Disc Herniations and Chiropractic

What is a disc/inter-verterbal disc?

Our spines are made up of bones called vertebrae. In between each of these bones, we have discs that cushion our vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. The disc has a tough outer layer, called the annulus, and a soft inner center called the nucleus.

What is a disc herniation?

A disc herniation is when the soft inner nucleus pushes out of the annulus into the spinal canal. The spinal canal only has limited space, so when the nucleus of the disc starts protruding into the spinal canal it can put pressure on the nerves within the canal. As a result, this can cause pain and other symptoms. Moreover, this can happen anywhere in the spine but usually occurs in the lower back or the neck.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the lower back?

Symptoms caused by a disc herniation in the lower back include lower back pain, numbness, pain, tingling, or burning. The burning starts in the buttock and radiates down the leg and sometimes into the foot. Usually, only one side is affected. In addition, pain is usually exacerbated by standing, walking, sitting, and straightening the painful leg.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the neck?

In the neck, symptoms include neck pain, pain in between the shoulder blades; numbness, pain, tingling, or burning. The burning starts down the arms and sometimes into the hands and fingertips. Moreover, the pain can be exacerbated by certain neck positions and movement. As well as coughing, sneezing, or straining. In addition, disc herniations can cause weakness in the affected limb.

An injury usually causes disc herniations to that area of the spine. Still, in people with degenerating discs, it can sometimes just take a small exertion or twist of the spine to cause a herniation. Risk factors for disc herniation include smoking, being overweight, incorrect lifting technique, repetitive strenuous activities, or a sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, 30-50 years old is the most common age to develop a disc herniation, but it can happen outside of this age range. In addition, men are twice as likely as women to experience a disc herniation2.

How can chiropractic help with disc herniations?

There are many ways that chiropractic care can help with disc herniations.

Prevention:

Firstly, by preventing them from happening in the first place. Chiropractic is all about optimizing nervous system function. This helps to make sure all of the muscles around our spine are activated and working at their best. As a result, when muscles around our spine aren’t working properly, this leaves our spine vulnerable and more susceptible to a disc herniation if we sustain an injury.

Proper Movement and Support:

Secondly, chiropractic can prevent a disc herniation by making sure the joint is moving properly. Chiropractic restores proper joint biomechanics, and when joints are moving properly this decreases the likelihood of degeneration. Importantly, as degeneration is a major risk factor for disc herniation, this is an important part of preventing disc herniations.

Improves healing:

Thirdly, it is important to try and prevent disc herniations from happening in the first place. However, you could still sustain an injury that causes a disc herniation. Chiropractic is beneficial in the healing process for this. As chiropractic impacts the nervous system, it impacts our body’s healing capabilities. As a result, a nervous system free of interference is able to better heal injuries such as a disc herniation fast and effectively. Therefore, chiropractic returns normal movement and function to the spine.

In addition, along with proper exercises and stretches, a spine that is moving and functioning properly is more likely to heal properly. In conclusion, this decreases the chance of needing surgery for the disc herniation.

Other options

There are many different types of surgery for disc herniations, which can involve removing bone, removing discs, or fusing multiple levels of the spine together. However, this is usually the last resort for extreme cases, as it is extremely invasive. Moreover, it can cause further issues down the road. Chiropractic is safe and non-invasive, and can drastically reduce your chances of needing surgery. As a result, your body is able to heal naturally, resulting in less chance of re-injury and further complications.

References:

  1. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. (2019). Herniated disc – Symptoms, causes, prevention and treatments. https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Herniated-Disc
  2. Southern Cross. (2017, December). Herniated disc – symptoms, treatment, surgery. https://www.southerncross.co.nz/group/medical-library/herniated-slipped-disc-symptoms-treatment-surgery
  3. Grassi, R. (2019, June 26). Chiropractic care for degenerative disc disease. Spine Universe. https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/degenerative-disc/chiropractic-care-degenerative-disc-disease
  4. Pietrangelo, A. (2017, April 21). Herniated disc surgery: What to expect. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/bone-health/herniated-disk-surgery#surgeries
  5. Santilli, V., Beghi, E., & Finucci, S. (2006). Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: A randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations. The Spine Journal, 6(2), 131-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2005.08.001

 

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Disc Herniation - Auckland Chiropractor

Consistency Is Key – Movement

Perhaps you have been to a Chiropractor before for one or two visits but you didn’t really feel like it did anything.

And you are probably right.

