Chronic joint pain is a drain on quality of life
Joints are the workhorses of the human body; they are the structures where bone meets bone, providing the functions of range of motion and shock absorption. As an office of chiropractic, a set of joints we treat on a regular basis are the facet joints. Facet joints, of which there are two in every spinal motion segment, allow for stable articulation between the vertebrae. They are small and, because they are so often used, they are frequently injured.
Facet Joint Syndrome is a common cause of back pain
Each facet joint is encased in a joint capsule filled with synovial fluid, the lubricating material that contributes to joint health. This capsule is covered by hyaline cartilage and the overall role of the entire structure is to stabilize the spine- to prevent damage from occurring due to excessive motion. When damage occurs to the joint capsule, whether due to acute injury or repetitive trauma, back pain, swelling and inflammation is a natural result. Most instances of FJS will heal themselves within a 6 week time period, but chiropractic helps to empower your body to heal quicker and prevent the injury from recurring.
Chiropractic is effective at healing Facet Joint Syndrome
A chiropractic examination can determine whether your back pain may be caused by FJS. If so, we proceed with a dynamic plan for treatment including conservative methods for empowering your body’s ability to heal. These include:
- Chiropractic adjustment to align the spine and re-hydrate the facet joints.
- Lifestyle adjustments to account for your injury.
- Decompression therapy including manual and instrument-assisted traction to open up space between the vertebrae.
- Advice on posture and diet to help support the healing process.
If you suspect you may be suffering from Facet Joint Syndrome, give our office a call to schedule an appointment and speed up the healing process today.
Muscle tension often flies under the radar
At our office in Houston, we define muscle tension as a condition where muscles in the body remain contracted or semi-contracted for an extended period of time. We also regularly see the damaging effects of prolonged muscle tension: the aches, pains, headaches, and stiffness that often accumulate into episodic back pain. But what causes muscle tension?
Behavior that is contributing to muscle tension
- Stress: the body tightens in response to stress; blood flow to soft tissues is reduced which means oxygen is reduced, and biochemical waste is allowed to build in the muscles, leading to tension, spasm, and pain.
- Poor posture: good posture means your spine is balanced with muscles working in harmony; poor posture means that your spine is unbalanced and your muscles must compensate to keep it upright. Some muscles are constantly contracted while others are not used at all.
- Lack of exercise: more exercise means more oxygen to your muscles and the prevention of lactic acid build-up. When muscles are not stretched regularly, they become short and trigger points are likely to develop
- Lack of certain nutrients: calcium, magnesium, and B12
- …and too much of others: caffeine, phosphorous.
- Sleep health: lack of sleep deprives you of oxygen and prevents the breakdown of lactic acid which contributes to trigger points.
We can reduce muscle tension
Muscle tension is widespread; it is one of the most common causes of muscle ache and pain. We use chiropractic techniques to restore proper alignment to the spine and regulate the nervous system. This in itself is a big boost, but our treatment goes further by helping you identify behaviors that are contributing to your muscle tension; we help you find ways to stay relaxed, both in body and mind, throughout the day. If you are interested in a life with less muscle tension, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
The importance of core stability
You may as well equate core stability with spinal stability. Core muscles refer to the network of muscles in your stomach and back which combine to support your spine, maintain stability and prevent injury. Weakness in these muscles is a signal contributor to not only back pain, but the development of poor posture and debilitating spinal conditions such as herniated discs. Boiled down to its most basic, a strong core will support your spine and allow you to perform thousands of daily motions without incurring injury. Let’s take a look at one of the most important core muscles.
The multifidus: small but mighty when it comes to core stability
The multifidus is a series of muscles that attach directly to the spinal column- there is a superficial group and a deep muscle group which perform several key functions; the key roles of the multifidus muscles include taking pressure off the intervertebral discs, keeping the spine straight and supported. Before any motion is initiated, the multifidus activates in order to protect the spine from injury. People with back pain often present with smaller and thus weaker multifidus muscles, which means their ability to protect the spine is reduced. The key takeaway here is that a weak multifidus contributes to a lack of core stability and leaves people more vulnerable to back injury.
Establishing core stability
There are stretches and strengthening exercises that can specifically target the multifidus to restore strength to this small but powerful muscle. Before starting any routine that involves core and thus spinal stability, it is worth consulting with a health professional. We offer expertise on the subject of core stability and chiropractic adjustment which ensures your spine is properly aligned in order to reap all the benefits of your exercise. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
The two worst forms of footwear for people with back pain
High heels and flip flops. This is a bottom-up problem: by not providing adequate support for your feet, the instability ripples through the legs and affects the spine, especially the lower back.
- The higher the heel, the more accentuated the arch in your lower back, straining the muscles of the lower back in the process.
- Flip flops don’t anchor your feet, instead letting them slide around in the footbed. This means that the weight of your body is being thrown about, exacerbating conditions such as sciatica.
From a chiropractor’s perspective, high heels and flip flops both fit under the category of flimsy footwear. They may serve an intermediary purpose, but they should never be your go-to shoe.
