How Much Does a Chiropractor Cost?

 

Chiropractic care takes a natural approach to pain, but how much does a chiropractor cost? Click here to learn what you can expect to pay for quality care.

Did you know that 80% of Americans deal with back pain at some point in their life? The pain can be excruciating and frustrating. Many pursue a wide range of benefits and only get minimal relief.

Unfortunately, they may not realize that chiropractic care is a proven and safe method for dealing with back pain, as well as a wide range of other health issues. Some patients may avoid going the route of chiropractors because of misinformation.

Or, they might be scared off by the price. If you are wondering “How much does a chiropractor cost?” there is good news.

Depending on your insurance and your health issues, a chiropractor can be the best overall value. Here is why:

Avoid Missing Work

A major component of any health care treatment is the loss of both work and opportunity that occurs if you or a loved one is out of commission. Back pain can prohibit people from returning to work or operating effectively at their everyday tasks.

When thinking, “how much does a chiropractor cost,” it is important to factor in the loss of work if you go without the proper remedies and treatments for your health issues.

Unlike pain pills or ineffective surgeries, a chiropractor isn’t just trying to remedy your pain. Through spinal manipulation and other treatment methods, they will also aim to increase your mobility and function.

How much does a chiropractor cost isn’t the full question. It isn’t anywhere near as expensive as the loss of work and life pleasures that can occur when you pursue ineffective remedies.

Ease of Single Visits 

The cost of a single visit to a chiropractor varies by your location, their practice, your method of payment, and insurance coverage. Generally, a chiropractor will ask you for payment at time of visit, but this also varies depending on the practice.

You can expect a benefit in terms of pain relief, mobility, posture, and general well-being. You may pay anywhere between $30 and $100 for a single visit, depending on the variables listed above.

Your single-visit cost may also be affected by the type of treatments involved. A chiropractor may need to take x-rays, use electrical stimulation, ice or heat therapy, or a number of other methods.

Ask your chiropractor ahead of time which methods you may be using on your next visit and why.

Monthly and Frequent Promotions 

Another benefit for patients that many doctors offer is a monthly or frequent-visit price. Chiropractic therapy typically involves more than one visit — as is true with most health practices — so you may benefit from a promotional or package rate.

When asking how much does a chiropractor cost that you are thinking of seeing make sure to ask about insurance, procedures, and single visit costs. But also inquire about the possibility of a multi-visit membership or promotional price.

You will likely find that the overall benefits to your health and well-being far outweigh the costs of a chiropractor and their effective treatment strategies.

The Cost of Pills 

Did you know that research says that pills offer the same amount of relief as a visit to a chiropractor?

The National Institute of Health reports that a review of 26 clinical trials revealed that spinal manipulation — traditionally performed by a chiropractor — is just as effective as other alternatives for relieving lower back pain.

Doctors state that chiropractors can offer the same amount of pain relief as over the counter medicine like Ibuprofen. If you hesitate to visit a chiropractor for pain relief, make sure you count the cost of all those expensive pills.

Plus, with a chiropractor, you won’t risk the costly side effects of pain relievers like kidney failure and addiction issues.

How Much Does A Chiropractor Cost With Insurance? 

With the current state of healthcare in the United States, many patients have varying levels of insurance coverage. Your insurance company may well offer a number of visits with copay as part of your annual insurance coverage.

One reason insurance companies support chiropractic care is that it is an effective way to treat and relieve a wide range of health issues. Some patients don’t just reduce pain but increase mobility.

Your insurance company will fill you in on your coverage and covered practitioners. But if you aren’t covered, there are easy alternatives that are offered by most chiropractors.

Your local chiropractor will offer rates based on your level or insurance, covered visits, and copay. When scheduling your first appointment, you can give your full insurance information and get a price ahead of time.

Many new patients are surprised to discover the number of visits and low copay that are included with their insurance coverage. Don’t be scared off by your ideas of how much does a chiropractor cost.

Both insurance companies and chiropractic practices make it affordable and comfortable to get the chiropractic treatment you need.

The Problems With Back Surgery 

Another route some patients take is expensive lower back surgery. The surgery isn’t just costly; it can also backfire and lead to worse pain and dependence on pain killers in the years to come.

