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Joint Pain: Healing Before Surgery

When joint pain becomes part of your life, you typically have two choices. Do you want to treat what is causing the problem or do you want to wait for significant deterioration and then choose your fate? At some point, when it comes to your joints, especially the knees, hips and ankles that carry your weight around, the only choice is surgery.

The first choice is almost always a mechanical issue, which is the core of chiropractic care. Most definitions of chiropractic care in the healthcare field mention “manipulation,” specifically of the spine and other bodily structures. Technically, manipulation does take place within the multiple disciplines of chiropractic care, but just in the physical sense.  Manipulation literally requires being manipulative, and that tends to be a negative characteristic when referring to feelings and emotions.

What we’re really talking about in both chiropractic care and physical therapy, are mechanical treatments,

“They stimulate the body to begin the repair process while, at the same time, recovering the condition that caused the pain to begin with,” explains Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy. “What we have found is that at the extreme end stages of joint deterioration, there is a point of no return and surgery is typically the only option.”

Deterioration Complicates the SituationKnee Pain

Time flies and the initial phase of joint pain will ultimately pass. Eventually the mechanical treatments won’t resolve this dilemma of deterioration, even though we might be able to temporarily ease the pain and keep prescription medicines and surgery at bay.

Joint pain is a dilemma that is growing, and it appears medicine is evolving into an increasing number of remedies and techniques that treat the end-result of painful joint issues instead of actually striking early enough to heal.

We at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy submit that only mechanical therapies can treat the mechanical dysfunction that created the problem that started it all. Medical advances, however, are still committed to treating and recovering the effects, even though surgical approaches, for example, are becoming less traumatic and less invasive. In the end they are offering the same old thing.

Replacing that knee, which is now your sole option after living with and medicating the pain over the years, is now a smoother, faster and more efficient surgical process. Additionally, its design and components are commonly giving that new knee a lifespan of thirty years.

What if the alternative were a healing process that corrects the mechanical dysfunction before it turns into a deteriorating arthritic joint that can only be resolved in the operating room? What if knee pain were only a fleeting memory, allowing you to remain mobile and pain-free for decades on the knees you were born with?

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

 

Easing the Pain of Spinal Stenosis

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Corraling Sneaky Spinal Stenosis

When it comes to easing the pain of spinal stenosis, the narrowing of spaces within your spine, it’s all about relieving pressure. That would seem obvious, and it should also come as no surprise that one of the most effective healing tools is decompression. That’s why the Butler Spine Program at Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy includes decompression in its multi-faceted approach to treating spinal stenosis.

This is nonsurgical, as is another spinal stenosis breakthrough— the LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) Laser, which not only eases symptoms like pain but has been shown to slow, even stop, degeneration.    

Spinal stenosis can be sneaky, and often is, and that means you may have a full-blown problem before you know it. It strikes most often in the neck and lower back, known as cervical and lumbar stenosis, respectively. You may not notice the symptoms for a while, and they may be so gradual that your pain threshold, for example, may adapt as the condition worsens. It may be detected via an MRI before you actually feel anything, but MRIs are usually conducted after reporting symptoms, so it might be a slippery slope toward reaching a diagnosis. And, of course, there is no specific treatment until there is a diagnosis.

Women with Back PainHowever, many of the fundamental features of chiropractic medicine, being noninvasive and an alleviator of pain, might actually precede the symptoms of spinal stenosis and stymie the degeneration.

The most common symptoms are pain in the lower back and/or neck. Lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common of all, but we say “and/or” because it could be both.

What are other notable symptoms aside from blatant pain? Let’s start with the neck, where, as is often the case with spinal issues, the symptoms may not seem related to the source at all. Tingling or numbness in extremities— legs, feet, arms or hands— may be a symptom. Another symptom is weakness in the extremities. You may notice that your balance isn’t what it used to be. Sometimes walking seems a struggle. Blame it on aging and being out of shape, but it may be a sign of cervical stenosis. Finally, bladder and bowel concerns, including sudden and unexpected urination or incontinence, may be a long way from the neck, but…

As for the symptoms of lumbar stenosis, weakness, numbness or tingling in the extremities emanate from the lower back too. Cramping and aching from standing for long spans of time might be blamed on deteriorating knees or poor circulation, but it is also a symptom of lumbar stenosis.

The Butler Spine Program is all about relieving the pressure and taking the woes of spinal stenosis out of your life.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

 

Why Website Words Seem Familiar

Computer

The Common Denominator of Chiropractic Searching

If you do much online research on chiropractic care, you are bound to see an amazing amount of repetition on practitioners’ websites. We’re talking word-for-word by the hundreds, and though this might be technically defined as plagiarism, nobody seems to complain too much.

