Monday, January 31, 2011

Chiropractic Care for Migraines

Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive way to relieve migraine suffering without the use of medication. Chiropractic migraine treatment is not for everyone, but it may be particularly useful for patients who cannot use prescription medication due to other risk factors.

Migraine headaches are idiopathic. This means that despite the last century's advances in medical science their cause is still unknown. A number of theories exist to explain migraines. They include a possible serotonin deficiency in migraineurs, genetics malformations, and arterial swelling in the cranium.

A common chiropractic theory is that subluxations in the muscles at the base of the skull and the neck cause, or contribute to, the formation of migraine headaches. Subluxations are tense areas in the muscles adjoining the small bones of the upper spinal column. On an x-ray, the bones appear to be in the correct place and medical doctors often miss the tension in the muscles. A chiropractor gently manipulates the spine to relax these subluxations.

Chiropractors offer two varieties of care for migraine patients, straight chiropractic and mixed chiropractic. Straight chiropractic only involves manipulation of the spine and spinal subluxations. Mixed chiropractic care combines traditional manipulation with other complementary techniques. The focus in mixed chiropractic is to reduce overall neck strain and tension.

Researchers at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Minnesota recently compared chiropractic care with drug therapies for migraines and chronic tension headaches. The study was published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Two hundred eighteen headache patients were given either drug therapy or regular chiropractic care. Both groups reported a 40-50% reduction in headache pain at the end of the study.

Follow ups four weeks after discontinuing all care showed only the chiropractic group still enjoying the pain reduction the treatment initiated. Only 20-25% of the drug therapy patients were still benefiting from their treatment at this follow up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Relieving Spinal Stress

In 1953, American orthopaedic surgeon, J.J. Keegan documented spinal positioning with a series of x-rays. With his patients lying on their sides, Keegan recorded the lumbar spine in standing, right angle sitting, and bent over positions. He concluded, “The normal curve of the lumbar spine in adult man is determined by maintenance of the trunk-thigh and the knee angles at approximately 135 degrees.”

There are two major flaws with Keegan’s research, however. First, he only studied 4 individuals and second, a normal sitting position does not involve lying on one’s side.

Don’t Sit up Straight!

In November, 2006, Dr. Waseem Bashir and a team of researchers confirmed Keegan’s findings. Bashir led a study, conducted at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland, to define the optimal sitting posture by investigating changes in the lower back contours and spinal disc shape using whole-body positional MRI.

The new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner allowed each of the 22 subjects to sit up, simulating three seated postures, while evaluating the lumbar spine and surrounding muscles, nerves, tissues and ligaments for any signs of degeneration or injury.

The study concluded the best seated posture is the open angle (135 degree) trunk-thigh posture. Of the three seated positions, this appears to cause the least strain on the lumbar spine. The worst seated posture is the forward bending position, like hunching over a desk. This is followed closely by the 90 degree posture with a straight back and legs parallel to the floor.

Alterations of Lumbosacral Curvature and Intervertebral Disc Morphology

On top of workplace fatigue and decreased productivity, a well known relationship exists between seating posture and back pain. In a healthy spine, there are three natural curves: the cervical, which curves inwards at the neck; the thoracic, the curve outwards in the middle; and the lumbar, the inward curve in the low back. When the lower back curves in too far lumbar lordosis occurs. This condition puts pressure on the entire back and can lead to pain and restricted movement.

Bashir’s research found the intervertebral disc height showed a tendency to decrease the more the subject bent forward, with the two lowest spinal disc levels showing the greatest loss of disc height. The nucleus pulposus, or inner gel of the spinal disc, was seen to move the most at all spinal disc levels when bent forward. The least amount of spinal disc movement occurred when the subject sat in the 135 degree posture, which means less strain is placed on the discs and lower back when sitting in this open position.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, nearly everyone has low back pain sometime in their lives and men and women are equally affected. It occurs most often between the ages of 30 and 50, due in part to the aging process but also as a result of sedentary life styles with too little exercise.

We live in a culture where it's common to have back pain and sitting can aggravate a low back condition. Lifting, bending, twisting, it all adds up and experts stress maintaining ergonomic habits at home, as well as at work. So, to combat low back pain, many experts suggest finding a chair that can be adjusted to open up the hip angle. A seat that tilts forward also encourages this natural posture.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How to Treat Car Accident Back Pain

It is typical to experience back pain after even a mild car accident. A rear end collision where both cars were going under ten miles an hour can result in whiplash injury symptoms. A well positioned headrest will decrease the acceleration – deceleration movement of a whiplash, but cannot prevent trauma to the soft tissues of the neck. When a driver sees the impact coming, tensing up the entire body is a reflex, and this can lead to muscle spasms of the hip area, low back, mid and upper back, shoulder area and of course, neck.

