An Open Letter to our Medical friends.

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In the past year, many trusted medical establishments including the FDA (1), CDC (2), Joint Commission (3,4), JAMA (5), and The American College of Physicians/ Annals of Internal Medicine (6) have encouraged medical providers to prescribe spinal manipulation as a first line treatment for acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain.

Most recently, The Lancet echoed that endorsement, and provided a unique perspective:

The reduced emphasis on pharmacological care recommends nonpharmacological care as the first treatment option and reserves pharmacological care for patients for whom nonpharmacological care has not worked. These guidelines endorse the use of exercise and a range of other non- pharmacological therapies, including massage, spinal manipulation, and acupuncture.

Gaps between evidence and practice exist, with limited use of recommended first- line treatments and inappropriately high use of imaging, rest, opioids, spinal injections, and surgery. Doing more of the same will not reduce back-related disability or its long-term consequences. The advances with the greatest potential are arguably those that align practice with the evidence. (7)

Unfortunately, personal experience skews our perception of each other’s merit, i.e., we primarily see each other’s failures since the successes don’t need to seek additional care. Regardless of our professional degree, we all have failed cases mixed into our many clinical successes. We must not lose sight of the evidence supporting each other’s overwhelming proven value for a given diagnosis. If we judge each other by our successes rather than our failures, we will work toward an integrated model where the patient wins. Together, we will help more patients than either working alone.

We are honored for the opportunity to co-manage your patients.

 

References
1. FDA Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Management or Support of Patients with Pain. May 2017. Accessed on May 12, 2017
2. Dowell D, Haegerich TM, Chou R. CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain- United States, 2016. MMWR Recomm Rep 2016;65(No. RR-1):1–49.
3. The Official Newsletter of The Joint Commission. Joint Commission Enhances Pain Assessment and Management Requirements for Accredited Hospitals. July 2017 Volume 37 Number 7. Ahead of print in
2018 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals.
4. Joint Commission Online. Revision to Pain Management Standards. http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/23/jconline_november_12_14.pdf
5. Paige NM, Miake-Lye IM, Booth MS, et al. Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain; Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2017;317(14):1451-1460.
6. Qaseem A, et al. for the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(7):514-530.
7. Foster, Nadine EBuchbinder, Rachelle et al. Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions. The Lancet, Published Online March 21, 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(18)30489-6

6 Things You Should NOT Do If You Want to Avoid Low Back Pain

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Did you know that 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes? It’s the leading cause of missed workdays and job-related disability. Although it’s incredibly common and potentially debilitating, the good news is that most cases of low back pain originate from mechanical causes, which means they aren’t caused by a disease and can be prevented with healthy habits. If you want to keep your back healthy, take these six tips into consideration.

1. Don’t Slouch.

Poor posture puts a great deal of strain on your back. Be mindful of your posture whether you’re sitting in an office chair at work, driving, or texting on your cell phone. If you’re unsure of what proper posture looks like, watch this video that covers proper sitting posture.

2. Don’t Be A Couch Potato.

People with sedentary lifestyles tend to have more occurrences of back pain. Sitting for prolonged periods of time contributes to many different ailments, including low back pain; so challenge yourself to move your body more often throughout the day. 

3. Don’t Smoke.

Studies show that smoking increases your chance of having low back pain. If you want to quit, SmokeFree.gov can help.

4. Don’t Sleep On Your Stomach.

This position places excessive stress on your spinal joints and muscles. A better option is to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees. This keeps the spine elongated and neutral. View our sleep posture tutorial video here.

5. Don’t Ignore Your Core.

Weak abdominal muscles can contribute to low back pain. If your core is weak, then your back muscles have to work harder to support your movements. This extra work often contributes to strain and injury. We commonly prescribe the Dead Bug, Bird Dog, and Side Bridge exercises to help build core strength. If you have back pain, be sure to check with us before starting.

6.  Don’t Avoid Going To The Doctor.

Treating your back pain symptoms with ice and/or heat is a good self-care option for the short-term, but any back pain that persists longer than two weeks should be examined by a professional. A visit with your chiropractor can help determine the underlying cause and develop the most effective treatment plan to get you back to feeling yourself again.  

