The spine is designed with three natural curves; the neck curvature or cervical spine, the upper back curvature or thoracic spine, and the lower back curvature or lumbar spine, all which come together to form a slight “S” shape when viewed from the side. The spine is an essential structure as it helps support the upright posture of humans, it provides the body with flexibility to move and it plays the crucial role of protecting the spinal cord. Spinal health is important in order to ensure the body is functioning to its fullest capacity. Dr. Alex Jimenez strongly indicates across his collection of articles on spine care, how to properly support a healthy spine. For more information, please feel free to contact us at (915) 850-0900 or text to call Dr. Jimenez personally at (915) 540-8444.
In a recent research study published by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), researchers demonstrated that Foot Levelers custom foot orthotics help considerably reduce back pain and several of its associated health issues.
The research study also demonstrated that Foot Levelers custom foot orthotics and chiropractic care help tremendously reduce low back pain and sciatica.
Foot Levelers custom foot orthotics and chiropractic care helped improve the patient’s overall health and wellness.
Dr. Jimenez is a chiropractor in El Paso, TX who can help provide these benefits through the utilization of chiropractic care and Foot Levelers custom foot orthotics, among other treatments.
Sometimes low back pain comes out of nowhere, but that sudden twinge in the lower back does have a cause. With some cases, there’s a trigger, like picking up a heavy object/furniture from an awkward position. But sometimes it can be a mystery and a challenge to diagnose.
It is important to know the cause of lower back pain to figure out the proper treatment plan. Otherwise, one could receive treatment for the wrong diagnosis and possibly exacerbate the existing injury.
There are those that can predict approaching storms, and weather change based on the way, their joints behave.
Similarly, individuals with chronic back pain can at times sense a change in how they feel when the weather shifts.
The connection between weather and back pain is not fully understood but here are a few beliefs on why people feel pain based on the season/weather.
There is not a great deal of research on weather’s effects on spinal conditions. said Dr. Alexander Jimenez, D.C. in El Paso, Texas.
Some spinal conditions have been shown to have a clear link to cold weather. An example is sciatica patients that would experience worsened pain when the weather would shift.
Chiropractor Alexander Jimenez breaks down how weather can affect back pain and explains six ways to help weather-related back pain.
Weather and Osteoarthritis
Dr. Jimenez talks of a study that examined joint pain differencesbetween older people with osteoarthritis that were weather-sensitive versus those who also had osteoarthritis but were not weather-sensitive.
More than two-thirds said weather affected their osteoarthritis pain
Researchers found that weather sensitivity and pain:
More prevalent among women
People with anxiety conditions
Weather and season change alters how we feel mentally and emotionally.
That link is definitely true between depression and back pain.
Dr. Jimenez sees the shift in spine health from the hot summer months into the cold ones and that is when the health problems peak.
Winter brings cloudier weather, and that increasesmelatonin from the brain, which causes drowsiness and less energy.
Sunlight increases serotonin, which causes feelings of happiness.
Cold, dark, winter weather can deplete energy and makes people stay indoors. This is not good because being outside, involved in activity and exercise definitely helps with joint pain.
Staying inside and not moving will worsen pain and possibly lead to severe conditions.
When the seasons begin to change, it also brings to realization the holiday season, which can cause all kinds of:
The holiday season can cause major stress, and the changes in weather are a reminder of that upcoming stress.
A common theory suggests that when the temperature drops it affects the viscosity of the synovial fluid in the joints.
This could be one of the reasons why people with spinal joint pain experience flare-ups during the cold shift.
Dr. Jimenez says that the structures within your:
All have different densities and react differently to temperature changes.
In the cold, some connective tissues are looser than others.
So those that are tighter take longer to warm up, and if not then there is a perfect set-up for joint dysfunction.
Another theory is that barometric pressure is what causes the pain. This theory supports people with joint pain that can tell when it’s about to rain.
Some rheumatologists believe the joint capsule and tissues around the joint are like a balloon.
The barometric pressure squeezes this balloon, causing the balloon to expand/inflammation that causes pain.
Moving to Warmer Climate
Factors play into how pain affects the individual and moving to a sunny place is not necessarily the answer.
Dr. Jimenez says that warmer climates have been thought to be healthier for various conditions.
In a sunny climate, one is likely to be in the sun, being active physically/mentally, getting plenty of vitamin D, which is good for bones and joints and makes for a good mood all around.
But moving to a warm climate isn’t always an option, so lifestyle changes can do the trick.
Clinical treatments, like infrared sauna, can bring the sun’s benefits during dark winter days.
People with chronic pain have said they feel pain-free and relaxed after sitting in an infrared sauna.
An infrared sauna does not give off ultraviolet rays, but healthy light.
The light penetrates into the tissues, warms the body, and makes the connective tissue stretchier and looser, which moves easier and doesn’t hurt.
There is no need to move to a sunny climate.
Dr. Jimenez says you can minimize the weather’s effects with these tips:
Dr. Jimenez recommends reducing consumption of inflammation-inducing foods like:
Quitting smoking tobacco is essential for finding pain relief.
Alcoholic beverages dehydrate and can worsen depression and anxiety.
Dr. Jimenez says drinking plenty of water is important for the spine, and is often overlooked by the senior community.
Older adults don’t have an active thirst like a young person, and can, therefore, dehydrate rapidly.
Layer clothing or keep the house warm.
Keep a humidifier running with the heater to prevent respiratory problems caused by the dry heat.
Get Into The Sun Regularly
Natural light helps wards off depression, and it improves productivity in the workplace
Physical activity plays a huge part in particularly with low back conditions, walking, which he said engages the postural muscles in the spine.
Dr. Jimenez personally sees the benefits of this: When I’m working out, I don’t feel my hip pain. And I continue because I know that I’m strengthening my body for the better, especially since I help others with their pain.
Hobbies Can Help
A hobby creates a diversion from the pain and releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
A hobby allows you to focus on something else besides the pain.
Depression & Chronic pain | El Paso, Tx
Chronic pain caused by accidents and/or aggravated conditions can often be one of the primary reasons for depression in patients. When painful symptoms induce patients to struggle with their everyday physical activities, their mental health can be tremendously influenced. Chiropractic care utilizes spinal adjustments and manual manipulations which could help restore the initial integrity of the backbone. Patients describe how chiropractic care has helped them recover their well-being and they highly recommend Dr. Alex Jimenez, doctor of chiropractic, as the non-surgical choice for chronic pain and depression, one of a variety of other common health issues.
