TOPIC – LEG PAIN
Below you will find an easy to read transcript of Dr. Matthew Phinney’s interview on the razorcast™ monthly podcast. You can either watch the video to listen to the podcast or simply read the easy to follow transcripts below. Enjoy!
RC: Hello everyone, this is Liz Harvey coming to you from our razorcast™ studios in New York City where we are dedicated to bringing you cutting edge interviews from many of the leading industry professionals across the United States.
In today’s episode, we are speaking with Dr. Matthew Phinney. Dr. Phinney is the founder of The Chiropractor Doctors where he is committed to improving the health and vitality of his community through chiropractic and wellness care. He is originally from Toronto Canada and he graduated Bishop’s University in Quebec Canada and then from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa. Dr. Matthew Phinney is widely considered to be one of the top Chiropractors specializing in holistic and alternative health in the country and he is also a contributing member of our national network of industry professionals.
Today we are going to talk about a very important topic: Leg Pain
RC: Hi Dr. Phinney, how are you today?
Dr. Matthew Phinney: Hey Liz I’m doing great. Thanks for asking.
RC: Great thanks for being here.
Question 1: We think of chiropractors as ‘back doctors.’ How does a chiropractor help with leg pain?
RC: My first question is: We think of chiropractors as ‘back doctors.’ How does a chiropractor help with leg pain?
Dr. Matthew Phinney: Great question. I appreciate you asking that. We see a lot of times people come in to our office and we’ll ask them sort of what’s going on and leg pain is one of those things that people commonly experience. Sort of deep, dull, achy pain. It can be in the thighs, it could be down in the calf, even in to the feet. One of the things we’ve got to look at, as far as leg pain, is we want to figure out what’s causing that problem – causing that leg pain. And so, we’re not dealing specifically all the time just with the leg. The reason why is neurologically the nerves that are coming off the spine in the lower back and hip area are the nerves that go all the way down to the very bottom of the legs to the very tip of the toes. Really, neurologically nerves control all of the muscle function, the organ function, the glandular function along that entire pathway.
The best example I could give you would be somebody (heaven forbid) going into the hospital and they’re having a heart attack. They have pain in their left jaw, they have pain in their left shoulder and they have pain down their left arm. And if they go in to the hospital and they’re having a heart attack and all the doctor does is look at their jaw, their shoulder, their arm – well, then they’re going to miss something pretty important right? They are going to miss the cause of the problem, that problem being the heart.
Same thing is true. A lot of people will come in and they’ll say, “Well I’ve got pain in my hip; I’ve got this pain in my legs; my knee is bothering me; it’s all on that left side and then also my toes are numb but I don’t have anything wrong with my back.” So they have a bunch of things all on that sort of pathway that aren’t working – that aren’t functioning properly. It’s typically either a neurological issue: pressure on the nerves that are supplying those structures. Or it can be a structural issue: so something in the hips can be twisted or shifted out of position which is causing them to put more pressure of course on those hips, those knees, those ankles with every step they take every move they make.
So the way we would help with something like that is we would balance out that pelvic, balance out the hips, take the pressure off the nerves and get the body working the way that it’s supposed to work.
One of the things we’ll see a lot of times too is people have had chronic leg pain and they’ll typically have it in say one side. Like it’s always on the left side. When we start to balance stuff out they’ll notice that the pain will go from the left and it will actually go over to the right. And they’ll be like, “What’s happening here? I’m getting worse.” It’s actually not the case.
What’s going on is … picture somebody that’s been on vacation for the last ten years. You have two people that are working – one guy has been on vacation for the last ten years and the other guy has been doing all the work. Well all of a sudden, one day the guy that has been on vacation says, “Hey time to get back to work.” Typically for that first little while, he’s not happy. Right? He is used to sleeping in till noon every day, having a sandwich, watching some soap operas then going to bed by eight or nine. Well all of a sudden, now he’s up, he’s working, he’s doing stuff every single day. He typically doesn’t like that; he’s not used to that. So it’s not that he’s getting better or worse. It’s just that you’re changing something that your body was once used to.
So that’s how we correct leg pain. That’s how we typically get to it. We get to the cause of the problem. Because there is a big difference between me just treating your symptom or making the leg pain go away temporarily and then having it come back and us actually correcting the underlying cause of that dysfunction. Those are all things that we would do in our office.
RC: Okay that makes perfect sense.
