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.

Common painkillers don’t ease back pain, study finds

Feb. 2, 2017—Painkillers such as aspirin, Aleve and Advil don’t help most people with back pain, a new review finds. The researchers estimated that only one in six people gained a benefit from taking these nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Meanwhile, previous research has suggested that another common painkiller, Tylenol (acetaminophen), isn’t very useful either, the study authors added.

The findings raise the prospect that no over-the-counter painkillers really ease back pain, at least in the short term, and some may raise the risk of gastrointestinal problems.

“There are other effective and safer strategies to manage spinal pain,” said review author Gustavo Machado. He is a research fellow with the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia.

Back and neck pain are the leading cause of pain worldwide, the researchers said.

For the review, the investigators examined 35 studies on the use of NSAIDs to treat back pain. The studies most commonly examined the drugs ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), cox-2 inhibitors (but not Celebrex) and diclofenac (which is available in the United States, but not widely known).

The studies, which tracked about 6,000 people, “showed that commonly used NSAIDs have only small effects on pain relief and improvement of function,” Machado said. “Moreover, these small effects may not be perceived as important for most patients with spinal pain.”

The researchers also found that participants taking the drugs were 2.5 times more likely to experience gastrointestinal side effects, compared with those who took inactive placebos.

The review only included studies of people who took the drugs for an average of seven days.

“Unfortunately, there are no studies investigating the effects of NSAIDs for spinal pain in the medium-term (three months to 12 months), and the long-term (more than 12 months),” Machado explained.

Benjamin Friedman is an associate professor of emergency medicine with Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. He estimated that the painkillers might be even more ineffective than the review suggests, with fewer than one in 10 patients getting substantial relief.

What should patients with back pain do? Friedman said he often recommends the drugs even though they’re not likely to provide benefits.

“The happiest back pain patients I know are the ones who have found relief with some type of complementary therapy such as yoga, massage or stretching,” Friedman noted.

Study author Machado said, “Patients should discuss with their doctors whether they should take these drugs, considering the small benefits they offer and likelihood of adverse effects.”

As for whether opioid painkillers — such as Oxycontin — might work, he suggests that patients avoid them for back pain since research by his institute’s team has suggested they aren’t very effective either.

However, Friedman said they’re often prescribed for very brief periods for unbearable pain, along with physical therapy.

As for other suggestions, Machado points to guidelines that recommend patients with back pain remain active and avoid bed rest.

“There is also evidence that physical therapies and psychological therapies — such as cognitive behavioral therapy — bring benefits to these patients,” he said.

Also, Machado said, “people should focus on preventing back pain in the first place. Having a healthy lifestyle and engaging in physical activities is a very important way of achieving this.”

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!

Tips to Prevent Back Pain from Kids’ Backpacks

By: John J. Triano, DC, PhD

A review of the medical literature on this issue shows inconsistent recommendations on how to avoid episodes of back pain in children who carry backpacks. Although there are very few studies and the medical literature does not agree on specific guidelines for backpack safety to avoid back pain, parents can use common sense to reduce the chance that their child or teen will suffer back pain due to carrying a backpack.

Look for backpack design features that help reduce the chance of back pain:

  • Lightweight material (canvas as opposed to leather)
  • Two padded, wide (2-inches), adjustable shoulder straps on the backpack
  • Padded back
  • Individualized compartments
  • Hip strap, waist belt, or frame to redistribute the weight of the backpack from the shoulders and back to the pelvis
  • Wheels so that the backpack can be pulled rather than carried
  • Consider using a separate bag for the child’s laptop or other heavier electronic items below

Teach your child how to properly load and wear the backpack to avoid back pain:

  • Always use both shoulder straps and wear the backpack on the back rather than over one shoulder
  • Pack heaviest objects into the backpack first so they are carried lower and closest to the body
  • Fill compartments so that the load is evenly distributed throughout the backpack and items do not shift during movement
  • Pack sharp or bulky objects in the backpack so they do not contact the back
  • Adjust the straps to fit the backpack snugly to the child’s body, holding the bottom of the backpack 2 inches above the waist and keeping the top just below the base of the skull; do not carry the backpack low near the buttocks
  • Lift the backpack by using the leg muscles and keeping it close to the body, not by bending over with arms extended
  • Do not lean forward when walking; if this is necessary, there is too much weight in the backpack

Maintain a mindset to watch the weight carried in the backpack to reduce back pain:

  • If the child complains of discomfort, reduce the weight in the backpack immediately
  • Consider applying a guideline backpack weight limit as a percent of the child’s body weight. The American Physical Therapy Association suggests 15-20%; the American Chiropractic Association advises 5-10%
  • Coach your child to carry only those books needed in the backpack, leaving unnecessary items at home and making frequent trips to his/her locker during the day
  • Train your child to clean out the backpack at least once a week

Become a Proactive Parent on the Issue of Backpacks and Back Pain

  • Ask your child if they feel any back aches or pain
  • Help your child choose the smallest backpack that will meet his/her needs
  • Talk to teachers about how to minimize the need for children to transport heavy books back and forth daily in their backpacks; keep one set of books in the classroom for daily work while leaving heavy books at home; make photocopies of homework chapters and assignments that are easily carried
  • Attend PTA meetings and discuss any proposal by school administrators to remove lockers or to reduce time between classes making it difficult to store unneeded books and materials

Finally, there are a number of alternatives to traditional backpacks on the market. These include saddle bags, rollerbags, backpacks with inflatable lumbar support and straps, totally inflatable backpacks, and molded backpacks.

