Often, patients or potential patients are unaware of what their condition truly means. We have designed this page entirely to help you educate yourself about the conditions you or a loved one are experiencing. Be sure to check back as we will be adding videos of our workshops and other helpful material. Also, you may visit http://www.thepaulkclinic.info for more videos and information. If you are not yet a patient and are exhibiting signs of these conditions or other chronic conditions and want relief, be sure to contact us for your free consultation today!
Lower Back Pain
About 85 percent of the population will experience disabling, low back pain at least once during their lives! That’s almost all of us. The problem is so bad that, at any one time, 6.8 percent of the U.S. adult population is suffering from an episode of back pain lasting more than two weeks. That’s a lot of bad backs. The estimated cost of back pain treatment in the U.S. is over $50 billion a year. The standard medical approach to back pain relief varies depending on the severity of the condition. Muscle relaxers, painkillers, rest, and physical therapy such as traction, diathermy, ultrasound, hot packs, and cold packs are sometimes used for back pain therapy. However, this approach has not been found very helpful. If the problem doesn’t improve or worsens, then surgery may be performed. The medical approach is sometimes necessary – even back surgery has a place. But, according to some studies, most spinal surgery for acute lower back problems should be rarely performed. Many people who have had back surgery report a recurrence of their symptoms within a year or two of the operation and may return to the operating table. In some cases, the surgery makes no difference whatsoever. In other cases, it does bring long-term relief. I take a different approach to the treatment and prevention of low back pain. After a thorough chiropractic/orthopedic/neurological examination I determine which part of the nervous system or spine is not functioning properly. Based upon these findings an individualized treatment plan will be determined.
If additional diagnostics are required they will be ordered. If additional consultation with other health care providers as necessary, they will be done.
Lower back pain can be a real simple problem such as a pinched nerve or complex problem such as disc bulge, disc herniations. Our doctors are trained in the latest diagnostics procedures and we have a close relationship with specialist and subspecialist in the area for additional support.
Call Dr. Paulk today to set up your no obligation initial consultation either by phone or in person.
Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.
- Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion and is more susceptible to injury and pain.
- Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain, as well as numbness, when these nerves are unable to function normally.
- Degenerative disc disease can cause reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.
The majority people over 40 have different degrees of osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis. Allowed to go on its normal course, this condition slowly gets worse unless proper intervention is done.
Don’t let anyone tell you that there is nothing that can be done about it.
Daily Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.
Chiropractic Care of Neck Pain
During your visit, our Doctors will perform exams to locate the source of your pain and will ask you questions about your current symptoms and remedies you may have already tried. For example:
- When did the pain start?
- What have you done for your neck pain?
- Does the pain radiate or travel to other parts of your body?
- Does anything reduce the pain or make it worse?
The doctors at The Paulk Clinic will also do physical and neurological exams .In the physical exam, our doctors will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. Your doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your shoulder area is also in order. During the neurological exam, your doctor will test your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread and check for the possibility of a post concussive syndrome following any physical accident.
In some instances, our doctors might order tests to help diagnose your condition. An x-ray can show narrowed disc space, fractures, bone spurs, or arthritis. A computerized axial tomography scan (a CT or CAT scan) or a magnetic resonance imaging test (an MRI) can show bulging discs and herniation. If nerve damage is suspected, your doctor may order a special test called electromyography (an EMG) to measure how quickly your nerves respond.
If the doctors at The Paulk Clinic diagnoses a condition that needs further attention you will referred to the appropriate medical physician or specialist. The Paulk Clinic maintains a close professional relationship with numerous specialist and subspecialist in our area. Our doctors may also ask for permission to inform your family physician of the care you are receiving to ensure that your chiropractic care and medical care are properly coordinated.
A neck adjustment (also known as a cervical manipulation) is a precise procedure applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand. A neck adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore range of motion; it can also increase movement of the adjoining muscles. Patients typically notice an improved ability to turn and tilt the head, and a reduction of pain, soreness, and stiffness.
