To Your Health
October, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 10)
Putting Health Into Motion
By Kevin M. Wong, DC
I want you to take a few seconds and do your best to visualize a human skeleton standing in front of you. Picture the head, ribs, shoulders and arms. Now move down to the pelvis, hips and all the way down to the feet. Did you know that every bone we have in our body forms a joint with another bone? For example, move your shoulders around for a few seconds. Your large arm bone (the humerus) has a joint with the shoulder blade (the scapula) to allow you to have movement.
Every single bone forms some type of joint with another bone because joints allow us to have motion. When motion is normal at a joint, life is good. But daily activities or injuries can cause improper position of the bones, resulting in abnormal movement at the joint. When you do not have normal motion, it can lead to problems like swelling, pain, muscle spasms and arthritis later in life. Since this can happen in any joint of the body, it is important for you to pay attention to any discomfort you are feeling.
The point is, from head to toe, your joints occasionally need a tune-up. Let's take a look at some of the more common trouble spots and what a chiropractor will do to get the healing process started.
From Shoulders to Hands
Shoulders are the most mobile and least stable joints we have in our body. You probably know a lot of people who have shoulder injuries. Well, our shoulder is made up of more joints than just the ball-and-socket joint. Once we check these shoulder joints for you, it is amazing how many of them are not in proper alignment. Anyone with shoulder pain likely has one or more of these joints that need to be realigned. Improperly aligned shoulder joints can lead to muscle spasms, rotator cuff problems, tendonitis or lack of ability to move the shoulder (frozen shoulder).
Moving down the arm, we can find elbow tendonitis (golfer's elbow, tennis elbow), carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive-use injuries that can cause considerable pain, swelling and muscle spasms. In general, pain in any of these joints can be treated quite effectively with chiropractic care.
The Hips and Knees
Hip joint arthritis is very common these days, and you probably know someone who has had their hip replaced. When a hip is not in good alignment, the same pattern we have talked about exists. It can lead to lack of normal movement, arthritis and pain.
Osgood Schlatter disease is usually found in children's knees from a lot of sports. Ligament injuries in the knee (like the anterior cruciate ligament, medial or lateral collateral ligament) and knee cap (patella) pain often arise due to the leg bones being malpositioned.
The Upper, Middle and Lower Back
How many of you sit at a desk or drive your car during your daily activities? Do you know that most of us sit hunched forward a little bit? Even people who start out with straight posture tend to start slouching a little bit as they sit longer. Couple this with using your arms to type, talk on the phone, write or any other activity like this and you have a recipe for a tight upper back. Just about everyone has a tight upper back and shoulder area. Our spine in the upper and mid back gets misaligned due to the forward posture and the muscle tightness.
How about scoliosis? Scoliosis is when there is a sideways curvature of part or parts of the spine. Depending on how bad the curvature is, it could involve the low back (lumbar area) and the mid-back (thoracic area). Of course there are some types of scoliosis that are so serious that medical intervention may be necessary. For the most part, chiropractors do a wonderful job helping scoliosis patients. Those vertebrae are really stuck and not moving as well as they could be with some help from our hands. We don't claim to be able to reverse a scoliosis, but at least help to keep it from getting worse.