Scoliosis

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis affects about 5-7 million people in the U.S., scoliosis is a lateral curvature of more than 10 degrees in the spine. A person with scoliosis will have a C- or S-shaped curve in their spine. It can appear at any age, but it often presents from the age of 10 to 12 years, or during the teens, but infants can sometimes have symptoms. The reasons for the change in shape are not usually known, but some cases are linked to cerebral palsymuscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or a birth defect.

A structural curve is permanent, and may be due to another condition. A nonstructural curve is temporary and it is likely to disappear with time. A very small number of patients with scoliosis may require surgery. Complications of scoliosis include chronic pain, respiratory deficiencies, and decreased exercise capacity.

 

What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?

The most common form of scoliosis appears in adolescence. It is known as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It can affect children from the age of 10 years.

Idiopathic means that there is no known cause. Symptoms can include:

  • The head is slightly off center
  • The ribcage is not symmetrical – the ribs may be at different heights
  • One hip is more prominent than the other
  • Clothes do not hang properly
  • One shoulder, or shoulder blade, is higher than the other
  • The individual may lean to one side
  • Uneven leg lengths

Some types of scoliosis can cause back pain but it is not usually very painful. Back pain is not uncommon in older adults with long-standing scoliosis.

If scoliosis is left untreated, problems can arise later in life, such as impaired heart and lung function.

What are the Causes of Scoliosis?

  • Neuromuscular conditions: These affect the nerves and muscles and include cerebral palsy, poliomyelitis, and muscular dystrophy.
  • Congenital scoliosis (present at birth) This is rare and occurs because the bones in the spine developed abnormally when the fetus was growing inside the mother.
  • Specific genes: At least one gene is thought to be involved in scoliosis.
  • Leg length: If one leg is longer than the other, the individual may develop scoliosis.
  • Syndromic scoliosis: Scoliosis can develop as part of another disease, including neurofibromatosis and Marfan’s syndrome.
  • Osteoporosis: This can cause secondary scoliosis due to bone degeneration.
  • Other causes: Bad posture, carrying backpacks or satchels, connective tissue disorders, and some injuries.

What are the Types of Scoliosis?

There are a number of ways to differentiate between the various forms of scoliosis, but the most common method for classification is based on etiology, or the underlying cause for the condition. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) suggests there are three categories into which the different forms of scoliosis fit: idiopathic, congenital, and neuromuscular.

Most types of scoliosis are idiopathic, which means that the cause is unknown or that there is no single factor that contributes to the development of the disease.

Congenital forms of scoliosis typically result from a spinal defect present at birth, and are therefore usually detected at an earlier age than idiopathic forms of scoliosis.

Neuromuscular scoliosis is spinal curvature that develops secondary to some kind of neurological or muscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. This form of scoliosis tends to progress much more quickly than others.

What is the Treatment for Scoliosis?

As a Chiropractic Physician, I will do a physical examination, postural analysis, and take x-rays. I design an individualized treatment plan that will focus on pain management and postural fixation. Spinal manipulation, therapeutic exercises, and other treatments may also come into play. Initial treatment usually lasts 4-8 weeks and I then recommend my patients to follow up every 1-2 months to monitor the curve of the spine in clinic.

The following factors will be considered by the doctor when deciding on treatment options:

  • Sex: Females are more likely than males to have scoliosis that gradually gets worse.
  • Severity of the curve: The larger the curve, the greater the risk of it worsening over time. S-shaped curves, also called “double curves,” tend to worsen over time. C-shaped curves are less likely to worsen.
  • Curve position: A curve that is located in the center part of the spine is more likely to get worse compared with curves in the lower or upper section.
  • Bone maturity: The risk of worsening is lower if the person’s bones have stopped growing. Braces are more effective while bones are still growing.

What About Braces?

If the patient has moderate scoliosis and the bones are still growing, I may recommend a brace. This will prevent further curvature, but will not cure or reverse it. Braces are usually worn all the time, even at night. The more hours per day the patient wears the brace, the more effective it tends to be.

The brace does not normally restrict activities of daily living. If the patient wishes to take part in physical activity, the braces can be taken off.

When the bones stop growing, braces are no longer used. There are two types of braces:

  • Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO) – the TLSO is made of plastic and designed to fit neatly around the body’s curves. It is not usually visible under clothing.
  • Milwaukee brace – this is a full-torso brace and has a neck ring with rests for the chin and the back of the head. This type of brace is only used when the TLSO is not possible or not effective.

One study found that when bracing is used on 10-15 year olds with idiopathic scoliosis, it reduces the risk of the condition getting worse or needing surgery.

References

Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 22). Scoliosis: Treatment, symptoms, and causes. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/190940.php

7 Types of Scoliosis & Their Differences [Comprehensive Guide]. (2018, December 28). Retrieved from https://www.treatingscoliosis.com/blog/scoliosis-types-differences/

Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture, sometimes called “Scholar’s Neck”, “Text Neck”, or “Reading Neck”, refers to a posture where the head appears to be positioned in front of the body. It is a very common condition that I see in the office almost on a daily basis.

