The Worst Bag for your Posture, According to a Chiropractor

There are a variety of things used to transport personal items ranging from totes, to shoulder bags and purses. Many people who carry large amounts of items or heavy loads opt to use a rolling backpacks. Others may prefer a canvas messenger bag or tote. The method we use is often selected based on the latest fashion trends. According to chiropractors, we should be placing far more importance on the bags we use on a daily basis to transport our belongings.

Unfortunately, we are spending a significant amount of time hunched over our computers typing, eating at our desks, texting and many other things. The issue with this is that we are positioning our body in a forward motion which causes increased problems with our posture. These negative effects of our posture eventually lead to lower back and neck pain. When you use a bag that isn’t well balanced on your body, the pain is just emphasized. Having good posture means maintaining the natural curvatures in the spine and activating the necessary muscles to stay upright Even worse and compounding the issue, we are selecting the biggest bag possible and carrying around everything we might possibly need. For most of us who are not minimalists, our bags contain a laptop, charger, phone, lunch, hand sanitizer, wallet, cosmetics, water and anything else we might possibly need, Chiropractors warn that as the size of our bags increases, so does the problem with our posture. When we carry a heavy load over one shoulder, we tend to slouch to the dominant side to counteract the imbalance. The preferred method is to use a backpack with two straps to evenly distribute the weight.

Backpacks typically have a chest strap and a waist strap. But many of us opt to not use these additional straps as they can look tactical or don’t work well with our outfit. Though poor posture or chronic back pain is far worse than looking like you’re going for a hike, many of us fail to come to this conclusion on our own.

Due to the impact they have on posture and inability to evenly distribute weight, shoulder bags are the worst option and they are closely followed by a cross body bag. Anything that doesn’t allow for even weight distribution can lead to a muscle imbalance and your body will naturally try to compensate. This is why opting for a backpack or rolling bag is the best option.

Some people are unwilling to sacrifice when it comes to style and refuse to give up their shoulder or cross body bag. There are still ways to improve the impacts these options have on your posture. One way is to reduce the load you are carrying. Another suggestion is to take care of your body when you are not carrying a bag. Take the time to stretch, use a foam roller and participate in yoga or other gentle movement classes to help correct your posture. There are many different class options which can help people improve their alignment and balance. For some people, an online class may work well as they can easily fit it into a busy schedule and the classes be done from the comfort of their home.

Three chiropractor recommended rules for selecting the perfect pillow

For many couples, finding the right setup for sleeping can be a difficult balance. One specific area of conflict can be the number and types of pillows to use. While one person may prefer a single pillow, their partner may prefer to use two or more. This may seem like an arbitrary preference, however, according to chiropractors, pillows play an important role in sleep and overall alignment.

Chiropractors confirm that the pillow you use is critical and if used incorrectly, can cause issues down the road. Using the wrong pillows can lead to a misalignment of the spine. Over time, this imbalance can result in pain and lead to other problems.

For good alignment, both your pillow selection and your sleeping position play important roles. The purpose of a pillow is to help maintain the proper curve in your neck while you are sleeping. When you are standing and looking from the side, the bones in your neck are supposed to curve toward the front. The upper and mid-back they should curve towards the back. And in the lower back, the spine should curve back towards the front. Ideally, this will create a reverse C shape in the neck.

The number, shape and density of your pillow all play important roles to ensure you are getting the best alignment. The following are three rules endorsed by chiropractors to achieve the perfect pillow setup.

1. Firm or fluffy thickness

Some people prefer thin, flat pillows while others choose a dense and thick option. According to chiropractors, there isn’t a catch-all answer in selecting the perfect pillow. Pillows which are too soft or too fluffy can both cause issues as they do not properly support the neck while sleeping.

The proper pillow shouldn’t be too thick or too soft. The most important factors are the positioning and fitting well under your head. People should look for pillows that are about three inches high and ensure it also has enough give to allow your head to fall back.

