Archive for the ‘Chiropractic’ Category

Neck Pain – Where Does It Come From?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Neck pain can arise from a number of different tissues in the neck. Quite often, pain is generated from the small joints in the back of the vertebra (called facets). Pain can also arise from disk related conditions where the liquid-like center part of the disk works its way out through cracks and tears in the thicker outer part of the disk and can press on nerves producing numbness and/or weakness in the arm. It is possible to “sprain” the neck in car accidents, sports injuries, or from slips and falls. This is where ligaments tear and lose their stability resulting in excessive sliding back and forth of the vertebrae during neck movements. When muscles or their tendon attachments to bone are injured, these injuries are called “strains” and pain can occur wherever the muscle is torn. There is also referred pain. Here, the injury is at a distance away from where the pain is felt. A classic referred pain pattern is shoulder blade pain when a disk in the neck herniates. Let’s take a closer look at two conditions we often diagnose and treat as chiropractors:
Spinal Stenosis: This occurs when the canals in the spine narrow to the point of pinching the spinal cord in the trefoil shaped central canal (called “central stenosis”) or when the nerve roots get pinched in the lateral recesses (called lateral recess stenosis). This can occur from arthritis in the facet joints, disk bulging or herniations, thickening of ligaments, shifting of one vertebra over another, aging, heredity (being born with a narrowed canal), and/or from tumors. Usually, combinations of several of the above occur simultaneously. When this is present in the neck, it can be more serious compared to stenosis in the low back as the spinal cord ends at the upper part of the low back (T12 level) so only the nerves get pinched. Stenosis in the neck however pinches the spinal cord itself. Symptoms can include pain in one or both arms, but it’s more dangerous when leg pain, numbness, or weakness occur (called myelopathy). Rarely, loss of bowel or bladder control can occur which is then considered a “medical emergency” and requires prompt surgery.
Cervical Disk Herniation: As previously stated, the liquid-like center of the disk can work its way through cracks and tears in the outer layer of the disk and press on a nerve resulting in numbness, pain, and/or weakness in the arm. The classic presentation is the patient finding relief by holding the arm over the head, as this puts slack in the nerve and it hurts less in this position. The position of the head also makes a difference as looking up usually hurts more and can increase the arm pain/numbness while looking down reduces the symptoms. We will carefully test your upper extremity neurological functions (reflexes, muscle strength, and sensation as each nerve performs a different function in the arm), and we can tell you which nerve is pinched after a careful examination. This condition can lead to surgery so please take this seriously.
The good news is that chiropractic care can manage both spinal stenosis and cervical disk herniations BEFORE they reach the point of requiring surgery. So make chiropractic your FIRST choice when neck pain occurs!
We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Low Back Pain And Common Mistakes (Part 2)

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Last month, we started a great discussion on “what NOT to do” for low back pain (LBP). Let’s continue that focus this month!

5. STAY STILL: You’ve heard, “…don’t do that – you’ll get a bad back!” There is something to be said about being careful, but one can be too cautious as well. In order to determine how much activity vs. rest is appropriate, you have to gradually increase your activities by keeping track of how you feel both during and after an activity. If you do notice pain, it may be “safe” to continue depending on the type and intensity of the pain. In general, a sharp, knife-like pain is a warning sign that you should STOP what you’re doing, while an ache is not. Until you’re comfortable about which type of pain is “safe,” start out with the premise, “…if in doubt, stop.” If the recovery time is short (within minutes to hours), then no “harm” was done. If it takes days to recover, you overdid it. Think of a cut on your skin – if you pick at it too soon, it will re-bleed, but if you are careful, you can do a lot of things safely without “re-bleeding.” Talk to us about the proper way to bend, lift, pull, push, and perform any activity that you frequently have to do that often presents problems. There is usually a way to do that activity more safely!

6.  SURGERY IS A “QUICK FIX”:  Though in some cases this may inevitably be the end result for your back condition, most of the time, it is not needed. As a rule, don’t jump to a surgical option too soon. It’s tempting to view surgery as a “quick fix,” but non-surgical care at least for 4-6 weeks and maybe several months is usually the best approach. As the old saying goes, you can’t “un-do” a surgery, so wait. UNLESS there are certain warning signs such as: a) bowel or bladder weakness &/or, b) progressive neurological losses (worsening weakness in the leg). If there are no “surgical indicators” meaning, no instability, no radiating leg pain, and only low back pain that is non-specific and hard to isolate what is generating the pain, DO NOT have surgery as the chances of improvement following surgery drops off dramatically in this group. There are guidelines that we all should follow and they all support non-surgical care initially for 4-6 weeks. Chiropractic is one of the best options cited in these guidelines because it’s less costly, involves less time lost from work, and chiropractic carries the highest patient satisfaction.

