Most people are aware that nonspecific anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, ibuprofen, Tylenol, or aspirin can, at times, be effective for general overall aches and pains. But what if pain is long-lasting? Is it good for a person to take Advil for long periods of time?
What if the pain lasts for 5 to 10 years? Sure, Advil has very little side effects when taken only for a week. But, what are the effects cumulatively after taking it for long periods of time? Is there a better answer?
As an evidence-based chiropractor, such as myself, I believe there are more effective answers. The research suggests that I am right. Take for example, if you were to go the traditional medical route for a musculoskeletal condition, what sort of treatment would you receive?
More than likely you would get muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, or pain pills. If the complaint were deemed serious enough, you may have the can kicked down to the physical therapist. But if the medical community is being honest with itself, they should admit that their training for general practitioners for musculoskeletal conditions could be better. They have no good solid answers for musculoskeletal complaints. Let’s be honest and fair too; they have a lot of big fish to fry such as internal medicine in general, gallbladder issues, different kinds of cancers, pneumonia, and a whole slew of medical conditions that can be much more pressing than a person’s sore back.
That is in no way taking away from the person with back pain. So please don’t misunderstand. I am simply trying to put things into proper perspective.
I like to highlight, in my articles, the fact that there are several randomized controlled trials having to do with the effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation and mobilization. This is a brief synopsis of one of those research papers. This one in particular highlights the effectiveness of chiropractic when treating chronic spinal pain.
I have broken this article up into four categories that make it extremely easy to follow along, to read, and to comprehend. I find that this format is much more effective when the reader relays the information to a friend or family member. I have also included the research citation and link information so that the reader is better able to visit the research paper and educate themselves further if they so choose.
Why They Did It
The authors wanted to test and compare effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation in chronic spinal pain complaints. They used several different protocols including needle acupuncture, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and/or chiropractic manipulation.
How The Did It
- 77 patients randomly assigned to receive one of the treatment protocols
- 30 days of treatments
- Symptoms and changes were assessed through Outcome Assessment questionnaires (Oswestry Back Pain Disability Index, Neck Disability Index, and VAS scales).
What They Found
- After 30 days, spinal manipulation was the only intervention to achieve statistically significant improvement. Wow! Of course, we knew that would be the case but it’s always good to have it confirmed.
- Chiropractic care = 30.7% reduction in Oswestry scores, 25% reduction in neck disability scores.
- VAS scores were 50% less for low back pain, 46% less for upper back pain, and 33% less for neck pain.
Wrap UpChiropractic is the treatment of choice in chronic spinal pain (low back, upper back, neck pain). Especially in regards to acupuncture and anti-inflammatory medication.
The research was highlighted in an article by Dynamic Chiropractic, Vol. 33, Number 5.
Citation:Giles LG, Muller R. Chronic spinal pain syndromes: a clinical pilot trial comparing acupuncture, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and spinal manipulation.Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, July/August 1999:22(6), pp376-81.
It may occur in your lifetime that you require the services of physical therapists for any number of reasons. And while you may believe that you can perform the necessary functions required for recovery of whatever ailment or condition that you have been diagnosed with, the simple fact is that if you are directed to seek out the services of a rehabilitation specialist, it is necessary to use a physical therapist. If the question; ‘Why should I use physical therapy’ remains, there are a few simple facts to answer that.
Physical therapy is concerned with the rehabilitation and restoration of mobility and function of a patient. The therapist focuses on any number of conditions and their impact upon the body. The age range of patients is from young children to the elderly. The only requirement is that the patient is in need and can benefit from physical therapy. Before beginning any treatment, the therapist will perform a full assessment of the patient to determine the exact cause and area of the discomfort or problem. The physical therapists will help patients with post-operative pain and stiffness as well as arthritis, loss of limb and even back pain. If you suffer from any of these, or the wide variety of other symptoms that can be treated by physical therapy, you will find that attending sessions will greatly improve the quality of life that you enjoy.
Physical therapy employs many techniques and even the seemingly simple ones can improve the health of the patient. Massage techniques have been around for ages and its benefits are well known. Working on muscle tension will improve the range of motion of those muscles. If your back is stiff, this would mean being able to bend down further to pick up objects or to stretch over a greater distance. After operations, massages can release pain and stiffness and reduce myofascial adhesions. This is just one answer to that nagging question: “Why should I use physical therapy”
Another reason is the restoration of joint mobilization. Often times, pain and stiffness is caused by joint restriction and it is important to focus on the problem in order to restore movement and release pain and discomfort. The physical therapist will use various techniques to return the use of the joints. Using speed and distance will increase the motion of the joint. “Why should I use physical therapy for this?” you may ask. If the pain is too much or if the joints require special attention and care, you may not be able to or willing to perform the needed actions. The physical therapist can achieve this goal easily. This may involve rubbing bone surface onto each other which will not be painful when performed correctly by the therapist.
