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What Is Back Pain and How to Treat It?

Back pain is a very common injury seen in the majority of the population.

Our daily activities often  play a very crucial role in our back pain. If someone has a desk job or if they work from home, they most likely spend a majority of their time hunched over, with bad posture, staring at a computer screen for multiple hours. Generally, a lot of people want to become more active, but they lack the proper biomechanics needed to perform certain workouts and then they experience low back pain. If someone lives in a city with bad traffic or that person has to drive long hours for work, they are often sitting in a position that compromises their back for a long duration of time. On top of that, what if a person gets into a car collision? Their back is already in a compromised position and then you add a high velocity impact to the equation and that results in a more trauma to the body. If we look at our daily activities and the tasks that we need to perform in order for us to survive, it makes sense why a majority of the population has back pain.

How will we ever get out of pain if we cannot stop working, being active or performing our daily activities?

Well with Chiropractic care we can help minimize the intensity and the frequency that a person experiences pain with proper treatment and exercises, so that you can continue to live your life.

Often times, when a person experiences an auto collision it can be very detrimental and traumatic to their back. It may unravel back pain that a person has never experienced before. This back pain may be the result of stress and strain on the paraspinal muscles on each side of the back. The back pain could also result in a disc herniation that irritates spinal nerves around the disc causing radicular symptoms. Radicular symptoms include sharp, shooting, numbness or pain that refers to different parts of the body. The back pain could also be so severe as a compression fracture caused by the auto collision. We refer and recommend imaging such as X-rays and MRIs to properly educate the patient on what may be the root cause of their back pain. A number of times,  patients discover a slight curvature in their spine or scoliosis. However, the patient has never experienced back pain like this prior to the accident. Most times the scoliosis is not caused by the accident, but due to prior events that we have experienced throughout life that cause a gradual change in the curvature of a spine. The auto collision could irritate those muscles that have already been compensated for so long and create pain more prevalent on one side of the curvature than the other.

As Chiropractors we are highly trained and skilled in treating your back pain.

We refer and recommend imaging to accurately diagnosis and educate the patient on the root cause of their back pain. The proper imaging also helps us know what areas we can and cannot adjust. For instance: if a patient has a spinal fracture, we will not adjust the area.

We primarily start most patients on passive care, which includes E-STEM, Myofascial therapy, Heat or Ice. Whenever the patient is out of the acute phase, we will introduce the chiropractic adjustment to them. The Chiropractic adjustment is a specific thrust into a joint used to improve motion and physical function. The adjustment can be performed with hands or an activator.

We combine passive therapy with active therapy to correct and strengthen certain areas of the body or muscles that are not working correctly. The exercises that we use are not meant to be extremely exerting or provide a great amount of fatigue. The exercises and stretches are used to create proper biomechanics, improve function and range of motion to specific areas. Overtime these proper movements will eventually become muscle memory in hopes of decreasing the frequency of back pain.

Throughout all of the treatments and therapies we are constantly documenting and measuring the progress of the patient. These measurements include patient feedback, as well as range of motion, muscle testing and deep tendon reflexes.

As mentioned before, we are constantly moving, constantly under stress and strain from our jobs and daily activities. It would almost be impossible to eliminate back pain; we would have to stop everything. However, we can not afford to stop moving, because our lives and others depend on our productivity. With Chiropractic care and proper therapy, we can help minimize the intensity of pain and the frequency of a person’s pain. Combined with the proper exercises and stretches we can alter those faulty movements and create the proper biomechanics needed to sustain the progress made for a longer period of time.

What is Radiculopathy and why do I have it?

Have you ever experienced numbness, tingling, weakness or pain traveling down your arms or legs?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions you may be experiencing radicular signs and it is important to have a health care professional assess your symptoms to identify the cause. These symptoms are what is known in healthcare as radiculopathy. This condition is a disorder that occurs due to compression or injury to the nerve root, especially after a trauma such as a fall or a motor vehicle accident.

How does this occur?

It is important to note that our nerve roots branch off of our spinal cord which is encased by the 24 vertebrae in our spine. Each vertebra has openings on the sides to allow the nerve roots to exit from the spine and travel out to the rest of the body and provide sensory and motor function. When structures along the nerve’s path throughout the body put pressure on the nerve it can lead to pain, tingling, weakness, and/or numbness or abnormal sensation along the area that specific nerve is responsible for. These structures that surround the nerve roots (tendons, intervertebral discs, vertebrae, etc.) can change in size due to inflammation and affect the nerve root where it travels throughout the spine. Inflammation frequently occurs in these tissues following a trauma like a motor vehicle accident or fall as our bodies adapt during recovery from an injury, leading to compression of the nerve. Degenerative changes to the structures in the spine over time can also lead to radicular symptoms especially when compounded with a recent injury.

