Nighttime Back pain and Chiropractic

Many patients who consult a Chiropractor complain of lower back pain that awakens them at night. When a person lies down the normal curves of the spine flatten which in effect lengthens the spine. The lengthening of the spine in a lying position tends to put more tension on the nerves as they exit the spine. Often this type of lower back pain will awaken a person after several hours of sleep and may be relieved after standing for 15-30 minutes. Often sleeping in a chair may prevent this type of back pain.
It is generally recommended that people suffering from lower back pain sleep on a firm mattress. A firmer mattress tends to support the natural curves of the spine and prevent over rounding of the back. Sleeping on the stomach can be problematic if a person has a highly curved lumbar spine if the mattress is not firm enough.
Dr. Tom Etter is a Chiropractor with over ten years of practice experience. Dr. Etter’s Chiropractic practice serves the Olathe, Lenexa and Overland Park, Kansas areas. His practice focus is back pain, neck pain and sports injuries.

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Back pains, strains and Chiropractic

Back pain is the most common condition causing a consultation to a Chiropractor. Sprains of the joints of the lower back are common. Typically the ligaments of the lower back are the most involved in a sprain of the lumbar spine. Often the spine is tender over the affected joints in the case of sprain of the lumbar spine. Passive movements the put stress on the ligaments of the lumbar spine are painful.
Often pain in the lower back is related to the disc. Disc pain is often difficult to diagnose and does not fit classical presentations. Some cases of disc herniation do not involve any type of injury or any type of event that can be tied to the problem. Often such mundane tasks as getting out of bed or putting on socks can be the trigger for an episode of lower back pain relating to the discs. The symptoms of lower back pain may begin suddenly but also may begin gradually. Sciatica is often considered to be associated with disc problems, however, a disc problem may cause pain that is only felt in the back and does not radiate down the leg. On the other hand, pain from a disc problem may be felt prodominately in the legs (sciatica) and very slightly in the back.
Dr. Tom Etter is a Chiropractor with over ten years of practice experience. His Chiropractic practice focus is back pain, neck pain, sports injuries and whiplash.

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Lower back pain and Chiropractic

The discs of the lower back are estimated to account for about 40% of the cases of lower back pain seen by a Chiropractor. Of the disc problems, herniation is the most severe. Disc herniation or protrusion is an extension of the core material of the disc (called the nucleus pulposus) into the spinal canal. This is important because the nuclear material may compress the nerves the extend into the legs. Almost all disc herniations occur at the lowest two discs of the lumbar spine. Over half of the persons with a disc herniation with have what is called an antalgic lean. The antalgic lean is the body’s way of moving away from pain and attempting to depressurize sensitive nerves. By evaluating the antalgic posture a Chiropractor is able to make an educated guess as to the location of the disc problem.
Another key point is that disc herniations may or may not cause pain into the leg which is known as sciatica. A herniation of the second to lowest disc in the back usually only causes pain in the back whereas a herniation of the lowest disc may cause primarily leg pain. Areas of numbness on the leg also are valuable to the Chiropractor in deterimining the location and severity of a disc condition.
Other types of lower back pain that may cause pain into the leg usually do not cause pain to radiate below the knee. These types of back pain including problems with the joints of the lower back (facet joints) and hips or sacro-iliac joints.
One test Chiropractors also use in determining if a disc is involved is the heel toe walk. Persons with a disc herniation often have problems with walking on the toes.
Dr. Etter is a Chiropractor with over ten years of experience. His practice focuses of treatment of lower back and neck pain.

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More on Chiropractic and the Shoulder

Chiropractic care is often a highly effective alternative for shoulder pain. A combination of Chiropractic manipulation of the shoulder with myofascial release techniques and specialized exercises is often a successfull treatment.
Many people worry that their shoulder pain is due to arthritis or degenerative joint disease. In reality true degeneration of the shoulder joint is rare and when present is largely non problematic or painful.
Often tendinitis or bursitis of the shoulder is the cause of shoulder pain. The most commonly injured part of the rotator cuff is the supraspinatus. If the supraspinatus is weak the upper arm bone tends to rub against the collar bone causing shoulder impingement and bursitis. Strengthening of the supraspinatus is done with motions in both the face down and side lying position.
Two other effective exercises in preventing shoulder impingement are shoulder shrugs and push ups with the arms held away from the side at 90 degrees. These are exercises that are good for strengthening the trapezius and help the shoulder blade to move normally.
Dr. Etter is a Chiropractor with over ten years practice experience. Dr. Etter’s Chiropractic practice focus is back pain, neck pain as well as injuries to the rotator cuff and shoulder.

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Muscle injuries and Chiropractic

Many people think of Chiropractic care only for conditions effecting the joints of the spine. Myofascial release treatments are a highly effective Chiropractic technique that directly addresses muscular injuries.
Injury to the muscles is usually accompanied by swelling, pain and loss of function. Tearing of the tissues causes some degree of bleeding into the muscles. Local inflammation at the site of the tear causes heat, redness, swelling and pain. The result of bleeding into the muscles is thickening of the tissues and adhesions in the muscles. The Chiropractic technique that directly addresses tissue adhesions is myofascial release.
With muscle strains the muscle tends to get stiff while at rest. This is due to fluids that have been released into the spaces around the muscle cells. Cramps and spasms may also be experienced while at rest initially. The pain may be relieved by motion which helps to move the fluids out of the spaces between the muscle cells. Often the fluids may reform after exercise leading to more formations of adhesions and a cycle of inflammation. As a result reduced motion causes difficulty moving the joints and puts pressure on the vessels and nerves surrounding the muscle. Small nodules in injured muscles are often too small to be felt with the hand but can be tender under pressure. The onset of pain and muscle dysfunction may occur suddenly or gradually. Usually, stiffness of a muscle or joint after exercise is a consistent complaint. Often swelling after activity is a common complaint with muscle injury as well. The nodules that form in injured muscles are referred to as trigger points and are tender to the touch. Pressure on a trigger point causes both local pain in the muscle as well as referred pain which may travel to different areas.
Some of the causes of trigger points are chronic muscle strain, excessive muscle activity, trauma, chilling of fatigued muscles, arthritis, and anxiety.
Dr. Tom Etter is a Chiropractor with over ten years of practice experience. His Chiropractic practice focus includes myofascial release techniques which are often very effective in dealing with injuries to the muscles and trigger points.

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