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1. Migraines and tension headaches

Nine out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional. Some are persistent. Some are dull and nagging, while others cause debilitating pain and nausea. Taking a painkiller and hoping your headache goes away is one option. But there’s a better one.

 Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by chiropractic doctors – is an effective way to treat tension headaches and headaches that begin in the neck.

In a clinical trial conducted at Macquarie University, 72 percent of migraine sufferer experienced either “substantial” or “noticeable” improvement after a period of chiropractic treatment.

In fact, most headaches are related to muscle tension in the neck, which is an increasingly common condition among Americans who spend hours in the same position or posture (such as in front of a computer or television), leading to joint irritation and tension in the upper back and scalp that cause headaches.

What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

  • Perform spinal manipulation  to improve spinal function and alleviate stress on your system.
  • Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet or the addition of vitamins.
  • Offer exercises for posture, ergonomics, exercises and relaxation techniques.

2. Stress and anxiety

We perceive stress from three basic sources: our environment, our body and our emotions.

Environmental stress includes noise, weather, physical threats, time pressures and performance standards. Body stress includes disease processes, organ malfunction, poor nutrition, poor sleep and physical injury. And emotional stress is more difficult to define, but it encompasses our reactions, in both thought and emotion, to environmental and physical stressors.

 Jobs today are increasingly complex as the business world becomes more and more competitive. Physical stresses such as sound, air and water pollution have also grown worse over the last century – especially in the United States – and so have emotional and psychological stresses caused by an increasing awareness of troubles and tragedies around the globe, brought to our attention every hour by the Internet and its 24/7 news cycle.

Many illnesses are caused or worsened by stress, which activates our “fight or flight” reaction. This systemic reaction affects almost every part of the body, as the hypothalamus in the brain stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes an increase in heart rate, blood volume and blood pressure, redirecting blood away from our digestive system and extremities.

When prolonged, the long-term effects of this state can be disastrous to good health and cause high blood pressure, muscle tissue damage, diabetes, infertility, damage to the immune system and slowed healing from disease and injury.

What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

  • Release muscle tension, one effect of chronic stress that leads to nerve irritation and creates uneven pressures on the body’s bony structures, which can cause the spinal column to become misaligned. This, in turn, helps the body return to a more balanced, relaxed state.
  • Chiropractic adjustments can reduce spinal nerve irritation and improve blood circulation, which can help signal the brain to turn off the “fight or flight” response and begin the healing process.
  • A doctor of chiropractic can suggest nutritional supplements, like B complex vitamins, to help the body cope with stress.
  • A chiropractor can also recommend relaxation techniques and discuss posture and environmental changes to help you recover from chronic stress.

3. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder involving widespread pain and sensitivity throughout the entire musculoskeletal system. To be diagnosed with FM, a patient typically has a minimum of 11 out of 18 specific tender points on the body. In addition to pain, patients also report long-term fatigue and/or disturbed sleep and mood. Other disorders commonly associated with FM include irritable bowel syndrome, TMJ pain and dysfunction, psychological conditions and some autoimmune diseases.

 Fibromyalgia is a widespread condition that affects about 2 percent of the United States, and medical science has yet to discover the cause of this condition.

Since those with FM often experience an altered mood, like depression, many experts focus on the psychological aspect of the disease. Others feel that FM is more physiological and has its origins in physical trauma or chronic postural alterations.

It’s often difficult for patients to find solutions for all of their symptoms, but recent studies show that chiropractic adjustments combined with a soft tissue technique called ischemic compression can help patients who suffer.

In one study, 60% of the subjects treated by a chiropractor experienced a significant improvement: reduced pain, improved sleep and decreased fatigue.

What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

  • Chiropractors are trained as neuromusculoskeletal specialists, and one of the main focuses of chiropractic care is the positive impact it can have on a person’s nervous system. Therefore, chiropractic adjustments can improve a FM patient’s nervous system, which gives them a better chance for recovery.
  • Chiropractic care can treat pressure points, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches and pain from musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Chiropractors can also reduce a patient’s overall pain through spinal adjustments that increase the mobility between spinal vertebrae, which have become restricted, locked or slightly out of proper position, thereby increasing cervical and lumbar range of motion.

4. Weak immune systems


The nervous system, endocrine system and immune system are inextricably linked. Together they share tiny messenger molecules that mediate communication between them, creating optimal responses for the body to adapt and heal appropriately.

 Until recently, one of these messenger molecules, IL-2, was thought of as an immune system molecule. But recent studies have clearly shown its presence and activity in the nervous system, leading researchers to believe that neural dysfunctions due to spinal misalignments are stressful to the body and can cause abnormal changes that lead to a poorly coordinated immune response.

What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

  • Chiropractic care is the only way to detect and eliminate subluxation, and chiropractic adjustments have been shown to reduce the stress on the nervous system, thereby boosting the coordinated responses of the nervous and immune systems.

5. Flexibility

When we’re younger, it’s easy to take our extensive range of motion and flexibility for granted. As we age, a number of health conditions – and the cumulative effects of wear and tear – can affect our ability to move the way we used to.

But a decrease in range of motion and flexibility can result in a downward spiral of disability.

 For example, an injury or degenerative condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness, may limit our flexibility and range of motion. When this happens, we may avoid activities that involve the affected body parts, either consciously or unconsciously.

This then becomes a classic case of “use it or lose it.” Without regular exercise, the muscles and joints stiffen, adhesions and scar tissue can form, and mobility may be further reduced. Eventually, a person can become completely incapacitated, and ordinary tasks such as picking up something off the floor or tying your shoes can become extremely challenging or painful.

