Lakewood Chiropractice

Brachial Plexus Injuries

If you’ve suffered from tingling, numbness, or pain radiating down your arm, the problem may actually be nerve damage closer to your shoulder. Most of the nerves in the arm arise from the cervical spine, gathering in the neck. They bundle together with a nerve from the upper thorax into a network in the shoulder called the brachial plexus. When it gets stretched, a patient may incur dysfunction along their upper limb on that side of the body.

How Injuries Happen

The word “neuropraxia” describes when a nerve stretches to the point of causing pain or numbness. It occurs in the brachial plexus when the space between the shoulder and the neck or the shoulder and the chest is suddenly forced open. Most injuries occur when the shoulder is forced downward and the neck to the side. This commonly happens when people fall off motorcycles or bicycles. This kind of injury is also frequent in the world of wrestling and football, where the resultant pain is known as a “stinger” or “burner.” Injuries in which the shoulder is forced upward tend to happen when people lose their footing and grab onto something above them. When people suffer this kind of injury, they experience dysfunction in their hands. A crushing injury can also stretch the brachial plexus and its associated nerves. All these injuries are often accompanied by damage to muscles, ligaments, and bones, resulting in inflammation and more compression.

Risks and Consequences

Stingers are common during sports games. On-site doctors, such as sports chiropractors, may clear athletes to continue playing. The body is often able to heal itself from neuropraxia. However, if the joints are misaligned or the body’s tissues are otherwise out-of-place, the brachial plexus injury may heal in a way resulting in deformity. This would cause continual pressure on the nerve. People with more severe neuropraxia may also experience pain throughout recovery, and their muscles may stiffen or atrophy from lack of use. The brachial plexus can sometimes be compressed due to overuse injuries in surrounding structures, and people who have suffered even a minor traumatic injury are at greater risk for pain flare-ups due to wear-and-tear.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Nerve damage is diagnosed using Tinel’s test, in which nerves are lightly tapped. A practitioner may also want to do imaging tests or electromyography, which is used to assess muscles. Chiropractors will try to reduce pain and inflammation through physical therapy. Some practitioners use acupuncture or TENS to reduce swelling; many also recommend adjustments to the neck, shoulder joint, or soft tissues of the shoulder as needed. Sometimes braces, extra padding, or compression sleeves are necessary while a patient strengthens their arm. Nerve injuries heal slowly, but the sooner a patient seeks care, the better their odds of a full recovery will be.



How Chiropractors help Athletes

Over the years chiropractors have become an important part of professional sports teams and have had a major impact on athletes’ careers. Many college, high school, and professional sports teams employ on-staff chiropractors to assist in keeping the athletes on the field instead of the sidelines. Often times the game comes down to which team is healthier. Chiropractors play a part in keeping the athletes at peak performance with spinal manipulation and different soft tissue techniques. There are many benefits to athletes of all ages from seeing a chiropractor.

How Chiropractors Help Athletes

Over the years chiropractors have become an important part of professional sports teams and have had a major impact on athletes’ careers. Many college, high school, and professional sports teams employ on-staff chiropractors to assist in keeping the athletes on the field instead of the sidelines. Often times the game comes down to which team is healthier. Chiropractors play a part in keeping the athletes at peak performance with spinal manipulation and different soft tissue techniques. There are many benefits to athletes of all ages from seeing a chiropractor.

What Do Chiropractors Do?

Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine for diagnosing and treating injuries of the musculoskeletal system. Every form of treatment by chiropractors is non-invasive and designed to maximize the body’s capacity for self-healing. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation and other treatments to properly align the body’s musculoskeletal structure. Spinal manipulation helps to restore mobility in joints that are stressed and in pain. People typically seek chiropractic care to treat overuse and acute injuries that are common in sports. The goal of chiropractic care is to restore the function of the injured area, restore function in nerves that branch off from it, and to prevent injuries in the future.

How Chiropractors Help Athletes

  • Provide pain relief for a wide range of common sports injuries including back, shoulder, ankle, knee pain and headaches from head and neck injuries.
  • Chiropractic care is non-invasive and doesn’t require the use of painkillers.
  • Increases strength, which results in better performance.
  • Allows athletes to relax and recover faster after the stress of resistance training, aerobics, and games through massages or other soft tissue treatments from chiropractors.
  • Prevent degenerative conditions while increasing performance on the field.
  • Improve range of motion and structural support.

