Are Chiropractors Good for Herniated Discs?

Are Chiropractors Good for Herniated Discs?

A herniated disc or “slipped disc” occurs when the discs within your spine begin to wear down with age and use. Without these discs working properly to absorb shock, you can experience a lot of pain within your spine. While most people are not at risk of suffering from a herniated disc, it is not uncommon in young to middle-aged adults who overwork their bodies. Despite the pain this condition can cause, there are options for relief through chiropractic care! 

What is a Herniated Disc?

Between almost all your spinal vertebrae lies an intervertebral disc. These discs act as cushions to help absorb and distribute shock. Without them, your spine cannot function. However, as with almost every part of the body, the discs show signs of wear and tear with age. 

While the phrase “slipped disc” has become a popular term for bulging, ruptured, or herniated discs, intervertebral discs do not actually “slip.” The annulus fibrosus (the tough outer layer) and the nucleus pulposus (the soft, gelatin-like center) make up your discs. When cracks occur in the outer layer of the disc, the gelatin-like material found inside begins to ooze out. This process puts excess pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves and causes severe pain. Thus, not the entirety of the disc slips, but only the small area of the crack is dislodged from its proper place. 

Am I Suffering from a Herniated or Bulging Disc?

Eventually, discs deteriorate, resulting in either a bulging or herniation. As time passes, discs dehydrate and their cartilage stiffens, causing the outer layer of the disc to bulge out. A bulging disc does not always affect the entire perimeter of a disc. However, at least a quarter or half of the disc’s circumference is generally affected. Only the outer layer of tough cartilage is affected when it comes to a bulging disc. 

On the other hand, a herniated disc occurs when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows some softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disc. Also called a ruptured disc or slipped disc, a herniated disc is not caused by an entire disc rupturing or slipping. 

How do you know if you are suffering from a bulging or herniated disc? The best way to tell is by the pain level you are experiencing. As a herniated disc generally protrudes farther and irritates the nerve roots, its symptoms are more painful than a bulging disc. The irritation of a herniated disc is caused by the compression of the nerve or the painful inflammation of the nerve root. 

What are the Different Disc Herniation Stages?

If you have a back pain condition, the symptoms will likely start small and gradually increase until you feel excessive back pain. There are four main stages of disc degeneration: 

  • Degeneration; 
  • Prolapse; 
  • Extrusion; 
  • Sequestration. 

The first stage, degeneration, occurs when the disc loses its elasticity and becomes brittle with age. 

Stage two, prolapse, occurs when tiny tears form in the outer fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc. These tears allow the gel-like central portion to bulge along with the tough fibrous outer layer. 

Extrusion, stage three, is when part of the nucleus breaks through the tough outer layer but remains within the disc. Also known as a non-contained herniation or transligamentous herniation, an acute lumbar disc herniation is followed by sequestration. 

In stage four, disc sequestration, the gel-like material breaks through the tough outer layer and leaks into the spinal canal, causing a free fragment. After all four stages are complete, you will feel full-fledged disc herniation symptoms and require chiropractic treatment. 

How Does Chiropractic Care Address Disc Herniation?

Chiropractic care helps to relieve back pain and other herniated disc symptoms. After an initial assessment, your chiropractor can recommend the best treatment option for your situation. 

Your Chiropractor Will Conduct an Initial Assessment

Before your treatment plan begins, your chiropractor will conduct an initial assessment. During this initial consultation, your chiropractor will examine your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and perform orthopedic and neurological tests. Even if you are only experiencing low back pain, your chiropractor will also examine your neck and other portions of the spinal column to evaluate the overall health of your spine. Similarly, if you are experiencing neck pain, your lower back will be evaluated as well. 

Chiropractic Techniques for Herniated Discs

Chiropractors have several techniques to treat and relieve pain caused by herniated discs. While there are options for surgical chiropractic care, you can also receive nonsurgical treatments to ease back pain. 

Flexion-distraction Technique

The flexion-distraction technique reduces herniated disc symptoms and offers back pain relief by reducing the pressure on your discs. 

To conduct a flexion distraction, your chiropractor will use a specialized table to gently stretch the spine. They will isolate the affected area while slightly flexing the spine with a pumping rhythm. This treatment option is almost painless and allows the center of the intervertebral disc to assume its central position in the disc without excess pressure. 

