St Charles, MO Chiropractor - Dr. Mario Awwad

11 Ways to Indulge Your Spine

Date: July 12, 2017 | Time: 4:49am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

Let's face it, most of us don't take very good care of our spines. This lack of care can lead to physical discomfort and make us susceptible to future injuries and complications.
Do your spine-and your overall health-a favor and take the time to treat your spine to a few of these 11 indulgences:

1. Make exercise a lifestyle

Exercise is essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy spine-and it can also aid in the rehabilitation of your injured spine.
You don't need to be an expert in physical fitness to indulge your spine with regular exercise. A simple exercise program that focuses on stretching and strengthening the back, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles can go a long way toward distributing nutrients into your spinal discs and soft tissues, accelerating your healing process, and keeping your discs, muscles, ligaments, and joints healthy.

2. Engage your mind

If you suffer from chronic pain or discomfort associated with your spine, take the time to engage in mindful meditation every day. While no single treatment option works for everyone, studies have shown that mediation is an effective tool for fighting chronic back pain.
A daily mediation requires only a dark, quiet room and 15 minutes of your time. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, but you might try focusing on a pleasant, relaxing place-such as the beach-where you feel carefree and comfortable.

3. Reevaluate your sitting posture

Your spine has a series of natural curves, and if your typical sitting posture does not support these natural curves you may damage your sensitive spinal nerves.
If you have a job that involves a lot of sitting, take time to make sure your office chair and desk are ergonomically aligned to support your spine. Additionally, consider working at a stand up desk or sitting on an exercise ball for a portion of the day. Last but not least, it's a good idea to stretch and walk around every half hour.

4. Go for a walk to help support your spine

The benefits of walking are plentiful, including strengthening the core muscles that keep your body upright, nourishing spinal structures with necessary nutrients, improving flexibility, and strengthening your bone structure.
If you're in pain, be sure to get clearance from your doctor before starting any new walking program. Often, a doctor's recommendation will be for you to walk as much as can be tolerated. If you are new to walking, or if you're dealing with pain, start out with several short walks each day rather than a single long walk. Additionally, consider walking in a pool to minimize the pressure on your spine if your pain is severe.

5. Soothe your pain with heat therapy

Applying heat to the muscles around your spine increases blood flow, which in turn brings healing nutrients to your muscles. Heat therapy can also reduce pain associated with the muscles and joints around your spine-and it may relieve your muscle spasms.
There are many options for the local application of heat therapy. You can try heating pads, heat wraps that adhere to your lower back and deliver a low level of heat over several hours, warm gel packs, hot water bottles, or a warm bath. Heat therapy is largely a matter of personal preference, so you may need to try a few options to see what works best for you.

6. Match your pillow to your sleeping position

When you lie down to sleep, you want a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. This means that people who prefer different sleeping positions will need different kinds of pillows.
For example, if you sleep on your side you typically will need a thicker pillow to ensure your neck and head are positioned in the middle of your shoulders. Your height and the width of your shoulders will help determine the kind of pillow you ought to buy-so if you're petite you will need a slimmer pillow than if you're broad-shouldered.

7. Choose your food wisely

Your daily diet plays an important role in maintaining the health of your spine. Try limiting your diet mostly to foods you would find in nature-vegetables, fruits, meats, whole grains, and legumes. Eventually try to eliminate processed foods entirely, and make sure to limit unhealthy sweets to an occasional treat.
Additionally, eating foods that are high in calcium and other nutrients and vitamins can help prevent spinal problems like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Finally, maintaining a proper weight through exercise and a healthy diet can reduce pressure on the spine and minimize back pain.

8. Exercise in the water

Exercising in a pool reduces the downward stress of gravity as the buoyancy of water helps to support your spine, thus reducing the risk of injury or pain during certain exercises. In addition, the viscosity of water provides gentle resistance by means of friction.
Water therapy programs are usually taught in warm water, and many people find the warmth soothing on their joints.

9. Treat yourself to massage therapy

Studies show that massage therapy is an effective treatment for some types of back pain. Massages offer several potential benefits, including improving blood circulation for the recovery of sore muscles, restoring spinal range of motion, helping with insomnia, and upping your endorphin levels-the body's natural chemicals that boost your feel-good emotions.

10. Resolve to quit smoking

Smoking increases your likelihood of developing degenerative spinal disorders and back pain. The reason for this is that smoking damages the vascular structures of your spinal discs and joints.
Quitting is difficult, but there are many products, support groups, and strategies that have worked for thousands of people.

11. Lift correctly

Improperly lifting heavy items can put your lower back muscles in abnormal positions that may lead to painful muscle strains. Additionally, improper lifting may cause your spinal joints to lock or your spinal discs to rupture.
Correct lifting involves more than just incorporating your knees. It's best to keep your chest forward and lead with the hips rather than the shoulders.
Do you practice the right lifting techniques?
You may not be able to indulge in all 11 of the above suggestions, but pick 1 or 2 of the above ideas for indulging your spine that you can easily incorporate into your daily life. Over time, even small changes to your daily routine will add up to provide meaningful and sustained pain relief.

Learn more:

Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness, in St. Charles, Missouri 63303 at 636-916-0660 to discuss how our Fast Pain Relief and Wellness Center can help you achieve your goals and eliminate pain.
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4 Tips for a Healthy, Active Spring and Summer

Date: May 16, 2017 | Time: 12:45pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad


The warmer seasons bring more chances to get outdoors and ramp up physical activity. After the winter chill is finally gone for good, it's nice take advantage of the more healthful opportunities offered by the warmer weather. The trick is to not overdo it. Getting your body used to
a more active lifestyle takes some conditioning and common sense. Keep these four tips in mind as you head out the door.



1. Use heat therapy to soothe muscles before and after exercise. Most people know that a heating pad or warm bath after a workout or slight injury can make a significant difference in terms of pain reduction and comfort. What is not so well known is that heat can play a preventative role, too. Heat application prior to activity loosens the soft tissues to decrease stiffness and increase flexibility. After a workout, muscles and joints are potentially dehydrated and not as stable as when they have been resting. Applying a heating pad or wrap for 10 minutes or so after strenuous activity increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping to heal damaged tissue and return muscles to their normal state without seizing up.
  1. Stretch to release stiff joints and prevent injury. Similar to heat therapy, a stretching session of five minutes both before and after physical activity can help to loosen tight muscles and prevent injury. The quadriceps and hamstrings in your thighs are generally the largest muscles of the body and deserve special attention. That means stretching the back, front, and inner and outer thigh. It may seem a bit much, but you can't really move without them so it's worth the effort, particularly because they play a key supporting role for your back. Concentrate on these muscles first, and then work up through the back, arms, and neck, and then down through the calf and ankle.

  2. Don't shortchange your sleep. It can be difficult to adjust to the longer days of spring and summer. Sleep deprivation and insomnia are major causes of on-the-job injury, as well as other health problems. How can you get the shut-eye you need? Your body responds to routine on both conscious and unconscious levels, so going to bed at the same time and only using the bedroom at nighttime can help switch your mindset into 'sleep mode'. In addition, caffeine is widely known for its stimulating effect, which can interfere with deep sleep, so most doctors recommend eliminating caffeinated drinks after lunch.


    4. Move away from your desk, couch, car or gardening stool. It's all too easy to focus on a task only to look up and realize that you have been in essentially the same position for two hours. Sitting too long in one position slows down blood flow to both appendages and your brain, so move them. Use your cell phone or watch to set a reminder to move every 20 to 30 minutes. Get up and walk around the house or office, or fold a load of laundry, or take out the trash. It doesn't matter what you do, really, only that you change position and use the major limbs in a different way.

    Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness at 636-916-0660 to schedule your appointment today. We are conveniently located in St. Charles, MO 63303.
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Date: April 25, 2017 | Time: 9:14am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

The carpal tunnel is created by the wrist bones on the bottom and a ligament over the top. The median nerve runs through the tunnel along with the flexor tendons to the wrist. Pressure within the tunnel can compromise the nerve and lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The hallmark of carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness in the thumb, index and middle finger. Additional symptoms can include:
  • Numbness that is worse at night
  • Weakness in the thumb muscles of the hand (in severe cases).
The condition is more common in pregnant women, middle age women, and people with jobs that include daily repetitive hand motions.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The condition is diagnosed by a nerve conduction study, an electrical study that measures the length of time that it takes for a signal to cross the carpal tunnel. A delay is indicative of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Initial treatment usually consists of NSAIDs and wrist splints (especially for use at night). If the symptoms persist, cortisone injections can be tried.
If conservative (nonoperative) measures fail, or there is evidence of nerve damage (such as weak thumb muscles or profound numbness), then the carpal tunnel can be released by surgically incising the ligament to give the nerve root more room. This procedure is a commonly performed surgery and is considered very reliable.
Call 636-916-0660 to schedule an appointment with Dr Mario Awwad in St. Charles Missouri 63303 to see if chiropractic care can help. Dr. Awwad has helped thousands with not only carpal tunnel, but many other health conditions. ABChiropractic Family & Wellness is conveniently located in St. Charles MO, between highway 70 and 94.
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Practical Tips to Lighten School Backpacks

Date: April 10, 2017 | Time: 2:01pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

Carrying too much weight can lead to back pain and spasms, shoulder and neck pain,and posture issues for children.

