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Posts Tagged ‘chiropractic’

Achilles tendonitis (or inflammation of the tendon of the calf muscle) is a fairly common condition, especially among runners.

Signs or Symptoms
Pain or discomfort in the Achilles tendon with up or down movement of the ankle and foot; as in walking, running, and climbing stairs. Quite often, pain is also elicited by simply touching or applying pressure to the tendon. A decrease in range of motion will usually result due to the pain; and swelling may be noted in severe cases.

Causes
Overuse of the calf muscle as in long distance running, or running up hills can often result in Achilles tendonitis (bear in mind that overuse can sometimes mean insufficient recovery). Direct trauma to the tendon, perhaps from being kicked while playing sports may also be a cause. Poorly fitting shoes should be considered, especially if there is undue pressure being exerted on the tendon itself. Structural misalignments or abnormalities like dysfunction in the joints of the foot and ankle (including over-pronation), or a short leg can also be a cause. However, the most common cause is an over-contraction of the calf muscle which attaches to the Achilles tendon. (I’ll address this at the end of the article)

Standard Treatment
Generally, rest, ice, stretching, and anti-inflammatory medications are recommended. Other physical therapy modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound or electric muscle stimulation may be used. In some circumstances, a heel lift may be used.

Applied Kinesiology Approach
The focus of applied kinesiology treatments for any musculoskeletal complaint is proper muscle balance. In the case of Achilles tendonitis, I would consider a weakness in the muscles that act as synergists or antagonists to the calf muscle. This might explain why the calf muscle is over-contracted, or tight and shortened in the first place. Joint alignment, whether in the lower extremity, spine or pelvis should also be considered as aggravating factors, and corrected with standard chiropractic adjustments.

The most common cause I see is inhibited muscles in the lower leg (known as the peronei). This tends to be the primary reason for a tight calf muscle. In addition, nutritional factors may need to be considered. And, as always, a specific treatment plan for each individual is recommended.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

Source: International College of Applied Kinesiology

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lumbars pa1Many people experience a snapping sensation when they get up from sitting, twisting on a leg or doing rotational moves with the leg. This snapping sound is usually painless and harmless in the beginning stage, but it is annoying. This condition is usually found in the older population but it can also occur in young athletes and dancers.

Causes of snapping hip syndrome

The snapping sensation results from the movement of a muscle or tendon over a bony structure. In the hip, one most common site is over the outer portion of the upper leg where a band of tissue, the iliotibial band, passes over the thighbone. Additionally, the gluteus medius tendon can also rub over the outside of the thighbone.

Other common areas are on the inner leg where the adductors or psoas become shortened. Here the snapping sound occurs when the leg is rotated outwards as in sitting cross-legged on the floor or in a yoga pose.

If the iliotibial band is involved, it is too tight and rubs against the leg bone. This occurs because when the hip is straight; the band is behind the trochanter of the femur or thigh bone. When the hip bends, the band moves over the upper leg bone so that it is in front of it. Because the leg bone is shaped with a bend in it, it juts out and the movement of the band across it creates the snap you hear.

If the adductors are too short and tight it can cause dysfunction in the hip joint itself, resulting in a snapping of the hip.

If the psoas is too short and tight it can rub or snap over one of several bony prominence known as the anterior inferior iliac spine (on the pelvic bone), lesser trochanter (on the inside of the femur), or the iliopectineal eminence.

A tear in the cartilage or some bone debris in the hip joint can also cause a snapping or clicking sensation. This type of snapping hip usually causes pain and may be disabling. A loose piece of cartilage can cause the hip to catch or lock up

Complication of a snapping hip

The complications of this, if the underlying conditions are not corrected, are tendonitis, bursitis and hip joint degeneration. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons of the muscles, those that attach to the iliotibial band
as well as the muscles that hold the leg in the hip socket and those that control the motion of the hip and leg.  Bursitis is a thickening and inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that allows the muscle to move smoothly over the bone.

Any chronic contraction of a muscle or misalignment of the normal forces that pass through a joint will eventually lead to arthritic changes.

