Common Risks And Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis or a”OA” is the most common joint disorder. It is caused by stress to the joints or what is know as “wear and tear” on a joint.

High intensity sports, lifestyles, bad posture and movement, repetitive movements can all cause “OA”. If the joint is stressed so much that the body can’t take it, it swells up, elicits pain and become stiff. The joint will also try to stabilize by fusing if the body deems it too unstable.

Osteophytes that look like teeth can (bone spurs) appear in the spine and joints in the other parts of the body will grow larger if stressed too much.

Fact: Before age 55, OA occurs equally in men and women. After age 55, it is more common in women.
Risk Factors:

1. Weight gain. Those extra pounds put a lot of strain on the hips, knees, ankles and feet. Putting more of a load on the joints will lead to bone growth.

2. Fractures or other joint injuries can lead to “OA”. This is not only related to the bone. Cartilage and ligament injuries can also lead to this type of arthritis. This includes injuries to the cartilage and ligaments in your joints.

Physical jobs that require kneeling, squatting, lifting, climbing stairs, or walking for long periods of time.

4. Sports with large impacts on the joint:  Football, basketball, soccer and sports with throwing will increase the risk.

Symptoms: Usually come on in middle age but have been starting to show up sooner now a days with the large amount of stress people put on their body’s daily.

– Pain, stiffness in joints. Worse after exercise or putting weight or stress on the joint.
– Rubbing, scraping, or crackling sound when you move the joint.
– Some people might not have symptoms, even though x-rays show the changes of OA.
– “OA” can be helped and prevented from getting worse with proper movement in the body which will decrease the stress on the joint.

Chiropractic is used by athletes to help them improve their game by having close to perfect body mechanics and helps with the stress and strain of the activity. If you want to stay healthy and keep your body as young and healthy as it can be….we can help!

Bad Posture Effects Your Mind As Well As Your Body

I remember my mom always on me about sitting up straight on my chair and not looking down when I was walking.  I thought this was just because it didn’t look good so I listened.  However many people don’t listen and work 8+ hours at a computer with bad postural habits.

Slouching is bad for you. It’s bad not only for your physical health because your spinal muscles send messages back to the brain and these are altered with misalignments, but also for your emotional well being as well.

Sitting with your computer eye level instead of looking down is helpful.  Sitting to standing desks help but you still need to be conscious of how you are standing and how you are sitting.

Poor posture may not get you right away but in time it can cause back and neck pain, muscle fatigue, breathing limitations, arthritic joints, digestive problems and mood disturbances. It can also create a bad impression when interviewing for a job, meeting new people and other people’s impressions of you when watching you move about.

Researchers have shown that poor posture can even leave you vulnerable to street crime. Many years ago it was shown in a study where women who walked sluggishly with head and eyes on the ground were much more likely to be mugged than those who walked briskly and purposely with head pointed forward and looking alert.

We have gravity pushing on our body at all times.  If not aligned properly certain muscles will have to work harder than others to keep us upright. This leads to muscle exhaustion and discomfort.

In a study performed on 110 students at SFU in San Francisco.  50% of the students were told to walk slumped and the others were told to skip while walking down the hall, the skippers had a lot more energy throughout the day.

Any repetitive or prolonged position “trains” the body’s muscles and tendons to shorten or lengthen.  This puts a lot of stress on your joints and can reshape them until they are retrained again.   Just as walking in high heels can shorten the plantar fascia and achilles tendon,  slouching while sitting  for hours or standing will eventually lead to permanently rounded shoulders and upper back which I am sure if you live in Slicon Valley, you see a lot of.

Although early humans spent most of their waking hours walking, running and standing, today in developed countries, 75 percent of work is performed while sitting.  Then after work, people either take work home and are on the computer or watch television seated so more hours with slouching.  The more you live a sedentary life, the easier it is to have body discomfort.

“Text neck,” a term coined by a Florida chiropractor, Dean L. Fishman, is a repetitive stress injury resulting from hours spent with the head positioned forward and down while using electronic devices. This leads to tight muscles in the back of the neck and upper back. People who lean forward while sitting may be inclined to clench their jaws and tighten their facial muscles, causing headache and TMJ.