Often times when injuries occur in sports, athletes are given painkillers or the injury is treated in one specific area and nowhere else. Not only is chiropractic care non-addictive, it treats muscles and nerves at their point of origin as well as where symptoms manifest. The human body operates as one and is meant to be treated together when injuries occur. An estimated 90% of world-class athletes regularly use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and increase their on-field performance. If any athletes are suffering from injuries that don’t require surgery, they should consider chiropractic care before anything else.



Degenerative Neck pain

Neck pain is one of the chief areas of concern for chiropractors. While sudden injuries to the neck are often painful, slowly developing conditions that cause chronic pain and fatigue are even more common. This month, we’re going to take a look at some of the common reasons for persistent soreness, conservative treatment options, and what lifestyle changes patients can make to manage or prevent symptoms.

Consequences of a Pinched Nerve

The nerves connect to the rest of our body from the spine through holes in the vertebra called foramina. A compression in the spinal cord or the branching nerves could cause pain, numbness, tingling, and dysfunction between where the nerve arises and the body part it connects to. Since so many nerves pass through the neck bones (cervical vertebrae), a pinch here could have especially serious implications for the body. A compression in some nerves that emerge from the middle cervical vertebrae could interrupt the diaphragm, while compression in nerves emerging from the lower part of the neck could compromise the arms and hands. Neck pain is always worthy of treatment, but severe pain that spreads to the rest of the body requires especially urgent attention.

Strains and Sprains

Not all dysfunction in the neck is directly related to nerve compression. An adult’s head usually weighs about ten to eleven pounds, and our neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments are working all the time to support it. It makes sense that when the neck is held in a certain position all day, such as when a person is looking at a computer, it will be sore afterward. Good posture and stretching can ameliorate this, but the best thing is to change positions frequently, so the soft tissues don’t become too tight.

Certain medical conditions can also cause nerve compression. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition in which the cartilage that cushions and lubricates the joints, including the cervical spine’s facet joints, deteriorates over time. Keeping the neck flexible and strong can relieve pressure from cartilage. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune condition with uncertain origins, resulting in widespread inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can irritate the spine and pinch the nerves. Lastly, if a person moves their neck in repetitive motions, or their muscles are often contorted due to stress, their muscles may tighten in areas known as trigger points, which can refer pain to elsewhere in connected muscles.

Recognizing Wear and Tear Issues

When a patient complains of neck pain, a chiropractic office will conduct imaging tests and ask about the patient’s history in an attempt to determine whether the pain has a biomechanical or other cause. (In rare cases, neck pain may result from tumor or infection.) A physical examination can help identify trigger points, which may be treated with heat. Pain from degenerative conditions responds well to spinal adjustments and traction, which relieve pressure from nerves. We may also use treatments designed to reduce inflammation and speed muscle healing, such as electric muscle stimulation and therapeutic massages.

Lifestyle Changes

At home, patients will be advised to rest when they’re not doing prescribed physical therapy or stretches. They are advised to adjust their chairs or desks to keep computer monitors at eye-level and to avoid doing things that could pull on their neck muscles by straining their shoulders. Patients may also be informed to avoid sleeping on their stomachs due to how that position leaves the lower spine unsupported and forces the head to rotate. Specially-shaped pillows can provide more neck support, and it’s a good idea to replace pillows that have collapsed under prolonged use over time.

Lakewood Chiropractic Newsletter April 2019

Low Back Pain Lakewood Chiropractic

Back Pain and the Gluteal Region

When we think of lower back pain, we may think of problems in the spinal column itself. It is true that slipped lumbar discs, inflammation in the facet joints, and strains in the muscles attaching directly to the vertebrae are all common causes of back pain. But in many cases, pain radiates to the back from the pelvic region. Problems in this area can also cause pain, tingling, or numbness further down the leg, so it is important for patients to understand the importance of maintaining the health of the muscles in their gluteal region.

