Chiropractic Helps Senior Citizens Stay Active

Chiropractic Helps Senior Citizens Stay Active

Chiropractic helps keep elderly activeAging isn't always easy as your risk of certain medical conditions increases and, often, your mobility decreases--both of which can lower your quality of life. Unfortunately, when you have a spinal condition, the effects can often be worse. However, research recently released in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics suggests that engaging in regular chiropractic care may offer some very specific to seniors with spine-related issues.

Researchers set out to discover the difference in outcome for seniors who engaged solely in medical treatments versus those who received chiropractic care over a year's time. Their participants were 65+ year old Medicare recipients with at least one claim resulting in a diagnosis of a musculoskeletal disease, dislocation, sprain, or strain.

Each participant's functional outcomes were measured according their ability to bathe, sit in or get up from a chair, dress, eat, and walk across a room. They were also asked to assess their level of difficulty with specific activities such as lifting, reaching, stooping, and walking.

Individuals were also assessed regarding their self-reported health status on a scale of one to five, as well as their level of satisfaction with the care that they received (with included happiness with both treatment and cost). Once all of this information was obtained, the study participants were differentiated between those who had used any chiropractic services during the course of the year and those who did not and opted strictly for medical care instead.

What researchers found is that the individuals who engaged in some form of chiropractic care had fewer functional limitations, less difficulty engaging in activities such as lifting and walking, and a lower number of doctor's visits and hospitalizations. They concluded that chiropractic had a sort of "protective effect," safeguarding them against physical deterioration.

Furthermore, patients of chiropractic were also more satisfied with their care during initial treatment as well as follow-up, the cost out-of-pocket, and the information provided to them about their condition. Therefore, this study suggests that engaging in chiropractic offers many benefits toseniors with spinal conditions, allowing them greater function and happiness as a result.

Weigel PAM, Hockenberry JM, Wolinsky FD. Chiropractic use in the Medicare Population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2014;37:542-551.
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Chiropractic Boosts Antioxidants

Chiropractic Boosts Antioxidants

Chiropractic Boosts Anti-OxidantsNumerous studies have found that antioxidants are important to achieving and maintaining maximum health. Put simply, they take their extra electron and use it to stop the chain reaction of free radicals (which create damage by stealing electrons from healthy cells), thereby neutralizing them and providing your immune system the strength it needs to fight off a variety of illnesses, ranging from a simple cold to cancer. Now, a new study suggests that chiropractic may play a key role in the process, potentially boosting the activity of the antioxidants designed to protect you.

For purposes of the study, researchers looked at 23 subjects ranging in age from 26 to 50 who suffered with chronic pain in their backs or necks. Each individual participant engaged in low-amplitude spinal manipulations provided by an experienced chiropractor twice a week for a period of five weeks to see what effect, if any, this type of treatment had on the subjects' antioxidant activity.

Blood samples were taken both before and after the treatment sessions, noting the participant's levels of three specific antioxidants: superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). All three of these are known to provide protection to your cells, defending them against free radicals most effectively "when an appropriate balance between the activities of these enzymes is maintained," according to a paper previously published by Free Radical Biology & Medicine.

Researchers discovered that while the participant's levels of activity of the antioxidant catalase didn't change after just over a month of chiropractic treatment, the activity levels of both SOD and GPx did. This suggests that undergoing regular chiropractic care can boost the function of antioxidants in your body, thus providing you greater protection from major medical conditions and issues.

Additionally, another way to increase your antioxidant "punch" is to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Some great options to consider include sweet potatoes, asparagus, and broccoli as they are all high in carotenoids; berries, cantaloupe, and peppers which are loaded with vitamin C; and spinach, carrots, and nuts, which all contain a good amount of vitamin E.
Do these two things and you'll help protect your body's health--in a big way.

Kolberg C, Horst A, Moraes MS, Duarte FCK, Riffel APK, et al. Peripheral oxidative stress blood markers in patients with chronic back or neck pain treated with high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulation. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2014;doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.11.003
Michiels C, Raes M, Toussaint O, Remacle J. Importance of Se-glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and Cu/Zn-SOD for cell survival against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 1994;17(3):235-248.
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Can Low Back Pain Lead to Hip Problems?

