I’ve been Diagnosed with a bulging Disc in My Back. Can Chiropractic help me???

So, you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc in your lower back and you have been told you need to have surgery or you could end up in a wheel chair for the rest of your life if you don’t have surgery.  I have heard this line many times from my patients.   

A bulging disc is a common finding on an MRI exam and most times you are not even aware you have a bulging disc.  A bulging disc is something you do not want to ignore because it can become a very serious problem.  Let’s look at what a disc is, where they are found, what can cause a bulging disc, why it can lead to significant problems and how to avoid surgery.

Disc are found between your vertebra (Spinal bones) at each level of the spine and the disc allow the spine to move.   Disc are very strong, pliable and durable; however, they can wear out and break down with over use.  Activities such as repetitive bending, lifting, twisting, carrying and even prolong sitting can weaken the structures of a disc so that the outer edges of the disc begin to stretch and bulge outward.   A disc does not have a nerve supply, it is like your finger nails or your hair.  You don’t feel pain when you cut your finger nails or your hair.  You only know your disc is bulging when the bulge is pressing on a spinal nerve.

A bulging disc can be pushed back into place allowing the anulus (outer ring) of the disc the opportunity heal.  A well placed and proper chiropractic adjustment can move the disc back into place allowing the disc to properly heal.

If a bulging disc is allowed to persist and is not treated it can cause sciatica and over time will break down, deform and can eventually herniate.  If it herniates chiropractic treatments are a good starting point to help return normal function to your spine.  If the disc is too far-gone surgery may be your only option.   Waiting is not a good option.

If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc or you are having back pain and would like relief, click on the link below for an appointment or call my office Monday thru Friday 8am to 6pm. 

Can You Help Me With My Shoulder Pain??

I walked into my exam room and sat down to do a consultation with a prospective patient.   He told he had a shoulder problem a long time and the medication wasn’t helping anymore and he heard chiropractic could help with his shoulder.

He began to tell me “I have been getting a lot of pain around the back of my shoulder.  I can not sleep on it at night because it hurts too much.  It hurts to raise my arm above my shoulder and it is tending toward getting worse as I get older.  I am getting pain when I turn my head to the right or look up.”  He wanted to know how it was related to his spine and how chiropractic could help him.

I explained to him that every part of the body is controlled by the nerves that travel from the brain through the spinal column to every organ and muscle of the body.  Any pressure or irritation to the nerve is going to cause dysfunction or pain.  The nerves from the neck and upper back control the shoulder girdle, arms and hands.  If there is pain going on in the neck or upper back there is a good chance the shoulders and arms are going to be affected. 

This is usually a neck or upper back related condition.  I have seen patients with this condition many times and always have good success with these patients.  There is the occasional patient that will have a torn rotator cuff that is caught during orthopedic checks.  These patients I will refer to an orthopedic doctor for further evaluation to determine if the tear is bad enough that surgery is required.   If you are having a shoulder condition and need help or an evaluation, call my office or click on the link to schedule an appointment.

My Tailbone Hurts

Are you having pain below the belt line and it hurts when you are sitting or lying down?  Do you sometimes have an aching buttock pain that radiates into the hips or the groin area?  You most likely are experiencing sacral pain, coccyx pain, or S.I. joint pain.  Most people experience lower back pain that is found above or at the belt line but others experience pain below the belt line and lower.  Most doctors are not adept at dealing with that area because it is not associated with the more frequent lumbar disc-related conditions.  There are many causes of sacral pelvic pain, they include slips, falls, pregnancy, delivery, short leg, flat feet, and sitting on uneven surfaces.  Let’s look at the anatomy of the pelvis and how it functions and how the chiropractic profession has successfully treated these conditions with great success over the years.

The pelvis is made up of 4 bones, the two-ilium bones found on either side of the sacrum that we commonly refer to as the hips. The large bone between the ilium called the sacrum and attached to the tailbone is the coccyx that is commonly referred to as the tailbone.  The ilium articulates with the sacrum and the sacrum articulates with the 5th lumbar vertebrae and the 1st coccyx bone.  A bad slip or fall onto your buttock can cause a misalignment of these articulating joints causing chronic pain and inflammation and mimic sciatic pain.  Many times, surgery will be performed on the Lumbar region without any relief of buttock or sciatic symptoms.   

The X-ray below reveals a misaligned right ilium from a traumatic injury.  Also note how the spine is tilting to the right causing a subluxation at L4.  If these misalignments are not corrected the body will fixate and heal into this abnormal position resulting in wear and tear of the misaligned joints and inflammation of the surrounding nerves.  Organs that are supplied by those nerves will suffer and not function at their optimal levels.

No surgery stretching or strengthening of the soft tissue involved in this condition is going to correct the cause of the problem.  I have successfully treated these conditions for years.  If you or someone you know has been suffering from this problem, you can click on this link or call my office to schedule an appointment.   