The Muscles of the Gluteal Region

The gluteus maximus is the largest and outermost muscle of the gluteal region. It stretches from the sacrum and coccyx, which are parts of the spinal column, down to the femur. Beneath it are the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus, which stretch from the ilium, or crest of the hip, to the femur. The gluteus medius and minimus allow us to move our thighs outward and rotate them medially. The gluteus maximus allows us to straighten our legs as we move and provides our strides with strength.

There is another layer of diagonal muscles beneath the gluteus minimus that attach to the femur. The uppermost of them is the piriformis, which also attaches to the sacrum. The sciatic nerve and major arteries run beneath it. The piriformis and other inner layer muscles work with the gluteus minimus to rotate our legs laterally.

Causes of Irritation

Tightening of muscles in the gluteal region can cause them to become sore. This can happen to runners if they don’t do sufficient warm-ups or overexert themselves. People are also vulnerable to muscle strain if they move with an unusual gait. As their muscles become stiff, a patient’s posture will get worse, putting additional strain on their back and hip muscles. Hip muscles are also attached to the pelvis, and tightness in them can pull on the gluteal muscles. Irritation of the sacroiliac joint can also put pressure on the piriformis, causing it to spasm, as can internal bleeding. Contractions in the piriformis muscle can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing the patient to experience impeded leg function and shooting pains. This symptom is called sciatica.

Diagnosis and Treatment

An examination will be necessary to diagnose whether a patient’s lower back pain is due to muscle inflammation. Pain from sciatica can reach as far as the foot. Problems at the hip-level involving the gluteus minimus and medius may be felt in the leg. As part of the examination, patients will be put through a range of motions involving different muscles. The location of the gluteal region makes it difficult for patients to massage on their own, although they may benefit from assistive devices. Common treatments include range of motion and strengthening exercises such as bridging and use of resistance bands. Patients may also benefit from deep tissue massages, use of heat or cold packs, manual manipulation, and electric muscle stimulation. Because other serious problems may feel like muscle strains, it is always advisable to seek professional help for persistent pain.

Chiropractic Newsletter March 2019 

Back Pain Lakewood Chiropractic

Workplace Habits and Poor Posture

If you work at a desk job, it is easy to get into bad habits that can cause worse pain than you ever imagined was possible from sitting wrong. Bad posture in the workplace can cause your joints to fall out of alignment and results in stress to your muscles and the tissues around them. When your posture is poor, your muscles weaken and your joints become less flexible. Chronic pain can occur as a result of the stress on your spine and lead to back pain and headaches.

Signs of Poor Posture

As we age, bad habits at the office such as slouching and lack of exercise during the day can cause muscle fatigue and tension. Some signs that you might have bad habits at work include rounded shoulders, a potbelly, your head leaning forward or backwards, back pain, muscle fatigue, headaches, and bent knees. With some lifestyle adjustments, you can improve your posture and spinal health. 

Tips for Better Posture at Work

To improve your posture and back pain, you need to practice good habits at work. 

1. Don’t slump or slouch at your desk; sit all the way back in your chair with your feet flat on the ground. 

2. Move your shoulders back and open your chest to alleviate tension and prevent slouching. 

3. Make sure your eyes are at an equal level of your computer screen so your neck isn’t tilted up or down. 

4. Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes to loosen your muscles. 

5. Set reminders on your phone or computer to stretch and move around. 

6. Exercise regularly to keep your muscles and joints loose. 

Products that can improve your Back Pain at Work

To work more comfortably, you may want to consider using these products: 

1. Lumbar support pillows for your chair 

2. Footrests to keep your feet flat 

3. Risers for your computer monitor 

4. Adjustable standing desks 

5. Alternatives for improving your posture and back pain 

You can improve your posture and pain by seeing musculoskeletal specialists such as chiropractors. Physical therapy provides treatment and prevention of chronic conditions including back pain through different exercises. Chiropractors use different spinal manipulation techniques – including adjustments and massages, to relieve pressure on your joints, reduce inflammation, and improve nerve function. If you are still experiencing back pain with improved workplace habits, a chiropractor can conduct an examination and diagnose damage that has already occurred.

Is Your Bag Hurting Your Back?

