Tag Archives: back pain

The Long Term Solution to Pain

To a clinician, there are a variety of reasons that the public comes knocking.  As a chiropractic physician, the overwhelming reason for that initial visit boils down to the presence of pain.  Pain is the problem and people come to us looking for a solution.  Sure, chiropractors are in the healthcare field and many have opened their own practices but the bottom line is that we are in the solutions business and to be successful you must give the people what they want.

Now, treating pain naturally is a chiropractor’s specialty.  The use of various soft tissue techniques, cold laser or e-stem, and of course the adjustment all can work wonders in alleviating pain.  However, many times the pain returns after the initial relief from treatment.  The reason for this is that the underlying cause of pain was never addressed.  This is where the profession and healthcare as a whole falls short.

When someone presents with a symptom such as pain, the goal of both the practitioner and patient is to get out of that pain.  However, pain alleviation should be just phase one of the treatment progression.   Throwing a treatment at pain, whether it be an adjustment or drug, is nothing more than symptom care at its best.  Granted, the all-natural former comes with virtually no negative side effects but the application of both by their lonesome remains the same.  This is “sick” or “symptom care” that usually leaves the pour soul dependent on treatments due to ignorance, greed, laziness or a combination of all three by the practitioner.

This is one of the main reasons that chiropractors are looked at in a negative light, as the constant need for treatment has many proclaiming, “that once you go to a chiropractor you need to go forever.”  On the same level, it is the reason people pop NSAIDs or prescription pain killers like daily vitamins (yet it seems there is less discontent in resigning to the latter).

It must be pointed out here that it truly does take two to tango in these situations.  The reason NSAID sales, prescription drugs and non-stop palliative chiropractic treatments even exist is because there is a market for it.  It is not just the practitioner who is lazy or ignorant.  Breaking the pain-treatment cycle takes more time and effort and thus many on both sides of the equation do not want to be put out.

The proper way to approach any health issue, whether it be pain or any other symptom, is to take it a step further and find the break down in function.  Symptoms such as pain are helpful signs from our body letting us know that something is wrong.  Somewhere along the line a breakdown in optimal function has occurred and because of that, symptoms of that breakdown are now outwardly manifesting themselves to the point that we have the pleasure of meeting and working together.

For the sake of this discussion, we will stay focused on pain and take it one step further to the chiropractor’s traditional forte: back pain.  Back pain continues to be one of the most debilitating conditions in this country and if the current trends continue, the majority of us will unfortunately fall victim to chronic back pain at some time or another.

Well, this is your wake up call.  You don’t need to be another statistic.  Just because something is deemed “the norm” due to the majority of the population succumbing to it, doesn’t make it right.  You can free yourself from the back pain sentence if you work with a well-trained healthcare professional to identify its cause and do what you can to properly heal and prevent it in the future.

As we stated, pain is a symptom that manifests due to an underlying breakdown in function.  Outside of trauma, back pain in this country is largely a result of our culture of desk jobs, prolonged sitting and poor posture.  What happens is our anterior muscles become tightened and shortened due to us always leaning forward.  This leaves our posterior muscles (think glutes, hamstrings, spinal muscles, etc.) lengthened and weakened.  The problem here is that it is these muscles of the posterior chain that are designed to move us efficiently through the world.

Somewhere along the way in our world of laptops and long hours seated we have picked up a new hunched forward posture and thus a new movement pattern.  Just like with anything else, we eventually adapt to this new mode of operation even though it is not the most efficient for our bodies.  The result is an eventual structural breakdown in the form of disc herniations, osteoarthritis, muscle strains and inflammation.

So how do we tie this all together?  Well, obviously the pain needs to be addressed.  It is the reason treatment was sought in the first place.  Once the pain is alleviated, it needs to be understood that this pain was not just a random, inevitable occurrence.  It occurred for a reason and many times it was due to these faulty movement patterns and a breakdown in proper function as we described.

At this point, it takes extra effort and commitment by both patient and practitioner in order to identify the exact breakdown in function and work together diligently to reset and reprogram the body’s movement pattern.  This is done through repetition and a controlled, intelligent progression through exercises and treatments in order to rebuild the foundation and retrain the body to move correctly.  Only then can we see long lasting relief and prevention of pain.

If any of this resonates with you as it has with me and you would like to work together to not only get out of pain but prevent it in the future, please give me a call (321-848-0987) and let’s get to work on a pain free, smooth moving life.

Some Thoughts on Depression, Pain and Stroke

We’ll take it easy on you with this week’s post as we head into another weekend.  Sometimes I have to repeatedly re-read some of the facts and figures during my constant investigation of the ever growing and changing research.  These are a few of those “double take” paragraphs that I have compiled and felt compelled to share.  Take it in, embrace the empowerment and make the necessary changes.