Can Low Back Pain Lead to Hip Problems?

How Chiropractic Can Help Hip PainBack pain is very seldom limited to the back, especially if it goes untreated for too long. Many patients also report that they start to develop problems with their legs and hips over time.

In the study, researchers set out to see if there was a correlation between reported low back pain and future osteoarthritis related problems such as hip or knee trouble. The population-based cohort study indicated that there was a higher incidence of hip osteoarthritis in patients with previously reported low back pain. They did not find a significant correlation with low back pain and future osteoarthritis of the knee joints.

What does this mean for you if you suffer from low back pain? Though there could be a bigger risk for you to have hip troubles later in life if you suffer from low back pain now, this is not set in stone provided you take measures to care for your lower back as well as your overall bone and muscle health.

Primarily, you need to address whatever is causing your low back pain so it doesn't lead to problems with your hip joints due to overcompensation and unusual wear and tear. Spinal adjustments can help realign the spine and diminish future degeneration of your lower back.

Remember that a strong body can better resist injury and degeneration. Cardio, strength training, balance exercises and stretching for flexibility can keep your body strong and at ideal body weight. Your chiropractor or other healthcare provider can also give you advice on healthy eating habits to ensure optimum nutrition.

Stupar M, Cote P, French MR, Hawker GA. The Association Between Low Back Pain and Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee: A Population-Based Cohort Study Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics  2010;33(5):349-54.
Posted in back painBack Pain Newsback pain treatmenthip painosteoarthritis

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Chiropractic Improves Healing of Recurrent Ankle Sprains

Chiropractic Improves Healing of Recurrent Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprain and chiropractic careAnkle injuries are among the most common injuries reported by sports athletes, ranking number one in 24 specific sports categories such as basketball, football, volleyball, and soccer. Additionally, over 40 percent of ankle inversion sprain injuries result in chronic ankle instability, which means that treating this condition effectively is imperative to helping protect athletes from suffering any further injury. Research published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeuticssuggests that one of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to pair rehabilitation with chiropractic care.
In a study that took place at Durban University, 33 students between the ages of 18 and 45 were recruited based on their history of inversion sprains, their level of pain to the affected area, and whether or not they had suffered an ankle injury in the previous six weeks. Roughly, 54 percent of those that qualified were assigned to complete rehabilitation on their ankle via specific exercises, and the remainder engaged in both rehabilitative exercises and chiropractic, receiving high-velocity low-amplitude thrust-style manipulations by a trained professional.
Over the course of five weeks, both groups engaged in rehabilitation exercises every day. The group that received chiropractic care as well participated in 29 sessions of treatment, which were provided in 6-day increments with one day of rest in between. At the conclusion of the study, all subjects were assessed according to self-reported pain and joint palpation, which is when the area is manually assessed to determine range of motion and whether any restrictions exist.
Researchers found that the participants who engaged in both rehabilitation and chiropractic fared better with reduced pain and disability after just four weeks of treatment when compared to the subjects that received rehabilitation alone. So, if you have a recurrent ankle sprain and you'd like to treat it as quickly and effectively as possible, you might want to consider using both rehabilitation and chiropractic together as you'll likely get better results.
Lubbe D, Lakhani E, Brantingham JW, et al. Manipulative therapy and rehabilitation for recurrent ankle sprain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2014 Nov 6. S0161-4754(14)00204-8.
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Spinal Injects

Spinal Injects

Injections of a epidural steroids and an arthritis drug did not significantly ease sciatic pain for patients in a new study. In recent years, the number of epidural steroid injections has soared. This is likely because surgery and analgesic drugs have not consistently created lasting relief for many sciatica patients, the researchers of a Annals of Internal Medicine study suggested. Despite the growing use of steroid injections, this study adds to the growing body of research raising questions about the long-term efficacy of epidural steroids for sciatica treatment.

In the study, 81 patients with sciatica were divided into three treatment groups by type of injection: epidural steroid, etanercept (a type of arthritis drug), and a saline solution used as a control. Neither epidural steroid or etanercept significantly relieved radiating leg and low-back pain, and neither produced significant changes over the saline solution. Etanercept may have actually hindered improvements in functional capacity and disability, Crystal Phend of Medpage Todaywrote. These results are particularly disappointing given that each injection can cost up to $500-700.