The cause of the compression is important to identify when it comes to treatment of the symptoms.

This pressure or impingement of the nerve roots can be caused by stenosis, disc herniations, bone spurs, inflamed soft tissue structures or other conditions that put pressure on the nerves. Stenosis is the narrowing of the hole where the nerve root exits, which can be caused by degenerative and/or traumatic changes to the bone or bulging/herniated discs narrowing the opening for the nerve.

To diagnose this condition, the doctor will obtain the history of the complaint, perform a physical examination, and order all necessary imaging to accurately determine the source of the radiculopathy. The most common imaging tests to accurately confirm the source of the symptoms are MRIs or nerve conduction studies.

 Finally, now that we know what it is, and how it is caused, how do we manage the symptoms associated with radiculopathy?

Treatment for this condition can range from conservative options like chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy to more advanced options such as steroidal injections and minimally invasive surgery depending on the cause and severity of the symptoms. As we mentioned previously, following an accident or trauma the areas of the body that were affected will likely have pain and  inflammation along with the radicular symptoms. Research has shown that the use of manual therapy techniques, therapeutic modalities, chiropractic adjustments, and therapeutic exercise is effective for increasing function, decreasing pain and disability, and increasing range of motion or mobility.

Radiculopathy can occur at nearly all levels of the spine, but it most frequently occurs at the neck or low back. The nerves that innervate the neck down to your fingers all exit at the cervical spine which is the first 7 vertebrae in your spine. The nerves that supply the lower body down to the toes all originate from the last five vertebrae also known as the lumbar spine. One of the most well-known forms of radiculopathy is pain traveling down from the low back into the back of the thighs, legs, or even down to the toes, also known as sciatica. If you have been in any kind of accident and have suffered a possible spinal injury or are experiencing symptoms of radiculopathy you should seek prompt medical attention from a healthcare provider. Our experienced doctors and technicians pinpoint your areas of concern and will treat you with the innovated and tested methods in order to produce the best results possible.

What is and how do you treat Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury from a forceful back and forth movement of the neck

The main cause for a whiplash is usually from a motor vehicle collision but can also occur by other forms for example a fall.  A few of the symptoms that you can experience from a whiplash are neck pain, muscle spasms, stiffness, decrease of range of motion, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and even radiating symptoms. Radiating symptoms are when you begin to feel numbness and tingling into the arms and fingers. Some patients also experience more severe symptoms like blurred vision, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, ringing in the ears, and depression.

After a motor vehicle collision, you should seek medical care and rule out fracture or ligamentous instability that could damage or worsen your symptoms and be life threatening. The forceful backward and forward motion can injure and damage, your bones in the spine, the discs that are in between the bones, ligaments, nerves, muscles and other tissues in the neck. There is not a specific recovery time frame and It is difficult to predict how long the recovery for a whiplash injury will take whether it is a few weeks, a few months, or years to recover. Some complication to your recovery could be age, previous trauma, and chronic neck pain that can play a big role in the recovery of a whiplash injury.

What do we do as chiropractors to treat whiplash?

We perform a very detailed exam that consist of the patients’ current range of motion, orthopedic exams, cranial nerve exam, sensory testing, motor testing, reflex testing, detecting muscle spasms and restrictions in the spine. After examining the patient, the doctor comes up with a proper diagnosis and requests the proper imaging. For a neck injury the doctor usually tends to send out a script for imaging whether it is an X-ray, CT, MRI of the cervical spine which is the neck. Once we receive the imaging and report we make sure the patient did not suffer from altitudinal ligamental tear or a fracture in the spine and we can begin conservative care. We begin by treating conservatively by applying electrical stimulation to the surrounding muscles. Electrical stimulation sends electrical pulses to the muscles through the skin to stimulate the injured muscles and help reduce pain. Electrical stem helps accelerate recovery and provides some relief of pain. Although Electrical stimulation is great it is not for everyone, patients with pacemakers or any kind of heart device and pregnant mothers should stay away from Electrical stimulation. Alongside with electrical stimulation we like to use ice to help reduce inflammation and heat to help relax muscles.  Another treatment is myofascial release.

What is myofascial release?