Dr. Paulk is been in practice since 1977 and has performed literally tens of thousands of adjustments in his career.
Of course, your chiropractor will develop a program of care that may combine more than one type of neck pain treatment, depending on your personal needs. In addition to manipulation, the treatment plan may include mobilization, massage or rehabilitative exercises, or something else.
The Paulk Clinic, having treated literally thousands of neck pain patients through the years, will develop a treatment protocol to specifically address your issues. Don’t just rely on medications to control of pain. Seek to find the root cause and get your life back.
Call today and speak to Dr. Paulk either by phone or in person.
Special thanks to the American Chiropractic Association for contributions.
Middle Back Pain
There are many sources of dysfunction in the upper back (thoracic spine), especially when you consider the numerous joints and interlacing of muscles that compromise thoracic spine and rib cage. If one muscle or joint is injured or inflamed, it can create a cascade of pain and dysfunction that can be difficult to treat.
The mid and upper back is known as the thoracic spine. It is the largest portion of the spine, consisting of 12 of the 24 spinal vertebra with attachment along the ribs. All of the thoracic vertebra articulate with the ribs and together protect the thorax–that’s why it is called the thoracic spine.
Upper back pain as a phenomena that affects all age groups. Upper back pain, is very common but receives much less attention the neck and lower back pain.
Middle back pain is very common, particularly as we age and can become quite debilitating if not addressed.
The doctors at The Paulk Clinic will do a thorough assessment of all the involved areas can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
Call Dr. Paulk and schedule your phone or on-site consultation at no charge.
Scoliosis – Twisted Spine
When you have scoliosis, your spine’s straight position begins to bend sideways. It can take the form of a single curve (C-shaped) or as a double curve (S-shaped). The most commonly affected area is the mid spine, followed by the lower spine. Double curves usually involve both of these areas.
This condition most commonly occurs in the young, between 10 and 15 years old. Female are much more likely to have scoliosis than males. When you have scoliosis, your spine’s straight position begins to bend sideways. It can take the form of a single curve (C-shaped) or as a double curve (S-shaped). The most commonly affected area is the mid spine, followed by the lower spine. Double curves usually involve both of these areas. This condition most commonly occurs in the young, between 10 and 15 years old. Female are much more likely to have scoliosis than males. In mild to moderate or chronic scoliosis ( individuals 18 and over) chiropractic treatment is recommended. Studies show that individuals receive chiropractic adjustments of the spine have decreased pain and discomfort.
Sciatica – Pinched Nerve (Leg Pain, Weakness, Numbness, Tingling)
The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain with possibly tingling, numbness and/or weakness that starts in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg.
Sciatic pain is often characterized by one or a combination symptoms including constant pain and only one side of the buttock or leg (regularly in both legs), pain that is worse when sitting, leg pain that is often described as burning, tingling or searing (versus a dull ache) and may have a sharp pain that make it difficult to stand up or to walk. The sciatic pain can vary from infrequent and irritating to being constant and incapacitating. It all depends on what causes the sciatic neuritis.
Typical medical treatment consists of anti-inflammatory medication, heat/cold, narcotic pain medication, bed rest, and if condition does not improve, epidural steroid injections.
Causes of sciatica can vary from lumbar disc herniation, lumbar degenerative disc disease, lumbar stenosis or possibly a piriformis syndrome. The piriformis syndrome his condition were muscles within the hip tighten, impinging the sciatic nerve and mimicking a lumbar disc problem.
Unfortunately, standard medical treatment usually does not address the underlying cause of pain and only works to temporarily control symptoms.
Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression Therapy, Pinched nerve therapy as we like to call it, has proven to be ineffective treatment for many types of sciatica. When spinal decompression therapy is successful, you can correct the underlying cause of the pain, not just temporarily cover the symptoms.
Other specific chiropractic techniques can give pinched nerve relief addressing the underlying causes, improve function and hopefully avoid painful and expensive pain management or surgical interventions.
The doctors at The Paulk Clinic have extensive training in the management of sciatic conditions.
