New Effective Sciatica Treatment in Cedar Rapids!

Sciatica is often used as a catch-all term by patients to refer to any pain they feel in their legs.  Millions of dollars are spent each year, with limited effectiveness.  This is understandable when we begin to take into consideration all the possible causes of symptoms and break down the traditional methods of diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

 

Radiating leg pain accounts for around 5-10% of all low back pain cases.  Disc related sciatica symptoms account for only 2.2% of cases.  Tight or overactive muscles are usually to blame in cases diagnosed with piriformis syndrome, and THIS is where the lack of effectiveness in the treatment of radiating leg pain essentially begins!  Whether conservative, or surgical, there is a LACK of diagnosing underlying conditions creating “tight” or overactive muscles!

 

Fortunately, new research being brought to light by researchers and doctors are shining a light on a new paradigm shift in the diagnosis and treatment of radiating pain down the leg.  Deep Gluteal Syndrome, or DGS, has the same pain characteristics as sciatica and piriformis syndrome, but the true cause of the problem has finally been found!  

 

For years, surgeons have noted and treated “fibrous scar bands” during procedures.  Sciatic nerve decompression is a surgery where fibrous scar bands, also known as adhesion, are removed around the sciatic nerve to alleviate pain.  

 

The problem is that surgery is no more beneficial than quality conservative care after 1 year!  Even with surgery, a small but significant group of patients fail to improve all together!  Collagen, the material that makes up adhesion, breaks down with as little as 6 pounds of tension.  The keyword is tension, and its specific application.  Compressive forces take much more pressure.  The good news is that Integrative Diagnosis providers have been effectively treating this problem, without surgery, for over a decade!

 

Adhesion, as it is frequently referred as, is a build up of collagen or fibrotic tissue that acts like glue on muscles and around nerves.  As adhesion builds, it limits flexibility of joints causing weakness and pain.  If adhesion builds up around nerves, like the sciatic nerve, it can create symptoms of tingling, burning, or numbness.  Sound familiar?

 

The good news is this problem is extremely common, one of the most common problems in the body, that also happens to be one of the most reversible conditions in the human body as well!  Adhesion develops most commonly through overuse, think repetitive motions like running, or prolonged positions like sitting on your butt all day.

 

Adhesion builds up most commonly around the sciatic nerve in the buttock. Limited movement accompanies this development often with increasing symptoms.  Normally, with hip flexion the sciatic nerve can stretch over 1 inch in the hip!  As adhesion develops, hip flexion becomes more limited, and more stress is placed not only in the hip, but the low back and knees as well!  This is a big deal for your overall health!

 

The concept of adhesion, or fibrous scar bands, playing a role in symptoms related to sciatic nerve mobility and entrapment represents a radical change and paradigm shift in the current diagnosis of and therapeutic approach to DGS.  Effective treatment aims to break down adhesion using tension.  No other method of treatment is as effective in treating this condition!  In fact, other methods of treatment, like stretching or exercise, could make the condition worse!

 

Manual Adhesion Release, MAR, is a technique used by certified Integrative Diagnosis providers.  This treatment creates enough tension on adhesion to effectively break it down over a series of visits. It is currently the only treatment that focuses on the diagnosis and breakdown of adhesion.  ID providers use specific tests to establish the diagnosis and measure progress from visit to visit.  

 

Previously, Deep Gluteal Syndrome was a complex issue difficult to overcome with traditional therapies and surgery.  With this new research, paradigm shift, and advances in effective treatment coming to fruition, finally patients can get the treatment needed for their desired outcome.

If you, or someone you know has been struggling to find relief from radiating pain going down the leg, the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport can help!  Currently, they are the 2 most experienced Integrative Diagnosis providers in the state of Iowa.  Call us today at 319-423-0925, or click here to schedule an appointment!

Affected By Low Back Pain?

Staring at your computer screen, you realize you need to take a break.

Deciding to get a drink of water, you stand up from your desk and head to the water cooler. While getting up from your desk, the phone that previously sat on your lap drops to the floor.

You bend down to pick it up, when … bang!

Pain in your low back has frozen you in position and you fight to stand back up. You find yourself hunched forward and to the side. Your low back is in spasm and barely lets you do even the tiniest of movements.

After work, you go home, take a shower, and try to relax and get ready for bed. You can’t get comfortable and you sleep terrible. The next morning is even worse. Pain killers and muscle relaxers aren’t touching it. You go to work and move around a little more and things begin to finally loosen up. A week later you are almost back to normal with only a little bit of pain in the mornings that gets better with a little movement.

You dodged a bullet. Phew.

A couple months go by and things are going great. You go to hunch over a fellow co-workers computer screen and all of a sudden, low back pain strikes again. Same pain — maybe worse this time. You go through the same process and just over a week later things are almost back to normal. But now you’re worried. What is going on? Is it a sprain or is it a disc herniation?