Nothing is worse than taking the leap to agree to a surgical treatment and ending up in worse shape than ever. If your annual deductible is high, it may pay off to give a good chiropractor a chance to remedy your issues first.

Chiropractors cost much less than back surgery, and you won’t risk having worse problems than before.

The Best Overall Value 

While many people who are new to the practice might wonder how much does a chiropractor cost, the bigger question is can you afford to go without one? With the high cost of pills and treatments that may not work, a chiropractor generally offers the best overall value for your health and wellness.

One word of caution though: The wrong chiropractor may not fit your price and goals. Each patient needs to find a practitioner who is trustworthy, skilled and has great experience treating similar patients.

Helping Hands can help. Our practice has special offers and qualified staff to address all of your massage therapy and chiropractic needs.

Contact us now to schedule an appointment.

7 Reasons Why Visiting a Local Chiropractor is Better Than Painkillers

Why a Local Chiropractor is Better Than Painkillers

If you’re suffering from back pain and muscle discomfort, painkillers aren’t your only option for relief. Here’s why you should visit your local chiropractor.

Severe back pain can be a difficult problem to manage.

If it goes too long without treatment, it can be absolutely debilitating. Before you know it, you can be sidelined all encompassing pain.

We’ve already told you about some ways that you can treat back pain with some simple exercises, but what can you do when the pain is just too much to bear?

You may find yourself wanting to reach out to a physician to get a prescription for some high power painkillers.

With the rise of the opioid epidemic in our country, it may be your best option to find a drug-free alternative to treating your back pain.

Come along as we take you through the 7 reasons why visiting a local chiropractor is better than taking painkillers

No Risk Of Dependency to Hard Drugs

This is possibly the biggest sell for seeing a local chiropractor rather without opting for the immediacy of prescription painkillers.

Because of the push of these drugs on patients in tremendous pain, the United States is suffering through a tremendous opioid epidemic that is making its presence known even in smaller communities around the country.

The N.C.H.S. (National Center For Health Statistics) reported that 59,779 people died of overdoses in the first half of 2016 alone and the New York Times believes that this number increased in the second half of the year.

These numbers are truly staggering and you owe it to yourself and your family to be wary of any prescription drugs that could force you to slip into the depths of addiction.

By visiting your local chiropractor, you will be taking a substance free and less scary approach to recovery.

No Surgery Involved 

One of the most appealing aspects of visiting your local chiropractor is that you will not have to go under the knife to cure your back pain.

If the treatment takes the right way, you will not have to schedule any sort of back surgery.

This will cut down the possibility of you needing to be confined to a bed during your rehabilitation with a prescription from a doctor for a drug you could become dependant on.

But how can your chiropractor achieve such a thing?

Recovery Through Helpful Neuromusculoskeletal Physical Therapy

Chiropractors help to mend your back pain through Neuromusculoskeletal Therapy.

This therapy includes working by hand to remodel and correct a patient’s spinal column and joints.

This process can align any out of place joints or vertebrae all while strengthening the muscle tissue around these bones.

US News found that this type therapy can be just as effective as any other kind of treatment.

They recently published that a study found in the “British Medical Journal in 2003 evaluated 183 patients with neck pain who were randomly assigned to receive treatment that involved spinal manipulations, physiotherapy (mainly exercise) and care from a general practitioner, which involved primarily counseling, education, and prescription drugs. The people in the study kept cost diaries for one year. The study found that manual therapy was more effective and less costly than physiotherapy or care by a general practitioner.”

If you are willing to go through the steps, a strict regiment of this therapy will do wonders combating your pain and you will notice some changes in your physical appearance as well.

Improvement in Your Posture 

With your body healing around your fixed joints and vertebrae you will notice that your posture will appear to align more and more with the longer you visit your local chiropractor.

This is something that you will not get by simply taking a few pills a day.

By facing your pain head on, you will cut to the route of this issue and notice changes throughout your entire body.

It Can Help Cure Headaches Caused By Nerve Damage 

Severe headaches can be a big side effect caused by an unaligned or twisted spinal chord.

This is caused by blocked and damaged nerve sensors that normally send energy down your spine.

