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5 Neck Pain Causes That Might Surprise You (And When To See A Doctor)

Many people experience neck pain at some point in their lives. From poor posture to osteoarthritis, the causes of neck pain vary considerably from person to person, but sufferers know the symptoms all too well:

  • Pain that gets worse when you hold your head in one position for extended periods, perhaps when you’re driving or working at a computer.
  • The inability to move your head easily and fully.
  • Muscle tightness.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Headache.

If you find yourself messaging your neck several times during the day, it could be more than daily stress and strain–don’t underestimate the role the neck plays in your overall mood and health.

A Pain in the Neck–Literally.

The neck plays a unique role in the body: it’s strong enough to support the weight of your whole head but is also very flexible. Because of this combination of features, your neck is prone to injury and painful conditions that can hinder routine activities and restrict motion. 

We’re all familiar with common causes, such as whiplash caused by fender benders and car accidents, but other origins might surprise you:

  • Worn-out joints. Like most other parts of the body, the joints in your neck wear down with age. When the cartilage between your bones to deteriorate, we call this “osteoarthritis,” which in your neck, causes bone spurs to form. The result affects joint motion and causes pain.
  • Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can sometimes press on the nerves that branch out from your spine.
  • Tech neck. Many of us are guilty of spending far too many hours hunkered down over a computer or smartphone, resulting in an aching neck and shoulders at the end of the day. There’s actually a name for this condition– the dreaded “tech neck.” 
  • (Seemingly) minor repeated movements. Reading in bed, an awkward position–even gritting your teeth can strain your neck muscles.
  • Diseases. It’s relatively rare, but neck pain can sometimes be traced back to certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer.


How To Prevent Neck Pain

Some things can’t be helped such as age-related wear-and-tear; however, there’s a lot you can do to help prevent neck pain. Small tweaks in your daily routine can be hugely helpful, including:

  • Good posture. Whether you’re standing or sitting, remember to keep your spine in a straight line. Your shoulders should be directly over your hips, while your ears should always be lined up over your shoulders. In other words, stand tall–no slouching!
  • Take plenty of breaks. Long hours in the office and stop-and-go traffic are an everyday reality for many working adults. Our advice: take periodic stretch breaks– get up out of your chair, move around, and stretch your neck and shoulders.
  • Adjust your desk, chair, and computer. Ideally, the computer monitor (or anything else you’ll need to focus on for a long time) should stay at eye level. Optimal posture includes keeping your knees slightly lower than your hips. 
  • Use a phone headset or speakerphone. Fortunately, bluetooth earpieces and headsets are mainstream, making them affordable and easy to find. But, if you don’t have that luxury when using a phone handset, never cradle it between your ear and shoulder.
  • Skip the shoulder straps when carrying heavy bags. Added shoulder weight equates to excessive strain on your neck; for heavier loads, consider a suitcase with wheels instead.
  • Choose your sleep position carefully. To avoid waking up with sore muscles, your head and neck should be aligned with the rest of your body. And if possible, sleep on your back with a small pillow under your neck and your thighs elevated on pillows to flatten out your spinal muscles. 


When To See a Doctor

While most neck pain improves gradually with at-home treatments and prevention techniques, we recommend a visit to your primary care physician when your neck pain is:

  • The result of an injury, like a car crash or fall.
  • Severe enough to interfere with your daily life.
  • Persists for several days in a row.
  • Spreads down your arms or legs.
  • Accompanied by numbness, weakness or a tingling sensation.


Treating Your Aching Neck

While over-the-counter and prescription medications may bring temporary relief, many patients experience unpleasant side effects or limited effectiveness. Thus, the pain continues–and you feel worse from the medications.

Rather than trying to mask your symptoms temporarily, chiropractic care traces your pain back to the root of the problem. Though everyone’s pain is a bit different, chiropractic care most often involves treating the muscle, joint, and nerve in your neck using chiropractic adjustments or “cervical manipulations.” Though the name may sound intimidating, cervical manipulations place gentle pressure on your neck and spine, to loosen your stiff joints and bring immediate relief. 


If you’ve tried treating your neck pain at home and it’s not subsiding, make an appointment online with us to discuss your symptoms and begin a treatment plan. Your neck–and body– will thank you.

Puttin’ The Squeeze on Tension Headaches

Persistent head and neck pain. 

A dull, achy sensation all over the head.

A persistent ache behind the eyes. 

A painful scalp. 

A rubber band pulled tight around the head. 

These are just a few of the ways people describe their tension headaches. 

A tension headache is the most common type of headache, and regular sufferers report experiencing them 1-2 times per month, on average. Typically, tension headache pain ranges from mild to moderate, but occasionally, can be much more severe.

