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Chiropractic and Exercise is Perfect Combination for Back Pain Treatment

An estimated 60-80% of people will suffer from low-back pain at least once in their lifetime. However, the treatment of chronic lower back pain is complex, and the outcome remains unpredictable. Doctors are advised to recommend that patients follow a program of active exercise to alleviate their symptoms. However, patients may be reluctant to do so because of their pain.

A recent study compared the effects of chiropractic treatment followed by exercise versus a placebo or 'sham' treatment followed by the same exercise. The researchers hypothesize that chiropractic adjustments – which are believed to induce an immediate analgesic effect – may enhance the benefits of exercise for patients with lower back pain.

The study involved patients with chronic, non-specific lower back pain. The first group received spinal adjustments plus active exercise therapy. The second group received a detuned ultrasound 'sham' treatment followed by active exercise. Both groups underwent eight treatment sessions over 4 to 8 weeks.

The analgesic effect of spinal adjustments were measured by evaluating pain intensity both before and immediately after each therapeutic session. Periodically, researchers also evaluated participants' disability, fear-avoidance beliefs, and erector spinae and abdominal muscle endurance (measured with Sorensen and Shirado tests).

The participants who received spinal adjustments experienced a better immediate analgesic effect, along with lower disability and a trend toward lower pain levels. The researchers concluded that manual therapy, immediately followed by active exercise, tends to induce a more significant decrease in pain reduction in patients with chronic lower back pain. These results confirm that chiropractic is an appropriate treatment for chronic low-back pain.

While exercise has long been a crucial component of chiropractic care, this study provides further evidence of the efficacy of combining exercise with chiropractic adjustments for relieving chronic pain.

Reference

Balthazard P, et al. Manual therapy followed by specific active exercises versus a placebo followed by specific active exercises on the improvement of functional disability in patients with chronic non specific low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012; 13: 162. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-162.

 

Chiropractic for Kids

More and more children are receiving chiropractic care and there's a good reason why: chiropractic provides safe, natural treatment for a number of conditions while promoting wellness.

Multiple studies point to the safety of chiropractic for kids. In a 2012 survey of European chiropractors, fewer than 1% of children experienced side effects from chiropractic treatments, and those side effects were all mild,1 This confirms the results of three other studies in which no serious side effects were reported in pediatric patients receiving chiropractic treatment.

Research suggests that chiropractic can safely relieve musculoskeletal pain in children. In a 2003 study, 62% of pediatric patients had substantial reductions in back pain after receiving chiropractic adjustments.3 Treatment of musculoskeletal conditions continues to be the number one reason why children receive chiropractic care.

But chiropractic does more than treat conditions, it can help children improve their health through wellness care. In a 2009 survey, one of the primary reasons why parents took their child to see a chiropractor was for wellness care.4

Current research shows that chiropractic can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones, release endorphins, and boost the immune system.

Whether you're hoping to ease your child's pain or improve their health, chiropractic can help.

 

References

1. Marchland A. Chiropractic care of children from birth to adolescence and classification of reported conditions: an Internet cross-sectional survey of 956 European chiropractors. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2012; 35 (5):372-380.

2. Humpheys BK. Possible adverse events in children treated by manual therapy: a review. Chiropr Osteopat. 2010;18: doi:  10.1186/1746-1340-18-12.

3. Hayden Ja, Mior SA, Verhoef MJ. Evaluation of chiropractic management of pediatric patients with low back pain: a prospective cohort study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 ;26(1):1-8.

4. Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore NY 2009; 5(5): 290-5.

 

College Football Players Improve Athletic Performance with Manual Therapy

Manual Therapy and Athletes

New research suggests that improved athletic performance could be among the benefits of manual therapy. A recent study sought to gain increased understanding about the potential benefits of spinal adjustments in college football players.

Research Summary

The research involved 115 football players at Virginia Tech who were provided with a total of 1,976 osteopathic manipulative treatments over the course of two football seasons. The players received adjustments in the cervical, lumbar, thoracic, and sacral sections of the spine. After each game, the players’ performance was graded by their coaches.

