Top 4 Myths About Neck and Back Pain

 

neck pain wilmington nc

In Wilmington NC, back pain and neck pain affects thousands of people. Neck and back pain are among the leading causes of disabilities, lost work hours, and healthcare expenses in the entire country. But what many back and neck pain sufferers fail to understand is that relief is attainable.Part of the problem so many people continue to suffer from back and neck pain is due to the fact that they have serious misconceptions on how these painful problems can be treated. To help give you a better understanding, here are the top four myths about neck and back pain and their truths from our chiropractor Wilmington NC.

Myth #1: The Pain is In My Head

Not every cause of pain in the neck or the back is easily identified. This can often leave patients feeling as if their pain is not real, but rather a figment of their imagination. The truth is, certain conditions like depression and sleeplessness can definitely produce non-anatomically-caused pain in the neck or back. But, if the pain persists for weeks or months, then there will almost always be an anatomical cause. Just because your doctor can’t find the cause of your pain does not mean you’re not experiencing it.

Myth #2: The Pain Will Go Away With Rest

Rest will either help or worsen neck or back pain. While certain minor conditions might be alleviated with a day or two of rest, others will be aggravated by inactivity. This is because inactivity causes the muscles to weaken and this puts more pressure on the injured area. There’s a reason why physical therapy is a key treatment strategy for neck and back pain; it’s to help maintain and strengthen the supporting muscles in the affected area.

Myth #3: A Chiropractor Can Injure My Spine Because It is Fragile

Some sufferers of neck and back pain refuse to seek the help of chiropractors because they believe that the spine is fragile and the chiropractor might injure it during manipulation. The reality is, the spine is an extremely complex anatomical structure that’s supported by an incredible network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments and it is difficult to damage. Plus, chiropractors, like other healthcare professionals, undergo extensive training before they’re allowed to practice. They know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to manipulation and improving a patient’s posture and body mechanics.

#4: The Pain is So Bad, The Spine Just Has to Be Damagedwilmington nc back pain

When it comes to chronic pain in the neck or the back, the intensity of the pain is not always indicative of the amount of damage, in fact, it rarely is. For instance, a person with mild disc degeneration may experience significant pain while a person with more severe degeneration might not feel any pain at all. Every case is different and not every cause of long-term chronic pain is due to considerable damage to the spine or require surgical intervention. For a good many chronic pain sufferers, regular spinal manipulation may be all that’s needed to relieve the pressure on the pain producing point.

For Wilmington NC Back Pain Relief, Trust the Chiropractor Wilmington NC at Southeastern Healthcare

When you’re suffering from neck or back pain, it might feel as if there’s nothing you can do to help alleviate the pain. After all, you’ve probably tried all of the usual tactics, like heating pads, cold compresses, rest, and more. But, the problem is you’re only treating the symptom and not the cause and that’s why your pain just won’t go away.

Stop living with debilitating pain – 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.  Back pain relief is attainable and our chiropractor Wilmington NC can help.

 

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.

Top 5 Ways to Warm-Up Before a Golf Game

chiropractor Wilmington NCIf you don’t know better, golf can seem like a laid-back sport that carries little risk of physical injury other than being hit by a stray ball or having a foot run over by a speeding golf cart. But the truth is that a correct golf swing requires a great deal of balance, flexibility and core strength and that it can place a great deal of strain on the golfer’s back.

Unfortunately, many golfers don’t recognize the importance of warming up before teeing off until it’s too late. With more men and women playing golf than ever before, the incidence of golf-related back pain is also growing. Frequent play can aggravate chronic or intermittent low back pain that, in turn, can interfere with your ability to play golf. However, warming up before you play can go a long way to stop the cycle of golf and back pain. Not only can it keep you on the course, it can also improve the quality of your game.

Focus on Stretching and Taking Practice Swings

  • Trunk rotations allow you to warm-up the torso by mimicking the motion you will use to swing your club. Place a golf club across the back of your shoulders and slowly twist from left to right to stretch the torso and the shoulders. The lower body should remain stable with the movement taking place in the torso.
  • Stretch quadriceps by standing with a chair or bench behind you with your arms crossed over your chest. Bend your knee so that one foot is resting on the seat of the chair or bench. Squeeze your buttocks muscles to cause a contraction of the quadriceps (muscles in the front of the thigh). Follow the motions of your golf swing. Repeat on the other side.
  • Stretch your back by standing behind the back of a chair with your feet apart. Hold the back of the chair while keeping the back straight. Still holding the chair, drop your body down and pull it away from the chair to create a stretch near the armpits.
  • Sitting on a bench or chair, place the ankle from one leg on top of the thigh of the other leg. Use your forearm to push down on the bent leg. Lean forward to create a gentle stretch in your hip. Repeat on the other side.
  • Woodchops are a good golf warm-up because they reach the abs, legs and back. To perform these, stand holding a golf club straight up and down, perpendicular to the ground. Raise the club slowly over the head while holding your arms straight. Keep back slightly arched to stretch the chest. Next, bring the club down and between your knees while you go into a squatting position. Maintain a flat back and hold abs in throughout the stretch. Move slowly enough that it takes 30 seconds to complete the entire stretch.

