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!

Kyphosis vs. Lordosis Part 2: Is There a Cure for Kyphosis and Lordosis

Kyphosis vs. Lordosis Part 2: Is There a Cure for Kyphosis and Lordosis

In our last article regarding kyphosis and lordosis, we discussed the basics of these two types of abnormal spine curvatures. Now that we’ve identified the different types and causes of certain spinal curves, we can explore the varying treatment options for those suffering from these abnormal spine curvatures. If you are experiencing symptoms of kyphosis or lordosis, you should seek a medical professional’s diagnosis and follow their suggested treatment options. In the meantime, we hope that this article will help you understand more about abnormal spine curvatures. 

A Quick Recap: What are Kyphosis and Lordosis?

Kyphosis and lordosis are both abnormal curves of the spine. Kyphosis causes the spine to bend forward, giving the appearance of a “humpback” or rounded hump near the base of the neck. On the other hand, lordosis causes the spine to curve inward, giving the appearance of a swayback or exaggerated backward posture. Both kyphosis and lordosis disrupt the structure and alignment of the spine, which forces the muscles and tendons to overwork in order to provide the necessary support.  There are different types of spinal conditions, such as kyphosis, lordosis, and scoliosis. Depending on the type and condition, the effects on the spine can be quite traumatic and painful. If your kyphosis or lordosis worsens, seek treatment to prevent further health complications. 

What are the Main Causes of Kyphosis and Lordosis?

There are numerous causes and types of kyphosis, lordosis, and scoliosis. Each of these abnormal curvatures causes discomfort and can lead to worsened health conditions. Yet, they each affect the spine uniquely by curving it in different directions. Also, their causes differ, ranging from sports injuries to congenital disabilities.  The cause of kyphosis, or the forward curvature of the spine, depends on the type you are diagnosed with. Postural kyphosis is caused by poor posture, leaning back in chairs, or carrying heavy bags. On the other hand, Scheuermann’s kyphosis is a problem in the spine’s structure. Congenital kyphosis develops in the spine before birth. Other causes of kyphosis include age or spinal injury. Like kyphosis, there are numerous causes for lordosis, including obesity, poor posture, or osteoporosis. In addition, trauma to the spine can weaken it and cause vertebrae to curve at extreme angles. Such trauma can lead to lordosis, as can some types of surgeries or pre-existing hip problems. Neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy are other significant lordosis causes, especially in children. 

How are Lordosis and Kyphosis Diagnosed?

Oftentimes, kyphosis is diagnosed in children during school scoliosis screenings or when their parents notice a rounding of their spine. The only way to have a complete diagnosis is to see your healthcare provider and seek treatment. Your healthcare provider will assess your spine through a physical exam or other medical evaluations. 

Physical Examination

A physical examination is used to diagnose both kyphosis and lordosis by looking at the spine curvature, balance, and range of motion. Through this examination, your health care provider can determine if there is an excessive curve of the spine, both inward and outward. To complete a physical exam, your health care provider will ask you to go into the “Adam’s forward bend.” Then, with your feet together, knees straight, and arms hanging free, your doctor can see any spinal curve or other spinal conditions such as scoliosis. 

Medical History

As with many medical checkups, a doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and family history. In addition, you will want to know if there is any known history of spinal curve disorders, including kyphosis or lordosis.  Other conditions can also contribute to Kyphosis, such as Parkinson’s disease. If you have a severe curve, your health provider may perform a pulmonary function test to measure how well your lungs are working. A more extreme curve can compress or squeeze your spinal cord. Signs of spinal cord compression include numbness, tingling, bladder/bowel incontinence, and poor balance.  Osteoporosis is a bone-thinning disorder that can also cause spinal curvature. While it is most common in older women and people who have taken corticosteroids for an extended time, osteoporosis can weaken vertebrae and cause compression fractures. 

Neurologic Evaluation

If a patient is experiencing tingling, spasms, or bladder/bowel control issues, then a medical professional may recommend a neurological exam. Children and adults who experience these and other symptoms need to seek medical treatment.  Lordosis can often be related to certain neuromuscular conditions. For example, children with conditions that weaken the nervous system or muscle functions, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, are prone to developing lordosis. By receiving a neurological evaluation, your doctors may be able to prevent the development of severe cases of kyphosis or lordosis. 

Imaging

A spinal X-ray measures the curvature of the spine and establishes whether it curves between 20 and 45 degrees (i.e., a healthy spine curvature) or above (50 degrees are enough for a kyphosis diagnosis). Sometimes, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan is necessary to get a better look at the spine. An MRI can produce very detailed images of the bone and tissue surrounding the spine, allowing a doctor to identify a spinal tumor or infection. 

