chiropractor Woodbridge Virginia

Stress relief

Ahhhhhhh Virginia is the only state I know that has to keep relearning that water plus cold equals ice.  Leaving my chiropractic office in the Woodbridge, Dale City Virginia area last week to take my 25-minute commute home I realized they had to relearn it again.  What should have been 25 minutes took 2 hours.  I thought I had it bad, until I was complaining to patients the next day.  Some took 7 hours to do 40 minutes…  I quickly shut up.  Then I thought let’s all relearn some way to deal with stress because I am sure VDOT will probably get surprised again this winter.  Definitely next winter so keep these handy.

Think Positively

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into positive,” said Hans Selye, author of the groundbreaking work around stress theory. When optimism is hard to muster, cognitive-behavioral therapy, which trains people to recognize negative thinking patterns and replace them with more constructive ones, can also help reduce the risk of chronic stress and depression.

Get Out and Enjoy Nature

While modern civilization has made our lives more convenient, it has deprived us of an essential source of stress relief—connection with nature. Studies show that interacting with nature can help lessen the effects of stress on the nervous system, reduce attention deficits, decrease aggression, and enhance spiritual well-being.

“Smell the Roses” for Better Mood

Aromatherapy, or smelling essential plant oils, recognized worldwide as a complementary therapy for managing chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress-related disorders, can help you unwind. Orange and lavender scents, in particular, have been shown to enhance relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Relax with a Cup of Tea

During stressful times, coffee helps us keep going. To give yourself a break, however, consider drinking tea. Research shows that drinking tea for 6 weeks helps lower post-stress cortisol and increase relaxation. Habitual tea drinking may also reduce inflammation, potentially benefiting your heart health.

Laugh It Off

Humor relieves stress and anxiety and prevents depression, helping put our troubles in perspective. Laughter can help boost the immune system, increase pain tolerance, enhance mood and creativity, and lower blood pressure, potentially improving treatment outcomes for many health problems, including cancer and HIV. Humor may also be related to happiness, which has been linked to high self-esteem, extroversion, and feeling in control.

Build a Support System

Relationships are also key to health and happiness, especially for women. Women with low social support, for example, are more likely to increase blood pressure under stress. Loneliness may also contribute to stress in both men and women, also leading to poorer outcomes after a stroke or congestive heart failure. On the other hand, active and socially involved seniors are at lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Social support also helps cancer patients to boost the immune system and maintain a higher quality of life.

Employ the Relaxing Power of Music

Music, especially classical, can also serve as a powerful stress-relief tool. Listening to Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D major while preparing a public speech helps avoid anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, which usually accompany public speaking.

Singing and listening to music can also relieve pain and reduce anxiety and depression caused by lowback pain. Group drumming also showed positive effects on stress relief and the immune system. Music therapy can also elevate mood and positively affect the immune system in cancer patients and reduce fatigue and improve self-acceptance in people with multiple sclerosis.

To help people deal with stressful medical procedures, music can help reduce anxiety before surgery. When played during surgery, it can decrease the patient’s post-operative pain. Aiding recovery, a dose of calming music may lower anxiety, pain, and the need for painkillers.

Calm Your Mind

In recent decades, many forms of meditation have gained popularity as relaxation and pain relief tools. Focusing on our breath, looking at a candle, or practicing a non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts and actions can help tune out distractions, reduce anxiety and depression, and accept our circumstances. In cancer patients, meditation-based stress reduction enhances quality of life, lowers stress symptoms, and potentially benefits the immune system.

Guided imagery, such as visualizing pictures prompted by an audiotape recording, also shows promise in stress relief and pain reduction. Based on the idea that the mind can affect the body, guided imagery can be a useful adjunct to cancer therapy, focusing patients on positive images to help heal their bodies.

Enjoy the Warmth of Human Touch

Just as the mind can affect the body, the body can influence the mind. Virginia Satir, a famous American psychotherapist, once said that people need 4 hugs a day to help prevent depression, 8 for psychological stability, and 12 for growth. While asking for hugs may not work for some, massage can help us relieve stress and reduce anxiety and depression. Massage has also been shown to reduce aggression and hostility in violent adolescents, to improve mood and behavior in students with ADHD, and to lead to better sleep and behavior in children with autism.