Diagnosis

The most important information is exactly what motion causes the snapping. This helps to isolate the muscles and tendons that have shortened. This is only part of the answer. For every short muscle, there is usually at least one weak muscle that is not doing its job. The weak muscles cause changes in muscle function that adversely affect the function of the joint.

Other common causes are a dropping of the arch (or overpronation) in the foot that causes twisting or torque of the lower leg that again distorts the forces coming up the leg. Pelvic imbalances will cause changes in weight distribution down the leg.

Range of motion of the leg should be tested and all the related muscles should be tested for proper functioning.

Treatment

Treatment involves correcting the structural changes that have changed the way the weight is transferred up and down the leg. This might include the use of orthotics, exercises for the muscle of the lower leg, pelvic corrections and changes in the way you walk. Locally, the muscles that have shortened will need to be elongated using appropriate therapy. The muscles that have weakened and caused the shortening need to be identified and the reasons for the weakness corrected.

Many times, you will have to do home stretching or massage to aid in the elongation of the shortened muscles and strengthening exercises if the opposing muscles have weakened and/or atrophied.

As most people with this problem have lower leg/foot problems that are a part of the underlying cause, you may have to change your footwear, use orthotics or exercise the muscles of the foot and ankle to provide proper support.

Finally, there are usually changes in the small muscles that control hip rotation. These are similar to the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder. Imbalances in these muscles need to be identified and corrected.

While a snapping hip seems like a minor problem, it can lead to severe problems like hip joint degeneration and possibly hip replacement later in life.

Source: Education Materials of the International College of Applied Kinesiology

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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carpalpartsCarpal tunnel syndrome affects many people, so chances are you’ve heard of this condition. Unfortunately, though, I find that most people don’t really understand what it is and what can be done to help it. Sadly, this group of people who do not understand what it is, often have been diagnosed with it themselves. In this article I’ll discuss carpal tunnel syndrome and my approach to helping people recover from it.

“Carpal” refers to the bones in the wrist. There are eight small “carpal” bones that lie between the lower forearm and the bones of the hands. Now picture them forming a sort of oval tunnel with the help of other tissues in the wrist. A nerve (called the median nerve) and nine different tendons that are part of the finger and thumb muscles go through the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the roof of the tunnel (so to speak) drops or narrows due to muscle or ligament dysfunction resulting in a narrowing inside the tunnel. If this occurs, pressure may be applied against the median nerve and result in weakness and changes in sensation of the hand (particularly the thumb, index, middle and ring finger). Sensations can vary but include, pain, numbness (or no sensation), tingling, burning, and temperature changes. Degenerative changes in the tendon(s) can also cause the median nerve to become compromised. Additionally, swelling can occur in the carpal tunnel, again causing increased pressure on the nerve. Swelling can be the result of a systemic problem like “water retention” and even go as far as hypothyroidism. I find those to be the extremely rare exception though. The National Institution of Neurological Disorders and Stroke say this: “contributing factors include trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, such as sprain or fracture; overactivity of the pituitary gland; hypothyroidism; rheumatoid arthritis; mechanical problems in the wrist joint; work stress; repeated use of vibrating hand tools; fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause; or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal.”

Typically, this condition is thought to be the result of repetitive use of the hand as in typing, etc.. However, an article on MSNBC had this to say: “A 2001 study by the Mayo Clinic found heavy computer users (up to seven hours a day) had the same rate of carpal tunnel as the general population. Harvard University headlined a 2005 press release “Computer use deleted as carpal tunnel syndrome cause.””

elbowligmedNow I’ll discuss how I treat people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Obviously, (as with most conditions) I’ll start with a head-to-toe evaluation of the patient. This approach can (and often does) uncover other sources of imbalance that may be contributing to carpal tunnel syndrome or symptoms that resemble carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, I always consider it prudent to evaluate the elbow, shoulder, neck, pelvis, and (sometimes) the feet with this. The median nerve travels from the neck, down the arm, and then into the hand. This is is why I evaluate the elbow, shoulder, and neck, which is basically “following” the nerve along it’s path to see if there is a compromise in the nerve between the neck and the wrist. Because of this nerve pathway, a person can have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome while the source of the pain is actually coming from somewhere other than the wrist. These are certainly the “failed surgery” cases. As mentioned, I also evaluate the supporting muscles and joints of the pelvis and feet, as they can both be sources of reflexive muscle tension in the neck.

