Friday, 21 December 2012

Use of Chiropractic Among Professional Athletes

Chiropractic care is an important tool in the arsenal of any professional athlete. It has been shown to help reduce injuries, speed healing time and improve performance.

A number of professional American sports teams have a chiropractor on staff, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, PBA, Nascar and more. Professional golfers routinely use a chiropractor during tournaments, as golf can produce a great amount of stress on the vertebrae due to twisting. Well-known professional athletes such as Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Joe Montana and many others have reported how they have benefited from chiropractic treatment.

A study conducted in 1991 by researchers Anthony Lauro and Brian Mouch, which was published in The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation, found that athletes under chiropractic treatment were able to improve their performance an average of 10.6% over six weeks and 16.7% over a period of 12 weeks. The researchers noted that, as the study was only 12 weeks in duration, and athletic performance continued to improve during that time, it is possible that further enhancement may be possible with longer chiropractic treatment, though at what point improvement would level off is still unknown.

Another study reported in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research in 1997, which evaluated the performance of baseball players, found a marked increase in athletic performance, including an increase in capillary counts, after 14 weeks in the group that was receiving upper cervical chiropractic adjustments. In regard to the effect of chiropractic care on these athletes, the researchers concluded that, “it is evident that changes were measurable in regard to physical strength, tests of athletic ability such as the long jump, and microcirculation.”

Athletes under chiropractic care have faster reaction time, better coordination and achieve more accurate and precise fine movements, all of which contribute to better performance.

There are a large number of high-impact sports that exert a lot of stress on the spine. It is quite easy for the vertebrae to become misaligned during a football tackle, during competitive wrestling or in a Nascar race that involves excessive g-force. When this happens, it can disrupt nerve transmissions from the nerves in the spinal cord, resulting in limited range of motion, slower reaction time, headaches, inflammation and slower recovery from injuries.

Chiropractic adjustments reduce irritation to the roots of the nerve in the spinal column, which allows for greater range of motion and joint flexibility. In addition, joint pain is alleviated and blood circulation is increased, which supplies the body’s muscles and organs with oxygen.

Everybody is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask. We are here to help!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Chiropractic for Lower Back Pain

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain:

The five vertebrae in the lumbar region of the lower back are the largest and strongest in the spinal column. However, because the weight of the whole upper body rests upon the lower back, lumbar pain and stiffness is the single most common problem of the muscular and skeletal system, accounting for more sick days than nearly any other medical condition. During their life, 80% of people will experience lumbar pain at some point, and many will be plagued by it for a large portion of their adulthood.

Due to the frequent occurrence of lower back pain and its effect on the quality of life, chiropractors have developed considerable skill and experience in dealing with it. Since lumbar pain can be caused by several conditions, having a knowledgeable chiropractor is particularly important in order to choose the correct form of treatment and help to prevent recurrence.

The majority of lower back pain is due to muscle and ligament strains and sprains of non-specific origin, usually through a combination of overuse, overloading (carrying or lifting heavy objects), poor posture and lack of exercise. Non-specific back pain is benign in that it is not caused by a structural problem in the spine, but can still be immensely painful and disabling for the time it takes the muscles to heal.

Other causes of lower back pain may be more serious and longer-lasting

1. Scoliosis – improper curvature of the spine.

2. Facet syndrome – inflammation of the spinal facet joints. Facet joints protect the spine from excessive movement and can be damaged by sudden movement, leading to pain and stiffness. Spinal osteoarthritis (spondylosis) is an extreme case of facet syndrome caused by age-related degeneration of the facet joints.

3. Herniated (slipped) discs – trauma or overloading may cause damage to the discs of cartilage between adjacent spinal vertebrae. As a result, the soft inner part of the disc may bulge through the fibrous outer covering, usually leading to much pain and inflammation.

4. Sacroiliac syndrome – inflammation in either the sacrum or iliac bones of the pelvis, causing acute lower back pain. Inflammation may be caused by either too little movement (hypomobility) or too much movement (hypermobility) in the sacroiliac joint. Hypomobility is usually the result of joint degeneration, whereas hypermobility occurs when the ligaments become overstretched and loose.

