Rss

Archives for : woburn

Chiropractic or Physical Therapy?

Chiropractic or Physical Therapy? This is a question that many people seem to have when they are experiencing either acute or chronic pain. I was actually amazed at how many people do not really understand what either do exactly. This makes it kind of difficult to make an educated decision, right?

Lets start with a brief breakdown of both professions: Physical Therapists (Physiotherapists or PT’s) focus on conservative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions mainly through exercises, stretching, and mobilizations. With a physical therapist the patient will be taking an active role. You can expect to exercise, stretch, and mobilize different muscles during your appointment’s. The end goal is to not only eliminate or reduce pain, but allow the patient to develop the strength necessary to return work, sport, etc.

Chiropractic is a profession that focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal condition’s related to joints and muscles of the spine and extremities. Chiropractic Physician’s often do more manual therapy in the form of soft-tissue manipulation, joint manipulation (adjustment), and passive modalities. Patients assume more of a passive role making chiropractic care ideal for patients in acute pain (sprain/strain, disc herniation, whiplash, muscle strain/tear, etc.) Chiropractic Physicians focus more on “foundation” or joint movement than physical therapists, which tend to focus more on the muscle movement.

So which is right for you? BOTH! Depending on your stage of healing, you should be seeing both a chiropractor and a physical therapist. Typically, I will see a patient first, then once the joints and muscles are moving well enough they will be referred to PT in order to strengthen the muscles. A good therapist will recommend both therapies, as addressing both the muscles and the joints is the only way to completely correct a musculoskeletal problem.

Our office routinely works with medical doctors and physical therapists for the better patient outcomes. Our mission is to provide the best in evidence based chiropractic care. This often means working with orthopedists, medical doctors, and physical therapists to accomplish better, more permanent results. Most importantly, keeping patients doing what they love to do, and out of surgery!

If you are experiencing muscle or joint pain we can help! Call or schedule online: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Back to School: Back Pack Safety Tips

It’s that time of the year again. Many kids and teens are gearing up to go back to school. For many people that will mean a decrease in activity compared to their summer schedule. This decrease in activity level and increase in time sitting can cause problems with the muscles and joints of the back and neck, throw in a back pack that is too heavy and not properly fitted and you will have one unhappy back! Follow these tips below and stay healthy and pain-free this school year.

1.) Do not buy a backpack that is too large. A medium sized back pack is recommended. This will help to avoid over-loading.

2.) Be sure that the your back pack is tight to the back. It should not hang more than a few inches below the waist line.

3.) Be sure to wear both shoulder straps. This will evenly distribute the weight throughout your body lessening the load on your back.

4.) Load the heaviest books into your backpack first, keeping them closest to your back.

5.) Have your posture checked by a Chiropractic Physician to ensure that your muscles and joints are functioning appropriately.

 

backpack

Have you had your posture checked? Call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

3 Surprising Condition’s Chiropractic Physicians Treat

I hear it every day; ” I thought all you guys work on is backs.” It is a very common misconception that all chiropractic is good for is back pain. While we are now the recommended treatment for chronic back pain by the AMA, chiropractic is effective in treating many other musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractors are musculoskeletal specialists, trained in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders. Unlike medical doctors whom have a variety of different training, Chiropractic Physicians undergo 4 years of specific training in the anatomy of joints, muscles, and body biomechanics.

That being said, we have a plethora of knowledge on more that just the spine! Check out these 3 very common conditions below that Chiropractic commonly treats:

Headaches- Much research has been done on chiropractic care’s (spinal manipulation in particular) effect on headaches. Headaches can occur for many reasons, your Chiropractic Physician will complete an examination and determine the cause of your headaches before recommending treatment. Chiropractic care is specifically touted in the treatment ofTension (Cervicogenic) Headaches.It has been estimated that as many as 80% of common head aches are Tension (Cervicogenic) Headaches. These headaches are characterized by tightness in the neck, upper back, and head.Characteristically settling on the sides and front of the head after a long day.

Carpal Tunnel- Carpal Tunnel is a common condition that affects nerves in the neck, hands and wrist. In particular the median nerve is effected, which originates from the cervical spine. Often times, tight muscles, known as trigger points can be the cause of the characteristic hand and wrist pain. By freeing the joints and muscles around the nerve this may serve to lessen the pain and improve function.

Vertigo and Balance- Chiropractic Physicians are experts of the muscles and joints. Inside and around your joints aremechanoreceptors. These sensory receptors respond mechanical pressure (touch, vibration, etc.) and they are responsible for regulating proprioception. Proprioception allows you to know where your body is in space (balance!) There is much research that shows positive effects with spinal manipulation and increased proprioception and balance.

