Posts Tagged ‘pain’

Oh Cramp! I Got a Spasm!

by Kaity Mclenithan, ATC

Differences Between Muscles Cramps, Spasms, and Soreness

Who has ever woken up in the middle of the night with the dreaded charlie horse cramp in their calf?? We have all heard about it but have you ever wondered why it happens? Listed below are the differences between a muscle cramp, muscle spasm and muscle soreness and how to help deal with and prevent them.

A muscle cramp is an involuntary muscle contraction. Meaning that the muscles fires without your control, and usually lasts for a short period of time.  There are many possible causes for muscles cramps such as: dehydration, electrolyte loss/imbalance, loss of sodium, low levels of magnesium, muscle fatigue, and lack of oxygen.

A muscle spasm is a reflex to something else that is going on in the body or trauma. There are two types of spasms that can take place: clonic and tonic. Clonic is an involuntary contraction that alternates between contraction and relaxation. Tonic is a hard, constant muscle contraction that lasts for a span of time. Muscle spasms can also cause muscle strains.

Muscle soreness is pain caused by overexertion from physical activity. This most commonly happens when people try something new in their exercise routine/new activity or try a new class.  Unfortunately, the older people get the more often this tends to happen. There are two types of soreness acute and delayed-onset.

Acute muscle soreness happens when the muscle is fatigued.  This can happen during or directly after exercise. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercise, and usually subsides 3-4 days later.  DOMS can be characterized by increased muscle tension, stiffness and the muscle being resistant to stretching. Possible causes of this can be small tears in the muscle and disruption of the connective tissue of muscle tendon fibers.


How To Prevent DOMS

  1. Start with an exercise routine of moderate activity and intensity, and then gradually increasing activity and intensity.
  2. Stay Hydrated. It is imperative to drink water throughout the day, and not just pre and post workout.  Your body will thank you.
  3. Be consistent with your stretching, foam rolling and lacrosse ball.  These increase blood flow to your muscles, decrease knots and trigger points and help prevent lactic acid build up.
  4. Add Branch Chain Amino Acids during and after your workout.  BCAA’s are great to add to your water bottle to improve athletic performance, aid in muscle recovery as well as help preserve lean muscle mass.
  5. Supplement with Magnesium.  Magnesium will help with leg cramps as well as soreness.


Making sure you are not depleted in certain minerals such as magnesium and potassium is important as mentioned above. Even with all of the foods we consume throughout the day we still may need a little help. Magnesium helps to relax the muscles and decrease the risk of them cramping as well as other health benefits including relieving constipation! If the muscle seems to not want to relax then you may find other techniques such as massage therapy or graston therapy may help.

If you are having muscle issues and is not sure what can be done, call the office for your FREE consultation at 847-362-4476. Mention this blog to receive 15% off a foam roller or Tiger Tail and also 20% off our magnesium or BCAA supplement today!

Inflammation: A Silent Killer

by Dr. Jade Dellinger

Inflammation is a word that is used often, yet hard to define.  Most of us have a hard time separating inflammation from an ankle sprain vs. inflammation contributing to heart disease and arthritis.  In order to understand how to fight it, it’s important to understand how and why it occurs!

Inflammation is a very common and innate response to an injury, pain or stress.  It is part of our bodies natural defense system to prevent something worse and/or speed up healing time.

Acute inflammation is the first response to an injury or pathogen.  It’s acute because it should only last several days or less.

Examples of what can cause this:

  • Illness (virus, bacteria)
  • Trauma (punch, kick, sprain)
  • Burn
  • Frostbite
  • Allergic Reaction

There are a lot of players involved in the inflammatory process, but the basics are: heat, redness, swelling, and pain.  Thus leading to loss of function.  Acute inflammation is an important part of healing.  Follow your doctors advice for your particular situation and it should pass within a few days.

More importantly….. Chronic inflammation.  Our bodies go haywire when this seemingly harmless acute reaction becomes chronic and systemic.

There are a few things that cause inflammation to be turned “on” at all times.

  • Toxic Diet : High sugar, high fat, high-gluten & processed foods
  • Low Omega-3 Intake: Omega-3’s are necessary to the anti-inflammatory process (in addition high Omega-6 intake is as bad as low omega-3)
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Lack of Movement: Being sedentary is linked to a low-grade inflammatory state.
  • Chronic Stress

Those are just a few!  If any of those listed above are involved in your daily life, it’s time to make some changes.  Those are the pre-cursors to numerous lifestyle illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, heart failure and more.  Fixing some of those listed can help manage already diagnosed conditions.  INCLUDING CHRONIC PAIN!

