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Can Chiropractic Care Help with MigrainesFor people who suffer from recurrent migraines, the quest for relief can be a long and frustrating one. Medications don’t always work as expected, and many patients would rather avoid the side effects and risks of prescription pain pills. At Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, we spend every day with patients who want to finally address the root cause of their pain. If you’re looking for an alternative or a complement to your migraine medication, our customized chiropractic care may be able to help.

Spinal Manipulation for Migraines with Synergy Release Therapy

There is still some medical mystery behind migraines. They have several potential causes and triggers, and researchers aren’t entirely sure what determines this and why some people get migraines while others don’t. This is why it’s so difficult to nail down a specific treatment regimen – because different strategies work for different patients. But it’s been well-documented that tension and misalignment in the neck and back can cause headaches, and it’s true for migraines as well. Spinal manipulation combined with our specialized Synergy Release Therapy or other techniques can relieve tension, re-align the bones and tissues, and allow the blood vessels to function better for a reduction in migraine symptoms.

Aftercare Help for Migraines

On top of in-office spinal manipulation, doctors of chiropractic like our providers at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute can help you maintain your results at home. Depending on the approach that works best for you, we can teach you exercises, stretches, treatments, and techniques you can do at home to reduce your migraines. For example, if poor posture is playing a role in your migraines, we can help you practice better posture as well.

Migraines are frustrating and intrusive, interfering with your ability to live life to the fullest. If you’re still looking for a better way to fight them, chiropractic care may be the answer. At Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, our philosophy is to treat the root cause of our patients’ pain, not the symptoms. To find out if we can help you with your migraines, other headaches, aches and pains, or athletic performance, schedule a diagnostic exam with Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well for more health tips.

This time of year, it seems like everybody is making New Year’s resolutions. And while making a resolution can be simple, sticking to it and achieving it can often be quite difficult for many people. Especially when it comes to resolutions involving physical fitness and wellness. That’s why the professionals at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ are here to offer a few helpful tips for how to achieve your fitness goals in the New Year.

3 Tips to Help Achieve Your Fitness Goals in the New Year

Set Realistic Goals

We understand that the spirit behind setting your resolution is to make positive changes to fitness level and overall health. It’s only natural for many people to establish big, ambitious goals for themselves. But there is value in knowing yourself and being realistic when you are starting out. So be honest with yourself and use that information to help establish goals that are attainable and realistic, that will also help improve your level of performance.

Take it Slow When Starting Out

Instead of trying to work your way into peak physical condition all at once, think of your resolution as a long-term commitment to a healthier lifestyle. If you try to do too much too fast, you may risk burning yourself out or increasing your risk of injury. So take it easy when you are in the beginning stages of your new fitness regimen. For example, start with low-to-moderate intensity workouts and slowly build towards more intense activity. Just because you know other people who train six days a week doesn’t mean you have to immediately jump to that level yourself.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

Working out is supposed to be a relief from your daily stress, not a cause for more of it. Unfortunately, many people can get easily discouraged and give up if they put too much pressure on themselves. So try to relax and focus on the joys of your physical activity instead of torturing yourself over it. Make a point of working out with a friend or commit to joining a class at your gym. If the gym atmosphere isn’t for you, find a sport or any activity that makes exercise more fun. It can be as simple as walking around your neighborhood. Even small activity is better for your health than being stagnant. Find something that will help make working out feel less like work.

Hopefully these tips will help you come closer to fulfilling your New Year’s resolutions and avoid getting distressed. If you are ever in need of any additional guidance and expertise, you can always call on the professionals at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™. Our experts will work with you to help you reach your true peak level of athletic performance. For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation, please contact Synergy Sports Wellness Institute today or follow us on social media.

