More Than Fun & Games
Jumping rope may be more than a fun recess activity for kids; it could stave off osteoarthritis later in life. Children with diabetes who regularly did jump rope or other weight-bearing activities had improved bone mineral density in a new study. Having a high bone mineral density is believed to be protective against osteoarthritis. The study points to important preventative measures for diabetic and healthy children alike.
Improved Bone Mineral Density
Researchers measured the bone mineral density of 27 children with type 1 diabetes and 3 healthy children. After 9 months, children who participated in two 90 sessions a week of weight-bearing physical activities significantly improved their bone mineral density. These changes weren't observed in children who did not engage in weight-bearing activities.
The study echoes the results of another recent study involving young men participating in loading sports. Young men who performed at least 4 hours a week of basketball, volleyball, soccer or other loading activities had increased volumetric bone density. Participants not involved in loading sports did not experience the same benefits.
Not Just for Kids
You don't have to be young to benefit from weight-bearing activities. Older adults can could also reduce their risk of osteoarthritis with resistance training and loading sports.
Taking vitamin D supplements is another way for older adults to improve bone health.
Maggio AB, Rizzoli RR, Marchand LM, et al. Physical activity increases bone mineral density in children with type 1 diabetes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012;44:1206-1211.
Nilsson M, Ohlsson C, Odén A, Mellström D, and Lorentzon M. Increased physical activity is associated with enhanced development of peak bone mass in men: a five-year longitudinal study. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2012; 27 (5): 1206–1214.
Chiropractic Speeds Recovery from Sciatica
Most Disabling Low Back Pain
Many people with sciatica find the pain to be so debilitating that they are forced to miss work and social gatherings. Among patients with lower back pain, those with sciatica experience the highest level of disability. According to public health records in Norway, patients with sciatica are disabled for an average of 72 days a year.
Study Finds Chiropractic Speeds Recovery
A recent study offers hope to patients suffering from sciatica pain. The new research suggests that chiropractic treatments may speed sciatica recovery, enabling patients to return to work faster. The researchers evaluated 44 Norwegian workers who had visited the hospital with severe sciatic pain. Most of the participants had been experiencing pain for at least three weeks before visiting the hospital.
In the hospital, a chiropractor evaluated each patient's posture, gait, range of motion, and palpation of the lumbar spine. The chiropractor then performed joint adjustments to the spine, in addition to other joints that had been injured as patients compensated for the pain. Soft tissue soreness was relieved with ice treatment. Patients received daily treatments while in the hospital, and then three times a week for a period of two weeks. Some patients also underwent additional follow-up treatments, but most did not receive more than 14 treatments.
91% of patients had returned to work full-time"
Within 21 days, 91% of patients had returned to work full-time. An additional 2 patients were back at work part-time. The researchers concluded that the study demonstrates the potential benefit of chiropractic care for sciatica patients.
Arana E, Marti-Bonmati L, Vega M, et al. Relationship between low back pain, disability, MR imaging findings and health care provider. Skeletal Radiology 2006;35(9):641-7.
Orlin JR, Didriksen A. Results of chiropractic treatment of lumbopelvic fixation in 44 patients admitted to an orthopedic department. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2007;30:135-139.
Weight loss is known to have substantial health benefits. A new study has confirmed that patients who lose weight may experience substantially reduced back pain and sciatica.
Obese patients frequently report lower back pain and sciatica. Research shows that having a higher body mass index (BMI), a measure of obesity, may slow recovery from back pain and increase your risk of common sciatica causes such as lumbar disc degeneration. Decreased space between spinal discs, a potential result of obesity, can cause nerve impingement and sciatica pain.
The new study involved 30 morbidly obese participants who underwent weight-loss surgery. As they lost weight, the space between lumbar spinal discs increased, reducing pressure on the nerves. Patients reported a substantial reduction in lower back pain and radiating leg pain. Weight loss has also been shown to alleviate knee pain.
For patients who are concerned with the risks and costs of bariatric surgery, there are non-invasive weight loss methods available. A new literature review found that exercise and physical therapy may also reduce obese patients' back pain. Chiropractic care can also provide back-pain relief for overweight and obese patients.
1. Djurasovic M, Bratcher KR, Glassman S, et a. The Effect of Obesity on Clinical Outcomes After Lumbar Fusion. Spine 2008; 33(16): 1789-1792.
2. Baumgarten K, Walter C, and Watson E. The Effect of Obesity on Orthopaedic Conditions. South Dakota State Medical Association. http://www.sdsma.org/documents/Carlson.pdf.
