Chiropractic: The Greek Meaning

October 28, 2009

I love the study of words.  It’s a strange obsession.  To satisfy my craving, I receive  a daily e-mail called A.Word.A.Day by Anu Garg, and I was wondering today as I read my word of the day (manichean…if you’re curious) what are the root words for chiropractic, my beloved profession.

CHIROPRACTIC comes from the Greek words “praxis” and “cheir“, meaning to practice or to treat using hands.  It’s kind of amazing when you think about it.  Doctors who do not use drugs or chemicals; doctors who leverage the body’s ability to heal itself.  When I think about my profession in this way, I feel so proud to be a doctor of chiropractic!  (I’m smiling as I type.)

I have never appreciated my hands so much!  I have amazing hands that heal…

Whiplash Injury

October 27, 2009

Rhomboid Rehab

Retraining muscles after a motor vechicle accident will prevent future injury.

One of the most common injuries that occur during car accidents is Whiplash. Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury of the neck that is caused by overstretching of the muscles, ligaments, and spine during impact.   Most people find it very painful and need medical attention.

Patients who suffer from whiplash can expect neck pain, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches, ringing in your ears, pain in your shoulder, mid and lower back.  Most of these signs and symptoms will go away quickly.  Yet neck pain and stiffness typically last about 4-8 weeks.  To prevent permanent damage or prevent future neck problems, it is highly suggested you visit a medical professional if you experience a whiplash injury due to a car accident.

Chiropractic care is one of many options available for the treatment of whiplash after a motor vehicle accident.

Chiropractic Care- Chiropractic care is an excellent treatment for whiplash.  Your chiropractor will use gentle spinal manipulation, soft tissue techniques (such as myofascial release, deep tissue massage, etc), ice, stretching, and rehabilitation to correct misalignments of the spine and heal the ligaments, tendons, and muscle damage caused by your accident.

One of the first thing will do after visiting a chiropractor is get a cervical (neck) x-ray, so your provider can access if their is ligament damage or broken bones.  Once severe cases are ruled out, you can treat the soft tissue damage and joint dysfunction caused by your injury. Chiropractor are doctors, so you can go directly to them after an accident.

Physical Therapy– PT is an effective way to treat whiplash.  PTs treat similarly to chiropractors.  They typically focus more on rehabilitation of muscles and usually do not adjust your spine.  PTs are not doctors, so you will need an physician referral to receive treatment.

Massage Therapy– massage therapist can provide relief by reducing muscle inflammation and damage.  Massage therapist are not medical doctors, so please visit a physician or chiropractor before you go to your therapist to rule out fractures, and other serious side effects from car accidents.

Medical Treatment- Visiting your medical doctor may be necessary after a car accident.  Physicians can prescribe anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers to reduce pain and inflammation.

Legal Aid- In addition to the pain caused by motor vehicle accidents, many people have to deal with either their insurance company, or both the liability insurance and their own.  If you’ve been there, you know how frustrating this can be.  I suggest if you were hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you should consider hiring a Personal Injury attorney.  PI attorneys are professionals and are trained to act in your best interest.  Most will see you for a consultation, as well as, represent you at no cost.  They will work with your provider to make sure your medical costs are covered, so you can get well without worrying about money.

My recommendation for a PI attorney in Austin, Texas, is Jay Doyle with Kuhn, Doyle & Kuhn.

Occipitial Neuritis

October 22, 2009

Recently I have had several patients come in with a burning sensation on one side or both sides of the back of their heads.  Usually the sensation is combined with neck pain, right at the base of the skull.  Many of these patients have already been diagnosed with Occipital Neuritis- inflammation or irritation to the occipital and suboccipital nerves.

Patients with this condition can benefit greatly from myofascial release of the posterior cervicals, suboccipitals, occipitalis, scalenes, and SCM muscles.  In addition to muscle work, spinal manipulation of the upper cervical (neck) area can reduces nerve irritation.

Check out the links above to learn more about chiropractic techniques that can reduce pain, inflammation, and headaches caused by occipital neuritis.

Dr. Misty Funk

New Improved TCS Website Revealed

October 22, 2009

Tranquility Chiropractic Studio Logo

Tranquility Chiropractic Studio has just released the newest version of their website! Check it out by clicking below!

Tranquility Chiropractic Studio

FREE Chair Massage for the Holidays

October 22, 2009

Dr. Misty FunkCome join Tranquility Chiropractic Studio for our upcoming event: Pamper Yourself Before the Holidays!

