Can Chiropractic Care Help You Recover from Back Surgery?

Can Chiropractic Care Help You Recover from Back Surgery?

By Dani Stekel D.C.

Luckily, surgery is only necessary in a relatively small number of cases involving back problems.  Non-invasive methods such as chiropractic care are available for treating a wide range of spinal conditions, including back pain, sciatica and herniated discs.  However, in some severe cases, particularly those involving fractured vertebrae, scoliosis, kyphosis, and when degenerative disc disease has progressed to a point where the spinal nerves are being compressed and causing constant pain, surgery may be necessary.

Many people ask, “How long does recovery from spinal surgery take?”  The answer varies greatly depending on the extent of the surgery and the techniques used as well as the general physical condition and behavior of the patient.  Recovery time can range anywhere from two weeks to a year, with the average being about 12 weeks.  However, there are some things you can do to help speed recovery, including receiving chiropractic care.

While regular chiropractic care can help keep you off the operating table in the first place, it can also help you to recover from back surgery if it does become necessary.  Despite what you may think, visiting a chiropractor after back surgery does not have to be a cause for anxiety.  Licensed chiropractors are among the most experienced healthcare professionals when it comes to treating spinal problems of all types.  They will give you a thorough examination to assess your particular situation before beginning any kind of treatment.  This examination will usually involve taking a detailed medical history, doing a careful physical evaluation and (where appropriate) ordering diagnostic imaging such as an x-ray or MRI.

Chiropractic care may not be appropriate for some time following certain types of procedures.  For example, a spinal fusion surgery should generally be allowed to heal for a year before having chiropractic treatment.  Consult with your surgeon and chiropractor about the best timing to begin chiropractic manipulation.  As patients who have had spinal fusions often continue to experience pain post-surgery, they in particular may benefit from chiropractic care provided it is delivered at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.

A case report that was published in the Journal of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists in 2009 noted that those patients who reported pain after spinal fusion surgery found relief with a combination of distraction decompression and spinal adjustment therapies.  If you have had spinal fusion surgery, check to be sure your chiropractor can use non-rotational methods of spinal manipulation to treat you.

Chiropractic care for back surgery that does not involve spinal fusion is also a good idea.  After your back has had some time to recover, it’s important to get it moving again, and your chiropractor can help to relax the muscles and realign vertebrae that may have become misaligned from surgery or in the days of recovery following.  Chiropractic adjustments can help to stimulate the flow of fluids to the spinal area, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the spinal tissues and carrying away waste material in order to speed healing.

Your chiropractor can also provide you with exercises you can do at home to strengthen your back and core muscles that will allow you to get back to your normal life more quickly and help to keep you from having to undergo any further back surgeries.

To schedule a consultation:

212-581-3331

Stekel Chiropractic

250 West 57st.

Suite 930

New York, NY 10107

How Much Sleep Do People Really Need?

How Much Sleep Do People Really Need?

Young Girl Asleep on Pillow --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

By Dani Stekel D.C.

There is no short, simple answer to the question of how much sleep people really need.  Our requirement differs depending on our age and individual needs.  For instance, preschool-aged children (3 to 5 years) need between 11 and 13 hours of sleep per night.  On the other hand, the elderly may sleep for only three or four hours at a time, with their sleep taken both at night and during the day.  What is not in question is that most people do not get enough sleep for their needs.  Researchers estimate that approximately 10 percent of Americans are chronically sleep deprived.

Sleep deprivation is associated with a higher incidence of accidents, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and psychiatric problems such as depression.  Sleep specialists Donna L. Arand and Michael H. Bonnet say, “There is strong evidence that sufficient shortening or disturbance of the sleep process compromises mood, performance and alertness and can result in injury or death.  In this light, the most common-sense ‘first, do no harm’ medical advice would be to avoid sleep deprivation.”  But what exactly is sleep deprivation?

Everyone has a night or two when their sleep may be disturbed due to illness, being awoken by noise or the room being too warm, for example.  The National Sleep Foundation says there are two different factors at work in determining if you will be sleep deprived or not: your basal sleep need (what you require for functioning at your best) and your sleep debt (the accumulation of lost sleep).  Let us say, for instance, that you get your required eight hours of basal sleep for three nights in a row.  You might imagine that sleep deprivation should not be an issue.  However, you may still find yourself feeling sleepy and unable to concentrate.  Despite having slept well during the prior three nights, you may still have a sleep debt to “pay off” from the nights before that.

