Posts Tagged ‘Pain

05
Nov
13

Chiropractic More Effective for Neck Pain Than Other Therapies


man-with-neck-pain-200-300Neck pain is believed to affect between 10% and 15% of the general population, and is particularly likely in those over 50 years of age. Neck pain is frequently accompanied by headaches, dizziness or other symptoms.  In addition, certain movements or sustained postures of the neck can aggravate the pain and stiffness and add to a limit in range of motion.

Common treatments for neck pain include prescription analgesics along with some type of physical therapy (usually massage, application of heat and/or specialized exercises) to deal with the pain and improve function.  However, the results of a randomized controlled trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that manual therapy, such as chiropractic care performed by a certified chiropractor, was more effective than either physical therapy or continued care by a general practitioner.

The study involved 183 patients between 18 and 70 years of age who had reported having non-specific neck pain for two weeks or more. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: manual therapy, physical therapy or continued care by their physician.

Those referred to a manual therapist had a 45-minute treatment once a week for up to six weeks; those who were treated by a physical therapist had a 30-minute treatment twice a week for up to six weeks; and the remaining patients who were under continuing care from their doctor were given medication to treat pain and inflammation, were instructed in the use of hot compresses and were given exercises they could perform at home to treat their neck pain. All patients included in the study were allowed to use exercises at home, non-prescription pain medication and any medication that his or her physician may have prescribed before the beginning of the study in the treatment of their neck pain.

Seven weeks after the beginning of the study, patients were asked to rate their neck pain, from “much worse” to “completely recovered,” and the researchers compared the number of patients in each group who had reported feeling at least “much improved.” The results indicated that 68.3% of the manual therapy group reported feeling either “much improved” or “completely recovered,” compared with 50.8% of patients in the physical therapy group and 35.9% of patients in the physician-treated group.

Despite the fact that the lead author of the study is a physical therapist, the study noted that “the physical therapy patients achieved significantly worse success rates while using twice the number of patient visits as the manual therapy group.” The researchers concluded that “in daily practice, manual therapy is a favorable treatment option for patients with neck pain compared with physical therapy or continued care by a general practitioner,” and that “primary care physicians should consider [referral for] manual therapy when treating patients with neck pain.”

 

09
Sep
13

How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Brigadier General Becky Halstead


 

Can chiropractic help?Retired Brigadier General Becky Halstead is no stranger to pain. She spent her entire adult life in the military, and was the first female graduate from West Point to become a general officer. She has seen battle all over the world, including in Iraq. But she has also fought her own personal battle—with fibromyalgia.

 

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is still not fully understood, but it involves symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety and depression. “It’s as if your whole body is a bruise … You hurt everywhere,” Halstead says. Even something as simple as showering was painful. “The water hitting your skin, it would feel like it was tearing.”

 

The conventional treatment for fibromyalgia involves pharmaceuticals, which Halstead took for a number of years. However, the drugs have only limited effectiveness, and she did not want them to affect her job. She said “I knew it wasn’t going to kill me—I was just in pain, so I took myself off all prescription drugs when I went into combat. I was in charge of 20,000 soldiers. That’s a huge command, a huge responsibility. I wasn’t going to have someone doubt or wonder whether the prescriptions influenced me or my decisions.”

 

However, it became impossible to continue in the military while dealing with debilitating pain, so she retired from the army in 2008. It was then that she began semi-monthly visits to a chiropractor, and that’s when her health began to turn around. Within a year of beginning chiropractic treatment, she was able to discontinue taking pharmaceuticals entirely by combining regular chiropractic spinal adjustments with nutritional supplements.

 

Halstead says of chiropractic care and how it has helped her, “It’s not like you’re cured, but you feel so much better. They set me on a path of getting well. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in 10 years. I was taking eight or 10 prescription drugs in 2008. The more I went to the chiropractor, the less prescriptions I needed.” She continued, “When I retired, my pain was easily a 9 or 10 (on a 10-point scale) every single day. My pain now is a 2 or 3, and maybe even sometimes a 1. I don’t think I’ve hit a 10 since I started regularly seeing a chiropractor.”

