Anxiety and stress frequently manifest and attack weak points of the spine causing general muscular tension, headaches, migraine, neck pain and back pain. The effects of stress on one's health can be far reaching. Some of the conditions often associated with stress include:
high blood pressure,
tension headaches, anxiety,
depression, decreased mental function
Stress is known to cause changes in the body's chemistry by altering the balance of hormones in our systems. This results in making one more susceptible to flu, colds, other types of illness and lowering resistance to disease. The best ways to cope with stress include:
eating a balanced diet
getting adequate rest
getting adequate exercise
regular chiropractic preventative care
Back muscles may spasm or stiffen after a traumatic injury or repetitive strain. A traumatic injury typically comes from a severe fall or car accident. A repetitive strain is when muscles are irritated over a long-period of time until they reach a point that triggers a spasm. Spasms help to protect the area from further injury, but they can be extremely painful and lead to tearing of the muscles. After spasms the muscles may then experience extreme stiffening to protect the area from further harm.
Based on the complexity and severity of the spasm, treatments can include any of the following:
support and protect the muscles
minimize any inflammation
ultrasound and massage to loosen muscle tissue and increase blood flow
chiropractic adjustments to the adjoining joints to increase nerve flow and natural body healing.
Joint pain is caused when a layer of lubrication and cushion between two bones is reduced or damaged. A joint works like a shock absorber with cartilage and synovial fluid. When this cushion is damaged movements can become painful. Joint pain may result from any number of reasons:
carpal tunnel syndrome
or other repetitive motion injury
Instant Injury or Poor Habits
improper sitting or sleeping
Traditional medical approach is to splint to reduce joint movement, pain medication and muscle relaxant prescription, steroid injections, physical therapy or surgery. When there has been serious tendon and/or cartilage tears (knees, shoulders) surgery may be needed. Short of these type of tears the medical approach is passive and physical therapy may be more damaging if the joints have not been properly aligned.
By contrast chiropractic treatment focuses on restoring the normal range of motion and proper function of the joint. Adjusting the joint and improving joint motion helps to restore normal circulation, and reduces inflammation. Restored joint motion helps to reduce scar tissue and the overall healing process.
Numbness or pinched feeling may be experienced in the arms or legs radiating into the hands or feet. Numbness in these areas may be a result of an irritated spinal nerve due to a misalignment of the vertebrae and in some cases a damaged intervertebral disc. Proper examination of the area will determine the cause of your symptoms and then treatment will be recommended. Chiropractic treatment has been highly effective to relieve nerve pressure caused by joint malfunction and even some degrees of intervertebral disc injury.
Traditional medical treatment focuses symptoms of numbness with medications that help diminish the pain but may not treat the underlying problem.
Chiropractic treatment focuses on the problem of the misaligned vertebrae. By properly restoring motion to the vertebrae and thus allowing for normal nerve flow, the symptoms of numbness may be reduced and even relieved.
Common Symptoms - below are a few commonly experienced symptoms treated by chiropractic
Common Diagnosis - below are common chiropractic diagnosis'
Headaches have two primary causes.
1. Muscular Tension
This is the most common type of headache resulting from prolonged contraction of the suboccipital muscles. These muscles bridge between the back of the skull and the neck. The vertebral joints may become irritated can result in nerve compression and muscle inflammation.
Jobs with Extended Hours at a Computer
When we sit or stand for extended periods of time the muscles of the spine are held contracted for hours. When this happens the muscles cannot eliminate waste that is produced. This waste then irritates the muscles, the muscles then stiffened and shorten. This in turn irritates the nerve resulting in headaches, and neck pain.
2. Joint Irritation and Nerve Compression:
The vertebrae of the spine and neck fit together giving structure to the body. These vertebrae move in proper working alignment with one another. Muscles surrounding and attached to our vertebrae are innervated with nerve fibers that can cause pain in the head and neck if the joints are physically strained or injured.
When one of the vertebra is strained or injured stiffness and shortening of the muscles in the neck or spine are no longer properly stabilized or supported. The affected joints of the spine often become subluxated (misaligned). This causes strain and injury to the joints and supporting ligament tissue. The result of the combined subluxation, ligament strain and joint injury is often neck pain with associated headache.
Chiropractic treatment includes spinal manipulation, electronic muscle stimulation to improve the motion of restricted joints, traction, and/or ice/heat therapy to reduce inflammation.
