Chiropractic Treatment

The doctor of chiropractic is a specialist in spinal musculoskeletal disorders. He or she is expertly trained to diagnose and treat the many musculoskeletal injuries that may occur on the job or in your daily life.

Upon injury, the individual often alters the normal position or flexibility of the spinal vertebrae. Chiropractic treatment is designed to restore normal alignment and thus minimize pain and suffering. Gentle manipulative therapy or “adjustment” is often effective in rapidly returning the injured person to a productive status. The doctor of chiropractic can also provide guidance with advice designed to reduce work-related injuries, proper lifting procedures and therapeutic stretching exercises.

Acute Injuries

Acute is a word used to describe an injury or illness that comes and goes (as opposed to chronic, which is persistent). Acute injuries come on quickly, have very definite symptoms which can be quite intense, and heal in a relatively brief period of time. Often, and unfortunately, acute injuries to the back or neck can be the precursor to chronic pain.


Chiropractic adjustment — also called spinal manipulation — involves moving a joint beyond its usual range of motion but not beyond the range of motion the joint is designed to move, anatomically speaking. You often will hear a popping or cracking noise during chiropractic adjustment as the joint is manipulated.

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The goal of chiropractic adjustment is to relieve pain and improve your body's physical function. Chiropractic adjustment is performed by a chiropractic doctor; spinal manipulation may be provided by an osteopathic doctor or physical therapist.


Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is usually caused by normal wear and tear, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder.

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Other types of arthritis can be caused by uric acid crystals, infections or even an underlying disease — such as psoriasis or lupus.

Treatments vary, depending on the type of arthritis. The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Massage Therapy

Chiroprctic Services | Dr. Craig Hite | Los Alamitos Chiropractor

Massage therapy has been proven to be beneficial in the myofascial release of musculature and lymphatic drainage to resotre function of the musculature. We have 5 therapists that are well educated and trained in the treatment of many conditions treated within this office. Call today to schedule your therapeutic massage!

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The application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation. The many variations of massage account for several different techniques.

Massage is one of the oldest healing arts: Chinese records dating back 3,000 years document its use; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments; and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems. Today, the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more. And, as many millions will attest, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.

Bulging Disc

The shock-absorbing cushions between the vertebrae are known as intervertebral discs. When a disc becomes damaged through trauma or "wear and tear," it may develop a weakness along an outer edge. This can result in a bulging disc.

While certain signs, symptoms and X-ray findings may suggest that there is a disc bulge, an absolute diagnosis requires advanced imaging, usually magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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The advantage of MRI is that it actually provides a visual image of the discs themselves. Just as important, the MRI also shows the spinal nerves. These spinal nerves are very sensitive and can become damaged if compressed by a large disc bulge. Just like any other injury, disc bulges come in varying degrees of severity.

A small disc bulge may cause minor symptoms of pain and stiffness in the back. A severe disc bulge may cause compression of one or more spinal nerves resulting in excruciating radiating pain into an arm or leg, or may even cause numbness or weakness in the limb. The most severe cases are more likely to require surgery. Mild or moderate disc bulges usually do not require surgery. In fact, according to one study, some adults with mild disc bulges have no symptoms at all. Unless there is severe numbness or weakness in an arm or leg, conservative treatment should be tried first. Chiropractic is an appropriate option in these cases.


Decompression is defined as reduction in pressure (intradiscal). Recumbent positions (both prone and supine) decrease intradiscal pressures in comparison to standing and sitting. However focused, axial mechanical+Y translation traction, (creating 'decompression' i.e. unloading due to distraction and positioning) has been shown to reduce disc pressure and enhance the healing response even further.

Do you are suffer with low back pain, neck pain,
leg pain, or arm pain?

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Have you been diagonosed as having a herniated disc, degenerative disc, spinal stenosis, Have you been told you may need back surgery? Vertebral Axial Decompression Therapy is an effective treatment for these conditions. It is very affordable and less expensive than surgery and it is offered at Hite Chiropractic Center.

Vertebral Axial Decompression Therapy is one of the hottest, successful treatment programs for compression and disc syndromes!

We use a decompression therapy table to Veterbral Axial Decompression therapy as an effective treatment for:

  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc
  • Facet syndrome
  • Sciatica (Leg Pain)
  • Post-surgical patients
  • Spinal Stenosis


A chiropractor usually treats injuries of the back, neck or spine, joint pain and headaches. Chiropractic science is based on the belief that a misaligned spine inhibits the flow of nerve impulses in the body which creates or contributes to disease. A chiropractor doesn't use drugs or surgery for treatment, but performs spinal or joint manipulations to correct alignment.

