Older Adults: Chiropractic Care Protects Your Spine—And Your Active Lifestyle

Posted April 21, 2016 by ncarlisledc
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Older adults have long relied on chiropractic care to help keep them healthy and active. However, little scientific data has been gathered about the use of chiropractic by seniors, and few studies have been conducted to evaluate the potential benefits. New research published in the March edition of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics has helped to fill this important gap. The investigators’ findings confirmed what chiropractors and their older patients have known for some time. Not only does chiropractic care help relieve older adults’ back pain, it also seems to keep them more active and protect them from limitations in their daily activities.

The study analyzed data on 1,057 Medicare recipients gleaned from nationwide research conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called the survey on Assets and Health Dynamics among the Oldest Old (AHEAD). In the AHEAD survey, a subset of patients who had been identified as suffering from back pain were asked questions about their overall health as well as their ability to complete activities of daily living (ADL) and their lower body function. ADL was defined as normal activities such as walking up stairs, doing household chores, and going shopping for groceries. The researchers then compared the survey information with medical records indicating which of the older adults had received either medical care or chiropractic care during the 11-year period covered by the study.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that the chiropractic patients were much less likely to show declines in ADF and lower body function than patients who received only medical care. This indicates that they were more able to maintain an active lifestyle. The chiropractic patients were also less likely to report significant declines in their health.

Senior couple relaxing outside

The researchers thus concluded that chiropractic care appears to have had a protective effect against age-related frailty and disability. As they said in the study, “These results suggest that when chiropractic care is delivered in practice at care levels comparable to those used in clinical trials and relative to the types of services delivered within an episode of medical care only, chiropractic confers significant and substantial benefits to older adult functional ability and self-rated health.”

The findings were considered particularly significant because Medicare patients have a great deal of flexibility with respect to treatment options. They can consult medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic, physical therapists, internists, neurologists, orthopedists, and interventional pain providers. This means that the results attributed to chiropractic care were achieved in a setting where patients had access to a wide variety of therapies rather than in a clinical study format where subjects typically have only one or two options available to them.

This research also added to the existing body of evidence that chiropractic care is safe for seniors with back and neck pain, and that chiropractic can offer substantial relief for spinal conditions such as arthritis and disk herniation. Because aging causes the degeneration of spinal disks, regular chiropractic care may help to make seniors less prone to painful and debilitating back injuries like bulging disks and pinched spinal nerves.

All of this means that older chiropractic patients may be better able to enjoy their “golden years” freer from pain and disability. And it also means that they may be able to maintain a more active and healthier lifestyle.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Text Neck and More: How Our Electronic Devices Are Changing Our Posture

Posted April 7, 2016 by ncarlisledc
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The last 10 years have seen exceptional innovation in personal electronics. Our smartphones, laptops, and tablets have undoubtedly made it easier to create, consume and share all kinds of content as well as to shop online anywhere and anytime. But they do also have their drawbacks—including negative health consequences. This applies in particular to our posture. The overuse of personal electronic devices is taking a toll on our necks and backs, and this damage could lead to even more serious health issues down the road.

Some medical professionals are calling it the “iPosture Syndrome”. It’s a head-forward posture that many people (teenagers and younger kids included) are developing from hunching over electronic devices for long hours every day. As physiotherapist Carolyn Cassano explains, “If the head shifts in front of the shoulders, as is happening with this posture, the weight of the head increases, and the muscles of the upper back and neck need to work much harder to support it, leading to pain and muscle strain.”

According to CNN, “The average human head weighs 10 pounds in a neutral position—when your ears are over your shoulders. For every inch you tilt your head forward, the pressure on your spine doubles. So if you’re looking at a smartphone in your lap, your neck is holding up what feels like 20 or 30 pounds.” All that additional pressure puts a strain on your spine and can pull it out of alignment.

woman with mobile phone  #15

Also known as “text neck,” this head-forward posture is a fairly new development among younger adults, teenagers and children (some just beginning kindergarten) who are developing chronic neck and back pain as well as early signs of spine curvature. Coined by Dr. Dean Fishman, a chiropractor and founder of the Text Neck Institute in Florida, the phrase “text neck” is defined as an overuse syndrome involving the head, neck and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking forward and downward at a portable electronic device over extended periods of time.

The text neck disorder is unfortunately progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time without treatment. “It can lead to degenerative disk disease which is irreversible, bone spurs start to grow, people get pinched nerves or herniated disks and that can lead to really intense pain,” says chiropractor Dr. Anthony Bang of the Cleveland Clinic.