To make things even more complicated, it is also possible to get too much sleep.  Researchers have found that sleep regularly lasting nine hours or more is associated with an increased rate of illness, accidents and death.  Depression and low socioeconomic status are two factors related to sleeping for long periods of time.

Two surveys taken by the American Cancer Society that included over a million adult participants found that those who slept seven hours a night had a lower risk of mortality in the following 6 years than those who slept either more or less.  All else equal, experts suggest that for most healthy adults, getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is ideal.

To judge for yourself the amount of sleep that is right for you, assess how you respond to different amounts of sleep.  Some people function better on less sleep and some need more than eight hours to feel at their best.  If you believe you are consistently not getting enough sleep, speak with your physician.  He or she will be able to give you some advice about how to increase the quantity and quality of sleep you get.  It is definitely worth the effort since getting the right amount of sleep can significantly improve your overall quality

For a free chiropractic consultation:

Stekel Chiropractic

(212)581-3331

Pregnancy and Sciatica

Pregnancy and Sciatica

By Dani Stekel D.C.

 pregnant-back-pain-200-300

Pregnancy involves a broad range of rapid changes to a woman’s physiology, including changes that can vary widely from one woman to the next.  Sciatica is a common symptom associated with pregnancy and is caused by pressure or injury to the sciatic nerve.  The common signs of sciatica are weakness, tingling, numbness and burning pain in the legs, back and buttocks.

As the fetus grows inside the mother’s womb, the uterus expands and occasionally places pressure against the sciatic nerve in the lower spinal column.  This pressure can become especially evident during the third trimester as the baby begins to shift toward the proper birthing position.  The baby can end up resting directly upon the nerve, creating significant pain.

Approximately half of all pregnant women who suffer from sciatica recover within six weeks of childbirth and almost all (90%) recover within 3 months, although there is a small percentage for whom the pain continues for much longer.

Due to the dangers of taking painkillers and other medication during pregnancy, physicians generally recommend not taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen.  Instead, there are a number of exercises and other options to help relieve the pain of sciatica before and after childbirth. 

·        Take frequent rests and avoid spending too much time on your feet.

·        Avoid wearing heeled shoes that may jar your spine.  Soft, flat shoes may be preferable, but if they don’t help, try other types of shoes with different types of heel support.

·        Avoid lifting or carrying heavy objects, but if you absolutely have to, be sure to bend from your knees and maintain a straight back.

·        Place heat or ice packs on the location of the pain.  Use ice for the first couple of days and then heat after that.

·        Take a warm bath.  The heat will help soothe the pain and the buoyancy will take the pressure off.

·        Alternative therapy such as chiropractic care or prenatal massage (by a trained and licensed therapist) can also provide relief.

·        Low impact physical activities such as swimming and prenatal yoga can help stretch the body and readjust the baby’s position, thus taking the pressure off the nerve and reducing the pain.

If the sciatica persists during labor, then the range of positions available for delivery may be limited due to the additional pain.  If you suspect that this may become an issue for you, one alternative may be to ask the hospital or other facility to make a birthing pool available for your delivery as this will provide a warm and buoyant medium for reducing the pressure and pain.

Sciatica is generally a temporary discomfort for pregnant women, one that lasts not much longer than the pregnancy itself, and can be treated naturally without risk to the baby or mother.

To schedule an appointment:

Call us at Stekel Chiropractic

(212)581-3331

 

Posted in: Lower back pain

How Does Chiropractic Help Increase Range of Motion and Flexibility?

How Does Chiropractic Help Increase Range of Motion and Flexibility?

By: Dani Stekel D.C.

 

When we’re younger, it’s easy to take our extensive range of motion and flexibility for granted.  But as we age, a number of health conditions and the cumulative effects of wear and tear can affect our ability to move the way we used to.  When this happens it can be difficult to carry on the activities of daily life.  Even things as simple as picking something up off the floor or tying your shoes can be challenging activities when your movements are curtailed.  Luckily, regular chiropractic care can help increase both range of motion and flexibility.

A study performed in 2001 by researchers at the Phillip Chiropractic Research Centre of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic adjustments increased range of motion in the 105 patients who participated in the study.  There were three phases of this study, in which each of the participants was given no adjustments, fake adjustments or true adjustments.  In each phase, the patients who were given the true adjustments showed a significant improvement in range of motion, which was not the case for the other two groups.

