Chiropractors and Whiplash

A chiropractor knows that one of the most common injuries suffered in car accidents is a whiplash, especially in rear-end collisions. A whiplash occurs when the head and neck are snapped from the back to the front. The movement is similar to what a whip looks like when it is cracked, hence the term whiplash. Although whiplash most often occurs in crashes, they can also happen in other types of accidents, trauma, falls, or assaults.

Experienced chiropractors know that many times, the patient does not immediately realize they have been injured. It can take weeks – sometimes months – before the symptoms become persistent enough to raise concern in the patient or cause other issues. If you have suffered whiplash in an accident, contact our office to find out how we can help.

What Happens to the Spine When Whiplash Occurs?

During the accident, as the neck is being whipped upon impact, there may also be damage being done to the spine and tissues surrounding the spine. This can include:

  • Bulging or herniation of discs
  • Misalignment of the spine (this is referred to as subluxation)
  • Injury to bones in the spine
  • Muscles and ligaments in the neck are pulled
  • Nerves become irritated or damaged

Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash can be mild to severe, but even a mild case of whiplash can be dangerous if left untreated. Because it can take so long for symptoms to appear, it is very important that you see a chiropractor if you have been involved in a crash or any other type of incident which could have caused a whiplash injury. A chiropractor can perform a thorough exam, including X-rays, and evaluate any injuries.

Common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Inability to move or turn the head fully
  • Neck pain
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, and fingers
  • Pain when turning the head
  • Pain in the arm, shoulder, and upper back
  • Ringing in the ears

Many of the symptoms for whiplash can be attributed to other issues and that is why a lot of patients don’t even consider whiplash, especially if the car accident they were in was a minor one. If you have been cleared by a physician, but develop any of the above symptoms, you may have suffered whiplash and need treatment in order to find relief.

Contact a chiropractor right away. There is a strong possibility that these symptoms and a diagnosis of whiplash means your spine will need adjustments in order to correct the injury and eliminate symptoms. If you delay getting checked out, it could cause more serious health issues.

Let a Chiropractor Help You

If you have been in an accident or suffered any other trauma, even if you think you are fine, contact a chiropractor to set up an appointment to make sure that you have not suffered any damage to your spine or elsewhere. If you’ve experienced a car accident that caused your injury, it may also be a good idea to reach out to a car accident lawyer Washington D.C. residents rely on for aid.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their insight into car accidents.

The Adjustment

What do chiropractors do, and how can we help you?

Chiropractors are experts of the spine. We go to school for a minimum of 3 years prior to being accepted into chiropractic college. From there, we go through a rigorous doctorate degree that encompasses many of the same core classes as a medical doctor as well as other specialized classes that have to do with the musculoskeletal system and how to adjust and align the spine.

Throughout that doctorate degree, we learn the specifics of how the brain talks with, and controls your body. Such as how your body has an inhibitory reflex when you touch a burning candle. Your body is equipped with an automatic draw reflex that makes you pull your hand away from the flame without consciously withdrawing your hand. We also learn how the individual vertebra move on one and other and how altered movement of those vertebra can cause pain, dysfunction, altered biomechanics and can also lead to an increased rate of joint degeneration.

When we talk about joint dysfunction (subluxation), we look at a joint that is fixated and that does not move independently from its adjacent segment. These fixations can be caused from stress, inflammation, trauma, repetitive movements and poor posture. When we have these subluxations, they can cause increased pain in the area of restriction, refer pain to another area of the body, it can cause increased muscle tension on surrounding muscles. The increase in muscle tension can be a protective mechanism in which the muscle tightness up because the joint feels vulnerable or it can be caused from a malposition of the spinal segment itself.  Altered spine motion can also alter your biomechanics (the way your body moves).

When your body is aligned and each segment is moving within its normal range. Our bodies have balance in the sense that there is no undo stress on any particular muscle or joint. When we develop these misalignments and fixations our bodies start to compensate for the subluxation. In the area of restriction there is likely be a segment of hypermobility above or below to compensate for the restricted segment or you may start to shift your weight to one side of your body more than the other to create a sense of balance.

You see the body is very smart and will do whatever it can to continue to function as normal as possible, but this often comes at the expense of another joint or part of your body. That is where we come in, as chiropractors we correct those areas of restriction and help to get the patient moving and pain free as best we can.

