|October 2023 Chiropractic Newsletter |
Assistance for Sports Injuries
September 2023 Newsletter Pain in the Extremities
Extremity pain refers to the soreness, throbbing, shocks, and other uncomfortable sensations one can experience in one's hands, arms, feet, or legs. Extremity pain can be sourced to a wide variety of factors – arising from small or minor issues to more severe – and often, yet to be diagnosed, underlying conditions. Many of the common causes of extremity pain – those due to minor injuries, misaligned joints, muscle imbalances, etc., can be effectively treated or managed with noninvasive chiropractic and complementary methodologies, which are noted below.
Common Symptoms of Extremity Pain
While each person will likely experience pain in the extremities distinctively, most describe various combinations of the following symptoms:
- Diverse levels of pain – ranging from dull aches to sharp stabbing sensations
- Tingling & Numbness – which may lead to weakness in the extremities
- Swelling/Inflammation & Redness
- Reduced Flexibility
- Limited Range of Motion
Common Causes of Extremity Pain
The more common occurrences of pain in the extremities, like arthritis, are more likely to happen to members of a defined age group; however, many of the factors that contribute to extremity pain have the potential to transcend age. Consider the following:
Muscle Strain or Overuse
Misalignment of the body’s mechanics, repetitive motion, or excessive activity are examples of movements that can cause muscle strain, which can lead to regional or localized extremity pain
Any kind of fall that results in a sprain, strain, or fracture can cause intense pain in the extremities.
Conditions that are caused by an irritated or inflamed nerve (for example, carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist) generate a variety of symptoms that include pain, discomfort, tingling, and numbness in the affected extremities.
Two types of arthritis - osteoarthritis and rheumatoid, although caused by remarkably different factors, can cause joint inflammation that leads to pain in the hands and feet.
This chronic pain disorder causes extensive pain throughout the body, including extremities.
There are numerous causes of poor blood circulation, any one of which can cause a cold or cramping that leads to pain in the extremities.
Peripheral Neuropathy (PN)
This condition refers to damaged peripheral nerves – the part of the nervous system that relays sensory information to the brain. PN, which may develop from a number of causes, including alcohol abuse, diabetes, specific medicine, and more, may cause extremity pain, tingling, and numbness.
Infections (i.e., cellulitis, etc.) and inflammatory conditions (i.e., tendinitis) can cause both swelling and localized discomfort.
Chiropractic Treatment Options for Extremity Pain
A chiropractor encourages your natural healing processes using these techniques -
Joint Manipulations and Adjustments
Chiropractors employ manual and instrument-assisted adjustment techniques to extremity joints – in the shoulder, knee, ankle, elbow, and wrist, which seek to restore proper alignment.
Soft Tissue Methodologies
Techniques like massage, myofascial release, and stretching can reduce muscle tension and enhance circulation to the affected extremities. This might also include hot or cold therapy.
Therapeutic Exercise and Stretching
These types of exercises – to increase one’s flexibility, stability, mobility, and strength, are designed to enhance the overall functioning of the impacted extremity.
Posture & Ergonomics
Chiropractors may provide guidance on proper posture and ergonomics to help prevent further strain (and pain) on the extremities. Orthotics or braces may help to mitigate strain and support the affected extremity.
Other Therapeutic Models
Supplementary modalities – like electric stimulation, laser therapy, or ultrasound, offer additional ways to reduce pain and promote healing.
If you experience persistent or severe pain in your extremities, it's essential to seek an evaluation from a qualified professional to ensure you receive appropriate treatment.
August 2023 Newsletter
Spinal decompression refers to a traction-based, non-surgical therapeutic technique used by chiropractors to reduce and manage the discomfort and pain associated with spinal disc issues and other medical afflictions that may affect the spine. As a therapeutic intervention, spinal decompression has been designed to reduce/relieve pressure placed on nerves, spinal discs, and the surrounding support structures. Ultimately, this alternative medical technique seeks to reduce symptoms and promote the body's natural healing abilities.