When tension headache pain is intense, it can sometimes be confused with a migraine headache, which is characterized by throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. A distinguishing factor is tension headaches don’t have all the symptoms of migraines, such as nausea and vomiting, although the pain can be just as debilitating. 

The Cleveland Clinic found that chronic tension headaches affect about 3% of the U.S. population, including headache episodes that last 15 days or more per month. Women are twice as likely as men to experience tension headaches.

What Causes Tension Headaches?

The most common cause of tension headaches is subluxations that result in upper back and neck pain, usually in conjunction with active trigger points. Sometimes the top cervical vertebrae lose its healthy sense of motion, leading to painful muscle spasms. 

From environmental triggers to dietary sensitivities to emotional stressors, any combination of factors may be causing the muscles in your head and neck to spasm. For example, if you sit at a desk all day, spend significant amounts of time on your smartphone, or you’ve suffered from whiplash in the past, you may be more susceptible to tension headaches.

Triggers for tension headaches may also include:

  • Cold temperatures.
  • Alcohol and smoking.
  • The eye strain and dry eyes that come with staring at a computer screen for a long time.
  • Fatigue.
  • A cold, flu, or sinus infection.
  • Caffeine.
  • Poor posture.


How To Treat a Tension Headache

Medications

To ease their pain and discomfort, many tension headache sufferers turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medications like ibuprofen or aspirin, prescription painkillers, and even muscle relaxants. 

However, the Mayo Clinic found that frequent use of medications, particularly OTC medications, may make your headaches worse in the long run. The dreaded “rebound headaches” often strike when you’ve become so accustomed to medicine that you experience additional pain as the drugs wear off. You’ll need to take more medication to find relief, and the cycle begins again.

In the end, medications will always fall short as they attempt to treat the symptoms of tension headaches, but never address the cause. 

Getting To The Root Cause of Your Tension Headaches

Chiropractic care for tension headaches is based on a deep understanding of how the spine relates to discomfort and pain in other areas of your body. In-office treatment generally includes using gentle pressure to realign the vertebrae and spine to bring on-the-spot relief from both pain and tension.

Your ongoing treatment plan takes all parts of your lifestyle and health history into account, including recommendations regarding nutrition, stress management, posture, ergonomics, vitamins, specific exercises, and relaxation techniques. It’s all customized to address your tension and pain; no two patients are exactly alike, and neither are your headaches.

While researching your tension headaches is always helpful and the convenience of medications might be tempting, there’s no substitute for in-person, holistic chiropractic treatment to address the cause of your pain and remedy the problem. Make an appointment online and let’s begin.

4 Common Types of Arthritis (And The Best Treatment For Each)

If you think you may be suffering from arthritis, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, it’s the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with 54 million adults and 300,000 babies and children living with arthritis of some kind. Just what is arthritis, what causes it and what are the best ways to manage the pain and discomfort?

Understanding Arthritis

Arthritis isn’t actually a name for a single disease. Instead, it’s become a colloquial way to describe joint pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis and related medical conditions, and while it’s most common among women and strikes more frequently as people age, anyone can be diagnosed with arthritis.

Joint swelling, pain, stiffness and a decreased range of motion are the most common symptoms of arthritis and they show up differently for each patient. The symptoms may be mild, debilitating, or fall somewhere in between. Sometimes these symptoms seem to clear up for a while; other times, they just keep getting worse. 

Severe arthritis often results in chronic pain and an inability to perform routine activities, like walking or climbing stairs. Permanent changes to your joints may be visible to the naked eye but usually only seen via x-ray. 

The Most Common Types of Arthritis

Degenerative Arthritis

Also known as osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Degenerative arthritis occurs when the cartilage gradually disintegrates, causing your bones to rub against each other, and resulting in joint stiffness, pain, and swelling. The pain may become chronic as time goes by and the joints continue to lose strength. Some patients will eventually require a joint replacement.

Risk factors include being overweight, a history of degenerative arthritis in your family, your age, and previous injuries such as a torn ACL.

Adjusting your lifestyle may reduce the risks or delay the onset of degenerative arthritis. Preventative recommendations include:

  • Making time for both rest and regular physical activity.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Strengthening your muscles around the joint to provide more support.

Inflammatory Arthritis

The immune system is supposed to keep the body safe from disease, but sometimes it can mistakenly attack something in your system that’s not dangerous at all. With inflammatory arthritis (also known as rheumatoid arthritis), the immune system attacks the joints, resulting in joint erosion and even organ damage. A combination of genetic characteristics and environmental factors can cause this autoimmune disease. For example, smoking cigarettes is an environmental factor that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in genetically-susceptible people.

Early diagnosis is critical to minimizing permanent joint damage.  Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are often use to reduce pain, restore function, and prevent additional joint damage.