A decrease in range of motion and flexibility can result in a downward spiral of disability.  An injury or degenerative condition can cause pain, swelling and stiffness, limiting flexibility and range of motion.  So we avoid activities that involve the affected body parts, either consciously or unconsciously.  This then becomes a classic case of “use it or lose it”.  Without regular exercise, the muscles and joints stiffen, adhesions and scar tissue can form, and mobility is further reduced.  Eventually, a person can become completely incapacitated.

A chiropractor uses spinal adjustments and manipulations to other parts of the body to realign the bones and joints so as to reduce pain, restore range of motion, and improve flexibility, balance and coordination.  These adjustments may be performed manually, or other techniques may be used to increase circulation and improve function, such as ultrasound, trigger point therapy and electrical stimulation.  Your chiropractor can also recommend specific exercises that can be done at home to increase your strength and flexibility so that you’re able to maintain and build upon the gains from your chiropractic adjustments.

Many people restrict their activities due to back pain, which is the most common complaint of those who enter a chiropractor’s office.  Regular chiropractic care can reduce or eliminate the source of your back and joint pain, allowing you to resume your normal activities and to remain more flexible into your golden years.

For a free consultation:

Contact: Stekel Chiropractic

212-581-3331

How Does Chiropractic Help Increase Range of Motion and Flexibility?

How Does Chiropractic Help Increase Range of Motion and Flexibility?

By Dani Stekel D.C.

When we’re younger, it’s easy to take our extensive range of motion and flexibility for granted.  But as we age, a number of health conditions and the cumulative effects of wear and tear can affect our ability to move the way we used to.  When this happens it can be difficult to carry on the activities of daily life.  Even things as simple as picking something up off the floor or tying your shoes can be challenging activities when your movements are curtailed.  Luckily, regular chiropractic care can help increase both range of motion and flexibility.

A study performed in 2001 by researchers at the Phillip Chiropractic Research Centre of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic adjustments increased range of motion in the 105 patients who participated in the study.  There were three phases of this study, in which each of the participants was given no adjustments, fake adjustments or true adjustments.  In each phase, the patients who were given the true adjustments showed a significant improvement in range of motion, which was not the case for the other two groups.

A decrease in range of motion and flexibility can result in a downward spiral of disability.  An injury or degenerative condition can cause pain, swelling and stiffness, limiting flexibility and range of motion.  So we avoid activities that involve the affected body parts, either consciously or unconsciously.  This then becomes a classic case of “use it or lose it”.  Without regular exercise, the muscles and joints stiffen, adhesions and scar tissue can form, and mobility is further reduced.  Eventually, a person can become completely incapacitated.

A chiropractor uses spinal adjustments and manipulations to other parts of the body to realign the bones and joints so as to reduce pain, restore range of motion, and improve flexibility, balance and coordination.  These adjustments may be performed manually, or other techniques may be used to increase circulation and improve function, such as ultrasound, trigger point therapy and electrical stimulation.  Your chiropractor can also recommend specific exercises that can be done at home to increase your strength and flexibility so that you’re able to maintain and build upon the gains from your chiropractic adjustments.

Many people restrict their activities due to back pain, which is the most common complaint of those who enter a chiropractor’s office.  Regular chiropractic care can reduce or eliminate the source of your back and joint pain, allowing you to resume your normal activities and to remain more flexible into your golden years.

Call us for a chiropractic evaluation:

Stekel Chiropractic

212-581-3331

250 west 57st.

New York, NY 10107

How Does Chiropractic Help Relieve Pain?

chiropractic-adjustment-200-300

How Does Chiropractic Help Relieve Pain?

By Dani Stekel D.C.

 

 

The impetus for many people to seek chiropractic help is acute or chronic pain, most commonly in the lower back or neck and shoulders.  Although patients want the chiropractor to help with the underlying problem, lessening their pain is a very important part of allowing them to get on with life in some degree of comfort.

Chiropractic treatment for pain rests on the principle that healing will occur as a natural function of the body once it is in correct alignment.  Conversely, misalignment will lead to excess strain and wear on the body, resulting in pain.  Misalignment can occur over time as the result of bad posture, repetitive activities (such as performing certain sports or occupations) and degenerative disease.  It may also happen suddenly due to trauma from a road accident, a fall or a particular sports injury.

