Can Chiropractic Help The Opioid Crisis?

An estimated 25 million Americans live with chronic pain. In the U.S. millions of Americans rely on pain medication. Hundreds of thousands of opioid prescriptions are dispensed everyday in the U.S..

Many states have started recommending patients seek out a drug free pain relief option, one of those being chiropractic. There have been many studies showing the benefits of chiropractic as a cost-effective approach to musculoskeletal pain. In 2016 the Lancet published a paper that showed chiropractic care has been proven in scientific literature to be effective treatment for neck and low back pain.

In another 2016 study, Association between Utilization of Chiropractic Services and Use of Prescription Opioids Among Patients with Low Back Pain, found a 55 percent reduction in the likelihood of people filling prescriptions for opioids in those who received chiropractic care as compared to those who did not. 1

This year Medscape Medical News has reported on research out of the Yale School of Medicine revealing that “patients who visited a chiropractor for a musculoskeletal pain condition were 49 percent less likely to receive an opioid prescription than their counterparts who went to other healthcare providers.”2

“Preventing opioid addiction and overdose continues to be a significant public health priority; and as part of a strategy to lessen opioid use, clinical guidelines now recommend many non-pharmacological options to be considered as front-line treatment ahead of any medication,” lead author Kelsey L. Corcoran, DC, VA Connecticut Health Care System and Yale Center for Medical Informatics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, told Medscape Medical News. “Chiropractors provide many of the treatments included in the clinical guidelines for the initial treatment of low back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, and hand.”

In January, The Trump administration released a policy to encourage private Medicare Advantage plans to cover non-opioid pain treatment recommended by a doctor. Congress also passed opioid legislation directing the Department of Health and Human Services to review its payment policies so that doctors are not encouraged to prescribe opioids over a conservative option.

One study also found that chiropractic care was associated with a reduction in just over a quarter million visits to a primary care doctor nationally, at a cost of $83.5 million. They found that chiropractic care reduced the number of visits to a primary care doctor for back and neck pain among adults. 3

In a recent study published by Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research Investigators found that patients who received chiropractic care integrated with usual medical care had:

  • better short-term improvements in low-back pain intensity and pain-related disability compared to patients who received usual medical care along.
  • decreased low-back pain intensity compared to patients who received usual medical care along.
  • decreased their use of pain medication compared to patients who received usual medical care along.
  • had greater perceived improvement for low back pain than UMC alone.

The study was released in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s online JAMA Network Open. The study was the largest randomized clinical trial in chiropractic research in the U.S. to date. It involved 750 active-duty U.S. military personnel at three sites across the country. 4

I know first hand chiropractic can be the drug free alternative for pain relief. It saved me when I was 10 years old and the only option given was pain medication anytime I was active. Chiropractic gave me an alternative to live a pain free life without the use of medication and I know it can do the same for others.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in many individuals. There is usually severe pain with the first few steps taken in the morning.  It can resolve on its own, however, the faster you start treatment the quicker it can resolve. Generally, it will resolve within six to eighteen months (1).  The good news is that 90% of individuals recover with non-surgical treatments. There are treatment options available to help heal faster!

Plantar fasciitis is a collagen degeneration of the plantar fascia. Repetitive microtears in the plantar fascia cause the degeneration. The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot. This fascia provides support for the arch in your foot and shock absorption. Individuals with flat feet, fallen arches, and even high arches are at increased risk for developing plantar fasciitis. Since the feet are the base of the bodies support, plantar fasciitis can lead to an altered gait pattern and places the rest of the body in misalignment. This altered gait can affect the hips, pelvis, back, and neck. Other risk factors include tight/weak calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and intrinsic foot muscles.

In athletes, plantar fasciitis is generally caused by overuse. The constant, repetitive microtrauma exceeds the body’s ability to heal. It can also result in an increase in weight-bearing activities or structural insufficiencies as mentioned above.

