Ice or Heat?

Ice or Heat?

This is a question I get all the time when it comes to injuries. So what is it, and why does one person say heat while the other says ice? I will keep this short and sweet.

Plain and simple, Ice on the spine, heat everywhere else. There, end of the blog post. LOL

Let me explain a little. Let’s look at an injury. Bumps, bruises, tendonitis, impact, welt, pulled muscles, torn rotator cuff, bursitis, the list goes on. What happens after these? OMG inflammation!!!!!!! oh no!! Get the ice, ahhhh feels better. Sound familiar? Of course, it does. Ice takes down that nasty inflammation and numbs the area. Now, why is this bad?

Well, it depends on what your goals are. Heal faster or less pain? We know our bodies are self-regulating and self-healing. Inflammation is a good thing. WHAT? Yes! it’s a smart response from the body to heal the area/injury. So why would you want to remove that? By adding heat you will increase the blood flow to the area to accelerate healing, yes you will increase the pain a bit, but it will last a lot less. Next step is to figure out what caused the injury. Always look above or below. A good example is a shoulder. Unless someone hit you with a bat or some sort of trauma, it’s most likely from your neck. LOL yes, the shoulder problem is most likely from your neck. (Another post)

What pain level would you rather have out of 10? Pain at 8-9 for 2 or 3 days, or a pain at 4-5 for 3 or 4 weeks? Whatever your answer depends on what you use. ūüôā

Why ice on the spine? Well, the muscles that run along the spine you have no control over. Plus if there tight, there tight for a reason and adding heat will relax them with the possibility of further damaging something. Adding ice to an inflamed nerve root with cause it to shrink. Any interruption in the communication highway is not good and should be looked at by a chiropractor that will adjust any subluxation you may have.

So there you have it. Just to recap, ice slows down healing but feels better. Inflammation is a smart response from the body. Heat will accelerate healing but increase pain a little bit.

Julius Toltesi

Degenerative Disc Disease

Disease or is it your body adapting to environmental stressors?

Is degenerative disc disease a disease?

No, it’s not, but, it is a term used to describe the abnormal changes in your spinal discs as you age. Spinal discs are like 50 layers of kevlar (the outer edges) stacked on top of each other, they separate the interlocking bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine. The discs are like shock absorbers for the spine, also allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative discs can take place anywhere in the spine, but it most often occurs in the neck and lower back.

Once these discs start to degenerate, neck and/or back pain can happen.

What causes degenerative disc disease?

A simple Google search, and you’ll find stuff like this.

As we age, our spinal discs break down or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disc disease in some people. These age-related changes include:

The loss of fluid in your discs. This reduces the ability of the discs to act as shock absorbers and makes them less flexible. Loss of fluid also makes the disc thinner and narrows the distance between the vertebrae.
Tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer (annulus or capsule) of the disc. The jellylike material inside the disc (nucleus) may be forced out through the tears or cracks in the capsule, which causes the disc to bulge, break open (rupture), or break into fragments.
These changes are more likely to occur in people who smoke cigarettes and those who do heavy physical work (such as repeated heavy lifting). People who are obese are also more likely to have symptoms of degenerative disc disease.

The above is correct except the first part. It’s not age-related. There’s no proof of this. I can show you an x-ray of a 90-year old that has a better spine than a 30-year-old. Or an even better example would be to look at your own x-ray and ask yourself why some disc’s look fine and some don’t. They’re all the same age.

So what really causes the discs to degenerate?

Any injury can begin the degeneration process. The biggest thing would be uneven pressure from posture and lack of movement. Discs get their nutrients through movement. Uneven pressure or lack of movement will limit the nutrients the disc receives. If that happens, it will start to degenerate.

Let’s look at the neck for a second.

As the space between the vertebrae gets smaller, there is less padding between them, and the spine becomes less stable. Is the body smart or stupid? In an effort to prevent the nerves from compressing the cervical spine will start to straighten, or whats called a reverse curve. This opens up the holes where the nerves come out. This will also happen if you stare at your phone all day. lol. (Bad posture).

The body reacts to this by increasing surface area and/or constructing bony growths called bone spurs (osteophytes). Bone spurs can put pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord, resulting in pain and affecting nerve function giving you a whole bunch of symptoms.

