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Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture Blog

Low Back Pain Causes and Treatment

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Today we’re going to talk about low back pain. With this type of pain we look at x-rays and MRIs, depending on the presentation of the patient. Why are they feeling low back pain, how did they get the low back pain? There’s a whole rationale and we do that through our initial examination.

So let’s fast forward, I decided to take x-rays on this patient to determine what is it that’s causing her back pain. So we can see here on this x-ray of her low back, looking at it from the front. We put lines over the spine and hips to see exactly how bad this misalignment is. So this spine is really crooked, the green line is where you’re supposed to be and she is shifted to the left side. The red line is the indication of how badly the bones are out of place. Then, looking at the side view, we get to see what’s happening. The low back is supposed to have a curve, but one of the things that jumped out at me is, what is going on with one of the discs. The disc is deteriorating, these are supposed to be nice and spacious, that last disc is not looking very good. We’re going to see that when we look at the MRI.

So toggling to the MRI, we can see the low back from the side, and we see the disc spaces here, they’re nice and big. If you look at that last one, it’s pretty small. Let’s zoom in on that and we can see what’s happening with this person. There’s a lot of deterioration on the disc, this is also one of the things that’s causing her pain. In her case, this problem that she’s experiencing is pain from her disc and also because of the misalignment of her spine. This is a more complicated case, we will take care of these types of cases here at the office.

And again, we’re able to order MRIs if we feel that you need a MRI. So, if you’re having complicated low back pain, come see me, we’ll do a consultation, an examination, we’ll see which of the diagnostics you need, the x-ray or an MRI, or both.

Contact us for an appointment going for you, and we’ll see how we can help your problem out. Thank you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to You and Yours this Season

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 23, 2019
Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture - North Bergen, NJ

Christmas and Chanukah share a similar spiritual message: that it is possible to bring light and hope into the world. These two holidays occur together this year, which makes this an even more special holiday season.

This is a season to reflect upon how fortunate we are to have you as our customers: our friends and neighbors. During these holidays, we wish you, your family, and your friends a safe, joy-filled, and relaxing season.

Warm wishes for a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a most Happy New Year! With peace, joy, and love this holiday season and beyond!

Which is Better, X-Ray or MRI?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, December 12, 2019

This is Dr. Alex Hernandez again, from Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture. Today I’m going to answer a very common question: Which is better, an X-ray or an MRI? I’m going to tell you what the differences are, there’s advantages and disadvantages, but they are both really good diagnostic tools.

Let’s start off with the x-ray. Here is an x-ray of a patient that came in, and this is basically the, what we call the frontal view of the neck. We see the person’s head, the teeth, and the spine. And, one of the reasons that we take x-rays is to look at how the spine is out of line. In this case, this gentleman was experiencing a lot of neck pain, and when we took the x-ray, the green line is the normal position and the red line shows how off the spine is. So this is very easy to see what’s truly creating the neck pain.

After some therapy we can then see the red line and the green line are pretty close. So we did a good job here, and this is what allows us to do our job as chiropractors. What we want to do is align the spine, put it back to the center. So with x-rays we get to see alignment, we also get to see if there’s any kind of fracture.

Now, what the x-ray does not show is what’s going on with the discs, we’re not going to see what’s happening with the spinal cord, so that is the advantage of the MRI.

Let’s have a look at the MRI. This is looking at the neck from the side, just like this. And when we look at the MRI, here we can see the discs, here we can see the spinal cord, we can see the brains down the cerebellum, we can really see what’s going on inside. We can see what’s happening with the bones if there’s any kind of contusion. We can see if the discs are herniated, if they’re touching the spinal cord. So this really produces, this gives us a lot more insight as to what is creating your problem.

There is another view, the “bird’s eye view” and it gives us one more dimension on how and what is happening with the spinal cord and the discs.

So the big question here is when do you need what. When do you need an x-ray? When do you need an MRI? If we suspect that you have some kind of disc problem, we will send you out for an MRI. If we suspect something is happening with your spinal cord, we will send you out for an MRI. Now if your problem is a bit simpler, and we think that there’s just misalignments, then an x-ray is appropriate for you, you won’t need an MRI.

For more information, contact my office. We'll be glad to help you out.

Now is the Time for Us to Say "Thanks" to YOU!

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 25, 2019
Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture - North Bergen, NJ

Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to remind one another of the many reasons there are to be grateful. We gather on this day to be thankful for what we have, for the family we love, the friends we cherish, the success we have had, and for the blessings that will come.

Thanksgiving is more than the festivities, it gives us time to ponder the lessons that we have learned and how we can spread happiness around, to look back at all the great memories and good people who came into our lives. We appreciate you, our customers and clients, so much.

