Friday, January 29, 2010

Treating Headache With Acupressure

If you wish to treat headache naturally then acupressure is one of the best options that you have. Using acupressure to cope with headaches provides you with an effective and easy solution to headache. This natural therapy focuses on massaging certain points, known as pressure points, which alleviates the pain.

When the pressure points are massaged, the blocked energy inside the body is released. This released energy combats various ailments in the body. Also, acupressure improves the blood circulation, easing the contracted blood vessels. It also releases the blood beta endorphin, which is the body's natural pain killing material. This helps provide pain relief.

In addition to treating your headache, acupressure also helps release stiffness in the joints. Though, this natural therapy works for all headache types, it is best suited for tension headaches. It relieves the stress and helps you get rid of headache.

If used in the right manner, acupressure can target the exact cause of your headache. It helps you overcome a weak immune system, which is one of the primary causes of headache. It also deals with an unstable muscle system and accumulation of excessive toxins in the body. Each of these factors contributes to the development of a headache.

Acupressure involves massaging with the fingertips in round circular motions. A combination of several massage techniques is used to provide headache relief. While some acupressure sessions focus more on rubbing, there are others that make more use of vibration.

These days, acupressure is being used in addition with several other add-ons such as soft music, agreeable lighting system, vibrating massage chairs and the like. The combined result of acupressure and these add-ons is complete headache relief.

Treat headache on your own
You do not have to go to an acupressure therapist to treat headache. You can practice acupressure on your own too. Follow the below mentioned steps and treat headache on your own.

* Apply pressure under your eye sockets near the nose using your index fingers.
* Now apply pressure at the top of your sockets.
* Bring your fingers outside the eye. Apply pressure again.
* Place your fingers ¼ inch above your eyebrows and apply pressure.
* Move your fingers 1 inch further from the eyebrows and apply pressure again.
* Keep on moving your fingers towards your forehead, applying pressure after every inch.
* After you reach the forehead, bring your fingers to the back of your neck. Massage your neck at one inch points till the time you reach the shoulders.

Go ahead and use acupressure to get rid of headache naturally.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Headache Treatment : The Role Of Chiropractors

Chiropractic is a philosophy of health care that believes in restoring the body to function in the way it was originally designed to function. The emphasis is on the body's ability to heal itself. There are also exercise recommendations, physical therapy and rehabilitative activities. It is also considered to be useful from the prevention point of view.

It is postulated that headaches are caused by poor neck posture which may be caused by sitting in front of a computer for a long duration of time, bending your neck forward while reading, or by slouching in a chair or couch. Hence, it is imperative that a proper neck as well as overall body posture should be maintained to avoid any such problems.

Chiropractic, since concerned with the affairs of the nerves and connective tissues, has been found to be particularly effective in the treatment of headaches. But what is first essential is to first ascertain the kind of headache the patient is suffering from. This treatment is most helpful in conditions where there has been found to be a misalignment of the neck or the cranial region.

Chiropractic is most effective in treating headaches which are caused due to auto injuries, sinus difficulties or any neck-related symptoms. About 80% of the people receiving chiropractic treatment report a slight to complete improvement in their headache.

Though a well implemented treatment, chiropractic has to be done under the supervision of an expert, to avoid any further misalignment of the spine.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tips on Choosing a Chiropractor

Dr. Homola

If you decide to consult a chiropractor, try to find one whose practice is limited to conservative treatment of musculoskeletal problems. Ask your family doctor for the names of chiropractors who fit this description and who appear to be competent and trustworthy. If your doctor cannot provide a name, ask other people and, if they recommend one, be sure to ask what conditions the chiropractor treats. If the chiropractor claims to treat infections or a wide range of other diseases, look elsewhere. But don't depend upon the Yellow Pages. You should avoid chiropractors who make extravagant claims or who advertise extensively.

When you have selected a chiropractor, go for a consultation or conduct a telephone interview to find out how he or she practices. If the chiropractor treats infants, offers spinal adjustments as a treatment for visceral disease or infection or as a method of preventing ill health, requires that every patient be x-rayed, or requires payments in advance for a long course of treatments, call another chiropractor.

Remember that diagnosis is critical to the establishment of proper treatment. Some chiropractors are competent in diagnosis, and some are not. For example, "straight" chiropractors who examine only the spine and who believe that "subluxated" vertebrae are the primary cause of illness may "analyze" the spine rather than offer a diagnosis. Such chiropractors may be unable to determine when chiropractic treatment should not be used. Since evaluating some chiropractors may be difficult, it might be wise to look for one who is willing to work with your family physician by exchanging office notes. This would offer the additional safeguard of assuring a second opinion.

Once you have found a rational chiropractor, you may find effective relief for some types of back and neck pain as well as for various other musculoskeletal problems. You may also benefit from the comforting effect of a hands-on treatment that provides a pleasurable way of relieving the aches and pains of everyday stress and strain. Physical therapists, osteopaths, and a few physicians also offer manipulative therapy. Chiropractors can sometimes be found working with these practitioners in back-pain clinics. As the benefits of spinal manipulation become better known as a result of scientific research, such treatment will become more available from physical therapists and other practitioners, as well as well as from properly limited chiropractors.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Acupuncture Found Effective for Back Pain

Study finds it superior to usual care.

By Tina Beychok

There seems to be no question that Americans spend a great deal of money dealing with back pain. According to research, we spend at least $37 billion annually on medical care for back pain. Furthermore, the economy suffers another $19.8 billion in lost worker productivity due to back pain.

Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, and colleagues examined a group of 638 patients suffering from back pain to determine not only if acupuncture is superior to usual care for treating back pain, but to see if needle insertion at individualized points is the mechanism of action by which acupuncture works best. A total of 10 acupuncture treatments was provided over the course of eight weeks.

Study Design

The researchers started by dividing the patients into four groups:

Individualized acupuncture: This treatment was prescribed by the diagnostician at the beginning of each visit. There were no constraints on number of needles, depth of insertion or needle manipulation. Needles were retained for 18 minutes. Seventy-four distinct points were used.

Standardized acupuncture: This protocol used a standardized acupuncture prescription considered effective for chronic low back pain, including Du 3, Bladder 23 on either side, low back Ashi point, Bladder 40 on ether side and Kidney 3 on either side. All points were needled for 20 minutes, with needle stimulation at 10 minutes and again just prior to removal.

Simulated acupuncture: This technique used a toothpick in a needle guide tube. All acupuncture points were stimulated with toothpicks at 10 minutes and again at 20 minutes, just before they were "removed." The acupuncturists simulated insertion and removal of needles at the eight acupuncture points used in the standardized treatment.

Usual care: Participants in this group only received the care, if any, they and their physicians chose. This was mainly mostly medications, and primary care, and physical therapy visits. All participants received a self-care book with information on managing flare-ups, exercises and lifestyle modifications.


