Adding more rice, seeds, and oats to your diet just might make a difference in your back-pain treatment. That's because new research shows that magnesium commonly found in those foods may reduce back pain.
Researchers from Egypt tested the effects of magnesium supplementation in 80 patients with back pain. Throughout the study, all the patients continued their normal treatment which included physical therapy, pain medication, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.Half of patients received magnesium supplementation delivered through an IV for two weeks, followed by four weeks of taking magnesium capsules. The other half of patients were given placebo IVs and capsules.
After four weeks, the magnesium patients had significantly better improvements compared to the placebo group. By the six month follow-up visit, their average pain intensity had decreased from a 7.5 on a scale of 10 to a 4.7. This reduced pain was accompanied by better range of motion in the spine. The researchers concluded that magnesium IV followed by four weeks of oral magnesium supplements can reduce pain and improve lumbar spine mobility in back-pain patients.
Recent research also suggests that magnesium can reduce symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia, back pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions frequently experience central sensitization. This process occurs when the central nervous system is overstimulated, causing widespread pain and additional symptoms. Current research suggests that magnesium may block a key receptor involved in central sensitization, which could explain why the patients taking magnesium had better treatment outcomes.
Although more studies are needed, the findings suggest that magnesium supplements could play a role in successfully treating back pain.
Yousef AA and Al-deeb AE. A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Anaesthesia 2013;68(3):260-6. doi: 10.1111/anae.12107.
Let's face it: cost is an important factor when we're considering our health-care options. We want quality care that works without racking up unnecessary medical bills.
A growing body of research shows that chiropractic is both effective and less expensive than more invasive medical treatments.
In a recent study, researchers analyzed the medical spending of over 12,000 adults with spine conditions. They discovered that people who use alternative therapies have lower annual health-care costs compared to patients receiving traditional treatments.
Chiropractic care contributed significantly to reduced costs since chiropractic accounted for 75% of alternative therapy use.
Earlier research has found that chiropractic prevented recurring disability in patients with back pain which could help to minimize medical spending.
Studies have also suggested that chiropractic cuts costs for patients by helping them avoid unnecessary procedures, tests, surgeries, and expensive drugs.
Instead, chiropractors work to harness the body's innate healing capabilities with a combination of natural, effective modalities.
1. Martins B, et al. The association of complementary and alternative medicine use and health care expenditures for back and neck problems. Medical Care 2012; 50 (12): 1029-1036. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318269e0b2.
2. Cifuentes M, Willetts J, Wasiak R. Health maintenance care in work-related low back pain and its association with disability recurrence. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011; 53(4): 396-404.
Higher Pain Tolerance
Active women may have a higher pain tolerance than inactive peers. A new study found that women who regularly engaged in vigorous activity were less sensitive to pain than inactive women.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital enlisted 21 healthy women to participate in the study. Using self-reported and accelerometer measures of physical activity, they classified women as meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity or not. Women then underwent a procedure involving noxious thermal stimuli and reported their experiences with unpleasantness and pain.
Higher Activity, Less Pain Sensitivity
Active women experienced less pain and unpleasantness than inactive women. The more minutes a participant regularly spent performing vigorous exercise, the less pain intensity and pain unpleasantness she experienced. This significant relationship was not found for moderate activity or sedentary time.
Ellingson LD, Colbert LH, Cook DB. Physical activity is related to pain sensitivity in healthy women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012;4 4(7):1401-6.
Failed Back-Pain Surgery
Up to 40% of patients who undergo back-pain surgery fail to improve after the initial operation.1 Unfortunately, many of these patients will go on to have second or third operations in attempts to correct the shortcomings of the first. Before resorting to additional surgery, many patients could benefit from non-surgical treatments. A recent small study suggests that chiropractic treatments could be a viable option for patients recovering from failed-back pain surgery syndrome.2
Non-Surgical Treatment Option
Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) is a chiropractic procedure performed to increase patients' range of motion and reduce chronic pain levels. Although there are many studies on MUA, few have examined its success when used to treat chronic pain after failed back surgery.
Report on Manipulation Under Anesthesia
One recently-released report describes the cases of three patients who previously underwent unsuccessful spinal fusion surgery to treat disc herniation. After the surgery, their pain and disability levels did not improve. All three patients had chronic intractable pain and underwent serial MUA over 3 days.
Patients were in deep conscious sedation during the MUA sessions. It is believed that MUA has a greater impact on disk function than non-anesthetized chiropractic care because the anesthesia allows for more complete mobilization of the intervertebral disks, while pain limits range of motion when patients are awake.
Results in Report
Following MUA treatment, patients were enrolled in 8 week rehabilitation program that included physiotherapy. All three patients experienced significant improvements in pain and disability. These improvements were maintained through the 1-year follow-up visit, suggesting that this manual therapy could have a lasting impact on the flexibility of spinal joints or the function of the intervertebral disk.
Chiropractic May Help You
Chiropractic could be an effective, non-surgical alternative for failed surgery patients seeking to avoid the costs and risk of additional operations. Previous research has also found that chiropractic can prevent recurring back pain.
