It’s Time To Check Those Backpacks Again!

Backpack Safety
Backpack Safety

With students of all ages returning to school it is important to address backpack safety. In my 34 years of chiropractic practice I have seen numerous cases where improper use of a backpack caused a young person to develop a painful musculoskeletal problem. This article will discuss safe use of backpacks. It will also give information from a recent research journal about backpacks, their risks and preventive measures to reduce injury.

We all know that a heavy backpack can cause musculoskeletal problems for those carrying them. The neck, mid back and lower back are especially susceptible to injury. If the upper neck is irritated it can also lead to a person developing headaches.

The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, March 2019 published a study showing examinations of 160 students revealed that the average student’s backpack weighs the equivalent of 18% of their body weight, which is above the 10- 15% recommended by experts to reduce the risk for backpack related musculoskeletal pain. Additionally, researchers observed that while wearing a backpack, students adopted a more forward head posture, which can increase the risk for both neck and shoulder pain.

If the backpack is the cause of pain conditions we must address what can be done to correct the situation. Prevention is the key. The first step to take is to minimize the weight carried as much as possible. If a person doesn’t have to carry textbooks at all this would certainly be preferable. To accomplish this, online methods may be of help. Many courses that are found in textbooks are also available online. This would allow a student to keep their textbooks at school and still be able to study at home through cyber means. Along the same lines it might be possible to buy an inexpensive second set of books to keep at home.

If these options aren’t available it is important to address the backpack itself. Look for a backpack with two wide padded straps. Make sure that the straps are tightened so the pack is as close to the body as possible. Encourage the student to use both straps rather than just one. Some backpacks have a waist strap to help distribute the weight more evenly.

Utilize all the compartments of the backpack wisely. It is best to place the heaviest objects in the center of the backpack which will also distribute the weight to the central core of the body providing the safest way of carrying the load.

Encourage the student to tell you if pain develops. It is important not to ignore a student who is having discomfort of their back. It is very common for students of all ages to develop back pain. As a chiropractor, I see young people who have back pain frequently. If pain does develop a chiropractic examination and possible treatment can correct the cause of the pain most of the time.

With a little foresight and prudence, return to school and wearing of a backpack can accomplish what  needs to be done without causing physical problems.

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What Is Spinal Stenosis And What Natural Treatment Helps?

Spine-Information Highway
Chiropractic Care for Spinal Stenosis

Many people are diagnosed with a condition called spinal stenosis. This article will discuss what this condition entails and possible natural treatment.

Stenosis is a medical term that simply means there is an abnormal narrowing of an opening of the body. For instance, hardening of the arteries would be a form of stenosis that narrows the opening of the blood vessel. Another example would be a large cyst or polyp causing intestinal tract stenosis. Spinal stenosis simply means that the spinal canal is narrowed which might cause pressure on the spinal cord.

Let’s delve into a bit of human anatomy to learn more about this. The human spine is made up of 24 individual bones called vertebrae. These bones have a central canal which we know of as the spinal canal. This canal is in the shape of an oval. It provides a passageway for our spinal cord. We know that our brain is in our skull. The bottom of the brain narrows down and becomes our spinal cord. The spinal cord descends through the spinal canal. On either side of the spinal vertebrae there are openings which allow spinal nerves to exit between the vertebrae and go to various areas of the body.

Normally there is ample room within the spinal canal for the spinal cord. However, there are situations in which the spinal canal can narrow leading to stenosis. If someone has trauma to their neck from a whiplash accident we’re aware that this can lead to a buildup of excess bone growth such as spurs and arthritis. This buildup of the bone can narrow the spinal canal. Another example of a cause of spinal stenosis would be someone who does extreme physical labor such as a construction worker or a nursing home aid. These folks tend to have excessive repetitive stress to their lower back. Over many years this can also lead to excessive bone buildup causing spine stenosis. Many people develop protruding, bulging or herniated discs which also can extend into the spinal canal and impinge upon the spinal cord. All these are common examples of causes of spinal stenosis.

If there is spinal stenosis in the neck, also called the cervical spine, a person might note limited neck motions, soreness and achiness in the neck and possibly numbness and tingling into the upper extremities. Should spinal stenosis occur in the lower back it can cause back pain and leg pain.

Traditional medical care for spinal stenosis includes pain and anti-inflammatory medications, spinal injections and surgery. Each of these are invasive and have known side effects.

Chiropractic care is a gentle, safe, natural method one can investigate for spinal stenosis treatment. Doctors of Chiropractic are trained to analyze the spine. They check for misaligned and improperly moving vertebrae. They can evaluate x-rays, MRIs and CT scans. If there is arthritis, bone spurs and disc abnormalities which is causing spinal stenosis chiropractors will determine where in the spine it is located and to what degree it is causing a patient’s pain. By utilizing chiropractic adjustments to realign the spinal bones chiropractors may be able to relieve irritation to the spinal joints and nerves. For many people suffering from spinal stenosis this can give them some pain relief.

