May 9, 2013
Acoustic Compression Therapy (ACT) is also sometimes referred to as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) and refers to the use of focused ultrasound waves to treat both acute and chronic pain in the muscles, tendons and ligaments.
A strong wave of short duration that travels faster than the speed of sound is generated by a specialized machine and penetrates deep into the body’s tissues to stimulate cellular healing processes. It works by first stimulating the nerves around the painful area to the point that their activity begins to diminish, sending fewer pain signals to the brain. Then—over time—it operates as what is referred to as a “gate control mechanism” in which the signals being sent by the machine override the pain signals sent to the brain.
Some chiropractors use acoustic compression therapy in the course of their practice. In addition to reducing pain, it has also been shown to reduce inflammation, a condition which in itself can trigger pain. ACT increases circulation to the area being treated, which helps to bring more oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissues and speeds healing.
Acoustic compression therapy was first discovered in the early 1990s when similar technology was used to dissolve kidney stones. Patients noticed that pain they had in areas unrelated to the kidneys being treated was reduced after treatment, and researchers began to explore other healing benefits of ultrasound.
Acoustic compression therapy is sometimes used as a form of Trigger Point Therapy. This involves directing the sound waves to specific points on the body where tense muscles or muscle groups have caused nerve irritation, which may be triggering pain elsewhere in the body. Your chiropractor can precisely control both the breadth and depth of the waves, which is often impossible to do with manual treatment, particularly in sensitive areas that have been injured or which may overreact to manual therapy. Waves can be directed to penetrate the body’s tissues anywhere from 1 mm to 30 mm, with frequencies up to 8 Hz.
Acoustic compression therapy is a gentle form of treatment for musculoskeletal pain that will not irritate the skin or bruise tissues. There are no significant side effects to treatment, and it is safe for most individuals (though it is not appropriate for people with bleeding disorders and pregnant women). It is a form of therapy that is particularly useful in treating, among other things:
- Neck, back and shoulder pain
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Foot and heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Hip, knee and leg pain
- Adhesions and other strains to soft tissue
- Shoulder pain
If you have questions about acoustic compression therapy and whether it may be helpful in your treatment, please call or visit our office.
April 19, 2013
A regular visit to your chiropractor is one of the best things you can do to eliminate chronic neck and back pain and to maintain flexibility and range of motion. Your chiropractor will design a treatment plan specific to your particular needs that will include not only chiropractic adjustments, but also suggestions for appropriate exercises and nutritional changes you can make that will enhance the effectiveness of your treatments. There are a few things that everyone can do to make their chiropractic treatments even more effective.
Be specific about your symptoms – In order for your chiropractor to recommend the most effective therapy or combination of therapies for your particular situation, you need to be as specific as possible about your symptoms. Since chiropractic is a holistic form of healing (meaning that all aspects of a person’s health and lifestyle are taken into consideration when developing a treatment plan), it’s important to mention every symptom you have. This is true even if you feel that some of your symptoms may be unrelated or insignificant. Based on what you tell your chiropractor as well as diagnostic tests performed in the office, he or she will be able to decide which types of treatment may be most appropriate for your condition. Treatment plans may include chiropractic adjustments, joint mobilization, soft tissue techniques, therapeutic exercise and nutritional changes as well as other types of specialized therapies.
Keep moving – One of the main aims of chiropractic care is to maintain flexibility and range of motion. As the old saying goes, “Use it or lose it.” Chiropractic has been shown to be most effective when combined with regular exercise, and the effects of treatment last longer. Muscle strengthening and stretching exercises will provide the necessary support to the spine that will help to keep it from going out of alignment as easily. By following your chiropractor’s exercise suggestions between adjustments, your function will be restored more quickly, and you will gain confidence in your ability to move in ways that would have been too painful before your chiropractic treatment. With your newly enhanced flexibility, try to get out on a walk, hike or bike ride.
Consider massage – Therapeutic massage is often used in conjunction with chiropractic care. It shares with chiropractic the desire to enhance the circulation of blood and fluids and to restore the free flow of nerve impulses. Massage can break up adhesions in the fascia that keep your muscles from moving properly. Massage can also help to release muscle tension and warm up the areas around a spinal subluxation, making your joints more pliable and easier to adjust. However, keep in mind that not all chiropractors agree about the relative benefits massage before an adjustment. Some chiropractors prefer to get an accurate picture of your normal physiological state prior to performing an adjustment, so be sure to check with your own chiropractor before having a pre-adjustment massage.