Flip flops and high heels have the highest coincidence of back pain among footwear
Your footwear has a direct impact on your back pain: flip flops provide no cushion or shock absorption, allowing impact from the foot to travel directly to the vertebrae; high heels force the muscles of your back to work harder and are more likely to cause injury from falling. These forces contribute to spinal misalignment and the development of degenerative conditions including herniated discs and sciatica. Here are some alternative proposals for footwear that fills the same function without harming the spine to the same degree.
- For flip-flop addicts, Crocs and sport sandals with straps are a better alternative.
- For high heel lovers, wedges provide the same stylish lift without destabilizing the foot and forcing the back to work quite as hard.
Improving spinal health habits in small ways
No matter what footwear you choose, there are always ways you can improve your spinal health habits. From mixing up your shoes, to stretching before wearing high heels, to avoiding wearing them for long periods of time, it will always benefit your back if you keep an eye on how you are wearing your shoes. Footwear is a microcosmic example of how we make large changes in your spinal health habits. We can help undo the damage that flip-flops and high heels have caused your spine. If you are interested in improving your spinal health from the bottom-up or the top-down, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Athletes put their bodies on the line; we protect them
Whether your sport is high-impact or low, every time you go out on your chosen playing field you are putting your body at risk for injury. While a good deal of our work as chiropractors is centered around preventing injury in the first place, chiropractic is also an effective tool for treating injuries after they happen. Let’s look at some of the most common injuries sustained by athletes and how we treat them at our office.
Common injuries sustained by athletes
Some of the most common injuries sustained by athletes include sprains, strains and tears, all of which can cause pain and prevent you from playing. These injuries are primarily caused by:
- Forceful impact
- Repetitive trauma (think the jarring motion on your joints from running)
- Over-training and fatigue
- Failure to warm-up
How we treat athletic injuries
- Manual adjustment of the spine: to realign the spine, and correct the motion and function of spinal joints.
- Releasing myofascial pain: reducing pain allows you to focus on stretching and strengthening, the factors that matter for rehabilitation.
- Improving circulation: to cycle blood to an injured area, bringing the oxygen and nutrients necessary for repair.
- Spinal mobilization: a passive movement of a segment of the spine to increase range of motion.
- Ice and heat: to stimulate the body’s healing response and further improve circulation.
Your specialist for athletic injuries
If you are suffering from a sports-related injury and are interested in healing it quickly and preventing it from recurring, give our office in Houston a call to schedule an appointment today. We can help you get back on the playing field and performing better than ever!
You get regular tune-ups for your car but not your body?
The logic appears to be faulty here. People protect the things they love and spend money to care for them, but will often wait until an injury or serious condition develops to seek help for their own body. At our office, we hope to give you some compelling reasons to start thinking differently about the maintenance of your own body!
Your spine is central to your overall health
Thus, having regular checkups performed to determine its overall health is a simple way of maintaining well being. Every movement you make during the day will affect one part of the spine or the other, and many of these movements conspire to move the spinal joints out of alignment, leading to nerve compression and overall bodily dysfunction. The important thing is to listen to your body. Pain is a signal just like the check engine light in your car.
How can problems with your spinal joints cause pain?
First of all, they can bother or impinge upon nearby spinal nerves which interact directly with the brain. This is especially prevalent in people suffering from herniated discs, in which bulging disc material puts pressure on spinal nerves. However, spinal joints being out of alignment most often lead to restrictions in range of motion, which can hamper the effective communication of your central nervous system. This overall imbalance is responsible for painful tightness in the muscles as well as pain that results from sprained ligaments surrounding the vertebral joint.
Tuning up your spine
The good news is that subluxation is effectively corrected with chiropractic adjustments. These are purposeful, sometimes instrument-assisted adjustments that return spinal joints to proper alignment and simultaneously improve nervous system functioning. Don’t let spinal misalignment wreak silent havoc with your life until a serious condition develops. Instead, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Sitting All Day Is Unnatural
Humans weren’t made to just sit. We were made to stand, to walk, run, jump, twist, turn, bend, lay down, roll, crawl, climb, squat, and maybe, for a few minutes a day, to sit. But at a certain point in (very recent) history, our jobs became seated, our entertainment became seated, our meals, our commute, etc. The list goes on. Sitting has become as prevalent as standing and it is taking its toll on our bodies. If your typical day consists of commuting to work each way, sitting in front of a computer, then sitting on a sofa and watching TV to unwind (with maybe an hour of exercise thrown in), you could be putting your spine at serious risk.
The damage of sitting all-day
Excessive sitting affects every part of the body:
- Damages organs and interferes with digestion
- Increases compression on the spine
- Encourages poor posture habits
- Contributes to obesity and diabetes
- Weakens muscles, and destabilizes the muscular balance
- Causes poor blood circulation
This is just the start. Excessive sitting can be traced as a cause of many of the USA’s most prevalent health problems. So, if your job requires you to sit, and you have a penchant for binge-watching TV after work, make sure that you take steps to undo this damage on a daily basis.
