The nerve-rich facet joints on the back side of each spinal bone are a common cause of back pain. If these pairs of interlocking "fingers" aren't moving right, they can cause painful symptoms.
The discs between spinal bones can be a source of back pain, too. These rings of fibrous tissues act as spacers, connectors and "shock absorbers" for the spine. Trauma can cause the soft, pulpy material in the middle to bulge or herniate, putting pressure on delicate nearby nerves.
Once you know the cause, you have several choices. One approach is bed rest. But research shows that prolonged bed rest can actually delay recovery and make the problem worse!
Physical therapy is another option. But exercising spinal joints that aren't working right is like continuing to drive your car with misaligned tires!
Another choice is to numb or cover up the pain with drugs. While drugs can offer temporary relief, they can't correct functional problems of affected spinal joints.
The most drastic measure is surgery. A laminectomy cuts off the offending facet joints, leaving the spinal cord exposed! A spinal fusion cuts out the disc tissue and immobilizes the joint. While there may be times when surgery makes sense, it's expensive, risky and more than half of all back surgeries fail.
More and more people are choosing chiropractic care first, Specific chiropractic adjustments can help improve spinal function.
Better yet, chiropractic care is safe. Chiropractic is natural. And chiropractic looks to correct the underlying cause of the problem.
The tragic result of uncorrected trauma
Mid back pain is one of the most common complaints that patients report when they first visit the office of a chiropractor.
The mid back area is called the “dorsal” or “thoracic” spine. There are normally twelve bones with a matching twelve pairs of ribs that make up the mid back area.
If you experience pain or tightness in your mid back, see your chiropractor immediately to determine its cause and to design a care plan specific to your needs.
Mid back pain can be a serious symptom
The mid back area is highly reactive and can compensate for the pelvis and lower back region or the upper neck and cervical spine area. Sitting at a computer or driving for long periods of time are two common origins of mid back-related pain. Mid back pain can also be associated with the referred pain or complication from one of the organ systems in the body such as the liver or kidneys.
Symptoms of mid back pain can range from muscle tightness and spasms, trigger points (areas of acute spasm and pain), restricted range of motion when bending or twisting, and sharp or stabbing pains from the back, radiating to the front. The rib cage can also become distorted causing symptoms that mimic respiratory or cardiac problems such as shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and fast or slow heart rhythms.
This is why you should be evaluated by a doctor of chiropractic whenever mid back pain or symptoms occur. Your chiropractor specializes in the musculoskeletal system and its biomechanical-related functions. A complete history and examination will help determine the origin of te problem and how best to proceed. A corrective care plan will then be designed to alleviate your symptoms and correct underlying problems.
Chiropractors use their hands or a small instrument to perform spinal adjustments that help reposition and align the bones of the skeletal system. This allows for the related soft tissues surrounding the lid back, (muscles, tendons and ligaments) to reposition and repattern the movements associated with better health. Chiropractic helps improve and restore motion to joints that are stuck or not moving correctly.
Many everyday things can cause neck pain, such as watching TV, using your computer, reading a book or falling asleep in a chair or on an airplane. The temporary pain that results can resolve on its own, especially when the offending activity is discontinued. When it doesn’t, a more serious underlying problem may be indicated.
A thorough examination can determine if you’re a good candidate for chiropractic care. These tests may involve your ability to turn and bend. Muscle tone of the supporting muscles in the neck may be tested. Diagnostic imaging to reveal the underlying structure of the spine may be requested. These and other tests are designed to identify the cause and location of your neck pain.
The most common cause of neck pain is functional distortions in the spine resulting from vertebral subluxations. These subluxations are seen in cases of reverse cervical curve, whiplash and joint instability. The body responds by tightening muscles in the neck, "splinting" the joint to protect it from further insult. Chiropractic care can help
Most of the pain-sensing nerves in the neck are located in the pairs of facet joints on the back side of each vertebra. These smooth, interlocking surfaces allow you to rotate your head and bend your head up and down. If these joints become locked or fixated, neck pain can result. Chiropractic care can help restore proper joint motion.
A more difficult problem to correct is the degenerative changes that result from neglect. Years of uncorrected spinal problems can cause bone spurs, disc thinning and other forms of spinal decay. These types of problems respond more slowly, and some type of on-going supportive chiropractic care may be necessary.
Our response to stress is another common cause of neck pain. Deadlines. Rush-hour traffic. Overcommitments. Work pressures. Family obligations…
Ever meet someone who was a "pain in the neck"? Each of us is susceptible to our body’s unconscious response to people and circumstances. These perceptions can show up as episodes of neck pain.