While many people are familiar with low back pain and disc herniation, disc herniation or disc bulges account for only one to three percent of all low back pain cases. According to research, half of the patients similar to the one above will be diagnosed as having a sprain/strain – this is wrong!

Internal Disc Derangement, or IDD, is probably something you have never heard from your doctor. Shockingly, this accounts for almost 40 percent of all low back pain sufferers.  Far too many times this is misdiagnosed, and mistreated!

Symptoms of IDD include:

  • antalgia (forward, hunched posture) with severe pain
  • guarded movement with muscle spasm
  • worse pain in the morning or with rest
  • worsening, multiple previous episodes and relief from symptoms within one to two weeks.

Odds are if you have ever hurt your low back and continue to struggle with pain, even on the rare occasion, this is you.  It is important to note that the muscle spasm and guarding is a protective mechanism of the disc to try to prevent further damage to the disc.

If left untreated the right way, IDD can develop into bigger problems, like disc herniation.  The muscle spasm and pain is NOT a sprain, and your hips are NOT out of alignment!  These are two of the biggest misconceptions with this problem that I see.

So what can you do?  With any pain and injury like this, it is best to get evaluated by a doctor that specializes in treating musculoskeletal conditions sooner rather than later.  With Internal Disc Derangement, the disc is injured – nothing can reverse time and fix that.  Usually, with each incident of pain, symptoms will get worse!

Whether you have been suffering from this condition weeks or months, you will have soft tissue dysfunction, like adhesion, in structures that alter joint mechanics and ncreases stress on the disc. If you are unfamiliar with adhesion, click here for our most recent article discussing it.  Adhesion is one of the most common and misdiagnosed conditions in the body that restricts motion and causes pain.

Overuse Cycle

 

If you have IDD, you must get the surrounding soft tissues fixed to unload the disc to hopefully prevent and reduce future incidences of pain and progressing disc injury! In other words, adhesion must be corrected in order to reduce the likelihood of this problem from returning.

Not fixing this issue will only lead to more problems down the road.  As always when symptoms are present, you have two options — ignore it or fix it.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis clinic in the state of Iowa.  The Integrative Diagnosis system is a diagnosis and treatment system to gain a clear picture and full diagnosis of what is causing your low back pain.  By obtaining a full diagnosis, then applying the correct treatment, resolution for your pain is possible!

Simply fill out the appointment request on this page or call our office at 319-423-0925 to get to the bottom of your pain today!  Any questions can be sent to Dr. Cody at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.

 Thanks for reading!

Fixing Adhesion

Let’s be honest, your problem isn’t going anywhere!  In fact it’s getting worse.

You’ve tried rest, ice, stretching, pain pills, adjustments, cortisone, braces, exercise, and the list goes on.  Still your problem persists.  What is going on?

Adhesion is a term you probably haven’t heard about.  Adhesion, or scar tissue, is one of the most common conditions in the human body, but also, BY  FAR, the most misdiagnosed.  Adhesion, when present, limits flexibility and decreases strength.  The good news is that adhesion is completely reversible if treated correctly!

Adhesion

Adhesion develops primarily in two different ways – overuse, from either repetitive movements or prolonged positions (think working out, running, or sitting at a desk all day), and from trauma (think sports injury or car accident).  Adhesion acts like glue on a muscle by sticking muscles and surrounding soft tissues together.  When this happens your body has to work harder than normal to move or function normally.  You may feel “tight” or weak at first, but eventually develop inflammation and pain.

Overuse Cycle

When adhesion is present, it has to be physically broken down by a provider certified to find and fix adhesion in order for it to go away.  Stretching and exercise wont help!  Neither will a foam roller or a lacrosse ball.  These may make you feel good for a few hours or even a few days, but they are not long term solutions!

Adhesion is at the root of many common problems like low back or neck pain, sciatica, most tendinitis cases, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even headaches!

Unfortunately, if left untreated long enough, adhesion can lead to other problems like disc herniation, stress fractures, labrum tears, muscle tears/sprains/strains, and early arthritic changes.  How can that be?

Adhesion makes muscles work harder.  When muscles work harder they become overworked sooner.  Instead of the muscles absorbing most of your day to day activities, the body transfers the load into the cartilage, bones, and joints instead.  This begins a very bad cycle of chronic pain.  The sooner you fix adhesion the better!

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are certified through the Integrative Diagnosis system for the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  Currently, Thrive Spine and Sport is the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis office in the state of Iowa!  Integrative Diagnosis is the premiere system for diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems.

If you, or someone you know is continuing to struggle with pain, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925!  Most patients have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office.  If you have any questions, or not sure if we can help you or not, feel free to send an email to Dr. Cody at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.

Thanks for reading!

Why Weak and Tight Doesn’t Mean Strengthen and Stretch

One of the most common misconceptions in health care is this principle – “weak and tight” means “strengthen and stretch.”  If there is one problem or complaint I hear the most it’s, “I’m always tight.”  Usually, in the same breath, the same person will report that they just need to stretch, or they don’t stretch as often as they should.  It usually comes as a surprise when I then tell this person that stretching won’t help them, and if you’re reading this and you always feel “stiff” it probably won’t help you either.

