What is Cervical Disc Degeneration?

What is Cervical Disc Degeneration?

What is Cervical Disc Degeneration?Considering all the stress that is put on the neck, it is no surprise that two-thirds of Americans experience significant neck pain at least once in their lives. Neck pain is a common complaint as neck muscles can become strained from poor posture, injury, or rough movements. Chronic neck pain may also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition such as cervical disc degeneration, which can be mistaken for neck pain until becoming severe. However, cervical disc degeneration is more than just a stiff neck and refers to a degenerative process in which the discs in the cervical spine have begun to deteriorate and cause pain in the neck, upper body, and arms.

What is Cervical Disc Degeneration?

The cervical spine is the part of your spinal column that forms your neck. It consists of seven vertebrae which are separated by discs. These cervical discs stabilize your neck and allow you to smoothly turn and move as desired and act as shock absorbers during activity.

Each disc is composed of a sturdy outer wall and a soft, gel-like inner core. When you are born, these discs are primarily composed of water. When you age, the discs lose some of this water content and begin to thin, providing less shock absorption. This process also makes the disc prone to developing cracks and tears. These changes in your discs can cause the disc to bulge out or protrude and press against nearby nerves which can cause a variety of sensations ranging from numbness, limited mobility, muscle weakness, tingling, and radiating pain that may extend down the neck into the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers.

Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Disc Degeneration

Cervical disc generation can often be dismissed as neck pain early on. Depending on the severity of the condition, symptoms may vary from person to person. Pain may develop slowly or appear suddenly with symptoms that range from a mild neck ache to an inability to move the head without severe pain. Common signs or symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Headaches
  • Limited movement
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Neck pain
  • Worsening pain with movement

If the nerves are affected, patients may experience pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the neck, shoulder, arm, hands, and fingers. These symptoms may only be present on one side of the body. In severe cases, nerves in the neck may begin to affect nerves in the lower body leading to muscle weakness in the legs, loss of coordination, difficulty walking, and trouble with your bowels and/or bladder. If you experience these symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor right away.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis is typically achieved after a thorough review of your medical history, discussion of symptoms, and physical examination. During the examination, you may be asked to perform a variety of tasks and describe how those actions affect your symptoms. A neurological exam may also be performed to test your strength, reflexes, and sensations in the affected areas. Imaging tests such as MRI, X-rays, and CAT scans are also used to identify the disc degeneration and how the nerves and surrounding soft tissues are affected as well as the severity of your condition. Once diagnosed, we will work with you to create a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs and lifestyle.

Treatment

Treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms, your doctor’s recommendations, and whether nerves have been affected. As chiropractors, we specialize in the manipulation of joints within the body to ensure proper functioning and health of the nervous system and that includes your neck. Not only will we locate the source and cause of your pain but we will also provide effective treatment options and lifestyle adjustments to ensure your recovery and restore your optimal quality of life. Rest, cold and warm compresses, and over-the-counter medication can help mild symptoms while more moderate cases may require joint manipulation, bracing, and physical therapy.

The goal of our treatment is to improve joint mechanics within the spinal column to alleviate inflammation and pressure placed on nerves and surrounding soft tissue to restore mobility and function to the neck. Your chiropractor may use a combination of manual manipulation, heat and ice therapy, instrument-assisted manipulation, and therapeutic massage to alleviate symptoms and treat the source of your pain.

If you are experiencing neck pain and suspect cervical disc degeneration, seek professional treatment. Regardless of the source of your pain, we will work with you to determine the right treatment plan for your needs. For more information on cervical disc degeneration or to schedule an appointment, contact Get Well Chiropractic of Northville today.

Wrist Pain

Wrist Pain

Wrist PainAs we navigate through this pandemic many of us have begun to rely on technology even more as stay-at-home orders pushed us to operate businesses, homes, and schools virtually. The increase in screen time can have a direct effect on your health. We aren’t talking about your eyes, but your wrists!

Wrist pain is a common complaint amongst athletes, writers, mechanics, hairdressers, and just about anyone who relies on their hands heavily to complete their jobs. However, no matter what your routine or job is, your wrists are some of the most used joints in your body. If you’ve noticed a nagging pain in your hand and wrists lately, we encourage you to come into our office for an evaluation and treatment.

