Conditions

AUTO INJURIES

According to the Insurance Research Council, nearly 1/3 of all claimants injured in motor vehicle accidents (MVA’s) seek treatment from doctors of chiropractic. This is an impressive number given that the National Safety Council (NSC) has determined there to be more than 12 million MVA’s annually involving more than 20 million vehicles.

The reason individuals like yourself choose chiropractic care for treatment of injuries sustained in MVA’s is simple – chiropractic care is exceptional in the treatment of soft tissue injuries, especially of the spine. Since the most common injuries associated with MVA’s are sprains and strains of the spinal muscles and ligaments, it’s only natural that chiropractic be the treatment of choice.

Many studies have also found individuals injured in MVA’s prefer chiropractic care for the treatment of their injuries. One such study evaluated 190 whiplash injury victims and found those who received chiropractic care reported treatment satisfaction of 100%.

WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT

Schedule An Appointment

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident you will need to make an appointment for a brief, but thorough, examination. Often, individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents experience minimal or no symptoms for the first few weeks and even months. It’s important to not only receive immediate and appropriate treatment for any injuries sustained, but also to document the extent of the injuries, if present.

Failure to obtain a timely evaluation or appropriate treatment for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident may negate your ability to receive monetary compensation for any future medical bills resulting from the accident, negate your ability to receive pain and suffering settlements, and negate compensation for work loss.

We Will Determine…

When you come in, we will determine:

  • The extent of the injury or injuries
  • The number of estimated treatments required to treat your injuries
  • If referral to another medical specialist is required
  • If special tests are required (i.e. MRI, CT Scan, etc.)
  • If you need to take “injury time off” from work (and provide you with a note to present to your employer)

COMMON INJURIES AND SYMPTOMS

Motor vehicle accidents can result in a number of very diverse and complex injuries and symptoms. This is due to the diversity of factors involved with the each MVA – i.e. vectors of the collision, size of the vehicles involved in collision, preexisting health conditions of victims, age of victims, size and strength of victims, etc.

The following list comprises many of the most commonly sustained injuries and symptoms following MVA’s:

  • Whiplash
  • Headaches
  • Back Pain
  • Head Injuries and Associated Symptoms
  • Extremity Pain, Numbness, Tingling
  • Factors Influencing Injury Tolerance

AUTO INJURY RELATED STATISTICS

Minimum Accident Speed to Cause Injury

Studies involving live humans have demonstrated that a motor vehicle accident of as little as 5 mph can induce cervical (neck) injury. However, other studies have shown that cars can often withstand crashes of 10 mph or more without sustaining damage.

Time for Symptoms to Present

Symptoms arising from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents were once thought to present immediately following the accident. However, research and clinic experience now demonstrate that a delay of symptom onset seems to be the norm. Also, delay of symptom onset does not eliminate the possibility of severe injury.

Number of Disabilities from Automobile Accidents

Most experts have found that 10 percent of all motor vehicle accident victims become disabled.

Symptom Resolution Statistics

Many studies have found a significant number of individuals to be symptomatic for many months and even years after a motor vehicle accident. In one such study, 75 percent of individuals remained symptomatic 6 months after the accident.

Another study, published in the European Spine Journal, found that during the period of time between the first and second years following a motor vehicle accident over 20 percent actually had their symptoms worsen.

Number of Annual Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to the National Safety Council (NSA), there are more than 12 million motor vehicle accidents annually including more than 20 million vehicles. This results in over 5 million nonfatal accidents annually of which approximately 2 million are disabling injuries including approximately 1 million work-related auto disabling injuries.

Injury Severity in Motor Vehicle Accidents

A 1990 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study reported found that about 28 percent of occupants in motor vehicle accidents incur minor to moderate injury while 6 percent incur severe to fatal injuries.

Likelihood of being Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident

The US Department of Transportation estimates that the typical driver will have a near automobile accident one to two times per month and all will be in a collision of some type on average of every 6 years.

Annual Costs of Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to a report released back in 1993, the total costs for motor vehicle accidents in the US was over $333 billion in 1988.

Who Pays for Injuries Sustained in Motor Vehicle Accidents?

According to the Insurance Research Council,

63 percent of injuries are paid by the injured individuals own automobile insurance company
55 percent of injuries are paid by the auto insurance company of another vehicle
36 percent of injuries are paid by health insurance
20 percent of injuries are paid by government programs
19 percent of injuries are paid workers’ compensation insurance
Almost 60 percent of those injured reported to have used 2 or more sources of payment.

SPORTS INJURIES

Chiropractic care has received much attention in regards to its successful management of sporting injuries. Since the majority of sports injuries are soft tissue in nature and because many of injuries arise from improper body biomechanics and improper sporting techniques, chiropractic doctors have become the doctors of choice – from the weekend warrior to the professional athlete.

According to an article in the June ’98 issue of The Physician and Sports Medicine, “Interest in alternative or complementary medicine ‘especially chiropractic’ is booming… active patients are running to unconventional providers to treat their aches and pains… from chiropractors and acupuncture to magnets and meditation.”

Successful treatments must focus not only on pain relief, but must address the underlying causes such as muscular imbalances, biomechanical deficiencies, improper sporting techniques, and improper conditioning, to name a few.

It’s really quite simple. Chiropractic care – through the use of safe and natural spinal adjustive techniques, physiotherapy applications, soft tissue mobilization, stretching and exercise programs, diet and nutritional counseling, and extensive biomechanical training – focuses on all causes which have lead to the symptoms of pain and tissue injury and do not focus on solely eliminating pain.

