The majority of people will suffer from lower back pain at least once in their lifetime. However, in most cases, the condition will improve with self-care practices such as taking pain relievers, heat and cold therapy, and other pain relief exercises. Occasionally, it becomes difficult to treat, which warrants the need to look for other effective solutions. Here is where spinal manipulation comes in.
What is spinal manipulation?
It is a technique mainly used by chiropractors to relieve lower back pain and improve body functions such as mobility. Spinal manipulation utilizes the use of exercises, massage, and physical therapy to realign the spine and other adjacent muscles and joints. It is thought to work better in conjunction with other conventional treatments such as medication and applying heat to affected areas.
How does spinal manipulation work?
Low back pains emanate from either underlying chronic conditions or mild irritation. Depending on the severity of the low back pain, your doctor may recommend additional chiropractic care intervention.
Your chiropractor will use specific methods to offset pressure from the spine and other joints. Spinal adjustment uses the power of skilled and well-trained hands or a special device controlled by a chiropractor. Prior to treatment, the chiropractor examines your spinal condition to make an informed decision on the best technique for you.
The careful and controlled force used on the spine ranges anywhere from strong to gentle or from rapid to slow. If other joints and muscles are partly the reason for the pain, the chiropractor will look into them.
How well does spinal adjustment work on the lower back pain?
More health practitioners are recommending additional chiropractic care as a treatment option for lower back pain. Its effectiveness seems to work over a few therapy sessions depending on the severity of low back pain. As earlier mentioned, there is no harm in supplementing chiropractic care with other pain relief methods such as intake of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Besides the practical adjustment of the spine, your chiropractor will offer additional guidelines for reducing lower back pain. A chiropractor is licensed to give advice on recommended stretching exercises that can sooth the lower back pain. A chiropractor could also guide you through dietary guidelines that should help improve your quality of life through maintaining healthy weights.
Are there risks?
Spinal manipulation is a delicate medical practice that should always be performed by a trained health care provider.
If handled by a qualified and skilled practitioner, chiropractic techniques should work towards relieving your lower back pain. Spinal adjustments aren’t recommended for patients with bone conditions such as osteoporosis. Your doctor will help determine if you are the right candidate for spinal manipulation therapy sessions.
This piece details the ins and outs of the spinal manipulation therapy and how it manages lower back pain. As more research continues to identify the effectiveness and risks attached to the technique, many conclude that chiropractic care indeed reduces low back pain.
According to recent research, every year more than 22 million Americans head to the chiropractor seeking pain relief.
A full 35 percent of patients arrive after experiencing some type of trauma, whether from an auto accident, a sprain or a sports injury. Perhaps this is because these athletes know what the other 65 percent have yet to discover – chiropractic really does work as both a preventative aid and treatment for running injuries.
To this point, results from a recent research study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that chiropractic treatment outperformed conventional injury treatment both to prevent and to heal sports injuries.
In this article, we take a closer look at chiropractic for runners from both a preventative and intervention viewpoint. Can chiropractic help prevent running injuries and provide faster healing times after a running trauma? Let’s find out!
Chiropractic Treatment for Hip Stress Due to Running
The hip joint is not just the biggest joint in the human body but designed to be one of the most stable. Running can place tremendous stress on the hip joints and running with imbalances in the pelvis and hips can worsen this stress.
The result is often tight hip joints and sore muscles that over time can lead to strains and sprains and chronic pain.
One study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine found that chiropractic treatment not only improved hip extension but also overall running speed and performance times.
In addition to traditional chiropractic treatment, Chiropractic News reported that patients who performed a series of prescribed hip extension exercises given by their chiropractor experienced additional improvements in overall running performance and some additional increase in running times.
Chiropractic Treatment for Runners Knee
According to health expert Dr. Josh Axe, runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is perhaps the most common of all the frequently-reported running injuries experienced by joggers and runners today. Statistics show that at least one in every 10 patients who visit a sports clinic do so in search of treatment for knee pain.
Runner’s knee may feel like it arises from and is caused by the knee joint itself, but in truth evidence points to other external factors as equally plausible causes for knee pain and problems.
For example, poor alignment while running, imbalances in muscle tone, wearing the wrong shoes, running on sub-optimal surfaces and lack of proper pre- and post-workout stretches can all contribute to the development and worsening of runner’s knee.
Chiropractic care and other non-surgical interventions are known to be restorative in an estimated two-thirds of patients complaining of runner’s knee. Postural alignments provided during chiropractic treatment can be particularly vital in correcting imbalances in surrounding joints (hip, ankle, pelvis) as well as the knee joint itself.
Chiropractors experienced in treating athletes may also prescribe specific stretching exercises as well as balancing shoe inserts that can continue the corrective healing process in between runs.
Chiropractic Treatment for IT Band Injuries Due to Running
IT band syndrome, or Iliotibial Band Syndrome, is one of the most dreaded (and the second most common) injuries a runner can sustain. The pain can be severe and rehabilitation painstaking – all the more so because many runners do not recognize their pain as ITBS at first.
