ClickCease
+1-915-850-0900 spinedoctors@gmail.com
Select Page

Chiropractic

Back Clinic Chiropractic. This is a form of alternative treatment that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of various musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, especially those associated with the spine. Dr. Alex Jimenez discusses how spinal adjustments and manual manipulations regularly can greatly help both improve and eliminate many symptoms that could be causing discomfort to the individual. Chiropractors believe among the main reasons for pain and disease are the vertebrae’s misalignment in the spinal column (this is known as a chiropractic subluxation).

Through the usage of manual detection (or palpation), carefully applied pressure, massage, and manual manipulation of the vertebrae and joints (called adjustments), chiropractors can alleviate pressure and irritation on the nerves, restore joint mobility, and help return the body’s homeostasis. From subluxations, or spinal misalignments, to sciatica, a set of symptoms along the sciatic nerve caused by nerve impingement, chiropractic care can gradually restore the individual’s natural state of being. Dr. Jimenez compiles a group of concepts on chiropractic to best educate individuals on the variety of injuries and conditions affecting the human body.


Chiropractic and Spinal Health

Chiropractic and Spinal Health

Chiropractic and spinal health. Most individuals seek out chiropractic care only after an injury and when pain presents. Because traditional medical care tends to focus on treating disorders and diseases, individuals are used to seeking care only when something is imbalanced. For many, chiropractic is known for its ability to resolve back and neck pain, correct postural misalignments, manage acute or chronic conditions and accelerate the healing of injuries. Chiropractic is different in that it is a tool for increasing overall wellness and vitality when no injury or imbalance is present.

Chiropractic and Spinal Health

Chiropractic and Spinal Health

Chiropractic is an invaluable treatment that raises the baseline of an individual’s health by:

  • Increasing performance
  • Extending lifespan and longevity
  • Improving overall comfort
  • Increasing agility in the body

Chiropractic helps to achieve these transformational results by improving the function of the:

  • Circulatory system
  • Immune system
  • Respiratory system
  • Muscular system
  • Nervous system
  • Skeletal system

Circulation Increased

The circulation system includes the heart and its chambers, arteries, veins, lungs, lobes, and capillaries. The structures within this system move blood, nutrients, and waste throughout the body. The quality of health and life depends on the level of functioning in this system. The better and more efficient the tissues receive clean blood, nutrients, and oxygen, the better the body is able to utilize these building blocks to achieve whatever function is required. The slower and more unclean these building blocks, the lower quality of function. The nervous system is the communication system that includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves that run throughout the body. Everything in the body and the work functions as a result of this communication system.

The circulatory system relies on the communication that runs through the nervous system, which is housed in the spine. If the spine is misaligned, moving improperly, or sustaining an injury, it can interfere with the function of the communication. Regular chiropractic care increases the health levels of the nervous system by keeping the spine as healthy and flexible as possible. The muscles are kept loose, which promotes blood flow, and the flow and movement of waste in the lymphatic system. Individuals that receive regular adjustments report:

  • Enhanced perception of sensations in their extremities.
  • Warmer hands and feet.
  • Improved cognitive response and clarity.
  • Decrease or eliminate tingling and numbness.
  • Maintaining the proper range of motion of the spine also facilitates better function and movement of the whole body.

Immune Response Improvement

Regular chiropractic improves immune responses that leads to improved response against foreign invaders and disease, fewer instances of illness, exhaustion, fatigue, and inflammation. When expert chiropractic and spinal health intervention is delivered it helps to realign bones and joints, alleviate muscle tension, and restore nerve function. The body immediately experiences a decrease in stress, downregulation of stress hormones and chemicals in the body leads to a reduction in inflammation.

Increased Mobility & Flexibility

Chiropractic helps to improve physical mobility and flexibility in the muscular and skeletal systems. This is accomplished through manual manipulation to restore ideal posture and achieve a balanced skeletal structure. Manual manipulation is also used to soften and relax tense muscles which have developed abnormalities to compensate for incorrect posture. When skeletal structure, muscular imbalances, and strain are corrected, the result is improved mobility and flexibility.

Pain Symptoms Are Decreased

Pain originates from the nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems. Chiropractic can help with back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, migraines, nerve and sciatic pain, and other conditions and forms of discomfort. The origin of the pain can include:

  • Postural imbalance
  • Muscle tension
  • Damage from accident or injury
  • Spinal degeneration

Chiropractic and spinal health care helps soothe and de-inflame the comprised areas, allowing the natural healing systems to intervene and promote long-term reduction of discomfort and pain.

Bending, Standing, Sitting Activities Improve

For many individuals, bending, standing, and sitting are normal movements they engage in every day. This can be part of work occupation, school, house chores, etc, and for many these movements and positions can become painful over long durations of time and when it is repetitive. Regular chiropractic and spinal health treatment can restore optimal posture in the body, soothe strained and tense muscles, and resolve disrupted nerve energy flow which often leads to nerve pain like sciatica.


Body Composition


Pregnancy Hypertension

Hypertension in pregnancy falls into one of three categories. It can range from benign and easily controlled to serious with increased medical risks. This makes monitoring blood pressure important to individual health risks. The risks for hypertension in pregnancy include:

  • Early delivery
  • Decreased oxygen to the placenta
  • Potential heart disease

The main types of hypertension in pregnancy.

Chronic hypertension

Chronic hypertension is a pre-existing condition known prior to pregnancy.

  • Individuals that are aware of elevated blood pressure before becoming pregnant, a doctor will diagnose the individual with chronic hypertension.
  • A doctor will use diagnostic criteria to determine if chronic hypertension is present prior to getting pregnant.

Gestational hypertension

Gestational hypertension develops during pregnancy.

  • Gestational hypertension is not preventable and typically returns to normal levels postpartum.
  • However, risk increases for later developing chronic hypertension is higher if gestational hypertension presents.
  • According to Mayo Clinic, gestational hypertension is diagnosed by the following criteria:
  1. At least 20 weeks gestation
  2. Blood pressure is greater than 140/90 on two occasions
  3. Must be documented more than four hours apart
  4. No other organ damage is present

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is the most serious.

Preeclampsia develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is associated with a sharp spike in blood pressure levels. Notable symptoms include:

  • Sudden fluid swelling
  • Chronic headaches
  • Changes in vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain
References

Brown, Richard A. “Spinal Health: The Backbone of Chiropractic’s Identity.” Journal of chiropractic humanities vol. 23,1 22-28. 8 Sep. 2016, doi:10.1016/j.echu.2016.07.002

Bussières, André E et al. “Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Other Conservative Treatments for Low Back Pain: A Guideline From the Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 41,4 (2018): 265-293. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2017.12.004

Maher, Jennifer L et al. “Exercise and Health-Related Risks of Physical Deconditioning After Spinal Cord Injury.” Topics in spinal cord injury rehabilitation vol. 23,3 (2017): 175-187. doi:10.1310/sci2303-175

Meeker, William C, and Scott Haldeman. “Chiropractic: a profession at the crossroads of mainstream and alternative medicine.” Annals of internal medicine vol. 136,3 (2002): 216-27. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-136-3-200202050-00010

Nerve Injury

Nerve Injury

A nerve injury is often caused by a sudden traumatic event, like a slip and fall, personal or work injury, an automobile accident, or a sports injury. Overall stresses of the body from poor posture and being overweight can also lead to nerve pain over time, known as cumulative trauma. Where ligaments and bones are not aligned correctly, nerve pain and damage can occur. When nerve pain presents, there is pressure being placed on that nerve/s. Nerve pain symptoms include burning, tingling, or numbness-type sensations in the tissues controlled by that nerve. Orthopedic and neurologic testing will determine what specific nerve is affected. Chiropractic adjustments realign the spine and relieve the pressure on the nerve, thus eliminating the pain and correcting the problem.

Nerve Injury

Nerve Injury

Too much pressure from surrounding tissues compresses and irritates the nerve and interrupts its ability to function correctly. Pinched nerves are most vulnerable at points in the body where they pass through narrow spaces and have little to no soft tissue protection. Symptoms include:

  • Pins and Needles Sensation
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Weakness

A pinched nerve can decrease the range of motion and cause muscle spasms. If left untreated, a nerve injury can leave an individual with chronic pain and lead to permanent nerve damage.

