How do you feel at this very moment? You can do a easy self-check just by moving your neck, shoulders, arms and legs around. Do you have any aches and pains anywhere? If your response is, "Don't most people have pain somewhere in their body?" or "Doesn't pain come with old age?" keep in mind that while that's true, it doesn't mean you have to accept it. And remember, pain isn't just physical. The emotional stress it creates can be as hard on you as the pain itself. Let's talk about ways you can find relief from your physical pain, which will undoubtedly lighten your emotional load at the same time.
Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to sheer agony. Pain has physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerves being stimulated. Pain may be confined to a specific area, as in an injury, or it can be spread throughout the body. Around the world, millions of people live with pain in some form or another, involving many different body parts, on a daily basis.
One of the most interesting things about pain is how each human being deals with it. Some learn to live with pain. Others can't stand to feel even an ounce of it. The most common types of pain include arthritis, lower back, bone/joint pain, muscle pain and fibromyalgia (widespread pain, tenderness and fatigue in muscles,tendons and ligaments). Back pain is the most frequent cause of limited activities for people younger than 45 years old.
Acute vs. Chronic Pain
Acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself. This type of pain comes on quickly and can be severe, but it lasts a relatively short period of time. In general, acute pain is in response to an event that happens to the body. It may be a result of surgery or an accident.
Chronic pain is different. Chronic pain tends to stay around or progress over longer periods of time. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months or even years. Oftentimes, chronic pain is resistant to traditional medical treatments. The emotional component of pain often comes into play in a chronic situation.
The Consequences of Pain
The loss of productivity and daily activity due to pain is substantial. Americans spend at least $50 billion per year on back pain, and that's just for the more easily identified costs. Pain has a negative impact on an individual's quality of life. It diminishes one's ability to concentrate, do their job, exercise, socialize, perform daily tasks and sleep. Over time, this can lead to depression, isolation and loss of self-esteem. Researchers have found that depression is the most frequent psychological reaction to chronic pain.
If you hurt an area of your body and do not restore proper, healthy movement patterns, you will end up with problems later down the road. I can't tell you how many patients I have seen who got in car accidents and hurt their neck and back, but waited to get treatment and used pain as the indicator for how they feel. Eventually, the pain went down or even away, but they were often left with problems in their bones and joints.
Common Causes and Sources of Chronic Pain
An initial injury like a trauma, fracture, sprain/strain, or serious infection may be the cause of the chronic pain. There could also be an ongoing cause like arthritis, cancer, an ear infection or injuries that never healed properly.
Some people even suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage. Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults. Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself), and psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system).
Quite simply, pain can come from anywhere in the body. The source can be the neck, shoulders, low back, hips and everywhere else. Many times, the location of the pain depends on how the injury happened. Perhaps someone injured their shoulder while throwing a ball. Maybe someone sprained their ankle while running. How about the person who falls down the stairs and hurts multiple parts of their body simultaneously?
Solving the Chronic Pain Puzzle
Pain is a complex puzzle. For certain cases, it takes complex solutions to help solve that puzzle. In some cases, the individual's pain is so debilitating that it requires the use of X-rays or other special imaging to visualize the problem that is occurring in the spine or extremities. It may be appropriate to use any of the following: Chiropractic, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, nutritional supplementation, massage/bodywork, yoga and psychological therapy. In some cases, it may even require over-the-counter or prescription medication (although the goal is to avoid relying on these because of the potential side effects). But there are definitely things you can do that can help you prevent and treat chronic pain. Let's explore these strategies that, as you might have guessed, are all related to one another.
1. Posture: You have probably been told at different times of your life about the importance of good posture. "Sit up straight" or "don't slouch" are probably familiar phrases to you. Proper posture is difficult to attain, so don't stress yourself out about it. When you are sitting, put a rolled-up towel or sweatshirt in the small of your back. Sit all the way back to the rear of the chair so you feel the support in your back. When you stand, stand against the wall or a post so you can maintain erect posture. It is important to strengthen your core muscles, the muscles along the spine. Yoga, Pilates or a specific workout program with weights will help you achieve this. You may want to find a personal trainer to help you focus on specific exercises to help you achieve your goals.
2. Balance: As you develop strength, you begin to develop balance. Many of the positions utilized in yoga, Pilates and weight training work specifically on balance. Would you believe that your feet also have a lot to do with balance? The three arches you have in your feet must all be supported in order for the rest of your body to have good support as well. If one or more of the arches is flat, it can significantly affect the stress to your joints and your ability to exercise efficiently. Ask your chiropractor about analyzing your feet to see if you need arch supports.