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5 Tips To Staying In Shape While Injured

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Dealing with an injury is not only painful but can be frustrating as well when you’re sidelined from your regular fitness routine. If you’ve ever been injured or had to sit out due to illness, you know that deconditioning happens very quickly. In fact, muscles begin to shrink within days, and cardiovascular fitness starts decreasing after two to three weeks without training. The good news is that there are ways you can stay in shape even while recovering from an injury. Here are our suggestions:

1. First things first, see us before getting back into any form of exercise, especially if you have a back or neck injury. We can determine if it’s safe for you to begin physical activity and develop a rehabilitation program to keep you healthy. 

2. Seek alternative methods of exercise. There’s always something you can do to work around your injuries and maintain a level of fitness. Low impact workouts like swimming or aqua aerobics are often good ways to exercise while injured. 

3. Focus on training un-injured areas.  If you have an ankle or leg injury, try a circuit of exercises that don’t require you to stand up and use your lower body, such as chest presses, seated rows, and core workouts you can do on the floor. For an upper-body injury, you can still get a great workout in by using just your legs (think leg presses, lunges, and the stationary bike). 

4. Focus on creating or improving other healthy habits like getting more sleep or eating nutritious foods.

5. Lastly, be patient and give yourself a break. Rest and time are essential parts of the healing process. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. When you’re able to jump back into your old routine, you’ll have hopefully been able to maintain a reasonable level of fitness by using these tips.

Don’t Get Thirsty!

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The majority of Americans are dehydrated on a daily basis. It’s recommended we get 8 glasses of water a day, which proves to be a challenge for those who regularly consume other drinks, such as coffee, juice, and alcoholic beverages. Not only do these other drinks fill you up and make it harder for you to ingest a healthier beverage (such as water), it’s also counterproductive, as it dehydrates you. If you need help consuming more water throughout the day, consider these tips:

 

 

  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all time.
  • Always drink before, during, and after a workout.
  • Add flavor to your water with lemons, limes, or cucumbers.
  • Create a schedule for you to remember to drink water, such as drinking a glass at the top of every hour.

What is Lumbar Stenosis? 

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The term stenosis means “narrowing” of a tube or opening. Spinal stenosis means that the tube surrounding your spinal cord and nerve roots has become too small, and your nerves are being compressed. Stenosis can arise in different ways. Sometimes, people are born with a spinal canal that is too small. Other times, the canal may have been narrowed by surgery or conditions like disc bulges. Most commonly, spinal stenosis arises from chronic arthritic changes that narrow the canal. This type of stenosis usually develops slowly over a long period of time, and symptoms show up later in life.

Patients with stenosis often report pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in their legs. Lower back pain may or may not be present, but leg symptoms are usually more bothersome. You may notice increasing symptoms from standing or walking and relief while sitting because the available space in your spinal canal decreases when you stand, walk or lean back and increases when you sit or flex forward. Walking down hill is usually more uncomfortable than walking up hill. You may notice that when you walk with a shopping cart or lawn mower, you are more comfortable, as this promotes slight flexion. Sleeping on your side in a fetal position with a pillow between your knees may be most comfortable.

The natural course of spinal stenosis is variable. Most patients notice their symptoms stay about the same over time, while others are divided into fairly equal groups who either improve or worsen. Be sure to tell your doctor if you notice that your legs become cold, swollen or change color. Likewise, tell us if you notice a fever, unexplained weight loss, flu-like symptoms, excessive thirst or urination, numbness in your groin or loss of bladder control.

While there is no non-surgical cure for stenosis, we offer potent treatments to help ease your symptoms. Treatment is focused on helping improve your mobility so that you can walk and function better. You will be given exercises to help with conditioning. You should avoid activities that increase your pain, including heavy lifting or those that cause you to extend your back, like prolonged standing or overhead activity. When you are forced to stand, you may find relief by slightly elevating one foot on a stool or bar rail. You may find relief while washing dishes if you open your cabinet door and alternately rest one foot on the inside of the cabinet to provide a little bit of flexion. Recumbent cycling is often a more tolerable alternative to walking or running. Some patients report relief by using an inversion table.

