Myofascial Injury, Fibromyalgia and Connective Tissue Disease

 

 

What is the Myofascial System?

The Myofascial System is made up of the body’s muscles, fascia, ligaments and tendons.  It is sometimes described as a single web-like structure that attaches muscles to the bones creating a body suit that runs from our toes to the top of our head.

 

What is the function of our Myofascial System?

The Myofascial System integrates the muscles and soft tissues with strong bonds as mentioned above so that our bodies can move multiple muscle groups as a unit.

 

How does a Myofascial condition develop?

In the normal state, the Myofascia is soft and flexible with a nice tone and can stretch and move without restriction.  However, when injured due to trauma such as a car accident or long-term repetitive movement, the fascia and muscle shortens causing dysfunction and pain in movement.  If predisposed conditions exist such as Fibromyalgia or a connective tissue disease, this could result in incapacitating pain.

 

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition commonly characterized by widespread body pain. People who suffer from this condition experience a heightened sensation to pressure.  The cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown and under considerable investigation in the environmental, neurologic, genetic and psychological arenas.  The most commonly accepted areas of study are neurologic and environmental since most people seem to develop the condition much later in life. Other symptoms correlate with Fibromyalgia such as fatigue, joint stiffness, trouble sleeping, difficulty swallowing, numbness, tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. These are actual neurologic changes in both the brain and the stem leading some to call it a ‘central sensitization syndrome.’

 

 

 

 

What is Connective Tissue Disease?

Connective tissue is an extensive extracellular matrix that binds together and supports all tissues of the body including organs.  Connective tissues diseases can be hereditary (Ehlers-Danlos, Marfan Syndrome and Osteogenesis Imperfecta) or autoimmune (Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematous).  Many of these diseases can actually overlap or mimic each other making treatment and diagnosis very difficult.  Symptoms often include joint pain, fatigue, weakness, organ changes and sometimes hypermobility.

 

How do you choose a manual medicine specialist?

It is extremely important to choose a Chiropractor, Physical Therapist or even a Massage Therapist, skilled in multiple techniques. If you have an injury, a connective tissue condition, or are a Fibromyalgia sufferer, you need to select one that not only looks at the joints but will treat soft-tissue as well.  They also need experience with non-force technique options since flare-ups in patients are common due to weather, changes in stress and body illness.  The following are things to consider when choosing care:

 

  • Does the Doctor use non-force techniques (Activator, Cranio-sacral, Quantum Neurology, Sacral Occiputal Technique)
  • Does the Doctor use a specific technique on soft tissue (Graston, Nimmo, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretch, Active Release Technique)
  • Does the Doctor have other patients with this same condition (what are the Doctor’s areas of specialization)?
  • Read reviews!  A Doctor described as “firm” or “rough” is not for you.
  • Optional: Does the Doctor have knowledge of Botanical medicine or Homeopathy for soft tissue disorders?

 

How does a doctor decide how to treat?

Most doctors will take a detailed history of the patient’s condition to determine the most appropriate treatment. Please make sure and tell the Doctor your entire history including any of the following:

 

  • Hereditary connective tissue disease
  • Sensitivity to massage or aggressive pressure (firm hugs)
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Previous negative chiropractic experience
  • Frequent pain after exercise
  • Tendency to be overly tired
  • Weakness when doing daily activities.
  • All major accidents  (car accidents, broken bones, surgeries, recent falls, etc.)

 

The above information will assist the doctor in determining the correct treatment technique for your needs. Remember, it is possible to cause a flare-up without complete information.  The doctor will then select a technique that will accomplish the following health goals:

 

  • Decreased pain
  • Increased quality of life
  • Re-Injury prevention
  • Decreased flare-ups of condition or old injury
  • Improved body performance in exercise and activities of daily living

 

What can a patient with any of the above conditions do?

It is important to take action to help your body heal and be healthy. Here is a partial list of things you can do. If you have questions, please ask your Doctor to assist you.

