Thursday, April 2, 2009

Activator Technique and Osteoporosis

A great technique used to adjust patients that have low bone density or osteoporosis is the Activator Technique. The Activator is a tool that delivers a light, specific force to the vertebrae in your low back that are mis-aligned.

It is gentle, safe if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, and effective in restoring proper function to the nerves. Pain and stiffness in your joints will decrease over a series of adjustments. For more information about the Activator Technique, please visit

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Intersegmental Traction

Intersegmental Traction is a therapy that is offered at Carter Chiropractic and Wellness. Intersegmental traction mobilizes and stretches each individual joint in the spine. This helps increase your range of motion and relax your muscles. Intersegmental traction also helps with misalignments, fixations, restrictions, and/or subluxations in your spine.
Intersegmental traction is a very popular treatment modality. Nicknamed the roller table, all the patient has to do is lay on the table facing up. A large, smooth roller will slowly and gently travel up and down the spine. It is a very comfortable and relaxing treatment, especially if you are having neck, mid, and/or low back pain and stiffness in your joints.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Heavy Purses Can Cause Back Pain

Large purses look great and are very popular, but carrying a heavy purse can lead to misalignments in your neck, mid back, and low back that could cause pain, soreness, stiffness and chronic problems. A good rule of thumb is that purses or brief cases should not be more than 5 % of your body weight. This means that a 100 pound women should be carrying a purse that weighs less than 5 pounds, and a 200 pound man should be carrying a brief case that weighs less than 10 pounds.

Put your purse on your shoulder and take a look in the mirror. Does one shoulder look higher than the other? If it does, imagine standing in a line for 20 minutes with your purse on your shoulder. I hope you agree that this is going to put some stress on your muscles and spine.

Please visit for more information on Dr. Susan Carter and Carter Chiropractic and Wellness.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

High Heels and Low Back Pain--My Four Hour Rule

I love to wear high heels just as much as every women out there, but there is a problem. Wearing high heels causes misaligments in your feet that lead to misalignments in your low back that lead to severe low back pain over time. When you wear high heels your feet are in constant flexion, which increases the curve in your low back. Imagine how the constant pressure wears out your low back.

The experts recommend you should not wear high heels for more than 2 hours at a time. I have developed a compromise that is actually effective. I call it the Four Hour Rule. Do not wear high heels for more than four hours at a time. These four hours would best be spent when you are socializing and want to dress up. If you must wear high heels for that morning presentation in the office, bring a pair of flats with good support with you to change into.

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I have to dedicate this Blog to one of my awesome patients that is in severe low back pain and continues to wear her heels. She is such a great dresser, and my mission is to convince her to wear flats during the day:)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stretches for Your Neck--The Sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM)

The Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Muscle is a big name for a muscle that starts behind your ear and ends up attaching to your chest. If you have ever head of someone who has "wry neck", then this muscle is definitely involved. The SCM can also get injured in whiplash injuries in car accidents.

How to stretch the Sternocleidomastoid Muscle:

1.) Lay on your back on a surface, for example, your bed.
2.) Let your head slightly hang off of the edge.

3.) Rotate your head as far as you can towards the floor.

4.) You should feel a stretch in the front of your neck.

5.) Hold for 20 seconds.

6.) Repeat for the opposite side.

These are 6 great stretches for your neck that stretch all the major muscles and many more. Doing these stretches on a regular basis will keep your neck in great shape.

For more information: please visit

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stretches for Your Neck--Suboccipital Stretch

The subocciptial muscles are a group of muscles known as the "headache muscles." The suboccipital muscles are a group of muscles that include the rectis capitus posterior major and minor and the obliquus capitus superior and inferior. When these muscles get tight, they can refer pain from the back of your head to your temples. Three out of the four of these muscles start at the back of your head and attach to the upper vertebrae in your neck. These are not the easiest muscles to stretch because they are so small.
If you feel a headache starting, sometimes it helps to press the 2 bumps at the back of your head that these muscle attach to for 60 seconds with your index fingers. This may help to relieve the headache.
I found a good pic of the suboccipital muscles from

How to stretch the suboccipital muscles:
1.) Sit down with good posture.
2.) Tuck your chin down into your neck.
3.) Find the 2 bumps on the back of your head and touch them with your fingers.
4.)Push up towards the ceiling.
5.) Hold for 20 seconds.

Pleased stay tuned for my next Blog to learn how to stretch a muscle that strarts behind your ear and ends up at the front of your chest.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stretches For Your Neck--Posterior Scalene Muscle

Your posterior scalene muscle starts at the neck at the C4-C6 levels and attaches to your second rib. It will get tight or damaged in whiplash injuries. Also, a chain of lymph nodes lies under your posterior and other scalene muscles. When you get sick, like when you have a cold, you might notice a bump under these muscles, which could be an enlarged lymph node.

How To Stretch The Posterior Scalene:

1.) Bend head down towards floor
2.) Keeping head bent down, bend head to side
3.) Hold for 20 seconds
4.) Repeat for opposite side

The next Blog will teach you how the stretch the suboccipital or "headache" muscles.

For more information, please visit

Stretches For Your Neck--Anterior Scalene Stretch

Your Scalene Muscles are in the front of you neck. There are 3 muscles that make up the scalenes. They are the anterior, middle, and posterior scalenes. The anterior scalene attaches to the front of your neck at the C3-C6 levels and goes to the first rib. In addition to your lymph nodes, a group of nerves called your brachial plexus runs under the anterior scalene muscle. If this muscle gets too tight, it will compress the nerves and cause thoracic outlet syndrome.