Remember we are always available for lifestyle advice and nutritional counseling.  If you are not feeling as happy, healthy or energetic as you want, Dr. Jordan Leasure, D.C. is offering Intro to Functional Medicine Assessments for $50.  Only 10 spots available for this great deal.  Mention code Inflammation to get started on your journey to wellness!  North Shore Pro-Active Health | 847-362-4476 |

Straight Up Stretching: Stretching 101

by Dr. Jordan Leasure

Join Certified Athletic Trainers Kristin Stromberg and Kaity McLenithan in learning the rights and wrongs of stretching. Learn how to improve your range of motion, decrease pain and improve your overall health and wellness. Registration is $25 and includes the interactive hour long workshop as well as your own Stretch Strap and educational booklet to take home and continue stretching!

This is a basic stretch class and designed for beginners or those who want to make sure they’re stretching correctly. For questions regarding registration please feel free to call the office at 847-362-4476. Class is limited to 10 participants and pre-registration is required. Tickets will be available to purchase starting on February 1st.

What Do You Really Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis??

by Kristin Stromberg, ATC

Every patient that has come into our office has heard about some form of arthritis. Whether that is osteoarthritis, arthritis, or the infamous rheumatoid arthritis. But when asked if they knew the difference between them, there is always a slight pause followed by silence. This blog is going to go more in depth about rheumatoid arthritis and explaining what the signs and symptoms are as well as treatment options.

Before getting into signs and symptoms let us discuss some basic information about the body.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints (the synovium) to thicken, resulting in swelling and pain in and around the joints. The synovium makes a fluid that lubricates joints and helps them move smoothly and prevents the bones from rubbing each other.


Roughly 1.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with RA and nearly three times as many women have the disease than men. The most common age groups to develop RA are between the ages of 40 and 60 years old.

Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

In the beginning stages of RA the smaller joints are affected first; ie; smaller bones in the hands, feet and in the wrists. As it progresses it may go into both shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. There also have been cases of patients having issues with their skin, eyes, lungs, heart and the blood vessels. Typically more than one joint is affected with joint pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, warm to the touch, morning stiffness lasting for 30 minutes or longer, fatigue and loss of appetite.

There is no one blood test or specific imaging to confirm if the patient has RA. People with rheumatoid arthritis often have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate) or C-reactive protein (CRP), which may indicate the presence of an inflammatory process in the body. Other common blood tests look for rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies. A Rheumatoloigist may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in your joints over time. MRI and ultrasound tests can help the doctor judge the severity of the disease in your body by checking how much of the bone is damaged, and the narrowing of the joint space.


Unfortunately there is no cure for RA but there are different methods in treating the patient. The most popular form of treatment that doctors like to try are some form of medication. Such as some type of steroid, NSAID’s (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD’s) and biologic agents. Common names for any of these drugs are Plaquenil, Humira, Enberel, Methotrexatre and Prednisone. All of these drugs have side effects. It can be from headaches, light sensitivity, liver damage, heartburn, high blood pressure, dizziness, neuropathy, itchy skin, vomiting, diarrhea, increasing the likely-hood of getting an infection in the body and many others.

There are other ways you can try and control the symptoms of RA as well as decreasing the amount of “flare ups” the body has.

Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy/Massage Therapy: Patients would be shown how to properly stretch the muscles throughout the body to make sure that the body has the best flexibility it can have. When the body has increased range of motion there is less stiffness and tightness and restoring muscle strength and endurance is easier. The program can easily be tailored to the patient and progression of exercises keeps the body and mind challenged.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Healthy Eating: There are 7 main things in someone’s diet that should be avoided; Dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, peanuts, corn and sugar. Many people have a hard time digesting and processing these foods which can cause gastrointestinal issues. Drinking water is also an easy way to help detox the body and to get rid of toxins. A person should be drinking at least HALF OF THEIR BODY WEIGHT IN OUNCES OF WATER A DAY!!!! Water helps the body get rid of all the bodies “junk” and if it is not being expelled then it is just sitting in the body doing more harm than good.

Supplements and Vitamins: At our office we offer a variety of supplements that can help with RA. Natura is a company name that we recommend often to our patients. A few of our popular supplements are InflamAway, Corydalis Plus, Botanbol, and Thermo-Fit. All of them help increase the metabolism, increasing bone health, relieves minor pain and other benefits. Other recommendations can be using probiotics, vitamin D as well as fish oil. These are recommendations that should be discussed with your doctor to make sure that there are no contraindications and to take the correct dosage.