7. DON’T STRETCH – IT’S HARMFUL:  You may have heard or read that stretching can actually increase or worsen your time if you’re a runner, reduce your ability to lift heavy weight (if you’re a weight lifter), or cycle as fast.  Though this seems obviously silly, there IS a growing body of evidence that has found this TO BE TRUE! HOWEVER, it appears (at least at present), that is applies primarily to static, long hold stretching and NOT to dynamic exercising like jumping jacks, toy-soldier like high kicks, or core stabilization. Moreover, no study YET has found a negative effect for non-athletic competitive activities or for low back pain specifically. A good general rule is, if you feel better after exercising, or in this case stretching, it’s probably better for you than not. Also, as stated last month, there is a “right vs. wrong” time to exercise and WAY to exercise. For example, when LBP occurs in flexion but reduces in extension, there is plenty of evidence published that performing exercises INTO the direction of pain relief is VERY helpful. So until you hear differently, KEEP ON STRETCHING, but follow our advice!

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Common Mistakes With Your Low Back Pain

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

We often read about what to do for low back pain, but do we look at low back pain from the perspective of “what NOT to do!”

ICE vs. HEAT: If you ask your doctor, “what’s better for my back, ice or heat?” the answer is either one or the other or, “…whichever you like better.” This leaves the low back pain patient at a loss of who or what to believe. So, let’s settle this once and for all. Ice should be tried first because it will rarely make the low back pain worse, whereas heat can. Ice is an “anti-inflammatory” agent, meaning it reduces swelling. Ice reduces congestion or pushes painful chemicals and fluids that accumulate out of the injured area when there is inflammation and usually feels good (once it’s numb), maybe not initially because it’s cold. Heat does the opposite of ice. It’s a vasodilator meaning it pulls fluids INTO the area. Sure, it feels “good” initially, but often people will say it makes them worse later. That’s because the additional fluid buildup in an already inflamed area is kind of like throwing gasoline on a fire. When low back pain is chronic (it’s been there >3 months), heat MAY be preferred. Contrast therapy or, alternating between the two can work as an effective “pump” pushing out fluids (with ice) and pulling in fluids (with heat). Here, start and end with ice so the first and last things done are “anti-inflammatory.”

IGNORE YOUR LOW BACK PAIN: The comment, “I was just hoping it would go away,” has been used by all of us at some point. Though low back pain can get better over time, it’s simply impossible to know when or if it will. If you have suffered from back pain previously, then you already know that getting in quickly for a chiropractic adjustment BEFORE the reflex muscle spasm sets up can stop the progression, often before it reaches a disabling level. If you want to reduce the chances of missing work or a golf game due to low back pain, come in immediately when the “warning signs” occur – you know, that ‘little twinge’ in your back that’s telling you, “…be careful!”

BED REST: There is a time for rest and a time for exercise, but knowing what to do when is tricky. Another “true-ism” is the best exercise when done too soon may harm you, but when done at the right time will really help. So, here are some general guidelines: a) no more than 24-48 hours of mostly bed rest; b) walking is usually a great, safe starting activity after or even during the first 48 hours; c) avoid activities that create sharp pain (like bend, lift, twist combinations); d) use ice or contrast therapies a lot during that initial 48 hours; e) follow our exercise instructions and treatment plan – we’ll guide you through this process.

FOCUS ON X-RAY OR MRI FINDINGS: Did you know that about 50% of us have bulging disks, and 20% of us have herniated disks in our low back and yet have NO pain? That’s right! Many of us have “disk derangement” but no symptoms whatsoever. Similarly, the presence of arthritis on x-rays may have no relationship to an episode of LOW BACK PAIN. It’s easy to blame an obvious finding on an image for our current trouble, but it may be misleading. In fact, it can even make a person fearful of doing future activities that may be just fine or even good for us. The WORST thing for some types of arthritis is to do nothing. That will just lead to more stiffness and pain! More later!

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Are you experiencing back pain when traveling?

