chiropractor, wilmington nc

Chiropractor, Wilmington NC: A Close Up On Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (pronounced “plan-tar fash-ee-EYE-tis”) is also sometimes referred to as a heel spur. It’s a debilitating and painful condition that can make walking even a short distance difficult. The discomfort—ranging from mild to severe—is typically most pronounced near the bottom of the heel, usually toward the front, though it may also extend across the entire bottom of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is usually at its worst first thing in the morning after you get out of bed and walk a few steps, or when you stand up after sitting for an extended period. Our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC explains more. 

What exactly is plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of very tough, fibrous tissue that extends from the heel bone to the base of the toes and supports the arch of the foot. When this ligament develops micro-tears, pulls away from the heel bone or becomes inflamed, pain and bone spurs can result. The muscles in the foot may also be involved, especially if the pain occurs after long periods of standing or from chronic overwork, which causes the muscles to shorten, making them less resilient and more susceptible to micro-trauma. 

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis can occur for a wide variety of reasons and it’s frequently difficult to isolate any one specific cause. That said, here are some of the primary culprits:   

  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Wearing shoes with little support
  • Having flat feet
  • Having exceptionally high arches
  • Being overweight
  • A sudden increase in activity
  • Repetitive stress
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Overpronation (walking on the outsides of your feet)
  • Aging 

What can be done?

Unfortunately, recovery from plantar fasciitis usually takes time and is prone to setbacks. However, there are some things you can do to help ease the pain and speed the healing process.

Rest the foot as much as possible. Applying ice to the area can help reduce the inflammation, as can taking an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. Many people with plantar fasciitis find it helpful to wear Birkenstocks or other shoes that have good arch support. Custom foot orthotics and heal cups can also provide some relief. At night, wearing a boot that gently stretches the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calf muscles (not allowing the foot and toes to point) can help reduce morning symptoms. If you work in an office environment, rolling a baseball or lacrosse ball beneath the arch of your foot while sitting at your desk can help achieve the same thing during the day.       

In the long-run, it’s important to address the cause of the problem so that it doesn’t become chronic or recurring. Fortunately, your chiropractor can help in that regard. Chiropractic physicians are experts at treating a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems—not only those that affect the back and neck, but also those that affect the extremities. To treat plantar fasciitis, your chiropractor may use a combination of therapies, including manipulation/mobilization, stretching, cold laser, and ultrasound. He or she may also recommend custom orthotics and useful exercises that you can do at home to gently stretch tight muscles and tendons. Since one common cause of plantar fasciitis is overpronation, a series of chiropractic adjustments can ensure your bones are properly aligned, allowing for greater range of motion and helping to take some of the strain off the overworked muscles and connective tissues in your feet.

Healing plantar fasciitis is a slow process that may take weeks or months. However, with good chiropractic care, conscientious at-home treatment and proper shoes, it doesn’t have to become a chronic or recurring condition. Have any questions? Please call or visit our office today! We’re always happy to help!

To schedule a free consultation, contact our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC today.

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Chiropractor, Wilmington NC: Summertime Grilling and Your Health

For many people, summertime just isn’t summertime without a barbecue! It’s a generations-old cultural phenomenon that combines three things American families love—food, family and fun! Unfortunately, though, there are also some potential downsides to grilling when it comes to your health. This article presents a quick overview of the risks and offers some advice to help make grilling a little bit safer for you and your family this summer. Our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC explains more.

What’s unhealthy about grilling?

The first issue has to do with HOW the food is actually cooked. Grilling meat or fish over high heat produces carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have been linked to increased risk of various cancers. The second issue has to do with WHAT KINDS of food many people choose to grill. Many of the most popular foods for grilling can be high in fat and sodium and have little other nutritional value. With these two issues in mind, here are some tips on how you can enjoy healthier grilling all summer long.

Clean the grill. You don’t want to incorporate rancid grease and the charred buildup from previous barbecues into your meat before you’ve even begun cooking it. Use a sturdy wire scrub brush and warm soapy water to scrape any residue from the grill’s surface, both before and after you grill. This will also greatly improve the flavor of your food!

Use a low flame and cook briefly. When direct flames touch the meat it can add to the HCAs produced. To reduce these HCAs, keep the gas flame low or, if you’re using charcoal, wait until the coals have been reduced to glowing embers. The heat will still be sufficient, but will not be as likely to char the meat. Try not to overcook your food, as overdone meat has more HCAs. Discard any charred parts.

