Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)
The cause of RSI's is multi-factoral. However, most are caused by an imbalance of musculoskeletal functioning. The imbalance is usually caused by over-activity of a specific muscle, or group of muscles. This commonly occurs in those who perform repetitive activities throughout their day. The muscle imbalance may cause a nerve to become entrapped, or compressed along its course through a muscle, or between anatomical structures. When a nerve is compressed, its blood flow is altered, which leaves it susceptible to hypoxia (a decrease in oxygen). This disrupts proper functioning of the nerve, and may irritate pain fibers, and cause muscle atrophy. The muscle, now weakened, can no longer perform its job by itself, and must transfer some of the workload to its corresponding tendon. Over time, tendonitis may develop as a secondary compensation to the primary injury, i.e. "tennis elbow."
To ensure full recovery, it is imperative that RSI symptoms be recognized early, and its cause determined. Long-term neglect of RSI symptoms has lead to a high number of permanent disabilities. Proper management of RSI's should include an examination for: nerve entrapments, reflex sympathetic dysfunction, reflex muscle weakness or inhibition, and functional imbalances of one's nervous system.
Treatment should include: alleviating the peripheral nerve entrapment, addressing one's posture and ergonomics, restoring balance to one's musculoskeletal system, rehabilitating central relay centers negatively affected by the RSI, and improving one's biomechanics.
Dr. Wellens has had excellent results in the treatment of repetitive strain injuries through chiropractic care and individualized rehabilitation programs
Arthritis and Your Spine
The intervertebral disc (IVD) lies sandwiched between the bones of your back (the spine). The IVD acts as a shock absorbing structure and helps to dissipate various forces which are transmitted through your spine during movement. The center of your IVD is 70-90% water and there is little-to-no blood supply. Nutrient and waste exchange in and out of the IVD occurs through imbibition or absorption. This process works best with proper spinal joint movement.
When spinal joint movement is poor, nutrient and waste exchange in the IVD suffers, and IVD health begins to deteriorate. As the center of the IVD begins to dehydrate (lose water), the shock absorbing characteristics of the IVD become less. This places more stress on the bones of the spine, which can precipitate the formation of additional bone known as bone spurs. This begins the process of arthritis development.
As the bones of the spine begin to take on more stress, other areas of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments) begin to compensate for the poor spinal joint movement. Signs of this include: muscle tightness, muscle spasm, laxity of ligaments, tendonitis, decreased range of motion, and pain.
Dr. Wellens utilizes his examination to find the cause of one's poor spinal and/or extremity joint function. Some causes may include: car accidents, work injuries, sports, repetitive strain injuries, and poor posture.
Pain is defined as "an unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder."
In neurology, there are 3 types of pain: nociceptive, algogenic, and neuropathic.
With Nociceptive Pain, one experiences pain without any observable damage to the tissues of the body. Dr. Wellens utilizes his understanding in neurology to determine the cause of this type of pain in each individual patient. One cause of nociceptive pain may come from poor spinal joint movement.
Every joint in the human body contains two major receptors: mechanoreceptors and nociceptors. Mechanoreceptors provide the brain information about joint movement, while the nociceptors provide the brain information about pain. When spinal joints move properly, there is an increase in mechanoreceptor activity with a resultant decrease in nociceptor (pain) activity. This has been scientifically documented as the Gate Control Theory of Pain. Imbalances in this Pain Gate can lead to pain.
Poor spinal joint movement causes a decrease in the activity of mechanoreceptors, which causes an increase in nociceptive or pain information being sent to the brain. Chiropractic neurology adjustments can restore the integrity and function of spinal and extremity joints to restore the balance of the Pain Gate, and help to alleviate pain and dysfunction.
The second type of pain, Algogenic Pain, occurs with tissue damage. In this stage, tissue is usually damaged as a result of inflammation. This inflammation can be caused by a number of factors which Dr. Wellens will address. Some factors include: poor spinal or extremity joint movement, compensations in soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) as a result of poor spinal or extremity joint movement, poor health habits related to diet, nutrition, supplementation, or toxic pollutant exposure.
