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How Chiropractic Care Is Helping Veterans Heal

With all of the rigorous combat and training U.S military members endure, it’s no surprise that many veterans suffer from chronic pain from the lingering effects of active duty. The physical stress of carrying heavy loads, running with body armor, or jumping out of planes can have a long-term negative impact on their bodies. The most common diagnosis among Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is back and joint pain, according to research on pain management conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Since 2004, chiropractic services have been included as part of the standard Medical Benefits Package available to all eligible veterans. Veterans can access VA chiropractor services either by referral from a VA or specialty care provider. Veterans can either receive treatment at an on-site chiropractic clinic if the VA has one or from a private chiropractor through the Community Care Program. Although veterans’ use of VA chiropractic services continues to grow at a rapid rate, there are currently only 70 VA facilities across the country that have chiropractic clinics.

Reasons to Seek Treatment

The VA continues to assess and modify its delivery of chiropractic services to meet veteran demand. According to a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, from 2005-2015, VA chiropractic clinics increased from 27 to 65 and the number of veterans receiving care in these clinics increased from 4,000 to more than 37,000.

Common Causes for Veterans to Seek Chiropractic Care Include:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain from an accident
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches related to tension or strain
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched nerve
  • Other problems related to the spine, muscles, and bones

Common Conditions for Veterans

Veterans frequently experience back conditions after their time in service, whether it be from an injury or wear and tear due to the physical demands. Back conditions can greatly impact a veteran’s ability to perform activities of daily living or work responsibilities. Common back conditions veterans experience are:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), also known as osteoarthritis of the spine, usually occurs in the lower back or neck. This is a condition where the discs between the vertebrae lose fragment, cushioning, and end up herniating. In some cases, it can result in numbness and tingling.
  • Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain is an injury of the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the lower back or neck. This condition usually results from stretching that causes a small tear in the issues due to overuse or trauma. Symptoms include pain, trouble bending, and limited range of motion.
  • Intervertebral Disc Syndrome, also known as bulging or herniated discs, is a back condition that involves irritation of the nerve root. This condition causes sharp, chronic pain and other symptoms such as numbness or tingling and weakness.

Treatment Options

Chiropractors take a more natural route to helping the body heal in an effort to avoid pain medicines, such as opiates. They look at the body’s structure and function, focusing on the spine and muscles and how they can strengthen and rehabilitate them. Treatment methods can include patient education, active rehabilitation, physical therapy, spinal manipulation, or other manual therapies.

RSI Physical Medicine is proud to provide chiropractic care through the VA for our veterans. Many people will benefit from a comprehensive treatment plan provided by their chiropractor. There are many different treatment options that your chiropractor can provide, such as manual adjustments, massage therapy, or laser therapy in addition to a stretching and exercise plan. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fierro, call (904) 270-2673 to see how he can help you with your back or neck pain today.

How Hard Should You Let Your Teenage Athlete Work Out When It Comes to Their Back Health

Over the years, youth have been engaging in competitive sports at earlier ages than ever before. With so many organized school or community-based sports programs, the opportunity for injures to occur are high. In fact, sports injuries are the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents, according to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Each year, 3-million youth are seen in hospital emergency rooms and another 5-million are seen by a sports medicine clinic or their physician for sports-related injuries.

Overuse is the Leading Cause of Youth Sports Injuries

Most of the sports-related injuries that youth deal with are due to overuse. Normal physical activity is important to a child’s growth process, but the intense, repetitive training they are going through at such early ages can cause tissue breakdown or injury over time. Risk factors that can lead young athletes to overuse injuries include:

  • Intense, repetitive training during growth periods
  • Sport specialization at a very young age (4-7)
  • Anatomic malalignment or a pre-existing condition
  • Imbalance of strength or joint range of motion
  • Improper footwear or training gear

Your Child’s Back Health

The lower back is the most common area of back pain in athletes. However, back pain in children and adolescents is very different from adults. Adults usually deal with disc issues, while children deal with bone or muscle issues that cause their back pain. According to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the most common cause of lower back pain in young athletes is a stress fracture or bone injury. The second most common cause is a muscle strain of the lower back due to overuse.

Most back pain goes away with little treatment, such as stretching and strengthening the back and core muscles. Muscle injuries are typically treated with stretching and specialized exercises, while stress fractures usually require 2-3 months rest to allow the bones to heal. Early recognition and treatment of their injuries is critical for young athletes to get back to their sport safely and quickly. A minor injury should resolve itself in a few days, but if your child is not back to full participation without pain, they need to be seen by a doctor. Injuries left untreated can turn into chronic problems for a child as they grow older.