It should be said that if degenerative changes such as spurs, arthritis and degenerating discs exist the chiropractor will not be able to reverse those structural abnormalities. But for 125 years chiropractors have been able to give patients varying pain relief for spinal stenosis conditions.

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OUR PATIENTS SPEAK — Rachael Pollock

Rachael Pollock
Rachael Pollock and Dr James Schofield


Neck and spinal pain


Massage and stretching


My husband


He relieved me of my pain, educated me on the health of my spine, and gave me some exercises to do daily.


Running, reading, and listening to music


I can live my daily life exercising and working as a dental hygienist without pain.


I have been treated by Dr. Schofield since 2018 and I couldn’t be happier!  He has completely relieved me of my pain so I can clean teeth comfortably as a dental hygienist.


As we age the general health of our bodies declines, seeing Dr. Schofield on a routine basis has helped me be a healthy person!  I have enjoyed learning more about my body and spine and how to correctly care for myself.

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I Wish I Had Known My Migraine Headaches Were Coming from My Neck

Migraine Headache
Chiropractic Care Helps Migraine Headaches

Recently, a patient in my office named Heather, said: “I wish I had known my migraine headaches were coming from my neck. I would’ve come to you years ago.” Heather had suffered with migraine headaches several times a month for 10 years. Her headaches were quite debilitating. Most the time she was nauseous and had to lie down in a dark room with a cold pack on her forehead. Many times, she had to cancel planned activities with family and friends if a migraine developed.

Fortunately, chiropractic care helped Heather to significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of her headaches. She was able to go months without a headache and if one did develop it was usually mild and she could get relief by putting a cold pack the back of her neck.

This article will discuss migraine headaches and their relationship to the neck area, also called the cervical spine. Chiropractic care as a possible treatment for this condition will be detailed. A recent research study noting an association between neck pain and migraine conditions will be analyzed.

Approximately 12% of the US population, including children, suffers from migraine headaches. Females are three times more likely to experience migraine headaches than males. Migraine headaches are considered to be more debilitating than common stress or tension headaches. Symptoms of migrainous headaches are a severe sharp, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. Nausea and vomiting commonly occur. Some people’s migraines develop spontaneously while others are triggered by certain foods, smells, visual and auditory sensations and stimulations.

For many years, chiropractors have noted an association between the bones of the upper neck, also called the upper cervical spine and various types of headaches including migraines. Chiropractors are trained to examine and analyze the alignment and movement of these bones called vertebrae. If the vertebrae of the upper cervical spine are misaligned and moving improperly it can cause irritation of the joints and nerves of the area and this can be a source and cause of a headache.

A recent research study published in Cephalgia, May 2019 noted that among a group of 142 patients with a history of migraines, those with concurrent neck pain reported 80% more migraine related disability than participants without neck pain. The findings add to a growing body of research that suggests the neck plays a role in the migraine headache process, as previous studies have noted an association between cervical dysfunction (improper movement of the upper cervical bones) and migraine intensity and frequency.

Doctors Of Chiropractic have the experience and expertise to evaluate the upper cervical spine to determine if there is a problem with this area that can be helped. If help can be provided a chiropractor will utilize treatment called spinal manipulation (also called a spinal vertebral adjustment) to safely and gently correct the cause of the problem. When this occurs a considerable number of patients who have suffered with migraine headaches have been able to find improvement of their condition.

It would be wise and prudent for anyone suffering from migraine headaches to consult a chiropractor. For over hundred 25 years chiropractic care has been a conservative, safe, gentle drug-free method of giving people freedom from headaches.

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Begin With The Deepest Structures

Spine and Pelvis
The Spine and Pelvis

In my chiropractic practice, I am commonly asked by patients in pain if their condition is caused by “tight muscles.” My answer is: “yes and no.” You might say that “yes and no” isn’t a very good answer and I’d reply it’s the best I have for that question.

Pain can be caused by tight muscles, but we must ask: “Why are the muscles tight?” We can’t forget that the muscles are on the surface of our body. We also must remember that our spinal and pelvic bones and joints are deep and underneath the muscles. If the deep pelvic and spinal bones are in good alignment and moving properly then the surface muscles will be relaxed. However, if the spinal and pelvic bones are misaligned and irritating the joints and pinching nerves the muscles will get tight and go into spasm to protect us so that we don’t hurt the spine further. We dislike that spasm, but we must respect that our muscles are protecting us and keeping us from further injury. It is important to examine the deepest structures first. If we correct the spinal and pelvic misalignments with chiropractic care the muscles will then relax naturally.

This brings up another commonly asked question: “Should I get a massage?” My answer is that massages will help temporarily. I’m all for massages but they won’t fully correct the problem unless the spine is adjusted by a chiropractor.

Likewise, we want to utilize a physical therapist at the proper time. If there is a misalignment and physical therapy exercises are directed at a misaligned spine all we do is injure it further. So, we must do our chiropractic adjustments first, then exercise will be fantastic. Of course, the exercises you’ve learned here at our office are low risk and can and should be performed daily.

