Curvesday Thursday: Chiropractic for TMD

Does it hurt when you chew, open wide to yawn or use your jaws? Do you have pain or soreness in front of the ear, in the jaw muscle, cheek, the teeth or the temples? Do you have pain or soreness in your teeth? Do your jaws make noises loud enough to bother you or others? Do you find it difficult to open your mouth wide? Does your jaw ever get stuck/locked as you open it?

If you answered “yes” to some of these questions, you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. TMD is a group of conditions, often painful, that affect the jaw joint.

Signs may include:

  • Radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders;
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw;
  • Painful clicking or grating when opening or closing the mouth;
  • A significant change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together;
  • Headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems and difficulty swallowing.

For most people, pain or discomfort in the jaw muscles or joints is temporary, often occurs in cycles, and resolves once you stop moving the area. Some people with TMD pain, however, can develop chronic symptoms. Your doctor of chiropractic can help you establish whether your pain is due to TMD and can provide conservative treatment if needed.

What Causes TMD?

Researchers agree that TMD falls into three categories:

  • Myofascial pain—discomfort or pain in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and shoulders;
  • A dislocated jaw or displaced disc;
  • Degenerative joint disease—rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the jaw joint.

Severe injury to the jaw is a leading cause of TMD. For example, anything from a hit in the jaw during a sporting activity to overuse syndromes, such as chewing gum excessively or chewing on one side of the mouth too frequently, may cause TMD.

Both physical and emotional stress can lead to TMD, as well. The once-common practice of sitting in a dentist’s chair for several hours with the mouth wide open may have contributed to TMD in the past. Now, most dentists are aware that this is harmful to the jaw. In addition to taking breaks while they do dental work, today’s dentists also screen patients for any weaknesses in the jaw structure that would make physical injury likely if they keep their mouths open very long. In that case, they may use medications during the procedure to minimize the injury potential, or they may send the patient to physical therapy immediately after treatment. In less severe cases, they instruct patients in exercises they can do at home to loosen up the joint after the visit.

While emotional stress itself is not usually a cause of TMD, the way stress shows up in the body can be. When people are under psychological stress, they may clench their teeth, which can be a major factor in their TMD.

Some conditions once accepted as causes of TMD have been dismissed—moderate gum chewing, non-painful jaw clicking, orthodontic treatment (when it does not involve the prolonged opening of the mouth, as mentioned above), and upper and lower jaws that have never fit together well. Popular theory now holds that while these may be triggers, they are not causes.

Women experience TMD four times as often as men. Several factors may contribute to this higher ratio, posture and higher heels.

TMD Diagnosis and Treatment

To help diagnose or rule out TMD, your doctor of chiropractic (DC) may ask you to put three fingers in your mouth and bite down on them. You may also be asked to open and close your mouth and chew repeatedly while the doctor monitors the dimensions of the jaw joint and the balance of the muscles. If you have no problems while doing these things, then the problem is not likely to be TMD. Your DC can then look for signs of inflammation and abnormalities. Sometimes special imaging, an x-ray or an MRI may be needed to help confirm the diagnosis.

If you have TMD, your doctor may recommend chiropractic manipulation, massage, applying heat/ice and special exercises. In most cases, your doctor’s first goal is to relieve symptoms, particularly pain. If your doctor of chiropractic feels that you need special appliances or splints (with the exception of the “waterpack” and other guards against teeth grinding), he or she will refer you to a dentist or orthodontist for co-management.

In addition to treatment, your doctor of chiropractic can teach you how to:

  • Apply heat and ice to lessen the pain. Ice is recommended shortly after the injury or after your pain has started. In the later stages of healing, you need to switch to heat, especially if you are still experiencing discomfort.
  • Avoid harmful joint movements. For example, chomping into a hard apple is just as bad as crunching into hard candy (some hard candies are even called “jawbreakers”—for good reason). And giant sandwiches can cause the mouth to open too wide and have a destabilizing effect on the jaw.
  • Perform TMD-specific exercises. Depending on your condition, your DC may recommend stretching or strengthening exercises. Stretching helps to loosen tight muscles and strengthening helps to tighten muscles that have become loose. Special feedback sensors in the jaw can be retrained, as well, if needed.



