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Viscoelasticity: The Hidden Ingredient

viscoelasticity
Regular Chiropractic Care and Spinal Health
Spinal health depends on many factors. Positive benefits are obtained with regular physical activity and exercise. Negative predictors of spinal health include high levels of psychosocial stress as well as a sedentary lifestyle. The majority of these externals are under our control, to a greater or lesser extent. We may choose to make a shift in a sedentary way of living by committing to a program of regular physical activity. We may choose to help manage our stress by beginning a series of yoga classes or starting a meditation practice. Regular chiropractic care can help us significantly in all these activities by addressing internal factors that impact spinal health.

Physiologically, spinal health depends on the ability of spinal vertebras to move freely throughout a full range of motion. Spinal misalignments negatively impact this ability, restricting spinal motion and causing nerve interference. Nerve interference irritates spinal muscles, further restricting mobility. Regular chiropractic care detects and corrects these spinal misalignments, helping restore optimal nerve system function and optimal spinal health. By helping return your spine to good health, regular chiropractic care helps you achieve long-term overall good health and wellness.

Most of us have experienced a painful bout of low back pain brought on by a seemingly innocuous movement such as bending over to pick up a pencil or a dropped set of keys. These painful episodes may last a couple of days or be more severe and last more than a week. We're left wondering, "What exactly happened?" After all, we weren't trying to pick up a 100-pound crate. When our chiropractor asks what caused the problem we say, "I don't know. I didn't do anything." For the patient, the mystery often remains unsolved. But it's important to know there is an answer. The deep background to these unexpected, troublesome back problems is loss of viscoelasticity.

Viscoelasticity is a physical property of both materials and soft tissues. When these structures undergo deformation, they exhibit properties of viscosity and elasticity. Materials and soft tissues that demonstrate viscoelasticity resist shearing forces when a stress is applied (viscosity) and strain when stretched or compressed and quickly return to their initial state after removal of a transient load (elasticity). For viscoelastic structures, the relationship between strain and stress depends on the factor of time.

In terms of spinal biomechanics, viscoelastic structures include joint cartilage (for example, intervertebral discs), ligaments, and tendons.1 If a substantial load is placed on the low back when viscoelastic properties of intervertebral discs and spinal ligaments have not returned to optimum, injury to low back muscles and ligaments may result.2 For example, if you've been sitting for more than 15 minutes the soft tissue structures of your low back have been compressed for that length of time. Standing up and bending over to retrieve something causes your low back to attempt to support all the weight of your torso and head. If you haven't prepared your low back to receive this substantial burden, that is, restored viscoelasticity, you will likely suffer an injury that may be not only very painful but also inconvenient in terms of time and resources spent on recovery.

Injury prevention in these circumstances largely depends upon understanding.3 Being aware of the requirements for maintaining viscoelasticity will help you remember to "wake up" the soft tissues of your low back prior to any load-bearing activities such as bending over or twisting and turning. A simple way to restore viscoelasticity is to pause before suddenly changing a position you've been in for a while, such as getting out of a chair after working at your desk for 30 minutes, and gently rotating your torso from side to side eight or ten times. These rotational movements immediately restore viscoelastic properties to baseline and increase circulation to intervertebral discs, muscles, and ligaments. The result is a spine that is ready for action and prepared for the demands of new physical work. As always, proper preparation and attention help prevent injury.


1Troyer KL, Puttlitz CM: Nonlinear viscoelasticity plays an essential role in the functional behavior of spinal ligaments. J Biomech 45(4):684-691, 2012
2Freddolini M, et al: Stiffness properties of the trunk in people with low back pain. Hum Mov Sci 36:70-79, 2014
3Mörl F, Bradl I: Lumbar posture and muscular activity while sitting during office work. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 23(2):362-368, 2013

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Testimonial

I slipped on ice in December, landing hard on my behind. I was in excruciating pain and could barely move. It was a Saturday night but I called the office and left a message (new patient, too, found them on Google.) I received a call back first thing Monday morning, they got me right in that day, and I just completed my 3- month treatment plan. I feel so much better and am happy to have found Dr. Ide and his staff.

  ~Amy Hawker

Dr. Ide and his staff are awesome. I had all but given up and I saw his ad. I am s happy to be out of partial pain and I have only gone twice, I cannot wait for the end results. Just to be pain free. Dr. Ide, I thank you so much.

   ~ Patsy Dimond-Spencer

Dr. Ide and his staff have given me my life back. The day I called to make my first appointment I had been suffering from a migraine and severe neck pain for 6 days. This was also after receiving multiple pain injections from my primary physician with no relief. His staff not only verified my insurance was accepted at this location before even offering me an appointment time (which multiple offices will not do this) over the phone but I was able to make an appointment for the same day. Dr. Ide took the time to obtain pertinent patient history and not only explain but he also showed me on my x-rays why I was experiencing pain. He addressed the root of the problem instead of pushing prescriptions to subside your symptoms. HE discussed my POA in detail and reiterated why finishing therapy and continuing home therapy was important. I was hesitant and nervous about my first adjustment but again, he took the time to walk me through each step. Paired with my weekly adjustments I also receive massage therapy. Monica, the massage therapist is incredible. She takes the time to ask specific questions before the massage to ensure she provides the best care possible. Kasey, Dr. Ide's assistant is extremely personable and continues to make sure you feel comfortable throughout your visit. The front staff also provides a warm and welcoming environment. Within my first month of treatment, I'm able to go das without a headache now and I have reduced the frequency of my pain medication. I highly recommend Dr. Ide and his staff!

    ~Leah Craig

Very friendly staff and knowledgeable doctor! After doing a 3 month program, I no longer have daily headaches, back pain or neck pain. Most doctor's adjust your back and send you on your way - Dr. Ide makes sure to turn it into a lifestyle change by improving your posture and fixing any issues you may have. I would definitely recommend him over any chiropractor.

    ~Lauren Dunigan

I always have good service and leave feeling good! The people are nice and all know my name. I really like how they do business for senior citizens... that's a big plus!
~Nancy Matson

Very extensive in the examination. Not like other chiropractors I'd seen who just do a quick adjustment. They diagnosed the problem and are working to correct it with me. They have even went so far as to work out payment arguments for the things my insurance wouldn't cover.

    ~Brandon Ogle

I had neck and shoulder pain since 2010. Ever since I started going to him I have felt better and better!

    ~Andrel Jacobs 

I had ankle problems all my life in my left foot. Dr. Ide adjusted my ankle for me and within one adjustment my ankle felt the best ever. Thanks Dr. Ide!

              A.H.
              Fenton, MI

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