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P31. Lower Fracture Risk: No Bones About It

By Editorial Staff

Flavonoids are a class of secondary plant metabolites found in a variety of fruits and vegetables - and we're thankful for them. Why? Because increasing research suggests flavonoids exert profound disease-preventing effects. For example, in a recent study involving nearly 1,200 elderly women (older than age 75), women with the highest dietary flavonoid intake (from black tea and fruits / vegetables) had a lower risk of suffering any osteoporotic fracture, a major osteoporotic fracture or a hip fracture compared to women with the lowest flavonoid intake. Specifically, women with the highest intake had a 35 percent reduced risk for any fracture, a 34 percent reduced risk of a major fracture and a 42 percent reduced risk of a hip fracture.

Osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become thin and brittle, is a significant cause of bone fractures, particularly in later age. Fractures can be debilitating and, in the case of a hip fracture, may lead to significant functional decline and eventually death. In fact, research suggests women ages 65-69 who suffer a hip fracture are five times more likely to die within one year compared to healthy women in the same age range.

The lesson: Make sure your diet includes plenty of flavonoid-packed foods! Talk to your doctor for more information about the power of flavonoids and how to use diet, exercise and other nature methods to reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

P30. Pain: A Global Epidemic That Requires a Global Solution

By Editorial Staff

More people may be living longer, but they're not enjoying it, particularly when it comes to musculoskeletal health, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study.1 The largest analysis of global disability data to date, GBD 2013 reveals that "the burden of musculoskeletal disorders [is] much larger than previously appreciated," accounting for nearly 21 percent of global years lived with disability as of 2013.

Back pain remains the No. 1 cause of years lived with disability worldwide; neck pain is also a common contributor to years lived with disability.

Led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GBD 2013 represents a massive analysis of global disability data, with 35,000 data sources spanning 188 countries.2 Here are a few of the key findings from the latest analysis, published in Lancet in June, highlighting the global musculoskeletal disability burden:

The Musculoskeletal Burden

"In this analysis, we show that musculoskeletal disorders ranged from 9.6% of YLDs [years living with disability] to 28.9% of YLDs between 188 countries. Low back pain was the leading cause of YLDs in 86 countries and the second or third leading cause in 67 countries."

"Musculoskeletal disorders combined with fractures and soft tissue injuries reached a total of 20.8% of global YLDs in 2013 ... Our analysis of time trends showed that this category of disorders was an important driver of rising YLD rates per person. Increases were driven by ageing of the population in most countries with trends in obesity and physical inactivity likely exacerbating the problem. Musculoskeletal disorders were not only an important contributor to the burden of disease but were also a crucial component of health expenditure in many high-income and middle-income countries."

P29. Not Worth Dying For

By Editorial Staff

When you're in pain, it can occupy your every thought and every breath. Hundreds of millions of people live in pain, and many turn to the remedy they've been conditioned by years of Big Pharma ad campaigns to turn to: pain-relieving medication. The most common pain relievers are a class of anti-inflammatories called NSAIDs, many of which you can find in over-the-counter form at your local pharmacy or supermarket: Motrin, Aleve, Advil, products containing aspirin, etc., and other drugs that relieve pain and reduce fever. Some NSAIDs are also available in prescription doses if needed.

The problem, of course, as is the case with any medication, is the potential dangers associated with its use. NSAIDs are no exception, which is why the Food and Drug Administration recently strengthened an existing label warning on all non-aspirin NSAIDs, noting that their use may increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. This warning applies to all non-aspirin NSAIDs, prescription and over-the-counter.

So, when you experience pain, where will you turn? NSAIDs might seem the easier answer, but at what risk? Your life. Talk to your doctor for more information and consider nondrug options for pain relief, such as chiropractic care.

P28. Raise Your Hand If You Have Back Pain

By Editorial Staff

As adults, we get used to a variety of daily or near-daily aches and pains, particularly as we age. But what about our children? Don't they seem immune to many, if not all, of the pain complaints we have – despite the fact that for the most part, they're exponentially more active?

Maybe not. A study of schoolchildren ages 12-15 revealed a startling statistic: More than half (57 percent) reported experiencing back pain in the past year. As you might expect, "remaining seated at school" was a primary pain trigger, particularly for back pain lasting up to seven days.

These findings not only point to the universality of back pain – and the need for it to be addressed by qualified health care professionals such as doctors of chiropractic; but also the need to recognize and avoid situations that may increase the risk of experiencing an episode of back pain.

For example, evidence implicates ergonomic flaws both in the school and workplace (desk / chair height, etc.) in back pain, not to mention carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain and other conditions. What's more, the act of sitting alone creates undue stress on the spinal column and encourages poor posture whether at school, work or home, a major initiator of back pain and related conditions.

If anyone in your family is suffering from back pain, do something about it. Talk to your doctor about the potential causes and solutions.

P27. A Poor Choice for Relieving Your Low Back Pain

By Editorial Staff

Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately. In fact, improper use, coupled with the drug's narrow safety margin, means "a large fraction of users [are] close to a toxic dose in the ordinary course of use," according to the Food and Drug Administration.

But for the sake of discussion, let's ignore the safety issues for a moment. Is acetaminophen an effective pain reliever in the first place? Not for low back pain and pain attributable to knee / hip osteoarthritis, conclude the authors of a recent meta-analysis. The just-published review of 13 randomized trials has yielded "high-quality evidence" that paracetamol (acetaminophen) does not reduce pain intensity or disability, and does not improve quality of life, in the short term for people experiencing LBP; and provides only "minimal, short-term benefit" for people suffering from hip or knee pain caused by OA, stating that "the small effects ... are not likely to be meaningful for clinicians or patients."

Back to the safety issues surrounding acetaminophen, which the meta-analysis did little to dilute. According to the review researchers, "high-quality" evidence suggests paracetamol use results in a fourfold risk of an abnormal liver function test. Not surprising, since acetaminophen misuse (overdose) is now the most common cause of acute liver failure (exceeding all other medications combined) and the second most common cause of liver failure requiring transplantation.

In fact, the FDA has mandated that all acetaminophen-containing prescription products feature a "black box" warning (the administration's strongest safety statement) noting an overdose can cause liver failure and even death; and have been urged to place similar language on OTC acetaminophen products.

P26. Stress and Back Pain: The Link

By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA

Stress is a part of life, and so is back pain. Ironically, stress is a leading cause of episodic back pain. Your body experiences a cascade of physiological responses during chronic stress setting the stage for injury.

The human body is genetically programmed to respond to stressful situations by stimulation in a survival part of your brain known as the limbic system. Otherwise known as the reptilian or primal brain, it is responsible for the emotional "flight or fight" (run or stand and fight) response to negative stimuli. Your brain response functions the same in stressful situations regardless of the source and extent of the threatening stimuli. The limbic brain does not recognize differences between types and degrees of stress. It simply reacts. Your body releases hormones (chemical messengers) which cause a physical reaction to stress; shortness of breath, sweating, increased heart rate, muscle tension, tightness or stiffness in joints, etc., in preparation for survival reaction. So whether you are about to be chased by a rabid dog, cut off in traffic, or had a tough day at work the same response occurs. The same negative physical impact also occurs on the body.

There are several different types of stress and learning how to control them can make all the difference. You have physical stress (lack of exercise, illness, sleep habits, etc), mental stress (how you deal emotionally with life) and chemical stress (nutritional and environmental).

Stress alters breathing patterns by causing you to breathe more from the chest/lungs than the diaphragm. This altered pattern increases tension in the neck and upper back leading to poor posture, muscle tightness and headaches. The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that sits in the lower part of the ribcage underneath the lungs. Optimal breathing patterns should occur from the diaphragm first, followed by the lungs. Most often people have dysfunctional patterns where this sequence is reversed. Breathing is the foundation for relaxation. Learn to control your breathing and you will have discovered a secret weapon of relaxation and stress reduction. To check your breathing pattern lie on your back with knees bent. Close your eyes and place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose. The lower hand should move first and the upper hand second. If the upper hand moves first you have an altered breathing pattern. Luckily it is fairly easy to learn how to breathe again properly. In our quick tip help guide below you will learn how to restore normal breathing patterns.