Curvesday Thursday: Alternative Methods to Treat Vertigo

People with vertigo know that the law of gravity prevails, but their brains get confused. They experience an illusion of movement, feeling like they are tilting in space, or that the world is spinning or moving around them. Nausea, sweating, headaches, vomiting and fatigue may add to their discomfort.

Causes of Vertigo

  • Vertigo can be caused by many problems, most of which originate in the peripheral or central nervous system.
  • The causes of vertigo that stem from the peripheral nervous system include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), acute vestibular neuronitis, labyrinthitis and Ménière’s disease.
  • Acoustic neuroma, migraines, cervicogenic vertigo and multiple sclerosis are all related to the central nervous system.
  • Vertigo can also be caused by a wide variety of medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, diuretics, barbiturates, salicylates (e.g., aspirin), sedatives or hypnotics, some prescription and over-the-counter cold medicines, and some antibiotics and antineoplastics.
  • Diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, high blood triglycerides, hypoglycemia, and food allergies or gluten sensitivity can also cause or worsen vertigo.
  • Motor vehicle accidents, falls or other types of traumas or illnesses can also be associated with vertigo.
  • To diagnose the cause of vertigo, your health care provider will perform an examination, including a variety of positioning tests, to check if they will reproduce the sensation of motion. Other tests may also be necessary.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

  • About 65 percent of vertigo is diagnosed as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)—a result of calcium debris in the inner ear.
  • BPPV is usually treated through the Epley maneuver—a procedure in which the patient is rapidly moved from lying on one side to lying on the other, to move the calcium debris to a less sensitive location in the inner ear.
  • Studies show that up to 80 percent of patients recover after a single treatment with Epley maneuver, and most BPPV cases respond to two to three treatments with Epley.
  • Epley maneuver is contraindicated in patients with severe carotid stenosis, heart diseases and severe neck problems, such as cervical spondylosis with myelopathy or advanced rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Even without treatment, BPPV tends to resolve in weeks or months and also has a tendency to recur.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation exercises (called the Brandt-Daroff exercises) can also be performed at home to help treat BPPV.

Other Types of Vertigo

  • Treatment for vertigo caused by other conditions depends on the individual case.
  • Ménière’s disease patients can benefit from a low-salt diet.
  • Treatment for vertigo associated with migraine headaches should include dietary changes, such as reduction or elimination of aspartame, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine, in addition to exercise, stress reduction, adequate sleep, and vestibular rehabilitation exercises.
  • Vestibular neuronitis and labyrinthitis, which are often attributed to viral infections, can also be treated with vestibular exercises.
  • Working with your doctor of chiropractic to improve postural issues can also bring relief to the patients whose vertigo is exacerbated by sedentary lifestyle or working in certain positions for extended periods.
  • In patients with cervicogenic vertigo, a general ergonomic assessment of work and life activities can help identify the factors contributing to the problem.

Nutrition and Stress Reduction

  • Alcohol, nicotine, fried foods and excessive salt intake are potential sources of trouble for patients of vertigo.
  • Vincopectine, vitamin B6 and ginkgo biloba may be helpful in reducing vertigo.
  • Chromium may be helpful in patients whose vertigo is caused by a blood sugar imbalance.
  • Physical exercise and meditation, adequate sleep and other stress reduction techniques can all help contribute to recovery from vertigo and should be a part of the treatment regimen.
  • Your doctor of chiropractic can help create an appropriate exercise program for you and counsel you regarding healthy lifestyle and stress relief.

Red Flags
Vertigo patients who present with the following signs should immediately go to the emergency room:

  • double vision
  • headache
  • weakness
  • difficulty speaking
  • difficulty waking up or staying awake
  • difficulty walking
  • inappropriate actions
  • difficulty controlling arms or legs
  • abnormal eye movements


Curvesday Thursday: A Natural way to end GERD

What is GERD?

