Thursday, July 19, 2012

Do you have neck stiffness?

The most common form of joint disease of the neck is Cervical Joint Degeneration (CJD).  CJD is the loss of cartilage over time which includes reactive changes at the joint margins and bone.  The symptoms begin as morning stiffness that is relieved by rest, a decreased range of motion and pain that develops slowly or with use. You may even have numbness or tingling in your fingers or weakness in your arms.

If you have those symptoms does it mean you have CJD?

Not necessarily, however symptoms and an examination of your spine may lead me to order an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

How did you get CJD?

CJD usually occurs earlier in men after some sort of trauma or repetitive stress due to poor posture and dehydration.

What can you do to treat CJD?
I will evaluate the severity of your diagnosis, and if the degeneration has not progressed too much, I will treat your symptoms with conservative care including joint manipulation, teaching and treatment for pain management.  This includes:
  • Rest
  • Heat
  • Electrical modalities
  • Traction to unload the joints
  • Myofascial Release Techniques such as Graston or ART
I will also work with you to prevent worsening of the condition, including decreasing or removing the causal factors. If your symptoms worsen despite aggressive conservative care, I may refer you for a surgical consult.

I want you to HURT LESS and PLAY MORE, and this is one condition you should not just live with… let’s work together to manage it.

Source:   Snider, Robert K, MD.  Essentials of Musculoskeletal care 1999

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Laurie call us at (512) 258-4425 or visit our website to learn more.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tibia Stress Fracture?

A stress fracture of the lower leg is difficult to diagnose due to the vague discomfort and pain over the muscles of the lower leg [shin splints].  A stress fracture develops when the muscles of your lower leg are overworked and cause the bones top layer called the periosteum to become irritated.

How does the fracture occur?
1.Chronic shin splints can lead to a fracture
2.Over or underpronation in your foot can lead to overworking your lower leg muscles
3.Overuse – increase or change in training
4.Running on hard surfaces, hills, jumping
5.A history of osteoporosis

How do I diagnose this?
1.I perform an examination
2.I will send you for an X-ray after 10-14 days, and treat it as a fracture if I suspect it to be a fracture even if the x-ray is negative
3.If necessary I will send you for a bone scan can to detect hot spots

How do I treat it? I will prescribe:
1.Rest for 4-6 weeks
2.Physical therapy Including use of some of the equipment in my office such as the PEMF, IF
3.Increase Vitamin C, Calcium, Vitamin D [consult your primary care doctor]
4.Water exercises or cycling [non-impact]
5.I will look at why did you developed this. Discuss possible causes such as  Orthotics/shoes/ and I will treat the root cause.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Laurie call us at (512) 258-4425 or visit our website to learn more. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Pain in the Foot!

Plantar Fasciitis… not something you get from the shower at the gym but what is it?

Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. It creates the arch of the foot by connecting the heel bone to the toes.

How do I diagnose it?

There are several key symptoms including pain for several days which can become chronic if left untreated, a lack of trauma but sometimes new shoes can cause it to start. Also, the patient often has increased pain when they first stand up and walk or run, which then seems to improve as activity continues. The pain then again worsens at the end of the day. Some patients experience a tired achy feeling, foot cramps and these are often worse at the end of the day. From my own experience and what my patients tell me, the symptoms are better with rest and avoidance of the activity.

How do I treat it?

For acute cases, I encourage my patients to rest, use ice and NSAIDS if there is any swelling. I will use the Ultrasound machine to provide deep tissue ultrasound which decreases the inflammation as well. I will perform soft tissue massage, Myofascial release [Active Release technique], Graston Technique, adjustments [posterior calcaneus, taus, inferior navicular, pelvis and lumbar]and then encourage use of a  TP kit or foam roll lower extremity and or a donut pad/soft pad under heel, silicone pads can be helpful. I will not just treat the foot itself but all the connective tissue such as the calf muscle, hamstrings and Achilles tendons since they connect and become the plantar fascia and when tight are often the root cause of Plantar Fasciitis.

For more chronic cases, ice and heat will not help much but I will use ultrasound, work the calf muscles, strengthen the inverter [tibialis anterior & posterior] & intrinsic muscles of the foot with exercises, perform deep soft tissue work, and recommend Bromelain instead of NSAIDS for inflammation. I will possibly recommend that the patient consider orthotics, posterior night splints and will insist on a daily routine of rolling with TP kit, ball or foam roller. I will most often encourage my patients to avoid steroid injections as they may lead to neurosis, weakening of the connective tissue and/or scar tissue buildup and fat pad damage.

If you are a runner, I would recommend making stretching and rolling a top priority and try adding yoga and Pilates to your routine. Yoga provides all around stretching and strengthening. It helps our core by involving movements that are not always linear and follow one plane of movement (sagittal), but instead encourages multi-planar strengthening (frontal, sagittal, transverse) which we use in real life movement and which allows us to hurt less and play more.

