Archive for January 2016

Chiropractic Care and the Expectant Mother

January 11, 2016

The nine months prior to giving birth may be one of the best times in a woman’s life to discover the health benefits of chiropractic care. Not only is chiropractic care safe and effective in relieving many of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, it can also make the delivery itself easier.

The changes that take place within an expecting woman’s body are profound and take place in a relatively short period of time. The additional stress placed on the body by the baby, combined with an average weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds, can result in considerable discomfort. In fact, studies have shown that at least half of expectant mothers develop back pain during their pregnancies. The physiological and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can also result in a variety of other musculoskeletal symptoms, including spinal misalignment, increased back curvature, pelvic changes, and postural abnormalities. This article highlights two of the most common complaints and explains why chiropractic care can be especially useful in addressing them.

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Low Back Pain (LBP)
Unfortunately, pregnancy and back pain often go hand-in-hand. Even more unfortunately, relatively few women get help for the condition.
• Between 57% and 69% of women complain of low back pain during pregnancy.
• Only about 32% of women report these symptoms to their primary doctor.
• Only about 25% of primary doctors recommend seeking treatment for the pain.

But there is some good news as well—a small number of chiropractic treatments can be quite effective in relieving pregnancy-related LBP. 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.

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)
SPD is more frequently referred to simply as pelvic pain. It’s a problem that is growing more common among pregnant women, either due to increasing maternal age or to the condition simply being diagnosed more frequently. The pain is due to excessive movement of the bones that make up the pubic symphysis, which are the two bones that meet at the front of the pelvic girdle and are connected by a joint made of cartilage and supported by ligaments.
• Over 30% of women are reported as suffering from some form of SPD during pregnancy.
• Approximately 7 percent continuing to experience pain post-partum.
Symptoms of SPD include shooting pain in the pubic symphysis area (which often radiates to the abdomen, lower back and upper leg), pain on movement, a waddling gait and swelling in the pubic area. The pain can range from mild to debilitating, and the condition can interfere with normal daily activities such as bending, lifting the leg and getting up from a chair. A recent study published in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association has reported that conservative chiropractic care can reduce pain from pregnancy-related SPD, increase mobility and improve function.

Sciatica
As the fetus grows inside the mother’s womb, the uterus expands and occasionally places pressure against the sciatic nerve in the lower spinal column. This pressure can become especially evident during the third trimester as the baby begins to shift toward the proper birthing position. The baby can end up resting directly upon the nerve, triggering common sciatica symptoms, including weakness, tingling, numbness and burning pain in the legs, back and buttocks.
Approximately half of all pregnant women who suffer from sciatica recover within six weeks of childbirth and almost all (90%) recover within 3 months, although there is a small percentage for whom the pain continues for much longer. Fortunately, chiropractic care is safe and effective for treating sciatica—both during and after pregnancy.

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What You Should Know
All chiropractic physicians receive training in how to care for their pregnant patients. Some use tables that can be adjusted to accommodate a pregnant woman’s changing body and utilize techniques designed to avoid unnecessary pressure on the abdomen. Some chiropractors seek additional training in prenatal and postnatal care, and become certified with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) as a DACCP, CACCP, or as Webster Certified to work specifically with pelvic balance during pregnancy. Chiropractors can also provide you with exercises and stretching routines that are safe to use during pregnancy.

There are no known contraindications to chiropractic treatment during pregnancy. In addition, chiropractic care during the actual labor and birth process itself has been found in studies to shorten labor time by 25 to 60 percent, reduce the amount of pain medication required, and help make the whole delivery process more comfortable.
If you’re an expectant mother and are wondering whether chiropractic care might be right for you and your baby, please call or visit our office. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. Remember—we’re here to help!

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

Women and Chronic Pain

January 7, 2016

Chronic pain affects millions of Americans, but the condition is seldom portrayed in the popular media. In late 2014 and early 2015, an independent film called “Cake” starring Jennifer Aniston did just that. According to many reviewers, Aniston did an admirable job bringing her character—a chronic pain sufferer named Claire—to life and conveying the complex reality of chronic pain. And for women, that reality can be particularly complex. When it comes to chronic pain, men and women really are very different. It’s not just a reporting or media phenomenon, and it’s not just in women’s imaginations.

Judy Foreman, author of a book called “A Nation in Pain: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem,” recently contributed an essay to the Review section of the Wall Street Journal. Here are a couple of notable quotes from that essay:
“Clinically, women are both more likely to get chronic painful conditions that can affect either sex and to report greater pain than men with the same condition, according to studies over the past 15 years.”
“In 2008, when researchers looked at prevalence rates in 10 developed and seven developing countries, in a sample that included more than 85,000 people, they discovered that the prevalence of any chronic pain condition was 45% among women, versus 31% among men.”

