Archive for March 2014

How Can Chiropractic Care Help With Auto Accident Injuries?

March 31, 2014


Consulting a chiropractor is always a smart move after having a car accident. A chiropractor can treat neck injuries / whiplash, back injuries, soft tissue injuries, and he is able to help you loosen stiff muscles after the vehicular accident occurs.

Call your chiropractor after your auto accident. He is best able to diagnose your injuries and provide the most corrective treatment to help you heal.

The first step in healing after an auto accident is to realize that you need to see a chiropractor to help ease your pain, even if it appears days after your accident.

Over the last several years, research has been done proving that injuries can and do occur in low impact collisions. The most common injury is whiplash. Whiplash was discovered to occur in sudden changes of speed of only 2.5 miles per hour, with minor back injuries also occurring.


While standard automobile bumpers are made to withstand damage at five miles per hour, the human body does not withstand damage at any speed. When a vehicle doesn’t absorb the force of the crash, the occupant of the vehicle does, leading to many forms of neck, back and spinal injuries. Often times, injuries incurred during an auto accident cannot be seen externally, such as soft tissue injuries (injuries to muscles, ligaments and discs) and can heal with scar tissue which can ache years later – yet the damage to the spine can lead to recurring headaches, neck pain, stiffness, chronic muscle tension and spasms, lower back pain, spinal disc degeneration, inflamed arthritis, sore and tight inflexible muscles, greater chance of repeat injury and aid in poor posture.

Delays in the onset of pain are also common. Joint injuries in auto accidents may cause post-traumatic osteoarthritis, which is a speeding up of the arthritis process and develops at an earlier age than in people who have not had traumas relating to automobile accidents.

Visiting a chiropractor after an auto accident injury is a step in the right direction towards diagnosing problems arising from car accidents. They can determine how much damage your body has sustained and recommend treatment necessary for a full recovery.

If you were in a auto accident, call Dr. Carlisle at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta)

We can help!

Best Exercises For Preventing Shin Splints

March 26, 2014

Although you may have heard the term before, you may not know exactly what a “shin splint” is. It’s a common term for painful inflammation at the front of the tibia caused by strenuous activity. Medical professionals refer to it as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). The following exercises will not only help to prevent shin splints or MTSS, but the first two exercises can also help relieve some of the agony for those who are already suffering from the syndrome. If you already have shin splints, use care and restraint in performing these exercises.


Spread Toe Elevation – Stand with your heels together, toes pointed outward and rise slowly on your toes. Hold for a few moments and then lower your heels slowly to the floor. Perform ten times.

Tuck Toe Elevation – Start with your big toes together, heels spread apart, and rise slowly on your toes. Hold for a few moments and then lower your heels slowly to the floor. Perform ten times.

Edge of Oblivion – Don’t let the name scare you. By using this exercise, you can prevent future shin splints, sending them into oblivion! However, this might not be the best way to heal shin splints if you already have them. If that’s the situation you’re in, we’d suggest that you use the other two exercises instead.
1. Find a sturdy step stool, stair or curb.
2. Face downstairs or away from the stool or curb. Move your feet forward until only your heel is on the edge and most of your foot is dangling over empty air. For balance, hold onto the stair railing or maneuver your stool next to a wall.
3. Start with legs straight and point your toes downward as far as they will go (without going so far as to slide off the step).
4. Lift your toes as far as they will go.
5. Repeat as rapidly as you can.
6. Using a timer or watch, perform this exercise for a full 30 seconds. Make certain that you extend and flex fully each time.
7. When done, bend your knees at a 45-degree angle and repeat 30 seconds of extensions and flexions. When done, you have completed one full set.
8. Rest one to two minutes between sets and repeat until you’ve done three of these two-part sets.
If after the first set, you feel a burning sensation in your lower legs, then you’re likely doing it the right way. If at any point you feel damage is being done, discontinue the exercise.