Leaning forward or slouching can also reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent (this may be why there is a rise in C-paps).  This reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, according to Dr. Rene Cailliet, a pioneer in the field of musculoskeletal medicine.

Additionally, slouching or sitting in a rounded position compresses the abdominal organs putting stress on them and decreasing normal digestion and bowel function.

Improving posture requires a conscious effort and often strengthening and flexibility exercises to correct muscular imbalances, according to Nick Sinfield, a British physiotherapist. For example, exercises that strengthen the core, buttocks muscles and back extensors help correct a slouching posture, he said.

So, in conclusion, the habits your mom instilled in you as a child can be helpful to your body and mind.

Hip Pain, Do I Need a Hip Replacement?

Our hips are complex.  We have nerves, muscles, cartilage, tendons and ligaments all working in unison to help us move about, give us support, balance and stability. There are many people who have issues with their hips and have tried chiropractic before deciding to get a hip replacement and have found great improvement and have avoided surgery.

Chiropractic can be helpful in the treatment of acute and chronic joint conditions, as well as hip injuries.  After all, a hip is a joint!  We are experts regarding strains or sprains and overuse injuries, such as tendinitis and bursitis and postural issues. Some of the things we can significantly help with our care are:

* Discomfort       * inflammation         *Restoring and maintaining flexibility        *Increasing range of motion      *Strength, balance and stability in the joints and muscles

*alignment and function                    *reducing the risk of hip replacement and other joint surgeries

Our methods include but are not limited to: Adjustments to the spine and hip, soft tissue work, stretches, exercises, ergonomic and nutritional counseling.

Why Avoid Hip Replacement?

While hip replacement may seem like a quick and efficient solution to chronic hip problems or even getting a Cortizol shot seems quick and easy.   Both are more involved than many people may realize. After all, injecting yourself with a steroid is dangerous and is not recommended even by medical professionals to be done more than every 3 months.  Major surgery, and a full recovery from a joint replacement can take a year or longer, depending upon your health and fitness level.  Replacements have become very common and there are risks.

First, hip implants have a lifespan that ranges from 10 to 20 years. That means you will need another surgery to replace that artificial hip once it has reached the end of its lifespan.  If you are 40, that will mean probably 4 more procedures to keep you moving.  Also, failure of the joint can happen leading to another replacement much earlier than anticipated.

Revision procedures have become more common now because of the invention of metal hip replacements.  This was an attempt to make them last longer but some of these devices were poorly contrived leading to recalls and numerous complications.

Among the problems associated with these devices was “metallosis”.  This is a serious inflammatory condition that happens when there is shedding from the joint that is floating and causing friction leading to inflammation.  This can lead to severe pain, tissue damage and death, bone loss and failure of the implant to work properly.

It may be a good idea to think about natural solutions or non-invasive means before getting cut open and having a procedure done.  Remember, the surgeons are ready to do the replacement at any time, just make sure you have exhausted everything before doing so. There are usually several different things that you haven’t tried that will work.  Chiropractic has a great track record with joint work so give us a try first.  You may be surprised about the results!

Impingement Sydrome vs. Frozen Shoulder

Impingement Syndrome and Frozen Shoulder are very similar because they effect the shoulder joint but there are some differences.  Lets look at both and see what we can do about them.

Impingement Syndrome (I.S.):
We become more at risk for shoulder can happen as we get older because we become tighter and less mobile.  This condition can sometimes become a problem after bouts of shoulder bursitis or rotator cuff tendonitis.  Injuries to the shoulder inflame the tissues and can cause long term damage.  The rotator cuff muscles become tight and do not function properly leading to decreased movement of the shoulder.

What are the Symptoms?
Difficulty lifting a straight arm over your head or behind your back.  There can be tightness, pain and tenderness on the shoulder area. If this problem is not taken care of, chronic muscle tightness and atrophy can pull or rupture the bicep muscle or tendon limiting ability to bend the arm and elbow as well.