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Low back pain (LBP) is a common complaint when it comes to traveling, whether it’s in a car, bus, train or airplane. Traveling is hard on our joints, muscles and nerves for many reasons. Traveling requires us to do something our bodies are not used to, such as prolonged sitting in a cramped area. Remember the last time you had the middle seat on a plane? Also, unless you have a very unique exercise routine, injuries commonly occur from hoisting carry-ons into overhead bins or yanking them off the baggage claim belt. This month’s article will offer tips about traveling and things you can do to minimize risk of irritating or creating LBP. Bon voyage!

Luggage Wisdom

Lifting (in preferential order of lowering the risk of LBP injury):

• Ask for help if you know your carry-on is too heavy for you to place into the overhead bin safely. There are many kind co-travelers who will jump at the chance to facilitate (especially if you ask them nicely). If that fails, most flight attendants will be happy to help if they know you are struggling with LBP (be honest with yourself; now is NOT the time to be in denial of your back issue!)

• When it is possible, try to ship your heavy items ahead of time. It’s not only good for your back, but it’s often cheaper than the cost many airlines charge per bag! If you do this, all you need is a small carry-on that can easily fit under the seat in front of you.

• Why NOT simply check a bag, especially heavy items? You still have to be careful removing it from the luggage carousel, but again, ASK FOR HELP!

• Try a backpack. It sure beats slinging a heavy briefcase over only one shoulder, which should be reserved for a light hand bag only.

• If no one comes to help, and you end up having to complete this often unpleasant task yourself, think before you lift. Break the lift into small movements or actions. For example, when placing your carry-on into an overhead bin, keep the luggage close to your body since the farther away from your body you hold the bag, the heavier it becomes to your lower back (up to 10x the load!). Try this method: 1st lift the bag to the arm of the seat that lies below the overhead bin; next lift it to the top of the seat back top; and then (the hard part), squat down, arch your low back, grip the bag, and in a smooth continuous movement, raise the bag up and onto the edge of the overhead bin. At that point, wiggle it in the rest of the way. Another important point about lifting is to try to avoid twisting, ESPECIALLY if combined with bending. A bend / twist combination is often the cause of a low back injury. Try to pivot your feet to move your body to avoid your back from twisting.

There are MANY other traveling tips that we have not yet discussed. But remember, you can always visit our website at www.BackCareTreatment.com for more info.

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Common Whiplash Myths – Part 2

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Last month, we began discussing common myths about whiplash injuries, and this month, we will continue on that course. Remember, the amount of injury that occurs in an acceleration/deceleration injury is dependent on many factors, some of which include gender (females>males), body type (tall slender = worse), the amount of vehicular damage (less is sometimes worse as the energy of the strike was not absorbed by crushing metal), head position at the time of impact (rotation is worse than looking straight ahead), and more. Therefore, each case MUST be looked at on its own merits, not just analyzed based on a formula or accident reconstruction.

MYTH #5: THERE MUST BE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE NECK FOR INJURY TO OCCUR.Injury to the neck most commonly occurs due to the rapid, uncontrolled whipping action of the head, forcing the neck to move well beyond its normal range of motion in a forwards/backwards direction (if it’s a front or rear-end collision) or, at an angle if the head is rotated or when the strike occurs at an angle. When this occurs, the strong ligaments that hold the bones together stretch and tear in a mild, moderate, or severe degree, depending on the amount of force. Once stretched, increased motion between the affected vertebra results as ligaments, when stretched, don’t repair back to their original length and, just like a severe ankle sprain, future problems can result. This excess motion between vertebra can result in an accelerated type of arthritis and is often seen within five years following a cervical sprain or whiplash injury.

MYTH #6:  SEAT BELTS PREVENT WHIPLASH INJURIES. It’s safe to say that wearing seat belts saves lives and, it’s the law! So, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS! They protect us from hitting the windshield or worse, being ejected from the vehicle. But, as far as preventing whiplash, in some cases (low speed impacts where most of the force is transferred to the car’s occupants), the opposite may actually be true. (This is not an excuse to not wear a seatbelt!) The reason seat belts can add to the injury mechanism is because when the chest or trunk is held tightly against the car seat, the head moves through a greater arc of motion than it would if the trunk were not pinned against the seat, forcing the chin further to the chest and/or the back of the head further back. The best way to minimize the whiplash injury is to have a well-designed seat belt system where the height of the chest harness can be adjusted to the height of the driver so that the chest restraint doesn’t come across the upper chest or neck. Move the side adjustment so the chest belt crosses between the breasts (this also reduces injury risk to the breasts) and attaches at or near the height of the shoulder (not too high). Another preventer of whiplash is positioning the head restraint high enough (above the ears typically) and close to the head (no more than ½ to 1 inch) so the head rest stops the backwards whipping action. Also, keep the seat back more vertical than reclined so the body doesn’t “ramp” up the seat back forcing the head over the top of the head restraint.