The thing is, Chiropractic isn’t exactly supposed to “do anything” in one or two visits.

I can hear you thinking “but I thought chiropractors fix people…”

Think of it this way, what do you do when you go to the gym or exercise? You move your body, sometimes in strange ways. And what does that movement do? It stimulates the muscle to strengthen and build endurance.

But you don’t get much change from one or two sessions. Or even from one or two weeks or months. Building strength takes a consistent and calculated approach.

Unlike pain medication and other pharmaceutical drugs, the goal of the work we do as chiropractors is not to take away your pain. The goal is to find the areas of your spine that aren’t moving optimally (called a subluxation) and then to help those areas move better with adjustments, which will in turn strengthen your weaknesses and reduce the spasms. This equilibrium will keep your body maintained well and healthy and without wear and tear.

In reality the only thing powerful enough to heal you is the remarkable power built into your body. Healing takes time, which is an important point that can be hard to deal with when you are recovering from an injury or a health problem, especially a chronic one.

Our focus is to correct structural shifts in your spine by improving movement quality

(adjusting subluxations) so that your body can regain it’s strength and become more resilient. This is why we design care plans that span a few months to allow deeper change to movement and strength to occur because unfortunately there are no shortcuts!

Chiropractor Auckland

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How Smartphone Time Is Harming Your Children

At Revolution Chiropractic we take a structural correction approach to your spine and one of the big indicators of spinal dysfunction is forward head carriage. The head is basically a bowling ball balanced on the top of your spine and every inch it moves forward causes an exponential increase in how hard the muscle must work to continue to hold it up. The issues go much deeper than neck discomfort, this poor postural position increases the tension on your spinal cord, puts you at greater risk of a strain injury to your neck, speeds up the degenerative process of the spine and can cause nerve root impingement, which let me assure you is not fun at all.

What is really concerning is the number of children we are seeing with this postural issue. Chiropractors are seeing more and more children as patients with issues linked to forward head posture and a HUGE contributing factor is the amount of time they are spending on handheld screen devices. I have personally seen many children with their necks bent to 90 degrees as they stare at a tablet or phone on their lap.

According to the NZ Ministry of Health children age 5-17 should spend less than 2 hours per day sitting and using screens, and this time should not be continuous but rather broken up throughout the day.

 

Cont.

 

On top of smart devices creating postural problems, they are also reducing the amount of physical activity that kids are getting. Which reduces the creativity of tactile play. For the health of your children, we strongly recommend you reduce the amount of time they spend on devices, perhaps reward them with some screen time after some physical activity. It is much easier to raise strong children than it is to fix broken adults! Remember that kids imitate those around them, especially their parents, and let’s face it, we could all benefit from spending less time on our mobile devices.

When you are using your phone or tablet make sure you keep it at eye level for healthy posture. Your arms getting tired from holding them up is a great reminder to take a break!

Your Trusted Auckland Chiropractor

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

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Children Mobile Phone Smartphone - Free photo on Pixabay

 

How Poor Posture Is Destroying Your Health & 2 Posture Tests To Try At Home

Why is proper posture so important? Is it for the way you look? Sure, people definitely look better when they fix their posture. But regardless of esthetics, your posture is actually key to how your body functions in more ways than one.

Take muscles for example: when you’re sitting with your head forward, your posterior (back) neck muscle are working way too hard to support your head, while your anterior (front) neck muscles switch off. This leads to muscle imbalances and over time may very well develop into neck pain which can be stemming from degeneration, disc disease, muscle strains and so on.

Now your organs: when your body gets used to a slouching position and makes it a long term problem your intestines get compressed and digestion can become difficult. Poor posture also reduces lung capacity by up to 30%. As you can imagine it can compress the heart and reduce the flow of blood to vital organs thereby making them work less efficient and create disease within them.

Not only does posture affect you physically, it can also be detrimental psychologically. Studies have linked poor posture to increased depression, stress and fatigue.

The overall effect can become global and when those issues persist long term they can take away from your quality of life and even longevity.

 

“How do I know if I have a possible posture problem?”

 

Luckily there are 2 tests that you can try at home to see if you have any possible posture problems. All you need is a wall and/or a floor!

 

The Wall Test

 

Stand with the back of your head against the wall with your heels 6 inches away from the wall. Your buttocks and shoulder blades should touch the wall.

If you can slide more than 3 fingers behind your neck or the small of your back then it indicates poor posture.

