Chiropractic Care Contributes to 50% Reduction in Opioid Prescriptions

A new study from the Yale School of Medicine at Yale University found that chiropractic care has contributed to approximately a 49% reduction in opioid prescriptions issued in the United States. The opioid epidemic has become a huge problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die in the United States of opioid overdoses every day. Medical expenses associated with opioid addiction and overdoses cost the country approximately $78.5 billion.

What Are the Findings from the Yale School of Medicine?

The Yale study results were presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s 2019 annual meeting. Among the findings that the researchers announced included one that marks a milestone for chiropractors and their patients.

The researchers found that patients who had visited a chiropractor to alleviate musculoskeletal pain and conditions associated with it were 49% less likely to be prescribed opioid medications than people who sought care from other healthcare providers.

The gap between chiropractic care and traditional healthcare providers come as no surprise to people who understand chiropractic, which has always emphasized holistic and non-invasive treatment over drug prescriptions and surgeries.

The Yale researchers selected several studies that examined more than 60,000 patients for their analysis. The research was funded by the NCMIC Foundation and other organizations. The goal of the study was to compare the results of chiropractic treatment and mainstream medical treatment to see how their treatment of pain differed.

The results are certainly encouraging for chiropractors. They confirm what chiropractic patients have known for decades. Most people do not require addictive medications to alleviate pain, and in many cases, a course of chiropractic adjustments and treatments can be enough to minimize or eliminate pain and allow patients to return to their normal activities and lives.

What Do Clinical Guidelines Say?

As the opioid epidemic has become increasingly serious, both lawmakers and medical providers have been working to find solutions that help patients with serious pain issues while minimizing the risk of addiction.

For example, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its prescription guidelines for opioid medications. Previously, the guidelines required caution only with high-risk patients. Now the guidelines:

  • Encourage doctors to find non-pharmacological solutions for pain
  • Recommend lower doses of opioids when they are deemed necessary for pain management
  • Suggests risk assessment for all patients, not just those who are considered to be high-risk
  • Provides recommended dosages for opioid drugs

In addition, they have recommended non-pharmacological options – which include chiropractic care – as “front line” treatments for pain management.

In October of 2018, the United States Congress passed bipartisan legislation to provide treatment and support for opioid addiction and to regulate the proper disposal methods for unused opioids.

The new guidelines and legislation are designed, in part, to discourage doctors from prescribing opioids when other, more conservative, treatment options are available.

Another benefit of the new guidelines is that experts hope it will drive down the cost of prescription opioids for those who truly need them. While opioids have been dangerously overprescribed, they are sometimes the best course of action for patients with cancer and other terminal illnesses that cause acute and otherwise recalcitrant pain.

How Can Chiropractic Treatment Help?

Chiropractic treatment offers patients with acute or chronic pain a non-invasive and holistic treatment method that doesn’t require addictive opioid medications or risky surgery. Chiropractors in many cases receive more classroom and clinical training than medical doctors. They learn to take a patient’s lifestyle and general health into account as they develop an individualized treatment plan.

Chiropractors have increasingly become the first treatment option for many patients who are experiencing lower back and neck pain. Their training and experience make them uniquely qualified to alleviate pain without putting their patients at risk of addiction.

In addition to treating back pain and neck pain, chiropractors often treat osteoarthritis of the hands, hips, and knees, which has been commonly treated with opioids in recent years. They can also help with sciatic nerve pain, whiplash, and pain in the extremities.

Looking forward, there’s reason to hope for more partnerships between mainstream physicians and chiropractors. The goal in every case should be to alleviate the patients’ pain in the least invasive and most holistic way possible.

Conclusion

Opioid drugs have a place in pain management, but they have been overprescribed and overused – two mistakes that have led to our current problem with opioid addiction. In the future, we hope that the benefits of chiropractic care will become clear to doctors and patients alike.

How Does the McKenzie Method Treat Back and Neck Problems?

