Chiropractic Care and Migraine Relief

Migraine headaches are debilitating. They can lead to symptoms of a pounding headache, dizziness, nausea, and the inability to think clearly. Some migraine sufferers find it hard to put words on a page, make a decision, or do much other than linger in a dark room until the pain goes away. In other words, a migraine can really ruin your day. Although relief can sometimes be found in certain medications or lifestyle changes, one of the best things that you can do is see a chiropractor. Yes, many chiropractors are able to do what even the strongest pain medication cannot – stop your migraine in its tracks.

What Exactly Is A Migraine?

You may have been suffering from migraines for years without realizing what they really are. You probably just refer them as “bad headaches” or even think that you have a tension headache instead. The main difference is that a tension headache encompasses the whole head. You’ll feel as though your head is in a vice. A migraine only affects one side at a time. You might have pain on the left side of your head one day, and then a repeat of that same intense pounding on the right side the next day. These are migraine headaches. Once you know that you’ve had one, you won’t mistake it for anything else ever again.

Migraine headaches tend to last anywhere from several hours to several days. More females get them than males. It’s possible for a migraine to come on at night and wake you up. The main symptoms include the aforementioned pain on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, horrendous pain, visual sensitivity, auditory sensitivity, and the inability to think clearly. Many people who have migraines end up sitting or lying in a quiet, dark room, in order to get away from painful stimuli.

Are You A Migraine Sufferer?

There’s a big difference between someone who had a migraine one time and someone who suffers from them regularly. If you’ve had a migraine, just as described above, at least on five separate occasions, no matter how far apart, then you’re a migraine sufferer. You have to have at least two of the symptoms described above during each instance. Although taking medication can stop or at least lessen your migraine symptoms, there’s a better solution: your local chiropractor.

How a Chiropractor Can Help

Your local chiropractor can treat your migraines. The first step involves an examination and some x-rays. This will help your chiropractor determine whether or not there are any misalignments in your neck and spine that are causing the headaches. If he or she sees any, a spinal adjustment will be made to relieve that pressure or get rid of the stress. On top of this, a spinal adjustment can improve blood flow in that area, making your pain less intense. There might be some additional follow-up advice included in your treatment as well, such as nutritional advice or lifestyle suggestions, in order to keep the pain from coming back.

Relieve Sciatic Pain with these 5 Natural Ways

Sciatic pain is moderate to severe nerve pain that can run from the buttocks down the legs. It is very common, with more than 3 million cases in the United States each year. Thankfully, chiropractic care can help relieve sciatic pain naturally and gently. Studies have shown that, unlike medications or surgery, chiropractic medicine can be useful in treating sciatic pain without harmful or costly side effects. With that said, the body is a complex system, and all pain relief takes time. Restoration and relief of pain won’t come quickly, but remaining committed to chiropractic care can help in the long term, but what about now? How can you get relief now?

Your chiropractor understands and is here to help. There are so many complementary therapies you can explore while working with your chiropractor to release your sciatic pain. Remember to keep an open mind, and that each body will respond differently to the methods outlined below. It’s tough living with nerve pain, but by learning more about your body, you’ll be able to find out what therapies
work for you!

Here are five all-natural ways you can help reduce your sciatic pain now:

Acupuncture

Originating in Ancient China, acupuncture has gained popularity in the United States for the past few years and has been proven to help with muscle injuries and pain. The way it works is by tapping into our body’s “meridians” or energy fields. By using needles, your provider will stimulate these meridians and improve the healing process, reducing pain. In a study involving acupuncture for the treatment of sciatica, it was found that acupuncture has a significant effect on pain relief compared to two other groups that were using medication.

Stretching and Yoga

Sciatica and exercise are not the best of friends, and strenuous activity can worsen or trigger pain. Therefore, it might seem best just to relax, but inactivity can also wreak havoc on not only your sciatic nerve but the rest of your body. Yoga and stretching are gentle exercises that lengthen your spine, release tense muscles, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the core. You might be hesitant to give it a try, but studies show yoga is safe and effective for relieving sciatic pain!

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation is the leading cause of sciatic nerve pain and issues but can be reduced by making diet changes to fight and lower inflammation in the body. A diet that is high in trans-fats, cholesterol, and processed sugars will cause a lot of swelling. Replacing these dietary choices with natural and organic food will promote a body free of inflammation. Some delicious anti-inflammatory foods to try are green tea, blueberries, and fresh ginger.

Heat and Cold Therapies

Heat and cold can work wonders on sciatic pain when used correctly. Heat can release tight muscles and dull pain away. Cold therapies slow blood flow and help reduce the symptoms of inflammation. Consult your chiropractor on which treatment is better for you, or if you should use both.