At 8-week follow up, all groups of patients showed improvement. However, the "usual care" group only improved by 2.1 points (scored on a disability questionnaire), as opposed to the individualized, standardized and simulated acupuncture groups, which improved by 4.4, 4.5 and 4.4 points, respectively. The greater improvement for the acupuncture groups over usual care continued all the way to 52 weeks, at the end of the study. Of those patients receiving real acupuncture, only 11 reported any side effects.

Interestingly, at the end of the study, there was little difference between the four acupuncture treatment groups in terms of effectiveness. The researchers speculated that this may mean that acupuncture's actual mechanism of action may not be clear and that further research is warranted.

Nevertheless, they concluded, "Compared with usual care, individualized acupuncture, standardized acupuncture and simulated acupuncture had beneficial and persisting effects on chronic back pain. These treatments resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in function. ... For clinicians and patients seeking a relatively safe and effective treatment for a condition for which conventional treatments are often ineffective, various methods of acupuncture point stimulation appear to be reasonable options, even though the mechanism of action remains unclear.

According to Josephine P. Briggs, MD, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, "The findings of this research show that acupuncture-like treatments, including simulated acupuncture, can elicit positive responses. This adds to the growing body of evidence that there is something meaningful taking place during acupuncture treatments outside of actual needling. Future research is needed to delve deeper into what is evoking these responses."

source: acupuncture today

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Bright Light Worsens Migraine Headache Pain

When a migraine hits, many sufferers hide out in a dark room, away from the painful light. Now scientists think they know why light makes migraines worse.

New research on humans and rats has revealed a visual pathway in the brain that underlies this light sensitivity during migraines in blind individuals and in individuals with normal eyesight.

"Clinically, this research sets the stage for identifying ways to block the pathway so that migraine patients can endure light without pain," said Rami Burstein, a professor of anesthesia and critical care medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.

However, the pathway was specifically identified in rat experiments. And studies done on rodents do not always translate to useful human therapies, so more research would be needed.

More than 30 million people in the United States are affected by migraine headaches, which are often described as throbbing pain in one area of the head and accompanied by nausea, vomiting and other symptoms.

In addition, for reasons that were unknown, nearly 85 percent of migraine patients are also extremely sensitive to light, a condition known as photophobia. Even some blind individuals with a history of migraines showed photophobia. And so the researchers hypothesized that signals transmitted from the retina along the optic nerve were somehow triggering the intensification of pain.

The scientists examined two groups of blind human patients who suffered migraine headaches: patients who were totally blind and were unable to see images or sense light; and a group considered legally blind due to retinal degenerative diseases who couldn't perceive images but could detect light.

The patients in the first group, who couldn't sense light, showed no worsening of their headaches when exposed to light. Those in the second group described increased pain in light.

"This suggested to us that the mechanism of photophobia must involve the optic nerve, because in totally blind individuals, the optic nerve does not carry light signals to the brain," Burstein said.

The scientists knew that the second group of blind individuals didn't maintain normal sleep-wake cycles, which are dictated by light, while the other group did. So perhaps, they thought, retinal cells that control biological functions like sleep and wakefulness are involved in this light-headache phenomenon. These retinal cells contain melanopsin.

They tested out these ideas in a lab, by injecting dyes into the eyes of rats with migraine headaches. By following the dyes, the researchers traced the path of the melanopsin retinal cells through the optic nerve to the brain, where they found a group of brain cells that became electrically active during migraines.

"When small electrodes were inserted into these 'migraine neurons,' we discovered that light was triggering a flow of electrical signals that was converging on these very cells," Burstein said. "This increased their activity within seconds."

And even when the light was removed, Burstein said, these neurons remained activated. "This helps explain why patients say that their headache intensifies within seconds after exposure to light, and improves 20 to 30 minutes after being in the dark."


Friday, January 22, 2010

General Wellness and Chiropractic

Wellness is not simply a lack of illness, but a more general and optimistic term referring to a balance of mind, body and spirit. The term was first used, in the healthcare sense, by Halbert L. Dunn, M.D. in the 1950's. In the 1970's and 1980's, wellness became a widely used term for a desirable state of physical and mental health, often connected to longevity and a high quality of life.

Dunn defined wellness as "an integrated method of functioning which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable. It requires that the individual maintain a continuum of balance and purposeful direction within the environment where he is functioning."

While the term wellness may be relatively new, it encompasses older concepts from medicine, including the medical term "homeostasis." Homeostasis refers to balanced and efficient function in biological systems, a natural state to which a body tends toward. The concept of wellness has been adopted in many areas since its early definition: workplace wellness promotion programs, for example, employ the ideas of wellness in the context of exercise and health education programs for employees.

The Role Chiropractic in Wellness Promotion

For as long as there has been the term "wellness," chiropractic has been an important ingredient for many in the pursuit of health and balance. Chiropractic theory holds that a healthy spine is crucial to health and wellness. By reducing nerve irritations, normalizing nervous system response, and helping to improve blood circulation, chiropractic adjustments can set the foundation upon which wellness is built.

Why is the spine so important to wellness? The spine is made up of 24 movable bones, called vertebrae. These are stacked, one on top of the other, with the head balanced on top. Between each vertebra are shock-absorbing cushions called discs, and ligaments that hold the vertebrae in place. Passing through a central hole in the vertebrae is the spinal cord that carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Misalignments of the bones of the spine, called subluxations, affect the entire body from the feet to the head. These create pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves, stretch ligaments, and compress the intervertebral disks. This interferes with the brain's ability to communicate effectively with the muscles and organs, leading to pain, dysfunction and illness. Chiropractic adjustments work to resolve these conditions, restoring the normal geometry and functions of the spine.

Posture and Ergonomics

Chiropractors have also long been outspoken advocates for correct posture and ergonomics. Correct posture is the key to avoiding injuries and subluxations of the spine. Posture is so important to overall health that entire fields of health-care practice have developed around it, including Feldenkrais and the Alexander Technique. Chiropractors are experts at analyzing posture and movement, in addition to their training in diagnosing spinal problems. Corrections to poor posture, such as slouching, can often resolve chronic pain and patterns of ill health.

Posture and movement are all part of body mechanics, the engineering perspective on the body as a collection of parts that must move in proper order and harmony to achieve efficiency. Efficiency in body mechanics leads to health. Some essential ingredients of good body mechanics are:

  • Using proper posture, lifting and carrying techniques, both at home and at work.
  • Awareness of your body position throughout the day. Through awareness, poor body mechanics are discovered.
  • Practice of posture and good body mechanics as a way of life.
  • Good ergonomics at home and work to adapt your environment to your body's needs.

Ergonomics is another important area of analysis. Ergonomics is the study of how changes in work or home environment can encourage good body mechanics. No matter how many chiropractic adjustments you may have, if your work or home environment doesn't work with your body, health problems will eventually result. This is another area in which chiropractors receive extensive training. Relatively simple changes in workspace height, or a work chair, can have a significant impact on body posture, health and wellness.


Finally, just as good nutrition is important to wellness, chiropractors work with their patients to find the right balance of diet and supplements for each individual. This may include calculating an ideal weight, making dietary adjustments or starting entirely new diet plans, that may include taking supplements to correct health problems or enhance energy and well being.

