Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘Acupuncture’

Acupuncture for Pain & Other Symptoms

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We are often asked, “What can acupuncture treat?” Fortunately, the answer is thousands of conditions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everybody. At the end of the day, acupuncture is just another treatment method for addressing a multitude of conditions. As with any other treatment option, it is not a cure-all. Therefore, a more appropriate question would be, “What conditions does acupuncture have a good success rate in treating?” Again, the fortunate answer is TONS of them!

Here’s what a recent study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry concluded with regards to the use of acupuncture for the treatment of pain in patients with multiple sclerosis:

This study demonstrates clear benefit from acupuncture as a treatment for pain in MS patients. … the sustained benefit of acupuncture as a treatment for pain was further confirmed by the fact that most patients managed to reduce their analgesia requirements, with some able to stop taking painkillers completely. There was some subjective improvement in mood, mobility and energy levels, and more than half felt their sleep pattern improved.

Source:  J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Nov;84(11):e2. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-306573.177.

Now that’s a pretty good conclusion! Here’s another recent statement… this time from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA):

Medical guidelines for back pain recommend the use of conservative treatments. A JAMA article published in April 2013 encourages patients with back pain to first try conservative treatments–exercises, physical therapy, chiropractic or acupuncture—and resort to surgery only when less invasive options fail.

However, a study published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine confirms that many physicians don’t follow guidelines and instead refer back pain patients to surgery or write prescriptions for powerful pain killers.

Most of you that know me or follow this blog know that I am not an anti-med chiropractor. In fact, I think the chiropractic profession is limiting itself and derelict by refusing to fight for prescription rights. If it’s for nothing more than to offer an alternative mentality regarding pharmaceuticals, that would be worth it. The right to prescribe also affords a doctor the right to advise. The ability to advise a patient to discontinue a medication is just as important to their health as advising when medications are appropriate. But, I digress…

As noted above, too often physicians (not just MD’s, ALL physicians) don’t follow the appropriate guidelines. They continue to do what they’ve done in the past and what their pharmaceutical/medical device/practice management rep tells them. Most often, the physician is so busy that alternative options don’t pop into his/her head. As a patient, it is entirely appropriate for you to ask about alternative methods when you are discussing treatment options. Tell your doctor that you’ve seen references in JAMA recommending acupuncture, or chiropractic, or physical therapy, etc. Tell them that you’d prefer to try less invasive treatment options before resorting to powerful pharmaceuticals or surgical procedures. Your doctor will not be offended by this, and will likely appreciate that you are taking an active role in your health care.

– Dr. Gray

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Great Testimonial! – Knee Pain – Thanks!

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gray Testimonial LogoWe often get testimonials in office and from emails. I’m going to start posting a few so you can see some of the results we are getting for a wide variety of conditions. If you wish to submit your own testimony of your results at Gray Chiropractic, please send them from our contact page (Click Here).

Here’s a testimonial that we just received the other day:

I would like to thank Dr. Gray and staff for offering me an alternative solution for my knee pain other than “no activities for who knows how many weeks”. I’m an active woman who didn’t want to settle with any down time due to my knee pain. Dr. Gray used the infra-sound machine on the problem area, and I must say after a few visits, no more knee pain! Also, kudos to your friendly staff. I’m a believer. Dee

Thank you so much for those kind words, Dee! We are so happy that we’ve been able to help!

While not all cases respond as quickly as Dee’s, we’ve got a wide selection of treatment options that we can choose from in order to address your specific condition. In the past month, we’ve had the pleasure of treating a whole host of knee complaints, such as: degenerative arthritis, chondromalacia patella, Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease, sprained medial meniscus, sprained lateral collateral ligament, and more. On some cases, we’ve used infrasound. Some have responded to traditional chiropractic care. Some have done well with acupuncture. For others we’ve used ultrasound, rehabilitative exercises, etc. Often, the best results involve a combination of treatment options.