For the flexion-distraction to be successful, you must undergo a series of chiropractic care treatments alongside adjunctive ultrasound, muscle stimulation, physiotherapy, supplementation, and at-home treatments. Your chiropractor will monitor your progress throughout the entire process.

Spinal Manipulation

Often used for spinal conditions and disc problems, spinal manipulations are a type of chiropractic adjustments conducted under anesthesia. Luckily, the anesthesia puts the patient to sleep for only about six minutes, allowing your chiropractor to stretch and manipulate the area while the body is completely relaxed. Unlike the flexion-distraction technique, a spinal manipulation treatment plan requires only one to three sessions

Pelvic Blocking Treatments

Herniated disc symptoms can also be treated through pelvic blocking techniques. Cushioned wedges placed under each side of the pelvis allow the use of gentle exercises to draw your disc away from the nerve it may be pressing on, easing spinal pain. 

Additional Treatment Options

Chiropractors suggest you supplement the above treatment options with additional techniques to find relief. Such additional options include: 

  • 3D active traction; 
  • Laser therapy; 
  • Massage therapy; 
  • Ultrasound-guided injections. 

These more conservative chiropractic treatment options target your herniated disc at its root cause and help manage its other symptoms. 

Dr. Doerr is the Best Chiropractor in New Jersey for Treating Disc Herniation!

At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, Hackensack, and Fairfield, New Jersey, are ready to welcome you. Also, feel free to access our blog page for more information on chiropractic treatments!

 

What are the Best Range of Motion Exercises for the Shoulders?

What are the Best Range of Motion Exercises for the Shoulders?

Do you experience limited shoulder movement? A rather common occurrence, limited range of mobility in the shoulder can make daily chores laborious and difficult. Whether the motion involves internal rotation or simply lifting our arm with the elbow bent, the simplest of tasks can become frustrating without our shoulders’ full range of motion. 

If you experience limited mobility in this all-important joint, you can add certain exercises to your daily schedule to increase muscle strength and range of motion. Continue reading to learn how to properly complete shoulder range of motion exercises within the comfort of your home!  

What Causes Limited Mobility in the Shoulders?

Mobility is the ability of the joint to extend through its full range of motion. Several causes lie behind decreased shoulder mobility, such as tightness within the shoulder due to a previous injury or lack of muscle strength. Some more common causes of shoulder mobility limitations include: 

  • Impingement; 
  • Rotator cuff tears; 
  • Frozen shoulder joint; 
  • Overuse of the shoulder joint; 
  • Inactivity of the shoulder joint. 

For a clear diagnosis of your limited shoulder mobility, you should contact your physical therapist and schedule a shoulder special test on your range of motion. A normal range of shoulder motion is attainable with proper care and diligent exercise!

Shoulder Range of Motion Exercises

Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body! When in proper working order, most joints like your shoulder can provide an incredible active range of motion, performing shoulder flexion, external rotation, and internal rotation pain-free. However, this healthy range of motion is susceptible to shoulder pain conditions and limited mobility when overused or underused. 

There are a few shoulder range of motion or shoulder ROM (i.e., range of motion) exercises for joint health and healing. Your physical therapist may also recommend certain exercise programs to help you restore your normal range of shoulder motion and decrease any active pain within the area. Use the following exercises with care during your daily living routine in addition to physical therapy to activate your full range of motion: 

#1: Active Shoulder Abduction

Active shoulder abduction is the best exercise to begin your journey towards a normal range of shoulder motion. This exercise is less strenuous as it is performed while lying on one side with your troublesome shoulder on top.  

  1. Once you are lying comfortably with the upper arm elbow straight and your thumb pointed towards the ceiling, slowly lift your arm from your hip and into the air towards the ceiling until it reaches its abduction range. Keep your arm straight and in line with your body and your thumb pointed toward the ceiling. 
  2. Once in this position, move your shoulder through its pain-free shoulder ROM before slowly lowering your arm to its resting position on your hip. 
  3. Repeat the exercise 8 to 12 times and progress to the next exercise. 
  4. If you feel any worsening pain in your shoulder or arm at any point in your exercise routine, stop immediately and contact your healthcare provider before continuing any similar stretching exercises. 