Education of the patient in proper exercise techniques is another reason to use physical therapy. “Why should I use physical therapy to teach me how to exercise? I know how!” You might think you know how but unless you are certain, then you may not be exercising properly. Physical therapists encounter individuals who swear they know the proper exercising techniques when in reality they are either doing more harm than good or their actions are completely ineffective. The physical therapists will take you step by step over the appropriate exercises for your condition and make certain that you are capable of performing them in the correct manner once you leave the office. This way, the rehabilitation process will be shortened and no further injury will be encountered.
There are any number of answers to that question; “Why should I use physical therapy”. It comes down to how much you value mobility and health. With the aide of physical therapists, you can reduce recovery time, heal properly, and improve your body’s functions and capabilities.
A large percentage of the population today suffers from back pain of some sort. Almost everyone will suffer back pain at some time in their life. Our back is made up of vertebrae, joints, disc, muscles and ligaments. Each on of these parts have a role to do in our. If we injury one or more of these parts, we feel pain and will need some sort of back pain treatment. Often our muscles or ligaments get sprained or strained from improper movement, sudden movement or even over use. The discs in our back can also get sprained, which may cause them to swell and rub against a nerve. Any of these situations may cause severe pain.
The type of back pain treatment we get for back pain depends on the amount of discomfort we’re in and the severity of the pain. Acute sudden pain or low back pain will often require bed rest the first day as well as ice for the first three days. A sudden onset of pain is usually the result of a fall, car accident or some sort of trauma. You may also feel like your back popped out of joint or snapped. Medical research has determined that after the first few days, part of your back pain treatment should to be as active as normal.
For chronic back pain that comes on slowly or lasts for months and i more of a dull pain, the back pain treatment that is usually recommended is heat and if that fails to work, then ice. It’s important to remember to use ice for acute back pain and heat for chronic back pain.
If you have been seeing a doctor for two weeks and have not seen improvement, a physical therapist will be recommended as part of your back pain treatment. Often your doctor will give you a prescription to see a physical therapist, but you may also choose to go on your own. The type of back pain treatment you have is ultimately your decision. The physical therapist will do an evaluation at your first visit to determine your history as well as the location and type of back pain you are experiencing.
The back pain treatment the therapist gives you will vary on the pain, but may include the use of ice, heat, relaxation stretches, massage and possibly ultrasound and electric stimulation. You will also be given a list of things to do at home such as specific exercises and a list of things to avoid doing.
How you sit on a chair or lay in bed will affect your back. Your therapist will show you the best way to sit, bend or lay down. You may have to learn correct methods to prevent further back problems.
Everyone has at least a rough idea of what a chiropractor does (ask most people and they’ll at least say ‘that’s a bone doctor, right?’) and so, the benefits of chiropractic care are sometimes obvious. There’s no doubt that someone with an injured knee will, more often than not, find their condition improving after sufficient treatment and therapy are given by a professional in the field of chiropractic care. The benefits of chiropractic care go a little deeper than that, though. A person in need of chiropractic attention might not just be someone with an obvious physical injury, aching joints or a misaligned spine, there are also potential benefits for seemingly unrelated conditions and ailments such as poor eyesight or gastrointestinal maladies.
Many chiropractic professionals find themselves in the fortunate position of telling a surprised or even worried patient that yes, it is normal to experience certain changes that one might not list as being one of the benefits of chiropractic care. In the late 1990s, a study was conducted and reported in The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Interviewers each surveyed twenty consecutive patients who had just received treatment from 87 Swedish chiropractic professionals. Of the 1,504 patients, 26% were finding it easier to breath, 25% felt their gastrointestinal system had improved, 14% found their eyesight improving and 14% claimed improvements in blood flow and heart rate.
For the uninitiated, the results seemed to have been merely perceived by the patients, something of a placebo effect, but chiropractic professionals were left unsurprised. The benefits of chiropractic care are felt first by the nervous system and musculoskeletal system, including the spine, so it stands to reason that, once the body’s main network is set to function properly, it’s only natural that other areas will follow suit, as every piece of the human body relies on a healthy spine and nervous system.