Infectious Arthritis

Compared to the causes and symptoms of other types of arthritis, infectious arthritis is rather straightforward: bacteria, a virus, or a fungus enters the joint and triggers inflammation. Food poisoning, sexually-transmitted infections, and hepatitis C are all examples of the types of organisms that can infect the joints.

Although sometimes infectious arthritis becomes chronic, antibiotic treatment often clears up the joint infection.

Metabolic Arthritis

As the body breaks down purines, an element that’s found in human cells and in many foods, it forms a substance called uric acid. Sometimes the body naturally produces more uric acid than is needed, causing growth of needle-like crystals in the joint. When this happens, patients often feel sudden or extreme joint pain. If uric acid levels aren’t quickly reduced through diet and other medical measures, chronic pain and disability may result.

Diagnosing Arthritis

Your doctor will usually conduct a physical exam to check for swollen joints and loss of motion, plus blood tests, and imaging scans may be used to determine which type of arthritis you have. A rheumatologist, a doctor specializing in arthritis, is often called in for both uncertain diagnoses and when inflammatory arthritis is suspected. You may be referred to an orthopedic surgeons when joint replacements and other joint surgery is required. 

For most joint pain, there are steps you can take to effectively relieve your pain and discomfort, including incorporating chiropractic care into your treatment.

How Chiropractic Care Treats Arthritis Pain

Chiropractic care is a preferred treatment for many arthritis patients because it is a safe, non-invasive, and non-addictive alternative to prescription and over-the-counter pain medications that come with so many unwanted side effects.

Treatment for arthritis pain may include chiropractic adjustments, gentle pressure applied to the spine and other joints to reduce restrictions and misalignments. By improving your spinal health, joint mobility, and the functioning of your nervous system, your body can better manage the pain and swelling that comes with arthritis.

Though every patient’s chiropractic treatment plan and results are different, many arthritis patients experience significantly-reduced pain and discomfort, decreased inflammation, and an improved range of motion and flexibility.


Is chiropractic care a good fit for your arthritis pain and discomfort? Make an appointment online to explore how we can create your customized treatment plan to help you feel better now and in the future.

Common Causes of Migraines and How to Effectively Treat Your Heachache Pain

Migraine headaches are among the most prevalent — and the least-understood — medical conditions in existence.

Approximately 13% of the world’s population suffer from migraines at some point in their lives. Because the symptoms vary so significantly from one patient to another, they can be challenging for mainstream medicine to diagnose and treat.

As most patients can attest, migraine headaches can be disruptive to everyday activities. From reduced productivity to missing work completely, strained relationships to broken commitments, those who suffer from migraines often feel the stress of disappointing people in their life because they’ve got another migraine.

It’s impossible to plan your life around debilitating pain that may strike at any time. Patients often describe their migraine headaches as a throbbing pain radiating from deep inside the head, often from just one side. Lasting from several hours to many days, migraines may also cause sensitivity to sound and light, or cause nausea and vomiting.

One in five people also report disturbances in their vision called “auras” just before the onset of a migraine. Common auras include blind spots, flashing lights or stars, or zigzag lines.

Who Gets Migraines

While anyone can get a migraine, women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. Migraine headaches often run in families and are also associated with certain nervous system conditions as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Migraine Causes

While there is no definitive, universally-accepted answer as to what causes migraines, several hypotheses have gained traction over the years, including:

  • Overactive pain-signaling from the brain’s sensory neurons.
  • A disordered nervous system, possibly in the brain stem.
  • Low levels of the brain chemical serotonin.
  • Emotional issues or disrupted energy in the body.
  • Vitamin B or other mineral deficiency.
  • Negative reactions to certain foods. Wheat/gluten, milk, sugar, yeast, corn, citrus fruits, eggs, aspartame, and MSG have all been linked to migraines to some degree.
  • Reactions to some medications.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Genetic susceptibility. Research has shown that 70-90% of migraine sufferers have family members who also experience them.
  • Environmental triggers. Smells can sometimes set off a migraine.


Migraine Treatment

Many patients instinctively reach for over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, but these medications often don’t provide relief. Mainstream doctors tend to prescribe triptans or drugs that decrease inflammation and change the flow of blood within the brain. While these medications may cut down on the frequency of migraines or reduce the headache symptoms, they don’t address the root cause, and ultimately, the migraines return. Additionally, prescription drugs may cause brain fog, other unpleasant side effects or trigger “rebound headaches,” often as troublesome as the original migraine.

To effectively treat migraine headaches, you must address the underlying cause. Chiropractic treatment is focused on getting to the bottom of what’s producing your migraine headache. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; chiropractic care zeroes in on the unique characteristics of your migraines.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

Chiropractic treatment includes gently moving, stretching, and placing subtle pressure on the spine to let your body heal itself naturally. You’ll likely experience instant pain relief at your chiropractic appointment, followed by reduced migraine frequency in the coming weeks and months. Your individual treatment plan will take your overall health into consideration and may include lifestyle adjustments such as drinking more water, getting more rest, taking a hot bath, or making sleep more of a priority in your life. Home exercises designed to reduce tension and discomfort in your neck and spine are often recommended in between office visits.