Please visit our website to learn more about us and our services!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why Am I Not Getting Better?

How many visits and how frequently should I see my Chiropractor?  These are great questions. I like to take one visit at a time and see if what I am doing is helping my patients. There is no recipe for all injuries and all patients.

Your first visit includes an exam, a review of your condition, age, lifestyle, attitude and an evaluation of other such relevant factors.   Each of these factors plays a role in your treatment plan.  You can choose to be aggressive and come twice a week or treat it less aggressively and come once a week.  Sometimes if the visits are too far apart the body does not have enough treatment to change the dynamics of the injury.  Sometimes the visits are too frequent and the body does not have time to repair and rebuild your dysfunctional tissue. Every injury and body’s response is unique.

Other times there are other factors that impede your recovery. Activity, lack of activity or pharmacological treatment might affect recovery positively or negatively. Each visit I re-evaluate so that I can determine what is working or not working for you and the specific injury you have. 

Missed VisitsThis speaks for itself.  If you do not make time to get better, your progress is impeded and so is the evaluation process.  I know time and money play a role in your ability to get treated.  But, in order to fully recover, you have to make time to yourself!

Be patientBasic Science regarding tissue repairing and rebuilding says it takes 4-6 weeks.  It is a process that takes time.   This time varies and is different from person to person.  Other factors are how acute or chronic the injury is. Have you had this issue for greater than 3 months?   If so, the injury is now chronic and may require a more aggressive approach and more time to repair.  But, like I tell all my patients, “You heal yourself!.” I am just the catalyst.
Home careWhat are doing after treatment?  Are you doing something that can slow down the process?  For example: Activities that cause you pain should be avoided. Also, you should incorporate a home exercise program to help with your progress.
What kind of lifestyle changes have you make to help yourself? Be honest with yourself

1. Drink water
2. Rest
3. Nutrition
4. Yoga 1-2 times a week
5. Foam rolling or TP Kit 1-3 times a day
6. Stretch after activity
7. Stress reduction or coping mechanism
If after 3-5 visits there is no change in your condition, I will refer you for diagnostic tests and/or many refer you to another specialist depending on the results. Like you, I am concerned with decreasing your pain and improving your function. 
If I am not meeting your expectations, let me know so I can respond appropriately and help you get the results you deserve!

Visit our website to learn more about our services. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Importance of Hip Strength and Motion

Did you know that a great deal of strength comes from your hips?  A dysfunction in hip strength can cause problems with your knees. back, neck, shoulders, legs, feet, etc.Your hip joint along with the labrum, capsule, tendons, ligaments and muscles help you walk and run. When there is an injury, you are unable to move without pain or dysfunction.

Also important is the fact that a decrease in hip motion (due to restrictions in either the hip capsule or the hip muscles) will often cause excessive force to be directed into the lower back and knees. This lack of force dissipation results in your body making compensations from your lower back into your knee, neck and shoulders and can cause a series of chronic injuries.  Does this sound like anything you have experienced?

Another major problem that occurs in conjunction with hip restriction is osteoarthritis. Restrictions in your hip prevent proper dissipation of force. Ideally this energy is stored and released with normal leg motion. However if, due to restrictions, the head of your femur (leg bone) is jamming directly into your pelvis (socket joint), you will see excessive wear and tear of the hip joint. This eventually can lead to a frayed labrum or a tear in the labrum which will cause osteoarthritis, and eventually hip replacement.

Basically if your hips are restricted, your body will compensate for this lack of motion by creating excessive motion in other parts of your body. Stress in your low back and knee (due to lack of hip motion) causes compensations all the way back up to your shoulders and your neck.

Schedule a visit to Austin Family and Sports Chiropractic if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above.  Our experienced staff can treat the root cause of your pain and can show you exercises for building strength.  We want you to hurt less and play more!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Acupuncture, Nutrition and Immunity

'Tis the season to be coughing and sneezing, vomiting and… you know what else…

It is winter here in Central Texas and that brings cough, cold and flu season. I know first hand that nothing is more important to your health than a well-functioning immune system. In addition to these common ailments, the immune system protects us from infections, asthma, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer. Preventing disease and maintaining health are deeply rooted in the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine. It is not unusual in the Chinese culture for people to get regular acupuncture treatments to enhancing their immune systems. In addition to acupuncture, diet, nutrition and exercise are also key to immune health.

Acupuncture is a powerful tool to regulate the immune system. In the United States, acupuncture was initially accepted as a valid treatment for pain-related issues, but it has the potential to treat a wide range of health problems, including the immune system. Research shows that acupuncture can increase the body’s T-cell count, as well as the number of cells that ingest and destroy bacteria, protozoa and cell debris. One study showed that white blood cell counts and mobility have increased by 168 percent within three hours after treatment. ₁ People are beginning to realize that regular acupuncture treatments for their asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, colds or infections will relieve their symptoms.

