When was the last time you enjoyed a good night’s sleep? Need help remembering? Unfortunately, the same story is told by millions of Americans. Sleep disorders have become an epidemic all across the United States. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, almost 1 in 4 adults reported insufficient sleep at least one night a month, while for more than 1 in 10 adults, restless nights have become a fact of life. Overall, between 50 to 70 million Americans have a hard time getting enough sleep at night, regardless of age and socioeconomic background, the majority of which never seek treatment.
There are various reasons why you’re struggling with a sleep disorder, including stress, anxiety, depression, and physical discomfort. While numerous treatment avenues for sleep disorders are available, chiropractic care is often suggested as an alternative therapy for poor sleep. But can chiropractic treatment help you rediscover restful sleep? This article will explore the connection between chiropractic care and sleep and how chiropractic adjustments can improve your sleep quality!
What Are the Causes Behind Sleep Disorders?
Before discussing how chiropractic care can help you manage your sleep problems, it’s important to understand the causes behind them. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, are brought about by numerous factors, including:
Stress and Anxiety: Stress and anxiety are the number one culprits behind poor sleep. Stress causes the mind to become overactive, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
Lifestyle Factors: Poor diet, lack of exercise, and excessive caffeine consumption can affect the quality of your sleep.
Pain and Discomfort: If you’re experiencing chronic pain, you know how hard it is to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Medical Conditions: Medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia, can disrupt your sleep patterns and make it difficult to enjoy a good night’s rest.
Sleep apnea is the sudden interruption in breathing experienced while sleeping. It occurs either because there’s something blocking the air’s path in your trachea (i.e., obstructive sleep apnea) or because your brain fails to control your breathing patterns while asleep (i.e., central apnea). In both cases, your brain instinctively wakes you up in order to breathe again properly. You can thank this reflex for keeping you alive, but only at the expense of messing with your sleep.
Research indicates that 1 in 5 American adults are suffering from sleep apnea, putting themselves at risk for all sorts of health issues, such as cognitive impairment, heart disease, hypertension, and even stroke. The traditional treatment avenue for sleep apnea involves the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device (CPAP) device at night to keep the air flowing through the trachea. A great deal of patients, however, search for more convenient ways to tackle this sleep disorder, such as chiropractic care!
Insomnia is a sleep disorder affecting all the stages of your rest schedule, making it hard to fall or stay asleep. Patients dealing with insomnia can hardly summon the energy required to be productive at home and work while preserving their physical and mental health.
At least 1 in 10 Americans do not get the 7-8 hours of nightly rest associated with a healthy lifestyle. Most instances of insomnia are acute, resulting from stress or dealing with a traumatic event. The onset of chronic insomnia occurs when the issue persists even after a month. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia is often attributable to chronic neck and back pain, whose causes can be addressed through chiropractic care!
You Can’t Be Healthy Without Getting a Good Night’s Sleep!
You might think you can get past a sleepless night unharmed, but unfortunately, there’s no easy way to pay off your sleep debt. Over time, every hour of restless sleep will increase your irritability and daytime fatigue while making it harder to concentrate, think clearly, and rely on your memory. Furthermore, your immune system will take a severe blow, paving the way for high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health issues, heart failure, and stroke. A life of restless sleep is a life of stress, anxiety, and alienation from friends and family.
How Does Chiropractic Care Help Tackle Sleep Issues?
Chiropractic care involves the manipulation of the spine to improve alignment, reduce pain, and enhance overall health. For chiropractors, the nervous system plays a critical role in balancing our physical and mental well-being, and any disruption to it can cause various health issues, including sleep-related ones. By realigning the spine, chiropractors alleviate nerve interference, reducing pain and discomfort and improving sleep quality!
Chiropractic treatment will address the root causes of your sleep issues by:
Reducing Pain and Discomfort: Chiropractic adjustments can reduce pain and discomfort, empowering you to rest in the most comfortable sleeping position.
