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What is "whiplash"?

Disorders Treated By Chiropractic Medicine

Jeffrey Spencer (Sports Chiropractor) gives expert video advice on: How can a chiropractor help me with a stiff neck?; How can a chiropractor treat my slipped disc?; How can a chiropractor help me with my sciatica? and more...

What is "whiplash"?

Whiplash is a condition that is most frequently seen after motor vehicle accidents. Whiplash occurs when there is an acceleration and a very abrupt deceleration where the head moves forward and then it moves backwards. In the course of doing those two very aggressive, abrupt movements what it ends up doing is straining muscles and injuring ligaments that leads to pain and inflammation.

How can a chiropractor help me with whiplash?

A chiropractor is extremely well trained to deal with whiplash. The first task is to control the pain and inflammation by using gentle chiropractic adjusting; using the use of ice, colaser, or using microcurrent. Once the pain and inflammation starts to diminish, then normal function, a range of motion restored through the use of chiropractic adjusting, therapy, and manual techniques to make sure that the muscles are working correctly. Then, through some supportive home exercises by the patient including stretching and then, ultimately, some strengthening exercises.

How can a chiropractor help me with a stiff neck?

A chiropractor is very skilled in dealing with stiff necks. Generally the office procedures include chirpractic adjusting to make sure that the joints are moving correctly, and to make sure that the muscles surrounding the joints are cooperating correctly. Also there are often stretching procedures that are done to make sure that the tissue has a normal pliability, allowing the muscles to move the joints correctly in their normal ranges and motion. Homework is also given to the patient in the form of stretching exercises to make the tissues nice and pliable or nice and supple to take tension out of the system if they have a stiff neck. There are also exercises that are given to strengthen the musculature and reinforce cooperative muscle movements, so that the part (the stiff neck in this case) can move with the least amount of stress and the least amount of strain and needless energy expenditure.

What is "scoliosis"?

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine that has excess curvature, usually from side to side, not to front, and its origin is unknown.

How can a chiropractor help me with scoliosis?

A chiropractor can help with scoliosis in a variety of ways. Firstly, they can help address muscle strength and balances that exist that support scoliosis. They can decrease tension in muscles that are too tight. A chiropractor can elongate muscles that are too short. They can adjust segments of the spine that have a tendency to become sublexated as a result of these imbalances that exist in the spine. They can also give prescriptive exercise that helps the scoliosis patient reacquire the ability to move, and take strain out of the system that is created from the scoliosis.

What is a "slipped disc"?

A slipped disc is actually an older term that has since been supplemented with a new term called a "bulging" or "herniated" disc. A disc is actually a cushion that sits between two vertebral bodies and acts as a cushion. It has a very rigid cartilage ring, and on the inside of that there is a gelatenous material.

How can a chiropractor treat my slipped disc?

The chiropractor is very well trained in treating bulging or herniated disc, (formerly known as a slip disc) by a variety of different methods. Number one there are traction systems that allow the spine to be elongated, to open up the space so that the discs have the ability to heal. They can also use chiropractic adjusting to be able to make sure the segments around the spine are moving correctly, to help relax the muscles, to give the joints the ability to extend and open up, and allow the disc to heal. They can also use different localities to control pain and inflammation. There is availability of manual techniques to help relax muscles that are overactive and stretch muscles that are too tight. And then there are prescriptive exercises that are designed to create bracing of the musculature that is designed to help support the small joints of the disc and the small muscles of the low back. and there are movement exercises that are done to keep the stress of moving on the large joints ad large muscles of the pelvis. Not to be shifted on the small joints of the back and make the back much more vulnerable to these injuries.

What is a "herniated disc"?

A herniated disc is where the cartilage ring is actually cracked open and the gelatinous interior has been extruded out of the disc ring itself. Often, within the space where the nerve is, a herniated disc creates a lot of either leg pain or numbness.

What is "sciatica"?

Sciatica is a descriptive term that means that a person has leg pain but it doesn't tell us why they have it, and if we don't know why they have it, we don't know what to do about it. There are multiple causes for sciatica. There can be a bulging disc. There can be a jamming of the joints in the back part of the vertebrae. There can be sacroiliac misalignment. There can be muscle tension differences from side to side where muscles become too tight and they actually mimic disc pain. So it's imperative that the true cause of the sciatica be identified so that the proper chiropractic care regimen can be individualized for the patient.

How can a chiropractor help me with my sciatica?

