Archive for June 2014

Got Neck Pain? Upper Back Adjustments Can Help!

June 30, 2014

Almost everyone experiences neck pain from time to time during their lives. Doctors estimate that on any given day, 10% of the adult population is suffering from a “stiff neck.” However, it’s a different story when that neck pain persists and becomes chronic. Chronic neck pain can result in both physical and emotional distress. Employment statistics suggest that neck pain is second only to back pain as a cause of missed work, affecting as much as 45% of the workforce.

If you have experienced chronic neck pain yourself, you may know that traditional medical doctors offer relatively few treatment options. You may also know that most of these options are intended only to manage the pain, not to address the underlying cause. However, recent research published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics is hopeful, suggesting that chiropractic spinal manipulation significantly improves patients’ neck pain in a short amount of time.

In the study, 60 patients with chronic non-specific neck pain received spinal manipulation delivered by chiropractors in a double-blind, randomized trial. Two groups of 30 patients were created, and two different techniques of spinal manipulation were employed to adjust the thoracic vertebrae in the upper back. One technique had the patient lying prone (face down), and the other had the patient supine (face up). Measurements were taken before manipulation, immediately afterwards, and twenty minutes later. Little or no difference was found in the relative effectiveness of the two techniques, but both groups reported significantly reduced neck pain, while objective measurements showed significantly improved mobility (cervical range of motion) and a reduced sensitivity to pressure pain.

Rear view of a young man holding his neck in pain, isolated on w

This study‘s findings correspond with an earlier study that compared the effectiveness of manual therapies provided by a chiropractor, a medical doctor, and a physical therapist to relieve neck pain. In that study, the success rate of the chiropractic groups at the seven-week mark was two times better (68.3%) than the other two groups. Patients in the study were able to use far less medication to treat their pain and reported far fewer work absences.

The recent findings also correspond to a survey of alternative health care treatments conducted by Consumer Reports, polling 45,601 of their subscribers. One in four respondents felt that they received better care from their chiropractors than from their medical doctors. More importantly, in this survey, chiropractic care outperformed all other treatments for both back pain (65% reporting that it “helped a lot”) and neck pain (64% similarly reporting that it “helped a lot”). In contrast, the respondents reported that prescription medications only helped 49% of the time.

It is gratifying to see that science is confirming what chiropractors and their patients have known for some time—that chiropractic spinal manipulation may be the most effective method for treating chronic neck pain. Whether your neck pain is acute or chronic, perhaps you should put your chiropractor at the top of the list of medical specialists to consult. Chiropractic care is safe, gentle, and—above all—it works.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Which Sports Pose the Greatest Risk of Back and Neck Injuries?

June 26, 2014

Participating in sports is fun. Sports provide healthy exercise, comradeship, a sense of competition, and the opportunity to build and improve athletic skills. However, all sports also involve some risk of injury. In 2006, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reported over half a million injuries, and that figure is only for basketball. The same agency recorded another two million sports injuries associated with bicycling, football, and other sports. And it’s not just adults who risk injury—the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics report that 3.5 million kids age 14 and younger are injured every year playing sports.

It’s important to keep numbers like these in perspective. The truth is that most of these injuries are relatively minor. “Pulled muscles,” meaning muscles and tendons damaged as the result of not warming up and stretching properly, are probably the most common type of injury, but they are not consistently reported to doctors, so no accurate statistics exist on their prevalence. The most prevalent sports-related injuries reported—in order from most common to least—are runner’s knee (55%), shoulder injuries (20%) sprained ankles (15%), and tennis or golf elbow (7%).

Next in line come a number of potentially more serious injuries involving the neck, back and spinal cord. These injuries often fit the description of “catastrophic” injuries used by sports physicians, and their number is sadly on the rise. To provide more information for sports enthusiasts hoping to minimize their likelihood of injury (not to mention parents worried about their children becoming injured), we’ve identified a few sports that cause the most neck, back and spinal cord injuries.

Naturally, any kind of “contact sport” (like football, ice hockey, and rugby) involves a higher risk of injury to the muscles, tendons, joints, and bones of the neck and back. Any time a body moving at several miles an hour runs into another one, the laws of physics dictate that there is a certain likelihood of damage, and that the damage may be serious. Even when wearing proper protective equipment (including helmets and pads), there is always a possibility of injury involved in playing these sports.

Interestingly, however, neck strain and injuries are prevalent even among practitioners of non-contact sports. For example, tennis players often put stress on their necks while straining upwards to hit overhead smashes. And cyclists who use racing handlebars and bend low over them put severe repetitive strain on their necks, because they literally have to tilt their head up into an over-extended position to see where they’re going.

