The quadriceps muscle consists of four muscles in front of the thigh that connects to the knee right below the knee cap. These muscles straighten the knee for walking, running, and jumping. They also help bend the knee for squatting. They move the leg forward when running and fire/transmit electrical impulses when the foot hits the ground to absorb shock. When jumping, the muscles provide stability coming down as well as when standing on one leg.
Thigh strains are common in sports. Most players are sidelined because of this injury when compared to strains in the hamstrings or groin. Factors that can increase the risk of injury include:
The strength of the quadriceps to the hamstrings is uneven, causing one set to get overused.
Consistent sprinting and/or kicking
Previous strain and/or injury
The quadriceps is made up of four muscles. One is the rectus femoris, which gets injured the most. It’s the only muscle that crosses two joints – the hip joint and the knee joint.
Symptoms and Injury Grades
Individuals commonly report a pulling/stretching sensation in the front of the thigh. Common symptoms include:
For minor quadriceps strains or tears, moderate to dull pain presents along with stiff movement.
Grades categorize the severity of the strain:
Grade 1 presents with mild discomfort in the thigh with no loss of strength.
Grade 2 presents with moderate pain, swelling, and some loss of strength.
Grade 3 is a complete rupture of the fibers. Individuals are in severe pain and unable to walk.
Grade 3 is where surgery is required.
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of injury that has been sustained and the severity. There is pain and localized swelling for both strains and contusions. If a muscle rupture has happened, there could be a bump/lump within the muscle or a gap in the muscle. If rupture of the Quadriceps Tendon has occurred, individuals often report hearing a pop when the injury happens. The swelling often makes straightening the leg difficult or impossible.
Thigh strains usually happen when slowing down/decelerating after a sprint. This can be because the individual takes too small or too large steps causing the muscles to overstretch, much like a rubber band that, if overstretched, tears, and if under stretched, it bunches up, which can cause spasms and tears.
In the initial stages after a quadriceps strain, it is recommended to follow the RICE Procedure for 24 hours: This includes:
The leg needs to be rested every 2-3 hours in 20-minute sessions.
A bandage can provide added support.
For slight tears and strains, it is recommended to stretch the quadriceps gently.
This helps prevent the muscles from experiencing shortening. This happens by the formation of scar tissue that pulls the muscle/s, making them shorter.
Gentle stretches allow the muscles to heal with minimal shortening. This helps prevent further and/or re-injury.
Chiropractic Physical Therapy Rehabilitation
After the acute stage of the injury, receiving regular chiropractic sports adjustments, physical therapy massage, coupled with strength training exercises will speed up recovery.
Physical therapy massage will remove scar tissue and keep the muscle/s loose and flexible.
Exercises for strengthening the muscles after injury will be recommended according to the individual’s condition/case.
Following correct post-injury-care, exercises, and physical therapy.
Healing time can be 4- 6 weeks.
Strength Training: The Inverted Row
This workout targets the back muscles, spine and scapular stabilizers, deep abdominals, and arms. Everyday activities that require various types of pulling motion, lifting, etc., become easier. To perform:
Lie flat on your back.
Grab a stable barbell or set of straps that are above you.
Pull your upper body up as high as possible while keeping the back straight.
Squeeze the shoulder blades together at the top.
Complete as many reps as possible.
Once enough strength and endurance have been built, try a pullup.
Kary, Joel M. “Diagnosis and management of quadriceps strains and contusions.” Current reviews in musculoskeletal medicine vol. 3,1-4 26-31. 30 Jul. 2010, doi:10.1007/s12178-010-9064-5
Hillermann, Bernd, et al. “A pilot study comparing the effects of spinal manipulative therapy with those of extra-spinal manipulative therapy on quadriceps muscle strength.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 29,2 (2006): 145-9. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2005.12.003
Wenban, Adrian B. “Influence of active release technique on quadriceps inhibition and strength: a pilot study.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 28,1 (2005): 73. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2004.12.015
Poor spinal health in adolescence can lead to chronic pain in adulthood. Teenagers, just like adults, can experience back pain from accidents, sports injuries, a sedentary lifestyle, part-time jobs, chores, etc. However, sitting too long in school along with heavy backpacks can also contribute to compromised spinal health. Chiropractic professionals can help these young individuals address and prevent spinal issues/injuries to maintain a healthy spine.
Teenagers Spine Issues
If discomfort or pain is present, much push through, as they and their spines are young. There are common spinal dysfunctions that teens and parents should be aware of. These include:
Teenagers can put a serious strain on the spine from various forms of physical activity, jumping, dancing, and playing. This pressure gets transmitted through the spine. During a teenager’s development, this can result in permanent disc damage.
A spinal deformity or exaggerated curvature of the spine is common and affects young children and teens. It usually happens during the growth spurt just before puberty. This is why it is important to have a teenager’s spine checked regularly and analyzed for signs/symptoms of scoliosis.
This condition is often associated with sports injuries. It happens when teenagers overextend/overreach their backs. It’s most common in gymnastics, weight lifting, tennis, football, diving, and other similar sports.
Protection and Prevention
There are several ways that parents and healthcare providers can help teenagers make healthy decisions to achieve and maintain optimal spinal health.
Sitting less, moving more.
Children are taught to sit from a very young age. In school, watching t.v., or doing homework, teenagers spend more time sitting than their bodies should. Teenagers need to stand, walk and move around just like adults to protect their spines from degeneration and injury.
Playing sports is healthy. However, there is a risk associated with teen sports. Although they are taught to play safely, encourage them to continue to educate themselves about sports injuries and know how to address them.
At Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic, we’re committed to helping young adults and adolescents overcome and prevent spinal injuries that could turn into chronic pain conditions. We are continually developing our chiropractic, and physical therapy treatment approaches to achieve optimal results.
Sleep and Growth Hormone In Children
Growth hormones primarily control growth. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland regulate this hormone. Sleep plays an important role in the proper function of these glands. A review showed that:
Growth hormone levels rise and peak at the onset of deep sleep
Multiple but smaller peaks were seen during other sleep stages
Individuals that have a delay in the onset of deep sleep have delayed peaks in growth hormone levels
For children to grow properly, they need to have adequate levels of growth hormone. This means they need to have a sufficient amount of sleep. The proper amount of sleep is vital for healthy body composition. A study measured the body composition of preschool-aged children. The study found that children who had proper sleep levels had less overall fat mass and reduced body fat. Children and teenagers need to get the proper amounts of sleep for their bodies to grow healthily.
Clement, R Carter et al. “What are normal radiographic spine and shoulder balance parameters among adolescent patients?.” Spine deformity vol. 8,4 (2020): 621-627. doi:10.1007/s43390-020-00074-9
Driehuis, Femke et al. “Spinal manual therapy in infants, children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis on treatment indication, technique, and outcomes.” PloS one vol. 14,6 e0218940. 25 Jun. 2019, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0218940
Manansala, Christian et al. “Change in young people’s spine pain following chiropractic care at a publicly funded healthcare facility in Canada.” Complementary therapies in clinical practice vol. 35 (2019): 301-307. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.03.013
A non-invasive method of treating scoliosis. Yoga Has Been Shown To Help Reverse Scoliosis. Scoliosis is the lateral curvature of the spine. The spine bends inward toward the front of the body at the neck region and lower back region. This curve is known as lordosis and bows outward in the middle-back region. This is known as kyphosis. If the spine curves to the side, this could indicate curvature that could be scoliosis. It can be painful and often can affect an individual’s appearance once the measurement goes beyond 25 – 30 degrees. One shoulder is usually higher than the other, and clothing cannot fit properly. If the curve goes beyond 60 degrees, it can affect breathing and cardiac function.
Idiopathic Causes Unknown
This condition can consist of various components, especially with more intense curves. The ribs can shift backward on the side where the curve bulges. Most cases consist of adolescent idiopathic (without a known cause) scoliosis. Because the cause is unknown, there are not a variety of effective treatment besides surgery. Physicians carefully keep an eye for:
Curves under 25 degrees.
Bracing between 25 and 45 degrees.
Consider surgery for intense curvature.
Curves in individuals typically appear between 12 and 20 years old.
Yoga Shown To Reverse Scoliosis
Individuals are recommended to do just one yoga pose daily. However, depending on the type and severity of the curves, it could be more than one. They are asked to perform the pose for 5 minutes or less, depending on the condition. A yoga therapist, chiropractor, and physical therapist can generate significant spinal improvement. This could mean that a curve of 30 degrees could be reduced to around 18 degrees in 10-12 months. Individuals that do the poses at least 4 times a week have shown 80-90% improvement. The pose can be done at work during breaks, etc.
The biggest advantage of this technique is that it is non-invasive; it can help individuals with developing curves, reversing the curvature early. Most curves do not reach the point of surgery. In late adolescence and teen years, the spine is still quite flexible. This can help accelerate the effectiveness of the yoga pose to straighten the spine. The technique reduces the curve from worsening. X-rays will show if the curvature has improved or not. Patients could be asked to do the pose/s twice or more daily depending on the direction the condition is taking.
Gluten causes digestive issues for individuals that have celiac disease or autoimmune thyroid disease. Individuals with these conditions could experience a variety of uncomfortable and/or painful effects. These symptoms can vary based on their presentation. They fall into classifications.
Classical Celiac Disease
With classical celiac disease, symptoms include:
Abdominal bloating and pain
However, these symptoms are more common in children than adults. In adults, symptoms are more similar to non-classical celiac disease.
Non-Classical Celiac Disease
With non-classical celiac disease, severe digestive symptoms may not present as classic celiac disease symptoms but develop other symptoms. These include:
Silent celiac disease is less visible. Individuals might not see any symptoms. However, damage to the intestines is still happening from gluten consumption.
Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
Autoimmune Thyroid Disease or ATD. Autoimmune thyroid disease includes conditions like Hashimoto’s disease. This affects the thyroid gland and causes:
Sensitivity to cold
Negative health effects
Studies have shown that gluten-free helps alleviate symptoms.
Loren M. Fishman, M.D., B.Phil. (oxon). Healing Yoga. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2014).
