Back Clinic Mobility & Flexibility: The human body retains a natural level to ensure all its structures are functioning properly. The bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues work together to allow a range of movement and maintaining proper fitness and balanced nutrition can help keep the body functioning properly. Great mobility means executing functional movements with no restrictions in the range of motion (ROM).
Remember that flexibility is a mobility component, but extreme flexibility really is not required to perform functional movements. A flexible person can have core strength, balance, or coordination but cannot perform the same functional movements as a person with great mobility. According to Dr. Alex Jimenez’s compilation of articles on mobility and flexibility, individuals who don’t stretch their body often can experience shortened or stiffened muscles, decreasing their ability to move effectively.
Can individuals dealing with joint pain incorporate acupuncture therapy to manage lupus symptoms and restore body mobility?
The immune system is highly important to the body as its main job is to protect vital structures from foreign invaders that can cause pain-like issues and discomfort. The immune system has a healthy relationship with the different body systems, including the musculoskeletal system, as the inflammatory cytokines help heal muscle and tissue damage when the body is injured. Over time, however, when normal environmental and genetic factors start to develop in the body, the immune system will begin to send out these cytokines to healthy, normal cells. To that point, the body starts at risk of developing autoimmune diseases. Now, autoimmune diseases in the body can cause havoc over time when they are not managed, leading to chronic disorders that can cause overlapping symptoms in the musculoskeletal system. One of the most common autoimmune diseases is systemic lupus erythematosus or lupus, and it can cause a person to be in consistent pain and discomfort while correlating with muscle and joint pain. Today’s article looks at the factors and effects of lupus, the burden of joint pain in lupus, and how holistic approaches like acupuncture can help manage lupus while restoring body mobility. We talk with certified medical providers who consolidate our patients’ information to assess how to minimize the pain effects caused by lupus on the joints. We also inform and guide patients on how acupuncture can help manage lupus and combine other therapies to reduce its pain-like symptoms affecting the musculoskeletal system. We encourage our patients to ask their associated medical providers intricate and important questions about incorporating acupuncture therapy to relieve the inflammatory effects of lupus while finding natural ways to restore mobility. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., includes this information as an academic service. Disclaimer.
The Factors & Effects Of Lupus
Have you been experiencing joint pain in your upper or lower extremities, making it difficult to function throughout the day? Have you been feeling the constant effects of fatigue? Many individuals experiencing these pain-like issues could risk developing systemic lupus erythematosus. In this autoimmune disease, the body’s own immune system mistakenly starts to attack its tissues, thus leading to inflammation and a range of pain-like symptoms. Lupis is tricky to diagnose because of its complex immune dysregulation that can lead to an overproduction of cytokines that can affect the body. (Lazar & Kahlenberg, 2023) At the same time, lupus can affect a diverse population, with symptoms and severity varying depending on how mild or severe the factors affect the body. Lupus can impact various body parts, including the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, and other vital body parts and organs, as environmental and hormonal factors can influence its development. (Tsang & Bultink, 2021) Additionally, lupus can be closely associated with other comorbidities that are causing overlapping risk profiles with inflammation that can affect the joints in the musculoskeletal system.
The Burden of Joint Pain In Lupus
Lupus is tricky to diagnose since it often mimics other ailments; the most common pain symptom that lupus affects is the joints. Individuals with lupus experience joint pain, which can cause inflammatory effects and structural damage to the joints, tendons, muscles, and bones, causing pathological abnormalities. (Di Matteo et al., 2021) Since lupus causes inflammatory effects in the joints, many individuals will think that they are experiencing inflammatory arthritis, and it can cause overlapping risk profiles as it is accompanied by lupus, thus causing localized pain in the joints regardless of its origin. (Senthelal et al., 2024) Joint pain in lupus individuals can significantly hinder daily activities, reducing mobility and overall quality of life as they are trying to find relief.