If you suffer from this devastating condition give Dr. Paulk a call for your no charge consultation either an office or over the phone.
Shoulder pain can be a very complex problem. It can be acute (recent) or chronic (long-standing). It can be from acute injury to the internal ligaments or tendon structure. It can be due to acute injury to the muscles that support the shoulder.
Chronic shoulder pain can develop from long-standing postural problems that result in wear and tear on the joint structures. Mechanical misalignments of the shoulder joint and also resulting continue to wear and tear and eventually a painful condition.
The doctors at The Paulk Clinic can assist in evaluation of an acute or chronic shoulder painful condition and offer conservative treatment options to our patients.
Arm and Hand Problems
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome :Arm and hand pain and problems are common, and many issues with these areas can be linked to agree to nerves, call the brachial plexus. These nerves, out of the lower neck and passed through the upper shoulder down through the arm and hand area and allow the shoulder arm and hand to move and to feel. Any nerve damage to these areas or pinched nerves can cause pain, loss of mobility, loss of sensation, tingling and numbness in the arm and hand and is known as brachial plexopathy this can even bring on carpal tunnel like symptoms.
Symptoms can include numbness in the shoulder, arm and or hand, shoulder pain, tingling, burning or abnormal sensations and weakness of the shoulder arm wrist and/or hand.
The standard medical approach will be to prescribe prescription medications such as painkillers or steroids to deal with the pain, but is critical to be aware this only is masking the problem, and may put you at risk for other health issues as a result of the medications.
Chiropractic management can be a viable option for shoulder, arm and hand pain numbness and tingling. The doctors at Paulk chiropractic investigated locate any potential interference to the nerve transmission coming from the neck through your shoulder that may be causing compression of nerves.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a ‘repetitive stress injury’ to the ligaments in the hand causing an inflammatory response placing pressure on the nerves. This stress can come from repetitive motion, such as typing, or completing repetitive motions with the hands like assembly line work. These actions may cause pain and injury over time. Chiropractic is beneficial for patients seeking noninvasive relief from this ailment that has become all too prevalent with the increased use of computers. The earlier that CTS is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Diagnosis includes physical examination and possibly x-rays. Typically, chiropractic care, for CTS is to address the problematic wrist and elbow, as well as adjustments of the upper spine. It may be advised to rest the affected arm, apply cold to reduce inflammation, perform recommended exercises, or wear a splint and or brace to immobilize the area.
Migraines and Chronic Headache
The migraine headache is perhaps the best known special type of headache. It is really called the migraine syndrome. By syndrome we mean that a lot of things accompany the headache – all of them bad. Symptoms include dizziness, visual problems, spots before the eyes, redness, swelling, tearing of the eyes, muscle contraction, irritability, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. These symptoms often arise before the headache hits. The headache itself may last for a few minutes to a few days, and the severity may range from minor discomfort to immobilizing agony.
The migraine pain is most common in the temple, but it may be experienced anywhere in the head, face and neck. A variety of headache, closely related to the migraine, is the cluster headache. Attacks come on abruptly with intense, throbbing pain arising high in the nostril and spreading to behind the eye on the same side. Sometimes, the forehead is also affected. The attacks tend to occur from once to several times daily in clusters lasting weeks, or even months. Without apparent reason, the cluster subsides as quickly as it began. So what puts the ache in headache? The pain-sensitive structures of the head are the culprits. These are the arteries of the brain and skull, the tissues surrounding the head veins, the dura covering over the brain, and certain nerves called cranial nerves. When these parts are inflamed, stretched, pulled, or under pressure, any type of headache may be caused. Migraine headaches can be classified into two types: classical and common. The classical migraine is a headache that follows an aura or some type of spontaneous event such as numbness or tingling. The aura may be flashes of light, squiggly lines, or a halo effect. The common migraine does not have an aura associated with it. Most people who suffer from migraines suffer from common migraines – usually at a 3:1 ratio. Approximately 28 million Americans suffer from migraines, and millions go without treatment. Scientists once thought migraines were caused by abnormally dilated or enlarged blood vessels. Now, new imaging devices have allowed them to watch brains during migraine attacks, and scientists are discovering that sufferers have abnormally excitable neurons or brain nerve cells. The latest migraine research has yielded a mechanism called cortical spreading depression, or CSD. Prior to the onset of pain in a migraine, researchers have observed a sudden burst of cortical activity that occurs most commonly in the occipital lobes (back part of the brain). The occipital lobe will increase in frequency of firing, or have a burst of activity, and then there will be an episode of silence or depressed activity. The actual activity of the brain becomes depressed when compared to normal. The resulting pain comes from either the brain stem activation or from blood vessels inflamed by rapidly exchanging blood flow – or both.