Stress increases tension in the body 24/7. It is like flipping the light switch on for self- protection, muscle tension and tightness. Think about how stiff and tight you feel when walking across ice. Your body tenses up in anticipation of falling and is trying to protect you from injury. Imagine how your muscles would feel if you were in this constant state of tension for weeks at a time. It would not feel good! That is what chronic stress is doing. Stress increases production of specific hormones known as cortisol and adrenaline located in the adrenal glands. These are two small glands that rest on top of the kidneys, one on either side. Cortisol is nicknamed the "stress hormone" and it can cause many negative reactions in the body if it is unbalanced. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline will cause increased inflammation in the body. In essence, your own body begins to turn on itself.

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P25. Time to Take a Stand Against Work-Related Foot Problems

By Mark Charrette, DC

Prolonged standing is associated with an increase in frequency of distal lower pain symptoms, most notably in the lower leg or calf, and the ankle or foot for both men and women.

Fortunately, work fatigue and musculoskeletal symptoms in the same areas can be significantly decreased with the use of flexible, shock-absorbing shoe inserts. Even in patients with no need for specific foot or back treatments, supportive insoles can improve energy levels at work and help reduce subjective reports of tiredness.

The NYC Police Study

Researchers from the Division of Orthopedics at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine were interested in studying working-class people who spent considerable portions of the workday on their feet. They found that police officers – most of whom wore stiff-soled work boots – made excellent subjects for testing the effects of wearing shoe inserts during the workday.

One hundred twenty-two New York City police officers were recruited for this study. They wore semi-custom, flexible insoles for five weeks, for an average of seven hours per day. They walked an average of three miles per day for the duration of this study. The officers were all in good health, and any who were currently receiving treatment for back, leg, or foot problems were excluded from the study.

The insoles used in this investigation were semi-custom, in that they were designed for either low-arched, normal-arched,or high-arched feet. Responses to questionnaires collected before, and then after the five-week study were used to quantify the officers' foot problems and symptoms, and their satisfaction levels, in order to measure the effects of the supportive insoles.

Study Results

Before the study began, one-fifth of the police officers reported that they regularly experienced foot pain or discomfort at the end of their work day; 15 percent had calluses, corns or athlete's foot; 18 percent had sought treatment for a foot problem in the past; and 20 percent had worn foot orthotics at some point previously. After five weeks of wearing the semi-custom insoles, there was a significant reduction in tiredness in the feet at the end of the day, with 68 percent reporting less foot discomfort. At the end of the study, 70 percent of the officers said they planned to continue wearing the insoles.

In addition, the shock-absorbing insoles were found to be very comfortable, and they significantly helped decrease both fatigue and foot symptoms at work, as well as after the work shift was over for the day.

P24. Pain in the Forecast

By Linsay Way, DC

It's a running joke in our clinic that the most accurate method of predicting storms is to see how full the waiting room is. But why do some people seem to be able to predict coming rains based on their aches and pains? It's a question I hear from my patients every time weather changes are on the horizon.

It's true that many people with back pain, neck pain or other joint complaints are often surprisingly accurate in predicting when storms are approaching, and believe it or not, there is some validity to their weather forecasting abilities.

The phenomenon is nothing new. As early as the 5th century B.C., Hippocrates suggested many illnesses were related to changes in the weather. Since then, a number of musculoskeletal disorders have been identified as being especially sensitive to changing weather conditions, including osteoarthritis, tension headaches, back pain and fibromyalgia.

A variety of meteorologic factors have been suggested as the culprit, including temperature, precipitation, humidity, thunderstorms and increased ionization of the air. But while reliable conclusions about the link between weather and musculoskeletal pain have yet to be established due to the lack of controlled studies, most research points to the lowered atmospheric barometric pressure that often precedes storms and other weather changes.

In one of the first empirical studies on the effect of weather on joint pain, published in 2010 by the International Journal of Biometeorology, researchersestablished a direct connection between low barometric pressure, inflammation and joint pain in rats. For the study, scientists artificially produced a state of chronic inflammation in the feet of lab rats, mimicking the clinical features of neuropathic pain in humans. When the rats were placed in a low-pressure environment, they exhibited signs of exacerbated foot joint pain not seen in their control counterparts.

P23. Summer Spinal Safety

Stay in the Game

By Dr. Kevin M. Wong

Summer sports are a favorite pastime of beachgoers and sun lovers everywhere. From bicycle riding and swimming to football, baseball and volleyball, outdoor activities can put a great deal of strain on your spine. Find out what your body needs to stay in the game.

As we move into the summer months, the weather has become more inviting, and many of you will begin or increase your outdoor activities. Some of you may decide to revisit exercise routines or sporting activities that you abandoned during the colder winter months. For others, you may be increasing your activity level since it feels so wonderful to be outside. I applaud you for being proactive about your health.

There are a multitude of activities that become more prevalent during these months, including tennis, bike riding, water sports, hiking and beach-related sports, to name a few. Whatever activity you choose, make sure you protect your body and use sound judgment so you don't put yourself at risk for injury.

Your body is an amazing thing. When your spine, bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments are all working well, you take no notice that your body is doing what it is supposed to. However, when your body is stressed or damaged, either from a single injury or over time, it starts letting you know. You may feel tight muscles, stiffness, a reduced ability to move comfortably, and even pain. These signs should not be covered up with medication. That's like taking the batteries out of a smoke detector during a fire.

We have an important responsibility to make sure we listen to our own bodies. By taking the time to make sure our bodies are safe when we exercise, we can maintain our spinal function, along with the function of our muscles and connective tissue, and keep ourselves pain-free. Now that's prevention.

P22. Treating Shin Splints -- And Making Sure They Don't Come Back

By Robert Lucarelli, LMT

Whether you are a pro athlete, a weekend warrior or just on your feet all day, shin splints can strike at any time, causing substantial pain. Fortunately, there are precautionary measures you can take to prevent painful shin splints from occurring and/or get you back to full health if you're suffering from shin splints.

Here's an introduction to this common condition and information you should discuss with your doctor if you suspect you have shin splints.

What Are They?

Shin splints are muscle tears and hairline fractures in the anterior tibialis and tibia (shinbone). That's the bone on the front of your lower leg. Shin splints are common to runners, basketball players, tennis players or anyone who is on their feet all day, such as grocery clerks, security officers, nurses, construction workers, etc.

The pain from shin splints can be mild or severe. Location of the pain varies according to which part of the lower leg structure has been damaged. If the tibia is red, hot and swollen, suspect a more severe injury than muscle damage to the lower leg.

Potential Causes

Strength discrepancies can cause damage to the anterior leg. The anterior tibialis may be too weak to absorb impact .The calf may generate too much force for the muscles of the front of the leg to absorb impact when landing on a hard surface. Sometimes, inadequate padding in shoes can also cause problems to the lower leg.

From a biomechanical perspective, there are three types of "levers" in the body: first-, second- and third-class levers. When walking, the foot moves [pivots] via a second-class lever. The force is generated from the calf, the axis of rotation or pivot point, is the ball of the foot and the resistance goes down the middle of the body. A mechanical example would be a wheel barrow. The force is generated from the handles, the wheel is the pivot point and the resistance is in the middle of the wheel barrow.

The point is, if the body is not lined up correctly due to the spinal vertebrae being misaligned or muscles pulling the body off its center of balance, it may cause stress all the way down to the foundation of the body, which in this case would be the lower legs.

P21. Death by Migraine?

By Editorial Staff

Could your migraine headache increase your risk of suffering a life-threatening event? If you've ever suffered a migraine, you know it can feel as if your life is ending, with symptoms including intense throbbing / pulsing sensation in one area of the head.

Add to that a good chance of nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to both light and sound, and many migraine sufferers find themselves out of commission until the migraine subsides.

