Millions of people suffer from a wide variety of allergic conditions, from allergies to environmental triggers such as dust, fumes, chemicals, mold and pollen to foods, drugs and pet dander. This is mediated by the immune system, which overreacts in the case of allergic reactions, and responds by releasing histamines and other neutralizing chemicals to counteract the allergic response. The allergy sufferer presents with such symptoms as sneezing, runny, watery eyes and nose, sinus fullness and pressure, hives, digestive disturbances, fatigue, and in the case of life-threatening allergies, anaphylactic shock.
What causes Allergies?
There is a wide range of theories about the causation of allergies. Some researchers point to childhood vaccinations, others to genetic or environmental triggers. In reality it is likely a combination of many factors, resulting in the body’s immune system attacking not only the offending substance, but also itself.
Traditional Medical Allergy Treatment
Medication, including antihistamines, is the usual route of march for traditional medical treatment of allergies, but OTC and prescription allergy medications only mask symptoms, they don’t treat them, they dry out mucous membranes and can have significant side effects.
Chiropractic Allergy Treatment
The focus in the chiropractic approach is optimization of the immune system through releasing stress on the nervous system. A nervous system relieved of stress functions at a much higher level, and derangement and malfunction of the immune system is much less likely when the body’s nervous system is healthy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 20 million people in the United States have asthma, and these numbers are increasing, especially among children.
What is asthma?
Asthma is an inflammation and constriction of the airways to the lungs. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and a feeling of tightness and constriction in the chest. Often inflammation can be present without the patient even being aware of it. If left untreated, asthma can produce a steady decline in lung function.
What causes asthma?
There is no one cause of asthma. Some researchers believe there may be a genetic component, along with exposure to air pollution, chemicals and allergens in the environment. Allergies are a very common trigger of an asthma attack, a cold or flu can also worsen asthma symptoms. Exercise can be a trigger, along with weather conditions such as high humidity or very hot or cold temperatures. Minimizing triggers in the home is important for the asthma sufferer, this includes air filters, changing bed linens weekly, and keeping pets out of sleeping areas.
Chiropractic Treatment Reduces Asthma Symptoms
Misalignments of the spine and the resultant pinching of nerves reduces nerve function, which has an effect on levels of cortisol (the Fight or Flight hormone) and IgA, an immunoglobulin involved in allergies and asthma. Spinal manipulation has been shown to enhance IgA levels and decrease cortisol, which enabled many of these patients to nip their asthma attacks in the bud, and reduce and in some cases eliminate the need for asthma medication.
Car Accidents and Whiplash
Auto accidents can result in serious and chronic head, neck and back problems, nerve, muscle and ligament damage and disorders of the shoulder, knee, arm, leg and wrist. The most severe condition resulting from a car accident is brain injury. The most common injury from automobile accidents is whiplash, a serious injury to the neck. Lower back pain is also a common complaint, as well as leg injuries from hitting car structures.
The term whiplash came about because it was believed neck motion during a car accident resembled a whip-like action. Recent research has shown that this motion is much more complex. The head and neck of the injured person is accelerated 3 to 5 times faster than the acceleration of the car. This sudden change in speed results in damage to neck and head muscles, nerves and ligaments, and can cause significant pain and disability.
There are approximately 3 million whiplash injuries per year in the United States according to Dr. Arthur Croft of the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, and several studies have shown that a large percentage of whiplash victims still have pain years after their crashes. Chiropractic treatment of this injury can go a very long way in reducing and often eliminating years of suffering.
What are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
Besides neck pain, Whiplash can manifest as headaches, pain in the jaw, shoulder, arm and hand, numbness, tingling, and signs of brain injury including memory loss, irritability, insomnia, depression and difficulty concentrating.
How Will My Chiropractor Treat Whiplash?
After X-ray studies to determine the extent of spinal misalignment and injury to the area, a variety of modalities can be prescribed, including spinal manipulation, laser treatment for pain and physical therapy. LCT 1000 Class IV Cold Laser is the most effective cold laser treatment for pain currently on the market today. Your chiropractor may also recommend massage or acupuncture as adjunct therapies.
Can Whiplash be Prevented?
