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How Often Should You See a Chiropractor?

Did you know over 1 million people around the U.S. receive a chiropractic adjustment each day? It’s all thanks to the range of benefits associated with this physical therapy, from chronic pain relief to general mood and wellness boosts. Although you may experience temporary relief during your initial visit, it takes regular adjustments to feel the full range of long-lasting benefits from chiropractic care.

Continue reading to learn how a chiropractor can help your situation and how many chiropractic sessions you need to reap the benefits.

9 Reasons to See a Chiropractor

Chiropractic care has the potential to impact every system in your body. This is because the central nervous system, which controls the entire body, runs through the spine. This connection means spinal manipulation during chiropractic sessions can ease several seemingly unrelated issues. You may consider seeing a chiropractor for one of these reasons:

1. Acute or Chronic Pain

Back pain is the most common reason patients visit the chiropractor. During a study published in 2018, 750 participants underwent either 12 chiropractic treatments or standard care. After six weeks, researchers found that the chiropractic patients experienced less lower back pain, higher levels of satisfaction, and decreased reliance on medication.

More than lower back pain, chiropractic care can help ease neck pain from text neck — a condition stemming from staring at phones. Your chiropractor helps get to the root of the problem rather than mask the symptoms with temporary relief. They can pinpoint and address areas of inflammation, muscle tension, and joint pain.

Chiropractic care can also offer pain relief from car accidents and poor posture. By restoring proper alignment, you can experience continued comfort on a regular basis.

2. Headaches and Migraines

Headaches often stem from structural problems in the neck and shoulders. Chiropractic adjustments can help with the severity and frequency of attacks.

3. Improves Digestion

The central nervous system sends signals to the digestive system to facilitate the process. Misalignments in the spine can impact this communication. Likewise, subluxations in certain vertebrae can even lead to gas and other digestive discomforts.

4. Boost Athletic Performance

Even the best players in the league use chiropractic care to improve their game. In fact, 31% of NFL teams have a chiropractor on staff to deal with sports-related chronic pain, injuries, and headaches.

5. Better Sleep

Chiropractic care may improve the duration and quality of your sleep. This therapy reduces pain that keeps you up at night and rebalances dopamine and serotonin to help insomnia. Adjustments also increase blood flow, encouraging you to get to sleep faster and help you sleep longer.

6. Pregnancy

During this stage of life, pregnant women deal with several changes, including widening hips and a lower back adjustment. These changes can lead to headaches, back pain, and general discomfort. Regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can provide relief, balance hormones, improve sleep, and even make labor easier for pregnant women.

7. Treat Sciatica

The sciatic nerve represents the longest nerve in the body, running from the lower back through the butt and hips all the way down to the feet. When the nerve becomes compressed by surrounding vertebrae or inflammation, it can cause sharp pain and muscle spasms throughout the lower extremities. Your chiropractor can help resolve the inflammation and remove any pressure on the nerve.

8. Immune Boost

When your body functions and communicates properly, it can more quickly resolve illness. Evidence suggests that those who receive regular chiropractic care have 200% greater immunity than those who don’t.

9. Injuries

Your chiropractor can help treat new and old injuries. That’s why chiropractic patients often seek treatment for soft tissue injuries such as whiplash after car accidents. Soft tissue therapy can help break up old scar tissue, which can restart the healing process. This form of physical therapy can also send more blood and healing agents to the affected area to encourage faster and more complete resolution.

Regular chiropractic adjustments can also assist with conditions like vertigo and stress-related high blood pressure. Plus, each adjustment boosts overall health and encourages physical and mental relaxation that improves your mood, eases anxiety, and soothes muscle tension.

Initial Consultation for New Patients

Before scheduling your chiropractic consultation, you’ll want to make sure your chiropractic clinic accepts your insurance. You’ll also want to verify that your chiropractor has all the necessary credentials and experience with any of your anticipated conditions. When you arrive, you will be greeted by trained staff and given new client paperwork.

Your initial visit will take about an hour, but this time frame can vary. The rest of your chiropractic appointment will proceed in the following format:

1. Discuss Concerns and Goals

Your chiropractor will ask about the location of your pain, any other symptoms, and how long you’ve been experiencing them. They will also need to know your occupation, daily activities, and other lifestyle habits. This conversation helps your chiropractor understand what’s happening and determine the best course of action tailored to your needs.

You should come prepared with your health goals. Are you just hoping for relief, or do you want to see drastic improvements in your function?

It’s also important to have the specifics of your medical history:

  • Prescriptions
  • Diagnosis
  • Detailed family history, including illnesses and conditions
  • Other relevant medical histories that reveal acute causes, like car accidents, or chronic causes

2. Physical examination

Your chiropractor will have you complete a series of movements and tasks to test muscle strength, nerve flow, resistance, and more. You may undergo one or more of these physical examinations:

  • Walking Exam — You will walk back and forth across the room. During this process, the chiropractor will assess your gait to determine if there are any issues in your spine, legs, or pelvis.
  • Flexibility Exam — Completing different stretches, movements, and bends can test flexibility and range of motion.
  • Leg Measurements — While lying on your stomach, the chiropractor will bend your legs upwards to examine the length of your legs. If one leg is shorter than the other, it signals alignment issues in the pelvis.
  • Straight Leg Raise — As you lie down, your chiropractor will have you lift a leg straight in the air while keeping your knee straight. This action reveals any complications in the sciatic nerve or leg muscles.
  • Muscle Strength Test — Your chiropractor will have you press against them in various ways to test muscle strength or weakness.
  • Medical Exams — After these physical examinations, your chiropractor may want to see more. They may order blood work, X-rays to view bones, or an MRI for soft tissue, like discs, torn muscles, or nerve compression.

3. Diagnosis

After a thorough physical examination, your chiropractor will offer a diagnosis and determine whether your condition will respond to chiropractic care. Fractures, tumors, or infections will require a referral to a separate specialist as they do not respond to this form of treatment.

4. Building a Treatment Plan

During your first chiropractic visit, your chiropractor will build a specialized treatment plan that outlines in-office care, at-home exercises, instructions to prevent severe injury, and a guide to healthy living and eating. All these techniques will support your care and boost your results.

Keep in mind that you may or may not receive a chiropractic adjustment during your initial consultation, depending on your diagnosis.

How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help

Chiropractors use several treatment methods to help heal the body and fix dysfunction within the musculoskeletal system. Through spinal manipulation, massage therapy, spinal decompression, and acupuncture, your therapist can help treat your pain in several ways:

  • Restores Proper Alignment – Spinal adjustments ensure that your body can communicate adequately, boosting overall function.
  • Removes Pressure Off of Nerves – Misaligned vertebrae can compress spinal nerves, leading to radiating pain and dysfunction. Chiropractic care relieves this pressure.
  • Rebalances Hormones – When your brain cannot communicate with your body due to misalignments in the spine, it also impacts hormone function. Spinal manipulation can influence the release of mood-boosting hormones and reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the blood.
  • Relaxes Muscle Tension – Pinched nerves, poor posture, inflammation, and misalignments can all cause painful muscle spasms and tension throughout the body. Your chiropractor may suggest massage therapy to soothe muscles and promote relaxation.

How Often Should You See a Chiropractor?

Your chiropractor will determine the best schedule to improve your condition. If you’ve just started seeing a chiropractor, it is common to have one or two chiropractic sessions per week. The reason for these frequent appointments is that your body is used to a certain position, so it will quickly revert back to the state of discomfort due to muscle memory. Regular visits help retrain your body to stay in proper alignment.

After your symptoms resolve, you can scale back to a maintenance care schedule with monthly or bi-weekly chiropractic visits. Maintenance adjustments prevent your body from getting too far out of tune.

Generally, the ideal chiropractic appointment schedule follows this cadence:

  • For Intense Pain or New Injuries: frequent appointments; 2 or more visits per week
  • For Chronic Medical Conditions or Acute Issues: weekly maintenance care
  • For Overall Health: monthly maintenance care

You can also schedule a chiropractic session whenever you feel pain. It is about listening to your body and reacting accordingly.

The best way to determine how chiropractic care can help you is to schedule an appointment. At Bend Total Body, we offer several treatment options to provide swift relief. We will work with you to get your condition under control and maintain the results so you can live a more comfortable life.

How Do Chiropractors Know Where to Adjust?

If you’ve ever experienced joint or muscle pain, a friend may have suggested seeing a chiropractor. These healthcare professionals provide targeted treatment to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems to restore proper function and ease symptoms throughout the entire body. From headaches and hormonal imbalances to back and neck pain, an experienced chiropractor knows where to adjust your body for swift and long-lasting treatment. Continue reading to learn how these medical professionals determine the right treatment plan for you.

Why Go to the Chiropractor?

According to the American Chiropractic Association, more than 35 million people in the United States, including adults and children, receive chiropractic treatment annually. While back pain comprises a large majority of visits, you may also find a chiropractor helpful in several situations. This is because the spine supports the whole body both structurally and neurologically. It houses much of the central nervous system, which provides a communication pathway between the brain and the entire body. A misalignment in the spine can put pressure on the spinal nerves and reduce the body’s ability to function. In the same way, these subluxations or misalignments can impact your ability to twist, bend, and carry out basic movements comfortably.