Well, once the correct reason for the sciatica has been identified through history and examination, the chiropractor then decides what the course of care will be for that particular patient. If it happens to be a simple muscle tension problem, the muscle is relaxed, the pain goes away. If it's a sacroiliac joint problem then the joints are normally adjusted, the pain is controlled through the use of different modalities, prescriptive exercise is given then to restore normal function in the area to take stress off the joint. If it happens to be the set joints that are jammed, those joints need to be adjusted. Once the joints are adjusted then normal muscle tension cooperative interaction dynamics have to be restored through home exercise and home stretching and core-strengthening exercise.If the sciatica happens to be from a pinched nerve that's a little bit different. That requires pain and inflamation control and the use of intervent traction. Then there are adjusting procedures and other modalities that are incorporated with home exercise regimens.

What is a "sacrum"?

The sacrum is commonly known as the tailbone. It is the triangular shaped bone that sits between the two sides of the hip. Where the sacrum and hipbone come together it creates the sacroiliac joint. It has very slight movements, yet it's the joint that bears all the weight of the body in the standing position.

How can a chiropractor help me with my problematic sacrum?

A chiropractor is very effective in dealing with a sacral problem. Generally, sacrums are caused by sublexations in the joint, either the pelvis is cocked back or cocked forward on the sacrum. That needs to be adjusted. Any time that happens there are different side attentions that need to be normalized through therapeutic exercise. And stretching that may require the use of office procedures to do that along with modalities to calm the pain down. But generally once the pain is calmed down prescriptive exercise is what creates the muscle tension to be able to support the ligimous disjoints of the body which include, most importantly, the sacroiliac joint.

How can a chiropractor help me with my nervous system?

A chiropractor can help restore normal function to the nervous system by adjusting the joints. That takes pressure off the nerves. A chiropractor can allow the nerves to do their job of orchestrating cooperative body movements that lead to long-term health.

What is a "pinched nerve"?

A pinched nerve is a nerve that has pressure put on it so it can't do its job right. Anytime you have a pinched nerve, the nerve doesn't communicate well to the end organ. It also can be extremely painful. There's a variety of different reasons why nerves can be pinched. Firstly, you can have subtle misalignments in joints called the subluxation. There can also be inflammation in an area from an injury that presses on a joint. There can be swelling from an injury that presses on a nerve and prevents it from functioning correctly. There can be muscle strength and balances that change the way a body loads during movement that can put pressure on nerves. There's a variety of different causes of pinched nerves that chiropractors are well-equipped to deal with.

How can a chiropractor help me with a pinched nerve?

I chiropractor can help a person with a pinched nerve by, first identifying the cause of the pinched nerve. If it happens to be a subluxation, the do a general chiropractic adjustment to take pressure off of the nerve. If it happens to be a tight muscle, they relax the tight muscle through manual procedures as well as doing a adjustment to that particular area. If it happens to be a imflamation from a acute traumatic injury that pinching the nerve off the adjust segement that services that area, plus they do different modalities such as micro current coablazer excedera to control pain and inflammation. If it happens to be a muscle that is to over active, they have procedures to be able to relax the muscle. So there is a variaty of different ways that a chiropractor can take pressure off of the nerve, but as importantly the chiropractor gives the patient some home excersizes and stretches to normalize tension in the body and function in the body. At that point the option should be excersized to get regular chiropractic wellness care, to make sure that the function maintain.

What is "tennis elbow"?

Tennis elbow is where the attachments of the muscles that extend the wrists attach to the elbow and where the attachment is, the tendon in the bone make this very very dense material, and when it becomes stressed through repetitive overuse it creates a pain called tennis elbow. A chiropractor could help with tennis elbow in a variety of different ways. First, by adjusting the spine that services the elbow, which comes from the neck, to make sure that there's good communication between the nerves and the area. Could also adjust the elbow to make sure that the joints that make up the elbow are working correctly because when a joint does not work correctly it actually reflexively shuts off some of the muscles in the joint, making the joint work a lot harder. You can also use manual therapies to break up some of the scar tissue that has been built up through the repetitive strain and also use modalities, co-laser, micro current, interforential current, active release technique, etc. to be able to break up the high density tissue where the pain is. Then there could be the use of therapeutic home exercise to start to normalize the imbalances that have been created from the tennis elbow. Anytime we have a problem we start moving differently. So we need to make sure that we restore that function. So there's the use of home exercise and then strengthening exercise so that as the part heals, it's reintroduced into the normal movement mechanics of the arm and the shoulder.

How can a chiropractor help me with tennis elbow?

Well there are several reason that tell you that you need Chiropractic care. The obvious one is that if you have pain, your walking in distortion, the body isn't working together as a synchronized whole to create energy efficient strain free motion. You have a disability somewhere that's physical in nature. Those are the primary reason why people seek care. However perhaps even a more important reason to see a chiropractor is when you're feeling good and you want to continue to feel good and you seek proactive wellness care to identify those things that are invisible in the body that if not addressed can ultimately express themselves in some form of physical disability that takes twice as long and twice as much time and effort to get well from than it did if you were to have been involved in a proactive chiropractic wellness program.

