Monday, November 25, 2013

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, simply stated, is a health science which is used to successfully treat both pain and dysfunction in the body. Acupuncture has its roots deeply planted in China. In fact, authorities agree the science is between 5,000 and 7,000 years old. Its use spread throughout ancient Egypt, the Middle East, the Roman Empire and later into Western Europe as merchants and missionaries to China told of the amazing discoveries the people of the Orient had developed. Acupuncture did not become known on a national level in the US until 1971 when diplomatic relations between China and America were relaxed. At first glimpse, Acupuncture appears strange, as its primary notoriety is the utilization of needles placed in the skin at various locations to relieve pain or affect a body part. Early Chinese physicians discovered there is an energy network traversing just below the surface of the skin which communicates from the exterior to the internal organs and structures over 1,000 "Acupoints" on the body. This energy works in harmony with the body's circulatory, nervous, muscular, digestive, genitourinary and all other systems of the body. When this vital energy becomes blocked or weakened, an effect in a body system or anatomic location becomes evident. Stimulation of one or a combination of key "Acupoints" on the body may restore harmony to the affected area. Historians have stated, "More people have benefited from Acupuncture over the course of fifty centuries than the combined total of all other healing sciences, both ancient and modern." Visit for more information.

Cervicogenic Headache - Results of Electrical Nerve Stimulation vs. Manipulation

A recent study (Li C, Xiu-ling Z, Hong D, Yue-qiang T, Hong-sheng Z. Comparative study on effects of manipulation treatment and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation [TENS] on patients with cervicogenic headache J Chin Integrat Med 2007;5(4)DOI:10.3736/jcm20070408) compared alternative treatments for patients suffering from cervicogenic headaches, headaches related to/caused by your neck. Patients will typically have pain with neck motion and also limited mobility. There may also be a history of a neck injury such as a whiplash or head trauma. The study of seventy patients was randomized to minimize bias. Patients either had TENS (nerve stimulation) or manipulations. They were given treatments every other day for forty days (about 20 visits). After treatments, patients’ pain scores were compared. The group receiving manipulations had significant reductions in the headache pain score, the frequency (how often) of headaches, and the duration of the headaches. There was a 94.5% response in the manipulation group compared to 64.5% in those patients getting nerve stimulation. If you get headaches after your neck begins to give you trouble (pain, stiffness), then this could indicate you have a cervicogenic headache. Also, many patients do not fit neatly into categories that scientists and doctors conjure up. Many patients with migraines and tension-type headaches will complain of neck pains and problems. These types of headaches also respond favorably to chiropractic care applied to mechanical problems/subluxations in the neck when studied in randomized clinical trials. There are also fewer side effects when compared to drug treatments. In Chiropractic, we direct treatment to the cause-the mechanical problem/subluxation in your neck. Drugs and surgery are ineffective options for these mechanical-types of problems. Chiropractic care has a low-risk safety profile, especially when compared to long-term drug use or surgery. As seen in the study above, electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to block pain is relatively safe, but it also appears less effective than manipulations in combating headache pain from the neck. After a thorough diagnosis, including x-rays, we can determine if it is indeed a neck problem that may be causing your headaches. We study small changes in the alignment of the vertebrae, as well the posture of the neck curve. Mobility tests are used to see if the joints are moving fully and symmetrically. Visit for more information.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What is Neurofunctional Acupuncture?

Neurofunctional electroacupuncture treatments are easy to replicate using a neurofunctional diagnostic approach. A neurofunctional diagnostic approach does not seek a single hypothetical source of pain; instead, it investigates, clinically, the most common levels of dysfunction associated with a given pain problem, namely neurological, biomechanical, muscular, metabolic, and psychoemotional levels. Clinical examination aims to determine, among other things, which muscles are neurologically inhibited and which are weak due to atrophy; which tissues have lost normal texture; which kinetic chains are not working properly; and which peripheral nerves have developed mechanosensitivity. Understanding all these aspects allows the practitioner to design a truly individualized integrated neurofunctional treatment plan. Specifically, neurofunctional acupuncture interventions aim to facilitate modulation of neurological activity at every level identified as having been disturbed, such as autonomic sympathetic and parasympathetic, motor and sensory somatic, and central (autonomic centres,somatic areas, limbic system, cerebellum, etc.). Following these functional subdivisions, neurofunctional acupuncture treatments are then designed using a modular approach, with local inputs, axial and trunk inputs, and systemic regulatory inputs. Functional clinical outcome measures able to reflect changes on these levels are used afterwards to evaluate effectiveness. An important point is that neurofunctional acupuncture interventions do not aim at eliminating pain directly. The goal is to promote self-regulation of nervous system activity, facilitating up- and down-regulation processes such as the production and repair of myelin sheaths, the synthesis of protein-based nerve membrane ion channels, and the secretion and metabolism of neuropeptides, which will result in the clinical improvement sought by the patient. Visit for more information.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Did You Know This About Low Back Pain?

