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Chiropractic Treatment of Migraine Headache

Estero, Bonita Springs natural migraine treatment by Dr. GreenWith the Migraine Research Foundation reporting that migraines affect 38 million people in the United States (more than diabetes and asthma put together), it's not surprising that Dr. Green sees a lot of headache patients in our Estero, Bonita Springs office. Although some folks try to relieve migraine pain with medications, chiropractic care is a terrific, all-natural choice that often provides positive results.

For instance, one report published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics involved 127 patients ranging in age from 10 to 70-years-old who struggled with regular (at least monthly) migraines. Each subject engaged in up to 16 chiropractic sessions. The patients noted that their headache frequency, duration, and disability two months before the study began, during the duration of the sessions (which was two months), and two months post-treatment.

What the investigators discovered is that spinal manipulation therapy reduced the frequency, duration, and disability of the migraine pain when compared with the control subjects who didn't receive chiropractic. Furthermore, this allowed them to take less medication for the pain, providing them an all-natural solution for a chronic problem.

Another study found that a combination of chiropractic and neck massage reduced migraine pain almost 68%.

If you have migraine headaches and are looking for relief, call Dr. Green today and request an appointment in our Estero, Bonita Springs chiropractic office. We'll do what we can to help you become pain-free!

Studies

Migraine Fact Sheet. Migraine Research Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.migraineresearchfoundation.org/fact-sheet.html on November 2, 2015
Noudeh Y et al. (2012). Reduction of current migraine headache pain following neck massage and spinal manipulation. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork;5(1):5-13
Tuchin P et al. (2000, February). A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics;23(2):91-5

 

Chiropractic Adjustments Produce Immediate Results Visible on MRI

New research helps to explain why chiropractic is so effective for low-back pain. Using MRI scans, researchers were able to document the immediate benefits of chiropractic adjustments.

Patients with low-back pain have restricted mobility in the lumbar spine that results in degenerative changes and fibrous adhesions within the joints of the vertebrae.

Researchers hypothesized that chiropractic adjustments increase gapping between the joints of the vertebrae, which breaks up adhesions and allows the joints to move freely.

In a new study, 112 patients with low-back pain were randomly assigned to receive either chiropractic adjustments, side-posture positioning, or two control treatments.

Immediately after the treatment, they received an MRI scan that allowed researchers to analyze spinal gapping.

The chiropractic patients had the most substantial spinal gapping, and patients treated with a combination of chiropractic adjustments and side-posture positioning had the greatest reduction in pain.

This study shows how chiropractic can restore spinal health to decrease disability and pain.

Reference

Cramer GD, et al. Magnetic resonance imaging zygaphosphyseal joint space changes (gapping) in low back pain patients following spinal manipulation and side-posture positioning: a randomized controlled mechanisms trial with blinding. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013; pii: S0161-4754(13)00055-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.04.003.

 

89% of Office Workers Have Musculoskeletal Pain

If you spend your days in an office, you're probably familiar with the aches and pain that come with long hours of computer work. A new study showed that up to 89% of office workers suffer from some sort of musculoskeletal pain; whether that be in the neck, back, shoulders, wrists, or knees.

Although this pain can start as a dull ache at work, if left unaddressed, it may develop into a repetitive motion injury or other serious disorder. Seeking early treatment can reduce your risk for developing these conditions. Studies suggest that chiropractic care can relieve and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, and neck disorders associated with working.

Work-related Pain Study

To estimate the prevalence of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions in office workers, researchers surveyed 91 employees who worked at a university office setting. The employees rated their pain and responded to questionnaires on job satisfaction and health.

Neck pain was the most common complaint, affecting 69.2% of workers. Lower back pain was the second most common (58.2%), followed by knee problems (41.8%), shoulder concerns (35.2%) and pain in the upper back (34%). People with MSK complaints were also more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs. Wrist, shoulder, and low-back pain were most the significant predictors of poor job satisfaction.

Other recent research has shown that stressed, over-worked employees have an increased likelihood of suffering from back pain, headache, and shoulder problems.Stress of course isn't the only thing causing musculoskeletal pain. Poor posture, unhealthy work stations, and previous musculoskeletal injuries can exacerbate the risks associated with repetitive motions or long hours hunching over a computer.

Doctors of chiropractic can create treatment plans that address the multifaceted nature of work-related pain. Not only do chiropractors work to correct dysfunctions in the joints and spine, they'll also help you identify appropriate preventive measures through posture correction, ergonomic training, and exercise therapy. Some studies suggests that chiropractic adjustments may also improve your body's response to inflammation and stress, providing you with protective benefits against further MSK injuries.

Reference

Loghmani A, et al. Musculoskeletal symptoms and job satisfaction among office-workers: A Cross- sectional study from Iran. Acta Medica Academica 2013;42(1):46-54. doi: 10.5644/ama2006-124.70.