 

“If I had known how much chiropractic care would help me when I was a commander in Iraq and in the United States, I could have taken better care of my soldiers.” Although chiropractic care for military personnel was approved by congress, there are still many treatment facilities that do not have a chiropractor on staff, which Halstead would like to see changed.

 

“Until we’ve done that we have not fulfilled our leadership responsibility,” Halstead said. “If you want to help them, see a congressman and ask ‘aren’t our men and women getting these benefits?’ I’m not a chiropractor I’m a satisfied patient, a beneficiary of their talented hands, minds, and hearts. Go find yourself a chiropractor and change your life!”

 

 

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

 

Dr.Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

http://www.omaha.com/article/20130316/LIVEWELL01/703179900

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t22AVZ44z3A (first of a 4-part series)

 

 

 

 

10
Apr
13

How Do Chiropractors Measure Pain?


Measuring the amount of pain being experienced by a patient is an essential part of chiropractic assessment prior to treatment.  However, unlike objective measures such as the degree of spinal curvature or the range of joint movement, the amount of pain cannot be determined directly, but is instead inferred from the patient themselves or from signs ?????????????????????????????????usually associated with it.  These two methods—patient self-reporting and inference by examination—are the basic tools chiropractors will use to assess a patient’s pain level.

While the degree of discomfort reported by a patient is an important guide, the subjective experience of pain means that each person will have a different level at which they call pain mild, moderate or extreme.  Likewise, patients will all have varying degrees of verbal and physical reactions to different levels of soreness.  Taken together, however, self-reporting and examination provide a combination of evidence which can be used to determine pain levels with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Most chiropractors treating a patient will use an assessment form that asks about the kind of problem that the patient is currently experiencing and the amount of pain it is causing.  A basic diagram of the body may also be used to mark locations and levels of pain.  Further questions, either in the form of a questionnaire or through a patient interview, may be asked to ascertain the frequency of pain and the nature of movements and activities that may trigger pain or worsen it.

The level of perceived discomfort is often assessed using a pain scale in which the patient is asked to assign a figure to their experience such as from 0 (no pain) to 10 (extreme pain).  Although such a scale will be subjective, most patients demonstrate a good deal of internal consistency when it comes to reporting relative pain levels.  This means that patient-reporting using this type of pain scale can be useful in determining whether a condition is responding to treatment over time or getting worse, as well as in determining how pain levels fluctuate over the course of a day or in response to certain kinds of activity.  In addition to the simple pain scale, there are several specially designed questionnaires that are also used to assess the degree of pain and disability associated with spinal injuries, such as the Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale.

Chiropractic assessment of a patient actually begins the moment the patient walks in the door.  A skilled chiropractor can tell much about a condition and how much pain someone is in by their overall posture, how they walk, facial expressions of discomfort and involuntary verbalization.  While being examined, palpation and movement of problem areas will often give rise to further articulation and tensing against painful movement, which provide further clues both to the location and degree of soreness.  A chiropractor may use pain scales during the examination so that patients can communicate in a more focused way how much a certain movement or palpation hurts.  Marking these pain levels on a chart provides a baseline measurement that a chiropractor can use to judge the effectiveness of treatment over time.

Although pain measurement is only one method of assessing both the degree of injury and success of treatment, it is an important one.  Pain is both a clear sign that something is wrong and an impediment to normal daily activity.  In contrast, a reduction in pain following chiropractic therapy increases feelings of wellbeing and provides subjective evidence of improvement.  For the chiropractor too, this is an essential indication that they are doing something right.  Together with other signs such as increased strength, range of movement and endurance, reduced pain is a welcome indicator that a patient is making progress.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

08
Apr
13

What is “Referred Pain”?


“Referred pain” can be a perplexing phenomenon for anyone who experiences it. Referred pain is what happens when you feel pain in an area of your body that is not actually the original source of the pain signals. The most common example of referred pain is when pain is felt in the left arm, neck or jaw of a person suffering a heart areferred-pain-200-300ttack, while they often have no feelings of pain in the chest area itself.