You may have heard that the McKenzie Method is sometimes used by practitioners as a way of treating neck and back problems. The practitioners who use it know that it’s more than just a set of exercises for back pain. It’s also a specific approach to treatment spinal problems.

Simply stated, the McKenzie Method includes:

  • Initial assessment procedures for back pain
  • Treatment for back problems, including special procedures and self-help where indicated
  • Prevention strategies for back problems

In this article, we’ll explain what the McKenzie Method is and how it’s used to relieve pain associated with neck and back problems.

What is the McKenzie Method?

The McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy, or MDT, was created by a physiotherapist from New Zealand named Robin McKenzie.

There are four key steps to the McKenzie Method. Here’s a breakdown of how they work:

  1. The assessment involves the practitioner taking a thorough history of the patient’s pain and symptoms. The patient may be asked to perform movement and assume positions to aid in the diagnosis. It’s a diagnostic method that usually doesn’t require an X-ray or MRI because it’s based on movement and an in-depth conversation with the patient.
  2. The classification involves assigning the patient to one of three classifications based on their symptoms and responses during the initial assessment. The classifications include: Postural syndromes – back or neck pain caused by the continued stress of the patient’s soft tissues while maintaining certain positions or postures. Derangement syndromes – back pain that’s caused by a change in position of the vertebrae due to re-positioning of the fluid nucleus of a disc. Dysfunction syndromes – intermittent back pain caused by scar tissue in a shortened state. The pain occurs when the tissues are stressed.
  3. The treatment phase involves the practitioner recommending specific exercises to do and postures to assume or avoid. While it’s rare, some severe mechanical problems may also require hands-on treatment from the practitioner.
  4. The prevention phase occurs after the pain has been alleviated. The practitioner provides the patient with advice to prevent the recurrence of pain as well as future injuries.

It’s typical for the recommended exercises to gradually centralize and then reduce the pain caused by the back or neck injury. The McKenzie Method is seen as a non-invasive and minimalistic method for treating back pain.

Who Can Benefit from the McKenzie Method?

The McKenzie Method can help many people who experience chronic or acute back or neck pain. The McKenzie Institute provides a list of self-assessment questions to help you determine whether you should talk to a provider about the McKenzie Method.

  • Have you had more than one episode of neck or lower back pain in the past two years?
  • Does your pain increase immediately after a prolonged period of bending or stooping?
  • Do you feel worse when you sit for long periods or when you stand from a sitting position?
  • Do you associate your pain with one activity and generally feel good when you’re not participating in that activity?
  • Is your pain reduced when you’re lying face down? (There may be a brief period when the pain worsens, but if it then dissipates, you should answer yes.)
  • Are there periods in the day when you have no pain at all?
  • Is the pain occurring mostly above your knees or above your elbows?
  • Do you feel better when you’re on the move than you do when you’re inactive?
  • Does your lower back pain feel better when you’re walking?

In general, if you answered yes to four or more of these questions, the chances are high that you will benefit from the McKenzie Method.

About the McKenzie Institute

The McKenzie Institute was founded by physical therapists in New Zealand in 1982. The organization still has its international headquarters in New Zealand, but it now has branches in 26 countries around the globe.

Each branch provides services and training to practitioners who want to learn the McKenzie Method. The organization offers both a certification program and a diploma program. If you want to try the McKenzie Method, the McKenzie Institute recommends that you seek out a practitioner who’s received training from them and has a certification or diploma.

You can find a McKenzie Method provider in your area by visiting the McKenzie Institute’s list of providers, which you can find here. Remember, if your pain meets the criteria we listed above, you may be a good candidate for the non-invasive McKenzie Method.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic Care

If you’re someone who has never had a chiropractic treatment before, you probably have a lot of questions about it. With that in mind, here are some of the most common questions patients have about chiropractic, together with the answers.

Q: What medical conditions do chiropractors treat?