For more information about the brand Natura please go to their website at For reading this blog you will be able to receive a discount of any of the supplements/vitamins that we have in stock. If you have any questions please call our office at 847-362-4476.

What is a Trigger Point?

by Kristin Stromberg, ATC

What are these knots in my back and neck?? Are these normal? How do I get rid of them? This is a very popular question that we get asked here in the office at North Shore Pro-Active Health. Before we answer the question above let us talk about how muscle fibers work. Within skeletal muscle there are three types of fiber. Type one (I), type two A (IIa) and type two B (IIb). Each fiber types has different qualities in the way they perform and how quickly they fatigue.

Types of Trigger Points

Type I fibers are also known as slow twitch fibers. They are red in color due to the presence of large volumes of myoglobin (iron-oxygen binding protein) and high numbers of Mitochondria (power house of the cell). They are very resistant to fatigue and are capable of producing repeated low-level contractions by producing large amounts of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) through an aerobic metabolic cycle. The muscles containing mainly type I fibers are often postural muscles such as those in the neck and spine due to their endurance capabilities.

Type IIa fibers are also sometimes known as fast oxidative fibres and are a hybrid of type I and II fibers. These fibers contain a large number of mitochondria and Myoglobin, hence their red colour. They manufacture and split ATP at a fast rate by utilising both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism and so produce fast, strong muscle contractions, although they are more prone to fatigue than type I fibers.

Type IIb often known as fast glycolytic fibers they are white in colour due to a low level of myoglobin and also contain few mitochondria. They produce ATP at a slow rate by anaerobic metabolism and break it down very quickly. This results in short, fast bursts of power and rapid fatigue. As mentioned above, this type of fiber can be turned into type IIa fibers by resistance training. This is a positive change due to the increased fatigue resistance of type IIa fibers. These fibers are found in large quantities in the muscles of the arms.

Muscles make up between 36-42% of body weight, on average. They are a large percentage of our total weight and have a corresponding impact on our health. When all is in working order, muscles allow us to perform normal activities with ease. When our muscles harbor trigger points, we experience pain, stiffness and tension, physical limitation and loss of normal function.

Factors commonly cited as predisposing to trigger point formation include but are not limited to: de-conditioning, poor posture, repetitive mechanical stress, mechanical imbalance (e.g. leg length inequality), joint disorders, non-restorative sleep, vitamin deficiencies, muscle clenching and tensing due to emotional/mental stress, direct injury or being inactive for long periods of time such as sitting or bed rest.

Active Trigger Points versus Dormant Trigger Points

After forming, trigger points have two phases, active and dormant. The active, painful phase of the trigger point is the one which produces the unrelenting, debilitating pain symptoms and which motivates people to seek relief. The active trigger point hurts when pressed with a finger and causes pain around it and in other areas. It causes the muscle in which it’s located to be weak and due to the taut bands, to have limited flexibility. The active trigger point referral symptom may feel like a dull ache, deep, pressing pain, burning, or a sensation of numbness and fatigue. The affected dense, shortened muscles, laden with taut bands may even compress and entrap nerves, leading to another secondary set of symptoms. If unaddressed or ineffectively treated, eventually, other muscles around the dysfunctional one may be required to “take up the slack”, becoming stressed and developing secondary trigger points. It is not unusual for chronic pain patients to have multiple, overlapping referred pain patterns, making diagnosis and treatment more complex.

Trigger points can also lie quietly in muscles, sometimes for years. This type of trigger point is called dormant or in-active. These trigger points are very common. Unless you press on the trigger point and feel the tenderness, you probably don’t know they are there. Most people have at least a few. They may persist for years after apparent recovery from injury. Dormant trigger points cause; restricted movement, distorted muscle movement patterns, stiffness and weakness of the affected muscle and generally do not cause pain unless compressed.

How Many Trigger Points Can I Have?

Since a trigger point is an abnormal biochemical and mechanical area in contracted muscle tissue, the number and exact location on each person can vary.  All muscle tissue is potentially prone to developing trigger points. Sometimes people have one trigger point but more often they have many. Prolonged referral of pain and weakness from a one trigger point to another area of the body will generally cause other trigger points to develop in that area. These, in turn, if left untreated, can activate and also refer pain, creating multiple pain patterns. The more areas that have pain and the longer you have had the pain, the more trigger points you are likely to have. It is rare for someone with pain to only have one or two muscles with trigger points.

What Can I Do For My Trigger Points?

