Everything Is Connected
Back pain is very seldom limited to the back, especially if it goes untreated for too long. Many patients also report that they start to develop problems with their legs and hips over time.
In the study, researchers set out to see if there was a correlation between reported low back pain and future osteoarthritis related problems such as hip or knee trouble. The population-based cohort study indicated that there was a higher incidence of hip osteoarthritis in patients with previously reported low back pain. They did not find a significant correlation with low back pain and future osteoarthritis of the knee joints.
What This Means for You
What does this mean for you if you suffer from low back pain? Though there could be a bigger risk for you to have hip troubles later in life if you suffer from low back pain now, this is not set in stone provided you take measures to care for your lower back as well as your overall bone and muscle health.
Primarily, you need to address whatever is causing your low back pain so it doesn't lead to problems with your hip joints due to overcompensation and unusual wear and tear. Spinal adjustments can help realign the spine and diminish future degeneration of your lower back.
Remember that a strong body can better resist injury and degeneration. Cardio, strength training, balance exercises and stretching for flexibility can keep your body strong and at ideal body weight. Your chiropractor or other healthcare provider can also give you advice on healthy eating habits to ensure optimum nutrition.
Stupar M, Cote P, French MR, Hawker GA. The Association Between Low Back Pain and Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee: A Population-Based Cohort Study Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2010;33(5):349-54.
An estimated 60-80% of people will suffer from low-back pain at least once in their lifetime. However, the treatment of chronic lower back pain is complex, and the outcome remains unpredictable. Doctors are advised to recommend that patients follow a program of active exercise to alleviate their symptoms. However, patients may be reluctant to do so because of their pain.
A recent study compared the effects of chiropractic treatment followed by exercise versus a placebo or 'sham' treatment followed by the same exercise. The researchers hypothesize that chiropractic adjustments – which are believed to induce an immediate analgesic effect – may enhance the benefits of exercise for patients with lower back pain.
The study involved patients with chronic, non-specific lower back pain. The first group received spinal adjustments plus active exercise therapy. The second group received a detuned ultrasound 'sham' treatment followed by active exercise. Both groups underwent eight treatment sessions over 4 to 8 weeks.
The analgesic effect of spinal adjustments were measured by evaluating pain intensity both before and immediately after each therapeutic session. Periodically, researchers also evaluated participants' disability, fear-avoidance beliefs, and erector spinae and abdominal muscle endurance (measured with Sorensen and Shirado tests).
The participants who received spinal adjustments experienced a better immediate analgesic effect, along with lower disability and a trend toward lower pain levels. The researchers concluded that manual therapy, immediately followed by active exercise, tends to induce a more significant decrease in pain reduction in patients with chronic lower back pain. These results confirm that chiropractic is an appropriate treatment for chronic low-back pain.
While exercise has long been a crucial component of chiropractic care, this study provides further evidence of the efficacy of combining exercise with chiropractic adjustments for relieving chronic pain.
Balthazard P, et al. Manual therapy followed by specific active exercises versus a placebo followed by specific active exercises on the improvement of functional disability in patients with chronic non specific low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012; 13: 162. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-162.
More and more children are receiving chiropractic care and there's a good reason why: chiropractic provides safe, natural treatment for a number of conditions while promoting wellness.
Multiple studies point to the safety of chiropractic for kids. In a 2012 survey of European chiropractors, fewer than 1% of children experienced side effects from chiropractic treatments, and those side effects were all mild,1 This confirms the results of three other studies in which no serious side effects were reported in pediatric patients receiving chiropractic treatment.
Research suggests that chiropractic can safely relieve musculoskeletal pain in children. In a 2003 study, 62% of pediatric patients had substantial reductions in back pain after receiving chiropractic adjustments.3 Treatment of musculoskeletal conditions continues to be the number one reason why children receive chiropractic care.
But chiropractic does more than treat conditions, it can help children improve their health through wellness care. In a 2009 survey, one of the primary reasons why parents took their child to see a chiropractor was for wellness care.4
Current research shows that chiropractic can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones, release endorphins, and boost the immune system.
Whether you're hoping to ease your child's pain or improve their health, chiropractic can help.
1. Marchland A. Chiropractic care of children from birth to adolescence and classification of reported conditions: an Internet cross-sectional survey of 956 European chiropractors. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2012; 35 (5):372-380.
2. Humpheys BK. Possible adverse events in children treated by manual therapy: a review. Chiropr Osteopat. 2010;18: doi: 10.1186/1746-1340-18-12.
3. Hayden Ja, Mior SA, Verhoef MJ. Evaluation of chiropractic management of pediatric patients with low back pain: a prospective cohort study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 ;26(1):1-8.
4. 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.