Many chiropractors have also studied meditation, stress reduction techniques, hypnosis, and other tools that can help patients achieve greater peace of mind. Such tools give your chiropractor the ability to design complete, comprehensive wellness programs that help each patient achieve much more than simply a lack of illness.

With a holistic approach to wellness, encompassing posture, movement, environment and nutrition, chiropractors can serve an important role in the search for balance of mind, body and spirit.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chiropractic for Physical Injury

Chiropractic is one of the more widely used and accepted practices within alternative medicine. Its level of acceptance in the United States has increased in recent years, as partially evidenced by widespread health insurance coverage for chiropractic care. Chiropractic can be the answer for patients seeking relief after enduring injuries, and it has been successfully employed as a treatment for a variety physical injuries. In fact, physical injury is one of the most common reasons people consult chiropractors.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat an Injury?

Chiropractors have many “tools” at their disposal in the form of treatments that can be used to help heal various injuries. They often take x-rays to gather further information regarding the state of the spine. The protocol and treatment plan can be customized to the patient’s needs. Typically, the treatment includes spinal manipulations, which the chiropractor performs either with his or her hands or with an assisting, noninvasive device. Different chiropractors use different techniques, based on their training and expertise and based on the nature of the physical injury being treated. In general, though, a spinal manipulation involves applying controlled pressure to a joint. By performing manipulation, the chiropractor aims to increase range and quality of motion and to decrease pain and discomfort.

For injuries, chiropractors might also advise rest, exercise, hot/cold therapy, massage, or other alternative medicine treatments. The chiropractor can advise the patient on what therapies are best for his or her circumstances and injury.

What Different Therapies Do Chiropracters Use for Injuries?

Chiropractic uses a variety of therapies to correct physical imbalances, most often occurring in the spine and affecting the nervous system.

Some of these therapies are:

  • Adjustments: When a chiropractor performs an adjustment, he or she applies pressure with the hands or a chiropractic tool to vertebrae that are misaligned. Also called spinal manipulation, this therapy can help people with injuries that cause misalignment of the spine.
  • TENS: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS, uses electrical stimulation of certain nerves to relieve pain and increase mobility. The treatment may also increase endorphin production. TENS can be especially beneficial for those who suffer from acute or chronic pain.
  • Trigger Point Therapy: Points on the body that can cause pain in other areas on the body when touched are called trigger points. When manipulated in a certain way, a trigger point can also relieve pain. During this therapy, a chiropractor applies pressure to a trigger point to release the tension in the point. Patients who do not respond to a manual pressure on trigger points, may respond to injections in the trigger point. Trigger point therapy can help those who have chronically tense muscles or spasmodic muscles.
  • Hot/Cold Therapy: Heat increases blood circulation in body tissues, which brings oxygen to the tissue and takes away cell waste. Applying heat can provide relief from tense muscles, muscle spasms, and decrease pain. When cold is applied, it slows circulation and relieves inflammation. Hot/Cold therapy is frequently used for injuries, especially sports injuries, such as sprains and strains. Cold is used as an initial treatment for many injuries that cause inflammation or swelling, and combination Hot/Cold therapy can also be used for injuries that cause persistent or recurring pain.

Sometimes, chiropractic is used in conjunction with traditional medicine and in partnership with allopathic practitioners.

What Injuries Can Chiropractic Help?

In general, chiropractic can be beneficial in treating various injuries, including sprains, pulled muscles, and problems with joints in just about any area of the body. Chiropractic can help with recovery from a broad range of injuries, including the following:

  • Auto Accidents: Auto accident injuries include problems such as whiplash to disruptions in spinal alignment in the lower back. The aftermath of an auto accident is a common time for patients to consult chiropractic clinics for the first time, and many people seek chiropractic care as a way to help with treatment of auto accident-related injuries.
  • Sports injuries: In recent years, chiropractic has become increasingly common as a treatment for sports injuries. The profession is now involved with many professional and collegiate sports, such as golf, hockey, and football. A person doesn’t have to be a professional athlete to suffer a sports injury. Any individual can be injured during exercise, such as while running, playing tennis, or lifting weights. A significant number of sports injuries involve the neck and back, and can benefit from chiropractic care.
  • Injuries at work: Work related injuries include injuries while lifting heavy items, as well as problems that result from office work, such as sitting at a computer for long periods of time.
  • Everyday Injuries: Injuries during the course of everyday living can also be helped by chiropractic care. Examples include lifting items that are too heavy, improper lifting, or even strain from shoveling snow.

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is based in the theory that health and body function depend on the alignment of the spine. It focuses on establishing and maintaining the correct structure of the spine using several therapies, some of which are described above. A common chiropractic therapy, called spinal adjustment or spinal manipulation, is used to correct misalignments in the spine. According to chiropractic theory, these misalignments affect the body’s ability to function and can lead to health problems. Chiropractors also believe that the nerves affect the flow of energy throughout the entire body, and an unobstructed flow of energy in the body is an important aspect of health.

Chiropractors may also treat other areas of the body that might affect or be affected by the body’s alignment, such as the legs or hips. Chiropractic can be used to treat many health conditions, including many types of physical injury. Patients who seek chiropractic care in the aftermath of injuries do so because it is not nearly as invasive as some allopathic treatments, which often rely on prescription medication (including those for pain). While chiropractic may not be a substitute for surgery in serious medical cases, chiropractic therapies may be able to prevent an injury from progressing so far as to require surgery.

Spinal misalignments are often caused by accidents that result in symptoms such as pain and immobility. Correcting misalignments can help the patient return to a normally functioning state of health.

What Is the Nature of the Healing Process?

Some patients report experiencing pain in the area that was treated after seeing a chiropractor, but that pain generally recedes and the patient feels better than before the treatment over a short period of time. Patients experience a better range of motion, more flexibility, and less pain after treating an injury with chiropractic. While there are some risks involved with chiropractic adjustments, the therapy has been shown to be generally safe for most people. Patients should check with their physician and chiropractor if they are concerned about medical conditions that may increase risk in a chiropractic session.

Chiropractic is generally noninvasive, and thus has fewer unpleasant side effects than prescription drugs or surgery. Chiropractic therapies can be used in conjunction with allopathic treatments. It is important to notify both physician and chiropractor about all treatments the patient undertakes. The frequency of chiropractic treatment needed, amount of time needed for healing, and prognosis after injuries can vary, based on such factors as the nature and severity of the injury, the age and overall health of the patient, and simultaneous use of other therapies. To lessen risk and ensure safety, it is crucial that the patient only be seen by a reputable chiropractor who has all of the necessary credentials and training.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Uses of Chiropractic

A chiropractor's office is a busy place, and most will treat hundreds of patients in any given year. The popularity of the therapy has grown steadily over the last century. What brings this growing flow of patients to a chiropractor? Patients come to the chiropractor for the treatment of many ailments, both chronic and acute, and some simply for advice on healthy and holistic living.

