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When is Chronic Back Pain or Tenderness a Symptom of a Spinal Tumor?

Everyone is likely to experience back pain at some point in their life, whether it is due to poor posture at work, an athletic injury, or a pain disorder. When patients begin to notice that their pain symptoms are not going away, concern settles in. One of the major fears patients often have when chronic back pain begins is that they are developing cancer and spinal tumors.

Spinal tumors are made of cells that multiply rapidly, growing larger on or in the complex system that helps connect your body and brain. Tumors growing in the spinal column can lead to weakening of the bones, nerve compression, and instability of the spine – all of which cause long-term back pain.

However, primary spinal tumors are rare, and there is a good chance your chronic pain is due to another problem within the spine. It may help to discuss your chronic back pain with a chiropractor trained through Ideal Spine’s Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach, which focuses on holistic patient wellness through chiropractic application. An experienced chiropractor may help you determine the true cause of your pain and ascertain whether you have a spinal tumor.

Understanding spinal tumors and how they develop

Spinal tumors can grow in numerous places around the spinal column, including within the vertebral column, within the spinal canal but away from nerves, and inside the spinal cord or nerves. The type and placement of the tumor will determine what kind of treatment plan your doctor will recommend, so it’s important to be diagnosed early.

In general, spinal tumors are rare unless they have spread from another part of the body. Primary tumors, or tumors that originate in the spine, are most common in young adults and are usually benign. However, even if a tumor is benign, it can still cause discomfort or pain in the back because of how it affects the many nearby spinal components.

Malignant, metastasized tumors are more common and occur mostly in older adults.

If you have already been diagnosed with cancer and are suddenly experiencing back pain, there is a possibility that your cancer has spread and caused tumor growth on your spine, and you should seek medical assistance immediately.

Recognizing the signs of spinal tumors

Not all chronic back pain is indicative of a spinal tumor. In fact, most back pain is not due to a spinal tumor. Knowing what signs to look for can help you stress less about your condition and focus on finding an effective pain management program. Signs of spinal tumors include:

  • Chronic pain in the back;
  • Tingling or numbness in arms and legs;
  • Severe pain if affected area is compressed or manipulated;
  • Pain that is worse at night;
  • Persistent pain that does not go away with rest;
  • Symptoms of major illness including a loss of appetite, fever, chills, and nausea;
  • Scoliosis or another spinal deformity;
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function;
  • Already diagnosed form of cancer.

Pain stemming from spinal tumors will often be centralized to the back and will slowly begin to affect other parts of the body. As the tumor grows, it may begin to compress nerves, leading to tingling sensations, weakness, or paralysis in the arms and legs. Physical spinal deformities may also become present as the tumor alters the shape of your spine.

Spinal tumor back pain cannot be attributed to an injury or strain and is persistent, often continuing regardless of pain management methods like chiropractic. If you experience chronic back pain and have attempted to identify the cause to no avail, you may want to speak with your physician about the possibility of cancer.

During this process, it’s important that you document your symptoms, so you maintain an accurate record of how long certain symptoms last and when new ones begin to occur. This can help your doctor more easily diagnose your condition.

Working with a licensed chiropractor to diagnose and treat chronic back pain may help you get the answers you need quickly. Cancer is a scary disease that should be addressed as soon as possible, and a medical professional may be able to help you identify the signs of a spinal tumor, so you can begin treatment.

Contact Ideal Spine to learn more about our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach and to find a trained chiropractor who may be able to help you treat your chronic back pain.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Monitoring and Managing Osteoporosis with the Help of a Chiropractor

The 206 bones in the human body build a complex framework to facilitate stability and movement. Despite their hardiness (and assumed permanence), bones need to be taken care of or they can start to degrade. One of the most common bone problems experienced by millions of people around the world is osteoporosis.

During osteoporosis, the density of your bones gradually decreases, making them less strong and more susceptible to fracture. This problem occurs when bone cell degeneration is faster than bone cell regeneration, meaning your bones break down faster than they can grow.

Living with osteoporosis is extremely challenging, as everyday activities like walking can result in a fractured or broken bone. However, hope is not lost for patients – it is possible to slow or reverse the effects of osteoporosis after a diagnosis. Through Ideal Spine, chiropractors are able to learn effective techniques to treat patients with osteoporosis and help them return to living life as normally as possible.