During a chiropractic session that includes spinal decompression, a patient lies on a motorized table that is designed specifically for this non-invasive treatment. The therapy involves both stretching and traction of the spine, which creates negative pressure within the targeted spinal discs – helping to retract a herniated or bulging disc that is out of place. In addition, spinal decompression helps improve blood flow to the area, which provides nutrients that support healing.
Conditions Treated by Spinal Decompression Therapy
In addition to effectively treating chronic lower back pain (sometimes without a clear underlying cause), spinal decompression therapy offers relief for these conditions -
When a disc protrudes anywhere along the spine, it can put pressure on nearby nerves, which may create tingling, discomfort, weakness, and pain.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Over time, the natural wear and tear placed on one's spinal discs causes them to lose their ability to cushion the vertebrae. This process, which is a result of the aging process, can lead to reduced agility and flexibility, as well as pain/discomfort.
The sciatica nerve, which is the body's largest, originates in the lower back and runs along each leg. If this nerve becomes compressed, the condition is known as sciatica. A compressed sciatic nerve can generate significant pain, numbness, and tingling along the lower back and buttocks that radiate down one leg.
Facet Joint Syndrome
This refers to a condition in which the small joints of the spine's vertebrae become irritated or inflamed. The result can be discomfort, stiffness, and pain in the affected area.
Stenosis refers to a narrowing – in this case, of the spinal canal. The narrowing can pressure nearby nerves and the spinal cord, creating mobility problems and pain.
The Potential Benefits of Spinal Decompression Therapy
Spinal decompression therapy provides a non-surgical option, which is ideal for a) those who are not surgery candidates or b) those who wish to explore alternative, non-surgical options prior to the consideration of surgery. Spinal decompression therapy encourages the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the spine and discs, which potentially offers a faster recovery.
The Reduction of Pain/Discomfort
Spinal decompression, which seeks to address the cause of the pain (rather than mask it with medication), offers a drug-free approach to pain management.
The Reduction of Pressure on Spinal Discs
Spinal decompression creates negative pressure within the spinal discs, which can help draw herniated or bulging disc material back into place. This can reduce compression on nerves and improve spinal alignment.
It is Convenient – With No Down Time
Because this non-invasive procedure is done on an outpatient basis, most people can resume their daily routine soon after.
Personalized Treatment Plan
Spinal decompression is a therapy intervention that can be adapted to meet each client's specific needs and medical response.
How Many Treatments Are Required?
Spinal decompression is typically done over a series of visits, with each visit lasting anywhere from ¼ to ½ hour. Note, however, that the number of spinal decompression sessions will be contingent upon a variety of factors that may include the following –
- The diagnosis and the condition's severity.
- The individual's age, level of activity, compliance with lifestyle recommendations, and overall health.
- How the individual responds to spinal decompression therapy.
As with any medical procedure, it's vital to consult with a chiropractor to determine if this alternative therapy would be an appropriate approach to managing your pain and other symptoms.
June 2023 Chiropractic Newsletter
Help for Pinched Nerves
May Chiropractic Newsletter:
Common Reasons and Treatments for Shoulder Pain
Chiropractic Newsletter April 2023:
Causes of Neck Pain Your Chiropractor Can Help With
The neck is a critical part of the body, and much more complicated than it may first appear. It is made up of seven bones, called cervical vertebrae, as well as more than twenty muscles that must support the weight of the head. Not only do the nerves that travel to the shoulders and into the arms emerge from the spinal cord in the neck, but so do the occipital nerves, which travel upward to the back of the head and scalp. Being such an important area for the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems, the neck also gets a lot of attention from chiropractors. This month, we’re going to explore some of the most common causes of neck pain for which people come into chiropractic offices and what you can expect a chiropractor to do to relieve your pain and solve its cause.
