"Chiropractic respects the body's ability to heal itself."

Dr. Eric DiMartino

President, MAC

What we do

Using their hands, or at times a small instrument, a chiropractor applies a gentle, controlled pressure to the misaligned vertebrae in the spine, eliminating the subluxation.When your vertebrae are aligned the natural healing power of the body is turned on.

Dr. Eric DiMartino

President, Michigan Association of Chiropractors

The Michigan Association of Chiropractors is your source for family doctors in Michigan. Chiropractic health care is the drug free choice of millions for reaching and maintaining health and wellness.

Learn More About Non-Drug Pain Management!

“Chiropractic is a drug- and surgery-free, hands-on system of health care that respects the body’s ability to heal itself.”

In 60 seconds MyMacWellness doctors give an overview of back how this website can help you make informed decisions.

BACK PAIN

You are not alone, nearly 80% of adults experience back pain. But what causes back pain?

In our modern society back pain is increased due to the time we spend sitting at our jobs and during our free time. Sitting is becoming the new smoking. Back pain isn’t just a nuisance, it’s expensive, not only for individuals, but for the nation as a whole.

Living a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce your back pain. This includes healthy eating, reducing stress, maintaining a sleep. These changes can solve many back problems, as well as many other ailments. These are measures you can take to prevent back pain.

If you experience back pain you shouldn’t wait to get help, surgery is often only needed as a last ditch effort, so it’s always better to get the problem corrected early.

Surgical Approach

Only about 10% of patients need surgery to alleviate back pain. If back pain is not alleviated by non-surgical treatments and has continued for a few weeks or months, it may be time to see a spine surgeon. If the pain is severe and medication isn't working then it may be advisable to consult with a spine surgeon sooner. Some types of back surgery are less invasive than others. A microdiscectomy is minimally invasive and does not change the anatomy of the spine, whereas most types of lumbar spine fusion surgeries are more invasive and do change the anatomy of the spine. Minimally invasive approaches heal within a few weeks and have around a 90% success rate. Invasive surgeries, such as fusion surgery, take several months to heal and have a success rate between 70 and 90%.

Physical Therapy Approach

A physical therapist can teach you exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to relieve pressure on the nerve. They may also recommend modifications to activities that aggravate the nerve. They can show you positions and exercises designed to minimize pain. A physical therapist may also recommend applying heat or ice, traction, an ultrasound, electrical stimulation or short-term bracing for the neck or lower back.

Chiropractic Approach

A chiropractic approach to treating lower back pain is to find the source of the back pain and correct it, not just treat the symptom; this ensures that the body can heal naturally. Lower back pain often responds dramatically to the correction of vertebrae positioning and the restoration of normal motion. Chiropractors use spinal manipulations or adjustments to precisely apply a directed force to the vertebrae that is out of position. The doctor may either use their hands or specialized tools to apply a quick thrust or slower pressure to the misaligned joint. Additionally, your chiropractor may suggest adding exercises, hot or cold compresses, or massage to compliment your adjustments. It may also be helpful to consider some lifestyle changes such as healthier eating and stress reduction techniques.

Massage Approach

Massage therapy is beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain. Massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach to combating back pain based on the body's natural ability to heal itself. Structural relaxation massage techniques both work well to remedy chronic low back pain with few side effects. Massage helps those with back pain function better even after six months, which can help support their ability to work, take care of themselves and be active. For those who use massage as a preventive measure to back pain or to manage daily back stress, one massage a month is common. Weekly massage sessions may be necessary for injury relief or to relieve chronic neck or back tightness that interferes with daily life. If this is the case, weekly sessions are essential in order to build on each week's improvements in healing until the desired results have been achieved.

In less than 45 seconds Dr. DiMartino gives an overview of a herniated disc.

HERNIATED DISC

A herniated disc refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (discs) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that make up your spine. Sometimes called a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when some of the soft center of the disc pushes out through a crack in the tougher exterior.

You can have a herniated disc without knowing it – herniated discs sometimes show up on spinal images of people who have no symptoms of a disc problem. But some herniated discs can be painful. Most herniated discs occur in your lower back (lumber spine), although they can also occur in your neck (cervical spine).

Common signs and symptoms of a herniated disc are arm or leg pain, numbness or tingling and weakness. Seek attention for a herniated disc if neck or back pain travels down your arm or leg, or if numbness, tingling or weakness accompanies it.

Surgical Approach

A small percentage of people with herniated disks eventually need surgery. Your doctor may suggest surgery if conservative treatments fail to improve your symptoms, especially if you continue to experience numbness or weakness, difficulty standing or walking, or loss of bladder or bowel control. In many cases, surgeons can perform a less invasive surgery and remove just the protruding portion of the disk. Rarely, the entire disk must be removed. In these cases, the vertebrae may need to be fused together with metal hardware to provide spinal stability. Your surgeon may suggest the implantation of an artificial disk, though it is uncommon.