Loren M. Fishman, M.D., B.Phil. (oxon). “Isometric Yoga-Like Maneuvers Improve Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis—A Nonrandomized Control Trial.” Global Advances in Health and Medicine. February 24, 2021. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2164956120988259
Fishman LM, Groessl EJ, Sherman KJ, “Serial Case Reporting Yoga for Idiopathic and Degenerative Scoliosis.” Global Advances in Health and Medicine. September 1, 2014. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.7453/gahmj.2013.064
Scoliosis in adolescents and teens can be corrected with proper bracing, adjustments and lead a normal life. For adult scoliosis correcting the problem is more difficult. Fortunately, cases of adult scoliosis are rare. Scoliosis cases that follow from childhood into adulthood require a comprehensive diagnosis to determine severity. Thoracolumbar scoliosis adult-onset scoliosis requires an understanding of the catalysts to develop an effective treatment plan. Chiropractors use a full range of diagnostic tools to measure the severity of adult scoliosis.
Adult scoliosis is the presentation of abnormal curvature of the spine. It can happen in the thoracic, lumbar spine, or both. This can have varying degrees of severity. Severe adult scoliosis can be apparent through visual assessment and examination. Cases that are not as obvious require utilizing diagnostic tools. These include:
X-rays will show any asymmetry that is associated with scoliosis. This asymmetry can be present in the hips or shoulder and is usually qualified by spinal misalignment.
Walking Gait Examination
Inspecting how worn out an individual’s shoe/s are and having them perform various walking tests can reveal problems with gait. In adults, this can present instability. For example, having problems with balance or fast-twitch muscle response.
These exams are general and first performed to get a baseline diagnosis for the presence of adult scoliosis. Tests look at the left and right coordination along with the sense of touch capabilities. This measures the severity of the improper spinal curvature and how much it has affected the development of an individual’s motor functions. It is also done in the context of how it’s affecting the body’s biomechanics. Following these exams are quantitative tools/techniques for measuring the severity of adult thoracolumbar scoliosis. These include:
Cobb Angle Measurement
This tool determines the maximum degree of spinal curvature variation and provides a context for severity.
King Classification Tool
This examines the vertebral alignment to determine the spinal variance in specific vertebrae from the neutral center position.
Lenke Classification Tool
This spinal exam relies on measurements of three positions and looks for flexibility.
When assessing adult scoliosis, this is important to understand and helps determine how to proceed with treatment. The body is no longer in development as an adolescent. This means bracing does not come with a one-size-fits-all approach. Chiropractic can help with the assessment modalities used to investigate adult scoliosis cases. These measurement and analyses tools are often used in combination to develop a complete picture of what is going on.
Fill Up With Prebiotics
Individuals can help their gut bacteria thrive in the digestive tract by consuming prebiotics. Prebiotics are a form of soluble fiber. The body cannot digest these prebiotics, but gut bacteria can. Recommended sources of fiber-rich prebiotics can be found in nutrient-dense foods like:
A diet with various fiber types has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity and prevent weight gain. Resistant starches like plantains, green bananas, and cooled potatoes have increased beneficial bacteria in the colon. Barley, oats, and wheat bran are insoluble high-fiber grains that are also recommended sources.
Aebi, Max. “The adult scoliosis.” The European spine journal: official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society vol. 14,10 (2005): 925-48. doi:10.1007/s00586-005-1053-9
Haenen, Daniëlle et al. “A diet high in resistant starch modulates microbiota composition, SCFA concentrations, and gene expression in pig intestine.” The Journal of nutrition vol. 143,3 (2013): 274-83. doi:10.3945/jn.112.169672
Lowe, Thomas et al. “The SRS classification for adult spinal deformity: building on the King/Moe and Lenke classification systems.” Spine vol. 31,19 Suppl (2006): S119-25. doi:10.1097/01.brs.0000232709.48446.be
Bursitis types: This is a condition that affects the bursae, which are the small, fluid-filled sacs that provide cushion for the:
Bones near joints
The bursae make it easier for tissues to slide over each other. The body has around one hundred and sixty bursae. However, only a few become clinically affected. These include the:
The base of the big toe and heel
The condition typically presents near joints constantly being used repetitively, like a job, sports, house/yard chores, etc. What happens is one or more of the bursae sacs become inflamed, resulting in pain.
Inflamed or irritated bursae typically cause it from overuse or intense/vigorous activity.
It can also be caused by bacterial infection.
Arthritis and gout can also cause bursitis.
Another cause is age.
As tendons age, they can tear easily, lose their elasticity, and can’t take too much stress.
Intense physical activities can lead to bursitis. These include:
Working with a computer mouse
These types of activities can lead to incorrect posture, overuse, and injury/damage.
The main symptom is pain in and around the affected area that worsens with movement. Depending on the severity of the strain and the length of time it has been going on, the pain can be intense with active and passive movements. Other symptoms include:
For some individuals, it can present as acute, with the intensity increasing.
This happens when movement aggravates the condition.
Four major types include:
Prepatellar is an inflammation of the sac situated between the skin and the patella/kneecap. The most common causes are trauma from a fall and direct pressure/friction from repetitive kneeling. This is one of the bursitis types that can get infected. Overproduction of liquid places pressure on the other areas of the knee, causing swelling. Most individuals report swelling and knee pain just over the front of the knee.
This bursitis type goes over the lateral area of the hip. There is a distinctive tenderness and aching pain. This type is more common for individuals with arthritis conditions and fibromyalgia. This condition is also seen after surgery, mainly osteotomies. The bursa can become inflamed in case of injury or overuse. It tends to affect middle-aged or older folks. Common causes include:
Tight hip or leg muscles
Disc disease of the low back
Improper walking technique from a minor injury or strain
Overuse of the gluteal muscles
Olecranon is a common bursitis type. It is diagnosed by the appearance of swelling over the elbow. The swelling happens just behind the olecranon process of the ulna. The bursa can become infected. This bursitis does cause blood to rupture out, and fluid could be present. Individuals are advised to avoid leaning or resting on the elbows.
This is characterized by pain in the Achilles tendon. Chronic inflammation of the bursa is brought on by friction, supination, and overpronation. The flexibility of the calf muscles can be significantly reduced. Severe pain and swelling of the posterior soft tissue in front of the Achilles tendon are common symptoms. This bursitis type is often accompanied by mid-portion insertional tendinosis.
Risk Of Getting Bursitis
Anybody at any age can develop bursitis, but older individuals, specifically those in their forties and beyond, are more susceptible. This comes from all the wear and tear of the muscles and bones.
Overpronation of the foot
Leg length deviation
Tight hamstring muscles
Incorrect physical training
Not stretching properly
When Inflammation Becomes Permanent
When white blood cells cause inflammation, it’s signaling that the body’s immune system works properly. The process works like this:
White blood cells attack the foreign invader
The invader is neutralized
The inflammation deactivates
This is how the body’s defense system naturally works. But, white blood cells are not the only type of cell that emit cytokines. Adipocytes or fat cells are another type of cell that can emit cytokines and cause inflammation. Scientists have learned that fat is an active endocrine organ that secretes various proteins and chemicals, including inflammatory cytokines. The body stores excess calories as fat to be used later for energy. When the body keeps adding more adipose tissue, cytokines are released by the fat cells, triggering inflammation. Obesity is characterized as a state of low-grade, chronic inflammation. Increased fat cells place the body in a constant state of stress activating immune responses. This means the body is in a constant state of inflammation with the immune system switch permanently on.
Aaron, Daniel L et al. “Four common types of bursitis: diagnosis and management.” The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons vol. 19,6 (2011): 359-67. doi:10.5435/00124635-201106000-00006
Coelho, Marisa et al. “Biochemistry of adipose tissue: an endocrine organ.” Archives of medical science: AMS vol. 9,2 (2013): 191-200. doi:10.5114/aoms.2013.33181
Khodaee, Morteza. “Common Superficial Bursitis.” American family physician vol. 95,4 (2017): 224-231.
Surgery options when back pain is becoming chronic or so severe that an individual cannot function normally and negatively affects their life. Pretty much everyone experiences back pain at some point. This is often from:
Lifting heavy/non-heavy objects incorrectly
Twisting in an awkward way
Physical activity the body is not used to doing
Most cases of backaches and pain go away by themselves or with conservative treatment. But sometimes, surgery is necessary.
When Surgery Is Necessary
Acute back pain can last for days or weeks and can often resolve with physical therapy, chiropractic, and self-care. Back pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer is considered chronic. Around twenty percent of individuals who experience acute low back pain after a year begin developing chronic back pain. Doctors try to treat most back pain cases with non-surgical approaches.
They usually begin with physical therapy/chiropractic.
If that doesn’t work, then medication is incorporated.
However, many individuals do not want to take long-term medication, which is when surgery may be recommended.
In most cases, surgery is a last resort.
When the pain radiates to the legs or if it is causing problems with bladder and/or bowel function, these are definite signs/symptoms that surgery is needed. If the pain/dysfunction continues after thorough and effective non-surgical treatment, surgery could be recommended to preserve the spine to improve spinal strength and function before the problem worsens, causing further injury and damage. Some of the most common and effective spine surgery options include.
Microdiscectomy is the most common back surgery in the United States. It is minimally invasive spine surgery. Microdiscectomy patients have low back pain combined with leg pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness. In between the vertebrae are the body’s shock-absorbing discs. The discs can begin to bulge out, a bulging or herniated disc, and press on the surrounding nerve roots, causing pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness. A microdiscectomy removes the portions of the disc pressing on the nerve.
It is called micro because the surgeon wears specialized glasses known as loupes that act as microscopes. This is so the surgeon can see the details when they’re operating. The surgery is performed through a small incision in the middle of the back or on the affected side. Patients can go home a few hours after the surgery and return to normal activities within two weeks. The success rate is 85 – 95%, especially if the surgery is done early before the damage begins to spread out.
The spinal canal contains a special lining. This is where the nerves and ligaments run through. Age, along with normal wear and tear on the body, causes the ligaments to thicken. This is when bone spurs can develop from osteoarthritis, and the discs can begin to bulge or rupture/herniate. This clogs and impinges the space where the nerves should easily flow through. This narrowing is called spinal stenosis. A laminectomy opens up the space relieving the compression/pressure. The procedure requires removing part of the back of a vertebra called the lamina. This enlarges the spinal canal and relieves the pressure on the nerves. The procedure is done through a small incision in the middle of the back but can also be done through a minimal incision. Leg pain improves after surgery. A traditional incision full recovery takes 6 to 12 weeks. The success rate is around 85 percent.