Chiropractic management techniques for osteoporosis

People diagnosed with osteoporosis often assume they are unable to seek chiropractic care due to the fragility of their bones, but this is incorrect. Chiropractors offer valuable treatments for osteoporosis patients and can be instrumental in the management and monitoring of their condition.

If you suspect you have osteoporosis or fall into one of the categories of people who are at high risk for the condition, a licensed chiropractor may be able to test your bone density using a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA scan). This scan will determine if your bone density is normal, low, or at a level at which you can be formally diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Once bone density has been determined, a treatment or prevention plan can be implemented. The type of care your chiropractor will recommend will largely depend on the severity of your osteoporosis and what your bones will be able to handle at their current density.

In certain cases, chiropractic adjustments may help stimulate bone growth. These adjustments may need to be modified and made gentler if you are currently diagnosed with osteoporosis to accommodate for the reduced bone strength.

However, there are other, more common treatments a chiropractor can work through with you. The chiropractor may be able to perform soft tissue therapies, stretches, and exercises on you to help improve your mobility. These actions may also help strengthen the muscles and tissues surrounding your bones to help stabilize them and prevent injury.

They may also suggest lifestyle changes that are known to help build and maintain bone density, such as eating a nutritious diet with ample levels of vitamin D and calcium. Additionally, weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, and some weight training may help you build bone mass over time.

Long-term chiropractic monitoring can help assess progress

Unfortunately, osteoporosis is a chronic and progressive condition that usually worsens over time if it is not treated. Even when receiving treatment, there is no guarantee that your bone mass will improve.

However, continuing to work with your chiropractor to monitor your condition can help guide a long-term treatment plan. Routine care is necessary to be able to adjust your treatments depending on your progress.

Your chiropractor may want you to have bone density tests done every one to two years to verify the progression of your osteoporosis and see if the current treatments are slowing or reversing your symptoms. If treatment is not stalling the condition, changes to the plan may be necessary.

When you work with a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP)-trained chiropractor through Ideal Spine, you’ll know you can trust that you’re receiving a quality level of care with each visit. CBP emphasizes total-body wellness, not just spine health, to maintain the health and happiness of patients.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

In the Face of the Opioid Epidemic, the FDA is Welcoming Chiropractic Approaches

Chiropractic is considered a form of alternative medicine. In a traditional Medical Doctor’s office, recommended treatments for back or neck pain have typically included medication to reduce inflammation and manage pain, as well as physical therapy or surgery to correct the problem. Being an “alterative” therapy, chiropractic has not always received recognition for being potentially beneficial for spine health.

However, more and more people are recognizing the dangers of prescription drugs, including the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In May of last year, the FDA proposed changing the way it educated healthcare practitioners, encouraging them to learn more about alternative therapies like chiropractic and suggest them to patients experiencing pain symptoms in an effort to reduce the opioid epidemic.

The news of the proposed change is an exciting one in the chiropractic community. Recognition from a lauded source like the FDA may encourage more doctors to speak about chiropractic and more patients to seek therapy before turning to medication. At Ideal Spine, we promote a holistic approach to patient wellbeing through our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) techniques, which provides safe, effective, and non-addictive treatment for numerous health problems.

The dangers of opioid use

Opioid painkillers are a very effective method of treating pain because of their ability to muffle pain signals within your brain. Doctors may prescribe opioids to patients experiencing severe chronic pain. However, opioids can be extremely dangerous when taken improperly or for long periods of time.

Opioids like hydrocodone or oxycodone are some of the most abused drugs in the nation. Due to their addictive nature and other dangers, thousands of people using opioids for chronic or short-term back pain relief are at risk of becoming addicted and even overdosing on medication.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid overdoses (including both prescription and illicit drugs) accounted for over 66 percent of drug-related overdoses in 2016 – over 42,000 deaths. Prescription opioid use may also lead patients to using illicit opioids like heroin, which have many more dangers.

Chiropractic offers an alternative treatment option

When doctors prescribe opioids as a pain management solution for back pain, they are not fixing the underlying problem causing the pain. Even still, opioid prescriptions for back pain have increased dramatically over the years in an effort to keep patients with chronic pain more comfortable.