Rather than simply treating the symptoms, your chiropractor will get to the root of the problem to reduce the chance of recurrence. This alternative medicine is rarely associated with side effects, making it an excellent, low-risk option for patients.

Here are three common reasons you may consider seeing a chiropractor:

Acute or Chronic Pain

More than 46% of chiropractor visits are due to lower back pain, making it the most common reason to seek treatment. Several conditions can cause chronic pain in the neck and back, including:

Lifestyle factors like sleeping in the wrong position or working at a desk can also contribute to acute discomfort. These situations can irritate the spinal nerves and inflame soft tissues, causing radiating pain. A licensed chiropractor uses spinal manipulation to restore proper alignment of the vertebrae and remove pressure on spinal nerves. This chiropractic technique provides instant pain relief that continues feeling better as the inflammation resolves. A 2019 study found that this manual manipulation stops the formation of inflammation-causing neuropeptides, which furthers your results.

Car Crashes and Other Injuries

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Chiropractic care is a clear treatment route after full-body trauma caused by car accidents. Even minor collisions can lead to hidden injuries that cause complications throughout the body. Whiplash, a severe sprain or strain in the cervical spine, is common in most patients and can result in upper back and arm pain. Keep in mind that an adrenaline rush may mask your pain, so it is always a good idea to visit a chiropractor in the days following your car crash.

Sports injuries from repetitive movements, like tennis elbow and runner’s knee, may also benefit from this form of physical therapy. Athletes who have sustained more severe injuries seek chiropractic treatment during the healing process and continue regular care afterward for improved performance.

Manual manipulation increases blood flow and healing agents to the affected area to boost healing. At Total Body Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we also offer services that break up scar tissue from old injuries and restart the healing process to ensure total and complete resolution.

General Wellness

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Chiropractic care fits seamlessly into a full-body wellness pain to keep you functioning at your best. An adjustment may provide improvements in these areas:

  • Sleep—Your body uses your downtime to repair the body. Poor sleep quality can affect your body’s ability to heal itself, impact your mood, and make you more susceptible to illness. Chiropractic care improves sleep by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, easing pain, and balancing your serotonin and dopamine, which are proven to help with insomnia.
  • Digestion—Misalignments in the spine can impact communication to the digestive system. The chiropractic manipulation techniques during your adjustment can also physically stimulate movement in the digestive organs to boost regularity.
  • Immune boost—Your nervous system and immune system work hand in hand to keep you feeling well. Chiropractic care improves communication between these systems for swift resolution and boosts the production of healing agents to help you fight off pathogens. It can also reduce stress levels, lowering your susceptibility to illness.
  • Stress—Chronic stress can affect everything from sleep to focus. Stress has been linked to several conditions, so controlling it is essential to feeling well. Fortunately, many patients report feeling more relaxed after their visits. This alternative medicine also rebalances stress hormones to improve feelings of anxiety.

Chiropractic care is a highly individualized treatment plan, so you may experience even more targeted benefits that boost your quality of life. At Total Body Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we are equipped to treat a number of conditions.

How Do Chiropractors Know Where to Adjust?

The medical professionals at Total Body use a range of chiropractic techniques to find the proper places to adjust. During your first visit, you will undergo various examinations:

Symptoms and Medical Analysis

Your chiropractor will ask for your complete medical history, including injuries, surgeries, and other complaints. Providing honest and thorough answers is crucial to receiving the best possible treatment. Knowing your symptoms can help your licensed chiropractor find connections and underlying causes of your problems.

These medical professionals may recommend x-rays and other imaging to pinpoint inflammation and other ailments before providing treatment.

Motion Palpation

When you think of chiropractic adjustments, you likely think of palpation. This action describes the use of light of deep touch to identify painful places and misalignments. Your chiropractor will test your response to varying pressure and manipulation to find these trouble spots. They typically work across three distinct planes of motion:

  1. Frontal—Front to back
  2. Traverse—Upper and lower body or top and bottom
  3. Sagittal—Left and right sides

During this assessment, they want to see how pain hinders movement in these three directions. They use two forms of palpation: static and motion. With static palpation techniques, you will remain still while they feel for dips, prominent misalignments of vertebrae, and muscle spasms. During motion palpation, you will complete basic movements while the healthcare professional feels how the vertebrae move, flex, and glide. If movement is poor or restricted, it indicates dysfunction.

Gait and Posture Evaluation

Your licensed chiropractor will also evaluate your gait (the pattern of walking and movement) and posture (your position while sitting or standing). This physical exam offers insight into your musculoskeletal system and its ability to adapt to strains and stressors. Your chiropractor may ask you to walk, sit, squat, lean, stand, and run to assess these factors.

Range of Motion

If your complaint has impacted your mobility and flexibility, your chiropractor will ask you to complete certain movements to assess your range of motion. These movements help them pinpoint the areas affected the most and see the extent of your joint function.

Next Steps: Chiropractic Treatment

After a complete evaluation, your chiropractor will begin treatment. You will undergo manual manipulation in several positions, ranging from face down, face up, and on each side. Your chiropractor may also use small tools to loosen muscles and provide more targeted results.

Although you may hear a cracking sound known as joint cavitation and feel varying pressure levels, chiropractic adjustments are not painful. Chiropractic adjustments work by stretching joints beyond their normal range of motion. This action causes gas bubbles to form within the synovial fluid, and when the pressure is reduced, it results in the pop or cracks associated with this spinal manipulation.

Your chiropractic treatment plan may also include other forms of physical therapy, including acupuncture and at-home exercises, depending on your condition.

How to Find a Chiropractor You Can Trust?

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The Graston technique can benefit athletes of all ages.

It is important to research and find a licensed chiropractor you can trust in Bend. You should look for these characteristics when making your decision:

  • Credentials—Credentials are vital when it comes to chiropractic care. Your chosen medical professional should have received their Doctor of Chiropractic degree from an accredited institution. This licensure ensures they have the training, skills, and experience to provide the best treatment. Sites like healthgrade.com can give you a snapshot of this information and any history of malpractice or disciplinary action.
  • Experience—If you are seeking treatment for a specific condition, you should try to find a chiropractor with ample experience in the particular procedure. More experience means better outcomes for you. Inquire about how many patients they’ve treated with the condition, their successes, and any complications or risks.
  • Great referrals and reviews—Ask the people you trust most for their chiropractor referrals. Your primary care physician, physical therapists, and even family and friends can provide recommendations. Website reviews offers insight into experiences with ease of scheduling, wait times, friendliness, and more.
  • Comfortability—You should always feel comfortable asking healthcare professionals questions about the process. During your first visit, come with any questions you have and take note of their willingness to respond and provide in-depth answers.
  • Insurance Compatibility—Chiropractic care is an ongoing process, so affordability should factor into your decision. Finding a chiropractor who takes your insurance can help reduce your out-of-pocket costs and make regular care more attainable for you.

At Total Body Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Bend, we take pride in our licensed and experienced chiropractors. Our chiropractors have been practicing for over 20 years and deliver excellent results. We are always happy to answer any questions and ease your worries about chiropractic care. Schedule your initial appointment with us today and get on the path to a healthy, pain-free life.

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Can a Chiropractor Help with Vertigo?

There are few feelings quite as unsettling as a dizzy spell. If you get them frequently or for long periods, the sensation of the world spinning in circles can leave you anxious about when the next episode will occur. Nearly 40% of Americans will experience at least one vertigo attack throughout their life. If you’re one of them, it’s important to know how to handle it when the time comes.

Finding long-lasting, effective treatment for your vertigo is a crucial part of living a comfortable, stress-free life. At Total Body, we know that chiropractic care can be part of the solution. Continue reading to learn about the different forms of vertigo and your treatment options, including chiropractic adjustment.

What is Vertigo?

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Vertigo is the sensation of dizziness or the overall feeling of being unbalanced. This sensation can present itself in a couple of ways: you are spinning in circles, or your surroundings are moving even when you’re standing still. Some people describe vertigo as being similar to motion sickness. However, it is not the same sensation as lightheadedness.

For clarity, vertigo is not a disease. Instead, it is a symptom of a range of conditions. More specifically, this false sense of movement can indicate a problem in the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway.

Various internal and external stimuli can trigger an attack, from illness to movement. While you cannot prevent the initial onset, it is possible to manage the recurrence of the symptom.

Certain characteristics may increase your likelihood of experiencing symptoms of vertigo:

  • Being 65 or older
  • Pregnancy
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Being female

What are the Symptoms of Vertigo?

Your vertigo symptoms may vary by the type of condition you have and the cause of your dizzy spell. Generally, when a vertigo episode hits, you can experience varying common symptoms and sensations:

  • Spinning sensation
  • Tilting
  • Swaying
  • Feeling unbalanced
  • Like you are being pulled to one direction

Depending on the condition that is causing your vertigo and its severity, you may also experience other non-motion related symptoms of vertigo:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jerking or abnormal eye movements, typically from side to side
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Ringing in the ears or hearing loss

These vertigo symptoms can last anywhere from a few seconds or minutes to a couple of hours. Your attacks may also come and go rapidly and randomly.

Different Types of Vertigo and Their Causes

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There are several different types of vertigo, and each is connected to a different area of the body. Some carry distinct symptoms that you will want to address to ensure lasting comfort.

