November 2022 Chiropractic Newsletter
Before you exercise, it’s always a good idea to spend a few minutes warming up with dynamic stretches that require you to keep in motion, as opposed to holding a stretch for several seconds. A five-minute warmup is often appropriate. One of the most important factors is to wear boots with slip-resistant soles, and only put them on if they are dry.
Staying Safe While Groundskeeping
If you are responsible for maintaining an outdoor space, you know there are different challenges at different times of the year. But during the late autumn and early winter, many homeowners are doing particularly intense work that may not resemble their usual activities. While outdoor activities is good exercise and an opportunity to get much-needed sunlight, there are certain precautions that we must take to reduce the risk of an accident.
The weather is another factor to keep in mind. You don’t want the ground to be wet when you’re raking, and you don’t want the leaves to be weighted down with water while you’re carrying them, either.
As for equipment, try to keep to rakes and shovels that are lightweight. It doesn’t make sense to use one that is wider than what you are able to lift. Many also have adjustable handles so you won’t have to bend over for a long time. If you are using a ladder to place outdoor lights, keep it on level ground, and keep the base of an extension ladder within a distance of the wall equal to ¼ of how high up you will be going. You will also have to brace or tie it securely.
Rake in a scissor-stance, with one foot forward and one foot back. While shoveling, you should stand with your feet at hip-width apart. You will pile leaves to your side, and switch which side of your body you are piling on about every fifteen minutes. (This will also mean changing which hand is higher on the handle.) Remember, you don’t have to scrape all the way down to the ground with each pass. If you need to carry a load in the rake or shovel, keep one hand near the blade and the other near the far end of the handle.
As you fill a leaf bag, test periodically whether you must strain to lift it. You probably won’t be able to fill the bag to the top before it gets too heavy. When you move the bag, remember the standard rules about lifting heavy objects: crouch down instead of bending over, carry it near the vertical midline of your body, and turn your whole body when you change direction instead of twisting your torso. If you need to bend over, pivot at your hips instead of your lower back.
You may also be able to avoid piling up snow if you start shoveling from the midpoint of your driveway, instead of pushing snow the entire length or width.
At Lakewood Chiropractic, we want you well enough to go about your normal activities, but also value prevention. Be willing to take breaks even if it means you won’t get done when you wanted to, stop doing anything that hurts, and hire someone else if you need to.
September 2022 Chiropractic Newsletter
With school in session again, many children have resumed wearing backpacks. As this is typically the heaviest load children carry, children who suffer from musculoskeletal pain will often feel it most intensely while using a backpack, but pain can also persist or flare up afterward. Of course, children are not the only people who are vulnerable to misusing backpacks, but we thought now would be a good time to share some advice about safe usage with all our patients, and to provide some guidance on how chiropractic offices can assist people experiencing pain in their backs, shoulders, and necks.
When a backpack is overloaded, the straps tend to dig into the shoulders and trapezius muscles of the wearer. This can restrict circulation to the arms and put stress on the rotator cuffs. Potential consequences include shocks, numbness, or tingling along the upper limbs, and the effect may be worse if a person wears a backpack on just one shoulder. It’s also common for wearers to lean forward to try to balance the weight, which is an inefficient posture that forces them to bend their necks in order to see ahead of them. It is also easier for a person in this posture to fall over.
Back pain and other problems from inefficient backpack usage do not usually cause permanent problems in children, but they won’t go away as long as the child is misusing the backpack. Older people should be mindful of the risk of wear-and-tear injuries and take pain seriously, as well.
Proper Backpack Usage
To begin with, a backpack is still a better option than a messenger bag, due to having two straps, but this is only true when both straps are used. The straps should be wide and padded. They should not be tight enough for the shoulders to feel compressed, but they should prevent the backpack from dangling down to the wearer’s lumbar region. It is also advisable to get a backpack with a waist strap.
Chiropractors usually recommend keeping a backpack’s weight to less than fifteen percent of the wearer’s weight. But how that weight is distributed also makes a difference. Heavier objects should be placed in the bag first so that they won’t shift around, and they should be put on the side closer to the body. Other objects should be distributed throughout different compartments in order to spread out their weight. A backpack also shouldn’t be worn for longer than is necessary to move objects from one place to another, and features such as pull-out handles or wheels are dead weight if they aren’t actually being used.
Relief from Backpack-Related Pain
Normally, pain from overusing a backpack will subside when somebody stops overusing it. Pain may be worse in children who are developing scoliosis, which they should be regularly assessed for. If your child is still complaining of soreness, your chiropractor can offer several non-invasive, non-medicative therapies, including spinal adjustments for developing bodies. Many offices also offer soft tissue therapies such as low-level laser and therapeutic massages that can reduce muscle inflammation and speed the healing process. Your chiropractor can also provide advice on more efficient posture and how to set up a workstation so it won’t additionally stress a child’s back.
August 2022 Chiropractic Newsletter
Chiropractic and Headaches
Chiropractic is a whole-body approach to wellness, characterized by understanding how the different components of the musculoskeletal system affect each other and treating them with minimal invasiveness. When you understand that, it makes a lot of sense why so many people go to chiropractors’ offices to find relief from headaches. Although there are many reasons why a person might sometimes feel pain in their head, chiropractors are well-equipped to handle two of the most common recurring types of headaches: those which are cervicogenic and which result from tension. This month, we’re discussing what makes these headaches different and why your chiropractor has an important part in helping you to manage and prevent them.
