Lumbar Disc Condition

images-24.jpegWhat is Lumbar Disc Herniation?

Structure

The backbone is comprised of several discs that are fixed between two vertebras. The spongy material can be compared to a jelly donut, which has an outer cover and is filled with a soft jelly on the inside. Similarly, a disk has a strong outer covering and a soft substance as a filling.

The Leak

Several times the outer coating of the disc is ruptured, causing an opening for the inner jelly like substance to seep out. Once out of its protective outer laying, the leaked material interferes with the normal functioning of the spinal nerves. The already narrow spacing of the spine, through which nerve roots runs, is narrowed further and puts pressure on the nearby nerves.

Lumbar Specific Herniation

Lumbar region is found in the lower back and is considered to be the strongest area of the spine. It is said to bear a large portion of the weight of the body. Sciatic nerve is said to be a conglomeration of nerve roots running down from the lumbar spine. Therefore, lumber disc injuries can cause pain in the legs and feet.

Symptoms

As the lumbar region is strongly associated with the leg and feet area, one of the significant signs of lumbar disc injuries includes pain in the legs. Another symptom common to this condition is the tingling sensation in the feet. Feet might also feel weak and numb at times following a lumbar disc herniation.

The lumber region falls in your lower back area, therefore lower back pain is another common sign and symptom. Almost every body part below the lumbar region easily gets affected by lower back disc injuries. A weak bladder or loss of control of bowel movement and pain in the buttocks are considered to be symptoms of this condition as well. Other common indications include muscle weakness, groin pain as well as atrophy.

Visiting a Chiropractor

Considered to provide a conservative treatment, chiropractors can alleviate lumbar disc injuries. A case study of a 26 year old man is a validation for the success of recovery associated with visiting a chiropractor.  Within a period of 90 days, the patient, who suffered from a lumbar herniated disc due to an athletic injury, completely recovered from the condition. Utilizing activator adjustment instrument (AAI), a controlled mechanical force was applied to the location of concern. A follow up after 12 months indicated successful long term recovery.

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Treatment and Prevention of Muscle Cramps during Exercise

6253806401_9a9cd9a555.jpgMuscle cramps that are caused by exercise can be very painful and can cause athletes to drop out of competitions.  Muscle cramps can happen in any types of sports and are usually a result of muscle fatigue, a loss of electrolytes or dehydration.

Cramps are not limited to sports, they can happen even to people who are not involved in any type of sports.  Repetitive cramps can be healed by a chiropractor by aligning the vertebrae correctly in the spine using various techniques.

Causes of Cramps

The American College of Sports Medicine published a review on the causes of muscle cramps during exercise – two possible causes were identified that lead to muscle cramps.

The first was credited to muscle fatigue.  Neuromuscular systems are embedded into muscles to allow control of contraction of the muscles. When this system malfunctions, contraction of muscle takes place and then causes the cramps.

Muscles that are regularly used, such as those of an athlete or a person with a very active lifestyle, are at a higher risk of experiencing cramps or spasms.

The second major cause is a result of an excessive fluid loss from the body (sweat), which decreases the body’s electrolytes level.  This depletes the body of sodium.

Body’s Natural Cooling System

The body is designed to cool itself by sweating when body temperature starts to rise beyond normal levels.   The loss of electrolytes due to sweating can cause depletion of body’s electrolytes and if it is not replenished properly, it will cause cramps.

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals including sodium, chloride, magnesium and potassium. They are dissolved in the body and directly control the required muscle contractions and nerve conductions.

Consuming bananas to treat muscle cramps has no solid ground and there is no evidence to support such a remedy.

Treating Muscle Cramps

– Fatigued Muscles

Treatment of muscle cramps depends upon the initial cause.  For those people who experience a muscle cramp due to a strenuous workload such as exercise or sports, chiropractors recommend treatments such as a massage, application of cold packs to the affected muscles and passive stretching.

Proper rest must be given to those muscles which have experienced an overload due to stress.

– Cramps due to Loss of Electrolytes

For those people who suffer from cramps as a result of excessive sweating and a deficit of sodium, the same methods of treatment can be used besides replenishing the lost fluid levels.