5. Pregnancy – lower back pain is common in pregnancy due the extra load placed on the spine.
Some causes of lower back pain will resolve themselves within a week or two, but can be helped along by a qualified chiropractor. Even minor damage to the spine and related muscles can leave a weakness in the affected area and put you at risk of the pain returning.

More serious lumbar conditions are also known to respond well to chiropractic manipulation and treatment, and provide a good alternative to either long-term use of pain-killers or invasive surgery. In addition to treating your condition, chiropractors can offer a great deal of advice regarding exercise and lifestyle choices in order to keep your back as healthy as possible and prevent the distress of ongoing and recurrent injury.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask. We are here to help!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care?

Receiving regular chiropractic adjustments can be integral to the long-term treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain,  particularly that in the back, neck and joints. Chiropractic care may be used either alone or in tandem with other kinds of medical treatment, and does not involve the use of drugs. As with any kind of regular medical care, the cost can be an issue if it is not covered by insurance, especially if you are on a limited income. So you may want to know if Medicare covers chiropractic care.

In short, some limited chiropractic treatment is covered by Medicare Part B. This includes only manual manipulation and manipulation with the use of a hand-held device in order to correct a spinal subluxation (a condition in which the bones of the vertebrae are out of alignment); however, it does not cover initial physical exams, diagnostic services, x-rays, acupuncture, physical therapy, nutritional supplements, orthopedic devices or chiropractic treatment for anything other than spinal subluxation.

Medicare will cover chiropractic treatment if you fall into one of the following categories: 1) You have a significant neuromusculoskeletal condition requiring treatment, such as pain, swelling, inflammation, numbness in the limbs, etc.; 2) You have a spinal subluxation; or 3) A referring medical doctor has recommended manual manipulation to improve your condition.

The cost to you will include what you first have to pay to cover the Part B deductible, then 20% of the cost of the Medicare-approved chiropractic services. You are responsible for covering the fees for any additional chiropractic services not approved by Medicare. Chiropractic visits are limited to one per day, unless it is deemed medically necessary to have them more often, and coverage lasts as long as there is improvement. If chiropractic treatment reaches a plateau where no further improvement can be seen, then Medicare coverage ends.

If you intend to use Medicare to cover your chiropractic services, first check to be sure your chosen chiropractor participates in Medicare. If so, ask the provider if they accept assignment (meaning they are paid by Medicare, not by you, apart from the amount of your deductible and co-payment), which reduces your out-of-pocket expenses, what they charge and how much of that amount you will be responsible for. If the chiropractor does not accept assignment, you may need to pay for the treatment entirely out of pocket, bill Medicare yourself and wait a number of weeks for payment.

If your chiropractor does not participate in Medicare, Medicare will not pay for treatment. If, however, you are covered by a Medigap/Medicare Supplemental Plan, you may pay little or nothing for chiropractic treatment. Ask your plan manager about the amount of coverage you may have.

It is normal to have questions about chiropractic care. If you have further questions about the content of this article or other aspects of chiropractic, please ask. We are here to help!

Monday, 17 December 2012

What is Electro-Stimulation Therapy?

Electro-stimulation therapy (also called electrotherapy) is a treatment used by chiropractors and other health care practitioners that utilizes electrical frequencies and waveforms to relieve both chronic and acute pain and speed the healing of damaged tissues.

This therapy was first developed in 1855 by the French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne, who discovered that using an alternating current on a patient with a nervous or muscular disorder had a therapeutic effect.
Though the mechanism by which electro-stimulation therapy works is not precisely known, it is believed that stimulation with electrical pulses may block the transmission of pain signals along the nerves, in addition to stimulating the release of pain-killing natural endorphins. In addition, the electrical pulses fatigue the muscle tissues, causing a release of tension and increasing blood flow to the area. This enhances the amount of nutrients brought to the area of affected muscle tissue while at the same time helping to clear away accumulated toxins.

The most commonly used forms of electro-stimulation therapy are Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Interferential Current (IFC) and Galvanic Stimulation (GS). Each produce different waveforms, frequencies and effects, though all use the same method of applying adhesive pads to the skin that deliver electrical stimulation to the nerves and muscles.