Wondering what your individual migraine treatment plan might look like? Schedule an appointment online to discuss your headache pain and get to the root cause of your migraines. It’s time to say goodbye to the nasty side effects from prescription medications and finally experience lasting relief.


Note: This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for personalized advice or care from a medical professional.

Chronic Back Pain Conditions That Affect Mostly Women

I am woman, hear me roar– or shriek from back pain, if you are one of the many women who battle an aching back on a regular basis.

Ladies, we’ll give you the disappointing news first: studies have shown that there are a handful of back conditions that tend to affect women more than men. It’s a bummer that your gender marker could automatically make you more susceptible to certain painful conditions. Perhaps even a little unfair?

So for our female readers suffering from chronic, nagging back pain, we offer this post in hopes that you’ll take heart in learning conservative care and preventative options exist. Let’s delve into the more common back conditions that affect women in particular.

Fibromyalgia

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia is twice as common in women as it is in men. Disappointingly, the cause of fibromyalgia is largely unknown and there is no known cure. Though hormonal levels may play a role, there has yet to be conclusive evidence found in research to support this theory. However, there are constructive ways to treat the pain and achiness for a better quality of life.  And that’s a huge win!

Just what is “fibromyalgia?” It’s a condition that causes aching and pain all over the body, and is generally chronic in nature. Some of the more common symptoms include: extreme fatigue, sleep trouble, headaches, and numbness or tingling of the hands and feet. Because the nature of each case can differ significantly, treatment in turn needs to be customized.

So where do you start? Figuring out what’s best for you can be tricky, but as you learn more about your condition and how your body reacts to treatment, you’re better prepared to make adjustments and plan for the future. Basic home care is a good place to begin, including:

  • Getting good quality sleep–you’ve no doubt heard the importance of sleep a million times before, but it’s true. Your body needs sleep to recover and heal, particularly when you’re trying to ward off aches and pains.
  • Reducing stress— we know…easier said than done. Helpful practices often include practicing meditation and potentially seeking counseling for more extreme cases.
  • Exercising regularly, even if that just means walking around your neighborhood.

Though fibromyalgia can happen seemingly randomly, you should also be aware of the more common triggers. For women, the hormonal changes that happen during menopause and pregnancy can sometimes flare up an already existing fibromyalgia case. Extreme stress, both short and long-term, as well as drastic changes in weather, can also touch off this condition.

Compression Fractures From Osteoporosis

This is a big one, especially in women who are approaching, are in, or past menopause. In fact, of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, a whopping 80% are female. Women in general have smaller, thinner bones than their male counterparts. Couple that with the sharp decline in estrogen (a hormone that greatly contributes to bone health) during menopause, and the risk for fracture significantly increases.

Compression fractures from osteoporosis usually happen in the front of the spine, collapsing an already thinned bone. This leads to sharp acute pain in the back, that can turn chronic when left untreated. If you’re experiencing acute back pain that was not present before, seek medical attention. Compression fractures often go misdiagnosed as general back pain; pay close attention to your symptom patterns so that you can help give your practitioner the full story.

To treat a compression fracture with conservative care, a couple of days of bed rest immediately following the fracture are generally recommended. However, be careful not to stay inactive for too long, as this can worsen the overall effect of osteoporosis and put you at risk for other fractures. Some back bracing can help under the instruction of a doctor, as well as some gentle physical therapy exercises.

How Chiropractic Can Help Women With Back Pain

When you’ve tried home care and it just isn’t providing sufficient relief, you’re experiencing more intense pain on a more frequent basis, or, when you want a more proactive approach to preventing back pain altogether, it’s time to seek professional care. Chiropractic care can provide the relief you are seeking. Gentle, chiropractic adjustments help to alleviate pressure in your joints and allow your entire body to function better, provided there is no fracture present. Plus, your practitioner can recommend the best at-home exercises to keep your healing on the track outside of the office, beneficial for both fracture and non-fracture cases.


Ladies, you know the importance of taking care of you; schedule your chiropractic appointment online.



This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Fatherhood Is Tough: 5 Tips To Protect Dad From Back Pain

When you’re a dad (or a grandfather, uncle or family friend), having active young kids in your life can bring on the back pain before you even realize it.

Between tossing the kids in the air, playing a game of airplane, or even taking a break to work on your golf swing, there are plenty of opportunities to accidentally strain your back.

