The Connection Between Sciatica And Chiropractic
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that causes pain in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, branching at the buttocks and all the way down each leg. Typically, sciatica will only affect one side of the body, the pain shooting through the back of the thigh and throughout the leg. Occasionally, it can also affect the feet or even the toes. Although it’s sometimes described as a disorder, sciatica is actually more of a symptom of other disorders. The severity really depends on the person — in some cases the pain is constant and completely debilitating, but in others the pain could be occasional and annoying at worse. Even if the pain isn’t all that bad now, if left untreated, it has large potential to become much worse.
Chiropractic care is the safest, non-invasive and drug-free way to treat sciatica. But in order to understand the connection between sciatica and chiropractic, we first have to understand what causes the condition.
What Causes Sciatica?
The causes of sciatica vary, but there are a number of disorders and conditions that can trigger the pain at any time, including:
How Does Chiropractic Help With Sciatica?
The majority of disorders that cause sciatica start with subluxations (aka misalignments in the spine). Since sciatica is merely a symptom of a larger issue, chiropractors don’t necessarily treat sciatica — they treat the root issue of the cause. In my practice, I usually use several different adjusting techniques. There are a few different types of traction (to help take pressure off of the disc), and/or soft tissue release techniques to relax some of the musculature around the problem area. These techniques and modalities are dependent on the exam and my findings. I start by properly diagnosing what’s causing the sciatica, since this factor will drastically change the treatment method. Once a cause is determined, I’ll create a customized treatment plan specifically tailored to the patient’s needs.
If you or a loved one suffer from the nerve pain of sciatica, it’s important to get it checked out before it becomes a debilitating issue. Get in touch today to schedule an initial consultation and to start down the road to a healthier you.
4 Bad Habits That Affect Your Spine and How to Break Them
Back pain affects millions of Americans each year. While back pain is often written off as “part of the aging process” or “unavoidable”, there are actually a lot of common, everyday habits that contribute to the prevalence of it. There are a lot of factors that go into someone’s health and the same goes for those that suffer from back and neck pain. But by breaking these habits — and it’s not always easy — you drastically decrease your odds of suffering from back pain in the future.
Slouching is all-too-common, especially among those that work in office jobs. Sitting in front of a computer all day is uncomfortable. It’s an unavoidable fact. You’re bound to shift positions throughout the day and unfortunately, using a computer for 8+ hours every day will distract you as you shift into unhealthy positions without you even realizing it. Shoulders cocked forward, leaning in and head held forward — the worst possible position to work in all day. Experts estimate that for every inch you hold your head forward, you add an additional 10 pounds of weight for your spine to support. Over time, this wear and tear will cause lasting and serious damage.
To stop slouching, there are a few steps you can take. First off, if you notice at work that you’re slouching, STOP. Sit up straight, feet flat on the ground and head held high while you work. Take frequent breaks to do some simple stretches and go for a walk. Once you’re off work, don’t continue to be sedentary! Go work out, go for a light jog, go for a walk. Get the blood flowing and stand up straight. And lastly, look into an ergonomic chair. Many manufacturers realize the importance of good posture and have created perfectly affordable chairs so you can sit comfortably without sacrificing your spine.
Being overweight is one of the largest causes of back pain in Americans because it heavily restricts their movement. They lose flexibility and the ability to really bend the spine, which it needs to do in order to stay limber. Additionally, overweight people are less likely to exercise and are more likely in general to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity contributes to joint and muscle stiffness, which can create weakness and fragility in the spine. Additionally, the spine is also responsible for carrying the majority of a person’s weight. Having excess weight in addition to a weakening spine creates a perfect storm for conditions such as osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
So, to start improving your spinal health, it’s important to take care of other aspects of your body. People tend to forget that the body is all interconnected — by improving one thing, you improve other things too. Simply by eating healthier, quitting smoking and getting some exercise you’ll drastically improve your overall health and your spine will thank you!
Yes, working out and improving your overall health is important to your spine’s integrity. But don’t forget that you need to work out properly! Whether you work in general labor or go to a gym, know that lifting with your back is EXTREMELY unsafe and can lead to serious injury. To learn more about proper lifting techniques in any situation, let your legs do all the work.