Back Pain

Article by Marie Suszynski 

In today’s society, many people are carrying around more and more things around in backpacks, briefcases, computer bags, and purses. The result — back pain.

"It's an epidemic," says Scott Bautch, DC, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Allied Health Chiropractic Centers in Wausau, Wisconsin. In fact, low back pain causes more global disability than any other condition, according to a study published in March 2014 in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

When Dr. Bautch talks to people about bags as a potential cause of back pain, he asks them to empty their own bags. And they pull out pounds and pounds of stuff — several water bottles, three or four books, sets of keys they thought were lost, $20 in coins.

People are also carrying much more technology than ever before, from smartphones to laptops. "They seem like little things, but they all add weight," Bautch says.

Strategies for a Back Pain-Friendly Bag

The next time you head out the door with a bag, try these ideas to lighten your load and spare your back:

  • Pick the smallest bag you can. The bigger the bag, the more you put in it, Bautch says. Do yourself a favor and carry the smallest bag filled with only what you really need and leave the rest at home. Keep in mind that it's usually not one single item that leads to back pain symptoms, explains Bautch. More likely, it's the accumulation of smaller items, such as loads of loose change, that causes pain.
  • Aim for symmetry. Putting extra weight on one side of your body is one of the biggest back pain causes. Any time you carry weight on one side of your body for an extended period of time, it causes your spine to curve, and that leads to back pain symptoms, Bautch says. With that in mind, it's better to choose a messenger bag that you wear diagonally across your body rather than a single-strap bag that rests on one shoulder.
  • Switch sides. When you can't avoid using a single-strap bag, be conscious of changing the sides you use to carry it. If it's a short strap that you carry with your hand, regularly move it from your left hand to your right hand, Bautch suggests. If it's a shoulder strap, try changing it from your left shoulder to your right shoulder.
  • Go for thick straps. A thin strap resting on your shoulder can cut into your muscles and lead to problems, Bautch cautions.
  • Wear a backpack. Backpacks aren't just for school kids anymore. The dual straps of a backpack are the best at evenly distributing weight on your body, and that's leading more adults to use them, Bautch says. Frequent fliers are turning to carrying backpacks as a remedy for back pain. Edward Welch, president and founder of Horizonz Property Management in Atlanta, has been traveling for business about six times a year for the past eight years. After packing up books, a laptop, a work organizer, and more, he says his bag weighs at least 20 pounds when he heads for the airport, and carrying everything in a briefcase with a strap led to lower back pain. Recently, he started using a backpack, and that has helped. "I just came back from a trip and my back felt better with a backpack," he says. Keep in mind that the way you wear a backpack is key because it can change your gait, Bautch says. When you slide a backpack onto your shoulders, adjust the straps so that you carry it as high on your back as you can. The top of the backpack should be at the same level of the big bone you feel at the lowest part of your neck, Bautch says. Also, keep the straps tight so the bag is as close to your body as possible. Wearing it close means it will feel lighter, he adds.
  • Pull a bag on wheels. Airline pilots and flight attendants used to carry single-strap bags and developed their own unique musculoskeletal problems, Bautch says. But today you see them using pull-cart bags or luggage on wheels, which helps them avoid back pain symptoms.
  • Designate different bags for different uses. Rather than trying to carry everything in one bag, designate a briefcase for business, a gym bag for exercise clothes, another bag for your kids' items, and so on.
  • Aim to carry less than 10 percent of your body weight. Ideally, you shouldn't carry around more than 10 percent of your body weight, so put your bag on a scale and see how it measures up. If it's too heavy, see if there's anything you can do without.

The best thing you can do for your back is to be a minimalist. Don't carry what you don't have to, but when you need to take a bag with you, choose the right one and wear it the proper way to eliminate back pain causes.

If you are experiencing back pain, call Lakewood Chiropractic to schedule a free, no obligation spinal exam and consultation to see if chiropractic care may help relieve your back pain. Call us at 816-373-3373 or click here to request an appointment online.