Massage has other therapeutic properties, as well. Regular massage may reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension and may lead to less pain, depression, and anxiety and better sleep in patients with chronic low-back pain. Compared to relaxation, massage therapy also causes greater reduction in depression and anger, and more significant effects on the immune system in breast cancer patients.

Give Exercise a Shot

To get the best of both worlds, affecting the mind through the body while getting into good physical shape, try exercise. In one study, a group of lung cancer patients increased their hope due to exercise. Exercise can also reduce depression and improve wound healing in the elderly. Tai chi, which works for people of all ages, may enhance heart and lung function, improve balance and posture, and prevent falls, while reducing stress.





Doroski Chiropractic Neurology

3122 Golansky Blvd, Ste 102

Woodbridge VA 22192

703 730 9588

Map Link

Hip pain may be your SI joint

I see sacroiliac injuries in my Woodbridge, Dale City Virginia Chiropractic office almost as frequently as any other spinal injury.  People often come in complaining of what they consider hip pain.  Once the injury is examined it is more often than not the SI joint.  It is also the cause of unilateral low back pain.  Patients will complain of lower left or right side low back pain.  Same thing, once you examine the area it is the SI joint.  Doroski Chiropractic Neurology in the Woodbridge, Dale City Virginia area has some helpful information for you on the SI joint.

When the hip joint is spoken of, it is typically thought of as a vague area that may encompass anywhere from the iliac crest, the sacroiliac joint or the point at which the femur articulates with the acetabulum. The latter is the actual hip joint. Lower back pain that radiates more laterally to the pelvic area over the acetabulum, groin, and upper lateral thigh is not necessarily definitive of an L4/L5 disc syndrome. Pain in this region may also be secondary to a facet syndrome. Sometimes, pain to the lower abdominal and groin region may be a part of the symptomatology presented by a patient. The differentiation between the L/4/L5 disc and facet syndrome is that the disc with the radiculopathy will generally follow a known dermatome, while a facet syndrome follows a dermatomal pain pattern. Doctors of chiropractic usually find and treat articular lesions of the sacrum, ilium or lumbar spine, for a period of time, without cessation of symptoms or improvement of these complaints. One other consideration would be for a tear of the labrum in the hip, which may result in pain in the SI joint, gluteus area and even anterially into the groin.

Complaints in these more lateral areas are often due to a problem in an area that many doctors don’t check—the femoral head. The femoral head may need to be assessed for the need for manipulation or mobilization. This in turn may cause deep pelvic muscle spasms, which may become chronic. I believe that every day activities, from subtle movements like turning in bed to more repetitive activities like bearing more weight on a pronated foot time and time again, may cause misalignment to the femoral head. This area should be checked and adjusted for recovery, in my opinion.

Drawing upon an example from personal experience: I would open the car door and throw my right leg into the car and then sit down. I would experience a subtle “click” in the acetabulum area, followed by pain and irregular walking gait, pulling of the leg when weight bearing, causing deep spasms of the upper thigh and lower abdominal muscles, pulling the leg forward instead of pushing the leg forward, as in a normal walking gait. This caused a transition of weight-bearing muscle function to muscles not usually used in normal walking. (A compensatory walking gait is developed.) This caused me pain and spasm in adjacent muscles.

All too often, I believe that this problem is missed or misdiagnosed, resulting in unnecessary surgery, hip replacement, repetitive chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy and muscle massage, and none of them address the underlying cause of the condition.


Examination for Hip Joint Dysfunction

Place the patient in supine position, with your superior hand holding the ilium to the table with light A-P downward Force (near the ASIS) to ensure the ilium will not rise off the table during motion of the leg. Holding the ilium on the exam table, grasp the ankle and rotate the foot medially. The big toe should touch the table. Full rotation indicates no hip joint dysfunction. If the ilium rises off the table during this action, this indicates improper function of the femoral head/acetabular articulation.

