Month: March 2012

Maintenance Care for Chronic Low Back Pain

When people think of chiropractic, they immediately think of low back pain and are often surprised to find out that chiropractic can benefit many conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, as well as hip, knee, and ankle conditions.  There is also research support for manipulation (a key component of chiropractic) and its role in managing “somatovisceral” related conditions such as pneumonia, dizziness, stage 1 hypertension, PMS, asthma, colic, and bed wetting.

Research clearly shows that chiropractic manipulation out performs other forms of treatment for acute, subacute and chronic low back pain. But, the question remains, can “maintenance chiropractic” PREVENT problems down the road? Ironically, two medical doctors in August of 2011 published an article in a leading medical journal (SPINE) entitled, “Does maintained spinal manipulation therapy for chronic nonspecific low back pain result in better long-term outcome?” The study’s objective was to determine if treating chronic low back pain patients (pain >6 months) after a course of 12 treatments in the first month would do better, the same or worse if treatments were continued at 2-week intervals for an additional 9 months. They compared 3 groups of patients: 1.) 12 treatments of “sham” (placebo) manipulation over a 1-month period. 2.) 12 treatment of “real” spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) for 1 month but no treatments for the subsequent 9 months. 3.) The same as #2 but with treatments every 2 weeks over the next 9 months. To determine the differences between these 3 groups, the authors measured pain and disability scores (using questionnaires), generic health status (questionnaire), and back-specific patient satisfaction (questionnaire) at 1, 4, 7 and 10-month intervals.

The results showed that groups 2 (SMT for 1 month only) and 3 (SMT for 1 month + every 2 weeks for 9 months) had significantly lower pain and disability scores than the 1st group (sham/placebo group) at the end of the 1st month or, 12 visits. However, only group 3 (treatments were continued for 9 months at 2 week intervals) showed more improvement in pain and disability scores at 10 months. Equally important, the scores for the non-maintained group 2 patients returned to near their pre-treatment levels by month 10!

The authors concluded that not only is spinal manipulative therapy effective for chronic low back pain, but more importantly, REGULAR ADJUSTMENTS EVERY 2 WEEKS after the initial course of concentrated care (3x/week for 4 weeks) was needed, “…to obtain long-term benefit,” suggesting that, “…maintenance SM after the initial intensive manipulative therapy,” is appropriate care to obtain long-term results.

This study FINALLY supports the recommendations made by chiropractors for many years –regular adjustments are beneficial to obtain a higher quality of life, less pain and less disability! While this study didn’t include Active Release Technique, we have observed that combining ART with adjustments is much more effective than adjustments alone. If you’re dealing with back pain, call us. We can help 303.300.0424.

The Whiplash Syndrome: Posture and Exercise

Whiplash can result from a number of causes, not just from motor vehicle accidents.  A fall on the ice or a slippery floor, from a sports related injury, or even at the county fair on one of those rides that throws you around can result in the same type of injury. Whiplash occurs when the head is literally “whipped” either forwards and backwards or from side to side. It can include hitting the head but often does not.

Symptoms vary considerably and therefore the term, “whiplash associated disorders” or WAD has been adopted, based on the clinical presentation of the patient and on the specific tissues injured. Common symptoms include neck pain, loss of motion, headache and sometimes arm pain or numbness resulting in difficulty driving, working, sleeping and concentrating.

Active Release Techniques and adjustments of the neck can be highly effective in the treatment of whiplash associated disorder, and hence, Chiropractic is often the recommended first order of treatment for patients suffering from this condition. We have previously discussed the steps involved when presenting to a chiropractic clinic, from taking a detailed history and performing a thorough physical examination, and well as the many types of treatment options that exist.

Exercise is one of the most important forms of treatment as they can and should be performed multiple times a day as directed by us, so that a return to normal function with no pain can occur as quickly as possible. Presented here are a few VERY EFFECTIVE exercises that we frequently give to patients suffering from WAD:

1Posture CorrectionA. Arch the back.

B. Retract the shoulders and tuck in the chin. Hold for 10-30 sec. & repeat.

2Chin RetractionsA. Sit properly.

B. Place your finger next to the chin.

C. Retract head & hold 10 sec. & repeat.

3Neck Strength

Exercises

A. Rotate RT using 10% Max.

B. Repeat to LT hold 5 sec.

Repeat this moving the head Forwards, backwards, & sideways in a similar way!*
  • For #3, ALWAYS apply a push or resistance with your hand through the FULL range of comfortable motion in that plane. That means, in one direction let the head “win” (like in arm wrestling) and when moving in the opposite direction, let the hand “win,” (but don’t let up pushing with the head).  In other words, you are ALWAYS resisting against the movement in both directions moving as far as you can in both directions.

We work with patients who’ve been in car accidents and work accidents, and accept all auto insurance, including Med Pay. We also take most major health insurance plans. Are treatment plans are focused on solving the problem, not extending the case. If you’re suffering from accident injuries, call us today at 303.300.0424. We can help.