Archive for December 2015

Restoring the Back’s Normal Curvature

December 30, 2015

It’s not surprising that back and neck pain has become the second most frequent reason for visiting a doctor. Given the amount of time we spend staring at various screens—whether sitting at an office desk or walking down the street—our bodies are bound to be affected. And the same thing is true if we spend a lot of time carrying heavy backpacks, wearing high heels or working in unnatural positions. But did you know that these kinds of behavior can actually alter your posture and cause your back to lose its normal curvature? Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming far too common and we’re seeing it at among patients at younger ages. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are a number of treatment options that can be used to restore the normal curve and to help patients relearn good posture.

Broadly speaking, loss of the normal curve most commonly involves one of three conditions: lumbar hyperlordosis (also known as “swayback” or “saddle back”), scoliosis, and abnormal kyphosis. Each has a number of curve rehabilitation techniques associated with it.

Lumbar Hyperlordosis
Patients with lumbar hyperlordosis have developed an exaggerated arch in the lower back (the lumbar region of the spine) that typically makes the buttocks and belly appear more prominent. The treatment approach will often depend on the severity of the abnormal curve and the amount of mobility that still exists in this area of spine. If the curve is not flexible, then it is more likely that treatment will be necessary.
Since hyperlordosis places unusual stress on the vertebrae and spinal discs, failing to seek treatment increases the risk of accelerated spinal degeneration, disc herniation and other structural problems. These, in turn, can cause pain and limit function. Over time, other areas of the body—including the hips, legs and internal organs—may also be affected.

Curves of the spine

Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions that affect the back and neck. Depending on the situation, they may use a combination of chiropractic adjustments, spinal molding blocks and foam rolls to restore the normal curve. They will also work closely with patients to make postural adjustments, strengthen core muscles and increase range of motion. When a child has hyperlordosis, treatment may involve a brace, which helps to ensure that the abnormal curve doesn’t worsen as he or she grows.
For the most severe and painful cases of hyperlordosis, surgery may be necessary. The objective of this surgery is to correct the severity of the curve and provide additional support for the body’s frame. Such surgery may involve metal rods, hooks, or screws. Surgeons may also use a bone graft to stimulate new growth and strength.

Scoliosis
Most people are more familiar with the word “scoliosis” than the word “hyperlordosis,” even if they’re not sure exactly what it means. It refers to an abnormal c- or s-shaped lateral curvature of the spine—one that is apparent while looking at an individual from the front or back. In some cases, a patient’s head may appear off-center or one shoulder or hip may be higher than the other.
In about 80% of cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known. This is generally referred to as “idiopathic”. Scoliosis may also be “functional” (an abnormal curve develops because of a problem elsewhere in the body), “neuromuscular” (a curve is caused by abnormally formed vertebrae) or “degenerative” (the curve is the result of deterioration, damage or weakness in the spine’s supporting structures—bone or soft tissue—during later years).

Treatment options for scoliosis depend on the severity and location of the curve, its cause and the likelihood of it getting worse as the patient gets older. Treatment typically involves braces for children and adolescents if their spinal curves are between 25 and 40 degrees. However, the brace’s straightening effect only lasts as long as the patient wears it. Those with a curve beyond 40 degrees to 50 degrees are often candidates for scoliosis surgery. As WebMD puts it, “The goal is to make sure the curve does not get worse, but surgery does not perfectly straighten the spine. During the procedure, metallic implants are utilized to correct some of the curvature and hold it in the correct position until a bone graft, placed at the time of surgery, consolidates and creates a rigid fusion in the area of the curve. Scoliosis surgery usually involves joining the vertebrae together permanently—called spinal fusion.”

Abnormal Kyphosis
Abnormal kyphosis is an outward curvature of the thoracic spine (middle back) that results in a “hunched forward” or “hunchbacked” appearance. It is often caused by poor posture. In these cases—referred to as “postural kyphosis—a chiropractor can reduce the hump by prescribing lifestyle changes and strengthening exercises that improve posture. He or she may also use a variety of spinal adjustment techniques to reduce pain and inflammation, calm muscle spasms, restore range of motion and slow the rate of disc degeneration in the middle back.

What You Should Know
As with most things related to health and healthcare, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. By being aware of your own posture, taking some relatively small precautions and receiving regular chiropractic care, you can maintain your spinal health. This will help you to lead a more active lifestyle and enjoy a higher quality of life overall. However, if you are already experiencing problems with your posture, we can help put you back on the right track—even if your spine has already lost some of its regular curvature. We encourage you to call or visit our office today to learn more!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Kids’ Fitness: Stronger Muscles Now Signal Better Health Later

December 14, 2015

Preteens are often not the most “forward looking” of individuals. This is why they tend to focus on “here and now” goals—the ones with an immediate payoff—rather than on longer-term ones. When preteens participate in sports or other forms of exercise, the activity itself is usually the reward. For most of them, it’s about having fun and building skills. For some, it may also be about being more attractive, more popular, and more involved with their peers. But it’s NOT typically about their health.

