What is a Muscle Spasm and why do they happen?

What is a Muscle Spasm and why do they happen?

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We have all had the experience of that wrenching pain in your back when you reach for something or bend over. The pain hurts so bad that you can barely move. This can, and usually does, occur when you are doing a normal and simple action like reaching for something in your kitchen cupboard or bedroom closet. So, how does this injury happen when you are doing an activity that you might do every day?

Well, the correct answer is, it actually didn’t. The situation occurs when you already have a muscle that is strained or has been overextended prior to this occurrence. The body causes that muscle to become stiff or rigid to protect it from any additional damage to the area. We see many patients in our office that have just made one movement , even while sitting in front of their computer, that caused a spasm in a particular area of their body.

The medical explanation of what actually is occurring is that all of the muscle fibers in this area contract at the same time, causing the cut off of blood flow that causes the muscle to contract further and the result is an extreme and immediate elevation of pain.

At OC Ultimate Wellness, we have our patients primarily rest in order to help the healing process that could extend for several weeks. While we understand this can very difficult for many people to do in today’s busy world. We also require that plenty of ice and heat are applied to the injured area throughout the day. We include massage therapy as an additional treatment to assist in pain relief. The intake of additional calcium, magnesium and water has also been proven to provide faster healing.

We also encourage our patients to include a regular, customized program of chiropractic care and adjustments in their therapy regiment to ensure that future occurrences like this are prevented. Call today (714) 891-7870 to make an initial appointment with our team!

Chiropractic Care Benefits When You Are Pregnant

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If you are pregnant and have never seen a chiropractor before, it might be a good time to start. At OC Ultimate Wellness, we have helped many of our pregnant patients and treated them for neck and back pain which resulted from normal weight gain and altered biomechanics during pregnancy. Our specialized chiropractic care can improve balance and alignment in your spine and pelvis areas as well. These treatments can provide a more comfortable pregnancy and delivery for both the mother and baby.

The aches and pains that develop during pregnancy are associated with the numerous changes that occur in a women’s body. The stress that is associated with these changes can alter the way you move, sit, and sleep which can cause severe discomfort. Recent studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers, at some point during pregnancy, will develop lower back pain. These changes will typically disrupt the normal curvature of the spine and could to lead to other sciatic symptoms and neck pain. The changes in hormone levels have the potential to loosen ligaments that attach to the pelvic bones and could make it more difficult for the body to accommodate a growing baby. Chiropractic care can help the baby assume their optimal birthing position and reduce the mother’s risk of having a breech baby. Regular chiropractic care can also provide a more comfortable pregnancy and delivery for both the mother and baby by stimulating the nervous system to enable proper functioning of your reproductive organs.  

As an expectant mother, you may have or you will, experience a few of the following symptoms including nausea, morning sickness, back and pelvic pain, shortness of breath, elevated blood pressure and changing hormone levels. While under chiropractic care, these symptoms and the intensity of all of them can be greatly diminished.

Under the direction of your body’s nervous system, you will adapt to the various changes associated with growing a new life inside of you. This new life you carry will do all that it must to preserve the health and wellbeing of itself. Your baby’s needs will cause your own body to experience a number of deficiencies that you will have to adapt to.

At OC Ultimate Wellness, in addition to relieving your symptoms and pain associated with pregnancy, we are also able to offer advice on nutrition, proper ergonomics and exercise recommendations. Please call us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Randy Ramirez at 714-891-7870. www.ocultimatewellness.com.

Why Are Headaches a Pain In The Neck?

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In our society today, people are under a lot of stress. This causes many of us to feel pain and tightness in our neck muscles. Headaches often accompany these feelings and are a precursor to these types of pain. Our patients most often blame this discomfort on work, or working on a computer all day. We are also often asked, “Why do I get these and the person who works next to me doesn’t?”

Our simple answer is that the muscles that are around the sides of your neck, chest and back of your skull will tighten and cause tension headaches, also referred to as “Upper Crossed Syndrome”. This forces your tight muscles in these areas to work even harder and it causes a sort of “vicious cycle” and transfers from one area to the other. The nerve endings that are located in these areas are very susceptible to motion. As a result, when they do not experience any motion or feel too much motion, it forces them to react in a way that causes stiff neck pain and local muscle imbalance.

We know that there are many reasons that might cause a person to begin developing Upper Crossed Syndrome. A few of the more common are sitting for long hours with poor posture or spending a lot of time on the computer or phone. If done for an extended period of time, it could cause a requirement for professional assistance to break free of the habit.

