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Disc Issues and Chiropractic

Disc Issues and Chiropractic

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

Disc herniations, bulges, protrusions and extrusions are some of the most common reasons people visit a Chiropractic practice. Come to think of it, most people visit a Chiropractor not just because they have a disc issue, but because the disc issue has caused a significant impact on their quality of life. Exciting new research showcases what we have witnessed for years: how Chiropractic care provides outstanding results for people dealing with spinal disc issues.

Why it Matters:

Specific Chiropractic techniques are thought to alter the pressure in your spinal discs. Emerging research has shown that by reducing intra-discal stress and opening up the channels that your nerves pass through, you can improve how you feel and stimulate the healing process.

  • Keeping your core muscles strong and flexible can decrease your likelihood of suffering a disc bulge or herniation.
  • Research has shown Chiropractic to be very effective at reducing pain caused by disc bulges and herniations.
  • Chiropractic adjustments were found to be more effective than spinal injections for treating disc issues.

Next Steps:

If you have an MRI that shows a disc issue, it does NOT mean that surgery or injections are your only options. A recent study showcased how people with an MRI-confirmed disc herniation received better results with Chiropractic adjustments than with injections. Your body has an incredible ability to heal without drugs or surgery, even from disc herniations, and we’re here to help!

Science Source:

Symptomatic magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed lumbar disk herniation patients: a comparative effectiveness prospective observational study of 2 age- and sex-matched cohorts treated with either high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulative therapy or imaging-guided lumbar nerve root injections. JMPT 2013

Facet Joints: Gliding Your Way to Better Health

Facet Joints: Gliding Your Way to Better Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

If you’ve had neck or back pain that you could pinpoint with your finger, or experienced sharp pains when you move, it may be related to the facet joints of your spine. It’s easy to think of your facet joints like the “knuckles” of your spine. They are small joints and have a capsule and cartilage pad that glides and slides, allowing your spine to move.

 

Why it Matters:

As you go through life and your spinal discs go through the aging process, your facet joints end up taking on extra load. Unfortunately, this excess stress and pressure can wear down your facet joints. What results is the beginning of the degenerative process, which means you can end up with adhesions, restricted motion, bone spurs and, well…pain.

  • The facet joints of your spine slide and glide as you move.
  • Restrictions or adhesions in the facets can occur with age and injury.
  • Chiropractic adjustments help the facet joints move freely and decrease painful restrictions in motion.

Next Steps:

The facet joints of your spine love to move, and, in fact, movement helps them stay healthy and may even slow down the degenerative process. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce adhesions on these joints, allowing you to move more freely and with less pain. In our office, we believe that when you’re moving better, you’re feeling better, and we’re proud to be a part of the healthcare team that helps you stay active!

Science Source:

Magnetic resonance imaging zygapophyseal joint space changes (gapping) in low back pain patients following spinal manipulation and side-posture positioning: a randomized controlled mechanisms trial with blinding. JMPT 2013

How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain

How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bowling Ball and the Pin: How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain

Bottom Line:

The average human head weighs about 8 pounds. Each day we all walk around with a bowling ball (our head) balancing on a toothpick (our neck). We are designed this way to allow for the full range of motion we all know and love. Even under the best circumstances, this places a lot of stress on our spine. But leaning forward even just 15 degrees pushes that weight up to 30 pounds, and with a 30 degree tilt its closer to 40 pounds!

Why it Matters:

Driving a car, working on the computer, and using a tablet/phone all usually result in less than ideal posture. And when you start to lean forward, it places a tremendous amount of extra pressure on the discs in your neck and spine. This can cause increased compression and lead to pain. Even just a few inches of forward head posture can double or triple the amount of stress on the spinal joints in your neck.

- The average human head weights approximately 8-10 pounds.
- For every inch of forward head posture, an additional 10 pounds of weight is added to your spine.
- Forward head posture may result in muscle imbalances, a high risk for spinal degeneration, reduced range of motion, and pain.

Next Steps:

Take a moment today at work and notice if your shoulders are rounding, the head has moved forward, and upper back is hunched over. If you see yourself slouching into this posture, let us know. We would love to provide you with some exercises you can do at work to help strengthen the muscles supporting your spine and combat these muscle imbalances. And remember, the more time you spend in this posture, the more likely you are to suffer head and neck pain.

