Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why being your own chiropractor is a bad idea

More often than I’d like, I’ve heard from patients who perform “self-adjustments”. In particular, they describe grabbing their own head or neck and performing a maneuver that gives them a bunch of “cracks” and makes them feel like they’ve done something good for themselves. The move that I see being performed is a “move everything and hope I get the right one at some point.” As a chiropractor, this is a bad idea and I’ll tell you why.
The list is long as to why self-adjusting is ill-advised. With the rise of webMD and other resources, people are taking their health care into their own hands. However, as this resource, and any doctor for that matter, will tell you: leave it to the experts. Likewise, adjustments may seem elementary, but the reality is they are anything but. Your chiropractor studied and practiced many years to learn the technique of effectively, and safely, performing spinal adjustments.
Each vertebra can move up to sixteen different directions. Do you know which way your vertebra has gone? That’s where the Chicago chiropractor comes in. They are trained to determine which way the bone has moved and how to move it back into the correct place. Some of the directions are extremely difficult to accomplish on your own. It’s just not specific and the person performing the “therapy” has no way of knowing which part of your spine needs to be adjusted.
Many times I’ve heard to defense: “If I can’t adjust myself, why does it feel better when I do it?” You’ll notice that when you do it, the good feeling doesn’t last long. That’s why you keep doing it over and over again during the day. You still get the endorphin release, among other benefits, so you’ll temporarily get an influx of pain relief that makes you think you’ve done something good for yourself. However, the pain and discomfort returns once the endorphins are gone and you’re back to where you started.
Finally, it’s important to realize the difference between “hypermoblile”, “hypomobile” and “isomobile” (or normal) joints. Hypermobile joints tend to move too well and slip and slide in and out of place. Hypomobile joints don’t move well enough, if at all, and sit in a “stuck” or fixated phase. Normal joints are, of course, moving as they should and is the goal we as chiropractors strive to achieve. More often than not, self-adjusters, who aren’t trained to identify the hypomobile joints, adjust the hypermobile ones. As a result, they become even more mobile. More slipping and sliding, you might say. What comes from that is a further “locking up” of the hypomobile joints and, more problems.
In summary, you cannot be your own chiropractor. I know it can seem like a simple thing, but chiropractors are the experts at finding the right area of your spine to be adjusted and then moving it back the right way. See the experts!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chiropractic Treatment of the Shoulder

Many of today’s most-common aches and pains are related to the conditions in our work environment. The classic workstation posture of hunching over a desk and/or computer has created scores of patients with chronic and acute shoulder pain. Shoulder pain can be debilitating and solutions can be elusive. As a Chicago Chicago chiropractor, I can tell you that the suffering needn’t continue – there are solutions to your pain.

Chiropractors specialize in treatment of joint disorders so, naturally, aside from the back and neck pain which is our “bread and butter”, we routinely see issues with all joints of the body, including their associated structures (muscle, tendon, ligament, bursa, fascia). We have great success remedying sore shoulders, knees, ankles, thumbs, ribs and even TMJ (temporomandibular or “jaw” pain).

It is not uncommon for patients to present to my office complaining of shoulder pain. The most common shoulder injury is rotator cuff tendonitis. The rotator cuff muscles are four muscles around the shoulder which anchor and stabilize the shoulder and shoulder blade (collectively known as the shoulder complex). Of these rotator cuff muscles the infraspinatus, supraspinatus and teres minor muscles and the most commonly injured of all shoulder muscles. These muscles are the most susceptible to tendonitis injury. This is because, as shoulder stabilizers, they are always in use and so tension is developing in them every day. In addition, these are muscles that are rarely stretched through their full range so they tend to be too short.
Biceps tendonitis is another common shoulder injury that responds well to chiropractic care. The biceps is a muscle that is used daily to lift and carry. It is commonly injured because, being at full extension with a straight arm, it is very difficult to stretch. There is a technique for stretching the biceps muscle that involves anchoring the bicep muscle and then stretching it. This is best achieved with the help of a qualified chiropractor.
Tendonitis occurs when the muscle spasms or shortens through repetitive use and exerts such pull on the tendon that it strains the tendon. This is accompanied by inflammation and pain. This ailment is quite easily corrected with the use of chiropractic adjustments, muscle release techniques and tendon release techniques. Treatment of most tendonitis injuries lasts for four to six weeks.
Some people have the misfortune of suffering from a frozen shoulder (medically: adhesive capsulitis). This is a very painful and debilitating condition. It is characterized by either a long-term untreated shoulder injury like rotator cuff syndrome, or by several different shoulder injuries occurring simultaneously resulting in significant reduction of movement in the shoulder due to pain, weakness and stiffness. Treatment of this painful condition involves intensive massage, specific and targeted stretching and chiropractic adjustments.
Other common causes of shoulder injuries include referral of pain from neck or thoracic subluxations to the shoulder area, impingement syndromes in which a nerve(s) are “pinched” by some other anatomical structure (ie. in bursitis), rotator cuff tears in the elderly or young (associated with severe trauma and often dislocation), and osteoarthritis. All of the above conditions can be treated successfully with chiropractic care.
It is important to seek treatment from your Chicago chiropractor when dealing with shoulder pain. We can diagnose and remedy your condition quickly and conservatively at the root of the problem. This way, we can save you from unnecessary surgery or having to take medications which only mask your symptoms and increase the probability of a recurrence of your condition.