FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CHIROPRACTIC

Please use the following information to learn more about common health problems, and musculoskeletal conditions and the amazing treatments modern chiropractic physicians can offer. If you have any questions, please consider one of "America's Best Chiropractors" for a consultation, examination and care.

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What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic Ė What is it?

Chiropractic is a branch of health care dealing primarily with musculoskeletal system and nervous system disorders and their impact on overall health and wellness. People typically seek chiropractic care to address back pain, neck discomfort, headaches, and joint pain in the arms and legs.

Spinal Manipulation
Also referred to as chiropractic adjustment, manipulation of the spine is the most commonly performed chiropractic procedure. Spinal manipulation involves the application of gentle, controlled force to restore mobility to a joint thatís been injured.

Treating Inflammation & Pain:
Causes of joint damage include one-time activities such as incorrectly lifting a heavy item. It may also be caused by repetitive activities, such as operating with poor posture while sitting. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain and diminished function.

Your chiropractor may manipulate the impacted joint and tissues to correct misalignment, alleviate inflammation and pain, renew joint function and improve range of motion to allow damaged tissues to heal.

Why Do Joint sometimes Pop during Chiropractic?

That popping sound you hear when you flex your knuckles or undergo chiropractic manipulation is normal. The sound occurs when a gas bubble is released between the joints as a result of a pressure change within the joint.

Advice for Exercises & Lifestyle:
Chiropractorís unique and extensive training also allows them to advise you about helpful exercises to restore function and comfort, improvements in diet or nutrition, lifestyle changes and other therapeutic techniques.† Your chiropractor will advise you when therapy should be combined with other medical treatments to fully address your needs.

Chiropractor Education & Training

Chiropractor Education & Training

A chiropractor undergoes an extremely rigorous education program that includes the same medical training as a primary care doctor along with a focus on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders. The musculoskeletal system consists of muscles, ligaments, and joints in the spine, arms, and legs, along with their related nerves.
   
Usually, a chiropractic college applicant is nearing completion of four years of pre-med education in an undergraduate program, having taken courses in biology, physics, chemistry, psychology, and more. †Up to 5 additional years of education is required following acceptance into an accredited chiropractic college. Upon graduation, a chiropractor has received education and training in orthopedics, anatomy, neurology, physiology, lab procedures, clinical diagnosis, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition, and more. Extensive time is spent honing precise manipulation and adjustment techniques. From start to finish, a chiropractor spends at least 4,200 in the classroom, lab, and in clinical training. The study of chiropractic is a fully accredited program recognized by the US Department of Education.

What to Ask your Chiropractor

What to Ask your Chiropractor
  • Do you see emergencies?
  • Do you treat my type of problem? Does it work? Can you help me?
  • Will it hurt?
  • Do you see children?
  • Are you accepting new patients?
  • Do you have testimonials from other patients I could see?
  • Is your office friendly, comfortable and modern?
  • Do you accept my insurance? Do you have payment plans?

Chiropractic & Insurance

Chiropractic & Insurance

Many major medical plans, as well as workersí compensation, Medicare and some select Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield for federal employees, cover chiropractic care. In addition, over 60 military bases provide active-duty armed forces members with chiropractic care. Veterans may receive chiropractic treatment at many major veteransí medical facilities.


Common Conditions Treated by Chiropractors

Back Pain

Back Pain

Four out of five people experience back pain at some point in their life. Common causes of back pain include strained muscles, disk issues, sprained ligaments, and irritated joints. Pain can also come from accidental falls, sports injuries, or even just the simplest of movements or twists. In addition, poor posture, psychological stress, arthritis, and obesity may produce or worsen discomfort. Back pain can also come from disease such as blood clots, bone problems, or kidney stones or disease. 

See Your Chiropractor
If your back pain lasts more than a few days, consider seeing a chiropractor who can address mechanical problems that lead to a significant amount of back pain. Chiropractic spinal manipulation is an effective and safe pain treatment. Chiropractic care can reduce discomfort, lower the need for medication, help with physical therapy, and limit the need for bed rest. 