Science Source(s):

The Physiology of the Joints, Volume III. 6th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2007.
Myofascial trigger points, neck mobility and forward head posture in unilateral migraine. Cephalalgia 2006

Is Your Cell Phone Causing Tech Neck?

Is Your Cell Phone Causing Tech Neck?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

Staying connected to friends and family is easier than ever with social media. The tradeoff is that your daily screen time may be 1, 2, 3 hours or more. And let’s face it, a lot of those hours online are spent in an awkward forward head posture that experts have begun to call “tech neck.” It can result in neck pain, headaches, spinal disc issues, and even pinched nerves.

Why it Matters:

Each day we work with people, young and old, who are experiencing the symptoms associated with tech neck. By creating a plan of care that may include stretching, adjustments, and postural exercises; we have been able to help our patients overcome these aches and pains without giving up their cell phones and tablets.

- Looking down at your phone, tablet, or computer for long periods of time can cause muscle strains and neck pain which is now known as tech neck.
- Researchers have discovered the angle of your head when text messaging places tremendous amount of stress on your neck and spine.
- Taking short breaks to stretch at least every 30 minutes helps your body feel better by improving your posture and resetting your balance.

Next Steps:

Next time you are on the phone, stop for a moment and see if your head is creeping forward. If your chin is tucked down and your ears are in front of your shoulders, then you are in the forward head posture we call tech neck. It’s a good time to take a break, stretch, and reset. If you are experiencing any pain or headaches, then please reach out so we can work with you to create a plan to help you stay connected without suffering from tech neck.

Science Source(s):

Head flexion angle while using a smartphone. Ergonomics. 2015
Effects of a Resistance and Stretching Training Program on Forward Head and Protracted Shoulder Posture in Adolescents. JMPT 2017

Taking Control of Your Health: Slowing Down the Degenerative Process

Taking Control of Your Health: Slowing Down the Degenerative Process

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

The dreaded degenerative disc disease. Well, it may not be so dreaded after all. You may be surprised to learn that degenerative disc disease is a part of the normal aging process. As we age, our discs lose some of their water content and become less supple. This makes them appears darker on an MRI. And when they appear darker on MRI, you guessed it; they are labeled as degenerative.

Why it Matters:

Just because all of us will experience degenerative disc disease as we age doesn’t mean that process is the same for everyone. Research has shown that by taking a pro-active approach with your spinal health, you may be able to slow down the degenerative process.

  • Degenerative changes are part of the normal aging process due to the weight of gravity, injuries, and repetitive stress on your spine.
  • Researchers have found a correlation between the amount of arthritis in the spine and the severity of degenerative changes.
  • Stretching, exercising (regional motion) and chiropractic care (segmental motion) are thought to improve spinal biomechanics and may slow down the degenerative process.

Next Steps:

New research has shown that degenerative changes accelerate on joints that aren’t moving correctly. We encourage you to take control of your spinal health with exercise, stretching, and even periodic chiropractic adjustments. By keeping your spine moving, you will have the best opportunity to slow down the aging process while feeling great every step of the way.

 

Science Source(s):

Do modic changes, disc degeneration, translation and angular motion affect facet osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine. European Journal of Radiology. 2018

Your Arm Pain Could Be a Neck Problem

Your Arm Pain Could be a Neck Problem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

Pain in your hand, wrist, or arm can be frustrating. You don’t realize how much you use your arms and hands each second of the day until pain, numbness, or tingling gets in the way. But, getting rid of the pain may be easier than you think.

Why it Matters:

Hand, wrist, and arm pain often starts with a neck problem. When a spinal disc in your neck irritates or presses on a nerve, it can result in arm pain. Just like the power lines that bring electricity to your house, your brain and spinal cord split into individual nerve roots that deliver information to every part of your body. The nerves in your neck are specifically focused on providing strength and sensation to your head and arms.

