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Pain from Cramped Spaces: Spinal Stenosis Explained

Pain from Cramped Spaces: Spinal Stenosis Explained

The spinal canal is a freeway; it sends messages to and from the brain to communicate all the body’s systems’ function, performance, and behavior. The channel is an open space down the middle of the spine, protected by the vertebrae and their spongy discs. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of that canal, which can cause congestion in the messaging paths.

Many doctors and well-wishers suggest invasive surgery or pain medication to treat the symptoms; however, there’s a safer and more natural approach.  Our expert chiropractors have been successfully treating back and neck pain in Norwalk for over 20 years.  We personalize treatments, get to the bottom of the pain’s origin, target adjustment techniques, and help patients understand the lifestyle changes needed to treat, manage, and prevent symptoms from recurring.

Spine Narrowing Types:  Foraminal Stenosis and Central Canal Stenosis

The type of spinal stenosis is determined by the exact location of the narrowing and nerve compression. The two main types of stenosis are the foraminal and central canal. Foraminal is also called lateral stenosis because lateral means side, and this happens to the side of the spinal canal.

The foramen is a bony opening where a nerve can pass between two vertebrae in the spinal canal.  Central canal stenosis narrows the center foramen, compressing or inflaming the canal rather than a single nerve hole.

Causes, Risk Factors & Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Spine narrowing is usually caused by herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, and ligament buckling or thickening.  It can also be caused by:

·         Bony overgrowths or spurs from wear-and-tear damage

·         Tumors

·         Spinal cord injuries from accidents or trauma

The primary risk factors of developing spinal stenosis include:

·         Age

·         Past (or current) history of trauma or accident injury

·         Scoliosis or other congenital spinal deformity

·         Genetic diseases that affect the bones and muscles

Neck or back pain is the most common symptom of spinal stenosis; however, many often have other signs as well, including:

·         Numbness and tingling in the extremities

·         Weakness in the back, neck, arms, legs, feet, or hands

·         Balance problems or difficulty walking

·         Bowel or bladder dysfunction

·         Painful leg cramping while standing for long periods or walking; often eased when sitting or bending forward.

How Our Chiropractors Address Spinal Stenosis

What can a chiropractor do to help with this constellation of pain symptoms from spinal stenosis?  First, there are a few things we like our patients at Slovin Chiropractic Center to know about treating a narrowed spine:

1.      Spinal stenosis is a common finding in every chiropractor’s office and we can manage it effectively and safely; however, it takes lots of effort on your part in self-care. Dr. Slovin will help you make a plan you can follow.  

2.      Chiropractic care will not make the spinal stenosis worse.  A review of studies over the last 25 years has shown evidence that adjustments improve symptoms and offer many other benefits.

3.      Spinal stenosis cannot be “cured,” but we can safely manage it with targeted adjustments that realign the spine and body’s musculoskeletal infrastructure.

Adjustment and treatment techniques are specific to your body’s unique needs and condition.  There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to chiropractic care for spinal stenosis.  Chiropractic is like any other medical science—it’s a search for answers; there are no rules written in stone for others to follow. At our Norwalk clinic, you’ll get answers from experts who’re committed to finding ways to improve the body’s natural ability to heal. Don’t keep suffering.  If you have pain in the back or extremities, make an appointment with Dr. Slovin today.   

Sources:

Mayo Clinic: Spinal Stenosis

Spine-health: Spinal stenosis

Better Health Alaska: SS chiropractor


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Sciatica: 10 Things to Know & What to do About it

Sciatica: 10 Things to Know & What to do About it

Sciatica is about more than the pain. Actually, it’s not even a medical diagnosis but a symptom of an underlying problem affecting the sciatic nerve.  There are a few well-known facts about this back nerve pain you may already know; there are also a few little-known facts that may help you discover new ways of achieving pain relief. 

5 Common Facts About Sciatica

Some of the most well-known facts about sciatica pain include:

1.      Sciatica can result from a bulging or herniated disc.

2.      Symptoms usually include a sharp, burning sensation that shoots down the leg from the lower back. 

3.      Men and the middle-aged are more susceptible to sciatica pain. 

4.      Sciatica pain makes it hard to move, twist, walk and do daily activities.

5.      Pain relief often requires multiple treatment methods.  

Many patients who come to Slovin Chiropractic Center with sciatica are looking to avoid overusing medications that are often the go-to for sciatica pain relief. We focus on fixing the body’s structure so it can use its natural internal healing resources.  Before we dive into that, let’s look at a few unusual facts about sciatica.

5 Unusual Facts About Sciatica

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems on the surface.  While those with sciatica know all about the painful side effects and symptoms, there may be a few things related to sciatic nerve pain that aren’t so obvious.  These things could be keeping you from receiving adequate pain relief for the back nerve pain.

1.      Diabetic nerve pain looks a lot like sciatic nerve pain; therefore, if you have a history of diabetes either personally or in your immediate family, start with bloodwork to look for the root cause of the pain. Diabetic neuropathy is caused by high blood sugar levels and can permanently damage nerves. 

2.      Bad posture could cause sciatica.  Think about how much you sit, slouch, and look down at your phone or tablet. Your spine goes out of alignment, putting pressure on the discs, which can rupture or herniate, leading to neck and back pain.  

3.      Sciatica may change the way you walk.  Some become hunched over or develop a limp to compensate for the back nerve pain. 

4.      While well known, sciatica is not as common as many people think.  Lumbar disc herniation is the most common cause of sciatica; however, only 5% of those cases turn into sciatic nerve pain.

5.      Most sciatica cases can be treated at home or with non-invasive, drug-free treatments from a Gonstead chiropractor.  