To Prevent Back Pain

  • Get exercise regularly. A sedentary lifestyle can worsen lower-back pain. 
  • When lifting objects, bend your knees and squat to pick up items, keeping your back straight and keeping the item close to your body. Do not twist your body while lifting. 
  • To move heavy objects, push rather than pull, when feasible. 
  • Take frequent breaks when sitting for long periods. Stretch often. 
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes when possible.  

What to Tell Your Chiropractor
It is important to let your chiropractor know if you experience any of the following symptoms: 

  • Numbness in the leg, foot, rectal area, or groin
  • Pain that travels down your leg and below your knee 
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Fever, nausea, vomiting, sweating, or a feeling of weakness
  • Pain or discomfort caused by an injury
  • Pain that lingers and doesnít go away in a timely manner
  • Severe pain that limits your mobility

Carpal Tunnel: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Carpal Tunnel: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

The median nerve runs from the forearm down into the hand. When this nerve becomes compressed, or entrapped, in the wrist, pain, numbness, and/or weakness can occur in the hand or wrist. Discomfort may radiate up the forearm, as well. This condition is known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS. Adult are more likely to experience it, and 30% more women get CTS than men. It usually occurs in the dominant hand first. The pain can be intense.

CTS causes include:

  • A small carpal tunnel in the wrist
  • A wrist injury that results in swelling
  • Structural issues in the wrist joint
  • An overactive pituitary gland
  • Inflammation from arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pregnancy- or menopause-related fluid retention
  • Inadequate ergonomics at work
  • Repetitive use of hand tools that vibrate

CTS commonly affects assembly-line workers and is considered the most expensive work-related injury. It was once thought that people who worked at computers where more at risk of developing CTS, but this has proven not to be so.

Symptoms of CTS
Often, symptoms first appear while sufferers are sleeping, and a tingling feeling may develop during the day. Other symptoms include:

  • Burning, itching, and/or numbness in the palm, thumb, index finger, and middle fingers
  • Fingers may feel useless and swollen but not appear swollen
  • Atrophy of the muscles at the base of the thumb
  • Inability to determine whether a surface being touched is hot or cold
  • Diminished grip strength

Preventing CTS
The following tips may prevent the onset of CTS:

  • Stretch and perform other light exercises while at work
  • Take frequent breaks to rest your hands and arms
  • Consider wearing a splint that keeps wrists from bending
  • Keep hands warm and flexible with fingerless gloves
  • Always practice correct posture and position your wrists appropriately
  • Ask your employer to rotate your job function and/or make the workplace more ergonomic

Diagnosing CTS
If you think that you have CTS, seek early diagnosis and treatment. A diagnostic evaluation may include:

  • A physical examination of hands, arms, shoulders, and neck
  • Lab tests
  • X-rays
  • Carpal compression test
  • Nerve conduction tests
  • Pressure-provocative test

CTS Treatment
Treatments for CTS include:

  • Rest for the affected hand and wrist
  • Avoidance of activities that make symptoms worse
  • The use of a splint that prevents the wrist from bending or twisting
  • Application of cool packs to reduce swelling
  • Taking medication, as prescribed by your doctor, for pain and inflammation
  • Visiting a chiropractor for joint manipulation of the wrist and hand
  • Exercises that stretch and strengthen the affected area
  • Technique that mobilize the soft-tissues affected by CTS
  • Surgery when other treatments fail to alleviate CTS, followed by instruction on proper posture and movement from your doctor of chiropractic

Children & Backpacks: Reduce Back Pain in Kids

Children & Backpacks: Reduce Back Pain in Kids

Over 50% of children carrying heavy backpacks to school complain of back pain. The longer a child uses a heavy backpack, the more likely that he or she may get injuredĖ with potential long-term damage to the spine.

More kids experiencing Back, Neck & Shoulder pain- Why?

  • A significant amount of weight carried in backpacks, which causes kids to bend forward to support the weight.
  • Backpacks slung over just one shoulder instead of carried properly.
  • Backpacks carried too low.
  • Loose straps.
  • An increased number of school districts have removed lockers, which means children must carry all their books all day.

How can you help?