Each joint in out body has receptors that have various functions that provide feedback to the brain. These mechanoreceptors provide feedback on how much stretch is in each muscle surrounding the joint, the position of the joint in space which allows us to maintain balance and be able to move in space with coordination and balance. These receptors also send pain signals when they are irritated such as when there is lack of motion in a segment or the segment is subluxated. When we assess the joint and finds the restriction we are then able to apply a high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) adjustment to the segment in the direction of malposition or fixation to realign and create motion through the joint. The adjustment also sends feedback to the brain through the mechanoreceptors that tell the surrounding muscles to relax and also inhibits the pain receptors. The final outcome of a HVLA adjustment facilitates proper motion of individual segments, relaxation of surrounding musculature, improves biomechanics and ultimately leads to a decrease in pain.

So, if you have a back, there is a good chance that chiropractic care is going to help you.

-Daniel Hounjet, Core Health Intern

 

 

Prehab for Runners

Spring Into Running

By Daniel Hounjet, Intern, Core Health

As the snow melts and weather turns people are eager to get outside and start running.Because of the climate we live in many people either choose not to run in the winter or they run indoor on a treadmill. So, for the most part individuals who start running are not taking the necessary steps to prepare their bodies for the increased strain on the body and to prevent chronic injuries that come with an increased volume of running. The most common overuse and altered mechanics injuries that seem to plague runners include low back pain, shin splints, Iliotibial band (IT) syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome (runners knee) and plantar fasciitis.  I will provide you with a few recommendations to help prevent some of these issues.

The snow has melted, the streets are dry, the trees are blooming and you’re ready to get your running on… But wait, what is the first thing you should do before exercising? Warm up?! You’re absolutely right. A quick 5-minute warm up will go a long way in injury prevention. When we talk about warming up, we don’t want to go and do static stretches. Instead we want to increase blood flow to the body by increasing our heartrate and go through similar motions as when we’re running. Here are a few exercises that will help warm up properly.

-Butt kickers

-High knees

-Heel walk/Toe walk

-Lunges

 

Warmup

Each exercise should be done for 20-30 feet, 1-2 times. Once we’ve gone through these exercises it’s a good idea to do 2-3 short sprints to really get your HR up. Now that you’re ready to hit the road be sure that your starting with a distance and pace that is significantly below what you ended the previous season. Our bodies are highly adaptable to stresses placed upon it, so it important for injury prevention to slowly build back up to where you where the previous season. By slowly increasing our duration and intensity we are allowing our bodies to adapt to the stresses placed on our body, from the increased strain on our joint, our tendons and even to regain our oxygen capacity.

Cool Down

Our post run recovery is just as important as our preparation and the run itself. That is why there 3 aspects should be incorporated post run. First off, we want to slowly bring out heart-rate down. It may be difficult to do with our busy lives, but having a proper cool down will prevent blood from pooling in our extremities and the unwanted potential for dizziness and or loss of consciousness. Cooling down will also help flush out the metabolite (lactic acid) build up in your legs. Try walking or even a low intensity dynamic stretch will be great to slowly bring that HR back down. Once you’ve cooled down we want to stretch and or roll (foam roller, lacrosse ball etc.) the area that worked the most during the run; calves, lumbar musculature, hip flexors and gluteus maximus and medius. Here are a few stretches to consider.

-Pigeons stretch

-Lunge stretch

-standing calf stretch

-Hamstring stretch

-Stiff leg good mornings

 

Remember that these stretches and rolling these areas are for preventative measures and may not be the right stretches if you have altered body mechanics or are injured. If you suspect you have altered mechanics, (loss of mobility of a joint, hypermobility/ instability and/or loss of motor control) a good general tip to know, if there is an underlying issue and the pain or stiffness is only on one side of the body there is likely something that isn’t working the way it should. If you think you may have a compensation or would like to be evaluated consider seeking professional advice from a chiropractor or Physical therapist.

