Chiropractic for MIGRAINES

It’s another sunny July afternoon and your kids are out by the pool, laughing, playing and enjoying the sunshine. (Make sure they’re wearing sunscreen!) You’d love 
to join them, but you’re trapped inside again, enduring the pain and frustration 
of another migraine headache.

If you suffer from migraines, you’re certainly not alone. They’re relatively common, affecting an estimated 10% of the population. What can be done to get rid of migraines? According to a recent study, chiropractic care may hold the answer.

One hundred and twenty-seven migraine patients (at least one migraine per month) were divided into two groups for comparison. Group 1 received chiropractic adjustments at specific vertebral subluxations determined by the treating practitioner; group 2 served as controls and received inactive treatment (electrical stimulation with no current delivered). Subjects receiving chiropractic adjustments reported substantial improvement in migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use following two months of treatment. One in five participants reported a 90% reduction in migraines, and half reported significant improvement in migraine severity.

Are you tired of migraine headaches ruining your day? With conventional over-the-counter medications proving less than effective (and often accompanied by dangerous side effects), it’s time to fight the pain from another angle. To find out more about the potential benefits of chiropractic care, schedule an appointment with your doctor of chiropractic.

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The Chiropractic Answer to Whiplash

Whiplash is an all-too-common consequence of the more than one million rear-end collisions that take place in the United States every year. Although the classic symptoms of whiplash (headache, dizziness, neck, shoulder, jaw and/or arm pain) may subside after a few weeks of appropriate care, it¹s estimated that nearly one in four cases will become chronic, resulting in long-term discomfort and disability.

Chiropractic may offer the best opportunity for relief from the pain of whiplash, according to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine. Ninety-three patients with chronic whiplash symptoms were divided into three groups based upon the nature and severity of their symptoms. All 93 patients received an average of 19.3 chiropractic adjustments over the study period (about four months).

Results showed that two of the three groups (patients with neck pain, restricted neck range of motion and/or neurological symptoms) improved under chiropractic care, with 85.5% reporting “some benefit,” 33.5% improving by two symptom grades, and 31% being relieved of all symptoms.

If you or a loved one is suffering from whiplash, make an appointment with a doctor of chiropractic. As the authors of this study conclude, when it comes to treating whiplash,”chiropractic is the only proven effective treatment.”

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Half of Computer Users May Develop Pain

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 1997, 92 million American adults used a computer, almost 40% of all households had a computer, and half of employed adults worked on a computer on the job. Dozens of studies have evaluated musculoskeletal symptoms and disorders of the hands and arms in computer users, yet the long-term effects of numerous hours at the keyboard remain uncertain.

To determine the incidence of conditions developing from workplace computer use, over 600 recently hired employees who used computers at least 15 hours per week were asked to complete diaries on the hours they worked, hours they spent on the computer, and presence of symptoms in their necks, shoulders, hands, and arms for up to three years. Researchers sought those with symptoms requiring medication or scoring high on a pain scale; the results of their study were published recently in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Over 50% of the workers suffered from musculoskeletal symptoms in their first year at the new job. Almost one-third suffered a new onset of neck or shoulder symptoms, and a quarter of the individuals suffered new onset of symptoms in the arms or hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome, one of the best-known conditions related to long-term keyboard use, was surprisingly one of the least likely disorders seen in this study – only 1% of the workers developed it. Women and those over age 30 were most likely to exhibit symptoms from computer use.

If you spend many hours in front of a computer, either at work or at home, be sure to use the proper form and follow basic guidelines to avoid injury: Maintain an upright posture; keep your keyboard even with or slightly below elbow level; be sure your mouse and other devices are within easy reach; and be sure to get up and walk around regularly to stretch and get the blood flowing to your extremities.