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Kids and Chiropractic Care: How It Can Benefit Them

newborn-220142_640.jpgChiropractic care deals with the spinal column’s important relationship in creating harmony throughout the body.  It works on the principle that even a slight maladjustment in the spinal column can create problems for the individual.  The backbone is home to the nervous system and fine tuning of vertebrae can have enormous effects in reducing pain and help in healing.

Kids and chiropractic care have a very important relation – as kids grow, their body experiences a lot of physical stresses.  Any slight problems in the spine can restrict their growth and even cause severe problems.

Due to the curved position which the baby adopts when growing in the womb, many complications can arise at or after birth.  For this reason, a lot of parents get their newborn’s spine checked by a chiropractor.

Other health-related complaints in newborns include difficulty in breast-feeding, sleep problems, reflux and infections that can be linked to the nervous system of the baby.  These problems are the result of misaligned spine which may have resulted either due to the pre-birth curved position of the fetus, or due to the stresses incurred during delivery.

A chiropractor starts off by examining kids and their spines.  A lot of parents are worried about the baby’s delicate body being subjected to the forces required during the adjustments.  What they don’t realize that many chiropractors are specialists in treating kids.  They have the right skills and the touch of delicacy required in handling babies.

Nevertheless, spinal adjustments for kids – especially newborns – require very gentle pressures using only fingers.

Chiropractic care for kids is absolutely painless.  The kid may be sensitive to the touch at points where there is an injury – apart from that, there is no need to worry about pain.

A kid’s spine is far more responsive than that of an adult.  Only a few minor adjustments are required to get rid of any abnormality.  The complete time required for all chiropractic care sessions would depend on how long the problem has persisted for.

Kids have far less chances of suffering any injuries during the spinal adjustment procedure.  A study by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) revealed that only a few children from a figure of more than ten thousand experienced some sort of minor discomfort.

Therefore, it is extremely safe to have kids go through chiropractic care to ensure they do not have any kind of spinal issues while they grow up to become healthy adults.

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Why Spinal Surgery is a Bad Idea

Illu_vertebral_column.jpgBecause it takes the smallest mistake to permanently paralyze a healthy individual, a fact that any chiropractor will attest to. There is always a risk of injury involved in spinal surgery.

Almost 80% of the people in the country will complain about lower back pain at some point in their lives. More work days are missed because of spinal pain than any other sort of ailment. This also places it as one of the most common causes of disabilities right after cardiovascular disease.

However, most people would rather seek the services of certified chiropractors than their doctors. Doctors usually prescribe numbing medication or painful surgical procedures like spinal surgery for patients who complain of repetitive chronic pain. But that is hardly a permanent solution and also involves a great deal of risks.

What can go Wrong:

Transitional Syndrome

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the spine has to do with its behavior. Your spine behaves like a chain of repeated segments. Each of the individual segments works as a whole to share the workload that is involved in moving the body by sharing the load along the spinal column. In other words the stress that is imposed on the spine during the movement is shared amongst the segments.

However such a process can only happen seamlessly when the spine is healthy. When one or more of the segments doesn’t work as they should their neighboring segments have to pick up the slack and work harder. The segment that is closest to the dysfunctional one gets most of the stress. This means that the area near where the spinal surgery was performed takes on more stress.  This is what is known as transitional syndrome since it occurs due to the transition of a healthy area of the spine to the fused area.

General practitioners and even orthopedic surgeons can never claim to know what causes pain in the back. To them, complex procedures like spinal surgery appear as handy default treatments. This is not to mention the disastrous residual pain that is caused by inappropriate surgery. Such a complication is more of a possibility after common spinal surgeries, such as laminectomies, in which a disc is removed to give the nerve near the central spinal cord more space to move, or fusion, in which a vertebra is surgically joined to another to restrict excess movement.

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Contacting a Chiropractor for a Spine Bulging Disc

Cervical_vertebra_english.pngWhat is a Bulging Disc?

Structure

The disc provides cushioning between two adjacent vertebras and allows for flexibility of the spine. In total there are twenty three discs that are found at intervals throughout your backbone that also serve as shock absorbers and keep together the structure of the spine. Size of these discs varies with the level of the spine. A disc is spongy in nature and has a tough cartilage called annulus fibrosus. Annulus fibrosus contains a soft jelly like material known as the nucleus pulposus.