Should I see a Chiropractor or go to Physical Therapy???

A patient case scenario “My back has been hurting for the past 6 months and getting worse so I decided to see my medical doctor for help.  After telling my doctor about my lower back and how it has been hurting, he gave me a prescription for anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers, and a prescription for physical therapy.   I asked about going to a chiropractor, and he told me he didn’t know anything about chiropractic and I could try it if I wanted to but to be careful”.

This is a very common scenario because most people and medical doctors don’t know what a chiropractor treats.  Most people think that chiropractors treat back and neck pain which is just a symptom of what it is they treat.  A chiropractor treats a condition called a Subluxation.  A subluxation is a misalignment of a vertebra or combination of vertebrae in the spine that leads to nerve irritation which can cause a whole host of unwanted symptoms like back and neck pain.   Any joint in the body can subluxate and can be treated by a proficient chiropractor.  The sacrum/tailbone or ilium/hipbone are common nonspinal bones that can be subluxated and cause lower back and sciatic pain.  Many back surgeries that have an unsuccessful outcome are because the problem lies in the sacrum or sacral iliac joint and not in the spine.

Physical therapist treats back and neck problems and a host of other physical conditions.  Their goal is to rehabilitate the soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons) of the body that are responsible for moving the joint and supporting the joint.  Physical therapy plays in important part in helping patients recover from soft tissue injuries and surgeries.  All chiropractors are also Doctors of Physiotherapy which provide the same function as physical therapy type work.  Most state insurance regulations do not allow chiropractors to bill for Physiotherapy so they do not practice physiotherapy which is an unfair practice.  If the spine is out of alignment (subluxated) it must be put back into alignment to correct the cause of the condition.  If the subluxation is not corrected the condition will persist.  No stretching, strengthening, medication, or surgery is going to correct a subluxation.

If you are having back pain don’t expect your medical doctor to refer you to a chiropractor.  You don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor.  Start with a chiropractor first and get your spine checked.  If it is not a misalignment problem your chiropractor will refer you to a Physical Therapist.   If you are having persistent back or neck problem click on the link or call my office to get your spine checked.

I have Arthritis in my Spine What Can I do?

A caller, called my office last week stating that he had been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine and was prescribed medication for the pain.  He did not want to take the medications because he was concerned about the damage from long-term use of NSAIDs can have on the stomach, kidneys, and liver.  He wanted to know if chiropractic could help with his condition or if there was something natural he could take for the pain that would not cause side effects.  I have had many patients ask what is arthritis and what causes arthritis and if chiropractic can help with it. 

The word “Arthritis” comes from the Greek and Latin language, “artho” meaning joint and “itis” meaning inflammation of the ______.  Combine the two words and it means joint inflammation. A joint is where two bones meet together.  The joint is usually separated by cartilage (disc) and held together by ligaments and fibers.  The cartilage between the joints is very tough and durable and does not break down because of age.  It breaks down because of trauma, overuse, or abuse of the joint.  If you are over the age of 40 and you come into the doctor’s office complaining of lower back or neck pain, stiffness, loss of flexibility in the spine, or inability to straighten your back or turn your neck, you will be diagnosed with arthritis.  Arthritis of the spine will be accompanied by swelling and tenderness over the affected vertebrae, a feeling of grinding when moving the spine, and pain or numbness in your arms or legs if the nerves are affected.  Headaches are typical with arthritis in the neck.  

 

As the cartilage (disc) between the joints slowly breaks down, it leads to inflammation and pain. Because the pain is from mechanical damage, it will be more noticeable when bending or twisting your back. Past back injuries also contribute to degenerative arthritis of the spine. Degeneration of the disc contributes to spinal facet joint arthritis. As discs between the vertebrae become thinner, more mechanical pressure is transferred to the facet joints. This leads to more friction and more damage to the cartilage.

Degenerative changes that occur in the neck are referred to as cervical spondylosis.

Loss of range of motion in the joints accelerates the progression of arthritis and pain in the spine.  The first goal of chiropractic treatments in this case is to begin to increase range of motion and increase function of the effected joints.   This will increase blood flow to the effect areas promoting healing and reducing inflammation.   Regular and persistent chiropractic treatments can be very effective in helping restore normal function and health back to the spine.  If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine or spinal stenosis and would like to know if chiropractic can help you, click on the link below or call my office.

The Effects of Alcohol On Your Spine

Have you considered the effects of Alcohol on your Spine

About ten years ago drinking red wine was considered a good healthy benefit because of a compound discovered in it called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been found to have many cardiovascular benefits as well as longevity effects. However, years later the authors of the study stated that resveratrol is very beneficial for your health but alcohol was not and resveratrol should be taken in supplement form and not from drinking wine. In other words, drinking a glass of red wine once a day was more detrimental to your health than getting the resveratrol from a glass of wine.

