Disc Herniation Within Athletics

Herniated discs can happen to both athletic and non-athletic folk alike. That doesn’t make the back and neck pain or nerve sensations any more pleasant for the former population. Figuring out treatment while also trying to nail down a return-to-activity plan can feel incredibly daunting, especially for athletes. How can you visualize pushing yourself in training again when you’re experiencing so much discomfort at rest?

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a fitness fanatic, or near-professional status, rushed training or accidents in training can lead to a disc herniation. Though the journey back to full health can be overwhelming, most herniated discs are treated successfully through consistent, conservative care. Let’s take a look at this condition and your treatment options. 

How Does A Disc Herniation Occur?

The vertebrae that stack to make up our spine all have small pads between them, called “discs.” They serve as little shock absorbers to help protect our spine during day-to-day and dynamic movement. These discs are made up of a tougher outer cartilage ring and a softer, gel-like center. When a disc herniates, the soft-center portion is pushed through the outer cartilage edge. 

This kind of herniation is very common in high-contact sports, like football. It is also common with high-load activities, like complex, heavy weight lifting that requires twisting. However, one of the tricky aspects of this injury is how it presents in various cases. Once a disc has herniated, the displacement can put pressure on the nerves within the spine, causing an array of referral patterns. Though neck and lower back pain is a common symptom, a herniated disc in the lumbar region can also cause tingling in one leg or buttocks and a burning sensation in the neck. A herniated disc that’s located closer to the neck can cause tingling and burning in one arm or shoulder. 

Symptoms of weakness or numbness are considered more serious symptoms from a herniated disc and should be looked at by a medical professional immediately.

How Can You Prevent A Herniated Disc?

As with most injuries, taking preventative measures is always the ideal. To help protect your spine against a herniated disc, pay extra close attention to your posture and athletic form especially while performing high-load activities. Many sports injuries in the weight room happen when an athlete is near the end of a workout, becoming fatigued, and gets a bit lazy with their form toward their ending repetitions. 

A good rule of thumb: if you’re too tired to execute the exercise with less than perfect form, you’re too tired. Take the cue from your body and focus on rest instead of getting in that last set. 

You can also implement exercises that strengthen and stabilize the trunk muscles. This is especially important for athletes who play contact sports like football, basketball and soccer. By strengthening these muscles, your body is better prepared to respond protectively when contact does inevitably occur.

How Can You Treat A Herniated Disc?

Surgery is not the immediate answer to treat all herniated discs, and in fact, most cases have positive results from conservative care. For starters, basic rest can work wonders. For active individuals and athletes, this can feel especially difficult! But in the long run, time off now could mean more time back in the game later than if you try to push through pain and discomfort. 

Many also experience relief from using ice around the area to help decrease inflammation, as well as the application of some analgesic cream. 

Chiropractic Care For Disc Herniation

Chiropractic treatment is another great option within conservative care for a disc herniation. A chiropractor will evaluate the entire spine to better understand where your pain is truly coming from before providing any treatment. Once they have a better understanding of your personal pain pattern and symptoms, they may apply some gentle adjustments that can help to realign the spine for better overall function during the healing process. Depending on your specific case, some additional manual therapy may also be applied to encourage healing. Your chiropractor can also help prescribe the best at-home exercises to quicken your recovery time outside of the office. 

By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help keep your body’s response system in tip-top shape and minimize inflammation. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your symptom history in detail and construct a treatment plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward. Don’t put off your healing; schedule an appointment online or call (626) 469-7478. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.


The Healing Benefits of Chiropractic Care For Children

Most of us don’t think of young children as having issues that might require chiropractic care. But did you know many painful ailments that plague adults actually stem from a misaligned spine due to an undetected childhood spinal injury?

How Do Children Injure Their Spines?

The first few years of a child’s life is all about exploring surroundings. From infants gaining mobility to the toddler years to elementary school—seemingly harmless bumps and falls happen every day; it’s only natural as a child explores the world around them. But over time, even minor injuries can cause trauma to a child’s spine. Spinal bones can shift from their normal positioning during this stage of rapid growth, resulting in permanent deformities that may show up later in life.

The Three Windows of A Child’s Spinal Development

There are specific windows of time during which a child’s spine goes through major increments of development:

  • Birth through age five. The most critical time by far, this is when a child gains mobility, balance and coordination, and his or her spine experiences the greatest amount of minor traumas and repetitive stress injuries.
  • Age five to 10 years old. As a child starts school and engages in playground activity and organized sports, repeated falls and tumbles are bound to happen, sometimes resulting in undetected spinal injuries.
  • Age 10 to 15 years old. The spine goes through its final stages of development as your child eases into adulthood. While this stage seems relatively uneventful by comparison, it’s actually when your child’s spinal growth can be affected by things like improper backpack loading and carrying, poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, or at the other end of the spectrum, repetitive sports movements. Even if your child never seems to sustain a sports injury during this time of life, repeated impacts due to playing sports take a toll over time. The “invisible” effects of participating in high-impact sports and other activities often show up as an adult — and it can be painful. 