Flip burgers often. To reduce the chances of E. coli contamination in your ground beef, be sure to flip your burgers every 30 seconds or so. The USDA advises that you cook burgers to an internal temperature of at least 160°F to kill any possible bacteria. However, if you are someone who thinks that a burger cooked beyond medium-rare is a travesty, buy a cut of beef and grind it yourself and form your patties just before grilling. Or, if it is commercially prepared, be sure to flip your burgers often. A study found that when two burgers were cooked to the same temperature, the one flipped more often had a fifth of the E. coli. 

Pre-treat your meat. To allow you to cook your meat for a shorter time while still retaining flavor and tenderness, consider marinating it first.  A marinade will tenderize the meat, and by using some flavorful spices in the marinade or in a dry rub, you can add a host of antioxidants to your meal that will reduce the production of HCAs. Researchers from Kansas State University found that marinating meat reduced carcinogens by 57 to 88 percent. Red wine, ginger, turmeric, rosemary and garlic are among the great-tasting, cancer-fighting ingredients you can include in a marinade.  And by combining two parts onion, two parts garlic and one part lemon juice in your marinade, you can reduce HCAs by 70%, as some researchers in Germany have found.

Choose healthier meat. Grass-fed organic meat is a far healthier choice than conventionally raised meat. Compared with conventionally raised meat, organic grass-fed beef and chicken are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and higher in omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and abdominal fat. It is also free from hormones and antibiotics.

Go veggie. Though meat is certainly tasty, grilled vegetables are delicious too, and vegetarian versions of burgers and hot dogs have come a long way from their early roots, when they had all the flavor of foam peanuts or confetti. Fortunately, there are now a host of excellent veggie “meats” on the market that don’t force you to sacrifice good taste for good health. And there’s nothing quite like grilled red peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini and onions. A good way to grill veggies is to cut them up into small chunks and put them on skewers. You’ll get a healthy serving of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in each bite. And topping your burger with some slices of avocado will give it a nutrition boost as well as a taste boost. Its mono and polyunsaturated fats have been shown to reduce cholesterol and can be a good substitute for mayonnaise.

To schedule a free consultation, contact our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC today.

Neck Pain Wilmington NC: Chiro and Massage

Chiropractic physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating disorders that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. They are specially trained to identify and correct structural misalignment and imbalances in the back, neck and joints that can cause a variety of health problems. The techniques that chiropractors use to accomplish this are typically referred to as adjustments, manipulation or mobilization. Our neck pain Wilmington NC specialist explains more.

Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary or useful for patients to receive therapeutic massage—either before or after a chiropractic adjustment—as part of a well-designed treatment plan. This is because the body’s bones are surrounded by soft tissues—muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage—that can contribute to pain and loss of function and that can also make chiropractic adjustments more difficult and less effective under some circumstances. Massage therapy can often be helpful in accelerating the body’s healing processes and in relaxing tight muscles. Our neck pain Wilmington NC chiropractor offers massage.

In the simplest terms, chiropractors work with bones and massage therapists work with soft tissues. But as treatment modalities, they are compatible and complementary. This combination of treatments often produces a more comfortable patient experience as well as superior results. Massage is often recommended as a preparation for a chiropractic adjustment because it relieves the muscle tension that may be pulling joints out of alignment and makes it easier to move them back into place. Massage is also relaxing, and a relaxed body is easier for the chiropractor to work with. In addition, as the chiropractor corrects the structural problems that are causing pain or limiting your mobility, massage can complement the healing process by stretching and relaxing muscles that have been aggravated by these structural problems, making it easier for you to stretch and exercise, and thus more quickly achieve a state of normal well-being.

Many chiropractors work hand-in-hand with massage therapists because their treatment modalities are so complementary. Patients who are working with massage therapists to address soft tissue problems but find that their symptoms persist are frequently referred to chiropractic physicians for further diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, chiropractic patients usually find that their treatment proceeds faster and with less discomfort when the soft tissue has been relaxed with massage. Recovery—especially from musculoskeletal conditions that cause pain and limit mobility—is normally faster and more complete when the underlying causes are addressed holistically, with the chiropractor working to resolve the structural problems and the massage therapist working to resolve the soft tissue problems. Chiropractors and massage therapists who work together collaborate to find the proper combination of chiropractic adjustments and massage to achieve your health and wellness goals as quickly as possible.