INJURIES IN COMPETITIVE ATHLETES

Many professional and competitive athletes already know the value of regular chiropractic care. Increased flexibility, increased energy, increased speed, and increased performance as well as a decrease in injuries are all benefits of chiropractic care.

In fact, it’s becoming rare to find a professional or amateur sports team that does not have a “team” chiropractor. Take for instance the bay area in Northern California. The San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants and the San Jose Sharks have their own team chiropractor.

INJURIES IN CHILD AND TEEN ATHLETES

Sports and regular physical activities not only serve as fun-time for children and teens, but more importantly, it improves their overall health and wellness status while promoting a healthy lifestyle which they can carry on into their adulthood years.

Exercise and Health Education Cut Kids’ Risk of Heart Disease
Experts Urge Children Need More Exercise
Results of Strength Training in Obese Prepubertal Girls

WORK INJURIES

COMMON WORK-RELATED MUSCULOSKELETAL INJURIES

What Are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

Musculoskeletal disorders include a group of conditions that involve the nerves, tendons, muscles, and supporting structures such as intervertebral discs. They represent a wide range of disorders, which can differ in severity from mild periodic symptoms to severe chronic and debilitating conditions. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis, tension neck syndrome, and low back pain.

What Are Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD)?

Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders are musculoskeletal disorders caused or made worse by the work environment. WMSDs can cause severe and debilitating symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling; reduced worker productivity; lost time from work; temporary or permanent disability; inability to perform job tasks; and an increase in workers compensation costs. Musculoskeletal disorders are often confused with ergonomics. Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of workers. In other words, musculoskeletal disorders are the problem and ergonomics is a solution.

What Are the Risk Factors for WMSDs?

Repetitive, forceful, or prolonged exertions of the hands; frequent or heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying of heavy objects; prolonged awkward postures; and vibration contribute to WMSDs. Jobs or working conditions that combine risk factors will increase the risk for musculoskeletal problems. The level of risk depends on how long a worker is exposed to these conditions, how often they are exposed, and the level of exposure.

How Common Are MSDs?

Musculoskeletal disorders of any cause are among the most prevalent medical problems, affecting 7% of the population and accounting for 14% of physician visits and 19% of hospital stays. When looking specifically at work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 1995, 62% (308,000) of all illness cases were due to disorders associated with repeated trauma. This figure does not include back injuries. BLS also reports that the number of cases of repeated trauma has increased significantly, rising from 23,800 cases in 1972 to 332,000 cases in 1994-a fourteenfold increase. In 1995 the number of cases decreased by 7% to 308,000 reported cases, but this number still exceeds the number of cases in any year prior to 1994. When looking specifically at cases involving days away from work, for which more detailed information is available, BLS reports that in 1994, approximately 32% or 705,800 cases were the result of overexertion or repetitive motion. This figure includes back injuries.

INJURY PREVENTION AND ERGONOMICS

Injury prevention and ergonomic programs are designed to reduce the number of injuries occurring in the workplace.

Since the best way to treat an injury is to never get it in the first place, a proactive approach involving strategic planning to minimize injury should be taken by all employers and employees, especially where the risk of injury is high. This would include workers who sit for extended periods of time, perform repetitive movements, and workers who lift or move heavy objects.

HEADACHES

According to the latest research, 9% of men and 12% of women in the U.S. experience at least 1-2 headache episodes per month. And, more than 4% of the U.S. population suffers from frequent headaches, defined as headaches that occur at least 180 days a year. Needless to say, headaches have become a social and economic burden in the United States, as well as other parts of the world.

Scientists have identified over 300 causes for headaches. Various pain-sensitive structures and tissues including the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscles, arteries, periosteal bone covering, and the upper cervical and facial nerves produce headaches when irritated or injured. Fortunately, only a handful of causes are responsible for the majority of headaches.

The most common of these headaches include:

  1. Cervicogenic- problems within the neck
  2. Muscle-tension- neck and upper back muscular spasms
  3. Post-traumatic- following head/neck trauma, i.e. whiplash
  4. Drug-induced- from analgesic overuse
  5. Migraines
  6. Cluster

Doctors of chiropractic successfully help thousands of individuals everyday obtain safe, effective, long-term relief from their headaches. This is because most headaches have a spinal, muscular, or habitual component which the chiropractor has been trained to identify and treat. In fact, surveys show that 10-25% of patients initiate chiropractic care for the relief of headaches.

To learn more about specific headache types, headache treatments, prevention tips, or to view various articles related to headaches, choose from the links menu above.

COMMON HEADACHE TYPES

Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches refer to headaches which originate from tissues and structures in the cervical spine or neck region. The headache is generally a very constant, strong, yet dull pain. The most common location of pain is around the orbital (eye) region and upper neck area but may also include other areas of the face, head and neck. The headache will typically last for one to three days and reoccur ever one to four weeks until properly treated. The headache may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing of the ears, and sensitivity to light and sound – similar to migraine headaches.

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by irritation or injury to the structures of the upper neck region, resulting in local neck pain as well as referred pain to the temporal and facial regions. This headache is often precipitated or aggravated by head and neck movements and by applying deep pressure to the muscles of the upper cervical area.

Chiropractic management of cervicogenic headaches is the best way to eliminate these headaches. Without addressing the problems in cervical spine the headache will continue to persist and worsen. Individuals should be warned that relying on analgesics to remedy cervicogenic headaches does nothing to correct the cause of the headache and generally worsens the headache in what’s known as the “rebound effect”. See “Drug-Induced Headaches” below for more information.

