Disc Issues and Chiropractic

Bottom Line:

Disc herniations, bulges, protrusions and extrusions are some of the most common reasons people visit a Chiropractic practice. Come to think of it, most people visit a Chiropractor not just because they have a disc issue, but because the disc issue has caused a significant impact on their quality of life. Exciting new research showcases what we have witnessed for years: how Chiropractic care provides outstanding results for people dealing with spinal disc issues.

Why it Matters:

Specific Chiropractic techniques are thought to alter the pressure in your spinal discs. Emerging research has shown that by reducing intra-discal stress and opening up the channels that your nerves pass through, you can improve how you feel and stimulate the healing process.

– Keeping your core muscles strong and flexible can decrease your likelihood of suffering a disc bulge or herniation.
– Research has shown Chiropractic to be very effective at reducing pain caused by disc bulges and herniations.
– Chiropractic adjustments were found to be more effective than spinal injections for treating disc issues.

Next Steps:

If you have an MRI that shows a disc issue, it does NOT mean that surgery or injections are your only options. A recent study showcased how people with an MRI-confirmed disc herniation received better results with Chiropractic adjustments than with injections. Your body has an incredible ability to heal without drugs or surgery, even from disc herniations, and we’re here to help!

Science Source:

Symptomatic magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed lumbar disk herniation patients: a comparative effectiveness prospective observational study of 2 age- and sex-matched cohorts treated with either high-velocity, low amplitude spinal manipulative therapy or imaging-guided lumbar nerve root injections. JMPT 2013

Facet Joints: Gliding Your Way to Better Health

Bottom Line:

If you’ve had neck or back pain that you could pinpoint with your finger, or experienced sharp pains when you move, it may be related to the facet joints of your spine. It’s easy to think of your facet joints like the “knuckles” of your spine. They are small joints and have a capsule and cartilage pad that glides and slides, allowing your spine to move.

Why it Matters:

As you go through life and your spinal discs go through the aging process, your facet joints end up taking on extra load. Unfortunately, this excess stress and pressure can wear down your facet joints. What results is the beginning of the degenerative process, which means you can end up with adhesions, restricted motion, bone spurs and, well…pain.

– The facet joints of your spine slide and glide as you move.
– Restrictions or adhesions in the facets can occur with age and injury.
– Chiropractic adjustments help the facet joints move freely and decrease painful restrictions in motion.

Next Steps:

The facet joints of your spine love to move, and, in fact, movement helps them stay healthy and may even slow down the degenerative process. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce adhesions on these joints, allowing you to move more freely and with less pain. In our office, we believe that when you’re moving better, you’re feeling better, and we’re proud to be a part of the healthcare team that helps you stay active!

Science Source:

Magnetic resonance imaging zygapophyseal joint space changes (gapping) in low back pain patients following spinal manipulation and side-posture positioning: a randomized controlled mechanisms trial with blinding. JMPT 2013

Your Arm Pain Could Be a Neck Problem

Bottom Line:

Pain in your hand, wrist, or arm can be frustrating. You don’t realize how much you use your arms and hands each second of the day until pain, numbness, or tingling gets in the way. But, getting rid of the pain may be easier than you think.

Why it Matters:

Hand, wrist, and arm pain often starts with a neck problem. When a spinal disc in your neck irritates or presses on a nerve, it can result in arm pain. Just like the power lines that bring electricity to your house, your brain and spinal cord split into individual nerve roots that deliver information to every part of your body. The nerves in your neck are specifically focused on providing strength and sensation to your head and arms.

– A bulged or herniated disc in your neck can irritate or compress the nerves that travel to your hands, arms, and shoulders.
– A recent study of people with cervical (neck) disc herniation showed improvement in over 86% of those who received chiropractic adjustments.
– Improving spinal mobility, decreasing inflammation, and improving your posture may help prevent future episodes of neck and arm pain.

Next Steps:

A painful arm as a result of a pinched nerve in your neck very rarely requires surgery. Getting rid of the inflammation, decompressing the nerve, and giving the disc time to heal are all part of a complete plan we use each day to help our patients reduce their symptoms and get their life back.

Science Source(s):

Symptomatic, Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Confirmed Cervical Disk Herniation Patients: A ComparativeEffectiveness Prospective Observational Study of 2 Age- and Sex-Matched Cohorts Treated With Either ImagingGuided Indirect Cervical Nerve Root Injections or Spinal Manipulative Therapy. JMPT 2016

The Bowling Ball and the Pin: How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain

Bottom Line:

The average human head weighs about 8 pounds. Each day we all walk around with a bowling ball (our head) balancing on a toothpick (our neck). We are designed this way to allow for the full range of motion we all know and love. Even under the best circumstances, this places a lot of stress on our spine. But leaning forward even just 15 degrees pushes that weight up to 30 pounds, and with a 30 degree tilt its closer to 40 pounds!

Why it Matters:

Driving a car, working on the computer, and using a tablet/phone all usually result in less than ideal posture. And when you start to lean forward, it places a tremendous amount of extra pressure on the discs in your neck and spine. This can cause increased compression and lead to pain. Even just a few inches of forward head posture can double or triple the amount of stress on the spinal joints in your neck.

