“I had soreness, stiffness, and pain around my neck, upper and lower back. Dr. Schofield realigned my spine which can become misaligned over time. He also relaxed the tight muscles around the problem areas in my neck and back. It has helped me to sleep better giving me more energy throughout the day. Having energy is important in my busy day to day life. Dr. Schofield is a caring doctor who takes time to listen to the issues that you are having and takes interest to treat those problems. He always has good advice and often gives you alternative things to do at home to further prevent the problems from happening again. I have been going to his practice for many years and he is the best.” – Calvin Chiang
The question most people ask D. James J. Schofield is, “What is chiropractic?” The question you should also ask yourself are, “How should I choose my chiropractor?” and “How can chiropractic help me?”
As to what chiropractic is, it is a method of examining, diagnosing and treating our bodies for certain health problems.
Most conditions of poor health are the result of some underlying cause within the body which must be found first before correction can be affected, pain relieved and health restored.
Chiropractic has developed special techniques for locating and correcting misalignments and improper movement of the bones of the spine that disturb, impinge or pinch the nerves exiting the spinal column. These nerves, when irritated, can cause a variety of symptoms.
Chiropractic treatment helps to correct this irritation to the nerves naturally, without the use of drugs, medication or surgery.
How should you choose you chiropractor?
Schofield offers this advice:
“First, of course, your chiropractor, just as any other health practitioner, should be someone in whom you can have trust and confidence. He also should be someone who can thoroughly understand your particular problem. That is something you can decide after a personal consultation.
“Second, you must look at qualifications. My personal record is a four-year undergraduate degree in human biology followed by a five-year degree as a doctor of chiropractic at National College of Chiropractic in Chicago, Illinois.
“These doctoral classes essentially were divided into two halves. The first half included basic courses all doctors study, such as anatomy, chemistry, pathology and physiology. The second half dealt more with clinical courses like diagnosis, X-ray, physical therapy and spinal correction called manipulation.
“In addition, I served a one-year internship at various clinics and an in-patient hospital-like facility, all in the Chicago area.
“After graduation, I practiced as director of chiropractic office in New Jersey. I also passed state board examinations in Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey. Each state examination is different, with varying qualifications.
“Thirty three years ago, I began private practice here in North Hills, where I was born and raised and prefer to be.
“As in all fields of health care, new teaching and new approaches are developing and improving constantly. To be on top of these, I attend seminars regularly. While certain basics of chiropractic remain the same, there are always new developments.
“As to how chiropractic can help you personally, if you are suffering from symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, low back pain or other related problems, I urge you to seek my help.
“I first will consult with you about your problem. Next, a thorough examination will be performed and a report of the examination findings will be explained, including the cause of the problem and what treatment will be required to make the necessary correction.
“We usually find that by then following through on these treatment recommendations, complete or considerable correction of the problem results in symptom relief and restoration of health. Of course, should the problem not be a chiropractic condition, referral will be made to the appropriate health specialist.
“I urge anyone who has a health problem they feel may be helped by chiropractic to have it taken care of properly so they may enjoy the benefits of a healthy, pain-free life.”
Anyone who has to sit long hours at a desk, computer or classroom is at risk for ongoing neck and upper back pain. The discomfort can be tightness across the tops of the shoulders, ache or burning in the neck and shoulder blades or a feeling of tiredness in the neck as if the head is too heavy. We wish we could be up and about normally but computers, meetings and classes are the cards we are dealt in the life we live.
The wrong thing to do is to do nothing. There are steps we can take to mitigate and manage the stress that accumulates from our sedentary lifestyle. This article will discuss the four actions we can take to take back our health.
First, believe it or not, we do not have to sit to do computer work, attend a meeting or take a class. We can stand while attending to these duties. Technology now exists to have a variable desk that allows us to put our computer on a desktop that can be raised so that we can use it while standing at our worksite. Typically, these items come with a spring-loaded lift mechanical system to raise or lower the desk platform. Platforms can be two-tiered for placement of our monitor and keyboard. Additionally, it would be wise to also obtain an anti-fatigue floormat on which to stand. A quick search of the Internet will show many types of standing variable desks at various prices.
If one is required to attend a meeting or take a class it is perfectly acceptable to stand in the back of the room periodically. As a matter of etiquette it would probably be well for one to inform the speaker, the supervisor or teacher of the meeting or class prior to the start that you intend to get out of your seat and stand periodically. Be minimally disruptive.