Incorporating these suggestions into your regular chiropractic treatment regime can help you to make the most of each adjustment and make a significant impact on your quality of life.
March 27, 2013
One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is due to injury to the rotator cuff, which is comprised of a group of four muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, providing the shoulder with both stability and movement. The tendons from these muscles merge into a single rotator cuff tendon that attaches to the top of the humerus. Most rotator cuff problems involve injury to the tendons, though the muscles are also sometimes involved.
People such as swimmers and tennis players, who practice sports that involve a lot of movement of their arms over their head, are more likely to suffer from this injury, as are those over age 40, due to the normal loss of elasticity and degeneration that comes with aging. Injuries can be caused from a direct blow to the shoulder, falling on the arm when it is outstretched or having the arm yanked. It is more likely for the rotator cuff to be injured when the muscles of the shoulder area have been weakened by inactivity. The most common injuries to the rotator cuff are tendonitis and rotator cuff tears.
A rotator cuff tear can be either a result of a direct injury to the arm or may evolve from rotator cuff tendonitis (also called impingement syndrome). Impingement syndrome occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff rub against the shoulder blade, causing it to become inflamed, fray and weaken. Arthritis and bone spurs can also contribute to this condition. A symptom that you may have a torn rotator cuff is having a dull ache in the upper arm and shoulder that may extend down to the elbow, especially when moving the arm over the head.
Treatment options include rest, pain killers, ice packs, chiropractic care, steroid injections and surgery. Many rotator cuff injuries heal by themselves in time, and using an NSAID such as ibuprofen may help to reduce inflammation and control pain. Ice packs can also be applied to the shoulder for this purpose (bags of frozen vegetables work well too!)
Your chiropractor can use a range of treatments to first address the pain and inflammation of a rotator cuff tear. These may include ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation and heat and ice treatments. Then chiropractic adjustments and targeted exercises are used to restore mobility and increase range of movement, without having to resort to steroid injections or surgery. After approximately six to eight weeks of treatment most patients are able to resume normal activities.
In some cases surgery may be indicated if there has been a complete tear. This can involve widening the space through which the rotator cuff tendon passes, which releases the trapped tendon, or repairing the tendon itself.
March 13, 2013
The shoulder is the part of the human body in which the upper arm attaches to the axial skeleton of the torso. The bones that form the pectoral (shoulder) girdle on each side of the body are the scapula (also known as the shoulder blade) and clavicle (collar bone) whereas the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint is formed by the intersection of the head of the humerus and glenoid cavity of the scapula. This coming together of the humerus and scapula is assisted by a narrow rim of cartilage known as the glenoid labrum, which slightly enlarges the glenoid cavity in order to better receive the humeral head. The clavicle and scapula articulate at the top of the shoulder at the acromioclavicular joint (so named because the acromion of the scapula meets the acromial extremity of the clavicle).
The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows the upper arm to exhibit a whole range of movement including flexion (bending up), extension (straightening out), abduction (movement away from the body), adduction (movement towards the body), lateral rotation (rotation of the arm at the shoulder joint itself) and circumduction (making circles with the arm). The shoulder joint allows a greater range of movement than any other joint in the body, and is encapsulated by a loose sac called the articular capsule that covers the area from the glenoid cavity to the neck of the upper humerus. Three sets of ligaments hold the scapula and humerus together. These are made up of the coracohumeral ligament, glenohumeral ligaments and transverse humeral ligament. Although the ligaments lend some degree of support to the shoulder joint, the majority of its strength actually comes from the associated muscles and tendons.
Muscles of the shoulder and their tendons encircle the shoulder joint and form what is known as the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff (comprised of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis muscles and their tendons) joins to the articular capsule and, together with the shoulder ligaments, holds the scapula and humerus in place. Four strategically located bursae (the subscapular, subdeltoid, subacromial and subcoracoid) prevent friction between the shoulder bones as they are moved by muscular contractions.
Although part of the axial skeleton of the torso, the shoulder girdle is not physically connected to the vertebral column but held in place by a series of muscles that include the trapezius, deltoid, serratus, rhomboid, subclavius, pectoralis and latissimus dorsi.
