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Oakland Spine News

Misconceptions about Chiropractic

Bradford Butler

Still Striving to Improve Effectiveness

According to the American Chiropractic Association, an estimated 35 million adults and children go to chiropractors for treatment every year. That is more than one of every ten people living in the United States based on the 2017 population estimates of the U.S. Census Bureau.  The same source tells us that patients of chiropractors go to that specialist more often than they do to their family doctor each year.

The latter seems to give credence to the allegation that once people start going to a chiropractor, they are somehow hooked into going to one for the rest of their lives. At last report, chiropractors are not on any list of known addictions. The truth is they give regular annual checkups and schedule patient appointments based on their health needs like the family physician.

The fact that so many Americans go to chiropractors in pursuit of achieving optimal health is, in itself, a statement of trust and confidence in a profession that has contended with many myths since the first acknowledged chiropractic adjustment in Iowa in 1895. The idea that chiropractors “adjust” instead of “treat” may have had something to do with the skepticism, but there is no question that some 80,000 chiropractors in the United States are an integral of the mainstream healthcare system.

The primary definition of adjusting is “to move or change something so as to be more effective.” The medical definition of treatment is a bit more obtuse with no reference to its intended results: “The application of medicines, surgery, psychotherapy, etc, or to a patient or a disease or a symptom.”

In other words, treatment promises nothing in itself while adjusting strives to improve effectiveness.

It’s about Improving Effectiveness

BBB A+ RatingSince people in pursuit of healthcare are accustomed to being treated when they go to a doctor or a hospital, most chiropractors now tend to include “treat” and “treatment” in their lexicon. Yet their objective is still about improving the patients’ conditions. making them more effective than they were before.

People with chronic issues, whether back pain, a pinched nerve, tendonitis, sciatica or fibromyalgia, do tend to return regularly because of the relief it delivers. However, there are many patients who are fully recovered after seeing a chiropractor one, two or three times.

Probably the first hurdle chiropractors had to surmount in gaining acceptance was they only work on backs and that all chiropractors are pretty much the same. The accent is on preventive health care with an emphasis on improving joint function.

Much like the medical profession, there are many different styles of practice. A traditional chiropractor typically uses just spinal manipulation or some basic modalities. Others form more advanced modalities of spinal correction with the goal of returning patients structurally to where they were when healthy. Finally, there are chiropractic rehabilitation offices where multiple techniques, modalities, and even other disciplines, such as physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and advanced technologies, are used.

Some patients prefer “maintenance care,” which means they choose to come to a chiropractor regularly because it makes them feel better. If that’s an addiction, it is one of the few healthy ones.

 

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy.

Making Smart Decisions on Joint Health

It has never been a more important time than now to be an educated consumer when it comes to joint health. In previous generations, perhaps as recently as your parents, bad backs, knees, hips, and other joints have relegated those in their forties, fifties and sixties to decades of restricted mobility.

There are so many options, so many decisions to make, that will affect the quality of your life for years to come, that will determine whether you get to live happily ever after.

Consumers will have to be more informed than ever in conquering, or a least living with, joint and back pain.

Educated consumers have to choose what is best for them.  Joint pain is a growing dilemma and it isn’t going anywhere.  Patients have to decide whether they want to treat what’s causing the problem — which is almost always a mechanical issue— or whether they what to wait until significant deterioration occurs and choose their fate?

Knee and hip surgery and replacements are becoming commonplace, with the latter already among the most routinely performed surgeries, approaching 10 million men and women with these implants. Many of them are young enough that they may face replacements of their replacements 20 to 30 years down the road.

Then there are those millions of Americans with ongoing back pain. Those who suffer with it are getting younger, and it is already the leading cause of disability in adults under the age of 45. And, yes, spinal implants of sections of vertebrae are already here.

Medicine has evolved into more treatments of the consequences of these conditions, but only physical therapy and mechanical adjustments can treat the mechanical dysfunction that created the problem in the first place.

It is also true medical advances will continue and that they will become less invasive and less traumatic at doing the same old thing — treating by masking the effects of the ailment once prevention or structural rehabilitation is no longer feasible.

Stimulating Bodily Repair

Mechanical treatments like chiropractic care and physical therapy are superior because they stimulate the body to repair itself, at the same time recovering the initial painful condition and redirecting it on a more healthful trajectory.