The second step one can take to be proactive if required to be sedentary for long periods of time is to perform some preventative exercises. Usually it is helpful to stretch muscles of the front of our neck and upper body and strengthen muscles in the back of the neck and lower shoulder blade area. An Internet search of the term “Upper Crossed Syndrome” will provide an overview of what should be done. When I see a patient who has chronic neck and upper back problems I will typically demonstrate and supervise the appropriate exercises to be performed. These simple and quick exercises are great to help provide ongoing management to minimize problems.
Our third preventative activity to take is the most simple but powerful activity of human can perform; simply walking. Walking with good posture and swinging one’s arms freely is the best exercise we can perform. I call it “the antidote for sitting.” Walking is what human beings have done before tens of thousands of years. Our bodies are adapted to it and need it. However, in the past several generations we have gone from walking miles a day to being couch potatoes. Any chance one gets to take a walk whether it be five minutes or an hour should be seized. Ideally, several 5 to 15 minute daily walks during break times are ideal along with two or three 30 to 60 minute walks per week.
Our fourth recommended remedy to counteract prolonged sitting is to obtain periodic chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatment will help a person to keep good spinal alignment and motion of the neck and upper back. Chiropractors are also experts at explaining proper posture, exercises to perform and other activities needed to address the mechanical stress associated with long hours of sitting.
We do not have to become victims of a sedentary lifestyle and suffer ill effects. While it is best to take measures when one initially starts to sit for prolonged time periods these ideas can be implemented any time by anyone.
I’m 22 years old. Before going to Dr. Schofield, I had been experiencing chronic back pain for years, which kept gradually getting worse as I got older.
I knew I had made the right decision in going to Dr. Schofield based on my first visit. He had asked me many questions about the pain I was experiencing and how my daily activities affect it. After he explained my x-rays to me and used images to show me what was truly going on, I also had a better understanding of why I was experiencing pain. He gave me hope that it would get better.
I am a full-time student and video editor, which means I do a lot of sitting. It has led to a lot of issues that keep me from doing the things I used to be able to do such as; daily chores, sleeping on my side, or even going to concerts because I was standing in one spot for too long.
Making the decision to get help from Dr. Schofield’s practice changed my overall quality of life. Before when I came in I was completely slouched over and very sore. I can finally stand up straight without any pain and enjoy all of the things I used to!
There is hope for those suffering from headaches according to a recent research study. Many individuals suffer from varying types of headaches. Some experience tension headaches, others have migraine headaches, still others are plagued by sinus headaches and some develop cluster headaches. One of the unfortunate hallmark problems for those with headaches is that the headache can occur randomly. If the headache is of a debilitating type it can severely interfere with a person’s planned activities. I have seen patients have to cancel work trips, vacations and social engagements due to their condition.
A scientific study published by BioMed Central Musculoskeletal Disorders, February 2016 gives insight on treatment and relief for those who suffer from this malady. 130 individuals in a study compared cervical and thoracic manipulation to mobilization and exercise for treatment of cervicogenic headaches (headaches caused by cervical dysfunction). The results of this study revealed that 6 to 8 sessions, received in four weeks, of cervical and thoracic manipulation provided greater reductions in headache intensity, frequency and duration than a course of treatment involving only mobilization and exercise. The authors of the study add that the benefits of manipulation persisted when the patients were re-examined three months later.
Clarification of the terms manipulation and mobilization is needed. Manipulation is a physical procedure performed by the healthcare practitioner, by hand, involving a quick but gentle movement to restore alignment and proper motion to an area of the spine. Mobilization involves a slow rocking or stretching maneuver of the healthcare practitioner by hand to the area involved.
In the research study mentioned, treatment was directed to the upper bones of the neck. These are called the vertebrae of the upper cervical spine.
Those who were given manipulation to this area experienced an improvement of decreased intensity and decreased frequency of their headaches. Additionally, their headaches interfered less in the activities of daily living and quality of their day to day lives. These benefits persisted when the patients were reevaluated three months later. Those receiving mobilization as the primary form of treatment did not experience a similar benefit.
The profession that performs more manipulative therapy treatment than all others is that of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic receive hundreds of hours of training in manipulation. Chiropractic education involves five years of study involving courses such as anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and others. All chiropractic institutions have a process of training so that their students are considered to be the “gold standard” in delivering the best manipulative treatment that can possibly be given. It should be noted that chiropractors use the terms “manipulation” and “adjusting” interchangeably.
