Do you have any success stories on treating chronic pain and Fibromyalgia?

Yes, I have numerous but I’ ll share with you a couple of them. Judy F., of Bella Vista wrote: “ When I first came to see Dr. Gibson, I was somewhat reluctant, as I had only seen one Chiropractor previously. On the first visit, I was experiencing excruciating pain in my back from my shoulders down to the heels of my feet. I had been continuously getting worse and worse for the past 10-15 years. The pain was almost unbearable, and all that would happen when I went to the medical doctors, would be that I was given another pain medicine, which only masked the pain and did nothing to help the cause. Dr. Gibson gave me a complete examination and x-rays the first visit and asked that I come back the second time and she would have a plan of action for us to discuss. She was very thorough and laid out a plan for us to begin, which consisted of adjustments, trigger point therapy, diet changes, and supplements. She is a very knowledgeable, caring and kind Chiropractor. In the last 3 months, my symptoms have improved, and I am able to do many more things each day, that I had previously been unable to do around my home. I know I still have a way to go, but with the improvement I have seen I certainly have hope now, which I previously did not think was possible. My energy level has increased, pain is not as persistent and my outlook on life has certainly improved. I thoroughly appreciate Dr. Gibson for giving me back this hope.” Beverly H., of Rogers,” My husband was in severe pain in his lower back, right hip, leg and foot from a pinched nerve and on several pain medications. Our daughter recommended Dr. Gibson and we set up an appointment. Dr. Gibson has been doing Cold Laser therapy on him and in just 8 treatments, he is doing so much better. He is off all pain medicines, can get around with out a cane and his pain level has gone from a 10 down to about 3. We are so pleased with Dr. Gibson, we would recommend her to everyone. Thank you Dr. Jean!” My passion as your doctor is to relieve you of pain and get you back to doing all the things you love to do!! To make an appointment,
call 479-587-0227.

Treating Back Pain Effectively Starts with Asking the Right Questions

Back pain will be an issue for roughly 80% of the US population at one point or another in their lives. However, the nature of the pain and its effect on their lives can vary greatly from one person to another. As chiropractic physicians, we work closely with our patients to understand exactly what they’re experiencing so that we can diagnose the problem and provide the most effective treatment possible. This starts with asking the right questions. For example:

Where do you feel the pain, and how would you describe it? For many people, the pain may be mild—little more than a minor inconvenience when they first get out of bed in the morning. But for others, it may be severe, potentially limiting their day-to-day activity and changing their lifestyle until it goes away. In addition to its intensity, the pain may also have a particular character. Is it a dull, aching pain or is it a sharp, shooting one?

Was the pain triggered by something specific, how long have you had it, and is it constant or does it come and go? In some cases, the pain may be acute (perhaps related to a recent sports, auto or work injury), while in others it may be recurring or chronic—either reemerging from time to time or lingering on for weeks, months or even years. It may also be the result of some other underlying health conditions.

Does the pain seem to get better or worse in certain situations? It’s not unusual for the pain to change in response to particular body positions or movements.

These types of diagnostic questions—along with a comprehensive physical examination and appropriate tests—can help us identify specific structural or mechanical problems that may be affecting your musculoskeletal or nervous systems. Some of the more common causes of back pain are described briefly below.

  1. Muscle strains and muscle spasms are the most common causes of low back pain. While patients may or may not remember the initial event that triggered their problem, muscle strains and spasms can be incredibly painful.
  2. A ruptured, herniated, slipped or bulging disc is another common cause of back pain. These terms are often used somewhat interchangeably to describe a damaged disc with material protruding from it. In this situation, pain may be caused because there is less cushioning between the vertebrae and/or because protruding disc material is applying pressure to spinal nerves. It is important to note that a large percentage of the population is walking around with some form of disc degeneration that causes no symptoms, so not every herniated disc warrants treatment or intervention.
  3. Discogenic back pain is the result of damage to an intervertebral disc, but without disc herniation. Diagnosis of discogenic back pain may require the use of a discogram.
  4. Spinal stenosis causes a lot of back pain in the elderly. As we age, the spinal canal can become constricted from arthritis and other conditions.  If the spinal canal becomes too tight, back pain can be the result.
  5. Arthritis most commonly affects joints such as the knees and fingers.  However, arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the small joints of the spine.  Arthritis of the spine can cause back pain with movement.
  6. Spondylolisthesis causes back pain because adjacent vertebra become unstable and begin to “slip.”  The most common cause of spondylolisthesis is degeneration of the normal stabilizing structures of the spinal column.