One study in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine reported that chiropractic treatment can be helpful when combined with trigger point therapy as well as rest and IT band stretches as may be appropriate.
The study also emphasized that, as IT band therapy and recovery progresses, runners must be cautious not to skimp on stretches both pre- and post-run.
Chiropractic Treatment for Deep Muscle Adhesions Due to Running
One of the most important aspects of seeking chiropractic care for a running injury as well as for preventative care is to match the right type of chiropractic treatment with the patient’s needs.
U.S. News and World Report pointed out that different types of chiropractic treatment that may be appropriate for runners with different types of mobility or injury issues.
For example, Active Release Technique, or ART, is one form of chiropractic care that may be especially beneficial for runners suffering from deep adhesions inside the muscles. The treatment seeks to release deep tension by applying deep tension while moving the affected joint appropriately.
Chiropractic Treatment for ACL Injuries Due to Running
ACL injuries are near-universally feared within the running community. Any type of rupture or tear to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, used to be viewed as a fast-track to corrective surgery.
Surgery is sometimes still needed for serious ACL injuries, especially because this area of the body is so complex to treat. However, today the approach to treating ACL injuries is shifting with an emphasis on early introduction of rehabilitation for improved recovery.
In one research study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), active release therapy (ART) is one form of chiropractic care that is recommended for treating post-operative ACL injuries.
Another research study published by the Journal of Osteopathic Chiropractic reported that chiropractic treatment is routine prescribed to treat injuries in world-class ice hockey players – a relevant study since many injuries are similar between runners and ice hockey athletes, including ACL rupture.
Chiropractic Treatment for Hamstring Pain Caused by Running
Hamstring and gluteal pain is another common and often chronic injury that is particularly prevalent among long distance runners. The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine reported on the results of a research study treating three female long distance runners who presented with high hamstring tendinopathy.
All three patients received both chiropractic treatment and personalized stretching and therapeutic exercises in the course of their treatment, which consisted of 13 consecutive treatment sessions. With this combination treatment approach, all three runners were able to make a successful recovery with only minimal time off from training for recovery.
Chiropractic Treatment for Hip Snapping Caused by Running
A Study published by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported on the successful rehabilitation of a marathon runner who experience chronic internal hip “popping” while running.
The treatment proposed was a dual approach that included twice-weekly chiropractic manipulation as well as myofascial release therapy for the psoas muscle. The patient also received instruction in a personalized series of therapeutic exercises to address issues in the IT band and psoas.
Even though the patient had been unable to run for the three weeks prior to treatment, at three weeks after his two-week treatment period, the patient was able to run again with no hip “popping” symptoms.
There is no doubt that running, while highly enjoyable and an excellent form of exercise, can also be hard on the physical body, its joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. As these research studies demonstrate, chiropractic treatment can represent an important component of physical care for both hobbyists and serious competitive athletes who specialize in different types of running.
As you can see, there are many good reasons why so many top athletes and sports teams from around the world rely on chiropractic care as part of their preventative care as well as treatment for common sports injuries ranging from tendonitis to back and neck pain.
Chiropractic care can support proper posture and alignment as a preventative agent while also intervening in specialized ways to address and correct sprains, strains and injuries incurred during running. Chiropractic patients often experience reduced down time and recovery time after running injuries.
Ergonomic principles can help improve your work efficiency and overall physical wellbeing. Workplace ergonomics deal with identifying workplace factors that can be negatively attributed to our health. This can include posture, desk, chair, and laptop position, as well as neck pain and back pain. We like to think that if you follow basic ergonomic principles below, you’ll start feeling significantly better. We’ve all been through those dog days at work where we come home with a sore back and eyes.
Well, we’re here to help eliminate, or at least help alleviate those issues for you.
In the following, we’ll tackle specific ergonomic principles that can be used to improve your health during your time at the office.
Posture is paramount. We mean it. It’s significantly important to keep a neutral posture when sitting or standing. This can help reduce the amount of stress you place on your joints and muscles. By keeping your joints aligned, you overall just feel better. Proper posture promotes maximum your muscles, tendons, and nerves to perform at peak levels. You don’t want to have an awkward posture while sitting at your desk. This includes extreme ranges of excessive motion. You also don’t want to be hunched over at all. You want your back to feel straight and comfortable. A lot of lower back pain comes from poor body posture at the office.
Poor lighting can contribute to eye stress. It can also overall affect your sense of comfort, which can decrease your ability to adequately perform at work. Too much, too little, or even the wrong lighting can make your work difficult. If you want to minimize eye stress and maximize comfort, you should work in an area with an adjustable lighting system. Areas that are poorly lit can cause headaches and eye fatigue.
Additionally, something you should keep in mind is your screen’s backlight and glare.
Stretching and Range of Motion
Static load occurs when you sit or stand in one position for long periods of time. To eliminate this from happening, you should regularly stretch and get your body moving. The cumulative effect of static load can have negative effects on your joints, muscles, and tendons. You should focus on developing a stretching routine that hits all the different parts of your body that you feel are most “static” through your workday. You want to also get your blood pumping and circulating.
