Category Archives: Pain

Chiropractic Care and Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most common pains experienced by people across all demographics. Medical experts believe that about 80% of the population will experience low back pain in their lifetime.

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for absenteeism at work and it is the second most common reason for hospital visits, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

Most people suffer from low back pain but many do not realize that they can prevent or treat this condition with the right chiropractic care. It is crucial to understand lower back pain in order to avoid any complications.

Understanding Low Back Pain

Low back pain is commonly seen as an acute type of pain; so, it usually lasts for a few days and resolves on its own with proper self-care. There are two types of low back pain described by experts and these include:

  • Sub-acute low back pain.
  • Chronic back pain.
Femail back sciatica Tacoma chiropractor

While the former is characterized with having a painful lower back between four to 12 weeks, the latter is more persistent often lasting more than 12 weeks. The magnitude of the inconvenience caused by lower back pain has grown in recent years. According to the study conducted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, low back pain jumped from the sixth to the third place of common diseases due to the rise of poor health practices.

The lower back is comprised of bones, muscles, ligaments and joints. Low back pain can be complicated. It is crucial to take note that there are different reasons why low back pain occurs. Moreover, sufferers experience different types of symptoms which woulds affect treatment strategies. It is therefore important to understand what back pain is before delving into its treatments.

The Anatomy of the Lower Back

Familiarizing the anatomy of the lower back allows you to communicate with your healthcare providers better, especially when you are suffering from lower back pain. The lower back is the five lumbar vertebrae, referred to as L1 to L5 . These are odd-shaped vertebrae. They signify the end of the typical bones of the spinal column. The L5 vertebra, connected to the sacrum, is the last bone of the lumbar vertebrae .

The lumbar vertebrae have spaces between them, connected by rubbery pads that work like shock absorbers, called inter vertebral discs. Ligaments connect muscles to the vertebrae.

The lower back deep muscles are attached to the spinous processes. Three types of muscles, including the multifidus, spinalis, and longissimus, are associated with the lumbar vertebrae. The combination of these anatomical structures make up the lower back muscles and provide an effective support system to the spine. However, it also plays other vital functions as follows:

  • Protection: The lower back vertebrae protect the spinal as well as the nerve roots so that they can relay messages to the brain. Moreover, the rigid structure of the lumbar vertebrae and the inter vertebral discs are shock absorbers whenever we move.
  • Flexibility: The lower back region allows us to twist and bend or make a variety of movements.
  • Support: The lumbar vertebra is very strong and together with the muscles and connective tissues, it helps support the upper body thereby allowing us to stand upright with ease.

Facts about Low Back Pain

Having low back pain can impact your daily life. It is one of the most common pains that people complain about. The pain can range from a dull to sharp ache that makes it hard to move. But did you know that anyone can get low back pain?

Below are some fast facts about lower back pain that you need to know about:

  • More than 1/3 of American adults claim that low back pain affected their lives in engaging different tasks.   Affected activities include exercise (38%), sleep (37%) and daily living (39%) in general.
  • Low back pain is one of the most common pains that people complain about in their daily lives.
  • Around 72% of Americans who suffer from low back pain use pain medications to relieve symptoms. However, 55% use cold or heat packs as home remedy in treating low back pain.
  • Low back pain is not only common in people who spend too much time on their feet. In fact, 54% of Americans who are sitting all the time suffer from low back pain too.
  • Men are more likely to suffer from low back pain than women. Up to 31% of men suffer from lower back pain that is painful enough to affect their ability to function at work.
  • While it is a common condition in most adult Americans, it is surprising to take note that 37% of low back pain sufferers do not seek help from their doctors.

Causes of Lower Back Pain

Most low back pain is caused by mechanical reasons. In fact, it is commonly associated with spondylosis, which is a condition that is characterized by the degeneration of the spine due to wear and tear. However, there are also reasons why low back pain occurs. Let’s take a look at the other causes of low back pain.

  • Sprains and strains: A sprain is caused by overstretching the ligaments while a strain is caused by tears on the muscles and tendons. These conditions can occur by lifting a heavy item improperly or overstretching the muscles and ligaments.
  • Herniated discs: Also called ruptured discs, this condition occurs when there is compression of the intervertebral discs. Thus, creating a bulge of the disc which causes low back pain.
  • Intervertebral disc generation: This condition occurs when the rubbery discs lose their integrity due to aging. Intervertebral discs give height to each vertebra and allow you to bend and move your lower back. Once it deteriorates, they limit the movement of the vertebrae as well as lose their cushioning ability.
  • Sciatica: Sciatica is characterized by sciatic nerve compression. This nerve extends from the buttocks to the back of the leg. The compression of the sciatic nerve creates a burning sensation on the lower back, buttocks, and leg.
  • Traumatic injury: Traumatic injury such as car accidents, a fall or playing sports can injure the muscles, ligaments and tendons which will result in lower back pain. Aside from causing injury to the muscles, ligaments and tendons, traumatic injuries can also lead to spine compression, leading to intervertebral disc rupture.
  • Skeletal irregularities: Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis or the curvature of the spine may cause pain on the lower back through time.
  • Infections: Infections, especially when they involve the vertebrae, can lead to low back pain. Spinal infection called osteomyelitis, although rare, can spread to the vertebrae of the lower spine. It is caused by bacteria like Propionibacterium.
  • Tumors: Tumors are rare but if they grow near your lumbar vertebrae, they can be very painful. Aside from painful low back, tumors can be malignant that can lead to cancer.
  • Kidney stones: Kidney stones often cause sharp pain particularly on one side of the lower back.

There are different causes for lower back pain and dismissing it as ordinary pain can be very dangerous. This is the reason why it is so important to seek a professional who can address your pain appropriately.

Chiropractic Care

While lower back pain is a very common problem for most people, it shouldn’t have to cause a lot of pain in your daily life. Think of it this way—you can still be active even if you suffer from low back pain. How? As long as you manage your low back pain. Chiropractic care for low back pain is one of the ways of treating pain without resorting to surgery. Discover Life Chiropractic in Tacoma, Washington can help you manage or cure your lower back pain.

Chiropractic Diagnosis

Reliable Tacoma chiropractors can provide a combination of treatments and exercise programs to treat your lower back pain, but they will take the complete history of your symptoms before any treatments can be made.

Your chiropractor will perform different tests such as a Surface EMG or X-ray so he/she can accurately find the cause of your problems. The chiropractor will have a clear picture on what he or she must deal with by doing these tests,. This will allow him or her to create a customized treatment program designed particularly for your own condition. The thing is that, discovering the root cause of the low back pain and creating the appropriate regimen is the main essence of good chiropractic care.

Chiropractic Treatments

Your chiropractor will determine the reason for your low back pain upon the completion of the tests, thus he or she can design the right treatment for your condition. There are different types of treatment options that are available for low back pain sufferers.

Some of the chiropractic treatments are listed below:

  • Spinal manipulation: Spinal manipulation is the safest chiropractic treatment for lower back pain. Also called spinal manipulative therapy, chiropractors use their hands to apply a controlled force to the joint of the affected spine. Chiropractors can also use a special device to aid in the manipulation of the spine. The amount of force applied largely depends on the form of manipulation used by the therapist, which includes a short arm thrust or high velocity thrust. The goal of this chiropractic treatment procedure is to improve the functionality, restore range of motions of the lower back, and reduce nerve irritability.
  • Chiropractic mobilization: Referring to low velocity manipulation, chiropractic mobilization involves moving and stretching the joints and muscles using slow movement. The goal of this treatment procedure is to increase the range of motions of the affected area.
  • Flexion distraction technique: This chiropractic technique is a gentle and non-thrusting type of spinal manipulation and is performed on a special chiropractic table.
  • Trigger point therapy: The chiropractor determines areas that are hypertonic or tight with this treatment procedure. Hypertonic areas are characterized by painful muscle points. Applying direct pressure using the fingers to relieve the tension is the best way to perform the trigger point therapy.
  • Therapeutic massage: Chiropractors can also perform therapeutic massage to improve the joint mobility and to return to the normal motion of the spine. Aside from therapeutic massage, the chiropractor will also recommend other types of therapeutic exercises.


Lower back pain can be a debilitating condition especially if not treated sooner. There are different treatment options to deal with low back pain and chiropractic care is one of the most effective and non-invasive treatments that you can rely on. If you have been treated with medication and physical therapy and are still suffering it’s about time you tried chiropractic. It’s time to try chiropractic if you have had back surgery and still have pain. At Discover Life Chiropractic we have successfully treated thousands of cases from failed back surgeries to car accidents to slips and falls with great results. Give us a call today to see if chiropractic can help you feel great again.