A: Doctors of Chiropractic, or DCs for short, typically care for patient of all ages. They are most commonly known for their experience and expertise treating patients with chronic or acute back pain, neck pain, and headaches. They can also care for patients with musculoskeletal injuries and sports- related injuries, as well as conditions that affect the nervous system. They can also provide nutritional and lifestyle counseling to their patients.

Q: What training do chiropractors receive?

A: Chiropractors must have:

  • An undergraduate degree with prerequisites for chiropractic school
  • A degree from an accredited chiropractic school

Chiropractic training involves about 4,200 hours of classroom and clinical training. DCs must also pass 5 national board certification tests and meet state licensing requirements.

Q: How can I find a Doctor of Chiropractic near me?

A: You may receive a referral from your primary care physician or another health care provider but is not required to see a Chiropractor. Alternatives include using the online Find a Doctor database or asking a friend, family member, or colleague for a recommendation.

Q: Are chiropractic treatments safe?

A: Chiropractic treatment is recognized as a safe, drug-free, non-invasive therapy for the treatment of chronic pain, acute pain, and neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Of course, no health treatment is guaranteed to be free of potentially adverse effects, but the risks associated with chiropractic treatment are small. Unlike pain killers, chiropractic carries no risk of addiction and it is statistically much safer
than surgery.

Q: Do I need a referral from my MD to see a Doctor of Chiropractic?

A: Not necessarily. If you have an HMO plan then a referral is required but all PPO plans or cash paying patients can make an appointment without a referral.

Q: Can Chiropractors practice in hospitals and outpatient medical facilities?

A: Yes. Doctors of Chiropractic were first given hospital privileges in 1983. They are also allowed to work in outpatient medical facilities and order laboratory tests and X-rays for their patients.

Q: Is chiropractic treatment safe for children?

A: Yes. Chiropractic care is very gentle, non-invasive, and has a low risk of complications. It can be beneficial for children who have musculoskeletal injuries, headaches, and other medical conditions.

Doctors of Chiropractic adapt their treatments to the individual patient. You may want to seek a chiropractor who specializes in treating young patients if you think your child would benefit from chiropractic treatments.

Q: Do insurance plans cover chiropractic treatments?

A: Yes, the majority of them do. You’ll need to check your plan to see if it covers chiropractic care and also your benefits whether you have a deductible or copay, each plan varies. Your chiropractic office may be able to look into your benefits for you as well.

What are the Qualifications to be a Chiropractor?

If you’re considering chiropractic treatment to help you cope with chronic or acute pain or another health issue, you might be wondering how much training someone gets before being licensed as a chiropractor. And, it might surprise you to know that the educational and licensing requirements for chiropractic doctors (DCs) are some of the most stringent and rigorous of any health care profession.

Chiropractic School

Many Doctors of Chiropractic have four-year undergraduate degrees in pre-medical subjects like chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics, and psychology. Some obtain undergraduate degrees in physical therapy as well.

After that, an aspiring DC must be educated in a nationally accredited, for-year doctor graduate school program. Typically, these programs include a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom study, laboratory work, and clinical internships, which makes the classroom hours similar to what allopathic and osteopathic medical schools require of their students.

Chiropractic training involves rigorous training in many of the same things that medical doctors study. These include:

  • Human anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Public health
  • Rehabilitation

A significant percentage of the training students receive is clinical, meaning that it’s related to evaluating and caring for patients. They must complete a one-year clinical program where they treat patients and observe qualified DCs at work.

It’s important to note that, because chiropractic is a hands-on practice that requires extensive clinical training, DCs spend, on average, more time in clinical settings before they are licensed that medical doctors do. It’s where they learn the art and science of treating patients and the intricate, hands-on adjusting techniques that help them alleviate pain.

The course of study for DCs is approved by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and has been for more than 25 years.

