image description image description

Posts Tagged ‘chiropractor’

Many people start the day off with a fresh crack of the neck, back, or knuckles. It’s an action that may provide a sense of temporary relief or just a way to offset tension. Cracking joints has been the subject of much debate in the past, but in recent years there has been a lot of clinical study on the potential effects. Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ values the importance of safety in our patients and community. This topic has been very common among our patients, so we decided to answer the question: is cracking my joints bad for you?

Is Cracking My Joints Bad for You

What makes the cracking sound?

The cracking sound is a result of joints being pulled apart, which relieves pressure between them and creates a bubble of synovial fluid. The swift change in pressure in a joint resizes the bubble and creates an audible sound.

Accidental vs. intentional joint cracking

There needs to be a distinction between accidental and intentional joint cracking. Many individuals accidentally experience cracking sounds when they are either repeating a movement or quickly changing position. There is very common and typically little cause for concern. We recommend that you thoroughly stretch before repetitive activity to ease the joint pressure and surrounding muscles. However, if cracking occurs in the same spot or there are signs of swelling, tenderness and pain, then there could be a real medical issue that deserves attention.

Through extensive studies over decades, many research groups have arrived at the conclusion that intentionally cracking joints is relatively benign. Nevertheless, self-administered joint cracking may result in unintentional injury if not done correctly with chiropractic techniques. If joints are forcedly cracked, it’s possible pinch nerves and strain may occur in the surrounding muscles.

Does cracking joints give people arthritis?

There has been a long-standing belief that cracking joints increases a person’s chance for developing arthritis. Studies have yet to show a correlation between the two, despite this commonly held thought.

So, is it safe to crack my body?

There isn’t a simple answer to this question. As mentioned earlier, cracking joints is relatively harmless, but there is always a risk of injury. If you’re insistent upon cracking your body, take caution with the amount of force that you apply to your joints, nerves and muscles. Over time, you may create overstretching of the ligaments and cause laxity to the surrounding areas. If you feel the need to constantly crack or pop your joints, it may be in your best interest to get evaluated so you don’t create instability.

Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ can provide expert treatment solutions for areas where joints are sore or rigid. Our certified doctors and trainers work with patients of all ages to optimize the body’s performance and maintain peak health standards. If you have additional questions about cracking joints or our treatment options, contact us at 404.352.8900. To receive more tips and information about how to maximize your health and wellness, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+.

 

At some point or another, we have all experienced that familiar “pins-and-needles” feeling that signals a hand or a foot is “falling asleep.”  Few people, however, take the time to ask themselves what this really means.  In most cases, this feeling is the result of a “pinched nerve.” Although a pinched nerve is usually only a mild annoyance that can be massaged away, it can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious problem.  If you are experiencing the numbness, pain, or weakness that can result from a pinched nerve it may be a good idea to come in to the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ so we can assess the cause of your discomfort.  Our Certified Synergy doctors will be able to give you a complete diagnosis and perform therapeutic techniques that can prevent further damage and may even help keep the issue from recurring in the future.

Pins and Needles What to Do about Pinched Nerves

Most of the pinched nerves that we deal with at the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ are the result of repetitive stress injuries.  When we repeat even small motions over and over again, the repeated stress can cause microscopic tears in muscles, tendons, and ligaments, causing the affected tissues to become swollen.  This inflammation effectively squeezes the nerves against nearby bones, resulting in conditions like tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome.   Pinched nerves are also very common in the neck and back, where spinal nerves travel through narrow spaces between the individual vertebrae.  Flat, round “cushions” called intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers between each vertebra in your spine.  As we age and these disks wear out, the distance between the vertebrae shrinks, pinching the nerves between them.  This condition, called a herniated disk, may cause neck or low back pain, depending upon where the nerves are being compressed.  In some cases it may even cause pain that radiates from the neck into the shoulder and arm (cervical radiculopathy) or pain that radiates into the leg and foot (lumbar radiculopathy or sciatic nerve pain).

Regardless of the location involved, compressed nerves are typically best dealt with using massage and chiropractic adjustment. In many cases, our Synergy trained chiropractors and massage therapists will use specifically targeted techniques, like trigger point therapy or foam rolling, depending on the needs of the patient.  These therapies not only help improve circulation while reducing inflammation, but also help bring the muscles and bones into proper alignment, potentially relieving the pressure on the nerves.

If left untreated, the damage from a pinched nerve may cause long-lasting problems, and the earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment for nerve compression, the more quickly you’ll find relief.  If you are concerned that you may have a pinched nerve, or if you are interested in discussing any of the other conditions that we can treat, please contact us today at (404) 352-8900.  When you come in for a consultation, our Synergy™ trained chiropractors and massage therapists can work with you to find the ideal treatment approach for your injury.  Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest news and information about sports medicine and chiropractic care in Atlanta.

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.

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.

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+.

By Dr. Michael Roura

Is Your Cell Phone Causing You Pain

Being on your cell phone all the time can be a real pain in the neck…literally!  As we all know, most people in America cannot go an hour without looking at their smartphones to check out the next meme of the day.  But what is so wrong with that, right?  Well, we will not go into the psychology of that, but we will address the negative bio-mechanical effects of “text neck.”