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Natural Treatment Options

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition characterized by pain, numbness and/or tingling in the hand. This includes the palm and the 2nd, 3rd, and half of the 4th finger, usually sparing the thumb. Another indication of CTS is weakness in grip strength such as difficulty opening a jar to even holding a coffee cup. CTS can occur from many different causes, the most common being repetitive motion injuries such as assembly line or typing/computing work. Here is a PARTIAL list of potential causes of CTS: heredity (a small sized tunnel), aging (>50 years old), rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, hypothyroid, birth control pill use, trauma to the wrist (especially colles fractures), diabetes mellitus, acromegaly, the use of corticosteroids, tumors (benign or malignant), obesity (BMI>29 are 2.5 more likely), double crush (pinching of the nerve in more than 1 place such as the neck and the carpal tunnel), heterozygous mutations in a gene (associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth), Parvovirus b19, and others. Again, repetitive trauma is still the most common cause. It becomes quite clear that a COMPLETE physical examination must be conducted, not just evaluation of the wrist! Once the cause(s) of CTS has been nailed down, then treatment options can be considered.

From a treatment perspective, we’ve previously discussed what chiropractors typically do for CTS (spinal and extremity joint manipulation, muscle/soft tissue mobilization, physical therapy modalities such as laser, the use of a wrist splint – especially at night, work task modifications, wrist/hand/arm/neck exercises, vitamin B6, and more). But, what about using other “alternative” or non-medical approaches, especially those that can be done with chiropractic treatment? Here is a list of four alternative or complementary treatment options:

  1. Anti-inflammatory Goals: Reducing systemic inflammation reduces overall pressure on the median nerve that travels through the limited space within the carpal tunnel at the wrist. An “anti-inflammatory diet” such a Mediterranean diet, gluten-free diet, paleo-diet (also referred to as the caveman diet) can also help. Herbs that can helps include arnica, bromelain, white willow bark, curcumen, ginger, turmeric, boswellia, and vitamins such as bioflavinoids, Vitamin B6 (and other B vitamins such as B1 and B12), vitamin C, and also omega 3 fatty acids.
  2. Acupuncture: Inserting very thin needles into specific acupuncture points both near the wrist and further away can unblock energy channels (called meridians), improve energy flow, release natural pain reducing chemicals (endorphins and enkephlins), promote circulation and balance the nervous system. For CTS, the acupuncture points are located on the wrist, arm, thumb, hand, neck, upper back and leg. The number of sessions varies, dependant on how long the CTS has been present, the person’s overall health, and the severity of CTS.
  3. Laser acupuncture: The use of a low level (or “cold” laser) or a class IV pulsed laser over the same acupuncture points as mentioned above can have very similar beneficial effects (without needles)! One particular study of 36 subjects with CTS for an average of 24 months included 14 patients who had 1-2 prior surgeries for CTS with poor post-surgical results. Even in that group, improvement was reported after 3 laser treatments per week for 4-5 weeks! In total, 33 of the 36 subjects reported 50-100% relief. These benefits were reportedly long-term as follow-up at 1-2 years later showed only 2 out of 23 subjects had pain that returned and subsequent laser treatment was again successful within several weeks.
  4. Acupressure: Acupuncture point stimulation with manual pressure. These points can be self-stimulated by the CTS sufferer multiple times a day via deep rubbing techniques.

We realize you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services.

How Does Chiropractic Help Headaches?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Headaches are one of the most common reasons people seek chiropractic care. Many patients with headaches benefit significantly from adjustments made to the upper cervical region. So, the question is, how does adjusting the neck help headaches? To help answer this question, let’s look at a study that was recently published that examined this exact issue…

It’s been said that if one understands anatomy, determining WHERE the problem is located becomes easy. So, let’s take a look at the anatomy in the upper most part of the neck. In the study previously mentioned (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21278628), the authors found an intimate relationship between the muscles that connect the upper 2 cervical vertebra (C1 and 2) together and their anatomical connection to the dura mater (the covering of the spinal cord). They identified this anatomical connection between the muscles that span between the back aspect of C1/2 and the dural connection as having a significant role in the development of headaches usually referred to as cervicogenic headaches.