2. Unique shapes beyond the rectangle

An ideal pillow has space for your head while simultaneously providing your neck the necessary support. Some pillows are designed specifically with an extra ridge for your neck and hole or opening for your head. This provides the ability to keep your neck supported in a straight line. Some chiropractors recommend that their patients purchase a custom-made pillow from companies such as Pillow Wise. Another popular brand, Pillo-Pedic, has firm ridges to support the neck and a soft, memory-foam center for your head. Some doctors also suggest using a V-shaped pillow which provides space for your head to rest flat and protects the curve of your neck.

3. How many pillows should be used

The suggested number of pillows for correct alignment is one. Using two or more pillows will push your head forward and tilt your chin down toward your chest. This position adds tension to your neck and goes against the natural C-curve that helps encourage proper alignment while sleeping.

Some people prefer sleeping without pillows altogether. It really depends on the person’s posture whether or not this is suitable. Some chiropractors support this and recommend using either one or zero pillows in order to achieve proper positioning. Not using a pillow can be challenging for people who have a forward neck posture. When they lie down without a pillow, their head may not be properly aligned because it naturally tilts forward. Sleeping without the use of a pillow is only suggested for those who are in proper alignment. In conclusion, chiropractors recommend using one, high quality and supportive pillow to achieve proper alignment for your head and neck while sleeping.

5 Things To Know If You’re Experiencing Pain Or Numbness In Your Buttcheeks

Everyone is familiar with the numb feeling that occurs in your leg after sitting for extended periods of time. This is similar to what people with sciatica experience, however with sciatica, the tingly, painful feeling does not go away. Sciatica nerve pain affects up to 40 percent of people at some point, according to data from Harvard Medical School.

While sciatica is very common, it’s also quite misunderstood. The misconceptions about sciatica can range from the definition to how it affects the body and the treatment options. Many people believe sciatica is a medical condition and don’t know that it is actually a symptom.

Sciatica is a symptom of different conditions and causes pain along the sciatic nerve. This nerve begins in the lower back and runs down through both legs into the buttock, thigh, calf, and foot.

Below are five things to know about sciatica pain:

1. Sciatica pain can occur in many places

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and pain can occur anywhere. This helps better understand why sciatica can effect so much of the body. Sciatica can impact the lower back, the buttock, go down to the knee or calf and even cause issues into the foot.

2. Sciatica can manifest in a wide variety of ways

Sciatica can affect multiple body parts and also present different sensations. For some it can cause numbness, muscular weakness and most commonly it causes pain. Regardless of how it manifests, sciatica can interfere with daily life and feel debilitating. In addition to the physical symptoms, it can affect your sleep and mood.

3. Anyone can experience sciatica

Sciatica symptoms can happen to people who are out of shape and well-trained athletes alike. A common misconception is that sciatica is a result from trauma such as an accident or herniated disc. Some people experience sciatica simply from sitting incorrectly at their desk or in their car seat. In addition, sciatica can arise from an injury, repetitive stress, a herniated disc or variety of other causes. While rare, it is also possible to experience sciatica from stenosis (narrowing) of the lower back, arthritis, spinal tumors or simply from a person’s physical anatomy.

4. A musculoskeletal specialist should be seen for medical attention related to sciatica

If you experience sciatica for three or more days or if it is interfering with daily activities, you should seek medical attention. Because sciatica can be so broad, it is critical to determine the root of the problem. It is recommended that patients consult with a medical professional who specializes in back and musculoskeletal conditions. The specialists can include chiropractors, physical therapists or orthopedists. An evaluation may include a simple orthopedic and neurological assessment or more complex diagnostic tools such as X-rays or MRIs.

5. Treatment options can vary

Treatments for sciatica can range from conservative, natural approaches (i.e. physical therapy or chiropractor visits) to more aggressive measures which can include injections or surgery. Most medical professionals recommended pursuing the less aggressive treatments first. Recovery times can vary widely regardless of the treatment approach. As an example, recovering from sciatica caused by a slipped disc can take a few months while a more simple issue may be resolved after a few physical therapy appointments. A common misconception is that once you develop sciatica, it is something you have to live with for the rest of your life. Fortunately, that is not true.

