School Supply Drive Hurricane Harvey

School-supply-flyer

Thousands of students (and more to come) will be attending classes at Dallas ISD schools. These children need basic school supplies and new school uniforms by the end of this week. We can help!!

2702 McKinney Ave, suite 202
Dallas, TX 75204
214-720-2225
info@manningwellness.com

Top 10 Foods you Should Buy Organic

Consumer Reports recently published a report detailing the top foods you should always try to buy organic. Since organic foods can typically cost close to 50% more, we decided we’d list the Top 10 Foods you Should Buy Organic.

Here you go…..short and simple.

For fruits, there are five: peaches, tangerines, nectarines, strawberries, and cranberries. And for vegetables: green beans, bell and hot peppers, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

According to Consumer Reports, “The good news is we did find some fruits and vegetables where conventional versions were about as safe as the organic versions when it comes to pesticide residues.”

These include broccoli grown in the U.S. and Mexico; U.S. cherries; grapes from the U.S., Chile, Mexico, and Peru; and lettuce from the U.S. and Mexico.

 

 

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Runners

Chiropractic care can help runners, plain and simple. For those who are regular runners and in overall good shape, it may seem odd to consider chiropractic care, but taking care of yourself when you’re healthy can be the best way to avoid future injuries. Gone are the days when chiropractic care was needed just for aches, injuries or pain. Many athletes are turning to chiropractic care on a regular basis to maintain optimal health and fitness.

If your body is perfectly and absolutely aligned, then you might be the most unique person on the planet. Almost no one has perfect alignment. Getting aligned and staying aligned allows your body to handle the hard pounding it takes when you run. The high impact of running can lead to long-term pain and injury if you continue to run without a properly aligned core.

Myriad issues are likely to occur for most people after years of running with poor alignment: pain in the feet, shoulders, lower back or even pinched nerves. In most instances, people don’t seek chiropractic care until injuries begin, and by that time they require rehabilitation instead of injury prevention.

Dr. Christopher Lauer, LifeClinic chiropractor at Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company, has seen many runners come in for both injury prevention and injury care. “The first thing we do with a patient is a thorough chiropractic examination, postural evaluation and functional examination,” Lauer says. “Through these exams, we often find deficiencies or problems with biomechanics.”

Runners are particularly prone to posterior chain weakness or lower crossed syndrome, both of which require adjustments for long-term correction. “Some of the most common injuries from running I see are overuse injuries including plantar fasciitis, shin splints, ankle sprains, knee pain and hip pain,” Lauer says. “By being focused on function, and not necessarily pain, we can catch injuries before they happen and get an athlete back on track faster than if they have sustained one.”

Preventive chiropractic care offers runners many advantages. Joints can’t flow through the full range of motion when misaligned and since runners rely heavily on their joints, preventive care can improve running experiences indefinitely.

Ways chiropractic care helps runners:
* Improved coordination
* Better reaction time
* Increased balance
* Heightened accuracy
* Amplified precision
* Stronger muscles

Chiropractors can perform a full evaluation on your current alignment, offer personalized adjustments and set you on a course of optimal athleticism. “Depending on the condition of the individual, we also do rehabilitative therapy or posture correction to ensure a longer-lasting result from the care that we give.” Lauer says. “We find people are much happier with this approach, which leads to stronger athletes and families.”

The running gear you choose (shoes, caps, tanks, socks, sunglasses, etc.) are meant for comfort and power – why not choose to comfort your body with regular visits to the chiropractor, too?

(Chicago Tribune )

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Dr. Jeff Manning was voted Best Chiropractor in Dallas.  

Request an appointment today and learn how Dr. Manning can help you avoid pain and injury while running; improve your time; and run without interference. Because Dr. Manning creates an individualized treatment plan for each and every patient, he uses a wide  array of adjustment techniques and therapies including, muscle work, kinesiotaping, heat and ice therapy, cold laser therapy,  and electric stimulation.  Scores of  Dallas runners count on Dr. Manning’s chiropractic care to help them be the very best they can be! Now it’s your turn.