Principles of Chiropractic
Chiropractors are doctors who provide conservative care. We believe that the body is best able to heal itself when messages are able to travel along the nervous system without disruption and when the soft tissues do not have to overcompensate for weakness or tightness in each other. Although chiropractors cannot treat every problem that could potentially arise in the neck, we can treat many of the most common causes of pain, numbness, tingling, or fatigue, and can do so in a manner that does not depend on drugs or surgery and which sets a patient up to maintain good health and a pain-free life on their own.
Because each part of the body is connected, symptoms in the neck do not always originate from problems there, and issues in the neck may be felt somewhere else. Some of the best examples of these are how tightness in the muscles in the upper back can pull on the neck, and how impingement of nerve roots can cause shocks that travel along the nerve to the shoulder or top of the head.
The spinal discs are natural shock absorbers. They are located in between the bodies of vertebrae that are not fused together, with the exception of the atlas and axis vertebrae, which are the top two in the neck. They are made up of a gelatinous center surrounded by fibrous rings. As a person ages, the discs lose fluid, reducing their effectiveness as shock absorbers and making them more vulnerable to acute injuries. When discs are failing, their inner material may bulge out, compressing nearby nerve roots or other soft tissues.
Our chiropractic office will typically treat a disc problem by performing adjustments on your neck to relieve pressure on it and give the leaking fluid a chance to return to its proper place. Additionally, we recommend therapeutic spinal decompression according to the same principle. This would be done over several visits.
Osteoarthritis is the gradual breakdown of cartilage, a material that cushions and lubricates joints. Inflammation caused by the breakdown may prompt the creation of bone spurs, which may grind on each other or push against the surrounding muscles. Chiropractic adjustments can be used to realign the joints of the cervical vertebrae to stop them from improperly rubbing on each other.
Whiplash is an injury caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration, causing the head to whip back and forth. It may cause microtears in the neck’s muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and discs. Besides radiating pain and fatigue, this can also cause dizziness.
Our office will may want to take imaging tests before beginning treatment, such as x-rays for bone and joint problems, or request a copy of your previous run tests, CAT scan or MRI. If the injuries can be treated conservatively, solutions may include adjustments to the joints and physical modalities to accelerate the healing of soft tissues and break up scar tissue, including electric muscle stimulation, therapeutic massage, therapeutic ultrasound, and possibly others. These treatments would also reduce inflammation and allow the patient to regain their full range of motion without locking or weakness.
Chiropractic Newsletter March 2023:
Chiropractic Care and Rest
One of the most pressing reasons people seek chiropractic care is that they’re having trouble resting. Even if they find joint dysfunction manageable throughout the day, they may be waking up in pain throughout the night or find that they suffer from soreness in the morning. Since chiropractors take a holistic view of the body, we understand that sleep deprivation and inflammation feed into each other. However, this also works in reverse, and reducing one may also reduce the other. This month, we’re going to explore some common problems and what people can do to fix them at home while also getting chiropractic treatments.
Arthritis and Restlessness
Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joints, and it is a term used to describe lots of different diseases. Some of those have measurable connections to sleep. At night, the body releases less of the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol and more pro-inflammatory cytokines. We also know that lack of sleep drives more extreme inflammation responses, including in people with osteoarthritis, the disease in which the cartilage that lines the joints is wearing away. Insomnia also makes pain feel more intense. However, getting better rest makes people more resilient to inflammatory reactions. This is one of the reasons why chiropractors say that getting aligned so your joints are under less pressure can improve your immune response.
There are some simple lifestyle changes we can make to give ourselves a better chance at rest regardless of any other treatments we’re getting. Among those are making our bedrooms places that are only used for sleeping. Just as we shouldn’t be doing anything that makes us anxious or excited before bed, we shouldn’t be doing those things in the space we want to associate with rest, either. For general wellness purposes, having a firmer mattress is usually better for spinal alignment and joint support. A mattress that is too old to be firm may need to be replaced, although its life could be extended with a firm mattress topper. We shift position in our sleep, and it’s necessary to do so to prevent soreness, but it may be easier to fall asleep if we try a different position. We recommend that patients hold a pillow between their knees if they sleep on their sides. Lying flat on your back may be a problem if you have obstructive sleep apnea, which means that the soft tissues of your throat sag into your airway and disrupt your breathing while you’re asleep, but sleeping on your back is helpful for your joints. The worst sleep position is on your front since this forces your head back and turns it sideways.