 

  • Fish oil
  • Exercise daily:  The rule of thumb is walk or bike at least 15-20 minutes daily as this removes excess inflammation that builds up with injury or disease.
  • Botanical medicine: Malic acid, magnesium and B-vitamins (make sure to ask your Doctor to help with proper dosage and type)
  • Stretching (must be mild to avoid aggravation)
  • Hormone testing if stress is a factor
  • Thyroid testing if hot and cold is a factor
  • Vitamin deficiency testing if fatigue is a factor

 

 

 

 

What makes our Doctors unique when treating the above conditions?

Drs. Ho and Walker are both certified in techniques used to address slow healing soft tissue injuries including:

  • Quantum neurology
  • Sacral Occiput Technique
  • Activator
  • Cranio-sacral
  • Graston
  • Nimmo
  • Procipetive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretch
  • Active Release Technique

At In-Health Clinic, we provide Chiropractic care as well as botanical medicine and laboratory testing case management. We welcome your questions. If you are not local, we would be happy to assist you in  finding a practitioner in your area.

 

 

The Chiropractic Approach to Low Back Pain

What is Back Pain?

Back pain is usually a pain that occurs in the lumbar spine and pelvic region otherwise know as you buttock.  The pain can occur from a tightening of muscle or joints that get jammed due to a specific incident or small injuries that occur over time from say construction work, running or desk jobs.

What is the Most Common cause of Back Pain?

The most common cause of back pain is related to repetitive strain injuries that occur on the job or during daily activities.  Working on the computer, cooking, sewing or any activity that keeps you repeating the same movements from the same position can be the culprit of that nagging back ache. The strain happens when either the muscles are tight and you are unable to stretch them, or when a joint is misaligned and the muscles become painful as they try to re-align the joint.

What are the Less Common types of Back Pain?

Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritus, Herniation and neurologic conditions are all injuries that occur to the spine and more commonly in the low back.  These conditions will likely cause you great distress and you will need to seek a health care provider’s services.  The following symptoms can help you determine if it is a must to see your doctor:

  • § History of cancer
  • § Unexplained weight loss >10 kg within 6 months
  • § Age over 50 years or under 17 years old
  • § Failure to improve with therapy
  • § Pain persists for more than 4 to 6 weeks
  • Night pain or pain at rest
  • § Persistent fever (temperature over 100.4 F)
  • § History of intravenous Drug Abuse
  • § Organ Transplant
  • § Recent bacterial infection
  • § Major Muscle weakness
  • § Trouble lifting your foot
  • § Numbness and lower extremity weakness
  • § Anal Sphincture dysfunction
  • § Recent Trauma
  • § History of Osteroporosis

 

Basic ways back pain can occur:

 

  • Desk job
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Herniated disk
  • Gravity
  • Sports injury
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Fractures
  • Cancer
  • Repetitive strain
  • Jammed (misaligned) joints

 

Why See a Chiropractor instead of only Massage?

Chiropractic care helps re-align joints which stops the pain related to the muscles trying to push the joint back into alignment.  A typical response to this type of pain might be to stretch or get a massage.  While this might temporarily ease the pain, if you don’t re-align the joints, the muscles will loyally return to their job of trying to push the joint back into place and you will be back in pain once again.  This isn’t to say that Massage can’t be a terrific partner in getting rid of long term pain and it can we feel that massage and chiropractic can make an excellent team.

Getting adjusted not only will help relieve your low back pain, but offers other health benefits as well.  According to research by Sean M. Hannon, BA, DC, chiropractic adjustment can result in the following physiologic changes:

                     

  • § Increased strength
  • § Increased oxygen consumption capacity
  • § Increased range of motion
  • § Decreased pain
  • § Increase cardiac regulation
  • § Increased immunity

 

Considering these benefits, it is easy to see why athletes and other health conscious people seek out care regular chiropractic care. If you suffer from chronic or even occasional back pain, contact our office.  We can help!

 

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