Certification and Licensing

Education isn’t the only qualification to be a chiropractor. DCs must also pass a national board exam administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. The NBCE also specifies yearly continuing education requirements that DCs must meet to maintain their licenses.
In addition to passing the NBCE’s board exam, a DC must obtain a state license from the state where they wish to practice.

It may interest you to know that DCs are designated as physician-level providers in most states and with the federal Medicare program. Chiropractic services are available through:

  • The Medicaid Program
  • The US Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • The US Department of Defense
  • The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
  • The Federal Workers’ Compensation program
  • All states workers’ compensation programs

Chiropractic care is widely accepted as a method of treating a variety of ailments. In addition to providing treatment, DCs can refer patients to other health care practitioners when it is necessary.

Conclusion

Chiropractic training requirements are stringent and rigorous. To be board certified and licensed, Doctors of Chiropractic must complete thousands of hours of classroom and hands-on training to ensure that they are able to provide the best possible level of care to their patients.

Are Your Fashion Choices Contributing to Back Pain?

Back pain is the most common type of chronic pain, both in the United States and around the world. According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of all working adults in the US report experiencing back pain at least once a year. A whopping 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

How can we make sense of those numbers? Perhaps the most important thing to do is to understand the small decisions you make every day that may cause or contribute to back pain. For some people – and for women in particular – the issue may begin when they decide what to wear in the morning.

High Heels and Back Pain

The first fashion culprit when it comes to back pain probably won’t surprise you. Wearing high heels might make your legs look great, but it’s not doing your spine any favors. High heels force your feet into an unnatural position by pushing your toes down and to the front. Elevating your heels applies pressure to the ball of your foot, which can be painful. The balls of your feet aren’t meant to support your body weight over an entire day.

Wearing high heels can cause bunions, a painful condition that pushes the bone on the side of your big toe out while pushing your toes together. It also shortens your calf muscles. That’s a problem because it changes your gait, causing your back to arch and requiring you to use your back muscles to remain upright.

The bottom line is that high heels put pressure on your toes, back, and even your neck and shoulders. A better alternative if you want some added height is to wear platform shoes with no more than two-inch heel in the back.

Backless Shoes and Back Pain

Mules, or backless shoes, are always popular – but wearing them may be putting too much strain on your back. There are several reasons that wearing them might not be a good idea:

  • They do not provide good arch support
  • They don’t always stay on your feet
  • They can tighten the arch of your foot and alter your gait
  • Altering your foot position and gait can impact your spine

Does that mean you should never wear mules? No, but it does mean that you should choose your mules with care and wear them only when you don’t have a lot of walking to do. One of the best ways to test a mule is to put it on and then shake your foot. If the shoe stays on your foot, you probably won’t need to scrunch your toes while you walk.

You should also try walking in mules before you buy them. If you find that you can’t walk with your natural, long stride, then look for another pair.

Handbags and Back Pain

Carrying a handbag or purse is second nature to most women, but it turns out that even carrying a small bag can strain your back, neck, and shoulders.

The obvious culprit is weight. If you’re carrying an oversized handbag, laptop bag, or purse, the weight can pull down on your shoulder, putting strain on both your spine and your neck. You can minimize the risk of developing back pain by lightening your load. For example, you might downsize your purse or try leaving certain items at home or in the office instead of carrying them back and forth every day.

Even a small bag can be problematic. If you’ve ever found yourself hunching your shoulder to keep your bag’s strap from slipping off, you might be putting unnecessary strain on your shoulder, neck, and back. As an alternative, you might try a small backpack or cross-body bag.

Cell Phones and Back Pain

Finally, you may want to rethink the way you use your cell phone. While it’s not really a fashion accessory in the same way shoes and handbags are, few of us leave home without a cell phone.

The problem is in how we hold our phones. If you’re holding your phone in your hand and bending your neck to look at it, you’re putting pressure on your cervical spine. Over time, this can lead to a condition called “text neck.”

The solution? Hold your phone in one hand, rest your elbow against your abdomen, and hold your phone up and in front of you, so you can see it without bending your neck. That way, your spine can remain in proper alignment while you check your texts.

