Research for Chiropractic and Holistic Approaches to Health Care
Please know that as a Chiropractor, I do NOT specifically treat any of these diseases, conditions, or symptoms.
My role as a Chiropractor is to balance the body and remove interferences from the nervous system, which in return should allow the body to heal.
Holistic Approach to Ear Infections
by Lawrence P. Palvesky, M.D., F.A.A.P., A.B.H.M.
It is 3am and your child wakes up complaining of ear pain. What can you do?
Ear pain is one of the most common complaints in the pediatric population. Parents exchange frequent stories about the number of times their child has taken a banana or cherry flavored antibiotic for one or more ear infections. It is the rare parent who sits by, not wanting to add to the anxiety of other parents, with the knowledge that their child has never taken an antibiotic for an ear ache. What's more, the child has never had a serious problem resulting from not using antibiotics.
When I went through my medical school and residency training, we were warned about the serious complications of allowing an ear infection to progress without antibiotic treatment-mastoiditis, an inflammation and infection of the bony area behind the ear at the base of the skull, and meningitis, an inflammation and infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord which could lead to permanent brain damage, not to mention, the possibility of permanent hearing loss.
Over the last 13 years, evidence from the European medical literature and observation of the medical practice of some of our own pioneering primary care providers and ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) physicians, has taught us that the majority of cases of ear pain can and will resolve on their own. Without antibiotics. Without serious outcomes. With good clinical follow-up. Yet, many children receive antibiotics, and sometimes multiple antibiotics, for ear aches. And their ear aches continue to recur.
Are Ear Aches Really Ear Infections?
Inflammation occurs in the body as characterized by the following five observations--redness, swelling, heat, pain and loss of function. When a young child has an ear ache, the ear drum is usually found to be red (redness) with clear fluid or mucus buildup in the middle ear (swelling) causing pain, often accompanied by fever (heat) and occasionally accompanied by an acute loss of hearing; clearly a description of inflammation. Even if there were an infection, most studies confirm that viruses are the main organisms responsible for causing the development of these symptoms, not bacteria. Neither a viral infection, nor an inflammation in the ears responds to treatment with antibiotics. Only bacteria respond to antibiotic treatment. Therefore, in the majority of cases, antibiotics do not help. And, in many cases, antibiotics may cause more harm than good when they are used inappropriately.
A child is found on exam to have a red ear and no complaint of ear pain even though a fever is present. A pre-verbal infant or toddler with a red ear drum or fluid behind the ear appears well and is smiling. Another child presents with ear fluid and is no longer in pain. Most often these children are not suffering from ear infections and do not warrant antibiotic treatment. By definition, these children simply have inflamed ears which often respond better to other types of treatment.
Children who have infections, on the other hand, also present with these five signs of inflammation but, for the most part, do not look clinically well and often have an illness that is more serious than a simple ear infection. A child in pain who appears not to look well should be re-evaluated after the pain is relieved.
Early in my pediatric practice, I often gave a child a ten day course of an antibiotic for what I believed was a classic ear infection using the criteria I described for inflammation. More often than not, 2-3 days after completing the antibiotic, the child returned with the same symptoms. I would subsequently write another antibiotic prescription. Frequently, the same pattern would recur. Conventional training taught me that the child had an infection caused by a bacterium that was resistant to the antibiotic. Therefore, a different and stronger antibiotic was needed. Eventually it occurred to me that perhaps the child never needed the antibiotic in the first place. Perhaps there was a different process going on that required a different set of treatments and understanding.
Why do infants & children get ear aches? How do the ears become inflamed?
Conventional pediatric practice focuses on prescribing treatment interventions once a child's symptoms have already appeared. Non-conventional approaches concentrate on preventing the development of inflammation and infection and attempt to evaluate the causes that contribute to their presentation. In addition, non-conventional approaches use remedies and interventions that facilitate the body's natural healing abilities in a nourishing way in an attempt to avoid suppressing the inherent healing mechanisms that are present in the body. Often, elimination of the factors that are known to contribute to the development of the underlying symptoms is sufficient to treat the problem(s) without introducing additional remedies. This is especially true when it comes to ear pain and ear inflammation.
Infants and children have a natural tendency to generate a lot of mucus. The production and the amount of mucus lessen as the child grows older and the developing immune system strengthens. When a child has a build up of excess mucus (one of the primary indicators of inflammation), his/her body attempts to "burn off" this mucus in order to return to a balanced state, also known as homeostasis. This is accomplished by the onset of an illness accompanied by a fever.
Children, even without the presence of a fever, tend to run on the hot side. Most of their heat rises towards the head. Heat generated by a fever (another of the primary indicators of inflammation), further raises the energy towards the head. With an abundance of mucus already present in the nose and throat during an upper respiratory infection it is no coincidence that the ears repeatedly become inflamed.
Many clinicians and parents report that after a child has recovered from an illness with a fever without the use of suppressive pharmaceuticals, he/she experiences a growth spurt in neurological, developmental and behavioral milestones. Clearly, the immune system is now stronger. Children, who develop excess mucus and need to burn it off through an array of normal childhood febrile illnesses, and are blocked from accomplishing this through the use of inappropriate, suppressive pharmaceutical treatments, often remain in a state of chronic mucus production, i.e., chronic inflammation. This can be seen today in many of our children who live with excess mucus, are often sick and never quite fully recover and have a life of chronic illnesses and delays in reaching their milestones.
Prevention & Treatment
Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the production of excess mucus, support the process of acute illnesses with good clinical follow-up and safe and effective, non-suppressive, supportive interventions and offer information for families that will both prevent and treat serious acute and chronic illnesses. In the case of ear inflammation, the two approaches that I have seen work most effectively to reduce ear fluid, ear pain and chronic ear problems is a change in the child's and family's diet and the incorporation of manipulative modalities into the treatment plan, i.e., chiropractic, osteopathic and/or cranial sacral therapy.
Children have undeveloped digestive systems. Spitting up, vomiting, frequent burping, excess gas and loose stools are frequent pediatric complaints indicative of poor digestive function. Often, children are given a food or a combination of foods that serve to further weaken and stress their digestive systems. Invariably, food is incompletely digested and, as a result, children are confronted with having to deal with nourishment that does not serve them. Consequently, the body's response is to produce additional mucus
As described in immunology, Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and nutritional medicine, mucus in the nose, throat, sinuses, airways, ears and other parts of the body can arise merely from the failure of the digestive system to accomplish its task successfully. Adults may suffer from the same process as well. Those foods most likely to increase mucus production and further stress a child's already weak digestive system are: dairy, soy (especially overly processed soy products), commercial formulas, a heavy diet of raw fruits and vegetables, iced or cold foods and beverages, wheat and most flour products, baby cereals and commercial cereals, thick, creamy and heavy foods, processed grains, juice, soda, soft drinks, refined sugars, processed and refined foods, fried foods and oils, multiple food choices at a time and overfeeding.
Reducing and/or eliminating these foods from a child's diet will often quiet the inflammation and prevent the development of further problems in acute flare-ups and, more specifically, in chronic inflammation of the ears. On the other hand, offering a child warm, cooked, simple, smooth, easy to digest, whole, non-processed foods, accompanied by small amounts of food herbs and spices, will strengthen and support a weak digestive system and keep mucus production and inflammation at a minimum.
So, it is still 3am and your child's body is doing its best to purge the excess mucus. Yet, the fluid is not draining and the pain is the main focus. Ultimately, the goal is to rid the body of the mucus. The following is a list of suggestions for parents to help them get through this difficult situation:
1) Hold and comfort your child.
2) Try to raise the head of the bed. For smaller children, place blankets or pillows under the mattress.
3) Keep your child hydrated with room temperature water, clear soup and/or tea. Herbs that help to break up the mucus and comfort your child include thyme, ginger, licorice, eyebright, elder flowers and chamomile. Keep the diet simple. Keep solid foods to a minimum. Offer small doses of vitamin C throughout the day with fluids. Start children's Echinacea within the first 24 hours of illness.
4) Diffuse lavender essential oil in the room to help calm any anxiety you may have.
5) Place several drops of mullein oil in a container and warm inside a pot of water on the stove. Take several drops of the mullein oil and place them in the affected ear canal. Gently pull and massage the ear lobe away from your child's head and in a slightly downward direction. Use extra virgin olive oil in the same manner if no mullein oil is available or,
6) Take 1-2 drops of organic tea tree essential oil and mix in a base of 20 drops of olive oil and place several warmed drops of this mixture into the affected ear canal. Use any one of the ear drop remedies several times a day to relieve the discomforts of the inflammation. Please be sure to use essential oils that are organic and top grade quality whenever possible.
7) Use the tea tree oil combination and massage it into the front of your child's chest below the collarbones in a horizontal fashion. Then rub the oil behind the affected ear(s) and massage down the side of the neck towards the collarbones. This will help open the drainage of lymph fluid into the chest cavity and allow the congestion to drain from the head. This can be done 2-3 times per day until the congestion has resolved.
8) See your chiropractor, osteopath or cranial sacral worker the next day. Repeat visits as discussed with your provider.
9) Contact your medical health care provider if your child does not improve within 48 hours, develops drainage from the ear or appears to be getting worse.
Dr. Lawrence B. Palevsky, MD is a board certified pediatrician who received his medical degree from the NYU School of Medicine. He completed a pediatric residency at the Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC and a one year fellowship at Bellevue Hospital-NYU School of Medicine in the outpatient department and emergency room. Dr. Palevsky's clinical experience includes pediatric emergency room and pediatric acute care medicine, in-patient and out-patient pediatric medicine, neonatal intensive care, newborn and delivery room medicine and private practice. Most recently he was in practice as the holistic and integrative pediatrician at the Center for Health & Healing, a complementary medical facility affiliated with the Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC. Dr. Palevsky is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a Diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine.
Chiropractic Approach to Ear Infections
Ear problems can be excruciatingly painful, especially in children. With 10 million new cases every year, ear infections (otitis media) are the most common illness affecting babies and young children and the number one reason for visits to the pediatrician—accounting for more than 35 percent of all pediatric visits.
Almost half of all children will have at least one middle ear infection before they're a year old, and two-thirds of them will have had at least one such infection by age 3. The symptoms can include ear pain, fever, and irritability. Otitis media can be either bacterial or viral in origin, and frequently results from another illness such as a cold. For many children, it can become a chronic problem, requiring treatment year after year, and putting the child at risk of permanent hearing damage and associated speech and developmental problems.
Standard treatment for most cases of otitis media is with antibiotics, which can be effectiveif the culprit is bacterial (antibiotics, of course, do nothing to fight off viruses). But, according to many research studies, antibiotics are often not much more effective than the body's own immune system. And repeated doses of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacteria that scoff at the drugs, while leaving the child screaming in pain.