But what if that wasn't even the worst of it? According to a study published online ahead of print in Stroke, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that self-reported migraine sufferers (migraines verified by International Classification of Headache Disorders-2 criteria) had more than double the risk of suffering a subclinical brain infarction (essentially a stroke) compared to study participants who did not experience migraines. This increased risk was evident even when the researchers accounted for other potential risk factors for brain infarction, including sociodemographic variables and vascular risk factors.

Mark Infarction is tissue death caused by lack of oxygen, generally due to an obstruction of blood supply / flow. Obviously if the brain can't get enough oxygen / blood, bad things are going to happen – quickly. If you suffer from migraines and have decided to “survive” them with over-the-counter medication and other tactics, this research should be an eye opener that you may not be doing enough. Talk to your doctor about your migraines and learn more about headache symptoms here.

P20. Drugless Pain Solutions

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Reliance on Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

By David Seaman, DC, MS, DABCN

Americans take an inordinate amount of medication to reduce pain and inflammation, most notably acetaminophen, aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. In fact, it is estimated that each year, Americans purchase literally billions of over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drugs. How do these medications work? By inhibiting the enzymes that normally convert dietary fatty acids into inflammation-producing chemicals that can cause pain.

So, our dietary choices directly contribute to inflammation, pain and suffering, and then we take medications as a short-term "fix," rather than getting to the source of the problem - poor diet - and making changes. By the way, the side effects from these medications range from intestinal ulcers to reduced bone health, stroke and heart attack. Clearly, it is a good idea to use these medications sparingly.

Painful Diet Choices

The modern diet consists largely of nutrient-free calories: approximately 20 percent from refined sugar, 20 percent from refined flour and 20 percent from refined oils derived from corn, safflower seeds, sunflower seeds, cottonseeds, peanuts and soy. Oh, and don't forget another 10 percent to 20 percent from overweight or obese animals. That means for too many people, 80 percent of the calories they consume promote inflammation and thus pain, and lack any appreciable nutrient quality at all.

The word pain spelled out with barbed wire. It is highly unlikely that taking NSAIDs or supplements will reduce pain and suffering for those individuals who subsist largely on these types of foods. That means the first order of business is to reduce the consumption of foods that cause inflammation and pain. Refined oils and fatty meat are known to contain an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids, which are generally inflammatory compared to omega-3 fatty acids. Oily potato and corn chips are excellent examples of foods whose calories are derived largely from the oils mentioned above (which contain only omega-6 fatty acids). In contrast, omega-3s are found in green vegetables, certain seeds (flax, chia and hemp), fish, and wild game or grass-fed animals, from which less than 10 percent of the average Americans calories are derived.

Alternatives to Pain-Relieving Drugs

Most of our calories should come from vegetables, fruit, fish, lean meats and nuts. These foods are the best sources of calories to reduce heart disease because of their anti-inflammatory nature. In 1991, this type of diet was used in a study with patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating, painful disease, resulting in a substantial reduction in pain.

When considering supplements to help reduce pain, it is important to realize that pain expression is based on physical, psychological,and biochemical factors. From a biochemical perspective, it is important to remember that the chemicals which cause inflammation are the same ones that cause pain. Therefore, our goal with supplementation should be to help reduce inflammation.

Fish oil is one of the more popular supplements on the market today and can be taken by almost anyone who is not taking blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin). Studies have shown that supplemental fish oil is helpful for patients with neck pain and back pain, as well as joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and ulcerative colitis. The common supplemental recommendation is 1-3 grams of EPA/DHA, which are the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. This typically means 2-5 capsules daily if a concentrated fish oil is used for supplementation.

P19. Would You Risk Your Life for Pain Relief?

By Editorial Staff

While no one can question the profound impact pain, whether acute or chronic, can have on your life, it's worth asking a simple question: Would you put your life in jeopardy to relieve your pain? A new opioid approved by the Food and Drug Administration last fall and available by prescription this month, "will kill people as soon as it's released," according to one doctor (president of the advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing) quoted in a CNN.com article.

The opioid analgesic in question goes by the brand name Zohydro and contains hydrocodone in an amount said to be five times stronger than currently available painkillers. According to the CNN article, the FDA is tightening rules with regard to prescribing / dispensing of hydrocodone-containing products, and is increasingly concerned about their abuse / misuse. All of which raises the question: Why would it approve a new, more potent hydrocodone?

Common side effects from taking hydrocodone include such pleasantries as abnormally low blood pressure, drowsiness, faintness, dizziness, nausea and weakness. "Infrequent" side effects include fast or slow heartbeat, vocal cord swelling, collapsed portion of lung, trouble breathing, vision problems, incomplete or infrequent bowel movements, and a host of other potential issues. And then there's the rare (but not nonexistent) side effects, such as skin eruptions, hallucinations, nightmares, acute liver failure, and reduced production of white blood cells - the cells that form the basis for our immune system.

The next time your doctor prescribes a medication of any type, ask them: Is this the best option? Are there nondrug alternatives that could be just as effective – and infinitely safer? Don't be afraid to speak up; your health may depend on it.

P18. Pain Relief Without a Price

By Editorial Staff

A growing awareness of the dangers of prescription pain drugs has been gaining momentum for the past few years. It is reflected in the Policy Impact brief and "Vitalsigns" report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November 2011 and July 2013, respectively.

An article by CNN at the end of last year helped the American public better understand why they should be concerned about pain drugs and the MDs who prescribe them.

According to the CDC, "Every day in the United States, 105 people die as a result of drug overdose, and another 6,748 are treated in emergency departments (ED) for the misuse or abuse of drugs." Most of these are from painkillers.

According to the CNN article, these pain drugs "are useful when used short-term and for extreme pain, but there is no evidence that long-term use is either safe or effective." The article also notes, "A recent Johns Hopkins study showed that between 2000-2010, opioid prescriptions given after pain-related doctor visits nearly doubled - from 11% to 20% - while identification and treatment of pain stayed the same."

It is unlikely that the medical community will change its behavior anytime soon, even though the evidence is pointing away from the use of pain drugs. There is an effort to make the overdosing patient the culprit, rather than the drugs themselves. But as public awareness grows, people will have a desire to find their own alternatives.

Your doctor of chiropractic can provide you with more information regarding the profound health risks associated with prescription medication and how chiropractic care - including spinal adjustments, low-impact exercises and nutrition, among other conservative strategies - can not only relieve pain, but also address the underlying factors creating the pain and affecting your life.

P17. Pain in the Forecast

By Linsay Way, DC

It's a running joke in our clinic that the most accurate method of predicting storms is to see how full the waiting room is. But why do some people seem to be able to predict coming rains based on their aches and pains? It's a question I hear from my patients every time weather changes are on the horizon. It's true that many people with back pain, neck pain or other joint complaints are often surprisingly accurate in predicting when storms are approaching, and believe it or not, there is some validity to their weather forecasting abilities.

The phenomenon is nothing new. As early as the 5th century B.C., Hippocrates suggested many illnesses were related to changes in the weather. Since then, a number of musculoskeletal disorders have been identified as being especially sensitive to changing weather conditions, including osteoarthritis, tension headaches, back pain and fibromyalgia.

A variety of meteorologic factors have been suggested as the culprit, including temperature, precipitation, humidity, thunderstorms and increased ionization of the air. But while reliable conclusions about the link between weather and musculoskeletal pain have yet to be established due to the lack of controlled studies, most research points to the lowered atmospheric barometric pressure that often precedes storms and other weather changes.

rain In one of the first empirical studies on the effect of weather on joint pain, published in 2010 by the International Journal of Biometeorology, researchersestablished a direct connection between low barometric pressure, inflammation and joint pain in rats. For the study, scientists artificially produced a state of chronic inflammation in the feet of lab rats, mimicking the clinical features of neuropathic pain in humans. When the rats were placed in a low-pressure environment, they exhibited signs of exacerbated foot joint pain not seen in their control counterparts.

