Ever wondered exactly what’s happening when you hear that popping sound when you get adjusted by your chiropractor? Or if pop or no pop makes a difference when getting adjusted? Watch this video to find out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Start by lying on your side with your knees bent in front of your hips and hands over your ears, elbows pointing forward. Inhale and reach the top elbow to the ceiling, looking up at the elbow point. Exhale and continue to open the top elbow to the backside until it touches the floor or an elevated prop such as a pillow (to decrease range of motion). Stay for a full inhale and exhale, relaxing your shoulders, inhale again, then exhale and return to the starting position.
Tip: Keep your knees stacked and resting on the floor; move slowly and imagine that you are unwinding the top half of your spine.
Thoracic Extension | 3-5 reps
Start seated on the floor with your mid back resting on a foam roller or a rolled-up bath towel. Support the head in the hands, elbows wide, and keep the feet on the floor. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and slowly extend your spine back over the roller, only moving as far as you need to until you feel a gentle stretch in the upper back, chest and abdominals. Inhale to hold. Exhale and return to the starting position, using your abdominals.
Tip: Start with a small range of motion and gently increase this over time; you should feel no discomfort in your low back during this exercise.
Head Tilt | 2 min
Start in a comfortable seated or kneeling position, with the head stacked directly above the shoulders and the arms resting by the sides. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and slowly and gently lower the left ear towards the left shoulder, only so far as you need to feel the beginning of the stretch. Inhale to hold. Exhale and return to the top. Repeat to the left side, pausing on the inhale breath and moving on the exhale. Next, exhale and turn your head to look over the right shoulder. Inhale and return to the center. Exhale, look over the left shoulder. Continue to slowly alternate between each position.
Tip: There are many small muscles to stretch between positions A and B. Take your time throughout the movement phase to gently release each muscle.
Neck Roll | 3 circles per side
Start in a comfortable seated or kneeling position, with the head stacked directly above the shoulders and the arms resting by the sides. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and slowly and gently lower the left ear towards the left shoulder, and then take the chin towards the chest. Inhale as you continue to circle, taking the right ear towards the right shoulder, and finishing by stacking the head above the shoulders in your starting position. Reverse the circle.
Tip: Match the pace of movement to your slow breaths, exploring each position as you transfer through it.
Shoulder Shrug | 10 reps
Start in a comfortable seated or kneeling position, with the head stacked directly above the shoulders and the arms resting by the sides. Inhale and lift the shoulders up towards the ears. Exhale and return them down, feeling the blades settle on the back.
Tip: This move strengthens and releases the muscles in the upper back.
Kneeling Arm Circle | 3-5 reps per arm
Start in a high kneeling position or seated on a chair, with the head stacked directly above the shoulders and the arms resting by the sides, palms facing in and thumb forward. Inhale, reach the left arm straight up to the ceiling, and pause. Exhale, rotate the palm away from your body, and continue to circle the arm until it is back down by the hip, palm facing out and baby finger forward. Inhale and begin to reverse the circle, stretching the arm behind you and up to the ceiling. Pause, then exhale, rotate the palm back to the body, stretch the arm all the way forward and return it down by your side, palm facing in.
Tip: Really stretch out through your arm as you make this circle, taking up as much space in the room as you can; keep your head, neck, and hips relaxed.
Wing Span | 2 min
Start in a high kneeling position or seated on a chair, with the head stacked directly above the shoulders and the arms stretched directly out to the side, in line with the shoulders, palms forward. Inhale to prepare. For one long exhale: reach the arm up overhead, palm forward; the left arm down by your hip, palm back; bend the elbows and reach the fingers towards each other at the center of your back. Stay for a full inhale and exhale. Inhale again to return to the starting position. Exhale to repeat on the other side. Continue slowly alternating between each position.
Tip: It doesn’t matter if you can’t touch your fingertips, because over time you will be able to!
Scapula Slide | 10-15 reps
Start on all fours, wrists under shoulder and knees under hips, with a long flat back. You must press firmly into your palms and fingertips to feel the engagement through your mid-back. Keeping the elbows STRAIGHT, inhale and slide the shoulder blades (scapula) together (you’ll feel as if you’re dropping your chest to the floor). Exhale, press into the hands, and return to the starting position.
Tip: You must keep your elbows straight! If this is challenging to do on all fours, stand up and place your hands against the wall to perform the exercise.
Neck Retractions | 6-8 reps
Start by lying on your back, knees bent, arms down by the side, and the eyes straight up to the ceiling. Inhale, gently jut the chin forward to the ceiling, while keeping the back of the head on the floor. Exhale, retract the chin in towards the throat, and feel the back of the neck lengthen.
Tip: Don’t jut the chin forward too much; it’s a small move. Focus on lengthening the neck against the floor during the retraction phase.
Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…
If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.
Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.
The parents role
As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.
It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We’ve got you covered! 🙂
Tech neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long. Children and teens are especially at risk for suffering symptoms of Tech neck. And it seems increasingly common. Recently, a patient came into my practice complaining of severe upper back pain. He woke up and was experiencing severe, acute, upper back muscle strain. I told him I believe the pain is due to the hours he was spending hunched over his cell phone.