Increased number of kids with back issues from backpacks

Chiropractors are continuing to see an increased number of children with back and spine issues as a result of wearing their backpacks incorrectly. Backpacks allow students to conveniently carry school books and other essentials when traveling to and from school. In addition, backpacks are able to effectively distribute heavy loads evenly across the back and shoulder muscles.

Unfortunately, overloading a backpack or wearing it incorrectly can cause strain the back, neck, and shoulders and ultimately cause lower back pain. Overweight backpacks can affect a child’s legs and cause spine issues including pelvic unleveling and even scoliosis.

Some students may overfill their backpack with equipment, tennis shoes and other accessories. This extra weight only worsens the problem. In addition, backpacks for teens are often larger in size and allow heavier weight loads which contribute to back problems.

Children and teens will sometimes carry a backpack on one shoulder. This creates additional problems to compensate for the uneven weight distribution. With the imbalance, the spine leans to the opposite side, stressing the middle back, ribs, and lower back more on one side.

Researchers continue to debate heavy backpacks and the associated issue of back pain. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the weight of a child’s backpack should not exceed 10-20 percent of the child’s body weight.

Additional strategies below can aid in minimizing the strain and pain cause by carrying a backpack:

  • Ensure the backpack is not too heavy and has equal weight distribution
  • Use the waist strap for additional support, when needed
  • Encourage the use of both shoulder straps and proper positioning
  • Fit of the backpack is crucial. Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack fits high on the back and shoulder straps are comfortable. The pack should sit above the hips and not extend beyond the waist
  • Encourage the re-adjustment of straps depending on your clothing so they fit as designed
  • Avoid letting the backpack sway from side to side. This can result in chaffing as you walk
  • Encourage wearing a backpack only when necessary. The child can put it in a locker or set it on the floor to reduce the impact and strain
  • If your child or teen experiences continuous lower back pain, purchase backpacks specifically designed for back pain
  • Your chiropractor can also recommend good backpacks to alleviate back pain

Lower back pain is a common driving factor for making an appointment with a chiropractor. This is a resource which is often under-utilized and can help relieve lower back pain by addressing the cause.

If your child or teen experiences any amount of back pain, but especially lower lumbar pain, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. Medication is often a temporary solution to block or lessen the pain. Chiropractors focus on identifying the cause of pain and effectively treating it.

Children and teenagers should not have to suffer from lower back pain. Correcting the underlying causes can help minimize or eliminate pain as they become adults. A physician or chiropractor can help correct persistent lower back pain. These strategies can help ensure your kids have a healthy, happy school year.

Kinesiology tape, or “kinesio” tape, is showing up at gyms more every day

Kinesiology tape, or “kinesio” tape, is showing up at gyms more every day. In the past, kinesio tape was only seen on the bodies of Olympic athletes. Now that it’s seen more by the general population, many have questions about its use. Some claim that it can do everything from improving athletic performance, to curing muscle pain and back injury. Let’s take a closer look at kinesio tape to see how it can benefit you.

Kinesio tape is used by people with active lifestyles. It offers a better alternative to traditional athletic tape. The goal of both of these tapes is to support injured or strained body parts while they recover. They also reduce pain and risk of future injury. The problem with normal white athletic tape is that it doesn’t stretch enough and it stops sticking to the skin after about an hour. In an attempt to solve these two major problems, Kenzo Kase, who’s both a chiropractor and
acupuncturist, developed kinesio tape. He wanted his tape to last longer and more closely resemble the texture of human skin.

Let’s say you’re recovering and treating a weak ankle. The normal non-stretchy athletic tape would wrap around your ankle and secure it in a way to prevent future chance of injury. The advantage that kinesio tape offers is that it can provide the same level of support without keeping your ankle fixed and locked down. It gives more flexibility. The idea is that you’re taping down the muscle, but not restricting its movement.