By having your local chiropractor adjust your spine these nerves will have the chance to heal and will be able to carry out their duties as they should.

Once your back has healed you will probably notice that you do not wince as much as you used to!

It Will Cost Less in the Long Run  

By visiting your local chiropractor instead of going to a regular practitioner will not only give you better results, but it will save you a lot of money.

WebMD found that by seeing a chiropractor you could cut down on the likely hood of having to schedule an expensive back surgery by 32%.

And think of all of the money you would likely have to spend on hospital visits and x-rays just to get to the point of operation.

As we’ve said it before, you will not have to pay for dangerous medications that could send you on the path to addiction.

And those drugs can become extremely expensive.

You Can Continue Recovery At Home 

The great thing about receiving therapy from your local chiropractor is that you will be learning valuable stretches from a trained professional.

These stretches will come in handy at home as you will now know what will work in case you have a pain flare up days away from your next visit.

Knowing these skills will help you take the reigns to your recovery and to side-step ever depending on painkillers.

And Voila! Now You Know the 7 Reasons Why Visiting a Local Chiropractor is Better Than Taking Painkillers 

By taking a drug-free route and choosing to visit your local chiropractor you will have a more hands-on approach to curing your back pain without the risk of dependency to prescription pills.

You already have one problem to deal with without having another one on top of it.

So call up your local chiropractor today to schedule an appointment.

Consider it the first step on your road to recovery!

If you have any more questions about why visiting a local chiropractor may be your best option, feel free to send us a message through our contact page.

We are here to help!

Chiropractic Care & Headaches

Chiropractic Care & Headaches

The cervical spine is often implicated in the onset and/or presence of headaches. This is due in part to the first three cervical nerve roots exiting out of the spine and enter the back of the head through a particularly thick group of muscles attached to the base of the skull along the nuchal ridge.

Anything that tightens up the upper cervical musculature can give rise to headache, and certainly stress has the unique characteristic of increasing neck muscle tension. Cervicogenic headache and tension-type headache are the two most commonly used terms associated with neck dysfunction.  Migraine headaches are a vascular type of headache, and these too can be greatly helped by spinal manipulation of the upper cervical region, though the mechanism of how this helps is less understood.

When patients see a chiropractor to treat their headaches, the paperwork they complete may include questionnaires regarding how their headaches impact both their wellbeing and their day-to-day activities. This data can be used to monitor a patient’s progress over time. Similarly, patients may be asked for data at each visit regarding the frequency, intensity, and duration of their headaches since their last visit in order to determine if a new approach to treatment should be considered.

Chiropractic offers multiple types of treatments with the goal of reducing neck and headache pain, restoring function to the vertebrae in the cervical spine—especially in the upper cervical region—and teaching the patient preventative methods of self-management such as exercises, ice and/or heat, and dietary modifications.

Because chiropractic includes an evaluation of the entire musculoskeletal system, a doctor of chiropractic may spot biomechanical faults lower in the body that may play a role in the headache process. A good example of this is a flat foot with ankle pronation, which creates a knocked-kneed effect and a drop in the pelvis on the same side. This can affect the curvature of the spine, causing stability issues up into the neck. In this case, prescriptive foot orthotics to correct the ankle pronation problem and/or a heel lift to correct a short leg can have dramatic benefits for headache sufferers, not to mention other spinal complaints such as low back pain.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.

Can Bad Backs Heal Themselves?

 

Can Bad Backs Heal Themselves?

Low back pain (LBP) from a herniated disk often leads to surgical intervention. However, there are patients with this painful malady who can successfully “ride it out” and repeat MRI imaging six to twelve months later often fails to show little, if any, evidence of the original herniated disk that was initially very obvious. How is this possible?

The proposed theory is that there must be some unique interplay between molecular signals that might explain why some herniated disks heal themselves while others do not. Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are investigating this and published a report on their progress in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

LBP affects 60-80% of Americans during their lifetime, and there are upwards of 300,000 surgeries for herniated disks annually in the United States alone. A disk can herniate when its outer fibers tear or give way, allowing the semi-fluid center to leak out. If the herniated disk material hits the nerve root exiting the spine, the classic sciatica, or pain down the leg, can result.

