Older Adults Less Likely to Seek Care
Aging frequently comes with new aches and pains. Statistics show that while older adults experience back pain more frequently than younger adults, they are less likely to seek medical care for the pain.
Don't Live in Pain
However, they need not resign themselves to a life of pain. Chiropractic treatments offer a safe and effective way to treat many aging-related conditions. For example, chiropractic adjustments can alleviate neck, back, and joint pain, while relieving the pain caused by spinal degeneration, osteoarthritis, or scoliosis. Chiropractic care may also prevent falls in older adults by improving gait, balance, and strength.
Decrease Pain with Chiropractic
In a 2009 study, researchers concluded that older patients who received chiropractic adjustments experienced substantially lower levels of disability and pain when compared with patients who did not receive chiropractic care.
Chiropractic treatments work best when combined with proper nutrition and exercise. A recent study found that older adults who were physically active had lower levels of pain-related disability than those who were not active.
Chiropractic care can do more than treat your aches and pains; it can help you lead a fulfilling and healthy life, no matter your age.
Dougherty PE, Hawk C, and Weiner D, et al. The role of chiropractic care in older adults. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 2012; 20 (3): doi:10.1186/2045-709X-20-3.
Hondras MA, Long CR, Cao Y, Rowell RM, Meeker WC. A randomized controlledtrial comparing 2 types of spinal manipulation and minimal conservative medical care for adults 55 years and older with subacute or chronic low back pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapy 2009; 32:330–343.
Hicks GE, Benvenuti F, Fiaschi V, Lombardi B, Segenni L, Stuart M, Pretzer-Aboff I, Gianfranco G, Macchi C. Adherence to a community-based exercise program is a strong predictor of improved back pain status in older adults: an observational study. Clinical Journal of Pain 2012; 28(3):195-203.
Chiropractic Relieves Frozen Shoulder
A new case study suggests chiropractic can provide significant relief of frozen shoulder syndrome.
What Is Frozen Shoulder Syndrome?
Frozen shoulder syndrome, or FSS, is a painful condition causing night pain and restricted shoulder range of motion. Medical treatments for FSS often include stretching or injections of medications and steroids. Unfortunately, these treatments do not always provide lasting results in many patients.
Chiropractic Treatment of FSS
To see if chiropractic could help, a recent case study evaluated the effects of chiropractic spinal adjustments in patients with FSS. After 1-2 months of chiropractic care, 98% of patients had significantly improved range of motion, and 32% of patients had completely regained normal shoulder adduction.
Chiropractic Lowered Pain Scores
Patients also experienced substantial improvements in pain, with the median average pain score dropping from a 9 out of 10 to a 2 out of 10.
Study Confirms Previous Research
This case study suggests chiropractic care is a viable option for patients with frozen shoulder syndrome. Earlier research has shown that manual therapies like chiropractic are effective for pain in the shoulder and upper back.
Murphy F. Chiropractic management of frozen shoulder syndrome using a novel technique: a retrospective case series of 50 patients. Journal of Chiropractic 2012; 11: 267-72.
Neck pain is very common, affecting an estimated 70% of people at some point during their lifetime. While there are many potential treatments available, there is little research regarding their comparative effectiveness. A recent study published in the medical journal The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that chiropractic care is a more effective treatment for neck pain than medication.
The study involved 272 patients with acute or subacute neck pain. They were given one of three treatments: chiropractic care, medication, or exercise under the direction of a medical professional. After 12 weeks of treatment, those who received chiropractic care or exercise therapy experienced the most significant reduction in pain. Participant-rated pain was measured periodically for one year following the treatment.
When compared with patients receiving medication, both chiropractic and exercise therapies more than doubled the likelihood of complete pain relief. Chiropractic and exercise were the most effective treatments in both the short and long term.
Chiropractic patients found that these benefits lasted a year or more, showing that chiropractic care can provide long-term relief of neck pain. The researchers believe the success of chiropractic treatment stems from its ability to address the causes of neck pain, rather than solely treating the symptoms.
Bronfort G, Evans R, Anderson AV, Svendsen KH, Bracha Y, Grimm RH. Spinal Manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for acute and subacute neck pain: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine 2012;156(1):1-10.