Conclusion

If you want to prevent back pain, start with your wardrobe. Replacing high heels with platforms, minimizing the time you spend wearing backless shoes, choosing the right handbag, and changing the way you hold your cell phone will ensure that your back stays in proper alignment throughout the day.

20 Simple Ways to Be a Smart Chiropractic Patient

If you live with chronic pain and you’re considering making your very first chiropractic appointment, you might be wondering about the best way to choose a chiropractor. You might also be thinking about what questions you should ask to help you make the most of your chiropractic treatments.

We’re here to help. Here are 20 things you can do, both before and during your first appointment.

How to Find a Chiropractor in 6 Steps

The first step in seeking chiropractic treatment is finding a qualified chiropractor near you. Here are some ways you can find someone who’ll be able to help you.

Ask your friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations. You may be surprised by how many people you know have a chiropractor to recommend. Write down the names. It’s always a good idea to get several recommendations, so you have options available to you.

  1. Ask your doctor for a recommendation or an opinion. Some MDs have old-fashioned ideas about chiropractic, but your doctor may have a recommendation. If not, you can still ask for an opinion of any chiropractor you’re considering. Even if your doctor is vague, you can learn a lot from their body language and tone.
  2. Google all potential chiropractors. You can learn a lot from a simple Google search. For example, you can find patient reviews and complaints as well as information about what treatments they offer and where their practice is located. Pay attention to negative reviews and whether the chiropractor or a staff member responded to resolve the patient’s issue. You don’t want an unresponsive chiropractor.
  3. Check to make sure that your chiropractor is licensed by the state where you live. Most states have rigorous licensing requirements that include continuing education and ethics guidelines.
  4. Look up your chiropractor’s professional certifications. http://www.cce-usa.org/
  5. Finally, check to see if there have been any complaints made against your chiropractor.

These six steps can help you narrow down your choices and find a qualified, compassionate chiropractor in your area.

14 Questions to Ask Your Chiropractor

Both when you call to make an appointment and when you’re face-to-face with your chiropractor, it’s essential to ask questions to ascertain the kind of treatment you’ll be getting and what qualifications the chiropractor has to treat your condition effectively.

  1. Do you offer a free consultation? Many chiropractors offer a free initial consultation, so you can ask questions and get a feeling for their practice and personality. You may choose a chiropractor who doesn’t offer this service, but it’s a nice benefit and a good way to narrow your choices.
  2. What post-graduate degrees and training do you have? Chiropractors are not medical doctors, but they do receive extensive training. You should choose a doctor who has a commitment to ongoing education. Someone with at least one graduate degree is preferable to someone who has only minimal training.
  3. How often have you treated people with my condition? Chronic pain has many causes. It’s always a good idea to find out how much experience a chiropractor has treating people with your condition. Some doctors have extensive experience with sports injuries but only minimal experience with other injuries.
  4. What treatments do you commonly use for people with my condition? Even among chiropractors, opinions may differ on which treatments and solutions are the most effective. Asking this question allows you to get a feeling for how a particular chiropractor would approach treating your pain.
  5. Do you prefer forceful or gentle manipulation? Spinal manipulations are a common form of chiropractic treatment. Some doctors use a forceful technique that produces the “crack” that many of us associate with chiropractic treatments, while others prefer a gentler approach. This question will ensure that you know what to expect.
  6. Will you work with me to develop a treatment plan that I’m comfortable with? Really what you’re asking here is if the doctor will respect your wishes about treatment. For example, a chiropractor may prefer gentle manipulation, but if you have a specific request, you want to make sure that they’ll accommodate it before you pay for their services.
  7. How much experience do you have with this technique? If a chiropractor recommends a specific technique, ask how often they’ve done it. There are a lot of techniques out there and you don’t want a chiropractor to be learning a new technique at your expense.
  8. How long will my treatment last? A good chiropractor should be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take for you to complete treatment. But, be wary of any doctor who insists on sticking to a rigid timetable. Your body is unique, and your treatment plan should be, too.
  9. Do you do X-rays in your office when necessary? In many cases, X-rays are not necessary for chiropractic treatment. You should avoid any doctor that automatically takes an X-ray of every patient.
  10. How much will my treatment cost? It’s always a good idea to get an estimate of how much your treatment will cost. Because the treatment plan won’t be carved in stone, your costs may not be either. However, you should be able to get an idea of your total cost before you start.
  11. How does billing work? A good chiropractor’s office will have a simple billing system and the ability to work with your insurance company as needed to facilitate payments.
  12. What can I do to give my treatment the best possible chance of working? A truly individualized plan will look at everything from your exercise routine to your sleeping position and your diet to maximize your chances of success.
  13. Does your practice offer other services? Some chiropractic practices offer additional, related surgeries like massage therapy, acupuncture, and physical therapy, and nutritional counseling. If you think these things may be useful to you, then you may want to choose a practice that offers them.
  14. 20. Will you refer me to a specialist if necessary? The final question to ask is whether the chiropractor can recognize when a problem is too complex or serious for them to handle alone.