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Although a chiropractor is considered a primary care practitioner, many patients are referred to a chiropractor through a general physician. A chiropractor may diagnose a condition through physical examination, diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI or X-rays, or other methods. She refers patients to other health care providers if she doesn't believe chiropractic care is suitable for the patient's condition. She also works in association with other health care practitioners when more than one type of care is needed.


A chiropractor must have at least three years of pre-med college education. Then he must study four to five years in a chiropractic college, according to the American Chiropractic Association. The course of study is similar to that of a medical doctor. One year of study is usually involved in direct patient care. A chiropractor must pass a national board examination and requirements for individual state licensure in order to practice. Post-graduate study is completed for field specializations, such as neurology and sports injuries.


Forms of chiropractic care can be traced back to 2700 B.C. in China and Greece. In the United States, Daniel David Palmer founded the chiropractic profession and created the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1897, which is still a prestigious school today. Throughout the 1900s, chiropractors became recognized throughout the United States and the practice spread throughout the world.


A chiropractor believes in the body's own healing ability and relies on non-invasive procedures for treatment, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Although she most often treats back ailments, she sometimes treats allergies, asthma, osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome as new research supports the efficacy of chiropractic care for various conditions. A chiropractor sometimes studies other healing methods, such as acupuncture, and uses it to complement her chiropractic practice.


Over time, research has provided evidence of the quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness of chiropractic care. Patients are often more satisfied with chiropractic treatment for back pain than treatment from a general medical practitioner. According to the Mayo Clinic, clinical trials indicate that chiropractic care is as safe and effective as conventional treatments--which may include pain medication, rest or exercise.

Chronic Pain

Tens of millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain -- pain that lasts longer than six months. Chronic pain can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating.

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With chronic pain, signals of pain remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or even years. This can take both a physical and emotional toll on a person.

The most common sources of pain stem from headaches, joint pain, pain from injury, and backaches. Other kinds of chronic pain include tendinitis, sinus pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and pain affecting specific parts of the body, such as the shoulders, pelvis, and neck. Generalized muscle or nerve pain can also develop into a chronic condition.

Chronic pain may originate with an initial trauma/injury or infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain. However, some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage.

The emotional toll of chronic pain also can make pain worse. Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue interact in complex ways with chronic pain and may decrease the body's production of natural painkillers; moreover, such negative feelings may increase the level of substances that amplify sensations of pain, causing a vicious cycle of pain for the person. Even the body's most basic defenses may be compromised: There is considerable evidence that unrelenting pain can suppress the immune system.

Physical Therapy Modalities

There are a variety of modalities to help treat patients. There are a variety of treatment modalities that can help strengthen, relax, and heal muscles. Below are a few of the treatment modalities used daily in practice.

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Hot Packs:

Chiropractors wrap moist hot packs in several layers of towels and place them on the area that needs treatment. The heat provided by the hot packs has several important benefits. It relaxes tight muscles causing tissues to relax. This decreases pain caused by muscle tension or spasms. It also causes vasodilatation of the blood vessels which increases circulation to the area. Patients with muscle strains, spasms, or arthritis often benefit from treatment with moist hot packs.

Cold Packs:

Cold packs are a frozen gel substance to treat areas of pain and inflammation. The cold packs are wrapped in wet towel and applied directly to the area in need of treatment. The cold transferred to the patient’s skin, muscle, and tissue has several beneficial effects. The cold temperature causes vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the area. This decreases the inflammation in the area. By decreasing inflammation, pain and swelling are decreased.


Ultrasound machines are a treatment modality that utilize high or low frequency sound waves. These sound waves are transmitted to the surrounding tissue and vasculature. They penetrate the muscles to cause deep tissue/muscle warming. This promotes tissue relaxation and therefore is useful in treating muscle tightness and spasms. The warming effect of the sound waves also cause vessel vasodilatation and increase circulation to the area that assists in healing. Ultrasound can also be adjusted with the frequency on the machine to use waves that will decrease inflammation.


A TENS unit stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is a small battery operated machine that uses electrical transmission to decrease pain. Electrodes are applied to the affected area. The machine is turned on and an electrical current is sent through the electrodes. A tingling sensation is felt in the underlying skin and muscle. This signal disrupts the pain signal that is being sent from the affected area to the surrounding nerves. By breaking this signal, the patient experiences less pain.

Electrical Stimulation:

Electrical Stimulation uses an electrical current to cause a single muscle or a group of muscles to contract. By placing electrodes on the skin in various locations, which can recruit the appropriate muscle fibers. Contracting the muscle via electrical stimulation helps strengthen the affected muscle. The current settings can be change to allow for a forceful or gentle muscle contraction. Along with increasing muscle strength, the contraction of the muscle also promotes blood supply to the area that assists in healing.