Epsom Salt Soaks

Epsom baths have been used for decades to restore and heal the body. When combined with warm water, the salts will draw out toxins, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation and pain.

Hip, Knee, Ankle Chiropractic Care

Pain in the lower extremities, like your hips, knees, and ankles, are common physical ailments for which chiropractic care is typically sought out. These pains can be caused by injury, overexertion, or simple wear and tear from repetitive movements that break down the soft and hard tissues in your joints. Hips, knees, and ankles are the most frequent areas for pain, with almost 7 million individuals in the United States living with a hip or knee replacement in 2015. Completing surgery to fix these issues is expensive and time-consuming. There are quite a few less invasive methods to explore that can help with lower extremity pain, like chiropractic care.

Hip Pain

The hips contain important muscles that are involved in critical movements of your body. Inflammation or injury to the area can express itself in sharp or dull pain or even numbness and tingling. These aches and pains are symptoms of conditions like sciatica -nerve pain that goes from your buttocks to the legs); bursitis – joint pain associated with burning and swelling; and inflammatory-related strains and arthritis. All of these conditions can be treated with chiropractic care!

Knee Pain

Your knees contain many different elements that can be injured, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. The knee is one of the most commonly injured joints of the body, but can also be helped with chiropractic therapy. Knee pain can be sharp or dull but will vary based on the cause. Frequent conditions that cause symptoms are bursitis, tendonitis (inflamed tendons), degenerative arthritis, strains (Meniscus, ACL, MCL), and runner's knee (outside and front knee pain).

Ankle Pain

Ankle and foot pain are quite often related to a strain and can even make it painful to walk around your house. Other offenders could be Achilles tendonitis (pain in the heel and back of the ankle related to inflammation of the Achilles tendon), plantar fasciitis (sharp pain near the heel), heel spurs, and shin splints (pain radiating from the shin to the ankle and foot)

How Can Chiropractic Care Help My Lower Extremity Pain?

If you are experiencing pain in your lower extremities like your hips, knees, and ankles, a chiropractor can help create a plan tailored to your individual needs to not only find the cause of your pain but treat it. Chiropractors are experts on the movement and structure of the body. By using a variety of chiropractic manipulations and modalities, your chiropractic physician can improve your range of motion, erase pain, and restore function to your joints. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor for a full assessment and individualized plan of care.

Brace Options for Lower Extremity Pain

Wearing a brace as a treatment for pain is a safe, efficient, and clinically proven therapy that could be complementary to your chiropractic care as determined by your chiropractic doctor. A variety of brace options can be worn such as knee or ankle brace. Bracing can help athletes protect their joints while still enjoying their sport. Each brace can be adjusted to fit your life and provide the stabilization you need to reduce pain in your body.

Get back to how life was before your lower extremity pain and schedule your chiropractic appointment today!

Six Ways to Keep Your Holidays Healthy and Fun!

When it comes to eating healthy, holidays are the worst time even to try. With family get-together caulked-full of calories, to eating fast food while shopping, the months of November and December are some of the hardest of healthy-living. No matter how discouraging it seems, don’t totally kick nutrition out the door this year – we’ve put together a list of six simple ways that you can enjoy the holiday season without completely giving up.

  1. Trick Your Brain. While you may head to the table ready to eat the entire turkey, you’re really not as hungry as you think. Before you load a huge plate down with food, consider taking a smaller plate and just putting a lot of food on it. The smaller plate will seem like it has a ton of food while actually sporting only half the calories of a regular- sized plate. You can do the same thing with drinks by using tall glasses that hold fewer
    ounces. Your mind thinks you’ve had the regular amount, and it will pass the news on to your stomach!
  2. Get Some Sleep! Yes, the holidays are stressful, and there doesn’t seem to be time enough to think about napping, but it’s important to get a full seven-hours sleep a day. The less you sleep, the more you eat, and calorie-loaded foods will be more attractive when you’re tired.
  3. Eat Before the Meal. It sounds crazy, but you might consider eating before you head off to the big meal. Healthy foods such as fruits and veggies can help calm your appetite and keep you from totally stuffing your face at the dinner.
  4. Take Time to Chew. Sometimes, eating at family get-togethers can become a race to see who can pack in the most food the fastest. Aunt Edith’s famous chocolate pie? Sure I’ll take another slice…just like me woof this one down first! Take time actually to enjoy your meal by chewing slowly. Not only will this give your food time to digest, but it’s another trick that makes you feel stuffed even when you’re not.
  5. Make Good Choices. Strangely enough, the foods that you put on your plate first are the ones you will eat the most of. Before you grab for the macaroni and cheese, head for the low-calorie veggie tray first. It may not seem like the most attractive food, but your waistline will thank you!
  6. Add Some Nutrition to the Meal. If you’re going to eat with friends or family, talk to the host about bringing along a healthy dish. Most chefs are happy to have something extra at the meal and would welcome a low-calorie dish that goes along with what they are serving. While you can still enjoy the other food, your healthy dish will ensure you that there is something nutritious available for your main course.

