Tag: chiropractic

surprising conditions chiropractors treat

Surprising Conditions Chiropractors Treat with Good Results

Sometimes, chiropractors get pigeon-holed to where people think that we are only beneficial in reducing back pain. But did you know that is only a portion of the conditions we treat? In fact, you might be interested to know the surprising conditions chiropractors treat regularly that most people think can only be treated by other types of physicians.

Here are four conditions that I treat regularly – and most chiropractors see as a standard part of their practice.

 

Migraines and tension headaches

Research shows that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, is an effective way to treat tension headaches and headaches that begin in the neck. These chiropractic adjustments can improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your nervous system.

I treat many patients who have chronic headaches. My goal is always to help correct any neuromusculoskeletal sources of a headache (nerves, muscles and bones of the body). When working with a patient, I like to perform a spinal exam to determine if chiropractic care could alleviate the pain. If a headache may be caused or aggravated by any misaligned vertebrae in the spine (subluxation), it could be creating undue nerve interference. Spinal manipulations often can resolve this.

 

Stress and anxiety

Stress comes from three main sources: our environment, our bodies and our emotions. We all have stress…but for some of us, stress along with anxiety are ongoing conditions. For these folks, chiropractic adjustments may help the body manage and process this stress in a healthier way.

With adjustments, I’m able to release muscle tension – one part of chronic stress. In doing so, I can return the body to a more balanced state with alignment and a reduction in the nerve irritation that created the uneven pressures on the bones to start with. Studies show that chiropractic adjustments turn down the sympathetic, or fight or flight part of the nervous system.  Adjustments also improve circulation, which also helps the brain to know to turn off the “fight or flight” response and start the healing process.

Fibromyalgia

Once a rather obscure condition, most of us today know someone suffering from Fibromyalgia (or perhaps we do ourselves). With the cause of this condition still unknown, two percent of the U.S. population have this chronic disorder, involving widespread pain and sensitivity throughout the entire musculoskeletal system.

I am able to use adjustments, along with a soft tissue technique called myofascial release, to help my Fibro patients get some relief. This helps to move out the congestion of inflammatory biproducts in the tissue, release trigger points and breaks up adhesions between the muscle and it’s casing. For my fibromyalgia patients we also give particular focus to turning down inflammatory pathways through nutrition, detoxing the liver, healing the gut, stress management and vitamin protocols.

One patient of mine has gotten relief from not one but two of her conditions (including fibromyalgia!):

“Through my chiropractic care with Dr. Sharman, my fibromyalgia has been so much more manageable. She reduces my muscle pain and uses protocols to reduce inflammation in my tissues. Also, my tension headaches have completely resolved. Before I saw Dr. Sharman, my tension headaches were debilitating. I saw so many different doctors who gave me so many different tests and types of treatments, but nothing worked until I came to Life Care. Dr. Sharman was the only one who was able to help me. It has been years since I have had a tension headache. Now, I enjoy my periodic chiropractic “tune ups” that keep me dancing at 66 years old.” – Gail Leigh

 

Allergies

surprising conditions chiropractors treatAllergies occur when the immune system encounters an irritant and mistakes it as harmful, causing inflammation. The body goes into attack mode with an often aggressive, irritating response. This generates the allergy symptoms that make us feel crummy: itching, sneezing, nausea and sometimes vomiting.

By improving the communication throughout the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord, chiropractic care can help regulate and coordinate the body’s reaction to allergens. A weak immune system can be strengthened by correcting the misalignment in the spine that disrupts the essential pathways between the brain and spine. This can de-amplify allergic responses.

A strong, well-functioning immune system can deal with irritants and take them on BEFORE they can wreak havoc in your body. So keep your spine aligned – and you’ll have taken the first step to a healthier immune system.

 

Other recommendations

Aside from the specific techniques mentioned to address headaches, stress, fibromyalgia and allergies, most chiropractors have a few more “tools” in our toolkit that may not be suggested to a sufferer by their regular physician.

I find that I’m also often recommending:

  • Nutritional supplements and sometimes an entire vitamin protocol
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Techniques for improving your back posture
  • Environmental modifications (ergonomics, especially for the work environment)
  • Exercises to be done at home to keep the improvements going

And the four conditions mentioned in this article are only some of the surprising conditions chiropractors treat with success. If you are struggling with a condition and not getting relief, let us know. We can schedule a consultation and assess if there is more we can do to help you feel your best!

Dr. Sharman

lower back pain relief

Lower back pain: how to treat it and get relief

Have you ever had back pain? If so, you’re not alone. According to research, up to 80% of the population will experience it at some point during their lifetime. And this may surprise you, but it’s the second most common reason for a doctor’s visit (upper-respiratory infections in number one).

I’ve experienced it myself and treated more patients than I can count for back pain. Trying to get through the day with back pain is not fun.

