As discussed last month, when you make an appointment for a chiropractic evaluation for your neck pain, your doctor of chiropractic will provide both in-office procedures as well as teach you many self-help approaches so that as a “team”, together WE can manage your neck pain or headache complaint to a satisfying end-point. So, what are some of these procedures? Let’s take a look!
Pain in the jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), is a common complaint for many people. In fact, a 2009 publication reported that TMD affects between 20-30% of the adult population, typically between 20 and 40 years old, and is more common in females than males. TMD is also the second most frequent cause of orofacial pain after dental / toothache pain. While acute TMD (pain less than three months) and chronic TMD (pain more than three months) are NOT considered to be life-threatening, they can significantly alter one’s quality of life and for some, can be quite disabling.
Neck pain and stiffness are very common complaints, and these problems can come and go chronically for years, even decades. Numerous studies point to exercises and chiropractic care as two of the best approaches for gaining control over this common, potentially long-lasting, and sometimes disabling condition. However, focusing only on the neck may NOT be the best approach, but rather, the management of weak pelvic / low back stabilizing muscles can have significant benefits for those suffering from neck pain. Let’s take a closer look…
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) can arise as a result of a number of different causes and as such, treatment is guided by the specific needs of the individual and tailored to each individual case. With that said, there are specific treatment strategies that chiropractors provide that address three primary goals: 1) Physical management strategies; 2) Chemical management strategies; and 3) Self-management strategies. All three goals include a component that we, the doctor, control AND a component that you, the patient, can control or manage. This combined effort or “team approach” ALWAYS works best, especially over the long-term. So, let’s break these three management strategies down along with the two components: my job (as your chiropractor) and your job (as my patient)!
Fibromyalgia (FM) is now considered a central nervous system (CNS) disorder rather than a musculoskeletal condition. FM is managed best from a balance of different approaches including chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapies, modalities, exercise, diet, supplementation, sticking to a schedule, taking naps, stress management, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more. Common symptoms of FM include chronic fatigue and mental fog. The focus this month is on exercise and the benefits of exercise as it relates to improving quality of life!
Headaches (HA) can significantly alter a person’s quality of life. Moreover, they can interfere and sometimes even prevent an individual from performing important activities such as going to work, attending school, or participating in group activities such as sports, music programs, holiday gatherings, and more. The focus of this month’s Health Update is on Tension-Type Headaches (TTH), a common “primary headache” with tremendous socioeconomic impact.
“Boy, my neck is killing me! Honey, where is the ibuprofen?” Isn’t this the FIRST thing people think of when they have an ache or pain? The general public does NOT usually think, “…boy, do I need to see my chiropractor – my neck is killing me!” So, the question of the month is, which one is better, chiropractic or over-the-counter (OTC) medication? Let’s take a look.
Though this question has been discussed for years (just search: “chiropractic vs. NSAIDs”), a recent study looked specifically at this question, which will be the main focus of this Health Update. The study points out that it has been estimated that 75% of Americans will experience neck pain at some point in their life. For years, spinal manipulation has been criticized as being ineffective or providing limited benefits. Meanwhile, ads on TV, in magazines, and almost everywhere you look, show someone reaching for aspirin, ibuprofen, or even narcotics to manage their pain.
However, this new research clearly supports that seeing a chiropractor and/or engaging in light exercise can bring neck pain relief more effectively than relying on pain medications! Researchers even found that the benefits of chiropractic adjustments were still favored A YEAR LATER when comparing the differences between the spinal manipulation and medication treated groups! Moderate acute neck pain is one of the most frequent complaints prompting appointments at primary care/medical clinics and is estimated to account for millions of doctor visits per year. In some cases, pain and stiffness occurs without a known cause and there is no “standard” medical treatment. Though physical therapy, pain medication, and chiropractic have all been utilized for neck pain, until now no one had compared the benefits of each in a single study.
The study consisted of 272 neck pain subjects split up into three groups: 1) Chiropractic group (approximately 20-minute treatments an average of 15 times); 2) Pain medication group (meds included acetaminophen, and in some cases stronger prescription meds including narcotics and muscle relaxants); 3) Physical Therapy group (consisting of meeting twice and receiving advice and exercise instruction at 5-10 repetitions up to eight times a day).
At the end of three months, the chiropractic and exercise group did significantly better than those who took drugs. Approximately 57% of those receiving chiropractic management and 48% of those who did the exercises reported at least 75% reduction in pain vs. 33% of people in the medication group. A year after the treatment period ended, the numbers decreased to 53% in the chiropractic and exercise groups, compared to 38% in pain medication group. The chiropractic group received the highest scores in patient satisfaction at all time points. An interesting downside noted in the medication study group was that the subjects had to use a progressively greater amount of medication at a progressively increased frequency to manage their pain. Stomach trouble is the most common side effect of NSAIDs (leading to ulcers) as well as liver and kidney problems. Another interesting finding was that the subjects in the medication treated group felt less empowered, less active, and less in control over their own condition compared with those in the other two groups.
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.