Most people associate sports medicine with professional athletes, but at the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ in Atlanta we are proud to be able to help patients of all ability and activity levels. Even though we are well known for helping to improve the performance of some of the world’s most elite athletes, fewer are aware that we treat some of the most common complaints as well. For example, many of our patients are all too familiar with the sharp, wrenching pain of “throwing your back out.” Even relatively innocuous activity, like gardening or shoveling or just bending over to pick up a pencil, can potentially send a patient to the floor in agony. Why does this happen? What are we really saying when we talk about “throwing the back out?” Proper treatment begins with a deeper understanding of the back and spine in order to evaluate what is really going on.

throwing-your-back-outThe spine is the central support for the entire body. It bears the weight of the head, torso, and arms while allowing the body to move and bend in almost any direction. The adult spinal column itself is composed of 26 separate bones, called vertebrae, which surround and protect a central spinal cord that connects the brain to all of the various nerves in the body. These individual vertebrae are stacked on top of one another and are separated by elastic disks of tissue that act as shock absorbers. Back pain can be caused by a number of different issues, including muscle spasm or strain. However, what we commonly call “throwing the back out” is most likely the result of one of these disks becoming pinched or displaced.

The individual disks between the vertebrae are not unlike pieces of candy with hard outer shells and creamy centers. The outer portion, or annulus, which is firmly attached to the vertebrae both above and below the disk, is made up of a network of tough, crosshatched fibers that allow it to hold its shape. Inside this shell is the nucleus pulposis, a soft, gelatin-like filling that provides cushioning while evenly supporting the weight of the body. As we grow older, time and stress can cause small cracks or tears to develop in the outer ring. If one of these tears grows large enough, the disk can rupture, allowing the inner filling to squeeze out. This is called a herniated disk. The escaping material presses against the spinal nerves, causing intense pain or even numbness and weakness in the lower extremities. A herniated disk can be caused by a sudden load or violent jerk, but is more often the result of a slow accumulation of minor injuries over time, so the onset of pain can be sudden and unexpected.

In some extreme cases, spinal surgery may be necessary in order to repair a herniated disk. However, about 80% of patients can find relief without surgery, by pursuing a conservative treatment regimen consisting of rest, pain and anti-inflammatory medication, therapeutic massage, and chiropractic therapy. Our proprietary Synergy ™ Release Technique goes beyond simple manipulation by incorporating advanced therapeutic massage, stretching, and muscle activation techniques to restore balance to the body and achieve real, long-term results.

Back pain is a serious issue and needs to be carefully evaluated and diagnosed. At the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, our unique evaluation process uses a variety of metrics to analyze and diagnose the underlying biomechanical causes of a patient’s concern so that we can determine the treatment approach that is right for you. If you would like more information about the various services that we offer, or would like to schedule an appointment with any of our chiropractors or massage therapists, please contact us today. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest news and information sports medicine and chiropractic care in Atlanta.

How Can Sports Medicine and Chiropractic Care Help Fight the Opioid CrisisYou can hardly turn on the news or click onto a news site without seeing something about the opioid crisis in the US. It’s an important problem for the public to understand. Not only are opioids being abused at soaring levels, but the old adage “just say no” doesn’t seem to work either. So many people with new opioid addictions get started with a very justified prescription for pain management. But their body becomes dependent on the medication and they develop an addiction. According to a 2015 study by the US Department of Health and Human Services, 12.5 million people misused prescription opioids in that year alone, leading to over 15,000 deaths from overdosing on commonly prescribed opioids.

As disheartening as those numbers are, there is hope. More and more medical professionals are turning toward non-drug treatments for patients in pain. Just this year, the American College of Physicians (or ACP) updated its guidelines for lower back pain in a similar way as well. The ACP now recommends that doctors start with treatments like spinal manipulation, massage therapy, heat therapy, and acupuncture. If these treatments don’t offer enough relief, the ACP recommends mild medications like ibuprofen or muscle relaxants, making prescription pain medicine a last resort.

So what does all this have to do with Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™? Drug-free pain relief is the core of what we do. Our primary strategy is an advanced treatment called Synergy Release Therapy. This method focuses on finding the small stresses and misalignments that lead to larger injuries over time and correcting them. We supplement Synergy Release Therapy (or SRT) with therapies like chiropractic care, massage therapy, microcurrent treatments, and more. It’s a customized approach that lets us get to the root cause of our patients’ pain and treat the real problem, not the symptoms.

