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Chiropractic Care for Peripheral Neuropathy

Chiropractic Care for Peripheral Neuropathy

 

If you have tingling, numbness, or pain in your extremities (hands and feet), then you may be experiencing the onset of peripheral neuropathy.  The pain, numbness, burning, or tingling can range from constant to intermittently throughout the day or week.  Left untreated, peripheral neuropathy can become more severe, significantly limiting a person’s mobility and/or performance of everyday tasks.

Consider the last time you only had one bar for reception on your cell phone.  The static you experience is similar to the nervous system’s inability to communicate properly with the rest of the body.  This is what leads to neuropathy.  As the signals from the brain to the nerves in the spinal cord are interrupted, the “static in the system” is translated into the physical sensations described above.

There are several causes of peripheral neuropathy including diabetes, alcoholism, kidney disease, arthritis, lupus, AIDS, and cancer.  Peripheral neuropathy can also be caused by physical trauma or pressure on the nerve or a B12 vitamin deficiency.

Aging is also a major contributor to neuropathy.  As people age, the spinal column and vertebral joints begin to break down, leading to increased compression on spinal nerves, which leads to nerve damage and neuropathy.  Trapped or compressed nerves can be released by chiropractic manipulation, which adjusts the spinal column into the proper alignment, freeing the nerves to function normally.  Chiropractic treatment is non-invasive and, unlike medication, does not mask the pain.  Some patients who see us for neuropathy can also benefit from physical therapy to improve muscle strength and function to help reduce pain.

According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, neuropathy is the second most common condition treated by chiropractors.  A 2008 study in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine concluded that nearly 85% of patients experienced a reduction of symptoms after an average of 9 visits.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, proper evaluation and diagnosis along with appropriate treatment, can help decrease symptoms and improve functioning.  Here at Quince Orchard Medical Center our team of clinicians will work with patients to alleviate the symptoms of possible nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy.   Please call us to schedule an appointment today.

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Introduction to Strain-Counterstrain Technique

Introduction to Strain-Counterstrain Technique

Here at Quince Orchard Medical Center, we like to talk about our clinician “toolbox” – the various techniques and specialized training – that allows us to provide individualized care to each of our patients.  In this article, we’ll discuss one of the “tools” that we use, “Strain-Counterstrain Technique.”  Strain-Counterstrain, also widely known as “positional release,” has been taught exclusively through the Jones Institute and has been practiced by Dr. Lawrence Jones and his colleagues since the mid-1950s.

The hallmark of the Strain-Counterstrain technique is its gentleness.  Purposefully non-traumatic, the Strain-Counterstrain technique reduces pain related to both neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders, making it useful in treating various conditions ranging from acute pain to chronic conditions.  By using passive body positioning and locating “tender points,” muscles in spasm and painful joints are held in positions of comfort while dysfunctional muscles are compressed and restored to their normal operational limits.

During treatment your clinician will hold your body in specific positions for approximately 90 seconds.  The purpose for holding each position is to wait for the muscles to relax, rather than implementing a more active therapy module.  The concept is to deal with the root of the pain as opposed to putting a temporary “bandaid” on the symptoms.

Research conducted by Irwin Korr in the 1970s explained why the Strain-Counterstrain technique works so well.  When a muscle experiences a trauma that causes it to over-stretch, its spindles (sensory receptors within the muscle that primarily detect changes in the length) contract to protect the muscle tissue.  As a result, the muscle can become trapped in a shortened position that, while somewhat functional, is painful and irritated.  Focusing on the specific tender points associated with each of the joints and muscles, the clinician will help shorten the over-stretched or damaged muscle by holding the body in a specified position, allowing it to return to status quo.

When a muscle is relaxed and shortened, it sends signals to the central nervous system, “hey things are OK here, we’re back to normal, nothing to worry about here…”  After that message has been sent, the central nervous system resumes normal functioning because it’s under the assumption that it no longer needs to spasm to protect itself from any type of excessive feedback that it was previously receiving.  As a result, the body begins to function the way it was originally intended, and, thus heals itself.  Relief and restoration is immediate. Pain free movement can be built and restored for the long-term through exercise.

