Services & Therapies

Acupuncture | Joint Manipulation | Core Strengthening | Massage Therapy |
Spinal Decompression | Stretching | Electrotherapy | Exercise |
Ultrasound | Heat Therapy | Ice Therapy | Orthotics

Acupuncture

While many have heard of it, few know very much about it. Yet acupuncture is one of the oldest healing arts in the world, practiced centuries ago by ancient Chinese as a method of curing a host of ailments.

Today, Americans make as many as 12 million visits per year to acupuncture practitioners, according to the most recent statistics from the Food and Drug Administration. Many people who have experienced acupuncture report relief from pain and a sense of euphoria or well being. There are currently more than 10,000 certified acupuncturists, one-third of them physicians practicing in this country. Acupuncture involves the application of extremely fine needles into one or more of the 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body. These points are said to link 12 main and 8 secondary pathways. These channels, or pathways, are called meridians." The meridians are believed to conduct energy between the body's skin and internal organs. Part of the controversy surrounding acupuncture stems from the fact that scientists cannot correlate the 20 pathways, or meridians, with the human body's blood circulation and nerve paths.

Nevertheless, acupuncture theory holds that energy conducted by meridians, also called qi (pronounced "chee"), is known to coordinate the balance between one's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical state. Acupuncture is believed to help in balancing the opposing forces called yin and yang. A healthy person's yin and yang are said to be in a state of harmony.

Acupuncture has about as many critics as it does advocates. Medical researchers have shown in dozens of high profile studies, however, that acupuncture can be an effective alternate treatment for a myriad of health problemsfrom central nervous system-related conditions and immune system response. Acupuncture is known to have a profound impact on pain. The theory is that the application of fine needles in acupuncture points stimulates the release of chemicals, such as endorphins or opiates, which dull or alleviate pain while releasing hormones, neurotransmitters, and other chemicals that aid in healing or regulating things, such as blood pressure.

Evidence has shown that the body's 2,000-plus acupuncture points do conduct electricity, and this flow of current may play a role in triggering the release of helpful chemicals in the body to where they are needed most. Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are so incredibly small and thin (up to 50 times thinner than a standard hypodermic needle), they are barely noticeable when inserted. Some people who experience acupuncture report feeling nothing at all; others report feeling a mild discomfort, followed by a mild sensation of cramping, tingling, numbness, warmth, or heaviness. Acupuncture needles are normally left in place for 20 to 40 minutes. Acupressure, another alternative therapy rooted in ancient Eastern medicine, involves exerting pressure on specific body points by use of the fingers of the hand, palm, or elbows.

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Manipulation

Joint manipulation, which is sometimes referred to as an adjustment, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for pain and injury. Chiropractors perform 95 percent of all manipulations in the world. These procedures are performed by applying gentle, yet firm pressure to a bone. The primary goals of any manipulation is dependent on the patient's presentation and condition. This can be to restore the bone to it's original position, reduce pain and muscle spasm from joint impingement, or to increase range of motion. The important thing to remember is the act frees-not forces-a vertebra to allow it to find its natural position.

Joint manipulative procedures are performed to treat a wide variety of conditions, including (but not limited to):

  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain disorders
  • Chronic muscle pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Most musculoskeletal and sports-related injuries
  • Nerve disorders
  • Pain and stiffness in the back, chest, abdomen, neck, hips and shoulders, as well as extremities, such as arms, legs, and feet
  • Sciatica pain
  • Scoliosis
  • Tendonitis
  • Whiplash and other traumatic injuries

Some common techniques include:

  • Instrument adjustments, which involve a spring-loaded device.
  • Lumbar roll, in which the chiropractor applies a firm, yet quick thrust to a misaligned vertebra while the patient lies on his or her side.
  • Motion palpation, a hand technique the chiropractor uses to determine if your vertebrae are properly aligned.
  • Release work, in which the chiropractor uses gentle pressure with the fingers to separate the vertebrae.
  • Table adjustments, which entail lying on a specially designed table that drops when pressure is applied to a specific area. The dropping motion allows more gentle adjustments than some manual adjustments do.
  • Toggle drop, which entails firm pressure applied on a specific area of the spine by using crossed hands.

Chiropractors take many factors-including size, weight, and muscle structure-into consideration when deciding on which technique to use. Sometimes, ice, electrical stimulation, or massage therapy (including traction massage) are used prior to a spinal manipulation in order to relax the muscles. In some cases, it may necessary to perform a manipulation while you are sedated.

Joint manipulation almost always does not involve any pain or discomfort. The important thing for a patient to keep in mind is to remain relaxed, because stiffening up may impede the process. Popping sounds are sometimes heard during the procedure and these are usually pockets of air being released behind a joint or other bony structure.