Is There a Cure for Kyphosis?

Physical therapy, posture correction, and bracing are some of the available treatment options for varying spinal conditions. However, the optimal treatment options vary depending on the severity and cause. For example, you can correct postural kyphosis by improving posture and learning about correct posture techniques. On the other hand, children with Scheuermann’s kyphosis are treated with back bracing or surgery. 

Surgical Treatment Options for Kyphosis

If your kyphosis is causing pain or interfering with your regular life, you may require surgery. Surgery can reduce the curvature and relieve some kyphosis symptoms for those suffering from congenital or Scheuermann’s kyphosis.  Spinal fusion surgery is the most common type of kyphosis surgery. Through this procedure, your surgeon lines up the vertebrae into a straighter position and bonds them together with small pieces of bone. During the healing process, the vertebrae fuse or join together, reducing the severity of the curve and better supporting your body. 

Nonsurgical Treatment Modalities for Kyphosis

There are nonsurgical treatment options for less severe kyphosis conditions, such as postural kyphosis. Medical providers suggest regular X-rays during teenage years to monitor the curve’s progress. Stretching and exercise can strengthen backbones and abdominal muscles to relieve pain and improve posture, while anti-inflammatory medicines can relieve some back pain. Furthermore, your provider may recommend a brace for children who haven’t yet reached skeletal maturity.  Can a chiropractor help with kyphosis? Yes, physical therapy and stretching exercises are some of the best nonsurgical kyphosis treatment options. Nick Araza, a chiropractic wellness practitioner at Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic, recommends five exercises to prevent or improve a rounded upper back: 

Always be careful when stretching or exercising, and if any pain occurs, consult a chiropractor immediately. 

How Long Does It Take to Correct Kyphosis?

If you do not treat mild kyphosis immediately, the curve will eventually worsen and cause further health complications. The time required to correct kyphosis depends on the severity and cause of the curve. Monitor more severe kyphosis treatment through physical therapy and regular appointments with your healthcare provider.  The time it takes to correct kyphosis is different for every person. Therefore, it is impossible to give an accurate estimate as too many factors affect the correcting process.  Unfortunately, even after treatment, your kyphosis can return, which is why you must regularly use posture exercises and stretches to keep your muscles healthy, strong, and flexible.

How is Lordosis Treated?

Similar to kyphosis, lordosis treatment options are determined based on the cause and severity of the curve. Treatment options include pain medications, physical therapy, weight loss, bracing, and surgery. 

Surgical Treatment Options for Lordosis

Spinal surgery may be the only available treatment option if you suffer from severe lordosis. Generally, surgery is used to correct lordosis when there is nerve involvement or damage to the spinal bones. 

Nonsurgical Treatment for Lordosis

There are several nonsurgical lordosis treatment options for less severe cases, depending on the cause. As with kyphosis, physical therapy is a useful tool for strengthening the spine and improving the range of motion. You can use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to alleviate pain and discomfort. For children and teens, back braces prevent the curvature of the spine from worsening as they grow.  How to fix lordosis with exercise? Several easy stretches and exercises can help decrease spine curvature by increasing muscle strength. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends the following stretches for those with abnormal spinal curvature: 

How Long Does It Take to Correct Lordosis?

As with kyphosis, there is no accurate way to predict the time it will take to treat your lordosis. The cause and severity of the curve are two significant factors affecting the healing process. Everyone responds differently to the above treatment options, taking their own time to heal. 

Can Kyphosis and Lordosis Be Prevented?

You can prevent kyphosis and lordosis through the following methods: 

  • Maintain good posture;
  • Strengthen your back and core muscles;
  • Maintain a healthy weight;
  • Carry bags or heavy supplies in a sturdy backpack or roller bag; 
  • Exercise to strengthen your body and stay flexible. 

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!

Leg Length Discrepancy Part 1: What is Leg Length Discrepancy and What Medical Issues Does It Cause?

Leg Length Discrepancy Part 1: What is Leg Length Discrepancy and What Medical Issues Does It Cause?

Imagine walking with a leg length discrepancy of an inch or more—how would it affect walking, running, and getting around. Now imagine being a child. You walk with a limp. Maybe your spine is curved. Your back hurts, and you’re tired all the time. Other kids might tease you. 

Leg length discrepancies, where one leg is noticeably shorter than the other, can happen in children and adults. It can be congenital or caused by illness or injury. In any case, it is at least annoying and can be associated with more severe conditions. 

