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Back to School & Backpack Safety - Gastonia Chiropractor

Autumn is almost here! With the changing of the season comes cooler weather, cozy sweaters, colored leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and back-to-school sales. As you pick up your pencils, scissors, notebooks, and glue for the school year ahead, be sure to monitor the backpack usage of your student. This is important for all ages, kindergarten through adult.

While it may not be the first thing on your mind, backpack safety is incredibly important. Students spend the majority of their school days, five days a week, carrying their book bags between classes. How does this affect spinal health and posture? Is there a wrong way to carry a backpack? How can I make sure my student is practicing healthy backpack habits? Let’s answer a few of those questions now.

First, how can carrying a backpack be detrimental to your student’s health? If the bag is too heavy or throws off your center of balance, then you’re more likely to strain your back muscles or misalign your spine. Here are four ways you and your student can stay safe when carrying a backpack:

  1. Select an appropriate size. The backpack should not be too big for the student, especially the younger ones. If the bag is too bulky and heavy, the student will have to constantly overcorrect their posture, which places unnecessary exertion on the spine and back muscles.
  2. Choose one with adjustable padded straps. The keyword here is “adjustable.” Size is one thing, but the straps that go over the shoulders, chest, and sometimes even the stomach should be snug to the student’s frame. Shoulder straps are often padded, which serves to protect your shoulder muscles and distribute weight. These features all alleviate the pressure on your back, protecting your spine.
  3. Use both shoulder straps. It may be tempting to carry your backpack using only one strap, especially when you don’t have to travel a great distance. Nevertheless, a backpack comes with two shoulder straps to evenly distribute the weight between the left and right sides of your body. Using only one will throw off your natural balance. Constantly having to correct your posture to the right or the left is hard on your back and spine.
  4. Stick to the essentials. If you don’t need it, don’t carry it around. Extra books, notebooks, and supplies can add unnecessary weight to the bag. If you’re able, leave it in your locker, in the classroom, or at home.

Chiropractic care is extremely helpful in keeping your spine healthy and strong. Misaligned vertebrae can be corrected, but it’s best to practice preventative measures to avoid causing any permanent damage.

Fall Sports & Common Injuries - Gastonia Chiropractor

As the weather cools and students head back to school, it’s time to start looking forward to fall sports. Football, soccer, cheerleading, volleyball, tennis, and cross-country are just a few of the many sports offered during this time. These activities can be great for students to learn teamwork and promote physical fitness, but there are some inherent risks involved, including injury to the athlete. Here are some of the most common injuries sustained and how to prevent them.

  • Fractured bones. This is more common in contact sports such as football and aerobatic sports such as cheerleading. Bones break or fracture when hit with something stronger than the bone itself, i.e., when slammed with a football helmet or when hitting the ground after a fall.
  • Muscle strain. Repeated use of the same muscle can cause strain. This is more common in repetitive motion sports such as tennis, but a muscle can always be stretched or twisted in any sports accident.
  • Sprain. Sprains are different from muscle strain in that they affect the ligaments that connect bones rather than the muscles surrounding. A sprain is the tearing or straining of this ligament, most commonly in the ankle, wrist, knee, or fingers.
  • Concussion. This is another example of an injury more commonly found in contact sports. A severe blow to the head from a ball, protective equipment, or a fall can cause damage to the brain.
  • Splints. Shin splints are most common in sports that require lots of running, including football and cross country. Shin splints are small tears or strains in the muscles, tendons, and bones of the leg. This wear can happen as a result of repetitive abrasive motion such as, in this case, hitting the ground with each step.

How can these injuries be minimized or prevented altogether? There are several preventative measures that athletes may take to protect themselves.

  • Warm up. Do some mild cardio exercises and stretches to warm up your body before playing. Staying limber and flexible can help prevent damage to your muscles and your tendons.
  • Train. Training before the real thing can help you prepare for any situation. It also helps to build a solid frame, which will protect your muscles and your bones.
  • Wear protective gear. This is an easy one! When playing sports such as football or soccer, protect your body in all the most vulnerable places. Use a helmet, shoulder pads, shin guards, chest pad, and other official protective equipment to minimize the risk of serious injury.

Chiropractic care. The spine supports the frame of your body. When it is weakened or misaligned, the risk of injury increases. See a chiropractor to keep yourself healthy and strong as you head into the fall sports season.

Bulging and Herniated Discs - Gastonia Chiropractor

Generally when we hear about someone dealing with a disc issue in their back, we either hear the term “disc herniation” or “disc bulge”. Here at DiBella Chiropractic, we have noticed that most people aren't actually aware of the difference between the two, despite them being completely different problems. It may seem like highlighting the difference between them is pointless, as both are painful, but it does make a large difference when it comes to the treatment options. In order to grasp the difference, let's learn a little bit about the spine itself.