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

Exercise to Prevent and Treat Back Pain: The Latest Research

March 24, 2014

When someone decides to visit the doctor about musculoskeletal pain, back pain is the most common complaint. Sometimes back pain is the result of very specific trauma—a car accident or a slip-and-fall. Other times, however, its causes are much less obvious—cumulative years of poor posture, inactivity or bad nutrition, for example. The rest of this article looks at the role exercise can play in preventing and treating back pain.
It should come as no surprise that weak muscles are more easily injured than strong ones. That’s why exercise (along with a good diet of healthy food) is the most important thing you can do to help ensure a healthy and pain-free back. Following are some of the best exercises to help prevent and treat back pain. Of course, check with your chiropractor before beginning any kind of exercise program.

Stretch: Knee-to-Chest

Start by lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Use both hands to pull one knee to your chest. After holding for about 20 seconds, return to the start position. Repeat this with the other leg. Next, repeat with both legs. These 3 pulls give us one complete set. Do one or two more sets to complete the session. Perform a session in the morning and at night.

Stretch: Rotate Lower Back

Start by lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms stretched out to each side. While ensuring both shoulders remain flat on the floor, tilt your knees to one side, hold 5-10 seconds and return. Repeat on the other side. Do two or three more sets to complete the session. Perform a session in the morning and at night.

Stretch: Like a Cat

Start on your hands and knees, with your back straight. Slowly breathe in, arching your back like a cat, then as you breathe out, slowly allow your back to fall into a sway. After returning to start, repeat. Perform 3-5 repetitions two times a day.

Flex: Lower Back

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Arch your back upward and hold for 5 seconds. Relax. Push your back toward the floor as if your bellybutton were being sucked into the earth and hold for 5 seconds. Relax. Perform 5 repetitions once a day to start with. Gradually build up to 30 repetitions.

Lift: Hip Launch

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Throughout the exercise be sure to keep your head and shoulders on the floor and relaxed. As you tighten the gluteal muscles and abdominals, raise your hips so that your body, from shoulders to knees, forms a straight line. Take 3 slow, deep breaths. After returning to start, repeat. Perform 5 repetitions once a day, to begin with. Gradually build up to 30 repetitions.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing back pain, please call or visit our office! We’re experts at diagnosing musculoskeletal problems and developing treatment plans (including chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy and structured exercise programs) that help patients get out of pain and return to their active lifestyles.

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

Why Do Chiropractors Compare the Length of Your Legs?

March 19, 2014

Why does the chiropractor look at your feet when you have pain in your back or neck? When you visit a chiropractor for the first time, this may seem a bit confusing. Why do they do this?

The answer is quite simple. An improperly curved spine can cause a shift in the pelvis, lifting one leg higher than the other. This condition is commonly referred to as Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD). This can lead to pain in the foot, knee, leg, back, neck, or a combination of these. Checking your leg lengths is an easy way for the chiropractor to see if your spine is out of alignment. This one method of diagnosis is perhaps the easiest to perform.

Many things can contribute to putting your spine out of alignment, from poor posture to physical trauma. The most obvious traumas are collisions or falls. A car accident is a perfect example, but it’s also a relatively extreme and easy-to-identify cause. Trauma can include someone bumping into you really hard, or you whipping your head around in reaction to some startling event. Suddenly, the weight of your head is no longer evenly distributed above your neck. Muscles in your neck tighten to compensate. The rest of your body reacts, pulling and tugging appropriate postural muscles to help keep your body upright. Simple repetitive motions or postures throughout the day can also act as an “ongoing trauma” that is much more subtle. Such repetition can cause muscles to tighten, pulling on bones, including your spine. After all these small compensatory changes happen, one leg may appear longer than the other.


The types of examples mentioned earlier refer to “functional LLD,” where one leg appears shorter than the other because of an improperly curved spine. But what if one leg is structurally shorter than the other? What if there are actual differences in bone length? This is called “structural LLD,” and it can be the cause of sometimes serious misalignment of the spine, resulting in both pain and reduced function.