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Dr. David Hendrickson
Discover Life Chiropractic
5015 Tacoma Mall Blvd Ste E102
Tacoma, WA 98409
Phone#: (253) 472-4400

Chiropractic Care and Neck Pain

Neck pain is the third most common type of pain that Americans suffer from. According to the survey conducted by the National Institute of Health Statistics (NIHS), 15% of Americans suffer from neck pain. Wherein sufferers believe that neck pain is a natural aspect of aging, many Tacoma chiropractors see spinal misalignment as a common factor.

Woman with neck pain. Chiropractor Tacoma

Neck pain is not a dangerous disease but it can cause debilitation that may prevent one from doing his or her tasks. And with the sedentary lifestyle of most Americans, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) noted that one in two individuals may feel neck pain at some point in their lives.

Understanding Neck Pain

Neck pain is not a serious condition and can easily be relieved. The neck is comprised of vertebral bones, muscles, and ligaments. And any inflammation, abnormality, or even injury of these parts can cause neck pain. People who suffer from neck pain suffer from different signs and symptoms. These include worsening pain on the affected area, tightness, and spasms of neck muscles, headache, and decreased mobility of the head.

The Neck Anatomy

The neck is a well-engineered structure. It is not only made up of bones, but also muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. The neck spine, called cervical spine, is a delicate structure that houses the spinal cord—the one responsible for sending messages and impulses to the brain.

The neck begins at the base of the skull and is connected to seven vertebral segments (C1 to C7) which connect to the thoracic spine also called the upper back. The smallest cervical vertebra nearest the skull is C1 and it gets bigger as they go down the thoracic spine. This is to ensure that the cervical vertebra can support the head.

Cervical vertebrae are comprised of cylindrical shaped bones that lie in front of the spinal cord. They are also stacked on top of the other to create a continuous column of neck bones. The cervical spine is highly at risk for developing painful conditions due to the stressed placed on it—even by just doing your simple daily activities. Below are the functions of the cervical vertebrae:

•   Supports the head and provides movement: the neck vertebra supports the head. It can hold an average of 10 to 13 pounds. Aside from providing support, it also allows the head to bend sideways, forward and backward.

•   Protects the spinal cord: The cervical vertebrae protect the spinal cord. A bundle of nerves from the brain extends to the lower back so that they can be connected to other parts of the body. It goes through the cervical spine and down to the thoracic spine for protection.

•   Facilitate blood flow to the brain: The cervical spine consists of openings called vertical foramens that provide passage of arteries that supply blood to the brain. The vertebral foramen is a unique feature of the cervical spine.

Facts about Neck Pain

Xray neck pain chiropractic Tacoma

Neck pain is one of the most common types of pain that affects the American population. In the data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), neck pain attributes to 15.1% of sufferers in the country.

Neck pain does not affect a particular demographic but data suggests that women are more likely to experience neck pain than men. Demographic studies also indicate that adults who are over the age of 65 are also more likely to suffer from neck pain due to osteoporosis. Below are other interesting facts that you should know about neck pain.

  • 70% of the American population will likely experience neck pain at least once in their lives.
  • There is only a 1% chance that your neck pain is due to a serious medical condition.
  • One in ten adults is suffering from neck pain in the United States.
  • There were 13.2 million hospital visits in 2006 due to neck pain.
  • 95% of neck pain diagnoses are for patients between the age of 18 and 64.

Neck pain may not be a serious condition, but they can cause a lot of problems for the sufferers. Early management is crucial to prevent problems from worsening. Thus, if the severity of the pain is not waning, consult your primary care provider or better yet your chiropractor.

Causes of Neck Pain

Working out neck pain Chiropractor near me

The neck is a flexible structure that supports the head. While it is a strong structure, it is vulnerable to different conditions that may cause neck pain. Neck pain occurs for various reasons and below are the reasons why.

  • Muscle strain: Overusing the neck muscle can cause neck pain. This means that hunching over the computer, reading in bed or even gritting your teeth can cause muscle strain. Muscle strain can also arise from poor posture, sleeping in a bad position, making jerking movements and working at a desk without changing positions.
  • Spinal Misalignment: This involves vertebrae that are out of position and thus creates abnormal stresses on the surrounding joints, soft tissues, and nerves. This can come from poor posture, excessive head flexion, trauma, and emotional stress.
  • Injury: Neck pain can also be attributed to injuries. For instance, whiplash which is caused by the sudden tugging or pulling or jerking of the head. This type of injury forces the ligaments and muscles to move beyond their normal range. This can lead to damage to the vertebrae if the impact is really strong. People who are involved in vehicular accidents are often prone to whiplash. Injuries may also cause the vertebrae disc to protrude which can add pressure on the nerve roots.
  • Worn out joints: The joints on the neck vertebrae can also wear down especially as we age. Also called osteoarthritis, this condition causes the cartilage between the vertebrae to break down. The cartilage serves as the cushion and once this condition sets in, bone spurs on the vertebrae can occur.
  • Nerve compression: Bone spurs and herniated disks on the neck vertebrae can cause neck pain as it can compress the nerve branching of the spinal cord. This produces a very painful sensation on the neck.
  • Forward neck posture: This is becoming so commonplace that we have an article specifically for how chiropractic can help with forward neck posture here.
  • Diseases: Neck pain may be a symptom of different kinds of diseases. For instance, people who suffer from meningitis experience inflammation in the brain and spinal cord which, in turn, causes stiff neck. This condition is fatal and should be dealt with immediately. Other diseases that can cause neck pain are as follows:
    • Rheumatoid arthritis: This condition is characterized by swelling of the joints. Bone spurs may also develop that can cause debilitating neck pain.
    • Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition wherein the bones become weakened. Thus, tiny fractures may occur. While this condition can happen in both hands and knees, the neck can also be affected.
    • Fibromyalgia: This condition is characterized by having widespread muscle pain—all throughout the body.
Woman work out neck pain chiropractor University Place
  • Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis is a condition when the spinal column narrows creating pressure on both the nerve roots and spinal cord. This is also often associated with arthritis and other conditions.

Tacoma Chiropractic Care

There are many ways to manage neck pain and one of them is to use chiropractic techniques. Chiropractic care is a type of non-surgical and non-invasive treatment given to patients to reduce the severity of their neck pain. It is a conservative approach to treating neck pain.

And as a matter of fact, according to the Palmer Center of Chiropractic Research, manual therapy together with exercise was more effective in treating neck pain than any other noninvasive intervention.ii To date, there are many Tacoma chiropractors that you can approach to help you relieve your neck pain. Let’s learn about chiropractic care for neck pain.

Chiropractic Diagnosis of Neck Pain

Your entire spine will be evaluated when you visit your Tacoma chiropractor because other parts of the spine, such as the lumbar (lower back) and thoracic (upper back), might also be affected by your neck pain. You will need to undergo a set of examinations to diagnose the specific reasons why you are suffering before the chiropractor will decide on the best approach to treat your neck pain.

The areas of restricted movement will be determined, including your spinal alignment and posture as these things can contribute to the progression of your neck pain.

Moreover, your chiropractor will go through your medical history and may require you to take imaging tests like Surface EMG or X-ray to know the exact cause of the neck pain. These will help your chiropractor to create a treatment plan customized to your needs.

Your chiropractor will also educate you regarding stress management, lifestyle changes, and nutrition in treating your neck pain along with the Tacoma chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractic Treatments

Once your chiropractor has determined the exact reason of your neck pain, he or she will proceed with the treatment. There are several chiropractic treatment options that are available to neck pain sufferers. All these treatment options require spinal manipulation to correct the positioning of your vertebrae. Your chiropractor may use any of these treatments or a combination of treatments to treat your neck pain.

  • Spinal Adjustment: This particular treatment involves the patient lying down while the chiropractor is manually moving the vertebrae gently from different directions to adjust the spinal segments.
  • Flexion and traction technique: This chiropractic technique involves manipulation of the cervical spine by applying a pumping action on the disc instead of direct force.
Family chiropractor Tacoma
  • Cervical drop technique: While the patient is lying on his side on a special table with a head drop piece, the chiropractor places his or her hands over the spinal segment that requires adjustment. Pressure is applied to the vertebrae to reduce the restricted motion and fixation of the cervical spine. This technique is often instrument-assisted wherein the chiropractor uses an instrument to apply gentle force to the spine.
  • Therapeutic massage: A therapeutic massage is used to relax tense muscle thus lessening the stiffness of the neck muscles. This chiropractic treatment is often done together with other techniques.
  • Trigger point therapy: It is used to relieve the tightness and painful areas on the neck muscle. However, unlike therapeutic massage, the trigger point therapy looks for specific points in the muscle where the pain and stiffness has likely originated.

