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Back or Neck Pain? Chiropractic Can Help!

back pain chiropractorPeople who suffer from long-term neck or back pain Wilmington NC are often frustrated by the lack of treatment options available from their traditional healthcare providers. All too often, conventional treatments range from ineffective medications to dangerous surgeries, both of which offer more risks than results. As a result, it’s no surprise that so many back and neck pain sufferers turn to alternative treatments like chiropractic care for relief.

Three Out of Four Back Pain Sufferers Turn to Alternative Therapies

In a recent study performed and published by Consumer Reports, 45,601 of the magazine’s subscribers responded to a questionnaire regarding alternative therapy. As it turned out, three out of four people responded as having used some type of alternative therapy to treat their health issues.

It was also estimated that during the time the survey was being conducted, more than 38 million Americans made over 300 million visits to chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and other alternative medicine and holistic practitioners.

One of the most important pieces of information gained by the Consumer Reports study results is that not all alternative therapy options deliver the same level of results when it came to treating the 12 common health problems listed in the study’s questionnaire. More specifically, when it came to back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis, chiropractic care and deep-tissue massage were rated very highly by the respondents. In fact, in the cases of back pain and neck pain, respondents noted significantly more relief through hands-on treatments like chiropractic and massage than through prescription medications. In addition, one in four study respondents felt that their chiropractor was more interested in them and their pain relief, and were more insightful than their medical doctors.

Chiropractic Care Outperforms All Other Back Pain Treatments

The Consumer Reports study results suggests that “Chiropractic outperformed all other back-pain treatments.” By comparison, prescription medication, deep-tissue massage, yoga, and Pilates all delivered similar results, but lacked the effectiveness produced by chiropractic care. Of the study’s respondents who had sought chiropractic care for their back pain, 65% reported that it helped reduce their pain “a lot.” It was also reported that more people suffering from back pain sought treatment from chiropractors than they did medical doctors, and more importantly, the majority of them felt that they benefited from their choice.

The results are similar among neck pain sufferers. Nearly 65% of the study’s respondents who tried chiropractic care for their pain reported that it helped their pain “a lot.” By comparison, prescription pain medications ranked fourth in the ratings with just a 49% satisfaction score.

The Impact of Chiropractic Care on Other Health Conditions

Another impressive fact taken from the Consumer Reports study was that chiropractic care scored high as an effective therapy option for a host of other health conditions besides neck and back pain. Chiropractic care was ranked third as a treatment for allergies, second for treating colds and flu, third for treating fibromyalgia, and third as a headache and migraine treatment.

The Results are In – Chiropractic Care for Back Pain Wilmington NC Can Help Alleviate Your Pain

If you have chronic neck and/or back pain Wilmington NC, chiropractic care can help. Call Southeastern Chiropractic today at 910-202-4341. We are here for you. Discover for yourself the difference that safe and effective chiropractic care can make. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Migraine Sufferers and Chiropractic Care

neck pain chiropractorIf you’ve ever suffered a migraine, then you know they’re not your average headache. Migraines are seriously debilitating and excruciatingly painful and for those that have them frequently, they’re actually considered a chronic neurological disorder. Visit a Wilmington NC chiropractor today.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is characterized by recurring moderate-to-severe headaches. In most cases, the pain radiates along one side of the head and it is usually accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and in severe cases, vomiting. A migraine sufferer can experience these symptoms for up to 72 hours. A third of migraine sufferers claim that they often experience transient visual and sensory disturbances prior to the onset of a migraine.

There is little known about the cause and effect of migraines, but studies indicate that certain behaviors and sensory inputs can trigger the painful events. As a result, avoiding one’s triggers is an important part in most preventive strategies.

How are Migraines Treated?

Most conventional migraine treatments focus on managing the painful symptoms of the condition and not the cause itself. Usually, this involves taking prescribed pain medications or over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or a combination of an analgesic drug and caffeine.

The problem with these tactics is that they only work on about half of all migraine sufferers. As a result, stronger drugs are sometimes prescribed, such as those in the ergotamine or triptan families.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Relieve Your Migraines

In a recent study published in Headache magazine, it was found that among 225 migraine sufferers, the same percentage of people sought chiropractic care as did pharmaceutical pain relief. While this may be a surprise to most doctors, these results are expected among chiropractors because the profession has been successfully treating migraine sufferers for years.