  • Ensure that backpacks weigh the no more than 5-10% of a childís body weight.
  • Donít let a backpack hang more than four inches below a childís waist.
  • Buy an appropriately sized backpack, with wide, comfortably padded and adjustable shoulder straps.
  • Talk to your childís teacher if you feel the backpack is still too heavy.
  • If possible, have kids leave the heaviest books at school and only bring home lighter materials.
  • Be careful about switching to backpacks on rollers. Although they minimize the weight a child †has to carry, they can lead to trips and falls.

See a Chiropractor
Doctors of chiropractic treat patients of all ages and use gentle techniques with children. A chiropractor can show your child exercises to develop strong muscles and provide tips on how to avoid pain caused by backpack misuse.  

Childrenís Issues-Why See a Chiropractor

Childrenís Issues-Why See a Chiropractor

Because kids are usually very active, they often sustain injuries from falls, sporting activities, and just daily life! A chiropractor tailors treatment to each patient and uses gentle techniques to treat children who experience pain, stiffness, or soreness of the back or neck.

Chronic Pain & Depression- The Links

Chronic Pain & Depression- The Links

The pain from an acute injury serves as a signal to stop that activity. Chronic pain, which is discomfort that lingers for weeks to years, may not have a definite source, such as an injury or an area of bodily damage. Some common types of chronic pain include headache, arthritis, and low back pain.

Chronic pain sufferers are often told that their discomfort is imagined, not real. However, new evidence shows structural changes in the spinal cord nerves of people experiencing chronic pain, demonstrating that chronic pain is, indeed very real.

Long-term discomfort can result in social and psychological issues. People who experience protracted pain often state that theyíre unable to take care of their children, perform household chores, or participate in leisure activities. Careers may suffer, as well. Tension with family members and coworkers can occur as those people associated with a chronic pain sufferer take on additional responsibilities. This can result in depression, resentment, and anger on the part of the pain sufferer.

Depression & Chronic Pain: How are They Linked?
Up to 80% of chronic pain sufferers will experience depression. Itís the most common emotional side effect linked to chronic pain and may lead to increased disability on the part of the pain sufferer. Chronic pain coupled with depression can impact social, mental, and physical wellbeing, decreasing quality of life, and resulting in:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Becoming easily aggravated
  • Inability to perform normal, daily activities
  • Lack of concentration
  • Failure to complete work duties

Chronic pain is characterized by:

  • Discomfort that continues 6 months or more past the occurrence of an injury
  • An oversensitivity to pain
  • The sensation of pain from something that doesnít typically cause pain
  • An increase in the pain felt from a typically painful stimuli

Major clinical depression is characterized as depression that occurs daily for a period of 2 weeks or longer. People suffering from major clinical depression may experience:

  • An overwhelming feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability that may occur in tandem with bouts of crying
  • A change in weight and/or appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping more or less than normal
  • A sense of guilt or worthlessness
  • Impaired concentration and/or memory
  • Lack of interest in usually pleasurable activities

Treatment for Chronic Pain & Depression
In the past, bed rest was often prescribed to treat an injury. However, in some cases immobility can actually worsen the condition. To combat chronic pain, the cause must first be determined, if possible, and then addressed.

A chiropractor can help by encouraging a pain sufferer to:

  • Remain active. Do not necessarily discontinue an activity just because it causes discomfort.
  • Work with your doctor or chiropractor to determine activities to avoid.
  • Consider activities to strengthen the ability to cope with chronic pain, including hypnosis, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, cognitive therapy, imagery, distraction, and disassociation.
  • Get one or more family members involved in the recovery process.

Fibromyalgia & Chiropractic Care

Fibromyalgia & Chiropractic Care

Fibromyalgia syndrome impacts between 3-6% of Americans. Women are more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men. Diagnosis is often difficult, and it may take years for a person to receive an accurate identification.