Muscle Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common headache type, representing approximately 60% of all headaches. These headaches are caused by the sustained contraction of the muscles in the neck and head region. The sustained muscle contraction is usually a result of a combination of the following:

  • Cervical/neck misalignments and faulty neck biomechanics
  • Previous neck/upper back
  • Injury- not properly rehabilitated
  • Poor posture
  • Excessive emotional stress
    anxiety or depression
  • Prolonged sitting or driving
  • Improper sleeping habits

Characteristically, these headaches are generally mild to moderate in intensity and can last from hours to days. There is a constant tight or pressure sensation, generally feeling like a tight band is wrapping around the head. There is commonly pain and tightness in the area of the neck and shoulder. Pain generally starts in the base of the skull or temporal regions of the head and spreads outwards to affect other areas of the head and neck.

Chiropractors have great success treating muscle tension headaches. By utilizing spinal adjustments, therapeutic exercises and stretches, soft tissue techniques such as trigger point work and massage, and by counseling on lifestyle modification, tension headaches can become a thing of the past. Individuals should be warned that relying on analgesics to remedy tension headaches does nothing to correct the cause of the headache and generally worsens the headache in what’s known as the “rebound effect”. See “Drug-Induced Headaches” below for more information.

Post-Traumatic Headaches

Post-traumatic headaches are headaches initiated from head or neck injury, such as in a whiplash-type injury or blow to the head. The resulting headache varies from person to person. Most commonly, the resulting post-traumatic headache is one of the following:

  • Post-traumatic cervicogenic headache
  • Post-traumatic muscle tension headache
  • Post-traumatic migraine headache
  • Post-traumatic cluster headache
  • Post-traumatic vascular headache

The most favorable outcomes are seen with those who seek early treatment. It’s also important immediately following any head trauma to rule out subdural hematoma, a potentially fatal condition caused by intracranial bleeding. Chiropractors frequently treat post-traumatic headaches and do so with success.

Again, individuals should be warned that relying on analgesics to remedy post-traumatic headaches does nothing to correct the cause of the headache and generally worsens the headache in what’s known as the “rebound effect”. See “Drug-Induced Headaches” below for more information.

Drug-Induced Headaches

Experts have claimed that as many as 60% of chronic headaches are drug-induced. It’s quite ironic that the abuse or frequent use of medications used to relieve the symptoms of a headache can actually end up perpetuating the headache or cause new headaches. In addition, physical dependency and organ damage are also extremely common complications associated with chronic analgesic usage.

Drug-induced headaches are usually dull, diffuse and non-throbbing affecting both sides of the head. They are frequently present first thing in the morning and persist throughout the day.

Medical experts say that analgesic medications (over the counter or prescription) should not be used more frequently than 1 to 2 days per week. Using medications beyond this period will gradually increase the frequency of the headaches and will further increase their intensity of the pain. Unfortunately, although there is extensive documentation on drug-induced headaches, many medical physicians fail to pay attention to this fact or are simply unaware. Worse yet, the many tv drug commercials are made to make us feel as though pain relievers are a safe effective means of relief for headaches. However, taking pain medication for chronic headaches without seeking corrective care is like unplugging the flashing oil light in your car dash, instead of adding oil to the engine.

The most common medications which lead to the development of drug-induced headaches include:

  • Aspirin
  • Tylenol
  • Excedrin
  • Anacin
  • Demerol
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Darvon
  • Xanex
  • Fiorinal
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Tetracycline
  • Heart medications
  • Anticoagulants
  • Dilantin

Simply eliminating or limiting the use of analgesic use will resolve most if not all of the headaches. However, most individuals are unaware that the drugs they’re taking can sometimes do them more harm than good.

Migraine Headaches

Migraines account for approximately 10% of all headaches. Researchers have found that 3.4 million females and 1.1 million males suffer from 1 migraine attack per month. Migraines follow a hereditary course, with 70% of migraine sufferers having other family members who are also affected. Migraine headaches often have coexisting muscle tension and cervicogenic factors which contribute to the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

The pain generated by migraines has a throbbing quality and usually involves one side of the head initially. The headache tends to reach its peak intensity after about 30 minutes. Migraines are commonly accompanied by nausea and vomiting. During severe attacks, sensitivity to sound and light may occur forcing the individual to seek a dark and quiet room mandatory. The duration of the headache can vary from a few hours to 1 to 2 days.

Migraine headaches are categorized into either “common” or “classical” migraines.

Classical Migraines differ from common migraines in that the actual headache is preceded by neurologic disturbances which indicate a migraine attack is about to take place. These include alterations in the visual field (zigzag lines, blind spots, etc.), numbness or tingling of the lips or hand, problems with balance and even loss of consciousness. These neurologic disturbances generally last 15 to 30 minutes and resolve before the headache begins. In some cases, the neurologic disturbances may persist several days after the headache has resolved.

Clinical trials conducted on chiropractic’s effectiveness in the management of migraine headaches have shown remarkable improvement in many cases.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are most common in middle-aged male smokers and are among the most painful of all headaches. The individual is often awaken 1 to 3 hours after sleep with the headache in its full-blown state. The headache lasts about 1 hour and attacks occur frequently over several days to weeks – thus their name “cluster”. The headaches will then disappear for periods of months to years before returning. The pain in cluster headaches is deep, nonthrobbing and severe located behind the ear and may radiate to the forehead and temple regions. There is also tearing of the affected eye, nasal congestion, and nasal drip.