I take a different approach to the treatment and prevention of headaches and migraines. After a thorough neurological examination I determine which part of the nervous system is not functioning properly. In many headache and migraine patients I may find a high mesencephalic output.
There are three parts to the brain stem: top, middle, and lower. The mesencephalon is the top part of the brain stem. A high output of the mesencephalon will cause an increased pulse and heart rate, inability to sleep or waking up from fitful sleep, urinary tract infection, increase warmth or sweating, and sensitivity to light.
Along with a high mesenphalic output, the patient may have a decreased output of the cerebellum. The cerebellum is in the back part of the brain, and it controls all of the involuntary spinal musculature.
No matter what the condition, it is imperative that the doctor performs a thorough and comprehensive exam to determine the exact nature of the patient’s condition.
Call Dr. Paulk today to set up your no complications condition consultation either in person or by phone.
Peripheral Neuropathy Peripheral Neuropathy (PN)
PN is the term used to describe disorders of the peripheral nerves. Even though 10 to 20 million people in the US suffer with PN information is hard to come by. Approximately 50% of diabetics will develop the condition. Many people using statin pills: ‘cholesterol drugs’ will be affected by this mysterious and under-recognized malady. Neuropathy means “disease or abnormality of the nervous system” which is not a very helpful definition. We need to think of neuropathy as any DAMAGE to the nervous system. Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Herniated Discs and Strokes are all insults to different areas of the nervous system, all with different symptoms. Diabetes is a systemic disease that affects all nerves of the body from the brain, eyes and small nerves of the heart and digestive system, to the nerves in the hands, feet, and legs. The peripheral nervous system is made up of the nerves that branch out of the spinal cord to all parts of the body. Peripheral nerve cells have three main parts: Cell body, axons, and dendrites (nerve/muscle junction). And part of the nerve can be affected, but damage to axons is most common. The axon transmits signals from nerve cell or nerve cell to muscle. Most axons are surrounded by a substance call myelin, which facilitates signal transmission. There are two types of symptoms with PN; negative and positive. Negative signs, which come first, are when damage to the nervous system, obviously, brings about a LOSS of a particular function. For example; loss of reflexes, loss of strength, and loss of sensation like numbness. But these are rarely detectable to the patient, because the brain makes up the different in the losses. Only after some time do the sick and damaged nerves develop the positive signs of neuropathy; tingling, burning, biting, stabbing, shooting pains. This too is a reaction of the brain and the nervous system, unfortunately this over reaction tears apart the fiber of the patients’ lives. Each patient will describe their pain in their own individual language of ‘pain’. This can easily confuse a doctor not trained in the recognition and treatment of these patients. So the patient usually continues at suffer, going from doctor to doctor, to stronger and stronger doses of pills until they are either completely drugged up and ‘out of it’, or lost in their own world of suffering. Some neuropathies come on suddenly, others over many years. Some people are affected only by a weakness in the arms and legs which legs which leads to difficulty standing, walking, or getting out of a chair. The loss of sensation from the feet, ankles and toes contributes to patients not having a ‘good sense’ of where there feet are in space, touching the ground, and this causes them to fall very easily. These under-recognized sensory losses CAN ONLY be detected with proper clinical exam. This office has the necessary tools to uncover the underlying cause of this ‘silent’ nerve damage.