If the weakest link in our bodies is our neck, stress shows up there. While chiropractic care cannot reduce the stress of your busy life, it can help improve your ability to handle and tolerate it. Without drugs or surgery!
While the intervertebral disc is a common
culprit in spine-related health problems, its
function is widely misunderstood.
The disc is a small cartilage pad that is situated
between spinal bones. The soft jelly-like
center is contained by layers of fibrous tissues.
Each disc serves as a connector, spacer, and
shock absorber for the spine. When healthy,
discs allow normal turning and bending.
Discs can bulge, herniate or rupture, resulting
in other problems.
A disc doesn't "slip"
The chiropractic approach to disc problems
is to help restore better motion and position
to the spinal joints. Besides reducing disc
bulging, better spinal function helps decrease
inflammation so the slow process of healing
the surrounding soft tissues
While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients
have avoided needless surgery or a dependency
on pain pills by choosing conservative chiropractic
Because they are attached to vertebrae, discs do not slip,
but they do tear, bulge, herniate, prolapse and dessicate.
The most common disc injury is a small crack or
microtear in the tough, outer cartilage material of the
disc called annular fibers. This allows the fluid to start
leaking out, and the disc begins to wear thin.
The soft jelly-like material in the middle of the disc
pushes to one side, forward or backward, and swelling
occurs. The nucleus is still contained within the tough
outer fibers of the disc, but can still cause pressure and
The soft jelly-like material from the nucleus in the
middle of the disc ruptures through the tough, outer
fibers and extends to the outer edge or beyond the
normal limits of the disc.
A piece of disc material separates away and becomes
a fragment or a free-floating piece.
The disc loses its fluid content and degenerates down
to a rough, worn-down or worn-out appearance. This
occurs as the bones begin to fuse to each other.
Regardless of age, when spinal damage goes
uncorrected, the body deposits calcium on the
surface of adjacent bones that aren’t moving
If neglected long enough, this splinting effect can
result in complete fusion. This worsening
process is called Subluxation Degeneration and
can occur throughout the spine. Researchers
recognize several phases of spinal decay.
What is Subluxation Degeneration?
Subluxation degeneration is how the body
responds to improperly functioning spinal
joints. With early detection, appropriate
chiropractic care has been shown to slow,
stop, or even reverse the early stages of this
process. Ask your doctor to design a program
of preventive care for you.
ÒNormalÓ 75 Year Old Cervical Spine
This 75-year-old patient
helps prevent Subluxation
Degeneration with many
years of regular chiropractic
Usually seen as the misalignment and malfunction
of the spine. Normal spinal motion, curves, and
disc spacing are altered. Because the body is so
adaptable, this early phase can exist without
the warning of pain or other symptoms. If left
uncorrected, the degeneration continues.
Phase Two Cervical Spine
Bone spurs and abnormal
bony growths distort
the shape and function
of the vertebrae.
Recognized on X-ray views of the spine by visible
bone spurs and rough edges of the vertebrae. Soft
tissues, such as discs and ligaments degenerate
from the lack of normal joint movement. Again,
pain or other symptoms may not be present.
Phase Three Cervical Spine
After years of neglect,
the improperly functioning
spinal joints often fuse together.
A lifetime of neglect may cause the eventual
fusion of the malfunctioning joints. Atrophy,
permanent nerve damage, and soft tissue degeneration
are prevalent. Reduced mobility and
impaired nervous system function can diminish
one's quality of life.
A cause of headaches can be from spinal bones in the neck that aren't supporting your head properly. They're not moving right. This can affect nerves, muscles and even the blood supply to your head.
Chiropractic doctors locate areas of the spine that aren't moving properly. They notice if proper spinal curves are present. They look at your posture and your ability to turn and bend. These and many other examinations can help determine if you are likely to benefit from chiropractic care.
If you're a good chiropractic candidate, your care will consist of a schedule of chiropractic adjustments. These help normalize spinal function, help restore essential spinal curves, improve circulation and reduce nerve irritation. Many patients report fewer and less severe headaches.
While we can't guarantee results, our office has a high success rate with patients who get headaches.
Can You Make Them Go Away?
There are many types and causes of headaches. Regardless of the cause, if you have a headache, you want it to end. Fast!
