Posted tagged ‘neck pain’

The Art and Science of Manual Therapy in Chiropractic Care

April 21, 2019

Have you ever wondered how chiropractors actually do what they do? How they know precisely where and how to apply pressure? How they decide which approach will be most effective for which patients and which conditions? This article explains—in a very brief, non-technical way—some of the basic terminology and concepts associated with the manual therapies chiropractors use to correct structural problems that affect the body’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

Over the years, chiropractic physicians have developed hundreds of techniques designed to reduce pain and improve musculoskeletal and nervous system function—particularly in the back and neck. As a general rule, most chiropractors are particularly familiar with three to five of these techniques based on their prior training and experience as well as the specific requirements of their own practice.

Manipulation versus Mobilization
Some of the techniques that chiropractors use are manual and some require the use of specialized instruments or machines, but they all involve the application of some type of directed force. Those that use more force or pressure are typically referred to as “manipulation”, while the more gentle types are referred to as “mobilization”.
Spinal manipulation is the traditional chiropractic adjustment approach most people think of when they think of chiropractors. This technique uses a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust that is directed solely by the practitioner’s hands.

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In other words, spinal manipulation uses a specific, sudden force to reposition the vertebrae, creating a popping or cracking sound heard in the joint. This sound—also known as cavitation—is thought to be a release of air from the joint when it is pushed past its regular range of motion, similar to what occurs when people crack their knuckles. Manipulation techniques are widely used to treat everything from back and neck pain to headaches and joint conditions.

In contrast, spinal mobilization techniques are lower-force alternatives that can be used to restore or improve joint function. These techniques use slower movements and less pressure to reposition the vertebrae, typically until the joint can move no further or until the chiropractor encounters resistance.
Many chiropractors favor these lower-force techniques to accommodate certain health conditions and patient preferences. People suffering from some kinds of trauma or chronic conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system (such as fractures, osteoporosis, arthritis, bone cancer or obesity), people who are anxious about treatment (perhaps first-time patients, children or seniors) and people with extreme sensitivity are often good candidates for mobilization.

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So, is one approach really better than the other? There’s no simple answer to this simple question. It really depends on the specific needs and preferences of individual patients.

Choices, Choices
Both spinal manipulation and mobilization share a common goal, which is to reduce pain and to help restore function to affected joints. With this goal in mind, your chiropractor will select the combination of manual therapies that he or she believes will achieve the best result for you based on professional judgment. However, clinical effectiveness is not the only consideration. He or she will decide to use manipulation or mobilization based on a wide variety of other factors as well—including your safety and comfort. Here is a brief summary that you can use as a set of “talking points” in a discussion with your chiropractor:

Patient Preferences. Some people enjoy gentler types of treatment, while others feel great satisfaction (even an occasional “buzz”) from the cavitation produced during spinal manipulation. It is also common for patients who have previous experience with chiropractic care to know how their bodies react to different techniques and to have specific expectations.

Overall Musculoskeletal Health. Some types of prior trauma and health conditions may increase the risk of injury from more forceful spinal manipulation techniques, making them inappropriate. In these cases, low-force mobilization methods may be the best alternative.

Emotional State. Anxiety and fear are variables that can affect the quality of treatment as well as the patient experience. A patient who is anxious or fearful about chiropractic care may “tense up” just prior to receiving traditional spinal manipulation, potentially making the adjustment more difficult and less effective. While an experienced chiropractic physician will anticipate this possibility and can compensate for it in the delivery of the treatment, the use of more forceful techniques can inadvertently reinforce a patient’s anxiety or fear. This may lead a practitioner in the direction of mobilization.

General Sensitivity to Touch. People who are particularly sensitive or who are already experiencing a lot of pain may be better candidates for spinal mobilization than traditional forms of spinal manipulation.

Body Shape and Composition. Obesity and some types of physical deformities can create special treatment challenges for both the patient and the practitioner, since these variables may make certain chiropractic techniques less effective, dangerous or impossible to perform.