Of course, this posture of bending your neck to look down does not occur only when texting. For years, we’ve all looked down to read. The problem with texting is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down—and people tend to do it for much longer periods. It is especially concerning because young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain and other major health issues such as:
Aches, fatigue, pain
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain
Altered blood flow
Forward head posture may also contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Forward Head Posture (Tech Neck), Asthma and Heart Disease
One of the most prevalent and destructive imbalances has to do with the cervical curve. The natural curve in the vertebrae of the neck. When we lose the proper curvature of the cervical and lumbar curves, we lose as much as 50 percent of our spinal strength.
For every 2 cm that your head is held forward (rather than balanced properly over the body), it gains 5 kgs of weight. The muscles of your back and neck have to work that much harder to keep your chin off your chest and the muscles of your chin stay in constant contraction, compressing nerves and leading to headaches at the base of the skull or those that mimic sinus headaches.
This “forward head posture,” says University of California’s director of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Rene Cailliet, “can add up to 15 kg of abnormal leverage…” pulling “the entire spine out of alignment” and “may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity.”
The curve of your cervical spine is referred to as “the arc of life” by neurosurgeons because these bones protect the brain stem. And are the thoroughfare for spinal nerves that affect every organ and function in the body.
Subluxation is the term for the compression and irritation of nerves because of misalignments of the spine. When the cervical curve is misaligned, the spinal cord stretches and shrinks in circumference, losing nerve conductivity.
Chiropractors make adjustments to the spine and help teach clients posture and habits that reverse these misalignments. Restoring the body’s natural functions and healing capabilities.
What Causes Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture causes:
Trauma (Trauma leading to forward head posture can come in the form of car accidents, slips or falls, or even birthing trauma from forceps or vacuums.)
Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Roger Sperry says that “90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.” Only 10 percent of the brain’s energy goes into thinking, metabolism and healing, while 90 percent of brain energy goes into processing and maintaining the body’s relationship with gravity, Sperry demonstrated.
As forward head posture decreases lung capacity, it can lead to asthma, blood vessel problems and heart disease. The oxygen deficit affects the entire gastrointestinal system and can decrease endorphin production. This turns the perception of non-painful sensation into pain experiences, says Dr. Fishman.
A structural chiropractor can measure the curve of your “arc of life,” give you regular adjustments, lead you in spinal rehabilitation exercises, and teach you postural and working habits that will greatly improve your health and quality of life.
Here’s something that may come as a surprise to you – your body wasn’t designed to be in one position for more than 15 minutes. With many people working office jobs where they’re inside sitting for prolonged periods of time, 15 minutes of sitting isn’t even a warm-up, taking your body to the furthest point from mobility.
Ideally you want to be getting up every time to keep it moving and do what’s ideal for our body, but realistically, getting up every 15 minutes for a walk would make you wildly unproductive. Therefore, 30-60 minutes is a more reasonable goal. Even doing a short mobility routine or walk to get water whenever you become conscious about it is better than nothing.
Here are a few mobility routines that you can try out the next time you realize you’ve been in the same position for way too long:
Standing Back Extension
Stand up straight and place your hands on your hips.
Bend backwards (extend your back) to your pain-free end range.
Hold that for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Squeeze your shoulder blade together like you’re trying to hold a cup of water.
Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Ensure proper posture and form (slightly extended low back and retracted shoulder blades).
Look up at the ceiling while relaxing your jaw (to get maximum ROM) and hold for 5 seconds. Then look down at the floor and keep it there for 5 seconds.
Repeat this about 8-10 times.
These mobility exercises were made to open your body up and work the opposite way that your office desk posture does. Now you know why you should stay moving and you have some tools under your belt to support this. Happy desking!
If you’re sitting in front of a computer or desk for most of the day then you’ve probably run into the problem of annoying neck pain. Throw in a bunch of stress, poorly designed chairs and desks and you’ve pretty much got a recipe for neck pain that likes to visit you regularly.
With this kind of behaviour being the norm in every day life neck pain has become a common problem with multiple possible causes. But with the help of your structural chiropractor and some self-care, you can nip that neck pain in butt so that it stops visiting, visits less often or at least doesn’t stay over as long.
Here are our 3 tips for neck pain:
Stretch – Prevent Neck Pain:
muscles in the upper back and neck tend to contract and stay contracted for long periods of time. Over that time, your brain forgets what length they were in the relaxed state and keeps them short. Stretches can help remind the brain that these muscles aren’t meant to be that short for such a long period of time!Try this stretch out for your levator scapulae muscles:
a) Rotate your head to 45 degrees.
b) Place your hand on the same side behind your head and bring your head down toward your knee on the same side. Hold for 15 seconds and switch sides. Do that 3 times.
For a deeper stretch, push your head back into your hand and then relax into the stretch further.REMINDER: do this gently and DO NOT pull your head too hard. Always ease into it and start with the weight of your hand as the downward force to start.