Recommendations vary on how much weight in a backpack is too much, but the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says it shouldn't be more than 20% of your child's weight. The ideal weight is no more than 10%. For a 60-pound child, 10% of body weight works out to 6 pounds, while 20% would be 12 pounds. You can test the weight on your bathroom scale.
Here's what you need to know to help your children lighten up their backpacks:

Buy the right backpack

Start with shopping for a lightweight, well-designed backpack. These are some things to look for
  • Skip the leather. Backpack materials can add to the weight, so look for the most lightweight, but durable, options. Online retailers such as Lands End and outdoor-oriented retailers often have a good selection.
  • Get the smallest size possible. You want everything important to fit, but extra space in a backpack may encourage your young pack rat to stuff unneeded items into the backpack, adding to the weight.
  • Look for compartments. Compartments also may reduce clutter. An outside mesh pocket for a water bottle makes it less likely your child will have a forgotten-and heavy-water bottle in the bottom of the backpack.
  • Pack a separate lunchbox. A heavy lunchbox can add to the weight. Consider having your child carry the lunchbox separately rather than packing it into the backpack.
  • For band instruments or laptops, kids may find it more comfortable to use a separate bag or a case with a handle.
Rolling backpacks may seem like an obvious solution, but check with your kids' school before picking one out. Some schools ban rolling backpacks because they can be a tripping hazard in crowded hallways, and they can be hard to use on stairs and when navigating the school bus. Also, your child's locker may not be big enough to fit a rolling backpack. Another drawback in some areas? The wheels don't roll well in snow.

Be creative to reduce backpack weight

A new school year can be a fresh start. These ideas may help your family brainstorm ways to ease back strain from a heavy backpack this year:
  • Talk with your child about ways to cut back on what's carried. Kids can get in the habit of keeping all their books in the backpack all the time, whether they need them or not.
  • Check out online resources. Chapters can often be downloaded to an iPad or Kindle so the textbook isn't needed each night.
  • Copy or scan chapters of the textbook at the beginning of the semester and keep the copies at home, eliminating the need to carry the textbook home most nights.
  • Buy a used copy of a heavy textbook to keep at home, allowing your child to avoid carrying it back and forth. Often, textbooks are available at a low price through Amazon.com or home-schooling websites.
  • Rather than bring a full bottle of water to school, bring a half-full or empty bottle and fill it up at school. Kids don't always think about how heavy water is.
  • Clean out the backpack often. Some kids are worse than others, but if your child is on the messy side, unneeded papers and other odds and ends can add considerable weight.
  • Remind your kids to keep some books in their lockers, if possible, rather than carry everything throughout the day.
  • If a heavy band instrument is causing problems for your child, find out if there is a spare instrument your child could keep at home, or consider buying a used instrument or renting one to keep at home.
School policies may unintentionally contribute to heavy backpacks. Locker space has shrunk over the years, and some schools have done away with lockers entirely for security or other reasons, forcing students to carry everything with them. Even in schools with lockers, there may not be enough time between classes for your children to retrieve books from the locker.
As a parent, you can advocate with teachers and school administrators for greater awareness of problems linked to heavy backpacks. Some simple changes might include replacing hardcover books with paperbacks and ending requirements that your children buy bulky 2 1/2 - and 3-inch binders.
Some schools provide duplicate textbooks for everyone, eliminating the need to tote books back and forth.
If your child struggles to put on the backpack, it's probably too heavy. Other signs of trouble include red marks on the shoulders, a tendency to lean forward with the pack, worsening posture overall, and headaches or aches in the neck, shoulders, or back.
Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness today at 636-916-0660. We are your St. Charles Fast Pain Relief Center. We offer chiropractic care for all ages. We specialize not only in pain relief, but also posture correction!
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The ABCs of Good Posture

Date: March 7, 2017 | Time: 10:54am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

As a Chiropractor, I can tell you that your posture is essential to your health. Good posture helps reduce back and neck pain, minimizes your chances of needing spine surgery, and enables you to live an active lifestyle.

But how can you learn to practice good posture? It's as simple as ABC.

Experience good posture

Spine specialists use the term sagittal balance to describe a patient's spinal alignment or posture. The best way to learn good sagittal balance is to experience what it feels like.
Here are the ABCs that I teach my patients to help them experience the feeling of good posture:
Step A
  • Begin standing up with your hands by your thighs-slowly arch your lower back and elongate your stomach muscles.
  • Gently pull your belly button towards your spine.
In this position you should feel your lower back muscles, upper torso, and shoulders aligning over your heels.
Step B
  • Rotate your shoulders outward so that your thumbs are pointing away from your body.
  • At the same time, draw your shoulder blades together.
Adding this step should allow you to feel the muscles between your shoulder blades.
Step C
  • With your neck muscles relaxed, look up until your ears line up over your shoulders.
  • During this step it's vital that you relax your jaw and breathe through your mouth and nose.
After step C, you should feel your elongated stomach and lower back muscles, the strong muscles between your shoulder blades, and your supporting neck muscles.
This is the feeling of good posture.

Identify poor posture habits

On top of experiencing good posture, you can protect your spine by identifying your poor posture habits. Here are some of the posture issues I see at my practice:
  • In today's world of smart phones and iPads, from a young age we spend countless hours staring down at devices with our necks flexed forward and shoulders slumped. This practice is so widespread that it has led to an epidemic of back and neck pain, or "text neck," amongst children and teenagers.
  • As we grow older, we enter the workforce and spend untold hours-with few breaks-sitting at our desk while staring at a computer. This unfortunate habit deconditions our postural muscles and stiffens our spines.
  • Towards retirement, the cumulative effect of decades of poor posture may result in postural kyphosis, or a permanent flexed-forward posture. A flexed-forward posture comprises quality of life by limiting function, inhibiting balance, and increasing the risk for spinal fractures and chronic back pain.

Make posture a good habit

You can quickly improve your posture by practicing the ABCs several times a day. If you feel that you need more personalized instruction and strengthening exercises, a physical therapist can evaluate your posture and provide you with additional instruction.
Remember that good posture can't prevent all health problems. If you experience severe back/neck pain or numbness in your arms/legs consult with a spine specialist-these may be symptoms of spinal stenosis or another condition.
Take a break right now and practice your ABCs. Good posture can go a long way towards keeping your spine happy and healthy for a lifetime.
Call our office at ABChiropractic Family & Wellness, 636-916-0660, to schedule your appointment to see how Dr. Mario Awwad can help you improve your posture and reduce or eliminate pain. We are conveniently located in St. Charles, MO, 63303.
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3 Little-Known Tips for Sleeping with Sciatica

Date: January 25, 2017 | Time: 12:17pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

Sciatica symptoms don't take time off to accommodate your sleep schedule. The burning sensation in your calf or throbbing pain in your foot can jolt you awake at any hour-if you're lucky enough to fall asleep.
To help you find relief-and regain control of your sleep schedule-here are 3 little-known tips for sleeping with sciatica:

1. Elevate your knees

Your sciatica flares up when 1 of the 5 sciatic nerve roots in your lower back is compressed or irritated. Sleeping with your knees elevated may alleviate your symptoms by minimizing the pressure your lumbar discs place on your nerve roots.
Interested? Here's how to do it:
  • Lie flat on your back-keep your heels and buttocks in contact with the bed and bend your knees slightly towards the ceiling.
  • Slide a pillow between your bed and your knees for support. Slowly add additional pillows until you find a comfortable knee position.
  • Don't despair if you don't find relief after a few days; no single sleep position works for everyone. Keep experimenting and you may find that a different position minimizes your sciatic pain and allows you to sleep through the night.

2. Enjoy a bath before bed

A warm bath can help you sleep by encouraging the release of pain-fighting endorphins and relaxing the muscles around your sciatic nerve roots.
  • Some people with sciatica find it's easiest to fall asleep immediately after a bath, while others like to read a book or knit after a soak. There is no right or wrong way-but as part of practicing good sleep hygiene try to follow the same schedule every night.
  • The temperature of your water should be warm and pleasant, not hot. Hot water can make it difficult to fall asleep by raising your body temperature.
  • If a nightly soak isn't for you, there are plenty of other heat therapy options. Try applying a hot water bottle to your lower back/buttock or consider sleeping with an adhesive back wrap that provides continuous, low-level heat.

3. Consider ditching your mattress

Some people find that sleeping on the floor relieves their sciatica symptoms-though experts disagree over the potential merits and drawbacks.
Here are a few pointers if you want to give it a try:
  • For sanitary reasons, avoid sleeping directly on the floor, instead try a yoga mat or large beach towel.
  • Don't give up after one night-you may struggle to adjust to the firmness of the ground. Give it a week, and if your symptoms remain unchanged-or you still can't sleep because you miss your mattress-retire your yoga mat or towel.
  • You might find that sleeping on a firm surface alleviates your sciatic pain, but, for a variety of reasons, you may not like sleeping on the floor. If this is the case, consider purchasing a firm mattress or removing the box spring from under your bed.
I hope all of the above advice will help you find relief from your sciatica symptoms and enjoy a more restful night's sleep. Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles MO at 636-916-0660 to schedule your first life changing appointment. Dr. Mario Awwad specializes in Sciatica and Low back pain.
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The Latest Cause of Neck Pain: Pok'emon Go

Date: January 23, 2017 | Time: 9:21am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

The popular smartphone game Pok'emon Go has people-young people, in particular-spending hours looking at their phone, which is putting them at risk for neck pain. Learn what you can do to prevent neck problems from playing Pok'emon Go.
Pok'emon Go is everywhere-this smartphone game is so popular that people are pouring out onto the streets and into their neighborhoods for hours on end while trying to "catch 'em all."
The game is being lauded for its health benefits as players spend hours and walk miles in search of Pok'emon to capture.
But if you're looking down at your phone the whole time you're playing, you're putting your health at risk in other ways. Specifically, you may be at risk for text neck.

What is text neck?

Text neck is posture in which the neck is bent forward and down as someone looks at their handheld phone or device. If this posture is held for an extended amount of time, it can strain the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck, causing pain and stiffness.
More alarmingly, chronic text neck may lead to premature degeneration in the cervical spine, bone spurs, and muscle deformity. This is especially alarming for young people's spines. Their spines are still growing and developing, and experts aren't sure what impact this can have over the course of years or decades.