According to a recent study, patients treated with chiropractic adjustments experienced a 50% reduction in the number of cervicogenic headaches they experienced.
What Are Cervicogenic Headaches?
Cervicogenic headaches are non-throbbing, steady headaches felt at the back of the head, with pain extending downwards through the neck and between the shoulder blades. Some patients also experience dizziness. Such headaches are caused by dysfunction in the cervical spine (the portion of the spine located in the neck).
Previous studies showed that chiropractic treatments can alleviate both the pain and disability resulting from cervicogenic headaches. This study showed that chiropractic treatments can also reduce the frequency of such headaches.
The research involved 80 people with chronic cervicogenic headaches. Patients received either light massage or chiropractic adjustments. Within each group, half received high doses of the treatment, while the other patients received lower doses. The light massage treatments involved several minutes of gentle neck and shoulder massage, while the chiropractic treatments consisted of high-velocity, low-amplitude adjustments of the upper back and neck.
Improvements with Chiropractic
Patients who received chiropractic treatments improved substantially more than those receiving massage. On average, chiropractic patients saw their headaches cut in half. At the conclusion of the study, chiropractic patients required one-third less pain medication than at the start, and reported a 50% reduction in symptoms.
The researchers found no major differences between patients receiving 8 chiropractic treatments and those who received 16 treatments. Those who received more treatments did have slightly more improvements in terms of neck disability. More research is needed to determine the optimum number of chiropractic treatments, but the researchers have concluded that chiropractic adjustments are an effective method of treating cervicogenic headaches. Research shows that chiropractic can also relieve migraine headaches.
Haas M, Spegman A, Peterson D, Aickin M, Vavrek D. Dose response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic cervicogenic headache: a pilot randomized controlled trial. The Spine Journal 2010; 10: 117-128.
A recent study has demonstrated the effectiveness of a multi-modal, drug-free intervention program in treating children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Researchers recruited children diagnosed with ADHD who displayed inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and problems with academics and/ or behavior. Some participants served as a control group, while the rest completed a 12-week program at Brain Balance Achievement Centers. The intervention involved sensory motor exercises, cognitive exercises, and nutritional counseling. Professionals involved in the program were focused on achieving physiologic balance and temporal coherence in the brain, in addition to improving skills that would more closely match each child's age and grade level.
The 122 children in the experimental group attended the multi-modal program for three hour-long sessions each week, for a total of 36 hours of treatment. After the 12-week study, 81% of the kids who participated in the program no longer fit the criteria for ADHD. They improved in the areas of attention, focus, impulsivity, and behavior problems. In addition, 60% of the experimental group achieved an academic increase of at least two grade levels, and half of these achieved an increase of four grade levels.
As a controlled study, researchers compared the group who did not participate in the intervention program, and they found that these children experienced very little change academically and that their behavioral symptoms worsened slightly.
"The groundbreaking study proves that medication is not the only option to help eliminate the symptoms associated with ADHD, and it validates what we have been practicing at Brain Balance for 10 years," said Dr. Robert Melillo, founder of Brain Balance. "Drug-free, multi-modal programs, like the one offered at Brain Balance Achievement Centers, are ultimately more effective when it comes to achieving long-term results and eliminating symptoms both academically and behaviorally. This study shows that our program actually addresses the primary problem in the brain that is the root cause of ADHD and learning difficulty, and that it actually improves brain function."
The study was published in the peer-reviewed Frontiers, a fast-growing publication dedicated to more transparent and democratic processes in science.
Leisman G, Mualem R, Machado C. The integration of the neurosciences, child public health, and education practice: hemisphere-specific remediation strategies as a discipline partnered rehabilitation tool in ADD/ ADHD. Frontiers Public Health 2013. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2013.00022.
(2013, July 29). "New Control Study Finds Drug-Free Program is Successful for Eliminating ADHD Symptoms." The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved from http://www.sacbee.com/2013/07/29/5606019/new-control-study-finds-drug-free.html.
Work Is a Pain in The...
Back pain and headache are common health complaints among workers in almost every industry, and are responsible for substantial suffering and disability, along with lost productivity. Two recent studies attempted to determine which risk factors are more likely to lead to musculoskeletal pain and headaches among workers.