However, alternative therapies like chiropractic may actually be able to treat the root of the pain – not the symptom. Chiropractic uses techniques including manipulations, massages, and exercises to potentially cure the body of structural problems that may be causing widespread or localized pain. Chiropractors see patients for a wide variety of health problems, including neuropathic pain, headaches and migraines, whiplash, neck pain, back pain, and much more.

Chiropractic care is gentle and not addictive. Therefore, patients may be able to both rectify their underlying conditions and avoid the dangers of opioid addiction by pursuing alternative therapies prior to taking prescription pain medication.

If you are a patient seeking a long-term solution for pain management, consider chiropractic. Chiropractic care performed by a Chiropractic BioPhysics-trained expert may help improve your symptoms without the need for prescription medication or invasive procedures. At Ideal Spine, we teach chiropractors ways to treat patients holistically and effectively by working to identify and fix the root of the pain, not just the symptom. Contact us today to learn more.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Degenerative Disc Disease Pain and Chronic Inflammation Go Hand-in-Hand

Degenerative disc disease is a common affliction that affects a staggering number of people each year. Intervertebral disc degeneration is completely natural. Over time, wear and tear can cause damage to the discs supporting your spine. However, some people experience significant levels of pain due to disc degeneration compared to others.

The root of the pain that patients with degenerative disc disease experience is often misunderstood. This pain is usually not located in the spinal discs themselves, but often comes from the structures surrounding the spine – including joints, nerve roots, and muscles – due to inflammation. Thus, people who suffer from chronic inflammation may experience heightened levels of pain alongside degenerative disc disease.

Ideal Spine focuses on a holistic approach to patient care, providing chiropractic techniques to spinal experts to potentially alleviate the symptoms of spinal discomfort. Our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach may help chiropractors be better prepared to treat patients suffering from degenerative disc disease pain.

Understanding pain from degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease occurs when the discs located between the spinal vertebrae get worn down and dehydrated over time. This process happens naturally with age but can be exacerbated by stress and trauma on the spine.

The condition typically causes back or neck pain, as well as weakness, numbness, or tingling sensations in the arms and legs. This pain is usually mild and persistent, with the patient experiencing an occasional flare-up. Degenerative disc disease can lead to other conditions like spondylolisthesis or scoliosis, which can cause pain in other ways.

However, degenerative disc disease does not always cause pain in patients. Pain is usually felt when disc degeneration leads to problems with the surrounding spinal structures like nerves and muscles. One of the major sources of this pain is inflammation caused by intervertebral disc fluid.

Spinal discs are composed of two sections: an inner section containing a jelly-like substance and a harder outer section. Degeneration can cause the outer layer to tear, resulting in inner fluid leaking out of the disc. This inner fluid contains inflammatory proteins that may cause inflammation in the surrounding structures. The inflammation affecting the nerves and muscles is usually quite painful and may be experienced in the form of muscle swelling and spasms, nerve irritation and shooting pains, and generalized tenderness.

The link between disc degeneration and chronic inflammation

We know that inflammatory properties in the spinal disc fluid can cause painful irritation near the spine when discs break down. However, this isn’t the only type of inflammation that can affect pain in the spine. If patients are also suffering from chronic inflammation from another underlying disorder, their back pain may be worsened.

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process and fights against harmful things in the body. However, inflammation is not intended to last very long. Chronic inflammation is inflammation that lasts more than a few days – the body’s normal inflammatory response time.

Having additional inflammatory properties circulating in the body increases the potential for additional pain in the back or neck due to degenerative disc disease. What may normally be a tolerable level of pain near the vertebral disc may become intense, intolerable pain for someone with chronic inflammation. This pain may also last much longer than normal.

This link between chronic inflammation and degenerative disc disease may help explain why some patients experience lower or higher levels of pain despite the severity of their disc degeneration.

Treatment options for disc degeneration

Patients with degenerative disc disease pain may be able to relieve their symptoms by using alternating ice and heat pack therapy at home. Ice packs may reduce inflammation, while heat packs may relieve tension and spasms in the muscles.

Making healthy lifestyle choices to reduce chronic inflammation symptoms is also recommended for patients suffering from both conditions. Avoiding sugary foods, eating anti-inflammatory foods, and exercising regularly may reduce inflammation and, therefore, reduce spinal pain.