1. Peripheral Vertigo

This is the most common form of vertigo. It occurs when there is a malfunction in one or more structures in the inner ear. Typically, peripheral vertigo results from problems with the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and spatial awareness.

Peripheral vertigo is an umbrella term for a few different forms of this inner ear problem. Your personal experience may fall into one of the following categories:

2. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is the most common form of peripheral vertigo. It affects one ear at a time, rather than both. However, the symptoms are still felt body wide.

This condition results from calcium crystal deposits, known as otoconia, located in the inner ear canals. In its ideal state, this debris should reside in the utricle and saccule space in the inner ear. However, situations like head trauma, inner ear disease (infectious or inflammatory), prolonged head position (as is the case in bed rest or dentist visits), or age-related deterioration can cause these calcium crystals to make their way to the semicircular ear canals.

When in this area, the crystals stimulate the small hairs that line the inner ear, which leads to short, frequent spells of vertigo symptoms when you move.

3. Meniere’s Disease

While we cannot pinpoint an exact cause of Meniere’s Disease, it is associated with fluid buildup in the inner ear. This condition can come on quickly and last up to 24 hours. During severe attacks, you may also experience nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, and ringing or fullness in the ears.

Dietary changes that influence body fluids can help manage symptoms of Meniere’s Disease. Your doctor may suggest limiting salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. They may also prescribe a diuretic pill to regulate your fluid levels.

4. Vestibular Neuritis or Labyrinthitis

Vestibular neuritis, sometimes referred to as vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis, often has a sudden onset. Viral illnesses, such as the cold and flu, or bacterial infections, can be to blame for your condition. In cases of vertigo symptoms, the infection has spread to the vestibular nerve or labyrinth that controls balance and hearing. Outside of dizziness, you may have several other symptoms, including fever, headache, earache, nausea, and vomiting.

5. Otosclerosis

This form of hearing loss involves the middle ear. Abnormal bone growth causes three bones in this area to become stuck together. This action impacts hearing and can result in tinnitus and dizziness.

Antibiotics, blood pressure prescriptions, and pain medications may also lead to peripheral vertigo symptoms, although these may resolve once treatment has ended.

6. Central Vertigo

Central vertigo stems from problems with the central nervous system (CNS), primarily in the brain stem or cerebellum (back of the brain). These conditions may cause central vertigo:

  • Blood vessel disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Tumors (cancerous or benign)
  • Brain Injury
  • Migraine
  • Drugs, such as anticonvulsants, aspirin, and alcohol
  • Seizures, although rare

Central vertigo symptoms can come and go without warning and may last a long time. The sensations feel more intense than peripheral vertigo attacks. You may not be able to focus your eyes or stop the abnormal movements for weeks to months during an episode. Some people find it difficult to walk or even stand without assistance much less continue daily habits.

7. Cervical Vertigo

Cervical vertigo, or cervicogenic dizziness, results from improperly moving joints in the cervical spine. You are more likely to develop this condition after a neck injury. Due to misalignments, your brain and spine cannot communicate properly, leading to misinformation about your body’s position in space. Addressing these misalignments can ease vertigo attacks as well as neck pain in most patients.

What Triggers Vertigo Attacks?

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Recurring vertigo attacks are common if you have not addressed your underlying condition. However, certain triggers make it more likely to experience an episode.

Avoid these stimuli to prevent vertigo attacks:

  • Bright lights
  • Rapid head movements
  • Looking up
  • Bending over

If vertigo episodes are common, try to stand up slowly and sleep with your head propped up.

Boating and reading while in a moving vehicle are two common triggers of vertigo symptoms, more commonly classified as motion sickness. If you find yourself in these situations, try staring at a stationary object. Having a point of focus can help you maintain a sense of balance.

If you know you’ll be going on a cruise, ask your doctor for a scopolamine patch to prevent nausea and vomiting, common of motion sickness.

Treatment Options for Vertigo

1. Medications

Your doctor may prescribe you a range of medication to treat the cause of your vertigo and ease the accompanying symptoms. For example, if your vertigo symptoms stem from ear infections or other bacterial illness, antibiotics may help resolve your issue. Other common medications include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Prochlorperazine to relieve nausea
  • Benzodiazepines for the physical symptoms of vertigo
  • Betahistine for Meniere’s Disease — it can reduce pressure from fluid build-up in the inner ear.

2. Chiropractic Care

Thanks to its neurological connections, chiropractic manipulation and care presents an effective treatment option for many forms of vertigo. Not only can a manual adjustment boost communication between the brain and body, including ears, lymphatic, and immune systems, but it can also promote faster healing in the case of infection.

Chiropractic Treatment for Vertigo

Vertigo treatment also involves the following specific physical therapies that restore full-body balance:

1. Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation is a form of physical therapy that can improve balance and coordination. This exercise-based program helps you work through different points of balance so you can compensate with unsteadiness from Meniere’s Disease.

2. Repositioning

For those with BPPV, the Epley Maneuver, also known as canalith repositioning, and Semont Maneuver provide effective treatment. During your visit, your chiropractor will rotate your head in three to four different positions in one-minute intervals to move debris out of the semicircular canals into the appropriate areas. This treatment takes about 15 minutes and offers an 80% success rate.

3. At-Home Exercises

If the maneuvers are not effective, your chiropractor may give you rigorous at-home Brandt-Daroff exercises. You will complete 3 sets of each exercise several times a day. Generally, 95% of cases resolve successfully with this treatment route. In certain patients, these exercises can cause more dizziness or nausea.

With the help of chiropractic care, symptoms typically improve gradually over weeks and even months in some cases. Regular adjustments can reduce the frequency and recurrence of attacks. Because chiropractic care takes a holistic approach, you may also experience reduced stress, better sleep, and improved posture as a bonus after your visit.

Don’t let vertigo throw your life off balance. The staff at Total Body is equipped to provide well-rounded care to ease the symptoms of vertigo, so choose Total Body as your chiropractic clinic for regular chiropractic care. Call our office today to set up your appointment and restore stillness to your world.

Can a Chiropractor Help Your Posture?

Your parents have probably told you to “stand up straight” or “keep your shoulders back” more than a few times throughout the years. It may be annoying, but it’s a pretty helpful piece of advice. Nearly every U.S. adult will deal with bad posture at some point. Your posture impacts your overall health, from bones and joints to your sleep and digestion.

However, maintaining good posture is more than just standing upright. Daily stressors and occupational habits require you to take an active approach to fixing and maintaining your alignment. A combination of stretches, exercise, and regular chiropractic visits can keep your spine in the correct position.

Keep reading to learn whether you have bad posture, ways to fix your posture at home, and how a chiropractor can help with posture correction

Why is it Important to Have Good Posture?

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Posture describes the position of your body when standing or sitting. When we say good posture, we really mean a neutral spine. In this position, the muscle groups, ligaments, and joints are aligned in a way that reduces stress and fatigue on your body. Good posture allows you to turn, twist, and move easily.

So, what does a healthy posture look and feel like? It should feel relaxed and comfortable. Your head should stack over your shoulders, and your shoulders over your hips, and finally, your hips over your ankles.

More specifically, stand with your chin parallel to the ground and keep your shoulders back with your arms sitting naturally at your side. You should keep your knees soft, and the weight between the balls of your feet and your heels. Tuck your stomach and roll your pelvis forward to keep your low back aligned.

Standing and sitting in the proper position has a number of benefits for your health:

  • Increased comfort
  • Fewer aches and pains in joints, neck, and back
  • Reduced risk of injury and muscle strain
  • Smoother digestion
  • Better balance
  • Greater Flexibility
  • More restful sleep

What Causes Poor Posture?

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Poor posture results from sitting or standing in awkward positions for prolonged periods. Certain lifestyle habits can also contribute to these structural spinal misalignments.

  • Stress — Whether you have chronic stress or just deal with daily tensions, it can impact your posture. The shallow breathing and muscle contractions that accompany stress can compromise your body and cause tight muscles.
  • Weight gain — Extra weight, especially in your abdominal area, pulls your pelvis forward, causing the low spine to curve too deeply. Not to mention, it puts more pressure on your hips, knees, and ankles, which affects your posture.
  • Pregnancy — The added pressure on the spine, hips, and lower body affects posture, leading to complaints of low back pain. Proper posture can ease the pressure you feel during this time. After delivery, it’s necessary to readjust the body and put vertebrae and joints back into place.
  • Weak or tense muscles — When you have weak muscles, like in the abdomen, other areas in the low back must work harder to support the spine. This tension impacts posture and causes pain.

In some cases, poor posture makes your body use its surface-level active muscles, which quickly run out of steam. The deeper muscles go unused and become weaker. They then tense up and shorten, compacting spinal bones and further worsening your posture.

  • Injuries — When you get injured, muscles in the affected area will spasm in order to protect from further injury. However, this action limits movement and causes pain. Even after your injury has healed, your body may hold onto the unhealthy position.
  • Shoe type — Your high heels may be contributing to your poor posture! These types of shoes shift your body weight forward and cause you to walk differently. Even ill-fitting flat shoes can negatively impact your alignment.
  • Technology — Desk workers are at a disadvantage when it comes to postural problems. Looking down or up at a screen all day shifts your neck alignment. Handheld technology can make the problem more severe, as you’re more likely to bend your neck forward for too long. The resulting condition is commonly known as text neck and can cause neck pain and improper posture.

