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Four Things You May Not Know About Chiropractic Care in the 21st Century

Even as adults, a surprising number of our beliefs are shaped by “casual” or “informal” sources of information, including watercooler conversations with colleagues at work, social media exchanges with friends and family and pop-culture references on TV. Most of the time, we’re not aware of the cumulative effect that this sort of information has on our view of the world—or how much of worldview is really second- or third-hand. Not surprisingly, this is even true when it comes to heath and healthcare. 

According to the Pew Research Center, people look to a variety of sources for health-related background, advice and support. For example:

  • 13% Consult online reviews of drugs
  • 21% Get information, care or support from others with the same condition
  • 28% Go online for a diagnosis
  • 33% Have participated in an online social activity related to health in the last year
  • 50% Gather health information online
  • 54% Get information, care or support from friends and family

While access to high-quality health information is undeniably a good thing for the public at large, it can be difficult for most people to judge the accuracy and appropriateness of what they read or hear. This is particularly true on the Internet, where the flow of new misinformation is often accelerated and amplified and where old ideas and misconceptions can be easily repeated and sustained.

In light of new media trends, we thought it might be a good idea to share three facts about chiropractic care in the 21st century—facts that sometimes get lost in all the “noise” about healthcare.

Chiropractic care is NOT on the “fringes” of modern healthcare.  And it hasn’t been for years.

According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, chiropractic is the third largest primary healthcare profession in the U.S. (surpassed only by medical doctors and dentists), with over 70,000 active licenses.  In addition, the National Center for Health Statistics has reported that 8.5% of the American adult population used chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation in 2012—and that this percentage was significantly higher in many regions of the country.

Chiropractic care has a proven track record in treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions—particularly back and neck problems—without the use of drugs or surgery.

Over the years, teams from leading academic institutions have published study findings that document the effectiveness chiropractic care in a variety of well-respected, peer-reviewed journals. Public health and consumer research organizations have also regularly reported on the high level of patient satisfaction achieved by chiropractic physicians.

Back in 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delivered to Congress a report that detailed its findings from a “demonstration project” designed to assess the effects of expanding Medicare coverage for chiropractic services. As part of this work, researchers conducted a satisfaction survey of chiropractic patients. Here’s an excerpt of what they found:

“Sixty percent of respondents indicated that they received ‘complete’ or ‘a lot’ of relief of symptoms from their chiropractic treatments. Satisfaction with care was high, with 87 percent reporting levels of 8 or higher on a 10-point scale and 56 percent indicating a perfect score of 10.”

Interestingly, the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center came to a very similar conclusion based on its own survey data. The Center reported that a larger percentage of patients (59%) were highly satisfied with the back pain treatment and advice they received from chiropractors than were satisfied with the care provided by any other type of healthcare professional. By way of comparison, 44% of patients were highly satisfied with care provided by a specialist physician and only 34% were highly satisfied with care provided by a primary care physician.

Chiropractic care is increasingly provided as part of an integrated, cross-disciplinary approach to the treatment of musculoskeletal problems at leading medical centers and local clinics.

Here’s just one example: At the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, “Chiropractic physicians are established members of the mainstream medical team. They treat problems involving the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, cartilage and nervous system.”

Get Relief From Your Lower Back Pain or Neck Pain – See Your Chiropractor Wilmington NC

If you suffer from pain in your back or neck, Southeastern Healthcare can help you find lasting relief and improved mobility. And best of all, we can do it without using dangerous, habit-forming drugs or other risky treatment methods. Call us today at 910-790-3666. 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 chiropractor Wilmington NC care can make. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Are Men and Women Different When it Comes to Exercise?

When it comes to losing weight and getting fit, everyone wants to look and feel better.

Still, men and women approach fitness in different ways.

Men typically want more muscle mass and women usually want to be slimmer, and each gender goes about reaching those goals differently. Women wanting to lose body fat tend to seek out exercises that lengthen muscle and burn calories, such as yoga and dancing. On the other hand, men are more likely to go for strength training or boot camp-style exercise.

Anatomical and physiological differences can translate into different workout preferences and performance.