A great exercise we love to give people with neck pain is the chin tuck. It helps strengthen the deep muscles in your neck and train the brain to hold your head in a more ideal position in relation to gravity.a) Looking straight ahead place your index and middle finger on your chin.
b) Pushing back with your two fingers retract your chin back to create double chin.
Hold for 5 seconds and relax and repeat that 10 times.
The main source of most neck pain is that your neck is held in a position for too long. Throughout your day keep your neck joints moving. Remember: movement is life for joints and taking the time to go for a walk or even looking up and down. Putting your neck in positions it hasn’t seen for a while does wonder for preventing neck pain.
Along with all this advice, if you have stubborn neck pain, consult with one of our structural chiropractors to help put a stop to it and get back to doing your thing.
You know it happens. You go on to Netflix and promise yourself that you’ll only watch one episode and get off your butt… One episode turns into two… two turns into three… and before you know it you’re binging.
Or maybe you’ve got a date arranged around an intense TV marathon that’s going to be epic.
Before you decide to set out on a TV show marathon whether it be alone or with your partner, consider taking the right steps to take care of your spine and avoid any pain or injury that may come your way.
Steps to Stretch:
Plank beforehand: Before committing to your hours of absorbed fun, plank. The plank position helps engage your core muscles and take on the stresses of sitting for long hours. Nothing fancy here, go as long as you can and challenge yourself a bit!
Sit properly: Slouching can add additional stress on your back. Reset your posture periodically by backing your butt right back to where the backrest meets the cushion.
Do NOT kick your feet up: Kicking your feet just adds more stress to your lower back and encourages slouching. It’s okay to do temporarily but not for an entire episode.
Stretch it out: Try out a stretch break every hour. Here are the steps to what’s called the “figure four stretch”. i) Slide to the edge of your seat
ii) Cross one leg over the other into a figure 4 iii) Sit up tall and feel the stretch in your glutes
iv) Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side
Break? Get up and move: Whether you’re going for a bathroom break, refilling your wine or getting some more snacks, every step counts. Periodically, getting up and walking or stretching is an excellent solution to avoiding any back pain and should always be encouraged.
Try these out and impress your date with these helpful tips to take care of your bodies.
Whiplash is caused by sudden hyperflexion (forward) and hyperextension (backwards) movement of the neck. This kind of quick movement stretches the soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, in your neck beyond their usual normal limits, resulting in damage of these structures.
How is classified?
The Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) grading system
WAD I: Neck pain + stiffness or tenderness only. No physical signs.
II: Neck pain + musculoskeletal signs (reduced range of motion)
III: Neck pain + neurological signs (numbness or tingling, weakness, decreased or absent reflexes)
IV: Neck pain + fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae in the neck.
It can be difficult to tell which grade you have, but the most common grade of whiplash is WAD II
How does it happen?
Most people associate whiplash with car accidents, but it can also happen in contact sports, rollercoasters and even head banging too hard at concerts. It can basically happen in any situation where abrupt head movement is involved.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The following are some signs that you are experiencing whiplash.
How long does it last for?
This answer is different for every person, but typically the average human recovers within 6 months. That being said, it may take years to recover for those with prolonged symptoms.
It depends on the severity of the injury, how soon your you start treatment, how well you stick to your treatment, if you’ve had a whiplash injury before and whether you have any pre-existing conditions.
How do you treat it?
Easy, the 10-10-10 Protocol.
Initial treatment of whiplash should consist of 10 minutes of ice application, removal for 10 minutes and reapplication for another 10 minutes. Then repeat.
A structural chiropractor can provide the proper treatment and exercises to restore function and get you back to your normal daily activities sooner. Delayed treatment may hinder overall recovery time, so the sooner you start treatment, the better!
When did you last brush your teeth? I would be surprised if it was more than 24 hours ago. And why did you brush them? Because they were sore or you had cavities? Probably not. You probably did it because you know it’s good to keep your teeth clean if you want to still have them in your mouth as the decades roll on. It is easier and less painful to maintain the health of your teeth than it is to let problems build up.
The same goes for your spine, but when did you last do something for it? You can start to take care of your spine in a few ways. The spine needs strength, mobility and a good postural position.
Performing movements like the superman exercise and planks are simple and can be done at home without equipment. When done right and within a well-planned training program barbell squats and deadlifts are possibly the most effective spinal, and full-body, strengthening movements you can do but obviously require more equipment or a gym membership and personal trainer.
The cat/camel exercise is a great spinal mobility exercise you should do daily at home.
Imagine you have a string attached to the top of your head like a marionette puppet and it’s pulling you upward. Reach your head as high as you can and elongate your spine while keeping the shoulder blades tucked down and back.
Chiropractic adjustments can assist you in all 3 areas by promoting a more mobile and stronger spine. Many of our clients report a feeling of ease in posture, like a weight has lifted off their spine. Areas of the spine that don’t move well due to years of poor posture or various injuries are prone to develop weakness. The less a joint moves, the weaker and lazier the muscles become. Chiropractic focuses on improving the motion of the bones in the spine so that the muscles and ligaments can strengthen and the nerve system can function optimally.