Corrective Procedure

Ascertain (through the examination described above) the side of restriction. Place the patient in lateral Syms position (Syms is performed by having a patient lie on the left side, left leg extended and right leg flexed) as in a side roll. Place your superior hand under the armpit of the patient, holding the humerus and ribs, with your inferior hand reaching over the patient cupping the femoral head. Proceed with the side-roll-type procedure with this exception: The inferior hand (cupping the femoral head) is driven directly forward (anterior).

If correction has been obtained, the leg now should move freely in a medial direction smoothly and completely, with immediate Improvement of pain. Occasionally the patient may experience residual muscle soreness. Over the course of my practice, I have found that these patients have a tendency to walk around for a while with a displaced femoral head and a compensatory walk, the surrounding muscles are sprained and inflamed, and soreness may continue for days until the patient returns to a normal walking gait. Generally, I find the quicker the patient returns to a normal walking gait, the quicker the syndrome is alleviated. I feel it is important to re-address with the patient what is a normal walking gait and this may lengthen the post-correction period.




Doroski Chiropractic Neurology

3122 Golansky Blvd, Ste 102

Woodbridge VA 22192

703 730 9588

Map Link

Low back pain and lumbar supports.

We hear it all the time at Doroski Chiropractic Neurology in Woodbridge VA… “Don’t worry Doc I have a back brace I wear while I am at work.”  Just because you are wearing one doesn’t mean you are free from harming your back and does wearing one incorrectly even help.   No one really thinks about wearing one correctly you figure it is a belt how can I do it wrong.  Well I can tell you from personal experience you can do a lot of things wrong that you figured there really is only one way to do it.  Take running for example.  A few years ago I got in to running and figured I have been doing this for years “I think I got this.”  It always feels good busting your butt getting ready for your first half marathon and at mile two the person you signed up to do it with, but never ran with, who happens to be a track coach goes “wow you are doing it wrong.”  I bet after each run your shins are killing you and your back is tight.  Why yes it is.  Yea try doing this this and this.  Next thing you know you are running easier and faster.  So trust me just being handed a back brace doesn’t mean “you got this.”

So let me give you some background on back braces and do they really help.

The truth is that wearing an elastic or other support around your waist to help your back may be both good and bad.  And whether wearing such a back belt will prevent back problems is controversial.  A new study that found workers who routinely wear these support belts while working at Wal-Mart, were just as likely to injure their backs as those who did not.(1)  However, some previous studies have shown back belts to prevent injuries, such as the UCLA study conducted with Home Depot workers, which found a 1/3 decrease in back injuries due to wearing back belts.(2)

Let’s look at the scientific evidence about whether back belts might help to support the back, whether there are any risks associated with wearing them, and whether such belts should be recommended or not.

How might back belts help to support the back?  They do not hold the back in, as many presume. Back belts function primarily to hold the stomach in, thus increasing intra-abdominal pressure.  This has led some to refer to these belts as abdominal belts rather than as back belts.  But how does increasing intra-abdominal pressure support the spine?  We will briefly review the intra-abdominal balloon theory and a more modern theory.

Intra-Abdominal Balloon Mechanism

It was originally proposed by Bartelink in 1957 that increased intra-abdominal pressure would decrease the compressive load on the spine through the intra-abdominal balloon mechanism.(3)  To begin with, you must think of the abdominal cavity and the abdominal organs as a squishy liquid.  Then realize that the abdominal cavity becomes a closed chamber when we bear down and hold our breath, which we instinctively do when we lift heavy things.  This chamber is closed on the bottom by the anal sphincter and on the top by the diaphragm.  When bearing down, the abdominal contents tend to push outwards.  But if we contract our deep abdominal muscles—the obliques and the transverse abdominus muscles—or we wear a thick belt, the abdominal contents are forced upwards rather than outwards.(4 p.109)  This theoretically provides a decompressive effect on the lumbar spine.  Since the crura of the diaphragm is attached to the first 3 lumbar vertebrae, when the diaphragm is pushed upwards, it exerts a traction force on the lower lumbar spine (L4 and L5).  It was also theorized that since this balloon mechanism makes the spine more rigid, it would decrease the amount of work required of the erector muscles to prevent us from falling forwards.   Kapanji estimated that this abdominal support mechanism acts to reduce compression forces on the L5/S1 disc by 30% and reduces the force required by the erector spinae muscles by 55%. (4, p.198).

