Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘Low Back Pain’

Why Didn’t I Try This Sooner? – Testimonial

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gray Testimonial LogoMan, I love what I do! Check this out:

Dear Dr. Gray,

     My dad had never been to a chiropractor before. After retiring from decades as a heavy equipment operator, his back pain was getting so bad that he moved in with my husband and I. After seeing the relief my husband (who had previously refused to go to a chiropractor) was getting, we were able to talk him in to coming to meet you. After beginning treatment with you, he began to have relief for the first time in years. He swore from that point on that he would not miss an appointment with you. He knew he was getting relief from the pain he had suffered with for so long, and he knew where that relief was coming from. So you see, I’m so grateful to have had a doctor that could help out… They both really loved you, Dr. Gray.

Thanks again, – name withheld for privacy

How can you not be excited to go to work when you get things like this? I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to help so many people. I absolutely love getting testimonials like this.

You want to hear the best part? I received the above unsolicited testimonial a few years after the men she was referencing had passed. There are so many times we go through the motions of our daily lives without fanfare. Without accolades. Without thanks. Without reward. Often, we place too much focus on how our actions are benefiting ourselves… when our true focus should be on how our actions are benefiting others. There is no better reward than finding out years later how you were a positive influence on someone else without even knowing.

Influence can go both ways… positive or negative. Treat every moment, every day, every interaction as if it were the most important thing you can do. You never know who you’re influencing, and you darn sure don’t want to miss an opportunity to make the right impression!

Dr. Gray

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

Can Chiropractors Help Stuff That Aren’t In the Back?… or, What Is “Chiropractic?”

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, September 16, 2013

Got a great call this morning that got me to thinking… Backstory: A friend of mine, whose wife has been a patient for a couple years, called and told me, “Ya know… my knee has been killing me for a long time and I never really thought that you might be able to do something about it.” Following this call, I have two conclusions.

First, I am grateful that he finally asked. The mere fact that he called meant that he had either been told by someone else that he should ask me, or he finally had a epiphany that he should ask if I could help.

Second, I am concerned that after 118 years, the general public still thinks that chiropractors are just back doctors. Seriously, this gentleman has been a good friend of mine for more than five years. And yet, facing a long-standing and significant condition that was extra-spinal, he hadn’t thought to ask me about it until now.

So, let’s get down to it. “Chiropractic” in it’s derivative form means “done by the hand.” It doesn’t mean done on the back, or done on the neck. Historically, Chiropractic has become known as a method of healing that values and encourages the natural healing ability of the body, and the optimization of the body’s ability to do so. Throughout the past century, our profession has proven time and again that we are capable of treating and improving the health of millions of patients with a myriad of conditions. Plantar Fascitis? Check. Achilles’ Tendinitis? Check. Chondromalacia Patella? Check. Sprained Meniscus? Check. Osgood-Schlatter’s? Check. Hip bursitis? Check. Herniated disk? Check. Menstrual Cramps? Check. Constipation? Check. Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Check. Kidney Stones? Check. Gall Bladder congestion? Check. Difficulty breathing? Check. High Blood Pressure? Check. High Cholesterol? Check. Overweight? Check. Thyroid Dysfunction? Check. Common Cold? Check. Rotator Cuff Tear? Check. Tennis Elbow? Check. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Check. Trigger Finger? Check. Torticollis? Check. Cluster Migraine? Check. Tension Headache? Check. …. Shall I go on?

Have all of these conditions been helped and treated by a chiropractic adjustment? Yes and no. If you subscribe to the “straight chiropractor’s” definition of chiropractic, then chiropractors are nothing more than technicians who pop joints. If you subscribe to the “mixer chiropractor’s” definition of chiropractic, then you define the adjustment as the only crucial element to the treatment plan that is assisted by complimenting, external, therapeutic procedures.

However, a realistic definition that complements the true and original derivative “done by the hand,” does not have to explicitly imply that the single most important factor of our care is a physical adjustment. I suggest that a more accurate correlation refers to our ability to take “a hands-on approach.” It is my opinion that, as with all doctors, it is not our actual “hands” or the service we provide that is our most important asset. Our most important asset, and what makes us worthy of being doctors, is our intellect. It is our ability to examine our patients, have a thorough consultation regarding current symptoms and history, and ultimately arrive at a working diagnosis.

Arriving at a working diagnosis allows us to then use our intellect, education, and experience to suggest an appropriate treatment plan. With our knowledge of how the body works, we know the power and outcomes secondary to the chiropractic adjustment, therefore we often incorporate that in our treatment plan. However, we also recommend proper diet, exercise, diagnostic imaging, blood tests, appropriate supplementation, physiotherapy, and rehabilitative therapy. We apply supportive tape or bracing to damaged joints and muscles. We use kinesiotape to improve circulation and minimize further injury. AND, we refer to our health care counterparts when necessary for concurrent and/or more appropriate care.