That is because much of the purloined parlance is within the industry, so to speak. Quoting information that educates the public on the advantages of chiropractic care and mainstream studies that cite its many advantages, seems to be shared material for chiropractic practices all over the country. Plus it is proven and factual.

Aside from informational pages on these websites, you’ll also see this wholesale misappropriation of wordage in blogs on sites promoting everything from nutrition to acupuncture. Bloggers should know better, since they are usually professional writers and copywriters, but, then again, why not repeat someone else’s writing if you can’t state it any better?

Look at it this way. If it was your writing showing up on websites all over the country, you might actually feel complimented because so many people in the field preferred your words over their own.

WhiplashChiropractors are not alone. This seems to be particularly pervasive in the healing arts, including medical doctors, dentists and even healthcare financial advisors. Their websites are replete with hundreds of words lifted from elsewhere, and it is almost impossible to trace their origin.  

We’ve found numerous websites that are sharing writing without attribution, but we doubt anyone is going to mind all that much, because what’s good for one is apparently good for all— as long as the author doesn’t complain.

Take, for example, the following 65 words (part of several hundred but we don’t need to devote that many words to make the point):

In the United States, chiropractic is often considered a complementary health approach. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey of the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, about 8 percent of adults (more than 18 million) and nearly 3 percent of children (more than 2 million) had received chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation in the past 12 months…

Even though this survey is pretty much outdated more than a decade later, we found the above passage unchanged on 54 different sites all over the country and once in the UK. Most were chiropractic sites, but it was also on sites promoting pain therapy, yoga, cancer treatment, Chinese martial arts, holistic nursing, massage therapy, a suburban newspaper and even Wikipedia (the subject was therapeutic touch).

 

There’s Nothing Phony about Whiplash

Whiplash Treatment

There’s Nothing Phony About Whiplash

Whiplash has a bad reputation and has become stereotyped over the years as something of an imaginary injury.

Why? Many of us associate it with litigious people in neck collars trying to pull off an insurance or disability scam. In truth, it is not only the real thing, but one of the most common forms of neck pain. And that pain is not restricted to the neck.

The name itself indicates that the neck has been snapped like a whip, therefore causing a lasting injury that may become chronic. But historically it has been hard to prove, which why it became so popular among injury fakers after automobile accidents. A sudden jerk of your head forward or backward from a blow, impact or a quick, spontaneous movement of the head may lead to whiplash.

Modern medical technology makes it easier for a legitimate whiplash victim to prove that there is a spinal misalignment beyond the traditional x-ray, thanks to CT scans and MRIs.

Left untreated, whiplash may evolve into a chronic condition that could rob you of healthful sleep, resulting in fatigue and dizziness, the pain of severe headaches, ringing in the ears and back pain, just to name a few common symptoms. Basic symptoms of whiplash include headaches, numbness and tingling in the neck, and pain in the neck, shoulder, jaw and even down to your arm and hand. There have even been documented cases of brain injury from whiplash. Sometimes the symptoms do not occur until days or weeks after the injury.

Diverse Prescribed Treatments Available

Neck PainAt Oakland Spine & Therapy we use a variety of approaches or protocols to determine the extent of injury and misalignment of the spine, starting with an internal look through X-ray studies. We can then proceed with a diverse combination of prescribed treatments, notably spinal manipulation and physical therapy, as well as adjunct treatments like massage and acupuncture. Then there is laser treatment for pain, and our LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) Laser is the most effective treatment for pain on the market today

More than one million people are diagnosed with whiplash every year and as many as 25 percent of those deteriorate into chronic conditions. Meanwhile, so many people put up with reduced quality of life without ever having it diagnosed or treated. As noted previously, there is nothing phony about whiplash.

There are all kinds of ways to treat whiplash, although there is not necessarily proclaimed a cure. As with any ailment, many turn to prescribed or OTC medications, even injections, while others receive relief through massage, physical therapy and ultrasound. And what about the most visible treatment, the neck brace or cervical collar? That is immobilization, and even the most traditional treatments are now advocating movement as some kind of treatment.

Various forms of laser treatment are on the cutting edge of treatment, and chiropractic professionals offer more alternatives for healing and pain relief when it comes to whiplash. Laser treatment is offered by many modern practitioners of chiropractic care, as are spinal manipulation and physical therapy which have proven results.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

 

3 Ways to Handle Fibromyalgia Pain the Right Way

Finding the treatment that works best for your fibromyalgia symptoms can be difficult. When you suffer from pain, the quicker you find a solution the better. Although the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, researchers believe that it is a result of genetics, stress or trauma and chemical/ hormonal imbalances in your body. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can range anywhere from muscle and joint pain or stiffness to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, unrefreshing sleep and even increased sensitivity to your surroundings and foods you consume. Below 3 of the best-known ways to handle your fibromyalgia symptoms the right way.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy seems to be the go-to method for fibromyalgia sufferers, and there is a reason for that. For many, this option can help increase your strength and improve the body’s range of motion. Regular sessions are necessary, but you learn a variety of techniques that are believed to reduce pain, fatigue and stiffness. Each case is unique and it is up to your physical therapist to create a routine that will best tend to your needs and goals. At Oakland Spine, our team uses a therapeutic deep tissue laser to alleviate pain and promote healing.

