Chiropractic

Sciatica

A few weeks back we ran a herniated/slipped disk article detailing it’s causes, symptoms and potential treatments. If you’ve missed that article, you can find it here.Today we’re going to discuss sciatica, a condition often associated with and caused by a herniated or slipped disk in the vertebrae.

Sciatica is a condition of the sciatic nerve in which the nerve is either damaged, irritated or compressed. As the sciatic nerve is the single longest and widest nerve in the human body, running from the lower back all the way down to the back of the foot, there is a fairly large area where the nerve may become irritated.

Sciatic Nerve, Close Up

Sciatic Nerve

The image above is a diagram of the sciatic nerve, courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Symptoms of Sciatica include but are not limited to

  • Pain in the legs that is at it’s worst when sitting down
  • Burning/Tingling of the legs particularly at the back of the leg
  • Loss/limited range of motion of one or both legs/feet
  • A shooting pain through the leg/rear, especially when standing up

If you experience one or many of these or similar symptoms, it is important to seek treatment. Sciatica, first and foremost, is a symptom or a group of symptoms of an underlying condition, not a standalone ailment. Because of this, it must be identified and diagnosed as early as possible in order to keep the underlying condition from worsening.

Please come by the Injury Clinic of Dallas office or  call us today for your FREE consultation!

 

Do I have Tendinitis?

Last week we talked about bursitis, a condition directly linked to the inflammation of the bursa, one that is both restrictive and painful. To keep with the inflammation discussion, this week we’re going to take a look at another similar condition that also occurs due to inflammation; tendinitis.

Tendinitis is the swelling, inflammation and irritation of the tendon. The tendon is a fibrous structure that connects the muscle to the bone, as can be seen in the following image:

A view of the Achilles Tendon, courtesy of wikipedia.org

Tendinitis may be caused by overuse of the tendon, usually due to repetitive motion (jumper’s or runner’s knee). It can also occur as a result of injury or aging (tendons loose elasticity with time as they are used).

Tendinitis is generally diagnosed by the area it affects (typically knee, elbow, shoulder, wrist) and may feature specific symptoms for the area in question. However, universal signs of the condition may be listed as follows

  • Pain/Tenderness along a tendon
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Pain next to a joint (may also be bursitis)

Untreated, tendinitis may become chronic or lead to further injury of the affected area. Thus, it is important to diagnose and treat tendinitis as soon as it occurs. Failure to do so may lead to loss of range of motion, stiffness, weakness and recurring pain. In some cases, loss of function may also occur.

If you believe that you may be experiencing a form of tendinitis, call or come by the Injury Clinic of Dallas office in Richardson.

 

 

Bursitis

Last month we have covered the basics of inflammation. If you missed that article or would like a refresher, here’s a link.

Today, we’re going to take inflammation a step further and talk a bit about a condition that inflammation may lead to, bursitis.

Picture of the Bursa, courtesy of Wikipedia.org

In the picture above, we can clearly see the bursa. The bursa is a small fluid-filled sack located in between your joints. The fluid in the bursa is very much like raw egg whites or oil. It serves to reduce friction between the joints and provides cushioning. The easiest way to simulate the bursa would be to fill a small ziplock bag with oil and rub that between your hands.  Typically, the bursa in the knee, hip, shoulder and elbow come under a lot of stress which may lead to inflammation.

The inflammation of the bursa is known as bursitis. The typical causes of bursitis include

  • Stress
  • Overuse
  • Injury
  • Repetitive motion
  • Age(As we age, the joints and tendons become less flexible and can’t tolerate as much stress)

In some cases, the cause of bursitis can’t be clearly identified and maybe a combination of factors.

No matter what the cause, bursitis is a painful condition with a lot of potential to become chronic if not properly treated. Bursitis may even lead to chronic inflammation.

  • Restricted/Lost Range of Motion, the joint becomes “frozen”
  • Pain
  • Unusual swelling at the site, sometimes accompanied by fever

If you experience any of the following symptoms in the shoulder, hip, knee, heel or elbow treatment should be considered in order to prevent re-injury and worsening of the condition. Come by the Injury Clinic of Dallas today and get your Free Consultation! Our doctors and staff would be happy to help and alleviate your pain.

Herniated Discs and You

A Herniated Disc: What is it?

Your spine is one of the most important structures in your body. In fact, early chiropractic practitioners firmly believed that by treating the spine one could treat nearly all of the common ailments that affect the general public, from back injury to flu. This is due to the fact that the spine is in many ways the defining structure within our bodies. It keeps us upright, provides protection to the neural network (also known as the spinal cord) that connects directly to the brain and serves as the basis for our skeletal system. While it’s a complex construction, the spinal column essentially consists of two main parts:

  • Vertebrae or the small bones that form the spine and give it it’s shape and structure
  • Spinal Discs or cartilage that lies between and connects the vertebrae, allowing for vertebrae movement and thus acting as a ligament

A Picture of various spine condtions such as herniated disc and degenerative disc

A herniated or slipped disc is a condition of spine in which the disc between the vertebrae of the spinal column moves out of place.

Typically, the disc “slips” out as a result of injury or due to an overly strenuous activity, such as lifting heavy weights. The most common place this occurs is in the lower back (lumbar spine) area; however the neck (cervical spine) discs are also likely to slip, often as a result of whiplash-like injuries. The slipping of the disc serves to limit one’s mobility and often leads to sharp, severe pain in different parts of the body, depending on the location of the herniated disc. Lumbar herniated discs lead to sharp to severe pain in the legs, hips and buttocks. Cervical herniated discs lead to sharp to severe pain in the shoulders and arms. Herniated discs also often lead to numbness in the affected areas or a general feeling of weakness.