– The average human head weights approximately 8-10 pounds.
– For every inch of forward head posture, an additional 10 pounds of weight is added to your spine.
– Forward head posture may result in muscle imbalances, a high risk for spinal degeneration, reduced range of motion, and pain.

Next Steps:

Take a moment today at work and notice if your shoulders are rounding, the head has moved forward, and upper back is hunched over. If you see yourself slouching into this posture, let us know. We would love to provide you with some exercises you can do at work to help strengthen the muscles supporting your spine and combat these muscle imbalances. And remember, the more time you spend in this posture, the more likely you are to suffer head and neck pain.

Science Source(s):

The Physiology of the Joints, Volume III. 6th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2007. Myofascial trigger points, neck mobility and forward head posture in unilateral migraine. Cephalalgia 2006

Taking Control of Your Health: Slowing Down the Degenerative Process

Bottom Line:

The dreaded degenerative disc disease. Well, it may not be so dreaded after all. You may be surprised to learn that degenerative disc disease is a part of the normal aging process. As we age, our discs lose some of their water content and become less supple. This makes them appears darker on an MRI. And when they appear darker on MRI, you guessed it; they are labeled as degenerative.

Why it Matters:

Just because all of us will experience degenerative disc disease as we age doesn’t mean that process is the same for everyone. Research has shown that by taking a pro-active approach with your spinal health, you may be able to slow down the degenerative process.

– Degenerative changes are part of the normal aging process due to the weight of gravity, injuries, and repetitive stress on your spine.
– Researchers have found a correlation between the amount of arthritis in the spine and the severity of degenerative changes.
– Stretching, exercising (regional motion) and chiropractic care (segmental motion) are thought to improve spinal biomechanics and may slow down the degenerative process.

Next Steps:

New research has shown that degenerative changes accelerate on joints that aren’t moving correctly. We encourage you to take control of your spinal health with exercise, stretching, and even periodic chiropractic adjustments. By keeping your spine moving, you will have the best opportunity to slow down the aging process while feeling great every step of the way.

Science Source(s):

Do modic changes, disc degeneration, translation and angular motion affect facet osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine. European Journal of Radiology. 2018

Opioids: By the Numbers

Bottom Line:

The opioid epidemic is one of the deadliest drug crises in our recent history. Look at the United States. It’s estimated that over 2 million people have a problem with opioid abuse and nearly 50,000 people die each year due as a result. So, how did we get here? Well, in the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies began aggressively marketing these drugs to healthcare professionals, and in America’s case, to the public. Combine that lobbying with the strong pain killing nature of these medications, and it’s easy to see how so many people are at risk of slipping into addiction.

Why it Matters:

Recent research indicates that approximately 20% of people who take opioids for pain are at risk of developing an addiction. This makes sense because we know that opiates affect the pain and pleasure receptors in your brain. Specifically, that they block pain signals and increase the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine. It’s no surprise that so many people continue to take these medications. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers…

 It’s estimated that over 75% of drug overdose deaths are opioid related.
 The pain relief opioid Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin.
 Again, nearly 50,000 people die each year as a result of opioid abuse in the US alone.

Next Steps:

The first step in overcoming this epidemic is to understand that there are safe and effective treatment options that don’t require a prescription. This month, our practice is focused on bringing you the best, research-based information about opioids. We’ll also be sharing the latest recommendations from some of the most prominent healthcare organizations that are actively facilitating change. Our office is proud to be a part of the solution to this epidemic by providing Chiropractic care. If you have any questions, or are ready for your next pain-relieving adjustment, stop in and see us!

Science Source(s):

How Opioid-free Anesthesia and Multimodal Pain Management Can Improve Care and Address a Public Health Crisis. Becker Hospital Review 2018 Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018 Fentanyl vs. Heroin: The Similarities and Differences Between Two Powerful Opioids. American Addiction Centers 2018

Is Your Cell Phone Causing Tech Neck?

Staying connected to friends and family is easier than ever with social media. The tradeoff is that your daily screen time may be 1, 2, 3 hours or more. And let’s face it, a lot of those hours online are spent in an awkward forward head posture that experts have begun to call “tech neck.” It can result in neck pain, headaches, spinal disc issues, and even pinched nerves. Each day we work with people, young and old, who are experiencing the symptoms associated with tech neck. By creating a plan of care that may include stretching, adjustments, and postural exercises; we have been able to help our patients overcome these aches and pains without giving up their cell phones and tablets. – Looking down at your phone, tablet, or computer for long periods of time can cause muscle strains and neck pain which is now known as tech neck. – Researchers have discovered the angle of your head when text messaging places tremendous amount of stress on your neck and spine. – Taking short breaks to stretch at least every 30 minutes helps your body feel better by improving your posture and resetting your balance. Next time you are on the phone, stop for a moment and see if your head is creeping forward. If your chin is tucked down and your ears are in front of your shoulders, then you are in the forward head posture we call tech neck. It’s a good time to take a break, stretch, and reset. If you are experiencing any pain or headaches, let us help!