Dr. Dan Spengler states that about 50% of patients with disk herniation will improve within six weeks, and the actual herniated material may completely resorb over time. What troubles Dr. Spengler and other researchers is why this doesn’t occur with everyone.

Looking specifically at the molecules that are frequently present when disks herniate, researchers have identified a group of proteins called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Certain MMPs have the ability to act like “Pac-Man” and literally chew through other proteins making it highly suspect that MMPs may be at the forefront of why some disks resorb while others do not! Additionally, when a disk herniates, bleeding occurs and white blood cells—specifically macrophages, which are immune system cells in our blood that ingest foreign materials and bacteria—also flood into the area.

What most surprised the authors was the interplay between the macrophages and the MMPs. They found that when the blood/macrophages and one of two specific MMPs interacted in a very specific manner, disk resorption occurred and they were even able to replicate this process in a lab. They concluded the following, “These enzymes are more complicated and interesting than we originally thought. Rather than being big bulldozers, they’re a fine pair of scissors that cut certain things.”

The TAKE-HOME MESSAGE here is unless you are having progressive neurological loss (meaning muscle weakness or sensory pain that is progressing, and/or especially bowel or bladder weakness), there is NO RUSH to run and have surgery! Doctors of chiropractic can offer natural, non-invasive treatments to manage pain while you let your body manage the herniation!

Whiplash – Is it Muscle, Ligament, or Both?

 

Whiplash is caused by the rapid back and forth motion that occurs in the classic rear-end collision, in some sports, and during slip and falls. The initial symptoms associated with whiplash often include muscle tightness and pain. But where is the pain coming from?

First, the mechanism of injury that is involved in a rear-end collision is important to understand. In the first 50-100 milliseconds, the body below the neck is pushed forward in relation to the neck, resulting in straightening of the neck. Between 100-200 msec, the lower half of the neck extends while the upper half flexes, after which the head accelerates backwards, where it is hopefully stopped by the head rest. This is followed by a forward rebound where the head and neck accelerate forward, hopefully limited by the seat belt and/or air bag. This entire event is completed within 300msec, which is faster than what we can voluntarily brace or guard against, even if we see it coming!

Factors that contribute to injury that are more difficult to calculate include the angle and springiness of the seat back, the position of the headrest, the build of the person (tall slender females are at greater risk than a husky male), whether the head was turned at the point of impact, the slipperiness of the road, the size of the two vehicles, etc.

So what’s causing your pain? Is it muscles, ligaments, or something else? There are many symptoms associated with whiplash and hence the term ‘whiplash associated disorders’ or WAD that is applied to these cases. There are four categories of WAD: 1) few symptoms/no exam findings; 2) more symptoms/positive exam findings but no nerve pain; 3) nerve pain—numb/tingling and/or muscle weakness; and 4) fracture/dislocations.

The term “cervical sprain/strain” refers to ligament/muscle injury, respectively. Muscles move bones and joints and are more elastic while ligaments firmly hold two bones together at a joint. The muscles attach to bone by tendons, and a strain refers to a muscle and/or tendon injury. Both sprains (ligaments) and strains (muscle/tendon) are graded as one, two, and three or, mild, moderate, and severe, respectively, depending on how much tearing occurs. The rate of healing is dependent on the amount of tearing and how “nice” you are to it after injury. Pain can last a long time if you keep “picking at the cut” or in other words, not respecting the healing process.

What makes the neck so unique are the many layers of muscles that exist. Like an onion, there are layers upon layers of muscles that do different jobs, but unlike an onion, these muscles run in many different directions. The muscles on the outside tend to be long, large, and strong while the deep ones are short, small, and are important with fine motor control and coordination. The deep muscles are NOT voluntary (the larger/stronger outside muscles are), so to exercise them, we have inhibit the outside muscles to get the deep ones to work. The deep neck flexor muscles are always weak in those of us with neck pain (from any cause) and need to be isolated and strengthened in order to feel and function better.

Doctors of chiropractic are trained to teach you these important, specific exercises in addition to others as well as provide you with pain relief with treatment, education, and job/work modifications.

Why You Should Seek Treatment for Whiplash ASAP!