Common Treatments for Sore Muscles and Joints
For many conditions we recommend stretches to do at home to help connective tissues regain their strength and flexibility. Doing these before bed can reduce the risk that they will tighten while one is inactive in sleep.
Chiropractic adjustments put joints back into place, but our office also provides services that work on inflamed tissues directly. These include laser therapy, which induces soft tissues to release more energy they can devote to healing. Other services we provide are Therastim, Trigger Point Therapy, DDT among other treatments. Chiropractic treatments often work better the more they are done, so as they reduce inflammation, the patient’s rest improves, creating a positive feedback cycle. To learn more, visit our website at www.lakewoodchirokc.com.
Chiropractic February Newsletter:
Problems in the Back Muscles
Problems in the Back Muscles
Chiropractors are concerned with optimizing the function of the entire body. Because the nerves leading to every part of the body emerge from the spinal cord, chiropractors are particularly concerned with the spinal column. But that doesn’t mean chiropractors only care about the back’s joints and nerve roots. Healthy muscles are also essential to keeping the spine aligned, and when they are having problems, chiropractors provide several safe, non-invasive solutions that cultivate lasting health.
How Back Spasms Work
A strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon, which are the fibrous bands that link muscles to bones. A spasm, also called a cramp, is what we call it when a muscle contracts and is unable to relax when a person wants it to. It is often painful and may last for a few seconds or several minutes.
Muscles are complex systems that balance each other. Spasms have many potential causes, including both muscle fatigue and that the muscle might not be getting stretched enough. People are at increased risk for back spasms if they have weak core muscles, as that increases the burden on the spinal column, or weak hamstrings, which may tighten and pull on the lower back. Other risk factors include lack of blood flow or minerals and involuntary nerve discharges, which could be related to nerve impingements.
Chiropractic Pain Relief
It is not always possible to identify any single cause of back spasms, but there are several treatments that are helpful in most situations. We generally don’t recommend that people totally refrain from activity for long, or else their muscles may continue to weaken and tighten. If the cramp is related to an injury, it’s a good idea to apply ice for the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours, but not longer. Past that point, the goal shifts from preventing inflammation to reducing it.
Spinal adjustments help to ensure that the muscles aren’t being compressed or overstretched by displaced spinal joints. Traction can help herniated disc material move back into place, which both relieves pressure on nerves and stops the inflammatory reaction triggered by the disc injury.
Our chiropractic office also provides services that are specialized for soft tissue relief. These may include therapeutic massages, which stretch muscles, and therapy to break up scar tissue adhesions. Another common physical modality is electric muscle stimulation, which forces muscles to contract and relax, aiding circulation.
The best thing you can do to prevent back spasms is to keep your muscles flexible. This will mean regular stretching and maintaining the strength of your core. You should also make sure you remain hydrated, especially during exercise, and that you’re replacing lost electrolytes. Maintaining good posture while driving and at your desk will reduce your risk of straining your back muscles, and following proper safety protocols when moving heavy objects will reduce the odds of an acute injury.
January 2023 Chiropractic Newsletter
How Chiropractors Help After Auto Accidents
Chiropractic is a philosophy that treats the whole body as an interconnected set of systems that have the natural power to heal themselves when they are put in the right position to do so. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that chiropractors are valuable resources for anyone who has suffered jostling and strains in an auto accident. Read below to see exactly what chiropractors do to help injured people heal better and prevent problems from becoming debilitating.
