A Better Life With Chiropractic

A Better Life With ChiropracticBy Editorial StaffWhy take your kids to the chiropractor? For many of the same reasons every adult should be visiting a chiropractor on a regular basis. Plain and simple, your quality of life improves with chiropractic care. Look no further than a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which evaluated nearly 900 children ages 8-17 who received chiropractic spinal adjustments and related therapies commonly provided by DCs.Quality of life, measured in terms of depression, anxiety and interference with daily activities due to pain as part of the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS)-25 assessment tool, was significantly higher in children under the care of a chiropractor. Specifically, children were significantly less likely to report any symptoms of depression, anxiety or pain interference following a trial of chiropractic care. The researchers also accounted for variables that could have influenced the outcomes, such as number of visits, pain level, motivation for care, etc.Give your children (and yourself) a better life with chiropractic. The sooner your kids experience the health and wellness benefits of regular chiropractic care, the better. After all, what parent doesn’t want their children to grow up with as little depression, anxiety and pain as possible? Talk to your chiropractor for more information. To learn more about chiropractic for kids, including additional research documenting the safety and health benefits of pediatric chiropractic, visit the website of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA).

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Lower Extremity Injuries: Know the Risks

It’s been estimated that sports-related injuries cost up to $1 billion annually worldwide. In the U.S. alone, between 3 million and 5 million sports-related injuries occur each year; most are injuries to the ankle, knee and lower leg – a region generally termed the “lower extremity.”

So, what increases the risk of suffering a lower extremity injury, and how can you prevent or reduce the risk of getting hurt? 

Researchers in Vermont set out to answer these questions by reviewing several previous studies, and found approximately 20 factors that can contribute to lower extremity injuries. Among the most common factors are: age; history of previous injury; body size (including the size of a person’s limb); muscle strength; the type of shoe being used while performing an activity; whether the person is using any type of ankle wrap or bracing; and playing surface. All of these factors can determine, positively or negatively, the degree to which a person might sustain a lower extremity injury while playing sports.

Few practitioners know how to diagnose and treat lower extremity injuries better than a doctor of chiropractic. If you suspect you have an injury, or if you’re involved in an organized sport or other type of regular physical activity, and want more information on preventing these types of injuries from occurring, schedule an appointment with a DC. You chiropractor can create an exercise plan that maximizes your fitness level while minimizing the risk of injury.

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Wincing while You Work

After a long day of repetitive work, you may experience pain in your neck and shoulder muscles. This pain can result from muscle and tissue overuse, or from psychological factors, such as low social support, job dissatisfaction, and low individual job control.

In a study published in the journal Spine, researchers evaluated risk factors for neck or shoulder pain and tenderness in over 3,000 workers at 19 production plants. Workers performing nonrepetitive tasks were used as a comparison group.

Almost twice as many workers performing repetitive work (7%) had neck or shoulder pain with muscle tenderness, compared to the comparison group (less than 4%). Pain was strongly linked to a decreased quality of life. Factors associated with neck or shoulder pain were previous injury, high repetitiveness, high force, female gender, and high job demands.

If your job involves repetitive or heavy work, you are especially susceptible to developing work-related neck or shoulder pain. Be sure to follow proper procedures to avoid injury, and talk to your chiropractor about what he or she can do to minimize the pain — and the risk of developing it.

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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.”

Reference:

Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, et al. Asymptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment. Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999: Vol. 21, No. 1, pp22-25.

For more information on whiplash, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/tellmeabout/whiplash.html

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What Your Spine Says About Your Health

You may have heard the saying, “the eyes are the window to the soul.” There is another saying in the world of chiropractic, “your spine is the window to your health.” How can the condition of your spine divulge so much information about overall health? Your spine is the central support column of your body and its primary role is to protect your spinal cord.Think of it like the foundational frame of a house holding everything together. If the frame becomes dysfunctional many problems will begin to manifest themselves. The house begins to develop cracks, shifts, and structural problems. When your spinal foundation becomes dysfunctional you develop aches, pains, injuries, and other health related issues. The good news is you can do a simple spinal health checklist to determine if you may benefit from the expert intervention of a chiropractor or other healthcare professional. Becoming familiar with simple spinal anatomy, structure and function will help empower you to take control of your health.

