Can chiropractic help with Sciatica? Back2Strength

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Can chiropractic help with Sciatica? Back2Strength

Back pain is a challenge that can disrupt your sleep, exercise routine, work, and hobbies; but is often something that some people get accustomed to and ignore or manage with over-the-counter medications. However, when a burning and tingling pain radiates down your leg and backside, it could be sciatica and a sign that something more serious is occurring that requires immediate attention. When sciatica is addressed and treated properly, it allows people to return to the activities they love, as well as the ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

What is sciatica and what does it feel like?

The sciatic nerve originates from nerves in the lower back and travels into buttocks and down each leg. It is the biggest nerve in the body and can measure up to 2 cm wide. Because of the length and placement of this nerve, sciatic pain is difficult to ignore and can often prevent you from walking, sitting, or standing as you normally would. Sciatica is a condition commonly caused by a herniated disc, bone spur in the spine, or vertebral misalignment causing swelling that presses on this nerve. When this happens, people typically experience lower back pain and hip pain, along with a burning, numbness, or tingling sensations into the legs down into the foot. Typically, symptoms will only affect one side of the body and can range from intermittent to constant. For some people, these symptoms are worse when sitting or bending at the waist.

Why do some people experience sciatica?

Certain risk factors such as degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, prior injuries, or a herniated disc can increase the likelihood of suffering from sciatic pain. Additionally, muscle spasms, being overweight, deconditioning, or just not exercising regularly can create pressure on the sciatic nerve. Even pregnancy can trigger sciatic pain due to muscle tension, unstable joints, and occasionally, the positioning of the baby.

How does chiropractic help?

Chiropractors are specially trained in the musculoskeletal system, which consists of the bones, joints, cartilage, muscles, and tendons. This specialized knowledge makes our Eugene chiropractors uniquely qualified to treat sciatica and other spinal disorders. Furthermore, you do not need a referral to see a chiropractor and treatments are designed to encourage the body to heal itself naturally.

Our chiropractors at Back2strength, PC have years of experience with helping patients overcome sciatica pain. We perform various forms of spinal manipulation to help restore natural spinal function and position to take pressure off the sciatic nerve.

These techniques can vary from a quick, comfortable high-velocity thrust to a combination of minimal force and gentle pressure. Additionally, traction methods are often used to gently move the lower back vertebral to relieve pressure and reduce the swelling affecting the sciatic nerve. The result is a significant reduction in pain and restoration of normal nerve signal flow.

Our Eugene chiropractors offer free chiropractic consultations to discuss your situation and recovery options. Contact Back2Strength, PC at (541) 484-0360 and start feeling better today!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Gregg Gittins

How Chiropractic Can Treat a Herniated Disc and Pain

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How Chiropractic Can Treat a Herniated Disc and Pain

Here in Oregon, we like to hike, mountain bike, ski, raft, and paddle our way through our beautiful state. With all that physical activity, it is no surprise that one of the most common reasons people in the Eugene and Springfield area seek treatment with the chiropractors at Back2Strength is for lower back pain. There are many causes of lower back pain, one of which is a herniated disc.

Herniated (or “slipped”) discs are commonly responsible for pain, numbness, and weakness in the back, neck, legs, and arms. As painful and challenging as they are in some cases, other people may not even realize they have a herniated disc until a spinal image is taken. Regardless of the degree of pain one may be experiencing, herniated discs are worth addressing as soon as possible, as they can progress and lead to serious nerve damage if left untreated.

What is the difference between a herniated disc and a disc bulge?

There are 23 discs located between the vertebrae of the spine which act as spacers and shock absorbers. Each disc is made up of two components. The first component is an outer ring of fibrous tissue called the annulus fibrosous, which is composed of strong overlapping circular layers that surround and contain the inner most portion of the disc called the nucleouspulposous. This inner portion is a gel-like structure which provides the shock absorbing qualities to the disc.