Your chiropractor will use his or her training and experience to develop a safe and effective treatment plan based on your individual situation. If you have specific questions about chiropractic care—or would simply like to know more about our approach—we invite you to contact our office today! We’ll be happy 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

Text Neck and More: How Our Electronic Devices Are Changing Our Posture

April 7, 2016

The last 10 years have seen exceptional innovation in personal electronics. Our smartphones, laptops, and tablets have undoubtedly made it easier to create, consume and share all kinds of content as well as to shop online anywhere and anytime. But they do also have their drawbacks—including negative health consequences. This applies in particular to our posture. The overuse of personal electronic devices is taking a toll on our necks and backs, and this damage could lead to even more serious health issues down the road.

Some medical professionals are calling it the “iPosture Syndrome”. It’s a head-forward posture that many people (teenagers and younger kids included) are developing from hunching over electronic devices for long hours every day. As physiotherapist Carolyn Cassano explains, “If the head shifts in front of the shoulders, as is happening with this posture, the weight of the head increases, and the muscles of the upper back and neck need to work much harder to support it, leading to pain and muscle strain.”

According to CNN, “The average human head weighs 10 pounds in a neutral position—when your ears are over your shoulders. For every inch you tilt your head forward, the pressure on your spine doubles. So if you’re looking at a smartphone in your lap, your neck is holding up what feels like 20 or 30 pounds.” All that additional pressure puts a strain on your spine and can pull it out of alignment.

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Also known as “text neck,” this head-forward posture is a fairly new development among younger adults, teenagers and children (some just beginning kindergarten) who are developing chronic neck and back pain as well as early signs of spine curvature. Coined by Dr. Dean Fishman, a chiropractor and founder of the Text Neck Institute in Florida, the phrase “text neck” is defined as an overuse syndrome involving the head, neck and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking forward and downward at a portable electronic device over extended periods of time.

The text neck disorder is unfortunately progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time without treatment. “It can lead to degenerative disk disease which is irreversible, bone spurs start to grow, people get pinched nerves or herniated disks and that can lead to really intense pain,” says chiropractor Dr. Anthony Bang of the Cleveland Clinic.

The doctor explains that the neck should have a banana-like curve. However, people who consistently look down at handheld devices for hours daily are losing that normal curve, thereby developing straight necks. While severe neck problems can result from losing that curve, there are ways to avoid this fate.
“First of all, put it away, it can wait five minutes. Give your neck a break, but if you need to use it, take it and bring it up to eye level so that your head still stays on top of your shoulders instead of stooping down looking at your lap,” said Bang.

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CNN also recommends that you “Be aware of your body. Keep your feet flat on the floor, roll your shoulders back and keep your ears directly over them so your head isn’t tilted forward. Use docking stations and wrist guards to support the weight of a mobile device. Buy a headset.”

Now there are even apps to help you with your texting posture. For example, the Text Neck Institute has developed an app that helps the user avoid hunching over. When your phone is held at a healthy viewing angle, a green light shines in the top left corner. When you’re slouching over and at risk for text neck, a red light appears.

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

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

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

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.

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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.

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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

Can Poor Posture Really Cause Back and Neck Pain?

February 18, 2015

In a word, yes!

Unless your back or neck pain has been caused by some type of over-exertion or acute trauma, it’s actually very likely that poor posture is at least a contributing factor. The alignment of the spine—from the neck through the lower back and hips—is critical to the body’s ability to support its own weight and move efficiently, so posture problems (which are often chronic) can gradually lead to pain and reduced mobility.

When it comes to pain in your back or neck, the relationship between poor posture and injury can also be a complicated one. On the one hand, having poor posture makes it more likely that you will suffer an injury. On the other hand, suffering an injury can also affect your posture. Mary Ann Wilmarth, DPT, spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association explains, “Little things add up. You can increase the pressure on your back by 50% simply by leaning over the sink incorrectly to brush your teeth. Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain.”

How posture problems contribute to neck pain
One of the most common posture problems is a “forward head and shoulder posture”. This occurs when someone “hunches over” and places their head in front of their neck. The weight of the head towards the front stresses the lower neck vertebrae, and leads to overworking of the upper back muscles to compensate for the pull of gravity on the head. Many people with this posture problem also have a rounded upper back and rounded shoulders, which can lead to further stress and shoulder pain. Often, poor desk and chair ergonomics contribute to these problems, but even slouching on the couch or at a table with your mobile phone can lead to hunching over.