We would love the opportunity to work with you, too. If you’ve got knee pain, or other health conditions that we can help you with, please feel free to contact us.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Other Pain Conditions, Testimonials | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Celebrating 10 Years In Our Location!!! Save Big!!!

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, August 13, 2013

10th Anniversary LogoRead through the end to see how you can share and save!

Can you believe it’s been ten years in our new office already? Many of you have been with us since before we moved, and have been with us through our growth and changes. Still others have been with us for just a short time. Regardless of how long you’ve chosen Gray Chiropractic for your health care needs, WE THANK YOU!!! We couldn’t have done it without you, and we’re glad to have you in our family. I’ll refrain from getting long-winded and get to the point:

As part of our 10th Anniversary Celebration, all new patients from now until the end of August will pay only $10 out-of-pocket for their first visit’s services! That includes consultation with one of our doctors, necessary examinations, and x-rays if necessary! Insurance or not, the only thing coming out of your pocket for your first visit is ten bucks. If you or someone you know has been putting off their health needs because of concern regarding initial visit fees, now is the time to take advantage of this offer! Want more???

For our existing patients, every time you refer a new patient to our office from now until the end of August, you will receive a 25% Off coupon that can be used for massage, supplements, joint supports, Biofreeze, etc. that doesn’t expire until 2014!

Please share this with your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ friends… and anywhere else you might help us spread the word. Thanks again to all of you, and we’re looking forward to the next ten years!

– Dr. Gray

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Back To School…

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August/September… Summer is winding down… We’re getting the kids back to school. We can learn a lot from our children…

They go through their summer, sleeping in until noon, only waking to grab the phone to see who’s text messages they’ve missed. Once they’ve replied and made potential plans for the coming evening of blissful lack of responsibility, they grab a bite to eat and flip on the tube or Facebook and “check in.” However, once school starts back up (perhaps with a little coaxing), they’re up at 6:00 AM fixing their hair, organizing the backpack, grabbing a bowl of cereal, and catching the bus or driving themselves to school. In short, once they recognize that it’s time to get the job done; once they are expected to be responsible; once they know there is no alternative… they just do it. They may not be happy about it. They may complain and rebel. They may resist… but, in large part, they do it. Decision made, this is what has to be done, let’s go.

Now… as an adult… who are you responsible to? Let’s put this in perspective.

How many of you know and acknowledge that “It’s time to quit smoking?” … “It’s time to start exercising?” … “It’s time to start taking care of myself?” But who is there to kick your lazy butt into gear? The answer is: YOU. We teach our kids that we all have responsibilities, and when it needs to be done, you just do it. We EXPECT them to honor their responsibilities and do their chores. There are consequences if they don’t… but, do we hold ourselves to the same level of accountability? If you demand that your student get up and go to school, but continue with habits that you KNOW you shouldn’t be doing, then you’re a hypocrite. How can you expect to hold their respect, if you won’t practice what you preach? What kind of lesson are you teaching them; or, example are you setting if you tell them one thing then do another?

Let’s take this time to show our children what it really means to be responsible. Let’s make the decision that the time is now to “get it done.” No more “New Year’s Resolutions…” no more, I’ll quit ____ once I turn 40… 50… etc.” Do it now.

We’re here to help. At Gray Chiropractic, we have three doctors and a massage therapist on staff to help you achieve your health care goals. Combined, all of our doctors have over 30 years of experience in dealing with sports injuries, addictions, painful conditions due to years of hard work, acute injuries, chronic pains, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, lower back pain, etc. We have helped patients from the grandmother struggling with duties at church to the infant with a bad case of colic. We’ve helped people quit smoking. We’ve helped people lose weight. We’ve relieved years of pain. Traditional chiropractic care, acupuncture, supplementation, nutritional counseling, strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, … you name it, and we can help you achieve your goals.

So… get off your ass and make an appointment with us today. Whether it’s a simple, tune-up adjustment, or a full nutritional work-up, you know it’s time to start leading by example. If you want your children to make smart health decisions, then you must show them how it’s done. Lead by example. Hold yourself accountable. Make the decision that there is no alternative… there are consequences if you don’t… and, get it done. Do the right thing.

