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BACKACHES

Back pain often attacks without warning. It can be a sharp stabbing thrust or it may sneak up on you as a dull throbbing that does not seem to ease up. Findings have shown, in at least one survey.1 that pain is the number one health complaint, and that back pain is the second most common pain. A large percent of the population will experience disabling low back pain at least once during their lives! The problem is so bad that at any one time, according to one researcher, almost 7 percent of the U.S. adult population is suffering from an episode of back pain lasting more than two weeks.The estimated cost of lower back problems in the U.S. is more than $50 billion a year.

MANY CONDITIONS CAN PRECIPITATE BACK PAIN

Back pain can result from: muscle and tendon strain and sprain; muscle tension, brought on by emotional stress; poor posture, brought on by weak or unexercised muscles; muscle spasms caused by over-exertion or over-use. Back pain can result from disease of the spine such as the various types of arthritis and tuberculosis. Back pain also can be brought on by disease elsewhere in the body, called referred pain. And that there are so many other things that can precipitate back pain that a person suffering from this condition can become very confused about what to do.

WHAT CAUSES BACK PAIN?

Most conditions that can precipitate back pain, and there are more than those mentioned above, have at least one thing in common - nerve irritation. Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines pain as "a feeling of distress, suffering or agony caused by stimulation of specialized nerve endings." There can be no pain unless these specialized sensory nerves are stimulated (irritated), resulting in the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain.

When spinal vertebrae misalign even slightly, or their normal mobility altered, sensory and motor nerves can be irritated or even damaged. This is known as a vertebral subluxation complex, or biomechanical lesion - commonly shortened to just . . . subluxation.

Chiropractors have found subluxations to be one of the most common causes of nerve irritation, thus one of the most common contributing factors in back pain.

TREATMENT

The proper treatment for back pain should depend on what presumably caused it. The standard medical approach to back pain varies depending on the severity of the condition. Muscle relaxants, pain pills, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications are usually prescribed to relieve the pain.

If the problem doesn't improve or worsens, physical therapeutics such as traction, diathermy, ultrasound, hot packs, cold packs, and various other procedures, are sometimes used in conjunction with medication. Finally, if the problem still doesn't improve or worsens, as the last resort (at least it should be the last resort) surgery is often recommended.

The medical approaches at times necessary. However, medication has side effects that are sometimes very severe, and surgery also has its attendant problems.

CHIROPRACTIC FOR BACK PAIN

Chiropractic is not a glorified aspirin that only provides temporary relief, if at all, by blocking the feeling of pain. Chiropractic is not a treatment specifically for back pain. And yet, chiropractic treatment has been a blessing to millions with back problems, often saving them from pain, dangerous surgery, drugs and probably undue financial strain. Chiropractors are licensed health care professionals highly trained to analyze and determine if a vertebral subluxation exists, and then to reduce and correct it if possible.

Today the vertebral subluxation has reached epidemic proportions. This condition is called a "silent killer" because it can slowly eat away at a person's health and vitality for years without that person having the slightest awareness of it.


NECK PAIN AND CHIROPRACTIC

The neck is a very vital part of our body. It houses blood vessels, nerves, the thyroid and parathyroid glands, the larynx, the esophagus, the trachea, the brainstem, the spinal cord, the spinal column and the meninges. It gracefully balances the head and permits it to turn, tilt, and bend freely up and down without damaging its vital "occupants". Interrupting its functions for even a short period can cause loss of consciousness and death.

THE CERVICAL SPINE

The part of the spinal column that is housed by the neck is the cervical spine, and has 7 spinal vertebrae (neck bones). They are numbered C-1 thru C-7. C-1 holds the head and is called the Atlas after the ancient god who held the earth on his shoulders. It is interesting that all mammals including the giraffe and the tiny mouse as well as yourself have the same number of cervical vertebrae.

The neck vertebrae when stacked up, form a tube through which the spinal cord travels. Protecting the spinal cord is one of the spinal column's main functions - an injury to the spinal cord can cause instant paralysis or death.

Ligaments, tendons and discs connect the vertebrae to each other. The discs help give the neck its shape and curve, and their function is similar to shock absorbers.

Where the vertebrae come together there are openings formed called intervertebral foramina. Spinal nerves leave the spinal cord and exit the spinal column through these openings on their way to their final destination. Blood vessels, lymphatics, fat, and connective tissues are also found in the intervertebral foramina.

MANY CONDITIONS CAN PRECIPITATE NECK PAIN

Because of the complexity of the neck it is no wonder that neck problems are very common. These problems may start suddenly from trauma like whiplash, falls or other accidents. Neck problems also may start very slowly as a result of, spinal imbalance, emotional stress, or bad work habits.

Neck pain can result from: muscle and tendon strain and sprain; muscle tension, brought on by emotional stress; poor posture, brought on by weak or unexercised muscles; muscle spasms caused by over-exertion or over-use. Cervical disc degeneration and herniation also may precipitate neck pain.

Neck pain can result from disease of the spine such as the various types of arthritis and tuberculosis. Neck pain also can be brought on by disease elsewhere in the body, called referred pain. And that there are so many other things that can precipitate neck pain that a person suffering from this condition can become very confused about what to do.

WHAT CAUSES NECK PAIN?

Most conditions that can precipitate neck pain, and there are more than those mentioned above, have at least one thing in common - nerve irritation. Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines pain as "a feeling of distress, suffering or agony caused by stimulation of specialized nerve endings." There can be no pain unless these specialized sensory nerves are stimulated (irritated), resulting in the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain.

When spinal vertebrae misalign even slightly, or their normal mobility altered, sensory and motor nerves can be irritated or even damaged. This is known as a vertebral subluxation complex, or biomechanical lesion - commonly shortened to just . . . subluxation.

Chiropractors have found subluxations to be one of the most common causes of nerve irritation, thus one of the most common contributing factors in neck pain.

TREATMENT

The proper treatment for neck pain should depend on what presumably caused it. The standard medical approach to neck pain varies depending on the severity of the condition. Muscle relaxants, pain pills, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications are usually prescribed to relieve the pain.

