All Posts tagged Back

Chiropractic Treatment of Upper Back Pain

Most of us spend a good deal of our time on computers, tablets, smart phones or other such devices.  In our free time, to get away from technology, we may craft, do woodworking, read a good book or workout.  We live and work in a world that sets us up for having poor posture.  A lot of the time our heads jut forward, our shoulders are rolled forward, and our spines are hunched back.  This puts a lot of stress on the muscles and joints of the upper back (also known as the thoracic spine). 

While the neck and lower back are designed more for mobility, the thoracic spine is designed to be very strong and stable to allow us to stand upright and to protect the vital internal organs of the chest. Because this section of the spine has a great deal of stability and limited movement, it generally is not injured as often as the other areas of the spine.  With that being said, postural stress on a daily basis tends to have a cumulative effect.  Over time, persistent poor posture can put compressive loads on the upper thoracic vertebrae which can lead to the development of an Upper Thoracic Hump, which can devolve into a Dowager Hump if the vertebrae develop compression fractures.  Ultimately, this can put stress on your internal organs and even lead to a decrease in lung capacity.  In fact, a recent study found that this “hyperkyphotic posture”, as it is called, was associated with a 1.44 greater rate of mortality in seniors.

As chiropractors, we can help correct these problems before they become permanent.  Chiropractors specialize in reversing the lack of normal movement in joints and restoring normal muscle balance.  Postural issues, such as what I have been describing, lead to tightening of some muscles and weakening of others.  The muscles in between your shoulder blades can become like over-used rubber bands.  Through the use of exercises and other therapies, normal muscle balance and joint function can be restored.  So if you are experiencing upper back pain, you may want to consult a chiropractor.

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Chiropractic Treatment of Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Low back pain is one of the leading reasons why people seek chiropractic care. Numerous research studies have found that chiropractic care is one of the most effective forms of treating low back pain.  In 1990, the British Medical Research Council performed a 10-year government study finding that chiropractic care was twice as effective as medical care for the long-term relief from low back pain.  In 1991, an exhaustive study of chiropractic was conducted by neurologists, medical orthopedists, and chiropractors on behalf of the RAND Corporation, an internationally recognized non-profit research organization.  They found that spinal manipulation (as used by chiropractors) to be an effective and appropriate treatment for low back disorders. These researchers discovered that patients treated by manipulation improved significantly faster as compared to those treated by medical care or having no treatment at all.

So how exactly does chiropractic relieve back pain and sciatica (pain shooting down the back of the leg)?  Your lumbar spine (your low back) and pelvis are made up of a number of different bones.  Your lumbar spine is composed of vertebrae that sit on top of each other and are separated by a spongy material called discs.  Your pelvis is composed of your sacrum (your tailbone) and 2 pelvic bones that attach on either side of your sacrum.  Chiropractors believe that abnormal stress put on the spine and pelvic bones can cause those bones to become stuck in an abnormal position.  This can cause pressure to be put on the nerves in the low back causing the symptom of sciatica.  When the bones in the low back become out of their natural alignment, their joints cannot move the way they normally should.  As a result, muscle spasm, pain, and inflammation can develop in the area. By restoring the spinal vertebrae and pelvic bones to their normal position and motion through the use of chiropractic adjustments, pressure is released from the spinal nerves and the pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms decrease.

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