Chiropractic health care
The word “chiropractic” comes from ancient Greek and means “done by hand.”
Adjustment of the joints of the body has been used in the healing arts for many centuries and is at the heart of modern chiropractic care.
Chiropractors are specialists in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal functioning to the joints and supporting muscles and ligaments – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible.
Your chiropractor will recommend a course of treatment specific to you that may also include mobilization of the joints, ultrasound, muscle release techniques, muscle stimulation and therapeutic exercises. Chiropractors are also trained to provide nutritional counselling, and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies.
Back health is important
The body’s information highway – your nervous system – is protected by the spine. The nervous system travels out between the vertebrae or joints of the spine to carry messages from the brain to every corner of your body. Stress and strain on the vertebrae can put pressure on the nerves in the affected area. That is why a problem with your spine can have far-reaching effects causing symptoms such as arm or leg pain.
When to consider chiropractic care
If aching joints and muscle pain are affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favourite activities, consider chiropractic care. Work, accidents, sports injuries, household chores, even the stress of daily living can cause painful joint and back problems. Even if you do not have painful symptoms, chiropractic care can help you maintain healthy spine and joint function.
Here are some of the most common reasons why more than 4 million Canadians visit a chiropractor each year:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Strains and sprains from daily activities
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Work and sports-related injuries
- Restricted movement in the back, shoulders, neck or limbs
Benefits of chiropractic care
Chiropractic treatment is skilled, hands-on health care that relieves pain and helps your body be its best. Here are some of the ways it can help you.
- Improved movement in your neck, shoulders, back and torso
- Better posture
- Relief from headaches, neck and back pain
- Prevention of work-related muscle and joint injuries
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Improved flexibility
- Relief of pregnancy-related back ache
- Correction of gait and foot problems
The good news is your baby is growing. Back pain is a common complaint in pregnancy. In fact, approximately 50-70 percent of women experience back pain at some stage throughout their pregnancy. You are gaining weight, your center of gravity changes as your abdomen continues to grow and your hormones are relaxing the ligaments in your pelvic region. Often, however, you can prevent or ease pregnancy-related back pain with appropriate treatments. Chiropractic care has typically included the care of pregnant patients to provide a more comfortable pregnancy for both the mother and the baby. Chiropractors use non-drug, non-invasive approach to assess and treat disorders related to the spine, nervous system and joints of the extremities. Causes of back pain during pregnancy:
Pregnancy-related back pain typically occurs at the sacroiliac joints, where the pelvis meets the spine. Here is a list of potential causes of back pain during pregnancy:
Weight gain – During a healthy pregnancy, women typically gain approximately 25-35 pounds. This additional weight puts stress on to your back. This weight may also put pressure on the nerves in the pelvis and back.
Hormone changes – During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin allows ligaments in the pelvic region and the joints to relax and become looser in the preparation of the birth process. The same hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to become loose, leading to instability and pain.
Postural changes – Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity. In fact, you may not even notice but your body begins to adjust your posture and the way you move. This may result in back pain or strain.
Stress – Emotional stress can cause muscle tension throughout the body particularly in the back region. You may find that you experience an increase amount of back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
How do I treat pregnancy-related back pain?
From my experience, combinations of the following techniques work extremely well in easing pregnancy-related back pain. It may even prevent postpartum back pain.
Chiropractic adjustments – Regular chiropractic adjustments can be beneficial throughout the pregnancy. With proper patient positioning for comfort and relaxation, only gentile forces are needed to safely and successfully correct fixations in the spine and pelvis.
Improve your posture – Poor posture strains your back. Using proper postural techniques when working, sitting or sleeping is a smart move to a healthier lifestyle.
Exercises – Regular proper exercises can strengthen your muscles and ease the stress on your spine. Safe exercises for most pregnant women include walking, swimming and etc.
Acupuncture – Acupuncture is form of Chinese therapy where thin needles are inserted into your skin at specific locations to stimulate energy flow. Many research studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in relieving back pain during pregnancy.