Joint manipulation can leave you with a greater sense of well-being, calm, and most importantly, on the road to a life without pain. Following the procedure, some patients experience mild aching or soreness in their spinal joints or muscles, which can usually be relieved by an ice or heat pack. Manipulation has been shown to:

  • Increase blood flow
  • Increase pain tolerance levels
  • Increase range of motion
  • Increase the body's secretion of "good" chemicals, such as melatonin and endorphins
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce tension and muscle pressure

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Core Strengthening

When the muscles supporting the lower spine need to be strengthened, lumbar stabilization may be used in your chiropractic treatment as a form of physical therapy. Lumbar stabilization helps you develop strength, flexibility, and endurance and also has been shown effective in alleviating lower back pain. The keys to lumbar stabilization are achieving a "neutral spine" position and strengthening the surrounding muscle groups to add stability. The neutral spine position is that which is the least painful but most sound posture for your lower back.

When your spine is in a neutral position:

  • The discs and vertebrae are able to absorb shocks and other forces acting on the spine in an optimal way.
  • There is less tension on the ligaments and joints of your spine
  • Your posture is centered
Once you learn how to go to your neutral spine position, lumbar stabilization teaches you how to maintain that position through a technique called "proprioception." Proprioception teaches you how to know where your joints are at any given time.

Lumbar stabilization helps you:

  • Better control the movements affecting your spine
  • Heal muscle strains, sprains, and damaged ligaments
  • Know how to avoid future injuries
  • Reduce pain in your lower back

* Core strengthening also applies to other specific muscle groups within the body. Examples might include the muscles in between/underneath the shoulder blades for chronic neck and shoulder pain, the inner quadricep for knee pain, and deep muscles of the hip for low back and knee pain syndromes. Strengthening these muscle groups is important to add stability to prevent injury recurrence.

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Massage Therapy

Therapeutic massage involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm, and stress. As in many kinds of therapy, therapeutic massage is one part of your overall chiropractic treatment plan.

Massage therapy:

  • Alleviates headache-associated pain
  • Helps improve your ability to walk with a normal and balanced gait
  • Helps lower your blood pressure
  • Improves your breathing as a result of a more relaxed diaphragm
  • Improves your range of motion, muscle tone, and flexibility
  • Increases your blood flow, which aids in the healing process and allows muscles to work more efficiently
  • Reduces stiffness, pain and muscle tension
  • Stimulates the body to release helpful chemicals such as endorphins

Massage has been shown to be an effective treatment for a wide variety of health problems, including:

  • Stress
  • Sleep apnea and insomnia
  • Sinusitis
  • Range of motion
  • Pain (chronic and temporary)
  • Myofascial pain
  • Jaw disorders
  • Injuries such as pulled or strained muscles and ligaments
  • Headache
  • Digestive disorders, including spastic colon and constipation
  • Circulatory problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Asthma and bronchitis
  • Arthritis
  • Allergies

In some cases, devices may be used to perform massage. Traction massage entails lying on your back on a special table with a pillow under your knees. The table has small rollers that glide up and down your spine. Traction massage helps stretch and massage the muscles in your back, and is not a form of spinal adjustment. In fact, traction massage may sometimes be used to make an adjustment go more smoothly.

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Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression therapy is a non surgical treatment for low-back pain and pain in the leg, neck or arm that works by reducing loading of the spine. Researchers note that many adults suffer from excessive spinal loading, which is problematic because it promotes premature degeneration of intervertebral discs and leads to a tendency for repeated injury of the disc annulus.

Giving encouragement to the proponents of spinal decompression therapy are numerous clinical studies demonstrating that the therapy does indeed cause disc space to decompress, generally by producing and sustaining negative intradiscal pressure. One such study looking at patients with herniated and degenerative disc disease found that 86% of 219 subjects who completed decompression therapy reported immediate disappearance of symptoms, while 84% of the total remained pain-free for 3 months afterward; 92% of the cohort showed varying degrees of physical improvement. Most symptoms continued to remain reduced for the vast majority of them 90 days after treatment.

Naturally, spinal decompression therapy is not for everybody. Conditions helped by it are largely confined to sciatica, disc hernia, disc protrusion, spinal stenosis, and radiculopathy. Still, that doesn't stop doctors (and payors) from wishing it could be for everybody: spinal decompression therapy is economical, with costs only about 10% those of lumbar surgery.

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Stretching

Stretching may take a back seat to your exercise routine. You may think that stretching your hamstrings and calves is just something to be done if you have a few extra minutes before or after pounding out some miles on the treadmill. The main concern is exercising, not stretching, right? Not so fast. Although studies about the benefits of stretching are mixed, stretching may help you improve your flexibility, which in turn may improve your athletic performance and decrease your risk of injury. Understand why stretching can help - and how to stretch correctly.