It’s important to note that referred pain is different from radiating pain, in which the pain felt in one area travels down a nerve, causing pain along the length of the nerve. This is often the case with sciatica, where pain originates in the lower back and radiates down the leg.

Researchers are still not exactly sure what causes referred pain. Some experts believe that it is due to a mix-up in nerve messaging. The central nervous system (CNS) is constantly receiving a barrage of different messages from different parts of the body. These messages may get mixed up somewhere along the path between the place where the irritated nerve is signaling and the spinal cord or brain where pain signals are processed. With an extensive network of interconnected sensory nerves that serve the same region of the body, such as the nerves of the lower back, thighs and hips, it may be more common for signals to get mixed up than you might imagine.

Although referred pain is usually felt as painful, it can also cause feelings of numbness, tingling or the sensation of pins and needles. Another example of referred pain is a tension headache, in which headache pain is due to an irritation of the nerves in the neck.

Referred pain tends not to cross sides of the body. In other words, if the pain signals are originating in the liver or gallbladder (which are on the right side of the body), you may feel pain in your right shoulder. If the signals originate in the pancreas (on the left of the body), you may feel pain in your left shoulder, etc.

Chiropractic adjustments can address the source of the referred pain, leading to long-term pain relief. Nerves in the area of the spinal cord that are irritated due to a spinal misalignment (subluxation) can be a cause of referred pain. When your chiropractor adjusts your spine, he or she removes the source of irritation, thus providing relief. Your chiropractor is knowledgeable about which tests can be performed to determine the underlying cause of your pain (whether direct or referred), and can treat it accordingly.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

11
Feb
13

What Causes Headaches and How Can Chiropractic Help?


Headaches are one of the most common types of pain that people experience on a regular basis.  Researchers estimate that nine out of ten Americans suffer from headache pain at some point, helping to put the sales of pain medication through the roof. ????????

Both the frequency and severity of headaches vary greatly from individual to individual.  They range from occasional to near-constant and from mild to throbbing.  Some are bad enough to cause nausea and become debilitating, keeping the sufferer from being able to work and enjoy leisure activities.  Although painkillers are usually the first resort for those suffering from a headache, chiropractic care can help lessen both the incidence and severity of this condition.

The largest percentage of headaches (approximately 95%) fall into a category referred to as “primary headaches”.  These are typically caused by tension in the muscles in the neck area or a misalignment (subluxation) of the neck vertebrae.  A primary headache refers to the kind of headache that is not a symptom of some other underlying illness.  According to Dr. George McClelland, a chiropractor in Virginia, “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.”

The root cause of headaches due to both tension and misalignment is nerve irritation.  The nerve fibers at the base of the neck that connect with the spinal cord and brain become irritated due to muscle tension or to misaligned vertebrae pressing on the spinal cord.  A study performed by researchers at the University of Maryland found that there was a link between tension in the muscles at the base of the neck and headache pain.

In a study conducted by the New Zealand government, the majority of those suffering recurrent headaches from spinal misalignment found that their headaches were relieved by chiropractic manipulation, and many were found to still be pain-free in the two-year follow-up.  A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulation such as that used by chiropractors is more effective and longer-lasting for treating tension headaches than the use of commonly prescribed pain medication.

Your chiropractor can perform a thorough examination to identify the cause of your headache pain.  Depending on your specific circumstances, he or she may then perform a chiropractic adjustment to take the pressure off irritated nerves, easing headache pain.  Your chiropractor can also offer recommendations as to diet, exercise and ergonomics, along with proper posture and relaxation techniques to keep neck tension to a minimum.

Dr. McLelland says, “Doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways – not just back pain.  They know how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and they can take steps to relieve those problems.”

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

07
Jan
13

Pregnancy and Sciatica


Pregnancy involves a broad range of rapid changes to a woman’s physiology, including changes that can vary widely from one woman to the next.  Sciatica is a common symptom associated with pregnancy and is caused by pressure or injury to the sciatic nerve.  The common signs of sciatica are weakness, tingling, numbness and burning pain in the legs, back and buttocks.pregnant-back-pain-200-300

As the fetus grows inside the mother’s womb, the uterus expands and occasionally places pressure against the sciatic nerve in the lower spinal column.  This pressure can become especially evident during the third trimester as the baby begins to shift toward the proper birthing position.  The baby can end up resting directly upon the nerve, creating significant pain.