At OC Ultimate Wellness, our goal is to ensure that we provide the necessary treatment to rid the patient of this pain. In order to reverse the cycle of Upper Crossed Syndrome, we customize a unique therapy plan to ensure we start to reverse the cycle as soon as possible. The typical plan includes stretching that is targeted and utilize the appropriate trigger point techniques and manipulation. In addition, we also include acupuncture, natural muscle relaxants and a topical pain reliever, if necessary.

Our individual customized therapy plan also includes training your body by teaching you to utilize your core muscles more often to relax your neck. This will assist you in the modification of your position that caused this to occur and automatically relax your neck to effectively manage your Upper Crossed Syndrome for the long term.

As we utilize this treatment plan, most of our patients have significant improvements in their first few visits. We ensure that we work with each patient individually and at their pace to ensure that we have success and help them achieve their goals. Please call us anytime to schedule an appointment at 714-891-7870. We look forward to making you more comfortable and relieving your neck pain.

Relieve Your Pain and Restore Your “Normal”

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In my previous Blog post, I provided an overview of Active Release Techniques and how we treat our patients here at OC Ultimate Wellness. We continue to have great success as we utilize this highly effective approach to treating soft tissue injuries and the associated pain that results from them. There are over 3,500 certified providers, including medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers worldwide, and growing. The technique continues to be widely utilized by professional athletes and teams (NFL, NHL, NBA, etc.) and is used regularly by amateur and professional athletes alike, not only to help with rapid injury recovery, but also to improve their overall athletic performance.

Physiology of Injury – a quick overview

Acute trauma or overuse, sometimes referred to as Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI, are generally the common causes of injury to the soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Many of our patients often forget that routine daily activities performed at work, home, or while playing sports can very easily result in injuries to their soft tissues. I have listed a few of the more common examples below:

  • Typing, keyboarding or repeated use of a mouse (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)
  • Running/Jogging (Shin Splints and Tendonitis)
  • Prolonged standing (Heel Pain and Back Pain)
  • Prolonged sitting (Lower Back Pain)
  • Repetitive wrist or forearm flex, rotation or extension (Tennis Elbow)
  • Repetitive bending & lifting (Low Back Pain and Sciatica)
  • Poor Posture (Tension Headaches and Back Pain)
  • All athletic activities can result in RSI’s (Tendonitis and Sprains)

These injuries will result in a series of physiological responses. The initial physiological response by the body is swelling or “Inflammation” in the affected area/tissue. In an attempt to heal the injury, the body will begin the “Repair” process by creating scar tissue. During the final 2 phases of “Remodeling” and “Maturation” the body is simply attempting to organize and orient the newly formed fibers to restore the injured tissue closer to its natural state.

How can OC Ultimate Wellness help?

As a Full-Body certified ART provider and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) Dr. Randy Ramirez, and the trained staff provide the highest standards of care in structural, biomechanical, and soft tissue treatments.

 

Active Release Techniques – Treatment Overview

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Powered by OC Ultimate Wellness and Dr. Randy Ramirez

We are aware today that “overuse” type of injuries are the most common form of injury among beginner or experienced athletes. These types of injuries occur from repetitive damage to a muscle group over a period of time. We know them as primarily, muscle strains, soreness, tennis elbow and types of runner’s knee. Many recent studies have shown that if these injuries are left untreated, they could lead to altered performance initially and very serious injuries over a period of time if not treated correctly.

I am often asked by patients, “How do these injuries occur?” There are a range of specific reasons, along with increased damage over time. In our office, we see most cause resulting from improper techniques in exercise, training consistency and improper body mechanics. This type of tension can decrease the amount of blood supply and cause scar tissue to form. The adhesions form between muscles and may cause limitations in mobility.

Active Release Techniques (ART) is now becoming the most efficient treatment option for athletes and active individuals who acquire repetitive stress injuries. It allows easy and effective treatment of scar tissue that forms over muscles that are not used in activities and exercise. ART uses movement to create tension and break down the tissues easily and effectively. This technique treats specific muscles, and often times utilizes more than one movement pattern to effectively treat the injury.

ART helps to effectively remodel muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves in order to facilitate the body’s healing process, and allow the athlete to return to their sport sooner than with traditional treatments.

At OC Ultimate Wellness, Active Release Techniques are performed by certified specialists on our staff. If you think you or a friend may benefit from ART, call us at 714-891-7870 to schedule an appointment.

Active Release Techniques® For Pain Relief associated with Running

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In the last few weeks, Southern California has been home to a few “high profile” running events. The city of Los Angeles was the host for the U.S. 2016 Olympic Trials for both the Men and Women’s Marathon that will be held in Rio later this year. In addition, the Los Angeles Marathon was held this past Sunday and hosted over 27,000 runners from all over the world as they ran 26.2 miles from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier. The popularity of the sport of running continues to grow due to the individual health benefits and the minimal cost associated with becoming a runner.