Eliminating Excessive Motions
A serious ergonomic risk is repeating excessive motions. Many of us feel like we are “going through the motions” at work sometimes, and this can lead to some undue physical stress. Our routine is largely dependent on our productivity goals. Repetitious physical activity combined with poor posture can help contribute to back pain.
You should take a step back and observe your physical motions throughout your typical workday. Does it involve a lot of typing, awkward eye and back posture? You might find that you can eliminate a lot of chronic pain caused by repetitive motion by learning to organize your day better. Or, even better yet, eliminate those excessive motions altogether.
If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot eliminate these motions, you should look at the possibility of task rotation as well as regular movement and stretch breaks. This can help reduce some of the wear and tear you build up throughout the day.
Eliminating Contact Stress
Contact stress occurs from when you regularly rub sensitive parts of your skin onto surfaces with unfavorable texture. For example, this can be the sharp edge of your laptop or desk.
This negative contact stress can concentrate pressure on a specific area. Then, that part of your body can suffer from poor nerve and tendon function. This can even tire out your muscles. Make sure you leave enough space for your knees to “breathe”. You also don’t want to rest your wrists onto a sharp edge for long periods of time. There are products that you can buy to serve as a sort of cushioning support.
Your Chair Matters
If you find yourself seated at a desk all day for work, you should invest an ergonomic chair that can be adjusted to for best comfort and posture. You want the right amount of lumbar support.
Also, don’t forget it’s not just about the chair. As we noted above, posture really matters. If you have a great chair but sit with poor posture, you may still end up with back pain. However, if you combine proper posture with an ergonomic chair, you should feel wonderful!
Desk and Computer Location
Your keyboard and mouse should be at the same level as your arms being equally supported by armrests or some sort of cushioning. You also want your wrist to be in a straight motion.
Another good idea is to invest in a document holder. These can help you keep documents at eye level without you having to strain either your neck or eyes. Everything at your desk should be within easy reach. This is also a good way to eliminate excessive motion.
Relaxation and Recovery
Remember to try and stay relaxed. Practicing meditation or breathing techniques at work can help minimize the stress you place on yourself. This mental stress can physically manifest itself as you tend to tense your muscles whenever you feel stressed out about something.
A good way to reduce your mental stress and increase clarity is by taking breaks to allow your brain to enter a “diffusive” mode. Our brains also need time to relax. If you feel pressured to skip breaks, find a way to ergonomically prepare for that situation. Use a proper workstation setup to minimize the amount of added physical stress you place on yourself.
Keep your Eyes in Mind
Keep your computer at eye level. You should also look at it directly and not from an angle. You should also place your monitor in a position where it elicits less glare. Also, get a newer monitor if you find that yours only operates at a lower resolution. There are even computer applications such as f.lux that can help eliminate blue light, which places additional stress on your eyes.
Ergonomics aren’t particularly difficult to apply. Most of these tips and principles may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people forget about applying them in their daily work lives. The difficulty lies in the application of these techniques on a habitual basis.
However, by applying these ergonomic principles regularly, you will definitely see an improvement in your body’s mental and physical health. You can help decrease symptoms of chronic pain and body fatigue. We hope by adhering to these ergonomic workplace principles you begin to notice improvement soon!
Make an appointment with us, and we’ll fix your physical ailments, and help you with establishing your ergonomic environment.
Chiropractic care is the premier solution for people who are suffering from hip pain. Hip pain can be debilitating and can force people to needlessly struggle through life. There are women who are new grandmothers in their 40s or 50s who can’t even enjoy spending time watching the kids because it hurts to chase after them and clean up some toys. They are not able to enjoy gardening and feel like prisoners in their own homes. Shopping used to be fun before the hip pain started.
Causes of Hip Pain
Hip pain generally occurs as a result of an injury, disease, or overuse of your joints that eventually wears the cartilage down. This is followed by lots of pain and chronic inflammation that swells up these joints and makes it hard to move. Hips are one of the most common areas for people to suffer joint pain. They may also experience pain in their knees and shoulders. People call on chiropractors to pinpoint the root source of the pain and inflammation, to alleviate it, and rehabilitate the patient.
There is generally a split between whether patients will go to a chiropractor for joint-related pain or a physical therapist. A chiropractor is more focused on getting patients off medications and feeling healthy again. A physical therapist may be more likely to try things in combination and promise limited results. Chiropractors are more focused specifically on these types of injuries and may be able to do a more effective job. They have more treatments available as discussed in greater detail further below.
Making a Proper Diagnosis
The hip plays a critical role in supporting the overall stability, strength, athleticism, and flexibility of your entire body. Since everything pivots on your hip, you won’t be able to lift things, exercise, or even walk if your hips are suffering from pain and inflammation.
In some cases, this trauma is caused by the deterioration of the joint due to Osteoporosis. This disease leeches Calcium out of the bones and makes them fragile. The normal wear and tear of any activity can destroy delicate bone and cartilage structures over time. And as people become frailer, it can be hard to replace the Calcium that was lost and regenerate the bone tissue. A lot of the effects are hormonal or may come as a result of medications such as Prednisone.