Manning Wellness Clinic   2702 McKinney Ave, s.202   Dallas, TX 75204  214-720-2225  info@manningwellness.com   www.manningwellness.com

Study: Swearing is @#$%! good for you!!

“Everyone responds to chiropractic adjustments differently,” says Dr. Jeff Manning of Manning Wellness Clinic in Dallas, Texas. “Some people sigh, some squeak, but the majority swear, either silently or out loud.” Dr. Manning says that’s ok with him because swearing is @#$%! good for you!!

Swearing can actually be good for your health, according to a study published by NeuroReport.

Under certain circumstances, cursing can alleviate stress and pain.

The study measured how long students could put up with pain while keeping their hands in extremely cold water. When students were able to swear, they endured the pain for a longer amount of time. Students who used words like “shoot” did not perform as well.

Apparently when a person curses, adrenaline surges through the body.

“Swearing increases the heart rate and sets off the body’s flight-or-fight response,” said Psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University in the United Kingdom.

Fight-or-flight increases the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, ultimately boosting pain tolerance.

However, for people who swear all the time, the method may not work as well.

“Clearly, the use of taboo words can generate both discomfort as well as positive release. The key is to choose your words and moments carefully,” says Dr. Joanne May, Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health Services at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “If your goal is to promote a positive release for yourself or the group that you are with, choose a nuanced context and do so, infrequently.”

“The emotional effects of the curse words become less effective if they are used repeatedly over time. So, make sure to use profanities very sparingly and only when you feel it is appropriate,” Dr. May added.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) –

 

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Dallas Tops List as Worst City for Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

The beautiful weather has arrived, in Dallas anyway! The rest of the country seems conflicted on whether to officially let Spring come to the party. But along with Dallas’ blue skies and gentle breeze comes sneezing, watery eyes, and a nose that looks more like a drippy faucet. It’s all proof that Dallas tops list as worst city for seasonal allergy symptoms.

seasonal allergy symptoms“A direct barometer for allergy season is the tissue box in the reception area. When it’s empty at the end of the day, I know my adult and pediatric patients are suffering with seasonal allergy symptoms, says chiropractor Dr. Jeff Manning of Manning Wellness Clinic in Dallas.

In the most recent Top 10 list compiled by  The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, cities are ranked  based on pollen levels, use of allergy medications and the number of board-certified allergists in the area.

Louisville has moved up the list from No. 5 last year because of higher-than-average pollen counts, high use of allergy medications and too few allergy specialists, according to the foundation.

New York; Columbia, South Carolina; and San Antonio are new to the top 20. Only Los Angeles residents can breathe a sigh of relief; the city fell 39 places from No. 38 last year to No. 77 this year.

Here are the worst cities for spring seasonal allergy symptoms and sufferers in 2014:

1. Louisville, Kentucky

2. Memphis, Tennessee

3. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

4. Oklahoma City

5. Jackson, Mississippi

6. Chattanooga, Tennessee

7. Dallas

8. Richmond, Virginia

9. Birmingham, Alabama

10. McAllen, Texas

“Allergy and asthma patients already have a chronic sensitivity to things like pollen, mold and other airborne allergens, but they can also be more susceptible to rapid changes in temperature and moisture,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY and an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, said in a statement. “A blending of the winter and spring means these patients are at risk of multiple symptoms simultaneously.”

If you think popping a pill is the only way to find relief for seasonal allergy symptoms, you are in for a treat: Chiropractic can help to improve seasonal allergy symptoms and help you to avoid allergy-related illnesses like sinus infections.  In the throes of an allergy attack, antihistamines definitely have their place. But with side effects like sleepiness, dry mouth and an overall clouded feeling, they’re not an ideal match for everyone.

Chiropractic works by helping the body to help itself. By removing interference within the body, nerves can function and perform the way they are meant to. Seasonal allergy symptoms can feel less severe.

