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SCOLIOSIS

Scoliosis is a term used to describe an abnormal curvature of the spine. Scoliosis can be caused by congenital, developmental or degenerative problems, but most cases of scoliosis actually have no known cause.

While there are many forms of scoliosis, the four most common include; Congenital scoliosis, Neuromuscular scoliosis, Degenerative scoliosis and idiopathic scoliosis.

People with a family history of spinal deformity are at greater risk for developing scoliosis. Early detection is essential. Most typically, symptoms of scoliosis may include:

  • One shoulder higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other
  • One side of the rib cage appears higher than the other
  • One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waist appears uneven

If scoliosis is suspected, X-rays will be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and its severity. Treatment options depend upon the severity of the condition, but may include; observation, bracing, spinal stabilization exercises, manipulation and/or surgical intervention.

UPPER BACK

THORACIC SPINE SUBLUXATION

The term "subluxation" refers to the loss of normal position or motion in a spinal joint. When this occurs in the thoracic spine (mid back) it frequently causes joint and muscle pain which may refer out in between the shoulder blades. Inflammation, taut and tender spinal muscles and a loss of motion in the mid-back may occur. If left untreated for great periods of time, it may lead to degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis), degenerative disc disease and other neurological consequences.

THORACIC SPINE FACET SYNDROME

People with thoracic facet irritation often complain of a sharp, stabbing, well-localized pain in the mid back. In most cases the pain gets worse after long periods of inactivity, like in the morning after a long night's sleep. Fortunately, this severe discomfort tends to dissipate as the day goes on and muscles and tissues see more activity. Specific movements and bodily functions can also accentuate the pan, such as when patients bend over to one side, cough or even breathe deeply.

People commonly feel also commonly feel soreness in their ribs. That's because the thoracic spine, found in the mid back, is attached to the rib cage. The rib cage wraps all the way around the middle portion of the body, helping to make the spine much more stable and less prone to injury. When the joints in the spine get irritated, the area where the ribs attach to the thoracic spine can become tender.

Thoracic facet irritation develops when there's inflammation of the facet joints, which are the joints that connect the vertebrae (spinal bones). Awkward neck and back movements, subluxations (stuck or misaligned joints), acute injuries, poor posture and tight muscles can place stress on the facet joints or limit their motion, which leads to irritation and ultimately the pain associated with this condition.

Subluxations are a major contributor to thoracic facet irritation, because they limit the joints' ability to move through their normal range of motion, preventing them from functioning properly. When joints are aligned and able to move through their normal range of motion, they lubricate themselves and remain healthy. When subluxated, however, they no longer lubricate themselves and become stuck, like an unused door hinge. This stickiness causes irritation.

Physical activities, including heavy lifting, reaching overhead to put something away, carrying heavy objects on the shoulders or pulling a weighted object for a long period of time can lead to thoracic facet irritation. These activities may stretch the joint capsules (which protect and support the joints) or jam the facet joints, causing subluxations in the spine and painful swelling and inflammation.

RIB PAIN

Rib cage pain includes any pain or discomfort in the area of the ribs. With a broken rib, the pain is aggravated by bending and twisting the torso. With pleurisy (swelling of the lining of the lungs), it is not.

Common causes:

  • Bruised, cracked, or fractured rib
  • Costochondritis (inflammation of cartilage near the breastbone)
  • Osteoporosis (mostly in women)
  • Pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, usually caused by a lung infection; characterized by sharp chest pain.)

LOWERBACK

LUMBAR SPINE SUBLUXATION

The term "subluxation" refers the loss of normal position or motion in a spinal joint. When this occurs in the lumbar spine (low back) it frequently causes joint and muscle pain which may refer up into the mid back and/or out into the hips and buttocks. Inflammation, taut and tender low back muscles and a loss of motion in the low back may occur. If left untreated for great periods of time, it may lead to degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis), degenerative disc disease and other neurological consequences.