The Bulge

Mostly a disc covers the entire space between two vertebras and is in alignment with the length and shape of the spine. A bulging disc occurs when a disc extends beyond its normal spacing. Analogically, bulging disc injuries are said to be similar to an oversized meat patty that bulges out of its bun.

When bulging disc injuries occurs, the tough outer cartilage, annulus fibrosus, expands in size.  Even after becoming oversized for the two vertebras it resides between, the nucleus pulposus (the inner jelly like material) stays in its rightful place.

Symptoms of a Bulging Disc

The Nerve Story

It is common knowledge that the spinal cord is the relay station and has nerves running through it, enabling communication to and from the brain. These are known as the spinal nerves or nerve roots. Any disturbance in a section of the spinal cord can disrupt the passageway for these nerves.

How Bulging Discs Effect the Nerves

Bulging disc injuries can easily disturb or disrupt the smooth flow of the nerve roots. When a disc spills out of its normal spacing after becoming larger in size, it pushes against the nerve causing compression. With such a disc injury, signal transmission can cause symptoms of pain to arise in several different parts of the body. It is interesting to note however that for several individuals, a bulging disc is asymptomatic.

Chiropractics and Disc Injuries

Not only are chiropractic treatments effective in dealing with bulging disc injuries, they can help reduce pain and heal the injury in the long run. Through intense physical therapy, after a thorough examination of the patient, a bulging disc condition can be resolved. Several chiropractic practitioners will often make use of machines in addition to manual therapies. For instance, a disc compression machine is often utilized with disc bulging cases. The machine is a traction that applies a controlled amount of force to the area of concern.

We hope that you will find relief for your spinal condition under a chiropractic practitioner.

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Computer Ergonomics

images-181.jpegErgonomics is a field which is fast becoming popular, because of its focus on designing and providing working spaces and stations, suitable and convenient for humans. The need for ergonomically fit furniture and work environment has become tenfold, because of the highly competitive and stressful work requirements in the industry these days. Absence of ergonomics at work and home puts strain on individuals and they tire out easily. The different muscular pains and strains contracted because of a stressful working environment are treated efficiently by chiropractors.

Computer and Ergonomics

Many individuals spend a major portion of their day working on computers in the office or at home. The long hours spent in front of computers and laptops have a harmful effect on the physical health of an individual, causing different musculoskeletal disorders.

Such individuals run a high risk of contracting back aches, neck pains, shoulder and arm aches and carpal tunnel problems. These medical conditions are very painful and hamper the work of the individual, both at home and in the office.

Ergonomically designed furniture and working environments are specifically constructed with an eye to provide a suitable and stress free work surrounding to individuals, which minimizes the risk of contracting various muscular strains, which ultimately affect the efficiency of an individual.

Individuals experience physical strains, while working on computers, because of their negligence in maintaining a suitable body posture, which results in pains in the back, neck and shoulders. Computers need to be placed in a suitable way to facilitate working, without any strain.

Different musculoskeletal disorders are contracted by individuals, who work on computers and laptops, for long periods of time, without ergonomically fit desk spaces and laptop stands. Computers and laptops need to be positioned according to the ergonomics specified guidelines, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and body posture.

The absence of ergonomically designed computer desk spaces and furniture, results in different painful medical conditions, like:

Carpal Tunnel: The median nerve in the wrist contracts, due to over exertion, which results in a tingling and sometimes numb sensation in the thumb, index and ring finger. In extreme cases, the patient experiences great pain and swelling which requires a few weeks of healing time.

Repetitive Strain Injury: Caused by repeated tasks and forceful exertions, in which the body experiences pain in the back, neck and shoulder area. In some cases, this might also affect the legs and thighs of an individual.

Bursitis: It is a condition which involves the inflammation of the bursa, a sac filled with lubricating fluid which facilitates in movement. It is a very painful condition for the affected individual.

By using ergonomically fit furniture and computer desk spaces, individuals can reduce the risk of contracting different painful strains and muscular disorders. Chiropractors provide effective treatments to the individuals suffering from different musculoskeletal problems.