If the problem doesn't improve or worsens, physical therapeutics such as traction, diathermy, ultrasound, hot packs, cold packs, and various other procedures, are sometimes used in conjunction with medication. Finally, if the problem still doesn't improve or worsens, as the last resort (at least it should be the last resort) surgery is often recommended.

The medical approaches at times necessary. However, medication has side effects that are sometimes very severe, and surgery also has its attendant problems.

The sad fact is that medical doctors and physical therapists are not trained to locate and correct the most frequent cause of neck problems - spinal nerve irritation caused by vertebrae subluxations. As a result, the cause is not treated and neck problems may continue to worsen for years

CHIROPRACTIC FOR NECK PAIN

Chiropractic is not a glorified aspirin that only provides temporary relief, if at all, by blocking the feeling of pain. Chiropractic is not a treatment specifically for neck pain. And yet, chiropractic treatment has been a blessing to millions with neck problems, often saving them from pain, dangerous surgery, drugs and probably undue financial strain.

Chiropractors are licensed health care professionals highly trained to analyze and determine if a vertebral subluxation exists, and then to reduce and correct it if possible.

Today the vertebral subluxation has reached epidemic proportions. This condition is called a "silent killer" because it can slowly eat away at a person's health and vitality for years without that person having the slightest awareness of it.


HEADACHES

Headache! Random House Dictionary defines headache as "a pain located in the head, as over the eyes, at the temples, or at the base of the skull." Head-pain would be a better descriptive name. This head pain can be a sharp stabbing pain that happens suddenly without warning or it may sneak up on you as a dull throbbing that does not seem to ease up.

It doesn't matter what name it carries, you know what a headache is. It is one of the most common health complaints. Findings in one survey1 have shown that pain is the number one health complaint, with headache being the number one pain. And to a large percentage of the population, headaches are more than occasional; they are chronic, or regularly recurrent. Eventually, nearly everyone will get a headache, and every headache is a sign of something wrong.

Another report2 shows that"the inhabitants of the United States collectively consume several tons of aspirin each year, at a cost of over $100,000,000. Mostly for pain relief." And headache is the most common type of pain. A headache is no simple complaint - there are numerous named varieties. One variety alone, the migraine, has five sub-varieties!

MANY CONDITIONS CAN PRECIPITATE HEADACHES

There are headaches from brain disorders such as tumors or epileptic seizures; headache hangovers from the side effects of drugs, weather prescription, nonprescription, or recreational. There are headaches from inhaling the fumes of noxious chemicals; from sinus trouble or eye problems; headaches associated with high blood pressure, diseased teeth, ear problems, fevers and infections.

Certain medical procedures and tests also can result in severe headaches, such as a lumbar puncture, a procedure that removes protective cerebrospinal fluid from around the brain and spinal cord. There is also the common "muscle tension" or "nervous" headache brought on by everyday tension and emotional stress. In fact, there are so many more things that can cause, be associated with, or contribute to a headache that a person suffering from one can become very confused about what to do.

WHAT CAUSED HEADACHES?

Most of the many conditions that can precipitate headaches, and there are more than those mentioned above, have at least one thing in common - nerve irritation. Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines pain as "a feeling of distress, suffering or agony caused by stimulation of specialized nerve endings." There can be no pain unless these specialized sensory nerves are stimulated (irritated), resulting in the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain.

When spinal vertebrae misalign even slightly, or their normal mobility altered, sensory and motor nerves can be irritated or even damaged. This is known as a vertebral subluxation complex, or biomechanical lesion - commonly shortened to just . . . subluxation.

Chiropractors have found subluxations to be one of the most common causes of nerve irritation. Since nerve irritation is a factor in all pain, headache included, subluxations are one of the most common contributing factors.

TREATMENT

The proper treatment for a headache depends, of course, on what has presumably caused it. A headache arising from visual problems can often be reduced by eyeglasses. A headache caused by infection of the sinuses or ears can often be relieved by bringing that infection under control. Medically, most common headaches are usually treated with mild pain killers or other drugs. More powerful compounds, including narcotics, are given for more severe headaches, though with narcotics there is always the risk of severe side effects and dependency - in some cases making the treatment worse than the disease.

CHIROPRACTIC FOR HEADACHES

Chiropractic is not a glorified aspirin. It is neither a headache therapy nor a treatment for head-pain. Yet, headache sufferers are turning to their neighborhood chiropractors in record numbers because chiropractors treat one of the most common causes of headache - subluxation . Chiropractors are licensed health care professionals highly trained to analyze and determine if a vertebral subluxation exists, and then to reduce and correct if it possible.

Today the vertebral subluxation has reached epidemic proportions. This condition is called a "silent killer" because it can slowly eat away at a person's health and vitality for years without that person having the slightest awareness of it.


HIP AND LEG PAIN(Sciatica) AND CHIROPRACTIC

The hips and legs support the body and move our weight from place to place. The hips and legs are called on to hold us upright for many hours at a time, to walk or run, bend and stoop, and stretch into countless unusual positions. At times we may even use our legs as an extra hand to close a door or move a difficult object. Heavy lifting must be done primarily with the legs to avoid lower back strain. Is it any wonder, when we realize the job they perform, that the hips and legs become victims to many problems, including discomfort and often severe pain.

WHAT CAN CAUSE HIP AND LEG PAIN?

Nerves from the spinal cord exit between the vertebrae of the lower spine and go to the hips and down the legs to the feet.

The longest and largest of these nerves is the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve divides into smaller nerves as it travels down the leg, to reach the muscles and joints of the leg all the way down to the toes. When this nerve is irritated or inflamed, the condition is called sciatica. Not all leg pain is sciatica, but most all sciatica results in leg pain. Sciatica can be one of the most painful conditions a person can suffer.

Problems with the sacroiliac joints can cause back, hip and leg pain. The sacroiliac (SI) joints are formed where the sacrum fits between and joins the two ileum (hip bones) left and right together. Problems with the SI joint can cause pain in the hip, the buttocks, or thigh.

