Although doctors of chiropractic treat more than just back pain, many patients initially visit a chiropractor looking for relief from this common condition. In fact, about 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time according to the American Chiropractic Association. Back pain is also considered the leading cause of disability in Americans under the age of 45.
Interesting Facts about Back Pain (according to the ACA)
Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
- Back pain is the third most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, behind skin disorders and osteoarthritis/joint disorders.
- Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements—for example, picking up a pencil from the floor— can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can also directly result from disease of the internal organs such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots or bone loss.
With today’s growing emphasis on quality care, clinical outcomes and cost effectiveness, spinal manipulation is receiving increased attention. Spinal manipulation is a safe and effective non-drug spine pain treatment. It reduces pain (decreasing the need for medication in some cases), rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.
Tips to Prevent Back Pain according to ACA:
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
- Remain active—under the supervision of your chiropractor.
- Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
- Warm up or stretch before exercising or physical activities such as gardening.
- Maintain proper posture.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
- Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
- When lifting an object, lift with your knees. Keep the object close to your body and do not twist.
- Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
- Work with your chiropractor to ensure that your workstation is ergonomically correct.
It is important to make an informed decision about your back care. To learn more about back care treatment options, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at (408) 559-1100!
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
CTS is a problem of the median nerve which runs from the forearm into the hand. When there is excessive pressure in the wrist, it causes swelling of the median nerve. This small area called the carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel at the wrist made up of bones, soft tissues, nerves, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. When the median nerve which runs through this tunnel gets compressed it causes pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the hand and wrist which radiates into the forearm. The carpal tunnel is the most common area that gets compressed in both the hands and feet.
CTS should be diagnosed and treated early. During your consultation, you will receive a standard physical examination of the hands, arms, shoulders and neck to help determine if your symptoms are related to daily activities or to an underlying disorder. Our highly skilled chiropractor will also utilize other orthopedic tests to try to produce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Laboratory tests and x-rays can reveal diabetes, arthritis, fractures, and other common causes of wrist and hand pain.
A pinched nerve can happen in a variety of places throughout the body with some of the most common being the lower spine, wrists, neck, and legs. A pinched nerve occurs when the muscles or tendons around the nerve are inflamed, putting pressure on the nerve and either causing pain or even numbness throughout the extremities related or attached to this affected nerve.
Your pinched nerve may be caused by different physical conditions such as carpal tunnel or a herniated disc. Though pinched nerves can be painful, the majority of patients find that their pinched nerve(s) goes away on its own.
If the pinched nerve does not resolve itself and you have persistent pain that lasts for more than a few days, you should seek medical attention by scheduling an appointment at Elliott Family Chiropractic with our chiropractor. This is especially true if you’ve tried at-home treatments but feel like your pain is worsening as time progresses. With pinched nerves, it’s important to seek medical attention in order to identify the underlying cause of the pinched nerve to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The neck, also called the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. The cervical spine supports the full weight of your head which is on average about 12 pounds. While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury.
The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in part to biomechanics. Activities and events that affect cervical biomechanics include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents, falls and blows to the body or head, normal aging, and everyday wear and tear. Neck pain can be very bothersome, and it can have a variety of causes.
Here are some of the most typical causes of neck pain according to the ACA:
- Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction is known as whiplash. The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle, which can result in pain and stiffness. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash.
- Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.
- Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
- Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain, as well as numbness, when these nerves are unable to function normally.
- Degenerative disc disease can cause a reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or cause herniation. This can bring on tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.
- Daily Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.
During your visit, we will perform a thorough exam to locate the source of your pain and ask you questions about your current symptoms and remedies you may have already tried.
Please be prepared to answer some of the following questions during your appointment:
- When did the pain start?
- Are you currently doing anything to treat your neck pain?
- Does the pain radiate or travel to other parts of your body?
- Does anything reduce the pain or make it worse?
A neck adjustment (also known as cervical manipulation) is a precise procedure where pressure is applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand. A neck adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore range of motion. Patients typically notice an improved ability to turn and tilt the head as well as a reduction of pain, soreness and stiffness.
We will develop a program of care that may combine more than one type of treatment depending on your personal needs. In addition to manipulation, the treatment plan may also include mobilization, massage or rehabilitative exercises.