But here’s the interesting thing: The fact that they’re involved in physical activities that help (even incidentally) to build strength now actually increases the likelihood that they will be healthier adults later. That is the essential finding of a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Working with over 1,400 sixth-graders, the researchers found that those with the strongest muscles had healthier blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body-fat levels than those who were weaker.

The preteens’ strength was tested using a standardized hand-grip exercise. Blood tests were then performed to detect the kids’ risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Greater strength was associated with lower blood pressure and blood sugar. In addition, the preteens with greater strength had lower levels of the “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and higher levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol.

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These results were directly tied to muscle strength. They remained consistent even when the researchers factored in whether the kids were slimmer, or more physically active. As researcher Paul Gordon says in the study, “Even when you factor in these other things, that association with strength is still there.”
Gordon was quick to point out that their results don’t prove that stronger muscles lead directly to better health, just that they “shed light on the fact that strength may be just as important a predictor of kids’ [health] as aerobic fitness.” The students in the study were divided on the basis of their hand-grip strength into groups of low, moderate, and high strength. Kids in the high strength group had LDL levels that were 10 points lower, and triglyceride levels that were 20-30 points lower than those in the low strength group.

Although kids’ cholesterol levels and blood pressure may not be an immediate health issue for them, Gordon points out that “Kids with risk factors tend to become young adults with risk factors.” Thus, if preteens can be encouraged to participate in more strength-building sports and exercises, they can possibly develop health patterns that will continue into adulthood. This doesn’t mean that kids should be encouraged to “pump iron,” merely that they should engage in more strength training activities.

Many studies have indicated that the combination of strength training and aerobic exercise work better than either of the two alone in reducing weight and blood-sugar levels. This study seems to show that strength training in the young can reduce their adult risk of heart disease and diabetes as well.

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

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Auto Accidents Can Spell Trouble at Any Speed

December 11, 2015

When we hear the words “car accident,” many of us probably think about dramatic multi-vehicle, highway-speed collisions that involve lots of victims and first responders—firefighters, police officers, EMTs and perhaps even helicopter pilots. These are the types of automobile-related accidents that can snarl traffic for miles and make the evening news. However, these are NOT necessarily the types of accidents that cause the largest numbers of injuries. To understand these, you’d have to look at the other end of the spectrum—high-frequency, low-intensity accidents. Here’s what we’re talking about:

Stationary or Parked Car Accidents. Perhaps the most frequent injury involving automobiles comes from closing the door. Nearly 150,000 times a year, someone is injured in this fashion, and the car isn’t even moving. This includes doors closing on fingers. Another 10,000 are injured while using a jack and 74,000 are injured by a car or car part falling on them.

speedometer-200-300

Vehicle-on-Pedestrian or Vehicle-on-Bicyclist Accidents. Roughly one-third of auto-related injuries occur due to an automobile striking someone, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists. The damage can include anything from simple scrapes and bruises to multiple broken bones or internal injuries.

Non-Traffic Crashes and Non-Crash Incidents. A Forbes magazine article noted that researchers from the US Department of Transportation “estimated an annual total of 1,747 fatalities and 841,000 injuries due to non-traffic crashes and non-crash incidents.” These included back-overs and single-car collisions that don’t happen on a highway.
Perhaps one of the most important things to understand about auto accidents is that you don’t need to be traveling fast to be hurt. In fact, even low-speed accidents can cause musculoskeletal injuries. This is especially true in cases where the vehicle’s body doesn’t flex or crumple to absorb the energy of the impact and that energy is instead transmitted to the occupants inside. And—while modern safety equipment certainly helps prevent many serious or fatal injuries—minor to moderate injuries are still very, very common.

Whiplash

It’s all about physics. During a collision, the driver and passengers can be thrown about within the vehicle, potentially causing significant injuries from rapid acceleration and deceleration as well as impacts. Head, neck and back injuries are among the most common. However, low-speed accidents can be particularly problematic because victims often don’t immediately recognize that they’ve been hurt. After these sorts of collisions, many simply walk away from the event without going to a qualified healthcare provider for a prompt medical evaluation. And since it is very common for symptoms to appear days, weeks or even months afterward, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries can be significantly delayed, potentially complicating—and lengthening—the recovery process.
Have you or someone you care about been involved in an auto accident? If so, your chiropractic physician is specially trained to recognize the kinds of spinal and soft tissue injuries associated with automobile accidents of all types. Based on a careful assessment, he or she can design a treatment plan to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible. As experts in diagnosing and treating injuries that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, chiropractors can offer a broad range of treatment options to relieve pain and restore function. These include chiropractic manipulation and mobilization, traction, massage, low-level laser and hot and cold pack therapies as well as structured exercise and stretching programs.

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Auto accidents can be challenging for victims in many different ways—physically, emotionally and financially. The goal of our clinic is to accelerate the body’s healing process so that you can return to a productive, active lifestyle. We’re here to help—call or visit our office to learn more.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Teens, Back Pain and Chiropractic Care

December 10, 2015

Looking at the big picture, low back pain is a big problem. The condition affects more than 600 million people worldwide, including over one-third of all Americans—more than the number of people affected by diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. The financial burden (medical care plus lost productivity) caused by chronic lower back pain in America exceeds $550 billion annually.