3. Samartzis D, Karppinen J, Chan D, et al. The association of lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration on magnetic resonance imaging with body mass index in overweight and obese adults: A population-based study. Arthritis and Rheumatism 2012; 64(5): 1488-1496.
4. Lidar Z, Behrbalk E, Regev GJ, et al. Intervertebral Disc Height Changes after Weight Reduction in Morbid Obese Patients, its Effect on Life Quality, Radicular and Low Back Pain. Spine 2012. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31825fab16.
5. Atchison J and Vincent H. Obesity and low back pain: relationships and treatment. Pain Management 2012; 2(1): 79-86/(doi: 10.2217/pmt.11.64)
A new study from Egypt reports that chiropractic care can be an effective treatment strategy for fibromyalgia.
The study involved 120 people between the ages of 40 and 65 who had suffered with severe fibromyalgia for four years or more. Each person rated their pain as a 4 or higher on a pain scale and also had limited movement in their cervical (neck area) spine, specifically in their C1-C2 area.
All of the individuals participating in this study engaged in 12 weeks of therapy which included:
- An education program (one two-hour session per week) designed to provide the participant with more information about fibromyalgia and available treatment options;
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (one two-hour session per week) which involved discussion regarding pain management via relaxation exercises, challenging treatment-prohibitive beliefs about fibromyalgia, and positive reinforcement about what types of actions can be taken to ease fibromyalgia symptoms; and
- An exercise program (three one-hour sessions per week plus 20-minute session twice daily at home) which included relaxation techniques, as well as active and passive stretches.
One-half of the individuals were also randomly assigned to a treatment group, which meant that they also engaged in upper cervical chiropractic adjustments. This involved a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust to the C1-2 motion segment three times per week for the first month. This was then reduced to once a week sessions for the remaining eight weeks.
At the beginning of the study, the conclusion of the study, and at one year post-study, each participant was asked to complete various questionnaires to help the researchers determine what effect, if any, the chiropractic had on easing fibromyalgia symptoms and reducing its impact on their lifestyle. Specifically, questions were asked regarding physical function abilities, work days missed due to fibromyalgia symptoms, sleep disturbances, level of pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
The individuals who participated in the cervical chiropractic care group showed more improvement and better results than the control group who had no chiropractic intervention. This was validated by questionnaire scores that improved by 15 or more percent. The researchers concluded that adding chiropractic to your current fibromyalgia treatment regimen may offer even more benefits when it comes to getting to the root off the problem.
Moustafa IM, Diab AA. The addition of upper cervical manipulative therapy in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. Rheumatology International 2015;35(7):1163-1174.
We tend to a large number of patients in our Juneau, AK office, and Dr. Messerschmidt has helped many people eliminate a range of health challenges. Even so, one concern that seems to prevent some men and women from seeking care is whether or not chiropractic is safe. Luckily, according to three separate studies (out of quite a few on the topic), the answer to this question is a resounding: "Yes! Chiropractic is safe!"
Australian Study: Chiropractic is Safe
The first research paper(1) was published in Spine and included 183 men and women between the ages of 20 and 85. Each participant was suffering from spinal pain, and half of the people received real chiropractic care while the remaining patients received two sham chiropractic treatment sessions. Data was gathered after each real or fake adjustment to determine if any unpleasant negative effects occurred as a result of the real chiropractic adjustments.
The doctors found that no one reported any significant negative adverse reactions at all after getting one or two sessions of chiropractic care. Some participants did report that they got a headache (just 9% of people) or muscle stiffness (about 1 out of 3) after treatment, but the effects were not of a serious nature.
Large US Survey Reports that Chiropractic is Safe
The second study(2), also published in the prestigious publication, Spine, was done in an effort to determine the safety of chiropractic care. The study group was much larger as it involved just under 20,000 individuals. Each participant received chiropractic adjustments of the cervical spine, with over 50,000 total adjustments for all patients.
Once again, the researchers discovered no serious negative side effects. The authors determined the risk of total side effects to be approximately six out of every 10,000 consultations or every 100,000 treatment sessions. And, just as with the previous study, some volunteers did report non-serious, milder, unwanted effects such as dizziness (less than 2%) or a headache (4 out of every 100), and this caused the authors to conclude that "the risk of a serious adverse event, immediately or up to 7 days after treatment, was low to very low."