Whiplash tends to get a lot of attention in chiropractic media because it is
very common and can be quite serious. It is defined as an injury to the neck
resulting from rapid acceleration and deceleration, which generally occurs in
the context of a rear-end collision. Whiplash often causes the neck to feel
stiff and sore and can also trigger headaches, due to a nerve impingement or
obstruction in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. It may also result in fatigue
and pain in the muscles in the shoulder and upper back that connect to the
neck, which must compensate for tightness in the tissues they attach to or
Symptoms of whiplash sometimes take several days to develop, but they can
linger for weeks or months. They may also come and go. For this reason, we
suggest visiting a chiropractor for diagnostics after a car crash in which
suffered whiplash even if you don’t feel anything wrong yet or the problem seems to have already cleared up.
Pain in the shoulder is sometimes referred from the neck, but it’s possible
that the shoulder itself is injured. The shoulder joint is the most mobile in
the body, and while it is supported by strong connective tissues, its
complexity makes it vulnerable to injury. The shoulder joint is held in place
by the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles and tendons. When these
issues are strained, they will tighten, making it harder for the shoulder to
move. The cartilage sealing the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint may also be
damaged. If components of the shoulder are out of place, they may compress the
bursa, a sac that provides cushioning and produces lubricating fluid,
resulting in inflammation.
Chiropractors will both relieve symptoms associated with an injury and allow
the body to heal in a manner that will restore its strength and healthy range
of mobility. If the bones are not fractured, we will usually be able to
mobilize them back into place. Chiropractors are trained in a wide variety of
adjustments to ensure we use the appropriate one for a particular joint. Our
office also provides decompression therapy in cases where a herniated disc in
the neck needs to be moved back into place to relieve an impinged nerve. Our
office also offers soft tissue therapies to allow damaged muscles and tendons
to heal without scarring or break up scar tissue that is already restricting
movement. Common physical modalities include electric muscle stimulation, low
level laser therapy, and therapeutic ultrasound. Rehabilitative exercises will
also prevent the muscles from atrophying and allow them to provide the joints
with better support in the future. If you have been injured in an accident,
call our office today for a complementary exam to see if chiropractic can help
December 2022 Chiropractic Newsletter
Help for Herniated Discs
Herniated discs are a common reason for people to seek chiropractic care. Many of the symptoms caused by a disc herniation, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, can have other potential causes, as well. Chiropractic is centered on the belief that the body is capable of healing itself when it is put in the best position to do so, and major intervention for herniated discs is usually not necessary. However, patients should know they don’t just have to tolerate pain, either, and that a chiropractor can help them recover and lower their risk of recurrence.
How do Herniated Discs Happen?
The spinal discs are the shock absorbers located between each of the articulated vertebrae, save for the top two. (Articulated means those that move independently, as opposed to the fused structures of the sacrum and coccyx below the spinal cord.) Spinal discs are made up of gelatinous fluid surrounded by rubbery fibers. When the fibers wear out or are injured, the gel can push through, distorting the shape of the disc and making it less functional. Spinal discs naturally lose fluid as people age, and it’s not always possible to determine exactly what caused them to rupture. But risk factors include both a sedentary lifestyle and lifting heavy objects, as well as excess weight.
What Happens When a Disc is Herniated?
Herniated discs are not always noticeable, but they may cause localized soreness and the leaking gel can trigger an inflammatory reaction in nearby tissue. Even more concerning, the herniated material could compress a nerve near where it emerges from the spinal cord. The most common place for a herniated disc is in the lower back, so it is often one of the sciatic nerves, which run from the back down each leg, that gets pinched. However, a herniated disc in the neck could compress one of the nerves that travel into the shoulders and arms. Pinched nerve symptoms include radiating shocks, numbness, and tingling. It may also be harder to move muscles that receive messages from that particular nerve.
Diagnostic and Treatment
Discs don’t show up on x-rays, but your chiropractor may want to order them to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms. Chiropractic treatment includes spinal decompression therapy to help discs move back into place. Opening up space between the vertebrae may be done with traction. Chiropractors may also perform spinal adjustments to realign the vertebrae and discs, as well as therapy which may include electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound, or trigger point stimulation. Chiropractors will also frequently recommend therapeutic exercises to strengthen the core and other back muscles. These will reduce the risk of overburdening the discs in the future and help to ensure a complete recovery.
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.