At-Home Exercises for Spinal Health

Going to the chiropractor is wonderful for your overall health. By adjusting and re-aligning your spine, you are boosting your body’s natural defense mechanisms against aches, pains, and illness. A chiropractor is trained in the practice of spinal manipulation, so office adjustments are typically most effective.

But what about the time between appointments? Is there anything you can do to maintain your spinal health? There are, in fact, ways to keep yourself in shape from the comfort of your own home. Here is a list of exercises that you can try to maximize and lengthen the positive benefits of chiropractic care.

  • The Cobra. This is one of the simplest poses physically, but it will give you a great stretch. Begin flat on your stomach, preferably on a yoga mat or other non-slip surface. Use your forearms to push your chest and head upwards. For maximum stretching, hold this pose at arm’s length with your hands flat on the ground.
  • The Child’s Pose. The Cobra pose transitions nicely into the Child’s Pose. Ease yourself downward, and fold your legs under your body in a kneeling position. Hands still placed on the mat, stretch them forward as far as you can reach and bring your forehead to meet the ground in front of your knees. It’s recommended that you hold this pose for several minutes, allowing the tension in your spine to dissipate.
  • Cat & Cow. Begin by kneeling on all fours, back parallel to the ground. Push your chest, stomach, and lower back forward and tilt your head backward to perform the cow stretch. Do the opposite to perform a cat stretch.
  • Knees to chest. Begin by lying flat on your back. Bring both knees up toward your chest and hold them in place with your arms, stretching the lower back. Hold only one leg at a time to perform an additional stretch. With one knee raised, turn toward your other leg and lower your raised knee to the ground.
  • Pelvic bridge. Like in the previous exercise, you will begin laying flat on your back. Raise your legs so that your feet are resting flat on the ground, and ensure your arms are resting on the ground parallel to your body. Use your arms to lift your lower back off the ground. Hold this pose for several seconds, lower, then repeat for several reps.

It’s true, chiropractic adjustments are beneficial to your health. But you can continue to improve your wellness at home with these simple exercises. Spend 10-15 minutes every day with these stretches, and you may find that your spine doesn’t need quite as much correction when it comes time for your next adjustment. If you’re looking for a chiropractor to call home, DiBella Chiropractic Center in Gastonia, NC would be happy to work alongside you. Contact us today and schedule an appointment today!

Identifying and Treating Your Neck Pain

Your neck is a very sensitive part of your body, particularly prone to damage and injury. Neck pain can be extremely uncomfortable, and these unpleasant sensations can have an effect on the rest of your life. You may also feel tired, low energy, irritable, or unfocused. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, perhaps it’s time to face the pain and reclaim your life.

So what can be done? How can you identify the root cause of your discomfort and then fix it? Luckily, neck pain is not uncommon and is fairly treatable. We will first walk you through how to diagnose your problem and any symptoms, then address the potential sources of this issue, then discuss how to treat it.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Neck pain is, as the name suggests, concentrated in your neck. That doesn’t mean that the rest of your body is unaffected, however. In fact, it can travel down your back and legs, and it can cause severe, debilitating headaches. Other symptoms include tightness or muscle spasms, as well as difficulty moving your head or holding a certain position (say sitting at your computer, driving your car, etc.). You may want to get a doctor’s opinion if your symptoms are completely debilitating.


There are a number of factors that can lead to neck pain, and many are simple to adjust. For example, poor posture, grinding your teeth, and carrying a heavy bag or purse on your shoulder can place unnecessary strain on your neck muscles. Accidents, such as whiplash or sports injuries, may also leave your neck feeling sore. Your neck pain may also stem from a pinched nerve, courtesy of one or more subluxated vertebrae in your spine.


How you treat your pain will depend somewhat on the cause of the pain. If it’s muscular in nature, try alternating between cold (to reduce swelling) and hot (to soothe the muscles). Medicinal treatments, such as painkillers and muscle relaxers, can be a good short-term solution, especially if the pain is completely unbearable. Use this time to find a more permanent solution, or instigate some lifestyle changes that will make neck pain a thing of the past.