Tingling and Numbness

Tingling and numbness are unusual or unpleasant physical sensations, most commonly experienced in the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and toes. Tingling and numbness come in two forms:

Paresthesia

  • A feeling of pins and needles on the skin or the sensation of the hand or arm having fallen asleep.
  • Paresthesia can be a result of reduced blood flow to the region. This can be caused by external pressure that constricts the blood vessels.

Dysesthesia

  • This is a more persistent sensation resembling itching, burning, electric shock, or tightening pain.

 Injuries to the nervous system can also produce numbness and tingling, even in areas nowhere near the actual injury. Examples include:

  • Neck pain from a neck injury can cause numbness or tingling in the hand or arm.
  • A low back injury can result in tingling in the back of the leg.

Other possible causes include:

  • Inflammation that puts pressure on nerves
  • Trigger points in the muscles
  • Enlarged blood vessels
  • Tumors
  • Myofascial adhesions
  • Scar tissue
  • Infection
  • Lesions on the spinal disc/s
  • Diabetes
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug abuse

Chiropractic Treatment

To determine the appropriate course of treatment, a doctor of chiropractic must diagnose the cause of the nerve injury. Depending on the nature or severity of the sensation, the examination will include:

  • Muscle tests
  • Range-of-motion tests
  • Neurological tests
  • Orthopedic tests

The chiropractor will palpate the effective areas and order imaging tests like X-rays if necessary. If further testing is needed to diagnose the source of the nerve injury, the doctor may order an MRI or CT scan. Once the underlying condition is diagnosed, a chiropractor will develop a treatment plan to eliminate irritation, correct misalignments causing pressure, and restore proper nerve function. Treatment plans vary from case to case but can include:

  • Therapeutic Massage
  • Body adjustments
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Heat and Ice

The objective is to relieve/release the pressure on the nerves. Chiropractic adjustments help reposition the muscles and nerves. Deep-tissue massage helps to release tension and eliminate toxins that worsen the sensations. Treatment improves circulation and relieves pressure on the neural pathways necessary to restore normal neural signaling between the body and the brain.


Body Composition


Why The Brain Needs Sugar

The brain needs half of all the body’s energy supply because of its complex nerve cell system. The brain requires glucose for brain cell energy. Because neurons can’t store energy, they need a continuous fuel supply to function correctly from the bloodstream. The ability to think, learn and recall information is closely associated with glucose levels. When blood glucose levels are low, the ability to think is inhibited as the production of chemical messengers/neurotransmitters, are reduced, disrupting communication between the neurons. Natural sugar can boost brain health because it requires glucose for functioning. Sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream when taken naturally from sources like apples and bananas, keeping the energy levels steady, without craving more sugar.

References

Ameh, Victor, and Steve Crane. “Nerve injury following shoulder dislocation: the emergency physician’s perspective.” European journal of emergency medicine: official journal of the European Society for Emergency Medicine vol. 13,4 (2006): 233-5. doi:10.1097/01.mej.0000206190.62201.ad

Nichols, J S, and K O Lillehei. “Nerve injury associated with acute vascular trauma.” The Surgical clinics of North America vol. 68,4 (1988): 837-52. doi:10.1016/s0039-6109(16)44589-5

Ruggiero, S L. “Trigeminal nerve injury and repair.” The New York state dental journal vol. 62,8 (1996): 36-40.

Welch, J A. “Peripheral nerve injury.” Seminars in veterinary medicine and surgery (small animal) vol. 11,4 (1996): 273-84. doi:10.1016/s1096-2867(96)80020-x

WOODHALL, B. “Peripheral nerve injury.” The Surgical clinics of North America (1954): 1147-65. doi:10.1016/s0039-6109(16)34299-2

Flat Back Syndrome

Flat Back Syndrome

Individuals believe that maintaining a straight/flat back is healthy. However, the back is made up of natural curves that allow flexibility and optimal movement. If there is a lack of these curves, it can lead to spine issues, discomfort, and pain. A common problem to develop from a spine lacking natural curvature is abnormal kyphosis. This is when the natural curve in the thoracic spine – mid-back or lumbar spine – low back disappears, which results in a flat back. Restoring the curvature can be challenging, as flatback syndrome requires chiropractic adjustments to gently shift and realign the spine back into a healthy curve and re-train the spine to maintain the curve.

Flat Back Syndrome

Causes of Flat Back Syndrome

Flatback syndrome is usually a result of muscle tightness in the lower back muscles, specifically in the psoas muscle. Or it could be degenerative disc disease, where the cartilage supporting the spine begins to weaken. Other causes include arthritis and osteoporosis. Practicing unhealthy posture habits can worsen these conditions, speeding up the loss of the spine’s curvature. Loss of spinal curvature does not occur rapidly, as the body will begin to present with symptoms. The following symptoms could be an indication:

  • Fatigue when trying to stand upright
  • Balance problems
  • Restricted mobility
  • Muscle spasms
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Thigh pain
  • Groin pain
  • Disc herniation

Back pain and problems with balance are the earliest warning signs of flatback syndrome.

Symptoms

Flatback symptoms usually get worse as the day progresses, with a sense of fatigue and increasing difficulty to stand upright. Individuals tend to flex or bend their hips and knees to get into an upright position. This can become an exhausting process as the day progresses. Individuals can also have symptoms of sciatica and/or spinal stenosis with leg pain and weakness that gets worse when walking. Neck and upper back pain can begin to present while straining to align themselves. The symptoms become disabling, often requiring pain medications that limit the individual’s ability to perform daily activities.

Realignment Treatment

A chiropractor must determine the severity of the deviation through a thorough assessment and examination. This shows the loss of curvature to help a chiropractor plan a realignment/remodeling adjustment schedule. Restoring a natural kyphosis is done through a combination of adjustments and bracing. Scheduled spinal adjustments will realign and shift the vertebrae back to neutral, while a back brace supports to prevent any deviation. Stretching and exercising relevant muscle groups is also part of a chiropractic treatment plan. An example is core exercises for strengthening the muscles supporting the spine.


Body Composition


Personalized Nutrition

Because the body is so complex and dynamic, there is no perfect fit when it comes to diet, exercise, or a combination. Fad diets typically recommend that individuals adhere to the same eating guidelines, indicating they will reach an expected result like fat loss. These diets work because they focus on a simple reduction in calorie intake, especially processed and fast foods. The problem is that some of these fad diets can restrict critical nutrients that negatively affect an individual’s health. More information about an individual’s body and how it works is an excellent resource in improving body composition and overall health. Personalized nutrition is an innovative and favorable approach to preventing and treating obesity and related conditions. This approach identifies:

  • Genetic markers
  • Dietary patterns
  • Environment
  • Metabolism

Educated recommendations can be made based on these factors.

References

Drabsch, Theresa, and Christina Holzapfel. “A Scientific Perspective of Personalised Gene-Based Dietary Recommendations for Weight Management.” Nutrients vol. 11,3 617. 14 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11030617

Farcy, J P, and F J Schwab. “Management of flatback and related kyphotic decompensation syndromes.” Spine vol. 22,20 (1997): 2452-7. doi:10.1097/00007632-199710150-00025

Lee, Chang-Hyun, et al. “‘Lumbar Degenerative Kyphosis’ Is Not Byword for Degenerative Sagittal Imbalance: Time to Replace a Misconception.” Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society vol. 60,2 (2017): 125-129. doi:10.3340/jkns.2016.0607.001

Lu, Daniel C, and Dean Chou. “Flatback syndrome.” Neurosurgery clinics of North America vol. 18,2 (2007): 289-94. doi:10.1016/j.nec.2007.01.007

Wiggins, Gregory C et al. “Management of iatrogenic flat-back syndrome.” Neurosurgical focus vol. 15,3 E8. 15 Sep. 2003, doi:10.3171/foc.2003.15.3.8

Gentle Yoga Poses After Spinal Fusion Surgery

Gentle Yoga Poses After Spinal Fusion Surgery

Recovery and rehabilitation after spinal fusion surgery take time. Gentle yoga poses can help expedite recovery from spinal fusion surgery and are recommended in a rehabilitation program. The spine is the body’s central support structure that allows the body to stand upright, bend, and stay balanced. However, an individual may need to have vertebrae fused to repair painful back problems. Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that permanently connects/fuses two or more vertebrae into a single bone. The procedure is done to help:

  • Correct a deformity
  • Improve stability
  • Reduce pain

At the beginning of the recovery process, the doctor may recommend light physical activity like walking. As the spine continues to heal, moderate exercise is essential for optimal recovery. Doctors are recommending gentle yoga to increase mobility, flexibility and regain strength.