Though some patients may assume they have carpal tunnel syndrome once they begin to notice reoccurring symptoms, that may not be the case as other conditions can share similar symptoms. It is important to seek a professional medical diagnosis before starting treatment as a condition not properly assessed will only lead to temporary relief and unsuccessful treatments.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) refers to the compression of the median nerve that runs down your forearm, through your wrist, and into the hand. This pressure leads to numbness and tingling throughout the hand commonly felt along the underside of the hand. This pain may extend into the thumb and ring finger. Muscle weakness or clumsiness in the hand may also be experienced. This condition can also be aggravated by other medical conditions such as diabetes or arthritis.

Tendonitis

Tendonitis in the wrist occurs when the soft tissue tendons within your wrist become inflamed. Overuse or repetitive motions can irritate the tendons leading to small tears causing inflammation. Common symptoms include joint stiffness, pain in the wrist, decreased range of motion, muscle weakness, and numbness that extends into the fingers including the pinky. Tendonitis can occur on its own, after injury, or be a secondary symptom to another medical condition.

How We Can Help

Wrist pain may also be caused by a neck, shoulder, or elbow dysfunction that is causing pain to radiate downward and affect the wrists. As chiropractors, we specialize in the manipulation of joints within the body to ensure proper functioning and health of the nervous system and that includes your wrist joint. Not only will we locate the source and cause of your pain but we will also provide effective treatment options and lifestyle adjustments to ensure your recovery and restore your optimal quality of life.

Treatment will vary based on the severity of your condition, doctor’s recommendations, and lifestyle habits. Rest, cold and warm compresses, and over-the-counter medication can help mild symptoms while more moderate cases may require joint manipulation, bracing, and physical therapy.

Though you cannot fully prevent these conditions from occurring, there are steps you can take to reduce the stress and strain placed on your hands and wrists. We recommend the following tips as preventative measures:

  • Adopt a neutral grip or position that keeps the wrist and hand straight
  • Give your hands a break for a few minutes every hour to allow them to rest
  • Sit up straight with your shoulders squared as a hunched posture can strain your arms and wrists
  • Stretch your hands every hour by rolling your wrist, making a fist, and extending your fingers
  • When typing, keep your wrist straight and floating above your keyboard

Your keyboard should be level with your forearms to avoid straining while you type.

Wrist pain can be debilitating but that doesn’t mean you have to live with the pain. If you are experiencing wrist pain, seek professional treatment. Regardless of the source of your pain, we will work with you to determine the right treatment plan for your needs. For more information on wrist pain or to schedule an appointment, contact Get Well Chiropractic of Northville today.

Is Chiropractic Care Covered in My Insurance?

Is Chiropractic Care Covered in My Insurance?

Chiropractic care can be an excellent alternative treatment option for aches and pain throughout the body. Every year, over 20 million Americans visit chiropractors across the nation for various ailments. If you have been injured recently or experience frequent pain in your lower back, you may be considering visiting a chiropractor and wondering about whether your health insurance covers chiropractic care.

Does my insurance cover chiropractic care?

As stated above, seeking chiropractic care is fairly common. Fortunately, most insurance companies cover chiropractic care but do require a co-payment.

Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans such as workers’ compensation, Medicare, specific Medicaid plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare. It is often also made available to all active-duty members of the armed forces, eligible veterans, and federal employees.

It is important to note that though these companies cover chiropractic care, their coverage may be limited and come with certain restrictions including:

  • A referral from your primary care physician stating that care is medically necessary
  • A cap how many times you can receive treatment within a month or year
  • They may make you use in-network or approved chiropractors
  • They may require your doctor to create an active care plan and follow it

Most insurance plans will only cover your short-term care during recovery and will not pay for maintenance visits or long-term care plans.

Due to the unique nature of health insurance and state mandates, we always recommend patients check with their insurance company and specific health plans as each will have different requirements, limits to care, and levels of coverage.

