Tuesday, May 14, 2013


(published in Dockline Magazine May 2013)

One of the most common reasons for visits to our office in Kingwood is sciatica.  However, sciatica is not actually a diagnosis but a description of symptoms.  The term sciatica is well recognized and popular, so it is often overused and inaccurate, similar to the term Carpal Tunnel. Sciatica can include any symptoms related to the compression of any one of the five nerve roots (from the spine) that make up the sciatic nerve.  It gets used a lot for any back, leg or butt pain.  There are many different causes of these symptoms and not all patients with these symptoms have sciatica.  Getting to the root cause is important in treating sciatica and not just treating the symptoms with pain killers, etc.

When somebody comes in with symptoms of sciatica, the next step is evaluating the actual cause.  This often includes orthopedic and neurological tests with x-rays to evaluate the spine and pinpoint the potential cause instead of just treating the symptoms.  After a thorough exam and evaluation then it can be determined if an MRI is necessary for further evaluation.  In most cases it is not and the condition that is causing the symptoms responds well to non-invasive conservative chiropractic care.

So what are the causes?  Potential causes of sciatica symptoms include spinal disc herniations, piriformis syndrome, pregnancy, spinal stenosis, localized nerve entrapments, trauma, or in rare instances, tumors.  Spinal discs over time can began to bulge and herniate causing compression of the nerve at that level.  It can happen anywhere along the spine, but the most common level is at L5-S1 (or the last disc in the spine) and can cause pain down the back of the leg.  Surgery for these cases is a last resort and should not be considered unless not responding to conservative care.  Piriformis syndrome is compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle.  This usually responds very well to conservative care and includes evaluation of the causes such as leg length, spinal and pelvic rotations, muscle imbalances and postural modifications.   Pregnancy may cause symptoms of sciatica from the weight of the fetus on the sciatic nerve, swelling or piriformis syndrome.  Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the canal that the spinal cord passes through from usually a combination of factors that may include bone spurs, disc herniations, inflammation, spondylisthesis (forward displaced vertebra) and spinal ligament thickening.  Some severe cases of spinal stenosis may require surgery.  Other localized nerve entrapments can occur in the legs that can mimic sciatica symptoms and often respond very well to conservative non-pharmalogical treatment.

Every patient’s structure is different and no two cases are exactly the same, so the treatment of sciatica varies from patient to patient due to these factors.   Live well and God Bless!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do treadmills hurt your back?

Treadmills.... good or bad?  At our office in Kingwood, we often get patients that complain of lower back pain when running on a treadmill.  Why is this?  Although treadmills are supposed to simulate running outdoors, the fact is you are not really going anywhere and are going to create a greater impact on the spine.  We find that many of the patients that complain of lower back pain after running on a treadmill have what is called Lumbar Facet Syndrome.  Often on x-rays of the lower back, we will find increased sclerosis (calcium buildup or arthritis) in the joints of the lower back. 

So what do we do about it? 

First, it is best to switch it up.  Get outside and run/walk.  This changes up the stress on the spine and allows you to use different muscles that aren't used on a treadmill.  Another problem with treadmills is that you are always going straight and never turning.  When running outside, because of turns, etc., more muscles get used and thus is a better workout. 

Second, incline it!  Adjust the settings on the treadmill so that it is at a slight incline (~3 degrees or more).  This helps limit the stress and impact on the joints of the lower back by changing the angle of the pelvis when running.

Of course, always get your back properly evaluated by your chiropractor first to make sure it is not a more serious issue.  No back pain is normal, so if you have pain while running, make sure you inform your chiropractor.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back Pain and Yard Work

This time of year tends to be a busy time for us here in Kingwood.  We usually see quite of few injuries from doing yard work, especially the lower back.  Here are a few tips to prevent injuries:
  1. Stretch - Stretching before doing yard work is just as important as before sports.
  2. Keep your nose between your toes - Make sure to use your legs and avoid repetitive bending and turning to the side.  This creates a lot of stress to the lower back and the discs.
  3. Hydrate - Drink plenty of water to keep your muscles hydrated.
  4. Split it up - Don't try to conquer the entire yard in one day.  Also, change it up.  For example, spread some mulch, then mow, then sweep, then do some more mulch, etc.  Don't do the same activity for prolonged periods of time.
Good luck with your yards this year.  Hope we get more rain than last!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Product Spotlight - Osteoforce

This product contains bone supportive nutrients for restoring healthy bones when bone loss may have been attributed to a deficiency or malabsorption of vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and others.

