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Chiropractor for Algonquin and Lake in the Hills
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Q&A – What to Expect from Your First Massage Therapy Session

Massage therapy has many health benefits

While massage therapy can be great for melting away the troubles of everyday life, there’s more to it than mere relaxation. It can also be an essential part of maintaining overall wellness. Often, it plays a significant role in stress relief and pain management for a variety of conditions. Although, if you’ve never had a clinical massage before, you might not know what to expect. It’s possible you even have several questions.

That’s perfectly natural!

To satisfy your curiosity, Algonquin Chiropractic’s very own Dr. Galante answers some of the questions you might be asking yourself.

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Should You Trust the First Surgical Opinion?

Trusting your first surgical opinion…think again

According to the well-respected, Surgical Neurology International of 183 second opinions for spine surgery:

60.7% of recommendations were “unnecessary,”

33.3% of recommendations were “wrong,

and only 6% were “right.”

We are sharing this information with you to keep you informed, improve your health and well-being and help you understand critical health care information and how it impacts your health and your wallet. So what are the implications?

That is worse percentages than the weatherman!

Recommendations for low back surgery should not have such a high percentage of “unnecessary and wrong” Image of surgeon reaching for operation toolsrecommendations.

Did you ever notice that some people won’t go to the chiropractor because they don’t think it is “safe” but will not think twice about having surgery?

According to the Ohio Bureau of Workman Compensation database only 26% of patients having lumbar surgery are back to work.    However, 67% of patients that did not have surgery were back to work!

What odds do you like?

Consider safe and effective chiropractic care, Cox Technique, laser, modalities, massage, bracing, orthotics, nutrition and sensible exercise sound better that surgery, doesn’t it?

Remember health is a journey and not a destination. What you do in the practice of health care will go miles and pay dividends over time.

If you still feel that you are struggling in creating a healthy living plan, you will be thrilled to know that Dr. Galante has powerful programs that will teach you the specific steps that will help you to become and stay healthier.

Our Mission – To educate and inform patients so you can make educated decisions to improve your health.
Algonquin Chiropractic Center
2210 Huntington Drive North
Algonquin, IL 60102
(847) 854-2000

What’s a Herniated Disc and How Can Chiropractic Care Treat It?

Is a Herniated Disc the Cause of Your Pain?

Herniated disc, ruptured disc, disc herniation, slipped disc—these terms all refer to the same injury. We often hear the term “bulging disc,” which is different from a herniation, usually a less severe injury. These disc injuries are very serious and can have a major impact on the quality of your life.

What Causes a Herniated Disk?

According to Web MD:Illustration of a Herniated Disc

“Although a violent injury can damage a disk, problems with disks are often brought on by the normal aging process or by everyday activities, such as lifting heavy objects the wrong way, stretching too hard during a tennis volley, or slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk. Any such event can cause the fibrous outer covering of the disk to break or distort to the point that it presses on a spinal nerve, especially if disk material extrudes. Sometimes, a disk swells, tears, or degenerates without any apparent cause.”

According to Healthline:

“A slipped disk occurs when the outer ring becomes weak or torn and allows the inner portion to slip out. This can happen with age. Certain motions may also cause a slipped disk. A disk can slip out of place while you are twisting or turning to lift an object. Lifting a very large, heavy object can place great strain on the lower back, resulting in a slipped disk. If you have a very physically demanding job that requires a lot of lifting, you may be at increased risk for slipped disks.

Overweight individuals are also at increased risk for a slipped disk because their disks must support the additional weight. Weak muscles and a sedentary lifestyle may also contribute to the development of a slipped disk.

As you get older, you are more likely to experience a slipped disk. This is because your disks begin to lose some of their protective water content as you age. As a result, they can slip more easily out of place. They are more common in men than women.”

To summarize, if you have pre-existing conditions in the spine such as arthritis, tropism or stenosis, you are more prone to a disc injury. Trauma, such as a fall or a car accident, can certainly damage a disc. The most common cause I see in my practice is “idiopathic etiology,” or unknown cause! The pain starts either gradually or suddenly and gets worse in the coming days or weeks.

A herniated disc can cause the classic “sciatica” pain when these damaged discs irritate the sensitive spinal nerves. This pain and tingling can radiate all the way down to the feet and toes! In cases with excessive pressure on the spinal nerves, there may be weakness in the involved leg.