If you have structural LLD, correcting the spine’s alignment directly is only a temporary fix. If chiropractic adjustments don’t seem to be solving your back pain problems, ask your chiropractor for X-rays to accurately measure the length of your legs. The amount of discrepancy should be recorded, and an appropriate shoe fitted with a heel lift. If the amount of discrepancy is great, you may have to adjust gradually with larger and larger heel lifts. Consult with your chiropractor for the best approach.

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

What is “Cervical Radiculopathy”?

March 18, 2014

In layman’s terms, cervical radiculopathy is known as a “pinched nerve” located in the area of the cervical vertebrae (the part of your spine around your neck). It involves damage to a nerve or the disturbance of nerve function, which can lead to pain and disability.

The nerve roots in the area of the neck are responsible for carrying signals between the brain and the upper body, including the neck, arms, chest, upper back and shoulders. When one of the cervical nerve roots becomes compressed, it has trouble transmitting those signals. The resulting symptoms include muscle weakness, pain, tingling (pins and needles) or numbness, particularly in the arms and hands. Many experience it as a sharp pain that travels down the arm. Another general symptom is lack of coordination, particularly in your hands. You may find that symptoms get worse if you extend or turn the head. So if you find yourself dropping things a lot and also have some of the other symptoms, cervical radiculopathy may be the reason.


Cervical radiculopathy can have a variety of causes, but they all involve scenarios where pressure is put on the nerve roots. As we age, the discs of our spine naturally degenerate to some extent. Our vertebral discs lose fluid, so there is less cushioning between vertebrae, and the vertebrae themselves can sometimes become compressed due to bone loss. In response to the loss of bone, the body may create bone spurs to try to shore up the vertebrae, but this buildup can impinge on the area of the vertebrae through which the nerves run, putting pressure on the cervical nerve roots. In younger people, cervical radiculopathy is more commonly caused by an injury or acute trauma that causes a ruptured disc. The disc material then puts pressure on the nerves, causing pain.

For most people, cervical radiculopathy disappears in time, with mild treatment or no treatment at all. For some people, however, it can become a chronic condition. Common treatments include pain medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. Some people are also treated with steroid injections in the cervical area. However, it’s important to understand that these approaches are intended primarily to reduce inflammation and pain. This means that relief is usually temporary and that the symptoms are likely to return.


Of all the treatments available, chiropractic care is among the best therapy for cervical radiculopathy, since it is effective as well as non-invasive and drug-free. Your chiropractor can perform an adjustment to take pressure off the nerve roots, restoring function and range of motion while helping to eliminate pain. In some cases, physical therapy can also help by stretching and strengthening the neck muscles. Only in more severe cases is surgery necessary to take pressure off the nerve roots.

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

Spinal Decompression Therapy Explained

March 17, 2014

If you are one of the millions of Americans who experience chronic back pain, you know how much it can disrupt your life and turn the simplest of movements into chores that you dread. If other forms of treatment haven’t fully worked for you in the past, one that you may want to investigate is spinal decompression therapy.

The idea behind spinal decompression therapy is that many types of back problems are caused by the spinal disks having become compressed—squeezed between the vertebrae above and below. This can manifest as herniated or bulging disks, which can press up against nerves and cause pain at the site as well as in other areas of your body and may interfere with neural impulses. The good news is that it is often possible to “decompress” the spine and alleviate the pressure WITHOUT resorting to risky and expensive surgeries. Specially trained chiropractors using a variety of advanced equipment offer a conservative alternative that has proven very effective for many people.


What does spinal decompression therapy involve?

Basically, you recline – fully clothed – on a table as harnesses are attached to your pelvis and to the trunk of your body. Depending on the condition being treated, you may be facing down or up on the traction table. Then the doctor operates a computer-controlled machine to exert a gentle, pulling force that stretches your body—essentially relieving the pressure that gravity places on your spine all day.