Frequent ear infections are also the second most common reason for surgery in children under 2 (with circumcision being the first). In severe cases—for example, when fluids from an ear infection haven't cleared from the ear after several months, and hearing is affected—specialists sometimes prescribe myringotomy and tympanostomy, more commonly known as "ear tubes." During the surgical procedure, a small opening is made in the eardrum to place a tube inside. The tube relieves pressure in the ear and prevents repeated fluid buildup with the continuous venting of fresh air. In most cases, the membrane pushes the tube out after a couple of months and the hole in the eardrum closes. Although the treatment is effective, it has to be repeated in some 20 to 30 percent of cases. And this kind of surgery requires general anesthesia, never a minor thing in a small child. If the infection persists even after tube placement and removal, children sometimes undergo adenoidectomy (surgical removal of the adenoids)—an option that is effective mostly through the first year after surgery.
Before yet another round of "maybe-they'll-work-and-maybe-they-won't" antibiotics or the drastic step of surgery, more parents are considering chiropractic to help children with chronic ear infections. Dr. Joan Fallon, a chiropractor who practices in Yonkers, New York, has published research showing that, after receiving a series of chiropractic adjustments, nearly 80 percent of the children treated were free of ear infections for at least the six-month period following their initial visits (a period that also included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks).
"Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if they can continue to drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection, they build up their own antibodies and recover more quickly," explains Dr. Fallon. She'd like to see her pilot study used as a basis for larger-scale trials of chiropractic as a therapeutic modality for otitis media.
Dr. Fallon uses primarily upper-cervical manipulation on children with otitis media, focusing particularly on the occiput, or back of the skull, and atlas, or the first vertebra in the neck. "Adjusting the occiput, in particular, will get the middle ear to drain. Depending on how chronic it's been and on where they are in their cycle of antibiotics, children generally need to get through one bout of fluid and fight it off themselves." That means, for the average child, between six and eight treatments. If a child's case is acute, Dr. Fallon will check the ear every day, using a tympanogram to measure the ear and track the movement of the eardrum to make sure that it's draining. "I'll do adjustments every day or every other day for a couple of days if they're acute, and then decrease frequency over time."
Dr. Fallon, whose research garnered her the acclaim of childrearing magazines like Parenting and Baby Talk, often sees great success when she treats a child for otitis media. "Once they fight it themselves, my kids tend to do very well and stay away from ear infections completely. Unless there are environmental factors like smoking in the house, an abnormally shaped Eustachian tube, or something like that, they do very well," she says.
"I have two large pediatric groups that refer to me on a regular basis. In the winter, when otitis is most prevalent, I see five or six new children each week from each group," says Dr. Fallon. "It's safe and effective and something that parents should try, certainly before inserting tubes in their children's ears."
2004, American Chiropractic Association
"In a person with allergies or asthma, the immune system reacts to harmless substances such as plant pollen or animal dander. This creates allergy symptoms (stuffy nose, watery eyes, skin rash, etc.) or asthma symptoms (wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath). An asthma attack can result from an allergic reaction. Asthma sufferers are more susceptible to having colds develop into bronchitis, which can trigger an asthma attack."
Dr. Erin Elster, DC
Upper Cervical Specialist - July 2003
Early Warning Signs Of Asthma and Allergies:
Chin or throat itches
Dark circles under eyes
Poor tolerance for exercise
The cost of asthma is estimated at more than $12 billion annually, with direct costs exceeding $8 billion and lost earnings due to illness and death adding up tonearly $5 billion.
If drugs were the answer and medical treatment was effective, why are more people getting asthma and why are more people dying every year because of it? There has to be a better way!
Dr. Len Schwartz," Introduction to Chiropractic" September 2003
New research indicates chiropractic could be beneficial for some individuals suffering from either allergies or Crohn’s Disease. According to Japanese researcher Dr. Yasuhiko Takeda, president of the Information and Blood Circulation Research Institute in Osaka, disorders of the mid-to-lower back could have a significant effect on the immune function of certain allergy and Crohn’s disease patients. While additional research is needed, the preliminary results are both promising and exciting.
SOURCE: JVSR. March 2003, Vol 4, No.4
The September 21, 1999 issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that chiropractic is the most popular and by far the most effective of the wellness disciplines for patients suffering from rheumatologic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Arthritis is the name given to more than 100 different diseases that cause pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissue. One out of every six Americans suffers from some form of arthritis, and unfortunately, the condition can last a lifetime.
In 1997, Americans made an estimated 629 million visits to practitioners of "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM), compared with just 388 million visits to primary care physicians that same year. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that many arthritis patients used CAM, and that chiropractic was the most frequently used type of care.
Even more significantly, chiropractic was also near the top of the list in terms of the number of patients who regularly used CAM, and the number of patients who found CAM helpful for their condition.
Source: Rao JK, Mihaliak K, Kroenke K, et al. Use of complementary therapies for arthritis among patients of rheumatologists. Annals of Internal Medicine,
Sept. 1999: Vol. 131, No. 6, pp409-16.
The Annals of Internal Medicine (of all places) published the results of a survey of 232 people who had arthritis and were under a rheumatologists care. Of those 63% responded to the survey by saying they were using some form of "complementary care" as named by the study. Of those people 31% were using chiropractic. These number may themselves be grossly under reported as only 45% of the patients told their doctor about using the other forms of care.
These reported numbers translate to over 19% of the public who is seeing a rheumatologists is also seeing a chiropractor. And if less that half of the patients are telling their doctor about it the actual number may be twice as high.
Possibly the most impressive statistic was that 73% of those trying chiropractic found it helpful. The reasons given why people said they tried the non-medical care was to control pain, because they heard it helps, because it is safe, because it helped someone they know, and because their prescription medication wasn't working.
In a study of geriatrics by the Rand Corporation it was found that 96% of the population studied who use chiropractic had not used nursing home services in the three years before the study.
81% of those who had received chiropractic care didn't need the use of a nursing home, a 15% less nursing home usage by the chiropractic patients.
74% of the people under chiropractic care did not need the use of a hospital in the three years prior to the study versus 53% of the study group not under chiropractic care; a 21% difference.
Source: RAND, 1991
Should Arthritis Patients Exercise?
Exercise is critical in successful arthritis management. It helps maintain healthy and strong muscles, joint mobility, flexibility, endurance, and helps control weight. Rest, on the other hand, helps to decrease active joint inflammation, pain, and fatigue. For best results, arthritis patients need a good balance between the two: more rest during the active phase of arthritis, and more exercise during remission. During acute systematic flares or local joint flares, patients should put joints gently through their full range of motion once a day, with periods of rest. To see how much rest is best during flares, patients should talk to their health care providers.
Source: Handout on Health: Rheumatoid Arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Jan. 1998, revised Nov. 1999. Available from http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/arthritis/rahandout.htm. Questions and Answers about Arthritis and Exercise. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
Skin Diseases. May 2001.
Available from http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/arthritis/arthexfs.htm.
ADD and ADHD
What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
ADHD is a disorder characterized by three behaviors:
You may see one or more of these behaviors. It is not necessary to have all three to have ADHD: e.g., one does not have to be hyperactive.
EVERYONE HAS ADD
Getting your body to function at its maximum potential, is the best way to express your true health and function.
Children with ADHD and coordination problems were more than twice as likely to have a mother who smoked during gestation, compared with children who did not have ADHD. Many subjects with ADHD also experienced language problems (65% compared to 16% of children without the disorder). The study evaluated 113 6-year olds, including 62 who had been diagnosed with ADHD plus deficits in motor control and perception.
Source: Landgren M, Kjellman B, Gillberg C. Attention deficit disorder with developmental coordination disorders. Arch Dis Child 1998; 79(3):207-12
/ Medline ID: 99092173
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological and Therapeutics
1989; 12:353-363. In a study done by J. Martin Giesen PHD., David B
Center, PHD., and Robert A. Leach, DC., it was stated that,"…the
majority of the children in this study did, in fact, improve under specific chiropractic care. The results… suggest that chiropractic manipulation has the potential to become an important non-drug intervention for children with hyperactivity.
Long-Term Ritalin Use May Change Brain
The December 2003 issue of Biological Psychiatry reports on three animal studies that show long-term use of Ritalin may cause negative changes in brain response and behavior.
Ritalin is the drug of choice for the treatment of the dubious condition known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The first of the three studies found that low doses of Ritalin in rats caused changes in brain cells that made them more sensitive to the effects of cocaine (Ritalin and cocaine are similar in structure and action). The second study found that pre-adolescent rats given Ritalin increased behaviors that could indicate depression once they reached adulthood.
The final study found that adult rats given Ritalin as pre-adolescents were more sensitive to stressful situations and less responsive to natural rewards, such as those derived from sugar and sex. They also showed increased anxiety behaviors and elevated blood levels of stress hormones.
Dr. Daniel L. Coury of Columbus Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio says that children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher risk for serious injury. The researchers reviewed 8 years of injury data on more than 61,000 children ages 3 to 17 and found that those with ADHD were nearly 80% more likely to be involved in a serious accident resulting in hospitalization for trauma.
While the debate over the disorder`s epidemic status rages, some long-term data on whether the drugs are actually helping ADHD children, however, have begun to trickle in. A study by William Fankenberger and Christine Cannon at the Human Development Center at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire published in 1999 found that 13 ADHD children on medication performed progressively worse over 4 years on standardized tests when compared with a group of 13 normal children with similar IQs and other characteristics.
Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher risk for serious injury. The researchers reviewed 8 years of injury data on more than 61,000 children ages 3 to 17 and found that those with ADHD were nearly 80% more likely to be involved in a serious accident resulting in hospitalization for trauma.
Source: Dr. Daniel L. Coury of Columbus Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Did you know that if Thomas Edison were alive today he would have most likely been labeled as having ADD? At age eleven he was taken out of school because his teachers considered him difficult and he "could not be taught." If that did happen today in our "treat the symptom" world, doctors would have prescribed Ritalin for him. Ritalin is a drug used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. Doctors prescribe it to adults and children alike. Studies find that Ritalin causes a high in the brain similar to cocaine. Under the
Federal Controlled Substance Act, Ritalin is listed as a "Schedule II " controlled substance along with cocaine, methadone, opium, morphine and amphetamines.
Ritalin has many side effects including: stunting of growth, depression, insomnia, nervousness, skin rash, anorexia, nausea, dizziness, headaches, abdominal pain, blood pressure and pulse changes and Tourette's Syndrome (a permanent irreversible condition characterized by body tics, spasms, screaming, saying Obscenities and barking sounds). If Thomas Edison were treated with Ritalin, do you think he would have been able to invent anything?
Source: Today's Chiropractic, March/April 1997, by Eric H. Plasker, D.C.
Researchers Locate Key Area of the Brain Impacted by ADHD; Use New MRI Technique to Measure Ritalin's Effect
The McLean study involved six healthy boys with no history of ADHD or psychiatric disorders, and 11 boys diagnosed with ADHD according to the standard DSM-IV criteria. All 17 boys also were given a computer test that uses an infrared motion analysis system to objectively measure activity, movement and attention. Six of the 11 boys…were also confirmed to be hyperactive by the objective computer test.