Myofascial release is a very safe and effective hands on technique pressure that is applied to connective tissues restrictions to help with pain and restore some motion.  As a chiropractor and being one of the main things we do we also provide chiropractic adjustments, also known as spinal manipulations to the cervical (neck) spine, thoracic (upper back) spine and lumbar (low back) spine. A chiropractor uses their hands, or a small instrument called an Activator to apply a controlled force to the spinal joint. The adjustment helps improve motion and physical function. Some patients that suffer from headaches symptoms after a motor vehicle collision seem to decrease after an adjustment. Once the patient is out of the acute phase, we introduce active therapy. For our active therapy we introduce the patient to different stretches and exercises. The stretches will help release the contracted muscles and help increase range of motion. We also teach exercises to help strengthened the weak muscles in the cervical spine and thoracic spine. Once we strengthened the muscles it helps with the natural curves that we have in our spine whether its is the lordotic curve in the neck which is known as the cervical spine or kyphotic curve in the upper back which is known as the thoracic spine. These curves should be maintained because many times after a motor vehicle collision the curves tend to reverse which can cause muscle spasms and pain. The way we maintain those curves are by strengthening the extensor muscles which are in the back of the neck and upper back. If we strengthened, then that helps with posture which will in the long term help the curves and take weight off of the neck muscles. Another problem we see with whiplash patients is forward head posture which puts a lot of weight on the muscles and ligament in the neck. After a whiplash the patient can also suffer from a sprain and strain in the neck. A sprain and strain is when the neck muscle and ligaments become overstretched like a rubber band and it takes time for those muscles and ligaments to return to its “normal” elasticity.

Why Choose IRC Injury Relief Chiropractic Clinic?

We are committed as primary health care professionals to help our clients resume their lifelong pursuit of health, fitness, and well-being.

Knowledge

We at Injury Relief Chiropractic Clinic take a goal-oriented approach to healing. Whatever your goals might be we want to help you achieve them

Availability

We’ll provide hands-on treatment in the office and education you can take home with you, enabling you to become an active participant in your recovery and future chiropractic health.

Trust

Our chiropractor's have a combined 120 years of clinical experience and a shared passion for helping our community stay active.

FOUR CONVENIENT LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU

Frisco

Plano

Richardson

Dallas

Dak Prescott Injury & Rehabilitation Process Explained by a Sports Injury Specialist

Dak's Injury & Road to Recovery

The Dallas Cowboy’s star Quarterback, Dak Prescott, sustained a gruesome, season-ending injury to his ankle during the third quarter of this past weekends’ matchup against the New York Giants.

It was announced that Prescott underwent surgery, to repair a compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle. This was very likely a season-ending injury for Dak, as it takes time for this injury to heal, on top of the fact that he will have to go through rehabilitation in order to get to 100%.

 

It was officially reported by multiple news outlets that Dak Prescott sustained a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in Sunday’s game against the Giants. This means that the bone itself broke, as well as breaking through the skin. Additionally, the bone was moved off to the side or – dislocated (this is a very simple explanation of a complex injury). This got me thinking a lot about these types of injuries in general, and what the recovery and rehabilitation process involves. So, let’s talk about what to expect with a Musculo-Skeletal injury.

In layman's terms muscle bone problems, are generally treated by several options (which option, is dependent on the severity of the injury at the beginning).

His doctors may have him on a medication regimen at this time and will consider starting him off with light therapies roughly around four to six weeks in duration. After that they will start increasing the resistance and working on increasing range of motion (ROM) of his leg and ankle. Once they have increased stability in his ankle and leg, as well as improved on his overall ROM, they will likely end up focusing on strength exercises & therapies. After strength has developed and increased, typically the attention should be on incorporating functional motions, such as actions and movements performed in a football game.

The Road to Recovery: There are no Skipping Steps!

In Dak’s case, he suffered a pretty severe injury, and while injuries might not be as severe, the steps to recovery are still the same. It can be a tedious & time-consuming process; however, it is imperative to work hard and focus on each part of recovery. There are no skipping steps, there is no “next before you finish the previous step”.

You should find a rehabilitation provider who is going to know the correct steps and know when to transition into the next step. This is very important in order to have the right pace of progress, because if a doctor believes you are progressing faster than what you are you could hurt yourself and get worse.

FOUR CONVENIENT LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU

Frisco

Plano

Richardson

Dallas

IRC Clinic - What To Do After an Accident - Plano Chiropractor, Can I really get injured in a low speed accident?

Can I really get injured in a low speed accident?