Not surprisingly, pain and back problems bring more patients to chiropractors than any other health issue. In one study, back problems leading to pain comprised 70% of all chiropractic treatments; back problems without pain and pain without back problems accounted for just 15% of visits. The types of pain create by spinal misalignment can vary from low back pain to neck pain, headaches to chest pain.

Though pain is the primary reason that patients seek out chiropractic, this therapy may treat much more than simple pain. By adjusting the spine, which influences the nervous system, chiropractors may have an effect on nearly every function of the body. Many studies have been completed on the use of chiropractic for a wide range of diseases and symptoms. According to research, common ailments effectively treated with chiropractic include:

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain may arise from illness, old injuries or old age, such as arthritis. Many conventional treatments attempt to numb or block nerve transmissions to stop chronic pain, with mixed results. Drug therapies may be effective against chronic pain, but often have serious side effects, especially over time. Chiropractic, through adjustments of the skeleton, can be useful in reducing or even eliminating chronic pain, without drugs or surgery.

Accidents and Injuries, Including Whiplash

For many people, this will be the reason for first visiting a chiropractor's office. Accidents and injuries involve both the skeletal structure and soft tissue. A chiropractor will combine adjustments to the skeleton with soft tissue therapies, such as TENS, trigger point therapy or massage. Research indicates that patients recover from accidents faster with such a combination of therapies.

Workplace Injuries, Including Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)

Patients with repetitive stress injuries, back injuries and other workplace accidents often seek out chiropractic. Worker's Compensation and employer reimbursement programs often pay for chiropractic treatments. Why? Several research studies have shown that those injured workers who choose chiropractic are back to their jobs faster and at less cost, therefore saving their employers money.

Chronic Back Problems, Including Scoliosis

This is the classic complaint that started the chiropractic profession. Chiropractors spend much of their education on the structure and function of the spine, and learn to treat many different back problems. For both acute back pain and chronic or inherited conditions such as scoliosis, chiropractic offers a range of effective, low cost solutions.


Many headaches, including stress headaches, originate in the neck, shoulders or upper back. Muscle tension and skeletal misalignment lead to nervous system irritation, which can cause headaches. These headaches are effectively treated with chiropractic. Research has shown chiropractic to also be useful with vascular headaches, such as migraines. Chiropractors are also well trained to provide lifestyle and dietary counseling toward preventing future headaches.

Stress and General Wellness

Many patients find chiropractic treatment relaxing. The adjustments release muscle tension, balance the nervous system, and contribute to a sense of calm and wellness. The stresses of modern living are held in muscle tension, generally in the arms, the shoulders, the neck and back. These rigid muscles create stress on the skeleton, pulling the body out of balance. Chiropractic adjustments and other therapies help to reduce muscle tension, and realign skeletal structures.

For these conditions and many others, chiropractic is a well-researched and reasonable therapy to consider. Either alone, or in combination with another therapy, studies have shown that chiropractic will often help you get better faster, and stay healthy longer.

Chiropractors may also be found working in several areas of specialization. Sports Chiropractors work with athletes, both professional and amateur. Several well-known athletes use chiropractic, including Lance Armstrong. Pediatric Chiropractors work with children and give special attention to issues of posture and development toward a healthier adulthood. Chiropractor Radiologists are consultants who specialize in the interpretation of x-rays for chiropractors. Chiropractic Nutrition Specialists have additional training in diet, nutrition and nutritional supplements.

Chiropractic is still a growing profession, with patients and practitioners around the world. As more research is completed, and more clinical experience gathered, the full range of conditions that may be treated with chiropractic will only grow.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chiropractic for Tendonitis

Whether it’s pitcher's shoulder, tennis elbow, or runner’s knee, anyone with tendonitis wants relief from pain. The soreness, aching sensation and chronic discomfort of tendonitis around muscles are caused when a tendon connecting a muscle to a bone is overused, injured or used improperly. More than 4 million Americans see a physician each year for tendonitis symptoms. Once tendonitis has been properly diagnosed, a natural approach to treatment that addresses the underlying cause of the injury can be arranged with a chiropractor. With good chiropractic treatment, tendonitis can heal and the person can prevent reinjuring the affected area.

Using Chiropractic to Treat Tendonitis

The first goal of a chiropractor in treating tendonitis is to make an accurate diagnosis of the problem, ruling out any other possible underlying causes of the pain. This is necessary because the joint pain and stiffness of tendonitis are similar to the experience of bursitis or arthritis. X-rays, CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scans (an x-ray procedure used to create cross-sectional or three-dimensional images) and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) are tools a chiropractor might use to obtain an accurate diagnosis for tendonitis pain.

After the diagnosis, a chiropractor will select a natural treatment plan that addresses the cause of the tendonitis, rather than simply treating symptoms. Initially, the chiropractor may support and protect the injured tendons by bracing those portions of the tendon that were pulled. The tendon needs to be loosened and the inflammation reduced. Treatments that follow might include ultrasound, ice, rest, temporary immobilization, electrical muscle stimulation, manual trigger point therapy (applying firm pressure by hand on a trigger point for several seconds and then stretching the muscle afterward), strengthening exercises, physical therapy, and/or massage. Joint manipulation may also be performed on individuals with diminished joint mobility.

With proper treatment, the pain and inflammation in the tendon should decrease during the first three weeks. Full healing, however, will not be achieved until at least six weeks have passed. During these six weeks, scar tissue is formed, which initially helps bond the tissue back together.

The scar tissue needs to be broken down so the tendon and muscle regain flexibility, which lessens the chance of further injury. At first, a chiropractor may treat scar tissue with ultrasound and massage. Ultrasound involves using sound waves to soften the scar tissue, enabling it to break down. It also helps increase circulation to the tissue. Ultrasound may also be used to assist with moving topical nutrient and pain solutions deeper into the tissues. Mild stretches that do not irritate the tendons can be incorporated. Once the tissues have healed, exercise can help further break down scar tissue. During this period, longer stretches should target only the muscles, not the affected tendons.

How a Chiropractor Treats Chronic Tendonitis

If the tendonitis continues beyond the first six months, the condition is chronic and more difficult to treat. A chiropractor will evaluate the exact point of pain and figure out which muscle or tendon is attached at that site. With chronic problems, treatment away from the site of the problem may be more effective. This is because the point of pain might be the body’s way of compensating for an injury that has occurred elsewhere. Any misaligned joints might directly cause the tendonitis and must be properly realigned. By correcting the core problem, symptoms in other areas of the body disappear. Then the chiropractor must understand the cause for the muscle damage that led to the joint imbalance. The body must be taught how to perform tasks without adding excessive stress on those same joints. The chiropractor will suggest exercises to help keep affected muscles strong and to prevent a recurring injury.

Sometimes, scar tissue will continue forming for up to a year after the initial injury. The scar tissue causes the injured muscle to tighten and shorten, creating increased stress on the muscle. This tightness can pull the bone and joint out of normal alignment, placing even more pressure and irritation on the original injured tendon or on a related tendon. More inflammation, tearing, pain, and swelling may occur. Such a condition requires a realignment of the tissues in the affected area, which can be done by a chiropractor.