Joint pain leading to disability is a dilemma for a growing number of Americans in their forties, fifties, sixties, and seventies. That means increasing millions of people are soon going to have to make choices, including surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic modalities and even stem cell treatment in the coming decades.

According to researchers at the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 15 million people in the United States suffering from severe joint pain.  Going by the pain scale many doctors use— with zero representing no pain and 10 being the worst possible pain— anything seven or higher is in the severe range.

Then there are those in the moderate range of four to seven on the scale, many of whom will shortly be suffering severe joint pain. Now is the time for them to start making educated decisions.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy.

Feeling, Tolerating and Measuring Pain

Pain is both internal and subjective, and its impact on those who experience it is as diverse as how people deal with it. For some, it may have little impact on their lives and careers, because they manage it through medication, surgery or find relief through chiropractic care.

Pain is a part of the healing process in any injury, especially traumatic ones, and it is a sign of normalcy that it will eventually go away. Yes, the body seems sometimes to have mystical ways of dealing with pain when your life is on the line.  Science tells us that the body, when injured, will literally release what one study calls “natural opioids,” which are beta-endorphins and other pain relievers.

It is safe to say we all feel pain in different ways and cope with it differently. At the same time, it can be detected and measured so it is not something just solely perceived by the person who is feeling it. Neuroscientists can objectively measure pain through brain scans and other imaging, which may eventually replace the traditional way physicians measure our pain. They ask us.

So even if you have two patients and they, coincidentally, are both suffering from the same injury and you measure it at the same level, is it affecting both patients the same? The truth is that one may actually be able to function by doing basic tasks and the other may be unable to do anything but lie in bed, possibly in a protective coma.

What’s Your Pain Threshold?

Pain ManagementHow we handle pain is just one of the things that makes us different, and though the pain may be the same, the tolerance of it isn’t.

Pain tolerance is also known as the pain threshold. Our pain thresholds may be low or high. If your pain threshold is high, it means that you can handle a lot more of it than most people. When the threshold is low, you can’t take very much of it.

So does that mean that the person with high tolerance to pain is comfortable when most of us aren’t? Or is it that he or she has some kind of inner fortitude to ignore it or virtually will it away? It is true that you can ignore pain longer if distracted, but is that proof of anything regarding pain thresholds?

How we tolerate pain definitely has something to do with these natural pain-killers and how they are released.  These, too, can be measured, and we are told by neuroscience that women generally have a lower pain threshold than men, because they don’t release as many of those endorphins. Then again, the average healthy adult male has supposedly never experienced the pain that women feel in childbirth.

We also know we don’t have to live with a low pain threshold, because deep breathing, meditation and other so-called distractions have been shown to increase one’s tolerance of pain. You can hide your pain with medication, but the pain is still there and there is no healing taking place. So why settle for that when we can offer you true healing and escape from pain?

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…

5 Stretches to Relieve the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Stretches

It is no secret that as a society we have become accustomed to doing a lot of writing, texting and typing in our daily lives. As much as we think that it has little to no effect on us, it can. In fact, constantly putting a strain on both our wrists and hands can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Luckily, there are many different stretches and exercises that can be done to help alleviate the pain, as well as prevent future symptoms. If you start feeling symptoms of pain, numbness, or tingling in the hand, wrist or elbow, try out some of these stretches:

1. Finger Extension

This simple and easy exercise can be done anywhere. With your arms extended straight out in front of your body, begin with your hands in a fist position. Slowly begin to open your hand until your fingers are pointed straight out, then spread them apart from each other as far as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat for 5 to 10 minutes, doing this multiple times a day.

2. Wrist Bends

Wrist bends are another great stretch to help relieve your pain. Begin with one arm extended out in front of your body along with your hand and fingers, your palm should be facing the floor. With your other hand, slowly start to lift your out-stretched hand by its fingertips and softly pull the hand upward toward your body. Once your hand is in the upright position, hold this position for about 30 seconds and then release, switch to your other hand after. Repeat this stretch as needed throughout the day.