Preventive measures can be taken to lessen the likelihood of whiplash and other conditions caused by car accidents. Good defensive driving techniques are essential, including never texting, talking on the phone without a headset or performing any activity other than active, defensive driving. Headrest position is crucial, it is estimated that only 1/3 of headsets are adjusted properly. The middle of the headrest should be at the middle back of the skull, which will prevent the head from rotating forward or backward during impact. If there is some forewarning that an impact is imminent, it is helpful to brace yourself for impact.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, (also called FBSS or Failed Back Syndrome) refers to back or spine surgery with an unsuccessful result. This condition is seen in 10-40% of patients who have had back surgery.
What are the Symptoms of FBSS?
The primary symptom is persistent and intractable pain in the back and/or legs, and can include varying degrees of incapacitation involving affected nerves and muscles. The main reason this syndrome is so prevalent is because there are only a few conditions that will respond fairly predictably to back or spine surgery. They are:
- A discectomy or micrediscectomy for a lumbar disc herniation causing leg pain, not lower back pain.
- Spinal fusion for spinal instability, also called spondylolisthesis. Fusion for multi-level degenerative disc disease is far less like to be successful.
Spine surgery is designed to decompress pinched nerve roots or stabilize painful joints, but surgery cannot eliminate pain, only change anatomy. Many patients also develop adhesions and scar tissue after back surgery, which can cause pain and thus FBSS.
What can a Chiropractor do for FBSS?
Chiropractic treatment after failed back surgery can be very effective in preventing further degeneration and involvement of areas above and below the surgery site, promoting range of motion and applying moist heat or cold laser treatments to alleviate pain. Class IV Cold Laser Treatment is the most advanced cold laser treatment available for back pain management.
How can FBSS be Avoided?
The best way to avoid FBSS is to only consider surgery for those conditions that have been shown to have a high degree of success with surgical intervention. The cause of back pain must be definitively diagnosed before surgery, and a definitive case for the probable success of surgery must be made.
Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow
What are Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow?
Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow are Cumulative Trauma Disorders that occur on different sides of the elbow, and involve either the muscles or tendons that attach to a bony protuberance close to the elbow joint known as the epicondyle. If this disorder occurs on the outside, or lateral side of the epicondyle, it is known as lateral epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow), or inflammation of the epicondyle. If it occurs on the inside, or medial side of the elbow it is called medial epicondylitis, or Golfer’s Elbow. The pain of epicondylitis tends to increase with movement and decrease with immobilization.
What Causes Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow?
Tennis players and golfers are not the only people who can be afflicted with epicondylitis, it can happen to anyone who engages in repetitive gripping activities, including carrying heavy loads, computer work with improper wrist and arm posture, knitting, and a host of other activities that can create cumulative trauma due to overuse or improper positioning of joints. Sports activities often create this condition because of improper technique, new racquets or clubs, or increased activity with proper preparation.
Sometimes cases of epicondylitis can be caused by problems further up the arm and even extending to the neck. Disc problems or spinal misalignments can result in irritation and tension that can extend down into the arm and strain the elbow.
How Your Chiropractor Treats Golfer’s/Tennis Elbow
Effective treatment of these conditions requires addressing the source of the strain, which encompasses any mechanical problems of the joint, elbow, wrist and shoulder. Often a muscle therapy technique called Active Release is used, which has been specifically designed to treat Cumulative Trauma Disorders.We may employ our LCT1000 Class IV Laser Therapy, a safe, effective breakthrough treatment to alleviate pain and promote lasting healing.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
Most women of menstruating age know very well what PMS is, and wish they didn’t. It’s a hormonal imbalance that occurs approximately one week before and a few days following the onset of a menstrual period. Symptoms include nervousness, irritability, food cravings, sore breasts, depression, headaches and emotional instability. To be classified as PMS, symptoms must significantly interfere with work and social function.
Chiropractic Treatment for PMS
In order to function properly, the female sexual system (which includes ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries and adjacent structures) needs a healthy nerve supply from a healthy, aligned spine.
Spinal manipulation has been proven effective in reducing PMS symptoms (Walsh et al, 1994). This study involved regular spinal manipulations the week prior to menstruation, and results were striking – women in the group who received spinal manipulations reported a significant decrease in their PMS symptoms. And because chiropractic care treats the entire nervous system, woman who receive regular chiropractic care have a reduced incidence of uterine fibroids, experience fewer problems during menopause, and are less likely to need a hysterectomy later in life.