#2: Active Horizontal Abduction

The next exercise is similar to the first and is called a horizontal abduction

To start this exercise:

  1. Lie on your side with your target shoulder on top.
  2. Keep your arm straight and your shoulder flexed so that your arm is out in front of you and parallel to the floor.
  3. Slowly lift your arm until it is pointing towards the ceiling in an active external rotation and hold the position for one to two seconds before you slowly bring your arm to its starting position.
  4. With your elbow straight, move through a pain-free shoulder ROM and repeat the lateral rotation 8 to 12 times

#3: Active Shoulder External Rotation

An active shoulder external rotation is an easy and effective exercise to increase your active range mobility, improving shoulder range of motion. 

  1. Unlike our previous exercises, begin by lying flat on your back. It is easier to complete the exercise if your knees are comfortably bent toward the ceiling with your feet lying flat on the ground. 
  2. Keep the elbow of your target shoulder against your side with the elbow bent 90 degrees. 
  3. With a cane or long stick in your opposite hand, push the stick against the hand of your affected arm so it experiences an external rotation. 
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds before relaxing and repeating the external rotation exercise 8 to 12 times. 

 #4: Sidelying Shoulder External Rotation

Try sidelying shoulder external rotation to exercise and improve the mobility of your rotator cuff muscles. This exercise improves rotator cuff strength and neuromuscular control of this muscle group when used after rotator cuff surgery or previous shoulder injuries. However, before performing the exercise, speak with your healthcare provider and physical therapist to ensure that this exercise is right for you. 

  1. Begin the external rotation exercise by lying in the same initial positioning as our previous exercises, on your side with your bad shoulder resting on the outer end of your body. This time, keep your upper arm elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and tuck it into your side. Your elbow should stay tucked at your side during the exercise stretch while your hand should be resting comfortably in front of your navel. 
  2. Slowly lift your arm upward so that your fingers face the ceiling and your shoulder is in a slight external rotation. Keep your elbow bent into your side as you lift into a lateral rotation. 
  3. Hold it there for a few seconds before slowly letting your arm return to its neutral position near your navel. Repeat this motion 8 to 12 times. 

#5: Shoulder Internal Rotation

The next exercise will help you strengthen your normal shoulder range of motion through internal or medial rotation. 

  1. Shoulder internal rotation exercises are performed while lying on your side, but your target shoulder should be on the bottom of your body, and your unaffected arm should lie on top. For comfort, you may want to move your arm forward an inch or two, so you are not lying directly on your arm or elbow. 
  2. While keeping your elbow bent to 90 degrees and your palm facing up, slowly rotate your shoulder with your hand moving upward and your palm facing toward your navel in an internal rotation. This shoulder ROM should be pain-free. 
  3. Once your hand is up at your navel, hold the position for about two seconds before slowly lowering it to the starting position. 
  4. As always, repeat this medial rotation exercise 8 to 12 times

#6: Arm Swings

Standing arm swings are a more dynamic exercise that increases blood flow to the shoulder joint and involves moving your arms in a rotational motion. This exercise is a great addition to any warm-up before upper arm and body exercises and can improve mobility and flexibility in your shoulders and upper back.

  1. Begin by standing tall with each arm straight by your sides. 
  2. Engage your core and slowly rotate or swing your arms forward until they reach their abduction range without triggering shoulder pain. Raising your arms upward allows your joint to stretch into a comfortable shoulder flexion and normal ROM. 
  3. Do not raise your shoulders during this exercise. Return your arms to their starting position and repeat the motion for 30 to 60 seconds

#7: Shoulder Pass-through

Try using the shoulder pass-through exercise to increase joint mobility and obtain a normal shoulder range while engaging the surrounding shoulder muscles such as the teres minor. This exercise requires holding a long, easily gripped stick such as a broomstick or PVC pipe. 

  1. Start this exercise in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms in front of your body. 
  2. Hold the stick with an overhand grip with your palms facing downward, and keep your arms a little wider than shoulder-width. 
  3. Make sure the stick remains parallel to the floor as you engage your core to slowly raise the stick above your head, exercising your teres minor. 
  4. Keep your arms straight and lift them to the highest point you are comfortable with. 
  5. Hold the pose for a few seconds and then return to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat the exercise 5 times

#8: Reverse Fly

The reverse fly is a little more complicated exercise that targets the upper back and thoracic muscles, providing stability for the shoulder joint. You will need a light set of dumbbells to conduct this exercise. 

