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Sleep Ergonomics

During the past 4 weeks, our social media theme has been sleep ergonomics. Ergonomics of Sleep - Nashville TN - East End Chiro As we wrap up July, let’s look at sleep from a different perspective. Many of our patients attribute their back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal complaints to sleep-related events.  Here are the most common:

“Our mattress is old/worn out.”
“I must have ‘slept funny’.”
“I need a better pillow.”
“I’ve been travelling and sleeping in hotel beds.”
“We stayed at our in-laws’ house on a bad mattress.” (This is a very common misconception.  I think there could be a good psychological study on this phenomenon).

While all of these things can initiate an episode of musculoskeletal pain, it is important to consider the underlying structure and function of the area in which there is pain.  In other words, maybe it’s your back, not the mattress!

In reality, a musculoskeletal system that is functioning optimally should be able to withstand a few nights on a bad mattress, or falling asleep on the sofa, without causing pain or spasms.

Here’s how it works.

  1. When spinal joints are not moving properly, your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) are quick to detect this problem, whether you are aware of it or not.
  2. Corrective neural impulses are sent from the central nervous system to nearby muscle groups to stabilize the dysfunctional area.
  3. Sleeping tends to relax some of this defensive posturing, leaving the weakened areas vulnerable to irritation.
  4. Upon waking, you attempt to move and “stir-up” these dysfunctional spinal joints
  5. Your central nervous system interprets this sudden movement as dangerous and responds by locking up all of the muscle groups around the dysfunctional area, essentially making a natural (and very painful) “splint” to stabilize the area.

This is most likely happening if you are waking up often with back and neck pain.

We can help!  In our office, we evaluate the motion patterns of your spine.  In most cases, we are able to identify the underlying dysfunction and correct it via spinal manipulation, muscle release techniques, and therapeutic exercise therapy.

By John Olsen on July 28th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on Sleep Ergonomics

Joint Pain

Joints are the space between bones that allow for proper movement and function.  Our body has many different types of joints, from those that barely move at all (e.g., the sutures in your skull) to synovial joints that move in many different directions (e.g., shoulder joints, ankle joints, hip joints, etc.).  When the joints move properly, your muscles and ligaments function at an optimal level.  This affords you proper function and no pain.  When the joints don’t move properly, however, the function of your muscles and ligaments is adversely impacted.  This is an ideal time to call to set up an appointment with a chiropractor.

There is no benefit in living with chronic pain and being at its mercy. If you have joint pain, call us today.

Joint Pain   Arthralgia (Greek for joint pain) is discomfort that occurs in a location where two bones meet.  Pain can occur in joints anywhere in the body, including the hands, back, knees, neck and shoulders.  There are many common causes of joint pain, ranging from injury (e.g., broken bones, dislocations and muscle sprains and strains) to arthritis (e.g., osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, etc.) to infectious and inflammatory diseases (e.g., autoimmune disease, bursitis, and tendonitis).

Improperly Working Joints   When joints do not work properly, it can lead to a variety of problems.  Primarily, when the joints do not work properly, the muscles and ligaments cannot function properly either.  They will tend to either shorten or elongate, depending on the joint problem.  When this occurs, they will leak chemical messengers that will irritate local tissues and nerves.  This leads to further pain and dysfunction.  It turns out to be a vicious cycle until the underlying joint problem is addressed.

Factors Affecting Joint Function   The causes of joint problems fall under one of three main categories: mechanical, chemical, and/or mental.  Macro trauma (big trauma) such as a car crash or bad fall and micro trauma (repetitive-use injury) are both mechanical factors that inhibit joint function.  An example of a chemical factor would be making dietary choices that are inflammatory, which increases the likelihood that your joints will swell more easily and become susceptible to additional injuries.  Mental factors become more apparent when people are under stress.  Many times they will get headaches, back pain, neck pain, stomach pain, etc.  Stress affects the hormones and chemicals in your body and can create an environment where healthy joint function is hard to maintain.

Chiropractors help primarily with the mechanical causes of joint pain and dysfunction; however, we are trained to deal with certain chemical and mental influences as well.  Rather than a temporary solution with medication, or risky surgery, chiropractic treatment is the primary treatment that addresses the underlying cause of joint dysfunction.  Normal ranges of motion are restored and inflammation reduced, allowing for soft tissue reactions to heal.  After a thorough examination, occasionally, the chiropractor will find that this patient would be better served by another medical professional.  If this is the case, East End Chiropractic will let you know promptly and will refer you to a professional that can provide you with the necessary treatment.

By John Olsen on January 31st, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Joint Pain

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