The Curvatures of the Spine

diagram of spinal column curvatureYour spine is made up of small bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another in order to create the natural curves of your back. While a normal spinal column appears vertically straight if viewed from the rear, it should almost resemble a soft ‘S’ shape when viewed from the side. The natural curves of the spine that contribute to its shape are the cervical curve, thoracic curve, and lumbar curve.

The cervical curve is composed of seven small vertebrae that begin at the base of your skull and end at the upper chest. The thoracic spine is made up of twelve vertebrae that go from the upper chest to the middle back. The lumbar vertebra consists of five larger vertebrae.

The spine’s natural curves are important to our ability to balance and stand upright. If any of the curves become too large or small, posture may appear abnormal and it could be difficult to stand up straight. Spinal deformities (abnormal curvatures of the spine) include kyphosis of the thoracic spine (“hunchback”), lordosis of the lumbar spine (“swayback”), and scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine. In the presence of a spinal deformity, non-operative treatments such as physical therapy in Brandon, FL, or braces are recommended.


What is Frozen Shoulder?

woman holding shoulder in painFrozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common condition in which the shoulder stiffens, thus reducing its mobility. While frozen shoulder is often mistaken for arthritis, these conditions are unrelated.

Your shoulder is composed of three bones that form a ball-and-socket joint. These bones are your upper arm (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle). Holding everything together is the shoulder capsule, which is the tissue that surrounds your shoulder joint. When the capsule becomes so thick and tight that it’s hard to move, this is known as frozen shoulder. Bands of scar tissue form, and there’s less of the liquid formed that keeps the joint lubricated (synovial fluid). With this, motion is limited even more.

A person with a frozen shoulder will have a consistently painful and stiff shoulder joint. The pain may worsen at night, making it difficult to sleep. Frozen shoulder typically affects people between 40 and 60 years old.

Frequent and gentle exercise can prevent and possibly reverse shoulder stiffness. The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests the crossover arm stretch: Hold the upper arm of the affected side, gently pull the arm across in front of you, and hold for thirty seconds. Relax and repeat. If pain and immobility persist, contact a licensed chiropractor in Seffner, FL.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Posture

Many of us slouch because the muscles that work to hold the joint in place are imbalanced. However, constant slouching can cause issues such as back pain, headaches, as well as problems with breathing and digestion. Here a few tips from our chiropractors in Seffner, FL, to improve poor posture so you can improve both your health and confidence.

Look in the Mirror
It’s not always easy to tell if your posture is correct. To see how you hold yourself up when you stand and walk, use a mirror. While you observe, make sure that your torso is straight and your shoulders aren’t hunched.

Keep Your Ears and Shoulders in Line
When you are sitting for long periods of time, it is inevitable that you will eventually lean too far forward or backward. Repositioning your sitting position so that your ears are in line with your shoulders will help correct your posture, and ensure that your neck and back are in perfect alignment. To ensure your shoulders are aligned as well, make sure to draw them back and down. This will keep your chest up and out, helping to prevent rounded shoulders.

Go for a Walk
Many office workers have back pain because sitting all day places pressure on your spine and hips. Take walks during break time, or visit your coworker at her desk rather than calling her. If possible, try to walk around at least once an hour. It’s advisable to stretch daily as well, as this keeps muscles flexible for good posture.

The Location of Your Knee Pain Symptoms

If you’re suffering from knee pain that is severe or has persisted more than a few weeks, you should see a chiropractor or physical therapist. However, the location of your knee pain can help you determine the issue before starting physical therapy in Valrico, FL.

If you feel pain in the front of the knee, there may be a problem with the tracking and position of the kneecap. When this occurs, the tendon between the kneecap and the shin may become inflamed and painful.

Pain in the back of the knee is rare, but is likely due to a hamstring strain or what is known as a Baker’s cyst. This is an abnormal swelling of the knee joint that occupies space in the back of the knee.

If you have pain on the inside portion of the knee, there is likely an injury to the medial meniscus or medial collateral ligament. The medial meniscus is a shock absorber located inside the knee, and it often suffers from wear and tear or arthritis. These structures are usually damaged as a result of a sports injury.

Finally, pain on the outside aspect of your knee can mean that a ligament there was injured during athletic activity. Pain here can also be caused by iliotibial band (ITB) stress, which is a thick band of tissue that runs from the outside of your hip to the front of your knee. On the outside part of the knee is also one of three hamstring tendons, so strain to this may also be a source of pain.