Just as your primary care physician may refer you to a specialist, your chiropractor should be willing and ready to do the same thing if it is necessary.

Asking these questions will help you get a feel for the chiropractor you are considering. Pay attention to the doctor’s tone, demeanor, and words.

Conclusion

The 20 steps we’ve outlined here will help you identify and choose a professional and qualified chiropractor to help you manage your chronic pain and live your best, most productive life.

Can Chiropractors Help Relieve Migraine Pain?

Usually, people see their chiropractors for a very specific reason – because they have back pain or even a stiff neck. They might even go if their hips or knees hurt since they know that an adjustment will help. However, people rarely consider going for things like migraines. This needs to change because chiropractors can indeed relieve migraine pain.

Your Pain May Stem From Your Neck

You’re probably already aware of the fact that a chiropractor can align the bones in your neck, especially the ones that connect with the skull, in order to relieve pain. With that said, you probably didn’t know that those can cause headache pain. Although some migraines are caused by things like hormonal shifts and nutrition (both things that a chiropractor can coach you on – more on that later) sometimes all that it takes is sleeping wrong and hurting your neck to cause a migraine. Thankfully, this can be avoided with proper neck support while sleeping and some new pillows. In the meantime, you’re still stuck with your migraine pain. A chiropractor can help with this by adjusting your neck (and even your back, since everything in your body is connected) in order to relieve your pain.

Determining the Cause of the Pain

Did you know that there are 22 different bones in the skull? Although these bones are fused together in adults, this doesn’t mean that they can’t cause your pain. We already discussed your neck and how sometimes headaches can come from there, but in other cases, the sources could be what you eat, how much stress that you’re under, and even from problems with the bones in your face and skull. Your chiropractor may ask you to keep a diary or log in order to see how your behaviors and routines affect
your migraines. This can help determine if there are any types of triggers.

Cranial Facial Releases and Massage

If your chiropractor determines that your migraine pain isn’t coming from your neck or even your diet, then he or she may perform a procedure called a cranial facial release. This is exactly what it sounds like… kind of. The procedure involves doing a light massage that also readjusts all of the bones in the face and skull. This is much less violent than it sounds, and it is nothing like the other bodily adjustments that a chiropractor does. Instead, the procedure is calming and includes things like massaging certain parts of the face to ensure that all of those bones are where they need to be.

If you suffer from migraines and are tired of taking medication for them, then it’s time to see a chiropractor. By keeping a log of your migraines, your chiropractor will be able to determine exactly what your triggers are. Also, if he or she decides that your migraines stem from a misalignment in your neck, back, or face, they can perform the necessary adjustments in order to curb your pain.

