Why Spinal Surgery is a Bad Idea

Illu_vertebral_columnBecause it takes the smallest mistake to permanently paralyze a healthy individual, a fact that any chiropractor will attest to. There is always a risk of injury involved in spinal surgery.

Almost 80% of the people in the country will complain about lower back pain at some point in their lives. More work days are missed because of spinal pain than any other sort of ailment. This also places it as one of the most common causes of disabilities right after cardiovascular disease.

However, most people would rather seek the services of certified chiropractors than their doctors. Doctors usually prescribe numbing medication or painful surgical procedures like spinal surgery for patients who complain of repetitive chronic pain. But that is hardly a permanent solution and also involves a great deal of risks.

What can go Wrong:

Transitional Syndrome

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the spine has to do with its behavior. Your spine behaves like a chain of repeated segments. Each of the individual segments works as a whole to share the workload that is involved in moving the body by sharing the load along the spinal column. In other words the stress that is imposed on the spine during the movement is shared amongst the segments.

However such a process can only happen seamlessly when the spine is healthy. When one or more of the segments doesn’t work as they should their neighboring segments have to pick up the slack and work harder. The segment that is closest to the dysfunctional one gets most of the stress. This means that the area near where the spinal surgery was performed takes on more stress.  This is what is known as transitional syndrome since it occurs due to the transition of a healthy area of the spine to the fused area.

General practitioners and even orthopedic surgeons can never claim to know what causes pain in the back. To them, complex procedures like spinal surgery appear as handy default treatments. This is not to mention the disastrous residual pain that is caused by inappropriate surgery. Such a complication is more of a possibility after common spinal surgeries, such as laminectomies, in which a disc is removed to give the nerve near the central spinal cord more space to move, or fusion, in which a vertebra is surgically joined to another to restrict excess movement.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Illu vertebral column.jpg

Sciatica, Chiropractic and Pregnancy – What to Expect

SciaticaPregnancySciatica – What is it?

According to chiropractic practices, Sciatica is a common type of pain that affects the sciatic nerve which is a large nerve that extends from an individual’s lower back down the back of each leg. The sciatic nerve also happens to be the largest single nerve in the human body. It is composed of individual nerve roots that branch out from the spine in the lower back and come together to form the sciatic nerve.

A person who suffers from the condition may exhibit the following symptoms –

  • Burning or tingling sensation down the leg
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Constant pain on one side of the rear
  • Shooting pain that increases when the individual tries to stand up

The pain that is associated with sciatica usually extends from the lower back through the back of the thigh and down the leg. It often occurs on one side of the body. It can also be debilitating to some. The symptoms of sciatica also vary according to where the nerve is pinched. For example, an impingement in the lumbar segment 5 (L5) can cause weakness in extending the big toe and in some cases, the ankle.

Sciatica and Pregnancy

Sciatica is also a common condition in pregnant women and usually appears during the third trimester of pregnancy. It is caused when a woman’s expanding uterus ends up putting pressure on the sciatic nerve on the lower spine. The same occurrence is also known to cause lower back pain during pregnancy. The reason the condition occurs during the third trimester is due to the fact that the growing baby shifts into the proper birthing position during this time. This makes the developing fetus rest directly on the nerve which causes the mother major pain in the buttocks. The pain also radiates to the back and legs.

The pain can be constant or intermittent depending on how many times the baby changes position. However, the lower back pain may also persist after birth.

Fortunately there are ways through which a person might be able to rid herself of the pain. Some women say that a cold or hot compress to the affected area can help lessen the pain. Just make sure that the heating pad isn’t too uncomfortably hot. Getting off your feet and walking around can also help get rid of the pain.

Chiropractic and Pregnancy

There are also patients who have sought out chiropractic services instead of opting for spinal surgery for cases such as these. It is easy to see why. Chiropractic care is non invasive and relies on the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Swanger_vrou2.jpg

Yoga Isn’t What You Think

Plank.jpgAs we talk about “doing yoga” we find that people are either 100% on board and have a yoga practice themselves (even if it has been two years since they hit their mat) or they give you a funny look and say, “That’s where you chant on your head, right?”

Sigh. Yes, I’ve been to yoga classes where there has been chanting. And yes, there have been classes where some students have managed a very respectable headstand. I don’t recall one where both have happened simultaneously, but I suppose it could. But the comment completely sidetracked the conversation where I was sharing the benefits of my yoga experiences with a friend.

As our non-yoga lover left, I watched his back and wanted to sit him down and explain a few things about yoga to him. Since I lacked both the courage and physical strength to do so, I’m going to write down a few things about yoga I wanted to share with him.