Back pain can be debilitating, causing immobility, inflexibility, and have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. It can make even the most mundane daily activities extremely difficult – and even excruciating. Building the muscles that make up your core (abdominals and back) can help support your spine and reduce back pain. In many cases, strengthening these muscles can assist a patient to avoid medication with its unpleasant side effects and even avoid surgery. With just a few smart moves you can significantly decrease your back pain, increase your mobility, and take back your life.
Before and after spine surgery the surgeon and medical staff prepare you for recovery. The recovery process can take a long time and be extremely challenging.
Pain after spine surgery is normal, but how to tell if it’s beyond the typical pain during recovery?
What indicates that the surgery failed?
Chiropractor Dr. Alex Jimenez has dealt with this issue throughout his career and discusses symptoms associated with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS, also known as failed back surgery (FBS) or post-laminectomy syndrome).
Back Pain the most common symptom
Chronic back pain is the most common symptom from failed back surgery.
With FBSS, chronic pain in one patient can be very different from pain in another.
People with FBSS can experience a range of different types of pain based on:
The underlying cause of failed back surgery syndrome
Types of back and neck pain people with failed back surgery may experience. Some may have one or more types.
Sustained pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks.
Chronic pain is the opposite of acute pain, which is short-term severe pain.
Acute pain is expected during spine surgery recovery but should fade during the healing.
Localized pain that can be dull or sharp.
This is the type of pain patients may experience immediately after surgery
Example: The pain felt around where the incision was made.
When most people think of pain, nociceptive pain is the type.
Neuropathic pain (neuropathy):
Nerve-related pain is caused by damage to the nerves or spinal cord.
Neuropathic pain shoots and moves around, thus affecting large areas of the body.
Examples of this type of pain include:
Abnormal sensations (called paresthesia)
Radicular pain (radiculopathy):
A branch of nerve pain (neuropathy) is called radiculopathy, or radicular pain.
Radicular pain radiates from one area to another.
Examples include from the:
Down the buttocks
And then starts all over again, or goes in a different order.
The original symptoms return:
When the symptoms that put the patient in the surgery room return, then there is a definite possibility of failed back surgery.
New pain presents:
New pain, meaning pain in a different part of the spine or a different type merits a discussion with your doctor.
Mobility Reduced :
It does take time to recover and that process can affect:
However, if mobility or limitation is different from what was talked about with the surgeon or develops after recovery, then it should be discussed with your doctor.
Example: A limited range of motion in the neck or low back.
Headaches begin to present:
If headaches were not an original part of your medical history, this may point to a nerve problem.
Nerve Symptoms & Quality of Life
Neuropathic pain/ neuropathy or nerve-related pain is the most complex, debilitating, and difficult-to-treat.
People who experience this type of pain find it lowers their quality of life.
An online survey of 1,000-2000 patients that underwent low back surgery responded and revealed the following:
94% of respondents reported post-surgery low back pain
A separate study noted that nerve-related pain suffered by people with FBSS is more life-altering than pain caused by joint and nerve disorders.
Patients with FBSS and neuropathic pain go through higher levels of pain and have less quality of life/physical function compared with people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
FBS Symptoms Emergency Treatment
After surgery, it can be difficult to tell whether the pain is within the bounds of normal recovery pain.
At follow-up appointments ask questions about the progress of your recovery and about any concerns.
Pain after surgery is normal, but there are some signs and symptoms that merit emergency attention.
If you experience any of the red flag symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Are Different for Every Patient
Every patient goes through a unique surgical experience and if it fails, patients may experience unique symptoms.
Because failed back surgery has several possible causes, the symptoms are going to be different for each patient.
Before you are discharged and even before you go under, ask your surgeon questions about what to expect during the recovery process.
Educating yourself with possible expectations during recovery, you’ll be best positioned to know when things aren’t going as they should.
Low Back Pain Management El Paso, TX Chiropractor
Denise suffered an auto accident injury which resulted in back pain. When she realized she could not sit, walk or sleep for lengthy periods of time without having painful symptoms, Denise found chiropractic care with Dr. Alex Jimenez at El Paso, TX. Once she received therapy for her automobile accident injuries, Denise experienced relief from her symptoms and she was able to execute her regular tasks once again. Thanks to the education and maintenance Dr. Alex Jimenez supplied, Denise regained her initial health and health.
Back pain is more most common, with roughly nine out of ten adults undergoing it at some time in their lifetime, and five functioning adults developing it annually. Some quote around 95 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some time in their lifetime. It is undoubtedly the typical cause of chronic pain since it’s also a substantial contributor to missed work and handicap. In the United States alone, acute cases of lower back pain are the fifth most frequent reason for doctor visits and cause 40% of missed days off work. What’s more, it is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Aside from the obvious invasiveness of the procedure as well as recovery time and probable physical therapy that would be required as part of your aftercare. Say you have neck or back pain. How will you treat it? Many people will go to a medical doctor who will look at the symptoms, such as pain, and treat it with a prescription or over the counter medications. In some cases, they may recommend surgery to manage the pain or correct the problem.
Subluxation describes what happens when the spinal joints get shifted out of alignment. This can be caused by:
The nervous system, which consists of the (spine/nerves/brain) is the central headquarters of the body. Subluxation removal helps the body function at its optimum level.
Chiropractic adjustments reduce pressure on the nerves and ease the flow of communication and signals going back and forth.
These adjustments trigger the release of endorphins, which cause instant pain relief.
Our hips are made durable, but with age and normal wear and tear, this cartilage wears down, which can lead to injury.
This also includes the:
Bones in and around the hip
And can be caused by a number of conditions, including:
Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis)
Hip labral tear
If adjustments seem to be only temporary, this could be an indicator of problems beyond the spine.
Pain or other symptoms in the body start with the body’s foundation: the feet.
When we walk there are incremental-segmental movements of the spine that are small motions but are very important in proper function.
If there are foot problems:
Degeneration throughout the body can happen.
Research has found that poor foot mechanics can create severe problems that affect the normal functions of the:
Symptoms of Vertebral Subluxation
Neck and back pain
Spine muscle spasms
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, subluxation could be the cause.
Chiropractic treatment and custom orthotics are the best way to correct the subluxation.
Chiropractors are experienced in finding and correcting these problems. And the custom orthotics can help keep you and your spine in perfect alignment.