Free chair massages by Dr. Funk and staff; hand rejuvenation by Rejuvenescense Austin; and spiced lattes!

http://www.TranquilityCS.com

Date: Saturday, November 21st

Time: 2-4PM

Location: Tranquility Chiropractic Studio, 11673 Jollyville Rd, Ste. 202, Austin TX 78759

Contact Number: 512-788-3366

Low Back Pain

December 16, 2008

Did you know that one-half of all working individuals experience low back pain in a year?  Did you know that most low back pain is caused by muscle strain?  Low back pain is extremely common and in most cases is fairly easy to treat using Chiropractic Treatment and Soft Tissue Techniques (similar to massage).

Causes of Back Pain

Lumbar Muscle Strain
Muscle strains are the most common cause of low back pain. Lumbar or Low Back Muscle strain / muscle pull / muscle tear implies damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons.  Lumbar muscle pain heals more quickly than most low back conditions.  Typical healing time is 2-6 weeks.

Ruptured Disc
A ruptured intervertebral disc, also called a herniated disc, is another common cause of back pain. Herniated discs are caused by aging, degeneration of the disc (disc disease) or injury to the spine.  The disc is the cushion between the bones of our back.  A herniation can press on an exiting nerve or the spinal cord itself causing pain, numbness, radiation, and burning.  Typical healing time is 6-12 weeks or longer.  A ruptured disc may require surgery.

Discogenic Back Pain
Discogenic back pain is thought to be a common cause of low back pain. Discogenic back pain is caused by damage to the disc, but without a herniation. Typical healing time is 6-12 weeks.

Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis causes back pain in the aging population. Stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal and is typically caused by arthritis or other conditions.  Spinal stenosis is more difficult to treat using chiropractic care and commonly requires surgical intervention.

Lumbar Spine Arthritis
Arthritis most commonly affects joints other than the spine (IE. knees and fingers). There are several types of arthritis (degenerative, inflammatory, gout, etc.)  Chiropractors most commonly treat degenerative arthritis which can cause back pain with movement.  In some cases, chiropractic care can slow or even stop the degenerative process.

Spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis causes back pain because one vertebra begins to “slip” forward.  The most common cause of spondylolisthesis is due to degenerative changes causing loss of the normal stabilizing structures of the spinal column. Chiropractors have to modify treatment with sponylo.  Treatment can be very helpful for these patients.

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis or osteopenia is bone loss.  Osteoporosis causes weak bones and can lead to these fractures. Chiropractors avoid traditional manipulation and use more gentle techniques or soft tissue work only in this case.  It is important to work with your MD or dietitian to reverse osetopenia or osteoporosis before damage occurs.

Back Pain Facts & Statistics (Copied from the American Chiropractic Association)

http://www.amerchiro.org/level2_css.cfm?t1id=13&t2id=68

Although chiropractors care for more than just back pain, many patients visit chiropractors looking for relief from this pervasive condition.  In fact, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.1

A few interesting facts about back pain:

  • One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.2
  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
  • Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
  • Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.3
  • Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.4

References:

1. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.

2. Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl 1985; 11: 1-98.

3. This total represents only the more readily identifiable costs for medical care, workers compensation payments and time lost from work. It does not include costs associated with lost personal income due to acquired physical limitation resulting from a back problem and lost employer productivity due to employee medical absence. In Project Briefs: Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD, Summer 1994.

4. In Vallfors B, previously cited.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

November 26, 2008

thanksgivingHere’s to my amazing patients!  Happy Thanksgiving!

(I am only using first names…so don’t panic…you know who you are!)