There is some evidence that suggests kinesio tape can help injured athletes heal even if they are not using other treatments. There is one important thing to note here. There hasn’t been any conclusive evidence to suggest that kinesio tape outperforms the normal everyday athletic tape.

A comprehensive meta-analysis completed in 2014 suggests that participants that used kinesio tape reported their pain decreased. But it did not conclude that this paid reduction contributed to actual healing.

The placebo effect must be considered when it comes to kinesio tape. Thorough research and case studies must be trusted over personal anecdotes with the tape’s use. Olympic athletes use the stuff, so it must work, right? Some might think that because the best athletes in the world use kinesio tape, then there must be something to it. The stuff also looks cool.

But let’s go back to see what the published studies say. A 2015 study suggests that blindfolded participants, who didn’t know what tape they were getting, performed the same in a weight- training routine. It didn’t matter if they used the kinesio tape or not. Again, it’s important to look at studies like this to remain objective.

Experts in the field suggest that there is one major reason why there is so much contradictory research out there about kinesio tape. The main reason is because it’s very hard to objectively compare kinesio tape with normal athletic tapes. For example, when comparing two different skin applications, it’s hard to rule out the differences that could be due to a stimulation of the skin. Further, there are other influences to account for, such as the care and treatment that the participants are getting from their doctors. This is incredibly difficult to do if a study wants to be purely objective and conclusive.

All of this does not mean that you shouldn’t explore kinesio tape as an option. Using it can be personally beneficial. It can provide athletes with a useful alternative because of its unique characteristics and advantages. It allows the body to move in ways that it just can’t with traditional athletic tape. This should be considered when choosing a tape.

Not only that, but it’s a product that’s easy to use and apply. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there that can show you how. Another awesome benefit is that kinesio tape is inexpensive and it happens to be much more durable than classic athletic tape. All this considered, there aren’t too many downsides to using kinesio tape. Even with the possibility of a placebo effect in the published studies. If you can help ease back pain or improve your athletic ability, it wouldn’t hurt to try the tape out.

Of course, kinesio tape isn’t the final answer to all your athletic problems. The traditional method of seeking out physical therapy and professional medical advice is still key. You don’t want to put your health and future athletic abilities into peril. Always do your due diligence. But if you get the green light from a trusted medical advisor, then go ahead and try out some kinesio tape.

Doctors can supplement their income with the ‘gig economy’ : CBD & Orthotics

The gig economy is becoming more popular every year. The term “gig economy” refers to an arrangement defined by short-term or temporary work. This differs from the typical 9 to 5 job, but offers more flexibility and opportunities to supplement income. Gig workers can offer their skills as freelancers. Some also produce handmade products for eCommerce platforms.

Chiropractors have the knowledge to offer durable medical equipment (DME), CBD, or orthotics. Medical professionals may also engage in part-time hospital work. Even with a full-time medical practice, you can moonlight in the gig economy and supplement your income. Let’s review some of the best ways to make these tactics work for you.

Review of the gig economy

There can be some confusion about where to start when considering a part-time gig. Before addressing some of those concerns, let’s look at some stats. An online Forbes article published in 2018 said that about a third, or 36%, of American workers were engaged in the gig economy. (Reference 1)

That adds up to about 57 million people who supplement their income with freelance or contract type work. Roughly 30% of Americans make most of their money from the gig economy. These stats prove how popular this type of work is across all professions and backgrounds.

How medical professionals can enter the gig economy

Medical professionals are considered trusted authorities. This gives them an advantage when giving advice about supplements or health advice. With that said, giving advice about nutritional supplements is an easy way to add an income stream to your full-time practice. Sales of nutritional supplements around the world are growing strong. A market-research organization published a report last year that valued the supplement market at $133 billion in 2016. This figure is projected to grow to more than $220 billion by 2022. (Reference 2)

There are a few different ways that your office can profit from supplements. Many chiropractic offices see success with CBD sales and vitamin supplements to address the needs of their patients. Your patients trust you, your knowledge, and authority. They are willing to listen to your advice and buy the product that you suggest to help them with their health and wellness goals.

