Chronic Spinal Pain and Chiropractic. Significant Results.

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.

THE SOMETIMES UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF CHIROPRACTIC CARE

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.

Yoga for Neck and Upper Back Pain

Many people today live a very complex but inactive lifestyle due in part to long working hours, lack of outdoor activity, and repetitive, tedious occupations. This can lead to numerous health problems including neck and upper back pain. Factory workers that do repetitive reaching or heavy lifting, computer operators that sit bent over their computers for extended lengths of time or tollbooth operators that stand and lean, handing out tickets and collecting money all day, along with people in thousands of other jobs are prime candidates for neck and upper back pain. Stay at home people that carry a baby on their hip for hours, hunching over playing video games, sitting in bed reading, playing golf, or just lazing around continuously can also result in neck and upper back pain. The neck, shoulders, and upper back are common areas affected by too much emotional and mental stress. In other words, putting excess strain on your neck and back, practicing poor posture, stress, or not using your upper back and neck muscles enough can all lead to neck and upper back pain.

The good news is that there are numerous ways to help and prevent neck and upper back pain. Developing sensible work habits, reducing stress, practicing healthy posture, finding good physical balance, and living a healthy lifestyle helps relieve and prevent neck and upper back pain. Some of the traditional treatment methods used to reduce pain is chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, massage, and exercise, including several types of stretching exercises.

People have practiced yoga all over the world for centuries to promote mental and physical well being. Although it took a while, yoga has become very popular in the United States today, although westerners do not practice the spiritual components of yoga as often. It is the breathing exercises and physical poses that more and more Americans are turning to and usually finding relief from neck and upper back pain. The results from using yoga regularly to relieve physical pain, reduce stress, increase strength, and improve flexibility is amazing. Some yoga poses may require modification depending upon your back pain.

Some causes of neck and upper back pain could be more serious than poor posture, muscle tension, and strain, so if it is a recurring or persistent pain, make an appointment with your physician. The condition and reasons for neck and upper back pain problems vary and the cause usually determines the treatment. You should always talk to your doctor before starting any type of yoga or exercise routine if you have any known health problems.

Some of the Best Methods for Upper Back Pain Treatment

Upper back pain can strike any one of us at any time. Although it can be caused by a few different things such as ligament problems, in most cases, it’s caused by a muscle being pulled, stretched or strained. Possible causes of upper back pain may be overuse of certain muscles, lack of strength, or trauma as one would receive in a car or sports accident. Upper back pain treatment will usually revolve around helping the muscles once again relaxed. Upper back pain will usually show up as a pain in or near the shoulder blade as well as movement restrictions.

Upper back pain is also referred as thoracic pain or middle back pain. It is called ‘thoracic’ because it’s thoracic spine, which is located in that area. Upper back pain is also felt between the lumbar spine and the bottom of the neck. Massage is often used as an upper back pain treatment and will sometimes give relief quickly. However, if the problem is not in the muscles, medical treatment should be given to determine if there is a more serious problem.

For muscular problems in the upper back, exercise and light physical therapy often are helpful as upper back pain treatment. At the onset of the problem, ice is stilled the recommended upper back pain treatment to avoid swelling and inflammation. Many people choose to see a chiropractor for treatments. Although there are still many that don’t believe in chiropractic manipulation, many people have been helped by their services. Pain medications are often used as part of the upper back pain treatment, although they are never used by themselves. They are recommended to be taken along with physical therapy or exercise.

If there is one specific area or spot, that is tender and painful, trigger point injections or massages are also a method of upper back pain treatment. Many doctors like this method because the medication is going to just the painful area and not throughout the entire body.

Occasionally, upper back pain is caused by the joints connecting the ribs and the vertebrae. In this case, the upper back pain treatment is chiropractic treatments, physical therapy and pain medications. A lot of this will depend on the severity of the pain.

Other causes of upper back pain may be herniated spinal disc, degenerative disc or fractured vertebrae. Fractured vertebra is quite common in women over the age of 50 due to osteoporosis. In these cases, medical treatment will be necessary to get prompt relief before further damage takes place.