Some Causes of Secondary Headaches
Secondary headaches are those which are symptoms of another problem. The word cervicogenic refers to something that begins in the neck. However, headaches caused by issues in the neck are not always accompanied by pain in the neck itself. Cervicogenic headaches are the result of pain being referred from the upper spinal nerves to the trigeminal nerve, which branches to the top of the head and parts of the upper face. Compression in the upper spinal nerves can result from subluxations in the spinal vertebrae, herniated discs, or swollen soft tissues. Injuries like these are often caused by whiplash. However, cervicogenic headaches can also result from chronic wear-and-tear, such as if a person maintains a posture with their head thrust forward. Tension headaches may start in the head and radiate to the neck, or move in the other direction. When a person feels stressed or fatigued, muscles in their scalp, face, and neck tense up. Tension in the muscles in the head can also trigger tightness in the trapezius muscles, which run from the upper neck to the shoulder and mid-back.
Recognizing Secondary Headaches
Cervicogenic headaches and tension headaches have some symptoms in common, as well as some treatments. One of the telltale differences is that cervicogenic headaches tend to be restricted to one side of the head, whereas tension headaches stretch across the forehead and temples. Tension headaches also tend not to get worse with activity, but cervicogenic headaches can be triggered by certain movements or external pressure. They also tend to be accompanied by inflexibility in the neck, even if the neck itself doesn’t hurt.
How Chiropractors Can Help
Chiropractors are trained to provide spinal adjustments, which can relieve impingements on nerve roots at their point of exit from the spinal cord. This can help reduce shocks traveling along nerves that emerge in the neck if something was subluxated. Chiropractic adjustments can also help ensure that cerebrospinal fluid is traveling unobstructed and that muscles aren’t having to glide over displaced vertebrae or spinal disc tissue.
Chiropractic offices also offer a variety of physical modalities that can be used to help reduce muscle tension and speed the healing of soft tissues. Therapeutic massages can release tense neck muscles, but they shouldn’t be confused with the massages a person would get just for relaxation. Low level laser therapy can also stimulate soft tissues’ ability to self-heal and increase blood flow through inflamed tissues. To learn more, contact our office at 816-373-3373 or visit us online at lakewoodchirokc.com.
June 2022 Chiropractic Newsletter
Maintaining Musculoskeletal Safety
Back and neck pain are extremely common, and people’s risk of incurring them increases with age. Many people may take for granted that musculoskeletal dysfunction is just a normal part of life, but that doesn’t have to be true. Chiropractic is based on the belief that the body has the ability to keep itself healthy when put in the right position to do so. This June is National Safety Month, and since chiropractors are often a crucial part of accident victims’ care teams, we are taking a look at some of the factors that put people at greater risk for a musculoskeletal injury and what they can do to prevent accidents.
Injuries may be acute, meaning short-term and usually the result of a specific incident, or chronic, meaning long-term and usually degenerative. Having a chronic condition puts people at greater risk of developing acute injuries. But there are other things that put people at risk for back pain as well, including poor posture, weak core muscles, excessive weight, pregnancy, and things that restrict blood circulation such as smoking and diabetes. Musculoskeletal injuries often result from falls, which people are at increased risk for if they have poor vision, take medications for sleeping or relaxing, or have balance or muscle strength problems that interfere with walking on uneven surfaces. Once people are in their thirties, they become more likely to suffer an injury while lifting a heavy object.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Back Pain
Your chiropractor can help you determine which exercises are safe if you’re already injured or suffering a condition. But for most adults, it’s a good idea to get in one hundred and fifty minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or seventy-five minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (neither should be done all in one workout). A good idea is to do aerobic exercises like swimming that won’t further jostle your spinal column or other joints, or like yoga, which strengthens and stretches the core muscles. We depend on our cores to ease the weight burden on our spinal discs and to help us maintain good posture while standing or seated. It’s also wise to do strength training exercises twice a week, as these increase bone density as well as muscle mass and make balancing easier.
Maintaining bone density also depends on nutrition. In addition to consuming calcium, which is an essential component of bone tissue, we need to produce Vitamin D to absorb it. The easiest way to stimulate production of Vitamin D is to get regular exposure to direct sunlight.
We should try to avoid maintaining the same position for too long, but some postures put less strain on our musculoskeletal system than others. When seated, we should keep our backs straight against the chair and our feet flat on the floor. The position of a monitor shouldn’t require us to look down, and our shoulders shouldn’t have to hunch up.
Proper Lifting Technique
Some ways of carrying heavy objects are more dangerous than others. If you must move something heavy and you’re not used to doing it, you may have forgotten the proper protocol, and you don’t want to be reminded by a herniated disc. When you pick up something heavy, spread your legs apart and squat down next to it. Lift yourself by pushing upward with your legs instead of bending your back and avoid sudden movements. You’ll need to keep your core muscles tight and hold the object close to your body and as centered as you can get it. Don't twist your torso as you’re moving and take equal care to lower the object slowly and by squatting down when you reach your destination. For more information on how to prevent or treat back pain, call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at 816-373-3373.
May 2022 Chiropractic Newsletter
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Pain in the lower back is very common in part due to the large number of things that cause it. In addition to lumbar disc degeneration, facet joint inflammation, and muscle tightness, one of the potential causes of a patient’s pain is dysfunction in the sacroiliac joints. These are the joints that connect the sacrum, a structure at the base of the spine, to the pelvis. Although pain from sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be a major problem, it is often responsive to the non-invasive, non-addictive treatments provided in a chiropractic office.