Treatments typically last for 30-45 minutes. During the treatment itself, the computer constantly adjusts the force and angle of the applied traction in a series of alternating movements, to reduce the body’s tendency to resist external forces. These alternating movements gently elongate the spine and reduce the pressure on individual disks between the vertebrae. Spinal decompression usually works in very small increments over time.

Many patients experience immediate relief, though most require a series of treatments over several weeks to produce effective, lasting results. Spinal decompression may be supplemented either before or after the treatment with heat therapy, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound to relax your muscles and facilitate the decompression.
In addition to taking pressure off the spinal disks, decompression has another important therapeutic effect. Pulling the vertebrae apart creates “negative pressure”, a sort of vacuum that encourages fluid and nutrients to flow back into the spinal disks. This in turn expands the disks’ volume and provides the materials necessary for them to heal.


What conditions can be improved using spinal decompression therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and has brought relief to many people suffering from sciatica, bulging or herniated spinal disks, degenerative disk disease, pinched nerves, worn spinal joints (posterior facet syndrome), and injured or diseased spinal nerve roots (radiculopathy).
The advantages of spinal decompression therapy over surgery are obvious—the former is non-invasive, and does not require hospitalization or the use of general anesthesia. Simply put, it is a more conservative therapy that avoids both the risks and expense of surgery. If you are interested in finding out more about this potentially beneficial treatment, we encourage you to call or visit our office!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Why Do Chiropractors Use “Palpation”?

March 13, 2014

Palpation is the most frequently used diagnostic technique in chiropractic care and is a clinical cornerstone of most physicians’ practice. It is a manual, non-invasive method of determining where a patient has structural or functional problems in the body.

In palpation, chiropractors use their hands and their detailed knowledge of anatomy to effectively see what is happening in the spine and its supporting structures, such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments. As your chiropractor palpates your spine, he or she will look for subluxations in your vertebrae, which are misalignments that may be causing pressure on spinal nerves, or other abnormalities that may be causing problems in your musculoskeletal system.

There are essentially two forms of palpation—static and motion. As the name suggests, in static palpation the patient remains still while the chiropractor palpates the spine and tissues to identify any misaligned vertebrae, protruding disks, and areas of pain or inflammation. In motion palpation however, the patients joints are mobilized, bending and flexing under the expert eye and hand of the chiropractor. He or she will move various joints through different planes, observing the patient’s range of motion and where a joint may “lock up.” They will also measure the patient’s amount of flexibility, muscle strength, stiffness, reflexes and general neurological function.

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Palpation may be used at every visit to your chiropractor so they can quickly determine whether your condition has improved or not since your last visit and they can see which areas need the most care and attention. Based on what your chiropractor finds during palpation, he or she may then order additional diagnostic tests—an x-ray, MRI or CT scan, for example—to get a more detailed view of your condition.

Your chiropractor will also perform a visual examination to detect any swelling or abnormal curvature of the spine, and will observe your gait to see the coordination of your head, neck and pelvis as you move. They will also take a full medical history and ask about the location, frequency and severity of any present and past conditions.

Based on all these diagnostic tools, your chiropractor can better determine the type and frequency of treatment necessary to resolve your condition in a way that is holistic, drug-free and non-invasive. Palpation is simply another tool in the chiropractor’s arsenal of techniques to keep you moving well and pain-free.

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

Explaining “Head Forward” Posture

March 11, 2014

The human body is a finely-tuned work of engineering. Throw something out of balance and the body fights to restore that balance. At the same time, the body is also flexible. It adapts to its environment and changes in response to the different types of repetitive stresses placed on it from day to day. That’s why your cardiovascular system becomes more efficient as you walk, run, swim or bike regularly. It’s also why your muscles gain size and endurance from certain types of workouts.

