Understanding Shoulder Pain

The most important goal of chiropractic care for shoulder pain its to restore a patients shoulder back to full function, while reducing and eliminating the pain caused by the injury.  Basically, making it work pain free again.  Shoulder pain can have many different causes ranging from macro-trauma, like a car accident, to repetitive micro-trauma, as in overuse injuries associated with sports.  Whatever they may be, you can be surprised by the intensity and duration of the pain.  This becomes evident because your shoulder is essential in completing many daily tasks, and it makes sense that this should be taken seriously before the shoulder injury could potentially worsen or heal incorrectly (leading to degenerative arthritis or a frozen shoulder).

                                                        

Your shoulder has three joints that govern its movements.  The main Glenohumeral joint, the Acromioclavicular joint, and the Strenoclavicular joint.  There is also a pseudo-joint between the ribcage and the Scapula (shoulder blade) or Scapulothoracic joint.  This is why we call it the shoulder girdle.  Unlike our hips and pelvis, which have broad dense ligaments for stability,  shoulder ligaments are thin and band-like to allow more movement or range of motion.  Thus, the stability of the shoulder falls on the coordinated strength of muscles working together.  The primary stabilizers are the four rotator cuff muscles (or S.I.T.S. muscles shown above) and the secondary stabilizers are the long head of the biceps and triceps.  Therefore, it is imperative that treatment should involve ALL of the working joints and stabilizing muscles of the shoulder.  A fact that is not overlooked in my office.

Chiropractic care can be an extremely effective way to treat shoulder pain.  A thorough examination of the neck and shoulder will be performed to rule out possible “referred” pain from the neck to the shoulder.  Whether the shoulder pain is connected to the neck or coming from the shoulder girdle, it can generally be helped with the non-invasive methods of chiropractic manipulation (adjusting) and neuromuscular reeducation (helping your nerves and muscles work together to restore normal movement).  Application of heat and ice packs might also be used, as well as, gentle home exercises and stretches given to the you to perform.

Signs and symptoms that your shoulder pain needs immediate attention may include a decreased ability to hold objects, a decreased functioning of the arm, pain in the shoulder/shoulder blade and/or down the arm with exertion, pain that persists at rest, pain that lasts for more than a few days, and unusual twinges or aches in the shoulder.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Joshua Longo, call 916-581-9600 today!

 

 

Do you get frequent Headaches?

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Are you tired of taking meds for your head and neck pain?

Although headaches can have many possible different triggers, one thing is for sure – they happen for a reason.  Headaches are your bodies way of telling you something isn’t right.  As many of you might know headaches don’t always originate in or near where you feel pain.  Everything’s connected in your body.  For example, a wrist problem can actually be a spinal complication, or knee trouble can actually result from a hip issue.  So headaches can of course be directly related to the spine, being caused by several ailments including misalignments (especially of the first two and lower cervical vertebre), poor posture, low back problems, and/or muscle spasms/triggerpoints.  Before any treatment is started it is important to rule out the rarer more serious causes of headaches that may require urgent medical attention.  The majority of headaches are of two types: tension headaches (also known as cervicogenic headaches) and migraine headaches.  There is a third, less common type of headache called cluster headaches that are a cousin of migraine headaches.

Headaches and Chiropractic Adjustments:  a report in 2001 by researchers at Duke University Evidence-Baced Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that “spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief for tension-type headaches than commonly prescribed medication.”  These findings support a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that found spinal manipulative therapy to be very effective for treating tension headaches.  This study also found that those who stopped chiropractic care after 4 weeks continued to experience a sustained benefit in contrast to those patients who received pain medication.

Each individual’s case is different and requires a thorough evaluation before a proper course of chiropractic care can begin.  However, in most cases of tension headaches, significant improvement is accomplished with the manipulation of the upper two cervical vertebrae, coupled with adjustments to the junction between the cervical and thoracic spine.  This is also helpful with most cases of migraine headaches, as long as food and lifestyle triggers are avoided as well.  And remember to keep adequately hydrated in these summer months for dehydration too can be a cause of headaches.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with our Dr. Joshua Longo, call 916-581-9600 today!

Did you know there is a water hierachy?

12991021_1755746578002196_5544797040261425723_nDid you know that there is a water hierarchy in your body? It goes from your Central Nervous System -> Organs -> Muscles -> Joints/Discs in order of importance. In other words, if you don’t drink enough water your body will start to pull water away from your joints and discs aggravating low back pain or neck pain.  Drinking an adequate amount of clean water everyday is one of the most overlooked, and simplest ways of keeping your body healthy (for so many reasons). So what is adequate? Most sources agree that 10 cups or 1.5 Liters a day works. If you exercise heavily maybe double that. Of course height, weight, age all factor in. Most of us are guilty of under-watering so just start with drinking more of it, and have 10 cups a day be your someday goal. Be well. http://drjoshualongo.com

Do I have a Slipped Disc?

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  • Most of us have heard the term “slipped disc” when describing a low back injury.  In fact intervertebral discs do not actually “slip”.  Instead they herniate or bulge out from between two vertebrae.
  • A herniation is a displaced fragment of the center part or nucleus of the disc that has pushed through a tear in the outer layer or annulus of the disc.  This can cause pain when irritating substances are released from the tear and also if the fragment touches or compresses a nearby nerve.  Disc herniations can have similarities to degenerative disc disease and discs that herniate are often in the early stages of degeneration.  They are a common cause of low back pain but are also found in the neck and less frequently in the mid-back.

