Stretching for Herniated Disc

Just as there are myriad ways to cause a herniated disc, so there are, at least as many, ways to treat them. When devising a plan of physical therapy for herniated discs, it is important to do so under the guidance of a medical professional. This is where we come in: we want to teach people to use their physical activity to improve their herniated disc symptoms. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we offer you a range of professional services that we believe will create pain-relief and supplement recovery. We truly believe in the power of using the factors that are within your control to improve pain symptoms.

We begin by relieving pain and restoring movement. This is done through a combination of gentle adjustments and low-level stretching; movements that you feel comfortable with that will work to lengthen restrictive muscles and reverse the deterioration. From here, we slowly up the ante, focusing on core strengthening: this includes both the muscles of the lower back and the abdomen. Conditioning your back through exercise creates pain relief and helps the spine bear more stress without falling out of alignment.

We also want to focus on correcting muscular imbalance and poor posture. Both of these increase stress on the spine and are counterproductive to your healing. Once you are through the most intense period of pain, we institute advanced exercises that focus on building up the back so that the injury never recurs. This means addressing the asymmetry that may have contributed to the injury in the first place, and learning how to sit and stand without putting unnecessary pressure on the spine.

Your regimen for physical activity depends on the severity of pain and location of the injury: some people cannot comfortably lay prone and others cannot perform stretches standing up. If you are seeking relief from herniated disc injury, but want to heal naturally, call our office in Sacramento. Learning these stretches will benefit you for life: long after your injury is healed, you can reap the benefits of a stronger core for spinal health. We can be reached at (916) 457-8825.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

Herniated Discs: What to Avoid

What ways are within our power to influence our spinal health? There are four primary ways: posture, exercise, sleep and nutrition. For sufferers of herniated discs, there are also many daily activities that will aggravate the injury. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, our holistic approach to healing begins with chiropractic treatment, but we want you to leave our office instilled with an awareness of the injury and a penchant for healthy actions. If you are serious about rehabilitating a herniated disc, watch out for the following pain aggravators

For hardcore fitness enthusiasts and more casual gym-goers alike, exercise is an appreciable part of your repertoire for healing spinal injuries. It is also a double-edged sword: some exercises antagonize the injury and others encourage healing. If the pain of your herniated disc is pronounced, avoid twisting exercises, weight-lifting and leg presses. Replace them with exercises focused on core-strengthening and aerobic fitness. Conducive stretching and flexibility exercises can also help to relieve pressure on nerves.

Avoid extended periods of static inactivity, if possible. Anyone can benefit from this advice! Whether sitting or standing, it is important to stay in motion; the body was not meant to stagnate. If standing in one place for long periods of time, try to alternate putting each foot up on a box or stool every fifteen minutes. You will notice a difference in the pressure accumulating in the lower spine. If sitting, use a stool to keep the knees elevated slightly above the hips.

When relaxing, avoid overly soft furniture. Sinking into a couch or recliner feels comfortable at first, but it is most likely working against your recovery efforts. The unnatural position that your spine takes while slumped in “relaxation” is very harmful in the long run. If you are interested in finding out more, call us today at (916) 457-8825. At our office in Sacramento, our treatment includes a cataloging of your daily routine. By charting healthy habits and highlighting negative habits, we can begin to use the power of the body to effect its own rehabilitation.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

Herniated discs: the different types

The discs that accentuate our spinal columns are hard workers. As the shock absorbers for one of the most crucial structures in our body, they accumulate an enormous amount of wear and tear over the years. Named for their location in the spine- cervical, thoracic and lumbar, these discs support the weight of our body, allow us to twist and turn and move our heads side to side. As we grow from youth into adulthood and old age, the discs are asked to support more weight and withstand more accumulated movement. More weight means more compression and the discs can only support so much. At a certain point, they may tear, allowing fluid to bulge from their center and pressurize nearby nerves. This is called a herniated disc and it can be cripplingly painful.

The three types of herniated discs:

In the neck we find the cervical discs, which support the weight of the head. Along this part of the spinal column is a pivot point that allows us to move our head from side to side. This repetitive motion of the head is responsible for the primary degradation and herniation of cervical discs. Besides being a pain in the neck, cervical disc herniation can radiate pain to the shoulders and arms and refer it to nerves in the head, creating painful headaches.