Some authorities think problems with the SI joint may be the primary cause of pain in the thighs, buttocks, lower back and hips. Malfunction of the SI joint seems to be the most prevalent cause of back pain. When there is a severe pain down the leg, the first thought should be "sacroiliac" not "disc."

Problems with the hip, knee, ankle, foot or toe joints can precipitate pain. This may be from disease such as arthritis or from mechanical disorders caused by falls and accidents resulting in muscle strain, joint sprain, cuts, bruises or broken bones.

Hip and leg pain does not always mean trouble where the pain is felt. Often, the problem arises elsewhere and the pain is referred to the hip and leg. Lower back injuries often result in more hip and leg pain than back pain. A protruding disc can irritate the sciatic nerve which may result in leg pain. Disease or inappropriate function of the pelvic organs may refer pain to the hip and legs. Advanced diabetes can cause inflammation of the sciatic nerve resulting in leg pain.

Most conditions than can precipitate hip and leg pain, and there are more than those mentioned above, have at least on thing in common - nerve irritation.

Nerves from the spinal cord exit between the vertebrae of the lower spine and go to the hips and down the leg to the feet. There are two types of nerves - motor and sensory. Motor nerves carry messages from the brain to the hips and legs and control their function. Sensory nerves carry messages of sensation - pain, numbness, tingling, pins-and-needles, heat, cold and all other feelings including tactile (the sense of touch) - from the hips and legs to the brain.

When spinal vertebrae or other joints of the body misalign even slightly, or their normal mobility is altered, sensory and motor nerves can be irritated or even damaged. This is known as a biomechanical lesion or subluxation complex - commonly shortened to just - subluxation.

Chiropractors have found subluxations to be one of the most common causes of nerve irritation, thus one of the most common contributing factors in hip and leg pain.

MEDICAL TREATMENT

Correcting the cause is the only way to effectively treat hip and leg pain. All the pain pills, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications that are usually prescribed by the medical profession to relieve the pain will do little or nothing to correct the cause of hip and leg pain. When drugs do not correct the condition, physical therapy, exercises and sometimes braces are used in addition to the drugs. When that fails to bring satisfactory results, in severe cases, surgery may be recommended.

Since hip and leg pain is most frequently caused by a "pinched nerve" (nerve irritation) and nerve irritation is primarily caused by subluxation, correcting the subluxation is likely the only treatment that will correct the cause of the hip and leg pain. Masking the pain with pain killing drugs, muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery is not the answer.

At times medical intervention and even surgery may be necessary. However, drugs have side effects that are sometimes very severe, and surgery is a procedure of last resort with many complications.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE

Chiropractic is not an extra strength "pain-pill" that only provides temporary relief, if at all, by blocking the feeling of pain. Chiropractic is not a treatment specifically for hip and leg pain. In spite of this, people that suffer with hip and leg pain are seeking chiropractic care in greater numbers than ever because chiropractors treat one of the most common causes of hip and leg pain -"pinched nerves" resulting from subluxation - and have a high level of patient satisfaction among patients with hip and leg pain.

Chiropractors are the most qualified health care professionals, because of training and experience, to analyze and treat vertebral subluxations that are the number one cause of "pinched nerves." Today, because of our stressful lifestyle, poor eating habits, environmental pollution, lack of proper exercise, etc., millions are suffering from subluxations and nerve irritation. Subluxations can irritate the nerves and create interference with the forces that control and coordinate the body. This condition can cause malfunction in the body and lead to diseases - hip and leg problems included, and many people may not even know they have a problem until the symptoms become severe and in some cases so severe and in some cases so severe it is too late for complete restoration of health.


SHOULDER, ARM, HAND PAIN AND CHIROPRACTIC

The hands and arms, working from the shoulders, are a human's handiest "tools." They allow a person to reach away from the body, take hold of things, and use them for survival. The shoulders, arms and hands are involved in even the most routine movements. In making a living or in playing, the shoulders, arms and hands are used for more practical purposes than any other portion of the body. They also are the site of many problems.

TYPES OF PROBLEMS

The most common conditions that are associated with pain the shoulders, arms and hands are arthritis, bursitis, neuralgia, neuritis, radiculitis and circulatory changes. The most common conditions usually not associated with pain are muscle weakness, paralysis (partial or complete), incoordination, and tremors.

ARTHRITIS:

There are several types of arthritis; they all affect the joints. The shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and finger joints are common sites for arthritis. The effects can be from very mild self-limiting, to very severe and crippling.

BURSITIS:

Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa (the name for the synovial pouch that caps the shoulder joint). With bursitis, the shoulder may be stiff with moderate that becomes acute upon movement of the joint.

RADICULITIS:

Radiculitis is the term used to indicate there is irritation of the nerve root as it exits the spinal column. This nerve root irritation is a common source of shoulder, arm and hand pain.

NEURALGIA AND NEURITIS:

Neuralgia and neuritis are terms used to describe different types of irritation of nerves, other than the nerve root. This irritation usually results in pain. There also may be strange sensations called paresthesias - that the patient describes as tingling, hot spots, cold spots, crawling sensations, electric shock sensations, stinging, burning, and others.

REFERRED PAIN:

Shoulder, arm and hand pain does not always mean trouble where the pain is felt. Often, the problem arises elsewhere and the pain is referred to the shoulder, arm or hand. Neck injuries often result in more shoulder and arm pain than neck pain. Gall bladder, lung and heart problems also may refer to the shoulders and down the arms.

WHAT CAUSES SHOULDER, ARM AND HAND PROBLEMS?

Most conditions that can precipitate shoulder, arm and hand problems (and there are more than those mentioned above) have at least one thing in common - nerve irritation.

Nerves from the spinal cord exit the spine between the cervical vertebrae (neck bones) and go to the shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers. There are two types of nerves - motor and sensory. Motor nerves carry messages from the brain to the shoulders, arms and hands, and control their functions. Sensory nerves carry messages of sensations - pain, numbness, tingling, pins-and-needles, heat, cold and all other feelings including tactile (the sense of touch) - from the shoulders, arms and hands to the brain.