There are also differences between the sexes (in terms of typical body structure and composition as well as hormonal balance) that can affect the way men and women exercise. For example, women have wider hips that can cause the leg bones to angle in a way that makes women more prone to knee injuries. A woman’s menstrual cycle and various hormonal fluctuations may help or hinder her motivation and performance. Men, for their part, tend to have more lean muscle but also tend to be less flexible than women, whose higher estrogen levels play a role in keeping connective tissues more pliable.

It’s important to note that these types of differences DON’T mean that men and women can’t perform the same types of exercises. For example, while some extreme CrossFit workouts may be more difficult for women, women are certainly able to do them. Similarly, men can benefit from yoga’s stretching and mindfulness even if many lack the kind of natural balance and flexibility that many women have.

Each gender benefits from different activities throughout life.

Whether you happen to be a man or a woman, good health requires regular physical activity—ideally, exercise that promotes strength, stamina, balance, flexibility and coordination. But the kinds of activities that benefit each gender most can vary depending on age.

Bone density in women can decrease rapidly (particularly in women over 40), while the bone density of men usually remains somewhat more consistent throughout life. For this reason, young women may want to focus on higher-impact exercise such as running and jumping to help maximize bone mass early on. Weight training can also help women of all ages increase and maintain healthy bone and muscle mass.

Heart health is certainly important for everyone, but men are more likely to develop heart disease and at a younger age. Younger men can decrease their risk by focusing on lower impact aerobic exercises such as cycling and swimming.

Since cross-training and “muscle confusion” have the potential to jump-start stalled workout programs and to produce more well-rounded results over time, it might be a good idea for men and women to cross the traditional “gender line” for exercise once in a while.

Whether you’re a man or woman, maintaining optimal fitness can also help your spine stay healthy.

No matter your gender, men and women can both suffer from poor posture, spinal pain and discomfort. Many times these symptoms can be prevented or corrected through the right combination of cardiovascular, anaerobic and flexibility exercises.

Get Pain Relief Today – See Your Back Pain Chiropractor in Wilmington NC

If you suffer from pain in your back, Southeastern Healthcare can help you find lasting relief and improved mobility. Call us today at 910-790-3666. 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 chiropractor Wilmington NC care can make. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

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Latest Innovative Chiropractic Treatment Options for Herniated Discs in the Lower Back

Herniated discs are among the most common causes of pain in the lower back. And, when the disc bulges to the point that it is putting pressure on the spinal nerve root, the result can be even more significant with shooting electrical-like pains, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs and buttocks occurring regularly.

For years, the traditional treatment for herniated lumbar discs in the medical profession has been via the use of oral steroids and epidural injections of cortisone. The problem is, both of these treatment options have produced extremely limited success rates and in some cases, serious adverse side effects. So, what options do back pain sufferers have besides these ineffective methods?

Using Chiropractic Care to Treat Lumbar Disc Herniation

Recently, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics published the results of a study in which it was discovered that both chronic and acute herniated disks in the lower back can be effectively treated by chiropractic adjustments. The study was performed over one year and involved 148 patients with MRI-confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Prior to the study, each of the patients suffered from serious back pain, sciatica, and radiating leg symptoms. Of the 148 participants, 79 had experienced the symptoms without noticeable relief for more than three months.

Over the course of the study, the patients were treated with high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation and adjustments deemed appropriate for their individual cases. The patients were asked to self-assess the results of the treatments at specific intervals, including within two weeks, one month, three months, six months, and one year. They were also examined by doctors at those same intervals.

Since just 36% of patients with lumbar herniated disk show improvement after two weeks of traditional treatments, researchers were surprised to discover that 69% of the patients in the study reported significant improvement in both mobility and pain reduction after only two weeks of receiving regular chiropractic treatments. At the one month interval, 79.6% reported significant improvement in their conditions. Amazingly, by the end of the third month, 90.5% had reported improvements in their pain levels and mobility. The chiropractic care portion of the study ended after three-months, but the patients still reported their assessments at the six-month and 12-month points with the results showing that 88% still considered their condition substantially improved.

 Chiropractor Wilmington NC Care Offers Zero Side Effects for Herniated Disc Treatment

One of the other significant advantages of using chiropractic care to treat patients with disc herniation is the fact that the patients in the study reported no adverse side-effects from the treatments. This re-confirms what chiropractors already know – that patients with acute and chronic lumbar disk herniation can experience pronounced improvement in their conditions with zero risk of side effects using drug- and surgery-free chiropractic treatment methods. Whereas pain killers and epidural injections only mask the symptoms of the herniated discs, chiropractic care alleviates the patient’s pain naturally and helps their bodies to heal themselves.

