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.
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.
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.
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.
Pelvic Pain: More Common Than You Think
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy but that doesn't mean women should be forced to endure severe or even moderate musculoskeletal pain that's negatively affecting their quality of life. As many as 48-71% of women experience persistent pelvic pain during and after pregnancy, also known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). A new case study suggests that chiropractic can safely relieve pregnancy-related pelvic pain.
The study included case reports of two women, aged 35 and 32 years old, who began suffering from constant pelvic pain in their 30th week of pregnancy. One patient experienced back and pelvic pain that was so severe it was hard to walk, climb stairs, sit, get in and out of her car, or roll over in bed at night. The other women found it difficult to get dressed, turn, and stand on one leg.
Both patients received a multimodal chiropractic treatment. Treatments included the following:
- Soft Tissue Trigger Point Therapy
- Side-Lying Mobilizations of the Sacroiliac Joint
- Instrument-Assisted Chiropractic Adjustments
Patients were advised to practice home care that included wearing a supportive pelvic belt, staying active, ice, and performing targeted therapeutic exercises. The treatment significantly reduced pelvic pain for both women. One patient's pelvic pain dissipated after delivery but the other patient began experiencing additional post-delivery pelvic pain. Her obstetrician attributed the increased pain to the use of forceps during the difficult delivery. The woman began receiving additional postpartum chiropractic treatment and performing new rehabilitative exercises. Within three visits to the chiropractor, the patient's pain subsided and had not returned at the two month follow-up visit.
Conclusion of Study
The authors concluded that for these two cases, "reassurance, symptomatic care of the related structures and advice for self-care improved both patients’ symptoms and their quality of life." They wrote, "Pregnant patients require a gentle, drug-free alternative for treating their discomfort and chiropractic care offers a safe and effective treatment option." Other studies have shown that chiropractic can also alleviate back and sacroiliac joint pain related to pregnancy.
Howell ER. Pregnancy-related symphysis pubis dysfunction management and postpartum rehabilitation:two case reports. Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association 2012; 56 (2):102-111.
Low back pain can be a serious problem when you're expecting: A recent study shows that 61% of women report back pain at some during pregnancy.
“Despite the apparent impact it has on women, many cases of low back pain of pregnancy go unreported to prenatal providers and/or untreated," researchers publishing in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health wrote. Unfortunately, many conventional treatments for back pain (like drugs, surgery or steroid injections) aren't an option during pregnancy. So what should women in debilitating discomfort do?
Researchers decided to study the effects of chiropractic care on 17 women with low back pain lasting an average of 21.7 days. The intensity of the back pain was 5.9 on a 1-10 scale, and the onset of pain occurred at 20.6 weeks into the pregnancy.For 28% of women, pregnancy was the first time they ever have experienced intense back problems and 75% said they had not suffered from lower back pain prior to pregnancy.
Each study participant was treated with chiropractic care according to the particular symptoms that the patient was experiencing. The authors reported the following:
- About half of the women were self-referred, and the other half were referred by their obstetrician.
- The average time to reach clinically significant pain relief was 4.5 days, while the range was from 0 to 13 days after the initial treatment.
- The average number of chiropractic treatments necessary to reach clinically relevant pain relief was 1.8.
- The pain levels decreased from the 5.9 at the beginning of the study to 1.5 at the end.
- The patients received between 3 to 15 treatments, with the average being 5.6.
- One patient did not experience clinically significant pain reduction.
- There were no adverse reactions reported by any of the patients.
This corroborates other studies showing that chiropractic offers a safe solution for pain while you're expecting. For instance, a study published in the journal Chiropractic and Manual Therapies found that 85% of pregnant patients had significant improvements in pain within three months of receiving chiropractic treatments for back and pelvic problems. Another study showed that chiropractic was more effective than standard medical care for alleviating pregnancy-related back pain. In both studies, there were no serious adverse effects of treatment.
Chiropractors use a low-force, gentler style of adjustments when caring for mothers-to-be. Plus, women do not have to worry about the potential impact that painkillers may have on a growing fetus. Instead chiropractic offers drug-free, natural relief to ensure your pregnancy is as comfortable as possible.
Lisi AJ. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for low back pain of pregnancy: a retrospective case series. 2006;51:e7-e10.
Peterson CK, et al. Outcomes of pregnant patients with low back pain undergoing chiropractic treatment: a prospective cohort study with short term, medium term and 1 year follow-up. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 2014;22(1):15.
George JW, et al. A randomized controlled trial comparing a multimodal intervention and standard obstetrics care for low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology 2013;208(4):295.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.10.869.