In some instances, additional testing might be necessary to help diagnose your condition. An x-ray can show narrowed disc space, fractures, bone spurs or arthritis. A computerized axial tomography scan (a CT or CAT scan) or a magnetic resonance imaging test (an MRI) can show bulging discs and herniations. If nerve damage is suspected, your doctor may order a special test called electromyography (an EMG) to measure how quickly your nerves respond.
Here at Elliott Family Chiropractic, we are a conservative care practice and do not include the use of drugs or surgery in our treatments. If you have been diagnosed with a condition outside of this conservative scope such as a neck fracture or an indication of an organic disease, you will be referred to an appropriate medical physician or specialist to continue your treatment. You may also need to give your permission for us to inform your family physician of the care you are receiving to ensure that your chiropractic care and medical care are coordinated properly.
If you are experiencing neck pain, call our office today at (408) 559-1100 for an assessment today!
TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint which connects the mandibular, or your lower jaw, to the temporal bones of the skull. The TMJ is one of the more unique joints within your body as it allows you to move your jaw forward, backward, and side to side so that you can chew, talk, sing, yawn, and more. This joint can be found just in front of your ears on both sides of your head.
Any problem with the muscles, ligaments, discs, bones, or the joint itself are known as temporomandibular disorders or TMD and refers to the actual disorder, where the jaw joint is misaligned and causing problems such as pain, inflammation, and inability to move or operate the jaw. However, these problems or conditions are often incorrectly called by the joint name of TMJ instead.
The shoulder is a complex region of the body made up of bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles that connect the arm to the torso. The shoulder has two joints that work together to allow arm movement. Due to the region’s complexity, there are all sorts of things that can go wrong in this area.
Shoulder pain is a very common condition and affects almost half of the U.S. Most patients feel some sort of pain, limited range of motion, an inability to engage in activities of daily living (ADL) or something more serious as a permanent disability.
Shoulder pain and injuries are often associated with lack of thoracic spine (middle segment of the back) mobility. With this type of shoulder injury, it responds well to joint manipulation/adjustment. We can treat these symptoms in a manner tailored to your treatment plan.
Shoulder pain is debilitating and not something you should have to live with. Please call our office today at (408) 559-1100 to schedule an appointment!
Nine out of ten Americans say that they suffer from headaches. Some of these people experience headaches frequently. Some experience constant headaches that are very painful. These can even make a person nauseous. Ninety-five percent of headaches are tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused from a disease, but from something in your body that is not sitting correctly.
Sports can be very taxing on your body, no matter what you play. Our trusted staff will work with you to get to the root of your problem and help you feel better again. We help treat and also prevent injuries in the neck, back, shoulders, knees, and ankles. We are able to manually adjust your spine, relieving any pain that you are feeling. This will allow your body to function much better after the injury.
Even a “minor” crash can result in serious injuries like ligament sprains. This can lead to chronic pain and disability if not treated properly. In fact, research shows that early treatment is the best way to prevent long-term symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments are effective because they help restore the healthy, normal function of your nervous system without the use of drugs or surgery.
Neuropathy is a medical condition caused by damaged nerve cells and often associated with autoimmune diseases, infections, diabetes, tumors, or hereditary conditions. Peripheral neuropathy currently affects over 20 million people in the United States with symptoms ranging from tingling or burning pain and nausea to muscle spasms, difficulty moving your arms or legs, or atrophy.
Knee pain is increasingly becoming a more common problem in society. It is a complaint we see frequently. The most common complaint associated with knee pain is considered the normal “wear and tear.” Another ailment that affects the knee is osteoarthritis. The symptoms and progression of osteoarthritis and knee pain can be reduced through our individualized approach to chiropractic care.
The knee is a complex joint that relies heavily on ligaments and muscles for stability. The knee is a major weight bearing joint which makes it more susceptible to injury. To ensure your knee and surrounding areas are working in conjunction, we will be sure to examine your knee joint as well as your low back, pelvis, hip, ankle and foot.
- Is it limiting your day-to-day or sporting activities?
- Have you tried painkillers and been told to rest with no long-term improvement?
- Have you been told you have arthritis and there is nothing that can be done?
Chiropractic treatment may well be the answer if you said yes to either of the questions above.
Here at Elliott Family Chiropractic, we care about our patients and getting them back to optimal health as quickly as possible. Our treatment plan is outlined below to give you an idea of our approach. We will address your issue and customize your plan to best suit your needs.
Stage 1: Reduce joint inflammation and reduce pain
Our Approach: Avoidance of aggravating factors; use of a support from sports tape and the use of ice or heat to reduce inflammation, muscle spasm and pain.