Chiropractic care involves subtle manipulation of the spine, massage, and adjustment of the body’s soft tissues and joints to help relieve the inflammation, tension, and pain associated with migraines. Unlike pharmaceutical treatments, chiropractic care is natural, safe, non-addictive, and effective, and it works without the risk of side effects.

How effective?

In a 2000 study on 127 patients who suffered at least one migraine a month, the patients were separated into two groups – one group would receive targeted chiropractic care while the second group would receive inactive treatment. The group that received chiropractic care specifically tailored for migraine relief experienced a significant reduction in migraine frequency and intensity while the second group experienced no change in their condition. In fact, one in five of the treated group experienced a 90% reduction in the frequency of their headaches and many reported a reduction in their need for medication.

If You Suffer From Migraines, Southeastern Wilmington NC Chiropractor Can Help

At Southeastern Healthcare, we’re experts at helping migraine sufferers find lasting relief. If you suffer from debilitating migraines, call us today. We are here for you. Our chiropractic team can help you manage your pain naturally and effectively. Discover for yourself the difference that safe and effective chiropractic care can make. With six locations throughout the Wilmington NC chiropractor area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Chiropractic Treatments for Stress Relief

 

wilmington nc chiropractor

Stress is one of the top health concerns of the modern age. It can not only exacerbate certain health condition, it can even cause them. And, in many cases, chronic stress can be deadly. For years, the medical establishment has sought to treat stress through man-made medications designed to help ease anxieties, relieve depression, and soothe muscle tension. These drugs, however, come with a litany of other problematic side effects, many of which can be just as detrimental to one’s health as the stress it’s aimed at helping. At Southeastern Healthcare, our Wilmington NC chiropractor uses chiropractic treatments as a valid and proven way to relieve stress without relying harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients found in most prescription drugs. Here are some of the ways chiropractic treatments can help improve your stress relief.

Chiropractic Care Treats Stress at Its Core

One of the most common symptoms of chronic stress is extreme muscle tension and contraction over a prolonged period of time. Eventually, the muscle tension causes uneven pressure being applied to the body’s bony structures. This often results in the spinal column becoming misaligned. The problem is that as long as the spine is out of alignment, the muscle tension will remain or even worsen because the muscles have to compensate for the spine’s loss of flexibility.

Another problem caused by chronic stress is nerve irritation and this is also worsened when a spine is misaligned. Often in these cases, blood flow becomes restricted to certain areas, causing them to become inflamed and painful. Through the gentle manipulations of chiropractic treatments, a chiropractor can ease tension in the muscles, re-align the spinal column, and increase blood and oxygen flow to nerves.

An aligned spine is one of the best natural deterrents to dealing with stress because it allows the muscles to remain supple and it promotes even blood and oxygen flow throughout the body.

Other Ways a Chiropractor Can Help Alleviate Stress

Along with being a holistic practitioner of spinal manipulation, your chiropractor is also trained in helping patients alleviate stress through a number of other means. Your chiropractor can teach you relaxation techniques that will help you reduce stress naturally. He or she will also help you improve your posture, which believe it or not, can have an impact on your body’s stress levels. They can even give you advice on which vitamins and supplements you can take to help combat environmental stressors.

Manage Your Stress and Live a Healthier Life – Visit Your Wilmington NC Chiropractor Today

We live in a stressful world. There’s nothing you can do about that. But, there are natural ways to cope with stress other than relying on chemical-laden drugs. If you want to give your body its best protection against chronic stress, make an appointment with Southeastern Healthcare’s Wilmington NC chiropractor today. We are here for you. Our chiropractic team can help you ensure your body is aligned, relaxed, and capable of handling anything this crazy world throws at it. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

auto accident chiropractor wilmington nc

Why You Should Go to a Chiropractor After an Auto Accident

Thousands of auto accidents occur every day. In fact, so many take place on America’s highways and byways that the odds of you being involved in at least one accident within your lifetime is so much higher than living an accident-free life. Adding insult to injury is the fact that so many accident-related injuries fail to present themselves until a days after the event. And, since most auto-related injuries involve the neck and back, they can be extremely painful and frustrating and affect everything from your ability to work to your overall quality of life. Regardless of whether or not your auto accident was substantial, you should be seen by a medical professional immediately afterward and then, once it has been determined that you haven’t suffered any broken bones, internal bleeding, or head trauma, a visit to an auto accident  chiropractor WIlmington NC is recommended and here’s why.