Online Sports Physical Therapy Jobs

One of the biggest advantages of being trained for one of the sports physical therapy jobs that there is virtually a limitless supply of options open to you. Especially if you added a specialty to your degree, all kinds of medical offices and hospitals could easily use your services. It may not be so much as where to find a job, but deciding which type of environment you wish to work in. It’s pretty common to find sports physical therapy jobs in hospitals. The thing is the hospitals often have several departments that need your type of experience. You could find yourself in the orthopedic wing, or in the geriatric department. Even pediatrics could have a need for someone with your specialized education.

Take a look at some of the other venues where your special talents could be put to use. Many therapists tired of the daily grind in a hospital choose to share their abilities and set up shop with a chiropractic partner. The two fields of study tend to work very well together. Another place to look for sports physical therapy jobs if the hospital scene isn’t for you is a nursing home or rehabilitation center. Other options include outpatient clinics, school systems for their athletic teams, and home health care agencies. All would give you the opportunity to put your knowledge to work for the benefit of your patients.

The fastest and one of the most reliable ways to track down the sports physical therapy jobs in your area is online. You have likely already heard of monster.com and careerbuilder.com, but you could save yourself the bother of an individualized search by visiting some of the websites set up specifically for sports physical therapists. Take alltherapyjobs.com for example. This site is set up to allow the user to search for jobs according to specialty. It also has a function for you to add your resume to the list for potential employees to explore at their leisure. In order to search for sports physical therapy jobs by state the place to go is rehabworld.com. As mentioned the jobs are listed according to state, so that is a valuable time saving tool. It also lists the prospective employers contact information, so you don’t have to go through the website if you prefer not to.

With your education and experience knowing where to find sports physical therapy jobs is the hardest part of your job search. There are several other websites for finding physical therapy jobs, but those will at least get you pointed in the right direction.

Searching online for sports physical therapy jobs can yield faster results than the traditional methods. It gives you a chance to what is available and allows you the opportunity to pick what type of environment you prefer to work in.

THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST SCOLIOSIS: CHIROPRACTIC CARE

Scoliosis can be a painful, scary and seemingly hopeless health condition to endure. It’s not entirely uncommon for scoliosis to cause partial paralysis and back surgery has a relatively low success rate in comparison to what surgery can do for other parts of the body. While chiropractic care is no guaranteed cure for every case of scoliosis, it can do a lot of good and should be the first line of defense.

If detected early in its development, the chances of controlling the problem are very good. Some sufferers who identified and addressed their scoliosis in the early stages have reported the scoliosis being cured completely after less than a year of regular chiropractic treatment and therapy. The signs of scoliosis can include a ‘rib hump’, caused by protruding ribs thanks to an uneven spine, or shoulders that aren’t level. Many scoliosis clinics are conducted free of charge, so if scoliosis is suspected, there’s no excuse to not get a professional diagnosis as soon as possible.

The alternatives to chiropractic care as a counter-scoliosis measure include spinal fusion or the Milwaukee Brace. The brace is uncomfortable and does nothing to correct the curves, it merely stabilizes the patient. The brace also limits mobility, so it’s seen as more of a temporary fix than any kind of permanent solution. Spinal fusion surgery is the very last resort. Spinal fusion is an uncomfortable process involving taking splinters from other bones on the patient’s body, or a donor’s bones and applying them between vertebrae so that the two vertebrae eventually grow into a single bone. For obvious reasons, if successful, spinal fusion will demand drastic changes in the patient’s lifestyle and may be nearly as immobilizing as the scoliosis itself. Surgery will also have to be accompanied by medicine and intensive therapy. If unsuccessful, it may cause intense pain or paralysis.

Chiropractic care, on the other hand, has shown to cause at least some significant improvement and curve reduction in about 70% of scoliosis sufferers and it has been shown to completely cure about 15% of them. That means that fifteen out of one hundred scoliosis sufferers may be able to rid themselves of the problem in less than a year’s time thanks to chiropractic care and seven out of ten will at least see their condition improve to the point where they won’t have to worry about expensive, time consuming surgery and the risks involved. These latter sufferers may not be completely rid of their scoliosis, but thanks to chiropractic care, will at least find the condition becoming somewhat manageable.