In additional to spinal manipulation, your chiropractor may also prescribe exercise and diet modifications to reduce PMS discomfort. It has been shown that women who participate in regular exercise report fewer PMS symptoms than those who do not, and further improvements can be achieved by eating more smaller, more frequent meals and reducing sugar, salt, refined sugars and carbohydrates, caffeine and dairy products.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the spine, usually sideways, and in severe cases it will include spinal rotation. Three to five of every 1,000 children develops scoliosis, girls are more likely than boys to develop this abnormality. Some children are born with the deformity, which can worsen with time, but the most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic (of no known origin) and develops after the age of 10.
What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?
Symptoms include uneven shoulders and/or waist, one hip higher than the other, leaning to one side, and fatigue. Severe cases can result in back pain and difficulty breathing, but generally scoliosis is painless.
Scoliosis and Chiropractic Treatment
Mild to moderate scoliosis can be managed by spinal manipulation, postural counseling which may include heel lifts, and electrical (TENS) stimulation. There have been numerous case studies in which chiropractic care has been proven effecting in managing scoliotic curves, and is equally effective in reducing or eliminating the pain of adult scoliosis.
What is a Disc?
A disc is a circular shock absorber between each spinal vertebra, composed of cartilage.
What Causes a Slipped Disc?
In order for a disc to be healthy and do its job properly, it needs to be hydrated. Discs depend on water to keep their height and serve their important purpose of maintaining full spinal range of motion and protecting the spine and surrounding tissues and nerves. As the body ages, water is not naturally drawn into these discs, so they can dehydrate and develop cracks and fissures. As this process continues, eventually with a sneeze or certain movement it maybe said that the back “goes out” or the disc slips.
A slipped disc may be prolapsed, bulging (extruded), herniated or ruptured. When this occurs, actute back pain is the result.
How does a Chiropractor Treat a Slipped Disk?
After taking a careful history and performing an extensive physical examination, including nerve, reflex and muscle strength testing, X-ray and perhaps an MRI or other imaging technique will be ordered and analyzed.
In most cases except the most severe, conservative chiropractic care is the treatment of choice for slipped discs. A chiropractor will rarely “pop” a disc back in place, but instead will use a steady, gentle series of spinal manipulations along with postural and exercise protocols to alleviate pain and help the body heal itself. We may utilize their LCT 1000 Class IV Laser to speed the healing process.
It is especially important to remember that as the body ages, its ability to bring water to discs declines and eventually ceases, unless the spine is in motion. Sitting for long periods of time and leading a sedentary lifestyle is a surefire way to make the body susceptible to developing a slipped disc, so it is essential to get up at least every hour to stretch and move the body. The expression “Move it or Lose it” is particularly relevant to the health of spinal discs as the body ages.
What is Tendonitis?
Tendonitis occurs when a tendon (which connects bone to muscle) is overused and becomes damaged and/or inflamed. Various names have been given to tendonitis of various part of the body, including Pitcher’s Shoulder, Golfer’s Elbow or Runner’s Knee.
What are the Symptoms of Tendonitis?
Aching, warmth and redness, soreness and pain of the affected area and increased pain with motion are symptoms of tendonitis. Proper treatment addressing not only pain relief but also the cause of the condition is essential to prevent this condition from becoming chronic, when it is more difficult to treat.
How Does a Chiropractor Treat Tendonitis?
First the Chiropractor needs to rule out any other cause of pain, including bursitis or arthritis. This is accomplished through the use of diagnostic X-rays, Cat Scans or MRIs. After tendonitis is diagnosed, a comprehensive treatment plan is created to support and brace the area during healing, loosen the tendon and promote the growth of scar tissue, which will help bond the tissues back together properly.
Treatment techniques may include ultrasound, ice, rest, bracing, electrical (TENS) stimulation, physical therapy and joint manipulation. Treatment with our LCT1000 Class IV Laser has also been proven very effective in treating the pain and inflammation of tendonitis, and accelerating the healing process.
Once healing has taken place (which usually takes at least six weeks) the continuation of strengthening exercises and proper usage of the affected area are essential to prevent recurrence of tendonitis.