Treatment

There are treatment options available. Getting adjusted is very important. Chiropractors can evaluate your posture/gait and give corrective exercises to help rehab the weak areas. By getting adjustments you are correcting the biomechanical risk factors and decreasing the stress on the feet. Successful treatments must focus not only on pain relief, but must also address the underlying causes such as: muscular imbalances; biomechanical deficiencies; improper sporting techniques; and improper conditioning, to name a few.

Orthotics are also important. By supporting the arches in the foot orthotics will place the foot in an anatomically correct position, relaxing the stress on the plantar fascia and calf muscles. I personally wear and recommend Foot-levelers. This type of orthotic uses a 3D scanner and makes a custom orthotic based on your scan. They make a moveable orthotic that builds up the arch support where you need it. I wear mine every day and they are life changing!

K-laser therapy is a non-drug, non-invasive option for healing. A study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery demonstrated promising results using laser therapy. Patients with chronic plantar fasciitis were split into two groups. One group was treated with low-level 635 nm lasers and the other patients received placebo treatments. Patients received treatments twice a week over a three-week period. At the final follow-up visit, the laser patients demonstrated a mean improvement in heel pain with a Visual Analog Scale score of 29.6 in comparison with a mean improvement of 5.4 in the placebo patients (2). In addition to being non-invasive, low-level laser therapy is a form of regenerative medicine as the modality’s mitochondrial stimulation initiates a low-grade inflammatory cascade of events that can stimulate revascularization of the thickened fascial tissue, according to study co-author Kerry Zang, DPM, FACFAS.

Supplements

Supplements can also be added to help facilitate healing. Magnesium has a lot of beneficial use in the body including: the production of glutathione (an antioxidant); improving nerve function; relaxing tight muscles; and decreasing anxiety. Soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath is a great way to get magnesium to relieve pain and inflammation.

Proteolytic enzymes help decrease inflammation and swelling. Proteolytic enzymes actually reduce healing times by blocking metabolites that cause swelling. For many individuals reducing inflammation helps reduce the pain they feel from plantar fasciitis.

Colostrum comes from the breast of humans and other mammals after giving birth, before true milk appears. Colostrum contains proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, growth hormone, and specific proteins that can fight diseases such as bacteria and viruses. Athletes use bovine colostrum to improve athletic performance. Medically it is used to boost the immune system, heal injuries, repair nervous system damage, improve mood, slowing/reversing aging, kill bacteria, and fungus. The source of colostrum is important! The colostrum needs to come from organic cows on organic farms, eat natural grass, and never receive any antibiotics.

Stretch/Strengthen

Stretching/Strengthening the muscles in your legs (calf and Achilles tendon) and intrinsic foot muscles are very important! Even with treatment, you can perform stretching/strengthening exercises at home to help with healing. After stretching, one thing I like to do is massage the plantar fascia with essential oils such as lavender or peppermint.

 

Increase Your Vitality And Add Years To Your Life!

 

 

Posture can be related to chronic pain, chronic disease, make you look, and feel old.

The Journal of American Geriatric Society published a study that found, “Older men and woman with a hyperkyphotic posture have higher mortality rates.” So what does this mean? Having bad posture increases your risk of death by almost 1.5 times. This research found that the increased death rate was due to atherosclerosis.

Bad-Posture-and-Death

Poor posture leads to extra wear and tear on your joints and ligaments, tension headaches, breathing issues, chronic low back, shoulder, neck, and/or wrist pain.

So what leads to poor posture? Well, you use 640 muscles to balance! If you have a weakness or imbalance it may affect your posture. If you have ever injured yourself and did not properly rehab this could lead to an altered gait pattern. Essentially that old injury could be affecting your posture today!

Do you have “text neck?” or “tech neck?” This type of posture affects many many individuals. We are such a technology-driven society that it is creating poor posture habits.

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This picture is a great visual to show how heavy your head becomes when you increase the angle. Do you see why you might have neck pain now?