Being sidelined due to lower back pain is never fun;  fortunately, there are a few, simple everyday tweaks you can make. Just in time for Father’s Day, we’re sharing 5 tips to avoid an aching back.

1. Model good posture for your kids (and yourself!).

Do you have memories of your own parents or grandparents reminding you not slouch? It turns out they were onto something, perhaps more than they knew. Improving your posture can prevent back pain.

Whether you’re standing or sitting down (including in the car), try your best to keep your spine straight, your shoulders back, and your abdominal muscles engaged.

When you’re seated, also remember to keep both feet flat on the floor. Crossing your legs might feel comfortable at the moment, but it’s actually putting pressure on your muscles so they can’t properly line up, leading to back pain.

2. Keep playtime pain-free.

Let’s face it: even the fun, playful parts of day-to-day life with children can sometimes cause physical wear and tear—lower back pain and stiffness, shoulder strain, neck tightness, tension headaches, and more.

How can you cut down on these risks?

Lift with your legs! When you lean forward with straight legs to pick up your child (or a heavy object) the hamstrings stretch tightly. This means your lower back, now overstretched itself, starts doing all the work involved in lifting and might become pinched and strained. Lifting with your legs is a simple and powerful technique for preventing this.

Bend at the knees. When you’re scooping up your children to toss them in the air, don’t forget to keep your knees bent. On the way back up, use your thigh muscles and avoid twisting your midsection.

Keep bending to a minimum. Instead of hunching over or bending while playing with your kids, get on your knees or sit down with them. Bonus: you’ll be able to connect with them even better from down on their level.

3. Breathe in, breathe out.

Many people carry stress-related stiffness in their shoulders and back. Have you noticed your shoulders rising when you’re feeling less than relaxed? Take a few moments to lower your shoulders back into place and take a deep breath.

Who knew releasing stress and healing your back pain could be as simple as focused breathing? It’s all about noticing when you need a few refreshing moments and giving yourself permission to take a break, on Father’s Day and all year round.

4. Give some thought to your mattress.

A high-quality mattress is hugely important when it comes to healing and preventing back pain. When you go to sleep tonight, ask yourself whether your mattress is too firm. If the answer is yes, your body will be in rigid positions all night that can lead to back pain.

On the other hand, if your mattress is too soft and pillowy, your body won’t be fully supported. Your ligaments and muscles are then forced to stretch beyond their comfort zones which causes – you guessed it – back pain.

Your mission is to find a mattress that provides enough support but is also comfortable enough for you to relax. A mattress is, of course, a major purchase, so take your time and give it some thought.

5. Stretch it out.

A perfect beginner stretch to strengthen your back is called the Seated Spinal Twist. It also opens your hips and shoulders.

  1. Have a seat on the floor with your legs straightened in front of you. Bend your knees, putting your feet on the floor. Then slide your left foot under your right leg until it touches the outside of your right hip.
  2. Laying the outside of your left leg on the floor, step your right foot over your left leg. Your right knee should now be pointing at the ceiling.
  3. Exhale, twisting toward the inside of your right thigh. Press your right hand against on floor behind you, placing your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh. Pull your front torso and inner right thigh together, pressing your inner right foot into the floor. Lean your torso back slightly while you continue to lengthen your tailbone into the floor.


Stay in this position for one minute while taking controlled inhalations and long exhalations. Then repeat with the other leg.

Many of these tips for preventing and healing back pain might seem simple, yet they can be tough to remember when life with your family gets busy! Never forget you always have an example of the perfect back alignment and posture whenever you need it: your child’s.

Most children naturally have the very aligned, relaxed back and unrolled shoulders we should all be aiming for. As a dad, you teach your children many lessons – but this might be an invaluable lesson you can learn from them.


Happy Father’s Day!


Summer is a perfect time to book an appointment online. If you’re experiencing back pain, a stiff neck or other joint pain, schedule an initial examination online.



This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

8 Ways To Avoid Injury from Summer Activities

Summer is the perfect time to get outside and get active! Whether you’re a fan of gardening, golfing, surfing, kayaking, mountain climbing, other competitive sports, or traveling, summer is the ideal time to make it all happen. The longer, warmer days and the (hopefully) slower pace at the office all leave a little extra time for your favorite summer hobbies. 

But it’s much easier than most people realize to become sidelined by crippling pain, especially injuries to the back, ankle, and knee. 

Luckily with just a few simple adjustments, you can avoid these common summertime injuries and enjoy the warm weather, without the backaches, knee and ankle pains. 

1. Bend your knees when gardening. 

Did you know two of the most common back pain causes in the summer are gardening and lawn work? At first, it might feel perfectly natural to bend at your back while working in your garden, but this habit results in pain symptoms over time. You should instead bend your knees and use your leg strength, especially when pulling weeds or lifting something particularly heavy. Similarly, activities like raking, pulling, twisting, and lifting heavy bags can also lead to back pain, knee pain, and ankle injuries. Be on the alert! 