Interconnected nerve bundles are also a huge problem in the world of hip pain. You may have back pain at the root of your hip pain. Because the nerve fibers are so closely connected, the lower back pain will shoot signals down into the hip region. This can occur when you have herniated discs that are deteriorating, spinal stenosis, and even when your spinal column has subluxations that are interfering with proper posture and alignment. Hip pain can be excruciating when it is combined with back pain because, not only is it hard to walk, but it can also be painful to sit.
Another form of hip pain emanates from the bursa sac that lies between the hip bone and the pelvic socket. These fluid-filled sacs help to cushion and remove the tension of bone-on-bone contact that causes pain. When the bursa sacs become inflamed, this is called Bursitis. Having this condition makes you scratch your head and wonder why the inflammation won’t heal on its own, and why you continue to feel pain for weeks.
After a specific diagnosis is made to address the source of the pain, your chiropractor can get to work on the proper therapy. Finding the right hip pain therapy is essential to abating the symptoms and regaining your mobility. Let’s explore the range of modern treatments available only at a qualified chiropractor’s office below.
Active Release Technique® (ART)
The Active Release Technique® (ART) is the method for treating soft muscle tissues that coordinate the hip movements when blood flow becomes restricted over time or specific muscles become weakened. This occurs because the hip has such a wide range of motion and carries such a heavy burden of supporting the entire body. The hip is moved and held into place by a complex muscular architecture. The muscular imbalances that occur can lead to soft tissue damage and scarring. If left to progress, they will induce that chronic hip pain that never seems to heal.
The goal of ART is to break down the restrictions on blood flow that are stopping the body from healing. At the same time, using physical manipulation and exercises, the normal strength and flexibility of the joint can be returned back to normal. The first step in this process is to assess the presence of scar tissue in the muscles when they are being lengthened and stretched. By releasing the tension on specific tissues, the scarring can be softened and broken down to restore a normal balance and function to the muscular architecture. Improvements to the condition can be had in as few as 4 to 6 treatment sessions.
Cold-Laser Light Therapy
Cold-laser light therapy is a non-invasive and painless procedure that has been approved by the FDA. This harmless and effective procedure uses different wavelengths of a laser beam that does not produce any heat energy to heal inflammation in the body. At wavelengths of 750 to 980, deep tissue penetration can be effectuated. The laser waves pass into the tissue and stimulate the regeneration of damaged tissues. This technique is typically used in sports medicine and even by dentists to heal ulcers and reduce oral inflammations.
This is another technique that is like ART but uses special instruments to break up scar tissue attached to the fascia. These fascia adhesions are caused by trauma. The fasciae are plastic-like tissues that envelop muscular fibers that can seize up and become damaged from the trauma of overuse or muscular imbalances. By passing these special instruments over the affected areas rather than manipulating them with your hands using ART, it is believed that the manipulations and effects can be more effective in promoting healing. In basic principle, as these fasciae are thinned out, the mobility of the muscles is returned to normal.
This special type of tape increases your range of mobility by lifting up on the skin, fasciae, and muscle fibers for better lymphatic drainage and improved release of inflammation byproducts. It helps to distribute the pressure through other flesh and thereby creates a lifting effect when you are in motion. Using regular tape to tape up an injury can restrict motion and cause the pain and compression to become worse. The special kinesiology taping works in the opposite manner to alleviate pressure and pain.
We do targeted exercises to help stabilize & strengthen the joint, in addition to hands on work – which when combined with the multiple modalities, yields an effective result.
The fasciae adhesions that occur in your soft muscle tissue are a scientifically verifiable root cause underlying a lot of hip pain. Although there are other causes that may be treated by other methods, it is in your best interests to determine if the pain is due to scarring and tightening (or thickening) of the fasciae membrane surrounding your soft muscle tissues in the hip region or something else.
No matter what it may be, a chiropractor is best suited to get to the root of the problem and manipulate your hip, spine and muscles back into their normal condition. These are just a few of the therapies available that can save you the crippling effects that you think are just a part of aging or bad luck.
The most common type of elbow pain is known as Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. It is an overuse injury which results from putting excessive strain on the muscles and tendons which make up the elbow.
The pain can last for months, and is especially painful when the tendon that anchors to the bone is touched or bumped. The name given to this injury seems to indicate that it can only be a result of either tennis or golf. However, any activity which leads to the repetitive movement of the hand, arm, and especially the elbow joint, can lead to this injury. Some of the typical sports and activities that cause the injury include:
- Home workouts (Pull-ups, Dips, push-ups, etc)
- Racket sports
All activities that force you to move your elbow repetitively are a potential cause of the injury.
Understanding the Elbow Joint
A good understanding of the configuration of the elbow joint is the first step in understanding how injuries occur and how they can be prevented.
If you straighten and fold your elbow, you will realize that it has three bumps. The strain on two of the three bumps is what leads to elbow pain:
• The medial epicondyle: this bump is located in the inner side of the elbow. It holds and controls the muscles located on the front of the forearm. When this bump is interfered with, you will have a hard time curling your wrist up. If this is the bump in pain, it is known as a golfer’s elbow.
