Back Pain Relief For Austin, TX
But often, people don’t visit the chiropractor until a small back pain issue becomes one that stops us from living our healthiest life.
Whether you want to nip a small back pain in the bud, or are seeking treatment because the pain is too much to ignore, Westlake Chiropractic will work our hardest to restore your ability to function as quickly as possible.
We’ll Help You Heal Your Back Pain...Naturally!
Westlake Chiropractic is dedicated to helping you find a nonsurgical method of pain relief.
Dr. Sheffield is an Austin chiropractor uniquely qualified to heal you without drugs. Why? She is also a licensed pharmacist who knows the benefits and limitations of chemical interventions.
She will provide the most effective holistic treatment for back pain aimed at helping you get off pain medications fast.
“When I first came to the office I was experiencing neck and spine pain that was preventing me from sleeping well. The pain was consistently at an 8 out of 10. I have seen other chiropractors in the past but with only minimal results. After a few treatments with Dr. Sheffield, I started seeing differences in my sleep and mobility, as well as a decrease in the pain I had lived with for over 20 years!”
Hands-On Evaluation of Your Back Pain
During the initial visit, Dr. Sheffield will listen carefully to your back pain story, before conducting a comprehensive spinal examination.
A Top- Down Approach
Even if you present with lower back pain, don’t be surprised that Dr. Sheffield’s thorough exam will look at your entire spinal column, including the craniocervical junction at the very top.
Because of her special training in upper cervical chiropractic care, Dr. Sheffield knows that 'upstream' misalignments can cause pain ‘downstream’ pain and imbalances when an atlas is not aligned.
More good news- she will assess all the other vertebra in your spine as well!
Evaluation of Posture as a Source of Pain
Dr. Sheffield will assess if you have a postural imbalance and most importantly, determine the cause. Nerve signals in the upper neck help your body to understand how it’s positioned in space.
If your nervous system is not sending the proper signals down your spinal column, this can create a postural imbalance, which frequently leads to pain and degeneration of the spinal column over time.
If you have been told you have a "short leg," then you will do well to have the cause figured out, especially before using a heel lift. Anatomical, or true 'short legs' require shoe lifts. Functional 'short legs' are spinal compensations and the exact location dictates treatment. Figuring that out is Dr. Sheffield's specialty.
Weight bearing extremities such as hips and knees can cause pain and wear out faster as well when the body is not distributing weight evenly side to side. Dowager humps and mid-scapular pain is common with front to back postural imbalances.
Symptoms of postural imbalance include:
- A "High" Shoulder
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Stiff Back
- Mid and Low Back Pain
- A "Short" Leg
- A "High" Shoulder
- A Dowager Hump
- Hip Pain
- Hamstring Tightness
- Knee Pain
- Foot Pain
Medications, massage, stretches, and exercises will do little to help when the root cause is a spinal imbalance. Those modalities may be helpful, but they won't fix spinal misalignments. Dr. Sheffield is one of the only Austin chiropractors with advanced training to assess the cause of a postural imbalance and correct if effectively. After a 'correction', she advocates massage, stretches and exercises. She personally uses those modalities to support a healthy balanced spine and refers to excellent providers. Advanced cases may require medical collaboration, depending on the patient.
Our necks are the most vulnerable parts of our spinal column. Unlike the rest of vertebrae that are held in place by spinal discs, the upper cervical area of the spine doesn’t have any discs.
Making it even more vulnerable, the upper cervical area is only supported by small ligaments, as opposed to the hearty ones found lower down the spinal column. Neck misalignments can cause headaches, migraines and jaw pain.
Sources of Injury to the Neck
- Head Injuries
- Car Accidents
- Roller Coasters
- Childhood Trauma
It’s also entirely possible that sleeping in a funny position and/or stomach sleeping can misalign the craniocervical junction and lead to other pain. That said, you may not know what the source of your neck pain is.
A Unique Approach to Neck Pain at Westlake Chiropractic
Unfortunately, many Austin chiropractors treat the neck like the rest of the spine.
But we recognize that the neck is unique, especially the top two vertebra in the neck, just under your skull.
For this reason, Dr. Sheffield will provide a very gentle adjustment using her special training in upper cervical chiropractic. The goal will be to align the bones at the top of your spinal column and improve how your central nervous system functions.
For the rest of the neck, non-rotational, gentle, and specific adjusting gets results without the twisting and cracking.
You won’t be surprised to hear that this part of your back is vulnerable to stress, whether from repetitive physical motions or injuries.
Desk Work Can Lead to Pain
Anyone who sits at a desk for work is all-too-aware of how our shoulder girdles stiffen when we hunch over a laptop and fail to stretch over long periods of time.
While standing desks are prevalent in companies across Austin, Texas, staying in one position for hours at a stretch can still cause problems.
It’s essential to move and stretch the mid and upper back throughout the work day.