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Basics of Chiropractic Care

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Cervical Spine (Neck)

 

The cervical spine is the structure connecting the brain to the rest of the body. It envelopes the spinal cord that runs messages from the brain to the other parts of the body and vice versa. Not only does it contribute to keeping safe the most delicate part of the body, but it also regulates flow of blood to brain and supports the head.

 

The bones in the neck enable you to rotate your head in various directions. Any stiffness or injury can hamper your functionality. There are several types of neck pains that can be a source of constant stress.  Several people rely on medication and heating pads and even opt for surgeries (as a last resort), however, an effective and non surgical treatment of chiropractic can be miraculously helpful.

 

Chiropractic Care

 

Overview

 

In the year 1895, this healing technique was founded by D.D. Palmer. It is comprised of manual therapies and is said to alleviate musculoskeletal concerns. Under a musculoskeletal condition, the joints, muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments of an individual are affected. An impact on the aforementioned can result in minor discomfort and pain to more serious conditions.

 

World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005 published an article that considered chiropractic techniques to be a medicine and surgery free health profession. The main focus of the practice is in the area of the spine. The method of adjusting and manipulating spinal joints dates back to the time of Hippocrates and continued to thrive over the years. Now the spinal manipulation is practiced in several different parts of the world.

 

Spinal Manipulation

 

Spinal manipulation is the most emphasized aspect of chiropractic practices. It involves the art of using manual therapy to activate the joints and muscles. With the use of the hands, the practitioner moves the joints and muscles, as per the required treatment. You might remember watching a scene in several different movies or television shows where a stiff back was fixed by giving a sudden jerk. Following a muscle popping sound, the individual would be relieved of pain.

 

Similar is the scenario under a chiropractic practitioner, however, it takes into account safety and consent of the individual in pain in opposition to the situations depicted on television. The motive of spinal manipulation is to enable the normal movement of the body by relaxing tight muscles and loosening joints.

 

Not only is spinal manipulation an important asset for a chiropractic practitioner; the use of exercise and electrical devices are also common. The electrical modalities are devices that stimulate the joints and muscles.

 

Spinal manipulation is the core element of chiropractic treatments and is immensely effective for relieving neck pain. Performed by a licensed and certified practitioner and being characterized as non surgical and medicine-free, this might be turn out to be an appropriate option for you.

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Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy: The Benefits

7004627103_10658cb981.jpgBack pain is a common problem faced by women during their pregnancy. This occurs when pregnant women put on extra weight causing extra pressure on the spine. Receiving spinal treatments can reduce such pains through chiropractic, and pregnancy issues like delivery can be made more comfortable and faster.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a conservative form of treatment that addresses the spinal cord, discs and related nerves without the use of surgery or drugs. It involves the adjustment of spine to align it back to its normal position. This reduces the spinal nerve stress which can cause various other health complications in the woman and later on in the child. Hence, chiropractic treatment addresses the whole body to promote health and well being.

Safe during Pregnancy

Many complications can occur during pregnancy that can be triggered by spinal problems. These complications can get transferred to the newborn, as they affect the nervous system of a mother. Babies can develop colic, breathing problems, allergic reactions, bedwetting, and neural disorders. The Webster Technique is commonly employed for pregnant women to reduce the spinal nerve stress and balance pelvis, ligaments and muscles.

Throughout the stages of pregnancy, specialized chiropractic care plans are devised to suit the patient. Research shows there are no known potential contradictions to chiropractic treatment during pregnancy. Chiropractic professionals are known to adjust treatments to better suit the body of a pregnant woman. They follow tables and employ techniques which avoid unnecessary pressure on the stomach.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Many medical experts recommend chiropractic care during pregnancy as it helps maintain pelvic balance. A balanced pelvis gives a baby more room to move into the correct birth position. This avoids some of the potential fallbacks of delivery. Other benefits include:

  • Reducing back, neck and joint pain
  • Reducing nerve stress to promote healthy development of the mother and baby
  • Relieving pressure from the spine and maintaining better posture
  • Restoring joints to ensure optimum range of motion
  • Reducing symptoms of nausea
  • Reducing time of labor and delivery
  • Stimulates optimal functioning of reproductive organs
  • Preventing potential cases of cesarean
  • Maintaining a healthy pregnancy

 

A visit to the chiropractic clinic begins with physical evaluations, and then a treatment plan is made, involving therapies, nutrition and exercise. Chiropractic care aims to provide comfort for mothers during and after pregnancy, and also ensuring their babies enjoy proper bone and neural development.

