What Type of Doctor Should You See For Acute or Chronic Back Pain?

Have you ever considered which type of doctor is best suited to treat back pain?

Since there are so many treatment options available today, it is quite challenging to make this decision without a little help.

To facilitate, a study looking at this very question compared the effectiveness between medical and chiropractic intervention.

 

Over a four-year time frame, researchers followed 2,780 low back pain patients who were treated using conventional approaches by both MDs (Medical Doctors) and DCs (Doctors of Chiropractic).

Chiropractic treatments included spinal manipulation, physical therapy, an exercise plan, and self-care education.

Medical therapies included prescription drugs, an exercise plan, self-care advice, and about 25% of the patients received physical therapy.

The study focused on present pain severity and functional disability (activity interference) measured by questionnaires mailed to the patients.

The authors of the study reported that chiropractic was favored over medical treatment in the following areas:

  • pain relief in the first 12 months (more evident in the chronic patients);
  • when LBP pain radiated below the knee (more evident in the chronic patients);
  • chronic LBP patients with no leg pain (during the first 3 months)

Similar trends favoring chiropractic were observed in regards to disability but they were of smaller magnitude.

All patient groups saw significant improvement in both pain and disability over the four-year study period.

Acute patients saw the greatest degree of improvement with many achieving symptom relief after three months of care.

This study also found early intervention reduced chronic pain and, at year three, those acute LBP patients who received early intervention reported fewer days of LBP than those who waited longer for treatment.

While both MD and DC treatment approaches helped, it’s quite clear from the information reported that chiropractic should be utilized first.

These findings support the importance of early intervention by chiropractic physicians and make the most sense for those of you struggling with the question of who to see for your LBP.

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Ending Pain and Staying Healthy Is a Surprisingly Small Thing…

Here’s something interesting. Do you know how much money American Airlines saved in 1987 by eliminating ONE olive from each salad they served in first class?

You’ll never guess.Single-olive

$40,000!

Amazing, isn’t it? And if you translate that amount to today’s dollars—it would be a lot more!

You want to know what else is interesting and quite amazing? If you do, listen to this: It is estimated that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, which basically means three quarters of the country does not drink anywhere near enough H20.

And check this out—it is also estimated that in 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak it is often mistaken for hunger. And even mild dehydration can slow down your metabolism by as much as 3%. And there’s more…

One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters in a University of Washington study. But that’s not all! Lack of water is the number one trigger for daytime fatigue. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen.

As a quick aside related to computers—in 2006 one in eight people showed signs of being addicted to the Internet! Can you imagine? (And that was before smartphones and social media really hit the scene.)jyh63rhks5g3na9dsnhu-1-800x445

BACK TO WATER… SOME ESTIMATES SAY DRINKING FIVE GLASSES A DAY CAN DECREASE THE RISK OF COLON CANCER BY 45%, SLASH BREAST CANCER BY 79%, AND DECREASE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING BLADDER CANCER BY 50%.

So what’s the point of all these interesting facts? Is all this just to get you to drink more water? Hardly…

Listen… although it’s obvious you should be drinking plenty of water—the REAL take home message here is: small things done consistently over a long period of time can have a major impact on your health and life.

Let’s face it. One olive is not a big thing. But removing just one from the in-flight salad meant $40,000 over the course of a year. Just five glasses of water a day might save you from one of those deadly conditions listed above.

And here’s something else you may find important: regular Chiropractic care may have a BIG impact on your life. How, you ask? If you came to us in pain and we helped you… it might stop your original condition from coming back. And not only that—just one visit per month may help you live a healthier, more pain-free life… in many ways.

Those olives and glasses of water add up and have a huge impact over time. So do Chiropractic treatments, even though they may be tough to actually measure.