As noted earlier, diet also plays a role in immune health. Food sources such as Shiitake mushrooms are recommended by Chinese medicine practitioners for helping protect your health. They contain lentinan, an anti-viral substance which has a strong immuno-stimulating activity. Other foods that are helpful are soy products, certain types of fish and nuts, garlic, sesame seeds, yogurt, and certain fruits and vegetables. The micro-nutrients beta carotene, zinc, and vitamins A, E, and C are also key elements in strengthening our immune system. A diet rich in these foods and nutrients and low in fat is recommended.

Moderate exercise also enhances the immune system but strenuous exercise can deplete the body and decrease overall immunity. Since many of you are athletes that I know love your challenging fitness goals, acupuncture may be a valuable addition to your health maintenance this season.

In conclusion, there is no one food, supplement or treatment that will prevent or cure immune disease or illness but use of prophylactic acupuncture and nutritional sources are recommended.

Here is an article that you might find interesting
“Acupuncture Research Study Shows Significant Improvement in Baseline Natural Killer Cell Activity in Athletes”

₁ Expert Advice-Treatment of Immune Deficiency in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):
By Wei Liu, TCMD, MPH, LAC, Changzhen Gong, PhD, MS
The American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pediatric Chiropractic Care

Conditions Treated

Chiropractic care in children and adolescents treats conditions resulting from birth trauma, earaches, upper respiratory infections, muscle pain, neck pain, injuries from sports or accidents, scoliosis, headaches, sleep disorders, asthma and allergy symptoms and even attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Spinal manipulation for children as young as newborn babies is an alternative treatment for the discomfort of colic and other digestive disorders as well.

Parents surveyed by the ICPA reported behavioral improvement for kids who saw a chiropractor, as well as improved sleep and stronger immune systems. Although scientific evidence in these areas is still inconclusive, the growing number of those seeking children's health care from chiropractors (up 8.5% since 1991, according to the American Chiropractic Association) is a positive endorsement of its benefits. Chiropractic America reports that natural, drug-free chiropractic care is sometimes more effective than traditional medical approaches. Success in these areas has implications for chiropractic care's preventive capacity. Periodic ongoing adjustments at a young age may prevent problems before they begin. ₁

Parents might become aware of spinal problems by symptoms such as their child's head being tilted to one side or restricted head or neck motion to one side. Also if a child sleeps for only an hour or two at a time, or has feeding or nursing difficulties.

Pediatric Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic care corrects the spinal alignment releasing muscle tissue and compressed nerves which can become misaligned during birth or from a blow or fall. Most children respond quickly since their spines are a lot more mobile than those of adults. They rarely have the scar tissue and adhesions that adults with chronic problems have. Resolving problems early can avoid problems later on. Spinal adjustments for infants and young children involve very light finger-tip adjustments or use of an activator device. If a parent or child does not want to be adjusted Dr. Laurie will use the activator and perform soft tissue release to correct any alignment issues, or muscle tightness. The device is categorized as a mechanical force manual assisted (MFMA) instrument which is generally regarded as a softer chiropractic treatment technique. (Wikipedia) The activator is a small handheld spring-loaded instrument which delivers a small impulse to the spine. It was found to give off no more than 0.3 J of kinetic energy in a 3-millisecond pulse. The aim is to produce enough force to move the vertebrae but not enough to cause injury.₂



The risk of a child suffering a permanent injury from a spinal manipulation is extremely rare. Chiropractors have been adjusting children's spines for most of the 100 years since chiropractic was first established, and has an excellent safety record. A check of some of the largest insurance carriers, who provide malpractice insurance coverage for chiropractors in the United States, has identified that despite the recent adverse media coverage, not one claim for injury to a child has been filed in the past five years. ₃

In regards to Dr. Laurie's chiropractic care of pediatrics, Dr. Laurie recently received the following commendation for her treatment of a pediatric whom had an injury.

"Dr. Laurie was AMAZING in helping my 11 year-old recover from a Grade 1 ankle sprain," said Donna Campbell recently. "My daughter was told by a medical doc that it would be 4-6 weeks before she could resume competitive dance. I brought her to Dr. Laurie, and she is now FULLY recovered after only two weeks of Dr. Laurie's treatments. Heat therapy, calf-cleaning, acupuncture and chiropractic procedures...Dr. Laurie's treatment plan WORKED! She is obviously doing something RIGHT in her clinic. Most of all, Dr. Laurie doesn't want "recurring patients." She wants patients to GET WELL and get back into their lives. I applaud her 100%!"


₂ Fuhr, Arlan W.; J. Michael Menke (February 2005). "Status of Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique, Theory, and Practice". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 28 (2): e1–e20. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2005.01.001. PMID 15800504. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
₃ A Parent's Guide to Chiropractic Care for Children, Peter Fysh, DC
For more information on Chiropractic Care for ADHD, see The Chiropractic Care of Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Retrospective Case Series Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 2009.