 

 

Chiropractic Beats Epidural Injections for Disc Herniations

Chiropractic adjustments were just as effective as epidural injections for patients with back pain in a new study -- without the risks and at lower cost.

The findings show that chiropractic can significantly reduce pain in patients with lumbar disc herniation, and is less expensive than medical treatment.

Lumbar epidural injections are frequently used for back pain and sciatica in patients with lumbar disc herniation, failed back surgery syndrome, and spinal stenosis. During the procedure, a physician injects a high dose of pain medication, and sometimes steroids, into the area of the lumbar spine around the damaged nerve. This temporarily reduces inflammation and pain.

Although the injections are widely used, controversy lingers due to the lack of a studies with placebo controls, and questions about the effects of steroids versus anesthetic alone. Side effects of steroids include a weakening of muscles and spinal bones around the affected nerve and a disruption of the body's natural hormone balance. It's also unclear whether epidural injections are more effective than other conservative treatments for lumbar disc herniation.

While a number of studies have established the efficacy of chiropractic for low-back pain, fewer have tested its comparative effectiveness with other treatments for lumbar disc herniation.

In a new study from the Journal of Manual and Physiological Therapeutics, researchers from Switzerland compared the effects of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and epidural nerve root injections (NRI). The study included 102 with symptomatic, MRI-confirmed lumbar disc herniation who were treated with either SMT or NRI.

After one month of treatment, both groups experienced significant improvements. Of the patients under chiropractic care, 76.5% said they were "much better" or  "better" compared to 62.7% of NRI patients. Sixty percent of chiropractic patients had a significant reduction in pain compared to 53% of NRI patients. These slight differences were not statistically significant.

While none of the chiropractic patients received surgery, three of the NRI patients eventually opted for an operation.

Since the treatments were considered equally effective, the cost analysis became even more important for comparing both treatments, the researchers pointed out.  On average, one month of chiropractic adjustments was less expensive than NRI ($558 vs. $729). Their analysis included only the "minimum cost" of NRIs, and did not take into account other costs that are frequently tacked on like additional consultations with clinicians, multiple injections, or possible surgery. Additionally, treatment cost for chiropractic patients may have been slightly higher than normal since they were required to receive an MRI to be in the study. Many chiropractic patients do not receive MRI because imaging guidelines do not recommend MRIs for patients with lumbar disc herniation in most cases. In contrast, MRIs are typically performed before injections or other more invasive procedures.

Although randomized trials are needed to confirm these results, the authors concluded that, "There were no significant differences in outcomes between the more universally accepted treatment procedure of NRI compared to SMT."

This study suggest that patients can experience substantial relief from chiropractic care without worrying about the side effects of steroids or drugs. It may even save them money, since research suggests that chiropractic patients have lower annual medical costs compared to patients under traditional care.

Reference

Peterson, CK, et al. Symptomatic Magnetic Resonance Imaging-confirmed lumbar disk herniation patients: a comparative effectiveness prospective observational study of 2 age- and sex-matched cohorts treated with either high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulative therapy or imaging-guided lumbar nerve root injections. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013; doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.04.005.

 

Chiropractic Boosts Immunity

​Many people are aware that chiropractic is an effective way to relieve a number pain conditions, but a growing body of research suggests it can also improve immunity.

Previous studies have shown that spinal adjustments can affect specific immune responses in both healthy participants and back-pain patients. However there have been no major literature reviews of the overall effect of chiropractic on immunity. In a recent presentation at the 9th Chiropractic, Osteopathy, and Physiotherapy Annual Conference in the UK, Jack Neil of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic analyzed the existing literature on spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and immune responses.

After reviewing the research up to January 2012, Neil confirmed that spinal adjustments are associated with a central anti-inflammatory response. Research suggests that SMT may lead to a down regulating of  pro-inflammatory cytokines and an increase in antibodies involved in the immune response. At the same time, SMT may increase the production of tiny cells called leukocytes which support the white blood cells in fighting off a threat. SMT may also affect Natural Killer cells, interleukin-2 activity, TNF-a levels, cortisol, and b-endorphin levels.

The mechanisms behind these processes are still unclear however. There is not enough research yet to know whether these inflammatory changes correlate with an improvement in symptoms."Most research to date has focused on asymptomatic patients with short-term improvements. The challenge now is to clinically observe long-term health benefits in symptomatic patients," Neil concluded.

Although more research is needed, current evidence suggests that chiropractic adjustments can produce positive changes in the immune system. These immunological changes may explain why chiropractic can reduce inflammation and pain while supporting overall wellness.

Neil J. Manipulative therapy and immune response: A literature review of the chiropractic and osteopathic evidence. Clinical Chiropractic 2012;15(3):186.

 

Can Low Back Pain Lead to Hip Problems?

Everything Is Connected

​Back pain is very seldom limited to the back, especially if it goes untreated for too long. Many patients also report that they start to develop problems with their legs and hips over time.