 

Even though whiplash or whiplash associated disorders (WAD) is very common, it remains poorly understood. Recent studies report that up to 60% of people may still have pain six months after their injury. Why is that?

Investigations have shown there are changes in the muscle and muscle function in the neck and shoulder regions in chronic WAD patients. Symptoms often include balance problems as well as increased sensitivity to a variety of stimuli including pressure, light vibration, and temperature.

Interestingly, this hypersensitivity not only occurs in the injured area, but also in areas away from the neck such as the front of the lower leg or the shin bone. This can only be explained by some type of neurobiological processing of pain within the central nervous system, which includes the spinal cord and brain.

It’s not surprising that when pain continues for lengthy time frames, people with these symptoms may also experience psychological distress. The confusing thing is that not every WAD injury case has this “central sensitization” and when it’s present—its intensity is highly variable.

Current research into WAD is focused on the following: 1) developing better treatments in the early or acute whiplash injury stage with the goal to PREVENT development of these chronic symptoms; 2) determining what factors can PREDICT slower recovery following a WAD injury; 3) investigation into how the stress response associated with motor vehicle crashes influence pain, other symptoms and recovery, and how to best address and MANAGE the stress response; 4) research into the effect a WAD injury has on daily life function; and 5) developing improved assessment methods for healthcare providers so that EARLY treatments can be more targeted and effective.

A Swedish study is currently looking at the importance of reducing the acceleration of the occupant during an automobile collision by redesigning the body of the vehicle and its safety systems. In rear-end crashes, the main issue is to design a seat and head restraint that absorbs energy in a controlled way and gives support to the whole spine. In frontal crashes, the air bag, seat belt pretensioner, and load limiter must work together in a coordinated way to reduce the acceleration between the vertebrae of the spine and occupant.

What is known is that a “wait and watch” approach may NOT be appropriate in a lot of cases. It appears there is a relatively short window of time, the first three months, when treatment seems to be most effective. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to identify and treat these types of injuries, so PLEASE, don’t delay your initial visit—time is truly of the essence.  Don’t waste it!

Collisions & Concussions – New Data!

 

Are you of the belief that you have to hit your head in order to have a concussion or that concussions are easily diagnosed and managed? If so, then you are not alone! In fact, traumatic brain injury (TBI)—the proper term used when bleeding occurs within the skull occurs—and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)—the term applied when no bleeding occurs—remains poorly understood by many healthcare providers. This is partly due to not having any definitive method of testing that yields an accurate diagnosis.

Another problem is the under-reporting of concussion, as close to 40% of people who experience an mTBI do not report it to their doctor. Because of the significant negative consequences regarding the outcome and whole life ramifications associated with concussion, the importance of improving on the ability to diagnose or identify and treat concussion is huge!

We know that mTBI results from the transfer of energy from environmental forces to the brain by a sudden acceleration followed by a sudden deceleration that literally slams the brain into the inside bony skull.

The clinical work-up must include a review of body systems, with a special emphasis on the nervous system, including cognitive and behavioral symptoms. A partial list of post-concussion syndrome symptoms includes headache, balance problems, nausea and/or vomiting, vision problems, dizziness, brain fog (problems with attention, concentration, and speed of mental processing), memory problems, fatigue/drowsiness, light/noise sensitivity, and more.

The good news is that many mTBI sufferers fully recover, but the bad news is up to 25% do not! Promising newer technologies such as Diffuse Tensor Imaging can identify injury to the neural structures (axonal shearing) in those who’ve experienced a head trauma (such as from a car accident, sports injury, or slip and fall). The Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2) has been adopted by numerous sports leagues and others, but many healthcare practitioners do not utilize a structured tool such as this.

One promising tool is a blood test that measures brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF)—a chemical hormone that helps maintain the health of neurons (nerve cells)—which can help diagnose mTBI conclusively and with good reproducibility! Blood levels of BDNF typically are low in patients with TBI or mTBI, and studies have shown patients with very low levels of BDNF are more prone to an incomplete recovery.

Put simply, this type of blood test can help a doctor diagnose, determine the severity, and determine the likelihood of recovery of TBI/mTBI! Doctors of chiropractic are frequently sought out by those with mTBI and understand the importance of careful management of this common and often poorly identified condition.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.