Studying Office Workers
The first study examined office workers with a high degree of computer usage. Questionnaires were used to determine the musculoskeletal symptoms reported by the employees and the associated risk factors. The leading areas of pain among computer users were found to be the shoulder, neck, and upper back regions, with more than 60% of surveyed workers reporting pain in at least one of these areas.
Physical and Psychological Issues
High psychological distress was significantly associated with upper back and shoulder complaints, while a high workload was found to be significantly associated with lower back complaints. Women were more likely to report shoulder pain. The researchers concluded by emphasizing the importance of developing an intervention that addresses both physical and psychological complaints.
The second study focused on headaches as a possible outcome of the types of occupational and psychological factors examined in the first study. The aim of the study was to determine the occupational psychological, social, and mechanical factors that predicted the presence and severity of headaches among workers. The factors most strongly related to headache severity were role conflict, lower decision control, control over work intensity, job satisfaction, and higher quantitative demands.
Chiropractic Can Help
Stress has been shown to worsen chronic pain so managing stress could play a significant role in minimizing symptoms. Studies suggest that chiropractic can help the body cope with stress while improving the symptoms of headache and back pain.
Chiung-Yu Cho, Yea-Shwu Hwang, Rong-Ju Cherng. Musculoskeletal symptoms and associated risk factors among office workers with high workload computer use. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2012; (10.1016/j.jmpt.2012.07.004).
Christensen JO, Knardahl S. Work and headache: A prospective study of psychological, social, and mechanical predictors of headache severity. Pain 2012; doi 10.1016/j.pain.2012.07.009.
What Is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?
Thoracic outlet syndrome is felt as numbness, tingling, pain or decreased circulation in the shoulders, arms or hands.
The thoracic outlet is a bottleneck where an important bundle of nerves and blood vessels travel between the head and arm. The space is narrow and injury to the neck can cause inflammation of the muscles in the area, which can compress the nerves and result in symptoms.
Because the neck is complex, it can be tricky pinpointing the exact source of your pain, and other conditions can mimic the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.
Chiropractic May Help
If you have symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome after an injury, we might be able to help. Your chiropractor can pinpoint the root cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to help you reclaim your health.
Chiropractic care may be more effective in preventing recurring episodes of low-back pain than traditional treatments. In a recent study, patients receiving chiropractic had lower rates of recurring disability than patients under the care of a physician or physical therapist. With a growing body of research pointing to the recurring nature of acute back pain, the findings could help with efforts to prevent persistent pain in these patients.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, included 894 cases of work-related low-back pain gathered from the data of a major US insurer. Patients were divided into groups based on the provider type: chiropractic, physician, physical therapist, a combination of physical therapist and chiropractic or a combination of other health-care providers. During the initial episode of back pain, patients in the traditional care groups had longer durations of disability and higher usage of pain medication than chiropractic patients. (The mean average duration of disability days for physician group was 119 versus 58 for the physical therapy group and 49 for the chiropractic group.)
The researchers also looked at the health maintenance period after the initial episode of back pain to analyze whether patients experienced recurring episodes of pain. After controlling for various demographic and pain severity factors, patients in the physician and physical therapy groups were significantly more likely to have recurring disability compared to chiropractic patients. Despite the advantage of chiropractic over other provider care in terms of disability recurrence, the risk of recurrence among chiropractic patients was as low as patients who weren't seeing any provider during the health maintenance period. This interesting result led researchers to hypothesize that during the maintenance period, the success of chiropractic could lie in preventing patients from receiving treatments of "unproven cost utility or dubious efficacy" from traditional providers.
Avoiding expensive procedures and tests likely contributed to the reduced cost of chiropractic care for patients during the health-maintenance phase. The weekly cost of health maintenance care for the chiropractic group was $48 compared to $87 for the physician group and $129 for the physical therapy group.
The findings suggest that chiropractic care could be a more affordable and effective method of preventing recurring back pain than medical treatments.
Cifuentes M, Willetts J, Wasiak R. Health maintenance care in work-related low back pain and its association with disability recurrence. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011; 53(4): 396-404.