Most people will experience the symptoms of heartburn at least once in their lives. For most, hopefully, the painful sensation in the chest is limited to a one-time indulgence in jalapeno-flavored donuts, a significant amount of meat-lovers pizza, a pot of coffee, a few beers and a recent break-up after being fired from a job. For many others, heartburn occurs more frequently and it’s causes are harder to pinpoint.

Heartburn that occurs frequently is called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is a disorder in which the contents of the stomach, (gastro) including digestive juices and partially digested food, get by the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus (the lower esophageal sphincter) and come up (reflux) into the esophagus. This is problematic since the esophagus is not designed for digestion, but is rather a conduit from the mouth to the stomach, where digestion begins.

Acids that break down proteins and enzymes that break down protein, fats, and carbohydrates, are present in the stomach juices. This combination of acid and enzymes irritates the lining of the esophagus producing what most people describe as a burning sensation in the chest. Occasionally people have GERD that is pain free—these people may experience a hoarse voice that is more pronounced upon waking.

The symptoms of GERD can be extremely irritating. GERD that exists for a period of time causes changes in the esophagus. The constant aggravation to the esophageal lining can lead to pre-cancerous changes (called Barrett’s esophagus) that greatly increase one’s risk for cancer. For this reason, it is necessary to take very good care of your esophagus—and by extension, your digestive tract in general, and while we’re at it, the rest of your physical, mental, and spiritual being.  Rates of esophageal cancer are increasing in industrialized nations at a rate faster than any other cancer.

Pharmaceutical drugs used for GERD fall into several categories; H2 receptor antagonists (Tagament, Zantac), proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Prevacid), and antacids (Tums and baking soda). All of these drugs decrease the acidity of your stomach. The problem, of course, is that the stomach is supposed to be acidic. Acid in the stomach is needed to break down protein into its constituent parts, called amino acids. If the protein is not completely broken down and gets into the blood stream, your body can develop an allergy against that protein. This can cause both food allergies and autoimmune disease.

The problem with pharmaceuticals is that while these relieve symptoms, they do nothing to stop the reflux or the increased risk of developing digestive tract cancers. Also, your stomach detects the low-acid environment that the drug has created and secretes large amounts of the hormone gastrin (a hormone that stimulates the proton pumps to create acid). Elevated levels of gastrin are associated with many digestive tract cancers including esophageal, pancreatic, and stomach cancer.

The risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs for GERD are greatest with long-term use. A recent study by University of Michigan scientists found that mice given proton pump inhibitors for gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), acquired more “bad” bacteria and developed more inflammatory changes in their stomach linings than untreated mice. All this being said, there are times when the aforementioned pharmaceuticals may be appropriate to treat GERD. If you are on a prescription pharmaceutical, you should discuss this with your doctor. Do not stop taking any prescription mediation without your doctor’s knowledge and consent.

short term relief:

Rule number one is do not lie down within three hours of eating. Simply being vertical helps your stomach contents to stay where they belong. Lying down with an incompetent lower esophageal sphincter encourages stomach contents to reflux, causing the uncomfortable burning sensation (and damage) .

Rule number two is to avoid those things that cause the LES to relax, especially in the evening:

  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate
  • Soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea (herbal teas are OK)
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Bad fats—especially fried foods

There is also a range of herbal supplements that can be taken to calm the inflammation in the esophagus and help rebuild the damaged lining. Consult a functional medicine physician to determine which herbal supplements would be best to add to your individualized treatment plan.

Long Term Cure:

Chiropractic can work in two ways to help you to heal your GERD. First, chiropractic is the most effective means of treating a hiatal hernia, a common but often overlooked cause of GERD. A hiatal hernia is when the top part of your stomach “pops through” (herniates through) your diaphragm. The diaphragm muscle pinches the top part of your stomach and can cause reflux. A chiropractor trained in reducing hiatal hernias can fix this rapidly and your troubles are over.

