The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Recommendation for Treating Low Back Pain

If you have not heard or read the case study yet, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published an article comparing medical and chiropractic treatment of acute low back pain in men and women between 18 and 35 years of age. In the article titled, “Adding Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy to Standard Medical Care for Patients with Acute Low Back Pain: Results of a Pragmatic Randomized Comparative Effectiveness Study” by Goertz, et al., the study compared treating low back pain with standard medical care (SMC) versus SMC plus Chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT).

Without diving into all of the details, the study concluded that “73% percent of participants in the standard medical care plus chiropractic manipulative therapy group rated their global improvement as pain completely gone, much better, or moderately better, compared with 17% in the SMC group” (Goertz, et al.).

Now, what does this mean for you? If you are sick of nagging low back pain that you cannot seem to shake off, then chiropractic care may be the answer for you. Standard medical care for low back pain typically involves the use of pharmaceutical and prescription medication. These medications can be very effective, but what are they exactly fixing? The prescribed medications are typically muscle relaxants/relaxers that help decrease muscle spasms.

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The problem is that the muscle spasms are commonly a secondary condition to an underlying, more sinister condition. There are many stressors we face on a daily basis, including physical, chemical, and emotional stressors, that may lead to common low back pain. When the bones in the low back, or the lumbar vertebrae, become misaligned due to these various stressors, pressure is placed on the nerves causing these secondary conditions, or “symptoms” as you may commonly refer to them. By relaxing the muscles in the area, we trick our brain into thinking the issue is resolved, but we have actually only masked the symptoms. The pressure has not been removed from the nerves between the misaligned spinal bones, or the vertebrae.

This is where chiropractic care comes into play. Chiropractic adjustments focus on removing this pressure on the nerves by gently adjusting the vertebrae back into proper alignment. The adjustments are safe, effective, and non-invasive. Therefore, JAMA is suggesting that treating the low back pain with both chiropractic care and standard medical care is the best course of action. By using both modalities together, not only are you treating the secondary conditions with medical care, but you are correcting the underlying cause of pain with chiropractic care.

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Every medical professional and treatment has an appropriate time and place. We at Excel Chiropractic hope you now have a better idea of how to manage the low back pain you are experiencing and which steps to take first in correcting the true cause of your pain. Please contact us for further information or to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.

The Top 3 Chiropractic and Rehab Techniques I Use in Practice

Chiropractic care can vary in many different ways, including technique, modalities offered (if any), frequency of care, and even which joints in the body to adjust. At Excel Chiropractic, we focus on structural care and making sure the body is in proper alignment to ensure proper function. Here are my top 3 tools and techniques I use in practice to ensure the best results with my patients:

 

1. Structural exercises pre-adjustment:

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Prior to being adjusted, we want to make sure the spine is warmed up, similar to stretching before exercising or working out. To warm up the spine, we use two structural exercises: our cervical traction unit (CTU) and our “wobble” chairs. The CTU is effective at opening the compressed disc spaces, usually due to poor posture, in the neck. In addition, the CTU helps restore the natural curve in our neck that is also lost from improper lifestyle habits. The wobble chairs, on the other hand, are excellent at providing mobility back into the lumbar spine, or the low back. This area becomes compressed from sitting all day and needs proper movement to maintain pain-free function.

 

2. The chiropractic adjustment on an automatic flexion-distraction table:

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By incorporating automatic flexion-distraction into each adjustment, we continue to aid in the healing process by further opening the compressed disc spaces. This helps relieve pain by taking pressure off of the affected nerves. This also allows for a smooth, gentle adjustment each visit.

 

3. Rest period on an intersegmental traction table (or IST table) post-adjustment:

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The worst thing you can do to your body after an adjustment is immediately jump back into your pre-adjustment routine. Your body needs time to heal and to let the adjustment settle in without being thrown right back out of place. This is why each patient lies on the IST tables, comparable to a rolling massage table, for about 10 minutes after every adjustment. Not only is this usually the patient’s favorite part of the visit, but it also helps the results last much longer by letting the body strengthen around proper alignment.