However, sometimes it is possible for the body to adapt—or to be reshaped—in ways that are unhelpful or even harmful as a result of unusual stress or posture repeated over a long enough period of time. The body finds ways to compensate and creates a “new normal”.

The “head forward” posture is a state of imbalance where the head, at rest, is leaning forward. Normally, the head is squarely over the shoulders. With “head forward” posture, the head is somewhat over the chest. At an extreme, the head is over empty air in front of the chest. Sometimes this condition is referred to as “forward head posture” or “anterior head translation.”

This condition can sometimes be brought on simply by bad habits with posture. It can even be a result of emotional conditions such as depression where a person does not feel like holding their head up high. Sometimes, the condition can be the result of whiplash as in a car accident. An abrupt stop or collision during a traffic accident can force the neck to lose its natural curvature and become straight, forcing the head to remain forward just as it was during the accident. A 2012 study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that heavy computer users also tend to have head forward posture.


Head forward posture can result in headaches. In fact, most neck pain not resulting from whiplash will find poor posture at least partially responsible. Left untreated, this condition can worsen for obvious reasons. For every inch of forward movement, the head exerts an additional 10 pounds of force on the back muscles. This constant force moves the head forward even farther as the back muscles struggle to hold onto the head.

Abnormal leverage from this condition can knock the spine out of alignment, creating further complications. Patients with head forward posture have also been known to suffer a 30% loss in vital lung capacity.
If this condition persists in the long term (“hyperkyphotic posture”), it can result in what’s known as “Dowager’s Hump,” which can sometimes be debilitating. Also, one study found that hyperkyphotic posture (persistent head forward posture) can increase the rate of mortality by a factor of up to 1.44 times normal.

Treatments of head forward posture tend to be conservative. Chiropractic adjustments can help the head to remain over the shoulders. Not only will these fix the misalignment of the spine resulting from head forward posture, but the adjustments will reinvigorate the muscles which retract the head, allowing a reversal of the condition. There are also several exercises that your chiropractor can recommend to strengthen the muscles that retract the head.

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

Memory Foam Mattresses and Back Health: The Pros and Cons

March 6, 2014

Could a memory foam mattress help you get a better night’s sleep? Could it help relieve your aching back? If you’re not getting enough sleep every night or you’re waking up every morning with a backache, you might be willing to pay almost anything to stop the suffering. But should you?

It’s important to start with one important idea: Everyone’s body is different. Some people swear by memory foam mattresses, and some people hate them. But first, let’s examine what a memory foam mattress actually is.

As the name suggests, these mattresses are made of a foam-like material that cushions the body. Designed for NASA in the mid-1960s, this material was perfect for cushioning astronauts from the heavy forces of acceleration during liftoff. The qualities of the memory foam mattress allow it to custom fit any person. The specially-made foam molds around the body, giving way to pressure and temperature to mold to each person’s unique shape. The foam is designed to spring back to its original shape once the person gets up.


There have not been many sleep studies on the various kinds of mattresses. During one such study, many of the subjects actually stopped participating early because the lack of sleep became unbearable for them. And even once the study was completed, it was impossible for researchers to clearly identify any “best mattress” based on the experiences of those subjects who remained.

This sort of thing means that any specific mattress recommendations need to be regarded with caution. According to the National Sleep Foundation, however, memory foam mattresses may provide the right amount of “give” to promote better sleep in those with back pain. But before you spend a small fortune on a memory foam mattress, consider the following pros and cons.

• The foam molds to your individual body, reducing pressure points and pain.
• The mattress bounces back to its original shape, so it is never lumpy.
• The material is durable and long-lasting.
• This kind of foam absorbs movement, so you will be less likely to feel it when your partner moves or “tosses and turns”.