How Sacroiliac Dysfunction Occurs
The sacrum is made up of several vertebrae that are fused together without any discs between them. Some of the roots of the sciatic nerves emerge from the sacrum, and the coccyx, or tailbone, hangs beneath it. The top portions of the pelvis are the iliac crests, and the places on either side of the sacrum where it connects to the pelvis are normally among the body’s more stable joints. The deep connective soft tissues of the pelvic region keep the sacroiliac joints in place and provide them with cushioning.
When the sacroiliac joint is inflamed, we call that “sacroiliitis.” However, inflammation is not always necessary for the joint to be unstable or too stiff. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction does not always have a clear cause, but it can sometimes be traced back to traumatic injuries, different kinds of arthritis, or the weakening of joints and connective tissues caused by hormones released during pregnancy. People are also at risk of developing it if one of their legs is longer than the other.
Symptoms and Identification
Pain from sacroiliac joint dysfunction may radiate to the lower back, the buttocks, the groin, or the thigh, but is usually only felt on one side. It may be described as dull or sharp and sometimes mimics symptoms of sciatica. The pain is often worse when a person walks up stairs or must stand for a long time.
Several tests are used to diagnose sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Many of them involve a doctor pressing against the sacroiliac joint and other structures to see what elicits a response, and some require a patient to demonstrate their range of motion. A doctor may also try numbing the joint to determine whether that alleviates the pain. Imaging tests may be commissioned to rule out other potential causes.
Chiropractic and Other Common Treatments Adjustments by hand or instrument are one of the most popular and effective ways of relieving sacroiliac pain. In addition to adjusting the joint itself, a chiropractor may work its surrounding soft tissues if they have tightened as well as prescribe therapeutic treatments.
March 2022 Chiropractic Newsletter
Treating and Preventing Neck Pain
Neck pain is a common experience among adults, and one of the reasons people are most likely to seek care from a chiropractic office. Although chiropractic is often thought of as a field devoted to back pain, the neck is part of the spinal column, and maintaining its comfort and function is necessary for the health of the rest of the body. Being a complex structure, there are many ways in which things can go wrong in the neck, but many ailments can be treated through means that don’t rely on drugs or surgery. There are also some ways in which people can reduce their risk of incurring long-term neck pain, which we want all our patients to be aware of.
The Structure of the Neck
There are seven vertebrae in the spine’s cervical region that make up the neck bones. All but the top two are separated by discs consisting of a gelatinous nucleus and a rubbery outer ring. Nerves leading to the shoulders and down into the arms emerge from canals in the neck vertebrae, which is why swelling in this area can cause nerve dysfunction in the upper limbs. Muscles called the levator scapulae connect the top vertebrae to the shoulders, and muscles called suboccipitals connect the upper vertebrae to the base of the skull. There are also muscles in the neck that connect vertebrae to each other and run from the skull to the mid-back and shoulders. Pain in these muscles can be referred along their length, and tightness in them can cause strain in the muscles that balance them.
As with vertebrae further down, the cervical vertebrae are connected to each other by facet joints in their rear. These joints are cushioned by cartilage and lubricated by fluid produced by synovial tissue.
Injuries and Diseases
When a person’s head is rapidly swung forward and then back, as commonly happens during car crashes, they are likely to immediately feel pain. It is a good idea to seek emergency care after this sort of event, or when neck pain is accompanied by fever, difficulty balancing, or loss of bladder or bowel control. However, symptoms resulting from acute injuries can be delayed, and an emergency room may refer a patient for complementary care in a chiropractic office once their problem has been identified and stabilized.
Often, neck pain is chronic (lasting more than three months) or recurring due to gradual breakdown in the neck’s tissues. Spinal discs gradually lose fluid over the course of a person’s life, and by the time they are in their sixties, the discs have become less effective shock absorbers and can more easily become herniated. Wear to cartilage or synovial membranes can prompt inflammation, and if the vertebrae are being stressed, they may develop bony spurs which would put more pressure on nearby soft tissues. Treatment will be more effective if this is caught early.
How Chiropractors Help
Chiropractic offices utilize several pain relief techniques, including spinal adjustments to mobilize dislocated tissues back into place. This will often remove impingements on nerves and muscles, allowing them to rebuild with less discomfort to the patient. At our office we also prescribe therapeutic exercises and use non-drug anti-inflammatory treatments, such as therapeutic massages, low-level laser, and electric muscle stimulation. We can also help patients acquire more supportive or specialized pillows if their sleep or driving habits are straining their necks.
If you are experiencing neck pain, call our office today at 816-373-3373 for a free consulation.
January 2022 Chiropractic Newsletter
Exercise for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread muscle pain and tenderness. It is often followed by fatigue and poor sleep, memory, and mood. When you have fibromyalgia, the last thing you probably want to do is exercise your pain-riddled body. However, exercise might be exactly what you need to help relieve symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Our practice believes that adjustments and laser therapy can help relieve symptoms, but we also want to stress that exercise is key. Whether it be daily walks, swimming, yoga, stretching, or pilates, these activities not only help you stay fit but reduce your pain as well.
With the added effects of chiropractic treatment, you will experience increased energy levels, better circulation, and a stronger immune system. Exercise is the next step towards managing your fibromyalgia symptoms. After a full examination by our doctors, a better understanding of your daily symptoms will help move you forward with the proper treatment.