The Benefits of Spinal Decompression

As we age, our spine becomes compressed. Symptoms of compression in the spine may include back pain, reduced mobility and inflammation. Spinal decompression in Brandon, FL, can help by replenishing spinal nutrients in the vertebrae and discs. During your treatment session, your spine will be placed in a series of positions that will flex and relax the vertebrae. Keep reading to learn some of the benefits of spinal decompression.

It’s Safe
For herniated discs, slipped discs, or bulging discs, spinal decompression can reverse the pain and symptoms naturally. That being said, it can be a safer alternative than other treatment methods such as surgery or drugs. With this procedure, you can avoid a lengthy and painful recovery, as well as the fear or anxiety you would experience before going into an operating room.

It’s Painless
Enjoy a completely painless and relaxing treatment. During a spinal decompression session, a harness is gently fastened around the hips while you are positioned on a decompression table, which slowly moves vertically to stretch the spine. To most patients, this is very relaxing as pressure is relieved between each vertebra.

It’s Effective
With spinal decompression, you will notice relief as soon as after your first session. A harness is used to gently stretch the spine, which opens each pressure filled disc and allows for oxygen and fluids to flow – immediately relieving pain.

What is a Pinched Nerve?

| A pinched nerve is a general term that refers to pressure put on a nerve by soft tissue, bone, or a herniated disc. The formal name for this condition is cervical radiculopathy. Many things can cause a pinched nerve including repetitive movement, poor posture, arthritis, or injury.

A common and mild symptom of a pinched nerve in your neck is waking up with a crick after sleeping in an awkward position.

A pinched nerve (or nerve compression) can disturb the nerve’s ability to function.  The pain associated with a pinched nerve can be mild or extremely intense. You may also experience symptoms such as the sensation of pins and needles or electrical shock, as well as weakness and/or numbness.  If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor. The longer you leave it unattended, the higher chance a pinched nerve has to cause permanent nerve damage.

If you catch a pinched nerve early and are able to relieve the pressure with the help of medication and physical therapy in Brandon, FL, the nerve’s functioning will likely be restored. Physical therapy will help you retain your neck’s range of motion and strengthen your neck/back/shoulder muscles. In any case, it’s important to review your diagnosis and treatment plan with your doctor so as to maximize your healing and comfort.

The Impact of Whiplash

While “whiplash” is not a medical term, it typically refers to the injuries that occur when your upper vertebral column, upper back, neck, and head are thrown suddenly backward then forward upon impact. This sudden movement is most commonly triggered by the impact of a rear-end car accident. When the head and neck are forced backward and then forward, the abrupt movement forces the joints beyond their normal range of movement. What results are injuries are made to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and/or fascia of the cervical spine (or neck area).

Injuries resulting from whiplash are problematic because the resulting symptoms interfere with our daily lives. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, neck stiffness, dizziness, headache, and memory loss. However, these symptoms don’t always appear immediately. While you may feel fine immediately after a car accident, the pain often sets in once the adrenaline has faded.

Early treatment of whiplash is essential to a faster recovery and the prevention of worsening or lasting damage. Treatment should be guided by a physician with car accident physical therapy in Brandon, FL. In the meantime, adequate rest, intermittent use of ice packs and heat pads, as well as anti-inflammatory medication may help alleviate pain.

Common Causes of Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower back and continues down the back of the leg. If you have pain extending through this area, you may need to seek sciatica treatment in Brandon, FL. While there are many causes of sciatica, the following are some of the most common.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
As we age, chiropractors often see the degeneration of the vertebrae, discs, muscles and ligaments that combine to make the spinal column. When the spinal canal becomes narrow in the lumbar area, this is known as Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. This condition can compress portions of the nerves that combine to form the sciatic nerve.

Piriformis Syndrome
The sciatic nerve runs extremely close to the piriformis muscle, which is located deep in the buttock region. When this muscle becomes tight, it often puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing irritation and inflammation.

Herniated Disc
A herniated disc occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing. If this protrusion compresses the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve, it can result in sciatica.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of sciatica, it’s important to get evaluated by your physician to determine the cause. Contact us to request an appointment with our sciatica chiropractor to start treatment today.