I thought it would go away

I hear this several times a day in my chiropractic office, “I thought it would go away”. This may be true in most cases, but not in the spine. Most people believe that a pulled muscle (muscle strain) is something that is very common and will go away. If it doesn�t they start to take some over the counter medication like Advil or Tylenol. A pulled muscle in the leg or arm will usually heal on its own without causing much further damage, but if it’s a strained spinal muscle it could cause problems that may have been corrected relatively easily.

A pulled muscle is exactly that, a “pulled muscle”. It is the contraction of a muscle without conscious effort, usually due to injury or over stress and use. When a muscle contracts it shortens, therefore moving the joints closer together. When a muscle in the spine contracts it moves the spine too. If it�s only on one side it will move the vertebrae to that side. If it is contracting on both sides of the spine it will compress the spine and all the surrounding tissue, possibly including the disc and nerves.

Joint manipulations

The next time your neck or back is starting to get stiff and tight visit your chiropractor. Most modern chiropractors perform therapy to loosen the involved muscles, then adjust the effected vertebrae. Joint manipulations (adjustments) reduce joint swelling and stiffness by repressing fixations and mobilizing the joints into proper alignment. In my practice at Chiropractic Athletic Center in York, PA ,www.chiropracticathleticcenter.com, I also perform in-office x-rays if there was trauma or if I suspect pathology.

Natural muscle relaxers

Most people take over the counter medicine to reduce pain from a pulled muscle. If it gets worse or lingers, a lot of people will take a prescription muscle relaxer. There are natural alternatives. Valerian root extract is very good at reducing muscle spasms and without most of the side effects of prescription medications. There are accounts of native Americans using valerian root tea to aid in sleeping and muscle strains. Other natural muscle relaxers include: rosemary, kava root, vervain, passiflora and catnip. It is recommended to see a health care provider if you have any condition that is serious or not improving with in 24 hours.

Pulled muscles usually start out as muscle tightness and joint stiffness. If untreated, the muscles can spasm causing compression or mis-alignments in the spine. Arthritis or spinal degeneration typically do not occur over night. It is typically from years of neglect, and it’s usually from untreated trauma in the past. If you have neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, knee pain, or joint stiffness do not let it go. Call today to schedule a chiropractic exam at one of our two York, PA offices. West York, 767-4151, and now in North York, 885-0832.

Please submit any questions to Chiropractic Athletic Center 1785 Loucks Rd York, PA 17408 or to chirokev@aol.com.