Get Relief From Your Lower Back Pain – See Your Chiropractor Wilmington NC

If you suffer from pain in your lower back, Southeastern Healthcare can help you find lasting relief and improved mobility. And best of all, we can do it without using dangerous, habit-forming drugs or other risky treatment methods. Call us today at 910-790-3666. 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 chiropractor Wilmington NC care can make. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

wilmington nc back pain

Chiropractic Treatments for Lower Back Pain

It’s not news that millions of Americans suffer from lower back pain. But, what many people may find surprising is that a significant number of these people may be able to achieve lasting relief without medicines or surgeries. For many, a few visits to a back pain chiropractor might be all that’s needed to reduce or eliminate their pain.

How a Misaligned Spine Can Cause Back Pain

Chiropractic treatments have been proven effective for helping people manage their back pain because many of these problems arise from spines that are out of alignment. When your spine is out of alignment, it causes certain muscles to work overtime in order to maintain your body’s balance and stability. In more severe cases, the spine might be so far out of alignment that it may be pinching nerves, resulting in even greater pain.

By aligning the spine, these muscles will gradually be re-educated to work as they’re intended and pressure on the nerves will be released. This will also allow more blood to flow into the area, bringing healing oxygen with it, while at the same time removing pain-causing toxins that might have built up in the area. This is the body’s natural self-healing process at work.

What is the Usual Course of Treatment for Low Back Pain?

The first step a chiropractor does is review the patient’s medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. Depending on the situation, diagnostic imaging or lab tests may be ordered to determine whether or not chiropractic care is the appropriate form of treatment or if there is a more serious health problem that’s causing the pain.

The back pain chiropractor will then devise a treatment plan that includes manual adjustments, massage, at-home exercise, electrical stimulation, hot and cold therapy, rehabilitation (if necessary), and in some cases, nutritional counseling.

The Benefits of Chiropractic Treatments for Back Pain

Chiropractic treatments have been proven to be a safe treatment option for those looking for holistic, drug-free low back pain relief. When applied properly, chiropractic manipulation can leave you feeling a little sore, but over time, the soreness will go away and you’ll start feeling less pain and more flexibility, mobility, and better in general.

It is important to note that treating low back pain typically involves a series of visits to the chiropractor in order for the pain to be alleviated for the long term. When the spine has been out of alignment for a period of time, this will become its new norm, so it needs to be re-adjusted on a regular basis until it is re-educated.

Who Should Not See a Chiropractor for Low Back Pain?

Even though manual manipulation is safe and effective, it is not ideal for every person suffering from low back pain. In particular, people who are suffering from osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or inflammatory arthritis, or who are taking blood-thinning medications should not undergo chiropractic treatments.

Need to See a Back Pain Chiropractor for Your Low Back Pain? Call Southeastern Today!

Low back pain can be debilitating and it can have a direct impact on one’s quality of life. But, help is available. With the right chiropractic treatment plan, your lumbar pain could be substantially reduced or even eliminated. Call Southeastern today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

 

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!

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!

Automobile Safety Tip: Driver’s Seat Position

As anyone who has a long commute to work or drives for a living can tell you, driving can take a toll on your body, especially your back!

Being behind the wheel for extended periods of time can put a lot of stress on the spine, since the normal lumbar curve can easily be affected the typical driving position.  Add to that the bumping and jostling from traveling over uneven road surfaces and speed bumps and you’ve got a recipe for back pain.  Following are a few tips that will help you minimize the risk of recurring or chronic back pain by adjusting your driver’s seat to the optimal placement for driving.