Assorted Sports Equipment on Black

Any sport (or strength-training exercise to prepare for participating in a sport) that involves lifting weights increases your risk of injuring your back and spinal cord. Most weight-lifting-related injuries are caused by either not warming up properly, by attempting to lift too much weight, or both. These types of injuries are common not only among weightlifters, but also among martial artists, tennis players and golfers, because these athletes tend to rotate their spines only in one direction. Skiers and swimmers also have a greater number of lower back injuries than other athletes. Even running can cause chronic back pain, because running improperly or with the wrong type of footwear can cause arch pain or Achilles tendonitis, which then throws the athlete’s posture off and can put strain on the back and neck even when they are no longer running.

So the “bottom line” is that no sport is entirely “safe” in the sense that it is completely free from the possibility of injury. There have even been cases of people spraining their thumbs from playing tiddley-winks. But if you practice “safe sports” by always warming up and stretching properly, wearing the proper equipment, knowing your limits and not exceeding them, you can avoid many potential injuries.

If you become injured—or even if you just want advice about how to avoid injury—your chiropractor can be a very valuable resource. Many chiropractors specialize in the field of sports medicine. They can measure your gait while walking or running, or watch how your body moves when performing the movements required by a certain sport, and offer advice on both how to make your movements more efficient and how to avoid injury while making them. Call or visit our office to learn more!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Tom Brady

June 24, 2014

If you’re at all interested in sports –or chiropractic—you may have noticed in your Internet travels graphics featuring some of the biggest names in sports. The “Get Adjusted” campaign features quotes from athletes and other celebrities who have found chiropractic care valuable and want to share their experience with the public. So far, the campaign includes familiar faces such as Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, Decathlon gold medalist Dan O’Brien, Joe Montana, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Tom Brady Chiropractic

It’s true that “Ahnold” is not really an athlete these days, but the first name on the list—Tom Brady—certainly is. As quarterback for the New England Patriots, he has been an NFL Most Valuable Player and has earned similar MVP awards in two of the four Super Bowl games he’s played in (winning 3). Brady holds the NFL record for the most touchdown passes thrown in a regular season and has a career passing rating of 92.9. Plus, he’s been named as Sportsman of the Year by both Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News. He’s a veritable sports superstar.

The quote that graces Tom’s “Get Adjusted” graphic says it all: “Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better. When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I’m about three inches taller and everything’s in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.” Brady joins many athletes, including all of the athletes participating in the recent Olympic Winter Games, in being able to take advantage of chiropractors’ knowledge of human anatomy to help them heal faster from injuries, prevent future health problems, and even improve their athletic performance. Chiropractic care became an official part of the Olympic training sports medicine program in 1980, and was offered onsite to athletes as one of the core services at its Polyclinic in Sochi.


Nothing that Tom Brady has said about chiropractic care will come as no surprise to Dr. Michael Miller, a graduate of the prestigious Palmer College of Chiropractic, who has been the chiropractic team physician for the Patriots for the past 30 years. He works with anywhere from 30 to 40 Patriots players before each game and is available for specific injuries during the game. He has been to seven Super Bowl games with the team and is the proud possessor of three Super Bowl rings and four championship rings. Miller was the first chiropractor to work for an NFL team 30 years ago, but now every team in the NFL has at least one chiropractor on its full-time staff.

Chiropractic is a natural form of therapy that’s a great fit for elite athletes, who are in a sense like high-performance racing cars. They’re fast, but their bodies are also subjected to tremendous forces when they perform, both during training and competition. These athletes simply can’t rely on drugs to keep playing and most wouldn’t even if they could. Much of Dr. Miller’s work is done pre-game, making adjustments to players’ knees, shoulders, ankles, and backs to help them avoid injury. As he says, “Their job is to get banged and be tackled. They are basically getting beaten up each game. They understand the importance of a chiropractor and see how it allows them to play longer.”

Longer, and better. Many athletes in many sports have joined Tom Brady in telling their own stories and offering their endorsements. They recognize that chiropractic care has helped them be more injury-free and kept their bodies performing more optimally, which has made them better at their sport over the course of their careers. But even if you’re not a professional athlete, you too can benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments. Whether chiropractic care ultimately helps to improve your golf or tennis game, or just helps you recover from “overdoing it” during the weekend, isn’t that something you’d want to investigate? To learn more, just call or visit our office!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Michael Jordan

June 10, 2014

His biography on the National Basketball Association’s (NBA’s) official website reads, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” He’s won 2 Olympic gold medals, helped lead his team to NBA championships six times (5 of those times as Most Valuable Player), he’s a ten-time NBA high scorer, has been named to 14 All-Star teams, and is a Basketball Hall of Fame member.

For all of those accomplishments, however, one of the things that stand out about Michael Jordan is that he doesn’t rest on his laurels. He gets better by analyzing his potential faults or weaknesses and eliminating them. So he’s always striving to reach his full potential and improving his performance. And chiropractic care has played a part in this process. Michael Jordan himself puts it this way: “I didn’t know how much I could improve until I started seeing a chiropractor. Since I’ve been in chiropractic, I’ve improved by leaps and bounds both mentally and physically.”