Thumb/Wrist pain from De Quervain’s Disease…..

Tendons are strong, fibrous bands of tissue connecting muscles to bones. Some tendons are covered by a protective, lubricated insulation called a “synovial sheath.” The two tendons on the thumb-side of your wrist that extend and abduct your thumb into a “hitchhiker” position are covered by a sheath. Normally, these tendons move freely within this covering, much like a sword sliding through a sheath.

If these tendons and sheaths are forced to repetitively rub against the bones of your wrist, they can become painfully swollen. This condition is called De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

The pain of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis may begin abruptly, but more commonly starts gradually and increases over time. The pain is provoked by movements of your thumb or wrist. In more severe cases, you may notice swelling on the outside of your wrist. Some patients complain of “catching” or a slight “squeaking” sound while moving their wrist.

Activities like gardening, knitting, cooking, playing a musical instrument, carpentry, walking a pet on a leash, texting, video gaming and sports like golf, volleyball, fly fishing and racquet sports are known triggers. The condition was once known as “Washer woman’s sprain,” since wringing out wet clothes can trigger the problem. Lifting infants or children by placing your outstretched finger and thumb beneath their armpit has led to the nicknames of “Mommy thumb” or “Baby wrist.”

The condition strikes women much more frequently than men. It typically affects middle-age adults and is more slightly common in African-Americans, patients with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis may be at higher risk for this problem.

Many patients will experience resolution of their symptoms through conservative care, like the type provided in our office. You should avoid lifting, grasping and pinching movements, especially when your wrist is bent toward either side. You may need to find alternate ways to lift children and perform work, sport and leisure activities. Video game players and those who text should take frequent breaks and try to hold their wrists straighter. Avoid wearing tight wristbands. Applying ice to your wrist for 10 minutes every hour or performing an “ice massage” (freeze a paper cup filled with water, tear off the bottom to expose the ice, massage over the tendons in a figure-eight pattern for 6-10 minutes, taking breaks as needed) can provide relief.

Patients who have severe pain or swelling are less likely to respond to conservative care. These patients may require a cortisone injection to relieve their pain, however, surgery is rarely necessary.

Mobility Myth #4

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Myth: You only need to do mobility work if you’re an athlete or if something hurts.

Truth: “Whether you’re pro athlete, weekend warrior, or parent being active with their kids, the mobility requirement for fundamental movements (running, squatting, etc.) stays the same,” says Ardoin. “We always need adequate mobility in the same key areas, such as the ankles, hips, thoracic spine (upper back), shoulders.” He says everyone should be able to meet the following mobility baselines:

  • Touch your chin to your chest without opening your mouth.

  • Look up toward the ceiling with your face becoming parallel to the floor.

  • Rotate your head to each side until your chin reaches mid collarbone.

  • Touch your toes with straight legs.

  • Lower into a deep squat without your heels coming up or toes rotating out.

“If you don’t have access to the necessary mobility, your body will find a way to get it by compensating elsewhere, which could lead to injuries down the road,” he says.

But the injuries might be in unexpected places: Your first thought might be to deal with the area that hurts—but, often, that’s not the true source of the problem. “Often times the issue causing lower-back pain isn’t the lower back, but an issue with hip mobility,” says Esquer. An elbow issue might actually be due to a lack of wrist mobility, and upper-back pain might be due to tightness in the front of the chest and shoulders.

“A lot of times we don’t notice movement restrictions until we’re in pain,” says Esquer. Maintaining your natural mobility day in and day out (kind of like brushing your teeth to prevent cavities) will help prevent surprise injuries from popping up.

Advice for headache sufferers….

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Get Moving.

A new study of 573 office workers found that “one hour weekly of strength training reduced headache frequency and intensity.” Timing and spacing of session times did not affect the positive outcome, but participants whose training was supervised used fewer medications.

So, if you or someone you know suffers from headaches, call us today. Our doctors have powerful natural tools for treating headaches and can help design an exercise plan to stay healthy. Learn more about headaches here:

Headache Info Video

Source:

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Andersen, CH et al. Effect of resistance training on headache symptoms in adults: Secondary analysis of a RCT. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, Volume 32, 2017, Pages 38-43 ”