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Category: Chiropractic

For Neck Pain, Chiropractic and Exercise Are Better Than Drugs

For Neck Pain, Chiropractic and Exercise Are Better Than Drugs

Seeing a chiropractor or engaging in light exercise relieves neck pain more effectively than relying on pain medication, new research shows.

The new study is one of the few head-to-head comparisons of various treatments for neck pain, a problem that affects three-quarters of Americans at some point in their lives but has no proven, first-line treatment. While many people seek out spinal manipulation by chiropractors, the evidence supporting its usefulness has been limited at best.

But the new research, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, found that chiropractic care or simple exercises are done at home were better at reducing pain than taking medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or narcotics.

“These changes were diminished over time, but they were still present,” said Dr. Gert Bronfort, an author of the study and research professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota. “Even a year later, there were differences between the spinal manipulation and medication groups.”

Moderate and acute neck pain is one of the most frequent reasons for trips to primary care doctors, prompting millions of visits every year. For patients, it can be a difficult problem to navigate. In some cases, the pain and stiffness crop up without explanation, and treatment options are varied. Physical therapy, pain medication, and spinal manipulation are popular options, but Dr. Bronfort was inspired to carry out an analysis because so little research exists.

“There was a void in the scientific literature in terms of what the most helpful treatments are,” he said.

To find out, Dr. Bronfort and his colleagues recruited a large group of adults with neck pain that had no known specific cause. The subjects, 272 in all, were mostly recruited from a large HMO and through advertisements. The researchers then split them into three groups and followed them for about three months.

One group was assigned to visit a chiropractor for roughly 20-minute sessions throughout the course of the study, making an average of 15 visits. A second group was assigned to take common pain relievers like acetaminophen and — in some cases, at the discretion of a doctor — stronger drugs like narcotics and muscle relaxants. The third group met on two occasions with physical therapists who gave them instructions on simple, gentle exercises for the neck that they could do at home. They were encouraged to do 5 to 10 repetitions of each exercise up to eight times a day. (A demonstration of the exercises can be found at www.annals.org).

After 12 weeks, the people in the non-medication groups did significantly better than those taking the drugs. About 57 percent of those who met with chiropractors and 48 percent who did the exercises reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group.

A year later, when the researchers checked back in, 53 percent of the subjects who had received spinal manipulation still reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, similar to the exercise group. That compared to just a 38 percent pain reduction among those who had been taking medication.

Dr. Bronfort said it was a “big surprise” to see that the home exercises were about as effective as the chiropractic sessions. “We hadn’t expected that they would be that close,” he said. “But I guess that’s good news for patients.”

In addition to their limited pain relief, the medications had at least one other downside: people kept taking them. “The people in the medication group kept on using a higher amount of medication more frequently throughout the follow-up period, up to a year later,” Dr. Bronfort said. “If you’re taking medication over a long time, then we’re running into more systemic side effects like gastrointestinal problems.”

He also expressed concern that those on medications were not as empowered or active in their own care as those in the other groups. “We think it’s important that patients are enabled to deal with as much control over their own condition as possible,” he said. “This study shows that they can play a large role in their own care.”

Article from: The New York Times

Original Photo credit: https://www.kineticedgept.com/the-hidden-culprit-behind-your-pain-in-the-neck/

Chiropractic – Different Types of Headaches

There are many causes of headaches, and many types, but the most common headache treated by chiropractors is called the cervicogenic headache, typically brought on by poor posture or stress.

Diagnosis

The American Chiropractic Association suggests that your chiropractor ask you to complete a headache diary consisting of:

  • Day and time of the headache
  • Headache location
  • What the headache feels like
  • What you were doing when the headache began
  • How long the headache lasts
  • What makes it feel better or worse

Over 150 diagnostic headache categories have been scientifically established. The most common types of headaches are:

Tension Headaches

These are sometimes referred to as chronic daily headaches. Tension headaches are caused by muscle contractions and cause mild to moderate pain. Tension headaches come and go over a period of time.


Migraines

Inflamed blood vessels and arteries literally squeeze around your brain until it hurts. You may feel nausea, increased blood pressure, and sensitivity to bright light or noise. One of the best treatments for migraines is chiropractic care.


Cluster headaches

The least common (but most severe) headache is often described as located behind the eye region. Cluster headaches can occur one to three times per day during a “cluster” period, which may last two weeks and extend as long as three months. To further complicate matters, a cluster headache may go into remission for months or years only to recur later down the line.


