Posted tagged ‘pain’

Women and Chronic Pain

January 7, 2016

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.”

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“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

Auto Accidents Can Spell Trouble at Any Speed

December 11, 2015

When we hear the words “car accident,” many of us probably think about dramatic multi-vehicle, highway-speed collisions that involve lots of victims and first responders—firefighters, police officers, EMTs and perhaps even helicopter pilots. These are the types of automobile-related accidents that can snarl traffic for miles and make the evening news. However, these are NOT necessarily the types of accidents that cause the largest numbers of injuries. To understand these, you’d have to look at the other end of the spectrum—high-frequency, low-intensity accidents. Here’s what we’re talking about:

Stationary or Parked Car Accidents. Perhaps the most frequent injury involving automobiles comes from closing the door. Nearly 150,000 times a year, someone is injured in this fashion, and the car isn’t even moving. This includes doors closing on fingers. Another 10,000 are injured while using a jack and 74,000 are injured by a car or car part falling on them.

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Vehicle-on-Pedestrian or Vehicle-on-Bicyclist Accidents. Roughly one-third of auto-related injuries occur due to an automobile striking someone, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists. The damage can include anything from simple scrapes and bruises to multiple broken bones or internal injuries.

Non-Traffic Crashes and Non-Crash Incidents. A Forbes magazine article noted that researchers from the US Department of Transportation “estimated an annual total of 1,747 fatalities and 841,000 injuries due to non-traffic crashes and non-crash incidents.” These included back-overs and single-car collisions that don’t happen on a highway.
Perhaps one of the most important things to understand about auto accidents is that you don’t need to be traveling fast to be hurt. In fact, even low-speed accidents can cause musculoskeletal injuries. This is especially true in cases where the vehicle’s body doesn’t flex or crumple to absorb the energy of the impact and that energy is instead transmitted to the occupants inside. And—while modern safety equipment certainly helps prevent many serious or fatal injuries—minor to moderate injuries are still very, very common.

Whiplash

It’s all about physics. During a collision, the driver and passengers can be thrown about within the vehicle, potentially causing significant injuries from rapid acceleration and deceleration as well as impacts. Head, neck and back injuries are among the most common. However, low-speed accidents can be particularly problematic because victims often don’t immediately recognize that they’ve been hurt. After these sorts of collisions, many simply walk away from the event without going to a qualified healthcare provider for a prompt medical evaluation. And since it is very common for symptoms to appear days, weeks or even months afterward, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries can be significantly delayed, potentially complicating—and lengthening—the recovery process.
Have you or someone you care about been involved in an auto accident? If so, your chiropractic physician is specially trained to recognize the kinds of spinal and soft tissue injuries associated with automobile accidents of all types. Based on a careful assessment, he or she can design a treatment plan to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible. As experts in diagnosing and treating injuries that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, chiropractors can offer a broad range of treatment options to relieve pain and restore function. These include chiropractic manipulation and mobilization, traction, massage, low-level laser and hot and cold pack therapies as well as structured exercise and stretching programs.

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Auto accidents can be challenging for victims in many different ways—physically, emotionally and financially. The goal of our clinic is to accelerate the body’s healing process so that you can return to a productive, active lifestyle. We’re here to help—call or visit our office to learn more.

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

Teens, Back Pain and Chiropractic Care

December 10, 2015

Looking at the big picture, low back pain is a big problem. The condition affects more than 600 million people worldwide, including over one-third of all Americans—more than the number of people affected by diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. The financial burden (medical care plus lost productivity) caused by chronic lower back pain in America exceeds $550 billion annually.

That said, one of the saddest aspects of chronic lower back pain is that it doesn’t discriminate between adults and children. And in an era when teens’ musculoskeletal systems are particularly at risk because of reduced physical activity and poor posture (thanks to heavy school backpacks, improper sitting ergonomics and lots of time spent on mobile devices), this problem is only growing larger. In addition, a number of studies have already indicated that lower back pain in adolescents is strongly associated with the development of chronic lower back pain later in life. That’s the bad news for teens. However, the good news is that those adolescents who have been successfully treated to eliminate lower back pain in their youth have a lower risk of developing chronic lower back pain as they grow older.

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So it’s natural that the medical community is keenly interested in learning which treatments are most successful in terms of eliminating the lower back pain itself and in preventing it from recurring later in life. This interest led to a recent study. The aim of the study was to determine which of the commonly-available treatment methodologies were most effective. To determine this, researchers performed a meta-analysis of existing studies published in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese to measure which of the treatments used in these studies produced the most consistently positive outcomes in terms of pain, disability, flexibility, endurance, and mental health. The researchers found studies that produced data for 11 treatment groups and 5 control groups involving a total of 334 children and adolescents, and then compared the data.

