Chiropractic Care & Migranes

If you’ve never had a migraine, it can be difficult to explain how debilitating they can be. They’re not like a normal headache; while they often involve a throbbing or pulsing sensation in the head, as well as pain on one or both sides of the head, their effects are more extreme and more debilitating. Migraines can affect balance and often cause extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and for some people, they may cause nausea or vomiting, confusion, irritability, and other uncomfortable or downright painful symptoms. While some migraines may be mercifully brief, some migraine sufferers may be incapacitated for as long as 72 hours. Unfortunately, for many people, it’s just as difficult to manage the symptoms of migraines as it is to explain them. Thankfully, chiropractic care can dramatically help relieve the symptoms and side effects of migraines and can also help reduce their frequency and intensity by addressing the source of the problem itself.

Migraines are triggered by different things for different people. Some people experience migraines in connection with their hormonal cycle, while other people find that they have migraines that are triggered by hunger or dehydration, by certain food additives, or because of excessive physical activity. If you experience chronic migraines, first be sure to work with your doctor to rule out any greater medical concerns; once you have an otherwise clean bill of health, chiropractic treatments can help address the symptoms of migraine, regardless of the cause. Chiropractic adjustments of the spine, including the neck area, help to relieve pressure on your nerves that may arise from stress, muscular tension, and the misalignment of the spine. Relieving pressure with chiropractic adjustments can help reduce inflammation of the muscles and other soft tissue that rely on the spine for support and function; this, in turn, can help reduce the inflammation that contributes to migraines and may make symptoms worse.

Chiropractic adjustments use manual manipulation to uncover the root of problems with misalignment and inflammation in the body. These manual manipulations positively affect the nervous system, allowing it to respond better to pain, which leads to greater comfort and less tension. Hence, chiropractic treatment can reduce the stress that may help trigger migraines, while also relieving the physical discomfort that often accompanies them. Chiropractic care also improves sleep patterns, which in turn helps reduce stress and can contribute to greater overall health, including fewer or more mild migraines.

Chiropractic care helps stop the cycle of spinal misalignment and muscle tension that feed off one another and can lead to stress and physical discomfort, which can then cause a lack of sleep or an inability to relax. Any one of these factors may trigger a migraine, yet chiropractic care addresses all of them at once, with non-invasive manual manipulation. If you experience migraines, or any other type of tension headache, talk to your chiropractor about your symptoms and their triggers and work with them to devise a treatment plan. Together, you and your chiropractor can effectively reduce or even eliminate the debilitating effects of migraines.

Low Back Strengthening

Many people struggle with lower back pain. In fact, back pain is the number two reason people miss work, second only to the common cold. During a pandemic, when many people are working from home, complaints of lower back pain increase, as more people work in unconventional sitting positions or nontraditional locations. Thankfully, some simple exercises that help support the lower back can alleviate some of the pain you may be experiencing.

People don’t often realize that lower-back pain may arise or be exacerbated because of weak abdominal muscles, but if you think about this, it makes sense. The muscles of the lower abdomen are directly opposite the lower back muscles, and strengthening them supports the lumbar spine and can diminish the pain in the muscles that surround and support the lumbar spine. These exercises focus on stretching and strengthening the lumbar spine and also focus on engaging the lower abdominal muscles, creating a strong, stable support system for the entire lumbar region.

Try to breathe in through the nose and breath out through the mouth while you perform this simple exercise routine, and to devote 5 minutes or so of each day to reducing or eliminating your lower back pain.

The first exercise focuses on the deep abdominal muscles and the muscles that run parallel to the spine. Sit up tall on a mat with your legs in front of you, with your knees bent and your feet at hip width apart, bottoms of the feet flat on the mat. Raise your arms out in front of you, perpendicular to your torso and at shoulder height. Pull your belly button in toward your spine and slowly roll back toward the ground, stopping about halfway down. Relax your shoulders and engage your abdominal muscles; your palms should be aligned with your knees. Exhaling, roll back up and return to a seated position. Remember to keep the belly button engaged and pulling in toward the spine. Repeat this movement ten times.