At this time of year our thoughts turn gratefully to you with warm appreciation. Our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

Shoulder Injury and How to Treat It

Joseph Coupal - Friday, November 22, 2019

Good afternoon,my name is Dr. Alex Hernandez from Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture, and today we’re going to talk about shoulder injuries. The shoulder is a very complex joint, and we frequently treat shoulder injuries in this office. I’m going to start out with anatomy so we get an idea what are we dealing with. There are nerves that come out from the neck and feed the shoulder, so plenty of nerves in this area along with muscles including the biceps; there are also tendon connections as well as the ligaments that connect bone to bone.

So, why do shoulders get injured so much? The shoulder has a lot of range of motion which means there’s a lot of flexibility: we can move it up and down, we can move it towards the back, the inside, and we can rotate it. So there’s a lot of motion which is a good thing, but there’s also a lot of chance for getting hurt. One of the common things that we see is people getting hurt in the gym, from throwing a ball, or from anything that requires a lot of motion and a lot of hyperextension as well as from weightlifting.

I want to give you a real life example. I have a patient who recently came in. As he was bench pressing, during the last couple repetitions, his arm just started to drift down. In order to avoid the weight hitting him, he pushed really hard with his left side to bring the weight up, and he injured the tendons and the muscles in the shoulder area.

What we do here is we identify exactly what is wrong with your shoulder: tendon, muscle, or fascia around the whole area. We also use laser therapy to correct these issues. But the first step is a proper evaluation of the shoulder. We check your range of motion, your strength, we find what is deficient and dysfunctional in your shoulder. Once we do that, then we can attack the problem.

If you are experiencing shoulder injury, please contact us.

What are the Proper Sleeping Positions?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, November 08, 2019

Good morning everyone. This is Dr. Alex Hernandez, Chiropractor in North Bergen. Today I have Maria here with me, and what we’re going to do today is we’re going to answer a question that gets asked every week here at my office. And that is “Doc, what is the best way to sleep?” We’re going to show you the proper way to sleep and why.

The right way to sleep is laying on your back. And as basic as this might sound, most people don’t practice this way of sleeping. Now, why sleep face up? When you’re lying face up, you’re in a rested, comfortable position; the neck is in a good form, the muscles are relaxed. The main reason why we want to sleep face up is that the muscles of the neck, on the left and right side, are in a relaxed position, your upper back is in a relaxed position. This is the number one way to sleep.

Now the second way that is okay to sleep properly is you can lay on your side. Now, this way of sleeping is okay. What you want to keep in mind is that you don’t want to have a pillow that’s too big that’s going to kink the neck this way. Because if that happens, then you can end up getting neck pain the next morning. You also don’t want a pillow that’s too small, because then the neck starts to go the opposite way.

The Wrong Way to Sleep - The Worst Sleeping Positions

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 25, 2019

This video is going to be about How Not To Sleep. I’m going to show you a few of the common things that most people do that creates pain particularly in their neck, but that can also create problems like numbness and tingling down the hands.

So let’s demonstrate. One of the worst things that people do when they sleep is that they sleep with too many pillows. In the video you can see she has two pillows and while that might look comfortable, her neck is actually going forward. Some people sleep with three pillows, and so they sleep propped up. Now, you may be very tired at the end of the day and you might be able to sleep like this, but you will end up with neck pain. It might not happen immediately, but this adds up. Maybe six months down the line, a year down the line, you’ll start getting neck pain from sleeping in this position.

Now another wrong way of sleeping is face down. People tell me “Oh, I sleep face down, Doc. Is that good for me?” Absolutely not. The reason why this is not good for you is that when you’re sleeping face down you are kinking the neck, so it’s like you’re wringing a towel but with the neck and spine. You don’t want to sleep face down, because you will wake up with pain. It doesn’t matter whether your head is facing to the left or right side, you will end up with pain because of kinking of the nerves and the muscles.

Some people sleep face down with their hand under their head. Some people have gotten used to this from a very early age. And doing this puts a lot of pressure on the neck and on the shoulder. I treat a young lady who got hurt from doing this for many, many years. She ended up with frozen shoulder because of this sleeping position.

And the last position is sleeping with the wrists curled in. Now when you sleep like this you are kinking your neck and the wrist. This can cause you to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

So these are the top three ways that people get hurt when they’re sleeping. And this is something that you can easily avoid. How? You have to you lay on your back. Like any other habit, you've got to practice a good habit, practice sleeping on your back with one pillow. This is the proper way of sleeping. You can overcome many habits in a period of 5-7 weeks. I hope you got value out of this segment. Thank you for watching.