Aside from these chiropractic techniques, your chiropractor may also recommend you to engage in therapeutic exercises to improve the range of motion that your neck can do. Neck exercises can also halt the progression of your neck pain


Neck pains may not be serious, but they can cause a lot of discomfort. While there are many treatment options that deal and manage neck pain, chiropractic care remains one of the most effective methods. If your doctor hasn’t mentioned chiropractic care as a treatment option or you have been trying to manage it on your own don’t wait any longer. Call Discover Life Chiropractic in Tacoma today and see if chiropractic care can get you back to your old self again.


i AAPM Facts and Figures on Pain

ii Chiropractic Evidence Summary

Combat Headaches through Chiropractic Therapy

Headaches affect millions of people all around the world.

(Contact us today if you are suffering from headaches and are ready for them to stop.)

They can also be caused by many factors and can vary in severity from mild pain to unbearable pain. A headache is also referred to as a cephalgia and is defined as an ache or pain in the head.

While the condition is commonly associated with a variety of diseases and ailments, a headache can strike without warning, even in patients who are not suffering from any diseases.

Medical experts have divided headaches into different types in order to provide assistance with diagnosing and treating each kind of headache more effectively. This also helps patients in identifying the type of headache they have and can assist with determining whether or not a visit to a doctor’s office is required.

Global Prevalence of Headaches

Man headache

Headaches are known to be the most common type of neurological disorder. The condition affects at least 50% of the global population at any given time and patients affected by this condition often report experiencing headaches throughout their entire lifetime.

At least 23% of all households have one or more patients suffering from migraine attacks in Australia. And there are approximately seven million patients in the country that suffer from tension-type headaches on a regular basis. It is also reported that more than 10 million patients in the United Kingdom suffer from some type of headache on a regular basis.

Headache & Migraine News Australia also claims that the majority of headache cases account for patients aged between 25 years and 44 years.

With these figures in mind, it is important to focus on the effect of headaches on a person’s quality of life. It is reported that 91% of patients suffering a migraine attack are unable to continue normal functionality at work or at home.

It is also reported that 53% of these cases lead to bed rest and severe symptoms. Migraine is also reported as the 7th most common cause for disability throughout the entire world and migraine also ranks in the top 20 diseases accounting for years of healthy life lost due to disabling effects.

Types of Headaches

While a headache generally affects the head, numerous types of headaches have been identified, each with its own symptoms and severity. Medical scientists have identified a total of five different types of headaches, including the symptoms, causes and diagnosis of each.

  • Tension Headaches – This is the most common type of headache and usually feels like pressure around the head. Tension headaches can also appear as constant aches around the head. The focus of the pain is usually around the back of the head, the neck and at the temples on the head. These headaches are usually not too severe and they are not likely to have a large impact on quality of life or the ability to perform certain tasks. Tension headaches can usually be treated with aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen; although an array of other over-the-counter drugs are also available to assist with the relief of such a headache.
  • Sinus Headaches – These headaches are usually caused by a sinus infection and occur when sinus becomes inflamed. A fever accompanies sinus headaches on most occasions. The condition can be treated with numerous types of medication including decongestants, antibiotics and antihistamines.
female tension headache cured by chiropractic
  • Rebound Headaches – This type of headache is caused by the overuse of painkillers. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause this effect. There are different theories as to why rebound headaches occur, but no definite cause has been identified as yet. Medical scientists believe that either the headaches are triggered when the brain shifts into an excited state due to an overuse of pain medication, or it occurs as a withdrawal symptom when the pain medication starts to flow out of the bloodstream. Some common pain medications that can lead to rebound headaches include aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol.

•   Cluster Headaches – These headaches are recurring and they can occur in cycles or in groups. They usually appear suddenly and the patient experiences debilitating pain on a single side of the face. Symptoms that are commonly associated with cluster headaches include nasal congestion, watery eyes and a runny nose. These symptoms occur on the same side of the face as the headache. Cluster headaches are known to cause an uncomfortable and
restless feeling in the patient and have been linked to genetic components. While a cure has not been developed for this type of headache, several drugs are available to assist with reducing the duration of each attack, as well as reduce the frequency of the attacks.

•   Migraine Headaches – This type of headache can be extremely disabling. While it is not as common as a tension headache, there are still millions who experience this severe form of a headache each day. Migraines are also known to run in families. The diagnosis of this condition is usually made according to very specific criteria. When a patient has at least five attacks that last between four to 72 hours, they might be diagnosed with a migraine. Doctors will usually continue to determine if the patient also showcases at least two of the following symptoms: throbbing pain, moderate or severe pain, one-sided pain and pain that limits the patient’s abilities to perform daily activities. Nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to both lights and sound are also present in many patients diagnosed with this condition.

Woman neck pain

Headache Sources

Apart from the fact that medical research has identified different types of headaches, further studies have found several sources for these types of headaches. Some headaches are present in the skull, while others stretch towards the neck and other parts of the upper body.

Cervicogenic headaches are one such example

which is the result of spinal problems in the neck area. These headaches can be caused by spinal misalignment, increased muscle tension, or when injury to the neck occurs.

It is reported that these headaches are experienced at the back of the head and the pain can spread towards the upper part of the skull, as well as to the forehead. Discomfort and pain in the neck is also associated with cervicogenic headaches.

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reports that cervicogenic headaches are usually referred to the head from two major parts of the neck – either the bony structures or the soft tissues. They also report that the nerve fibers located in the upper cervical spinal cord region interacts with sensory fibers that are located in the upper cervical roots.

This is believed to be the way painful sensations are referred in two ways between the head and the neck.

They also report findings on a study conducted among participants suffering from migraine attacks.

Altered neck posture, muscle tenderness, dislocation of joints and the presence of myofascial trigger points were all reported to be present within the patients with migraine attacks, while the specific findings were not present in patients who did not report migraine attacks.

Reeves & Swenson reports the pain-sensitive intracranial structures to include the meningeal arteries, parts of the cerebral arteries, venous sinuses, numerous cranial and cervical nerves, as well as dura, which is found at the base of the brain.

Spinal misalignments (subluxations) in the upper cervical spine tend to irritate four specific muscles due to the fact that these muscles are attached to these vertebrae. It is important to get proper treatment from a chiropractor to fix this.

•   Splenius Muscles – This group of muscles consists of the splenius capitis and splenius cervicus. The splenius capital runs from the upper back to the base of the skull, while the splenius cervicis runs from the upper back to the upper cervical vertebrae. These muscles can cause a headache pain that travels throughout the head, as well as to the back of the eyes.

•   Suboccipitals – This group contains a total of four individual muscles that provide proper movement. The muscles are found between the base of the skull and the first cervical vertebra. Headache pains caused by these muscles feel like they are inside the head and often travel toward the back of the eyes.

•   Sternocleidomastoid – This muscle is attached to the sternum and runs through the neck, behind the ear and reaches the base of the skull. Visual disturbances, referred pain and problems with overall balance are commonly associated with headache pain caused by this muscle.

•   Trapezius – A large muscle that is found in the upper and mid back of the skull. Headache pain caused by this muscle can travel towards the jaw, temple, back of the head and can even lead to tooth pain.

Chiropractor’s Role in Relieving Headaches

Happy woman after chiropractic adjustment.

Chiropractors have been used for an array of health problems that relates to the spine. Pain and many other ailments can be effectively alleviated through proper adjustment of the spine.

The Blye Cranial Technique is a popular option that provides relief of headaches. This technique directly addresses the cranial subluxations and is a power technique for spinal chiropractic care. The technique uses a reactive leg length testing process and a patient assisted challenging for the diagnosis.

The diagnosis assists the chiropractor with identifying the precise location of the subluxation. Once identified, the chiropractor can use an adjustment instrument in order to make adjustments to the cranial subluxations in a safe and natural manner.


A headache attack can happen at any time, even when in the most important meeting of your life.

Getting a headache evaluation by a chiropractor is a must in order to get effective relief.

At Discover Life Chiropractic Tacoma, we evaluate your spinal alignment, posture, and neurologic tension in order to formulate an effective treatment plan.

Then using regular chiropractic care, Blye Cranial technique, and exercise we can attack the spinal cause of your headache. With over 25 years of success don’t hesitate to give us a call at 472-4400 and get your life back.


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The Use of Chiropractic During Childhood Development

The use of chiropractic techniques in the medical field was first introduced by Daniel David Palmer in 1895.

The first use of the technique was conducted by Palmer on a janitor who became deaf after a condition in his back developed. After a misalignment was felt in the vertebra of the janitor, Palmer performed an adjustment and the results were an improvement in the janitor’s hearing. In 1897, Palmer established the Palmer School of Cure, where the main objective was to use Chiropractic techniques to improve the health of patients. The goal of chiropractic techniques, also referred to as spinal manipulation, is to realign the spine and to correct any structural misalignments, which supports the body’s physical function.

Chiropractic usage has spread throughout the entire world since the first development of the technique, due to its many benefits to the human body.

In recent years, the techniques are not only practiced on adults, but also on a large amount of children in order to support childhood development and to avoid structural problems from occurring later in life. A main supporting factor behind the use of chiropractic techniques among children is due to the fact that many spinal problems found in adults began during an early stage of the person’s life; in some cases, as early as birth.