  • Kristina- You make me laugh.  I love every minute of your visits.
  • Brock- Thank you for forgiveness.  God knows I need plenty of it!
  • Chrystal- You love to talk and so do I.  I couldn’t wait until your next visit (and now I miss you)!
  • Rachel- I love your stories of Nora and Gus.  I now vicariously have dogs!
  • Lau- I appreciate your loyalty.  Thanks for not giving up on your treatment plan!
  • Chris- Thanks for your amazing design and great advice.  Tranquility has a face because of you.
  • Stephen- Stephen you are amazing!  I have a web presence because of you.
  • David- You are my greatest supporter.  I am always happy to hear about your week.
  • Mike- You are the best researcher.  No one has ever looked up everything I ramble on about.  And thanks for saving from the embarrassment of not knowing who Mack Brown was!
  • Nicole- I LOVE LOVE LOVE talking to you.
  • Tomoko- You are my adventurer.  I admire your courage and passion.
  • Josh- Thank you for telling everyone about me.  You have been my biggest referral source.  Don’t forget to put in the magazine one of these days!
  • Robin- I am always excited to hear about what you are working on.  Congrats on the new house!
  • Adam- You are my talented one.  I am always excited to hear your business is growing.  PS. Watch out!  Robin may just quit her job and become an electrician.
  • Sean- Thank you for listening.  Thank you for caring.
  • Larry- Thanks for sharing your story.  I am very proud of you.
  • Morgan- Thanks for coming in on a Saturday to be my model!
  • Pamela- I miss you so much.  Thanks for sharing all of your acupuncture knowledge.
  • Giselda- You are my ideal patient.  I am so happy to be able to help you.
  • Patricia- Thanks for the copay stickers and all the great advice!
  • Brandon- Thanks for the amazing online review. Several people have become new patients because of you!
  • Paul- It was great to learn more about Canada. I hope you are having fun freezing your tush off up there.
  • Brad- My only patient who loves his exercises. If I had to choose a patient as my child, it would be you. Do you eat your broccoli, too?
  • Nancy- I am so happy I was at the right place at the right time to meet you!
  • Betty- I loved visiting your digs! It’s always great to see you at Starbucks with your son.
  • DeDe- DeDe was famously early for every appointment. I may have you call a few of my no shows and teach them a lesson or two. Lol!
  • Ray- I enjoy our conversations immensely. You fill my office full of politics, spirituality, and class.
  • Camille- Thanks for your referral. I hope you are recovering quickly.
  • Cindy- Limp in one day; Run out the next. You made me feel God-like in my healing abilities! =)
  • Rand- Thank you for driving so far for treatment. You are super dedicated!
  • Eileen- You were one of my first patients. Thanks for helping with my confidence!

I love you all!

PS.  If I have forgotten anyone, you will get a complementary 15-minute massage at your next visit!

Dr. Funk

STRESS

November 24, 2008

cervical-massageAs a Doctor of Chiropractic who specializes in stress-related headaches, neck and shoulder pain, 80% of my patients present with muscle tension, pain, and structural problems of or related to their spine.  All 100% of my patients could benefit from a reduction of stress in their lives, even if they present with an injury that had been caused by a fall or car accident.

Stress in small amounts can actually be beneficial.  Think about the last time you felt pressed for a deadline.  Most people will become more focused, work more diligently, and get more accomplished because they know they have to be finished by a certain time and date.  In this case, a deadline can be a beneficial stresses that acts to draw you closer to a goal or accomplishment.

Long-term stress can be very harmful to our bodies.  One deadline will not do the trick.  Most often, it is a combination of stressors that push us over our limits.  It’s the series of deadlines in the same week combined with the fact your child gets sick the morning of your big presentation.  You hadn’t eaten well for the past few weeks because you had to spend hours after work trying to meet the upcoming deadlines.  Your spouse is upset that you have been spending enough quality time together, and your mom called to say that she had to take your dad to the emergency room last night.  Can you relate?

In today’s society we live in a constant state of low anxiety.  It’s as if at any point in time one more stressor could push us over the limit.  You can feel your neck and shoulders feel tight.  They’ve been that way for so long that you don’t even notice it any more…until you are half way through your presentation.  You just dropped your pointer and go to pick it up…and it happens….a sharp, sheering pain from your neck shoots down your arm and you yelp in pain.  You finish your presentation and think this pain will go away soon.  Two weeks later, you are in my office.

Can stress really cause neck pain?  Shoulder pain?  Back pain?  Headaches?  Stomach problems?  Skin problems? Yes, Yes, and Yes!

What does chronic and uncontrolled stress do to my body? When we live with chronic stress our nervous system starts to change.  People begin to see physical symptoms instead of just feeling anxious and jittery or run down and depressed, they start to develop the first symptoms of chronic stress: chronic headaches and increased susceptibility to fight off infections.  Muscle tension increases and muscular imbalance can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain, as well as a host of other problems.  Some individuals develop depression, anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid problems, obesity, sexual dysfunction, or ulcers.  Not fun!

What can do to avoid stress-related headaches, neck, shoulder, and back pain? Stay active, learn good stretches, drink lots of water, eat healthy, meditate or use a relaxation technique you life daily, talk about what is bothering you with a friend or loved one.