Unlocking The Secrets of Inflammation-Video
A Holistic Approach to Managing Lupus
While standard treatments for lupus involve medication and immunosuppressants to reduce the inflammation caused by lupus, many people want to seek out holistic approaches to manage lupus and reduce the inflammatory effects from affecting their joints by making small changes in their lives. Many people incorporate anti-inflammatory foods rich in antioxidants to dampen the inflammatory effects. Various supplements, like vitamin D, calcium, zinc, etc., can help reduce inflammation caused by lupus and strengthen bone health. Additionally, non-surgical treatments can even improve cardiorespiratory capacity and decrease fatigue while improving psychological function, which can help improve a person’s quality of life by managing the symptoms caused by lupus. (Fangtham et al., 2019)
How Acupuncture Could Help Lupus & Restore Mobility
One of the oldest forms of non-surgical and holistic approaches to reducing inflammation and managing lupus is acupuncture. Acupuncture involves solid, thin needles used by highly trained professionals to be inserted into specific body points to balance the body’s qi (energy) by stimulating the nervous system and releasing beneficial chemicals into the affected muscles, spinal cord, and brain. Additionally, acupuncture, with its minimal side effects and holistic approach, can help manage lupus. This is because when acupuncture needles are placed at the acupoints of the body, it can disrupt the pain signals that are causing pain in the affected area and regulate the inflammatory cytokines from lupus to provide relief. (Wang et al., 2023) This is due to its philosophy of addressing not only the physical pain but also the emotional and psychological symptoms of living with a chronic condition like lupus.
Additionally, acupuncture can help restore joint mobility while managing lupus through consecutive treatments, as many people notice that their joint mobility is improved and their pain is diminished. This is because the insertion and manipulation of the needles in the body’s acupoints cause alterations in afferent sensory input to the central nervous system, which increases alpha motoneuron excitability and reduces inflammation. (Kim et al., 2020) When individuals are dealing with lupus and are trying to find alternative holistic methods to relieve inflammation and joint pain caused by lupus, acupuncture, and non-surgical treatments can offer a ray of hope in managing the daily challenges of lupus.
Di Matteo, A., Smerilli, G., Cipolletta, E., Salaffi, F., De Angelis, R., Di Carlo, M., Filippucci, E., & Grassi, W. (2021). Imaging of Joint and Soft Tissue Involvement in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Curr Rheumatol Rep, 23(9), 73. doi.org/10.1007/s11926-021-01040-8
Fangtham, M., Kasturi, S., Bannuru, R. R., Nash, J. L., & Wang, C. (2019). Non-pharmacologic therapies for systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus, 28(6), 703-712. doi.org/10.1177/0961203319841435
Kim, D., Jang, S., & Park, J. (2020). Electroacupuncture and Manual Acupuncture Increase Joint Flexibility but Reduce Muscle Strength. Healthcare (Basel), 8(4). doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040414
Tsang, A. S. M. W. P., & Bultink, I. E. M. (2021). New developments in systemic lupus erythematosus. Rheumatology (Oxford), 60(Suppl 6), vi21-vi28. doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keab498
Wang, H., Wang, B., Huang, J., Yang, Z., Song, Z., Zhu, Q., Xie, Z., Sun, Q., & Zhao, T. (2023). Efficacy and safety of acupuncture therapy combined with conventional pharmacotherapy in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore), 102(40), e35418. doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000035418
Individuals in post-surgery recovery or dealing with illness or an injury can experience weakened muscles and endurance that can cause temporary loss of sleeping mobility and not being able to move around normally because of weakness, decreased range of motion, or pain. Can they benefit from physical therapy to help get back to normal functional mobility?
For individuals who are hospitalized or homebound from injury, illness, or surgical recovery, a physical therapist will assess various areas of functional mobility. These include transfers – from sitting to standing positions, walking, and sleeping mobility. Sleeping mobility is the ability to perform specific motions while in bed. A therapist can assess sleeping or bed mobility and recommend strategies and exercises to improve movements. (O’Sullivan, S. B., Schmitz, T. J. 2016) A therapist may have the individual use specific devices, like an over-the-bed trapeze or a sliding board, to help move around.