Although chiropractors utilize many forms of therapy such as exercises and physiological therapeutics their primary focus of treatment is considered to be spinal manipulation. Because of the extensive training and clinical experience chiropractors have with manipulation, researchers consider the chiropractic profession to be superior healthcare specialists for this type of treatment.
Although there are certainly other causes for headaches the majority of people suffering from this condition should investigate whether they are a candidate for cervical spinal manipulation for relief of their malady.
Consumer Reports notes in its June 2017 issue that there is a new approach in the treatment of lower back pain. It describes a gentleman who had originally injured his lower back as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War who received chiropractic treatment, massage, acupuncture, yoga and tai chi through the Veterans Administration to help him gain relief of his pain. He states that in past years he was not able to obtain these types of therapies as they were considered alternative and fringe.
Traditionally the common medical approach to the treatment of lower back pain has been through the use of medication and surgery. However, new research shows that nonsurgical, nondrug therapies are more effective in the treatment of back pain. Consumer Reports reveals that a study published in February 2017 by the American College of Physicians- which represents primary care doctors, the providers patients consult most often for a back ache- issued new guidelines for the treatment of back pain. The research declares that the first order of treatment for lower back pain should be nondrug, hands-on therapies.
The hands-on treatment recommended include chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, yoga, and tai chi. These therapies are now considered to be the gold standard approach to the treatment of lower back pain.
This is especially important with the growing opioid medication addiction crisis prominent in the United States. Some feel opioid pharmaceuticals such as Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin have been prescribed capriciously for lower back pain. Yet a recent review in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that opioids didn’t provide significant relief for people with chronic lower back pain. It is now common knowledge that opioid drugs are not safe due to their strong tendency to create narcotic addictions and overdose deaths.
Consumer Reports also notes that back surgery should also be the last option. Even conditions like a herniated or slipped disc may respond, over time, with less aggressive, simpler therapies.
It is important to realize that everyone responds differently in the treatment of a painful back. It is best to consult with doctors and therapists who use an alternative, conservative approach to care. When consulting a health care specialist about lower back pain certain factors should be observed. First the clinician should sit down with a patient and take a thorough initial history. Much information about the lower back condition can be obtained through a complete background of the patient’s past and present history. Next, a proper examination should be performed. The doctor or therapist should palpate, or feel the affected area. Most of the time spasm of muscles and tenderness of the area as well as possible inflammation can be felt. Also checking the patient’s range of motion may reveal limited and painful movements. A doctor, such as a chiropractor, will also perform orthopedic tests, and check neurological tests such as reflexes, strength and skin sensation to determine what areas of the spine and pelvis might be the cause of the problem. A chiropractor is also likely to order x-rays to inspect for possible arthritis, past traumas and degenerative joint disease. Finally, the patient should expect the expert they are seeing to take time to explain exactly what is causing the problem and to outline a treatment plan, including what modalities and therapies will be used. A reasonable timeframe and goals should be set to expect and see progress.
Some conditions will resolve in days or weeks. Others may take months. Some conditions may improve greatly but require ongoing supportive or maintenance care to continue benefits and manage the back pain.
Consumer Reports is to be congratulated for studying lower back pain treatments and recommending the approach it boldly endorses.
With the popular movie Concussion and a Public Broadcasting System documentary of the same topic there is substantial national attention on sports related traumatic brain injury and its consequences.
In the United States the prevalence of mild traumatic brain injury, also known as concussion, is estimated at 3.8 million per year. 85% of people sustaining a concussion will have symptoms resolve within 7 to 10 days. The remaining 15%, however will exhibit
persisting symptoms lasting weeks, months or even years after their injury. In those suffering, lingering symptoms persisting longer than 4 to 12 weeks the condition is considered to be chronic and is known as post-concussion syndrome.
Many healthcare professionals consider post-concussion syndrome to be purely an injury isolated to the brain. However, recent research shows that another etiology, other than the brain, may be responsible for ongoing, chronic symptomatology.
Those experiencing mild traumatic brain injury tend to have symptoms of headache, dizziness, neck pain, visual problems, concentration problems, hearing disturbances and emotional irregularities. Not coincidentally, these are also findings that occur with neck injuries, like whiplash, as well.