Self-Care for Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief

When the sciatic nerve pain is intense and disruptive, you can start with rest and ice or heat treatments.  Most of the time, ice works best as the pain is usually due to inflammation. Brew a natural anti-inflammatory tea with household turmeric and fresh ginger mixed with green tea to avoid over-the-counter anti-inflammatories.  Drink the tea regularly throughout the day for optimal benefit.

When you’re ready to move gently, start with exercises and stretches that ease the disc into place (if it’s ruptured), strengthen the back’s muscles, and reduce inflammation. Two simple, gentle poses that offer some pain relief include:

1.      Cow and cat pose.  On all fours, alternate arching and hunching the back in slow movements, breathing 1-3 times in each position before switching. 

2.      The child’s pose is a great position to lengthen and stretch the back. It promotes flexibility and openness in the hips. This will help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. 

Here are ten other poses that would be good for sciatica pain relief.

Non-invasive, Drug-Free Sciatica Pain Relief

Sometimes, back nerve pain requires medical treatment. Gonstead adjustments and chiropractic care are non-invasive, drug-free, and effective for sciatica pain relief. Watch the video below to see a Gonstead chiropractor fix low back pain.

The Gonstead technique is a targeted, specific chiropractic treatment that adjusts the spine, hips, and extremities.  Problem areas are identified before the adjustment, so it’s nothing like general spinal manipulation. Instead, the Gonstead method demands precision, thereby personalizing your treatment and making it far more effective. 

If you’ve been suffering from sciatica and are looking for safe and effective pain relief, Dr. Slovin in Norwalk can help. 

Sources:

SpineUniverse: Things to avoid with sciatica

Spine-Health: 10 Quick Facts about Sciatica

International Spine Institute:  Everything you need to know about sciatica


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Burning Neck Pain: What it is and How to Treat it

Burning Neck Pain:  What it is and How to Treat it

Burning neck pain feels like hot needles.  Sometimes, the pain races into the shoulder, down the arm, and into the hands as well. The burning sensation can result from various injuries and conditions, some of which we treat with the Gonstead technique at Slovin Chiropractic Center in Norwalk.

The Causes of Burning Neck Pain

The most common cause of burning neck pain at our center is a sprain (in the ligaments) or strain (in the muscles). These are generally due to whiplash injury. Whiplash occurs when the head jerks back and forth or side to side in an accident or traumatic injury.

A few other causes of burning neck pain treated at our chiropractic center include:

·         Herniated disc.  When the gel-like substance separating the vertebrae slips out, it often causes nerve compression, which can cause a burning sensation.

·         Brachial plexus injury.  There’s a bundle of nerves that spread from the cervical spinal cord into the shoulder and arm.  If these are stretched, torn, or injured, it can lead to burning neck pain.

·         Radiculopathy.  Like a herniated disc, this condition causes a pinched nerve and is commonly the result of aging, but a trauma injury to the spine can also be the cause. 

·         Central pain syndrome. Damage to nerves in the central nervous system causes a laundry list of pain symptoms, including burning neck pain. 

·         Cervical spondylosis.  This is wear-and-tear on the spine because of age.  The discs get smaller and dehydrate, forming protrusions on the spinal bones (bone spurs).  

·         Carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar nerve palsy, sciatica, and other mononeuropathies.  This is damage to a single nerve that often leads to a burning sensation.

·         Torticollis.  A wry neck commonly occurs from a poor sleep position, bad posture (such as looking down at your phone for several hours at a time), or injury.

·         Stingers. The athlete’s body takes a beating, especially in contact sports like football, wrestling, and hockey.  When the head and shoulder twist in opposite directions, or if there’s a direct injury to the area just above the collarbone, the athlete may feel a burning or stinging sensation in the neck, shoulder, and arm. 

Stingers in Athletes

This is an important topic to cover for our active and athletic Norwalk community.  A stinger is a specific type of nerve injury in the neck.  There are a few things you should know about it, such as:

·         It can cause weakness, tingling, and numbness in the shoulder or arm.

·         Symptoms are generally quick, but they often return, especially if there are multiple stinger injuries.

·         Multiple stinger injuries can lead to long-term nerve damage.

·         The best way to recover from the injury is to avoid the sport until the injury is treated.

Treating Burning Neck Pain

As with all conditions, treatment depends on the cause of the burning neck pain.  Our chiropractors focus on the Gonstead method to help with various conditions that present with a burning sensation. Here’s how and why the treatments work.

·         Gonstead adjustments are targeted adjustments to the spine, hips, and extremities. The techniques your Gonstead chiropractor performs are like putting the pieces of a puzzle in their proper place. To compare, a general spinal manipulation is like shaking up the box, throwing the pieces on the table, and hoping they all fall in place. 

·         Treatments are non-invasive and drug-free.  This is a novelty in our current society, where pills of all shapes, colors and side effects are thrown out to the public like candy on Halloween. 

·         We personalize treatment plans, and we don’t take a one-treatment-fits-all approach. That approach makes things worse.  At Slovin Chiropractic Center, we promise not to leave you in worse shape than when you came to us. Our personalized and targeted treatment plans are designed to get you back to mobility safely.  

Witness Dr. Suh treat the burning neck pain in this architect with multiple conditions contributing to his burning neck pain. 

If you’re suffering from burning neck pain, see Dr. Slovin for a consultation. Even if you don’t know the cause, we can help you find it and give you our best advice on what to do next.  Don’t let it get worse. 

Additional Sources:

Healthline: Causes of burning sensation

University of Rochester Medical Center:  Put a stop to nerve injuries called stingers

Healthfully:  What are the causes of burning neck pain?


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