1. De Andres J, et al. Patient satisfaction with spinal cord stimulation for failed back surgery syndrome [Article in Spanish.] Revista Española Anestesiolgía y reanimación 2007; 54 (1): 17-22.
2. Morningstar MW, et al. Manipulation under Manipulation under anesthesia for patients with failed back surgery: retrospective report of 3 cases with 1-year follow-up. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2012; 11 (1): 20-35.
Chiropractic Relieves Frozen Shoulder
A new case study suggests chiropractic can provide significant relief of frozen shoulder syndrome.
What Is Frozen Shoulder Syndrome?
Frozen shoulder syndrome, or FSS, is a painful condition causing night pain and restricted shoulder range of motion. Medical treatments for FSS often include stretching or injections of medications and steroids. Unfortunately, these treatments do not always provide lasting results in many patients.
Chiropractic Treatment of FSS
To see if chiropractic could help, a recent case study evaluated the effects of chiropractic spinal adjustments in patients with FSS. After 1-2 months of chiropractic care, 98% of patients had significantly improved range of motion, and 32% of patients had completely regained normal shoulder adduction.
Chiropractic Lowered Pain Scores
Patients also experienced substantial improvements in pain, with the median average pain score dropping from a 9 out of 10 to a 2 out of 10.
Study Confirms Previous Research
This case study suggests chiropractic care is a viable option for patients with frozen shoulder syndrome. Earlier research has shown that manual therapies like chiropractic are effective for pain in the shoulder and upper back.
Murphy F. Chiropractic management of frozen shoulder syndrome using a novel technique: a retrospective case series of 50 patients. Journal of Chiropractic 2012; 11: 267-72.
Neck pain is very common, affecting an estimated 70% of people at some point during their lifetime. While there are many potential treatments available, there is little research regarding their comparative effectiveness. A recent study published in the medical journal The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that chiropractic care is a more effective treatment for neck pain than medication.
The study involved 272 patients with acute or subacute neck pain. They were given one of three treatments: chiropractic care, medication, or exercise under the direction of a medical professional. After 12 weeks of treatment, those who received chiropractic care or exercise therapy experienced the most significant reduction in pain. Participant-rated pain was measured periodically for one year following the treatment.
When compared with patients receiving medication, both chiropractic and exercise therapies more than doubled the likelihood of complete pain relief. Chiropractic and exercise were the most effective treatments in both the short and long term.
Chiropractic patients found that these benefits lasted a year or more, showing that chiropractic care can provide long-term relief of neck pain. The researchers believe the success of chiropractic treatment stems from its ability to address the causes of neck pain, rather than solely treating the symptoms.
Bronfort G, Evans R, Anderson AV, Svendsen KH, Bracha Y, Grimm RH. Spinal Manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for acute and subacute neck pain: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine 2012;156(1):1-10.
A recent study has demonstrated the effectiveness of a multi-modal, drug-free intervention program in treating children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Researchers recruited children diagnosed with ADHD who displayed inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and problems with academics and/ or behavior. Some participants served as a control group, while the rest completed a 12-week program at Brain Balance Achievement Centers. The intervention involved sensory motor exercises, cognitive exercises, and nutritional counseling. Professionals involved in the program were focused on achieving physiologic balance and temporal coherence in the brain, in addition to improving skills that would more closely match each child's age and grade level.
The 122 children in the experimental group attended the multi-modal program for three hour-long sessions each week, for a total of 36 hours of treatment. After the 12-week study, 81% of the kids who participated in the program no longer fit the criteria for ADHD. They improved in the areas of attention, focus, impulsivity, and behavior problems. In addition, 60% of the experimental group achieved an academic increase of at least two grade levels, and half of these achieved an increase of four grade levels.
As a controlled study, researchers compared the group who did not participate in the intervention program, and they found that these children experienced very little change academically and that their behavioral symptoms worsened slightly.
"The groundbreaking study proves that medication is not the only option to help eliminate the symptoms associated with ADHD, and it validates what we have been practicing at Brain Balance for 10 years," said Dr. Robert Melillo, founder of Brain Balance. "Drug-free, multi-modal programs, like the one offered at Brain Balance Achievement Centers, are ultimately more effective when it comes to achieving long-term results and eliminating symptoms both academically and behaviorally. This study shows that our program actually addresses the primary problem in the brain that is the root cause of ADHD and learning difficulty, and that it actually improves brain function."
The study was published in the peer-reviewed Frontiers, a fast-growing publication dedicated to more transparent and democratic processes in science.
Leisman G, Mualem R, Machado C. The integration of the neurosciences, child public health, and education practice: hemisphere-specific remediation strategies as a discipline partnered rehabilitation tool in ADD/ ADHD. Frontiers Public Health 2013. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2013.00022.
(2013, July 29). "New Control Study Finds Drug-Free Program is Successful for Eliminating ADHD Symptoms." The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved from http://www.sacbee.com/2013/07/29/5606019/new-control-study-finds-drug-free.html.