There is a significant, country-wide push right now for an expanded role for chiropractors in the health care market. For those who wish to go through the additional training and certification, some wish to have the ability to incorporate more traditional Western treatments, such as pharmaceutical intervention. I, for one, don’t have a problem with that. By our very nature and philosophy, the natural and innate power of the human body to heal itself will still be respected. The chiropractic adjustment will still remain a critical therapeutic measure that we can provide to our patients. However, we must not ignore the benefits that can be achieved through the provision of non-traditional methods of treatment. The world is not flat, and sometimes antibiotics are necessary. The Earth is not the center of the Universe, and sometimes muscle relaxants assist in the healing process.

So, in conclusion, chiropractors are not “back doctors.” We are not “neck doctors.” If an individual chiropractor wants to limit his practice to a specialty practice dealing only with backs, or necks, or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or headaches, or whatever… more power to ya! However, it is unfortunate that some would seek to pigeon-hole the entire profession to their own desires. It is time to expand our practice models, and provide for our patients regardless of historical traditions. It is time to join the 21st century and encourage the freedom to grow and offer more to our patients. It is time to inform the public that we can treat knees, ankles, ear infections, stomach problems, shoulder injuries, chronic pain conditions, and more. It is time to be the first doctor that comes to mind when ANY health condition presents itself.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Other Pain Conditions, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

Can Stress or Emotions Cause Pain?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, January 23, 2012

I received a great question from a patient recently: She had read somewhere that stress and emotions were the cause of back pain, and wondered if I agreed or if it was true. Here is the majority of my answer.

While not the only cause of pain, the relationship between mental/emotional complaints or stress and how they lead to various physical conditions has long been known. The technical term for it is “psychosomatic,” or “psychogenic,” and refers to physical complaints being caused by mental/emotional problems. As our world has gotten busier and busier, and we have gotten away from stress-reducing activities in our daily life, these psychosomatic conditions have become much more widespread. Unfortunately, addressing psychosomatic conditions is difficult for several reasons.

First, psychosomatic complaints can be varied in their expression. Some people experience headaches when stressed, while others will develop back pain. Still others will suffer from indigestion… or high blood pressure… or neuropathy… or constipation… panic attacks… etc. Because of this highly variable presentation, it is difficult to determine exactly when our conditions are psychogenic in nature or when there is a true underlying disease process. In addition, there are no real tests that can be performed or evaluated to definitively diagnose psychosomatic conditions. Therefore, we are often in a position where we must run a multitude of tests and evaluations to rule out more serious complications or underlying disease processes. When these tests, inevitably, show no evidence of other causes, by exclusion the only plausible remaining diagnosis is “psychosomatic.” However, the very process of so many tests, the costs associated with these tests, and the continual disappointment of another test without an answer… only adds to the stress that is ultimately the underlying cause!

Second, when we have confirmed that stress is either the primary underlying cause or just a complicating factor, it is extremely difficult to get patients to comply with our recommendations on how to reduce that stress. Regardless of whether a physician is involved or not, a person who recognizes that stress is the culprit will often be unwilling (or unable) to take the necessary steps to correct their situation. How many of us can change occupations at will? Which of us can rapidly make money problems disappear? Who among us chooses when to deal with a dying parent? Which of us set our own work hours? And on and on… However, there are a great many things that we can do, but are often unwilling. For example: How many of us turn the television off and read a book in the evening? How many of us go to bed early with some soft, soothing music? How many of us choose nutritious snacks instead of sugary, carbohydrate-rich junk? Who do you know that closes their eyes and rests for fifteen minutes at lunch instead of checking in on Facebook? How many of us go for a walk in the evening instead of watching American Idol? Stress is largely a direct effect of the choices we make, our response to the consequences of those choices, and our willingness or ability to change those choices.

Third, our traditional Western medical system is not designed to properly address or correct psychosomatic conditions. If you look at the above complaints we noted above, think about how those conditions are primarily treated. Headache? Take Excedrin. Back pain? Take Alleve. Indigestion? Take Prevacid. High blood pressure? Take Toprol. Neuropathy? Take Gabapentin. Constipation? Take Maalox. Panic attacks? Take Prozac. Are you seeing the pattern here? And don’t blame this entirely on doctors or the pharmaceutical companies… Nearly every one of the conditions I’ve listed are lifestyle-related. In other words, choices the patient has made have led to the conditions with which they are suffering. By extension, patients demand and choose a treatment alternative that allows them to go on making the same ill-fated choices. Unfortunately, our Western medical system is largely geared towards symptom control… not dysfunction correction.