What can be done?

1. Stretching exercises

2. Proper alignment of the shoulder in the joint space

3. Muscle and tissue loosening with massage or sastm (a Graston Technique)

4. Ultrasound, Tens machines can also be used to stimulate the area

What is a frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)?
Frozen Shoulder is similar to Impingement syndrome but the capsule of the arm is affected with loss of movement in all directions (over the head, to the side, backwards).  It happens during active motion (patient does it) or when the doctor moves it and the patient is relaxing the arm.

What causes a frozen shoulder?
Repetitive movements or injury to the shoulder which causes inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the shoulder’s  joint capsule which surrounds the shoulder joint and keeps muscles and tissues in place.

If you are diabetic, have chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis or have recently had chest or breast surgery you are at a higher risk of getting Frozen Shoulder.  Also, long term non-movement of the arm in its normal range of motion can develop frozen shoulder.

How do we know you have frozen shoulder?

During examination we will move your arm and see where its limitations are.  Orthopedic tests will be administered to test strength and neurological testing will be performed.

If necessary, an x-ray with contrast dye injected (Arthography) into the shoulder joint can show problems with the capsule.   Also an MRI can be taken to see soft tissue damage.

In order to help with this problem, proper stretching of the arm and rehabilitation is required.  Stretches must be done everyday to keep good blood flow, movement and mobility.  Here is the bad news….once you have frozen shoulder or impingement syndrome, you have to keep stretching.  It can and will come back.

Both of these problems need a lot of time for rehabilitation.  It can sometimes take be 6-8 months to get back to full function.  Be patient, it will happen, just a lot of hard work to get you back in the swing of things again.

It can be tricky but in either case, our Redwood City Chiropractic office can help.

Rotator Cuff Injuries Can Creep Up On You

Your rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons on the upper part of your shoulder.  These muscles are responsible for rotating your arm outward (Teres Minor and Infraspinatus), rotating it inward (Subscapularis) and moving it away from your body (Supraspinatus).  Since we use our arms a lot, irritation or damage to the rotator cuff is fairly common.

Injuries to the area can result from falling on the shoulder, lifting and repetitive arm movements.  The most common cause of a rotator cuff injury occurs when you lift our arm over your head to throw a baseball or to open shelves that are above the shoulders.  Athletes and chefs commonly have problems with the shoulder.

Here are some common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury:

Pain and tenderness in your shoulder, especially when reaching overhead, reaching behind your back, lifting, pulling or sleeping on your side
Limited movement in the shoulder
avoidance of lifting your arm over your head for fear of pain.

What causes a rotator cuff problem?

Normal wear and tear. Increasingly after age 40, normal wear and tear on your rotator cuff can cause a breakdown of fibrous protein (collagen) in the cuff’s tendons and muscles. This makes them more prone to degeneration and injury. With age, you may also develop calcium deposits within the cuff or arthritic bone spurs that can pinch or irritate your rotator cuff.
Poor posture. When you slouch your neck and shoulders forward, the space where the rotator cuff muscles reside can become smaller. This can allow a muscle or tendon to become pinched under your shoulder bones (including your collarbone), especially during overhead activities, such as throwing.
Falling. Using your arm to break a fall or falling on your arm can bruise or tear a rotator cuff tendon or muscle.
Lifting or pulling. Lifting an object that’s too heavy or doing so improperly — especially overhead — can strain or tear your tendons or muscles. Likewise, pulling something, such as a high-poundage archery bow, may cause an injury.
Repetitive stress. Repetitive overhead movement of your arms can stress your rotator cuff muscles and tendons, causing inflammation and eventually tearing. This occurs often in athletes, especially baseball pitchers, swimmers and tennis players. It’s also common among people in the building trades, such as painters and carpenters.
Being an athlete. Athletes who regularly use repetitive motions, such as baseball pitchers, archers and tennis players, have a greater risk of having a rotator cuff injury.
Working in the construction trades. Carpenters and painters, who also use repetitive motions, have an increased risk of injury.
Having weak shoulder muscles. This risk factor can be decreased or eliminated with shoulder-strengthening exercises, especially for the less commonly strengthened muscles on the back of the shoulder and around the shoulder blades.