The opioid addiction levels in our country are astounding, but the battle isn’t over. There are concrete steps you can take to help. If you know someone who struggles with opioid addiction, listen to them and help them get the treatment they need for both their addiction and their original pain. If you know someone who is struggling with debilitating pain and doesn’t want to rely on prescription drugs the rest of their lives, explore non-drug pain management options before starting prescription pain medication.

To get started with treating your pain in a healthy, drug-free way, schedule a diagnostic exam at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™. For more health tips and information about our many treatment options, explore our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

At the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ we have a great deal of experience treating a wide variety of common sports injuries, but we also know that health-related issues can affect those who lead more sedentary lifestyles as well.  We know that the human body functions most efficiently when it is standing upright with its weight evenly distributed between the feet and the hips balanced directly under the spine.  Unfortunately, most people today spend the majority of their days sitting behind a desk.  This time spent in a seated posture can cause a number of problems across the entire musculoskeletal system and may result in chronic pain or discomfort.  In fact, according to a 2017 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, greater total time spent sitting is actually associated with a higher overall risk of premature death.

Prolonged Sitting Can Cause a Variety of Health Issues

When a person is seated, the pelvis, spine, shoulders, legs, and feet are no longer directly engaged in maintaining the body’s posture.  The muscles of the hips and spine do not have an opportunity to stretch and extend.  Eventually, those muscles become shortened and compressed to the point that secondary muscles are required to initiate standing movements.  This can, in turn, lead to overuse of those secondary muscles, potentially leading to back, hip, knee and foot pain.  Since the feet do not have to bear the weight of the body or deal with ground reaction forces when the body is seated, their system of arches slowly weakens.  The feet can become less able to accept the body’s weight upon standing, causing fallen arches that may require orthotics to correct.

Long periods of time in a seated posture can cause upper body problems as well.  When a person is working in front of a computer or driving a car, for example, the arms and hands are engaged in front of the torso.  This causes the shoulders to round forward and the spine to flex, restricting the movement of the muscles and connective tissue in the torso.  This can potentially result in shoulder injuries, like damage to the rotator cuff or shoulder impingement.  The neck and head must also adjust by arching upward, which can lead to further imbalances, pain and dysfunction.

Moreover, lack of movement can be particularly damaging to the spine.  The disks of cartilage that act as shock absorbers between the individual vertebrae that make up the spinal column do not have an independent blood supply.  Instead, they work like sponges, absorbing and expelling blood as they move.  While sitting, the sustained contraction of the muscles that extend the spine reduces the nutrition that reaches the disks and increases the pressure between the disks themselves.  This may lead to a herniated disk or chronic lower back pain.

Fortunately, no matter what your age or activity level might be, the expert chiropractors and massage therapists at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute are here to help.  If you feel as though you may be suffering because of the time that you spend seated, or If you would like to learn more about the many other services that we offer, please give us a call to schedule a chiropractic or rehabilitation appointment.  Be sure to follow us on social media for the latest news and updates as well.

The chiropractors and massage therapists at the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ have a tremendous amount of experience treating sports-related injuries, and we all know that no injury is more likely to fill an athlete with dread than an ACL tear.  While there are many different injuries that affect the knees or legs, an ACL injury can be devastating, especially when they happen to children.  Unfortunately, there is mounting evidence that the prevalence of ACL injuries has risen dramatically among younger athletes over the past several years.  Approximately 150,000 ACL injuries occur in the United States every year, and an increasing percentage of those injuries are suffered by children between the ages of eight and fifteen.