Additionally, chiropractic care may help alleviate pain. Chiropractic manipulations may help relieve muscle tension and pressure, as well as symptoms caused by inflammation. Patients interested in learning more about how chiropractic care may help treat their pain should contact Ideal Spine to look for a CBP-certified chiropractor.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Low Back Pain During Athletics is Nothing to Ignore

Participating in sports takes a toll on the body. Athletes everywhere know the discomfort that comes with working out. Sore muscles and achy bodies help you know that your movement is doing something positive.

However, there is a fine line between soreness and pain. When it comes to your lower back in particular, distinguishing between the two is very important for maintaining good spine health. Slight soreness in the lower back may be normal if you’re beginning to work out more or have been doing new types of athletic motions, but a consistently-sore back or back wracked by sharp pains is not normal.

If you begin to feel low back pain during or after an athletic routine, stop exercising and take a moment to examine the pain you’re experiencing. If you aren’t sure whether the pain is cause for concern, schedule a meeting with a chiropractor to get to the bottom of the issue.

Ideal Spine helps chiropractors across the nation work with patients to discover and potentially relieve their back pain.

The link between athletics and low back pain

Athletes are at high risk of low back pain because of the frequency at which they run, twist and jump. All these movements put pressure on the spine and surrounding ligaments and muscles, leading to injury.

Specifically, repetitive twisting and turning can stress the muscles around the spine, making muscle sprains more common. Lots of running and jumping can wear down on the spinal vertebrae and the discs between them. And, sports that involve lots of impact such as football can even cause injuries to the spine, nerve roots and surrounding tissues.

Some of the most common back pain problems athletes face include muscle sprains, osteoarthritis, bulging discs and herniated discs. Injuries and fractures are less common but are still a risk.

If you are an athlete, watch for sharp pain that occurs with a specific movement, as well as pain that radiates down your legs or to other areas of the body. Additionally, achiness or stiffness that lasts longer than a day or two and does not ease with ice or anti-inflammatory drugs may be cause for concern.

Preventing and treating low back pain

Taking care of your body is a critical part of being an athlete. If you start to notice that your lower back hurts, do not ignore it. Many athletes try to “play through” the pain, when what they should be doing is taking a break from the game.

Ignoring low back pain may make your pain condition worse. Continuing to put pressure on your back may further any strains or fractures and prevent you from healing correctly. Additionally, you may begin to move in different ways to avoid or compensate for the pain, putting pressure in the wrong places and hurting yourself more.

Instead, pay attention to your pain. You may want to try ice and heat therapy at home to see if the pain eases. Rolling out muscles with a foam roller or lacrosse ball may also help if your back pain appears to be muscular.

However, if your back pain is sharp, shooting, or does not go away, don’t delay in visiting a chiropractor for diagnosis and treatment. A chiropractor will do x-rays and work with you to identify the root cause of your pain. Once a diagnosis has been reached they may be able to assist you in alleviating pain and getting you back in the game through stretches, physical exercises, and spinal manipulations.

Ideal Spine trains chiropractors nationally on our specialized approach to patient care, Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP). By visiting a CBP-trained professional, you may see improvement in your condition after even a few short sessions.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

How to Recognize Red Flags When Seeking Chiropractic Treatment

Searching for chiropractic treatment isn’t very easy. It’s not always common to find a friend who visits the chiropractor regularly, and there are usually many professionals to pick from in the immediate area. If you’re seeking help, though, you need to narrow it down, so you’ll have to do some research and make a decision.

Not all chiropractors are created equal. While some practices are professional, well-trained, and have a track record for success, others may be inexperienced and could even have a long list of unhappy reviews. It’s up to you to watch out for red flags when deciding on a chiropractor and to find a new one if your current provider doesn’t seem like the right fit.

Ideal Spine helps train chiropractors across the country to offer the best service they can to clients using our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach. From our experience, here are a few red flags to keep your eye out for during your search:

  • Prior disciplinary action: Before you meet with a potential chiropractor, do some research to learn more about the professional’s training, experience and history in the field. Make sure to check your state’s Chiropractic Regulation & Licensing Board website to ensure no disciplinary action has been taken against the chiropractor, as this could be a bad sign.
  • Very little hands-on experience: Research and interview the chiropractor about their certification and how long they’ve been working directly with patients. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or success stories. If the chiropractor hasn’t laid hands on anyone before, you might not want to be the first.
  • Pushy or aggressive demeanor: Your chiropractor should be patient with you and not force you into doing anything you aren’t sure of. This is particularly important if they’re helping you work through pain, as only you can tell when a technique is too much for you to handle.
  • Unwilling to answer questions: Part of what makes the chiropractor-patient relationship so trusting is the chiropractor’s willingness to explain things to you, so you understand exactly what is going on in your body. If your chiropractor doesn’t want to answer your questions, they may be inconsiderate of their clients, at best, or possibly be unsure of their techniques themselves, at worst.
  • They boast about an exclusive technique: If your chiropractor tells you that they offer an exclusive, new technique that nobody else has, you should be skeptical. Chiropractic is effective because it uses years of research and training to understand how movements affect the human body. A never-before-seen technique may be untested and may end up leaving you extremely hurt.
  • They claim to cure the impossible: Any chiropractor who claims to cure various chronic conditions is most likely exaggerating to convince you to work with them. While chiropractic care may be effective in alleviating pain and symptoms for some seemingly-unrelated conditions, it is not magic and cannot cure all health problems you have.

When choosing a chiropractor, also remember to work with one that considers your wellbeing overall, not just your spine itself. At Ideal Spine, we train chiropractors to look at health holistically for total-body wellness through Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP). We strive to provide ways for patients to get the best treatment they deserve, so you know you can rely on our certified professionals.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction is Painful; Chiropractic Offers Gentle Solutions

Your ability to stand and move around relies heavily on a grouping of bones, joints, and muscles located near your pelvis. Two small joints in particular, called your sacroiliac joints, play a major role in facilitating movement and preventing your hips and pelvis from locking up over time.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a common ailment, preventing millions of people from moving pain-free. At Ideal Spine, we’ve worked with our chiropractors to identify a myriad of ways to treat sacroiliac joint pain through our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach. Rather than turn to pain medication for relief, consider visiting a chiropractor the next time your joints make moving difficult.

What is the sacroiliac joint?

The sacroiliac (SI) joint is an important joint that connects each of your hip bones to the sacrum – a triangular bone settled into your lower back. The joints function in the same way other joints in your body do: they absorb shock as you walk, run, or move around. You have two SI joints, one on each side of your body, and proper function of both is important for ease of movement.

Dysfunction in the SI joints is caused by either too much or too little movement. Inflammation is a common occurrence in both situations, which makes the pelvic region stiff.

Over-exerting the SI joints with an abundance of motion or experiencing pelvic instability due to weak muscles in the pelvic area may result in low back pain, as well as hip pain and potential misalignments in the hips and spine.

On the other hand, moving too little may cause the muscles around your SI joints to stiffen, making it difficult or very painful to move. This type of pain usually plagues one side of the lower back, feels sharp, and is more likely to radiate into the buttocks and legs.

Chiropractic methods to ease SI joint pain

Rest, ice and heat therapy, and pain medication are often the traditionally-prescribed treatments for sacroiliac joint dysfunction. However, chiropractic may offer a more effective solution that also addresses both routine SI joint stress and stress or immobility in other areas of the body simultaneously.

Your chiropractor may utilize the traditional spinal manipulation technique to push your SI joint past its range of motion and reduce pain. During this method, the professional will apply a fast thrust of pressure to your hip. This type of pressure may be repeated in other areas of the body to create full-body alignment and relieve pressure.

Sometimes, this pressure is too much for people with more intense SI joint dysfunction, in which case your chiropractor may opt for a gentler approach.

If your SI joint pain is caused by a lack of mobility, slower spinal mobilization techniques may help loosen up the surrounding muscles and improve your range of motion. Your chiropractor may also use a spring-loaded tool called an Activator to apply low-force pressure to your hips.

Finally, your chiropractor may be able to offer you a wealth of advice about gentle exercises and stretches you can do on your own at home to improve mobility in the SI joints and limit pain in the future. These types of movements are particularly important for athletes or people with inflammatory disorders who tend to stiffen often.

Ideal Spine ensures that our CBP-trained professionals are able to offer a broad look at the musculoskeletal system and how it relates to overall health. Contact one of our chiropractors today to see how they may be able to help you overcome SI joint dysfunction.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Chiropractic Solutions for Weak Piriformis Muscles and Hip Dysfunction

The system of joints, muscles and bones that make up the pelvic and gluteal parts of the body is complicated. It is filled with a web of interlocking tissues that work together to facilitate movement such as twisting and walking.