A spinal fusion joins/fuses two or more bones in the spine. This is done when an individual has severe compression of the nerves, severe instability, or spinal revision surgery. A fusion can help stabilize spinal fractures. Other reasons for a spinal fusion are spine deformity, cancer of the spine, and sometimes used for intractable pain. A fusion stabilizes the spine with screws and rods. The disc causing the compression is replaced with a fusion device and bone graft. The surgery is often performed in combination with a laminectomy. Recovery and returning to activities can take around 3-4 months after the procedure. The success rate is 85-90% with pain improvement.
Spinal compression fractures are common in individuals with osteoporosis. When they happen, the pain can be so intense that braces and medication don’t help. Kyphoplasty can bring pain relief. It can be performed by a pain management doctor, interventional radiologist, or surgeon in an outpatient X-ray facility and operating room. The procedure involves conscious sedation, sometimes accompanied by general anesthesia. A small instrument is inserted into the vertebra, and a balloon is inflated to make room for bone cement. After the bone cement is injected, patients can go home within a few hours. The success rate is around 85%, and recovery time could be several days.
This is a procedure that can replace spinal fusion for certain cases. A disc replacement can be done in the lumbar/low back or the cervical/neck spine. This procedure is performed to treat a pinched nerve and/or spinal cord compression. The injured/damaged disc is removed and is replaced with an artificial disc. The device allows for motion, whereas fusion procedures fuse the bones to stabilize and immobilize the area. Disc replacement is recommended for younger patients that don’t have serious arthritis. This is because they still have mobility. If significant arthritis is present, the patient could experience more pain and require spinal fusion. Recovery takes around six weeks. Intense physical activity is off-limits for two or three weeks after the initial recovery period. The success rate is more than 90%.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion – ACDF
This is a common neck/cervical spine procedure. This surgery is for pain relief, weakness, tingling, and numbness of the arms caused by a pinched nerve or stenosis. The damaged disc is removed through a small incision in the side of the front of the neck. The disc is replaced with a bone graft or specialized spacer and a small plate with screws. This is to stabilize the spine. It is highly effective in relieving pain and in preventing neurological decline from spinal cord compression. Recovery time is around 12 weeks before a full return to normal activities. However, individuals report feeling better after two weeks.
Back Surgery Options
The majority of cases involving back pain get better on their own or with conservative treatment. But if an individual cannot find relief, there are safe and effective surgery options that can help.
When The Immune System Activates
When the body gets sick from a bacterial infection, virus, etc., the body’s defense system activates, causing inflammation. This immune response serves as the first wave of defense against foreign invaders. The infected area becomes red and swollen from increased blood flow. For example, when the nose gets red from a cold, this is inflammation. The reaction is caused by white blood cells known as macrophages, and the proteins they emit called cytokines encourage inflammation. Inflammation that’s triggered by the immune system is normally a good thing. It means the body is releasing a proper amount of hormones and proteins. These activate the white blood cells to start the healing process and work to fight the infection.
Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet
A review of complication rates for Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion (ACDF). Surg Neurol Int. 2019. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31528438/
Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life. A healthy pregnancy is the objective, and therefore, essential to maintain a healthy diet and stay physically active. However, it can be easy to forget about the strain that pregnancy places on the body and push through the aches and pain with everything going on. Specifically the spine and pelvis. During pregnancy, the body goes through various changes to accommodate the growing baby. When pregnant, a hormone known as relaxin is released. This relaxes the joints for labor and delivery. Sometimes the ligaments can become too loose that they become structurally unstable. This causes pain. Other factors that can lead to spine misalignment and pain:
25 – 30 lbs of added weight and pressure on the spine, pelvis, legs, feet.
Weakened abdominal muscles.
Lower back curvature becomes more prominent.
Pregnant women going through discomfort/pain can benefit from chiropractic pregnancy adjustments. These maintain spinal alignment while keeping the baby safe. Chiropractors are trained to treat pregnant women; however, there is additional certification to specialize in this area. A prenatal chiropractor also provides information on:
Preparing the body for labor and birth
Maintaining healthy posture
Ensure the body is properly aligned throughout the pregnancy.
Chiropractic Benefits For A Healthy Pregnancy
The obvious benefits include back pain relief, quality of life improvement, and reducing the need for pain medications. Other benefits include:
Alleviates sciatic nerve pain
Helps to control urinary incontinence
Reduces pregnancy-related nausea
Aligns the pelvis for optimal delivery
Reduces labor and delivery time
There is little risk associated with prenatal chiropractic care. However, it is not recommended for pregnant women with health complications like vaginal bleeding or ectopic pregnancy.
If the baby does not have enough room or is going into a breeched position, a chiropractor will work on the ligaments and muscles in the pelvic region to decrease any intrauterine restrictions. Getting the pelvis aligned will allow for an optimal delivery position. This will help move the head down and give the baby more space. If there is a breech position, it is recommended to see a chiropractor once a week during the eighth and ninth months.
When to Start
After receiving approval from the obstetrician, a woman can see a chiropractor at any stage during pregnancy. Many women start chiropractic in the first trimester. This develops a relationship early and benefits the woman as her body changes throughout the pregnancy.
Most patients visit a chiropractor once a month during the first trimester. Then they increase the sessions as the pregnancy progresses. Every woman’s pregnancy is different, requiring a personalized/customized treatment plan. The chiropractor will best advise on the frequency of treatment.
A chiropractor’s job is to manipulate the woman’s spine, joints, and muscles into alignment.
The adjustments utilize gentle pressure. The techniques are adjusted accordingly. Depending on how far along the woman is, as well as musculoskeletal health. For example, they could emphasize focus on the pelvis to reduce stress on the uterus and ligaments for a few sessions. Then shift back to the spine. They will not exert excessive pressure on the abdomen and possibly incorporate specialized equipment specifically for pregnant women.
Symptoms of sciatica are common during pregnancy, typically in the later months. This comes from the added pressure on the sciatic nerve. It can be sharp, burning pain from the hip to the foot. This makes walking, sitting, and sleeping uncomfortable to unbearable. Some women are fortunate enough to experience relief if the baby moves off the sciatic nerve. However, most will need some form of treatment to manage and heal the symptoms. This usually includes:
Series of adjustments
Hot and cold therapies
Chiropractic can continue to help after giving birth, providing post-natal care helping the body return to its pre-pregnancy state healthily and optimally.
Diet, Nutrition During Pregnancy
From a nutritional perspective, a high GI diet during pregnancy increases the chances of excessive weight gain and overweight babies. Intake of low-glycemic carbs is associated with weight gain in the normal range. If planning to get pregnant or are pregnant, pay attention to the quality of carb intake for a healthy pregnancy. Health care providers recommend avoiding extreme diets for the first four to six weeks after delivery. This gives the body time to recover and helps to establish a consistent milk supply, as rapid weight loss could interfere with breastfeeding. Before going on a diet or starting an exercise program, check with a healthcare provider to rule out any medical conditions.
30 of the Most Surprising (And Alarming) Back Pain Statistics. The Good Body. https://www.thegoodbody.com/back-pain-statistics/. Last updated May 30, 2017. Accessed September 22, 2017.
Bernard, Maria, and Peter Tuchin. “Chiropractic Management of Pregnancy-Related Lumbopelvic Pain: A Case Study.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 15,2 (2016): 129-33. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2016.04.003
Gostine M. Is Lower Back Pain Normal During Pregnancy? BabyQ. https://www.babyq.com/lens/lifestyle/is-lower-back-pain-normal-during-pregnancy/. Published February 4, 2017. Accessed September 22, 2017.
Sabino J, Grauer JN. Pregnancy and low back pain. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008; 1(2): 137–141. Published online February 26, 2008. doi: 10.1007/s12178-008-9021-8.
Individuals and doctors have praised the anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving properties of drinking tea. Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response when injury and infection present. This is good. However, it’s meant to be a temporary response that deactivates when there is no longer any danger. When the body is exposed to various irritants like industrial chemicals, inflammatory foods like sugar, refined carbohydrates, and autoimmune disorderscan cause the immune system to go into overdrive. Chronic inflammation can develop, circulating powerful hormones and chemicals through the body, causing damage to the cells. One consequence of chronic inflammation is back pain. Besides standard backaches, some chronic conditions are directly tied to inflammation. These include forms of arthritis:
These conditions involve inflammation of the central nervous system.
Certain teas contain anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds are called polyphenols and work to decrease the chemicals in the body responsible for pain and inflammation. There are varieties of teas that contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Certain Teas Reduce Inflammation
Drinking specific teas with more polyphenols can better decrease inflammation. For example, green tea is higher in polyphenols than black tea. Recent studies centered on individuals with rheumatoid arthritis over six months found significant improvement in symptoms in those who drank green tea. Green tea works best when part of an anti-inflammatory and nutritional lifestyle adjustment. This supports combating inflammation. Other teas that are believed to reduce inflammation include:
Three Cups a Day
The amount of tea depends on the quality of the tea and how it is prepared. Doctors recommend around three cups a day for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. However, these could contain caffeine. If this is an issue, there are decaffeinated versions with the same anti-inflammatory properties.
Drinking Tea Works Best When Combined with Other Treatments
If experiencing back pain or looking to combat a specific condition, it’s recommended to utilize various treatment approaches combined with drinking tea. This includes:
Certain back conditions benefit from drinking tea regularly; however, spine structural issues or fractures will not benefit from tea’s mild anti-inflammatory properties. It is vital for individuals with back pain that a spine specialist or chiropractor perform a proper and thorough examination, especially for Individuals that take medication that could directly interact with anti-inflammatory teas.
Drinking Tea for Back Pain
For most individuals, drinking tea is safe to help treat back pain conditions and added health benefits. For example, studies have found that green tea has mild anti-cancer, anti-diabetic properties and can help in maintaining a healthy weight. If tea helps reduce pain, it’s worth trying. Remember, pain is the body’s way to alert the individual that something is wrong.
Alcohol and Heart Health
According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming more than three alcoholic drinks in one sitting causes a temporary blood pressure elevation. Foods often served with alcohol are usually high in salt, which can also raise blood pressure. A few alcoholic beverages on a night out is fine, but heavy or binge drinking can lead to short-term spikes in blood pressure that could cause cardiac health problems. These are the short-term effects of alcohol on blood pressure. Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to long term health risks like:
It’s recommended that individuals incorporate regular exercise/physical activity and healthy diet changes and watch alcohol intake to improve heart health.