Martin Teicher, MD, PhD. said, "It (this study) also shows that Ritalin may not be effective for all children diagnosed with ADHD using only DSM-IV criteria."
According to Peter R. Breggin, M.D., director of ht eInternational Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology and associate faculty at The Johns Hopkins University Department of Counseling, "Ritalin does not correct biochemical imbalances - it causes them."
Source: The Chiropractic Journal - February 2000
Controversy surrounds the medical treatment, indeed the very existence, of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Psychiatrist Peter Breggin wrote, "Hyperactivity is the most frequent justification for drugging children. The difficult-to-control male child is certainly not a new phenomenon, but attempts to give him a medical diagnosis are the product of modern psychology and psychiatry. At first psychiatrists called hyperactivity a brain disease. When no brain disease could be found, they changed it to 'minimal brain disease' (MBD). When no minimal brain disease could be found the profession transformed the concept into 'minimal brain dysfunction.' When no minimal brain dysfunction could be demonstrated, the label became attention deficit disorder. Now it's just assumed to be a real disease, regardless of the failure to prove it so. Biochemical imbalance is the code word, but there's no more evidence for that than there is for actual brain disease."
The use of psychotropic drugs in children has exploded in recent years .
The number of prescriptions written for methylphenidate (Ritalin) has increased by a factor of five since 1991. The production of Adderall and Dexedrine, also used to treat ADHD, has risen 2,000% in nine years. The increased use of these drugs in the U.S. is at variance with the rest of the world. According to the U.N., the U.S. produces and consumes 85% of the world's production of methylphenidate. 
The use of Class II controlled substances to alter the behavior of children is disconcerting to many parents and chiropractors, as is the issue of whether ADD/ADHD can be properly considered a disease.
While chiropractors do not "treat" ADD/ADHD, the effects of chiropractic care on children diagnosed with learning disorders and hyperactivity have been described in a growing body of scholarly publications.
A study published in 1975, compared chiropractic care with drug treatment in children with learning and behavioral impairments due to neurological dysfunction. It was reported that chiropractic care "was more effective for the wide range of symptoms common in the neurological dysfunction syndrome in which thirteen symptom or problem areas were considered." The author also reported that chiropractic care was 24% more effective than commonly used medications. 
Giesen at al conducted a study involving seven subjects. All subjects were of school age and had clinical findings evidencing vertebral subluxation complex. Following chiropractic care, 57% showed an improvement in chiropractic radiographic findings; 71.4% showed a reduction in overt behavior activity; 57% showed improvement in level of autonomic activity, and 57% showed improvement in parental ratings of hyperactivity. 
In addition to these small studies, case reports have been published which describe improvement of objective and subjective findings in children with ADD/ADHD and related disorders. [6-14]
More research exploring the relationship of subluxation correction to brain function is needed. Yet, the dramatic changes that have been reported in children medically diagnosed with ADD/ADHD following chiropractic care must not be ignored.
Every child with a vertebral subluxation needs chiropractic care, regardless of whether or not symptoms are present. By correcting nerve interference, function is improved, with greater expression of human potential. Many report terminating drug therapy, and seeing the personality, will, and soul of the child unfolding.
As Maria Montessori wrote, "It is easy to substitute our will for that of the child by means of suggestion or coercion; but when we have done this we have robbed him of his greatest right, the right to construct his own personality." 
1. Breggin PR: "Toxic Psychiatry." St. Martin's Press. New York. 1991.
Chapters 12 and 13.
2. Zito JM, Safer DJ, dosReis S, et al: "Trends in the prescribing of
psychotropic medications to preschoolers." JAMA 2000;283:1025.
3. Statistics confirm rise in childhood ADHD and medication use. http://www.education-world.com
4. Walton EV: "The effects of chiropractic treatment on students with
learning and behavioral impairments due to neurological dysfunction."
International Review of Chiropractic 1975;29:4-5:24-26.
5. Giesen JM, Center DB, Leach RA: "An evaluation of chiropractic
manipulation as a treatment for hyperactivity in children." JMPT 1989;
6. Arme J: "Effects of biomechanical insult correction on attention deficit disorder." Journal of Chiropractic Case Reports, 1993:1(1).
7. Hospers LA: "EEG and CEEG studies before and after upper cervical or
SOT category 2 adjustment in children after head trauma, in epilepsy, and in 'hyperactivity.'" Proceedings of the National Conference on Chiropractic and Pediatrics (ICA) 1992;84-139.
8. Barnes TA: "A multifaceted approach to attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder: a case report." International Review of Chiropractic Jan/Feb
1995; pp. 41-43.
9. Phillips CJ: "Case study: the effect of utilizing spinal manipulation and craniosacral therapy as the treatment approach for attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder." Proceedings of the National Conference on
Chiropractic and Pediatrics (ICA), 1991:57-74.
10. Langley C: "Epileptic seizures, Nocturnal enuresis, ADD." Chiropractic
Pediatrics April 1995, Vol. 1, No. 1.
11. Thomas MD, Wood J: "Upper cervical adjustments may improve mental function." J Man Med 1992;6:215.
12. Araghi HG: "Oral apraxia: a case study in chiropractic in chiropractic management." Proceedings of the National Conference on Chiropractic and Pediatrics (ICA), 1994, beginning p. 34.
13. Manuelle JD, Fysch PA: "Acquired verbal aphasia in a seven-year-old
female: case report." J Clin Chiropr Ped 1996;1:89-.
14. Peet JB: "Adjusting the hyperactive/ADD pediatric patient." Chiro Pediatr 1997;2(4):12
The Effect of Combining Manual Therapy with Exercise on the Respiratory Function of Normal Individuals:
A Randomized Control Trial
Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the effect of combining manual therapy with exercise on respiratory function in normal individuals.
Methods: The study design was a randomized control trial. Forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) were measured in 20 healthy, nonsmoking individuals before and after 3 interventions: exercise only, chiropractic manual therapy only, and manual therapy followed by exercise. The participants, 18 to 28 years of age, were randomly allocated to a control and 3 intervention groups. Each participant underwent 6 sessions of interventions over a 4-week period.
Results: The exercise only group showed a significant decrease in FVC (P = .002, generalized linear model [GLM]) and FEV1 readings (P = .0002, GLM). The manual therapy only group showed a significant increase in FVC (P = .000, GLM) and FEV1 (P = .001, GLM). The group that received both manual therapy and exercise showed increases in FVC and FEV1 immediately after manual therapy followed by an additional increase after exercise. The overall increase in this group was not statistically significant. Participants in the control group showed no change in FVC or FEV1.
Conclusions: Manual therapy appears to increase the respiratory function of normal individuals. The potential for this intervention administered before exercise to permit additional tolerance within the respiratory system that could allow an extended exercise program than was previously possible is discussed.
Source: Engel RM, Vemulpad S. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. September 2007; Vol. 30, Iss. 7
A study published in the November / December 2000 issue of Today's
Chiropractic gives some insight into the use of chiropractic in combating
Forty seven patients were observed for a two year period. They had been medically diagnosed with persistent asthma ranging from mild persistent in 11 cases, moderate persistent in 28 cases, to severe persistent in 8 cases. The care rendered consisted of specific chiropractic adjustments. The range of visits was from 14 to 44, with the average being 26 during the study period.
All 47 of the study patients showed "a marked improvement ranging from 87 to 100 percent." Their symptoms improved as well as a decrease in their usage of acute asthma attack medication. Even more impressive was the fact that all of the patients in the study reported maintaining their improvement after a two-year follow up.
Childhood Asthma and Chiropractic
It is estimated that up to 15 million people suffer from asthma. Of those, 14.8 million are children under the age of 18. In 1993 alone, there were 198,000 hospitalizations for asthma. In that same sample year, 342 people under the age of 25 died due to this problem. In money terms, the direct cost of managing a patient with severe asthma has been estimated at more than $18,000 per year.
ASTHMA DRUGS AND SIDE EFFECTS
"The traditional medical treatment for asthma is anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator drugs. In some cases, treatment included syrups such as Preventils, which is usually prescribed on a "taken as needed" basis.
The combination of the drugs above promotes drowsiness and may be habit forming. A patient denied of medication feels they can not breathe properly without it, thus becoming irritable. In some cases they become so irritable that they bring on an asthma attack."
From the abstract Case review of a 6-year-old boy who has had asthma
since 1991 and his condition since chiropractic intervention.
Child was prescribed aerosol inhalers (Beclovert and Vertolin) using them every day, up to three times a day. Adjustments were delivered to the cervical, thoracic and lumbar areas. Significant progress. Could run during soccer games and almost never used his inhaler. Slept more soundly. Hardly ever had bouts with mucous clogged nasal passages. Nasal inhalant use stopped.
Source: Asthma and chiropractic. Garde R. Chiropractic Pediatrics.
Vol 1 No.3 Dec, 1994.
ASTHMA SPRAYS DON'T WORK / ASTHMA SHOTS INEFFECTIVE
Allergy shots used as treatment of asthma in children appears to be ineffective. Studies have proven there were no significant benefits with the shots given to children with moderate to severe asthma.
Dr. N. Franklin Adkinson Jr., John Hopkins University
Nearly 40 million Americans -- 25% of the total population -- suffer from asthma and other allergy diseases.
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine in February of 1992
FROM: Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research (FCER)
October 24, 2002 Des Moines, Iowa— Patients afflicted with asthma may benefit from spinal manipulation in terms of symptoms, immunological capacity, and endocrine effects, an audience was told on October 5 at the 9th International Conference on Spinal Manipulation in Toronto. The investigative team, headed by Ray Hayek, Ph.D., has been conducting a trial at 16 treatment centers in Australia involving 420 patients with an average age of 46 in an effort to find out what effects spinal manipulation has on symptoms, depression and anxiety, general health status, and the levels of immunity as reflected by the concentrations of both an immunoglobulin (IgA) and an immunosuppressant (cortisol). This investigation draws from several references in the scientific literature which suggest that different forms of manual therapy (including massage) improve the symptomatology and lower cortisol levels in asthma patients.
Dr. Hayek reported that only the patient group which underwent spinal adjustments (by any of four commonly used manipulative treatment protocols) displayed significant improvement in asthma symptoms and depression and anxiety scores.
Simply experiencing structured interviews at the treatment centers or being monitored at home did not yield these improvements. In addition, patients actually undergoing spinal adjustments displayed dramatic increases of IgA and decreases of cortisol through the posttreatment period, suggesting that there were physiological consequences to their manipulative treatments reflecting increased immunological capacities which would be expected to ward off subsequent asthmatic attacks.
These biochemical changes not only suggest that the effects of spinal adjustments are more far-reaching than commonly believed, but that they may be more long-term as well. The gain in immunological capacity achieved with the simultaneous loss of the immunosuppressant cortisol and the increase of the immunoglobulin IgA following spinal manipulation would be expected to reduce the incidence and severity of pathogenic invasion of the airways. There would be less of a risk under these circumstances of
compounding the symptoms of asthma.