Other Chiropractic Treatments for Tendonitis

A friction massage using Graston instruments stops the collagen in the affected tissues from breaking down, breaks the tendonitis cycle, and assists with collagen production. The technique involves six instruments that improve the chiropractor’s ability to palpate fibrous restrictions. The process recreates the inflammatory response, separating the scar tissue from the normal tissue. The final stage involves remodeling the new collagen so it aligns properly. Patients who have clotting disorders or who are on blood thinners should be carefully monitored if they choose this option.

Nutrition might also be used to bolster patients’ bodies against tendonitis. A good nutrient that a chiropractor might suggest for supporting the knees is calcium pangamate (vitamin B15).

What is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is an injury or irritation of the fibrous, thick tendons that connect muscles to bones. Tendonitis is also called tendinosis because little inflammation is present when the tendon is biopsied. During the first stage of tendonitis, patients experience a dull ache after an activity that involves using the tendon. The ache decreases with rest. In stage 2, the patients experience pain during minor movements of the affected area. During the final stage, patients are in constant pain.

What Causes Tendonitis?

Tendonitis can occur through sports participation when certain joints are overused, or when the athlete is undertrained or uses poor technique in sports. In certain occupations, repetitive movement, such as typing, can cause tendons to inflame. Injuries and repeated trauma also can contribute, as can autoimmune disorders (such as diabetes), some inflammatory conditions, and some infections. Tendonitis shows up mostly in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, thumb, hip, knee, and ankle.

Signs of Tendonitis

  • Pain that worsens when the affected limb is moved
  • Stiffness and loss of range of motion
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth and redness
  • Crackling

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession that deals with musculoskeletal system and nervous system disorders and their effects on overall health. Chiropractics use a natural, hands-on approach that involves patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors use a variety of diagnostic tools and may recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises. They also provide counseling on nutrition and lifestyle choices.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Acupuncture for Treating Tension Headaches

The Evidence Grows Even Stronger.

Tension headaches, which have been described as a dull pain, almost as if there was a tight band around the head, are one of the most common forms of headaches. Individual studies have shown promising results for the use of acupuncture to treat this type of headache, but a 2001 meta-analysis that combined the results from 26 individual studies, six of which focused on tension headache, found, "The quality and amount of evidence are not fully convincing." The authors of this study added, "There is an urgent need for well-planned, large-scale studies to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture under real-life conditions." Now, an updated meta-analysis has found that the evidence for acupuncture in treating tension headaches is indeed convincing.

Linde and colleagues examined the results of 12 randomized trials, with a total of 2,317 participants. They were looking to determine whether acupuncture is more effective than no treatment or just routine care; more effective than sham acupuncture treatment; and as effective as other interventions (physiotherapy, massage or relaxation) in reducing headache frequency.

In those studies that compared acupuncture treatment to no/routine care, 47 percent of patients receiving acupuncture reported a decrease in the number of headache days by at least 50 percent, compared to 16 percent of patients receiving either no or routine care. For those studies comparing true and sham acupuncture, 50 percent of patients receiving true acupuncture reported a decrease of the number of headache days by at least half, compared to 41 percent of patients receiving sham acupuncture.

The researchers concluded, "In the previous version of this review, evidence in support of acupuncture for tension-type headache was considered insufficient. Now, with six additional [tension headache] trials, the authors conclude that acupuncture could be a valuable nonpharmacological tool in patients with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches."


Friday, January 15, 2010

Headache Relief Through Chiropractic

According to the American Chiropractic Association 14% of the public who see chiropractors presently go for headaches. For these patients the good news has gotten even better. Researchers at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Minnesota, compared chiropractic care to certain drug therapies used for tension and migraine headaches.

The study, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, followed 218 headache sufferers who were given either chiropractic care or drug therapy or both. Pain was reduced 40 – 50% in all groups initially. However, four weeks after all care was stopped, only the chiropractic group still retained the benefits, while those who received the drug therapy lost about half of their improvement.

source: Chiropractic

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cancer Patients Quality of Life Improved With Chiropractic

An article published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics follows two case studies of patients with various types of serious cancer. The article follows the chiropractic care and it’s effect on these patients pain and quality of life.

The first patient was a 57-year-old man with serious terminal pancreatic cancer. This patient received chiropractic care during the later stages of the disease. In the remaining time the patient had before succumbing to the disease it was documented that the patient had significantly less pain and was able to reduce his medications. The journal article summed up this case by stating, “In this case chiropractic care was able to provide significant pain relief, reduce the amount of pain medication being taken (as well as the potential side effects), and temporarily improve the quality of life for a patient with terminal cancer."

The second patient was a 54-year-old man recovering from surgery for lung cancer. This patient was continually suffering from upper back pain and had gotten no relief for over one year. At that point the patient began chiropractic care. In this case the patient received immediate relief and was able to discontinue all pain medication after two chiropractic visits.

The principles of chiropractic make it plain that the focus of chiropractic care is not to directly treat the patient’s pain but rather to assist the body and allow the body’s own healing abilities to work at that person’s maximum potential. These case studies show that ability and the effect on people suffering with serious conditions. The Journal article states it best when it said, “These clinical examples offer 2 specific instances of how chiropractic may improve the quality of a cancer patient’s life.”

source: Chiropractic

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Still looking for a miracle?

This is proof positive that Chiropractic miracles do exist!

If you, or someone you know, needs Chiropractic help,
please do not hesitate to contact us!

Bratcher Chiropractic

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chiropractic Helps in Prevention of Recurring Ear Infections

According to the article, in the Ladies Home Journal, reoccurring ear infections account for over 35% of all pediatrician visits in the United States. Sometimes these infections are due to bacteria and sometimes these are due to a virus. The most common medical care for this situation has been antibiotics, even though antibiotics have no effect on viruses. While the article mentions that the antibiotic may be effective in an acute bacterial infection, they do nothing to stop repeat infections. Research and statistics is now showing that repeated use of antibiotics is contributing to future infections by creating drug-resistant infections. The surgical approach has met with little long term results as the "tubes" placed in children’s ears often come out and usually require a child to be put under general anesthesia to do the surgery.

The article in the Ladies Home Journal states, "Chiropractic care is thought to prevent recurrent infections by correcting misalignments (called subluxations) and allowing normal fluid drainage from the middle ear." What the article took special note of was that 6 months after the chiropractic care was given to the children in the study, 80 percent had not suffered a recurrence of ear infections.

In closing the article did make a profound statement. They made a recommendation to parents on this subject. "If your child is between ear infections and his doctor suggests ear-tube surgery, ask if you can try chiropractic treatment first." While we agree with that sentiment, we suggest you not wait for a period between episodes, and you don’t have to "ask" permission from any other doctor to seek chiropractic care. As the sneaker company said, "just do it!"