  1. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and position your feet shoulder-width apart to begin the exercise. 
  2. Slightly bend your knees and engage your core to lean forward at the waist. Keep your back straight and your arms extended with each elbow bent slightly. 
  3. With your palms facing the ground, carefully raise your arms away from your body by focussing on squeezing your shoulder blades together. 
  4. Stop and slowly return to the starting position when you reach shoulder height or the highest point you can painlessly attain with your shoulder blades. 
  5. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions and do not continue if you experience shoulder pain. 

#9: Dumbbell Rotation

As the name implies, the dumbbell rotation requires a light dumbbell. You can use this exercise to warm up your shoulder before overhead and throwing motions with a normal shoulder range. 

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Hold the dumbbell and raise your arm until your elbow is shoulder height. 
  3. Keep the proper position with your palm facing the ground and your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. 
  4. Slowly rotate your shoulder to raise your upper arm and weight to its highest point toward the ceiling. 
  5. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat 2 to 3 sets of 12 repetitions before changing sides. 

 

#10: High-to-low Rows

High-to-low rows strengthen the upper back and thoracic muscles through a resistance band or cable machine. 

  1. Secure a resistance band to a sturdy object above shoulder height. 
  2. Kneel down on one knee and grab the band with your opposite hand. You can either rest your other arm at your side or on your hip. 
  3. As you slowly pull the band towards your body, keep your torso and arm straight. It is easiest to focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together while completing the motion. 
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets on each side. 

If you keep up with these exercises and other recommendations from your physical therapist, you should be able to attain your normal range of motion within no time! 

Dr. Doerr is the Best Chiropractor in New Jersey for Treating Shoulder Mobility Issues!

At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, Hackensack, and Fairfield, New Jersey, are ready to welcome you. Also, feel free to access our blog page for more information on chiropractic treatments!

Can Chiropractic Care Address the Subluxation of the Cervical Spine?

Can Chiropractic Care Address the Subluxation of the Cervical Spine?

A cervical spine injury, or subluxation, can occur from anything from a car accident to sitting in front of the computer for hours at an odd angle. When found early, it can be easily treated by your chiropractor. Left too long, however, a cervical spine injury may have severe consequences in the form of chronic, serious, and permanent disability. 

Let’s talk about subluxation of the cervical spine and the chiropractic treatment that can put things back into alignment.

What is the Subluxation of the Cervical Spine?

The cervical spine consists of the seven vertebrae of your neck, known as C1 to C7, from the bottom of the skull to the top of the shoulders. It encases the top of the spinal cord, supports head movement and the vital structures in the neck, and keeps your head off your shoulders.

A subluxation of the cervical spine means vertebrae are out of alignment and not working properly. A cervical spine injury hinders movement and causes neck pain and other unpleasant symptoms. 

What are the Symptoms of Cervical Spine Subluxations?

Subluxation of the cervical spine produces several common symptoms, including: 

  • Neck and back pain and stiffness; 
  • Spinal muscle spasms;
  • Reduced range of motion;
  • Arm or leg pain, numbness, or tingling; 
  • Chronic headaches;
  • Dizziness; 
  • Imbalance.

Pain can be mildly uncomfortable to severe and debilitating. Chronic neck or back pain is also an indication, as are tension headaches, migraines, and a grinding sensation in the neck.

In some cases of cervical spine injury, symptoms may travel to other body parts. Joints may become painful, your body may take longer to heal, and you may feel generally unwell. Pain in the arms and shoulders may result from irritated or damaged nerves. Even seemingly unrelated issues can be traced back to subluxation of the cervical spine: problems with vision, bowel, bladder, swallowing, face and jaw, arms, and legs. 

What are the Causes of Cervical Spine Subluxations?

There are many possible causes of cervical spine injury. However, they tend to fall into the following three categories

#1: Trauma

A car accident is one of the most common and traumatic causes of cervical spine injury. The violent force of the collision throws the spine out of alignment, causing tears and damage to surrounding tissues. Other traumas can occur from contact sports, fistfights, physical abuse, and falls. 

You may be surprised to learn that even small actions repeated over a long time can lead to subluxation of the cervical spine. For example, walking in high heels, carrying heavy bags on one shoulder, or sleeping on your stomach can push things out of balance.  

#2: Toxic Chemicals

Many environmental chemicals clash with our bodies and throw things off balance. For example, frequently breathing polluted air, eating processed foods, and using household cleaning products can create an imbalance that can affect muscles and lead to subluxation. 