Alleviating Stress and Anxiety: Chiropractic care reduces stress and anxiety, two leading causes of sleep problems. Realigning the spine alleviates tension and promotes relaxation, leading to improved sleep quality.
Improving Sleep Patterns: By reducing nerve interference, chiropractic care will improve the body’s ability to regulate sleep patterns, leading to more consistent and restful sleep.
Enhancing Overall Health: Chiropractic care is not just about spinal adjustments. It also involves lifestyle recommendations, such as exercise, diet, and stress management. By addressing these lifestyle factors, chiropractors can enhance your overall health, improving sleep quality.
Why Do You Get Better Sleep After Chiropractic Treatment?
So many of our patients report feeling more relaxed and less tense after a chiropractic session! That is because chiropractic adjustments reduce nerve interference, allowing the body to function more efficiently. By improving the function of the nervous system, chiropractors alleviate muscle tension, reduce pain and discomfort, and promote relaxation, all of which contribute to better sleep quality! Chiropractic adjustments also enhance blood flow and oxygenation to the body’s tissues, including the brain, thus reducing inflammation, a significant contributor to sleep issues!
It’s Time To Rediscover Your Restful Sleep at Bergen Chiropractic!
Ever since we were kids, we’ve been told that drinking milk will make our bones unbreakable! But does this childhood mantra still hold water, or was it just a white lie (pun intended)?
Well, the numbers speak for themselves. The International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that more than 10 million American adults are dealing with osteoporosis, with another 40 million adults aged 50 and older being at risk.
Although not a deadly condition, osteoporosis can affect your health and well-being down the road. Research found that 50% of women and 25% of men in the US will break a bone because of this disease. Osteoporosis has earned the “silent disease” nickname since it does not show any noticeable symptoms until a bone breaks or fractures.
As more and more patients are researching alternative, less invasive avenues of treating this disease, today’s article will cover why chiropractic adjustments are an excellent addition to any osteoporosis treatment!
First of All, What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease whose onset occurs due to decreased bone density (i.e., the body loses too much bone mass or creates too little of it). Therefore, the bones become fragile and can easily break or fracture — even from minor falls, bumps, or strains!
The most commonly affected bones are the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis affects both men and women, although it is more common in postmenopausal women due to decreased estrogen levels. Calcium deficiencies, steroid use, and thyroid issues are additional risk factors for this bone disease. Patients with diseases that affect bone density, such as rheumatoid arthritis or celiac disease, are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, too.
What Are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis has genuinely earned its “silent disease” moniker since it does not show any noticeable symptoms until a bone suffers some form of trauma (e.g., break or fracture). However, it does exhibit a handful of symptoms accurate enough to guide you toward a solid diagnosis:
Fracture or break in a bone after a minor fall or injury
Loss of height over time
Lower back pain
Stooped posture or hunched back
Weakness in the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.
How Is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
Several tests will help medical professionals diagnose osteoporosis in a patient. The most commonly used test is called a bone density scan or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). This quick, painless procedure measures the bone density of the hip and spine and can determine if someone has osteoporosis or is at risk for developing it.
Anything between -1 and -2.5 SD means osteopenia (i.e., the stage before osteoporosis)
Anything below -2.5 SD means osteoporosis
Other helpful tests for diagnosing this bone condition are:
Blood tests to check for vitamin D and calcium levels
X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans to ascertain your bone health
How Does Chiropractic Care Help Address Osteoporosis?
Chiropractic care is a valuable path toward treatment for all patients with osteoporosis! That is because a treatment plan that includes chiropractic sessions will help them achieve pain relief faster without resorting to additional invasive treatments! However, each patient will require a different treatment approach, so consult a healthcare provider before undergoing chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic care can be adjusted based on the individual’s medical history and the severity of osteoporosis. Therefore, the chiropractor may avoid using high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) techniques that involve twisting or quick spine movements. Instead, they will use gentle and low-force techniques such as mobilization or soft tissue therapy to improve joint mobility, relieve pain, and promote healing.
