Dr. James Schofield, a Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractor, attended an educational conference March 16 and 17, 2018 in Woodbridge New Jersey. Doctors of chiropractic from around the United States met to discuss a main topic: The Opioid Epidemic in America.
It is estimated that 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. A large percentage of these patients suffer from spinal conditions. Opioid medications may be prescribed for back and neck pain. Pharmaceuticals such as Percocet, OxyContin, and Vicodin are several types of drugs in the opioid inventory. The chief deleterious side effect of opioids is narcotic addiction. These types of medications are highly addictive and create a dependence with those taking them. It is common knowledge throughout the United States we now have an opioid addiction epidemic. Patients taking these pharmaceuticals have died from overdose and suicide. Some become so addicted that they turn to illegal narcotics like heroin and can become involved in drug crimes.
Speakers at the conference noted that the opioid epidemic is a significant crisis in the United States and is growing. However, it was also noted that there is a powerful nonpharmaceutical remedy for this problem. Chiropractic care is very effective in combating chronic spinal pain. Ample research confirms a majority of people with pain of the lower back and neck respond well to care given by a chiropractor and subsequently will not need to have surgery or be prescribed potentially dangerous opioid pharmaceuticals.
“As many of you know, chiropractic care has been highly successful, for over 120 years, in the treatment of chronic spinal pain and, is considered by many, to be the gold standard of therapy”, said Dr. Schofield.
Neck posture is something few of us ever think of, but many of us experience neck pain from not observing ideal neck positioning. Proper neck posture will alleviate many difficulties. It is important to follow recommended posture or various long-term physical problems may occur. Here are some common situations where most people do not have proper neck posture.
Today, just about everyone uses a computer at home or at work. However, very rarely will we sit in the proper position with our feet flat on the floor, our back straight, and our head firmly back toward the headrest of the chair. Our head weighs about as much as a bowling ball. If our head is directly over our shoulders our neck and upper back can handle the weight. However, if our head is even one inch forward it effectively increases the weight of the head by some ten pounds. Stop where you are right now and measure the angle of your head. It is more likely you are leaning forward about three inches, increasing the weight by thirty pounds. No wonder our neck, shoulders and upper back ache!
Neck discomfort is also often caused by bad support when resting. People who prop up their head with a bunch of pillows and lie on their sides or rest on the arm of the sofa are in danger of neck pain from this position. This will often result in neck and shoulder pain that is quite uncomfortable. Furthermore, that neck pain can also cause horrible headaches, possibly even migraines.
Something else to consider is the lack of proper eyewear. This may seem an odd link to neck discomfort, but being unable to see properly will often cause a person to lean forward, especially when driving. Someone who has long commutes to work or drives for a living is likely to experience chronic neck pain from this habit.
Neck pain is not the only concern here. Abusers of improper neck posture can also experience conditions such as pinched nerves, arthritis, and back issues. It is not uncommon for someone with chronic, poor neck posture to have degeneration of the discs of the neck or cervical spine.
Many people know that chiropractic treatment can help with neck pain. Chiropractors will also give you advice on proper posture. Some simple, quick stretching and strengthening exercises can help, not only with alleviating your neck pain but, if continued, can keep the pain from reoccurring.
Many people suffer from frequent annoying to debilitating headaches. Recurrent headaches can become a considerable burden upon sufferer’s relationships, personal health, finances and work productivity. This article will discuss the different types of headaches and a possible solution to improve those with headache conditions.
When it comes to classifying various types of headaches many people become confused. Different terminology is thrown about by experts and it is difficult to know exactly what is being referred to and what to do about it.
Let’s begin by classifying headaches simply. Probably the most common type of headache is a tension headache. This can also be called a muscular tension headache or a stress headache. It usually occurs on both sides of the head. It may be frontally in the forehead area. It could be in the back of the head. It might be in the temples. It frequently combines several areas of the head. It is usually mild, annoying and while not pleasant it doesn’t significantly disrupt one’s day. It could be considered to be applicable to a very mild common cold.