(source: Chiropractic

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Hidden Benefits of Exercise


As millions of Americans flock to the gym armed with New Year's resolutions to get in shape, medical experts are offering an additional reason to exercise: Regular workouts may help fight off colds and flu, reduce the risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases and slow the process of aging.

Physical activity has long been known to bestow such benefits as helping to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress, not to mention tightening those abs. Now, a growing body of research is showing that regular exercise—as simple as a brisk 30- to 45-minute walk five times a week—can boost the body's immune system, increasing the circulation of natural killer cells that fight off viruses and bacteria. And exercise has been shown to improve the body's response to the influenza vaccine, making it more effective at keeping the virus at bay.

"No pill or nutritional supplement has the power of near-daily moderate activity in lowering the number of sick days people take," says David Nieman, director of Appalachian State University's Human Performance Lab in Kannapolis, N.C. Dr. Nieman has conducted several randomized controlled studies showing that people who walked briskly for 45 minutes, five days a week over 12 to 15 weeks had fewer and less severe upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds and flu. These subjects reduced their number of sick days 25% to 50% compared with sedentary control subjects, he says.

Medical experts say inactivity poses as great a health risk as smoking, contributing to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression, arthritis and osteoporosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 36% of U.S. adults didn't engage in any leisure-time physical activity in 2008.

Even lean men and women who are inactive are at higher risk of death and disease. So while reducing obesity is an important goal, "the better message would be to get everyone to walk 30 minutes a day" says Robert Sallis, co-director of sports medicine at Fontana Medical Center, a Southern California facility owned by managed-care giant Kaiser Permanente. "We need to refocus the national message on physical activity, which can have a bigger impact on health than losing weight."

Regular exercise has been shown to combat the ongoing damage done to cells, tissues and organs that underlies many chronic conditions. Indeed, studies have found exercise can lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, and cut the incidence of Type 2 diabetes.

Building on that earlier research, scientific studies are now suggesting that exercise-induced changes in the body's immune system may protect against some forms of cancer. For example, Harvard Medical School's consumer Web site ( notes that more than 60 studies in recent years taken together suggest that women who exercise regularly can expect a 20% to 30% reduction in the chance of getting breast cancer compared with women who didn't exercise. While researchers are still studying the molecular changes caused by exercise and how they affect cancer, the studies suggest the outcome could be due to exercise's ability to lower estrogen levels.

One study of 3,000 women being treated for breast cancer, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that for those patients with hormone-responsive tumors, walking the equivalent of three to five hours per week at an average pace reduced the risk of dying from the disease by 50% compared with more sedentary women.

Researchers are also investigating whether exercise can influence aging in the body. In particular, they are looking at whether exercise lengthens telomeres, the strands of DNA at the tips of chromosomes. When telomeres get too short, cells no longer can divide and they become inactive, a process associated with aging, cancer and a higher risk of death.

In a study published in November in Circulation, the medical journal of the American Heart Association, German researchers compared two groups of professional athletes (32 of whom were in their early 20s, and 25 who were middle-aged) with two groups (26 young and 21 middle-aged) who were healthy nonsmokers, but not regular exercisers. The athletes had significantly less erosion in telomeres than their more sedentary counterparts. The study concluded that physical activity has an anti-aging effect at the cellular level, suggesting exercise could prevent aging of the cardiovascular system.

Efforts are underway to get sedentary Americans moving. The federal government issued its first national exercise guidelines in 2008. Now it is working with a number of medical and fitness groups to develop a National Physical Activity plan, to be released early this year, to encourage Americans to adhere to the guidelines.

The guidelines, developed by the Department of Health and Human Services and available at, recommend that adults get at least two hours and 30 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, or an equivalent combination of both. The guidelines also say that additional health benefits can be had from as much as doubling the minimum recommendation for aerobic exercise. Also recommended: muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week, which protects against a decline in bone mass, especially that experienced by post-menopausal women.

Kaiser Permanente's Dr. Sallis also is chairman of Exercise is Medicine, a two-year-old program developed by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association to encourage doctors to assess and review each patient's physical activity program at every visit. A survey by the ACSM, whose members include physicians and exercise-science professionals, found that only four out of 10 doctors talk to their patients about the importance of exercise, and they don't always offer suggestions on the best ways to be physically active.

Kaiser Permanente's California facilities last year began rolling out exercise counseling to eight million members as part of their regular doctor visits. The company also has set up a toll-free phone line to help members create a personal-fitness plan incorporating favorite activities like gardening. "Exercise can be used like a vaccine to prevent disease and a medication to treat disease," says Dr. Sallis. "If there were a drug with the same benefits as exercise, it would instantly be the standard of care."

While some patients may have risk factors such as heart conditions that could lead to heart attacks and sudden cardiac death with physical exertion, physicians can screen for such risks before prescribing an exercise program. Also, the Web site includes videos and self-assessment tools for consumers on how to start an exercise program, including how to exercise with diseases such as asthma and heart disease, and exercise following a stroke or heart attack.

Starting an exercise program can have benefits at any age, but is particularly important for those over 40, when physical strength, endurance, flexibility and balance begin to decline, says Pamela Peeke, a Bethesda, Md., physician and fitness expert who is the author of "Fit to Live," an advice book on how to create and stick to a fitness plan.

Naomi Henderson, 66, says Dr. Peeke gave her an exercise prescription several years ago, when she weighed 220 pounds. The plan called for Ms. Henderson, who owns her own market-research company, to start by walking on a treadmill five minutes a day and gradually increase the duration as her fitness level improved. Eventually she was able to walk in a marathon. Ms. Henderson says she has slimmed down to a size 12 from an 18 and says she is rarely ill. "I look at exercise as no different than a drug I have to take to stay healthy," she says.

Lisa Callahan, co-director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery, says her patients are often only partially aware of the benefits of exercise.

They may know that it is helpful in reducing their risk of osteoporosis, for example, but they usually don't know that a combination of strength training, aerobic exercise and balance training is most effective at staving off the disease, says Dr. Callahan, author of "The Fitness Factor," a guide for women.

Dr. Nieman, of Appalachian State University, says that during exercise, two types of immune cells circulate more freely in the blood, neutralizing pathogens. Although the immune system returns to normal within three hours, the effect of the exercise is cumulative, adding up over time to reduce illness rates, he says. He compares the process to "a cleaner who comes in for an hour a day, so by the end of a month, your house looks much better."

But, Dr. Nieman says, high-intensity exercise over long periods, like running a marathon, can "take a good thing too far." Such exertion can induce the release of stress hormones in the body that damp some functions of the immune system temporarily, increasing susceptibility to infection for short periods. He cites a five-year study he conducted on 350 athletes who completed an ultra-marathon 160-kilometer race in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Among the contestants, one out of four reported sickness in the two weeks following the races.