Advances in Functional Training Excerpt

 

Refueling

Lastly, we want to ensure we are refueling and replenishing lost nutrients. If you are running long distances with a duration greater than 90 minutes at moderate intensity it’s important to replenish our glycogen stores as they will be depleted after an intense distance run. That being said a balanced refuel is essential, consider 4:2:1 ratio of carbohydrates: protein: fat. We want to consume the carbohydrates to restore glycogen levels (glycogen is the muscles energy source for sustained activity). Protein to repair any damage to the muscle due to the increased intensity and lastly fats, which will slow digestion and allow for less of a blood sugar spike post workout. We also want to replenish any fluid losses. Water and a good electrolyte drink will go a long way in minimizing stiffness and soreness. If you are running for a shorter duration under 90 minutes, you are likely not depleting your glycogen stores. Therefore, rehydration and your regular diet will suffice. Research suggests that it is a myth that we need to consume protein within an hour post exercise, and that a balanced meal prior to activity will carry you through your run and even into your recovery. https://jcdfitness.com/2016/09/should-you-eat-fat-in-your-post-workout-meal/

Posterior Chain

Are you working your butt off… literally?

The posterior chain muscles may be the most important group of muscles when it comes to daily performance as an athlete or an average Joe. The posterior chain of muscles in the hip include the glutes, hamstrings and the posterior core/para-spinals; and they are responsible for stabilizing and moving the hip and pelvis. They are often neglected in strength training causing muscular imbalance and anterior chain dominance, which can lead to low back pain and instability. So, if you have had some sort of low back pain, you are most likely not working your butt off as much as you thought.

Importance of Posterior Chain Muscles

When your hip joint and its muscles fail to function, your lumbar spine takes over movements that it shouldn’t which can cause low back pain. The glutes are often the most affected by the lack of hip mobility, often getting inhibited or unused. Posterior chain muscles are crucial to full functioning hips. Many Crossfit movements require powerful hips, which really means a powerful posterior chain. The power positions in the Olympic weightlifting movements, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, rowing, and even the push press all generate power from your hips. Without full functioning hip muscles, these movements will lack efficiency and cause pain.

How do I know if I have a weak posterior chain?

Along with pain there are some postural signs that can be seen that can help us identify weaknesses. One of these signs are an anterior pelvic tilt or lower cross syndrome (LCS). LCS can be seen in individuals with a hyperlordotic curve in their lumbar spine, which is caused by tight/over used anterior muscles (rectus femoris, iliopsoas, and abdominals) and weak/inhibited posterior chain muscles (hamstrings, glutes).

The Fix

Just like with UCS, we want to address the short muscles first then strengthen the weak. Stretching and mobilizing the rectus femoris and hip flexors (refer to Low Back Pain post). Next, we want to strengthen the posterior chain muscles. The main movement we want to get to activate all the posterior chain muscles is the hip hinge. This can be seen in exercises like the “Good Morning”, kettlebell swings and deadlifts. The combination of the stretching and strengthening will help take some tension off the anterior muscles, make the posterior muscles fire correctly and bring full mobility back into your hip joint and stability to your low back.

-Curtis Hoang

 

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Identifying and Treating Low Back Pain

Low back Pain:  Causes and Treatment

Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculoskeletal complaint in the US, and the condition most commonly treated in the chiropractic office. Though almost everyone has dealt with low back pain at some point in their lives, the cause of the pain, in each case, can be different. With the athlete, the causes are often predictable and can be narrowed down to a few diagnoses. This article will discuss some commonalities in low back pain & measures that can be taken to keep your back healthy.

Herniations

Possibly the most troubling cause of low back pain is a disc herniation. This can cause crippling pain that may radiate to into the butt and down the leg. It may also cause muscle spasms and negatively effect your posture and range of motion.  Anatomically, discs lie between each vertebrae and act primarily as shock absorbers. With repeated stress on the spinal column, these discs may become damaged. When the outer portion of the disc tears, the softer portion of the disc, the nucleus, may protrude out. Only the outer third of the disc has pain receptors, therefore you can have some herniation without pain. This means that there can be serious structural problems in your spine and you can have zero pain. It is so important to listen to your body and seek therapy before you have been incapacitated. Herniations do not discriminate based on your sport or activity level. Yogis may sustain herniations from sustained poses in hyper flexion or extension, weight lifters from poor form or repetitive flexion, and high impact athletes from trauma. These are just a few of the many examples.