So, can mental or emotional stress cause pain? Absolutely. It can cause a great many things other than just pain, so it is important to make stress-reduction a regular part of your daily life.

Posted in Fibromyalgia, General Back Pain, General Health, Other Pain Conditions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sports Injuries… Who Cares?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2008 Gold Medal winner Kerri Walsh supports her shoulder with kinesio taping.

2008 Gold Medal winner Kerri Walsh supports her shoulder with kinesio taping.

Who cares??? Sounds a little crass, huh? Well, the answer is: YOU CARE!

Just as auto racing often leads to advancements and new technology in our personal cars, health care treatment for athletes often leads to new procedures for everyday complaints. There are a ton of treatments used commonly today that began as experimental methods designed to find anything that could keep an athlete on the field. One of the most striking and recent developments that comes to mind is “Kinesio Taping.” This new form of therapeutic taping uses a specialized elastic tape that allows the athlete to continue with free motion of the joints and muscles, while decreasing pain, healing time and risk of re-injury. It first gained widespread notoriety when Kerri Walsh took to the volleyball court during the summer Olympic Games in Beijing, 2008. Due to pain and prior injuries, who knows if Kerri could have taken gold that year if she hadn’t been able to support it with this new technology. Today, kinesio taping continues to be used with athletes around the world, but is becoming increasingly common in non-athlete musculoskeletal conditions also. A waitress with planter fascitis… a carpenter with tendonitis… a school teacher with lower back pain… You name it, and chances are there’s an application. (… and, yes, we are trained and use this procedure at Gray Chiropractic!)

A recent unique lower extremity study, the first ever to demonstrate preventive effects of chiropractic care, is the Hoskins and Pollard trial, in which adding chiropractic care to standard medical and physical therapy approaches dramatically decreased the number of leg injuries and missed games among Australian professional football players. This has widespread ramifications in the everyday workday world. If regular, even asymptomatic, chiropractic care reduced the number of injuries and games missed for professional athletes, then the same applies for working people. Regular chiropractic care, as a part of your overall health care plan, can reduce your chances for work-related injuries and reduce time missed from work.

Call our office today and schedule your appointment. As noted above, you don’t have to have “symptoms” or pain to benefit from chiropractic care. In fact, most of the time, the best time to take care of a problem is before it gets started!

Dr. Gray

reference: Hoskins W, Pollard H. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord.2010;11:64.

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Other Pain Conditions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How Many Chiropractors Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, March 28, 2011

So… how many chiropractors does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one… but it’ll take you 40 visits! Although comical, jokes like this come from a general basis of some perceived negative. Does it really take forty visits anytime you need chiropractic treatment? Of course not. However, there is another perception about chiropractic that contributes to the above joke: Once you start going to a chiropractor, you have to go forever.

Is that true? Do you have to go forever if you begin seeing a chiropractor? The answer, again, is of course not. I’ll be the first to admit that I understand the frustration with the concept of multiple visits associated with chiropractic treatment. The fact remains, though, that we can’t fix twenty years of abuse and neglect with one adjustment. The number of treatment visits that will be required for each individual case is dependent on many factors. An individual’s history of injuries, surgeries, sports, genetics, occupation, exercise, weight, diet, hobbies, etc. all play a role in the amount of treatment necessary. The length of time that a particular condition has been developing is also extremely important when trying to design a treatment plan. Every aspect plays a role in determining reasonable expectations for the amount of care necessary to optimize outcomes.

Perhaps more, but at least as, important than the above factors is: What are the patient’s goals? If all the patient wants is to “feel better,” then a couple appointments may be all that is necessary. But, keep in mind that how things feel is not always a good indicator of how things really are. Did you know that the most common first symptom of heart disease is… death? There are tons of people walking around with severe heart disease or cancer who have no symptoms and think they’re fine. In the same sense, your spine and nervous system has an inborn ability to adapt and compensate for dysfunction in an effort to decrease symptoms. Think about it… from the time we learn to walk, our parents teach us how to ignore pain. “Shake it off… be tough… work it out…” From nearly day one, we are taught to ignore our symptoms! The end result is that we ignore the warning signs that would allow us to fix a problem while it is small and easy. Ultimately, by the time the body has lost its ability to compensate any further, the patient enters my office and says, “I’ve only had this pain for three days.” Well, actually, you’ve had this dysfunction for much longer, but your body finally gave up three days ago.

