Category Archives: Chiropractic

Hand Pain and Herniated Disc in The Neck

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Is it Really CTS?

We have been providing treatment for hand pain in San Francisco for over 22 years now. 

Hand pain is very common in people that spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk in front of a computer…like most of our patients.

When it comes to hand pain treatment the source of the pain is not always in the hand. In fact, more often than not the source of the arm or hand pain is from pinched nerves in the neck. That’s right, pinched nerves in the neck can cause the same type of hand pain that pinched nerves in the hand or wrist can cause (carpal tunnel syndrome).

This is why it’s so important for a doctor to examine the neck to the finger tips when a patient presents with carpal tunnel symptoms such as hand pain.

The primary cause of pinched nerves in the neck is a herniated or bulging cervical disc.

Chiropractors have great success treating pinched nerves in the neck with adjustments, massage, exercise and other non-invasive treatments such as deep tissue laser and Active Release Techniques (ART).

In the unlikely event that chiropractic fails to deliver desired results for hand pain due to a herniated disc, then nonsurgical cervical decompression is considered for the neck.

At our clinic we will often incorporate cervical decompression with the DRX9000c and chiropractic adjustments. This can work extremely well.

We also have a medical team and physical therapy team for difficult cases.

So, if you are suffering with neck, arm, shoulder, elbow, or hand pain, you should probably visit a chiropractor that has expertise in CTS treatment and repetitive stress injuries. And if they have a cervical spinal decompression machine that’s even better.

To find out if you are a candidate for hand pain treatment in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation. 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Spinal Decompression Maintenance Care

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing spinal decompression therapy in downtown San Francisco for over 10 years now.

Over the past 10 years or so we have helped thousands of herniated cervical and lumbar disc patients return to more active lifestyles with the DRX9000. Many have been able to avoid back or neck surgery as well.

Sure, there are always some that do not respond favorably to decompression therapy but they are the minority. What typically happens is that patients end up a lot better than they were and are glad they did the treatment. Some have a complete resolution of symptoms.

As we near the end of the spinal decompression protocol, which is typically around 20 sessions performed over a 6-8 week period, we discuss with the patient the option of continuing on with some sort of ongoing maintenance plan. About 50% choose to do so.

Is DRX9000 spinal decompression maintenance necessary? In some cases YES, in other cases we just don’t know. When we just don’t know, we recommend that our patients listen to their body and call for a decompression session “as needed”. This seems to work very well.

Some patients never need the decompression machine again and choose to keep their spine healthy with chiropractic, exercise, stretching, Yoga or Pilates.

So, if we feel you need cervical or lumbar spinal decompression maintenance care, we will tell you. If not, we will teach you how to take care of your new back or neck so that the results last.

The conditions that respond best to cervical or lumbar spinal decompression therapy are bulging or herniated disc in the neck or low back. Degenerative disc disease, Spinal Stenosis, Facet Syndrome, and Failed Back Surgery cases also respond well.

Not all patients can qualify medically for decompression therapy. The best thing to do is research online, find a spinal decompression doctor near you with lots of experience (this matters most) and make an appointment to find out if you are a good candidate.

If you live or work near the San Francisco Financial District, or have the ability to stay for a month or two, you can see us.

To schedule an appointment at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center please call 415-392-2225.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Cervical Spinal Decompression in San Francisco

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DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

The cervical disc decompression machine we own and operate is the DRX9000c. The DRX9000c is fully computerized and has a built-in biofeedback mechanism that senses the herniated disc patient’s response to the treatment and makes adjustments accordingly.

The cervical decompression system is able to target a specific spinal disc in the neck, such as the C5/6 disc because the computer adjusts the angle of pull according to which disc in the neck is being treated.

Many chiropractors, physical therapists, and medical doctors claim to offer spinal decompression, but it is nothing more than a glorified traction machine. Our spinal decompression system which includes the DRX9000 (lumbar machine) and the DRX9000c (cervical machine) costs over $150,000.

So make sure you do your homework.

In addition, just because a chiropractor or medical clinic has a DRX9000 or DRX9000c, it does not mean they know what to do with it. It takes years of clinical experience and operation to learn how to incorporate it into an overall lumbar and cervical disc herniation repair strategy and protocol.

We have performed over 12,000 decompression sessions on thousands of patients. In fact, we were the first to offer the DRX9000c to San Francisco.

So there you go…if you have been diagnosed with a herniated or bulging disc in the neck or feel you may have one and do not want surgery, you may be a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression to the cervical spine with the DRX9000c.

To find out if you are a candidate for cervical spinal decompression in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation.

PS: We also offer physical therapy and medical case management at our sister clinic Chiro-Medical Group, Inc. a few blocks away.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Spinal Decompression or Chiropractic?

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing chiropractic and spinal decompression services in San Francisco for over 20 years in the Financial District.

