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Posts Tagged ‘herniated disk’

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.

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.

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+.