How Can You Tell if You Have Bad Posture?

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Not only can you see poor posture, but you can certainly feel it. Most commonly you will notice hunched shoulders, rounded upper back, or an arched lower back. Other symptoms of bad posture and a misaligned spine include:

  • Aches and pains, especially back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Bent knees when standing or walking
  • Potbelly
  • Headache
  • Head leaning forward or backward
  • Slowed digestion or heartburn, affecting your digestive tract
  • Joint restrictions

Poor posture can also contribute to premature aging and associated conditions, like arthritis.

If you have bad posture, it may fall into one of four categories:

  1. Forward head — Where your ears tilt in front of your vertical midline
  2. Kyphosis — There is an exaggerated curve of the upper back. This form typically develops in boys.
  3. Lordosis, or hyperlordosis — This posture, also known as “sway” back, occurs when the hips and pelvis tilt forward.
  4. Flatback — When your lower spine loses its curve, the back appears flat.

Four Ways to Improve Posture at Home

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Fortunately, it’s possible to improve your posture at home. Try these four tips throughout the day to fix your alignment.

1. Remain Aware — Regularly checking in on your body and posture is the most important step you can take toward improvement. When you start to feel your shoulders hunching, spine curving, or your lower back swaying forward, take a moment to adjust.

Imagine there’s a string running through your body to the crown of your head, and someone is pulling up on it. Even laying on the floor with your knees bent toward the sky or standing against a wall with your feet under you can aid in learning and maintaining correct posture. Add this practice into your daily activities and feel the health benefits.

2. Stay Active — Regular exercise can strengthen the weak and unused muscles that support the back. Weight training teaches you how to activate those deep and postural muscles. Not to mention, working out can help with weight management. Losing weight eases the stress that abdominal fat puts on the lower back, other joints, and your nervous system.

3. Yoga and Stretching — Yoga helps release muscle tension and lengthen shortened areas that may be affecting your vertebrae. Cat-cow, child’s pose, downward dog, and other basic yoga poses stretch your spine in all directions to boost overall health.

If you’ve been leaning one way, try stretching back in the opposite direction to neutralize the area. It gives overactive muscles a break.

4. Update Your Workspace and Use Support Devices — Invest in an ergonomic desk chair to support your posture while sitting. Your knees should sit at a right angle with feet flat on the ground. You can also use a small pillow to support your back at work.

Raise your computer to eye level. Your wrists should rest flat and comfortably against the keyboard. Click here for more tips on building an ergonomic workspace.

Keep in mind that it takes work and regular care to prevent your posture from returning to its unhealthy state. So, even once you’ve fixed your alignment, you’ll have to check in on it often.

Chiropractor Posture Correction

Of course, chiropractic care can help correct your posture! Using manual techniques, your Bend chiropractor will realign your spinal cord and joints to encourage spinal health.

Your visit will begin with an assessment of your symptoms and lifestyle, exercise, and work habits. During this process, your chiropractor will determine whether you have poor posture, the ways it’s affecting you, and how to fix it. All this information reveals the root cause.

Next, your chiropractor will do a hands-on assessment to figure out exactly what is wrong. They’ll look at how you stand from the front, back, and sides, checking for uneven shoulders, arched back, a twisted pelvis, and other symmetry issues.

Using a chiropractic adjustment, your doctor will find the proper alignment for your shoulders, spine, and neck. The spinal adjustment will increase your range of motion, reduce tension, and ease you into good posture.

Your chiropractor will also address problems with the muscles and soft tissues. Left unaddressed, your muscles will remain tense and continue pulling your spine and shoulders into unhealthy positions. Massage therapy can reduce this tightness and ease muscle spasms.

At the end of your visit, your chiropractor will suggest a treatment plan. While you will feel immediate relief after your appointment, you’ll need to get on a regimen for long-lasting results. Your body is likely used to its poor positioning, so it will try to return to the same state as before. At-home techniques coupled with chiropractic treatment will help to permanently create correct alignment and proper posture for good.

Chiropractic Treatment from Total Body Chiropractic

Even more than optimal health, chiropractic care for better posture can help you feel taller and more confident. At Total Body Chiropractic in Bend, we merge various treatment methods to help you feel your best. In the process of fixing your posture, we also address issues like allergies, headaches, hormonal imbalances, and so much more. Schedule your appointment and get on the road to better alignment today.

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Can a Chiropractor Treat a Pinched Nerve?

Have you ever experienced shooting pain in your arms or legs? Or maybe an intense tingling in your hands and feet has woken you up out of your sleep. Well, you may have a pinched nerve. Not only does this condition lead to pain and discomfort, it can also impact your body’s ability to send the proper signals to vital systems. Fortunately, chiropractic services offer an affordable and near-immediate solution to ease your pain and restore regular function so that you can feel your best.

Continue reading to learn more about the symptoms and causes of pinched nerve and your available treatment options.

What is a pinched nerve?

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A pinched nerve, also known as radiculopathy, occurs when too much pressure or force is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, including bones, cartilage, muscles, and tendons. Typically, the problem begins at the nerve root and radiates outward. Pinched nerves can occur in many places throughout the body, but mainly originate in the neck and upper or lower back.

The elbows and wrists are also common locations for pinched nerves due to repetitive use. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of a pinched nerve in the wrist. This condition is characterized by pain and numbness in the hands and fingers. Desk workers are highly susceptible to this form due to constant typing and hand positions.

Sciatica is also a form of radiculopathy that affects the sciatic nerve (the longest nerve in the body) and causes radiating pain through the hips, buttocks, and legs.

In the short-term, pinched nerves do not cause damage. Left untreated, they can become serious, leading to chronic pain. Worst case scenario, the fluid and swelling causes permanent, irreversible damage. Finding swift and appropriate treatment is vital for long-term comfort.

Pinched Nerve Symptoms

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Pinched nerve symptoms are easy to spot. Depending on the location, you may experience symptoms in corresponding areas:

  • If your pinched nerve is in your neck (the cervical spine), you might experience neck stiffness, and pain and numbness in the shoulder or arm.
  • When the lumbar spine (lower back) is affected, you might feel radiating pain in your back and hips through your legs.
  • A pinched nerve in the upper middle back can cause chest pain. If you are experiencing severe chest pain, you should call your doctor immediately, as it could indicate a more serious condition.

Regardless of location, you can still experience any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness
  • Shooting pain in the arms or legs — often the first sign
  • Decreased sensation in the affected area
  • Sharp aching around the nerve
  • Burning feeling radiating from the nerve
  • Tingling, or pins and needles sensation
  • Muscle weakness in the areas supplied by the nerves
  • Neck pain
  • Feeling that your limbs have “fallen asleep”

These symptoms can feel worse when you’re sleeping or just after waking up.

Pinched Nerve Causes

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A pinched nerve can result from a variety of causes, from lifestyle habits to other chronic conditions. Determining the cause of your problem is key to finding a long-term solution and preventing recurrence.

Bone or cartilage is one of the most common pinched nerve causes. For instance, a herniated disc will slip out between the vertebrae in the spinal cord and press on the nerve root that corresponds to the leg. In other instances, swollen or tight muscles and tendons surrounding the nerve root can compress the nerves.

Other common causes of a pinched nerve include:

  • Injuries, from sports, car accidents, etc.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, as the inflammation in the joints can compress the nerves.
  • Hobbies or sports, mainly those that have repetitive movements, like tennis.
  • Obesity puts more pressure on the nerve and swells pathways causing constriction
  • Overuse or stress, especially in repetitive movements of the hand, wrist, or shoulder
  • Bad posture or repeated strain from poor work ergonomics
  • Prolonged bed rest can put pressure on nerves.

While anyone can have a pinched nerve, there are certain characteristics and factors that may make you more susceptible to them:

  • Sex. Women have a greater susceptibility to carpal tunnel syndrome, or pinched nerves in the wrists.
  • Age. Being over 50 increases your risk for pinched nerves, due to natural degeneration and the prevalence of arthritis among this demographic.
  • Bone spurs. Bone spurs stiffen and narrow areas where nerves travel, causing a pinch. People with osteoarthritis are likely to develop bone spurs and, in turn, pinched nerves.
  • Pregnancy. Water retention and weight gain during pregnancy swells neural pathways.
  • Diabetes. High blood sugar damages the nerves over time.
  • Active people. Lifting, twisting, or pulling motions can cause a herniated disc – one of the many causes of pinched nerves.

Ways to Treat a Pinched Nerve

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Pinched nerves will often heal on their own in about four to six weeks with the right treatment. Like many injuries, rest is key for self-healing, as the body repairs itself during sleep. Avoiding movements that may irritate the nerve is another crucial step in pinched nerve treatment.