Often times patients present to our clinic with back or neck pain related to a herniated disc and say they are interested in nonsurgical spinal decompression with the DRX9000 or DRX9000c.

This is great, but it may not make the most sense. The reason I say this is that pinched nerves due to bulging or herniated discs respond favorably to conventional chiropractic care, which is cheaper and less of a time commitment than disc decompression.

Sure, a certain percentage of herniated disc patients will not respond to chiropractic and will end up on the decompression machine…but we find it works best when we try chiropractic first.

Some patients do not want to try chiropractic for various reasons and we will honor their wishes and initiate decompression. Some patients have already tried chiropractic without favorable results so we go right to decompression. And sometimes we do both chiropractic and decompression together.

All cases are different. When you have as much experience as we do treating lumbar and cervical disc herniations non-surgically, you get good at mixing and matching therapies. We also incorporate acupuncture, physical therapy, and deep tissue laser as needed into the mix and the results are outstanding.

So, if you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc and are wondering if you should try chiropractic or spinal decompression, why not go to a chiropractor that does both and has lots of experience. Chances are you will be glad you did 🙂

To schedule an appointment with one of our back pain doctors in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Neck and Shoulder Pain?

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DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

We have been providing nonsurgical treatment for neck and shoulder pain in San Francisco for over 20 years in the Financial District.

If you are experiencing neck, shoulder or arm pain you may have a “pinched nerve” from a herniated or bulging disc in the neck. There are other causes as well such as misaligned vertebrae, muscle spasms, degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis.

Chiropractic care is probably your best bet for a pinched nerve in the neck. If chiropractic fails to deliver results there is always nonsurgical cervical decompression with the DRX9000c.

Cervical decompression systems like the DRX9000c are designed and built to treat cervical disc herniations and bulges naturally. They do this be enlarging the disc space, elongating the spine, and strengthening the spinal muscles ligaments and tendons.

A typical course of treatment is 20 sessions over a 6-8 week period. The sessions are an hour long. Treatment cost is approx $3500 depending on what level of service is required.

Success rates are high if your case is accepted.

To find out if you are a candidate for neck and shoulder pain treatment in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Ask for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Arm Pain Causes and Cures

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The Neck and Arm Pain Connection

We have been providing natural solutions for neck, arm and hand pain in San Francisco for over 20 years in the Financial District.

Arm Pain has many causes from repetitive strain injuries (RSI) to herniated and bulging discs in the neck. If you are someone that spends the majority of your day at a desk in front of a computer (like most of our patients) yo are prone to abnormal wear and tear on the cervical spine (neck), shoulders, arms and hands.

If you have poor posture. either from hereditary predisposition or acquired from poor sleeping habits, ergonomics or injury, you are prone to disc bulges and disc herniations which can lead to pinched nerves in the neck. Pinched nerves in the neck is a primary cause of arm pain.

Arm pain usually presents with either hand pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, numbness in the hands, weakness of grip, or night pain. Arm pain can also present as a stand alone symptom.

The cures for arm pain vary depending on the cause. One thing you should know. Rarely is the cause a “Motrin” deficiency.  When you take a pain killer for arm pain or any type of pain, all you are doing is masking the problem. Pain is a symptom not a condition.

Chiropractic is probably your best bet for arm pain. A chiropractor can examine you to uncover the cause of the arm pain and provide drug-less, nonsurgical solutions on the spot like chiropractic adjustments, massage, ice, and deep tissue laser therapy.

If your arm pain is from a herniated or bulging disc in the neck, then a chiropractor may use nonsurgical spinal decompression to the cervical spine. The machine we use is the DRX9000c. Spinal decompression machines are designed and built to treat disc bulges, herniations and spinal stenosis naturally.

If you have arm pain and would like to find out if you are a candidate for care please call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation. Go here for more info on arm pain treatment in San Francisco.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Pinched Nerve in the Neck?

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DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

Have you been told you have a Pinched Nerve in the Neck? Or, do you just feel like you have one? What is a pinched nerve anyway?

Well, a pinched nerve in the neck is a term used to describe the pressure or trapping of a cervical nerve root mostly from a bulging or herniated cervical disc. Degenerative disc disease, vertebral subluxatons, and facet syndrome can also cause pinched nerves.

Nerves are very delicate and sensitive to any kind of pressure. Famous research studies from the University of Colorado demonstrated that just the weight of a pencil erasure on a nerve can interfere with the transmission of the nerve impulse by 60%.

When nerves become irritated it can cause severe pain and dysfunction. The nerves that exit from the bones in the neck travel down the arm and into the hand. When these nerves become pinched, stretched or irritated it can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, and hand pain. Now this does not mean if you have a pinched nerve you will have all these symptoms, heck you might not have any symptoms at first…these are just some of the symptoms that can present from nerve pressure in the neck.