Approximately half of all pregnant women who suffer from sciatica recover within six weeks of childbirth and almost all (90%) recover within 3 months, although there is a small percentage for whom the pain continues for much longer.

Due to the dangers of taking painkillers and other medication during pregnancy, physicians generally recommend not taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen.  Instead, there are a number of exercises and other options to help relieve the pain of sciatica before and after childbirth.

  • Take frequent rests and avoid spending too much time on your feet.
  • Avoid wearing heeled shoes that may jar your spine.  Soft, flat shoes may be preferable, but if they don’t help, try other types of shoes with different types of heel support.
  • Avoid lifting or carrying heavy objects, but if you absolutely have to, be sure to bend from your knees and maintain a straight back.
  • Place heat or ice packs on the location of the pain.  Use ice for the first couple of days and then heat after that.
  • Take a warm bath.  The heat will help soothe the pain and the buoyancy will take the pressure off.
  • Alternative therapy such as chiropractic care or prenatal massage (by a trained and licensed therapist) can also provide relief.
  • Low impact physical activities such as swimming and prenatal yoga can help stretch the body and readjust the baby’s position, thus taking the pressure off the nerve and reducing the pain.

If the sciatica persists during labor, then the range of positions available for delivery may be limited due to the additional pain.  If you suspect that this may become an issue for you, one alternative may be to ask the hospital or other facility to make a birthing pool available for your delivery as this will provide a warm and buoyant medium for reducing the pressure and pain.

Sciatica is generally a temporary discomfort for pregnant women, one that lasts not much longer than the pregnancy itself, and can be treated naturally without risk to the baby or mother.

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

23
Oct
12

Smoking Linked to Chronic Pain in Women


If you need yet another good reason to quit smoking for good, here it is.  A study conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky has found that women who smoke may be at greater risk of suffering from chronic pain than those who do not.

Researchers surveyed over 6000 women (18 years of age or older and living in Kentucky), asking them (1) whether they smoked and (2) if they suffered from any of the following  conditions: chronic head pain, chronic neck pain, chronic back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, joint pain, nerve problems and pain all over their body.  A statistical analysis of their responses suggested that women who currently smoked or who had smoked previously were more likely to report having at least one symptom of chronic pain than women who had never smoked.  Those who smoked daily were 104 percent more likely to suffer from chronic pain.  Occasional smokers were 68 percent more likely.  Even former smokers were at 20 percent greater risk of chronic pain.

Study results revealed that chronic pain was more strongly associated with a daily smoking habit than older age, low academic achievement, obesity or living in a county in Appalachia.

Co-author of the study, Dr. David Mannino, a pulmonary physician from the UK College of Public Health, suggested that the study results could represent something of a “chicken and egg” scenario.  He explained, “This study shows a strong relationship between heavy smoking and chronic pain in women, but what is the direction of this association?  Does smoking cause more chronic pain, or do more women take up smoking as a coping mechanism for experiencing chronic pain?”

Since acute pain is a protective response to some sort of injury, Mannino hypothesized that women smokers may have experienced an acute pain that then developed into chronic pain because their normal mechanisms of protection had been damaged by smoke exposure.

Another co-author of the study, Dr. Leslie Crofford, director of the Center for the Advancement of Women’s Health, noted that it would be a good idea for researchers to now investigate if there is a link between smoking, psychopathology, quitting smoking and how chronic pain is managed.

Crofford says, “Our results show there is a dose-response relationship between smoking classification and chronic pain syndromes.  It’s possible that patients experiencing chronic pain could benefit from smoking cessation treatment in addition to the treatment for their pain.  Similarly, it’s possible that appropriate treatment of chronic pain could increase a smoker’s chances of successfully quitting.  Right now, more research is needed on these interventions.”

 

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

 Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of   the musculoskeletal system.Amongst hispatients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levelswho benefited from his chiropractic care.




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