The immunosuppressing mechanism of glucocorticoids is believed to occur by their reducing the permeability of capillaries, decreasing the migration of white blood cells in inflamed areas, suppressing the release of interleukins, and inhibiting the production of proteolytic enzymes by stabilizing the lysosomal membranes which release them.
This followed contacts that the Director of Research at FCER was able to make with the Australian research community in 1995, taking into consideration the expertise of the investigative team as well as the fact that Australia's 2 million asthma sufferers have given the Island Continent the dubious distinction of being the asthma capital of the world.
It has been carried out with the support of research grants exceeding a quarter of a million dollars from both the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research (FCER) and the National Chiropractic Mutual Insurance Company (NCMIC). This research, which may be highly influential on the future of the chiropractic profession, is still in need of funding. To contribute to this important project, please call FCER at
800-637-6244,or donate via the Foundation's secure website at: https://www.fcer.org:448/html/asthma_donate.asp
This research represents one of approximately 50 projects administered by FCER since 1990 in the effort to document both the theory and practice of chiropractic to increase its effective integration into healthcare systems worldwide. The conference at which these results were presented is an international forum which FCER has sponsored at different locations worldwide for the past 14 years.
The role of chiropractic in the care of a four-year-old boy diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism is a complex, behaviorally defined disorder of the immature brain. Autism is not a disease but a syndrome with multiple non-genetic and genetic causes. Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a wide spectrum of developmental disorders characterized by impairments in 3 behavioral domains: 1) social interaction; 2) language, communication, and imaginative play; and 3) range of interests and activities. There are two basic types of autism: autism from birth (classic autism once known as Kanner’s Syndrome) and regressive autism, which generally occurs between 12 and 24 months of age after a period of normal development and behavior. The incidence of autism from birth is low, approximately one or two out of 10,000 births. However, the incidence of regressive autism and associated ASDs has soared. A recent study indicates that as many as 1 out of 150 California children may have regressive ASD. A similar figure was reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in a study of a township on the East Coast of the United States. ASD is of great concern to all healthcare practitioners because of an astonishing 556% reported increase in pediatric prevalence between 1991 and 1997. The clinical management of ASD requires a multidisciplinary approach, consisting primarily of speech, language, behavioral, and educational interventions although, “ there is a lack of clinically based evidence on which to universally recommend a rational clinical algorithm for treatment.” The rising incidence of ASD and the lack of well-documented treatment options should be a “matter of urgent public concern.” The role of chiropractic in the treatment of children with ASD has not been well documented in the scientific literature. This case study will address this deficit and examine the role of chiropractic care in the treatment algorithm for a patient with ASD.
Objective: To describe the role of chiropractic care in the management of a patient with autistic spectrum disorder.
Clinical features: A four-year-old boy was diagnosed with autism at 23 months. His mother presented him for chiropractic evaluation and possible care with the hope that chiropractic care might help his frequent ear infections. The mother also reported that the child was very active but his speech and communication skills were a challenge.
Intervention and Outcome: The patient was cared for using the Webster toggle headpiece and Logan Basic technique to the cervical spine and sacrum. According to the patient’s mother, her little boy’s speech and ability to communicate improved dramatically following adjustments.
Conclusion: This case report provides supporting evidence that patients with ASD may benefit from chiropractic care characterized as Toggle Recoil and Logan Technique. This case report encourages further investigation into the role of chiropractic care in the integrative management of patients with autism.
Joel Alcantara, DC (1) and Kim McCann-Swanson, DC, DACCP (2)
Presented at Pangea: a Conference for the Wellness of Children.
Improvement in a 3½-year-old Autistic Child Following Chiropractic Intervention to Reduce Vertebral Subluxation
Objective: To describe, discuss and track the subjective and objective changes of a 3½ year old autistic girl following chiropractic adjustments over a 10 week period.
Clinical Features: A 3½ year old female child with reduced social interaction and language skills and learning difficulties presented for chiropractic care. The child had been diagnosed with autism 1 year earlier.
Intervention and Outcome: The child received full spine adjustments where indicated to reduce vertebral subluxation, using the Torque Release Technique protocol and Integrator™ instrument. Strong verbal and physical apprehension to initial care was observed, however no signs of this were present after 5 visits, along with further improvements in social interactions, language skills and increased symmetry in surface EMG and thermal scanning over the 10 weeks of care.
Conclusion: The subjective and objective improvements observed by both practitioner and parents following chiropractic care indicate a link between subluxation and autistic behavioral patterns. Comparable studies have been undertaken previously with similar findings, however further study needs to be conducted to determine the exact relationship between chiropractic care and behavioral changes in autistic children.
What is colic?
Colic is a term used to describe a seemingly healthy baby who cries persistently and often violently for no apparent reason. This distressed behavior is believed to be a reaction to pain.
Medical studies have proven that chiropractic treatment on infants with colic has proven to be a more effective treatment for the condition than using drug therapy. Avoiding dairy products, like cows' milk, has been shown to be effective, but chiropractic may be a better solution.
Source: For the Love of Children, Dr. Louis R. Briegel, II & Stacey A. Stefanski
Infantile Colic responds well to Chiropractic Care
Infantile colic is commonly described as persistent and often violent crying for no apparent reason in seemingly healthy and thriving infants.
The August, 1989 issue of the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics reports that 94% of a group of 316 children with infantile colic responded very favorably to Chiropractic care.
The study involved infants with an average age of 5.7 weeks at the beginning of the study and included reassessments at 1 week, 2 weeks and 4 weeks.
The infant's mothers were provided a diary and kept track of the babies symptoms, intensity and length of the colicky crying as well as how comfortable the infant seemed.
94% of the children in the study showed a satisfactory response to Chiropractic care within 14 days from the beginning of care.
"The results occur shortly after the treatment has been initiated and show both a reduction of the daily length of the colic periods and a reduction of the number of colic periods per day."
Colic and Chiropractic Treatment
If you have a colicky baby, and other forms of treatment don't seem to be helping very much, you may want to investigate taking your baby to a chiropractor.
As your child is being born, the neck and back vertebrae can go out of alignment due to the stretching and compressing of the body as it emerges into the world. If your delivery included a prolonged pushing stage, forceps or vacuum extraction, or other form of assisted delivery, the chances of a misalignment are great.
If the misalignments, called vertebral subluxations, are big enough, the functioning of major systems in the body can be compromised. The digestive system can be affected and ineffective digestion of breastmilk and formula can cause major discomfort in your baby, leading to colic episodes.
The adjustments that a chiropractor will do on your baby is basically applying gently pressure with the finger to areas on the neck and back. You may see your baby totally relax before your eyes as the misalignments are corrected.
As with selecting any health care provider, you need to ask questions first. In this case, "Have you adjusted other infants?" would be most important. Ask for referrals that you can contact if you are unsure.
Chiropractic care can be very valuable in helping to calm the colic tendencies.
Reference: 2000 - 2004 ColicHelp.com
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most expensive of all work- related injuries. Over his or her lifetime, a carpal tunnel patient loses about $30,000 in medical bills and time absent from work. In 1998, an estimated 3 of every 10,000 workers took time off from work because of CTS. Half of them missed more than IO workdays.
CTS typically occurs in adults, with women 3 times more likely to develop it than men.The dominant hand is usually affected first, and the pain is typically severe. CTS is especially common in assembly- line workers in manufacturing, sewing, finishing, cleaning, meatpacking, and similar industries. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, according to recent research, people who perform data entry at a computer (up to 7 hours a day) are not at increased risk of developing CTS.
What Is CTS?
CTS is a problem of the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand. The median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of the thumb, index, and middle fingers and regulates the function of some small muscles in the hand that move the fingers and thumb. CTS occurs when the median nerve gets compressed in the carpal tunnel-a narrow tunnel at the wrist-made up of bones and soft tissues, such as nerves, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. The compression may result in pain, weakness, and/or numbness in the hand and wrist, which radiates up into the forearm. CTS is the most common of the "entrapment neuropathies"-compression or trauma of the body's nerves in the hands or feet. A similar condition in the foot is called tarsal tunnel syndrome.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms usually begin gradually. Burning, tingling, itching, and/ or numbness in the palm of the hand and thumb, index, and middle fingers are most common. Some people with CTS say that their fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent. Since many people sleep with flexed wrists, the symptoms often first appear while sleeping. When this happens, some people feel the need to "shake off the numbness." As symptoms worsen, they may feel tingling during the day. In addition, weakened grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. Some people develop wasting of the muscles at the base of the thumb. Some are unable to distinguish hot from cold by touch.
Why Does CTS Develop?
Some people have smaller carpal tunnels than others, which makes the median nerve compression more likely. In others, CTS can develop because of an injury to the wrist that causes swelling, over- activity of the pituitary gland, hypothyroidism, diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, mechanical problems in the wrist joint, poor work ergonomics, repeated use of vibrating hand tools, and fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause. In some cases, no cause can be identified.
How Is It Diagnosed?
To avoid permanent damage to the median nerve, CTS should be diagnosed and treated early. A standard physical examination of the hands, arms, shoulders, and neck can help determine if your symptoms are related to daily activities or to an underlying disorder. Your doctor of chiropractic can use other specific tests to try to produce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The most common are:
* Pressure-provocative test. A cuff placed at the front of the carpal tunnel is inflated, followed by direct pressure on the median nerve.
* Carpal compression test. Moderate pressure is applied with both thumbs directly on the carpal tunnel and underlying median nerve at the transverse carpal ligament. The test is relatively new.
Laboratory tests and x-rays can reveal diabetes, arthritis, fractures, and other common causes of wrist and hand pain. Sometimes electrodiagnostic tests, such as nerveconduction velocity testing, are used to help confirm the diagnosis. With these tests, small electrodes, placed on your skin, measure the speed at which electrical impulses travel across your wrist. CTS will slow the speed of the impulses and will
point your doctor of chiropractic to this diagnosis. These tests can also help determine if some other condition is causing your complaints.
What Is the CTS Treatment?
CTS treatment should begin as early as possible under a doctor's supervision. Initial therapy includes:
* Resting the affected hand and wrist
* Avoiding activities that may worsen symptoms
* Immobilizing the wrist in a splint to avoid further damage from twisting or bending
* Applying cool packs to help reduce swelling from inflammations.
Some medications can help with pain control and inflammation. Studies have shown that vitamin Ek supplements may relieve CTS symptoms.
Chiropractic joint manipulation and mobilization of the wrist and hand, stretching and strengthening exercises, soft-tissue mobilization techniques, and even yoga can be helpful. Scientists are also investigating other therapies, such as acupuncture, that may help prevent and treat this disorder. Your doctor of chiropractic can discuss those therapies with you and help you prevent the return of CTS.