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Top 4 Core-Building Exercises

Plank.jpgThe human body has 29 core muscles located in the back, abdomen and pelvis regions.  They help to give a person a stable center of gravity, while helping in controlling movements, supporting whole of the back and giving out a semblance of stability.

These core muscles form the foundation on which the movement of the body is based.  Strong core muscles tend to resist injury and form a protective cushion for the whole spinal column.

However, weak core muscles can cause a person to develop a poor posture, pain all over the body, and make the individual more prone to injuries from everyday activities.

Exercise on a regular basis can make these muscles stronger, but it is necessary to get the posture right before getting on with the exercises.

Good Posture

Good posture not only makes a person look attractive, but it does wonders for the overall skeletal structure.  Chiropractic practice pays a lot of attention to proper posture.  Correct posture will ensure that a person’s muscles, organs along with joints and bones are in their correct, natural positions.

A bad posture can result in a lot of problems for the body, following are examples of a poor posture:

  • Drooping shoulders
  • Head or neck held forward
  • Lower back arching too much
  • Sitting with a wallet in the back pocket
  • Phone receiver being held between neck and shoulder
  • Drooping forward while sitting

These postures must always be avoided.

Bridge

The person should lie on the back with knees bent.  Then the abdominal muscles should be contracted while the person slowly raises the hips off the floor then holding the position for around 10 seconds.

The hips should then be lowered to the floor and the same method repeated again.

Bird Dog

The person should get down on their hands and knees while keeping the head and neck aligned with their back. The core muscles are then contracted; one arm raised meanwhile raising the opposite leg.

Plank

The person should lie on their stomach with the palms facing down.  They should then slowly start to rise off the floor while resting on toes and elbows.  The back should be kept as flat as possible, core muscles in a contracted position and held for at least 12 seconds before lowering themselves to the floor.

Segmental Rotation

In this exercise, the individual is to lie on the back with their knees bent and the feet should be flat on the floor.  While keeping the shoulders flat on the floor, they should let their knees fall slowly towards the left. After returning the legs back to the original starting point, the same action should be repeated.

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Dietary Tips

3829063385_8e46d16540_o.jpgA Good Diet Equals Healthy Living

In order to live a healthy lifestyle, there are some essential nutrients which need to be present in your diet. A good chiropractor will also include a diet plan in his treatments to reduce the risk of disease. Here are some dietary tips you can use to improve your health.

Avoid Junk Food

Avoid junk foods with low nutritional values and additives such as artificial flavoring and coloring, as most of them contain chemicals that your body isn’t familiar with and can cause certain problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and irritable bowel movements.

Eat Foods with Good Nutritional Values

Let’s suppose a person has a calorie requirement of 1600 calories a day. He can either get these calories from healthy foods with good nutritional values, such as beans, vegetables or salads, or he can get them through unhealthy foods such as bagels, donuts or junk food. The calorie requirement is the same but he would be getting a more nutritious diet by choosing the former option, thus making him healthier.

Add Unrefined and Uncooked Foods in Your Diet

Natural foods contain relatively more nutrients as compared to their refined counterparts. For example, refined flour lacks the fiber and other nutrients that whole grain contains. Cooking can also destroy many of the beneficial nutrients in food, so it is important to add some raw fruits and vegetables in your diet to balance out the nutrient requirement.

Avoid Fried Food Items

Though they may seem tempting, a high consumption of fried foods can directly lead to certain health problems such as high cholesterol and heart problems. If you live a busy lifestyle which doesn’t give you time to exercise, fried foods can also cause obesity.

Don’t Use Too Much Salt and Sugar 

Too much salt results in high blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of developing health problems. High levels of sugar can also increase the risk of diabetes. Try to reduce the amount of salt or sugar you use in food items.

Ask Your Chiropractor for Advice

As most chiropractors have information on nutritional requirements, you can ask your chiropractor to advise you further on what you should include and what you should exclude from your diet. A chiropractor can also formulate you a proper diet plan which you can follow to stay healthy.

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- Pacific Hills Family Chiropractic
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