Conditions which can benefit from applying Strain-Counterstrain Technique include Fibromyalgia, TMJ, sports injuries, vehicle accidents, post-surgery, arthritis, headaches, whiplash, pain following a traumatic injury, neck or back pain, and for those individuals who may require more gentle care, such as small children or the elderly.  We’re always happy to discuss the appropriateness of utilizing the Strain-Counterstrain technique during your treatment here with us.

 

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Everyday Knowledge for the Weekend Warrior


Injured ankle wrapped in tape

Everyone experiences athletic injuries at some point in their life.  However, as you age it becomes easier to re-injure old injuries while also compounding new ones, which then take longer to heal.  Those things you could get away with in your 20’s aren’t as easy to ignore and still recover from in your 30’s, 40’s, and later decades.  At Quince Orchard Medical Center, we believe that it is important to take care of yourself and address small problems before they compound into larger ones. In doing so you can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle for many years to come. 

 Some of the most common sports and athletic injuries include sprains and strains, sore or inflamed muscles, joint pain, shin splints, joint dislocations and shoulder injuries.  At the onset of just about any musculoskeletal injury, begin with RICE therapy.  RICE therapy is the acronymfor Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  Avoid whatever mechanisms or motions cause an increase in symptoms or pain.  If you have a leg or ankle injury, you may need to decrease the amount of weight you bear on the affected side.  Working through the pain, especially if the pain is sharp, shooting or stabbing in nature is not recommended.  According to the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Disease, apply ice at 20 minute intervals up to eight times a day.  Use a cloth or towel to prevent the ice from producing a cold injury and discomfort.  For compression, use an Ace bandage and wrap the affected area at an even pressure.  This willreduce additional swelling and lead to a quicker recovery.  Elevation will facilitate a decrease inswelling, especially if accompanied by ice.  After a few days, if you don’t notice significant reduction in pain and swelling, contact your physician.

Over the counter NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen and can be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Be aware of relying on them too much, otherwise you could mask a more serious problem or increase a risk of stomach ulcers.  Always follow the warning labels on over the counter NSAIDS and see your doctor if there are any concerns.  Do not take NSAIDS if you have a history of gastrointestinal problems, stroke, kidney problems, hypertension, or if you are pregnant.  If you take NSAIDS for a few days and the pain does not decrease, consider stopping taking the medication and seeing a doctor.

If you are a weekend warrior, consider performing lighter exercise activities throughout the week.  Incorporating sport-specific cross-training into your workout routine can decrease your risk of re-injury or overuse injuries, which can lead to chronic pain in your joints and/or muscles.  If you experience chronic pain or ongoing discomfort please consider coming into our office for an evaluation.  Together we can decide the best course of treatment to meet your goal of returning tos ports and/or an active lifestyle without having to battle chronic pain.

What are Sports Injuries?

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Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy

 

 

Pregnant woman

 

Ever heard of someone who was pregnant complain about their back hurting?  Lower back pain can be a normal part of pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimester as the baby is growing larger.  However, it’s not just the baby’s weight that leads to back pain.  Causes for lower back pain can also include changes in posture, increased pressure on blood vessels and nerves in the lower back and pelvic areas, changes in hormones, and emotional stress.

It’s important to know that if you are experiencing pain, there is usually something that can be done about it.  You always have a choice when it comes to dealing with pain; you don’t have to just check the box that says “Deal With It.”  At Quince Orchard Medical Center, we believe that your pain can be dealt with in a wholesome and healthy way that promotes long term solutions towards leading a life without having to just play through the pain.

All of our clinicians are trained in the art of prenatal care and wellness and are aware of the physical stressors that accompany pregnancy and how to alleviate those pains.  One of the main benefits of prenatal chiropractic care is its effectiveness in reducing unnecessary stress on the uterus and its supporting ligaments, which means less overall pain and discomfort.