Having such a complex system of tissues inevitably means there are many places for movement to go wrong. Misalignment, stiffness or weakness in one or more muscles or joints may affect the way you move and even cause additional problems that worsen your health. One muscle often overlooked when treating pain is the piriformis muscle.

Ideal Spine uses a comprehensive system for patient care called Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), which helps trained professionals diagnose and rectify common problems with this area of the body and beyond. Our CBP-trained chiropractors may be able to implement useful methods of strengthening the piriformis to minimize pain and hip dysfunction.

What muscles are connected, again?

Before you can understand how the piriformis muscle specifically may be affecting your hips, you should know some of the key players in the pelvic region and why they are important.

The piriformis muscle is a flat muscle that sits below the gluteal muscles in the buttocks. It is attached to the sacrum, or triangular bone in the lower back between your hipbones. The primary goals of the piriformis muscle are to stabilize the hip joint, aid in balance, and help rotate thighs and hips laterally to prevent internal rotation.

The piriformis ties in closely with the sacroiliac (SI) joint, which connects the hip bones to the sacrum and absorbs shock from body movement. Dysfunction in the SI joint usually causes lower back pain, limited mobility, and misalignment.

How piriformis muscles can affect your hips

Because the piriformis is critical in supporting the SI joint, which is important for movement and body stability as a whole, it should be activated and healthily stretched. Tightness in the piriformis is often a concern, but it can also be too loose and weak, leading to hip dysfunction.

Tightness or fatigue in the piriformis may cause lower back pain, stiffness and sciatica in the form of piriformis syndrome, in which pain shoots down the leg due to nerve compression. This is largely due to hypomobility (limited mobility) of the SI joint.

If the muscle is too weak, though, it may also cause problems with the hips and back. Piriformis weakness may cause hypermobility, or instability. Activated muscles are needed to stabilize the SI joints and the spine properly.

It is very common for one side of the piriformis muscle to be too tight while the other is overstretched and weak. Finding a balance, strengthening the piriformis muscle, and realigning an instable SI joint is necessary to minimize pain and prevent mobility problems.

Using a chiropractic solution

A chiropractor is well-poised to offer solutions to people suffering from SI joint dysfunction, low back pain and immobility caused by problems with the piriformis. Here are some of the techniques your chiropractor may use to alleviate pressure and strengthen your muscle:

  • Strengthening exercises: To strengthen a weak piriformis muscle, your chiropractor may have you do guided exercises such as hip bridges or leg extensions. These may require some contorting and practice since the muscle is not always easy to activate.
  • Stretching: If you also have a tight piriformis or have recently activated the muscle a lot, your chiropractor may help you find some stretches to do in the office and at home that may elongate the muscle and improve mobility.
  • Spinal manipulations: When piriformis muscles have been too tight or too weak for a long time, they have probably done some temporary damage to the nearby SI joints and spinal vertebrae. Through manipulations of the joints and spine, your chiropractor may be able to get your body back into alignment, so the muscles can do what they are designed to do without the extra tightening or weakening.

Ideal Spine helps chiropractors learn effective techniques to treat patients with musculoskeletal pain and immobility. If you are experiencing hip dysfunction, visit a CBP-trained professional to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan to address your pain.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Congenital and Secondary Kyphosis: What Causes Poor Spine Curvature?

The human spine is an interesting and complex part of the body. Comprising 33 rectangular vertebrae and shock-absorbing cartilage, the spine keeps our bodies standing tall. While the spine has some slight front-to-back curves in it, some degenerative diseases and other ailments can cause the spine to have abnormally-large curves near the upper back, creating a hump-like appearance. This extreme curvature is called kyphosis.

In kyphosis, the thoracic spine, located in upper back section of the body, curves more than normal, creating the appearance of a hunch back and poor posture while sitting and standing. Kyphosis is not itself a disease but is a disorder that can be caused by a number of different things. There are two major types of kyphosis, postural and structural, and each have their own causes.

Postural kyphosis

Postural kyphosis is caused by poor posture in children, teens, or adults. Walking and sitting with a continuously-hunched posture can lead to a gradual rounding of the upper back, followed by muscle fatigue and back pain. The pain and rounded shape are usually caused by the weakening of the muscles in the upper back because they are not being used to sit upright.

