auto accident chiropractor Wilmington nc

Auto Accident Chiropractor Wilmington NC: What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine?

When most people hear the term “mainstream medicine”, they probably have a pretty accurate intuitive understanding of what it means. It refers to the standard care that patients receive in doctors’ offices and hospitals across the United States. However, there is also another term in modern healthcare—“complementary and alternative medicine”—that is often less well understood by the public.  So what exactly is it, and why is it worth knowing? Our auto accident chiropractor in Wilmington NC explains more.

Let’s start with why it matters. In today’s healthcare environment, it’s important to understand these terms and how they relate to each other so that you can make the right treatment choices for yourself and your family and have appropriate expectations of various healthcare providers. This is especially true if you have a medical issue that mainstream (also known as “conventional”, “Western” or “allopathic”) medicine doesn’t seem to be able to help you with. This is where complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) often comes in.

First of all, complementary medicine and alternative medicine are not interchangeable terms—they actually refer to two separate approaches to diagnosis and treatment. Here’s the difference: Complementary medicine is meant to be used alongside mainstream medicine, while alternative medicine is meant to be used on its own, instead of mainstream medicine. For instance, a complementary medical treatment could involve undergoing acupuncture along with more standard cancer treatments, while an example of alternative medicine might be treating heart disease with chelation therapy (which aims to eliminate excess metals from the blood) in the place of using a typical Western medicinal approach.

Altogether, 40% of American adults use some form of CAM. Most Americans prefer the complementary medicinal approach and relatively few actually opt out of mainstream healthcare altogether in favor of alternative methods.

Interestingly, as complementary and alternative medical treatments are tested and used, they often eventually become conventional or standard care. This means that the boundary between mainstream medicine and CAM shifts with time. At present, the following areas are classified by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as complementary and alternative medicine:

  1. Whole medical systems: Whole medical systems include homeopathy, naturopathy, and ancient healing systems such as Ayurveda from India and traditional Chinese medicine.
  2. Mind-body medicine: Examples of mind-body connection techniques include meditation, prayer, and relaxation and art therapies such as music and dance.
  3. Biologically based practices: These practices include the use of dietary supplements and herbal remedies sourced from nature. These include herbs such as ginseng, ginkgo, and Echinacea. Other dietary supplements include selenium, glucosamine sulfate, and SAMe. Herbs and supplements come in the form of teas, oils, syrups, powders, tablets, and capsules.
  4. Manipulative and body-based practices: These practices include chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation and massage, using touch to influence and heal specific parts of the body.
  5. Energy medicine: According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “Energy therapies involve the use of energy fields. They are of two types:
    • Biofield therapies are intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body. The existence of such fields has not yet been scientifically proven. Some forms of energy therapy manipulate biofields by applying pressure and/or manipulating the body by placing the hands in, or through, these fields. Examples include qi gong, Reiki, and Therapeutic Touch.
    • Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating-current or direct-current fields.”

As you can see, complementary and alternative medicine offers a very wide variety of treatment options. Before undergoing any CAM therapies, you should always ask your healthcare professional a number of important questions:

  1. What benefits can you expect to receive from the therapy over what period of time?

 

  1. What risks and side effects are associated with the therapy? How likely and how serious are they?

 

  1. Do the known benefits of the therapy outweigh the risks?

 

  1. Will the therapy interfere or interact with other treatments—conventional or CAM—you’re undergoing?

 

  1. What costs are associated with the therapy? Is it covered by your health insurance?

Also, always be sure to fully research the specific CAM therapy you’re considering and use your primary care physician (usually an MD or a DC) as a resource for advice and referrals.  If you are interested, contact our auto accident chiropractor Wilmington NC today!

back pain wilmington nc

Back Pain Wilmington NC: Exercises for Back Pain

Exercise to Prevent and Treat Back Pain: The Latest Research

When someone decides to visit the doctor about musculoskeletal pain, back pain is the most common complaint. Sometimes back pain is the result of very specific trauma—a car accident or a slip-and-fall. Other times, however, its causes are much less obvious—cumulative years of poor posture, inactivity or bad nutrition, for example. The rest of this article looks at the role exercise can play in preventing and treating back pain. It should come as no surprise that weak muscles are more easily injured than strong ones. That’s why exercise (along with a good diet of healthy food) is the most important thing you can do to help ensure a healthy and pain-free back. Following are some of the best exercises according to our back pain Wilmington NC chiropractor to help prevent and treat back pain. Of course, check with your chiropractor before beginning any kind of exercise program.