Notably, the epidural steroid group did have slightly better results than the etanercept group. Although these changes weren't statistically significant, the researchers suggested that epidural steroid injections may produce "modest, short-term relief" for some patients.
Chiropractic care may produce more long-lasting results. Studies have shown that chiropractic can be just as effective as surgery without the added costs and risks.

Cohen S, White R, Kurihara C, Larkin T, Chang A, et al. Epidural Steroids, Etanercept, or Saline in Subacute Sciatica A Multicenter, Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine 2012; 156(8): 551-559.
Phend, Crystal. Shot Delivers Scant Relief for Back Pain. Medpage Today. April 17,2012. Accessed April 23,2012.
Pittman, Genevra. Spinal injections may not aid lower back pain. Reuters Health. April 16, 2012. Accessed April 23,2012.
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The U.S. Painkiller Problem

The U.S. Painkiller Problem

Chiropractic better than drugsAre we in the midst of a painkiller epidemic? According to a report issued by Express Scripts titled A Nation in Pain: Focusing on U.S. Opioid Trends for Treatment of Short-Term and Longer-Term Pain, the answer is yes--especially in regard to long-term opioid users.

From 2009 to 2013, researchers with Express Scripts thoroughly reviewed over 36 million claims filed with various pharmacies that involved a person receiving at least one opioid prescription. The test subjects were then divided into two distinct categories: short-term users (which was defined as individuals who had a prescription lasting 30 days or less during a one-year time period) and long-term users (persons receiving more than 30 days' worth of opioids during the same timeframe). Each person was assessed based on how many prescriptions they received from the pharmacy, the number of days prescribed, and dosage.
Here are just a few of their findings:
  • Even though there are fewer people filling opioid prescriptions overall, those that are filling them are filling more of them for longer periods, citing an 8.4 percent increase.
  • Of the subjects that filled more than a 30-day supply of opioids within a one-year timeframe, almost 50 percent were still taking them three years later.
  • Opioid use is highest among our nation's seniors; however, adults between 20 and 44 years of age filled a larger number of prescriptions for longer periods of time.
  • More women take opioid prescriptions (30 percent) than men, but men tend to take higher doses for longer amounts of time.
  • Roughly 60 percent of opioid users were taking them with other medications (such as anti-anxiety prescriptions) that, when mixed, can cause a fatal overdose.
These statistics cause concern over how Americans are choosing to treat their pain. Additionally, there is the added fact that opioids are often addictive, compounding the problem even more. One way to start to reverse these trends is engaging in pain treatment via chiropractic care.

For instance, one study conducted by Palmer Center for Chiropractic Care found that almost three-quarters of their test subjects reported lower levels of low back pain when they engaged in treatment via medical care and chiropractic. Another piece of research that reviewed 21 different controlled clinical trials found that chiropractic care improved migraine headaches, showing that this particular treatment method is effective for many different types of body-related pain.

Essentially, chiropractic care can offer short and long-term pain reduction without the risk of addiction and negative side-effects often associated with pain killers. It's time to start reversing the trend.

A nation in pain: focusing on U.S. opioid trends for treatment of short-term and longer-term pain. (2014, December). Express Scripts.
Bryans, R, DC et al. (2011, June). Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache [Abstract]. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 34(5), 274-289.
Positive findings in military low-back pain study. Palmer College of Chiropractic. Retrieved from
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5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Can Christmas Make You Sick? Chiropractic NewsThe holiday season can be a stressful time of year. Extra stress can be particularly challenging for people with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgiaand migraine, since stress can exacerbate pain. If you suffer from chronic, here are five tips to help you manage your stress and pain levels during the holidays.

1. Set your priorities
There's a lot demanding your time and attention at this time of year. Don't feel pressured to do it all. Take a minute to think about which holiday activities mean the most to you, and focus on those.

2. Take time for yourself
With busy holiday schedules, people often forget to take breaks. Consider scheduling time for yourself to do something relaxing and enjoyable. Especially if the holidays are emotionally difficult of you, it's important to take care of yourself and seek support when needed.