Injuries that show up in a more outward, dramatic fashion (like a concussion, whiplash, etc.) can benefit certainly from the gentle pressure of a chiropractic spinal adjustment. What many parents don’t realize is that any active child — especially one who plays sports —  is quite likely to experience a spine injury, regardless of whether they have painful symptoms right now. 

Your child’s trip to the chiropractor now can prevent plenty of adult onset-pain – we’ll talk more about that in a moment.

What Is Happening To Your Child’s Spine?

After the almost-constant bumps and falls that occur in the first few years of life, the vertebrae protecting the spine can lose their normal positioning, exposing the spine to trauma.

Spinal trauma can have lasting effects, including:

  • Delicate nerve tissue damage, resulting in interference with the brain’s ability to send nerve impulses to your organs, tissues, and muscles
  • Discs, blood vessels, and other soft tissues can swell and become inflamed 
  • Bone spurs and abnormal bone growth as the body compensates to protect the spine

These realities can come as a surprise to parents, as pain and other obvious symptoms aren’t always present.

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Kids

When young adults seek out chiropractic care, they often don’t realize their back pain is the result of a trauma they received 10-20 years ago. You can shield your child from experiencing the same discomforts by scheduling a pediatric chiropractic exam. Chiropractic care can uncover spinal problems that would normally go undetected in children. Left unchecked, spinal problems can grow into much more serious medical issues later in life.

You’re most likely already aware of the benefits of chiropractic care — perhaps you (or someone you know) has experienced the often instant relief that comes from having a properly aligned spine. With the gentle pressure of a chiropractic adjustment, your child’s normal spinal and nervous system function can be restored, too. Why not give your child this same opportunity? With proper alignment, your child’s body will be free to heal itself, enabling your child to grow up with a healthy spine and nervous system.

Would you like to learn more about ensuring your child’s spine is healthy not only now, but in the future? Schedule an appointment online or call us at (626) 469-7478. We look forward to creating a customized treatment plan for your child.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.


The Joy and (Back) Pain of Being a New Mom

Did you know your body is considered postpartum for an entire year after your little one arrives? Unbeknownst to many new moms, post-pregnancy hormones have a powerful effect on your joints, ligaments, lower back, and other parts of your body.

What should you do to avoid postpartum pain? And, are there ways to bounce back from your pregnancy more quickly, with minimal discomfort? Absolutely! 

Keep reading to learn 5 ways to help your body heal faster and more effectively.

1. Adjust Your Posture

It’s only realistic to expect some back pain as part of your new-mom healing process — after all, giving birth is strenuous on every muscle in your body, particularly your spine. And, with a newborn in your life, you’ll also likely find yourself sitting down more than ever, which places pressure on your spine and negatively impacts your posture. All said, it translates to lingering aches and pain in your back.

Back pain, however, shouldn’t sideline you from everyday activity. When sitting with your baby, use a footstool to elevate your feet to minimize pressure on your back. And, to help your body recover more quickly, consider making an appointment for a chiropractic adjustment to help your pelvis, hips, and spine regain their equilibrium and return to normal. 

2. Adjust Baby’s Position

Among many other changes in your life, you’re constantly toting around your new baby and your body may not be used to the new routine. Between feeding, holding, rocking, placing your child on a changing table, in a swing or in a crib, it’s quite common to develop back pain, not to mention neck pain, shoulder pain, and misaligned hips. So what’s a mom to do?

When you pick up your child, hold her close to your midline. This method activates naturally durable muscles that support you more readily. When possible, support your baby with your bicep, giving your wrists and hands a break from the strain. Additionally, your shoulder placement in this stance maximizes your ability to breathe and you’ll find your muscles won’t tire as easily.

3. Build your Core

Core-strengthening exercises not only help get rid of excessive pregnancy layers, but can promote better posture as you take on the new physical demands of parenthood. Exercises you’re likely already familiar with, such as pelvis tucks, planks, and crunches all build up your abdominals, strengthen your core, which in return, supports your back. Remember your muscles and ligaments are more flexible than usual following pregnancy, so adjust your speed and intensity accordingly. If you find yourself with sore muscles, ice, heat packs or warm bath can do wonders for easing muscle (and mental) fatigue!

4. Evaluate Your Car

It’s not uncommon for new parents to evaluate transportation options to accommodate their growing family. For many, parenthood means the days of two-door cars (temporarily) come to an end, due to the inconveniences of accessing the back seat. After a while, placing a carseat and child in and out becomes taxing on your back. If you are considering purchasing a new vehicle, a four-door or even a minivan can make your life considerably easier not to mention less strenuous on your back and shoulders. 