Gentle Yoga Poses After Spinal Fusion Surgery

Gentle Yoga and Spine Surgery Recovery

Yoga has become a way to stretch the body, exercise, promote physical and mental well-being. There are different styles of yoga, ranging from gentle stretching to advanced poses. Yoga focuses on stretching, coordination, and balance. When stretching the body, the range of motion is improved. Yoga also helps improve balance and increases strength to reduce the risk of falls and injuries. Gentle yoga after spinal fusion benefits include:

  • Pain relief
  • Stress reduction
  • Improved mental health
  • Increased flexibility and strength
  • Improved balance
  • Increase in energy levels

Gentle yoga after surgery focuses on an improved range of motion/coordination of the arms and legs with the torso. This allows the spine to safely flex, not become stiff, and avoid strain, leading to fuller activity.

When To Begin Yoga After Spinal Fusion?

A reduced range of motion and loss of muscle mass is expected in the weeks and months following surgery. The healthcare/rehabilitation team will address this through exercise and physical therapy once the doctor clears the individual to begin rehabilitation training. The doctor will use some form of diagnostic imaging to determine if the vertebrae have fully fused before giving the ok for exercise. Most individuals can begin light physical activity four to six weeks after the procedure. If the fusion surgery was fused in only one place, individuals could start gentle yoga poses within two to three months. For a multi-level fusion surgery, individuals may need to wait four to six months after the procedure before they can safely begin.

Yoga Recovery Program

It’s essential to take it slow and steady when first beginning yoga after spinal fusion. As the body continues to heal, gradually add more challenging poses and stretches to the routine. This is a graduated recovery program separated into stages to help the individual build back strength and flexibility. In the first stages of recovery, gentle poses that have minimal effects on the spine are recommended. These include:

A few weeks to a month later, with the doctor’s clearance, the individual can advance to poses that stretch/flex the spine a little more, including:

Eventually, individuals can slowly increase the challenge further, with poses like:

Garudasana – Eagle pose
Gomukhasana – Cow Face pose
Vasisthasana – Side plank pose

It’s crucial to listen to the body as a guide when moving through the poses, no matter what stage of recovery. The fusion needs time to heal and stabilize, so any poses that involve twisting movements and flexing should be avoided. Seek advice if there is confusion about how or whether or not to proceed. It is recommended to work with an experienced yoga teacher after spinal fusion. A knowledgeable instructor can guide with the poses, inform which poses to avoid and make modifications to get the most out of the gentle poses.


Body Composition


How Heat Affects Basal Metabolic Rate

Gender, height, and age influence Basal Metabolic Rate. These are factors individuals cannot control or change. However, individuals can increase the calories the body burns by regulating body temperature. Both the internal and external temperatures influence metabolic rate. The chemical reactions that contribute to metabolism happen more quickly if the temperature is higher, as the body works harder to restore normal temperature balance. For example, when a fever is present, the Basal Metabolic Rate will jump up to a much higher rate than usual to increase the speed of cellular metabolic reactions to combat the fever and get the body back to a healthy state. When it comes to external temperature, it’s only prolonged exposure to heat that raises the Basal Metabolic Rate.

References

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (June 2018). “Spinal Fusion.” https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/spinal-fusion/

Gillooly, James F, and Andrew P Allen. “Changes in body temperature influence the scaling of VO2max and aerobic scope in mammals.” Biology letters vol. 3,1 (2007): 99-102. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0576

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (February 2020) “Yoga for Health: What the Science Says.” https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/yoga-for-health-science

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (April 2021) “Yoga: What You Need to Know.” https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga-what-you-need-to-know

Pelvic Floor Pain and Back Pain

Pelvic Floor Pain and Back Pain

The pelvic floor is essentially the spine, and when pain presents, it can be mistaken for back pain. However, these two conditions are frequently linked. The National Institutes of Health- NIH reported that a quarter of women are impacted by pelvic floor disorders and up to 16% of men. The pelvic floor is made up of muscles. If the muscles begin to spasm, they can spread pain upwards and even downwards. This is where the misdiagnosis of lower back pain comes in.

Pelvic Floor Pain and Back Pain

The Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is comprised of muscles and connective tissue, known as fascia. The muscles and fascia intertwine, creating a support system for the pelvic organs. The pelvic floor muscles act as a spring system that supports the organs. When downward pressure is applied, and the spring system is working correctly, they push back up to support the muscles. These muscles create the base known as the core. The core muscles support the abdomen, diaphragm, and back muscles, supporting the spine. This is why back, pelvic pain is prevalent as these muscles are interconnected.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Back Pain

If there is pelvic floor dysfunction, there is an inability to control the muscles. There can be too much or insufficient tension, resulting in urinary incontinence or inability to complete bowel movements. It can also be mistaken for back pain or contributes to pelvic and low back pain. The core muscles support the torso and promote stabilization during movement. If they are not working correctly, the torso and pelvis become unstable. The SI – sacroiliac joints linked with the pelvis and the lower spine can begin to present with posterior pelvic and back pain.

Symptoms

Dysfunction can present in several ways, including:

Causes of Dysfunction

Causes of dysfunction include:

  • Weakness of the muscles or tight muscles.
  • Vaginal dryness by a lack of estrogen during menopause.
  • Tight inner thigh muscles.
  • Back pain itself can cause dysfunction.

Women make up the majority of cases that result from:

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Endometriosis – a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus.

Men can also develop problems. As a man’s body ages, prostate problems can cause urinary leakage and frequency problems. It can develop from activities like bicycling. The seat can compress the pudendal nerve, causing pain and dysfunction.

Retraining the Muscles

The dysfunction can be helped by reactivating and strengthening the pelvic and core muscles. Training the pelvic floor and the core muscles will help boost support for the spine and alleviate discomfort and pain. First, it is recommended to get a physical evaluation by a chiropractor or physical therapist to determine if the pelvic floor muscles are too tight or weak. The objective is to improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles or relax them if they are too tight. A chiropractor and physical therapist can work on the muscles, educate on stretches, exercises, nutrition, and offer additional help and support.


Body Composition


Muscle Adaptation

The point of resistance training is to get the muscles to function more effectively. It begins with the contractile proteins that control muscle shortening and lengthening. Resistance exercise can cause some of the proteins to get pulled apart. The stress the muscles experience is the stimulus for the muscles to rebuild bigger, stronger, or more powerful. After resistance exercise, the muscle synthesizes proteins helped by nutritional stimuli and protein consumption. Satellite cells also activate to help build up the broken-down muscle. Resistance exercise causes activation.

References

Cleveland Clinic. (2020). “Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.” https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14459-pelvic-floor-dysfunction

National Institutes of Health. (September 2008) “Roughly One-Quarter of U.S. Women Affected by Pelvic Floor Disorders” https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/roughly-one-quarter-us-women-affected-pelvic-floor-disorders

Smith, Christopher P. “Male chronic pelvic pain: An update.” Indian journal of urology: IJU: journal of the Urological Society of India vol. 32,1 (2016): 34-9. doi:10.4103/0970-1591.173105

World Health Organization. (2013) “Low back pain” https://www.who.int/medicines/areas/priority_medicines/Ch6_24LBP.pdf

Headaches and Treatment

Headaches and Treatment

Headaches and Treatment: Headaches can range from mild, dull aches to severe throbbing pain. They can be episodic and chronic. Tension headaches are the most common that present with pain around the head, scalp, or neck. Migraines are often chronic, with the pain lasting for a few hours to a few days. The location of the headache and the type of pain being experienced can indicate the type of headache. Sources of headaches include, but are not limited to:

  • Certain kinds of foods
  • Sounds
  • Excessive noise
  • Bright lights
  • Changes in blood sugar
  • Too much exercise

Headaches and Treatment

Headache relief can come from over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, rest, and ice/heat packs on the forehead or neck. Research shows that individuals suffering from chronic headaches and migraines benefit more from long-term chiropractic than drug therapy alone. Doctors of chiropractic offer safe, effective, long-term relief. This is because most headaches have a spinal, muscular, or repeated pattern/s, which chiropractors have been trained to identify and treat.

Tension Headaches and Treatment

Tension Headaches are usually worse in the afternoon and evening and are often work, school, and stress-related. The pain is usually felt on both sides of the forehead and/or the top of the neck. These headaches can last for long periods and can be triggered by something as simple as an airplane trip. Tension headaches are caused by tension and trigger points within the muscles that constantly contract and don’t relax. Chiropractic adjustments and muscle release techniques have proven to be highly effective.