Get Rid of *LOW BACK PAIN* with Custom Foot Orthotics | El Paso, TX (2019)
Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience some type of back pain sometime throughout their lifetime. Low back pain and sciatica are several of the most common complaints frequently reported in a doctor office setting. But, did you know that low back pain and sciatica can be caused due to foot problems? Custom-made functional foot orthotics can help support and promote the natural alignment of the spine. Poor posture associated with foot problems and other health issues can be corrected through the utilization of custom-made functional foot orthotics. Because every individual has unique foot anatomy, custom-made foot orthotics can be beneficial for a variety of people with foot problems and other health issues. Dr. Alex Jimenez is the non-surgical choice for foot problems.
Although many people try to treat their low back pain on their own first, one of the fastest and best ways to treat it is through custom orthotics, which actually optimize the performance of your entire body, not just your feet and lower back. Over-the-counter orthotics do not provide proper support and can even cause more damage to the body. Chronic lower back pain is not a normal thing that has to do with age or lifestyle.
If you are experiencing lower back pain, call a chiropractor and ask about how custom orthotics can help you.
Chiropractors use specific methods to return the vertebrae in their proper locations or muster them to allow them to go freely when subluxations happen. These techniques are called spinal manipulations or adjustments. During an adjustment, the vertebra is freed in the misaligned location and returned to the right place in the spinal column. The adjustment permits the entire body to cure and preserve homeostasis once performed.
Chiropractic can help with a wide variety of health conditions, particularly those involving the spine. Your chiropractor’s ability to adjust your spine makes it possible to correct many issues with the back and neck. Chiropractic also offers the advantage of being drug-free and non-invasive, so the side effects you need to worry about are minimal.
6 Spine Disorders that Chiropractic Helps
1. Degenerative Disc Disease
Most often, degenerative disc disease is a condition that strikes people as they get older. The discs that sit between your vertebrae are supposed to be relatively soft to provide cushion and flexibility to the spine. Unfortunately, years of use and various injuries can cause the discs to wear down. When they wear down it can lead to pressure on nerves and bone on bone contact.
2. Herniated Disc
Sometimes a disc can rupture, allowing the interior matter to protrude from the outer shell and press against nerves in the spine. The most common areas of the body to have a herniated disc are the lower back and the neck.
The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back and down the legs. The nerve can become irritated if there are issues with the lower back, such as degenerative disc disease, herniated disc or misalignment. Pressure on the nerve can cause symptoms like shooting pains, numbness, tingling, dull aching, and other discomforts.
Whiplash is most common in rear-end car accidents, where a car hits you from behind and causes your head to whip forward and backward. The force generated by the whipping motion can cause significant damage to your neck. Stiffness and pain are common symptoms. Whiplash should be treated as soon as possible following an accident.
5. Myofascial Pain
The fascia is the sheath-like material that surrounds your muscles. Adhesions can occur in the fascia due to overuse or injury. Sometimes the painful points can feel like hard knots under the skin. Myofascial pain often causes discomfort in other areas of the body that you would not assume are related to the problem area.
6. Back Sprains and Strains
There are many ways that the back can become sprained or strained. A sprain involves the ligaments that are attached to your bones, while a strain involves your muscles and/or tendons. Either condition can cause significant pain and a loss of mobility.
Chiropractic Can Help By
Your chiropractor will offer you different options for healing your spinal condition. These may include:
Many times the problems with your spine can be improved by realigning the vertebrae. Injuries and spinal conditions are often associated with misalignment—where the vertebrae are not sitting on top of one another as they should be. A chiropractic adjustment gently returns your vertebrae to alignment.
Massage is a great complementary therapy to chiropractic adjustments. It can help to relax muscles, eliminate adhesions and improve mobility. It can also help your spinal adjustments to stay in place as you go about your day to day life.
Ultrasound treatments are an effective way to encourage your body’s own healing mechanisms without causing any unwanted side effects. The sound waves penetrate deep into the tissues to create heat energy, which encourages circulation and aids in healing.
Get Help with Your Spinal Disorder
If you are struggling with a spinal disorder like those mentioned above, we would love the opportunity to help. Our chiropractic team understands how to administer safe, effective treatments that are non-invasive and work together to improve healing outcomes.
Please contact us today to discuss your spinal condition and schedule an appointment.
Do you have a sharp pain in your heel? When you take a step, does it feel like a knife is stabbing your heel? If the answer is yes, then you might have a heel spur.
A heel spur is a degenerative outgrowth of bone on the calcaneus. While the heel spur itself is sometimes painless, the condition is commonly associated with Plantar Fasciitis.
Though adjustments may help reduce symptoms, they do not restore plantar aponeurosis laxity or the resultant excessive pronation.
Custom orthotics support all 3 arches, which help control pronation and protect against heel shock.
Your healthcare provider and custom orthotic’s center can offer a special cut out at the site of the insertion of the plantar fascia to reduce pressure.
Heel spur pain can be reduced by seeing your movement patterns of the foot and ankle. While there is no cure for heel spurs, chiropractic foot adjustments, orthotics and home stretching can help.
El Paso, TX Chiropractic Heel Spur Treatment
Blanca, born and raised in El Paso, TX, has been suffering from heel spurs for approximately two years. As a registered nurse, her symptoms appreciably affected her ability to work and her general quality of life. Determined to improve her health, Blanca believed care. Once she began treatment with Dr. Alex Jimenez, however, Blanca experienced enormous relief from her heel spurs, nearly immediately. Blanca highly recommends chiropractic care with Dr. Alex Jimenez as the nonsurgical selection for the treatment of heel spurs. A heel spur is a calcium residue resulting in a bony protrusion on the bottom of the heel bone.
Although heel spurs are often painless, they can lead to heel pain. They are often associated with plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the fibrous band of connective tissue (plantar fascia) which runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot. Heel spurs are usually caused by strains on foot ligaments and tendons, stretching of the plantar fascia, and repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone. Heel spurs are especially common among athletes.
Foot Dysfunction can very easily cause a domino effect that extends all the way to the back. The feet are the foundation of the body and when there is a problem with the way they function it can cause the entire body to shift out of alignment. Overpronation and oversupination can cause a variety of injuries and conditions that affect not only the feet and ankles, but also the knees, hips, and back as well.
Functional hallux limitus is unfortunately still considered to be a rare health issue which often goes unaddressed. Outcomes for many different foot disorders will be jeopardized if treatment doesn’t address functional hallux limitus. Foot and postural abnormalities have a basis in poor function of stabilization and the windlass mechanism of the foot structure through the plantar fascia.