The use of electrotherapy is known to be helpful for a number of situations, including:
  • Reducing the intensity of muscle spasms
  • Improving range of motion in joints due to injury or arthritis
  • Treating neuromuscular dysfunction by increasing strength, motor control and blood flow and retarding atrophy of muscles
  • Speeding tissue repair by stimulating microcirculation and enhancing the health of connective and dermal tissues
  • Reducing swelling by speeding the rate of fluid absorption and affecting the permeability of blood vessels
  • Increasing muscle strength
Chiropractors treat many people with back pain or spasms by incorporating electrotherapy into their practice. Patients receiving electro stimulation therapy generally lie on the treatment table, as they would for an adjustment. Then two electrical pads will be applied to the area that needs treatment. A low electrical frequency is used at first, and this level is raised gradually to the patient’s comfort level. If the patient finds the frequency is too high, it can be turned down.

Contrary to what one might imagine, electrotherapy is not at all painful. The sensation begins as a tingling feeling, then develops into a sensation similar to a massage as the frequency increases. A therapy session usually lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. Though it is most commonly used on the back, electro-stimulation therapy is also used on the limbs or wherever there are muscle spasms.

In tandem with the use of electrotherapy, your chiropractor may suggest special stretches and massage therapy to help restore strength and resiliency to damaged muscles.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

6 Tips for Healthy-Looking Skin

We all want to look young and beautiful, no matter what our age, and keeping your skin in good condition goes a long way toward that goal. There are a number of things you can do to keep your skin looking supple and glowing that don’t involve expensive treatments or surgery! Here are some tips from Murray Utah Chiropractors.

1) Drink more water­– This may be the number one tip in achieving healthy-looking skin. Controlled climates such as homes and offices with heat and air conditioning tend to be very drying to the skin. Most people are actually chronically dehydrated, and this leads to an increased in lines and wrinkles, much as a grape becomes a raisin! Optimally, you should drink between 2 and 3 liters of water every day, which will make your tissues more plump and resilient, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. If you can’t stomach that much water, other beverages are fine, but beware of any that contain lots of sugar or caffeine, as an excess of these substances is not good for your health.

2) Cleanse and exfoliate – At the end of the day, after being subjected to the elements, including sun, wind, climate, etc. (not to mention makeup), you need to give your skin a good cleanse. Dead cells can accumulate on the skin’s surface, making it look dull and lifeless. Start by removing all makeup with a gentle cleanser, such as a little plain yogurt on a cotton ball, which removes makeup without the use of harsh chemicals. Then treat it to a light apricot kernel scrub, which can remove those dead cells and expose the fresh ones underneath.

3) Eat healthy – A diet high in fruits and vegetables, particularly the ones with high amounts of antioxidants such as Vitamin C, and low in sugar, unhealthy fats and processed foods, has been shown to promote younger looking skin. Red peppers, strawberries and avocados are among the foods highest in antioxidants and healthy fats.

4) Wear protective clothing – We all know that too much sun exposure is bad, exposing our skin to damage from free radicals. Chemicals in some commercial sunscreens can be almost as bad for you as too much sun and keep you from getting an adequate amount of vitamin D to boot! The best option is to wear protective clothing as much as possible. This includes long-sleeved shirts and hats with wide brims.

5) Moisturize – One way to keep your skin from drying out is to apply a good moisturizer once in the morning and again before bed, after your cleansing routine. Look for a moisturizer that does not contain any SLS (sodium lauryl/lauryth sulfate) or parabens, neither of which are good for you. The best are those containing olive oil, aloe or vitamin E.

6) Quit Smoking – The increased number of wrinkles that appear on the faces of smokers is yet another reason to quit. Smoking constricts the tiny blood vessels that supply oxygen and important nutrients that nourish the skin. It also damages the collagen and elastin that keep skin strong and elastic. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

How Do Salt Lake Chiropractors Help After an Auto Accident?

Though damage to your car may be the first thing you think of after an auto accident, the damage to your body may be far worse, Salt Lake Chiropractor says.

People are often surprised to find themselves suffering from pain days, weeks or even months after having had a minor auto accident such as a small rear-end collision. Obviously, if you have had a more major accident, go directly to the hospital so you can be treated for bleeding, organ damage, broken bones or other trauma. However, after any life-threatening emergencies have been treated, it is a good idea to visit a chiropractor.