That said, one of the saddest aspects of chronic lower back pain is that it doesn’t discriminate between adults and children. And in an era when teens’ musculoskeletal systems are particularly at risk because of reduced physical activity and poor posture (thanks to heavy school backpacks, improper sitting ergonomics and lots of time spent on mobile devices), this problem is only growing larger. In addition, a number of studies have already indicated that lower back pain in adolescents is strongly associated with the development of chronic lower back pain later in life. That’s the bad news for teens. However, the good news is that those adolescents who have been successfully treated to eliminate lower back pain in their youth have a lower risk of developing chronic lower back pain as they grow older.

teenbackpain

So it’s natural that the medical community is keenly interested in learning which treatments are most successful in terms of eliminating the lower back pain itself and in preventing it from recurring later in life. This interest led to a recent study. The aim of the study was to determine which of the commonly-available treatment methodologies were most effective. To determine this, researchers performed a meta-analysis of existing studies published in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese to measure which of the treatments used in these studies produced the most consistently positive outcomes in terms of pain, disability, flexibility, endurance, and mental health. The researchers found studies that produced data for 11 treatment groups and 5 control groups involving a total of 334 children and adolescents, and then compared the data.

Their findings were both strong and definitive. Of all the treatment methodologies used in the individual studies, the ones most effective in producing short-term and long-term positive outcomes in the five areas studied were those that involved therapeutic physical conditioning and manual therapy. That is, treatments provided by “hands on” practitioners such as chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists.

These therapies, commonly involving joint and spinal manipulation and ultrasound treatment to reduce pain, were subjectively found to be more effective by the patients than other treatments. The patients’ subjective analysis was confirmed in most of the studies by clinician assessments. Naturally, these “manual therapy” treatment options were preferable in many other ways as well, because they avoided reliance on potentially addictive painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, epidural steroid injections, and surgery.

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These findings confirm what Doctors of Chiropractic have observed in their own clinics. Over the years, we have seen many patients (of all ages) benefit from the manual therapies we use to provide relief for their lower back pain. So if you (or your children) experience lower back pain—whether occasional or chronic—contact your chiropractor and ask him or her to explain to you the treatment options available, and what they can do to relieve your symptoms and allow you to enjoy life free from pain once again.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Manipulation Under Anesthesia Explained

December 2, 2015

The term “manipulation under anesthesia” (MUA) is pretty self-explanatory. In this procedure, a chiropractor will perform an adjustment while the patient receives some sort of anesthetic, ranging from mild sedation to general anesthesia.

MUA is a non-invasive way of breaking down the fibrous adhesions and scar tissue that may have accumulated in the joints of a extremity and the tissues surrounding them as a result of prior injuries. In addition to helping relieve shoulder, hip, elbow, knee, and TMJ pain, MUA is often used to help stretch shortened muscles and alleviate chronic muscle spasms, joint pain and other long-term pain issues. It can also reduce the level of pain in areas that are super-sensitive, allowing the patient to remain more comfortable and to cooperate more fully in his or her treatment. It is most commonly performed in cases of acute or chronic pain, where the condition has not improved after six to eight weeks of conservative treatment. The American Medical Association recognizes MUA as an established medical procedure, and it is a technique that has been used in conventional medical practice for over 60 years.

frozen shoulder

How Does MUA Work?
Licensed physicians perform MUA as a team in a hospital or medical center setting. The team usually includes the anesthesiologist, the primary chiropractor or surgeon who performs the manipulation and an assistant who is also a chiropractor or physician who is certified to perform the procedure.

Who Should Consider MUA?
In order for MUA to be considered an appropriate form of treatment, the patient must first have received other non-invasive treatment for a period of at least four to six weeks without achieving satisfactory results. In addition, the patient must be made fully aware of both the risks and benefits of the procedure. Patients with one or more of the following conditions are generally considered to be candidates for MUA:

• Loss of functional range of motion with the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and ankle
• Fibromyalgia
• TMJ
• Traumatic torticollis

MUA may not be appropriate for patients with bone disorders, circulatory problems and neurological or cardiovascular disorders, such as fractures, arthritis, gout, malignancies with bone metastasis and diabetic neuropathy.
Studies have shown that many chronic pain problems that have not responded well to other conservative treatments respond well to MUA. If you feel you may be a good candidate for the procedure, we encourage you to contact your chiropractor. He or she who will take your detailed medical history, review the results of any prior diagnostic tests (such as a X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or ultrasounds), and perform a thorough physical examination to determine if MUA may be right for you.

Remember, if you or someone you care about is suffering from shoulder, hip, elbow, knee, and TMJ problems that haven’t responded well to other forms of treatment, there may still be other options available to you without resorting to drugs or surgery. Please call or visit our office today to learn more about being evaluated for manipulation under anesthesia.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC


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