Cervical Misalignment (Neck Pain)
The cervical vertebrae (neck) is composed of vertebrae which begin in the upper torso and end at the base of the skull. The vertebrae, ligaments and neck muscles provide spinal stability, support and motion. The neck provides a significant amount of motion to the head and supports the weight of the head. However, because it is less protected than the rest of the spine, it can be susceptible to injury that will then restrict motion and/or produce pain.
Causes of Neck pain are due to:
soft tissue abnormalities due to injury or wear and tear
injury direct to the neck from an accident/fall/etc.
repetitive injury from computer work or repetitive activity
degenerative and inflammatory diseases, or congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae
In rare cases, infection or tumors may cause neck pain
Traditional medical treatment does not address the first four of the above categories well. Traditional treatments are passive, often treated with prescription medication for pain and treatments of physical therapy. This is done with hopes the vertebra will come into alignment without direct manipulation.
Chiropractic treatment properly serves the first four of the above categories. The exact treated is based on the specifics of the diagnosis. Most are treated with spinal manipulation, physical therapy, traction/support and massage, all of which focus on the direct cause of the pain - vertebrae misalignment.
Mid-Back Misalignment (Mid-Back Pain)
Mid-Back vertebra or rib misalignment is normally associated by pain in the mid-back, and sometimes into the chest. The pain may be dull or sharp depending on the severity of the misalignment. The pain may also radiate from the breastbone to the side of the rib cage.
Ribs can subluxate similar to the vertebrae in your spine. Ribs attach by way of cartilage to the breast bone in the front of the body, and to the spine in the back of the body. The spine and ribs are a joint similar to any other place were two bones of the body meet. Most subluxated joints in the body are treatable by a chiropractor. Ribs and mid-back vertebrae often sublux for a number of reasons; over-exertion, a fall, or an accident.
Traditional medical treatment for mid-back pain focus on the symptom of pain. If the problem is sever enough surgery may be an option. Chiropractic focuses on the problem of the subluxated (or "fixed) joints with treatments of adjustment, massage, ultra-sound, heat/cold therapy and others.
Sacroiliac Misalignment (Low Back and Leg Pain)
Misalignment of the pelvic joints (sacroiliac joints) is the primary suspect when there is buttock pain and upper leg pain. The sacroiliac joints are gliding joints that allow for spinal flexibility and twisting movement. When these joints are affected by trauma from excessive athletic activities, weakened muscles, aging, or heredity, low back, buttock and/or upper leg pain is commonly experienced.
Pain associated with misaligned sacroiliac joints can be quite varied. Many patients mistakenly believe the pain is in their hip when in fact, it is the sacroiliac joint. Pain can be described as achy, sore, stiff, tight, dull, throbbing or any combination of the above. An increase in pain may occur when sitting or standing for a prolonged period.
Traditional medical treatment include a range of pain medication from over the counter to prescription. This, however, simply mask the pain without actually resolving the structural problem. If the pain becomes too severe, surgery is an option, but rare. A side note, pain medications may actually make the overall problem worse, by masking your body's natural defense mechanism.
Chiropractic treatment is primarily chiropractic adjustments to restore structure and function to the spine. Treatment may also include electrical stimulation, icing therapy and a stretching program.
Sciatica (Pinched Leg Nerves)
Sciatica is a painful condition involving the sciatica nerve, the largest and longest nerve in the human body. The sciatic nerve extends along the back of the leg from the buttocks to the inside of the ankle. When the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed or traumatized it results in agonizing pain that can be temporarily debilitating. It is common for people to mistakenly believed they have a "slipped disc" because the pain is so intense. Common symptoms include: intense leg pain, numbness, tingling, burning or pain radiating through the lower back.
Traditional medical treatment initially provides medication for pain, nerve blockers and physical therapy. Here, traditional medicine does not treat or address the problem only the symptoms. If the issue persists surgery to address the misaligned vertebrae is suggested.
Chiropractic treatment will use a comprehensive treatment plan utilizing spinal adjustments, heat and ice treatments, and physical therapy centered around strengthening the muscles around the effected vertebrae. The focus is to directly address the problem of misaligned vertebrae. This will relieve the pain as the body heals itself once the vertebrae are properly aligned.
Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ)
The Temporo-Mandibular Joints are located on both sides of the face that connect the lower jaw to the skull. The joints work in synergy with the facial bones and multiple pairs of muscles to allow opening and closing of the mouth and the forward, backward, rotational, and side-to-side movements of the lower jaw. Anything that disturbs the balance of these bones and muscles can trigger TMJ disorders that affect facial muscles and joints, as well as the neck, and back. This includes muscle spasm, pain and dysfunction.