Taking Preventative Measures

Certain sports, such as football, gymnastics, or dance, can put your child at higher risk for back injuries. These sports make the lower back more vulnerable to overuse and quick onset of back pain. However, no matter the sport, the excessive hours youth spend intensively practicing and playing puts them at a significantly higher risk of stress fractures and other severe overuse injuries, according to a clinical study. Youth that participate in their sport for 13 or more hours a week were 70% more likely to get serious overuse injuries of the back.

A good rule of thumb is to not let your child participate in their sport for more hours than they are old. For example, if your child is 8 years old, they should spend no more than 8 hours a week practicing and playing their sport. Some other easy ways to reduce their risk of suffering from back pain are:

  • Warm up and stretch before any activity
  • Educate them on the proper form and technique for sports performance or lifting
  • Do core-strengthening exercises
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Maintain a healthy body weight

RSI Physical Medicine Can Help Your Child Stay On Top Of Their Game

If your child is suffering from back pain or you just want to make sure they are competing at their top performance level, click here or call RSI Physical Medicine at (904) 270-2673 to schedule a free consultation. We have various treatment options that are specialized to fit your child’s needs.

Excessive Use of Digital Devices Can Lead to Text Neck

Why Your Digital Devices Could Be To Blame For Your Bad Back

The average American spends 5.7 hours a day on their phone, according to a study conducted by Provision Living. With the rise of new technology and innovative apps, the amount of time people spend staring at their screen is increasing every day. Due to the increased usage of technological devices, people are now being diagnosed with a condition called “text neck.” Although “text neck” is not an official medical diagnosis, it is a term used for repetitive stress or injury due to excessive texting or digital device use.

The repetitive stress or injury that causes text neck comes from the severe neck angle to view your screen and use the touchscreen elements of the devices. While viewing your screen, your neck and head are typically bent further forward than then should be. Often times, people become so immersed in their devices that they forget about their posture. For every inch forward you hold your head, the weight carried down your spine increases by 10 pounds.

Excessive Use Leads to Extended Pain

A huge amount of our everyday lives is dedicated to staring at a screen. We use our digital devices to communicate with family and friends, produce captivating social media posts, consume news and entertainment, or are glued to them just to do our job. Phones are not the only culprit causing your neck or back pain, but also laptop computers, desktop computers, tablets, and virtual reality headsets. People ages 16-24 are most likely to experience back or neck pain while using their phones and nearly half of people ages 25-34 suffer from pain after using their laptop.

Although 56% of people in a study conducted by the British Chiropractic Association experience neck or back pain after using their digital devices, only 27% are willing to limit or stop their excessive use. This addiction we have to our devices is causing misalignment of our spines. Poor posture is to blame for the pain because staying in the bent-forward position for too long can cause herniated disks, pulled muscles, pinched spinal nerves, ligaments and tendons to fray from overuse, and the repetitive stress injuries that lead to text neck.

Symptoms of Text Neck

Symptoms of text neck will vary case by case. For example, someone who uses both hands or no hands while using their device will have pain evenly distributed on both sides of their neck or upper back. However, someone who uses only one hand will have pain on one side. Doctors will usually come to the conclusion with text neck after completing a physical exam and reviewing your symptoms. Symptoms of text neck can include:

  • Pain in the neck, upper back, and/or shoulder-The pain can be an intense or stabbing sensation in one specific spot or general achiness that covers a broader region.
  • Forward head posture and rounded shoulders-Looking down at your screen can cause your neck, chest, and upper back muscles to become imbalanced and deconditioned. This deconditioning of your muscles can lead to difficulty maintaining good posture.
  • Reduced mobility-Your neck, upper back, and shoulders may experience tightness, making it difficult to move around.
  • Headaches-Excessive time spend starting at screens can increase the risk of eyestrain or headaches. The muscles at the back of your neck may spasm and become painful, which could then refer the pain from your neck to your head.
  • Neck flexion pain-Your overall symptoms will worsen when your neck is flexed into the position that is the cause of the problem, like looking down at your device.

RSI Can Help

Many people may benefit from a comprehensive treatment plan provided by their chiropractor to treat text neck. There are many different treatment options that your chiropractor can provide, such as manual adjustments, massage therapy, or laser therapy in addition to a stretching and exercise plan.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fierro, call (904) 270-2673 to see how he can help you with your back or neck pain today.