How to play Pok'emon Go injury-free

If you or someone you love is playing Pok'emon Go a lot, these tips can help prevent text neck and the problems it can cause:
  • Hold your phone at a higher angle.
    The higher you can hold it while playing, the less strain you're putting on your neck.
  • Take breaks.
    After you catch a Pok'emon, take a short break to put the phone down and arch your neck and shoulders back. If you're at a Pok'estop or Gym, take a break every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Stretch your neck.
    Tuck your chin down, then slowly raise it upward. Then swivel your head over one shoulder, then the other.
    In addition to text neck, Pok'emon Go players are in danger of tripping and falling by walking while looking their phones. Don't get so wrapped up in the game that you're not watching where you're going, especially on busy streets or sidewalks.
    Finally, seriously hard-core players may be putting themselves at risk for shin splints if they're walking much more than usual. Check out this article about recognizing and treating shin splints on our sister site Sports-health.
    Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness today at 636-916-0660. We are located in St Charles, MO (63303), conveniently off of highway 70 and 94. We will be glad to schedule an appointment to discuss your health concerns.

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Bed Rest Is Not the Best for Beating Back Pain

Date: December 12, 2016 | Time: 2:57pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

When you are experiencing low back pain, your first instinct may be to crawl into bed. Until a few decades ago, you doctor probably would have told you to do exactly that.
But the tide has turned on our understanding of what is best for tackling back pain, and now the consensus is this: When you have back pain, you should limit or avoid bed rest.

What research says about bed rest for low back pain

Clinical practice guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Pain Society (APS) say that patients with low back pain should be advised to remain active. This is categorized by the ACP and APS as a "strong" recommendation.
Research to support this recommendation exists, but it's not very robust. One survey of 10 studies, all of which compared activity versus rest for low back pain patients, found moderate support for small pain decreases in those who remained active.2 Another study of Japanese workers with acute low back pain found that those assigned to the rest group were more likely to have recurring or chronic back pain, compared with the active group. 3 More research is needed to verify these results.

Why activity is better than rest

When you understand how the body works, it makes sense that activity would be better than inactivity to promote healing. From our bones to our soft tissues, our body needs movement and activity to stay in its best condition.
Lack of activity can have several negative effects:
  • Muscles can grow stiff and weaken
  • Soft tissues like ligaments and tendons can lose their flexibility and become more vulnerable to injury
  • The intervertebral discs, which hold fluid like a sponge, can lose nutrients and become dried out and inflexible
Without exercise, back pain can be prolonged and even increase, which further discourages activity. In addition, bed rest can take a psychological toll on people, increasing the likelihood of depression and suffering.
Fortunately, all of this can be avoided by being active as soon as you're able when back pain strikes. When pain in severe, your doctor may advise you to spend a day or two resting, but more than that should be avoided, if possible.

How to keep moving despite back pain

The best way to stay active even when back pain is present is this 3-prong approach:
  1. Activities that strengthen your core
  2. Stretches that maintain flexibility
  3. Low-impact aerobic exercise
It's important to talk with your doctor or physical therapist before starting a new exercise program, especially if you're having an acute back pain episode. If you experience sharp or sudden pain while exercising, stop right away and consult your doctor.
Call 636-916-0660 and talk to Karen or Rachel about scheduling your New Patient Appointment. We specialize in fast pain relief by utilizing chiropractic adjustments, decompression and massage. We are located in St. Charles, MO and are conveniently located off of Hwy 70 and 94.
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How Cooler Weather Affects Chronic Pain

Date: November 7, 2016 | Time: 2:37pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad


Does cold weather worsen your pain? You're not alone. Although various studies have shown no or very slight associations between pain and weather factors like temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and wind speed, patient experiences tell a different story. Many people report that damp or cold weather worsens their pain. One study of 800 Europeans with osteoarthritis found that 67% reported that they feel the weather affects their pain levels.1


In another small but fascinating study, those who had osteoarthritis reported a greater sensitivity to cold and pressure than control subjects without arthritis-even when parts of the body not affected by arthritis were tested. This suggests to the study authors that chronic pain may alter the way nerves respond to stimuli and increase their sensitivity.2

If the cold makes your pain worse, try incorporating heat therapy into your daily routine. Heat therapy decreases stiffness and promotes healing through increased circulation.


Here are a few ideas for adding heat to your routine:
  • Apply a hot pack, warm towel, or heating pad to the painful area. Simply doing this for 20 minutes at a time may be enough for temporary pain relief.

  • Use over-the-counter heat wraps. Available in most grocery stores and pharmacies, heat wraps can provide warmth for joint-related back pain and other symptoms for up to 8 hours at a time.
    • Try water therapy. You may experience pain relief by swimming in a heated indoor pool a few times per week, or by soaking a whirlpool or hot bath.
    • Stay active. It can be tempting to hibernate during the colder months, but inactivity can increase some types of pain. If you prefer to stay inside, consider getting a treadmill-you can walk while you watch TV or a movie.
      Weather changes are unavoidable, but you can take steps to manage the worst effects of it.

      Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles, MO to schedule your appointment with Dr. Mario Awwad and see how he can help you with pain. We utilize chiropractic adjustments, decompression and massage to encourage healing. Call 636-916-0660, Karen and Rachel are waiting to set up your life changing appointment. Ask about our New Patient Specials!

      References:
    1. Self-perceived weather sensitivity and joint pain in older people with osteoarthritis in six European countries: results from the European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA). BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014 Mar 5;15:66. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-66.
    2. Subjects with Knee Osteoarthritis Exhibit Widespread Hyperalgesia to Pressure and Cold. PLoS One. 2016 Jan 25;11(1):e0147526. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147526. eCollection 2016.
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Non-Surgical Treatment for a Lumbar Herniated Disc

Date: November 3, 2016 | Time: 11:05am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

Most cases of lumbar herniated disc symptoms resolve on their own within six weeks, so patients are often advised to start with non-surgical treatments. However, this can vary with the nature and severity of symptoms.

Initial Pain Control for a Lumbar Herniated Disc

Controlling the intense pain is the most urgent need when symptoms first appear. Initial pain control options are likely to include:
  • Ice application. Application of ice or a cold pack may be helpful to ease initial inflammation and muscle spasms associated with a lumbar herniated disc. An ice massage can also be helpful. Ice is most effective for the first 48 hours after the back pain has started.
  • Pain medications. The doctor may recommend non-prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen to treat pain and inflammation.
  • Muscle relaxants. Muscle spasms may accompany a lumbar herniated disc, and these prescription medications may offer relief from the painful spasms.
  • Heat therapy. Applying heat can help relieve painful muscle spasms after the first 48 hours. Heating pads, a hot compress, and adhesive heat wraps are all good options. Moist heat, such as a hot bath, may be preferred.
  • Heat and ice. Some people find alternating hot and cold packs provides the maximum pain relief.
  • Bed rest for severe pain is best limited to one or two days, as extended rest will lead to stiffness and more pain. After that point, light activity and frequent movement-with rest breaks as needed-is advised. Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise should be avoided.

    Additional Therapies for Lumbar Herniated Disc

    These other therapies are often helpful for longer-term pain relief:
    • Physical therapy is important in teaching targeted stretching and exercises for rehabilitation. The program may also teach the patient safer ways to perform ordinary activities, such as lifting and walking.
    • Epidural injections of steroid medications can offer pain relief in some cases. An epidural steroid injection is intended to provide enough pain relief for the patient to make progress with rehabilitation. The effects vary, and pain relief is temporary.
    • Spinal manipulations performed by a chiropractor or osteopath may also ease pain and provide a better healing environment.
    • Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles inserted into the skin near the area of pain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved acupuncture as a treatment for back pain.
    • Cognitive behavior therapy can be helpful in managing sciatica pain. The therapy helps people control and change self-defeating behaviors. A therapist helps the patient in face-to-face or online sessions. A therapist may also be helpful in teaching techniques such as mindful meditation and visualization to reduce pain.
    • Massage therapy can ease back pain by increasing blood circulation, relaxing muscles, and releasing the body's natural pain relievers, called endorphins.
  • Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness at 636-916-066 to schedule your appointment to see if chiropractic treatments can help you avoid surgery. Located in St. Charles, Missouri, we specialize in spinal conditions that put pressure on your nerves, that translates to pain. We have helped thousands avoid surgeries and regain their health.
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Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

Date: September 26, 2016 | Time: 8:53am | Posted By: Mario Awwad


Correct posture is a simple but very important way to keep the intricate structures in the back and spine healthy. Good posture and back support are critical to reducing the incidence and severity of back and neck pain.

The first step in correcting your posture is to examine it throughout the day to identify what needs improvement. Next, work on changing daily habits to correct those areas. Your effort will improve back support and gradually help decrease back pain. It will take some effort and perseverance, but over time the new posture will seem natural and more comfortable.

The Following are some guidelines for how to achieve good posture:


Sitting Posture for Office Chairs:
  • Be sure your back is aligned against the back of the office chair. Avoid slouching or leaning forward, especially when tired from sitting for long periods.
  • When sitting at a desk, your arms should be exed at a 75- to 90-degree angle at the elbows.
  • Your knees should be even with your hips, or slightly higher.
  • Keep both of your feet at on the floor.


    Driving Posture:

    • Sit with your back firmly against the seat.
    • Your seat should be a proper distance from the pedals and steering wheel to avoid leaning forward or reaching.
    • Your headrest should support the middle of your head to keep it upright. Tilt the headrest forward if possible to make sure that the head-to- headrest distance is not more than four inches.

      Posture and Ergonomics While Lifting and Carrying:

    • Always bend at your knees, not your waist.
    • Use the large leg and stomach muscles for lifting, not your lower back.
    • When carrying a heavy or large object, keep it close to your chest.
    • When carrying a backpack or purse, keep it as light as possible and balance the weight on both sides as much as possible, or alternate from side to side.

    Standing and Walking Posture:

    • Stand with your weight mostly on the balls of the feet, not on your heels.
    • Keep your feet about shoulder width apart and avoid locking your knees.
    • Stand straight and
      tall with shoulders upright-not slouched or hunched forward-and let your arms hang naturally down the sides of your body.