Injuries to the neck can occur from many types of trauma. The classic whiplash of an automobile accident is one with which many can identify. Of course, sports injuries occurring in football can also cause problems with the neck. But many other sports such as falls occurring in cheerleading, heading a ball in soccer, collisions of players in lacrosse, divers landing awkwardly in a swimming pool and anyone striking their head on a gym floor or playing field can lead to trauma to the neck.
Trauma research has revealed the range of linear impact accelerations causing concussion is between 60-160 G’s of force with the peak occurring at 96 G’s. Whiplash associated traumas can occur at accelerations of only 4.5 G’s. From this it is seen that individuals who experience force is strong enough to sustain a concussion will also experience cervical spine injury. In fact, it seems virtually certain that someone having traumatic force causing a concussion will also suffer injury to the soft tissues of the cervical spine.
In a research study evaluating hockey players suffering trauma published in Brain Injury in 2006 it was noted “there is a strong association between whiplash induced neck injuries and the symptoms of concussion in hockey injuries.” The researchers went on to say that athletes/patients should be evaluated for both traumatic brain injury and cervical/whiplash type trauma.
Current thinking is that those suffering from post-concussion syndrome have most certainly also had injury to the neck or cervical spine. Some are terming it Post-concussion Syndrome and associated Cervicogenic trauma. “Cervicogenic” means “from the neck”.
In another study published in the journal Cephalgia in 1990 researchers evaluated patients who had sustained head trauma and who were still suffering from headaches one year later. These patients entered a clinical course of specific manual therapy of the neck, such as chiropractors utilize, to help headache problems. The results were the group treated with manual therapy showed over 50% improvement of their headache pain index compared with the pretreatment level. The researchers stated: “Manual therapy used in this study seems to have a specific effect in reducing post-traumatic headache.”
Chiropractors have extensive training and experience in evaluating injuries of the neck or cervical spine. If there is an abnormality of misalignment or improper movement of the vertebrae of the spine, strain of the muscles and ligamentous sprain, chiropractors have safe, proven methods to treat these injuries.
A 2015 study in the journal The Physician and Sports Medicine quotes “Management of persistent post- concussion symptoms through ongoing brain rest is outdated and demonstrates limited evidence of effectiveness in these patients.” They add further “instead there is evidence that skilled manual therapy related assessment and rehabilitation of the cervical spine dysfunction should be considered for chronic symptoms following concussion injuries.”
When considering this type of information it would be wise for all patients suffering from post-concussion syndrome to be referred to a chiropractor for cervical spine evaluation and treatment.
On August 19, 2017 Dr. Schofield attended a conference, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, to learn current pain management methods. Topics covered which natural treatments work. In 33 years of practice Dr. Schofield has always searched and used innovative ways to alleviate and control the pain his patients are experiencing.
Chronic pain conditions like lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, sciatica, hip pain and shoulder pain are traditionally not helped by medications. Especially concerning is the increasing use of opioid medications for these types of problems. Fortunately, Dr. Schofield learns and continues to use natural treatment techniques for chronic pain in his Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractic office.
Over the years there have been many approaches for treating lower back pain. Traditional medical approaches have included the use of medications, injections and surgery. However, a recent research study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) published in the 2017 Annals of Internal Medicine has just released new guidelines advising a non-surgical and pharmaceutical free strategy.
A main concern in the United States is the ever-growing use of opioid medications causing addictions, overdoses and suicides. Opioids include Percocet, OxyContin and hydrocodone have been inappropriately prescribed in some cases for lower back pain. The new ACP guidelines advise against what are called “low value treatments” such as doctors prescribing opioid medications.
Instead nonpharmacological approaches are recommended by the ACP. These include nondrug treatments such as spinal manipulation which is typically performed by chiropractors, acupuncture, massage, tai chi and mindfulness-based stress reduction.
According to Roger Chou MD, professor of medicine, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, and lead author of the new reviews on back pain treatment: “the biggest shift is prioritizing non-formal logic therapies using those first versus medication.” “This is the first guideline to really take this stance.”
The guidelines of the ACP also reject initially having patients get MRIs for lower back pain. The study notes that MRIs typically will not reveal findings relevant to the cause of the lower back pain.
Lower back pain that lasts for less than four weeks is considered acute. Low back pain lasting up to 12 weeks is considered subacute. Lower back pain lingering for more than 12 weeks is considered chronic. In all cases it is not wise to give into total bed rest. Gentle activity such as walking periodically daily and gentle appropriate stretching is more effective.
