Franklin Chiropractor | Thoracic Joint Restriction
About your problem Thoracic Joint Restriction. Your spine is made up of 24 bones stacked on top of each other with a soft “disc”between each segment to allow for flexibility. Normally, each joint in your spine should move freely and independently. Our examination of your spine has shown that one or more of your spinal vertebra is slightly misaligned and restricted. We call this condition “spinal segmental joint restriction” or more simply a “subluxation.” The term “subluxation” literally means “less than a dislocation.”To help visualize this, imagine a normal spine functioning like a big spring moving freely in every direction. A spine with a joint restriction is like having a section of that spring welded together. The spring may still move as a whole, but a portion of it is no longer functioning. Joint restrictions can develop in many ways. Sometimes they are brought on by an accident or an injury. Other times, they develop from repetitive strains or poor posture. Being overweight, smoking, strenuous work, and emotional stress can make you more susceptible to problems. Restricted joints give rise to a self-perpetuating cycle of discomfort. Joint restriction causes swelling and inflammation, which triggers muscular guarding leading to more restriction. Since your spine functions as a unit, rather than as isolated pieces, a joint restriction in one area of your spine often causes “compensatory” problems in another. Think of this as a rowboat with multiple oarsmen on each side. When one rower quits, the others are placed under additional stress and can become overworked. Joint restrictions most commonly cause local tenderness and discomfort. You may notice that your range of motion is limited. Movement may increase your discomfort. Pain from a restricted joint often trickles around your rib cage or up & down your spine. Be sure to tell your Franklin chiropractor if your symptoms include any chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual cough, indigestion or flu-like complaints. Long-standing restrictions are thought to result in arthritis – much like the way a slightly misaligned wheel on your car causes premature wearing of your tire. You should recognize that your problem is common and generally treatable. Chiropractic care has been shown to be the safest and most effective treatment for joint restrictions. Your Franklin chiropractor offers several tools to help ease your pain. To speed your recovery, you should avoid activities that increase your pain. Be sure to take frequent breaks from sedentary activity. Yoga has been shown to help back pain sufferers so consider joining a class or picking up a DVD. Our Treatment Here is a brief description of the treatments we may use to help manage your problem. Joint Manipulation -Your Franklin chiropractor has found joints in your body that are not moving freely. Franklin Chiropractor. This can cause tightness and discomfort and can accelerate unwanted degeneration i.e. arthritis. Your Franklin chiropractor will apply a gentle force with their hands, or with hand held instruments, in order to restore motion to any “restricted” joints. Sometimes a specialized table will be used to assist with these safe and effective “adjustments”. Joint manipulation improves flexibility, relieves pain and helps maintain healthy joints. Franklin Chiropractor
Therapy Modalities -We may apply electrotherapy modalities that produce light electrical pulses transmitted through electrodes placed over your specific sites of concern. These comfortable modalities work to decrease your pain, limit inflammation and ease muscle spasm. Hot or cold packs are often used in conjunction, to enhance the effect of these modalities. Another available option is therapeutic ultrasound. Ultrasound pushes sound vibrations into tissues. When these vibrations reach your deep tissues, heat develops and unwanted waste products are dispersed. Therapeutic Exercise -Muscle tightness or weakness causes discomfort and alters normal joint function, leading to additional problems. Your Franklin chiropractor will target tight or weak muscles with specific therapeutic stretching and strengthening to help increase tissue flexibility, build strength, and ease pain. Healthy, strong, and flexible muscles may help prevent re-injury. Home ExercisesPhase I1.Diaphragm Breathing -Begin lying flat on your back with your knees elevated and feet on the floor. Place one hand on your abdomen, and the other over your breastbone. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. If you are breathing properly from your diaphragm, only the hand over your abdomen should rise, and the hand over your chest should remain still. Once you are able to breathe by moving only your abdomen, you may use your lower hand to lightly compress your abdomen as you breathe in, then relax the pressure as you breathe out. Alternately, you may apply light pressure to the sides of your lower ribs as you inhale. The ideal breathing cycle (while resting) is three seconds of inhalation followed by six seconds of exhalation. If you find that you are breathing out too quickly, you may try exhaling through pursed lips in order to gradually increase the length of exhalation. You should practice proper breathing in multiple positions; first, lying flat on your back, then sitting, then standing, and finally, while performing more challenging movements, like squatting with your hands overhead. You should practice 2 or 3 breaths hourly, and 10-20 breaths upon awakening and retiring. 9.Foam Roller- Spine -While seated on the floor with a foam roller positioned directly behind you, lie back onto the foam roller. Elevate your pelvis and begin gently rolling back and forth over the roller. If less pressure is desired, this exercise may be performed upright, against a wall. Perform for one minute, twice per day or as otherwise directed. Additionally, laying on the foam roller with your tailbone, spine, and head resting on the roller is a great relaxation exercise. Allow your arms fall to the side with elbows touching the ground as you relax on the roller for 1 minute. 10.Cat/Camel -Begin on all 4’s, keeping your back in neutral position. Keep your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your neck and back at the same time into a “Mad Cat”position. Next, flex your neck and back at the same time to drop into an, “Old Horse” position. Repeat in a slow coordinated movement for 20 repetitions. Perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions twice per day, or as directed. 11.Thoracic Rotation -Begin on your hands and knees and shift back so that your buttock is on your heels. Place one hand behind your neck with your elbow pointing downward. Rotate your trunk to move your elbow towards your opposite knee. Rotate back, raising your elbow toward the ceiling. Repeat three sets of 10 repetitions on each side twice per day or as directed
2.YTWL Scapular Depression -Stand with your straight arms raised above your head in a “Y” position. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward throughout the following sequence of movements. Lower your straightened arms to shoulder level, into a “T” position. Next bend your elbows so that your fingers are pointing straight up while slightly lowering your elbows to make a “W”. Finally, while keeping your elbows bent 90 degrees, lower your arms to your sides so that your elbows are touching your ribs to form an “L” on each side and squeeze. Hold each position for 1-2 seconds and repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions, twice per day or as directed. 3.Brugger Relief Position -Position your body at the edge of a chair, feet pointed outward. Your weight should be on your legs and your abdomen should be relaxed. Tilt your pelvis forward, lift your sternum, arch your back, tuck your chin and drop your arms. Move your hands apart from each other while simultaneously rotating your palms out, straightening your arms, and pinching your shoulder blades together as your hands backward. Take a few deep-cleansing breaths. Hold this stretch for several seconds, return to the start position and repeat 3-6 times, twice per day or as directed. Alternately, this exercise may be performed standing. 5. Levator Stretch -While sitting, grasp the seat of your chair with your left hand. Rotate your head toward the right and look downward toward the floor. Place your right hand over the top of your head and gently pull down and diagonally in the direction you are looking. Against the resistance of your hand, contract your neck inan attempt to push your head backward/diagonally from the direction you are looking for seven seconds. Relax and gently pull your head further toward the floor to increase the stretch. Lock into this new position, and make sure that you continue to keep your head rotated in the direction that you are pulling. Perform three contract/relax cycles on each side twice per day or as directed. 4. Trapezius Stretch -While sitting or standing, reach down with your right arm, grasping your thigh or the bottom of a chair for stability. While looking straight ahead, place your left hand on top of your head, and gently pull your head sideways toward the left. Against the resistance of your arms, attempt to bring your right ear and right shoulder together for seven seconds. Relax and stretch further toward the left. “Lock in” to each new position, and do not allow any slack. Repeat three contract/relax cycles on each side twice per day or as directed. 7.Sidebridge -Begin lying on your side. Rest your weight on your forearm and feet. Lift your hips forward and toward the ceiling until your body is in a straight “plank” position. Initially, you may need to use your knees for support. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor and repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions per day on each side, or as directed.