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“In a 2009 review, researchers from the University of Florida found that, all over the world, women get more irritable bowel syndrome, more fibromyalgia, more headaches (especially migraines) more neuropathic pain (from damage to the nervous system itself), more osteoarthritis, and more jaw problems such as TMD, as well as more musculoskeletal and back pain.”

Researchers have also discovered that women’s perception of pain and their psychological reaction to it may also be quite different from men’s. In particular, they have a greater tendency to catastrophize—in other words, to focus obsessively on their pain, fixating on worst-case scenarios and believing that it will be never-ending, debilitating and untreatable.

These quotes from Judy Foreman’s book allude to some experimental research that supports this notion and explain why it’s a problem.

“At Johns Hopkins, researchers tested 198 healthy young people (115 of them women) in the lab, triggering pain by heat, cold, and ischemia (applying a tight tourniquet). When they asked men and women to react to the pain, the women catastrophized more than men, as gauged by self-reports… It was not mood or depression, but catastrophizing that was linked to women’s reports of greater pain.”

“Catastrophizing does make a bad situation worse… Being a high catastrophizer is not just miserable, it’s a bad prognostic sign. Catastrophizing can interfere with your ability to cope: It can amplify the way your nervous system processes pain, and it can actually get in the way of benefiting from treatment.”
This all means that it’s important to look for a physician who really understands musculoskeletal pain as it affects BOTH genders. The latest research and clinical experience makes it clear that the differences are more complicated than the medical community once believed. So if you or someone you care about is in chronic pain, call or visit our office today. We can help!

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

Back Spasms Explained

January 4, 2016

“Muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle that can cause a great deal of pain. When the facet joints of the spine become injured or inflamed, the muscles supporting the spine can spasm causing low back pain and limitation in motion.”
-Spine Health
While this short definition is a good starting point for describing the phenomenon of muscle spasms in the back, there’s a good deal more to know about what causes these painful involuntary contractions and how they can be treated most effectively. This article provides a brief explanation of some of the most common causes and therapy options.

What causes back spasms?
A back spasm can occur when the muscles supporting the spinal column—particularly those in the lower back—become overworked and contract on their own suddenly and without warning. If the muscles contract near the nerve roots around the spinal cord, this condition can be extremely painful.
Muscles that are overworked—lifting unusually heavy loads, moving in ways they’re not accustomed to, stretching beyond their normal range or exerting themselves over longer-than-normal periods—can become inflamed and irritated. In many cases, the pain first becomes noticeable when you’re twisting or bending your back, particularly through more rapid or forceful movements.

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Certain sports are more likely than others to trigger back spasms because they require powerful swinging or throwing motions that place asymmetrical stresses on the back. Golf, tennis, racquetball, baseball and football all fall into this general category. Because of the increased resistance and range of motion involved in many common exercises, weightlifting also poses particular risks when it comes to back spasms.

Some types of manual labor are also closely associated with back spasms—shoveling snow, raking leaves, lifting and stacking boxes and working in the garden, just to name a few. The common denominator is a repeated bending or twisting movement combined with some resistance.
Whatever the immediate trigger happens to be, back spasms are likely to get worse if the activity isn’t stopped immediately. But there are also some underlying factors that can make back spasms more likely to recur:
• 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

How are back spasms treated?
The most common approach to treating back spasms involves first resting the affected muscles so that they can relax and heal, and then strengthening them so that they are more capable of supporting the spine through the required range of motion. It’s worth mentioning that longer-term bed rest is not usually recommended, since this can actually delay healing and result in weakness and reduced mobility. Instead, you should try to be as active as possible, but be sure not to put any unnecessary strain on the back muscles. Plus, many patients also find that massage therapy helps to relax spasm-prone muscles and accelerate healing.

While resting, some 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. Common anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also be recommended during the first days, though they should not be taken for prolonged periods. Applying heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time may help to soothe sore back muscles.

After your back has sufficiently healed, you can begin to introduce more movement. A visit to your chiropractor is always a good idea, since he or she can identify any structural problems (particularly misaligned vertebrae) or postural issues that may be contributing to muscle imbalances or increasing your risk of recurring back spasms. Chiropractic physicians are also specially trained to prescribe exercises that build core strength and flexibility—not only in the back but also in the abdomen—to better support the spinal column as it moves in different ways. 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 increases the likelihood of muscle spasms.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from back spasms, we can provide both short-term relief and long-term answers. We encourage you to call or visit our office today!

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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