Massage Therapy

Natural pain relief remedies are preferred by many, and are considered to be the best way to handle fibromyalgia symptoms. Studies have shown that massage therapy can reduce fibromyalgia pain, and can also decrease both stress and anxiety. Remember that your muscles are sensitive when suffering from fibromyalgia, so it may not necessarily feel relaxing. Choosing the right massage therapist is key to seeing positive results from this method. If too much pressure is applied, more harm than good can be done.

Acupuncture

Many swear by acupuncture as a great way to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms and we have had tremendous success in our office. This method increases blood flow to inflamed areas of the body and is used most often when trying to relieve muscle and joint stiffness, as well as chronic pain. When choosing acupuncture as a treatment option, it is important to choose an experienced professional to increase your chances of success.

Our highly trained, dedicated and caring physical therapy team is committed to treating Fibromyalgia symptoms and improving your life. And our SAME DAY GUARANTEE* is our way of showing you just how committed we are. Call us in the morning…see us in the afternoon!

Neck Pain – Drugs or Chiropractic?

When you have neck pain, do you instinctively reach for that bottle of ibuprofen or Tylenol? If so, is that the best option? Who can we trust for the answer? Since between 10-20% of the population suffer from chronic or persistent neck pain, this is a VERY IMPORTANT question!

If we look at the literature published in peer reviewed journals by authors who have no financial incentives in the outcome of the study, we can find accurate, non-biased information to answer this question. So, let’s start with a landmark study published in SPINE, a leading medical journal that reviewed ALL the publications printed between 2000 and 2010 on neck pain – a total of 32,000 articles with over 25,000 hours of review. (Haldeman S, Carroll L, Cassidy JD, et. al. The Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders: Executive Summary. Spine 2008,33(4S):S5-S7). This resulted in a 220 page comprehensive report from a multidisciplinary International Task Force involving seven years of work from 50+ researchers from 19 different clinical scientific disciplines worldwide looking at the MOST EFFECTIVE approaches available (both surgical and non-surgical) for patients suffering from neck pain.

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It’s All in the Wrist… and Hand… and Fingers…

The carpal tunnel is located at the base of the palm. It is made up of bones, tendons and a thick ligament, all of which encircle the median nerve. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when this nerve becomes pinched or inflamed, usually a result of repetitive motion from typing or any other sustained activity that overuses this area. An injury to the wrist or hand can also result in nerve damage to the carpal tunnel.

Symptoms range from numbness, tingling and pain to loss of muscle strength. Numbness is most prevalent in the thumb, index and middle fingers, and is often first noticed upon waking.

Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
CTS is the most common nerve disorder of the hands, but the majority of cases occur in women between 40 and 55, and 60% of all work injuries are due to CTS. Common occupations at high risk for CTS are secretaries, carpenters, weightlifters and meat packers. Young women can also develop CTS during pregnancy because of hormonal effects upon ligaments and tendons.

Treatment of CTS
Traditional physicians often inject corticosteroids into the area, which will temporarily relieve pain and swelling, but this does not actively treat the problem. When CTS is severe, surgery is often recommended, but this should be a last resort, since surgery can result in scarring and weakening of the ligament, and symptoms can eventually recur.

Chiropractic manipulation has been proven effective in treating CTS because chiropractors are nervous system experts. After X-ray or electromyography studies, your chiropractor can determine the extent of injury and the exact mode of manipulation necessary to alleviate the problem. Adjunct treatment LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) Laser may be the most advanced and effective way to alleviate pain and promote healing for CTS sufferers.

Wrist support is very helpful in resting the area and relieving symptoms, even during sleep. Patients with CTS are also encouraged to take breaks and vary their activities during the day to avoid overuse of the area, and to wear fingerless gloves to promote warmth and flexibility in the hands and wrists.

What if it Still Hurts?
Some people do not respond to typical treatment of the wrist because the painful nerve compression is occurring not only in the wrist, but also further along the nerve path to the neck or at multiple locations. The effects of the compression at the lower area is exaggerated by the other higher up compression. This is called Double Crush Syndrome and can be helped with chiropractic management that includes spinal manipulation and physical therapy.

Reprinted with permission from Think Teachers Magazine.