Introduction to Chiropractic

images (8)What is Chiropractic?

Being a type of manual therapy, the practitioner utilizes techniques, forces and manipulations that are administered chiefly by hands. The spinal cord is the center of all therapies for a chiropractic doctor. Their belief is that the spine is the central structure as it allows messages from different parts of the body to reach the brain and vice versa. Under the state of paralysis in any part of the body, it is the spinal cord that can make any limb completely nonfunctional.

Spine Manipulation

Keeping the vitality of the spine in mind, D. D. Palmer brought to life the concept of spine manipulation to deal with vertebral subluxation. It is the practice of applying varying amounts of force to the area of concern in the spine to restore normal functioning.  Palmer is popular for applying this technique to a deaf individual (deafness not present at birth) and being successful at restoring his hearing capabilities.

Subluxation

Primarily a chiropractic practitioner deals with a vertebral subluxation. A subluxation is when the spine loses its normal positioning and the neural pathway dysfunction causes a compromise in the functioning of several different parts of the body including the visceral system. A subluxation occurs as a result of a trauma, injury or even a chemical imbalance in the body.

Chiropractic’s Forte 

A thorough examination is undertaken before your doctor performs any chiropractic techniques to relieve your pain. Several conditions are beyond the realm of this care. If you have a neurological condition, then you will be recommended to a neurologist and will not be administered any care procedures under a chiropractic practitioner. Other such conditions that cannot be dealt with manual therapies include tumors, broken bones, osteoporosis and arthritis. Areas that can be called its forte are pain in the upper and lower back, neck pain, and headaches, minor injuries related to sports, asthma, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, menstrual pains and the like.

Neck pain

This is said to be the second most valid reason for paying a visit to a chiropractic practitioner. However, neck pain can be caused by a variety of reasons. Several of which can be dealt with utilizing chiropractics. With cervical disc degenerative diseases, pinched cervical nerve, minor injuries to ligaments, herniated disc disease and the like, chiropractic can be very effective.

When the neck becomes an area of concern, several other parts of the body can suffer the impact. Weakness in the arms, shoulders and hands, the tingling sensation in parts of the body supplied by the neck suffer along with the pain in neck. Therefore, dealing with neck pain with the help of a chiropractic practitioner is a wise decision.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Spine and Disc Herniation by Michael Dorausch

Back Pain – Being Prepared for Your First Visit to a Chiropractor

Folks are often faced with this dilemma: I feel discomfort in my back, but it’s probably nothing, right? It’ll just go away in a matter of days or weeks. I probably just need to rest more or eat better.

It’s true that a handful of back pain dilemmas arise from notably bad posture, a poor or inadequate diet, bad sleeping habits or even using bad form while exercising. Unfortunately, the average individual is not qualified to properly diagnose these problems, which can often prove to be fatal down the road.

It may be wise to consult a Chiropractor at this stage; an expert who can provide extensive knowhow and diagnoses into each and every kind of back-related issue. This article aims to prepare you somewhat, so you know some of the things to expect when you visit a Chiropractor for the first time.

In the event that your back pain turns out to be more serious than just symptoms of discomfort or overuse, here’s how a Chiropractor would generally diagnose causes:

Potentially Serious

This can range from conditions like tumors, infections, a local open wound or burn to major neurological problems such as cauda equina – a rare but serious condition nevertheless that’s best described as extreme pressure and swelling of the nerves at the lower tip of the spinal cord. This is considered a serious medical emergency and may need urgent surgical attention.

Other conditions in this category include prolonged internal bleeding and joint infection.

Nerve Problem

In cases where the nerve root in the lower back is compressed or pinched, you experience sciatica. One of the typical causes of this condition is a lumbar herniated disc or spinal stenosis – with age, the general makeup of the spine often changes, leading to degeneration of the bones, muscles, ligaments and discs surrounding the spinal cord. A common symptom of this condition is leg pain. This pain is often accompanied by a tingling sensation in the buttocks and legs.

Non-Specific

This can be categorized as “mechanical back pain” in the lumbar region; also known as axial back pain, this is categorized as either a sharp or dull pain and can be either felt intermittently or constantly. It’s referred to as mechanical since the lower back pain can get worse with certain physical movements such as sports. Or symptoms can worsen as a result of sitting long hours for example. This is also a common type of back pain and is typically non-specific.