Physical Therapy Approach

Physical therapists can show you positions and exercises designed to minimize the pain of a herniated disk. A physical therapist may also recommend applying heat or ice to the area affected by the herniated disc, spinal compression therapy, ultrasound therapy, electrotherapy and/or short-term bracing for the neck or lower back.

Chiropractic Approach

Chiropractors use manual therapies, such as spinal and manual manipulation and mobilization, which can be effective for the treatment of herniated discs. Spinal manipulation, or chiropractic adjustment, applies pressure to the disc and is meant to improve functionality, reduce nerve irritability, and restore range of motion in the back. Mobilization moves and stretches the muscles and joints in order to increase the range of motion. This approach, as with all back pain treatments, is to prevent chronic back pain. Actively caring for your body through exercise and a healthier lifestyle can help prevent chronic pain.

Massage Approach

Massage is not absolutely contraindicated for disc herniation; treatment methods should be used cautiously. The transverse processes protect the nerve roots from further compression during most massage techniques, but minor vertebral movements that occur from pressure applied to the region could aggravate symptoms. Massage is helpful to decrease muscle tension in the area and may reduce compressive loading on the disc. However, this massage also should be performed carefully and only once the extent of the disorder has been clarified.

In less than 50 seconds Dr. Dean gives an overview of a pinched nerve.

PINCHED NERVE

A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, causing pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness.

It can occur at several sites in your body. In your wrist it can lead to pain and numbness in your hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome). With rest and other conservative treatments, most people recover from a pinched nerve within a few days or weeks. Rarely is surgery needed to relieve pain from a pinched nerve.

Symptoms of a pinched nerve are numbness in the area supplied by the nerve, sharp, aching or burning pain, which may radiate outward, tingling, “pins and needles” sensations, muscle weakness in the affected area and frequent feeling that a foot or hand has “fallen asleep”. These symptoms may be worse when sleeping. Seek medical attention if symptoms last for several days and don’t respond to self-care measures, such as rest and pain relievers.

Surgical Approach

If the pinched nerve doesn't improve after several weeks to a few months with conservative treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery to take pressure off the nerve. The type of surgery varies depending on the location of the pinched nerve. Surgery may entail removing bone spurs or a part of a herniated disc in the spine, for example, or severing the carpal ligament to allow more room for the nerve to pass through the wrist.

Physical Therapy Approach

A physical therapist can teach you exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to relieve pressure on the nerve. They may also recommend modifications to activities that aggravate the nerve.

Chiropractic Approach

Pinched nerves are usually caused by either a bony impingement, meaning there might be a joint that is pressing on the nerve, or, in many cases a bulging disc, herniated disc, or tight muscles. Chiropractic treatment relieves pressure off the nerve and offers relief from pinched nerve pain. A pinched nerve doesn't only have local pain. One in the neck can radiate down the arm, or another in the low back may radiate into the leg. Chiropractors can help relieve these pains by repositioning the bones, relaxing the muscles, and reducing the pressure on nerves.

Massage Approach

Exercises may strengthen the back or core muscles and decrease or eliminate pressure on a nerve root. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen could be helpful. Injections of corticosteroids may also be beneficial for many types of pinched nerves. Resting the affected area is often very effective, especially in cases of injury caused by repetitive activities. Massage is helpful to decrease muscle tension in the area and may reduce compressive loading on the disc. However, this massage also should be performed carefully and only once the extent of the disorder has been clarified.

LATEST RESEARCH

BACK PAIN

We’ve all had back problems from time to time. The hurt can stem from sore muscles, ligaments and tendons, herniated discs, fractures, and other problems.

There’s a lot riding on your spinal column. It’s your body’s main structural support. It keeps you stable enough to stand upright but flexible enough for movement. The spine is actually a stack of 24 individual bones called vertebrae.

A healthy spine is S-shaped when viewed from the side. It curves back at the shoulders and inward at the neck and small of the back. It houses and protects your spinal cord, the network of nerves that transmit feeling and control movement throughout your entire body.

Injuries from contact sports, accidents, and falls can cause problems ranging from minor muscle strains, to herniated discs, to fractures that cause severe damage to the spinal column or cord.

Also, we often bring on our back problems through bad habits, such as:
– Poor Posture
– Overexerting yourself at work or while playing
– Sitting incorrectly at the desk or at the steering wheel
– Pushing, pulling, and lifting things carelessly

Sometimes you feel the effects right away. But in many cases, back problems develop over time.

One of the most common types of back pain comes from straining the bands of muscles surrounding the spine. Although such strains can occur anywhere along the spine, they happen most often in the curve of the lower back. The next most common place is at the base of the neck.

Sometimes your back might ache for no clear reason. That’s called nonspecific backache. It may be caused by weakened muscles that can’t handle everyday walking, bending, and stretching. In other cases, back pain may come from an injury involving pulling or twisting or some kind of overuse or repetitive damage.

Pregnancy commonly brings on back pain, too. Hormonal changes and weight gain put new kinds of stresses on a pregnant woman’s spine and legs.