Chiropractic Adjustments are Safe for Children
This third research paper(3) is unique from the first two pieces of research, as it focuses on the safety of chiropractic care for kids. In this case, the authors analyzed results reported by both chiropractors and parents involving 816 children who participated in 7,173 chiropractic treatment sessions.
Out of 5,438 chiropractic visits made for the young children, chiropractors responding to the survey documented only three cases where there were negative side effects. When parents were surveyed, they indicated only two adverse side effects out of 1,735 visits. Furthermore, both chiropractors and parents reported "a high rate of improvement with respect to the children's presenting complaints."
Based on these three studies (and many more!), chiropractic care has been deemed safe and effective for everyone. To learn what chiropractic can do for you, call our Juneau, AK office and schedule an appointment today at (907) 789-1344.
- Walker BF, Hebert JJ, Stomski NJ, Clarke BR, Bowden RS, Losco B, French SD. Outcomes of usual chiropractic. The OUCH randomized controlled trial of adverse events. Spine 2013;38(20):1723-9.
- Thiel HW1, Bolton JE, Docherty S, Portlock JC. Safety of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine: a prospective national survey. Spine 2007;32(21):2375-8.
- Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore NY 2009;5(5): 290-5.
Two Is Not Better Than One
Suffering from a combination of neck pain and sciatica may prove more debilitating than back pain alone.
Although previous research has examined the economic impact of back and neck pain on employees, most studies have evaluated each condition separately.
To assess the combined impact of multi-site spinal pain, Finnish researchers surveyed 6, 934 municipal employees. 15% of women and 23% of men suffered from low-back pain, sciatica, or neck pain.
While having at least one type of pain increased participants' risk of sick leave, suffering from multiple types of spinal pain exacerbated that risk. Over the course of three years, participants with both neck pain and sciatica had the highest number of medically-certified sick days. Compared to women without pain, those with sciatica and neck pain were twice as likely to have medically-certified sick days.
Researchers suggested that employee health care address the multiple site of spinal pain to prevent decreased work ability.
Kääriä S, Laaksonen M, et al. Scan J Public Health 2012; 40: doi 10.1177/1403494811435490.
An estimated 30-40% of women with migraine feel their symptoms worsen during pregnancy, likely because of hormonal changes. These women often wonder whether it's safe to continue their current migraine medications, or if they should seek conservative treatments like chiropractic care.
At least one migraine drug should be avoided during pregnancy, according to new FDA warnings, because the drug (valoprate) was tied to lower IQ scores in children. The FDA warnings are based on a new study that children whose mothers took valoprate drugs during pregnancy had lower I.Q. scores at age six compared to children exposed to other antiepileptics.
Valoprate products already had labels warning of fetal risks and birth defects. In 2011, the FDA announced interim results from the Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) study that demonstrated that children exposed to valoprate had cognitive deficits at age three. Many of these children continued to have lower IQ scores at age six, prompting the FDA to strengthen its existing warning labels.
“Valproate medications should never be used in pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches because we have even more data now that show the risks to the children outweigh any treatment benefits for this use,” explained Russell Katz, MD, who directs the FDA's research on neurology products. The FDA recommended that women consult with their health-care provider before stopping any medications.
Case Study of Chiropractic for Migraine in Pregnancy
The findings from the NEAD study are enough to make many women wary of relying on migraine medications during pregnancy. Instead of risking the potential effects of drugs, women often opt for natural treatments in pregnancy such as chiropractic care.
One case study demonstrates how chiropractic can safely ease headache in pregnancy. A 24-year old women who had suffered from migraines her whole life had noticed her symptoms worsening during pregnancy. In addition to her headaches, she suffered from nausea and sensitivity to light and noise. She tried a host of conservative and medical treatments to no avail, and decided to see a chiropractor while 32 weeks pregnant.
The patient was treated with a multimodal treatment plan that included chiropractic spinal adjustments, trigger point therapy, massage therapy, and lifestyle changes. The women felt her symptoms improve within one week of treatment. The case study suggests that chiropractic can offer a safe alternative for women searching for effective migraine relief in pregnancy.
Alcantara J and Cossette M. Intractable migraine headaches during pregnancy under chiropractic care. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2009; 15:192-7.
Got an achy back? You're better off going to a chiropractor than popping another pain pill, suggests the results of a new study.
The study, published in the medical journal Spine, shows that that chiropractic adjustments are more effective than a drug for easing back pain.