If your neck pain is the result of a pinched nerve, consider visiting a chiropractor. These doctors can help monitor your spine and correct any subluxations. We here at DiBella Chiropractic Center would be happy to guide you through that journey. Our offices are located in Gastonia, NC. Contact us and make an appointment today!

5 Types of Headaches

Practically everyone has had a headache at one point in their life. Headaches can range in severity from a minor annoyance to completely debilitating. But what causes it and how to treat it are dependent on the type of headache. Some are chronic, and some are brought on by heat, stress, seasonal allergies, and other environmental factors. Here are the 5 different types of headaches and how to identify them.


Migraines are one of the more severe types of headache. They can last for hours or even days, causing the patient a tremendous amount of discomfort. Migraines are often accompanied by increased sensitivity to stimuli such as light, sound, or smell, which may then lead to nausea and vomiting.

Migraine victims report a throbbing pain that affects one or both sides of the head. Warning signs of an attack include erratic mood swings, stiffness of the neck, and an aura. An aura can come in many forms, all of which stem from the nervous system: pins and needles, bright spots or shapes, loss of feeling, etc.

Sinus Headache

A sinus headache is concentrated in the cavities behind your eyes, nose, and forehead. Symptoms include pain and pressure from within your sinuses, aching in the roof of your mouth, and fatigue. Migraine symptoms are often confused with sinusitis. True sinusitis does not lead to nausea or vomiting as migraines do.

Tension Headache

A tension headache is almost exactly like it sounds: patients report the sensation of a tight band around their head. While this pain is concentrated in the front, sides, and back of the head, patients may also feel tenderness in the shoulders, neck, and scalp. Like the sinus headache, tension does not usually evoke nausea and vomiting, again differentiating it from a migraine.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches (so called because they occur in regular cycles or “clusters”) affect the areas behind and around the eye. While sinus headaches can also occur in this cavity, cluster headaches are typically one-sided. Symptoms include redness and tearing of the eye, stuffy or runny nose, and swelling around the affected area.

Mixed Migraine

Mixed migraine headaches are a hybrid tension and migraine. Patients display symptoms common to both at the same time, and it is generally thought that the onset of one leads to the other. Symptoms include light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, muscle tenderness, and numbness of face or limbs.

Try Chiropractic First!

Headaches have a variety of symptoms and triggers. But expensive medication doesn’t have to be your first treatment option. Sometimes headaches are the result of a pinched nerve, courtesy of a subluxation spine. If you suffer from frequent or intense headaches, make an appointment with DiBella Chiropractic!

How Does Chiropractic and Insurance Work?

Health insurance covers several expenses related to medical treatments or emergencies. Doctor appointments, hospital visits, prescription medication, and even therapy sessions are covered under certain health insurance plans. But what about chiropractic care? Can you use your health insurance coverage to offset the cost of regular treatments?

The good news is that many health insurance providers will cover at least part of the cost. They may not pay in full, requiring you to uphold co-payments, but it will certainly relieve some of the burden of the expense regardless. Given this caveat, there are a few other things to keep in mind if you want to start seeing a chiropractor under health insurance.

First, determine if you are eligible under your current insurance plan. Many agencies have included chiropractic as a part of their services, but some still consider chiropractic care an alternative form of medicine. Alternative medicine is typically not insured. If you’re unsure whether of not chiropractic is included in your current plan, contact your insurance agency and double-check the list of services.

Next, depending on where and how you receive coverage (employee benefits, health insurance, etc.), you may be subject to certain limitations. If chiropractic care is included at all, whether full coverage or through co-payments, the provider reserves the right to dictate how and when you spend their money.

For example, you may be limited in the number of times you can visit the chiropractor per month/year. Similarly, you may not be covered if your health begins to stabilize, at which point the treatment becomes maintenance. Insurance typically only covers treatment for traumatic injuries, during which your body must show signs of improvement. You may even be asked to use a certain pre-approved chiropractor or receive direct recommendation from a doctor to begin treatment at all.