#3: Stress

Constant stress creates tension in the body, tightening muscles. A subluxation can occur if those muscles are in the neck and upper back. 

What are the Dangers Associated with Cervical Spine Injury?

The Stages of Cervical Spine Subluxations

An untreated subluxation of the cervical spine can have serious consequences. It will gradually worsen, and the health and strength of the affected area will deteriorate through the following five stages

  • Spinal Kinesiopathology: In this stage, the vertebrae are not in the proper position, and the range of motion—turning and bending—is limited.
  • Neuropathophysiology: Nerves are irritated or damaged by the misaligned vertebrae. Neurological problems may spread to other areas of the body.
  • Myopathology: Neck muscles may weaken, tighten, or spasm, causing further damage and requiring more intense treatment to correct. 
  • Histopathology: At this stage, swelling and inflammation are likely, as temperature elevates due to damaged nerves and muscles. Permanent damage may result from herniated or bulging discs. 
  • Pathophysiology: Without treatment to correct alignment, the body will attempt to heal itself. Abnormal bone growths can damage nerves and create other serious malfunctions. 

Dangerous Consequences

At its worst, the cervical spine injury may become a permanent condition you can no longer treat. As effects spread throughout the body, overall health deteriorates. You become susceptible to reduced ability to fight disease, substantial fatigue, pain anywhere in the body, and interrupted functioning of organ systems.

How is the Subluxation of the Cervical Spine Treated?

It is imperative that you seek chiropractic treatment as soon as you know or suspect you have suffered a subluxation of the cervical spine. The longer you wait, the worse the condition will get, the more other parts of your body will be affected, and the more complicated and expensive treatment will have to be, if treatment remains an option.

 Early treatment consists of non-invasive chiropractic adjustments, exercise, and pain medication. Late-stage treatment may require surgery. 

Studies support the benefits of chiropractic treatment, which not only corrects the problem but also improves physical and mental well-being. Patients report a better ability to move around, sleep, and even socialize! 

The Cox Technic Flexion Distraction and Decompression Method

The Cox® Technic method is a highly effective adjustment technique that encourages the spine to heal naturally without surgery. First, it decompresses the spine with stretching or traction on a specially designed table. Then, the vertebrae are gently coaxed back to their regular positions. Over 50% of chiropractors have used this gentle method to successfully relieve pain, even for patients who have recently had spinal surgery. 

At-home Solutions

There are also things you can do on your own to relieve mild symptoms. For example, gentle stretching, several good nights’ sleep, and ice packs may be helpful. You may also want to try moderate exercise, a neck brace, and not sleeping on your stomach.

We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ! 

If you have experienced a subluxation of the cervical spine, our team is well equipped to help you. At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic treatment. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Hackensack, NJ, are ready to welcome you for a consultation! Also, we invite you to visit our blog page for more information on chiropractic treatments!

Leg Length Discrepancy Part 2: What are the Best Leg Length Discrepancy Treatment Modalities?

Leg Length Discrepancy Part 2: What are the Best Leg Length Discrepancy Treatment Modalities?

Have you ever tried walking while wearing only one heel? If you have, then you know that it can be quite a struggle to walk across the room when your legs are uneven. Unfortunately, this is the struggle faced by those with a leg length difference. 

In our last article, we defined the different types of limb length inequality and mentioned both arm and leg length discrepancies. We also discussed different causes for limb length differences and briefly described the diagnosis process. 

This article will focus primarily on leg length differences. A lower limb length discrepancy, leg length discrepancy can make everyday tasks exceedingly challenging to perform. Having one short leg and one long leg can significantly impact one’s ability to move around or function normally. Luckily, we have numerous treatment options to help you battle against this disorder. 

A Quick Recap: What is a Leg Length Discrepancy?

Leg length discrepancy occurs when one leg is shorter than the other. There are several causes for leg length discrepancy, including: 

  • Congenital causes; 
  • Bone defects;
  • Bone diseases;
  • Bone infection; 
  • Tumors;
  • Broken leg bone that did not heal properly;
  • Osteoarthritis of the hip or knee;
  • Scoliosis;
  • Hip replacement surgery. 