Are More Teens Getting ACL Injuries

Ligaments are bands of flexible and fibrous tissue that connect bones or cartilage together, usually at a joint.  As one of the four main ligaments in the knee joint, the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is vital for maintaining stability and promoting proper coordination during movement.  The knee joint routinely transfers the entire body’s weight, and is subjected to extreme shearing forces when athletes pivot, sidestep, land awkwardly after a jump, or receive a direct blow during a collision.  When too much stress is placed on the knee, patients may hear or feel the characteristic “pop” that often signals an ACL injury. The knee may swell, feel unstable, and become too painful to bear weight.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that the risk of an ACL injury generally increases sharply as children reach adolescence, particularly among girls between 12 and 13 years of age and among boys between 14 and 15 years of age.  The largest number of ACL injuries is reported among female athletes aged 15 to 20.  Among high school and college athletes females have two to six times higher ACL injury rates than males in similar sports.  It is possible to reduce your risk of ACL injury by taking some relatively simple precautions, including PNF stretching, building strength in the legs and core, and by learning proper techniques for jumping and landing.  However, once a partial tear does occur, patients generally need to undergo extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy for several months. A full or complete tear usually needs to be fixed surgically in order to restore proper function, and may require a significantly longer period of physical therapy.

At Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, we help patients of all ages who are recovering after ACL tears with a variety of different advanced treatment techniques.  One of the techniques that we use is our hyperbaric chamber with the micro-current.  By increasing oxygen flow to the injured area, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can accelerate the healing process and potentially cut your recovery time in half.

Everybody has to deal with injuries sooner or later, and no matter what your age or activity level might be, the expert chiropractors and massage therapists at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute are here to help.  If you would like to learn more about the many different services we offer, please give us a call to schedule a chiropractic or rehabilitation appointment, and be sure to follow us on social media for the latest news and updates.

What Exactly Is PNF StretchingAs you read in our previous blog post, stretching is an essential part of any physical activity. When performed correctly, stretching can help increase a person’s flexibility, range-of-motion (ROM), and overall physical performance. However, not all stretches are the same. It’s important to identify the appropriate type of stretching to help you maximize the effects of your workout. For example, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching is an advanced form of stretching designed to increase flexibility by simultaneously stretching and contracting the muscle group being targeted.

Initially developed as a form of injury rehabilitation, PNF stretching utilizes deeper stretches intended to increase a person’s ROM and muscular strength. The goal of PNF stretching is to produce deeper stretches intended to push a targeted muscle group to its limit. By doing so, the stretch triggers the inverse myotatic reflex, a protective reflex that helps calm the muscle and prevent potential injury. Mastering the three PNF stretching techniques below can help you reach a level of flexibility you may not have previously thought was possible:

Hold-Relax

  • This may involve putting a muscle in a stretched position and holding for a few seconds (otherwise known as a passive stretch).
  • Additionally, contracting the muscle without moving, such as pushing gently against the stretch without actually moving, can also be done.
  • Lastly, relaxing your stretch, and then stretching again while exhaling is another hold-relax method.

Contract-Relax

  • Contract-Relax is very similar to hold-relax, only instead of contracting the muscle without moving, the muscle is contracted while moving.
  • Consider a simple hamstring stretch as an example. During your stretch, a trainer could provide resistance as you contract the muscle and push your leg down towards the floor.


Hold-Relax-Contract

  • Hold-Relax-Contract is similar to Hold-Relax, only after pushing against the stretch, you do not relax into a passive stretch.
  • Instead, you actively push into the next stretch.
  • For example, in the hamstring stretch mentioned above, this could mean working the muscles to raise the leg higher while the trainer pushes in the same direction.

Before undertaking any PNF stretching technique, make sure that your thorough warm up has been completed. Warming up prior to stretching has a number of benefits essential for preparing the body and mind for the strenuous physical activity ahead. Remember to speak with one of the professionals at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ before attempting PNF stretching for the first time to help avoid potential injury. For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation, please contact Synergy™ Sports Wellness Institute today or follow us on social media.

At the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, our experienced chiropractors and massage therapists work with patients of all ages and athletic levels to optimize their overall health.  That often involves applying our proprietary Synergy Release Technique to treat injury and accelerate rehabilitation, but sometimes it also involves counseling patients on how best to avoid injury and sustain good health in the first place.  One healthy habit that many people overlook is maintaining good posture.  Not only does good posture improve how you look and feel, but several recent studies suggest that poor posture can also have a number of negative effects on your health.