Why Do Kids Need Chiropractic?

Most misalignments (subluxations) occur in children’s spines due to some very common scenarios. In the normal birth process the doctor uses the head to pull the child out of the birth channel creating the potential for misalignment of the neck.

Then, while learning how to walk, falling off of couches, playing sports, or wrestling with siblings, a child undergoes thousands of events that have the potential to subluxate a spine. Since pain neurology is developing these often go unnoticed for years because symptoms are not occurring.

In 2015, a study was done by European Osteopaths that revealed that between 91-94 of 100 infants evaluated 6 days to 6 weeks after the birth process had spinal misalignments. The study also noted that the longer the birth process, the more areas were misaligned.

Furthermore, results of a survey conducted among a total of 1,200 licensed Chiropractors within Canada provided evidence that the majority of practitioners are dealing with both adults and children under the age of 18 years. Among the participants who reported to practice Chiropractic on children, 71% claimed to have received informal training on the use of these techniques on
children. In the United States all chiropractic colleges teach classes on pediatric chiropractic

Benefits During Childhood Development

The use of Chiropractic techniques is also observed in millions of children around the world. Many growing children have been able to benefit from these techniques and have been able to gain support for several musculoskeletal conditions.

The main benefit of these techniques among children is the fact that they can prevent birth defects from becoming problems later in life, as well as treat spinal misalignments caused by activities such as skating and bike riding during an early age, which will prevent these misalignments from becoming a more severe problem as the child grows up.

ICPA reports that several newborn health complaints have been linked to both cranial and spinal misalignments. These health complaints include, but are not limited to:

  • Chronic infections
  • Breathing problems
  • Colic
  • Allergic reactions
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nursing difficulties

During early stages of childhood development, a child also needs to learn how to hold the head up, to sit, to crawl and then to walk. All of these activities can cause stress on the body, which could also result in spinal misalignments.

This is also a stage where regular checkups by a Chiropractic doctor can be useful. Should any misalignments occur during these stages, the doctor would be able to correct them and prevent further conditions from developing in the near or far future.

How Chiropractic Has Helped Millions Of Children

Growing Up Easier reports that the use of chiropractic techniques on children has many benefits. Apart from addressing health concerns, they report that chiropractic can also assist in spiritual, mind, emotional and social areas. Of course, these techniques can also assist with the overall wellness of the child’s body.

They also explain that chiropractic has also been effective in helping children cope with many conditions such as:

  • Postural problems
  • Seizures
  • Recovery from injuries
  • Asthma
  • ADHD
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Autism
  • Birth trauma
  • Colic
  • Constipation
  • Ear infections
  • Fatigue

and much, much more.

Other sources such as Dear Abby have reported on chiropractics success with bedwetting, thousands of happy parents have posted testimonials, and ICPA4Kids website has additional helpful information on chiropractic’s role in helping kids achieve better health.


The use of chiropractic techniques dates back more than 100 years. While the technique was first performed on a janitor, it is now used by millions of individuals throughout the entire world.

The use of chiropractic has been proven beneficial to both adults and children, as well as to pregnant women. With the use of these techniques, spinal misalignments are corrected and, especially in children, future problems that could’ve developed from these misalignments are avoided.

At Discover Life Chiropractic we use the latest technology to evaluate pediatric spines and have trained in low force techniques to adjust children’s spines. In most cases x-rays aren’t necessary and we explain what we are doing to each child so they can feel less nervous.

In many cases after the first adjustment the children are first ones on the table and I have had many parents tell me that the child is the one that asks when they get to come back to the chiropractor.

I hope that this brief overview helps you understand chiropractic’s role in children and that you’re most precious thing in life will be well taken care of at Discover Life Chiropractic.

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Chiropractic Can Help When You Are In a Car Accident

Car accident chiropractor Tacoma whiplash neck.

The Chiropractor’s Role in Car Accidents

A car accident can cause several severe injuries to the spine, muscles and many parts of the human body. In some cases, the damage caused by such an accident is not immediately present and only starts to develop into a more serious problem later in the patient’s life. These problems can develop into more serious problems that put the patient’s overall health and wellbeing at risk when un-treated.

The first step to proper recovery from a car accident is to make an appointment with a Chiropractor near me.

Chiropractors are specialized and trained to thoroughly evaluate your condition. They will also be able to determine if damage has been done to areas such as the spine, neck, and shoulders, even when immediate symptoms are not present.

For this reason, an appointment with a Chiropractor for evaluation is recommended even when painful symptoms are not immediately present after suffering a car accident. This article talks about several delayed injuries after a car accident.

The possibilities of alleviating pain and damage are better when treatment starts soon after the injury.

The role of the Chiropractor in car accidents is not only to evaluate the condition but also to assist with aligning the spine in order to assist the body with its healing process.

Furthermore, the Chiropractor can assist with alleviating pain caused by the injury and can provide helpful information on exercises that will act as a type of physical therapy. Nutritional advice can also be obtained from a Chiropractor to speed up the recovery and healing process.

More information on how chiropractic can help after a car accident.

A car accident can happen at any time.

While the damage caused by such an accident doesn’t always pose a life-threatening risk, the Association for Safe International Road Travel reports that approximately 1.3 million individuals are killed each year by a car accident. This calculates to an alarming number of 3,287 deaths each day caused by such an accident. They also report that the majority of deaths caused by auto vehicle accidents account for individuals aged between 15 and 44. Death by car accident has also been classified as the 9th leading cause of death, accounting for approximately 2.2% of all deaths recorded around the entire world.

A car crash does not usually result in death. Up to 50 million individuals are involved in a car crash each year that suffer an injury or some sort of disability due to the car crash.

As many as 2.35 million individuals are severely injured or disabled due to car accidents each year in the United States. It is also estimated that death caused by road accidents will become the 5th leading cause of death by the year 2030, based on current trends around the topic.

Injuries Caused By Car Accidents

A car accident can vary from a mild bump to a more severe accident where the entire car is damaged, also damaging the lives of the individuals found inside the car at the time of the accident.

FindLaw reports that on average, a total of $277 billion of damage accounts for the cost of car accidents within the United States each year. The severity of a car accident often determines the amount of damage done to the road, the car, the environment where the accident happened and, of course, the individuals contained within the car.

The most common types of injuries obtained through a car accident include:

  • Head injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Chest injuries

More on different types of car accident injuries.

Furthermore, injuries to the feet, hands, legs, and arms are also quite common. A car accident may involve external parties at some times, such as a pedestrian crossing the road or a motorcyclist that became part of the entire accident.

Facial, internal and spinal cord injuries can also occur and often results in severe symptoms that may require surgery.

Whiplash Injuries Requiring a Tacoma Chiropractor

X-ray image of whiplash for Tacoma chiropractor

Whiplash is a common injury that people involved in a car accident experience. This type of injury usually causes damage to the neck and may involve displacements within the neck.

This is usually caused by the torso’s forward acceleration that occurs when an accident happens. While the torso is pushed forward, the head usually stays in a still position. They continue to explain that researchers and medical professionals who are conducting studies on the biomechanics of whiplash injuries have found the following sites to be especially vulnerable when such an injury occurs:

  • Cervical facet joints
  • Facet capsular ligaments
  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Vertebral arteries
  • Cerical muscles
  • Craniovertebral junction

While all of the above-mentioned sites in the human body may be impacted by a whiplash injury, they report that the facet joints are usually the culprit that is linked to chronic pain that is caused by this type of injury. They also report that muscle injuries are sometimes responsible for symptoms in patients with whiplash injuries.

Delayed Injury Symptoms

People experience some of the effects of a car accident immediately upon impact. However, mental fog and confusion (usually caused by an undiagnosed concussion, see below) often affects a person involved in a crash and may cause delayed injury symptoms. These symptoms are signs of physical damage that have been caused by the accident, but the impact was not immediately identifiable upon crashing.

The first six weeks following an accident are usually the most painful. Symptoms experienced after this period may be a delayed injury symptom, pointing towards a physical injury that occurred upon impact, but haven’t been diagnosed due to the emotional impact of the accident.

It is reported that headaches experienced after a six-week period following a car accident may point towards an injury that occurred to the neck or even a concussion.

Pain within the neck and shoulder region may also point toward a whiplash injury and can often result in serious damage caused to the bones in a specific region. Back pain, abdominal pain, swelling in the abdominal area, numbness, and changes in a person’s physical function can also point toward delayed injury symptoms.


With millions of car accidents resulting in severe injuries and even disability, taking care of problems that occur during such an accident is vital. A visit to the office of a local Chiropractor can usually assist with realigning the spine, which helps to speed up the recovery process of the body. Further physical exercises can also be prescribed to the patient in order to provide additional support.