Broken Bones Aren’t the Only Type of Injuries Caused in Auto Accidents

More times than not, auto accidents don’t involve traumatic injuries like broken bones. While these (and worse) types of injuries certainly can and do occur, by and large, soft tissue injuries tend to be the most common types of injuries associated with accidents. In fact, more than half of all whiplash cases occur in simple fender benders.

When to See a Chiropractor After an Accident

As stated earlier, if you’re involved in an auto accident, then it is always wise to seek medical treatment right away at the scene if an ambulance is called or at your local emergency room so you can be cleared of (or treated for) any major, life-threatening injuries. This is important even if you don’t feel pain because your adrenaline will be pumping after the accident and adrenaline is the body’s natural way of protecting itself against pain and trauma. Keep in mind that it can take as long as a few days after the accident before the adrenaline “rush” starts to wear down. During this time, you may gradually start feeling pain in your back, neck, or other body part.

But, you don’t have to feel pain to visit the chiropractor. In fact, even if you’re not yet feeling pain, you should still visit an auto accident chiropractor in Wilmington NC within two weeks after the accident if anything to get a second opinion and an alignment.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help Auto Accident Victims?

Unlike traditional medical doctors, chiropractors are trained to detect hidden injuries like herniated discs, strained tissues, and subluxations. And, they have the expertise and tests necessary for finding them, including orthopedic and neurological tests. These test help identify things like soft tissue damage, structural damage, loss of muscle strength, loss of range of motion, and joint and nerve function problems.

If your chiropractor discovers any such injuries, he or she will create a custom treatment plan designed to help you recover from your injuries. This treatment plan can include a variety of treatment modalities including:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Deep tissue massages
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Kinesio therapy

With the combination of the above treatment methods, your auto accident chiropractor in Wilmington NC can provide you with the targeted care you need to make a return to full mobility and a pain-free life.

Schedule an Appointment with Southeastern’s Auto Accident Chiropractor Wilmington NC

If you were recently involved in an auto accident and you have already been assessed by medical professionals, take the time to see Southeastern Healthcare’s auto accident chiropractor  Wilmington NC. We’ll provide you with a complete physical assessment and create a customized plan of care that will have you feeling better and healthier in no time.

Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-202-4341 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

A Bicyclist’s Guide to Chiropractic Care

chiropractor in Wilmington NCThere’s no doubt about it—biking can take a real toll on the body, whether you’re a recreational or competitive cyclist.  A burning sensation in the shoulders, numbness in the arms and hands, and tightness in the neck are just a few of the common “aches and pains” that many riders deal with.  Not to mention frequent upper and lower back pain.  While it might be tempting to ignore these types of symptoms and “pedal through it” when they first appear, they often recur and can eventually lead to chronic musculoskeletal pain.  This in turn can seriously interfere with both training and enjoyment of the sport.

Can a chiropractic physician help cyclists with these kinds of problems?  Absolutely!  In addition, chiropractors can also help prevent future injuries and even enhance performance—speed, strength and stamina—for healthy cyclists.  In fact, athletes of all kinds can benefit from the advice and treatment of a well-trained, experienced chiropractor—especially one who specializes in sports and understands the importance of biomechanics in a real-world athletic setting.

In addition to being experts at diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, chiropractors have unique knowledge and skills that are particularly useful in working with cyclists.  In fact, a combination of general and specialized training and experience are essential to successful treatment because everything in cycling is interconnected: the nerves, the bones, the muscles, and the joints.  In most cases, all of these elements must be addressed in a holistic way by a systematic treatment plan in order to get good, lasting results.  This is one reason why a chiropractor who specializes in sports medicine will probably have the most to offer you as a cyclist.  They will also work with adjunct professionals such as sports trainers or physical therapists as needed to address your particular needs.

Solutions to problems cyclists commonly experience will likely be multi-dimensional.  That is, they may involve a combination of adjustments, deep tissue massage, exercises, and stretches. will likely be required.  For example, if a cyclist is suffering from lower back pain, it may be due to hip rotation.  An adjustment of the sacroiliac joints will be quite helpful, but appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises will also be needed to address the weakness and tightness in the muscles that affect the hip joints.  Strengthening exercises will contribute stability to the joint, while stretching will help to lengthen the muscles in the region, thus preventing them from contracting when stressed.

