Lumbar Disc Condition

images (24)What is Lumbar Disc Herniation?

Structure

The backbone is comprised of several discs that are fixed between two vertebras. The spongy material can be compared to a jelly donut, which has an outer cover and is filled with a soft jelly on the inside. Similarly, a disk has a strong outer covering and a soft substance as a filling.

The Leak

Several times the outer coating of the disc is ruptured, causing an opening for the inner jelly like substance to seep out. Once out of its protective outer laying, the leaked material interferes with the normal functioning of the spinal nerves. The already narrow spacing of the spine, through which nerve roots runs, is narrowed further and puts pressure on the nearby nerves.

Lumbar Specific Herniation

Lumbar region is found in the lower back and is considered to be the strongest area of the spine. It is said to bear a large portion of the weight of the body. Sciatic nerve is said to be a conglomeration of nerve roots running down from the lumbar spine. Therefore, lumber disc injuries can cause pain in the legs and feet.

Symptoms

As the lumbar region is strongly associated with the leg and feet area, one of the significant signs of lumbar disc injuries includes pain in the legs. Another symptom common to this condition is the tingling sensation in the feet. Feet might also feel weak and numb at times following a lumbar disc herniation.

The lumber region falls in your lower back area, therefore lower back pain is another common sign and symptom. Almost every body part below the lumbar region easily gets affected by lower back disc injuries. A weak bladder or loss of control of bowel movement and pain in the buttocks are considered to be symptoms of this condition as well. Other common indications include muscle weakness, groin pain as well as atrophy.

Visiting a Chiropractor

Considered to provide a conservative treatment, chiropractors can alleviate lumbar disc injuries. A case study of a 26 year old man is a validation for the success of recovery associated with visiting a chiropractor.  Within a period of 90 days, the patient, who suffered from a lumbar herniated disc due to an athletic injury, completely recovered from the condition. Utilizing activator adjustment instrument (AAI), a controlled mechanical force was applied to the location of concern. A follow up after 12 months indicated successful long term recovery.

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Dangers of Spine Surgery: What Doctors Won’t Tell You

800px-Flickr_-_Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_A_doctor_performs_surgery.Low back pain has become a very common occurrence nowadays with over 12 million Americans visiting their doctors with complaints of chronic back pain every year; while over a 100 million visit a chiropractor.

Problems with the spinal column can cause devastating effects on a person’s life. It deprives them of their mobility and flexibility.  Even everyday activities become a challenge in some cases.  With so many of such cases and the advancements in medical science, it is ironic to see a huge number of people being misdiagnosed and prescribed spinal surgery as the only treatment.

Spinal surgery itself carries around a 20% risk of a failure.  Failed spinal surgeries often result in no improvement, worsened pain, and sometimes, even death.

General Physicians, spine specialists and orthopedic surgeons have proven in many cases that they have no clue as to the root causes of back problems.  In a review of low back-pain causes, Andrew Frank, a physician in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation concluded ‘Up to 85% of patients with low back pain cannot be given a definitive diagnosis because of the poor associations between symptoms, signs, imaging results and pathological findings’ (BMJ, 3 April 1993).

Risks Associated with Specific Surgical Procedures

Apart from incorrect diagnoses, each type of spinal surgery procedure carries its own set of risks:

Laminectomy

A laminectomy requires removal of parts of a bone, bone spurs and ligaments from the back with the aim of relieving pressure on spine nerves.  This procedure can result in a less stable spine, leading to another surgery.

Spinal Fusion

A spinal fusion procedure is the most common type of surgery carried out for back pains.  A surgeon joins the vertebrae together to restrict movement between the spinal bones.  This in turn limits the stretching of spine nerves.

An incomplete fusion requires the patient to undergo another surgery.  Smoking on the other hand, increases the chances of an incomplete fusion to occur.

Foraminotomy

Foraminotomy requires a surgeon to remove a bone from the sides of the vertebrae in an attempt to widen the space for spine nerves.

This surgery can also cause the spine to lose stability.

Disc Replacement Surgery

A damaged spinal disc is removed and replaced by inserting an artificial disk.  The introduction of a foreign object into the body always carries a risk of dislocation or breaking, leading to a hardware fracture.

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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.

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Top 4 Core-Building Exercises

PlankThe human body has 29 core muscles located in the back, abdomen and pelvis regions.  They help to give a person a stable center of gravity, while helping in controlling movements, supporting whole of the back and giving out a semblance of stability.

These core muscles form the foundation on which the movement of the body is based.  Strong core muscles tend to resist injury and form a protective cushion for the whole spinal column.

However, weak core muscles can cause a person to develop a poor posture, pain all over the body, and make the individual more prone to injuries from everyday activities.

Exercise on a regular basis can make these muscles stronger, but it is necessary to get the posture right before getting on with the exercises.