• The foam tends to smell when new, giving off a distinct chemical odor. This can be reduced by airing out the mattress for a day or so before putting it to use.
• The foam material is dense, making the mattress heavy and hard to turn over or reposition.
• Heat can build up, making the mattress uncomfortable for some who are heat sensitive. This effect can be particularly pronounced on a hot night or if the air-conditioning fails.
Alternatives to memory foam mattresses
• Box spring mattresses, especially the kind with individually wrapped springs, which most reputable brands carry.
• Air mattresses. Here, we’re not talking about the simple, blow-up air pad for overnight guests. These more sophisticated models have multiple chambers for separate levels of comfort for each sleeping partner.
• Waterbeds. There are many different kinds. Some will slosh a lot, some a little and some not at all. Some water beds allow you to have separate mattresses for each partner allowing less disturbance during the night when the other partner moves or gets up.

One of the most effective ways to deal with back pain or difficulty sleeping is to see a chiropractor. Your spinal health has a major impact on your overall wellness, and a visit to your chiropractor may help you sleep better with less back pain.

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

Why the Washington Redskins (and their Cheerleaders) Count on Chiropractic

March 3, 2014

When most people first hear that the Washington Redskins football team has a Team Chiropractor, they’re probably not all that surprised. After all, we’ve all seen football games and witnessed the physical punishment that the athletes endure in every game. In fact, it would be more surprising if the quarterback who was just sacked by a 250-pound linebacker weighing 250 running at full speed WASN’T looking for a good chiropractor! However, what most football fans may not know is that the Redskins’ Team Chiropractor treats as many team cheerleaders as he does football players.

One reason for this is that the sport responsible for the most injuries to women – and the most catastrophic injuries – is not bungee jumping or skydiving but (drumroll) cheerleading. Recent studies have indicated that two-thirds of the serious sports injuries reported by women in the United States occur in connection with cheerleading. The number of cheerleading-related emergency room visits increased from around 5,000 in 1980 to over 26,000 by 2007. The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that there were almost 37,000 emergency room visits for cheerleading injuries among girls aged 6 to 22 in 2011.


Some of these injuries occur as the result of falls from the top of one of the “pyramids” built by cheerleaders during their performances. And sometimes, the “flyers” who are launched into the air by their teams don’t land properly. But a much larger number of injuries are actually suffered by the cheerleaders who form the “bases” of the pyramids, supporting the weight of multiple people on their shoulders, and to the people who end up catching the “flyers.” This can cause compression of the spine, inflammation, and other conditions that can leave athletes with reduced capabilities and in considerable pain. Just like the football players, the cheerleaders can try to ignore this chronic pain and injury and “play through it”, or they can try to treat it with drugs. But both of these approaches can create additional risks and have debilitating effects, particularly if used over an extended long period of time. In some cases, athletes may be unable to continue with their cheerleading careers.

That’s where Doctors of Chiropractic like Dr. Hirad N. Bagy come in. Having previously worked with athletes on national and professional soccer teams, he became the Team Chiropractor for the Washington Redskins in 2010. In this capacity, he and his staff have improved the health of both the players and the cheerleaders.


One reason that chiropractic care is well-suited for these types of sports-related injuries is that it doesn’t involve drugs, and is based on non-surgical, non-intrusive ways of helping the injured body to heal itself. Doctors of Chiropractic, especially those with a specialization in sports medicine, can help the athletes to heal more quickly from sprains and chronic back pain. They can also investigate the risk factors that led to the injuries, and provide advice for how to avoid them in the future. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills as well as the training to prescribe therapeutic, rehabilitative and preventive exercises. They can also provide nutritional and lifestyle counseling to help the athletes not only become healthy again but stay healthy.

One of the Redskins’ cheerleaders has said, “I’ve experienced multiple injuries during my career as a cheerleader…that chiropractic care has always helped me recover from.” Another says, “Without chiropractic care I would not have made it past my first year.” If chiropractic has been of this much value to professional athletes, isn’t it worth evaluating to see if it could benefit you as well?

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

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