It is essential for fibromyalgia patients to keep their muscles strong and flexible. Exercise allows you to do just that, while also controlling your weight. The following list expresses just some of the benefits of exercising:
- Higher range of motion in painful muscles and joints
- Improved quality of sleep
- Increased energy
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Pain relief
There are three different types of exercise patients should consider:
- Stretching exercises.Stretching will help maintain your muscle flexibility and strength.
- Aerobic/endurance exercises.Recent studies show that aerobic exercise is the most beneficial to fibromyalgia patients. This includes cardiovascular forms of exercise like biking, swimming, and walking.
- Strengthening exercises.These help you maintain and continue to build strong tendons and muscles that will support your joints.
Though exercise is beneficial for fibromyalgia, it is crucial to start off slowly. Begin with low-impact activities in order to not overwork or injure your muscles. Speak to our doctors about the duration of your workouts. On average, patients should be working out two to three times a week, between twenty to thirty minutes a session.
If you or someone you know has fibromyalgia and is struggling with the symptoms on a daily basis, contact our office today. We will perform a full examination and get you started on a treatment plan unique to your needs. You don’t have to suffer through your fibromyalgia. There are ways to manage your pain, and we can help you with that!
December 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
Spinal Decompression Therapy
If you have back pain that just won’t go away, it can really make life difficult. We all just want to perform our daily duties without pain and discomfort. After trying over-the-counter pain medication with no luck, you may think that finding relief is impossible. We’re here to tell you that it is possible to find relief. Very rarely, surgery is required if a patient’s back pain is severe enough. But more commonly, nonsurgical spinal decompression is used to not only give you relief but also reverse the problem so that you don’t experience any discomfort again.
Spinal decompression therapy involves motorized traction and gentle spine stretches to help relieve your back pain. These change the position of the spine, taking pressure off the spinal disks and creating negative pressure in your spine. If you have a bulging or herniated disk, with this treatment, they retract and take pressure off the nerves in your back as well as other structures in your spine. This helps promote the movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids to your disks so that they may heal quicker and more efficiently.
Spinal decompression therapy has been proven to treat:
- Back pain
- Bulging or herniated disks
- Worn spinal joints
- Injured or diseased nerves
It’s important to also know what causes spinal compression. Sometimes you can go about your daily life and accidentally injure your back. Things like lifting incorrectly or sitting or standing too long, activities part of everyday life, can affect your back. But there are also several conditions that can cause spinal compression, such as:
- Degenerative disk disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Disk herniation
- Bone spurs
- Spinal tumors
Do you suffer from back pain and feel like you have nowhere to go? Contact our office today to set up an appointment. One of our experienced chiropractors will get you on a treatment plan unique to your problem. You don’t have to live with back pain for the rest of your life. We can help you find relief and reverse your problem!
November 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
Holiday Travel for People with Musculoskeletal Trouble
For many people, the upcoming fall and winter holidays will be the first time they’ve traveled in a while. And if you’re new to traveling after incurring a musculoskeletal injury or you’re unsure how travel may have changed, you may be concerned about aggravating your discomfort. Your chiropractor can provide you with information that is more specific to your needs, but in general, there are a few things that are good for people traveling with joint injuries to keep in mind. Some of them require a bit of advanced planning, so we wanted to pass them along while Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away and patients can determine which form of travel makes the most sense for them and whether they will be able to stay with relatives or in a disability-accessible hotel room.
Getting Ready for Your Trip
Although the Americans with Disabilities Act requires companies to provide accommodations for people with pain and mobility problems, some patients may be unaware of what resources are available to them or not know to call ahead. If you anticipate a long time in a vehicle, it may be an especially good idea to wear a brace and bring a cold pack or single-use hand warmers. If possible, use suitcases with pull-out handles and wheels, but if that makes them too large to qualify as carry-on items, a backpack might be better than a one-handed bag or shoulder-bag. If your chiropractor approves the use of a backpack, you’ll still need to wear it correctly. That means pulling the straps snug so that it rests in the middle of your upper back, as opposed to hanging down in your lumbar region, packing heavier objects first so they won’t shift position as much, and distributing weight within the backpack as evenly as possible. Even in people without musculoskeletal problems, a backpack should not weigh more than ten percent of their body weight.
While You are In Transit
For most people, regular stretches are a vital part of rebuilding muscle strength and flexibility. Keeping still for several hours is generally not optimal, and if you are traveling by car, try to give yourself an opportunity to get out and move around at least every ninety minutes. If you travel by train, bus, or airplane, you may want to do stretches before boarding, and ask for opportunities to do more stretches periodically in the aisle. At the least, you may have chances to walk around or stretch in your seat and may ask for assistance putting luggage in overhead bins. You may also bring neck-pillows, cylindrical wedges for your lower back, or ring-shaped cushions. When seated, try to keep your feet flat on the floor and to keep your knees and hips at a ninety-degree angle, just as you would when seated at a desk. And remember to hold devices with screens up to your eyes instead of bending your neck down.
At Your Destination
If you have lower back, hip, or leg pain, it may be better for you to get a room that is near an elevator and has an accessible bathing area. You may also want to bring assistive devices and supportive shoes with strong grip even if you don’t normally need them in your own home or on familiar terrain. Keep in mind that you may be more sensitive to cold and that you will likely need a full day of rest after traveling. Throughout your journey you’ll also need to be mindful to stay hydrated, and it’s wise to look up what medical centers are available at your destination just in case of a flare-up.