Chiropractic and massage therapy are holistic treatment modalities that share a common goal of treating the whole body, helping you to achieve a state of optimal health and well-being without resorting to drugs or surgery. Both focus on trying to resolve the underlying cause of your pain or discomfort rather than simply treating isolated symptoms. Used together, they can be a powerful combination!

If you or someone you care about is suffering from musculoskeletal problems, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. Our neck pain Wilmington NC specialist is always happy to discuss our overall approach as well as the treatment options we provide.

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Chiropractor Wilmington NC: Menopause and Bone Density

The natural decrease in estrogen associated with menopause can cause many health conditions in women after about the age of 45 (Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but it may also occur much earlier or later.). Unfortunately, bone loss is one of them. In more serious cases, bone loss can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that is associated with low-density, brittle bones. This is why post-menopausal women are actually at a higher risk for fractures, especially of the wrist, hip, and spine. Our chiropractor Wilmington NC explains more.

Menopause is triggered by the decrease of estrogen and progesterone produced in the body. Post-menopausal women between the ages of 45 and 55 can lose an average of two to three percent of their bone density each year, with some women losing up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the first five to seven years following menopause. This can lead to chronic aches and pains as well as increased risk of bone fractures.

Menopause may also cause a condition called osteopenia, or low bone mass, which is a reduction of bone mass below the normal range, but not low enough to be in the range of osteoporosis. This is defined by the World Health Organization to be about 10 to 25 percent below the normal value found in a 30-year-old woman (Most women’s bone mass peaks at around age 30). At 30 percent below, the diagnosis of osteoporosis kicks in. The World Health Organization recommends patients with osteopenia be further evaluated using various clinical risk factors regarding the need for intervention and therapy such as medication to reduce the risk of fractures.

Since osteopenia and osteoporosis cannot be felt or seen, they are sometimes referred to as “silent diseases”. However, a bone density test can help you and your doctor determine if you need treatment. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “A bone density test shows the amount of bone a person has in the hip, spine, or other bones. It is routinely recommended for postmenopausal women and men age 50 and older and is how osteoporosis is diagnosed in older people. Bone density tests are usually only done for premenopausal women if they break several bones easily or break bones that are unusual for their age, such as bones in the hip or spine.”

Hormone therapy can be valuable for the inhibition of osteoporosis and incapacitating hip and spine fractures in post-menopausal women. Hormone replacement therapy, or estrogen therapy, decreases hip fractures by 33 to 36 percent. While estrogen therapy is approved for osteoporosis and fracture reduction, it’s important to understand that hormone therapy has its own risks and isn’t appropriate for everyone. This is why hormone therapy is no longer routinely recommended for most women solely for this purpose. Large studies have shown that women using hormone replacement therapy may be at an elevated risk of blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer.

The good news for women-pre-menopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal-is that there are lifestyle choices and healthcare interventions that can help increase bone density and delay or prevent osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Of course, earlier is better when it comes to building bone mass. The more bone mass you have when you reach menopause, the lower your risk. In this regard, diet and exercise are the keys to success:

* Calcium intake of 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams a day and vitamin D intake of 1,000 to 2,000 international units daily (IU/day) can help prevent bone loss and preserve bone density.

* Moderate alcohol use of three or more glasses daily is associated with osteoporosis, so keep that in mind when you are trying to mitigate the effects of menopause on your bone density.

* Avoid smoking. This should go without saying.

* Exercise can help to moderate the physical and emotional effects of menopause. It is well-documented that moderate-impact and weight-bearing exercises build bone mass. In addition, aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease, another health condition that becomes more prevalent after menopause.

 

If you need a chiropractor Wilmington NC, please contact our office

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Back Pain Wilmington NC: How Much Protein Should You Have in Your Diet?

In recent years, we have been introduced to a variety of “pop” diet plans such as the Atkins Diet and the Paleo Diet that promise weight loss and better health as the result of substituting protein for carbohydrates. And although these diets have appealed to millions of Americans who would rather chow down on a cheeseburger or a steak than a plate of vegetables anyway, new research indicates that eating all of this animal protein might have at least one slight drawback—it can shorten your life. In fact, that steak you’re eating might shorten your lifespan as much as smoking a cigarette. Our back pain Wilmington NC chiropractor explains more.