3. Wrist Lifts

This stretch is a little more involved, as it requires a lightweight dumbbell. Sitting down at a desk or table, rest your forearm on the table while your hand is hanging over the edge. With the dumbbell in hand, slowly lift your wrist until it is level with the table while also keeping your arm flat on the table. Do this motion about 10 times, once a day.

4. Thumb to Finger

Possibly the simplest stretch yet are these finger exercises. Begin with your hand and fingers stretched straight out. Using your thumb as a meeting point, bring each finger one-by-one to the thumb, making the shape of an O. Do this about 5 to 10 times on each hand and repeat as needed throughout the day.

5. Stress Ball

Hold a stress ball in your hand with your palm upright, this stretch is as easy as squeezing the ball and releasing, repeating this motion about 10 times.

Our highly trained, dedicated and caring team is committed to relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain and improving your life. And our SAME DAY GUARANTEE* is our way of showing you just how committed we are. Call us in the morning…see us in the afternoon!

3 Ways to Handle Fibromyalgia Pain the Right Way

Finding the treatment that works best for your fibromyalgia symptoms can be difficult. When you suffer from pain, the quicker you find a solution the better. Although the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, researchers believe that it is a result of genetics, stress or trauma and chemical/ hormonal imbalances in your body. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can range anywhere from muscle and joint pain or stiffness to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, unrefreshing sleep and even increased sensitivity to your surroundings and foods you consume. Below 3 of the best-known ways to handle your fibromyalgia symptoms the right way.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy seems to be the go-to method for fibromyalgia sufferers, and there is a reason for that. For many, this option can help increase your strength and improve the body’s range of motion. Regular sessions are necessary, but you learn a variety of techniques that are believed to reduce pain, fatigue and stiffness. Each case is unique and it is up to your physical therapist to create a routine that will best tend to your needs and goals. At Oakland Spine, our team uses a therapeutic deep tissue laser to alleviate pain and promote healing.

Massage Therapy

Natural pain relief remedies are preferred by many, and are considered to be the best way to handle fibromyalgia symptoms. Studies have shown that massage therapy can reduce fibromyalgia pain, and can also decrease both stress and anxiety. Remember that your muscles are sensitive when suffering from fibromyalgia, so it may not necessarily feel relaxing. Choosing the right massage therapist is key to seeing positive results from this method. If too much pressure is applied, more harm than good can be done.

Acupuncture

Many swear by acupuncture as a great way to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms and we have had tremendous success in our office. This method increases blood flow to inflamed areas of the body and is used most often when trying to relieve muscle and joint stiffness, as well as chronic pain. When choosing acupuncture as a treatment option, it is important to choose an experienced professional to increase your chances of success.

Our highly trained, dedicated and caring physical therapy team is committed to treating Fibromyalgia symptoms and improving your life. And our SAME DAY GUARANTEE* is our way of showing you just how committed we are. Call us in the morning…see us in the afternoon!

Treatment Option Comparison for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Treatment Option Comparison for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) results from the compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist. Classic symptoms associated with CTS include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the thumb, index, middle, and ring finger. In non-emergency situations, treatment guidelines recommend patients undergo conservative care before considering more invasive procedures, like surgery. This month’s article will look at the differences between standard medical care vs. chiropractic care to treat CTS.

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Whiplash Injury Prevention – Part II

Whiplash Injury Prevention

Last month, we discussed whiplash injury prevention by focusing on the physical characteristics of crashes. This included information about head restraints, collision speed, seat back position, body size differences, air bags, and more. This month, we’ll focus on the MOST important aspect of whiplash prevention: driver distraction!

According to a survey of 6,000 drivers conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 20% of those surveyed in the 18-20 years old age group and 30% of those 21-34 years of age claimed texting does not affect their driving.

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What to Do for Chronic Low Back Pain

Back Pain

Low back pain (LBP) is a very common problem that many, if not most of us, have had at some point in life. In fact, about 80% of adults experience LBP in their lifetime, and it’s the leading cause of job-related disability and missed work days. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 25% of adults have had a recent episode of LBP.

Men and women are equally affected by LBP, which can occur abruptly following a specific incident (such as over lifting), or it can develop slowly over time due to wear and tear. Studies show a sedentary lifestyle during the week can set the stage for developing LBP, especially when it’s followed by strenuous weekend workouts.

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