Basics of Chiropractic Care

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Cervical Spine (Neck)

 

The cervical spine is the structure connecting the brain to the rest of the body. It envelopes the spinal cord that runs messages from the brain to the other parts of the body and vice versa. Not only does it contribute to keeping safe the most delicate part of the body, but it also regulates flow of blood to brain and supports the head.

 

The bones in the neck enable you to rotate your head in various directions. Any stiffness or injury can hamper your functionality. There are several types of neck pains that can be a source of constant stress.  Several people rely on medication and heating pads and even opt for surgeries (as a last resort), however, an effective and non surgical treatment of chiropractic can be miraculously helpful.

 

Chiropractic Care

 

Overview

 

In the year 1895, this healing technique was founded by D.D. Palmer. It is comprised of manual therapies and is said to alleviate musculoskeletal concerns. Under a musculoskeletal condition, the joints, muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments of an individual are affected. An impact on the aforementioned can result in minor discomfort and pain to more serious conditions.

 

World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005 published an article that considered chiropractic techniques to be a medicine and surgery free health profession. The main focus of the practice is in the area of the spine. The method of adjusting and manipulating spinal joints dates back to the time of Hippocrates and continued to thrive over the years. Now the spinal manipulation is practiced in several different parts of the world.

 

Spinal Manipulation

 

Spinal manipulation is the most emphasized aspect of chiropractic practices. It involves the art of using manual therapy to activate the joints and muscles. With the use of the hands, the practitioner moves the joints and muscles, as per the required treatment. You might remember watching a scene in several different movies or television shows where a stiff back was fixed by giving a sudden jerk. Following a muscle popping sound, the individual would be relieved of pain.

 

Similar is the scenario under a chiropractic practitioner, however, it takes into account safety and consent of the individual in pain in opposition to the situations depicted on television. The motive of spinal manipulation is to enable the normal movement of the body by relaxing tight muscles and loosening joints.

 

Not only is spinal manipulation an important asset for a chiropractic practitioner; the use of exercise and electrical devices are also common. The electrical modalities are devices that stimulate the joints and muscles.

 

Spinal manipulation is the core element of chiropractic treatments and is immensely effective for relieving neck pain. Performed by a licensed and certified practitioner and being characterized as non surgical and medicine-free, this might be turn out to be an appropriate option for you.

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Eli Christman

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

Chiropractor in Eagan explains knee exercises for beginners.

Here is a simple exercise that you can do at home with no equipment.
It works the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus muscles.
The purpose of this exercise is to increase knee strength and muscular endurance.
By doing this exercise you can have the benefits of improved stability, functional strength and injury prevention.

Begin lying on floor facing up.
Bend knees so feet are firmly on floor.
Extend arms upward toward ceiling.
Activate core muscles.
Lift hips off floor to attain a bridge position with knees, hips and shoulders in alignment.
Slowly return to start position.
Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.

Initially, you may develop some cramping in the back of your thigh. A simple hamstring stretch before and after may prevent this from occurring.
Slowly return to start position.
Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.

© 2005-2010 WebExercises, Inc., Patent Pending, All Rights Reserved.

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

Types of Diets Recommended by Chiropractors

4846334195_77c3c91886_oChiropractic Care gives great importance to a healthy and balanced diet.  A lot of ailments and diseases can be avoided just by adhering to a proper diet.  A good diet can help a person to lead a long, healthy life, control weight, blood pressure and heart rate.

It is a fact that Americans are overfed, while being undernourished.  Scores of fast food chains have made unhealthy eating habits a part of the American lifestyle.  Such high cholesterol foods coupled with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity.  With obesity come a lot of complications including heart diseases and blood pressure problems.

There is no doubt that a well-balanced diet consists of a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, a reduction in caffeine intake and saturated fats.

A chiropractor may recommend one of the following diets based on your body’s needs:

High Protein Diet

A high protein diet is recommended for those who aim to build muscles without accumulating too much fat. High protein foods include:

  • Turkey breast
  • Fish
  • Cheese (low fat varieties)
  • Beef (low fat)
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Nuts

Heart-Healthy Diet

A heart healthy diet usually consists of a lot of vegetables and fruits along with large intakes of whole grains.  It may also contain low-fat meats, including fish and poultry. Special emphasis should be given to fish as it is a very healthy source of protein, Omega 3 and little fat.