While a qualified chiropractor can be a valuable partner in helping patients recover from cycling-related injuries and pain, the cyclist must also do his or her part to make a treatment plan successful.  In the same way that the athlete needs to actually execute a training program for it to be effective, he or she must also take responsibility for the at-home aspects of any treatment plan for it to achieve results.  If you do not complete the prescribed stretching and strengthening exercises at home, you may not get the relief you expect.

Finally, a sports chiropractor will also likely be able to help you professionally fit your bicycle to maximize your efficiency and to minimize the unnecessary strain on your body.  Bicycle size, seat placement, handlebar height, and cycling posture all have a significant impact on both performance and stress on the body.  In much the same way that runners benefit from gait analysis, cyclists benefit from an insightful analysis of riding mechanics.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for a Chiropractor in Wilmington NC!

If you or someone you know is an avid cyclist who wants to ride healthier, perform better and enjoy the sport longer, our chiropractor in Wilmington NC can help!  Call or visit our office today!

Which Sports Pose the Greatest Risk of Back and Neck Injuries?

back painParticipating in sports is fun. Sports provide healthy exercise, comradeship, a sense of competition, and the opportunity to build and improve athletic skills. However, all sports also involve some risk of injury. In 2006, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reported over half a million injuries, and that figure is only for basketball. The same agency recorded another two million sports injuries associated with bicycling, football, and other sports. And it’s not just adults who risk injury—the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics report that 3.5 million kids age 14 and younger are injured every year playing sports.

It’s important to keep numbers like these in perspective. The truth is that most of these injuries are relatively minor. “Pulled muscles,” meaning muscles and tendons damaged as the result of not warming up and stretching properly, are probably the most common type of injury, but they are not consistently reported to doctors, so no accurate statistics exist on their prevalence. The most prevalent sports-related injuries reported—in order from most common to least—are runner’s knee (55%), shoulder injuries (20%) sprained ankles (15%), and tennis or golf elbow (7%).

Serious Injuries

Next in line come a number of potentially more serious injuries involving the neck, back and spinal cord. These injuries often fit the description of “catastrophic” injuries used by sports physicians, and their number is sadly on the rise. To provide more information for sports enthusiasts hoping to minimize their likelihood of injury (not to mention parents worried about their children becoming injured), we’ve identified a few sports that cause the most neck, back and spinal cord injuries.

Sports that Cause Injuries

Naturally, any kind of “contact sport” (like football, ice hockey, and rugby) involves a higher risk of injury to the muscles, tendons, joints, and bones of the neck and back. Any time a body moving at several miles an hour runs into another one, the laws of physics dictate that there is a certain likelihood of damage, and that the damage may be serious. Even when wearing proper protective equipment (including helmets and pads), there is always a possibility of injury involved in playing these sports.

Interestingly, however, neck strain and injuries are prevalent even among practitioners of non-contact sports. For example, tennis players often put stress on their necks while straining upwards to hit overhead smashes. And cyclists who use racing handlebars and bend low over them put severe repetitive strain on their necks, because they literally have to tilt their head up into an over-extended position to see where they’re going.

Any sport (or strength-training exercise to prepare for participating in a sport) that involves lifting weights increases your risk of injuring your back and spinal cord. Most weight-lifting-related injuries are caused by either not warming up properly, by attempting to lift too much weight, or both. These types of injuries are common not only among weightlifters, but also among martial artists, tennis players and golfers, because these athletes tend to rotate their spines only in one direction. Skiers and swimmers also have a greater number of lower back injuries than other athletes. Even running can cause chronic back pain, because running improperly or with the wrong type of footwear can cause arch pain or Achilles tendonitis, which then throws the athlete’s posture off and can put strain on the back and neck even when they are no longer running.

Which Sport is the “Safest”?

So the “bottom line” is that no sport is entirely “safe” in the sense that it is completely free from the possibility of injury. There have even been cases of people spraining their thumbs from playing tiddley-winks. But if you practice “safe sports” by always warming up and stretching properly, wearing the proper equipment, knowing your limits and not exceeding them, you can avoid many potential injuries.

Contact Us at Southeastern Healthcare Today!