    • Be sure your head is square on top of your spine, not pushed out forward.
    • If standing for a long period of time, shift your weight from one foot to the other or rock from heels to toes.
    • When walking, keep your head up and eyes looking straight ahead.


      Learn more:
      www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/posture-straighten-your-back

      Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles Missouri at 636-916-0660 to schedule your no obligation consultation and examination with Dr. Awwad. We offer promotions for New Patients, so ask!


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Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash

Date: September 12, 2016 | Time: 10:33am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

Because each individual case of whiplash is different, it is not possible to generalize about the chiropractic whiplash treatment.

The appropriate chiropractic treatment is unique to each whiplash injury and is directed at the primary dysfunctions detected during the chiropractic exam.
However, chiropractors commonly employ different chiropractic treatments for whiplash, often including:
  • Manipulation
  • Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation
  • Various exercises
  • Ergonomic and lifestyle changes.
This article explains when, why and how chiropractors may employ these whiplash treatments for neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain and other related symptoms.

Chiropractic Manipulation for Whiplash

The primary whiplash treatment for joint dysfunction, spinal manipulation involves the chiropractor gently moving the involved joint into the direction in which it is restricted.
Also known as a chiropractic adjustment, spinal manipulation may involve the application of a short thrust in that direction. In many cases, instead of a thrust, a slow mobilizing movement is used by the chiropractor.

Muscle Relaxation or Stimulation as Whiplash Treatments

The chiropractor's primary whiplash treatment for related muscle dysfunction, muscle relaxation and/or stimulation consist of gentle stretches to the muscle that has excessive tension or repeated contractions of the muscle that is inhibited.
If the muscle is very tight, a more vigorous stretch may be applied by the chiropractor. Gentle finger pressure techniques may be applied to trigger points to relieve the pain associated with the tight muscles.

McKenzie Exercises and Stabilization/Sensorimotor Activities

Chiropractors may employ different types of exercises, including McKenzie exercises and/or stabilization and sensorimotor exercises, to help treat patients with whiplash injuries.
McKenzie exercises are specifically designed to reduce disc derangement related to a whiplash injury. They consist of simple movements that are initially done in the office but make for an easy transition to self-care at home. McKenzie exercises also help the patient take an active role in his or her own recovery.
Mobilization and sensorimotor exercise approaches are designed to correct faulty movement patterns in routine activities and everyday life. Such whiplash treatment trains the nervous system to better coordinate and control movement patterns, and improves the ability of the neck muscles to maintain stability of the neck.
These exercises are designed to help in a major trauma, such as a fall or whiplash during a motor vehicle accident, or in "micro trauma" from simple things such as being jostled in a crowd, playing sports or performing occupational or home jobs that require physical effort.

Chiropractic Advice on Ergonomic and Lifestyle Changes

These whiplash treatment suggestions stress improvements for performing everyday activities with minimal strain to the body. The chiropractic advice addresses factors in an individual's work, home or recreational activities that perpetuate the dysfunctions that result from the whiplash accident.
Additionally, spine care professionals at the chiropractic clinic may teach the patient better "use of self" and, if necessary, stress reduction methods to help chiropractic problems.

Whiplash Treatment in Chiropractic

h specific problem may include one or more of these approaches and may involve others as well.The whiplash treatment plan developed by the chiropractor for each specific problem may include one or more of these approaches and may involve others as well.The whiplash treatment plan developed by the chiropractor for each specific problem may include one or more of these approaches and may involve others as well.

In addition to his or her whiplash treatment plan, the doctor of chiropractic might give a referral to another health professional, such as a medical specialist, if it is deemed appropriate.
  • Research and locate chiropractors in your area that can help alleviate your back and neck pain.

    Preventing Chronic Pain from Whiplash

    After sustaining whiplash injuries, it is fairly common for people to suffer from chronic neck pain. A chiropractor can detect certain factors in a patient's history and chiropractic exam to better determine patients who may be more susceptible to chronic pain from a whiplash injury.
    This process will help the doctor of chiropractic identify when aggressive preventative measures should be taken for patients who may be at a greater risk of developing chronic neck pain from whiplash injuries.

    Chiropractic Treatment Approach to Whiplash Injuries

    The chiropractor's general approach to managing the patient's chiropractic care is critical to the success of preventing chronic pain from whiplash injuries.
    • In the early stages of management, it is very important for the chiropractor to rapidly reduce the patient's neck pain, back pain and/or other symptoms.
    • Soon after, the chiropractor's whiplash treatment must be shifted toward restoration of the patient's function. This means helping the patient return to work, home and recreational activities as soon as possible after sustaining the whiplash injuries. This process may involve a gradual transition to these activities, even if the patient is not sure that he or she can engage in them fully.

      • Restoring confidence after a whiplash injury on the part of the patient in his or her ability to get back to normal activity levels is also important for rehabilitation.
      • Exercise, both for the purpose of correcting faulty movement patterns and instability, and for general fitness, is important in this effort to treat whiplash injuries.
      Teaching the patient the nature of chronic pain (that "hurt does not necessarily mean harm") and placing focus on those activities the patient can do, rather than those he or she cannot, are major parts of chronic pain and disability prevention after whiplash injuries.
      Chiropractors integrate the strategies explained above to develop the most effective approach for recovering from a whiplash injury and preventing future episodes of back pain.
      Whiplash is an injury to the cervical region of the spine when a great force causes the neck to go beyond its normal range of motion. The spinal vertebrae, ligaments, and muscles may be injured by this force, causing neck pain, headaches, neck stiffness, and/or cognitive difficulties such as dizziness or trouble concentrating. These symptoms may appear immediately or after a few days.
    Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles Missouri, 63303 at 636-916-0660 to schedule your no out of pocket cost for evaluation for your whiplash injuries.
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All About Spinal Decompression Therapy

Date: August 15, 2016 | Time: 8:12am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

Spinal Decompression Therapy involves stretching the spine, using a traction table or similar motorized device, with the goal of relieving back pain and/or leg pain.
This procedure is called nonsurgical decompression therapy (as opposed to surgical spinal decompression, such as laminectomy and microdiscectomy).
This article provides an overview of nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy and its role in treatment of lower back pain and neck pain.

Theory of Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression devices use the same basic principle of spinal traction that has been offered by chiropractors, osteopaths, and other appropriately trained health professionals for many years.
Both traction and decompression therapy are applied with the goals of relieving pain and promoting an optimal healing environment for bulging, degenerating, or herniated discs.
Spinal decompression is a type of traction therapy applied to the spine in an attempt to bring about several theoretical benefits including:
  • Create a negative intradiscal pressure to promote retraction or repositioning of the herniated or bulging disc material.
  • Create a lower pressure in the disc that will cause an influx of healing nutrients and other substances into the disc.1

Clinical Evidence

While the fundamental theory of spinal decompression is widely accepted as valid, there is a lack of evidence supporting decompression therapy as being efficacious. Additionally there are some potential risks.
Although some studies that do not include control groups conclude that decompression therapy is efficacious, the few that do generally conclude that mechanized spinal decompression is no better than sham decompression. [Schimmel JJ, et al. European Spine Journal 18(12):1843-50, 2009] Thus, there is insufficient evidence that spinal decompression therapy is as effective, or more effective, than less expensive manual methods in treating back pain or injured herniated discs.2
A review of medical literature to date indicates that most clinical trials examining the efficacy of spinal decompression therapy or traction were lacking in one or more areas, such as inadequate numbers of subjects to make a statistically valid conclusion, lack of blinding (the patient or provider is unaware of the treatment given), no comparison to a placebo group (called a sham controlled study), or lack of comparison to a treatment alternative.3 At the time of this article, few clinical studies of spinal decompression therapy have been published in peer reviewed medical journals.

How Spinal Decompression Therapy is Thought to Work

In nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy, the spine is stretched and relaxed intermittently in a controlled manner. The theory is that this process creates a negative intradiscal pressure (pressure within the disc itself), which is thought to have two potential benefits:
  • Pulls the herniated or bulging disc material back into the disc
  • Promotes the passage of healing nutrients, into the disc and fosters a better healing environment.

Spinal Decompression Session

During spinal decompression therapy for the low back (lumbar spine), patients remain clothed and lie on a motorized table, the lower half of which can move.
  • A harness is placed around the hips and is attached to the lower table near the feet.
  • The upper part of the table remains in a fixed position while the lower part, to which the patient is harnessed, slides back and forth to provide the traction and relaxation.
One difference between various decompression therapies is the patient's position on the table:
  • Some devices place the patient in the prone position on the table, lying face down (e.g. VAX-D)
  • Some devices have the patient lying supine, face up (e.g. DRX9000)
The patient should not feel pain during or after the decompression therapy although they should feel stretch in the spine.

Treatment Series and Costs

While spinal decompression therapy may be recommended as a potential treatment for a variety of lower back pain conditions, as with all lower back pain treatments, it is the patient's decision whether or not to have the treatment. Although the risk is low, the benefit of these treatments is not established.
Decompression therapy typically consists of a series of 15 to 30 treatments, lasting 30 to 45 minutes each, over a four to six-week period. Sessions are conducted in the practitioner's office.
The cost of each session typically ranges from $30 to $200, which means that a recommended series of treatments will typically cost from $450 to $6,000. Although insurance companies might pay for traditional traction, decompression therapy is not usually allowed although they are nearly the same.
Sessions may include additional treatment modalities, such as electric stimulation, ultrasound, and cold and/or heat therapy applied during or after the procedure.

    Recommendations may also include drinking up to a half-gallon of water per day, rest, utilizing nutritional supplements, and/or performing exercises at home to improve strength and mobility.

    Potential Candidates for Spinal Decompression Therapy

    Spinal decompression is an alternative therapy designed with the goal of alleviating pain and promoting healing of the intervertebral disc.

    Indications for Spinal Decompression Therapy

    The indications for spinal decompression therapy (given by its proponents) are relatively broad.
    It is often recommended as a treatment alternative for many types of lower back pain, sciatica (leg pain), or neck pain caused by a herniated disc, bulging disc, or degenerated disc.