Yesterday, I discussed a “pain in the butt” condition and no it was not tax pain (for those that have seen the H&R Block commercials). The blog was actually about the discomfort of a condition known as coccydynia. Today, I am going to write about a “pain in the butt” condition known as piriformis syndrome. I see this particular condition very often!
A 34 Year old man has a stabbing pain in the buttock with a sharp electrical feeling going down the back of his leg (sciatica). He felt this immediately after exiting his pick up truck after a long day at work.
Have you ever felt or heard of this condition before? Most people have heard of someone who has experienced these particular symptoms. First off, sciatica (as a symptom of pain going down the back of the leg) is very common and so is pain near the lower back/buttock region.
It is Time to Review Our Anatomy
I know, I know – you do not like this part of my blogs. It is crucial, however, that we understand where we are talking about and the specific structures in the area, if we are to understand what this condition is all about.
As you can see to the right, the piriformis muscle attaches from the hip (greater trochanter) to the vertebral column (the sacrum to be specific – the triangular bone at the base of the spine). The connection of the sacrum to the pelvis bones forms the sacroiliac joint. We have two of these joints – both left and right.T he piriformis muscle is one of the external rotators of the hip and leg. What is an external rotator you ask? An external rotator is a muscle that helps turn the foot and leg outward. As you may notice in the image to the right, there is a yellow string under the piriformis muscle belly. This string is actually the sciatic nerve. In 80% of individuals, the sciatic nerve runs below the muscle. In 5-10% it runs above the muscle and in 10-15% it pierces through the muscle belly (especially if someone is born with two piriformis muscle bellies). The piriformis muscle can squeeze and irritate the sciatic nerve in this area, leading to the symptoms of sciatica (pain going down the back of the leg).
What Causes Piriformis Syndrome?
As indicated above, the piriformis muscle can irritate and squeeze the sciatic nerve, which causes a variety of symptoms going down the back of the leg. But how and why does piriformis become tight? Well, sometimes it is due too sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The sacrum and the pelvis bones create a sacroiliac joint on both the left and right side. This joints provided slight movement, but act move as a shock absorber or force dampener. If the sacroiliac joint becomes tight on one side it may lead to disruptions on how the muscles in the area function – thus resulting in tightened and irritated muscles and nerves. Furthermore, piriformis syndrome may also come about, as a result of an injury such as a fall onto the buttock. If bleeding in and around the piriformis muscle occur it will form a hematoma. Thus, the piriformis muscle begins to swell and put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Soon the hematoma dissolves, but the muscle goes into spasm and affects the surrounding joint and muscle structures. Usually, I find piriformis syndrome one either the left or the right side, but not both at the same time.
I think I have Piriformis Syndrome, now what?
In order to diagnosis piriformis syndrome, a number of physical orthopaedic exam tests need to be performed. Resisted external rotation of the hip as well as passively turning the leg inward, will create symptoms. Direct [slideshow] (feeling the muscle) will also elicit symptoms and may refer pain down the back of the leg. Predisposition to piriformis syndrome may be an anatomically short leg, pronation at the feet, or pelvic rotation.
How do I reverse these Piriformis Syndrome symptoms?
Stretching techniques or soft tissue therapy techniques (massage with a stretch) really help. Furthermore, I find that acupuncture, chiropractic, electrotherapy, heat therapy and laser therapy also help! In my practice, I use a variety of stretches (difficult to perform on your own). These stretches really help to loosen the piriformis area. I find that a combination of a variety of treatments often does the trick! Usually within four to six treatments, a patient is walking better, has less pain travelling down the back of the leg and does not feel spasm in the buttock. I always find that massage therapy in conjunction with chiropractic care really helps when it comes to piriformis syndrome. Massage therapist are excellent has relaxing tight muscles and chiropractor can work on relaxing the joint (via a chiropractic adjustment).
I hope you enjoyed this pain in the butt blog today.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The following information is my personal notes about this subject matter. It is intended for informational purposes only. Consult a health practitioner to help you diagnose and treat injuries of any kind.