So be sure to contact Discover Life Chiropractic right away if you or someone you love has been in an accident.

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Chiropractic and Sciatica

Sciatica is a type of pain that is caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve.

The compressed nerve root of the lower spine causes immense pain similar to a shooting leg cramp. Most people who suffer from this pain have difficulties walking or sitting.

Sciatica is characterized by putting pressure on the lumbar nerve and is cited as one of the most common reasons behind lower back pain.

According to the study released in the publication JAMA, more than $86 billion a year is spent in the United States for the treatment of sciatica and other lower back pain syndromes. It is also important to take note that four out of five adult Americans suffer from lower back pain during their lifetime, as reported in National Institute of Health. If you suffer from sciatica or know someone who suffers from it, it is important to learn more about this debilitating condition.

Understanding Sciatica

Sciatica is not considered as a diagnosis, but merely a description of symptoms that comprise lower back pain. It is characterized by putting pressure on the lumbar nerve roots that cause pain in all points of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the large nerve that originates from the lower back. It is located near the spine, travels through the pelvis region, deep towards the buttock area, and then through the legs. It is considered as the widest and longest nerve in the body.

The pain felt due to compressed sciatica can vary from numb tingling to a shooting burning sensation. The pain occurs mainly on one side but can radiate to the buttocks down to the legs and feet. Patients who suffer from sciatica reports that pain gets worse on certain occasions that involve standing or sitting for long periods of time, sneezing or laughing, and after bending or walking for a long time. It is important to take note that sciatica pain usually subsides within six weeks, but if you are suffering from any underlying conditions, the pain may persist or get worse. It is important to seek professional help and deal with sciatica pain.

Facts About Sciatica

Sciatica pain can either range from a minor nuisance to a debilitating condition. It is described as a set of symptoms of an underlying medical condition. This is the reason why it is also dubbed as lower back pain. Below are the facts that you need to know about sciatica.

•   The common underlying condition of sciatica varies and depends on the age of individuals. Those who are under 60, the common causes include degenerative disc disease, lumbar herniated disc, and isthmic spondylolisthesis. Patients who are more than 60 years old suffer from sciatica probably because of degenerative spondylolisthesis and lumbar stenosis.

•   Sciatica also comes in different names such as lumbar radiculopathy and lower back pain to name a few so don’t be confused if you hear the terms being used interchangeably.

•   It accounts for 3% to 4% of the population suffering from temporary disability. In fact, it is cited as one of the most common reasons behind lower back pain.

Sciatic Nerve Anatomy

The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest single nerve in the body. It is as big as the thumb, particularly at its largest point. It supplies the strength as well as sensation to the legs. It connects the spinal cord to the muscles of the lower extremities like hamstrings, thighs as well as the lower leg and feet. Thus, if this nerve is impaired, it leads to the weakening of the muscles and the tingling or numbness of the lower extremities.

Sciatica is cited as one of the most common reasons behind lower back pain.

The sciatic nerve originates from the lower spine and exits the spinal cord through the gaps in the vertebrae. It is made up of five
nerves and is formed on the left side of the lower spine by the fourth and fifth lumbar nerves as well as the first three nerves in the sacral spine.

The nerve that exits the spine between the L4 and L5 lumbar segment is dubbed as the L5 nerve root while the nerve that exits between the L5 and Sacral Segment 1 is called the S1 nerve root.

Causes of Sciatica

It is crucial to understand the underlying causes of sciatica pain to effectively treat the condition.

Below are the common causes of lower back pain that are also associated with sciatica pain.

•   Lumbar herniated disc: A herniated disc forms when the soft inner components of the disc leak out through the outer core. It is also termed as a ruptured disc, protruding disc or pinched nerve. It is the most common cause of sciatica pain because the protrusion can cause compression or pinching of the nerve.

Herniated disc chiropractor Tacoma

•   Isthmic spondylolisthesis: This condition happens when there is stress on one vertebra which results in its slipping forward and towards another vertebra. For instance, the L5 vertebra slipping forward to the S1 vertebra can cause compression of the sciatic nerve.

•   Degenerative disc disease: Disc degeneration is a natural process that is associated with aging. However, this condition causes irritation of the sciatic nerve causing compression. Bone spurs are also related to degenerative disc disease that can press against the sciatic nerve, thereby causing pain.

•   Lumbar spinal stenosis: This condition is characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal. It commonly occurs with spinal arthritis. This condition is often associated with the aging process and is common in the older adult.

•   Piriformis syndrome: This condition happens when the piriformis muscle of the buttock pinches the nerve root, resulting in sciatic pain.

•   Subluxation dysfunction: The misalignment of the sacroiliac joint and lower lumbar spine can cause irritation of the L3-5 nerve roots and cause sciatica-like pain.

Chiropractic Care

Medicine can help, but Tacoma chiropractic care may be a better alternative.

Common treatments of sciatica include taking pain medication or undergoing surgery. However, there are other alternatives that are far more effective than these treatments. Chiropractic care for sciatica is one of the methods of treating the pain without undergoing surgery. If you happen to be in Washington, you can approach Tacoma Chiropractors to help you manage your pain.

Chiropractic Assessment

Chiropractic assessment of sciatica uses the triage concept to classify the causes of the low back pain. The reason for this assessment is to find out the root cause of sciatica so that the Tacoma chiropractors will be able to devise a way on how to treat the sciatica pain.

Your chiropractor will perform different tests in the office to determine how chiropractic can help. They will also request any appropriate medical information from other providers in order to have a clear picture of what you are really suffering from. After your evaluation the doctor will sit down with you and go over the treatment options and an expected timeline in which you should see changes.

Chiropractic Treatment

There are three types of chiropractic treatment for sciatica: Traction, Ice Therapy, and Spinal Adjustments.

Reliable Tacoma chiropractors examine the root cause of your sciatic pain. Based on the examination, the treatments used by Tacoma chiropractors are based on the notion that restriction in the spinal movement often leads to reduced function and pain. Moreover, they may perform non-invasive procedures to help heal the body from sciatica pain. Below are the chiropractic treatments available for treating sciatica pain.

•      Traction: This can involve lying on foam wedges or towels to stretch spasmed tissues and help maintain alignment after an adjustment. It can also involve motorized traction like Leander to stretch and restore motion to individual segments

•      Ice Therapy: This treatment reduces the inflammation on the affected area and is used to control and manage sciatica pain.

•      Spinal adjustments: The core of chiropractic care for sciatica and other back pain is the spinal adjustment. This method frees the restricted movement of the spine as well as corrects the misaligned vertebrae. It helps reduce the irritability of the nerve that causes pain, spasms, and other sciatica symptoms.


Sciatica can cause debilitating pain that can result in both short term and long term disability. At Discover Life Chiropractic we have seen many of both types of cases in the 25 years of treating clients.

Too often we see patients after surgery and they wish their doctor had referred them to chiropractic first because now they have daily pain since the surgery didn’t work. Don’t let that be you! Before deciding to go for surgical treatment or injections come in for a chiropractic evaluation to determine if we can help. Let’s evaluate you and sit down and talk about your options in conservative treatment. Then you can decide the best course for you.

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Chiropractic Care for Arm Or Shoulder Pain

In the United States alone, shoulder pain is estimated to be 26% more common than other types of pains. Shoulder or arm pain is a common occupational hazard. People who lift heavy items and do repetitive shoulder movements such as construction workers and hairdressers, to arm pain over time.

Shoulder pain is a very common problem and it affects posture, frozen shoulder, shoulder instability, disorders. On the other hand, shoulder pain can also be due to a problem in another area like the neck.

In the United States alone, shoulder pain is estimated to be 26% more common than other types of pains.

Understanding Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain arises from the shoulder joint but it can also be caused by pain on the surrounding area; particularly the neck, diaphragm, and the heart. This is called referred pain. It is a common symptom in hospital care.

Since shoulder pain shares overlapping features, it is important to properly assess it and look for red flags that can lead to better diagnosis and treatments.

The Anatomy of The Shoulder Joint

The shoulder is made up of different bones that are bound together through the shoulder joint. These bones include glenoid, humerus, acromion, scapula, and clavicle. There are three important articulations in the shoulder and these include the acromioclavicular joint, glenohumeral joint, and the sternoclavicular joint.

  • Surrounding the joints are ligaments and muscles. The muscle that surrounds the shoulder joint is the rotator cuff musculature, which is responsible for the stability and the ability of the shoulder to move in a rotating manner. The rotator cuff musculature is comprised of four muscles which include the:
  • Infraspinatus
  • Supraspinatus
  • Subscapularis
  • Teres minor.

These four muscles interlock to create a single unit. These connections within the shoulder pass the subacromial space where the subacromial bursa is located. This portion is where many pain receptors are located.