Although many people try to treat their low back pain on their own first, one of the fastest and best ways to treat it is through custom orthotics, which actually optimize the performance of your entire body, not just your feet and lower back. For instance, overpronation of the foot causes a series of internal changes that extend up through the leg. The femur may rotate causing hip pain and inflammation of the sacroiliac joint which leads to back pain. Other misalignments in the body that are caused by foot problems can also lead to chronic lower back pain as well.
Healthy joints have obvious benefits, including aiding in movement, keeping you flexible and allowing you to stay active. The health of some of your joints is readily apparent—you only have to bend your knees, ankles, elbows or wrists to see how they are functioning at any given moment. But there are some joints in your body that are even more important, although you may not be as aware of them. The joints in your spine, where each vertebra connects to another, are vital to the normal, healthy function of your body. Without healthy spinal joints, you can expect pain and loss of mobility, among other unpleasant symptoms.
Fortunately, keeping your spinal joints healthy is made much easier with regular chiropractic care. Periodic visits to your chiropractor will help you keep your spine operating as well as it possibly can, year in and year out!
Ways that Chiropractic Helps In Spinal Joint Health
ILLUSTRATION OF A HEALTHY INTERVERTEBRAL DISC, THE DAMAGED INTERVERTEBRAL DISC, HERNIATION.
1. Circulation Increased.
Stiffness in the spine can be caused by a variety of issues, including trauma and degenerative disc disease. While chiropractic cannot prevent the wear and tear that life often brings, it can do a lot to heal that damage. One way that adjustments aid in healing is by increasing circulation to your spinal discs and surrounding tissues. Increased circulation brings in healthy nutrients and removes undesirable material, making it possible for your spine to heal more thoroughly than without good circulation.
2. Pain Is Reduced or Eliminated.
Back pain can make living a normal life difficult if not impossible. Depending on the frequency and severity of the pain, you may find yourself unable to do many of the things you once enjoyed. Even if you do not lose mobility, back pain can distract and upset you every time it shows up.
The pain in your back can most likely be alleviated through chiropractic care. By returning your spine to proper alignment, your chiropractor can ease pressure on the nerves in your back and encourage muscles and other soft tissue to release. Over time spinal adjustments can greatly reduce or even eliminate back pain, which will help you stay active and improve the health of your spinal joints.
3. Mobility Increased.
Pain in your spine and/or neck is usually accompanied by a loss of mobility. Your muscles may seize up in an effort to protect your spine, which can make it impossible to move normally. Even if you are not suffering from muscle spasms, consistent back and neck pain can make you hesitant to move in ways that will trigger pain. Over time, the lack of movement can cause the body to stiffen and weaken. The longer this goes on, the less likely you are to get the physical activity you need to keep your joints mobile and your body strong.
Chiropractic adjustments are capable of breaking up the stiffness that holds you back. By returning your spine to proper alignment, circulation is increased, pain is decreased, muscles release and mobility returns. It can take time to get back to the way you want to be, but it is time well spent.
Healthy Joint Health Requires Consistency
The best way to keep your spinal joints healthy over the long-term is to make regular visits to your chiropractor while also maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Everyone is different, which is why it is important to get customized treatment from your chiropractor. By establishing a relationship with your chiropractor, you can ensure that you are always on the right track for spinal joint health.
Contact us today to learn more about chiropractic care and to schedule an appointment with our team.
The Difference of Using *CHIROPRACTIC ORTHOTICS* | El Paso, Tx
Custom Orthotics are Worth The Cost
People who experience back, hip, and/or foot pain usually turn to orthotics for relief.
Foot Levelers is the leading custom orthotic provider in the U.S., but custom is not always cheap, as compared with the non-customized, over-the-counter orthotics.
What’s the difference and why spend money on custom orthotics?
Common Orthotics are Not The Same for Everyone
What works for one person may not work for you, which is evident by all the different insoles on the market for the same problems.
Take 10 people, all of who have different levels of activity, weight, age, types of pain and wear different shoes, go to the store for store-bought orthotics, take a quick assessment, and are all told to wear the same insole.
You need customized care, which is exactly what custom orthotics provide for your body.
Custom orthotics are created by scanning and assessing your arches, seeing how you distribute your body weight on your feet, and then a unique treatment plan is created especially for you.
The Body’s Foundation is our Feet
What if you were told that the foundation of your home was cracking and you had two options: put duct tape over the crack and hope for the best or spend a little more money and fix the problem the right way.
A scan of the feet is used to learn about each foot independently.
These scans highlight any differences between your feet like one being smaller, wider, or flatter than the other.
This information is essential to creating orthotics and helps achieve a result that over-the-counter orthotics simply cannot provide.
Although non-custom orthotics are less expensive, they are basically like putting duct tape on your foundation and may not resolve the issue\s and cause more problems and greater costs.
In the Long Run You Will Save Money
Custom orthotics are an investment that pays your body back a hundredfold.
Non-custom orthotics are cheaper and are made with unreliable and usually cheap material. These are not designed to resolve your condition, which forces you to spend more money.
Paying attention to the foundation of your body provides benefits to the rest of your body, and eliminates the cost of treating all types of discomfort.
The process of getting custom orthotics begins with a simple foot scan.
This provides us with important information to keep your body operating optimally.
Overpronation and over supination can cause a variety of injuries and conditions that affect not only the feet and ankles, but also the knees, hips, and back as well. Foot Dysfunction can very easily cause a domino effect that extends all the way to the back. The feet are the foundation of the body and when there is a problem with the way they function it can cause the entire body to shift out of alignment.
All our organs receive messages from our brain via our spinal cord. The lungs know to breathe in and out because of the messages they receive from the brain. The heart beats because of these messages as well. Every organ in our body is connected to the brain and blocking this connection—even a little—can cause serious health issues. Some health problems are easily felt like numbness in the fingers or a headache. Some troubles are not so apparent like digestive issues or kidney problems. If the spine is out of order, the organs will feel it.
Degenerative disc disease is a condition where the degradation or wearing away of your spinal discs leads to pain and discomfort. Everyone’s discs wear down, but not every person experiences pain. That is the difference!
What are the Four Stages of DDD
Two of the main components of the spine are the vertebrae and the discs. The discs sit between vertebrae to provide cushion, support, and flexibility. Each disc is made up of a soft inner layer and a tough outer layer. Over time, or due to injury, the discs can lose their integrity, begin to thin and even tear in certain cases. Compromised discs increase the likelihood of pressure on nerves and friction between the vertebrae.
Like many diseases, degenerative disc disease has several possible stages. As the stages progress, the negative symptoms become more pronounced.