  • A bulged or herniated disc in your neck can irritate or compress the nerves that travel to your hands, arms, and shoulders.
  • A recent study of people with cervical (neck) disc herniation showed improvement in over 86% of those who received chiropractic adjustments.
  • Improving spinal mobility, decreasing inflammation, and improving your posture may help prevent future episodes of neck and arm pain.

Next Steps:

A painful arm as a result of a pinched nerve in your neck very rarely requires surgery. Getting rid of the inflammation, decompressing the nerve, and giving the disc time to heal are all part of a complete plan we use each day to help our patients reduce their symptoms and get their life back.

 

Science Source(s):

Symptomatic, Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Confirmed Cervical Disk Herniation Patients: A Comparative-Effectiveness Prospective Observational Study of 2 Age- and Sex-Matched Cohorts Treated With Either Imaging-Guided Indirect Cervical Nerve Root Injections or Spinal Manipulative Therapy. JMPT 2016

How to Prevent Spinal Disc Injuries

How to Prevent Spinal Disc Injuries

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. I often wonder if the author of that quote happened to have a disc herniation. By investing in a pro-active approach to your spinal health now, you may be able to avoid suffering from a disc injury later in life. And, while there is no specific protocol to guarantee you will never have a disc herniation, there are a few action steps you can take now to lower your risk. In fact, researchers have recently discovered that you can reduce your chances of suffering from a herniated disc by keeping your spinal muscles strong.

Why it Matters:

An active lifestyle, regular exercise, and even Chiropractic adjustments are all considered essential aspects of optimal spinal health. Degenerative changes to your spinal discs and weakened muscles around your spine can increase your risk of a disc herniation. In our practice, we focus on helping you live an active and healthy lifestyle to keep your spine both durable and flexible. When you receive an adjustment from us, your spine is better able to move freely as a result, and this is thought to help slow down the degenerative process.

  • Spinal disc degeneration and weakened muscles can increase your risk of disc herniation.
  • An active lifestyle consisting of exercise and Chiropractic adjustments may be able to lower your risk.
  • Taking a pro-active approach to your spinal health can help improve your overall quality of life.

Next Steps:

We have found that a pro-active approach to spinal health can lead to a significant improvement in your quality of life. If you have any questions about how you can get more active just ask! We love helping our patients reach their healthcare goals.

Science Source(s):

Correlation between intervertebral disc degeneration, paraspinal muscle atrophy, and lumbar facet joints degeneration in patients with lumbar disc herniation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28427393

A Spinal Disc Bulge or Herniation: What’s the Difference?

A Spinal Disc Bulge or Herniation: What’s the Difference?

Bottom Line:

The bones, discs, ligaments, and muscles of your spine are designed to help you maintain proper spinal alignment,
posture, and movement. Between each set of bones or vertebrae is a small rubbery disc. These discs act as small
shock absorbers for your spinal bones and nerves. They have a tough, rubber-like outer layer called the annulus
fibrosis and a soft jelly-like center that is called the nucleus pulposus. As you age or encounter injuries, the curve of
your spine may fall out of alignment. This can place uneven stress on your spinal column and discs, increasing the
chance of having a disc break down and herniate.

Why it Matters:
A disc herniation occurs when the outer portion of the disc ruptures (or tears) and the soft inner portion squeezes out.
This type of injury can cause pain at the site of herniation, or sometimes the herniated disc can pinch a nearby nerve,
causing pain that can radiate down into your arms and legs. Similarly, a disc bulge occurs when the outer wall of the
disc is weakened, but the inner portion has not yet broken through.

- A disc herniation occurs when the inside of a spinal disc breaks through its outside wall.

- Disc herniations often contribute to nerve compression, which can send pain, weakness, or numbness into
your arms or legs.

- By maintaining proper spinal alignment, you can reduce added wear and tear on your discs and potentially
decrease the likelihood of a disc herniation.

Next Steps:

Now that you know what a disc herniation is, be sure to stay tuned. Next week, we’ll reveal the best ways you can
find natural relief. Can you guess what type of care resulted in over 90% of people with a disc herniation finding
improvement within the first few months? We’ll be back next week with the answer!

Columbia University. The Spine Hospital 2018
Herniated Disk: What is it? Harvard Medical School. Harvard Health Publishing 2018