Migraine Headaches and Treatment

Migraines are broken down into two categories:

A migraine aura usually comes before the onset of a Migraine and consists of:

  • Visualizing a strange light
  • Strange smells
  • Confusing thoughts or experiences

Migraines are more common in women, but they do occur in men. Things that can trigger migraines include but are not limited to:

  • Medications
  • Certain foods
  • Environmental exposure
  • Sleeping habits

It is recommended to keep a headache journal to:

  • Account all foods eaten
  • Sleep patterns
  • Drinking patterns
  • Medications
  • Exercise habits
  • Stress scenarios
  • Headache frequency, duration, areas of pain, and discomfort.

Research has shown successful results from chiropractic manipulation applied to individuals suffering from migraine headaches. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, nutrition and supplementation have also shown positive and long-term effects.

Headaches and Treatment Chiropractic

Stress can manifest in many ways that lead to headaches. Chiropractic adjustments can improve acute and chronic neck pain, reducing the number of headaches, whether migraines, tension headaches, or some other kind. Chiropractors adjust the spine’s alignment to improve function and alleviate stress on the nervous system using a targeted methodology. This allows the body to function correctly and reduces stress and tension. A chiropractor will also recommend posture, stretches, exercises, and relaxation techniques.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Understanding how lifestyle affects the severity and frequency can be a large part of successful headache prevention. Specific adjustments can include:

  • Maintain regular sleep patterns.
  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week.
  • Eat regular healthy meals.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Limit stress by avoiding conflicts and resolving disputes calmly.
  • Take daily stress breaks.
  • Do not overuse pain medications, as overuse can make headaches worse.

Body Composition


Respiratory System

The respiratory system refers to the organs in the body involved in breathing, inhaling oxygen, and exhaling carbon dioxide. These include:

  • Nose nasal cavity
  • Throat – pharynx
  • Voicebox – larynx
  • Windpipe – trachea
  • Lungs

The respiratory system is critical because it delivers oxygen to all the body’s organs, supporting life-sustaining functions. If oxygen supply is insufficient, the energy production necessary for organ function becomes compromised, leading to poor overall health. The respiratory system is divided into the upper and lower respiratory tracts:

  • The upper respiratory tract includes the nose, nasal cavity, mouth, throat, and voice box.
  • The lower respiratory tract consists of the windpipe, lungs, and all sections of the bronchial tree.
  • When breathing, the hairs/cilia in the nose and trachea prevent bacteria and foreign substances from entering the body.
  • Occasionally, pathogens will make it past the cilia and enter the body, causing illness.
  • This is when the immune system goes to work neutralizing any invading pathogens.
References

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, A et al. “Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine: a three-armed, single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial.” European journal of neurology vol. 24,1 (2017): 143-153. doi:10.1111/ene.13166

Côté, Pierre et al. “Non-pharmacological management of persistent headaches associated with neck pain: A clinical practice guideline from the Ontario Protocol for traffic injury management (OPTIMa) collaboration.” European journal of pain (London, England) vol. 23,6 (2019): 1051-1070. doi:10.1002/ejp.1374

Daghlas, Iyas et al. “Habitual sleep disturbances and migraine: a Mendelian randomization study.” Annals of clinical and translational neurology vol. 7,12 (2020): 2370-2380. doi:10.1002/acn3.51228

Iwasaki, Akiko et al. “Early local immune defenses in the respiratory tract.” Nature reviews. Immunology vol. 17,1 (2017): 7-20. doi:10.1038/nri.2016.117

Neck Adjustment Techniques

Neck Adjustment Techniques

Individuals turn to chiropractic care neck adjustments to help ease neck problems and alleviate pain. Some of the different types of neck-cervical conditions that chiropractic treats include:

  • Cervical intervertebral disc injuries
  • Cervical sprain injuries
  • Degenerative joint syndrome of the neck
  • Facet joint sprain
  • Whiplash

A chiropractor will evaluate the whole spine because other regions may be affected and/or contribute to the problems. They will determine areas of restricted movement and will look at walking gait, overall posture, and spinal alignment. Before deciding which approach to use, the chiropractor will thoroughly examine the specific cause of the problems. Neck adjustments consist of various techniques and methods.

Neck Adjustment Techniques

Neck Adjustments

Cervical Mobilization

  • Cervical mobilization focuses on using gentle motions around the neck.
  • It incorporates the high-velocity low-amplitude technique, which uses quick pressure to release an area.
  • This adjustment is best for reducing pain and increasing the neck’s range of motion.

Cervical Drop

  • The cervical drop technique requires the individual to lie on their stomach or side as the chiropractor adjusts the neck, and to prevent any added pressure around the neck, the headrest drops.
  • After the chiropractor prepares the neck for the adjustment, they will work on specific points, release the headrest, and quickly twist the neck.
  • All of this is done within seconds.
  • A standard cervical drop is flexion-distraction.
  • This will release tension in the spine.
  • This technique improves spinal flexibility by placing the vertebrae in their correct position.

Manual Traction

  • The patient sits in a chair for this neck adjustment.
  • Manual traction allows the chiropractor to move the neck at different angles and helps them determine the right amount of force during the adjustment.
  • A chiropractor will cradle the head in the palms of their hands and quickly move it from side to side.

Soft Tissue Massage

  • This technique is often used after a complete adjustment.
  • A chiropractor will gently massage the neck and apply pressure to any inflamed areas.
  • This increases blood circulation and prevents muscles from tensing and contracting.

Chiropractic Benefits

The benefits that come with using chiropractic neck adjustments include.

Improves Flexibility

  • One benefit of chiropractic neck adjustments is that they improve your flexibility.
  • Tight muscles or joints out of place make it harder for the neck to move, limiting its range of motion.
  • Chiropractic works to reduce poor flexibility by ensuring the bones and muscles are in their proper position.

Prevents Tension

  • Individuals that deal with severe tension often notice their neck and upper back feeling sore.
  • Tension tightens the muscles and can cause them to press on nerves.
  • If too much pressure is on them, the nerves can send out painful pulses.
  • A chiropractor will feel around the neck and shoulders to identify areas of concern. After the examination, they will make the proper adjustments to reduce pressure on the nerves and calm inflamed muscles.

Prevents Arthritis

  • Arthritis causes inflammation throughout the body. If not treated, this inflammation can increase the wearing down of bones.
  • Worn-down bones reduce strength and can irritate nerves.
  • Chronic neck pain could indicate that the joints in the neck are misplaced.
  • If these joints are not correctly realigned, the constant friction can begin to break down the bones leading to arthritis.
  • Chiropractic neck adjustments prevent this by ensuring the joints are in place and maintaining joint health by flushing toxins in and around them.

Anti-Inflammatory Food

Most neck pain is the result of inflammation. Individuals can take synthetic medications to reduce inflammation, but they have side effects. It is recommended to add natural anti-inflammatory foods to one’s diet. These won’t only reduce inflammation but can increase energy levels and help the body heal quicker. A few recommended foods include:

  • Avocados
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Turmeric
  • Salmon

Body Composition


Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of adults in the United States. Many factors can contribute to heart disease, and research has pointed to inflammation caused by obesity as one of the most significant factors contributing to the development. The main culprits are cytokines produced by excess fat in the body. These cytokines cause inflammation of the walls of the arteries, causing damage and increasing blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels. When high blood pressure is present, the heart does not pump blood effectively, causing the heart to enlarge. An enlarged heart is a significant risk factor for heart failure if steps are not taken to remedy it.

References

Bradley S. Polkinghorn, Christopher J. Colloca, Chiropractic treatment of postsurgical neck syndrome with mechanical force manually assisted short-lever spinal adjustments, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 24, Issue 9,
2001, Pages 589-595, ISSN 0161-4754, https://doi.org/10.1067/mmt.2001.118985. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161475401836915)

Haldeman S. Principles and Practice of Chiropractic. York, PA: McGraw-Hill; 2005.