If you have low back pain (LBP), you are certainly not alone. Almost everyone at some point has back pain that interferes with work, daily activities, and/or recreation. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on LBP. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to lost work time. Back pain is second to headaches as the most common neurological condition in the United States. Fortunately, most occurrences of LBP go away within a few days. Others take much longer to resolve or lead to more serious conditions. There are two types of low back pain – acute and chronic. Most episodes of acute LBP last from a few days to weeks, are not neurological and usually do not carry a high level of surgical risk. The cause of LBP can be difficult to isolate because often, while the cause is cumulative where multiple events over time, the last activity the patient recalls is “bending over for a pencil.” This, by itself is not likely to cause an acute onset of LBP. Low back pain can be caused by trauma such as sports injuries, work around the house such as garden work, car accidents, and others. Chronic low back pain, by definition, is LBP that lasts more than 3 months and the cause can be more difficult to identify and is often cumulative and superimposed on a prior condition such as degenerative disk or joint disease. A real problem is the rate of recurrence or, chronic, recurrent low back pain where pain may subside but returns at various rates of frequency and duration. This category affects a high percentage of the population and represents the true challenge in spine care management. As people age, their bone strength and muscle stretch, strength and tone usually decreases due to lack of activity. When the disks begin to lose fluid and flexibility, their ability to cushion the vertebrae and function as “shock absorbers” also decreases. Disks can tear, bulge, and/or herniate which results in localized LBP and/or radiating pain that follows the course one or more of the 31 pairs of nerve roots (eg., “sciatica” down the back of the leg). Soft tissues such as joint capsules and ligaments lose their capacity to stretch and can tear more easily, resulting in a sprain or strain (muscle/tendon injury). Other conditions that either cause or contribute to LBP include arthritis, obesity, smoking, pregnancy, stress, poor posture and/or physical health, and can lead to unsatisfied patients if these co-contributors are not properly identified and discussed. Less commonly, LBP can be caused by a more serious condition such as cancer, fracture, infection, spinal cord compression, and various internal conditions. Emergency care may be indicated in these circumstances. Your doctor of chiropractic will perform a complete examination, consider other contributing causes, and will treat the problem(s) causing the LBP condition. If needed, working with other allied health care providers will be arranged. Exercise, dietary recommendations, ergonomic or work modifications, spinal manipulation, and modalities will all be considered to help eliminate or control of the LBP. Methods of self-managing the LBP will be emphasized. Visit for more information.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Low Back Pain (...or is it?)

Have you ever had leg pain and immediately blamed your low back? Me too! Many patients (and unfortunately, many doctors) conclude this to be “sciatica” or a “pinched nerve.” When this diagnosis is wrong, it can lead to an inappropriate type of treatment, delaying appropriate care, or worse, it may result in death due to a missed diagnosis of a blood clot. There is currently a government campaign seeking to warn the public about this hard-to-diagnose ‘silent killer.’ Here’s the news flash that was recently released (updated 8:28 a.m. CT, Mon., Sept. 15, 2008): “WASHINGTON - Far too many Americans are dying of dangerous blood clots that can masquerade as simple leg pain, says a major new government effort to get both patients and their doctors to recognize the emergency in time.” “It’s a silent killer. It’s hard to diagnose,” said acting Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson, who announced the new campaign Monday. “I don’t think most people understand that this is a serious medical problem or what can be done to prevent it.” Blood clots make headlines when seemingly healthy people collapse after prolonged sitting, such as long airplane flights or being in similarly cramped quarters. Vice President Cheney suffered one after a long trip last year. NBC correspondent David Bloom died of one in 2003 after spending days inside a tank while covering the Iraq invasion. According to the Surgeon General’s new campaign, there are about 100,000 deaths associated with blood clots each year. Risk factors include increasing age (especially over 65), recent surgery or fracture, falls, car crashes, prolonged bed rest, smokers, obesity, pregnancy, and hormone replacement drugs including birth control pills. Other less controllable causes can include genetic conditions so it is important to tell your doctor if a relative has ever suffered a blood clot. People with these factors should have “a very low threshold” for calling a doctor or even going to the emergency room if they have symptoms of a clot, said Galson, who issued a “call to action” for better education of both consumers and doctors, plus more research. Symptoms include swelling; pain, especially in the calf; or a warm spot or red or discolored skin on the leg; shortness of breath or pain when breathing deeply. Unfortunately, studies suggest only a third of patients who need protective blood thinners for major surgery get them. And patients can even be turned away despite telltale symptoms, like what happened to Le Keisha Ruffin just weeks after the birth of her daughter, Caitlyn. In her case, after being turned down by several visits to the doctor and ER, only after a very hot bath did her leg swell to 3-4 times its normal size, tipping off the doctors to make the right diagnosis. Don’t wait for your medical doctor or our office to make the diagnosis if you’re suspicious of a blood clot. Ask us if it’s a possibility. Rest assured that we have been properly trained to diagnose this condition and we work with other health care providers when needed. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Weight Gain and Genetically Modified Corn