Never Seeing A Chiropractor
Sure, you may say I’m biased, but the truth is unavoidable: chiropractic is the best drug-free, non-invasive and safest method of treating back pain, strengthening the spine and avoiding future injuries. Schedule a consultation today to begin a road to a healthier you.
The Most Common Causes of Back Pain
It’s estimated that at any given time, around 31 million Americans are afflicted with back pain. It could be a one-time instance or it could be chronic. But considering that lower back pain is the most common cause of disability in the United States, it’s not something one can simply ignore. But why is back pain so common among Americans? What causes it?
Well, consider these questions answered and read on to find out!
Torn Muscles and/or Ligaments
The most common causes of back pain are torn muscles and ligaments. It’s actually one of the most common complaints that healthcare professionals receive. Now, you may be thinking back on all the advice you’ve heard throughout your life: “lift with your knees, not your back”, “always stretch before working out”, etc. While, yes, improper lifting technique can tear muscles and cause lower back pain, muscle tearing can also slowly develop over time. They don’t have to suddenly strike. Torn muscles in the back are commonly caused by:
Your spine is made up of stacks of bones (vertebrae) and discs — a jelly-like substance that acts as a cushion between each of the stacked vertebrae. Each disc is contained within a tough exterior casing. A herniated disc is when the soft jelly within the disc leaks out of a tear in the exterior. The protruding jelly will begin to put pressure on nerves in the spine which can cause pain, tingling or numbness in the extremities. Some people can suffer from herniated discs and not even realize it — but if you experience pain, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, it’s time to see a chiropractor!
Sure, injuries are a major cause of sudden and (hopefully) temporary back pain, but many people live with chronic conditions and illnesses that cause constant pain. Some of the most common back pain causing conditions:
If you’ve recently suffered an injury or if you’re affected by pain-causing conditions, you don’t have to live with the pain. A well-trained chiropractor will be able to bring you pain relief using safe, non-invasive and drug-free techniques. As a family-oriented chiropractor, my practice can treat all members of the family, regardless of age — from infants and kids to teens, adults and seniors. Stop living with pain and take some steps to a healthier you by scheduling a consultation today.
Is Cracking Your Knuckles Harmful?
An estimated 25–54% of people crack their knuckles on a daily basis, most of them being males. To some, waking up and stretching, cracking and popping their knuckles, back, neck and other parts of the body just feels good and comes naturally. “Don’t do that, you’ll get arthritis!” you may have heard people say. It comes off as an old wives’ tale, but does it actually hold any weight? Does cracking your knuckles (or other parts of the body) actually do long-term damage? Here I’ll address the facts and fiction of cracking joints.
What Causes Cracking in Joints?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what causes the popping sounds when you crack your joints — a mystery that still isn’t 100% solved, but there are a couple of leading theories. The first one involves synovial fluid bubbles. Synovial fluid is a viscous fluid found in synovial joints, which are the most movable types such as the shoulders, knees, wrists, etc. When a joint is pulled, gas present inside of the join is released, forming gas bubbles within the synovial fluid. The presence of the bubbles and the sudden change of pressure causes them to burst, which in turn cause the popping sound you hear when you crack your knuckles.
Another, more probable, theory involves something called cavitation. This is when cavities form inside of a joint when pulled, bent, twisted or otherwise manipulated. These cavities are formed within the synovial fluid and then rapidly collapse, creating the sharp audible popping sound.
Is it Safe to Crack Your Knuckles (or Other Joints)?
The claim that cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis is not supported by any scientific evidence. However, in a study done in 2011, it was found that knuckle crackers are more likely to have chronic hand swelling and lower grip strength than those who do not habitually crack their knuckles. That being said, the study also failed to acknowledge that since knuckle cracking is often used as a stress reliever, habitual knuckle crackers were also more likely to take part in other activities such as manual labor, smoking, nail biting and alcohol consumption which may be the main factors in swollen hands and grip strength. This means that cracking your knuckles is correlated with hand issues, but is not necessarily the cause of them. But all in all, no, cracking your knuckles will not give you arthritis.