The thoracic discs are the least vulnerable to herniation. Tears in these discs are most often associated with poor posture, or traumatic injuries involving sports or automobile accidents. Depending on its location, pain can be felt in the lower and upper body.

Lumbar herniated discs are the most common form that we treat at Espinosa Family Chiropractic. These discs bear the most burden of our weight and a healthy lumbar region is critical to a full range of motion. As more weight is added, the disc experiences more compression. At a certain point, the disc may tear. Pain associated with these discs is usually localized but can impact the lower body and cause sciatica, if the sciatic nerve is pressured.

If you suspect you may be suffering from a herniated disc at any point in your spine, it is important to consult with a specialist. These are common, but serious injuries and the spine will usually heal itself in the matter of weeks to months. Our treatment intends to speed this healing process and provide you with pain relief in the meantime. Our office in Sacramento can be reached at (916) 457-8825. We look forward to hearing from and helping you with your herniated disc.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Herniated Discs

Herniated discs in the spine are fickle injuries. For lucky people, they will occur and heal in a period of weeks to months without the onset of any pain. For others, the pain can escalate to a severity that requires surgery. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we have experience treating disc herniation at all points in the spectrum. For the mild sufferer, pain can be alleviated, speeding the process of recovery. For someone who decides the pain is intolerable, chiropractic has been shown to improve pain and mobility, both good indicators of a successful surgery.

Disc herniation is a condition that presents itself when intervertebral discs are compromised, however temporarily. The discs, that lie between each vertebra, are composed of two layers: the annulus fibrosus is the outer ring which houses the inner layer called the nucleus pulposus, a gel-like core. Together, they form a cushion that accentuates the spine, allowing for shock absorption and resilience to compressive forces. Herniation occurs when the annulus fibrosus cracks, allowing the nucleus pulposus to leak outwards. Pain is usually experienced when this leak bulges far enough out to impinge on spinal nerves.

Chiropractic does not magically fix a herniated disc. Rather, it focuses on relieving pain and helping the body to heal naturally. Low-force adjustments encourage mobility of the joint in an area stricken by tension. Stretching techniques relieve pressure from nerves that are being aggravated by the bulge of a herniated disc. Is your posture contributing to your pain? How can you make lifestyle adjustments that will support a speedy recovery? These are questions that we will address based on your individual history and experience of pain. If herniated disc pain is encroaching on your quality of life, call our office in Sacramento today at (916) 457-8825 to schedule an appointment and set a course for healing.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

Chiropractic for your Neck

Take a moment to appreciate your magnificent neck. It is a subtly tuned instrument that allows for movement of the head, blood flow to the brain and its health is essential to regulation of the heart rate, sleeping, breathing and balance. Housed in the neck are the two carotid arteries, which supply the majority of blood flow to the brain in support of its functioning. Nerves exiting through the third, fourth and fifth vertebrae of the neck supply energy to the diaphragm and its accessory muscles. Our nervous, immune, lymphatic and respiratory systems exist in a state of intimate balance within the neck. Your neck is an essential structure, and its health is our imperative.

At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we see people suffering from neck pain all too often. Here are people who have allowed themselves to suffer through the pain rather than addressing the problem, accepting subpar relief rather than getting on the road to healing. Physical trauma or severe motion can throw the neck out of alignment and damage ligaments, putting pressure on the nerves. Repetitive stress injuries, caused by poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle, contribute to neck stiffness and low blood flow. Keeping this channel clear and aligned should be a priority.

We treat misalignments, known as subluxations, with gentle chiropractic adjustment, relieving pressure on nerves and allowing for unimpeded communication between the head and the rest of the body. Sufferers from degenerative disc disease, herniated discs and fibromyalgia can also derive relief and benefit from chiropractic. As with an automobile, your neck receives a dose of wear and tear every day. Trigger point and massage therapies can help problem tissues heal quicker.  Pain may come and go; if you perceive that it is impacting your well being negatively, call our office in Sacramento at (916) 457-8825 to find out how our expertise can help protect your neck.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

Non-specific Low Back Pain

In a society that is moving boundlessly into the future of technology, lifestyles are becoming more sedentary. Entertainment is consumed on screen, productivity is created on computers, and the sum of human knowledge can be found in our pockets. An unintended victim of this brave new world is the spinal column. Back pain is a positively correlated condition that increases with sedentary lifestyles. Non-specific lower back pain is an all-too-common party crasher, affecting a majority of the population. While there is no specific disease or problem causing the pain, it can be severe and debilitating, affecting your daily activities.