Soft Tissue Healing Therapies Used: laser, ultrasound, lymphatic drainage massage and interferential therapy.
Stage 2: Normalize joint function
Our Approach: Specific chiropractic manipulation and mobilization techniques to areas of restricted movement in the knee and surrounding joints to increase movement, improve the function and reduce pain.
Techniques/Therapies Used: Deep soft tissue massage, myofascial release, trigger-point therapy and cross-friction.
Stage 3: Rehabilitation and Exercise Programs
Our Approach: When appropriate, we introduce exercises to improve strength, endurance and stability. We also work on improving your balance and evaluate your proprioception. This will help you return to your normal state while preventing any future injuries.
For more information on knee pain or to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at (408) 559-1100!
Sciatica is characterized by pain in the lower back that radiates down one or both legs. The pain is described as dull, achy, sharp, like “pins and needles” or similar to electric shocks. Other symptoms associated with sciatica include burning, numbness and tingling sensations. Sciatic nerve pain varies in intensity from mild to severe, and frequency may range from occasional to constant. The onset is generally gradual and not necessarily associated with a previous event. Sciatica is also known as radiating or referred pain, neuropathy, or neuralgia.
Our goal is to help you receive the proper care after a personal injury, auto accident or fall. Our staff is devoted to helping you obtain the most comprehensive treatments and the care you deserve, so you may maintain your quality of life after an injury and can begin to feel like yourself again.
Too often, individuals involved in an auto injury or wreck have minimal or no symptoms until several weeks after the auto accident. That is where the professionals at Elliott Family Chiropractic come in, and can assist you with all aspects of auto accident personal injury recovery.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is when natural changes in the discs of your spine cause pain. The discs between vertebrae act as shock absorbers for your spine, and as you age, they begin to lose flexibility. While this is a normal part of aging, it should not cause pain. If you experience pain due to this, it is classified as degenerative disc disease.
Each disc is composed of a sturdy outer wall and a soft, gel-like inner core. When we are born, these discs are primarily composed of water, but as age advances, the discs lose some of this water content and begin to get thinner. As you might imagine, this means each disc doesn’t absorb the shocks of everyday life as well.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, one of the most common causes of neck pain is whiplash resulting from a car accident. A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction is known as whiplash. The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness. Severe whiplash can also be associated with injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Injuries don’t only occur during traumatic slips and falls at home but are, more often than not, the result of repetitive movements and caused by doing the physical demands over an extended period of time. These types of injuries are all too common in today’s life and are best identified by their symptoms.
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Carpal tunnel and hand pain
- Disc injuries
- Sciatica (pain caused by the sciatic nerve in your lower back and legs)
- Joint pain
Being examined by a chiropractor is often the first step in identifying and treating a workplace injury through non-invasive care which is why Elliott Family Chiropractic conducts thorough examinations during his first session with new patients in order to better assess their injury. Since repetitive stress injuries usually develop over time, it’s important to share all the symptoms you may be experiencing so we can identify the root cause.
Hip pain can make it difficult to function. It can hurt to do daily activities like walking and sitting. The conservative care we offer is a great first option for patients to consider when suffering from hip problems. Many benefits can come from seeking chiropractic treatment first.
Many causes of hip pain are biomechanical. Elliott Family Chiropractic is trained in the manual medicine approach that looks at the following assessments to better diagnose your hip pain:
- manual therapies such as mobilization, manipulation and therapeutic exercises
- orthopedic tests
- ergonomic training
Since technology is changing so fast, it is leading to many advancements in hip surgery. The longer a patient can put off an inevitable hip replacement, the better the outcome. Oftentimes, pain felt in the hip can lead to knee and ankle pain as well. By treating the lower half of your body as a whole, we can better isolate the root cause of the issue. When you visit our office for hip pain, Elliott Family Chiropractic can better diagnose to make sure all these areas are working optimally.
In many cases, hip pain can be caused by osteoarthritis or as a result from an injury. For the first time in history, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has recommended that manual therapy, if added to exercise or rehabilitation, may further benefit hip or knee osteoarthritis.
We offer this type of specialized treatment plan and can prevent or delay surgery while benefiting hip or knee pain related to osteoarthritis.
Call our office today at (408) 559-1100 to start your personalized treatment plan to get you walking again and sitting pain free!