Picture of the trapezius muscle with a knot in itMany of the millions of people who visit their doctors of chiropractic annually do so because of chronic pain, strain, spasm, irritation, inflammation or other musculoskeletal conditions. Since about 60% of our body is muscle and bone, it should come as no surprise that these problems are
so common. And yet although chiropractic is not a treatment for chronic muscle pain, it has been a blessing to millions so afflicted. Why?

What Are Muscles?

Muscles are organs that contract. The 650 or so muscles that are connected to our bones -
the ones that bulge when we lift weights and hurt when we overuse them - are called skeletal or striated muscles. These are the muscles that are involved in musculoskeletal (muscle and bone) and neuromusculoskeletal (nerve, muscle and bone) conditions. These muscles can perform impressive feats of speed and strength but quickly gel fatigued.

Facia (Connective tissue)

Wrapped around the outside and lining the inside of muscles and nerves is a strong sheet of connective tissue called muscle facia; you see it when you separate meat from a bone or pull a piece of meat apart - it looks like plastic or cellophane, and it carries the many nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics that supply the muscles. If the fascia are damaged, the blood, nerve and lymph supply to the muscles can be interrupted and chronic muscle problems can result.

Muscles and nerves

Nerves make muscles move; when a nerve is stimulated the muscle to which it is connected contracts. Nerves also supply muscles with growth nutrients. If you can cut a muscle's nerves, two things happen:-

  1. the muscle becomes paralyzed;
  2. it withers away.

Cut or severed nerves are not the only cause of muscular paralysis. Neuromuscular diseases like multiple sclerosis or polio can also cause a loss of nerve conduction to the muscles.

Chronic Muscle Spasm. Fibrositis, Fibromyalgia

Feeling "tight"; always needing to stretch; feeling constant aches and pains in the back of the neck, lower back, and hips; feeling old and stiff; being plagued by morning fatigue, sleeping problems or tender points (sensitive areas on the body surface) are the symptoms of chronic muscle spasm. This condition is also called fibrositis or fibromyalgia, and by a host of other names: myofascial spasms, nonarticular or muscular rheumatism, myofascitis, myositis or myotendinosis.

Trigger Points

Trigger points are tender, sensitive areas that, when pressed, stuck, heated or cooled can be exquisitely painful. They may exist before as well as after the appearance of muscular aches and pains. In fact, patients may first discover their trigger points when they are surprised by someone pressing a seemingly pain-free area. The pain of trigger points may not only be felt in the area pressed but may also be referred to other areas of the body. Trigger points are common in chronic muscle spasm, myalgia, myositis, fibrositis, strain and sprain and other muscle and joint problems.

The Medical Approach

To standard medicine, muscle spasm, fibrositis and trigger points are a mystery. General Practitioners and rheumatologists searching for a viral or chemical cause have come up empty-handed. Medical doctors have tried injections with pain-numbing agents such as novocaine, procaine, and xylocaine; cooling sprays; muscle relaxant drugs and injections (including cortisone); and other drugs, with mixed results. These are temporary, often hit-or-miss solutions that can sometimes make the patient feel worse. The still-suffering patient is often referred to a physiotherapist for treatment with heat, massage and other modalities, again with limited success.

The Chiropractic Approach

The most common disruption of the nerve-muscle relationship occurs as a result of the vertebral misalignment stresses. The spinal bones (the vertebrae) become misaligned and irritate, impinge, or otherwise disrupt the spine's nerve-muscle-bone relationship; the spinal chord, spinal nerves, fascia, meninges and other tissues can also become damaged. Vertebral misalignment stress can cause joints to "freeze" or lose normal movement, causing damage to the involved area.  This condition is called a subluxation.

The Doctors at Krause Family Chiropractic correct these subluxations (mechanical muscle, bone and joint factors) that play a major part in chronic muscle spasm or fibrositis. For many, chiropractic proves to be the key to alleviating chronic muscle spasm. Nearly anyone suffering from this condition should make sure that his/her spine is free from spinal nerve stress. A healthy spinal column and nerveous system is a necessary foundation for proper muscle function.  Call us for an adjustment TODAY!

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