There is also a convenience factor here. Your office now becomes a go-to for treatment and supplements. And they can be confident that they have the right recommendation for their needs because they trust you.

You can become a resource that’s invaluable. Your patients can buy a product from you that they can’t find from other local stores. When it comes to CBD recommendations, a chiropractor can play a very important role when patients seek a trusted product that works. You can profit from the patient’s need of a product that works and that will give them the health and therapeutic benefits they are looking for.

Orthotics and patient care

Orthotic products are another option that many chiropractic offices sell to bring in extra revenue. This is especially true if your office treats athletes or people with active lifestyles. Your products can solve many of their problems. Boost performance, reduce chance of injury, and help them recover from injury. Other patients, like those with posture or gait issues, can also see the benefits from your orthotic products.

A thorough diagnosis is critical here. The patient should have a digital scan of their feet done, which reveals how their issues relate to their feet. You review the diagnosis with the patient. Then offer the right orthotics as a trusted advisor right at the office.

The future of the medical gig economy

According to a 2018 Gallup Poll, workers enjoy the gig economy is because it allows them to do the parts of a job they enjoy and disregard the tasks they don’t. (Reference 2)

Every chiropractor has different motivations when it comes to wanting to enter the gig economy. Some might want to see fewer patients. Others want to add more income streams. Still others still want to provide a better service to their patients. No matter what, there is a place for you in the gig economy and still engage in the chiropractic field.

One unique way to do this is to offer your expertise as a witness in court cases. This is a fascinating way to contribute your knowledge and skills that benefits society and gives you meaning as well. These cases could benefit a prosecuting or defense attorney. And the types of cases will range from medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, or even personal injury. There is some training that needs to be before becoming a chiropractor expert witness. Check with your state’s licensure for the requirements to see what needs to be done to meet them. is getting involved in occupational medicine in your community.

Again, there are many ways that a chiropractor can enter the gig economy. You can use your knowledge and creativity to add revenue to your practice. This can also be done as a part-time career. With all the options available to you in the gig economy, the only limitation is your own.

References

1. McCue TJ. 57 million U.S. workers are part of the gig economy. Forbes. Published Aug. 31, 2018. Accessed June 28, 2019.
2. Zion Market Research. Dietary Supplements Market by Ingredients (Botanicals, Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, Enzymes) for Additional Supplements, Medicinal Supplements, and Sports Nutrition Applications – Global Industry Perspective,Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2016 – 2022. Released April 12, 2018. Accessed June 28, 2019.

Chiropractors: Helping Chronic Pain Without Opioids or Other Medications

The opioid epidemic has slowly overtaken America. What started out as a method of treating patients with chronic pain has now become a menace. People are addicted, even though they may no longer inpain, and turning to street drugs in order to feed their habits. Police officers and other first responders carry opioid overdose reversal drugs on them, despite public outcry, and things just seem to be getting worse. People with actual chronic pain, such as the type that stems from arthritis, either can no longer get the medications that make their lives bearable, or they are forced into pain management and physical therapy. The end result is a major problem that seems to have very little in the way of a solution – until you consider chiropractic care.

Chiropractors Treat Pain and Inflammation

Many people with chronic pain conditions never think of going to a chiropractor. It just doesn’t dawn on them that these medical specialists can do more than just realign the spine. This is due to the fact the profession is still misunderstood. In reality, a chiropractor can relieve chronic pain and inflammation without the help of any drugs. They are trained in the fine art of pain relief, and yes, realignments are a major part of this. However, there are other factors at play, most of which a chiropractor will inform you of in order to help with your arthritis and other types of pain.

