Recent Posts

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome After Auto Injury

What Is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Thoracic outlet syndrome is felt as numbness, tingling, pain or decreased circulation in the shoulders, arms or hands.

The thoracic outlet is a bottleneck where an important bundle of nerves and blood vessels travel between the head and arm. The space is narrow and injury to the neck can cause inflammation of the muscles in the area, which can compress the nerves and result in symptoms.

Because the neck is complex, it can be tricky pinpointing the exact source of your pain, and other conditions can mimic the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.

Chiropractic May Help

If you have symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome after an injury, we might be able to help. Your chiropractor can pinpoint the root cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to help you reclaim your health.

 

Chiropractic Prevents Back Pain Better than Medical Care

Chiropractic care may be more effective in preventing recurring episodes of low-back pain than traditional treatments. In a recent study, patients receiving chiropractic had lower rates of recurring disability than patients under the care of a physician or physical therapist. With a growing body of research pointing to the recurring nature of acute back pain, the findings could help with efforts to prevent persistent pain in these patients.

The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, included 894 cases of work-related low-back pain gathered from the data of a major US insurer. Patients were divided into groups based on the provider type: chiropractic, physician, physical therapist, a combination of physical therapist and chiropractic or a combination of other health-care providers. During the initial episode of back pain, patients in the traditional care groups had longer durations of disability and higher usage of pain medication than chiropractic patients.  (The mean average duration of disability days for physician group was 119 versus 58 for the physical therapy group and 49 for the chiropractic group.)

The researchers also looked at the health maintenance period after the initial episode of back pain to analyze whether patients experienced recurring episodes of pain.  After controlling for various demographic and pain severity factors, patients in the physician and physical therapy groups were significantly more likely to have recurring disability compared to chiropractic patients. Despite the advantage of chiropractic over other provider care in terms of disability recurrence, the risk of recurrence among chiropractic patients was as low as patients who weren't seeing any provider during the health maintenance period. This interesting result led researchers to hypothesize that during the maintenance period, the success of chiropractic could lie in preventing patients from receiving treatments of "unproven cost utility or dubious efficacy" from traditional providers.

Avoiding expensive procedures and tests likely contributed to the reduced cost of chiropractic care for patients during the health-maintenance phase. The weekly cost of health maintenance care for the chiropractic group was $48 compared to $87 for the physician group and $129 for the physical therapy group.

The findings suggest that chiropractic care could be a more affordable and effective method of preventing recurring back pain than medical treatments.

Reference

Cifuentes M, Willetts J, Wasiak R. Health maintenance care in work-related low back pain and its association with disability recurrence. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011; 53(4): 396-404. 

 

Watermelon Juice Soothes Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness

Stock up on your favorite summer fruit while you'll can: a new study found that watermelon juice can naturally alleviate muscle soreness after exercise.

Watermelon juice has previously been found to have antioxidant properties which may boost muscle protein and aide in athletic performance. The key to its effects lie in an amino acid known as L-citrulline.

Researchers publishing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry sought to test the effects of watermelon juice on a group of healthy volunteers.  They wondered whether watermelon juice enriched with extra L-citrulline could be more beneficial than natural watermelon juice or control beverage. The volunteers drank one of the three beverages before exercise, and were tested for heart rate and muscles soreness 24 hours after their work out.

Both forms of watermelon juice, enriched and un-enriched, reduced muscle compared to the control beverage. The un-enriched, un-pasteurized juice actually appeared to be more bioavailable than the enriched juice, meaning it was easier for the body to access the amino acid L-citrulline.

Drinking watermelon juice is just one way to naturally prevent and relieve muscle soreness. Massage therapy was also found to assist the body in cell regeneration and recovery after vigorous exercise in one study. Pain medications, while they can relieve symptoms, may actually suppress the body's natural response to inflammation, which can prolong the pain of a difficult workout. A study last year showed that people who took an anti-inflammatory painkillers after vigorous exercise actually experienced longer periods of soreness compared to people who went drug-free.

