We’ve all experienced back pain, and I’ll venture to guess that a few of us have even had a headache or two. These are some of the reasons patients seek help from my guest on Episode 18 of the Healthy Matters Podcast, chiropractor, and colleague Dr. Richard Printon. He explains what patients can expect at a visit to his clinic:

“We start by taking a history. How did you hurt yourself? Did you sleep wrong? Did you bend and lift something? Did you fall? Was there some sort of trauma involved? At Hennepin Healthcare, we’ve got the access to all the different types of treatments that the patient has already had. For example, if Dr. Hilden refers a patient, I can see his assessment, find out what happened, and what’s already been done to help me determine a plan of care.”

That’s right – Dr. Printon’s practice is embedded in the same place where I work at Hennepin Healthcare, and he sees patients on the 3rd floor of our Clinic & Specialty Center – alongside colleagues in physical therapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy and more who work with neurosurgeons and all the other specialties related to physical medicine. Talk about convenient care! It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Dr. Printon and I discussed the many things that can affect neck and spine health and I mentioned how my wife is concerned that humans are going to suffer permanent damage from always being hunched over cell phones. I learned this is already a condition called “tech-neck.” He also mentioned how neglecting neck and spine care isn’t new.

“Posture is the biggest underlying cause of back pain,” he said as I sat slouched in my chair. “And one of the best ways to prevent back pain is movement, exercise and correct posture.”

Dr. Printon answered a question from Kim in St. Paul (as I dutifully readjusted my posture). Kim said she was playing tennis and in a twisting motion, seemed to have pulled something in the inside muscles of her back. She asked if she should use ice or heat to help relieve the pain.

“Start with ice,” he advised. “Usually, those types of conditions will resolve within a couple of weeks, but if it persists more than two weeks, a chiropractic evaluation would be recommended. In that situation, especially tennis, it’s a twisting type of motion of the back so you could have strained or rotated a joint in the back.”

Dave from Eagan asked about a shoulder injury, which led to a conversation about this amazing joint and its miraculous range of motion. From being able to comb one’s hair to throwing a baseball at 90 mph. Seriously! We also talked about the warning signs that accompany back pain to be aware of that would indicate the need to go seek care immediately.