    Contraindications for Spinal Decompression Therapy

    Stretching the spine to relieve back pain is not appropriate for some patients. The following groups of people are not good candidates for non-surgical spinal decompression:
    • Pregnant women
    • Patients with broken vertebrae
    • Patients who have had spinal fusion
    • Patients who have an artificial disc, or other implants, in their spine
    • Patients with failed back surgery
    • Anyone who has had multiple surgeries without recovery (pain improvement)
    • Patients with any of the following conditions are also not good candidates:
      • Osteoporosis, or osteopenia
      • Spondylolisthesis
      • Spinal stenosis
      • Spinal infection
      • Spinal tumor
      • Ankylosing spondylitis
      • Any condition that may compromise the integrity of the spine
      • Any condition requiring the patient to take blood thinner medication
    • Additionally, patients with neck and arm pain may experience worsening of their symptoms, in which case decompression therapy should be discontinued. In general, any patient who experiences pain during the spinal decompression procedure or after the procedure is likely not a good candidate for this type of therapy.
    Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness at 636-916-0660 and speak to Karen or Rachel to schedule your new patient appointment. Find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression. We are conveniently located in St Charles Missouri 63303.


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    Tips for Golfing with Spinal Stenosis

    Date: July 25, 2016 | Time: 2:01pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    If you have lumbar spinal stenosis, you may be wondering if playing golf is a good idea. If you've had a spinal stenosis surgery, you may even wonder if golf is possible.

    The answer for many is yes, but there are a number of considerations to keep in mind.

    First, recognize that golfing is not really the best thing for your low back. The golf swing imparts a tremendous amount of stress to your lumbar spine. If you are going to return to golf, be willing to accept that there is some risk of injury to the low back.

    That being said, if you do decide to hit the greens, here are several things you can do to help reduce your chances of injury and hopefully enhance your enjoyment of the game:
    1. When you hit the ball, hit it with about 50 to 75% of the force you would normally use.
    2. Wear a back brace for support. It will serve as a constant reminder that you have a back problem. It will also keep your lower back warm, which helps keep the muscles and soft tissues loose. The support will also limit the motion of your low back enough to protect it somewhat. You can find options for low back braces at most pharmacies, and you don't need a prescription.
    3. If the doctor says it's OK, take ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) about a half hour before playing.
    4. Warm up carefully and thoroughly with gentle stretching. This will encourage nutrient-rich blood to flow into the muscles in and around your back, which will help protect your lower back against further injury.
    5. Consider switching your swing to the "natural golf" method, as it will reduce stress on your low back. You may also want to have a few lessons with a golf pro to see if you need to make any adjustments to your golf swing.
    6. Finally, most doctors stress that if your leg pain or other symptoms flare up, take a break from golf for at least a few weeks and return to gentle strengthening and stretching exercises.
    Your overall health, your specific stenosis diagnosis-and, if you've had surgery, the type of stenosis surgery that was performed-will also dictate to some extent if and when you can return to golf. As always, it's important to discuss your individual situation with your doctor.
    Here at ABChiropractic Family & Wellness, we treat post surgical situations, even in the spine. However, we can help in most cases, in preventing surgeries with proper chiropractic care. Decompression is very effective in treating stenosis in the spine. Call 636-916-0660 to inquire about our new patient specials. We are conveniently located in St. Charles, MO.
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    6 Quick Stretches to Protect Your Back at Work

    Date: July 12, 2016 | Time: 2:52pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    Are you spending most of your workday sitting down? Left unchecked, this positioning leads to muscular imbalances and skeletal malalignment, all of which can worsen back pain.

    While seated, your hip flexors, hamstrings, and-if you're wearing high heels-calf muscles are all in a shortened position. As the years go by, this position will lead to a shortening of these soft tissues overall, which ultimately predispose you to developing pain and discomfort.

    The discomfort could range from a simple ache to a problem that limits function and requires medical treatment and possibly even surgery.

    Poor posture takes a toll on your back

    Your posture while sitting for long periods could also have an impact. As people sit, they have a tendency to slump down in their chairs, allowing their shoulders to round forward and their neck to look relatively upward.

    This posture has a significant impact over time, because whenever you look upward, you are decreasing the amount of space your nerves have to exit the spinal cord. If you are someone who already has a condition called stenosis (a narrowing of the joint space in which a spinal nerve travels through), this posture exaggerates the problem.

    Thankfully there are a few simple exercises to combat the imbalances commonly associated with too much sitting.
    To avoid common problem muscular shortness and stiffness, don't overdo it. People often stretch too aggressively. Make the stretch mild, or you'll waste your time.
    For maximum benefit, perform five to 10 of each of the following stretches, holding each stretch for 10 seconds. Don't do the stretches more than twice a day.

    1. Stretch those tight hamstrings.

    Having tight hamstrings-the large muscles in the back of your thighs-is a common result of too much sitting in the workplace. To stretch these muscles, lie down on the floor near a doorway, straightening the leg you will not be stretching through the doorway.
    Next, place the leg you will stretch up along the doorframe, starting with the knee slightly bent. Straighten the knee completely, and depending on the level of stretch felt, either move closer or farther away. The closer you get to the wall, the more intense the stretch.

    2. Focus on the hip flexors.

    A second important muscle group is the hip flexors, located in the front of the hip. Begin with one knee on the ground. I would suggest putting something soft, such as a pillow, under your knee to make it more comfortable.
    The leg that is not being stretched will reach out in front, foot flat on the floor, with the hip and knee both bending approximately 90 degrees. Now, shift your weight forward allowing the leg that is behind to feel the stretch at the front of the hip.
    Two tips. If you're feeling the stretch more in the opposite hamstring, you probably need to extend your foot farther forward at the beginning of the stretch. Second, make sure you don't arch your back in an effort to stretch the hip. Arching could lead to low-back irritation.

    3. Try a neck stretch.

    To stretch your neck, tuck your chin down toward your throat, rotating the head toward each ear. Next, place your hand on the back of your head, providing a gentle downward force.

    4. Sit up tall for the head tilt.

    A second stretch for your neck is to sit up tall, then allow your head to tilt toward the right or left shoulder. Again, use your hand as added weight to assist in stretching. The stretch sensation should occur on the side opposite of the way you are tilting.
    For example, a left-sided neck stretch should use a right-sided tilt, and vice versa. If you are feeling the stretch in the same side, discontinue the stretch. It could be a sign of something else going on.

    5. Stretch out those arms.

    Quite a few people who work in an office suffer from wrist and elbow pain. An easy way to prevent this from developing is to avoid getting stiff in your wrist flexors or extensors.
    • A good stretch begins with extending one arm straight out in front of your body.
    • Make sure your elbow is straight and your palm is facing down. Bend the wrist so the fingers are pointing down.
    • With the opposite hand, reach out to the extended hand from below, and pull the extended hand toward you.
    A stretch should be felt in the top of the forearm or back of the wrist.

    6. Stretch palms to the ceiling.

    The second wrist stretch would be once again straightening your elbow, but this time the palm faces up toward the ceiling. You will once again use the opposite hand to bend your wrist back so the fingers point down towards the floor once again. This stretch should be felt in the front of your forearm.
    These 6 stretches are a simple way to help prevent pain associated with a typical sedentary work environment. If you already have pain, these exercises are not a substitute for a thorough medical evaluation to ensure no other maladies are present.

    Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles Missouri 63303 at 636-916-0660 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Mario Awwad to discuss more ways to prevent back pain and to correct any issues that you may have regarding your health.
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    Home Exercise Equipment for Low Impact Aerobic Exercise

    Date: June 13, 2016 | Time: 11:21am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    Cardiovascular exercise can play a critical role in maintaining spine health and ensuring progress in recovery from back pain or surgery. Balancing aerobic (or cardiovascular) exercise, which works the heart, with anaerobic strengthening exercises and stretching can deliver both physical and mental benefits for back pain patients, allowing them to:

    • Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight
    • Relieve stress, anxiety, and depression
    • Increase flexibility and mobility
    • Improve strength of muscles and joints that support the spine
    • Increase circulation throughout the spine and supporting structures, which is crucial to promote healing
    • Improve quality and duration of sleep
    While the physical or mechanical benefits captured through exercise are important for spine health, the mental health benefits can also be substantial. Cardiovascular exercise in particular promotes the release of endorphins, biological chemicals that naturally help alleviate sensations of pain and produce overall positive feelings. Activity that leads to improved emotional well-being is particularly important for spine patients because depression and anxiety, as well as sleep problems, are common among those struggling with chronic back pain or recuperating from surgery or treatment. Cardiovascular exercise - whether in the form of walking, swimming, biking, or some other activity - can play a key role in helping decrease the pain one senses and increase positive feelings.
    For many, ready access to home exercise equipment can make it easier to start and maintain an aerobic exercise program. Exercising in the comfort of one's own home is the preferred exercise option for many people because:

    • Exercise can be done in private
    • Workouts can be done at any time and don't require travel to another location during limited hours
    • Unlike outdoor activities home exercise is not dependent on the weather, so staying with an exercise program may be easier
    Nonetheless, it can be confusing to know which type of exercise equipment to buy, and making a mistake with cardiovascular equipment can be detrimental to both physical and financial health.
    This article focuses on home equipment that is designed for a cardiovascular workout. Other types of exercise equipment for resistance training and exercise (e.g., Swiss Exercise Balls, a BOSU board, Dynadiscs, or body blades) are also important parts of an exercise program for back pain patients.
    The types of cardiovascular home exercise equipment profiled in this article are:
    • Elliptical trainer
    • Stationary bike
    • Treadmill
    CALL ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St Charles Missouri (63303, 63301, 63376) at 636-916-0660 to schedule an appointment with Dr Mario Awwad to discuss recommendations on exercise to see if it is safe to pursue such a program.