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How posture problems contribute to back pain
The “forward head” posture described above causes stress on the lower cervical vertebrae, which may end up sliding forward relative to each other as a result of gravity. This is a particular problem for people who have jobs requiring them to look forward or downwards all day. Eventually, the prolonged pressure on the cervical vertebrae will irritate the ligaments and soft tissues, radiating downwards to the upper back. This process can lead to disc degeneration, cervical osteoarthritis and herniated discs.

Tips for improving poor posture and relieving back and neck pain
Poor posture is typically the result of habits that have been developed over long periods of time performing the same activities over and over again. Here are just a few of the most common culprits:
• Staring at computer monitors or mobile devices that are badly positioned.
• Sitting in poorly designed office chairs.
• Sleeping on mattresses that don’t provide the necessary support.
• Carrying heavy backpacks or purses.

But how do you know which activities are contributing to your poor posture and causing you pain? The clues are usually fairly easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. For instance, the pain in your neck or back may be worse at some times during the day than at others, or it may come and go with changes in your body position. If you experience fatigue or pain when you first wake up in the morning or after you’ve been sitting at your desk for a couple of hours, it might be time for a new mattress or new office furniture.

The good news is that once you become aware of the activities that are contributing to your posture problems and pain, most can be fixed relatively easily, with no need for either medication or surgery. Learn to recognize when you’re hunching over your computer, slouching in your chair or craning your neck to look at your mobile phone. Then sit up straight, aligning your hips, shoulders and ears in one vertical line.

Sometimes, however, the solution is not so simple—especially when poor posture has caused structural changes in the spine and neck. In these cases, a chiropractor can help by designing posture correction and spinal rehabilitation programs to restore the spine’s normal curvature. These programs will usually involve a combination of mechanical techniques that actively remodel the spine (including the use of braces and molding blocks), exercises and stretches that strengthen postural muscles and restore range of motion, and lifestyle changes to address the root causes.

As experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, chiropractic physicians are specially trained to recognize and correct postural problems. If you’re suffering from neck or back pain and suspect that your posture may be at least partially to blame, 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.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

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

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

Back or Neck Pain? Chiropractic Can Help!

October 30, 2014

When it comes to chronic back or neck pain, anyone who has looked for help knows that traditional healthcare providers often have few treatment options to offer other than rest, medication or surgery. Given the limitations, risks and costs of these approaches, it’s not surprising that many people who suffer from chronic neck or back pain look to “alternative” therapies for relief.

How many do this? According to Consumer Reports, which recently published the results of a survey conducted among 45,601 subscribers, three out of four used some form of alternative therapy to treat their general health problems. During the course of the survey, over 38 million Americans made more than 300 million visits to chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine. Naturally—when confronted with these kinds of very large numbers—the editors and statisticians at Consumer Reports wanted to know how things worked out for these patients. More specifically, they wanted to know which therapies were most helpful.

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The first thing that stands out about the Consumer Reports results is that not all alternative therapy options are created equal when it comes to treating the 12 common health problems the publisher asked about. In some cases, patients were actually more satisfied with traditional approaches (including prescription medication).
But for a number of the most common health problems—back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis—”hands-on” treatments such as those provided by chiropractors and practitioners of deep-tissue massage were rated very highly by the respondents, and in two cases (back pain and neck pain) provided significantly more relief than prescription medications.

One in four respondents who underwent chiropractic treatment for any condition felt that their chiropractor was more interested in them and more insightful than their medical doctors. And 81% of respondents mentioned that their medical doctors knew about their visits to a chiropractor, and rated their chiropractors as more helpful anyway.

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In terms of back pain treatments, Consumer Reports says that “Chiropractic outperformed all other back-pain treatments,” whereas prescription medication rated about the same as deep-tissue massage, yoga, and Pilates. Of the 36% of respondents who had sought chiropractic help for their back pain, 65% reported that it “helped a lot.” In this category, more people with back pain sought help from chiropractors than medical doctors, and more felt that they benefited from it.