That considered, let me now talk more about particulars focusing on treatment to the actual wrist. One very important muscle attaches to the bones of the forearm, the radius and ulna, just above the wrist. This muscle, the pronator quadratus, acts to essentially turn the palm downward, in addition to holding the radius and ulna firmly together. So, it serves to keep the ends of the radius and ulna from “separating”. Now imagine that the ends of those bones are “widened”. This would essentially “flatten out” that area and possibly cause a “stretching” of the tissues just before the “entrance” to the carpal tunnel. Picture a rubber band glued to two pencils while allowing for the rubber band to maintain a ring-like shape. Now, if you pull the pencils away from one another, that ring will become compromised and “flatten out”. Very often the pronator quadratus is inhibited in its function usually from repetitive stress and micro-trauma. As a result, this can cause the muscle to lose its tone and function, thus compromising the wrist. Treatment would be directed to restoring normal muscle function and perhaps doing very simple rehabilitation to regain any lost strength. By the way, ligament laxity (usually from adrenal stress) in the wrist can also cause a problem similar to that of a dysfunctional pronator quadratus.

Next, the carpal bones can get “jammed” (or lose proper mobility) potentially causing undue tension on the median nerve and tendons that pass through the tunnel. This aberration cannot be overlooked in my opinion, because any tension on the tendons can cause them to hypertrophy (or get larger) and often compromise the median nerve due to pressure. A simple, painless chiropractic adjustment can “fix” this.

Also, cold laser therapy directed at the carpal tunnel can often be helpful in eliminating very stubborn conditions. There really is not much more to say about treatment directed at the wrist. It is very straight forward. By the way, I almost always have to look to the elbow and neck to “fix” dysfunction there that usually contributes significantly.

From a “chemical” standpoint, vitamin B6 is almost considered “the” carpal tunnel nutrient because of its “anti-swelling/fluid balancing” effect. Many studies have shown that is has helped, though I can’t say I’ve found it very useful. I usually opt for nutrients that may help nerve damage, like Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. Also, collagen-building nutrients can be helpful in cases where there is damage to connective tissue(s).

In conclusion, don’t forget that it might be a good idea to get a second opinion if the only treatment you’ve been offered is surgery. And, in my experience and opinion, anything can cause anything and perhaps result in symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. I have yet to see a case of carpal tunnel syndrome that does not respond favorably to conservative care.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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orthotic2Foot problems are one of the most common conditions I see in my practice. And amongst them, over-pronation is usually the “cause” of most foot complaints. What’s the cause of that, right? We’ll get there. Over-pronation refers to when the “foot rolls in excessively” (some degree of pronation is normal) or the feet go “flat” when walking; during the “foot-flat” phase of gait. This person will usually have “flat-feet” in a standing posture as well. This can lead to bunions, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, achilles tendonitis, muscle spasms in the foot, and still more foot conditions. Also, in can lead to medial (inside) knee pain, hip pain, low back pain, neck pain, and even TMJ pain and dysfunction. These compensations can then lead to even more conditions. For example: meniscus problems/tears in the knee, greater trochanteric bursitis (inflammation of a bursa near the hip), lumbar and cervical disc herniations, etc…. I really can go on and on. As everyone seems to understand, everything truly is “connected”. As a result one area of dysfunction can (and often does) lead to problems in other areas. The feet often lead to the most compensations because they are the “foundation” of the body. Think of it as if you were living in a house with a big “crack in the foundation”? Let’s now discuss over-pronation and my structural approach to treating people with this condition.