Additional research has demonstrated the same phenomenon occurs in humans. For instance, a 2002 study from the Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques concluded that "back pain may be aggravated by atmosphere depression in patients with lumbar disc disease." And a 2007 study from the American Journal of Medicine determined that "changes in barometric pressure are independently associated with osteoarthritis knee pain severity."

Various mechanisms have been proposed to account for this relationship, but the most likely explanation involves the expansion of fluid in swollen joints following fluctuations in barometric pressure. Inflammation due to dysfunction, disease or injury will lead to swelling in and surrounding a joint. Because materials of varying densities are affected differently by pressure changes, drops in barometric pressure expand this extra fluid more than the muscle, ligaments and connective tissue that make up the joint capsule, stretching sensitized tissues and activating a nociceptive (pain) response.

A good illustration for the layperson is a balloon in a barometric chamber. If the pressure outside the balloon drops, the air on the inside expands and stretches the walls of the balloon. When the same happens to a swollen joint, the expansion stretches soft tissue, irritates nerve endings and causes pain.

It's important to note that this contraction and expansion of excess fluid in joints is happening on such a small scale that it cannot be quantified by any scientific means and the process is therefore entirely theoretical. But whatever the mechanism, the takeaway is that some degree of inflammation must already exist, whether we are aware of it or not, for barometric pressure changes to lead to joint pain. Weather changes can't cause pain by themselves; they can only exacerbate inflammation that's already there. After all, not everyone experiences pain when a storm is brewing, and those who do don't experience pain in every joint.

It really drives home what chiropractors have been saying for decades: The absence of pain isn't the same as good health! So while there's validity to the idea of "aches and pains mean coming rains," anticipation of weather changes shouldn't interfere with patients' motivation to decrease underlying inflammation with the things they actually can control. Sunny days ahead are no substitution for proper exercise, good diet and supplementation, and regular chiropractic care.

P16. Natural Cures For Migraines

For many people, migraines can take the joy out of everyday living. Migraines can cause many people to skip out on daily activities such as exercising, watching TV or simply enjoying time with their loved ones. Because of their intensity, they can put a damper on your life. Many seek relief with the usual ibuprofen or aspirin, which are known to have side effects of their own.

Luckily, there are many ways you can beat a migraine naturally. Here are some ideas to get you pain-free the natural way:

Talk to your chiropractor - a trip to the chiropractor can work miracles when it comes to back pain, it can also nip the worst migraine in the bud. Chiropractors can help alleviate your pain by using their techniques. Ask your chiropractor for an assessment and start your way toward a pain-free life.

Use simple acupressure - By using your own hands, you can find relief when it comes to a headache. Acupressure may be a good way for you to dim headache pain. Simply rub the two points on either side of your vertebrae at the nape of your neck (right below the ridges at the base of your skull). Also try massaging the webbed area on the top of your left hand, between your thumb and forefinger.

Take some ginger - This supplement helps inhibits inflammation in blood vessels, so its wise to take it when you feel a headache coming on. It will also do wonders for your stomach if you happen to get migraine-related nausea.

Get some rest - if you are tired, you are more likely to get a migraine. By getting some sleep, you should be able to stop pain in its tracks.

Try some of these natural cures for your next migraine, they can help you get back to your daily life enjoyment.

P15. What to Do About Whiplash

Prevention and Treatment Strategies

By Dr. Perry Nickelston

Whiplash is the most common injury associated with motor vehicle accidents, affecting up to 83 percent of those involved in collisions, and is a common cause of chronic disability. The Quebec Task Force (QTF) on Whiplash Associated Disorders defines whiplash as "bony or soft tissue injuries" resulting "from rear-end or side impact, predominantly in motor vehicle accidents, and from other mishaps" as a result of "an acceleration-deceleration mechanism of energy transfer to the neck." It is estimated that as many as four per 1,000 people may experience a whiplash-related injury and associated pain syndromes. The overall economic burden of whiplash injury, including medical care, disability and sick leave, is estimated at a staggering $3.9 billion annually in the U.S. alone.

The mechanism of injury suggests that whiplash may occur as a result of hyperextension (excessive backward bending) of the lower cervical spine (neck) in relation to a hyperflexion (excessive forward bending) of the upper cervical vertebrae, producing a force of impact "whipping" through the body. The result is soft-tissue damage, inflammation and muscle spasm.

whiplash skeleton Whiplash is associated with a wide variety of clinical symptoms including neck pain, neck stiffness, arm pain, jaw pain, headaches and paresthesias (tingling/numbness), problems with memory and concentration, and psychological distress. Symptoms of whiplash may not present until several weeks after the causative incident. Frequently people experience little pain and discomfort in the early stages. However, after several weeks the body begins to manifest symptoms. It is this delayed onset of symptoms and lack of early treatment intervention which may cause the condition to become chronic and debilitating.

Whiplash Prevention

While a whiplash injury may be unavoidable if you're involved in a crash, there are simple but effective precautions you can take to minimize the risk. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Head restraint: If more than one person uses a car, it is better to adjust the head restraint for each driver and make sure that it's positioned according to the convenience of each driver. Not adjusting the head restraint for each driver greatly increases the likelihood of injury. The head restraint must be locked when driving. If the head restraint is not locked, it may move during an accident, taking away protective support when needed most and resulting in substantial injuries to the neck.

Evidence suggests that being the driver increases the chances of head injury by double and also shows that women suffer from whiplash injuries more than men because they tend to sit more upright and closer to the steering wheel. A study by Brian Stemper, PhD, assistant professor of neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, found: "Auto head restraints positioned less than 2.4 inches (6 cm) from the back of the head kept ligament stretch within the physiologic range - meaning that no injury would occur. However, as the restraint distance increased beyond 2.4 inches, the ligaments began to exceed failure thresholds, meaning that whiplash injury was more likely to occur."

P14. Headache Triggers You Need To Know

Headaches are known to be brought on by common daily life stress such as traffic, work and child care. For many, headaches can even lead to severe migraines that are hard to treat. What exactly causes headaches has been studied for years, the most recent research has found that what we eat and when we eat it plays a significant role in both headaches and migraines.

How so?

There are various vessels that play a role in headaches and what one eats can cause high fluctuating blood sugar levels to spasm and cause pain. If you are often getting headaches when eating certain foods - make a note of it and talk to your doctor.

According to recent reports, many people who suffer from frequent headaches or migraines may be sensitive to certain food chemicals, both naturally occurring and artificial. Common food chemicals that have been found to affect the arteries of the head include:

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – a common flavor enhancer, but also found naturally in such foods as tomatoes. There are many food places that cook with MSG, if you suspect there is an eatery you love that cooks with MSG make sure to make a note of it and pass it up the next time. headache Nitrites – these preservatives are found in processed meats and some cheeses. Processed food always seems to mean bad news for your health, the more you stay away from it the less health conditions you will have to worry about.

Amines – common compounds found in a wide range of foods, including spinach, tomato, potato, small whole fish, tuna, liver, dark chocolate and alcoholic drinks. Other things that can play a role in headaches is caffeine. Some people even get headaches from caffeine withdrawal.

If you suspect you are getting headaches more often after consuming any of the above, you need to be assessed by a qualified health practitioner. It can make a huge difference when it comes to pain relief and the onset of future headaches.

P13. Stress and Back Pain: The Link

By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA

Stress is a part of life, and so is back pain. Ironically, stress is a leading cause of episodic back pain. Your body experiences a cascade of physiological responses during chronic stress setting the stage for injury.

The human body is genetically programmed to respond to stressful situations by stimulation in a survival part of your brain known as the limbic system. Otherwise known as the reptilian or primal brain, it is responsible for the emotional "flight or fight" (run or stand and fight) response to negative stimuli. Your brain response functions the same in stressful situations regardless of the source and extent of the threatening stimuli. The limbic brain does not recognize differences between types and degrees of stress. It simply reacts. Your body releases hormones (chemical messengers) which cause a physical reaction to stress; shortness of breath, sweating, increased heart rate, muscle tension, tightness or stiffness in joints, etc., in preparation for survival reaction. So whether you are about to be chased by a rabid dog, cut off in traffic, or had a tough day at work the same response occurs. The same negative physical impact also occurs on the body. There are several different types of stress and learning how to control them can make all the difference. You have physical stress (lack of exercise, illness, sleep habits, etc), mental stress (how you deal emotionally with life) and chemical stress (nutritional and environmental).

