropractic doctor first were referred for surgery.These findings suggest that conservative care can play a key role in the appropriate treatment and management of back problems. Dr. Busse’s research continues to build on this idea with the goal of better patient outcomes and a more streamlined assessment process. Through this shift in cultural behaviour for the treatment of chronic spinal conditions, health care dollars can go farther with less need for surgery and imaging and focus can be given to what is truly best for the patient and their recovery.

New CCGI Evidence Informed Practice Definition adopted by BCCA

The BCCA recently adopted the Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative (CCGI) Definition of “Evidence Informed Practice”:“Canadian chiropractors adopt evidence-informed practice principles to guide clinical decision making by integrating their clinical expertise, patients’ preferences and values, and the best available scientific evidence.”BC’s Chiropractic Doctors are proud to support the CCGI and their mission to develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and best practice recommendations, and facilitate their dissemination and implementation within the chiropractic profession.For more information, visit the CCGI website.

Canadian Chiropractic Association Position Statement on Vaccines

The BC Chiropractic Association formally adopted the Canadian Chiropractic Association’s position statement on Vaccinations and Immunization. Vaccination is outside of the scope of practice of chiropractic and therefore, we encourage the public to seek more appropriate resources and research to obtain information on this topic.