Irritation of sensory cervical nerves can result in pain, numbness, tingling and changes in the ability to feel. When motor cervical nerves are irritated, the result can be muscle weakness, paralysis, incoordination, tremors and circulatory changes.

When spinal vertebrae or other joints in the body - such as the shoulder, arm and hand - misalign even slightly, or their normal mobility altered, sensory and motor nerves can be irritated or even damaged. This is known as a biomechanical lesion or subluxation complex - commonly shortened to just . . . subluxation.

Chiropractors have found subluxations to be one of the most common causes of nerve irritation, thus one of the most common contributing factors in shoulder, arm and hand problems.

MEDICAL TREATMENT

Correcting the underlying cause is the only way to effectively treat shoulder, arm and hand problems. However, the most common medical approach is to prescribe pain pills, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications to relieve the pain and other symptoms.

If the drugs and other medications do not relieve the symptoms, diathermy, ultrasound, hot packs, cold packs and various other procedures, are sometimes used in conjunction with medication. Finally, if the symptoms are severe, as a last resort, surgery is often recommended.

At times, treating symptoms is necessary. However, the side effects of drugs and surgery, can at times be more life threatening than the symptoms of shoulder, arm and hand problems.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE

Chiropractic is not an extra strength "pain-pill." Nor are chiropractic adjustments a treatment for shoulder, arm and hand problems. In spite of this, people that suffer with shoulder, arm and hand problems are seeking chiropractic care in greater numbers than ever because chiropractors treat one of the most common causes of shoulder, arm and hand pain - nerve irritation caused by subluxations - and have a high level of patient satisfaction.

Chiropractors are the most qualified health care professionals, because of training and experience, to analyze and treat subluxations that are the number one cause of nerve irritation that results in shoulder, arm and hand problems. Today, because of our stressful lifestyle, poor eating habits, environmental pollution, lack of proper exercise, etc., millions are suffering from subluxations and nerve irritation, and many people may not even know they have a subluxation until the symptoms become severe, and in some cases so severe it is too late for complete restoration of health.


Whiplash

In motor vehicle accidents, the occupants suffer more than the cars do.

When a moving object stops suddenly there are tremendous forces generated. When these are applied to the human neck, the forward and backward movement is referred to as Whiplash. No matter the direction of impact, the results can be devastating.

Whiplash is commonly thought to be the result of being struck from the rear. However, it occurs with impact from any direction. And the impact doesn't have to be severe. You can suffer terribly from an injury caused in an accident in a grocery store parking lot.

Following impact, the head is forced back and forth moving beyond the normal limits of movement. The tendons, ligaments and muscles are overstretched and occasionally torn. The pressure generated on the disc may cause bulging, or in extreme cases, rupture (herniation). Spinal joints are subluxated and their motion greatly restricted. The nerve roots and possibly the spinal cord itself are stretched causing serious irritation. The instability that results from the soft tissue damage can cause headaches, dizziness, blurred or fuzzy vision, ringing in the ears, pain in the neck, arms and hands, and loss of strength and limited movement.

And don't forget the lower back. Not all whiplashes are confined to the neck. Especially in cars with only lap-type seat belts, lower back whiplash is common.

As the body changes and adapts to this damage, problems abound. The sooner treatment is begun after an accident the better. The chiropractic approach is to perform a thorough case history and examination similar to when you had your first visit. X-rays are commonly taken unless they were done immediately following the accident.

Based upon his/her findings, your chiropractor will establish a treatment program for you in order to appropriately manage your care. This will include the application of ice to reduce the effects of inflammation. Occasionally, a cervical collar is recommended to help stabilize the neck during the acute phase of care. You may or may not be removed from work for a short period of time. Certainly, spinal adjustments will form a large and important part of your care to return your neck to normal mobility as soon as possible. Later, exercising becomes an integral part of care: your part. Additional modalities are used if your chiropractor feels they would benefit you, including massage therapy, physical therapy, rehabilitation courses, attendance at a fitness center, et cetera.

Be sure to consult your chiropractor immediately after an accident so you needn't suffer! Under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of your auto insurance the first (Usually $2500) of your medical expenses is taken care without any out of pocket expense to you.


FOOT AND ANKLE PAIN AND CHIROPRACTIC

Foot and ankle problems are among the most common maladies of the body. For example , among the body's major joints, the ankle is the most frequently injured. In hospital emergency rooms, ankle ligament sprains are the most commonly seen injury to muscles or bones. Participation in sports/aerobics can sometimes lead to ankle sprain (for example, up to 40% of all basketball injuries involve the ankle).

The most common foot problem though is Pronation. In pronation, some of the bones of the foot drop to a less stable position because the foot arches are too weak to keep them in proper alignment. The arches themselves may be unnaturally stretched ("flat feet"), and stress on the entire foot increases. Another common problem -- one that is often found along with pronation -- is Plantar Fascitis, a stress irritation of the sheath of elastic tissues running nearly the entire length of the foot. If not treated, either condition can lead to progressive development of foot malfunction and discomfort. Feet can become "tired and achy" or experience a burning pain, and walking can begin to feel "clumsy" as you try to move your foot in a way that avoids further pain.

WHAT CAUSES FOOT AND ANKLE PROBLEMS

From the time you learn to walk, your feet assume three crucial functions: the support your body whenever you stand, walk or run; they assist you in achieving movement from one place to another; and they help protect your bones and soft tissues from damaging shock stress as you move. Being overweight, having minor structural defects in the feet, or injuries -- all of these factors can contribute to additional foot and body stress. So even though one - quarter of all of the bones in your body are in your feet, having to perform these three strenuous tasks day after day can (and often does) lead to some type of foot and/or body problem. Its not surprising to learn, therefore, that by the age of twenty, nearly 80% of us have some kind of foot problem, and by the age forty almost everybody does.