The doctor explains that the neck should have a banana-like curve. However, people who consistently look down at handheld devices for hours daily are losing that normal curve, thereby developing straight necks. While severe neck problems can result from losing that curve, there are ways to avoid this fate.
“First of all, put it away, it can wait five minutes. Give your neck a break, but if you need to use it, take it and bring it up to eye level so that your head still stays on top of your shoulders instead of stooping down looking at your lap,” said Bang.

TextNeck

CNN also recommends that you “Be aware of your body. Keep your feet flat on the floor, roll your shoulders back and keep your ears directly over them so your head isn’t tilted forward. Use docking stations and wrist guards to support the weight of a mobile device. Buy a headset.”

Now there are even apps to help you with your texting posture. For example, the Text Neck Institute has developed an app that helps the user avoid hunching over. When your phone is held at a healthy viewing angle, a green light shines in the top left corner. When you’re slouching over and at risk for text neck, a red light appears.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment today!

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Voices of Major League Baseball: Players Speak Up About the Value of Chiropractic Care

Posted March 16, 2016 by ncarlisledc
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Given the physical demands of the sport and its long, 162-game season, major league baseball teams are always on the lookout for ways to keep their players healthy and performing at their best. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that chiropractic care and professional baseball have a long history together. During the 1920s, the Yankees had a team chiropractor, Dr. Erie Painter, who traveled with the team during a time of four World Championships. In the mid-1940s, author Cash Asher wrote a story claiming that Yankee management had wanted it to be kept a secret so that no other team could steal their health advantage.

In more recent years, a growing number of retired and current MLB players have gone “on the record” about how chiropractic care has helped them.

“Being introduced to chiropractic care has definitely helped my game. When you add it with a lot of the physical therapy exercises and the in-game exercises, I think it just prevents a lot of injury. I went through a lot of injury in my career, and the first time I actually was introduced to chiropractic care, it pretty much kept me on the field. It’s something that helps me feel much better when I’m on the field and off the field.”
-Cole Hamels

“I had issues with my shoulder and arm for a long time. I started seeing Dr. Filson this year. Since then, I have not had any arm problems. The whole team appreciates him and the work he did throughout the season. I know while being under Dr. Filson’s care, I was able to feel 100% while on the mound.”
-Jason Motte

“If I had my way Gil (Chimes, DC) would be with me every single day of the year. He didn’t travel with the team last year, but if he had, I wouldn’t have had that calf injury, or at least it wouldn’t have been as bad… You need to continue to tune it (your body) to make sure it’s perfect for every show or game or however you want to put it… When you think about all the anti-inflammatory drugs that are pumped into athletes’ bodies, it’s really sad.”
-Mark Teixeira

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“I go to my chiropractor on a regular basis, because I want to prolong my career as long as possible. I see him about once a week, in between my training (sessions). By getting an adjustment once a week from him, I feel I can sustain my career a lot longer… Your body is being treated like it is supposed to be treated… I think it should be mandatory for athletes to see a chiropractor.”
-Barry Bonds

“Last year I found my Chiropractor and I have been seeing him ever since. I have been pain-free and feeling terrific. I swear by it. Now, it is just maintenance and keeping in line so the nerves don’t touch… I don’t feel that stiffness in the entire midsection anymore. I haven’t winced since I started this… The muscle relaxants weren’t working, the prednisone wasn’t working, nothing was working anymore. My legs were like jelly.”
-Wade Boggs

“I’ve found that it’s a great stress reliever to get adjusted. It takes away a lot of the tightness in the muscles… When you’re out there and you’re not feeling the pain, you’re obviously going to be a better player.”
-Jose Canseco

“Last year, we had tons of back problems [on the Yankees]. There is no way we could get back and ready for another season without chiropractic… Without chiropractic, I wouldn’t be able to play consistently throughout the season… Maintaining your health just leads to a better way of life for each individual. Chiropractic, specifically, can improve your posture, your circulation and just really benefit your quality of life in the long run.”
-Johnny Damon

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Treating Back Pain Effectively Starts with Asking the Right Questions

Posted February 17, 2016 by ncarlisledc
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Back pain will be an issue for roughly 80% of the US population at one point or another in their lives. However, the nature of the pain and its effect on their lives can vary greatly from one person to another. As chiropractic physicians, we work closely with our patients to understand exactly what they’re experiencing so that we can diagnose the problem and provide the most effective treatment possible. This starts with asking the right questions.