Still, says Robert Mazzeo, a professor in the department of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, although a single bout of intense exercise can suppress the immune system, long-term training in marathoners and other athletes can boost their baseline immunity and ability to respond to the stress of intense exercising. Rather than worrying about super athletes, however, "my concern is the sedentary people who start out pumping the Stairmaster too hard, then get sick and stop working out," says Dr. Mazzeo. "If you've made a New Year's resolution to get in shape, don't try to do it all at once," he says.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tai Chi Benefits For Arthritis Shown

A new study by The George Institute for International Health has found Tai Chi to have positive health benefits for musculoskeletal pain. The results of the first comprehensive analysis of Tai Chi suggest that it produces positive effects for improving pain and disability among arthritis sufferers.

The researchers are now embarking on a new trial to establish if similar benefits can be seen among people with chronic low back pain.

"This is the first robust evidence to support the beneficial effects of Tai Chi. Our study proves that Tai Chi relieves pain and disability among people with arthritis and shows a positive trend towards effects for overall physical health. We now want to see if these benefits are the same for people suffering from low back pain", said author Dr Chris Maher at The George Institute.

Musculoskeletal pain, such as that experienced by people with arthritis, places a severe burden on the patient and community and is recognized as an international health priority. Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia, with 3.85million Australians affected. Low back pain is the most prevalent and costly musculoskeletal condition in Australia, estimated to cost up to $1billion per annum with indirect costs exceeding $8billion.

"This research should reassure people with musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis to seek exercise to relieve the pain. The fact that Tai Chi is inexpensive, convenient, enjoyable and conveys other psychological and social benefits supports the use this type of intervention for pain conditions", added Ms Amanda Hall, The George Institute.

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that is regularly practiced in China for general health purposes and has gained increasing popularity in North America and Australia and thus a growing body of research aimed at investigating its health benefits has emerged.

Tai Chi is a versatile activity that can be easily incorporated into people's daily activities. Usually preformed in a group, Tai Chi can also be practiced individually, which differs from traditional exercise therapy approaches in clinic.

source: ScienceDaily

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Study Links DHA Type of Omega-3 to Better Nervous-System Function

The omega-3 essential fatty acids commonly found in fatty fish and algae help animals avoid sensory overload, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. The finding connects low omega-3s to the information-processing problems found in people with schizophrenia; bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Huntington's disease; and other afflictions of the nervous system.

The study, reported in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, provides more evidence that fish is brain food. The key finding was that two omega-3 fatty acids -- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) -- appear to be most useful in the nervous system, maybe by maintaining nerve-cell membranes.

"It is an uphill battle now to reverse the message that 'fats are bad,' and to increase omega-3 fats in our diet," said Norman Salem Jr., PhD, who led this study at the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The body cannot make these essential nutrients from scratch. It gets them by metabolizing their precursor, α-linolenic acid (LNA), or from foods or dietary supplements with DHA and EPA in a readily usable form. "Humans can convert less than one percent of the precursor into DHA, making DHA an essential nutrient in the human diet," added Irina Fedorova, PhD, one of the paper's co-authors. EPA is already known for its anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular effects, but DHA makes up more than 90 percent of the omega-3s in the brain (which has no EPA), retina and nervous system in general.

In the study, the researchers fed four different diets with no or varying types and amounts of omega-3s to four groups of pregnant mice and then their offspring. They measured how the offspring, once grown, responded to a classic test of nervous-system function in which healthy animals are exposed to a sudden loud noise. Normally, animals flinch. However, when they hear a softer tone in advance, they flinch much less. It appears that normal nervous systems use that gentle warning to prepare instinctively for future stimuli, an adaptive process called sensorimotor gating.

Only the mice raised on DHA and EPA, but not their precursor of LNA, showed normal, adaptive sensorimotor gating by responding in a significantly calmer way to the loud noises that followed soft tones. The mice in all other groups, when warned, were startled nearly as much by the loud sound. When DHA was deficient, the nervous system most obviously did not downshift. That resulted in an abnormal state that could leave animals perpetually startled and easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli.

The authors concluded that not enough DHA in the diet may reduce the ability to handle sensory input. "It only takes a small decrement in brain DHA to produce losses in brain function," said Salem.

In humans, weak sensorimotor gating is a hallmark of many nervous-system disorders such as schizophrenia or ADHD. Given mounting evidence of the role omega-3s play in the nervous system, there is intense interest in their therapeutic potential, perhaps as a supplement to medicines. For example, people with schizophrenia have lower levels of essential fatty acids, possibly from a genetic variation that results in poor metabolism of these nutrients.

More broadly, the typical American diet is much lower in all types of omega-3 than in omega-6 essential fatty acids, according to Salem. High intake of omega-6, or linoleic acid, reduces the body's ability to incorporate omega-3s. As a result, "we have the double whammy of low omega-3 intake and high omega-6 intake," he said.

source: ScienceDaily

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Five Exercises Can Reduce Neck, Shoulder Pain of Women Office Workers

Strength training exercises using dumbbells can reduce pain and improve function in the trapezius muscle, the large muscle which extends from the back of the head, down the neck and into the upper back. The exercises also improve the muscle's ability to respond quickly and forcefully among women suffering trapezius myalgia, a tenderness and tightness in the upper trapezius muscle. The results are the latest findings from an ongoing Danish study aimed at reducing repetitive strain injury caused by office work.

Repetitive strain injury has become increasingly common. The authors cited two recent Danish surveys, one of which found that more than half of female office workers reported frequent neck pain. The other found that more than two-thirds of female office workers who reported neck pain suffered from trapezius myalgia.

Five Exercises Confirm Benefit for Office-Related Strains in Women

The team's latest finding confirms that that five strength exercises -- the one-arm row, shoulder abduction, shoulder elevation, reverse fly and upright row -- can substantially reduce perceived pain. By finding out more about how the muscle function has been impaired and how it improves with exercise, the team has developed a way to assess the muscle in the rehabilitation setting. In particular, the Danish team found that the women who had diminished ability to activate the muscle quickly and forcefully could benefit from the strength training.

Lars L. Andersen, Jesper L. Andersen, Charlotte Suetta, Michael Kjaer, Karen Sogaard and Gisela Sjogaard conducted the study. Lars Andersen is with the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen; Jesper Andersen, Charlotte Suetta and Michael Kjaer are with the Institute of Sports Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen; and Karen Søgaard and Gisela Sjøgaard are with the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. The study appears in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Five exercises

Forty-two women who worked in offices on repetitive tasks and did computer work participated in the 10-week study. They all had reported chronic or frequent pain in the neck area, and tightness and tenderness of the upper trapezius muscle. The researchers randomly divided the women into three groups:

  • Specific strength training. This group of 18 women did five exercises with dumbbells -- one-arm row, shoulder abduction, shoulder elevation, reverse fly and upright row. Photos showing these exercises are found by going to: These exercises strengthen the shoulder and the neck muscles, including the trapezius. The women in this group did three sets of three of these exercises three times per week. The amount of weight lifted depended upon each woman's strength level and was progressively increased throughout the 10 weeks.