  • NSAIDs – Over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen, can reduce your pain and ease the swelling that may be contributing to the pinched nerve.
  • Stretching or yoga – Gentle stretches and strengthening exercises can removing some of the pressure off the affected area. However, stretching too deeply can have the opposite effect and further irritate your nerve and worsen symptoms. If you feel your symptoms begin to worsen, stop the exercise completely.
  • Splint, collar, or brace – You may be advised to wear a sprint, collar, or brace on the affected area to stabilize the area. It can prevent further aggravation, especially when sleeping. Hand or wrist splints are standard when treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Ice and Heat – Just like traditional injuries, this option reduces swelling and inflammation and boosts blood flow to the impacted nerves to encourage healing. Apply ice at 15-minute intervals about 3 times a day. Heat can be applied for up to an hour 3 times a day.
  • Massage therapy – Massage therapy can reduce pain and stress in the affected areas. Gentle pressure relieves the surrounding muscle tension that may be contributing to your condition. Deep tissue massage should not be used as a treatment for pinched nerve pain as it can make symptoms worse.
  • Spinal decompression therapy – A motorized traction therapy that changes the force and position of the spine. Through cycles of gentle stretching and relaxation, spinal decompression removes pressure off the nerves.

Your chiropractor may also suggest some lifestyle changes, such as using cushions and neck rests to support your posture when sitting. Updating your workspace with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse or using a standing desk may also reduce added pressure. Click here for more ways to update your desk area.

Doing regular low-impact exercise, like walking or swimming, can keep your body limber to prevent recurrence after your pinched nerve heals. Aim to complete about 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise every week.

Losing weight with the help of a nutritionist may also remove significant pressure from the nerves and boost your general health.

If your symptoms do not resolve after a few weeks or months of non-invasive treatment, your doctor may suggest surgery. In these cases, surgery may involve removing bone spurs or parts of herniated discs – or making more room for nerves to pass through certain areas depending on the location of your condition. Surgery acts as a last resort because of the side effects and possible complications.

Can a Chiropractor Treat a Pinched Nerve?

Yes! Chiropractors specialize in disorders in the musculoskeletal system, including pinched nerves. During your appointment, you and your chiropractor will discuss your lifestyle habits, symptoms, medical history, and other relevant information to determine the indirect cause of your problem.

From there, they will do a physical examination to pinpoint any misalignments that may be putting pressure on your nerves. Through a manual adjustment, your chiropractor restores proper alignment, and frees the trap nerve. This action can also relax surrounding muscles that might be compressing the nerve and reduces inflammation, which can also irritate nerves.

Neck and back pain are often a major indicator of a pinched nerve. Problems in these areas can radiate down to the hands or feet, making you extremely uncomfortable. Luckily, your Bend chiropractors specialize in treating neck pain.

Depending on the location of your pinched nerve and the frequency of your condition, your chiropractor will build a treatment plan including stretches you can do at home, lifestyle changes that can help, and a schedule of office visits. They may also suggest spinal decompression therapy or massage therapy in addition to your regular routine to keep your body moving as it should and prevent the muscle tightness and stress that often causes pinched nerves.

Chiropractic Services at Total Body Chiropractic, Massage, & Acupuncture

If you’re experiencing neck or back pain that you think may be due to a pinched nerve, you don’t have to live with it. Chiropractic treatment offers fast relief with complete healing. We combine the power of chiropractic with holistic treatment options, like massage and acupuncture, to help your body function at its highest and prevent future disruptions. Schedule your appointment today and let us help you get back to comfort.

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8 Benefits of a Deep Tissue Massage

Massage is one of the most relaxing therapies available. More than that, it can act as a powerful tool for treating painful conditions and restoring balance within your body. Deep tissue massage is one popular technique used to ease chronic pain and heal injuries. This therapy also has several practical uses that can make life more comfortable. Continue reading to learn eight benefits of a deep tissue massage.

What is a deep tissue massage?

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A deep tissue massage is a therapeutic technique that targets the inner layers of muscle and its surrounding connective tissue known as fascia. Using firm pressure and slow, deep strokes, your massage therapist works to break up scar tissue and release muscle adhesions, or knots. These knots are bands of rigid muscles that negatively impact your circulation and cause pain and inflammation.

Deep tissue can relieve the built-up tension from stress, exercise, and prolonged postural problems. It offers a prime solution for those dealing with:

  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle injuries
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Fatigued bodies from highly physical activities

This therapy begins with light strokes to warm up the muscles and then progresses to deep pressure along the muscle fibers. Deep tissue uses more pressure than other massages, like Swedish massage. While it can cause discomfort during your session, the pain should not feel unbearable. Be sure to communicate your needs with your Bend massage therapist so that they can adjust the pressure accordingly. In the days after your session, you may experience lingering soreness. This is completely normal. Using a heating pad or cold pack on the affected areas can provide relief.

Benefits of a Deep Tissue Massage

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1. Relieves lower back pain

Lower back pain can have a myriad of causes, from normal aging and prolonged sitting to a lack of exercise or, conversely, heavy lifting. This condition can also stem from specific nerves, like the sciatic nerve, or major muscle groups that support this area, such as the quadratus lumborum and gluteus medius. Issues in these areas can make simple tasks like bending over or getting out of your car difficult.

Deep tissue massage releases tissues that may be causing pinched nerves, helping sciatica. These techniques also restore proper function in the areas that support your lower back.

A 2014 study found that deep tissue massage may provide a similar level of relief as common NSAIDs, like ibuprofen. Although massage therapy can be better for your body and more cost-efficient in the long run.

2. Lowers blood pressure

It’s no secret that stress and tension increase your blood pressure—and deep tissue massage addresses both. Deep tissue massage releases endorphins that relax blood vessels, allowing your body to more easily pump blood. These benefits combined with increased blood circulation after your session can all positively impact your readings.

A 2008 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage can reduce diastolic, systolic, and mean arterial readings. It can even lower your heart rate by an average of 10 beats per minute.

3. Reduces muscle tension and pain

Tension occurs when your muscles stay in a contracted state and cannot relax. Over time, this tension can cause pain and reduce your range of motion. During a deep tissue massage, your Bend massage therapist will apply firm pressure on these trigger points, causing them to manually relax. This technique can reduce pain and restore movement.

If your discomfort stems from adhesions, or bundles of fibers that have grouped together due to tension, your therapist will break them up to increase flexibility and ease pain.

4. Lowers stress and anxiety

Stress is a normal part of life. When your body senses danger, it begins releasing more cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers your fight or flight. These levels should rise in moderate amounts during the day and level out at night. For people experiencing chronic stress, these cortisol levels remain high, which results in weight gain, sleeping troubles, and more.

Deep tissue massage not only lowers the levels of this stress hormone in your blood. It also counteracts its effects by releasing feel-good hormones, like oxytocin and serotonin. Oxytocin, your body’s “bonding hormone,” promotes positive moods and social interactions, while serotonin can encourage happiness and relaxation.

Not to mention, the simple act of taking 60 minutes for self-care can help you unwind mentally and physically. Massage therapy often promotes total-body relaxation with soothing music and aromatherapy. Even physical touch has been shown to reduce stress quickly and effectively.

5. Rehabilitates Athletic Injuries

Soreness and injuries are inevitable in most sports. That’s why massage therapy acts as an integral part of an athlete’s routine. Whether you have a student athlete or play league sports, this treatment option can provide countless benefits, including:

  • Decreased muscle stiffness
  • Increased range of motion
  • Reduced swelling and inflammation
  • Prevention of future injuries
  • Better athletic performance

Deep tissue massage removes toxins and sends blood and key nutrients to injured areas to promote faster recovery and proper healing. It can even break up scar tissue and encourage your body to restart the healing process in older injuries.

Using massage therapy after hard sessions can delay the onset of soreness by clearing lactic acid build-up, a major cause of discomfort. The techniques also help with muscle fatigue to ensure your body performs at its best during every game.

Your massage therapist will use specific techniques for athletes, like stretching. This method aids tight, twisted muscles and discourages active and passive stiffness to increase your flexibility and range of motion.

6. Breaks up scar tissue

Scar tissue is a natural part of the body’s healing process. However, when this tissue forms improperly, it can become restrictive, painful, and stiff. Fortunately, scar tissue doesn’t have to be permanent—and it can even be remodeled to resemble healthy muscle tissue.

Deep tissue massage can break up scar tissue by increasing lymphatic circulation and drainage. If your scars are less than two years old, your therapist can break it down and help properly align the collagen cells and fibers. It can take time to break down scar tissue, so regular visits are necessary if this is your goal.

This therapy is also encouraged for post-surgical recovery as it can help the scars form correctly. For older problems, Bend Total Body also offers the Graston technique to break up difficult-to-treat scar tissue and old injuries.

7. Improves Arthritis Pain

Nearly 1 in 4 adults deals with arthritis in the muscles, joints, and tendons. This condition is characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected joints. Deep tissue massage works in conjunction with your traditional treatment plan to deliver extended relief.

Massage therapy improves circulation to arthritic joints and decreases inflammation. This effect boosts your range of motion to keep you moving, breaking the cycle of stiffness and soreness that keeps you sedentary.

Many people also experience acute insomnia due to arthritic pain. By soothing your symptoms, massage therapy can encourage a better night’s rest.

8. Helps Labor and Delivery

Pregnancy, while a magical time in a woman’s life, can often result in some miserable symptoms. Fortunately, regular massage therapy during and after pregnancy can make this time more enjoyable.