While cracking your knuckles has been found to be relatively harmless, other things can cause a snapping or a popping sound, such as when tendons snap over joints. In some cases, people may notice a consistent popping in their joint as they work out. For instance, if you feel/hear your shoulder popping over and over again as you lift weights, it could indicate that the muscles are tight and some extra stretching may be needed before you begin your workout. If the snapping becomes painful and radiates to other parts of the body, cease the workout immediately, take a warm shower to loosen the muscles, and visit a chiropractor. Painful popping in the joints could indicate a torn muscle or other injury. Your chiropractor can help to heal it to get you back on track.
For any further questions or to schedule a consultation, give me a call. I’ll help to develop a personalized treatment regimen that will help you become more limber, coordinated and balanced.
Back-to-School Tips on How to Avoid Backpack Back Pain
’Tis the season yet again. No, not holiday season. This season is arguably more exciting for parents — I’m speaking of course about back-to-school season! As we all finish up our last-minute shopping for new clothes, accessories and school supplies, it’s important to be aware of the impact heavy backpacks have on our children. Kids wear heavy backpacks to, from and during school for hours on end, 5 days a week. It truly does take a toll on kids’ posture and spinal health. In fact, during a study in Riverside, CA, an estimated 64% of children aged 11–15 complained that they had experienced back pain at some point due to their backpack — 2 of every 5 kids said they experience regular pain WHILE wearing their backpack. This pattern of behavior is not only painful in the short term, it has serious ramifications later on in life. Back pain is a serious matter, so it’s important to avoid bad habits — the earlier the better. Here are some tips to save your child’s spine this school year.
Studies have shown that backpack weight really starts to become harmful when it exceeds 20% of the carrier’s body weight. Most experts recommend sticking to 10–15%. So try leaving the heavy textbooks in the locker if they’re not needed for homework; and if they absolutely ARE needed, try to place the heavier books as close to the back as possible. If the majority of weight is placed away from the spine, the body tends to naturally bend forward to compensate. Over time, this leads to spinal subluxations and can do some real damage to the back muscles.
Get a Rolling Bag
Obviously the most productive thing you can do is to completely eliminate the need to carry large amounts of weight on your back. That’s where rolling bags/backpacks come into play. Students are able to carry everything they need without having to endure back pain day in and day out.
Buy a Higher Quality Bag
Get a backpack that’s made of sturdy, lighter material. Ensure that the straps are padded and that your child always wears the bag with two straps on the shoulders. Using only one strap will cause uneven weight distribution and such lopsided weight will cause problems in the spine. Additionally, be sure to adjust the backpack straps so that they’re fit snugly around the shoulders, so the bag can’t sway or flop around.
These simple steps are easy to take and they’ll help your child’s spine in the long-term. If your child has already complained about back pain, they may need extra help. As a family-oriented chiropractor, my practice is viable for people of all ages — from toddlers to kids to teenagers to adults. Get in touch to schedule a consultation today!
Is Chiropractic Safe for the Elderly?
I take pride in the fact that my chiropractic practice is family-oriented. This means that I can help anybody in the family — from toddlers and kids to teenagers, adults and even senior citizens. Many older people have the mindset that it’s either too late in life for them to get help with their pain issues, or that chiropractic care is harmful to elderly, frail bodies. But this is at best a misconception. Chiropractic care is helpful for people of all ages, even if you think it’s “too late”.
The vast majority of chiropractic patients make their appointments in the first place because of pain issues. The fact that 80% or more of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives says it all. Take into account that the elderly do, in fact, become more fragile as they age, and there’s no surprise that pain and chronic conditions such as arthritis become much more common. Daily tasks may become more difficult, pain becomes prevalent and in many cases, multiple medications are taken daily.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. I custom tailor each of my treatments according to the needs of each individual. This means that if I need to be gentle, I’ll be gentle. If you suffer from arthritis, I’ll forgo certain techniques and implement others. My job is to ensure treatment — even if it is supplementary working with other types of pain remedies. I will fix the subluxations that affect the spine, relieving pain and inflammation using drug-free and non-invasive methods.