All of these movements require strength in different muscle groups. By checking out individual motions in sleeping mobility, a therapist can work out specific muscle groups that may be weak and require targeted exercises and stretches to restore mobility to normal. (O’Sullivan, S. B., Schmitz, T. J. 2016) Individuals visiting a therapist in an outpatient clinic or rehabilitation area may have the individual work on sleeping mobility on a treatment table. The same motions on the treatment table can be done in the bed.
The body is meant to move.
For individuals who cannot move comfortably on their bed, the body may suffer disuse atrophy or the wasting away of muscular strength, which can lead to increased difficulties. Not being able to move can also lead to pressure ulcers, especially for individuals who are severely deconditioned and/or remain in one position for a long period. Skin health may start to break down, leading to painful wounds that require specialized care. Being able to move around in bed can help prevent pressure ulcers. (Surajit Bhattacharya, R. K. Mishra. 2015)
A physical therapist can prescribe specific exercises to strengthen muscle groups and improve sleeping mobility. The muscles include:
Shoulder and rotator cuff muscles.
Triceps and biceps in the arms.
Gluteus muscles of the hips.
The shoulders, arms, hips, and legs work together when moving the body around the bed.
To improve bed movement, physical therapy exercises can include:
Physical therapists are trained to assess these motions and functions and prescribe treatments to improve body movement. (O’Sullivan, S. B., Schmitz, T. J. 2016) Maintaining appropriate physical fitness can help the body stay active and mobile. Performing mobility exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can keep the right muscle groups working properly, and working with a physical therapist can ensure the exercises are correct for the condition and are performed properly.
Bhattacharya, S., & Mishra, R. K. (2015). Pressure ulcers: Current understanding and newer modalities of treatment. Indian journal of plastic surgery : official publication of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India, 48(1), 4–16. doi.org/10.4103/0970-0358.155260
Sartori, D. V. B., Kawano, P. R., Yamamoto, H. A., Guerra, R., Pajolli, P. R., & Amaro, J. L. (2021). Pelvic floor muscle strength is correlated with sexual function. Investigative and clinical urology, 62(1), 79–84. doi.org/10.4111/icu.20190248
Raizada, V., & Mittal, R. K. (2008). Pelvic floor anatomy and applied physiology. Gastroenterology clinics of North America, 37(3), 493–vii. doi.org/10.1016/j.gtc.2008.06.003
Soave, I., Scarani, S., Mallozzi, M., Nobili, F., Marci, R., & Caserta, D. (2019). Pelvic floor muscle training for prevention and treatment of urinary incontinence during pregnancy and after childbirth and its effect on urinary system and supportive structures assessed by objective measurement techniques. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics, 299(3), 609–623. doi.org/10.1007/s00404-018-5036-6
Individuals with plantar fasciitis may experience consistent flare-ups. Can knowing the causes help to find pain relief?
Plantar Fasciitis Flare-Up
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel and foot pain. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and becomes inflamed. Certain factors can cause plantar fasciitis flare-ups, including:
How can spinal decompression reduce pain while restoring spinal flexibility in many individuals with lumbar degenerative disorders?