Every runner, regardless of experience, is aware that pain is an “inevitable part” of being involved in this sport. As a beginner, your body adjusts to the new form of exercise, from the deep burn in your lungs to the mental and physical struggle of pushing through a long run workout. The extreme fatigue and soreness in your legs after finishing a long run and the potential battle with a lingering injury are all typical examples of the types of pain and discomfort associated with this popular sport. So, how do you tolerate this and get past it?

The more I work with runners, the more I understand that pain is a part, and accepted, as the norm in the sport. However, there is no reason that you should tolerate any type of pain when you run. There is some pain that is unavoidable, but foot, leg, hip, and even shoulder pain should not be tolerated when you run.

As most everyone who has been involved in a sport or physical activity knows, pain is a symptom of some sort of dysfunction occurring in the body. It could be caused by poor mechanics, not enough rest or even a muscular imbalance. At OC Ultimate Wellness, our team understands that the treatment of this dysfunction is vital to the resolution of the pain.

In my education, training and experience, I am aware of many different approaches for the treatment of “dysfunction”. Active Release Techniques that include stretching, strengthening and gait analysis are a few that we offer at our practice. I will focus on the benefits of Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.) for the remainder of this article post.

I am often asked, “What are Active Release Techniques” and what do the typically treat? Active Release Techniques are a massage based treatment that utilizes pressure that is placed precisely with the provider’s hands and focuses on specific types of therapeutic movements to isolate individual muscles and muscle groups. This therapy technique was developed to treat muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerve entrapments through the removal of any adhesions and scar tissue. Shin splints, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, sciatica and even headaches are just a few of the more common conditions that can be easily treated with the Active Release Technique therapies.

When I am able to break up the adhesion, it will immediately increase blood flow and correct the dysfunctional pattern occurring within the tissue. This allows for an increase in strength, range of motion and most importantly, the decrease in pain the patient is experiencing.

I am often asked by runners, and other active patients, if they have to stop running, or their activity during treatment? Understandably, most everyone fears the answer will be “yes”. However, in most all cases, I encourage my patients to continue their training. However, if the issue is significant, I will recommend “rest” for concern of the condition to worsen. However, as it relates to this article, most all of the typical running issues do not prohibit continued training. It actually allows for continued blood flow to the affected area and increases the oxygenation of the tissues and assists in the repair while helping retrain muscles to work and regain strength.

What I always tell my patients is, “do not tolerate the pain”. A typical Active Release Treatment includes a total of 4-6 visits on a twice a week basis. Occasionally, a patient may need more or less, depending on the severity and length of their particular issue. I know that we all expect a certain level of pain during our training, however, please remember that it should not be tolerated as the long term damage could put you out of a sport or activity that you truly enjoy.

While training, keep in mind that “pain is telling your body something is wrong” and “Active Release Techniques” are the answer. Please call us for an appointment, 714-891-7870.

A few quick and easy ideas if you are concerned about your posture

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As a chiropractor, I see patients on a regular basis that have desk jobs that ultimately take a toll on their posture. During my initial consultation that I conduct with all of my patients, a majority of them agree that “posture” has contributed to their periodic back pain. I ensure my patients that we can typically help them with their posture fairly easily.

For years our parents told us if you just “sat up straight” you would automatically have good posture. Several recent Spine Research Studies show that even sitting in an upright position, with “good and proper posture”, for longer periods of time, can cause one to have back issues. Additional research indicates that you should try and modify your posture throughout the day and this will allow your spinal joints, along with its associated muscles, to more evenly distribute the cumulative stress that “normal” prolonged sitting and standing has on your back.

There are other methods to decrease stress on the spine, including the ability to increase your back’s capacity to be able to “bear the burden” of repetitive stress. Any form of a sedentary lifestyle or prolonged stationary posture will decrease the strength of your back and abdominal muscles. This area is typically referred to as your “core” and if not properly exercised, it can potentially leave your spine with limited support, other than ligaments, to keep it from buckling. If ligaments are tasked to support your spine for a prolonged period of time, they will become stretched and could cause additional pain or instability, leaving you susceptible to injury.

If you are concerned about your posture, try the “Brugger’s Relief Posture”, as it can be done at any type of workstation. You can perform this stretch for 5-20 seconds. Over time you will build muscle memory and your posture will become second nature. Please keep in mind that this “over accentuates” correct posture and will feel a little awkward at first, especially at the base of the skull and in front of the neck. This should not be painful though, and if it is, do not perform the stretch until you speak with a doctor.

