Recent Posts

Your 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.

 

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.

 

Chiropractic Has 94% Success Rate for Neck Pain

Anchorage, AK chiropractic neck pain treatmentAccording to The American Academy of Pain Medicine, more people in the US suffer with chronic pain than diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer combined. In addition, neck pain is the third most reported type of pain, beat out only by lower back pain and headache.

Of course, many people come to our Anchorage, AK office seeking neck pain treatment, and Dr. Jen Gray & Dr. Charlie Gray has helped many of them find relief. This is a smart decision, as some studies have shown that over 90 percent of neck pain patients benefit from chiropractic.

Studies Confirm Chiropractic Works

A study published in The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy involved 64 people who were suffering with neck pain. Approximately half were placed in an experimental group and the other half were assigned to a comparison group. Both received chiropractic adjustments of the neck as well as a home exercise program, while the experimental group also received thoracic spine adjustments.

Information was collected before treatment began and one week after the adjustments. Researchers found that 94 percent of the experimental group claimed "significantly greater improvements" in regard to pain and disability in their neck symptoms. Just 35% of the patients who received neck adjustments showed the same level of improvement, illustrating that looking at the entire spine is an important part of restoring the body's normal function.

One more study posted in Physical Therapy involved 60 adults who reported suffering with neck pain. Each person was randomly allocated to one of two groups--thoracic spine thrust manipulation or non-thrust manipulation--with examinations occurring two and four days after the treatments.

The investigators discovered that the study patients who received the thrust manipulations (the same manipulations that provided such positive results in the first report) "experienced greater reductions in disability" than the patients who received the non-thrust adjustments. Their pain was lower as well, which shows that this type of technique offers many benefits.

Chiropractic Even Offers Benefits After Failed Neck Surgery

One study found the same sort of positive results after thoracic adjustments in a patient who had a failed neck surgery. This particular case involved a 46-year-old woman who had recently had neck surgery but still endured neck pain, headaches, pain in her elbow, and muscle fatigue.

The patient reported decreased pain in her neck and reduced headache intensity, right after the first chiropractic treatment session. After six weeks of care, which involved chiropractic, exercise, and patient education, the patient still rated her pain at a zero on a scale of 1 to 10. Her neck disability improved as well, with a rating score that represented that it was a "great deal better."

It is studies like these that demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic techniques, even if you've already attempted medical procedures that didn't provide relief. So, if you are suffering with neck problems and would like to find a remedy that has a high success rate, try chiropractic. It may just be the relief you're looking for.

Our office is in Anchorage, AK and Dr. Jen Gray & Dr. Charlie Gray can help you recover from neck pain. Give us a call today at (907) 563-7700.

References

  • AAPM facts and figures on pain. The American Academy of Pain Medicine.
  • Masaracchio M, Cleland JA, Hellman M, Hagins M. Short-term combined effects of thoracic spine thrust manipulation and cervical spine nonthrust manipulation in individuals with mechanical neck pain: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2013;43(3):118-127.
  • Cleland JA, Glynn P, Whitman JM, Eberhart SL, MacDonald C, Childs JD. Short-term effects of thrust versus nonthrust mobilization/manipulation directed at the thoracic spine in patients with neck pain: a randomized clinical trial. Physical Therapy 2007;87(4):431-440.
  • Salvatori R, Rowe RH, Osborne R, Beneciuk JM. Use of thoracic spine thrust manipulation for neck pain and headache in a patient following multiple-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: a case report. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2014;44(6):440-449.
 

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.

 

Chiropractic Helps Patients Recover from Failed Back-Pain Surgery

Failed Back-Pain Surgery

Up to 40% of patients who undergo back-pain surgery fail to improve after the initial operation.1 Unfortunately, many of these patients will go on to have second or third operations in attempts to correct the shortcomings of the first. Before resorting to additional surgery, many patients could benefit from non-surgical treatments. A recent small study suggests that chiropractic treatments could be a viable option for patients recovering from failed-back pain surgery syndrome.2

Non-Surgical Treatment Option

Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) is a chiropractic procedure performed to increase patients' range of motion and reduce chronic pain levels. Although there are many studies on MUA, few have examined its success when used to treat chronic pain after failed back surgery.

Report on Manipulation Under Anesthesia

One recently-released report describes the cases of three patients who previously underwent unsuccessful spinal fusion surgery to treat disc herniation. After the surgery, their pain and disability levels did not improve. All three patients had chronic intractable pain and underwent serial MUA over 3 days.

Patients were in deep conscious sedation during the MUA sessions. It is believed that MUA has a greater impact on disk function than non-anesthetized chiropractic care because the anesthesia allows for more complete mobilization of the intervertebral disks, while pain limits range of motion when patients are awake.

Results in Report

Following MUA treatment, patients were enrolled in 8 week rehabilitation program that included physiotherapy. All three patients experienced significant improvements in pain and disability. These improvements were maintained through the 1-year follow-up visit, suggesting that this manual therapy could have a lasting impact on the flexibility of spinal joints or the function of the intervertebral disk.

Chiropractic May Help You

Chiropractic could be an effective, non-surgical alternative for failed surgery patients seeking to avoid the costs and risk of additional operations. Previous research has also found that chiropractic can prevent recurring back pain.

Reference

1. 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.

2. Morningstar MW, et al. Manipulation under 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.

 

Older Adults' Chronic Pain Improved through Chiropractic Care

Older Adults Less Likely to Seek Care

Aging frequently comes with new aches and pains. Statistics show that while older adults experience back pain more frequently than younger adults, they are less likely to seek medical care for the pain.

Don't Live in Pain

However, they need not resign themselves to a life of pain. Chiropractic treatments offer a safe and effective way to treat many aging-related conditions. For example, chiropractic adjustments can alleviate neck, back, and joint pain, while relieving the pain caused by spinal degeneration, osteoarthritis, or scoliosis. Chiropractic care may also prevent falls in older adults by improving gait, balance, and strength.

Decrease Pain with Chiropractic

In a 2009 study, researchers concluded that older patients who received chiropractic adjustments experienced substantially lower levels of disability and pain when compared with patients who did not receive chiropractic care.

Stay Active

Chiropractic treatments work best when combined with proper nutrition and exercise. A recent study found that older adults who were physically active had lower levels of pain-related disability than those who were not active.

Chiropractic care can do more than treat your aches and pains; it can help you lead a fulfilling and healthy life, no matter your age.

References

Dougherty PE,  Hawk C, and Weiner D, et al. The role of chiropractic care in older adults. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 2012; 20 (3): doi:10.1186/2045-709X-20-3.

Hondras MA, Long CR, Cao Y, Rowell RM, Meeker WC. A randomized controlledtrial comparing 2 types of spinal manipulation and minimal conservative medical care for adults 55 years and older with subacute or chronic low back pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapy  2009; 32:330–343.

Hicks GE, Benvenuti F, Fiaschi V, Lombardi B, Segenni L, Stuart M, Pretzer-Aboff I, Gianfranco G, Macchi C. Adherence to a community-based exercise program is a strong predictor of improved back pain status in older adults: an observational study. Clinical  Journal of  Pain 2012; 28(3):195-203.