Piriformis Syndrome

Though herniations may cause numbness, tingling or shooting pain into the leg. It is not the only cause, as irritation of the sciatic nerve may also be the culprit. The sciatic nerve courses down the leg to the foot and enters the posterior leg just below the piriformis muscle. When this muscle becomes tight from overuse or increased strain, as it often does in athletes, it can irritate the sciatic nerve, resulting in this pattern of pain. Preventatively, this muscle can be tough to get at on your own, but using a mobility ball to release the glutes is helpful. Soft tissue work and manual release is the ideal course of treatment for an exacerbated issue.

The Iliopsoas

A main flexor of the hip and trunk, the iliopsoas runs from the lower spine to the femur. This muscle is shortened and hypertonic in many individuals and can pull the pelvis forward, increasing the strain on the hamstrings and muscles of the low back. Chronic psoas tightness can cause a ‘sway-back’ appearance and decrease the stability of the spine, especially in overhead positions. Today, many people have tight, weak psoas muscles because of time spent seated. Sitting puts the psoas in a shortened position and, unfortunately, a short muscle is a weak muscle. Aside from decreasing time spent on your behind, the best way to combat psoas tightness is to release the psoas on a regular basis. This can be done on your own or by a professional. The latter may be a better option, as this muscle can be very tender and will put your mental toughness to the test if you decide to tackle it on your own.

Chiropractic and Massage, Partners in Wellness

Deep Tissue Massage  in conjunction with the Chiropractic adjustment

Chiropractic and massage therapy work together simultaneously creating a synergistic effect resulting in much faster recovery time. Correction of one’s structure often occurs more easily and with less discomfort when both modalities are used together. The positive results of chiropractic care last longer when muscle tension is released, which might otherwise pull one’s structure back out of alignment.

Since massage therapy is good for the nervous system it is usually done before chiropractic treatments are given. The adjustments are much more effective this way. Sometimes the body can be so stiff that it resists the adjustments. When it becomes relaxed through massage, it allows the doctor of chiropractic to more easily realign various parts.

Chiropractic treatment is useful for treating people that are under constant physical and/or mental stress. Massage therapy can also be part of this treatment because of its beneficial effects. A person can be healthy in every other way, but have physical pain caused by tightness and stress. Through massage and chiropractic techniques they can be helped.

Massage, when used with chiropractic treatments, is also good for physical injuries such as those that happen in auto accidents. Injuries occurring from a variety of other activities as well as physical pain from stress benefit from both treatments. The immune system is stimulated by massage and chiropractic treatments along with blood circulation. By doing massage you are using the body’s natural energy to heal itself.

Since the massage increases the blood flow it can also help relieve headaches. Many people suffer from these on a regular basis. The improved circulation helps to decrease the pain and stimulate nerve flow.

You must be aware of the signs your body gives you for spinal stress, so that you can get to the chiropractor at the first signs of dysfunction. Spinal distress can bring on a tingling sensation in the legs, shoulder, and arms and sometimes even numbness. This is why it is important to address spinal problems immediately. Chiropractic and massage therapy can not only correct the problem but restore your natural energy that becomes lost when dealing with spinal distress.

The bottom line is that chiropractic and massage therapy are compatible forms of health care that share the goal of your total well-being, not simply an absence of illness. Both offer natural hands-on, drug-free techniques. They can be used as preventative as well as restorative therapies. When used in combination, they help you maintain your optimum health and wellness.

We now offer massage therapy at both our Uptown and Plymouth locations! Schedule online or give us a call to book your next massage!

Plymouth- 763-205-3783

Uptown- 612-872-9596

Posture Fix for Back and Neck pain

Sitting properly to reduce back pain

Neck and back pain due to posture is a growing problem.  A vast majority of our patients present with symptoms that arise from cumulative stress placed on the body through poor ergonomics.

Did you know that the average full-time worker spends 2/3 of their day sitting? Often thought of us a comfortable place of respite, chairs and the time we spend in them can greatly impact our bodies, forcing them into anatomically unsound positions. Hours on end spent in chairs is slowly crippling our bodies and our health. Your hamstrings shorten, your hips lose their ability to straighten and therefore generate power, and your lumbar-spine is forced to support the weight of your slouching-body. Unfortunately, in this modern age of instant communication, advanced medicine, and the ability to access information on the internet by just a few clicks of a button, much of this is unavoidable. Our jobs are much more sedentary than they used to be. So what is the modern day desk warrior to do?