The Clinical Journal of Pain. (October 2019) “Nonspecific Low Back Pain:
Inflammatory Profiles of Patients With Acute and Chronic Pain” https://journals.lww.com/clinicalpain/fulltext/2019/10000/nonspecific_low_back_pain__inflammatory_profiles.2.aspx
Certain Teas Bring Down Inflammation More Than Others: Journal of Physical Therapy Science. (October 2016) “Green tea and exercise interventions as nondrug remedies in geriatric patients with rheumatoid arthritis” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088134/
The Bottom Line: Proceeding of the Japan Academy, Series B Physical and Biological Sciences. (March 2012) “Health-promoting effects of green tea” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365247/
Losing weight can be one of the hardest things to do. It is also one of the best things anyone can do to get rid of back pain and optimize overall health. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight impacts the whole body, especially the spine. It is prevalent for individuals who are overweight to experience back pain. This comes from the added weight that the feet, legs, pelvis, and spine have to support. For many, once the weight comes off, the back pain reduces significantly and/or disappears completely. For those embarking on a weight loss journey, our:
Can provide resources to plan, encourage, and assist in reaching health goals.
Overweight, Obesity and Back Pain
Spine pain is one of the top reasons individuals see a doctor. The need to lose weight is based on body mass index/BMI. BMI can be an indicator that an individual’s weight might not be in a healthy range. BMI ranges:
Normal weight – Body Mass Index of less than 25
Overweight – Body Mass Index of 25 to 30
Obese – Body Mass Index of 31 to 35
Extremelyobese – Body Mass Index of 36 or higher
If unsure about how to get an accurate BMI measurement, talk to our team about InBody Testing.
Added Weight Places Pressure On the Spine
Added bodyweight places added strain on the low back. Studies have linked obesity with degenerative disc problems. Combined with the physical impact the added weight has on the spine and overall health, it can also affect spine surgery outcomes. Studies have shown that some overweight/obese individuals have an increased risk for surgery-related complications like:
Issues recovering from anesthesia
Overall recovery struggles
The good news is that individuals do not have to lose a significant amount of weight to see and feel the benefits. Losing 15% of excess weight will improve chronic back pain.
Successful weight loss is the ability to maintain the loss. It needs to be something that can be committed to and brought into an individual’s lifestyle. Trying to go hard with an extreme diet or intense exercise program is not recommended. This is like not having any long-distance running knowledge along with training but entering a 12345K race. An individual will collapse after a few blocks. And sustained weight loss is just that, a long-distance journey that requires:
Getting educated about what is going on with the body
Understanding how foods affect/impact the body
Understanding the body’s unique needs to lose weight
Developing a personal health goal plan
Lifestyle factors contribute to healthy body weight. Being able to embed healthy habits into one’s life is the objective. Although it can sound easy to do, it can be a challenging process. With professional help, individuals can:
Maintain a nutritious and balanced diet
Have an active lifestyle
Maintain healthy sleep habits
Keep stress under control
Discussing a weight loss plan is very important. A professional health coach, nutritionist, and chiropractor will develop the right program that considers an individual’s specific health status.
Achieving a healthy weight will reduce to relieve back pain completely and significantly improve quality of life. Weight management is challenging, but once the benefits are seen and felt, it becomes second nature.
The kidneys pump more than 400 gallons of recycled blood through the body every day. These organs work nonstop to filter blood and remove waste. If the kidneys become impaired, the body can become overloaded with waste. Unhealthy lifestyle choices can harm/damage the kidneys. Kidney disease progresses slowly over the years. Individuals can lose 90 percent of kidney function before symptoms become serious. Chronic kidney disease is not reversible. However, with lifestyle adjustments, an individual can lower their risk of developing kidney-related diseases.
Drink plenty of water to clear sodium, urea, and toxins from the body and prevents kidney stones. Try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Every individual’s body water levels are different. A body composition test can determine what is normal for the individual.
Maintain healthy diet
Poor diet contributes to visceral fat gain. This has been linked to chronic kidney disease. Reduce visceral fat by eating a healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, and lean protein. Cut down on salty, processed foods. Body composition testing can help form an individualized diet plan to reduce visceral fat.
Supplements, antibiotics, and OTC medications
Overuse of common over-the-counter medications and supplements can cause kidney damage and disease. Consult with a doctor before taking medications and supplements if there is kidney function impairment.
Maintain fitness and physical activity
Cardio and strength training exercises are recommended. High blood sugar levels stress the kidneys. Building adequate muscle mass will help control blood sugar. A body composition test can make sure there are adequate amounts of muscle mass.
Liuke M, Solovieva S, Lamminen A, Luoma K, et al. Disc degeneration of the lumbar spine in relation to overweight. Int J Obes (Lond). 2005;29(8):903-908.
Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Flegal KM. Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: the United States, 2011–2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Health Statistics.https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db219.htm. Page last updated: October 28, 2015. Accessed July 10, 2017
Samartzis D, Karppinen J, Chan D, Luk KD, et al. The association of lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration on magnetic resonance imaging with body mass index in overweight and obese adults: A population-based study. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2012;64(5):1488-1496.
Tennis is a sport that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and provides optimal physical activity and cardiovascular exercise. Although it can be leisurely, it does require being light on the feet with quick, starting, stopping, turning, and twisting movements for those new to playing tennis. If back pain is present, playing can be difficult. One study showed almost 40% of tennis players missed one or more tournaments because of low back pain/problems. A 2016 study found that tennis players with low back pain have difficulty moving their muscles with ease.
Know and Understand the Risks
Playing tennis has its risks when it comes to back pain. What can bring on or worsen back pain are the repetitive motions, like swinging, serving, volleying, and the uneven force placed on the body. This force is the power and momentum that is used for certain swings like serving and forehands. What happens is it does not evenly distribute through the body, increasing the potential to cause strains and sprains. For example, the serving motion repeatedly puts a hyperextension force through the spine. The result is overuse injuries.
No one wants to injure their back for those new to tennis and those who have been playing for years. This is where off-court conditioning comes in and preventive measures. This includes:
Trying to smash the ball too soon can result in a rotator cuff injury.
Stay Aware of Your Body
Playing tennis can cause an individual to become distracted; however, it’s crucial to be mindful of the body and what’s going on.
Pay attention to the heat.
Proper rest between games
Hydration to prevent muscle cramping
Stretching before and after playing
Warming up and cooling down
Take a break and stretch out if pain symptoms present.
Never play through the pain that could result in worsening or creating new injuries.
Pay attention to proper form.
Apply modifications to prevent and avoid worsened back pain. This could be serving more simply or hitting around a stroke that generates pain symptoms.
After a match, rehydrate the body and cool down. This could be a little walking around the court, if possible getting in a pool or water splash park, and let the musculoskeletal system recover. Do some spinal exercises afterward, like yoga poses. Applying anti-inflammatory creams or gels can help keep the muscles loose and promote circulation. Anti-inflammatory foods can help with pain and inflammation.
There are individuals with spinal conditions that should not play tennis. These include:
Acute disc herniation
Active bone injury/s – fractures and stress fractures
Spinal instability – spondylolisthesis
A spinal condition involving nerves and/or the spinal cord
Consult a doctor before adding tennis to a physical regimen. Tennis is an aerobic activity that has several benefits. It keeps the body physically active for mental and physical wellness. The hormones released can help mitigate musculoskeletal pain and negative emotions like depression and anxiety that can come from experiencing back pain.
Magnesium supports a healthy immune system. It helps maintain:
Aids muscle relaxation after exercise/physical activity
Magnesium is essential in several biochemical reactions; a slight deficiency can increase cardiovascular disease risk. Deficiency can also lead to an increased risk of insulin resistance. Magnesium-rich foods are also high fiber foods. Dietary fiber helps with:
Helps control weight
Stabilizes blood sugar
Recommended sources of Magnesium include:
Green vegetables – spinach, swiss chard, and turnip greens
Nuts – almonds and cashews
Clinics in Sports Medicine. (April 1988) “Low back pain in the competitive tennis player.” https://europepmc.org/article/med/2968850
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. (April 2016) “Trunk muscle activation, fatigue and low back pain in tennis players” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1440244015000845
Jahnen-Dechent, Wilhelm, and Markus Ketteler. “Magnesium basics.” Clinical kidney journal vol. 5,Suppl 1 (2012): i3-i14. doi:10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163
Katz, David L et al. “Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease.” Antioxidants & redox signaling vol. 15,10 (2011): 2779-811. doi:10.1089/ars.2010.3697
Wang, Jinsong, et al. “Dietary magnesium intake improves insulin resistance among non-diabetic individuals with metabolic syndrome participating in a dietary trial.” Nutrients vol. 5,10 3910-9. 27 Sep. 2013, doi:10.3390/nu5103910
The hands are used for all kinds of tasks/chores day and night. Using the hands requires the wrists. When wrist pain presents, it can make life unbearable, causing individuals to make all kinds of awkward and unhealthy habits that can worsen and cause further injury. Chiropractic wrist and hand adjustments are recommended for this type of injury. A majority of wrist injuries are the result of micro-stress/repetitive tearing use. Repetitive stress injuries often require a multifaceted treatment approach. This is why chiropractic is so effective, in that it treats the symptoms and the causes to get back to work, school, and normal life quickly.
Wrist tendonitis happens when a tendon becomes inflamed. This is common among athletes, store workers, clerks, warehouse workers, hair stylists/barbers, etc. Individuals that are constantly using their hands, wrists, and arms have an increased risk of developing tendonitis. And without proper treatment and rest, the inflammation continues and worsens. Chiropractic wrist adjustments for wrist tendonitis include:
Diagnosis and assessment.
Swelling and pain are alleviated using ice, bracing, ultrasound, laser therapy, and other inflammation-reducing techniques.
Once the inflammation has been brought down, massage therapy is incorporated to keep the tendons loose and relaxed.
Physical therapy and manual manipulation will restore mobility and flexibility to the wrist.
When the pain is completely reduced and mobility is restored, chiropractic wrist adjustments will break down the scar tissue to prevent future injury.
The chiropractor will recommend ergonomic tips and exercises to prevent flare-ups.