Chiropractors are skilled in addressing the misalignments in the musculoskeletal system that so often happen after being involved in an auto accident, particularly misaligned vertebrae. The injury suffered by the upper part of the spine in a crash can be particularly acute, resulting in postconcussion syndrome and mild traumatic brain injuries that may keep the patient from fully healing. An auto accident can irritate nerves and cause damage to your vertebrae, tendons and ligaments supporting the spine.

The most common condition that chiropractors treat after such an event is whiplash. Whiplash from a rear-end collision (representing fully a third of all auto accident types) can cause a great amount of long-term pain. Though the introduction of mandatory safety belts has helped save lives, it can contribute to whiplash. When hit from behind, the seat belt keeps your body from being flung forward, however, there is no such restraint on your head. What first happens is that your trunk, supported by the back of your seat, jolts forward, but your unsupported head snaps back. This can cause hyperextension, tearing the muscles and ligaments in the front of your neck. Then when your car stops moving your body is flung forward, restrained by your seat belt, but there is nothing to keep your head from snapping forward, injuring the muscles and ligaments in the back of your neck.

You may not feel much pain immediately following an accident (In fact, you might not feel any at all!). This is because your body’s natural pain-killing endorphins are released when the body is injured, masking possible problems. However, you may later experience neck pain or pain radiating into the shoulder and down the arm into the hand.

Some of the symptoms you may experience after an auto accident that can be helped by chiropractic treatment are headaches, dizziness, lower back pain, neck pain and TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint) pain. A study in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine found that 93% of those suffering from the effects of chronic whiplash experienced improvement with chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to be effective in relieving pain after an auto accident and reducing the likelihood of it becoming a chronic problem.

Author Bio:
Dr. Matt Ramirez graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Human Biology in 2004 and received his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree in 2006. He is a Salt Lake Chiropractor who specializes in auto injury recovery and rehabilitation and has enhanced and improved thousands of lives as well as treated people of all ages over the years. He is also an expert in health and wellness, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and more...

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Murray Utah Chiropractors For Asthma Problems

Chiropractic treatment for asthma uses traditional chiropractic methods of manipulation and soft tissue massage in order to increase the mobility of the ribs and reduce any postural problems and tension that might obstruct the breathing process. Healthy spinal function, which is one of the aims and benefits of chiropractic care, also reduces stress, which is known to be a trigger that worsens asthma symptoms and which may lead to an asthma ‘attack’ (the acute exacerbation of symptoms typically experienced as chest tightness and fighting for breath). Murray Utah Chiropractors can also offer advice on exercises and lifestyle choices to promote healthy breathing and reduce asthma symptoms.

Causes of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which leads to wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. In 2010, 300 million people worldwide were affected by this condition and, in the previous year, 250,000 died from asthma-related causes. Despite advances in the medical treatment of asthma, the prevalence of sufferers has been increasing since the 1970s.

When we breathe, a wide variety of muscles are involved in expanding the chest cavity to bring air into the body. These include the diaphragm and intercostal muscles between the ribs, as well as several other muscle groups in the chest and upper back.  With this being the case, it is not surprising that any tightness in the upper body caused by injury or postural problems will have an adverse effect on the ease and effectiveness of breathing. Slight amounts of muscular tension and spinal misalignment may go unnoticed in a healthy person, but for someone with already restricted breathing, any further obstacle to taking a breath adds to the difficulty in bringing sufficient oxygen into the body.

Chiropractic Care For Asthma

A recent paper in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association reviewed the current literature on chiropractic treatment of asthmatic patients, which included two randomized controlled trials. The evidence from this review suggests that chiropractic treatment may have a positive effect on observed symptoms and regularity of medication use as well as the measurement of peak flow (the force of exhalation) and other objective measurements. The paper concluded that, while it is in no way intended as a replacement for conventional asthma medication, chiropractic treatment could definitely be seen as a useful addition to primary health care. Although not all patients were found to benefit from chiropractic care, there were no cases in which symptoms exacerbated through treatment by a chiropractic doctor.

As chiropractic treatment is a holistic therapy, it helps to restore health to the whole body and not just the back and spine. This is especially true in the case of conditions such as asthma, in which postural problems and muscle tension can adversely affect the breathing process and exacerbate existing symptoms. With this in mind, chiropractic care can be a useful therapy for a wide range of conditions. 

Everybody is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask Murray Utah Chiropractors. We are here to help!