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Walnut Creek Chiropractor Reveals Recent Study on Failed Back Surgeries

As your Walnut Creek Chiropractor I feel that it is my obligation to pass along the results of a recent study regarding failed back surgeries: Did you know that complicated spine surgeries that involve fusing two or more vertebrae are actually on the rise? You may find it surprising, or even shocking, to discover that experts estimate that nearly 600,000 Americans opt for back operations each year, and according to a study published in Spine several months ago, in just 15 years, there has been an eight-fold jump in vertebrae fusion operations. That statistic has most chiropractors, many public health experts, and even some surgeons concerned. In fact, Dr. Charles Burton, medical director for The Center for Restorative Spine Surgery in St. Paul, MN, said that spine surgery and fusion has gotten way beyond what is reasonable or necessary, and that there are some areas of the country where the rate of spine surgery is three or four times the national average. What’s worse, according to the study, in many cases surgery can even backfire, leaving patients in more pain!

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine reviewed records from 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation database who had diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation or radiculopathy, a nerve condition that causes tingling and weakness of the limbs. Half of the patients had surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae in hopes of curing low back pain. The other half had no surgery, even though they had comparable diagnoses. After two years, just 26 percent of those who had surgery returned to work. That’s compared to 67 percent of patients who didn’t have surgery. In what might be the most troubling study finding, researchers determined that there was a 41 percent increase in the use of painkillers, specifically opiates, in those who had surgery.

Researchers reviewed records from 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation database who had diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation or radiculopathy, a nerve condition that causes tingling and weakness of the limbs. Half of the patients had surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae in hopes of curing low back pain. The other half had no surgery, even though they had comparable diagnoses.

After two years, just 26 percent of those who had surgery returned to work. That’s compared to 67 percent of patients who didn’t have surgery. In what might be the most troubling study finding, researchers determined that there was a 41 percent increase in the use of painkillers, specifically opiates, in those who had surgery. The study’s lead author, Dr. Trang Nguyen, said that the study provides clear evidence that for many patients, fusion surgeries designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs don’t work.

I have said it before (many times before), but it bears repeating: Before choosing surgery to get rid of your back pain, call your chiropractor for conservative chiropractic treatment first. Your chiropractor is a spine expert who is committed to helping back pain sufferers get out of pain through natural, non-invasive procedures. Call today. You have nothing to lose but your back pain!

Walnut Creek Chiropractor Offers Health Tips As National Chiropractic Health Month Puts Emphasis On Obesity Prevention

After blogging for most of the year about the benefits of exercise and the national need for obesity prevention, as your Walnut Creek Chiropractor I am pleased and gratified to inform you that this month obesity prevention is being “officially emphasized” by that National Chiropractic Association. Since 2004, October has been National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM), a nationwide campaign sponsored by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Why are both the ACA and NCHM calling attention to obesity prevention, and not the more “traditional” focus on back pain, for instance? Well, the fact is that the ACA recognizes chiropractic professionals as preventive care providers with expertise in optimizing health, as well as treating musculoskeletal problems that result from accident, injury, or the aging process. This year’s theme, “Why Weight? Get Healthy,” highlights doctor-of-chiropractic approved prevention and treatment options for patients dealing with obesity. And, if you don’t already know from reading my past blogs, obesity affects more than 60 percent of adults in the United States (according to the Center for Disease Control).

Dr. Rick McMichael, president of the ACA said, “This is an important opportunity to educate the public on the general health benefits of chiropractic care, which include so much more than simply the expert hands-on care that DCs are so well known for.”

As I have been writing about (and hopefully you have been reading about), obesity frequently has detrimental effects on the musculoskeletal system. Excess weight causes back and neck strain, and can contribute to osteoarthritis, which often keeps obese people from physical activity. This official emphasis on preventative healthcare provides important recognition and confirmation that in addition to pain relief and prevention, doctors of chiropractic are trained nutrition specialists, as well, and can offer natural ways for patients to combat obesity.

Dr. Gerard Clum, president of Life Chiropractic College West and also a spokes person for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, stresses that there are many strategies that are used to address obesity concerns. The most important and the most well established are basic changes in lifestyle related to food, physical activity and personal motivation. “Doctors of chiropractic represent an under-utilized resource for addressing this critical health and societal concern,” says Clum. “The hands-on nature of chiropractic care lends itself to opportunities for advice, counseling and encouragement to address this important health risk.”

