Automobile accidents are unavoidable in today’s society and while you can decrease your chances of being in an accident through defensive driving and other preventative measures, statistics show that every driver will be in some type of accident once every 7 years. So what should you do when an accident occurs? First, it is imperative that you follow some basic guidelines to insure you get all the necessary information and document the accident properly. This is often much harder than expected because the adrenaline response kicks in as part of our “flight or fight” response. Immediately after an accident, adrenaline usually skyrockets and impairs important brain functions such as reasoning and decision making.
After you attend to the details of the accident and any immediate medical concerns, your body may begin to experience a variety of symptoms that were not immediately apparent because of the initial adrenaline rush. There is a huge range of possible injury from none to death, but contusions, abrasions and particularly soft tissue injuries are by far the most common. Even if you were evaluated in the emergency room and told “nothing is wrong”, emergency evaluations focus on fractures, dislocations, internal organ injury and other life-threatening conditions, not the typical soft tissue injuries that often feel worse over the next few days or weeks. A progression of symptoms occur in part because of the swelling and inflammation that develop in the injured “soft tissues” over a period of hours, or even days, following the accident.
So what causes this swelling and inflammation associated with “soft tissue injury”? Soft tissue injury happens when muscle, ligaments, discs, tendons, joint capsules and other “soft tissues” are stretched beyond their normal position and limit. Without an prior awareness of the collision, the accident happens so quickly that your nervous system usually cannot respond fast enough to prevent your head, neck and body from moving beyond normal positions; this causes what doctors call “sprain” or “strain” injury, depending upon the type of tissue involved. The severity of injury is proportional to the “acceleration differential” that develops between your body and the vehicle when the accident occurs. That’s why higher speed accidents typically result in more severe injury but other factors such as road conditions, head position, seat belts, air bag inflation or even the amount of property damage can alter the ‘acceleration differential’ of the occupant. The most important component of preventing or minimizing injury is an ‘awareness’ of the collision before impact, but even seemingly minor accidents with little or no property damage can result in injury under the right circumstances. This is explained by the Laws of Conservation of Energy and Physics.
In summary, automobile accidents are essentially unavoidable in today’s society. Make sure the accident is documented properly and you exchange the appropriate information of all parties involved. Immediate symptoms may not be present so it is always appropriate to have at least a screening examination after any accident. Such as examination should be performed by a chiropractic doctor or someone similarly qualified to evaluate range of motion, joint function and potential impact on future spinal health because symptoms are not always immediately present. LifeSource Health Partners provides such a screening examination at no charge as a community service to increase awareness and understanding of what happens in a car accident and how it relates to future health and quality of life.
As April Showers bring May flowers, the pleasure of gardening entices many of us. Unfortunately, gardening without occasional time-outs can potentially tax your muscles and joints; this is true even if you’re agile and limber. Just think about it: some of the twisted and distorted positions you end up in are nothing less than acrobatic feats. But these positions can stress and strain your body.
That’s only part of the problem. Muscular fatigue and soreness also result from remaining in one position for too long or from repeating the same movement over and over, such as clenching your hand when you weed. And that’s exactly why a good rule of thumb is this: from time to time stop gardening and start stretching.
Let’s begin with back fatigue that results when you work in a forward bend for an extended time. It’s important that you occasionally stop to give it a break. One way to do this is to stand up with your feet slightly apart, hands placed in the small of your back, your fingertips pointing down for support. With your knees slightly flexed, gently press your chest forward to lift your breastbone upward just a bit.
If you do this motion correctly, you should experience a welcome stretch in your lower back. There’s no need to take this motion to an extreme arch of your back. In fact, it’s not recommended; excessive hyperextension (overarching) of the spine can compress the lumbar disks. Hold the stretch for about eight to ten seconds while breathing naturally and comfortably.
