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Bellevue Chiropractic Center  
Conditions Affecting Women

Pregnancy

Chiropractic care can help the spine and pelvis cope with the effects of pregnancy by restoring a state of balance. During pregnancy, a woman's center of gravity shifts forward to the front of her pelvis. This additional weight in front, causes stress to the joints of the pelvis and low back. As the baby grows in size, the added weight causes the curvature of her lower back to increase, placing extra stress on the fragile facet joints on the back side of the spine. Any pre-existing problems in a woman's spine tend to be exacerbated as the spine and pelvis become overtaxed, often leading to pain and difficulty performing normal daily activities. Studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers develop low-back pain at some point during their pregnancies. This is especially true during the third trimester when the baby's body gains the most weight. Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the pain and discomfort frequently experienced in pregnancy, and creates an environment for an easier, safer delivery. It is one safe and effective way to help the spine and pelvis cope with the rapid increase in physical stress by restoring a state of balance. In fact, most women have found that chiropractic care helped them avoid the use of pain medications during their pregnancy, and studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments help to reduce time in labor. Your chiropractor should be your partner for a healthy pregnancy. They can provide adjustments, as well as offer nutritional, ergonomic and exercise advice to help address your special needs. Chiropractic Tips for Pregnant Women: Be sure to get adjusted regularly. Chiropractic care is important to help maintain a healthy skeletal structure and nervous system function throughout a pregnancy and childbirth. Do some gentle exercise each day. Walking, swimming, or stationary cycling are relatively safe cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women. Avoid any activities that involve jerking or bouncing movements. Stop exercise immediately if you notice any unusual symptom, such as nausea, dizziness or weakness. Wear flat shoes with arch supports. Your feet become more susceptible to injury during pregnancy, partially due to a rapidly increasing body weight, but also because the ligaments that support the feet become more lax. When picking up children, bend from the knees, not the waist. Your low back is much more prone to injury during pregnancy. When sleeping, lay on your side with a pillow between your knees to take pressure off your lower back. Full-length "body pillows" or "pregnancy wedges" are very popular and can be helpful. Eat several small meals or snacks every few hours, rather than three large meals per day. This will help alleviate nausea, stabilize blood sugar and allow your body to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the foods that you eat. Take a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day; 800 micrograms is even better. Folic acid has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of neural tube defects in a developing fetus. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any vitamin or herbal supplement to make sure it's safe for you and the baby.