Another car-shopping note: make sure your car has a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) anchors for car seats, designed to make properly installing a car seat much simpler. Digging through car seat cushions to find the anchor can be not only frustrating, but hard on your back. Fortunately, most cars built after 2002 have this LATCH feature.

5. Take Time for You

It’s only natural your primary focus is on your baby, especially in those first few months after giving birth. Don’t forget to care for yourself, too– napping when baby naps, staying properly hydrated, allowing your friends and neighbors to assist with laundry and cleaning–these are a few of self-care basics. But don’t overlook the internal needs of your healing body. A visit to the chiropractor can help restore your body as you journey back to optimal health. 

Schedule your appointment online or call our office at (626) 469-7478 – our goal is to learn all about your health, help you regain your sense of wellness and avoid pain in the future. We’ll make sure you’re at your very best as you care for your new baby.

Senior male tennis player with shoulder pain sitting on bench at court

How To Knock Out Shoulder Pain

That nagging shoulder ache…the sharp pain when you move your arm or the twinge between your shoulder blades. Sometimes, you even feel shoulder pain in your neck. Regardless, it translates to constant and uncomfortable pain, often inhibiting daily activities.

So what do you do and is surgery in your future?

Sadly, many are told that surgery is their only option as the next step toward relief. In reality, there are some truly amazing conservative care options to fully explore before scheduling time in the OR, if you’re willing to commit to a treatment regime. 

But first, let’s explore what causes chronic shoulder pain, your best non-surgical treatment options, and what’s involved in each.

What Causes Chronic Shoulder Pain?

Our shoulders are actually the most mobile of all our joints, making them even more susceptible to overuse and injury. One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is a rotator cuff tear. Simply put, this injury is a tear within the rotator cuff tendons in your shoulder. This tear or series of tears can happen from sudden trauma, like in an accident involving lifting heavy weight or an unexpected fall. It can also develop slowly over time through many micro-traumas as an overuse injury. 

Symptoms of rotator cuff injuries include pain, weakness, and a loss or partial loss of range of motion around the affected joint and can grow increasingly unpleasant. Many people also hear a clicking sound when they try to raise their arm. 

Another common cause of shoulder pain is an injury called “frozen shoulder.” Frozen shoulder generally operates through a series of three phases, starting with “freezing.” This phase is characterized by shoulder pain first, but then a progressive loss of range of motion within the shoulder. Stiffness of the shoulder sets in to signal phase two, before the “thawing” phase three takes over to allow a gradual return to movement. 

Other shoulder pain can be derived from bursitis, rotator cuff impingement, or even arthritis in the shoulder. 

At-Home Treatment For Shoulder Pain

The first step to managing your shoulder pain is to get a proper diagnosis. Frozen shoulder is commonly misdiagnosed as a rotator cuff tear, so be sure to give your doctor as many details as you can. 

Rotator Cuff Tear

Should your diagnosis indicate a rotator cuff tear, early treatment is key. If you delay the structured healing of this tendon, the rotator cuff begins to retract, inhibiting the success of both conservative and invasive treatments. The good news is that small and medium tears respond well to conservative rehab. This includes a carefully structured rehabilitation plan with appropriate exercises to take you through the various healing stages. Many have also experienced relief from applying both ice and heat to the area. Pacing your rehab is also important, avoiding excessive use but not limiting mobilization either, as light movement can actually help the healing process. 

Frozen Shoulder

If you’re managing a frozen shoulder, be sure to act appropriately according to the stage your shoulder is currently in. Getting overzealous with a rehab plan is a recipe to set yourself further back on your healing timeline. For example, during the “freezing” stage, gentle joint mobilizations and stretches can be tolerated, but aggressive soft-tissue treatment may actually aggravate the injury further. Use pain as an indicator and try to stay on the conservative side until you reach phase two. 

Once you’re in phase two, your joint can handle a bit more of a treatment and structured rehab plan, including mobilizations with movement. Phase three is where you can really begin to see the benefit of getting deeper and more sophisticated with movement, exercises, and stretches. 

Keep in mind that rehabbing a frozen shoulder can feel like a long game; many cases report up to 30 months before full healing is achieved. This makes patience and perspective all the more important throughout your recovery process. With health on the other side, it’s worth it!

Chiropractic Care For Shoulder Pain

Chiropractic treatment is another great option within the conservative care realm to help with shoulder pain and other chronic shoulder issues. The gentle adjustments that your practitioner may apply help to realign the spine and extremities for better overall function during the healing process. This can help to loosen up the body as a whole, as well as decrease inflammation. Depending on your specific case and the severity of your shoulder injury, some additional manual therapy may also be applied to encourage healing. Your chiropractor can also help prescribe the best at-home exercises to quicken your recovery time outside of the office and guide you through the phases of recovery accordingly.

By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help to keep your body’s response system in tip-top shape and minimize inflammation. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your symptom history in detail and construct a treatment plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward. 

Don’t put off your healing; schedule an appointment online or call (626) 469-7478.