Problems in the mid to upper back can result in decreased range of motion, as well as stiffness and pain from irritated nerves. Pain from this area can also radiate to your ribs.
Sources of Mid to Upper Back Pain
You may be able to recall the exact moment when you injured your mid or upper back:
- Did you move a piece of heavy furniture?
- Did you lift a child in an awkward way?
- Did you swing too hard at your last golf game?
Or maybe you have a chronic problem in this area. Perhaps you suspect your poor posture combined with stress at work may be to blame.
It’s worth noting that pain in the mid to upper back also can be caused by underlying conditions such as scoliosis or osteoarthritis.
Relieve Pressure. Heal Naturally
Whatever the source of your mid to upper back pain, Dr. Sheffield will aim to relieve the pressure on your vertebrae and spinal discs. This will restore the nerves and allow the body to naturally heal.
Lower Back Pain Treatment
Only 5 vertebrae make up the lower back, yet the lower back must support most of your body’s weight.
That’s a lot of heavy lifting!
It’s not surprising, then, that more than 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lives.
In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, lower back pain is the most common cause of job related disability in the US.
Sources of Lower Back Pain
Most lower back pain is caused by mechanical problems, such as poor posture or weight bearing activities that strain in the muscles or ligaments.
Lower back pain can also be caused by degeneration of the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and spinal joints that occur as we age.
You can feel the problems generated in the lower back throughout your body, including in your knees and feet.
If your sciatic nerve is compressed, you may even feel a searing pain through your buttock and down one leg.
Treatment of Lower Back Pain
Finding the root cause of low back pain is paramount. Is it a postural imbalance? Is it a disc? Is it nerve root impingement? Dr Sheffield will find the cause and conduct gentle adjustments to treat the spine.
She may also prescribe stretches. These stretches are designed to loosen the ligaments and muscles that contribute to your pain.
Additionally, Dr. Sheffield may ask you to do at-home exercises. These exercises will build up the support for your lower spine and allow you to heal more quickly.
Other Pain Rooted in Spinal Problems
There are a host of other conditions that cause pain throughout the body. Regardless of whether you experience the pain in the back or elsewhere, the cause of these problems could be a spinal misalignment. Let’s take a look at a few common problems that Dr. Sheffield can treat:
Disc Damage and Degeneration
Discs are the cushions in between our spinal vertebral bones and are very important to spinal health. When discs get damaged or worn out over time, it can cause pain and limit motion and the ability to do all the things you love to do.
Many disc problems can be solved with atlas work and gentle full-spine adjusting. Dr. Sheffield knows when disc issues need to be evaluated by a neurosurgeon and when her treatment is an option.
Hip and Knee Pain
Pain in weight bearing extremities could be caused by an imbalance. If you have been told you have a “short leg,” it is very important to find out the cause. Biomechanical imbalances can cause arthritis in both hips and knees. Equal weight bearing on the right and left is critical for longevity.
Ligament health is very important when it comes to healthy spine care – they hold everything together! With car accidents, sports, falls and spills, it is important to assess for ligament damage, which weakens ligaments. Dr. Sheffield takes this into account with assessing and treating patients who have had accidents, so that she can create a plan that prevents further damage.
Migraines can have numerous contributors including neck and spinal misalignments (most often C1, C2 – the top 2 neck vertebra), blood vessel problems, and hormone imbalances. Dr. Sheffield can check you to see if your spine is causing and/or contributing to your migraines.
If that is the case, then correcting the spinal misalignments often makes the picture clearer, illuminating a need to address other aspects such as toxicities, allergies, hormones. Quite a few patients get significant decreases in the number of migraines per month and some are gone altogether!
The Sciatic nerve is a grouping of nerves found in the lumbar spine, and it innervates the legs. Lumbar vertebra misalignments, disc problems and imbalances caused by atlas misalignments can cause the sciatic nerve to be irritated and/or pinched – causing shooting pain down the back of the leg. Dr. Sheffield’s approach can remedy all of these causes, providing long-lasting relief.
Car Wreck Pain Relief
Auto Accident Treatment From an Accident Survivor
Dr. Sheffield is the only auto accident chiropractor in the Austin area who is:
- An auto accident survivor
- A licensed pharmacist
- An upper cervical chiropractor specializing in whiplash and auto injuries
- Trauma certified
As a result of her life experiences, she is absolutely passionate about helping you recover from car wreck trauma—no matter how big or small the accident.
My Life Changing Accident
Dr. Sheffield remembers the accident in slow motion, frame by frame.
She was only five years old, heading home after playing with friends at the park. She looked both ways at the crosswalk and saw a van two blocks away. But then her friend Tommy called out from the park. Young Katerina and Tommy yelled to each other playfully for a few seconds. Then she crossed the street, forgetting to look both ways a second time.
The van hit her. To this day, Dr. Sheffield can see the image of the street gutter—the one she stared at while the van ran over her midsection.