Facts and Epidemiology Of Shoulder Pain

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), shoulder pain accounts for 9% of the pain most Americans suffer from. It is a common condition that people suffer from at some points of their lives. If you suffer from shoulder pain, it is crucial that you know its facts and epidemiology to understand what this condition is all about.

  • Shoulder pain is considered as the third most common cause of hospital consultation. One percent (1%) of adult sufferers consult their general practitioner yearly to ask treatment for shoulder pain. The rest utilize home remedies to manage their shoulder pain.
  • About 85% of patients who suffer from shoulder pain are found to suffer from rotator cuff anomalies. The 15% are due to diseases such as fever, respiratory symptoms, and lymphadenopathy. An even smaller number of people suffer from shoulder pain due to cancer.
  • The prevalence of shoulder pain is higher among women pegged at 24.9% than men at 15.4%. It is also more common among elderly people than younger patients.

Causes of Arm and Shoulder Pain

About 85% of patients who suffer from shoulder pain are found to suffer from rotator cuff anomalies.

There are several risk factors why people suffer from shoulder or arm pain. People who often do repetitive movements of the shoulder and arms at work often suffer from shoulder pain. It is common among athletes, construction workers, hairdressers, factory workers, painters, and office workers. But what are the common causes of arm or shoulder pain? Below are the primary reasons why shoulder pain occurs:

Fit man exercising by ocean

•   Rotator cuff disorders: Rotator cuff disorders is comprised of several symptoms which include supraspinatus tendonitis, subacromial pain, rotator cuff tendinopathy and painful arc syndrome. All of these are characterized by having lesions on the rotator cuff as well as tendon diseases that result in the wear and tear of the affected area. The tear in the area may lead to bony spurs that cause extreme pain. This condition is often common among patients aged between 35 and 75 years old—especially those who have a history of lifting heavy weights or doing repetitive shoulder movements.

•   Glenohumeral disorders: Glenohumeral diseases include adhesive capsulitis and osteoarthritis. Adhesive capsulitis and arthritis are also called frozen shoulder. It causes deep joint pain as well as restrictive activities because the shoulder has impaired external rotation. This particular condition is often common among people who suffer from diabetes.

•   Acromioclavicular disorders: These types of shoulder pain disorders are caused by injury or osteoarthritis. It is characterized with localized pain and tenderness of the acromioclavicular joint that creates a restriction in the horizontal movement of the arms especially when the elbow is extended. In severe trauma, it often leads to deformity of the arms suggesting a tear in the acromioclavicular ligament. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, causes impingement of the subacromial space.

•   Referred neck pain: Referred neck pain is characterized by pain and tenderness on the suprascapular area or the lower neck. This type of shoulder pain arises not because of anomalies on the shoulder joints but on other areas of the body particularly the neck. Referred pain may lead to restriction of the shoulder movements
which can also lead to generalized pain on the upper back and pain area. It is also called upper limb paresthesia.

Tacoma Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a good alternative for people who are looking for relief from their arm and shoulder pain.

There are many types of treatments for shoulder pain and chiropractic care is one of them. Chiropractic care is a good alternative for people who are looking for relief from their arm and shoulder pain. If you are

located in Washington, Tacoma chiropractors are very knowledgeable in managing and treating your shoulder pain so that you won’t have to rely so much on drugs and other conventional treatments.

Chiropractic Diagnosis

There are several tests that Tacoma chiropractors use to detect anomalies of the shoulder. Diagnostic examinations are necessary to isolate areas of the shoulders that are causing pain. Proper chiropractic diagnosis is important so that your chiropractor will be able to design a treatment plan that is suitable for your condition. Below are some of the diagnostic tests Chiropractors do in order to determine the severity of shoulder pain.

•   Physical tests: Physical tests are often performed by chiropractors in determining the range of motion that shoulders can do. During the initial screening, chiropractors will not only test the stability of the shoulders but also the range of movements (passive, active and resisted) of the two shoulders. Aside from the range of movements, chiropractors will also inspect the affected area for deformity, swelling, bruising, or muscle wasting.

•   Medical history: Tacoma chiropractors will also look into your medical history if you have suffered from severe trauma in the past or osteoarthritis. Your medical history can tell if you are someone who is likely to suffer from shoulder pain or not.

•   Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scan, and MRI can also be used by chiropractors to confirm the presence of trauma as well as wear and tear of the shoulder joint.

Chiropractic Treatments As soon as Tacoma chiropractors are done examining the root cause of the sciatic pain, they can start implementing chiropractic treatments. Chiropractic treatments are non- invasive but they can bring a lot of relief to the affected area. Below are simple chiropractic treatments that Tacoma chiropractors do to treat an arm or shoulder pain.

•   Shoulder adjustments: Shoulder joints can misalign which causes the ligaments and muscles to pull in different directions. These cause muscle spasms, pain, and even inflammation. Reliable Tacoma chiropractors can perform gentle shoulder joint adjustment to shift the shoulder and correct its alignment. Alignment of the shoulder often involves the use of a drop table device, a speeder board or a hammer tool to manually adjust the joints without any problems. Aside from the shoulder joint, chiropractors will also consider adjusting the neck and upper back especially if the root cause of the condition is referred pain.

•   Posture: Another method that chiropractors do to treat shoulder pain is to correct the posture of their patients. This is a long-term and sustainable solution in treating shoulder pain, as correct body posture can prevent shoulder pain from reoccurring.

•   Exercises: Simple exercises can be done to treat shoulder pain.

However, before you do any shoulder exercises, your chiropractor will teach you the appropriate exercises. Examples of chiropractor- recommended exercises include making circular motions of the shoulder for 30 seconds or pulling on a rubber tubing to improve the resistance and strength of the shoulder muscles.


Shoulder pain can cause discomfort to a patient but you don’t need to dwell on the idea that shoulder pain is a normal part of your physiology. Let Tacoma chiropractors help you manage your arm and shoulder pain so that you can enjoy a pain-free life and do the things that you love to do. Don’t hesitate to call Dr. David Hendrickson at Discover Life Chiropractic, 472-4400 for an evaluation to see if chiropractic can help you relieve your shoulder and arm pain!

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Benefits of Chiropractic Care in Forward-Neck Posture

You. Yes…. You!

There is a chance that you are tilting your neck forward right now while holding your phone/laptop and reading this blog post.

There is also a chance that you just realized it and you tried to straighten your neck. Good!

You are not the only one. We live in a revolutionized and digital world where technological devices like phones and laptops play a very important role in our daily lives. With them, people have created social media empires and established businesses that have totally changed the way we carry out conventional activities. Advanced studies have even revealed that over 50% of people would carry their phones first in cases of fire outbreaks.

Yet, despite its wide usage, there has been a growing concern about the effects associated with this practice, as research has continued to give evidence of the effects that it brings.

A person spends 2 to 4 hours every day on an average reading or texting with their phones, and this figure is even higher for youths. This invariably means that they are going to spend at least two hours tilting their neck forward to look at their screens, leading to 800- 1400 hours of cervical spine stress every year.

What is Forward Head Posture?

           As the name implies, Forward Head Posture (FHP) is the steady loss of normal posture due to the forward bending of the head, thereby increasing the pressure on the shoulders and the neck. Not only does it cause a lot of discomfort and pain, but it creates tissue damage over time. In the past, FHP wasn’t really a thing. The absence of the normal neck curve wasn’t a serious physical problem except if the patient has spondylosis.

But things may have gotten out of hand.

The muscles of the neck and back are forced to work extra hard to keep your head in a forward position. This creates stiffness and severe pain over time.

Several effects come with FHP. Some include:

  • Wear and tear of the tissues: When the head tilts forward, there is an increased weight on the shoulder by some pounds. This loss of the normal curve of the cervical spine causes wear and tear that results in stresses that can cause degeneration and could ultimately require surgery.

To be able to eliminate or reduce stress on the spine, the individual must maintain good posture, which is defined as the alignment of the ears with the shoulders. Proper posture also enhances the level of serotonin and testosterone and increases feelings of balance and power. You can guess that poor posture does the exact opposite, as it affects every human activity by negatively affecting the endocrine system.

  • Excessive pressure on the neck: Research has shown that every 15 degrees of forward-head tilting results in increased pressure on the neck and shoulders, adding an extra weight of about 27 pounds. So, if the average angle a person tilts when looking down at a phone is about 60 degrees, imagine the excessive weight that the neck bears every time it bends. This will ultimately lead to wear and tear of the joints, and eventually, spinal degeneration.  

Other symptoms of Forward-Head Posture (FHP) include:

  • Headaches
  • Fibromyalgia: a rheumatic condition that consists of muscular pain, stiffness, and tenderness at specific places
  • TMJ pain: TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and it is otherwise referred to as the jaw joint. When TMJ is not properly placed or aligned, it can harm other joints and muscles.  
  • Depression
  • Tingling: This usually occurs in the upper limb
  • Fatigue
  • Negative behavioral habits amongst children
  • Aches and pain
  • Asthma: a respiratory condition that is characterized by difficulty in breathing.