Sometimes, due to age, repetitive stress, or an injury, the outer ring can weaken and cause the inner portion of a disc to bulge or deform outward, which is what we call a disc bulge or disc herniation. These terms are often interchanged and there is confusion regarding their proper use. However, in 2001 several spinal related professional societies came together and developed recommendations that were adopted by major orthopedics, neurologic, and radiologic organizations in the United States. These recommendations were updated in 2014 and defined them as follows:

Disc herniations are defined as “a localized displacement of disc material that is 25% or less of the circumference of the disc”; and a disc bulge occurs when a larger part of the disc (greater than 25%) extends beyond the normal boundaries of the disc. Interestingly, even though disc bulges are larger, a disc herniation is usually much more painful as they often compress nerves traveling to the arms or legs leading to numbness, pain, or muscle weakness.

What causes it?

People will often herniate a disc by heavy lifting, sudden pressure on the back, or performing strenuous and repetitive activities. However, for many people, there is not aninciting event that one can attribute as the culprit. Sometimes things build over time and you may simply discover one day that you have significant pain, which is later diagnosed as a herniated disc.

How does chiropractic help?

At Back2Strength, our chiropractors carefully perform a comprehensive physical exam to determine if the reflexes are intact, if there is any loss in muscle strength, and if there is loss of sensation along the path of any specific nerve. We evaluate the entire spine, as what occurs in one area can often influence other areas of the body as well.Our chiropractors then create an appropriate treatment plan that often will include some form of spinal manipulation (called adjustments), spinal traction, and various therapeutic exercises and stretches.

Our focus is to improve alignment and motion patterns to help reduce pressure on any compressed nerves. For many, this alone can bring much-needed relief from the associated pain. Your chiropractor will monitor your progress carefully and give your feedback on how you are progressing.

If you are concerned you might be dealing with a disc issue and would like a more detailed evaluation with one of our Eugene chiropractors, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Gittins

Don’t Shrug off Whiplash : See a Chiropractor

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Don’t Shrug off Whiplash : See a Chiropractor

Don’t Shrug off Whiplash – See a Chiropractor

If you are experiencing hard-to-identify neck or shoulder pain after a car accident or fall, don’t just shrug it off – it is likely whiplash. Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries in Oregon, yet many people never get treatment for it, thereby running the risk of long-term damage. Seeking effective treatment for whiplash can reduce neck pain, inflammation, and the potential for chronic headaches. Chiropractic treatment is one of the best ways to ensure a proper healing process, as it helps improve joint range of motion, facilitates proper healing of the soft tissues, as well as increases and creates proper balance and function within the spinal system.

Why is it called whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury that gets its name from the motion of a whip cracking, since a forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck can resemble the action of a whip. As painful as that sounds in the moment, you may not feel pain right away, as it can often take a few days for symptoms to begin. These symptoms might include pain and stiffness, tingling, numbness, tenderness and/or fatigue. Furthermore, contrary to what many assume, whiplash symptoms are not confined solely to the neck. They can also be felt in the shoulders, upper back, lower back, arms, and hands.

Why does whiplash hurt?

The pain and discomfort of whiplash comes from the physiological effects of sudden hyperextension and hyperflexion of the neck which ultimately creates swelling and inflammation. When the muscles and ligaments of the cervical spine extend past their usual range of motion, micro tears occur in the soft tissue and the muscles tend to tighten and spasm in an effort to protect the area from further damage.

Additionally, the “whip” of an impact is likely to cause a misalignment of a vertebra in the cervical spine. This can be due to the direct injury or due to the associated spasms and tightening of the surrounding muscles. A whiplash injury can also include damage to tendons, discs, and vertebrae of the neck.

How does chiropractic help?

The first thing a chiropractor will do to diagnose whiplash is perform an in-depth history and examination. Your chiropractor will ask questions to determine the details of the injury-causing event – such as which side the impact occurred and whether you were moving at the time. This information helps guide the appropriate diagnosis and type of treatment for your condition.