The second way chiropractic can help is through manipulation of the spine. Research has shown that people with stomach ulcers who receive chiropractic adjustments heal much faster than people who do not. Often people who suffer from GERD and/or stomach ulcers develop pain in the upper back-between the shoulder blades. This is because the nerve supply is the same to both areas. Chiropractic adjustments to the upper back can “reconnect” the nerve supply to the esophagus and stomach and hasten healing.

Lifestyle Changes:

Lifestyle changes that could reduce or eliminate the occurance of GERD include the following:

Lose weight if you are overweight.

Eat a good organic whole yogurt on a regular basis, preferably raw.

Eat foods high in good bacteria include kim chee, sauerkraut, kombucha tea, and Miso.

Quit eating refined sugars and carbohydrates. This excess sugar and lack of fiber and nutrients disturbs the balance of bugs in your gut.

Cut down on coffee and alcohol. Do not have either on a daily basis, and when you do have them limit yourself to one cup of coffee or one alcoholic drink.

Cut out bad fats. These include hydrogenated oils, saturated fats from meat products, and many vegetable oils. Instead eat cold pressed organic olive, flaxseed, coconut, and sesame oils, organic butter, avocados, fresh nuts, lean meats and fatty fish.

Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. These foods contain the vitamins and minerals that your digestive track needs to function properly. The fiber and minerals also act as an acid buffer.

Check in with yourself regarding your stress levels. Your stress levels can play a large role in the state of your digestive track. If you are high strung, learn some technique of stress reduction. Learn to control your stress by practicing stress reduction daily.

Lastly, avoid taking pain medication unless absolutely necessary. NSAIDs and other pain medications eat the lining of your stomach and esophagus. Even Tylenol, which doesn’t have the systemic effect on your gastrointestinal tract, will eat your esophagus if it spends any length of time there. Tylenol is also the leading cause of liver failure in this country.

GERD can pose serious risks to your health over time. Do not let this disease go untreated. If you follow the outline above, you will be healing yourself at a much more meaningful level. GERD is often a symptom of a much greater problem involving diet, lifestyle, stress, the digestive tract as a whole. As always, it is better to treat the disease, not the symptoms.


Curvesday Thursday: Exercise and Chiropractic Therapy

If a patient has a history of heart problems, it is important for the patient to consult with not only the doctor of chiropractic but their primary care physician to be certain that they can tolerate cardiovascular fitness-promoting activities.

Cardiovascular and strengthening exercises combined with chiropractic care are important in the management of low back pain.  Specific instructions are given by the chiropractor with respect to proper exercise for the patient’s condition before beginning any exercise program. In general, a reasonable amount of exercise that is performed daily and utilizes activities that are enjoyed is recommended for patients undergoing chiropractic treatment.

Many studies have reported the importance of exercises in managing acute and chronic low back pain, strengthening the low back, preventing and keeping back patients working, and to improve quality of life. The strength of the abdominal muscles was also found to be able to differentiate between those with vs. without chronic LBP. Overall and when combined with chiropractic care, aerobic exercise helps promote proper digestion, keeps the muscles in proper tone and promotes better circulation. Walking briskly around the block at least once or twice is a convenient and popular activity. Also, many forms of work and/or household tasks can function as an exercise program. The important point is to exercise!

There are many applicable back exercises that are available for patients also undergoing chiropractic care for lower back pain. The physician or physical therapist can classify the chiropractic patient into a flexion or extension biased category to determine the variety that is best for that patient and recommend specific exercises to be completed at home.

For example:

  • If a patient feels best when bending over (flexion biased), exercises that promote low back flexion such as pulling the knees to the chest, posterior pelvic tilts, bending forward from a sitting position and others are usually helpful.
  • If a patient is least symptomatic in extension, especially if leg pain centralizes or diminishes (extension biased), prone press-up type exercises usually yield the best results.

Other exercises that can help reduce lower back pain include:

  • Strengthening of the pelvic stabilizing muscles (trunk muscles)
  • Stretching of the hamstrings, adductors, and other overly short or tight postural muscles
  • Proprioceptive or balance promoting.According to the Scientific Commission of the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters (CCGPP):
    • Strong evidence supports exercise as being at least as effective as other non-surgical treatments for chronic low back pain
    • Moderate evidence supports use of a graded-activity exercise program in occupational settings for subacute lower back pain
    • Some evidence shows that exercises are no more effective than other nonsurgical treatments for acute lower back pain.