Question 2: What are the various types of problems chiropractors see with leg pain?
RC: What are the various types of problems chiropractors see with leg pain? I guess to sort of rephrase the question: If somebody comes in with leg pain, what problems are they experiencing. Is it a limp, is it just a little pain here or there. What do you see coming in to the office?
Dr. Matthew Phinney: Yeah great question. You know, really it ranges. Often it depends too on how long it’s been going on. The longer it’s been going on, typically the more symptoms – the more problems that people will have. One of the things we’ll often times see is like poor circulation in the leg so that will cause their feet to always be cold. Poor circulation in the legs, numbness and tingling in the legs like a sciatica type situation. Could be down the back, could be down the front and could be on the sides. We’ll see a deep dull ache could be in the leg. We’ll see a lot of knee issues, ankle issues. Swollen ankles, swelling in the ankles (again blood flow – circulation). That’s all controlled by the nerves and the nervous system. Weakness in the legs like weakness in the arches of the feet that will often cause things like plantar fasciitis. So when there is pressure of the motor component of the nerve, over time that muscle will become weaker – it will atrophy. And so the arches of the feet -they’re held up and kept in position by the intrinsic muscles of that foot and when there’s nerve pressure on the nerves that are going to those muscles, well what happens is they get weaker and that arch will start to drop or collapse. So fallen arches lead to a planter fasciitis type situation and so that’s something that can be corrected again by getting to the cause of the problem. Cramping in the legs, creepy crawly type almost like a restless leg syndrome – we will see a lot of that.
Then a lot of other associated things that go with the leg are things that would affect the lower abdominal organs – so bowel, digestion. So we will see a lot of like irritable bowel type situations associated with that. Constipation, diarrhea – alternating patterns back and forth. Bladder, frequent urination, recurrent bladder type infections or recurrent urinary tract infections. The reason why is there is bacteria, there’s viruses. There’s germs all in our environment. Every single second of every day, we’re all coming in contact with the same stuff. And these are what we call opportunistic type infections. If you were a bacteria, you were a germ, you were a virus and you were to go in to somebody’s body, where are you going to go? Are you going to go to the organs that are functioning at 100% or are you going to be going to those ones that are shut down because the nervous system is not getting all of the supply that it needs. What would you go to?
RC: Probably the one that is shut down because it’s easier to attack.
Dr. Matthew Phinney: Correct and so that’s what happens. People will have like a bladder infection. They’ll take a round of antibiotics and then that kills 98% of everything but that 2% that survives, that slowly starts to re-colonize and two, three, four months later they are back to a point where it’s growing to the point where they have symptoms again. They have another bladder infection. They have the same sorts of infection over and over again. If there is pressure in the nerves that are going to the neck – supplying the stuff in the head, we’ll see a lot of people with recurrent sinus infection. Some people – kidney infections. It just depends on where the body is not functioning the best that it should be or could be. So frequent/infrequent urination that’s another one we’ll see typically.
Also it can relate to reproductive organ stuff: painful menstruation, irregular menstruation, cramping, bloating. Those types of things are commonly associated with neurological pressure in the low back which can cause problems in the legs but also problems in these other areas. Men, we can see erectile dysfunction. Again, stuff that people are pleasantly surprised with that going away as a result of getting their leg pain gone and getting their body working properly. And it’s always refreshing when we see the smiles on people’s faces when they’re like, “I didn’t know you guys could help with that!” And we’re like, “Yeah!”
RC: Yeah we could have another whole interview on just listing all the different things people didn’t realize that chiropractors can help with. I mean just the list alone would be worthy of a ten minute interview.
Question 3: What does numbing or “pins & needles” signify?
RC: You did touch on this one. The question I had next was what does numbing or “pins & needles” signify? When you’re experiencing that what does it signify? I think like you said earlier, are you having a heart attack, are you going numb down your whole left side? I mean people get nervous when they experience numbing and tingling and pins and needles so, can you just quickly talk about what’s happening in the body when we start to feel that.