Herniated disc and sciatica symptoms are generally worse in the mornings, as the disc absorbs fluid overnight when patients are non-weight bearing. When the disc absorbs fluid, the disc swells and stretches the pain sensitive disc fibers, which causes pain. The sooner patients can get up and move in the morning, releasing fluid from the disc, the sooner they feel better. First thing in the morning – get up and walk.

This may seem strange, but disc pain will increase with sitting. Sitting increases the pressure on the lumbar discs, putting more pressure on damaged tissues, leading to more pain. Disc patients do not like to sit or drive for prolonged periods and would much rather be active because they feel better.

Lower back and leg pain may increase with coughing, sneezing, laughing, and straining at the stool. These activities increase the pressure in the disc and stretch damaged tissues. Many patients have to “brace” themselves before a cough or sneeze.

With that information, if you have allergies that cause you to sneeze and cough, make sure you are taking steps to control them. If you are prone to constipation, make sure you are taking steps to soften your stool.

Home Care

  • Ice – A good guideline is 15-20 minutes on, then off for 1-2 hours
  • Avoid bed-rest or prolonged sitting or driving – As discussed above, a herniated disc patient needs to keep moving within their pain tolerance.
  • Topical Analgesics – Grandma used Ben-Gay, we all know that smell. We use BioFreeze but all topical analgesics basically do the same thing which is stimulating the cold/hot nerve endings to block pain signals.
  • Gentle stretching – This is not a time for high impact exercises. Knee-chest, cat/camel, and figure-4 stretches are usually safe to start with.
  • Sleeping – Usually best either on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees and ankles. Try a recliner if those positions don’t work.

Treating a Herniated Disc

First, what do we want to avoid?Image of Pills with X Through - Showing Dangers of Pain Killers

Prolonged use of prescription pain killers – While patients may need meds for the short term, we want to discourage long term use as they can be addictive.

Epidural Steroid Injections – This is not an option we want to start treatment with. Shots don’t heal discs, they just dry up inflammation. In cases that are not responding well, we will have to get a shot and then continue treatment, as our treatments are much more effective after the inflammation is dried up. Shots on their own, however, show a long-term success rate of only 15%.

Surgery – We want to do everything we can to avoid back surgery. People think it is a quick fix. Not true. We know from the British Medical Journal that surgically treated and conservatively treated patients are virtually the same after 1 and 2 years. Why go through the risks, downtime, and expense of surgery if you’re going to be the same?

What do we do?

A complete history, thorough exam, and any necessary imaging are done first to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. If we determine we can help you, we put together an individualized treatment plan specifically for your unique needs.

A treatment plan may consist of:

  • The Cox Technique – A gentle, painless, hands-on spinal decompression therapy that boasts a 91% success rate!
  • Electrical stimulation – Is used to control pain and decrease inflammation.
  • Massage Therapy – The techniques we use break up adhesions, loosens scar tissue, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and improves posture.
  • Vibration Therapy – Will increase core strength and improve posture 3-4 times faster than traditional rehab.
  • Super Pulsed Laser – Accelerates soft tissue healing by increasing cellular energy and improving circulation.
  • Custom Orthotics – Correcting foot bio-mechanics puts the feet, knees, hips, pelvis, and lumbar spine in better alignment, which decreases stress on the spinal discs.
  • Rehabilitation (Exercise) – We start with gentle stretching and pain-relieving exercises, and progress to core-strengthening and full-body exercises.
  • Spinal Bracing – Has been shown to limit the movement of the trunk, provide stability, and increase your tolerance to daily activities.

In disc herniation and sciatica cases, we look for 50% improvement in the first 2-4 weeks. If the patient is improving, we will continue to treat. If not, we will consider an MRI, as well as a consultation with our orthopedic surgeon and our pain management doctor.

If the patient has “red flags,” such as cauda equina syndrome (where patients may lose control of their bowel and bladder), progressive neurologic deficit (patient has weakness that is rapidly getting worse), or any indication of a fracture, tumor, or infection, the patient will be referred out on an emergent basis. The good news is these are relatively rare complications, so if you’re ready to see what chiropractic care can do for you, call the Algonquin Chiropractic Center. We’ve been treating herniated discs in Algonquin and the surrounding Chicago area for years, and will give your condition he attention it needs.

Be Well.

Call for your consultation 847-854-2000.