Smoking, alcohol ingestion and napping often precipitate attacks. Immediate administration of oxygen (100% at 7 liters for 15 minutes) has been shown to provide some relief. It has been suggested that immersing the hand in ice water to the point of pain and elevating the bed may also provide some relief.

CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT OF HEADACHES

Chiropractors successfully treat thousands of headache sufferers everyday. According to surveys, as many as 25% of the individuals seeking chiropractic care do so for the treatment of headaches.

Chiropractic has such good success in the treatment of headaches because most headaches are either soft tissue or neurologic in nature. Also, a significant portion of headaches originate in the tissues of the neck. And since chiropractors focus their treatment on the soft tissues of the spine, which includes the neck, the majority of headaches can be successfully managed with appropriate chiropractic care. Best of all, chiropractic treatments consist of only safe, natural, and noninvasive therapies that focus on correcting the cause of headaches, and not simply the short-term masking of symptoms.

Chiropractic treatment for headaches has been compared with other forms of treatments and in most cases, has excelled. To see the results of studies evaluating the effectiveness of chiropractic care in the treatment of different headache types, select the “Articles” link from the table above.

HEADACHE PREVENTION TIPS

Regular spinal checkups. Regular spinal checkups allow you to correct any structural misalignments, faulty biomechanics and spinal nerve irritation within the upper spine before serious problems develop. Practicing a “preventative” approach as opposed to a “crisis” approach is the most effective way to stay healthy.

Practice proper posture and ergonomics. Proper posture and ergonomics keeps stress to the cervical and upper thoracic spine to a minimum. Proper body biomechanics keeps irritation and injury to the pain sensitive spinal tissues to a minimum.

Avoid analgesic use. While occasional short-term analgesic use is appropriate in some cases, analgesics are not a cure and should not be used as a long-term solution to managing headaches. Proper headache management deals with correcting the cause of the headache and not simply the masking of symptoms. Furthermore, excessive analgesic use frequently has a rebound effect, ironically increasing the frequency and intensity of the headaches they are meant to treat. FYI- research has shown that 60% of all chronic headaches are drug-induced.

Proper stress management. Stress is a major trigger of headaches. If you find your stress levels are excessive, contact our office. We can assist you in appropriately managing your stress levels.

Regular exercise. Routine physical activity keeps the body and mind strong, healthy and happy. A minimum of 3 times per week for 40 minutes should be your goal. Involve friends and family, mix up the activities, keep it fun and stay consistent!

Proper diet and nutrition. Providing your body with the proper fuel through proper diet and nutrition allows the body to fight off disease and function at a higher level.

Also, if you suffer from migraines be sure to avoid foods that trigger attacks – chocolate, caffeine, nuts, MSG, foods containing nitrates, and alcohol are some to avoid.

NECK PAIN

Neck pain affects a significant number of individuals. Recent studies have found more than 10% of Americans suffer from neck pain at any given time.

The reason is that the neck region contains many delicate, pain sensitive structures commonly exposed to abuse and abnormal stresses. Incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries, poor posture, prolonged sitting, and lack of periodic spinal alignments are some of the more common factors in the development of neck problems.

Fortunately, most individuals suffering from neck problems will find chiropractic care extremely beneficial. Unlike prescription drugs, most chiropractic procedures address the cause of the majority of neck problems, not simply the symptoms. Best of all, chiropractic care is safe, natural, and noninvasive… no side effects allowed!

ANATOMY OF THE NECK

Within the neck lies the cervical spine, the upper most portion of the spinal column. The cervical spine is structurally and functionally unique from the other areas of the spinal column.

Structurally, the cervical spine is composed of 7 moderately small and unique vertebrae including associated muscles, ligaments, joints and nerves.

The cervical spine has many important functions which include providing support and mobility to the head and neck, providing essential information for the balance and coordination of the body, and protection for the upper spinal cord and associated spinal nerves.

Generous Amounts of Motion

The cervical spine is the most flexible region of the spine, providing the most generous amounts of flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation.

The 1st and 2nd cervical vertebrae, known as the atlas and axis respectively, have highly unique structures which allow them to form a pivot joint. This joint alone provides approximately 90 degrees of rotation in the cervical spine. These same vertebrae also contain special receptors within their joints which provide the brain with important information essential for the maintenance of balance and coordination. As you will see in “Causes”, injury or irritation to these mechanoreceptors results in balance disturbances and problems with coordination.

The remaining cervical vertebrae also provide large degrees of motion but mainly in flexion, extension and lateral flexion (side bending). Unfortunately, there’s an inverse relationship between mobility and stability. Thus, the cervical spine is more susceptible to injury compared with other areas of the spine.

Nervous System Protection

The cervical vertebrae immediately encase and protect the spinal cord as it descends from the skull.

The spinal cord travels through small holes in the rear of the cervical vertebrae, giving rise to spinal nerve roots at each vertebral level. These nerve roots exit through the small openings formed by adjacent vertebrae called the intervertebral foramina (IVF). The IVF is the “exit” out of the cervical spine as spinal nerves make their way to the head, face and arms. The IVF is a common location for nerve irritation and can give rise to a variety of head, neck and upper extremity symptoms in the cervical spine.

The Spinal Nerves

The nerves exiting the cervical spine are delicate and can become irritated or injured, giving rise to a number of different signs and symptoms.