• The lateral epicondyle: You can easily locate this bump on the outer side of the elbow. It is connected to the muscles at the back of the forearm and helps you curl your wrist backwards. When you have pain on this bump, it is called a tennis elbow.
What are the common symptoms of a tennis or golfer’s elbow?
No two people experience elbow pains in a precisely similar manner. However, these general symptoms could be an indication that you have serious elbow problems:
• A dull ache when your hand is resting
• Pain when you are making a fist
• Having a weak grip when you try to hold something.
• Pain when you try to open your fingers.
These are a few symptoms that could indicate that a severe elbow problem which needs medical attention.
What are the common causes of elbow injuries?
It is essential to understand the common causes of an elbow injury, especially if they keep recurring. Some of the most common reasons include the following:
• When your forearm muscles lack strength and flexibility
• When your shoulder muscles lack strength
• When your elbow joint is unstable
• When you use poor technique when engaging in sports. It could be that you do not know how to swing the racquet correctly, or you swing the golf club wrong, putting too much strain on the elbow joint.
• When you have inappropriate sporting equipment. For instance, tennis racquets aren’t a one size suits all, and when you use the wrong size, your muscles will strain.
• When you work in a job that forces you to make repetitive movements such as an assembly line, or construction.
• When you continuously lift heavy objects with your hands.
• Irritation of the nerves, or when you have symptoms such as neck pains.
Are there medical conditions that can lead to elbow pain?
It is true that the vast majority of elbow joint problems result from physical activity. However, there are medical conditions which also lead to elbow joint problems. These include:
• Osteoarthritis: This is a condition which leads to the weakening and breakage of the joint cartilage. Sometimes the cartilage breaks away and floats inside the synovial fluid, which causes pain and inflammation.
• Referred pain: there are times when problems with the spine can lead to the nerves that serve the arms getting irritated. The pain which results on the elbow joint is known as referred pain.
• Entrapment of the nerves: The main nerve that services the arm is known as the radial nerve. When this nerve cannot move freely, symptoms such as pain in the elbow result.
• Radiohumeral bursitis: Bursae are small sacs which contain the fluid that lubricates moving parts of the body such as the joints. When there is repeated pressure and injury to the elbow, bursitis results.
• Fracture of the bones: A fall during sports or other activities could lead to cracking of the bones around the elbows, causing pain.
• An avulsion fracture: When an injury is too violent, the muscles can contract too powerfully, pulling a tendon free, along with pieces of bone.
What treatment alternatives are available for elbow injuries?
The treatment offered for tennis elbow and other elbow injuries depends on the cause and the severity of the injury. Here are some of the most common treatment options offered:
• Treatments & exercises that a chiropractor prescribes.
• Soft tissue and ice massages
• Getting the elbow taped or braced
• Anti-inflammation and pain relief medication aimed at helping to cope with the pain but do not offer long term outcome.
• In severe cases, surgery might be recommended.
What is the prognosis for tennis and golfer’s elbow?
When the treatment plan is followed strictly, 90 to 95 per cent of patients with a tennis or golfers elbow improve entirely. Only about five per cent of patients are unable to make a full recovery and may need surgery to correct the problem.
Chiropractic Treatments for Tennis Elbow
Recent research has shown that chiropractic treatment is extremely beneficial when dealing with chronic tennis and golfer’s elbow symptoms. The first thing the chiropractor does is to assess the pain and other symptoms to determine the severity of the condition.
• Stretches & Strengthening: This therapy involves the chiropractor assisting you with various stretches and strengthening exercises. Some involve the use of a very light dumbbell, and specialized rubber bands.
• ART and Graston Technique: The first treatment technique that is used to deal with a tennis elbow is called ART or Active Release Therapy. This therapy involves the use of an instrument for detecting the muscles which have contracted, and resolve the contraction.
• Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy: here, the chiropractor uses shockwaves to look for and resolve adhesions in the muscles and tendons. The waves break up any scarring tissue which could be causing the pain.
These treatment processes can only be carried out by chiropractors who have the training and experience. The number of visits which are needed to make a complete recovery also depends on the severity of the injury. The most crucial thing is to find a competent chiropractor for the process.
How can you prevent tennis and golfer’s elbow?
Many times, non-medical reasons are the cause of these two injuries. To prevent recurrence, you can try these techniques:
• Make sure you stretch, warm up and cool down when exercising or playing sports.
• Learn the proper technique of the sport you are playing and select the appropriate sporting equipment for you.
• Do exercises such as weight lifting to help you strengthen your muscles. A competent chiropractor can recommend the best exercises.
• Modify all tasks that need you to put a lot of pressure on the wrists, the fingers and other parts of the forearm.
Healing a tennis elbow injury can be a slow and frustrating process. However, following the therapeutic elbow pain treatment & exercises recommended by a chiropractor is the one of the best ways to speed up your recovery.