October 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
10 Ways to Relieve Your Back Pain
Did you know that there are ways to relieve your back pain from the comfort of your own home or even as you go about your daily life? It’s true! We are passionate about educating our patients about how they can beat their daily back pain outside their routine appointments. Here are 10 ways to relieve your back pain:
Sleep with a pillow under your knees
Did you know that elevating your legs while you sleep actually takes pressure off your spine? Stop sleeping flat on your back and start sleeping with a pillow beneath your knees! Your spine will thank you.
Work it out
We all know that exercise is extremely beneficial to the body. But did you know that working out your core can specifically help prevent back-related injuries? Prevention is the best way to avoid back pain at all! Try incorporating some abdominal exercises into your routine.
More calcium and Vitamin D
As previously mentioned, prevention is the best way to avoid back pain. Try incorporating more calcium and Vitamin D into your diet to build stronger bones.
Swap out your shoes
It’s important to treat your feet right. We do after all use them every single day. Spoil your feet with a pair of comfortable shoes to help reduce strain on your back.
Practice proper posture
Avoid hunching and slouching at all costs. A rounded spine puts more strain on your back, ultimately causing back pain.
Proper posture should also be maintained at your desk. We recommend choosing an office chair with good support to help keep good posture all day long.
Movement is key
Whether you’re sitting at your desk or lounging on the couch watching television, you should always attempt to get up and move a little bit every hour. Sitting too long puts pressure on your spine, and the same can happen if you stand too long as well.
Lifting correctly is extremely important and probably the best way to avoid injuring your back. You should never lift something that is too heavy for just yourself. And you should always lift with your legs as well, never with your back.
Stretch it out
Stretching promotes circulation in your back, so take the time each day to stretch. Stretching can also relieve any aches and pains you are currently dealing with.
Smoking is an awful health risk to begin with, but did you know that it can also affect the discs in your spine? The nicotine actually restricts oxygen flow to the discs, which can cause them to rupture. Nicotine also reduces the amount of oxygen that enters your bloodstream, which can restrict much needed nourishment to the muscles and tendons of your back.
What do you think of these 10 easy ways to help relieve your back pain? If these don’t work out for you and you’re still experiencing pain, it’s time to schedule an appointment with us. Give us a call at 816-373-3373 or visit us online at lakewoodchirokc.com.
September 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
Whiplash Symptoms and Treatment
While some people can walk away from car accidents unscathed, some aren't as lucky. Car accidents, specifically rear-end car accidents, have enough force to cause an injury called whiplash. According to Mayo Clinic, “whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” When a part of the body is whipped back and then forward beyond its normal range of motion, micro-tears form in the surrounding ligaments. Usually, it’s when the micro-tears start to swell that the symptoms begin. Whiplash happens to be the most common injury when it comes to car accidents, however, a person can get whiplash by also experiencing physical abuse, like during contact sports.
Wondering what whiplash actually feels like? Here are a few symptoms to help you decipher whether or not you are experiencing whiplash:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Lower back pain
- Memory loss
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Trouble sleeping
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder
- Worsening pain or limited range of motion of the neck
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Chiropractic care not only treats these symptoms but corrects the root of the problem as well. At Lakewood Chiropractic we take a more holistic approach to treatment and avoids using drugs that only treat symptomatically. We help relieve pain, restore mobility, and support long-term healing with a variety of techniques.
We recommend that you check in with one of our experienced chiropractors if you are experiencing continued neck pain or other worsening symptoms of whiplash. Failure to resolve your whiplash may cause lasting damage to the bones in your spine, disks between your bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other tissues of your neck. You don’t have to deal with this pain for the rest of your life. Our chiropractic office can help you onto the road to recovery, and ultimately back to your pain-free life. We are experienced in finding the right treatment plan unique to a patient’s problem. Contact us today!
August 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
Have you ever accidentally contorted your body in a way that resulted in a sharp pain that decreased mobility in your neck or arm? If so, you might have experienced a pinched nerve. Pinched nerves can occur anywhere along the spine, including the upper, mid, and lower back. They can even happen in any joint of your body. When ample pressure is applied to a nerve by the surrounding tissues, bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons, a pinched nerve is formed. This pressure intervenes with the nerve’s normal function, causing sharp pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness. Our practice knows all about the dreaded pinched nerve and how painful it is doing the simplest tasks. Sometimes the nerve can move back into place naturally. However, if the pinched nerve is severe enough, you will need spinal adjustments to correct it.
Symptoms of a pinched nerve include:
- Lower back pain
- Numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in your arms, legs, fingers, or toes and which may radiate outward
- Pain radiating along your spine
- Severe headaches or migraines
- A tingling or pins and needles sensation called paresthesia
- Pain that shoots down your arm or leg
- A feeling that your foot or hand has “fallen asleep”
- Neck pain
- Muscle weakness in the affected area
A pinched nerve can be caused by subluxation, disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, or disc herniation. These are silent afflictions in their beginning stages, which is why it’s important to see a chiropractor regularly. An experienced chiropractor will realign your spine in an effort to correct your pinched nerve, but also prevent one from happening again in the future. A pinched nerve that only lasts a short time will usually present no permanent damage. Once the pressure on the nerve is relieved, nerve function will return to normal. However, constant pressure on the nerve will ultimately cause chronic pain and permanent nerve damage.