The 1st through 3rd cervical nerves exiting from the cervical are responsible for providing sensations to the head and face. When these nerves are compressed, stretched or irritated they will cause pain and other altered sensations in regions of the head and face. Researchers have found irritation to the 2nd cervical nerve (the greater occipital nerve) to be a major source of head and face pain. The nerves from the mid and lower cervical spine combine to form the brachial plexus, a collection of nerves which innervate the arms. Compression, stretch or irritation to these nerves commonly cause pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the arms.

TREATMENTS FOR NECK PAIN

Doctors of chiropractic have long known that the most successful treatments involve the identification and correction of the underlying causes of the condition. That’s why chiropractic care has been so successful in the correction of back and neck conditions and the number one choice for back and neck care.

Identifying The Cause

The first step in treating neck pain is to determine what has and is causing the neck pain. Once the causes and contributing factors are identified, a successful treatment plan can be structured to eliminate pain and achieve the goals of the patient.

The Treatment

The chiropractic treatments for neck pain incorporate the use of many therapies, all of which are gentle, safe, natural and noninvasive. However, the true power of chiropractic care is found in the chiropractic adjustment – the most effective and essential treatment employed by the chiropractor. The reason? Quite simply, the spinal adjustment corrects the major problems that the majority of neck pain sufferers have.

Most individuals experiencing neck pain have either:

  • Suffered an acute accident such as whiplash, where the structural integrity of the neck has been altered and tissue damage has occurred.
  • Been exposed to long period of adverse neck and spinal stresses most commonly from bad or improper postural habits and techniques.

In both cases, the spinal components are almost always structurally misaligned and biomechanically faulty. In other words, the vertebrae and their supporting structures have lost their “optimal” positioning and their movements are occurring in an inappropriate and stressful manner.

The only effective and long-term way to correct the structural malpositions and improper biomechanics is to realign the spinal segments and restore normalize motion. This is the job of the spinal adjustment. In addition to restoring positioning and motion, the spinal adjustment also produces a reflexive relief of pain and reduction in muscle spasm. This is due to the high number of mechanoreceptors in the joints of the vertebrae which are stimulated through the chiropractic adjustment. Research has shown that stimulation of these mechanoreceptors sends signals to the brain which shutdown pain signals and result in muscle relaxation. Also, the adjustment helps to eliminate inflammation through the introduction of motion; inflammatory chemicals are known irritates to pain fibers.

Proper Habits and Techniques

Another key ingredient to a successful neck pain treatment plan includes the learning of proper postural habits and other techniques. Proper posture is a significant factor in the health of the neck and back and proper posture should always be practiced. Techniques common to daily living and work also play a major role in the development or lack of development of neck pain. This includes proper lifting techniques, telephone techniques, avoidance of repetitive motions, and much more. We can teach you correct habits and techniques which will protect your neck and back from discomfort and injury. Also, be sure to checkout our “Posture” and “Ergonomics” sections of our site for additional information.

Other Therapies

Other manual therapies such as massage, trigger point therapy, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and acupressure therapy may be utilized to assist in the relaxation of cervical muscles and increase cervical spine mobility.

Therapeutic exercises and stretches which assist in the restoration of proper cervical motion and increase cervical muscle strength and coordination are commonly prescribed. Exercises and stretches are unique in that they can be performed outside the office without the assistance of the doctor.

Physical therapies commonly used by physical therapies may also be employed and include hot and cold applications, muscle stimulation, interferential therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and diathermy.

Diet and nutrition also play a key role in the health of the cervical spine. Without the proper nutrients, the cervical spine and rest of the body are less able to remain healthy and heal once injured. If you diet and nutritional status is poor, we can help get you on track.

Healthy Living Tips For Neck and Upper Back Pain

Regular spinal checkups. Maintaining proper alignment and functioning of the neck and upper back through periodic spinal adjustments minimizes the stresses to structures of the cervical and thoracic spine. Also, keeping the nervous system free from interference ensures proper communication within the body, keeping you happy and healthy.

Practice proper posture, lifting and ergonomics. Practicing proper posture, lifting techniques and ergonomics are key in reducing neck and back injuries at work and play and minimizing future recurrences of past injuries. For more info, checkout the “Ergonomics” and “Posture” sections of our site.

Regular exercise. Routine physical activity keeps the heart healthy and keeps the spine as well as the rest of the body strong and healthy. An effective exercise program should consist of a minimum of 3 sessions per week for 40 minutes. Involve friends and family, mix up the activities, keep it fun and stay consistent!

Proper diet and nutrition. Providing your body with the proper fuel increases performance, reduces the likelihood of injury and sickness, speeds recovery after injury, and keeps you feeling good. If, like the rest of us, you’re finding it difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs, it’s probably time to supplement. For information on nutritional supplements, checkout the ” Health Products ” section of our site.

Utilize stress management techniques. Stress is most often carried in the shoulders, upper back and yes, neck. While stress can’t be totally eliminated there are effective techniques to help bring it under control. Checkout the “Wellness Center” for more information on stress management or contact our office for an appointment.

CAUSES OF NECK PAIN

There are many causes for neck pain. Some causes result from acute injuries which cannot be avoided, such as an automobile accident resulting in a whiplash-type injury. Other causes can be avoided and result from the use of “bad” or improper habits and techniques, such as poor posture and improper lifting. These “other causes” make up the majority of neck pain causes and can be effectively treated once the cause(s) is/are identified and the appropriate measures to avoid these “bad” and improper habits and techniques are implemented.