Another common issue that can be painful is crepitus, which is a popping, clicking, and/or cracking in the wrist when moving the hand. Different causes depend on the type the popping/clicking/cracking. If it occurs without pain, more than likely, it is the gases escaping from the wrist joint. This is normal and is not something to worry about. However, a chiropractor can help if it becomes burdensome. Another cause is when a tendon extends or contracts over the bone with certain types of movements. This type of popping often results in pain and should be addressed by a professional to prevent further damage. Both issues are commonly treated with wrist adjustments.
A dislocated wrist needs immediate medical care from the emergency room. The wrist needs to be reset and given time to recover/heal before a chiropractor can work on it to repair any issues that the dislocation caused. There are benefits from chiropractic after a serious wrist injury that includes:
Proper wrist alignment
Scar tissue removal
Aching, popping, and cracking relief
Chiropractic Wrist Adjustment
Wrist adjustments depend on the injury/condition that the individual is going through. A chiropractor uses different approaches and techniques that return the joints to the proper alignment. Wrist adjustments are usually done by hand and are gentle. This is because the bones and tendons do not need major force to correct. Chiropractors focus on the wrist the same way they focus on the whole body.
They relieve pain and swelling first.
They determine what caused the injury.
Then focus on strengthening the joint.
Develop a prevention regimen to keep it from recurring.
Complete Body Measurement
Getting body composition tested will help progress to optimal health by the results, not the weight scale. Determining progress with metrics like this and lean body mass equips individuals with the knowledge needed to get the results faster and smarter. The quickest and easiest way to determine body composition is to use the InBody. This means focusing on body fat percentage instead of weight. The devices being used today are extremely accurate at giving reliable body fat percentage results. Get a complete readout of your body that includes:
Body fat percentage
Getting as much information as possible using optimal tests will help with goal planning and achieving optimal health.
Hulbert, James R et al. “Chiropractic treatment of hand and wrist pain in older people: systematic protocol development Part 2: cohort natural-history treatment trial.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 6,1 (2007): 32-41. doi:10.1016/j.jcme.2007.02.011
Prasad, Ganesh, and Mustafa J Bhalli. “Assessing wrist pain: a simple guide.” British journal of hospital medicine (London, England: 2005) vol. 81,5 (2020): 1-7. doi:10.12968/hmed.2019.0051
Sadowski, M, and D Della Santa. “Les syndromes douloureux du poignet” [Wrist pain]. Revue medicale suisse vol. 2,92 (2006): 2919-23.
There are different possible causes of abdominal pain and digestive problems. Sometimes a bulging disc is the cause. A bulging disc that is causing abdominal pain is rare but possible. When this happens, it’s usually a herniated disc in the upper back, known as the thoracic spine. When the disc bulges to the side, it can cause abdominal pain. One study found that half of the patients presenting with herniated discs also suffered from digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome.
Thoracic Disc Herniation
The thoracic spine is the region between the base of the neck and the low back. This section is surrounded and stabilized by the ribcage, reducing the risk of disc herniation. Most herniated disc/s occur in the low back or the neck because those areas with a lot of movement are less stable than the thoracic spine. But they do happen and can contribute and/or cause abdominal pain. This is usually accompanied by pain in the mid-back and the chest. Because this is rare, physicians don’t immediately think that a herniation is causing abdominal pain. This can lead to unnecessary and expensive tests to find the problem.
Lateral Disc Herniation
This is not the most common type of disc herniation. The type of herniation that causes pain in the abdomen is known as lateral disc herniation. This is when the disc bulges laterally/sideways. What happens is it can compress and irritate the nerve root. This is what can cause pain in the abdomen. Types of disc herniations include:
Most thoracic herniations are caused by trauma to the upper back. This can come from a:
They can also be caused by degenerative disc disease. If this happens, the discs can become calcified, which could require surgery.
Movements like reaching up to get something or twisting motions like putting on a seatbelt can cause the pain to worsen. Most thoracic herniations happen in young individuals brought on by trauma to the area. Women tend to be affected more by thoracic disc herniation that causes abdominal pain.
Herniated Disc and Bloating
Bloating often comes with digestive problems. A herniated discs can also cause bloating along with abdominal and back pain. However, they are not always related because bloating, and other digestive issues can cause back and abdominal pain. Bloating and pain typically go away after a bowel movement. But it is important to see a medical professional if the problem lasts more than a few days.
Gas and a Herniated Disc
In certain cases, a herniated disc can cause gas. This is rare, but evidence suggests that nerve compression in the spine can affect the digestive system. If back pain, abdominal pain, and digestive issues are presenting, seeking out treatment is recommended.
Chiropractors specialize in spinal care. The approach is to balance the entire body and heal the underlying issues. The nervous system travels through the spinal column. If injured or damaged, it can cause all kinds of issues. This includes abdominal pain and digestive problems. A chiropractor will:
Bring pain relief
Realign the spine
Balance the body
Recommend exercises and stretches
Offer nutritional recommendations
Recommend sleeping positions to prevent pain at night
They are different techniques to treat disc herniations. These include:
Detailed medical history
MRI, CT, or X-Rays
Ice and heat
A common and powerful trigger of binge eating is restrictive dieting. This type of diet is a common weight-loss method for short-term goals. This is because a highly controlled program of calorie intake makes it easier to prevent overeating. The problem is that this type of restriction is not sustainable. Most individuals can avoid certain foods for only so long. However, this is not the only reason for binge eating. Many individuals use food as an emotional suppressor. They overeat during:
Levels of high stress
Bouts of sadness
The brain and body are conditioned to crave certain and usually addictive foods. When individuals want to get their minds off of something, cravings can activate and become overpowering. Although it is not an addiction to alcohol or drugs, food addiction is still an addiction. Working through addictive behavior toward any substance will improve the quality of life. Overcoming food addiction promotes physical health benefits and improved mental health. Recognizing addictive behaviors when it comes to food is the first step.
Al-Khawaja, Darweesh O et al. “Surgical treatment of far lateral lumbar disc herniation: a safe and simple approach.” Journal of spine surgery (Hong Kong) vol. 2,1 (2016): 21-4. doi:10.21037/jss.2016.01.05
Lara, F J Pérez et al. “Thoracic disk herniation, a not infrequent cause of chronic abdominal pain.” International surgery vol. 97,1 (2012): 27-33. doi:10.9738/CC98.1
Papadakos, Nikolaos et al. “Thoracic disc prolapse presenting with abdominal pain: case report and review of the literature.” Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England vol. 91,5 (2009): W4-6. doi:10.1308/147870809X401038
Polivy, J et al. “Food restriction and binge eating: a study of former prisoners of war.” Journal of abnormal psychology vol. 103,2 (1994): 409-11. doi:10.1037//0021-843x.103.2.409
Stretching out for everyday wear and tear. The body was designed for movement, mobility, and physicality. When discomfort, aches, and pain present in the neck, shoulders, back, and joints, it is often from a decrease of natural body movement. Many think that sitting still and resting is the best solution to alleviate the pain. While it is important to rest, it is the type of rest that helps the body. Sitting still with no movement is not recommended. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons need to flex and stretch out to help reduce pain and prevent injury. Safe, chiropractic-approved stretches can increase mobility and fluidity, helping the body stay flexible and loose.
Stretching Out For Everyday Wear and Tear Is Important
Whether experiencing pain or are getting ready for the day, there are many reasons why stretching is important. One, stretching is essential to optimal joint health. When muscles surrounding the joints become tight/tense, this significantly reduces mobility in the joint. Regular stretching lengthens the muscles, relaxing the joints to move without discomfort/awkwardness. Stretching optimizes blood circulation to flow smoothly through the body. Routine stretching helps reduce stress and improves energy. Other benefits include:
Post-workout/exercise/physical activity soreness and pain relief
Improves athletic performance
Helps heal existing injuries
Stretching Safe at Home
Chiropractors often recommend stretches for patients to follow to help improve their progress between appointments. If persistent pain is presenting, consult with a qualified chiropractic doctor before performing any stretches. If done incorrectly, they can exacerbate pain and cause further damage. No matter an individual’s lifestyle, the wear and tear of everyday life can cause tightness, inflammation, or generalized pain. Developing a regular stretching routine can address any tense, tight, sore areas that will help keep the body pain-free.
Most individuals feel tailbone pain from sitting for long periods of time. Reasons for tailbone pain can result from:
Sitting in the wrong position
All can injure the tailbone and/or the surrounding muscles and tissue.
Tailbone stretching improves movement and flexibility in these muscles and tissue, maintaining the tailbone’s health. One recommended stretch is the piriformis cross leg stretch.
Lie flat on the back.
Bring both knees toward the hips.
Rest the right ankle across the left knee.
Wrap both hands around the left thigh
Pull toward the chest.
Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Slowly bring down both legs and return to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side.
Wrist and Hand Stretch
For those that are constantly writing, typing, or lifting regularly, wrist and hand pain can begin to present. Stretches for the hands and wrists can:
Reduce the risk of injury
The prayer stretch for the wrists and hands is specifically designed to strengthen the muscles and tendons in the wrists.
Standing with the back straight and feet shoulder-width apart.
Place hands together in a prayer position.
Hands in front of the face.
Pressing both palms together, slowly spread the elbows apart.
Begin to lower the hands to waist height
Stop once the hands become level with the belly button or when the stretch is felt.
Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
Return to the original position.
Repeat as needed.
When tightness or soreness presents in the knee, stretching the hamstrings can help. The hamstrings go through a great deal of wear and tear, supporting the hips and knees, maintaining mobility and flexibility.
Standing with the back straight.
Step forward with the left foot.
Flex the left foot and keep the right foot flat.
Loosen the hips and bend the right knee.
As the right leg is bent, keep the left leg completely straight with the heel pressing into the ground.
If maintaining balance is difficult, use a wall for support.
Hold the position for 10-15 seconds.
Return to starting position.
Repeat on the other side.
Body Composition Health
The Gut’s Hormones
When a meal enters the stomach and intestines, it triggers the digestive tract to release hormones that create the full feeling. These are the gut’s hormones, with each having a specific set of actions and effects. Examples include PYY, GLP-1, and GIP. Gut hormones are essential because they signal the body to slow down or stop eating. Therefore, the size of a meal influences the number of gut hormones that get released. The body releases larger quantities of gut hormones in response to meals with a higher caloric density. This is because larger meals usually contain more calories. This is one reason the body feels more satisfied after a large meal. Smaller meals are less satisfying, which means an individual will want to eat again after the meal.