This is not to say that the benefits of chiropractic care are omnipotent, of course. We all know that every field of medicine and therapy has its limits, and a capable professional will know these limits and recommend a patient to another professional with the right qualifications should their needs be beyond what chiropractic care can provide for. Still, the fact that some patients will come out of their first chiropractic session and enthusiastically (and sometimes wrongly) recommend every one of their friends, regardless of the ailment, to their chiropractor, should serve as evidence of just how far the benefits of chiropractic care can reach. Chiropractic care is not ‘The Answer’, but it is surprisingly effective for areas of the body reaching well beyond the back and joints.
Anyone that has ever had the unpleasant experience of having a muscle spasm knows how painful it is and a neck muscle spasm is no different. A neck muscle spasm is an involuntary tight muscle contraction that causes a person to experience severe neck pain. There are many causes and treatments for severe neck pain.
Severe neck pain is often the result of strained neck muscles caused by things such as intense exercises, degenerative changes from repetitive movements and trauma. The cervical spine, unlike the rest of your spine, only has a small amount of ligaments and muscles for protection. Conditions that have an adverse affect on the muscles and tendons often cause severe neck pain. If the joints narrow between the neck bones, caused by immune system attack, prolonged wear and tear or trauma, then the vertebrae in the neck grind together, creating stress and pressure on localized tendons, muscles, and nerves. This often causes severe neck pain and other symptoms such as arm, shoulder, and hand pain.
Some of several symptoms of severe neck pain include rupture of a disk or muscular strain from trauma. Many neck pain symptoms, unlike severe neck pain, develop slowly. Some people experience neck tenderness or stiffness in the morning or after watching television, reading, or working on their computer. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause the body’s immune system or natural defenses to attack a person’s joints and bones. Over time, the rheumatoid arthritis destroys body and neck joints causing stiffness and severe pain to the neck and other parts of the body. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease commonly affecting people over forty, can involve not only the neck joint but also other body joints. Neurological diseases such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease can cause stiffness or weakness of the neck muscles resulting in strain on the necks structures and muscles, resulting in severe neck pain.
Treatment for severe neck pain or chronic neck pain can vary depending upon the case. Some people find acupressure and acupuncture helps the muscles relax, which reduces their neck pain. For severe neck pain, doctors sometimes recommend strong anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and painkillers. Anti-inflammatory drugs taken orally or by injection are usually only recommended in severe neck pain cases because serious side effects, such as infections, bone thinning, and internal bleeding can occur. Some doctors may recommend an over-the-counter drug that has few side effects but often reduce stiffness and discomfort for people suffering from mild neck pain. Never take any medication or start a neck exercise program without talking to your doctor first.
Chronic back pain is something that affects thousands of people each year, with many of them unable to get much relief, if any, from the pain. If you’re one of these many sufferers, you’re probably sick of chronic back pain and will do almost anything to get rid of it.
Anyone that has chronic back pain can tell you it can come from any number of causes. You may have pulled something in your back by lifting something heavy. It can be a result of an accident or it can develop from changes to the spine that comes with age. It may be a sharp pain that comes on suddenly and doesn’t go away or it may come on slowly gradually getting worse. When it doesn’t go away for 3 or more months, it is called chronic back pain as opposed to acute back pain, which comes and goes. The one thing all sufferers have in common is that after awhile they all get sick of chronic back pain affecting their daily lives.
Most people that develop chronic back pain will tolerate it for so long taking over the counter medications, using heating pads or just resting. After a period of time goes by with no relief, they usually discover they’ve had enough and are sick of chronic back pain and see a doctor. Unfortunately, many don’t go see a doctor for back pain because they don’t think it’s serious and try to wait it out. Often, by time they get to the point where they’re sick of chronic back pain ruling their lives, they have more serious damage then what they would have had if they’d seen a doctor much sooner.
Another thing chronic back pain sufferers tend to do is talk with friends that have suffered from the same kind of pain and do what their friends say they did to treat the pain when they got sick of chronic back pain. In some cases this helps, but many times it does more harm then good because no two people are the same. Symptoms that may seem similar to two different individuals can actually turn out to be very different. Many people also give prescription medication to others that they may have leftover from when they were hurt. This is a very unwise thing to do. Medication is prescribed for one individual and one individual only and may cause harm to another person.
If you are one of the unfortunate individuals that are sick of chronic back pain and have tried everything else, seek help from your doctor. It may be something that can be easily fixed or the start of something serious. If it is serious, the sooner you begin treatment, the better your prognosis.