Athletes looking for effective recovery after a workout may find better relief with non-drug options like massage therapy, chiropractic, and improved nutrition.

References

Crane JD, et al. Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage Science Translation Medicine. February2012; 4 (19): doi 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882.

Tarazona-Díaz, MP, et al. Watermelon juice: potential functional drink for sore muscle relief in athletes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2013; 61 (31): 7522-7528.

 

Golfer Benefits from Chiropractic for Hip Pain

Low Impact, Not Injury-Free

Although golfing is a low-impact sport, athletes can still suffer from injuries like pain in the lower back, hips, wrists and elbows as a result of overuse. Previous research has shown that a golf swing can place compressive loads on the lumbar spine, resulting in pain the lower back.1 A new case study demonstrates how chiropractic can provide effective rehabilitation for golfers suffering from such injuries.2 It also points to how chiropractic therapies can help patients experiencing osteoarthritic pain.

Case Study: Golfer with Hip Pain

The case study documented the treatment a 49-year-old woman golfer suffering from hip pain related to osteoarthritis. The woman had been suffering from left hip osteoarthritis for several years, along with stiffness in her lower back, and a recent onset of right hip pain. The woman reported pain with simple tasks like climbing stairs, sitting for long hours, walking long distances, and more.

The patient received a chiropractic treatment plan aimed at golf rehabilitation and osteoarthritis management. The multi-pronged treatment included soft tissue, ultrasound, and myofascial therapies, hip and lumbar spine mobilizations, acupuncture, and home advice. Exercise rehabilitation included core strengthening, general conditioning, golf-specific stretches, and referral to a swing coach.

Case Study Results

By the sixth visit to the chiropractor, the patient reported that her left hip pain was "great" and by the eighth visit, both her hips generally felt "good." The woman continued receiving treatments every two weeks thereafter.

At the six-month follow-up visit, the woman reported golfing free of left hip pain, the side affected by osteoarthritis. She was referred to her family practitioner for management of persistent mild pain in the right hip. The woman also reported improvements in her endurance, range of motion, and golf driving distance.

This case report outlines a successful treatment protocol for golfer rehabilitation. Although larger studies are needed to make any firm conclusions, the researcher suggested that "conservative care and rehabilitation management of hip osteoarthritis and low back pain may help golfers improve their performance and prevent further injuries."

Chiropractic Can Help

This study also demonstrates the positive outcomes possible with chiropractic management of hip pain related to osteoarthritis. Other research has also shown that chiropractic can ease knee pain in patients osteoarthritis.

References

1. Gluck G S, Bendo J A, Spivak JM. The lumbar spine and low back pain in golf: a literature review of swing biomechanics and injury prevention. Spine Journal 2008;8:778–788.  Quoted in Howell (2012).

2. Howell E. Rehabilitation and treatment of a recreational golfer with hip osteoarthritis: a case report. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2012; 65 (3):201-8.

 

 

Chiropractic Eases Pelvic Pain in Pregnant Women

Pelvic Pain: More Common Than You Think

Aches and pains are common during pregnancy but that doesn't mean women should be forced to endure severe or even moderate musculoskeletal pain that's negatively affecting their quality of life. As many as 48-71% of women experience persistent pelvic pain during and after pregnancy, also known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). A new case study suggests that chiropractic can safely relieve pregnancy-related pelvic pain.

Case Study

The study included case reports of two women, aged 35 and 32 years old, who began suffering from constant pelvic pain in their 30th week of pregnancy. One patient experienced back and pelvic pain that was so severe it was hard to walk, climb stairs, sit, get in and out of her car, or roll over in bed at night. The other women found it difficult to get dressed, turn, and stand on one leg.