Maybe It’s Not Your Mattress Making Your Back Hurt – It Could Be How You Sleep

There’s no better feeling than waking up refreshed and energized after a good night’s sleep. However, very few people actually pay attention to the position they sleep in. Did you know that your sleeping position can have a significant impact on your overall health? Your sleeping position not only affects your energy levels, but also your blood pressure, weight maintenance, and heart health. It’s estimated that the average person will spend 1/3 of their life asleep, which means the positions we sleep in have a significant impact on our everyday lives.

When you wake up with back pain, your first instinct is usually to evaluate your mattress. You might be surprised to know that more often than not, it’s not your mattress causing your back pain, but the position you sleep in.  Usually, morning back pain and stiffness are a result from low-grade inflammation caused by awkward sleeping positions. Your back is one of the most vulnerable areas to this type of inflammation, so it’s important to make the changes needed when you come to the realization.

 Stomach Sleepers

Although laying on your stomach may ease snoring, it’s actually the worst position to sleep in. First, you strain your neck by turning your head to the side on the pillow so you can breathe. This position makes it difficult to keep your spine in a neutral position, putting pressure on your back and neck joints. Eight hours with this pressure on your joints can lead to numbness, tingling, aches, and irritated nerves. Sleeping on your stomach can also affect your facial features, causing the formation and progression of wrinkles.

If you absolutely must sleep on your stomach, doctors suggest switching up your pillows. Instead of twisting your head to the side, stay face down. Prop your forehead up on a pillow to keep your airways open so you can breathe. Another alternative is placing a pillow under your hips and pelvis. By supporting your pelvis with a pillow, you are taking the pressure off your spine by keeping it in a more neutral position.

Side Sleepers

Most Americans sleep on their sides, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleeping on your side helps you maintain the natural curve in your spine, which is why it’s one of the best positions to sleep in. Not only does sleeping on your side help reduce the risk of back pain, it can also help decrease acid reflex and heartburn if you are on your left side. Although there are benefits to sleeping on your side, there are also some disadvantages if you are not giving your head enough support.

Avoid flat pillows if you sleep on your side because it will put lots of pressure on your shoulders. Most side sleepers prop their arm up under their head to give themselves more support, but that actually puts pressure on your nerves and can restrict blood flow. Look for a pillow that is thick enough to support your head to eliminate constricting your neck and shoulder muscles.

Back Sleepers

Back sleeping is the best position to sleep in, yet very few people actually do. By laying on your back, you are allowing your body to rest in a neutral position. Your head, neck, and spine are not twisted in any sort of contortion when you’re on your back, which keeps them correctly aligned. This position evenly distributes your body weight and minimizes pressure points, eliminating the risk of pain.

When sleeping on your back, you may want to use a few pillows. Try to find a rounded pillow to place under your neck to make sure it is supported. To optimize this sleeping position, place a small pillow under your knees to support the natural curve of your spine. although this position is great for your back, it can cause adverse effects for people who snore. Sleeping on your back can aggravate the symptoms that lead to sleep apnea or worsen your condition.

RSI Can Provide the Relief You Need

If you are experiencing pain when you wake up, RSI can help you get back to getting a restful night’s sleep. Click here or call us at (904) 646-2673 to schedule a consultation.

Excessive Digital Device Use Can Lead To Text Neck

Why Your Digital Devices Could Be To Blame For Your Bad Back

The average American spends 5.7 hours a day on their phone, according to a study conducted by Provision Living. With the rise of new technology and innovative apps, the amount of time people spend staring at their screen is increasing every day. Due to the increased usage of technological devices, people are now being diagnosed with a condition called “text neck.” Although “text neck” is not an official medical diagnosis, it is a term used for repetitive stress or injury due to excessive texting or digital device use.

The repetitive stress or injury that causes text neck comes from the severe neck angle to view your screen and use the touchscreen elements of the devices. While viewing your screen, your neck and head are typically bent further forward than then should be. Often times, people become so immersed in their devices that they forget about their posture. For every inch forward you hold your head, the weight carried down your spine increases by 10 pounds.

Excessive Use Leads to Extended Pain

A huge amount of our everyday lives is dedicated to staring at a screen. We use our digital devices to communicate with family and friends, produce captivating social media posts, consume news and entertainment, or are glued to them just to do our job. Phones are not the only culprit causing your neck or back pain, but also laptop computers, desktop computers, tablets, and virtual reality headsets. People ages 16-24 are most likely to experience back or neck pain while using their phones and nearly half of people ages 25-34 suffer from pain after using their laptop.