Stress alters breathing patterns by causing you to breathe more from the chest/lungs than the diaphragm. This altered pattern increases tension in the neck and upper back leading to poor posture, muscle tightness and headaches. The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that sits in the lower part of the ribcage underneath the lungs. Optimal breathing patterns should occur from the diaphragm first, followed by the lungs. Most often people have dysfunctional patterns where this sequence is reversed. Breathing is the foundation for relaxation. Learn to control your breathing and you will have discovered a secret weapon of relaxation and stress reduction. To check your breathing pattern lie on your back with knees bent. Close your eyes and place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose. The lower hand should move first and the upper hand second. If the upper hand moves first you have an altered breathing pattern. Luckily it is fairly easy to learn how to breathe again properly. In our quick tip help guide below you will learn how to restore normal breathing patterns.

Stress increases tension in the body 24/7. It is like flipping the light switch on for self- protection, muscle tension and tightness. Think about how stiff and tight you feel when walking across ice. Your body tenses up in anticipation of falling and is trying to protect you from injury. Imagine how your muscles would feel if you were in this constant state of tension for weeks at a time. It would not feel good! That is what chronic stress is doing. Stress increases production of specific hormones known as cortisol and adrenaline located in the adrenal glands. These are two small glands that rest on top of the kidneys, one on either side. Cortisol is nicknamed the "stress hormone" and it can cause many negative reactions in the body if it is unbalanced. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline will cause increased inflammation in the body. In essence, your own body begins to turn on itself.

So what are some simple and effective tips you can start doing today to help alleviate stress? Below are suggestions for helping physical, mental and environmental stress in your life.

Nutrition: Eat healthy and eat often to control blood sugar levels. When you wait long periods between meals, you have a spike of a hormone known as insulin. This hormone controls how fast sugar enters your bloodstream after eating. Big surges in insulin occur when you wait too long between meals which may increase stress on your body chemistry. You can get cravings and mood swings. Eating only three meals a day is insufficient in keeping this delicate balance of hormones in check. It is recommended to eat three meals a day, mixed in with 2-3 healthy snacks. You will notice a renewed sense of energy and vitality with regular feedings.

Mental: Take some "me" time every morning before you start the day. Use this time to reflect on yesterday and plan out today's events. With the craziness of non-stop information overload in today's society it's more important than ever to take quiet moments. Set your alarm 15-minutes early and wake up to silence. Do not turn on the television or open the newspaper. You may find that problems which have plagued you suddenly become more manageable and put into perspective. When was the last time you sat in a room without white noise all around? Try it and see what happens.

Physical: Learning how to breathe with your diaphragm takes some practice, but in time it will become second nature. Practice the following technique on a daily basis for 3-5minutes. Lie on your back, putting a pillow support under your knees to relax your lower back. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Slowly inhale through your nose and make sure the only hand to move is the one on your abdomen. Try to keep the hand on your chest as still as possible. Exhale through pursed lips and repeat. You may become temporarily lightheaded after your first few, but this is a normal response to the increase in oxygen uptake by the body. Do this before bed time and you will have a more restful sleep leading increased recovery and regeneration.

You do have power over your body. Simple changes in your life to help reduce stress can have a profound impact on your health. Take back control of your life from pain. Empower yourself to feel good again mentally and physically. Start with the simple strategies above and when you feel the positive difference you will want more for yourself.

To decrease the stress in your life, talk to your chiropractor about your concerns.

P12. A Drug-Free Way to Treat Headaches: Chiropractic Care

By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA

More Americans complain about headaches than any other health condition, including back pain; in fact, approximately 45 million Americans say they suffer headaches each year.

That's one in every six people or more than 16 percent of the population. More than 8 million Americans visit their doctor seeking relief for symptoms of headaches each year. Unfortunately, the most popular treatment is over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication.

There is some good news when it comes to headaches. There are safe and effective natural solutions available to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of various headache types. For example, chiropractic treatment is a highly sought-after alternative treatment for the debilitating effects associated with headaches. Let's learn about that headache you may be suffering from and how chiropractic can help you get rid of it.

Headaches 101

Tension headaches: The most common type of headache is the tension headache. It is estimated that 80-90 percent of the U.S. population suffers from tension headaches at some point in their lives. There are two primary types of tension headaches: Episodic: Headaches appear occasionally, usually less than 15 times per month. Chronic: Headaches occur more than 15 times per month or on a consistent basis.

Tension headaches are intimately connected to abnormal posture, muscular tightness, joint stiffness, and restricted range of motion in the body. To obtain optimum health and function, it is important to remember that everything is connected and everything matters. Dysfunctional patterns of movement and posture affect how much tension and stress your body holds. The body must compensate for these dysfunctional patterns by any means necessary, and it accomplishes this by altering tension points.

Muscles attach to anchor points on bone and act as primary movers and stabilizers for your body. Mover muscles are used get you from point A to point B, such as a getting up out of a chair. Stabilizer muscles control that movement so you don't fall down while standing up. Abnormal posture and altered tension points on bone anchors puts too much wear and tear on muscles and joints. Your brain and nervous system must compensate for this dysfunction by altering blood flow, muscle movement patterns and breathing. These alterations often lead to tension headaches.

Migraines: The second most common type of headache is the migraine headache. Approximately 16-17 percent of the population complains of migraines. These headaches are far more debilitating than the tension-type headaches. More women than men suffer from migraine headaches, leading researchers to believe there may be a hormonal component to migraines. The majority of migraine sufferers report some sort of trigger that kicks of their headaches (food, drink, smell, etc).

How Chiropractic Can Help

Chiropractic care can help alleviate the symptoms of tension and migraine headaches by improving and restoring normal postural patterns. Chiropractic treatment is aimed at normalizing muscle tension, restoring joint range of motion, and stabilizing the body to reduce abnormal stressors. Optimizing postural control of the head and neck reduces the workload your muscles must apply just to keep your head up during the day. Proper spinal alignment and muscle control helps give the body a fighting chance of avoiding a tension headache.

Proper breathing is essential to relaxation, blood flow, and oxygen supply to the brain and body. Abnormal posture, which can include such dysfunctions as rounded shoulders, neck forward over the shoulders, slouched positions and tightness in the hips from sitting all day, decrease lung capacity. This decreased capacity alters how much you breathe, how often, and from where.

Headache sufferers tend to breathe more from their chest and shoulders as opposed to their diaphragm. This leads to repeated elevation of the shoulders and upper back muscles hundreds of times a day, leading to increased tension in the head and neck. Chiropractic restores function to the spine, ribs, and hips to maximize breathing and good postural control. Better breathing equals better health.

If you're suffering from headaches and are tired of taking pain-relieving medication day after day, your doctor of chiropractic will work closely with you to determine likely triggers for your headaches and make subtle changes in your activities of daily living to empower you to take back control of your life.

P11. Bed Rest for Your Back Pain? Not the Best Idea

By Editorial Staff

Upwards of 80 percent of adults suffer at least one episode of back pain in their lifetime, which means you've already felt the pain, are feeling it now or will feel it before you know it.

And chances are good that, like so many others, your first thought will be to get off your feet, lie down and rest. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that unless the pain is severe or accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain radiating down the legs, rest is exactly the opposite strategy if you're trying to relieve your back pain.

If you're suffering from back pain, staying active is an important piece of advice to follow in the majority of cases. That means avoiding bed rest, prolonged stretches of sitting, standing or inactivity; and doing all the things you usually do, within reason (no heavy lifting or intense physical activity, including twisting or other dramatic movements that could make the pain worse).