Some of the more common causes of neck pain include:

  • Incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries
  • Lack of proper and periodic spinal alignments
  • Presence of cervical spine subluxations
  • Whiplash-type injuries
  • Improper workstation setup
  • Poor posture
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Prolonged use of non-ergonomically designed equipment
  • Excessive repetitive neck motions
  • Improper telephone techniques
  • Excessive mental stress
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet and nutritional practices

LOW BACK PAIN

If you’re suffering from lower back pain you’re not alone. More than 80% of North Americans will at some time in their life suffer from the disabling confines of lower back pain.

According to experts, lower back pain is the number one disability culprit in workers’ compensation claims and accounts for more than $50 billion annually in the US through medical care and lost production.

In addition, the latest research shows most lower back problems which cause low back pain do not fully resolve without extensive treatment and proper rehabilitation, contrary to previous beliefs.

The chiropractic doctor is unique in the health care field in that much of the training in chiropractic colleges is specifically aimed at identifying and successfully treating and managing lower back conditions. General medical practitioners generally lack adequate training in this area and have not learned the skills necessary to most effectively identify and treat most back conditions.

ANATOMY OF LOWER BACK

Lumbar Vertebrae

The lumbar spine contains 5 moderately large vertebrae which sit atop the sacrum. These bony segments act as attachments for muscles and ligaments in the lumbar spine and also encase and protect the lower spinal cord and lumbar nerve roots.

Because the lumbar vertebrae are located between the pelvis and upper torso, the degree of stresses endured by the lumbar spine are great. These abnormally high degrees of stress result in frequent lumbar vertebral subluxations – misalignments and improper motion patterns of the lumbar vertebrae. If left uncorrected, these misalignments and faulty biomechanics of the lower spine can result in spinal injury and irreversible degenerative changes.

Lumbar Intervertebral Discs

The lumbar discs connect adjacent lumbar vertebrae to one another and cushion the spine as well as permit motion between the individual vertebrae. As stated above, the lumbar spine is a “transitional” area between the pelvis and upper torso, thus, resulting in high degrees of spinal stress. This results in the 4th and 5th lumbar discs suffering more injuries than all other spinal discs combined.

Disc herniations in the lumbar spine are the most common causes of “sciatica”, meaning pain running down the back of the leg in the area of the sciatic nerve. Possible symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs and/or feet.

In rare cases, a lumbar disc herniation can compress the spinal nerves which provide motor control to the bowel and bladder. Although rare, if you’re having back pain and experience a loss of bowel and/or bladder control, immediate medical intervention is required. Without immediate decompression the loss may become permanent.

Lumbar Facet Joints

The facet joints in the lumbar spine allow for considerable amounts of flexion but a much lesser degree of extension and rotation. These joints must withstand large amounts of stress from the body and as a result are prone to acute and repetitive injuries and degenerative arthritis.

Facet joints are most commonly injured during movements involving a rotational or twisting component. When injured, pain is often sharp and localized to the area of the affected facet joint. Later in life, if spinal problems have been allowed to linger without appropriate rehabilitation, arthritis will likely be present. If severe enough, as is commonly the case, bony arthritic enlargement of the joint can impinge upon spinal nerve roots and produce symptoms pain, numbness, and tingling down the leg, as well as leg weakness, in addition to back pain.

Lumbar Spinal Nerves

The lumbar spinal nerve roots exit openings formed between adjacent lumbar vertebrae termed the intervertebral foramina or IVF. The weakest aspect of the spinal disc is unfortunately in close proximity to the IVF. Thus, disc injuries commonly result in discal materials compressing, stretching or irritating the nerve roots exiting the IVF’s.

Because the nerve roots exiting the lumbar spine innervate structures in the lower extremities, any compression, stretching or other irritation will result in numbness, tingling, pain or weakness in the leg(s) and/or feet. This may result from vertebral malpositions, disc herniations, arthritic changes to the vertebrae and facet joints, or even abnormalities within the muscles (piriformis syndrome).

Lumbar Spinal Musculature

The paraspinal muscles in the lumbar spine attach to the spinal vertebrae and pelvis to provide the torso with movement. These muscles must be strong to control the upper torso about the pelvis and thus are frequently overworked and injured. The pain associated with paraspinal muscle injury is generally a dull, boring, generalized ache in the area of the lower back.

Sacroiliac Joint

The sacroiliac joints are located between the sacrum and the ilium bones of the pelvis. These joints may also become irritated or injured resulting in lower back pain, buttock pain, and occasionally leg pain.

This condition tends to be more common in women, especially during pregnancy when hormonal changes and pressure from the forming fetus increase the stress on these joints.

TREATMENTS FOR LOW BACK PAIN

Chiropractors successfully treat thousands of headache sufferers everyday. According to surveys, as many as 25% of the individuals seeking chiropractic care do so for the treatment of headaches.

Chiropractic has such good success in the treatment of headaches because most headaches are either soft tissue or neurologic in nature. Also, a significant portion of headaches originate in the tissues of the neck. And since chiropractors focus their treatment on the soft tissues of the spine, which includes the neck, the majority of headaches can be successfully managed with appropriate chiropractic care. Best of all, chiropractic treatments consist of only safe, natural, and noninvasive therapies that focus on correcting the cause of headaches, and not simply the short-term masking of symptoms.

Chiropractic treatment for headaches has been compared with other forms of treatments and in most cases, has excelled. To see the results of studies evaluating the effectiveness of chiropractic care in the treatment of different headache types, select the “Articles” link from the table above.

CAUSES OF LOW BACK PAIN

Many tissues can generate low back pain. Unfortunately, research shows that the exact tissues causing low back pain cannot be specifically identified in up to 80% of individuals. In other words, we cannot single out the tissue(s) responsible for the pain. These patients are said to suffer from “nonspecific low back pain”; the specific cause of the pain cannot be determined.