Stock up on your favorite summer fruit while you'll can: a new study found that watermelon juice can naturally alleviate muscle soreness after exercise.
Watermelon juice has previously been found to have antioxidant properties which may boost muscle protein and aide in athletic performance. The key to its effects lie in an amino acid known as L-citrulline.
Researchers publishing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry sought to test the effects of watermelon juice on a group of healthy volunteers. They wondered whether watermelon juice enriched with extra L-citrulline could be more beneficial than natural watermelon juice or control beverage. The volunteers drank one of the three beverages before exercise, and were tested for heart rate and muscles soreness 24 hours after their work out.
Both forms of watermelon juice, enriched and un-enriched, reduced muscle compared to the control beverage. The un-enriched, un-pasteurized juice actually appeared to be more bioavailable than the enriched juice, meaning it was easier for the body to access the amino acid L-citrulline.
Drinking watermelon juice is just one way to naturally prevent and relieve muscle soreness. Massage therapy was also found to assist the body in cell regeneration and recovery after vigorous exercise in one study. Pain medications, while they can relieve symptoms, may actually suppress the body's natural response to inflammation, which can prolong the pain of a difficult workout. A study last year showed that people who took an anti-inflammatory painkillers after vigorous exercise actually experienced longer periods of soreness compared to people who went drug-free.
Athletes looking for effective recovery after a workout may find better relief with non-drug options like massage therapy, chiropractic, and improved nutrition.
Crane JD, et al. Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage Science Translation Medicine. February2012; 4 (19): doi 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882.
Tarazona-Díaz, MP, et al. Watermelon juice: potential functional drink for sore muscle relief in athletes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2013; 61 (31): 7522-7528.
Low Impact, Not Injury-Free
Although golfing is a low-impact sport, athletes can still suffer from injuries like pain in the lower back, hips, wrists and elbows as a result of overuse. Previous research has shown that a golf swing can place compressive loads on the lumbar spine, resulting in pain the lower back.1 A new case study demonstrates how chiropractic can provide effective rehabilitation for golfers suffering from such injuries.2 It also points to how chiropractic therapies can help patients experiencing osteoarthritic pain.
Case Study: Golfer with Hip Pain
The case study documented the treatment a 49-year-old woman golfer suffering from hip pain related to osteoarthritis. The woman had been suffering from left hip osteoarthritis for several years, along with stiffness in her lower back, and a recent onset of right hip pain. The woman reported pain with simple tasks like climbing stairs, sitting for long hours, walking long distances, and more.
The patient received a chiropractic treatment plan aimed at golf rehabilitation and osteoarthritis management. The multi-pronged treatment included soft tissue, ultrasound, and myofascial therapies, hip and lumbar spine mobilizations, acupuncture, and home advice. Exercise rehabilitation included core strengthening, general conditioning, golf-specific stretches, and referral to a swing coach.
Case Study Results
By the sixth visit to the chiropractor, the patient reported that her left hip pain was "great" and by the eighth visit, both her hips generally felt "good." The woman continued receiving treatments every two weeks thereafter.
At the six-month follow-up visit, the woman reported golfing free of left hip pain, the side affected by osteoarthritis. She was referred to her family practitioner for management of persistent mild pain in the right hip. The woman also reported improvements in her endurance, range of motion, and golf driving distance.
This case report outlines a successful treatment protocol for golfer rehabilitation. Although larger studies are needed to make any firm conclusions, the researcher suggested that "conservative care and rehabilitation management of hip osteoarthritis and low back pain may help golfers improve their performance and prevent further injuries."
Chiropractic Can Help
This study also demonstrates the positive outcomes possible with chiropractic management of hip pain related to osteoarthritis. Other research has also shown that chiropractic can ease knee pain in patients osteoarthritis.
1. Gluck G S, Bendo J A, Spivak JM. The lumbar spine and low back pain in golf: a literature review of swing biomechanics and injury prevention. Spine Journal 2008;8:778–788. Quoted in Howell (2012).
2. Howell E. Rehabilitation and treatment of a recreational golfer with hip osteoarthritis: a case report. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2012; 65 (3):201-8.