If you become injured—or even if you just want advice about how to avoid injury—your chiropractor can be a very valuable resource. Many chiropractors specialize in the field of sports medicine. They can measure your gait while walking or running, or watch how your body moves when performing the movements required by a certain sport, and offer advice on both how to make your movements more efficient and how to avoid injury while making them. Call or visit our office to learn more!

Where Does Good Balance and Coordination Come From? Introduction to Your Proprioceptive System

Proprioception is a complex system of anatomical checks and balances, neural impulses, and brain functions that controls our sense of balance, coordination, and agility. Put most simply, proprioception is the “sixth sense” that enables you to scratch your head without looking in a mirror or climb a flight of stairs without having to look at each step.

Most of us are so accustomed to proprioception that we take it for granted. Its development starts soon after we are born and is observed in infants as soon as they gain control of their neck muscles. When the infant’s body tilts in any direction, its head also tilts in the opposite direction to level its eyes with the horizon. This “righting reflex” is the beginning of our sense of balance.

chiropractor in Wilmington NC

More technically, proprioception is your body’s ability to transmit a sense of its position in space, analyze that information, and react—either consciously or unconsciously—to stimuli with the proper movement and force. Proprioceptors are a specialized type of motor and sensory nerve that transmits impulses to the central nervous system (in particular, the area of the brain known as the cerebellum) from stimuli felt by the muscles, tendons, joints, and skin. The impulses transmitted by proprioceptors contain vital information, such as the amount of tension in a particular muscle and the relative position of a body part when it is moving.

Proprioception is what enables you to reach for a glass and actually find it in space. It is also what allows you to pick up the glass with just the right amount of force, neither dropping it nor breaking it by squeezing too hard. Proprioception is what enables you to keep your balance when walking on uneven surfaces or when riding a bicycle. The impulses from proprioception combine with input received from the vestibular system (the fluid-filled network in the inner ear that enables us to feel the pull of gravity and know which direction is “up”) and with input from the visual system to create our sense of balance.

However, just as our eyes become weaker with age, so can the proprioceptive system, leading to a loss of proper balance. This is one of the reasons that falling is the number one cause of hospital admissions for people over 60. Something has gone wrong with the complex processing of information needed to maintain their balance, so older people are more likely to slip and fall on stairs or on slippery sidewalks and injure themselves.

Fortunately, you can strengthen your proprioceptive system by practicing simple balance exercises, thus keeping keep your sense of balance from weakening as you grow older. There are many forms of inexpensive exercise equipment (such as BOSU or Bongo Boards) that enable you to stand on a platform that is designed to be wobbly. This instability forces your muscles and your proprioceptive system to work more, and thus become stronger. So if you are over the age of 50, you should consider speaking to your chiropractor about exercises to improve your proprioception. They are very simple but can greatly improve your overall sense of balance, therefore significantly reducing your risk of injury from falls as you grow older.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for a Chiropractor in Wilmington NC!

If you need a chiropractor in Wilmington NC, contact Southeastern Healthcare today! Schedule an appointment for a free consultation to see how we can help solve your pain.

Head-to-Head: Chiropractic Adjustments or NSAIDs for Acute Lower Back Pain?

chiropractor in Wilmington NCLower back pain (LBP) is so widespread that it was listed in the 2010 Global Burden of Disease report as being the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Over half of all working Americans have lower back pain symptoms each year, resulting in lost work time and enormous expense – Americans spend over $50 billion each year to treat their back pain.

So it’s not surprising that a great deal of research is being conducted to determine the most effective methods for treating acute LBP. Much of this research has sought to compare the effectiveness of spinal manipulation (the sort of adjustments performed by Doctors of Chiropractic) with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While these studies have generally not produced definitive findings one way or the other, they have served to highlight potential safety concerns related to NSAIDs. For example, investigators in one study found that diclofenac (an NSAID commonly used to treat LBP) increased the risk of gastrointestinal complications by 54% and posed other risks to the kidneys.

Given the added concern about NSAID side effects, researchers and clinicians have had a renewed interest in learning whether drug-free manual therapies—chiropractic care, in particular—can really be just as effective, but safer. According to a recent study published in the April 2013 edition of the journal Spine, the answer is YES!  In fact, the research team that conducted the study found that chiropractic adjustments were both safer and FAR MORE EFFECTIVE.

