Patients seek chiropractic care for lower back pain, sciatica, neck pain, headaches, athletic related issues, pinched nerves, muscle spasms, knee and joint pain, muscle spasms, rotator cuff injuries, rib pain or breathing difficulties. Chiropractors focus on the effects that these disorders exert on the nervous system.
Patients seek chiropractic care for spinal manipulation and soft tissue mobilization, to:
- Reduce pain
- Improve range of motion
- Increase relaxation
- Improve tissue repair
- Facilitate smooth movement and function
- Improve bodily awareness
Lower Back Pain
Acute, sudden onset, back pain can be sharp and debilitating. If you are experiencing pain which inhibits your ability to rise from a seated position, getting out of bed or from walking normally, contact the office immediately. If you are experiencing sharp radiating leg pain coursing down the back of one or both legs and with loss of bowel or bladder function, this may be a medical emergency and you should seek care immediately.
You may also have chronic pain of more than three months in duration, which is more tolerable. You may also experience pain that comes and goes.
These types of pain can be an indication of spinal joint dysfunction. There is an increasing body of evidence to support that chiropractic is a successful treatment for low back pain.
The SI Joint
Lower back pain can also be due to Sacroiliac Joint dysfunction. The SI joint is located where the sacrum, the triangular shaped bone below the spine, meets the ilia, the pelvic bones having a wing like appearance in this photo. The SI joint can cause problems due to misalignment, arthritis, straining of the ligaments due to pregnancy or other back strain.
Sacroiliac joint influences posture:
The sacrum acts as the fulcrum of our walking mechanism. Its movements influence our general posture.
The ways our head, back, hip, leg and foot move and stand are the result of the sacrum’s position within the SI joint. We carry the upper half of our body, which is half of our weight, on the fifth lumbar and the sacral base. Since our leg and pelvic movements are around the lumbosacral joint, the relative position of the sacrum becomes very important to our movement and stance.
In order for the SI joint to work effectively and economically, it must have a balanced distribution of our weight on the joint along with coordinated movements of the involved muscles. The associated muscular activity and joint articulations directly influence the leveling of the SI joint. (Horwitz, 1995, p.35)
If you have pain radiating from the hip or buttock down the back of your leg, you may be experiencing a condition known as sciatica. Sciatic pain results from the irritation or compression the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body. Sciatic symptoms include pain, tingling and numbness, which may radiate from your lower back into your buttocks, legs, feet and toes. Sciatica can be a very painful condition and can result from many causes. An assessment of your sciatic pain level and areas of sciatic pain radiation, along with an exercise history review may identify potential under lying physical causes of sciatic pain.
A brief conversation will help Carol assess your personal treatment needs.
Sciatica treatment evidence
Lewis et al. Comparative effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analysis. The Spine Journal, 2015; 15: 1461-1477.
Trauma Programme of Care Pathfinder Project – Low Back Pain and Radicular Pain: Report of the Clinical Group 17th December 2014.
Estimates have found that 22%-70% of individuals will have neck pain at some time during their lives. Neck pain is second only to lower back pain among US worker’s compensation claims. Approximately 30% of patients with neck pain will have chronic symptoms.
Without treatment, neck pain can often radiate towards the head creating headaches and muscular tension due to reduced blood flow to the brain; making it difficult to think clearly and concentrate.
I have included this reference because it confirms what I found in clinical practice, the overwhelming majority of patients have weak spinal extensors. However, studies prior to 2013 have shown that neck pain patients require activation of the deep cervical muscles, the opposite of what I found in clinical practice. I am sincerely grateful to researchers:
Headaches and Migraines
Headaches can be caused by a number of factors such as road traffic accident whiplash, concussion, or any other neck-related symptom. For example, stress induced jaw muscle tension can contract and strain the temporal muscles on either side of the head, resulting in chronic tension headache. Certain headaches can be traced to neck or cranial bone misalignments. Chiropractic care can provide a chance of helping headache sufferers, especially if cervical spinal misalignment is indicated during the assessment.
Athletic Related Issues
Our bodies crave physical exertion. However, it is not uncommon to overdo it on occasion. You may think that you have "just pulled a muscle." Muscles work intimately with the bones, nerves and joints, allowing us to move our bodies. So, effective treatment can address both muscles and joints. This may involve stretching, massage, myofascial release, muscle strengthening exercises and spinal or extremity adjustments. Performing exercises in the correct manner can improve muscle strength, endurance and muscle control. Thereby, enhancing the way muscles coordinate to stabilize and protect the spine. And, hopefully this results in injury protection.