In two related studies published in the journal Cell Metabolism earlier this year, researchers examined the relationship of protein consumption and longevity. In the first study, scientists at the University of Southern California examined data on over 6,800 middle-aged and older adults. They found that 50-year-olds who got more than 20% of their daily calories from animal protein—meat and dairy products—had a fourfold increase in their risk of death from cancer or diabetes. They also had nearly a twofold increase in risk of death from other causes over the next 18 years, compared with those who ate more low-protein diets.

These somewhat surprising results were definitely tied to timing—when in life the subjects consumed high levels of protein. Eating high levels of animal protein in middle age was the most dangerous – even people who ate moderate levels had a threefold increase of death from cancer. Study author Dr. Valter Longo said that the findings provide “convincing evidence that a high-protein diet – particularly if the proteins are derived from animals—is nearly as bad as smoking for your health.”

On the other hand, eating high levels of protein was found to have the opposite effect in people over 65. They had a 60% lower risk of dying from cancer and a 28% lower risk of death from any cause, compared with those of the same age who ate moderate levels of protein. And what about people who ate a high-protein vegetarian diet? The researchers found no increased risk of death in 50-year-olds who ate a high-protein diet but with the protein coming from plant-based sources.

A second study reported in the same issue of Cell Metabolism confirmed these findings in mice, indicating that rodents who ate a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet had much shorter lifespans. They theorized that the link between high protein consumption and early death might be due to protein activating a natural growth hormone and cellular growth factor called IGF-1, which helps the body grow, but has also been linked to greater susceptibility to cancer.

Levels of IGF-1 may help to explain the findings that high-protein diets in people over 65 have the opposite effect, because IGF-1 levels tend to naturally drop off in humans after that age. This can lead to muscle loss and frailty, and the additional protein may help to counteract these effects. In the human study at USC, the IGF-1 levels of a sub-portion of the study group (2,253 subjects) were measured, and the researchers found that for every 10 ng/ml increase in IGF-1, middle-aged subjects on a high-protein diet were more likely to die from cancer than those on a low-protein diet, but similar mortality risk increases were not found in those over 65.

If you’re wondering what all this means for you, it seems to indicate that if you’re middle-aged you should probably consider eating less animal protein, whereas if you’re over 65, you might consider eating more. In a press release, USC study co-author Eileen Crimmins said, “The research shows that a low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality. However, we also propose that at older ages, it may be important to avoid a low-protein diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and protection from frailty.”

At the same time, co-author Dr. Longo advised caution, “The majority of Americans are eating about twice as much protein as they should, and it seems that the best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins but especially animal-derived proteins. But don’t get extreme in cutting out protein; you can go from protected to malnourished very quickly.”

Back Pain Wilmington NC
If you are experiencing back pain, make an appointment with our back pain Wilmington NC chiropractor today.

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Neck Pain Wilmington NC: Can You Really Bank Sleep?

Banking sleep to save energy for later? To most people, this idea probably sounds too good to be true. At the very least, it probably seems to defy common sense and or runs counter to the way we think our bodies work. However, it actually turns out that banking sleep is possible—within limits. Our neck pain Wilmington NC chiropractor explains more.

A great deal of research has been conducted on this subject.  In one particular study, American scientists invited a number of volunteers to adjust their sleep patterns so that researchers could observe the effects. For a week, half of the volunteers were permitted to sleep more than usual, and the remaining volunteers were made to sleep according to their usual pattern.

“After this week of either extended or habitual sleep per night, all the volunteers came to the lab and they were given three hours of sleep, per night, for a week,” says Tracy Rupp of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The volunteers were then assigned tasks of varying difficulty, and those who had banked their sleep were more unaffected throughout the sleep restriction.

Rupp elaborates: “They showed less performance deterioration with regards to reaction time and alertness than the group that had been given the habitual prior sleep.”

The study also revealed that a week after the experiment, the banked sleepers were recuperating faster from deficiency of sleep than the others were. Rupp again: “What we’re basically saying is if you fill up your reserves and pay back your sleep debt ahead of time, you’re better equipped to deal with the sleep loss challenge.”