The same applies to the lower back. The cervical and lumbar are the most common to be affected since they act as the shock absorber for the body.

Discs get their nutrients from movement. Uneven pressure or lack of movement will limit the nutrients the disc receives. If that happens, it will start to degenerate.

How to prevent this and/or correct degenerative disc disease?

Being mindful of your posture would be a good start.

Staying hydrated helps in more way than one.

Remember when I said discs get their nutrients from movement? What kind of nutrients are you supplying your body with??????

Seeing a chiropractor that adjusts the spine will ensure you stay aligned and can restore movement in the joints. When an adjustment occurs it creates a negative pressure that will allow the disc to “suck in” water and nutrients.

Low-level light laser therapy will also help in restoring and rebuilding the disc by stimulating the mitochondria to accelerate ATP production that will create a chain-reaction to heal.

Taking medication will help with any pain associated¬†with nerve compression but it’s only masking a symptom and not addressing the cause. Medications will also deteriorate the spine and discs causing further damage.

Of course, to end, I have to state that I’m not a doctor and this is my opinion and does not reflect the opinion of others. For any pain related to your spine, please contact a specialist for the specific cause.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is usually characterized by symptoms including pain of the hand and wrist, in addition to tingling and numbness along the median nerve distribution. Surgery was the primary option available to patients seeking a long-term solution to this problem. Today there are other options.

First, let us go over exactly what it is so we can address it properly.

The carpal tunnel is a somewhat narrow canal in the wrist that is surrounded on threeCarpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) sides by the palmar aspect of the carpal bones and covered by the flexor retinaculum. In addition to the median nerve, the flexor tendons also traverse this pathway.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed. This nerve controls sensation to digits 1, 2 and 3, as well as the lateral aspect of digit 4. In addition, it controls the motor function of many of the small muscles in the hand.

Many cases of Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) are caused by a double crushing injury. What this means, is it starts in the neck and pinches the nerves that will cause a muscle imbalance in the forearm. This may cause the Carpal tunnel to collapse due to overuse of certain muscles.

Julius ToltesiThe Median nerve origin is C06-T01. Depending on your posture, this can also have a dramatic effect on the discs. For every inch, the head is in front of the shoulders, the pressure on the discs doubles. This uneven pressure will cause the disc to degenerate causing added pressure on the nerves. Discs get their nutrients through movement and any subluxation will prevent nutrients to the discs. (Degenerative Discs is not an aging process) 

If discs degenerate due to age then the discs above and below it should look the same. There the same age.

When the median nerve becomes compressed, this will cause numbness in the first 3 digits as well as the lateral part of the 4th.

Bioflex laser works great by applying a low-level light to the affected area to help regenerate and rehydrate the disc to take the compression away. Usually, 12 treatments will do it.

Before condemning the wrist, be sure to fix the cervical spine first by seeing a corrective chiropractor to restore movement in the cervical spine and fix any subluxation or reverse curve you may have.

What’s Next?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)Once you’ve fixed any issues in the cervical spine we can look at the wrist. I would also suggest around 10 treatments of Low-Level Light Therapy to the wrist as well. This will help repair any damaged tissue that occurred¬†as a result of nerve compression.

You have muscles on top of the forearm and below called Flexors and Extensors. These muscles should have a balance between them. Most often we are gripping, squeezing etc. daily without paying attention to balancing the forearm. This is common with many other muscle groups as well.

There are many exercises you can do for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and recommend looking for a personal trainer that can help. They can also access your posture and any other imbalances you may have.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

One exercise I give my clients for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is very simple and only requires an elastic band. The ones they use to wrap around the Standard Freeholder works great. (local newspaper)

Place the elastic around your fingers then all you have to do is open into a claw shape and close. Repeat this till the top of your arm is tired. That’s it. Do this in the AM and PM about 3 sets each and this will help balance out the forearm.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

So to recap

Fix any subluxations in the neck and restore movement. See a Low-Level Light Laser Therapist to heel (regenerate) any discs that are degenerative in the neck to remove the compression of the median nerve. Complete the exercise mentioned to balance out the muscles causing the carpal tunnel to collapse. Repair damaged tissue in the wrist with Low-Level Light Laser Therapy.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please comment below.