To compare the efficacy of drugs and chiropractic, researchers tested the effects of spinal adjustments and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac. They divided 38 patients with acute back pain into three treatment groups. One group received spinal adjustments and a placebo drug; the second group received sham adjustments and real diclofenac; and the control group received sham adjustments and a placebo drug.
While both the active treatment groups improved, patients receiving spinal adjustments were significantly better off than patients taking diclofenac. They experienced greater improvements in physical disability, function, time off work, and rescue medication.
This led researchers to conclude that "spinal manipulation was significantly better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac and clinically superior to placebo."
These findings add to the growing body of research showing that chiropractic is more effective than drugs for back pain and sciatica. And it's easy to see why. While drugs temporarily dull the pain, they do little to treat the root of the problem. Instead, chiropractic can relieve symptoms while addressing the underlying cause of pain.
von Heymann, et al. Spinal high-velocity low amplitude manipulation in acute nonspecific low back pain: a double-blinded randomized controlled trial in comparision with diclofenac and placebo. Spine 2013; 38 (7): 540-48. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e318275d09c.
Dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint (SIJ), located in the pelvis, is thought to be a possible cause of sciatica, resulting in back pain that radiates down the leg and below the knee.
Scientists have questioned what the best treatment option is for patients with SIJ-related leg pain. In a recent study, researchers compared three treatment options: physical therapy, chiropractic manual therapy, and intra-articular injections of corticosteroids. Patients included 51 adults with leg pain associated with the sacroiliac joint. Researchers analyzed the effectiveness of each method after 6 weeks of selected treatments, and again after 12 weeks. The results for each patient was categorized as either a success or failure, based on relief or worsening of symptoms and average pain scores.
The study's findings revealed that manual therapy is the superior choice for treating leg pain associated with the SIJ. The success rate for chiropractic manual therapy was 72%, compared to just 20% for physiotherapy and 50% for corticosteroid injections. Researchers also found that neither physical therapy nor injections resulted in significant pain relief, whereas manual therapy resulted in a significant improvement on pain scores.
Due to the success rate and pain reduction of manual therapy, the study authors concluded that chiropractic should be the first treatment of choice in patients with SIJ-related leg pain. They hoped that their findings would be confirmed by further research with a larger sample size.
Additional research has highlighted the efficacy of chiropractic for sciatica, even after surgery has failed.
Visser L, Woudenberg N, et al. Treatment of the sacroiliac joint in patients with leg pain: a randomized-controlled trial. European Spine Journal 2013 [online]. doi: 10.1007/s00586-013-2833-2.
Trigger point therapy reduced cervicogenic headache pain by 71% for patients in a new study. The patients also experienced a 59% reduction in neck pain symptoms, as well as improved range of motion and muscle function.
Trigger point therapy is a treatment commonly used by chiropractors to relieve trigger points (TrPs), or hyperirritable spots of pain located in taut bands of skeletal muscles. Earlier research has shown that chiropractic spinal adjustments are effective for cervicogenic headache, but few studies have tested the efficacy of trigger point therapy for the condition.
In a new preliminary study, researchers tested the effects of trigger point therapy for the treatment of cervicogenic headache. Twenty patients were randomly assigned to receive either trigger point therapy (TrP therapy) or a sham treatment for three sessions during a one week period. The treatments were applied to active trigger points located in the neck.
Patients receiving TrP therapy experienced markedly better outcomes than the sham group. TrP therapy patients had significantly improved neck range of motion and increased functioning of the deep cervical flexor muscles. They also had substantially reduced pain sensitivity, neck pain, and headache. On average, patients' headache pain scores dropped from a 7.6 out of 10 to a 2.2, or about a 71.1% reduction. Their neck pain scores also decreased from a 7.4 to a 3.0 after treatment, or about a 59.5% reduction.
More research is needed to understand why TrP manual therapy lead to these improvements. It has been hypothesized that trigger points play a role in the development of headache, since earlier studies have reported trigger points present in patients with tension headache, cluster headache, and migraine. However this is one of the first studies to confirm the presence of trigger points in people with cervicogenic headache, and to suggest that trigger point therapy can help.
Chiropractors frequently use trigger point therapy in conjunction with spinal adjustments, spinal mobilization, and exercise rehabilitation. This study adds further evidence of the efficacy of chiropractic care for cervicogenic headache.
Bodes-Pardo G, et al. Manual treatment for cervicogenic headache and active trigger point in the sternocleidomastoid muscle: a pilot randomized clinical trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013; doi 10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.05.022.