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Chiropractic for Babies: Mother Approved

Chiropractic for Babies: Mother ApprovedBy Editorial StaffBabies can’t tell us how important chiropractic is for their health and wellness, so let’s listen to what their mothers are saying. A survey of mothers whose infants received chiropractic care reveals high levels of satisfaction relative to improvements in infant behavioral issues such as feeding problems, excessive crying, sleep issues, problems with supine sleep position (on the back; the recommended position to minimize SIDS risk), time performing prone positioning (on stomach; an important position for developing early motor skills ) and restricted cervical (neck) range of motion.On average, mothers reported two problems affecting their child at the first visit, and took their infants (80 percent of whom were 12 weeks of age or younger) to the chiropractor approximately 3-4 times during the study period. Overall, mothers were overwhelmingly satisfied with the impact chiropractic care had on their infants:More than 80 percent reported definite improvements on a global impression of change scale.91 percent rated their satisfaction with care received as an eight or higher on an 11-point scale.95 percent felt the care provided by the chiropractor was cost-effective.What’s more, maternal ratings of depression, anxiety and satisfaction with motherhood also improved during the study period. In other words, healthier baby, healthier – and happier – mother!Published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, this was no small study, with nearly 1,100 mothers completing both intake and follow-up surveys. So take the researchers’ findings to heart: “The infant’s care was reported by the mothers who completed follow-up as effective, safe, and cost-effective.” Now that’s a ringing endorsement for the power of chiropractic.

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Your Backpack Is Stressing Your Spine

When we think about who wears a backpack, we often think first of students and members of the military. But these days, backpack wearers increasingly transcend age and occupational categories. Who wears a backpack? The businessman who wants to avoid checking a bag at the airport. The mom preparing for a family day at the park. The senior staying active by hiking. The list goes on and on…

Backpacks serve a valuable purpose, but they’re also risky when worn incorrectly or overpacked – particularly risky to the spine. In fact, according to recent research, a backpack can exert stress forces on the spine ranging from seven to 11-plus times the weight of the backpack, depending on whether the backpack is worn with the spine in a neutral position or 20 degrees of forward flexion(tilted-forward posture, as is often the case when carrying a heavy backpack – otherwise you would fall backward).

According to the study, published in Surgical Technology International, adding 1-100 lbs to backpacks in 25-lb increments revealed that with incremental weight increases, stress forces on the spine increased incrementally as well (again, from seven to 11-plus times the additional weight). Total stress forces were identical whether wearing the backpack with one or two straps, although it is important to note that using a single strap will distribute the force unequally to one side of the body, potentially causing postural and other compensations / injuries.

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Previous research links backpack use to back pain, spinal disc compression, neck pain, altered posture and walking mechanics, and even foot pressure. It’s easy to understand why, considering the magnitude of force delivered to the spine and the fact that spinal health – for better or worse – influences the health of the entire body. Your doctor can tell you more about spinal health, backpack safety, and the appropriate weight and position (e.g., single- vs. double-strap, etc.) that will minimize injury risk when wearing a backpack.

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Take the Isometric Challenge

Has your workout program been in a downward spiral lately? Have you been doing less and less physical activity? Are the once pain-free activities now causing increased pain? If so, you might want to resume your workouts with isometricexercise.

You are probably more familiar with isometric exercises than you think. If you play sports or do any movement that involves changing directions, that in-between change-of-direction time, no matter how brief, requires an isometric contraction. If you are familiar with doing biceps curls with a dumbbell, each time you hold the weight at the top or the bottom of the movement, you are performing an isometric contraction. You change from one muscle contraction type to the other, but the “hold” portion of the exercise is an isometric contraction. The fun thing about isometrics is that you can hold the contraction for only 5-6 seconds or you may hold it for 30 seconds, a minute, 2 minutes, etc. The length of the “hold” plays a very important role in strengthening.

Isometric contractions help improve body awareness, posture, movement and strength. Isometrics produce muscle contractions, but you are not moving an arm or a leg or the trunk while performing isometrics. It’s a static “hold it” position. You can make the sensation of the contraction effort really hard, hard, or a little hard. Holding a yoga pose is a good example of a static “hold it” position. Your own body-weight acts as the resistance.

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Just lean against a wall with both hands, push against the wall and you will cause an isometric contraction in the arms and torso. When you press the palms of your hands together in front of your body, you will feel the muscle tension in the chest. Lifting a heavy object or free weight (dumbbell), or holding the weight stack in a machine at a certain level or height, will cause an isometric contraction.

In my chiropractic practice, I like using isometric exercises for improving posture and developing initial strength. If you are just beginning a workout program, coming off an injury, or can’t make it to the gym where weights or weight machines are available, doing isometrics will provide some progress in your training. If you feel muscle weakness or have had the experience of getting injured when you start to work out, and/or you get easily injured when working out, isometrics can help prevent injury.

