Chiropractic Care and Massage Therapy: A Great Combination!

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.

Combining Chiropractic and Massage

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.

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.

Chiropractors Working With Massage Therapists

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!

Contact Southeastern Healthcare Today if You’re Experiencing Back Pain or Neck Pain!

If you or someone you care about is suffering from musculoskeletal problems, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’re always happy to discuss our overall approach as well as the treatment options we provide. Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

chiropractor Wilmington NC

Can Poor Posture Really Cause Back and Neck Pain?

In a word, yes!

Unless your back or neck pain has been caused by some type of over-exertion or acute trauma, it’s actually very likely that poor posture is at least a contributing factor. The alignment of the spine—from the neck through the lower back and hips—is critical to the body’s ability to support its own weight and move efficiently, so posture problems (which are often chronic) can gradually lead to pain and reduced mobility.

When it comes to pain in your back or neck, the relationship between poor posture and injury can also be a complicated one. On the one hand, having poor posture makes it more likely that you will suffer an injury. On the other hand, suffering an injury can also affect your posture. Mary Ann Wilmarth, DPT, spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association explains, “Little things add up. You can increase the pressure on your back by 50% simply by leaning over the sink incorrectly to brush your teeth. Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain.”

How posture problems contribute to neck pain

One of the most common posture problems is a “forward head and shoulder posture”. This occurs when someone “hunches over” and places their head in front of their neck. The weight of the head towards the front stresses the lower neck vertebrae, and leads to overworking of the upper back muscles to compensate for the pull of gravity on the head. Many people with this posture problem also have a rounded upper back and rounded shoulders, which can lead to further stress and shoulder pain. Often, poor desk and chair ergonomics contribute to these problems, but even slouching on the couch or at a table with your mobile phone can lead to hunching over.

How posture problems contribute to back pain

The “forward head” posture described above causes stress on the lower cervical vertebrae, which may end up sliding forward relative to each other as a result of gravity. This is a particular problem for people who have jobs requiring them to look forward or downwards all day. Eventually, the prolonged pressure on the cervical vertebrae will irritate the ligaments and soft tissues, radiating downwards to the upper back. This process can lead to disc degeneration, cervical osteoarthritis and herniated discs.

Tips for improving poor posture and relieving back and neck pain

Poor posture is typically the result of habits that have been developed over long periods of time performing the same activities over and over again. Here are just a few of the most common culprits:

  • Staring at computer monitors or mobile devices that are badly positioned.
  • Sitting in poorly designed office chairs.
  • Sleeping on mattresses that don’t provide the necessary support.
  • Carrying heavy backpacks or purses.

But how do you know which activities are contributing to your poor posture and causing you pain? The clues are usually fairly easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. For instance, the pain in your neck or back may be worse at some times during the day than at others, or it may come and go with changes in your body position. If you experience fatigue or pain when you first wake up in the morning or after you’ve been sitting at your desk for a couple of hours, it might be time for a new mattress or new office furniture.

The good news is that once you become aware of the activities that are contributing to your posture problems and pain, most can be fixed relatively easily, with no need for either medication or surgery. Learn to recognize when you’re hunching over your computer, slouching in your chair or craning your neck to look at your mobile phone. Then sit up straight, aligning your hips, shoulders and ears in one vertical line.

Sometimes, however, the solution is not so simple—especially when poor posture has caused structural changes in the spine and neck. In these cases, a chiropractor can help by designing posture correction and spinal rehabilitation programs to restore the spine’s normal curvature. These programs will usually involve a combination of mechanical techniques that actively remodel the spine (including the use of braces and molding blocks), exercises and stretches that strengthen postural muscles and restore range of motion, and lifestyle changes to address the root causes.

As experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, chiropractic physicians are specially trained to recognize and correct postural problems. If you’re suffering from neck or back pain and suspect that your posture may be at least partially to blame, call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

chiropractor wilmington nc

20 Surprising Facts About the Spine

The spine rarely gets much thought or consideration, but it is one of the most important features in the human body. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to move, let alone stand upright. It’s so important that it even has its own day – World Spine Day. If that surprises you, then here are 20 more spine facts from Southeastern Healthcare’s chiropractor Wilmington NC.