Their findings were both strong and definitive. Of all the treatment methodologies used in the individual studies, the ones most effective in producing short-term and long-term positive outcomes in the five areas studied were those that involved therapeutic physical conditioning and manual therapy. That is, treatments provided by “hands on” practitioners such as chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists.

These therapies, commonly involving joint and spinal manipulation and ultrasound treatment to reduce pain, were subjectively found to be more effective by the patients than other treatments. The patients’ subjective analysis was confirmed in most of the studies by clinician assessments. Naturally, these “manual therapy” treatment options were preferable in many other ways as well, because they avoided reliance on potentially addictive painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, epidural steroid injections, and surgery.

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These findings confirm what Doctors of Chiropractic have observed in their own clinics. Over the years, we have seen many patients (of all ages) benefit from the manual therapies we use to provide relief for their lower back pain. So if you (or your children) experience lower back pain—whether occasional or chronic—contact your chiropractor and ask him or her to explain to you the treatment options available, and what they can do to relieve your symptoms and allow you to enjoy life free from pain once again.

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

Can Poor Posture Really Cause Back and Neck Pain?

February 18, 2015

In a word, yes!

Unless your back or neck pain has been caused by some type of over-exertion or acute trauma, it’s actually very likely that poor posture is at least a contributing factor. The alignment of the spine—from the neck through the lower back and hips—is critical to the body’s ability to support its own weight and move efficiently, so posture problems (which are often chronic) can gradually lead to pain and reduced mobility.

When it comes to pain in your back or neck, the relationship between poor posture and injury can also be a complicated one. On the one hand, having poor posture makes it more likely that you will suffer an injury. On the other hand, suffering an injury can also affect your posture. Mary Ann Wilmarth, DPT, spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association explains, “Little things add up. You can increase the pressure on your back by 50% simply by leaning over the sink incorrectly to brush your teeth. Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain.”

How posture problems contribute to neck pain
One of the most common posture problems is a “forward head and shoulder posture”. This occurs when someone “hunches over” and places their head in front of their neck. The weight of the head towards the front stresses the lower neck vertebrae, and leads to overworking of the upper back muscles to compensate for the pull of gravity on the head. Many people with this posture problem also have a rounded upper back and rounded shoulders, which can lead to further stress and shoulder pain. Often, poor desk and chair ergonomics contribute to these problems, but even slouching on the couch or at a table with your mobile phone can lead to hunching over.

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How posture problems contribute to back pain
The “forward head” posture described above causes stress on the lower cervical vertebrae, which may end up sliding forward relative to each other as a result of gravity. This is a particular problem for people who have jobs requiring them to look forward or downwards all day. Eventually, the prolonged pressure on the cervical vertebrae will irritate the ligaments and soft tissues, radiating downwards to the upper back. This process can lead to disc degeneration, cervical osteoarthritis and herniated discs.

Tips for improving poor posture and relieving back and neck pain
Poor posture is typically the result of habits that have been developed over long periods of time performing the same activities over and over again. Here are just a few of the most common culprits:
• Staring at computer monitors or mobile devices that are badly positioned.
• Sitting in poorly designed office chairs.
• Sleeping on mattresses that don’t provide the necessary support.
• Carrying heavy backpacks or purses.

But how do you know which activities are contributing to your poor posture and causing you pain? The clues are usually fairly easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. For instance, the pain in your neck or back may be worse at some times during the day than at others, or it may come and go with changes in your body position. If you experience fatigue or pain when you first wake up in the morning or after you’ve been sitting at your desk for a couple of hours, it might be time for a new mattress or new office furniture.

The good news is that once you become aware of the activities that are contributing to your posture problems and pain, most can be fixed relatively easily, with no need for either medication or surgery. Learn to recognize when you’re hunching over your computer, slouching in your chair or craning your neck to look at your mobile phone. Then sit up straight, aligning your hips, shoulders and ears in one vertical line.

Sometimes, however, the solution is not so simple—especially when poor posture has caused structural changes in the spine and neck. In these cases, a chiropractor can help by designing posture correction and spinal rehabilitation programs to restore the spine’s normal curvature. These programs will usually involve a combination of mechanical techniques that actively remodel the spine (including the use of braces and molding blocks), exercises and stretches that strengthen postural muscles and restore range of motion, and lifestyle changes to address the root causes.

As experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, chiropractic physicians are specially trained to recognize and correct postural problems. If you’re suffering from neck or back pain and suspect that your posture may be at least partially to blame, call or visit our office today. We can help!

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

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

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

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

What Is Nerve Entrapment and How Can It Be Treated?

January 21, 2015

Have you ever felt an uncomfortable tingling sensation in your arm after performing the same motion for an extended period of time? Maybe it was after spending a day typing at your computer or raking leaves. This sensation may be caused by nerve entrapment syndrome, a common condition that is sometimes referred to as either a “trapped nerve” or a “pinched nerve”. Nerve entrapment can be uncomfortable, but there are treatments that can relieve the pain and help get you back to feeling normal.

Your body is equipped with nerves that carry information back and forth between your brain and your limbs, organs, and other body parts. Nerve entrapment happens when a bone, muscle, ligament, tendon, or other tissue presses against one of these nerves. This compression is most likely to occur in response to consistent, repetitive movement. Poor posture, obesity, and previous injury to the affected area are also risk factors.

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Symptoms of Nerve Entrapment
The most common symptom of nerve entrapment is discomfort and numbness. You may feel as though a part of your body has “fallen asleep,” or you may find that your grip has weakened. While you may still be able to function normally with these symptoms, you should seek medical attention if the discomfort does not go away on its own after a few days. Sustained compression may lead to chronic pain and permanent nerve damage, making timely intervention crucial to a full recovery.

When you visit your doctor, he or she might use a number of tests to diagnose your condition. After asking you a series of questions about your symptoms and conducting a physical examination, your doctor may order a nerve conduction study. This test uses electrodes to measure electrical impulses in your nerve signals. You might also undergo electromyography (EMG) to evaluate your muscle activity or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the root cause of your compression.

Treatment for Nerve Entrapment
Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating problems related to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and there are several types of treatment that have been used successfully to relieve nerve entrapment syndrome:
• Manual therapies, including chiropractic and soft-tissue mobilization.
• Acupuncture.
• Low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
• Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

Depending on your specific situation, your chiropractic physician may teach you exercises that will help to stretch and strengthen the muscles around your nerve. He or she may also recommend specific ways to help reduce inflammation around the compressed nerve.

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To the extent that nerve entrapment is fundamentally a structural or mechanical issue, the symptoms can often be relieved with rest. Your doctor might instruct you to discontinue the activities that resulted in compression, at least for some period of time. He or she might also encourage you to wear a splint or brace to keep the problematic area still. If so, don’t be surprised if you are advised to wear your brace overnight, since many people move around while they sleep in ways that can irritate the compressed nerve.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing symptoms of nerve entrapment, we encourage you to call or visit our office today! We can help!

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

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

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

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

Spinal Health During Pregnancy: What Mothers-to-Be Should Know

January 12, 2015

It’s no secret that having a child (especially for the first time) means big changes in the lives of the new parents. But even before the baby arrives, big changes are already underway in the pregnant mother’s body—changes that usually make it possible for her to carry her developing child for nine months and to give birth safely when the time comes.

As a woman’s pregnancy progresses, the combined effects of these physical changes become clearer. Some may simply be awkward, inconvenient or uncomfortable while others can be very painful and even debilitating.
Since no two women experience pregnancy in quite the same way (and no two pregnancies are exactly alike), it’s impossible to create a comprehensive, one-size-fits-all guidebook. However, it is possible to describe in more general terms many of the physical changes that occur and to recommend ways that expectant mothers can help protect their health and maintain their quality of life. The remainder of this article will highlight some issues related specifically to spinal health during pregnancy and offer some useful suggestions.

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Pregnancy is hard on a woman’s entire musculoskeletal system, but it’s particularly hard on her back. This is because of a combination of changes that adds to the stress placed on her muscles, bones and joints while at the same time changing her posture and making her less stable on her feet.

• WEIGHT GAIN is one of the most obvious changes associated with pregnancy. While the amount of weight a woman actually gains can vary substantially, a woman with a normal BMI prior to becoming pregnant can expect to be carrying 25 to 35 additional pounds by the time she gives birth. This means that a typical woman (her average weight in the U.S. is 156 pounds) will be about 20% heavier when she delivers her child. That’s 20% more weight for her back to support.

• POSTURE also changes significantly as a woman’s pregnancy progresses. So not only is she carrying more weight over time, she’s also carrying it differently as her center of gravity moves forward. This shift places additional strain on the muscles and connective tissues of the woman’s lower back.