While it may sound counterintuitive, abundant research suggests activity can help reduce the pain and shorten recovery time in most cases of noncomplicated back pain. In fact, one study that summarized findings from an international task force on back pain stated, among other findings / recommendations: 1) bed rest is contraindicated in subacute and chronic cases of low back pain; in acute cases, bed rest should neither be enforced nor prescribed; and if authorized (based on pain indication), bed rest should be for the shortest duration possible.

The theory is relatively simple, if you think about it: Inactivity can make your spine and back muscles tight and stiff, increasing the pain, particularly when you bend or stretch. Prolonged inactivity can also make you weaker, not to mention that evidence suggests the longer you stay in bed with pain, the more likely that your pain will become chronic / more disabling, often because you avoid moving for fear it will exacerbate the pain.

Of course, the first step when suffering back pain is to make a visit with a health care provider who can evaluate your pain, make sure there's nothing more serious going on, and then offer treatment and self-care recommendations (including activity) to help relieve it. Enter your doctor of chiropractic, the experts in treating spinal pain.

P10. A Great Exercise to Erase Low Back Pain

Watch a toddler pick up a ball and then ask an adult to do the same task. What's the most obvious difference you notice? The toddler hinges at the hips, sitting back and down into a deep squat to grasp the ball, pulling it close to the body.

The toddler powers through the hips, glutes and thighs in returning to the starting position. It's all in the hips!

The adult flexes forward at the waist and lumbar spine with little to no involvement of the hips, glutes and thighs. The altered mechanics of bending at the waist, as opposed to the hips, places extreme vector loads on the lumbar spine, leading to microtrauma, dysfunctional movement patterning, and eventually pain.

Optimal movement patterning and proper lifting techniques never had to be taught to the toddler. They simply lifted without thinking. Functional movement is innate to the nervous system in pre-programmed stages of development. So, what happens during the time frame from toddler to adulthood that contributes to lifting technique going horribly wrong? Quite simply: We forget how to move. Add to that the laziness factor and countless hours people spend sitting in our culture, and you have a recipe for inefficient movement. Essentially, our rear-ends have now become our feet!

Toddlers have to yet experience these outside contributors to movement dysfunction, otherwise known as life, and therefore move efficiently. The problem is adults don't' know they move wrong! They have crossed over to subconscious dysfunction; their brain perceives the abnormal movement patterning as normal. This inefficient movement leads to microtrauma, pain and injury.

The Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is a fundamental part of this reprogramming. The hip hinge, generally speaking, is any flexion / extension movement originating at the hips where there is a posterior weight shift. The hip hinge allows a person to maintain a neutral spine by moving at their hips instead of their low back.

Most people will find it difficult to do the hip hinge correctly. Using a dowel rod for neural feedback during the hinge allows you to "feel" the movement and re-establish proper patterning without overloading the nervous system. Here's how to do it:

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and a dowel running along the spine. One hand should be holding the dowel on the neck while the other hand holds the opposite end on the low back. (Alternate hand positions between sets.) Flex forward at the hip with slight knee bend. The dowel must remain in contact with the head, thoracic spine, and sacrum. Stretch should be felt in the hamstrings. Stop movement as soon as the rod leaves contact with head, thoracic spine or sacrum.

Assistance may be added to "regress" the movement by placing a 1-2-inch block under the heels. This forces forward weight shift of the body so the client must sit back into the hips to prevent falling. Ankle support also removes the barrier of possible mobility issues in ankle dorsiflexion, which may prevent the squat patterning.

Research has shown that previous injury is the number-one risk factor for future injury. Motor control limitations such as balance, stabilization and basic coordination, right-to-left asymmetries in muscle activity and flexibility are the next highest indicators associated with risk of future injury. Since previous injury is unavoidable, we should focus on motor-control limitations and asymmetries as priorities for prevention or reduction of risk factors. Assume you move poorly and take steps to help master fundamental movements like the hip hinge; then watch the magic start to happen.

P9. A Drug-Free Way to Treat Headaches: Chiropractic Care

More Americans complain about headaches than any other health condition, including back pain; in fact, approximately 45 million Americans say they suffer headaches each year.

That's one in every six people or more than 16 percent of the population. More than 8 million Americans visit their doctor seeking relief for symptoms of headaches each year. Unfortunately, the most popular treatment is over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication.

There is some good news when it comes to headaches. There are safe and effective natural solutions available to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of various headache types. For example, chiropractic treatment is a highly sought-after alternative treatment for the debilitating effects associated with headaches. Let's learn about that headache you may be suffering from and how chiropractic can help you get rid of it.

P8. Headaches 101

Tension headaches: The most common type of headache is the tension headache. It is estimated that 80-90 percent of the U.S. population suffers from tension headaches at some point in their lives. There are two primary types of tension headaches:
Episodic: Headaches appear occasionally, usually less than 15 times per month.
Chronic: Headaches occur more than 15 times per month or on a consistent basis.

Tension headaches are intimately connected to abnormal posture, muscular tightness, joint stiffness, and restricted range of motion in the body. To obtain optimum health and function, it is important to remember that everything is connected and everything matters. Dysfunctional patterns of movement and posture affect how much tension and stress your body holds. The body must compensate for these dysfunctional patterns by any means necessary, and it accomplishes this by altering tension points.

Muscles attach to anchor points on bone and act as primary movers and stabilizers for your body. Mover muscles are used get you from point A to point B, such as a getting up out of a chair. Stabilizer muscles control that movement so you don't fall down while standing up. Abnormal posture and altered tension points on bone anchors puts too much wear and tear on muscles and joints. Your brain and nervous system must compensate for this dysfunction by altering blood flow, muscle movement patterns and breathing. These alterations often lead to tension headaches.

Migraines: The second most common type of headache is the migraine headache. Approximately 16-17 percent of the population complains of migraines. These headaches are far more debilitating than the tension-type headaches. More women than men suffer from migraine headaches, leading researchers to believe there may be a hormonal component to migraines. The majority of migraine sufferers report some sort of trigger that kicks of their headaches (food, drink, smell, etc).

P7. How Chiropractic Can Help

Chiropractic care can help alleviate the symptoms of tension and migraine headaches by improving and restoring normal postural patterns. Chiropractic treatment is aimed at normalizing muscle tension, restoring joint range of motion, and stabilizing the body to reduce abnormal stressors. Optimizing postural control of the head and neck reduces the workload your muscles must apply just to keep your head up during the day. Proper spinal alignment and muscle control helps give the body a fighting chance of avoiding a tension headache.

Proper breathing is essential to relaxation, blood flow, and oxygen supply to the brain and body. Abnormal posture, which can include such dysfunctions as rounded shoulders, neck forward over the shoulders, slouched positions and tightness in the hips from sitting all day, decrease lung capacity. This decreased capacity alters how much you breathe, how often, and from where.

Headache sufferers tend to breathe more from their chest and shoulders as opposed to their diaphragm. This leads to repeated elevation of the shoulders and upper back muscles hundreds of times a day, leading to increased tension in the head and neck. Chiropractic restores function to the spine, ribs, and hips to maximize breathing and good postural control. Better breathing equals better health.

If you're suffering from headaches and are tired of taking pain-relieving medication day after day, your doctor of chiropractic will work closely with you to determine likely triggers for your headaches and make subtle changes in your activities of daily living to empower you to take back control of your life.

P6. Stress and Back Pain: The Link

Stress is a part of life, and unfortunately, so is back pain. Ironically, stress is a leading cause of episodic back pain. Stress increases tension in the body 24/7. It is like flipping the light switch on for self- protection, muscle tension and tightness.

So what are some simple and effective tips you can start doing today to help alleviate stress? Here are a few suggestions for reducing the physical, mental and environmental stress in your life.

Nutrition: Eat healthy and eat often to control blood sugar levels. When you wait long periods between meals, you have a spike of a hormone known as insulin. This hormone controls how fast sugar enters your bloodstream after eating. Big surges in insulin occur when you wait too long between meals which may increase stress on your body chemistry.