While there is no perfect solution, here are some tips to keep your body as healthy as possible throughout the workday:

1. Be aware of your posture.

The easiest way to put yourself into a sound position without thinking about 40 checkpoints is to pay attention to your elbows.

 Yes your elbows.  If my elbows are in a good position in relation to my torso, then my shoulders are neutral, neutral shoulders gives a high likelihood to a neutral cervical spine and this keeps your upper body is in an ideal position with minimal tension levels. Don’t adjust your neck to see the screen. Instead adjust your chair and computer monitor. If you have to crane your neck too far downwards to see your computer screen, you naturally force your pelvis/lumbar to round and cave in.

2. Work some desk stretches into your daily routine.

We should be cultivating mobility daily regardless of where we are, so why not do it at your desk? And yes a standing desk or a desk that has the ability to adjust up and down is best but I realize it is a convenience that is not afforded at all work places, so if you don’t have the luxury then proceed to #3.

3. Stand up regularly.

Who will notice (or even care) if you stand up once every 30 minutes and get yourself out of that position of flexion. Many studies have shown benefits of leaving your desk at periodic intervals to walk around. Just remember to come back!

4. Be active OUTSIDE OF WORK.

As tempting as it is to get home and retire to the couch, use your time outside of work to MOVE your body the way it’s meant to be moved. Try some functional movement workouts or yoga. You will be surprised to find you actually feel better and more energized.

I hope these tips are helpful.

Visit www.corechiroclinics.com to learn about all the of the services we offer to help our patients

MOVE WELL, EAT WELL, BE WELL.

Don’t let me catch you slouching! Posture and what to do about it

Dr. Neil Crane

Ergonomic checklist

By now we’ve heard the term text neck , seen the photos of people slouched over a computer or craning their necks down at their phone, may have even had the ergonomic breakdown at work. But what are the implications of poor posture and how can it really affect you.

Before we get too far into the do’s and don’ts let’s get a better understanding of what bad posture is actually doing to your spine.   As you progress through development from infancy to sitting, sitting to crawling, crawling to standing, and standing to walking- running- jumping- etc., you are changing the dynamic of how your body holds and distrubutes weight throughout each phase.  In doing so, you form 3 primary curves of the spine.  First is the lordodic cervical curve that would look like a reverse c-shape from the side, second the kyphotic thoracic spine, and finally the lordotic lumbar spine.  Each curve serving a purpose for the overall stability of the spine and all the mechanisms that attach and rely upon this structure to function.  This shape and form is very intentional as our bodies are much smarter innately than we give them credit.   By forming this intentional shape, our weight is evenly distrubuted from our head down to our toes to transfer weight and force evenly from the spine to the extremities and allowing for the muscles, tendons, and ligments to peform their duties without becoming stressed. By changing any one of these shapes or curves in the spine, we thus alter the stress load throughout the entirety of the spine.   So by losing that curve in your neck or flexing your head down looking at your phone, you’re implicating every function thereafter that relies upon the shape.  Leading to tightness in the cervical flexor muscles (front of the neck)  weakening and overusing the cervical extensors muscles in the back of the neck and upper shoulders which leads to stiffness, tension, pain, headaches, loss of mobility, and eventually structural breakdown or degeneration of the spine. This is happening at an alarming rate as patients are presenting at as early as 18-20 years of age with symptoms consistent with the breakdown that was just described.  I’ve used the cervical spine as my example for the sake of simplicity but you could go through this process with each region of the spine and each region will be affected by the other once things begin to breakdown.

We all know technology is going no where and chances are we are going to spend more time sitting, in front of computer or phone than ever before.  So make the changes now to avoid having to deal with the complications later.

Posture checkpoints-

Head and neck must remain neutral – eyes level to the horizon

Elbows low and in contact with the torso

Shoulders back

Get up and move around!  Take breaks, alternate with standing if you have the option.

Exercising consistently is the most beneficial pro active measure you can take against bad posture

Focus on strengthening the upper back and core musculature to most efficiently offset negative stress due to posture

Please let me know if you would like to go over any posture related questions or concerns on your next visit.

Move Welll!