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Joint Pain: Healing Before Surgery

When joint pain becomes part of your life, you typically have two choices. Do you want to treat what is causing the problem or do you want to wait for significant deterioration and then choose your fate? At some point, when it comes to your joints, especially the knees, hips and ankles that carry your weight around, the only choice is surgery.

The first choice is almost always a mechanical issue, which is the core of chiropractic care. Most definitions of chiropractic care in the healthcare field mention “manipulation,” specifically of the spine and other bodily structures. Technically, manipulation does take place within the multiple disciplines of chiropractic care, but just in the physical sense.  Manipulation literally requires being manipulative, and that tends to be a negative characteristic when referring to feelings and emotions.

What we’re really talking about in both chiropractic care and physical therapy, are mechanical treatments,

“They stimulate the body to begin the repair process while, at the same time, recovering the condition that caused the pain to begin with,” explains Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy. “What we have found is that at the extreme end stages of joint deterioration, there is a point of no return and surgery is typically the only option.”

Deterioration Complicates the SituationKnee Pain

Time flies and the initial phase of joint pain will ultimately pass. Eventually the mechanical treatments won’t resolve this dilemma of deterioration, even though we might be able to temporarily ease the pain and keep prescription medicines and surgery at bay.

Joint pain is a dilemma that is growing, and it appears medicine is evolving into an increasing number of remedies and techniques that treat the end-result of painful joint issues instead of actually striking early enough to heal.

We at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy submit that only mechanical therapies can treat the mechanical dysfunction that created the problem that started it all. Medical advances, however, are still committed to treating and recovering the effects, even though surgical approaches, for example, are becoming less traumatic and less invasive. In the end they are offering the same old thing.

Replacing that knee, which is now your sole option after living with and medicating the pain over the years, is now a smoother, faster and more efficient surgical process. Additionally, its design and components are commonly giving that new knee a lifespan of thirty years.

What if the alternative were a healing process that corrects the mechanical dysfunction before it turns into a deteriorating arthritic joint that can only be resolved in the operating room? What if knee pain were only a fleeting memory, allowing you to remain mobile and pain-free for decades on the knees you were born with?

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

 

Why Website Words Seem Familiar

Computer

The Common Denominator of Chiropractic Searching

If you do much online research on chiropractic care, you are bound to see an amazing amount of repetition on practitioners’ websites. We’re talking word-for-word by the hundreds, and though this might be technically defined as plagiarism, nobody seems to complain too much.

That is because much of the purloined parlance is within the industry, so to speak. Quoting information that educates the public on the advantages of chiropractic care and mainstream studies that cite its many advantages, seems to be shared material for chiropractic practices all over the country. Plus it is proven and factual.

Aside from informational pages on these websites, you’ll also see this wholesale misappropriation of wordage in blogs on sites promoting everything from nutrition to acupuncture. Bloggers should know better, since they are usually professional writers and copywriters, but, then again, why not repeat someone else’s writing if you can’t state it any better?

Look at it this way. If it was your writing showing up on websites all over the country, you might actually feel complimented because so many people in the field preferred your words over their own.

WhiplashChiropractors are not alone. This seems to be particularly pervasive in the healing arts, including medical doctors, dentists and even healthcare financial advisors. Their websites are replete with hundreds of words lifted from elsewhere, and it is almost impossible to trace their origin.  

We’ve found numerous websites that are sharing writing without attribution, but we doubt anyone is going to mind all that much, because what’s good for one is apparently good for all— as long as the author doesn’t complain.

Take, for example, the following 65 words (part of several hundred but we don’t need to devote that many words to make the point):

In the United States, chiropractic is often considered a complementary health approach. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey of the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, about 8 percent of adults (more than 18 million) and nearly 3 percent of children (more than 2 million) had received chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation in the past 12 months…

Even though this survey is pretty much outdated more than a decade later, we found the above passage unchanged on 54 different sites all over the country and once in the UK. Most were chiropractic sites, but it was also on sites promoting pain therapy, yoga, cancer treatment, Chinese martial arts, holistic nursing, massage therapy, a suburban newspaper and even Wikipedia (the subject was therapeutic touch).

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Let’s Get the FACTS! (Part 2)

Healthcare providers tend to agree that in non-emergency situations, patients with conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) should try non-surgical treatments before consulting with a surgeon. The “PRICE” concept, that is Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, & Elevate can be applied to most injuries, including CTS, especially in the acute/inflammatory stage. However, many of these principles also apply in the chronic stage (more than three months) of CTS.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Let’s Get the FACTS! (Part 1)

If tingling/numbness primarily affects your thumb, index, third, and ring fingers, it very well could be carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS. Chances are you’ve probably had this condition for months or even longer but it’s been more of a nuisance than a “major problem” and therefore, you probably haven’t “bothered” having it checked out. Let’s take a look at some “facts” about CTS!

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Weekly Health Update — Lower Extremity Joint Mobilization for Knee & Ankle Pain.