Is corn a healthful grain or has science created a global toxicity effecting the human population? Many us know the strategy of the company, Monsanto, has taken to genetically engineer a soybean that resists being killed by the very pesticide they also make. If that wasn't enough, they now have genetically modified corn to make it produce a toxin that kills the corn borer worm. Do you think this toxin has deadly consequences for humans? You bet! In March of 2007, scientists reported in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology the results of the impact GMO (genetically modified) corn had when fed to rats for only 3 months. These results revealed: Increased weight gain Liver and kidney toxicity 40% increase in triglycerides, which leads to Metabolic Syndrome X, diabetes, and heart disease. Now we all need to know that us humans just don't eat plain GMO corn products, but instead we consume products with corn sweetener which is found in commercial salad dressings, breads, snacks, sodas, and all sorts of processed foods, even tonic water. Remember much of corn is changed dramatically in the factory into high fructose corn syrup. Modified corn is an abnormal molecule for the body that will contribute to the obesity epidemic. Dr. Norm Childers, the Ph.D. who discovered the relationship between human arthritis, tendonitis and dietary nightshade foods (tomatoes, potatos, peppers, eggplant) has seen that GMO corn may in fact lead to rectal bleeding, irritable bowel, joint pain that comes and goes, and arthralgias of all types. The bottom line is foods that have been genetically altered are considered foreign to the human body and will behave differently than natural grown foods. This genetically changed food has long term detrimental health consequences. These foods damage the chemistry for weight loss. The bottom line would be to try to avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar or corn syrup in the ingredients. Visit for more information on losing weight.

How Many Calories Should I Be Eating to Lose Weight?

You must have your metabolism measured to ensure that you are not eating more calories than you burn. Our office uses the Korr Metacheck to determine your resting metabolic rate which is different for everyone. Check out for more information about our incredible weight loss plan.

"My Accident Was 2 Years Ago... Could that Cause My Neck Pain Today?"

The short answer is yes. But let’s look at how the neck is injured in whiplash and why a trauma from years earlier can produce symptoms today. Even in more moderate motor vehicle collisions with substantial car damage, symptoms rarely come on the day of the injury. When symptoms do occur immediately, this is a sign that the injury to the neck was more severe. In most accidents, we initially feel a bit shaken up and shocked more than anything else. When the vehicle has substantial damage, this can completely occupy our thoughts. How are we going to drive to work the next day? We may not think to see a doctor immediately because a more pressing concern is to get the car into the shop and arrange for a rental. If a pain in the neck begins, we take a few pain pills such as ibuprofen and the pain seems much better, even cured. But whiplash is much less straightforward than a simple tight muscle from over exertion. Whiplash causes the neck bones to displace from the stretched ligaments and discs. Over months the bones gradually creep further into the direction of the damaged ligaments. Since gravity is working all of the time, the tendency over time is for the misalignments to get worse. Once a critical threshold is reached, the nerves become irritated and pain develops. An initial little problem has now become much worse because the neck has healed in this abnormal position. The scar formation that occurs after injury is now holding the neck in an abnormal position. When injury occurs we may adapt or compensate to the abnormal position. But over time the limits to this compensation are passed, producing pain. Because of the scar formation that develops after injury, the joints of the spine may not move normally. To compensate for this limited motion at some joints, others have to take up the slack. These joints then become hypermobile, producing irritation to the nerves and spinal cord. The hypermobility is produced by stretched-out ligaments. As months, and even years, pass the stretched ligaments become even more stretched due to the effects of gravity and the movements of our head in every day life. The athlete may notice these changes right away because their physical performance is something they are very accustomed to. In someone with a more sedentary life-style, the neck pain, stiffness, or headaches may come on months or even years after the injury. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Whiplash - Rest or Treatment?

Whiplash, or WAD (whiplash associated disorders) results from the rapid movement of the neck and head resulting in injury. This is the net result of the “classic” motor vehicle collision, though other injury models (like slips and falls) can result in similar injuries. Last month, we listed basic facts, of which one was better results (less long-term pain and disability) occurred from initial active treatment of the neck with mobilization/manipulation, exercise, and encouraging movement vs. placing a collar on the patient and “resting” the injured neck. Though there are a few studies that suggest there is no difference in results, the majority state that it is BEST to actively treat the patient and encourage movement (of course, assuming no unstable fractures have occurred) rather than to place the patient into a collar and limit activities. The first question that we’ll address this month is, why is this important? The simple answer is that you, as an advocate for an injured friend, family member or as a patient yourself, may NOT be offered “the best” treatment approach by the ER or primary care physician. In fact, one study cited a survey regarding the management of whiplash injuries in an ER and reported that between 23-47% of physicians prescribed a soft cervical collar for acute whiplash rather than promoting immediate active treatment. By knowing this information, the knowledgeable patient can refuse the collar method of care and seek care that emphasizes the use of early mobilization and manipulation, like chiropractic! Though referrals to chiropractors are increasing as more research becomes available, chiropractic care is still significantly ignored or not considered by many practicing ER and primary care physicians. As always, you need to be your own “best advocate,” and the only way to do that is to be informed, hence the intention of this Health Update! Some studies even report that the use of a collar may have deleterious or “bad” side effects and can actually make you WORSE (this was reported by the Quebec Task Force)! The majority of studies on the subject of whiplash report that encouraging “normal activity,” as opposed to immobilization, IS the best approach. We will certainly help steer you in the right direction! Next, let’s talk about WHY does this method works better? The research supports that soft tissues injuries heal better and with less scar tissue formation when patients receive active treatment/early activity types of care (like manipulation / chiropractic). In general, any treatment approach that reduces patient suffering sooner, encourages one to return to “normal activities” faster, and promotes independence and self-care methods earlier is the best approach! We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for Whiplash, we would be honored to render our services. Visit for more information.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Headaches... What Is The Spinal Link?

