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.

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Non-Specific Neck Pain and Chiropractic

images (5)What is Non Specific Neck Pain?

Everyone feels a certain amount of pain in the neck at some point in their life. There might be a sudden onset of sharp pain where you find yourself massaging your neck and wondering what exactly caused the sudden stinging neck pain.  Mostly the underlying cause is not a disease or a degenerative story; rather it is either bad posture or prolonged strain to the neck.

Symptoms of Non-Specific Neck Pain

Always remember that your neck supplies nerves to the shoulders, arms and hands. This means that any disruption in the neck can cause an equal amount of disruption in the areas that it transfers messages to. Analogically, when a route becomes dysfunctional on the road, it affects every trade that takes place via that route.

With stiffness in the neck, the pain is carried along to the aforementioned parts and can cause weakness, numbness and the like. These symptoms can hamper your everyday functioning. When the passageway for nerves is irritated, the messages carried forward to other parts of the body are distorted with painful signals. Hence, even though non-specific in nature, neck pain requires special attention.

Dealing with the Issue

Wondering why you should visit a chiropractic practitioner for a condition that is harmless? Well. The answer is that such sudden onset of pain can be dealt with under this practice. Under chiropractics, the purpose is not alleviation of neck pain but also providing guidance for preventing neck pain in future. The fact that posture and pain in neck are well connected in nature, your doctor can guide you to maintaining a good posture which will protect you against non specific neck pain.

Without the use of medicine, you can quickly be on the road to recovery with this method.  Utilizing the techniques of spine manipulation, a chiropractic practitioner will first locate the area of concern followed by a careful application of force on the spinal joints.

Why a Chiropractic Practitioner?

Several people believe that chiropractic is a pseudoscience and does not result in successful healing of your neck pain. On the contrary these doctors, if they feel you need attention from doctor with a different medical background, will recommend you further to another professional for proper treatment. Additionally, these doctors make you undergo thorough examinations before application of any spine related techniques.

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Choose Chiropractic Care for Healthier Living

Activator_II_adjustment_instrumentChiropractic care is a medical system that aims to eliminate the root of a problem rather than just suppressing the symptoms.  Chiropractors manipulate the spinal column along with other parts of the body with the aim of easing pain, promoting the body’s systems to naturally heal it along with prescribing exercise to eliminate postural problems.

This approach introduces a healthier lifestyle for an individual.

Chiropractic Treatment Techniques

Here are numerous chiropractic treatment techniques that are used in treating patients:

Activator

The activator is a device that is used to correct minor misalignments in the spine.  It sends a small impulse that is sufficient enough to move the vertebrae without causing any injury.

Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique (BEST)

This is a non-forceful technique that is used to remove blocked energy in the body and allows it to heal itself.
Cox Flexion Distraction

This procedure is a safe alternate to back surgery and is designed to relieve lower back pain by altering the spinal column.  However, it is also used to treat disc herniation, stenosis, arm and neck pains as well as many other complications.
Applied Kinesiology

Applied Kinesiology gauges a muscles’ strength or weakness to find an illness.
Thompson Terminal Point

This technique utilizes a special drop table to adjust the full length of the spine.

Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT)

The SOT technique is designed to reduce and sometimes completely eliminate pain in the head, neck, spinal cord, TMJ as well as improve function of many organs.

 

 

Logan Basic Technique

The Logan technique applies a gentle and sustained pressure at the base of the spine, that corrects the balance of the spinal column and releases tension.
A gentle, sustained pressure is exerted at the base of the spine. Correcting the sacrum corrects the rest of the spine.

Nimmo Technique

Nimmo technique is designed to relieve people of their chronic pain, whether in the muscle system, nervous system or skeletal system.

Orthotics

Orthotics focuses design and construction of external devices that help in modifying the structure of the body, such as uneven leg length, incorrect spinal curvature and tilted pelvis.

Emphasis on Exercise

Chiropractors believe that physical exercise is essential for the well-being of the human body.  This is why they prescribe exercises that are easy to carry out at home.  These exercises aim at reducing or preventing obesity that is a major factor in causing heart diseases, diabetes and many other diseases.

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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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Importance of Blending Chiropractic Care with Back-Strengthening Exercise

Side_PlankBack problems often are a result of a bad posture that could cause severe pains.  Restoring the back to its original and natural condition takes time, and a combination of chiropractic care with the recommended exercise can dramatically enhance recovery.

A combination of the two provides numerous benefits.  Exercise keeps muscles in their proper tone, increases blood circulation around the body, improves digestion and develops a better lifestyle all together.

The following back-strengthening exercises complement the healing process greatly:

Hip Bridge

The Hip Bridge exercise strengthens those muscles near the lower back that play an important role in stabilizing the spine.

It can be carried out by lying on the back with the feet flat and about hip width apart; the knees should be bent.   The arms should be relaxed.  The person then squeezes their buttocks as they lift their hips in a straight line towards the shoulders.  After around 3 seconds, return to the starting position, slowly.

Around 12 repetitions are recommended.

Bird Dog

The bird dog exercise aims at strengthening the lower back, hip, butt and thigh muscles.

The person kneels on the floor with both hands spaced out about a shoulder-width apart.  Tuck in the belly towards the spine and raise one leg straight backwards while raising the other hand in opposite direction.