And I’ve learned that if there is one person out there with the chanting/headstand opinion, there are likely a few others, so this is for you too.

Number One. Yoga is NOT for sissies. It is truly much harder than it looks. The peaceful expressions on the models in a yoga magazine or on the cover of a yoga DVD might give the impression of this being an easy workout, but I’m here to tell you that you will use muscles you didn’t even know you had. You will also sweat. A lot.

Many who are new to yoga say, “That’s a whole lot harder than it looks!” Those of us who understand, simply smile and nod. Yes, it is. Yoga uses the entire body and even well-conditioned athletes find their first session in a yoga class to be challenging. As a mind-body experience it entails so much more than just telling yourself, “Only five more miles.”

The main goal behind yoga is to make that mind/body connection through a series of asanas or postures combined with breathing techniques to help.

Number Two. You do NOT have to have the ability to stand on your head or put your heels behind your ears before you start yoga. Probably one of the most common excuse for not doing yoga is, “I’m not flexible enough.”

The whole idea of yoga is to become flexible.

Each person who comes to their yoga mat comes as a fresh start. Even those who have practiced yoga for years find a fresh start every time they come to their mat because they may have pain, stiffness, an injury, or even a mental concern. All of these will change your yoga practice.

Every yoga session is done at your own pace. Never compare yourself to anyone else in the room. NEVER! You are an individual, and your job is to combine your mind and your body. Focus on what you need.

Number Three. Welcome help from your instructor. Most yoga studio instructors have over 200 hours of training in addition to a deep understanding of body mechanics. They can see when your pose is working against you and can give you a slight adjustment that makes the entire pose so much easier and better. They are there to help you, coach you, teach you. Use them. That is what is missing when you practice only to a DVD. That is good, but from time to time it is good to have some positive feedback to improve your overall technique.

Give yoga a chance. There is a class available to fit every person out there, from children to seniors. It is a gentle, yet full-body workout that not only tones your muscles but teaches you to also calm your mind.

Treating Sprained Ankles with Chiropractic

4851542278_edc36ae122_oSprained ankles are one of the most common sports injuries and can become a rather large hurdle in anyone’s life if left untreated. Moreover, the longer the injury is left untreated, the longer it will take to return to the sport. Fortunately, there is a quicker way around it: chiropractic treatment. By treating your injury with chiropractic rather than conventional methods, not only does your injury heal faster, but the affected area grows stronger.

Initial Analysis

The first step in any chiropractic treatment is to analyze the area and determine the degree of damage. In case of tears or any fracture, the person is usually sent to the hospital. It is important to note that if you do not know how to treat a sprain, we suggest you do not touch the sprained ankle until the swelling goes down. In case of severe pain, a hospital referral is recommended.

Reducing the Swelling

Just like many other sports injuries, a sprained ankle should be treated with an ice pack immediately. This will help reduce the swelling until you can reach proper medical help. In the case of a severe ankle sprain, the swelling does not go down very fast and, in order to recover faster, most people seek out chiropractic help.

Without using any drugs or any surgery, chiropractic reduces the swelling fast using chiropractic techniques such as ultrasound, Kinesio taping and light Graston.

Joint Manipulation

No chiropractic treatment will include joint manipulation until the swelling has gone down. Once it has, joint manipulation is usually performed. Here, the ankle is moved slowly in a variety of motions. This is done to increase blood circulation around the ankle and subsequently reduce recover time. This is usually done to properly gauge the level of damage to the ankle and check for any possible weaknesses.

Rehabilitation Training

Once the swelling has gone down and the ankle can move freely once again, it is important to place the person on the rehabilitation stage. During this stage of chiropractic, an expert trainer will help you do a range of motion extending exercises, usually without any sort of weight/resistance. However, in order to strengthen the body and the ankle, some resistance is placed after a while.

Sports injuries, particularly ankle sprains, can become a big problem for anyone, especially athletes. Fortunately, Chiropractic treatment helps the ankle heal faster but extends the ankle’s degree of movement, allowing it to move more freely than before. Finally, it helps prevent any further injuries.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Homemade Ice Pack by Vince Viloria

Benefits of Chiropractic for your Child

Soapbubbles-SteveEFThere are innumerable benefits of taking your child to a chiropractic doctor. Several of very serious and worrisome conditions that your child suffers from can be dealt with under this conservative care. The one major reason why chiropractic is considered a conservative mechanism is that it helps maintain the health and prevents it from unforeseen risks and issues.