LUMBAR MUSCLE STRAIN

You might want to think twice before swinging a heavy baseball bat or lifting a heavy suitcase. Unless you're in tip-top condition, you could be putting yourself at risk of a muscle strain in the lumbar spine.

Reach behind and feel the bumps of your spine, just above the buttocks. This is your lumbar spine. When one or more of the many muscles surrounding the lumbar spine is stretched or torn, it's called a strain. As you can imagine, when muscle strains occur in this area, they make ordinary, everyday activities involving the low back painful and difficult.

Anyone can suffer a muscle strain, although being active increases people's risk. Direct trauma to the back, lifting heavy objects and repeated injury to the low back can also make people more prone.

While strains often occur suddenly, they can also develop over time from long-term irritation, such as poor posture or repeated injury. For that reason, healthcare practitioners classify strains as either acute or chronic. Acute strains usually occur after a single movement, like a sudden twist or bend, and are usually followed immediately by pain. Typically, however, this pain diminishes for a bit and returns later along with stiffness. If the injury didn't damage the joints or the surrounding tissues, this subsequent pain usually diminishes within a few days.

A chronic strain, on the other hand, develops after repeatedly tear muscles around the spine. If an acute strain occurs over and over again, for example, it can lead to a chronic stain. Symptoms of a chronic strain vary in terms of length and intensity, but usually include mild, persistent ache in the low back. Many people with this condition also start to modify their daily activities so as to avoid flare-ups.

In either case, we can offer effective management.

LUMBAR FACET SYNDROME

Reach behind you and feel the center of your low back, just above the buttocks. This is your lumbar spine. Lumbar facet syndrome is a painful condition affecting the joints in this area, called the lumbar facet joints. These are responsible for connecting the vertebrae (spinal bones) in the spine, proving it with protection, limiting excessive motion and preventing the vertebrae from locking together.

Patients suffering from lumbar facet syndrome usually complain of a well-localized pain in the lumbar spine, as well as duller type pain in one hip, buttock or upper leg. This irritation is called referred pain, which is a type of pain that originates in one area and spreads to surrounding areas.

Symptoms of facet syndrome usually get worse when people sleep on their stomach, twist their torso, work with their arms above their head, extend backward or rise from a sitting position. All these activities expose the joints to stress that they aren't accustomed to, making them more vulnerable to injury and irritation.

Such problems usually begin after patients have a similar condition called lumbar facet irritation and don't get proper care. This condition usually develops suddenly, sometimes after a misjudged movement involving the back, like sudden twisting, or while people are recovering from a bent position. It can also be the result of repetitive twisting movements like swinging a golf club. These activities stretch joint capsules (which protect and support the joints), or jam facet joints, leading to painful swelling and inflammation. Other causes of facet irritation include subluxation (stuck or misaligned joints), poor posture, everyday wear-and-tear and trauma to the low back.

The difference between lumbar facet syndrome and lumbar facet irritation is that patients with the latter only have pain in the low back, and not the accompanying referred pain. For either condition, adequate care is an effective plan of management. Relief for either condition may be achieved by restoring function to misaligned or malfunctioning joints. While extreme cases of this condition may require surgery, our comprehensive approach which combines conservative chiropractic care, VAX-D therapy and exercise therapy has proven successful for most of our patients suffering with Sciatica.

LUMBAR JOINT DEGENARARION (Osteoarthritis)

Virtually every movement of your low torso involves the spinal joints of your low back. To prevent these joints from wearing down during these movements, our joints rely on cartilage, a spongy tissue that helps to cushion the friction between connecting bones. Without it, everyday activities would be extremely painful.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes this cartilage to break down and become rough and flaky, making movements in the affected areas more difficult. OA usually occurs in weight-bearing joints, like hips or the knees, which support the body. However, any joint can become affected. In fact, OA can occur in several joints or regions of the body at the same time. It's possible, for example, to have pain and degeneration in one knee and not the other, and at the same time in the neck or hip.