Although the specific tissues causing low back pain are difficult to identify, chiropractic doctors have found a number of factors consistently present in low back pain patients. These factors include vertebral subluxations, faulty spinal biomechanics, deconditioned spinal musculature and the practice of poor postural habits and techniques. By addressing these factors – the actual causes of the tissue injury – chiropractic doctors are able to obtain extraordinary results in low back pain sufferers.

Common events leading or contributing to the development of lower back pain include:

  • Incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries
  • Lack of proper and periodic lumbar spinal alignments
  • Presence of lumbar spine subluxations
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Auto accidents
  • Improper workstation setup
  • Poor posture
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Prolonged use of non-ergonomically designed equipment
  • Excessive repetitive torsal motions
  • Exposure to vibratory forces (truck drivers, jack hammer operators)
  • Scoliosis (lateral deviation of the spine)
  • Fallen foot arches and other foot abnormalities
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet and nutritional practices
  • Smoking

Structures which are often the source of lower back pain include:

  • Lumbar intervertebral discs
  • Lumbar facet joints and joint capsules
  • Lumbar and pelvic muscles and ligaments
  • Lumbar and sacral spinal nerves
  • Sacroiliac joints

MID BACK PAIN

The fast-paced lifestyles of today have taken their toll on the backs of America. Currently, back pain is the number one cause of disability in those aged 19-45 and is the second leading cause of missed work days. Total annual costs for back pain in the US alone are estimated to be in excess of $60 billion.

Our treatments primarily focus on the cause of your problems, which not only results in rapid and effective pain-relief, but most importantly, minimizes the chance of future back problems.

ANATOMY OF LOWER BACK

Thoracic Vertebrae

The thoracic spine contains 12 medium sized vertebrae all of which form articulations (joints) with 2 opposing ribs. Like the other spinal vertebrae, the thoracic vertebrae act as attachments for muscles and ligaments in the mid spine and also encase and protect the median aspect of the spinal cord and thoracic nerve roots.

Because the thoracic vertebrae form relatively strong articulations with the ribs, the mobility of the thoracic spine is less than that of the cervical and lumbar spines. However, this same characteristic also protects the thoracic spinal discs and facet joints from the wear and tear experienced by these structures in the other areas of the spine.

Common vertebral problems in the thoracic spine include vertebral subluxations, a condition where the vertebrae of the thoracic spine become statically misaligned and/or function abnormally resulting in pain, muscle spasm, and sometime nerve malfunction.

Rib Articulation

The thoracic is unique in that each of it’s vertebrae attaches to a pair of ribs. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae and thus, 24 ribs (12 on the left and 12 on the right). Just like adjacent connecting vertebrae can misalign and biomechanically malfunction, so too can the thoracic vertebrae and it’s adjacent ribs. When ribs “go out” or misalign in relation to their connecting vertebrae, the individual will often experience sharp pains in the area of the misaligned rib head, especially on twisting movements of the torso.

As with vertebral subluxations, chiropractors can successfully treat rib misalignments with the chiropractic spinal adjustment. The adjustment repositions the rib to it correct position and normalizes impaired motion patterns.

Thoracic Intervertebral Discs

The intervertebral discs in the thoracic spine are located between adjacent vertebrae. They function as spacers to provide clearance for exiting spinal nerves, as connectors to link adjacent vertebrae together and allow for movement, and also as spinal shock absorbers.

The discs of the thoracic spine are less likely to become injured compared to those of the cervical and lumbar spines, making up only 2% of intervertebral disc herniations. This is because of the rib articulations made by the vertebrae which significantly increases the stability of the thoracic spine. This does not mean that the discs of the thoracic are immune from damage, rather, statistically less likely to become injured. 

Thoracic Facet Joints

The facet joints in the thoracic spine allow for considerable amounts of flexion and extension. The facet joints can become injured with excessive amounts of rotation and extension. Golfers are prime candidates for facet joint injury due to their repetitive twisting motions as they swing their golf clubs. When injured, pain is often sharp and localized to the area of the affected facet joint.

Thoracic Spinal Nerves

The thoracic spinal nerve roots exit openings formed between adjacent thoracic vertebrae termed the intervertebral foramina or IVF. The spinal nerves from the thoracic spine innervate the many muscles of the back as well as the many visceral organs and tissues of the chest and abdominal regions.

Spinal nerve root irritation or compression in the thoracic region commonly leads to intercostal pain (between the ribs). Sharp shooting pains are often experienced along the path of the ribs. Additionally, an increased susceptibility to herpes zoster or “shingles” in some individuals (generally the elderly or immunocompromised) is thought to occur when the thoracic spinal nerves are irritated or compressed. Herpes zoster involves infection to an area of the nerve root, the dorsal root ganglion, with the herpes virus.

Thoracic Spinal Musculature

The paraspinal muscles of the thoracic spine are numerous. They are responsible for the majority of trunkal movements as well as a number of upper extremity movements and are a common source of injury and pain.

Over exertion of the muscles from lifting and pulling and poor posture are the major contributors in mid back strains. Pain originating from these muscles characteristically produces a dull generalized ache.

MID BACK PAIN TREATMENTS

Doctors of chiropractic are the health care leaders in the treatment of mid back pain as well as other spinal conditions. Treatments are gentle, safe, natural, noninvasive and highly effective. Also, the treatments are designed to correct the root cause of your problem and not simply cover up the symptoms you experience.