Headaches are so common that we rarely question what the cause is. In the case of headache, it can be something as simple as jet lag to something truly ominous, such as a brain tumor. If you suffer form headaches, it is important that you get the diagnosis right. Remember that head pain is the symptom-it is not the actual problem. It is a way that your body gives a signal that you have a problem. So it does require some investigation. Despite what the commercials say on TV, just diagnosing headache as a problem and driving to the drug store for a bottle of pills is not the solution. Yet many of us suffer from daily headaches for years and years and never think…is my headache being caused by a lack of these pills in my diet? In chiropractic, we look at this problem differently from what you see in a drug ad. First, you need to have a diagnosis and determine the cause for your head pain. Once the cause is determined, then truly corrective action can take place. We pay special attention to how your spine moves and its posture, especially the neck region. Many different research studies have shown that spinal sprains and injuries can produce head pain. And randomized clinical trials have shown that when these spinal problems are addressed with adjustments, the headaches largely disappear…and without the side effects commonly seen with prescription medications. But, every case is different. It’s impossible to know without an examination if you have a spinal problem and whether this is the cause for your headache. Our clinic always offers complimentary in-clinic and phone consultations with a Doctor of Chiropractic. If you are not getting your headaches under control and seemingly endless consumption of pills is not doing the trick, then why not take a different and more natural approach to your health. There is no headache bone in your spine or a button the chiropractor can push to make the headache go away. We generally find that once the spinal posture and motion is improved, the headaches go away on their own. It can take one visit or several, but we generally see improvements in a short period time. Visit for more information.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Low Back Pain vs. A Low Back Problem: Is There A Difference?

Your “back pain” might be a misnomer. We often confuse pain for a problem. Doctors often don’t help matters by not doing thorough examinations, and just offering a prescription of pain pills or anti-inflammatory drugs when the patient comes in with a complaint of pain. So what is the difference? The pain is part of the problem you are experiencing, but it is not the actual cause-the problem that is producing the pain. If you say you have back pain to a doctor, this should be the starting point for a complete examination to determine its cause. Is it a problem with the disk (a cartilage ligament that separates the vertebrae)? Is the problem more a muscle strain? Do the joints of the spine move in a free and symmetrical pattern? Have you been examined this way? Was your spine moved around in different planes? Did the doctor poke and press on different tissues of the spine to see if there was swelling (inflammation) or tenderness? Were x-rays taken to see if there was normal alignment and good posture of your spine? All of these tests help to determine the actual nature of the problem. It’s not enough to just call the pain the problem and leave it at that. Sadly, this happens to far too many patients who are left thinking that if they just take something to cover up the pain, it makes the problem go away. Our clinic is different, we examine to find the cause of your pain, and then provide a treatment plan that can get you back to enjoying your activities with maximum function. If your pain is gone but you still cannot use your back like you used to, then you might want to consider an alternative approach. Of course, taking pain pills for long periods of time can also lead to undesired side effects such as stomach bleeding. We are very conditioned in society to accept pills as the source of health and longevity. For many patients they are critical to regaining health, but too often they are used as a panacea, especially when it comes to back pain. You should ask questions about a doctor’s approach to getting you well, and whether this fits with your philosophy and preferences. Visit for more information.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Headaches and Posture

Have you ever glanced at your reflection in a storefront window or mirror as you walked by and noticed your posture? Scary, isn’t it? We all know that we should stand up straight, but we soon forget when we get busy and stop thinking about it. Poor posture is often due to years of standing slouched, and this bad “habit” usually starts at a young age. Just look around when you’re in an airport or shopping mall and notice that many people have poor posture. In fact, people’s posture may reflect their attitude – if they’re happy, sad or depressed. Poor posture may be related to self-consciousness, especially during adolescence. It is also genetic, as we frequently see a “trait” throughout family members with similar postural tendencies. The most common postural fault associated with headaches is the forward based head and shoulders. From the side, it appears that the head is significantly forward relative to the shoulders, the upper back is rounded forward and the shoulders are rolled forwards and rotated inward. One exercise that helps reduce this postural bad habit is tucking in the chin and pretending a book is balancing on top of the head. The objective is to not allow the book to slide forward off your head and land on your toes! It takes approximately 3 months of CONSTANT self-reminding before the new “good habit” posture becomes automatic, so be patient. Soon you’ll “catch yourself doing it right” without thinking about it. Frequently, posture is faulty lower down the “kinetic chain.” The first link of the chain is the feet and the last link is the head. Since we stand on two feet, any change in that first link or the feet, can alter the rest of the chain, especially areas furthest away – the head, resulting in headaches. For example, if one leg is short, the pelvis drops, the spine shifts (scoliosis), the shoulder drops and the head shifts trying to keep the eyes level. A short leg usually needs to be managed with a heel lift, an arch support or combination of both to properly treat the headache patient. Most health care providers EXCEPT Chiropractic Physicians typically ignore these issues. Chiropractic Doctors are specifically trained to analyze posture and correct it. You can depend on our clinic for up-to-date treatment approaches such as these. Visit for more information.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Low Back Pain and their causes...