In Part 1 of the leg length discrepancy series, we’ll give you an overview of the condition. Later, in Part 2, we’ll talk about how it is treated. 

What is Limb Length Discrepancy?

Limb length discrepancy is a condition in which either the two arms or the two legs are of noticeably different lengths. Many people have arms or legs of different lengths, but the difference is so small that they may not even know there’s a difference at all.

But for those who have a significant limb length discrepancy, there can be functional difficulties and mild to severe medical problems to overcome.

Arm Length Discrepancy

The bones of the arms have two growth plates—one at the shoulder and the other at the elbow. Bone growth occurs around these plates, which become solid bone when a child has reached skeletal maturity. However, sometimes one arm is prevented from growing normally, and it remains shorter than the other. 

While it may cause fewer problems than a leg length discrepancy, an arm length discrepancy of two or more inches can become an interference. For example, it can be more difficult to securely hold bicycle handlebars or car steering wheels. In addition, playing a musical instrument may be more of a challenge.

Leg Length Discrepancy

A leg length discrepancy is more problematic. Among other things, leg length can affect one’s ability to walk and move about efficiently, as well as their spinal alignment. Therefore, a length discrepancy of more than one-half inch will need some kind of intervention, from adding lifts to shoes to complicated lengthening procedures. 

A leg length discrepancy affects posture and ability to perform daily activities. In addition, significant differences may lead to diseases and ailments such as arthritis, scoliosis, stress fractures, and knee problems

What are the Two Types of Limb Length Discrepancy?

There are two ways to describe the types of limb length discrepancy—anatomical vs. functional and congenital vs. illness or injury-related.

Anatomical vs. Functional

An anatomical or structural discrepancy means that one leg is physically shorter than the other. A functional discrepancy is due to problems with soft tissues, joints, or ligaments.

Congenital vs. Illness or Injury

A child with a congenital leg length discrepancy develops the condition in the womb and is born with limbs of different lengths. The other type comes from the effects of bone diseases or bodily trauma.

Causes of Leg Length Discrepancy

Congenital (Idiopathic) Leg Length Discrepancy

It is unknown why some babies are born with leg length discrepancy, where one leg never fully developed. For some, the hip alignment is off, or the hip is dislocated. The condition usually becomes noticeable when the baby begins crawling and walking. Clubfoot, hip dysplasia, and other congenital conditions may contribute to the discrepancy. 

Leg Length Discrepancy and Bone Defects, Diseases, and Tumors

Bone diseases affecting leg length include Ollier disease, cancer, neurofibromatosis, joint inflammation, and infections. Conditions such as cerebral palsy, paralysis, and spasticity are also contributors. 

Any type of bone tumor or its treatment can affect bone growth on one side. For example, osteochondroma may damage growth plates, osteosarcoma affects growth plates and leg bones, and fibrous dysplasia weakens bones. Wilms’ tumor causes hypertrophy on one side, making one leg shorter. Enchondroma grows inside the bone marrow and affects growth.

Leg Length Discrepancy and Broken Leg Bone

Sometimes, a broken leg does not heal properly. A complicated break can lead to a leg length discrepancy. It may happen if:

  • The leg was broken in several places.
  • Connecting tissues was severely damaged.
  • It was an open fracture.
  • A growth plate was damaged.

Leg Length Discrepancy and Knee Osteoarthritis

Studies have linked leg length discrepancy to osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. One knee “ages” faster than the other when, many say, there is a difference of 20 millimeters or more. Others claim even 5 millimeters can make a significant difference. 

Leg Length Discrepancy and Scoliosis

Scoliosis is both a potential cause and outcome of leg length discrepancy. Scoliosis patients often have uneven legs as a major symptom. The discrepancy can bring about scoliosis in some people when the body attempts to compensate for the difference. 

Leg Length Discrepancy after Hip Replacement

It may be difficult to restore a patient’s equal leg length after hip replacement surgery. Arthritis, often the reason for hip replacement, can cause bone loss and leg shortening. Also, to ensure a stable new hip joint, stretching the surrounding soft tissues may be necessary, creating a slightly longer leg.

How is Limb Length Discrepancy Diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with a medical history of family background and any injuries and illnesses. Next, the doctor observes the patient’s posture and movement. Tests may include X-rays, CT, and MRI. Radiography provides an image of the entire leg, and measurements involve a simple tape measure and manual palpitations. A doctor may place wooden blocks below the shorter leg to measure the extent of the difference. 

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

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!