For example:
Where do you feel the pain, and how would you describe it? For many people, the pain may be mild—little more than a minor inconvenience when they first get out of bed in the morning. But for others, it may be severe, potentially limiting their day-to-day activity and changing their lifestyle until it goes away. In addition to its intensity, the pain may also have a particular character. Is it a dull, aching pain or is it a sharp, shooting one?
Was the pain triggered by something specific, how long have you had it, and is it constant or does it come and go? In some cases, the pain may be acute (perhaps related to a recent sports, auto or work injury), while in others it may be recurring or chronic—either reemerging from time to time or lingering on for weeks, months or even years. It may also be the result of some other underlying health conditions.

doctor-patient-conversation-200-300

Does the pain seem to get better or worse in certain situations? It’s not unusual for the pain to change in response to particular body positions or movements.
These types of diagnostic questions—along with a comprehensive physical examination and appropriate tests—can help us identify specific structural or mechanical problems that may be affecting your musculoskeletal or nervous systems. Some of the more common causes of back pain are described briefly below.
1. Muscle strains and muscle spasms are the most common causes of low back pain. While patients may or may not remember the initial event that triggered their problem, muscle strains and spasms can be incredibly painful.
2. A ruptured, herniated, slipped or bulging disc is another common cause of back pain. These terms are often used somewhat interchangeably to describe a damaged disc with material protruding from it. In this situation, pain may be caused because there is less cushioning between the vertebrae and/or because protruding disc material is applying pressure to spinal nerves. It is important to note that a large percentage of the population is walking around with some form of disc degeneration that causes no symptoms, so not every herniated disc warrants treatment or intervention.
3. Discogenic back pain is the result of damage to an intervertebral disc, but without disc herniation. Diagnosis of discogenic back pain may require the use of a discogram.
4. Spinal stenosis causes a lot of back pain in the elderly. As we age, the spinal canal can become constricted from arthritis and other conditions. If the spinal canal becomes too tight, back pain can be the result.
5. Arthritis most commonly affects joints such as the knees and fingers. However, arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the small joints of the spine. Arthritis of the spine can cause back pain with movement.
6. Spondylolisthesis causes back pain because adjacent vertebra become unstable and begin to “slip.” The most common cause of spondylolisthesis is degeneration of the normal stabilizing structures of the spinal column.
It’s important for patients and their families to be aware that back pain is a very complex phenomenon. Even with long professional experience, specialized training and high-tech equipment, it can still be very difficult for healthcare providers to diagnose. This is the reason that a large percentage of cases are ultimately characterized as “non-specific back pain.” But it’s also why you shouldn’t try to self-diagnose or self-treat. If you do have serious structural or mechanical problems that are affecting your back, your condition could actually be made worse as a result of inappropriate treatment or delay.

Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal and nervous system problems. If you or someone you care about is suffering from back pain, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’ll work closely with you to understand your situation and put in place an effective treatment plan that will help you recover as quickly and completely as possible. And—if necessary—we’ll even work with you do develop new lifestyle habits that will help prevent back pain in the future!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Chiropractic Care and the Expectant Mother

Posted January 11, 2016 by ncarlisledc
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The nine months prior to giving birth may be one of the best times in a woman’s life to discover the health benefits of chiropractic care. Not only is chiropractic care safe and effective in relieving many of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, it can also make the delivery itself easier.

The changes that take place within an expecting woman’s body are profound and take place in a relatively short period of time. The additional stress placed on the body by the baby, combined with an average weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds, can result in considerable discomfort. In fact, studies have shown that at least half of expectant mothers develop back pain during their pregnancies. The physiological and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can also result in a variety of other musculoskeletal symptoms, including spinal misalignment, increased back curvature, pelvic changes, and postural abnormalities. This article highlights two of the most common complaints and explains why chiropractic care can be especially useful in addressing them.

pregnant (1)

Low Back Pain (LBP)
Unfortunately, pregnancy and back pain often go hand-in-hand. Even more unfortunately, relatively few women get help for the condition.
• Between 57% and 69% of women complain of low back pain during pregnancy.
• Only about 32% of women report these symptoms to their primary doctor.
• Only about 25% of primary doctors recommend seeking treatment for the pain.