3. Exercise
In addition to easing stress, exercise has been shown to reduce the frequency and duration of migraines, as well as lessen the pain and disability of fibromyalgia, sciatica, and whiplash. Exercise can also speed the recovery time of many pain conditions and injuries. Your chiropractor can help you find safe, effective ways to help you keep your energy level up.

4. Be mindful of your nutrition:
The holidays are full of food and drinking temptations. While it's okay to indulge yourself in moderation, over eating or eating from stress can make you feel worse in the end. Developing a healthy eating plan and getting adequate levels of vitamin C and Omega 3 fatty acids can help your body's response to stress. Your chiropractor can advise you on healthy eating habits and nutrition.
5. Chiropractic Adjustments:
Finally, chiropractic itself can help you manage your pain and stress level. In fact, a research study in 2010 showed that chiropractic adjustments helped reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone known to cause inflammation and irritation.
This holiday season, remember you don't need to suffer from pain and stress.

Albert, HB and C. Manniche. "The efficacy of systematic active conservative treatment for patients with severe sciatica.: A single-blind randomized clinical controlled trial." Spine (April 2011). doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31821ace7f.
Brooks, Megan. "Exercise may offer drug-free migraine prevention." Reuters. October 7, 2011. Accessed October 10, 2011.
Olaya-Contreras, Patricia. " Biopsychosocial analyses of acute and chronic pain, especially in the spine: The effect of distress on pain intensity and disability." Institute of Clinical Sciences at the Sahlgrenska Academy University of Gothenburg. 2011. 
Panton LB, Figueroa A, Kingsley JD, et al. "Effects of resistance training and chiropractic treatment in women with fibromyalgia." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 15.3 (2009): 321-328.
Pedler, Ashley and Michele Sterling. "Assessing Fear-Avoidance Beliefs in Patients With Whiplash-associated Disorders: A comparison of 2 measures." Clinical Journal of Pain 27.6 (2011): 502-7.
Delaure J. et al. "Fish oil prevents the adrenal activation elicited by mental stress in healthy men." Diabetes and Metabolism 29.3 (2003): 289-295.
"Vitamin C: Stress Buster." Psychology Today. April 25, 2007. Accessed December 13, 2011. h
Padayachy K, Hoosen G, Vawda M. The immediate effect of low back manipulation on serum cortisol levels in adult males with mechanical low back pain. Clinical Chiropractic. December 2010. 13(4).
Posted in chiropracticChiropractic Newschronic painfibromyalgiaHealthy Livingholidaylow back painNutritionSciaticastress

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Surgery or Conservative Care for Sciatic Pain?

Surgery or Conservative Care for Sciatic Pain?

When a patient discovers they have sciatica due to lumbar disc herniation, one of the first questions they have to answer is whether or not they wish to undergo surgery. Numerous studies have explored that question, and a 2010 review of the literature on sciatica treatment brings us closer to an answer.

The study revealed there is inconsistent evidence on whether surgery is more beneficial than conservative care. In the review, researchers evaluated several studies comparing surgery to prolonged conservative treatment for sciatica due to lumbar disc herniation.  They discovered that many of the leading studies were subject to bias towards surgery­­­a bias which may have tainted the results.
Only two of the leading studies were considered to have low bias. One found that surgery provided faster relief of leg pain, but that differences between surgery and conservative care diminished after 1-2 years. At the annual follow-ups, both groups of patients had substantially improved. Another study confirmed that there were no major differences between conservative care and surgery in the long-term.

Despite that one study suggested that surgery may provide faster relief, the initial benefit may be out weighed by the costs and risks of surgery, researchers said.

They concluded that more research is needed to understand which patients may benefit more from surgery and which will benefit more from conservative care. Since both may be equally effective in the long term, for now, it's up to patients to decide whether surgery is worth the additional cost and risk.

Jacobs, WC, M. van Tulder, M Arts, SM Rubinstein, et al. Surgery versus conservative management of sciatica due to a lumbar herniated disc: a systematic review." European Spine Journal 2011;20(4): 513-22.

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Resistance Training for Better Health

Resistance Training for Better Health

exercise2A recent Finnish article printed in the journal Duodecimdiscusses the importance and under-utilization of resistance training in regard to treating obesity as well as slowing the aging process. The author discusses how resistance training aids in decreasing fat mass and abdominal obesity. It also improves insulin sensitivity. All of this can greatly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which are two of the biggest killers in the United States and other developed countries.