For lots of information on chiropractic for allergies and asthma, click on the following link which Manning Wellness posted almost exactly 1 year ago!: http://manningwellness.com/combatting-allergies-and-sinus-issues-with-chiropractic/ 

“As long as Dallas tops list as worst city for allergy sufferers and seasonal allergy symptoms, my door will be open, and my waiting room tissue box full, says Dr. Manning.

Contact us today and find out how and why chiropractic can help you combat seasonal allergy symptoms, allergies, and asthma.

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2702 McKinney Ave, suite 202

Dallas, Texas 75204 214-720-2225

www.manningwellness.com

 

 

8 Foods that Fight Pain

Before reaching for a bottle of painkillers, try adding some of these 8 Foods that Fight Pain to your diet.

Other than just great taste, there are foods that have the ability to fight pain and reduce inflammation. Dallas chiropractor, Dr. Jeff Manning, says that adding these foods to your diet, especially combined with chiropractic care, can help your body to heal more quickly. “Foods can greatly affect inflammation in the body; some artificial sweeteners can add to or increase inflammation, while other foods like ginger can do the exact opposite,” says chiropractor Jeff Manning of Manning Wellness Clinic in Dallas.

The following is a great list of 8 Foods that Fight Pain. You don’t need to, nor should you, try to add all at once, but trying one at a time will help you determine which work best for you.

And, according to Greatist.com, the winners are….

8 Natural Foods to Eat for Pain Relief

Whether it’s residual aches from an exceptionally tough workout, the beginnings of a pesky cold, or waking up on the wrong side of the bed, some research suggests supplementing those pain pills with certain foods could be just as helpful.

Believe it or not, those healthy fruits, veggies, and whole grains we try to pack in our diets may do more than just feed our bodies well — many of them are considered to have anti-inflammatory properties. Sometimes inflammation is a good thing, we’ll give you that — it protects our body when we’ve been injured — but it can also be painful. (Think asthma and arthritis, inflamed sore throats, and cuts or scrapes.) While some have linked [1] certain foods (including chocolate, eggs, wheat, meat, and corn) to causing inflammation, there’s also evidence that a few select delectables could help prevent it, too ((Dietary strategies for improving post-prandial glucose, lipids, inflammation, and cardiovascular health [2]. O’Keefe, J.H., Gheewala, N.M., O’Keefe, J.O. Mid America Heart Institute and University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2008 Jan 22;51(3):249-55. )). Here are eight foods that research suggests may actually help reduce pain.

ginger

1. Ginger. Ginger [3] is basically a wonder root. It combats nausea and motion sickness, and fights off pain with itsanti-inflammatory [4] properties ((Ginger — an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions [5]. Grzanna R., Lindmark L., Frondoza C.G., RMG Biosciences, Inc. Journal of Medicinal Food, 2005 Summer;8(2):125-32.)). Some especially great news for the ladies: One study showed that ginger (specifically in the form of a 250g or 500g capsule of powdered ginger) was as effective as ibuprofen in relieving menstrual pain ((Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. [6] Ozgoli G., Goli M., Moattar F., Nursing and Midwifery School, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2009 Feb;15(2):129-32.))! Plus, ginger can be ingested a variety of ways, from supplements, to tea and cookies [7], to stir fry [8].

 salmon

 

2. Salmon. Not only is salmon tasty and a healthy protein, but it’s full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce arthritic pain (especially in the neck and back) ((Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. [9], Maroon J.C., Bost J.W., Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Surgical Neurololgy, 2006 Apr;65(4):326-31.)). In one study, the relief experienced from consuming omega-3s in the form of a fish oil supplement was comparable to the relief experienced from taking ibuprofen. Chow down on some of those omega-3s with this baked salmon with avocado yogurt sauce [10] tonight.

 coffee

 