As with any chiropractic treatment, it is important for chiropractors to perform a focused reevaluation of an exercise program following its initial therapeutic trial to determine its effectiveness. Using spinal range of motion as a measurement of the effectiveness of exercise is just one way in which chiropractors can make such determinations.



Curvesday Thursday: Sitting is the New Smoking!

More and more studies are showing the health risks of sitting at your desk for too long. Heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers have all been shown to increase in those individuals that lead a sedentary lifestyle. Studies are beginning to equate sitting to smoking in terms of harm to overall health. Compound that with sitting at home and watching television when you get home and people fail to realize how long they are truly sitting in a day. Sitting for an hour can already start to have harmful effects. We have become a culture of sedentary individuals.

There are small things that you can do every day that will make you a less sedentary person. The difficulty for most people is getting started. However, once you used to doing these things then they will become habits as opposed to things that you constantly have to think about on a daily basis. Start small and work up to some of the ones that take more time and thought. Getting up for five minutes can change how your body is reacting.

Chiropractors treat people every day that do not understand how harmful sitting is for your body. For example, back and neck pain. These are two diagnoses chiropractors treat on a regular basis—patients with back and neck pain compose more than fifty percent of any practice. Education is a big part of the treatment plan and getting you to understand your body and ways to make changes to your environment that will help the pain that you are dealing with not become chronic pain.

The one consistent thing that is that if people got up more from their desks, from watching television, there would be far less back and neck pain diagnoses. And many of the things that people can do to save themselves from a life time of pain are so simple, yet many people ignore it until it is too late which leads to a long and costly fix where the person spends many days in therapy or getting injections. But just a few adjustments to your every day routine could help. Here are a few suggestions to begin being healthier even though you may have a desk job:

  1. Get up. You should not be sitting for more than a half hour at a time. Posture can become poor meaning your shoulders can slump forward and your back can become curved in the wrong position—putting an extremely high amount of pressure on the discs in your spine. Over time this can lead to herniated discs which can cause numbness and tingling.
    By getting up every half hour it prevents a lot of bad habits from developing. And when I say get up it does not need to be a lengthy trip out of the office, stand up at your desk, walk around your chair, walk to a file cabinet, and stand up during a conference call are all quick and simple ways to get moving during the day.
  2. Do exercises throughout the day. Exercises do not have to be squats at your desk chair, but standing up and doing some heel raises, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stretching and shoulder rolls will help minimize the ill effects of sitting. If you find yourself at night sitting in front of the TV for long periods get up during commercial breaks, try not to get sucked in for hours with just sitting or laying.
  3. Walking meetings.  Scheduling meetings where you can be walking from one place to the next or just scheduling a meeting to walk for an hour will make it a much more productive meeting. Exercise has been shown to increase brain activity. Walking or doing some type of exercise will allow for not only increased brain activity but also minimize the amount of sitting and often eating that is done because as we all know many meetings have been scheduled around consuming a meal or coffee.
    Save yourself some sitting time and some calories by having these meetings while walking around.
  4. Look for ways to get up and moving, do not look for excuses. After reading these points, many of you have already formed 20 excuses as to why you cannot be doing any of these things and you are thoroughly convinced in your head that there is just no possible way. But if you truly take a step back, there are ways to have a more active lifestyle. Start with changing just one thing and then when that one thing becomes a habit, then change the next thing. This is an ongoing evolving process.

These are just a few points to give you ideas to get up and moving during the day. If you look hard enough you can find ways that can make your day more active. It is important when making changes to make changes that you incorporate into your lifestyle not just ones that you are going to do for a week and then quit. Finding a long term solution to sitting less will make you a healthier person.


Curvesday Thursday: Can Chiropractic Help Me?