The author goes on to discuss resistance training's ability to reduce frailty syndrome (summary of musculoskeletal loss and dysfunction associated with aging). The author also explores how resistance training is the biggest preventer of sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass and strength associated with aging). Resistance training can also help increase and maintain bone mineral density which can help decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis.  The author also mentions that proper nutrition can enhance all of these features of resistance training.

The final recommendation is that resistance training should be a "central component of public health promotion programs along with aerobic exercise." A doctor of chiropractic can advise you on this and other important lifestyle changes you can make to optimize your musculoskeletal health as well as overall health.

Sundell J. Resistance training is an underutilized therapy in obesity and advanced age]. Duodecim. 2011;127(4):335-41.
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Effective Treatment of Headache with Chiropractic

Effective Treatment of Headache with Chiropractic

chiropractic and headacheIf you suffer from chronic headaches, you may be tired of constantly reaching for medications every time the pain begins. Chiropractic care is a safe, powerful alternative with a proven ability to reduce head pain.Headaches are associated with a broad range of causes. Cervicogenic headaches are headaches caused by disorders in the neck. These headaches may affect up to 20% of patients with head pain. Cervicogenic headaches are frequently the result of injury or trauma and present similar symptoms of migraines and tension headaches. However, cervicogenic headaches can also restrict a patient's range of motion making it particularly debilitating and harmful for a patient's quality of life.

One study shows how chiropractic adjustments can substantially help patients suffering from cervicogenic headaches. The study compared the effects of chiropractic treatment in comparison to light massage for 80 patients with cervicogenic headaches.  The patients who received chiropractic adjustments improved significantly more than patients who received light massages in a number of ways. The chiropractic group experienced a greater reduction in their number headaches and experienced less pain than the group who received light massage. The chiropractic patients also found headaches interfered less with their daily activities and were less disabled by their headaches than before.

Researchers concluded that chiropractic adjustments have a distinct clinical advantage over light massage in treating headaches in terms of number, severity, and disability. This research demonstrates how chiropractic care can create real, lasting benefits for people with chronic headaches.

Haas M, Schneider M, Vavrek D. Illustrating risk difference and number needed to treat from a randomized controlled trial of spinal manipulation for cervicogenic headache. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010; 18:9.
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Why Chiropractic is the Best Solution for Sciatica Pain

Sciatica and chiropracticSciatica and chiropractic
Sciatica pain is often so debilitating that it forces people to miss work and other normal activities.  Of all patients with low-back pain, sciatica patients have the highest level of disability (1).  In fact, patients with sciatica are disabled for an average of 72 days according to Norwegian public-health records.
Fortunately, a recent study offers hope to sciatica patients: chiropractic care can speed the recovery from sciatica flare ups and allow patients to return to work sooner (2).

The study evaluated 44 Norwegian workers after they came to the hospital with severe sciatica pain. Most of those patients had been experiencing pain for three or more weeks prior to their hospital visit.
The hospital chiropractor examined each patient to evaluate his/her posture and gait, range of motion, and palpation of the lumbar spine.

The chiropractic then performed various joint adjustments to the spine and other limbs that had been injured through patients compensating for pain. Ice treatment was also used to relieve soft tissue soreness.Patients were treated daily in the hospital and later three times a week for the first two weeks. Some patients needed additional follow-up treatment but typically did not exceed 14 treatments.

In matter of 21 days, 91% of patients returned to work full-time. Two patients returned to work part time. Researchers concluded this study demonstrates the potent benefits of collaboration between chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons. Chiropractic care can put an end to your sciatica pain so you can begin living your life fully again.

Posted in chiropracticChiropractic NewsSciaticasciatica treatmentUnderstanding Sciatica
  1. Arana E, Marti-Bonmati L, Vega M, et al. Relationship between low back pain, disability, MR imaging findings and health care provider. Skeletal Radiology 2006;35(9):641-7.
  2. Orlin JR, Didriksen A. Results of chiropractic treatment of lumbopelvic fixation in 44 patients admitted to an orthopedic department. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2007;30:135-139.