Archive for January 2015

Chiropractic Expertise Helps Reduce Golf Injuries and Improve Player Performance

January 26, 2015

Can chiropractic care improve your golf game? As a golfer, you may have pondered this very question—and now you’re in luck. A recent Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) study showed that a combination of chiropractic care and stretching enables golfers to increase their drive distance by nearly 10%. PGA golfers such as Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington certainly believe this to be true, as they’ve incorporated chiropractic treatment into their training regimens for years. Unsurprisingly, the Titleist Performance Institute believes this to be true as well.

Sponsored by one of the most respected and popular purveyors of golf equipment and apparel, the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) has incorporated chiropractic as a fundamental part of its program since its founding in 2003. TPI was created to study how the human body functions—and functions at its best—when it comes to the game of golf. TPI believes that chiropractors have a unique and valuable perspective in this area given their expertise in human biomechanics as well as their specialized knowledge of the musculoskeletal system. At present, there are over 9,000 TPI-certified professionals in 57 countries, employing chiropractic and other methodologies to help golfers not only improve their performance, but also to avoid injury.


TPI’s work over the past decade has clearly demonstrated that chiropractors have even more to offer golfers than pain relief and rehab support. In fact, chiropractic physicians can actually help golfers to improve their game by identifying and correcting physical limitations that can adversely affect their swings. As an example, the TPI study mentioned above compared two groups of golfers: one practicing only stretching exercises, and the other practicing stretching exercises while receiving chiropractic spinal adjustments. Both groups performed three full swing maneuvers before and after each treatment, and the driving distances they achieved were recorded. After four weeks, the stretching-only group showed no improvement in swing performance, whereas the stretching plus chiropractic group achieved greater driving distance after each treatment.


This is important information for performance-oriented golfers, because although many of them rely on chiropractic care to help them when they are in pain or injured, they may not recognize that chiropractic care can help prevent problems and improve their game. But the TPI-certified chiropractors may to be able to do just that, offering tips and techniques that allow golfers to improve their joint function, customize and optimize their warm-up exercises, recover faster from injuries and soreness, and maximize their efficiency.

So if you’re a golfer, give your chiropractor a call and ask how he or she might be able to help you. Who knows—you might end up seeing your chiropractor to relieve your back or neck pain after an overly enthusiastic round of golf and find that he or she can help take a few strokes off your score!

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

What Is Nerve Entrapment and How Can It Be Treated?

January 21, 2015

Have you ever felt an uncomfortable tingling sensation in your arm after performing the same motion for an extended period of time? Maybe it was after spending a day typing at your computer or raking leaves. This sensation may be caused by nerve entrapment syndrome, a common condition that is sometimes referred to as either a “trapped nerve” or a “pinched nerve”. Nerve entrapment can be uncomfortable, but there are treatments that can relieve the pain and help get you back to feeling normal.

Your body is equipped with nerves that carry information back and forth between your brain and your limbs, organs, and other body parts. Nerve entrapment happens when a bone, muscle, ligament, tendon, or other tissue presses against one of these nerves. This compression is most likely to occur in response to consistent, repetitive movement. Poor posture, obesity, and previous injury to the affected area are also risk factors.


Symptoms of Nerve Entrapment
The most common symptom of nerve entrapment is discomfort and numbness. You may feel as though a part of your body has “fallen asleep,” or you may find that your grip has weakened. While you may still be able to function normally with these symptoms, you should seek medical attention if the discomfort does not go away on its own after a few days. Sustained compression may lead to chronic pain and permanent nerve damage, making timely intervention crucial to a full recovery.

When you visit your doctor, he or she might use a number of tests to diagnose your condition. After asking you a series of questions about your symptoms and conducting a physical examination, your doctor may order a nerve conduction study. This test uses electrodes to measure electrical impulses in your nerve signals. You might also undergo electromyography (EMG) to evaluate your muscle activity or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the root cause of your compression.

Treatment for Nerve Entrapment
Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating problems related to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and there are several types of treatment that have been used successfully to relieve nerve entrapment syndrome:
• Manual therapies, including chiropractic and soft-tissue mobilization.
• Acupuncture.
• Low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
• Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

Depending on your specific situation, your chiropractic physician may teach you exercises that will help to stretch and strengthen the muscles around your nerve. He or she may also recommend specific ways to help reduce inflammation around the compressed nerve.


To the extent that nerve entrapment is fundamentally a structural or mechanical issue, the symptoms can often be relieved with rest. Your doctor might instruct you to discontinue the activities that resulted in compression, at least for some period of time. He or she might also encourage you to wear a splint or brace to keep the problematic area still. If so, don’t be surprised if you are advised to wear your brace overnight, since many people move around while they sleep in ways that can irritate the compressed nerve.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing symptoms of nerve entrapment, we encourage you to call or visit our office today! We can help!

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

What Is “Swayback” and How Can It Be Treated?