  1. There are about 22 ligaments in the spine
  2. The spinal cord has more than 13.5 million neurons
  3. The average spinal cord weighs about 35 grams
  4. The spine is so flexible that when bent it can form 2/3 of a circle
  5. The spinal column has more than 100 joints
  6. Humans and giraffes share the same number of cervical vertebrae (seven)
  7. The first cervical vertebrae is called “atlas” after the character in Greek mythology because it “carries the weight of the head”
  8. There are more than 120 muscles in the spinal column
  9. One-fourth of the spine’s length is made up of cartilage
  10. More than 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some time in their lifetimes with most injuries resulting from auto accidents
  11. After the age of 40, humans “shrink” at a rate of a quarter- to a third-of-an-inch per decade as a result of gravity’s effect on the spine
  12. Astronauts return to earth approximately 3% taller than when they left because of microgravity’s expanding effect on the spine’s cartilage
  13. Spines have 33 individual vertebrae, but some fuse over time to become the coccyx and the sacrum
  14. The spine has four primary motions – forward, backward, side bending, and rotating
  15. Sitting in a hunched position puts 200-lbs of pressure on the lumbar spine
  16. October 16th is the official World Spine Day
  17. Lying flat on your back with legs elevated puts 25-lbs of pressure on the lumbar spine
  18. The spine is capable of withstanding several hundred pounds of pressure
  19. The spine has a memory. This is why it is so important to make sure it is always properly aligned
  20. People with back pain who don’t undergo chiropractic treatment or rehabilitation are 22 times more likely to experience a relapse

Get Relief from Back Pain – Visit a Southeastern Healthcare Chiropractor Wilmington NC Today

There are dozens of causes of back pain, but a great many of which can be improved simply by being treated by an experienced chiropractor Wilmington NC. Isn’t it time you stopped living in constant pain? Get the relief you’re looking for, safely and holistically, at Southeastern Healthcare.

Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

iPosture? Is Technology Causing Neck and Shoulder Pain?

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

Are Tablets Causing Neck Pain?

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

How to Prevent Neck Pain?

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

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

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

What is Recommended?

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

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

We Can Help Relieve Your Neck Pain at Southeastern Healthcare

We’re here to help! Whether you have specific concerns about a musculoskeletal problem or more general health and wellness questions, we encourage you to call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with our experienced and caring chiropractor Wilmington NC. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Are Stand-Up Desks Really Any Healthier for Office Workers?

chiropractor Wilmington NCStanding desks or stand-up desks are not a new fad. They’ve been around since at least the time of Benjamin Franklin, the founding father who used one over two hundred years ago. However, there remains a great deal of controversy regarding the benefits and drawbacks of stand-up desks.

More Energy and More Alert?

A number of sources agree that standing up while you work gives you more energy and keeps you more alert. The University of Chester performed a study in 2013 that showed heartbeats rose by ten beats per minute because of standing. This increased the number of calories burned each day. In addition, blood glucose levels after lunch returned to normal far faster in those study subjects who stood as they worked.

Reduces Back Pain?

Others have found that standing helps reduce lower back pain. Users of stand-up desks found that they engaged more fully with their colleagues and felt more ready for action if something called them away from their desk. They felt their minds wandered far less and they stayed more focused. Some users even found that stand-up desks lent themselves to certain “power poses” that benefited physiology, increasing testosterone and decreasing cortisol, the stress hormone.

Getting Used to the Stand Up Desk

Stand-up desk users seemed to agree, though, that leg and foot soreness can be a problem. This may be a particular problem for individuals who are just starting to use a stand-up desk user and whose bodies aren’t yet accustomed to the new way of working. More comfortable shoes and an anti-fatigue mat can help reduce this problem. Gradually building up the amount of time spent at a stand-up desk can also help.

If you do opt for a stand-up desk, it’s important to get one at the right height. Because each person is different, getting a custom desk built can be prohibitively expensive. A better alternative is to get an adjustable desk. One with hydraulic power can be lowered for occasional sitting and increased to a custom height to suit your individual needs.

Sitting for long periods each day can lead to all manner of illnesses—heart disease, diabetes, vein disease and more. But standing for long periods can also create health risks, especially vein disease.

What to Do

A Cornell University ergonomics team found that the real solution was simply to move around regularly. If you’re sitting at a desk, stand up every 20–30 minutes and move around for two minutes. The movement gets the blood pumping, increases calorie burn, and decreases the risks for heart disease, diabetes and other ailments. This doesn’t require vigorous exercise. Simply pacing for a couple of minutes will be enough to undo the damage of sitting for half an hour. This, of course, requires an awareness of the time and a measure of discipline to move when the appointed time arrives. Adding some moderate exercise to your daily routine can do wonders for your health, even without the use of a stand-up desk.

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at 910-790-3666 to schedule your chiropractor Wilmington NC appointment now.

