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

 

 

Listen Up!

Auditory Acuity of self.

I’ve been around the health and fitness industry a long time, which means I’m getting old, but it has allowed me to personally commit all the mistakes I see patients come into the clinic with.   For the purposes of this article, let’s call the health, fitness, and food industries the wellness industry. The only constant about the wellness industry is that it’s always changing.  Information evolves, trends come and go, and maybe something we thought was “healthy” turns out to be false.  Your circumstances play a significant role in how you apply the information and methods available, which like the topic itself, is in a constant state of flux.

So how do we navigate this chaos?  Start by understanding that it’s a journey.   Be ready to try various methods of self-care, nutrition, and exercise knowing that you’re going to fail and frustrate yourself with things that have worked so well for others.  You’re not everyone and you have to find what works with for you AND your circumstances with wherever you are in your life at that time.   Don’t give up, keep trying new things, keep learning, keep discovering, and push on.

Now I could write a novel covering each of these industry topics, but I want to focus on exercise for this post and more specifically listening to your body.  I have been SO bad at this the past few years and it has been costly.   Low back pain, rib pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, waking up every day with some sort of ache or pain and continuing to mindlessly train and push my body past its limits.   This affects how comfortable I am when I work, when I do recreational activity, and when I’m spending time with my kids.

Why? Unless you’re a professional athlete, isn’t the purpose of exercise and training to better your life outside the gym?  Aren’t we supposed to train to build ourselves up not break ourselves down?   Sure, there are going to be workouts and training sessions that push you to your limits and you’re going to be sore and beat up but that should be the exception, not the rule.   I wouldn’t want to see that go away and I don’t think it has to for you to still maintain an effective fitness routine, improve and push yourself to be a better version of your current self.    Intensity and pushing the limits is a critical part of any successful training program.  However, in my opinion, depending on your circumstances (sleep, stress, nutrition, self-care, age, recovery, etc) we must pick and choose our battles.

All too often I have a patient present after starting a new training program that they’ve been going 100mph at since day 1 and their body finally hits the brakes and things start to deteriorate.   Learning to decipher when your body is telling you to slow down because of mental fatigue vs physical fatigue can be tricky.   But if you’ve gone into training 4 days in a row, maxed out your heart rate every session, lifted as heavy as possible, ran as far and as hard as possible, done zero mobility, had no body work done, ate horribly, slept poorly, then chances are that is your nervous system telling you to take it easy.  The reason this warning is so critical is as the window of fatigue widens, so does the vulnerability for injury.   When it’s broken down it sounds like common sense, but when we are in the heat of the moment surrounded by peers and coaches we tend to push it all aside and go through the motions.

One approach that I’ve really been gravitating towards lately is identifying an intended stimulus prior to working out.  Before beginning I take stock on how I’m feeling and try to match my training stimulus to that.  How recovered do I feel?  Do I have any pain or stiffness? How did I eat this week/weekend? How much did or didn’t I sleep?   If the grading on all those questions are positive, then I may attack that workout with full intensity and really push it.    If I feel like I’m falling short on a few or all those topics, then I’ll scrap what was planned and reprogram for what I can handle.   If the scaling or changes you need to make is going to significantly change the workout in a class setting, then you may need to attend an open gym or workout from home that day.  Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re going to succumb to peer pressure and put yourself at risk for injury or burnout.  But if you can make a few small modifications and still be in your class or group setting then go for it, you’re not going to be letting anyone down!

Start practicing this week.   Take stock of your overall wellness that day or week and come up with an intended stimulus for your training.  Quality movement is going to be the foundation for longevity and nothing derails a training program faster than injury.   I’m still learning from my mistakes and I’m looking forward to continuing my journey, now with more acuity to what my 33-year-old body is telling me.

 

Yours in Health,

Dr. Crane

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/

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.