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For every inch forward your head moves it increases the weight of your head by 10 pounds! It is important to be mindful of how our posture is when using our phones, tablets, and even computers. This can help prevent future problems/pain!

What happens to our muscles if we do not take breaks to stretch/strengthen our posture?

upper cross

This picture shows which muscles become weak and which muscles tighten. This imbalance creates joint dysfunction at the base of the skull, down the neck, into the upper back, and shoulders. “Tech Neck” causes imbalances that affect your entire musculoskeletal system.

According to the CDC low back pain was the most common pain complaint reported by patients in 2010. In the US 6 million people are dealing with chronic back pain. Opioids have been shown to only be effective for 2 weeks when treating low back pain. 89% of Primary Care Physicians consider biomechanical risk factors like posture to be the single most important short-term trigger for sudden onset of low back pain, AKA your posture!

Sitting for more than 12 hours a day puts you at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, life-threatening falls, respiratory problems, and cardiopulmonary problems.

Here are three exercises you can implement to start strengthening your posture.

  1. Stork- 1 minute a day can help with strength and postural balance
  2. Ball circles- this is great to strengthen your core! You want to make sure your upper body and knees remain still. Only move your pelvis in small circles
  3. Bruegger’s- this one can be performed sitting, standing, with or without a theraband. Hold for 3 seconds, come back to starting and repeat for 2 minutes.

It is important to move/stretch every hour! Studies have shown that sitting motionless reduces blood flow to the legs, increases the risk for atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaques in the arteries). Standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention. Frequent brief walking breaks are more effective than a single long walk before work. Sitting for more than eight hours places you at a greater risk factor for diabetes, depress, and obesity.

Your goal should be to get up and move every 30 minutes for at least 5 minutes. Set a timer to remind you throughout your day. You can stretch, strengthen, walk, or complete a 4-minute nitric oxide dump! The nitric oxide dump was created by Dr. Zach Bush. Nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels, reduces blood pressure, improves immune function, decreases the viscosity of blood (stickiness and platelet aggregation), increases lean muscle mass and it only takes 4 minutes. You try to complete it 2-3 times a day. Click Here to learn how to perform the Nitric Oxide Dump!

Getting adjusted is an important factor in strengthening your posture. Adjustments help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, enhance pulmonary function, decrease mental and oxidative stress, relieves muscle tension, and can naturally increase energy levels. We can also evaluate your posture and give specific rehab exercises tailored to you.

Losing 1 inch in height makes you 1.45 times more at risk of dying. Regular chiropractic visits and strengthening your posture, especially the core and the muscles along the spine can help prevent a loss in height.

I like to think about posture like a savings account. Most people would agree that having a savings account is a great investment in your future. If we all had the money we would deposit into that account daily. Your posture is a savings account. You can deposit a little bit into it each day and live a vibrant life, healthy life! Invest in your posture each day and maybe when you are 98 you will be skiing like this man!

 

What is Chiropractic?

So many have heard Chiropractors are great at “cracking your back” but chiropractic is about so much more. Yes, adjustments can help with back and neck pain but it can also help with so much more. Chiropractic Physicians spend three plus years learning anatomy, physiology, nutrition, biochemistry and more. So in addition to helping with chronic pain, we can also address nutritional concerns, supplementation, and help with many chronic diseases.

When you have a vertebral subluxation (misalignment in your spine) this causes interference with your central nervous system. The nervous system is our bodies control system. It helps us adapt to physical, chemical, and emotional stressors. A vertebral subluxation can compromise the nervous system interfering with its ability to regulate, coordinate, and heal. This can lead to physical pain, emotional instability, digestive problems, decreased immune system, or interfere with overall well being. Only 10% of the nerves in the body actually sense pain. This leaves 90% that do not. So instead of chasing symptoms we focus on the relationship between the spine and nervous system, restore normal function and allow you to live well and heal.