After eating comes the digestion and absorption of macronutrients. This is known as the postprandial state. The body is in storage mode during the postprandial state. Even though the metabolic rate increases after a meal, the contents of that meal get broken down and stored for fuel. Four hours after a meal, the body goes back to its baseline state, which primarily burns through the stored fuel. Eating frequent, small meals throughout the day means the body spends more of the day in the postprandial storage state.
Bandy, WD et al. “The effect of time and frequency of static stretching on flexibility of the hamstring muscles.” Physical therapy vol. 77,10 (1997): 1090-6. doi:10.1093/ptj/77.10.1090
Freitas, SR et al. “Stretching Effects: High-intensity & Moderate-duration vs. Low-intensity & Long-duration.” International journal of sports medicine vol. 37,3 (2016): 239-44. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1548946
Hotta, Kazuki et al. “Daily muscle stretching enhance blood flow, endothelial function, capillarity, vascular volume and connectivity in aged skeletal muscle.” The Journal of physiology vol. 596,10 (2018): 1903-1917. doi:10.1113/JP275459
le Roux, C W et al. “Attenuated peptide YY release in obese subjects is associated with reduced satiety.” Endocrinology vol. 147,1 (2006): 3-8. doi:10.1210/en.2005-0972
Individuals that experience frequent headaches can have sensitive headache trigger points. Every case is different and requires a thorough examination before a proper and personalized chiropractic treatment plan can begin. Headaches can be brought on from a variety of causes. This could be:
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
Tightness in the neck muscles
Low blood sugar
High blood pressure
The majority of recurrent headaches fall into three types:
Tension headaches, also known as cervicogenic headaches
Tension headaches are the most common and affect around 77% of individuals experiencing chronic headaches. Most individuals describe a tension headache as a consistent dull ache on one side of the head and sometimes both sides. They are often described as having a tight band/belt around the head or behind the eyes. These headaches usually start slowly, gradually and can last for a few minutes or days. They tend to start in the middle of the day or before the end of the day.
These headaches can be the result of stress and/or poor posture. The most common cause is subluxations in the upper back and neck, usually combined with active headache trigger points. This stresses the spinal muscles in the upper back and neck. A tension headache or stress headache can last 30 minutes to a few days. Chronic tension headaches can last for months. The pain can be severe; however, these headaches are typically not associated with symptoms like throbbing, nausea, or vomiting.
If the top cervical vertebrae shift out of their position and lose their normal motion, a small muscle called the rectus capitis posterior minor/RCPM begins to spasm. This small muscle has a tendon that slips between the upper neck and the base of the skull. It attaches to a thin, sensitive tissue called the dura mater that covers the brain. The dura mater is very pain-sensitive. When the RCPM muscle goes into spasm, the tendon pulls the dura mater causing a headache. Individuals that work at a desk station for long hours tend to experience headaches from this cause. Another cause comes from referred pain caused by headache trigger points in the Sternocleidomastoid/SCM or levator muscle on the side of the neck. This cause tends to happen more to individuals that have suffered a whiplash injury with muscle damage in the neck region.
Migraines are intense and throbbing headaches that are associated with nausea and sensitivity to light or noise. They can last for a few hours to a few days. Many experience visual symptoms known as an aura just before they come on. This is described as seeing flashing lights or when things take on a dream-like appearance. However, even in individuals that don’t experience the aura, most can tell that a migraine is getting ready to present. Individuals usually have their first attack before age 30. They tend to run in families supporting a genetic component. Some have attacks several times a month, while others can have less than one a year. Most individuals find that migraines happen less and become less severe as they get older.
These headaches are caused by the constriction of blood vessels in the brain. During the constriction period, there is a decrease in blood circulation. This is followed by dilation/enlargening of the blood vessels. This is what leads to the visual symptoms. Then the blood vessels dilate, generating a rapid increase in blood pressure inside the head. This increased pressure is what leads to a pounding headache. Every time the heart beats, it sends another shock wave through the carotid arteries in the neck into the brain. There are different theories as to why the blood vessels constrict, but they are still unknown. What is known is that several factors can trigger a migraine. This includes:
Lack of sleep
Foods that are high in an amino acid known as tyramine
Cluster headaches are very short excruciating headaches. They are usually felt on one side of the head behind the eyes. These headaches affect about 1 million individuals and are more common in men. This type of headache tends to happen at night. They are called cluster headaches because they tend to happen one to four times a day over several days. After one cluster is over, it could be months or even years before they present again. Like migraines, cluster headaches cause the dilation of the blood vessels in the brain, increasing the pressure.
Headache trigger point therapy involves four muscles. These are the:
The Splenius muscles involve two individual muscles, the Splenius Capitis and the Splenius Cervicis. These muscles run along the upper back to the skull base or the upper cervical/neck vertebrae. Trigger points in the Splenius muscles are a common contributor to pain that travels through the head to the back of the eye and top of the head.
The Suboccipitals are a group of four small muscles that maintain proper movement and positioning between the first cervical vertebra and the skull base. Trigger points in these muscles can cause pain that feels like it’s happening inside the head, from the back to the eye and forehead. Individuals report that the whole side of the head hurts. This is a pain pattern similar to a migraine.
The Sternocleidomastoid muscle runs along the base of the skull, behind the ear, down the side of the neck. It attaches to the top of the sternum/breastbone. Although most are not aware of this muscle’s trigger points, the effects are evident. This includes:
Referred pain tends to be eye pain, headaches over the eye, and can even cause earaches. An unusual characteristic of SCM headache trigger points is that they can cause dizziness, nausea, and balance problems.
The trapezius muscle is the large, flat muscle in the upper and middle back. Pain can be felt in the temple and back of the head. A common trigger point is located at the top of the muscle. This particular point can activate secondary trigger pointsin the temple or jaw muscles, leading to jaw or tooth pain.
Stress can be a trigger.
Depression, anxiety, frustration, and even pleasant excitement can be associated with headache development.
A headache diary can help determine whether factors like food, weather, and/or mood correlate with headache patterns.
Repeated exposure to nitrite compounds can result in a dull headache accompanied by a flushed face. Nitrite dilates blood vessels and is found in products like heart medications, and is also used as a chemical to preserve meat. Processed meats containing sodium nitrite can contribute to headaches.
Foods prepared with monosodium glutamate or MSG can result in headaches. Soy sauce, meat tenderizers, and various packaged foods contain this chemical as a flavor enhancer.
Exposure to poisons, even household varieties like insecticides, carbon tetrachloride, and lead, can contribute.
Contact with lead batteries or lead-glazed pottery.
Foods that are high in the amino acid tyramine should be avoided. This could be ripened cheeses like cheddar, brie, chocolate, and pickled or fermented food.
Chiropractic adjustments are highly effective for treating tension headaches, especially those that originate in the neck. Research has found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement and had fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief than taking common medications. There is a significant improvement by manipulating the upper two cervical vertebrae, combined with adjustments to the area between the cervical and thoracic spine.
Body Composition Testing
Vibration exercise is believed to stimulate the muscle fibers without going to a gym or stressing the bones. One study broke up postmenopausal women into three groups: resistance training, vibration training combined with resistance training, or no exercise/training. Their body composition was measured before starting the study. After the study was completed, the findings included:
Both the resistance group and the resistance group with vibration training increased lean tissue mass.
The control group did not show an increase in lean tissue and, in fact, gained body fat.
The combination group, using vibration training with resistance training, showed a drop in body fat.
Another study placed male athletes in a training program that included vibration training. The first group had lower-limb strength training combined with vibration training, and the other had lower-limb strength training without vibration training. The researchers found that the athletes in the vibration training group improved leg extension strength by five percent. In addition, the vibration training groups balancing ability and vertical lift/jumping test improved as well.
Bryans, Roland et al. “Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 34,5 (2011): 274-89. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008
Chaibi, Aleksander et al. “Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache: a single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial.” BMC research notes vol. 10,1 310. 24 Jul. 2017, doi:10.1186/s13104-017-2651-4
Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with neck pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014; 37: 42-63.
Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011; 34: 274-89.
The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body and is created by five nerve roots that come together and exit the lower spine. It goes through the buttocks on either side and down the thighs all the way to the heels and soles of the feet. The sciatic nerve connects the spinal cord to the muscles of the thigh, leg, and foot. Any type of pain and/or neurological symptom/s that comes from the sciatic nerve is known as sciatica. The symptoms can be felt along the nerve’s path. This could be the:
When the nerve is compressed, neurological symptoms can accompany the pain. These include:
Thigh muscle weakness
If the thigh muscles are affected, weakness can be felt when bending or flexing the knee.
Leg and foot muscle weakness
Weakness can be felt while attempting to bend the knee or pointing the foot/toes upward/downward. This can lead to foot drop, which makes lifting the front part of the foot when walking difficult. Difficulty can also present when getting up from a sitting position or walking on the tiptoes.
Loss of sensation can happen when the nerve impulses/transmissions cannot pass all the way through. Common areas affected by numbness are the:
Side of the calf
Side of the heel
Bottom of the foot
Top of the foot
This is an abnormal sensation felt on the skin. It is brought on by improper nerve transmission. This sensation can include:
Crawling feeling along the back of the thigh and/or leg
Physical forces could affect the nerve following common conditions:
A disc in the lower back can bulge or herniate. This causes irritation that can lead to compression of a nerve root.
Stenosis means the opening where the sciatic nerve exit into the buttocks begins to get narrow in size. This creates a clog with the other nerve roots that compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve. Degenerative changes in the spine like the thickening of the facet joint capsules and/or ligaments can also compress the sciatic nerve.
Instability of a vertebral segment happens when one vertebra slips over the one below it, known as spondylolisthesis. There are also vertebral defects like spondylolysis which is a complete dislocation of one or more vertebrae. This can directly compress the sciatic nerve roots.
The body’s own chemicals can irritate the nerve causing inflammation. These chemical irritants include:
Fibronectin protein fragments leak out of degenerated or herniated discs onto and around the sciatic nerve roots.
There are times when degenerated discs can cause nerve tissues to grow into a disc. The tissue penetrates the outer and inner layers of the disc, causing inflammation and pain.
Some studies have shown how an immune system response can contribute to sciatic pain when there is exposure to the disc material from herniated disc/s.