TMJ stress is the worst kind of physical stress because the body cannot relieve it. An injured limb can be rested, but the TMJ can not be inactive. Every time teeth meet in incorrect position there is stress, then the jaw muscles compensate for it which creates a tense and unnatural position. Many times the tension begins to travels by chain reaction throughout the body possibly creating dizziness, earaches, face, head, neck, shoulder, and back pain. In some cases people may also suffer chronic fatigue, popping of the jaw joint, irritability, blocked or ringing ears, difficulty swallowing, temporary loss of memory, neuritis, neuralgia, or stress headaches and arthritis-like joint pain, or numbness in parts of the body that seem to have no relation to the teeth and the jaws.
Traditional medical doctors' standard training does not address the relationship between teeth, the jaw bones and the subsequent alignment of the jaws and the rest of the body. So most medical doctors treat the symptoms of pain and not the underlying problem.
Recent research claim over 85% of all those who suffer from recurring headaches are due to TMJ. The ssame research also state that nearly 25% of U.S. population suffers form some form of TMJ disorder. Chiropractic treatment focuses on the problem of the misaligned jaw joints, facial bones and muscles utilizing heat and ice treatment, myofascial therapy, ultrasound and chiropractic adjustments to reduce joint inflammation and restore proper biomechanics of the joint.
Herniated Disc (Bulging Disc)
Recent scientific studies have confirmed that chiropractic manipulation is safe and the treatment effective for disc herniation. Traditional medical treatment is pain relief and surgery. Chiropractic treatment adjusts the associated vertebrae including cold/heat therapy, traction and other treatments.
Over time the structure of the intervertebral discs weaken. Many times the discs can weaken to the point that the structure of the disc begins to degenerate. Lumbar degeneration in the lower back vertebrae and discs is common for older people and can bring sever debilitating pain.
Traditional medical treatment is a combination of pain management, surgery and physical therapy.
Chiropractic treatment is focused on gently adjusting the directly affected areas to bring back mobility and biomechanics of the affected vertebrae. Treatment may also include physical therapy, exercise, and ice/heat treatment.
Whiplash injury occurs when the body is subjected to a acceleration/deceleration force that hyper-extends the neck.
Low impact whiplash typically results in sprained ligaments in the neck. The muscles usually spasm as a protective mechanism following the injury. Pain from the whiplash may be a stiff neck and may go down one or both arms. Severe whiplash will have persistent pain that lasts for weeks which indicates extensive damaged to muscles, ligaments and/or nerves. Severe whiplash can also include herniated disc in the neck or back. Whiplash pain can extend into the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, lower back, and is known to cause headaches.
The Journal of Orthopedic Medicine in 1999 confirmed the superiority of chiropractic care for patients suffering from whiplash. The study showed 93 percent of patients with chronic whiplash benefited from chiropractic care.
Chiropractic treatment includes chiropractic adjustments, electronic stimulation, physical therapy, massage therapy and traction.
Migraines result from a number factors including diet, visual stimulates, and structural injury of the neck vertebrae.
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in February 2000, reported that chiropractic care showed a statistically significant improvement in migraine frequency, duration, and disability. The study also showed that those who received chiropractic care were able to reduce their medication use, with a significant number reducing their medication usage to zero.
Scoliosis is a abnormal curvature of the spine. There are several theories as to the cause of scoliosis, but science has yet to determine the true cause. It is estimated that approximately 2 percent of the adult population has some degree of spinal curvature. Diagnosis during early childhood offers the best possible opportunity to treat and stave off the deforming problem. Treatment is especially needed during rapid growth years from age 8 through 12.
Scoliosis is one of the most debilitating problems faced by children. It is a progressive condition that begins during the active growth phase and subsides upon completion of spinal growth leaving the child with a permanent deformity. Early recognition and treatment can be effective in halting scoliosis progression and in some cases can provide improvement. The pain from scoliosis can be significant. Severe scoliosis can result in cardiopulmonary complications and the possibility of decrease life span.
Chiropractic treatment has been shown to be helpful in both the relief of the symptoms caused by scoliosis as well as to halt the progression of curvature and the fixations of the joints within the spine.
Chiropractic treatments include spinal adjustments, stretches and exercise instruction.