Following combination of fruits and vegetables are extremely nutritious and a healthy choice for heart-healthy dieters:

  • Pineapples
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges

Vegetarian Diet

A vegetarian diet can be recommended for those who prefer to lead a meat-free lifestyle, for whatever the reason.  Several types of diets are based on vegetarianism:

Lacto-Vegetarian: These diets include no meat of any kind or eggs.  However they do include dairy products like butter, milk, cheese and yogurt.

Ovo -Vegetarian: This diet contains no red meat, seafood, poultry or even dairy products, however it does include eggs.

Vegan: The strictest of all, excludes all meats, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Flexitarian: As its name implies, this diet is flexible. It mainly consists of vegetables and fruits, with occasional consumption of meat, fish or poultry.

No matter which diet is recommended by a chiropractor or dietician, a balanced lifestyle that includes plenty of activities can go a long way in extending the life of a person.

 

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Blueberry Maple Quinoa by SweetonVeg

Nutrition and Diet for Scoliosis

150px-Blausen_0785_Scoliosis_01A chiropractor will advise a scoliosis patient to follow a specific type of diet. Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine bends to one side. The lower part of the spine is the most common area in which the condition occurs.

The condition is more prevalent in girls rather than boys and usually happens during puberty when the child experiences a growth spurt. Back specialists recommend an adequate amount of nutrition for children who suffer from the condition. The diet is meant to increase bone mass.

Since the condition is hereditary a proper diet might not prevent the onset of scoliosis. However foods that support bone mass are likely to prevent osteoporosis. In fact, according to the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine osteoporosis can actually worsen scoliosis since it can worsen the curve of the spine when the child reaches adulthood.

If your child suffers from scoliosis it is best that you enrich his/her diet with foods that contain vitamin D and Calcium. Not only do they increase bone mass, they also prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium

Children who suffer from scoliosis are recommended to consume between 1200 to 1500mg of calcium on a daily basis. Just make sure that any low fat sources of calcium do not contain high levels of saturated fats. For example, such a diet should contain food items such as skim cheese or yogurt.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps a person’s body absorb calcium. This is also why your mom nagged you about consuming milk on a daily basis. It is packed with the nutrient. Other sources of Vitamin D include saltwater fish, eggs, cod liver oil and cereal.

The nutrient phosphorous is also responsible for bone growth. The human body also uses phosphorus to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D and encourage proper absorption of calcium.

Vitamin E

Vitamin D and calcium aren’t the only nutrients that can prevent a case of scoliosis from getting worse. After all, a child who suffers from the condition will also need a healthy dose of Vitamin E everyday to build strong muscles to support a compromised spine.

Some of the best sources of the nutrient include liver walnuts, almonds, mayonnaise, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, safflower oil, olive oil and others.

Remember a child who suffers from scoliosis needs a diet that prevents his/her condition from getting worse especially after puberty.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Blausen 0785 Scoliosis 01.png

Disc Injuries -Thoracic Disc Herniation and Chiropractors

290644114_fa50ce417aThe demanding activities and tasks at the workplace and the lifting of heavy objects at home, causes pain in the back and neck region of the body, which if not treated appropriately, can result in serious disc injuries. Thoracic spine herniation is a medical condition, for which chiropractic offers effective treatment methods.

What Is Thoracic Disc Herniation?

Thoracic disc herniation is a type of disc injury in which the upper back region of the body is affected and a tingling pain permeates throughout the affected area. In some cases, the patient might feel pain in his chest and rib cage, which might be because of the pressure exerted on the nerves in the area.

The thoracic spine of the body consists of 12 vertebra, referred to by doctors as T1 to T12. The thoracic spine begins at the base of the neck, and continues until the end of the rib cage, where the T12 vertebra joins with the first vertebra of the lumbar region.

