Archive for November 2013

Look Who Else Uses Chiropractic Care: Ironman Triathletes

November 29, 2013

Regarded as one of the most difficult endurance sporting events in the world, the Ironman Triathlon motto is “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life.” Since 1978, when the first Ironman Triathlon was held in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, dozens more have been added worldwide, increasing the opportunity for athletes around the world to compete. Needless to say, the Ironman triathletes who qualify for one of these races need to be at the top of their game, and chiropractic care is a major asset to keeping them in the competition.

The Ironman Triathlon World Championship is held every year in Kona, and most athletes qualify for a slot by being among the top finishers in their age bracket at one of the worldwide competitions. Chiropractors are always on hand to treat injuries and remove obstacles that may impede an athlete’s performance. A range of techniques may be used, including standard chiropractic adjustments and the Active Release Technique (ART). ART therapy is a form of soft tissue therapy that is especially useful for repetitive stress injuries that cause muscle adhesions, a common form of injury in triathletes.

Lisa Walker, a woman in her early 50s from Edmonds, WA, credits Florida chiropractor Dr. Dan with allowing her to compete in the World Championships. “I met Dr. Dan in the ART tent the week before the race. I had issues with both shoulders and my right foot. Dan fixed me up so well I went back two more times just to see him about the issue. I really appreciated what he did for me because it gave me back my confidence in both swimming and my run. This was my 4th time in Kona and I ended up with a 7th place AG finish, a personal record (PR) and a Boston marathon qualifying time by 11 minutes on the run.”

triathletes

Chiropractor Sebastian Gonzales from Huntington Beach, CA, also travels to the World Championships in Kona each year to be on a team that treats over 600 athletes with ART. Gonzales says “Most of these athletes train from 10 to 20 hours a week up until this race and many of them are highly prone to overuse training injuries, and a 24 hour plane fight doesn’t help! Some athletes come in with minor issues and others come to the Active Release tent with hopes of being completely fixed the week of the race.”

Gonzales added “Granted we all have great success with fixing training injuries in our respective practices, but the value of ART lies in the performance and injury prevention aspects. Within minutes, a provider can watch you run and figure out potential issues with gait leading to decreased race performance. I tell my athletes if you want a PR, you need to incorporate specific soft tissue care like ART into your regimen.”

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

Can Losing Weight Really Help Reduce Back Pain?

November 25, 2013

If you suffer from back pain and are more than 10 pounds above your ideal weight, losing that weight may significantly reduce the amount of pain you are experiencing. According to Dr. Andre Panagos, co-director of The Spine Center at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, “Although research on weight loss and back pain is minimal, in my clinic, every single person who loses a significant amount of weight finds their pain to be significantly improved.”

The muscles, tendons and ligaments that work to keep the spine upright and aligned can be put under a great deal more stress when there is more weight for them to support. Even simple everyday tasks such as reaching over to put an item on your pantry shelf can be harder on your back when those supporting muscles have extra weight to maneuver. Losing weight reduces the extra strain on your spinal muscles.

Although no studies have conclusively shown that being overweight is the cause of back pain, being overweight or obese can contribute to back pain in a couple of ways. First, for those who are overweight, short periods of exercise often cause fatigue, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, which can discourage people from exercising. This can indirectly cause pain in the back because inactivity and lack of exercise are major contributors to back pain. Insufficient exercise leaves your back muscles, stiff, weak and out of condition. Second, excess weight, particularly around the stomach, pulls the pelvis forward and causes an excess curvature in the vertebrae of the lower back, causing pain and stress on the muscles and supporting structures of the back.
Another way in which excess weight can contribute to back pain is by the development of sciatica or piriformis syndrome caused by a herniated disc. When vertebral discs have to carry an excess load, they can become herniated. Imagine each vertebral disc as a small water balloon. The more weight that presses down on it, the more it bulges, sometimes tearing and losing fluid. This can cause the space between the vertebrae to narrow, leading to possible nerve compression.

back pain

Extra body weight can also cause arthritis of the spine. The American Obesity Association advises that weight loss can lower the risk of osteoarthritis, as those with a body mass index (BMI) more than 25 are at greater risk of the disease.

If you are overweight, consider starting a low-impact exercise program to slowly and gently lose weight. Walking, swimming, or other forms of water exercise can be a way of exercising that will not stress your muscles, tendons and ligaments while giving you the physical activity you need to get you started on the road to weight loss. Studies have shown that sticking with a regular exercise program can help to reduce episodes of back pain and prevent or lessen any future episodes.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

What is Scar Tissue and How Does it Affect Your Range of Motion?

November 22, 2013

Everyone develops scar tissue over time. This is the body’s normal reaction to injury—no matter how slight. Even simple actions that most people wouldn’t regard as injury-producing can lead to a buildup of scar tissue. Repetitive motions like typing, for example, can cause micro-trauma to the soft tissue (often referred to as an overuse injury), leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. As part of the repair process, scar tissue is created. However, this type of tissue tends to interfere with the smooth movement of muscle and may eventually affect your range of motion.