Call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

 

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome and Chiropractic

It has been estimated that 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their life time. At initial onset, people will often consult their PCP for this problem which will likely prescribe a muscle relaxer and rest. When this does not help many people feel that their only option is surgery.

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome is not a syndrome but rather a term that’s used to describe individuals that have had a less than favorable outcome with surgery. While surgery is occasionally necessary it is advised that other, less invasive treatment forms are tried first, Chiropractic care meets that description.

Many people find that 5 or more years post surgery they begin to again experience symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness in the leg, etc. The question I often get is, “But I have been symptom free for 5 years, why is this happening again now?” The answer is, like when we get a cut on our skin our bodies response is to heal that area via a scab and occasionally a scar. It is important to keep in mind that even though the surgery maybe minimally invasive  there is much tissue that must dissected through just to get to the spine. Over time our bodies healing response is to lay down collagen, since this collagen will not be as strong as the original it usually heals in a scar like fashion. With this healing response over time this may lead to scar tissue build-up around the spinal nerve which will cause similar pre-surgery symptoms.

As a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician I am trained to restore normal biomechanics to the body. Spinal manipulation along with Instrument Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is an effective treatment for the build-up of post surgical scar tissue. By breaking the adhesions in the joints and muscles we can restore normal function.

Does this sound like you? Don’t wait, call today and start healing.

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

3 Gym Exercises to Avoid if You Have Neck Pain

Sometimes life can be a pain in the neck. If you are like about 60% of the work force you probably spend majority of your waking hours in seated position; whether it be on a long commute, in a cube all day, or worst yet the combination of both. The muscles of your upper back, and neck become tight, irritated, and all around unhappy.

Hitting the gym and being active is a great way to not only combat stress but give some of the other muscles in your back, such as your Rhomboids, some much needed activation work (you can read more about recommended exercises Here .) It is however possible to make the situation worse with poor form, or poor exercise choices. Below are some pit-falls to avoid:

1.) Barbell Shrugs- Most people with neck discomfort due to posture have tight upper trapezius muscles (traps). The barbell shrug is an essentially useless exercise for anything but trap work. Worst of all, majority of people use bad form when they shrug. Do your best to avoid shrugs if you are experiencing neck pain.

If you insist on shrugging try this quick fix: Grab a light pair of dumbbells, Retract (pinch together) your shoulder blades bringing the dumbbells slightly behind you, and focus on squeezing your upper back in the top of the movement. In addition to limiting pain, it will increase your trap development with less weight.

2.) Smith Machine Shoulder Press- I think most would agree that anyone with back issues should stay away from Smith Machine movements. Since the bar is confined to one plane of motion it does not allow for variability in the movement of the shoulder joint. Since the upper back is already tight and irritated it will likely lead to a more serious injury.

3.) Stomach Crunches with Hands Behind Head- Placing your hands on the back of your head during a crunch flexes your spine under tension which is a prime mechanism for a disc herniation. This position also increases stress on already irritated muscles. Instead, try crossing your arms across your chest and lifting your shoulder blades off of the floor.

If you are experiencing neck pain, now is the time to act to prevent future problems. If you would like to schedule a consultation to ensure an accurate diagnosis, Click Here .

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Fix Your Posture- Part 3

If you have not been following a long I have been discussing the beginning stages of what some may consider as an epidemic; “postural syndrome.” So far we have addressed two very important groups of muscles that are necessary for proper postural alignment.  If you missed these posts simply click on the links to catch up (click here for Part 1, Part 2). It is important to not that these changes however do not just affect the head and neck but rather the entire spine. Moving down now to the mid-back we will begin to discuss the Rhomboids.

As discussed previously, many of us develop these postural changes due to our daily lifestyles. It is important to continue to stretch and strengthen these muscles, as many of our daily habits are fighting against proper posture; remain patient! In the image to the left we see the relative change in weight of the head due to the “slumped” posture. This position will pull he shoulders forward neurologically inhibiting the Rhomboid’s. The rhomboids are composed of a major and a minor. They are responsible for scapular retraction (pinching the shoulder blades together) and rotation of the scapula (the opposite of the picture to the left.) The rhomboids are very important for scapulothoracic rhythm ( raising your arm above your head without impingement) so Cross-Fitter’s tune in! Many people will develop rotator cuff issues due to inactivity of these muscles. Pay attention to how you are sitting currently, you will probably notice that your shoulders are pulled forward. This position means that the rhomboids are not currently active. The issue with this is over-time many of us will adapt this posture no matter what the position, seated or standing, walking, running, working-out etc. This is a recipe for disaster for anyone who is actively into working out. In fact, many of you probably do not even know how to properly contract your rhomboids. With over activity of the upper trapezius and levator scapulae the rhomboids often forget how to work properly so it is important to include rhomboid work into your routine on a weekly basis even after you have began to notice improvements in your posture.