Occasionally, patients whose symptoms fail to respond to conservative care may require surgery. The surgeon releases the ligament covering the carpal tunnel.Today, this outpatient procedure is typically done with an endoscope-a camera that the surgeon uses to see inside the carpal tunnel.The majority of patients recover completely after treatment, and the recurrence rate is low. Proper posture and movement as instructed by your doctor of chiropractic can help prevent CTS recurrences.
How Can CTS Be Prevented?
The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following tips:
* Perform on-the-job conditioning, such as stretching and light exercises.
* Take frequent rest breaks.
* Wear splints to help keep the wrists straight.
* Use fingerless gloves to help keep the hands warm and flexible.
* Use correct posture and wrist position. If needed, your doctor of chiropractic can assess your work situation and advise you on restructuring your workstation, job tasks, and handling tools or tool handles, to help you position your wrists naturally during work.
* Your doctor of chiropractic can help educate your employer about CTS. To minimize workplace injuries, jobs can be rotated among workers. Employers can also develop programs in ergonomics-the process of adapting workplace conditions and job demands to workers' physical capabilities.
Your doctor of chiropractic has the knowledge, training, and expertise to help you understand what your problem is and, in many cases, manage it successfully. Remember, however, that the treatment program can be successful only with your active participation. If your doctor of chiropractic feels that he or she cannot help you, he or she will direct you to another health care provider.
It is not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is due to the hormonal changes and increased edema (fluid) in the extremities. Subluxation plays a major role in the formation of carpal tunnel in pregnant women.
ICA International Review of Chiropractic, Jan./Feb. 1993
Since 1985, when the U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) accepted that there were "traumatogens" in the workplace and demanded that repetitive motion disorders be reported, the recorded incidence of cumulative trauma disorders has skyrocketed (Figure 3). About 277,000 cases were reported in 1997, compared with fewer than 50,000 in 1985. CTS has been the fastest growing category, recently accounting for more than 40% of all work-related disabilities. An estimated 26,000 CTS patients in the United States undergo surgical decompression each year. Median time lost from work is about 32 days per patient, more than for any other cause, including back pain.
Source: US Department of Labor
Can You Make Them Go Away?
There are many types and causes of headaches. Regardless of the cause, if you have a headache, you want it to end. Fast! This has produced a huge market for medications that cover up the symptoms of headaches. Powerful drugs can numb your nervous system so the pain doesn't register. While these approaches may be convenient, they can cause adverse effects and kidney or liver damage. Worse, they don't correct the underlying cause of the headache.
A cause of headaches can be from an imbalance of your nervous system. Chiropractic doctors locate areas in the body where there is an imbalance and help balance your body so it can stop screaming at you. While we can't guarantee results, our office has a high success rate with patients who get headaches.
Chronic Migraine Patient Improves With Chiropractic Care
The August 3, 2003 issue of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research reports that a patient suffering from chronic migraine headaches for a number of years responded very favorably to chiropractic care.
The case study involved a professional ice skater who experienced a concussion after falling and hitting her head on the ice. Before the fall, the patient reported no health problems. After the concussion, she began to have tension and migraine headaches that continued for 12 years.
After deciding to visit a chiropractor, examination revealed that she had a subluxation in the upper part of her neck and a program of adjustments was begun. Within threevmonths of beginning chiropractic adjustments, the patient had no more headaches. One year after the initial adjustment, she still remained symptom free.
The authors concluded that there was a link between the patient's concussion, the subluxation and the headaches.
Commentary: We would agree. The fact that the symptoms appeared so soon after the all and resulting concussion and the fact that the symptoms cleared up after beginning chiropractic care certainly suggests that the resulting subluxation was a contributing factor to the migraine headaches.
However, many times after an injury such as the one this skater had, pain or other symptoms do not show up for some time, often years later. Like your teeth, it's not a good idea to wait for symptoms of spinal problems to show up before getting your spine checked. A program of regular chiropractic wellness care will find and correct spinal problems before they have been there long enough to cause symptoms.A February, 2001 report from the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research finds that chiropractic patients experience improvement in the frequency and severity of their headaches.
The study, a literature review performed at Duke University in Durham, NC, collected information from more than 2500 sources.
According to the report, Chiropractic adjustments "appeared to result in immediate improvement in headache severity" in patients experiencing cervicogenic headache.
Source: Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, February, 2001
How Common Are Headaches?
If you have a headache, you're not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea. Headaches may be common, but they should NOT be considered to be normal.
Headaches have many causes, or "triggers." These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems.
Source: American Chiropractic Association Website (www.amerchiro.org)
Types of Foods Which May Cause Headaches
Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and cocoa contain high levels of caffeine.
Foods with a high salt or sugar content may cause migraines, resulting in sensitivity
to light, noise, or abrupt movements.
Alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you and cause headache pain.
Other headache sufferers may want to avoid not only caffeine, but also high-protein foods, dairy products, red meat and salty foods.
Source: American Chiropractic Association Website (www.amerchiro.org
But to get to the bottom of the problem, you first need to find out what is causing your pain. Headaches have many causes, or "triggers." These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems.
Ninety-five percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease. The headache itself is the primary concern.
"The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck," says Dr. George B. McClelland, a doctor of chiropractic from Christiansburg, VA, and chairman of the American Chiropractic Association's (ACA) Board of Governors. "Today, Americans engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache."
What Can You Do?
The ACA suggests the following:
If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise.
Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) - the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull - leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
In addition, the ACA and its Council on Nutrition suggest you avoid the following food "triggers":
Avoid caffeine. Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and cocoa contain high levels of the stimulant.
Avoid foods with a high salt or sugar content. These foods may cause migraines, resulting in sensitivity to light, noise, or abrupt movements.
Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. These drinks can dehydrate you and cause headache pain.
Other headache sufferers may want to avoid not only caffeine, but also high-protein foods, dairy products, red meat and salty foods.
Will I Have To Live With It?
Pain is a warning sign. Like the piercing sound from a smoke alarm, the alarm isn't the problem. The alarm has a cause, just like EVERY ache or pain has a cause. Some people choose to cover up the pain instead of correcting the cause. What's your approach? It makes sense to correct the cause instead of treating the symptom.
The nerve-rich facet joints on the back side of each spinal bone are a common cause of back pain. If these pairs of interlocking "fingers" aren't moving right, they can cause painful symptoms. The discs between spinal bones can be a source of back pain, too. These rings of fibrous tissues act as spacers, connectors and "shock absorbers" for the spine. Trauma can cause the soft, pulpy material in the middle to bulge or herniate, putting pressure on delicate nearby nerves.
Once you know the cause, you have several choices. One approach is bed rest. But research shows that prolonged bed rest can actually delay recovery and make the problem worse!
Physical therapy is another option. But exercising spinal joints that aren't working right is like continuing to drive your car with misaligned tires! Another choice is to numb or cover up the pain with drugs. While drugs can offer temporary relief, they can't correct functional problems of affected spinal joints.
The most drastic measure is surgery. A laminectomy cuts off the offending facet joints, leaving the spinal cord exposed! A spinal fusion cuts out the disc tissue and immobilizes the joint. While there may be times when surgery makes sense, it's expensive, risky and more than half of all back surgeries fail.
More and more people are choosing chiropractic care first due to its safety and outstanding success rate.
Back Pain and Chiropractic:
"...patients suffering from back and/or neck complaints experience chiropractic care as an effective means of resolving or ameliorating pain and functional impairments, thus reinforcing previous results showing the benefits of chiropractic treatment for back and neck pain."
Source: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Verhoef et al. (1997)
"...for the management of low-back pain, chiropractic care is the most effective treatment, and it should be fully integrated into the government's health care system."
Source: The Manga Report (1993)
In the past year over 75% of Americans had back problems. Almost two thirds of those patients were more satisfied with chiropractic therapies than the care given by a medical doctor. Seventy percent of Americans feel it is important to include chiropractic in their health care plan.
ACA's Booklet, American Perception of Practitioners & Treatments for Back Problems
A team of researchers has identified a catch-22 of lower back pain. Those with lower back injuries can worsen their pain by avoiding using hurt muscles. Other muscles, including those in the abdomen or on the sides of the torso, contort to compensate, leading to greater pressure on the spine and damaging discs.
Source: 2004 Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Back Pain Is The Leading Cause Of Limitation!
According to the National Institutes of Health (Harris et al. 1999), lower back pain is one of the most significant health problems in the United States, with back pain being the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people younger than 45 years of age: 65-80% of all people have back pain at some time in their life.
Source: 1995-2004 Life Extension Foundation .
Researchers state of the 300,000+ spinal disc surgeries as many as 90% are unnecessary and ineffective
Source: Finneson BF. A lumbar disc surgery predictive score card: a retrospective evaluation," Spine (1979): 141-144
Annual costs of back pain in the U.S. range from $20 to $75 billion, and as much as $100 billion worldwide.
Source: Bigos S, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults, Clinical Practice
Guideline No. 14. Rockville, MD: U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Dept. of
Health and Human Services, AHCPR Pub. No. 95-0642, Dec. 1994
It is estimated that more people see chiropractors for back problems than for all other ailments combined. Chiropractic spinal adjustments has been recognized by the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research as an effective therapy for acute low-back pain. Chiropractic adjustments has been found to be more beneficial to patients with persistent back and neck complaints than other forms of manipulation. Research in Great Britain found chiropractic to provide "worthwhile, long-term benefits" for patients with low back pain in comparison to hospital outpatient management. This study also found chiropractic benefits to persist for a three-year period, indicating long-term benefits. For patients with uncomplicated, acute low back pain, chiropractic has also been found to be effective. A cost comparison study of back-related injuries showed the number of work days lost for patients treated with chiropractic to be nearly ten times less than that of patients treated under medical care. Also, average compensation costs for chiropractic care were $68.38, compared to $668.39 for patients treated with standard, non-surgical treatments.
Source: 1998-2004 ICBS, Inc.
Low Back Pain Facts
80-90% of all adults will suffer with low back pain some time in their life.
Low back pain is the leading cause of disability for people under 45 years of age.
Low back pain is the second leading cause of visits to doctors' offices.
Low back pain is the third leading reason for hospital admissions.
Annual costs of back pain in the U.S. range from $20-$75 billion, and as much as $100 billion worldwide.
Statistics indicate a yearly prevalence rate of 15-20% -- approximately 32 million cases.
Source: Bigos S, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults, Clinical Practice
Guideline No. 14. Rockville, MD: U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Dept. of
Health and Human Services, AHCPR Pub. No. 95-0642, Dec. 1994.
In August 1999, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas, presented a study aimed at determining the cost and effectiveness of treating back pain with chiropractic compared with other techniques.
The results showed that 38 percent of the patients chose to seek chiropractic care rather than medical care.
Source: 1998-2004 ICBS, Inc.
Does Back Pain Go Away on Its Own?
Eighty percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor's office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic, i.e., not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, or cancer.
What Causes Back Pain?