Benefits

Several reasons worry you about your kids, and chiropractic treatments are a great way to tackle these reasons. You might have stumbled upon a few of these benefits earlier, however, chiropractic has success stories in a wide array of child related issues. Following is a list of benefits that attract parents to this form of care:

1. Alternative To Medicine– During pregnancy, women avoid all kinds of medication to ensure the safety of their developing baby from any physical or mental harm. Similarly, parents avoid medicines with their infants and young children. Chiropractic services are a healthy and active way of dealing with many issues.

2. Colic- For the first few months of an infant’s life, being in a colic state is one of the major headaches for the parents. With several spine manipulation techniques, this state can be overcome allowing the child to be at ease.

3. Sleep disturbance- Inadequate or disturbed sleep can constantly irritate the mood of an infant. Spine dysfunction is said to be associated with sleep issues and a chiropractic doctor can help alleviate the issues.

4. Bed wetting– Chiropractic practitioners manipulate the spine to adjust the functioning of the body. Running through the spine are nerve roots that carry signal and messages to and from different parts of the body. Spine manipulation can then allow the practitioner to adjust nerves that run to urinary system and treat the habit of bed wetting.

5. Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – A common psychological disorder amongst children, this is often dealt with the use of medication. The medications can have several negative side effects such as loss of memory etc. However, with a chiropractic doctor, the part of the brain that functions poorly can be stimulated through spine manipulation. Thus, conservative care can put forward promising results for ADHD.

Several other issues with which chiropractic care is effective include ear infections, allergies, asthma, headaches, constipation, cold, sore throat, body aches and many more.  The chiropractic doctor utilizes several manual therapies on the spine, and contributes to the healthy development and the overall wellness of your child.

Imaged used under Creative Commons Licensing: Soapbubbles-SteveEF.jpg

Shoulder Sport Injuries and Chiropractic Care

1361740537_7c6bbebfceAthletes and sports enthusiasts suffer from different sports injuries, the most common one being shoulder injuries, contracted during the strenuous activities and efforts required during various sports. Chiropractors provide effective treatment methods to rid the patients of the pain and suffering of a shoulder injury.

How Are Shoulder Sports Injuries Contracted?

Shoulder sport injuries are contracted by professional athletes and individuals who pursue a certain sport as a hobby. The strenuous and exhausting practice procedures, along with the constant exertion on the body, result in acute muscular pains in the arm and shoulder regions, for the sports professionals. In extreme cases, the pain spreads throughout the entire arm, causing sore and stiff shoulder muscles and tingling pain up to the fingers.

The sports which require extensive physical effort like basketball, baseball, football, etc., require the players to engage in different repetitive movements, which sometimes cause shoulder sport injuries.

Symptoms of Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries which are very common among sports athletes and professionals present certain symptoms and signs which help in the diagnosis of the form of injury. A patient with a shoulder pain which persists for a couple of days has a high risk of suffering from a shoulder injury which needs to be treated promptly.

Recurring episodes of shoulder pain is also a sign of a shoulder injury, while inability to carry objects highlights the extent of damage suffered by the shoulder of an individual. In extreme cases, the shoulder injury causes a deformity in the joint and damages the muscles of the shoulder, which leaves the individual in extreme pain.

Shoulder injuries also include bruises and swellings around joints or the arm region of the body, which results in stiff muscles that are difficult to move. In some cases, the patient suffers from a fever and swelling with an infection, if there is acute damage to the muscles and joints of the shoulder region. Some individuals also face difficulty in moving their injured shoulder and experience pain in the area throughout the day.

Treatment Options

Shoulder injuries require prompt and efficient medical treatment, carefully administered, to ensure that there are no further damages to the injured area. Rest and anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed by doctors to bring down the swelling in the shoulder. Various painkillers are prescribed which only serve to alleviate the pain for a short period of time. Chiropractors provide effective treatment for the shoulder sports injuries contracted by different individuals.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Mikko with dislocated should… by Aleksi Aaltonen

Chiropractic for Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD)

8274285848_a550a961f8_oThe Basics of Chiropractic

Chiropractic involves a hands-on treatment of musculoskeletal concerns by focusing on the structure of the body and paying close attention to the spine. Adopting a high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) therapeutic stance, it is a popular choice for problems of back and neck pain. A high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) involves a short but quick thrust of pressure to a selected skeletal joint.

Chiropractic and the Neck

Several studies indicate the effectiveness of this technique for alleviating neck problems. When seventy patients underwent different treatments for their neck pain, with a handful of them receiving the chiropractic HVLA manipulation, results indicated the success of HVLA thrusts in reducing neck pain when at rest and increasing the range of cervical motion.

Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD)

Causes

Car accident is the most common cause for a WAD. At the time of a motor collision, the body is unprepared to save you from the sudden jerk. A sudden head movement results in an acceleration and deceleration of the neck. This can lead to several different types of injuries, ranging from minor strains to permanent damage.

Spillover Effects

When the soft tissues, ligaments, nerves and muscles in the neck suffer any injuries, the pain diffuses through to the shoulders and the upper arm. Several people also suffer from neck stiffness after reading in bed at a stretch. Neck pain can also be caused by a bad posture or an extended period of severe mental stress.

Treatment

Neck related concerns are one of the main reasons people opt for chiropractic care. If WAD is not cared for, it can result in long term health related issues such as severe aches and soreness in the neck. When under chiropractic care, manual therapy is utilized where force is exerted physically to treat the joint structures and tissues for ease and relieve the pain.

With the use of tables that are highly specialized, the patient is made to comfortably lie down and the HVLA manipulation is adopted. The techniques involve applying a specific amount of force to the area of concern or by holding the client’s head to rotate it. Controlled and careful rotation of the neck can lessen the pain, eventually curing the neck condition. Mostly it is advisable to not rotate the neck more than 50 degrees.

During the procedure the patient can either be seated on a stool or might be asked to lie on a specialized table. The table comprises of cushions enabling the patient to lie down in a comfortable position. Based on the severity of the whiplash, the practitioner massages the neck in the direction of the stiffness.

The above is a brief overview of how chiropractic practitioners adopt techniques to reduce neck pain cause by a WAD.

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Whiplash by Narih Lee

Rancho Cucamonga Chiropractor describes intermediate neck exercise

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

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

© 2005-2010 WebExercises, Inc., Patent Pending, All Rights Reserved.

The New Dating Game

5831509222_ec29deaaaf_zI have a friend we’ll call Karen who last dated over twenty years ago. She has found herself newly single and finally ready to enter the dating world again. “I don’t want to go through life alone. I did it once. I can do it again.”

The first thing I suggested was that she put herself in a position to meet people. For the longest time she went from her home to a weekly trip to the grocery store and “church on Sunday” and then complained. “Now that I’m ready to date, I can’t seem to find anyone.”

When I pointed out to Karen that she had very few target-rich environments in her regular schedule. Initially she seemed surprised, but agreed to expand her weekly activities. She started getting a weekly massage, signed up for a gardening class, and volunteered at the library.

Not necessarily the most adventurous activities in some books, but for Karen it put her in contact with people who shared her interests. As she became more involved, she became happier even without meeting someone to date. She almost radiated happiness to the point that people wanted to be with her.

The beauty of Karen’s approach was that life became more of what she was looking for. She found that she enjoyed herself, and wasn’t as worried about looking desperate to find a partner. Then Karen told me something I found to be eye-opening. “I stopped being so picky about who I spend time with. It’s just a date.”

Karen had always been attracted to a certain “type” and when she initially couldn’t find anyone who measured up, she wanted to give up. But she said that once she stopped looking for a type, who might have been all wrong for her anyway, she found that she had a lot more experiences. She has attended baseball games, golf tournaments, gone sailing, and tasted more ethnic food than ever before in her life.

“I go out with a different guy almost every week or two.”

I almost started to become jealous of Karen because she jumped into the new dating field like an old hand. But she said that she had to leave all her past experiences and expectations behind. She now has profiles on several social media sites, a dating profile, and rivals pre-teens in her ability to text now. Before this transformation, she didn’t even have a phone with texting capabilities.

Another piece of advice she shared with me is that she pays her half of the cost of a date. “That way, I can order anything I want without feeling guilty or indebted to someone. I make as much money or more than my dates do, so why not?”

Before too long, Karen made a connection in the waiting room of her weekly massage appointment that is starting to look like it may go somewhere. They have a lot of similar interests, but what really got Karen was the fact that he was attracted to her “love of life” and wanted to get to know someone like that better.

Dating in the 21st century is certainly different than it was a few decades ago, but many things are still the same. Don’t change yourself to please someone else, please yourself. When you’re happy, you’ll likely attract someone who has a similar temperament. Take your time, there really is no rush. But take a page out of Karen’s book and be a little less choosy. She said that the more guys she dated, the better she understood what was really important to her in a partner.

Photo Credit :
Date and Dateless
from Guian Bolisay via Flickr

Non-Specific Neck Pain and Chiropractic

images (5)What is Non Specific Neck Pain?

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

Symptoms of Non-Specific Neck Pain

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

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

Dealing with the Issue

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

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

Why a Chiropractic Practitioner?

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

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: sore neck? by Aidan Jones