Technically speaking, forward head posture means that the skull is leaning forwards, more than an inch, over the atlas (which is the first vertebrae in your neck). Forward head posture is considered to be the most common postural deformity, affecting between 66% and 90% of the population.

With a few simple exercises, posture awareness and workstation modifications and you can start correcting this posture!

How Do You Know if You Have Forward Head Posture?

Stand with your back towards a wall with your heels positioned shoulder width apart

Press your buttocks against the wall and ensure that your shoulder blades are in contact with the wall.

So, What’s the Problem with This Posture?

Forward head posture doesn’t just affect the neck and shoulders; the center of gravity of your entire body is also altered, which affects your torso and every joint in your body.

Your body tries to adapt to these positional changes be altering the balance control mechanisms of the body, which actually decreases your ability to balance when engaging in different activities throughout the day, and increases your risk of injury.

A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science breaks down what happens to the body in individuals with forward head posture:

The muscles and joints at the front of the neck become weak, while the muscles in the upper back and shoulders get really tight.

The center of gravity of your head shifts forward (anteriorly), which increases the load on your neck (for every inch of forward movement, there is an extra 10 pounds of weight placed on your neck!). This can consequently lead to musculoskeletal, neural, and vascular system dysfunction.

The changes that occur with forward head posture can lead to persistent and abnormal pressure in the muscles, tissues, and nerves of both the neck and shoulders, which can lead to rounding of shoulders (increased thoracic kyphosis) and herniated discs in an effort to compensate, which results in a higher load being placed on the back and shoulder muscles (Like Trapezius).

When you combine all of these changes, you’ll eventually end up with a condition called “tension neck syndrome” – symptoms of this condition can mimic tension headache.

What are the symptoms of Forward Head Posture:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Cervical (Neck) spine arthritis
  • Restricted breathing
  • Hyperkyphosis (Excessive rounded shoulders)
  • Bulging Discs
  • Herniated Discs
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Insomnia
  • Numbness and tingling of the arms and hands
  • Temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) pain

What causes Forward Head Posture?

Forward head posture is the result of a variety of factors, including:

  • Poor posture
  • Weakness of your neck muscles
  • Previous neck strains or sprains
  • Sleeping with your head elevated too high on pillows
  • Frequently sleeping on a sofa with your head propped on the arm rest
  • Extended computer use
  • Extended cellphone use (“text neck”)
  • Prolonged driving
  • Incorrect breathing habits
  • Carrying heavy backpacks
  • Participating in sports that involve the dominant use of one side of the body (i.e. golf, tennis, hockey, baseball, etc.)
  • Certain professions are more at risk due to repetitive movements of the body (i.e. hair stylists, massage therapists, writers, computer programmers, painters, etc.)

What is the treatment for Forward Head Posture?

Practicing good posture while performing your daily activities, combined with stretching and strengthening the muscles involved in forward head posture, can put you on the right path towards correcting this postural abnormality. Below, there are some good exercises that can help with forward head posture.

Neck Flexion (Suboccipital Stretch)

This will stretch the back of your neck muscles including the Suboccipital muscles.

  • First, tuck your chin in using 2 fingers of one hand.
  • Place your other hand on the back of your head and apply a gentle force down as you pull your head towards your chest.
  • When you feel a stretch at the back of your neck, hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.

Repeat this stretch 3 times.

** Keep your chin tucked as you do this stretch

Chin Tuck Exercise

This exercise will activate and strengthen your deep cervical muscles (front of the neck muscles).

  • Place 2 fingers at the bottom of your chin.
  • Gently tuck your chin in and retract your head backwards. At the same time, use your fingers to keep the chin tucked in the entire time.
  • Hold the end position for 3 to 5 seconds.
  • Relax your neck for a moment (Let the neck come forward).

Aim for 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

** Your eyes should stay level and you should feel like the back of your neck is lengthening or “pulling up”.

Doorway Pectoralis Stretch

  • Position your elbows and hands in line with a doorframe.
  • Step through the door slowly, until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold this end position for 15 to 20 seconds before returning to the starting position.

Repeat this stretch 3 times.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze (aka Brugger’s Relief Position)

This exercise will activate and strengthen your low and mid back muscles.

  • Position your feet and knees slightly wider than your hips and slightly rotated outwards.
  • Maintain a chin tuck and raise your chest up, allowing your spine to be in a neutral position.
  • Rest both of your arms down by your sides.
  • Now bring your arms back and externally rotate them so that your thumbs are pointing backwards.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and release.

Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

* Breathe normally as you do these reps.

Lastly, Proper Ergonomics are very important when it comes to forward head posture. If you sit at a computer for extended periods of time, the single most important thing you can do to improve your workstation is to ensure that your computer monitor is positioned properly to allow your neck to remain in a neutral and relaxed position while you work.

Ensure that the top third of your screen is at eye level

Your monitor should be between 18 and 24 inches away from your face.