Want to learn how to fix your posture? Click Here.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Getting to the Source of Your Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common complaint in today’s society where many of us spend far too much time sitting in front of the computer, whether it be for work or for pleasure. Many people find themselves experiencing neck pain that seems to come out of nowhere. Statistically, most people cannot recall the exact incident that caused their pain. Many find that certain activities may aggravate their condition and it may even seem to “come and go”, ultimately becoming more frequent over time.

When trying to determine the cause of your pain there is a few questions you can ask yourself before even seeking help from a provider. When did it start? What seems to make it worse? Does the pain travel or is it a local pain? There are a couple different scenarios that are most common in individuals that I will cover.

If the pain is a local type of pain without radiation below the shoulder it is likely a muscle and joint issue. Many people with this issue may report stiffness in the AM and a tired and achy feeling at the end of the day. Typically, a postural exam shows a forward head carriage and rounded shoulders creating an over-all “slumped” posture. The mechanism of injury is a matter of micro-trauma (sitting, bending, lifting). This will create joint dysfunction over-time. When normal joint movement is lost the muscles will become short and tight further restricting movement. This lack of movement eventually creates an inflammatory response resulting in pain. The discs in your spine that act as shock absorbers rely on movement for nutrition since there is no blood supply. Lack of movement leads to disc desiccation or “drying up” which may aggravate arthritic change or even spinal nerves.

Another scenario which typically has more of a memorable onset is nerve involvement due to disc injury. These patients are often between the ages of 20-40 and are typically active (or getting back into being active.) The same posture discussed above may be present creating that “slumped” appearance. Even a small shift in your head position can increase the amount of force directed through your spine putting you at greater risk of injury. The disc may begin to bulge over-time due to the increased pressure through poor posture or trauma and put pressure on one or more of the nerves exiting the spine. This condition is typically noted as producing burning or numbness that will typically travel below the elbow to the hand. Many patients report that it only affects certain fingers, and they can distinctly define the borders of numbness and/or pain. This may lead to permanent motor or sensory loss.

Left untreated, scenario one may progress to a disc/nerve issue described above. Consult your Chiropractic Physician for a postural analysis and a thorough examination to determine the cause of your pain. By freeing up the joints and muscles and correcting poor posture many people find immediate relief and increases in range of motion. Most importantly, you are taking strides towards better health and preventing future problems. Prevention is key!

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Improve Your Shoulder Mobility

Anyone who is a regular gym-goer may have heard the term “thoracic mobility” before. It has become a particularly popular topic in Cross-Fit circles and sports where a maximal shoulder end range of motion is desired (the lock out). This is necessary for exercises such as pull-ups, hand stand push-ups, ring work, and over head press’ (power and Olympic lifters are not safe either!). But, what does this mean and how do we improve it?

To perform any above head movement requires first a stable shoulder. This means that all of the associated muscles are firing and working properly providing stability to an otherwise unstable joint (just ask anyone with a shoulder injury!) If you have not accomplished the ability to stabilize the shoulder in these moves; you shouldn’t be doing them since this will eventually lead to injury. Once the shoulder is stable we can discuss mobility of shoulder. Though it is more likely for an injury to occur due to instability, mobility of course plays a factor.

When discussing shoulder mobility in over-head moves I am referring to the ability of the humerus to pass under the subacromial space in the shoulder without impingment. This space is already quite small so it is important that we have appropriate movement of the shoulder (often termed scapulo-humeral rhythm.) When we raise our arms over-head (as we do when pressing) the scapula should begin to rotate after 60 degrees which allows the humerus to pass under the subacromial space. The ability for this to occur is very important for injury prevention of over-head athletes! Shoulder impingements will occur when the space between the coracoid and humerus narrows which leads to the rotator cuff muscles to “catch” as they pass under the structure. Over-time this will lead to fraying and injury of these muscles and potentially tears.

In order to maintain the necessary space for your rotator cuff when lifting your arms above head the scapula must retract and rotate upwards. Mobility of the thoracic spine is particularly important as it will impact retraction of the scapula. Additionally, assumption of a slumped posture (which many of us have from desk jobs) which causes shortened pecs, and upper traps that will pull the shoulders forward creating an anterior tilt in the scapula reducing the space needed. In summary, when the shoulder is not moving properly and the subacromial space is reduced from lack of thoracic spine mobility and tight muscles it will eventually lead to some sort of impingement.

So what can you do to prevent/fix this issue?
•Have your thoracic spine mobility assessed
•incorporate some “pre-hab” in your normal routine; this should include rhomboid, mid and lower trap work.
•Stretch your pecs, and upper traps.

I urge you all to incorporate a bit of pre-hab; your body and gains will thank you in the long run!

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis DC, MSACN

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com