I wanted to talk about a condition we commonly see here in the office, which is rib cage pain. Rib cage pain may be sharp, dull, or achy and felt in the front, side or back of the rib cage. It is often described accompanying a feeling of not being able to take a full deep breath. Some people have reported they also felt chest tightness that “almost mimicked a heart attack” The pain may be felt at or below the chest or above the navel on either side. It may occur after an obvious injury or without any explanation. Rib cage pain can be due to anything from pulled muscles, a rib subluxation or even fracture. This pain may occur immediately upon injury or develop slowly over time. If the pain occurs immediately following an accident or fall, we may take radiographic imaging in office to rule out a fracture. Once we assess the rib pain, we can adjust the rib cage several ways. We can adjust the rib head manually by applying direct pressure on the rib head while the patient takes a deep breath in and out. Another way we can adjust the rib is with a low force tool called an activator. This can be done on the front, side or back of each rib that needs to be adjusted. Yet another way we can help with rib cage discomfort is by using massage tools that help relax the small intercostal muscles located in between the ribs themselves. If you are an athlete or have a very active job we can also apply KT tape to the area following an adjustment to ensure the rib stays in place following an adjustment. We always encourage patients to drink extra water following an adjustment, but even more so if we do any deep muscle work. Keeping the muscles hydrated will avoid any unnecessary muscle soreness following an adjustment and or muscle work. If you experience any rib cage discomfort and would like to have it assessed feel free to contact our office and book and appointment today 515-278-YOST
With the snow incoming tomorrow, I would like to share some information about motor vehicle accidents and chiropractic care. Research shows that a single fender bender at speeds as little as 2 miles per hour can cause damage to the spine resulting in a reversed cervical curve. Research also shows that impacts as little as 5 miles per hour can cause significant ligament damage of the spine which can cause painful symptoms following a rear end collision. Ligaments and bones are not the only thing that can get damaged in a car accident. Most people experience significant amount of muscle soreness following even a slow-moving motor vehicle accident, though it is possible to be pain free while still experiencing significant amounts of injury to the spine and surrounding muscles. The most common neck injury is a flexion-extension injury commonly referred to as Whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a sudden force stretches or tears the muscles or ligaments in the neck, which is often the case in a MVA. Soft tissue (muscle and ligament) damage is slow to resolve and sometimes takes up to 12-18 months to fully heal. Within the first 3 days following an accident, the body begins to lay down scar tissue little by little in order to protect and try to stabilize the injured tissues around the spinal column. This scar tissue is permanent and cannot be removed once the body lays it down. The good news is that we as Chiropractors can help with the healing process. By removing any interference in the spine and therefore nervous system we can help the body heal itself at maximum capacity. Individuals should be evaluated by a Doctor of Chiropractic within 72 hours following an accident. It may take up to a year of chiropractic care after an accident to achieve symptoms free status however without chiropractic care it can take many years to recover. In certain circumstances, some may even suffer from lifelong chronic pain symptoms following an accident if spinal care is not addressed within a few days. I would also like to give you guys a few quick tips for driving safely this winter. Always remember that children should be restrained in rear facing car seats until the age of 4 or until they reach the weight of 30 pounds. For adults, a properly adjusted headrest should be at least as high as the center of the skull and within 1 inch from the back of the headrest.
If you or anyone you know has an unfortunate experience of a motor vehicle accident this winter, please call us to get your free spinal consultation scheduled today.
Wrist pain is most often caused by repetitive motions that continuously stress the wrist joint. One of the most common forms of wrist pain comes as carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel is characterized by numbness and tingling in the hand, wrist pain, weakened grip, and difficulty moving the fingers and hand. Typically what occurs with carpal tunnel is the soft tissues surround the wrist and most importantly the nerves, gets very tight from the overuse. The tightening of the soft tissues will in turn put pressure on the nerves and begin to cause those symptoms. Traditionally, how carpal tunnel is addressed is with surgery. The surgeon will go in and cut the soft tissues to release the pressure on the nerves. Unfortunately, the pain and symptoms will often return after the surgery. This is due to the fact that the inflammation is still present and the nerves are still irritated. So, what can you do for carpal tunnel to avoid surgery? There are actually plenty of fantastic ways to do this!
One avenue of relief is of course chiropractic adjustments! When the bones in the wrist and had are misaligned, this will stretch those soft tissues and pull them tight. By adjusting the bones in the hand and wrist, it can return to functioning properly. Over time, the inflammation with be reduced.
A great compliment to chiropractic adjustments is acupuncture. While acupuncture cannot address structural problems as chiropractic can, it does help to relieve the symptoms. Acupuncture increases blood flow to promote healing and triggers the release of endorphins. The endorphins shut down the pain pathways to our brain and will help reduce inflammation.
If you are someone that spends a lot of time typing and on a computer, regular stretching can help immensely. It is so important to give yourself a break from continuous repetitive tasks. Taking a few minutes once an hour is all you really need. These two stretches are fantastic for the wrist!