The second exercise is plank pose, which is one of the best overall exercises for back strength and abdominal strength and which also encourages proper spinal alignment. Beginning on your hands and knees, make sure your hands are at shoulder width, directly beneath the shoulders, and the knees are at hip width. Engage the abdominal muscles and step the feet back so that your body forms a plank position. Make sure your shoulders stay in place over your wrists, and spread your fingers so that the breadth of your hands supports your weight. Keep the back flat, taking care not to let it arch or sag, and hold for 10 seconds. When you first start out, repeat plank 3 times, eventually working up to 10 repetitions of 10 seconds each.

In yoga, the third exercise is known as locust pose, but it’s popularly known as Superman pose. Superman pose engages the entire back, including the backs of the legs and the glutes. Lie on the mat on your stomach with your arms reaching forward and your legs extended back. Keep the feet at hip width and the arms at shoulder width, and pull the belly button in toward the spine to engage the muscles of the abdomen. Relaxing your shoulders, lift your arms off the ground, while also engaging your glutes and thighs to lift the legs off the ground. Now you can see why it’s called Superman pose!  Continue to engage your abdominal muscles to help keep pressure off the lower back. Hold for an inhalation and an exhalation, and then release. Repeat this pose 10 times.

The fourth exercise starts out like Superman pose; lie on your stomach and engage your abs, and extend the arms and legs. This pose is known as swimming, though, because instead of lifting both arms and both legs simultaneously, you’ll lift the right arm and the left leg at the same time, as if you are swimming. Then, you’ll release, and then lift the left arm and right leg. Remembering to keep the abdominal muscles engaged, alternate this “swimming” arm and leg movement for 30 seconds.

The last exercise is marching bridge. Make sure to keep your hips stable and steady as you move your feet; if it’s helpful, place your hands on your hips to remind them to stay still. Lying on your back with your knees bent, open feet as wide as your hips. Relax your arms down by your sides and pull your belly button in toward your back. Gently roll the hips up, so that your lower back and middle back are elevated off the ground, pressing down through the feet and engaging the glutes. Lift the left foot off the ground to about a 45-degree angle, maintaining even, stable hips. Then, lower the left foot, and lift the right, alternating the feet as if you’re marching. Repeat this for 10 times on each side.

These five simple exercises can be performed daily and can help you train and strengthen your lower back, preventing the common hassle that is lower back pain.

Facet joint syndromes

 

In as many as 45% of people with lower back pain, facet joint syndrome is to blame. If you experience lower back pain combined with inflexibility, you may have facet joint syndrome. The good news is that facet joint syndrome responds incredibly well to chiropractic manipulation. The human spine is made up of 66 unique facet joints, which creates many opportunities for back pain. Facet joints are the joints between the vertebrae that allow the spine to bend and flex; there are two joints that connect each vertebrae, allowing extension and flexion and also providing stability to the spine.

Facet joints have a cartilage lining that supports smooth movement between the bones they connect. If a facet joint is injured, or if the cushion of cartilage is compromised, the other facet joints in the spine may need to overcompensate, eventually leading to inflammation, stiffness, and back pain. Facet joint syndrome is also referred to as spinal osteoarthritis and is classified by pain in the facet joints. A degenerative disease, facet joint syndrome gradually wears down the joints in the spine, inhibiting motion and potentially impacting the nerves within the spine.

Because facet joints are constantly moving, the joints and the cartilage that cushions and supports them undergo a significant amount of pressure on a daily basis and may degenerate with age. Facet joint syndrome may be caused by degeneration, sustained pressure on the facet joints, and injury, but the most common causes of facet joint syndrome are simply stress, age, and wear. Facet joint syndrome may be exacerbated by sudden trauma or injury, a sedentary lifestyle, physical labor, or unnatural movement in the discs or vertebrae. Some conditions and habits increase the risk of facet joint syndrome, such as obesity, smoking, genetics, problems with posture, and a weakened immune system.

