Archive for October 2014

Back or Neck Pain? Chiropractic Can Help!

October 30, 2014

When it comes to chronic back or neck pain, anyone who has looked for help knows that traditional healthcare providers often have few treatment options to offer other than rest, medication or surgery. Given the limitations, risks and costs of these approaches, it’s not surprising that many people who suffer from chronic neck or back pain look to “alternative” therapies for relief.

How many do this? According to Consumer Reports, which recently published the results of a survey conducted among 45,601 subscribers, three out of four used some form of alternative therapy to treat their general health problems. During the course of the survey, over 38 million Americans made more than 300 million visits to chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine. Naturally—when confronted with these kinds of very large numbers—the editors and statisticians at Consumer Reports wanted to know how things worked out for these patients. More specifically, they wanted to know which therapies were most helpful.

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The first thing that stands out about the Consumer Reports results is that not all alternative therapy options are created equal when it comes to treating the 12 common health problems the publisher asked about. In some cases, patients were actually more satisfied with traditional approaches (including prescription medication).
But for a number of the most common health problems—back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis—”hands-on” treatments such as those provided by chiropractors and practitioners of deep-tissue massage were rated very highly by the respondents, and in two cases (back pain and neck pain) provided significantly more relief than prescription medications.

One in four respondents who underwent chiropractic treatment for any condition felt that their chiropractor was more interested in them and more insightful than their medical doctors. And 81% of respondents mentioned that their medical doctors knew about their visits to a chiropractor, and rated their chiropractors as more helpful anyway.

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In terms of back pain treatments, Consumer Reports says that “Chiropractic outperformed all other back-pain treatments,” whereas prescription medication rated about the same as deep-tissue massage, yoga, and Pilates. Of the 36% of respondents who had sought chiropractic help for their back pain, 65% reported that it “helped a lot.” In this category, more people with back pain sought help from chiropractors than medical doctors, and more felt that they benefited from it.

For neck pain, the results are similar, with over 6 out of 10 (64%) study participants who tried it saying that chiropractic “helped a lot” in relieving their pain. Prescription medications, often the only treatment provided by medical doctors, ranked fourth in the “tried it” ratings, and earned a much lower 49% satisfaction score.
Osteoarthritis turned out to be the condition that survey participants were most likely to treat using a combination of mainstream and alternative therapies, possibly because the only treatments commonly recommended by medical doctors were prescription and over-the-counter medications. Chiropractic care and prescription medication were rated very similarly in terms of patient satisfaction (46% reporting a “helped a lot” rating), whereas over-the-counter medications were rated at 29%. This finding reinforces a recent study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that concluded that chiropractic treatment of neck arthritis was more effective than any of the other treatment methodologies they tested, and provided both physical (improvements in range of motion) and psychological (lowered sensitivity to pain) benefits to the patients in the study.

Chiropractic even scored relatively highly among therapies for the treatment of other conditions, such as allergy (ranked third, 41% said it “helped a lot”), cold and flu (ranked second, 47% said it “helped a lot”), fibromyalgia (ranked third, 35% said it “helped a lot”), and headache and migraine treatments (rated third, 45% said it “helped a lot”).

So the results seem clear. If you or someone you care about is experiencing common health problems, your chiropractor can help. And this is especially true when it comes to the most common musculoskeletal issues—back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis. You might find, as did many thousands of Consumer Reports subscribers, that you’ll be very happy with the results!

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

Good Workplace Ergonomics Matter! Lessons from Medical Lab Technicians

October 6, 2014

Are the bad ergonomics of your workplace causing you chronic back or neck pain? If so, you’re not alone. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) are one of the leading causes of occupational injuries and disability throughout the world. In the United States, WRMSDs cause over 647,000 days of lost work every year and result in workman’s compensation claims costing anywhere from $45 billion to $60 billion. They also account for 34% of all work-related injuries and illnesses. Examples of WRMSDs include chronic back and neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains, and hernias. While you might assume that these types of injuries are the result of unrelated incidents or isolated situations playing out in many different environments across the country on any given day, there is actually a pattern. Many of them are caused by badly designed workplaces.


This pattern became evident in a study recently published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation. The researchers wanted to analyze the postures of workers in a high-tech medical laboratory to determine the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and to investigate the relationship of these musculoskeletal disorders to workers’ individual factors, their work characteristics, and their working postures.
They gathered data from the medical lab technicians, using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ, a standardized scale for measuring musculoskeletal disorders and occupational health), the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS, a type of self-reporting measurement), and RULA (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment, a self-reported scale by which workers assess the postures that most accurately reflect their working positions). They then assessed the positions that the technicians’ lab workstations and equipment forced them to adopt for long periods of time each day and compared them with the technicians’ medical problems.

What they found was that poor lab workstation design was causing musculoskeletal problems in 73.3% of the workers. The poorer their posture was on the VAS and RULA scales, the more musculoskeletal problems they had. In addition, there was a significant difference between pre-work and post-shift reports of neck, lower back, and knee pain. In summation, the workplace design was definitely causing the WRMSDs.


There is a very real possibility that your own workplace is just as likely to put you at an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Symptoms of WRMSDs are not limited to back and neck pain—they also include joint discomfort, muscle tightening and swelling, stiffness, and feelings of numbness or “pins and needles.”
If you or your fellow workers have noticed such symptoms, you should report them to your employer and expect that they will take steps to correct any problem-causing ergonomics. In the interim, you can take some steps on your own to protect yourself from WRMSDs. You don’t have to sit at a desk that is too high or low or in a chair that puts you in an uncomfortable and unhealthy position. Modern desks and their accompanying desk chairs have controls that can be used to lower or raise them. The same applies to computers or other equipment you use every day—you can put your monitor on top of some books so that it’s more in your line of sight or make other changes to help make your workspace more ergonomic. A good place to start looking for tips on how to improve the ergonomics of your office workspace is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration Computer Workstations guide. OSHA also has similar guides for other types of work environments.

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

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