The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements-for example, picking up a pencil from the floor-can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can also directly result from disease of the internal organs, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss.
Back injuries are a part of everyday life, and the spine is quite good at dealing with these often "pulled" muscles. These very minor injuries usually heal within 1 or 2 days. Some pain, however, continues. What makes some pain last longer is not entirely understood, but researchers suspect that the reasons may include stress, mood changes, and the fear of further injury that may prevent patients from being active. In addition, sometimes a painful injury or disease changes the way the pain signals are sent through the body, and, even after the problem has gone away or is inactive, the pain signals still reach the brain. It is as if the pain develops a memory that keeps being replayed.
Will Back Pain Go Away on Its Own?
Until recently, researchers believed that back pain will "heal" on its own. We have learned, however, that this is not true. A recent study showed that when back pain is not treated, it may go away temporarily but will most likely return. The study demonstrated that in more than 33% of the people who experience low-back pain, the pain lasts for more than 30 days. Only 9% of the people who had low-back pain for more than 30 days were pain free 5 years later.1
Another study looked at all of the available research on the natural history of low-back pain. The results showed that when it is ignored, back pain does not go away on its own.2 Those studies demonstrate that low-back pain continues to affect people for long periods after it first begins.
What Can I Do to Prevent Long-Term Back Pain?
If your back pain is not resolving quickly, visit your doctor of chiropractic. Your pain will often result from mechanical problems that your doctor of chiropractic can address. Many chiropractic patients with relatively long-lasting or recurring back pain feel improvement shortly after starting chiropractic treatment.3 The relief they feel after a month of treatment is often greater than after seeing a family physician.4
Chiropractic spinal adjustments are a safe and effective spine pain treatment. It reduces pain, decreases medication, rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.5
How Can I Prevent Back Pain?
Don't lift by bending over. Instead, bend your hips and knees and then squat to pick up the object. Keep your back straight, and hold the object close to your body.
Don't twist your body while lifting.
Push, rather than pull, when you must move heavy objects.
If you must sit for long periods, take frequent breaks and stretch.
Wear flat shoes or shoes with low heels.
Exercise regularly. An inactive lifestyle contributes to lower-back pain.
What Should I Tell My Doctor of Chiropractic?
Before any treatment session, tell your doctor of chiropractic if you experience any of the following:
Pain goes down your leg below your knee.
Your leg, foot, groin, or rectal area feels numb.
You have fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, weakness, or sweating.
You lose bowel control.
Your pain is caused by an injury.
Your pain is so intense you can't move around.
Your pain doesn't seem to be getting better quickly.
Hestbaek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Engberg M, Lauritzen T, Bruun NH, Manniche C.
The course of low-back pain in a general population. Results from a 5-year
prospective study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2003 May;26(4):213-9.
Hestbaek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Manniche C. Low-back pain: what is the
long-term course? A review of studies of general patient populations.
Eur Spine J 2003 Apr;12(2):149-65.
Stig LC, Nilsson O, Leboeuf-Yde C. Recovery pattern of patients treated
with chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for long-lasting or recurrent low
back pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 May;24(4):288-91.
Nyiendo J, Haas M, Goodwin P. Patient characteristics, practice activities,
and one-month outcomes for chronic, recurrent low-back pain treated by
chiropractors and family medicine physicians: a practice-based feasibility study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000 May;23(4):239-45.
Time to recognize value of chiropractic care? Science and patient satisfaction
surveys cite usefulness of spinal manipulation. Orthopedics Today February
Over the years, chiropractic physicians have reported success in treating a variety of conditions associated with bacterial and viral infection. Chiropractic adjustments of the vertebrae has an influence on neurologic function, lymphatic drainage, blood flow and muscle tension. Recent research by Patricia C Brennan, Ph.D., suggests that chiropractic adjustments may also have a great effect on certain aspects of immune function. Her group showed that when the thoracic spine (mid-back) was adjusted, the respiratory burst cycle of white blood cells was enhanced. Chiropractic adjustments is thought to stimulate immune function, in part by promoting the release of endorphins long associated with improving immunity.
Source: Gregory R. Salmond, D.C.
Understanding the Link Between Chiropractic and Your Immune System
by Dr. Paul Newton
It’s usually about this time of the year when I start hearing comments like "Gee, I haven’t been sick yet this year!" or "Our family hasn’t had any colds this winter!" People are quite surprised by how much better their immune system is working since they’ve been under chiropractic care. These people understood that the nervous system controlled and coordinated every other system in the body but they didn’t believe it
until they experienced it first hand.
When a new person begins chiropractic care, we spend a great deal of time and effort to educate him/her about the body’s capabilities when the nervous system is free of stress. We explain how every system in your body requires non-stop direction and feedback from the brain and spinal cord to make sure it is doing its job perfectly. This includes the immune system.
Most grasp this concept rather enthusiastically because they realize that their body wants to be healthy and it just needs a chance to do it on its own. The problem we encounter occurs when this new person comes down with something, runs to the doctor and gets put on antibiotics. The old belief system overrides all concepts of self-healing because an infection made them sick.
Oddly enough, many people do get sick shortly after beginning chiropractic care. As discouraging as this is to most, this is a very positive healing response. Have you ever, in a moment of inspiration, decided to clean up your desk, your office, your basement etc. because you felt it would have a positive impact on your life? You didn’t like the way you were operating and decided that things needed to change. Your body does the same thing.
When you get adjusted and your body releases stress that has been preoccupying most of its systems, your body gets inspired and decides to change the state of affairs. It doesn’t like all the critters that have taken up residence so it mounts an immune response to kill them all. This makes us feel discomfort and we have been taught through experience that this means we are sick. Most of us just want the
discomfort to stop so we ask our doctor for something to make it go away. We take some medicine and demotivate the body, forcing it to return to its original state.
Chiropractors have been telling people this for years and it is very exciting for us to finally see some scientific proof. New research in the area of neuroimmunobiology has shown that there are nerve endings in the body’s immune tissues. Scientists now believe that the nervous system and the immune system may be connected. It’s always nice to have some scientific validation!
So do I think all medicine is bad? No. Sometimes when we let our bodies get so run down that many of our immune responses are ineffective, life-threatening infections can take hold in places where bacteria can never get in a healthy person. Take pneumonia for example. This disease that used to affect and kill only very sick people is showing up routinely in the public. Antibiotics may be necessary to remove the immediate threat but once the infection is under control, is that person really healthy?
If you’re sick of your yearly bout of bronchitis or afraid of what your kids bring home from school, it’s time to build up your defenses. Regular chiropractic care is an integral step towards perfect health. You andyour family need regular adjustments to keep your systems in perfect working order.
Source: 2002-2001 Filosofi Health Management Corporation
Chiropractic works on the body's immune system and its cells through the nervous system, because the CD4 (T4) cells of the immune system have tiny nerves going to them. Chiropractic adjustments correct for interference to our main nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which then has a positive effect on the rest of our nervous system and body.
Source: Life College, Atlanta, GA, USAResearch on Upper Cervical
Adjustments and CD4 Cell Count
Did you know that the nervous system directly and indirectly controls the immune system. It's called - psychoneuroimmunology.
Source: Dr. Christopher Kent ICA Convention Atlanta Georgia, 1999
There is an increasing body of evidence that the nervous system is capable of modulating the immune response. It is theorized that spinal fixations may adversely affect the immune response through somatosympathetic reflexes.
Spinal adjustments can correct the spinal fixations and may eliminate the adverse affects of somatosympathetic reflexes.
Source: Fidelibus JC. An overview of neuroimmunomodulation and a possible
correlation with musculoskeletal system function.J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1989;12(4):289-292 / Medline ID: 89361050
Psychological stress can produce physiological changes that suppress the immune system making us prone to illness. Positive feelings and states of expectancy, can work not only to enhance our health but to eliminate disease.
Source: David S. Sobel, MD, MPH, The Healing Brain, A Scientific Reader,
Edited by Robert Ornstewin, PhD and Charles Swencionis, PhD The Gilford
Press, New York, 1990
The peak incidence of SIDS occurs between the ages of 2 and 4 months in the US; precisely when the first two routine immunizations are given.
Source: Today's Chiropractic: March/April 2002
Besides the possible link between subluxation and SIDS, the lifelong health benefits which may follow adjustment shortly after birth should be the subject of additional research. Changing the world begins by adjusting one child.
For years, the tragedy of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has baffled the medical community. Now, a new book offers compelling theories that connect many unexplained infant deaths to brain stem malfunction caused by vertebral subluxation, or spinal misalignment.
SIDS claims the lives of approximately 3,000 infants in the United States each year. Today, more children die of SIDS in one year than all children who die of cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, child abuse, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined.
The brain stem is the control center for respiration and cardiac function.
There are in excess of 100 medical research papers pointing to brain stem abnormalities as the cause of SIDS.
Through atlas subluxations, the brain stem malfunctions, causing the infant to stop breathing and die.
The authors suggest that chiropractors should examine and correct the spines of infants to increase their health potential and decrease their risk of SIDS.
Reference: "The Best-Kept Secret to Raising a Healthy Child...and The Possible
Prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)" is based on 10 years of
research and more than 100 medical research papers that suggest a brain stem-spinal connection.
The American Chiropractic Association sponsored a study to try and determine what people were doing about their back pains. 800 adults were surveyed, all of whom were suffering from chronic low back pain at the time of the survey. To properly frame this study it’s important to realize that 80% of people will have at least one incident of lower back pain sometime in their lives. The second most common reason to visit a doctor is back pain, and the cost of this so-called benign condition is over $90 billion dollars in the US alone; which is, evidently, about 1% of the gross domestic product. According to the article, lower back pain is the most common cause of disability in people under 45. With all these facts in mind, knowing what people do to try and help their pains and where chiropractic fits in is very relevant.
Some of the survey’s findings were surprising. 85% of people surveyed had suffered from lower back pain for 3 years, 71% for 5 years or more, so you can readily see that we are not dealing with the general population here. The causes of pain listed by those surveyed ranged from an injury or accident (18%), degenerative disc disease (12.5%), herniated disc (10.3%), arthritis (10%) to “nothing” (2.6%).
For 65% of these people when their pain first began, their first treatment choice was medicine, their GP or family doctor. 18.8% chose to see a chiropractor. Of course, the most common form of treatment was drugs: 27% analgesics or narcotics, 25% OTC meds such as Tylenol or Advil, 19.6% used muscle relaxants and 18% took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. Many people actually took a combination of these drugs. 10.8% the 800 people surveyed used chiropractic to control their pain.
So, in spite of all these drugs, it would appear that most people found their treatments to be largely ineffective because 40% reported their back pains as “severe” or “very severe”, while less than 31% felt that their pains were “under control” or “completely under control”. Over 40% of those questioned said that their pains were “not under control” or “not under control at all”. Sad isn’t it? All those drugs, with their inherent and potentially lethal side-effects and such poor results; drugs for chronic lower back
pain simply don’t work that well.