But more recent scientific evidence fails to support some of these theoretical assumptions.  Such recent studies reveal that an increase in intra-abdominal pressure actually results in an increase (rather than a decrease) in compressive force on the lower spine.(5,6) And there is no decrease in the amount of work required of the lower back muscles.(7)  However, by stiffening the trunk, increased intra-abdominal pressure may prevent the tissues in the spine from strain or failure from buckling.  Such intra-abdominal pressure may also act to reduce anterior-posterior shear loads.(8)  In other words, support for the spine is provided, without reducing compression to any appreciable degree.

Belts may also help to protect the spine by limiting the range of motion that occurs when bending or twisting, though this effect is less than expected.(9,10)  However, since when the spine bends more, it is more vulnerable to injury, if these belts reduce extreme bending at all, they may be beneficial.

Are there any risks associated with wearing a back belt?

The main risk associated with wearing a back belt is that during the period of wearing it, the supportive spinal muscles—the deep abdominal and back muscles—that normally support your spine will become weaker.  These muscles are less active while your spine is being artificially supported by the belt.  Muscles need to be consistently exercised in order to stay strong.  If these muscles become weaker, when you stop wearing the belt, you may be more likely to hurt your back.  And at least one study seems to suggest this.  In this study, there was an increase in the number and severity of back injuries following a period of belt wearing.(11)

Another risk associated with wearing a back belt is that it causes an increase in both blood pressure and heart rate.(12)  This may pose a problem for those individuals with existing cardiovascular disease or risk factors, such as hypertension.

A third risk associated with wearing a back belt is that workers may be inclined to lift heavier objects while wearing them.  These belts may be giving workers a false sense of security.  This could result in an increased risk of injury.


Wassell JT, Gardner LI, Landsittel DP, Johnston JJ, Johnston JM.   A prospective study of back belts for prevention of back pain and injury.  JAMA.  2000; 284(21): 2727-32.

McIntyre DR; Bolte KM; Pope MH. Study provides new evidence of back belts’ effectiveness. Occup Health Saf.  1996; 65(12): 39-41.

Bartelink DL, “The Role of Abdominal Pressure in Relieving Pressure on the Lumbar Intervertebral Discs,” J Bone Joint Surg, (Br) 1957, 39B: 718-725.

Kapanji, IA. The Physiology of the Joints, Vol. III.

McGill SM, Norman RW.  Reassessment of the role of intra-abdominal pressure in spinal compression.    Ergonomics. 1987; 30: 1565-1588.

Nachemson AL, Anderson GBJ, Schultz AB. Valsalva maneuver biomechanics. Effects on lumbar spine trunk loads  of elevated intrabdominal pressures. Spine. 1986; 11: 476-479.

McGill S, Norman RW, Sharatt MT. The effect of an abdominal belt on trunk muscle activity and intra-abdominal pressure during squat lifts. Ergonomics. 1990; 33:147-160.

McGill S. Abdominal belts in industry: A position paper on their assets, liabilities and use. Am Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J. 1993; 54(12): 752-754.

Lantz SA, Schultz AB. Lumbar spine orthosis wearing I. Restriction of gross body motion. Spine. 1986; 11: 834-837.

McGill SM, Sequin JP, Bennett G. Passive stiffness of the lumbar torso in flexion, extension, lateral bend and axial twist: The effect of belt wearing and breath holding. Spine. 1994; 19(19): 2190-2196.

Reddell CR, Congleton JJ, Huchinson RD, Mongomery JF. An evaluation of a weightlifting belt and back injury prevention training class for airline baggage handlers. Appl. Ergonomics. 1992; 23: 319-329.

Hunter GR, McGuirk J, Mitrano N, et al. The effects of a weight training belt on blood pressure during exercise. J Appl Sport Sci Res. 1989; 3: 13-18.





Doroski Chiropractic Neurology

3122 Golansky Blvd, Ste 102

Woodbridge VA 22192

703 730 9588