Hawk, Cheryl et al. “Best Practices for Chiropractic Management of Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline.” Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) vol. 26,10 (2020): 884-901. doi:10.1089/acm.2020.0181

Eric L. Hurwitz, Hal Morgenstern, Philip Harber, Gerald F. Kominski, Fei Yu, and Alan H. Adams, 2002: A Randomized Trial of Chiropractic Manipulation and Mobilization for Patients With Neck Pain: Clinical Outcomes From the UCLA Neck-Pain Study American Journal of Public Health 92, 1634_1641, https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.92.10.1634

Wang, Zhaoxia, and Tomohiro Nakayama. “Inflammation, a link between obesity and cardiovascular disease.” Mediators of inflammation vol. 2010 (2010): 535918. doi:10.1155/2010/535918

Everyday Movements

Everyday Movements

Posture is how we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. A healthy posture is the correct alignment of the body supported by the right amount of muscle tension. Our everyday movements and activities affect the body’s alignment. A postural imbalance can impact the body’s health in various ways. It can cause:

  • General soreness
  • Back pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Poor self-esteem

Unhealthy posture can increase the risk of spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, stress joints, and muscles, resulting in permanent damage if left untreated. The best way to prevent postural imbalances is to be aware of the causes utilize proper ergonomic and movement strategies that can help avoid these problems. As the everyday bad habits, behaviors, and activities are understood, it is much easier to prevent and correct them.

Everyday Movements

Everyday Posture Is Important

Specific muscles maintain the body’s posture, so we don’t have to think about it and constantly adjust. Muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are essential in maintaining healthy positions. When the muscles function correctly, the postural muscles prevent gravity from pushing the body forward. Postural muscles also maintain balance when moving. A healthy posture reduces strain on the supporting muscles and ligaments during everyday movement and weight-bearing activities. Engaging in healthy posture helps:

  • Keep the bones and joints in correct alignment so that the muscles function correctly.
  • Decrease the abnormal wearing of joints resulting in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
  • Reduce the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, preventing injury.
  • Allow muscles to work more efficiently.
  • The body exert less energy.
  • Prevent muscle fatigue and muscle pain.
  • Prevent muscle strain and overuse disorders.

Unhealthy Posture

Unhealthy posture results when the body sits or stands with the spine in an abnormal position. When an individual practices unhealthy posture over a long period, it progressively leads to muscles and ligaments becoming elongated and weak, while others become short and tight. This creates a physical imbalance that leads to postural abnormalities like:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Forward head posture
  • Thoracic kyphosis or hunched back
  • Lumbar lordosis
  • Swayback
  • Limited mobility
  • Increases the risk of injury

Causes

Habits

  • Individuals can begin to develop unhealthy habits that negatively impact their posture, like walking with their head looking towards the ground. This shifts the body out of alignment.

Sitting For Too Long

  • Spending too much time sitting even with the correct posture will impact the spine and muscles. It weakens the muscles, ligaments, and abdominals.

Weight

  • Carrying extra weight can force the spine into an awkward position. This is true for individuals with pot bellies, as it pulls the lower back forward, increasing the risk of lumbar lordosis.

Unhealthy Diet

  • If the spine does not have access to the vitamins and nutrients it needs, it can struggle to maintain its strength and flexibility. It is also more difficult for the body to repair damage to the spine’s muscles and ligaments.

Clothing and Footwear

  • Clothing and footwear can impact posture.
  • High heels, poor-fitting shoes, saggy jeans, large belts, heavy jackets, and other items can force the spine into an unnatural position.
  • These are fine to wear for short periods but avoid wearing them day in and day out.

Treatment

Chiropractors specialize in issues affecting the spine, especially posture. They can:

  • Perform a postural examination involving a complete assessment of the musculoskeletal system to identify any joint misalignments and issues that affect soft tissue.
  • Perform adjustments of misaligned joints using various techniques.
  • Recommend stretches to loosen/lengthen tight muscles and strengthen weak ones, leading to improvements. A chiropractor will develop an effective stretching regimen to target the correct muscles.
  • Recommend nutritional advice, exercise, and everyday habit adjustments.

Body Composition


Insulin Resistance

Individuals who sit for extended periods, don’t exercise and don’t watch their diet can experience insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when insulin cannot transport excess blood sugar out of the blood and into the muscles. One study found that women who sat for eight hours a day had a higher chance of developing diabetes. Individuals with diabetes tend to have more fat within their bodies, particularly visceral fat, increasing insulin resistance potential. Individuals with diabetes experience a faster loss of muscle mass as they age, further intensifying symptoms and deterioration of body composition.

References

Feldman, Anatol G. “The Relationship Between Postural and Movement Stability.” Advances in experimental medicine and biology vol. 957 (2016): 105-120. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47313-0_6

Jaromi, Melinda et al. “Treatment and ergonomics training of work-related lower back pain and body posture problems for nurses.” Journal of clinical nursing vol. 21,11-12 (2012): 1776-84. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04089.x

Jung, Suk Hwa et al. “Visceral Fat Mass Has Stronger Associations with Diabetes and Prediabetes than Other Anthropometric Obesity Indicators among Korean Adults.” Yonsei medical journal vol. 57,3 (2016): 674-80. doi:10.3349/ymj.2016.57.3.674

Pope, Malcolm H et al. “Spine ergonomics.” Annual review of biomedical engineering vol. 4 (2002): 49-68. doi:10.1146/annurev.bioeng.4.092101.122107

Nutrition, The Nervous System, and The Spine

Nutrition, The Nervous System, and The Spine

Proper nutrition can be difficult for individuals with work, school, and busy schedules to prepare fresh, healthy meals. Healthy food is essential for a healthy nervous system and spine to promote a healthy musculoskeletal system, metabolism, bone strength, tissue growth, and repair. The body requires more nutritional value to heal itself to support damage or injury.

Nutrition, The Nervous System, and The Spine

Nervous System and The Spine

The nervous system runs throughout the body like an interstate highway and impacts every bodily function. Disrupting signals can cause a backup, like a massive traffic jam. At that point, no matter how healthy the diet is, the body is unable to process all the food thoroughly to break down all the nutrients. Chiropractic adjustments ensure that blood circulation and nerve energy flow function optimally so that messages sent from the brain and body are transmitted without disruption.

Disrupted Nervous System

The nervous system influences every part of the body, and digestion is no exception. The nervous system tells the body what it needs to do with the food/fuel. When the nervous system is unbalanced and experiencing problems, the nutrients that the body needs don’t get appropriately stored, broken down, or used correctly, leaving the body feeling not full and unsatisfied.

Nutrition Improves Musculoskeletal Health

It is essential to understand that nutrition and musculoskeletal health depend on a healthy nervous system and spine.

  • Food high in protein and calcium increases bone density.
  • Protein and calcium are vital as the body ages.
  • A healthy skeletal structure will ensure and maintain a healthy body.
  • Food is the primary source of nutrients for the body to rebuild and repair torn muscles.

The Relation Between Nutrition And Recovery

Nourishment plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s health and helps in reducing the risk of illness or injuries. There are several links between nutrition and recovery that includes:

Injury Rehabilitation

  • A diet rich in antioxidants like:
  • Berries
  • Apricots
  • Grapes
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • The body becomes stronger to combat inflammation.

Foods rich in lean protein like:

  • Yogurt
  • Tofu
  • Beef
  • Provide the body with essential building blocks that help repair cellular damage.

Joint Or Back Pain Alleviation

  • Overweight and obesity generate unnecessary load on the spine or joints, resulting in back pain.
  • Reducing weight through proper nutrition filled with proteins and magnesium instead of unhealthy fats and calories will help reduce the strain being put on the musculoskeletal system.

Increased Energy Levels

  • Food high in sugar or preservatives makes the body feel sluggish and tired.
  • As a result, the body is constantly exhausted, fatigued, sleepy, and irritable.
  • Proper nutrition increases energy levels.
  • Maintaining the nervous system and spine’s overall health.