Improve Range of Motion, Coordination and Balance
Because bones grow fragile and muscles become weaker as we age, it only comes naturally that range of motion decreases and balance becomes harder to maintain. An estimated 33% of seniors fall down each year; and when flexibility and fragility are increased, so too is the chance of serious injury.
Chiropractic care aims not only to relieve pain, but to strengthen the muscles around the spine by prescribing simple daily stretches and exercises. They don’t take long to do, but they go a very long way in improving balance to decrease the odds of falling down. And since the exercises strengthen the muscles, they also help to neutralize any severe injuries that come with falling down.
Stay Out of The Nursing Home
A study titled “Chiropractic for the Elderly” was done in the Journal called Topics of Clinical Chiropractic. In it, they found that senior citizens showed a decrease in the severity of arthritis in those that had received regular chiropractic care as they aged. Other findings included:
So it’s never too late to start improving your range of motion, relieving pain, or decreasing the severity of your chronic condition. Chiropractic aims to strengthen your spine and increase healthy activity in general, so if you’re ready to start on the path to a healthy you, give me a call today!
Office Life and Your Spine
It’s no secret that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t the healthiest. While most jobs involve physical activity — manual laborers, healthcare workers, education, childcare, etc. — it goes without saying that large swaths of the American population work in offices and hardly ever get out of their chair during a typical 8+ hour work day. For those that work in offices, if they don’t take extra care to exercise and be active in other ways throughout the day, it can lead to weight gain, poor blood circulation, weaker bones and muscles, a decrease in metabolism and a weak spine. All of these factors can lead to some serious health conditions. But the relationship between sedentary lifestyle and spinal degradation, decreased range of motion and negative impacts on flexibility are correlated. Here are a few tips to stay healthy at the office and stave off potentially crippling back and neck pain.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: daily stretches are your best friend. Take 10–15 minutes each morning after you wake up, before you get ready, to start your day off right — not with coffee, but with a few simple stretches that will improve your flexibility, strengthen your spine and retain your range of motion.
Take it one step further and do them at the office periodically. Feeling stressed and down during a rough day? Take a few minutes to stretch it out and do some deep breathing. Relax your body and your mind and let go of that stress. It may feel silly at first, but closing the door or going out into the hall to stretch for a few minutes can vastly improve your mood and physical health.
The benefits of walking and jogging are so numerous they’re impossible to count. Too often we spend the day at the office sitting down. Maybe we’ll walk to get lunch, go to grab more coffee or take bathroom breaks, but it’s not enough. Walking more is especially important if your form of unwinding at the end of the day involves sitting to watch TV, play video games or being on a computer. Instead, try to get in the habit of going for frequent walks both in and out of the office. After you eat lunch, don’t just go back to sitting at the desk. Go for a 10 minute walk as you digest to clear your head — invite your coworkers to join, if you want company. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go walk around the office for 5 minutes every so often. It’ll make you feel better, more alert and at the same time helps to improve balance and coordination.
Invest in an Ergonomic Chair
You’ve probably heard of them, but may not know a whole lot about them. An ergonomic chair is great for both helping to relieve back pain and preventing it in the first place. They are designed to improve posture and retain spinal integrity. You’re sitting for 8+ hours per day, so it goes without saying that you should be as comfortable as possible; and while you’re at it, be proactive in your health, too. Sitting down all day is unhealthy, period. Sitting down all day in an ergonomic chair is slightly less unhealthy. But combine it with these other tips and you’ll see definite improvements in posture, mood and overall spinal health.
Schedule Regular Chiropractic Visits
One of the best things you can do when you live the sedentary office life is to visit a chiropractor. When patients schedule first-time consultations with me, I make sure to get all the relevant information — lifestyle, past surgeries, recent injuries, pregnancies, etc. — in order to custom tailor a treatment plan for them. Each patient has different needs and chiropractic isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice. During regular visits, I not only administer treatment, but I’ll make lifestyle recommendations, provide advice on how you can be more proactive in your health, and show you how to do some crucial stretches on your own at home.