Manual Therapy and Athletes
New research suggests that improved athletic performance could be among the benefits of manual therapy. A recent study sought to gain increased understanding about the potential benefits of spinal adjustments in college football players.
The research involved 115 football players at Virginia Tech who were provided with a total of 1,976 osteopathic manipulative treatments over the course of two football seasons. The players received adjustments in the cervical, lumbar, thoracic, and sacral sections of the spine. After each game, the players’ performance was graded by their coaches.
Both offensive and defensive players showed improved performance following pre-competition manipulative treatments. While the association was relatively small, and not considered statistically significant, the positive correlation suggests that regular spinal adjustments could help athletes’ long-term performance.
Chiropractic and Athletic Performance
Preliminary results from the study were recently published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association. A similar study, published earlier this year, showed that regular chiropractic treatments improved the performance of professional judo athletes.
Brolinson PG, et al. Precompetition manipulative treatment and performance among virginia tech athletes during 2 consecutive football seasons: a preliminary, retrospective report. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 2012: 112(9):607-15.
Do you ever experience neck stiffness or pain with your headaches? Recent research suggests that neck and head pain are more related than you think.
One study examined whether headaches and cervical spine impairment were linked in patients with head pain. Of the patients evaluated, 90% had cervicogenic headaches, or headaches linked to neck pain. Furthermore, the severity of patients’ headaches impacted the range of motion in their necks. This study demonstrates the strong relationship between cervical spine (neck) impairment and cervicogenic headaches.
Visit a chiropractor in your area to determine whether your headaches are related to impairment and pain in your neck.
Hall TM, Briffa K, Hopper D, Robinson KW. The relationship between cervicogenic headache and impairment determined by the flexion-rotation test. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy. 2010 Nov-Dec; 33(9):666-71.
It’s well-known that chiropractic is effective for a variety of pain conditions, but over the last few years, more and more studies have found that chiropractic can also help us improve our overall health. Some of these recent studies have shown that chiropractic can alter immune function, affect heart rate, and even reduce blood pressure. A 2011 study from Japan suggests that chiropractic may have an even bigger impact on your body than you think.
Stress is an incredibly important indicator of health, and if there's one thing that will kick your immune system into overdrive, it's chronic spinal pain. Scientists in Japan sought to see whether chiropractic could alter stress levels in 12 men and women with neck pain. To understand how chiropractic impacts anxious emotions, you could ask patients to report their changing moods before and after treatment. But scientists in Japan wanted to get a more objective picture of how chiropractic adjustments impact the nervous system, so they use PET scans to monitor brain activity and salvia samples to track hormone changes.
After receiving a chiropractic neck adjustment, patients had altered brain activity in the parts of the brain responsible for pain processing and stress reactions. They also had significantly reduced cortisol levels, indicating decreased stress. Participants also reported lower pain scores and a better quality of life after treatment.
The findings suggests that chiropractic adjustments affect how our body interprets and copes with pain, which could enhance its response to disease and injury. As scientists learn more about the human body and the role of the nervous system, it’s clear that chiropractic can play a powerful role in promoting true wellness, rather than just symptom relief.
Ogura, Takeshi and Manabu Tashiro, Mehedi,Shoichi Watanuki, Katsuhiko Shibuya, Keiichiro Yamaguchi, Masatoshi Itoh, Hiroshi Fukuda, Kazuhiko Yanai. Cerebral metabolic changes in men after chiropractic spinal manipulation for neck pain. Alternative Therapies. 2011, November/December; 17 (6): 12-17.
Back surgery isn't a magic bullet for relief: studies show that up to 40% of patients continue to suffer from back pain despite having had surgery. Many of these patients are told they need another surgery, but the success rate for second surgeries is even lower.
That was the case for one construction worker in a recent case study who suffered from lumbar disc herniation after failed back surgery. As a manager of his family business, he couldn't take time of work to recover from another surgery, so opted for chiropractic. After 12 weeks of chiropractic care, the man's pain scores went from a 10 out of 10 to a 3 out of 10, and his disability scores dropped by 32%. Nine visits later, he continued to experience no flare-ups in pain.
This case study adds to earlier research showing that patients do not need to resort to revision surgery. Chiropractic can get to the source of back pain to get you back to work sooner.
De Andres J, et al. Patient satisfaction with spinal cord stimulation for failed back surgery syndrome [Article in Spanish.] Revista Española Anestesiolgía y reanimación 2007; 54 (1): 17-22.
Morningstar MW, et al. Manipulation under anesthesia for patients with failed back surgery: retrospective report of 3 cases with 1-year follow-up. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2012; 11 (1): 20-35.
Welk, AB. Conservative management of recurrent lumbar disc herniation with epidural fibrosis: a case report. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2012; 11: 249-253.