Both patients received a multimodal chiropractic treatment. Treatments included the following:

  • Soft Tissue Trigger Point Therapy
  • Side-Lying Mobilizations of the Sacroiliac Joint
  • Instrument-Assisted Chiropractic Adjustments

Patients were advised to practice home care that included wearing a supportive pelvic belt, staying active, ice, and performing targeted therapeutic exercises. The treatment significantly reduced pelvic pain for both women. One patient's pelvic pain dissipated after delivery but the other patient began experiencing additional post-delivery pelvic pain. Her obstetrician attributed the increased pain to the use of forceps during the difficult delivery. The woman began receiving additional postpartum chiropractic treatment and performing new rehabilitative exercises. Within three visits to the chiropractor, the patient's pain subsided and had not returned at the two month follow-up visit.

Conclusion of Study

The authors concluded that for these two cases, "reassurance, symptomatic care of the related structures and advice for self-care improved both patients’ symptoms and their quality of life." They wrote, "Pregnant patients require a gentle, drug-free alternative for treating their discomfort and chiropractic care offers a safe and effective treatment option." Other studies have shown that chiropractic can also alleviate back and sacroiliac joint pain related to pregnancy.

Reference

Howell ER. Pregnancy-related symphysis pubis dysfunction management and postpartum rehabilitation:two case reports. Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association 2012; 56 (2):102-111.

 

Chiropractic Great for Pregnancy-Related Back Pain

Low back pain can be a serious problem when you're expecting: A recent study shows that 61% of women report back pain at some during pregnancy.

“Despite the apparent impact it has on women, many cases of low back pain of pregnancy go unreported to prenatal providers and/or untreated," researchers publishing in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health wrote. Unfortunately, many conventional treatments for back pain (like drugs, surgery or steroid injections) aren't an option during pregnancy. So what should women in debilitating discomfort do?

Researchers decided to study the effects of chiropractic care on 17 women with low back pain lasting an average of 21.7 days. The intensity of the back pain was 5.9 on a 1-10 scale, and the onset of pain occurred at 20.6 weeks into the pregnancy.For 28% of women, pregnancy was the first time they ever have experienced intense back problems and 75% said they had not suffered from lower back pain prior to pregnancy.

Each study participant was treated with chiropractic care according to the particular symptoms that the patient was experiencing. The authors reported the following:

  • About half of the women were self-referred, and the other half were referred by their obstetrician.
  • The average time to reach clinically significant pain relief was 4.5 days, while the range was from 0 to 13 days after the initial treatment.
  • The average number of chiropractic treatments necessary to reach clinically relevant pain relief was 1.8.
  • The pain levels decreased from the 5.9 at the beginning of the study to 1.5 at the end.
  • The patients received between 3 to 15 treatments, with the average being 5.6.
  • One patient did not experience clinically significant pain reduction.
  • There were no adverse reactions reported by any of the patients.

This corroborates other studies showing that chiropractic offers a safe solution for pain while you're expecting. For instance, a study published in the journal Chiropractic and Manual Therapies found that 85% of pregnant patients had significant improvements in pain within three months of receiving chiropractic treatments for back and pelvic problems. Another study showed that chiropractic was more effective than standard medical care for alleviating pregnancy-related back pain. In both studies, there were no serious adverse effects of treatment.

Chiropractors use a low-force, gentler style of adjustments when caring for mothers-to-be. Plus, women do not have to worry about the potential impact that painkillers may have on a growing fetus. Instead chiropractic offers drug-free, natural relief to ensure your pregnancy is as comfortable as possible.

References

Lisi AJ. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for low back pain of pregnancy: a retrospective case series.  2006;51:e7-e10.

Peterson CK, et al. Outcomes of pregnant patients with low back pain undergoing chiropractic treatment: a prospective cohort study with short term, medium term and 1 year follow-up. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 2014;22(1):15.

George JW, et al. A randomized controlled trial comparing a multimodal intervention and standard obstetrics care for low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology 2013;208(4):295.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.10.869.

 

Chiropractic Cuts Back Pain for 85% of Pregnant Women

Many pregnant women do not seek medical attention for their back pain because they believe it’s just a “normal” part of pregnancy. It’s important to know that dealing with grueling pain that prevents you from accomplishing day-to-day tasks is anything but normal, even when you’re pregnant.