Some patients will eventually become unable to walk at all. Others start with a tingling, pin pricking feeling that turns into deep sharp stabbing pains and burning electric shocks. These debilitating problems can also be at their worst at night while trying to get to sleep, because the PAIN never goes away. In fact, once started IT ONLY GETS WORSE!!
Currently, ordinary medicine has NO cure for PN. The extremely powerful drugs dispensed to patients do NOT TREAT the NERVE DAMAGE! They numb the brain to numb the pain. Most patients cannot tolerate a drugged existence but feel they have NO OTHER OPTION against this horrifying pain.
Introduction to Functional Thyroid Disorders. Functional thyroid disorders are very common and generally overlooked in today’s healthcare model. Most patients that have functional thyroid imbalances do not have primary thyroid imbalances. Thyroid metabolism is very sensitive to slight alterations in metabolism. Thyroid hormone synthesis is altered by luteal phase function, progesterone, and autoimmunity, etc. Thyroid hormone binding is influenced by essential fatty acid metabolism, testosterone, estrogen, etc. Thyroid hormone peripheral conversion is dependent on proper 5’diodinase activity and can be altered by cortisol, estrogen, hepatic dysfunction, dysbiosis, etc. Thyroid hormone receptor binding and response may be altered by inflammation, vitamin A status, and essential fatty acid levels, etc. In this section of the notes we will briefly review thyroid hormone physiology, laboratory markers for thyroid evaluation, nutrients to support the thyroid, exogenous thyroid hormone replacement, and drugs that alter thyroid metabolism.
Low Thyroid Symptoms
- Increase in weight gain even with low-calorie diet & morning headaches that wear off as the day progresses
- Hypersensitivity to cold weather
- Poor circulation and numbness in hands and feet
- Muscle cramps while at rest
- Catches colds and other viral/bacterial problems easily and has difficulty recovering
- Wounds heal slowly
- Excessive amount of sleep required to function properly
- Chronic digestive problems (hypochlorhydria)
- Itchy dry skin
Low Thyroid Signs
- Hair falls out easily
- Dry or brittle hair
- Dry skin
- Low axillary temperature (this may also be caused by any endocrine imbalance)
- Edema, especially facial (myxedema)
- Loss of outside portion of eyebrows
Vertigo, or dizziness, affects millions of people around the world each year. In a majority of the cases, vertigo is nothing than a temporary inconvenience. In some cases, vertigo is a debilitating condition. Day-to-day activities is kept to a minimum due to the severe dizziness.
In many cases, the area of dysfunction in the nervous system is the cerebellum. The cerebellum is in the posterior aspect (back part) of the brain and controls our coordinated movements.
There are specific neurological tests that the we utilize to determine cerebellar function. Standing with your feet together and eyes closed, the test is positive if the patient sways back and forth. Other tests include, touching the index finger to the nose with the eyes closed, walking heel to toe, moving the fingers rapidly as if playing the piano, or touching all of your fingers to your thumb as fast as possible. These tests and others are used to determine the function of the cerebellum.
Treatment of the cerebellar dysfunction may include:
- Unilateral (one-sided) Adjustments: Extremities (arms and legs), lumbar (low back) and cervical (neck) spine will be manipulated on one side only to fire muscle spindle cells (muscle receptors) and joint mechanoreceptors (joint receptors) into the same cerebellum and opposite cerebra cortex (brain). The thoracic (mid-back) spine will be globally manipulated to fire the dorsal columns (back part of the spinal cord) and reduce rib fixations.
- Caloric: A warm water caloric of 180 milliliters may be administered in the ear to stimulate the ipsilateral (same side) cerebellum.
- Eye Exercises: Eye exercises may be used to increase the frequency of firing to the cerebellum and frontal lobe of the brain.
- Heat Therapy: Heat therapy is used to promote an increased metabolic and healing rate to the involved tissue. Increased heat helps increase activation to the brain. Heat has immediate soothing and palliative effects as decreased joint stiffness, decreased muscle spasms and releases histamine and bradykinin causing vasodilation of the tissues.