And finally,

  • Hindered blood flow (which is considered the most dangerous)

How does proper posture aid the flow of blood?

Research has continuously provided evidence of how maintaining the right neck curve can increase the flow of blood. Looking at some of the strongest structures in the world, a major characteristic among them is that they consist of arcs. These arcs act as the force which sustains these structures (they include bridges and doorways) and their designs are the factors that determine its longevity. The same is true with the human body.

The structure of the human body consists of arcs, and the spine is considered the most important arc of them all. This spine is made up of several arcs that make it stronger and last longer. Whenever there is a loss in the normal spinal curves, it exposes the discs and bones to unwarranted degeneration. It also affects a person’s physical appearance. This happens over a long period, mostly due to improper posture.

The dangerous part about it is that loss of the spinal curves is linked to a reduction in vertebral artery hemodynamics. This means that there is a reduction in the amount of blood that flows to the brain and certain parts of the body. People with loss of neck curve usually experience disability, nerve tension, and a poor quality of life in general. The pressure also creates the foundation for the formation of bone spur and osteoarthritis as the neck muscles and tissues tend to work much harder to make up for the inadequacy.

So maybe the question on your mind is… How can I prevent, eliminate or reduce forward neck posture and its effects?

There are basically three ways:

  • Chiropractic care: This is one of the most powerful ways of treating FHP and back pain, as experienced medical practitioners continuously recommend it based on previous results. Chiropractors are considered the most effective medical practitioners when it comes to spine alignment and posture issues.

Chiropractors are mostly concerned with the musculoskeletal system.

That is, they deal with the pain that results from the misalignment of muscles, bones, and joints, or when the tendons and ligaments are not properly placed.

It doesn’t matter the kind of job a person does. Anybody can be affected by a slight disturbance in his/her musculoskeletal system.

  • Maintaining the right head posture: This is the most obvious one. By keeping the head properly aligned, you prevent or eliminate unnecessary stresses on the neck and shoulder. You can start by raising your phone a little bit when used in subsequent times.
  • Developing the right posture habits: This is extremely important. Maintaining proper posture aligns the bones and joints, prevents stress on the neck curve, reduces abnormal wear and tear of the discs and bones, and saves energy. A major sign of poor posture is back pain, and there are a lot of factors that can contribute to it such as obesity, pregnancy, stress, weak postural muscles, and even high heeled shoes.

To start, you must continuously be aware of your posture whether you are sitting, standing or lying down. When sitting, place both feet firmly on the floor, and avoid crossing your legs. When standing, relax your arms and pull your shoulders back with your knees slightly bent. When lying down, sleep with your back well stretched on the right mattress.

Okay. So how does it work?

Brilliant question.

Chiropractic care bases its system on the fact that a person’s total health is associated with the alignment of the spinal cord, which is a major component of the central nervous system (CNS), the system that processes pain.

The human body is made up in such a way that all parts are closely knitted together and connected. A misalignment in any part of the body can create several hazardous effects in other parts of the body, even parts that are not related.  The job of a chiropractor is to help patients to properly align their bodies through several spinal adjustments and allow the free movement of muscles and bones. When there is no restriction or obstruction in the musculoskeletal system, the pain reduces.

Chiropractors tend to solve the underlying problem rather than just touching the surface by healing only the symptoms. They pay attention to the nature of the spine by continuously observing the structure and motion of the spine.

What does a typical Tacoma chiropractic care appointment look like?

The beautiful thing about chiropractic care approach is that it influences the patient’s entire body. Chiropractors are specially trained to use certain non-invasive techniques to observe the body of a patient and the areas that need attention.

During the appointment, the patient may go through an examination, receive treatments that can align the body parts, or receive medical advice on the various lifestyle modifications that can be made to alleviate the pain (these may include posture, diet, etc.).

To enhance the effects of the chiropractic treatments, home or rehabilitative exercises may also be prescribed for the patient.

What are the benefits of chiropractic care?

The chiropractic care industry is consistently flourishing due to the several benefits associated with it. They include the following:

  • Chiropractic care is a holistic approach: Unlike some medical approaches that tend to solve only the symptoms or the affected areas, chiropractic care is a holistic approach. It not only aligns the spine and other areas properly, but it also helps the patient to evaluate their lifestyle choices, such as their diet, sleep, levels of physical activity, stress, etc. This way, they tend to influence the patient’s health way beyond the pain.
  • It is medicine-free: This is one of the reasons why chiropractic care is widely used amongst people. Most patients tend to familiarize themselves with drugs, whether they are prescribed or gotten over the counter. But chiropractic care provides drug-free pain relief, as it focuses more on sustaining a healthy body than treating the symptoms. Although there are various procedures that chiropractors use on their patients, none of it is as dangerous as surgery and only a few patients complain of side effects.
  • It is not dangerous: This is another top reason why chiropractic care is very popular. Despite the several techniques chiropractors use, none of them are as dangerous as undergoing surgery. In most cases, the patients get treated during a single appointment and can head back home in time for dinner!
  • It improves the patient’s posture: After all, what is the need for aligning the spine if the patient constantly maintains a wrong posture? Chiropractic care ensures that you maintain a proper posture, no matter the form you are in.
  • It promotes ergonomic ideas: In today’s world, we have been indoctrinated in the sitting culture. We sit at desks in our offices for long periods. Kids sit in class for long hours as well. We sit at every slightest opportunity and mostly with our heads tilted down towards our phones, and this is extremely harmful to our spinal health. Chiropractic care promotes ergonomic ideas by encouraging people to make small changes in their homes or offices to help them reduce the stresses on their neck curves.
  • Enhances mental health: It comes as no surprise that chiropractic care enhances the mental state of a person. Although much research hasn’t been done to link the effects chiropractic care has on mental health, it is assumed that since chiropractic care enhances the nervous system, it enhances the brain.

This approach focuses more on helping a person to achieve a balanced and healthier life, which includes eating the right foods and exercising often, which are key factors in maintaining mental health and clarity.

  • Flexible treatment plans: The beautiful thing about chiropractic care is that its treatments can be customized to suit the patient’s needs, unlike traditional medical procedures. If the patient is disabled or has a painful body part, the chiropractor knows exactly what to do in such cases. They create chiropractic adjustments plans that are unique to each patient
  • They are not just for FHP and back pains: The chiropractic care industry has gone beyond merely reducing neck and back pains. They now proffer effective solutions to health conditions such as ear infections, menstrual disorders, gastrointestinal infections, infertility problems, etc.
  • Chiropractic care saves you money: Healthcare is a luxury to a lot of people these days. With the uncertainty of the economy, who doesn’t want to save money? If you go through the normal medical procedure, you may end up going for several appointments, buying so many drugs and paying off a lot of bills. But by opting for chiropractic care, you tend to have fewer appointments, thereby spending way less than you are supposed to. Plus, you will be able to get a lot more information from a chiropractor than you normally would. Sounds like a fantastic idea!
  • It improves the quality (and quantity) of your sleep: There is a growing number of people experiencing sleeping disorders in our time than ever before. By reducing pain and aiding relaxation, chiropractic care has shown to help people sleep better by enhancing the quality, and invariably, the quantity of their sleep.
  • It’s the best pain treatment you’ll ever find: Research has shown that chiropractic care has proven to be more effective in relieving pain than conventional methods. Plus, it comes at low risk, as patients have no fear of invasive procedures or allergies.

What could be better than this? Contact us today to set up an appointment and start correcting Forward Head Posture.

About Headaches

We all experience various forms of headaches at different points in time. Most times, the most convenient form of relief is to take painkillers. Other times, just a little bit of rest, and taking some water helps to calm a headache. However, headaches cause distress and can leave you unable to carry out important tasks. There are people who usually get bothered when they begin to experience frequent headache attacks and attribute it to a more serious cause. Most of the time, however, headaches do not do any serious damage.


While a headache generally affects the head, numerous types of headaches have been identified, each with its own symptoms and severity.

Medical scientists have identified a total of four different types of headaches, including the symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of each.