• PELVIC STRESS increases along with the baby’s weight throughout a woman’s pregnancy and often becomes more intense during the third trimester as the baby drops in anticipation of labor. This can trigger sensations ranging from general heaviness and pressure to debilitating pain. It can also result in additional postural changes and reduced activity.

• HORMONES that are released during pregnancy (including one appropriately called “relaxin”) make cartilage, ligaments and other soft tissues more flexible in preparation for childbirth. While this additional flexibility is critical when the big day comes, it can affect a woman’s stability when standing or walking and can also cause her joints—including those in her back—to feel “loose” or “wobbly”.
If you’re pregnant and experiencing pain in your back or pelvis, you should know that you’re far from alone. Between 57% and 69% of women complain of lower back pain during pregnancy and roughly 80% report pelvic pain of some sort. However, you should also know that there are some things you can do. Maintaining a healthy weight, paying attention to your posture and staying active can all contribute to a healthy, more comfortable pregnancy and an easier delivery. Consult your healthcare provider to find out which types of exercises might be most helpful to you in maintaining your strength and mobility at each stage of your pregnancy. A growing number of health clubs offer low-impact yoga and in-pool fitness programs designed especially for expectant mothers.

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Managing the discomfort and aches and pains of pregnancy is important. However, many women (and too many healthcare providers) assume that these things are just part of the experience. Perhaps that’s why only about 32% of women report these types of symptoms to their primary doctor and only about 25% of primary doctors recommend seeking treatment for the pain.

The good news is that larger numbers of healthcare professionals are starting to recognize the value of chiropractic care and massage therapy in addressing pregnancy-related symptoms both before and after childbirth. Chiropractic treatments can be particularly effective for pregnancy-related back pain, with the majority of women reporting immediate relief or relief after just a few visits. 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.
Many chiropractors and massage therapists have received specialized training that allows them to tailor their treatments to the specific needs of expectant mothers. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to call or visit our office today!

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

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

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

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

What Is a Hyperextension Injury?

August 18, 2014

Joints in the human body normally have a fixed range of motion that involves both flexion (for example, folding your arm to your shoulder to create a zero-degree angle at the elbow) and extension (extending your arm out straight to create a 180-degree angle at the elbow). The same type of range of motion exists for the knee, and wider ranges of motion exist for ball-and-socket joints such as the hip and the shoulder, which can pivot in more directions than just forward and backward.

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A hyperextension injury occurs when a joint is moved past its normal angle of extension. For example, this may happen to the elbow during sports, often when “punching air” or practicing one’s swing in tennis. The injury known as “tennis elbow” is, in fact, a form of hyperextension injury. The same thing can happen to the knee if a kicking motion extends the lower leg too far, past the 180-degree angle of its normal range of motion.
When hyperextension occurs, damage may occur to the soft tissues surrounding the joint, including the muscles, ligaments, and cervical discs. For example, the neck can be hyperextended in a whiplash injury. The result can include pain, swelling, and muscle spasms as well as a reduced or limited range of motion in the affected joint and loss of strength.

The severity of these symptoms varies widely depending on the joint affected and the strength of the force that caused the hyperextension. In many cases—especially with minor sports injuries—the hyperextension injury is initially treated by icing the area, followed by rest and immobilization. Healing occurs normally within a few weeks. However, in about 20% of cases, the weakness, loss of flexibility, and pain of more severe hyperextension injuries can last for months and can become incapacitating. Whiplash injuries in particular can often lead to chronic neck pain, headaches, fatigue, shoulder and upper back pain, cognitive changes, and lower back pain.

In such cases, chiropractic treatment has been proven effective not only in reducing the pain of the injury, but in facilitating healing and restoring the full range of motion to the injured joint. Spinal or joint manipulation can restore the normal positioning of affected joints or vertebrae, especially when combined with massage therapy, electro-stimulation, trigger-point therapy, rehabilitative exercise, and other soft tissue rehabilitation therapies. Medications can also be used to control pain and reduce inflammation. However, no medication can restore normal joint movement and stimulate healthy soft tissue repair.

Knee Hyper-extended

So if you have sustained a hyperextension injury and the effects of it have not gone away in a couple of weeks, consider contacting your chiropractor. As experts in treating musculoskeletal injuries, chiropractic physicians are specially trained to diagnose the injury and prescribe therapies that can both reduce the pain you’re experiencing and restore the affected joint to its normal flexibility and range of motion.

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

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

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

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


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