After the initial injury, treatment typically focuses on reducing inflammation and improving range of motion. Oftentimes, therapies are also used (such as ultrasound, laser, ice and stretching or massage) to help in the healing process.

 

Chiropractors also use different types of joint manipulation (or adjustments) to help improve joint restrictions within the spine. These techniques can help prevent or reduce permanent adhesions or scar tissue from developing in the soft tissues surrounding the spine. Gradually, the soreness and stiffness will ease and you will be able tilt and turn your head without pain. In addition to adjustments, your chiropractor may recommend rehabilitative exercises to speed up the recovery process.

 

If you live in the Eugene or Springfield area of Oregon and suspect you may have a whiplash injury resulting from an auto accident, sports injury, or fall, contact our office to determine if chiropractic care is right for you. If you desire to seek chiropractic advice and treatment, our top-rated doctors are here to help.

 

Our office offers free chiropractic consultations to discuss your pain and recovery options. Contact Back2Strength at (541) 484-0360 – and start feeling better today!

Scoliosis and Chiropractic : Stay Ahead of the Curve

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Scoliosis and Chiropractic : Stay Ahead of the Curve

Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches. Although symptoms may come and go, they typically do not completely resolve until the root cause has been addressed. Often, this can be originating from structural issues in your neck that you may not be aware of. Fortunately, some of the best chiropractors in Eugene and Springfield are here at Back2Strength to get you focusing less on tension headaches, and more on your best life.

What are tension headaches?

Tension headaches are uncomfortable and tiring and the most common type of headaches affecting upwards of 75% of all headache suffers. Most often tension headaches get worse as the day progresses. Symptoms are described as dull and achy typically affecting the forehead, back of the neck, or temporal regions. Some also describe them as a “tight band around the head” along with pressure developing behind the eyes. These types of headaches can last anywhere from a 30 min all the way up to several days, depending on the severity.

Why do tension headaches happen?

Tension headaches remain somewhat mysterious, as it is hard to pinpoint exactly why they happen. It is likely that tension headaches come from a combination of factors, as patients often report feelings of stress, tiredness, hunger, and eye strain when symptoms are at their worst. Some research indicates environmental factors (such as cold, heat, noise, wind, or brightness) and genetics may play a role. Additionally, misaligned vertebra (called subluxations) in the neck can trigger headaches.

How does chiropractic help?

Spinal manipulation (commonly called adjustments) can be highly effective for addressing tension headaches. When a vertebra loses its normal position or motion pattern, it can trigger a neurological response of pain and muscle tension around that joint. If this occurs in the upper cervical spine it can trigger a small muscle called the rectus capitis posterior minor (RCPM) to go into spasm. This is problematic, because this muscle has a tendon that travels between the base of the skull and upper neck and attaches to a particularly pain-sensitive, brain-covering tissue called the dura mater. The brain itself has no feeling, but this dura mater tissue is very pain sensitive. When the RCPM muscle begins to spasm and its tendon tugs at the dura mater, the body is acutely aware of this action and an uncomfortable tension headache can form.

Through gentle chiropractic manipulation techniques, proper alignment and motion patterns can be restored, thereby easing any tension in the upper back or neck triggering the headaches. A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that “for those headaches originating in the neck, spinal manipulation results in almost immediate improvement, significantly fewer side effects, and reports of longer-lasting relief from tension-type headache than commonly prescribed medications.”

The chiropractors here at Back2Strength have worked for years with patients all around Eugene and Springfield area. Our doctors will thoroughly evaluate your case before determining a proper course of chiropractic care. Contact Back2Strength at (541) 484-0360 – and start feeling better today!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Gittins

Dealing with Tension Headaches? Chiropractic Can Help

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Dealing with Tension Headaches? Chiropractic Can Help

Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches. Although symptoms may come and go, they typically do not completely resolve until the root cause has been addressed. Often, this can be originating from structural issues in your neck that you may not be aware of. Fortunately, some of the best chiropractors in Eugene and Springfield are here at Back2Strength to get you focusing less on tension headaches, and more on your best life.