The first stage of degenerative disc disease may go unnoticed by the individual but can be identified by a chiropractor or other medical professional. The loss of the natural curvature of the spine can indicate the beginning of degenerative disc disease. Pain may not be apparent, but extra pressure is being placed on the spine which can lead to more rapid aging of the spine, nerves, joints, etc.
The degradation of discs becomes more apparent in the second stage. They may look thinner, and it is common to see deformations in the bone, such as bone spurs. The curvature of the spine will become more unnatural and the spinal canal may become more narrow. Stage 2 is often where you will begin to notice some pain and discomfort.
Stage 3 is marked by a more extreme change in the posture and curvature of the spine, along with more pain and loss of mobility. Nerve damage is common and scar tissue typically begins to form. Discs are even thinner than before, which can sometimes cause even more deformation of the bones.
The final stage of degenerative disc disease is the most severe and is typically considered irreversible. Discs are at their thinnest or gone altogether. The flexibility of the spine is extremely limited and pain is often considerable. Nerve damage can be severe and the bones of the spine may even begin to fuse together.
Doctor explaining various spine diseases by the example of plastic models
How Can Chiropractic Help DDD?
Chiropractic care is a preferred treatment option for degenerative disc disease for a variety of reasons. Because it is gentle and non-invasive, chiropractic is much less likely to create undesirable side effects—which are common with prescription medications and surgery. Obviously, the earlier the stage of degenerative disc disease, the more successful treatment can be. But chiropractic can be helpful even in the most extreme cases of degenerative disc disease.
Chiropractic treatments may include:
One of the most effective ways to treat degenerative disc disease is to ensure the spine is in proper alignment. Loss of alignment, which can happen due to injury or just day to day life, puts extra stress on the spine which can accelerate the degradation of discs. Adjustments bring back alignment.
Spinal decompression uses gentle but firm pressure to bring space back between the vertebrae. Space allows blood flow to return and healing to happen. Decompression is an important treatment to complement adjustments.
Backpacks allow us to carry everything we need wherever we go. But as great as backpacks are, the fact is they can cause real damage if they are not carried correctly. It is possible to carry more weight than you should and in ways that are not healthy. From children to the elderly, everyone should know how to properly carry a backpack.
How Not Carrying Properly Can Hurt Your Back
A recent article on NBC News discussed the health concerns that backpacks present, discussing the various studies that have shown the damage they can cause. As the article noted, most everyone uses a backpack at one time or another. They are simply too useful to do otherwise. But research has demonstrated that they can hurt the back significantly, especially in children.
The back injuries that a backpack can cause include:
The spine is made up of vertebrae separated by spinal discs. The discs provide cushioning and flexibility in the spine. But the discs in your spine are only capable of carrying so much weight. When a backpack is too heavy, it can lead to disc compression and possibly tearing of the disc.
Carrying a backpack over one shoulder day after day will eventually cause your body to alter its alignment and your muscles to become imbalanced. Muscle imbalances can cause a cascade of problems, including altering the way you walk and increasing wear on your spine.
How to Carry Properly
Backpacks can be used safely, you just need to take the proper steps. These include:
1. Do Not Carry too much weight.
The recommended percentage of your body weight when using a backpack ranges from 10% – 15%. Someone that weighs 100 lbs should carry a backpack weighing no more than 15 lbs. Ideally, you should keep it around 10%. The more you go over the recommended weight, the more risk of injury to your back.
2. Utilize both straps.
Backpacks are designed to be carried using a strap over each shoulder. Using both straps distributes the weight evenly across your shoulders, minimizing the risk of excessive wear or injury.
3. Adjust the straps.
The straps of your backpack should be pulled snug, but not too tight. If your backpack includes a belt or additional straps, use them – especially if you are carrying a lot of weight.
4. Carry only what is needed.
It is easy to accumulate items in your backpack without realizing how much you have. Try to examine what is in your pack on a regular basis to ensure you are only taking what you need.
5. Use roll bags for heavy loads.
If you really need to carry more weight, invest in a bag with wheels. Rolling backpacks or other rolling bags can allow you to carry significantly more weight in comfort and safety.
6. Apply all of the above to your child’s backpack.
If you have one or more children, it is important to train them on how to use backpacks safely – and to check them from time to time.
Enjoy Back Pain Relief
Our chiropractic team is ready to help you get relief from your back pain. If you are suffering from back pain, please contact us to schedule an appointment with an experienced chiropractor.
Sometimes there are abnormalities of the spine and it causes a misalignment of the natural curvatures or some curvatures may be exaggerated. These unnatural curvatures of the spine are characterized by three health conditions called lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis.
It is not intended to be naturally bent, twisted, or curved. The natural state of a healthy spine is somewhat straight with slight curves running front to back so that a side view would reveal them.
Viewing the spine from the back, you should see something completely different – a spine that runs straight down, top to bottom with no side to side curves. This doesn’t always happen though.
The spine is comprised of vertebrae, small bones that are stacked on top of each other with impact cushioning discs between each one. These bones act as joints, allowing the spine to bend and twist in a variety of ways.
They gently curve, sloping slightly inward at the small of the back, and again slightly at the neck. The pull of gravity, combined with body movement, can put a great deal of stress on the spine and these slight curves help absorb some of the impact.
Different conditions for different types of spinal curvatures
Each of these three spinal curvature disorders affects a certain area of the spine in a very specific way.
Hyper or Hypo Lordosis – This spinal curvature disorder affects the lower back, causing the spine to curve inwards or outwards significantly.
Hyper or Hypo Kyphosis – This spinal curvature disorder affects the upper back, causing the spine to bow, resulting in that area rounding or flattening abnormally.
Scoliosis – This spinal curvature disorder can affect the entire spine, causing it to curve sideways, forming a C or S shape.
What are the symptoms?
Each type of curvature exhibits its own set of symptoms. While some symptoms may overlap, many are unique to the specific curvature disorder.
A “swayback” appearance where the buttocks stick out or are more pronounced.
Discomfort in the back, typically in the lumbar region
When lying on a hard surface on the back, the lower back area does not touch the surface, even when attempting to tuck the pelvis and straighten the lower back.
Difficulty with certain movements
A curve or hump to the upper back
Upper back pain and fatigue after sitting or standing for long periods (Scheuermann’s kyphosis)
Leg or back fatigue
The head bends far forward instead of being more upright
Hips or waist are uneven
One shoulder blade is higher than the other
The person leans to one side
What are the causes?
Many different health issues can cause the spine to become misaligned or to form a spinal curvature. Each of the spinal conditions mentioned is affected by different conditions and situations.