A leg length discrepancy can be problematic, affecting one’s ability to walk or perform daily activities. It can also affect posture and increase the likelihood of other medical conditions such as arthritis, scoliosis, stress fractures, or knee problems. If the length discrepancy is greater than one-half inch, it requires medical attention. 

Leg Length Discrepancy Treatment

There are several treatment options for those suffering from leg length discrepancies. The best treatment option depends on the extent of the length discrepancy, the skeletal maturity, and the root cause of the disorder. Sometimes the discrepancy is treated by lengthening the shorter leg, while other times, it is treated by shortening the longer leg. 

Nonsurgical Treatment

Patients with limb length discrepancies that are milder (less than 1 inch) and do not suffer from a limb deformity are better suited for nonsurgical treatment. The most common nonsurgical option for leg length discrepancies is shoe lifts. 

Shoe Lift

A shoe lift is a type of orthotics fitted for the inside or outside of the shoe. It lifts the shoe and relieves pain from minor leg length discrepancies. In addition, the lifts make the patient’s legs an equal length so that the lower limb length discrepancy is no longer problematic. If lifts are ineffective at treating limb length discrepancy, they can be easily removed. 

Shoe lifts are prescribed by chiropractors who are well trained to prescribe treatments for conditions such as leg length discrepancies. Orthotics support patients with different leg lengths and help prevent knocked knees. However, if left untreated, functional misalignments such as length discrepancy can also result in hip and pelvic rotation. 

Surgical Treatment

If a leg length discrepancy is more severe or nonsurgical treatment proves ineffective, a patient may require limb length discrepancy surgery. Surgery can significantly benefit the long-term outcomes of those suffering from this disorder. 

There are different surgical options for leg length discrepancy. The best type of surgery is dependent on the patient’s skeletal maturity and the root cause of the disorder. The following are the four main types of limb length discrepancy surgeries: 

  • Epiphysiodesis;
  • Limb Lengthening Surgery; 
  • Limb Shortening Surgery. 

Epiphysiodesis

Epiphysiodesis is a surgical option for kids who are still growing with leg length discrepancy. In a relatively simple outpatient surgery, epiphysiodesis scrapes or compresses one or more growth plates in the longer leg. The growth plates are located at the end of the bones and are where new bone growth occurs. By using surgical plates and screws to halt the longer leg from growing, the shorter leg is given a chance to catch up. Once growth is complete, the shorter leg should be close to or equal in length to the longer leg. 

Limb Lengthening Surgery

A preferred leg length discrepancy treatment method, limb lengthening surgery allows a child’s legs to grow to their full length. After cutting the bone of the shorter leg, a surgeon performing limb lengthening surgery then applies an exterior fixator or internal device to slowly lengthen the leg bone and correct the deformity. 

Fixation of limb length discrepancies can be done either internally or externally through limb lengthening surgery. External fixation is the more traditional length discrepancy treatment method, used successfully for many years. After dividing the bone, a support structure is attached to the bones with pins. The limb lengthening process begins about a week after the fixation surgery and is performed manually by turning a dial on the external fixator. Turning the dial increases the space between the cut bones, allowing the new bone to slowly form. Through daily limb lengthening, the shorter leg will eventually become closer in length to the longer leg. 

While limb lengthening with an external fixator is very successful, it is challenging for some patients as it can be uncomfortable to sleep or wear clothing. Thus, some hospitals, such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, began experimenting with internal fixation for limb length discrepancies. Called the PRECICE® nail, this fixation has a magnetically controlled intramedullary limb lengthening nail. The internal nail allows patients to lengthen the long bones of their shorter leg without battling against external pins or wires.  

Limb Shortening Surgery

On the other hand, if a patient no longer experiences bone growth, then limb shortening surgery is a better surgical option. However, this surgery can only be performed on those with a mild or moderate leg length inequality (less than 3 centimeters in the thigh bone or 2 centimeters in the shin bone). Rather than focus on leg lengthening, this surgery works on shortening the normal leg. Orthopedists treat leg length discrepancy during this operation by removing a piece of bone from the middle of the longer leg. The surgeon then inserts a metal rod, plate, and screws to keep the bone in place during the length discrepancy healing process. 

We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ! 

At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, Hackensack, and Fairfield, New Jersey, are ready to welcome you. Also, feel free to access our blog page for more information on chiropractic treatments!

What are the Main Spondylosis Symptoms?

What are the Main Spondylosis Symptoms?