In order to look at their phones, the majority of people hunch over, with their shoulders rolled forward and their heads tilted down.  What most people fail to realize, however, is that an average head weighs about ten pounds and every inch that the head is dropped forward effectively doubles the load on the neck muscles, discs, and vertebrae.  This means that when looking down at a smartphone there can be as much as sixty pounds of load on the neck.  In the short term, this strain may only result in some minor soreness, but when we spend several hours or every day in this same posture, many bio-mechanical changes begin to occur.

  1. Front neck muscles start to shorten, bringing the head, neck, and shoulders forward.
  2. As the shoulders move forward, they become rounded, causing a “hunched-over” posture.
  3. The muscles in the back of the neck become longer and weaker, further contributing to the forward migration of the neck.
  4. Lengthening of the neck muscles can cause the neck vertebrae to lose their natural curve, or even to curve in the opposite direction.
  5. This loss of curvature in the neck can eventually cause disc herniation.

All of this will ultimately contribute to chronic neck and shoulder pain, along with recurring headaches.  For the most part, people do not feel the effects of “text neck” until they are older, but every day I see more and more patients under thirty, and an alarming amount of teenagers and children, who are experiencing neck pain.  This is not supposed to happen, particularly since children are still growing and developing.  If a child were to use an electronic device every day from when they were first able to use one, the natural curvature of the neck might never be established at all, potentially setting them up for a lifetime of neck pain.

Fortunately, there are several changes that you can make to prevent “text neck” from occurring: 

  1. Avoid staring down at a computer, tablet, cell phone, or other electronic device for more than twenty minutes without stretching or walking around.
  2. Read messages or text without looking down by bringing your cell phone or electronic device up to your eye level.
  3. Try to limit the amount of time children spend looking down at their devices, especially if they already are experiencing headaches and neck pain.
  4. Work on your posture. While looking into a mirror check to be sure that your neck is not coming forward, your shoulders are not rolled forward, and that you are standing up nice and tall.

Cell phones, tablets, and electronic devices aren’t going anywhere, so I expect that the common injuries like the neck and shoulder problems associated with “text neck” will only become more prevalent in the future.  However, the expert chiropractors and massage therapists at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ are here to help.  If you would like to learn more about the techniques that may be able to help give you some relief, or about any of the 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+.

Sources:

Dr. Michael Roura

Whether you’re a dedicated professional athlete or just work out whenever you can to keep yourself healthy, you have probably experienced a moment when you realized you had pushed your body too far.  Typically, this can manifest as a pulled muscle or a pinched nerve, two of the most common injuries that we treat here at the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™.  Although these two problems may seem similar, and are easily confused, they actually require very different approaches to treatment.  Understanding how these two common injuries differ from one another is the first step to effectively relieving your discomfort and getting you back on your feet.

What’s the Difference between a Pulled Muscle and a Pinched Nerve

Pain and Swelling: Pulled Muscles

A pulled or strained muscle occurs when the fibers that make up the muscle have been overstretched or torn, often as a result of fatigue, overuse, or improper use.  Although strains can happen in any muscle, they are most common in the lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring (the muscle behind your thigh).  A pulled muscle will usually start to swell immediately, and will be very tender to the touch.  Patients may also experience bruising or redness at the site of the injury or, when the strain is severe, an inability to use the affected muscle at all.  Most muscle strains are the result of either poor flexibility or a failure to warm up properly before performing strenuous physical activity.  However, chronic muscle strains can also be caused by smaller repetitive movements, like those performed during rowing, tennis, or golf.  They can even result from merely holding the back or neck in an awkward position for long periods of time, which might occur when you work at a desk.  Relatively mild and moderate strains can be successfully treated at home with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), but severe strains or tears may require a full diagnostic exam in order to determine the correct course of action.  If your pain does not subside after a week, or if the injured area becomes numb, seek medical attention right away.

Pins and Needles: Pinched Nerves

Nerves run throughout the body carrying electrical impulses between the brain and every muscle and organ, but when a nerve is subjected to unusual pressure for a prolonged period of time, those impulses can become partially obstructed, causing a loss of feeling in the affected area.  Nerve compression, commonly known as a pinched nerve, usually occurs in nerves that pass through narrow points in the body between ligaments, tendons, and bones.  Repetitive motion, or even simply holding the body in one position for a long period of time, can cause inflammation in the surrounding tissues, and when those tissues are swollen, they apply pressure on the nerves.  Initially, compression on the nerve causes a characteristic pins-and-needles sensation.  However, if the compression continues, numbness and severe pain can result.  Some of the more common sources of pain and discomfort that we treat at the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, like carpal tunnel syndrome and herniated disks, occur as the result of compressed nerves in the arm or spine, respectively.  The specific treatment for a pinched nerve can vary considerably, depending on the area affected and the underlying cause.  It may require only a splint or brace to immobilize the area, or you may need therapy exercises that will strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to relieve pressure on the nerve.  In some severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the constriction and give the patient relief, but one of our goals at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ is to provide patients with alternative treatment options that will help them to avoid surgery whenever possible.  Several patients have come to Synergy when surgery was suggested and, after being treated, were able to opt out of the procedure.

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 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+.