How To Stretch the Anterior Scalene:

1.) Rotate head 45 degrees or almost as much as you can
2.) Look up toward ceiling
3.) Should feel stretch in front of neck
4.) Hold for 20 seconds
5.) Repeat for opposite side
Stayed tuned for the next Blog: How to stretch the Posterior Scalene Muscle....
For more information, please visit

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stretches For Your Neck--Levator Scapulae Muscle

The Levator Scapulae Muscle

The Levator Scapulae Muscle is always involved in neck and shoulder pain because it attaches to the neck on the first four cervical vertebrae and shoulder on the scapula. The translation of the name of this muscle literally means to "lift the scapula." This muscle is also involved with whiplash injuries.

How To Stretch the Levator Scapulae

1.) Pull arm (behind you) to side
2.) Bend head straight down towards floor
3.) Bend head to side you are pulling
4.) While holding positions 2 and 3, rotate head to floor of side you are pulling
5.) Hold for 20 seconds, do not bounceRepeat 1 through

My next Blog will teach you how to stretch your anterior scalenes or "star-gazing" muscles.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Stretches for Your Neck--Trapezius Stretch

Getting into a daily habit of stretching will keep you out of trouble. I see many cases of neck and shoulder pain that could be drastically improved with simple stretching. I am going to teach you 6 of the best stretches I could find for your neck. I like these stretches because they do a great job of isolating the many muscles in your neck. I only teach one stretch at a time to my patients. I would rather make sure you know exactly what to do so you will be able to use these stretches for years to come.

So, the first stretch is the Trapezius Stretch:

The Trapezius Muscle goes from the top of your neck down to the middle of your back and out to your shoulder on both sides of your back. This muscle is the most superficial, which means it is closest to your skin. If you touch the area between your neck and shoulders, you are probably touching the Trapezius Muscle. This muscle frequently gets tight when you are stressed or angry. If you sit at a desk looking at a computer for most of the day and have poor posture, then the trapezius muscle will be affected.

How to Stretch the Trapezius Muscle:

1) Pull arm (behind you) to side
2) Bend head to side you are pulling
3) Rotate head to opposite ceiling hold for 20 seconds
4) Repeat 1 through 3 for opposite side

My next Blog will teach you how to stretch the Levator Scapulae Muscle, which is ALWAYS involved in neck pain.....

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Detoxification Program

Detox programs are all the rage right now. However, they have been around early in our history and in many cultures. We as humans are not as healthy as we were 50 years ago. The air we breathe, the pesticides in our food, and the chemicals in our environment are decreasing our quality of life. Toxins are the bad guys that are converted to free radicals in our bodies.

It is the liver's job to get rid of all the toxins that we are constantly exposed to on a daily basis. However, these days the liver is over burdened. Toxins are brought to the liver where they go through 2 phases that make them harmless. After this process in the liver, they are simply excreted from your body.

What happens is that the liver gets backed up. When the liver is backed up it desperately stores these toxins or free radicals into our fat. Then when we burn a little more energy than normal and use our fat stores, the toxins are released into the blood stream where they attack our organs. This causes our body to undergo oxidative stress, which some theorize can lead to cancer.

The idea of a detoxification program is the cleanse the liver to make it more efficient. Supplements are used to release all of the junk that is backed up into the liver. Other supplements, known as antioxidants, find these free radicals and turn them into the harmless substances they were supposed to be in the first place. Antioxidants are the good guys and free radicals are the bad guys.

It is important to put as little load on the liver as possible while it is being cleaned out. Therefore, a strict diet must be followed. There are many different types of programs that are recommended. Some involve only liquids over a short period of time. I prefer a less demanding program that allows a reasonable variety of foods. You just follow the plan for a longer amount of time.

I have to warn you. If you decide to undergo a detox program, you will probably lose weight and be healthier. Your skin will probably clear up, your aches and pains will decrease, and over time you will have more energy. The first 2 weeks are usually not very fun, but once you get over the hump, you will probably suffer some of the above side effects.

For more information on Detox Programs and Dr. Susan Carter, please visit

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Ultrasound therapy is another great therapy that is used in a chiropractic office. What makes ultrasound so great is how deep it's effect can go to create healing. Ultrasound works by using sound waves that penetrate deep to the area of injury. Different settings allow treatment of acute, sub-acute, and chronic injuries. Blood flow increases and new nutrients are brought to start healing. Inflammation and pain are decreased and range of motion is increased. Ultrasound is a great treatment option for arthritis, neuromas, adhesive scars, and many other conditions.
The procedure is easy. The area of skin needs to be exposed so sometimes you will be asked to wear a gown to protect your clothing, and all jewelry needs to be removed. Sound waves are delivered through a wand and a gel is used to transmit the sounds waves. You should not feel anything other than some slight warmth and the gel being spread around in a circular motion. The only occasional problem is the gel makes a mess:), but it worth how much better you feel.
For more information on Dr. Susan Carter and Carter Chiropractic and Wellness, please visit

Electrical Stimulation

I have many treatments available to help patients who are in pain. A common treatment used in a Chiropractic office is Electrical Stimulation or Interferential Current. Sticky pads are placed on areas of muscle spasm that contribute to low back pain. A light current is administered through wires into the pads. It feels really good, and hot moist heat packs or ice are placed on top of the pads depending on the condition. When your muscles are tight or in spasm, they are inflammed. Electrical stimulation works your muscles at a sub-cellular level (you won't feel this) until your muscles fatigue and give up. When your muscles give up, the inflammation drains from the muscle. Inflammation takes up space and puts pressure on your nerves, which causes pain. Electrical stimulation also interferes with nerve conduction velocity, which is the rate at which you feel pain signals from the brain. It slows it down and therefore reduces the amount of pain you are feeling.

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