A twinge in the lower back after you lift something heavy; a pain after twisting the body awkwardly or aggressively; stiffness after sitting for long periods of time.

The pain will usually digress and disappear by itself in a matter of weeks, but if it comes back in the same region, it may be worth investigating. Chronic lower back pain is a major lifestyle inhibitor. A strain of the ligaments or muscles in the lower back, misalignment of the vertebrae or herniation of lumbosacral discs may be a signal cause. 

Chiropractic is a functional approach to treating low back pain. Our goal is to keep your range of motion intact and eliminate pain. We achieve this with a dynamic treatment plan that includes physical exercise and spinal adjustment. Keeping the spinal joints in alignment is very effective at treating non-specific chronic back pain. Stretching and exercise strengthens and stabilizes the troublesome region. Your treatment plan is entirely unique to your pain; if you are motivated to banish lower back pain for good, call our office in Sacramento at (916) 457-8825 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.  

Sleep in Peace with Chiropractic Care

Sleep is the ally of well-being. When you sleep restfully, you encourage proper functioning of the body and brain, boosting happiness and performance during waking hours. When people’s central circadian rhythms are disrupted, everything becomes harder: anxiety is increased and your body and brain have to work harder to achieve simple objectives. Caffeine consumption goes up and nutritious eating goes out the window, both of which tamper further with your ability to sleep. It is a vicious cycle that has caught a good portion of the population in its rotation.

To quantify the importance of good sleep, consider the side-effects of insomnia: A lack of sleep causes increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When this hormone is elevated persistently, it can disrupt the immune system, weaken muscles and reduce bone density, and cause fat accumulation in the stomach. Apart from what it does to your brain, lack of sleep is also damaging your body. But what if treating the body could help you sleep? At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we use chiropractic treatment to solve sleep issues and help you institute lifestyle changes that will improve your chances at beating insomnia.

You can improve sleep quality without the unnecessary side-effects of sleep medication! We will help you do this by identifying the cause of your sleep deficiency. Subluxation, or misalignment of the spine, puts pressure on the nerves, disrupting proper communication between the brain and body. When subluxations are present, the body finds it hard to rest and goes into a state known as stress response. Correcting this misalignment will help your body relax, helping you on your way to sleep. If you are looking for a safe way to overturn your sleep deficiency and restore your well being, look no further than our office in Sacramento, where we can be reached at (916) 457-8825.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Sit Up Straight! Posture for Headaches

Posture is a significant factor to consider when you experience regular headaches. Poor posture is easily learned and hard for the muscles to forget: it is an unconscious positioning of the body that people neglect until it starts to cause problems in their life. There are myriad factors fighting to hold us back from healthy posture: lifestyles and modern jobs which involve or require long hours concentrating in front of a screen, commuting for hours with inadequate seating, and of course there is always gravity. But posture is in your control, and if you are suffering from persistent headaches, it is always worth considering as a cause that can be corrected.

Posture is, at the very least, a good place to start. Consider the slouch: you have been typing at the computer for hours, ignoring your body’s plea for a break and a stretch; sorry spine, I am concentrating too hard. It just feels right for the head to lean forward, following the chin, bringing you ever closer to the screen. But now consider that the weight of the head (comparable to a bowling ball) is now creating strain to the shoulder and neck muscles. The longer you sit this way, the greater the strain becomes until neck spasms start to refer pain into your head, creating the mystery headache. If you have a moment of consciousness and catch yourself in the act, do something about it!

If you have the time, take a break: walk around and allow your muscles to loosen up. When you resume sitting, keep these principles in mind: Feet flat and firm on the ground, ears over shoulders, which are relaxed, and shoulders over hips, with the stomach slightly tucked. This keeps your head balanced without causing strain to the neck and shoulder muscles.

Making little changes is the best way to increase overall well being. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we are dedicated to giving you the best possible chance at living pain free. We treat the daily wear and tear on your spine and offer recommendations for simple lifestyle changes that can open your eyes to a whole world of health. Call our office in Sacramento today at (916) 457-8825 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.