What Type of Massage is Best for You? Here’s What You Should Consider.

chiropractor wilmington ncOnce upon a time, people thought about massage as a luxury—a service available only to well-to-do clients at luxury spas or elite sports clubs. These days, though, you can find massage offered in the workplace, in airports, in hospitals, and in health clinics. The benefits of massage have been so well-established through research that your medical doctor or chiropractor may even refer you to a massage therapist as an integral part of their overall treatment plans. Massage has been found to be beneficial for treating anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, digestive disorders, insomnia related to stress and a wide range of soft tissue injuries, including those caused by auto, work and sports accidents. And that’s a conservative list. Besides, massage feels good. So what do you need to know about massage before having one?

Some Basic Facts About Massage

Massage is a very general term for rubbing, pressing, kneading, and manipulating your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin for health-related reasons. Many massage therapists use only their hands and fingers for massage, but others may perform specialized forms of massage that use their forearms, elbows, or even their feet. The force used during the massage can vary from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many styles of massage, including:

  • Swedish Massage – This gentle form of massage uses long strokes and kneading, deep circular movements, tapping, and vibration to relax and energize the patient. It is an effective way to relax after a long, stressful week, but research indicates it has health value as well because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol and improves your immune system performance.
  • Deep Tissue Massage – This massage type is considered best for relieving deep knots in the muscles and freeing up trapped tissue structures that may be restricting movement, so if you’re looking for a calm, relaxing massage, this type should probably not be your first choice. The masseur applies deep pressure to dig deep into muscles to release trigger points and improve mobility.
  • Sports Massage – Masseurs who specialize in sports massage can help you heal from sports-related injuries or actually improve your sports performance.
  • Trigger Point Massage – This form of massage focuses on identifying and releasing areas of tightly bound muscle fibers that can form in your body after injury or overexertion.
  • Shiatsu Massage – This type of massage comes from Japan, where the title means “finger pressure.” True to its name, practitioners of this type of massage barely touch the patient, applying gentle pressure to areas considered pressure points or “tsubo,” with the goal of promoting natural healing and improving energy flow.

There are many other specialized types of massage, of course, but the above list covers most general types. As for what you should look for in a massage therapist, the magic words are qualifications and communication. The process for licensing, registering, or certifying massage therapists varies from city to city and state to state, but your prospective massage therapist should be proud to tell you about their training, credentials and experience. Similarly, they should be forthcoming about their approach and willing to offer references from other patients or clients.

Naturally, any massage therapist you are considering should also welcome practical questions such as “How many sessions do you think I will need?” and “How much will it cost, and is it covered by my health insurance?” One of the best ways to find a good massage therapist is to ask your chiropractor. Doctors of chiropractic often work in conjunction with highly-qualified massage therapists, and thus can refer you to professionals whose work they trust.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care in the Workplace: What Managers Should Know

It can be really tough owning or managing a business. Not only do you have to worry about making a profit, you also have to look after the welfare of your most important resource, your employees. Your business, after all, is dependent on them being healthy enough to come to work, and to work productively while they’re there. So most businesses these days view their employee healthcare costs as an investment, a way of keeping the company healthy by keeping employees healthy. The challenge for managers is how to keep these healthcare costs as low as possible.

With this in mind, the findings of a recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine are encouraging, because they suggest that one way to enhance your employees’ wellness while reducing costs is to offer on-site chiropractic care.

How on-site chiropractic care lowered several companies’ health care costs

In the study, conducted between 2010 and 2012, the cost of care was tracked for 1,635 employees who received chiropractic care. About half of the employees received their care from off-site providers, while the other half received treatment from chiropractic offices established on-site, in the workplace itself. The company was willing to make this investment in chiropractic care because it has been shown to deliver effective treatment for musculoskeletal conditions, which are the primary cause of disability in the workplace.

The researchers found that, while both groups of workers received chiropractic care, the on-site group required fewer visits than the group traveling to off-site chiropractors. The on-site group also required fewer expensive diagnostic imaging tests (38% on-site vs. 56% off-site) and X-rays (27% on-site vs. 46% off-site). The off-site group required more office visits for treatment and physical therapy than the on-site group, and they also logged more visits to the emergency room. As a result, the study authors reported that chiropractic care “demonstrated significant improvements in headache, neck pain, and low back pain functional status in patients utilizing on-site services over a short time frame while still showing lower utilization and cost outcomes than community-based care,” and that “This study demonstrates that users of on-site chiropractic services have lower health care utilization than those who obtain their care at off-site community care centers.”