Although she spent three weeks in the hospital, the treatment she received wasn’t adequate to relieve the pain.
It wasn’t until decades later that she visited an upper cervical chiropractor. This treatment finally allowed her to live pain-free for the first time.
How Does an Auto Accident Chiropractor Provide Treatment?
In addition to being a chiropractor, Dr. Sheffield is a licensed pharmacist. She knows that there’s a place for medication in auto accident recovery.
Natural Long-Term Solution
And as a chiropractor, she believes that the long-term solution should be as holistic and natural as possible. Covering up the symptoms with medications will not address the degenerative process trauma can cause in the spine.
Your individualized, dynamic treatment plan may begin with a pinpointed adjustment of your upper cervical spine.
Next, you may receive full spine adjustments that are gentle and specific. These are important to resolve spinal restrictions without causing more problems.
If warranted, Dr. Sheffield will also treat your shoulders, hips, knees, jaw and pelvis. These can be important as well to overall healing.
Dr. Sheffield Will Create an Individualized Auto Accident Treatment Plan That Targets Your Unique Injuries
When you come to Westlake Chiropractic for auto accident treatment, Dr. Sheffield will ask a series of questions. This is because every car wreck survivor presents with different issues, and no two auto accidents are exactly the same.
Dr. Sheffield will conduct a thorough physical examination and order X-rays; possibly an MRI. She will manage your case and provide any necessary referrals.
Dr. Sheffield Will Constantly Adjust Your Treatment Plan
A traditional chiropractor might schedule repeated and identical adjustments over a period of months. However, Dr. Sheffield will create a dynamic auto accident treatment plan. This means that she’ll constantly readjust the plan in response to your progress.
Begin With an Upper Cervical Adjustment
Once all the information is assessed, Dr. Sheffield will adjust your spine. If needed, she’ll begin by adjusting the atlas bone, which sits at the top of the spinal column and is the key to optimizing the functioning of the central nervous system.
Unfortunately, this is the area of the spinal column most likely to suffer severe damage in a collision. Think about it. Your head weighs 12-15 pounds.
The Most Fragile Part of the Spine
Your head balances on the most fragile part of the spine called the craniocervical junction. Your body is held in place by the seat belt. But on impact, the head flops forward and backward rapidly, possibly multiple times. This is what causes whiplash.
Fortunately, as an upper cervical chiropractor, Dr. Sheffield is uniquely qualified to work on this area of the spine. It is often the key to providing auto accident treatment.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash commonly occurs when your car is rear-ended.
It’s not unusual to feel pain from whiplash throughout your body. This is because spinal trauma can cause restrictions, inflammation, disc damage and nerve impingement. Often you’ll sustain a misalignment in the craniocervical junction, as well as in other parts of your spine.
Dr. Sheffield practices upper cervical care in addition to general chiropractic. That’s why she is uniquely trained to pinpoint the exact location and degree of these misalignments.
What Are Common Symptoms of Whiplash?
Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Headache or Pounding Head
- Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Reduced Range of Motion in Neck or Back
- Blurred Vision
- Sleep Problems
- Muscle Weakness
- Muscle Stiffness
- Trouble Balancing
When Should You Seek Treatment After an Auto Accident?
The sooner you can seek treatment the better- for both whiplash and other types of accidents. Dr. Sheffield wishes she had access to excellent chiropractic care as a child, or much earlier in life than she did. She could had avoided so much pain. This is why she is so committed to helping people who have suffered physical trauma- especially auto accidents.
Research shows that untreated whiplash can lead to chronic pain, spinal arthritis, decreased neck curves, spinal degeneration, and long-term disability. LE AN APPOINTMENT
No Pain? Still Get an Evaluation.
Even if you don’t feel any pain, it’s wise to get an evaluation. This is because after an accident, symptoms may not surface for weeks or months. This is the case in over 70% of adults. The damage is done.
But with early chiropractic care, you can proactively eliminate or minimize the pain from injury. You can also curb future degeneration and pain that might otherwise catch up to you later in life.
In some cases, with a thorough evaluation, Dr. Sheffield can detect a misalignment before you even feel it. And if she feels you may have a more serious injury, Dr. Sheffield will promptly refer you to the appropriate medical provider.
The Problem With Untreated Whiplash
The longer whiplash or other spinal misalignments are left untreated, the longer recovery can take. One of the many reasons is because over time, the central nervous system will engrave the pain signals in its memory. When that happens, unfortunately, you can become more sensitive to pain. Discs wear out faster, neck curves can diminish and a chronic degenerative process is accelerated.
Cutting Edge Treatment
Dr. Sheffield has extensive post grad training and is one of a small handful of doctors in Austin certified as a “Trauma Qualified” chiropractor by the Academy of Chiropractic Post Doctoral Division.
In addition to traditional chiropractic treatment, Dr. Sheffield offers a wide range of cutting-edge modalities that can accelerate your healing from an auto accident, including Upper Cervical adjustments.