In addition to pain relief, chiropractic treatment aims to restore natural functioning and range of motion to the problem area.  In practice, the two go hand-in-hand.  Pain occurs in the shoulder, for example, because of a lack of movement from an injury or strain, and once this is treated, the shoulder will be both pain-free and able to move normally.

The body is comprised of many muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, all of which have the potential to cause pain when stressed or damaged.  Muscle strain and spasm can occur on its own or as the result of a postural problem.  In the latter case, a spasm may not only be causing pain but may also prevent the body from returning to its natural alignment.  Soft tissue massage is used by chiropractors to ease muscle spasms and relax the spine back into position.  At this point, pain should be considerably lessened, if not relieved completely.

If soft tissue massage alone is insufficient, spinal manipulation will often be used to correct any underlying postural problems.  Manipulation helps the spine and joints to resume their natural position and eases the muscle strain associated with being out of balance, thus relieving pain.  Trapped nerves, which may also cause considerable pain (as in the case of sciatica), are often released through spinal manipulation.

Some painful injuries may require time to heal, such as shoulder rotator cuff injuries and slipped discs.  In these cases, spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage are important in order to give the injury the best possible conditions for repair to take place.  Patients will often involuntarily tense their muscles around an area of pain, which can both prolong the healing time and increase their discomfort.  In these cases, chiropractic treatment is important to both relieve the pain felt by the patient and to promote natural healing in the affected area.

Although spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage are very helpful in the treatment of both acute and chronic pain, sometimes additional measures may be needed for short-term pain control.  In these cases, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications may be considered to provide pain relief for the patient until sufficient healing has taken place.  Whereas the ultimate aim of chiropractic care is to restore function to the body, relieving pain is an important part of treatment and your chiropractor will do their utmost to provide relief.

To Schedule a free consultation Call:

Stekel Chiropractic

212-581-3331

What Does it Mean to Be “Double Jointed” and is it Dangerous?

contortionist-200-300What Does it Mean to Be “Double Jointed” and is it Dangerous?

By Dani Stekel D.C.

 

If you have ever seen a contortionist in a circus or know someone who can bend their thumb back far enough to touch their wrist, you have seen an example of someone who is double-jointed.  However, the term “double-jointed” is actually something of a misnomer, since the super-flexible person you saw most likely has the exact same number of joints as those of us who are less stretchy.  The medical term for this condition is hypermobility, and approximately four to seven percent of the general population has at least one joint that is considered hypermobile.

Hypermobility describes a situation in which the joints and their supporting tendons and ligaments are far more flexible than usual.  This can be due to a number of different causes. Flexibility normally varies depending on age and activity.  For example, a 20-year-old is usually more flexible than someone who is 75 years of age.  Our connective tissue changes over the years, becoming more inflexible due to the chemical changes and tiny tears it incurs over the course of life.  Also, those who use their bodies for performance, such as athletes and dancers, tend to be more flexible than the general population.

Hypermobility tends to run in families, suggesting that it may be at least partially genetic.  The shape of your bone ends determines to some extent how far your joints can bend.  Those with shallow sockets can bend joints farther. Lack of muscle tone also allows joints to bend more.  Pregnant women commonly are more flexible due to the hormone relaxin that the body produces to make the pelvis more flexible in preparation for childbirth.  Although these are relatively harmless causes, hypermobility can also be an indication of more serious underlying diseases.  Marfan’s syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are associated with hypermobility.  Hypermobility can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.

Marfan’s syndrome is a genetic condition involving the development of abnormal connective tissue, such as in the tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, cartilage and bones.  Leaky heart valves, poor eyesight (due to weakness in the ligaments supporting the lens) and ruptured blood vessels are common problems associated with this disease.  Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is also a genetic disease with symptoms similar to Marfan’s.  Easy bruising, scoliosis and slack skin are other symptoms common to this disease.

Although hypermobility is not necessarily dangerous in itself, it can cause a number of problems.  Joint pain, back pain, muscle pain, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia are all common complaints among those who are double jointed.  Treatment includes the use of joint supports, strengthening exercises, anti-inflammatory pain medications and visits to a physiotherapist or chiropractor.

Due to the ease with which people with hypermobility can find their joints out of alignment, regular visits to a chiropractor for an adjustment can help reduce pain and lower the likelihood of further damage.  Your chiropractor can also recommend the best exercises to use for strengthening the joint area.