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    A Modern Spine Ailment: Text Neck

    Date: May 17, 2016 | Time: 10:00am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    You may have noticed a new buzzword in health news recently: Text neck.
    Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.
    And it seems increasingly common. Recently, a patient came in to my practice complaining of severe upper back pain. He woke up and was experiencing severe, acute, upper back muscle strain. I told him I believe the pain is due to the hours he was spending hunched over his cell phone. Diagnosis: Text neck.
    Of course, this posture of bending your neck to look down does not occur only when texting. For years, we've all looked down to read. The problem with texting is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down-and people tend to do it for much longer periods. It is especially concerning because young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain.

    What are the symptoms associated with text neck?

    Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition, looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to:
    • Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
    • Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
    • If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.
    I believe, as some studies suggest, text neck may possibly lead to chronic problems due to early onset of arthritis in the neck.

    How common is text neck?

    A recent study shows that 79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all the time-with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phone on hand.1

    How is text neck treated?

    First, prevention is key. Here are several pieces of advice for preventing the development or advancement of text neck:
    • Hold your cell phone at eye level as much as possible. The same holds true for all screens-laptops and tablets should also be positioned so the screen is at eye level and you don't have to bend your head forward or look down to view it.
    • Take frequent breaks from your phone and laptop throughout the day. For example, set a timer or alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.
    • If you work in an office, make sure your screen is set up so that when you look at it you are looking forward, with your head positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine.
    The bottom line is to avoid looking down with your head bent forward for extended periods throughout the day. Spend a whole day being mindful of your posture-is your head bent forward when you drive? When you watch TV? Any prolonged period when your head is looking down is a time when you are putting excessive strain on your neck.
    Next, rehabilitation is important.
    • Many people don't know this, but you need to have strong core muscles-the abdominal and lower back muscles-to support your upper body, including your neck. Your core muscles usually do not get enough exercise during normal daily activities, so you need to do specific exercises to target these muscles.
    • You also need strong and flexible muscles the neck to minimize strain on your cervical spine and help support the weight of your head. Again, your neck will not get sufficient stretching and strengthening during normal daily activities, so it is best to learn specific neck exercises with the help of a health professional.
    Some people will also benefit from a more comprehensive treatment plan, such as a combination of manual adjustments, massage therapy, and strengthening exercises.
    Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness, your St. Charles Pain Relief Center, at 636-916-0660 to check your kids and family members for "Text Neck". Dr. Mario Awwad specializes in treating patients of all ages.
    References
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    Considerations When Buying a New Mattress

    Date: April 26, 2016 | Time: 3:29pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    When shopping for a mattress, it is important to be aware of the quality and value of each potential purchase. The following are things a patient should consider when purchasing a new mattress:

    1. Shop for the best value and quality of the mattress rather than for price. Mattresses with more coils and thicker padding tend to be higher quality and also more expensive; however, a higher price does not guarantee that the mattress is more comfortable or more supportive. Mattress stores often have sales and promotions, so it is a good idea to comparison-shop for the best price after finding the right mattress.
    2. Be aware of mattress advertising gimmicks. Claims that a mattress is "orthopedic" or "medically-approved" should be viewed skeptically. There has not been extensive medical research or controlled clinical trials on the topic of mattresses and low back pain. The individual must determine whether or not extra features on a mattress make it more comfortable or supportive.
    3. Give the mattress a test-run before buying. To sample mattresses, people can try sleeping on different makes and models in hotels or at other people's homes before going to a mattress store. When shopping at the store, shoppers should lie on the mattress for several minutes to decide if it is a good fit. If two people will be sleeping on the mattress, both should test it at the same time to make sure they have enough space and are both comfortable on the same style of mattress.
    4. Purchase mattresses from stores and companies that are trustworthy. Consider the customer service offered by the mattress store, such as delivery options, warranty, and removal of old mattresses and the store's return policy. Look for mattress stores where customers can return a mattress if they are not satisfied with the quality or comfort after sleeping on it for a significant amount of time (i.e. a couple of weeks to a month).
    5. To help preserve the quality of a new mattress, it should be repositioned every six months to ensure that the mattress is evenly worn. This includes rotating 180 degrees and flipping the mattress lengthwise on a regular basis. The Better Sleep Council advises against putting a mattress on a box spring/foundation that is not made to go with the mattress, as this may decrease the life of the new mattress.

    How to Evaluate a Mattress

    Choosing a new mattress that is comfortable, supportive, and high quality is important to help people with low back pain get a sound night's sleep. And marketing messages, promotions and special features can make shopping for the right mattress a challenge.
    By understanding the physical composition of a mattress and being prepared to ask questions about the interior of a mattress, individuals can accurately evaluate and compare mattresses. Some mattress stores will offer cutaway views of the interior; this is a good aid in understanding and gauging mattress quality.

    Key Components of a Good Mattress

    The following physical components are the important features of most high quality mattresses.
      Mattress springs and coils provide back support. The wire in the coils comes in different thicknesses, where a lower gauge number denotes thicker, stiffer wire and a firmer mattress. A higher concentration of steel coils may indicate a higher quality mattress, but this does not mean that the highest number is best: patients should use their own judgment regarding which mattress is best suited to provide support and help alleviate their low back pain.
      Mattress padding provides comfort. In addition to the spring coils in a mattress, the padding on top of the mattress can indicate quality. Mattress padding is usually made of materials such as polyurethane foam, puffed-up polyester or cotton batting. Extensive mattress padding is often more expensive, but many people find it more comfortable and worth the extra cost.
        Middle padding in a mattress. This type of mattress padding is just below the quilted top layer and is usually made with foam. When looking at a cross-section of the mattress, softer foams feel almost moist to the touch while firmer foams won't spring back as quickly. The next layer of mattress padding is made of cotton batting that may vary in thickness across different mattresses and even within one mattress. This causes the mattress to feel firmer in some areas rather than others, such as increased firmness in the middle of the mattress.
        Insulation mattress padding. This padding lies on top of the coil springs so that they cannot be felt from the top of the mattress, and it also protects the coils from damaging the top layers of the mattress.
        Mattress ticking and quilting. The outer layer of a mattress consists of ticking, which is usually a polyester or cotton-polyester blend in a good quality mattress. The mattress quilting attaches the ticking to the top layers of padding. It is a good idea to examine the quality of stitching on the mattress quilting, looking for consistent, unbroken stitches.
        Mattress foundations. The mattress foundation or box spring adds another level of support to the mattress. Foundations usually consist of a wooden or metal frame with springs. A plain wooden frame may make mattresses feel harder than a frame with springs. A wood mattress foundation should only be purchased if the wood has no cracks and is straight. The Better Sleep Council recommends that purchasing a foundation and mattress as a set helps preserve the mattress.
        Foam mattresses. As an alternative to traditional mattresses, some types of mattresses are constructed entirely or mostly from memory foam or latex foam. They can be purchased in different densities. Some foam mattresses are made of multiple layers of foam adhered together while others have a foam core in the center. Foam mattresses come in various degrees of firmness to give people greater selection for back support and comfort. Choosing between a foam mattress and a traditional mattress is based on personal preference.
      Asking questions, requesting written product information and examining each mattress thoroughly will help patients become more educated consumers. By following the practical guidelines for selecting a new mattress, patients will be well equipped to find the best mattress for sleep comfort, back support and reducing low back pain.

      Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles MO at 636-916-0660 to schedule your no risk appointment. Our chiropractors can help address your pain complaints and mattress concerns. We offer a full range of different chiropractic adjustments, as well as decompression, traction, and massage therapy.
    <view entire article>





    7 Sleeping Tips for Patients with Chronic Pain

    Date: April 2, 2016 | Time: 2:30pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    Patients dealing with back and neck pain will often have trouble sleeping.
    Consider these points:
    • Various studies detail how chronic pain can make it difficult to sleep and how sleeping problems can exacerbate one's symptoms.
    • A past Spine-health poll of nearly 1600 people found that 63.7 percent of people get less than or equal to 6 hours of sleep while only 29.9 percent of responders get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep.
    We've compiled some sleep tricks that seem to help many of our forum members:

    1. Only go to bed when you are tired

    Do not allow yourself to toss and turn in bed. This only makes things worse, and usually you'll end up stressing about everything you have to do the next day.
    If you are not sleeping within 20 or 30 minutes, get out of bed and engage in something that makes you tired. One person suggested the iPhone app, "Words with Friends."
    Once you figure out your optimum bed time, do your best to keep a regular sleep schedule.

    2. Cool the room

    Simply cracking the window in cold weather or cranking the air conditioner a little more in hot weather is a great way to make the room temperature colder and to have deeper and more restorative sleep.

    3. Drink herbal tea

    Make a conscious decision to avoid coffee after dinner and expand this to exclude/limit pop and even other stimulants like alcohol and nicotine.
    Chamomile tea is an excellent choice to help you relax.

    4. Work up a sweat

    While many chronic back pain and neck pain sufferers worry that exercising will only exacerbate their pain, the opposite is actually true: remaining inactive is often worse for pain.
    Engaging in regular exercise, stretching, and strengthening programs can promote the body's natural healing process and make you feel better both physically and mentally. And, as a bonus, it will make it easier to fall asleep at night.

    5. Write down your worries

    Why is it that when your head hits the pillow, all your worries become so intense? Try "forced worrying." Before you go to bed, take 15 minutes or so to write down your worries on a blank sheet of paper.
    Remind yourself that you will have plenty of time to address these concerns the following day. If you find yourself in bed worrying about other things, keep a notebook and pen nearby and write these down as well.

    6. Visualize something peaceful

    With your mind free of worry, gently close your eyes and think of something tranquil and relaxing.
    Consider incorporating a sound relaxation machine or even aromatherapy.