Low back pain, for many of us, is somewhat of a middle age problem. Lots of sufferers begin to seek chiropractic care in their 30's and 40's and wonder how it all happened. Perhaps it was a sneeze, a long drive, or gardening in the yard that set the pain off. But you were always able to do these things before without so much as a chirp from your low back. And now things are different. So how come your back seems so weak, when it was so strong before? What changed? Not much in fact. The reality is that back problems begin during our youth. With advances in MRI technology we can study changes in the disks of the back to see when these injuries first occur. Spinal degeneration begins to occur at age 10, provided some trauma has occurred, such as from competitive sports or simply goofing off as a child. Rarely is significant pain involved and the child seems to shake off the injury with little future consequence. But having back pain is not the same as a having a back problem, such as a sprain of the disk. When the pain subsides, it does not always mean that symmetrical motion of the joint is restored and the vertebrae are now back in their normal positions, but the pain may be much less. Our bodies have a tremendous capacity to heal on their own without any type of doctor helping out. Mother Nature and innate intelligence is the best doctor, but sometimes recovery and return to full and optimum health is incomplete. Over time the effects of gravity and daily stresses, cause the joint to become more injured until something as simple as making the bed causes excruciating pain. But was it really the bed making? Probably not because this is something you've done every day of your life. A thorough examination by a doctor of chiropractic prior to the onset of pain could have perhaps discovered one of these 'silent' injuries. But most people wait until the pain happens before seeking help. It's important to be checked after a trauma, even in young children. Properly diagnosing the extent of injury is the first step to getting you the care you may need. The pain often goes away quickly and we often think the problem has also completely healed. Getting regular check ups to make sure the motions of your spine are fluid and symmetrical is one potential way to avoid bigger problems down the road. Your doctor of chiropractic can also advise you on preventive strategies to minimize the risk of injury, such as proper lifting techniques. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Headache and High Blood Pressure: A New Link?

Headaches are one of the common pains we get. High blood pressure is also very common, affecting about 50 million Americans. Could they be linked? Yes, but not in the way you may think. Some doctors question whether taking pain pills actually corrects the cause of the headache. But there are also other, perhaps more seemingly silent concerns. Is simply cutting the fire alarm when the house is on fire ever a good idea? If your headache is coming from a problem such as a sprained and subluxated neck, is taking a pill going to do anything to help the joint injury? We all see the TV commercials and the long pill aisles at the supermarket. We must be consuming quite a bit and that is true. But could are excessive use of these drugs be causing another problem, one that may not be explained on the pill bottle label? Researchers have looked at over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) and ibuprofen (e.g. Advil), to see if taking them over the long-term elevates the risk for developing high blood pressure (Hypertension 2005;46:500. Women’s Health Study I and II) The study investigated 5,123 women between the ages of 34 and 77 and followed them over many years. Compared with women who did not use acetaminophen, the relative risk for those who took >500 mg per day was 1.93 (1.30 to 2.88) among older women. and 1.99 (1.39 to 2.85) among younger women. A relative risk of 1.93 is a 93% increase in risk. The range was a 30% increase to a 185% increase. For nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen), the risk of developing high blood pressure in older women also increased, ranging from a 78% to a 161% elevation. For younger women, the increased risks ranged from a 10% increase to a 132% increase. Aspirin use was not associated with developing high blood pressure. The authors concluded that because acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used, they might contribute to the high prevalence (percent of the population with this disease) of high blood pressure in the United States. We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future. Visit for more information about our services.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - What Makes My Hands Numb?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) sufferers frequently report a cluster of symptoms, but almost all have one symptom in common – numbness, usually in digits 2-4 on palm-side of the hand. CTS is usually attributed to an over-use type of injury such as repetitive work including (but not limited to): typing, assembly work, packaging jobs, machine operators, and many more. Last month, we discussed CTS “Facts” and learned many important points about CTS. This month’s focus centers around the common question, “….where is this numbness coming from?” To answer this, let’s review the anatomy: The carpal tunnel is made up of 8 small “carpal bones” that form an arch or tunnel, and the base of the tunnel is formed from the transverse carpal ligament. There are nine tendons that attach muscles in the forearm to each finger and work when we grip or form a fist with our hand. Wiggle your fingers and look at your wrist and forearm – do you see all the activity or movement going on? The tendons travel through sheaths which help lubricate the sliding tendons. When we move our fingers fast (such as typing, playing piano, performing assembly work, etc.), friction and heat builds up, resulting in swelling. If adequate rest does not occur, the increased pressure from the swollen tendons end up squeezing all the contents within the tunnel, which includes the median nerve. It’s the median nerve pinch that results in the numbness, tingling, and/or pain into the index, third and forth fingers. There are other conditions that can either complicate or cause CTS. These include: hypothyroid disease (due to myxedema), diabetes (due to neuropathy), inflammatory arthritis (of which there are several kinds - rheumatoid is the most common), and pinching of the nerve either in the neck, shoulder, elbow or forearm (called double or multiple crush syndrome). The reason chiropractic helps so much is that we can alleviate the pressure on the nerve from the neck down to the wrist and restore nerve function. This alleviates the multiple sleep interruptions, weakness in the grip that is so common, as well as helping to restore the nerve’s function. Many studies support the success of chiropractic and CTS – try it first as surgery should be the last resort. We realize you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services. Visit for more information.

Friday, November 8, 2013

How do Chiropractors examine the structure and function of the spine?

How chiropractors examine the structure and function of the spine and then determine specific chiropractic treatments separate chiropractic care from other disciplines.