Knee Injuries and Treatments

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 15, 2019

My name is Dr. Alex Hernandez and today we are going to talk about knee injuries. We want to start out by talking about the two most common knee injuries: meniscus injury and ligament injury.

Now, we want to explain a little bit about what meniscus is. Meniscus are soft discs on each side of the knee, the outside and inside. Meniscus injury usually happens in soccer practices, soccer games, tennis, and any kind of activity that involves a lot of twisting. The reason we get this kind of injuries is because we over stress the meniscus, and when the meniscus is over stressed, they can tear. When we tear this cartilage this will usually give people the sensation of pain when turning the knee or walking upstairs. This is the number one type of knee injury.

The second most common type of knee injury we are going to talk about is ligament injury. We have a ligament inside the knee and we have a ligament outside the knee. These are the ligaments that get commonly injured. This typically happens in contact injuries like in soccer, a leg gets hit and the knee goes inward or outward. A very common thing that happens is that you sprain these ligaments and then you end up getting pain.

The last thing I want to talk about is the famous ACL tear. This ligament is very commonly injured and this is probably one of the most common injuries in football and soccer. This causes instability of this ligament when it has torn completely. This often requires surgical intervention.

But, as far as meniscus injuries and ligament sprains, chiropractic care can help. We’re here, we’re experts at spine and sports injuries. So if you have any questions about knee injuries, feel free to contact Chiropractor here at Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture.

Should You Do Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 24, 2019

This is Dr. Alex Hernandez from Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture here in North Bergen, NJ). Today’s topic is: Should you do Carpal Tunnel surgery?

What is Carpal Tunnel surgery? That is when they basically do surgery in the wrist because somebody is experiencing numbness and tingling of the hands that is causing them to drop things and lose strength. Today we’re going to talk about if you should you do this procedure or if you should you do conservative treatments like chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel.

So to address Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, obviously the first thing we do is we get a good case history of what the person is feeling, how they got their Carpal Tunnel symptoms, which include numbness, tingling, and burning that travels sometimes from the neck and affecting the wrist. People pay attention to what is happening to the wrist but they don’t focus on the root cause, which is pinched nerves in the neck, radiating down to your hand and creating those symptoms.

Today I decided to show you an x-ray of somebody who is experiencing Carpal Tunnel symptoms. The x-ray is the person’s face and neck from the front. We can obviously see that the neck is crooked, this person is experiencing pain on the right hand side of the body. The spine, all the bones of the neck, have shifted out to the right side. So this is creating the numbness and tingling going down this person’s hand.

So a brief anatomy of what happens here is when we look at the nerves in the neck, there’s a bundle on the left and a bundle on the right. So if you’re pinching the nerves, you can get symptoms radiating down into your hand. This bundle of nerves travels down to the arm and can produce those Carpal Tunnel symptoms.

So, what to do? Let’s analyze and see what’s happening with the person’s neck. In order to get to the root cause of the problem, we take it from the top, from the root cause, and many many times the problem is that the nerves are being pinched.

Are there times we do have to do a surgery? Absolutely. There are times when you have just damaged this nerve so much that it’s irreparable. For example, something heavy dropped onto your wrist and you crushed the nerve; that’s an appropriate time to do a Carpal Tunnel surgery. If you’ve had the problem for so long and you already tried chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy and you’ve exhausted all of that, then it may be time for you to do Carpal Tunnel surgery. But for the most part in general, there are a lot of these cases which can be solved by simply looking at the root cause which is, what is happening in the neck.

So if you have any questions about Carpal Tunnel syndrome or you need to know more information. Contact us and make an appointment and we’ll see how we can help you out. Thank you.

How do you get Disc Herniation?

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, September 14, 2019

Dr. Alex Hernandez explains how you get disc herniation and how to treat it.

Disc herniation can happen in many ways, such as car accidents, contact sports injuries, falls. One of the most common ways to get a disc herniation is to pick up something heavy while twisting your back. Another common way to herniate a disc is to reach into the backseat of your car to pick up a heavy back pack.

The disc is a jelly-like substance in-between each of the bones in your spine. The discs are like the shock absorbers in your car. But, if the force is too high, the disc squeezes out and compresses, usually to the back but sometimes to the side. When that happens it will squeeze the nerve causing severe pain, tingling, or numbness. When this pressure is put on the nerves, people can become immobile.

How do you get better? You must have training in disc herniations because they range in severity from mild to severe. Some disc herniations require surgery or injections. However, about 80% of disc herniations can be treated by a chiropractor conservitavely through chiropractic treatment, laser therapy, swimming, acupuncture, and other treatment programs.

For more information on treating herniated discs, contact Life Chiropractic & Acupuncture.