Achilles Tendon Sport Injuries And Chiropractic Treatment

800px-03042012Ccm_gamosuma_juvenilA231Professional athletes and individuals with a specific sport hobby suffer from a multitude of different injuries, contracted during the course of their activities. Some popular sports like football, soccer, baseball, golf, hiking, basketball, etc., while highly enjoyable, involve extensive exertions which result in various sports injuries in players. Chiropractic has become a popular mode of treatment for the different sports injuries and medical conditions, like Achilles Tendon injury, dislocated shoulder and spinal alignment.

What Is Achilles Tendon Injury?

The achilles tendon is one of the longest tendons in the body, which is stretched from the heel to the calf muscles of the human body. It assists in the engagement of different activities which require movement and flexible physical activity.

The Achilles tendon is used by sports athletes and enthusiasts for practicing and playing the different strenuous sports, like football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, running, etc. Over-exertion on the Achilles tendon results in swelling and pain in the tendon which hampers an athlete from engaging in different sports activities. If too much pressure and exertion is put on the tendon, it causes it to tear partially or completely rupture.

Symptoms 

An injured Achilles tendon becomes swollen and causes acute pain whenever the leg is stretched. The patient feels stiffness and tenderness in the affected area, which makes it difficult to engage in different everyday activities. If the tendon completely ruptures, then the patient experiences excruciating pain, and is unable to move around.

If an athlete experiences difficulty in flexing his legs or pointing his toes, he might have a partial or complete rupture in the Achilles tendon. Prompt medical attention is required for the diagnosis and treatment of the Achilles tendon injury, before the patient suffers more acute damage due to movement or strain.

Treatment 

Achilles tendon injury requires prompt treatment from medical professionals to ensure that the affected area does not suffer further damage. A patient with a ruptured or injured tendon is required to rest his leg and apply ice to ease the swelling. Patients are also advised to use an elastic bandage on the leg to keep the swelling down.

Anti-inflammatory pills can be prescribed which tend to bring down the swelling of the tendon, and different exercises are advised for keeping the tendon in shape. But chiropractic treatment is quickly becoming the preferred mode to heal sports injuries, especially Achilles tendon injury.

 

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Benefits of Chiropractic for your Child

Soapbubbles-SteveEFThere are innumerable benefits of taking your child to a chiropractic doctor. Several of very serious and worrisome conditions that your child suffers from can be dealt with under this conservative care. The one major reason why chiropractic is considered a conservative mechanism is that it helps maintain the health and prevents it from unforeseen risks and issues.

Benefits

Several reasons worry you about your kids, and chiropractic treatments are a great way to tackle these reasons. You might have stumbled upon a few of these benefits earlier, however, chiropractic has success stories in a wide array of child related issues. Following is a list of benefits that attract parents to this form of care:

1. Alternative To Medicine– During pregnancy, women avoid all kinds of medication to ensure the safety of their developing baby from any physical or mental harm. Similarly, parents avoid medicines with their infants and young children. Chiropractic services are a healthy and active way of dealing with many issues.

2. Colic- For the first few months of an infant’s life, being in a colic state is one of the major headaches for the parents. With several spine manipulation techniques, this state can be overcome allowing the child to be at ease.

3. Sleep disturbance- Inadequate or disturbed sleep can constantly irritate the mood of an infant. Spine dysfunction is said to be associated with sleep issues and a chiropractic doctor can help alleviate the issues.

4. Bed wetting– Chiropractic practitioners manipulate the spine to adjust the functioning of the body. Running through the spine are nerve roots that carry signal and messages to and from different parts of the body. Spine manipulation can then allow the practitioner to adjust nerves that run to urinary system and treat the habit of bed wetting.

5. Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – A common psychological disorder amongst children, this is often dealt with the use of medication. The medications can have several negative side effects such as loss of memory etc. However, with a chiropractic doctor, the part of the brain that functions poorly can be stimulated through spine manipulation. Thus, conservative care can put forward promising results for ADHD.

Several other issues with which chiropractic care is effective include ear infections, allergies, asthma, headaches, constipation, cold, sore throat, body aches and many more.  The chiropractic doctor utilizes several manual therapies on the spine, and contributes to the healthy development and the overall wellness of your child.