The minerals chosen for this formula are from Albion Advanced Nutrition, the leader in formulating truly chelated minerals with outstanding absorption. The calcium and magnesium are supplied in an ideal 2:1 ratio. A higher intake of calcium than that supplied in OsteoForce is not necessary due to the far greater absorption of calcium bis-glycinate chelate in comparison to other non-chelated calcium salts typically supplied by other manufacturers.

For more information on how to order this supplement, call Kingwood Chiropractic Associates at 281-359-6932.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fitness at Work or by Phone

As a chiropractor I talk to patients on a daily basis about living a healthy lifestyle. One of the keys to a healthy lifestyle is regular exercise. I have heard all the excuses and use them myself at times. I know you are busy and there are a lot of demands on your time. However, I know it makes life even harder if you are trying to get everything done that needs to be done but are not functioning at your optimum potential because of an unhealthy lifestyle.

One way to improve your fitness at work is to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you on a daily basis. Opt for those activities that demand more effort over those that are more convenient. For example, use the stairs whenever possible. If it is an option, use your own horsepower to get to work via running, walking, or biking. Or park as far as possible when going to work or the store. Keep it as a part of your consciousness to move as much as possible. Not only will it help you burn calories it will help you stay more alert and focused.

Another benefit to healthy living is that many insurance companies and businesses offer incentives for individuals who demonstrate that they are living a healthy lifestyle. Find out if that applies to you and take advantage of those opportunities. Lunch time walking clubs, company sports teams, and interoffice competitions are great ways to get more people on board and create a built-in support system.

Finally, with today’s smart phones, there are some really cool, free apps to help you improve your fitness at home and even at work. One really good one is Workout Trainer on Android. This app will suggest free workouts based on your time restraints, intensity desired and requires little to no equipment. Another good app for running, walking and biking is iMapMyRun which uses GPS to determine and display your distance, time, pace, and calories burned. There are other many good apps out there and they are constantly getting better.

These are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning. I encourage you to start coming up with some of your own ideas of how you can become more active in your work environment. This will be a great start towards a healthy lifestyle that will help you get more years out of your life and more life out of your years.

Dr. Buchan and Dr. McComb are board certified doctors of chiropractic and owners of Kingwood Chiropractic Associates. They have extensive education and training in the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, applied clinical nutrition and acupuncture. They are committed to helping you and your families obtain the information which is essential to achieve health and wellness, and through that process empower you to make decisions that will lead to fulfillment of your goals and a life of greater potential. For more information on methods of improving health, go to www.kingwoodchiro.com.

Here is our link to the article in Dockline Magazine, page 28.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 Toy Drive

Dear Patients and Friends:

As the Holiday season approaches our office wishes to celebrate in a way which will make a difference in other people’s lives. We have partnered with Azleway to coordinate a drive to collect new, unwrapped toys for underprivileged kids. The ages of these children can range from toddlers to teenagers, so toys, as well as appropriate gifts for teenagers will be greatly appreciated.

Each year, Azleway brings hope and opportunity to more than 1,000 Texas children at-risk and in crisis. For children of Azleway, Christmas can be a very hard time. Although most of the children of Azleway have been removed from homes full of abuse and neglect, Christmas is still a time when children miss home and family, no matter how destructive the environment may have been.

The mission at Azleway is to provide a home, school, and treatment opportunities with intervention and prevention strategies to children and their families from a faith based perspective in order to increase their abilities to succeed in life.

Help us make this a special year for children in need. Plan now to participate and share with us in this giving time of the year. For those that would like to donate, will be collecting toys and gifts at our office till December 12th.

Thank you for your donations!

Dr. Kyle W. Buchan

Dr. M. Cody McComb