There are several reasons why chiropractors adjust or manipulate the upper cervical vertebrae in patients with headaches. The obvious reason is simply because it helps to reduce the intensity, frequency and duration of headaches. The reason it works is this: If one or both of the upper 2 vertebrae (C1 and C2, also referred to as the atlas and axis, respectively) are either blocked or fixed and cannot properly move independently, then there is an abnormal change in the biomechanics in that region. Similarly, if one of the two vertebrae is rotated or shifted in reference to the other, a similar biomechanical “lesion” or problem occurs (often referred to as a “subluxation”). You can take all the ibuprofen, Aleve, Tylenol or other perhaps stronger, prescription medication for the headache, but it is not logical that the biomechanical problem at C1 and/or C2 is going to change by inducing a chemical change (i.e., taking a pill). All you’re doing is masking the symptoms for a while, at best.

Many people find that after a several chiropractic adjustments, their headaches are significantly improved. This is because restoring proper biomechanics to the C1/2 region reduces the abnormal forces on the vertebrae as well as any abnormal pull or traction of the posterior cervical muscles on the dural attachment. It has been reported that the function of this muscle/dura connection is to resist excessive movement of the dura towards the spinal cord when we look upwards and forwards. During neurosurgery, observation of mechanical stress on the dura was found to be associated in patients with headaches. In chronic headache sufferers, adjustments applied to this area results in significant improvement. There is no other treatment approach that matches the ability that adjustments or manipulation have in restoring the C1/2 biomechanical relationship thus, helping the headache sufferer. Another treatment option that has been shown to benefit the headache patient is injections to this same area. However, given the side effects of cortisone, botox, and other injectable chemicals, it’s clear that chiropractic should be utilized first. It’s the safest, most effective, and fastest way to restore function in the C1/2 area, thus relieving headaches.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Low Back Pain and Sleep – Part 3

Monday, January 21st, 2013

For the last 2 months, we’ve discussed the importance of sleep and its effect on low back pain (LBP). Last month, we offered 9 ways to improve sleep quality, and this month we will conclude this topic with 11 more. Sleep deprivation has been called, “…an epidemic” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To achieve and maintain good health, we must ensure restorative sleep!  Here are additional ways to do that (continued from last month):

  1. Avoid snacks at bedtime …especially grains and sugars as these will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you not only wake up but falling back to sleep becomes problematic. Dairy foods can also interrupt sleep.
  2. Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. This will raise your body temperature and cooling off facilitates sleep. The temperature drop from getting out of the bath signals to your body that “it’s time for bed.”
  3. Keep your feet warm! Consider wearing socks to bed as our feet often feel cold before the rest of the body because they have the poorest circulation. Cold feet make falling asleep difficult!
  4. Rest your mind! Stop “brain work” at least 1 hour before bed to give your mind a rest so you can calm down. Don’t think about tomorrow’s schedule or deadlines.
  5. Avoid TV right before bed. TV can be too stimulating to the brain, preventing you from falling asleep quickly as it disrupts your pineal gland function.
  6. Consider a “sound machine.” Listen to the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to drown out upsetting background noise and soothe you to sleep.
  7. Relaxation reading. Don’t read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novels, as it makes sleeping a challenge.
  8. Avoid PM caffeine. Studies show that caffeine can stay active in your system long after consumption.
  9. Avoid alcohol. Though drowsiness can occur, many will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. This can prohibit deep sleep, the most restoring sleep (~4th hour).
  10. Exercise regularly! Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep.
  11. Increase your melatonin. If you can’t increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime and absolute complete darkness at night, consider supplementation.

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Self-Help Management Options

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most investigated, researched, and talked about disorder when it comes to work related injuries to the upper extremity because it is often the cause of so much lost work time, disability costs, and the source of financial hardship for many of its sufferers. So, the questions are: Is there a way to detect it early? What can be done to prevent CTS? And, what can you do to facilitate in the treatment process of CTS?

