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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.

 

Chiropractic Care Improves Immunity

Beyond Treating Pain

Chiropractic treatments have long been known to alleviate musculoskeletal pain. Now, researchers are beginning to examine additional ways that chiropractic care may improve overall health. A new study suggests that chiropractic adjustments can improve immune system function, even in patients who are not experiencing pain.

Studying Chiropractic Treatment's Effects on Immune System

Researchers at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College examined chiropractic treatments' effect on interleukin-2, a protein involved in immune response. The study involved 74 participants with no current symptoms of pain. The participants were split into three treatment groups, including one control group and two groups receiving different kinds of chiropractic adjustments. All participants received treatment on the same day, with blood samples collected before the treatment, 20 minutes afterwards, and two hours following the treatment.

The researchers compared before-and-after blood samples to determine whether the treatment correlated with an increase in the levels of certain antibodies, including induced immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM). These antibodies occur as a response to infection, and are key parts of the immune system.

Study Results

The researchers found that participants who underwent chiropractic treatments had increased levels of IgG and IgM measured 20 minutes following treatment. After two hours, these patients still had elevated IgM levels. The researchers suggested that chiropractic treatments could prepare the body's immune system for faster response to new infections. This “priming” effect, they conclude, shows that chiropractic adjustments may alter the functioning of the immune system, improving overall health.

Reference

Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, McGregor M, Ruegg R, Injeyan HS. Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010; 18:26.

 

Chiropractic Helps Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Estero, Bonita Springs natural carpal tunnel treatmentDr. Green sees a lot of people troubled with carpal tunnel syndrome in our busy Estero, Bonita Springs chiropractic office. While some people think that the source of this wrist-related pain is muscular, it's actually a syndrome that stems from the nerves--and not just the nerves in your hands.

A recent study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy evaluated 71 women between the ages of 35 and 59 who were diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Upon investigating the subjects' neck range of motion, the authors found that the women had reduced cervical mobility when compared to a healthy control group.

In addition, it was also found that the degree of the women's reported carpal tunnel discomfort was linked to the lateral flexion of the cervical spine. In short, the less flexibility in the neck, the higher the level of pain.

This research is extremely important, as you can't successfully treat a condition until you fully understand its source. By realizing that the root of carpal tunnel issues is in the neck, this means that all-natural approaches such as chiropractic can often restore normal function, eliminating the need for risky surgery.

If you suffer with carpal tunnel pain, call our Estero, Bonita Springs office and ask how Dr. Green can help you get relief!

Resources

De-la-Llave-Rincon A et al. (2011, May). Women with carpal tunnel syndrome show restricted cervical range of motion. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy;41(5):305-10.
Simon H. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. University of Maryland Medical Center. Updated May 6, 2012. Retrieved from https://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/carpal-tunnel-syndrome on November 2, 2015.

 

Regular Chiropractic Adjustments Prevent Worsening Back Pain, Study Finds

Expense of Chronic Back Pain

Lower back pain is incredibly common, and it can be very expensive to treat. According to one estimate, the direct and indirect costs of chronic back pain amount to $100 billion every year in the U.S. alone.

Low-Back Pain Is a Problem

The authors of a new study comment, “One factor explaining these enormous costs is the high rate of recurrence and chronic disability related to low-back disorders.” They estimate that ten percent of low-back pain patients account for more than 80 percent of the costs related to back pain.

Study Low-Back Pain Prevention

Because of the huge costs of treating low-back pain, many studies have focused on prevention. One recent study examined the role of chiropractic adjustments in treating chronic lower back pain. The study involved 30 participants whose back pain had lasted at least 6 months. The study began with one treatment-free month, enabling the researchers to observe a 'control period' of untreated back-pain symptoms.

Study Findings

Following this initial period, half of the patients underwent intensive chiropractic adjustments, including 12 treatments in one month, followed by no treatments for the next nine months. The other group received the same initially intensive treatment, along with maintenance chiropractic sessions every 3 weeks for a period of nine months. At the end of this period, researchers examined both groups.

The study authors found that:

  1. Both groups of patients experienced a reduction in pain. Even without follow-up visits, an intensive month of chiropractic treatments reduced pain levels.
  2. Disability levels showed a different response. Patients who received no continuing treatment found that disability levels returned to pre-treatment levels, while those who received maintenance treatments saw continued improvements in their disability scores over the nine-month study period.

The authors conclude that their research appears to confirm the idea that low-back pain and disability are reduced following chiropractic spinal adjustments. They added:

“It also shows the positive effects of preventive chiropractic treatment in maintaining functional capacities and reducing the number and intensity of pain episodes after an acute phase of treatment. Maintenance chiropractic care involving spinal manipulation combined with other treatment modalities (exercises, pain management program) should be investigated. Such combined interventions may have a critical influence on pain, disability, and return to work.”

Reference

Descarreaux M, Blouin JS, Drolet M, Papadimitriou S, Teasdale N. Efficacy of preventive spinal manipulation for chronic low-back pain and related disabilities: a preliminary study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2004;27:509-514.

 

 

Pregnant Women Find Relief with Chiropractic

Back Pain Is Common During Pregnancy

Many women experience lower back pain while pregnant. In fact, studies show that more than half of pregnant women report back pain at some point during their pregnancy.

