Low Back Manipulation – How Does it Work?

Low back pain (LBP) is such a common problem that if you haven’t suffered from it yet, you probably will eventually. Here are a few facts to consider:  1) LBP affects men and women equally; 2) It is most common between ages 30-50; 3) Sedentary (non-active) lifestyles contribute a lot to causation; 4) Too much or too little exercise can result in LBP; 5) A BMI around 25 is “ideal” for weight management, which helps prevent LBP; 6) Causes of LBP include lifestyle (activity level), genetics – including, but not limited to, weight and osteoarthritis; 7) Occupation; 8) Exercise habits, and the list can go on and on. Let’s next look at how an adjustment is done.

When spinal manipulation is performed in the low-back region, the patient is often placed in a side lying position with the upper leg flexed towards the chest and the bottom leg kept straight. The bottom shoulder is pulled forwards and the upper shoulder is rotated backwards at the same time the low back area receives that the manipulation is rotated forwards. This produces a twisting type of motion that is well within the normal range of joint motion. When the adjustment is made, a “high velocity” (or quick), “low amplitude” (a short distance of movement) thrust is delivered often resulting in “cavitation” (the crack or, release of gases). So, WHY do we do this?

Most studies show that when there is back pain, there is inflammation. In fact, inflammation is found in most disease processes that occur both within and outside the musculoskeletal system. We know that when we control inflammation, pain usually subsides. That is why the use of “PRICE” (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) works well for most muscle/joint painful conditions. We have also learned that IF we can avoid cortisone and non-steroidal drugs (like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.), tissues heal quicker and better, so these SHOULD BE AVOIDED! If you didn’t know that, check out: http://www.benthamscience.com/open/torehj/articles/V006/1TOREHJ.pdf

Please see our prior discussions on the use of anti-inflammatory herbs and diets that are MUCH safer than non-steroidal drugs! But what does spinal manipulation DO in reference to inflammation?

Different things occur physiologically during a spinal adjustment or manipulation. We know that the mechanical receptors located in muscles, muscle tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules are stimulated and this results in muscle relaxation (reduced spasm or tightness), increased measurable range of motion, and a decrease in pain. A recent study also reported that inflammatory markers (CRP and interleukin-6) measured in a blood test, NORMALIZED after a series of nine chiropractic low back manipulations! So, NOT ONLY do spinal adjustments give immediate improvements in pain, flexibility, and muscle relaxation, they also REDUCE INFLAMMATION without the use of any pharmaceuticals!

So, let’s review what manipulation does for your low back pain: 1) Pain reduction; 2) Improved flexibility – now you can put on your socks with less pain and strain; 3) Improved functions and activities of daily living like sitting more comfortably, getting in or out of your car, bending over to feed the cat, etc.; 4) Improved sleep quality; and 5) Faster healing time by actually reducing the inflammatory markers in the blood! If you have LBP, PLEASE don’t delay – make that appointment TODAY!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our Las Vegas Henderson Chiropractor for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.

Low Back Pain: Surgery vs. Chiropractic?

Low back pain (LBP) is the second most common cause of disability in the United States (US) and a very common reason for lost days at work with an estimated 149 million days of work lost per year. The total cost associated with this is astronomical at between $100-200 billion/yr, of which 2/3rds are due to decreased wages and productivity. More than 80% of the population will have an episode of LBP at some point in their lifetime. The good news is that 95% recover within two to three months of onset. However, some never recover which leads to chronic LBP (LBP > 3 months), and 20-44% will have a recurrence of LBP within one year with lifetime recurrences of up to 85%! What this means is that most of us have, have had, or will have LBP, and we’ll get it again! So the question is, what are we going to do about it?

Surgery has traditionally been considered a “last resort” with less invasive approaches recommended first. Chiropractic adjustments and management strategies have traditionally faired very well when compared to other non-surgical methods like physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy. But, is there evidence that by receiving chiropractic treatment, low back surgery can be avoided? Let’s take a look!

