What is Sciatic pain?


The term Sciatic pain describes a type of radicular pain which travels along the sensory distribution of Sciatic nerve root.   An irritation or inflammation to the  Sciatic nerve will cause leg pain or paresthesia  (tingling, burning or numbness).

Sciatic pain is most often associated with a herniated or a bulging disc. The injured or inflamed disc will put pressure on the exiting nerve root which in turn causes the symptoms to travel down the leg. While sciatic pain is usually limited to either the right or left leg,  in some instances a person may suffer with bilateral leg pain.

Other conditions affecting the spine may also produce sciatic symptoms. Cysts, tumors or a condition known as stenosis can also exert a compressive pressure on the nerve root causing pain to radiate into the lower extremities. In some instances, prolonged or severe pressure on the sciatic nerve root can cause serious permanent damage  resulting in a condition known as “foot drop”.

Sciatic pain must not be ignored. Should you suffer with symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness or burning radiating down your leg, which is often accompanied with low back pain,  seek treatment from your Chiropractor or family physician.


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When I exercise, what should my heart rate be?

For a healthy individual with no history of cardiac disease the easiest way to calculate your target heart rate is by first estimating your maximum heart rate. A rough approximation of your maximum heart rate can be found by subtracting your age from 220. Therefore, if you’re 30 years old, a good estimate of your maximum heart rate would be 220-30=190 beats per minute.

If your goal is to decrease your risk of developing coronary disease, then you should exercise between 50% and 60%your maximum heart rate consistently for 30 minutes, 6 or 7 days every week. If you do not need to lose weight, low intensity activities such as walking may be all you need.

If your goal is to reduce body fat you should train at a level of 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate, and if your goal is aerobic conditioning and weight management you should train within a zone of 70%-80% of your maximum heart rate. For a detailed and more accurate method, I have provided a link to a target heart rate calculator which also accounts for gender and resting heart rate.



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Posted in Questions and Answers, Uncategorized

How to sit without back pain

Bending the back at the waist greatly increases the pressure on the discs, joints and ligaments which in turn greatly increases you chances of  injuring your lower back.  You can however “hinge” at the hips and reduce the load on the lower back when sitting. Remember not to bend at the waist.  You will heal an existing injury more quickly or perhaps even  avoid  back pain altogether  Watch this video and you’ll understand,  you know the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

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Posted in Health Tips, Uncategorized

Golfers lift

Safe lifting techniques  are an important way to avoid low back injuries.

Many injuries occur when we bend at the waist , this greatly increases the pressure within the disc and loads on the muscles, ligaments and joints in the low back.  There are  alternatives when it comes to the way we lift and move which are bio-mechanically safer and will help prevent low back pain.  Of course it is always safer to bend at the knees and not at the waist.  For heavier objects using a squat or one knee on the ground lift is a safer option.  For lighter objects try a golfers lift which is safe, effective and an easy habit to form.




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Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt is a fundamental exercise which should be performed to either recover from or prevent episodes of low back pain. This exercise serves as the foundation from which many additional low back exercises stem. The Pelvic Tilt is important and it also helps one to identify their “neutral spine” position.

To perform the Pelvic Tilt you should lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Your shoulders and hips should be square. The abdominal muscles along with the gluteal muscles are contracted to stabilize the spine and tilt the pelvis causing the lumbar lordotic curve to press firmly against the floor. This is a subtle maneuver, hold for the count of five and release, repeat five times.

Check out this video

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Posted in Exercises

Christian Center Lunch Lecture

On Wednesday May 2, 2012 Dr. Martin presented a lecture at the Christian Center of Pittsfield.

The Christian Center has implemented a program  aimed at improving the nutrition of their patrons

thru a series of lectures and cooking demonstrations.  Dr. Martin’s talk reinforced the value

of proper nutrition and encouraged the group to begin a  “healthy steps”  program, walking daily

with the goal of  boosting weight loss and improving fitness.

Education and community outreach continues to be  both a passion and pleasure for Dr. Martin.

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Hints For Easier and More Comfortable Sitting

If your job requires prolonged sitting work tasks, it’s important that you adjust your chair so that it fits your body to avoid repetitive stress injuries. If you address these ergonomic issues by customizing your work station, you will sit more comfortably for hours each day and avoid the unnecessary aches, pains and physical fatigue which can be so common in today’s work place.

Most work surfaces are immobile. Therefore the chair height must be adjusted properly to fit your body. If your work involves a computer terminal and keyboard, it is best to adjust your seat height so that your forearm and upper arm angle is between 70 and 90 degrees. Your elbows should be about even with the desk.

Once your seat height is adjusted properly you should check that your feet are resting comfortably on the floor allowing you to pass two fingers easily between the top of your seat and the bottom of your thigh. In many cases an additional foot rest may be necessary to take pressure off of your thighs (prolonged pressure can inhibit proper blood flow and is a risk factor in developing or exacerbating varicose veins).  Your knees should be at or above the level of your hips. This position tilts your pelvis properly taking pressure off of the discs and facet joints.

Next you will have to adjust your seat back so that it fits firmly into the small of your back; most chairs have lumbar supports which can be adjusted to provide firm support against the back. Many chairs additionally can have an adjustable seat angle. This ability to tilt the seat either forwards or backwards is useful to accommodate different work tasks. For example, computer or intensive writing tasks will be more comfortable with a forward seat while conversation or phone work may be more comfortable with a backward tilted seat.

Finally, if arm rests are present, they should be adjusted up or down so that the arms are slightly lifted taking tension off the neck and shoulders. Computer monitors should be set at eye level between 15 and 30 inches from the center of the screen. Be conscious of reflections or glare from back lighting which can contribute to eye strain and headaches.

Most importantly, always avoid holding a telephone receiver between your ear and your shoulder, hand hold the telephone or ideally, consider the use of a head set or speakerphone during conversations which simultaneously involve computer work.



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Readers Choice Award

The Berkshires Week 2011 Best of the Berkshires readers poll winners were announced Thursday June 23, 2011. Dr. Martin was named best chiropractor of the Berkshires citing a goal of getting patients “out of pain as soon as possible”.

Dr. Martin of Martin Chiropractic has been voted best of the Berkshires in this region for this year.

Posted in News

Community Lectures

Dr. Martin presented a power point presentation on Being Safely Active throughout the spring of 2011. The presentation included a 30 minute lecture and discussed both the mental and physical aspects of staying active throughout your life. It also included a brief presentation of stretches and strengthening exercises. The risks of a sedentary lifestyle were discussed, but the benefits of staying active were emphasized.

The lecture was presented at the Salisbury Estates in Pittsfield, the Froio Senior Center in Pittsfield as well as the Senior Centers in Lanesboro, Dalton and Lenox. In addition, the lecture was presented at Sugar Hill in Dalton, Berkshire Place in Pittsfield and Kimball Farms in Lenox. The lecture was well received with good positive feedback.

Dr. Martin’s commitment to community outreach and education is a continuing goal.

Posted in Lectures