While these results may sound great, there are limits to what banking sleep can do for you. “It’s a strategy that’s only partially successful,” explains Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., in the November 2013 issue of Psychology Today. “New research indicates that although some of the negative effects of a week of insufficient sleep can be remedied with extra sleep on the weekend, others cannot. Researchers at Penn State University College of Medicine studied the effects of weekend recovery sleep after a week of mild sleep deprivation. They found that make-up sleep on the weekends erased only some of the deficits associated with not sleeping enough the previous week.”

Banking sleep isn’t limited to sleeping longer nights. Naps can be extremely effective as well—within limits, of course. According to Science Focus, “A 1991 study at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio found that after an ordinary night’s sleep, subjects could take an extra nap in the afternoon and then work through the night with greater alertness that a control group who didn’t nap. The study also found that performance is proportional to the length of the nap—but the effect doesn’t last.

After a second consecutive night without sleep, all of the subjects performed equally badly, regardless of how much sleep they had initially. It may be that all of us are normally slightly sleep-deprived and one really good night’s sleep will bring us back up to 100%, but that the ‘tank’ isn’t big enough to buffer us against more than one all-nighter.”

The practical uses of banking sleep go beyond needing to pull an all-nighter before finals or a big presentation at work. Dr. Winter, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, puts it thusly: “If you knew you were going to give birth on a particular day, for example, you could sleep for 10 hours a day for multiple days before the event, and be fine.”

Lastly, it is important to consider the host of negative effects of sleep deprivation. Memory loss, obesity, and even early death comprise some of these consequences. The moral of the story here is that banking sleep in advance may actually be a reasonable short-term strategy for coping with an isolated event (like giving birth). However, the best long-term strategy for staying healthy and performing well is to get a good night’s sleep as consistently as possible. If you are looking for a neck pain Wilmington NC chiropractor, contact our office today. 

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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 Chiropractor 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. Contact our chiropractor Wilmington NC office today for more information.

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Back Pain Wilmington NC: Top 5 Workouts for Increasing Range of Motion in Your Back

Back pain can have a truly negative effect on your professional life as well as your lifestyle. It can be difficult to get out of bed and make the morning commute.  Then—depending on what you do for a living—pain and limited mobility can take a huge toll on your productivity while you’re at work. And when you return home, you may also find that you’re not able to do the active things you enjoy with your family and friends.  It’s no wonder that chronic back pain can lead to depression. Our Back Pain specialist in Wilmington NC explains more.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from back pain Wilmington NC, the good news is that there are things that can be done about it. First of all, it’s essential that you get proper medical attention so that your condition can be diagnosed and an appropriate treatment plan can be put in place. Chiropractic physicians are experts at diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems as well as problems with the nervous system. Depending on your specific situation, he or she may recommend a variety of in-office treatment options to help relieve pain and restore function.  Your doctor may also prescribe a series of at-home exercises or stretches designed to increase the range of motion in your back.

Range of motion is the movement of a joint from full flexion (flexed) to full extension. Certain back problems, ranging from spinal misalignment and muscle imbalances to sprains, strains and pinched nerves (just to name a few), can significantly limit how much you can move. Here are workouts that can help improve your back’s mobility. Remember—use these only after consulting with your chiropractor!

  • Aquatic exercise. Perfect as a low-impact exercise that’s gentle on your joints and muscles, swimming and other water exercises are a great way to ease your back into working out. It is especially beneficial when the water is warm—say, between 83 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have access to a heated pool, check out the gyms in your town. Many of the big-name gyms feature not only heated swimming pools, but also hot tubs and steam rooms, which can help relax your joints and muscles, giving them a much-needed break.
  • As simple as it sounds, walking is a great way to get simple, accessible exercise. It also strengthens your heart, lungs and overall endurance. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear and take it easy—there’s no need to start out walking miles a day unless you’re up to it. Again, ask your chiropractor for his or her advice.
  • Strength and resistance training. According to Harvard Medical School, not only is resistance training good for increasing range of motion, but it also strengthens your heart, lungs, and overall endurance.
  • Tai chi. An ancient form of Chinese exercise, tai chi is practiced through a series of slow moving poses that can be very effective at extending your range of motion. In addition to increasing flexibility, it is also purported to strengthen muscles, and develop balance and coordination.
  • Like tai chi, yoga is another very old form of exercise. Developed in India over a great many years, yoga eases stiffness in muscles and encourages greater range of motion. Just be careful not to overdo it—it could be detrimental to your condition.

If you are experiencing back pain in Wilmington NC, call our office today!

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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!