If you’re not familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome, it is a condition delineated by numbness, tingling, or a weak sensation in one’s hand. It is usually the byproduct of repetitive motion and certain health conditions like obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and pregnancy, for example. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also characterized by pressure on their median nerve, which is a nerve that extends the length of the arm and travels through the carpal tunnel (a narrow passage in the wrist) until it reaches the hand, marking the end of its journey. In addition to the feelings of numbness, weakness, and tingling, carpal tunnel also makes it very difficult to grip certain items like pens, buttons, and other small items. It is important to note that gripping a steering wheel while driving can also be very difficult. In this article, we will take a closer look at the etiology of this condition as well as available treatments for those who have it.
WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO DEVELOP CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
Statistically speaking, carpal tunnel syndrome is more common among women. In fact, studies show that women are three times more likely to develop the debilitating condition than men as they tend to have narrower carpal tunnel channels. It is worth noting that some women develop carpal tunnel syndrome once they become pregnant; however, the symptoms will usually dissipate after they have given birth. Gender differences aside, those who have the following professions are especially susceptible to developing carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Construction workers
- Assembly line workers
- Office workers
- Business Executives
In essence, any job or activity requiring the repetitive use of your wrist, fingers, or hands, especially over a longer period of time, increases the chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
HOW IS CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME DIAGNOSED?
When a patient complains of numbness, tingling, or a weak sensation in their hand, physicians will often administer a “tap” test whereby they tap the palm side of a patient’s wrist or have them fully flex their wrist with their arms extended. While these tests may seem unorthodox, they are highly effective. In addition to a “tap” test and having patients flex their wrists, physicians may also order an EMG-NCV, which is a test used to assess how well the nerves across the carpal tunnel are functioning.
TRADITIONAL CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME TREATMENTS
When it comes to treating carpal tunnel syndrome, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach as the severity of the condition can vary from person to person. That said, some of the more common treatments include
Immobilization – This process generally entails using a splint during the day to prevent the wrist from moving, which minimizes pressure on the median nerve. Some patients may also be instructed to wear them at night as a means of resolving the numbing and tingling sensations typical of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Lifestyle changes – For symptoms that intensify with repetitive motion, taking frequent breaks or limiting certain activities can significantly help improve symptoms. Similar relief can also be achieved through stretching and strengthening exercises as well, as directed by a professional Chiropractor.
Medication – If carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed early, most physicians will recommend a nonsurgical approach as a means of managing pain and other symptoms typical of the condition. Some of the most commonly used medications for treating carpal tunnel syndrome include NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), namely Advil and Motrin. However, in extreme cases, physicians will prescribe corticosteroids, which are administered via injection. These medications are designed to reduce swelling and inflammation, which help to alleviate pressure on the median nerve.
NEW CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME TREATMENTS
While traditional treatments are effective, there are other options worth considering. For example, cold-laser light therapy, which is a low-intensity laser therapy that promotes healing while using low levels of light, is quickly becoming a preferred treatment for many individuals struggling with numbness, pain, tingling, and other symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition to cold-laser light therapy, ART (Active Release Technique) is another popular treatment. This form of therapy, which is carried out by a certified Chiropractor, is very much hands-on in that practitioner will use their hands to break up adhesions that form between the nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and connective tissue that act as the catalyst for most carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
The Graston Technique is another option for individuals seeking relief from carpal tunnel syndrome. Similar to ART, the Graston Technique is a hands-on form of manual therapy whereby practitioners purposely introduce inflicts small amounts of microtrauma into are where excessive scar or soft tissue fibrosis has occurred. The process then triggers an inflammatory response that reportedly simulates healing while minimizing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
WHEN SHOULD PATIENT CONSIDER SURGERY?
When it comes to surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, it is generally a last resort, meaning all other treatment options have been exhausted. That said, there are two surgical procedures use to relieve pressure on the median nerve, endoscopic and open surgery. To help put all of this into context, let’s take a closer look at what each procedure entails:
Endoscopic surgery – The surgical procedure involves using a telescope-like device, which is fitted with a small camera that enables the surgeon to see inside the carpal tunnel. The surgeon will then make two small incisions in the patient’s hand before cutting the ligament that is pressing against the median nerve.
Open surgery – This surgical procedure entails making an incision in the palm of the patient’s hand and over the carpal tunnel, which creates an access point for the surgeon to cut through the ligament to release the pressure on the median nerve.
HOW TO AVOID DEVELOPING CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
When it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome, there are things that you can do to reduce your chances of developing the condition including:
- Avoid repeatedly extending your wrist.
- Keep your wrist as straight as possible while typing or performing similar activities.
- Use wrist splints or other immobilization devices that can help keep your wrist in a neutral position.
- Office worker should ensure that they have proper ergonomics as their work station.
And remember, discuss any pain or discomfort you’re experiencing with your chiropractor.
When you’re experiencing pain in your foot, there are a myriad of conditions and injuries that could be causing this pain. Among the more common injuries that leads to foot pain is plantar fasciitis, which specifically affects the heel of the foot. At its most severe, this condition can make it difficult for you to perform everyday activities. If you believe that you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis and foot pain, you should consider having the issue treated so that you can better manage the symptoms.