Before we talk about Chiropractic Conditions, let us first review a little bit about chiropractors. A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC or D.C.) is an academic degree that chiropractic providers receive. Chiropractors are primary contact health care professionals that can help treat and remedy many of your health related conditions, without the necessity of a referral. As a result of this, chiropractors are considered to be a portal of entry to the health care system.

The role of a chiropractor is distinctly different from that of medical doctors and yet similar in other ways. Chiropractors are considered to be specialists in spinal pain, and yet their patients have a wide variety of complaints and conditions being successfully treated. Chiropractic focuses on prevention through a healthy lifestyle as opposed to taking medications, placing them in a unique position as wellness advocates.

People tend to think of chiropractic only treating neck and back pain, but that isn’t true. Chiropractic focuses on realigning the body, allowing it to successfully heal itself and return to homeostasis. Below is a list of conditions that respond well to chiropractic adjustments:

Curvesday Thursday: Chiropractic Adjustments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When people think “chiropractic,” they often think of back and neck problems. But chiropractic has many applications beyond these typical uses, and it can improve quality of life for a broad range of health conditions. One such condition is carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive stress injury (RSI). Chiropractic can be a beneficial treatment for patients seeking noninvasive relief from this ailment that has become all too common in the modern world.

What Is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic subscribes to the belief that the body’s structure is related to its function. More specifically, the profession focuses on the structure of the spine and how that affects the state of health and the functioning of not only the neck and back but other areas of the body as well.

It holds to the philosophy that misalignments of the spine affect the body’s ability to function and can contribute to health problems. These misalignments need to be, and can be, corrected through chiropractic therapy. The nervous system, including the spine’s nerves, affects the flow of energy throughout the entire body. Another foundational belief of chiropractic is that the body has a powerful ability to heal itself. Chiropractic aims to stimulate that ability.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (RSI)?

Carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive stress injury (RSI), was named as such because the anatomical structure of this form of injury. The bones in the wrist (called carpals) form a tunnel, and the median nerve travels from the forearm to the hand through this carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome is, therefore, an injury to this area of the body. Often, the dominant wrist is the injured one, but in some patients, both left and right wrists are involved. Symptoms include pain and numbness in the index, middle fingers, and thumb, tingling in the hand(s), weakness, and pain shooting up the arm.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused and worsened by repetitive motion and tasks, whereby the tendons in the carpal tunnel become swollen, which contributes to a pinched nerve in the carpal tunnel. Examples of repetitive motion include using a computer for long periods of time, performing a job on an assembly line, and using hand tools. Patients suffering with this condition are more often female than male. Middle age is the most common time in life for carpal tunnel syndrome to occur.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury (RSI). This category of injuries is caused by repetitive motion, such as typing or assembly line work, which causes pain and injury over time. The earlier that an RSI is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome can be. Diagnosis includes physical examination and possibly x-rays. Typically, the chiropractic treatment for RSI includes manipulation of the affected wrist and elbow, as well as manipulation of the upper spine. A spinal manipulation involves applying controlled pressure to a joint. The chiropractor may also advise the patient to rest the affected arm, apply cold to reduce inflammation, perform appropriate exercises, or wear a splint or brace to immobilize the area.

Some common treatments chiropractors use for carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Manipulation of the wrist, arm, and upper spine: Misalignment in the spine could contribute to symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) perform adjustments (also called spinal manipulations) that aim to correct improper alignment in the spine. The chiropractor typically performs an adjustment using his or her hands, but sometimes devices are employed. Chiropractors may also adjust and treat other areas of the body as needed, including the wrist and arm.
  • Ultrasound therapy: This therapy uses either very high-energy or low-energy sound, both of which are outside the range of normal human hearing. The chiropractor uses a device that emits focused sound waves that penetrate deep into body tissue. Sound waves can relax muscles, alleviate pain, and reduce inflammation.
  • Wrist supports: Wrist supports seek to keep the wrist in the proper alignment and can be used to treat or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Can Be Expected During the Healing Process?