Another soothing stretch for a garden-weary back is the cat stretch. You might be familiar with this back-soothing movement, perhaps from an exercise or yoga class, but never considered doing it in the garden. Why not? You’re already on your hands and knees for much of your work anyway. It’s just a matter of staying there, pulling in your belly and rounding your back, not unlike a cat’s long, slow stretch after a nap. Make certain that you lower your head and tuck your chin into your chest so there’s no strain on your neck.
To stretch your lower back still more, you can go directly from the cat stretch into a follow-up stretch by lowering your buttocks until they rest on or near your heels. Keep your head low and arms stretched in front.
A quick and easy stretch is to do shoulder rotations. In addition, also do slow shoulder shrugs, which gently, but effectively stretch the trapezius and rhomboid muscles located in the back of the neck and upper part of the back. To do the shrugs correctly, you slowly raise your shoulders toward your ears as far as you can without straining (you can do this while standing or seated). The upward movement should take about five seconds, so don’t rush through it. Then let your shoulders slowly lower to their neutral position. Do three or four shrugs, making sure that you relax completely between each repetition, until the tightness is gone.
Another stretch for relaxing the upper back is the following: With your feet comfortably apart and your hands resting on your waist, slowly press your elbows back bringing them as close together behind you as you can without straining. If you do this simple movement correctly and slowly, you will feel a pleasing stretch between your shoulder blades and across your chest. Again, it only takes a few repetitions.
To relax shoulder and upper back muscles that tire when you dig for too long, particularly when the ground is hard and dry, put your tool down and place the tips of your fingers on your shoulders, right hand on right shoulder, left hand on left. Keeping your hands in place, slowly bring your elbows together at shoulder level, trying to touch them in front of your chin. A slow closing and opening motion, repeated several times, does wonders for relieving fatigue in the upper back.
Another shoulder stretch is done by placing your right hand on your left shoulder, with your elbow raised at approximately shoulder level. Using the heel of the left hand, you pull the right elbow slowly across your chest toward the left shoulder, keeping the elbow parallel to the ground. Hold the stretch for about five seconds and then repeat it on the other side. This therapeutic stretch relieves upper arm and shoulder fatigue.
Jenny Nickerson, LMT
Certified Neuromuscular Therapist
Recovering from a whiplash injury can be difficult. If you have ever experienced whiplash rehab Denver, you know how painful and disabling it can be……. headaches, neck pain, painful movement, muscle spasms, numbness and the list goes on. If you are seeking whiplash treatment Denver, we offer a free 30 minute massage and screening examination to relieve pain and determine if additional treatment is indicated.
The term “whiplash” describes a sudden, unexpected movement of the head and neck. The extreme forward and back motion causes a whip-like movement of the neck. You know that “cracking” sound from a whip……whiplash does the same thing to your neck, spine, nerves and muscles. If there is no “awareness” before the incident, as often occurs in rear-end automobile collisions, the effects are magnified.
This whipping often causes stretching and even tearing of the various soft tissues in the neck, resulting in disc injuries, ligament tears, muscle strains and possibly even nerve injury. The medical terms for injuries of this nature are sprains or strains…… sprains involve injury to the joints and ligaments while strains affect the muscles. Injured tissues heal with scar tissue through a process called the “fibrosis of repair” which sounds painful all by itself!
Whiplash Back injury Denver
Whiplash injury takes only seconds to occur, but the effects can linger for weeks, months and even years! This is why prompt evaluation by a whiplash specialist is critical! Whiplash can occur during sports, from an unexpected fall, automobile accidents and even amusement park rides like roller coasters. While the symptoms may improve with time, it is critical to receive proper treatment to not only restore normal function, but also to prevent chronic and future problems. We specialize in whiplash in Lesions and use a multidisciplinary approach including a medical doctor (physiatrist), chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist and MedX spinal rehabilitation program.
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There are approximately 3 million whiplash injuries in the United States every year according to Arthur C. Croft, D.C., Director of the Spine Research Institute. Approximately 1 in 15 American adults suffer with the debilitating pain and effects of whiplash injury.