If you have ever felt a tightness or inability to move a joint in a fluid manner, you likely have a buildup of scar tissue. Our soft tissues (including tendons and ligaments) are made of collagen, which is a substance that looks like strands of rope wound together into a net-like formation called fascia. When an injury occurs, it causes frays, kinks and bends in the collagen strands of the fascia, which create the scar tissue. Ideally, scar tissue is replaced by normal tissue as it heals, but this does not always happen.

Adhesions are small bits of scar tissue that bind the tissues around them, leading to stiffness and a reduction in strength and range of motion. Nerves often become trapped in these adhesions, creating “trigger points” from which pain can radiate. Painful movements lead to less activity, and less activity leads to a further reduced range of motion. Because scar tissue has less circulation and is less flexible and elastic than normal muscle tissue, muscles become shorter and weaker. It is important to remove these scar tissue adhesions in order to reduce pain and restore strength and the proper range of motion.

frozen shoulder

Therapies such as the Active Release Technique (ART), Graston Technique and Myofascial Release are used by some chiropractors as a way of breaking up scar tissue to release trapped nerves and restore greater range of motion. The Graston Technique uses stainless steel instruments to break up the fascia, whereas ART and Myofascial Release employ a direct hands-on approach to remove adhesions and break up scar tissue.

Many chiropractors incorporate one or both of the above therapies into their practice to help increase their patient’s strength and range of movement, as well as helping their chiropractic adjustments to last longer. The more fluid and free of scar tissue the musculoskeletal system, the less likely tense muscles will pull the spine back out of alignment. So ask your chiropractor if he or she offers one of these therapies.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

More Good News About Walking: It’s Good for Lower Back Pain Too!

November 18, 2013

Lower back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints. It’s also one of the most common reasons that people visit their doctor or chiropractor. An estimated 60-80 percent of the population will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. But luckily, exercise can help prevent or alleviate the condition, and a recent study has shown that it does not need to involve anything more complicated than walking briskly.

Dr. Michal Katz-Leurer and her colleague Ilana Shnayderman from Tel Aviv University conducted a study on 52 sedentary people aged 18-65 with chronic lower back pain. The volunteers were divided into two groups: the “walking” group and the “exercise” group. The walking group was instructed to walk for 20 minutes on a treadmill twice a week, switching to 40 minutes per session as their strength increased. The exercise group was assigned specific back strengthening exercises to be performed twice a week. Both groups carried out these activities for six weeks.

The researchers’ results, which were published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation, found that significant improvements had been made in both groups, regardless of the type of exercise they had practiced. This is good news for people who do not have the equipment or budget to afford professional strength training classes. All it requires is getting out for a brisk walk. Dr. Katz-Leurer said that their study confirmed that walking is “as effective as treatment that could have been received in the clinic.”

leisurely stroll

The research shows that active walking (as opposed to simply strolling) engages the same muscles that are used with targeted exercise. The reason why you may find that your back hurts after a day at a museum or when browsing the shops is that walking slowly causes the spine and supporting muscles to be under constant pressure. The compressive pressure on the lower back when strolling is about two and a half times your body weight and the spine does not move much. However, even though the lower back experiences the same amount of compressive pressure when walking fast, there is a cyclical effect on the muscles supporting the back that relieves the static pressure, particularly if you swing your arms as you walk.

Dr. Katz-Leurer noted that a walking program encourages people to live a healthier lifestyle overall and that it can help to alleviate the aches and pains we experience as we age. She added that walking is a low-impact activity that lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves brain function and boosts the immune system. So take some time each week to get out for a brisk walk and it may improve your general health and significantly improve any chronic pain in your lower back.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

What is “Radiating Pain” and How Can Chiropractic Help?

November 11, 2013

If you have ever had a case of sciatica, in which pain seems to start in your lower back or hip and radiate down your leg to your foot, you have suffered an example of what is referred to as “radiating pain.” The medical term for pain the starts in one area and travels to another is radiculitis, and although it is not the most common form of nerve pain, it causes a lot of misery for those who suffer from it.
True radiating pain is usually the result of a nerve or nerve root in the spinal cord being subject to pressure of some sort, whether through inflammation, injury or spinal subluxation. For example, a herniated disk may create radiating pain because it has bulged out of its normal place and may impinge on a nerve root extending from the spinal cord.

Woman in pain

The nerves that run the length of the spinal cord from neck to tailbone and branch out to the left and right are called the radicular nerves. When these are injured or compressed they are more likely to radiate pain than the other types of nerves in our body. If there is a neck injury, for example, pain may radiate down the arm to the fingertips. The pain of something like tendonitis, however, is from pressure on the nerves in the elbow and forearm and does not generally radiate. Some people think they have radiating pain, but the pain is instead often just due to myofascial trigger points that cause a more diffuse pain that seems to radiate out from one area. This is caused by tense muscles and scar tissue that has built up trapping nerves in the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Chiropractors are expert at treating radiating pain. Your chiropractor will first take a thorough history, examine you, and may order diagnostic tests such as an x-ray or an MRI to determine if your problem may be due to a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or another condition that is not apparent from a physical examination.
A chiropractic adjustment can address any spinal misalignments that may be impinging on spinal nerves, taking the pressure off the nerve and reducing pain. In addition, many chiropractors utilize additional therapies that can free trapped nerves, such as the Active Release Technique (ART). A chiropractic ART therapist will be able to break up the fibrous adhesions and scar tissue that has built up in the soft tissue, freeing trapped nerves.