Although 56% of people in a study conducted by the British Chiropractic Association experience neck or back pain after using their digital devices, only 27% are willing to limit or stop their excessive use. This addiction we have to our devices is causing misalignment of our spines. Poor posture is to blame for the pain because staying in the bent-forward position for too long can cause herniated disks, pulled muscles, pinched spinal nerves, ligaments and tendons to fray from overuse, and the repetitive stress injuries that lead to text neck.

Symptoms of Text Neck

Symptoms of text neck will vary case by case. For example, someone who uses both hands or no hands while using their device will have pain evenly distributed on both sides of their neck or upper back. However, someone who uses only one hand will have pain on one side. Doctors will usually come to the conclusion with text neck after completing a physical exam and reviewing your symptoms. Symptoms of text neck can include:

  • Pain in the neck, upper back, and/or shoulder-The pain can be an intense or stabbing sensation in one specific spot or general achiness that covers a broader region.
  • Forward head posture and rounded shoulders-Looking down at your screen can cause your neck, chest, and upper back muscles to become imbalanced and deconditioned. This deconditioning of your muscles can lead to difficulty maintaining good posture.
  • Reduced mobility-Your neck, upper back, and shoulders may experience tightness, making it difficult to move around.
  • Headaches-Excessive time spend starting at screens can increase the risk of eyestrain or headaches. The muscles at the back of your neck may spasm and become painful, which could then refer the pain from your neck to your head.
  • Neck flexion pain-Your overall symptoms will worsen when your neck is flexed into the position that is the cause of the problem, like looking down at your device.

RSI Can Help

Many people may benefit from a comprehensive treatment plan provided by their chiropractor to treat text neck. There are many different treatment options that your chiropractor can provide, such as manual adjustments, massage therapy, or laser therapy in addition to a stretching and exercise plan.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fierro, call (904) 270-2673 to see how he can help you with your back or neck pain today.

Sports Medicine

In June 2015, I started having lower back pain back. I really didn’t do much about it then because I’m the type of person to just “work through” the pain. I continued to work out 7 days a week; doing two workouts a day and then had trouble sleeping due to the pain. I did see my chiropractor and massage therapist regularly, but it didn’t seem to help. Finally in December 2015, my back had spasms. These spasms continued for several weeks. During this time, I had to stop all workouts as well as all other activities. I couldn’t even get out of bed without having a spasm. I saw my chiropractor and massage therapist, but they couldn’t seem to stop the spasms or figure out why I was having them in the first place. I even went to my medical doctor to get muscle relaxers just to get some relief. After the spasms stopped, I was still having pain/severe tightness in the lower back, I started swimming. After a week of just swimming, I try biking. Even taking it slow, the bike still hurt my lower back. I tried to run, and the pain was so bad, that I had to stop after 5 minutes. I was very frustrated and scared that I did permanent damage.

I was complaining to my father who lives in another state and he mentioned Active Release Techniques (ART) and that has helped him in the past. He is the one who found Dr. Fierro. I checked Dr. Fierro’s website and read up on ART treatments and thought I should give it a try since nothing else seemed to be working. I started care in his office in January 2016. I was able to get in right away. The staff is amazing! They are very nice and always smiling. Dr. Fierro is very knowledgeable, and was able to diagnose me relativity quickly. Dr. Fierro really took his time and talked me through what was going on with my back, and how he was going to treat me. I had my first treatment that first visit. He was able to get me pain free in just four treatments!

After eight treatments, I am back to my regular workout schedule and my back hasn’t felt this great in a long time. I am now on a maintenance schedule, and I can’t thank him enough!

Women’s Health

It is estimated that over to 50% of adult women experience urinary incontinence and up to 43% of women experience sexual dysfunction. These conditions are often underreported to health care professionals due to embarrassment, or the belief that there are no treatment options available. The RSI Women’s Health Program offers solutions to these problems with treatments that are proven effective through research, and are less invasive than the surgical options often recommended by other Health Care Practitioners. Our unique program is designed and implemented by women for women.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a medical procedure in which a medical professional inserts very fine, short, stainless steel filiform needles inside the pressure points or trigger points. These points are the tight bows in the muscles. These needles don’t contain any liquid inside. Nothing is injected inside the body through these needles. That’s why called dry needling. Dry needling is a compelling treatment. The primary aim of dry needling is to alleviate cramping and muscle pain and also boost the flexibility of the body.