Headaches: Before You Reach for Medication…

Bottom Line:

Do you suffer from headaches? If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 50% of people deal with headaches each year. While an occasional headache is nothing more than a nuisance, when they become chronic, you can experience challenges at home and at work and you might even experience depression. The good news is, it may be easier than you think to find relief from your headache pain. Keep reading…

Why it Matters:

Medications, especially opioids, are not recommended for most headaches. These drugs should be avoided because of their addictive qualities and, ironically, their headache inducing side-effects! That doesn’t mean your only option is to grin and bear the pain. Here’s a few alternative, evidence-based treatment options you can use to reduce the frequency of your headaches naturally.

 Drink water. Dehydration is a common cause of tension and migraine headaches. Drinking a tall glass of water has been shown to start relieving symptoms within 30 minutes!
 Rest. Researchers have found a strong correlation between lack of sleep and an uptick in the frequency and severity of headaches.
 Get adjusted. Muscle spasms in your neck and shoulders are a major contributing factor to tension headaches. Chiropractic adjustments can help decrease this tension.

Next Steps:

Hunching over computers, phones, and tablets can place a tremendous amount of stress and strain on the muscles supporting your head and neck. Over time, this can lead to an increase in those dreaded tension headaches. Luckily, our practice has helped many people just like you overcome their headache struggles naturally. Reducing your muscle tension, improving your range of motion, and helping you maintain a more balanced posture are all part of what we do every day. If you or someone you know is looking for a natural pain relief alternative to help get rid of their headaches, share this research with them and give us a call!

Science Source(s):

Drug Interaction and Serotonin Toxicity with Opioid Use: Another Reason to Avoid Opioids in Headache and Migraine Treatment. Current Pain and Headache Reports 2016 Opioids in headache. Headache 2014 18 Remedies to Get Rid of Headaches Naturally. Healthline 2018

Finding Relief Without Drugs

Bottom Line:

With the opioid crisis affecting millions of people, it may come as no surprise that there’s probably someone in your circle of friends and family struggling with opioid misuse or addiction. For those people, it can feel nearly impossible to find a way out. That potent combination of pain relief and euphoria characteristic of opioids makes them so incredibly addictive to both the brain and body. However, while opioids were once the standard, recent research has given people struggling with addiction new hope.

Why it Matters:

Top clinical research facilities have started recommending a team approach to combat opioid dependence. A combination of medical and alternative care (and quite often Chiropractic) are being used to provide people with a safe, natural path to recovery and pain relief. Here are a few key aspects shared by many successful opioid addiction treatment programs:

 The providers and patients are continually updating their goals and expectations.
 Reassurance of relief and reducing the fear of movement is important.
 Getting involved in social activities and hobbies has been shown to support pain relief.

Next Steps:

Getting off opioids should never be attempted without the help of a medical professional. Our practice is happy to collaborate with other providers on your healthcare team to help you find the best evidence-informed care options. We’re here for you and look forward to helping you get your life back without drugs or medications. When you’re ready, give us a call. If you know someone who would benefit from this information, share it with them today.

Science Source(s):

War on Pain: Multimodal and multidisciplinary therapy for pain management. American Nurse Today 2011 A multidisciplinary outpatient pain management opioid reduction pilot program. The Journal of Pain 2013

Back Pain: Top Organizations Recommend Against Opioids

Bottom Line:

At last, many top healthcare organizations are taking a stand against the prescription of opioids for treating back pain. The American Pain Society, Harvard Health, and the American College of Physicians have all recommended that people suffering from back pain seek conservative care options, such as Chiropractic, before taking any medications. What’s more, their stance is supported by decades of research that showcases the effectiveness of Chiropractic techniques – adjustments, rehabilitation, and soft tissue work – for relieving pain without the dangers and risks of drugs. Consider this…

Why it Matters:

Over the past decade, back pain treatment has evolved considerably. The days of medical doctors recommending bed rest and medications are in the past. In fact, top research publications have shown that movement and physician-guided exercise are a some of the best ways to improve back pain quickly.
So, not only is it possible to find relief without drugs – it’s recommended! Here a few more interesting facts for your consideration:

 Nearly every major health organization discourages the use of opioids for back pain.
 Chiropractors have been promoting a care plan consisting of movement and exercise for over 100 years.
 Conservative therapies, such as Chiropractic, have been recommended by organizations such as the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians.

Next Steps:

Many cutting-edge practices like ours use a biopsychosocial model of treatment when it comes to pain relief. That simply means we focus on addressing the biomechanical (how you move your body), psychological (reducing the fears of re-injury), and social (getting back to the activities you love) aspects of health and healing. Our care plans don’t require medications or drugs, and they help us create a positive environment dedicated to helping you live your best life! If you’re looking for a natural way back from pain, give us a call today!

Science Source(s):

Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals of Internal Medicine 2007 Opioids for Chronic Noncancer Pain: Prediction and Identification of Aberrant Drug-Related Behaviors: A Review of the Evidence for an American Pain Society and American Academy of Pain Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. Annals of Internal Medicine 2009