For a free chiropractic consultation call us:

Stekel Chiropractic

212-581-3331

Why We Shrink as We Get Older

Why We Shrink as We Get Older

By Dani Stekel D.C.

 

If you’ve ever noticed that the car ahead of you in traffic seems to be driving itself, there’s a good chance that the person driving it is elderly.

Shrinking in height as we age is quite normal, and some people start to get shorter starting at about the age of 30.  Only about 20% of the population does not noticeably shrink, which is due to a combination of good genetics and a healthy lifestyle.

Not only do we shrink with age, but our height also varies considerably each day, by up to three-quarters of an inch.  The vertebral discs that are sandwiched between the vertebrae, and which act as shock absorbers for the spine, are composed of up to 88% water.  In the course of our daily activities, this water is slowly squeezed out of these discs every time the spine moves.  Then when we are lying down at night in bed and pressure is taken off the discs, the disks reabsorb the expelled water, similar to a sponge.  So it’s likely you are somewhat taller when you first get up in the morning than you are at the end of the day.

With age, a number of degenerative processes can interfere with keeping the vertebral discs properly hydrated, causing them to become less pliable.  In addition, bone degeneration can contribute to the gradual collapse of the vertebrae, particularly in the upper back, which causes what’s referred to as “dowager’s hump,” that can take some inches off your height.

Studies have found that men lose and average of 1.2 inches in height between the ages of 30 and 70, and 2 inches in total by age 80.  By comparison, women lose 2 inches in height between age 30 and 70 and a total of 3 inches by age 80.

While genetics plays the largest role in how much you shrink as you age, lifestyle choices can make a significant difference as well.  Those who smoke, are obese, have diabetes, get little aerobic exercise, drink excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine and who do not follow a healthy diet are at greater risk of losing a significant amount of height as they age.

And while losing some height as we age is normal, losing too much over a short period of time can be an indicator of a more serious health condition.  It is not unusual to shrink in height by a quarter inch to a third of an inch each decade after the age of 40.  However, if you are a man between the ages of 45 and 65 and notice that you are shrinking, you should see your doctor.  Rapid loss of height in men can be an indicator of heart disease and can suggest they are at greater risk of a fracture of the spine or hip.  A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that men who lose two or more inches within two years after age 70 have a 54% greater risk of a hip fracture, and women have a 21% greater risk.

Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that men who had shrunk 1.2 inches or more over a 20-year span had a 46% greater likelihood of heart disease and were 64% more likely to die from any cause.

The best way to help preserve your height is to eat a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D) and to get plenty of exercise, particularly weight-bearing exercise (which includes walking and running), which helps to keep bones strong.  Finally, chiropractic adjustments of the body keep the disks hydrated, better posture, and prevent slouching.

To schedule a free chiropractic consultation call us:

Stekel Chiropractic

212-581-3331woman-celebrating-birthday-200-300

250 West 57st

New York, NY

 

Posted in: Lower back pain

Balance and Aging

Balance and Aging

By Dani Stekel D.C.

 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of death related to injury among the elderly, and over a third of those aged 65 and older fall every year.  Problems with balance are not uncommon in older adults and are one of the primary reasons they seek consultation with a doctor.  This is not surprising, since balance issues can seriously affect the activities of everyday living, such as walking, getting up from a chair, navigating stairs and bending over.

Balance disorders in older people are often due to inner ear problems.  These include:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).  Tiny particles of calcium called otoconia break free in the inner ear and hit the inner ear’s sensors, which are responsible for telling you where you are in space, creating a sensation of dizziness and an intense feeling of vertigo when you change position.
  • Labyrinthitis.  A swelling and irritation of the inner ear.
  • Menière’s Disease.  An inner ear disorder characterized by low-pitched tinnitus, vertigo, intermittent hearing loss (it comes and goes) and a feeling of fullness in the ear.

Loss of balance can also be a result of vision problems such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.  Cardiac problems, low blood sugar and some medications can also lead to a loss of balance.

Dr. Neil Cherian, from the Neurological Center for Pain at the Cleveland Clinic, specializing in tinnitus, dizziness, and vestibular and balance disorders says, “As you age, common disorders such as vision loss, arthritis, and a diminished number of nerve endings in the feet can negatively affect your balance.”