Frozen Shoulder

The term frozen shoulder encompasses a wide variety of restrictive shoulder disorders and can also be referred to as adherent bursitis, pericapsulitis, obliterative bursitis and periarthritis. Regardless of what it is called, manipulation of the joint and neuro-muscular-skeletal rehabilitation are needed to resolve the lack of mobility. Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a malady that affects two to three percent of the population. Often the main indicator is initial pain in the joint and decreased mobility. Frozen shoulder can affect people of any age from children to adulthood, but is most commonly diagnosed in people ranging from 40 - 70 years of age, predominantly women. The shoulder joint itself is called a ball and socket joint. Ligaments, tendons and muscles work together to provide support, strength and the wide range of motion that enables us to move our arms and hands in a variety of positions in order to complete tasks. All the functions of the shoulder can be compromised by underlying inflammatory diseases and misuse. The specific causes of frozen shoulder perplex are varied and largely still unknown, but onset begins with initial pain, followed by restriction in mobility and finally recovery. Frozen shoulder can often be referred to as insidious in nature. The symptoms and development of the disorder are slow and can take up to a year or two to set in. Often patients will experience pain that will increase over time. As chemical changes take place in the shoulder joint, thick strands of tissue called adhesions form and begin to restrict mobility. The lubricating synovial capsule in the shoulder joint thickens and provides less lubrication. By the time the sufferer begins to notice a significant issue in lack of mobility, the disorder has set in and requires treatment. The good news is that although the causes of frozen shoulder are varied, treatment is straight forward and the disorder can be resolved. Often clinicians, including our experienced and caring staff, can provide the correct manipulation and physiotherapy to help you regain mobility and resolve the disorder. Contact our office so we can address your condition immediately. Causes of Frozen Shoulder Adhesive capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder) can be attributed to misuse and injury, myocardial infarction, upper torso surgery, such as arm and shoulder surgery or mastectomy, and even lack of use. When the shoulder joint goes unused and remains in the same position for long periods of time, such as when a patient is placed in a sling or unable to use their arm, the joint tightens and mobility is decreased. An autoimmune response in the area may cause the joint to stiffen and restrict the joint causing the initial pain. When the initial pain is not addressed, the inflammatory nature of the disorder will progress and adhesions form in the joint further restricting mobility and increasing the level of pain. Frozen Shoulder Due to Systemic Disorders A large population of patients who suffer from systemic diseases may be more likely to develop frozen shoulder. These systemic diseases include those who suffer from thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroid and hypothyroid, both overactive and underactive thyroid function. Other diseases include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tuberculosis and Parkinson's Disease. Frozen shoulder treatment related to these diseases is paramount and the importance of early diagnosis followed by early manipulation and treatment are necessary, because more drastic treatments are often times not an option. Our chiropractic staff are experts in diagnosing and treating the issue to help resolve your pain and regain your range of motion, so you may return to a normal routine. Frozen Shoulder in Surgical Patients Patients who have recently gone through shoulder surgery such as rotator cuff repair or repair to the labrum, one of the many tendons in the shoulder, may experience frozen shoulder. Patients who have had recent mastectomy or cardiovascular surgery are at risk, as well. The reason they are more susceptible to the disorder is lack of use of the shoulder. When the shoulder remains in the same position for a prolonged period of time, the joint stiffens and the pain sets in. Once the surgical site heals sufficiently, neuro-muscular-skeletal rehabilitation and chiropractic manipulation are highly recommended to help return range of motion to the joint and reduce pain. Our office can develop a program for you that will reduce the pain and increase the range of motion over a healthy period so you can return to a normal schedule in you life. Chiropractic Treatment of Frozen Shoulder Chiropractic therapy for frozen shoulder can produce the results you need and resolve your frozen shoulder. Our staff will evaluate your baseline range of motion and pain level to develop a plan tailored to you. In-office neuro-muscular-skeletal rehabilitation coupled with exercise you may do at home will address and increase your range of motion. It will also build the muscle to prevent muscular atrophy or the shrinkage of important muscles in the shoulder. Coupled with treatment for inflammation in the joint space, patients can see improvement over a period of time and resolution of the disorder. Hard work is the key. Failure to work on stretching in the office as well as at home can delay the recovery process. Trust our staff to direct you along the path to recovery. Sources: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/related-conditions/frozen-shoulder.html http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/frozen-shoulder/DS00416/DSECTION=risk-factors http://www.aafp.org/afp/990401ap/1843.html http://www.healthgrouponline.com/frozenshoulder.html