You may also experience numbness and tingling in the arms or hands, weakness of grip, night pain, and swelling in the hands and fingers. Some patients even get headaches.

The symptoms in the hand can mimic those of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).  In fact, you can have a herniated or bulging disc in the neck and be experiencing the signs and symptoms of CTS without any neck pain at all. This can lead to a misdiagnoses and unfortunately, unnecessary carpal tunnel surgery.

A chiropractor or orthopedic doctor that specializes in the neck, arms, and hands is your best bet for pinched nerve treatment. They will most likely order cervical x-rays and a cervical MRI…maybe even a nerve conduction test of the upper extremities.

Once a determination and diagnosis is made of the underlying condition, most likely a herniated disc in the neck, then treatment will commence.

Chiropractic care is probably what we would recommend first as it is very safe, gentle and effective. If chiropractic fails to deliver results we can try nonsurgical cervical decompression with the DRX9000c, a machine designed and built to treat pinched nerves resulting from herniated and bulging discs. We would not recommend rushing into neck  surgery unless it is an emergency (most are not). If chiropractic and spinal decompression fail to deliver a favorable outcome you are still whole and can pursue other treatment options, including surgery.

To find out if you are a candidate for care at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center please call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation. 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Low Back Pain? Things Not To Do

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Low Back Pain


Here is a partial list of things “Not To Do” if you have low back pain or sciatica:

STAY STILL: You’ve heard, “…don’t do that – you’ll get a bad back!” There is something to be said about being careful, but one can be too cautious as well. In order to determine how much activity vs. rest is appropriate, you have to gradually increase your activities by keeping track of how you feel both during and after an activity. If you do notice pain, it may be “safe” to continue depending on the type and intensity of the pain. In general, a sharp, knife-like pain is a warning sign that you should STOP what you’re doing, while an ache is not. Until you’re comfortable about which type of pain is “safe,” start out with the premise, “…if in doubt, stop.” If the recovery time is short (within minutes to hours), then no “harm” was done. If it takes days to recover, you overdid it. Think of a cut on your skin – if you pick at it too soon, it will re-bleed, but if you are careful, you can do a lot of things safely without “re-bleeding.” Talk to us about the proper way to bend, lift, pull, push, and perform any activity that you frequently have to do that often presents problems. There is usually a way to do that activity more safely!


SURGERY IS A “QUICK FIX”: Though in some cases this may inevitably be the end result for your back condition, most of the time, it is not needed. As a rule, don’t jump to a surgical option too soon. It’s tempting to view surgery as a “quick fix,” but non-surgical care at least for 4-6 weeks and maybe several months is usually the best approach. As the old saying goes, you can’t “un-do” a surgery, so wait. UNLESS there are certain warning signs such as: a) bowel or bladder weakness &/or, b) progressive neurological losses (worsening weakness in the leg). If there are no “surgical indicators” meaning, no instability, no radiating leg pain, and only low back pain that is non-specific and hard to isolate what is generating the pain, DO NOT have surgery as the chances of improvement following surgery drops off dramatically in this group. There are guidelines that we all should follow and they all support non-surgical care initially for 4-6 weeks. Chiropractic is one of the best options cited in these guidelines because it’s less costly, involves less time lost from work, and chiropractic carries the highest patient satisfaction. If chiropractic fails to deliver then there is nonsurgical spinal decompression with the DRX9000.


DON’T STRETCH – IT’S HARMFUL: You may have heard or read that stretching can actually increase or worsen your time if you’re a runner, reduce your ability to lift heavy weight (if you’re a weight lifter), or cycle as fast.  Though this seems obviously silly, there IS a growing body of evidence that has found this TO BE TRUE! HOWEVER, it appears (at least at present), that is applies primarily to static, long hold stretching and NOT to dynamic exercising like jumping jacks, toy-soldier like high kicks, or core stabilization. Moreover, no study YET has found a negative effect for non-athletic competitive activities or for low back pain specifically. A good general rule is, if you feel better after exercising, or in this case stretching, it’s probably better for you than not. Also, as stated last month, there is a “right vs. wrong” time to exercise and WAY to exercise. For example, when LBP occurs in flexion but reduces in extension, there is plenty of evidence published that performing exercises INTO the direction of pain relief is VERY helpful. So until you hear differently, KEEP ON STRETCHING, but follow our advice!  


            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule a complimentary consultation for low back pain relief in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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When Choosing a Spinal Decompression Doctor: Experience Matters!

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing spinal decompression in San Francisco for over 9 years. We have been serving downtown  San Francisco for over 20 years providing natural solutions for cervical and lumbar herniated and bulging discs. We specialize in chronic and severe neck pain,  low back pain and sciatica. The machine we use is the DRX9000 spinal decompression system. Prior to this we had perfected a back and neck pain treatment regimen that included chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and deep tissue laser therapy.