REFERENCES

McQuilkie, S., Joel, Kim, J., Ron, Turetsky, L., Ron, . . . Beth. (2019, March 14). How To Fix Forward Head Posture Fast – 5 Exercises And Stretches. Retrieved from https://backintelligence.com/how-to-fix-forward-head-posture/

Lee J. H. (2016). Effects of forward head posture on static and dynamic balance control. Journal of physical therapy science28(1), 274–277. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.274

Whiplash Injuries

What is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash, also called neck sprain or neck strain, is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck. Whiplash injuries occur in sports where a forceful impact (commonly from behind) causes an athlete’s head and neck to snap forward and back in an abrupt, violent motion. It is commonly seen in car accidents, but some contact sports, such as football, can lead to whiplash injuries. The sudden force stretches and tears the muscles and tendons in your neck. This causes movement of the structures within the neck changing the normal curve of the upper back and neck. The sudden backward movement (extension) and forward movement (flexion) can cause the joints of the neck to be injured and can also cause the muscles and ligaments of the neck and upper back to be over-stretched. The neck is particularly vulnerable to this type of injury because of its ability to move in many directions.

Symptoms of Whiplash
The primary symptom of whiplash is neck or upper back pain. The pain can start immediately or develop days, weeks, or sometimes even months later. Symptoms can vary widely among individuals. Some may only suffer minor discomfort while others experience one or more of the following:

  • Tightness or spasms of the muscles the neck or upper back
  • Pain with movement of the neck, headache and dizziness (symptoms of a concussion)
  • Abnormal sensations such as burning or tingling
  • Shoulder pain
  • Upper back pain

Severe whiplash can also include injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerve of the neck or upper back. Fortunately, with time, the vast majority of people who have had a whiplash injury fully recover.

How is Whiplash Diagnosed?
Even if your neck pain is only mild, you should be examined by a health professional such as a Chiropractor as soon as possible. X-rays may be done to rule out any bone fractures. A CT scan or MRI may also be done if there is concern you have a herniated disc or significant ligament injury. These tests are better able to identify soft tissue injuries than plain radiographs.

Treatment Options
Most cases of whiplash are treated using conservative methods such as:

  • Encouraging the patient to remain as active as possible.
  • A cervical collar should be used for only a very short period of time (less than a week). Ice or heat can be used to control pain, muscle spasm, and inflammation.
  • A course of spinal manipulation or mobilization can help in restoring normal positioning of the muscles and joints.
  • Chiropractic and/or Physical therapy helps to increase circulation, restore range of motion, and promote healing.
  • The use of modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation should only be used in the early stages of treatment to reduce pain and assist in getting an active therapy program started.

Prevention Tips
Since most cases of whiplash occur as a result of rear-end car crashes, the best way to protect yourself on the road is to wear your seat belt correctly and on every ride. Also, make sure the headrest in your vehicle is not too low and avoid driving in an overly reclined position.

For Athletes and Sports Enthusiasts if you participate in sports (especially contact sports), make sure you wear appropriate equipment and always use good technique to avoid neck injuries.

While it may be impossible to avoid some injuries, maintaining good overall health can help speed recovery if one occurs. This includes getting regular exercise, eating healthy foods, and not smoking. If you are experiencing neck or upper back pain, visit us at SHC for a complete evaluation.

Reference
Malanga, G., MD. (n.d.). Whiplash: 5 Things You Should Know. Retrieved from https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/whiplash/whiplash-5-things-you-should-know

Tips to Deal With Long Term Stress

10 Professional Athletes Who Use Chiropractic Care

Why do so many athletes from a broad range of sports rely on Chiropractic Care? Well, there’s no doubt that seeing a Chiropractor regularly has many benefits not just for athletes, but for everyone who commits to treatment.

However, athletes tend to experience much larger stresses in a shorter period than the average person day-to-day as they train rigorously to try and set themselves apart from the rest.

This is where staying aligned, preventing injury and maintaining good health become extremely important for an athlete, all of which can be accomplished by Chiropractic care!

Don’t take our word for it though. Here’s a list of some of the world’s most well-known athletes of the past and present who have counted on Chiropractic care as an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to staying healthy and at the top of their respective game.

Michael Jordan – Basketball

One of the all-time greats of basketball – if not THE greatest – was a firm believer in the results of Chiropractic care and attributes part of his success to the care he received. Drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, Michael went on to win six NBA championships and was named the league’s MVP five of those times.

pro athletes who use chiropractors michael jordan basketball

Today, Jordan is the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and is an incredibly successful businessman with multiple brand endorsement deals throughout the sporting goods world. This is what he said about Chiropractic care: “Since I’ve been in Chiropractic, I’ve improved by leaps and bounds both mentally and physically.”


Tiger Woods – Golf

Tiger may not be in his prime in recent years, but what he accomplished as a pro golfer in the past was unheard of. He finished number one in 10 major professional golf competitions before the age of 30 including the 1997 Masters, 1999 PGA Championship and 2000 U.S. Open to name a few.

professional elite athletes who use chiropractic care

Tiger has often spoken about seeing his Chiropractor through the years and how it has been an instrumental part of his success. He’s said himself, “I’ve been going to Chiropractors for as long as I can remember. It’s as important to my training as practicing my swing.”