The health consequences of the sedentary office lifestyle are often flippantly disregarded by modern society, since it’s so commonplace in the American workforce. But office life with no supplementary exercise, care for the spine, or proper treatment, is taking a serious toll on our bodies over time. I can help you deal with daily stressors and prevent the health decline that comes with an office lifestyle. If you’re ready to take your personal health into your own hands, give me a call and schedule a consultation today!
Avoid Back Pain While Gardening
It’s that time of year again where the home’s best friend can be the spine’s worst enemy. I’m speaking of course, about summer gardening. Doing yard work can be cathartic and rewarding; hauling wheelbarrows of mulch, carrying bags of clippings and planting flowers help you not only beautify your property, but also to learn new crafts, get a good cardio workout and enjoy a productive hobby. But the wear and tear on your body can really take a toll throughout the warm seasons, so it’s important to warm up properly and take simple precautions to avoid back injury. After all, staying hunched over a plot of dirt all day isn’t good for your spine.
Stretch, stretch and stretch
Before you begin any sort of rigorous physical activity, you should take a few minutes to stretch. In fact, while you’re at it, stretch every day regardless. It helps you retain flexibility, improves your range of motion and gives you a better sense of balance, helping you to avoid injury during everyday activity.
But it’s particularly important to stretch before rigorous or prolonged physical activity. Generally speaking, yard work can take anywhere from a couple hours to a whole day. This is a long time to remain physically active. Whether hauling leaves or grass clippings, pushing a lawn mower, planting flowers or trimming trees and hedges, it’s important to prepare yourself to avoid injury. I’m not saying you need to do yoga every time you trim the hedges, just a quick 5–10 minute stretch will suffice.
Don’t go all-in all at once
You’re a hard worker. You deserve a break once in a while. Seriously, when you dedicate a day to yard work, take breaks every so often. Cool down inside, grab a glass of ice cold water and take a load off for 5 or 10 minutes before resuming. Being so focused on the task at hand can make time fly, but try to set an alarm on your phone every hour or so to take a break to re-hydrate and give your body some rest. It’s also beneficial to break monotonous tasks into segments. If you’re spending hours on end hunched over plants, it’s not going to go well for your spine. Instead, try switching activities every 20 minutes or so and come back to finish them later. Repetitive, strenuous motions should be avoided.
Take proper care of your spine
Getting regular chiropractic adjustments is healthy, especially during the warmer seasons. Between outdoor yard work and general increased outdoor activity in the summer, it’s important to ensure that you won’t injure yourself. Visiting a chiropractor will help you become more flexible and protect your joints from the natural wear and tear that comes with doing yard work and other strenuous physical activities. If you plan on doing some DIY projects this summer — whether simple gardening or tearing out hedges, consider scheduling a consultation today. Your physical health is my number one priority. I’ll create an individualized treatment regimen custom tailored to you to improve your flexibility, balance, range of motion, joint and spinal health, and more. Get in touch to get started.
Why You Should See A Chiropractor After a Car Accident
Note: ALWAYS inform your chiropractor if you’ve recently been in any sort of accident or if you’re pregnant — it will drastically change your treatment plan!
Being in a car accident is terrifying no matter what the circumstances might be. The best outcome you can hope for is to walk away with no injuries. If you’re unfortunate enough to sustain even minor injuries, chiropractic care is your best friend on the road to recovery. It is designed to heal many injuries that typically result from car accidents. Despite the severity of the crash, it’s a good idea to see a chiropractor afterward — even if you feel fine in the moment. Here’s why:
As noted above, chiropractic is perfect for injuries sustained by car accidents — whiplash, muscle injuries, back and neck pains, strains and spinal subluxations just to name a few. It is great for treating soft tissue injuries, which even small-scale accidents can cause. Minor fender benders can cause serious whiplash or other injuries to be discovered at a later time. In the event of a car accident, your adrenaline will skyrocket and you may not even notice that your body took damage that disallows your usual range of motion, increases your pain levels, causes tingling in the extremities and leads to serious problems later in life. A good chiropractor will know exactly what to look for during your initial examinations and while planning your treatment regimen. Be sure to tell you chiropractor that you were recently in an accident so they know to adjust accordingly.