Good Posture

Good posture not only makes a person look attractive, but it does wonders for the overall skeletal structure.  Chiropractic practice pays a lot of attention to proper posture.  Correct posture will ensure that a person’s muscles, organs along with joints and bones are in their correct, natural positions.

A bad posture can result in a lot of problems for the body, following are examples of a poor posture:

  • Drooping shoulders
  • Head or neck held forward
  • Lower back arching too much
  • Sitting with a wallet in the back pocket
  • Phone receiver being held between neck and shoulder
  • Drooping forward while sitting

These postures must always be avoided.

Bridge

The person should lie on the back with knees bent.  Then the abdominal muscles should be contracted while the person slowly raises the hips off the floor then holding the position for around 10 seconds.

The hips should then be lowered to the floor and the same method repeated again.

Bird Dog

The person should get down on their hands and knees while keeping the head and neck aligned with their back. The core muscles are then contracted; one arm raised meanwhile raising the opposite leg.

Plank

The person should lie on their stomach with the palms facing down.  They should then slowly start to rise off the floor while resting on toes and elbows.  The back should be kept as flat as possible, core muscles in a contracted position and held for at least 12 seconds before lowering themselves to the floor.

Segmental Rotation

In this exercise, the individual is to lie on the back with their knees bent and the feet should be flat on the floor.  While keeping the shoulders flat on the floor, they should let their knees fall slowly towards the left. After returning the legs back to the original starting point, the same action should be repeated.

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Choose Chiropractic Care for Healthier Living

Activator_II_adjustment_instrumentChiropractic care is a medical system that aims to eliminate the root of a problem rather than just suppressing the symptoms.  Chiropractors manipulate the spinal column along with other parts of the body with the aim of easing pain, promoting the body’s systems to naturally heal it along with prescribing exercise to eliminate postural problems.

This approach introduces a healthier lifestyle for an individual.

Chiropractic Treatment Techniques

Here are numerous chiropractic treatment techniques that are used in treating patients:

Activator

The activator is a device that is used to correct minor misalignments in the spine.  It sends a small impulse that is sufficient enough to move the vertebrae without causing any injury.

Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique (BEST)

This is a non-forceful technique that is used to remove blocked energy in the body and allows it to heal itself.
Cox Flexion Distraction

This procedure is a safe alternate to back surgery and is designed to relieve lower back pain by altering the spinal column.  However, it is also used to treat disc herniation, stenosis, arm and neck pains as well as many other complications.
Applied Kinesiology

Applied Kinesiology gauges a muscles’ strength or weakness to find an illness.
Thompson Terminal Point

This technique utilizes a special drop table to adjust the full length of the spine.

Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT)

The SOT technique is designed to reduce and sometimes completely eliminate pain in the head, neck, spinal cord, TMJ as well as improve function of many organs.

 

 

Logan Basic Technique

The Logan technique applies a gentle and sustained pressure at the base of the spine, that corrects the balance of the spinal column and releases tension.
A gentle, sustained pressure is exerted at the base of the spine. Correcting the sacrum corrects the rest of the spine.

Nimmo Technique

Nimmo technique is designed to relieve people of their chronic pain, whether in the muscle system, nervous system or skeletal system.

Orthotics

Orthotics focuses design and construction of external devices that help in modifying the structure of the body, such as uneven leg length, incorrect spinal curvature and tilted pelvis.

Emphasis on Exercise

Chiropractors believe that physical exercise is essential for the well-being of the human body.  This is why they prescribe exercises that are easy to carry out at home.  These exercises aim at reducing or preventing obesity that is a major factor in causing heart diseases, diabetes and many other diseases.

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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.

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Nutrition and Diet for Scoliosis

150px-Blausen_0785_Scoliosis_01A chiropractor will advise a scoliosis patient to follow a specific type of diet. Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine bends to one side. The lower part of the spine is the most common area in which the condition occurs.

The condition is more prevalent in girls rather than boys and usually happens during puberty when the child experiences a growth spurt. Back specialists recommend an adequate amount of nutrition for children who suffer from the condition. The diet is meant to increase bone mass.

Since the condition is hereditary a proper diet might not prevent the onset of scoliosis. However foods that support bone mass are likely to prevent osteoporosis. In fact, according to the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine osteoporosis can actually worsen scoliosis since it can worsen the curve of the spine when the child reaches adulthood.

If your child suffers from scoliosis it is best that you enrich his/her diet with foods that contain vitamin D and Calcium. Not only do they increase bone mass, they also prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium

Children who suffer from scoliosis are recommended to consume between 1200 to 1500mg of calcium on a daily basis. Just make sure that any low fat sources of calcium do not contain high levels of saturated fats. For example, such a diet should contain food items such as skim cheese or yogurt.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps a person’s body absorb calcium. This is also why your mom nagged you about consuming milk on a daily basis. It is packed with the nutrient. Other sources of Vitamin D include saltwater fish, eggs, cod liver oil and cereal.