Body Composition


Malnutrition Risks

Malnutrition can be difficult to spot early, but there are various risk factors to recognize. These include:

  • Frailty is a strong predictor of malnutrition.
  • Decreased sense of taste or smell.
  • Constipation.
  • Impaired cognition.
  • Dysphagia – Difficulty swallowing.
  • Medications that affect appetite.
  • Tooth loss.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Depression doubles the risk of malnutrition, especially among men.
References

Bollwein, J et al. “Nutritional status according to the mini nutritional assessment (MNA®) and frailty in community-dwelling older persons: a close relationship.” The journal of nutrition, health & aging vol. 17,4 (2013): 351-6. doi:10.1007/s12603-013-0034-7

Curtis, Elizabeth et al. “Determinants of Muscle and Bone Aging.” Journal of cellular physiology vol. 230,11 (2015): 2618-25. doi:10.1002/jcp.25001

Gentile, Francesco et al. “Diet, Microbiota and Brain Health: Unraveling the Network Intersecting Metabolism and Neurodegeneration.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 21,20 7471. 10 Oct. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijms21207471

Oxland, Thomas R. “Fundamental biomechanics of the spine–What we have learned in the past 25 years and future directions.” Journal of biomechanics vol. 49,6 (2016): 817-832. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.10.035

Pérez Cruz, Elizabeth et al. “Asociación entre desnutrición y depresión en el adulto mayor” [Association between malnutrition and depression in elderly]. Nutricion hospitalaria vol. 29,4 901-6. 1 Apr. 2014, doi:10.3305/nh.2014.29.4.7228

Arthritis Chiropractor

Arthritis Chiropractor

Arthritis can be a debilitating disease that interferes with everyday life. There are over 20% of adults aged 65 and older that have arthritis along with all the symptoms like pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion. The most commonly affected joints include the shoulders, hands, spine, hips, and knees. Arthritis results from damage to joint cartilage from various factors such as age, wear and tear, injury, being overweight, and disease. While medication and surgery are the most common treatment options, an arthritis chiropractor can offer a conservative, natural, non-invasive option to manage symptoms.

Arthritis Chiropractor

Arthritis Chiropractor Helps By

While arthritis, either caused by wear and tear – Osteoarthritis or disease – Rheumatoid Arthritis cannot be cured. An arthritis chiropractor can help manage symptoms and prevent progression. Chiropractors are trained to use various techniques to help alleviate pain and tension, including arthritis. Chiropractic treatment aims to alleviate pain by adjusting, massaging, and realigning the musculoskeletal system to relieve stress, stretch the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and restore balance within the body. They open the body to allow proper/optimal nerve energy and blood circulation. This is beneficial for arthritic joints to reduce unnecessary strain, translating to reduced wear on the joints and keeping the body active.

Benefits

There are significant benefits that regular chiropractic treatment can offer. These include:

  • Restored range of motion
  • Joint pain relief
  • Inflammation alleviation
  • Improved nerve function for optimal tissue healing
  • Improved biomechanics
  • Improved flexibility

Treatment

After an in-depth assessment, the chiropractor will recommend the best treatment options. Treatments include:

Pain Management

  • Pain relief is possible without medications with options like:
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Percussive massage
  • Traction therapy
  • Heating pads

Chiropractic Adjustments and Physical Therapy

  • Regular adjustments will keep the body optimally aligned and functioning smoothly.
  • Arthritis chiropractors can recognize the most subtle changes.

Lifestyle Adjustments

  • Healthy lifestyle adjustments help manage arthritis.
  • Guidance on healthy habits that include:
  • Anti-inflammatory foods
  • Weight loss
  • Proper sleep habits
  • Exercise training
  • Stress management

The sooner chiropractic care is sought out, the better to prevent symptoms from worsening. Chiropractic can generate great results with less need for medication/s or surgery.


Body Composition


Identifying The Risk of Sarcopenia and Decreased Mobility

As the body ages, it begins to lose muscle mass, and as more sedentary behavior is adopted, the rate of loss increases along with age-related injury. Identifying these age-related changes in muscle and how they relate to frailty risk can be challenging to identify and track. By accurately measuring fat-free mass in each region of the body, Skeletal Muscle Index – SMI quickly specifies muscle mass and frailty risk. Sarcopenia and frailty specifically affect the elderly population, affecting mortality, cognitive function, and quality of life. Loss of muscle in the arms and legs is associated with:

  • Reductions in mobility
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Frailty
  • Extended hospital stays

Falls and fractures frequently result in a cycle of muscle deterioration. Analysis tools can help track body composition changes to minimize muscle wasting and the risk of impaired mobility. Assessing skeletal muscle mass in outpatient and hospital settings can decrease debilitating outcomes before they happen. The InBody analysis is quick and easy, providing a calculation for skeletal muscle index and the sum of the lean mass in the arms and legs. The ease of performing the InBody test provides physicians more time to work with and educate individuals on adopting lifestyle changes to help prevent sarcopenia.

References

Aletaha, Daniel. “Precision medicine and management of rheumatoid arthritis.” Journal of autoimmunity vol. 110 (2020): 102405. doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2020.102405

Beasley, Jeanine. “Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: conservative therapeutic management.” Journal of hand therapy: official journal of the American Society of Hand Therapists vol. 25,2 (2012): 163-71; quiz 172. doi:10.1016/j.jht.2011.11.001

Demoruelle, M Kristen, and Kevin D Deane. “Treatment strategies in early rheumatoid arthritis and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis.” Current rheumatology reports vol. 14,5 (2012): 472-80. doi:10.1007/s11926-012-0275-1

Kavuncu, Vural, and Deniz Evcik. “Physiotherapy in rheumatoid arthritis.” MedGenMed: Medscape general medicine vol. 6,2 3. 17 May. 2004

Moon, Jeong Jae et al. “New Skeletal Muscle Mass Index in Diagnosis of Sarcopenia.” Journal of bone metabolism vol. 25,1 (2018): 15-21. doi:10.11005/jbm.2018.25.1.15

Sciatica Causes: Genetics, Low Back Problems, Piriformis, Arthritis

Sciatica Causes: Genetics, Low Back Problems, Piriformis, Arthritis

Sciatica Causes: The sciatic nerve forms by the union of Lumbar4 to Sacral31 nerve roots and exits the pelvis through the greater sciatic foramen, below the piriformis muscle located deep in the buttocks. The nerve runs down the back of the thigh, into the leg, and ends in the foot. The sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, irritated, and/or mechanically compressed. Any type of pain and/or neurological symptom/s from the sciatic nerve is referred to as sciatica. Sciatica is a type of lumbar radiculopathy, which means that the pain originates from the low back and/or sacral nerve roots.

Sciatica Causes: Genetics, Low Back Problems, Piriformis, Arthritis

Sciatica Causes

Physical forces on the nerve can cause mechanical compression due to the following conditions:

Herniated Discs

  • A disc in the lower back can bulge or herniate, causing irritation and/or compression of a sciatic nerve root.

Foraminal Stenosis

  • Stenosis, the intervertebral opening through which the nerve roots travel, begins to narrow/close in, can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve.

Degeneration

  • Degenerative changes in the spine like the thickening of facet joint capsules and/or ligaments can compress the sciatic nerve.

Segmental Instability

  • Instability of a spinal vertebral segment that happens if one vertebra slips over the one beneath it – spondylolisthesis
  • Vertebral defects – spondylolysis
  • Complete dislocation of one or more vertebrae can compress the nerve root/s of the nerve.

Other Sciatica Causes

  • Tumors, cysts, infections, or abscesses in the lower spine or pelvic region can also cause sciatic nerve compression.

Chemical Inflammation

  • Chemical irritants can include hyaluronic acid and/or fibronectin/protein fragments that leak out of degenerated or herniated discs. These irritants can cause inflammation and/or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
  • Degenerated discs can cause nerve tissues to grow into the disc, penetrating the outer and inner layers of the disc, causing sciatica. Immune system responses can contribute to pain when exposed to disc fluid.
  • Substances such as glycosphingolipids/fats and neurofilaments /protein polymers secreted by the immune system are increased in individuals with sciatica. These substances are released from the reaction between nerve roots and exposed disc material, causing inflammation.

Job Occupation

Individuals with specific jobs have an increased risk of developing sciatica. Examples include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Desk workers
  • Teachers
  • Warehouse workers
  • Machine workers
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • Fitness trainers

Sitting and standing for long periods, using improper posture, constantly bending, twisting, reaching, and regularly lifting are risk factors for sciatica.

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a condition where the piriformis muscle swells and spasms from overuse or inflammation irritating the sciatic nerve that is right underneath. The nerve can get trapped in the muscle causing sciatica-like symptoms that include:

  • Pain follows the same pattern in the leg as a compressed sciatic nerve root.
  • Tingling
  • Numbness

Discomfort from piriformis syndrome feels similar to sciatica, but it is not caused by compressed sciatic nerve root. Piriformis pain comes from compression of the sciatic nerve near the piriformis muscle.

Genetic Sciatica Causes

Sciatica caused by degenerated and/or herniated discs can be genetic. Research has shown that certain genetic factors are more prevalent in individuals with back and spinal problems. These congenital disabilities can cause the discs to become weak and susceptible to external stress. With time the proteins in the disc break down, compromising the integrity and function.