Due to the severity of the injury and the vast negative side effects, it’s imperative to properly diagnose and treat the herniated disc fast. Once again, if you demonstrate any of the following symptoms

  • Sharp/Stinging pain in the arms, shoulders, legs, hips or buttocks
  • Numbness in the arms, shoulders, legs, hips, or buttocks
  • Feeling of general weakness in arms, shoulders, legs, hips or buttocks

Or you sustain or think you have sustained one of the following injuries

  • Spinal Injury
  • Whiplash
  • An injury due to lifting heavy weights/overexertion

It is imperative for you to seek a proper diagnosis and treatment. Without it, the condition may worsen over time and lead to the worsening of symptoms and in some cases severe spinal injury.

So, if you think you may have a herniated disc, call us at 972.644.5555 or come by the Injury Clinic of Dallas Office at 905 Custer Road, Richardson, TX, 75080. Our doctor’s and staff would be happy to help with your treatment and recovery as well as answer any further questions you may have about your condition.

Inflammation : A Burning Inside

Inflammation, from the Latin “inflammo”, literally means to “set alight” or “ignite”. We’ve all experienced different forms inflammation. Some of us may even have chronic inflammation.

Throughout our lives, we hardly bother with the nature of inflammation. In fact, the only thing we concern ourselves with is the fact that it is there and what the potential causes may be. After all, there is hardly any reason to dig deeper, is there?

Sort of. Inflammation is a key body process, the first line of defense our body has. In pathophysiology, it’s often referred to as a non-specific immune response; the body’s first response to loss of homeostasis.

Non-specific immunity? Homeostasis? Wait, what?

Shoulder Inflammation

Let me back up a tad. Non-specific immunity, also known as “innate” immunity is our body’s general response to a problem. In a way it is regimented and organized damage control. It is not guaranteed to work, does not necessarily address the problem or the cause fully, but it is better than doing nothing. If anything it buys our body the much needed time to develop more specific means to dealing with the problems at hand.

Now, next on our list is “homeostasis”. The principle of homeostasis is actually fairly simple. The body likes to maintain equilibrium. It doesn’t like drastic change and is designed to counteract the change, if it occurs.  In essence, if the external or the internal environment changes, the body responds.

Let’s return back to our discussion of inflammation. Now that we have established that inflammation is natural, let us further examine the causes as well the process by which it works.

Causes of Inflammation:

There is a wide range of causes for inflammation. From injury to disease, it would take forever to list them all. The most common causes of inflammation encountered in chiropractic usually involve muscle, tendon and joint inflammation, which have a fairly wide amount of causes. Some of the more prevalent ones, such as tendonitis and bursitis will be covered further in depth in follow up articles.

The Process: What happens during inflammation?

As inflammation is non-specific, it’s a pretty standard and general process among all, one that can be broken down into the following steps

  1. Inflammation inducing process occurs. For example, a nerve is pinched.
  2. The pinched nerve or an injured area releases histamines.  Histamines are chemical compounds that serve as markers/triggers for local immune responses.
  3. The release of histamines leads to the dilation of capillaries and the blood flow to the area is increased. The area typically becomes noticeably redder in color.
  4. Increased blood flow and dilation of the surrounding area leads to swelling.
  5. The area typically feels warm or hot to the touch.
  6. Damaged tissue releases proteins that attract white blood cells such as phagocytes whose primary job is to ingest and digest harmful foreign particles, bacteria and dying/dead cells.
  7. The build up of white cells and may lead to pus formation.
  8. Hopefully, the immune response succeeds and histamines are no longer released. Affected area returns to normal as the stimulus is removed

Inflammation: The Good and the Bad

The most common problem with inflammation is the fact that it’s nonspecific and thus may be a result of a false stimulus. It could also be an onset of a completely unrelated stimulus, such as allergies, thus creating more problems within the body than solving.

When dealing with inflammation, it’s important to remember that while some types of inflammation are welcome and necessary for body function, there are others that are not. For example, inflammation post-exercise or strenuous activity is natural and to be expected.  However, if such inflammation begins to persist past a fairly short period of time, it may become more harmful and needs to be dealt with as such.

Reducing Inflammation and its Negative Effects

  1. Hydrate. Or as my coach used to say, on the top of his lungs through a megaphone “HYDRATE,HYDRATE,HYDRATE!!!” Other than the commonly held benefits of hydration, it’s paramount when it comes to reducing swelling and inflammation.  Inflammation requires water for its reactions and if we want it to pass fast and smoothly, it is imperative we provide it with everything it needs to perform its job quickly.
  2. Use Cold Therapy. Applying things such as Ice, frozen peas or cool running water to an inflamed area may help control or reduce the inflammation if needed. Cool temperatures slow the blood flow to the local area and swelling as well as heat is reduced. However, do not overdo it. The recommended length for icing a swollen area is no more than 20 minutes at a time.

In our next blog post, I’ll go in more detail about bursitis, a specific type of inflammation that affects the hip, shoulders, knees and elbows.

If you are suffering from inflammation, contact our office to schedule an appointment to visit with one of our chiropractors. Call us at 972-644-5555.

 

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