Stretch: Knee-to-Chest

Start by lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Use both hands to pull one knee to your chest. After holding for about 20 seconds, return to the start position. Repeat this with the other leg. Next, repeat with both legs. These 3 pulls give us one complete set. Do one or two more sets to complete the session. Perform a session in the morning and at night.

Stretch: Rotate Lower Back

Start by lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms stretched out to each side. While ensuring both shoulders remain flat on the floor, tilt your knees to one side, hold 5-10 seconds and return. Repeat on the other side. Do two or three more sets to complete the session. Perform a session in the morning and at night.

Stretch: Like a Cat

Start on your hands and knees, with your back straight. Slowly breathe in, arching your back like a cat, then as you breathe out, slowly allow your back to fall into a sway. After returning to start, repeat. Perform 3-5 repetitions two times a day.

Flex: Lower Back

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Arch your back upward and hold for 5 seconds. Relax. Push your back toward the floor as if your bellybutton were being sucked into the earth and hold for 5 seconds. Relax. Perform 5 repetitions once a day to start with. Gradually build up to 30 repetitions.

Lift: Hip Launch

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Throughout the exercise be sure to keep your head and shoulders on the floor and relaxed. As you tighten the gluteal muscles and abdominals, raise your hips so that your body, from shoulders to knees, forms a straight line. Take 3 slow, deep breaths. After returning to start, repeat. Perform 5 repetitions once a day, to begin with. Gradually build up to 30 repetitions.

Need Back Pain Wilmington NC Relief?

If you or someone you care about is experiencing back pain, please call or visit our back pain Wilmington NC chiropractor office! We’re experts at diagnosing musculoskeletal problems and developing treatment plans (including chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy and structured exercise programs) that help patients get out of pain and return to their active lifestyles.

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Chiropractor Wilmington NC: Techniques for Improving Circulation

A healthy circulatory system is crucial to good health. To be at its best, your body needs to be able to keep blood pumping from the heart and lungs through the arteries to your organs and extremities, and then keep pumping it back to the lungs for re-oxygenation. Anything that interferes with the proper circulation of blood puts your body’s health at risk for lots of reasons. “Poor circulation” can mean many things. Common symptoms include having consistently cold fingers and toes, experiencing tingling in your feet and hands, feelings of numbness, tiredness and a general lack of energy, and chronically dry skin. More serious symptoms of poor circulation can include headaches, hair loss, dizzy spells, varicose veins, muscle cramps, feeling short of breath, memory lapses (due to impaired blood flow to the brain), bluish-tinted skin, and slow healing times for wounds. Our chiropractor Wilmington NC explains more.

What causes poor circulation?

One of the most common causes is inactivity and lack of exercise. To keep the blood moving, you need to keep your body in motion. And do it often. Poor diet and carrying excess weight can lead to poor circulation, as can diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Medically, if you have been diagnosed as hypertensive (having high blood pressure), this is almost always an indicator of poor circulation. The “high pressure” is caused by your heart having to pump harder to cause the blood to keep flowing, often because of blood vessels that have become constricted because of stress, disease, or the buildup of plaque.

How can poor circulation be treated?

Serious circulatory problems can be treated with medication. But for most people anxious to improve their circulation and thus their overall health, a few lifestyle changes can do wonders:

  • Get more exercise. Walk rather than ride. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Go for walks after lunch and go to the gym after work. Your body functions best with a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per day.
  • Stretch more. Not just before exercising, but at your desk at work. Stretching helps to relieve stress, and stress is one of the things that can constrict your blood vessels.
  • Get massages. Massage improves circulation by stimulating the soft tissues of your body and encouraging blood flow.
  • Put your feet up. After you exercise, elevating your legs can really help you not only to relax, but increase your circulation. It also reduces your risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Eat healthier foods. Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (from fish, olive oil, and nuts), and lean meats. Try to avoid processed foods.
  • Drink more water, and less caffeine. When you’re thirsty, drink water instead of coffee or black tea or soft drinks. Try to cut down on or avoid alcohol, because it definitely impedes circulation.
  • Don’t smoke, or quit smoking if you do. Nicotine and the pulmonary perils of smoking are among the most common causes of poor circulation.
  • Destress, however you can. Stress has an extremely negative effect on your circulation. So try to find healthy outlets for the stresses you encounter at work and in other areas of your life, to release the stress rather than have it build up and become toxic.
  • Consider herbs and supplements that can help. Ginger, hawthorn berry, cayenne, motherwort, garlic, ginkgo biloba and vitamins C and E all can help to improve your circulation.