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Computer Ergonomics

images (18)Ergonomics is a field which is fast becoming popular, because of its focus on designing and providing working spaces and stations, suitable and convenient for humans. The need for ergonomically fit furniture and work environment has become tenfold, because of the highly competitive and stressful work requirements in the industry these days. Absence of ergonomics at work and home puts strain on individuals and they tire out easily. The different muscular pains and strains contracted because of a stressful working environment are treated efficiently by chiropractors.

Computer and Ergonomics

Many individuals spend a major portion of their day working on computers in the office or at home. The long hours spent in front of computers and laptops have a harmful effect on the physical health of an individual, causing different musculoskeletal disorders.

Such individuals run a high risk of contracting back aches, neck pains, shoulder and arm aches and carpal tunnel problems. These medical conditions are very painful and hamper the work of the individual, both at home and in the office.

Ergonomically designed furniture and working environments are specifically constructed with an eye to provide a suitable and stress free work surrounding to individuals, which minimizes the risk of contracting various muscular strains, which ultimately affect the efficiency of an individual.

Individuals experience physical strains, while working on computers, because of their negligence in maintaining a suitable body posture, which results in pains in the back, neck and shoulders. Computers need to be placed in a suitable way to facilitate working, without any strain.

Different musculoskeletal disorders are contracted by individuals, who work on computers and laptops, for long periods of time, without ergonomically fit desk spaces and laptop stands. Computers and laptops need to be positioned according to the ergonomics specified guidelines, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and body posture.

The absence of ergonomically designed computer desk spaces and furniture, results in different painful medical conditions, like:

Carpal Tunnel: The median nerve in the wrist contracts, due to over exertion, which results in a tingling and sometimes numb sensation in the thumb, index and ring finger. In extreme cases, the patient experiences great pain and swelling which requires a few weeks of healing time.

Repetitive Strain Injury: Caused by repeated tasks and forceful exertions, in which the body experiences pain in the back, neck and shoulder area. In some cases, this might also affect the legs and thighs of an individual.

Bursitis: It is a condition which involves the inflammation of the bursa, a sac filled with lubricating fluid which facilitates in movement. It is a very painful condition for the affected individual.

By using ergonomically fit furniture and computer desk spaces, individuals can reduce the risk of contracting different painful strains and muscular disorders. Chiropractors provide effective treatments to the individuals suffering from different musculoskeletal problems.

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Causes of Back Pain

Back pain may occur due to various reasons; be it a sports injury, pulling a heavy object or a fall/ injury to the spine. If you are suffering from back pain, it would be wise to have a look at some of the common risk factors and causes of back pain by consulting a Chiropractor.

Risk Factors

The risk of back pain varies in different individuals, depending on their lifestyle. People who work in a mentally stressful job, smoke or go through strenuous physical work are more susceptible to back pain than those who don’t. Other factors such as pregnancy, anxiety, depression and obesity can also lead to this condition. Age is also a factor, as older individuals are at a higher risk than younger ones.

Causes Of Back Pain

 

Strain

The most common cause of back pain is strained muscles and ligaments, which may be a result of lifting something heavy or a sudden awkward movement. It can also be caused by improper posture due to a bad mattress or sitting position.

Structural Problems

The human body is a complex structure composed of bones, muscle, ligaments and joints. A fault in any of these can cause numerous problems, including back pain. Some particular structural problems that may affect the back are as follows:

Arthritis

Arthritis can cause various joint problems in the hips and lower back.

Bulging And Ruptured Disks

The vertebra in our spine is cushioned by a disk, so a ruptured disk would result in more pressure on the nerves, resulting in back aches. A bulging disk would put even more pressure on the nerves.

Sciatica

A bulging disk can also press on a nerve in the spine, causing a shooting pain through the buttocks and down the legs.

Curvature Of The Spine

An unnatural curvature of the spine can cause the space around the spinal cord to narrow, causing back pains.

Osteoporosis

A vertebra fracture can be caused by the bones becoming more brittle.

Conditions, There are also some conditions which may cause back pains.

Spinal Cancer

A growth or tumor on the spine may press against a nerve.