As we naturally age, so do our spines and spinal discs, as the natural fluids and nutrients stop hydrating the discs and cause them to degenerate. When disc degeneration starts to affect the spine, it can cause pain-like symptoms in the lumbar regions, which then develop into lower back pain or other musculoskeletal disorders that affect the lower extremities. When disc degeneration starts to affect the lumbar region, many individuals will notice that they are not as flexible as when they were younger. The physical signs of straining their muscles from improper lifting, falling, or carrying heavy objects can cause muscle strain and pain. When this happens, many individuals will treat the pain with home remedies, which can provide temporary relief but can aggravate it more when people make repetitive motions to their lumbar spine, which can result in injuries. Fortunately, non-surgical treatments that can help slow down the process of disc degeneration while rehydrating the spinal disc. Today’s article looks at why disc degeneration affects lumbar flexibility and how treatments like spinal decompression reduce disc degeneration while restoring lumbar flexibility. Coincidentally, we communicate with certified medical providers who incorporate our patients’ information to provide various treatment plans to reduce the disc degeneration process and provide pain relief. We also inform them that there are non-surgical options to reduce the pain-like symptoms associated with disc degeneration and help restore lumbar flexibility. We encourage our patients to ask amazing educational questions to our associated medical providers about their symptoms correlating with body pain in a safe and positive environment. Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., incorporates this information as an academic service. Disclaimer
How Does DDD Affect Lumbar Flexibility?
Have you been experiencing stiffness in your back when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel muscle aches and pains when bending down and picking up heavy objects? Or do you feel radiating pain in your legs and back? When many individuals are in excruciating pain, many don’t often realize that their lower back pain could also be associated with their spinal disc degenerating. Since the spinal disc and the body can degenerate naturally, it can lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders. DDD, or degenerative disc disease, is a common disabling condition that can greatly impact the musculoskeletal system and is the main cause of individuals missing out on their daily activities. (Cao et al., 2022) When normal or traumatic factors begin to cause repetitive motions to the spine, it can cause the spinal disc to be compressed and, over time, degenerate. This, in turn, causes the spine to be less flexible and becomes a socio-economic challenge.
When disc degeneration starts to cause spinal inflexibility, it can lead to the development of low back pain. Since low back pain is a common health concern, it can affect many individuals worldwide, as disc degeneration is a common factor. (Samanta et al., 2023) Since disc degeneration is a multi-factorial disorder, the musculoskeletal and organ systems are also affected as it can cause referred pain to different body locations. Luckily, many individuals can find the treatment they are looking for, as many seek relief from the many pain issues that disc degeneration has caused.
Lumbar Spine Injuries In Athletes- Video
Since disc degeneration is a multi-factorial cause of disability, it can become a primary source of back pain. When normal factors contribute to back pain, it likely correlates with disc degeneration and can cause cellular, structural, compositional, and mechanical changes throughout the spine. (Ashinsky et al., 2021) However, many individuals seeking treatment can look into non-surgical therapies as they are cost-effective and safe on the spine. Non-surgical treatments are safe and gentle on the spine as they can be customizable to the person’s pain and combined with other treatment forms. One of the non-surgical treatments is spinal decompression, which uses gentle traction on the spine to rehydrate the spinal disc from degeneration and help kick-start the body’s natural healing process. The video above shows how disc degeneration is correlated with disc herniation and how these treatments can reduce its pain-like effects on the spine.
Spinal Decompression Reducing DDD
When many individuals are going in for treatment for disc degeneration, many will often try spinal decompression as it is affordable. Many healthcare professionals will assess the individual by creating a personalized plan before entering the traction machine. Many individuals will get a CT scan to assess the changes caused by DDD. (Dullerud & Nakstad, 1994) This determines how severe the disc space is. The traction machine for spinal decompression determines the optimal treatment duration, frequency, and mode of administrating traction to the spine to reduce DDD. (Pellecchia, 1994) Additionally, the efficiency of traction from spinal decompression can help many people with low back and provide relief. (Beurskens et al., 1995)
Ashinsky, B., Smith, H. E., Mauck, R. L., & Gullbrand, S. E. (2021). Intervertebral disc degeneration and regeneration: a motion segment perspective. Eur Cell Mater, 41, 370-380. doi.org/10.22203/eCM.v041a24
Beurskens, A. J., de Vet, H. C., Koke, A. J., Lindeman, E., Regtop, W., van der Heijden, G. J., & Knipschild, P. G. (1995). Efficacy of traction for non-specific low back pain: a randomised clinical trial. Lancet, 346(8990), 1596-1600. doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(95)91930-9
Cao, G., Yang, S., Cao, J., Tan, Z., Wu, L., Dong, F., Ding, W., & Zhang, F. (2022). The Role of Oxidative Stress in Intervertebral Disc Degeneration. Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2022, 2166817. doi.org/10.1155/2022/2166817
Can healthcare professionals help individuals with spinal pain by incorporating non-surgical spinal decompression to restore mobility?