Dr. Gray

Posted in Acupuncture, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, General Back Pain, General Chiropractic, General Health, Headaches, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Nutrition, Stretches & Exercises | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Acupuncture… Does It Work?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Found a great article in the Wall Street journal from March 2010. In it, the journalist gives an account of her experience with acupuncture, and details some of the new scientific evidence proving the effective results associated with this form of treatment. For me, this was a great and timely article. I am often asked, “How does acupuncture work?” Well, you all know that I am often honest to a fault, therefore, my answer usually begins with, “We don’t exactly know!” Wow… now if that doesn’t inspire confidence, I don’t know what will! (obvious sarcasm)

A technique that has been around for 5000 years or so has got to have some validity to it, right? So why are there so few scientific studies and such little research done on the subject? The answer to that question is two-fold:

First, I believe that we do not yet fully understand how to evaluate and quantify the effects of the biomagnetic and bioelectric fields that surround and travel through us. Physics can measure, predict, and detail very accurately the electric and magnetic fields created by the interaction of positive and negative charges when we pass electricity through a copper wire. On a very basic, simplified, and cellular level, the interaction between nerves, cells, and other tissues in our body is not that different from passing electrons through a wire. In nearly all functions of the body, there are positive and negative charges being exchanged, transferred, or retained in and between our cells. Individually, this interaction between two cells may be extremely small. However, collectively, these interactions could theoretically develop significantly large biomagnetic and bioelectric fields due to the interaction of positive and negative charges. This model could explain why many seemingly strange techniques work; such as: acupuncture, applied kinesiology, contact reflex analysis, muscle testing, etc. Many of these techniques involve weird and unexplained responses from the manipulation or interference with these fields; such as holding a particular food item causing the strengthening or weakening of a muscle. At this point in time, we just don’t know how to measure or evaluate these responses. Most of these techniques also suffer from interexaminer deficiencies… which means, different practitioners may do an examination on the same patient yet interpret the results differently. Here’s the strange part… even though different results are obtained from examination, and different acupoints may be chosen for treatment, positive outcomes from treatment are still realized… and outperform placebo!

The second reason that research and documentation is scant on acupuncture and energy-based medicine is… say it with me folks… Follow the money!!! That’s right, boys and girls. There’s no money in it for the pharmaceutical, insurance, or medical corporations. Acupuncture, chiropractic, kinesiology, and other energy-based techniques are largely practitioner-based. Face it; if they can’t bottle it and sell it, they’re not going to support it. Who do you think pays for all those research papers in JAMA, NEJM, or any other “peer-reviewed” research journal? And why do they pay for or support these research articles? Because they expect a return on their investment. I don’t have a problem with it… that’s the way the free market works, and I’d rather have it that way than have some moron in Washington deciding what’s good or not (besides… who do you think is paying that guy?). All I’m saying is that the lack of big-money research doesn’t necessarily mean that something doesn’t work. Like I’ve told you before, in anything you read or hear (including this blog!), consider the source and motivation behind what you’re hearing. The pharmaceutical industry is a trillion dollar per year industry… why would they finance, support, and publish any research that encourages a medical treatment option that renders their products unnecessary? Not gonna happen.

That said, there were a couple good videos included with the Wall Street Journal article linked above. Having trouble embedding them here, so follow the link and watch them there. I’ll update this page if I figure out how to embed the video here. If you want to go directly to the videos: here’s the first one… and, here’s the second one.

Dr. James C. Gray

Posted in Acupuncture, General Back Pain, General Health, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Other Pain Conditions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My Interview For “Living With Back Pain”

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, February 1, 2010

I was recently asked to do an interview for the website “Living with Back Pain.” This informative site has many pages devoted to living and dealing with chronic pain. I enjoyed doing the interview and am satisfied that I was able to provide some good info that will be beneficial to anyone dealing with painful conditions. I’ll post the entire article below, but be sure to check it out on their site, too. While you’re there, I encourage you to look around Dave’s site. Click here to open the interview in a new window. Here’s the text of the interview:

WORDS OF WISDOM

Dr James Gray

Dr James Gray from Gray Chiropractic and Natural Health Care in Independence, Missouri has agreed to share some of his knowledge about natural health treatments with us.