Some experts believe that a heel spur is the body's attempt to strengthen its foundation. Being overweight, having abnormal biomechanics, or running regularly on hard surfaces can cause excessive stress on the foot, which may lead to the production of a spur. Other authorities contend that spurs are a normal part of the aging process; some studies have shown that calcaneal spurs are a normal part of the aging process; some studies have shown that calcaneal spurs are more frequently found in people after age 50. The best data currently available projects that between 11% and 16% of the population have heel spurs. It is also interesting to note that spurs occur almost twice as often in adult females as they do in adult males.

An acute ankle injury generally results from a sudden turning in ward of the foot while supporting the body's weight, or an external force hitting the body from the side. The quick, extreme pressure placed upon the ligaments around the ankle can cause them to tear. A chronic ankle injury often develops over a long period of time, and can occur if the foot's posture is unstable. This weakens the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint, making them more likely to tear.

CHIROPRACTIC FOR FOOT AND ANKLE PROBLEMS

Chiropractic is not a glorified aspirin. It is neither a pain therapy nor a treatment for foot-pain. Yet, foot pain sufferers are turning to their neighborhood chiropractors in record numbers because chiropractors treat one of the most common causes of foot problems. Chiropractors are licensed health care professionals highly trained to analyze and determine if a subluxation exists, and then to reduce and correct if it possible.

Depending upon your specific condition, your chiropractor can probably provide you with a conservative (i.e., non-surgical) treatment program that can help both your feet and your entire posture feel and function better. But before such a program begins, he or she may want to perform a complete examination, which may include checking for tenderness in the foot, analyzing the posture, taking x-rays, watching how you walk, and looking over you shoes for signs of improper wear. The treatment you receive will probably focus in general on reducing swelling, relieving pain, restoring functional movement and position through manipulation (adjustment), protecting your foot from additional stress, and strengthening your foundation, Based upon the findings, your chiropractor may develop a program containing all or some of the following:

*       Rest: a decrease or stoppage of running and jumping exercises is often indicated.

*       Ice the foot: to help bring down any swelling.

*       Manipulation: (adjustment) of the foot to stabilize your postural foundation and to help relieve related stress/pain to the rest of your body.

*       Orthotics and Braces: to help the foot maintain its structural and functional balance as you stand walk or run. Your chiropractor can select the orthotics or brace best suited for you based on a variety of factors (life-style, health, age weight sex, etc.) . Many patients, because of the variety of shoes and activities they engage in require more than one pair of orthotics.

*       Exercise: to help build muscle strength and joint stability.

OTHER TREATMENTS FOR FOOT AND ANKLE PROBLEMS

The proper treatment for a foot or ankle problem depends, of course, on what has presumably caused it. Only a specialist such as you chiropractor can answer that question. A thorough examination will indicate the level of care you need. If a possible ligament rupture or joint fracture is indicated, you may be referred to another specialist for care. However, a large percentage of foot and ankle injuries do not require surgery.


CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Do you have Carpal tunnel Syndrome (CTS)? you may if you have one or more of the following: tingling and numbness in the hand, fingers and wrist; pain so intense that it awakens you at night and similar symptoms in the upper arm, elbow and neck.

Millions of people now suffer from CTS and increasing numbers of them are seeking chiropractic care. Why? The chiropractic process of relieving the spine and nerve - damaging vertebral subluxation complex strengthens your body. You will have more energy and may better deal with all conditions -- CTS included.

WHERE IS THE CARPAL TUNNEL?

You won't find this tunnel on any may -- it's in your wrist. Your carpal (wrist) bones form a tunnel - like structure -- the carpal tunnel -- through which pass nine tendons and one nerve -- the median nerve. CTS (also called occupational neuritis) occurs when the median nerve is irritated. CTS is so common it's been called the "occupational disease of the 1990s."

WHO GETS CTS

People who do repetitive tasks -- housewives, secretaries, meat cutters, assembly line workers, carpenters, musicians, computer users and others. Also, fractures or a fall on the hand, and poorly designed and/or vibrating hand tools may damage the palm of the hand and cause CTS. Other causes are rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, Paget's bone disease, multiple myeloma, acromegaly and gout. It is often found in pregnant women, women who use birth control pills or individuals who have an underactive thyroid.

MEDICAL APPROACH

The medical approach tries to relieve the pain by wrist immobilization, ice, drugs (diuretics or anti-inflammatory).If the symptoms persist, corticosteroids may be injected into the crease in the hand near the wrist which my provide relief but has a high relapse rate (and many side effects).

Surgery may be resorted to with hand surgeons performing 100,000 operations a year for CTS.Recovery from surgery may take from 6 months to 10 years.The limitations of standard medical care led the late Robert Mendelsohn, M.D. to state: Since the medical treatment for this condition is so often unsatisfactory, I have for years been recommending that my patients consult experts in muscle and joint therapy.

YOUR SPINE & CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

The relationship between spinal health and carpal tunnel syndrome has been documented by a number of individuals who found spinal nerve root irritation in patients who had carpal tunnel syndrome or ulnar neuropathy.6 Others have found that nerve compression in the neck can block the flow of nutrients to the nerves in the wrist, making it more susceptible to injury (this is called the double crush syndrome).

Not surprisingly, when 1,00 cases of carpal tunnel syndrome were investigated it was found that a large number of those suffering from CTS also had neck arthritis.

THE CHIROPRACTIC APPROACH

Anyone suffering from CTS should see a chiropractor to ensure that his/her spinal column is free from nerve pressure between the arms and wrists and the nerves in the neck.The musicians, computer operators and other workers who suffer from CTS are not only using their wrists in their tasks -- the neck is also involved. Altered spinal movements may be creating strain on the neck to cause or aggravate the condition.

For over a hundred years, doctors of chiropractic have been adjusting patients' spines to better balance their vertebral columns. During this period, chiropractors have observed that some patients have been relieved of classic carpal tunnel symptoms after spinal adjustments.

CONCLUSION

In light of what is known about CTS, anyone suffering from it should see a chiropractor to ensure that their spine is free of vertebral subluxations. A chiropractic spinal adjustment may make the difference between a pain - free wrist or surgery!