A person is said to have fibromyalgia if he or she experiences pervasive pain lasting 3 months or longer in all 4 regions of the body, or if the application of pressure results in discomfort in at least 11 spots around the head and shoulder region, chest, elbows, hips, and knees. Some experts will bestow a diagnosis of fibromyalgia if a person experiences fewer than 11 tender spots but has prevalent pain combined with many of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue/sleep disorders
  • Stiffness upon waking
  • Amplified muscle pain following physical exertion
  • Dizziness or a feeling of lightheadedness
  • Persistent headaches or pain in the jaw
  • Cognitive diminishment/impairment of memory
  • Irritable bowels, Menstrual cramps
  • Numbness, tingling sensations, sensitive skin
  • Reactions to certain chemicals

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia
Because a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is often difficult to render, itís recommended that sufferers of the symptoms listed above seek opinions from more than one doctor or health care provider in order to rule out other conditions. Lab work may be necessary to determine if one or more of the following conditions is present. If so, your doctor will likely treat that problem initially.

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anemia
  • Allergies
  • One or more nutritional deficiencies
  • Lyme or other rheumatic disease
  • A hormonal imbalance
  • Disorders that mimic the symptoms of fibromyalgia

If your pain is caused by a muscle or joint condition, chiropractic care may help relieve it more effectively than other therapies.

Treatment Alternatives
Classic fibromyalgia may be the diagnosis if no other cause can be found. The traditional approach to treatment, which may include prednisone, antidepressants, medicines to aid sleep, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants, may relieve symptoms. Chiropractic care can offer significant relief for fibromyalgia patients and can help you with more natural approaches to treatment such as:

  • Massage, ultrasound, and/or electrical stimulation
  • Improving stress management skills and fatigue reduction techniques.
  • Recommending yoga, Pilates, or tai chi instead of more vigorous exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Dietary changes such as vitamin and mineral supplements, adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diet with fewer saturated fats.
  • Decreasing red meat intake and increasing consumption of fish, flax, and walnut oils
  • Other techniques, such as reducing caffeine intake, limiting TV and computer time, and not watching shows with violent or disturbing content prior to bedtime

See your Chiropractor
Chiropractors have the knowledge, skill, and training to help you determine the best course of action to manage fibromyalgia. A personalized system of care involves you, your chiropractor, and other health care providers, as needed.

Headaches: Chiropractic Care

Headaches: Chiropractic Care

Ninety percent of Americans are occasional or chronic headache sufferers. Headache pain can range from dull and throbbing to debilitating. Sometimes, headaches can cause nausea. Headache sufferers respond in many ways. Some take medication, others rest, and some just try to deal with the pain as they go about daily activities. Another option to alleviate headache discomfort, especially headaches that begin in the neck and tension headaches, is spinal manipulation.

What causes headaches?
 Headaches causes, often called triggers, can include:

  • Certain foods
  • Noise
  • Light
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Blood sugar level

Muscle tension in the neck is a primary cause of tension headaches. This tension can occur as a result of sitting in one position for a long period of time, such as when working in front of a computer.

Most headaches are classified as tension, cluster, or migraine headaches and are not caused by disease. Only about 5% of headaches are considered a symptom of a physical ailment.

Chiropractic Recommendations

  • Every half hour to hour, take a break from a sedentary activity and stretch your head and neck.
  • Try not to clench your teeth, as this type of activity can aggravate the temporomandibular joints in the jaw and culminate in a tension headache.
  • Consider low-impact exercise to alleviate headaches. Those experiencing dull, throbbing headaches should avoid vigorous exercise and opt for low-impact activities such as walking.
  • Avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

Chiropractic Treatment
A doctor of chiropractic can perform the following activities to improve the function of the spine, alleviate stress placed on the spine and joints, and relieve tension in the neck and upper back:

  • Perform spinal manipulation or other chiropractic adjustments
  • Offer nutritional advice
  • Provide advice on posture, how to perform your job, techniques for relaxation, and exercises

Osteoarthritis- Your Chiropractor Can Help

Osteoarthritis- Your Chiropractor Can Help

Osteoarthritis, or OA for short, breaks down and ultimately erodes the cartilage of joints, causing swelling, pain, and reduction or loss of movement. Itís a degenerative disease that impacts over 20 million Americans and usually affects people age 65 and over. OA strikes more women than men.