Aging is perhaps the single avoidable yet undesirable human curse. Despite our deepest desires to discover the Fountain of Youth, most of us will suffer the process of aging and degeneration. Spondylosis is one such health complication that accompanies the wear and tear of aging. While the vertebrae and the two joints in the back of the spine, called facet joints, may be strong and flexible in youth, they do not remain that way forever. 

Eventually, we will all have arthritis of the back or spondylosis. However, not all of us will experience symptoms. Depending on your lifestyle and back strength, you may not even feel the effects of spondylosis! Keep reading to learn more about spondylosis, its symptoms, and the available treatment options.

What is Spondylosis?

Unfortunately, spondylosis is an unavoidable health complication. A type of arthritis, it is caused by continued use of the spine and the degeneration of facet joints. The most common form of spondylosis is called cervical spondylotic myelopathy and occurs in the neck when the spinal cord compresses with age. The spine’s movement becomes impaired when discs and facet joints degenerate or bone spurs grow on the vertebrae. Bone spurs can affect the nerves and other functions of the neck and back. 

Vertebrae, a small system of bones that make up the spine, are separated by intervertebral discs and interconnected by facet joints that prevent them from rubbing against one another or pinching the nerves. Spondylosis develops as the intervertebral discs wear down or bone spurs develop, making the spine stiffer. The condition becomes concerning when symptoms arise that could lead to progressive neurological damage. 

Is Spondylosis a Disability?

Spondylosis is qualified as a degenerative disorder, and some of its more severe symptoms can prevent individuals from holding a job. Thus, you may be qualified for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits to provide you with income when the pain, instability, and weakness caused by your spondylosis make it impossible to work. 

According to the Blue Book, Section 1.04: Disorders of the Spine, degenerative disc disease is listed as a disability. To apply for benefits with spondylosis, you must provide evidence of painful nerve compression, limited spinal mobility, motor loss, or sensory loss. Thus, depending on the condition and other symptoms you are dealing with, your spondylosis may be defined as a disability. 

Are There Other Types of Spondylosis?

Yes, there are four different types of spondylosis: 

  • Lumbar spondylosis; 
  • Thoracic spondylosis; 
  • Multilevel spondylosis; 
  • Cervical spondylosis. 

Each type is developed because of wear and tear in different parts of the spinal cord. For example, thoracic spondylosis affects the middle of the spinal cord, while lumbar spondylosis affects the lower back or lumbar spine. Cervical spondylosis is the spinal cord compression of the neck or cervical spine and may require neck surgery to relieve pressure and reduce pain. Meanwhile, multilevel spondylosis affects more than one part of the spinal cord.

How Common is Spondylosis?

Our bodies begin to wear and tear as we age; therefore, everyone will have spondylosis over time. However, symptoms can significantly vary and depend on the extent of arthritis, as seen through visual scanning. While spondylosis is most common in those over the age of 40, it can occur at younger ages for those born with a narrow spinal canal. 

Cervical spondylosis or cervical myelopathy is the most common type of progressive disorder. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, over 85% of people aged 60 have cervical spondylosis.  

What Conditions Can Lead to Spondylosis?

There are several different reasons why arthritis may develop in the spinal cord. However, three of the most common conditions that lead to cervical spondylosis are herniated discs, degenerative discs, and bone spurs. 

Disc herniations occur when spinal discs rupture and cause the vertebrae to rub against each other, leading to inflammation and arthritis. When someone has a history of herniated discs, they are at increased risk of developing cervical spondylosis. 

Patients diagnosed with a degenerative disc disease are more likely to develop cervical spondylosis. An intervertebral disc is filled with fluid that creates a cushion between one or more vertebrae. If the disc degenerates, the vertebrae begin rubbing against each other, causing cervical spondylosis. 

Bone spurs cause inflammation, which again results in vertebrae rubbing against different portions of the spinal cord. As with a herniated disc or a degenerative disc, the rubbing of bone spurs leads to arthritis.  

How is Spondylosis Diagnosed?

The process of cervical spondylosis diagnosis involves several steps. First, schedule an initial consultation with your doctor. During this first visit, you will undergo a detailed medical history and comprehensive physical exam to better understand your medical circumstances. 

After these preliminary tests, your doctor could order imaging scans to examine the vertebrae and spinal discs more closely. Imaging such as X-rays, CT, or MRI scans is key for the proper diagnosis of cervical spondylosis and soft tissue damage. 