Here’s one more interesting fact if you’d like to lose weight: Banging your head against the wall burns 150 calories an hour! Yeah… you’re right… there’s probably a better way… 🙂

The Healthy Way to Wear a Backpack

It’s back to school time for all the young scholars and with it comes the daily ritual of lugging school supplies around in a backpack. You may not realize it but ill fitting backpacks can put a significant amount of stress on your child’s body.
The long-term stress of wearing a poorly designed and/or excessively heavy backpack can lead to a back aches, neck stiffness, burning shoulders, headaches, tingling in the arms/hands, fatigued muscles and a stooped posture. These aches and pains can be a major distraction to your child’s focus in the school room, hamper their enjoyment of everyday childhood activities and increase the likelihood of future back problems later in life.

Loading a Backpack

  • Your child’s backpack should not exceed 15% of their body weight.
  • back pack2Load the heaviest items closest to your child’s back. Pack the bumpy or sharp edged items furthest away from the back. Arrange the school gear so it won’t shift and slide as they walk.
  • Many parents are shocked to discover just how heavy their child’s backpack truly is. To calculate how much the pack weighs have your child stand on a weigh scale with and without the pack on and subtract the difference.
  • On heavy backpack load days have your child hand carry a heavy book or item.
  • Pack up the bag on a table or ledge that is waist high as opposed to leaning forward over a pack on the floor.

Wearing the Backpack

  • Always use the two straps to spread out the weight evenly. Carrying a heavy load with one strap can lead to unwanted curvatures and abnormali
  • ties in the developing spine and musculature.
  • Make sure the straps are well padded (2 inches wide) to protect the blood vessels and nerves in the neck and shoulder region. Prolonged pressure in these areas can lead to pain and tingling in the neck, arms and hands.
  • Adjust the straps so that pack fits snugly against your child’s back. You should be able to slide one hand between the pack and your child’s back. Loose packs can pull your child back causing muscle strains.
  • The back of the pack should never rest more than 4 inches below the waist line.
  • Wearing a waist strap can take as much as 50 – 70% of the weight off the shoulders and spine helping to distribute the weight more evenly.
  • Teach your child to put on their backpack properly. Place the pack on a table and do up both straps before moving as opposed to twisting and reaching back or swinging the pack around the shoulder.Backpack21

It is important to be aware of your child’s daily burden because it could be detracting from their school experience. If they complain of back pain, headaches, numbness or weakness in their arms seek help to ease their discomfort and prevent future problems.

Neck Pain – Chiropractic and the Older Patient

NeckPain_N1606_ts140306319People of all ages suffer from neck pain, and many frequently turn to chiropractors for care because it’s been found to be one of the most effective and efficient forms of treatment available, and it carries minimal side effects! It has been projected that by 2030, nearly one in five residents in the United States will be 65 or older. Currently, approximately 14% of the patients treated by chiropractors are 65 or older, making it one of the most frequently utilized forms of complementary and alternative care used by older adults. What kind of care can a senior citizen expect when seeking treatment from a chiropractor? Let’s take a look…

Musculoskeletal pain—pain in the neck, back, arms, and/or legs—drives the majority of elderly patients to chiropractors. While low back and neck pain are the most common complaints, it’s not unusual for patients to also have one or two other conditions (or more) that they did NOT know chiropractic care could help. In fact, common “goals” for managing every patient (not just the elderly) include services related to patient assessment, maintenance of health, and prevention of illness, in addition to treatment of illness or injury. Common chiropractic treatment approaches include spinal manipulation and/or mobilization, nutritional counseling, physical activity/exercise, and (especially important for the elderly population) fall prevention.

Neck Pain 90We will now focus on neck pain as it relates to the elderly population and the various chiropractic management strategies that might be encountered by an elderly patient. Common reasons patients present regarding the neck include limited movement, stiffness, and pain. Neck pain can also interfere with sleep, as finding a comfortable position in bed can be quite challenging! Lifting, carrying, and playing with grandchildren is a very common issue for either causing a new complaint or irritating an existing one. Neck pain may also interfere with reaching and lifting. Thus, activities like yard or garden work may become more difficult and less enjoyable. Neck pain is often associated with headaches, which can make daily tasks even more challenging.