Your spine is composed of 24 bones (vertebrae); 7 in the neck (cervical spine), 12 in the middle back (thoracic spine), 5 in the lower back (lumbar spine) and the base tailbone (sacrum). Your soft spinal cord is encased inside these 24 moveable hard vertebrae to protect it from injury. Your spinal column has three natural curvatures making it much stronger and more resilient than a straight design. There are cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curves designed with precise angles for optimum function. However, these curves are different than the abnormal curves associated with scoliosis and postural distortions. You may remember getting screened in school or your doctor for scoliosis when they had you bend over and touch your toes. This was an early checklist for spinal abnormalities. Through life’s stresses, genetics, trauma, injuries, and neglect the spine can develop dysfunctions in these curvatures and the body must compensate by changing posture as a protective mechanism.

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

What are some of the compensations your body develops and what can they tell you about spinal health?

Rounded Shoulders: This is a very common postural distortion resulting from more sedentary lifestyles. Hunching over in front of a computer screen hours on end simply feeds this dysfunction. This poor posture pattern adds increased stress to the upper back and neck because the head is improperly positioned relative to the shoulders. Common effects are headaches, shoulder, pain, neck pain and even tingling and numbness in the arms because of nerve compression by tight muscles.

Uneven shoulders: One shoulder higher than the other is indicative of a muscular imbalance or spinal curvature. You probably see this one on most people where one shoulder is migrating up towards the ear. Stand in front of a mirror and you can easily see if this asymmetry is present. You may also notice that one sleeve is longer than the other when you wear a shirt. This asymmetry is a common precursor for shoulder injuries, headaches, neck pain, elbow injuries and even carpal tunnel syndrome (tingling in the hands).

Uneven hips: Hips that are not level are like the foundation of a house that is not level. You begin to develop compensations further up the body so you remain balanced when walking. You develop altered spinal curvatures, shoulder positions, and head tilts. Your body has one primary purpose of maintaining symmetry and balance and it will do it whatever way is necessary. Signs of unbalanced hips may manifest in abnormal shoe wear typically on the outside edges and pants will fit unevenly in the leg length.

When you visit a chiropractor for a spinal evaluation some of the things they will search for during your evaluation are underlying signs of spinal damage that you can’t see. Spinal x-rays are a safe and effective way to get look at your spine for damage or potential problems. Just like a dentist takes an x-ray of your teeth to see if you have cavities or problems with the bones below gum line. If problems are detected, corrective or preventive measures can be implemented to help your body function at optimum.

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD): This is not a real disease in the terms of how we think of them. DDD is term used to describe degeneration and excessive wear on the soft tissue disc structures between the spinal bones. It may come with age or from biomechanical asymmetries in movement causing excessive wear from overuse. Sort of like uneven treads on a car with imbalanced tires, one may be worse than the other. Although the degeneration cannot be reversed, once discovered there are strategies your chiropractor can implement rebalancing exercises and therapies to help prevent further damage.

Osteoarthritis: The breakdown of the tissue (cartilage) that protects and cushions joints. Arthritis often leads to painful swelling and inflammation from joints rubbing together. The increase in friction causes a protective pain response and excessive swelling where the body attempt to add artificial cushioning via swelling.

Herniated disc: A herniated disc is an abnormal bulge or breaking open of a protective spinal disc or cushioning between spinal bones. Patient’s may or may not experience symptoms with a herniated disc. Disc diagnosis is conformed via a special imaging study called an MRI (\Magnetic Resonance Imaging) which observes soft and hard tissue structures. You cannot see or confirm a suspected disc herniation via normal spinal x-rays.

Spinal stenosis: The narrowing of the spinal canal the open space in the spine that holds the spinal cord. Stenosis is a more severe form of arthritis that typically causes radiating (referred pain down the arms or legs) from an irritated or compressed spinal nerve.

If you experience spinal pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, muscles spasms or swelling near your spine or arms and legs consult a healthcare professional. These are all warning signal signs from your body that something is wrong and needs your attention. Pain is how your body communicates its function with you. A car has dashboard warning lights that tell you when the car has a problem. If you chose to ignore the signals bad things are going to happen. Your body has its own warning light system. Start checking for the warning lights. Ignore them at your own risk. See your chiropractor for a proper assessment and any concerns.

By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA

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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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Exercise: Your Brain Will Thank You!