A recent study was designed to determine whether or not we could predict those who would require low back surgery within three years of a job-related back injury. This is a very important study as back injuries are the most common occupational injury in the US, and few studies have investigated what, if any, early predictors of future spine surgery after work-related injury exist. The study reviewed cases of 1,885 Washington state workers, of which 174 or 9.2% had low back surgery within three years. The initial predictors of surgery included high disability scores on questionnaires, greater injury severity, and seeing a surgeon as the first provider after the injury. Reduced odds of having surgery included: 1) <35 years old; 2) Females; 3) Hispanics; and 4) those who FIRST saw a chiropractor. Approximately 43% of workers who first saw a surgeon had surgery compared to ONLY 1.5% of those who first saw a chiropractor! WOW!!! This study supports the FACT that IF a low back injured worker first sees a chiropractor vs. a surgeon, the likelihood of needing surgery in the three years after the injury would beDRAMATICALLY reduced! In fact, the strongest predictor of whether an injured worker would undergo surgery was found to be related to who they saw first after the injury: a surgeon or a chiropractor.

If this isn’t enough evidence, another recent study (University of British Columbia) looked at the safety of spine surgery and reported that (taken from a group of 942 LBP surgical patients): 1) 87% had at least one documented complication; 2) 39% of the 87% had to stay longer in the hospital as a result; 3) 10.5% had a complication during the surgery; 4) 73.5% had a post-surgical complication (which included: 8% delirium, 7% pneumonia, 5% nerve pain, 4.5% had difficulty swallowing, 3% nerve deterioration, 13.5% wound complication); 5) 14 people died as a surgical complication. Another study showed lower annual healthcare costs for those receiving chiropractic vs. those who did not. The “take-home” message is clear: TRY CHIROPRACTIC FIRST!!!

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family both presently and in the future.

Chiropractic and Neck Pain in Children

Children have been treated by chiropractors for spinal problems ever since chiropractic was founded in 1895, and neck pain is no exception. Neck pain is surprisingly common in kids, though not quite as common as it is in adults, reaching a similar occurrence rate by age 18. Studies conducted in the United States and in other countries report similar findings, leaving one to conclude there is a high prevalence of neck pain in kids all over the world. There are many causes of neck pain with a few being unique to children and some that could be a warning sign of something dangerous, such as meningitis. But far more commonly, neck pain in kids is NOT dangerous. Let’s take a look!

Looking at neck and shoulder pain in high-school-aged students, 931 males between 16 and 19 years of age were surveyed. More than two out of five students (44.3%) had recurrent neck and shoulder pain more than once a week with an overall prevalence of 79.1%. THAT’S A LOT! The study reported the student’s average sitting time was 10.2 hours a day, 59% did NOT sit up straight, and 11.9% reported that they stretched their neck and shoulders regularly throughout the day. Students with recurrent neck and shoulder pain also reported frequent fatigue and depressed moods. Looking specifically at 1,122 backpack-using adolescents, 74.4% were classified as having back or neck pain. When compared to non- or low use backpackers, there was nearly a two times greater likelihood of having back/neck pain! Also, females and those with a large body mass index (overweight) were also significantly associated with back/neck pain. Lastly, they found when compared to adolescents with no back/neck pain, those with pain carried significantly heavier backpacks.

Another common cause of neck pain in adolescents is a condition called torticollisor, “wry neck.” This is basically a muscle spasm of certain neck muscles that rotate and extend the head from the neutral / normal position, often described as being “stuck” in this position. Though there are several types of torticollis, it can be triggered by almost anything including a change in weather, sleeping in a draft, following an infection like a cold or flu, maintaining a faulty prolonged posture, certain types of medications, and many others. Some studies describe torticollis as usually improving within one to four weeks, but in the hands of a chiropractor, it usually takes two to three days for the acute pain to subside and one week to completely finish the job! Of course, this varies depending on the case. Infants can be born with “congenital torticollis,” which occurs in 0.3 to 2.0% of newborns. Here too, chiropractic is VERY effective.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for neck pain, we would be honored to render our services.