In certain extreme circumstances, surgery is inevitable. However, if costly and invasive surgery is at all avoidable, consult with a chiropractor before making any big decisions. It’s a non-invasive way of speeding up the recovery process, meaning you won’t have to interrupt your busy work/life schedule, you don’t need to go through tedious post-surgery recovery, and you’ll hopefully avoid the need for costly and often-dangerous prescription pain medications. Even in cases where surgery is necessary, seeing a chiropractor makes for great physical therapy and will increase the rate of recovery by strengthening your muscles to get back to their former selves even quicker. It’s the ideal supplement to surgery.
No Need for Pain Pills
Say you get into an accident but don’t suffer immediate, emergency-causing pain. You think you’re fine but suddenly a few days or a few weeks later you’re getting sharp back pain or neck pain that wasn’t present before. Your first reaction might be to take pain medication, but that only treats the symptoms, not the source! If you suffer from any sort of pain, it’s well past due to see a chiropractor. The pain indicative of deeper injury and, depending on the severity, can cause issues later on. Pain pills can be expensive and aren’t effective for long-term health. Chiropractic care will target the root of the problem. It not only treats your current pain but will help your body become strong enough to protect itself from future harm. Additionally, you’ll be steering clear of America’s opioid epidemic.
No matter the severity of your accident, it’s always a good idea to schedule a consultation to be safe — even just for a checkup! Chiropractic is focused on long-term pain relief and core strength, so if you or a loved one have unexplainable pain and have been in an accident, make an appointment today!
Different Types of Chiropractic Care
It’s been proven time and again that chiropractic care is the most effective, drug-free and non-invasive method to treat back and neck pain. But different methods of chiropractic can be used to treat even more ailments such as headaches and migraines, sports injuries, whiplash, sciatica, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, knee and ankle pain and more.
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to chiropractic. Each patient has their own unique issues, and since my practice is focused on long-term health, I’ve adopted many methods of chiropractic that are viable for any individual’s needs.
Massage therapy isn’t just relaxing; it’s also quite beneficial when combined with chiropractic care. In many situations, it aids in creating a speedy recovery from injury, it can vastly improve range of motion — especially in the elderly — and it supplements chiropractic treatments by relieving stress, inducing muscle relaxation and increasing the effectiveness of chiropractic. As an added bonus, it feels good, too!
Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation
I employ many methods of physiotherapy and rehabilitation to not only enhance the effectiveness of chiropractic, but to allow the patient to have more say in their health. Whenever necessary, I’ll prescribe patients various daily exercises and stretches so they can strive to improve without having to be in my office. This is because, while chiropractic is immensely beneficial, it’s not a one-and-done process. Particularly when it comes to recovering from injuries, constant incremental improvements are necessary. And since patients can’t come to my office every day, I’ll guide you on how to improve yourself at home.
One of the reasons I became a chiropractor in the first place is because when I was a young athlete playing basketball, I suffered an injury and experienced severe back pain — pain so intense I could barely walk or stand. After seeing a chiropractor, it changed my life. I made a quick recovery and knew what I wanted to do with my life. I know firsthand how sports injuries can affect your life, so I work with athletes not only to aid in injury recovery, but also to prevent injury in the first place and to optimize player performance.
Yes, chiropractic works for kids. Yes, it’s safe and it’s actually extremely beneficial especially before puberty. In times of rapid bone growth, it’s important to ensure that everything is in the right place and that the spine is developing correctly. It has life-long, positive effects on the child’s future well-being. As a family-focused center, we are trained in the unique needs of infants, children and teenagers.
I’ve covered the benefits of chiropractic during pregnancy extensively before, but many people don’t realize that it can greatly reduce the unwanted and negative symptoms of pregnancy including nausea, dizziness, back and neck pains and even morning sickness. Not only will it help the mother during the pregnancy, but chiropractic methods also strive to ensure a proper and speedy birthing process. By aligning the pelvis, it helps to shorten the labor period and avoid birth complications such as a breech or the need for a C-section.