This has produced a huge market for medications that cover up
the symptoms of headaches. Powerful drugs can numb your nervous
system so the pain doesn't register. While these approaches may
be convenient, they can cause adverse effects and kidney or liver
damage. Worse, they don't correct the underlying cause of the
What causes headaches?
The most common causes are physical trauma, emotional stress, nutritional deficiencies or chemical toxins. Sometimes there may be a combination of these and other factors. Our examination process helps identify the most likely cause.
How long will it take?
Some patients enjoy results quickly. Others notice a slow decline in their symptoms after several weeks or longer of chiropractic care. It's impossible to predict. If you've had chronic headaches for many years, improvement can take time.
What if I don't have a headache when I come in?
Chiropractic isn't an aspirin! Repeated visits, even when you're feeling better, can help retrain and strengthen the muscles that support your spine. Just as it takes more than one or two workouts at the gym to get in shape, it takes time for your spine to heal.
What if chiropractic doesn't work?
Headaches may be common, but they're not normal. Every headache has a cause. If we're unable to find and correct the cause of your headaches, we can refer to other specialists who may be able to help. Your health is our only goal.
Upon impact, your body pushes deeply into your seat. Your head, momentarily isolated by your neck, delays its reaction while your body quickly reaches the limits of your seat.
Then, your body instantly changes directions, moving forward to the limits of your seat belt. Now, your head starts moving backward in the opposite direction! Unrestrained by a seat belt your head is jerked back and then forward beyond its normal limits. Everything seems to be happening in slow motion, yet you are unable to stop your head from whipping backward and then forward.
Don't minimize your own injuries because your car has sustained little or no damage. An immediate chiropractic examination is essential. Pain pills won't heal inflamed tendons and ligaments. Muscle relaxers won't heal torn muscles. A cervical collar won't restore a graceful forward spinal curve.
Specific chiropractic spinal adjustments, because they can help restore proper motion and position of individual spinal bones, can help assure proper healing. Chiropractic doctors can help you get well and stay well after the trauma of a whiplash injury.
Can You Help Me?
You're in your car, relaxed, waiting at a stoplight. Suddenly you hear a screeching of tires behind you and the harsh sound of metal hitting metal. Before you can brace yourself, you feel your car moving forward from some unseen force! You've been rear-ended.
What happens in these few seconds can have tragic consequences. And what you do about it in the next hours, days and weeks can forever affect your health
Why do I have pain in my arms and hands?
Because the nerves to the arms and hands exit the spine through the injured area of the neck, numbness and tingling are common. Even lower back pain can result directly from the trauma or as a reaction to the loss of proper spinal curves.
Why did my headaches start more than a week after my accident?
Whether you've been in an accident, stressed at work or overexerted yourself in the garden, your body is constantly adapting to the environment. When your capacity to adapt is exhausted, symptoms can appear. This can take days, weeks, months or years to occur.
Will I ever be normal again?
Many chiropractic patients report restored spinal curves and an end to their symptoms. Those who delay seeking appropriate care often discover that scar tissue and spinal instability require periodic chiropractic checkups.
How can I prevent whiplash injuries?
Since car accidents are the major cause of acceleration/deceleration injuries, defensive driving skills can help. Be sure your taillights and turn signals are properly working. Allow enough stopping distance in front of you. When you slow down or stop, always check your rearview mirror to see if the driver behind you is paying attention.
Those suffering from sciatica are often in their 40s and 50s. It usually begins as an acute pain in the lower back and then extends down the back of either leg. The pain usually worsens with long periods of sitting or standing.
Like a large river created by smaller streams, five pairs of nerves exit the spine in the lower back to form the two sciatic nerves. The soft, pulpy disc between each spinal bone is often involved. While a disc can't "slip," it can bulge, herniate or rupture. This can put direct pressure on the nearby nerves. The result? Swelling. Inflammation. Pain when coughing, sneezing or with others kinds of movement.
Sciatica often worsens with extended bed rest. Pain pills or muscle relaxers are unable to correct the nerve compression caused by the bulging disc. Physical therapy merely works the area to increase your tolerance to pain. Surgery often involves cutting away disc tissue or removing bone to make room for the nerve.
Improving joint motion with a series of chiropractic adjustments has produced results for millions. "Before" and "after" images of the lower back often show improved disc height and spacing. Many patients report that they can resume their lives and that their symptoms disappear. Without resorting to drugs or surgery.
Your chiropractic doctor is uniquely skilled to evaluate and reduce the most common cause of sciatica nerve pain. It's the natural approach to relief and better health. There is hope!