  • General fitness training. This group of 16 women cycled upright on a stationary exercise bicycle. Other studies have shown that general fitness training can help alleviate a variety of ailments. In addition, the researchers earlier established that all round physical exercise including cycling can help reduce pain. The researchers wanted to see whether the general fitness exercise would help improve rapid force capacity (the ability to activate the muscle quickly and forcefully) among those suffering trapezius myalgia. The women in this group bicycled three sessions per week for 20 minutes per session.

  • Reference (Control). This group of eight women received individual and group counseling on ergonomics, diet, health, relaxation and stress management for a total of one hour per week. They did not receive any physical training.

The participants from all three groups performed shoulder abductions before the 10-week intervention began and after it ended. During this pre- and post-test, the participants were required to contract the muscles as fast and hard as they could. The researchers measured the force and speed of the lift. In particular, they wanted to measure rapid force capacity, that is, how quickly the women could activate their muscles to generate force.

They also obtained muscle biopsy samples to analyze how the training affected the muscle fibers and pain levels at each of the sessions. The pain data was compared to performance.


In this study, bicycling did not significantly affect rapid force capacity. The significant changes on this variable occurred only in the strength-training group. Strength training reduced pain levels by more than 50%, and also:

  • improved rapid force capacity

  • increased number of type II muscle fibers, the fibers important in generating power

The authors speculate that strength training reduced the pain, which then enhanced the body's ability to rapidly activate the muscle. Activating the muscle depends upon rapid coordination of nerve signals and it was the nerve signaling that seemed to have improved. The researchers also said that the strength training may have encouraged the women to set aside the fear of pain and thus helped improve performance.

In addition to providing further evidence that these five exercises can help women who suffer trapezius myalgia, the study also showed that reduced rapid force capacity can be a good screening tool to determine who would benefit from this type of rehabilitation, the authors said.

The Danish Medical Research Council and the Danish Rheumatism Association supported this study

source: ScienceDaily

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Top Empowered Patient Tips for 2010

as posted by: Dr. Mercola

Being an empowered patient means doing more than the bare minimum. It means taking an active part in your own health care. Your actions, however, don't have to be extraordinary; it's often the little, everyday things that mean the difference between a good health care experience and a bad one.

1. Don't believe everything you hear (get a second opinion)

The extra effort and additional consultations will undoubtedly educate you further, which is always self-empowering.

2. Ask a ton of questions

Take a list with you. Schedule time for questions. And be prepared for answers.

3. If you are going to use the Web, search smart

Eight out of ten Internet users have searched the Web specifically for health information. Protect your privacy and don't give out personal information. And compare and contrast -- in many instances, you can check prices, hospital ratings and what services are offered online before your visit.

4. Free and discounted care is out there

The Department of Health and Human Services provides assistance through federally funded health centers. You pay what you can afford based on your income level. There are also several groups specializing in helping people find affordable insurance and free care, including: Coverage for All, Ehealthinsurance, Healthcare Advocacy, Patient Advocate Foundation and Patient Services Incorporated.

5. Paying attention can save your life

You know your body better than anyone else. If your gut tells you something just isn't right, then listen to it. Know your medications, and track your progress.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Acupuncture reduces hot flashes, improves sex drive for breast cancer patients

DETROIT – Not only is acupuncture as effective as drug therapy at reducing hot flashes in breast cancer patients, it has the added benefit of potentially increasing a woman's sex drive and improving her sense of well-being, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Study results show that acupuncture, when compared to drug therapy, has a longer-lasting effect on the reduction of hot flashes and night sweats for women receiving hormone therapy for breast cancer treatment. Women also report that acupuncture improves their energy and clarity of thought.

The study, published online this week in the Journal of Oncology, is the first randomly controlled trial to compare acupuncture and drug therapy in this way.

"Acupuncture offers patients a safe, effective and durable treatment option for hot flashes, something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors. Compared to drug therapy, acupuncture actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects," says study lead author Eleanor Walker, M.D., division director of breast services in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital.

According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. For these women, conventional medical treatment involves chemotherapy and five years of hormone therapy. With such a long course of treatment, side effects of hormone therapy such as vasomotor symptoms – hot flashes and night sweats – can become a major cause of decreased quality of life, and even discontinuation of treatment.

Venlafaxine (Effexor) has been the drug therapy of choice to manage these common and debilitating side effects associated with breast cancer treatment. Venlafixine, however, comes with its own set of side-effects: dry mouth, decreased appetite, nausea and constipation.

Since acupuncture has been shown to effectively reduce hot flashes in menopausal women, Dr. Walker and her research team decided to test the use of acupuncture to combat vasomotor symptoms in breast cancer patients as an alternative to drug therapy.

To compare the two options, 50 patients were recruited from oncology clinics at Henry Ford. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture or venlafaxine treatment for 12 weeks. The drug therapy group took venlafaxine orally each night, 37.5mg the first week and then 75mg for the remaining 11 weeks. The other group received acupuncture treatments twice per week for the first four weeks, and then once a week for the remaining eight weeks.

At the end of 12 weeks, all patients stopped their therapy and were followed for one year. Patients kept a diary to record the number and severity of hot flashes, and took surveys to measure their overall health and mental health.

The study found that both groups initially experienced a 50 percent decline in hot flashes and depressive symptoms, indicating that acupuncture is as effective as drug therapy.

Differences, however, between the two groups began to emerge two weeks post-treatment: The acupuncture group continued to experience minimal hot flashes, while the drug therapy group had a significant increase in hot flashes. The acupuncture group did not experience an increase in the frequency of their hot flashes until three months post-treatment.

as posted on: Eurekalert

Friday, January 1, 2010

What is headache chiropractor treatment?

Dr Greg C Molis writes: Chiropractic care deals with subluxations (misalignments of vertebrae causing nerve irritation) anywhere along the spinal column, not just in the lower back. Sometimes the vertebrae of the spine become misaligned or lose their range of motion for one reason or another. This misalignment puts pressure on nerves leading to and from the brain. A chiropractor helps put them back in place by using gentle and highly skilled adjustments.

How and when should I try headache chiropractor treatment? Chiropractic treatment is not something that is generally used on its own. One of the dangers of chiropractic is simply that someone will rely on the treatment alone and miss out on other issues that need to be treated. It's best to talk to your doctor and let her know that you're using an alternate therapy, and for what.

That being said, going to a headache chiropractor seems to be a safe and effective way to treat headache or migraine without drugs. The idea behind chiropractic is not that the condition itself is treated, but that the body is able to heal itself. Some people have dramatic results, and become completely headache free. Some migraine sufferers find complete relief. Others find relief simply from some symptoms or after effects of the migraine attack. The best thing to do is find a chiropractor that you're comfortable with, and track the results of the treatment over time.


There are three things to remember when considering headache chiropractor treatment. First, always talk to your doctor and let her know what you're doing. You especially need to see your doctor if you're having new symptoms.

Second, choose your chiropractor carefully. Make sure you're comfortable, and that the person really is a trained doctor of chiropractic, not a well intentioned neighbor.

Third, remember that headache chiropractor treatment is not a treatment of conditions. It helps the body heal itself. That means that chiropractic care often goes along with other treatments and general healthy living.