He is active in his community where he has established a relationship with many medical doctors, who refer patients to him for his natural health treatments, because they have seen the results that he has been able to achieve.

Dr Gray, Welcome.Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your experience and expertise about chiropractic care with us.

I found your website graychiropractic.com when researching chiropractors, and I was very impressed by how professional and informative your website and your practice seem to be.

Please tell us briefly about yourself and your involvement with chiropractic care and health care in general, the services you have to offer, and the web blog that you write.

Thanks, Dave, for the opportunity to participate and add to your discussion in relieving chronic pain. For the past 15 years, I’ve been a chiropractor in the Eastern suburbs of Kansas City, MO. While attending chiropractic school, although I’ve always been skeptic of unproven treatment methods, I vowed to keep an open mind and research as many health care ideas as I could. I would often attend seminars with a notion that I would be gaining the knowledge I would need to warn my patients about the dangers of fringe treatments. Often, I came away with that very outcome. However, I was surprised at how many times I came away with more answers than I had expected, and a sincere desire to learn more about a particular technique.

Today, Gray Chiropractic offers a wide variety of natural health care alternatives to traditional medicine. The majority of cases we deal with involve traditional, evidence-based chiropractic care, but I think the secret to our success is in the integration of multiple treatment methods and techniques. In addition to chiropractic care, we utilize and provide in our office both passive and active adjunctive physiotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, dietary and nutritional counseling, massage therapy, and sports care. One aspect of our office that may differ from your readers’ past experiences is our emphasis and desire to communicate and coordinate care with our patients’ medical doctors. I vowed after leaving school that I was not going to participate in the partisan bickering between our professions that doesn’t benefit our patients and equates to nothing more than a turf war. It is only by communication, cooperation, and the integration of the vast array of health care choices that we can achieve optimum results.

I tell all of my patients that the original definition for the Latin word for doctor meant “teacher.” As physicians, it is our responsibility to evaluate a patient’s body as a whole and give them all of the information they need to make an informed decision. Contrary to popular belief, neither I nor any other doctor can make you partake in any treatment recommendations. Nor can we insure that you will continue to follow our recommendations once you are not under active and regular care. Ultimately, it is the patient that is responsible for their health… for better or worse. Therefore, it is imperative that we teach our patients about the many choices they have, and the consequences associated with each. In my blog, I try to discuss the health care issues that face us all in a blunt and clear manner. There is so much misinformation out there; it’s hard for patients to get a clear and unbiased message. I try to write about a wide variety of issues from a natural health care perspective, but leave out the fluff and sales-influenced propaganda.

1. Dr Gray, after reading some of your blogs I get the impression that you have some pretty strong feelings about medical care in the United States.

I do have very strong feelings about medical care in our country. However, I hope I’ve not given the impression that my feelings are anti-medicine. I write some pretty scathing rebukes when necessary, but I don’t care what profession the bull comes from… if it’s crap, it’s crap. I think what I get most upset about is sales propaganda disguised as health care authority or advice. This comes from all directions and all professions, and I’ve got no problem pointing it out when I can.

What first led you to get involved in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine?

While in chiropractic school, I had a friend invite me to attend a weekend seminar to fulfill some of our elective credit requirements. I had always thought acupuncture was going to be one of those techniques that I would debunk and warn my patients about. “I mean seriously… you’re going to tell me that you can stick a needle in a woman’s ankle and relieve her menstrual cramps? Gimme a break!” However, by the end of that one weekend, I was fascinated. I couldn’t wait to learn more. I immersed myself in reading new and old material alike, and immediately signed up for the full post-doctoral program. Since then, I have continued to study and learn about acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. I read several books and attend continuing education seminars multiple times every year. I never fail to come away with something I didn’t know before. Acupuncture is an art that takes years to learn and a lifetime to master.