Dr. Croft has studied whiplash injuries extensively and developed specific treatment protocols we follow to maximize recovery. The following research studies are just a few examples that have established the effectiveness of chiropractic and natural treatments in the treatment of whiplash injuries.
In summary, every injury and patient is unique, but early assessment and treatment is always important.
Start feeling better today with customized Attention! Call (303) 934-3600 to schedule your free 30 minute massage and injury assessment.
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People of any age can develop arthritis but the symptoms almost always include pain, stiffness, achiness, loss of movement, and decreased function that get progressively worse over time. The statistics on arthritis are staggering in their impact on individuals as well as the cost to society. Data from a 2007-2009 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) estimated 50 million (22%) of adults have self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and 21 million (9% of all adults) have arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation. The annual cost of arthritis and related conditions, such as osteoarthritis, cost nearly $128 billion per year in medical and indirect expenses, including lost wages and productivity while the annual cost per person with osteoarthritis is $5700. Arthritis can prevent a person from doing normal activities such as opening a jar, writing, playing sports, typing, exercising and even enjoying their family. So what is osteoarthritis and what are the causes, and treatment options? Even more important, how do we change the crippling effects of osteoarthritis on both individuals and society?
First, Osteoarthritis (OA), or degenerative joint disease, is one of the oldest and most common types of Arthritis. It is characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of bones. When cartilage breaks down, it causes bones to rub against each other causing pain, stiffness, and loss of movement. OA most commonly affects middle-aged and older people, but can occur in younger adults or even teenagers at times. The severity of OA may range from very mild to extremely severe and it most commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the spine, knees, hips and feet, although the hands are also a common target.
While age is a significant risk factor to OA, research has shown that OA is not an inevitable part of aging. Obesity is a predisposing factor to OA of the knees, hips and spine but injuries from sports, work, and accidents are the most common cause. In particular, car accidents predispose injured parties to developing OA of the neck, especially if they don’t receive comprehensive examination and treatment. Genetics can also play a role in the development of OA, particularly in the hands. Some people may be born with defective cartilage, slight defects in the way that joints fit together or other abnormalities that cause altered biomechanics. As a person ages, these problems lead to early cartilage breakdown which gets progressively worse over time.
The symptoms of OA vary based upon the severity of the condition as well as the age, activity level, and overall health of each individual. The most common symptoms are pain, stiffness and achiness around a joint especially after periods of inactivity or excessive use. In the spine, the most common symptom is stiffness and achiness upon awakening that improves and usually goes away with activity, but often recurs, sometimes everyday. The problem is that the frequency and severity of the symptoms, or lack thereof, do not correlate with the progressive degeneration and tissue damage. This results in delayed diagnosis and treatment that ultimately limits treatment options. Waking up with back or neck pain from “sleeping wrong” or “no reason” is highly suggestive of OA. Sensations of grinding, grating or even popping with normal movements known as crepitus also suggest poor cartilage health and possible OA. Loss of motion can occur gradually over a long period of time, like difficulty looking over your shoulder when driving. Ultimately, bony growths develop at the affected margins of the joints and may cause deformity, particularly in the hands and feet. In severe cases, calcification of the joint may get so severe that motion is almost totally lost.
In the past, treatment focused on rest, pain medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (known as over-the-counter pain relievers) and ultimately joint replacement surgery, especially for the hips and knees in severe cases. Today, emphasis is placed on moderate exercise, proper nutrition, and prevention. We now know that smokers with OA have more severe joint pain and greater degradation of cartilage. Some studies support the value of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine supplementation to support cartilage health. Proper hydration is also critical to maintaining healthy cartilage. Medical treatments typically include drugs to reduce pain and improve function although joint replacement surgery of the hips and knees is common if the pain and deterioration are severe. A commonly overlooked option is physical medicine treatments that maintain joint function, range of motion, flexibility and physical conditioning. In the spine, decompression traction is particularly effective for both relieving symptoms of pain and stiffness while simultaneously improving function and movement. Chiropractic manipulation is also beneficial because it helps restore joint and nerve function, promotes flexibility, and maintains the health of spinal joints and discs.