Chiropractic treatments will also help prevent falls and fractures by improving balance, coordination, and flexibility. Our expert chiropractors will recommend exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected bones, making them more resistant and resilient to fractures. Additionally, we will provide recommendations on nutrition and lifestyle changes to improve bone health and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis!
Does a Healthy Lifestyle Help Prevent Osteoporosis?
Ultimately, it’s the patient’s lifestyle that determines whether they’ll be predisposed to osteoporosis in the future. But with a few adjustments, your bones will become unbreakable!
1. Get a Healthy Dose of Calcium
Calcium opens the list of crucial nutrients for bone health, as it is the primary component of bones. Foods such as dairy products, fortified cereals, and leafy green vegetables will ensure the recommended daily calcium intake (i.e., 1000 mg for adults aged 19-50 and 1200 mg for those over 50). Consider adding calcium supplements to your diet if you can’t get enough of this precious nutrient from your daily meals.
2. Get a Healthy Dose of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential if you want calcium to be effectively absorbed and utilized by the body. The skin synthesizes this nutrient when exposed to sunlight, but we all know that the sad winter months make it hard for us to get all the sunshine we would like. Fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks will help you reach the daily recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU for adults aged 19-70 and 800 IU for adults aged >70.
3. Spend More Time Exercising
Regular exercise helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis by stimulating bone growth and increasing bone density. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, and strength training are particularly beneficial for the health of your bones! The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 30 to 40 minutes of exercise three to four times per week, with some weight-bearing and resistance exercises as part of the program.
4. Quit Smoking and Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Being underweight increases the risk of osteoporosis, as there is less mass for your bones to lose. However, being overweight is also harmful to bone health, as it increases the risk of falls and fractures. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise will make it harder for osteoporosis to affect the health of your bones.
6. Get Regular Bone Density Tests
Bone density tests can detect early signs of brittle bones and help prevent osteoporosis. Experts recommend at least one bone density test per year for patients on medication for osteoporosis, as well as those with risk factors such as a history of osteoporosis in the family, tobacco addiction, or low body weight.
It’s Time To Relieve Your Osteoporosis Symptoms With Chiropractic Care!
Anxiety and depression — alongside other mental health issues — have become the scourge of the 21st century. Millions of people worldwide, whose livelihoods are affected by symptoms of excessive worry and fear, sadness, hopelessness, and disinterest in life, turn to expensive medical treatments to bounce back from their rut of joylessness and rediscover the beauty of life, and relationships, and work productivity. But bottles of medication and endless psychotherapy sessions are not the only paths to recovery, as more and more patients turn to alternative therapies like chiropractic care for natural relief!
How Many Americans Deal With Anxiety and Depression?
The prevalence of mental health disorders in the United States is a matter of grave concern. According to the statistics gathered by Johns Hopkins University, 1 in 4 adults has received a mental disorder diagnosis in a given year, with anxiety disorders co-occurring with depressive illnesses in numerous patients. Moreover, 1 in 10 American adults will deal with a depressive illness in their lifetime (e.g., major depression or bipolar disorder), whereas almost 1 in 5 American adults receive an anxiety disorder diagnosis in a given year. The numbers speak for themselves, proving there are never enough avenues to alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression?
The most common physical symptoms of anxiety and depression are:
Inability to relax or sleep
Muscle stiffness or tension
Tension headaches and migraines
These painful symptoms gradually affect the patient’s quality of life, engendering feelings of sadness, loneliness, and disinterest in life. The more these physical symptoms are allowed to persist, the harder it will be to alleviate them. That is why more and more patients combine established treatment avenues with less invasive alternatives, such as chiropractic treatment!
What Are the Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Anxiety and Depression?