Our vestibular system is what keeps us from falling over.  It is a system of fluid-filled tubes that work with specialized nerves in the inner ear to tell the brain what position we are in.  As we age, that system can begin to break down.  Both blood flow and the number of nerves in the inner ear begin to decline after age 55.  However, certain activities can help to preserve your sense of balance and allow you to maintain your agility into older age.

“Cardiovascular workouts like hiking and climbing can help maintain and even improve your equilibrium,” Dr. Cherian notes.  Joint mobility and muscle strength are necessary in order to keep in balance, and many seniors struggle with limited mobility and arthritis.  However, there are activities that improve and strengthen these abilities and are appropriate for seniors, such as Tai Chi, yoga, water aerobics, dancing and gardening, all of which can help to keep your sense of balance honed.  Your local senior center, recreation center or health club will usually offer a variety of activities geared toward older adults.

Following are some exercises to help maintain balance that can be practiced at home:

  • Stand with your back to a wall, with your heels about 8 inches from it.  Lift the balls of your feet off the ground as high as you can and hold for 10 seconds.  Repeat 5 times.

 

  • Using the back of a chair, a railing or wall to steady yourself, move up and down on the balls of your feet.  Repeat as many times as you can.  When you begin to feel steadier, try the exercise standing on one leg at a time.
  • Practice walking up and down stairs to strengthen you thigh and hip muscles.
  • Repeatedly getting up from a chair can also strengthen hip and thigh muscles.  Try to use your hand as little as possible when doing this for the greatest benefit.

 

For a free chiropractic consultation:

Contact Stekel Chiropractic

(212)581-3331

Sprains and Strains: What Are They and What’s the Difference?

Sprains and Strains: What Are They and What’s the Difference?Woman Holding Bandaged Ankle --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

By Dani Stekel D.C.

 

Most people are understandably confused about what constitutes a sprain and what constitutes a strain.  Both injuries cause pain and can interfere with your ability to move.  The difference is really quite small: a strain involves injury to a muscle or tendon and a sprain involves injury to a ligament.

Tendons are the type of connective tissue that attaches your muscles to your bones. Strains happen when a tendon or muscle becomes overstretched or excessively stressed, losing much of its ability to contract, either during an acute injury or over time.  If the injury happens over a length of time, it is referred to as an overuse injury.  Carpal tunnel syndrome from excessive use of a keyboard is an example of this type of strain injury.  Symptoms of a strain injury include weakness, local pain or tenderness and muscle spasms.  One of the most common kinds of strain injury occurs when people hurt their back muscles by trying to lift something that is too heavy in an improper manner (by lifting with the back instead of the legs).

Ligaments (the connective tissue that attaches two bones to each other at a joint) are intended to help support the movement of a joint only in specific directions.  For instance, the joint at your knee is a hinge that allows for forward and backward movement, though in normal situations it only allows for very limited side-to-side movement at the joint.  Sprains occur when a ligament either stretches excessively, tears or completely separates due to acute stress that puts the joint out of place and subsequently injures the ligament.  Symptoms of a sprain are more outwardly obvious, involving swelling, bruising, pain and instability around the joint.

Both sprains and strains are placed into one of three categories based on severity:

Grade I.  A minor injury to the muscle, tendon or ligament involving a slight overstretching or minor tearing.

Grade II.  A moderate injury to the muscle, tendon or ligament in which the tissue is partially torn but still connected.

Grade III.  A severe injury to the muscle, tendon or ligament that involves a complete rupture of the affected tissue.

A physician should be consulted in the case of a severe sprain or strain.  Treatment for mild to moderate cases of both types of injuries is the same:  RICE.

R is for Rest.  Do not move the injured part for two or three days after the injury.

I is for Ice.  Apply ice to the sprain or strain for 10-20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours for the first 3 days.

C is for Compression.  Wrap the injury lightly but firmly in a compression bandage to support the joint and help keep swelling down.

E is for Elevation.  Keep the injury elevated to reduce swelling.

Sprains take longer to heal than strains, as ligaments have less blood supply than tendons and muscles.  The severity of the injury obviously also influences the amount of recovery time needed.  A Grade I sprain generally heals within 1 to 3 weeks while  a Grade II sprain heals within 6 to 8 weeks and a Grade III sprain can take up

For a free chiropractic consultation call us:

Stekel Chiropractic

212-581-3331