  • Tension HeadachesThis is the most common type of headache and usually feels like pressure around the head. Tension headaches can also appear as constant aches around the head. The focus of the pain is usually around the back of the head, the neck and at the temples on the head. These headaches are usually not too severe, and they are not likely to have a large impact on the quality of life or the ability to perform certain tasks. Tension headaches can usually be treated with aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen; although an array of other over-the-counter drugs are also available to assist with the relief of such a headache.
  • Sinus HeadachesThese headaches are usually caused by sinus. Infection can occur when sinuses become inflamed. A fever accompanies sinus headaches on most occasions. The condition can be treated with numerous types of medication, including decongestants, antibiotics, and antihistamines.
  • Migraine headachesThis headache is basically unilateral in nature. It usually causes throbbing pains. Carrying out routine physical activity can cause a migraine to escalate. Migraines may be anywhere from moderate to severe. When a migraine strikes, you may get nauseous and experience vomiting episodes. Sensitivity to elements such as light, as well as sounds and smells usually accompany migraines. An episode of migraine could last anywhere from a few hours into days. Beta blockers are usually given to migraine patients to stop headaches from occurring.
  • Cluster headachesThis headache type is kind of distant. Cluster attacks usually come with one-sided pain. Each attack determines what side gets affected. It usually comes with a very severe pain that feels like a stab. Short episodes may last for just a couple of minutes, but cluster headaches can stay as long as three hours before resolving itself. It is normal to have this headache reoccurring severally in one day or throughout the entire week. The pain can escalate if you lie down. Sufferers of this headache usually experience a watery eye and nasal congestion depending on what side the headache attacks. Alcohol consumption is known to trigger cluster headaches.


Dealing with the pain that comes from headaches can be achieved using a wide range of options. There are anti-inflammatory medications (no steroids), for example, to help with that. Antidepressants are usually given to migraine patients to stop headaches from occurring. There may be times when medications do very little to alleviate persistent headaches. Check out these alternative approaches that could actually prove effective in your fight against headaches –


Biofeedback involves the monitoring of body functions like blood pressure, the tension in the muscles, the temperature of the skin, as well as heart rate, with the use of electronic sensors. The patient gets feedback via sounds. Another way of sending feedback to the patient is through the use of computer images. The objective of biofeedback is to help patients learn to control their body responses in order to stop headache pains. This remedy is suggested by studies to be very potent when it comes to migraines and tension headaches.


Your body’s energy flow is realigned by inserting needles under your skin. This is what acupuncture is all about. Acupuncture is touted as an effective preventative measure against acute migraines. It is also believed to come with far lesser side effects when compared to drug treatments. Individuals who experience tension headaches may also benefit from acupuncture.


Rubbing your temples can provide you with temporary relief from headaches. You could also go for a professional massage to your back as well as neck and head. Massage sessions frequently can help to prevent the regular occurrence of migraines, according to studies. It can also promote better sleep.


By applying a wide range of meditation techniques, you can quiet your mind and shield it from distractions like pain through focused attention. Studies are being carried out to determine whether meditation techniques can help to reduce the rate at which migraines occur and their level of severity. A study involving migraine patients revealed that the frequency of headaches was significantly reduced as a result of spiritual meditation while helping to improve tolerance for pain. The results were better when compared with muscle relaxation as well as secular meditation.


Is it possible that yoga can provide relief for headaches? A study involving migraine patients was carried out to determine whether yoga could help relieve migraines. Participants who took part in yoga experienced reduce migraine occurrences and felt less anxious. Yoga involves a combination of meditation, physical postures, as well as breathing exercises, in order to restore balance to the entire being.


Relaxation exercises such as breathing deeply, making use of mental imagery, and listening to soft music is a very good way for individuals to unwind and probably experience relief from headaches. The role of relaxation exercises in tackling headaches requires more research. There is a wide range of relaxation techniques that can be applied. Exercises such as lying still, taking in deep breaths, reciting mantras, and more can help to consciously relax the muscles.


Chiropractic is actually a very good alternative to popping pills for headaches. It is one of the better solutions to getting rid of headaches. According to research, spinal manipulation could help to effectively treat tension headaches as well as neck related headaches. Spinal manipulation is a technique that is usually used by chiropractic doctors. In 2014, a JMPT report was released where it was discovered that some of the primary interventions that are associated with chiropractic care help to improve acute neck pain as well as chronic neck pain conditions with evidence of increased benefits in different instances.

A JMPT study carried out in 2011 revealed that chiropractic care, together with spinal manipulation, helps to improve migraines as well as cervicogenic headaches.

If you are experiencing primary headaches, chiropractic doctors may be able to help you. There are techniques and procedures that can be initiated by a doctor of chiropractic. Here they are –

  • Your doctor of chiropractic may carry out spinal manipulation as well as other chiropractic adjustments as a way of improving spinal function in order to relieve your system of built-up stress.
  • You will get proper nutritional advice from your doctor of chiropractic. There might be diet change recommendations together with the prescription of the vitamin B complex.
  • You will also get professional advice on relaxation techniques, ergonomics, as well as exercises that can help you. If you apply the advice that you get, you should experience some level of muscle tension relief, especially in the neck as well as upper back.

Chiropractic doctors undergo intense training to ensure that they are properly equipped to provide assistance to patients in a wide range of ways which are more complex than providing treatment for pain in the back region. Their knowledge about the relationship between the spine and the entire human body empowers them to take the right steps to help eliminate these problems.

Final thoughts

Headaches come in different kinds and have different triggers. This guide helps you understand headaches better and how to find relief if you are currently battling with one.

Is Sitting Really More Dangerous than Regularly Smoking?

The title of this page probably seems really far-fetched. However, it may not be as far-fetched as you’re thinking.

There have been various studies conducted all over the world that weighed the consequences of sitting as opposed to actively smoking cigarettes every day and it was concluded that the former could potentially pose more serious threats.

A few credible research stations pointed out the following in conclusion to some of their researches.

“Sitting increased risk for diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease”.
University of Missouri Research

“Those who sat four or more hours a day were more likely to have developed heart disease, diabetes or another chronic disease than those who sat less than four hours a day”.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2013

“Sitting is the new smoking”
Ann Intern Med

“Sitting is responsible for 170,000 cases of cancer each year”
American Journal of Epidemiology

Good posture has a lot of mental effects along with its long list of physical effects. Exhibiting good posture can say a lot about the person’s attention to detail and it seems easier on the eyes as well. People really underestimate how much effect good posture can have on your health and well-being. This is why folks rarely concern themselves with its importance on your health. You may be thinking, “How does this happen?”

Well, the most common reason behind having this high of a majority suffering from postural problems could be owed to our time on mobile, telephones and especially TV screens.

It doesn’t matter who you are, how old are you or where you’re coming from, bad posture through these activities is a danger that haunts us all.

Back in the old days, good posture was extremely critical if you wished to have a good reputation in the family. Mothers and grandfathers have been frowning upon the mere concept of bad posture for centuries. Family matriarchs often request the need for a better posture due to apparent slouching or difficulty walking up straight. Even though the physical appearance of a person is deeply affected, its absolutely nothing compared to the nightmare of effects this may or may not have on your health and well-being. A study conducted by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity helped us understand that folks that sit on a table for more than four hours a day are much more prone to heart diseases, diabetes and other types of chronic disease as compared to regular people.

There was another research that concluded that a forward slumped posture also meant an early death due to something called atherosclerosis. 

Atherosclerosis has an effect on the arteries around the ton of plaques on the inner walls of the vessels. These conclusions can clearly describe that good posture can significantly improve your health. Mere pain is just a side effect of a wrong posture, the real grave side effects of your ailment are back and neck pain. A great part of the health problems with posture deal with internal problems referring to various organs in the body such as increased death rates due to atherosclerosis.

Now that we’ve addressed the problem, it’s time to propose the solution. Fortunately for our readers, the proposed solution isn’t some sort of drug plan or physician referral, it’s something completely natural called chiropractic care.

Chiropractic treatments are one of the only treatment plans in the world that do not pose any side effect to the patient.

There’s absolutely nothing that could go wrong as a result of the work chiropractors do to your body, there’s just the good stuff. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help improve the position of the spine and fix problems with your posture at the same time. It can get rid of any and all bone and joint pain you may be suffering from due to past injuries or misalignment. However, the best part is that if you feel that you may suffer from bad posture somewhere in the near future due to your sitting positions, then you could simply counter the problem before it even arises with the help of chiropractic care. This treatment plan is proactive and it is capable of fixing a lot of problems before they even have a chance to become one.

If you’re not happy with chiropractors, there are other ways to counter bad posture as well. We’ll go through some of them.

  • The trick to have a good posture is to never slouch. This adds an insane amount of extra pressure to your spine which in turns ends up pressurizing bones, muscles and joints. Slouching will also effect internal organs by mushing them together. So, sit and walk straight if you wish to avoid half back problems.
  • Another spectacular way of minimizing the stress on your neck is to limit your usage of mobile phones. Basically, the head is about 20 pounds of extra weight on your shoulders. But, when this weight is put at a certain angle, it could misalign the person’s shoulder structure significantly.
  • Women should never use heels. Sure, they make you look insanely good, but in just a few months, constant moaning every time you move won’t exactly be the type of move that’s hot in the eyes of the guys. Heels put an enormous amount of strain on your backbone and lower pain and creates tension in these areas. Wear the heels for extended periods and they will change your posture.
  • Naptime is also one of the times when its important to be in the right position. First, choose a good, hard mattress that can keep your body straight and holds your spine straight instead of a soft mattress that caves in.