Gaining Strength in All The Right Places

Have you ever watched someone have a hard time standing up and getting out of certain chairs or couches? This suggests a need to strengthen the legs (quadriceps) and stabilize balance. If I see a person having difficulty getting out of a chair, using the arms to climb up, then gaining strength back in the legs is a priority. To perform a “get up out of a chair,” your legs produce most of the force. The momentum must be transferred through a stable trunk to the upper body.

You can perform an isometric exercise to strengthen the legs by duplicating the position of getting out of a chair. To do this, stand against a wall with your feet facing straight ahead. Your hips, upper back and head should be up against the wall. Walk your feet away from the wall approximately 2 to 2 ¼ feet. Bend your knees and start sliding down the wall. Hold this position and keep the weight in your heels. Your lower back should be flush up against the wall. Build up to holding this position for 2 minutes. Holding positions at the angles / stages at which you have the greatest difficulty getting up can help you overcome those sticking points and improve your ability to transition from sitting in a chair to standing up.

No matter your age or level of fitness, certain muscles should constantly be worked. For example, no one wants flabby butt muscles. A simple isometric contraction for flabby butt muscles (gluteals) is the gluteal squeeze. Stand with your feet pointed straight ahead and begin squeezing your buttocks together. Hold for 6 seconds and then release your buttock muscles. Repeat this for 20 repetitions and build up to three sets. Try to relax your upper body, your stomach and your thighs while performing the gluteal squeeze. Placing your hands on your buttock muscles will allow you to feel the contraction. It does not have to be a maximal contraction.

Develop Good Posture Through Isometrics

An isometric exercise for posture is the sitting knee pillow squeeze. Sit in a chair with a pillow between your knees and your pelvis rolled forward to place an arch in your lower back. Keep your feet pointed straight ahead and your body relaxed. Squeeze the pillow for 6 seconds and then release the pillow between your knees. Remember to keep the arch in your low back. Do this 15-30 times.

Additional isometric contractions for posture enhancement involve lying on your stomach on the floor with your forehead and nose flat to the floor. Place your hands straight ahead above your head and elevate (lift) the arms and forearms 4-6 inches off the floor. Squeeze the muscles between the shoulder blades. Make sure you lock your arms out and point your thumbs up to the ceiling, with the movement coming from the shoulders. Move your arms out to 45 degrees (like a “Y” position) and repeat the arm lift and hold. Then move your arms out to 90 degrees and repeat. Keep your hips relaxed so that your heels remain dropped outward.

Isometrics are used on muscles that provide stabilization to the body during other movements. In other words, you must fix your body in a specific position to effectively perform the exercise. For example, in the above exercise, you must stabilize the trunk and lower body so that the shoulder joint and shoulder girdle muscles have a strong base against which to contract.

This usually occurs automatically with contraction of the trunk (rib cage) muscles and holding your breath. In addition, the spinal (midsection) muscles undergo contraction to stabilize the trunk. This is one reason why you see the trunk arching during execution of the exercise. Difficult isometric contractions should be held only for 5-6 seconds at a time.

Other Beginning Isometric Exercises to Try

Sustain Plank (isolates chest and core)

Lie on floor and then get into a “plank position: hold a straight body position, supported on elbows and toes.
Brace the abdominals and set the low back in the neutral position.
Keep back flat and cervical spine in neutral; keep body / torso in alignment.
Build up to holding the plank for 1 minute. Perform two reps.

Supine Gut Contractions

Lie on the floor on your back, feet flat on the floor with the knees bent.
Contract the glutes to create a bridge, elevating off the floor.
Maintain the cervical spine in a neutral position. No low back discomfort and no hamstring cramps.
Build up to holding each squeeze from 10 seconds to 60 seconds. Perform five repetitions.

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Upper-Body Arm Hangs

Pull yourself up on a chin-up bar while keeping the eyes horizontal to the bar.
Keep hands / wrists in neutral position, elbows at 90 degrees, and avoid body movement (swinging, etc.). 
Maintain the position to failure without violating the above rules.

Stability Ball Bridge

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Place your head and upper back on a stability ball, torso in a “table top” pose. 
Contract the glutes to create a bridge. The muscles recruited should be primarily from the glutes (some abdominals and quadriceps.
There should be no low back discomfort and no hamstring cramps.
As you progress you can lift your head off the ball.
Build up to holding each squeeze from 10 seconds to 30 seconds. Perform five reps.