 

The Floor Angel

 

Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Lower your rib cage so it’s in contact with the floor and your arms are out and bent at the elbow by 90 degree like so:

If your hips, rib cage, head or wrists and arms can’t maintain contact with the floor then this may indicate possible postural issues.

Try these out and see what your posture is like! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask your structural chiropractor.

 

Your Trusted Auckland Chiropractor

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Image from page 29 of "The posture of school children, wit… | Flickr

How Bad Posture Is Killing You!

Introduction

Do you ever remember your mother telling you to sit up straight, that it was bad for you? Fast forward 20 years and now you have shoulder aches, neck pain and even lower back pain. You think hard as to why you might be experiencing this. Was mum right? Maybe my posture is affecting all of this. It is estimated that 65% of sitting employees suffer from a combination of neck, upper back and shoulder pain. It is clear that having bad posture while sitting down or even standing up can lead to various negative side effects. When we consistently leave ourselves in a vulnerable position we are preventing our body to function at its best.

Here are a few negative side effects caused by having a bad posture.

 

1) Limited ability to breathe

Our main organs responsible for breathing are the lungs. They are situated in the upper part of our chest and they help send oxygen to all areas of our body. When we slouch we decrease the space where our lung sits which limits the amount of air that we breathe in. It is said that we lose 30% of our lung capacity when we lean forward. Ultimately we get reduced oxygen levels to our heart and body. In the long run this can cause many serious health problems on its own such as; dizziness, fatigue and headaches.

 

2) Fatigue

Our body is designed to stay upright. However when we are slouching, our body is fighting to be in its correct position. Having to fight against poor posture requires more energy, leading us to feel tired and fatigued.

 

3) Headaches

When slouching forward this makes the muscles on the back of the head work harder. As this creates extra stress for the muscles it can become quite inflamed leading to pain. Also as these muscles become tighter it can put pressure through the head leading to headaches.

 

4) Lower Back Pain

You might be wondering why bad posture might cause lower back pain. As the muscles behind your neck tighten up it can create extra pressure through the spine at that level. Due to this extra stress that area may become more prone to injuries. To take that extra pressure off other area will try to compensate, especially through the lower back. Also when you slouch down you lose the natural curvature of the lower back. The curve of the spine acts like a spring which helps distribute weight. When you lose that curve all the forces go through the joints of the spine. With all these stresses put on the lower back, lower back pain is quite common for people with bad posture.

Having poor posture isn’t the end of the world. Like most things as long as you put effort into it, your posture can improve.

 

How to Improve Your Posture

Here are some basic exercises and stretches that can help improve your posture.

 

1. Cobra Stretch – This stretch helps you work out opposite muscles that assist in bad posture. Hold this stretch for 1 – 2 minutes.Cobra stretch

 

2. Hip Flexor Stretch – When we sit down our hip flexors are in a contracted state. Having tight hip flexors can lead to lower back problems. Hold this stretch for 1 – 2 minutes.Hip flexor stretch

 

3. Chin tuck – performing this for minimum of 3 sets of 10 reps daily.

Chin tuck

 

4. Thoracic extension – Put the block up higher by the base of your neck (in between your shoulder blades) and roll up a thick towel to put in your neck curve. Holding this position for up to 2 minutes or more if you can.

Thoracic extension

 

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Sciatica – definition and treatment

Introduction

Sciatica can be a real pain in the rear end! Sometimes it feels like a bad leg cramp. Sometimes it’s numbness and tingling through your butt and leg. The pain can be excruciating. As a result, you can’t even sit down, sneeze, or cough without searing pain.

Sciatica can be scary. You think you’re going to have it forever and having anxiety about it affecting every part of your life. You worry you might have to have surgery.

If you’re worried about your sciatica, you’ve come to the right place. And there’s good news. Sciatica is fixable.

Fix your sciatica. Schedule a free consultation today.

 

Can a Chiropractor help sciatica?

Most sciatica is caused by structural problems in the spine that damage or herniate one or more of the discs between your vertebrae. When the vertebrae in the lower part of your spine get misaligned, that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Only about 10 percent of the nerves in your body feel pain, and the sciatic nerve is one of them. It’s the biggest nerve in your body and it feels pain in a big way.

Sciatica

There are a couple of simple tests we need to do to figure out if your sciatica is a structural chiropractic problem. If it is, that’s good news for you. It’s a relatively easy fix. With careful, specific adjustments to the lower part of your spine, we can eliminate your sciatic pain.

