Tag: <span>chiropractic</span>

how to treat hunchback

How to treat hunchback (and what causes it to begin with)

You may know it as a “Dowager’s Hump”…or simply hunchback. You may think it only affects senior citizens. The reality is that hunchback, or hyperkyphosis as it is professionally called, is affecting more and more people of varying ages. I often get asked about how to treat hunchback and if there is anything that can be done to prevent it.

 

Understanding hyperkyphosis (hunchback)

Physicians refer to the chronic, forward-leaning posture as hyperkyphosis. This condition is characterized by a rounding of the upper spine into a C-shaped curvature. If you have poor posture, over time you can develop an abnormal curve of the upper thoracic vertebrae and a sometimes a mass of tissue at the lower part of your neck. Typically, you have a head forward posture and loss of the normal cervical curve.

The severity of the condition can vary as can the symptoms, including:

  • rounded shoulders or a hump on the back
  • back or neck pain or stiffness
  • feeling of head being too heavy or fatigued muscles in the back or neck
  • tension headaches

Both men and women are susceptible, with an increased occurrence during middle-age.

 

What Causes Hunchback

how to treat hunchbackBad posture is the most common cause. You’ve heard me talk about posture before and how much it impacts your health. With the increased use of smartphones, tablets and laptops, many people are in a slouched head forward position for hours a day, not to mention if their desktop computer is not set up ergonomically correct.

With a hunchback condition, your head is jutting forward, putting a lot of stress on the base of your neck. How much stress? Well, for every inch your head protrudes forward from its normal alignment, an extra 10 pounds of force is placed on your neck! Studies show that a loss of cervical curve as well as hyperkyphosis can reduce conductivity of the spinal cord as well as reduce lung capacity!

Poor posture can also develop from:

  • slouching or hunching, such as at a computer or in front of a TV
  • leaning back in chairs
  • carrying heavy loads on your back, such as a backpack full of books

If you develop hunchback from poor posture, the condition can often be corrected through exercise and practicing good posture. Some individuals develop more severe hyperkyphosis as a result of:

  • Compression fractures/osteoporosis
  • Congenital problem
  • Loss of postural muscle tone with aging – it’s estimated that 20 to 40 percent of older adults have hyperkyphosis.

Maintaining good posture is the best way for you to prevent hunchback. Core-strengthening exercises can be beneficial too.

 

Stretches to treat hunchback

Depending on your age and the severity, you can improve or reverse your hunchback. The key is to strengthen the upper back muscles as well to reduce the head forward posture and restore the cervical curve. Increasing muscle tone helps pull back the shoulders and put the head back on top of the shoulders. Just understand that even with practicing good posture and doing specific exercises, hunchback won’t go away overnight. It may take months of effort. And waiting too late to deal with it could mean that you’ll never completely get rid of it.

These exercises are excellent for improving your condition…but they are great preventatives too!

 

Chin tuck

Hold your head level, tuck your chin slightly and bring your head back directly over your shoulders (like you are a cobra about to strike). This is not an up or down movement, it’s straight back, so your nose should not tip down but stay level. You can do this exercise just about anywhere to help with your posture. Do chin tucks in sets of ten, rest and repeat.

 

Upper back stretch

Face a wall and place your hands flat against it above your head. Keeping your neck neutral, sink down into the stretch, being sure not to let your head drop as you’re doing this stretch. Keep your ears in line with your shoulders. After about 10-20 seconds, sink further into the stretch. Repeat several times.

 

Wall pushups

Again, face a wall with your hands head-level and shoulder width apart. Do a traditional push-up, making sure not to let your chin drop. You’ll feel the scapula in your back come together as you lean towards the wall. Do pushups in sets up ten, take a break, then do another set.

 

Finally, as an augment to exercises, we highly recommend this wedge, which we sell in our office. The Apex Premium with Heat counteracts forward head posture to help relieve headaches and neck pain. The wedge not only provides better support but also moist heat therapy. Patients rave about it! It’s well worth the $35 investment.

If you’d like some help getting started with treating hunchback at home or wonder if chiropractic treatments can aid the reversal (they can), please reach out and make an appointment to meet with myself or Dr. A.

Dr. Sharman

 

 

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