According to The American Academy of Pain Medicine, more Americans suffer with chronic pain than diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer combined. What's more, neck pain is the third most documented type of pain, beat out only by back problems and headaches.
Of course, a lot of patients come to our Juneau, AK office seeking neck pain treatment, and Dr. Messerschmidt has helped many of them find relief. This is a smart decision, as some research indicates that over 90% of neck pain patients benefit from chiropractic care.
Studies Confirm Chiropractic Effective for Neck Pain
A report published in The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy included 64 individuals who were suffering with neck pain. Roughly half were placed in an experimental group and the other half were assigned to a comparison group. Both received chiropractic adjustments of the neck as well as a home exercise plan, whereas the experimental group also received thoracic spine adjustments.
Data was gathered before treatment began and one week post-treatment. Researchers found that 94 percent of the experimental group reported "significantly greater improvements" in regard to pain and disability in their neck symptoms. Just 35% of the individuals who received neck adjustments showed the same level of improvement, showing that looking at the entire spinal column is an important part of restoring the body's normal function.
Another study posted in Physical Therapy involved 60 adults who were dealing with neck pain. Each man or woman was randomly assigned to one of two groups--thoracic spine thrust manipulation or non-thrust manipulation--with follow-up exams occurring two and four days after the adjustments.
Researchers discovered that the study participants who received the thrust manipulations (the same adjustments that provided such positive results in the first study) "experienced greater reductions in disability" than the group that received the non-thrust adjustments. Their pain was lower as well, which shows that this type of approach offers many benefits.
Help After Failed Medical Procedures
Another study found the same kind of positive outcomes after thoracic adjustments in a patient who had a failed neck surgical procedure. This specific case involved a 46-year-old woman who had recently had neck surgery but still endured neck pain, headaches, pain in her elbow, and muscle fatigue.
The woman documented reduced pain in her neck and lower headache intensity, right after the first chiropractic adjustments. After six weeks of care, which involved chiropractic, exercise, and patient education, the patient still rated her pain at a zero on a scale of 1 to 10. Her neck disability reduced as well, with a rating score that represented that it was a "great deal better."
It is scientific studies like these that prove the advantages of chiropractic adjustments, even if you've already attempted medical procedures that didn't provide relief. So, if you are dealing with neck discomfort and would like to find a remedy that has a high success rate, try chiropractic. It may just be the help you're looking for.
We're located in Juneau, AK and Dr. Messerschmidt can help you recover from neck pain. Give us a call today at (907) 789-1344.
- AAPM facts and figures on pain. The American Academy of Pain Medicine.
- Masaracchio M, Cleland JA, Hellman M, Hagins M. Short-term combined effects of thoracic spine thrust manipulation and cervical spine nonthrust manipulation in individuals with mechanical neck pain: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2013;43(3):118-127.
- Cleland JA, Glynn P, Whitman JM, Eberhart SL, MacDonald C, Childs JD. Short-term effects of thrust versus nonthrust mobilization/manipulation directed at the thoracic spine in patients with neck pain: a randomized clinical trial. Physical Therapy 2007;87(4):431-440.
- Salvatori R, Rowe RH, Osborne R, Beneciuk JM. Use of thoracic spine thrust manipulation for neck pain and headache in a patient following multiple-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: a case report. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2014;44(6):440-449.
Adding more rice, seeds, and oats to your diet just might make a difference in your back-pain treatment. That's because new research shows that magnesium commonly found in those foods may reduce back pain.
Researchers from Egypt tested the effects of magnesium supplementation in 80 patients with back pain. Throughout the study, all the patients continued their normal treatment which included physical therapy, pain medication, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.Half of patients received magnesium supplementation delivered through an IV for two weeks, followed by four weeks of taking magnesium capsules. The other half of patients were given placebo IVs and capsules.
After four weeks, the magnesium patients had significantly better improvements compared to the placebo group. By the six month follow-up visit, their average pain intensity had decreased from a 7.5 on a scale of 10 to a 4.7. This reduced pain was accompanied by better range of motion in the spine. The researchers concluded that magnesium IV followed by four weeks of oral magnesium supplements can reduce pain and improve lumbar spine mobility in back-pain patients.
Recent research also suggests that magnesium can reduce symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia, back pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions frequently experience central sensitization. This process occurs when the central nervous system is overstimulated, causing widespread pain and additional symptoms. Current research suggests that magnesium may block a key receptor involved in central sensitization, which could explain why the patients taking magnesium had better treatment outcomes.
Although more studies are needed, the findings suggest that magnesium supplements could play a role in successfully treating back pain.
Yousef AA and Al-deeb AE. A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Anaesthesia 2013;68(3):260-6. doi: 10.1111/anae.12107.