Benefits of stretching
Studies about the benefits of stretching have had mixed results. Some show that stretching helps, while others show that stretching has little if any benefit. The main benefits of stretching are thought to be:

  • Improving athletic performance
  • Decreasing the risk of activity-based injuries

Stretching can help improve flexibility. And better flexibility may improve your performance in physical activities or decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion. For instance, say your Achilles tendon is tight and lacks flexibility. If you do a lot of hill walking, your foot may not move through its full range of motion. Over time, this can increase your risk of tendinitis or tendinopathy in your Achilles tendon. Stretching your Achilles tendon, though, may improve the range of motion in your ankle. This, in turn, can decrease the risk of microtrauma to your tendon that can lead to overload and injury. Before you plunge into stretching, make sure you do it safely and effectively. While you can stretch anytime, anywhere - in your home, at work, in a hotel room or at the park - you want to be sure to use proper technique. Stretching incorrectly can actually do more harm than good.

Use these tips to keep stretching safe:

  • Don't consider stretching a warm-up. You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. So before stretching, warm up with light walking, jogging or biking at low intensity for five to 10 minutes. Or better yet, stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warmed up. Also, consider holding off on stretching before an intense activity, such as sprinting or track and field activities. Some research suggests that pre-event stretching before these types of events may actually decrease performance.
  • Focus on major muscle groups. When you're stretching, focus on your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Also stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use at work or play. And make sure that you stretch both sides. For instance, if you stretch your left hamstring, be sure to stretch your right hamstring, too.
  • Don't bounce. Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle. These tears leave scar tissue as the muscle heals, which tightens the muscle even further, making you less flexible and more prone to pain. So, hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. Repeat each stretch three or four times.
  • Don't aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you've pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
  • Make stretches sport specific. Some evidence suggests that it's helpful to do stretches tailored for your sport or activity. If you play soccer, for instance, you're more vulnerable to hamstring strains. So opt for stretches that help your hamstrings.
  • Keep up with your stretching. Stretching can be time-consuming. But you can achieve the best benefits by stretching regularly, at least two to three times a week. If you don't stretch regularly, you risk losing any benefits that stretching offered. For instance, if stretching helped you increase your range of motion, and you stop stretching, your range of motion may decrease again.
  • Bring movement into your stretching. Gentle movement can help you be more flexible in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi, for instance, may be a good way to stretch. And if you're going to perform a specific activity, such as a front kick in martial arts, do the move slowly and at low intensity at first to get your muscles used to it. Then speed up gradually as your muscles become accustomed to the motion.

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Electrotherapy

Because the body's nerves are electrical conductors, medical professionals have long held that stimulating nerve endings with small electrical current can produce beneficial results.

The theory behind electrotherapy as part of chiropractic care is that such stimulation to affected nerves and muscles encourages the body to release pain-killing chemicals, such as opiates and endorphins, and blocks pain signals from being transmitted to the brain.

Electrotherapy is a pain management technique, and as such, is part of an overall chiropractic treatment regimen. Electrotherapy is usually involved in the early treatment stages, especially right after an injury. Ice and heat therapy may be combined with electrotherapy to boost its pain-killing powers.

Electrotherapy normally involves placing small adhesive pads on the skin at various points on the body. Electrotherapy is generally not painful. The adhesive pads may cause a minor skin irritation after being removed and, in some instances, patients may feel a mild stinging after therapy.

Common types of electrotherapy include:

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)- This is the most common type of electrical stimulation used today. TENS therapy is normally used to treat chronic, or long-term pain in the lower back. Small electrodes are placed inside an elastic-type belt worn around the lumbar region. Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS), an enhanced and newer type of pain management therapy, makes use of very thin needles (much like those in acupuncture), which are inserted in the lower back by the chiropractor. Small battery-powered TENS units also are available for use at home, work, or other activities. The patient is able to control the level and frequency of stimulation, and self-administer impulses during episodes of pain.
  • Interferential current (IFC) - This is a kind of TENS therapy in which high-frequency electrical impulses are introduced deep into the tissues near the center of the pain.

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Exercise

Exercise therapy is a form of chiropractic treatment used to help manage pain, rehabilitate damaged soft tissues (such as muscles, ligament and tendons), and restore normal range of motion and function through use of stretching and strengthening.

Such therapy has been shown to alleviate pain, improve overall muscle strength and range of motion, improve balance, as well avoid further deterioration of muscle tissues. The overall goal of an exercise therapy program is to promote healing and prevent further damage and injury to your body's musculoskeletal system. Exercises programs also help in minimizing scar tissue formation following an injury or surgery.

Most exercise programs are designed to improve cardiovascular conditioning and bolster your strength. Many exercises involve flexing and extending specific parts of the body.