Whole Body Wellness Not Medications

The first time that you go to a chiropractor, they will sit down and ask you a lot of questions. Some of them may seem unusual, but it’s important for the practitioner to know whether or not you’ve been under a lot of stress or how much sleep you get each night. They need to know what types of food you eat. Of course, many of these questions will be about the pain that you’re in, and x-rays may possibly be taken if medically necessary in order to further diagnose any issues. Basically, before your chosen chiropractor even attempts to relieve your pain, they will be able to discern any and all of the potential causes – beyond basic arthritis and inflammation.

Why does this matter? Well, your pain might be caused by the breakdown of your cartilage, but it might be exacerbated by a lack of sleep or a lot of stress. Certain foods can wreak havoc on your system, making your inflammation worse. A chiropractor looks at your overall wellness in order to find additional solutions to your pain. They might suggest cutting certain foods and beverages out of your system or even getting more sleep at night. If stress is an issue, they might have some good solutions and suggestions. By getting to every root cause of your pain, a chiropractor is more likely to help prevent it in the future. Of course, a realignment is a part of this, but you’ll feel better overall once you make those suggested lifestyle changes. Compare this to a pain management physician, who simply provides medications.

Deconditioning Yourself and Helping Your Pain

People, in general, are conditioned to take medications to help with their problems. Pain? “Here, take pain medication.” However, there’s much more to it than that. The pain might be caused by a diet full of foods that simply aren’t good for you, a lack of exercise, or far too much stress. By making overall lifestyle changes recommended by a chiropractor, you’re deconditioning yourself from quick fixes and setting the scene for some real pain relief. No addictive medications required.

Chiropractors and Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: What You Need to Know

Through the course of a day, chiropractors see patients with numerous conditions. Some have simple aches and pains from things such as sleeping in the wrong position or standing too long. Others have arthritis or even multiple sclerosis, both of which cause pain of various types. Although multiple sclerosis is often thought of as a condition that makes it hard to move around and control your limbs, it can cause pain as well, leading suffers to head to the chiropractor for relief.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (also known as MS) is a disorder that occurs when your immune system begins to attack the protective covering on the nerves called myelin. The nerves that are attacked are supposed to respond to the brain, sending it various signals. When that protective covering is tampered with, those signals become muddled. As a result, you may have a hard time moving around and performing everyday tasks, and you might end up with quite a bit of pain.

Those with MS tend to have “flare-ups” where the disease progresses quite a bit before calming back down. The period of “calmness” is referred to as remission. In some cases, remission can last for years at a time before another flare occurs. However, even during remission, people with MS can have quite a bit of pain, which can be treated by a chiropractor.

How Can a Chiropractor Help MS Pain?

In order to understand how a chiropractor can help provide relief for the pain caused by MS, you first need to know what they do. A chiropractor has the ability to adjust two of the three different types of joints in the body. The first is called a synovial joint. These are the ones that help the body move around. For example, elbow joints, wrist joints, hip joints, and even knee joints are all synovial joints. The second type is a cartilaginous joint, which doesn’t move as freely as synovial ones. These joints, like the ones in the spine, move a little but lack a full range of motion. The third type of joint, called a fibrous one, doesn’t move at all. The plates that make up the skull are connected by fibrous joints. A chiropractor works with the first two types of joints in order to relieve pain. They cannot do anything for the third. Chiropractors are trained in how to realign the joints in the body. They perform adjustments to the spinal column that houses the nervous system. When the spine is aligned and moving properly, the nervous system will then work properly which can lessen pain and help with inflammation. When parts of the body get out of alignment (the spine is the most common “culprit” so to speak) they cause pain. Once everything is realigned, the pain will lessen. This is why a chiropractor can help those with MS – they can take care of the misalignments and the inflammation that are hallmarks of the condition.

Swollen Joints and MS

Since MS does more than just affect the control that the brain has over the body, a chiropractor can help. Inflammation can set in and make it harder for people with MS to move their joints. In addition, when the spine ends up out of alignment, it puts pressure on certain nerves in the back, causing pain. A chiropractor can help by readjusting the spine, helping with that specific nerve pain. In addition, they can help with the inflammation, taking care of the pain in the joints. The approach taken by a chiropractor depends on where the pain is located and which portion of the spine is out of alignment.