Problems in your shoulder can be a long term problem.  When tissues are damaged it can take 8-12 weeks to heal.  Even after reconditioning the area you must keep up with it especially if you have a job that calls for repetitive shoulder movement.  I have had great success with S.A.S.T.M. to recondition the tissue along with proper alignment of the shoulder.  Incorporating exercises to strengthen the area really helps!  You don’t have to live with shoulder pain and limitation.  Give us a call and we will guide you to health.

Chondromalacia (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

Your knee is responsible for absorbing a lot of stress when you walk, jump or run.  Cartilage located underneath the surface of your kneecap (patella) can sometimes be scraped or damaged during overuse, leg malposition, injury or tightness of surrounding muscles.   When the under surface is irritated, Chondromalacia of the patella occurs.  It is also called “Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome”.  Basically, the tissues underneath your kneecap have become inflammed.

Symptoms: Usually a dull, aching pain in the front of your knee especially when walking uphill or downhill, kneeling, squatting or sitting for long periods of time with your legs bent.  You may also experience a grating or grinding sensation when you straighten your leg.

When there is a flare-up, ice can help with the pain and inflammation.   I have found in my practice that a common reason why Chondromalacia occurs is because of tightness of either the Vastis-medialis or Vasits-Lateralis muscle.  This leads to a bio-mechanical problem where the knee does not move efficiently.  Finding out which muscle needs to be strengthened and which one needs to be stretched is key.  When there is an imbalance in the thigh, one muscle begins to pull your kneecap and rub against the tibia (leg).  This results in cartilage damage.

Proper stretching and strengthening exercises can prevent incidence of pain and prevent further damage to the tissues.

So, who commonly gets Chondromalacia?  Surprisingly, adolescents and young adults!  Most likely athletes who participate in running or jumping sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball.  Running can add 3-5x pounds of body weight force to the joints and Jumping can add 5 to 7x pounds.   This means if you weight 200lbs, running can add 1,000 pounds of forc and jumping can add up to 1,400 pounds.  That is a lot of strain to the joint and body.  Over time, squatting or or climbing stairs can become quite painful and sometimes even unbearable.

Proper body mechanics is important for taking the stress out of our bodies and allowing our joints to move the way they should.  Make sure you understand that this can be a repetitive injury which may take some time to heal but you can certainly get through it and even continue participating in the sport of your choice.  Specific exercises along with chiropractic alignments can greatly reduce flare-ups and chronic problems.

If you are experiencing knee pain, we can help!

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Anyway?

RA is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder that affects the synovial joints in the hands and feet. This arthritis affects the lining of your joints. This begins to swell the area and cause pain. Eventually it causes the joints to deform. It can also feel like muscle soreness, fatigue and fever.

Women are 3x as likely as men to get RA. The most common ages where the signs of RA begin are from the age of 40 to 60. There are treatments that can help with the symptoms of RA. Here is a list of common symptoms:

  1. Joint pain and swelling
  2. Joints are tender when pushed on
  3. Hands are discolored (red) and puffy
  4. Firm bumps may occur under the skin on the arm
  5. Fatigue
  6. Morning stiffness that lingers throughout the day
  7. Fever
  8. Weight loss

Where is RA going to hit first?
It tends to go after the small joints first. Hand/fingers, wrists, ankles, feet/toes. After a few years it may move to the larger joints such as the shoulder, knees, elbows, hips, jaw and neck. It also occurs on both sides of the body, meaning if one shoulder is affected so with the other shoulder.

Symptoms aren’t always present
Severity may differ for each individual and there are times when arthritis feels fine and other times when there are “flare ups”. This is dependent on the activity, foods and weather. Stay away from “nightshade foods” such as eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes. These are inflammatory foods and can trigger a flare up.  There are also other foods that can be inflammatory to the body in general that are not talked about but can inflame the organs, tissues and joints.  Bad carbs like wheat, rice, pasta and processed sugar all influence the bodies inflammatory response.  Low amounts of these foods could reduce inflammatory episodes.