As a patient, you play a pivotal role in the outcome of any therapeutic exercise program. Your dedication to following the steps outlined in the program will go a long way in ensuring its success.

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Ultrasound

Many of us have heard about how ultrasound is used as a diagnostic test to explore disease process and injury in the human body. Diagnostic ultrasound, for example, can be used to look at joints, nerve roots, tendons, ligaments and muscles and pinpoint signs of inflammation and scar tissue. In some cases, ultrasound helps the chiropractor identify the proper course of treatment.

But ultrasound has another exciting application in the form of deep heat therapy.
Therapeutic ultrasound uses heated sound waves and applies the energy to soft tissues and joints. The fast-moving waves essentially massage soft tissues effortlessly and, in most cases, painlessly.

Therapeutic ultrasound:

  • Alleviates muscle spasms
  • Reduces inflammation and swelling
  • Improves range of motion
  • Helps increase blood flow
  • Lowers pain and stiffness

Therapeutic ultrasound is typically applied using a small, hand-held wand.

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Heat Therapy

While ice therapy is used to reduce swelling, heat therapy is used to relax the muscles and increase circulation. Both kinds of therapy help reduce pain. Heat therapy is often used in patients who have chronic or long-lasting pain. Heat therapy can involve many kinds of methods, from simple heating pads, wraps, and warm gel packs, to sophisticated techniques, such as therapeutic ultrasound.

Back injuries can create tension and stiffness in the muscles and soft tissues of the lumbar region, or lower back. In many cases, your circulation may be impeded. The tension in the muscles can sometimes escalate to spasms.

Heat therapy:

  • Dilates the blood vessels of the affected muscles, allowing them to relax and begin healing.
  • Helps lower discomfort by reducing the amount of pain signals going to the brain.
  • Increases the ability of your muscles to easily flex and stretch, thereby decreasing stiffness.

Heat therapy, as well as ice therapy, are normally parts of an overall chiropractic treatment plan and rarely accomplish maximum results without it. Heat therapy is not used on swollen or bruised tissues, or in patients who have dermatitis, deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, open wounds, and cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension.

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Ice Therapy

In many cases, temporary pain and even additional injury can be minimized and even avoided by a simple application of ice. Ice, applied in a timely manner and in an appropriate way, can reduce inflammation. Inflammation left unchecked can allow the source of the pain to continue doing damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other structures.

Ice causes the veins in the affected tissue area to constrict. This reduces the flow of blood while acting as kind of anesthetic to numb the pain. But when the ice is removed (and this is key), the veins compensate by expanding, which then allows a large volume of blood to rush to the affected area. The blood brings with it important chemicals that aid in the healing process.

Back and neck injuries frequently involve muscle sprains and strained ligaments, which can spasm and become inflamed.

Ice massage, or cryotherapy, is effectively used to treat many kinds of injuries, including those associated with back or neck pain.

Ice massage can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Assisting the body in minimizing tissue damage
  • Mitigating muscle spasms
  • Reducing or eliminating pain by numbing sore soft tissues Ice therapy is not recommended as a form of treatment for any kinds of rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud's Syndrome (a circulatory disorder of blood vessels of the extremities), colds or allergic conditions, paralysis, or areas of impaired sensation.

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Orthotics

An orthotic is a support, brace, or splint used to support, align, prevent, or correct the function of movable parts of the body. Shoe inserts are orthotics that are intended to correct an abnormal, or irregular walking pattern, by altering slightly the angles at which the foot strikes a walking or running surface.

Custom-made orthotics can be effective in providing our body with shock absorption, and in helping to stabilize our feet and lower back.

  • Increased shock absorption will reduce the jarring effect on the lower back muscles, and this will help to reduce muscle spasms and pain. Custom-made orthotics are designed to absorb the shock created each time we step down, instead of allowing this shock to travel to our lower backs. These custom-made orthotics act much like the shock absorbers on an automobile.

  • Our feet are the foundation of our body. Just as with a building, when the foundation is not straight or it is weak, the building will not stand straight. When this occurs, extreme forces are placed on the building. If our feet are not straight, stable, or they are weak, the lower back will be subjected to abnormal forces. The back muscles will try to compensate and keep the body straight. This compensation will eventually cause the muscles to go into spasm and be painful. Our custom-made orthotics designed for the back will stabilize the feet, and provide the body with a proper foundation. When this occurs, back muscle spasms and pain are reduced.

    By providing increased padding and support for the balls of the feet using materials that mimic the action of our own fatty pads, our orthotics will not only provide comfort, but will also help to prevent stress fractures, joint pain, and callus pain. Due to the thin, comfortable materials used in constructing custom-made orthotics, you usually do not need a bigger size shoe to accommodate these othotics. They should fit in your present shoes.

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