The cranial muscles as well can tense reactively, contributing to post traumatic headaches.

It is a miserable experience. While it rarely leads to severe injury, a whiplash injury can still take weeks to completely heal.

Scar tissue forms within twenty four hours, so it is best to see a chiropractor right away, the same day if possible.

A chiropractor knows how to treat car accident back pain, yet it is astonishing that many people do not know this.

A chiropractor does a great deal more than “crack your back”. In fact, after an automobile accident, a chiropractor will probably treat you several times without even trying to perform an adjustment of spinal mis-alignments.

Your soft tissues – muscles, tendons and ligaments, will be sprained and strained. In a severe situation, there may even be tears.

These soft tissues can be treated with ultrasound therapy, electrical muscle stimulation, gentle manual stretching, and ice packs.

Expect to put some time into seeing your chiropractor to heal properly. Remember that lost wages and time to go to the doctor are reimbursed through auto insurance policies.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care

There are many benefits of chiropractic care. If you are considering seeking out this type of treatment, there are many reasons why it can and should be done. Those that find themselves with problems with their body often do not realize that chiropractic care can often relieve these problems when other medicinal options will not. Often times, it is necessary to seek out the help of a chiropractor if relief will be found.

What Can They Do For Me?

There are many physical benefits to chiropractic care. Here are just a few of the things that can be made better in your life through chiropractic care.

· Decreased arthritis and pain in joints that have arthritis. · Pain relief from all areas of the body, virtually. · Reduction of pain in the back, legs, feet and knees through the relief of spinal pressure · Less stiffness in the areas that are treated · Less muscle spasms throughout the region · You will be able to move better and more if you were restricted to begin with. · Range of motion will increase. · You have better coordination from taking that step to throwing that baseball. · You have increased energy, self esteem and you just overall feel better

There are additional benefits of chiropractic care as well. When you realign the body as it should be, you relieve pressure throughout it. This often allows you body to begin to heal as it should again. For example, it can help your joints to heal, your tissues to heal and your pains to leave.

Some relief through chiropractic care is actually immediate. Often times, when you lay on a chiropractic table and the doctor works his magic you will get up feeling better. This is due to the fact that the doctor has the ability to realign joints and limbs that are not right now. That means that when he puts them back into place he can and he will provide you with a lot of immediate relief.

Other times, a chiropractic care treatment can leave you a bit sore and aching. This is due to the very same reasons. Consider the fact that your body has been out of line for so long that it is going to feel different and it may hurt a bit to fix it. Although your doctor will tell you what to expect from the chiropractic care treatment, it is a sure thing that benefits are likely if you need them.

Ideally, everyone should seek out a doctor for this type of treatment. Yet, this is not always the case. The benefits of chiropractic care should push more people into doing it because it can be so overwhelmingly beneficial to your body and your mind's well being.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Spinal Decompression Instead of Surgery for Relieving Back Pain

While back surgery is often recommended for people suffering from severe instances of back pain, there are far too many people whose surgery fails to bring them lasting relief from discomfort. This not altogether rare occurrence is referred to as failed back surgery syndrome. For people who were suffering with herniated discs, sciatica, or other injuries to their spines, a failure of surgery to produce long-term relief from pain can be very difficult to deal with.

Unfortunately, herniated discs are not easy to repair, and surgery may not result in as positive outcome for patients. Back surgery can also cause complications with the bad disc or new discs. As well, back injuries themselves can last far longer than the 6-12 weeks that make up many disability and rehabilitation guidelines. A severe injury of a disc or other tissues of the lower back — especially ligaments — can take years to recover from until the pain is finally gone or significantly reduced.

When surgery fails, patients are often recommended a number of movements to practice, exercises to complete, physical therapists to consult with, and other pain management protocols. Typically, if back surgery fails to facilitate healing from an injury, a second surgical procedure is not done. If the original procedure was not successful, less invasive treatments are used in the hopes of addressing different but related issues causing or exacerbating the pain.

For some patients, though, spinal decompression should be considered as a treatment for lower back pain. This is an alternative form of back injury treatment and works on the discs and vertebrae of the spine to reduce compressive loads on the tissues. A machine, the DRX9000, is used to decompress the tissues through the use of traction. As the joints are decompressed, circulation of oxygen and nutrients are able to reach the injured tissues and begin the healing process in the body. There is often less circulation to the discs and ligaments of the spine, so a procedure like spinal decompression that helps to drive nutrients to the injured areas can help promote healing.