Common benefits of pregnancy massage include:

  • Increased circulation and blood oxygen, which benefits the baby
  • Decreased pain in muscles and joints, especially the lower back
  • Less muscle tension
  • Stress and anxiety relief
  • Reduced swelling
  • Better sleep

Deep tissue massage therapy not only encourages physical and mental relaxation, but it also helps regulate key hormones. This therapy decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while increasing feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. So, expectant mothers leave their session feeling happier and more at ease.

Massage therapy can also help during labor. It’s thought that stimulating painful areas can encourage the brain to release its own pain-relieving endorphins. In other situations, massage techniques flood the body with pleasant sensations, blocking pain signals. Be sure to ask your therapist for at-home massage techniques that you can do when the time comes.

Regular massage throughout your pregnancy can result in less labor pain and shorter delivery times. Some mothers even feel less need for medication.

Always ensure that your massage therapist is thoroughly trained in pre-natal massage techniques. Some areas can induce labor or even cause complications, so they should not be stimulated during your session. For example, pregnancy can cause sluggish blood flow to the legs. However, your therapist should avoid deep tissue techniques here to prevent dislodging blood clots that could travel to vital organs.

Deep Tissue Massage at Total Body Chiropractic

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If you’re dealing with ongoing discomfort that is impacting your quality of life, massage therapy can help. This treatment option offers a non-invasive and extremely relaxing way to address the root of your problems. You will experience a range of benefits during your session to help you feel your best on and off the table.

Are you new to massage therapy? We offer several types of massage options to help you work your way up to the intensity of deep tissue. Schedule your appointment and treat yourself to relaxation today!

Top 10 Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor

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You’ve probably considered chiropractic care as a treatment option for issues like joint and muscle pain and poor posture, but did you know it can do so much more for your health? Chiropractic adjustments help reset your body and encourage proper functioning of all your systems, from digestion to immunity. After all, everything radiates from the spine.

Continue reading to learn the top 10 benefits of chiropractic care and how it can help you live a healthier, more comfortable life.

1. Improved Immune System Function

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Regular chiropractic care can boost your body’s ability to heal and recover properly. Your nervous system controls every cell, tissue, and organ in your body, including the endocrine system (responsible for hormones) and the immune system. Both of these structures are necessary to resolve inflammation and illness.

However, subluxations or misalignments in the spine impact the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body and initiate the immune response. This decreased function makes it harder to fight off illness.

Chiropractic adjustments correct any misalignments to encourage proper communication within the nervous system. Not to mention, this treatment can ease stress, a known contributor to illness.

2. Improved Digestion

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Certain areas of the spine regulate how quickly your food is digested, and how well your body can absorb key minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Misalignments in these areas, and even muscle tension in the stomach, can contribute to GI problems, including heartburn, acid reflux, gas and bloating, constipation, and more.

If your digestive troubles stem from inflammation, as is the case with some IBS and Crohn’s Disease patients, chiropractic care may work hand in hand with your traditional treatment methods to resolve this irritation and reduce your symptoms.

When you use chiropractic to fix digestion problems, you can look forward to increased regularity and intestinal comfort. 

3. Better Sleep

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Why do you sleep better after the chiropractor? Well, chiropractic care improves sleep in a few ways. Not only does chiropractic care soothe the pain and tension that often keep you awake, but it also fixes the misalignments in the neck that cause jaw tightness and subsequent snoring or sleep apnea.

Chiropractic care for sleep also improves blood flow and encourages relaxation for a good night’s rest. It’s no secret that general chiropractic for sleep can help balance the stress hormone cortisol. Your cortisol levels naturally rise during the day, but they should fall at night when it’s time to wind down. If they don’t, you’ll find it hard to fall asleep and even harder to wake up refreshed. Each adjustment helps to lower your cortisol levels, and regular chiropractic visits can keep them in check.

Your chiropractor will also suggest sleeping positions, pillow types, and other tips to help you sleep as part of this holistic treatment plan. For an additional boost, try adding on a massage service to your chiropractic visit. Many patients find massages so relaxing that they fall asleep on the table and experience greater, more refreshing rest in the days following their session. 

4. Healthier Pregnancies

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From nausea to swelling, expectant mothers deal with a lot of discomforts. The increased weight in the midsection and looser ligaments in the pelvis also put more pressure on the spine, making low back pain one of the most common complaints during this time. Visiting a chiropractor during pregnancy can offer near-immediate relief by improving your posture. Plus, a balanced pelvis typically decreases labor time and makes delivery easier.

Continuing chiropractic care after pregnancy may also assist with recovery and ease pain related to postural problems while breastfeeding.

5. Improved Athletic Performance

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Whether you’re a part-time athlete or simply like to stay active, chiropractic care can enhance your game and aid in your recovery in several ways:

  • Improves range of motion and flexibility to reduce injuries and help you play better
  • Addresses strained and sprained joints and ligaments to get you back in the game sooner
  • Directs blood flow to injury sites to promote proper and complete healing
  • Reduces inflammation after hard sessions.

Many athletes use chiropractic care and massage therapy in their pre- and post-game routines.

6. Headache Relief

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Other than back pain, headaches are one of the most common complaints for chiropractic patients.

Neck, back, and spinal tension are the main culprits of most headaches. However, additional factors like stress, hormonal imbalances, genetics, and more can also be to blame. Your chiropractor for headache relief will work with you to pinpoint the cause of your headaches and provide targeted treatment. Generally, these spinal manipulations will soothe tension, rebalance hormones, and ease stress to reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of your headache episodes.

Your Bend chiropractor for headache relief may also suggest massage therapy as part of your individualized treatment plan. You can also stimulate certain pressure points at home to keep attacks at bay even after your session.

7. Reduces Inflammation

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Inflammation is a common side effect of countless conditions. While acute inflammation is normal and necessary for your body to repair itself, chronic and uncontrolled inflammation can be painful.

Your chiropractor aims to address the source of your inflammation rather than putting a band-aid on the associated symptoms. Evidence suggests that chiropractic care can stop the production of neuropeptides and decrease the production of cytokines, proteins that regulate immune cells. When cytokines build up, it exacerbates the immune response and leads to excessive inflammation.

Chiropractic care, in conjunction with massage therapy, also resolves inflammation by encouraging blood flow to the injured site. This action can help the affected area to heal itself and decrease swelling in acute situations.

8. Lowered Blood Pressure

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Almost half of the adult population experiences high blood pressure. While many people rely on traditional medications, many patients wonder, “can a chiropractor help lower blood pressure?” In short, yes. In fact, research published in the Journal of Human Hypertension showed that an 8-week chiropractic treatment had the same effect as some high blood pressure medications. Those effects can even continue for up to 6 months after treatment!

The best part of seeing a chiropractor for high blood pressure is that it doesn’t have the same side effects as common medications, like excessive urination and decreased sex drive.

Misalignments can also cause arteries to contract, which has a negative impact on blood flow and increases blood pressure. During your session, your chiropractor will target the nerves in the upper neck, as this area is most associated with hypertension.

9. Sciatica Relief

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As many as 40% of people will experience sciatica in their life. This condition occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or surrounded by inflammation. Because the sciatic nerve stretches from the back to the feet, you may experience radiating pain in the legs, back, and glutes. Fortunately, a chiropractor can help with sciatic pain!

When you see a chiropractor for sciatica, they will realign the vertebrae to remove pressure off the nerve. This type of spinal manipulation can also increase the circulation of blood and healing agents to the area to resolve inflammation. These techniques work to restore mobility in the back, hips, pelvis and low back. Patients report a decrease in the severity and number of pain days when seeing a chiropractor for sciatica.

Your chiropractor can also give you stretches to target this area between sessions.

10. Pain Relief for the Body

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Of course, chiropractic care offers a top solution when it comes to general body pain. Whether your pain stems from arthritis, pinched nerves, herniated disks, tendonitis, or any other common causes, there’s a tailor-made solution for you.

Chiropractic care can also function as part of a healthy way of life, and is especially helpful for:

  • Desk workers and those with sedentary lifestyles
  • Manual laborers
  • Athletes and highly active individuals
  • Expectant and postpartum mothers
  • Those with injuries from sports or car accidents
  • Gardeners and others who complete yardwork

Our everyday routines naturally put stress on the muscles in the neck, back, and shoulders. So, regularly seeing a chiropractor for back pain not only eases your discomfort, but it can also reduce your chances of experiencing these aches in the first place. As you build a consistent routine, your body will begin to hold onto its adjustments, allowing you to experience long-term comfort.

Your chiropractor for neck pain releases built-up tension and relaxes contracted muscles. Depending on the cause of your pain, more advanced methods, like the Graston technique and shockwave therapy, can even address older injuries and pockets of scar tissue.

The greatest benefit of seeing a chiropractor for back pain is its natural and holistic nature. It offers a non-invasive, non-addictive solution with very few side effects. At Total Body, we look at all aspects of your lifestyle, including your diet, sleep patterns, stress levels, and exercise habits, to provide total relief and enhance your comfort. We also offer acupuncture and massage therapy services to bolster the effects of your adjustment and help you feel your best even after you leave our office. Schedule your appointment today and see how chiropractic care can help you.