Chiropractic adjustments offer a noninvasive alternative to traditional treatment approaches for anxiety and depression, such as medication and psychotherapy. While in no way acts as a replacement, chiropractic care helps alleviate physical symptoms of anxiety and depression while improving signs of spinal misalignment. Not all cases of anxiety and depression are the same, and what works for one person may not work for another, so check with your medical professional before including chiropractic care in your treatment.
1. Improving Spinal Misalignments
The primary goal of chiropractic care is to promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself. By correcting spinal misalignments, chiropractors aim to reduce nerve interference, which can affect bodily functions. Since the central nervous system controls all bodily functions, including the release of mood-regulating hormones, it’s no surprise that some patients choose chiropractic care to relieve their anxiety and depression symptoms.
Stress is a natural response to challenging situations by triggering the release of hormones like cortisol, oxytocin, and adrenaline. These hormones prepare the body to respond to stressors by increasing heart, blood, and breathing rates. However, chronic stress can lead to an overactive stress response, contributing to anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that spinal manipulations can reduce cortisol levels and improve the body’s stress response. By reducing stress levels and alleviating pain, chiropractic care alleviates anxiety and depression symptoms.
3. Improving Your Sleep Patterns
Another way that chiropractic care may help with anxiety and depression is by improving sleep quality. Disturbed sleep patterns are common in people with mental health conditions, affecting their overall health and well-being. Spinal manipulation can provide promising results toward improving sleep quality by reducing pain and muscle tension. Better sleep quality will better your mood while alleviating anxiety and depression symptoms!
4. Bettering Your Overall Health
All-natural chiropractic care will also help with anxiety and depression by improving overall physical health. Exercise is known to have mood-alleviating effects, and chiropractic care boosts joint mobility and reduces pain, allowing patients to engage in physical activity more freely. Furthermore, exercise releases endorphins, i.e., natural mood-boosting hormones that reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
5. Lowering Your Blood Pressure
Lower blood pressure is another key benefit of chiropractic care. High blood pressure goes hand in hand with elevated stress levels in patients with anxiety and depression. Multiple studies have concluded that chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy help bring blood pressure levels within healthy parameters, empowering patients to manage their own anxiety symptoms and stress through an all-natural solution.
Out of all the daily aches and pains we’re dealing with, none of them is as common and as nagging as neck stiffness. Over 14% of Americans experience neck-related pain, with 80% of the population reporting some form of neck discomfort at some point in their lives!
Poor posture (primarily springing from inadequate ergonomics and staring into electronic devices), injuries, stress, and underlying health conditions can all make you wake up one day with a stiff neck.
Rest, over-the-counter medicine, and lifestyle adjustments will gradually relieve the pain and stiffness in your neck. Fortunately, our patients will find a smoother recovery avenue in the shape of chiropractic care!
What Is Neck Stiffness?
Neck stiffness, also known as cervical stiffness, is a condition that affects the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. It is characterized by a feeling of tightness or discomfort that limits the head’s range of motion. Stiffness in the neck can range from mild to severe and can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, headaches, and dizziness.
What Are the Common and Uncommon Causes of Neck Stiffness?
The causes behind your stiff neck pain are not always easy to pinpoint. It might stem from lifestyle choices (e.g., anxiety or lousy posture) or injury — these are considered common causes of neck stiffness. Uncommon causes, on the other hand, are attributable to medical conditions, such as herniated discs, cervical osteoarthritis, and tumors. Only an accurate diagnosis will put you on the right path toward recovery.
Common Stiff Neck Causes
Lousy posture (Sitting or standing in a position that strains the neck muscles, e.g., slouching in front of a computer monitor or “text neck“)
Injuries (e.g., whiplash or other forms of trauma)
Stress (It causes muscle tension and stiffness in the neck)
Poor sleeping position (i.e., sleeping with the neck in an awkward position)
Although the symptoms of neck stiffness vary from person to person, it’s easy to recognize certain pain patterns in patients. It usually starts with pain or soreness in the neck, followed by tightness or discomfort. Then, patients gradually experience difficulty moving the head altogether (i.e., the actual neck stiffness). If left untreated, the symptoms will progress as far as headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
Can Neck Stiffness Cause Headaches?