Here at North Shore Pro-Active Health we see patients every day that deal with some sort of trigger point issue. Whether it is in their neck, low back, forearm, calf or hamstrings there are ways to help reduce the symptoms of pain and correct the muscles so they do not come back again. A few tools we use in the office are foam rollers, lacrosse balls and Tiger Tails. These are items that can be used at home on a daily basis or if there is going to be a lot of travel and then the patient can do self care. We also encourage trigger point release massage with our massage therapist. The length of time can be from 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on how severe the pain is for the patient.

If you have any questions or concerns please call the office at 847-362-4476 for a free consultation and also mention this blog to receive 15% off either a Tiger Tail or Foam roller!

Strain vs. Sprain

by Dr. Jordan Leasure

The Difference Between a Strain and a Sprain

A strain is a slight stretching or complete rupture/tear of muscle fibers.  This injury usually occurs

between the muscle belly and the tendon of the muscle.  This can occur within muscle fibers when the

fibers become over stretched or when the muscle generates more forces than it can stand.  There are

three degrees for muscles strains:

  •  First-degree: involves over stretching of some of the muscle fibers which can cause point tenderness in the involved area, mild swelling, and pain with muscle contraction.
  •  Second-degree: involves some of the muscle fibers actually tearing. Some of the symptoms include point tenderness to the involved muscle, swelling, bruising, and pain with muscle contraction.
  •  Third-degree: involves a complete rupture/tear to the muscle fibers and blood vessels. Symptoms for this include pain, loss of function, evident defect where the muscle ruptured, swelling, and bruising.

A sprain is a slight stretching or complete tear of ligaments within a joint. This injury most commonly

occurs in the knee and ankle.  There are three degrees of sprains:

  •  First-degree: involves stretching of the ligament fibers. Symptoms include pain at the site of injury, mild swelling and point tenderness.
  •  Second-degree: involves slight tearing of ligament fibers. Symptoms includes joint laxity, pain, swelling, and loss of range of motion in the affected joint.
  •  Third-degree: involves complete tearing of the ligament and possible nerves being torn, as well. Symptoms include instability, excessive joint laxity, severe swelling, pain (depending on if nerves were torn or not), and complete loss of function for the affected joint.

What are Trigger Points

by Dr. Jordan Leasure

Have you heard of TRIGGER POINTS?

 Trigger points are what people commonly refer to as muscle “knots”.  Trigger points are contracted muscle fibers within a muscle.  When muscle fibers are contracted, they are shortened. When the muscle is shortened, it affects the muscles strength and also the range of motion of that muscle.  These shortened fibers can also cause the muscle bundle to pull on its attachments which can cause pain in the joints they are attached to. Trigger points can be treated and eliminated with massage therapy as well as other soft tissue techniques like graston.

Trigger points can also cause referral pain in other areas of the body. It is possible to have trigger points in your back causing pain in your shoulder or vice versa. It is important to get your condition reviewed and examined by your chiropractor to determine what course of treatment would be best for you.

Fibromyalgia – Will I Always Be In Pain?

by Dr. Jordan Leasure

At our practice we run into numerous patients who think they have fibromyalgia, but have never been diagnosed.  I wanted to take some time to explain what fibromyalgia(FM) is and what options there are if you are suffering.

FM is classified as a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain and sensitivity to the entire musculoskeletal system.  Individuals suffering from FM have days of pain from moderate to severe in multiple body locations.  Most people also report some level of fatigue along with the pain.  To be diagnosed with FM, a patient will possess a minimum of 11 out of 18 specific tender points on the body.

It is estimated that nearly 2% of the population is suffering from FM and women are being affected 10 times more than men.  FM is difficult to treat because you are dealing with multiple complaints and concerns, and the best treatment is most often holistic.

Although studies are lacking for the benefits of chiropractic on fibromyalgia patients, I can speak from experience that we have had some great success.  Patients suffering from FM may need to make some drastic lifestyle modifications including, but not limited to activity levels, food intake as well as adding supplements to their regimen.  Each patient is unique and will require different treatments as some patients suffering from FM will not respond to treatments that another does.

Chiropractic, acupuncture and supplementation are going to be key for a patient suffering from FM.  If anyone feels they are suffering from any type of chronic pain they should be evaluated by their chiropractor to see what options they have.  There is no reason someone should suffer in pain, regardless if it is daily, weekly or evening monthly.

For questions please visit our website or contact our office at  | 112 W Lake Street, Libertyville IL 60048  | 847-362-4476 or on facebook at