What Plantar Fasciitis Refers To
Plantar fasciitis is a very common reason for a person to experience pain in the heel of the foot. This condition occurs when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that’s located at the bottom of your foot and serves as the connecting tissue from your toes to the heel bone. When you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, the pain will likely be localized around the back of the plantar fascia right around the heel bone.
If you run on a regular basis, you’ll have a heightened risk of being affected by this condition. The same is true if you wear shoes without the right support or are overweight. If you’ve recently changed the types of exercises in your workout routine, it’s possible that these changes will lead to you developing plantar fasciitis. The presence of high foot arches or flat feet could also contribute to this condition.
Main Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The main symptom associated with plantar fasciitis is a sharp pain that’s centered around the bottom of your foot. While the pain can spread throughout the entire bottom of the foot, it’s mainly located at the heel. Your pain will likely be at its worst in the moments after you wake or after you’ve exercised. This condition is somewhat unique in that the pain may not be that noticeable while you’re exercising but will instead be triggered after you’ve finished your workout. The heel of your foot can also become swollen or stiff. These symptoms can range from mild to severe in how painful they are.
How This Condition Is Diagnosed
In order for plantar fasciitis to be properly diagnosed, a doctor will need to perform an extensive physical examination while also obtaining information about your medical history. Because of the large number of conditions and diseases that can cause pain in the foot, there are many variables that the doctor will need to take into account so as to eliminate the possibility of other conditions being the cause of your pain.
The doctor will also ask you questions about the symptoms that you’re experiencing to identify if these symptoms correlate with plantar fasciitis. Both your foot and leg will be moved and bent in certain directions to determine how tender the area around the heel is. While more intensive blood tests and imaging tests aren’t used as a means of diagnosing this condition, they can sometimes be administered to rule out other possible causes of your heel pain.
Primary Treatment Options to Consider
While plantar fasciitis can be very painful and difficult to deal with, it can also be treated. Inflammation of any part of the body is a natural response that your body has to an injury. While inflammation can cause a substantial amount of pain and other symptoms, it can typically be treated unless the pain has become chronic. If the symptoms that you’re experiencing are mild, it’s possible that resting the foot and placing ice on the affected area for 15 minute intervals may be all that’s required to get rid of the pain.
Among the most effective treatments for plantar fasciitis include gentle stretches and muscle strengthening exercises, which combine to improve the muscle strength, flexibility, and mobility of your foot. ART (Active Release Technique) and Graston technique soft tissue treatments can also help relieve pain and help restore function to pre-injury status. If the pain that you’re experiencing is moderate to severe in intensity, you may be provided with an anti-inflammatory prescription medication that’s designed to last for just a few short weeks.
If you continue to experience pain after taking medications several weeks, your doctor could recommend an injection of a cortisone substance directly into the foot. Other possible treatment options include orthotics, immobilization of the foot, and the placement of a night splint. There are rare occasions when surgery may be required, which is typically reserved for severe cases. Surgery for plantar fasciitis usually involves detaching the heel bone from a portion of the plantar fascia.
Prognosis of Plantar Fasciitis
The prognosis of plantar fasciitis all depends on when you sought treatment for your pain. Early treatment is important for plantar fasciitis if you want to avoid worse symptoms. People who are affected by plantar fasciitis but don’t seek treatment right away will likely start to change the way they walk in order to compensate for the pain that they’re experiencing. While placing less weight on the affected area while walking should lessen your pain, it can also cause problems in other areas of the body, which primarily includes joint misalignment in the foot, knee, and back areas.
Joint misalignment can lead to additional problems over the years, which is why it’s so important to obtain early treatment for your case of plantar fasciitis. Along with joint problems, leaving plantar fasciitis untreated can lead to chronic heel pain, which means that the pain will be long-lasting and may be difficult to effectively treat. The presence of heel pain can make it more difficult for you to walk normally, which can in turn create issues with your ability to exercise, play sports, or engage in any kind of active pursuits.
Using Chiropractic Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis
While the aforementioned treatment options can be effective at lessening your pain, using chiropractic treatment is a great way to effectively deal with the pain without needing to resort to medications or more intensive treatment options. As touched upon previously, the presence of untreated plantar fasciitis can cause you to experience joint problems in other areas of the body aside from your foot and heel. The joints and ligaments in your foot are all part of a kinetic chain that winds throughout the body. The worsening of symptoms in one area of the body can have an adverse affect on some of the other segments within this kinetic chain.
Chiropractic care is designed to treat the pain that you’re experiencing in any area of your body by addressing the primary cause of your pain. For plantar fasciitis, the main techniques used during chiropractic care include stretching exercises and the provision of a focused treatment plan. The treatment plans created by a chiropractor are meant to be specific to each patient’s health and outlook, which is why chiropractic care is so effective. The main focus of these treatment plans will be to reduce the amount of stress placed on the plantar fascia ligament in your foot, which will help to lessen the pain and inflammation that you’re going through.