Stretching is the most overprescribed treatment in healthcare, and also the least beneficial.  Now, don’t get me wrong there is a time and a place for stretching – yoga is fantastic – but fixing your stiffness and pain, it’s not going to happen!

Allow me to explain.

Our bodies were not programmed to handle the modern day lifestyle. Whether you work in a 9-5 desk position or work in a factory doing manual labor 40+ hours a week, both will have the same thing in common.  Overuse.  Overuse happens when we sit in prolonged positions or do repetitive activities, if we are not taking care of ourselves.

When we overuse our bodies, and fail to take care of it with proper rest, recovery, nutrients, this will often create a phenomenon called protective tension.  Protective tension is created to help the body adapt to overuse.  The body will make muscles spasm and contract to help protect any overloaded structure from further injury.  Over a period of time, this gradually leads to adhesion formation.

Overuse Cycle

 

If you are unfamiliar with adhesion, adhesion is the most common problem in the human body, but also the most misdiagnosed.  Fortunately, it can be fixed easily with the right diagnosis and treatment.  When present, it acts like glue on soft tissue structures like muscles, ligaments, and nerves.  This glue then binds muscles and nerves together and decreases your flexibility and strength.  Overtime, adhesion leads to altered joint mechanics and pain.  Without the proper treatment, adhesion will eventually lead to chronic pain, chronic muscle sprain/strains, arthritis, and or spinal disc injuries (think herniation).

 

Adhesion

Check out this video below for a better demonstration and explanation.

We have been conditioned since elementary school days to think weak and tight means to strengthen and stretch.  In reality, weak and tight is often a result of a problem!  All of the stretches and strength exercises in the world will not help adhesion, in fact, it may make things worse.  The most important thing that you can do is figure out why a muscle is weak and tight!

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to get some answers!  At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are trained through the Integrative Diagnosis system to provide the most accurate and advanced diagnosis and treatment to chronic pain and overuse injuries.  Many patients of our office have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office. 

Simply fill out the appointment request on this page, or call our office at 319-423-0925 to start feeling better today! 

Thanks for reading!

3 Reasons For Tight Hamstrings You Dont Know About

If your hamstrings are always “tight” there is a reason behind it – and it’s not because you’re not stretching.  In fact, if you are stretching, it may be making it worse!  While this may sound like crazy talk, allow me to explain.

The hamstrings are a group of 3 different muscles.  They originate on the pelvis and insert on the lower leg, just below the knee.  They are primarily responsible for extension of the hip and flexing the knee.  The hamstrings play a vital role in most of our daily activities, which include standing, walking, running, and jumping, but they also play a protective role for nerves and joints.

The Hamstrings

While there can be many different reasons for “tight” hamstrings, the 3 most common I see in my office are the following:

Nerve Entrapment.  The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down into the foot.  This nerve moves and flosses through many different structures on its route.  Often times this nerve will get glued down, and stick to some of the muscles it comes into contact with in the hip and upper thigh – this includes the hamstrings.  When this nerve is prevented from moving properly, and we try to stretch, the body will engage the hamstrings sooner than it would if the nerve wasn’t glued down to protect the nerve from potential harm. This is give off the feeling of “weak and tight.”

Hip Joint Dysfunction.  Place your hand on the outside of your hip. Do you feel the bone there? Now, more than ever with our modern day lifestyles, this joint can become compromised by adhesion and scar tissue.  The femur is held into the hip socket by a group of ligaments.  These ligaments will often form loads of scar tissue after performing repetitive activities or keeping it in place for prolonged periods of time.  This scar tissue will then restrict hip motion.  With this reduction in movement, the joint is more prone to future injury, the hamstrings help to protect this joint by activating earlier than normal and reduces the range of motion.

Hip Capsule

Disc Injury.  Unfortunately, far too many people are walking around with disc injuries, whether they know it or not.  When a disc becomes injured, many simple day to day tasks become more difficult, like trying to stand from a seated position, or bend forward.  Any flexion movement, places more stress on the injured disc.  Part of the job of the hamstrings is to extend the hip and keep you upright.   If we have an injured disc, the hamstrings will try to keep you upright to protect the disc and avoid any unwanted load.

A Few Common Disc Issues

So what can you do?

Often the answer to your problem is simpler than you think.  “Tight” hamstrings are a common problem, but can lead to bigger, chronic issues. Catch all solutions like stretching are rarely ever the answer.  Start by contacting a local expert to get the correct diagnosis for your problem.   Only with the right diagnosis can you finally fix your problem!

If you live in Cedar Rapids or surrounding areas and are constantly struggling with “tight” hamstrings, we invite you to check out our office.  The experts at Thrive Spine and Sport can easily diagnose and provide you with the right plan to fix your problem!  Call our office at 319-423-0925 or fill out an appointment request by clicking here

Thanks for reading!