Take the Isometric Challenge

Whatever the isometric exercise, test yourself for the amount of time you can hold a specific position /pose. You can use free weights, kettlebells, weight machines or elastic tubing. For example, hold a kettlebell weight in your hand with the weight at your side. Your objective is to prevent it from going down or shifting your posture. Your intent is not to move the load (i.e., raise or lower it), but to prevent its movement.

Isometric exercises are an important component of a quality workout, particularly when they are combined with plyometricexercises, which, unlike isometrics, rely on short, quick bursts of speed, power and movement (think jumping, hopping, leaping, skipping, etc.). Your doctor can give you more information on isometrics and plyometrics while outlining a safe, effective workout that’s tailored to your current fitness level and health needs.

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The Advantages of Isometrics

  • An injured or immobilized extremity can be tensed while in a cast or in a splint after the immediate pain has subsided.
  • Ideal for people with little or no exercise experience.
  • Can be used early in a rehabilitation program.
  • Great way to teach proper biomechanics.
  • Can help prevent muscle and strength losses.
  • Achieves maximum muscular contraction and increases strength faster than any other form of training.
  • Gain strength in isolated areas or muscle groups without moving the joints.
  • May increase muscle size and develop more efficient muscle contractions.
  • Works muscle with more intensity in a shorter period of time.
  • Prepares the musculoskeletal system for more advanced activities.
  • Increases neurological strength, recruits more muscle fibers for each movement.
  • Good for enforcing movement patterns (especially in youth).
  • Isometric workouts can be fast and done anywhere.
  • Safer than conventional training (doesn’t involve movement).
  • Dramatically improves conventional training; can increase lifts by as much as 14 – 40 percent!

By Dr. Jeffrey Tucker

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No Shortage of Back Pain

Back pain, back pain, everywhere there’s back pain. Back pain is second only to the common cold as the most frequent cause of sick leave, accounting for approximately 40% of all work absences. It’s also the most common reason for filing workers’ compensation claims (about 25% of all claims filed in the U.S.). 

How bad is the situation? A study in the American Journal of Public Health analyzed data from a national health interview survey and found over 30,000 respondents who reported daily back pain of one week or more in the 12 months prior to the survey. From this data, the authors estimated that more than 22 million people suffer from back pain that lasts one week or more; these cases result in an estimated 149 million lost workdays. 

These estimates didn’t even include workers who reported back pain of less than one week, or who missed work for the entire study period! If you’ve managed to escape back pain to this point, it’s probably just a matter of time until you’re caught. So make an appointment with your doctor of chiropractic, the expert on preventing and managing back pain.


Guo HR, Tanaka S, Halperin WE, et al. Back pain prevalence in U.S. industry and estimates of lost workdays. American Journal of Public Health, July 1999: Vol. 89, No. 7, pp1029-1035.

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Time to Visit Your Chiropractor – Even When You’re Not in Pain

Why visit your doctor of chiropractic periodically – even when you’re not experiencing pain or other symptoms? Here’s why. The latest study on maintenance care for low back health suggests receiving chiropractic care periodically dramatically reduces the number of days you’ll experience “bothersome” low back pain over the course of a year.

Published in the multidisciplinary open-access journal PLOS One, the study included 328 patients ages 18-65 with nonspecific low back pain who experienced a favorable response to chiropractic care during their initial course of treatment. Patients were then randomly allocated to one of two groups for one year: a maintenance care group that received periodic chiropractic care or a control group that returned to their chiropractor only when LBP symptoms were present. Every week, researchers assessed subjects’ low back pain with a single question: “On how many days during the past week were you bothered by your lower back (i.e., it affected your daily activities or routines)?”

During the 12-month tracking period, members of the maintenance care (MC) group made an average of 6.7 visits to the chiropractor, compared with 4.8 visits by members of the control group. Those additional visits correlated with 12.8 fewer days of bothersome low back pain, on average, for the MC group compared to the control group.

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How important is 12.8 fewer days of bothersome LBP a year? We’re sure you agree it’s worth a few additional visits to your chiropractor! And that’s the beauty of chiropractic care – it helps minimize the chances your pain will occur / recur, rather than treating it with medication once you’re already in pain. If you’re smart, you don’t wait until your car breaks down to take it to the mechanic, and you don’t wait until your teeth fall out to visit the dentist; so why wait until you’re in pain before going to your chiropractor?