One common barrier to women seeking care for their back pain is a reluctance to take too many medications while pregnant. Fortunately, there are many drug-free, non-invasive options for relieving pelvic and back pain during pregnancy and beyond. A recent study confirms that chiropractic care can offer pregnant women safe and effective relief of pelvic and back pain.

The prospective cohort study included 115 pregnant patients with lower back or pelvic pain who were treated with chiropractic care. After one week, 52% said they had already noticed improvements; that percentage jumped to 70% after 1 month; and eventually to 85% after three months. Patients showed significant reductions in pain and disability, as measured by NRS and Oswestry scores, respectively.

One year after the start of the study, 88% of patients reported improved back and pelvic pain post-delivery. This improvement is significant, given that having back pain during pregnancy typically sets women up for future episodes of back pain. These findings suggest that taking care of your spinal health while pregnant can have lasting benefits for your health.

These results add to previous findings from a randomized, controlled trial published last year in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Patients enrolled in the study had significant back pain at 24-28 weeks’ gestation, and were randomly assigned to receive either chiropractic care or standard medical care. At 33 weeks’ gestation, those in the chiropractic group had significant reductions in pain and disability, while the standard medical care patients did not.

Surveys show that most pregnant women are satisfied with the care they receive from chiropractors.Chiropractors use gentle, low-force spinal adjustments when working with pregnant women or other sensitive patients, like the elderly or children. These spinal adjustments are often combined with massage, stretching, and exercise rehabilitation for effective, natural relief. Chiropractic has also been shown to be effective for women with migraine during pregnancy.

References

Peterson CK, et al. Outcomes of pregnant patients with low back pain undergoing chiropractic treatment: a prospective cohort study with short term, medium term and 1 year follow-up. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 2014;22(1):15.

George JW, et al. A randomized controlled trial comparing a multimodal intervention and standard obstetrics care for low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology 2013;208(4):295.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.10.869.

 

 

Keeping Food Journal to Keep Weight Off

Take Time to Make Healthy Habits

Keeping a food journal may take an extra 10 minutes from your day but it could help you keep a healthy weight. A new study found that self-monitoring behaviors, preparing meals at home, and eating at regular intervals enabled women to maintain weight loss for at least 12 months.

Research Study

The study included 123 postmenopausal women who were overweight or obese who enrolled in a weight loss program. Tracking food increased weight loss by an average of 3.7%.  While maintaining a food journal is researchers' "number one piece of advice" for weight loss other strategies like making meals at home, self-weighing, exercise, and keeping a consistent eating schedule can help. Though skipping meals may seem like it could boost weight loss by reducing caloric intake, it actually lowered weight loss by 4.3%.  Eating out frequently, and particularly eating lunch out, decreased weight loss by at least 2.5%.

Another recent article from The New York Times analyzed methods for maintaining a regular exercise routine. It turns out that many people who regularly exercise don't do it for reducing health risks-- it simply makes them feel good.

Multiple Benefits

Another reason to feel good about exercise and weight loss: both can relieve back pain naturally.

 

Spinal Adjustments Relieve Muscle Pain Instantly

Your myofascial tissues are what enclose and separate the layers of muscle in your body. Chronic myofascial pain is a common pain condition, and its prevalence is growing. Among middle-aged people, myofascial pain affects around 37% of men and 65% of women, but among the elderly, those numbers jump to 85% for the combined gender groups. Because the elderly population is expected to double before 2040, chronic myofascial pain is likely going to be a major challenge for health-care into the future.

Chiropractors have long used spinal adjustments as a means to manage musculoskeletal disorders and pain, including chronic myofascial pain. Many report the benefits among their patients receiving spinal therapy. But how and why does chiropractic work on muscle pain?

Researchers have explored the neurophysiological mechanisms and potential therapeutic applications of spinal therapy in treating and managing myofascial pain. Studies have suggested painful trigger points in the myofascial tissues may contribute to this chronic pain condition.