Many individuals don’t realize that putting unwanted pressure on their spines can lead to chronic pain within their spinal discs that is affecting their spinal mobility. This usually happens with demanding jobs requiring individuals to carry heavy objects, step wrong, or be physically inactive, which causes the surrounding back muscles to be overstretched and leads to referred pain that affects the upper and lower body portions. This can cause individuals to go to their primary doctors to get treated for back pain. This leads to them missing out on their busy work schedules and paying a high price to get treated. Back pain correlating with spinal issues can be a huge problem and make them feel miserable. Fortunately, numerous clinical options are cost-effective and personalized to many individuals dealing with spinal pain that is causing them to find the relief they deserve. Today’s article focuses on why spinal pain affects many people and how spinal decompression can help reduce spinal pain and restore spinal mobility. Coincidentally, we communicate with certified medical providers who incorporate our patients’ information to provide various treatment plans to reduce spinal pain affecting their backs. We also inform them that there are non-surgical options to reduce the pain-like symptoms associated with spinal issues in the body. We encourage our patients to ask amazing educational questions to our associated medical providers about their symptoms correlating with body pain in a safe and positive environment. Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., incorporates this information as an academic service. Disclaimer
Why Spinal Pain Is Affecting Many People?
Have you often experienced pain from your back muscles that seem to ache after bending down constantly to pick up objects? Do you or your loved ones feel muscle stiffness in the back and experience numbness in your upper or lower body portions? Or are you experiencing temporary relief after stretching your back muscles, only for the pain to return? Many individuals with back pain never realize that their pain is within their spinal column. Since the spine is an S-curve shape with three different regions in the body, the spinal discs within each spinal segment can become compressed and become misaligned over time. This causes degenerative changes within the spine and can cause the three different spinal regions to develop pain-like issues in the body. When several environmental factors start to be the causes of degeneration of the spinal discs, it can affect the spinal structure. It can become a strong influence affecting their function, predisposing the disc to injuries. (Choi, 2009) At the same time, this can cause a significant impact when getting treated due to its high cost and can start normal age-related changes that cause pathophysiological issues to the vertebral body. (Gallucci et al., 2005)
When many individuals are dealing with spinal pain associated with herniated discs, it can not only cause discomfort but also mimic other musculoskeletal disorders that can cause radiating pain to different locations in the body. (Deyo et al., 1990) This, in turn, causes individuals to suffer constantly and research various treatments to reduce the pain they are experiencing. When spinal pain affects most individuals, many will seek cost-effective therapies to ease the pain they are experiencing and to be mindful of the daily habits they adopt over time and correct them.
Spinal Decompression In-Depth- Video
Do you often feel constant muscle aches and pains in your body that are your general areas of complaint? Do you feel your muscles pull uncomfortably after lifting or carrying a heavy object? Or do you feel constant stress in your neck, shoulders, or back? When many individuals are dealing with general pain, they often assume that it is just back pain when it could be a spinal issue that can be the root cause of the pain they are experiencing. When this happens, many individuals opt for non-surgical treatments due to its cost-effectiveness and how it can be personalized depending on the severity of the pain. One of the non-surgical treatments is spinal decompression/traction therapy. The video above gives an in-depth look at how spinal decompression can help reduce spinal pain associated with low back pain. Spinal pain can increase with age and be provoked by extreme lumbar extension, so incorporating spinal decompression can help reduce pain in the upper and lower extremities. (Katz et al., 2022)
How Spinal Decompression Can Reduce Spinal Pain
When individuals develop spinal issues, spinal decompression can help restore the spine to its original position and help the body naturally heal itself. When something is out of place within the spine, it is important to naturally restore it to its proper place to allow the affected muscles to heal. (Cyriax, 1950) Spinal decompression uses gentle traction to pull the spinal joints to let the spinal disc back in its original position and help increase fluid intake back in the spine. When people start incorporating spinal decompression into their health and wellness routine, they can reduce their spinal pain after a few consecutive treatments.