The spine has multiple parts that you need to have a basic knowledge of in order to understand the difference between herniation and bulging. The first is the disc. This is the part between the vertebrae that acts like a cushion so the bones don’t rub together. Looking closer, the disc itself has two parts. These are called the nucleus and the annulus. The nucleus is the center, which is soft and jelly-like. The annulus is the exterior part of the disc, which is a bit tougher. The annulus protects the nucleus from the vertebrae, like a hard shell. Sometimes the annulus cracks, or gets a tear in it. When this happens, the nucleus can leak out, which causes pain. If it touches a nerve, it may cause any number of symptoms, including pain or numbness. This is a disc herniation.

Bulges, on the other hand, are caused by normal wear and tear to the disc, and are often seen even if the person doesn't experience any symptoms. The main difference between a bulge and a herniation is the type of displacement that occurs. There is technically less displacement from a herniation than there is a bulge, yet the pain is normally more severe. This isn't to say that disc bulges should be left without treatment, however. Anything that involves your back will need to be dealt with sooner or later. It is always important to get it checked out by a professional quickly.

If you believe you may have a herniated or bulging disc, or are looking for a way to deal with the pain, call DiBella Chiropractic as soon as possible. We know that it can be difficult to find time to see a doctor, but your back is important to everything you do. Come in today and be amazed at how much better you can feel!

Auto Injuries - Gastonia Chiropractor - 4/19/2021

Auto Injuries - Gastonia Chiropractor

Auto Injuries

Far too many of us have been in car accidents or know someone else who was. The odds are unfortunately good that everyone reading this can think of at least one person. It is very common to at least be in a minor accident, or a fender bender, but severe crashes are sadly rather frequent as well. It can be hard to think of yourself as lucky when you're in a crash, but it is important to remember that things could have turned out very differently based on small changes such as the angle you were hit or the speed at which either party was going. It can be terrifying to think that something that most of us do every day can be so dangerous and deadly, but unfortunately it all too often is.

As it is, the most commonly documented cause of car accidents is distracted driving. This can mean anything from taking a bite of your bagel in the morning to adjusting your GPS to texting while you drive. It is dangerous to do anything that could take your attention off the road in front of you, so it is important to do your best to avoid as many of these distractions as possible. Leaving your phone in the backseat or waking up a little earlier in order to eat breakfast at home can be great ways to help reduce the chance of you becoming distracted while you drive.

When you are in a car accident, there is a chance that you won't get injured at all. Most often, however, you can count on at least being sore for the next few days. Even if you don't feel like you were hurt on impact, pain can definitely set in once the adrenaline from the impact itself has worn off. Problems such as whiplash and sometimes even broken bones can go unnoticed for any amount of time depending on how your body and mind reacts to the incident. Even if you don't notice a problem right away, it is important to call a doctor and get checked out regardless of how severe the accident was.

If you have been hurt in a car crash, come into DiBella Chiropractic as soon as you can. Our pain management methods can make all the difference in your injury. We know how frightening being in a crash is, but we know how important your recovery is. Give us a call, and set up an appointment today!

Bulging and Herniated Discs - Gastonia Chiropractor

Bulging and Herniated Discs

When someone complains about something being wrong with a disc in their back, we often hear the terms “disc herniation” and “disc bulge”. Here at DiBella Chiropractic, we know that these two things are completely different problems, but we also know that not everyone will know the difference between them. It may seem like focusing on the difference between them is silly since both are painful, but there is a large difference when it comes to treatment options. In order to fully appreciate the difference, let's learn a little bit about the spine itself.

The spine has a few parts that you need to be at least somewhat familiar with in order to understand the difference between herniation and bulging. The first part is the disc. This is the element between the vertebrae that acts like a cushion so the bones don’t rub together. Looking closer, the disc itself has two parts. These are called the nucleus and the annulus. The nucleus is the center, which is soft and jelly-like. The annulus is the exterior part of the disc, which is tougher. The annulus protects the nucleus from the vertebrae, like a hard shell. However, sometimes the annulus cracks or gets a tear in it. When this happens, the nucleus can seep out, which causes pain. If a nerve is touched, it may cause multiple symptoms, including pain or numbness. This is a disc herniation.

Bulges, on the other hand, are simply caused by normal wear and tear to the disc. Often times, the person doesn't experience any symptoms. The main difference between a bulge and a herniation is the type of displacement that occurs. There is technically less displacement from a herniation than there is a bulge, yet the pain is normally more severe. It should be mentioned, however, that a bulge in your spinal disc will catch up to you. Anything that involves your back will need to be dealt with sooner or later. It is always important to get any pain checked out by a professional.

If you believe you may have a herniated or bulging disc and are looking for a way to deal with the pain, call DiBella Chiropractic as soon as possible. We know that it can be difficult to find time to see a doctor, but your back deserves the extra care. Come in today and be amazed at how much we can help you feel!

Sciatica - Gastonia Chiropractor

Although most people know that sciatica generally means a lot of pain at the point, few people know exactly what sciatica really is. With so many different pain conditions that any one person can develop, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Even just the difference between acute and chronic pain can seem to blur, and this is especially true when it comes to pain that you experience with your back and neck. So what is sciatica and what do you need to watch for if you think you have it?

