One of the most common phrases I hear in my clinic is “I must of have slept wrong.” when they describe their neck and back pain being worse in the morning. Unfortunately, in a majority of cases, it has nothing to do with how you are sleeping.
Is your pain in your neck or back worse in the morning? If so, ask yourself these questions?
- Does the pain get better after waking up and moving around?
- Have you had previous episodes of moderate to severe pain?
- Does the pain usually last 2-10 days before going away?
- Trouble sitting or standing prolonged periods of time?
- Are movements “guarded/protected” or noticing decreased range of motion?
If you answered yes to any or majority of these questions more than likely you have a disc injury. Many disc injuries are often undiagnosed. The most common cause for disc injuries is adhesion in the muscles. This creates a lack of flexibility and strength. This will make the disc worse over time leading to more pain and stiffness.
The good news is most disc injuries do not need surgery and respond well to conservative care. Removing adhesion unloads the disc and allows you to have more strength and flexibility.
Dr. Nottoli at Vitality Chiropractic Center specializes in the finding and fixing of adhesion and has helped many patients with disc injuries get back to their daily activities. Schedule online at myvitalitychiropractic.com or call 630-499-4078.
Are You Still Having Foot And Heel Pain?
What is this pain?
Most people have heard or been diagnosed with “plantar fasciitis.” This is the label commonly given to anyone experiencing pain anywhere close to the bottom of the heel or arch of the foot. The usual symptoms are pain first thing in the morning or after rest, pain with prolonged activities like running/walking, and pain with prolonged standing. Most people will have a sweet spot of activity when symptoms are not present, but it’s like you’re stuck in the movie Groundhog’s Day each morning when the heel pain returns. There are also many variations of symptoms in between, but suffice it to say that it hurts like hell and seems like it will never go away! In fact, over time, it usually gets worse.
The standard treatments for this condition are rest, ice, stretching, NSAIDs, injections, and braces. Some other “non-traditional” treatments may consist of taping, massage, varieties of electrical stimulation, and lasers. If you are fortunate the rest alone may have alleviated your symptoms but be ready for the pain to return. If you’re most people suffering from the chronic problem these treatments don’t help. So the next question most people ask is why?
The Real Story:
The reason why most of the treatments fail to actually fix the problem is that the problem was never fully understood from the start. Think of it this way–if your car had a broken part and the mechanic replaced the wrong part, your car is still broken.
So this chronic heel pain is classified as an inflammation problem when in fact it’s degenerative. The muscles and tendons in the foot get loaded with adhesion and the tendon breaks down–leaving it weak and unable to handle the daily stress.
Over time, this cycle continues to worsen because most of the “treatments” listed above make the adhesion and tendon degeneration worse!
It Can Be Fixed!
The good news is that Dr. Paul Nottoli at Vitality Chiropractic Center is an expert at finding and fixing adhesion and tendon degeneration! His state of the art treatment methods has helped patients fully recover from years of chronic heel/foot pain without drugs or surgery.
How To Cause Early Degeneration In Your Spine
What Poor Postures Do To Your Neck?
We all have to work. But do to technology evolving faster than humans can adapt to it we put excessive stress and strain on our joints especially our neck. As you read this, you are probably slouched forward. In fact, poor postures load the discs in our spine 300% more than healthy upright postures! That is insane when you consider that the discs are our shock absorbers and spacers between each spinal segment. Once these are damaged–either suddenly or chronically–our nerves can become pinched, and our joints begin to compress causing chronic pain.
Over time, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons start to become weak and shortened due to adhesion formation. Adhesion is a build-up of fibrous tissue from the poor oxygen and blood supply. Once adhesion gets bad enough no amount of stretching, foam rolling, smashing, or exercising will fix your postural problem or your neck pain. This means that your discs and joints are continuously being loaded and compressed leading to degeneration, osteoarthritis, and more pain.
How do I know if it’s too late to fix on my own?
Below is a picture of a simple test to see how well your neck moves in normal ranges of motion. First start with your heels, butt, shoulders, and back of the head against a wall. If you can’t do this, initially you have already failed the test. Then with your jaw line parallel to the floor, move your chin in and slightly down toward your neck making a double chin–your head should slide up the wall without losing contact. If you can barely move or you have pain, then you fail the test. Finally, as the picture shows below, your chin should easily touch your collar bones without pain or strain. If you cannot touch or you overshoot your collar bones, you have failed the test. If you have passed these first couple tests, then there’s still time to fix your posture on your own. I recommend watching a few videos online regarding postural exercises and deliberately set more breaks throughout the day. Work productivity studies all prove that short bursts with multiple breaks throughout the day improves focus and reduces fatigue.
(photos on the left represent abnormal neck motion, the right represent healthier range of motion as described above).
What can I do if I failed the tests or I’m already in pain?