Arthritis and Joint Issues

Arthritis or other inflammatory conditions around the hip joint can cause pain down the leg, similar to sciatica. This is referred pain that spreads out from the source and is not radicular nerve pain that originates in the nerve roots.

  • Conditions like sacroiliac joint dysfunction or sacroiliitis can cause sciatica-like pain that runs down the back of the thigh but usually ends before or at the knee.
  • The pain can be acute and debilitating, like sciatica but is caused by an abnormal motion or malalignment of the sacroiliac joint.

Body Composition


Normal Cholesterol Ranges

High cholesterol can lead to severe consequences when left untreated, but it can be difficult to spot with no noticeable warning signs. This is why it’s essential to monitor cholesterol levels with blood tests, especially if there is an increased risk. Example of normal cholesterol levels for adults 20 years of age or older:

  • Total cholesterol 125-200 mg/dL
  • LDL <100 mg/dL
  • HDL >40 mg/dL men, >50 mg/dL women

Lifestyle

  • Lack of physical activity contributes to high cholesterol levels.
  • Diets that mainly consist of processed foods and saturated fats increase the risk of high LDL levels.
  • Smoking can lower HDL levels.

Aging

  • Individual risk for developing high cholesterol tends to increase as the body advances in age. This is why it is recommended to have regular physicals and blood tests.

Genetics

  • Some individuals are more genetically predisposed to developing high cholesterol and heart disease.
  • Knowing family medical history can help predict whether it may become a problem.
References

Davis D, Maini K, Vasudevan A. Sciatica. [Updated 2021 Sep 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/

Giuffre BA, Jeanmonod R. Anatomy, Sciatic Nerve. [Updated 2021 Jul 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482431/

Hicks BL, Lam JC, Varacallo M. Piriformis Syndrome. [Updated 2021 Jul 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448172/

Raj MA, Ampat G, Varacallo M. Sacroiliac Joint Pain. [Updated 2021 Aug 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470299/

Pregnancy Chiropractor

Pregnancy Chiropractor

With a growing belly and changes in connective tissue, many pregnant women are unable to stay comfortable. A pregnancy chiropractor is safe and effective in helping manage pain in the back, hips, legs, joints and establish pelvic balance. This can provide the baby with space to grow and move throughout the pregnancy and lead to faster, easier labor and delivery. Relief and better symptom management are possible with a pregnancy chiropractor.

Pregnancy Chiropractor

Chiropractic Is Safe During Pregnancy

Before engaging in any treatment during pregnancy, consult a doctor. For the most part, non-invasive chiropractic is considered safe for healthy, low-risk pregnancies and even higher-risk pregnancies once cleared by a doctor. Because pregnant women cannot take medications or undergo other invasive treatment options for pain, chiropractic treatment is recommended for sore, tight muscles, irritability, and pain management.

How A Pregnancy Chiropractor Can Help

What a chiropractor can offer includes:

  • Restore pelvic balance.
  • Improve mechanics for standing, sitting, and walking that could otherwise cause pain.
  • Pain management through therapeutic massage and adjustments.
  • Spinal alignment is restored.
  • Improved blood perfusion.
  • Energy levels improve.
  • Reduce symptoms of nausea.
  • Better positioning and movement for the baby.
  • Optimize the pelvic position to allow for an easier birth; evidence indicates a shorter labor time thanks to an optimal pelvic position.

Clinic Appointment

The pregnancy chiropractor begins with an initial consultation. Here the patient asks questions, discusses any concerns, along with a full assessment of medical history. They will suggest various treatment options to restore the body to its optimal balance. The chiropractor will continually monitor the patient to tailor the treatments to their specific needs and achieve the most relief.


Body Composition


Impact of Breastfeeding and Body Composition

It turns out that breastfeeding and weight loss are showing that there could be a relationship. A study suggested that breastfeeding could eliminate weight gain during six months. These findings are corroborated by another study comparing body fat loss between exclusively breastfeeding and mixed feeding mothers. The researchers found that exclusively breastfeeding promotes more significant body fat loss than mixed feeding among mothers during the first 12 weeks after childbirth. A weight loss of approximately about a pound per week between 4 and 14 weeks after delivery in overweight, lactating women who were exclusively breastfeeding showed no adverse effect on the growth and development of their newborns.

References

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

Borggren, Cara L. “Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 6,2 (2007): 70-4. doi:10.1016/j.jcme.2007.04.004

Weis, Carol Ann et al. “Chiropractic Care for Adults With Pregnancy-Related Low Back, Pelvic Girdle Pain, or Combination Pain: A Systematic Review.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 43,7 (2020): 714-731. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2020.05.005

Holiday Chiropractic Stress Relief

Holiday Chiropractic Stress Relief

Getting ready for holiday celebrations takes a great deal of work. Visiting family and friends, traveling, spending hours shopping, wrapping gifts, setting up lights, trees, planning meals can make the body feel achy, tight, tired, and sore. Stress is multiplied by ten, adding to the muscle tension, which can cause illness and other health problems. Chiropractic treatment alleviates symptoms bringing stress relief to enjoy the holidays. This includes body adjustments, therapeutic massage, health coaching, nutrition guidance, strengthening exercises, stretch training, and everything to maintain full-body health, prevent illness and injury so individuals can feel and function at their best.

Holiday Chiropractic Stress Relief

Aches and Pains

Shopping at stores, malls can cause the body to experience adverse physical effects. Spending hours walking and standing can trigger neck, shoulder, back, leg, and foot pain. Spending hours hunched over a computer, laptop, tablet, or phone while online shopping can also cause neck, back, and shoulder pain. Soreness and pain can result from the spine and the rest of the body becoming misaligned.

Muscle tightening is a common sign of stress. When the mind and body become overwhelmed or anxious, the neck, shoulders, or upper back muscles can tense up. Muscle tension can limit the body’s range of motion and trigger headaches. Therapeutic massage, mobilization, soft tissue therapy, ultrasound, and other chiropractic treatments can generate stress relief. Massaging the body also triggers the release of endorphins that help the body calm down and relax. The adjustments and massage also increase/improve blood flow that supports healing and reduces anxiety when stress begins to build.

Stomach Issues

Following the usual diet during the holiday season is a challenge. Work parties, restaurant parties, and family meals offer an array of holiday foods and treats. The body is not used to eating a lot of rich, fatty, sugary, or fried foods, and can experience bloating, constipation, gas, and other uncomfortable symptoms. These issues can be traced to the nerves that control the organs. Chiropractic can balance the nerves to help avoid uncomfortable digestive problems and help the body handle the rich diet better.

Maintaining Health and Stress Relief

Aches and pains are not the only effects of stress, body misalignment, and tight joints and/or muscles. If these structures press against the nerves and/or organs, it can affect immune system function. Chiropractic ensures that the organs communicate correctly through the nerves, balance the body,  reduce inflammation, and improve lymph fluid drainage. The fluid removes toxins and wastes from the body, making fighting colds and other illnesses easier.


Body Composition


White Coat Syndrome

White Coat Syndrome is the term used for any changes in blood pressure that individuals experience in response to being in a medical office or clinic. Three distinct diagnoses are based on how an individual’s blood pressure responds to being in the presence of a healthcare professional:

White Coat hypertension

  • This is when an individual is not taking medication for blood pressure but presents with high blood pressure in a medical office and returns to normal once they leave the medical facility.

White Coat effect

  • This is when an individual is taking medication for high blood pressure and shows a high blood pressure reading in a medical office that indicates their medication is not working.

Masked Hypertension

  • This is when an individual has normal blood pressure in a medical office but high blood pressure elsewhere.
References

Ahmad, Asma Hayati, and Rahimah Zakaria. “Pain in Times of Stress.” The Malaysian journal of medical sciences: MJMS vol. 22,Spec Issue (2015): 52-61.

PBS NewsHour. (December 2018) “Poll: How stressed are Americans this holiday season?” https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/poll-how-stressed-are-americans-this-holiday-season

Pioli, Mariana R et al. “White coat syndrome and its variations: differences and clinical impact.” Integrated blood pressure control vol. 11 73-79. 8 Nov. 2018, doi:10.2147/IBPC.S152761

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). (2019) “Holiday Safety Information Center” https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/holiday-safety

Syringomyelia Spinal Cord Disorder

Syringomyelia Spinal Cord Disorder

Syringomyelia is a disorder in which a fluid-filled cyst/syrinx forms within the spinal cord. It is progressive, meaning that the cyst grows with time causing compression and damage to the spinal cord. The cyst usually begins in the neck/cervical spine but can develop in any area along the spinal cord. There are several possible causes; however, most are associated with a condition known as Chiari malformation. This is where the skull and neck come together, and either the skull is too small or shaped in a way that causes brain tissue to come out and settle in the spinal canal.