Other causes of a pinched nerve include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- An injury
- Rheumatoid or wrist arthritis
- Stress from repetitive activities
It is recommended that you come in for a visit with us if your pinched nerve is not resolved within several days of its beginning, especially if over-the-counter medications are also not working. Make an appointment today and we will get you started on a treatment plan unique to your needs! www.lakewoodchirokc.com
July 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
Stingers and Neck Injuries
If you play contact sports, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a stinger. Also known as a burner, a stinger is the shock a person feels along their arm when they incur nerve damage. Usually, stingers only last a few seconds and the athlete quickly resumes play. However, people who suffer stingers are at greater risk of getting worse ones in the future, and neck injuries may result in additional damage that is not immediately apparent. As providers of non-surgical therapy for sports injuries, chiropractors are well-suited to assist athletes recovering from neck and shoulder trauma, but we want our patients to understand why they should have their injuries examined and what can be done to help them.
Nerves of the Neck and Shoulder
The nerves leading to our arms emerge from the spinal cord in the back of the neck. They bundle together in the shoulder to form a structure called the brachial plexus before dividing again and continuing into the arm and hand. A stinger could result from the nerves being stretched when a person’s head is pushed too far backward or to the side, or from a direct blow to the brachial plexus. Injuries to the neck resulting in ruptured spinal discs, joint displacements, or swollen tissues could also put pressure on the nerve roots.
Stingers get their name from the electric discharge triggered by the injury. After experiencing a burst of pain down their arm, a patient may find they have difficulty moving it. They may also experience a prolonged burning sensation and try to shake the feeling of pins and needles out of their arm, or hold it close to their body. Although damage to the nerve is not usually permanent, it may be recurring, despite the initial shock only lasting a few seconds or minutes.
Most stingers occur in football players, although they are not uncommon in rugby, lacrosse, and hockey players, wrestlers, and gymnasts. They can also happen to people during motor vehicle crashes or to people who fall off horses. Some people are at greater risk for stingers due to having naturally narrow spinal canals. Stingers can also occur due to the shoulder being pushed down too far, so a person may be at greater risk if they have not built up their shoulder muscles or if they have been weakened by a previous injury. For this reason, people who have suffered a stinger-inducing blow are likely to suffer a second one that will be worse if they don’t take time to recover.
Athletes should not return to play while they are experiencing pain or difficulty moving. In the immediate aftermath of a stinger, they should employ rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) protocol. Afterward, they should be examined for potential fractures or spinal cord injuries. Image tests and physical examinations may be advised when a patient is in severe pain or has recurring injuries.
Physical therapy is recommended for improving the neck and shoulder flexibility as well as the shoulder’s strength. Our office can also advise patients on postures that will put less pressure on the nerve roots in their necks and perform adjustments when there is reason to suspect a compression. In addition, we also provide drug-free anti-inflammatory therapies, such as the use of ultrasound and electric muscle stimulation. Athletes who have recurring injuries may be advised to play while wearing specialized padding, but most people fully recover in a short amount of time. To reduce their risk of stingers in the future, athletes should work to ensure their neck and shoulder muscles remain strong and that their necks and heads are adequately protected.
If you have suffered a sports injury, call our office to schedule a free, no obligation consultation at 816-373-3373.
June 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
We treat numerous musculoskeletal problems including “frozen shoulder.” Also known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder is a condition that involves stiffness in the shoulder joint. This happens when the tissue around the shoulder joint loses its synovial fluid, causing discomfort and limited mobility. The tissues in your shoulder joint become thicker and tighter, causing scar tissue to develop. Once this scar tissue develops, your shoulder joint doesn’t have the space it needs to rotate in a normal fashion. This condition usually occurs to patients in their 40s to 60s. If you are experiencing significant shoulder discomfort, we recommend that you come in and see us so that we can get you started on the right treatment plan for you!
If you have a frozen shoulder, you will certainly know it. The pain limits your movement, which in turn increases the stiffness of your shoulder since you begin to move it less frequently. Soon you’ll find that you can’t move your shoulder even close to how you used to. Daily activities will be an enormous challenge, from dressing to reaching objects that are up high. To recap, symptoms of a frozen shoulder include:
- Very limited mobility
- Dull or achy pain
- Difficulty doing daily activities
- Increase in these symptoms over time
You might be asking yourself: what causes frozen shoulder? There are actually a few causes, including hormonal imbalance, diabetes, or a weakened immune system. These conditions are all prone to joint inflammation. Frozen shoulder can also occur after a long period of inactivity due to an injury, illness, or surgery. In severe cases, scar tissue will form due to this lack of mobility, which of course greatly limits your range of motion. This severe case, however, takes anywhere from two to nine months to develop.
Did you know that women are more susceptible to frozen shoulder than men are? It especially affects people who have had a stroke or mastectomy. We are committed to helping patients reach the full extent of their mobility and live pain-free lives. We treat frozen shoulder with a variety of exercises that help with range-of-motion, including joint manipulation and chiropractic adjustments.
There are a couple other ways to treat frozen shoulder, including:
- home care
- physical therapy
If you think you are suffering from frozen shoulder and can benefit from safe chiropractic treatment, contact us right away. We are happy to address any questions or concerns you may have, as well as get you on the road to recovery.
April 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
Chiropractic Care for Pregnant Women
Many pregnant women experience aches and pains in their lower back and hips as their baby grows. It begs the question: how does a mother-to-be find relief? There are natural remedies to combat pregnancy discomforts. One such holistic remedy is seeing a chiropractor for safe manipulations and adjustments. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. All chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant. Investing in the fertility and pregnancy wellness of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive is routine care for most chiropractors.” Chiropractors have been trained to work with pregnant women and some even use special tables designed for pregnant women. Chiropractors pay careful attention to not putting any unnecessary pressure on a pregnant woman’s abdomen. They may also provide specific stretches or exercises that are safe to perform at home.