The most common symptom of facet joint syndrome is pain or tenderness near the affected joint. Symptoms vary, however, depending on the location of the joint in the spinal column. When the affected facet joint is in the lumbar spine, or the lower back, people may experience discomfort while leaning back, and the pain may radiate from the lower back into the hips, groin, buttocks, and hamstrings. Because the lumbar vertebrae bear most of the pressures on the back, lumbar facet joint syndrome is the most common type of facet joint syndrome.

In the thoracic spine, or the middle part of the back, facet joint syndrome is less common, as this part of the back undergoes less wear and tear on a daily basis. Rigidity of the thoracic spine is usually the primary cause of facet joint syndrome in this part of the back. Symptoms of thoracic facet joint pain include pain in the center of the spine, and pain that radiates out from the center of the spine to the shoulders. Cervical facet joint syndrome affects the upper back. The facet joints in the upper back are also extremely prone to injury and wear, particularly the facet joints that are located at the base of the skull. You may have cervical facet joint syndrome if you have pain or tenderness in the neck, or pain that radiates from the neck outward and downward, to the shoulders and back.

Facet joint syndrome is typically diagnosed with a thorough review of medical history as well as a physical examination. Depending on the symptoms, a diagnostic test, like an MRI or x-ray, may be ordered. Once diagnosed, facet joint syndrome can be effectively treated by chiropractic care and other non-invasive treatments. Your chiropractor will first help reduce the pain and inflammation at the location of the joint, allowing treatment to continue painlessly. In addition to spinal manipulation, treatment may include heat therapy or cold therapy, massage, physical therapy, postural correction, and ergonomic or lifestyle advice. In many cases, once the initial pain of facet joint syndrome is addressed, patients can find relief from syndromes by increasing gentle exercise and focusing on proper posture and healthy habits. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of facet joint syndrome, chiropractic treatment can help reduce pain and discomfort for many types of spinal issues, including facet joint syndrome.

Chronic pain in Gen Z

According to a survey conducted by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, a nonprofit educational organization that informs the public about the benefits of chiropractic care, many young adults — specifically those in Generation Z — experienced chronic pain in their necks, shoulders, and backs before the age of 16. Surveyed members of Generation Z, which includes people born between 1996 and 2010, reported that in some cases, chronic pain began under the age of 10, and in most cases was largely connected to sleep posture, sports, and the weight distribution of heavy bookbags, as well as posture while using technology. Nearly half of the surveyed young adults indicated a preference for drug-free pain management, including chiropractic care, possibly complemented by other, more conventional types of medical treatment.

More than half of the 200 young adults surveyed expressed curiosity about and interest in chiropractic care and cited effectiveness as the most important factor in choosing a treatment plan for their chronic pain, prioritizing effectiveness over both cost and convenience. Representatives from the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress noted that chronic pain in Generation Z is not a widely studied topic and were encouraged by the survey’s results, citing a lessened interest in pharmacological pain management as a beneficial characteristic within this generation. Survey respondents ranged in age from 18 to 24 and were nearly evenly split between genders.

Many parents or doctors may attribute early-onset pain in the neck, shoulders, and back to growth spurts. While growing pains may be at least partly responsible for discomfort in childhood, it is important to assess the situation to determine whether physical activity has damaged the ligaments, tendons, or joints. Chiropractic examinations and treatments can prevent early damage from developing into chronic pain later in life. Consultation with a doctor of chiropractic can determine the possible causes of childhood pain and develop a treatment plan to address the pain and protect the area from further injury. In many cases, with younger patients, chiropractic methods can treat musculoskeletal ailments and provide relief from pain while also helping patients establish habits that will allow them to participate in athletic activities more safely.

While most of the pain reported by Generation Z survey respondents was classified as medium-level pain, many people surveyed indicated that their pain was chronic and either staying the same or worsening. A small percentage of respondents had received chiropractic care and found it effective, while a larger percentage indicated interest in chiropractic care and other drug-free treatments. Generation Z survey respondents widely believe that chiropractic care should be covered by health insurance, and they also believe that other non-pharmaceutical modalities, like physical therapy, massage, reiki, and reflexology should be paid for by health insurance. Despite the fact that chronic pain is most commonly associated with older adults, the results of this survey indicate that healthcare providers should address possible sources of chronic pain in younger adults as well. With effective, drug-free treatment, these younger adults can establish healthy habits that will allow them to move into adulthood and enjoy their lives with less pain and more optimal health and well-being.