On top of this, a chiropractor will focus on a part of the spine at the top of the neck, near the brainstem. A misalignment here can cause widespread pain throughout the body, as well as inflammation. Despite the fact that this is located near the brainstem, the technique is actually well known and practiced, making it much less intimidating than it sounds.

Always Check with A Specialist

Of course, before you head to a chiropractor for relief from pain and inflammation, you should check with your MS specialist. They will let you know whether or not seeing a chiropractor is a good idea, and if they decide that it is, more than likely have a specific list of those with the specialized skills to help.

How Safe is Chiropractic Treatment?

Chiropractic treatment is designed to help with what the experts refer to as “neuromusculoskeletal” pain. This pain occurs when the spine ends up getting out of alignment, putting pressure on parts of the body where there shouldn’t be any. The best way to treat this pain is by getting an adjustment by a licensed professional chiropractor. However, there are some people out there who aren’t quite sure how chiropractic treatments work or are positive that they’ve read negative stories about other patients ending up hurt – or worse – after seeing a chiropractor. These stories don’t quite get to the real cause of the injury or death, which usually involves a pre-existing condition that’s exacerbated by the treatment.

Every Medical Procedure Can Have Side Effects

Although chiropractic manipulations end up with a bad reputation, every medical procedure can have side effects. Someone can go in for outpatient surgery on their ankle and end up with a blood clot. A person could have a reaction to a type of medication, even if they’ve taken it before. Unknown allergies can pop up. When a medical issue occurs in a standard clinical setting due to a simple procedure, it doesn’t seem to receive the same type of bad press as chiropractic care. People are quick to jump on chiropractors. This doesn’t mean that you can’t end up with an injury after seeing a chiropractor, but when you consider how many people see them every day and are fine afterward, the headlines don’t seem to match up.

Cervical Manipulations

The main procedure conducted by a chiropractor is called a cervical manipulation. This is an adjustment of the cervical vertebrae in the neck, and they are designed to help with headaches and neck pain. When this procedure is performed properly (read: gently) on a patient that doesn’t have a history of arterial issues, most of the time, everything is fine. However, when an arterial issue is present, the risk for a tear, also known as a dissection, goes up. Studies have found that the movements associated with having your hair washed in a salon or even turning your head while swimming carry the same risk as a cervical manipulation in people with a pre-existing condition. It’s much less scary than the media has it seem.

What Can You Do to Prevent Potential Issues?

If you’re still afraid of seeing a chiropractor (although you shouldn’t be) your best bet is to bring with you a list of your medical conditions. By going over everything – and that means every detail – beforehand, your chiropractor will be able to ascertain whether or not you should have a spinal or cervical adjustment or another type of manipulation and treatment. There are some conditions that leave you likely to have complications from these procedures, including connective tissue disorders and even a history of issues with your blood vessels. By going over all of this beforehand with your chiropractor, you’re more likely to end up with a positive outcome.

Seeing a Chiropractor for Pain

A chiropractor is someone who is able to help determine the cause of your pain and help relieve it. In a society where people turn to opioid pain medications and over the counter treatments, it’s best to have another option. If you’re a candidate for chiropractic treatment (as in, you’ve talked to a chiropractor and gone over your entire medical history), then you’d be surprised at just how effective these treatments are. There are some side effects (more on them shortly), but the most common ones disappear quickly – much like your pain levels.

The Actual Side Effects of Chiropractic Care

Since chiropractic care is very safe and the chances of having a severe side effect are small, it’s important to know and understand what the actual side effects of these treatments are. These include a small amount of pain and soreness, stiffness, and some minor aches. With that said, many people don’t have these side effects at all – they emerge from their chiropractor’s office feeling great. If you do have any of these minor side effects, keep in mind that they’ll fade away within 24 to 48 hours.