  1. Position yourself properly in the seat.  To do this, ensure that you are sitting as far back in the seat as possible, so that your buttocks are almost wedged between the bottom cushion and the seat back.
  2. Adjust the distance between the seat and steering wheel.  Move the seat forward so you can fully depress both the brake and (if necessary) the clutch, while still keeping your knees slightly bent.  Your leg should ideally maintain an angle of approximately 120 degrees.  If your leg is either too straight or at a 90-degree angle, your seat needs to be moved either closer or further back.
  3. Adjust the tilt of the seat.  Tilt your seat forward or backward until you feel that your leg from hip to knee is fully supported while having your foot on the gas pedal, without feeling that the seat is pressing uncomfortably into the back of your leg.
  4. Adjust the back of the seat.  Your seat should be at an angle that fully supports the length of your back.  It should not be reclined too far, as this can cause you to have to bend your head and neck forward at an angle in order to see the road ahead.
  5. Move the steering wheel.  You should move the steering wheel toward you until it is close enough for your hands to reach the standard 10 and 2 position, while keeping your arms slightly bent.  Having it too close can be dangerous in an accident, but you also don’t want it so far away that you are straining to reach it.  It should be tilted at an angle so your hands are just a little lower than your shoulders while resting on the wheel.
  6. Adjust the head restraint.  The bottom of the head restraint should be level with the base of your skull and should be about an inch from your head while driving in order to help prevent whiplash in the event of an accident.

If your car has a lumbar support feature, adjust it so it supports the lumbar area without pressing into your back. If you don’t have this feature, one or two rolled towels can be used to support the lumbar area.

Try to be sure your knee does not drop to the side while you drive, since this can cause some aggravation to the nerves in the lower back, which can in turn lead to pain in the hip, knee and foot.  Pull your knee in to keep it in line with your body.

If you’re the primary (or only) driver of a vehicle, many of these adjustments need to be made only once.  For the small investment of a few minutes of your time, you can reduce your risk of recurring or chronic back and neck pain.  Trust us, your back and neck will thank you!

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.

Car Accidents and Delayed Symptoms: What You Need to Know

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.

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.

Whiplash

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

Other Common Injuries

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

When Did the Symptoms Begin?

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.

What Will Insurance Cover?

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.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for Your Auto Accident Injury

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 have an auto accident injury Wilmington NC, contact Southeastern Healthcare today! Schedule an appointment for a free consultation to see how we can help solve your pain.

Steroid Injections for Back Pain: Understanding the Risk

Chronic lower back pain is no fun. It is so not fun that many patients who are afflicted with it will try almost anything to rid themselves of the constant pain and discomfort. Increasingly, medical doctors are prescribing epidural steroid injections – anti-inflammatory steroid compounds injected directly into the spinal area – to relieve the pain. While there are cases in which this approach has reduced people’s pain, there are also enormous risks involved with epidural steroid injections. Those who suffer from chronic back pain should be aware of these risks and should discuss them with their physician before considering this treatment.

Effectiveness of Steroid Use

First, there is the question of effectiveness. Some patients have reported an actual increase in their pain level after the injection, not a reduction. The Food and Drug Administration, after all, has still not approved steroid injections for use in lower back pain because no one has been able to demonstrate long-term benefits of the treatment, only short-term pain relief. Second, there are risks associated with the injections themselves, ranging from infection and post-injection headaches to actual nerve damage. Although these types of risks are rare, occurring in only 0.1% to 0.5% of injections, they should still be considered.

Third, there are occasionally negative side effects from the treatment, including an increase in pain level, headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness, fever, reduced immune response and severe arthritis of the hips (avascular necrosis). Fourth, although these drugs may temporarily reduce inflammation, there is increasing evidence that they may contribute to bone loss in older patients. In one study conducted on over 3,000 patients at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, patients treated with steroids were found to be much more susceptible to vertebral fractures, and their risk of incurring these fractures increased by 21% with each round of treatments.

Finally, although it is limited so far to only one supplier of these medications, there is the possibility that the steroid medications themselves can be tainted and cause far more serious diseases than they are used to treat. Several cases of fungal meningitis have been linked to epidural steroid injections using medications supplied by one Massachusetts provider.

The purpose of this article is not to scare people away from injected steroid use. There are cases in which it has been of benefit. But there are questions about whether these medications are useful for treating back pain, and there are legitimate concerns about the treatment’s safety.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for Back Pain Wilmington NC

Therefore, the wisest approach might be to try other, safer, and more conservative treatments before you try epidural steroid injections. These alternative treatments include chiropractic care, massage, safer anti-inflammatory and pain-management medications, and simply allowing time to pass to see if the condition improves on its own. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, by all means consult your medical practitioner, but don’t be afraid to also consult Doctors of Chiropractic, whose entire practice and philosophy is based drug-free, surgery-free and side-effect-free treatments for spinal problems. Schedule your appointment  for back pain Wilmington NC at Southeastern Healthcare today!