What is "golfer's elbow"?

Golfer's elbow is a condition in the muscles of the forearm that flex the wrist, where it attaches on the inside of the elbow. Through repetitive actions where there is not enough recovery time, the tissue starts to thicken up, and as it start's to thicken up it starts to become inflamed and painful. This inflammation is termed golfer's elbow.

How can a chiropractor help me with golfer's elbow?

The chiropractor can help golfer's elbow in several different ways. Firstly, they can adjust the segments of the spine that service the inside of the elbow. Second of all, they can actually adjust the elbow joint itself. There are several different articulations that can be adjusted and when the muscles and joints work correctly, the muscles around the joint function correctly. There are also manual techniques that can be used to break up some of the scar tissue in the area that prevent the normal movement of the wrist and put a lot of extra stress into the elbow. There's home exercises that can be done to stretch out the stress in the muscle and there are also home exercises that can be done to restore normal strength dynamics in the elbow that allow strain free, pain free motion to take place.

What is "carpal tunnel syndrome"?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs on the top side of the wrist, just above the palm. There's a little tunnel there, that's made between the bones of the wrist, that nerves and small vessels run through. When that little tunnel starts to thicken up, mostly from repetitive action, it shuts down and it pinches off the nerves. That's where the numbness and the pain in the hand of carpal tunnel syndrome originates from.

How can a chiropractor help me with carpal tunnel syndrome?

A chiropractor can help with carpal tunnel syndrome in a variety of different ways: Number one, to make sure that the stress is taken off of the area by adjusting the bones of the wrist and the bones of the forearm and also to adjust, perhaps, the elbow, the shoulder and the neck. Any point along this track that creates a level of impingement can also affect the wrist and the tunnel itself. Secondly, the chiropractor can help decrease inflammation in the area through the use of nutritional supplements, through the use of modalities, such as ultrasound, frequency specific microcurrent, cold laser, interferential, etc., and then through the use of home stretching exercises to be able to open up the space in the tunnel, plus to also do some manual techniques to break up some abnormal scarring that may have taken place due to the inflammation in the area from the repetitive stress. Once function starts to become restored back to the carpal tunnel area, then home exercises can be done to make sure that the strength and balances are now restored back to the area to be able to create energy-efficient strength for motion in the wrist.

How can a chiropractor help me with numbness in my legs?

The most important thing when dealing with numbness in the legs is that a correct examination and diagnosis be done. There's a variety of different reasons why you can have leg numbness. There can be muscles that are too tight, pinching on a nerve. There are muscles that are too loose that can be laying on nerves. There can be joints out of place that compress nerves. There could also be inflammation in the area that presses on the nerves. There can be space occupying lesions that compress on nerves. There can be some serious reasons for leg numbness, and the most important criteria is that we understand what the reasons are. Conservative chiropractic management of normal, uncomplicated leg numbness requires adjusting segments to make sure that the tension dynamics in the area are no longer playing a role in the pinching of the nerve, and Making sure that muscles are stretched out that may be pressing on the nerve. Those muscles that aren't working quite the way they should, that are a little bit loose and laying on the nerves, need to have increased tone by doing home exercises. Generally, once the adjusting, the stretching, the relaxation and the strengthening take place, then the leg pain and numbness begins to go away.

How can a chiropractor help me with headaches?

When a chiropractor is dealing with headaches, first off, the correct diagnosis of why the headache is there is essential. For simple muscle tension headaches and for postural induced headaches, the chiropractor normally does chiropractic adjusting to the segments of the spine that aren't moving correctly. Usually, when adjustments are done, the muscle tension in the area starts to diminish considerably, as do the headaches. There may be a reason for using other therapies that include relaxation techniques to the muscles in the area. That could either be manual or through the use of different modalities such as micro current, co-laser, ultrasound, etc. The essential aspect to that chiropractic practice is home exercise, where the muscles that create postural imbalances are returned to normal lengths. That takes a lot of pressure off of the area. The muscles that need to be strengthened to support proper posture need to be supported by doing regular home exercises.

What is "TMJ Syndrome"?

TMJ sydrome refers to the Temporal Mandibular Joint. The mandible is the jaw, the temporal bone is part of the skull, and where the jaw fits into the skull is called the Temporal Mandibular Joint. There can be loss of function in that if there is a difference in muscle tension within the muscles that control how the jaw moves. There can also be circumstances where the skull bones themselves are slightly out of position. There's sub-locks that create misalignment in the jaw that lead to the TMJ syndrome. And that's characterized sometimes by dizziness, by pain, by lack of co-ordination, etc.