Another important reason to consider prenatal chiropractic care is realignment of the pelvis, which, when done correctly allows more room for your baby to develop and grow while in utero.  According to several clinical studies, a properly aligned pelvis has been shown to provide space and optimal fetal positioning for improved chances of success for a natural birthing process.  In a 2002 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 82% of mothers who had received prenatal chiropractic care had babies who turned vertex during childbirth.  The upshot is a less difficult, less painful, and safer delivery process.

As part of your visit, we can also provide you with specific stretches and exercises for the joints and muscles affected by your pregnancy.  Other things that can help prevent and reduce back pain during pregnancy includes light cardio exercise, such as walking, swimming, and using an exercise bike or elliptical machine.  Not only are these good for your cardiovascular system, but also help to improve flexibility and strengthening of the spine at a time when extra strength is needed for your body to adjust properly.  Consult with a physician before engaging in any exercise program.  Also, remember to use proper posture, which reduces extra strain and stress that is otherwise placed on your spine and adjacent muscle groups.  Using a back support such as a rolled up towel or a posture insert for your seat can reduce slouching while sitting.  We’d be happy to discuss more ideas with you as part of our comprehensive treatment program so that we can meet your personal needs.

Lastly, chiropractic care is also a consideration for after the birthing process, so that long term pain and can be diverted from extra stress placed on the spine or a pelvis that is unbalanced.  Both of these can lead to long term problems that can be easily prevented with timely care.  Call us today to learn about more of our comprehensive pain treatment both during and after your pregnancy.

 

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What Causes Trigger Points?

 

Diagram of Trigger Point Complex

 

Have you ever experienced back pain or sciatica?  Do you get headaches regularly?  How about tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, or other joint pain involving the knees or shoulders?  Trigger Points are a cause of pain commonly seen at Quince Orchard Medical Center and all of our clinicians are equipped to treat them.

When your body is under stress, whether the stressor is physical or emotional, it always has a reaction to cope with it.  Trigger Points found in your skeletal muscles where your body has the potential to store that stress-energy for a long period of time. These are the locations on your muscles that exhibit extraordinary sensitivity, and in some cases, may become so stressed that they produce limited movement, stiffness, and pain.

There is a lot of information out there about Trigger Points, and it can easily become some type of vague, ethereal concept.  Quite simply, a Trigger Point is a small portion of muscle tissue that experiences extraordinary contraction.  Doctors and massage therapists can reliably target specific Trigger Points because they are always found where a motor neuron connects with the muscle.  On a microscopic level, when someone experiences pain produced from a Trigger Point, it is actually the motor neuron signaling the muscle fibers to fire off as a response to some other stimuli rather than the normal operational performance of the muscle.

Specific causes of Trigger Points can include, but are not limited to, trauma, overuse, repetitive straining, or alignment imbalances.  There can also be episodes where increased and prolonged muscle tension from an existing injury activates Trigger Points.  For example, someone sprains an ankle and then walks with a limp.  That extra strain placed on the non-injured leg could exacerbate Trigger Points in the non-injured leg.  It is also possible for existing Trigger Points to create referred pain in other parts of the body, which, in turn, activates other Trigger Points. This waterfall of symptoms can lead to chronic pain.

Unresolved pain from Trigger Points can compound, leading to more chronic problems such as those mentioned at the beginning of the article.  It’s important to know that stretching and the typical massage, ice, painkiller routine won’t resolve the irritation caused by Trigger Points.  In some cases, stretching, rubbing, or massage treatment for a muscle can make the pain worse in the long run if the Trigger Point is not released prior to working on the larger areas of the muscle.

During Trigger Point therapy, the therapist will compress the muscle fibers of the Trigger Point, which in turn makes the motor neuron and the muscle to relax the muscle contraction.  From this point, massage or stretching may be appropriate depending on a treatment plan developed with your therapist.

If you have been experiencing unresolved muscular pain, consider giving us a call.  All of our practitioners are skilled at direct and indirect treatment of these symptoms.  Although some patients suffering from activated Trigger Points only require a few visits, there are some cases that may require extended treatment.  One of the benefits of seeing our specialists at Quince Orchard Medical Center is our integrative approach to pain management and medicine, which seeks the least intensive and the least invasive approach possible.

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