POSTSCRIPT

No matter what disease or condition you have, you can benefit from a healthy spine. Spinal health can be as important for your overall healing as proper nutrition. Are you and your family carrying the vertebral subluxation complex in your spines? Only a chiropractic spinal checkup can tell.

Among the many things contributing to your health: the quality of the air, food and water you take in; how you handle emotional stress; your inherited weaknesses and strengths; your use of drugs; exercise; and relaxation -- a healthy spine is absolutely essential. In some people it is the major factor and can make the difference between a life of health, strength and vitality or a life of disease, weakness and disability.

A healthy spine can improve your life -- see your chiropractor for periodic spinal checkups. Today the vertebral subluxation has reached epidemic proportions. This condition is called a "silent killer" because it can slowly eat away at a person's health and vitality for years without that person having the slightest awareness of it.


ARTHRITIS AND CHIROPRACTIC

Arthritis comes from the Greek word "arthron," meaning joint, and "itis," a word termination meaning inflammation; thus "arthritis" means inflammation of a joint. When a condition in the body exists where there is heat, redness, swelling and pain, it is called inflammation. Arthritis then is present when a joint is strained or otherwise irritated and inflammation follows. That certainly does not mean that the condition is incurable. In fact, most cases of joint inflammation (arthritis) is self-limiting and will heal itself with no lasting effects. On the other side, there are cases where the inflammation is so severe that permanent joint damage results. Thus, arthritis can be very mild to very severe.

ARTHRITIS IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON AILMENTS

Millions of Americans are affected by osteoarthritis. Most everyone over the age of 50 will have some form of arthritis. It is almost as common in aging as skin wrinkles and graying hair. In many people it causes only a mild symptom of stiffness and/or pain, in others the pain can be severe and crippling.

TYPES OF ARTHRITIS:

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS:

Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts early in life. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that is very damaging to the joints and can occur in any of the joints. In some cases the damage is so severe it causes loss of mobility and debilitating stiffness in the joints. What causes it and why some spontaneously recover and others do not is a mystery. Treating the symptoms of pain and stiffness is the best care the medical profession can offer.

JUVENILE RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS:

The main difference between juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and adult rheumatoid arthritis is the age when it occurs. The other differences are that there is a much higher rate of spontaneous remission (it simply disappears) and there are fewer cases where there is severe disability.

OSTEOARTHRITIS:

The most common of all types of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease and hypertrophic arthritis. Osteoarthritis usually starts later in life. The cause is thought to be the result of too much wear and tear on the joints. Millions of elderly people suffer from osteoarthritis in the hands, especially people who have used their hands extensively. However, it is most commonly found in the weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hips and the spine.

Long-term osteoarthritis is characterized by spurring or bone growths caused by additional calcium buildup in the joints. This is believed to be the body trying to strengthen an area by adding calcium to make more bone.

Its presence in the spine can be a sign of spinal subluxation (vertebrae that misalign or otherwise malfunction causing irritation of the intervertebral joints). This can lead to spinal imbalance and nerve irritation that may cause pain and improper function.

Pain is only one symptom of arthritis. Only certain sensory nerves carry pain messages. Unless these sensory nerves are irritated there will be no pain felt. Since pain is the body's warning system, if there is no pain the unlucky person may not be aware they have arthritis. If left unattended, this process may continue until there is extensive degenerative joint damage with or without pain.

OTHER FORMS OF ARTHRITIS:

Ankylosing spondylitis usually affects the spine. Gout is another form of arthritis that commonly occurs in the big toe. However it can occur in any joint. It is identified by chemical crystals deposited in the joints.

MEDICAL TREATMENT

Treating the symptoms is the only treatment the medical profession offers. Drugs are prescribed to reduce the symptoms of pain, stiffness and inflammation. Drugs however frequently have mild to severe side effects. In some cases physical therapy such as hot packs or paraffin baths are prescribed to reduce the symptoms of joint stiffness. As a last resort when nothing else helps, sometimes surgery is recommended.

Treating the pain and other symptoms does nothing to correct the cause and may delay proper treatment. The cause must be corrected before long-lasting relief and health can be restored. Therefore, it is important to understand that the absence of pain does not necessarily mean the problem has been corrected.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE

Chiropractic is not an extra strength "pain-pill," nor is it a treatment for arthritis. In spite of this, people who suffer with all types of arthritis are seeking chiropractic care in greater numbers than ever because chiropractors have a high level of patient satisfaction among arthritis sufferers.

Subluxations can irritate the nerves and create interference with the forces that control and coordinate the body. This condition can cause malfunction in the body that may lead to diseases - arthritis included.

Chiropractors are the most qualified health care professionals, because of training and experience, to analyze and treat vertebral subluxations. Today, because of our stressful lifestyle, poor eating habits, environmental pollution, lack of proper exercise, etc., millions are suffering from subluxations and nerve irritations.

DON'T DELAY PROPER TREATMENT ANY LONGER. CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC . . . NOW!

When you have arthritis, or any one of hundreds of named conditions or a pain without a name, delaying proper treatment is dangerous and can result in a major health problem. Seek a chiropractic examination immediately to see if yours is a condition which comes within the scope of chiropractic. The pain you suffer may be because the cause of the pain has been ignored and proper treatment has been delayed.

Even if you are seeing other health care providers, it is still advisable to see a chiropractor to make sure your spine is subluxation free and your nervous system is functioning normally because everyone needs a healthy nervous system.


FIBROMYALGIA AND CHIROPRACTIC

Do you feel like you have the flu all of the time, with achiness and pain all over? Is the pain worse in the morning, often with increased muscle stiffness? Do you feel fatigued every day, even after a full nights sleep, Headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), chest pain, an intolerance to cold or damp weather, or TMJ syndrome? Do you often feel anxious or depressed? Do you know someone who complains about similar symptoms? Have you started to wonder if you are crazy? Don't! What is described above is very real but little understood condition that is neither disfiguring nor life threatening syndrome known a Fibromyalgia!