Tumors on or in the spine
Congenital kyphosis (abnormal development of the vertebrae while the person is in utero)
Habitual slouching or poor posture
Scoliosis is still a bit of a mystery to doctors. They are not certain what exactly causes the most common form of scoliosis that is typically seen in children and adolescents. Some of the causes that they have pinpointed include:
There are screenings available for both children and adults to identify any spinal curvatures in their early stages through your chiropractor. Early detection of these disorders is crucial in identifying them before they become too serious.
Personalized Spine & *SCIATICA TREATMENT* | El Paso, TX (2019)
The spinal cord and brain make up the central nervous system while the spinal nerves that branch to the spinal cord and cranial nerves that branch to the brain makes up the peripheral nervous system.
There are thirty-one sets of nerves that extend out of the spinal cord and are connected to it by the nerve root. Each nerve branches out about a half inch from the spinal cord before dividing into smaller branches. The dorsal rami are on the posterior side of the branch while the larger ventral rami are on the anterior side.
The dorsal rami provide nerve function for the skin of the trunk and posterior muscles. The ventral rami from T1 to T12 provide nerve function to the skin of the trunk as well as the lateral and anterior muscles. The anterior divisions that remain for plexuses, networks that provide nerve function to the body. Each plexus has specific areas on the body for skin sensitivity as well as certain muscles. Their point where they exit the spine determines how they are numbered. The four primary plexuses are:
Cervical plexus, C1 – C4, innervates the diaphragm, shoulder, and neck
Brachial plexus, C5 – T1, innervates the upper limbs
Lumbar plexus, T12/L1 – L4, innervates the thigh
Sacral plexus, L4 – S4, innervates the leg and foot.
These spinal nerves have two sets of fibers: motor and sensory. Motor fibers facilitate movement and provide nerve function to the muscles. Sensory fibers facilitate sensitivities to touch, temperature and other stimuli. They provide nerve function to the skin.
What are Myotomes and Dermatomes?
A group of muscles that are innervated by the motor fibers that stem from a specific nerve root is called a myotome. An area of the skin that is innervated by the sensory fibers that stem from a specific nerve root is called a dermatome. These patterns of myotome and dermatome are almost always identical from person to person. There are occasionally variances, but that is rare.
This consistency allows doctors to treat nerve pain in patients. If a specific area is hurting, they know that it is attributed to a certain myotome or dermatome, whichever the case may be, and its corresponding nerve root. Problems with nerve damage are often the result of stretching the nerve or compressing it.
When the nerves are injured in specific areas like the lumbosacral or brachial plexus, it presents as sensory and motor deficits in the limbs that correspond to them. Myotomes and dermatomes are used to assess the extent of the damage.
How are Myotomes and Dermatomes used to Assess Nerve Damage?
When a doctor tests for nerve root damage in a patient, he or she will often test the myotomes or dermatomes for the nerves assigned to that location. A dermatome is examined for abnormal sensation, such as hypersensitivity or lack of sensitivity.
This is done by using stimulus inducing tools such as a pen, paper clip, pinwheel, fingernails, cotton ball, or pads of the fingers. The patient is instructed to provide feedback regarding their response. Some of the abnormal sensation responses include:
A myotome is tested for nerve damage in the muscles which presents as muscle weakness. This grading scale, which assigns a rating to the degree of muscle weakness, is often used:
5 – Normal – Complete range of motion against gravity with full resistance
4 – Good – Complete range of motion against gravity with some resistance
3 – Fair – Complete range of motion against gravity with no resistance, active ROM
2 – Poor – Complete range of motion with some assistance and gravity eliminated
1 – Trace – Evidence of slight muscular contraction, no joint motion evident
0 – Zero – No evidence of muscle contraction
During a typical chiropractic exam, your chiropractor will assess both dermatomes and myotomes for potential neurological problems. This gives them additional insight on how to treat your condition, whether it’s related to a subluxation of vertebral bodies or other, other disease processes.
If you’ve been experiencing lower back pain and can’t seem to pinpoint the cause, try looking down – at your feet. What kind of shoes are you wearing? Your shoes can have a tremendous effect on your spine, causing back pain. While this is traditionally considered to be a “female issue,” some men’s shoe styles are unsafe as well. Take a look at the most common culprits and find out how you can be safely shod.
The Truth About High Heels
Wearing high heels puts your body in a position that is very similar to walking on a ramp. It causes your calf muscles to stay in a constantly flexed position and increases fatigue throughout the lower body. What’s worse, though, is that high heels cause your entire posture to change, they:
Thrust your chest forward
Push your lower back forward
Tilt your pelvis up so the spine and hips are out of alignment
Put excessive pressure on the knees
Tendons get thicker and calf muscles get shorter
Shift your weight to the balls of your feet with increased downward force pressure
Extended regular wear can actually cause your anatomy to change
Wearing high heels for even a few hours can cause lower back pain. Wearing them regularly can have a detrimental effect on your body. This does not take into account the increased risk of falls and twisted ankles.
Why Flip Flops are a Flop
Flip flops are a popular summer shoe. They are easy to slip on and take off, they’re cool and fairly comfortable. Most even stand up to getting wet without damage. However, you may be sacrificing your safety and spine health for choosing these easy to wear shoes.
The biggest problem is, they do not offer any ankle or foot support – none at all. The cushioning is minimal at best and they aren’t really secure on your foot. All of this leaves you vulnerable to trips and falls – a leading cause of injury and death in the United States. It also leaves you vulnerable to back pain and spinal injury.
There are several problems with wearing flip-flops, especially on a regular basis:
You have to unnaturally shorten your stride
You have to curl or pinch your toes to keep your shoes on while you walk
Your foot contacts the ground in an unnatural way that causes your leg to rotate slightly
All of these things put pressure on your spine, causing unusual strain on your hips, knees, feet, and lower back. It can cause muscular pain and strain, but it can also cause misalignment of your spine.
So, are Flat Shoes Better?
When compared to high heels, flat shoes are much better, especially when it comes to posture. Flats keep your spine pretty straight and your calf muscles are relaxed. They also help to distribute your body weight more evenly through your whole foot as opposed to pushing it to the balls of the feet. However, not all flat shoes are created equal. For instance, flip flops are flat, but we know that they are bad for your body, so be careful when choosing your flat footwear.
When you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, whether you are going on a long trip or your job requires you to drive around town all day, it can be a real pain – in the back. Many car seats may be comfortable for short rides, but they are not built to support the back on the long hauls. However, there are some things that you can do to offset a non-back friendly seat design and alleviate, or even prevent, back pain while driving.