A chiropractor will also make sure to minimize any secondary injuries that could occur in other areas of your body by making sure that you walk properly and that you don’t accidentally make movements that could cause joint problems in your leg or back. Chiropractic care is a non-invasive treatment that’s completely natural and is designed to work well when combined with other treatment options. If you’ve been placing ice on your foot and are resting the area as much as possible, chiropractic care may be all that you need to eliminate your pain.
When you become injured, the resulting damage will either be referred as an overuse injury or an acute injury. An acute injury occurs when a singular event brings about the trauma to your body, which can be something like a knee injury from a car crash or a shoulder dislocation from playing football. Overuse injuries are extended issues that are more difficult to diagnose and occur because a bone, tendon, or joint in your body has been overused. It’s important to understand why these injuries occur so that you can prevent them from happening in the future.
Why Overuse Injuries Occur
Exercising and many forms of physical activity place stress on the joints, tendons, and bones throughout your body. Unlike emotional stress, physical stress is actually beneficial in many cases and can help strengthen every component in the body while also making them function more effectively. However, it’s possible for these muscles, tendons, and joints to be overused, which means that too much stress will have been placed on them in a short period of time. Repetitive trauma to any area of the body can cause one of these injuries to occur.
An overuse injury typically stems from an error with your technique or an error with your training. Training errors take place when you perform a certain activity more rapidly than you’re supposed to. Whether you exercise for too long or run too fast, these training errors can place an undue amount of stress and strain on your muscles in a short period of time, which may cause you to develop one of these injuries.
As for technique errors, these occur when you’ve performed a technique improperly. Whether you’re constantly unwinding a baseball with a bad form or aren’t lifting weights correctly, your joints and muscles may be twisting and contorting in a manner that heightens your risk of an overuse injury. If you’ve already suffered from one of these injuries or are looking to prevent them from occurring in the future, professional chiropractors can assist you in understanding how to properly exercise and work out in a way that lessens your risk of an overuse injury.
Common Types of Overuse Injuries
While the majority of overuse injuries occur when exercising or playing sports, a number of these injuries can actually take place when you’re at the office all day. Playing almost any kind of sport will increase your chances of being affected by an overuse injury. Tennis elbow is a very common overuse injury that occurs when the tissue between your elbow and forearm muscle becomes irritated or slightly torn. As the name implies, this injury commonly results from playing tennis at a high intensity along with other sports like squash, racquetball, or fencing. Any activity that requires repetitive arm movements can put you at risk for tennis elbow, which includes standard duties performed by carpenters and similar skilled laborers.
Many overuse injuries among athletes occur in the foot and knee because of how often these areas of the body are used. Achilles tendonitis, calf muscle tears, meniscus tears, and plantar fasciitis are just a few of the more common lower body injuries that can result from overusing some of the muscles in your knee and foot. These injuries are especially common among runners. People who are involved with CrossFit regularly suffer from overuse injuries as well because of the high intensity workouts that take place with this program.
When looking at overuse injuries that can occur in the office, you may be surprised at how many different types of injuries can result from working in an office all day long. Likely the most common overuse injury among office workers is carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when too much pressure has been placed on the median nerve that’s located in your wrist. This nerve controls the feeling and movements for all of your fingers aside from the pinky. When these fingers are overused, it’s possible for you to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive motions such as typing are the most common causes for the development of this injury. A sore neck is also common when working in an office setting if you forget to keep your neck limber while sitting in a chair all day. Some additional overuse injuries for you to look out for include bursitis in the knee, shin splints, a stress fracture, rotator cuff syndrome, and compartment syndrome.
Prevention Tips to Consider
If you want to avoid suffering from any kind of overuse injury, the easiest way to do so is to correct your poor techniques and improve the way that you train. If you work in an office setting and are essentially required to sit at a desk for the entire day, it’s important that you stand up and stretch regularly to make sure that the muscles throughout your body remain limber and flexible. These breaks will also give your hands time to rest, which should reduce the chances that you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. You should bend and rotate your hands while performing repetitive activities like typing if you want to prevent these injuries from occurring.
If you’re starting a new activity or sport that you’ve never partaken in before, it’s important that you use the correct technique and that you wear the proper gear that’s necessary for the activity. For instance, you should always wear padded running or tennis shoes when exercising, which will lessen the amount of stress placed on the muscles in your feet and lower legs. When performing standard exercises like squats or pushups, it’s essential that you pace yourself. Around 15-30 minutes of well-paced physical activity every day should allow you to meet your fitness goals while avoiding any kind of overuse injuries. When you want to increase the intensity of your workout, make sure that you do so gradually. The muscles in your body need to get used to these changes so that they can adapt and become stronger.
The Role of Chiropractic Care With Overuse Injuries
Among the most effective methods for preventing and treating overuse injuries is chiropractic care. Most of the injuries caused by overusing the muscles and joints in your body can be corrected without needing to use treatment options like surgery or prescription medications. Once the source of your pain is diagnosed, you will be provided with a comprehensive treatment plan that’s designed to be personalized to fit your every need. These treatment plans can involve everything from physical therapy and rehabilitation to nutritional counseling. Overuse injuries can be caused by a multitude of factors, which is why treatment plans oftentimes incorporate multiple treatment options into a single plan.