Glycosphingolipids which are fats, and neurofilaments which are protein polymers. They are secreted by the immune system and have been found to have high levels in individuals with sciatica. It is believed they are released in reaction to the nerve roots and exposed disc material. This can lead to inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
The physical characteristics of an individual can also affect the sciatic nerve. Research has shown an increased risk of sciatica in:
Individuals with certain jobs can have an increased risk of developing sciatica. Examples include:
Athletes that lift weights
This comes from:
Sitting for long amounts of time
Constant bending forward or sideways
Regularly lifting the arms above shoulder level
All are risk factors.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are important for nerve health. Vitamin B12 supports the myelin sheath that covers and protects the nerves. It is important in nerve function and in transmitting impulses. Sciatica can present from vitamin B12 deficiency. However, this is more common in individuals 60+.
Alleviating Nerve Pain Through Clinical Nutrition
Clinical nutrition is a powerful tool to help alleviate sciatica. Many individuals can relieve their pain through diet adjustments. Here are a few diet tips to alleviate sciatic nerve pain through clinical nutrition:
Sometimes, sciatica can be triggered by constipation from an unhealthy diet
Oily fish like salmon and halibut are rich in omega 3 fatty acids
Fresh pineapples and berries are anti-inflammatories that support healing and boost the immune system
2-3 cups of green tea
Add turmeric, ginger, and garlic to meals
B-Vitamins are important to take in when going through sciatica and are found in green peas, spinach, navy beans, nuts, bananas
Foods that are rich in A-Vitamins like dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, orange-colored fruits, eggs, and oily fish
Foods rich in C-Vitamins, like citrus and tomatoes
K-Vitamins like broccoli and spinach
Drink plenty of water, between 6 to 8 glasses a day
Foods to Avoid
Nutritionists recommend cutting out meat products except for oily fish for the first two weeks.
Foods that contain sunflower oil, corn oil, sesame oil, margarine, and partially hydrogenated oil.
Stressor foods like caffeine, processed food, soda, refined sugars, and chocolate.
Giuffre BA, Jeanmonod R. Anatomy, Sciatic Nerve. [Updated 2018 Dec 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482431/.
Heuch I, Heuch I, Hagen K, Zwart JA. Association between body height and chronic low back pain: a follow-up in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study [published correction appears in BMJ Open. 2015;5(10):e006983]. BMJ Open. 2015;5(6):e006983. Published 2015 Jun 15. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006983.
Kumar, M. Epidemiology, pathophysiology and symptomatic treatment of sciatica: A review. nt. J. Pharm. Bio. Arch. 2011, 2.
Quero L, Klawitter M, Schmaus A, et al. Hyaluronic acid fragments enhance the inflammatory and catabolic response in human intervertebral disc cells through modulation of toll-like receptor 2 signaling pathways. Arthritis Res Ther. 2013;15(4): R94. Published 2013 Aug 22. doi:10.1186/ar4274.
Shiri R, Lallukka T, Karppinen J, Viikari-Juntura E. Obesity as a Risk Factor for Sciatica: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2014;179(8):929-937. doi:10.1093/aje/kwu007.
It is time for outdoorsummer activities. Summer is iconic in its association with a wide range of outdoor activities. However, many can be physically strenuous and require a great deal of body movement. Summer gets individuals thinking of:
This is when individuals have to figure out which activities will be easy on their backs. For those dealing with regular and/or chronic back or neck pain, athletic/movement-based activities can be done with:
Most activities can be manageable.
Preventing/avoiding worsening the pain is the most recommended solution.
Individuals can still enjoy favorite outdoor activities for those who do have back pain, whether from an injury, herniated disc, muscle strain, arthritis, osteoporosis, or another cause.
Safe Summer Activities Safe For The Spine
The best summer activity for the spine/back is swimming or any movement in the water. It is recommended and utilized in physical therapy for those with injuries and pain conditions and is shown to prove that it brings relief and exercise. Hot weather makes it easy to get in the water, whether a pool, river, or lake. Doing basic water stretches, exercises, or walking movements can bring significant pain relief. This is because the body’s weight is lessened, which lessens the spine’s pressure.
Getting outside every day and running can cause a great deal of strain. However, walking is extremely safe and effective, especially on the spine. The key is to take it slow and build up the ability to walk longer and further. However, those with spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal, might find that walking increases pain. It is recommended to start with light walking sessions and modify them as much as needed. An example could be walking half a block; if pain presents, perform some other movement/s that does not cause pain, and then walk another half block. Taking it slow.
It is not out of the question for individuals who like to hike, but caution should be taken. This is because hiking adds factors that can increase the risk for injuries or conditions if the activity is not modified. Most hikes involve hills, elevation changes, climbing, and uneven surfaces. This requires planning and preparation. It is recommended to choose hiking paths that will not exhaust an individual, and that can be easily backtracked if pain or issues arise. This is especially important for those that are flexion-intolerant. This is when individuals feel pain when bending or leaning forward over the hips. This could be hiking up and down hills that are likely to cause flare-ups.
Fishing is a favorite summer activity and is recommended because of the relaxed atmosphere and ability to be modified easily. Individuals can sit in a supportive chair and fish, or they can stand and fish. There is not a lot of quick bending or rotating and totally open to modifications.
Activity Moderation and/or Modification
Figuring out movement modifications or mix up the time. Activities can be enjoyed; it just requires making the right adjustment/s that will make the activity manageable. For those with back pain usually know what movements will cause pain. This can help make it easier to modify specific movements/motions. Activities that more than likely will cause inflammation flare-ups are about finding a way to do it so that the result is not as extreme.
One way to modify summer activities is by altering/changing the amount of time engaged. For example, instead of spending 4-6 hours fixing up the yard/gardening, break it up by doing the activity for an hour, stop, stretch, relax, rehydrate, and then continue, respectively.
Modification can also be done by changing the functional components of the activity/s. Rather than bending and picking up tools, pulling weeds, etc., get a work stool/bench and perform the activity sitting. This goes for any activity.
Body Composition Health
Can more fat be burned by exercising in the heat?
Individuals wonder if exercising when it’s hot out causes the body to burn more fat. After all, the body is hotter and sweating much more. However, it’s more complicated. Studies show that when exercise is done in high temperatures, the heat can affect the body’s hormonal and metabolic response. The same studies show a consistent shift from breaking down fat cells for energy and breaking down carbohydrates for energy. When exercising in extreme heat, the energy demand becomes too high to break down more fat. Instead, it uses carbohydrates. So the extra sweat is just water, salt, and not fat. But heat can still play a positive role in improving body composition. Two ways include:
Heat shock proteins – HSP – Without exercise, exposure to heat can cause heat shock proteins to activate. Heat shock proteins live inside cells and aid in muscle protein synthesis and repair. When exposed to temperature/thermal stress, they increase to meet the demand.
Human Growth Hormone – HGH – Synthetic Human Growth Hormone increases lean mass, reduces body fat, and improves performance. However, it is naturally produced by the body and can be enhanced through exercise.
American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. (February 2018) “Aquatic Exercises in the Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of the Literature and Meta-Analysis of Eight Studies”
Gobbo, Stefano et al. “Physical Exercise Is Confirmed to Reduce Low Back Pain Symptoms in Office Workers: A Systematic Review of the Evidence to Improve Best Practices in the Workplace.” Journal of Functional morphology and kinesiology vol. 4,3 43. 5 Jul. 2019, doi:10.3390/jfmk4030043
Grabovac, Igor, and Thomas Ernst Dorner. “Association between low back pain and various everyday performances: Activities of daily living, ability to work and sexual function.” Wiener klinische Wochenschrift vol. 131,21-22 (2019): 541-549. doi:10.1007/s00508-019-01542-7
Preventive Medicine Reports. (2017.)“Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5153451/pdf/main.pdf
Selby, Sasha et al. “Facilitators and barriers to green exercise in chronic pain.” Irish Journal of medical science vol. 188,3 (2019): 973-978. doi:10.1007/s11845-018-1923-x
Many individuals will be looking up at the fireworks this 4th of July weekend. A word of caution when keeping the neck in one position for too long can cause neck discomfort and/or pain. Neck discomfort and pain can cause significant disruption with everyday activities. The neck is an area that is constantly in motion. Keeping it in one position for an extended period can cause damage/injury and spinal misalignment. Although neck pain often resolves on its own in a few days. However, it can lead to headaches or an inability to concentrate, affecting an individual’s quality of life. Here are some potential causes and remedies for decreasing neck discomfort and pain.
Keeping The Neck In One Position For Too Long Can Cause
Mechanical issues and imbalances in the upper spine, known as the cervical spine
Injury or trauma to the neck from the force and weight
Chronic neck misalignment
If symptoms come on suddenly, are severe, or result in neurological issues like severe shooting pain, tingling, numbness, or sudden loss of arm strength, seek medical attention immediately.
When the neck is strained or out of alignment, it disrupts nerve circulation integrity. Spinal misalignment is subtle in nature and can be difficult to detect without a professional examination. A chiropractor is trained to recognize any underlying issues to reset/realign the entire spine to optimal form. They will assess, guide, and treat the issue/s specific to the individual’s needs. Once the nerves are working uninhibited, a chiropractor can recommend neck exercises, stretches, and more to strengthen and prevent neck problems. When spinal alignment is restored, the body will begin to operate at full potential.
Healthy Body Composition
Meal Prep to Success
For individuals that want to eat less and change eating habits, change up the approach.
Meal prepping is a healthy habit that many have had success with because it helps achieve sustainable outcomes in weight loss. Every meal plan will vary for everyone.
First, individuals have different health goals.
Second, everyone has a different approach to their diet choices. For example, an individual might want to go low-carb and goes with the ketogenic diet. In comparison, some individuals are comfortable planning a week in advance and freezing labeled plastic containers.
Regardless of goals, dietary, or fitness preferences, a workable meal plan is recommended. The ultimate goal is to prevent feeling overwhelmed about planning the next healthy meal and resort to a junk food meal. To steer clear of unhealthy food choices and achieve a healthy body composition, here is a real-world tip to create and stick to a healthy meal plan.
Have a well-stocked fridge and pantry
Keeping to a meal plan is easier with a well-stocked fridge and pantry. Ensure to keep a list of essential groceries whenever going to the store to ensure plenty. This list of staples includes:
Having these ingredients ready to go means a healthy meal can be quickly put together when short on time.