Mention this article and receive $25 off your initial visit.

Our Mission – To educate and inform patients so you can make educated decisions to improve your health.
Algonquin Chiropractic Center
2210 Huntington Drive North
Algonquin, IL 60102
(847) 854-2000

How Chiropractic Can Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain

What is sciatica?

Maybe you had it, maybe a family member or co-worker, whoever it was, the way people describe it can sound similar, lower back pain that can be sharp with radiation into the hip area and pain, tingling and in severe cases weakness down one or both legs.

But What is It?  What is Sciatica?

According to Mayo Clinic: “Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.”

Nerve RootsNerve Diagram

Sciatica is also called irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is formed from the nerve roots of the lower lumbar vertebra and can be as large as your little finger, it runs down your buttock, down your thigh and calf all the way to the toes.  There are two main nerve “roots” that become irritated with sciatica.  What that means for you is the leg pain and numbness can be in different places in the leg.  For example, if a specific nerve root of the sciatic nerve is irritated the symptoms can go down the back of your leg and back of the calf to the side and bottom of your foot.  The nerve root one level up will cause symptoms down the side of the thigh to the front of the shin into the top of the foot.

When we are talking about sciatic nerve irritation we talk about “irritation and compression.”  When the nerve root is “irritated” it will cause pain and/or numbness into the leg, the more pressure on the sciatic nerve the further the pain goes down the leg.  When a nerve root is “compressed” there is enough pressure on the sciatic nerve to cause weakness.  These are the more serious conditions.  We used to think weakness with sciatica was a reason for immediate surgery, we now know that is not true, sciatica with weakness can be treated conservatively (without surgery).

 

What Puts Pressure on Sciatic Nerve Roots?

There are numerous causes of pressure on nerve roots, one of the most common is disc herniation.  What is the disc?Sciatic Nerve Pain

According to Web MD:  Located between each pair of vertebrae is a disc. The disc is composed of a capsule of connective tissue surrounding a soft, jellylike center. These discs absorb shock and provide flexibility within the spine.

The outer part of the disc is made of cartilage, like the cartilage of your knee.  The inner part is a jelly-like fluid.  When the outer cartilage tissue cracks or tears the jelly-like fluid pushes thru the opening, this is called a herniation.  When the fluid pushes thru the disc it can put pressure on the nerve root causing sciatic-like symptoms.  This increased pressure on the nerve root is the cause of the classic leg pain, burning, electrical feeling, numbness and tingling as well as weakness when the pressures are higher.

What to Do?

What do most people do?  They go to their medical doctors who may give medication for pain and inflammation and refer to an Orthopedic Surgeon.  Pain medication will temporarily decrease pain, anti-inflammatory medication will temporarily decrease inflammation but do either decrease pressure on the disc or sciatic nerve?

An Orthopedic Surgeon will likely order an MRI and make recommendations of either physical therapy and/or epidural steroid injection (cortisone injected near the disc and sciatic nerve).  Let’s look at those options for treating the sciatic nerve:

  1. An MRI will not make you feel better! Research suggests an MRI NOT be performed (in the absence of red flag signs) until 2-6 weeks of conservative treatment has not given adequate relief.   MRI’s are usually not necessary in a lot of cases of disc herniation and sciatica.
  1. Physical Therapy – In the European Spine Journal in 2006 physical therapy was compared to a treatment we do here at our office, the Cox Technic. Patients had “significantly greater relief from pain” with the Cox Technic and patients with leg pain and numbness “did significantly better with the Cox Technic and provided more relief than physical therapy.”  One year later patients had “significantly lower pain scores than subjects who received physical therapy.”
  1. Epidural Steroid Injection or “a shot in the back,” only gave 32% of patients sustained relief to sciatic nerve pain, at least that is what the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found in March of 2004.
  1. An Orthopedic Surgeon only wants to see you if you are a surgical case and most cases of sciatica, well over 90%, are not surgical cases.

We saw above that only 32% of patients had sustained relief with injections, would you rather have a 91% success rate?

1000 patients treated with the Cox Technic – 91% found the relief they were looking for within 90 days according to Topics in Patient SatisfactionClinical Chiropractic.

Consumer Reports in May of 2009 reports “88% of those who tried chiropractic manipulation said it helped a lot.