For osteoarthritis, chiropractic medicine services that provide relief and reduce the progression of the condition include:
Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment for Arthritis
Patients should experience a progressive reduction in pain as well as a steady increase in strength, mobility, range of motion, and the ability to perform many tasks that were difficult or impossible before treatment. Since certain types of arthritis can compromise other functions of the body relating to the heart, lungs, blood flow, nervous system and the immune function, chiropractic evaluation and treatment in conjunction with concurrent medical management can serve as an excellent way to reduce the possibility that arthritis will cause deformity of one’s joints or compromise these other important body functions.
Many people deny their pain and accept it as a condition of life. They simply put up with it and “hope” it will go away. Even worse, excessive amounts of over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription arthritis medications are taken. These products can damage the liver, kidney, stomach or other vital organs and may even result in death. Chiropractic medicine provides a drug-free treatment that can not only reduce the pain and suffering from arthritis but often even slows down the progression of the condition! This results in better mobility, improved function, and a substantial elevation in the quality of life for patients with arthritis.
By Richard Keuhn, Chiropractic Doctor
Low back pain affects 8 out of 10 people at some point in their life. Sometimes it can be incapacitating and when it persists or recurs, it can limit our activities and enjoyment of life. While most back pain is considered “self-limiting,” that’s hard to believe when you can barely walk or every bump in the road causes excruciating pain! So what can Lakewood CO chiropractors do to relieve or “cure” low back pain and what about those unfortunate few that seem to be cursed with chronic back pain?
That depends on several factors. As a back pain specialist, I focus on finding the actual “cause” of the problem and restoring function as quickly and easily as possible. A medical history and chiropractic examination provides critical information about the source of the pain. However, it is important to remember that low back pain is frequently caused by a combination of factors, especially as we age. Even though most low back pain is considered “self-limiting,” that primarily applies to the symptoms and not the actual “cause.” Regardless, professional guidance is critical in learning the best combination of home management, lifestyle changes and professional treatment for each person. Even if injections or surgery become necessary, these basic principles of conservative management will assist with minimizing the possibility of future recurrence and maintaining spinal health.
As a member of Lakewood CO chiropractors for more than 30 years, I have extensive training in spinal trauma, disc problems, sciatica, sports injuries and low back pain. After a thorough history and exam, we will discuss whether x-rays are indicated and why; regardless, it is important to remember that x-rays always provide valuable information about spinal health. Even with x-rays, it is important to remember the spine is a “functional” structure and x-rays are static. Consequently, treatments are often “fine-tuned” based upon patient response and input each visit. The older you are, the greater the likelihood of multiple contributing factors or pain generators. Conditions like arthritis, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and scoliosis usually have a complex presentation that has to be “managed” more than “cured,” while conditions like disc bulge, disc herniation and sciatica have a higher risk of injections or surgery but often can be completely resolved with conservative care and home management.
There are many remedies or treatments that may relieve low back pain, but the fastest road to long-term relief is finding a professional that will not only complete the proper assessments and imaging studies, but also take the time to explain your specific findings and teach proper home care. One of the distinguishing factors at LifeSource Health Partners is the effort we invest in making sure each patient understands proper home care, lifestyle modifications and supportive behaviors to not only relieve low back pain but accelerate your recovery, prevent future recurrences and maintain spinal health.
In summary, we all need supportive maintenance to our spines, nervous system and body just like our cars and homes. Furthermore, just like our homes and cars, the frequency and extent of maintenance increases with age. Most important, our bodies are NOT replaceable and do NOT offer us the same choice of replacing tires, brakes, windows, shingles or old weathered gutters! If you wear out your body, where are you going to live?
Give us a call to get started on your road to better health and let Lakewood CO chiropractors relieve your back pain today!