Evander Holyfield – Boxing

Evander was one of the toughest and most successful professional boxers of his era. With 47 wins and 10 losses over a 27-year boxing career, he reigned as the undisputed champion in both the cruiserweight (less than 200 pounds) and heavyweight (more than 200 pounds) divisions and is the only ever four-time world heavyweight champion.

professional athletes who use chiropractic care evander holyfield

Evander believes that it helped him maintain his edge in competition, and found that going to see a Chiropractor three times a week helped him improve his performance. He also said that, “I have to have an adjustment before I go into the ring. The majority of boxers go to get that edge,” regarding Chiropractic adjustments.


Barry Bonds – Baseball

Barry Bonds is often considered as one of the best baseball players of all time. In 22 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, he earned several MLB hitting records including the most career home runs (762), a record he holds to this day.

professional athletes who use chiropractic care barry bonds

Following an injury had during his career, he sough Chiropractic care for treatment and was impressed. He said, “I just saw my Chiropractor. I feel 100 percent better.” Another time in interview with Dr. Alan Palmer, a Chiropractor in the United States, Bonds made a remarkable statement, “I think it should be mandatory to see a Chiropractor and massage therapist,” regarding athletes.


Arnold Schwarzenegger – Body Building

Arnold may just be the most recognizable professional athlete of them all. The Austrian-American began his incredibly successful life as a professional body builder and powerlifter, winning Mr. Universe at the age of 20 and going on to win Mr. Olympia seven times. Apart from acting, he also is / was an author, businessman, filmmaker, philanthropist, politician and investor over his life time.

professional athletes who use chiropractic care arnold schwarzenegger

Arnold has given huge credit to Chiropractic care as part of his success in professional sports. Here’s a few quotes he’s said over the years:

“What you [Chiropractors] do is really powerful”

‘You Chiropractic doctors are really miracle workers”

“I found out the best way of going, is to use Chiropractors, not only after injury, but also before injury”

“He [the Chiropractor] adjusts my wife, my kids, me, everybody. And we always feel great when he leaves”


Tom Brady – Football

Tom Brady is an all-American professional player who is one of only two players to ever win five NFL Superbowl championships. He is also the only player in the league’s history to do it with the same team. Without a doubt, Tom is the centerpiece of a dynasty team who’s been without a doubt the most successful in the NFL’s recent history.

professional athletes who use chiropractic care tom brady

Tom Brady astutely believes in Chiropractic Care as an integral part of keeping him atop his game. He says, “Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better. When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I’m about three inches taller and everything’s in place. As long as I see the Chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.”


Joe Sakic – Hockey

Joe Sakic was one of hockey’s all time greats, as shown by his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. He won the Stanley Cup Championship twice during his illustrious career and was given several awards ranging from the Conn Smythe Trophy to the NHL All-Star Game MVP.

professional athletes who rely on chiropractic care joe sakic

This is was Joe has to say about Chiropractors: “I see the chiropractor on a regular basis. I find that after my treatments I have better flexibility and improved range of motion. I recover quicker from injuries. I have more “jump” in my game and it improves my performance.”


Joe Montana – Football

Another proclaimed professional footballer in the NFL is Joe Montana. He won four Super Bowl Championships and was named the Super Bowl MVP three of those times. During his career, Joe suffered a serious injury, of which he recovered fully and went back to optimal performance afterwards.

professional athletes who use chiropractic care joe montana

When asked about it, he said, “I’ve been seeing a Chiropractor and he’s really been helping me out a lot. Chiropractic’s been a big part of my game.” If Chiropractic care can work for Joe, it can work for you!


Christine Brinkley – Model

Beginning her successful life as a model in the late 1970’s for Sports Illustrated, Christine went on to become the face of CoverGirl for 25 years (she holds the record for retaining the longest running cosmetics contract for any model – ever). She has been named as one of the most attractive woman of all time by Allure and Men’s Health magazines.

Professional model Christine brinkley uses chirorpactic care

Here’s what Christine said about Chiropractic Care: “Chiropractic makes me feel a few inches taller each time I come out.” Even super models are seeing their Chiropractors to maintain their overall health and general sense of well-being!


Wade Boggs – Baseball

Wade Boggs was a 12-time All-star professional baseball player who spent 18 years of his MLB career with the Boston Red Sox. With 118 home runs, 3,010 total hits and an 80 percent safety percentage, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame 2005.

professional athletes who use chirorpactors Wade Boggs

After suffering from severe back pain for almost a decade, he was provided Chiropractic Care by Dr. Craig Newman, DC, and made a complete recovery. He went on to say, “Last year I found Dr. Newman (Chiropractor), and I have been seeing him ever since. I have been pain-free and feeling terrific. I swear by it. Now, it is just maintenance and keeping in line so the nerves don’t touch.”

Reference: https://revhc.ca/pro-athletes-who-use-chiropractic-care/

Chiropractic is Not What You Think: The Science & Art of Healing

Chiropractic is Not What You Think: The Science & Art of Healing

A Parent’s Story

by Ed Arranga, guest author

Young girl's back being adjusted by a female chiropractor

“Chiropractic did not originate to treat pain: it originated to promote health.” — Anonymous

Chiropractic is known around the world. There are chiropractors in over 100 countries and 90 of those countries have national associations. The American Chiropractic Association estimates that the nation’s roughly 77,000 chiropractors care for more than 35 million Americans every year. But there seems to be a disconnect when it comes to the general public’s understanding of how they can help us improve our health.