January 15, 2015

“Swayback” is the common term for excessive lordosis (aka hyperlordosis). It is a spine disorder that involves an extreme inward curvature of the lumbar area—that is, just above the hips. Swayback (also called saddle back, due to the fact that some horses can experience a similar condition) makes the backside appear much more prominent due to a forward pelvic tilt. Common among ballerinas and other dancers, this condition can also affect anyone at any age, and there are a number of potential causes.

The excessive arching associated with swayback puts unusual stress on the lower spine, causing pain (often at the inward curve of the lower back while standing or squatting) and potentially affecting mobility. Without proper treatment, swayback may also increase the risk of herniated discs.

Potential causes of hyperlordosis (summary courtesy of WebMD):
• Achondroplasia, a disorder in which bones do not grow normally, resulting in the short stature associated with dwarfism.
• Spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a vertebra, usually in the lower back, slips forward.
• Osteoporosis, a condition in which vertebrae become fragile and can be easily broken (compression fractures).
• Obesity, or being extremely overweight.
• Kyphosis, which is a condition marked by an abnormally rounded upper back.
• Discitis, the inflammation of the discs between the bones of the spine, most often caused by infection.
• Benign (harmless) juvenile lordosis—that is, lordosis in children. This often fixes itself as the child grows.


Diagnosing swayback usually entails a chiropractor or other qualified healthcare professional reviewing a patient’s medical history and performing a physical exam. He or she may also use imaging technologies such as x-rays, bone scans, MRIs, or CT scans as part of the process. While the physical examination may vary somewhat from physician to physician, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes the basic approach this way:

“The health care provider will perform a physical exam. The [patient] may be asked to bend forward, to the side, and to lie flat on a table so that the spine can be examined in a variety of positions. If the lordotic curve is flexible (when the [patient] bends forward the curve reverses itself), it is generally not a concern. If the curve does not move, medical evaluation and treatment are needed.”

Additionally, if the patient is suffering from pain, tingling, numbness, muscle spasms or weakness, sensations in his or her arms or legs, or changes in bowel or bladder control, the doctor may order a neurological assessment.

As for treatment, the NIH says, “Most of the time, lordosis is not treated if the back is flexible. It is not likely to progress or cause problems.” Patients whose backs are flexible may be able to improve their condition at home by sitting less, stretching their hip flexors regularly, and stretching their upper bodies often (using a resistance band can help considerably).

If the back is not flexible, treatment is likely needed. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center describes the range of options this way:
“If the doctor decides that conservative treatment is best…[treatment] may include drugs to relieve pain and swelling, physical therapy to build strength and flexibility and to increase range of motion, braces to control the growth of the curve (especially in children and teens), and reducing excess body weight… If the curvature is severe and causing other symptoms, spinal instrumentation, artificial disc replacement and kyphoplasty are all potential surgical treatments for lordosis.”

For patients with swayback, chiropractic curve rehabilitation aims to re-establish the normal spinal curve in order to improve posture, decompress the spine and slow or stop the progress of disc degeneration. In many cases, this can be achieved without surgery or drugs using a combination of traction techniques, spinal molding blocks and lifestyle modifications.

If you notice any symptoms of swayback in yourself or in your child, it is important to seek proper medical attention. Doctors of Chiropractic are experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems and are specially trained to help patients suffering from spinal conditions. We can help! Call or visit our office today!

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

Spinal Health During Pregnancy: What Mothers-to-Be Should Know

January 12, 2015

It’s no secret that having a child (especially for the first time) means big changes in the lives of the new parents. But even before the baby arrives, big changes are already underway in the pregnant mother’s body—changes that usually make it possible for her to carry her developing child for nine months and to give birth safely when the time comes.

As a woman’s pregnancy progresses, the combined effects of these physical changes become clearer. Some may simply be awkward, inconvenient or uncomfortable while others can be very painful and even debilitating.
Since no two women experience pregnancy in quite the same way (and no two pregnancies are exactly alike), it’s impossible to create a comprehensive, one-size-fits-all guidebook. However, it is possible to describe in more general terms many of the physical changes that occur and to recommend ways that expectant mothers can help protect their health and maintain their quality of life. The remainder of this article will highlight some issues related specifically to spinal health during pregnancy and offer some useful suggestions.


Pregnancy is hard on a woman’s entire musculoskeletal system, but it’s particularly hard on her back. This is because of a combination of changes that adds to the stress placed on her muscles, bones and joints while at the same time changing her posture and making her less stable on her feet.

• WEIGHT GAIN is one of the most obvious changes associated with pregnancy. While the amount of weight a woman actually gains can vary substantially, a woman with a normal BMI prior to becoming pregnant can expect to be carrying 25 to 35 additional pounds by the time she gives birth. This means that a typical woman (her average weight in the U.S. is 156 pounds) will be about 20% heavier when she delivers her child. That’s 20% more weight for her back to support.