3. Spinal Load and Stability: Understanding how to exercise or perform any type of sporting activity is crucial to your health. How many people do you know who lift weights incorrectly? On a daily basis, I see patients who have hurt themselves with physical activity. By being careful and doing your exercises properly, you can reduce the amount of spinal load (stress) and instability you create for your body. I cannot tell you how important it is to make sure your feet and all of the joints above them are healthy and moving properly. When your joints move well, you can perform activities optimally and with minimal stress on your body.
4. Alignment: Exercising makes your muscles stronger, which also helps maintain structural and bony alignment. Chiropractic care is hopefully a regular part of your life. Visits to your chiropractor at a frequency you both find appropriate will help you maintain your alignment.
Keep in mind that pain may be indicative of a serious underlying condition. Always talk to your doctor about any pain you are experiencing, particularly if it does not go away or worsens with time.
Could your pain or muscle weakness be caused by a pinched nerve? Our Fort Lauderdale, FL, chiropractor, Dr. Donna Watson, offers chiropractic treatment that can relieve your symptoms.
What causes pinched nerves?
Pinched nerves occur when a bone spurs, spinal discs, or vertebrae press against a nerve, causing pain and inflammation. Pinched nerves not only affect your spinal column but may also occur in joints.
What are symptoms of pinched nerves?
Pinched nerves can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Back, neck, or joint pain
- Numbness, tingling, or pain that extends into your arms and legs
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Migraines or headaches
- Trouble bending or twisting
- A foot or hand that "falls asleep" frequently
- Difficulty sitting or standing for even short periods of time due to pain and discomfort
- Trouble sleeping
How do chiropractors treat pinched nerves?
Before treatment begins in our Fort Lauderdale office, Dr. Watson must determine the cause of your symptoms. Pinched nerves are often caused by:
- Degenerative Disc Disease: Discs are fluid-filled sacs that cushion your vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. They may begin to degenerate due to aging, wear, and tear caused by sports and other strenuous activities or injuries. As the disc degenerates, it may begin to press on a nerve.
- Spinal Subluxation: A subluxation occurs when a vertebra in your spine becomes misaligned and presses on a nerve.
- Herniated Disc: As your herniated disc bulges outward, it may compress a nerve.
- Osteoarthritis: If you have osteoarthritis, you may be at increased risk of developing bone spurs. When the spurs form in the spine, they may decrease the amount of space available for the passage of the nerves through the spinal column and cause painful pinched nerve symptoms.
Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat pinched nerves, including spinal manipulations that improve subluxations and relieve pressure on the nerve. Deep tissue massage, heat or ice packs, traction, spinal decompression therapy, and stretching exercises may also be recommended to ease pain and increase range of motion.
Would you like to relieve your pinched nerve symptoms without medication? Call our Fort Lauderdale, FL, chiropractor, Dr. Watson, at (954) 568-9355 to schedule your appointment.
Dealing with a car accident is scary, but dealing with long-term pain is scarier.
Experiencing a car accident can be frightening and traumatic, no matter how large or small it might be. The stress of having to deal with the aftermath may be daunting and if you walk away with nothing more than a scratch you may think that everything’s fine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Our Fort Lauderdale, FL, chiropractor, Dr. Donna Watson, is here to tell you why you should always seek medical attention after a car accident and how a chiropractor could help you.
Here’s why you should always seek medical attention after an injury
If you walk away with barely a scratch you may just consider yourself very lucky and move on; however, not all injuries are immediately obvious. While some injuries like broken bones, bruising, and cuts are pretty apparent, it’s the underlying damage underneath that isn’t visible. One common injury is whiplash, an injury to the neck that can lead to neck pain and stiffness, headaches and dizziness.
Whiplash symptoms don’t appear right away. It can take hours or even days to show up; however, the sooner you catch the issue the sooner you can get the care you need. The same goes for other accident-related injuries like back problems or microtears in the muscles or ligaments.
Why you should turn to a chiropractor
Our Fort Lauderdale chiropractic specialist has treated many patients with car accident-related injuries and symptoms. That’s why we know just how important it is to seek medical care right away. There are many benefits to choosing a chiropractor for treatment.
For one, we provide a variety of therapeutic services and techniques to improve how the body functions and to reduce pain and inflammation without the need for medication. Medication is only a temporary fix and while it can be useful during those painful moments, a chiropractor actually treats the source of the pain to help it go away.