Here’s an interesting thing: 64.4% of people said that they would consider seeing a chiropractor and over 80% answered that they would prefer to avoid medications. So you need to ask yourself, “If the drugs they are taking are mostly ineffective, if they would prefer not to take drugs at all, and 2/3’s would consider going to a chiropractor, why aren’t more going?” That’s a great question, and I wish I had an answer. Perhaps it’s the cost. In some circles, chiropractic care is seen as expensive and elitist. Maybe
it’s our image, we are often perceived to be somewhat “kooky”, and a few chiropractors admittedly do go “over the top” with their claims. We have had a pile of bad press in the past couple of years, but that’s not really new. Our critics in medicine seem to go to great lengths to discredit us in the media. But perhaps we, as a profession, need to do more public education. Chiropractic is a wonderful and effective alternative. We offer people a choice as a safe, natural and drug-free method of pain control. Not just lower back pain, but neck, shoulder, arm, hip and leg pain as well. Why not give us a try?
Source: This study was written up in the October 7th, 2004 edition of Dynamic
Chiropractic, our profession’s largest periodical.
Growing Pains a.k.a. non-specific leg pain. As many as 10-20% of children may complain of vague leg pain on a recurrent basis. The diagnosis commonly provided is, "growing pains" The pain is usually unilateral and is located deep in the leg most commonly in the thigh, knee or calf. This type of leg pain typically occurs at night when the child is in bed and lasts 30 minutes to one hour. Systemic signs and symptoms are absent and x-ray findings and blood tests are normal.
The problem is most likely caused by sacroiliac subluxation on the side of leg pain and usually responds immediately to adjustments of the associated area.
Source: By: Peter N. Fysh, D.C., B.App.Science - International Review of
Chiropractic - January/February 1993
As a chiropractor who has been in practice for 28 years, I have seen hundreds of cases of sciatica. Most times these conditions clear up relatively quickly with spinal adjustments to the lower lumbar vertebrae and sacroiliac joints. But occasionally, a case of sciatica will prove to be chronic and difficult to respond. A sciatic sufferer sometimes needs to be what he is known as …”patient” while I continue to do what I do…”practice”.
Sciatic neuralgia is mostly caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve as it exits the lower spine from between the lumbar vertebrae. These vertebrae can irritate or “pinch” the nerve due to one or more physical scenarios. A loss of normal motion between these bones can result in an irritation of the sciatic nerve. A degenerative process in the intervertebral disc can cause mechanical pressure to the nerve. A misplacement of one of the vertebrae can mechanically pinch the nerve. A swelling, protrusion or herniation of the disc can also pinch the nerve.
All of these conditions respond well to chiropractic care, some quicker than others. An actual herniation of an intervertebral disc, however, is an extremely tough clinical condition for a chiropractor to deal with alone. These patients are generally in very acute difficulty, often completely disabled, barely able to arise from bed and in excruciating pain. These patients require strong analgesics and even narcotics often times do not give them adequate relief. Acute sciatica is said to be the worst pain that a human has to endure next to stones in the renal ureter.
The sciatic nerve arises from the spine in the lower 3 lumbar vertebrae and is the longest and largest nerve in the body. As it passes through the upper gluteal region, it is frequently as thick as your thumb. When it becomes inflamed it creates a condition which we call sciatica. Not all leg pain is sciatica, but virtually all sciatica involves leg pain. Usually felt in the back of the thigh, calf, ankle and top or bottom of the foot, sciatica often causes sensations of burning, cramping, tingling, numbness and depending on the level of acuteness, degrees of pain ranging from an aching nuisance to throbbing to extreme and overt pain. In severe cases, absent or diminished reflexes and wasting or atrophy of muscles can occur. In rare instances, a patient can even lose bladder and bowel control.
Causes of sciatica are varied. It can result from a sudden trauma, a strenuous attempt to lift, pull or push something, a false or sudden rotational motion, or even the jolt of a violent sneeze or cough. Most times, however, sciatica is the result of cumulative or repetitive small traumas. Sciatica may appear suddenly or gradually and may first be noticed while walking or slouching in a chair. It is often the result of some trauma that occurred months or even years before. Generally, I have noticed, the sciatic sufferer has had a history of minor low back occurrences, which they have chosen to ignore. And because that soreness that they felt upon arising each morning always went away after a bit, the person assumed that AM pain was “normal”.
Sciatica can also be related to various non-spinal conditions, such as constipation, advanced diabetes, tumours and even some vitamin deficiencies. Other musculoskeletal conditions can result in a bout of sciatica. Spasms, hypertonicities, and bursitic conditions in and around the hip and gluteal region can also irritate the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica is ultimately about inflammation of the nerve. Therefore, rest, ice when acute and care not to cause further irritation, will cause the pain to eventually resolve by itself. However, if the original cause is not identified and corrected, further episodes are a very real possibility. This process of spontaneous resolution may take weeks and often is not complete; often leaving the individual with residual leg or hip pain, numbness, muscle weakness, and reduced stamina, especially with walking.
It is best with these conditions to get some professional advice as early attention can often mean much earlier resolution. As chiropractors, we have been recognized as experts in the area of low back problems and sciatica for decades. Consequently, it would behoove someone suffering from sciatica to seek the help of a reliable and experienced chiropractor.
Author: Dr. David L. Phillips
Published on: June 12, 2001
What Causes Neck Pain?
Your neck is the most vulnerable part of your spine. Not only does it support your 10-12 pound head, maintain a gentle forward curve, and permit head rotation, but it must also allow the free flow of nerve impulses to the head, face, hands and the rest of your body. Besides discomfort and annoyance, chronic neck pain is a sign that something is wrong.
Many everday things can cause neck pain, such as watching TV, using your computer, reading a book or falling asleep in a chair or on an airplane. The temporary pain that results can resolve on its own, especially when the offending activity is discontinued. When it doesn't, a more serious underlying problem may be indicated.
A thorough examination can determine if you're a good candidate for chiropractic care. The most common cause of neck pain is functional distortions in the spine resulting in an imbalance of the nervous system. Chiropractic care should be able to help. Our response to stress is another common cause of neck pain. Deadlines. Rush-hour traffic. Overcommitments. Work pressures. Family obligations.... Ever meet someone who was a "pain in the neck"? Each of us is susceptible to people and circumstances. These perceptions can show up as episodes of neck pain. If the weakest and most vunerable area in our bodies is our neck, stress shows up there. While chiropractic care cannot reduce the stress of your busy life, it can help improve your ability to handle and adapt in a positive way. Without drugs or surgery!
Research on Neck Pain
Neck pain is a common neuromusculoskeletal disorder in the United States, with an estimated prevalence rate of 13 to 18 % within the general population. Doctors of chiropractic commonly treat patients with neck pain. In fact, a study involving 7,527 patients revealed that 12.7% presented to DCs complaining of neck pain and a study by Wolsko, et al. found that chiropractic was used by 20% of 644 patients with back or neck pain.
Source: Michael Haneline, DC - American Chiropractic Association - October 2004
183 adults were randomly selected to receive manual therapy, physiotherapy (PT) or care from a general practitioner (GP) for six weeks. All of the patients suffered neck pain for a minimum of two weeks; 66 percent had received some form of treatment for the condition prior to enrolling in the study.
Manual therapy consisted of a variety of interventions, including hands-on techniques such as low-velocity spinal mobilization, a technique the authors noted is utilized frequently by doctors of chiropractic. Spinal manipulation was not provided, however. Treatment sessions lasted 45 minutes once per week, for a maximum of six sessions.
Physiotherapy consisted of postural relaxation exercises, stretching and functional exercises, but the mobilization techniques offered in the manual therapy group were discouraged from use. PT treatments were offered twice a week (30 minutes per session) for a maximum of 12 sessions.
Source: Dynamic Chiropractic, 2003.
Risk Factors for Neck Pain
More and more people are now making their living sitting at a desk. The use of computers have risen astronomically and many of us spend eight to ten hours a day slumped over the keyboard and staring at the monitor. When we sit with our head in a forward bent position, the posture that most desk workers assume, the ligaments that hold the facets together and the muscles in the neck are put under tremendous strain. In addition the normal forward curve of the neck becomes reversed causing more stress upon all the surrounding tissues of the neck. All of this can lead to spinal problems including disc herniation and subluxations, which are the main causes of spinal nerve irritation. Besides pain, spinal nerve irritation in the neck can cause symptoms including headaches, eye problems, giddiness, arm and hand pain and paraesthesia, as well as shoulder pain.
Source: Chiropractic Care Pte Ltd
GP care consisted mainly of a "wait and see" approach that included advice offered by a general practitioner, along with an educational booklet. Drugs were prescribed if necessary, but patients were encouraged to await "spontaneous recovery." Patients had the option of 10-minute follow-up visits with the doctor every two weeks.
Outcomes of care were measured at the start of the study and at 3-, 7-, 13- and 52-week intervals. At 26 weeks' follow-up, patients received a mail-in questionnaire. Among the outcomes measured, patients rated their perceived recovery from neck pain; intensity of pain, functional disability and utility with questionnaires.
Manual therapy was considered "the most effective treatment" in the study. After seven weeks, recovery rates in the manual-therapy group were 68 percent, compared to 51 percent and 36 percent in the PT and GP groups, respectively. Differences in recovery rates remained statistically significant at the 26-week mark, and were still superior for manual therapy at 52 weeks.
The association of psychosocial factors and chronic neck pain is well established. The UCLA Neck Pain Study offers an opportunity to address these concerns. Three-hundred-thirty-six neck pain patients presenting to a large managed-care facility between February, 1998 and June, 2000 were randomized to 8 treatment groups in a balanced 2x2x2 factorial design: spinal manipulation with and without heat therapy and with and without electrical muscle stimulation; and spinal mobilization with and without heat therapy and with and with out electrical muscle stimulation.
Two-hundred-sixty-nine patients (80%) were followed over six months. Primary outcome measures are average and most severe neck pain intensity over the past week, and neck-pain related disability. Psychosocial factors (perceived occupational stressors, locus of control, sense of personal responsibility for one's health, perceived social support, and seeing oneself as sickly) varied considerably among the study participants, but were not related to clinical outcomes. The results were consistent across all treatment groups. Chiropractic care appears to be equally effective for patients regardless of their psychosocial situation.
Source: Michael S. Goldstein, PhD1, Hal Morgenstern, PhD2, Eric Hurwitz, DC, PhD3, and Fei Yu, PhD3. (1) Department of Community Health Sciences, Universtiy of
California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health, 10833 Le Conte Ave., Los
Angeles, CA 90095, 310-825-5116, firstname.lastname@example.org, (2) Department of
Epidemiology, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health,
10833 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90095, (3) Department of Epidemiology,
UCLA, School of Public Health, 10833 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90095
During the birthing process, there is a relatively small area to pass through considering the size of the infant. During the delivery process, in order to minimize discomfort of the mother and baby, abnormally excessive and unnatural forces are commonly used. This can and commonly does result in injuries to the infant's spine - especially the cervical spine. As the months and years go by, the spine grows and develops at a very rapid pace. When the baby begins to crawl and then walk, a number of seemingly minor falls and collisions will occur as balance and the knowledge of physics is still developing. As the youngster proceeds through childhood, the minor collisions become severe and more frequent. The physical traumas will continue into adolescence especially in the active and athletic youngsters.