As we mentioned at the beginning, this isn’t the first study – and likely won’t be the last – to suggest maintenance chiropractic care is more effective than symptom-guided care for low back pain. Click here to read our summary of a study published in 2017.

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Raise Your Hand If You Have Back Pain

As adults, we get used to a variety of daily or near-daily aches and pains, particularly as we age. But what about our children? Don’t they seem immune to many, if not all, of the pain complaints we have – despite the fact that for the most part, they’re exponentially more active?

Maybe not. A study of schoolchildren ages 12-15 revealed a startling statistic: More than half (57 percent) reported experiencing back pain in the past year. As you might expect, “remaining seated at school” was a primary pain trigger, particularly for back pain lasting up to seven days.

These findings not only point to the universality of back pain – and the need for it to be addressed by qualified health care professionals such as doctors of chiropractic; but also the need to recognize and avoid situations that may increase the risk of experiencing an episode of back pain.

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For example, evidence implicates ergonomic flaws both in the school and workplace (desk / chair height, etc.) in back pain, not to mention carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain and other conditions. What’s more, the act of sitting alone creates undue stress on the spinal column and encourages poor posture whether at school, work or home, a major initiator of back pain and related conditions.

If anyone in your family is suffering from back pain, do something about it. Talk to your doctor about the potential causes and solutions.

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5 Smart Substitutions When Eating Out

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat-yourself trip to a fast-food or sit-down restaurant, but Americans are eating out at an ever-increasing (sometimes daily) rate, and usually paying the health consequences. It’s tough enough finding healthy food when grocery shopping these days, but put your trust in the hands of a burger joint, a diner, a pizza parlor or the vast majority of other restaurants and you’re generally asking for trouble. Here are five substitutions to infuse a little more health into your next dining experience away from home.

1. Skip the Fries

French fries and potato chips, two of the most common sides at fast-food and sit-down restaurants, contain little or no nutritional value and large quantities of fat (oil). But they certainly are popular, which is why potatoes (in the form of fries and chips) are among the most frequently consumed “vegetables.” Skip the grease and go without if at a fast-food restaurant (most only offer fries, onion rings or other fried options, although some do offer sides of corn, beans or rice, which are definitely healthier than fries or chips). At sit-down restaurants, it should be even easier to replace the fries / chips with a side of rice, a small baked potato and/or some veggies.

2. Watch What You Drink

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Soft drinks are exactly what your body (and teeth) don’t need, yet they are a staple beverage at fast-food and other restaurants. Water offers three distinct benefits by comparison: it doesn’t cost you anything, it’s calorie-free, and it doesn’t contain any sugar. While calorie- and sugar-free sodas are available, research suggests they may still be dangerous because artificial sweeteners may condition you to crave sweets and overeat. And do you really need a 32-ounce drink (of anything) with your meal?

3. No Oversized Loads

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What’s your average family meal at home like in terms of portion size? Unless you’ve purchased oversized plates, meals are generally within reason. Not so for an increasing number of fast-food chains and sit-down restaurants. “Super-sized” combo meals and 17-inch plates heaped with Thanksgiving-like portions are a recipe for weight gain. Stick to a reasonable portion size (or eat half and get the other half to go) and you won’t have to unbutton the top button of your jeans midway through your meal.

4. Find a Veggie

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Depending on the nature of the establishment, this can be fairly easy or a bit tricky, but either way, it’s a worthy pursuit. Whether it’s a hamburger with lettuce and tomato or a plate of pasta with broccoli, choose meals that have some natural color, courtesy of Mother Nature’s best vegetables. A burger with cheese, a bun and nothing else or a plate of pasta with cheese and cream sauce are missing the color of nutrition your body needs. Pizza is even easier; add a few veggies along with your other favorite toppings.

5. Know What You’re Ordering

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In the past few years, the majority of restaurants have begun (by mandate and/or choice) to reveal how nutritionally unsound some of their meal options are. This can range from providing complete nutritional facts to listing calorie counts on the menu. Doing so gives you the upper hand when it comes to choosing a healthy (or at least healthier) meal for you and your family. Visit the Web sites of your favorite restaurants or review the nutritional information in-house before ordering. You’ll be surprised at how much fat, sodium and calories are in some of your favorites; perhaps they won’t be your favorites after you learn what’s in them and you’ll steer toward lower-fat, lower-calorie, better-for-you selections instead.

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