Fibromyalgia

A combination of chiropractic, trigger point therapy, and lifestyle changes has proven to be very effective in decreasing the severity and duration of the physical pain of fibromyalgia. The word fibromyalgia comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). Fibromyalgia syndrome is chronic disorder which includes widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points that affects 3-6 million people in the United States. For reasons that are unclear, more than 90 percent of those who develop fibromyalgia are women. It is not currently known whether the predominance of women who suffer from fibromyalgia is a phenomenon of the socialization of women in the American culture or whether it is some combination of the female reproductive hormones and other genetic predispositions. According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), fibromyalgia is defined as a history of pain in all four quadrants of the body lasting more than three months. Pain in all four quadrants means that you have pain in both your right and left sides, as well as above and below the waist. The ACR also described 18 characteristic tender points on the body that are associated with fibromyalgia. In order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a person must have 11 or more tender points. In addition to pain and fatigue, people who have fibromyalgia may experience: sleep disturbances morning stiffness headaches irritable bowel syndrome painful menstrual periods numbness or tingling of the extremities restless legs syndrome temperature sensitivity cognitive and memory problems (sometimes referred to as "fibro fog") Fibromyalgia is often confused with another condition called "myofascial pain syndrome" or "myofascitis." Both fibromyalgia and myofascitis can cause pain in all four quadrants of the body and tend to have similar tender point locations, but the two conditions are worlds apart. Myofascitis is an inflammatory condition due to overuse or injury to your muscles, whereas fibromyalgia is caused by a stress-induced change in metabolism and healing. Myofascitis tend to come on rather suddenly and is usually associated with a particular activity or injury, true fibromyalgia has a slow, insidious onset, usually beginning in early adulthood. It is very important to diagnose each of these correctly, for they require very different approaches to treatment. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time - possibly a lifetime. However. it won't cause damage to your joints, muscles, or internal organs. The Basics of Fibromyalgia The latest research indicates that fibromyalgia is a stress-related condition that is a cousin in Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (often referred to as simply 'lupus') and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In all three of these conditions, there is the same predominantly female distribution, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, irritable bowel, as well as many other similarities. You can think about these three conditions as lying on a continuum with Fibromyalgia on one end, Lupus on the other and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the middle. All three of these conditions are caused by an abnormal stress response in the body, but with Lupus, the immune system is primarily affected, causing an autoimmune reaction that attacks your healthy tissues. On the other end of the spectrum is fibromyalgia, where metabolic abnormalities are primary. These metabolic changes are the result of a stress-induced decrease in blood flow to an area of the brain called the pituitary. This, in turn causes a decrease in a number of important hormones, such as the growth hormone releasing hormone (somatotropin) and the thyroid stimulating hormone. These hormonal changes lead to abnormal muscle healing, borderline or full-blown hypothyroid, as well as memory and cognitive changes. One of the major physical abnormalities that occurs with fibromyalgia lies in the muscle itself, where there is a build up of a protein called "Ground Substance." Ground substance is normally found in muscle, bone and connective tissue all over the body and is responsible for making the tissues stronger and less susceptible to tearing. In a normal person, when a muscle is injured, the muscle tissue itself is able to regenerate and over time, completely heal itself. In a person with fibromyalgia, the muscle is unable to completely heal itself. Instead, an abnormally large amount of ground substance builds up in the injured area. It is the ground substance, coupled with local muscle spasm it creates that creates the muscle 'knots' associated with fibromyalgia. A number of tests may be done to rule out other disorders and an examination can reveal whether a person has the characteristic tender areas on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, or knees. Unlike its cousin lupus, there are currently no diagnostic laboratory tests for fibromyalgia. Because there are no clinical tests for fibromyalgia, some doctors, unfortunately, conclude that a patient's pain is not real, or they may tell them that there is little they can do. But a combination of chiropractic, trigger point therapy, and lifestyle changes has proven to be very effective in decreasing the severity and duration of the physical pain and disability of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat. Not all doctors are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment, so it is important to find a doctor who is. Fibromyalgia treatment often requires a team approach, utilizing chiropractic care, trigger point therapy, massage, dietary changes, as well as exercises and stretching. Treating Fibromyalgia with Chiropractic Chiropractic care is critical for those who suffer from fibromyalgia in order to keep the spine and muscles from losing too much movement. Because fibromyalgia causes the muscles to tighten up and lose some of their natural pliability, it results in a global loss of movement in the spine. The loss of movement in the spine results in a neurological reflex that causes the muscles to tighten further. This vicious cycle will continue and over time will lead to increased pain, increased muscle tightness, a loss of movement, more difficulty sleeping and the development of more and more trigger points. The only option is to continually adjust the spine and keep it moving. It is not uncommon for those with fibromyalgia to be adjusted three to four times per month to keep everything mobile and relaxed. The biggest concern in treating people with fibromyalgia is that their muscles have a diminished healing ability. For this reason, chiropractic adjustments are usually modified slightly to be more gentle than normal. This helps to decrease the stress on all of the small supporting muscles of the spine, which can be easily injured. It is important when seeking chiropractic care, to make sure that the doctor is familiar with the muscular changes that occur with fibromyalgia so that they can adjust their treatment accordingly. Treating Fibromyalgia with Trigger Point Therapy The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing, body-wide pain with defined tender points, and