The term sciatica is based off of the sciatic nerve, which goes from your lower back down both legs. When you have any pain that travels along this nerve for any reason, it falls under the umbrella term of sciatica. There can be any number of things that cause this pain, but it is most commonly due to a herniated disk, bone spurs, or a narrowing of the spine. These three issues may be fairly common, but that doesn’t mean they aren't painful. In fact, the pain from sciatica can be, and often is, completely debilitating. The swelling and numbness that accompanies it is concerning enough that you should always take the first sign of symptoms seriously and seek medical assistance immediately to catch it before it gets worse.

The symptoms of sciatica are straightforward, yet can be confusing at the same time. People often experience pain which radiates down their leg from the spine, but they may also experience numbness, muscle weakness, or tingling in the leg. People may have one of those symptoms in one spot of the leg, and a different symptom in a different area. The pain can feel like anything from a mild ache to sharp, shooting pain, a burning sensation, or even an electrical shock. It may feel more intense if you sit for extended periods of time, if you stand for too long, or if your body spasms, as if with a strong cough or sneeze. These widely varying symptoms are why you need to go to a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

If you suspect you may be suffering from sciatica, call DiBella Chiropractic. Surgery is rarely needed, but you do need medical confirmation. If your back hurts, you need to have a professional look at it. Come on in, and see how much better we can make you feel!

Diversified Technique - Gastonia Chiropractor

When you go to a chiropractor, you may think that the whole point of them is to just crack your back and neck and let you go home. On the surface that may be true, but there really is a lot more that goes into a visit. What you don't see are the years of medical school, the added years of training as a chiropractor, and the constant learning that goes into keeping your bones and muscles feeling great. One of the ways that chiropractors get to do this is through learning different techniques that may be more effective for certain people or certain types of injuries.

One of the techniques that your chiropractor may use for you is known as the diversified technique. This is a style of chiropractic care that uses short, quick thrusts over one joint at a time in an attempt to get joints more mobile again. This technique is one of the most common used and has multiple uses and goals. Diversified technique has been shown to be particularly useful in helping to treat musculoskeletal disorders, migraine headaches, pregnancy-based issues, inward curvature of the neck, and even improved blood sugar readings. While there may be other factors that can help these issues to resolve, the chiropractic care certainly won't hurt to try!

As with almost any other technique that is used by chiropractors, the diversified technique is taught in conjunction with other methods during the 4 year program at chiropractic schools. There are some institutions that offer a specialized course based in this technique in an attempt to increase the comfort and proficiency of their students, but any chiropractor will have at least a base understanding of this process. The average chiropractor will use five or six different techniques, but 96 percent of those that reported to a study said that the diversified technique is one that they use.

If you have been considering coming into DiBella Chiropractic but aren't sure what you want done, consider researching the diversified technique. It is often used and has had wonderful results over a wide range of injuries and pain from a large sample group. Even if you don't think your pain is severe, you may be amazed at how much better you feel after a visit. It can be hard to realize just how much you carry around with you on a day to day basis, so let us help today!

Pinched Nerves - Gastonia Chiropractor

While a pinched nerve may sound like something that should be an easy fix, it really is something that can not only derail your day, but can take a long time to heal from. The pain and other often severe symptoms that are often experienced as a result of pinched nerves can leave you without the ability or energy to do much of anything on the daily. While some people can work through the pain for a bit, many end up with too much pain to do most tasks, or at least need to take everything considerably easier because of the pinched nerve. This obviously isn’t a long term solution, especially if you have a job outside of the home or people who rely on you to do other tasks. Being diagnosed with a pinched nerve doesn’t have to bring your life to a stop, but you do need to be careful if you think you have one.

Pinched nerves are caused by high amounts of pressure placed on a nerve by the surrounding body parts. This pressure can cause different issues in the area, which can cause severe pain. Pinched nerve pain lingers, so if you have extensive pain you need to call DiBella Chiropractic and see a doctor. If you aren’t sure if you are experiencing symptoms of a pinched nerve, here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Muscle weakness in an isolated area
  • Pain that feels either sharp or aching, which normally radiates out from a specific point
  • Numbness or decreased sensation in an isolated area
  • Tingling, or a feeling of “pins and needles”, as if a limb has fallen asleep
  • Any of these symptoms getting worse during the night

In order to be diagnosed, you will likely need to have a series of tests done that your doctor will request. These often include imaging tests and/or electrical pulse tests which help your doctor determine if the issue is in your nervous system or if it is something else. From there, you may need physical therapy, medication, or even surgery depending on how extensive the damage is.

If you want to see what your treatment options are before you resort to surgery, give us a call. We are here to help you feel better even if your nerves are acting up. We know how painful a pinched nerve can be and will do everything we can to help you feel better, so come in today!

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