When we are having a musculo-skeletal problem of the spine, seeing the proper health care specialist in the correct time sequence will keep us from delaying healing and bring relief of pain sooner. I commonly like to refer patients to physical therapists and massage therapists after the patients have had the underlying spinal and pelvic joint conditions corrected with their chiropractic care.

Remember, chiropractic care helps restore balance and allows our bodies to heal and function well – naturally, without drugs or invasive surgery. It is important to check the deepest structures in our body first to address the underlying cause of the condition.

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Post-Concussion Problems In Youngsters May Be Helped by Chiropractic

Concussion 2
Chiropractic Care For Concussions


In my 34 years of chiropractic practice I have seen a number of cases of children and adolescents who have suffered a concussion and have been helped by chiropractic treatment. This article will discuss causes of concussion, ensuing symptoms and impairments and possible treatment. It will also reveal findings of a recent research study regarding concussion and youngsters.

Just as in adults, juveniles and teens can suffer from concussion. We all know that kids are very active physically and can suffer injuries by falling, striking their head or being in an auto accident. Certain sports have higher incidence of causing concussions. It is common knowledge that younger people playing sports like football and hockey are susceptible to concussion injuries. But it might surprise some to know that cheerleaders have a moderate chance to undergo an injury causing a concussion. Likewise, competitive divers and soccer players who head the ball have received concussive-type conditions.

The prevalence of mild traumatic brain injury, also known as concussion, in the United States is estimated at 3.8 million per year. 85% of people undergoing a concussion will have symptoms that resolve within 7 to 10 days. The remaining 15%, however will exhibit persisting symptoms lasting weeks, months or even years after their injury. Those suffering, ongoing symptoms persisting longer than 4 to 12 weeks are considered to have a chronic problem known as post-concussion syndrome.

Common symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, visual and hearing disturbances, concentration problems and emotional irregularities. Many healthcare practitioners attribute these symptoms purely to the brain injury. However, a growing number of healthcare professionals are realizing that these same symptoms can come from injuries to the upper neck area also called the upper cervical spine.

A recent research article published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, April 2019 found that examination of children and adolescents with a history of concussion also had a high prevalence of cervical spine impairments.

If there is enough trauma to cause a brain concussion there is also more than enough force to cause injury to the upper cervical spine. Chiropractors have extensive training and experience in evaluating abnormal movement or misalignment injuries of the neck or cervical spine. Should this be the case chiropractors are also trained and educated in the skilled treatment of these injuries. Doctors of Chiropractic are experts at helping to treat vertebrae of the upper neck that are in need of realignment and to restore proper motion.

It is important for any young person suffering lingering effects of a concussion to see both a medical doctor specializing in brain trauma and a chiropractor for evaluation of a possible upper cervical spine injury.

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Our Patients Speak — Chelsea Bowling

Chelsea Bowling
Chelsea Bowling and Dr James Schofield


NAME: Chelsea Bowling


  1. What was your condition?

I had gotten headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder pain ever since I could remember.


  1. What steps had you taken previously to get help?

I had taken a variety of migraine medications, anti-inflammatories, ice and cracking my own neck to try to get relief. At one point, I experienced a migraine aura and ended up going to see a headache specialist for it.


  1. How were you referred to chiropractic?

My mom had gone to a chiropractor in the past and wanted to start getting regular adjustments again. She found Dr. Schofield online and booked an appointment for herself, my brother and I.


  1. In your words, what did the chiropractor do?

Dr. Schofield took me back to his office where he asked in detail about my pain, where I was experiencing it and when. He then did an exam, took some x-rays and walked me through a treatment plan that would work best for me and my condition.


  1. What are your hobbies and interests?

For fun, I like to go out with friends, play video games, crochet, and binge watch tv. I also like to spin, hike and do yoga and pilates to stay active.


  1. How has chiropractic helped your hobbies and interests?

Not having to plan my life around headaches and migraines anymore has been HUGE for me. I always had to have migraine medication with me, some form of caffeine and an excuse to get out of plans last minute just in case a headache started brewing. Now, I can be spontaneous and free to live my life without worrying that a headache will crash my party.


  1. How has chiropractic helped other aspects of your life?

When I was born, they had to use a suction device on the top of my head to help get me out. I wasn’t situated properly because I’m stubborn and I like to march to the beat of my own drum, I guess. Because of the awkward positioning during my birth, my very top vertebra was twisted out of alignment, causing the headaches and migraines I was experiencing. When I came to see Dr. Schofield, he pointed it out to me on the x-rays and started working to correct it. I’m happy to report that while realigning my vertebrae, I gained half an inch in height! Day one, I was 5 feet 1 ¼ inches tall. Today, I am 5 feet 1 ¾ inches tall! You can round that up to 5’2”, I don’t mind.


  1. Words of encouragement to others?

When you get a couple adjustments, start to feel better and think you don’t need to come in anymore… do it anyway. Finish the treatment plan Dr. Schofield laid out for you and come back religiously for maintenance. I promise, you’ll be glad you did. Be aware of your posture, make friends with your icepack and look out for the Evil G’s.

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