Infections

Infection on the nerves (shingles) and spine may also cause pains.

Cauda Equine Syndrome

The growth of nerve roots at the bottom of the spinal cord can cause a dull pain, as well as lack of feeling in the upper buttocks.

Dangers of Spine Surgery: What Doctors Won’t Tell You

800px-Flickr_-_Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_A_doctor_performs_surgery.Low back pain has become a very common occurrence nowadays with over 12 million Americans visiting their doctors with complaints of chronic back pain every year; while over a 100 million visit a chiropractor.

Problems with the spinal column can cause devastating effects on a person’s life. It deprives them of their mobility and flexibility.  Even everyday activities become a challenge in some cases.  With so many of such cases and the advancements in medical science, it is ironic to see a huge number of people being misdiagnosed and prescribed spinal surgery as the only treatment.

Spinal surgery itself carries around a 20% risk of a failure.  Failed spinal surgeries often result in no improvement, worsened pain, and sometimes, even death.

General Physicians, spine specialists and orthopedic surgeons have proven in many cases that they have no clue as to the root causes of back problems.  In a review of low back-pain causes, Andrew Frank, a physician in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation concluded ‘Up to 85% of patients with low back pain cannot be given a definitive diagnosis because of the poor associations between symptoms, signs, imaging results and pathological findings’ (BMJ, 3 April 1993).

Risks Associated with Specific Surgical Procedures

Apart from incorrect diagnoses, each type of spinal surgery procedure carries its own set of risks:

Laminectomy

A laminectomy requires removal of parts of a bone, bone spurs and ligaments from the back with the aim of relieving pressure on spine nerves.  This procedure can result in a less stable spine, leading to another surgery.

Spinal Fusion

A spinal fusion procedure is the most common type of surgery carried out for back pains.  A surgeon joins the vertebrae together to restrict movement between the spinal bones.  This in turn limits the stretching of spine nerves.

An incomplete fusion requires the patient to undergo another surgery.  Smoking on the other hand, increases the chances of an incomplete fusion to occur.

Foraminotomy

Foraminotomy requires a surgeon to remove a bone from the sides of the vertebrae in an attempt to widen the space for spine nerves.

This surgery can also cause the spine to lose stability.

Disc Replacement Surgery

A damaged spinal disc is removed and replaced by inserting an artificial disk.  The introduction of a foreign object into the body always carries a risk of dislocation or breaking, leading to a hardware fracture.

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Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

154017705_083d825445_oChiropractors that are experienced in chiropractic and pregnancy know the importance of proper back care during such a sensitive period. All chiropractors are trained to work with women especially when it comes to back conditions that are associated with pregnancy. This is because chiropractic and pregnancy involves the maintenance of the spinal column, discs, bone geometry and the related nerves without the inclusion of invasive surgery. In other words, the medical practice adjusts the misalignment of joints especially when it comes to the spine.

Any formerly pregnant woman can attest to the muscle strain that is a part and parcel to pregnancy. Researchers say that almost half of all expecting mothers will experience lower back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Spinal surgery is out of the question when it comes to the well being of two lives and this is exactly why chiropractic care is the perfect non-invasive solution for such problems.

 

Why does a Pregnant Woman need Chiropractic care?

The human body undergoes a series of physiological and endocrine changes to prepare itself to sustain a life during pregnancy. No one knows that better than expecting mothers. However, such a sensitive stage may also cause misaligned joints that are symptomatic of –

  • Pelvic changes
  • Protruding abdomen and curved back
  • Poor posture

A woman’s pelvis may not have enough room for a developing baby if it is misaligned. This is also why establishing pelvic balance is such an important task in chiropractic and pregnancy care. A pelvis that is misaligned may also cause complications during the actual birth as well. This may also prevent the expecting mother from having a natural birth and her doctor to resort to invasive c-sections.