 

Chiropractic treatment for headaches

It is estimated that 90% of Americans are affected by headaches. Headaches can be debilitating and have a negative impact on your ability to enjoy recreational activities and to work, and they may even interfere with your ability to rest and sleep. Of course, over-the-counter medication can treat headaches, but this can cause its own complications and problems. Seeking alternative therapy and determined to find relief, many people seek relief for headaches through chiropractic treatment.

Primary vs. Secondary Headaches

There are many causes for headaches, and headaches themselves are classified into two categories. Primary headaches flare up because of the sensitive structures within the head, while secondary headaches are caused by sources outside of the head, such as muscle tension in the neck, the environment, diet, and other external causes. Primary headaches, which include migraines and tension headaches, are caused by the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels within the head, and by brain chemistry itself. These common types of headaches may be characterized by dull, throbbing, or stabbing pain or pressure and can be accompanied by nausea. As anyone who has ever had a migraine or a tension headache can attest, these types of primary headaches can often be debilitating. Secondary headaches may be caused by tension in the muscles, tissues, and joints in the neck, and they can also result from high blood pressure and certain infections. Headaches that result from neck tension may be exacerbated by excessive texting or computer or phone use and only get worse with sedentary behavior. Some headaches are also triggered or worsened by certain foods, dehydration, changes in noise or light, stress, lack of sleep, or even excessive exercise.

Chiropractic treatment to relieve headaches

Even if your headaches are addressed and managed by a general practitioner or a neurologist, you may find relief in complementary care, such as chiropractic care. In many cases, chiropractic care alone, as an alternative to other forms of treatment, can provide complete relief for headaches. If you have been dealing with chronic headaches and want to consult with a chiropractor to find relief, it’s helpful to know what to expect beforehand. First, your chiropractor will perform a complete physical examination and evaluate the history of your headaches, to determine whether they may be caused by an underlying issue that raises concerns and will require additional care. If necessary, your chiropractor will refer you to the appropriate medical specialist to address your specific headache causes and treatment needs. If a chiropractic adjustment is deemed an appropriate treatment for you, your chiropractor may use varying techniques and tools to provide you with relief. Chiropractors perform traditional, manual spinal adjustments, and many may also use tools, like low-force instruments, ultrasound, trigger-point therapy, or cold lasers to complement and enhance healing modalities and provide relief from headaches and other sources of pain or discomfort. Appropriate chiropractic treatment can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and may eliminate your headaches completely. If you have chronic headaches, contact a chiropractor to learn how you may mitigate potentially debilitating pain and discomfort through chiropractic treatment.

Back pain: Common and uncommon causes

Have you ever woken up with pain in your lower back and you have no idea why? If so, you’re not alone. Research shows that about 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life, and lower back pain is a particularly pervasive complaint. Medical professionals commonly attribute the prevalence of lower back pain to evolution, noting that back pain can be attributed to the way we bear our weight while standing and walking on two legs. Lower back pain is often aggravated by the way we move, lift, and bend, and also by the amount of time we spend sitting and sleeping. The lumbar spine, which is the second-lowest segment of the spine, bears significant compression and flexion in supporting the mechanics of human movement, and it is easy for any small component of the spine to become misaligned or maladjusted. This can lead to numbness, discomfort, pain, or even immobility. Unfortunately, lower back pain can also be a symptom of a larger medical issue, and some lower back pain seems to appear and disappear with no rhyme or reason. It is important to consult a medical practitioner to rule out serious complications of lower back pain, though some pain can be readily attributed to one of a few common causes.

Common triggers for lower back pain

Living a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to many health concerns, including lower back pain. If your back pain diminishes when you stretch your legs or hips, or when you loosen your muscles through walking or other low-impact exercise, it is likely that your back pain is a result of your sedentary lifestyle. If you sit in the same position for work all day, try getting up to take periodic breaks to stretch out your hips and legs, and walk as much as you can throughout the day to loosen and relax the muscles around the spine.