Physical measures such as chiropractic spinal manipulation, also called chiropractic spinal adjustments are recommended by the ACP.
Chiropractors are licensed as doctors. Their education involves typical undergraduate courses followed by five years at a chiropractic college. Following this they must pass national boards and become licensed in individual states in the US. Chiropractors then take continuing education classes for ongoing training.
Many responsible recognized insurances cover the initial evaluation by a doctor of chiropractic and treatment such as chiropractic spinal adjustments, physiological therapeutics and corrective exercises. These types of therapies been shown in numerous research studies to be beneficial for those suffering from acute, subacute and chronic lower back pain.
In advising nondrug, nonsurgical measures for the treatment of lower back pain the American College of Physicians guidelines published in the Annals of Internal Medicine have made a substantial shift in traditional prioritization of the treatment of lower back pain.
Many people experience what is called “wear and tear” arthritis. It is also called degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis and old age arthritis. It commonly occurs in all the joints of the body. It can develop from repetitive stress to the joints, trauma of the joints and can be from poor dietary habits.
The site of osteoarthritis is the area where two bones meet. This area is called a joint. The surface of the bones of a joint is lined with special cartilage that must be able to “resurface” itself because of ongoing wear. Normally, our body produces chemicals needed to handle the resurfacing. However, sometimes we don’t produce enough resurfacing chemicals to allow for normal thickness of the cartilage surface. When the cartilage degenerates, we can say that osteoarthritis has occurred.
This type of arthritis most commonly causes symptoms of early morning stiffness, stiffness following periods of rest, pain that worsens on joint use and loss of joint motion. If one were to look at an x-ray of the joint the two most common findings would reveal a narrowing of the joint space called bone on bone and bone spurs. These are x-ray signs that the degeneration has progressed and is now called degenerative joint disease.
Fortunately, there is a nonpharmaceutical supplement called glucosamine sulfate that has been called “nature’s arthritis cure.” Glucosamine sulfate is a vital chemical component needed by the cartilage of our joints. Our bodies normally produce glucosamine sulfate in sufficient quantities to fully resurface joint cartilage. When we traumatize a joint from one single episode or from repetitive stress we may not be able to produce enough of our own glucosamine sulfate to repair joint cartilage.
This happened to me over 20 years ago. As a chiropractor, I use my hands repetitively. As a result, I started to get symptoms of stiffness and soreness of my hands. I recognized that I was in the early stages of osteoarthritis.
I began to take a good quality brand of glucosamine sulfate consisting of 500 mg three times a day for a total of 1500 mg daily. Within weeks the pain in my hands resolved. I continued with the same amount of glucosamine for a full three months which allowed the cartilage to fully repair. Following this I reduced the dosage of glucosamine sulfate to 1000 mg per day and continued to do well. After a couple months, I tried reducing to 500mg per day but started to have discomfort return. So, I went back to 1000 mg per day and have continued to the present. My hands remain symptom-free and show no visible signs of degeneration of the joints.
In the past couple decades, I have seen hundreds of my patients get relief of osteoarthritis pain by taking glucosamine sulfate in the manner I just described. My experience has been that smaller joints like the hands, elbows, shoulders and knees seem to respond well to glucosamine sulfate supplementation. I cannot say that I have seen great results for joints of the feet, hips and spine.
We carry an excellent brand of glucosamine sulfate at our office that is made by a company called Metagenics. One bottle contains ninety 500 mg capsules. This will last one month if a person takes three capsules per day. My experience is that a person will know within that first bottle if it’s going to work. They will feel improvement of soreness. If it doesn’t work in the first month I would not suggest continuing. However, if there is improvement, I would recommend taking 1500 mg per day for three months. Then one can experiment with taking a lesser dosage and seeing how they do.
I will also mention that the quality of the product does seem to matter. I have seen that many people do not respond well to the supplement they may buy at a big box store, grocery stores and drugstores. If you do not have good results with the type you’ve purchased try the brand we carry in our office. One bottle of ninety 500 mg capsules costs $30 dollars.
Metagenics glucosamine sulfate supplements are made from shellfish. As a result, anyone who has an allergic response to shellfish should not take this product.
Supplementation of glucosamine sulfate is certainly worth trying. A short, initial trial for a small expense will let one know if there will be a benefit. If improvement occurs it is wise to continue using the supplement as a natural, low-cost method to minimize a potentially long-term degenerative disease.