Good Swing Mechanics For a Healthy Back and a Healthy Back for Good Swing Mechanics

It really does work both ways. Golf-related back pain is often the result of muscle sprains or strains that can be prevented with appropriate preparation and warm-ups. But poor swing mechanics will also take their toll over time—even for golfers who are relatively young and fit. Swings that are off-balance or that rely on the wrong muscle groups to generate power put players’ backs at risk. The reverse is also true—players who are nursing back injuries (and other types of injuries, for that matter) frequently compensate for them by making changes in their golf swing that hurt their performance and that may increase the risk of additional injuries.

Golfers of all skill levels can benefit from regular chiropractic care. Many chiropractic physicians have specialized training in biomechanics and some have made a particular study of golf performance and golf-related injuries.

Southeastern’s Chiropractor Wilmington NC Can Help Your Golf Swing

If you’re a golfer who’s interested in getting or staying healthy and improving your game, call or visit our office today! 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.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care in the Workplace

chiropractor Wilmington NCIt 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.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Chiropractor Wilmington NC Today

If you work in an office and are experiencing pain or stiffness, schedule an appointment to see a Southeastern chiropractor Wilmington NC today. Relief is available and we can help.

Stop living in pain; call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and caring chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington, Leland, and Shallotte areas, 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.

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.

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Chiropractor vs. Massage for Neck Pain

When you’re suffering from neck pain, your first instinct might be to have your neck massaged. But, the truth is, you might be suffering from something that a simple muscle massage may not be able to treat effectively. In cases such as these, professional chiropractic treatment may be required. Neck pain can develop for a wide range of reasons, from something as simple as a stiff neck from being online too long to something as serious as a pinched nerve or a cervical spine that’s out of alignment. But, regardless of the reason, you want relief. And, choosing the right care provider is the first step in finding the lasting relief you’re looking for. Here’s how to tell when you should seek a neck pain chiropractor Wilmington NC over a massage.

7 Signs You Should See a  Neck Pain Chiropractor Wilmington NC

A massage only deals with soft tissue ailments. So, if sore or tight neck muscles are at the basis of your neck pain, then a simple neck massage may suffice. But, in more serious cases, a visit to a neck pain chiropractor may be recommended.

Here are seven key signs that you should see a chiropractor for your neck pain:

  1. The pain and/or stiffness in your neck doesn’t improve after a few days
  2. The pain affects your ability to turn your head left or right
  3. You take over-the-counter pain medications just to make it through the day
  4. Your neck pain has progressed to include numbness or tingling in the wrists and/or hands
  5. The pain is severe in the morning but improves throughout the day
  6. Your pain started a few days after an auto accident
  7. You feel as if the pain is being caused by something more serious than tense muscles

The Benefits of Chiropractic Treatments for Neck Pain

One of the key differences between a masseuse and a chiropractor is the chiropractor has an in-depth understanding of the body’s musculoskeletal system as a result of years of training and education. This provides a chiropractor with the innate ability to perform a thorough examination of your neck, arms, and hands. In some cases, an x-ray or MRI may be required to assist in the chiropractor’s diagnosis.

Once diagnosed by your chiropractor and treatment is initiated, your neck pain should start lessening in its intensity. The muscles around your neck will start loosening up and you’ll find it easier to move your head. In a large number of cases, routine chiropractic care can result in a substantial reduction or complete elimination of neck pain.

Southeastern’s Neck Pain Chiropractor Wilmington NC Can Help You Manage Your Pain

If you have neck pain that’s severe enough to be impacting your daily life, it’s time you sought the help of an experienced neck pain chiropractor. With the right treatment, your 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 Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Automobile Head Restraints Prevent Injuries—Use Them Correctly!

 

 

Many people are under the mistaken impression that the head-sized extension at the top of your car’s seat is a head rest. It’s actually not a place to rest your weary head during a long drive, but rather a safety feature called a head restraint that is there to help prevent whiplash in the event of a rear-end collision. And having it adjusted properly can mean the difference between emerging unscathed and enduring weeks of neck pain, along with the cost and inconvenience of medical treatment.

Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash is the most common type of injury in an auto accident. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has conducted studies showing that the proper use of head restraints can reduce the incidence of whiplash by as much as 40%. Russ Rader of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explains what happens when you are involved in a rear end collision: “The head restraint is designed to work with your vehicle’s seat; it keeps your body and head moving together. The problem comes in if your head lags behind your body and snaps backward. That’s what leads to neck injury, or what’s commonly known as whiplash. Modern head restraints are designed to prevent whiplash, and that’s why they’re so much taller than they used to be.”