How Does Poor Posture Affect Your Health

Poor Posture Hurts Circulation

The body is designed to move, and prolonged sitting (especially with the legs crossed) can cut off blood flow to the lower extremities, increase blood pressure, and even cause spider veins or chronic pain in the knees or legs.  Poor circulation will also contribute to inflammation, common among patients who are recovering from a muscle or joint injury, or who suffer from certain forms of arthritis.

Poor Posture Compresses Internal Organs

A slumped, head-forward posture compresses the lungs and effectively reduces their capacity by as much as 30%.  This strain forces the lungs to move faster so that they can still deliver adequate oxygen.  The compression also forces the heart to speed up to provide enough blood for oxygen transport.  The result is a vicious cycle which further increases the risk of heart and vascular disease.

Poor Posture Stresses the Spine

The average head weighs about ten pounds, but with every inch that the head is dropped forward the pressure on the neck muscles, discs, and vertebrae is effectively doubled.  As our own Dr. Michael Roura explained in his recent article on cell phone use and neck pain, this added neck strain can potentially lead to tension, soreness, headaches, chronic back pain, and fatigue.  Maintaining a head-forward posture for prolonged periods (like many people do at a computer work desk) may even be related to nerve, muscle, tendon, and ligament damage in the form of repetitive strain injuries.

The discomfort and damage caused by prolonged sitting alone has become a virtual epidemic, especially when you have poor sitting posture. Whether you’re sitting or standing, proper posture and alignment helps to keep the muscles, ligaments, bones, and internal organs in their natural position, reducing wear and tear on joints while relieving stress and improving overall health.  If you need to use a computer extensively (several hours or more each day), our certified Synergy Sports Wellness Providers can help treat your pain and even recommend techniques to minimize the risk of injuring your hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and back.

No matter what your age or activity level might be, everybody has to deal with injuries sooner or later, and the expert chiropractors and massage therapists at the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ are here to help.  If you would like to learn more about the many different services we offer, please give us a call to schedule a chiropractic or rehabilitation appointment, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

If you’re confused about the difference between a sprain and a strain, you’re not alone. These terms are misused very commonly, and it’s understandable to be a bit unclear. Not only are their names nearly identical, but they are both soft tissue injuries and they share similar symptoms.

Sprain vs. Strain What is the Difference

The key factor that differentiates these two injuries is the part of the anatomy that is really being injured. A joint sprain is an overstretching or tearing of the ligaments that attach bone to bone – a common injury in the ankle. A muscle strain, on the other hand, is an overstretching or tearing of the dense fibrous tendons that attach muscle to bone. This type of injury is particularly common in the hamstrings or the lower back.

Symptoms associated with both sprains and strains include limited range of motion, pain, and swelling. However, joint sprains tend to cause bruising as well, while strains often cause muscle spasms.

Proper diagnosis is important with sprains and strains alike so that you don’t hinder the healing process and so that you can receive the sports injury treatment your body needs. Both injuries are typically diagnosed with a physical examination by a doctor, but you may also have an X-ray and/or an MRI taken to allow the doctor to rule out any breaks or fractures.

Treatments for sprains and strains vary based on the severity of the injury. Mild to moderate (type I/II) sprains and strains can both be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (better known as RICE). In addition to RICE, chiropractic care, physical therapy, frequency-specific micro-current, and hyperbaric chamber sessions can help to expedite healing. More severe (type III) sprains and strains, however, may require surgery to reattach the ligaments or tendons.

As with any injury, it’s ideal to prevent sprains and strains before they occur. You can help to protect your body with these techniques:

  • Synergy Release Technique (a customized technique available exclusively at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™)
  • Massage therapy
  • Regular stretching and exercise
  • Foam rolling (using a specialized foam cylinder that rolls slowly over the area as a form of massage)
  • Proper warm-up before exercise

The old adage “knowledge is power” certainly holds true in the field of athletics and sports medicine. Knowing the differences between strains and sprains, the symptoms they exhibit, the level of your injury, and more will allow you to limit your risks and to heal more quickly if an injury does occur. For further help either preventing or healing an injury, schedule an appointment at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more health tips.