In the past, it was assumed that OA was part of the natural aging process. However, people under the age of 65 are being diagnosed with OA, and itís now thought that excess weight, previous joint injuries, and lack of exercise can contribute to OA.†

Signs of OA

  • Sporadic or constant pain in a joint
  • Joint tenderness or inflammation
  • Grinding thatís felt or heard as a joint moves
  • Stiffness in a joint after a period of inactivity


Diagnosing OA
A heath care provider should be contacted if any of these symptoms occur in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes, symptoms such as the ones listed above can be caused by other conditions. A doctor can perform an exam, take a clinical history, order diagnostic tests such as X-rays, and perhaps take a sample of the fluid from a joint to isolate the cause of the discomfort and administer appropriate treatment.

Can Exercise Help OA?
Exercise can be an ideal treatment for OA. It can help prevent it, as well. Exercise encourages joint function and mobility by strengthening the muscles surrounding a joint. The weight control aspect of exercise may help, too. And exercise can elevate mood and outlook, which can affect symptom severity.

OA Exercise Tips

  • Walk, ride a stationary bike, lift light weights, climb stairs, find a water aerobics class, work out with exercise bands, or participate in another low-impact or non-weight-bearing exercise.
  • Include exercises that strengthen the muscle groups that impact joint function.
  • Always exercise carefully to avoid undue stress on lower leg joints; overweight people should start out exercising carefully to avoid this type of joint stress.
  • Listen to your body and rest as needed during exercise.

Chiropractor Care for OA
Chiropractors are skilled at identifying joint changes, as the results of joint degeneration can appear in the spine, hips, knees, and other joints. Chiropractic manipulation, massage, and therapy involving trigger points are natural treatments to improve how joints function and alleviate discomfort.

Your chiropractor can also provide tips on appropriate types of exercise, tell you whether the application of heat or cold is recommended, and suggest dietary supplement that may help your OA.

Posture: Important Tips

Posture: Important Tips

Why is good posture important?
Correct posture:

  • Maintains joints and bones in proper alignment so muscles function correctly.
  • Reduces abnormal wear of joints that can lead to pain or degenerative arthritis.
  • Minimizes stress on ligaments that hold spinal joints to reduce injuries.
  • Allows muscles to function efficiently to prevent muscle fatigue, strain, overuse disorders, and back pain.

What contributes to poor posture?
Common problems include decreased flexibility, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, unhealthy work posture, or incorrect standing and sitting habits. Obesity, stress, pregnancy, and high-heeled shoes may also contribute.

Tips to Sit Properly

  • Keep feet on the floor or footrest. Do not cross your legs.
  • Keep knees at or below your hips. Keep ankles in front of your knees.
  • Maintain a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
  • Modify your chairís backrest to maintain support of low- and mid-back, or utilize a back support.
  • Keep forearms parallel to the ground, with shoulders relaxed.
  • Do not sit in the same position for long periods.

Tips on Lying Down

  • Do not sleep on your stomach. Sleeping on your side or back often helps back pain.
  • When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your legs. When sleeping on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.

Tips on Standing

  • Keep your knees bent slightly with most of your weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Stand tall, shoulders pulled backward, stomach tucked in, and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Let arms hang naturally down the sides.
  • Keep head level. Avoid pushing it forward, back, or to either side. Keep earlobes in line with your shoulders.
  • If you have to stand for a long period, shift weight from toes to heels, or one foot to the other.

See Your Chiropractor
Your chiropractor can help you regain proper posture and recommend exercises to strengthen your postural muscles and core. This can reduce your risk of injury and ensure your comfort and health.

Pregnancy- Chiropractic Advice

Pregnancy- Chiropractic Advice

Fifty percent of mothers develop back pain during their pregnancy; especially as the baby's head puts pressure on structures near the sciatic nerve. If you had back pain before, pregnancy may make your issues worse. Reasons for back pain during pregnancy include:

  • As the center of gravity moves forward to the front of the pelvis, the shift in weight can increase joint stress.
  • Pregnancy hormones that help to loosen pelvic ligaments can cause an imbalance in posture, which can result in accidents such as trips and falls.
  • The curvature of the upper and lower spine can increase as the baby grows, putting additional stress on the spinal disks.