Syringomyelia Spinal Cord Disorder

Syringomyelia Causes

Syringomyelia can be caused by or from complications of:

  • Congenital disabilities like Chiari malformation
  • Chiari type I malformation develops during the fetal developmental stage and causes the lower part of the brain or cerebellum to stick out from its standard location.
  • Hemorrhage/bleeding
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord from virus or bacterial infection like meningitis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Spinal cord tumor

Symptoms

A damaged spinal cord disrupts communication between the brain and the body. Symptoms differ for every individual, but common syringomyelia symptoms include:

Symptoms usually develop slowly, but exercise, coughing, or some form of strain can cause sudden onset.

Diagnosis

Physical and neurological exams are performed to determine loss of feeling or inability to move around normally, like walking. Diagnostic tests of the spine will include a CT scan with contrast dye and/or an MRI. Early detection can help before it progresses, causing further damage, and delaying treatment can cause irreversible spinal cord injury. It is recommended at the first sign of symptoms to contact a doctor.

Treatment

Some individuals who have syringomyelia may have no symptoms. These individuals can go about their everyday lives but are recommended to be cautious with neck and back strain. For individuals experiencing symptoms, the primary treatment objectives are to:

  • Stop or control damage to the spinal cord
  • Preserve function
  • Prevent disability
  • Treatment options include:
  • Draining the cyst
  • Surgical removal of the cyst
  • Chiropractic and physical therapy could be included in the treatment plan to help the individual rebuild lost muscle strength and regain flexibility.

All too often, individuals with this disorder experience treatment delay/s because symptoms can be nonspecific or vague. Education is the key, and individuals can be diagnosed sooner by paying attention to the body’s warning signs.


Body Composition


Does too much protein hurt the kidneys?

While protein restriction can be appropriate for treating existing kidney disease, research shows that high protein intake in healthy individuals does not disrupt or cause damage to the kidneys or kidney function. The amino acids in protein are more likely to be excreted through urine when not being used. However, there are certain risks associated with consuming too much protein, and it is recommended to keep track of protein intake. Eating more protein:

  • Makes the body feel full longer
  • Can help curb overeating
  • Is essential for recovery and growth

When achieving daily caloric goals, maintaining a balance of nutrients like carbohydrates and healthy fats is essential for overall health.

References

Batzdorf, Ulrich. “Primary spinal syringomyelia. Invited submission from the joint section meeting on disorders of the spine and peripheral nerves, March 2005.” Journal of neurosurgery. Spine vol. 3,6 (2005): 429-35. doi:10.3171/spi.2005.3.6.0429

Di Lorenzo, N, and F Cacciola. “Adult syringomyelia. Classification, pathogenesis and therapeutic approaches.” Journal of neurosurgical sciences vol. 49,3 (2005): 65-72.

Fernández, Alfredo Avellaneda et al. “Malformations of the craniocervical junction (Chiari type I and syringomyelia: classification, diagnosis, and treatment).” BMC musculoskeletal disorders vol. 10 Suppl 1, Suppl 1 S1. 17 Dec. 2009, doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-S1-S1

Naftel, Robert P et al. “Worsening or development of syringomyelia following Chiari I decompression: case report.” Journal of neurosurgery. Pediatrics vol. 12,4 (2013): 351-6. doi:10.3171/2013.7.PEDS12522

Roy, Anil K et al. “Idiopathic syringomyelia: retrospective case series, comprehensive review, and update on management.” Neurosurgical focus vol. 31,6 (2011): E15. doi:10.3171/2011.9.FOCUS11198

How Chiropractic Affects Inflammation

How Chiropractic Affects Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s response to infection, injury, or irritation. It causes swelling, redness, pain and sometimes causes the affected area to be unable to function. Acute inflammation happens after spraining the ankle or getting a mosquito bite and is the body’s method of preserving itself. This type of inflammation helps remove harmful irritants and pathogens, so healing ensues, along with healthy beneficial swelling that disappears with time. Chronic inflammation is when the body generates a stronger-than-necessary inflammatory response from an imbalanced immune system or a condition that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue. Certain foods, lack of sleep, and constant stress increase the risk of developing chronic inflammation. Chiropractors are known for their expertise in stretching the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and adjusting/realigning joints and bones. Chiropractic treatment can also affect inflammation positively.

How Chiropractic Affects Inflammation

Inflammation Affects Health

When inflammation presents, there is significant potential that disease is also present in the body. Inflammation is a natural response to restore the body to homeostasis or balance. White blood cells and other immune cells are sent to the area to ward off invading bacteria, viruses, debris, etc., and reduce or defeat the infection. For some individuals, inflammation occurs within their body regularly and reappears repeatedly. This can be caused by injuries that never completely healed, frequent strains, and injuries from a weakened musculoskeletal system. Inflammation can also come from infection, irritation, the production of diseased cells, or allergies. Organs and tissues can be inflamed for a long time and can cause damage to the cells that comprise those regions of the body. This can lead to:

  • Thinning and weakening of organ walls and tissues.
  • Decreased organ function.
  • The overall deterioration of the body’s systems and wellness.

Causes

Some common diseases and conditions that create chronic inflammation are:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic peptic ulcers
  • Tuberculosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Periodontitis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Sinusitis
  • Active hepatitis

Risk Factors

Certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of inflammation are:

  • Advanced age
  • Obesity
  • Regular consumption of processed fats and sugar
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Poor sleep
  • Chronic inflammation can increase the risk of:
  • Various diseases and cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Periodontitis
  • Hay fever

Stress

Stress is one of the leading causes of illness and disease in the body and contributes significantly to inflammation. Organs and tissues can also become inflamed under pressure. When stress kicks in, chemical reactions occur, causing the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is initially an anti-inflammatory hormone, but a prolonged release can eventually create a dysfunctional cycle of widespread inflammation. Chronic stress can cause inflammation throughout the body. Usually, the body’s weakest or most strained region will suffer the most effects of overall inflammation. Even after the stress reduces or is resolved, the inflammation effects can continue to linger. Inflammation can:

  • Decrease organ function
  • Strain tissues
  • Strain ligaments
  • Force bones and joints out of alignment and subluxation.
  • Cause decreased efficiency and performance of the body’s systems and organs.

Chiropractic Affects On Inflammation

When the body is out of alignment, it can compress tissues, muscles, and ligaments. Chiropractic works primarily on the skeletal structure and the nervous system. The nervous system plays an essential role in regulating immune response, which creates or decreases inflammation in the body. When the bones and joints are out of alignment, they cause strain on the nervous system and the immune system, often triggering an immune response. Chiropractic adjustments of the bones and joints reset and rejuvenate nervous system function. Realignment of the spine, including neck, shoulders, arms, pelvis, hips, knees, and feet, enhances nerve circulation and alleviates abnormal immune system function. To begin relieving inflammation from injury, misalignment, stress, and strain on the body, consult and see how chiropractic affects inflammation.


Body Composition


Dietary Fats

There are four main types of dietary fats listed on food labels:

These are not to be confused with adipose tissue/stored fat in the body. These four fats have different physiological effects once they are digested. Some are beneficial, and some can negatively impact health and are recommended to be taken in moderation.

Saturated vs. Unsaturated fats

Fats are made up of chains of carbon atoms with a carboxyl group COOH at one end and methyl groups CH3 at the other end. Carbons are attached to each other and to hydrogen atoms. The way the carbons are chained differentiates saturated and unsaturated fats and impacts how the body processes them. Unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds between the carbon atoms, and foods rich in unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature, like olive oil. Saturated fats contain no double bonds and are generally solid at room temperatures, like butter and cheese.

References

Arulselvan, Palanisamy et al. “Role of Antioxidants and Natural Products in Inflammation.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity vol. 2016 (2016): 5276130. doi:10.1155/2016/5276130

Hannibal, Kara E, and Mark D Bishop. “Chronic stress, cortisol dysfunction, and pain: a psychoneuroendocrine rationale for stress management in pain rehabilitation.” Physical therapy vol. 94,12 (2014): 1816-25. doi:10.2522/ptj.20130597

Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2021 Sep 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/