Identifying The Cause

The first step in treating mid back pain is to determine what has and is causing the mid back pain. Once the causes and contributing factors are identified, a successful treatment plan can be structured to eliminate the pain and achieve the goals of the patient.

Most individuals experiencing mid back pain have a combination of:

  • Vertebral subluxations
  • Faulty spinal biomechanics
  • Deconditioned and weak spinal musculature
  • Improper firing patterns of spinal musculature
  • Poor postural habits
  • Poor diet and nutritional practices
  • A history of activities (work or play) generating high levels of spinal stress

The Treatment

Chiropractic doctors have successfully treated mid back pain for over 100 years. Through the use of natural and safe procedures, chiropractors correct the underlying problems which cause and contribute to the majority of mid back pain cases.

The main treatment employed by the chiropractor is the chiropractic spinal adjustment. This noninvasive therapy consists of a gentle, manually or mechanically applied force into the segments of the spinal column. Spinal adjustments have been shown to decrease pain, increase spinal range of motion, decrease muscle spasm, reduce inflammation, optimize spinal biomechanics, and reduce the recurrence of old injuries.

Proper Habits and Techniques

Another key ingredient to a successful mid back pain treatment plan includes the learning of proper postural habits and other techniques. Proper posture is a significant factor in the health of the back and proper posture should always be practiced. Techniques common to daily living and work also play a major role in the development or lack of development of mid back pain. This includes proper lifting techniques, avoidance of repetitive motions, avoidance of prolonged sitting, and much more. We can teach you correct habits and techniques which will protect your back from discomfort and injury.

Other Therapies

Other manual therapies such as massage, trigger point therapy, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and acupressure therapy may be utilized to assist in the relaxation of paraspinal muscles and increase spinal mobility.

Back exercises are commonly prescribed to patients suffering from mid back pain. These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles of the mid back so that they are less likely to fatigue during the day. When the muscles of the mid back are weak and fatigue easily the risk for injury is increased and the ability to maintain proper posture throughout the day is reduced. Stretches are commonly provided to stretch the muscles of the chest as tightness in these muscles can place increased stress on the muscles of the mid back. Exercises and stretches are unique in that they can be performed outside the office without the assistance of the doctor.

Physical therapies may also be employed and include hot and cold applications, muscle stimulation, interferential therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and diathermy.

Diet and nutrition also play a key role in the health of the spine. Without the proper nutrients, the thoracic spine and rest of the body are less able to remain healthy and heal once injured. If your diet and nutritional status is poor, we can help get you on track.

How To Maintain a Healthy Mid Back

Regular spinal checkups. Maintaining proper alignment and functioning of the back through periodic spinal adjustments minimizes the stresses to structures of the back. Also, keeping the nervous system free from interference ensures proper communication between the various structures of the back.

Proper posture, lifting and ergonomics. Practicing proper lifting techniques and ergonomics are key in preventing back injury at work and preventing future recurrences of old injuries. Maintaining proper posture keeps the spine in a minimal stress environment and prevents the abnormal stretching of the supportive spinal structures.

Regular exercise. Routine physical activity keeps the heart healthy and keeps the spine and the rest of the body strong, limber and healthy. A minimum of 3 times per week for 40 minutes should be your goal. Involve friends and family, mix up the activities, keep it fun and stay consistent!

Proper diet and nutrition. Providing your body with the proper fuel increases performance, reduces the likelihood of injury and sickness, speeds recovery after injury, and keeps you feeling good. If, like the rest of us, you’re finding it difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs, it’s probably time to supplement.

If you’re suffering from mid back pain, join the millions of other individuals who have benefited from gentle, safe and natural chiropractic care. Our treatments provide fast, effective relief which not only eliminates pain, but can help increase the performance and health of the entire body.

CAUSES OF MID BACK PAIN

Mid back pain is most commonly caused by irritation or injury to the muscles and ligaments of the thoracic spine. The high incidence of poor postural habits, lack of adequate exercise and muscle conditioning, as well as the ever more popular “seated” lifestyles of Americans are all major contributors.

Chiropractors work hard to identify the exact problems of mid back pain so that only the safest and most effective treatments can be provided. Since the majority of mid back pain cases are caused by soft tissue problems or have a significant soft tissue component, hands on chiropractic treatments are extremely beneficial and have been shown to be superior to other forms of “back” care.

Common events leading or contributing to the development of mid back pain include:

  • Incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries
  • Lack of proper and periodic thoracic spinal alignments
  • Presence of thoracic spine subluxations
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Auto accidents
  • Improper workstation setup
  • Poor posture
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Prolonged use of non-ergonomically designed equipment
  • Excessive repetitive torsal motions
  • Scoliosis (lateral deviation of the spine)
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet and nutritional practices
  • Smoking

Structures which are often the source of lower back pain include:

  • Thoracic facet joints and capsules
  • Thoracic paraspinal muscles and ligaments
  • Costovertebral joints (joints between the thoracic vertebrae and ribs)
  • Thoracic intervertebral discs
  • Thoracic spinal nerves

Locations

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307 Via de Palmas. Boca Raton, FL, 33432

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16244 S. Military Trail Ste #460 Delray Beach, FL, 33484

LAUDERHILL:
7501 W.Oakland Park Blvd, Ste #101, Lauderhill, FL 33319

HOLLYWOOD:
4343 S. SR 7 Ste #108 Ft Lauderdale, FL, 33314

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Royal Palm Chiropractic & Wellness
P. 561.750.5495 | E. info@royalchirowellness.com

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