Does it work for everyone? Of course not. It is no more a “cure-all” than chiropractic or pharmaceuticals are. Acupuncture is merely one more treatment choice and method that we have in our arsenal to fight disease and discomfort.

2. In your practice at Gray Chiropractic you use axial traction and intersegmental traction to distract the spine and open up the vertebral spaces. How does this compare to treatment with the DRX9000 that some practices are promoting?

The DRX9000 (or the VAX-D, Lordex, DRS, etc.) are computerized axial traction devices. Although I don’t have any problem with the tables or techniques themselves, I do object to some of the questionable marketing practices used by some to sell these treatments. I found an article from the journal Chiropractic & Osteopathy titled “Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy: does the scientific literature support efficacy claims made in the advertising media?” published in May 2007. The article examines this “heavily marketed” version of traction therapy that “can cost over $100,000.” The authors extensively search all the major medical and scientific literature databases to find every scientific research article published on nonsurgical spinal decompression. It turns out; there was only 1 randomized controlled trial, 1 clinical trial, 1 case series and 7 other papers. Each was reviewed individually. The authors concluded that “In general the quality of these studies is questionable.” And that there was “only limited evidence…available to warrant the routine use of non-surgical spinal decompression, particularly when many other well investigated, less expensive alternatives are available.”

I would have to agree with the conclusions of the authors. Spinal decompression does work as designed, but I’ve not seen evidence that it is any more effective than other treatment methods that are readily available and much less expensive. There are relatively few cases that will respond only to this form of treatment, yet will not also obtain comparable results from flexion-distraction, chiropractic with exercise, axial traction, or a simple inversion table.

3. You offer Nutrition Response Testing and Designed Clinical Nutrition in your chiropractic practice. I read the explanation on your website and found it very interesting, but I didn’t quite understand how it was developed or where it originated. It seems to be related to traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture treated with modern dietary supplements. Can you tell us how it was developed and how it made its way into your practice?

Nutrition Response Testing is a technique that has developed through the conglomeration of numerous techniques over the years. Founded and developed by a pair of doctors in New York, their research was originally was based on the work of the “Founding Fathers of Modern Nutrition:” Dr. Royal Lee, Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Dr. Melvin E. Page and Dr. Weston A. Price, and a modification of Contact Reflex Analysis. These techniques involve muscle testing and energy work that is not well understood, however, I can’t argue with results. My primary complaint lies with the subjective nature of the muscle testing, and inter-examiner reliability. That said; the muscle testing and reflex points designed to illicit response follow closely along historical reflex points from traditional Chinese philosophy and acupuncture meridians.

In practice, I had begun to see a pattern of declining health of the general population that traditional methods (chiropractic or medical) were not addressing as completely as they used to. By process of elimination, I found that dietary weakness and malnutrition was playing a role in the failing health of our society. Deep down, this is something that we all know, but due to the diarrhetic glut of information available about this vitamin for that and that vitamin for this, we don’t know where to start! I was determined to increase my ability to teach my patients how to eat better, and how to choose only those supplements that will benefit each individual situation. Everyone, and every case, is different. I needed a way to evaluate my patients to determine where the underlying dysfunction or weaknesses were, and how to individually tailor our response to those problems.

In addition to the basic NRT muscle testing, we add computerized heart rate variability tests, and a full-body systems questionnaire to evaluate the function and efficiency of the autonomic nervous system. It would be pointless to recommend certain supplements if the body can’t respond properly or use it once it’s in there. As in traditional Chinese medicine, the goal is to have all of the body’s systems functioning optimally, in balance and harmony.

Although we won’t be able to be as specific as an office visit, we are currently working on a way to put the full-body symptom questionnaire online so patients can complete and submit it for review. Once submitted, we will review the results and develop a comprehensive report that details the primary underlying systemic weaknesses that will allow us to formulate an individual supplementation plan. If we can get this up and running soon, we will be able to offer patients throughout the continental U.S. the opportunity to get a detailed and individualized plan which will take the guess work out of choosing which supplements will be most beneficial to take. If the patient chooses, they could then order and have their supplements shipped directly to them.