Yes, the holidays bring along a lot of festive meals and some very unhealthy eating choices; however, you don’t have to entirely give up on your plans to get in shape. By using the six tips listed above, you can continue to enjoy the fun while staying on course for a healthier new year!

Are Sedentary Lifestyles Leading to More Back Pain?

We commonly associate back pain with injuries – but are we right to do so? While it’s certainly true that people can injure their backs lifting heavy objects or in accidents, evidence is mounting that sitting still
could be even worse for your back than previously realized.

What Does Sitting Have to Do with Back Pain?
Sitting down seems to be a benign activity, but it’s not. As we grow increasingly attached to our computers, tablets, and smart phones, we also spend less time moving our bodies. And it turns out that all that sitting has affected our health. People who move around a lot tend to have better posture than people who don’t. Good posture relies on muscle tone and fitness. People who have a low percentage of muscle in their bodies may lack the strength to keep their backs straight while they sit. The fact that we spend so much of our time hunched over electronic devices hasn’t helped, either. In fact, 2008 marked the coining of a new phrase to describe the wear and tear caused by this phenomenon. It’s called Text Neck, and it could be turning into an epidemic. The human head weighs 12 pounds, but when we curve our necks downward to peer at a screen, the pressure on our spines increases dramatically. Over time, repeated stress on the cervical spine can lead to spinal degeneration and chronic pain.

The Solution is Simple

The solution to our sedentary problem is a simple one. Here are some tips to help you reduce the back pain caused by sitting

  1. Sit up straight with your back against your seat, your shoulders touching the backrest, and your knees lower than your hips. Your feet should be flat on the ground and your elbows should be at a comfortable angle.
  2. Align your computer screen so it is even with your eyebrows. This position ensures that you won’t have to strain your neck or spine to look at the screen.
  3. Take frequent breaks. When you sit for hours at a time, your spine compresses and pain may be the result. By standing up, stretching, or even walking around, you give your back a break.
  4. Get more exercise. You don’t have to exercise every day, but even walking or Yoga can help elongate your spine and reduce pain.

We all have to sit sometimes, but if you sit too much your spine may end up paying the price. Using these simple tips can help you keep your spine in the proper alignment and reduce the risk that you’ll end up with a chronic pain problem.

How Your Chiropractor Can Treat Carpal Tunnel Pain

Most of us have heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Since the use of home computers has become the norm, more and more people find they are suffering from this condition on one level or another.  

The carpal tunnel is a band of fibrous tissue located on the front side of the wrist. It contains the blood vessels, nerves, and tendons that are required for the hand to function properly. The Syndrome is caused by inflammation or damage to the tissues, or when pressure on the area constricts the arteries and nerves. The most common symptoms of this repetitive stress injury include tingling, numbness, pain in the wrists or hands and a weakening in the middle or index fingers, and thumb.

While most people think of chiropractic treatments as being designed for neck and back problems, it is, in fact, a whole-body wellness practice.  This makes it an effective and non-invasive way to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Chiropractic Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are four primary ways that chiropractors treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. These common treatments have shown to be very effective in treating the condition as a whole.

Adjustments

It all comes back to the spine.  When not in alignment, there are a number of issues that can occur, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Your chiropractor will work to realign the spine to its correct position. Then, if needed, make adjustments to other areas of the body being affected,  like the arms and wrists.

Ultrasound Therapy

Not just for seeing your baby for the first time, this technology is also used by chiropractors for the purpose of treating chiropractic conditions.  The device creates focused sound waves that penetrate deep into the body’s tissues. The effects include a reduction of inflammation and pain and the relaxation of the muscles. This treatment may be used singularly or in conjunction with other chiropractic treatments.

Acupuncture

Several studies have shown that this ancient practice can alleviate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and heal the injured nerves.  Resulting nerve conduction studies and ultrasonic imaging tests have been conclusive to show acupuncture does work to heal the nerves. Your Chiropractor will be able to advise you on whether this option is right for you.

Wrist Supports

These supports are designed to keep the wrist properly aligned with the rest of the arm, resulting in the reduction of compression due to excess pressure. Most often used as a preventative treatment, they are typically used by people whose work involves the harmful repetitive movements that can cause issues to begin. Use can also be in conjunction with regular chiropractic treatments as the ones mentioned above to aid in preventing the condition to develop.