In a similar study at Anheuser-Busch brewing company in Peoria, IL, on-site chiropractic care provided in workplace wellness centers significantly improved care for workers who spend most of their time moving heavy cases and kegs of beer. Study authors reported that “In the two years since it was implemented, the number of employee sick days has declined by 22 percent, while the accident rate has been cut in half. Consequently, the company’s workers’ compensation costs have experienced a dramatic reduction, with premiums declining by more than 25 percent.”

These and other studies make a clear case for the establishment of on-site chiropractic clinics in workplaces because it provides employees more convenient access to safe, effective care for musculoskeletal conditions. Since it reduces employees’ pain and disability, it improves both their productivity and their job satisfaction. Plus it leads to lower overall healthcare costs for the company in the long run. In short, providing on-site chiropractic services has been found to benefit the workforce as well as employers in a variety of important ways—it’s a “win-win” investment for companies looking to improve productivity and reduce expenses.

Are Drivers of Small Cars Really at Greater Risk in Auto Accidents?

auto accident chiropractorThere’s a lot to consider when picking out a new car, but fuel efficiency and safety are two of the most commonly considered factors. Small cars are usually much more fuel efficient, but recent scrutiny suggests that they might not be as safe as larger vehicles. Read on to get the facts behind small vehicle safety.

Are Smaller Cars Less Safe Than Larger Cars?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a car’s size and weight both impact its safety during a crash. Bigger, heavier cars tend to offer more protection to their occupants. Large cars tend to have a longer distance between the front of the vehicle and the driver’s seat. This distance gives the car a bigger “crush zone,” which lowers the amount of force transmitted to the driver and passengers in a front-end crash. Heavier cars also tend to push lighter vehicles backwards, further reducing the amount of force.

When tested, small cars tend to receive good safety ratings against other small cars, but tend to test poorly against midsize or large cars. SUVs and pickup trucks are particularly dangerous as small cars run the risk of under-riding them. Conversely, drivers or larger, heavier vehicles are less likely to experience deadly injury than drivers of small cars.

IIHS data also suggests that drivers of small cars tend to suffer from more serious injuries than drivers of large cars. While more stringent safety standards have dramatically reduced the number of injuries and deaths due to traffic accidents over the past few decades, the simple fact is that small car drivers are more likely to suffer from concussions, whiplash, back and neck injuries, and fractures.

Recovering From a Car Accident

If you are thinking of purchasing a new car, this information might be enough to sway your decision. However, cars of all sizes can and do become involved in accidents that cause serious injuries. If you’re in a car accident, it is important to seek medical assistance immediately. Some injuries are not immediately apparent, making a medical professional’s guidance particularly important.

The sudden, jarring movements that result from a car collision can lead to lingering pain and disability. Working with a chiropractor promptly after an accident can help to ensure that these impacts are short-lived. Your chiropractor will work to identify any stretched ligaments or tears as well as ensure that your spine is in correct alignment. This is particularly important in the case of whiplash, which can cause severe pain as well as blurred vision, dizziness, neck stiffness, headaches, low back pain, and a reduced range of motion in the neck.

Remember—drivers of smaller cars are at a greater risk of injury in an auto accident than drivers of bigger cars. However, there are several smart things you can do to reduce your overall risk no matter what kind of car you happen to drive. Develop strong defensive driving habits, make good use of all your vehicle’s safety features and be sure to visit your chiropractor promptly if you are involved in a collision. Chiropractic physicians are experts at diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, including those related to auto accidents. Our goal is to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible!

Knee Care 101

By some measures, your knees are your body’s largest joints, but they are also the ones most likely to be injured. More than 11 million men and women over the age of forty visit doctors every year due to knee pain. Taking care of your knees helps to make sure these vital joints continue to work smoothly and comfortably so that you can continue to live an active lifestyle.

5 Steps to Healthier Knees

Step 1: Stay Active, but Don’t Overdo It. If you don’t put in the time and effort it takes to keep your knees moving, they can start to stiffen, leading to discomfort and increasing your risk of injury. At the same time, dramatically increasing your levels of activity (particularly if you haven’t been physically active for a while) can cause injuries from repetitive strain. If you have never followed an exercise routine, ease into this type of activity slowly. If you work out hard on a regular basis, make sure to include rest days to give your knees a break.