Deductibles

Some policies require that you meet your deductible, or a minimum dollar amount before your benefits will kick in. If your insurance does cover chiropractic treatment and you’ve met their specific requirements, you can expect to pay a portion of the cost of treatment, assuming you’ve met your deductible. If you haven’t met your deductible, you will have to pay the full price until you’ve met the minimum dollar amount for your policy.

Deductibles often reset on January 1st, so if you have met your deductible and are still needing treatment, now is the time to receive care to avoid having to begin paying toward your deductible again after the new year.

Why doesn’t health insurance cover maintenance care?

Coverage is often provided when care is part of an active treatment plan, meaning you are receiving care to treat a specific injury and that the treatment is currently improving your condition and symptoms. When significant treatment can no longer be expected from the care, treatment then becomes supportive rather than corrective, becoming maintenance care. Since most insurance companies only cover care for medically necessary treatments, maintenance care is not considered covered and therefore not payable.

What can I do if my health insurance doesn’t cover my care?

If your insurance doesn’t cover your health plan involving chiropractic care, talk to your doctor to see if they can help. They may be able to reach out to your insurance company on your behalf and explain their referral. You can also reach out to the company yourself and explain your story to them. If they do not cover your care, you may have to pay out of pocket for chiropractic care. Remember to discuss payment plans or other discounts you may be eligible for at our office during your consultation. Another option for those whose insurance doesn’t fully cover chiropractic care is supplemental coverage which can be used in addition to the healthcare you currently have.

Our team is always looking for new ways to help our patients receive quality and affordable chiropractic care. Whether you need an exam for an injury, rehabilitation services, or treatment for a chronic condition, we are here for you and happy to schedule an appointment to get the care you need. For more information on our services and how we can help you, please contact Get Well Chiropractic of Northville.

Chiropractic Care and Fall Prevention

Chiropractic Care and Fall Prevention

Chiropractic Care and Fall Prevention
Did you know that one in every four adults over the age of 65 falls at least once every year? With one in every five falls leading to a serious injury, falling can be one of the biggest dangers to your overall health and wellbeing as well as your quality of life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent falling and reduce your risk of injury – and chiropractic care can help.

The Dangers of Falling

As stated above, falls can cause patients pain, injury, and disrupt their overall quality of life. Falls can cause broken bones such as wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures. Head injuries are also common injuries from falls especially for those who take certain medications that may act as blood thinners.

Several risk factors that contribute to the risk of falling include:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Core and lower body muscle weakness
  • Difficulty walking or maintaining balance
  • Environmental hazards
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Medications
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Vision problems

Unfortunately, after a fall some patients may fear falling again and begin limiting their activities which may work against them as decreased activity can lead to muscle weakness and increase their chance of falling.

How can chiropractic care help?

If you are injured from a fall and experience back pain, neck pain, or hip pain, chiropractic care can not only help to relieve pain, but also can also offer preventative care! Chiropractic care helps to keep your joints and soft tissue in working order which is important to staying healthy and active as you age.

By restoring proper alignment to your body, we can help patients regain mobility allowing you to stay active. We can also offer nutritional advice to help fuel your body properly and keep your bones strong. Another way we can help is to recommend exercises and lifestyle changes to improve and maintain your sense of balance, muscle strength, and flexibility.

Improving your muscle strength in your core and legs is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of falling and the chance of severe injury. Walking, jogging, yoga, dancing, and Tai Chi are all exercises you can do with no special equipment other than supportive shoes. Even practicing leg extensions from a seated position at home can help keep you centered and on your feet. Exercising at least 20 minutes a day will help to prevent muscle weakness which can make you prone to falling.

On your own or with your family, we recommend you also assess your home around environmental hazards as some falls occur within the home or around the house.

  • Ensure handrails are secure on both sides of a staircase
  • Install grab bars near the toilet and bathing area
  • Keep hallways and pathways clear
  • Keep frequently used items within easy reach
  • Place rubber mats in the kitchen
  • Use non-slip mats around the bathroom both inside and outside the bathing area

With these steps and our treatments, we will work together with you and your health care providers to ensure you can continue living a full and healthy life. For more information on how chiropractic care can help with fall prevention or to schedule an appointment, please contact Get Well Chiropractic of Northville today.