4. Chiropractic treatments kind of have a reputation as being for little old people with arthritic spines, but I see that you are doing much more. As a team chiropractor for the Missouri Mavericks hockey team you work with athletes in a very rough sport. What can chiropractic do for regular people who don’t play contact sports?

Wow… After a hundred fifteen years of research, treatment, and results, I hope the majority of people don’t still think of chiropractic as “being for little old people with arthritic spines.” But, perhaps you’re right in that most people don’t really know what we do, or the philosophy of chiropractic.

In short, chiropractic is a science and art within the health care field that focuses on the neuromusculoskeletal system and how it affects the entire body. The underlying tenets would have to include the fact that the body is designed to heal itself and operate at homeostasis, or balance. The nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, controls and coordinates all of the body’s systems and is in charge of making sure the left hand knows what the right is doing. Disruption or interference within the nervous system can lead to pain, dysfunction, and disease. Instead of treating the symptoms of a condition, chiropractic attempts to treat the underlying dysfunction that is leading to the symptoms… thus facilitating the body to heal itself.

As with the medical field, there are emerging several specialties within the chiropractic community. There are chiropractic internists, radiologists, sports physicians, pediatricians, etc. The major difference between a DC and an MD is primarily that we don’t prescribe pharmaceuticals, and we don’t perform surgeries. If a patient would prefer a natural approach to health, the chiropractor is an essential part of their health care team. I have many patients who consider me their “primary care physician,” and we just refer them on in those cases where pharmaceuticals are necessary.

As for my role with the Mavs, most every professional sports team has a chiropractor on staff or associated. The reason is that optimal function of the neuromusculoskeletal system leads to optimal performance on the ice, on the gridiron, on the diamond, on the court, etc. With optimal function, you also minimize the risk of injury and optimize recovery. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Mavs since their inception and have seen some pretty crazy injuries. However, when it gets right down to it, there are many professions that are as hard on the body as hockey. For example, framing carpenters lift, carry, climb, walk on uneven surfaces, hammer, nail, etc. all day every day. The difference is, the carpenter doesn’t consider the athleticism of their occupation so they don’t focus on stretching before and after working, and they don’t tailor their diet to maximize their abilities to perform and recover. This leads to excess wear and tear on the body and results in premature degeneration. Most every profession has its own inherent stresses and strains. If optimal function benefits athletes by allowing them optimal performance, risk, and recovery… then why would the rest of us be any different? Everyone can benefit from optimal performance, minimal risk, and optimal recovery.

5. You certainly appear to be in excellent physical condition and you promote good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle in your practice at Gray Chiropractic. What do you do to keep yourself in top shape and how do you educate your patients about the importance of exercise and physical training as a part of healthy living?

I exercise several times per week, but not in a traditional manner. I’ve never been one who has been satisfied with sitting in the gym lifting weights. Frankly, it bores me. Therefore, I mix it up. Tennis, golf, hockey, running on the elliptical trainer, some weights, chasing the kids, walking the dogs, you name it. Most of the time, it’s not important how long or how hard you exercise… just that you do it! As for diet, I’m not a fanatic. I’m just realistic. I understand that the produce in our grocery stores has approximately 35-40% of the nutritional content of the same produce from 40 years ago. Therefore, I practice what I preach and take individualized supplements specific to my current state.

For my patients, my biggest obstacle is convincing them that living healthy is not as hard they may think. It’s not hard to drink more water, limit sugar and sweeteners, eat more raw or steamed veggies… and put the fork down. Reasonable portions and a little activity is a great start to improving health. I try to lead by example and give ideas to some. Some just need a motivating force or someone to be responsible to. Others, for one reason or the other, are not receptive. That’s okay, too… so long as the patient understands that he/she is the only one responsible for the consequences.