In this study, investigators divided a total of 101 patients suffering from acute lower back pain into three groups. One group received chiropractic spinal manipulation plus a placebo (sham) version of the NSAID diclofenac (meaning that the only treatment actually being offered was chiropractic care). A second group received sham spinal manipulation and real diclofenac (meaning that the NSAID was the only treatment being employed). And a third group received the same sham spinal manipulation plus placebo diclofenac (meaning that no treatment was actually being offered – this was the “control group”). All treatments were “blinded,” meaning that the patients did not know whether they were receiving real or sham spinal manipulation or real or placebo diclofenac. Outcomes were measured based on a combination of patient self-reporting, physical examination, missed work time, and the amount of rescue medication (paracetamol tablets) participants required over a 12-week period.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, about half of the participants in the “control” group receiving no treatment dropped out of the study because of intolerable pain. Comparing the remaining no-intervention subjects and the two remaining intervention groups, researchers found that the group receiving chiropractic high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) manipulation fared significantly better than the group being treated with diclofenac and the control group.

Researchers reported a clear difference between the two intervention groups: “The groups receiving spinal manipulation showed a faster and more distinct reduction in the RMS [root mean square, a standardized test of flexibility and mobility]. Subjects also noted a faster and quantitatively more distinct reduction in their subjective estimation of pain after manipulation.” They also found that the group treated only with the NSAID diclofenac required more rescue medication (paracetamol) than the spinal manipulation group, taking 3 times as many tablets and for twice the number of days. No negative effects were reported from the spinal manipulation group, but several negative effects were reported from the diclofenac group.

So, overall, this study indicates a clear “win” for chiropractic in the treatment of acute lower back pain. Not only does HVLA spinal manipulation avoid the potential safety concerns of NSAID medications such as diclofenac, it has been found to be far more effective. Remember this the next time you experience lower back pain, and consider seeing your chiropractor first. This one simple decision may help you recover more quickly and more completely while also helping you avoid the negative side effects of NSAIDs.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for Back or Neck Pain Relief!

Seeing a chiropractor for neck or back pain is a good idea, since he or she can help identify injuries and start treatment promptly. If you have neck or back pain Wilmington NC, contact Southeastern Healthcare today! Schedule an appointment for a free consultation to see how we can help solve your pain.

The Strong Core-Healthy Back Connection

Unless you’re either very, very young or live on a remote desert island without TV, radio, Internet or print media, you’ve probably heard the term “core strength” before.  Serious athletes and exercise enthusiasts talk about it at the fitness center, and so do their coaches and trainers.  But did you know that chiropractors and physical therapists talk about it too?  So what exactly is core strength and why do some kinds of healthcare professionals care about it so much?

What is Core Strength?

As you might guess, chiropractic physicians have a particular interest in the musculoskeletal system, the complex structure of bones, muscles and connective tissues that support the body’s frame and allow it to move.  We’ve recognized for a very long time that the core muscles play a major role in stabilizing this frame and promoting correct posture when the body is at rest or in motion.  In particular, strong core muscles contribute to a healthy back by holding the spine in proper alignment, supporting a portion of the body’s weight and absorbing many of the stresses and impacts we all experience when we walk and run.  When your core muscles are doing their job effectively, your spine is protected.  You can think of this as the “strong core-healthy back connection.”  Let’s talk about it in more detail…

In human beings, the majority of movement originates from the lower part of the torso (the lumbar spine and abdomen).  This is the part of the body that tenses first and keeps the body balanced during running, lifting, twisting and other normal day-to-day movements.  Strength in this region is a basic building block from which to develop power in other areas of the body and (as we mentioned earlier) is fundamental to maintaining good posture and spinal alignment.

Anatomically speaking, the core region of the body consists of the lower back, abdomen, pelvis and diaphragm.  The main muscle groups include the transversus abdominus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis and erector spinae.  It is these muscles that often need strengthening due to the fact that on a daily basis most of us are far less active than our ancestors who worked at more physically demanding jobs.

Instructors across a wide variety of athletic and exercise disciplines have known about the importance of core strength for a long time.  Yoga and Pilates teachers, martial artists and qi gong practitioners all move from the same center of gravity and balance in the core region and view this area as the nexus of human power and energy.  They stress the importance of strengthening the core through breathing exercises and meditation as well as physical movement.  Since the core region of the body contains the diaphragm, ease of breathing is both a sign and result of good core strength.  Back pain, on the other hand, may well be a sign that core strength needs to be improved.