Patients with OA often report having mild pain, morning stiffness and limited range of motion in the affected joint or region. The pain tends to come in bouts, with particularly painful periods followed by periods of relief. Patients usually report the most discomfort at night and after extensive use of the affected joint. Some patients also complain of a complete loss of motion in certain areas, although this is rare.

Age and improper joint movement for extended periods of time play a role in the development of Osteoarthritis. Obesity also increases the risk of becoming affected as extra weight puts more stress on joints. Almost everyone experiences some changes in their joints by the age of 40, and although few people show any symptoms, OA occurs most often in those who are middle-aged or older.

While there is no cure for OA, manipulation, exercise and nutritional supplementation promote joint health, relieve pain and assist in preventing further degeneration.

LUMBAR DISC DEGENERATION

Almost everyone experiences low back pain. To alleviate it, the key is identifying which of the many conditions that affect the back is responsible.

Lumbar disk degeneration is a well-known cause of back pain, but it's not as common as most people think. In fact, only about 5% of those who go to the doctor for low back pain have disk degeneration.

These people usually experience back and leg pain, as well as muscle spasms in their low back and leg. They also commonly report muscle weakness, numbness and pins and needles in the thigh, leg and foot.

As degenerations usually occur on one side of the disk, the pain is generally worse on the corresponding side of the back. The pain can worsen with coughing, straining or sneezing as well as slouching and bending, which compresses irritated disks in the spine. It often gets better with bending backward or leaning to one side (the one opposite to the pain) which takes pressure off irritated disks. Because of this, people with lumbar degeneration often adopt a particular posture or walking stance to ease discomfort-bent sideways and forward, or with knees slightly bent to relieve pain in the legs.

While the pain of lumbar disk degeneration can radiate into one or both legs, the cause of the condition occurs in the lumbar spine, which is just above your buttocks. Your spine compromises bones called vertebrae, and in the lumbar spine there are five. Like the coils of a slinky, these vertebrae are stacked one on top of the other and move in unison.

To prevent friction during this movement, intervertebral disks cushion and protect the vertebrae. These disks are soft, fluid-filled pads, and when they become herniated, the gel-like material inside bulges out into the spinal canal (usually more to one side or the other straight back).

Within the spinal canal lies the spinal cord, which contains spinal nerves that exit between vertebrae and branch out to the rest of the body. The displaced gel compresses these nerves, causing pain in the low back and the areas of the body which nerves travel from the spinal cord. In severe cases, the displaced gel can even compress the spinal cord itself.

Usually, a single event doesn't trigger such a herniation. Disk degeneration is more likely a result of steady abuse. People whose work involves lots of twisting, bending, sitting or heavy lifting are more at risk, as these risk, as these activities cause disk stress and wear and tear. Truck drivers, for example endure prolonged periods of sitting in a vibrating vehicle, which can cause tremendous stress for the intervertebral disks and over time lead to a herniation.

While extreme cases of this condition may require surgery, our comprehensive approach which combines conservative chiropractic care, VAX-D therapy and exercise therapy has proven successful for most of our patients suffering from Lumbar Disc Degeneration.

LUMBAR SPONDYLOSIS

This is a condition in which degenerative changes in the intervertebral disc as well as the formation of bony spurs narrow the spinal canal. If spinal cord compression results, individuals may develop pain, weakness, numbness in the legs, difficulty walking, tight leg muscles, a loss of balance and coordination and in rare cases, loss of normal bowel or bladder function. In mild to moderate cases, care must be taken to maintain safe range of motion and prevent inflammation. In severe cases, surgery may be required to decompress the spinal cord.

SCIATICA

A lay term indicating pain along the course of a sciatic nerve, especially noted in the back of the thigh and below the knee. Pain radiating down the sciatic nerve into the posterior thigh and leg; can be caused by irritation of a nerve anywhere from the back to the thigh. While extreme cases of this condition may require surgery, our comprehensive approach which combines conservative chiropractic care, VAX-D therapy and exercise therapy has proven successful for most of our patients suffering with Sciatica.

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