    7. Check your "equipment"

    Ask yourself these questions:
    • Does my mattress provide me with enough lumbar support? Check out these mattress guidelines.
    • How does my pillow support my neck? Is it too high or too firm? Remember these suggestions for pillow support and comfort.
    • What position is most comfortable when sleeping? Am I relaxed on my back, side, or am I curled up? How do I feel when I wake up in the morning after having slept in these positions?
    Certain sleeping positions are recommended for different types of pain.
    For example, patients with pain from osteoarthritis are advised to sleep in the fetal position (on their sides, with knees curled up), while patients with degenerative disc disease may prefer to sleep on their stomach. Those with hip pain may achieve relief by placing a pillow between the knees.
    Call Dr. Awwad, ABChiropractic Family & Wellness, your Pain Relief Center in St. Charles MO 63303 to schedule your new patient exam and consultation to see how we can help you with your pain complaints. Call 636-916-0660 and speak to Karen or Rachel to schedule your life changing appointment. Chiropractic is safe and effective for the detection and correction of pain symptoms.
    <view entire article>





    Upper Back Pain from a Thoracic Herniated Disc

    Date: March 24, 2016 | Time: 7:56am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    A herniated disc in the upper back can occur when the inner gelatinous material of an intervertebral disc leaks out of the inside of the disc. A thoracic herniated disc can cause upper back pain and other symptoms, such as radiating pain or numbness.

    Specific symptoms of a thoracic herniated disc are usually different depending on where the disc herniates, as the herniated disc material in the upper back can either impinge on an exiting nerve root or on the spinal cord itself.

    Thoracic Degenerative Disc Disease

    Thoracic disc disease is conceptually similar to disc disorders in the cervical and lumbar spine, but symptomatic lesions (anatomical problems related to the symptoms) are far less common.
    The most common location for thoracic disc disorders is at the thoracolumbar (the thoracic and lumbar parts of the spinal column) junction (T8-T12) in the mid back. The true incidence is unknown because many thoracic disc disorders do not cause thoracic back pain or other symptoms, and they comprise only a very small percent of all herniated disc treatment surgeries.
    In one study, 90 asymptomatic patients (with no pain or other symptoms) were evaluated with thoracic MRI scans. These were the findings:
    • 73% of patients were found to have disc abnormalities in the upper back, such as a thoracic herniated disc or thoracic degenerative disc disease
    • 37% specifically had a thoracic herniated disc
    • 29% had radiographic evidence of spinal cord impingement identified on the MRI.
    These patients were followed for 26 months and none of them developed thoracic back pain from their thoracic disc disorders.1
    The fact that so many people had thoracic herniated discs but no pain or symptoms is important to mention, as it shows that people may have both upper back pain and a thoracic herniated disc, but that the disc disorder may not be the cause of the thoracic back pain - it may just be an incidental finding.
    In fact, there are many causes of upper back pain that are much more common than a herniated disc, and a correct diagnosis of the cause of the patient's pain is more important than whether or not an MRI scan shows a thoracic disc herniation.
    References:
    1. Wood KB, Garvey TA, Gundry C, Heithoff KB: Magnetic resonance imaging of the thoracic spine. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 77:1631-1638, 1995.
    CALL ABChiropractic Family and Wellness at 636-916-0660 to see how chiropractic can help. We are located in St. Charles MO, 63303. We are your St. Charles Pain Relief Center.
    <view entire article>





    Chiropractic Adjustment

    Date: February 16, 2016 | Time: 11:18am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    A chiropractic adjustment, also known as chiropractic manipulation, manual manipulation, or spinal manipulation, is a common therapeutic treatment for lower back pain.18
    A chiropractic adjustment refers to a chiropractor applying manipulation to the vertebrae that have abnormal movement patterns or fail to function normally.
    The objective of this chiropractic treatment is to reduce the subluxation, with the goals of increasing range of motion, reducing nerve irritability and improving function.

    Chiropractic Adjustment Description

    A chiropractic adjustment typically involves:
    • A high velocity, short lever arm thrust applied to a vertebra
    • An accompanying, audible release of gas (joint cavitation) that is caused by the release of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, which releases joint pressure (cavitation)19
    • A relieving sensation most of the time, although minor discomfort has been reported (that usually lasts for a short time duration) if the surrounding muscles are in spasm or the patient tenses up during this chiropractic care.
    It should be known that joint cavitation or cracking does not occur at times, typically as a result of significant muscle splinting or the patient not being adequately relaxed during the chiropractic manipulation. At times like this, it is sometimes best for the chiropractor to apply ice, have the patient rest, or do electrical stimulation and massage prior to attempting the chiropractic adjustment.

    Chiropractic Adjustment Techniques

    There are many different manipulative techniques that can be utilized in chiropractic, and there is a certain skill level and "art" involved with high velocity, low amplitude adjustment or manipulation. It is perhaps more important for the chiropractor to determine when not to apply the adjustment.

    Chiropractic Adjustment Side Effects

    The most common reaction to a chiropractic adjustment is aching or soreness in the spinal joints or muscles. If this aching or soreness occurs, it is usually within the first few hours post-treatment and does not last longer than 24 hours after the chiropractic adjustment. Application of an ice pack often reduces the symptoms relatively quickly.
    Call our St. Charles, Missouri office at 636-916-0660 to schedule your new patient appointment for you and your family to see if Chiropractic treatments can help you. ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles MO offers a variety of chiropractic adjustments as well as decompression and massage therapy.

    Mario H Awwad D.C

    <view entire article>





    Exercise and Chiropractic

    Date: November 3, 2015 | Time: 9:38am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    Cardiovascular and strengthening exercises combined with chiropractic care are important in the management of low back pain.

    If a patient has a history of heart problems, it is important for the patient to consult with not only the doctor of chiropractic but their primary care physician to be certain that they can tolerate cardiovascular fitness-promoting activities. Specific instructions are given by the chiropractor with respect to proper exercise for the patient's condition before beginning any exercise program.

    In general, a reasonable amount of exercise performed daily and utilizing enjoyable activities is recommended for patients undergoing chiropractic treatment.

    Exercise Benefits

    Many studies have reported the importance of exercises in managing acute and chronic low back pain, strengthening the low back, preventing and keeping back patients working, and to improve quality of life. The strength of the abdominal muscles was also found to be able to differentiate between those with vs. without chronic LBP.

    Overall and when combined with chiropractic care, aerobic exercise helps promote proper digestion, keeps the muscles in proper tone and promotes better circulation. Walking briskly around the block at least once or twice is a convenient and popular activity.
    Also, many forms of work and/or household tasks can function as an exercise program. The important point is to exercise!

    Types of Exercises

    There are many applicable back exercises that are available for patients also undergoing chiropractic care for lower back pain. One can classify the chiropractic patient into a flexion or extension biased category to determine the variety that is best for that patient. For example:

    - If a patient feels best when bending over (flexion biased), exercises that promote low back flexion such as pulling the knees to the chest, posterior pelvic tilts, bending forward from a sitting position and others are usually helpful.

    - If a patient is least symptomatic in extension, especially if leg pain centralizes or diminishes (extension biased), prone press- up type exercises usually yield the best results.

    Other exercises that can help reduce lower back pain include:

    -Strengthening of the pelvic (trunk) stabilizing muscles

    -Stretching of the hamstrings, adductors, and other overly short or tight postural muscles

    -Proprioceptive or balance promoting.

    Benefits of Back and Abdominal Exercise

    Weak and/or overly tight supporting muscles can have painful spasms and suffer injuries themselves,
    which then prevent them from supporting the spine as needed. Compromised muscles can also lead to problems with bone structure of the spine due to poor posture from the weak muscles, thereby creating an increased risk of back pain/ injury.

    Consequently, developing combined strength in stomach muscles and back muscles can:

    - Reduce the likelihood of back pain episodes

    - Reduce the severity of back pain

    - Protect against injury by responding efficiently to stresses

    - Help avoid back surgery in some cases

    - Facilitate healing from a back problem or after spine surgery

    - Improve posture.

    Reported Efficacy of Exercise in
    Chiropractic Care

    According to the Scientific Commission of the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters (CCGPP):

    - Strong evidence supports exercise as being at least as effective as other non-surgical treatments for chronic low back pain

    - Moderate evidence supports use of a graded-activity exercise program in occupational settings for subacute lower back pain

    - Some evidence shows that exercises are no more effective than other nonsurgical treatments for acute lower back pain.

    As with any chiropractic treatment, it is important for chiropractors to perform a focused reevaluation of an exercise program following its initial therapeutic trial to determine its effectiveness. Using spinal range of motion as a measurement of the effectiveness of exercise is just one way in which chiropractors can make such determinations.

    Call your St. Charles chiropractor, Dr. Mario Awwad, to schedule your New Patient Special. At ABChiropractic Family & Wellness, we specialize in chiropractic adjustments, decompression, massage therapy and most importantly, RESULTS! Call 636-916-0660 and speak with Karen or Rachel to schedule your life changing appointment today. <view entire article>





    Mattress Guidelines for Sleep Comfort

    Date: September 25, 2015 | Time: 1:06pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    The right mattress can really help one have a good night's sleep and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause sleeplessness, back pain, and overall aches and pains. For people with a back problem, a mattress that isn't a good fit can make the pain worse.

    When searching for the best mattress, remember that mattresses are largely a matter of personal preference. There is no single type of mattress or bed that works well for all people, and there is no best mattress for back problems. Likewise, there
    is no single sleep position known to be best for all people. This is due to several factors:

    - There are many causes of back problems, and different back conditions may respond better to specific types of beds, mattresses and sleep positions.

    - There is a high degree of personal preference for mattresses, and what works well for one person may not work well for another.

    - There is very limited scientific study published on mattresses and back pain, and findings from the studies that have been completed are inconclusive.

    - Overall, the causes of back pain can be quite complex, and it's difficult to isolate whether or not a person's mattress has played a significant role in improving the pain or making it worse.

    The bottom line is that the type of mattress that is best for any particular person is really a matter of personal preference.

    The type of mattress one uses is not the only factor for patients with pain and sleep difficulty. Many other factors need to be considered that may affect sleep, including:

    - Medication side effects

    - Irregular sleep patterns

    - Caffeine/alcohol/tobacco use

    - Sleep apnea

    - Anxiety/stress

    If comfort is not the only thing making sleep difficult, it is advisable for the patient to consult his or her family physician to discuss other possible causes and treatments for sleeplessness.