What are tension headaches?

Tension headaches are uncomfortable and tiring and the most common type of headaches affecting upwards of 75% of all headache suffers. Most often tension headaches get worse as the day progresses. Symptoms are described as dull and achy typically affecting the forehead, back of the neck, or temporal regions. Some also describe them as a “tight band around the head” along with pressure developing behind the eyes. These types of headaches can last anywhere from a 30 min all the way up to several days, depending on the severity.

Why do tension headaches happen?

Tension headaches remain somewhat mysterious, as it is hard to pinpoint exactly why they happen. It is likely that tension headaches come from a combination of factors, as patients often report feelings of stress, tiredness, hunger, and eye strain when symptoms are at their worst. Some research indicates environmental factors (such as cold, heat, noise, wind, or brightness) and genetics may play a role. Additionally, misaligned vertebra (called subluxations) in the neck can trigger headaches.

How does chiropractic help?

Spinal manipulation (commonly called adjustments) can be highly effective for addressing tension headaches. When a vertebra loses its normal position or motion pattern, it can trigger a neurological response of pain and muscle tension around that joint. If this occurs in the upper cervical spine it can trigger a small muscle called the rectus capitis posterior minor (RCPM) to go into spasm. This is problematic, because this muscle has a tendon that travels between the base of the skull and upper neck and attaches to a particularly pain-sensitive, brain-covering tissue called the dura mater. The brain itself has no feeling, but this dura mater tissue is very pain sensitive. When the RCPM muscle begins to spasm and its tendon tugs at the dura mater, the body is acutely aware of this action and an uncomfortable tension headache can form.

Through gentle chiropractic manipulation techniques, proper alignment and motion patterns can be restored, thereby easing any tension in the upper back or neck triggering the headaches. A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that “for those headaches originating in the neck, spinal manipulation results in almost immediate improvement, significantly fewer side effects, and reports of longer-lasting relief from tension-type headache than commonly prescribed medications.”

The chiropractors here at Back2Strength have worked for years with patients all around Eugene and Springfield area. Our doctors will thoroughly evaluate your case before determining a proper course of chiropractic care. Contact Back2Strength at (541) 484-0360 – and start feeling better today!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Gittins

Lumbar Degeneration – What Can I Do to Help with My Back Pain

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Lumbar Degeneration – What Can I Do to Help with My Back Pain

Suppose you went to your doctor about your low back pain, they took x-rays, and said you have “Arthritis” in your spine. What do you do now? Have you considered seeing a chiropractor? As a Eugene Chiropractor, I am asked daily “what can I do to help with my back pain”. The first step is to understand your condition. In this article, I will help you gain a deeper insight into what arthritis is and how to treat it most effectively.

Although there are many different types of arthritis, two of the most common are degenerative joint disease (DJD) and degenerative disc disease (DDD). Degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, is a “wear and tear” type disease wherein the cartilage that provides the normal cushioning between your joint begins to wear out. This can trigger swelling, stiffness, and inflammation within the joints. This condition can affect any joint, however, it is most common in knees, hands, hips, and the spine.

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) occurs when the disc, which provides cushioning between your vertebrae, begins to thin. Discs act as shock absorbing structures, allowing the spine to flex and bend. As the degenerative process progresses, it can lead to stiffness and decreased range of motion, thereby causing chronic pain. When severe, it can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, and even shooting pain into the arms or legs.

The diagnosis of joint or disc degeneration is most accurately made after reviewing x-rays. Because degeneration is a normal part of the aging process, most of us (if we live long enough) are likely to experience some degree of degeneration.

Fortunately, these conditions are best managed by focusing on the following 3 components:

  • Alignment
  • Flexibility
  • Strength

Optimizing the alignment of your spine helps alleviate abnormal wear patterns by reducing mechanical stress. Your joints simply wear better when forces are distributed evenly. Proper alignment also helps prevent any type of nerve irritation on the nerves exiting your spine.