When an elderly patient visits a chiropractor for the first time or for a new complaint, he/she can expect to fill out some initial paperwork, as well as provide a history of the main complaint and any lesser complaints. This may also include providing a family and medical history. The examination usually includes general observations, palpating or feeling for muscle tightness, tenderness, warm/cool, range of spinal motion (neck, back, extremities), orthopedic tests, neurological tests, and possibly x-rays. Treatment of the neck may include massage or mobilization to loosen up the neck, manipulation to free up restricted joint motion, and even exercise training. The goal of treatment is to improve neck motion, activity tolerance, and quality of life (less pain, improved sleep, etc.). So, whether you are 10, 20, 50, 70, or 90 years old, give chiropractic a chance to help you manage your neck pain.

Fibromyalgia & Nutrition

What Is The Most Current Theory of Fibromyalgia?

Today, we look at fibromyalgia in a completely different way. There used to be little or no way to “see” this condition as anything other than 18 tender points in a doctor’s examination. (Which is silly, because fibromyalgia patients are sore everywhere!) Today we know that fibromyalgia patients show the following:
• Elevated inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and especially IL-17.
• Neuroimaging of the brain shows altered brain structure and disrupted white matter.
• Endothelial dysfunction disturbing blood vessels
• Sympathetic nervous system dominance
• HPA axis disturbance causing low pituitary and adrenal response to ACTH and cortisol
• Small fiber polyneuropathy is distal body joints are a driver of pain signals
• Non-restorative sleep
• Association with pathogens such as hepatitis B or C, HIV, cocksackie B, parvovirus, and Borrellia.
• Evidence of cell mitochondrial dysfunction

Science refers to fibromyalgia (FMS) as a mosaic disease, in other words, it is a condition that stems from a specific group of any or all causes. All the conditions in this group are part of Central Sensitivity Syndrome (CSS) or the Neuroinflammation Mosaic. Other conditions in the same mosaic include migraine headaches, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, PTSD, Restless Leg Syndrome, TMJ Disorder and others. Every patient’s mosaic is a little different so the approach to care has to be unique to each patient.css

What Does Research Tell Us From Previous Nutrition Studies about FMS?

There are very few studies that give us much information about FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome). Two studies from Spain found that there was “remarkable clinical improvement is FMS patients on a gluten-free diet” 1,2 This is consistent with the newest information that says that immunity, infection and inflammatory processes are a driver of CSS. In a random controlled trial in 2013 it was found that 300 mg/day of magnesium for 8 weeks reduced tender points, sensitivity and depression.3

How Do You Address the Four Areas of The Fibromyalgia Mosaic?

1. Immune/Infection/Inflammation: In any inflammatory condition we want to rule out any type of chronic infection causing ongoing chronic inflammation. Many patients with CSS suffer from gut inflammation due to poor gut bacterial balance (dysbiosis). Probiotics may give temporary relief to gut issues that lead to a leaky gut allowing bacteria and proteins to enter the bloodstream uninvited. To control inflammation herbs such as boswellia, turmeric and ginger will lower inflammatory cytokines. Strengthen the immune system with herbs like echinacea and astragalus. Green tea will upregulate your body’s ability to make its own antioxidants (Nrf2 cycle). One area with fibromyalgia that has been shown to help is to add these 5 things to your regular diet to manage inflammation, increase dietary nitrates, and reduce oxidative stress:

a. Boost dietary nitrate by juicing or baking beets and eating them.spoon
b. Increase cocoa intake (dark chocolate 85% or higher) rich in polyphenols
c. Increase berries and cruciferous vegetables for anthocyanins.
d. Eat ½ to 1 clove a day of raw crushed garlic in your food for the hydrogen sulfide.
e. Increase your use of herbs and spices, especially green tea, turmeric and ginger.

f. (Bonus) There was “remarkable clinical improvement” with patients who went on a gluten-free diet.4

2. Endocrine/HPA Axis Support: With fibromyalgia there is a loss of the normal stress response, disturbed sleep patterns and fatigue. The stress response of the body is mediated by the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. (HPA Axis) Cortisol is the stress hormone created by the adrenal glands. With dysfunction the adrenals will benefit from adrenal tonic herbs like licorice and rehmannia. Whole food vitamin C is critical for adrenal function. Some herbs help the HPA axis better adapt to stress. They are called adaptogens. Ashwaganda and Rhodiola are two such herbs. Herbs that support sleep like valerian root and kava are also helpful.