Mental: Take some "me" time every morning before you start the day. Use this time to reflect on yesterday and plan out today's events. With the craziness of non-stop information overload in today's society it's more important than ever to take quiet moments.

Physical: Learning how to breathe with your diaphragm takes some practice, but in time it will become second nature. Practice breathing through your diaphragm on a daily basis for 3-5minutes.

Simple changes in your life to help reduce stress can have a profound impact on your back and your overall health. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about the link between stress and health, and what you can do to reduce your daily stress.

P5. The Facts About Fevers

Our body's first line of defense when invaded by any microbe, virus or bacteria is cells called microphages; a strong, healthy immune system may be able to eliminate the problem with this first step alone. If these fail to contain the microbe/"bug," then the body creates other pryogens and proteins to try to assist. Once these have been created, the hypothalamus in the brain recognizes there is an invader and raises the body temperature to assist in killing it off.

This elevated temperature will generally be just a couple of degrees, but the hypothalamus determines, based on the number of pryogens and proteins, what will be necessary to eliminate the microbe/bug. If the hypothalamus creates additional biochemicals to try to protect the body, then the temperature rises accordingly.

P4. Defining a Fever

For all children above the age of 3 months, a fever is actually a good thing. It's a sign that their immune system is functioning properly. Although many parents will panic when their child has a temperature above 98.6° F (37° C), and this is understandable since many health care providers have called this a "low-grade fever," the reality is that children's temperature may naturally run a little higher than what many consider the norm.

A true low-grade fever is anything between 100° F and 102.2° F (37.8° C and 39° C). This level of fever is beneficial; with most microbes/"bugs" that a child will be exposed to, this fever will assist the body in repelling the invader.

A moderate-grade fever is typically between 102.2° F and 104.5° F (39° C and 40° C). This temperature is still considered beneficial; if a child's body has reached this temperature, it's what's needed to kill whatever bacteria or virus their body is attempting to fight.

A high fever is a fever greater than 104.5° F (40° C). This fever may cause the child some discomfort and result in a bit of crankiness. Generally indicative of a bacterial infection, this fever means that the body is fighting something a little more serious than the common cold. While it will not cause brain damage or any other harm to a child, it is wise to seek assistance from their medical provider.

A serious fever is one that is at or above 108° F (42° C); this fever can be harmful.

Can a Fever Be Dangerous?

Fevers that are caused by the body's immune system are not dangerous, and the hypothalamus will control the body temperature and not allow it to get so high as to cause harm. While it can be frightening to have a child running a moderate to high fever, it is simply their body doing what it was designed to do.

The only body temperature that can actually cause brain damage, despite what many parents believe, is 108° F (42° C), and this body temperature cannot typically be achieved on its own, but requires extreme external environmental temperatures – for instance, if a child is left in a closed car in hot weather.

P3. Preventing Neck Pain

When it comes to neck pain, many people seek relief and ways to make sure they do not have to endure it ever again. This is where prevention comes in. Often times, it is age-related wear and tear that is responsible for many aches and pains in the neck area, but there are also other everyday things that can contribute to ongoing pain and discomfort.

Let's take a look at some of those along with ways on how to prevent neck pain from occurring on a daily basis.

One of the first places to start prevention of neck pain is in the bedroom where you spend most nights asleep – often in the wrong position, which may be contributing to ongoing neck pain.

Here are some tips to make sure you are protecting yourself from neck pain while napping and sleeping throughout the night: People with these issues are more likely to develop chronic musculoskeletal pain.

P2. Stand Up Straight!

Postural issues are a big contributor to many different aches and pains and injuries to our bodies. Injuries related to poor posture tend to be overuse injuries, which build up over a period of time. Muscle imbalances and joint dysfunctions associated with poor posture can create areas of too much motion in certain spinal segments causing instability. These areas may then wear out prematurely, while other areas may have too little motion in the spine causing range of motion/mobility dysfunctions; anytime you have a right side - left side imbalance, it is called an asymmetry. If you have an asymmetry in your muscles, you are more susceptible to injury.

Some simple ways to begin to improve your posture include becoming aware of the things that you are doing, even the things that you don't even know you are doing that are contributing (harming) to your posture. Think of staying in a "tall spine" posture while sitting, standing, during exercise and also taking frequent breaks from sitting and use the Brugger's postural relief position as one of your style of breaks.

There are also some simple exercises you can do to help you get started on improving your overall posture. Here are a few:
Engage in daily use of the foam roll to provide self-myofascial release and self massage. Spend 3-5 minutes rolling out the thoracic spine and shoulders.
Perform Chair Decompression: Sit in an upright chair with your arms behind you, slightly bent, hands on the seat of the back of the chair. Push downward, straightening the arms and leaving the buttocks in the chair, unloading the trunk and spine. Keep the arms externally rotated; this moves the upper body into something similar to Brugger's.
Perform Brugger's relief position: Sit at the edge of a chair; Put your knees apart (wide) and your feet under the knees: Arch your back; Rotate your arms outward so your palms face forward; Separate your fingers and point your thumb backward; Tuck in your chin; Hold this position while taking a deep breath in though your abdomen. Hold the position for 5 seconds, release for 3 seconds, Repeat 3-5 times.
Perform Cobra: Laying face down on the floor-in prone position, have arms beside your hips. Activate the core by drawing in your navel towards spine and squeezing the glutes. With your core and glutes activated, lift the chest off the floor, lift arms up and back towards the hips rotating thumbs towards the ceiling. Note: hold for 2-3 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

P1. Back Pain Relief

Back pain - the first thought many people have when they hear those words is, "chiropractor." That's true, but in addition to helping ease back pain, there are many other professional services a doctor of chiropractic can provide to help make health and wellness a lifetime endeavor. Advice and assistance related to nutrition, exercise, posture and weight loss are just a few of the ways chiropractors can help improve your health in addition to resolving your back pain:

Nutritional Advice: Dietary and nutritional supplements are an integral part of many chiropractic offices. Doctors of chiropractic realize that extra weight on your body adds to additional stresses on your spine. This additional weight makes you biomechanically more susceptible to injury and greater risk for health problems. Starting a weight loss program under the supervision of a healthcare professional has a greater likelihood of long-term success. Ask your doctor about nutritional supplements that may be helpful in reaching your intended goal.

Postural Support: Chiropractors are experts at analyzing posture and how it relates to spinal problems. They are trained in the art of detection, function, and restoration. A doctor of chiropractic searches for the problems that exist underneath poor posture and its effect on quality of life movement dysfunction. By analyzing spinal curvatures and alignment, your doctor searches for the problems that contribute to the postural pattern and develops a strategy of correction.

The Right Tools: Most chiropractors offer equipment that can help improve your quality of life and assist with activities of daily living, such as bending, lifting, twisting, exercising, sleeping, etc. For example, ask your chiropractor about purchasing spinal support belts to help when lifting objects or working on your feet for long hours. Orthotic foot supports are very prevalent in most chiropractic offices; this is a cost-effective way to help sore feet, achy muscles, and fatigued lower backs. Braces and wraps can be used for arm and leg problems such as knee and elbow pain. Most doctors also offer hot or cold packs for home use and topical analgesic pain relief lotions that are more effective than over-the-counter options. Make sure you ask your chiropractor about using some of these devices to maximize your progress.

Working hand-in-hand with your doctor of chiropractic is the perfect solution to help with your long-term health goals. Reach out and ask for their guidance; you'll be surprised at how pivotal a role they can play in maximizing your whole-body health.

Get Rid of Neck Pain

In general, there is no one cause of neck pain that applies to every patient. If you have chronic neck pain, you may have received a diagnosis of disc herniation, whiplash, strain, sprain or something else. Regardless, most of these conditions have one thing in common: Certain muscles are affected, and these are the muscles we need to target before progressing to more challenging exercises or activities.