Back pain can vary, but lower back pain is extremely common. It can be chronic, being worse from time to time, or be acute as the result of an injury or wrong movement (this happens more often as we age!). Sometimes the pain can hang around for a few weeks; other times for a few months.

What can you do to get some relief? For most people, it’s a bit of trial and error requiring more of a multifaceted approach than traditional medicine offers. The good news is there are many things you can do that don’t involve surgery (or even prescriptions, but I’ll cover that later).

So let’s get specific about some of the lower back pain treatment options you have.

 

Cold/heat therapy

Applying appropriate heat or cold to the lower back can relieve symptoms and encourage the healing process. So how do you know which one is needed?

Cold therapy– is generally applied whenever there is inflammation involved. This is often early in the onset of pain or immediately after an injury or reinjury. However, inflammation can remain part of a condition for long periods of time. The benefits of cold therapy include reduction of inflammation and slowing of nerve impulses that can cause spasms of pain.

 

Heat therapy– is generally applied when we are certain there is no inflammation such as tense muscles or nerve irritation involved. It is generally used for tense or tight muscles that are not injured, but are achy and sore. It’s benefits include stimulation of the blood flow of nutrients to the area needing healing and inhibition of pain “messages” from being sent to the brain.

 

Exercise/stretching

Exercise that is specific but not strenuous can have major benefits to reducing back pain. Everybody’s back pain and cause is so different, I hate to get specific about exercises recommendations. For some people, core strengthening will help to create better support for their spine. For others, various stretching exercises can reduce stress, particularly to their sacroiliac joints. Get specific recommendations from your physician, chiropractor or physical therapist once your lower back pain is accurately diagnosed.

 

Endorphins release

We hear about endorphins but how much do we understand them? Endorphins are hormones that occur naturally in the body. They can be powerful – almost like a natural pain reliever. Endorphins help block pain signals from registering with your brain but can also alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, which can make pain conditions worse.

There are many ways to get these “feel good” messengers to be released. Some include chiropractic manipulation, massage therapy, meditation, aerobic exercise, making music, having sex (yes!), eating dark chocolate (yay!) and even enjoying your favorite food. So consider lifestyle changes that incorporate more of these activities so your endorphins can start flowing.

 

Sleep/rest

A good night’s sleep and adequate rest, particularly during a flare-up, is critical for relieving back pain. Many people with chronic pain also suffer from insomnia, and it can be tough to break the cycle of pain and lack of sleep. If you are struggling with sleep, make sure you are addressing this condition as well as your back pain.

The position you sleep in can make a huge difference. There are many options, and you should see which one works best for you. No matter what position you end up with, make you’re your spine has proper alignment. Focus specifically on aligning your ears, shoulders, and hips.

 

RELATED: How to improve the quality of your sleep

 

Massage/Acupuncture

Both alternative therapies target specific muscle groups to reduce spasms, increase blood flow and ultimately provide pain relief. We offer massage therapy at our office with some great, qualified therapists – and can refer you to an acupuncturist. Aside from the pain relief, the experience with both therapies should leave you more relaxed which will improve how you feel about your lower back condition.

 

Chiropractic manipulation

Studies show that chiropractic treatment involving manipulation of the spine is effective for lower back pain, neck pain and more. Not only can manipulation, or adjustments, provide relief during a pain flare-up, but maintenance adjustments after the pain is gone can be powerful in preventing pain from reoccurring.

Chiropractors like myself and Dr. A perform two types of manipulations.

Spinal manipulation is high-velocity, quick thrusts that immediately reduce nerve irritability and restore the range of motion in the back.

Mobilization is low-velocity movement and stretching of the muscles and joints to increase the range of motion within those areas. Depending on the diagnosis, we choose the type that will best provide what the patient needs.

 

About those prescriptions…

lower back pain reliefFolks with acute, severe lower back pain may find themselves considering ​prescription muscle relaxants, ​pain medications, or anti-inflammatory medications. None of these are advisable for long-term, chronic pain.

I’m not a huge fan of prescriptive approaches – although I understand that at times, patients are in so much pain that they feel they have no other options. Beyond overuse and addiction, prescription drugs that numb pain may also convince a patient that their condition has healed or is less severe than it really is. That misunderstanding can lead to over-exertion, a delay in the healing process or even to permanent injury. So please be very cautious, particularly with narcotics.

When used correctly, some prescriptions can reduce the pain enough to employ exercise, chiropractic manipulation or other effective treatments. However, we hope to avoid them altogether.

 

Final thoughts on lower back pain relief

We treat so many patients for lower back pain. Most utilize a variety of treatment approaches to get pain relief. Chiropractic manipulation definitely helps…and as mentioned before, continuing manipulations after pain is gone, along with preventative approaches, can keep that pain at bay (check out the article link we shared above!). As always, come in for an evaluation so together we can work up a treatment plan that’s right for you.

 

Dr. Sharman