3. Mitochondrial Support: 20% of all the mitochondria in the body are found in the brain. Magnesium is a mineral that is very important to energy production in the mitochondria. Tension-HeadacheHerbs and herbal extracts such as gingko, hawthorn and resveratrol are supportive of normal mitochondrial function.


4. Brain/Nervous System Support
: Two areas of concentration are important to support the brain; microcirculation and central sensitivity pain. Gingko is known to improve microcirculation in the brain. One of the key features of fibromyalgia is chronic pain. For peripheral pain (pain in the extremities) the best herbs are celery seed, boswellia, turmeric and willow bark. For pain related to the brain and spinal cord herbs such as California poppy, Jamaica dogwood and corydalis are herbs known to help.

You can now understand that fibromyalgia is NOT a figment of science’s imagination, but a real condition with real solutions… and that chiropractic, nutrition and herbs can serve as a solution.

1. Isasi C, et al. Rheumatol Int 2014;34(11):1607-1612
2. Rodrigo L, et al. Arthritis Res Ther 2014;16(4):421
3. Bagis S. et al. Rheumatol Int 2013;33(1): 167-172
4. Isasi C, Colmenero I, Casco F, et al. Fibromyalgia and non-celiac gluten sensitivity: a description with remission of fibromyalgia. Rheumatology International. 2014;34(11):1607-1612.

Whole Grain Truth

Who Sounded the Alarm When the Refining of Grains Began?

In the 1920’s when the refining of wheat flour began to catch on with the American public many doctors tried to warn the public of the nutritional dangers of refining whole grains. One doctor, Dr. Royal Lee, a dentist and an engineer, set out to create a home electric flour mill so the every family could have whole grain with all its nutrients, fresh with their meals instead of buying the lifeless refined grain. That wheat grinder is still available today and Dr. Lee went on to develop a company in 1929 that still makes quality whole food supplements.

In the 1930’s another dentist Dr. Weston Price gave up his dental practice to travel the world and study the nutritional habits of indigenous cultures throughout the world. One of the things that Dr. Price noted in his studies of isolated, so-called “primitive” peoples was that when white flour and other devitalized foods were introduced into these communities, rampant tooth decay and diseases of every sort soon followed.

What Happens to Whole Grains When they are Refined?

What happens to whole grains when we refine them? During the industrial revolution we learned that whole grains go rancid faster than refined versions due to the fat content. If we mill the bran and germ away from the grain it makes a product that won’t spoil. Thus, food processors started preserving grain shelf life by stripping away the bran and germ. That doesn’t seem so bad… remove some parts and now it will last a lot longer on the shelf and we can always keep a bag of the flour in the pantry that never goes bad, right? Here’s grainsthe part we forgot to tell you… what’s gone is the germ which is where all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients are, and the bran which is the fiber that aids in digestion. What’s still left over is the endosperm which is all starch. (Code for a whole bunch of sugar) Refined grains like white flour, white rice, bread, and pasta, are all endosperm, as the refining process strips away the bran and germ and all the nutrients they contain. Even though many refined grains are “fortified” with synthetic vitamins and inorganic minerals, fortification cannot replace all the lost nutrients. Additionally refined grains are digested and absorbed very quickly by the body, which can be rough on blood sugar levels and insulin levels.

Why Eat Whole Grains?

• Whole grains contain bran and fiber, which normalize blood sugar and insulin levels.
• Fiber helps move waste through the digestive tract.
• Whole grains are a good source of B vitamin and E vitamin complexes.
• Whole grains contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) which can be cancer protective.
• Whole grains contain essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium and copper.

Research Supports Chiropractic

What Are The Top Research Studies of the Past 10 Years?