Create a Comfortable Space
Before you settle in behind the wheel, you want to make sure that you are comfortable. Keeping things like your wallet and cellphone in your pocket may be convenient when you are moving about, but can be an irritant when you are sitting on them mile after mile. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Any discomfort can put stress on your body so even if it is not necessarily pain related, it can exacerbate pain as your body’s sensitivity heightens in response to the pressure.
Adjust your seat so that you are comfortable, but sitting reasonably upright. If you recline, it could put stress on your neck and upper back, causing pain. Your seat should also be high enough so that you can place your feet flat on the floor – at least for a while (you can do this while driving if you have cruise control). There should be a slight bend in your elbows as you reach for the steering wheel and you should not have to stretch to reach the pedals. Make sure that your mirrors are adjusted so that you don’t have to bend or crane your neck to get good visibility.
Put Together a Healthy Back Kit
Bring along some things to help keep your back comfortable and pain-free – even if you’ve never experienced back pain while driving. There is always a first time. Some of the items you might want to bring along include:
A towel that you can roll up and place behind the small of your back
A lumbar support pillow
A cold or hot pack
Something for pain relief
A cushion for your car seat to absorb the vibration
Water (so you can stay hydrated)
Essential Oil like lavender or peppermint (put a few drops in a carrier oil and apply to the sore areas)
Take Breaks and Move a Little
Driving straight through without any breaks is never a good idea. It can make you more tired, stiff and sore – and less alert on the road. Instead, take breaks to get out of the car, walk around, and stretch. When you move, you stimulate your circulation which brings oxygen and vital nutrients to your muscles. You’ll feel better, be more alert, and will be less likely to experience back pain.
Stopping every hour or so will help considerably with alleviating back pain. It doesn’t have to be a big production, walk around for a few minutes, stretch your neck, shoulders, and back, then get back on the road. In between stops you can move your ankles up and down or rotate them to increase circulation to the lower leg. You should also adjust your position or your seat about every 20 minutes. Even these slight movements can help keep the blood flowing which will prevent your muscles from getting stiff and sore.
Regular chiropractic care, as well as a consistent exercise routine, can help prevent back pain in many situations, including while driving. Your chiropractor can also recommend some back strengthening exercises and stretches that will help make your spine even healthier.
Are you struggling with your symptoms of MS on a regular basis? Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease where the human body’s own immune system attacks the fatty myelin coating which surrounds and insulates nerve cells, a process called demyelination. Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include fatigue, muscle spasms, walking problems, and tingling sensations and numbness.
According to various research studies, improved strength, flexibility, and mobility from participating in physical activities and exercises help decrease the risk of bone fractures and other ailments in people with MS. One research study also indicates that improper nutrition and a lack of physical activity and exercise are the most frequent risk factors for people with multiple sclerosis.
Another research study on the benefits of exercise for multiple sclerosis was printed by researchers from the University of Utah in 1996. The participants of the research study developed a more positive mindset, increased their strength, flexibility, and mobility, experienced less fatigue, improved their bowel, bladder, and cardiovascular function, and developed fewer symptoms of depression.
Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis
A fitness program ought to be designed under medical supervision and may be adjusted as MS symptoms change. Patients with MS should engage in physical activities and exercises several times each week and avoid workouts for extended periods of time. Patients with MS can still do tasks around the home. Examples of everyday tasks include cooking, gardening, and other household tasks.
Exercises that can help manage MS symptoms include:
Yoga. This type of physical activity/exercise features becoming aware of your breathing to help relax your body and mind. Benefits of yoga include enhancing the human body’s alignment, improving your own balance. Yoga also teaches you relaxing techniques, like meditation, which you could use during a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI scan, or receiving an injection.
Tai Chi. This Chinese martial art teaches you how to breathe, relax and slow down your movements. Furthermore, Tai Chi can also help improves your balance, further helping to manage and support muscle tone, as well as help relieves stress.
Water exercises. Physical activities/exercises performed in water require less effort. This helps people with MS move in ways that they would otherwise not be able to perform properly. Benefits of water exercises include muscle relaxation, enhanced flexibility, better movement, improved strength, and reduced pain. These concentrate on improving aerobic resistance.
Healthcare professional used to recommend that people with MS avoid exercise entirely for fear of aggravating their symptoms. Now, evidence indicates that regular exercise not only improves quality of life for people with MS, but it might also help alleviate symptoms and decrease the risk of complications in the future. Exercise can be beneficial for anyone, even for people with multiple sclerosis.
According to many healthcare professionals, physical activity and exercise are one of the most essential elements of treatment for multiple sclerosis or MS. While many patients with MS often avoid exercise, thinking it will aggravate their symptoms, research studies have demonstrated that exercise can actually help improve symptoms. As described in the following article, physical activity can help improve strength, mobility, and flexibility. Furthermore, physical activity can have various other health benefits for MS, including improved bowel and bladder function as well as enhanced mood and decreased fatigue. Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
Getting Started with Exercise for MS
Kathleen Costello, a nurse practitioner and associate vice president of medical care for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, recommends seeking the support of a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor or physical therapist, to determine which physical activities or exercises would be beneficial for patients with MS. Benefits of exercise for multiple sclerosis include:
Various kinds of physical activities and exercise can improve fatigue. This is a frequent complaint among individuals with MS. A research study on yoga for people with MS discovered that yoga is as superior as other kinds of exercise in lowering fatigue. Another research study discovered that eight months of water exercise decreased fatigue and improved quality of life in women with MS.
Moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, dancing, or bicycling, has been shown in several research studies to enhance mood in people who are depressed. One research study discovered that the benefits also apply to adults with neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis, especially when physical activity guidelines are met. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes, or 2 hours and 30 minutes, of moderate-intensity physical activities or exercises each week, in addition to including at least two workout routines involving muscle strengthening exercises for MS.
Better Bladder Control
Among the research studies on the benefits of exercise in people with MS, one review found that 15 months of aerobic exercise helped to enhance bowel and bladder function in people with MS. A small pilot research study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2014 discovered that a yoga program also afforded better bladder control among individuals with MS.
Weight-bearing physical activities and exercise, such as walking, running, or using an elliptical machine, can help strengthen bones and may protect against osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that raises the possibility of fracturing bones. A lot of people with MS, or multiple sclerosis, are at risk of developing osteoporosis due to a combination of factors, including:
Low blood levels of vitamin D, the nutritional supplement that works with calcium to protect bone health
A history of taking corticosteroids, drugs used to treat MS flares that can lead to low calcium levels in the bloodstream
Mobility difficulties, which might make a person least likely to engage in different forms of exercise
Low body weight
At the same time, people with MS occasionally have balance conditions which make them more vulnerable to falling, a significant cause of broken bones. Finding a means to take part in exercises and physical activities which can help strengthen the bones is therefore important for preserving bone density and helping to prevent fractures, especially in people diagnosed with MS.