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on the many benefits associated with chiropractic care) is joining the ACA in this year’s obesity prevention campaign by offering the following healthy living tips:

– Follow a balanced diet – emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans

– Eat less harmful food – reduce intake of sugar, soda, fats and processed foods

– Drink plenty of water – try for several glasses a day

– Exercise regularly – aim for 20 – 30 minutes, three to four times a week

– Stay positive – the right attitude will lead to greater success

Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

Walnut Creek Chiropractor Explains the Connection Between Chiropractic and Tai Chi That May Eliminate Your Knee Pain For Good!

Chiropractors like me, your chiropractor in Walnut Creek, help many people who have developed OA in a number of places in the body, including the knee joints. Knee pain and disability is one of the most widespread problems of the musculoskeletal system, second only to spinal abnormalities. In fact, an astounding 4.3 million men and women in the US over 60 years of age have been diagnosed with knee OA, according to the CDC, and it anticipates that half of the people in America may incur symptoms of OA in at least one knee by age 85. Knee OA causes pain, immobility, functional disabilities, and a decreased quality of life.

Why do so many men and women develop OA? Undue stress over the years is a major determinant in the majority of musculoskeletal problems that develop as we get older. It follows that as people get older they are more at risk for developing OA in their knees, as well as other joints. Improper mechanics of the knee, irregular gait, compensatory foot mechanics as an offset of foot pain, and repetitive use of the knee joint all cause inordinate stress on the knees. Consequently arthritic changes in the knee joint develop. The majority of chiropractors suggest such natural, drug-free practices as Tai Chi, in addition to their chiropractic care. Tai Chi (Chuan) is a traditional style of Chinese martial arts that features slow, rhythmic movements that create peace of mind, as well as improved balance, an increase in strength, and more flexibility.

A new study conducted by Tufts University School of Medicine has found that patients that are at least 65 years of age or older who suffer from knee osteoarthritis (OA), and who practice Tai Chi, improved their physical capability and encountered a decrease in pain. Osteoarthritis is a general form of arthritis that causes a breakdown of joint cartilage.

In otherwise good health, the 40 adults with confirmed OA that were chosen for the Tufts study were, on average, 65 years of age and overweight. Patients were randomly picked to take part in 60-minute “Yang style” Tai Chi sessions twice weekly for 12 weeks. Each session included a 10-minute self-massage and a review of Tai Chi principles, 30 minutes of Tai Chi movement, 10 minutes of breathing technique, and 10 minutes of relaxation.

Tai Chi practice involves the type of range of motion, flexibility, muscle conditioning, and aerobic workout that is compatible with contemporary exercise recommendations for osteoarthritis. Furthermore, researchers observed that the “mental component” of Tai Chi promoted a sense of well-being, life contentment, and perceptions of health that helped the participants to deal differently with chronic pain. Significantly, the group practicing Tai Chi exhibited a meaningful decrease in knee pain compared with those in the control group.

Full findings of the study were published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

Walnut Creek Chiropractor Explains How Golf Injuries, As Well As Other Sports Injuries, Can Often Be Prevented

As a Walnut Creek chiropractor, I treat a lot patients who have sustained sport injuries. In fact, injuries are not unusual with any type of sport. You can often avoid getting injured in a certain sport, however, by finding out what injury is likely to occur, and then doing whatever it takes to avoid it. The truth is, though, that sports injuries can’t always be avoided. Consequently, it’s important to be physically fit to make injury less predictable, or less traumatic.

Prior to starting a sport, such as golf, the most critical thing you can do is to be certain that you have the proper fitness level. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, keeping your joints mobile and your muscles limber, preparing your body prior to activity, using proper form and good postures during activity, and giving yourself plenty of cool down and relaxation time, you will probably keep your body safe from injury.

Golf injuries don’t only happen to amateurs. It has been conjectured that close to a third of pro golfers playing in the same time frame are playing injured. The good news is that all-round good health and fitness can reduce the number of injuries that you may experience and might possibly preclude some of them completely.

Proper body strength in the muscle areas most employed in a sport, such as golf, is crucial. However, it’s also still prudent to make sure your spine is in good alignment and that it has good mobility prior to setting out to build muscle strength. A proficient golf swing relies on your spine’s capacity to effectually move in a rotational manner. Back injuries are the most common kind of injuries sustained by golfers. To be certain that your spine is in appropriate alignment and there is effectual movement in the vertebrae, see your chiropractor. Chiropractic treatment can make a big difference in helping you to avert back injury.