Algogenic pain can create profound changes in neurological physiology that alter the function of the spinal cord and the brain. If left untreated, this type of pain can actually grow within the nervous system and lead to chronic pain. Chiropractic neurology adjustments, physical and neurological rehabilitation, exercise, and diet/nutrition/supplement recommendations can help prevent this "growth of pain." A major culprit in this pain growth process is Inflammation!
The third type of pain, Neuropathic Pain, is pain that lingers long after tissue healing has occurred. The growth of pain has "re-wired the nervous system." Pain is due to changes in the spinal cord and brain leading to higher pain sensitivity, lowered pain thresholds, scar tissue accumulation during healing, and imbalance of the pain gate.
Focused and directed chiropractic neurology treatments have the ability to help all three types of pain.
One of the most heavily researched topics in health, chiropractic, and medicine is INFLAMMATION. Inflammation is now being linked to a myriad of diseases and disorders including, but not limited to: pain, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, and neurological disorders such as Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease.
Inflammation is known to cause pain or increase one's pain, generate free radicals which attack the DNA of the cells of the body, and damage all tissues that come in its path. Think of inflammation as a fire raging out of control in your body, devastating and destroying everything it touches. In research, inflammation is described by the variety of chemicals which create or promote the inflammation process: arachidonic acid, prostaglandin E2, lactic acid, leukotrienes, thromboxanes, cytokines, and bradykinin.
Arachidonic acid and Prostaglandin E2 have been known to cause: swelling / edema, increased pain sensitivity, increased blood viscosity (thickness) / blood platelet clumping, spasm of blood vessels, and accumulation of inflammatory cells. This vicious cycle alters the way in which nerve cells communicate, and over stimulate the immune system resembling the changes that occur in autoimmune disorders. The nervous system is COMPLETELY disrupted during high inflammatory states.
There are MANY natural alternatives and therapies designed to decrease inflammation levels. Through years of research, Dr. Wellens has created treatment programs which involve chiropractic neurology based care and rehabilitation, along with proper supplementation and lifestyle changes to provide the best results in reducing inflammation. Dr. Wellens has also worked alongside many medical doctors in the medical and chiropractic neurology treatment of chronic pain patients and those with autoimmune disorders.
Is there a fire raging out of control inside your body causing your pain and dysfunction?
Tennis Elbow / Plantar Fascitis
The key to treating lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), plantar fascitis, or any other injury is to determine what is actually causing the pain and dysfunction experienced by the patient. People are susceptible to certain sport-specific and job-specific injuries because each may have its own inherent repetitive motion requirement. Over time, repetitive motions can cause an imbalance of musculoskeletal function, which can lead to pain and dysfunction.
Optimal human function begins with proper neurological control of joints and muscles. This helps to ensure proper muscle and joint coordination. When an athlete is injured, no matter how major or minor the trauma might be, the soft tissue elements surrounding the injury begin to heal with fibrous scar tissue. Scar tissue develops along with pain and inflammation. This type of tissue is weaker and less elastic than normal tissue, and makes the joint susceptible to further injury because the normal soft tissue elements can no longer protect the joint.
When joints move poorly, they can no longer withstand the forces that are applied to it. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joint begin to compensate, and work beyond their capability. This can lead to muscle spasms, tendonitis, ligament sprains, and pain.
Physical therapy will only provide minimal benefit as it will not directly address the poor biomechanical function of a joint or its neurological control mechanisms. Pain killers, muscle relaxants, cortisone shots, and other drugs will only serve to mask the symptoms, and will not address the true cause of the pain and dysfunction.
Treatments MUST address the neurological control to joints and muscles. Simply treating the soft tissue elements will only address the secondary signs and symptoms of the injury and not the primary cause. Chiropractic neurology adjustments, physiotherapy, and anti-inflammatory procedures will help to address the primary and secondary causes of one's pain and dysfunction. At Wellens Chiropractic Neurology Center, Dr. Wellens can provide those necessary treatment procedures.
Pain is NOT a sign of good joint, muscle, tendon, ligament, and neurological function. If you are in pain, SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY. Allowing the body to compensate for poor spinal and extremity joint function and pain will only create other secondary dysfunctions to occur. This will lead to a chronic dysfunction.
It is ALWAYS a good idea to address an injury earlier rather than later.