Consult your Fremont Chiropractor, Dr. Hans Freericks, to find out how you can achieve a good posture. Call Fremont Chiropractic at (510) 797-4796 today.
February 28, 2013
What Are “Pins and Needles”?
Everyone has experienced the sensation of “pins and needles” in their limbs at one point or another in their lives. It is a very common occurrence characterized by a sensation of tingling, pricking, burning or numbness in the extremities, commonly referred to as having a limb that has “fallen asleep.” Its medical term is paresthesia, and in most people it is a temporary condition. However, some people experience this feeling on a regular basis. This can be an indicator of several underlying medical conditions, some serious and some less so.
Pins and needles happens most often when prolonged pressure is applied to the arms or legs (such as when kneeling on the ground). This in turn applies pressure on the nerves and reduces the supply of blood to the limbs. The pressure and lack of blood inhibits the nerves from sending messages to the brain. Then when you change positions the pressure on the nerves is released and blood flow returns to normal. This results in messages from the nerves flooding the brain, causing the pricking and tingling sensation we’re all familiar with.
Chronic paresthesia is due to a problem with neuron function. There can be many causes for this, ranging from a vitamin deficiency to an autoimmune disease. It can also be caused by a pinched nerve or an injury to the nerves from disease or accident. Paresthesia is common in the elderly, who often have reduced circulation in conjunction with a tendency toward vitamin B12 deficiency. As B12 must be absorbed by the gut, its absorption becomes more difficult as we age and our digestive enzymes are not as strong as they once were.
Among other conditions that a pins and needles sensation may indicate are diabetes, alcoholism, compressed nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome, spinal disc herniation, menopause, heavy metal poisoning, anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and lupus.
The sensation of pins and needles usually goes away by itself, but if you find yourself experiencing paresthesia on a regular basis, consult with your physician. There are a range of different treatments, depending on the cause. A pinched nerve and carpal tunnel syndrome can often be effectively treated by an Oakland chiropractor. Vitamin B12 deficiency may be addressed through dietary changes, supplements or injections. Together, you and your chiropractor can decide upon the best course of treatment based on the specifics of your situation.
February 25, 2013
Professional football teams recognize the value that having regular chiropractic care affords their players. All of the 32 teams in the National Football League (NFL) use the services of a chiropractor for treating and preventing injuries to team members.
Dr. Spencer H. Baron, a team chiropractor for the Miami Dolphins and past president of the Professional Football Chiropractic Society, said, “The robust need for chiropractic care in the NFL has been deeply driven by the players’ desire for peak physical conditioning and not simply for injuries. From the earliest years of full contact football, their bodies are subject to structural stress that doctors of chiropractic are specially trained to care for. Many DCs who provide their services to professional athletes travel with their respective teams throughout the season, treating players up until game time, during the game and sometimes immediately following.”
Professional Football Players Advocating Chiropractic Care
A number of professional football players are staunch advocates for chiropractic care and the ability it gives them to perform at their peak.
Emmitt Smith, a former NFL player for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals and NFL all-time record holder for rushing, dealt with a lot of hamstring problems during a tough season in 1994. He related how he had some difficult questions to answer: “‘Do I need to get more rest? Do I need to eat better? Do I need a little more training? How can I take care of my body better? Do I need to find a Chiropractor?’ It was time for me to invest in me.” Smith added, “I found a specialist that’s really good in balancing out my body to make sure my hips are rotated right, and my body is functioning properly.”
Smith continued, “I remember somebody telling me that what I put myself in during the games is like having a car wreck every Sunday. It’s against the norm. You can find yourself in awkward positions. That stuff takes its toll. But if you take advantage of the health care, balance your body back out, put it back where it’s supposed to be, you function better, and you recover faster.” He said about chiropractic, “You can have a Ferrari body, but your wheels need balancing. I felt if I took care of my body, I could still function when I got older.”
Chiropractic apparently served Smith well in helping him maintain function and flexibility, because after his retirement in 2004 he went on to win the third season of Dancing With the Stars, teamed with professional dancer Cheryl Burke.