Regular chiropractic care during pregnancy has many benefits. These include:
- Relief from neck, back, and joint pain
- Controlling symptoms of nausea
- Reducing labor and delivery time
- Preventing a cesarean delivery
- Maintaining the health of the fetus and mother
During pregnancy, there are many changes that are happening inside a woman’s body in order to prepare for the growing baby. These include:
- Misaligned spine or joints
- Pelvic balance and alignment
- Protruding abdomen
- Increased back curve
Chiropractic care not only alleviates a woman’s pain associated with a growing baby but also helps provide the best environment possible for a baby to be born. For example, a pelvis that is out of alignment has the potential to restrict the amount of space the baby has to develop. Not only can this lack of space possibly lead to birth defects, but it also makes it difficult for the baby to assume a good position for delivery. Proper alignment of the pelvis lowers the chances of a woman having a more complicated delivery.
In order to have a safe and healthy delivery, it is important for all the systems of the body to work together efficiently. Chiropractic care is an excellent way to get all the systems working as one. If you are pregnant and think you could benefit from chiropractic adjustments, please contact our office. We are more than happy to walk you through what it is we do during an appointment as well as the precautions we take to ensure the safety of the mother-to-be and her baby.
March 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
Sleeping with Less Joint Pain
If you’re like most people, you don’t always have an easy time getting comfortable going to sleep and you still feel creaky when you wake up. The relationship between sleep and joint pain is an enormous subject, and your chiropractor’s advice will vary depending on your individual circumstances. But with so many people having similar problems, there are a few commonalities we can discuss and offer solutions for. In addition to chiropractic care, getting a better night’s sleep will involve changing both your approach to sleep and how you take care of yourself during the day.
How You Sleep
Should you use a firm mattress or a soft one? What about your pillow? Should you be using them at all? What position should you sleep in? You have probably heard all sorts of answers to these questions because people with certain conditions require specialized solutions. But in general, a firm mattress will do more to keep your back aligned. There are many cultures in which people sleep on the floor and say it works for them, but the downside to this is that increased pressure on the joints of the limbs may restrict circulation, even if it does provide more back support. For that reason, a mattress may be the better option if circulation is more of a problem for you or you have a history or shoulder or hip injuries. A large pillow is necessary to keep your head in line with your spinal column when you are on your side, but a thinner one will keep you better aligned when you’re on your back.
We shift position in our sleep, and that is necessary to keep our muscles from seizing up. But that doesn’t mean there’s no point in trying to find a comfortable position to fall asleep in or to support yourself during. Sleeping on the front forces our heads backwards and to the side, increasing the risk of neck and shoulder pain, and leaves our lumbar vertebrae sagging. It is less likely that a person will roll into this position if they start on their backs, unless they are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, in which case they may roll over in an unconscious attempt to use gravity to clear their airways. Treating sleep apnea may require help from a sleep medicine specialist, but there are specialized wedges that can be used to provide better support to people sleeping in an usual positions. People who are pregnant or prefer to fall asleep on their sides may want to try holding a pillow between their knees to reduce hip strain.
Lack of sleep also makes us more vulnerable to joint pain, creating a vicious cycle. However, there are things we can do to improve our quality of rest that aren’t directly related to joint support. Before trying to sleep, we should give ourselves a half-hour break from electronic screens. The area around our beds should be as free of dust as possible, and we should take care not to pile on so much bedding that we overheat after a few hours. It’s also a good idea to avoid food and alcohol right before bed, to reduce the risk of acid reflux.
Chiropractors specialize in musculoskeletal health and will be quick to tell you that strong muscle tone is essential for supporting skeletal alignment. Stretching throughout the day will make your tendons less prone to tightening while you’re asleep, and a firmer core will help keep your spine in alignment even while you’re at rest. But avoid exercise in the hour before bed, or else you’ll still be full of adrenaline. And try to ensure your sleeping space doesn’t double as your work space, so your body won’t feel the need to be on alert there.
February Chiropractic Newsletter
Chiropractic Care and Heart Health
February is American Heart Month. While chiropractors are typically associated with back and neck pain, chiropractic care also plays a significant role in heart health. Regular visits to the chiropractor have been shown to decrease chest pain, lower blood pressure, improve nerve function of the heart, and improve lung function.
The Power of Chiropractic Adjustments
Chiropractic adjustments are the holy grail of chiropractic care. And for good reason too. A study published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research suggests that chiropractic adjustments can reverse heart disease.
Everything in the human body links back to the spine. Located in the upper cervical and thoracic areas of your spine, the parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves accelerate and decelerate your heart. A misaligned spine in this area can impair the brain’s communication with the body’s neural pathways and affect the regulation of your heart. This type of subluxation or misalignment leads to a myriad of problems from hypothyroidism, increased blood pressure, and even cardiac arrest.
February is “Love Your Spine” month. Call us to schedule a free exam to ensure your spine is in alignment, to help provide you relief from your pain and to restore normal body function. We are open evenings and Saturdays for your convenience.
January 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter
Avoiding Neck Pain in the New Year
Perhaps you slept on the wrong kind of pillow, experienced an auto accident, or simply turned your head in a strange position. Neck pain happens and it happens to people more often than you’d think. But that doesn’t mean you have to live out the rest of your life with it. Only by getting to know the symptoms and causes of neck pain will you be able to actively prevent it altogether. Sometimes it’s just simple lifestyle adjustments that help prevent and alleviate neck pain. It's also important to know the red flags for when neck pain is a serious condition. A chiropractor typically needs to be involved at that point and more hands-on treatment is required.