Chiropractic care during pregnancy also comes with the following benefits –

  • Ensuring a healthy pregnancy
  • Relief from back, neck and joint pain
  • Prevention of a potential cesarean delivery
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Reduce morning sickness

The benefits of chiropractic and pregnancy speak for themselves. This is also why more women are seeking chiropractic care now more than ever before and why health care providers recommend such services to expecting mothers. It is easy to see why. Medical specialists who specialize in back care invest more in the fertility and overall wellness of pregnant women or women who try to conceive.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: pregnant profile III by mahalie stackpole

Back Problems in Teens

1109px-Heelstretch_PyramidWill a chiropractor ever treat an adolescent during his professional career? Junior took a baseball right in the back. Julie fell off the human pyramid during cheerleading practice and landed on her back. Needless to say, parents of athletic adolescents are usually first in line at the chiropractic office.

Can Teens Suffer from Back Problems?

While back problems are more common in adults, they are a rarity in teens since the latter is more flexible and agile. That is why any backaches that accompany any athletic event (such as contact sports) should be immediately checked by a chiropractor.

Back Conditions in Teens

Back conditions that can affect teens or kids include –

  • Any pain that worsens by performing gymnastic activities such as handsprings or the butterfly stroke in swimming may be indicative of spinal conditions such as Spondylolysis. Younger athletes have more chances of developing the condition than older kids who take part in sporting activities.  The condition is often caused by over-use that causes constant trauma and is one of the most common causes of back pain in kids.
  • This is also why the condition has more chances of occurring during a teen’s growth spurt, which is also why it is more common in boys rather than girls. A chiropractor might diagnose Spondylolysis in teens who are aged between 15 and 16. 
  • Any type of backache that causes compromises a teen’s balance or coordination may be caused by a problem in the spinal cord.

Adolescents and teens might put themselves in dangerous situations more than the average five year old, but the fact remains that they are still kids.  In other words, they tend to be more aggressive in their activities than younger children. A four year old will probably not stick his hand in a light socket if he has been electrocuted once. However an adolescent will have to keep stressing his back especially if he is pressured to make a tackle or prevent a touchdown in order for his team to win.

Parents cannot stop commercial advertising or peer pressure that expects their kids to push the envelope, but they can educate on taking better care of themselves. A teenager can always be grounded if he/she doesn’t comply to the rules, but parents will be helpless if a backache worsens or worse, ends up paralyzing their child.

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5 Common Symptoms of Poor Posture and How to Treat Them with Exercise

Good posture is very important when it comes to a healthy way of living.  Chiropractors help you maintaining one.  A lot of people don’t comprehend the importance of a good posture.  Some experience varying degrees of pain all over the body that gradually turns into major complications.  What people fail to realize is that the root of many of the simplest and even the complex of all health issues are usually linked to the body posture, in one way or another.

If someone is experiencing anything from the following symptoms, it would be a wise idea to get their posture evaluated to see if that is causing any of the complications.  Fortunately, a few relatively simple exercises can help in restoring the body posture and eliminate any problems associated with it.

1.    HEAD

Following symptoms may be felt in the head due to incorrect postures:

  • The person may have frequent headaches, including the ‘throbbing’ feeling
  • It feels that the head may split open
  • It feels as if something is pounding inside the head
  • The individual may suffer from dizziness and a loss of sense of balance
  • The sounds around them may seem way too loud to them along with a ringing sound in the ears

2.    EYES

The eyes may be subjected to the following:

  • The eye-sockets are painful and cause the eyes to feel sore
  • Rolling the eyes causes pain
  • Eyes lose their natural wetness
  • The vision starts to get blurry

3.    NECK

The neck is a quite sensitive area due to the passing spinal cord and is almost always affected by a bad posture.

  • Shooting neck pain
  • Muscle spasms occur regularly
  • The neck feels stiff

4.    JAW

The jaw bone is also affected by bad posture in the following way:

  • The individual may start experiencing TMJ pain
  • It gets painful to chew, and a popping sound is heard
  • The cheek muscles start to hurt
  • Shoulders are also significantly affected:
  • The person may feel pain in the socket
  • It may become difficult to raise arm or when trying to scratch the back

5.    SHOULDER

 

Exercise

Fortunately, before any complicated problems start happening, a chiropractor can prescribe exercises that are aimed at strengthening muscles and bones and help in restoring a proper body posture.  Many of the exercises are easy to do at home and are designed to relax stiff muscles, keep the spinal column in a correct shape and thereby improve the overall lifestyle.

Exercise is also a great way to avoid heart diseases, high blood pressures, diabetes and scores of other diseases that result from