Dr. Matthew Phinney: Yeah great question. You know anytime there is numbness and tingling, that is more often than not, nine times out of ten, that indicates nerve pressure – pressure on the neurological or the nervous system of the body. So that is what we would refer to anytime we see numbness/tingling. Now there are situations where people can have like say “pins and needles” if you are say sitting on your foot or you’re sitting on your hand and you’re not allowing the blood to flow to that area. When that blood starts to recirculate it can give you that sort of “pins and needles” type sensation but it’s typically very temporary maybe thirty seconds to a minute. If it doesn’t go away, if it’s still there, if it’s coming and going pretty regularly and you can’t think of anything that you’re doing to cause it, then it usually will indicate there is a nerve pressure. And that can be caused by something in the body shifting, twisting, twerking out of position causing irritation / inflammation in that area, putting pressure on the nerves. And pressure on those nerves will interfere with how your body functions and it will decrease the way that your body works and functions. The less that your body functions, the more likely it is that you have pain. The more likely it is that you have discomfort and the more likely it is that over time, you’ll get sick.
RC: Okay well that’s super helpful.
Question 4: Does rest help in correcting leg pain?
RC: Going back to leg pain. For somebody experiencing leg pain, does rest help with alleviating leg pain? You know the phrase, “I’m going to rest my legs. I’m going to put my feet up.” – that kind of thing. Does rest help with alleviating any leg pain or is that just what people say?
Dr. Matthew Phinney: Good question. Again, it depends on what the cause of the leg pain is. Certain situations, yeah rest may be the way to go. Often times, we recommend if it’s leg pain caused by a lower back or lumbar hip or pelvic issue, we recommend being up and just sort of doing light activity as opposed to say going and resting, depending on what your idea of rest is. But laying on the couch twisted for five-six hours or just lying in bed that typically slows down the healing process and can over time again make things worse. So it would really, I guess, depend on what was causing the problem and the only way to really tell that would be to come in or go see somebody who is trained in the body structure, biomechanics. Checking for subluxations, doing motion study film so they can actually see if there are any problems going on. Then I could give you a better answer on that but it would just really kind of depend on the situation.
RC: Okay that makes sense.
Question 5: It may be recommended to take calcium and vitamin D for strong bones. Do you see results with supplements for leg pain?
RC: Lastly this question is regarding supplements. People know to take calcium supplements and vitamin D for strong bones and with regard to the legs and leg pain are there any supplements that help?
Dr. Matthew Phinney: Yeah, really any sort of supplement that is going to decrease inflammation, decrease systemic inflammation in the body will benefit. If there is a leg pain issue going on. One of the ones we always recommend is like a high dose Omega 3 fatty acid – so like a fish oil. There’s a couple different companies that we recommend but you really get what you pay for in that arena. So that would be one that’s great. It works on the same pathways that say Advil or Tylenol works on (Cyclooxygenase Inhibitor) without any of the nasty side-effects. So that’s one of the things – that’s fantastic. Your body needs it in order to work, in order to be healthy. But it does a great job at decreasing inflammation and getting people out of pain.
The other thing we’ll see a lot of times, too – people with vitamin D deficiencies. Study came out of a journal: Pain Physician 2013. It was talking about people’s vitamin D deficiencies and the increased likelihood that they’re going to have back pain and leg pain and nerve pressure issues. So getting on like a high dose D3. And that’s as simple as a blood test to figure out where you are at. But if you’re not getting ten minutes front and back bathing suit attire every single day then it’s likely that you’re deficient. We’re in Michigan here. We rarely see the sun. I don’t know what it’s like down there in New York City. You guys do okay, but not great. So if you’re not getting it, then you require it and that’s something I’d recommend. A loading dose and then a maintenance dose.
Another one is Turmeric. It’s great for decreasing inflammation, decreasing inflammation in the body. Getting on a green super food. We recommend wuji chlorella – it’s and organic green. Again, it helps inflammation – it helps get rid of pain.
So those are fantastic supplements that I would recommend and we see great results with people who have had leg pain or leg issues.
RC: Oh good, excellent. Well those are the questions I had today and this is a really interesting topic so thanks for sharing all your expert advice and knowledge with us today!
Dr. Matthew Phinney: Awesome. I appreciate you having us!
RC: For our listeners across the country, if you are interested in speaking with Dr. Matthew Phinney, you can either go online at www.thechirodocs.com or call (616) 432-3103 to schedule an appointment.
On behalf of our entire team at razorcast™, we want to thank you for listening and we look forward to bringing you more top quality content from our country’s leading industry professionals.
Call our office to book your next appointment, and discover why The Chiropractic Doctors are consistently rated 5 stars by your neighbors!
This article was reviewed and approved by Dr. Matthew Phinney.