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a common and disabling disorder affecting 2-4% of the population, women more often than men. Despite the condition's frequency, the diagnosis is often missed. Patients with fibromyalgia usually ache all over, sleep poorly, are stiff on waking, and are tired all day. They are prone to headaches, memory and concentration problems, dizziness, numbness and tingling, itching, fluid retention, crampy abdominal or pelvic pain and diarrhea, and several other symptoms. There are no diagnostic lab or x-ray abnormalities, but a physician can confirm the diagnosis by finding multiple tender points in characteristic locations. Fibromyalgia often runs in families, suggesting an inherited predisposition. It may lie dormant until triggered by an injury, stress, or sleep disturbance. It is closely related to the chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndromes. Some have suggested that these are all just different facets of the same underlying disorder.

What causes it?

Fibromyalgia has mistakenly been thought to be either an inflammatory or a psychiatric condition. However, no evidence of inflammation or arthritis has been found, and patients with fibromyalgia are now known to be no more depressed or anxious than those with other chronic, painful, debilitating conditions. It is now believed that depression and anxiety when present are more often the result than the cause of fibromyalgia. There is some evidence that fibromyalgia may be due to an abnormality of deep sleep. Abnormal brain waveforms have been found in deep sleep in many patients with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia-like symptoms can be produced in normal volunteers by depriving them of deep sleep for a few days. Low levels of somatostatin, a hormone important in maintaining good muscle and other soft tissue health, have been found in patients with fibromyalgia. This hormone is produced almost exclusively in deep sleep, and it's production is increased by exercise.

I should point out though that while this is my personal favorite among the theories of the cause of fibromyalgia, there are several others, and at this time there is probably not a majority of fibromyalgia researchers that supports any one theory.

How is it treated?

Fibromyalgia is difficult to treat, not because treatment isn't usually successful (it is), but because it will take a lot of work, education, and involvement on your part for it to be successful. Simply starting the right medication will have little effect. Successful treatment of fibromyalgia requires:

*       Regular sleep hours and an adequate amount of sleep.

*       Medication to improve deep sleep.

*       Daily gentle aerobic exercise.

*       Avoidance of physical and emotional stress.

*       Treatment of any coexisting sleep disorders.

*       Gentle Chiropractic and massage therapy.

If any of these five are omitted, significant improvement is unlikely.

Regular sleep

Patients with FMS must get to bed by the same time every night and sleep as long as they need to. Staying up just one hour late may precipitate an exacerbation that lasts for several days. Many patients with fibromyalgia have exacerbation's triggered by the change over to or from Daylight Savings time. Try to make the switch in fifteen minute increments every few days instead of by one hour overnight. I have had no success getting patients truly feeling well who work off shifts that prevent them from having a consistent bedtime.

Exercise

Daily gentle aerobic exercise is very important. While patients who do too much exercise too soon or of the wrong kind will make themselves temporarily worse, most patients who don't begin a daily aerobic exercise regimen will notice little improvement in their fibromyalgia symptoms. Aerobic exercise is defined as exercise that gets your heart rate up to a target heart rate for the duration of the exercise period. Heart rates are measured in beats per minute. It is accurate enough for our purposes just to take your pulse for 6 seconds and multiply by 10. The aerobic target heart rate is calculated from the following formula:

(220 - age - rhr) x .6 + rhr

Where age is your age in years and rhr your resting heart rate, determined by taking your pulse when you wake up but before getting out of bed. A good place to feel your pulse is at the wrist turned palm up, next to the large bone on the thumb side at the end of your forearm. If you are exercising hard enough you should be able to feel your heart beating and can just count that. For most people, the aerobic target heart rate is at about the point where they can no longer sing but can still talk comfortably.

The kind of exercise is unimportant. Just make sure to pick something that doesn't make you hurt worse. It may take trying several different kinds before finding one or more types that agree with you. Popular kinds include walking, regular or exercise bicycles, ski simulators, rowing machines, rebounders, swimming, and *gentle* aerobic dance. Jogging, vigorous aerobic dance, and weight lifting tend not to very good choices. If your pain is mainly in your legs or back, consider exercising just your arms with a Thighmaster or similar equipment. While many patients insist that they get plenty of exercise at work, doing housework, or in their yard, this is rarely the case. These types of exercise are rarely helpful, as they don't result in a sustained elevation of the heart rate, and often increase pain and make patients feel worse. You need to set aside a time specifically for daily exercise. Particularly if you are out of shape, start out with just 3-5 minutes of exercise and gradually increase as tolerated, shooting for twenty to thirty minutes. Take a few minutes to stretch your muscles, then start out slowly, increasing to full speed after a minute or two. Slow down again for the last minute or two and repeat the stretches. There are five recommended stretches, each done for 20 seconds a side. They should be gentle and painless. Hold onto a tree or post for support for #s 3-5:

*       Shrug your shoulders in a circular motion.

*       Reach your arm over your head and bend to the opposite side.

*       Bend forward with your legs straight.

*       Pull your foot towards your buttock while standing on the other leg.

*       With your feet flat on the ground and one foot ahead of the other, lean forward, bending just the front knee.

Exercise is more effective if done in the late afternoon or evening. If you absolutely can't do it then, exercising earlier in the day is better than not exercising at all, but you will probably need to exercise longer for the same effect. Some patients find that exercise provides an immediate benefit, making them feel more alert and comfortable for several hours. If you experience this effect, you may want to try exercising three times a day instead of just once. Patients who can do this are the ones most likely to eventually be able to get off medication. Exercise seems not to work through conditioning of muscles but rather through a direct, possibly hormonal effect on pain and sleep. Patients who have been exercising regularly and then miss a day usually find that their fibromyalgia symptoms are significantly worse the next day.