Poor posture is also often a culprit when looking for the causes of lower back pain. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you slouch while standing or sitting; if you tuck one leg under you, or habitually jut one leg to the side, this repeated movement will contribute to pressure and misalignment in the spine and can lead to lower back pain or discomfort if sustained for a regular period of time. These habits can be difficult to break, but learning to do so can offer relief for pain that is due to postural issues.

If your back has lost muscle tone and strength, due to a lack of exercise, you may find yourself more susceptible to sudden strain of the muscles or ligaments while lifting something heavy or moving in a sudden or aggressive way. Conversely, lower back pain may also result from muscle fatigue, which may arise because of exercise or repetitive movement. Try to learn and adhere to proper form when lifting, moving, exercising, or other repetitive motions, to alleviate the possibility of pain in the lumbar spine.

Medical triggers for lower back pain

Sometimes, pain in the lower back arises because of injury or a medical condition. In between each of our vertebrae are cushioning discs that support the weight of the vertebrae. Over time, these discs can stiffen, bulge, or rupture, due to trauma, causing shooting pain down the legs and other painful symptoms in the lumbar spine. Disc abnormalities, like bulging or herniation, are relatively common and don’t necessarily cause pain, but when they do, medical treatment can provide relief.

Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, can also lead to pain or discomfort in the lower back, as can degenerative bone and joint issues like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Back pain may also be a symptom of autoimmune disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, though these medical conditions are rare. Another rare cause of lower back pain is cancer, which may metastasize and form tumors in the organs in the lower back area.

What to do about your back pain

If you’re experiencing pain in your lower back, there’s a good chance it will resolve on its own within a relatively short amount of time. Rest, heat or ice, and anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen may be sufficient methods to bring relief. Try to stay as active as you can, to keep the muscles of the lower back loose and flexible, but avoid any movements that aggravate the pain. You may also want to look into office ergonomics, to ensure that your workspace is arranged in a beneficial way for your spinal health and comfort.

If your back pain hasn’t resolved within 6 weeks, schedule an appointment with your general practitioner. You may be referred to a physical therapist, an orthopedist, or even a massage therapist, depending on the nature and cause of your pain. In many cases, it’s perfectly fine to wait to see if your back pain resolves; there are some situations, however, where you should seek prompt medical care. If you back pain is the result of an accident or other trauma; if you’re experiencing neurological symptoms like numbness or weakness in the legs or loss of sensation in the groin area; if you have a history of cancer; if you are constipated or cannot hold your urine or stool; or if you have a fever associated with your lower back pain, be sure to see your general practitioner as soon as you can.

Working from Home is Causing More Back Pain

Digital technology has impacted every industry through the last few decades. With communication abilities and opportunities driven by laptops and home computers, as late as 2016 43% of the workforce worked from home some of the time. As trends continue and goals are met that number will increase. 30% of the workforce will begin to work multiple days at home in a week.

With the current pandemic challenges forcing many office workers home those numbers are skyrocketing. With these work from home scenarios comes the introduction of unwanted back pain. Strain and pain from sitting on a computer for hours on end in a less than ergonomically encouraged position. As employers deal with new challenges every day thrown at them by the pandemic, they are seeing cost savings. This only suggests that working from home will impact many office workers post pandemic. One statistic claims that a typical employer can save about $11,000 a year for every employee that works remotely 50% of the time.

Picture someone sitting in the bathtub, lounging in a hammock, on the couch, in the recliner or on a barstool. Work from home ergonomics are being challenged as entire families are struggling to share space at home. Not every chair is designed and constructed the same. A table and chair may catch your eye because of a striking color but be terrible for your spine and your posture. Too often we find ourselves saving a dollar at a wholesaler to end up in the doctor’s office dealing with back pains.

Let’s identify ergonomics and the implications in setting up a correct workspace at home. Then we’ll go through and encourage some daily tips that will help your posture and ward off back pain issues.