How Chiropractic Treatments Can Relieve Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common reasons that people seek help from a medical professional. While a mainstream healthcare provider might recommend medication or even surgery to relieve the pain, there is a drug-free, surgery-free alternative that can alleviate pain, restore range of motion, and improve the quality of your life.

Chiropractors work with their hands to adjust their patients’ bodies. By properly aligning their spines and other joints, they can minimize or even eliminate pain without prescribing dangerous opioid medications.

Chiropractic Treatments for Neck Pain

The word ‘chiropractor’ comes from two Greek words. The first word is cheir, which is Greek for hand. The second word is praxis, which is Greek for action. Put together, they tell us that chiropractors use their hands to act upon their patients’ bodies.

You may have heard chiropractic treatments referred to as adjustments. When a patient comes to them with neck pain, chiropractors evaluate the patient to try to determine the cause of the pain. Neck pain can be caused by a variety of issues.

Traumatic injuries can cause pain that can linger if it’s not treated properly. One example of a traumatic injury that can result in neck pain is whiplash, which can occur from an automobile collision when the neck is whipped forward and then back by the impact.

The other kind of neck pain that chiropractors treat is a repetitive stress injury. A repetitive stress injury can be caused by consistently poor posture or by engaging in an activity that puts stress on the neck over time, such as sleeping in a position that’s not beneficial to your neck.

Chiropractic adjustments to the neck involve the chiropractor applying a controlled amount of force to the neck, which pushes the joint beyond its normal range of motion. Properly done, an adjustment can loosen up joints that aren’t moving properly.

Cervical manipulation can loosen up the vertebrae of the neck and reduce pain caused by muscle spasms or pinched nerves. Treating neck pain typically requires a series of chiropractic adjustments. Whether the pain is caused by a trauma or by repetitive stress, it’s rare that it can be resolved in a single appointment. Fortunately, many insurance plans now cover chiropractic care.

How to Find a Chiropractor Near You

Finding a chiropractor in most areas of the United States is fairly easy. There are two ways:

  1. Ask your primary care physician for a recommendation. Many medical doctors collaborate with chiropractors and other alternative healthcare providers to treat their patients. Your doctor may do that and be able to refer you to someone they trust.
  2. Check with the American Chiropractic Association to find a chiropractor. You can click this link to provide information about where you are, and they’ll provide you with a list of names in your area.

A chiropractor can be an important part of your wellness team. It’s a chiropractor’s job to provide you with drug-free, non-invasive care to reduce neck pain and help you lead a healthy life.

Can Chiropractors Write Prescriptions for Medication?

People who are dealing with serious pain, whether it’s the result of a chronic condition or an acute injury, sometimes choose to visit a chiropractor instead of a doctor for relief. While chiropractors can do a great deal to relieve pain, there’s one thing they can’t do: prescribe medication.

A Natural Healing Profession

Chiropractors practicing in the United States are not permitted to prescribe drugs or perform surgery. That might sound like a restriction; however, it lines up with the way chiropractors think of themselves and their profession.

Chiropractic medicine is sometimes referred to as natural medicine or alternative medicine. As practitioners who believe that the human body can heal itself in most situations, chiropractors view the tendency to prescribe drugs for pain with some skepticism and alarm.

The majority of the prescriptions written for pain are for opioid medications. The issue of over-prescribing opioids has led to a national health crisis and a sharp increase in the number of overdoses.

The National Chiropractic Association describes chiropractic medicine as a “drug-free, non-surgical science.” Chiropractic practitioners can often help their patients through a series of non-surgical, physical adjustments that:

  • Relieve pain
  • Reduce the physical and emotional stress of pain
  • Improve function, stamina, and flexibility

While chiropractors do not typically prescribe medication, they are not anti-medication. Some people with severe pain may benefit from the use of medication. Many chiropractors work closely with their patients’ primary care physicians to develop a pain management plan that includes both chiropractic treatments and prescription drugs as needed.