Avoid physical and emotional stress

Exercise is an indispensable component of successful treatment, but too much physical activity of the wrong kind can precipitate a relapse. Rather than doing housecleaning, yard work, or other physical activity all on one day, break up the task so that you do a half hour or an hour every day until it is done. While it is difficult to learn to do this, it is essential that you be able to sense when you have reached your limit and stop. You need to be able to say no to family and friends when you are not up to some outing or other activity. Don't take on extra stressful responsibilities if you don't have to. If you have ongoing problems with depression or anxiety, consider seeking help for them from your family doctor or psychiatrist in an attempt to lower your overall stress level. Relaxation techniques or a chronic pain program can also help lower your stress level. Fibromyalgia patients must learn to manage their physical and emotional resources.

Treat other sleep disorders

Several other sleep disorders besides insomnia may aggravate fibromyalgia. Almost half of men with fibromyalgia and some women have obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition the patient snores loudly and has periodic pauses in breathing after which he starts breathing again with a snort. Periodic limb movements of sleep is a condition in which patients twitch every 30 to 90 seconds for long periods during the night. Patients may be completely unaware of either of these conditions until the spouse complains. Not only will it be difficult to get fibromyalgia symptoms to improve without treating these disorders, but if sleep apnea is left untreated it may lead to accidental death or injury as well as early strokes or heart attacks.

Other common sources of repeated sleep disturbance are a spouse's snoring and young children. If the spouse drinks alcohol in the evenings or is overweight, then avoidance of alcohol after supper or weight may eliminate snoring. Sleeping propped up on the side will often help. At the very least, the patient can wear earplugs. Children are harder to put off but fortunately most soon outgrow their need for care at night. It is important to avoid prescription tranquilizers and sleeping medications of the benzodiazepine group. While these may help you get to sleep, they suppress deep sleep and therefore often make fibromyalgia worse.

Alcohol and Narcotic Pain Medications

Taken in the evenings they have the same effect on deep sleep and should be avoided. Try not to exercise just before bed, as this may make it harder to fall asleep. Patients with fibromyalgia should probably give up caffeine completely as even one cup in the morning can sometimes disrupt sleep at night and may also directly increase muscle pain and headaches. If you are drinking more than a cup a day you should gradually taper yourself off caffeine-containing beverages over two weeks or so to minimize caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. It is also helpful to refrain from protein consumption in the evening.

Gentle Chiropractic and Massage Therapy

Many patients report that chiropractic adjustments, gentle massage as well as heat and rest help relieve their symptoms. Others find that, as with migraine, certain foods can precipitate their symptoms. Specific chiropractic adjustments can give considerable relief by getting the nerve-muscle-joint component working properly and to help the body to metabolize waste products, thereby decreasing the patient's pain sensitivity and eliminating the tender nodules. It often takes two weeks or more before the beneficial effects of chiropractic adjustments take effect. Patients should be warned that despite optimum treatment and good initial results,brief relapses are common.

Support and Education

For best results, you need to be actively involved in your treatment and to have as clear an understanding of this complicated disorder as possible. I recommend that you keep this handy and re-read it periodically. Patients with fibromyalgia often elicit less sympathy and support from family, friends, and employers than they deserve because of the lack of outward evidence of disease. Many patients have been told by other physicians that there is nothing wrong with them or that it is "all in your head" which can be very demoralizing. For these reasons, and just because it is good to know that you are not alone, I strongly encourage attending support group meetings. There are local chapters in most areas now of the Fibromyalgia Network. This organization produces an excellent newsletter which is well worth getting. Here's how to contact them:


More Information On Fibromyalgia

FMS is a common, chronic, and if untreated, often disabling disorder of unknown etiology. Most patients can be helped with a combination of chiropractic adjustments, massage, exercise, good nutrition positive mental outlook and maintenance of a regular sleep schedule.

Fibromyalgia is a distinctive syndrome which can be diagnosed with clinical precision. It may occur in the absence (primary fibromyalgia) or presence of other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus (concomitant fibromyalgia). It is rarely secondary to another disease, in the sense that alleviation of the associated disease also cures the fibromyalgia. It may be confidently diagnosed in patients with widespread musculo -skeletal pain and multiple tender points.

Laboratory studies are usually unrevealing in fibromyalgia, their primary usefulness is in excluding early inflammatory or endocrine disorders that may present in a similar fashion. No single pathophysiologic mechanism seems to be the best focus for future studies in fibromyalgia. Instead, it might be best to view fibromyalgia as a group of symptoms in overlap with other poorly understood syndromes. In particular, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, idiopathic low back pain, and chronic tension headache seem to cluster in families and in individual patients with FMS.

What causes FMS?  A number of mechanisms have been invoked to account for the symptoms of fibromyalgia. The possibilities can be divided into neurochemical, or central, and soft- tissue, or peripheral. ( 1991 LANCET STUDY ). Hormonal imbalance has been suspected. This is one way chiropractic fits into the treatment because the nervous system controls the endocrine system, and if the nervous system is not working at 100% the body can not be healthy.

Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia.  History of widespread pain has been present for at least three months. Whereas pain is considered widespread when all of the following are present:

*       Pain in both sides of the body

*       Pain above and below the waist.

In addition, axial skeletal pain (cervical spine, anterior chest, thoracic spine or low back pain) must be present. Low back pain is considered lower segment pain. specific common symptoms and tender points are used to define this disorder.

Pain in 11 of 18 tender point sites on digital palpation (nine on each side of the midline). The sites are on both sides of the body.  The 18 recommended test sites are:

  • Occiput (2) - at the suboccipital muscle insertions.
  • Low cervical (2) - at the anterior aspects of the intertransverse spaces at C5-C7.
  • Trapezius (2) - at the midpoint of the upper border.
  • Supraspinatus (2) - at origins, above the scapula spine near the medial border.
  • Second rib (2) - upper lateral to the second costochondral junction.
  • Lateral epicondyle (2) - 2 cm distal to the epicondyles.
  • Gluteal (2) - in upper outer quadrants of buttocks in anterior fold of muscle.
  • Greater trochanter (2) - posterior to the trochanteric prominence.
  • Knee (2) - at the medial fat pad proximal to the joint line.Digital palpation should be performed with an approximate force of 4 kg.  A tender point has to be painful at palpation not just "tender".

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