I do suggest that if you have suffered with headaches, neck, shoulder, or back pain for more than three days, go to your chiropractor!

Once I come in to see you, Dr. Funk, what will you do to help me with my headaches, neck, shoulder or back pain?  I use a combination of soft-tissue techniques (similar to massage), spinal manipulation, stretching, and simple strengthening exercises. Each patient has a 30-minute treatment that is relaxing and therapeutic.  Patients who present with the conditions above can expect to see that their pain will subside in four to six visits.  The visits following will help to eliminate the cause that created the pain in the first place.

http://www.TranquilityCS.com

Massage Can Reduce Migraine Headaches

November 20, 2008

occipital-nerveA new study published last year shows the massage can reduce migraine headaches. The article is titled “Massaging Over the Greater Occipital Nerve Reduces the Intensity of Migraine Headaches.” (1) Good news for you….massage feels great and can help you relieve pain!

To better understand how massage can help your migraines, let’s have a simple anatomy lesson. I am assuming you don’t know where the greater occipital nerve is. And since random rubbing hasn’t proven to be effective for migraines, you probably will want to know where to massage or be massaged.

The Greater Occipital Nerve (GON) runs through the middle of the Suboccipital Triangle- four small muscles on either side of the upper neck. The GON innervates the scalp and areas over the ears. When our neck muscles get tight, epecially our occipital muscles (think base of the skull), irritation of the GON occurs. And you know what that means…a headache!

Tight muscles and nerve irritation can make even the happiest person miserable. The benefits of massage are unmistakable- muscle relaxation, increased blood flow, and stress-reduction. Now you can add headache relief to one of its many benefits.

massage-item-neckSelf-Massage or Partner Massage
1. Start massaging the neck and shoulders
2. Work your way up to the base of your neck (where the GON starts). Focus on any areas that are painful and tight. Many headache suffers have knots in their muscles, called trigger points. If someone pushes and holds a trigger point, you will feel the pain shoot up the head and recreate the headache. That’s the spot that should be relaxed with massage.
3. Finish up by massaging the scalp where the GON nerve endings are located.

To learn more about headache help or to book an appointment for a professional therapeutic massage and treatment, visit http://www.TranquilityCS.com.

(1) Piovesan, et al. Massaging Over the Greater Occipital Nerve Reduces the Intensity of Migraine Headaches. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2007;65(3-A):599-604.* Full free article- http://www.scielo.br/pdf/anp/v65n3a/10.pdf

Stress Headaches

November 11, 2008


migraine-headache_1_1Stress headaches, or tension-type headaches, are the most common type of headache.  Surprisingly, as up to 78% of the general population will experience at tension-type headaches at some time during their lifetime.

Am I having a stress headache? Stress headaches are often the result of temporary stress, anxiety, fatigue or anger. Symptoms include a tight, band-like sensation around your head and spasms of the neck muscles and shoulders. Many stress headaches suffers experience pain and tightness just above the ears and at your temples.  Many times people experience temporary relief or exacerbation of their headaches when they press on certain points in their neck.

I heard stress headaches can occur every day. Some stress headache suffers have chronic tension-type headaches that can occur every day. A chronic tension-type headache is a condition where you have a stress headache on 15 days or greater every month. This type of headache is also called a chronic daily headache because many people have a headache every day.

When would I see my chiropractor for a stress headache instead of taking over-the-counter medications? I suggest if you are experiencing more than two stress headaches a week, you should visit your chiropractor.  Taking anti-inflammatories on a regular basis to eliminate headaches is masking the root of your problem: tight neck muscles, stress, and joint restrictions or misalignment can cause and aggravate your headaches.

Why do you treat stress headaches? Tension-type headaches are one of my specialties (and secretly, one of my favorite conditions to treat) because I personally suffer from them.  As a student in Chiropractic College I began experimenting with different techniques we were learning to treat my headaches.  After trying different treatments and practicing on patients and friends for months, a friend of mine showed me some soft tissue techniques he learned at his myofascial release seminar.  My headache was gone after his treatment when combined with spinal manipulation.  So, I kept trying it on everyone I could, and the treatment was helping more and more people.

How do you treat stress headaches in your practice, Dr. Funk? I use a combination of soft-tissue techniques (similar to massage), spinal manipulation, stretching, and simple strengthening exercises. Each patient has a 30-minute treatment that is relaxing and therapeutic.