Hold in this position for 15 seconds and then return to starting point, carrying out the same procedure on the opposite side hand and leg.

Side Plank

The side plank exercise strengthens the lower back.  It is done by the following method:

The person is to lie on their right side, straight from head to the feet while resting on their forearms.  The elbow should be directly under their shoulder.  The abdominals are to be gently contracted and the hips slowly lifted off the floor – in the same straight position.

This position should be held for at least about 30 seconds before lowering the hip.

Lunge

Lunge exercises enhance a person’s overall control of their body.  This tends to protect the spine in daily activities, such as walking and running or even stair-climbing.

Starting off with the abs gently contracted.  The hands are placed on the hips; the person then takes a big step-forward using the right foot while sinking the right knee at a right-angle.

The person should then slowly return to the starting position, switch the legs and repeat – 10 repetitions are recommended.

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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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Types of Back pain

Posterior_view_of_lumbar_region_for_electrostimulation_electrode_placementAs any good chiropractor would tell you, there is no single cause of back pain. This is because back pain can occur due to various reasons, and affect different areas. It is important that you have an understanding of the nature of your ailment before going to the chiropractor for treatment.

Location Of The Pain

Back pain is classified in two categories, depending on where the pain occurs.

Upper Back Pain

Pain in the upper back, shoulders or neck is termed as upper back pain. There can be certain causes of upper back pain, such as stretched tendons or damaged ligaments due to strenuous physical work. Upper back pains aren’t as common as lower back pains, and can be treated by taking pain relievers such as Paracetamol or by visiting a Chiropractor.

Lower Back Pain

Like the name suggests, lower back pains are directed at the base of the back, and occur due to the overstretching of muscles in the lower back or direct injury to that area. This pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as lifting something heavy or bending in an awkward position. Treatment for lower back pains is the same as for upper back pains.

Duration Of The Pain

Besides location, pain can also be classified according to duration.

Acute Back Pain

A short term pain, lasting from a few days to weeks, is called an acute back pain. There may be numerous causes of this pain, the most common being blunt trauma caused by Ankylosing spondilytis, arthritis or other medical conditions.

The symptoms of this pain can range from muscular aches and incorrect posture to shooting pains in the buttocks and back of the legs. Acute back pain can lead to serious problems, but is generally harmless, and most people tend to let it heal itself.

Chronic Back Pain

If the pain lasts for more than 3 months, it is termed as chronic back pain. The cause of chronic back pain can rarely be determined without the help of a Chiropractor or other medical professional. This long term pain gets progressively worse with time; immediate treatment is necessary to prevent further complications.

Now that you know what type of back pain you suffer from, you can act on them by looking up for home treatments online, or doing exercises which may stimulate the back. It is also recommended that you visit your nearest chiropractor who could suggest you treatment options.

 

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Chiropractics and the Importance of a Proper Diet

57925008_7e7ef4dda4_oAmong the many things that a chiropractor recommends to a patient, a healthy diet is most important. A proper diet is essential to heal the spinal cord, along with prevention of further damage.

According to a study conducted in the state of New York, chiropractors were asked if they used any nutritional counseling in their treatments, which not just includes back problems, but also obesity, artery diseases, diabetes and a variety of other diseases affecting the human body.

Around 80 percent of those surveyed stated that they did use some form of nutritional counseling in their treatments, which gives an overview of the importance of proper diet in chiropractic. 50 percent of those who used nutritional counseling considered it to be a very important part of the chiropractic therapy.

The Link between Chiropractics and Diet

Chiropractic therapy treats numerous ailments, such as inflammation in the lower back or autoimmune anomalies like arthritis, scoliosis, neuritis or osteoarthritis. Research suggests that dietary changes can affect inflammation, which in turn can reduce the symptoms and pain caused by it. Also, most chiropractic patients are women, other symptoms that they may suffer from, such as menopause and premenstrual syndromes, can also be cured by proper diet and nutrition.

Not only that, but a proper diet can also help prevent spinal diseases from developing. As obesity is one of the most common causes of back problems, eating healthy non-fat foods can make a person less prone to spinal diseases like Sciatica.

There are numerous benefits in keeping a healthy diet, including increased energy, lower blood pressure and improved cognition, which result in a speedy recovery. Health foods such as low sugar whole grains, fruits and vegetables also reduce the risk of spinal tumors and cancer.

Improper nutrition, such as an excess of salts in the diet, can result in several other diseases as well, including high blood pressure. There is a direct link established between diabetes and excess Carbohydrates in the diet.

As dietary needs differ from individual to individual, you can ask your chiropractor to make a nutritional plan for you to follow according to your needs. A chiropractor could assess the nature of your ailment and devise a dietary schedule specifically suited to treat your condition.

 

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Eagan Chiropractor describes intermediate neck exercise

Here is a simple exercise that you can do at home with no exercise equipment.
It works the longus capitis, longus colli, SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscles.
The purpose of this exercise is to increase neck strength and muscular endurance.
The benefits are improved stability, functional strength and injury prevention.

Begin by lying on the back with the head extended off the table, maintaining a chin tuck position.
Slowly extend the head back towards the floor and then raise the head, returning to the initial neutral starting position and repeat as instructed.
Move slowly through the range of motion.
Slowly return to start position.
Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.

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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.

 

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