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piriformis

The piriformis is a muscle that runs adjacent to the sciatic nerve, underneath the glutes, and the muscle's proximity to the nerve is why sciatica is commonly associated with piriformis syndrome (PS). Piriformis syndrome commonly befalls runners and characteristically feels like a dull aching or soreness in the butt, stiffness in the region around the base of the spine and at the tops of the femurs made worse by sitting for long periods of time. PS can also cause sciatica when a dysfunction with the muscle puts the sciatic nerve under pressure. If no other reasonable cause for the sciatica can be determined through MRI or CT scans  (i.e. herniated disc, abnormalities in the lower vertebrae, or degenerative bone diseases), it is worth considering piriformis syndrome as the cause of your recurrent sciatica. For people diagnosed with sciatica derived from PS, chiropractic treatment is excellent for correcting dysfunction in the muscle and easing the tension and pain associated with sciatica. 

There are certain stretches such as the piriformis stretch and the straight-leg raise stretch that put the piriformis muscle under tension and can help us determine exactly what is misfiring. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we focus on releasing the region from tension with trigger point therapy and utilize stretching and strengthening exercises that help to improve range of motion and keep the piriformis muscle from impinging on the sciatic nerve. 

If we can simultaneously strengthen the muscle while releasing the chronic tightness, we can make significant improvements in the functioning of the piriformis muscle and thus, alleviate symptoms of sciatica that may be associated. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

 

supine

The pain of sciatica can be nightmarish: tingling and numbness in the lower extremities, pain and stiffness in the lower back; it can be difficult enough just to stand up out of bed. What if there was a way to quickly alleviate some of the pressure from your sciatic nerve so you could get on with your day? Stretching is the most reasonable answer, and there are specific stretches that can be done from your bedroom to help you start off the day or wind it down and get to sleep. As with any stretching routine, the emphasis should be on consistency: repeating these stretches regularly helps to condition the tissues surrounding the issue to combat stiffness and pain. 

When your muscles are tight, such as the piriformis, which runs under the glutes, it can cause impingement to the sciatic nerve. Through stretching, we can release these muscles and thus, the sciatic nerve, from tension.

1. Lie supine with legs extended and lift your right leg in the air, supporting it with your hands. 

  • Pull your right knee across your body toward the opposite shoulder.
  • Once you reach a point of resistance, hold for 30 seconds and release.
  • Switch legs, 3 reps per leg. 

2. Lie supine with knees bent and feet flat. 

  • Lift the right leg and cross the ankle over the left knee.
  • With both hands, pull from behind the left knee, lifting your legs toward the chest while simultaneously pushing the right knee away from the chest. 
  • This motion should create a resistance; don't push unto pain. 
  • Hold 30 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat 3 times with each leg.

Muscle tension is an unavoidable reality as we get older. However, if it is causing you sciatic nerve pain, it is worth doing something! Sciatica can be caused by a number of conditions including subluxation, herniated disc and muscle strain. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we are experts in helping people fight back against the incursion of sciatica in their life; give our office a call and schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you today!

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

water

Drinking water is a powerful and neglected way of influencing your overall well-being. As a chiropractor, we would like to see people drinking more water because it helps people lose pounds and maintain a healthy weight, reducing the burden on the joints and structures of the human body, especially in the lower back. The lumbar region bears the largest burden of the upper body's weight and if the core is not established as an additional stabilizer, each extra pound significantly adds to the strain of the intervertebral discs in the lower back. So how does water help with weight management? 

  • It is a psychological trick: drinking water makes you feel more full without a single calorie added, helping to reduce your appetite.
  • It is a matter of efficiency: drinking water helps your body burn calories. Resting Energy Expenditure refers to the amount of calories burned while resting. Under this metric, drinking water boosts REE significantly after intake.
  • The calorie-free benefit cannot be stressed enough. Yes, soda is refreshing, but most brands come with calories, chemicals, and sugars which convert to fat. Water is just as refreshing and has none of the negatives on the side. If you are itching for something with bubbles, try sparkling water!

At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we would like people to think of each glass of water as an investment in their long term health. Give our office a call and let us help you discover how easy it is to welcome healthy habits back into your life. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

neck

The stiff neck is a syndrome of adulthood; as we get older and our bodies tighten, a natural outcome is a stiff and sore neck with no discernible cause. Common examples of this condition include the dull and persistent pain that plagues people at work (and after work), waking up with a crick in the neck, or feeling stiff and sore when you wake up. In fact, nonspecific neck pain is the most common cause for neck complaints and it is almost always due to mechanical and postural dysfunctions.

If you are feeling a pain the neck, we look between the occipital bone, cervical and thoracic vertebrae and the shoulder joint for dysfunction. Common symptoms include restricted range of motion, stiffness, pain which can spread to the arms and fingers and sometimes the pins and needles sensation which indicates nerve irritation. The body can resolve most incidences of neck pain by itself in a matter of week given enough attention to rest and rehabilitation.  At our office in Sacramento, we use modalities including chiropractic adjustment, massage and trigger point therapy and spinal traction to respond to your specific condition. We can show you gentle exercises and stretches and offer nutrition and posture counseling to help you join in the fight for your neck's health

Nonspecific neck pain is a major cause for disability in America and at Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we recognize that it does not have to be this way! Taking the health of your neck (and the rest of your body) seriously means being proactive about keeping muscles supple, vertebrae in alignment and managing the mental and physical stress that accumulates throughout life.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

 

scar tissue

Scar tissue is a part of the body's natural healing response, especially to severe injury and often times surgery. Why then is it so problematic? In this respect, it is in the same category as chronic inflammation: too much scar tissue can create a drag on your well-being. The process is simple: when cells are destroyed through injury, whether they be in organs, muscles or connective tissue, new cells must be formed in the same region, just the same way that a cut or puncture on the skin will eventually heal over but leaves a scar. Apply this concept to the inside of the body and you have scar tissue. The problem is that the new tissue is only about 60% as elastic as the original material, meaning that an area with a lot of scar tissue is going to be a lot stiffer and achier than it originally was. 

If left unchecked, scar tissue will form an adhesion to other tissues in the area, essentially trapping joints and making them much stiffer than their original design. When left untreated, these trigger points become fibrotic with scar tissue and this is where we step in at Espinosa Family Chiropractic. The problems associated with scar tissue build up respond very well to chiropractic modalities including the Graston technique, the Active Release Technique and Myofascial Release. Even simple massage works to get into trigger points and break up the scar tissue that is accumulating. 

Scar tissue is an inevitability for most people: even the seemingly innocuous task of typing can cause scar tissue build up because of repetitive micro-traumas. If you are suffering from a loss of range of motion or pain due to scar tissue build up, give our office in Sacramento a call and schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.