If symptoms of MS result in decreased physical activity or exercise, among one of the consequences, may include weight gain, which can make it even harder for you to get around. The use of corticosteroids can also lead to weight gain. Engaging in physical activities or exercise can help slow down or stop weight gain. Regular exercise can also benefit people who are underweight. Along with other benefits described above, physical activity or exercise may also increase appetite in people who are underweight.
For a lot of people, MS means changes in the physical activities or exercises they can perform and in how they will be able to execute them, however, it doesn’t imply that their lifestyle will come to a standstill. Work with your healthcare professional to discover the actions that suit you best and the assistive devices that could keep you moving with MS. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal health issues. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex JimenezR
Additional Topic Discussion: Acute Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain attributes to the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. The spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.
The lumbar spine, or lower back, takes a lot of stress and strain throughout the day. The spine provides stabilization for the entire body, and the lumbar spine bears the brunt of much of the movement and activity. This wear and tear show up as lower back pain in many people. The American Chiropractic Association estimates that 31 million Americans have low back pain at some point in their lives. The leading cause of disability is low back pain – not only in the U.S. but worldwide.
What is the Lumbar Spine?
Located in the lower back area, the lumbar region is the portion of the spine that begins below the shoulder blades, about five or six inches, at the lordosis (where it curves in toward the abdomen). Five vertebrae make up the lumbar spine, L1 through L5 – which also happen to be the largest unfused vertebrae in the entire spinal column. The lower vertebrae bear more weight than the upper vertebrae, so they are constructed to be sturdier, but are also more prone to injury and degradation.
The L5 vertebra meets the S1 (the sacrum) at the lumbosacral joint. It is this joint that provides most of the range of motion including rotational flexibility of the hips and pelvis, allowing them to swing during movement such as running and walking.
The spinal cord ends at around the L1 and many nerve roots that originate at the spinal cord form what is called the cauda equine. These nerves travel down the spine, branching out to the legs, buttocks, and feet. The appearance resembles a horse’s tail, hence the name. Because the spinal cord does not extend into the lumbar area, the chance of a problem with the lower back resulting in paralysis or damage to the spinal cord is very rare.
Lower Back Pain
The most common causes of lower back pain are soft tissue injuries and mechanical problems. Either of these can damage the intervertebral discs, compress the nerve roots, and inhibit the correct function of the spinal joints so that they don’t move properly. Lower back pain is most commonly caused by a pulled or torn muscle or ligament, known as a sprain or strain. These injuries can have some causes, including:
Prolonged improper posture
Improper lifting of something heavy (without using your legs)
Sports injuries, particularly those where the player sustains high impact or where a lot of twisting is involved
Lifting while twisting the spine
A fall or movement that occurs suddenly and puts a great deal of stress on the lumbar area
Chiropractic Care for the Lumbar Spine
Chiropractic care is a prevalent, effective treatment for lower back pain. A chiropractor can help patients manage their back pain through spinal adjustments and lifestyle advice. They may recommend supplements, exercise, and dietary changes. The whole-body approach to chiropractic makes it an optimal choice for many people, especially those who don’t want to take medications or undergo invasive procedures.
The chiropractic treatment itself usually involves spinal manipulation and mobilization. Spinal manipulation is the technique that most people think of when they think of chiropractic. It of a short lever, high-velocity arm thrust applied directly to the vertebra that is injured or is causing the pain. This technique typically relieves pain, improves the function of the spine, and restores the back’s range of motion. Mobilization is a low-velocity movement performed by the chiropractor to manipulate the area, stretching and moving the joints and muscles.
These techniques typically restore range of motion and flexibility to the spine while reducing pain. For people with chronic lower back pain, chiropractic care can be a game changer.
Back pain can be debilitating. A patient can find they have trouble moving or engaging in regular activities like lifting their children or even walking. Pain in the mid to upper back can be caused by a variety of issues, and it can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Many people see chiropractors to get relief from their back pain, but there are some things that chiropractic patients should know so that they can get the most out of their treatments.
What is the Thoracic Spine?
Twelve vertebrae make up the thoracic spine which is located just above the lumbar spine and just below the cervical spine. It is often referred to as the upper back. This part of the spine has several essential functions. The ribs connect with this portion of the spine, and it also is responsible for protecting the spinal cord.
The thoracic spine also differs from the lumbar spine and cervical spine. Instead of curving inward (lordosis) as those areas do, it curves outward (kyphosis). This provides the freedom of movement that allows a person to bend forward and touch their toes. It does not allow for much bending backward; that typically comes from the lower back.
Many nerves extend from the thoracic spine. They control organ function for the major organs, including:
T1 to T4
Upper body muscles
Part of the arms
T5 to T10
T11 to T12
Mid to upper body muscles
Mid to Upper Back Pain
Pain in the thoracic area of the spine is often caused by muscle strain, overuse, and injury to the discs, ligaments, and muscles that surround the spine and support it. Poor posture can also cause pain in that area. It is also very common for myofascial pain to affect the connective tissue of` muscle groups and individual muscles. These problems can occur due to a variety of causes:
Slouching or slumping while standing or sitting
Getting in a car accident where the patient is lurched forward or jolted
Lifting something that is too heavy
Getting struck or hit in the back
Osteoarthritis can also occur in this area. It is caused by torn cartilage brought about by the everyday wear and teas and even the simple process of aging. Fractured vertebrae can also cause back pain in the thoracic area, as can a herniated disc, and a spine that is oddly shaped or misshapen. Degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis can also be culprits.
Chiropractic Care for the Thoracic Spine
The goal of the chiropractor treating a patient for thoracic back pain will usually focus on reducing the pain and inflammation in the area. The treatments may include:
Specialized exercise recommendations
Heat or ice
The chiropractor may also recommend nutritional supplements like proteolytic enzymes to aid in managing the swelling and pain that may be caused by disc herniation and some other back injuries. They may also recommend dietary changes or weight loss to help the patient manage their pain.
Chiropractic is a safe, effective, non-invasive treatment for mid to upper back pain. Many patients experience results immediately which is another draw for people. Most patients with back problems will be advised to maintain regular chiropractic visits to manage the pain and keep it at bay effectively.