3. Coffee. Just one more excuse to grab that second cup of Joe! Research suggests caffeine can reduce pain in those suffering from exercise-induced muscular injury and pain ((Caffeine attenuates delayed-onset muscle pain and force loss following eccentric exercise. [11] Maridakis V., O’Connor P.J., Dudley G.A., et. al. Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-6554, USA. Journal of Pain: Official Journal of the American Pain Society, 2007 Mar;8(3):237-43.)). Not only that, when taken with a standard dose of pain reliever (ibuprofen, for example), one study found that a 100mg to 130mg caffeine supplement — equal to about the amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee —  increased pain relief ((Caffeine as an analgesic adjuvant for acute pain in adults. [12], Derry C.J., Derry S., Moore R.A., Pain Research and Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Cochrane Database Systematic Review, 2012 Mar 14;3:CD009281.)).

echinacea

4. Echinacea and Sage. Got an aching throat? Some research shows that throat sprays containing sage or echinacea can help provide relief from that nasty sore throat ((Echinacea/sage or chlorhexidine/lidocaine for treating acute sore throats: a randomized double-blind trial., [13] Schapowal A., Berger D., Klein P., Suter A., Allergy Clinic, CH-7302 Landquart, Switzerland. European Journal of Medical Research, 2009 Sep 1;14(9):406-12.)), though there have been few other studies on this benefit, so the evidence isn’t hulk strong [14]. Another survey looking at 14 different studies found that echinacea [15] can decrease the number of cold infections caught, and reduce their durations ((Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. [16] Shah S.A., Sander S., White C.M., University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Storrs, CT. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2007 Jul;7(7):473-80.)). Sage is easy to find at most grocery stores and is also especially tasty in any of these recipes [17], while echinacea is more commonly found in pill and ointment form. When choosing to take a supplement like echinacea, be aware: Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, so manufacturers can often get away with making unproven claims [18] about both the contents of the pills and the benefits of those contents.cherries

 

5. Tart Cherries. Turns out tart cherries [19] are good for more than causing a pucker face. Studies have found they can help treat gout [20](a painful form of arthritis that causes swollen, hot, red joints caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood) ((Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks [21]. Zhang, Y., Neogi, T., Chen, C., et al. Boston University, Boston, MA. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2012 Dec;64(12):4004-11.)) ((Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women [22]. Jacob, RA., Spinozzi, GM., Simon, VA., et al. U.S. Department of Agriculture/ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA. The Journal of Nutrition, 2003 Jun;133(6):1826-9. )). But it’s not just for gout — athletes can benefit, too. In one study, those who drank tart cherry juice [23] for seven days prior to an intense running event showed reduced muscle-pain after the race ((Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. [24], Kuehl K.S., Perrier E.T., Elliot D.L., Department of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2010 May 7;7:17.)) ((Dietary beta-cryptoxanthin and inflammatory polyarthritis: results from a population-based prospective study. [25]Pattison D.J., Symmons D.P., Lunt M., Arthritis Research Campaign Epidemiology Unit, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005 Aug;82(2):451-5.)). Drink up!

jack

6. Whiskey. No, we do not recommend whiskey for a broken heart or curing any sort of emotional pain. But, it turns out adding a spoonful to warm water [26] may just do the trick to kick that pesky sore throat.

 

 

oranges

7. Oranges. While vitamin C has been linked to helping prevent the onset of colds [27] and respiratory infections, an antioxidant called beta-cryptoxanthin [28], found in oranges and other orange fruits and veggies such as sweet potato and cantaloupe, has been found to help reduce the risk of anti-inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis ((Dietary beta-cryptoxanthin and inflammatory polyarthritis: results from a population-based prospective study. [25]Pattison D.J., Symmons D.P., Lunt M., Arthritis Research Campaign Epidemiology Unit, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005 Aug;82(2):451-5.)). Another reason to get out that juicer and start making fresh OJ each day. (Or, you know, just eat an orange.)primrose