For Your Wellbeing

  • Wear sensible shoes, such as flats. Avoid high or wedge heels that can worsen posture problems and lessen balance.
  • Bend from the knees, not the waist, when lifting a heavy object or a child. Never turn your head when lifting.
  • Listen to your body and take a nap or lie down with your feet elevated when feeling tired.
  • Take care of yourself, rest, and ask for help if needed.

Smart Moves

  • Try to exercise a minimum of 3x/week, and stretch gently before and after exercising. Check with your doctor before embarking on or continue an exercising program.
  • Stop exercising immediately if you experience heart palpitations, increased swelling, vaginal bleeding, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or blurring of vision.
  • Consider aerobic motions that do not require bouncing or jerking movements, such as walking, riding a stationary bike, or swimming.†
  • Check with your doctor before jogging. This can be safe for women who were runners before pregnancy, but must be done carefully and with supervision during pregnancy.
  • Do not let your heart rate exceed 140 beats per minute during exercise.
  • Limit vigorous exercise to no more than 15 minutes at a time.
  • Check that there is secure footing to limit the risk of falls.

Healthy Eating

  • To fight morning sickness, keep crackers, yogurt, and other bland, high-carbohydrate, high-protein foods on hand.
  • Small meals and snacks eaten every four to five hours can help curb nausea and ward off hunger.
  • A daily supplement of at least 400 micrograms of folic acid is associated with a decrease in the risk of neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida.
  • To ensure the safety of both mom and baby, always contact a doctor before taking any vitamin or herbal supplement.

Working & Sleeping

  • If using a computer, position the monitor where the top of the screen is at or below eye level. Using a small footrest can alleviate pressure on the legs and feet.
  • Take a break every half hour to take a quick walk.
  • Side sleeping with a pillow between the knees can relieve pressure on the lower back. Consider buying a full-size body pillow or wedge pillow.
  • Lying on the left side does not impede blood flow and assists the kidneys in flushing waste from the body.

See a Chiropractor

  • A chiropractor can provide advice on nutrition, exercise, and ergonomics.
  • Your chiropractor can identify an imbalance in the pelvis (or another place in the body) that could cause discomfort during pregnancy; or neuro-musculoskeletal problems following childbirth.
  • Chiropractic adjustments can relieve back pain caused by pregnancy. Chiropractic manipulation is safe for pregnant women and their babies and can provide an alternative to medication use to treat back pain.
  • After childbirth, chiropractic care can alleviate joint problems causing by improper lifting or reaching during pregnancy. Addressing ligament issues before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state can prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and shoulder problems.

Sciatica & Chiropractic Care

Sciatica & Chiropractic Care

The sciatic nerve Ė the longest, widest nerve in the body Ė runs down the lower back into the lower leg. This nerve controls the lower leg muscles and is responsible for sensations felt from the thighs to the bottom of the feet. The condition known as sciatica is characterized by constant pain along the sciatic nerve. Instead of a true diagnosis, sciatica is actually a combination of symptoms. Most commonly occurring in people age 30 to 50 years old, sciatica is often caused by normal wear and tear on the lower spine and not by an injury.

Sciatica Symptoms
The onset of sciatica pain can be gradual. Over time, it can intensify and may become worse after sudden movements, sneezing, coughing, bending, and other activities. Symptoms may vary according to the location at which the nerve is impacted and include:

  • Pain radiating from the lower back and down a leg (the most common symptom reported).
  • Mild tingling, low-grade achiness, or a burning feeling, most often occurring on one side or the other
  • Numbness or muscle weakness in a leg or foot
  • A prickly, pins-and-needles-type feeling in the toes or foot

Diagnosing Sciatica
A diagnosis begins with a full patient history. Description of the pain and information related to the pain, such as when it started and what makes it worse or better, will aid in diagnosing the condition. A physical and neurological exam, as well as activities that assess sensory and muscle strength, will also provide information.

If a predetermined duration of conservative treatment doesnít yield results, X-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan may be performed to rule out other conditions causing the pain.