Substantial research supports the health benefits of exercise when it comes to the body: improved strength, flexibility and endurance, to name a few. How about a reduced risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and a lengthy list of other diseases? And don’t forget the mental health benefits, including reduced stress, better self-confidence and greater overall happiness. (Endorphins released during exercise promote feelings of happiness and well-being.)

But with all that, don’t overlook how exercise can influence the function of our most important organ: the brain. A growing body of research also supports the value of exercise when it comes to brain health, specifically the risk of developing cognitive decline with age. How important is exercise in this regard? According to a new study in Neurology, seniors – even those with cognitive impairments – who exercise score higher on thinking tests compared to seniors who don’t exercise. In fact, the test improvements from baseline (at the start of the study) to post-exercise (after a six-month exercise program) are equivalent to reversing nearly nine years of aging, according to the researchers.

While six months of exercise did not appear to improve memory, it did improve what’s known as “executive function” – the ability to pay attention, organize ideas, achieve goals and regulate overall behavior. What’s more, the exercise requirements that led to these improvements weren’t excessive: 45 minutes, three times a week (10-minute warm-up; 35 minutes of walking, jogging, cycling, etc.). Exercise participants worked out at 70 percent of their max heart rate for the first three months, and 85 percent during months 4-6.

Sound achievable? Of course it does! And when you think about the profound health benefits, it’s well … a no-brainer. Your doctor can help outline the appropriate exercise program suitable for your age, overall health, weight-loss goals and other considerations.

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Delayed Muscle Soreness: How to Recover (Without Drugs)

Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common occurrence. Recovery strategies are designed to reduce pain and recover faster. Let’s explore some of the current research into the most popular and effective recovery strategies, and discuss why you need to balance their use with your overall goals (and after consultation with your doctor, of course).

Massage Therapy

Studies have generally shown massage to be effective for DOMS, reducing pain and in some cases improving function. However, the studies differ in the treatment duration and whether the treatment was performed before, immediately after or 48 hours after DOMS.

One study1 evaluated massage performed for 10 minutes approximately 30 minutes after eccentric exercise. Massage was shown to reduce DOMS by approximately 30 percent, but had no effect on muscle function. A comprehensive review2 asserted that massage may reduce DOMS, but questions whether force recovers more quickly.

A recent study, however, found massage did in fact help with function in the form of gait performance.3 Massage was provided for 15 minutes on the same day DOMS was introduced via isotonic exercises (going up and down stairs). Not only was there a reduction in pain, but also an improvement in gait on the same day DOMS and massage were applied. (It would be have been interesting if the study also had looked at the effects after 48 hours.)

exercise - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

What about applying massage prior to an intense exercise session? Shagufta, et al. (2014) compared vibration to massage therapy in terms of DOMS recovery.4Fifteen minutes of massage, applied prior to the performance of an eccentric exercise, was effective in the prevention of DOMS, in addition to restoration of concentric strength (1 RM). However, it had no effect on maximal isometric force.

Massage therapy also was assessed for its impact on relieving muscle soreness 48 hours post-exercise. Andersen L.L., et al. (2013) examined whether massage therapy had any acute effects on muscle soreness, comparing massage to active recovery.5 Massage was provided to the upper trapezius muscle for 10 minutes. Perceived soreness significantly decreased 20 minutes after treatment. However, the effects diminished within the hour. Findings suggest massage is just as effective as active exercise in reducing muscle soreness.

With respect to massage and DOMS, timing of massage sessions need to be taken into consideration. Massage can be applied before, immediately after and over the next 48 hours. In the studies referenced above, the massage sessions provided also were short in nature. Experimenting with longer massage sessions may impact results differently.

A study by Kargarfard M., et. al. (2015) found body-builders who received a 30-minute massage after an exercise session demonstrated a better recovery rate.6 Working with athletes in the field can allow you to perform short massage sessions and have a positive effect on DOMS. In the clinical setting, experimenting with 30- to 60-minute massage sessions may provide better results.