Organic headaches

Finally, organic headaches are the result of abnormalities in the brain and can lead to serious consequences. Only 5% of headaches are organic. It is incredibly important to go to your nearest hospital immediately if you feel:

  • Sudden, sharp, severe pain
  • Sudden lack of balance or falling
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or difficulty speaking

Article from: https://www.powerchiropracticwellness.com/chiropractic-clinic-discusses-different-types-headaches/

Chiropractic – Different Types of Headaches
Back Pain? 7 Ways to Strengthen Your Spine

Back Pain? 7 Ways to Strengthen Your Spine

People tend to forget the spine is part of the central nervous system, along with the brain, and relies on the peripheral nervous system: the millions of nerves that send messages to the brain that control the body’s functions. An unhealthy spine interferes with this entire system, causing a host of unwelcome health issues such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs, impaired breathing and digestion and impaired control of the bowel and bladder.
Here are a few tips to help you take better care of your spine and back:
  1. Good Posture is Essential – Good posture is defined as ears aligned with the shoulders and the “angel wings,” or the shoulder blades, retracted. In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position to achieve the best posture possible.
    Good posture also has other health and wellness benefits. Researchers at San Francisco State University have found a link between poor posture and depression, and many experts believe stooping and slouching could be associated with weight gain, heartburn, migraines, anxiety, and respiratory conditions. Proper posture leads to a taller appearance, deeper breathing, improved well-being and increased energy with enhanced human performance.

  2. Deep belly breathing can improve your posture – Place your hands on your abdominal area and feel your belly move as you inhale and exhale. Do this as many times a day as possible to improve your posture and overall spinal health. Deep belly breathing enables the spinal nerves to move within the spinal channels, diminishing pain and providing a sense of well-being.

  3. Targeted simple exercises can strengthen your core and joints – According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercise is therapeutic. Just 10 minutes per day is all you need to perform some simple spine-strengthening exercises. Neck stretches, including bending and extension range-of-motion exercises, are just a series of simple side-to-side, up-and-down and ear-to-shoulder stretches that can dramatically improve the health of the cervical spine. Using light weights to improve posture and performing some yoga poses like downward dog, which opens up the chest and stretches the spine, can also improve spinal health. Push-ups can strengthen the spinal and postural muscles as well.
  4. What you eat can directly impact your spine – You may not think that your diet affects your spine, but it actually plays a key role. A healthy diet consisting mostly of lean proteins, healthy fats and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is ideal for building a lean body and muscles that support the spine. To improve the condition of your spine, supplement your diet with a multivitamin along with a B-complex and Omega-3s, as they have been shown to help decrease pain in the nerves of the spine.

  5. Spend a little time in the sun every day – Believe it or not, the sun can have a magical effect on your body, including your spine. Sunlight energizes the whole body, literally waking it up and encouraging the body to stand up straighter. Further, sunlight contains vitamin D, which is required for strong bones, including the spinal column, and is manufactured in the body through sun exposure. Try to spend 10 to 20 minutes in sunlight daily.

  6. Pay attention to how — and how long — you sleep – Studies suggest that insufficient sleep is associated with increased neck and back problems. It is important to get a sufficient amount (between six and eight hours) and of course, to sleep in a position that enables the spine to relax. The ideal position is on your side, as that puts the least amount of pressure on the spine. You should also create a proper sanctuary for sleep, choosing a suitable mattress and pillow for comfort, eliminating all outdoor light and providing fresh cool air. Avoid interacting with any electronic devices at bedtime.

  7. Don’t hesitate to meditate – Meditation can restore alertness, improve your mood, increase productivity and prolong life, not to mention the positive effects it can have on your spine and posture. People who meditate tend to focus on their core, automatically straightening their spines in the process.
    To remind yourself to carve out 10 minutes or so per day to perform these exercises and rituals (especially in the middle of a busy workday), you can set an alarm on your smartphone.
    You can also utilize apps — Healthy Back Workouts provides three apps devoted to the neck and upper back, strong spine, and core and posture and lower back. They’re designed to accommodate the beginner, intermediate or advanced individual with step-by-step photos and detailed instructions. Through awareness of posture, breath, meditation, nutrition, exposure to sunlight and exercise, people can strengthen and condition their spines and create overall well-being in the process.

 

Article and photo from: https://www.cnn.com/2013/05/01/health/hansraj-spine/index.html