2. Stretch before your summer sport activities. 

Whenever possible, take the time to stretch before beginning your activities.. Stretching loosens up your muscles, joints, and ligaments, essential to preventing injuries. 

3. Gradually build up your activity levels. 

For many of us, summer means extra motivation to set fitness goals and stick to them,  which is great! Just remember, if you live in colder climates, you may have become deconditioned during the winter months. It’s best to ease back into daily activity to avoid back pain, ankle pain, and knee pain symptoms. To accomplish, start with shorter goals and increase your activities over the span of several weeks. 

4. Drink water. 

Drinking plenty of water not only keeps your body temperature normal and cool, but it also keeps your muscles hydrated. Each time you sweat, your body loses fluids, which can lead to muscle cramps. 

5. Take breaks. 

Whether it’s swimming, tennis, golf or gardening, periodically give your body the chance to rest and restore itself. Recharge your batteries and skip that ankle injury or knee injury in the process. 

6. Don’t cram everything into the weekend. 

A common summertime habit is bolting out of the office and into the warm weekends, spending the next few days catching up on your favorite sports and physical activities. After being chained to your desk for five days, it’s completely understandable. But it’s also not worth risking back pain, ankle pain or knee pain as a result of your supercharged, active summer weekends. Instead, work on getting in 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, as often as you can. You’ll be much stronger and better prepared for that long weekend hike or days spent out on the golf course. 

7. Ditch the flip flops. 

From ankle pain to knee pain and beyond, the stability of your foot and the support of your arch has an impact on the entire body. Lightweight flip flops are a convenient summer go-to, but you’ll be glad you took the time to choose a shoe that keeps your foot stable while also supporting your heel and the front of your foot. 

8. Be careful when carrying heavy bags. 

Whether it’s luggage or golf clubs, carrying any heavy bag stresses your posture and is a common cause of pain symptoms. A golf bag full of clubs, for instance, can weigh as much as 35 pounds! Your goal should be to keep the weight of any bag you’re carrying under 10 percent of your body weight. Consider using a pull-cart bag on the golf course and stick with the lightest golf bag you can find. 

During the summer months, you’ll, of course, want to take advantage of the beautiful weather by jumping right into the activities you love the most— and you should! Being active in the summer is great for both your body and your mind. Take the proper precautions above, and you’ll enjoy a pain-free summer to remember. 


Hey, we get it. You’re experiencing pain and are seeking answers as to what might be causing it. Everybody’s pain is unique. This article is not intended to provide diagnosis or treatment. Rather, professional consultation specific to your symptoms is recommended. Summer is the perfect time to stop into our Knoxville office – schedule an appointment online

The Causes & Best Treatment For Piriformis Syndrome

Hip pain. Pain and numbness that runs down the back of the legs. Pain and tingling in the center of your butt. Pain. Pain. Pain!

If you can relate to these symptoms, chances are you’ve been suffering from piriformis syndrome on some level. Though the symptoms can be highly uncomfortable and seemingly constant, there are some simple, at-home methods to help get your recovery process jump-started. Let’s dive in.

What Is The Piriformis?

With symptoms that can range slightly in location, it’s important to understand what the piriformis is to better grasp its reach within the body. The piriformis is a band-like muscle that runs diagonally from the midline base of your spine to the outer hip bone. This means that the piriformis is responsible for any hip rotation and turning of your legs and feet. It helps us walk, stabilizes our movement, and overall helps us maintain balance and control of movement. In short, it’s a pretty well-used muscle–and one you’ll want to protect!

The tricky caveat to piriformis syndrome is its placement in relation to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic is a long nerve that travels through and under the piriformis muscle. It also runs down the back of the legs, and eventually branches off within the feet, making its extension delicately intertwined with the piriformis muscle.  Sounds complicated…is it?

The Significance of the Piriformis Muscle

The piriformis is a prime target for high-repetition injury. When it is overused without the proper recovery time, symptoms of piriformis syndrome can manifest in a couple ways. The most common response is for the muscle to tighten substantially, causing compression of the sciatic nerve. This can cause highly uncomfortable spasming. Other symptoms of piriformis syndrome include pain around the outer hip bone, pain in the center of the glute, and pain that travels from the glute down the back of the leg.

Because the piriformis is in such a high-use area, it’s fairly easy to succumb to at least some form of piriformis syndrome. Extended sitting, running, and intense exercises can all lead to some level of piriformis syndrome if you’re not careful. It’s important to understand how to best take care of this muscle in order to keep movement pain-free in the long-term.