If any of the symptoms become chronic, see your Wilmington NC chiropractor. Don’t try to “tough it out” and live with the discomfort of consistent symptoms of poor circulation. Some of the causes can be very serious indeed, so see an expert to make sure. Visit our chiropractor Wilmington NC office today for your free consultation.

back pain wilmington nc

Back Pain Wilmington NC: What is Spinal Decompression?

If you are one of the millions of Americans who experience chronic back pain, you know how much it can disrupt your life and turn the simplest of movements into chores that you dread. If other forms of treatment haven’t fully worked for you in the past, one that you may want to investigate is spinal decompression therapy. Our back pain Wilmington NC chiropractor explains how spinal decompression can do wonders for your pain relief.

The idea behind spinal decompression therapy is that many types of back problems are caused by the spinal disks having become compressed—squeezed between the vertebrae above and below. This can manifest as herniated or bulging disks, which can press up against nerves and cause pain at the site as well as in other areas of your body and may interfere with neural impulses. The good news is that it is often possible to “decompress” the spine and alleviate the pressure WITHOUT resorting to risky and expensive surgeries. Specially trained chiropractors using a variety of advanced equipment offer a conservative alternative that has proven very effective for many people.

What does spinal decompression in Wilmington NC therapy involve?

Basically, you recline – fully clothed – on a table as harnesses are attached to your pelvis and to the trunk of your body. Depending on the condition being treated, you may be facing down or up on the traction table. Then the doctor operates a computer-controlled machine to exert a gentle, pulling force that stretches your body—essentially relieving the pressure that gravity places on your spine all day.

Treatments typically last for 30-45 minutes.  During the treatment itself, the computer constantly adjusts the force and angle of the applied traction in a series of alternating movements, to reduce the body’s tendency to resist external forces. These alternating movements gently elongate the spine and reduce the pressure on individual disks between the vertebrae. Spinal decompression usually works in very small increments over time. Many patients experience immediate relief, though most require a series of treatments over several weeks to produce effective, lasting results. Spinal decompression may be supplemented either before or after the treatment with heat therapy, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound to relax your muscles and facilitate the decompression.

In addition to taking pressure off the spinal disks, decompression has another important therapeutic effect.  Pulling the vertebrae apart creates “negative pressure”, a sort of vacuum that encourages fluid and nutrients to flow back into the spinal disks. This in turn expands the disks’ volume and provides the materials necessary for them to heal.

What conditions can be improved using spinal decompression therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and has brought relief to many people suffering from sciatica, bulging or herniated spinal disks, degenerative disk disease, pinched nerves, worn spinal joints (posterior facet syndrome), and injured or diseased spinal nerve roots (radiculopathy).

Back Pain Chiropractor Wilmington NC

The advantages of spinal decompression therapy over surgery are obvious—the former is non-invasive, and does not require hospitalization or the use of general anesthesia. Simply put, it is a more conservative therapy that avoids both the risks and expense of surgery. If you are interested in finding out more about this potentially beneficial treatment, we encourage you to call or visit our back pain Wilmington NC chiropractor office!

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Chiropractor Wilmington NC: Can Joint Injuries Really Cause or Accelerate Arthritis?

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study performed from 2007-2009 showed that at least 22.2% of adult Americans suffered from arthritis. The actual number could be higher than the CDC estimate, though, because these were self-reported and doctor-diagnosed cases. Naturally, no one knows how many unreported cases there are. Still, it’s reasonable to believe that this percentage will only become higher as the population ages. Our chiropractor Wilmington NC explains more.

The short answer to the question asked in the title of this article is “Yes”.  Joint injuries really can cause or accelerate arthritis. The reason is simple. Arthritis is all about inflammation of the joint. Inflammation is a natural reaction of the body to injury, pathogens or irritants. Trauma or injury is a major cause of arthritic conditions. Various forms of arthritis, like osteoarthritis (the most common form), are degenerative—they get worse over time and with wear and tear. Once an arthritic condition is established, it will get worse unless the root cause is found and dealt with, or the symptoms are managed by drugs.