Chiropractic can help improve breathing, digestion, headaches, sciatica, disc issues, scoliosis, organ function, and so much more! This chart demonstrates how much influence your nerves have on the entire body!j

Chiropractic is very safe. Chiropractors have gone through extensive training and examinations to ensure safety. Chiropractic Physicians are required to pass four national board examinations in addition to state licensing exams. According to The National Institute of Health, “A 2007 study of treatment outcomes for 19,722 chiropractic patients in the United Kingdom concluded that minor side effects (such as temporary soreness similar to that which can be experienced after a workout) after cervical spine manipulation were relatively common, but that the risk of a serious adverse event was ‘low to very low’ immediately or up to 7 days after treatment.” Another study found that, “There was no evidence that visiting a Chiropractor put people at greater risk than visiting a primary care physician” (1).

Chiropractic care is one of the best ways to prevent problems in the future so be sure to see your Chiropractor regularly! If you are in need of a Chiropractor please give me a call 321-444-6750. How has Chiropractic helped you and your family???

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Sciatic Pain and Chiropractic

Many of you know the amazing benefits that come from regular chiropractic care! However, there are still many who do not and I am on a mission to change that!

Prevention magazine posted an article this week on treatments for sciatic nerve pain and guess what treatment was listed first?!?!?! That is correct, chiropractic care! They listed a research article that showed, “60% of people with sciatica who didn’t get relief from other therapies and then tried spinal manipulation experienced the same degree of pain relief as patients who eventually had surgery.

Symptoms can clear up in 6 weeks or take years to resolve. However, with chiropractic care symptoms can resolve much faster and have lasting results! in this study, patients saw a chiropractor for 4 weeks and then began tapering off. The patients who responded to chiropractic care reported benefits that lasted up to one year!

Here is what researcher Dr. Gordon McCmorland, DC had to say, “Spinal manipulation may create a response in the nervous system that relieves pain and restores normal mobility to the injured area. It also reduces inflammation, creating an environment that promotes the body’s natural healing mechanisms.”

So do not suffer through the pain! Call your chiropractor today!

https://www.prevention.com/health/a20428216/best-treatments-for-sciatic-nerve-pain/

Chiropractic and Chronic Pain

Every day more than 115 people in the United States die from overdosing on opioids. Deaths involving opioids have quadrupled since 1999. The CDC estimates an economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the US alone is $78.5 billion per year.

According to the CDC 1 in 5 patients who receive prescription opioids long-term struggle with addiction. However, the pain reported by Americans has not changed.

In 2014 2 million people abused or were dependent on opioids. Opioids numb the patient’s pain and may convince patients that their condition is less severe of has healed which is not the case.

What has been proven in scientific research is that chiropractic care is effective in treating low back and neck pain.

One study found that individuals with low back pain who utilized chiropractic care were 55% less likely to fill prescriptions for opioids when compared to those who did not. They are currently completing a second study on a much larger scale.

In 2017 the American College of Physicians updated their guidelines for treatment of acute and chronic low back pain to recommend first using non-invasive, non-drug treatment before resorting to drug therapies.

The ACP based their recommendation on randomized controlled trials that stated heat therapy, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation as possible options for non-invasive, non-drug therapies for low back pain.

Two weeks ago the governor of West Virginia signed a bill into effect that medical doctors must refer their pain patients to either a chiropractor or physical therapist before they can prescribe opioids. This is the first law like this in the country and hopefully other states will join in.

I believe chiropractic can be a force in the fight against the opioid crisis.

Palmer’s Gallup results showed that 80% of people were willing to try an alternative to pain medication. Chiropractic is a great alternative.

Before you decide to take drugs consider chiropractic first and experience the wonderful benefits chiropractic gives. If you have had a good experience with your chiropractor let me know!  Help share the benefits of chiropractic and the difference it can make in your life! Chiropractic is the reason I did not take pain medication my whole life to combat the pain I was experiencing.

If you do not have a chiropractor ask your friends who they see or go to http://www.palmer.edu/alumni/find-a-chiropractor/ to locate a Palmer graduate.

Live well y’all!