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Condition Of The Month

Achilles Tendonitis

achilles

Your Achilles tendon is the strong fibrous band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel. The tendon is named after “Achilles” who was a powerful, yet vulnerable warrior in Greek mythology. Likewise, our Achilles tendon, being the largest and strongest tendon in the body, is susceptible to injury from the high demands placed on it. (Running can generate forces over 12 times your body weight on the Achilles tendon.)

The tendon may be strained or even ruptured from excessive stretch or forceful contraction of the calf muscles. More commonly, the tendon is repeatedly overloaded and suffers tiny “micro tears.” Damage usually occurs either directly behind the heel, or near the weakest area of the tendon- one to two inches above the heel.

Achilles tendon injuries affect between 250,000 and 1 million people per year. Most are middle-aged males, between the age of 30 and 50. Interestingly, Achilles tendon injuries occur more frequently on the left side. If you have suffered a prior Achilles tendon injury, you are at greater risk of injuring the opposite side. Two-thirds of all Achilles tendon injuries involve athletes. Runners are up to 10 times more likely to suffer Achilles tendon problems. You may at increased risk if the arch of your foot is too high or too flat.

Symptoms may begin abruptly following a strain but more commonly develop slowly from repeated irritation. Morning pain and stiffness are common. Your symptoms will likely increase with activity, especially walking or running. You may notice pain when you rise up on your toes. Walking down stairs stretches the tendon and usually increases symptoms. Some patients notice that the irritated area becomes firmly swollen. Ongoing irritation to the spot on your heel where the tendon inserts can cause a painfully elevated “pump bump.”

Research has shown that conservative care, like the type provided in this office, can produce “excellent results” in over 85% of patients. Initially, you may need to limit or stop activities that cause pain. Runners may need to switch to swimming or cycling for a short period of time. Be sure to introduce new activities slowly and avoid increasing your activity by more than 10% per week. Runners should begin on a smooth, shock- absorbent surface and start at a low intensity – first increasing distance, then pace. Avoid training on hard or unlevel surfaces like hills. Make sure you warm up properly and avoid over training. Avoid wearing high heels or shoes with an excessively rigid heel tab. One of the most important and effective treatments for Achilles tendinopathy is performing “heel drop exercises” as outlined below.

If you experience any of these symptoms, give our office a call.

Text Neck Caution

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Winter break for your kids might mean more time being spent on their electronics than usual. Be cautious of the dangers of excessive tech use and the stress that’s being put on your child’s neck and back when they’re sitting down, or looking down at a phone or tablet for a long time. This type of strain/injury happens so frequently nowadays that it even has a name “Text/Tech Neck”.
 
The best way to avoid this is to limit tech use or practice good posture when they do use their devices.

Tips to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Holiday Tips 2018

The holiday season is here, which means our daily routines will be disrupted by festive get- togethers, cookies, pies, traveling, and shopping. It can be stressful just thinking about it, but we have some tips to help you stay on top of your healthy habits throughout the season – without feeling overwhelmed.

Practice Healthy Nutrition

  • –  Drink plenty of water, especially if you’ll be consuming alcoholic beverages at a holiday party. Water will help you avoid dehydration and as a bonus, may also help fill you up so don’t overindulge.
  • –  Use a smaller plate to help you maintain healthy portion sizes.
  • –  Don’t force yourself to eat everything. Choose only the things you most enjoy.
  • –  Take the focus off of food. At your next family gathering, prepare a game or activity that doesn’t involve overindulging in food or alcohol.

    Keep Moving

  • –  Don’t neglect your workouts. Make them a priority – even more so during this busy season.
  • –  If you’re traveling during the holidays, be aware of how much you’re sitting. Excessive sitting is detrimental to your health in many ways. Try to get up and move around at least once every hour, whether you’re traveling by car or plane.

    Relax

  • –  Make sure to strive for the recommended amount of sleep, which is 7-8 hours each night for adults.
  • –  De-stress using a healthy method that works for you – whether that be meditation, exercise, or a warm bath and a book. You’ll enjoy this busy season much more when you have a clear mind.
  • –  Lastly, listen to your body. Stress, whether it be mental or physical, will take a toll on your health. If you need a pre or post-holiday tune-up, we’re always here to help.

Conservative Management of Headaches

HA C Spine

Headaches affect almost half of the population. 15-25% of all headaches are referred from the cervical spine and are classified as “cervicogenic”. (1,2) The pathophysiology of cervicogenic headache is debatable, but the anatomical basis is thought to be a convergence of sensory neurons in the upper cervical spinal cord that allows bidirectional referral of pain between the neck and head. (3) More recently, anatomists have identified myodural bridges connecting the dura to the suboccipital musculature. These bridges employ both passive and active tensioning of the spinal cord; with obvious implications for mechanically generated headaches. (4-6)

Two recent randomized controlled clinical trials have highlighted the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic management for headaches.

o “Cervical spinal mobilization increased cervical range of motion and induced immediate headache relief (in patients with cervicogenic headache).” (7)

o “Adverse events were mild and transient, and severe or serious adverse events were not observed. Local tenderness was the most common, reported by 11.3% and 6.9% of the manipulation group and the placebo group, respectively.” (8)

This new data adds to a growing list of support for employing spinal manipulation for headache sufferers. I hope that you will consider recommending chiropractic care for your appropriately screened patients. We are honored to be your partner in co-managing patients and will work diligently to provide tools that resolve problems quickly and safely.

Exercise of the Month: The Semi-Stiff Dead Lift

This month’s featured exercise will target your hamstrings, buttocks, and lower back.

 

Begin standing with your thumbs on your rib cage and your fingers on the crests of your hip, making sure not to approximate your fingers throughout the exercise. Stand on one leg with your knee bent only slightly. Slowly flex forward from the hips moving your chest toward the floor, making certain not to flex your back. Return to an upright position. Repeat 15 repetitions on each leg once per day or as directed.