1. Decreased Costs and Utilization of
Medical Services with Chiropractic.

Spectacular decreases in the utilization of medical services and their attendant costs were observed when Doctors of Chiropractic were used as first contact providers. In an Independent Practice Association (IPA) which permitted patients to sclockelect a doctor of chiropractic as their primary care physician, clinical and cost utilization based on 70,274 member-months over a seven-year period demonstrated decreases of 60.2 percent in hospital admissions, 59 percent hospital days, 62 percent outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 85 percent pharmaceutical costs when compared with conventional medicine. These were across the board savings, not merely back and neck cases.

Sarnat RL, Winterstein J, Cambron JA: Clinical utilization and cost outcomes from an integrative medicine independent physician association: an additional 3-year update. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 May;30 (4):263-9.

2. Blood Pressure Regulation and
Upper Cervical Chiropractic
Adjustment.

The scope of chiropractic is as broad as the scope of influence of the human nervous system. This landmark study was a randomized, controlled trial of hypertensive patients. Those in the intervention group received a form of upper cervical chiropractic care (NUCCA). The authors wrote, “We conclude that restoration of Atlas alignment (C1 vertebra) is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy.” This study received extensive positive exposure in the media.

Bakris G, Dickholtz M Sr, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C, Bell B: Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study. J Hum Hypertens. 2007 May;21(5):347-52.

3. Benefits of a Wellness Program
Implemented by Chiropractors.

A retrospective study of a standardized, 18 week wellness protocol was shown to improve weight, heart rate, blood pressure, strength, body-mass index, and forced vital capacity. The wellness protocol (Creating Wellness) focused on diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation, and one-on-one coaching. The author also reported, “All of the participating clinics practice a form of chiropractic that involves management of vertebral subluxation. This application of chiropractic is not solely directed at pain syndromes. It is based on the contention that misalignments and/or abnormal motion of vertebral motion units may compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health and well-being.”

McCoy M: Evaluation of a standardized wellness protocol to improve anthropometric and physiologic function and to reduce health risk factors: a retrospective analysis of outcome. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Jan;17(1):39-44.

4. Surgery Less Likely if a Doctor of
Chiropractic is Seen First

A study looking at 1885 workers, 174 of which had lumbar spine surgery in the last three years, sought to identify early predictors of having lumbar spine surgery. The authors reported “Approximately 42.7% of workers who first saw a surgeon had surgery, in contrast to only 1.5% of those who saw a chiropractor. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of the multivariate model was 0.93 (95% confidence interval, 0.92-0.95), indicating excellent ability to discriminate between workers who would versus would not have surgery.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23238486

5. Chiropractic Care Associated with
Satisfaction, Functional and Self-
Rated Health of Medicare Patients.

This study used a model to determine “the effect of chiropractic relative to medical care on decline in 5 functional measures and 2 measures of self-rated health among 12,170 person-year observations.” The authors concluded from the study that “chiropractic is significantly protective against 1-year decline in activities of daily living, lifting, stooping, walking, self-rated health, and worsening health after 1 year. Persons using chiropractic are more satisfied with their follow-up care and with the information provided to them.”

Weigel PA, Hockenberry JM, Wolinsky FD: Chiropractic use in the Medicare population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2014 Oct;37 (8):542-51. .

Main_Chiropractic6. Asymptomatic Persons Benefit
from Chiropractic Care

A review of literature was conducted using the terms “asymptomatic” “normal” “pain-free” “healthy” or “free from physical injury.” The author concluded, “The data reviewed lend support to the contention that chiropractic adjustments for the purpose of correcting vertebral subluxation, confer measurable health benefits to people regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms. A significant amount of preliminary evidence supports that people without symptoms can benefit from chiropractic care. Improved function can be objectively measured in asymptomatic individuals following chiropractic care in a number of body systems often by relatively non-invasive means. It is plausible that chiropractic care may be of benefit to every function of the body and have the potential for long-term, overall health benefit to those receiving chiropractic care.”

Hannon SM: Objective physiologic changes and associated health benefits of chiropractic adjustments in asymptomatic subjects: A review of the literature. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, April 26, 2004, Pages 1-9.