Be realistic and make room for crazy days
You don’t have to come up with a seven-day weekly meal plan. It is important to change up the routine, so boredom doesn’t set in. Before planning and prepping several meals, double-check the calendar. Allow yourself some slack. This could be one or two lunches or dinners in a week just in case something comes up. If batch cooking, even schedule days for leftovers for that extra flexibility.
BMJ. 2017 Advances in the diagnosis and management of neck pain. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28807894/
Mayo Clin Proc. 2015. Epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of neck pain. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25659245/
Open Orthop J. 2016. A Qualitative Description of Chronic Neck Pain has Implications for Outcome Assessment and Classification. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5301418/
Phys Ther. 2018. A Mechanism-Based Approach to Physical Therapist Management of Pain. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6256939/
Maintaining the body’s musculoskeletal system and keeping it strong can be done through chiropractic and by managing general overall health. This system includes the:
These all work together to support the body’s weight and allow for movement.Injuries, disease, and aging can cause stiffness, pain, and other issues with mobility, function that can lead to various conditions and/or disease.
The musculoskeletal system
The skeleton provides the framework for the muscles and other soft tissues. Working together, they support the body’s weight, help to maintain proper posture and the ability for movement. Various disorders and conditions can lead to problems with the musculoskeletal system. This includes:
Focusing on overall health and maintaining it will keep the system in top form. This is done by:
Eating a healthy balanced diet
Maintaining a healthy weight
Regular physical activity/exercise
Chiropractic support will take the body to optimal health levels.
How does the system work?
The nervous system is the body’s central command center. It controls voluntary muscle movements. Voluntary muscles are controlled intentionally. Large muscle groups are utilized to do activities like lifting a large object. Smaller groups are used for movements, like pressing a button. Movement/motion occurs when:
The nervous system which includes the brain and nerves, transmits a signal to activate the skeletal/voluntary muscles.
The muscle fibers contract/tense in response to the signal.
When the muscle activates, it pulls on the tendon.
Tendons attach muscles to bones.
The tendon pulls the bone, generating movement.
For the muscle to relax, the nervous system sends another signal.
This signal triggers the muscle/s to relax/deactivate.
The relaxed muscle releases tension
The bone is moved to a resting position.
The musculoskeletal system functions to help stand, sit, walk, run and move in general. The adult body has 206 bones and more than 600 muscles. These are connected by ligaments, tendons, and soft tissues. The parts of the system are:
Bones support the body, protect organs and tissues, store calcium, fat and produce blood cells.
A bone’s outside shell encapsulates a spongy center.
Bones provide structure and form to the body.
They work with the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues to help with movement.
This is a type of connective tissue.
Cartilage provides cushion to the bones inside the joints, along the spine, and ribcage.
It is firm and rubbery.
It protects bones from rubbing against each other.
It is also found in the nose, ears, pelvis, and lungs.
Bones come together and form joints.
Some have a large range of motion, for example, the ball-and-socket shoulder joint.
Others, like the knee, allow bones to move back and forth but do not rotate.
Every muscle is made of thousands of fibers.
The muscles allow the body to move, sit upright, and remain still.
Some muscles help with running, dancing, and lifting.
Others are for writing, fastening something, talking, and swallowing.
Ligaments are made of tough collagen fibers
They connect the bones and provide stability to the joints.
Tendons connect the muscles to the bones.
They are made of fibrous tissue and collagen
They are tough but not as stretchable.
Conditions and disorders
Various conditions can cause problems with the musculoskeletal system. They can affect the way an individual moves. The most common causes of inflammation, pain, and mobility issues are:
With the natural aging process, bones lose density.
Less-dense bones can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures/broken bones.
As the body ages, muscles lose their mass, and cartilage starts to wear down.
This can lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
After an injury, an individual might not heal as quickly.
Pain, inflammation, and joint stiffness are the result of arthritis.
Older individuals are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. This is from the cartilage inside the joints breaking down. However, the condition can affect individuals of all ages.
Other types of arthritis also cause pain and inflammation. This includes:
Back pain and muscle spasms can result from muscle strains or injuries, for example, a herniated disc.
Some conditions like spinal stenosis and scoliosis can cause structural problems in the back.
This can lead to pain and limited mobility.
Different types of cancer affect the musculoskeletal system, for example, bone cancer.
Congenital abnormalities can affect the body’s structure, function, and appearance. For example, clubfoot is a common musculoskeletal condition that babies can be born with. It causes stiffness and reduces the range of motion.
A wide range of diseases can affect bones, muscles, and connective tissues functionality.
For example, osteonecrosiscauses the bones to deteriorate and the cells to die.
Other disorders, like fibrous dysplasia and brittle bone disease, cause the bones to fracture/break easily.
All types of injuries can affect bones, muscles, cartilage, and connective tissues.
Injuries can occur from repetitive overuse. Examples include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome, Bursitis, and Tendinitis
Injuries to the tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues can lead to chronic conditions.
Maintaining musculoskeletal health
Recommended ways of maintaining a healthy musculoskeletal system are to keep the bones and muscles healthy by getting:
Regular physical activity and exercise
This includes weight-bearing exercises combined with cardiovascular activities. Strengthening the muscles will support the joints and protect/prevent damage.
This is so the bones and muscles can recover and rebuild.
Maintain a healthy weight
Added weight places pressure on the bones and joints.
This causes various health problems.
If there is added weight, it is recommended to consult a health coach and nutritionist about a personalized weight-loss plan.
They can help make healthy food choices that will make for strong bones and include anti-inflammation foods.
Quit tobacco use
Smoking decreases blood flow in the body.
The bones, muscles, and soft tissues need proper blood circulation to maintain health.
Regular chiropractic adjustments
Adjustments will help maintain the body’s balance and alignment.
This, along with recommended stretches and exercises, will take the body to optimal health.
Healthy Body Composition
This is one of the best strength exercises for building general functional low body strength. The muscle groups that get worked include the:
Squats work almost every muscle in the legs. This also builds core strength to help with everyday movements like pushing, pulling, and lifting. There is no need to load added weight on the back to benefit from this exercise. Using the body’s weight is a perfect workout. This can be done with several variations once strength is built up. The objective is to focus on strict form for maximum effectiveness.
The feet should be shoulder-width apart.
Bend at the hips
Don’t let the knees go past the toes.
Lower the body until the thighs are parallel to the floor
American Chiropractic Association. Back Pain Facts and Statistics. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis-Related Statistics. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders & Ergonomics. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Merck Manuals. Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System. Accessed 1/5/2021.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Healthy Muscles Matter. Accessed 1/5/2021.
After an auto accident that might not have caused serious damage, individuals often believe that they’re fine only to find out later that there is a serious injury. How do these hidden injuries happen? It is because of the body’s fight or flight response that it activates into high gear. It does whatever is necessary to get out of harm’s way. The result is that individuals might not realize/discover that they have been injured until after the dangerous circumstances have passed. Auto accident doctors and chiropractors are very familiar with these types of hidden injuries.
The injuries sustained from non-damage-causing auto accidents are often not visible. This can be internal injuries and joint and muscle misalignments that can often only be seen through extensive x-rays, MRIs, or detailed physical examination. However, a professional chiropractor can determine the root causes of an injury from a single consultation.
Some injuries, like delayed whiplash, do not present immediately because it can take days for symptoms to develop. This is the most common injury caused by an auto accident. This is when the head snaps back and then forward rapidly/violently during a collision. The jolting back-and-forth motion causes muscle strain, sprain, which can stretch and/or tear the tendons and muscles in the neck. The injury can be worsened as the individual does not realize that they have this injury, and they turn, rotate, and crane their necks like normal. Symptoms include:
A stiff/tight neck
Dull neck pain
Upper back pain
Shoulder stiffness, aches, and pain
It is recommended to see a doctor or chiropractor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
Muscle, Tendon, and Ligament Injuries
Muscle, tendon, and/or ligament injuries can happen due to whiplash, but they can also happen in other parts of the body like the hands, elbows, knees, and ankles.
Contact Injuries Bruises and Swelling
Drivers and passengers can bruise and swell from contact with hard surfaces like the steering wheel, dashboard, and doors. Seat belts can also cause injury from quick/rapid braking or a crash.
This is when the brain forcefully makes contact with the skull resulting in bruising/injury to the brain. It is recommended to see a doctor immediately if any of the following are experienced after an auto accident:
Loss of balance/equilibrium when standing and walking
Difficulty remembering things
The spine can sustain separate injury/s or trauma as a result of an auto accident. This includes:
More symptoms can present after the shock wears off.
This often reveals severe, debilitating injury/s that affect the nerves and muscle control of different organs and body parts.
Bio-Chiropractic Treatment and Rehabilitation
One of the most effective and recommended ways to relieve pain and properly heal hidden injuries is chiropractic treatment and rehabilitation. A professional chiropractor can prevent further injuries from developing while easing and alleviating current pain.
No Medication Necessary
More people are becoming addicted to prescription medications following accidents and other trauma. Chiropractic care treats the cause of pain without medications. This allows the body to heal naturally and for movement to come back naturally.
Reduces Long Term Pain
Many continue to deal with back, neck, and other chronic pain conditions after an accident. Chiropractic gets to the root of the problem. The therapy sessions manipulate the body and help naturally restore the body’s total range of movement. A chiropractor will recommend exercises and stretches to keep the body strong and flexible to help prevent pain.
Reduces Scar Tissue
After the body goes through a trauma like an auto accident, muscles and ligaments can be stretched and torn. This can cause areas of internal scar tissue can develop. This can limit movement. Chiropractic helps reduce scar tissue by keeping the tissues loose and relaxed. This allows a normal range of movement.
Auto injury/s can lead to long-term inflammation that can make life miserable. Chiropractors are trained to spot hidden micro-tears that x-rays are not able to scan. However, it is microscopic tears inside the muscles that are often the leading cause of inflammation. With physical manipulation, the body will be able to rerelease IL-6 substances naturally. This is a vital anti-inflammatory.
Healthy Body Composition
Personalized Functional Medicine
Personalized functional medicine is a new model of medicine that considers an individualized approach when making health recommendations. The body works as an integrated system, not as individual parts. This form of medicine combines new technology approaches, including recent gene expression and life and behavioral sciences discoveries. Personalized functional medicine looks at the subject of nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is defined as the relationship between nutrients and gene expression. Like identifying individual body composition, nutrigenomics testing can help individuals understand how dietary components influence their genes. This can help prevent the development of chronic diseases.
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