Injuries from Low Impact Accidents

A low impact auto accident is generally defined as an incident that takes place at speeds less than 10 miles per hour (mph). This type of collision usually causes the least amount of damage to the vehicles involved. Body injuries can result from any accident and that includes ones that occur with vehicles going less than 10 mph. Soft tissue injuries are the most common problem for those involved in a low impact accident.
A motor vehicle accident that takes place at speeds between under 10 mph often brings about little visible damage to the cars involved. Sometimes due to the fact that minimal damage was done to vehicle the injuries to the people in the vehicles are overlooked. This does not mean that bodily injury did not occur to the passengers during the crash.
While an automobile is built to take a slow 5 to 10 mph crash that is not necessarily true for your body. In a low impact accident a person’s soft tissue can be damaged.The back and neck are the usual problem spots for soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue is basically a person’s ligaments, tendons and muscles. Soft tissue injuries are typically classified as contusions or bruises, sprains or strains. 
A contusion is an injury to the soft tissue caused by blunt force. This force produces pooling of blood around the injury causing discoloring of the skin. This is commonly is referred to as a bruise. Bruising can be found in different shapes and colors.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament often brought about by a wrench or twist. A sprain can be a simple sprain, a partial tear or a complete tear. This can happen to various parts of a person’s body during an accident. It is not uncommon for a person to twist in their seat as a vehicle strikes theirs during the incident.
A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendon caused by overuse, force or stretching. The force of the car crash can push on a person’s soft tissue or cause parts to stretch in an abnormal way.Muscles and tendons support your bones. A strain may cause a partial or complete tear in the muscle and tendon combination.
The neck of a car occupant can whip forward causing the most common rear impact injury known as whiplash. General Motors (GM) did a study regarding crashes at speeds below eight mph. GM found, to no surprise, that injuries do occur at such low speeds. The study also showed that whiplash injuries account for more than half of all injuries connected to vehicular accidents. 
Although these types of injuries are characteristically classified as minor nearly 30 percent of those hurt in low speed collisions have reported having neck pain up to three years later. This injury is likely to be worse in those that experienced a rear end collision. Depending on the age of the person this injury could cause a permanent disability.
A motor vehicle can take the force of a low speed collision without showing much damage due to the advances car manufacturers have made in the construction of their vehicles. When a collision does occur the force of the accident pushes inertia somewhere and once the automobile has taken part of that energy away the occupants take the rest. These forces are what can cause people bodily harm even in a crash of below 10 mph.Soft tissue injuries can occur to those involved in a low speed impact and though these injuries might be hard to see they exist. 
IRC Clinic - Whiplash - Richardson Chiropractor

Facts about Whiplash

Facts about Whiplash

The term “whiplash” usually brings to mind neck pain, headaches and/or a stiff neck. However, there are other symptoms associated with whiplash that we don’t usually think of, such as ringing in the ears or, tinnitus. In the absence of whiplash, there are many people who experience an occasional ringing or sound of some sort in their ears. The ringing may seem to keep time with the heartbeat or, in cadence with breathing and is more common over the age of 40, and more common in men. The sound can be a buzzing, ringing, roaring, hissing or high pitched noise that usually lasts only seconds or minutes at the most. So, think of those times when you’ve noticed tinnitus and ask yourself, “…how would that affect me if that noise never stopped or lasted for hours?”

Before we discuss the association of tinnitus with whiplash, let’s review some facts discovered about tinnitus. There are two primary types of tinnitus: Pulsatile and nonpulsatile. Pulsatile tinnitus is often caused by sounds created either by blood flow problems in the face or neck, muscle movements near the ear, or changes in the ear canal. The non-pulsatile tinnitus is usually caused by nerve problems involving hearing in one or both ears. The later is sometimes described as a sound coming from inside the head. The most common cause of tinnitus is from hearing loss that occurs from aging – technically called presbycusis. However, it can also occur from living or working in a loud environment. Tinnitus can occur with many types of hearing loss and can be a symptom of almost any ear disorder. Other common causes include earwax buildup, certain medication side effects (aspirin, antibiotics), too much caffeine or alcohol intake, ear infections – which can lead to rupture of the eardrum, dental problems, TMJ or jaw problems, following surgery or radiation therapy to the head or neck, a rapid change in environmental pressure (airplane rides, elevators, scuba diving), severe weight loss from malnutrition or dieting, bicycle riding with the neck extended for lengthy time-frames, high blood pressure, nerve conditions (MS, migraine headache), as well as other conditions such as acoustic neuroma, anemia, labyrinthitis, Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis and thyroid disease. The good news is that most of the time, tinnitus comes and goes and does not require treatment. When tinnitus is associated with other symptoms, does not get better or go away, or is in only one ear, it is wise to consult with us. Spinal manipulation and other chiropractic treatment approaches are often VERY helpful in resolving tinnitus with the benefits of avoiding the need for medications, all of which carry secondary side effects. Chiropractic approaches are also highly effective when tinnitus is accompanied by dizziness or vertigo, usually requiring treatment applied to the upper neck area.