The good news is that adhesion can be treated and completely reversed by an expert trained in Integrative Diagnosis! Even if you already have been diagnosed with disc degeneration, arthritis, disc bulge/herniation you can still be helped. Dr. Paul at Vitality Chiropractic Center specializes in getting you a complete and accurate diagnosis, as well as treating adhesion. You simply cannot have a healthy neck and discs if your posture is terrible and your muscles are full of adhesion. Adhesion is also the most commonly missed condition, so if you have already tried other treatments with little or no success, then we invite you to experience the difference. You have nothing to lose and the long term health of your neck to gain–you only have one and surgery is a last resort treatment! Contact us at 630-499-4078 or schedule an appointment online.
How Do I Stay Healthy If I'm Not in Pain?
In this article, I will discuss some topics of how to decrease your risk of getting injured and how to stay out of pain longer. This article is NOT for people that are already injured or in pain. If you are in pain, you need an expert diagnosis and treatment to fix your problem. Call 630-499-4078 or visit Vitality Chiropractic Center for an appointment or questions.
I think we can all admit that being in pain is terrible. It keeps us from doing the things we love and robs us of our attention. I think we can also agree that when pain is present, we want it gone fast, and we don’t want to spend money on the problem. Unfortunately, by the time pain is present, there is typically many layers to the problem that need to be fixed–this won’t be a do-it-yourself weekend project (refer to paragraph above).
The first rule of staying healthy is not abusing your body. I like to push myself just as much as the next person, but there are lots of times when listening to symptoms or going less than full effort is smart. The only way to make the body stronger and perform better is by recovering. This is pretty easy to track with a performance journal. Being sore all the time and barely able to move is not a sign of success–it’s a sign of an early problem. Same can be said with nutrition. Don’t put stuff into your body that won’t make it function well and abuse you. The goal isn’t to make yourself beat up after a workout; the goal is to make you better for the next one.
The next important factor is a variation of activities, intensities, and movements. I typically enjoy doing CrossFit for this reason as it fits all these criteria. Find a schedule that works to keep you healthy and perform different activities to avoid overuse injuries. Don’t let your ego get in the way of doing a workout at 50% if you are feeling particularly tired or beat up from the week. Run, do push ups, ride a bike, walk, swim or play on the playground with your kids. The more variation you have, the healthier your body will be. Find what you enjoy and make it fun.
Self-maintenance for your muscles is like brushing and flossing your teeth–you do it every day, so you don’t get cavities. Things that fall in this category are stretching, foam rolling, and specific mobility work. These activities are designed to pump blood through tissues and keep joints mobile. This can also be used as an early warning sign to let you know what areas of the body are potentially injured or which body parts need rest for that day. These activities are NOT treatment and will NOT fix a problem (refer to the first paragraph). These activities only work when the muscles and tissues are already healthy.
Yoga, Pilates, and maintenance exercises are a great way to get variety while keeping you healthy. Working with a coach or trainer can make these activities more enjoyable and provide added benefit.
The Truth About Your Tight Hamstrings.Make Them Happy Again!
One of the most common questions I receive from my patients is why are my hamstrings always so tight? Many will say it is because “I don’t stretch enough.” However, hamstring tightness is never because you don’t stretch enough. Stretching can also cause the problem to get worse. The tightness of any muscle is to protect a problem that is overloading an injured tissue or joint in the body. Below are the three most common reasons hamstrings are tight.
Disc Injury: When a disc has injured any bending of the lower back places more stress on the injured disc. Part of the job of the hamstrings is to extend the hip and keep you upright. If you have an injured disc, the hamstrings will tighten and stay contracted trying to keep you upright to protect the disc and avoid any unwanted load.
Nerve Entrapment of the Sciatic Nerve: Nerve entrapment is extremely common with the sciatic nerve. For the nerve to be healthy, it has to move and glide between all the tissue from the lower back to the foot. Overuse and abuse cause adhesion to form and the nerve will get stuck and glued to the surrounding tissue causing irritation of the nerve. If the nerve can’t move fully, it will engage the hamstrings sooner and cause tightness. Another common symptom of this is weak hamstrings.
Adhesion in the hips and adductors: Adhesion in these areas is like super glue. This will increase pressure and stress the hips, lower back, hamstrings and decreases the range of motion. With this reduction in movement, the joint is more prone to future injuries such as cartilage damage, disc injury, and further degeneration. The hamstrings help protect this joint by activating earlier than normal and reducing the range of motion.
When you don’t fully correct the above dysfunctions, it will result in tight hamstrings, increase pain, decrease range of motion, decreased performance in athletes and can lead to further degeneration. It is important that you receive expert diagnosis and treatment of your condition.
Dr. Nottoli specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the above three causes. Call 630-499-4078 or click below to schedule an appointment online. You deserve clinical excellence. You can also find a provider at integrativediagnosis.com
Do Your Shoulders Look Like This?
For CrossFit Athletes
Full shoulder mobility is the foundation for a healthy rotator cuff. Lacking full range of motion puts the shoulder joint and tissues under stress. The most common reason for decreased shoulder range of motion and pain is adhesion in the tissue. Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment of adhesion is essential for healthy shoulders and optimal performance.
Dr. Nottoli specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion and shoulder pain. You deserve clinical excellence and a real solution to your pain. Call 630-499-4078. Or click the button to schedule online.