Source: ProfessionalPlanets.com™ 1999
More and more parents are seeking chiropractic care for their children. Many spinal problems seen in adults began as early as birth. Even so called 'natural' birthing methods can stress an infant's spine and developing nerve system. The resulting irritation to the nerve system caused by spinal and cranial misalignment can be the cause of many newborn health complaints. Colic, breathing problems, nursing difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions and chronic infections can often be traced to nerve system stress.
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked right away. As the infant grows, learning to hold up the head, sit, crawl and walk are all activities that affect spinal alignment and are important times to have a child checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic.
As the child begins to participate in regular childhood activities like skating or riding a bike, small yet significant spinal misalignments (subluxations) may occur. If neglected, the injuries during this period of rapid growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. Subtle trauma throughout childhood will affect the future development of the spine leading to impaired nervous system function. Any interference to the vital nerve system will adversely affect the body’s ability to function at its best.
One of the most common reason parents seek care for their child is trauma from an injury of some sort. These misalignments may or may not result in immediate pain or symptoms. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal injury from these traumas, make the correction early in life and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Proper spinal hygiene is an important key to better health.
Another sought out reason for care is the resolution of a particular symptom or condition. Parents seek care for conditions such as colic, ear infections, asthma, allergies and headaches (to name a few) because they have heard from other parents that chiropractic care can help.
It is important to understand that the doctor of chiropractic does not treat conditions or diseases. The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function. The bones of the spine, the vertebrae, house and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is an extension of the brain and carries information from the brain to the body parts and back to the brain again. Subluxations interfere with the nerves’ ability to transmit this vital information.
The nerve system controls and coordinates the function of all the systems in the body: circulatory, respiratory, digestive, hormonal, eliminative and immune system. Any aspect of health may be impaired by nerve interference. The chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function allowing the body the ability to express a greater state of health and well-being.
The doctor of chiropractic will take a case history and perform a chiropractic exam to determine if spinal subluxations exist. Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to fit a child's size, weight, and unique spinal condition. They are both gentle and specific to the child’s developing spinal structures. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to subsequent visits. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.
Reference: ICPA - International Chiropractic Pediatric Association - website: http://www.icpa4kids.org/why/whychiro.htm
Call it what you will. Muscle stiffness? Muscle spasms? Muscle fatigue? Or choose one of the more ominous and scientific names like fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscular rheumatism, myofascial syndrome, or myositis. Whatever the name, there's still pain and pain is not normal!
Maybe the problem is something a little harder to pin down.
For example, do you or anyone you know experience:
* Constant pain between the shoulder blades?
* Incessant neck, shoulder or hip pains?
* Occasional numbness or tingling in the arms or legs?
There is really only one course of action (after a more serious medical diagnosis has been ruled out): a visit to your chiropractor. Don't settle for what we have seen so many others in constant pain settle for--a lifetime commitment to Advil for pain relief. Why? Because in time whatever pain-relieving pill you're popping is going to begin to work less and less, ultimately requiring larger doses or stronger medications. It's expensive. It's inconvenient, it doesn't work (it only masks the pain for a short time) and it's no way to live!
If you think about it, all a drug does is treat the symptom or effect of the problem. Do you really expect your health problem to go away by only treating the effect?
"Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better. When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I'm about three inches taller and everything's in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I'm one step ahead of the game."
Tom Brady 3 Super Bowl Championship Rings MVP award winner Quarterback - New England Patriots
"Being a chiropractor patient has really helped me immensely." "...lifting weights and seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis has made me a better golfer. I've been going to Chiropractors for as long as I can remember. It's as important to my training as practicing my swing."
Tiger Woods - PGA Professional
"Dr. Andrew Klein, the official chiropractor for the 2000 U.S. Olympic medical staff, identified a key reason why athletes have taken to chiropractic: it keeps them in top shape—without the use of drugs. “Athletes have come to rely on manual therapy because the list of banned substances [for the Olympics] is so long, and also because they feel it enhances their performance."
Source: ACA Journal, September 21, 2000. CHIROPRACTIC CARE:
BACKING UP OLYMPIC ATHLETES
90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine.
Source: Dr. Roger Sperry, Noble Prize recipient for brain research
In one study of fifty athletes, 25 received Chiropractic care and 25 athletes served as controls. They used 11 separate tests to measure different aspects of athletic ability. After 6 weeks, the chiropractic group had shown an 18% improvement in eye-hand coordination, while the control group had only shown
a 1% response. After 12 weeks, the Chiropractic group had exhibited more than 30% improvement.
Source: Lauro A. Mouch B. Chiropractic: The Journal of Chiropractic
Research and Clinical Investigation. 1991; 6:84-87
More and more professional sports teams are utilizing chiropractic care for their team members.
45% of the trainers themselves had been to a chiropractor.
71% of the trainers had worked professionally with a chiropractor.
77% of the trainers have referred players to a chiropractor.
100% of the trainers revealed that some players use a chiropractor without being referred by the team doctor.
81% of the trainers agree that there is a role for chiropractors in the NFL.
An additional 12% of teams that do not have chiropractors on staff refer players to chiropractors.
Source: 2003-2004 Connecticut Chiropractic Association
Dennis Hall, Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, says, "Chiropractic speeds my recovery time, improves my flexibility, helps my breathing and allows me to wrestle without pain and perform better."
Source: Today's Chiropractic, Nov./Dec. 1996, Muscle and Fitness Magazine - Nov. 1995
The Brain is protected by the skull, and the spinal cord is surrounded by 24 moveable vertebrae - these are like the "circuit breakers" of the nervous system.
Your brain monitors every cell, muscle, gland, organ, and system in your body by sending and receiving information via the spine.
One would deduce that if you want your entire body to function at its maximum potential, you need a nervous system that is CLEAR of any and all interference.
Chiropractors are the only doctors in the world that are specifically trained to locate, analyze, and correct vertebral subluxations.
Vertebral Subluxations are vertebrae that have misaligned and cause nervous system interference
When the spine and nervous system are clear of interference, your body can function at its maximum performance!
And that's why Chiropractic has become an essential part of every major sports team.
It's the NEW drug-free secret weapon!
Source: Dr. Len Schwartz, Sports Performance and Chiropractic, March
2000 - Philadelphia, PA 19115
A recent study published in the March/April 2002 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, (JMPT) examined the usage of chiropractic care by National Football League teams throughout the US. The Journal article reported on the results of a survey of NFL trainers on their usage and referral to chiropractic care. Participants of the survey were head athletic trainers of the 36 National Football League teams. They were all men, and all had at least 17 years of experience and had served with their present team in their current position for a minimum of 1 year.
The results of the survey showed that 45% percent of the trainers themselves have been treated by a chiropractor. Presently 31% of NFL teams use chiropractors in an official capacity as part of their staffs. However, even though not necessarily on the staff of the NFL team a full 77% of the trainers
have referred to a chiropractor for evaluation or treatment. Probably the most telling result of the survey is that 100% of trainers agree that some players use chiropractic care without referral from team medical staff.
In addition to NFL players, many athletes from many sports depend on chiropractic care. One such athlete is John Stockton, a professional basketball player and future hall of famer. In an April 2, 2002 article that appeared in the Toronto Star, writer Doug Smith asks and answers the question concerning John Stockton's longevity, "What is the secret to John Stockton's continued success on the NBA basketball court at age 40? A Good Chiropractor." When asked to explain his usage of chiropractic John's response was, "I'm not a good enough expert on what that (chiropractic) entails, but it's not just adjustments, it's balancing muscles and overall health." John then added, "it's been great for me, and for my family."
Athletes and Chiropractic make a perfect team. Chiropractors are showing more and more athletes how
to increase and improve their athletic performance by keeping their spine and nervous system free of
Over 2,500 out of approximately 3,000 newborn infants, ranging in age from one hour to 21 days old, have been treated for breastfeeding difficulties over a seven-year period with chiropractic spinal adjustments and cranial and TMJ procedures. The newborns were all delivered without drugs by a midwife either at the Gentle Birth Center (a free-standing birth center) or at home. The babies were all very healthy at birth, and the majority were seen by the pediatrician within a 24-hour period following birth. Birth trauma seems to occur in all babies, especially to the cranium. All the babies were unable to breastfeed with ease utilizing proper technique. All babies treated exhibited a unilateral or bilateral TMJ syndrome as the primary cause. In all cases, AK cranial and TMJ procedures, and/or Upledger cranial procedures, eliminated or greatly improved infant breastfeeding performance after only one adjustment, in 90 percent of newborns seen within 21 days after birth. The newborn is usually seen once a week for 2-4 visits. From clinical experience, the most dramatic and powerful single adjustment with a 99.9 percent success rate in eliminating and/or preventing breastfeeding difficulties occurs when the newborn is adjusted several minutes to 48 hours after birth.
Source: Victoria Arcadia, DC --, Dynamic Chiropractic, 2003.
Do I Have a Slippled Disc?
The intervetebral disc is a special type of cartilage that connects and cushions the 24 bones of your spinal column. Each disc attaches to the vertebra above and below it. This provides the proper spacing for pairs of nerve roots to exit the spine from between each joint. A disc can thin, wedge, bulge, protrude, tear or herniate, but it doesn't slip! Safe and natural chiropractic care can help. Trauma produces the most common form of disc injury. Spinal misalignments can cause disc tissue to adapt into a wedge-like shape. This is the earliest stage of disc damage. While this position can encroach upon adjacent nerve tissue, pain or other obvious symptoms may not be present. Even before symptoms appear, chiropractic care can be helpful. Uncorrected, long-standing vertebral subluxations can make discs susceptible to damage. "I didn't do a thing" or "I just bent over to tie my shoes" are comments we often hear.
How does chiropractic care help disc problems?
The purpose of chiropractic care is to locate and correct areas of the spine that interfere with the proper nervous system control of your body. Because the intervertebral discs are so close to the spinal cord and nerve roots, disc involvement is quite common in chiropractic cases. Chiropractic adjustments help restore proper motion and position of malfunctioning spinal bones, reducing nervous system involvement. If caught before permanent damage occurs, disc tissue often returns to a more normal size and shape.
Aren't disc problems simply part of the normal aging process?
No. However, many disc problems are the result of years of neglect. Many spinal problems are nonsymptomatic until the advanced stages of degeneration. Many elderly patients who have maintained their spines throughout their lives continue to enjoy excellent spinal health and function.
Chiropractic First. Risky Drugs Second. Surgery Last.