For 12 years, researchers tracked the diet habits and health outcomes of more than 43,000 women — none of whom had depression at the start of the study period. Here’s what they found: Women who sipped soft drinks, ate fatty red meat, or consumed refined grains (like pasta, white bread, crackers, or chips) daily were 29 to 41% more likely to be diagnosed or treated for depression than those who stuck to a healthier diet. Blood tests revealed that women who ate the above foods also tested significantly higher for three biomarkers of inflammation.



Back pain accounts for more than $100 billion in annual U.S. healthcare costs and is the second leading cause of physician visits and hospitalizations.

What Happens When Physicians Don’t Know How to Treat Pain?

They resort to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs to treat inflammation, arthritis, back pain, stress, and autoimmunity. And now we’re facing another epidemic on top of chronic pain: prescription drug abuse.

The latter has been called the fastest-growing drug problem in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the number of deaths from opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone rose nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2009.  Pain medications were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008.

The overdoses now kill more people than cocaine and heroin combined. As USA Today recently reported, more US states are now taking action to try and stop this growing problem.



The American Heart Association reports 800,000 Americans suffer from stroke each year. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the US and the fourth leading cause of death. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, because for the most part, strokes are the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Recent research published in the journal Stroke found that, if you’re inactive, you have a 20 percent higher risk for having a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) than people who exercise enough to break a sweat at least four times a week.

The study involved more than 27,000 Americans for an average of 5.7 years, male and female, Caucasian and African-American.  It included a larger proportion of people from the “Stroke Belt” states, where stroke rates are higher (Virginia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Alabama).


Get out there and move! Have a great weekend.

Improving Pregnancy with Chiropractic

Of all the biological processes, there is none more astounding than the miracle of birth.  Consequently, before, during and after this process, the mother’s body is exposed to a phenomenal amount of stress, both mental and physical.  While many remedies exist for coping with the inevitable side effects of child bearing, one of the most effective continues to be collaborating with a qualified chiropractic physician.

For a variety of reasons, this marriage can be advantageous for both the mother AND child to be, starting with the need to address the drastic body changes for our mother.  These dramatic changes lead to alterations in center of gravity and compensatory postural adjustments all the way up and down the kinematic chain.  The average gain of 25-35 pounds disbursed throughout the body leads to overworked muscles and segmental misalignments.

This stress is particularly intense throughout the spine and the low back, with current studies reporting that at least half of all expecting mothers will experience low back pain at some point throughout their pregnancy.  Studies have also found that as high as 84% of pregnant mothers reported relief of back pain during pregnancy when receiving chiropractic care.

Other studies have shown women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labor times and women giving birth for the second or third time reported 39% reduction in shorter labor times. In another study, the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients who received adjustments.

In addition to having to tote the extra weight, improper alignment is further facilitated by the release of hormones like relaxin, which as the name implies, relaxes the ligaments in order to make room for the growing baby.  This can be problematic due to the fact that the hormone affects all ligaments and can contribute to your misalignments, imbalance, and fixations.

There is no other profession more aptly trained to identify and correct these issues than chiropractic.  Being consistently checked and when needed, adjusted during the strenuous pregnancy, can not only lead to a more comfortable pregnancy, but a less painful childbirth and decreased likelihood of chronic, postpartum pain conditions.

The pelvis in particular is a major focus when evaluating and treating the pregnant patient.  When misaligned, it can actually reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby, preventing the baby from getting into the best position possible for delivery.

This creates a phenomenon called uterine constraint or mal-presentation, which can lead to a breech positioning or eventual C-section.  Due to the uterus’s direct and indirect attachments to the spine via various ligaments, a technique known as the Webster Technique has been utilized with great success.  The technique involves a specific analysis and adjustment in order to balance the pelvis, relieving stress to the uterus and ligaments and potentially clearing the way for optimal fetal positioning and a natural birth.

This all natural technique has withstood the test of time and continues to be utilized by many, and for good reason.  As far back as 2002, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique. Further, the results from the study suggest that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy when a woman has a breech presentation.

In addition to these examples, the neurological, nutritional and lifestyle support a chiropractor can provide should not be understated.  As we know, the nervous system controls all and the food we provide our bodies fuels that nervous system.  Working with someone who properly addresses both of these two factors, while implementing the necessary chiropractic care, can truly be one of the best options for attaining a smooth, all-natural birthing process.

Outside of the obvious physical alterations, the majority of changes takes place within the body and are governed by the proper release and amount of hormones.  This is all under direct control of the nervous system, which is something we as chiropractors assess and treat in order to obtain optimal function.  This is crucial for the mother, her reproductive organs and child. Many times it is the reason for those “chiropractic miracles” that assist those couples who were having fertility issues.

This topic is particularly near and dear to my heart these days due to my wife being in her second trimester.  We have been working together with great success and are overjoyed to have been blessed with this experience.

If you have any questions about any of the subject matter presented or are interested in pre or postpartum care, as always, please feel free to contact me.