How Will I Get Relief?
Sciatica can be a distracting pain that starts in the lower back and extends down into one or both legs. Chiropractic care has proven to be quite helpful.
How do you get sciatica?
It's easy to trace some spinal problems to an event, such as a car accident. Yet, sciatica is often the result of cumulative damage. Years of bad posture, poor muscle tone, excess weight or countless other causes set the stage. Then, something simple like bending over to tie your shoes can trigger an episode.
Can anything else cause sciatica?
Spinal decay can be another culprit. Instead of disc thinning that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve roots, arthritic bone spurs can intrude into the space normally reserved for the nerve.
Can chiropractic cure sciatica?
Actually, chiropractic doesn't cure anything! Only your body can do that. The chiropractic approach to sciatica (and other health problems) is to help restore the way your spine works, reducing nerve irritation and revitalizing your own healing ability.
How long will I need chiropractic care?
Most sciatica patients are delighted with the results they get after weeks or months of care. Naturally, this varies from patient to patient. After a relapse or two, many discover that years of neglect have produced spinal instabilities that never fully heal. These patients elect to continue with periodic chiropractic checkups. It's up to you.
Scoliosis affects boys and more frequently, girls between the ages of 8 to 18. The cause varies. Some are born with this spinal deviation (congenital). Others get it from assuming a distorted head or hip position (habitual). Sadly, in many cases the cause is still unknown.
In the beginning, when easiest to correct, there are rarely symptoms. However, an alert parent may notice that a high shoulder or low hip makes clothing fit poorly. Back and leg pains may develop but are often overlooked as merely "growing pains." Neglect is the biggest danger.
If allowed to run its course, scoliosis can steadily worsen. Early detection is critical. Severe cases can involve surgery. This procedure attaches steel rods to force the spine to straighten.
Chiropractic care has helped many young women avoid the unhappy effects of scoliosis. The procedure is simple.
First, a thorough examination helps detect scoliosis in its early stage. Then, corrective action can begin at once. The primary course of care is a program of specific chiropractic adjustments. These help improve the function and structure of the spine. Muscles strengthen. Posture can improve.
Chiropractic care has helped countless young women reclaim their health, posture and their self-esteem.
Can It Be Prevented?
Scoliosis is tragic. It causes both physical pain and emotional
suffering. This sideways bending of the spine shows up as abnormal
posture and then finally, deformity. If allowed to advance, it
can interfere with the lungs, heart and many other vital organs.
There is hope.
Isn't a certain amount of sideways curvature normal?
Any type of sideways curvature is abnormal. From the back, the spine should appear straight. When scoliosis is present, there are usually two curves: a primary curve in one direction and a compensatory curve in the opposite direction.
Does a lack of calcium or carrying a heavy book bag cause scoliosis?
No. However, there are a growing number of authorities who believe uncorrected spinal damage from the birth process may be involved. Others suggest that using walkers to encourage early walking may be a culprit.
What's the best time for a scoliosis examination?
As with the case of many health problems, early detection can improve the likelihood of correction. Wise parents consult our office soon after the birth of their child. Then they follow up with periodic chiropractic checkups throughout their child's developing years.
This period of rapid development, hormonal
changes, the laxity of connective ligaments,
and shifting of weight-bearing structures,
may cause many pregnant women to experience
low back pain.
Chiropractic care can be quite helpful.
Besides helping to relieve the discomfort many
expectant mothers experience, chiropractic
care helps normalize nervous system function.
This is an important component of overall
The benefits of chiropractic care may also be
noticed during delivery. Many chiropractic
patients report that their deliveries were faster
and more comfortable than their deliveries prior
to chiropractic care!
Your Doctor of Chiropractic will take special
precautions with you during your pregnancy.
Modifications to the table or adjusting
techniques are made during each stage of
pregnancy. Your chiropractor is a specialist in
the location, reduction and stabilization of the
vertebral subluxation complex, which can be
related to many of the uncomfortable symptoms
associated with pregnancy and labor. Pamper
yourself and your baby with regular chiropractic checkups.
Begin or continue healthy habits
Women who exercise moderately, quit
smoking, eat healthy foods, and avoid
alcohol during their pregnancies are to
be congratulated. Those receiving prenatal
chiropractic checkups can increase their
nervous system capacity to function at its
very best. This is an important element in
creating a healthy foundation for developing
Constant structural changes, physical and
emotional stresses provide the opportunity
for beneficial chiropractic care during all
stages of pregnancy.