8. Evening Primrose. Usually found as an oil, this flower’s powers have been linked to treating atopic dermatitis (a chronic itchy skin condition), rheumatoid arthritis, and PMS symptoms ((Evening primrose oil is effective in atopic dermatitis: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. [29] Senapati S., Banerjee S., Gangopadhyay D.N., Department of Dermatology, Calcutta National Medical College, Kolkata, India. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, 2008 Sep-Oct;74(5):447-52.)) ((Herbal therapy for treating rheumatoid arthritis., Cameron M., Gagnier J.J., Chrubasik S [30]., School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, McAuley at Banyo, 1100 Nudgee Road, Banyo, QLD, Australia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD002948.)). The gamma-inolenic acid in the oil has anti-coagulant effects that may help reduce the effects of cardiovascular illnesses ((Assessment of anticoagulant effect of evening primrose oil. [31], Riaz A., Khan R.A., Ahmed S.P., Department of Pharmacology, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2009 Oct;22(4):355-9.)).

Check out this list for more. http://greatist.com/health/foods-pain-relief

 

Tuscan Barley Soup with Turkey Sausage

IMG_1589Tuscan Barley Soup with Turkey Sausage is a Manning Wellness Clinic favorite! It’s thick and slightly creamy, but there is no cream in it! You can use either pearl barley or for some added nutrition, hulled barley. But keep in mind that the hulled barley needs about 90 minutes to cook thoroughly.  I think it also makes the soup a little thicker. Let us know if you have any questions! Hope you enjoy!
Tuscan Barley Soup
Original Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, with changes by Manning Wellness Clinic, Dallas, Texas.

Total Time:
1 hr
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
40 min

Yield:4 to 6 servings
Level:Easy
Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 sweet or spicy turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 cup pearled barley
8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
4 medium parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into1/2-inch slices
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 medium leek, thinly sliced (or 1/2 diced onion is fine too)
One 12-ounce bunch Swiss or Rainbow chard, center stem removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces. Slice the center stems.
1 Parmesan cheese rind, optional
1 dried bay leaf
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a 5-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon into small pieces, until brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked sausage and reserve.

Add the barley and cook stirring constantly until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the broth, carrots, parsnips, chard center stems, fennel, leeks,cheese rind if using, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the barley is tender, about 35 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, add zucchini and chard leaves. Cook approx another 7 minutes until zucchini is cooked to your liking.

Remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaf, and discard. Season the soup with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cooked sausage. Shredded parmesan also makes a yummy topping.

Manning Wellness Wins the 2013 Dallas Award for Chiropractors!

We are so excited to announce that Manning Wellness Wins the 2013 Dallas Award for Chiropractors!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Manning Wellness Clinic Receives 2013 Dallas Award

Dallas Award Program Honors the Achievement

DALLAS December 11, 2013 — Manning Wellness Clinic has been selected for the 2013 Dallas Award in the Chiropractors category by the Dallas Award Program.

Each year, the Dallas Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Dallas area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Dallas Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Dallas Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Dallas Award Program

The Dallas Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Dallas area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Dallas Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Dallas Award Program

CONTACT:
Dallas Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@bestofbusinessawards.org
URL: http://www.bestofbusinessawards.org

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For our veterans and families

This week only….
Free Initial Exam for Veterans and/or family members of current or former military. ($52 savings)
Plus, Save 30% on all additional services 
It’s the least we  at Manning Wellness Clinic can do to say thank you…for your service, your bravery, and your commitment to freedom.
We are safer because of you.
or call 214-720-2225
(Note: Valid until Friday, November 15)
veterans day

That shoulder pain may really be a pain in the neck

There’s a reason why Dr. Jeff Manning of Manning Wellness Clinic is the go-to chiropractic health expert in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. As a knowledgeable professional with more than 15 years of clinical experience, Dr. Manning is known for his ability to talk honestly and openly to his patients; answer questions in a easy-to-understand style; and teach the benefits of chiropractic. Please read below where Dr. Manning talks about that pain in your shoulder that may really be a pain in the neck. 