It’s important for patients and their families to be aware that back pain is a very complex phenomenon. Even with long professional experience, specialized training and high-tech equipment, it can still be very difficult for healthcare providers to diagnose. This is the reason that a large percentage of cases are ultimately characterized as “non-specific back pain.” But it’s also why you shouldn’t try to self-diagnose or self-treat. If you do have serious structural or mechanical problems that are affecting your back, your condition could actually be made worse as a result of inappropriate treatment or delay.

Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal and nervous system problems. If you or someone you care about is suffering from back pain, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’ll work closely with you to understand your situation and put in place an effective treatment plan that will help you recover as quickly and completely as possible. And—if necessary—we’ll even work with you do develop new lifestyle habits that will help prevent back pain in the future!

What Is Nerve Entrapment and How Can It Be Treated?

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

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

Symptoms of Nerve Entrapment

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

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

Treatment for Nerve Entrapment

Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating problems related to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and there are several types of treatment that have been used successfully to relieve nerve entrapment syndrome:

  • Manual therapies, including chiropractic and soft-tissue mobilization.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

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

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

If you or someone you care about is experiencing symptoms of nerve entrapment, we encourage you to call or visit our office today!  We can help!

What are “Pain Management Clinics”?

An estimated 50 million Americans live with chronic pain. If you have tried dealing with your pain on your own but the results have been ineffective, you may want to consider visiting a pain management clinic. Pain management clinicians are specially trained in diagnosing and managing chronic pain and helping those who suffer from it take an active part in developing strategies to manage their pain and regain control of their lives.

The team at a pain management clinic is generally composed of health professionals from many different clinical backgrounds (including medical doctors, chiropractic physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, and acupuncturists, for example), and their approaches often combine traditional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine.

Your treatment at a pain management clinic will be tailored to your meet your specific needs and may include a combination of the following therapies:

  • Pain medications – Pharmaceuticals such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, corticosteroids and opioid medications, which are typically used for short-term pain relief.
  • Antidepressants – Depression can sometimes cause pain or exacerbate existing pain. Antidepressants may also make it easier to sleep, which is often difficult in cases of chronic pain.
  • Injections– A local anesthetic, which may or may not be combined with a corticosteroid, may be injected into the area around a nerve root or into a muscle to temporarily relieve pain and inflammation. These are not usually effective in the long term, however.
  • Chiropractic care – Studies have shown that chiropractic care can be one of the most effective ways of relieving chronic pain, particularly in the lower back and neck. Chiropractic adjustments remove spinal subluxations that may be creating pressure on the nerves. Chiropractic has been demonstrated to provide more effective and longer-lasting pain relief for back and neck pain than corticosteroid injections and generally carries fewer risks than drugs or surgery.
  • Physical therapy – In order to decrease pain while increasing function, a physical therapist may use such techniques as aquatic therapy, deep muscle massage and ultrasound.
  • Acupuncture – An ancient Chinese therapy that uses very fine needles inserted at specific points on your body’s “energy meridians” to reduce pain.
  • Electrical stimulation – A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine works to manage pain by sending electrical signals to your nerves through your skin, which modulate or suppress the pain signals being sent to your brain.
  • Surgery – In rare cases in which no other treatments have worked, surgery is sometimes recommended.
  • Stress reduction training – Pain often becomes worse when a person is stressed. Learning stress reduction techniques such as meditation and biofeedback can significantly reduce chronic pain.
  • Psychotherapy – Constant pain can increase feelings of anger, sadness and despair. Learning how to deal with the psychological aspect of your pain can help you succeed in day-to-day activities and maintain important relationships while also helping you manage your pain.

A good pain management clinic will involve you closely in the development of a treatment program, and it is particularly important to feel comfortable with your healthcare providers in this setting. The clinic should monitor your progress and follow up with you to ensure that the treatment designed for you is effective and continues to meet your needs as your condition evolves.