Let’s remember that muscles move bones. Because of this, I almost always more or less begin with assessing muscle function. The main muscles that usually show dysfunction in this condition are the tibialis posterior and peroneus longus. They both attach to the lower leg bone(s) just below the knee; and then “descend” to wrap around the foot and attach to the underside of it. The tibialis posterior wraps around from the inside of the foot and the peroneus longus, from the outside. So together they act as a sort of “sling” that holds up the arch. There are in fact three arches in the foot. Please note, I’ll be referring to the medial longitudinal arch, the one we all think of related to the foot. Before I continue: [If you are not familiar with the difference between muscle inhibition and true muscle weakness, please read my article that discusses the difference.]

These two muscles can dysfunction in several different ways in my experience. First, they can be outright inhibited usually due to joint dysfunction in the foot, lower (lumbar) spine, sacrum, and/or ilium; or direct trauma/injury to the muscle(s). Second, they can become inhibited after use (stretch or contraction) if they have trigger points (or “knots”) in them. Normally, a muscle should contract stronger (and facilitate) just after a stretch or contraction, but this usually won’t be the case when there are trigger points present. Please also note that attempting to do muscle rehabilitation in the form of strengthening and/or stretching can actually exacerbate the problem, if the complications just mentioned aren’t resolved first.

product_customs_medium_tnMy treatment approach is generally to “fix” the muscles and joints involved. Sometimes treatment directed to the ligaments, tendons, fascia, and/or skin are also necessary. And adjustments directed at restoring normal foot, lumbar spine, and pelvic joint range of motion are a must. Once the structures are restored to functioning optimally, I’ll have the patient do home exercises to get the most benefit out of the treatment; in order to increase the chances of resolving the problem quickly and permanently. Some patients may require orthotics (these are NOT strange Frankenstein-looking orthopedic shoes) that slip right into their shoe/sneaker. They are designed to maintain the shape of the arch (albeit passively), and most patients find them quite comfortable. These may be used permanently or temporarily depending on the severity of the problem and the age of the patient. I prefer not to use “crutches” but sometimes they can make all the difference. Also, taping the feet for about two weeks can be crucial as well.

Structural problems elsewhere in the body can also contribute (or cause) over-pronation of the foot; and should also be ruled out. This can range from knee, hip, pelvis, low back, neck, and TMJ conditions. Additionally, nutritional issues can be a causative or exacerbating factor in allowing for these muscle to dysfunction. This usually has to do with insufficient nutrient supplies that help form and/or maintain the integrity of the structures involved; or be related to dysfunction in the organs or glands that relate to those muscles. There can certainly be other foot and ankle muscles involved, but I see the two mentioned as primary.

By the way, as mentioned above, don’t be surprised if this is resulting in your neck and jaw pain. And, from what I gather through assessing and treating patients (along with knowledge of biomechanics) – this is the primary condition leading to a future hip replacement! Don’t hesitate to get this problem taken care of.

Oh right – and people’s feet don’t grow when they get older. If you need to buy larger shoes later in life, you can almost be certain that you’re over-pronating and that your arches have “dropped”.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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According to Medline Plus and the Merriam Webster® medical dictionary, dysmenorrhea simply means “painful menstruation”. Other sources report that menstrual pain must be significant enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living to be labeled dysmenorrhea. The information in this article applies to painful menstruation regardless of the severity, in addition to cramping or spasms whether it’s perceived as painful or simply uncomfortable. Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) mention the following symptoms associated with dysmenorrhea: cramps or pain in the lower abdomen or back, pulling feeling in the inner thighs, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. But again, this article will simply focus on pain and cramping (or spasms). One more thing worth mentioning is that I will be discussing primary dysmenorrhea (caused by the reasons mentioned in the next paragraph) as opposed to secondary dysmenorrhea (commonly caused by endometriosis and/or uterine fibroids).

The ACOG reports that increased levels of prostaglandins which are naturally present cause uterine pain. Prostaglandins are natural biochemicals found in nearly all the cells of the body. And one their functions is to regulate the contraction of smooth muscles (of which the uterus is made of). The ACOG also says that before a female’s period begins, these levels increase; at the onset they are “high”; and during menstruation these chemicals begin to decrease.