Stretching

Stretching, static stretching in particular, has been used as a “warm-up” prior to exercise, and as a strategy to prevent DOMS. Does it work? The research overwhelmingly points to the answer being no. A Cochrane Review in 2007 included 10 studies and found no evidence that muscle stretching reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness in young, healthy adults.7 The study was updated in 2011 with two additional studies and reached the same conclusion.8

A study by Torres R., et al. (2013) noted favorable effects on muscle stiffness following repeated bouts of stretching days following exercise.9 However, there was no change with respect to DOMS. If the goal is to recover faster from DOMS, stretching may not be the best strategy to use. In recent years, there has been a shift in focus from static stretching to dynamic exercises in reducing DOMS. Again, timing may be the ultimate factor in its effectiveness.

Cryotherapy

Various cryotherapy strategies, such as ice packs, cold-water immersion and recently, whole-body cryotherapy, are quite common practices in rehabilitation and sports performance recovery. Their effects on DOMS are well-known. A recent systematic review by Hohenauer E., et al. (2015) confirmed that cryotherapy reduced DOMS up to 96 hours post-exercise and RPE (ratings of perceived exertion) up to 24 hours compared to passive controls.10 However, the use of cryotherapy may need to be assessed depending on what the ultimate goal is.

A recent study by Roberts L.A., et al. (2015) looked at the effects of cold-water immersion on long-term adaptations in muscle to strength training.11 Results showed that cold-water immersion attenuated long-term gains in muscle mass and strength. Although you may get better recovery, you could be sacrificing long-term strength and muscle gains. If this is the case, what other strategies can we utilize to maintain muscle and strength?

Active Exercises

Lower-intensity exercises prior to a maximal eccentric contraction may provide benefit against muscle damage. Lin M.J., et al. (2015) evaluated whether low-intensity eccentric contractions (performed with a load of 10 percent of maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength with reps in the 30 to 60 range) could protect against muscle damage.12 Results showed a 30-66 percent protection against muscle damage induced by maximal eccentric exercises. The protective effect lasted one week.

What about maximal isometric contractions? A study by Lima L.C., et al. (2015) found maximum isometric contractions performed 2-4 days prior to a demanding eccentric exercise provided a protective effect from post-exercise soreness.13 The authors recommended putting patients through these non-damaging isometric exercises prior to putting patients through unaccustomed exercises.

Chen H.L., et al. (2012) reached similar conclusions, finding two maximum isometric contractions performed two days before eccentric training could be an effective strategy to minimize muscle damage.14

Take-Home Points to Discuss With Your Doctor

Various recovery strategies can help your athletes recover faster. Massage therapy, cryotherapy, stretching and active exercise all appear to provide some form of relief from DOMS. However, while some may improve DOMS, they also may stunt muscle strength, power or growth. Timing of these strategies is also important. A certain strategy may work best after an exercise session or two days prior. As you can see, there are no straight answers to what works and what doesn’t.

In some cases, such as when using cryotherapy, new research is showing the benefits of recovery need to be weighed against long-term impact on muscle strength, power and hypertrophy. Applying massage therapy is practical before, during and after a training session, since the 15-minute time frame has been shown to be effective. Static stretching by itself may not be the best use of a patient’s or athlete’s time when other strategies are more effective. Finally, the use of isometrics is an important strategy to prepare you for the stresses of a more intense exercise program.

By Jasper Sidhu, BSc, DC

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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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Lower Extremity Injuries: Know the Risks

It’s been estimated that sports-related injuries cost up to $1 billion annually worldwide. In the U.S. alone, between 3 million and 5 million sports-related injuries occur each year; most are injuries to the ankle, knee and lower leg – a region generally termed the “lower extremity.”

So, what increases the risk of suffering a lower extremity injury, and how can you prevent or reduce the risk of getting hurt? 

Researchers in Vermont set out to answer these questions by reviewing several previous studies, and found approximately 20 factors that can contribute to lower extremity injuries. Among the most common factors are: age; history of previous injury; body size (including the size of a person’s limb); muscle strength; the type of shoe being used while performing an activity; whether the person is using any type of ankle wrap or bracing; and playing surface. All of these factors can determine, positively or negatively, the degree to which a person might sustain a lower extremity injury while playing sports.

Few practitioners know how to diagnose and treat lower extremity injuries better than a doctor of chiropractic. If you suspect you have an injury, or if you’re involved in an organized sport or other type of regular physical activity, and want more information on preventing these types of injuries from occurring, schedule an appointment with a DC. You chiropractor can create an exercise plan that maximizes your fitness level while minimizing the risk of injury.

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