Another type of headache is a sinus headache. This is located frontally on the forehead, around the eyes and nose and the cheekbones. For some it occurs with weather or seasonal changes but can also appear randomly. This pain also is usually applicable to a mild common cold.
The next type of headache is a migraine headache. Migraine headaches classically are only found on one side of the head. However, I have found in practice that it can be frequently on both sides of the head. Many migraines have what’s called a prodrome. A prodrome is a set of signals that occur before the actual onset of the headache. These signals can be visual such as squiggly lines, loss of peripheral vision or sensitivity to light. Other signals are auditory such as fluttering noises or the feeling of a clogged ear. Migraines can become debilitating and cause nausea and vomiting. The sufferer may have to lie down in a dark room with a cold compress over the front of the head. This condition could be considered to be applicable to flu.
A less often occurring headache is a cluster headache. Cluster headaches are as described. They are a series of very strong debilitating headaches of varying symptoms. They can become so bad that a person may need to go to an urgent care center or emergency room or be hospitalized. The patient’s sometimes need a corticosteroid IV or injection to help manage the pain. This condition could be considered to be applicable to pneumonia.
There are also pathological headaches that can come from tumors, infections, cancer and other causes. These conditions have to be medically treated and are not included, for the sake of this article to be considered treatable by alternative methods.
Over the course of several decades of chiropractic practice I have been able to help many patients suffering from headaches. As part of an initial evaluation of patients suffering from different types of headaches I always check the alignment and movement of the upper bones of the neck. These bones are called vertebrae and the upper neck area is called the cervical spine. If there is a misalignment or improper movement of the upper cervical spine it can affect the nerves and joints of that area and almost always has some association with headaches noted above.
Chiropractors have had over a century of success helping sufferers of headaches by giving chiropractic adjustments which help restore proper alignment and movement of the upper cervical vertebrae. This helps normalize the nerves and joints of this area of the body. In turn, many patients see a marked improvement of their headaches.
There are also a number of other nondrug approaches utilized in the treatment of headaches. These include acupuncture, massage, and cupping therapy.
A number of scientific research studies have also been performed that show positive benefits from alternative, non-medical treatment of tension, sinus, migraine and cluster headaches.
Anyone suffering from non-pathological headaches would be wise to investigate chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage therapies for the treatment of this significant condition which causes so much suffering to so many.
Many people experience discomfort in their fingers, hands, wrists and forearms. This can range from numbness, tingling like the hand is falling asleep, loss of feeling, aches and pains and loss of strength causing items to be dropped.
I’d like to give you ideas on how to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome or, if you’re having this condition, how you can obtain relief.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an extremely common condition of the forearm, wrist, hands and fingers particularly the thumb, index and middle fingers many times brought on by repetitive stress. Mostly, this condition responds to conservative treatment vs. surgery.
Since carpal tunnel syndrome affects so many people I’d like to give you ideas to reduce the effects.
First, avoid over-use or repetitive strain. For instance, rather that getting all your typing or keying done all at once when replying to your emails, periodically get up and do something else. By taking breaks we can reduce the repetitive stress to the hands and wrist and give those areas a chance to rest and hopefully not get overly irritated.
Second, wear a carpal tunnel syndrome brace at night to support the wrist. This brace is like a long glove with the thumb and fingers cut out. It has a plastic or metal stay at the palm and wrist which keeps the wrist from bending and getting irritated. These can be bought at your local drug store.
Third, be aware of your wrist posture. Try to keep your wrists in a neutral position when typing, keying or using a computer mouse. If your wrist is in an awkward position for long periods of time it will get irritated.
Fourth, gently stretch your wrist up and down and individually stretch your fingers up and down in the morning and periodically through the day to keep movement and flexibility.
Many times there is an association between carpal tunnel syndrome and our neck. Nerves exit the spine in the neck area and make their way into our wrist and hand. If the nerve is pinched in the neck it can mimic carpal tunnel syndrome. So we always check both the wrist and the neck and aim our treatments at the appropriate areas.