Many patients may deal with a pounding headache simultaneously with stiff neck symptoms, as there is a strong correlation between the two. That is because muscle strain affects the neck nerves, causing headaches. So next time you’re looking for headache pain relief, consider whether your stiff neck might be to blame — pinpointing the cause will help determine the right treatment avenue!
Can Neck Stiffness Cause Vertigo?
The cervical spine plays a crucial role in balance and coordination, which is why any neck inflammation or muscle strain may lead to symptoms of vertigo (e.g., dizziness and lightheadedness).
How Chiropractic Care Addresses Neck Pain!
More and more patients seek chiropractic care for treating neck stiffness, as it is a noninvasive, drug-free approach to pain relief! Chiropractors receive specialized training to identify the underlying causes of a stiff neck and develop a personalized treatment plan to address these issues.
During your initial consultation, our team of chiropractors will perform a thorough physical examination and examine your medical history to determine the root cause of your neck pain. This process will include assessing your posture, range of motion, and any other physical or neurological symptoms. Based on this assessment, we will develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. Our expert chiropractors may suggest several treatment methods and lifestyle adjustments, such as:
Spinal adjustments involve the manual manipulation of the spine to improve alignment and mobility. They will help alleviate pressure on the nerves and reduce inflammation in the neck.
Soft tissue therapy involves the application of pressure to the neck muscles and soft tissues to relieve tension and improve your range of motion.
– Purchasing a more comfortable chair for your office
– Adjusting your chair position
– Adopting proper posture when sitting
– Setting up your computer at eye level
– Standing up and moving after every hour of work
The Benefits of Chiropractic Adjustments for Neck Stiffness
Two are the reasons why more and more patients seek chiropractic care as an additional medical treatment for their neck stiffness:
Noninvasive: Chiropractors use noninvasive approaches to treating a stiff neck, meaning you’ll avoid the risks and side effects of surgery and medication!
Drug-free: Chiropractors make no use of prescription medication, allowing the body to heal naturally!
Other Remedies for Addressing Stiff Neck Pain
Chiropractic sessions may be a solid step toward neck pain relief, but your journey toward healing is not over yet. That is why combining our chiropractic expertise with other treatment avenues is the only way to ensure that your symptoms will vanish! Don’t picture grim scenarios of surgeries and strenuous physical therapy in your mind — it’s all about small but effective lifestyle changes!
Taking ample time to rest: Taking it easy for a day or two allows injured tissues to heal, thus relieving your stiff neck symptoms. For example, swimmers should avoid certain swim strokes that involve repeated head twisting for a few days. However, this is not a license for slacking off, as too much inactivity will weaken the neck muscles, causing them to struggle to adequately support the head.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen or naproxen) are the first line of treatment for neck stiffness and soreness. Another OTC medication to consider is acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), which does provide pain relief, but without alleviating any inflammation. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the potential side effects of OTC pain relievers, such as digestive issues.
Cold/heat therapy: The application of cold and heat to the inflamed area will help relieve pain symptoms while creating a more appropriate healing environment. Putting an ice pack on the painful area will counteract the inflammation, while a heating pad will stimulate blood flow and facilitate the body’s healing process!
Stretching: Including a stretching routine in your daily schedule can help relieve neck pain and stiffness and prevent them from recurring. Be sure to stretch gently and slowly while always breathing in and out fully, as sudden movements or overstretching will only worsen your discomfort.
Stretching routines for neck pain relief is simple and can be performed anywhere!
Acupuncture: This age-old pain relief technique removes any hindrance impeding your energy levels from traveling through the body’s meridians, called qi. Acupuncturists insert needles into specific pressure points for 10-30-minute sessions to unblock the stuck energy and reestablish an adequate flow of qi. Acupuncture sessions take place in a relaxed atmosphere, with little to no discomfort, providing you the opportunity to rediscover your inner peace!