The standard medical treatment for dysmenorrhea (as reported by the OCAG) “may include medications and techniques” to relieve pain. The medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen to block the body’s production of inflammatory prostaglandins. Also OCAG says: “Hormonal contraception, such as birth control pills, patches and vaginal rings, also reduce menstrual pain. In some cases, the hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) may be recommended”. The “techniques” refer to different surgical methods that are mentioned on their website.

The OCAG also mentions “Other Treatments” which include: vitamin B1 and magnesium supplements, massage, acupuncture or acupressure, and stress management. They do however, say that these approaches will not prevent the condition. I’m not sure if that statement is entirely correct as I found this quote on prevention.com: “Like calcium, magnesium plays a role in controlling muscle tone and could be important in preventing menstrual cramps”. Two scientific references are cited after that statement, but I cannot find the full text of one of the articles, or understand French for the other.

Now I’ll discuss how I can help a patient with dysmenorrhea achieve greater health through chiropractic and applied kinesiology care. According to Walter Schmitt, DC, DIBAK, DABCN (one of my mentors) there are 5 possible causes of dysmenorrhea. These are : 1) spinal and pelvic subluxations, 2) ileocecal valve, 3) visceroptosis, 4) calcium metabolism, and/or 5) hormonal imbalance. Let’s look at each individually. The explanations I cite may or may not be exactly the same as Dr. Schmitt’s.

1) Spinal and pelvic subluxations-
Personally, I prefer to use the term joint restriction/dysfunction (lack of full joint range of motion) instead of subluxation (“bone out of place”), but that’s not worth differentiating here; and the two terms are used interchangeably despite an actual difference. Spinal and pelvic joint dysfunction can have an impact on organ function because of the related nerve supply to those organs. The uterus receives its nerve innervation from spinal levels T10-12 (T=thoracic/”mid-back”), L1 (L=lumbar/”low back”), and S2-S4 (S=sacrum). It is thought that there is a positive correlation between the function of the vertebral joints that reside at the same levels as the nerves that control an organ (the uterus in this case). Here is published research on that idea; though I wouldn’t be surprised if you can find research stating no correlation – that seems to be the nature of research. Additionally, if there is “torque” or misalignment in the pelvis, the structure of the organ that resides in it may also be compromised. And remember, structure determines function, not the other way around. This connection has been noted numerous times in my patients. Again, extensive research on this topic has been difficult for me to find; fortunately those patients who have been helped by this approach did not require me to provide them with research before they consented to the treatment. Obviously the treatment in this case consists of manual adjustments to the spine and pelvis (or elsewhere) to restore optimal joint range of motion. Here is one study on chiropractic adjustments specifically related to dysmenorrhea.

2) Ileocecal valve
This is probably one of the most unknown (or least-if ever talked about) parts of the body. It is a sphincter muscle in the cecum (“pouch” between the small and large intestines) that mainly prevents the waste products in the large intestine from refluxing back into the small intestine (specifically the ileum). This is the same idea as the esophageal sphincter becoming “lax” and allowing the contents of the stomach to reflux back in to the esophagus. This structure really deserves its own article because if it is malfunctioning it can cause (direct and indirect) systemic effects throughout the body. Essentially, it can be stuck “open” or “closed”. The “open” variety is much more common; which allows for the (“toxic”) contents of feces in the large intestine to flow backwards. The large intestine should “store” feces in order for eventual elimination, while the small intestines is meant for absorption. So essentially this problem results in a build-up of toxins in the small intestines that may get absorbed into the body and specifically the lower abdomen and back. Because the general “solution to pollution is dilution”, the body may concentrate fluids in that region (where the uterus resides as well) and the result may be swelling and inflammation in the region and its organs. The usual suspects causing the ileoocecal valve to remain “open” is diet (esp. harsh, fibrous, irritating foods), food allergies/sensitivities, parasites, and “emotions” – this is my experience and was brought to my attention from Dr. Scott Walker. I can’t tell you how many times this is the “cause” (well the cause is really the 4 examples just mentioned – of which they may also have another cause) of severe, acute low back pain. The onset is usually sudden, with no trauma. It’s often the person who picks up a piece paper off the floor, or is brushing their teeth and then suddenly experiences terrible low back pain. Click here for more information on the ileocecal valve.

