Category Archives: Chiropractic

Cervical Disk Herniations: Common Questions

drx9000c san francisco
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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Spinal Decompression Soreness in the Beginning

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

It is not unusual for lumbar and cervical spinal decompression patients to get even more sore than they already are temporarily. It’s like that splinter in your finger that is really bugging you. The longer it’s there the deeper it gets into your finger and the harder it becomes to remove. Then, when you finally decide to dig it out it becomes even more sore…temporarily, before it starts feeling better.

There are all kinds of examples and analogies we can use to describe why some people get sore when they start a DRX9000 spinal decompression program. Heck…the treatment IS physical. Just like when you start a new exercise program…good chance you will get sore. Now the more out of shape you are the more potential for soreness.

Depending on where the starting point is with your back or neck pain when we start decompression you may be more prone to soreness in the  beginning.

However…we know this and we try to minimize it by starting off very light and slowly increasing the pounds of force of the pull. We have you wear a back support all day, ice frequently, drink lots of water, take fish oil, eat lots of plant foods, and get plenty of rest. All these things help to reduce inflammation which is the primary source of pain.

As time goes on and you progress through the treatment the pain levels will subside. And usually the pain is not unbearable, it’s just uncomfortable. But like the old saying goes… “No Pain, No Gain”.

Believe me…it’s a small price to pay to reach our treatment objectives like most of our decompression patients do. It’s a process that thankfully usually has a happy ending 🙂

To schedule an appointment at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Clinic please 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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Neck Pain and Cervical Disk Herniation

 

drx9000c san francisco
DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

We have been providing nonsurgical treatment for herniated disks (also spelled herniated disc with a c) for over 21 years. We currently incorporate cervical spinal decompression with the DRX9000c into our treatment protocols and have had great success with the most difficult of cases. 

Neck pain can arise from many sources. There are ligaments that hold bones to other bones that are non-elastic and very strong. When injured, the term, “sprain” is applied. The muscle and/or its attachment (the tendon) can tear as well, which is called a “strain.” But, what is it that people refer to when they say, “…I slipped a disk in my neck!”?

           

The disks lay between the vertebrae in the front of the spine, and they are part of the primary support and shock absorbing system of our neck and back. There are 6 disks in the neck, 12 in the mid-back and 5 in the low back for a total of 23. The disks in the low back are big, like the vertebral bodies they lie between, and get progressively smaller as they go up the spine towards the head. When we bend our neck forwards, the disk compresses, and opens wider when we look up. It forms a wedge shape when we side bend left or right, and it twists when we rotate or turn the head.

           

The terms, “…a slipped disk, a herniated disk, a ruptured disk, a bulging disk” (and more), all mean something similar, if not exactly the same thing. A central part of the disk is liquid-like and can herniate in any direction. When it does, it can create pain IF it pinches something, or it may be painless if it doesn’t. In fact, since the invention of the CAT scan and MRI, many (“normal”) people have been found  on the scan to have some type of disk “derangement” (alteration of the normal integrity of the disk), with 50%+ showing bulging disk(s) and 21% showing frank herniations WITH NO PAIN AT ALL! So, in the absence of shooting pain down an arm from the neck, or when there is no numbness or weakness in the arm, why order an MRI? It may show bulges or herniations that are not “clinically” important, and may falsely lead a doctor to recommend surgery when it’s not needed.

           

There are “KEY” findings in the history and examination that leads us to the diagnosis of a cervical disk injury. From the history, the disk patient often has arm pain, numbness, and/or muscle weakness that follows a specific pathway, such as numbness to the thumb/index finger (C6 nerve), middle of the hand & 3rd finger (C7) or to the pinky & ring finger (C8). Certain positions, such as looking up, usually irritate the neck and arm, and bending the head forward relieves it. Another unique history and exam finding is if the patient finds relief by putting the arm up and over their head. Similarly, letting the arm hang down is often associated with irritation. Other examination findings unique to a cervical disk injury include reproducing the arm pain by placing the head in certain positions such as bending the head back and to the side simultaneously. Another is compressing the head into the shoulders. When lifting up on the head (traction), relief of arm pain is common. The neurological exam will usually show a reduction of sensation when we gently poke them with a sharp object, and/or they may have weakness when compared to the opposite side.

Often times, patients will present to our San Francisco Back and Neck Pain Center with carpal tunnel like symptoms without neck pain. They end up with a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) when the true cause is a herniated disk in the neck Or, they may have both CTS and a herniated disk in the neck. This is called “Double Crush Syndrome” and is a common diagnosis at our clinic.

           

Chiropractic treatments can be very successful in resolving cervical disk herniation signs and symptoms, and should CERTAINLY be tried before agreeing to a surgical correction. Often, the surgeon will recommend a fusion of 2 or more neck vertebrae, sometimes with a metal plate in the front of the spine. This increases the load on either side of the fusion and can create problems above and below the fusion leading to more surgery down the road.  Trust me, try chiropractic first or cervical decompression with the DRX9000c first. You’ll be glad you did!

           

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your health-care 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 complimentary consultation for cervical herniated disk treatment 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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Research Shows Headaches and Back Pain Connected

Headache and Back Pain Treatment San Francisco

A German study published in the Dec. 28, 2012 issue of Pain has found an association between both chronic migraine and chronic tension-type headaches with back pain.

According to the study, the odds of having frequent low back pain were between 13.7 and 18.3 times higher in all chronic headache types when compared to those with no headaches.  In other words, the odds of having low back pain are much higher if you have chronic migraine or chronic tension-type headaches.

Researchers mention nerve pathways as a possible explanation.  But, one must not overlook the possibility of an unbalanced and malfunctioning spine as a possible cause of the headaches.  If this is true, it would explain why so many chiropractors report success treating headaches (and back pain).

  And don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

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To schedule an appointment for back pain and headaches treatment in San Francisco 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.

More Posts - Website

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