How To Prevent Piriformis Syndrome

Of course, the best way manage piriformis syndrome is to prevent it before it begins. Though it can be difficult to completely eliminate your chances of developing piriformis syndrome, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Once the piriformis has experienced previous injury, it becomes much easier for piriformis syndrome to become reoccuring or even chronic.

Many instances of piriformis syndrome stem from overuse with poor form. When you’re running and exercising, be sure to practice good form and avoid uneven surfaces that may compromise your ability to hold the steady posture. Also make sure that you have a substantial warm-up and cool-down routine to help your piriformis muscle ease in and out of intense activity.

How To Relieve Piriformis Syndrome Pain

If you find that your pain increases with certain activities or with sitting, try changing your routine to counteract these previous habits. Many have also experienced relief by using ice, or occasionally even heat on the affected area.

There are also some great physical therapy exercises and stretches that, when performed regularly, can significantly help relieve the pain and discomfort that stems from piriformis syndrome. Be diligent in your use with these, and you could see real results.

How Chiropractic Can Help Piriformis Syndrome

Consistent chiropractic treatment can offer significant relief to those suffering from piriformis syndrome. Between a combination of spinal and extremity adjustments, chiropractic care can help to take the pressure of overly tight areas, realign your body, and keep your nervous system functioning properly. When your spine is out of line, it has a more difficult time communicating properly with your entire body. Adjustments can help to keep your healing process on track.

By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help to keep your body’s response system in tip-top shape. Your chiropractor can also help prescribe the best at-home exercises to implement to quicken your recovery time. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your symptom history in detail and construct a treatment plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward. Don’t put off your healing; schedule an appointment online.


This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Sciatic Pain and a Tennis Ball: What They Have in Common

80% of people in the U.S. will experience some form of back pain (also called “sciatic pain”) during their lifetime. That’s far too many days spent sitting on the sidelines and struggling through daily tasks.

What might be causing your back pain isn’t always easy to determine, in part because most back pain starts days — sometimes even weeks or months — before the first symptoms ever show up. This can make it difficult to connect the pain back to its root cause.

We do know things like sports injuries, car accidents, inactivity, obesity, and poor posture are some of the most common culprits. What are some preventative measures you can take to ease the tension in your back?


7 Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain

  1. Exercise at least twice each week. You’ll strengthen the muscles in the spine as you improve flexibility and balance. Unsure where to start? Try some gentle yoga to begin.
  2. Drink water! Half your body weight in ounces is a great guideline.
  3. When you’re sitting down for long periods, incorporate breaks. Be sure to stand up periodically and spread your weight evenly on both legs.
  4. Consider supplementing with vitamins D and k2. Be sure to ask your doctor before starting any new regimen.
  5. Stretch before bed. If possible, sleep on your side.
  6. Stop smoking. We’re all aware of the cardiovascular health risks — but did you know smoking also lowers the blood flow to the lower spine and promotes degeneration of the spinal disks, too? More great reasons to give up the habit.

Sometimes, though, we all struggle with an aching back. When it comes to treatment, the most common course of action is to simply take a “wait and see” approach — in most cases, back pain will resolve on its own within a month. Many people also find relief through acupuncture, chiropractic care, or perhaps anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger, curcumin, and Boswellia.

And there’s another mode of treatment you may have heard about that can be amazingly effective…a tennis ball.


Tennis Ball Therapy – How it Works

How does a common tennis ball relieve your sciatic pain? It presses and treats the trigger points in the piriformis muscle, located beside your sciatic nerve. As your body weight presses into the part of your back that’s causing you pain, your muscles will relax and release. You’ll also improve your mobility and increase circulation.

It’s empowering to take charge of your own healing journey as you combine the benefits of massage, acupressure, and reflexology. You’re relieving muscle tension and soothing your sore muscles — all with a tennis ball.


How To Administer Tennis Ball Therapy

Massaging your body with a tennis ball is what’s called “self trigger point therapy,” because you can administer treatment yourself, and, it can be done in the comfort of your own home. As this treatment method grows in popularity and information continues to circulate, it’s very important to make sure you’re doing it properly.

Start by watching this instructional video:

Then, try it for yourself:

1. Lie down on the tennis ball.

2. Adjust the tennis ball so it’s right at the painful spot on your lower back or glutes.

3. Relax and roll up and down on the ball, holding the ball on the most painful spot for 30-60 seconds.

4. Move the tennis ball on to the next painful spot, and repeat.

Total time spent: 5-10 minutes.

Similar to when you get a deep tissue massage, you might experience pain initially — but don’t worry, you’ll soon feel relief.  


More Serious Back Pain

What if you’ve tried the preventative measures, done the tennis ball therapy, but your back still isn’t feeling better…now what?  If you have persistent back pain, you should always see a medical professional when symptoms start affecting your daily living. Planning life around your symptoms or putting activities on hold due to pain are clear indicators it’s time to make an appointment online and discuss a personalized treatment plan.