Woman holding her back in painEveryone has a cousin or friend or knows someone who hurt their neck or back and went to a chiropractor to get help. That’s about the extent of interaction the general population has with the profession.

You see chiropractic offices tucked away in strip malls next to laundromats and liquor stores. They are largely invisible, never seen or talked about anywhere.

The sales pitch sounds like a bad marketing campaign from the 1950s — “health and wellness” — carrying with it the same promissory weight as the term “beauty salon.”

The profession has been around for more than 120 years. Sure, if you slip and fall and twist your back, you’ll think about finding a chiropractor. You remember they helped your cousin that one time. What more do you need to know?

And then one day, your son develops a chronic, debilitating cough that won’t go away…

A Growing Problem

My son, Jarad, developed a cough a few years ago, and my concern heightened as the cough became more frequent. The cough was almost constant and getting worse. We tried many healthful items like cups of tea with honey, a vaporizer, and decongestants, but this did not slow the cough’s trajectory.

We saw many different doctors: ear, nose, and throat specialists; neurologists; an allergist; and a gastroenterologist. None of their prescriptions worked.

We knew it wasn’t postnasal drip, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux, chronic bronchitis, chemical irritation, whooping cough, or a host of other possibilities, but we still didn’t know what it actually was.

The hacking was continual and, at this point, it had been going on for more than 2 years.

I didn’t know how my son’s throat could withstand the irritation of the sometimes very strong coughing. Several of the doctors began suggesting it was in my son’s head — a psychosomatic disorder.

It was time to move away from naysayers and find answers.

A Different Paradigm

“Look well to the spine for the causes of disease.”— Hippocrates

A friend advised me to bring my son to a local chiropractor. The initial intake assessment and exam were remarkably quick. The chiropractor placed Jarad on an upper-leaning adjustment table, grasped his head in his hands, and gently rotated his head in one direction and then the other, with the characteristic cracking noise (the cracking sound you hear is not bone, it’s gas — synovial gas — escaping from the joint) occurring each time.

Illustration of the Thoracic VertebraeThe chiropractor had Jarad turn over and lie on his stomach, feeling along his spine and putting pressure on the T5 vertebrae, in the thoracic area (the upper back.) The head turning along with the popping sound was repeated with both adjustments, and he tolerated the process well. In fewer than 3 minutes, we were done. An hour later, Jarad coughed.

It was the first time in over 2 years he went more than a minute without coughing. Jarad didn’t cough again the rest of the day. After 3 visits, his cough was 90 percent gone!

What had just happened? Why didn’t I know about this sooner?

It brought me back to a time 20 years ago when I was told there was no hope for helping my son’s autism. The “experts” told me to give up and move on, “Autism is now and forever, and there’s nothing you can do to help.”

That wasn’t true then, and it wasn’t true now. The coughing was NOT a figment of my son’s imagination.

And so I began to really comprehend, as Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reports, “Proper motion and alignment of the spinal synovial joints is a genetic requirement for health and a lack of proper motion in the spine represents a stressor.”

Health is Not the Absence of Pain

Today, 53 to 54 percent of children suffer from a chronic illness. There is an explosion of neurodevelopmental disorders that include autism, PDD-NOS, OCD, and ADHD.

Definition of the word ADHDBehaviors exhibited in children diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder), specifically the inability to pay attention and being in constant motion, are manifestations of chronic stress.

An acute injury is very painful and needs immediate attention, but a chronic condition often sneaks up on someone unexpectedly. The joints send stress signals to the brain, and the brain releases stress hormones.

With this type of condition there is no pain, but the body is sick and will continue to send stress signals until all the conditions associated with chronic stress begin to manifest themselves in the body.

Spinal joints that are out of alignment will not move properly, will begin to degenerate, and will cause inflammation. Being chronically out of alignment will cause a chronic stress response. One might think it would be painful, but it’s not. That’s a misconception and major difference between acute and chronic illness.

When subluxations occur in the spine, these misalignments cause tension in the spinal cord or the nerves exiting from the spine. This causes an interference or imbalance in the nervous system messages to the various organs, tissues, glands, and cells.

This means the brain cannot communicate with the body nor the body with the brain as efficiently or effectively as nature intended, which leads to various dysfunctions and symptoms.

The Havoc of Stress

Understanding the basic stress response of the body provides the building blocks behind the art and science. When a person is placed in a stressful situation, the brain releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine, and others. The heart rate and blood pressure increase to send the hormones everywhere in the body.

Chronic Stress shown via 4 emojisThe body enters a state of upregulation, which is the process of increasing the ability to respond to stress. Catabolic processes begin breaking down complex compounds and molecules to release energy. There is an increase of cholesterol, blood-clotting factors, blood sugar, and fatty acids in the blood.

Catabolic activity is metabolically expensive, requiring that anabolic activities (healing, growth, and repair) are put on hold. The immune system is downregulated, which is the process of reducing or suppressing a response to a stimulus. Cell-modulated immunity is decreased. There is a decrease in factual memory and learning capability.

During an acute stress response, the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste are heightened. The body is adapting to the situation and these varied responses are intelligent.