There are other ways to deal with sciatica, such as stretching, medication, or even surgery. Some people choose to muscle through the pain and just wait for sciatica go away. The problem with these approaches is that they do nothing to correct the underlying problem. So your sciatica will almost certainly come back.

Obviously, you want to get rid of the symptoms. But let’s do that AND fix the underlying problem.

 

Your next step:

Click here for a complimentary consultation with one of our structural Chiropractors In our office, a consultation is a conversation, not a commitment. We’ll ask you about what’s going on, get a better understanding of your problem, and talk about solutions. You can decide if you like our approach.

A few answers to FAQ about sciatica:
No, you do not need a referral from your primary care doctor.
No, you probably don’t need an MRI. But if you already have one, please bring it with you.
No, it’s not going to be this way forever. You will feel better and you can get back to doing the things you love to do.
No, adjustments do not hurt. Most people get pain relief within a few visits.
Yes, it’s possible to fix sciatica without drugs or surgery.

 

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Sports Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

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How Are Your Discs Holding Up?

Do you have trouble moving? Do you lack the energy that you once had? Is the pain stopping you from living a normal life? Is the pain so bad that you’re considering spinal fusion, specifically for the discs in your spine? If you are having second thoughts, this blog will talk about why you’re getting this pain and how Chiropractic can be an effective method to help people with disc problems.

The intervertebral discs in the spine have a very unique role within the body. The S-shaped curve that your spine is orientated in, acts as a shock absorber, and provides mobility. These discs are the primary component of that shock absorption.

You must be asking, ‘I thought only old people get disc problems, why do I have it?’ Actually, disc bulges, herniations, extrusion etc are all disc problems that are most common from 18-35 years of age. There are other types of spinal problems that affect the older population and these are more likely related to degenerative joint and/or disc disease which is another story altogether.

 

The causes and consequences

The most likely cause for spinal disc damage and injury is immobility within the spine that puts unnecessary pressure on certain discs therefore causing damage and injury. On top of that, the lack of movement diminishes blood flow to the discs therefore the damaged discs have no way of healing.

A common myth most people believe is that disc problems only come from big accidents and injuries such as picking up a box or a piece of furniture. This is true to a certain extent; however people who have sedentary lifestyles, bad posture and repetitive stresses from work are all prone to having disc injuries as well.

To stop your spine from being injured, your very own body protects itself by immobilizing areas that are in harm’s way. Your body does this in numerous ways; muscles tighten up, the area starts to swell up and most importantly it starts signaling PAIN! These protective mechanisms of the body cause immobility and lack of motion within the spine. Your discs then start to weaken and degenerate. As this process carries on,the next time you go pick up a box, POP! You have a herniated disc. For those of you experiencing or have had a herniated disc, you know how excruciating and crippling it is.

 

Chiropractic care

So how can we help you at Revolution Chiropractic? Well the primary objective for us at Revolution Chiropractic unlike any other Chiropractic Office is to make sure we reset your structure to normal. We do this via a thorough structural examination which includes structural spinal analysis using specialized equipment and x-rays, we also give you specific structural recommendations and tools you need to help yourself get better too, and lastly we adjust your spine specific to what’s going on in your structure to correct it as well as restoring your spinal curves to normal again using specialized equipment.

We see many people with neck or back pain and bulging or herniated discs that have gone through procedures like micro-discectomies previously who are back to square one a year or two down the road. (Micro-discectomy is surgery to remove herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord). Upon a very detailed examination we find the cause of WHY your discs are herniating to start with and treat the actual CAUSE so that this cycle of herniation, micro-discectomy, herniation, bandage treatment stops.

 

A couple of stretches you can do on your own

It’s never too late to start a journey to be a better version of yourself. Knowing your body and what you can do is the first step. Here are a few stretches for the lower back to help you get started.

  • A dragon pose – Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

A dragon pose for lower back

  • Hamstring stretch – Hold for 15 – 30 seconds after the stretch is felt. Repeat on the other leg.
    Hamstring stretch lying on the ground with the band/towel
  • Cat/cow pose – Repeat this motion 5 – 20 times.

 

Cat/cow pose

 

 

Please Note: It is best to consult with a professional before performing any of these stretches or exercises as some disc injuries benefit from these movements and some others disc injuries may be exacerbated. If you do these exercises without consulting a professional, you are accountable and responsible for any risks and/or injury.

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Sports Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

You can also book online here!

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