What are the Main Spondylosis Symptoms?

While those with age-related cervical spondylosis generally do not suffer from severe symptoms, they can trigger other symptoms through sudden movement. In addition, staying still for long periods without moving can trigger mild symptoms. Common symptoms include stiffness or mild back pain that worsens after certain movements or long periods of immobility. 

More severe symptoms of cervical spondylosis include: 

  • Grinding or popping feeling when the spine moves; 
  • Weakening of the hands or legs; 
  • Poor coordination; 
  • Muscles pain and spasms; 
  • Back or neck pain;
  • Arm pain;
  • Headaches;
  • Loss of balance or difficulty walking; 
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control. 

Spondylosis can also lead to spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal, which can be relatively painful. 

Spondylosis Treatment Options

Most cases of cervical spondylosis myelopathy result in only occasional stiffness or back pain and may not require any treatment. But there are also some less invasive treatments for relieving mild discomfort. Many use the following methods to manage cervical spondylosis symptoms: 

According to research, some of these options may relieve pain from spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, or damage that originates from the neck or cervical spine. 

Home Remedies for Spondylosis

There are many different home remedies for relieving cervical spondylosis myelopathy discomfort. Alternative treatments include keeping physically active or over-the-counter medications to relieve back pain. In addition, physical therapists may recommend using certain exercises and physical therapy to prevent spondylosis. 

Physical Therapy

You can also keep some symptoms at bay by staying physically active. There are many low-impact exercises, such as swimming or walking, that can help the muscles in the spine stay flexible and strong. Similarly, maintaining proper posture can help lessen back or neck pain. 

Physical therapists can provide you with specific exercises and tips for managing your condition. Sometimes, massages or back support are necessary to keep the spinal cord healthy. By using a chair or mattress specifically suited to support your back, you can help delay or lessen the effects of cervical spondylosis.

Medications

Over-the-counter muscle relaxants or pain medications such as ibuprofen may help with some back pain. However, if the pain is severe or consistent, a doctor may prescribe or suggest some of the following: 

  • Prescription medication to provide pain relief; 
  • Muscle relaxants (to reduce spasms); 
  • Drugs to ease spinal nerve pain; 
  • Topical creams; 
  • Steroid medications for severe pain; 
  • A combined steroid and anesthetic medication injection. 

 

Steroids relieve pain by reducing inflammation. They are injected directly into the affected nerves of the spinal canal by using an X-ray for visual guidance. Unfortunately, steroids can also have some adverse effects, so a doctor will generally limit their use. 

Surgical Options

Spine surgery is used as a last option to treat cervical spondylosis if the symptoms are too severe or persistent. Surgery may be necessary if pinched nerves are causing severe numbness, weakness, or loss of bladder/bowel control. If physical therapy or other nonsurgical treatments are incapable of easing the pain or stiffness, then there are different types of surgery options to explore. 

The type of surgery depends on the problem and its location. Only a doctor can accurately identify the affected areas by using X-ray imaging technology. One surgery option is to remove bone spurs or discs pressing against the nerves. Another spondylosis surgery involves using an artificial disc to replace a damaged one. 

Spinal column surgery used to be a significant procedure; however, surgeons can now use endoscopic or keyhole surgery as a much less invasive option. Minimally invasive spinal surgery has fewer risk factors and a reduced chance of causing pain or infection after surgery. 

Luckily, most people with spondylosis do not require any surgery. The only way to know if the risks of spinal surgery are worth the benefits is by asking a medical professional’s opinion. 

How Do We Prevent Spondylosis?

There are a few different ways to prevent the development of spondylosis

First, avoid high-impact exercise. Patients participating in high-impact exercise routines are at a greater risk of developing spondylosis. This is because the pounding of the feet and knees can transfer to the spine and lead to spinal osteoarthritis. 

A second prevention method is to maintain the range of neck movement through regular exercises and stretching. Use daily exercises such as side-to-side head rotations to improve your range of motion and reduce the chances of spondylosis. A physical therapist can help teach you the best exercises to prevent spondylosis.  

Third, avoid smoking. Smoking sets patients at the highest risk for spondylosis.

We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ! 

At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic treatment. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Hackensack, NJ, are ready to welcome you for a consultation! Also, we invite you to visit our blog page for more information on chiropractic treatments!