A recent study found that for many women, pregnancy is the first time they have experienced back pain. The authors state,

“The incidence of low back pain with an onset during pregnancy has been reported to be 61%. It has been shown that among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 75% reported no low back pain before pregnancy. In a study of women with chronic low back pain, up to 28% stated that their first episode of back pain occurred during a pregnancy.”

Studying Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain

Chiropractic treatments may be beneficial for women who experience back pain during pregnancy. Researchers recently studied 17 pregnant women with lower back pain. The pain lasted an average of 21.7 days, and was rated an average of 5.9 on a scale of 1 to 10. The pain began an average of 20.6 weeks into the pregnancy. Each participant underwent chiropractic treatments individualized to their reported symptoms. The authors found that:

  • About half of the women referred themselves for treatment, while the other half were referred by their obstetrician.
  • It took an average of 4.5 days for the women to achieve clinically significant pain relief. The range was 0 to 13 days following the first treatment session.
  • An average of 1.8 treatments were needed to reach clinically significant pain relief.
  • Average pain levels decreased from 5.9 to 1.5 at the conclusion of the study.
  • Patients received 3 to 15 treatments, with an average of 5.6.
  • One participant of the 17 women involved did not experience clinically significant pain reduction during the study.
  • None of the women reported negative reactions to the adjustments.

Lower back pain during pregnancy can detrimentally impact women's overall health. The study authors explain:

“In most instances, the average pain level is moderate, but severe pain has been reported in 15% of cases. Pain intensity often increases with duration and can result in significant disability. Sleep disturbances have been reported by 49% to 58% of women and impaired daily living by 57% in women with low back pain of pregnancy.”

However, many women do not report their back pain to their doctor, and it goes untreated. A previous study found that "just 32% of women reported their low back pain of pregnancy to their prenatal providers, and just 25% of these providers recommended a treatment.” Other research has found that "among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 80% thought that their providers had not offered treatment for their back pain.”

Chiropractic May Help You

If you're experiencing back pain as a pregnant woman, it's important to know you don't have to suffer through the pain. This research demonstrates that chiropractic care is an effective, safe way to reduce low-back pain during pregnancy.

Reference

Lisi AJ. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for low back pain of pregnancy: a retrospective case series. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2006;51:e7-e10.

 

Chiropractic Can Boost Athletic Performance

Many athletes utilize chiropractic treatments following an injury or a strenuous workout. New research suggests that athletes could also boost their athletic performance through chiropractic adjustments.

The study involved 18 professional Brazilian judo athletes. Half received chiropractic adjustments to their cervical spine, located in the neck. The other half received a placebo treatment. Researchers examined the effect of the treatment by evaluating the athletes' grip strength, because judo relies heavily on muscle forces in the hands and arms.

The researchers measured grip strength before and after each cervical spinal manipulation. Following just three treatment sessions, the athletes in the chiropractic group had an overall improvement in grip strength of 10% on the left side and 16% on the right side, which is considered statistically significant. The placebo group did not experience significant improvements in grip strength. After analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that the chiropractic care enhanced grip strength in judo athletes.

Additional research is needed to fully understand the benefits of chiropractic care for athletes, though this study shows exciting results. In 2010, another study showed chiropractic sports interventions substantially reduces the risk of lower-limb injuries among football players. Chiropractic care offers a number of potential benefits for athletes, including injury prevention, enhanced recovery, and improved peak performance.


References

Botelho, Marcelo and Bruno Andrade. “Effect of Cervical Spine Manipulative Therapy on Judo Athletes’ Grip Strength. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies. 2011; 35(11): 38-44.

Hoskins W, Pollard H. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized control trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010;11:64.

 

Housework Increases Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis

Housework Riskier Than Sports?

Knee osteoarthritis appears to be linked to a lifetime of stress placed on the knees. The first study to estimate the cumulative effects of various activities on the knees has linked housework – but not recreational sports – to the painful condition.

The authors conclude that physical activity in the form of sports is safe, and does not increase the risk of developing knee arthritis. However, heavy-lifting housework could be partially to blame for the rising prevalence of knee arthritis. With new cases nearly doubling in the past two decades, researchers are eager to pinpoint the causes of knee arthritis.

The study involved a questionnaire asking patients about whether they had been diagnosed with knee arthritis, as well as their occupational and recreational history. While previous studies have examined the impact of manual labor occupations on the risk of knee arthritis, this study placed emphasis on the kneeling, lifting, stair climbing, and squatting actions common with housework.

Who Has Highest Risk?

Both men and women who scored in the highest category of total lifetime knee stress were significantly more likely than others to be diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. However, estimated force on the knees due to sports activity was not seen as a significant factor. The authors conclude that encouraging physical activity does not create an unnecessarily risk for the knees.

Chiropractic May Help

A chiropractor can counsel you on using natural preventive strategies for reducing knee pain like chiropractic and yoga.

Reference

Ratzlaff CR, et al. Is lifelong knee joint force from work, home, and sport related to knee osteoarthritis? International Journal of Rheumatology 2012;v.2012 ( 584193): doi:  10.1155/2012/584193.