What are the risk factors of RA?

  1. Sex (women 3x more likely to develop RA than men)
  2. Age (40-60 years)
  3. Genetics (if your parents had it, you have a high chance of getting it)
  4. Smoking

You can still lead an active life with RA. Again, stay away from inflammatory foods, keep fit and take Omega 3 (fish oil). Soft tissue work along with stretching has shown great results in my office. Realize that you may not function at 100% but you can still be active.

What Is The Cracking Sound With An Adjustment?

Cracking or popping is caused by a mixture of synovial fluid located in the joint, friction and gas.  The sound happens when the gas (mostly carbon dioxide) is released from the joint.

Just think about when you get a package in the mail.  Often times there is bubble wrap in the box to protect your stereo, television etc.  When you press into the bubble (friction), it makes a popping sound.  That is pretty much like the pressure a joint gets with an adjustment.  No breaking of bone, no smashing bones, just a release of gas.  After the “pop” happens, the joint will not make a noise again until the gases come back into the joint.  That is why once you hear a pop, another one can not be repeated.

So, now after learning this information, there is no reason to fear of the sound right?  Well, if you are afraid of the sound, there are other methods of moving the joint that don’t involve a popping sound and most chiropractors will accommodate you if you are don’t like the sound.

Pain in back of knee may be a Baker’s Cyst

Q: What is a Baker’s Cyst?

A: A Bakers Cyst is a fluid growth that occurs on the back of the knee. It can become hard and very painful.  A Baker’s Cyst can occur in children and adults.

Q: How does it happen?

A: A cyst starts to grow when there is a biomechanical problem adding stress to the joint such as with walking, running, standing and/or posture. It is also called a Popliteal Cyst.  Pulling of the muscles, tendons and ligaments can form swelling and then the cyst will start to form.

Q: What are the symptoms of Baker’s Cysts?

A: Symptoms of Baker’s Cysts can include:

  1. swelling behind the knee which can get to to size of a golf ball
  2. Difficulty and pressure on the joint when bending the knee. This pressure can go all the way down the calf muscle.
  3. Pain and tenderness after exercising

Q: What can be done to help alleviate a baker’s cyst?

A: Rest is the number one way of relieving problems with the cyst. Inflammation will go down and the fluid in the cyst will start to alleviate. Braces can also be worn to reduce the stress on the joint and prevent bad body mechanics which start to build the cyst back up again.

If given time to heal and stress is taken off of the joint, the cyst will get rid of its fluid and disappear.  Did you know that there is a 40% chance that a cyst removed by surgery will reoccur. That is a pretty high percentage!  So, if you can bear it, give it some time to take care of itself instead of opting for invasive surgery.  Once your tissues are cut open, there will be scar tissue left over and it may be hard to recuperate.

It is also important to alleviate the bio-mechanical problem.  It can be caused by uneven leg length, foot problems, tight muscles which add stress to the knee joint, trauma to the knee joint.  Taking care of the cause the cyst occurrence is key.   This will avoid a lot of unnecessary pain and irritation.

Plantar Fasciitis An Epidemic?

Plantar Fasciitis is becoming a problem in our community.  Why is this so?

Over the years our shoes have changed, we walk on hard surfaces all day long and we sit for long hours everyday without exercising our feet the way we should.  The plantar Fascia underneath our feet helps us to move our feet when we walk.  It is made of ligamentous tissue and when stretched too far, it will inflame and become tender and sore.

Our bones in our feet are meant to move and glide on dirt and adhere to surfaces.  Now that we walk on hard surfaces all day long, owe slam our bones on the ground and our slam on our fascia.  Cold laser can help alleviate the pain, but is not necessarily a long term solution.
Keeping these bones in the proper place is essential to stop the incidence of Plantar Fasciitis.  Adjustments and soft tissue work to the feet along with proper orthotics is key to keep your feet healthy and functioning properly.

Come into our office and we can address this issue and keep you running, walking, dancing or just keep you pain free!