But there is some good news as well—a small number of chiropractic treatments can be quite effective in relieving pregnancy-related LBP. In a small study of 17 women:
• Sixteen of 17 (94%) saw clinically important improvements in low back pain with chiropractic care.
• The average pain rating went down from 5.9 to 1.5 (on a scale of 0 to 10).
• It took an average of 1.8 visits and 4.5 days to get clinically significant pain relief.

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)
SPD is more frequently referred to simply as pelvic pain. It’s a problem that is growing more common among pregnant women, either due to increasing maternal age or to the condition simply being diagnosed more frequently. The pain is due to excessive movement of the bones that make up the pubic symphysis, which are the two bones that meet at the front of the pelvic girdle and are connected by a joint made of cartilage and supported by ligaments.
• Over 30% of women are reported as suffering from some form of SPD during pregnancy.
• Approximately 7 percent continuing to experience pain post-partum.
Symptoms of SPD include shooting pain in the pubic symphysis area (which often radiates to the abdomen, lower back and upper leg), pain on movement, a waddling gait and swelling in the pubic area. The pain can range from mild to debilitating, and the condition can interfere with normal daily activities such as bending, lifting the leg and getting up from a chair. A recent study published in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association has reported that conservative chiropractic care can reduce pain from pregnancy-related SPD, increase mobility and improve function.

Sciatica
As the fetus grows inside the mother’s womb, the uterus expands and occasionally places pressure against the sciatic nerve in the lower spinal column. This pressure can become especially evident during the third trimester as the baby begins to shift toward the proper birthing position. The baby can end up resting directly upon the nerve, triggering common sciatica symptoms, including weakness, tingling, numbness and burning pain in the legs, back and buttocks.
Approximately half of all pregnant women who suffer from sciatica recover within six weeks of childbirth and almost all (90%) recover within 3 months, although there is a small percentage for whom the pain continues for much longer. Fortunately, chiropractic care is safe and effective for treating sciatica—both during and after pregnancy.

PregnancyLBP

What You Should Know
All chiropractic physicians receive training in how to care for their pregnant patients. Some use tables that can be adjusted to accommodate a pregnant woman’s changing body and utilize techniques designed to avoid unnecessary pressure on the abdomen. Some chiropractors seek additional training in prenatal and postnatal care, and become certified with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) as a DACCP, CACCP, or as Webster Certified to work specifically with pelvic balance during pregnancy. Chiropractors can also provide you with exercises and stretching routines that are safe to use during pregnancy.

There are no known contraindications to chiropractic treatment during pregnancy. In addition, chiropractic care during the actual labor and birth process itself has been found in studies to shorten labor time by 25 to 60 percent, reduce the amount of pain medication required, and help make the whole delivery process more comfortable.
If you’re an expectant mother and are wondering whether chiropractic care might be right for you and your baby, please call or visit our office. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. Remember—we’re here to help!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Women and Chronic Pain

Posted January 7, 2016 by ncarlisledc
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Chronic pain affects millions of Americans, but the condition is seldom portrayed in the popular media. In late 2014 and early 2015, an independent film called “Cake” starring Jennifer Aniston did just that. According to many reviewers, Aniston did an admirable job bringing her character—a chronic pain sufferer named Claire—to life and conveying the complex reality of chronic pain. And for women, that reality can be particularly complex. When it comes to chronic pain, men and women really are very different. It’s not just a reporting or media phenomenon, and it’s not just in women’s imaginations.

Judy Foreman, author of a book called “A Nation in Pain: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem,” recently contributed an essay to the Review section of the Wall Street Journal. Here are a couple of notable quotes from that essay:
“Clinically, women are both more likely to get chronic painful conditions that can affect either sex and to report greater pain than men with the same condition, according to studies over the past 15 years.”
“In 2008, when researchers looked at prevalence rates in 10 developed and seven developing countries, in a sample that included more than 85,000 people, they discovered that the prevalence of any chronic pain condition was 45% among women, versus 31% among men.”

neck-pain-woman-200-300

“In a 2009 review, researchers from the University of Florida found that, all over the world, women get more irritable bowel syndrome, more fibromyalgia, more headaches (especially migraines) more neuropathic pain (from damage to the nervous system itself), more osteoarthritis, and more jaw problems such as TMD, as well as more musculoskeletal and back pain.”

Researchers have also discovered that women’s perception of pain and their psychological reaction to it may also be quite different from men’s. In particular, they have a greater tendency to catastrophize—in other words, to focus obsessively on their pain, fixating on worst-case scenarios and believing that it will be never-ending, debilitating and untreatable.