One method we also use quite often in our office is kinesiotape. This tape will help to support the joint. It will stabilize it and help to reduce inflammation. Kinesiotape is designed to draw inflammation away and allow increased blood flow to flush it out. Here is a simple example of how we tape a wrist.
Of course, always make sure you have proper wrist support when typing and using your computer. A simple wrist support in front of your keyboard and a mouse pad with a support will help hold your wrist in a more neutral position.
When suffering from a headache, it can bring down your motivation, hinder your daily activities, and even affect your family. There are many causes of headaches and they can be triggered by things from stress to certain foods. There are numerous natural treatments to help relieve headache pain if you’re wanting to avoid pain meds like Tylenol or Advil.
A great way to relieve a headache is to get adjusted! When your neck is subluxated or not moving as it should, it can affect the nerves and blood flow to your head. By adjusting the segments that aren’t moving properly and removing that interference, the proper nervous flow and blood flow can be restored. This will reduce inflammation and pressure that can cause headaches.
Another fantastic way to treat headaches is magnesium. You can supplement magnesium in may different ways but our favorite here in the office is Natural Calm. It’s a tasty powder you mix with water to help relieve headaches, muscle soreness, and can help you sleep! Many people are deficient in magnesium! It’s a vital mineral that our nervous system needs to function properly and without it, our bodies can start to show symptoms.
Essential oils are great to help with headache symptoms as well. My favorite oil for headaches is peppermint. This essential oil has incredible calming effects. You can rub some peppermint oil on your temples or at the base of your skull. Diffusing it into the air and simply breathing it in will do wonders as well. The peppermint opens up blood vessels to restore proper blood flow to your head and brain.
If you are a sufferer from tension and stress headaches, massage therapy is fabulous. Often stress causes our muscle to tighten up and place a lot of tension on our neck and head. Massage therapy can address those tight muscles and by simply getting them to relax, headache pain can vanish easily.
One of my favorites to relieve headaches is acupuncture. Acupuncture comes from the ancient art of Traditional Chinese Medicine. If focuses on the flow of energy in your body. If this is blocked up it can cause pain. Acupuncture can help release endorphins (our bodies’ natural pain killers), increase blood flow, and regulate hormone imbalances.
Lastly, and very importantly; water can help with headaches! One of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration. Without the proper amount of water, our bodies become inflamed. Everyone should drink at least half of their body weight in ounces of water a day! Simply doing this could help immensely with chronic headaches.
A common symptom we see here in the office is pain or numbness/tingling that goes into the legs or arms. One of the ways we can help to address it is by “nerve flossing“. This may sound crazy but it can give you immense relief from symptoms like these.
Numbness, tingling, and pain down the arm or leg is typically caused by irritation somewhere along the nerve. When that irritation is left there over time, the signal from the brain cannot properly reach the arm and hand.
Quite often, the irritation on this nerve can be from the soft tissues surrounding it. This can be muscle, fat, or fascia. Fascia is the fibrous layer of tissue that sits on top of muscles to hold different groups of them together. When the soft tissues get tight or irritated, they will in turn start to irritate the nerves running through or around them.
We suggest some simple stretches that can help to floss the nerve through the tissues and break up the adhesions. Check out the videos below for neck and low back nerve flossing!
These stretches are an amazing compliment to chiropractic care and adjustments. We are able to remove the interference caused by subluxations and the stretches to a fantastic job of removing soft tissue interference.
Recent studies have actually shown that you are able to re-train and re-wire your brain. This phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity. Pathways and patterns within your brain will actually change. What will actually make these alterations you ask? Our own thoughts and perceptions actually have the power to do this. Simply put, positive thinking and optimism can actually mold your brain. Meditation has been proven to have these effects.
Meditation has also been shown to lower cortisol levels and stress. The Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins released a report stating that meditation can help with:
improve sleep quality
lower risk of obesity
treating mental disorders like depression
Often, those suffering from depression will get fixated on negative thoughts. One negative event can spur a vicious cycle of negativity. Meditation aids in focusing on the facts of a situation and will separate old beliefs from those facts. This will help to decrease overall psychological stress.
Chronic pain is often tied to emotional stresses. While pain itself is not fun to deal with, added negative emotions will make the pain so much worse. Through meditation, you can alter these thoughts and change the patterns related to the pain.
Stress has been shown to produce hormones and immune factors that promote the retention of fat as well as emotional eating. Guided meditation and mindfulness can combat these cravings and lower the hormone levels. 86% of reviewed studies showed improvements in eating behaviors after meditation.
Those suffering from insomnia can also greatly benefit from meditation. It is a great way to turn your brain off at night right before bed. Many cannot fall asleep due to replaying the days events or worrying about their day tomorrow. Through meditation, you can turn down these thoughts and relax.
If you’re new to meditation, finding some guided meditation will probably be easiest. I use an app called Buddhify. A youtube channel called Boho Beautiful is also a great guided meditation. You only need to do it for about 5 minutes a day to start and it’s super simple. If you struggle from any of the conditions above or are just curious, give it a try!