The nutrient phosphorous is also responsible for bone growth. The human body also uses phosphorus to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D and encourage proper absorption of calcium.

Vitamin E

Vitamin D and calcium aren’t the only nutrients that can prevent a case of scoliosis from getting worse. After all, a child who suffers from the condition will also need a healthy dose of Vitamin E everyday to build strong muscles to support a compromised spine.

Some of the best sources of the nutrient include liver walnuts, almonds, mayonnaise, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, safflower oil, olive oil and others.

Remember a child who suffers from scoliosis needs a diet that prevents his/her condition from getting worse especially after puberty.

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Importance of Blending Chiropractic Care with Back-Strengthening Exercise

Side_PlankBack problems often are a result of a bad posture that could cause severe pains.  Restoring the back to its original and natural condition takes time, and a combination of chiropractic care with the recommended exercise can dramatically enhance recovery.

A combination of the two provides numerous benefits.  Exercise keeps muscles in their proper tone, increases blood circulation around the body, improves digestion and develops a better lifestyle all together.

The following back-strengthening exercises complement the healing process greatly:

Hip Bridge

The Hip Bridge exercise strengthens those muscles near the lower back that play an important role in stabilizing the spine.

It can be carried out by lying on the back with the feet flat and about hip width apart; the knees should be bent.   The arms should be relaxed.  The person then squeezes their buttocks as they lift their hips in a straight line towards the shoulders.  After around 3 seconds, return to the starting position, slowly.

Around 12 repetitions are recommended.

Bird Dog

The bird dog exercise aims at strengthening the lower back, hip, butt and thigh muscles.

The person kneels on the floor with both hands spaced out about a shoulder-width apart.  Tuck in the belly towards the spine and raise one leg straight backwards while raising the other hand in opposite direction.

Hold in this position for 15 seconds and then return to starting point, carrying out the same procedure on the opposite side hand and leg.

Side Plank

The side plank exercise strengthens the lower back.  It is done by the following method:

The person is to lie on their right side, straight from head to the feet while resting on their forearms.  The elbow should be directly under their shoulder.  The abdominals are to be gently contracted and the hips slowly lifted off the floor – in the same straight position.

This position should be held for at least about 30 seconds before lowering the hip.

Lunge

Lunge exercises enhance a person’s overall control of their body.  This tends to protect the spine in daily activities, such as walking and running or even stair-climbing.

Starting off with the abs gently contracted.  The hands are placed on the hips; the person then takes a big step-forward using the right foot while sinking the right knee at a right-angle.

The person should then slowly return to the starting position, switch the legs and repeat – 10 repetitions are recommended.

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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.

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Cervical Herniated Disc – Disc Injuries and Chiropractic Care

Cervical_fracture_dislocation_C6-C7Individuals, engaged in strenuous everyday tasks of lifting and shifting heavy loads, and operating machines and computers for long hours on end, run a high risk of experiencing spinal disc injuries. Injuries in the spine or neck region tend to cause extreme pain and hindrance in the movement of the back or neck. Cervical herniated disc is a medical condition in which the patient feels excruciating pain in the neck, due to a slipped disc. Chiropractors provide invasive treatment methods for relieving the pain in the neck and spinal areas of the body.

What Is A Cervical Herniated Disc?

It is a medical condition, in which the individual suffers from extreme pain in the neck, and sometimes shoulder region, due to a slipped disc or pressure on a nerve. Cervical herniated disc injuries are less common than a lumbar herniated disc, which affects the lower region of the body. A cervical herniated disc condition is in the neck region of the body.

The 7 applicable vertebra of the spine are termed as C1 to C7, in a descending manner, for medical convenience. Between every two vertebra, a disc is located which serves as shock absorbers for the spine. The exertion and pressure on the neck and spine of the body causes swelling or bulging of the disc which might in extreme cases, even cause the disc to rupture, resulting in severe disc injuries.

The swelling and bulging of the disc exerts pressure on the nerves, which results in extreme pain in the neck and back region, hampering movement of the affected individual. A slipped disc or cervical herniated disc in the vertebra segment of C4 to C5 causes nerve root impingement, which results in pain in the upper shoulder or arm, hindering movement. Any swelling in the cervical segment of C5 to C6 results in weakening the front arm muscles, also called biceps, and causes a numbing and tingling pain in the wrist. It is the most common area in which a cervical herniated disc condition occurs.

The herniation of the discs in the C6 to C7 vertebra results in creating painful sensations in the back muscles of the arm, also called triceps,  which extends all over the hand, causing pain up to the fingers. Any disc herniation in the C7 to T1 region, results in affecting the control and grip of the hand, with a tingling pain and numb sensation throughout.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care and treatment methods are highly effective for different musculoskeletal disorders and spinal disc injuries, experienced by individuals because of over exertion and engagement in strenuous activities. Chiropractors provide services for joint and muscle adjustment and pain relief.

 

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