Chiropractic: Lower Extremity Joint Mobilization for Knee & Ankle Pain.
Manual therapy in the form of thrust and non-thrust manipulation to the lower extremity was found to be successful in restoring normal movement patterns and pain-free function in a 40-year-old patient with chronic anterior knee pain and ankle sprain symptoms. The patient had suffered for one year from patellofemoral pain syndrome, which is characterized by pain or discomfort originating from the contact of the posterior surface of the kneecap with the thighbone.
Journal of Manual Manipulative Therapies, May 2014

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Whiplash Anatomy

whiplash1Whiplash is an injury commonly associated with motor vehicle collisions (MVC) caused by a rapid forward and backward “whipping” of the neck. What varies between each case is the degree of injury and what anatomical parts of the neck are actually injured. Let’s take a look at the spine so we can better understand where the pain actually comes from…

The cervical spine is made up of seven moving vertebrae. The top vertebra (C1) is called the atlas and is shaped like a ring. This ring shape allows the head to rotate left and right so we can check traffic, carrying on conversation with someone sitting off to the side, and so on. It pivots around a peg called the “dens” of C2, or the axis, and the function of these first two vertebrae is very important. This is because the upper most three nerves that exit through this part of the cervical spine innervate the head and dysfunction here may be the cause of some headaches. Chiropractic adjustments concentrate a great deal on restoring function to this area. The C4-6 vertebrae make up the most mobile region of the spine in the forward and backwards directions. Generally, the greater the mobility, the lesser the stability, and because of this, injury to this area is quite common. We often see arthritis in this region first and we focus on keeping the areas that are less mobile (areas above and below C4-6) as mobile as possible. The upper back/lower neck area includes the rib/vertebrae joints, which are also commonly involved in whiplash injuries. Chiropractic adjustments applied to this region also help to restore function and mobility. The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae and includes the rib cage as well as the shoulder blades (scapulae). This area is sometimes neglected during treatment as the main focus is often placed on the more painful areas of injury like the neck. The lumbar spine consists of five vertebrae and is also frequently overlooked as an injured area due to the distance away from the neck. However, seat belts frequently injure the breast, chest, mid-back, and/or low back regions.

There are several tissues that could be injured. The ligaments — the tough, non-elastic tissue that holds bone to bone — function to maintain stability between the vertebrae. The articular capsule is also made of ligaments and is a frequently injured area, which generates pain with movement of the head and neck. Muscles and the tendon attachments are elastic and function to move the structures. Stability is facilitated by good muscle tone and strength and is a strong focus of treatment. Injury to these structures are called, “…soft tissue injuries,” and make up the majority of whiplash associated disorders (WAD II category).

The intervertebral disks are made up of a fibroelastic cartilage on the outside and a more liquid-like center that functions as shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Injury to the disk includes tears, cracks, and/or fissures where the liquid center part can migrate through and can rupture. Injury to the nervous tissues includes the free nerve endings when the articular capsule is “sprained.” Nerve root injuries are most commonly “pinched” or compressed by a “ruptured disk” and send pain, numbness, and/or muscle weakness to specific areas of the arm and/or hand. These injuries are classified as WAD III injuries and usually carry a worse prognosis than WAD II injuries.

Determining which tissues are injured, managing the acute, subacute, and chronic stages of healing and facilitating self-management strategies are the primary goals of chiropractic treatment of the whiplash injured patient.

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 Whiplash, we would be honored to render our services.

Whiplash – Can We Predict Long-Term Problems?

whiplash1Whiplash (or the rapid acceleration forwards followed by deceleration or sudden stopping of the moving head during the whiplash event) occurs at a speed that is so fast, we can’t prepare for it. In other words, by the time it takes us to voluntarily contract a muscle to guard ourselves against injury, that rapid forward/backwards “whipping” of the head and neck is already over! When considering the details of the injury event, sometimes we lose focus on what REALLY matters. Is there a way to reduce the chances for a long-term chronic, disabling, neck pain/headache result? Last month, we found out that the long-term use of a cervical collar is NOT a good idea. What are some other ways to prevent long-term disability?

A very interesting study investigated the first 14 days of treatment during the acute stage of whiplash neck sprain injuries following a car accident. The researchers wanted to determine what long-term consequences resulted from two different treatment approaches. In one group (201 patients, 47% of the total group), the patients were encouraged to, “…act as usual,” and continue in their normal daily, pre-injury activities. The patients in the second group were given time off from work and were immobilized in a soft cervical collar during the first 14 days after the car crash. At the end of the 14 days, there was a significant reduction of symptoms between the first visit to the fifteenth day (24 hours after the 14 day initial treatment time frame in both groups). However, when evaluated at the six-month point, the group that continued their normal daily routine, did not take time off work, and did not wear a collar had, “…a significantly better outcome,” compared to the other group. This study supports that over-treatment with a collar and time off from work “sets people up” for adopting a “sick role” where the patient is overly-focused on their problem. This study parallels what we discussed last month and embraces the chiropractic philosophy to staying active, exercise, don’t use a collar, and the use of manipulation which exercises joints and keeps them from stiffening up, thus reducing pain and the fear of doing activity!

Another study looked at different presenting physical factors that might be involved in the development of long-term handicaps after an acute whiplash injury in a group of 688 patients. They measured these physical factors at three, six, and twelve month intervals and found the relative risk for a disability a year after injury increased with the following: 1) A 3.5 times disability increase with initial high pain intensity of neck pain and headaches; 2) A 4.6 times increase with initial reduced neck movement or ranges of motion; and 3) A 4 times greater chance with initial multiple non-painful complaints (such as balance disturbance, dizziness, concentration loss, etc.). In yet another study, both physical and psychological factors were found to predict long-term disability. These included initial high levels of reported pain and poor activity tolerance, older age, cold sensitivity, altered circulation, and moderate post-traumatic stress.

The “bottom line” is that as chiropractors, we are in the BEST position to treat and manage whiplash injured patients based on the type of care we perform and offer. We promote exercise of muscles and joints, encourage activity not rest, and minimize dependence on medication, collars, and other negative treatment approaches.

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 Whiplash, we would be honored to render our services.