If the patient’s goal is resolution or long-term improved health, then physical pain or symptoms are only a small part of our rationale for care. Obviously, our first goal of treatment will be to minimize and/or get rid of the pain. After that, we dig a little deeper to determine what led to the dysfunction in the first place. While continuing care and retraining the body to work and function differently than it has adapted to, we begin planning out any rehabilitative care or lifestyle changes that may be necessary. This could include regular stretching and/or exercise at home, dietary restrictions, supplements, physical therapy, ergonomic changes at work or home, etc. Beyond that, again, it depends on the patient’s goals. If you wish to keep your teeth and keep them healthy, you regularly brush, floss, use a mouth rinse, and visit the dentist a couple times per year regardless of symptoms. These visits are primarily check-ups so that the dentist can discover potential problems before they become big problems. A little cleaning, a good check-up, some advice on home care, and they can usually send you on your way. However, if you’ve not been taking care of your teeth, whether by the lack of maintenance or by abusing them with sugary foods, then the dentist may have some work to do. If you’re seeing him a couple times per year, then he can catch these problems early and there is much less treatment and cost involved. On the other hand, if you’ve neglected these problems for some time, the damage may be much worse, increasing the amount of treatment and cost involved with your dental care.

In the same fashion, if you wish to remain physically active with a healthy and strong body, you must regularly exercise, eat properly, reduce stress, get plenty of rest, and visit the chiropractor once in a while regardless of symptoms. The same examples from our dental analogy above apply here. If you’ve taken care of yourself, there is often very little for the chiropractor to do, but this gives an opportunity to catch problems before they escalate. If you’ve abused or neglected yourself, there is a good chance that your problems will involve more treatment and costs associated with your care. Either way, dental or chiropractic, you’re going to need us sooner or later. You can either take care of yourself and see the dentist regularly… or you can wait for your teeth to fall out. In the same sense, you can either take care of yourself and see the chiropractor regularly… or you can wait until you need surgery. – Dr. Gray

Posted in General Back Pain, General Chiropractic, General Health, Headaches, Herniated/"Slipped" Discs, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Symptoms… Or Structure? Are You The Leaning Tower?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Take your shirt off… Relax… and stand in front of a large mirror. Are your ears level? Does your head stand straight up and down? Are your shoulders level? Do your ribs stick out further on one side? Are your hips level? Now, do the same thing on your children, spouse, or significant other. If you can answer “No” to any of these questions, you may be looking at a clear sign of problems to come… or the underlying cause of some of your current problems.

Biomechanically, our bodies are built like a skyscraper. We are a very tall, narrow structure that depends on a stable foundation with balance and support throughout from the bottom up. Anytime the pieces aren’t working together, or individual parts are weaker than they need to be, dysfunction shows up. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was built upon a sandy foundation. As they built it taller, they began to notice that it was leaning to one side. Instead of correcting the foundation, they treated the symptom… they built the next level taller on one side to shift the weight back the other way. As expected, the building first righted itself, but then began to fall the other way. Again, they just built the next level out of balance to shift the weight back in the other direction. This continued for nearly 200 years until they arrived at the structure you see today. What many of us don’t know is that the only reason the tower still stands is because of the internal and external “surgery” they eventually had to perform to hold the building up. There are metal bands, support beams, lead weights, and traction devices that have been installed and are constantly monitored and adjusted in order to keep the building upright.

In the same fashion, structural dysfunction in our body will lead to imbalances that force it to adapt and lean this way or that in order to continue to support us. The changes or adaptations our bodies make may allow us to remain upright, but they will also lead to other symptoms. Symptoms are nothing more than our body’s attempt to warn us that something is wrong. In our example, the symptom of the leaning tower was an indication that the foundation wasn’t strong enough to hold the weight of the building. In our body, the symptom could be achy, muscle spasms. How many of us decide to take a muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory instead of asking ourselves why the pain and spasm developed in the first place? If your symptoms involve interference in the nervous system… which then leads to symptoms wherever those nerves travel… what will happen if you choose to treat the symptoms only?

Go back to our analogy: As the builders continued to treat the symptom of the leaning tower, this only led to other symptoms and perpetuated the instability and dysfunction of the structure. Ultimately, this has led to permanent structural imbalance (the lean), surgical repair (the banding and beams), and constant monitoring of balance (the lead weights and soil removal). Following this logic, if you choose to treat the symptoms only, you will develop permanent structural imbalance (have you seen how some older people stand?), increasing aggressiveness of treatment (how many knee and hip replacements have you heard of lately?), and constant monitoring and treatment (know anyone taking meds for one thing… then meds for the side effects… then meds for another… OR… needs continual or repetitive treatment just to maintain their current state?). Sounds pretty familiar, huh?