Source Material: WebMD

HERNIATED DISC

Pain and other symptoms generated from a cervical herniated disc or lumbar herniated disc can be misunderstood by medical and health professionals and patients alike.

This confusion occurs partly because health professionals do not commonly agree on spinal disc pathology, and partly because disc problems such as a herniated disc are not always well explained to (or understood by) patients.

Some of the factors that make the identification and treatment of a herniated disc challenging.

Terminology about a herniated disc can be confusing. There are many different terms to describe a herniated disc, such as a pinched nerve, bulging disc, ruptured disc or slipped disc. These terms tend to be used somewhat differently among health professionals because there are no generally agreed upon definitions for many disc problems. Interchangeable terminology can be confusing and frustrating for patients who hear their condition referred to in different terms by different practitioners, causing the patients to remain unclear as to the real diagnosis.

The extent of disc problem or disc herniation does not necessarily correlate to the patient’s level of pain. Although it may seem contrary to common sense, the severity of pain from a herniated disc does not always correlate to the amount of physical damage to the disc. Additionally, less serious back problems may cause more pain than a herniated disc. For example, a large herniated disc can be completely painless, while a muscle spasm from a simple back strain may cause excruciating pain. This means that the severity of pain is not a determining factor for identifying a herniated disc.

A healthy spine is S-shaped when viewed from the side. It curves back at the shoulders and inward at the neck and small of the back. It houses and protects your spinal cord, the network of nerves that transmit feeling and control movement throughout your entire body.

Many herniated discs do not cause any pain. Radiographic findings of a disc herniation are common (such as from an MRI), but oftentimes the herniated disc is not associated with any pain or symptoms. While there may be an association between trauma to the disc and the onset of the patient’s symptoms, a herniated disc also may occur without a specific, recalled event.

It is difficult to distinguish a herniated disc from other spinal problems. The nerves and anatomical structures—such as discs, muscles and ligaments in the spine—have a great deal of overlap. This makes it difficult for the brain to distinguish between problems with one structure in the back versus problems with another. For example, a herniated disc can feel similar to a bruised muscle or ligament damage.

Pain from a herniated disc is a complex personal experience. Physical and psychological factors are constantly changing and can contribute to a patient’s experience of pain. A herniated disc may not be painful at all times, or it may become even more painful because of psychological and other factors in the patient’s life. For example, many studies have established a correlation between back pain and depression. While it is often not know which problem comes first—the pain or the depression—it is known that it’s important to treat both for the patient’s overall health. The pain from a disc herniation also may become more severe when compounded with other physical problems in the spine, or situational factors (such as poor posture, sitting for a long period, etc).

There is no single treatment that works best for all patients. Different treatment options are available for either a cervical or a lumbar herniated disc, as described later in this article. Some patients may find that a combination of nonsurgical treatment options work best, while other patients may find that early surgical intervention is necessary to find adequate relief from the pain and symptoms caused by a herniated disc. Working with a spine care professional, patients will need to develop an individualized treatment plan to relieve their pain and provide for long term rehabilitation.

PINCHED NERVE

Damage from a pinched nerve may be minor or severe. It may cause temporary or long-lasting problems. The earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment for nerve compression, the more quickly you’ll find relief.

In some cases, you can’t reverse the damage from a pinched nerve. But treatment usually relieves pain and other symptoms.

A pinched nerve occurs when there is “compression” (pressure) on a nerve.

The pressure may be the result of repetitive motions. Or it may happen from holding your body in one position for long periods, such as keeping elbows bent while sleeping.

Nerves are most vulnerable at places in your body where they travel through narrow spaces but have little soft tissue to protect them. Nerve compression often occurs when the nerve is pressed between tissues such as:
– Ligament
– Tendon
– Bone
For example, inflammation or pressure on a nerve root exiting the spine may cause neck or low back pain. It may also cause pain to radiate from the neck into the shoulder and arm (cervical radiculopathy). Or pain may radiate into the leg and foot (lumbar radiculopathy or sciatic nerve pain).

These symptoms may result from changes that develop in the spine’s discs and bones. For example, if a disc weakens or tears—known as a herniated disc—pressure can get put on a spinal nerve.

With nerve compression, sometimes pain may be your only symptom. Or you may have other symptoms without pain.

These are some of the more common symptoms of compressed nerves:

– Pain in the area of compression, such as the neck or low back
– Radiating pain, such as sciatica or radicular pain
– Numbness or tingling
– “Pins and needles” or a burning sensation
– Weakness, especially with certain activities

Sometimes symptoms worsen when you try certain movements, such as turning your head or straining your neck.

How long it takes for symptoms to end can vary from person to person. Treatment varies, depending on the severity and cause of the nerve compression.

You may find that you benefit greatly from simply resting the injured area and by avoiding any activities that tend to worsen your symptoms. In many cases, that’s all you need to do.

If symptoms persist or pain is severe, see your doctor. You may need one or more types of treatment to shrink swollen tissue around the nerve.

Source Material: 

WebMD

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