Chiropractic care and gentle adjustments of the spine can help reduce your pain; massage therapy eases the tension in your muscles and increases blood circulation. The combination of the two is especially effective and ongoing treatment can help you maintain good posture, improve your range of motion and keep your spine aligned, thereby putting an end to your back pain once and for all.



This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Herniated Discs – Here’s How To Recover Quickly

If you have a herniated disc, you’re all too familiar with the neck or back pain that comes with it. You might also be experiencing the radiating pain in your arms, hips, buttocks, or legs.

You might be wondering how this all happened, and which treatment options you should consider. Keep reading to get your pressing questions about your painful herniated discs answered.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

Herniated discs are sometimes called ruptured or slipped discs. When your spinal disc ruptures it sometimes causes nerves on the hard outer layer of the disc to become irritated. This causes pain in the area around the disc. If material from the inner disc causes spinal compression your symptoms may shoot out to other areas of your body, causing you to experience and combination of:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weak muscles and muscle spasms

Herniated discs in your neck can cause the above symptoms in your shoulders and arms, while a herniated disc in the lower back can cause these symptoms to show up in your buttocks, thighs, and even your feet. These painful symptoms are also a common cause of sciatica.

Herniated Discs: The Basics

Over time discs can simply become worn down, a process called disc degeneration. Spinal discs lose some of their water content with age, making them less flexible and more at risk of rupturing, even with a seemingly-minor strain that comes with everyday living. While most patients can’t pinpoint the cause of their herniated disc, others report that it was a powerful sneeze caused a disc to rupture or tear!

When the liquid center of the disc spills out into the spinal column through the tear in the outer lining of the disc, painful, life-affecting symptoms can result.

The 3 Most Common Types of Herniated Discs

When you’re experiencing the effects of a herniated disc, the type of symptoms depends largely on the location and severity of the damaged disc.

Your spine is made up of three regions: cervical, thoracic and lumbar. The soft-yet-strong discs that provide cushion for each section of your spine make it possible for your spine to support your upper body, maintain a wide range of motion, and support your head all at the same time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertebral_column


The three main types of herniated discs are:

  • Lumbar herniated discs are between any of the vertebrae numbered 1 – 5 in the lower back. This is the most-common type of herniated discs, as it supports so much weight and movement. Tingling, numbness, and lower body muscle weakness are all symptoms of a lumbar herniated disc.
  • Cervical herniated discs. These are located between any of the vertebrae numbered 1 – 7 in the neck, and have the complex task of supporting and moving your head. Symptoms here can begin in the neck and travel out to the shoulders, arms, and hands. Shooting pain, numbness, and impaired fine motor skills are also common symptoms of cervical herniated discs.
  • Thoracic herniated discs are found between any of the vertebrae numbered 1 – 12 in the middle back. This type of herniated disc is comparatively rare since vertebrae are attached to the rib cage and don’t move. A traumatic injury such as a car accident is more likely to cause thoracic herniated discs, rather than age alone. Pain symptoms are usually reported in the chest and abdomen.


Treatment for Herniated Discs

A combination of treatment options can be used through at least the first six weeks of pain and discomfort:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy
  • Ice and heat therapy for pain relief
  • Medications including ibuprofen, naproxen or COX-2 inhibitors
  • Narcotic pain medications
  • Oral steroids
  • Epidural injections

Surgery is also a widely-used treatment option for a herniated disc, including an operation that surgically removes the entire damaged disc. However, surgery carries with it inherent risks, and its long-term effectiveness is becoming more widely questioned. Instead, many patients are turning to chiropractic care and experiencing huge relief.

Options include chiropractic care as well as non-surgical spinal decompression tables. Surgery should be a last resort when no other treatments have been effective.


Chiropractic Care for Herniated Discs

Chiropractic care thoroughly assesses your medical history while factoring in the results of a physical exam, orthopaedic, and neurological tests. Everything from your posture to reflexes are thoroughly considered.

Chiropractic care is always focused on you as an individual, and your body as a whole. Even if, for example, you only have lower back pain, chiropractic care assesses your entire spine for overall functioning. What happens in one area of your spine can have a huge impact on other parts of your spine and body.

A common and powerful chiropractic treatment for a herniated disc is known as the spinal manipulation, or adjustment, which applies gentle pressure to the affected areas. Many patients report experiencing instant pain relief.  Then, your ongoing individual treatment plan is customized to your pain levels, activity, overall health, and more.


You shouldn’t have to struggle with pain that interferes with your enjoyment of daily life – especially when relief can be simple and long-lasting. Make an appointment online so our team can collaborate on helping you feel better right away.



Information in this article is not a substitute for medical advice.