Thoracic disc herniation is a medical condition caused by the bulging or swelling of the pulpous and nerve material, located in the center of the disc. The material squeezes out of its narrow space and becomes exposed. The pressure exerted by the disc on the exposed nerves causes extreme pain to the individual which hampers him in engaging in different everyday activities.

Disc generation is also a probable cause of thoracic disc herniation, as the disc experiences wear and tear due to age and strenuous usage. This medical condition is more likely to develop in individuals who are in the 40 to 60 year age bracket.

Medical professionals conduct MRI scans in order to determine that there is no pressure and damage to the spinal cord because of the degeneration of the disc. In extreme cases, where the herniated disc exerts pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves, an individual can even suffer from a paralysis in the lower region of the body.

If the disc herniation is more to the side, it might cause pressure or impingement on the nerve root, causing pain in the abdomen and chest walls. In other cases, the pressure on the nerves might cause a combination of different symptoms ranging from upper back pain to tingling sensations all down the spine.

Chiropractic and Disc Injuries

Chiropractic offer non-invasive treatment methods for different spine, neck and disc injuries. They provide services for joint adjustment and relief from various musculoskeletal disorders.  Chiropractic is gaining popularity for effective treatment of different painful muscle strains and disorders.

 

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: the neck thing. ouch. no really…ouch! by Beth Punches

Chiropractor Eagan shares shoulder exercises for beginners.

Body: Here is a simple exercise that you can do at home with no equipment.

It works the areas related to the shoulder such as deltoid – anterior, deltoid – lateral, pec major – clavical head, and coracobrachialis muscles.

The purpose of this exercise is to Increase shoulder strength and muscular endurance. By doing this exercise you can have the benefits of Improved stability, functional strength and injury p

Begin on floor on hands and knees.

Hips should be above knees and shoulders above hands. Attain a straight spine position.

Activate core muscles. While maintaining a straight spine, reach forward until arm is at shoulder level. Slowly return to start position.

Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.



© 2005-2010 WebExercises, Inc., Patent Pending, All Rights Reserved.

Sciatica, Chiropractic and Pregnancy – What to Expect

SciaticaPregnancySciatica – What is it?

According to chiropractic practices, Sciatica is a common type of pain that affects the sciatic nerve which is a large nerve that extends from an individual’s lower back down the back of each leg. The sciatic nerve also happens to be the largest single nerve in the human body. It is composed of individual nerve roots that branch out from the spine in the lower back and come together to form the sciatic nerve.

A person who suffers from the condition may exhibit the following symptoms –

  • Burning or tingling sensation down the leg
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Constant pain on one side of the rear
  • Shooting pain that increases when the individual tries to stand up

The pain that is associated with sciatica usually extends from the lower back through the back of the thigh and down the leg. It often occurs on one side of the body. It can also be debilitating to some. The symptoms of sciatica also vary according to where the nerve is pinched. For example, an impingement in the lumbar segment 5 (L5) can cause weakness in extending the big toe and in some cases, the ankle.

Sciatica and Pregnancy

Sciatica is also a common condition in pregnant women and usually appears during the third trimester of pregnancy. It is caused when a woman’s expanding uterus ends up putting pressure on the sciatic nerve on the lower spine. The same occurrence is also known to cause lower back pain during pregnancy. The reason the condition occurs during the third trimester is due to the fact that the growing baby shifts into the proper birthing position during this time. This makes the developing fetus rest directly on the nerve which causes the mother major pain in the buttocks. The pain also radiates to the back and legs.

The pain can be constant or intermittent depending on how many times the baby changes position. However, the lower back pain may also persist after birth.

Fortunately there are ways through which a person might be able to rid herself of the pain. Some women say that a cold or hot compress to the affected area can help lessen the pain. Just make sure that the heating pad isn’t too uncomfortably hot. Getting off your feet and walking around can also help get rid of the pain.

Chiropractic and Pregnancy

There are also patients who have sought out chiropractic services instead of opting for spinal surgery for cases such as these. It is easy to see why. Chiropractic care is non invasive and relies on the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Swanger_vrou2.jpg

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.