 

 

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5 Pressure Points for Headaches

Nearly 45 million Americans get at least one headache per year. Of that number, 30% deal with migraine disorder, which can be highly debilitating. Some people experience headaches that are so severe and frequent that they end up missing work and many of life’s moments. Finding a way to manage your headaches outside of pain medication (a solution that doesn’t always work) is vital for living a happier, healthier life.

Holistic treatment options, like massage therapy and chiropractic care, may be the answer. Continue reading to learn how massage therapy can help with your headaches and techniques you can use to find relief at home.

Types of Headaches

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Not all headaches are the same. When you can pinpoint the type of headaches you are experiencing, treatment becomes much easier. Typically, headaches fall into two major categories: muscle tension and vascular.

  • Muscle tension — This pain is usually dull and constant on both sides. It can be caused by the tightening of muscles in the head, face, and neck.
  • Vascular headaches — Vascular headaches feel like pounding or throbbing. They occur when the blood vessels that supply the brain begin to swell and constrict.

There are over 150 nuanced headaches. However, based on the sensation, duration, and location, you may be dealing with one of the four most common types of headaches:

1. Tension Headache

This is the most common form of head pain. It is characterized by dull, aching, mild to moderate pain all over the head. Tension headaches tend to come and go with no other symptoms. These are more likely to be triggered by physical or mental stress.

2. Cluster Headaches

Clusters usually feel the most severe. Many patients complain of constant burning or piercing pain behind or around the eye. The pain can even wake you up out of your sleep. While these headaches only last for about 15 minutes to 3 hours, they can strike in groups with as many as three a day and recur for an extended period (2 weeks up to 3 months). Men are more likely to experience cluster headaches than women.

3. Migraine

Migraine is considered a condition with no exact cause and no permanent cure. This headache feels like pounding or throbbing, typically concentrated to one side of the face. Each episode can last for 4 hours but will generally stick around for days. People with migraine headaches may experience 1 to 4 attacks per month. These episodes are accompanied by additional symptoms like pain, sensitivity to light, noise, and smells, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, and stomach pain.

4. Sinus Headache

As the name suggests, sinus headaches affect the sinuses with deep, constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, and nose area. The inflamed sinuses can also cause other symptoms like runny nose, full ears, and swelling. Generally, you will experience these episodes if you have allergies or a sinus infection marked by yellow or green discharge.

What causes headaches?

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At its core, a headache is caused by a mixture of pain signals between the brain, blood vessels, and surrounding nerves. However, different situations may affect this line of communication and result in a headache, like:

  • Illness — Infections, colds, and fevers)
  • Neck and back strain from poor posture
  • Stress and how we react to it (i.e., skipping meals, changes in sleep, alcohol use, etc.)
  • Environmental factors — smoke, scents, chemicals, allergens, noise, lights, weather can all be triggers.
  • Exercise
  • Hormones
  • Rebound headaches from reliance on prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
  • Head injuries
  • Hemicrania continua
  • Genetics — Migraine condition tends to run in the family. If both parents get them, the child is 70% more likely to experience them. If only one parent suffers from this condition, there is a 25% to 50% chance the child will inherit them.

How does massage therapy help with headaches?

massage-therapy-for-headache-pain

Massage therapy can be an excellent treatment option, especially if your headaches occur from muscle tension and stress.

In fact, a 2002 study followed patients who had experienced chronic headaches at least two to three times per week for six months. The researchers found that massage reduced the number of headaches from 7 per week to just two. The duration of the headaches also decreased by half the time.

How did massage therapy help? The techniques used by your massage therapist target the cause of your pain and offer relief by:

  • Boosting relaxation to reduce stress-induced migraines and headaches
  • Reducing muscle spasms
  • Easing muscle tension in the neck and shoulders
  • Releasing shortened muscles
  • Relieving pressure on the nerves and blood vessels
  • Increasing blood circulation
  • Decreasing sleep disturbances and distress

Headache Relief Pressure Points

Certain areas of the body may provide relief to seemingly unrelated sites. Your massage therapist can easily identify these headache relief pressure points during your appointment to provide more immediate relief. By stimulating these pressure points for headaches at home, you can prolong the results of your massage therapy appointment.

1. Union Valley Pressure Point — Large Intestine 4 (LI4)

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The Union Valley pressure point is located in the web or fleshy depression between the thumb and the index finger.

This tension headache relief pressure point releases pressure in the neck and head. It is also great for pain in the face, head, and neck, especially when it comes to sinuses, jaw pain, and earaches. The LI4 point can also help with detoxification and menstrual cramps.

How to stimulate the union valley pressure point:

Using the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand, apply gentle yet firm pressure on the fleshy depression for 3 minutes. Take deep breaths during this time. You can also massage the area in small circles.

You should not stimulate this point if you are pregnant, as it can induce labor in some instances. 

2. Drilling Bamboo Pressure Point — Bright Light Point (B2)

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The drilling bamboo point rests on either side of the place where the bridge of the nose meets the ridge of the eyebrows.

The B2 point is best for relieving allergies, sinus pressure, and the resulting pain. It’s also particularly useful for eyestrain caused by electronic devices. Adding this pressure point stimulation to your nightly routine can help you unwind after a long day of desk work.

How to stimulate the drilling bamboo pressure point for headaches:

Use your index finger to apply firm pressure for 10 seconds, release, and repeat.

3. The Gates of Consciousness Pressure Point — Gallbladder 20

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The gates of consciousness pressure point for headaches is located at the base of either side of your skull in the hollow areas between the two vertical parallel neck muscles.

The gallbladder 20 point is one of the best migraine pressure points, as it also addresses blurred vision, low energy, and fatigue. It is also beneficial for easing anxiety and stress. If you deal with insomnia or frequent sleep disturbances, you may also find relief in using this point. Most notably, it can help soothe tension and pain in the neck.

How to stimulate the gates of consciousness pressure point:

Place the fingers on the points, using your index and middle finger (or clasping your hands behind the neck with thumbs facing downward). Press firmly upward for 10 seconds and repeat.

4. The Third Eye Pressure Point — Hall of Impression

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One of the most well-known pressure points, the third eye, sits right between your eyebrows, where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead.

This tension headache relief pressure point has many alternative uses for emotional well-being and alignment. It also connects with the pineal gland, which promotes deep relaxation and produces melatonin to relieve migraines. The third eye pressure point can also calm anxiety, reduce dizziness, and soothe sinus pressure.

How to stimulate the third eye pressure point for headaches:

Locate the third eye and use your index finger to apply gentle pressure for one minute.

5. The Shoulder Well Pressure Point — Gallbladder 21

shoulder-well-pressure-points

You’ll find the shoulder well pressure point at the highest part of the shoulder halfway between the shoulder point and the base of the neck.

Stimulating this area can relieve stiffness and pain in the neck and shoulders and the resulting headaches. It can also remove the weight off the shoulders that accumulates from poor posture. Finally, it releases stress and tension in the upper body.

How to stimulate the shoulder well pressure point for headaches:

Take your thumb and apply firm pressure in a circular motion for one minute. Switch and repeat on the opposite side.

Because the shoulder well pressure point encourages energy flow downward, it is not recommended for pregnant women.

Massage Therapy at Total Body Chiropractic

If you deal with regular headaches, it’s time to give massage therapy a try! This non-invasive treatment option has proven to ease the effects of headaches to help you feel more comfortable. Massage therapy also delivers a number of other beneficial benefits for your mind and body, including increased flexibility, reduced joint pain, better sleep quality, lymphatic drainage, and so much more. At Total Body Chiropractic, Massage & Acupuncture, we create an individualized treatment plan to target multiple problem areas at once and help you feel your best. Schedule your appointment with us today!

woman-getting-acupuncture-on-back

Top Benefits of Acupuncture for Insomnia

Do you have trouble getting to and staying asleep each night? You’re not alone. Nearly 70 million Americans deal with a sleep disorder, most commonly insomnia. Short-term insomnia affects about 30% of the population, while long-lasting insomnia impacts about 10% of people. If you’re one of these people, it’s vital to find a solution for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Thanks to its increased popularity, many people wonder, “can acupuncture help insomnia?” Fortunately, natural solutions like acupuncture for insomnia offer a drug-free solution.

Continue reading to learn how this holistic therapy can improve your rest.

What is Acupuncture for Insomnia?

Acupuncture for insomnia is a drug-free solution for a better night’s rest. Unlike traditional prescriptions that cause daytime drowsiness, cognitive impairment, and dependence, acupuncture has very minimal side effects and is more readily available for your use.

Acupuncture for better sleep has been around for thousands of years as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is believed that your energy, qi (pronounced ‘chee’), runs along pathways throughout the body, known as meridians. When there are energy blockages in these pathways, you become susceptible to illness, pain, and other problems, like insomnia.

In western medicine, acupuncture for sleep is used as a neuromodulator that tones down the brain’s perception of certain sensory signals, like in instances of pain. By inserting hair-thin, sterilized needles into specified points, your acupuncturist also helps restore balance and promote proper functioning of the entire body. This process can stimulate the release of necessary hormones, decrease inflammation, and relax muscles, which helps you feel better all around.

A review of 46 trials that included 3811 patients even showed that acupuncture for sleep disorders increased both sleep quality and duration more than traditional techniques, like medicine and herbal remedies.

How Does Acupuncture for Insomnia Work?