  1. EARLY DETECTION: Because CTS symptoms usually start out mildly, maybe a little numbness or tingling in the hand or fingers that can be easily “shaken off,” people usually do not identify these early symptoms as, “…a big deal” and consequently, do nothing about it. After a while, and the time depends on how severely the median nerve is pinched, you may start waking up at night needing to shake out your hands in order to return to sleep. Similarly, when driving, you may need to change your hand position on the steering wheel due to the same symptoms. If you are really stubborn (and many people are) and you STILL don’t give in and come to us for treatment, then buttoning shirts, writing, crocheting, knitting, playing piano, typing, etc., may all soon become affected. The KEY in early detection is to NOT ignore the early symptoms. Come in right away!
  2. PREVENTION: There are many highly effective preventative tactics. For example, recognize that certain conditions predispose us to CTS and anything to avoid and/or properly manage these conditions will help. Some of these conditions include diabetes mellitus, pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid or lupus), hypothyroidism, and obesity. From an ergonomic approach, make sure your work station is set up properly including (but not limited to) the position of the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse, and your chair. Set up the area so the extremes of wrist bending can be avoided. If a wrist brace doesn’t get in the way, it may help, especially when there is a high incidence rate of CTS with your co-workers. Most importantly, small mini-breaks and stretching can be highly effective during the day. If you develop any symptoms, come in and see us RIGHT AWAY (see #1 above).
  3. SELF-MANAGEMENT: Certainly consider and implement the “prevention” approaches described above in #2. Specific exercises for stretching, strengthening, and dexterity REALLY HELP! We will teach you these, as it is important that you perform the correct exercises accurately. Improper exercising will only add to the problems that lead to CTS or, worsen it. Control your diet to avoid obesity, to control diabetes and the other sometimes preventable conditions described above. Wearing a wrist splint, especially at night can also really help. There are many types from Velcro wrist wraps with or without thumb loops to cock-up splints, carpal lock splints, and many more. The key as to whether to use a wrist splint or not during work is largely dependent on the comfort of the splint during the work day. Many occupations simply require too much wrist bending or movement for the splint to be comfortably worn during the work day which ends up bruising the forearm and/or hand due to the repetitive motion into the edges of the splint. If or when daytime use of the splint isn’t tolerated, use it only at night to prevent extreme wrist bending while sleeping. This usually REALLY helps. Bottom line, remember the saying, “…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

We realize you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services.

Whiplash and Chiropractic Management

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Whiplash injuries occur as the result of a sudden acceleration followed by deceleration, and the degree of injury is dependent on many factors. Some of these include: the size of the vehicle, the conditions of the road, the angle of the seat back, the “springiness” of the seat back, the position of the head rest, the size of the patient’s neck, the position of the patient’s head and neck at the time of impact, the awareness of the impending collision, etc. Hence, each case must be evaluated and managed using a unique, individualized approach.

The chiropractic encounter begins with the history and examination. Here we will ask many questions and perform tests that will give us clues to understand the mechanism of injury, identify the primary tissues injured, and determine the best treatment approaches to utilize.

There are many different chiropractic treatment approaches available for patients with whiplash injuries. For example, manual therapies include spinal manipulation, mobilization, manual traction, muscle relaxation and/or stimulation methods, the assessment of the patient’s physical capacities with issuing specific exercises and, considerations of modifying work station issues and/or lifestyle changes. Chiropractic manipulation is a very common approach utilized in the treatment of joint dysfunction. That is, restoring normal movement to the joints affected negatively by the whiplash injury. Terms such as, “stuck,” “fixed,” “subluxation,” and the like are often used to describe altered joint position or function. Typically, the manipulation (also called “adjustment”) is applied well within the normal range of motion of the joint using a “high velocity” (or fast) movement through a short distance in the direction that attempts to correct the joint dysfunction. Because the procedure is quick and of short distance, patients frequently state, “…that felt great!” In fact, if the pre-adjustment position of the patient hurts or is uncomfortable, we will instead use a slow, mobilizing movement.

Exercise strategies are important and typically employed as soon as possible. The type of exercise is (again) case specific, but in general, exercises are initially prescribed in a manner that restores movement with as little discomfort as possible. Following the goal of increasing range of motion, strengthening the injured region with stabilization exercises, and restoring sensory-motor activity to the muscles becomes the primary focus in the management of the whiplash patient. When the intervertebral disks are “deranged” or altered, directions that minimize radiating pain are emphasized in the exercises. After careful in-office training, the patient is instructed to perform exercises at home, often multiple times a day, for stability of the spine and to re-establish motor control and movement. Ergonomic and daily lifestyle modifications are frequently addressed to avoid the possibility of the condition being irritated on a regular basis, thus interfering with the healing process. If a patient is stressing the injured area at work, job modifications can make or break the success of the management program.

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.