Survival depends on the ability of the body to properly respond to stressful changes in the environment.

The dangers arise when the acute stress response becomes chronic. The decrease in healing; growth; repair; memory; and brain-, organ-, and immune-function, is no longer temporary — it becomes permanent. The increase in cholesterol, blood glucose, fatty acids, and insulin is off the charts.

The increase in insulin downregulates the production of HGH (human growth hormone), the hormone responsible for longevity, anti-aging, healing, growth, and repair. Excessive insulin then prevents the production or proper utilization of magnesium, the mineral which is responsible for relaxing both skeletal and smooth muscles, the arteries, and the heart.

How Chiropractic Works

Chiropractors study physiology — the branch of biology that deals with normal functions of living organisms and their parts. Medical doctors study physiology too, but then focus mostly on pathology — the study of the origin, nature, and course of diseases.

Chiropractic returns healthful motion to the spine, which returns healthful motion to the body.

Daniel David Palmer, founder of chiropracticD.D. Palmer, chiropractic’s founder, defines chiropractic as, “a philosophy, science and art of things natural; a system of adjusting the segments of the spinal column by hand only, for the correction of the cause of dis-ease.”

Palmer also said, “Chiropractic is a restorative healthcare profession that focuses on the inherent healing capacity of the body and the fact that the nervous system is the primary system involved in that healing and repair.”

Steve Tullius, a pediatric chiropractor in San Diego stated, “Chiropractors are specifically trained to locate and gently correct these structural imbalances in the spine, known as vertebral subluxations, and by doing so, restoring balance and function to the nervous system.”

Chiropractic care adjustments facilitate health and function.

Chiropractic and the Immune System

A very important part of keeping our immunity strong is the lymphatic system. It consists of a network of lymph nodes, ducts, and vessels that move the lymph (a fluid made of white blood cells and chyle) from various parts of the body into the bloodstream. The lymph nodes are responsible for making immune cells that help to fight infections.

The better the lymph is able to travel through the body, the more it is able to carry the infection-fighting cells to every part.

The lymphatic system is connected to both the central nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. A chiropractic adjustment helps the central nervous system by removing subluxations that prevent proper communication throughout the body. The musculoskeletal system transports the lymph through the body as we move and contract our muscles.

Adjustments allow for more movement in the muscles, which increases movement of the lymph.

A Learning Experience

Illustration of the Cervical VertebraeAfter examining Jarad’s spine and nervous system, Dr. Holland explained that he had found areas in Jarad’s spine that were misaligned — specifically vertebral subluxations at C1 (cervical or neck area) and T5.

Dr. Holland began a series of gentle adjustments to restore normal movement and function to the spine, allowing the body to communicate more effectively. As a result, we saw Jarad’s cough disappear.

The source of the problem were the misalignments which were not allowing Jarad’s lymph glands to operate as they should.

His lymph glands were overflowing, causing Jarad to cough and swallow continuously in an attempt to clear them.

Jarad’s schedule consisted of 2 adjustments a week (generally Monday and Friday), for 6 weeks, during the corrective phase, dropping down to 1 adjustment a week during the support phase, for 6 weeks. Going forward, I plan to take Jarad once a month to help keep him subluxation free.

As a parent, I’m grateful to chiropractic for restoring Jarad’s health, and grateful to the chiropractic doctors who soldier on, rarely being given the recognition they deserve, while routinely performing some of the most extraordinary reversals of health fortunes in the healthcare industry.

Reference: https://www.focusforhealth.org/chiropractic-not-what-you-think-science-art-of-healing/

 

WELCOME Michael O’Reilly PT, DPT, Physical Therapist

The Spine and Health Center of Montvale welcomes Michael O’Reilly, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist to our Team.

 

I have Bursitis and Tendonitis! What is it?

I get so many patient’s that are diagnosed with bursitis and tendonitis and they have absolutely no idea what it is.  All they know is that they went to their doctor, they looked at the area of complaint for a second or two.  They saw that the patient can move the body part ok, but they had pain. The answer…BURSITIS or…..TENDONITIS.  What the heck is bursitis and tendonitis.  Lets begin by getting a definition, then we will break it down by location, the mechanism of injury and ultimately how to get rid of it (which is obviously the most important thing).

BURISITIS:

bursa

First, lets break the word down.  Burs- stands for bursa.  A bursa is a fluid-filled sac lined by a membrane.  It provides a cushion between bones and tendons and/or muscles around a joint. This helps to reduce friction between the bones and allows free movement. Bursae are filled with synovial fluid and are found around most major joints of the body.  -Itis stands for inflammation.  Therefore, when we put it together bursitis stands for inflammation of a bursa.  The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip. But you can also have bursitis by your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.  If you have bursitis, the affected joint may feel achy or stiff, hurt more when you move or press on it and may look swollen or red.  A lot of my patients get bursitis from throwing a baseball or lifting something over their heads repeatedly, leaning on their elbows for long periods of time, excessive kneeling like my carpet guys or scrubbing floors like my cleaning people and my patients that sit for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.  Does this remind you of someone?