Spinal manipulation, massage therapy, and other chiropractic services are designed to realign the vertebra in your spine to improve how your body functions overall. It’s amazing how quickly a simple car accident can knock things out of alignment. Through regular manipulation therapy sessions, we can reduce pain and swelling, prevent chronic pain, improve flexibility and range-of-motion, reduce muscle fatigue and weakness, and even boost your immune system.
Chiropractic care also has mental benefits, as well. It can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and help soothe and relax you. After a car accident or stressful event, many patients are surprised by chiropractic care’s ability to reduce anxiety.
A Place of Health in Fort Lauderdale, FL, is here to provide you with the chiropractic services you need to get your body feeling and functioning like it should. A chiropractor can provide a variety of benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing.
Are you tired of living with lower back pain? Fort Lauderdale, FL, chiropractor Dr. Donna Watson shares a few common causes of lower back pain and explains what you can do to relieve your symptoms.
Why does my back hurt?
Lower back pain can occur if you have:
- Poor Posture: Bad posture can strain your back muscles and may even permanently alter your spine if you don't correct the problem. In recent years, posture issues have become more prevalent as people spend hours hunched over computer screens and smartphones.
- Sprained or Strained Your Back: Did your pain start after you fell, moved something heavy or played your favorite sport? Sprains and strains that affect your muscles and ligaments can result in significant lower back pain.
- A Herniated Disc: Disc herniations occur when the soft center of spinal discs begins to protrude through the outer layer. Pain occurs when the herniated disc presses on nerves.
- Arthritis: Years of wear and tear on your spine cause osteoarthritis, a common cause of lower back pain.
- Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis occurs due to narrowing of the spinal canal, which can irritate your nerves. In addition to pain, you may also experience muscle weakness, tingling and numbness.
- Scoliosis: The condition occurs when your spine curves sideways. Scoliosis usually develops during childhood, but can also occur if you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
What can I do about lower back pain?
Resting, taking over-the-counter pain medication and using heat and ice packs can often be effective in relieving mild back pain. If your pain doesn't go away or your symptoms are severe, schedule an appointment with our Fort Lauderdale office. We offer a variety of treatments to ease your pain, including spinal manipulations, massage, heat and cold packs, ultrasound and other treatments.
Chiropractic treatment offers a natural, drug-free way to relieve your pain. Treatments address the source of your pain, which is the key to preventing your symptoms from returning. In addition to relieving pain, chiropractic treatment can restore your normal range of motion, improve blood flow, relieve muscle stiffness and reduce inflammation.
Relieve your low back pain with chiropractic care. Call Fort Lauderdale, FL, chiropractor Dr. Donna Watson at (954) 568-9355 to schedule an appointment.
One of the treatment options available at A Place of Health in Fort Lauderdale, FL is acupuncture. Acupuncture is a considered by some to be a “modern” form of treatment because it’s non-conventional, but it originated in ancient China. Acupuncture is designed to target certain ailments and aches in the body, giving you relief in a natural way.
Acupuncture is a holistic treatment that uses a series of very tiny, slim needles applied to specific points of the skin. These needles are said to help balance energy throughout the body, which relieves the body of pain and other ailments. The idea behind this practice is that there are 2,000 points on the body that link a total of 20 energy passageways. These passageways, when linked, can assist the healing process. Acupuncture is preferred by some over other treatment options like pain medication and surgery because it is non-invasive and natural. You’ll visit the office on a regular basis determined by your Fort Lauderdale chiropractor for sessions that last under an hour.
What Does Acupuncture Treat?
Americans seek acupuncture treatment about 12 million times per year for various reasons according to the FDA. Here is a list of some of the conditions that can be successfully treated with acupuncture sessions:
- Back pain and sciatica
- Neck pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Insomnia and depression
- Digestive problems
Unlike other procedures that require general anesthesia and an uncomfortably long appointment, acupuncture is simple and relaxing. You’ll lie down in a comforting atmosphere as your chiropractor administers the treatment. Acupuncture is a low risk procedure and you can return to home or work right after the appointment. Acupuncture may also have unintended positive side effects, such as stress relief and increased energy levels.
Make Your Appointment
The only way to know for sure if acupuncture will help you is to give it a try. Call A Place of Health in Fort Lauderdale, FL at 954-568-9355 to discuss your condition and find out more about acupuncture treatments.
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