Performance Improvements

Both offensive and defensive players showed improved performance following pre-competition manipulative treatments. While the association was relatively small, and not considered statistically significant, the positive correlation suggests that regular spinal adjustments could help athletes’ long-term performance.

Chiropractic and Athletic Performance

Preliminary results from the study were recently published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association. A similar study, published earlier this year, showed that regular chiropractic treatments improved the performance of professional judo athletes.

Reference

Brolinson PG, et al. Precompetition manipulative treatment and performance among virginia tech athletes during 2 consecutive football seasons: a preliminary, retrospective report. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 2012: 112(9):607-15.

 

Headaches Might Be Caused by Neck Dysfunction

​Do you ever experience neck stiffness or pain with your headaches? Recent research suggests that neck and head pain are more related than you think.

One study examined whether headaches and cervical spine impairment were linked in patients with head pain. Of the patients evaluated, 90% had cervicogenic headaches, or headaches linked to neck pain. Furthermore, the severity of patients’ headaches impacted the range of motion in their necks. This study demonstrates the strong relationship between cervical spine (neck) impairment and cervicogenic headaches.

Visit a chiropractor in your area to determine whether your headaches are related to impairment and pain in your neck.

Hall TM, Briffa K, Hopper D, Robinson KW. The relationship between cervicogenic headache and impairment determined by the flexion-rotation test. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy. 2010 Nov-Dec; 33(9):666-71.

 

Chiropractic Reduces Stress, Boosts Wellness

It’s well-known that chiropractic is effective for a variety of pain conditions, but over the last few years, more and more studies have found that chiropractic can also help us improve our overall health. Some of these recent studies have shown that chiropractic can alter immune function, affect heart rate, and even reduce blood pressure. A 2011 study from Japan suggests that chiropractic may have an even bigger impact on your body than you think.

Stress is an incredibly important indicator of health, and if there's one thing that will kick your immune system into overdrive, it's chronic spinal pain. Scientists in Japan sought to see whether chiropractic could alter stress levels in 12 men and women with neck pain. To understand how chiropractic impacts anxious emotions, you could ask patients to report their changing moods before and after treatment. But scientists in Japan wanted to get a more objective picture of how chiropractic adjustments impact the nervous system, so they use PET scans to monitor  brain activity and salvia samples to track hormone changes.

After receiving a chiropractic neck adjustment, patients had altered brain activity in the parts of the brain responsible for pain processing and stress reactions. They also had significantly reduced  cortisol levels, indicating decreased stress. Participants also reported lower pain scores and a better quality of life after treatment.

The findings suggests that chiropractic adjustments affect how our body interprets and copes with pain, which could enhance its response to disease and injury. As scientists learn more about the human body and the role of the nervous system, it’s clear that chiropractic can play a powerful role in promoting true wellness, rather than just symptom relief.

Reference

Ogura, Takeshi and Manabu Tashiro, Mehedi,Shoichi Watanuki, Katsuhiko Shibuya, Keiichiro Yamaguchi, Masatoshi Itoh, Hiroshi Fukuda, Kazuhiko Yanai. Cerebral metabolic changes in men after chiropractic spinal manipulation for neck pain. Alternative Therapies. 2011, November/December; 17 (6): 12-17.

 

A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping stone to the optimist.
Eleanor Roosevelt
 

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Relieved by Chiropractic

Back surgery isn't a magic bullet for relief: studies show that up to 40% of patients continue to suffer from back pain despite having had surgery. Many of these patients are told they need another surgery, but the success rate for second surgeries is even lower.

That was the case for one construction worker in a recent case study who suffered from lumbar disc herniation after failed back surgery. As a manager of his family business, he couldn't take time of work to recover from another surgery, so opted for chiropractic. After 12 weeks of chiropractic care, the man's pain scores went from a 10 out of 10 to a 3 out of 10, and his disability scores dropped by 32%. Nine visits later, he continued to experience no flare-ups in pain.

This case study adds to earlier research showing that patients do not need to resort to revision surgery. Chiropractic can get to the source of back pain to get you back to work sooner.

 

References

De Andres J, et al. Patient satisfaction with spinal cord stimulation for failed back surgery syndrome [Article in Spanish.] Revista Española Anestesiolgía y reanimación 2007; 54 (1): 17-22.