Treating Sciatica
It may not be possible to prevent sciatica, but practicing good habits can improve the health of your back and spine.

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain an appropriate weight
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Practice good posture
  • Lift heavy objects using proper form and technique
  • Avoid lengthy durations of bed rest or inactivity
  • Stop smoking

Chiropractic Care
Your chiropractor can provide conservative, non-surgical, and drug-free options to treat sciatica and improve spinal function. The treatment options depend on each individual case and may include:

  • Adjustments of the spine
  • Ultrasound
  • Exercises
  • Ice/heat therapy
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis: Causes & Symptoms
Commonly a chronic, degenerative condition, spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows. Causes include:

  • A mechanical problem with the spine
  • Abnormalities in the spine as a result of aging
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Infection
  • A congenital abnormality
  • Dislocated or fractured vertebrae
  • A spinal cord tumor
  • An abscess

Some sufferers of spinal stenosis may not even know they have it. Itís only after an accident or a fall that the pain characteristic of spinal stenosis is felt. Symptoms of spinal stenosis include:

  • Limping
  • Pain in the low back
  • Lack of feeling in the legs
  • Pain caused by long periods of walking or standing that usually improves by sitting and leaning forward in a flexed position
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs
  • Sensations of heat or cold in the legs
  • Muscle spasms and weakness

Diagnosing & Treating Spinal Stenosis
To diagnose spinal stenosis, your doctor will ask you about past and current symptoms and perform a physical exam. An electrodiagnostic study can provide helpful information to correctly diagnose and treat spinal stenosis. Diagnostic imaging is useful in locating tumors causing spinal stenosis, and blood work can tell the doctor if the spinal stenosis is caused by an infection or abscess.

While the source of stenosis-related discomfort is based on the specific cause, treatment typically falls into three categories:

  • Medical treatment such as bed rest, pain relievers, the application of heat, and the use of muscle relaxants
  • Chiropractic treatment that involves exercise, manipulation, exercise, and self-care techniques
  • Surgery

Due to the chronic nature of stenosis, it canít be cured. However, the symptoms can be addressed and treated to alleviate discomfort, improve function, and increase quality of life.

Treating Sports Injuries

Treating Sports Injuries

Exercise provides a great way to maintain or improve health, benefitting the heart, joints, and bones. Exercising can also help manage stress. With exercise, as with any activity, injuries may occur. Sometimes injuries happen as a result of not using safety equipment or exercising too vigorously. Novices to a certain sport or activity may also sustain injuries. If you donít currently exercise, itís important to see your chiropractor before beginning to discuss how to exercise safely and effectively.

The most frequently injured parts of the body include:

  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Spine
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows

Common Injuries
Strains/Sprains: The muscles, ligaments, and tendons commonly sustain injury during exercise or sporting activities. The muscles attach to bones via the tendons; bones connect to each other with ligaments. A strain occurs when muscles or tendons tear, often as a result of being twisted or overextended. Sprains happen when ligaments are torn. A muscle, ligament, or tendon that suffers a complete tear may require surgery. Disc herniation or bulge occurs when an intervertebral disc, which is a ligament between the vertebrae in the spine, tears. Commons strains/sprains involve the ankle and the knee.

Stress Fractures: Also called fatigue fractures, stress fractures occur when a bone incurs excessive stress, such as when a runner over-trains for a race or a person new to running logs too many miles too early. Shin splints are a type of micro-fracture that occurs on the front of the shin bone.

Tendinosis/Tendinitis: Overuse of a joint or joints caused by overtraining and resulting in discomfort and dysfunction is categorized as overuse syndrome. Tendinosis, which is also referred to as tendinitis, is a common overuse injury characterized by inflammation. Other overuse syndrome conditions consist of rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, and golferís elbow.

Diagnosis & Treating Sports Injuries
A discussion of how the injury occurred, along with a physical exam, and possible X-rays, MRI, and/or ultrasound can isolate the source of the discomfort. With regard to treatment, a fracture may require a cast or other method of immobilization. Surgery is rarely required.