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  • How do herniations happen?  Many factors decrease the strength and resiliency of discs, increasing the risks of herniation.  Smoking, lack of regular exercise, poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, and excessive weight all contribute to poor disc health.  Poor posture, daily “wear and tear” , injury or trauma, and incorrect lifting and twisting further stress your discs.  Now consider that multiple factors are usually involved and “the straw that breaks the camels back” can be something as simple as coughing or bending over to pick up a quarter.  The herniation wasn’t just caused by the last action but rather the cumulative load of what has happened before.
  • How do I know if I have one?  Of course you would need a through physical examination and diagnostic studies to definitively diagnose a intervertebral disc herniation but here are some clues.  Herniated discs are more prevalent in people between the ages of 30 and 40 and twice as common in men than women.  The most common symptom will be pain in the area of the herniation that may radiate across the hips or into the buttocks.  One might also experience numbness or pain radiating (traveling) down your leg to your foot (sciatica).  If its bad enough (big enough) you might get weakness with lifting your big toe and you may not be able to walk on your toes or heels.  Severe cases of lumbar disc herniation can effect your bowel or bladder function and may also cause problems with sexual function. If you are unable to urinate for more that a 24hr period this becomes an emergency due to a rare condition known as Cauda Equine Syndrome.
  • What do I do now?  In the first 24-48 hrs after the onset of symptoms call your friendly chiropractor to make an appointment and rest and ice your back.  Ice the affected area for 15 minutes every hour, when not sleeping, making sure that there is a damp cloth barrier between your skin and the ice pack.  Mild to moderate disc herniations can usually be treated conservatively with stretching, exercise therapy and chiropractic adjustments. In more complicated cases we use spinal decompression, such as traction, in conjunction with chiropractic care.  Severe herniations may require surgery.  These cases are reserved as a last resort when previous therapies have failed to relieve pain, or if there is significant compression of the spinal cord or nerves.

For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Joshua Longo call 916-581-9600 today!

10 Reasons to Eat Your Veggies

  1. Young Woman Cooking in the kitchen. Healthy Food - Vegetable SalLose some weight
  2. Keep your heart healthy
  3. Prevent and control diabetes
  4. Avoid diverticulosis
  5. Impove digestion
  6. Reduce the risk of certain cancers
  7. Help prevent stroke and other diseases
  8. Bring your blood pressure down
  9. Lower your risk of adult blindness
  10. Curb your sweet cravings

Helpers High: The healing power of helping others.

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People have known for ages that helping others is good for the soul.  A study based on research here in the US 20 yrs ago proves it.  Allan Luks followed 3000 male and female volunteers and outlines the positive effects for the body and mental health as well.

  1. Decreases effects of disease, psychological and physical.
  2. Rush of euphoria, (helper’s high), and an endorphin release (natural painkillers), followed by calmness
  3. Improves stress-related health problems.  Reverses depression, gives social contact, decreasing feelings of hostility and isolation.  A drop in stress decreases lung constriction, asthma attacks, overeating and ulcers.
  4. Enhances joyfulness, emotional resilience, vigor, and reduces the sense of isolation.
  5. Decreases in intensity and awareness of physical pain.
  6. Chronic hostility is reduced.
  7. Heath benefits and well-being return for hours or days when a good deed is remembered.
  8. Increase in self-worth, happiness and optimism.  Decrease in feelings of helplessness and depression.
  9. Establishes friendships, love and positive bonds – these emotions strengthen the immune system.
  10. An altruistic lifestyle is critical to mental health.

Allan Luks: The Healing Power of Doing Good

Chiropractic Care Even Without Pain?

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      So a few weekends ago I was at a seminar for chiropractors and the speaker asked all the attendees if they would want to get adjusted if they were pain free. Every chiropractor immediately responded YES! I was not surprised by this one bit. The speaker went on to say that most people in the general population would be shocked and confused on why chiropractors would want care in the absence of pain. So I thought I would explain why I want an adjustment even if I am not in pain. What’s going on here? First we need to understand why any joint should be adjusted even if it is pain free. With routine daily activities, (driving, sitting at a computer, house chores, etc) in time the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, discs, tendons, fascia) slowly begin to fatigue and fail. What happens?
  1. Muscles go into a contractile state with acute or chronic overuse, pain or not.
  2. Acute and/or chronic inflammatory chemicals get trapped in your muscles and other soft tissues, and they do not always cause pain but they begin to build-up.
  3. Soft tissue adhesions begin to form (starting in 4 days of lack of proper motion) and tighten the tissues.
  4. All of these led to a decrease in proper joint motion, whether it is you low back, neck, shoulder, ankle etc.the same mechanism is occurring.

Then the adjustment!!! The benefits of the adjustment

  1. Restores motion – both symmetry and range of motion
  2. Normalize biomechanics and load distribution of the joints
  3. Pumps out waste products and edematous fluid that had been trapped
  4. Improves blood flow, thus nutrition to the discs and articular cartilage
  5. Relaxes tight muscles
  6. Normalizes proprioception – position sense and kinesthesia
  7. Stimulates sensory-motor reflexes which improve dynamic muscular stabilization of joints
  8. Accelerates healing – as movement:A. increases metabolic rate of injured tissues. B.increases collagen and protein production as the damaged tissue repairs
  9. Improves the alignment of new connective tissue to strengthen the soft tissue.
  10. Thoracic spine adjustments aid in improving your ability to breath.
  11. Oh yeah, and you feel amazing!!