For additional information on core strength exercises and lower back stability, please call our office at 714-891-7870 for a FREE consultation. www.ocultimatewellness.com

 

Chiropractic Care and Massage Therapy, a Great Combination

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If you have been into our office, then you aware that we promote hands on, unconventional and drug free pain relief as often as we can. When paired with our chiropractic treatments, massage therapy can help the recovery process and improve any discomfort you may be experiencing. Our deep tissue and sports specific massage helps you relax while producing endorphins that act naturally to relieve pain and discomfort.

An increase in circulation allows your blood to deliver nutrients to the areas of your body that need it most. When there is a slowing of your circulation, your body has to work harder to heal tissue and operate efficiently. When massage therapy and techniques are added to your treatment, it will immediately improve blood flow throughout all areas that are congested, relieving lactic acid and nerve pressure at the same time.

An additional immediate benefit of massage therapy is that it will improve your flexibility and muscle mobility. When you reduce knots and tension in the muscles, it allows your muscles, soft tissue and ligaments to move and flex in your body. This will significantly enhance your range of motion and reduce the chance of scar tissue which could become a limiting factor in your everyday activities.

When chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy a complete improvement is made, not only with the isolated area causing pain, but to the entire body. After an injury is sustained, your body relies on all parts to function together properly. From your soft tissues to your spinal cord, the body relies on every part to function properly together. When we treat a larger portion of your body, your overall healing and recovery time is improved.

After we complete successful adjustments, massage therapy works to relax muscles and release tension. When your muscles are calmed, the chiropractic adjustments are more likely to succeed and also easier to complete. When your muscles are tense it can cause poor alignment and can cause it not to remain properly adjusted.

At OC Ultimate Wellness, Dr. Randy Ramirez offers a number of combination services for pain relief and natural pain management, including both chiropractic alignments and massage therapy. You can schedule an appointment online at www.ocultimatewellness.com or call us at 714-891-7870.

Today’s Athletes “Stay in the Game” with Chiropractic Care

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Athletes at all levels today are exposed to an extremely competitive and challenging environment. Athletes are always looking for a way to get the competitive edge on their opponents. Today, more athletes are turning to chiropractic care to support and enhance their musculoskeletal health. The repetitive strain and stress on their bodies makes them more susceptible to injuries during and after they compete.

Athletes understand that they will perform at a higher level when their bodies are properly aligned. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from Chiropractic. You can be working out for maintenance or training for a 5K, whatever your situation might be proper alignment is key to your success.

Due to their additional demands on their bodies, competitive athletes have less time to heal and need a trained professional in their sport to help them recover in the shortest amount of time. This is why some professional and amateur teams have a chiropractor on their staff to be able to pinpoint the root of an issue and heal it effectively with the least amount of down time.

All athletes, regardless of discipline or level, should always seek out the assistance and advice of a chiropractor to ensure that they are taking a proactive approach to their health, rather than reacting after an injury has occurred.

A chiropractor can quickly diagnose a problem by utilizing a range of diagnostic tests like X-rays, MRIs, and a physical exam. When the issue has been diagnosed and the source of your pain has been located, a chiropractor can then suggest an effective course of treatment. When it is determined where the pain is located, an alignment, a series of exercises or other methods of treating and strengthening the area will be recommended.

 

A few tips to help you manage Chronic Pain

“Healthy Habits” are an easy and effective way to help you manage chronic pain. I have identified many different ways and habits that can help you manage chronic pain. The following five have worked with our patients and provided them relief. Although some may seem obvious, they are often overlooked.

Improve your lifestyle – The easiest way to do this is to replace bad habits with good habits. Instead of a cigarette after a meal, go for a 10 minute walk. Instead of a glass of wine, add some after dinner stretches to your routine. Yoga and meditation are shown to help with chronic joint pain. Replace your existing habits with healthier choices!

Reduce Stress – Everyone is stressed out these days and our health is suffering as a result. Stress is known to intensify pain but, there are many ways to reduce it.  Most stress is a part of our thought process, so you have to change your mind to change your level of stress. If you can change the way you see a situation, your priorities will change and your stress can be reduced.

Distract yourself – Find a great book, a book club, or a hobby – like gardening, painting or walking. A hobby is a great way that you can take your focus off pain and is an effective pain management coping skill. It is well known that patients that have hobbies take fewer pain medications.

Find an activity you love – Create a bucket list; follow your passion in your life. When you engage in activities that you have always wanted to do, your pain will be easier to manage.

Phone a friend – Stay connected with people will help you be strong and enjoy life. There are many support groups and clubs that can help you get started as no one understands your pain better than a person who is also in it.

Please feel free to call us at any time to schedule a consultation or if you need information on who and where to contact different groups.