Chiropractic is uniquely situated and qualified to deal with the underlying structure of how our bodies work. Most people think of low back pain when they hear “chiropractic.” However, chiropractors don’t treat low back pain. We don’t treat headaches… neck pain… indigestion or heartburn… carpal tunnel syndrome… intervertebral disks, herniated disks, bulging disks… We treat the underlying CAUSE that leads to those SYMPTOMS. We seek to optimize the body’s function, therefore the symptoms resolve themselves. If a “symptom” is just a warning sign given by our body to warn us of dysfunction, then correcting the underlying dysfunction will cause the symptom to stop.

Is chiropractic a cure-all? No. Of course not. There are conditions or diseases that are related to external forces (such as infection, trauma, or chemical poisoning) that need external assistance. Your medical doctor plays an integral role in helping to address these issues, and to help point you in the right direction. However, your chiropractor should play an equal role in helping you manage the function of your body. Ultimately, you are responsible to create and build your own foundation upon which you build your structure. When we are young, we rely on the foundation begun by our parents, but as an adult, will you continue to treat the symptoms? Will you treat only the symptoms, or will you correct the underlying structure?

– Dr. James C. Gray

Posted in General Back Pain, General Chiropractic, General Health, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Other Pain Conditions, Prescription Medicines | 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 »

Best Abdominal Exercises?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Traditional sit-ups were long thought to be the only way to gaining “warrior-like” abdominal muscles. In actuality, traditional sit-ups cause a tremendous loading force to the lumbar discs. The lumbar spine should not incur more than 3,300 Newtons (N) of force at one time, otherwise it is susceptible to injury. Traditional sit-ups, such as the bent knee sit-up may load the lumbar disc with 3,350 N with only one movement. A strait leg sit-up loads the discs with an astronomical 3,506 (N). These exercises may destroy your back if they are done over an extensive period of time. Better choices for core and ab strengthening are the Curl-up, Side-bridge, plank bridge, and Kettlebell swings. These movements cause only about a quarter or half the force of traditional sit-up exercises. The most important key to core and abdominal strength is to train movements and not by solely isolating the abdominal muscle.

*consult your physician before starting any workout program, this note is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis nor does it constitute treatment of any kind. There is inherent risk to any exercise program*

By: Dr. Josh Sonsiadek, Chiropractic Physician, Certified Fitness Trainer

Posted in General Health, Low Back Pain, Stretches & Exercises | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, January 5, 2010

There are very few people that if given a choice would decide to have painful surgery or take lots of medication to reduce pain from an injury or disease. For a long time that was the only option open to most of us. With the invention and acceptance of chiropractic medicine, all of that changed. One of the greatest benefits of chiropractic care is its holistic approach to treating the whole body. Most people tend to think of chiropractic medicine as only neck and back adjustments, when it is actually a whole lot more. Chiropractors are trained in many of the sciences and they can do offer help in the areas of neurology, orthopedics, and pediatrics and geriatric care. That means they are ready and able to help patients of any age and fitness level. Here is a quick look at some of the other benefits of chiropractic care.

  1. Reduces muscle spasms
  2. Increased flexibility
  3. More effective training for athletics
  4. Reduces the appearance of adhesions
  5. Controls soreness and pain due to injury or disease
  6. Increased circulation
  7. Injury prevention

That’s just a short list of the benefits that can be achieved through chiropractic care. These highly trained professionals have helped countless people enjoy a renewed state of physical health. Their special training also includes nutrition, physical therapy techniques, and stretching exercises. Your chiropractor may or may not be a massage therapist himself or herself, but many chiropractors include this service in their practices because of the proven benefits of therapeutic massage. It helps to stimulate oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscles and promote relaxation for safe healing.

Another treatment method chiropractors sometimes choose to include in their practices is acupuncture. As previously noted, chiropractic care is intended to treat the whole body. When one system of the body is struggling with injury or illness, the whole body is affected. Unlike most doctors that only treat one illness or symptom, chiropractic care strives to heal the injury or illness, as well as the adverse side effects to the rest of the body.

If you have never explored the benefits of chiropractic care for yourself, the time has never been better. This industry is booming as more and more people make the decision to treat their health gently and effectively. While chiropractic care can’t cure every disease or injury, it’s certainly worth looking into before undergoing painful surgery with its long term health effects. You will be amazed at how much better you feel and your increased range of motion, and renewed energy. These benefits of chiropractic care are why patients regularly refer their friends and family to us for treatment.

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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