  1. The desk or work surface. You’re at home desk, whatever it might be, needs to have your keyboard and mouse at the height of your elbows. If you can’t adjust the height of the desk, then adjust the height of your chair.
  2. Since laptops continue to be the popular option, they are not the best ergonomically. It is best to have the top of the monitor slightly below your eye level. If you are on a laptop, consider hooking up a second monitor for this reason. Or, if you use the laptop monitor than consider a remote keyboard.
  3. The placement of your mouse should be near the keyboard with overextending your arm.
  4. Sit Pretty! Sitting properly begins with your feet flat on the floor. Your thighs are then parallel to the floor. Keep your chest out pinching your shoulder blades together to relieve scapula pain.
  5. Consider a standing desk option. Alternating from sitting to standing is terrific and healthy option. You must also stand straight with a neutral spine to make this option beneficial.

While working from home create the habit of getting up once an hour and take a few minutes to perform these six stretches from the Mayo Clinic.

  1. A standing hamstring stretch for 30 seconds on each leg.
  2. A shoulder stretch for 30 seconds with each arm.
  3. A standing thigh stretch for 30 seconds for each leg.
  4. A lower back stretch for 30 seconds bringing up each leg.
  5. A neck stretch, turning your head each direction for 30 seconds.
  6. A calf stretch, 30 seconds on each leg as you press against a wall.

Working from home is here to stay. Exercise common sense in your workspace and take care of your body as you spend hours on your computer. By doing these simple things you can avoid unnecessary back pain.

Neck Pain as Related to Cell Phone Usage

Two major changes have occurred to our society and our workplace over the last few decades. The number of people sitting at desks has increased as well as the numbers for cell phone owners. With these increases comes the unnecessary and unwanted addition of neck and upper back pain.

Here are some alarming numbers that support those statements.

  1. First, the average amount of time spent on a cell phone today is 2 hours and 51 minutes.
  2. 58% of smartphone users cannot make it 1 hour without checking into their phone.
  3. 150 times a day. That is the average of how many times the phone is unlocked a day.
  4. 66% of smart phone users are addicted to their phone.
  5. 71% of users usually sleep with their phone.
  6. 40% check their phone in the middle of the night.
  7. 75% of Americans use their cell phones while using the toilet.
  8. During the current COVID-19 pandemic the smart phone usage has increased 57%.

Saving the best statistic for last; we laugh on the average of 15 times a day, but we average touching our phones over 2,600 times a day! So, the case has been proven we use our phones a lot causing a corresponding increase in neck pain.

Let’s look at some suggestions in how to look at your mobile device to relieve the strain on the neck muscles.

  1. Look Forward First– Try to bring the cell phone UP to your eye level. This small change will minimize the bend in your neck and improve your spine posture.
  2. Move your Eyes, not your Neck– If your smart phone is below your eye level do your absolute best to shift your eyes, to lower your gaze, to the screen rather than dropping your chin.
  3. Take Frequent Breaks– Many micro breaks to move and stretch your neck and back. Do NOT use your device over 20 minutes.
  4. Consider a Phone Call– If possible, dial the recipient of the text versus texting.
  5. Check your Posture– Make your best effort to maintain a curve in your lower back which sitting and using your cell phone. If possible, try to use a supportive chair with arms to rest your arms on. When on the phone, avoid cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder.
  6. Stretching– Try tucking your chin on a regular basis and hold there for several seconds and repeat several times. Then try pulling your shoulder blades together thrusting your chest out. This scapular retraction loosens the back as well.

When you bend your head to text or browse you are dramatically increasing the stress on the cervical spine. This position is not natural and will undoubtedly lead to irregular stresses on your spine and the surrounding soft tissues.

If you have neck pain it is self-induced. Consider your cell phone usage and your posture. Start today by introducing a new habit around your relationship with your phone. Consider this; SMART, make your change Specific, make it Measurable, there is a Reward in you sticking with it and your progress will be Trackable.

Chiropractic Care an Essential Service

During the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials in Illinois, and around the country, have been frantically trying to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of infection by closing businesses deemed non-essential.  While the determination of whether a service or business is deemed essential varies by state, it is widely agreed upon around the country that specific recreational businesses, such as spas, gyms, sporting venues, and shopping malls, are not considered necessary.