Headaches Are Letting You Know...

...there is a problem. Our bodies often let us know there is something not quite right, but are we listening? Too often in life, with hectic day-to-day schedules, getting the kids to school and so on, we cannot be troubled by these little warning signs. So we often just take a pill to mask the pain and get on with our lives. But is this the best way to react to a warning signal? If the smoke alarm shrilled in your home, what would you do? I hope you would get out as quickly as possible and call 911. Would you say to yourself, “maybe it will go away?” I hope not. And if there were a fire, would stopping the alarm help put out a raging inferno? Most likely, this will help things very little. What if the alarm started to give little beeps (letting you know to change the battery). Would you change it with a fresh one or just remove it from the device? I think most homeowners know the answers to these simple questions. And you would think that we would give the same correct concern when are bodies give us warning signals. Unfortunately we often pay more attention to warning signs from our homes and automobiles (like that little clicking sound), than the most important house of all-our bodies. When your neck muscles ache, this is a signal. When you turn your head and hear clicking sounds, this is another signal. And when a headache occurs, the signal is getting louder and louder. But are we listening? It’s better to think of these signals as just that, signals- not the actual problem. So when you take a drug to stop the signal, rarely is the actual problem being addressed. So how are your signals and alarms? Do you seem to take medications on a weekly or daily basis? A headache pill here and there is rarely an issue. But incorporating pain pills as part of your daily diet may be a health concern. They are not considered one of the five basic food groups. Side effects from these types of medications are rare, but the risks do increase with long-term use. Do you go through a small bottle each month? We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for headaches, we would be honored to render our services. For more information go to

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Low Back Pain - Is It On The Rise!

As stated last month, the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) is REALLY high! In fact, it’s the second most common cause of disability among adults in the United States (US) and a very common reason for lost days at work. The total cost of back pain in the US, including treatment and lost productivity, ranges between $100 billion to $200 billion a year! Is low back pain on the rise, staying the same, or lessening? Let’s take a look! In the past two decades, the use of health care services for chronic LBP (that means LBP > 3 months) has substantially increased. When reviewing studies reporting insurance claims information, researchers note a significant increase in the use of spinal injections, surgery, and narcotic prescriptions. There has been an increase in the use of spinal manipulation by chiropractors as well, along with increased physical therapy services and primary care physician driven non-narcotic prescriptions. In general, LBP sufferers who are chronic (vs. acute) are the group using most of these services and incurring the majority of costs. The reported utilization of the above mentioned services was only 3.9% in 1992 compared to 10.2% in 2006, just 11 years later. The question now becomes, why is this? Possible reasons for this increase health care use in chronic LBP sufferers may be: 1) There are simply more people suffering from chronic LBP; 2) More chronic LBP patients are deciding to seek care or treatment where previously they “just accepted and lived with it” and didn’t pursue treatment; or, 3) A combination of these factors. Regardless of which of the above three is most accurate, the most important issue is, what can we do to help chronic back pain sufferers? As we’ve discussed in the past, an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise within YOUR personal tolerance level, not smoking, getting enough sleep, and obtaining chiropractic adjustments every two weeks are well documented methods of “controlling” chronic LBP (as there really ISN’T a “cure” in many cases). You may be surprised to hear that maintenance care has good literature support for controlling chronic LBP. In the 8/15/11 issue of SPINE (Vol. 36, No. 18, pp1427-1437), two Medical Doctors (MDs) penned the article, “Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain Result in Better Long-Term Outcomes?” Here, they took 60 patients with chronic LBP (cLBP) and randomly assigned them into one of three groups: 1) 12 treatments of sham (fake) SMT (spinal manipulation) have over a one month period; 2) 12 treatments, over a one month period but no treatment for the following nine months; or 3) 12 treatments for one month AND then SMT every two weeks for the following nine months. To measure the differences between the three groups, they measured pain, disability, generic health status, and back-specific patient satisfaction at baseline, 1-, 4-, 7-, and 10-month time intervals. They found only the patients in the second and third groups experienced significantly lower pain and disability scores vs. the first group after the first month of treatments (at three times a week). BUT, only the third group showed more improvement at the 10-month evaluation. Also, by the tenth month, the pain and disability scores returned back to nearly the initial baseline/initial level in group two. The authors concluded that, “To obtain long-term benefit, this study suggests maintenance SM after the initial intensive manipulative therapy.” Other studies have reported fewer medical tests, lower costs, fewer doctor visits, less work absenteeism, and a higher quality of life when maintenance chiropractic visits are utilized. The question is, WHEN will insurance companies and general practitioners start RECOMMENDING chiropractic maintenance care for chronic LBP patients? We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services. For more information go to

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

More Bad New for Fish Oil Supplements!