Some common signs and symptoms of neck pain include:
- Intense headaches
- A burning sensation from the neck through the shoulder and arm
- Difficulty rotating the neck without discomfort
- Trouble gripping and lifting objects due to numbness
- Tenderness, achiness, or soreness in the general neck area
- Issues with reflexes, sensation, or strength due to the compression of a nerve
- Stabbing, stinging, or sharp pain in the lower neck
If neck pain progresses, it may become difficult to sleep or perform daily activities. Get to know the pain progression scale: acute pain lasts less than four weeks, subacute pain lasts four to twelve weeks, and chronic pain lasts three or more months. With acute and subacute pain, you may or may not need to see a chiropractor, though it is recommended. Chronic pain is serious and a chiropractor should be seen right away.
Some common causes of neck pain include:
- Repetitive motion of the head, like in dancing and swimming
- Trauma from a fall, slip, sports impact, or auto accident
- Poor posture, such a slouching and hunching for long periods of time
- Sleeping in an awkward position where your head is resting at a strange angle
Other causes of neck pain may include:
- An infection
- A spinal tumor
- Emotional stress
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Simple lifestyle changes may be all you need to prevent neck pain from happening to you. Such changes include:
- Sleeping on your back
- Drinking plenty of water
- Making sure you are using a comfortable and supported pillow
- Making sure your computer monitor is at eye level
- When texting, keeping your mobile phone at eye level, taking breaks, or using talk-text
- When making a phone call, using a headset or earpiece
- Stretching, exercising, and strengthening your neck muscles
- Evenly distributing weight you carry on your person
- Practicing a supportive posture (no slumping or hunching!)
- Holding your phone at a distance rather than right in front of you
When to Get Help
Most of the time, neck pain can be healed over a short period of time with rest, ice or heat treatment, over the counter pain medication, and gentle stretches. However, it is important to seek professional help if you ever experience numbness, tingling, or pain in your arms, or severe headaches and weakness. Ineffective pain medication is another indicator that you should see a chiropractor.
CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER January 2020
New Year, New Spine
The New Year is here! Have you thought about your New Year’s resolution yet? Most people like to cut back on chocolate or get to the gym more, but here’s a different idea: why not focus on taking better care of your spine? If you think about it, your spine is the structural groundwork for your body. Your spine provides support, balance, and enables motion. It is also the protector of your spinal cord, nerve roots, and internal organs. The spine is a lot more important than we think! Wondering what you can do to boost your spinal health? We have a few tips to help you get started.
Rest and Sleep
Neck and back strain are common during rest and sleep. If you’re a stomach-sleeper, this puts way too much pressure on your spine. Sometimes we fall asleep in strange positions or angles and wake up achy, asking ourselves, “Did I sleep the wrong way?” We strongly advise against sleeping on your stomach and to instead sleep on your back or side. It’s also important that your pillow supports your neck and head so that everything is neutral with your spine.
Before lifting something, you first need to ask yourself, “Is this object too heavy for me to lift?” If yes, it is always safer to ask someone for help. If no, you still need to pay attention to how you lift the object. Lifting objects improperly is the most common way to injure your spine. Always use your leg muscles to lift, never your back. Be sure to also keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body. You should never twist while picking something up and you should always set the object down the same way you lifted it.
Talking and Texting on the Phone
Do you find yourself on the phone a lot? This can also affect your spine. If you need to speak on the phone for an extended period, using the speaker function or a headset is recommended to keep your neck aligned with your spine. Tilting your head towards your shoulder can damage muscles and vertebrae. Similarly, when you’re texting, keep your neck and back straight with the device at chest or eye level. You should never slump or hunch.
Working at a Desk
If you work in an office setting, chances are you don’t get to move around as much as your body would like to. Investing in an office chair with lower back support can make all the difference for your spinal health. Also be sure that when you’re sitting, your feet are flat on the floor with your knees at a ninety-degree angle. Your computer screen should always be at eye-level. It’s important that your desk, computer, and chair are set up for your specific height and functionality. Once your environment is ergonomic-friendly, we recommend you transition from sitting to standing periodically throughout the day. Even the simplest stretches at your desk can prove beneficial.
Nutrition, Hydration, and Exercise
Excess weight puts a lot of unnecessary strain on your spine. It’s vital that you do your best to support a healthy weight by eating nutritious food and exercising at least three times a week. Staying hydrated is also very important because this is how you maintain the elasticity in your soft tissue, fluidity in your joints, and most importantly, the hydration in your spinal discs. Without hydration, your spinal discs will shrink and cause a whole host of other problems, such as a herniated disc.
If you want to add an extra edge to your overall spinal health, you can always schedule an appointment with our office for chiropractic adjustments. These keep you on a consistent track to good spinal health, but also your chiropractor will monitor or notice any issues going on. Treat your spine and schedule an appointment with us today!
CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER September 2019
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.
CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2019
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
1. Provide pain relief for a wide range of common sports injuries including back, shoulder, ankle, knee pain and headaches from head and neck injuries.
2. Chiropractic care is non-invasive and doesn't require the use of painkillers.
3. Increases strength, wich results in pbetter performance.
4. 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.
5. Prevent degenerative conditions while increasing performance on the field.
5. 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.
CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER june 2019
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.
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
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
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?
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
Are You Experiencing Chronic 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
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
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.
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.
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.