TENDONITIS or TENDINITIS

tendon

Again, lets break it down.  Tendon-stands for a thick elastic band that attaches the muscle to a bone.  -Itis again is inflammation.  So putting it together means inflammation of a tendon.  Sometimes the tendons become inflamed for a variety of reasons, and the action of pulling the muscle becomes irritating.  If the normal smooth gliding motion of your tendon is impaired, the tendon will become inflamed and movement will become painful.  There are too many causes for tendonitis to even list.  Anything that you do can case tendonitis if the right mechanisms are there.  Unlike bursae which are not located all over the body, every muscle has a tendon so tendonitis can occur anywhere.  The most common sites are at the base of the thumb, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and achilles tendon.

 

 

So I have Bursitis and/or Tendonitis, what do I do?  Usually by the time my patients get to me they have tried a long period of “wait and see”.  I usually tell people to avoid the “wait and see” mentality all together.  I know its tough these days, when you look everything up on the internet and it says that most things will go away on its own.  Although, this may be true sometimes, it is definitely not true all the time.  My philosophy is that if your body can handle it, your body won’t even let you know you have something wrong.  By the time your body gives you conscious awareness of a problem (a symptom) for example pain, swelling, redness, spasm, fever it should be looked at by a professional.  Again, most things are not severe, but what if there is something severe going on and you don’t have it checked by a professional, now we have a problem.  The worst thing that can happen with a non-serious condition is that your doctor sends you home and tells you that there is nothing wrong.  However, when you don’t go to a professional and there is something serious going on, the worse case scenario can be very severe. (just my two cents!!!).  Back to the treatment.  The first thing anyone wants to do when they have bursitis/tendonitis is stop the activity that caused it from happening.  Continued irritation will only make the condition worse.  If you are throwing you need to stop throwing, if you are kneeling you need to stop kneeling.  A lot of times just eliminating the mechanism of injury will heal the problem.  Another modality to use is ice.  If you look back into my heat vs. ice blog you can learn more about the benefits of ice.  Anti-inlammatories are helpful for these conditions as well because as we said -itis is inflammation so taking an anti-inflammatory will help reduce the inflammation and help with the overall pain.  I tell all my -itis patients that if you got it once you may be prone to getting it again so strengthening is usually very helpful to prevent further episodes.  There are a few cases that do not respond to general therapies like a just listed so more aggressive or advance therapies are available.  In my office we offer a class IV 15 watt laser therapy to heal tendonitis and bursitis.  We perform techniques like Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) and Graston technique.  We use Kinesio Tape and other supports to help.  Our physicians perform cortisone injections and even P.R.P. injections for the very advanced cases.  This is not the only way to treat it but a very effective combination is usually very successful with my patients.  If treated properly a full recovery is expected and when done correctly therapy prevents the prevalence of further episodes as well.

5 Simple Ways to Be Healthier and More Productive Without Leaving Your Desk

I saw this one on the internet and thought I would share it with you.  It comes from Entrepreneur, so I guess that means it is for important people, haha!  I hope you can use it:

We know physical health affects job performance, yet the demands of the day often win out over doctors’ orders. While studies show that a ten minute break for every 50 minutes of intense mental demand is required to keep your brain at its’ optimal performance, getting up from the desk is not always an option, especially for busy entrepreneurs. Follow these tips to stay healthy and productive even when desk-bound.

1. Boost your immune system with lemon water.“Squeezing half of a fresh lemon into an eight-ounce glass of water will kick-start the liver to metabolize waste more effectively, minimizing digestive bloating, gas, constipation and body pains”, says Naturopathic doctor Camille Nghiem-Phu. Bonus: lemon is an uplifting scent that can make you feel more energized and alert.

2. Get rid of your chair for better posture. “Poor posture obstructs proper blood flow and nerve conduction to our organs,” says Nghiem-Phu. Bad posture can also often lead to lower back, upper neck and shoulder pain resulting in headaches and poor concentration.

Switch up your desk chair for an inflatable exercise ball that allows you to keep your back straight while strengthening the core muscles. “Ensuring proper ergonomic positions will accelerate fresh oxygen delivery to the brain for mental sharpness,” says Nghiem-Phu.

3. Choose high-protein snacks. “Protein keeps the blood sugar stable to ward off the highs and lows of sugar-crashes that come from consuming only carbohydrates at mealtimes,” says Nghiem-Phu. Exchange your coffee and doughnut for high-protein snacks such as raw almonds, fruit, plain Greek yogurt or hummus and veggies and avoid refined sugars to ensure optimal mental performance all day long.

4. Drink more water than you think you need. Drinking water keeps the brain and muscles hydrated. We’ve all heard the advice to drink eight 8-ounces glasses of water a day, but it’s not one size fits all. Your weight in kilograms is equal to the ounces of water your body requires each day, according to the American Dietetic Association. So if you weigh 170 pounds (77kg) you should drink 77 ounces of water a day (or almost 10 eight-ounce glasses). Increase this number by 16 to 20 ounces when you exercise.