There are certain muscles in the neck that are designed to help us maintain our normal and healthy curve of the spine. In addition, these muscles are designed to hold our head up all day. The technical names of these muscles are the longus capitus and longus colli, more commonly known as the deep neck flexors. They are the muscles that attach to the front of your spine. Because they're located deep in the front of the neck, we often ignore them.

In people with chronic neck pain, these muscles are often fatigued a lot quicker than in people without neck pain. That means other muscles pick up the slack and begin working harder. The muscles that begin working harder are the ones we generally end up stretching. Have you ever noticed that when you stretch stiff muscles, they feel good for a short period of time, only to get tight again? The thing is, if you don't address the other muscles, the ones that get fatigued and gradually stop working, then your stretching program will not work as well. All these muscles need to be in "balance."

The best way to see if your deep neck flexors fatigue is to try and lift your head off the ground when you are lying down. The technique is simple: Simply tuck your chin in to your chest and lift your head off the ground, and then attempt to hold it there for 10 seconds. If the neck begins shaking, or your chin is unable to stay tucked in, your deep flexors are fatigued and need to be addressed. For most people with chronic neck pain, this can be a difficult exercise. That's why you can begin your exercise program by doing simple chin tucks while sitting or standing.

Simply tucking your chin in and holding it until you fatigue will help reactivate these muscles. You can start with 12 repetitions of this exercise, working your way up to three sets of 12 repetitions each. Ensure you take adequate rest (several minutes) in between each set.

Once you get comfortable with basic sitting/standing chin tucks, you can try doing the exercise lying down. The goal is to be able to do it 12 times, holding each one until you fatigue. The next goal is to work your way up to three sets of 12 repetitions, with rest in between each set. Then work your way to three sets of 15 repetitions and then three sets of 20 repetitions. Remember, this is a marathon, not a race. The goal is to increase the endurance of your muscles rather than their strength. Your neck is designed to carry the weight of your head all day, not to lift trains or buses! That's why building up endurance should be your first priority.

Neck pain is an all-too-common condition that can prove debilitating if left untreated; fortunately, your chiropractor is the perfect health care professional to help you get rid of the pain.

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Back Pain: Exercises to Help Healing

When it comes to back pain, your first thoughts may be to take over-the-counter pain medication and rest whenever possible. Two bad options. First, medication is only going to temporarily relieve the pain, if at all, and may be accompanied by various unpleasant side effects attributable to drugs. Second, rest may actually hurt more than help. While you're seeing your chiropractor, there are a few things you can do at home to help the healing process. Believe it or not, it's based on the simple principle of movement.

When you stop moving, everything tightens up, circulation slows down, and pain chemicals accumulate in your muscles and joints. It's like waking up after sleeping in a cold room on a lousy mattress with a draft. You need to move. Here are two simple exercises to get you started (discuss these with your doctor first):

Exercise #1: Backward Bending (extension of the lumbar spine). An exercise called the McKenzie extension is the first thing you should try if you have sciatica (pain running down your leg). If these exercises work, your pain will diminish and may centralize, which is a good thing. Centralize means your pain goes less far down your leg, and you may feel it closer to the spine. Bending backward may not feel good at first, but you should feel better immediately afterward. If you feel worse afterward or the pain goes farther down your leg, stop, as this is not the exercise for you.

How to Do It: Lie face-down on the floor, arms bent at your sides (sort of like a starting push-up posture). Straighten your arms up slowly, lifting your upper body off the floor as you do so. Your legs and feet should stay on the ground. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then slowly lower your upper body back down. Repeat 10 times, as often as once per hour

Exercise #2: Flexion Exercises (bringing the leg toward the chest). People with lower back pain can also feel better with various types of leg flexion, bringing the bent leg toward the chest, or doing contract-relax and then bringing the bent leg toward the chest. These people usually have sacroiliac joint problems. (The SI joints are located on either side of the spine in the lower back.)

How to Do It: Lie on your back with one leg bent and then other flat on the floor. Bring the bent leg up toward the chest. Wrap your arms around the leg and then try to lower it toward the floor for 3-5 seconds, resisting with your arms. Relax, and then pull the bent leg up farther toward the chest. Repeat the entire process three times.

To reduce your risk of injury, consult with your doctor before doing these exercises for the first time, particularly if your pain is new and/or you would like further explanation of how to perform the exercises correctly.

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Common Events That Can Cause Back Pain

Scenario #1: You didn't sleep well last night, perhaps from sleeping in an unfamiliar bed after travel, after sitting too long. You get up, feel stiff, but ignore it. You sit down in a soft chair to enjoy your morning hot drink. You get up and get a sudden sharp stab in the back.

Scenario #2: You get up from sleeping, and sit at your laptop, and get entranced by a video or article. You end up sitting far longer than you planned. You get up, and can't completely straighten up.

Scenario #3: You get up from sleeping, drink your morning coffee, which wakes up your gut, and you go to bathroom to empty your bowel. You are a bit constipated, and have to strain. When you get up from the toilet, your back spasms.

 

Overnight sleeping, even a good sleep on your favorite bed, leaves your back somewhat swollen. Swollen may be an exaggeration, but the reality is that there is extra fluid in all of your joints.

Two Ways to Minimize Injury/Pain Risk

1.

Don't bend over immediately after sitting. Sitting, even in good posture, puts you at risk. The longer you sit and the worse the seat, the more at risk you are. Airlines are very risky; it's hard to get up and move around because of the tight quarters, and the minute the plane stops, you bend over and get stuff from under the seat, or reach up, and twist and lift to get your bag from the overhead compartment. After a long sit, give yourself at least a few seconds of backward bending and/or moving around to reset your spine. Then you can carefully, using your hips rather than your back, bend over to pick up something.

2.

When you sit, don't slump. Slumping reinforces the risks, makes it more likely for something bad to happen to your discs or joints or muscles. So, sit up straight, and keep your back in neutral. Neutral means that you keep a bit of a lordosis in your lower back, keep the lumbar spine from slumping forward, stay more upright. This simple action can make a huge difference. Like any habit, this will require you to "Just Do It" for a few weeks.

Talk to your doctor about these and other high-risk moments for your lower back and what you can do to relieve low back pain or avoid the pain altogether.

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Back Pain Basics: What to Do

If you've suffered from low back pain over the past few days, or if you get back pain sometime in the future, the tendency will be to wait it out and see if it gets better. Sometimes we even decide to take time off and lie in bed, hoping we will eventually be feeling better and back to our usual activities or work. However, more and more research shows that lying in bed or waiting it out is the worst thing you can do for yourself. Remember, only 10 percent of people develop chronic low back pain, but those cases account for an estimated $100 billion a year in health care and other costs. It's a safe bet that most of them have taken this incorrect "wait and see" approach.

Research suggests that when it comes to back pain, early intervention is best. There are many reasons for this concept, but here is a basic summary of what current guidelines are saying:

Low back pain can sometimes be due to something more serious than a simple sprain. That's why it's important to see your chiropractor right away so they can evaluate you for anything more serious.

Spinal manipulation is one of the only treatments that is consistently being recommended for those with acute low back pain - and yet far too many people don't visit a chiropractor and choose to pop over-the-counter pain medication instead.

Avoid bed rest as much as possible. Yes, I know that it feels good and frankly, when I had an episode of low back pain once, I was tempted to lie in bed all day, too. On a basic level, it's the most "rational" thing to do. However, bed rest actually wastes away your muscles, and this effect lasts even for the lucky ones who improve with their low back pain. For those who are pain free, the bad news is that the muscles still waste away.

So, the next time you experience back pain and feel like you can't do anything, always remember that any movement or activity or treatment that keeps you moving is crucial for your recovery. Another factor is that you may be deconditioned and not fit enough. With back pain, you can become even more deconditioned. That's why starting to move and then progressing to an exercise program is crucial to ensure not only that you get better, but also that you don't get future bouts of low back pain. Talk to your chiropractor for more information.

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Serving the 95758, 95757, and 95624 areas as an Elk Grove-Laguna Chiropractor for 14 years
Copyright Greco Chiropractic, Inc.


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