——————————-

SPECIAL FOCUS: BACK AND JOINT HEALTH

By DAPHNE HOWLAND

Special Contributor to the Dallas Morning News

Published: 04 November 2013 04:03 PM

For months, 52-year-old David Moen tried to relieve excruciating pain between his shoulder blades. Hot baths helped, but one day the bath and the heat went on too long, and he suffered heatstroke. That sent him to the doctor.“I suspected I had rotator cuff injuries. It was getting to the point where the pain was debilitating. It was putting me in a foul mood,” says Moen, who lives in Bedford. “I never thought it was a neck injury.”Neither did his doctor — at first. But as Moen’s case shows, the intricate working relationships among the tendons, muscles and nerves of the neck and shoulders mean that a pain in the neck could be a shoulder injury — and vice versa.Moen isn’t sure how he was hurt or even when the pain started exactly. It may have been a motorcycle accident in the mid-1990s, or just his tendency as a former Marine to work hard lifting heavy loads despite pain or strain. About two years ago, the pain started but bothered him only when he did heavy work. As time went on, the pain worsened and took longer and longer to subside.Complicating Moen’s diagnosis were his problems with carpal tunnel syndrome. When he grabbed his motorcycle handlebars, his hands went numb. He’s worked at Bell Helicopter in Hurst for 27 years, sitting at a table that was never meant to be used as a desk.A doctor suspected the carpal tunnel issues could be causing his upper back and shoulder pain, but an MRI revealed a severe neck injury. Surgery to his C5 and C6 neck vertebrae have finally alleviated the pain in his shoulders.“We call the shoulder ‘the great pretender’ because it has a complicated structure of nerves and tendons,” says Dr. Carla L. Young, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. “It’s important to tease out the cause because the treatments are different.”

Common complaint

Pain in the neck and shoulder is extremely common because their complex workings are vulnerable to age-related changes, poor posture, lack of exercise and stress.

Degenerative disk disease, an ominous term, happens to everyone starting about age 20. Disks, which cushion the vertebrae, aren’t able to hold as much water, which makes them more delicate, Young says. Meanwhile, tendons in the shoulder’s rotator cuff start changing about age 40.

As those parts lose resilience, stressors like underuse or overuse of muscles and tendons and even emotional stress can cause strain or injury.

DSC_0089Posture is the problem for most people, says Jeffrey Manning, a chiropractor who owns the Manning Wellness Clinic in Dallas. “People look down at their computer, their phones. So the muscles in the front of the neck will start to become shortened and less flexible, and across the shoulder blades they’ll become stretched, but not in a good way. It’s like trees leaning into the wind.”

This begins a cycle that can change joints and bones as they react naturally to the physical demand. “Good stress, like healthy exercise, strengthens bones. But if you stress bones in an imbalanced way, they react in an imbalanced way, and that messes up the mechanical balance of the working joint,” Manning says.

The stress of busy, complicated lives or the emotional toll of bad days or sad life events are often manifested in stiff muscles in the neck and shoulders. Stress hormones worsen the problem, Young says.

“Your muscles get knotted up by very real physical tenseness,” Young says. “But the stress is twofold: Your stress does tend to be carried in the form of shortened muscles in the neck but it also changes the biochemical markers in the body. The same chemicals that are released when you are in stress or in pain are fuel for the pain of muscle tension.”

When to see a doctor

Moen says he wishes he’d gone to a doctor after six months of suffering rather than two years. But Young says to go after more like six weeks.

For one thing, she says, studies show that chronic pain can rewire the brain so that discomfort continues even after the cause is resolved. Plus, many issues can be addressed with conservative measures such as physical therapy, ergonomic changes to the workplace, exercises, modified activity and medication — as long as the problem is accurately diagnosed and caught early.

For stiffness without pain, seeing a doctor may not be necessary. But it’s probably a signal to make changes, these experts say: Be sure you work at a computer with your neck in a neutral position. Exercise regularly; the blood flow helps keep muscles and tendons healthy. Don’t constantly look down at your phone; look up and enjoy the scenery.

“It may start out as a posture issue. Then after six months or a year it becomes a matter of the joints just not working properly anymore,” Manning says. “Your body is such an intricate machine.”

Schedule your FREE phone consultation with Dr. Manning

Schedule your FREE phone consultation with Dr. Manning