Finally, if your insurance plan does not provide any coverage for chiropractic care, don’t give up just yet. Have your physician contact your insurance company. They may be able to work out a solution that works for both parties. If all else fails, you may be able to pay out of pocket without breaking the bank. Chiropractic treatment has been known to start as cheap as $30 per visit.

Chiropractic care is a great way to keep your body feeling good. Contact your insurance company today and see if you’re covered under your current plan. We here at DiBella Chiropractic would love to make an appointment with you and get you started on the path to wellness!

Back to School & Backpack Safety

Autumn is almost here! With the changing of the season comes cooler weather, cozy sweaters, colored leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and back-to-school sales. As you pick up your pencils, scissors, notebooks, and glue for the school year ahead, be sure to monitor the backpack usage of your student. This is important for all ages, kindergarten through adult.

While it may not be the first thing on your mind, backpack safety is incredibly important. Students spend the majority of their school days, five days a week, carrying their book bags between classes. How does this affect spinal health and posture? Is there a wrong way to carry a backpack? How can I make sure my student is practicing healthy backpack habits? Let’s answer a few of those questions now.

First, how can carrying a backpack be detrimental to your student’s health? If the bag is too heavy or throws off your center of balance, then you’re more likely to strain your back muscles or misalign your spine. Here are four ways you and your student can stay safe when carrying a backpack:

  1. Select an appropriate size. The backpack should not be too big for the student, especially the younger ones. If the bag is too bulky and heavy, the student will have to constantly overcorrect their posture, which places unnecessary exertion on the spine and back muscles.
  2. Choose one with adjustable padded straps. The keyword here is “adjustable.” Size is one thing, but the straps that go over the shoulders, chest, and sometimes even the stomach should be snug to the student’s frame. Shoulder straps are often padded, which serves to protect your shoulder muscles and distribute weight. These features all alleviate the pressure on your back, protecting your spine.
  3. Use both shoulder straps. It may be tempting to carry your backpack using only one strap, especially when you don’t have to travel a great distance. Nevertheless, a backpack comes with two shoulder straps to evenly distribute the weight between the left and right sides of your body. Using only one will throw off your natural balance. Constantly having to correct your posture to the right or the left is hard on your back and spine.
  4. Stick to the essentials. If you don’t need it, don’t carry it around. Extra books, notebooks, and supplies can add unnecessary weight to the bag. If you’re able, leave it in your locker, in the classroom, or at home.

Chiropractic care is extremely helpful in keeping your spine healthy and strong. Misaligned vertebrae can be corrected, but it’s best to practice preventative measures to avoid causing any permanent damage.

Fall Sports & Common Injuries

As the weather cools and students head back to school, it’s time to start looking forward to fall sports. Football, soccer, cheerleading, volleyball, tennis, and cross-country are just a few of the many sports offered during this time. These activities can be great for students to learn teamwork and promote physical fitness, but there are some inherent risks involved, including injury to the athlete. Here are some of the most common injuries sustained and how to prevent them.

  • Fractured bones. This is more common in contact sports such as football and aerobatic sports such as cheerleading. Bones break or fracture when hit with something stronger than the bone itself, i.e., when slammed with a football helmet or when hitting the ground after a fall.
  • Muscle strain. Repeated use of the same muscle can cause strain. This is more common in repetitive motion sports such as tennis, but a muscle can always be stretched or twisted in any sports accident.
  • Sprain. Sprains are different from muscle strain in that they affect the ligaments that connect bones rather than the muscles surrounding. A sprain is the tearing or straining of this ligament, most commonly in the ankle, wrist, knee, or fingers.
  • Concussion. This is another example of an injury more commonly found in contact sports. A severe blow to the head from a ball, protective equipment, or a fall can cause damage to the brain.
  • Splints. Shin splints are most common in sports that require lots of running, including football and cross country. Shin splints are small tears or strains in the muscles, tendons, and bones of the leg. This wear can happen as a result of repetitive abrasive motion such as, in this case, hitting the ground with each step.

How can these injuries be minimized or prevented altogether? There are several preventative measures that athletes may take to protect themselves.