According to a recent study, patients treated with chiropractic adjustments experienced a 50% reduction in the number of cervicogenic headaches they experienced.
What Are Cervicogenic Headaches?
Cervicogenic headaches are non-throbbing, steady headaches felt at the back of the head, with pain extending downwards through the neck and between the shoulder blades. Some patients also experience dizziness. Such headaches are caused by dysfunction in the cervical spine (the portion of the spine located in the neck).
Previous studies showed that chiropractic treatments can alleviate both the pain and disability resulting from cervicogenic headaches. This study showed that chiropractic treatments can also reduce the frequency of such headaches.
The research involved 80 people with chronic cervicogenic headaches. Patients received either light massage or chiropractic adjustments. Within each group, half received high doses of the treatment, while the other patients received lower doses. The light massage treatments involved several minutes of gentle neck and shoulder massage, while the chiropractic treatments consisted of high-velocity, low-amplitude adjustments of the upper back and neck.
Improvements with Chiropractic
Patients who received chiropractic treatments improved substantially more than those receiving massage. On average, chiropractic patients saw their headaches cut in half. At the conclusion of the study, chiropractic patients required one-third less pain medication than at the start, and reported a 50% reduction in symptoms.
The researchers found no major differences between patients receiving 8 chiropractic treatments and those who received 16 treatments. Those who received more treatments did have slightly more improvements in terms of neck disability. More research is needed to determine the optimum number of chiropractic treatments, but the researchers have concluded that chiropractic adjustments are an effective method of treating cervicogenic headaches. Research shows that chiropractic can also relieve migraine headaches.
Haas M, Spegman A, Peterson D, Aickin M, Vavrek D. Dose response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic cervicogenic headache: a pilot randomized controlled trial. The Spine Journal 2010; 10: 117-128.
Work Is a Pain in The...
Back pain and headache are common health complaints among workers in almost every industry, and are responsible for substantial suffering and disability, along with lost productivity. Two recent studies attempted to determine which risk factors are more likely to lead to musculoskeletal pain and headaches among workers.
Studying Office Workers
The first study examined office workers with a high degree of computer usage. Questionnaires were used to determine the musculoskeletal symptoms reported by the employees and the associated risk factors. The leading areas of pain among computer users were found to be the shoulder, neck, and upper back regions, with more than 60% of surveyed workers reporting pain in at least one of these areas.
Physical and Psychological Issues
High psychological distress was significantly associated with upper back and shoulder complaints, while a high workload was found to be significantly associated with lower back complaints. Women were more likely to report shoulder pain. The researchers concluded by emphasizing the importance of developing an intervention that addresses both physical and psychological complaints.
The second study focused on headaches as a possible outcome of the types of occupational and psychological factors examined in the first study. The aim of the study was to determine the occupational psychological, social, and mechanical factors that predicted the presence and severity of headaches among workers. The factors most strongly related to headache severity were role conflict, lower decision control, control over work intensity, job satisfaction, and higher quantitative demands.
Chiropractic Can Help
Stress has been shown to worsen chronic pain so managing stress could play a significant role in minimizing symptoms. Studies suggest that chiropractic can help the body cope with stress while improving the symptoms of headache and back pain.
Chiung-Yu Cho, Yea-Shwu Hwang, Rong-Ju Cherng. Musculoskeletal symptoms and associated risk factors among office workers with high workload computer use. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2012; (10.1016/j.jmpt.2012.07.004).
Christensen JO, Knardahl S. Work and headache: A prospective study of psychological, social, and mechanical predictors of headache severity. Pain 2012; doi 10.1016/j.pain.2012.07.009.
If you are afflicted by fibromyalgia, you are not alone, as Dr. Mulholland sees many patients with this particular condition in our Anchorage chiropractic office. Actually, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly two percent of all adults in the United States have fibromyalgia. Fortunately, chiropractic is one treatment option that can provide positive results.
In a study released in mid-2015, 215 women and men with fibromyalgia were evaluated based on factors ranging from pain to quality of sleep to the levels of depression symptoms and anxiety they felt. Then they were split into two groups with one group receiving a multi-modal treatment program for three months and the second group receiving the same approach plus chiropractic adjustments (specifically, to the upper neck area) for the same length of time.
The subjects who received chiropractic adjustments combined with the multi-modal treatment approach reported greater results in all areas (pain, sleep, depression, and anxiety) at 12 weeks post-treatment when compared to the study participants who received multi-modal therapy without chiropractic care. Furthermore, those positive results were long-lasting as the individuals reported continued improvement one full year later.
Fibromyalgia can significantly decrease your quality of life, both mentally and physically. If you're suffering from fibromyalgia, we might be able to help.
You don't have to suffer! To see what Dr. Mulholland can do for your fibromyalgia, call our Anchorage chiropractic office today.
- Fibromyalgia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm on November 2, 2015.
- Moustafa I & Diab A. (2015, July). The addition of upper cervical manipulative therapy in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. Rheumatology International;35(7):1163-74.