 

Everything we do at Excel Chiropractic is with a purpose and with a common goal in mind—to reduce pain and symptoms and ensure a healthy nervous system by correcting structural misalignments and imbalances. By using structural exercises, specific and effective adjustments on a state-of-the-art chiropractic table, and allowing the body ample rest on the IST Tables post-adjustment, we make sure we are always treating the patient’s underlying conditions from multiple angles to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time.

4 Things You Must Do After Your First Chiropractic Adjustment

Want to know how to make the most out of your first adjustment? Check out these tips!

 

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Drink lots of water

Every joint in your body needs movement to receive its nutrients. Therefore, if a joint is not moving properly, it begins to accumulate toxins. When you receive a chiropractic adjustment to these joints to improve function and mobility, these toxins are released into the bloodstream. Drink plenty of water after your adjustment to flush your body of these newly released toxins.

Here’s a tip: It is a good idea to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weight 180 lbs, drink 90 ounces of water.

 

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Take an Epsom salt bath that night

As we mentioned earlier, it is important to flush out the toxins in your body, especially after your adjustment. Epsom salt baths are a great way to draw these toxins out and reduce any muscle cramping or soreness.

Here’s a tip: Soak in a warm bath with 2-3 cups of Epsom salt (or however much the package recommends) for 20-30 minutes. Feeling proactive? Take an Epsom salt bath the night before your next adjustment to start the recovery process early!

 

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Stay Active

Now that your body is in proper alignment, it is important to stay active and begin training your muscles to maintain the correct structure. If the bone and joint position is corrected, but the muscles are still pulling improperly, then the adjustment will not last as long.

Here’s a tip: For the first few days after your adjustment, focus on training your endurance. When lifting weights, try completing sets with less weights and higher repetitions. When lifting heavier weights, even with proper form, there is a better chance of strengthening one side over the other and pulling your adjustment back out of alignment.

 

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Schedule your next adjustment!

Even though your body was just adjusted and put into proper alignment, there is a good chance your brain and body will go back to how it was comfortable—misaligned. However, it is important to remember that comfort does not equal health. It is time to start retraining your body how to live with proper alignment and a strong foundation.

Here’s a tip: Schedule your next adjustment ASAP and make sure you stick to your prescribed care plan. Each chiropractor will create a care plan that best suits your conditions and individual needs.

Pregnancy, the Breech Presentation, and How Chiropractic Can Help!

Educating pregnant women on the benefits of chiropractic care is incredibly important because chiropractic can make the pregnancy, labor, and delivery an easier and healthier process.  As a baby comes to full-term (36 weeks), one major concern for pregnant mothers and doctors is how the baby is positioned inside the womb.  The normal position for a baby during labor is head down, or in the vertex position, which offers the greatest chance at a safe, healthy delivery. Unfortunately, 1 out of 25 full-term births are breech births. A breech presentation is when the baby’s feet and bottom are pointing downward and the head is at the top.

 

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This scenario can be dangerous for the mother since the delivering doctor has to perform certain maneuvers to turn the baby into the proper position. The turning process becomes even more difficult when the baby is full-term because there is limited room in the uterus to change positions, which is why 86% of infants with breech presentations are delivered by cesarean section (C-section) in the United States. However, a C-section delivery is not only a traumatic, surgical intervention to both the mother and the baby, but also disrupts the baby’s nutrient supply and blood flow from the mother.

Many babies are in a breech presentation at some point during the pregnancy, but will spontaneously move into the proper vertex position by 34 weeks.  However, after 34 weeks, very few babies will reposition without some form of intervention. Intrauterine constraints, or obstructions to the baby during pregnancy, are a major cause of breech presentations and structural defects to the baby. This is commonly caused by adhesions and constrictions in the mother’s hips and low back, mainly in the pelvis and sacrum. Chiropractic adjustments remove these restrictions and restore normal nerve flow and function. By regularly seeing a chiropractor before, during, and after pregnancy, the mother has a better chance to ensure normal function and biomechanics in the spine throughout the pregnancy.  Maintaining an optimal structure encourages a healthy pregnancy, which provides plenty of space for the baby to grow without any limitations.

The practice of chiropractic should not be misconstrued with the practice of obstetrics. Rather, chiropractic focuses on correcting various musculoskeletal conditions that may cause intrauterine constraints that place pressure on the developing uterus. If you are pregnant, or expecting, make an appointment today to make sure your body is functioning optimally for the healthiest pregnancy possible!