Dr. Joseph Borrelli Jr., chairman and professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, performed a study to see how post-traumatic arthritis (PTA) developed after an acute joint injury. Using an animal model, Borrelli found that trauma to the joint can lead to a range of acute lesions, including fractures to bones, ligament or meniscus tears and damage to the articular cartilage. These types of injury are often associated with bleeding in the area of the joint and cause post-traumatic joint inflammation. Despite the resolution of the acute symptoms, and the fact that some lesions could be surgically repaired, joint injury causes a chronic remodeling of the cartilage and other joint tissues that in a majority of cases eventually manifests as osteoarthritis.

The key seems to be in the chondrocytes. These are the cells present in healthy cartilage that help to produce and maintain it. When an acute injury occurs, these chondrocytes become inactive within a month, slowly reducing the structural integrity of the cartilage. Borelli said “In our PTA model, the cells became inactive almost immediately after injury and stopped producing these compounds [that maintain the cartilage]. He continued, “This may explain why PTA sometimes develops very quickly in patients after an injury, regardless of how successful we were in fixing the fracture. PTA can develop in just 6 months—unlike osteoarthritis, which may take up to 60 years to develop.”

PTA aside, serious joint injuries that are not addressed promptly can cause a range of problems down the road.  By healing incorrectly or incompletely, joints can become susceptible to instability and re-injury.  Weakened or unstable joints may also lead to other related injuries as the body changes its mechanics to compensate.

Chiropractor Wilmington NC

If you or someone you care about has recently suffered a back, neck or other joint injury, we can help!  Proper treatment can make a big difference! If you’re looking for a chiropractor Wilmington NC, call us today for your free consultation.

car accident chiropractor

Car Accident Chiropactor: What to Know About Accidents and Delayed Symptoms

Even if your recent fender bender didn’t seem too serious, there’s still a very real chance that you or your passengers may have been hurt. That’s because even the most minor car accidents can cause hidden injuries and delayed symptoms. And while damage to your car is likely obvious and easy to assess, evaluating damage to your body may be far more difficult. In fact, it’s not unusual for a driver or passenger to walk away from a collision with potentially serious musculoskeletal injuries (such as a concussion or whiplash), without knowing it. Our car accident chiropractor in Wilmington, NC explains more.

Because of the stress response, right after an accident the body’s defenses are on high alert. Any pain may be masked by endorphins produced by the body during and shortly after this kind of traumatic event. Endorphins help the body manage pain and stress and can create a temporary euphoria or “high” feeling. When the threat of the accident is gone, endorphin production slowly disappears, allowing you to feel pain that may have remained hidden earlier.
Perhaps the most common delayed symptom is that of whiplash. Whiplash consists of soft tissue damage in the neck from the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head, creating hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck. This can not only cause damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of your neck, it can also occasionally fracture or dislocate vertebrae and cause any of the following symptoms to show up later:

• Headaches
• Reduced range of motion or difficulty moving
• Slowed reflexes
• Vertigo
• Muscle spasms
• Localized weakness or numbness
• Stiffness in shoulders and arms

Every bit as serious as any broken bones or lacerations, a concussion can prove to be a grave threat to your health. Quite simply, a concussion is the result of the brain colliding with the inside of the skull from a rapid acceleration or deceleration. Not all concussions occur because of bumping the head. If the head is restrained in any way and the restraint suddenly stops or suddenly jerks into motion, a concussion may occur. Symptoms of concussion include the following:

• Headaches
• Bad temper
• Nausea
• Spasms
• Loss of balance
• Blurred or double vision
• Disorientation
• Confusion
• Amnesia
• Ringing in the ears
• Difficulty concentrating or reasoning
• Anxiety or depression
• Tiredness, sleeplessness, or other problems with your ability to sleep

The key point with any of these symptoms is to know whether or not you had them before the accident. Someone who knows you or lives with you can help identify any changes in your behavior that may indicate a possible concussion. If you didn’t have a symptom that you’re now experiencing, see your doctor right away.

In addition to the health consequences of car accidents with delayed symptoms, there is also the insurance aspect to consider. Because many accident-related injuries don’t show up immediately, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for the medical expenses from any delayed symptoms if you settle with your insurance company right away. Therefore, consider waiting a few days before signing any release of liability so that any delayed symptoms have an opportunity to reveal themselves. Seeing a chiropractor for a medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident is also a good idea, since he or she can help identify injuries and start treatment promptly. In many cases, seeking appropriate medical care soon after an accident can improve your chances of a more complete and more rapid recovery.

If you need a car accident chiropractor, call us today.