 

Best Exercises for Chronic Low Back Pain (Part 2)

 

 

Last month, we reviewed studies that compared chronic low back pain (cLBP) exercisers to non-exercise control groups and examined how those in the exercise groups experienced significant improvements in pain and disability/function compared with those who remained inactive, regardless of the type of exercise. We also reviewed a few popular Swiss or gym ball exercises. This month, we will introduce some core stabilizing exercises that can be done on the floor.

There are benefits to Swiss ball exercises like balance or proprioception stimulation. In fact, five minutes of ball exercises equals 35 minutes of floor exercising when focusing on balance or proprioception. It is a well-known fact that as we age, we lose our “kinesthetic sense”, or balance skills, so incorporating balance into any exercise program is a good idea!

However, the “con” of Swiss ball exercises is convenience, as such a piece of equipment is less portable. We cannot easily travel with a gym ball, but we all have access to the floor regardless of our location. Also, with exercises performed on the floor, you can achieve stronger muscle contractions due to greater stability. Ideally, MIX the two together! Also, include a 20-30 minute brisk walk for aerobic benefits!   Here are some great floor core stabilization exercises (try holding for 5-10 seconds, repeating 5-10 times, whatever is tolerated):

1)  Pelvic tilts – First, with the knees bent about 90° with your feet on the floor, flatten your low back against the floor by rocking your pelvis back.

2)  Dead Bug – On your back with hips and knees both bent 90° (like sitting in a chair on your back), straighten out the right arm and left leg simultaneously and alternate sides SLOWLY.

3)  Superman – Lay on your stomach with your arm and legs stretched our (like “Superman” flying). Raise one arm and the opposite leg (i.e. right arm/ left leg) and slowly alternate between the other opposing pair. Make it harder by raising BOTH arms and legs at the same time! NOTE:  A pillow under the waist helps.

4)  Bridge – Lay on your back with your knees bent. Lift the buttocks off the ground and push your heels into the floor. Do one leg at a time to make it more challenging.

5)  Sit-ups – There are three leg positions to make it progressively harder (knees bent/feet flat on floor, knees & hips both bent 90°, etc.). Lift your breast bone towards the ceiling and alternate between coming straight up and left and right trunk twists.

6)  Side Bridge (Plank) – If no shoulder problems exist, lay sideways propped up on an elbow and lift the hips off the floor to a straight body position.

7)  Standing squats – Try a quarter, half, or full squat (knee pain dependant) with or without hand weights and with or without a ball squeezed between the knees. Lunges can be substituted or added, if desired.

8)  4-point Quadruped – Kneeling on all fours, straighten out the right arm / left leg and alternate. At the same time, suck in your belly (“abdominal hollowing”) to facilitate the deep transverse abdominis and multifidus muscles. Add a dynamic component by rotating the trunk and approximating your hand to the floor / opposite leg up in the air keeping the body in a straight line.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for any reason, we would be honored to render our services.

 

Best Exercises for Chronic Low Back Pain (Part 1)

Based on simple statistics, we’ve ALL had (or at least will have) some form of low back pain (LBP) at some point in our lives. The term “chronic” applies to LBP that’s been present for at least three months. It has been consistently reported that LBP becomes increasingly difficult to resolve when it persists for three or more months. This month’s topic is about which exercises have been found to BEST address chronic low back pain (cLBP).

Many studies have investigated the effects of stabilization exercises in patients with chronic low back pain. In a review of six recently published studies that followed patients over a four to sixteen week time frame, investigators noted that participants who engaged in exercise (the use of a Swiss ball, floor or “land-based” exercises, sling exercises with some focusing on the abdominal muscles while others looked the extensors) reported improvements in pain and disability that were not seen among those in the non-exercise control groups. Additionally, one study also looked at changes in bone density between both groups and found increased bone density in the exercise group and a reduction in bone density among participants who refrained from exercise. Another study reported waist isometric strength increases in their exercise group.

One study found the cross section of the multifidus (MF) muscles—the deep low back, fine motor muscle groups that is considered to be one of the most important targets for low back strengthening—significantly increased after eight weeks of exercise. Another study observed the same effect for the deep transverse abdominis muscles.