For neck pain, the results are similar, with over 6 out of 10 (64%) study participants who tried it saying that chiropractic “helped a lot” in relieving their pain. Prescription medications, often the only treatment provided by medical doctors, ranked fourth in the “tried it” ratings, and earned a much lower 49% satisfaction score.
Osteoarthritis turned out to be the condition that survey participants were most likely to treat using a combination of mainstream and alternative therapies, possibly because the only treatments commonly recommended by medical doctors were prescription and over-the-counter medications. Chiropractic care and prescription medication were rated very similarly in terms of patient satisfaction (46% reporting a “helped a lot” rating), whereas over-the-counter medications were rated at 29%. This finding reinforces a recent study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that concluded that chiropractic treatment of neck arthritis was more effective than any of the other treatment methodologies they tested, and provided both physical (improvements in range of motion) and psychological (lowered sensitivity to pain) benefits to the patients in the study.

Chiropractic even scored relatively highly among therapies for the treatment of other conditions, such as allergy (ranked third, 41% said it “helped a lot”), cold and flu (ranked second, 47% said it “helped a lot”), fibromyalgia (ranked third, 35% said it “helped a lot”), and headache and migraine treatments (rated third, 45% said it “helped a lot”).

So the results seem clear. If you or someone you care about is experiencing common health problems, your chiropractor can help. And this is especially true when it comes to the most common musculoskeletal issues—back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis. You might find, as did many thousands of Consumer Reports subscribers, that you’ll be very happy with the results!

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

Good Workplace Ergonomics Matter! Lessons from Medical Lab Technicians

October 6, 2014

Are the bad ergonomics of your workplace causing you chronic back or neck pain? If so, you’re not alone. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) are one of the leading causes of occupational injuries and disability throughout the world. In the United States, WRMSDs cause over 647,000 days of lost work every year and result in workman’s compensation claims costing anywhere from $45 billion to $60 billion. They also account for 34% of all work-related injuries and illnesses. Examples of WRMSDs include chronic back and neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains, and hernias. While you might assume that these types of injuries are the result of unrelated incidents or isolated situations playing out in many different environments across the country on any given day, there is actually a pattern. Many of them are caused by badly designed workplaces.

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This pattern became evident in a study recently published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation. The researchers wanted to analyze the postures of workers in a high-tech medical laboratory to determine the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and to investigate the relationship of these musculoskeletal disorders to workers’ individual factors, their work characteristics, and their working postures.
They gathered data from the medical lab technicians, using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ, a standardized scale for measuring musculoskeletal disorders and occupational health), the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS, a type of self-reporting measurement), and RULA (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment, a self-reported scale by which workers assess the postures that most accurately reflect their working positions). They then assessed the positions that the technicians’ lab workstations and equipment forced them to adopt for long periods of time each day and compared them with the technicians’ medical problems.

What they found was that poor lab workstation design was causing musculoskeletal problems in 73.3% of the workers. The poorer their posture was on the VAS and RULA scales, the more musculoskeletal problems they had. In addition, there was a significant difference between pre-work and post-shift reports of neck, lower back, and knee pain. In summation, the workplace design was definitely causing the WRMSDs.

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There is a very real possibility that your own workplace is just as likely to put you at an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Symptoms of WRMSDs are not limited to back and neck pain—they also include joint discomfort, muscle tightening and swelling, stiffness, and feelings of numbness or “pins and needles.”
If you or your fellow workers have noticed such symptoms, you should report them to your employer and expect that they will take steps to correct any problem-causing ergonomics. In the interim, you can take some steps on your own to protect yourself from WRMSDs. You don’t have to sit at a desk that is too high or low or in a chair that puts you in an uncomfortable and unhealthy position. Modern desks and their accompanying desk chairs have controls that can be used to lower or raise them. The same applies to computers or other equipment you use every day—you can put your monitor on top of some books so that it’s more in your line of sight or make other changes to help make your workspace more ergonomic. A good place to start looking for tips on how to improve the ergonomics of your office workspace is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration Computer Workstations guide. OSHA also has similar guides for other types of work environments.

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


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