It is well known that daily consumption of alcohol in large or small quantities is detrimental to the health of your liver, blood vessels and kidneys but very few are aware of its devastating effects on your bones and joints. Alcohol is very acidic and the body(blood) has a certain pH level that it must maintain or you could go into a state of hyper-acidosis leading to organ damage (kidneys) and other nefarious conditions.

The body is smart so to prevent damage to the organs it will take calcium from the bone and blood to neutralize the acid and restore normal pH levels. What researches have also found is alcohol in the blood stream kills a very important cell in the bone called an osteoblast that are responsible for making new bone. Bone is not static. Your body is always removing old bone (osteoclast cells) and making new bone (osteoblast cells). When this process is interrupted the bone begins to become brittle (osteopenia) and become deformed and loses their strength. Deformities around the joint lead to arthritis and degenerative disc, degenerative joint disease. If you are experiencing stiffness or tightness or soreness first thing in the morning getting out of bed it is a sure sign of arthritis.

I experienced my first case of a daily wine drinker coming to me for back pain during my first year into practice.   He was an active gentleman in his early sixties who appeared to be very healthy.  His x-rays revealed a spine of an 80-year-old man.  I was shocked at what I saw.  I received 2 years of radiology studies and pathology studies while in chiropractic college and was never told of alcohol consumption causing this type of condition.  I asked him about his food consumption and he told me he would have a glass of wine or two each night for dinner. I began to ask my patients about diet and began to see a direct correlation with their bone health and flexibility.

Today the orthopedic industry is seeing a significant increase in joint replacement surgeries. Arthritis is not a disease of old age it is a nutritional deficiency induced disease that can be halted and improved with a healthy diet and the use of properly recommended supplements. Chiropractic is very helpful in restoring mobility and proper function to arthritic joints. If you are feeling the effects of arthritis and need help getting your health back click on this link or call my office.

If you have been faced with Spine issues and are looking for some resolution, please contact us by calling our office at 401-433-3600 or schedule a new patient exam appointment online.  

Why it is Important to Stick to Your Prescribed Treatment Plan

Look For a Successful Out Come?

treatment plan is a detailed plan tailored to the individual needs and objectives of the patient.  While the contents of the treatment plan may not be what the patient had envisioned, it is what the patient needs.

Chiropractic has been around and practiced for 125 years. Out of those years of clinical experience and studies, it has been objectively proven that when a treatment plan is developed and followed as prescribed, the patient’s outcome is significantly better.

A treatment plan is developed from the doctor’s findings obtained during your consultation, exam and analysis of your x-rays.   The doctor will also consider other factors when determining the number of treatments you will need.  These will include your age, how long your condition has persisted, the severity of the symptoms and your overall health.  Your outcome will be directly related to your adherence of your prescribed treatment plan.

 

A treatment plan is broken up into phases with notable milestones that build off of each other to obtain your stated objectives.  Your stated objectives are determined during your initial consultation with your doctor.  The first phase is referred to as the Relief Phase of Care in which the goal is to control, minimize or relieve the symptoms. Depending on how serve your condition is and the soft tissue involved, you can be treated every day or every other day until your condition normalizes.  This can be as short as one week or as long as 6 to 8 weeks.  Most patients experience steady improvement during this initial phase of care. In some cases, the condition may temporarily get worse before it gets better.  Patience and persistence will be key to a successfully outcome.  Your doctor may prescribe other modalities to help relieve symptoms, reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process.  Some cases may require removal from work, limiting activities and bed rest for several days.

 

The second phase is the Healing and Correction Phase.  The pain and inflammation that motivated you to see the doctor must be reduced and under control before healing of soft tissue and correction of the misalignment in the spine begins.  Soft tissue is what holds the vertebra of the spine in place.  Injuries or over-use causes it to break down and results in inflammation, spasms, misalignment and neuritis.    Soft tissue of the spine consists of ligaments, tendons, discs, nerves and muscles.  Soft tissues of the spine take 90 to 120 days to fully heal.  The objective of the Healing and Corrective Phase as prescribed is to continue with the healing of the spinal soft tissue, prevent re-occurrence of symptoms and the correction of spinal misalignment.  The goal of this phase is to continue the healing process and prevent a relapse.    Stopping your treatment plan once the pain is gone generally leads to re-occurrences of the condition.  Skipping and missing treatments reduce the effectiveness of the treatments and limits or prevents a successful outcome.

 

The final phase of your prescribed treatment plan (Strengthen and Correction Phase) is designed to continue the correction of misalignment and strengthen the soft tissue of the spine to prevent the re-occurrences of flare ups.  Propper strengthening and stretching exercises will be prescribed to help to restore normal ranges of motion and strengthen the soft tissues of the spine.

 

It is important for you to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy spine.  Spinal pain will limit all phases of your life if you let it.  Please understand that a treatment plan is not developed based on what your health insurance will cover or your schedule.  It is based on what you need to be well again.

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