Spinal Decompression Restoring Spinal Mobility
Spinal decompression can also be incorporated with other non-surgical treatments to restore spinal mobility. When pain specialists utilize spinal decompression within their practices, they can help treat various musculoskeletal conditions, including spinal disorders, to allow the individual to regain spinal mobility. (Pettman, 2007) At the same time, pain specialists can use mechanical and manual manipulation to reduce the pain the individual feels. When spinal decompression starts to use gentle traction on the spine, it can help minimize radical pain correlated with nerve entrapment, create negative pressure within the spinal sections, and relieve musculoskeletal disorders causing pain. (Daniel, 2007) When people start thinking more about their health and wellness to reduce their pain, spinal decompression can be the answer through a personalized plan and can help many individuals find the relief they deserve.
Daniel, D. M. (2007). Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy: does the scientific literature support efficacy claims made in the advertising media? Chiropr Osteopat, 15, 7. doi.org/10.1186/1746-1340-15-7
For individuals with a broken collarbone, can conservative treatment help in the rehabilitation process?
Broken collarbones are very common orthopedic injuries that can occur in any age group. Also known as the clavicle, it is the bone over the top of the chest, between the breastbone/sternum and the shoulder blade/scapula. The clavicle can be easily seen because only skin covers a large part of the bone. Clavicle fractures are extremely common, and account for 2% – 5% of all fractures. (Radiopaedia. 2023) Broken collarbones occur in:
Babies – usually during birth.
Children and adolescents – because the clavicle does not fully develop until the late teens.
Athletes – because of the risks of being hit or falling.
Through various types of accidents and falls.
The majority of broken collarbones can be treated with nonsurgical treatments, usually, with a sling to let the bone heal and physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Sometimes, when clavicle fractures are significantly shifted out of alignment, surgical treatment may be recommended.
There are treatment options that should be discussed with an orthopedic surgeon, physical therapist, and/or a chiropractor.
A broken collarbone is not more serious than other broken bones.
Once the broken bone heals, most individuals have a full range of motion and can return to the activities before the fracture. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2023)
Broken clavicle injuries are separated into three types depending on the location of the fracture. (Radiopaedia. 2023)
Mid-Shaft Clavicle Fractures
These occur in the central area which can be a simple crack, separation, and/or fractured into many pieces.
Multiple breaks – segmental fractures.
Significant displacement – separation.
Shortened length of the bone.
Distal Clavicle Fractures
These happen close to the end of the collarbone at the shoulder joint.
This part of the shoulder is called the acromioclavicular/AC joint.
Distal clavicle fractures can have similar treatment options as an AC joint injury.
Medial Clavicle Fractures
These are less common and often related to injury to the sternoclavicular joint.
The sternoclavicular joint supports the shoulder and is the only joint that connects the arm to the body.
Growth plate fractures of the clavicle can be seen into the late teens and early 20s.
Edwin, J., Ahmed, S., Verma, S., Tytherleigh-Strong, G., Karuppaiah, K., & Sinha, J. (2018). Swellings of the sternoclavicular joint: review of traumatic and non-traumatic pathologies. EFORT open reviews, 3(8), 471–484. doi.org/10.1302/2058-5241.3.170078
IFM's Find A Practitioner tool is the largest referral network in Functional Medicine, created to help patients locate Functional Medicine practitioners anywhere in the world. IFM Certified Practitioners are listed first in the search results, given their extensive education in Functional Medicine