With this statement, Jordan has joined the long list of elite athletes who have recently added their voices to a “Get Adjusted” campaign. This campaign is designed to increase the public’s awareness of chiropractic and its application to sport. Other athletes who have made similar statements include Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, Evander Holyfield, Jerry Rice, Dan O’Brien, and Wayne Gretzky.


When you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense that chiropractic care is being used so extensively by athletes. Chiropractic care is a perfect match for the rigors of high-level training and competition, which place extreme demands on athletes’ bodies—particularly on their musculoskeletal systems. Olympians from around the world have had chiropractic care available to them at Olympic Polyclinics for years. And major professional sports franchises from baseball to football and basketball have relied on team chiropractors to keep their star players healthy and performing at their best. Injury is always a possibility, so athletes and their coaches place a premium on prevention as well as smart approaches to recovery and rehabilitation. Chiropractic care, with its drug-free, surgery-free emphasis on helping the body heal itself, fits well into this demanding environment.

For Michael Jordan, the benefits of chiropractic care have been long-lasting and have followed him off the basketball court. He’s been very vocal about how much chiropractic care has improved not only his basketball performance, but also his golf game. His personal experience echoes the results of a study performed at the Titleist Performance Institute in which golfers were measured driving off the tee both before and after chiropractic adjustments. The group receiving chiropractic care improved their drive distance after every treatment.

So whether you’re a professional athlete or just a weekend warrior, give your chiropractor a call and ask about sports medicine techniques that can help you stay healthy, recover from injuries faster and more completely, and improve your performance!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Why Do Experts Recommend Exercising Through a Full Range of Motion?

June 3, 2014

Range of motion is a term most often used in sports training and medical practice (especially rehabilitation) to refer to the movement of a joint from its fully compressed or contracted position to its fully extended position.

As an example, flex your arm right now, bending your wrist first toward your shoulder, and then extending it fully. The arc defined by your arm during this process is a full 180 degrees. This would be the full range of motion for your arm and elbow joint. You would see a similar 180-degree arc defining the full range of motion for your knee. On the other hand, your shoulder has a wider full range of motion, not only being able to raise your arm from your side to over your head, but also to rotate it within the joint, allowing the arm to follow the same 180-degree arc in front of you, and a partial arc behind you.

If you’re already familiar with the phrase “exercising through a full range of motion”, it’s likely that you’ve been exposed to this concept at the gym or in some type of physical therapy setting. And you may know that many athletic trainers and rehabilitation experts recommend that, when you are working the muscles of a particular joint (for example, doing “curls” with your arms to lift a weight from the fully extended position to the fully compressed position), you do so across the full range of motion, not just part of it.

There are cases to be made for exercises using smaller ranges of motion. Some athletes feel that they can build strength, for example, by doing “partial squats” or “partial leg raises,” moving the limbs to the halfway point (or less) of the full range and then either pausing there for a few seconds, or doing more repetitions of the shortened arc. There may, in fact, be isometric or isotonic benefits to such exercises, but on the whole, most researchers still recommend working through the full range of motion.

One of the reasons for this—especially after injuries or during rehabilitation—is that one of the things that joint injuries tend to do is reduce your range of motion. Depending on the nature of the injury, the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint can swell, stiffen or develop scar tissue so that you really can’t extend or contract your arm or leg muscles fully. In such cases, performing rehabilitative and strength-building exercises across the full range of motion are beneficial, in that they re-train the joint so it can use its full range of motion again.

There is some research that indicates that the “full range of motion” approach works better to develop strength and muscle tone. In one 12-week study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, participants in a gym regularly exercising their legs were monitored over the course of the study to compare two exercise methods. One group performed their leg exercises while working through the entire 0-to-90-degree arc allowed by the training machines, and the other group used the same machines, but only moved their legs through a 0-to-50-degree arc. At the end of the study, the group that used the full range of motion had significantly greater strength and muscle size. Fat stores within the affected muscle areas were also lower in the full range of motion group.


A common argument of shorter-range exercising is that it allows people to use heavier weights, and thus possibly build more strength. But in this study, that was found not to be true—the short range of motion group used up to 25% heavier weights than the full range of motion group, but still scored lower in the strength- and muscle-gain results. The researchers also measured the internal load on the muscle groups as the participants were exercising, and found it higher in the full range of motion group, even though they were lifting higher weights. Yes, you heard that right—the full range of motion athletes were lifting less weight, but their muscles reacted as if the internal load on them was greater (and thus of more benefit).

So although in some cases exercises done with a shorter range of motion may be of value, the general consensus is that if you’re looking for maximum benefit from your exercise or physical therapy program, you should generally choose movements that work your joints through their full range of motion. Consult with your chiropractor or physical trainer to determine the types of exercises most suitable for you and your goals.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

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