Regular chiropractic can help increase both range of motion and flexibility.

What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

  • A chiropractor uses spinal adjustments and manipulations to other parts of the body to realign the bones and joints so as to reduce pain, restore range of motion and improve flexibility, balance and coordination.
  • Your chiropractor can also recommend specific exercises that can be done at home to increase your strength and flexibility so that you’re able to maintain and build upon the gains from your chiropractic adjustments.
  • Regular chiropractic care can reduce or eliminate the source of your back and joint pain, allowing you to resume your normal activities and to remain more flexible into your golden years.

Let’s face it, most of us don’t take very good care of our spines. This lack of care can lead to physical discomfort and make us susceptible to future injuries and complications.

Do your spine—and your overall health—a favor and take the time to treat your spine to a few of these 10 indulgences:

Let’s face it, most of us don’t take very good care of our spines. This lack of care can lead to physical discomfort and make us susceptible to future injuries and complications.

 

1. Make exercise a lifestyle

Exercise is essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy spine—and it can also aid in the rehabilitation of your injured spine.

You don’t need to be an expert in physical fitness to indulge your spine with regular exercise. A simple exercise program that focuses on stretching and strengthening the back, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles can go a long way toward distributing nutrients into your spinal discs and soft tissues, accelerating your healing process, and keeping your discs, muscles, ligaments, and joints healthy.

2. Engage your mind

If you suffer from chronic pain or discomfort associated with your spine, take the time to engage in mindful meditation every day. While no single treatment option works for everyone, studies have shown that mediation is an effective tool for fighting chronic back pain.

A daily mediation requires only a dark, quiet room and 15 minutes of your time. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, but you might try focusing on a pleasant, relaxing place—such as the beach—where you feel carefree and comfortable.

3. Reevaluate your sitting posture

Your spine has a series of natural curves, and if your typical sitting posture does not support these natural curves you may damage your sensitive spinal nerves.

If you have a job that involves a lot of sitting, take time to make sure your office chair and desk are ergonomically aligned to support your spine. Additionally, consider working at a stand up desk or sitting on an exercise ball for a portion of the day. Last but not least, it’s a good idea to stretch and walk around every half hour.

4. Go for a walk to help support your spine

The benefits of walking are plentiful, including strengthening the core muscles that keep your body upright, nourishing spinal structures with necessary nutrients, improving flexibility, and strengthening your bone structure.

If you’re in pain, be sure to get clearance from your doctor before starting any new walking program. Often, a doctor’s recommendation will be for you to walk as much as can be tolerated. If you are new to walking, or if you’re dealing with pain, start out with several short walks each day rather than a single long walk. Additionally, consider walking in a pool to minimize the pressure on your spine if your pain is severe.

5. Soothe your pain with heat therapy

Applying heat to the muscles around your spine increases blood flow, which in turn brings healing nutrients to your muscles. Heat therapy can also reduce pain associated with the muscles and joints around your spine—and it may relieve your muscle spasms.

There are many options for the local application of heat therapy. You can try heating pads, heat wraps that adhere to your lower back and deliver a low level of heat over several hours, warm gel packs, hot water bottles, or a warm bath. Heat therapy is largely a matter of personal preference, so you may need to try a few options to see what works best for you.

6. Match your pillow to your sleeping position

When you lie down to sleep, you want a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. This means that people who prefer different sleeping positions will need different kinds of pillows.

For example, if you sleep on your side you typically will need a thicker pillow to ensure your neck and head are positioned in the middle of your shoulders. Your height and the width of your shoulders will help determine the kind of pillow you ought to buy—so if you’re petite you will need a slimmer pillow than if you’re broad-shouldered.

7. Choose your food wisely

Your daily diet plays an important role in maintaining the health of your spine. Try limiting your diet mostly to foods you would find in nature—vegetables, fruits, meats, whole grains, and legumes. Eventually try to eliminate processed foods entirely, and make sure to limit unhealthy sweets to an occasional treat.

Additionally, eating foods that are high in calcium and other nutrients and vitamins can help prevent spinal problems like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Finally, maintaining a proper weight through exercise and a healthy diet can reduce pressure on the spine and minimize back pain.

 

8. Exercise in the water

Exercising in a pool reduces the downward stress of gravity as the buoyancy of water helps to support your spine, thus reducing the risk of injury or pain during certain exercises. In addition, the viscosity of water provides gentle resistance by means of friction.

Water therapy programs are usually taught in warm water, and many people find the warmth soothing on their joints.

9. Treat yourself to massage therapy

Studies show that massage therapy is an effective treatment for some types of back pain. Massages offer several potential benefits, including improving blood circulation for the recovery of sore muscles, restoring spinal range of motion, helping with insomnia, and upping your endorphin levels—the body’s natural chemicals that boost your feel-good emotions.

10. Lift correctly

Improperly lifting heavy items can put your lower back muscles in abnormal positions that may lead to painful muscle strains. Additionally, improper lifting may cause your spinal joints to lock or your spinal discs to rupture.

Correct lifting involves more than just incorporating your knees. It’s best to keep your chest forward and lead with the hips rather than the shoulders.

Do you practice the right lifting techniques?

You may not be able to indulge in all 10 of the above suggestions, but pick 1 or 2 of the above ideas for indulging your spine that you can easily incorporate into your daily life. Over time, even small changes to your daily routine will add up to provide meaningful and sustained pain relief.

At Elite Performance Health Center, we care about your health and well-being. We’re dedicated to giving you the best tips to live the best life possible.

Elite Performance Health Center
10434 South 4000 West
South Jordan UT 84009

Current Patients: (801) 755-1979

New Patients: (801) 801-302-0280