3) Visceroptosis
This refers to when an organ prolapses or “drops” from its normal resting position. Again, structure determines function. In regard to the uterus, I often find this to be the cause of malfunctioning (inhibited or truly weak) abdominal and/or pelvic floor muscles; as those are the muscles responsible for keeping the uterus in its normal position. It can also result from “weak” or lax ligaments that support it.

4) Calcium metabolism-
This can be a result of numerous reasons and will also be the topic of a separate article. There are many causes of muscle cramps and spasms, and calcium metabolism (not necessarily deficiency) is high on the list in my experience. I say “metabolism” because a patient can have adequate stores of calcium in the body, however it may not be “directed” to the appropriate area of the body and result in symptoms (in this case the soft tissue or smooth muscle of the uterus). The relationship between calcium and muscle cramps or spasms is widely known and here is one reference. This certainly can be a result of calcium deficiency (usually from poor food or supplement choices). More commonly though, the calcium needs to be directed into the soft tissues appropriately. I find the most common factors affecting calcium metabolism to be a magnesium deficiency, pH (acid/alkaline) imbalance, and/or essential fatty acid imbalance.

5) Hormonal imbalance-
This is a topic that definitely requires multiple articles of discussion. Regardless, the most common condition resulting in functional female hormonal imbalances that I see is “estrogen dominance”. This can be the result of an excess of estrogen, a decrease in progesterone, or an imbalance in the proper ratios between estrogen and progesterone. I didn’t search for research citations on this as hormone imbalance is a well-known cause. The fact that birth control pills are a common medical treatment speaks of this. Treatment generally needs to be directed to diet and lifestyle, supplementation (vitamin, mineral, essential fatty acid and herbal esp.) to restore hormonal balance, and reduced exposure to xenoestrogens in my experience with patients.

I would actually add a sixth possible cause to be essential fatty acid imbalance. That is, (usually) the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid levels in the body. This can result in excess inflammation being poorly controlled and is almost always the result of dietary choices. Essential fatty acid supplements (fish oils or plant-based omega-6 oils) are my usual recommendation, until dietary changes can sustain normal balance. As mentioned above, this problem can exacerbate or result in calcium metabolism problems and/or hormonal imbalances.

Dysmenorrhea tends to be a rather simple condition to overcome, though perhaps not “easy” on an individual level.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

Additional sources: http://healthydevil.studentaffairs.duke.edu/health_info/Dysmenorrhea%20-%20severe%20menstrual%20cramps.html
http://www.metabolics.com/

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These pictures came from an article sent to me by Dr. Nelson Marquina, who is the president of USA Laser. They illustrate how the body emits photons of light. We cannot see this light with the naked eye because our eyes are only sensitive to a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum; that is, the major colors abbreviated ROYGBIV. The article also explains how the emissions of light change in intensity based on diurnal rhythms which may relate to changes in metabolism. I encourage you read more about this in the article by clicking here.

It is interesting how cold laser therapy also works by emitting photons of light into the body. I’ve used cold laser to help resolve many musculo-skeletal conditions such as: herniated and/or degenerated low back (lumbar) and neck (cervical) intervertebral discs; and spinal and extremity muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage, nerve and bone injuries. I find it especially useful in chronic pain and injuries that don’t heal well. Nutritional deficiencies related to collagen, elastin, and other connective tissue regeneration is also usually critical in healing chronic pain/injuries. Additionally, chiropractic and applied kinesiology care should also be implemented in order to correct muscle and joint imbalances. This revolutionary modality known as cold laser therapy is definitely worth looking into if you suffer from any type of musculo-skeletal pain.

8.15lightemissions

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Low back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek out chiropractic care.  I’ll discuss how I approach a patient with low back pain, as a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist.