There are also exercises and dietary habits that can assist.  Your Chiropractor may suggest one or more in an effort to keep you from experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other conditions. Proper treatment from a professional can result in relief of symptoms and promote healing without the use of medications or surgery.

Mindful Holidays in River North

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Mindful Holidays…


Turkey, pumpkin pie, cookies and holiday parties stacked on top of one another. When we’re deep in the holiday season it’s easy to put your healthy lifestyle off to the side; eating whatever you and skipping gym days. Often times this leads to intense feelings of guilty new year resolutions to lose the weight and get back into shape and on track. For many this is a cycle that repeats yearly.

How about this year we get a head start and practice mindfulness and moderation creating balance of fun and still keeping our daily habits and routine in check.

  • Maybe limit to one or two cookies, a special one that is very much a treat this time of year as opposed to a chocolate chip that is available all year.
  • Limit drinks at the work party to two, drinking plenty water in between.
  • Be sure to schedule your gym time in your calendar and schedule everything else around it – Make yourself just as important as your friends, family and colleagues.

The more indulging and procrastination, the harder and longer it takes to get reset back to your normal, you can still enjoy the holidays in moderation and feel ahead of the game come the new year.

 

Tingling, heavy, achey arms in Downtown Chicago…

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Tingling, heavy, achey arms?


ReavesSpineImageEver woken up with a numb arm or found that after working on the computer for couple hours your hands go numb, tingle or feel heavy and achey?

There are many reasons these symptoms could stem from but one of the most common is due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. When the blood vessels and nerves are compressed at the shoulder/neck joint, a sensation down the arms and/or hands occurs that can be sharp, dull or numb and tingly. Many times this pain is due to bad posture, injury or lack of mobility of the joints. You may also have a limited range of motion in your shoulders and arms.

A chiropractor can help with restoring the mobility of the joints and making postural changes will help to lessen the pressure on the nerves and surrounding tissues bringing balance back to the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper spine.

Suspect of neck pain and tingling? Schedule your visit today.

In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves

 

Chicago Foot pain, knee pain, hip pain, low back pain. How are these all related?

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Foot pain, knee pain, hip pain, low back pain. How are these all related? 

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The whole body is a kinetic chain, connected from our toes to our nose. One part that that we take for granted is the foot. The driving force from every step comes from the foot and having improper support and stability can throw the whole chain off.

We all know how important having supportive shoes is, especially for folks who are walking the city streets, the pavement can take a toll on commuters to and from the train/bus or to the office. Many of us grab our tennis shoes and tote “work” shoes in a bag to change to change into once we’ve reached our destination. 

Custom made orthotics help to reduce discomfort while enhancing support in the foot. Packaged inserts, unless prescribed by a doctor and crafted for your specific foot, is a shoe insert, not a custom orthotic. Custom made orthotics for your feet specifically work for YOUR feet, providing
the proper support in the right places creating proper alignment, and helping to address 
foot problems or cure long-standing foot issues.

Custom orthotics can be made by a Chiropractor and can be of great benefit to your chiropractic treatments. As the end of the year approaches, deductibles are met and HSA funds are still available, for your to use,  don’t let those go to waste. Schedule your chiropractic visit and learn if the root of your problem is connect to your feet.
In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves

Sciatia in River North… What is it Really?

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The term Sciatic is thrown out there quite a bit but what is it and what does it mean?


ReavesChiroBackPainThe Sciatic nerve is a large nerve that starts in the lower back and goes down the back of the leg to the foot. There is one on each side of the body. When this nerve is affected in some way, there is a sensation of shooting pain that most commonly starts at the buttock and goes down the leg as short as to the knee or as far as to the foot. When this sensation happens it is termed as Sciatica.But what is really happening and why?

 

When the sciatic nerve is affected there are three common reasons.

  1. There is a tiny muscle deep into the buttock called the Piriformis muscle. When the this muscle becomes tightened from overuse or from an injury, it puts pressure right on the sciatic nerve causing that deep dull achey pain and then shoots down the leg.
  2. When there is a lack of mobility or a misalignment within the joints of the pelvis or the lower back, this too can compress on the sciatic nerve and cause more of a sharp shooting pain.
  3. When there is disc disease such as a degeneration, a bulge or herniation, or as some like to call it ‘a slipped disc’, the pressure from the disc can hit on a nerve and cause the sciatic sensation down the leg.

There are many other causes of this sciatic pain sensation as well but to properly diagnose and treat this problem, a thorough history and examination must be performed to determine what the actual cause is.

Suspect of sciatic pain? Schedule an appointment today and find out what the real cause of your pain is.
In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves

 

Reaves Chiropractic