One problem is that some people find the newest head restraint designs to be uncomfortable. Some of the common complaints from users at Automedia.com include this one from the owner of a Volkswagen Jetta: “The front headrest points so forward that I get neck pain after just a few miles of driving.” Then there’s this one from a Subaru owner: “Unless you enjoy your face aiming toward your crotch, you may not be able to find a comfortable position for the headrest or your head.”

One of the reasons for the above complaints is that, in order to get good reviews from the IIHS (many people check the IIHS’s ratings for vehicles before they purchase a car) and comply with the regulations established by the Federal Government for head restraints, auto manufacturers must provide head restraints that meet specific criteria. In particular, the head restraint must be no more than 2.2 inches from the driver’s head and it must be two or more inches higher than was previously required.

A head restraint can prevent whiplash only if it is as close to your head as possible when a collision happens. When hit from behind, your head snaps quickly backward, then forward, which causes the muscles and tendons in the neck to overstretch and tear. If the head can’t snap back very far, there is much less chance of an injury occurring.

Most head restraints adjust upward and downward, and some also tilt forward and back. The best position for a head restraint is one in which the head is as close to it as possible, ensuring it is no more than two inches away. The top of the head restraint should ideally be even with the top of your head and should never be any lower than your ears.

Taking just a little time and effort to position your head restraint correctly can save you a lot of pain and suffering if you have an auto accident injury. Your health and safety are worth it!

Visit one of our 6 locations for a consultation to address any back or neck pains you may be experiencing. Call the Southeastern Healthcare office most convenient to you for an appointment for your auto accident injury chiropractor! We also offer a FREE shuttle to and from the office if needed!

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910) 790-3666

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

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

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

chiropractor in Wilmington NC

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

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

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

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

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for a Chiropractor in Wilmington NC!

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

A Parent’s Guide to Chiropractic for Kids

A growing number of families in the U.S.—both parents and children—are discovering the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including chiropractic care.  The good news is that you’re never too young or too old to benefit from the types of therapies a skilled chiropractic physician can provide.  Today’s chiropractors generally have the training and experience to work with patients from early childhood through to advanced age.  However, some practitioners also choose to focus on the unique needs of specific types of patients.

How Children May Benefit From Chiropractic Care

As children enter school, they begin interacting with other adults and kids in a completely different kind of setting outside the family home.  This means that they’re exposed to a variety of new environmental and behavioral factors that can threaten their spine and nervous system health.  From poor sitting posture in the classroom to heavy backpacks in the hallways, rough-housing on the playground and electronics use on the bus ride home, there are a variety of new health risks.  Chiropractic care can help address these sorts of risks as well as others that may seem less obvious.

For instance, there is evidence that chiropractic care may help prevent or relieve many common cold and allergy symptoms, including sneezing, coughing and itching or watery eyes.  This is not to say that a visit to the chiropractor will “cure” the common cold or that the underlying illness will be eliminated, even temporarily.  However, the research suggests that spinal manipulation and other therapies frequently used by the chiropractor may help to strengthen a child’s immune system over time.

Treating Infants

Chiropractic treatments are tailored to every child according to their specific circumstances, including their height and weight.  There is no minimum age for receiving chiropractic care, and even newborns may safely benefit.  In fact, chiropractic care is encouraged for babies as a chiropractic physician may be able to detect spinal problems that could lead to colic, ear infection or asthma.  Early detection may help prevent the development of these conditions and other complications while also improving a young patient’s quality of life.

Communicating with Members of Your Child’s Healthcare Team

As both adults and children are turning to alternative medicine as a way to prevent or treat common ailments, there is an increasing need for patients (or their parents) to communicate effectively with members of an expanded healthcare team.   In most cases, your child’s primary care doctor (usually a pediatrician, general practitioner or chiropractic physician) will play a key role in coordinating care.  Remember that a good chiropractor will always tell you when a particular condition may be outside his or her scope of practice and will refer you to other specialists as appropriate.

Many chiropractors who specialize in pediatrics are members of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and have completed postgraduate courses that focus on the care of pregnant mothers, infants and children.  The ICPA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1986 by Larry Webster, DC.  The association offers advanced training workshops and seminars for healthcare professionals in addition to its chiropractic certification.  It also has a referral service for parents and publishes a wide variety of materials designed to educate the general public about chiropractic medicine for both children and adults.

Studies have shown that children who visit the chiropractor on a regular basis are likely to grow up with better posture and have fewer illnesses than their classmates.  If you’d like to find out more about children and chiropractic care, please ask us.  We are here to help!