Other professional footballers have expressed their appreciation for chiropractic care as well. Joe Montana, who possesses three Super Bowl MVPs and was named Player of the Year in 1990, was so appreciative of chiropractic that he agreed to become the spokesperson for chiropractic in the state of California, saying “Chiropractic has been a big part of my game. Chiropractic care works for me.”
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore is another chiropractic devotee. He said, “Not only did my chiropractor get me back on the field, but he helped me to stay on the field. My body just feels much better overall because of the care I’ve gotten.”
Three-time Super Bowl champion Jerry Rice, a former wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers said, “I believe in chiropractic, and I know that it works. You probably know about my long and successful career in football. I’m flattered by the testimonials to my durability. Football is a very rough and vigorous sport. Chiropractic was the key to keeping me in the game.”
January 2, 2013
December 20, 2012
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) in the US and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in the UK, is a disease characterized by persistent, disabling fatigue, often made worse by exercise. CFS sufferers also commonly complain of muscle and joint pain.
CFS is believed to affect between two and four people in every thousand, and has been responsible for many hours of lost workplace productivity. It has even resulted in the premature end of promising professional careers. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies CFS as a disease of the neurological system. However, it is also typical for CFS patients to display symptoms of endocrine disturbances, including a form of adrenal fatigue. The medical community is uncertain about the precise cause of the disease, and many believe that CFS will eventually be viewed as a number of distinct conditions with similar symptomology rather than as a single illness.
There are several criteria employed for the diagnosis of CFS, but the most commonly used is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1994 definition, which sets out the following conditions for confirmation of the illness:
- Ongoing severe fatigue for more than six months that is not the result of another medical condition and which significantly affects work and daily life.
- The presence of at least four of the following eight symptoms:
- post-exertion malaise lasting more than 24 hours
- unrefreshing sleep
- short-term memory or concentration problems
- muscle pain (myalgia)
- joint pain
- tender lymph nodes
- frequent or recurring sore throat
Other commonly observed symptoms that are not included in the diagnostic criteria include:
- digestive disturbances (constipation and diarrhea),
- chest pain,
- weight loss,
- night sweats,
- shortness of breath,
- irregular heartbeat,
- panic attacks and
Some CFS patients go on to make a full recovery, although many never retain their previous level of wellness and experience some or all of the symptoms for the remainder of their lives. Age at onset and time until diagnosis are believed to be key indicators of recovery success.
Mainstream treatments tend to focus on the management of behavior and negative thinking to assist recovery. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET), consisting of controlled, gradually increasing levels of activity, are examples of this kind of approach, both of which have also been subject to a large amount of scientific research.
Given the lack of conventional treatment options, many CFS patients turn to complementary health therapies for help with both individual symptoms and overall recovery. Widely used treatments include herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, nutritional advice, gentle yoga, meditation, massage and chiropractic adjustment. None of these is believed to provide an outright cure, but can help the body to effect its own healing. The UK physician, Paul Sherwood, author of the book "Your Back, Your Health", has suggested that some cases of CFS may result from poor spinal health, which can be successfully treated using spinal manipulation techniques. Since there are many anecdotal accounts of CFS onset following physical trauma such as that resulting from traffic accidents, this is not an outlandish proposal.
Recently, a series of related mind-body treatments such as Reverse Therapy, The Lighting Process and the Amygdala Retraining Technique have been developed with promising results. Since CFS is known to affect both mind and body, it would not be surprising to learn that these therapies can be effective.
For most patients suffering from CFS, the best treatment options are still those that provide their bodies with the best possible conditions for recovery to occur, including healthy eating, gentle exercise and maintaining good posture and movement.
November 29, 2012
Once considered the "disease of kings" and wealthy aristocrats, gout is becoming a much more common problem throughout the western world today. Gout is a painful condition caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the body's soft tissues and joints. Recurrent bouts of gout can lead to "gouty arthritis," which is a degenerative type of chronic arthritis. Like all forms of arthritis, pain management is uppermost in the minds of health practitioners, and chiropractic treatment for gout is centered around non-invasive, drug-free therapies.
According to the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) gout affects upwards of 3.9 percent of the American population, and hyperuricemia (an excess of uric acid in the blood, which is a precursor to gout) affect 21.5 percent. The typical western lifestyle is blamed for the increased incidence of the disease, as gout is triggered by a diet that includes a lot of alcohol, meat and shellfish. Some common medications may also contribute to gouty arthritis. Individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, or those who are obese are at greater risk of contracting the disease.