Morningstar MW, et al. Manipulation under anesthesia for patients with failed back surgery: retrospective report of 3 cases with 1-year follow-up. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2012; 11 (1): 20-35.

Welk, AB. Conservative management of recurrent lumbar disc herniation with epidural fibrosis: a case report. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2012; 11: 249-253.

 

Magnesium Supplements Ease Back Pain

Adding more rice, seeds, and oats to your diet just might make a difference in your back-pain treatment. That's because new research shows that magnesium commonly found in those foods may reduce back pain.

Researchers from Egypt tested the effects of magnesium supplementation in 80 patients with back pain. Throughout the study, all the patients continued their normal treatment which included physical therapy, pain medication, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.Half of patients received magnesium supplementation delivered through  an IV for two weeks, followed by four weeks of taking magnesium capsules. The other half of patients were given placebo IVs and capsules.

After four weeks, the magnesium patients had significantly better improvements compared to the placebo group. By the six month follow-up visit, their average pain intensity had decreased from a 7.5 on a scale of 10 to a 4.7. This reduced pain was accompanied by better range of motion in the spine. The researchers concluded that magnesium IV followed by four weeks of oral magnesium supplements can reduce pain and improve lumbar spine mobility in back-pain patients.

Recent research also suggests that magnesium can reduce symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia, back pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions frequently experience central sensitization. This process occurs when the central nervous system is overstimulated, causing widespread pain and additional symptoms. Current research suggests that magnesium may block a key receptor involved in central sensitization, which could explain why the patients taking magnesium had better treatment outcomes.

Although more studies are needed, the findings suggest that magnesium supplements could play a role in successfully treating back pain.

Reference

Yousef AA and Al-deeb AE. A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Anaesthesia 2013;68(3):260-6. doi: 10.1111/anae.12107.

 

Chiropractic Patients Have Lower Medical Costs

Let's face it: cost is an important factor when we're considering our health-care options. We want quality care that works without racking up unnecessary medical bills.

A growing body of research shows that chiropractic is both effective and less expensive than more invasive medical treatments.

In a recent study, researchers analyzed the medical spending of over 12,000 adults with spine conditions. They discovered that people who use alternative therapies have lower annual health-care costs compared to patients receiving traditional treatments.

Chiropractic care contributed significantly to reduced costs since chiropractic accounted for 75% of alternative therapy use.

Earlier research has found that chiropractic prevented recurring disability in patients with back pain which could help to minimize medical spending.

Studies have also suggested that chiropractic cuts costs for patients by helping them avoid unnecessary procedures, tests, surgeries, and expensive drugs.

Instead, chiropractors work to harness the body's innate healing capabilities with a combination of  natural, effective modalities.

References

1. Martins B, et al. The association of complementary and alternative medicine use and health care expenditures for back and neck problems. Medical Care 2012; 50 (12): 1029-1036. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318269e0b2.

2. Cifuentes M, Willetts J, Wasiak R. Health maintenance care in work-related low back pain and its association with disability recurrence. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011; 53(4): 396-404. 

 

Do Active Women Experience Less Pain?

Higher Pain Tolerance

Active women may have a higher pain tolerance than inactive peers. A new study found that women who regularly engaged in vigorous activity were less sensitive to pain than inactive women.

Research Study

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital enlisted 21 healthy women to participate in the study. Using self-reported and accelerometer measures of physical activity, they classified women as meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity or not. Women then underwent a procedure involving noxious thermal stimuli and reported their experiences with unpleasantness and pain.

Higher Activity, Less Pain Sensitivity

Active women experienced less pain and unpleasantness than inactive women. The more minutes a participant regularly spent performing vigorous exercise, the less pain intensity and pain unpleasantness she experienced. This significant relationship was not found for moderate activity or sedentary time.

Reducing pain sensitivity could be a major reason why exercise helps to ameliorate symptoms of migraine, fibromyalgia, and back pain.

Reference

Ellingson LD, Colbert LH, Cook DB. Physical activity is related to pain sensitivity in healthy women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012;4 4(7):1401-6.