In addition to working with primary care physicians, chiropractors may also recommend alternative treatments like naturopathy, homeopathy, physical therapy, and massage in their efforts to help their patients.

New Mexico’s Law

While most chiropractors in the United States are not permitted to prescribe drugs, the state of New Mexico has enacted legislation that makes it possible for some highly-trained chiropractors to prescribe medication.

The history of the law is convoluted. While the law was passed, it was later tabled by the New Mexico Senate’s Public Affairs Committee. However, the tabling did not impact the ability of designated chiropractors in the state to prescribe medication.

The law says that certain chiropractors, referred to as advanced chiropractors, can prescribe medication within a strict formula provided that they meet the state’s educational requirements. Traditionally, chiropractors are not trained or educated in how to prescribe medication.

The law has been met with some opposition in New Mexico and around the country. Traditional chiropractors object because they feel that prescribing medication is contrary to the stated objectives of the chiropractic profession.

Wellness vs. Crisis

Perhaps the biggest difference between mainstream medicine and chiropractic care is that mainstream medicine is best equipped to deal with crisis care while chiropractors consider themselves wellness practitioners. People can and often do visit their chiropractors for regular adjustments even when they’re not in pain.

Ultimately, the goal of chiropractors is to optimize the performance of the human body without the use of prescription drugs or surgery. Most chiropractors believe strongly that this philosophy gives their patients the best chance of living productive and pain-free lives.

How to Prevent Tech Neck in 5 Easy Steps

Do you have Tech Neck? If you spend hours each day with your head flexed and forward looking at a mobile device or laptop screen, then the chances are good that you do.

The name might sound funny, but the potential consequences are not. If left untreated, Tech Neck can damage your cervical spine. It can cause muscle strain, disk injuries, arthritic changes to the neck, and nerve impingement. It’s also a culprit in chronic neck, shoulder, and arm pain.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to prevent Tech Neck and avoid future pain arising from it. Here are five things you can do starting now to protect your neck.

#1: Take Time Away From Devices

If you have a job that requires you to spend a lot of time using a mobile device or laptop, give yourself a break every 15 or 20 minutes. Standing up and walking around for a few minutes (and thus changing the position of your head and neck) will give your spine a chance to adjust and minimize the chances that you’ll end up with Tech Neck.

#2: Use Technology to Your Advantage

What if you’re the type of person who gets immersed in work and forgets to take a break? Instead of ignoring your need for rest, try using technology to your advantage by setting an alert or alarm to remind you to take your break. You can use your cell phone’s built-in alarm clock for this purpose. Some of the new digital watches have reminder functions as well.

#3: Elevate Your Device to the Level of Your Eyes

Most people who have Tech Neck get it because they lower their heads and tilt them forward to look at their devices. One of the best ways to give your neck a break is to invest in a stand or holder that will keep your device at the level of your eyes. For example, you might buy a stand for your tablet or phone. If you use a laptop that you keep in your lap (or if you have a low desk) try elevating so it’s as close to level with your eyes as possible.

#4: Choose a Good Chair

What chair are you sitting in when you look at your device? For some people, a cheap chair can contribute to the problem. Try getting a comfortable chair with a neck rest. The neck rest can serve as a simple reminder of what your head’s position should be. If it’s touching the back of your neck, then you know that your posture is good. It may take a bit of practice at first, but over time, the right chair can help to improve your posture and protect your neck.

#5: Listen to Your Pain

Ultimately, any pain you experience is your body trying to tell you something. When you ignore neck and shoulder pain, you run the risk of doing permanent damage to your neck. If you notice pain in your neck, shoulders, and arms, it’s a signal that you’ve got to do something to alleviate it. Try changing your position or taking a break from your device.

Conclusion

The five steps we’ve outlined here can help to reduce the chances that you’ll develop Tech Neck. However, if you implement what we’ve taught you here and still experience neck, shoulder, and arm pain, you should make an appointment with a qualified health professional to help you address it and prevent further damage.

Reaves Chiropractic