These quotes from Judy Foreman’s book allude to some experimental research that supports this notion and explain why it’s a problem.

“At Johns Hopkins, researchers tested 198 healthy young people (115 of them women) in the lab, triggering pain by heat, cold, and ischemia (applying a tight tourniquet). When they asked men and women to react to the pain, the women catastrophized more than men, as gauged by self-reports… It was not mood or depression, but catastrophizing that was linked to women’s reports of greater pain.”

“Catastrophizing does make a bad situation worse… Being a high catastrophizer is not just miserable, it’s a bad prognostic sign. Catastrophizing can interfere with your ability to cope: It can amplify the way your nervous system processes pain, and it can actually get in the way of benefiting from treatment.”
This all means that it’s important to look for a physician who really understands musculoskeletal pain as it affects BOTH genders. The latest research and clinical experience makes it clear that the differences are more complicated than the medical community once believed. So if you or someone you care about is in chronic pain, call or visit our office today. We can help!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Back Spasms Explained

Posted January 4, 2016 by ncarlisledc
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“Muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle that can cause a great deal of pain. When the facet joints of the spine become injured or inflamed, the muscles supporting the spine can spasm causing low back pain and limitation in motion.”
-Spine Health
While this short definition is a good starting point for describing the phenomenon of muscle spasms in the back, there’s a good deal more to know about what causes these painful involuntary contractions and how they can be treated most effectively. This article provides a brief explanation of some of the most common causes and therapy options.

What causes back spasms?
A back spasm can occur when the muscles supporting the spinal column—particularly those in the lower back—become overworked and contract on their own suddenly and without warning. If the muscles contract near the nerve roots around the spinal cord, this condition can be extremely painful.
Muscles that are overworked—lifting unusually heavy loads, moving in ways they’re not accustomed to, stretching beyond their normal range or exerting themselves over longer-than-normal periods—can become inflamed and irritated. In many cases, the pain first becomes noticeable when you’re twisting or bending your back, particularly through more rapid or forceful movements.

lowbackpainedinburgh

Certain sports are more likely than others to trigger back spasms because they require powerful swinging or throwing motions that place asymmetrical stresses on the back. Golf, tennis, racquetball, baseball and football all fall into this general category. Because of the increased resistance and range of motion involved in many common exercises, weightlifting also poses particular risks when it comes to back spasms.

Some types of manual labor are also closely associated with back spasms—shoveling snow, raking leaves, lifting and stacking boxes and working in the garden, just to name a few. The common denominator is a repeated bending or twisting movement combined with some resistance.
Whatever the immediate trigger happens to be, back spasms are likely to get worse if the activity isn’t stopped immediately. But there are also some underlying factors that can make back spasms more likely to recur:
• Weak stomach muscles
• Tight hamstrings
• A tipped pelvis
• Lordosis (an exceptional curvature of the lumbar spine)
• A back condition such as spondylolysis, arthritis or spinal stenosis

How are back spasms treated?
The most common approach to treating back spasms involves first resting the affected muscles so that they can relax and heal, and then strengthening them so that they are more capable of supporting the spine through the required range of motion. It’s worth mentioning that longer-term bed rest is not usually recommended, since this can actually delay healing and result in weakness and reduced mobility. Instead, you should try to be as active as possible, but be sure not to put any unnecessary strain on the back muscles. Plus, many patients also find that massage therapy helps to relax spasm-prone muscles and accelerate healing.

While resting, some experts recommend that you lie on your back on the floor with a pillow under your knees, or with your knees bent and your legs resting on a chair. Common anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also be recommended during the first days, though they should not be taken for prolonged periods. Applying heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time may help to soothe sore back muscles.

After your back has sufficiently healed, you can begin to introduce more movement. A visit to your chiropractor is always a good idea, since he or she can identify any structural problems (particularly misaligned vertebrae) or postural issues that may be contributing to muscle imbalances or increasing your risk of recurring back spasms. Chiropractic physicians are also specially trained to prescribe exercises that build core strength and flexibility—not only in the back but also in the abdomen—to better support the spinal column as it moves in different ways. Stretching the hamstrings and psoas muscles can also help by reducing the tightness that often develops from spending long hours in a sitting position, and that often increases the likelihood of muscle spasms.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from back spasms, we can provide both short-term relief and long-term answers. We encourage you to call or visit our office today!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC


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