Most sports- or exercise-related injuries are treated as follows:

  • Rest: A period rest/immobilization typically not longer than 48 hours, followed by normal activity is a typical protocol. Long-term rest/immobilization may actually be detrimental to healing. Follow your chiropractorís instructions to obtain optimal results.
  • Ice or heat: As needed and as recommended by your healthcare provider, ice or heat may aid in reducing pain and helping injured tissues heal.
  • Compression: Compression can help reduce inflammation.
  • Elevation: Elevating an injured body part provide another method to stop or reduce inflammation.
  • Joint Manipulation: A chiropractor can determine if manipulation of the joints would aid in the reduction of pain and facilitate a faster recovery.

Since some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory/pain medications may actually impede healing, use them only as needed and as recommended by a health care provider.

Preventing Sports- & Exercise-Related Injuries

  • Use appropriate technique
  • Implement a warm-up and a cool-down into your exercise routine
  • Use proper safety equipment
  • Drink plenty of water

Whiplash- Alleviating Damage

Whiplash- Alleviating Damage

The term whiplash is used to describe injuries resulting from the neck being suddenly or forcefully jerked back and forth in a whiplike motion. Whiplash typically occurs as a result of an automobile accident, fall, sports-related injury, workplace occurrence, or other accident-related scenario.

Whiplash Damage

  • Sprain: A neck sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the vertebra tear. The facet capsules which cover the facet joints in the back of the spine are commonly injured during an occurrence that causes whiplash.
  • Strain: Whiplash can stretch muscles and tendons past their limits, causing a strain.

 

  • Herniation: Disc herniation can occur when the vertebral discs are torn. The nerve roots that reside between the vertebrae can also be stretched, causing inflammation.†
  • Fracture: While extremely rare, whiplash can fracture and/or dislocate vertebra.

Whiplash Symptoms
Sometimes, whiplash symptoms donít appear right away. They may wait up to 48 hours to present themselves. Itís not understood why this occurs, although some say itís because of delayed muscle soreness.

People with whiplash most commonly complain of neck stiffness. Thatís because the incident causing the whiplash lifts the head from the upper spine, creating a strain or sprain below the skull and causing discomfort. Certain activities, such as turning the head, can worsen the pain.

Another symptom seen in over 66% of whiplash sufferers is a headache that occurs at the base of the skull. The headache pain may occur on one or both sides of the head, and the discomfort may run down through the shoulders and into the upper back and/or chest.†

Other whiplash symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Upset stomach
  • Jaw pain
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Lack of concentration

Most of these symptoms go away quickly. If they continue, tell your doctor. Rarely do symptoms continue, but there have been occurrences where they persisted for weeks and even years.

Treating Whiplash
Unless an injury requires staying immobile, remaining active is crucial to managing whiplash. Patients are encouraged to move, always exercising common sense when doing so. A doctor may even prescribe an exercise/stretching regimen. Patients are advised to follow their doctorís instructions in order to obtain optimal results.

Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, along with physical therapy, to treat whiplash. Electrical stimulation, the use of heat and/or ice, and ultrasound may also be used in conjunction with an exercise and stretching program to manage whiplash symptoms.

Preventing Whiplash
While thereís no sure way to prevent whiplash, safe practices while driving or riding in a car, such as wearing a seat belt and adjusting the headrest to the correct height, can lessen the chance of a severe injury in case of an accident.


Illustrated Guide to Human Anatomy

Circulatory System

Circulatory System

Elbow Joint

The Elbow Joint

Endocrine System

Endocrine System

General Anatomy

General Anatomy

Hand, Elbow & Forearm

Anatomy of the Hand, Elbow & Forearm

Knee Joint

Anatomy of the Knee

Leg & Foot

Anatomy of the Leg & Foot

Lumbar Plexis

Lumbar Plexis

Lymphatic System

Lymphatic System

Muscular System

Muscular System

Nervous System

Anatomy of the Sympathetic Nervous System Anatomy of the Sympathetic Nervous System

Shoulder

Anatomy of the Shoulder

Skeletal System

Skeletal System

Spine

Spine

Vertebral Column

Vertebral Column Vertebral Column