Check out this video fishstory about the increased risk of prostate cancer in men who are supplementing with fish oil. I stopped recommending fish oil to my patients over 3 years ago and started recommending YES Essential Fatty Acids. For more info go to

Is It My Neck or Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Neck pain can arise from many different sources, and the patient’s clinical presentation can be quite similar making it a challenge to diagnose. One of those related, and sometimes co-existing conditions, is called thoracic outlet syndrome, or TOS. Let’s first discuss the anatomy of the neck and the thoracic outlet so we all have a good “picture” in mind of what we’re talking about. TOS can arise from either blood vessel compression, nerve compression or both, making the ease of diagnosis difficult. Adding to the challenge, the “pinch” of the structure can occur at more than one place! The nerves and blood vessels can get pinched at the exiting holes in the spine (“neuroforamen”), by tight “scalene” muscles, under the collar bone (clavicle) and/or by a tight pectoralis minor muscle near the arm pit. Hence, the symptoms usually include pain and numbness in the shoulder, arm and hand (usually affecting the 4th & 5th fingers). It’s our job to run different tests to figure out where the primary pinch or pinches are located so we can treat the right area. The causes of TOS can be many, with one of the obvious being a fractured collar bone or clavicle. Another is from having an extra rib. As there is not a lot of room for an extra structure, this can be a point of compression for some (but doesn’t create TOS in everyone). An overly tight scalene muscle, scar tissue, an extra large muscle and so on can also result in pinching of the nerves and/or blood vessels. Purses, backpacks, carrying golf clubs, a mailbag and the like can also cause a pinch. A seat belt injury in a car accident is yet another cause, either from the direct trauma, or later when scar tissue forms in the area. Our posture alone (without trauma), such as a slouchy, slumped posture where the shoulders roll forwards can cause TOS and, large breasts and obesity also add to the list of risk factors. Women are affected 3x more than men. Certain jobs where reaching overhead or outwards such as waitresses, carpenters, electricians, increase TOS risk. You can depend on us to identify, locate and treat the areas that need attending as chiropractic includes many effective TOS treatment methods. The surgical outcomes are less than impressive so do EVERYTHING else first (a good surgeon will tell you that). We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fibromyalgia and Nutrition

Fibromyalgia (FM) is truly a challenging condition to manage, as anyone with this condition will attest to! In the past, we’ve discussed many management strategies, including dietary suggestions. Although much of the nutritional information available about FM management is not supported by a lot of “scientific study,” the National Institute of Health through the NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine—formed by Congress to evaluate and appraise alternative treatments) provides information on dietary recommendations and supplements. They also provide dietary guidelines and define the benefits and effectiveness for FM patients and us doctors to follow. This month, we will dive deeper into nutritional considerations as this can REALLY make a huge difference for the FM patient! Since fatigue, sleep quality, and muscle pain are three VERY common FM complaints, the FM patient can track their response to different dietary approaches as they add, modify, or delete various foods and/or supplements from their diet. We recommend “grading” these three symptoms daily on a 0-10 scale (0=good and 10=bad) as this can REALLY help the FM sufferer keep track of various changes that are made in the diet and is extremely useful for future reference. FOODS: Since many FM sufferers have “sensitivities” to certain foods (reported to be as high as 42% of all FM patients), eliminating these foods makes GREAT sense. First, it is REALLY IMPORTANT that you KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL for future reference (using the 0-10 scale) as it is impossible to remember all the reactions or responses to various foods even a day or two later, but especially a week or month later! Some common food offenders include MSG (commonly found in Chinese food – simply ask for the MSG to be NOT included when you place your order), certain preservatives, eggs, gluten (grains like wheat, oats, barley and rye), dairy, as well as other common allergens (such as chocolate, nuts, shellfish, and others). Common symptoms may include headaches, indigestion (irritable bowel syndrome), fatigue, and sleep interruptions. When using an “elimination diet,” it is important to make sure you’re getting the essential nutrients in your diet, in which supplementation can help. Secondly, make it easier to eat in a healthful way! Have fruits and vegetables cut up and ready to eat so when you’re hungry, you can QUICKLY satisfy that urge. Lean meats or proteins are also VERY important! Remember, a well balanced diet gives you the “ammo” needed to fight fatigue, hurt less, help you sleep more deeply, and give you energy. By doing so, you will be able to stay more active and productive. Accept the fact that unless you pre-prepare the foods, you will instinctively reach for pre-packaged, no prep time, “fast food” options that most likely have poor nutritional content. Look for healthy foods that do not require a lot of preparation such as buying pre-washed, pre-cut vegetables. Some deli sections have pre-prepared foods like beet salad or quinoa that can be purchased in small quantities to add variety to your diet. Third, plan for WHEN you eat. It is well known that eating small meals frequently during the day helps increase energy levels, such as at 9-10am and 2-3pm, especially if you’re feeling tired. Make sure the word “SMALL” is understood or else you’ll gain weight and not be hungry for the next meal! ALSO, DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST, AND DON’T EAT LATE AT NIGHT!!! Our metabolic rate (which regulates how efficiently we digest and breakdown our food) is highest in the morning and slowest at night. Try to include some protein and whole grains with your breakfast such as a boiled egg and oatmeal as this keeps the blood sugar from spiking and provides energy that lasts longer. Next month, we will look at supplementation including vitamins, minerals, and herbs that GREATLY help as well. If you, a friend or family member requires care for Fibromyalgia, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Neck Pain: Manipulation vs. Mobilization - What's Better