• POSTURE also changes significantly as a woman’s pregnancy progresses. So not only is she carrying more weight over time, she’s also carrying it differently as her center of gravity moves forward. This shift places additional strain on the muscles and connective tissues of the woman’s lower back.

• PELVIC STRESS increases along with the baby’s weight throughout a woman’s pregnancy and often becomes more intense during the third trimester as the baby drops in anticipation of labor. This can trigger sensations ranging from general heaviness and pressure to debilitating pain. It can also result in additional postural changes and reduced activity.

• HORMONES that are released during pregnancy (including one appropriately called “relaxin”) make cartilage, ligaments and other soft tissues more flexible in preparation for childbirth. While this additional flexibility is critical when the big day comes, it can affect a woman’s stability when standing or walking and can also cause her joints—including those in her back—to feel “loose” or “wobbly”.
If you’re pregnant and experiencing pain in your back or pelvis, you should know that you’re far from alone. Between 57% and 69% of women complain of lower back pain during pregnancy and roughly 80% report pelvic pain of some sort. However, you should also know that there are some things you can do. Maintaining a healthy weight, paying attention to your posture and staying active can all contribute to a healthy, more comfortable pregnancy and an easier delivery. Consult your healthcare provider to find out which types of exercises might be most helpful to you in maintaining your strength and mobility at each stage of your pregnancy. A growing number of health clubs offer low-impact yoga and in-pool fitness programs designed especially for expectant mothers.

pregnant (1)

Managing the discomfort and aches and pains of pregnancy is important. However, many women (and too many healthcare providers) assume that these things are just part of the experience. Perhaps that’s why only about 32% of women report these types of symptoms to their primary doctor and only about 25% of primary doctors recommend seeking treatment for the pain.

The good news is that larger numbers of healthcare professionals are starting to recognize the value of chiropractic care and massage therapy in addressing pregnancy-related symptoms both before and after childbirth. Chiropractic treatments can be particularly effective for pregnancy-related back pain, with the majority of women reporting immediate relief or relief after just a few visits. In a small study of 17 women:

• Sixteen of 17 (94%) saw clinically important improvements in low back pain with chiropractic care.
• The average pain rating went down from 5.9 to 1.5 (on a scale of 0 to 10).
• It took an average of 1.8 visits and 4.5 days to get clinically significant pain relief.
Many chiropractors and massage therapists have received specialized training that allows them to tailor their treatments to the specific needs of expectant mothers. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to call or visit our office today!

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

Why Lower Back Pain Is So Common

January 8, 2015

If you suffer from lower back pain, you’re definitely not alone. Back pain, especially lower back pain, is one of the most common complaints at doctors’ offices and hospitals across the nation. The cause of any particular case of back pain can be difficult to determine, but chiropractors are well-equipped to help ease your pain with a number of drug-free, noninvasive techniques. In addition to the obvious sources of pain from acute injuries, your lower back pain could be caused by a number of issues you haven’t even considered such as stress, uncomfortable furniture or segmental dysfunctions. Read on to learn more.

Stress is a very common cause of lower back pain. Most Americans today are stressed out—juggling responsibilities such as working, managing households, and raising kids can cause tension and anxiety. Many adults under significant amounts of pressure do not take steps to alleviate their stress, which can manifest in damaging, sometimes serious health complications. According to WebMD, 43% of adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. However, chiropractic care can alleviate some of the negative effects of stress, such as backaches and muscle pain. Stress-related back pain is very real, and the physical pain incurred from a stress-ridden life can only exacerbate the problem.

Woman in pain

Another cause of lower back pain is sub-par furniture, such as sagging or lumpy mattresses. While you may save money by using a second-hand or older mattress, you certainly aren’t doing your back any favors. An old mattress has lost support over years of use and now may sag and fail to properly support your spine and keep it aligned during sleep, which leads to lower back pain. It is very important to maintain a natural or neutral alignment in the hips and spinal column when resting or sleeping. Lumpy mattresses, like sagging mattresses, can cause back and neck pain by allowing your spine to bend, which strains your muscles, joints and ligaments. The support of a good mattress will allow the hips and spine to recover from daily abuses and gravity.

Lastly, segmental dysfunctions, also known as subluxations, cause many lower back problems. Segmental dysfunctions are problem areas of the spine that can negatively affect the entire nervous system. These problem areas are essentially mechanical problems of the individual joints and related ligaments and muscles that link the spinal bones. Segmental dysfunction is what results from the vertebrae of the spine not moving properly or being malpositioned, which in turn causes pressure and stress on spinal nerves, blood vessels, and the surrounding muscles.

When you can’t think of a specific injury or action that brought on your back pain, realize that there are many sources of back pain which are cumulative and not sudden. Your chiropractor can help you find the root cause of the pain so it can be eliminated and help you feel better now.

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

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