In the study, researchers set out to see if there was a correlation between reported low back pain and future osteoarthritis related problems such as hip or knee trouble. The population-based cohort study indicated that there was a higher incidence of hip osteoarthritis in patients with previously reported low back pain. They did not find a significant correlation with low back pain and future osteoarthritis of the knee joints.

​What This Means for You

What does this mean for you if you suffer from low back pain? Though there could be a bigger risk for you to have hip troubles later in life if you suffer from low back pain now, this is not set in stone provided you take measures to care for your lower back as well as your overall bone and muscle health.

Primarily, you need to address whatever is causing your low back pain so it doesn't lead to problems with your hip joints due to overcompensation and unusual wear and tear. Spinal adjustments can help realign the spine and diminish future degeneration of your lower back.

Stay Strong

Remember that a strong body can better resist injury and degeneration. Cardio, strength training, balance exercises and stretching for flexibility can keep your body strong and at ideal body weight. Your chiropractor or other healthcare provider can also give you advice on healthy eating habits to ensure optimum nutrition.

Stupar M, Cote P, French MR, Hawker GA. The Association Between Low Back Pain and Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee: A Population-Based Cohort Study Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics  2010;33(5):349-54.

 

Doctors Ignoring Evidence for Back Pain Treatment

Medical doctors are increasingly ignoring the recommended guidelines for treating back pain, a new study from the Journal of American Medical Association finds.

Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston examined records for 23,918 doctor visits related to back pain between 1999 and 2000. They discovered that medical doctors are actually getting worse at employing evidence-based treatments.

Current guidelines from the American Medical Association recommend that acute back pain be treated first with conservative, active treatments like chiropractic care and exercise rehabilitation. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to ease short-term pain, rather than narcotics like Oxycontin which can actually make matters worse, according to recent research.

However researchers found that physicians are overprescribing narcotics and overusing expensive testing.

During the study period, prescriptions for narcotics grew from 19.3% to 29.1%, reflecting a national trend of growing opioid use. Lead researcher, Dr. John Mafi, explained that during the 1990s medical doctors were widely accused of ignoring patients' pain. While some of the criticism was valid, many physicians overreacted by doling out more serious painkillers. Now around 43% of patients with back pain show signs of substance abuse disorders, Mafi and his colleagues found.

Doctors are also relying too heavily on imaging techniques no longer deemed necessary for every type of spinal pain. Use of MRI and CT scans grew from 7.2% to 11.3% during the study period, despite research demonstrating such scans are not always useful for many cases of back and neck pain. Although these scans do not harm the patient, they typically don't find anything wrong, and can cost around $1,000 per a scan.

That may be why patients under standard medical care tend have more medical costs associated with their back pain treatment compared to chiropractic patients, according to a recent study. Chiropractic patients can also expect to receive evidence-based treatments like exercise therapy and spinal adjustments. A study of military personnel with back pain earlier this year  found that those treated by a chiropractor had better results compared to patients treated with standard medical care alone.

Reference

Mafi JN, et al. Worsening trends in the management and treatment of back pain. JAMA 2013; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.8992.

 

 

Safety of Chiropractic Neck Adjustments Confirmed

Spinal manipulation therapy is a widely-accepted method for treating back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Although previous studies have pointed to the safety of chiropractic neck adjustments, there has been some concern about the effect of the forces applied during spinal manipulation of the neck. It has been argued that there is the possibility of damaging the internal carotid artery (ICA) by such force. Previously, little was known about the strains sustained by the ICA during spinal manipulation therapy. In a recent study, researchers sought to examine the mechanics of the ICA during neck manipulation to determine whether spinal manipulation causes strains in excess of those experienced during normal everyday movements.

The researchers measured strains applied to the internal carotid artery (ICA) during neck spinal manipulation treatments. Peak and average ICA strains were measured in 6 cadaver spines during cervical spinal manipulation performed by chiropractic doctors. These number were compared with the corresponding strain experienced during diagnostic testing of the head and neck to simulate normal everyday movements.

The researchers found that ICA strains were no different during chiropractic manipulation of the neck than during normal everyday movements. Therefore, cervical spinal manipulation performed by trained chiropractors does not appear to place undue strain on the ICA.

Earlier research has also demonstrated the safety of chiropractic neck adjustments. In an extensive literature review from the medical journal Spine, researchers analyzed data from 28,807 chiropractic patients receiving a total of 50, 276 adjustments of the cervical spine.  Among the thousands of adjustments made, the only negative side effect reported was temporary, mild dizziness; no serious side effects were reported.

Studies show that chiropractic neck adjustments can reduce pain in patients with neck disorders,whiplash, dizziness, and headaches.

References

Herzog W, Tang C, Leonard T. Internal Carotid Artery Strains During High-Speed, Low-Amplitude Spinal Manipulations of the Neck. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2012; pii: S0161-4754(12)00156-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2012.09.005.