Spinal disc  decompression gave us a “next step” for disc patients that did not respond to our normal lumbar and cervical disc treatment protocols. Instead of referring for a surgical consultation we could now handle these cases in house. Since then we have performed over 25,000 spinal decompression sessions on thousands of patients and the result have mostly been outstanding.

When it comes to spinal decompression results “experience matters”. There are many decisions to be made from the very start to the finish and then post care and rehab.

A Spinal decompression machine is NOT a commodity like a gallon of milk. Just because a doctor has a DRX9000 or similar machine does not mean they know what to do with it. The DRX9000 is a tool, and like all tools it’s use must be mastered.

Decisions like whether or not to even accept a patient for disc decompression therapy. Where to start as far as pounds of pull? What spinal disc to target? What other therapies to do along with the decompression treatment? How many sessions to do? When to change the angle of pull? Nutritional support to reduce inflammation? What about meditation and relaxation techniques…do they help? Then, the choice of exercises and rehab and whether or not to incorporate acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic…what about weight lifting? These are all decisions that are better made with lots of experience and help determine treatment results (or not)…it’s not just about the machine.

Plus, does your spinal decompression doctor have a decompression support blog? Are there spinal decompression patients onsite you can talk to? How many years have they been in business? How many years experience do they have performing cervical and lumbar spinal decompression? It all matters…Big Time!

To find out if you are a candidate for care at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center, please call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Cervical Disk Herniations: Common Questions

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DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

We have been providing natural solutions for cervical disk herniations in San Francisco for over 20 years now in the SF Financial District. We are located in the landmark Embarcadero Center One.

Last month, we discussed the topic of neck pain arising from cervical disk herniations. The focus of this month’s Health Update is common questions that arise from patients suffering from cervical disk derangement.

1. “What can I do to help myself for my herniated disk in my neck?” The mnemonic device “PRICE” stands for Protect, Rest, Ice Compress, and Elevate is a good tool to use in the acute stage of many musculoskeletal conditions.

  • Protect your health by NOT placing yourself in an environment that is likely to harm you, such as playing sports or doing heavy yard work. That is, think about what you do BEFORE you do it and if sharp, radiating pain occurs, STOP and assess the importance of what you are doing. Use the concept, “…don’t pick at your cut.” This means if you want the injury to heal, don’t keep irritating it!
  • Rest is similar. Limit your activities to those that can be done without increasing symptoms, especially radiating pain.
  • Ice – The use of ice reduces swelling/inflammation, which reduces pain and promotes healing. Alternate it every 15-20 minutes (on/off/on/off/on) several times a day. You can also use contrast therapy (Ice/heat/ice/heat/ice) at 10/5/10/5/10 minute intervals to “pump” out the swelling.
  • Compress – The use of a collar worn backwards, if it’s more comfortable that way, can literally “take the load off.” the neck and disks. There are even inflatable collars which are pumped up with air to traction the neck. Other forms of traction will be discussed further.
  • Elevate – The concept of raising the ankle to the height of the heart so swelling can drain out of the ankle is the classic example of “elevation.” In the neck, the traction concept may apply once again.

 

2. “I don’t want to have surgery if I can help it. What can you do as a chiropractor to help me?” This is one of our primary goals, and in fact, the goal of ALL health care providers, even surgeons! Chiropractic offers anti-inflammatory measures: ice, herbal anti-inflammatory agents (ginger, turmeric, bioflavonoid, curcumin, bromelain, Rosemary extract, Boswellia Extract, and more), digestive enzymes taken between meals, muscle relaxant nutrients (valerian root, vitamin D, a B complex, chamomile, magnesium, and others) as well as other non-pharmaceutical options. Treatments consist of manual manipulation, mobilization, traction (for home and office), modalities such as deep tissue laser therapy and low-level laser, electrical stimulation, magnetic field, ultrasound, and others. We also offer nonsurgical cervical decompression with the DRX9000c. Most important is having a “coach” guide you through the stages of healing by first addressing the acute inflammatory stage (first 72 hrs), the proliferative or reparative phase (up to 6-8 weeks), followed by the remodeling phase (8 weeks to 1 or 2 years) and finally, the contraction phase (lifetime – includes the natural shortening of scar tissue). If manual traction reduces neck and arm pain, the use of home traction is very effective. Options include sitting over-the-door traction, laying down versions, and mobile traction collars (discussed previously). Exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck are also very important in reducing neck pain as well as preventing recurrences. If in spite of all the best efforts of this non-surgical care approach should ongoing neurological loss and relentless symptoms continue, we will coordinate care with physiatrists for possible injection therapy and pharmaceuticals, with neurology for further testing (such as EMG/NCV – a nerve test), and/or neuro- or orthopedic surgery – THE LAST RESORT!

            We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule a consultation for cervical disk herniation treatment in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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