When looking at the listing of businesses and services considered unnecessary, people may wonder why it is chiropractors are categorized as essential.  But given the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain and the need to keep sufferers segregated from potential COVID-19 cases, it becomes clear that it is essential to have a designated facility specifically for chiropractic care.  According to Dr. Robert Kuyper, a Doctor of Chiropractic at Alternative Health Care Center of the Black Hills, chiropractic care is helping to flatten the curve against COVID-19 and is vital in the healthcare system.  “We don’t want people with musculoskeletal complaints going to urgent care centers or hospitals and mixing a healthy population with a sick one,” said Dr. Kuyper.  By having separate, stand alone facilities dedicated to chiropractic care for musculoskeletal complaints, urgent care centers and hospitals are better able to focus on treating COVID-19 patients.

Chiropractic facilities in Illinois, have been doing everything possible to keep their clinics safe and clean for patients by following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois Chiropractic Society, and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and recommendations.  In addition to regularly cleaning and disinfecting facilities, chiropractic staff are wearing masks, washing hands after working on patients, and practicing social distancing by ensuring that seats in waiting rooms are spaced at least six feet apart.  Many chiropractic clinics are also checking the temperature of all incoming patients to monitor for fevers.  To prevent spread of the virus, any patient with an elevated temperature is either being sent home or to a facility for COVID-19 screening/testing.

Not only has the COVID-19 outbreak been a tremendous stress on people individually, it has overwhelmed many hospitals and healthcare facilities.  At the same time, the number of patients needing chiropractic services has not waned.  When considering the additional precautions undertaken by Illinois chiropractic facilities and the need for care, it becomes easy to see why chiropractors are considered essential.

Chiropractic Care for Migraine Relief

While people frequently joke about things being “a pain in the neck”, the reality is that few things can rival the discomfort associated with a persistent, throbbing headache.  Millions of people are affected by headaches each year so chances are you or someone you know, has been plagued by one.  One of the most severe forms of headaches are known as migraines.  Characterized by a severely painful headache that persists for hours or even days, migraines are also frequently accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and tingling in the extremities.  In over 90% of cases, those suffering from a migraine are unable to work or function as they normally would.

There are several factors that contribute to migraines and most migraine sufferers have headaches and related symptoms on a regular basis.  Patients frequently describe the onset of a migraine as feeling as though their head is in a continually tightening vice.  Pressure continues to build from the base of the skull up to the back of the eyes making even the most basic tasks seem overwhelming.  Because migraine pain is so severe and persistent, life can be hopeless and agonizing for those that suffer from them.

Given the persistent and debilitating nature of migraines, those that suffer from the headaches often face difficult decisions regarding their long-term health and treatment.  The medical community commonly relies on administering powerful prescription drugs to combat the symptoms of migraines while ignoring long-term health issues, side effects, or treating the underlying source of the condition.  While the pharmaceutical drugs may temporarily relieve symptoms for a few hours, after a short reprieve, the pain is likely to return and be debilitating in nature.

Fortunately, there are non-pharmaceutical treatment options, such as chiropractic spinal adjustments, that can provide relief and hope to migraine suffers.  Because chiropractic adjustments can release tension, pressure, and stress from the spinal column and nervous system, people suffering from migraines should understand the benefits that can be achieved through manual spinal adjustments.  A 2015 study showed that patients who received manual cervical adjustments had an 80% reduction in drug consumption, 97% fewer days with a migraine per month, and a 100% decrease in pain and disability associated with migraines.

The extent and intensity of migraines are also dictated by factors such as stress, nutrition, hormones, and lifestyle factors.  The central nervous system is integral in connecting all of these factors as well as directing the control and functionality of the entire body.  Chiropractors address specific functional areas of the nervous system, help improve communication between the mind and body, and reduce stress throughout the central nervous system through appropriate spinal care and manual chiropractic adjustments.

Incorporating chiropractic adjustments into a person’s lifestyle can help address the cause of migraines but there are other lifestyle modifications that can help as well.  Staying well hydrated, getting more high-quality sleep, engaging in regular exercise, and removing dietary toxins, such as artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners, can also help mitigate the cause of the headaches.