First, and most importantly, I take an in-depth history from the patient.  Typically, if the doctor listens closely enough, the patient will tell him or her what’s wrong and why.  After the history has been noted, I move on to a focused and detailed examination.  I’ll start with basic postural and gait analysis, range of motion evaluation, palpation, and orthopedic and neurological tests. Additionally, I review a comprehensive symptom survey filled out by the patient and perform a urinalysis.  At this point I have the necessary information to determine the structure(s) that are primarily involved in causing the patient’s pain.  The next step is to determine WHY those structures have become compromised.  If you don’t get to the root of the problem, you can be sure it will come back again.  So keep in mind – feeling better and having no pain after being treated (or not) doesn’t mean you “fixed” the cause.

The “WHY” part of the problem is then further discovered through functional muscle testing.  See my article on applied kinesiology if you’re not familiar with functional muscle testing.  For low back pain, I test all the muscles that control the lower extremity (inc. the feet), pelvis, and low back.  Also, when necessary, I’ll check the upper body/spine, cranial bones and TMJ.  Next, when I find muscle dysfunction, I have to determine if the reason is because of something structural (e.g.: trauma/overuse of a muscle, spinal or extremity nerve problem, etc.), chemical (toxicity-related, nutrient deficiency-related, etc.), or emotional.  This type of approach to determining my patients problems allows me to figure out the cause of the low back pain, which will help prevent it from returning.

Please recall that each muscle has been found to have an organ or gland that it relates to.  As a result, it’s possible that a large or small intestine, adrenal, reproductive, and/or kidney problem is the cause of low back pain.  In those cases, you must address the underlying organ or gland AND muscular and joint imbalances if you want to achieve a lasting recovery.

To date, I have seen all of the above scenarios (i.e.: structural, chemical, and emotional-induced problems) cause low back pain in my patients.

A structural problem would simply be when muscles/tendons/ligaments are damaged, joints restricted in motion, nerve entrapment syndromes, etc. are the underlying cause.  This would typically be a case where there is an injury, postural imbalance or chronic overuse/repetitive trauma.

Additionally, a chemical problem might be caused by nutrient deficiencies or infection/toxicity-related issues that cause muscle inhibitions resulting in low back pain.

The most common organ I find involved in low back pain is the intestines (large or small).  This usually accompanies digestive symptoms related to an overgrowth of yeast or parasites, but not always.

Adrenal stress-related issues would be the second most common low back pain-related problem.  This is usually related to an overall stressful lifestyle, especially poor eating habits.

The next common biochemically-related issue to low back pain that I see is male and female hormonal imbalances.  Examples of this would be prostate problems, pre-menstrual syndrome and uterine fibroids.

Lastly, kidney (bladder/ureter)-related problems, such as a kidney stone(s), urinary tract infection, etc. is also a relatively common cause of low back pain.

Please keep in mind.  The above conditions may be discovered by many types of practitioners when they are OVERT.  However, it is extremely common to have any of these conditions sub-clinically (i.e.: not readily apparent or showing up through standard diagnostic tests).  For example, intestinal, stress-related, hormone, and even kidney/ureter/bladder problems don’t always accompany obvious symptoms or reveal themselves on standard medical tests.  That’s the common scenario of: “Mr./Mrs. Smith, all of your tests have come back normal”.  This is when the applied kinesiologist can use functional muscle testing to uncover what is not readily apparent.

Emotional issues can certainly exist, however, structural and chemical problems are much more common when it comes to back pain.  Also, emotionally-related issues are usually a case-by-case basis, and not as general.

As a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist, I am trained in functional biomechanics, functional biochemistry, and have the ability to use functional muscle testing in order to evaluate all aspects of a person’s health and presenting complaint.  This allows me to determine and implement a comprehensive treatment plan and treat my patients holistically.  Therefore, I have the ability to look beyond the patient’s symptoms and focus on correcting the cause of the problem; which (when dealing with low back pain) can often be more than simply “bones out of place” as it might appear to me without this knowledge.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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