Why You Need a Chiropractor

For those who practice sports, proper alignment is particularly important to prevent injuries during physical exertion.  If the core muscles are not strong enough to support the spine during movement, then other muscle groups will be used to perform the action with a much greater risk of damage.  The rest of us also need to be conscious of our core strength since we all engage in strenuous action at various points in our lives (lifting boxes, running to catch a bus, playfully swinging a child, etc.).

While chiropractors are always willing to help patients in need of treatment, the ultimate goal of chiropractic care is for everyone to have the best possible spinal health.  Good core strength definitely contributes to that, whether you are otherwise healthy or have an ongoing postural problem.  If you want to improve your spinal health and posture and reduce your chance of injury, working on core strength through a balanced program of exercise is a very good—and very inexpensive—way of going about it.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for Back Pain Relief!

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can improve the strong core-healthy back connection, call or visit our office today!  We’re always happy to help!

iPosture? Are Phones/Tablet Computers Causing Neck and Shoulder Pain?

neck pain reliefWhether you’re an Apple fan, an Android lover or a hardcore Microsoft user, there’s no denying the popularity of tablet computers. The numbers speak for themselves—technology market analysts estimate that over 200 million of them are sold in the US each year. Even if you don’t follow the latest tech trends, you know that mobile devices—principally phones and tablets—are a regular feature around town. From coffee shops and supermarkets to airports and train platforms, they seem to be everywhere. Plus a growing number of businesses are beginning to equip their sales and service staff as well as their executive teams with them. They’re even finding their way into hospitals and doctor’s offices!

But while tablets certainly have their benefits, new research suggests that they also have their drawbacks when it comes to musculoskeletal health. It has already been shown that frequent texting on your mobile phone can cause problems with neck pain (the so-called “text neck” epidemic), but those who use their tablet for everything from work-related applications to just surfing the internet and watching full-length movies may be in for even more pain. The anecdotal evidence is already starting to show up in the waiting rooms of chiropractic offices around the country, and researchers at leading universities are beginning to seriously study the ergonomics and health risks of tablet use.

The results of a study published in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation found that the use of tablet computers was associated with greater head and neck flexion than traditional desktop computers and that placing the tablet higher on a table and using a case to put the tablet at a more optimal angle could help prevent neck and shoulder problems.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Microsoft Corporation studied 15 volunteers who were regular users of tablet computers. The subjects performed simulated tasks on an Apple iPad2 and a Motorola Xoom, during which the posture of the head and neck, the subjects’ gaze angle and gaze distance were measured by a three-dimensional infrared motion analysis system. They surfed the internet, wrote e-mails, watched movies and played video games.

Each tablet came with its own proprietary case that enabled users to set the tablet at different angles. The Apple case allowed for 15° and 73° tilt angles, while the Motorola case allowed angles of 45° and 63°. Greater flexion of the neck was found with the iPad2 when used in its case. Not surprisingly, tablets set at the least perpendicular angle caused greater neck and head flexion than when the subjects used a desktop or laptop computer. Head and neck posture only began to approach a neutral position when the tablets were set in their cases at the Table-Movie angle at which they were closest to perpendicular.

The researchers recommended that tablet users place the devices on a table and at the steepest viewing angle possible to avoid neck and shoulder pain. However, they cautioned that this configuration might cause problems for the arms and wrists, which in this configuration are not optimally placed for input. This of course can lead to its own set of musculoskeletal problems in the extremities. So the simple fact of the matter is that tablet ergonomics involve some tough compromises or trade offs for users. A position that’s ideal for viewing is troublesome for typing and gestures and vice-versa.

For many people, tablet computers have become an indispensable part of work and home life (for better or for worse). If you’re one of these people and can’t conceive of either giving up your iPad or reducing the number of hours you spend using it, then it’s very important to develop good ergonomic habits that minimize musculoskeletal stress and have the smallest impact on your posture. You should also consider seeing your chiropractor on a regular basis. Chiropractic care has been shown to be more effective in treating neck and shoulder pain than using pain medication. A chiropractic adjustment can realign neck vertebrae and take the pressure off compressed nerves, bringing relief in a gentle, natural manner and allowing you to use your tablet more comfortably. In addition to addressing the problems you already have, your chiropractor will also be able to offer specific ergonomic advice to help prevent them from recurring or becoming chronic.

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