Improving the flexibility of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the joints of your spine supports your spine’s ability to move into full ranges of motion. Proper motion patterns help to provide adequate nutrients to joint cartilage and discs, thereby keeping your joints healthier. A regular stretching and exercise program help keep the back limber and combats the natural stiffening process that occurs as we age.

Strengthening your muscles through resistance training is one of the best long-term insurance policies to protect the joints in your body. Strength training helps your muscles support and stabilize the spine, which increases the capacity to tolerate the daily stress you place on your spine.

How can Back2Strength help you?

At Back2Strength we believe optimizing these 3 components is essential to feeling better, moving better, and living the active lifestyle you deserve. Our Eugene chiropractors utilize various types of joint manipulation, in conjunction with a researched based strength training program, to restore movement and health. Additionally, consistent stretching, good nutrition, and a positive mental attitude go a long way towards helping in the recovery process.

With time, repetition, and consistency with treatment, many patients experience great results. Do not let chronic back pain interfere with your daily activities. Call Back2Strength today and return to the activities you love!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Gittins

Pregnancy Changes Everything, but Chiropractic Can help you through the process.

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Pregnancy Changes Everything, but Chiropractic Can help you through the process.

While pregnancy is an exciting time full of anticipation of a changing life, it can also cause significant changes to the body that can make this process deeply uncomfortable or lead to problems like low back, hip, and other types of body pain due to the increased stress on muscles, joints, and nerves. Chiropractic care is a great way to relieve musculoskeletal stress during this time by improving joint mechanics and reducing nerve irritation. Spinal manipulation, also known as manual therapy or chiropractic adjustments, can be tremendously beneficial in keeping your routine as active and normal as possible until the “big day” arrives. It is also safe, effective, and drug-free. As some of Eugene’s best Chiropractors, we work hard to help keep your body tuned-up and feeling as good as possible during this phase in your life.

Why do some women have back pain when pregnant?

More than 60% of pregnant women experience low back pain during pregnancy because of increased mechanical stress on the lumbar spine. Pregnancy often leads to an anterior shift in one’s center of gravity and, as a result, muscles tighten and compensation occurs. These changes to the body’s anatomy and movement pattern take their toll over the course of the pregnancy, causing pain that can range from mild to severe — depending on one’s daily activities and level of physical exertion. Unfortunately, the pain often doesn’t stop once the baby is delivered – as low back pain is also commonly experienced during the postpartum period.

Can pregnancy cause other pain and discomfort?

Low back pain is not the only uncomfortable physical challenge of pregnancy. Abnormal stress and strain can also effect the round ligament (a ligament that supports your uterus), or joints like your pubic symphysis or sacroiliac. Sciatic nerve pains are common as well. These pains affect the joints, legs, muscles, and abdomen and can make movement and regular tasks much more difficult. The good news is that chiropractic treatment can be highly beneficial for managing these conditions.

How does chiropractic help?

When visiting our Eugene chiropractors here at Back2Strength, we will begin by evaluating your body mechanics and alignment. If there are any structural imbalances, motion restrictions, or misalignments in your spine or pelvis our Doctors will utilize gentle and specific mobilization or manipulation techniques to help restore normal alignment and motion in your spine. The type of technique applied is dependent your comfort level and how far along you are during your pregnancy. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help restore normal biomechanics – resulting in decrease nerve irritation and significant relief in pain and discomfort within the body.

Your doctor may then make other adjustments to your neck and upper back to help relieve any other physical discomfort you have been experiencing. Be sure to communicate to your doctor any other pain you might be dealing with as well.

Be sure to keep up with your visits to your chiropractor after delivery as well, as it can take some time for your ligaments to tighten and your body to readjust to its normal alignment after the drastic changes that pregnancy can create.

Our Eugene Chiropractic office offers free consultations to discuss your condition and treatment options. Contact Back2Strength at (541) 484-0360– and start feeling better today!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Gregg Gittins