Dry needling offers speedy results that other treatment methods. The needles when inserted, these invade through the muscles to obtain a twitch response. Patients may feel a little or pain as the muscles contract to the needle. It is an electric shock type feeling when the needle hits the trigger point. Dry needling is an alternative therapy also used to treat dysfunctions in connective tissue, fascia, and skeletal muscles. It helps restore and curtail the deteriorations of structure and function of the body resulting in enhanced activity.

RSI Phys Med has a team of experienced physical therapists. Their dry needling physical therapists are eminently trained and dedicated to quality and superior care for their patients. Dry needling is performed by physical therapists with the goal of appeasing or releasing trigger points to revamp the range of motion and relieve pain. Many types of research support that dry needling reduces muscle tension, improve pain control and establish dysfunction of the motor end plates where nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles.

Benefits of dry needling:

  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce pain
  • Decrease muscle tension or spasm
  • Improve muscle contraction
  • Stimulate muscles
  • Relax tight muscles
  • Improve the range of motion
  • Loosen sore and stiff muscles

Conditions that can benefit from dry needling are athletic performance, chronic pain, ligament sprains and muscular strains, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, knee pain, gluteal and hip pain, shoulder pain golfer’s elbow, migraines, joint dysfunction, disk pathology, tendonitis, phantom pain, nocturnal cramps, complex regional pain syndrome, post-herpetic neuralgia, urologic syndromes, pelvic pain, spinal dysfunction, whiplash associated disorders, computer-related disorders, carpal tunnel, tension-type headaches.

Effects of dry needling:

Mechanical effects: dry needling causes a local twitch response which results in a change of muscle fiber length and causes an avoidance effect on antagonistic muscles. Dry needling upsets the dysfunctional motor end plates.

Neurophysiological effect: dry needling excites A nerve fibers within 72 hours of the procedure. Nerve fibers are sensory afferent nerves. Extended provocation of these nerves may trigger the enkephalinergic inhibitory dorsal horn interneurons.

Risks associated with dry needling:

Usually, dry needling is considered safe if the practitioner is experienced and use a sterile needle for the treatment. Infected or unsterilized needles can cause the risk of contracting blood-borne pathogens. Some relatively common and mild risks associated with dry needling include bleeding at the treatment sites, bruising at or surrounding the sites and temporary soreness at the sites where needles are inserted. It efficiently helps speed up the return of a patient to active rehabilitation.

Steps to Take if you are in an Auto Accident

An auto accident can be a confusing, terrifying and traumatic incident. Most people are not aware of what to do at that time. When you are involved in an accident, emotions are high and injuries may be severe. Overcoming an auto accident can be a difficult and long process. If you have permanent injuries, things can get more complex. At our RSI Phys Med, patients get significant medical help after an accident; mentally as well as physically. They offer amazing treatment methods which help you heal faster and recover soon.

Following are the steps you should take if you are in an auto accident:

Stay calm: The first step you should take if you are in a vehicle accident is to stay calm. It is difficult but you have to handle the situation calmly. Just take a deep breath and face the situation. Collect yourself and focus on things that require immediate attention.

Don’t leave the accident site: Stay in the same place until help arrives. If you leave the place where someone was killed or has severe injuries you may be charged criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.

Check for injuries: Make sure that you are fine and get first aid if you have any injuries. After that check all the passengers if anybody has life-threatening injuries. In case of serious injuries, seek medical help immediately. Make sure to get a thorough check-up by a medical professional after an auto accident.

Call the police: It is the most important step as you need to take as a responsible person. In case there is a death, physical injury or powerful property damage, calling the police is the best way to handle the crisis.

Take pictures of the accident scene: Take pictures of any damage to the vehicles, as soon as possible, after the accident. These photos will help your insurance agent determine how much you can claim for the damages. It can also help you in the court.

Move your vehicle for safety in case of a minor accident: Traffic around an accident scene may lead to further accidents or high traffic and can create additional hazards. Try to move your vehicle to the hard shoulder on the road or to a safer location if it is movable. Before moving your vehicle, make sure to take the photographs of your vehicle at the accident scene. It will help you to get insurance or rectification.

Call law enforcement just after the accident: You must contact the authorities if there is an incident. Call them even if no one is injured. They can help set your affairs in order and write an official report on the incident.

Keep the record of your medical treatment: Maintain records of any medical professionals, chiropractors, physical therapists and doctors who are treating you at the time and post-accident. Keep a complete account of the medications and treatments you receive. Ask for copies of all medical bills and reports. These proofs your medical expenses can easily document the medical expenses. Track how your injuries affected your daily life and work routine.