Postural kyphosis usually keeps the spinal vertebrae intact and can typically be corrected on your own with everyday posture adjustment. With a conscious effort to keep the back straight and erect, the rounded back should fix itself over time.

Structural kyphosis

As opposed to postural kyphosis, structural kyphosis cannot be fixed on its own and is usually related to a bigger structural problem within the spine. There are multiple different causes of structural kyphosis, some of which occur on their own and others that are caused by existing medical conditions:

  • Congenital: Congenital kyphosis is present at birth, although the effects of kyphosis may not be noticed until the child hits a growth spurt. With this condition, parts of the spine may be formed incompletely or missing entirely, causing a hunched-over appearance.
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis: Scheuermann’s kyphosis is a disease in which the front part of the spine grows slower than the back part, forming triangular-shaped vertebrae instead of rectangular. The angle of each vertebra causes the spine to curve forward dramatically. Experts aren’t entirely sure what causes Scheuermann’s kyphosis, but it is speculated to be a genetic disease.
  • Secondary kyphosis: Secondary kyphosis is different from congenital and Scheuermann’s kyphosis because it is caused by another disorder rather than occurring on its own. A few common spinal conditions such as connective tissue disorders, arthritis, osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases are known to cause secondary kyphosis by collapsing the front of the vertebrae. Additionally, certain back traumas including spinal fractures, torn ligaments and compression fractures can weaken the vertebrae, causing them to collapse and kyphotic curves to appear.

To diagnose kyphosis, your chiropractor will typically conduct a physical exam, then may need to take an X-ray of your spine and examine the curvature present. By examining X-rays, the chiropractor should be able to determine the type of kyphosis you have and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

An Ideal Spine chiropractor will work through the Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) modality for a kyphosis correction plan. This not only helps guide a proper realignment of the vertebrae, it allows for consistent and ongoing re-checks to make sure curvature is regressing normally.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Is Chiropractic Still an Option After Back Surgery or Spinal Fusion?

For patients suffering from extreme lower back pain caused by degeneration, herniated disks, and other injuries, surgery very well may be the best option. Spinal fusion surgery is often one of the last options a patient chooses after exploring medications, physical therapy, and chiropractic, all to no avail because it can be extremely intense and has a year-long recovery period.

However, many spinal fusion surgery patients still experience pain or discomfort after their surgery, which makes them question what treatment options are still available to them. Is chiropractic still an option, even after major spinal surgery?

While many doctors warn patients of the risks involved with receiving chiropractic treatments after surgery, chiropractic care has the potential to help people suffering with back pain after surgery, as long as they are adequately healed prior to beginning treatment. At Ideal Spine, we frequently consult with patients post-surgery about the efficacy of spinal manipulations moving forward.

How long to wait after surgery?

Spinal fusion surgery is when an orthopedic surgeon removes the disks between two or more spinal vertebrae and fuses the bones together with metal screws and plates. The point of the surgery is to correct conditions like herniated disks and degenerative diseases by allowing the spine to become immobilized in that area.

After a spinal fusion surgery, it can take a minimum of three months for the vertebrae to fuse together and create a fully immobilized graft. After the graft is complete, another few months of physical therapy are usually necessary to strengthen the muscles around the graft. Combining the initial recovery time with physical therapy time, most patients may expect to take a full year to recover. Patients should avoid any twisting and bending motions, or else they risk breaking the graft.

How chiropractic care can help surgery patients

Spinal fusion surgery is not guaranteed to solve the problem causing a patient’s back pain. Many spinal fusion patients experience discomfort or pain for a long while after surgery that might be aided by chiropractic manipulations. However, these patients should not endure rotational-type treatments.

In chiropractic care, manipulations are intended to adjust or realign bones in your spine or other body parts. Because chiropractic involves such intricate manipulations of the spine, many patients who have endured back or spinal fusion surgery are hesitant to consider seeking chiropractic treatment.

After a year, discuss the possibility of receiving chiropractic care with your physician and determine whether your surgical graft is strong enough to withstand spinal manipulations. Spinal fusion patients can be at a greater risk of injury if they are not healed correctly before receiving treatment from a chiropractor. Any controlled force on the spine could damage the graft and cause injury.

All of this does not mean that chiropractic care is out of the question. If your graft is adequately healed and your physician feels that you are strong enough to endure mild spinal manipulations, you can reach out to your Ideal Spine chiropractor to discuss Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) treatment options.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.