Herniated Disc

What is the spinal disc?

The spinal disc is a soft cushion that sits between each vertabrae of the spine. This spinal disc becomes more rigid with age. In a young individual, the disc is soft and elastic, but like so many other structures in the body, the disc gradually looses its elasticity and is more vulnerable to injury.

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In fact, even in individuals as young as 30, MRIs show evidence of disc deterioration in about 30% of people.

What happens with a 'herniated disc'?

As the spinal disc becomes less elastic, it can rupture. When the disc ruptures, a portion of the spinal disc pushes outside its normal boundary--this is called a herniated disc. When a herniated disc bulges out from between the vertebrae, the spinal nerves and spinal cord can become pinched. There is normally a little extra space around the spinal cord and spinal nerves, but if enough of the herniated disc is pushed out of place, then these structures may be compressed.

What causes symptoms of a herniated disc?

When the herniated disc ruptures and pushes out, the nerves may become pinched. A herniated disc may occur suddenly in an event such as a fall or an accident, or may occur gradually with repetitive straining of the spine. Often people who experience a herniated disc already have spinal stenosis, a problem that causes narrowing of the space around the spinal cord and spinal nerves. When a herniated disc occurs, the space for the nerves is further diminished, and irritation of the nerve results.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

When the spinal cord or spinal nerves become compressed, they don't work properly. This means that abnormal signals may get passed from the compressed nerves, or signals may not get passed at all. Common symptoms of a herniated disc include:

Electric Shock Pain

Pressure on the nerve can cause abnormal sensations, commonly experienced as electric shock pains. When the compression occurs in the cervical (neck) region, the shocks go down your arms, when the compression is in the lumbar (low back) region, the shocks go down your legs.

Tingling & Numbness

Patients often have abnormal sensations such as tingling, numbness, or pins and needles. These symptoms may be experienced in the same region as painful electric shock sensations.

Muscle Weakness

Because of the nerve irritation, signals from the brain may be interrupted causing muscle weakness. Nerve irritation can also be tested by examining reflexes.

Bowel or Bladder Problems

These symptoms are important because it may be a sign of cauda equina syndrome, a possible condition resulting from a herniated disc. This is a medical emergency, and your should see your doctor immediately if you have problems urinating, having bowel movements, or if you have numbness around your genitals.

All of these symptoms are due to the irritation of the nerve from the herniated disc. By interfering with the pathway by which signals are sent from your brain out to your extremities and back to the brain, all of these symptoms can be caused by a herniated disc pressing against the nerves.

How is the diagnosis of a herniated disc made?

Most often, your physician can make the diagnosis of a herniated disc by physical examination. By testing sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes, your physician can often establish the diagnosis of a herniated disc.

An MRI is commonly used to aid in making the diagnosis of a herniated disc. It is very important that patients understand that the MRI is only useful when used in conjunction with examination findings. It is normal for a MRI of the lumbar spine to have abnormalities, especially as people age. Patients in their 20s may begin to have signs of disc wear, and this type of wear would be expected on MRIs of patients in their 40s and 50s. This is the reason that your physician may not be concerned with some MRI findings noted by the radiologist.

Making the diagnosis of a herniated disc, and coming up with a treatment plan depends on the symptoms experienced by the patient, the physical examination findings, and the x-ray and MRI results. Only once this information is put together can a reasonable treatment plan be considered.

Rehabilitation Exercises

What are rehabilitation exercises?

These are exercises specifically designed to strengthen the area of injury. By doing these exercises, you will experience faster relief, as well as longer-lasting results.

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How do rehabilitation exercises work?

By strengthening the muscles that surround the injured area, you provide necessary support to the area to prevent future injury.

What do rehabilitation exercises feel like?

Although most of the exercises are easy for a person in good health, these exercises may prove to be challenging to a person who is injured and experiencing pain. It is normal to experience mild to moderate discomfort while performing these exercises. It is also normal to experience soreness in the muscles immediately following the exercises. It is very important that you push through the discomfort and soreness, and don't give up. You will find that these exercises become easier, which is a sign that you are progressing. As you progress, we will be increasing the intensity of the exercises, gradually building the strength of the injured area over a period of time.

Why are rehabilitation exercises used?

Although we can adjust the misaligned vertebrae in your spine, the muscles are responsible for holding those bones in their proper position. These exercises strengthen the muscles, which help keep the vertebrae in their normal position for a longer period of time, which means that you experience relief faster, and the results last longer.

    Patient Benefits:
  • Reduces painful symptoms
  • Decreases local swelling
  • Restores normal movements
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Increases flexibility
  • Increases endurance
  • Improves range of motion