Once you’ve “straightened,” it’ll be time to strengthen. A safe, injury-free day on the green depends upon your being prepared for your golf game. You can warm up your muscles and make muscle strain less likely by doing golf stretching and flexibility exercises. Whole body range of motion (ROM) exercises will enhance flexibility, often rather fast, in all parts of the body. Furthermore, elastic band conditioning can provide functional golf range of motion advantages and can increase needed energy in the shoulders, hips and deep muscles of the core. Sports professionals, such as chiropractors, are adding elastic band training to their golf conditioning programs because the bands offer dynamic resistance that ordinary weight lifting does not offer.

A large number of golfers have painful “Golfer’s Elbow” in addition to back pain. Despite the fact that golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are nearly the same injuries, there is a minute difference between them. Tennis elbow affects the outside of the upper arm whereas golfer’s elbow disturbs the inner arm. Golfer’s elbow, like tennis elbow, can be a reaction to a single intense action, such as (in golf) hitting the mat at the driving range or thrusting down on a hard fairway surface. Repetitive stress from smaller shocks, though, is most often the protagonist. Moreover, it can come upon those who abruptly start playing too much golf. For example, if a person that generally plays golf once or twice a month elects to play in a tournament, he or she is conceivably at risk for developing the injury.

Golf makes distinctive requests of your body. The game is generally longer than the majority of other sports and that can lead to fatigue. Whenever the body is fatigued, poor posture and decreased coordination often follow. This combination can produce an assortment of injuries. In addition, the shoulder muscles are liable to injury due to the repetitive swinging of the golf clubs. Just as attention should be given to make sure that your muscles are stretched and warmed up prior to starting your golf game, be sure to rest your body properly between games.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often a surprising injury associated with golf. But, this injury can be the result of numerous games of golf played over a number of months constantly. As it is an affliction that occurs as a result of repetitive stress, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be a severe injury creating disability and, on occasion, requiring surgery. However, if a health professional, such as your chiropractor, discovers it at an early stage, chiropractic treatment and, sometimes, the use of a brace will relieve the problem.

Quite a few golfers seem to feel that injuries are merely an inescapable part of a golfer’s life. Nonetheless, a healthy, mobile spine, dedicated preparation, specific exercise and muscle conditioning, attaining and maintaining a an appropriate fitness level, and sensible rest and recuperation after your game is over, can make injuries much less a part of your golfing experience.

As a chiropractor, I know that risks are involved in any sport. I can help to relieve the pain of sports injuries you may have already sustained, and I can help you to straighten and strengthen to prevent injuries in the future. Let me help you to get on with your game!

Walnut Creek Chiropractor Explains How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help Your Vertigo

Have you heard the word, “vertigo, ” and wondered what it means? Vertigo is the term often used for the dizzy feeling that a person suffers within a fixed environment. The perception is that the outer world is tilting, or perhaps spinning. Vertigo might be quick and “short- lived” or chronic. But bear in mind, in either case, the precise root of vertigo should be identified and the correct professional treatment plan carried out.

There’s a lot of reasons for the appearance of Vertigo. An inner ear malady, known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, may sometimes arise as the result of a sustained head injury or severe cold. Sometimes this particular vertigo can be the result of the aging process. The source, often times though, frequently is unknown. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a wordy diagnosis, but it characterizes perfectly this non- progressive condition that is due to, as its name indicates, a abrupt change in head posture. The symptoms are typically unforeseen and varied.

It is usually valuable to look at the performance of the inner ear in an endeavor grasp what leads to this commonly incapacitating difficulties of this type of vertigo. The brain takes in motion and sustains equilibrium employing the fluid found in the inner ear. Also in the inner ear are miniature calcium carbonate crystals, generally known as otoconia. The crystals will float in the inner ear fluid if dislodged. As the crystals strike against the responsive nerve endings in the inner ear, they lead to the complaints of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.

The good news is that chiropractic treatment can relieve the complaints of BPPV very quickly and effectively employing a technique that is known as the Epley maneuver. Using this treatment, a chiropractor rotates the head of a BPPV sufferer into a number of different positions, letting gravity relocate the calcium carbonate crystals into a zone of the inner ear that is away from the nerve endings where they will cause no further dizziness.

Your chiropractor in Walnut Creek has helped innumerable individuals suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo by using only the Epley Maneuver technique. In most cases, with just one treatment many patients no longer suffer from dizziness. Chiropractors, like me, are highly experienced when it comes to treating vertigo. Call us today!