Relief From Neck Pain

Relief from Headaches and Neck Pain

The neck is a very vulnerable part of the body. Ligaments, nerves and muscles that have been injured are typically the cause of our neck pain along but poor posture or degenerative diseases can also be the culprit. Even our daily schedule can lead to common “wear and tear” on our neck and spine resulting in pain. 

Neck pain can spread to the head, shoulders, arms and hands. It can be acute (sharp) or chronic (repetitive). Acute neck pain begins suddenly, usually after an injury. Acute neck pain usually resolves as the injury heals, within several days or weeks, while chronic neck pain lasts longer than three months. 

The treatment for neck pain depends on its cause, severity and duration. The majority of neck problems are treatable with therapy, short periods of rest and adjustments. An examination is necessary to identify the cause of the neck pain  and to determine the appropriate course of treatment. 

If you are suffering from neck pain, call our office today for a free assessment for new patients. Serious neck pain can keep you from enjoying day-to-day activities. We can help you overcome and manage neck pain so you can get back to life!

You can reach us at 816-373-3373 during our office hours:

Monday - Friday 9 am - 6:30 pm

Saturday 9 am - 1 pm

Or you may visit us online to schedule an appointment:

This newsletter/website is not intended to replace the services of a doctor. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Information in this newsletter/website is for informational purposes only & is not a substitute for professional advice. Please do not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating any condition.

Are You Experiencing Chronic Back Pain?

Relief from Back Pain

You may be a candidate for Decompression Therapy which can gently correct chronic back and neck pain caused by: 

  • Herniated Discs
  • Protruding Discs 
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Posterior Facet Syndrome 
  • Sciatica

 With a series of non-surgical treatments you will begin to enjoy the freedom from back pain and improve you life. Decompression Therapy combined with Light Therapy is fast, effective, drug-free, and safe. This exciting technology is cleared by the FDA and available to you today. 

If you are experiencing pain, contact us today for a complimentary exam and consultation to determine if chiropractic care can help you. Call us at 816-373-3373 or request an appointment online. Lakewood Chiropractic is conveniently located 2 miles south of I-70 at the M-291 and Lakewood Blvd exit.

Hip Pain Causes and Treatments

Lakewood Chiropractic Lees Summit, MO

The hips are some of the most common locations for people to feel pain. There are a number of ailments which could be responsible, but fortunately, most of them are treatable with minimally invasive chiropractic methods. Many of them also involve the soft tissues surrounding the hip socket and can be treated with stretching, electric muscle stimulation, cold laser therapy, and other treatments commonly available in chiropractic offices in addition to adjustments. However, patients should not minimalize their hip pain or think that it will not have consequences for the rest of the body. A problem in the hip can throw off the whole spine, and a problem in the spine may be felt in the hip.

Sciatica: Burning, Sharp Pain

When a patient complains of hip pain, a chiropractor will need to determine whether the problem is in the hip structure or the result of a pinched nerve in the spine. Pinched nerves in the lower back can result in sciatica, the compression of the nerve which runs from the spine to the foot. The patient may feel tingling or numbness in the hip and thigh as well as pain. It is often caused by a herniated disc and is treated with adjustments.

Wear and Tear

If sciatica can be ruled out, there may be something wrong with the hip’s soft tissues. Often, the problem is osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition in which the cartilage in joints wears away. This causes the bones to rub uncomfortably against each other or other tissues, which become inflamed. While degenerative diseases cannot be reversed, they can be slowed through lifestyle and nutritional changes. Chiropractors commonly recommend that patients with wear-and-tear injuries switch to a low impact form of exercise, such as aquatics. However, it is also possible for the hips to simply be overused, which is more commonly the case with young athletes in high-impact sports. Athletes are advised to replace old shoes that are no longer properly cushioned and to do exercises which will strengthen other muscles, relieving some of the pressure on their joints.

Bone Problems

Sometimes, there is an issue with the bones of the hips. In rare cases, children get Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, in which the femur head breaks from lack of blood supply and needs to be held in the socket until it heals. Older people are prone to breaking their hips more often due to their poorer sense of balance and high rates of osteoporosis. Chiropractors can assist these patients’ rehabilitation by stretching their soft tissues to keep them strong and limber, determining individual exercise regimens, and coordinating plans for therapeutic massages with other health practitioners.

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