Failing to receive the appropriate treatment promptly and continuing to over-stress a painful muscle or joint may not have the best outcome. Schedule an appointment immediately.
We have 23 discs sandwiched between the spinal (bones)vertebrae. Each disc is made up of a fibrous outer ring and a gel-like center. Discs act as cushions or shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Many researchers believe that disc lesions are the single most common cause of lower back pain. Surprisingly, disc wear and tear can manifest as early as your teenage years. Over the years, the disc begins to loose a little fluid and small lesions, or cracks, begin to form on the outer wall. The soft gel-like center then begins to bulge or push the fibrous outer wall out of shape. The result is called a protrusion.
If the center bulges completely out of the ring, it is called a disc prolapse. The prolapsed disc can press on the spinal cord or put extreme pressure on the spinal nerves resulting in pain that affects sitting, standing, walking, lifting, urinating, defecating, sneezing, standing, coughing and moving nearly impossible. Numbness of the leg or loss of muscular control may also occur in extreme cases.
The misalignment of the spine can result in nerve pressure or irritation, commonly known as a pinched nerve. Nerve pain may manifest as symptoms of numbness, burning, sharp stabbing, tingling, or aching soreness along the nerve path. This condition may result from a number of causes including: disc degeneration and loss of disc height due to dehydration, disc herniation, inflammation of the vertebral joint and/or muscles of the back due to trauma. The spinal nerves that exit the lower back traverse through the legs, to the end of the feet and toes. So, a compressed nerve in the lower back could affect the legs or feet and toes at any point along the distribution of the nerve.
It is extremely important that we evaluate your condition to find the precise explanation of why your nerves are being pinched, treat the symptoms and determine recommendations to keep this condition from recurring.
The human body is composed of approximately 640 muscles and more than 250 joints. Skeletal muscles perform many feats of strength, speed and agility. However, they can become fatigued, strained, pulled or spastic.
Fascia are strong sheets of connective tissue that encase each muscle. If the fascia is damaged, the blood, nerve and lymph supply to the muscles can be interrupted and chronic muscle problems can result. Nerves also make muscles move. When a nerve is stimulated, the muscle to which it is connected, contracts. Nerves also supply muscles with growth nutrients. Muscles suffer and atrophy without proper nerve supply.
Muscles can also act independently of nerve supply.
I could not resist adding an excerpt from Pedersen’s ground breaking research to this section because it makes us of think of muscles in a completely new and amazing light. Pedersen, BK Muscle as a Secretory Organ. Comparative Physiology 2013; 3:1337-1362.
Skeletal muscle is the secretory organ. Muscle secrete several hundred peptides called myokines, which influence metabolism and function in other organs and are not mediated via the nervous system. These findings provide a whole new paradigm for understanding how muscles communicate with other organs such as adipose tissue liver, pancreas, bones, the cardiovascular system and brain. Some myokines act on other organs in a hormone like fashion, but may operate locally on skeletal muscle itself; regulating muscle hypertrophy, repair and regulate muscle growth and regeneration allowing for adaptation to exercise training. This explains why lack of physical activity increases the risk of a whole network of diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, dementia, and osteoporosis.
Knee and Joint Pain
Individual bones are attached in such a way that a large variety of co-ordinated movements are made possible in different parts of the body. These movements are made possible by skeletal muscles, the fact that the bones act as levers, cartilage which reduces friction and ligaments which prevent dislocation and the presence of movable joints. The site or place where two or more bones of the skeleton are attached to each other is called a joint or place of articulation, like the knees for example.
Pain can result in any joint due to bone misalignment, muscle strain or spasm, cartilage damage, tendon pulls, swelling of connective tissue, scarring, repetitive stress and other causes.
A physical and biomechanical assessment will help the chiropractor identify the specific cause of your joint pain and the appropriate treatment strategy.
Shoulder and Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and is the primary support for the shoulder. It is commonly injured and even minor dysfunction can result in significant pain, weakness, loss of motion, movement and performance. Rotator cuff injuries can be the result of everyday common activities or caused by more traumatic events to the arm, such as yanking or falling on an outstretched arm, chronic improper posture, extended computer use, or repetitive motion.
Life is Breath
Rib Pain. Take a deep breath. If you are experiencing sharp stabbing pain (only when breathing) in your chest or back where the ribs attach, pain in between or under the shoulder blades, this may be the result of a rib misalignment. When ribs are misaligned, chest expansion and breathing are compromised and you don’t take in sufficient air. You may have awakened with this pain or you may have been suffering with this type of pain for some time.