Chiropractic is generally a relatively safe practice and is a noninvasive treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, especially compared to treatment involving medications and surgery. Studies have shown improvement in symptoms of repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), including carpal tunnel syndrome, as a result of chiropractic treatment. Some research has concluded that chiropractic can be just as effective as allopathic care for RSIs.

As with any medical treatment, prognosis for resolution of an Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) can vary from patient to patient, based on such factors as the nature and severity of the RSI, the age and overall health of the patient, and simultaneous use of other therapies. But in many cases, chiropractic treatment has helped patients struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome. So although carpal tunnel and other RSI patients must face the realities of modern-day society with its risks of conditions like RSI, chiropractic can provide hope for managing this condition.

Many of the patients who seek chiropractic treatment for repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) do so because it is not nearly as invasive as other, more allopathic, treatments, which often rely on treatments such as medications and/or surgery.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an RSI, please call (304) 263-4927 to schedule an appointment to discuss how chiropractic can help you.


Curvesday Thursday: Chiropractic During Pregnancy

Chiropractic care is health maintenance of the spinal column, discs, related nerves and bone geometry without drugs or surgery. It involves the art and science of adjusting misaligned joints of the body, especially of the spine, which reduces spinal nerve stress and therefore promotes health throughout the body.

Is chiropractic care during pregnancy safe?

There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. All chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant. Investing in the fertility and pregnancy wellness of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive is a routine care for most chiropractors.

Some chiropractors take a specific interest in prenatal and postnatal care and seek additional training. Below represents designations of chiropractors who have taken advanced steps in working with infertility and pregnancy wellness.

  • DACCP – Diplomate with ICPA reflecting highest level of advanced training
  • CACCP – Certified with the ICPA reflecting advanced training
  • Member of ICPA reflecting special interest
  • Webster Certified – trained to work specifically with pelvic balance in pregnancy

Chiropractors that have been trained to work with pregnant women may use tables that adjust for a pregnant woman’s body, and they will use techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen.

A chiropractor who is trained in the needs of women who are pregnant will also provide you with exercises and stretches that are safe to use during pregnancy.

Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, there are several physiological and endocrinological changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby.

The following changes can result in a misaligned spine or joints:

  • Protruding abdomen and increased back curve
  • Pelvic changes
  • Postural adaptations

Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery.

This can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth. Breech and posterior positions can interfere with the natural ease of labor and lead to interventions such as c-sections. The nervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively.

What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?

Chiropractic care during pregnancy can provide benefits for women who are pregnant.

Potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:

  • Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
  • Controlling symptoms of nausea
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Relieving back, neck or joint pain
  • Preventing a potential cesarean delivery

What about chiropractic care and breech deliveries?

The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association(ICPA), developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the pregnant woman’s pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments.

This balanced state in the pelvis has been clinically shown to allow for optimal fetal positioning. The technique is known as the Webster Technique.

It is considered normal by some for a baby to present breech until the third trimester. Most birth practitioners are not concerned with breech presentations until a patient is 37 weeks along. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in a breech presentation.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique. Further, the results from the study suggest it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique, as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy, when a woman has a breech presentation.

Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether.

Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and, therefore, results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.

Chiropractors and pregnancy: Talk to Your Health Care Provider

As more women are seeking the benefits of chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, more health care providers are seeking trained doctors of chiropractic in their communities to refer their pregnant patients to. Discuss these options with your health care provider. If they are not yet familiar with chiropractic care in pregnancy, ask them to find out more about its many benefits.

Most importantly, seek options that support your body’s natural abilities to function and find a team of providers who are respectful of your choices.


Curvesday Thursday: Adjustments Can Relieve Seasonal Allergies

For a lot of people, this time of year means relishing in the cool nights, enjoying the bright and bold colors of the leaves, and getting outdoors for some fall fun. However, for some this time of year ultimately means itchy throats, sneezing, itchy and swollen eyes, a nagging cough, sinus headaches, drippy noses, and a general feeling of being unwell. Fall allergies can be more than just an annoyance. They can leave you feeling foggy and can make it difficult to simply enjoy the day, much less get out and enjoy the fall weather.