6. Many of our visitors don’t have gym memberships and don’t have access to exercise equipment. Can you suggest any exercises that they can do at home to strengthen their back and protect against back pain?

You bet! Strengthening the back and protecting against back pain starts with stabilizing the abdominal core muscles. Anyone can do a daily range-of-motion stretch in the lower back and torso. Add in abdominal planks to strengthen abs without aggravating the lower back like crunches sometimes do. Leg raises (front, back, and to side). You’d be amazed at how beneficial a good walk is for the back and core. An exercise ball ($18-20) makes for a cheap item that can incorporate and facilitate a ton of exercises. In the absence of even an exercise ball, look around and be creative. Fill a gallon milk jug with water and you’ve got a six pound dumbbell. You’ve probably got a ton of things in your kitchen that will tell you right on the package how much it weighs. You don’t need memberships or home gyms to get exercise… you just need motivation and to quit making excuses.

7. I read on your website that you have four daughters and that you are active in coaching and sponsoring their sports teams and other activities. It is very admirable that you find time in your busy schedule to be involved in their lives, and I am sure it is very rewarding as well.

What kind of advice do you have for your daughters and other young people, about protecting and caring for their backs now, to prevent back pain and other problems as they grow into their 30’s and 40’s and beyond? (And, how do you get them to listen?)

The old adage of “an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure,” is one of the most basic truths that too many of us forget to respect. Whether it’s my daughters, my patients, my neighbors, or anyone else, the only way to encourage prevention and healthy choices is to increase and enforce personal accountability. Regardless of whether it is related to school, health, sports, work, etc., my girls know and understand that they are in control of and determine their own destiny. I can guide, teach, show, and assist as much as I can, but it’s up to them determine their outcome. Actions lead to consequences… good or bad… period.

The same applies to health care. Unfortunately, our society has become too politically correct, and too often refuses to place blame where it belongs. It’s become “uncouth” to tell someone that 90% of their back pain is because they’re 50 pounds overweight. It’s “not cool” to tell someone their “depression” is because they won’t get off their ass and go outside. You want to improve health care in this country? Put the patient back in the equation. The patient should be in control, and should be responsible for all aspects of their personal health care choices. Once that happens, patients will take ownership of their bodies again. They will consider how Choice A vs. Choice B is going to affect their health, their pocketbook, and their reputation. My advice to young people is to take responsibility now for the consequences of your actions. Start thinking about what you want to do and where you want to be in ten years. Twenty years. Then take the actions that will get you there. Quit waiting on someone else to make the decision for you because they won’t be there when it’s time to pay the toll.

As for getting them to listen… if you ever figure out how to get a teenager to listen, please let me know!!!

Dr. Gray we certainly appreciate your direct approach and telling people the truth. Whenever you are teaching people about their health, the bottom line really is personal responsibility.

We want to thank Dr. Gray for taking the time to share his knowledge and expertise with us. As always with Dr. Gray, he cuts through the fog, and puts the truth right in front of you. How refreshing.

You can get more straight talk from Dr. Gray by visiting him at Gray Chiropractic in Independence, MO., and reading his blog posts. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on his website for the new online nutrition evaluation that he is developing.

Posted in General Back Pain, General Chiropractic, General Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Acupuncture For Children With Headaches

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A German study published in the July 2008 issue of Pain, a prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal, has shown significant evidence supporting the use of laser acupuncture in children suffering with headaches. Children involved in the study suffered from either chronic migraines, or chronic tension headaches. Advanced techniques (double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled) were used to ensure valid outcomes. Across the board, those who were treated with acupuncture fared much better than the placebo group. Headache days were less following treatment. Headache time was decreased following treatment. And, headache severity was also decreased following treatment with acupuncture stimulation.

Each treatment is individualized based on the patient and their body’s needs. Subjects in this study were treated based on the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and meridian balancing. Stimulating acupoints with a laser is relatively new, but offers a pain-free method of treatment that works wonders with children. The anxiety associated with needles is avoided, and the risk of injury associated with a child playing with inserted needles is negated.