So if you are suffering from radiating pain, do not hesitate to consult with your chiropractor, who will be able to diagnose the cause of the problem and offer effective drug-free therapies to heal the condition.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

What is a “Back Spasm”?

November 8, 2013

A back spasm can occur when the muscles supporting the spinal column, particularly those in the lower back, become overworked. If the muscles suddenly contract near the nerve roots around the spinal cord, this condition can be extremely painful.

Muscles that are overstretched or worked more than usual can become tender and inflamed. The pain may first become noticeable when you are twisting your back, or are pushing or pulling something, particularly if you are moving something heavy. Sudden movements in particular are likely to trigger back spasms. Playing golf, for example, in which the back twists quickly as the golfer swings, can cause the back to spasm. Weightlifting, baseball and football are other sports that carry a higher risk of back spasm. Even something as seemingly safe as gardening can cause back spasms, since it usually involves bending and turning. If the activity is not stopped immediately, the spasms are likely to get worse.

Among other things that can increase your risk of suffering a back spasm are:
• Weak stomach muscles
• Tight hamstrings
• A tipped pelvis
• Lordosis (an exceptional curvature of the lumbar spine)
• A back condition such as spondylolysis, arthritis or spinal stenosis

fire

Typical back spasm treatments usually involve resting the back first, then—as it heals—strengthening the muscles that support the spine. Bed rest is not usually recommended for the long term, as it can actually hinder the healing of the back. You should try to keep active, but be sure not to put any strain on the back muscles. While resting, experts recommend that you lie on your back on the floor with a pillow under your knees, or with your knees bent and your legs resting on a chair. Acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen are often recommended in the first days, though they should not be taken on an extended basis due to the damage they can do to your stomach and liver. You can also apply heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time to help soothe sore back muscles.

When your back has sufficiently healed, you can slowly begin to introduce more movement. A visit to your chiropractor is always a good idea, as he or she can remove any spinal subluxations that may be causing muscle imbalances and can suggest exercises you can do to strengthen the core muscles in the trunk (not only the back, but the abdomen as well) that are so vital in supporting the spinal column as it moves in different directions. Stretching the hamstrings and psoas muscles can also help by reducing the tightness that often develops from spending long hours in a sitting position, and that often contribute to the likelihood of muscle spasms.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

Tips for Working on Your Feet All Day

November 6, 2013

Quite a few jobs require you to be on your feet all day. Cashiers, flight attendants, nurses, restaurant workers and retail salespeople—to name just a few—must spend long hours on their feet with little time for a break. This can cause a range of problems, including low back pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, sore feet, swollen ankles and bunions. Following are a few tips to help keep you comfortable while you are on your feet.
Wear good, sturdy shoes – Not every profession allows for comfy athletic shoes to be worn, but you can still buy shoes that look professional, are sturdy and fit well. Avoid shoes that have narrow toes and high heels. A one- or two-inch heel should be the maximum. Some shoe companies specialize in shoes made for comfort that absorb shock and provide adequate arch support. Your shoes should be neither too large nor too small for your feet, but err on the side of slightly larger if you are in doubt, since feet tend to swell the longer you stand. You should also change the shoes you wear every other day so pressure is put on slightly different areas of your feet each day.

Consider using insoles, arch supports or special orthotics – Figure these into the size of the shoes you buy. In fact, take your insoles or orthotics with you when shopping for shoes to be sure the shoes fit well with them inserted. A properly supported foot will help correct problems such as overpronation (the foot rolling inwards) or flat feet (lack of sufficient arches) that contribute to pain in the feet, knees, hips and lower back.
Choose your socks carefully – Choose socks that will wick moisture from your feet. You can also find socks that are specifically made to reduce friction, with extra cushioning at the heel and ball of the foot. If you can, wear compression socks that go all the way to the knee. The light compression these socks provide can help reduce swelling in your lower legs.

Soften the floor surface if possible – If you tend to stand in a fixed spot every day, bring in a small carpet or padded mat to stand on. Any kind of softer surface you can put between your feet and concrete floors will help to reduce the impact on your feet.

centre commercial

Do simple leg exercises – From time to time, rise up and down on the balls of your feet to help increase the circulation in your lower legs. Another good move is to stretch your calf muscles. Lunge forward with one leg while keeping the heel of the other flat on the floor. This will help keep your calf muscles from becoming too tight, which increases your risk of plantar fasciitis.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment

http://www.drcarlisledc.com


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