Step 2: Manage Your Weight. Every extra pound you carry puts additional pressure on your knees. A study conducted by Stephen P. Messier of Wake Forest University found that losing even a small amount of weight can significantly decrease your risk of arthritis in the knees. If knee pain makes it difficult for you to lose weight through exercise, try using a stationary bike or elliptical machine to reduce the impact on your joints.

Step 3: Build Muscle Around Your Knees. The muscles that surround and support your knees also help to absorb shock. Strengthening your hamstrings and your quadriceps will help give your knees the backup they need. Talk to your chiropractor or a personal trainer for ideas on the best ways to strengthen these muscles.

Step 4: Don’t Forget to Stretch. While the muscles around the knees do need to be strong, they also need to be flexible. Regular stretching helps to keep these muscles from pulling the knee out of alignment.

Step 5: Don’t Ignore Pain. If your knee is painful, swollen, or making unusual noises, check in with a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms can be a sign of damaged cartilage, an issue that can be corrected with early intervention. Trying to “push through” pain without knowing what is causing it puts you at risk of additional injury, so never hesitate to consult with a professional if you think there might be a problem.

Chiropractic Care and Your Knees

Chiropractic care is a vital resource when it comes to keeping your knees healthy. Your chiropractor will take the time to examine and evaluate your joints, muscles, posture and biomechanics to determine the root cause of any discomfort. He or she will then recommend and perform manual techniques that will help to bring your body back into alignment. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your lifestyle and receive recommendations on changes that you can make to continue to improve your knees’ health.

Taking good care of your knees takes commitment, but the rewards are well worth it over the long haul. Talk to your chiropractor today to learn more!

Why Are Chiropractic and Massage Therapy Often Used Together?

Chiropractic medicine is based on the idea that your body can help to keep itself healthy if your spine, neck, and head are aligned properly and free from abnormalities that impair the proper flow of energy along your spinal column. Doctors of Chiropractic thus work with spinal structures, using manipulative techniques to correct injuries and abnormalities and to speed healing of health problems—particularly musculoskeletal and neurological ones—that arise from misaligned bones.

At the same time, however, the bones of the spine are surrounded by muscle tissue and connective tissues (such as ligaments and tendons) that enable and control its movements. These soft tissues are affected by the spinal abnormalities, and may either cause or exacerbate structural problems. So massage therapy (which works to relax muscles, increase blood flow and improve mobility of connective tissues) is often a perfect complement to chiropractic manipulation (which works to resolve the structural problems).

Chiropractic and massage are not only compatible, they are complementary.

Massage is often recommended as an integral part of a broader chiropractic treatment plan, either in the form of massage to loosen muscle tightness before an adjustment, or after an adjustment to help the muscles adapt to the newly-repaired spinal structures. Many patients report that the combination of these two therapies works better than either therapy alone.

There is even objective evidence of this, in the form of an extensive survey of alternative health care treatments conducted by Consumer Reports magazine. Asking over 34,000 readers to rate both conventional and alternative treatments as to whether they “helped a lot,” “helped some,” or “helped a little,” the researchers found that chiropractic and massage rated higher than any other alternative health care methodologies, and in some cases higher than conventional medical care. Chiropractic, for example, was rated most effective in relieving back pain, while deep tissue massage was rated most effective in treating osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. As researcher Tiffany Field explained, “Moderate pressure to muscles and soft tissues stimulates a cascade of biological effects… We find that moderate pressure is essential for the effects we see from massage, and may be one way that chiropractic works as well, because typically a chiropractor applies moderate pressure.”

How is massage integrated into chiropractic treatment?

Many Doctors of Chiropractic work closely with trained massage therapists to provide the proper combination of therapies. For example, massage is often recommended before spinal adjustment because it relieves muscle tension that may be pulling joints out of alignment, and makes it easier for the chiropractor to move them back into place. Alternatively, many patients who seek pain relief from massage therapists but find that their discomfort persists experience more lasting relief by adding chiropractic care to their health regimen.

Many patients have discovered that they recovery from injuries much more quickly and much more completely with the combination of chiropractic care and massage therapy. This is most noticeable with conditions that cause chronic pain—the chiropractor works to relieve the structural problems and the massage therapist works to resolve the soft tissue problems. Most chiropractors who work hand-in-hand with massage therapists collaborate to find the most effective treatment regimen for each patient—the one that returns them to a feeling of health and well-being as quickly as possible.

So massage therapy can be seen as almost a perfect “partner” for chiropractic care. Both treatment methodologies are holistic and focus on helping patients without the use of drugs or surgery, and both are dedicated to finding and treating the underlying cause of your pain rather than just treating the symptoms.