So, how does whiplash cause tinnitus? There are primary as well as secondary causes that can give rise to tinnitus after whiplash. After looking at the long list of causes above, direct trauma to the head such as hitting the side window, the back of the seat, the steering wheel, mirror and/or windshield makes obvious sense. Secondary causes often involve the TMJ or jaw which is commonly injured in whiplash. By itself, TMJ can cause ear pain, tinnitus, vertigo (dizziness), hearing loss, and headaches. Because many nerves that innervate the neck and head arise from the neck as well as from the cranial nerves, spinal manipulation of the neck as well as certain cranial manipulations can have a dramatic benefit in the treatment of whiplash induced tinnitus.

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your health-care services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future

 

IRC Clinic - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Plano Chiropractor

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Prevention

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Prevention

People who spend a lot of time performing activities that require a high level of force, repetition, or use vibrating tools are at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Other activities such as driving, playing musical instruments, knitting, using a sander, screw drivers, air wrenches, waitress work, or assembling small parts are also associated with increased CTS risk. The good news: there are ways we can reduce the risk of developing CTS. Some of these include the following:

  1. Stay Healthy: There are many conditions that contribute to the onset and/or make CTS worse. Exercise, maintain a healthy weight (Body Mass Index – BMI – of 25 or less), stop smoking (or better yet, never start), take your thyroid medication (if indicated), keep your blood sugar normal (obesity leads to diabetes which often worsens CTS), and do your carpal tunnel exercises multiple times a day.
  2. Ergonomics: Use “ergonomic” principles when arranging your workstation such as sitting properly at your home and work computers. The placement of your desk, the computer monitor, the keyboard (consider a convex keyboard rather than the flat type), the mouse (and type of mouse – the track ball mouse requires no arm movement, only the thumb), paperwork space and location. The type of chair and its height are also very important. Avoid desks that have sharp edges as they can compress the forearms and pinch the CTS nerve.
  3. Posture: The position in which you sit is important! Sit in an upright position, head/chin tucked in, feet on the floor or on a box, elbows resting on adjustable arms of the chair bent about 90 degrees, and keep your wrists fairly straight/neutral. Avoid slouching, reaching out with the elbows less than 90 degrees, head shifted forwards and shoulders rounded and feet not positioned under you. When you talk on the phone, STRONGLY consider a headset! Pinching the phone between your shoulder and ear with your head bent sideways for any length of time is a ticket to disaster for developing CTS and/or other types of cumulative trauma disorders (pinched nerves in the neck, shoulder tendonitis/bursitis, elbow tendonitis and more).
  4. Plan your activities: Pay careful attention to your daily routine for activities that may increase your risk of developing or perpetuating CTS. For example, these activities can increase your chance of developing or worsening CTS: playing a musical instrument, knitting, carpentry, playing video or computer games for hours, working on cars, operating vibrating tools, using forceful gripping such as spray bottles, using a crutch, cane, wheelchair, engaging in certain sports such as long-distance cycling that load the arm and hand, skiing – waterskiing requires a firm grip on the handle and snow skiing requires firm gripping on the ski pole.
  5. Sleep: It is impossible to control the position we put our hands/wrists in at night. Therefore, it is essential to wear wrist splints so we avoid bending the wrists in our sleep. Many of us curl up in a ball and tuck or bend the wrists and hands under our chin. In a “normal” wrist, the pressure inside the carpal tunnel DOUBLES when we bend our wrists! If we have CTS, the pressure goes up exponentially or, 6-8 times because of the increased pressure that’s there already because of the CTS. Use a pillow that is designed for you, we’ll help you with that!
  6. Take a break! It’s important to pace yourself if your work or play includes fast, repetitive activities. It’s easy to get lost into what you’re doing so a timer to remind you that an hour has gone by and to take a break is a wise purchase.  There are computer programs that flash on your screen, “Time to stretch!” Some of these may include the actual exercise so you don’t forget what to do. If not, talk to us about what exercises are good to do either at the workstation and/or at home for CTS.
            We realize you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend or family member require care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), we would be honored to render our services.