The pain and inflammation from gout is caused when the kidneys are unable to remove enough of the uric acid that is formed as a result of the metabolism of purines, which are a compound commonly found in many high-protein foods. The uric acid buildup causes the formation of sharp, needle-like crystals, which are deposited in the soft tissues surrounding the joints, causing pain, swelling, heat and redness. Although gout can affect any joint, most initial attacks of gout occur in the lower extremities, particularly in the joint of the big toe.
The most common approach to treating gout is to prescribe medications, anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids to manage pain. While this may work on a short-term basis, it may also cause unwanted side effects. In contrast, the chiropractic treatment of gout usually involves a combination of advice about diet and lifestyle changes along with chiropractic manipulation to reduce pain and address the cause of the disease without the use of drugs.
Your Fremont chiropractor will likely advise that you reduce your intake of meat and alcohol and increase your intake of foods that have been shown to lower the concentration of uric acid in the blood, such as cherries. Half a pound of cherries per day is the recommended amount to eat if you are looking to lower uric acid levels. However, you can also drink concentrated cherry juice or take cherry juice extract to achieve the same results if cherries are out of season or eating that many is not to your taste. Quercetin, a flavonoid found in such foods as apples, berries and onions, inhibits the production of uric acid, so your chiropractor may also suggest that you include more of these in your diet as well. Herbs that support kidney function (like couch grass) may also be recommended, since they may help your kidneys work more efficiently to clear the blood of excess uric acid.
In combination with these, your chiropractor in Fremont may perform adjustments or manipulations using heat and/or ultrasound to help bring the body back into alignment and relieve pain.
October 24, 2012
Luckily, surgery is only necessary in a relatively small number of cases involving back problems. Non-invasive methods such as chiropractic care are available for treating a wide range of spinal conditions, including back pain, sciatica and herniated discs. However, in some severe cases, particularly those involving fractured vertebrae, scoliosis, kyphosis, and when degenerative disc disease has progressed to a point where the spinal nerves are being compressed and causing constant pain, surgery may be necessary.
Many people ask, "How long does recovery from spinal surgery take?" The answer varies greatly depending on the extent of the surgery and the techniques used as well as the general physical condition and behavior of the patient. Recovery time can range anywhere from two weeks to a year, with the average being about 12 weeks. However, there are some things you can do to help speed recovery, including receiving chiropractic care.
While regular chiropractic care can help keep you off the operating table in the first place, it can also help you to recover from back surgery if it does become necessary. Despite what you may think, visiting a chiropractor after back surgery does not have to be a cause for anxiety. Fremont chiropractors are among the most experienced healthcare professionals when it comes to treating spinal problems of all types. They will give you a thorough examination to assess your particular situation before beginning any kind of treatment. This examination will usually involve taking a detailed medical history, doing a careful physical evaluation and (where appropriate) ordering diagnostic imaging such as an x-ray or MRI.
Chiropractic care may not be appropriate for some time following certain types of procedures. For example, a spinal fusion surgery should generally be allowed to heal for a year before having chiropractic treatment. Consult with your surgeon and chiropractor about the best timing to begin chiropractic manipulation. As patients who have had spinal fusions often continue to experience pain post-surgery, they in particular may benefit from chiropractic care provided it is delivered at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.
A case report that was published in the Journal of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists in 2009 noted that those patients who reported pain after spinal fusion surgery found relief with a combination of distraction decompression and spinal adjustment therapies. If you have had spinal fusion surgery, check to be sure your chiropractor can use non-rotational methods of spinal manipulation to treat you.
Chiropractic care for back surgery that does not involve spinal fusion is also a good idea. After your back has had some time to recover, it's important to get it moving again, and your chiropractor can help to relax the muscles and realign vertebrae that may have become misaligned from surgery or in the days of recovery following. Chiropractic adjustments can help to stimulate the flow of fluids to the spinal area, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the spinal tissues and carrying away waste material in order to speed healing.
Your chiropractor can also provide you with exercises you can do at home to strengthen your back and core muscles that will allow you to get back to your normal life more quickly and help to keep you from having to undergo any further back surgeries.