I’ve got children and know how helpless a parent feels when their baby is sick or in pain. The last thing we want to do is expose them to even more discomfort or fear. We want to put them at ease and then use treatment techniques that are comfortable, have a good chance of helping, and minimize any potential negative effects. Laser acupuncture fits all of these. It’s comfortable for the child. In fact, they rarely feel anything at all when laser stimulation is used. We’ve just discussed its effectiveness. And, with laser acupuncture, there are no potential negative side effects… it either works or it doesn’t.

If you, or your child, suffer with headaches, we’d like to invite you in for a brief examination to determine if yours is a case for laser acupuncture. Call us today at (816) 795-1121 to schedule your appointment.

Dr. Gray

Gray Chiropractic is a full-service natural health care office in Independence, east of Kansas City. For further information check our website www.graychiropractic.com.

Posted in Acupuncture, Headaches | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Acupuncture – What Is It?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, October 13, 2008

Historians have stated, “More people have benefited from Acupuncture over the course of fifty centuries than the combined total of all other healing sciences, both ancient and modern.”

That’s a pretty profound statement when you consider the advancements in healthcare over the past hundred years. I am regularly asked to explain acupuncture to our patients. I’ve decided… that there’s really no easy way to describe it! Yes, there are varied canned responses and textbook definitions, but they, too, are filled with theories and assumptions.

From the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture:

Acupuncture, simply stated, is a health science which is used to successfully treat both pain and dysfunction in the body.

Acupuncture has its roots deeply planted in China. In fact, authorities agree the science is between 5,000 and 7,000 years old. Its use spread throughout ancient Egypt, the Middle East, the Roman Empire and later into Western Europe as merchants and missionaries to China told of the amazing discoveries the people of the Orient had developed. Acupuncture did not become known on a national level in the US until 1971 when diplomatic relations between China and America were relaxed.

At first glimpse, Acupuncture appears strange, as its primary notoriety is the utilization of needles placed in the skin at various locations to relieve pain or affect a body part.

Early Chinese physicians discovered there is an energy network traversing just below the surface of the skin which communicates from the exterior to the internal organs and structures over 1,000 “Acupoints” on the body. This energy works in harmony with the body’s circulatory, nervous, muscular, digestive, genitourinary and all other systems of the body. When this vital energy becomes blocked or weakened, an effect in a body system or anatomic location becomes evident. Stimulation of one or a combination of key “Acupoints” on the body may restore harmony to the affected area.

Personally, I think the study of acupuncture and what we know of it is about to explode. We have come so far in the ability to measure energy, magnetism, electromagnetic fields, bioelectricity, etc. I think we are going to find definitive and measurable proof that there is, indeed, a network of energy (innate, chi, qi, etc.) that affects and plays a role in the autonomic functions of the body. Recent studies have documented near instantaneous reactions within the brain and nervous system following stimulation of seemingly far removed acupoints. Although these reactions are documented, the underlying etiology of why or how they occur is not fully understood.

Compare this to aspirin. For the first 40 or so years, scientists had no idea how or why aspirin worked to relieve pain and inflammation. However, it became the most widely used pain reliever in the world. Why?… Because it worked! With acupuncture, the only difference is time frame. Although the underlying etiology is not completely understood, it works! For over 5,000 years, acupuncture has been taught, studied, and practiced with widespread success and positive treatment outcomes.

As with other treatment methods or options, acupuncture is not a panacea. It will not work for everyone or every case, but there are a ton of conditions and scenarios when acupuncture will be the most effective treatment method available. In one recent case, I had an elderly gentleman that we had been fighting a case of severe hip pain. Now, this may not be typical, but after one treatment, he was nearly pain free in the hip.

Why did his case respond so well to acupuncture when it had failed to respond to so many other treatment methods? I’m not sure. What I do know is that acupuncture is what his body needed. Although you may not need acupuncture for every single case, for those cases that need acupuncture… you won’t get optimum results without it.

Posted in Acupuncture, General Back Pain, General Health, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Other Pain Conditions | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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