Does mobilization (MOB) get less, the same, or better results when compared to spinal manipulative therapy (SMT)? To answer this question, let’s first discuss the difference between the two treatment approaches. Mobilization (MOB) of the spine can be “technically” defined as a “low velocity, low amplitude” force applied to the tissues of the cervical spine (or any joint of the body, but we’ll focus on the cervical region). This means a slow, rhythmic movement is applied to a joint using various methods such as figure 8, side to side, front to back and /or combinations of any of these movements. In the neck, gentle to firm manual traction or pulling, when applied to the cervical spine, stretches the joint and disk spaces and can be included during MOB. Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT) can be defined as a “high velocity, low amplitude” type of force applied to joint which is often accompanied by a audible release or “crack,” which is the release of gas (nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide). Some joints “cavitate” or “crack” while others are less likely to release the gas. Studies that date back to the 1940s report an immediate improvement in a joint’s range of motion occurs when the joint cavitates. Many people instinctively stretch their own neck to the point of gas release, which typically, “…feels good.” This can become a habit and usually is not a big problem. However, in some cases, it can lead to joint hypermobility and ligament laxity. As a rule, if only a gentle stretch is required to produce the cavitation/crack, it’s typically “safe” verses the person who uses higher levels of force by grabbing their own head and twisting it beyond the normal tissue stretch boundaries. The later is more likely to result in damage to the ligaments (tissue that strongly holds bone to bone) and therefore, should be avoided. Since SMT is usually applied in a very specific location (where the joint is fixated or “stuck”, or, partially displaced), it’s obviously BEST to utilize chiropractic, as we chiropractors do this many times a day (for years or even decades) and we know where to apply it and can judge the amount of force to utilize, especially the neck where there are many delicate structures. Back to the question: Which is better, MOB or SMT? Or, are they equals in the quest of rid of neck pain? A recent study of over 100 patients with “mechanical neck pain” (strain/sprain) showed that those who received SMT had a significantly better response than the MOB group as measured by a pain scale, a disability scale and 2 tests that measure function! So, the next time you ask the question, “….do you have to crack my neck?,” the answer should be “yes, if you want to achieve the quickest response.” However, if there is sharp pain during the “set-up” of the manipulation or adjustment, modifications in the technique are appropriate or, a different method should be considered. We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cholesterol Video That Will Save Your Life

Does high cholesterol really increase your risk of heart attacks? Is the role of cholesterol in heart disease really one of the biggest myths in the history of medicine? For the last four decades we've been told that saturated fat clogs our arteries and high cholesterol causes heart disease. It has spawned a multi-billion dollar drug and food industry of “cholesterol free” products promising to lower our cholesterol and decrease our risk of heart disease. But what if it all isn't true? What if it's never been proven that saturated fat causes heart disease? Click Here to watch this life-saving video at

Friday, November 1, 2013

New Approach to Chiropractic Care - Chiropractor Yankton

Check out the video on a new technology offered in our office that delivers chiropractic treatment without "twisting", "popping" or "snapping" the bones of your spine.

Traction - Does It Help Neck Pain and Headaches

Traction is defined as, “…the act of pulling a body part.” Therefore, it is commonly used in many regions including legs, arms, low back, mid-back, and the neck. We will be limiting this discussion to cervical or neck traction, and the question of the month is, “…does it help patients with neck pain and headaches?” Though I’m assuming you already know, the answer is YES! You may want a little “proof,” so here it goes! REDUCES DISK PROTRUSIONS: In 2002, a medically based study found traction to be very effective in the treatment of cervical radiculopathies (pinched nerves in the neck that radiate pain into the arms). A 2008 study using MRI (images) described the effect traction had on the disk protrusions in the neck reporting 25 of 35 (or 71%) were reduced while in traction with a 19% increase in the spacing (disk height) and improved neck range of motion after the traction was applied. They postulated that by pulling the vertebrae in the neck apart, there was a suction-like effect pulling the disk material back in place. RECOMMENDED BY GUIDELINES: Around the world, guidelines have been published giving doctors information that allows us to know how well certain forms of treatment work for different conditions. In a 2008 publication, it was reported that, “Clinicians should consider the use of mechanical intermittent cervical traction, combined with other interventions such as manual therapy and strengthening exercises, for reducing pain and disability in patients with neck and neck-related arm pain.” CLINICAL PREDICTION RULES: These help us determine who is most likely to benefit from a certain type of treatment (in this case cervical traction and exercise). If 3 of 5 variables are found, the likelihood of success with traction & exercise was reported to be 79%, and if 4 of the 5 are found, 90%. The 5 variables are: 1. Radiating neck to arm pain in certain positions; 2. Positive shoulder abduction sign; 3. Age >55years old; 4. Positive limb tension test; 5. Relief of symptoms using manual distraction test (if pain is relieved while the neck is being pulled). INTERMITTENT AND CONTINUOUS TRACTION: Either way, significant improvement in neck and arm pain, neck mobility, and nerve function occurred with both approaches. TRACTION VS. SURGERY: In this study, patients with radiating arm pain and positive neurological findings on exam were offered a course of traction before surgical options. They reported 63 of 81, or 78%, of the patients experienced significant or total relief, 3 could not tolerate traction and 15 simply didn’t respond. They concluded that when neck and arm symptoms with neurological deficits were present for 6 weeks, that 75% will respond to neck traction over the next 6 weeks. There are MANY additional studies available that show well beyond doubt that cervical traction is a GREAT option in the management of neck and arm pain and sometimes headaches. Next month, we will discuss “HOW TO” apply cervical traction. We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.