    Experiencing significant or persistent back pain may indicate an underlying back condition that has nothing to do with the mattress. It is always advisable for people with back pain to consult with a health care provider for a thorough exam, diagnosis, and treatment program.

    As a reminder, sleep comfort is first and foremost a matter of personal preference. No one should expect that switching mattresses or beds will cure their lower back pain, and changes in the type of bed or mattress used should be made solely for the sake of comfort.

    Sleep Positions for Back Conditions

    An important factor that can influence individual preferences for mattresses, beds and sleeping positions is the specific back condition a person has. For example:

    - Osteoarthritis. Patients with pain from osteoarthritis of the facet joints may prefer to sleep on their sides with their knees curled up (in the fetal position). This helps open up the facet joints in the spine and can relieve any corresponding pressure. Alternatively, sleeping in a reclining chair or an adjustable bed that allows the head and knees to be elevated can also relieve pressure on the facet joints.

    - Degenerative Disc Disease. Patients with pain from degenerative disc disease may prefer to sleep on their stomach as this can relieve pressure on the disc space. Patients may feel most comfortable using a relatively firm mattress and placing a flat pillow under the stomach and hips, which can further reduce stress on the lower back.

    - Spinal Stenosis. People with pain from spinal stenosis may prefer to sleep on their sides with their knees curled up (in the fetal position). This helps relieve pressure on the nerve root. Sleeping in a reclining chair or an adjustable bed that allows the head and knees to be elevated can also relieve pressure on the nerve.

    - Bursitis. Patients who have inflammation of the bursa over their hips (greater trochanteric bursitis) can be especially susceptible to pain from a mattress that is too firm. If the mattress is too hard, a new mattress with thick padding on top, or placing an egg crate foam
    mattress cover over the old mattress, can help provide some relief from the firmness.

    - Hip Pain. Patients with hip pain who sleep on their sides can usually find some pain relief by placing a pillow between their knees. This decreases stress across the hip.

    - Herniated Lumbar Disc. The most comfortable sleep position depends on the position of the disc. For a paracentral disc herniation (most common), patients will tend to do better lying on their stomach. For a foraminal herniated disc, sleeping on the side in a fetal position is usually better tolerated.

    In general, elevating the knees slightly by placing a pillow under them while lying on the back can help many general forms of low back pain. Many patients also find that this is the most comfortable way to sleep after spine surgery.

    Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness, your St. Charles Missouri Pain Relief Center at 636-916-0660. We offer chiropractic adjustments, decompression and massage therapy. Sports physicals and work physicals are also offered.
    <view entire article>





    Leg Pain & Numbness: What Might These Symptoms Mean?

    Date: September 14, 2015 | Time: 8:45am | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    Leg pain can range from a mild nuisance that comes and goes, to debilitating pain that makes it difficult to sleep, walk, or engage in simple everyday activities. The pain can take many different forms - aching, searing, throbbing, or burning, and it can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a pins-and-needles sensation, and/or leg or foot numbness or weakness.

    Leg Pain Symptoms and Descriptions

    Leg pain may be caused by a problem in the leg, but often starts with a problem in the lower back, where the sciatic nerve originates, and then travels along the path of the nerve (called sciatica).

    For this reason, diagnosis of anyone with leg/foot pain, and/or leg/ankle/foot weakness or numbness should include an exam of the lower back.

    Not all leg pain derived from low back problems presents the same way. Leg pain caused by a low
    back problem is often accompanied by additional symptoms, such as leg numbness or weakness, or foot pain, and the type of pain may vary widely from patient to patient.

    Typical descriptions of leg pain and accompanying symptoms include:

    Burning pain.

    Some experience a searing pain that at times radiates from the low back or buttocks down the leg, while others complain of intermittent pain that shoots from the lower back down the leg and occasionally into the foot. Words used to describe this type of burning leg pain include radiating, electric or shooting pain that literally feels like a jolt. Unlike many forms of low back pain that can often be a dull ache, for many, leg pain can be excruciating and nearly intolerable. This type of burning pain is fairly typical when a nerve root in the lower spine is irritated, and it is often referred to as sciatica.

    Leg numbness or tingling.

    Anyone who has had a leg or foot "fall asleep" and then gradually return to normal can imagine what numbness in a leg would feel like. Not being able to feel pressure, or hot or cold, is unnerving. Unlike the short-lived numbness of an asleep limb, numbness coming from a low back problem can be nearly continuous and can severely affect a person's quality of life. For example, it can be difficult or almost impossible to walk or drive a car if one's leg or foot is numb. Typical symptoms can range from a slight tingling sensation to complete numbness down the leg and into the foot.

    Weakness (foot drop) or heaviness.

    Here, the predominant complaint is that leg weakness or heaviness interferes significantly with movement. People have described a feeling of having to drag their lower leg and foot or being unable to move their leg as quickly and easily as needed while walking or climbing stairs, for example, because of perceived weakness or slow reaction. Patients with foot drop are unable to walk on their heels, flex their ankle, or walk with the usual heel-toe pattern.

    Constant pain.

    This type of pain is normally felt in the buttock area, so it is not technically leg pain but it may accompany some form of pain felt in the legs. It may also be pain that occasionally radiates past the buttock into the leg. This type of pain is usually described as "nerve pain," versus an aching or throbbing pain. It is typically present only on one side, and is commonly called sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy. It may often be relieved by stretching, walking or other gentle movement.

    Positional leg pain.

    If leg pain dramatically worsens in intensity when sitting, standing or walking, this can indicate a problem with a specific part of the anatomy in the ow back. Finding more comfortable positions is usually possible to alleviate the pain. For example, bending over may relieve pain from spinal stenosis, while twisting (as in a golf swing) can increase facet joint related groin, hip and leg ache.

    There are many spinal conditions that may cause leg pain, foot pain, and other lower extremity symptoms. Most successful treatments are based upon having an accurate anatomic diagnosis for the basis of a specific pain syndrome. Chiropractors are well suited to oversee the diagnosis and treatment of these situations.

    Call 636-916-0660 and schedule your new patient exam at ABChiropractic Family & Wellness. Our office is conveniently located in St. Charles, Missouri. Our office is easily accessible from either highly 70 or 94. Dr. Mario Awwad specializes in fast pain relief of leg pain.
    <view entire article>





    Sources of Whiplash Pain

    Date: July 28, 2015 | Time: 12:02pm | Posted By: Mario Awwad

    When the cervical spine (neck) is subject to whiplash, there is usually a combination of factors that contribute to whiplash pain in the neck and back, and ultimately need to be addressed individually by a chiropractor, who maintains a "holistic" view of the patient's whiplash pain. This article explains how chiropractors approach treating neck pain, back pain, and/or other whiplash symptoms, and help patients prevent chronic whiplash pain.

    Whiplash Pain Management for Joint Dysfunction

    Joint dysfunction from whiplash occurs when one of the joints in the spine or limbs loses its normal joint play (resiliency and shock absorption). A chiropractic technique called motion palpation gently moves the joint in different directions and assesses its joint play. When a joint develops dysfunction, its normal range of movement may be affected and it can become painful.

    Muscle Dysfunction from Whiplash Injuries

    When joint dysfunction develops, muscles are affected by becoming tense and overactive or inhibited and underactive. In either case, these muscles can develop trigger points that may necessitate whiplash treatment involving muscle relaxation or stimulation.

    Trigger points are areas of congestion within the muscle where toxins accumulate and can irritate the nerve endings within the muscle and produce pain. This whiplash pain can occur in the muscle itself or can be referred pain (perceived in other areas of the body).

    The muscle can also send abnormal neurological signals into the nervous system, which can then cause disruption of the ability of the nervous system to properly regulate muscles in other parts of the body, leading to the development of faulty movement patterns.

    Faulty Movement Patterns and Whiplash Pain

    It is thought that the intense barrage of pain signals from a traumatic whiplash injury to the cervical spine can change the way the nervous system controls the coordinated function of muscles.

    The disruption of coordinated, stable movement is known as faulty movement patterns which cause increased strain in the muscles and joints, leading to neck pain and back pain. They can involve the neck itself or can arise from dysfunction in other areas of the body such as the foot or pelvis.

    Instability is also considered part of faulty movement patterns. There are two types of instability that can occur in whiplash:

    - Passive-the ligaments of the neck are loosened, making it more susceptible to whiplash pain; and

    - Dynamic-the nervous system disruption causes a disturbance in the body's natural muscular response to common, everyday forces.

    Instability can cause even mild, innocuous activities difficult to perform as they often exacerbate the
    whiplash pain.

    Whiplash Pain from a Herniated Disc

    The force of whiplash can cause injury to the discs between the vertebrae, and small tears can develop. If the gelatinous middle of the disc seeps out, it can irritate the nerve endings in this area. This is known as disc derangement.

    Occasionally, the gel can seep all the way out and press on a nerve root exiting the spinal cord behind the disc, known as disc herniation.

    A herniated disc may involve whiplash pain in the neck as well as sharp, shooting pain down the arm and possibly neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.

    Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash

    Each case of whiplash is different so it's not possible to generalize about the chiropractic whiplash treatment. Chiropractors commonly employ different chiropractic treatments for whiplash, often including:

    - Manipulation
    - Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation
    - Various exercises
    - Ergonomic and lifestyle changes.

    Preventing Chronic Pain from Whiplash

    After sustaining whiplash injuries, it is fairly common for people to suffer from chronic neck pain. Chiropractors can detect certain factors in a patient's history and chiropractic exam to better determine patients who may be more susceptible to chronic pain from a whiplash injury. This process will identify when aggressive preventative measures should be taken for patients who may be at a greater risk of developing chronic neck pain from whiplash injuries.

    Call Dr. Awwad at ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles MO at 636-916-0660 to schedule your new patient consultation and discuss possible treatment options.

    <view entire article>