In the Medicare Demonstration Project Report in January of 2010 patients were asked their satisfaction with their chiropractic care on a 10-point scale: 87% of patients gave their chiropractor a level of 8 or higher and 56% of them rated their chiropractor a perfect 10!

Is it Safe?

Mayo Clinic in October of 2012: “chiropractic adjustment is safe when it’s performed by someone trained and licensed to deliver chiropractic care.”

For professional athletes and celebrities, safety is of the utmost concern, that is why people like Tiger Woods, Jerry Rice, Jonathon Toews, Sidney Crosby, Sylvester Stallone, Ted Danson, Demi Moore, David Spade and many, many others utilize the services of a doctor of chiropractic.

And listen to this:

I would estimate that in excess of 90% of all world-class athletes use Chiropractic care to prevent injuries and to increase their performance potential.”

                                                               Sean Atkins, PhD, Exercise Physiologist

Faster relief, longer lasting relief, high level of patient satisfaction as well as a high level of safety are reasons to consider chiropractic for your health care needs.

Yes we use the Cox Technic, we also use manipulation, distraction, modalities, massage therapy, rehabilitation, orthotics, laser and whole body standing vibration to get you the fastest, longest lasting relief for your irritated sciatic nerve.

Don’t make that same mistake so many people make: “I thought it would just go away!”

Low back pain has a 60% recurrence rate in one year and a 94% recurrence rate in 4 years!  If it does go away, it is likely coming back!

In our office we start with a thorough history, a detailed examination, perform any necessary X-rays and order any necessary diagnostic testing such as an MRI or EMG to pinpoint your exact problem, once we determine the problem we will offer a treatment plan designed to get you back to your life.  If we determine we cannot help you, we will refer you to someone who can.

Stop Suffering, Start Living!

Call for your consultation 847-854-2000.

Mention this article and receive $25 off your initial visit.

Our Mission – To educate and inform patients so you can make educated decisions to improve your health.

Algonquin Chiropractic Center
2210 Huntington Drive North
Algonquin, IL 60102
(847) 854-2000

Walnuts to Improve Brain Function?

Walnuts have been shown to improve memory, cognition and neuronal effects related to oxidative stress (OS) and inflammation (INF) in animals and human trials.

Dr. Galante and Algonquin Chiropractic Center is Committed to Helping You!

We are sharing this information with you to keep you informed, improve your health and well-being and help you understand critical health care information and how it impacts your health and your wallet. So what are the implications?

Walnut looks like the brain. The folds and wrinkles of a walnut resembles the brain. The shape of the nut even approximates the body part, looking like it has left and right hemispheres. And it’s no surprise walnuts are nicknamed “brain food”—they have a very high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which help support brain function.Walnuts Improve Brain Function by Algonquin Chiropractic Center

Walnuts develop over three dozen neuro-transmitters for brain function. They may also help head off dementia. A recent study found that walnut extract broke down the protein-based plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They found walnuts reversed some signs of brain aging in rats. Walnuts also appear to enhance signaling within the brain and encourage new messaging links between brain cells

Fibrillar amyloid beta-protein (Abeta) is the principal component of amyloid plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Scientific studies suggest that walnuts may reduce the risk or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by maintaining Abeta in the soluble form. Basically, walnuts had inhibited the protein from becoming solid. It is proposed that polyphenolic compounds (such as flavonoids) present in walnuts may be responsible for its “anti-amyloidogenic” activity.

What can you do in addition to eating walnuts?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Evidence suggests that the same factors that put you at risk of heart disease also may increase the chance that you’ll develop Alzheimer’s.

Examples include:

Lack of exercise
Smoking
High blood pressure
High blood cholesterol
Elevated homocysteine levels
Poorly controlled diabetes
A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables

We can discuss many more options such as weight control, nutritional supplementation and beneficial fats because lifestyle management is crucial in preventing chronic degenerative diseases.

Remember health is a journey and not a destination. What you do in the practice of health care will go miles and pay dividends over time.
If you still feel that you are struggling in creating a healthy living plan, you will be thrilled to know that Algonquin Chiropractic Center has powerful programs that will teach you the specific steps that will help you to become and stay healthier.

Call for your consultation 847-854-2000.

Mention this article and receive $25 off your initial visit.

Our Mission – To educate and inform patients so you can make educated decisions to improve your health.
Algonquin Chiropractic Center
2210 Huntington Drive North
Algonquin, IL 60102
(847) 854-2000

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