Custom Flexible Orthotics for Relieving Widespread Back Problems – By Kent S. Greenawalt, Chairman and CEO, Foot Levelers, Inc.

Research titled Chronic Back Pain by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute (GUHPI) shows 16 million people (8% of the population) suffer from chronic back pain. When back, hip and knee pain flare up, people do not always think to assess the foot as a contributing factor for their pain. However, a key step in successfully addressing back pain is to evaluate and treat dysfunction of the feet.

Healthcare providers who treat spine problems know that back pain does not operate alone. The feet are the foundation of the body and can affect the function of the knee, hip, pelvis and spine. Dysfunctional feet impact the knees, hips and spine to cause issues all the way up the Kinetic Chain. It’s clear that the feet can be the root of many orthopedic and spine troubles and stabilizing the feet can also help prevent associated pain.

The foot is a marvel of engineering. As many as 77% of people overpronate when walking or running; just about everyone has some pronation challenge. In short, the feet are the foundation of the body and the Kinetic Chain, responsible for optimal function of the knees, hips and back.

There’s also an anatomy link for lower back pain. According to John Hopkins Medicine, the lower back, or the five lumbar vertebrae bear the brunt of the bending and lifting load rather than the thoracic and the cervical spine. It’s where the spine connects to the pelvis, bearing the total weight of the upper body. It is a pivot point that is prone to undue stress from repetitive movement.

What Research Tells Us About Properly Aligning the Feet

A 2017 study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (APMR) demonstrated the efficacy of flexible custom orthotics with and without chiropractic treatment for low back pain compared to no treatment. The randomized study concluded that among the three control groups, the groups that received flexible custom orthotics realized significantly better lower back performance in pain and motion. When chiropractic care was introduced in addition to orthotic care, there was a significant improvement gain in patient motion.

For over 70 years, Foot Levelers has been committed to advancing the study of how the foot influences spinal pelvic stabilization and the function of the entire body. Their insights led to the development of the patented orthotic Gait Cycle System® (GCS). The three components of GCS divide each step into the heel strike (shock absorption), midstance (stabilization) and toe-off (propulsion). The GCS also manages the three arches in each foot.

The three foot arches – also known as the planter vault – are the foundation for the entire body. Over time, one or more arches can weaken due to activities of daily living. It’s a natural process but can also be exacerbated by injuries, leg length inequality, overuse, postural instability, pregnancy, weakened ligaments and tendons and other factors.

A Better Solution for Back Pain

More than 191 million opioid prescriptions were written for American patients in 2017. One in four of those patients went on to become addicted. Anyone who takes opioids, even for short-term use, is in danger of addiction.

The CDC reports that every day 187 Americans die from an opioid overdose. At this current level, that’s 68,255 people per year. The average NFL stadium seats 60,000. Therefore, every year we are losing an entire NFL stadium of people to opioids, impacting their lives and those of their loved ones forever. The opioid death crisis trend confirms that basic care and prevention are better courses of action in treating pain.

Recent studies show that almost 20% of patients with back pain received opioid prescriptions. May I suggest that the first step in treating back pain could be the use of custom flexible orthotics that are proven to work vs a prescription that can prove deadly.

Managing Pain Through Foot Stabilization

This tragic turn of events is one of the reasons Foot Levelers is dedicated to natural, proactive healing. On this occasion of our 70th year, we’ve been recognized by an array of clinical multi-specialists. Foot Levelers has developed many firsts in optimal health through foot stabilization. This includes the first truly custom flexible orthotic, the first casting in foam methodology and the first 3-D foot scanner. Foot Levelers are the only custom flexible orthotics that support all three arches of the foot for total body health and are backed by proven science.

The APMR study documented that Foot Levelers orthotics are proven to reduce lower back pain by 34.5%, a result that translates into better care for patients, lower costs for the healthcare system and better outcomes for providers in the spine care continuum.

We continue to develop new solutions for the millions of people in pain. Recently, Foot Levelers introduced InMotion+. Among the refinements in this innovative custom orthotic:

  • Maximum shock absorption and shock absorption: the most of any custom flexible orthotic we offer
  • Increased propulsion: 130% more propulsion than InMotion
  • FIR+ Top Cover: Far Infrared Rays (FIR) redirect natural energy back into the body, which helps enhance muscle elasticity and performance, stimulate circulation, boost energy and relieve muscle fatigue

For Many, the Path to Back Pain Relief is Through the Feet

The back pain epidemic causes suffering among people of all ages and income levels. People with back pain can experience poorer health and more depression. They may require more healthcare services, driving up costs. All these factors can contribute to a lower quality of life.

It’s worth remembering that treatment involving proactive, natural healing and ongoing partnerships with a healthcare provider have proven to be tremendously effective for many patients. Millions of people around the world are living fuller, more active lives due to Foot Levelers custom flexible orthotics. Back pain patients also reported in the GUHPI study that chiropractors made them feel more satisfied with their care. It’s a reminder that a human connection and painless, non-invasive foot stabilization are vital for whole body health. Prevention and proper support are the first step in helping relieve back pain.

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