Undoing the damage of sitting all-day
Besides an hour of vigorous workout that gets your heart rate up and works your muscles, you should focus on choosing specific movements that target the parts of your body which suffer the most during sitting. Yoga is an effective modality for doing just that! Here are some of the most effective yoga poses for habitual sitters:
- Downward facing dog
- Spinal twist
- Pigeon pose
- Cat and cow pose
- Child’s pose
Detailed instructions for these poses can be found here: https://www.verywellfit.com/essential-yoga-poses-for-beginners-3566747. If you are interested in redressing all the damage done by sitting, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Allergies are a recent phenomenon
I know lots of people who have allergies, you know lots of people who have allergies. A quick google says more than 50 million Americans experience seasonal allergies each year. Allergies are everywhere. And of course, there are countless remedies, pills, exercises, foods, and many experts telling us how to improve our health to reduce our allergy symptoms ad nauseam. But has it ever occurred to you that seasonal allergies are a recent phenomenon local to only a few places in the world?
This is not your regular conspiracy
No, the big pharma industry did not invent allergies to sell you pills. The problem of seasonal allergies seems to be connected to city planners trying to reduce budgets by planting trees that were easy to maintain. The unforeseen effect of planting cloned trees that were all male is the seasonal allergies we almost all have. Please follow these links to see that I am not making this up.
Another quick reference to easily share with your friends is this one on youtube
Why the trees
In nature, there are three tree sexes, monecious, dioecious male or dioecious female. And naturally, there is an even distribution of the three. This is not the case in cities.
The easy to transplant trees, and easy to maintain trees, basically, the cheap trees, mean “cultivation has produced wholly male trees – plants favored by planners since they have no seeds or pods to drop but only pollen. ” The guardian summarizes with this, “Allergenic tree pollen was found to be one of the biggest contributors to hay fever and asthma, and pollen counts have also been rising over the past 15 years.”
So how do we fix it?
If you want to stop inhaling pills to help alleviate your seasonal allergies then there is going to be some work for us to do. Yes, chiropractic adjustments can help but they only go so far. We need to spread the word that there are more costs to plants than the initial price and maintenance. Our choices in cultivation affect our inhalation, like that? 🙂 Chiropractors can’t be experts in every field, pun intended, but we can pass on our own knowledge and I hope you do too. Keep learning and stop by our office any time to learn more.
Construction work is another of the professions most affected by back pain
Lifting and bending over account for a large percentage of common back injuries, from muscle sprain to herniated discs. Almost every job in the construction industry requires some kind of lifting. And there is a triple-headed problem that exists here:
- Often the loads present no clear way to lift in a manner conducive to your back’s health
- The loads are too heavy: no one worker should lift over 51 pounds at a time
- We have forgotten proper body mechanics regarding lifting and bending
Most construction workers reading this will agree that they regularly lift more than 51 pounds at a time by themselves. Because lifting is one of the most harmful motions for our back, it is always good to keep your spine’s health in mind while on-site.
Prevention of back pain for construction workers
Prevention of back pain begins before the job starts: every construction worker should stretch before a day that will involve even a mild demand of lifting. Having cold muscles when you go to lift is one of the surest ways to injure yourself. Make sure you give yourself at least 5 minutes of stretching time before each day. Furthermore:
- Use a support belt to lend stability to your core, restrict excessive motion and prevent injury.
- Focus on core strength: your back is one of your greatest and most fragile assets on the job. It behooves you to spend time at home or in the gym strengthening and stretching the core stabilizing muscles.
- Limit the loads you are lifting as much as possible and ask for a helping hand when possible.
We take the health of construction workers’ spines seriously. If you need help rehabilitating injuries sustained on the job, or to prevent them from happening in the first place, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Your spine is always under pressure
Our spines are constantly under pressure: from the force of gravity to the added compression we do to ourselves with things like poor posture, there is rarely a second when your spine gets a break. Unless you plan to live in space (which comes with its own set of problems), or become fully aquatic, there is little we can do to escape the pressures of gravity.
Instead of fleeing the problem, let’s face it head-on!
Symptoms of compression injuries range from mild to severe. The most common compression related conditions that we treat include:
- Back pain
- Nerve pressure
- Herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Rehabilitation of fractured vertebrae
- Government Pressure (jk)
The fact that pressure is constantly accumulating indicates why decompression therapy is so effective; and why it feels so good. At our office, we have a range of modalities for treating compression injuries.
- Spinal adjustment relieves pain by restoring mobility to spinal motion segments and relieving pressure from the nearby nerves.
- Mechanical traction utilizes a specialized table to stretch the spine while we provide gentle, targeted adjustment to the spinal joints. This has the effect of opening up the space between the vertebrae, allowing for rehydration of the intravertebral discs and creating a negative pressure space in which bulging disc material can retract.
- Manual traction applies a distraction force to the spine in order to alleviate pain and compression
Relieving pressure has never felt so good
The goal of decompression therapy is to help you experience less pain, allowing you to move more and thus strengthen the muscles that matter for supporting the spine. If you are interested in using decompression therapy for your back pain, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.