These and other studies clearly show that core stabilization exercises can improve pain and disability scores in patients with cLBP, while those who do not exercise do not improve and in fact, may actually worsen! So, what are core stabilization exercises?

Here are some Swiss ball options (try 5-10 times and increase reps/hold times as you improve your strength):

1) Sitting pelvic tilts – This can be done with both feet (or eventually one foot when you’re ready for an added challenge) on the floor while rocking the pelvis front to back, left to right, or in a circular or “figure-8” manner.

2) Bridge – Start sitting and then walk out so the ball is between the shoulder blades. Keep your trunk parallel to the floor. Push your heels into the floor to activate the hip extensors (buttock muscles) and then walk back up to a sitting position. You can further challenge your balance and hip extensor strength by raising one leg.

3) Sit-ups – Start sitting and roll halfway back and hold it for different lengths of time.

4) See-Saw – Hug the ball and roll out into a push up position. Position the ball under your
pelvis and lift one leg at a time towards the ceiling. Alternate between the left and right legs. You can do BOTH legs together once you get used to this to make it more challenging.

There are MANY other Swiss ball exercises, but these are some good ones to start with. Next month, we’ll look at similar floor or land-based pelvic stabilization exercises!

Whiplash: What’s the “Best Evidence” These Days?

Whiplash, or WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorders), refers to a neck injury where the normal range of motion is exceeded, resulting in injury to the soft-tissues (hopefully with no fractures) in the cervical region. There are a LOT of factors involved that enter into the degree of injury and length of healing time. Let’s take a closer look!

Picture the classic rear-end collision. The incident itself may be over within 300 milliseconds (msec), which is why it’s virtually impossible to brace yourself effectively for the crash as a typical voluntary muscle contraction takes two to three times longer (800-1000 msec) to accomplish.

In the first 50 msec, the force of the rear-end collision pushes the vehicle (and the torso of the body) forwards leaving the head behind so the cervical spine straightens out from its normal “C-shape” (or lordosis). By 75-100 msec, the lower part of the neck extends or becomes more C-shaped while the upper half flexes or moves in an opposite direction creating an “S” shape to the neck. Between 150-200msec, the whole neck hyper extends and the head may hit the head rest IF the headrest is positioned properly. In the last 200-300 msec, the head is propelled forwards into flexion in a “crack the whip” type of motion.

Injury to the neck may occur at various stages of this very fast process, and many factors determine the degree of injury such as a smaller car being hit by a larger car, the impact direction, the position of the head upon impact (worse if turned), if the neck is tall and slender vs. short and muscular, the angle and “springiness” of the seat back and relative position of the headrest, dry vs. wet/slippery pavement, and airbag deployment, just to name a few.

Some other factors that can predict recovery include: limited neck motion, the presence of neurological loss (nerve specific muscle weakness and/or numbness/tingling), high initial pain levels (>5/10 on a 0-10 scale), high disability scores on questionnaires, overly fearful of harming oneself with usual activity and/or work, depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress, poor coping skills, headaches, back pain, widespread or whole body pain, dizziness, negative expectation of recovery, pending litigation, catastrophizing, age (older is worse), and poor pre-collision health (both mental and physical).

Research shows the best outcomes occur when patients are assured that most people fully recover and when patients stay active and working as much as possible. Studies have shown it’s best to avoid prolonged inactivity and cervical collars unless under a doctor’s orders. It’s also a good idea to gradually introduce exercises aimed at improving range of motion, postural endurance, and motor control provided doing so keeps the patient within reasonable pain boundaries. Chiropractic manipulation restores movement in fixed or stuck joints in the back and neck and has been found to help significantly with neck pain and headaches, particularly for patients involved in motor vehicle collisions. A doctor of chiropractic may also recommend using a cervical pillow, home traction, massage, and other therapies as part of the recovery process.

It is important to be aware that fear of normal activity and not engaging in usual activities and work can delay healing and promote chronic problems and long-term disability. It’s suggested patients avoid opioid medication use due to the addictive problems with such drugs. Ice and anti-inflammatory herbs or nutrients (like ginger, turmeric, and bioflavonoids) are safer options. Your doctor of chiropractic can guide you in this process!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.

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