For a new study, researchers investigated if spinal adjustments could produce immediate pain relief by increasing patients' pressure pain thresholds in myofascial trigger points. They recruited 36 young adults with clinically identifiable myofascial trigger points, randomly assigning each participant to receive spinal adjustment therapy or to the control group receiving sham spinal care. Pressure pain thresholds were measured before treatment and again 1, 5, 10, and 15 minutes after the intervention.

They discovered that adjustments evoked immediate increases in pressure pain thresholds. Compared to the control group, the treatment group experienced decreased pain sensitivity. The researchers concluded that spinal adjustments can reduce myofascial pain in healthy young adults.

This study contributed to a growing body of evidence supporting spinal adjustments as a safe and effective way to manage pain, as well as a greater understanding of the role of trigger points in chronic pain conditions. Studies have shown that spinal adjustments can have immediate biological benefits, can ease jaw pain, and can relieve childhood headache, just to name a few benefits. In addition, a former study found that treatment options specifically focused on trigger points are effective for back pain relief.

Reference

Srbely J, Vernon H, Lee D, Polgar M. Immediate effects of spinal manipulative therapy on regional antinociceptive effects in myofascial tissues in healthy young adults. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013 [Epub before print; currently in press.] Accessed at http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0161-4754/PIIS0161475413001073.pdf.

 

On-site Chiropractic Lowers Employee Medical Costs

Offering chiropractic care at on-site health facilities could decrease employee medical costs associated with musculoskeletal injuries and headache, suggests the results of a recent study.

Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common cause of worker disability in the US, resulting in significant clinical and economic burden. Every year, Americans spend between $84-624.8 billion on treating back pain alone. Efforts to increase access to effective treatments could reduce health-care costs while improving productivity.

Employee Health-care Utilization Study

Executives at Cerner Corporation, a health IT company, were recently interested in seeing whether chiropractic care could reduce health-care utilization in their employees. (Lower health-care utilization means less visits to the doctor and fewer expensive tests or procedures). They hired a team of researchers to conduct an analysis of employee health records in workers who received chiropractic care for back pain, neck pain, and headache. The analysis included 309 associates treated at an on-site company health facility and 858 associates treated at off-site community clinics.

Employees treated by a chiropractor, whether on-site or off-site, had significantly reduced disability scores on tests that evaluated headache, neck pain, and back pain. On average, chiropractic patients had 19% reduction in headache disability scores, a 14.6% reduction in neck pain disability scores, and a 14.5% reduction in back pain disability scores.

Although off-site chiropractic patients were just as likely to have reduced pain, the employees who received on-site care had fewer doctor's visits and reduced health-care utilization. Employees treated off-site were  more likely to have outpatient visits, although the average number of outpatient visits were similar in both groups.

In one year of treatment in employees who received off-site care, the average physical therapy patient had 13.6 visits compared to 8.9 visits for chiropractic patients, and 23 visits for physician patients. (The physician's visits could have been elevated due to the fact that the data included visits non-related to musculoskeletal conditions). For those treated with on-site care, the average patient was less likely to receive physical therapy and more likely to be treated by chiropractor.

Impact on Employee Health-care Costs

The researchers concluded that on-site chiropractic care reduced health-care utilization while improving employee functional status related to musculoskeletal condition. They suggested that on-site facilities offer more opportunities for coordination and integration among different health services.

"The improved functional status indicates potential for reduced indirect costs, including absenteeism, presenteeism and productivity losses, with on-site chiropractic services," Kat Gorman, MPH, research scientist with Cerner Corporation wrote with colleagues in the executive summary of the study. "Additionally, direct cost savings may result through lower rates  of health-care utilization." Gorman and her colleagues concluded that more research is needed to assess the potential for indirect and direct cost savings of on-site chiropractic care.

Earlier research has suggested that chiropractic patients have lower medical costs compared to patients under a physician's care for back pain, and a recent study found that chiropractic patients missed fewer work days.

References

Krause CA, et al. Value of chiropractic services at an off-site health center. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2012; 54(8):917-21. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31825a3507.

Dagenais S, et al. A systematic review of low back pain cost of illness studies in the United States and internationally. Spine Journal 2008; 8 (1): 8-20.