frequently, trigger points. Trigger points are often confused with "tender points." They are not the same. A trigger point needs firm pressure to elicit pain, while tender points are painful with even very light pressure. Trigger points will refer pain to other areas of the body, whereas tender points will not. Unlike tender points, trigger points can occur in isolation and represent a source of radiating pain, even in the absence of direct pressure. As discussed earlier, trigger points are purely comprised of spasmed muscle fibers, whereas tender points are knots filled with ground substance. Those with fibromyalgia almost always have a combination of the two - trigger points and tender points - and can improve dramatically with light trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy for fibromyalgia is much like trigger point therapy for low back pain, neck pain or headaches. The points are the same. The difference is just intensity. Since the muscles in patients with fibromyalgia are easily injured and take longer to heal, it is necessary to use less pressure on their trigger points. Treating Fibromyalgia with Cold Laser Therapy Since poor healing of muscle tissue and chronic pain are characteristic traits of fibromyalgia, laser therapy is an important part of any treatment plan. Two of the major benefits of cold laser therapy is stimulation of tissue healing and decreased sensations of pain. A 1997 study of 846 people with fibromyalgia reported in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery demonstrated that two-thirds of the patients experienced improved pain and mobility with cold laser therapy. Another study published in Rheumatology International in 2002, showed that those who received laser therapy had a significant improvement in pain, fatigue and morning stiffness. Self-Care for Fibromyalgia Your day to day lifestyle choices have a tremendous impact on how much impact fibromyalgia will have on your life. The difference between those who take care of themselves and those who do not is tremendous. Those who make lifestyle changes to help their fibromyalgia suffer much less pain, are able to remain more active and have a much higher quality of life than those who do not. If you have fibromyalgia, here are some of the main things that you can do on a daily basis to help your body: Getting Enough Good Sleep -Getting enough sleep and the right kind of sleep can help ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, but is something that can be hard to get. Many people with fibromyalgia have problems such as pain, restless legs syndrome and brain-wave irregularities that interfere with restful sleep. Insomnia is very common. Although alcohol may help you to relax, it is not recommended before bed as it has been shown to interfere with restful sleep. Some of those with fibromyalgia have found 5-hydroxy tryptophan (5-HTP) very helpful, as well as the prescription anti-depressant amitriptyline. Typically, we don't recommend taking perscritpion drugs, but in this case, it is difficult to heal without enough sleep. Exercising - Improved fitness through exercise is recommended. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia symptoms can be relieved by aerobic exercise. Though pain and fatigue may make exercise and daily activities difficult, it's crucial to be as physically active as possible. The best way to begin a fitness program is to start with low impact exercises, like walking and swimming. Starting slowly helps stretch and mobilize tight, sore muscles. High-impact aerobics and weight lifting could cause increased discomfort, so pay attention to your body. The more you can exercise, the better off you will be. Making Changes at Work -Most people with fibromyalgia are able to continue working, but they may have to make big changes to do so. It may be necessary to reduce the number of hours at work, find a job that will allow you to have a flexible schedule, or switch to a less physically demanding job. Many people with fibromyalgia require specially designed office chairs, adjustable desks or other adaptations in order to continue working. If you face obstacles at work, such as an uncomfortable desk chair that leaves your back aching or difficulty lifting heavy boxes or files, your employer may make adaptations that will enable you to keep your job. Eating Well -Foods, just like anything else, have the ability to either stress your body or to help your body heal. Foods that tend to be stressful on the body include: dairy, eggs, wheat, corn, as well as anything with monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates or nitrites (as are found in processed foods). Several environmental toxins may also contribute to the overall physical stress on your body, therefore fish should be avoided as well. It is important that you eat as much clean, organically grown fresh foods as possible. Base your diet around whole foods such as: brown rice, legumes, oats, spelt, rice milk, soy, hormone-free chicken or turkey, roots, nuts and berries. Nutritional Supplements -There are dozens of nutritional products that claim to be 'the answer' for fibromyalgia. To date, none of them have proven to be of much long-term benefit for anyone. However, there are some people who have used magnesium malate with good results, some people who have used ginkgo biloba with good results and others with various herbals. The bottom line with nutritional supplements is that, to date, there is nothing that works for everyone. If you come across something that you would like to try, by all means do so, as long as you check it out with your chiropractor first to ensure that it won't interfere with any of your other treatment. Contact us today! We May Help You With

PMS

Several studies have shown that chiropractic care can help decrease many of the symptoms of PMS without the potential side effects of prescription drugs. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by mood swings, swollen abdomen, headaches, back pain, food cravings, fatigue, irritability or depression in the days before a woman's monthly period. The severity of these symptoms can range from mild to incapacitating and may last from a couple of days to two weeks. It has been estimated that three of every four menstruating women experience some form of premenstrual syndrome, and it is more likely to trouble women from their late 20s to early 40s. Between 10 to 20 percent of all women experience symptoms that are severe or even disabling. PMS is thought to be a side effect of hormonal changes during the monthly menstrual cycle and can be made worse by stress, decreased serotonin levels in the brain and subluxations in the low back. Although chiropractic care cannot fix the way your body responds to the hormonal changes that preceed menstruation, several studies have shown that it can help decrease many of the symptoms of PMS without the potential side effects of prescription drugs. Since the nerves that exit the low back are responsible for regulating all of the tissues in the lower abdomen, any pressure or irritation that can be alleviated through chiropractic care can be helpful. Contact our chiropractor . . . we can help!
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