5. Stretch at your desk. Taking a break to do some stretches improves circulation allowing fresh oxygen delivery to the brain, and minimizes neck and shoulder tension that lead to headaches. Nghiem-Phu recommends the following stretches for the desk-bound:

  • With a straight back, bend your elbow, reaching your right hand towards the back of your head, for the area behind the left ear and bring your chin towards the right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.”This stretches the muscles at the back of the head that are typically tightened to cause migraines and tension headaches,” says Nghiem-Phu.
  • To stretch the neck and upper back, bring both hands to the back of the head and allow the weight to bring your head forward while keeping your back straight.
  • With your right hand on your right hip, raise the left arm to the ceiling. Bend sideways at the waist towards the right to stretch the obliques. Repeat on the other side. “This opens the rib cage to maximize air circulation in the lungs,” says Ngheim-Phu.
  • To stretch the upper back, stand up, place both hands on the desk in front of you and take a couple steps back so you’re bent at the hip with your arms outstretched and your head facing the floor.

Benefits of Movement

I saw this from a website that I subscribe to (bonfire health) and I liked it so I am going to share it with you:

Critical Concepts:  Lack of movement promotes stress.
There are many well-understood benefits of movement and activity, including improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, lean muscle mass and strength, balance, tone and appearance.  Science is now grasping the depth of the role of exercise in the realm of prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, CVD and obesity.  The latest research is now painting a broader picture for the benefits of movement in the realm of neurology, development and optimal health.

The primary purpose of movement and activity is to develop and condition the brain (Dr. John J. Ratey, Spark).

Our nervous system is an incredibly complex network of communication fibers and junctions that allow us to relate and adapt to our internal and external environments.  The nervous system, made up of the brain, the spinal cord and miles of nerves, depends on movement to restore the body to homeostasis – or a state of general balance and equilibrium.

This resting state is critical to health and healing.  Our lives have become frantic.  We rush through our days, seemingly never having enough time to complete tasks, slow down to eat, or relax and unwind.  So often we are stressed out in traffic or sitting in front of a computer or on the phone.  Most people spend far too much time in the “Go State” – fight or flight.  This constant Sympathetic Stress State keeps stress hormones coursing through our veins, wreaking havoc on our health.

One vital function of movement is its ability to “re-set” our nervous system from a “stress state” to a “rest and repair” state.

The cerebellum is the area of the brain that monitors movement.  The “body sense” that is derived from movement is called proprioception.  This body sense provides more data to our brain than all of our other incoming senses combined.  It is described by Nobel Prize Winner Roger Sperry as a brain nutrient.  The information is derived from the compression of spring-like mechanoreceptors in your joints.  When you move, they send signals to your brain.

This cerebella stimulation from movement of our joints will actually drive the body away from a stress state and back toward a rest and repair state.  This critical homeostatic mechanism is responsible for returning your body to a state of equilibrium.  In other words, movement reduces stress.

Lack of movement promotes stress.

If you live a sedentary life, you miss out on this effective “stress-buster.”  People who exercise regularly report less stress in their lives and experience fewer stress-related health problems.  Exercise has the additional benefits of increasing neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that promote happiness, better sleep and increased sex drive.

Poor posture and fixed positions can create stress in the body.  Toxic and deficient movement patterns promote core weakness, muscle strain, inflammation and structural dysfunction.  When joints do not move properly, they create irritation to the nervous system that acts a lot like “static” or noise in our communication network.  This noxious stimulation or nociception changes the brain’s function and influences the body’s chemistry.  This type of joint dysfunction and associated nerve irritation is called “subluxation.”

Subluxations can occur in any joint, but the most devastating are found in the joints of the spine.  These spinal misalignments can be caused by trauma or bad habits (or both), and their ill effects on your health can be profound.  A distinctive quality of subluxation is joint fixation.  When a joint is fixed or “stuck” and not moving through its normal range of motion, a host of problems can arise.  Joint decay and degeneration (arthritis) occurs when a joint is not moving properly.  If a joint is fixated, proprioception (Body Sense) is reduced and nociception (noise) is increased – both of which promote stress in the body.

Healthy people practice regular spinal hygiene by utilizing the Life Extension Exercises.  A Bonfire best practice is to implement these into your daily routine to combat stationary work and postural stress.  Best results are achieved if you do this one-minute routine at least once every two hours at the computer or work station.  Nudge yourself into better habits by auditing your workstation for postural stress (read more here).  Make it a regular habit to get up and walk during your day.  It is very unnatural for you to sit for extended periods of time – no matter how important the project.  Dr. James Chestnut suggests a brilliant nudge: position yourself perfectly while sitting at the wheel in your car and then adjust your mirrors.  If you slouch during your drive, the mirrors will remind you to sit up.

A vital behavior for optimal health and function is to have your spine and nervous system evaluated regularly by a qualified chiropractor.  These doctors have a unique training and specialization in locating and correcting spinal misalignments that contribute to spinal stress.  This safe and effective method has been practiced widely for over one hundred years, and is now the second largest form of health care in the world.

Your brain and body expect and require movement for health – for life.  Get to it.

Summary Checklist

  • Add activity every day in every way
  • Calculate Energy Balance
  • Add Functional Training
  • Use variety in your workouts
  • Focus on the Intensity of your workouts
  • Gradually progress to a higher intensity
  • Adopt the Buddy System
  • Get your Spine checked by a chiropractor