With that said, sharp pains, as well as neck or headache pain that appears very suddenly, is something that you need to be very wary of. These sharp pains may be a sign that you have an issue with your arteries. If you end up feeling them, seek emergency medical help. However, if you’re like most people, you’ll just have a little soreness afterward.

Chiropractors and Their Responsibility for Safety

In the past, it was believed that chiropractic neck manipulations caused patients to have strokes. A recent study by the Annals of Medicine has found that this isn’t true at all. In fact, they did a comprehensive study of all of the literature out there and discovered that these manual manipulations and therapies don’t increase the patient’s risk of, in clinical terms, “Cervical Arterial Dissection or CAD,” also known as a tear in the wall of the arteries. However, it’s important for chiropractors to know the signs of a potential CAD case, since there are some exacerbating factors that make it seem as though the chiropractor is to blame, when in fact, they aren’t.

Know Which Pre-Existing Conditions and Disorders to Ask About

Before a chiropractor does any manipulations on a patient, they need to ask them plenty of questions. This is normally done as a part of the initial physical exam, so nothing really needs to change, except for the focus on the questions. There are some that must be brought up in order to determine if the patient has any risk factors for CAD. These questions include asking the patient about their history of smoking cigarettes, which increases the potential for CAD. Others are having a vitamin deficiency, such as low blood levels of B12, B6, and B9, having a disorder that involves the connective tissues, and having a history of recurrent tinnitus (also known as a frequent ringing in the ears.) Additional symptoms and disorders include having frequent respiratory infections, very low cholesterol levels, being underweight, and having a history of issues with the arteries, such as previous instances of CAD or any other type of
anomalies with the arteries.

Obviously, if you have any of these conditions, you’ll need to tell your chiropractor about them, even if they don’t ask. It’s best that they have all of the information that they need before choosing to proceed (or not) with the physical manipulations and adjustments. Just keep in mind that you have one of these conditions or disorders, the odds that you’ll end up with CAD or a similar syndrome increase.

Watch for the Symptoms of CAD

In addition to understand which pre-existing conditions can increase the risk factor, all chiropractors – and patients – need to know how the symptoms of CAD present. This makes it easier for the patient to know when something is wrong so that they can seek medical help immediately. Even perfectly healthy (yet hurting) patients may be subject to CAD since sometimes things happen that others can’t control. The main symptoms of CAD include a feeling of vertigo or an unrelenting spinning sensation, a sudden headache that feels as though it’s a cluster headache or a migraine, severe neck pain that comes on very suddenly without any warning. These are all signs that you might be experiencing an arterial tear. Tell your chiropractor immediately about them if you are still in their office. If you aren’t, then call an ambulance. Even if the pain ends up being just a headache, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Although chiropractic manipulations aren’t the cause of CAD, according to the studies by the Annals of Medicine, there’s always a chance that one could occur, particularly if any of the pre-existing conditions are present. By keeping an eye on your patient after their treatment, you are helping to prevent a potential catastrophe.

Safe Treatments Are Very Important

Above all else, chiropractors need to treat their patients properly. It’s possible to do a chiropractic manipulation without yanking on the patient roughly in order to realign their spine and get to root cause of their pain. The amount of force that’s used can be too much, resulting in additional damage to the soft tissue, muscles, ligaments, and arteries. If you feel as though your chiropractor is being a bit rough, speak up. There’s no reason for your treatment to be rough and painful. Yes, in some cases it may hurt a bit as you are realigned, but overall, you should feel a sense of relief when it’s done, not pain. Don’t be afraid to say something.

In summary, although chiropractors have been found to not be the cause of CAD, also known as tears in the arterial walls that can be deadly, some caution must still be taken. Both the patient and the chiropractor need to know what those risk factors are, as well as the main symptoms of CAD. Otherwise, a deadly condition may occur before you realize what’s happening.

Reaves Chiropractic