  • Warm up. Do some mild cardio exercises and stretches to warm up your body before playing. Staying limber and flexible can help prevent damage to your muscles and your tendons.
  • Train. Training before the real thing can help you prepare for any situation. It also helps to build a solid frame, which will protect your muscles and your bones.
  • Wear protective gear. This is an easy one! When playing sports such as football or soccer, protect your body in all the most vulnerable places. Use a helmet, shoulder pads, shin guards, chest pad, and other official protective equipment to minimize the risk of serious injury.

Chiropractic care. The spine supports the frame of your body. When it is weakened or misaligned, the risk of injury increases. See a chiropractor to keep yourself healthy and strong as you head into the fall sports season.

Bulging and Herniated Discs

Generally when we hear about someone dealing with a disc issue in their back, we either hear the term “disc herniation” or “disc bulge”. Here at DiBella Chiropractic, we have noticed that most people aren't actually aware of the difference between the two, despite them being completely different problems. It may seem like highlighting the difference between them is pointless, as both are painful, but it does make a large difference when it comes to the treatment options. In order to grasp the difference, let's learn a little bit about the spine itself.

The spine has multiple parts that you need to have a basic knowledge of in order to understand the difference between herniation and bulging. The first is the disc. This is the part between the vertebrae that acts like a cushion so the bones don’t rub together. Looking closer, the disc itself has two parts. These are called the nucleus and the annulus. The nucleus is the center, which is soft and jelly-like. The annulus is the exterior part of the disc, which is a bit tougher. The annulus protects the nucleus from the vertebrae, like a hard shell. Sometimes the annulus cracks, or gets a tear in it. When this happens, the nucleus can leak out, which causes pain. If it touches a nerve, it may cause any number of symptoms, including pain or numbness. This is a disc herniation.

Bulges, on the other hand, are caused by normal wear and tear to the disc, and are often seen even if the person doesn't experience any symptoms. The main difference between a bulge and a herniation is the type of displacement that occurs. There is technically less displacement from a herniation than there is a bulge, yet the pain is normally more severe. This isn't to say that disc bulges should be left without treatment, however. Anything that involves your back will need to be dealt with sooner or later. It is always important to get it checked out by a professional quickly.

If you believe you may have a herniated or bulging disc, or are looking for a way to deal with the pain, call DiBella Chiropractic as soon as possible. We know that it can be difficult to find time to see a doctor, but your back is important to everything you do. Come in today and be amazed at how much better you can feel!

Auto Injuries - Gastonia Chiropractor - 4/19/2021

Auto Injuries - Gastonia Chiropractor

Auto Injuries

Far too many of us have been in car accidents or know someone else who was. The odds are unfortunately good that everyone reading this can think of at least one person. It is very common to at least be in a minor accident, or a fender bender, but severe crashes are sadly rather frequent as well. It can be hard to think of yourself as lucky when you're in a crash, but it is important to remember that things could have turned out very differently based on small changes such as the angle you were hit or the speed at which either party was going. It can be terrifying to think that something that most of us do every day can be so dangerous and deadly, but unfortunately it all too often is.

As it is, the most commonly documented cause of car accidents is distracted driving. This can mean anything from taking a bite of your bagel in the morning to adjusting your GPS to texting while you drive. It is dangerous to do anything that could take your attention off the road in front of you, so it is important to do your best to avoid as many of these distractions as possible. Leaving your phone in the backseat or waking up a little earlier in order to eat breakfast at home can be great ways to help reduce the chance of you becoming distracted while you drive.

When you are in a car accident, there is a chance that you won't get injured at all. Most often, however, you can count on at least being sore for the next few days. Even if you don't feel like you were hurt on impact, pain can definitely set in once the adrenaline from the impact itself has worn off. Problems such as whiplash and sometimes even broken bones can go unnoticed for any amount of time depending on how your body and mind reacts to the incident. Even if you don't notice a problem right away, it is important to call a doctor and get checked out regardless of how severe the accident was.

If you have been hurt in a car crash, come into DiBella Chiropractic as soon as you can. Our pain management methods can make all the difference in your injury. We know how frightening being in a crash is, but we know how important your recovery is. Give us a call, and set up an appointment today!

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