Somewhere along the line, we started believing that seasonal allergies were normal (perhaps it was the endless bombardment of allergy drug commercials), and that they are something that an individual is going to have to live with for the rest of their life, while medicating themselves. Seasonal allergies are far from normal, and the fact that they are so common means that many do not have an optimally functioning body.

Here are some tips for beating allergies this and every spring without relying on pill popping:

  • Avoid histamine containing foods, these are foods that have been aged and fermented – beer, alcohol, cheeses, pickles, sausage, etc.
  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods –  fresh produce, fish and nuts (And less sugar, grains, and processed foods)
  • Drink more water! – Research shows that staying well hydrated helps relieve allergy symptoms
  • Drink green tea – The antioxidants in green tea block histamine production and reduce inflammation
  • If you must pop pills – Vitamin C and Quercetin are potent natural antihistamines
  • Get adjusted regularly – A proper functioning nervous system is essential to conquering allergies.

You may be thinking, how can chiropractic help allergies? Well, your body’s lack of ability to properly adapt to the changing environment is what we label as a seasonal allergy. After all, everyone breathes the same ragweed pollen, yet everyone does not have seasonal allergies. The difference is not the pollen, the difference is how our bodies react to the pollen. An allergic response happens when the body’s immune system overreacts to allergens such as dust, pollen, pet dander, etc.  The response is that the body overproduces neutralizing chemicals such as histamines to correct the problem.

Chiropractic care aims to have your nervous system functioning at an optimal level by removing irritation and misalignments of the spine- so that the body will not overreact to foreign substances (like pollen). Traditional allergy treatments only deal with the symptom without addressing the cause. Anyone who has taken allergy medication knows that it will work for a period of time and then its effect will gradually begin to decrease.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies and would like to begin a chiropractic treatment plan, please call our office at (304) 263-4927 today to schedule an appointment.


Curvesday Thursday: Adjustments can improve cholesterol numbers?!

A case study in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research illustrated changes in cholesterol levels and quality of life in a patient following chiropractic care.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  Among the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia is cited as a major risk factor. Dyslipidemia is a combination of ill-favored cholesterol levels in the circulating blood, namely Low Density Lipoprotien (LDL).

In this case study, a 49-year-old female presented with neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, dyslipidemia and vertebral subluxations.  Lipid lowering statins were prescribed by her medical physician, but using her own judgment, she elected not to take them.

Statins are the number one prescribed drug for the treatment of dyslipidemia.  Statins decrease the body’s ability to produced LDL and have been shown to moderately increase HDL leading to better overall cholesterol levels.  Indeed, recent trials have emphasized the use of statins in the fight against cardiovascular disease, however overall mortality is not reduced even though reductions of cardiovascular deaths were seen.  This was due to a rise in deaths from other causes.  It is also important to realize that cholesterol itself is not the enemy; cholesterol is made by the body and is essential for human life.

The patient was treated with chiropractic spinal adjustments over a six-month time span.  During initial care, her total cholesterol improved from 221 to 170 mg/dL.  Her LDL went from 153 to 109 mg/dL and HDL went from 33 to 38 mg/dL.  Triglycerides improved from 241 to 199 mg/DL and quality of life scores were increased in eight categories.  No other interventions were used.

In 1992, a retrospective study was conducted, and cholesterol lab values were taken on ten randomly selected subjects over a three-year period.  Results showed that LDL and total cholesterol decreased in 70 percent of the subjects, bringing 80 percent of the subjects originally classified as borderline high to high-risk down to desirable levels following chiropractic care.

This suggested relationship between regular chiropractic care for improved function, which can allow the body to improve homeostasis, including improvement of blood lipid levels.  The clinical process documented in this report suggests that chiropractic care reduces subluxations and stress on the spinal column and nervous system, and as a result of this reduced stress, there is a reduction of dysponesis, which is evidenced by improved quality of life and blood serum cholesterol levels. Dysponesis refers to errors in physical reactions to various stimuli, which as a result, produce functional disorders in the body. This is very promising data.