How can a chiropractor help me with TMJ Syndrome?

A chiropractor is very skilled at dealing with TMJ syndrome. Firstly, a chiropractor will make sure that the bones of the skull are properly aligned and moving correctly in relation to each other. To deal with TMJ syndrome, a chiropractor will make sure that the right and left sides of the jaw, as they fit into the temporal bone of the skull, are also opening and closing the mouth correctly. There should be no shift from side to side, and there are gentle chiropractic adjusting procedures that can support the jaw. The muscles that can control that movement may have asymmetrical tones, so the chiropractor gets in there and relaxes muscles that are overactive. They also stretch out the muscles that are too tight and, normally, when those are done, the TMJ returns to normal position. There are other circumstances that require the use of an appliance or a bite plate. The chiropractor may work in conjunction with a dentist to be able to create the correct appliance for the patient with TMJ syndrome.

How can a chiropractor help me with dizziness?

There are many different causes for dizziness. The most common type of dizziness that chiropractors address in their offices is cervicogenic dizziness. This dizziness is caused by misalignments in the neck and spine, and different tension characteristics that create significant tension in the spine, usually from postural imbalances. Normal chiropractic treatment for cervicogenic dizziness is adjusting the spine and occasionally doing cervical traction. It can either be done at home or in the office. Chiropractors use different modalities to relax the muscles. There are also manual procedures that can be done in the office to stretch out the muscles that tend towards tightness, as well as relax the muscles that tend towards overactivity and increased tension. Through the use of home exercises to stretch the muscles out, chiropractors restore a strength to the muscles, so that the body can support posture to take strain off of the neck muscles that lead to that cervicogenic muscle tension headaches.

What is "degenerative arthritis"?

Degenerative arthritis is a condition of the joints, and a joint is created where two bones come together. There are a lot of reasons that cause degenerative arthritis. One is if there's ligament laxity or loss of muscle tone in an area. That makes a very unstable joint, so body lays down more bone and makes the bone bigger to increase the stability in the area. There can also be inflammatory reasons for arthritis, called rheumatoid arthritis, that are more metabolic in nature.

How can a chiropractor help me with degenerative arthritis?

The first thing is to be able to restore integrity to the area to try to make sure that there's enough stability in the area. That's done by first adjusting the joint. Generally there's an adjustment made at the spinal level and there are also adjustments done at the area of arthritis, because it's well known--all the studies have shown--that movement is the best treatment for arthritis, and activity actually promotes and accelerates arthritic degeneration. There's the use of modalities that help create more pliability in the joints, perhaps ultrasound, there's microcurrent, cold laser. There are manual manipulations and movements that can be done to the joint to assist in normal joint motion. There's the use of therapeutic home exercise to make sure that the muscles and tendons that create joint movement are working at peak efficiency; that also takes focal strain off of the joint.

What is "fibromyalgia"?

Fibromyalgia is a metabolic syndrome characterized by muscle aches and pains that occur in very predictable locations throughout the body.

How can a chiropractor help me with fibromyalgia?

A chiropractor can help with fibromyalgia in several ways. Firstly, by adjusting the spine to make sure that the best communication, and the most appropriate muscle tension, occurs in the muscular skeletal system. Secondly, gentle exercise has been shown to be an important component in resolving fibromyalgia. The use of gentle massage by a chiropractor has also been shown to be effective, as have certain nutritional therapies that provide the body with the nutrients required to create body growth and repair, and the energy to move efficiently. Chiropractors also helps with fibromyalgia by helping to reduce the tension of the body that is known to exaggerate the fibromyalgic symptoms.

Which types of sports injuries do chiropractors treat?

Common sports injuries that a chiropractor treats are ankle sprains and jammed fingers. There can be strained muscles in the shoulder and back strains, too. Chiropractors also treat sports injuries like tennis elbow and golfer's elbow. There can be contusions, sprains, strains and bruising throughout the body.

Which conditions might I be surprised to learn chiropractors treat?

Most people are surprised to learn that chiropractic medicine is a comprehensive healthcare delivery system that not only deals with acute traumatic injury, but it also with wellness care. Chiropractic medicine doesn't just deal with the spine, it deals with the entire body: wrists, knees, necks, hips, ankles, jaws, muscle problems, etc. There are organic problems that the profession deals with. Chiropractic medicine is comprehensive in nature and that's what makes it such a great profession. The ultimate goal is to give a patient the physical ability to embrace life to the fullest extent of their capability.