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At Total Body, we believe in treating your condition by addressing the root cause of your problem, whether that’s pain, stress, or another underlying factor. That’s why your appointment will begin with a discussion outlining your full medical history, daily lifestyle habits, diet, and sleep schedule. This information will help us determine what could be contributing to your insomnia.

From there, a skilled acupuncturist will insert about 5 to 20 needles in common acupuncture points for sleep, like the arms, legs, and feet. Once the needles are placed, you will lie still for about 30 minutes. This first session can last up to 90 minutes, while subsequent appointments will take anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.

Generally, you will start with 2 to 3 sessions a week for about ten sessions if you experience temporary insomnia. If you deal with chronic insomnia, you may need ongoing treatment to ensure lasting success.

After a full round of acupuncture for sleep, we will reassess your condition to determine if you’re ready for a maintenance plan. An individualized treatment plan can involve your acupuncture sessions, along with additional therapies like chiropractic care and massage and daily activities that help you sleep better.

Five Acupuncture Points for Sleep

Specific acupuncture points correspond with various parts of the body — and some of the placements can feel seemingly unrelated to the area of treatment. However, there are five main acupuncture points for insomnia found in the arms, legs, and head that can help you sleep better:

1. HT7 (or Spirit Gate)

This acupuncture point for sleep is located at the crease on the inside of the wrist below the pinkie. Applying acupuncture to this area quiets the mind, which can help you get to sleep faster and reduce stress-related disturbances to provide greater quality rest.

2. SP6 (or Three Yin Intersection)

The SP6 is located on the inner leg above the ankle. To find it, locate the highest point of your ankle and then measure four finger-widths up. This acupuncture point for insomnia promotes relaxation to help improve your sleep. It can also help with menstrual cramps and other pelvic disorders.

Pregnant women should not access this pressure point, as it can induce labor.

3. LV3 (or Tai Chong)

The LV3 acupuncture point for sleep sits where the skin of the big toe and second toe connects. Stimulating this area helps ease insomnia, especially when related to stress, anxiety, or  an unknown cause.

4. An Mian

This acupuncture point literally translates to “peaceful sleep.” It is located behind the ears on either side of the neck, just beyond the bony protrusion. Using “an mian” not only encourages full-body relaxation but can also ease anxiety and headaches that often stop you from getting a good night’s sleep.

5. Yin Tang

This acupuncture point for sleep is one of the most well-known, and for a good reason. The “yin tang” reduces instances of insomnia, as well as restlessness and agitation, which can both hinder your sleep. Not to mention, this acupuncture point can also ease tension in the neck, shoulders, and face. This spot sits just at the center of the eyebrows above your nose.

The acupuncturists in Bend may also stimulate additional acupuncture points in the soles and heels of your feet to make you more grounded and induce sleep after your session. You can also practice acupressure at home to boost your results. Simply locate these acupuncture points for sleep and apply light pressure or massage in circular motions before going to bed.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Insomnia

performing-acupuncture-for-wellness

At night, your body heals and repairs itself from the stressors of the day. So, quality sleep is necessary to feel your best mentally and physically. Whether you’re dealing with a temporary bout of insomnia or have always experienced this condition, acupuncture for sleep can increase the quality and duration of your slumber in these ways:

1. Lowers Stress and Anxiety

High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can impact your ability to get to sleep. It can also impact the quality of sleep, leaving you unrefreshed in the morning. Acupuncture resets your cortisol hormone levels to decrease stress. As mentioned earlier, certain points also help quiet the mind so that you can doze off without racing thoughts.

Plus, acupuncture also encourages your brain to release feel-good hormones, like serotonin, further reducing the stress that may keep you awake.

2. Stimulates and Balances Hormones

Acupuncture for insomnia stimulates the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Melatonin signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and head to bed. People with insomnia often experience imbalances where they don’t create enough of this hormone or don’t begin producing it early enough to get to bed on time. By increasing your levels with the help of acupuncture, you may benefit from a more regular sleep schedule.

3. Decreases Pain

Chronic pain is often linked to insomnia, as the discomfort makes it difficult to rest. Fortunately, pain relief is a common use for acupuncture. This treatment works to ease inflammation in affected joints and muscles to make you more comfortable as early as your first session.

4. Promotes Relaxation

Full-body relaxation is a surefire way to get to sleep. Acupuncture boosts this effect by reducing activity in your sympathetic nervous system — the area responsible for your flight-or-fight response. As this system shuts off, your heart rate begins to slow, blood pressure drops, and your body begins to relax.

Pairing your acupuncture session with a massage appointment can further amplify your results. Massage therapy carries many of the same benefits of acupuncture, including relaxation, stress relief, and pain relief. Some people even fall asleep on the table during their appointment.

5. Increases Blood Circulation

Acupuncture for better sleep improves blood circulation throughout the body, namely in sleep-inducing areas. With increased oxygen, your body is more likely to get to a relaxed state.

Additional Benefits of Acupuncture for Overall Health

Although we deliver targeted treatment through acupuncture for better sleep, you will also reap several other benefits that can improve your health overall.

Pain Relief

As mentioned earlier, pain relief is a common result of acupuncture. Whether you experience joint pain, muscle tension or soreness, or spasms, acupuncture offers a drug-free solution. It triggers the release of endorphins—natural pain-relieving chemicals produced by the body.

Anxiety Improvement

Because acupuncture for insomnia and anxiety works as a neuromodulator, it can influence your brain function. This helpful tool can stimulate the part of the mind that controls emotions like anxiety to help you feel more at ease. The increased serotonin and decreased cortisol after each session also help reduce anxious feelings.

Other Sleep Conditions

Insomnia might not be the only thing keeping you up at night. Sleep apnea is another common sleep disorder, affecting about 26% of people — and acupuncture can help! Acupuncture for sleep apnea prevents the upper respiratory muscles from collapsing to reduce the frequency and severity of the condition. It also reduces the chances of the tongue slipping back and blocking the airway during sleep.

Schedule Your Acupuncture Appointment Today

Are you ready to finally experience a deep, restful slumber? Acupuncture for better sleep may be the answer. The skilled acupuncturists at Total Body Chiropractic, Massage, & Acupuncture work with you to deliver the best results. Schedule your appointment today and start sleeping better tonight!

acupuncture-for-arthritis-in-knee

How Acupuncture Helps Reduce Arthritis Pain

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of physical disability, with over 27 million Americans dealing with some form of this condition. Finding a non-invasive, drug-free solution becomes extremely important for managing this ongoing condition without adverse side effects. Acupuncture for arthritis may answer the problem that so many people face. Continue reading to learn how this holistic service can help you get your life back.

What is Acupuncture for Arthritis?

Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years as an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is believed that your energy, or qi (pronounced ‘chee’), runs along certain pathways, known as meridians, throughout the body. By inserting hair-thin needles in specific points, your acupuncturist in Bend removes any blockages that may be causing pain or illness.

When using acupuncture for pain, the acupuncture points may sit near the affected area or in a corresponding part of the body. Treatment is generally not painful, and many patients report feeling relief as early as their first appointment.

The 2019 American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation guidelines even list acupuncture as a recommended treatment option for osteoarthritis (OA), making it a prominent option in your ongoing quest for comfort.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Arthritis

Evidence shows that acupuncture for arthritis can significantly ease the discomfort associated with both OA and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). According to a study by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, patients experienced a 40% decrease in pain and increased joint mobility after 3.5 months of treatment.

A review of 43 RA studies showed that 1 to 3 sessions for four weeks could improve symptoms and even decrease the physical markers of the condition.

It’s important to know that acupuncture will not cure or reverse your arthritis. However, it can make your pain and symptoms more manageable daily. You should work with your primary care physician to find an appropriate balance in care.

Thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture for pain, you may experience these benefits:

  • Reduced inflammation in the joints
  • Decreased pain as the nerve fibers help block out pain signals
  • Better circulation and blood flow
  • Increased joint mobility
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Lower reliance on common prescriptions and opioids

You may also reap several other benefits that improve your quality of life, including:

  • Stress relief thanks to the stimulation of endorphins and oxytocin, your body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.
  • Better sleep due to melatonin regulation.
  • Greater sense of well-being because of a release of serotonin

How Many Acupuncture Sessions Do I Need for Arthritis?

During your first session, the acupuncturists in Bend will complete a full assessment, including your medical history, current treatment plan, and a full record of your symptoms and lifestyle goals. They will then build an individualized treatment plan based on your needs. Studies have varied from 4 weeks to 14 weeks, with results present in all scenarios. For best results, you should follow the plan your acupuncturist gives you.

Generally, for mild to moderate cases, only a limited amount of work is needed to see results. If you have a more advanced case of arthritis (bone-on-bone), you may need ongoing acupuncture treatments for continued comfort.

At Total Body, we believe in a holistic approach to chiropractic care. So, we will offer additional recommendations to help prolong your results, like exercising regularly, wearing supportive shoes, and reducing the strain on your affected joints throughout the day with tweaks. You may also benefit from combining acupuncture with other services, like massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments. These therapies support the function of your entire body and may further bolster your results.

Are you ready to feel more comfortable throughout your day? Schedule an appointment to try acupuncture with Total Body Chiropractic, Massage & Acupuncture.