Backpacks and Back Pain in Children

By: John J. Triano, DC, PhD

Each school year millions of children walk to, from, and around school carrying backpacks filled with books and materials. Parents should be aware that overly stressing the back with a heavy backpack could cause back pain in their child. Following a few guidelines and using common sense can help avoid this type of back pain.

Using a backpack allows a child to carry a number of schoolbooks and items in a practical way, distributing the heavy load across the strong back and shoulder muscles. The risk, however, is overload, which can strain the back, neck or shoulders.  The back will compensate for any load applied to it for an extended period of time. A heavy weight carried in backpacks can:

  • Distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage
  • Lead to rounding of the shoulders
  • Cause a person to lean forward, reducing balance and making it easier to fall

Habitually carrying backpacks over one shoulder will make muscles strain to compensate for the uneven weight. The spine leans to the opposite side, stressing the middle back, ribs and lower back more on one side than the other. This type of muscle imbalance can cause muscle strain, muscle spasm and back pain in the short term and speed the development of back problems later in life if not corrected.

A heavy backpack can pull on the neck muscles, contributing to headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain, and/or neck and arm pain.

Medical Research on Backpacks

While the medical literature on backpacks is often inconclusive, and sometimes contradictory, a review of current medical literature suggests several general conclusions:

  • Carrying heavy backpacks, or carrying them in a way that strains the back, is a frequent cause of back pain in children and adolescents
  • The back pain caused by back packs is short term (e.g. muscle strain) and alleviated with a short period of rest or reduced activity; any type of back pain that persists is uncommon and should be evaluated by a medical professional
  • Several authors suggest limiting the backpack weight to 10-15% of the child’s body weight is reasonable. These authors acknowledged that this recommendation is not based on scientific research.
  • One article found no correlation between backpack weight and back pain, and the authors were unwilling to recommend a backpack weight guideline for children
  • There is no evidence that structural spinal deformity can result from backpack use1
  • There is little chance a child will be permanently injured by carrying a heavy backpack

References:   Cottalorda J, Bourelle S, Gautheron V, “Effects of Backpack Carrying in Children,” Orthopedics, Nov 2004 (vol 27:11 p.1172-5)

What Kind of Conditions Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture does not actually treat a condition, but treats the person.  It is a way of balancing “chi” so that the body can heal itself.  “Chi” is the vital life force that flows throughout the body in meridians, and it keeps the blood circulating, fights diseases and warms the body. This energy must flow through the body uninterrupted and any blockages or disturbances will lead to ill health or disease.  Stimulation of acupuncture points can restore vitality, reduce pain, and accelerate tissue healing.  In the mid 1970’s, it was discovered that naturally occurring pain relieving endorphins could be released with acupuncture, which help speed up the healing process.  By balancing energy flow, many conditions will improve.

Acupuncture has been proven effective for many disorders including: Headaches, Migraines, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Peripheral Neuropathy, Nocturnal Enuresis, Intercostal Neuralgia, Tennis Elbow, Sciatica, Back and Neck Pain, Arthritis, Constipation, Diarrhea, Colitis, Sinusitis, Bronchitis, Asthma, and many others.

We use a computerized digital meridian system to analyze the energy balance of each meridian.  It will give you an overall energy score that reflects the overall health of your meridian energy system.  This allows us to provide the best treatment possible to help you with your condition.

Call us at (479) 587-0227 to schedule your evaluation today.  Let The Gibson Center show you why we have been voted Northwest Arkansas’  Favorite Chiropractor 9 years in a row.

How Chiropractic Care Eases the Three Most Common Types of Back Pain

Do you suffer with back pain? Well, you’re not alone. According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work, and the second most common reason for visiting a doctor (only behind upper respiratory infections).

Why is back pain so common? There is more than one answer to that question. A large number of back pain patients suffer because of the following three reasons:

They have suffered a back injury

Individuals can hurt their backs by lifting heavy objects, overexerting themselves, or moving the wrong way. The muscles and ligaments in the back can be twisted and damaged.

Back pain that is the result of a recent injury is called acute pain, meaning it comes on suddenly. Acute pain is usually temporary, so when the injury heals, the pain lessens or disappears completely. Over the counter medications such as analgesics, topical creams, and anti-inflammatory drugs help manage back pain caused from an injury but don’t necessary fix the problem.

Chiropractic care is another way to lessen acute pain and feel more comfortable. By adjusting the spine, chiropractors can relax the muscles, and relieve acute pain faster than simply “suffering through” the injury.

They battle a medical condition or illness

Unfortunately, there are several illnesses that can cause back pain. Fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, inflammatory diseases of the joints, and scoliosis are some of the common conditions that cause back pain. Because the conditions create pain that lasts longer periods of time, this type of pain is considered to be chronic pain.

Chronic pain is an entirely different animal than acute pain, and patients who suffer with it often look for options outside of traditional medication. Chiropractic care is an excellent choice in dealing with chronic back pain.

Adjustments to the spine can promote healing in all areas of a person’s body, as well as provide relief from the pain. Chiropractic care for medical conditions sometimes takes a bit longer to show results, so the patient must be committed to the treatment plan the chiropractor suggests in order to enjoy the maximum benefits of chiropractic.

They have made poor lifestyle choices

Decisions we make can affect our health, either negatively or positively. Being overweight, avoiding an exercise routine, and smoking can result in health issues that cause back pain.

  • Additional weight puts extra stress on an individual’s back that can eventually cause pain.
  • Smoking is a habit that has many negative consequences, including increasing the chances for back pain. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), smoking can cause a lack of nutrients which affects the back’s discs. In addition, people who smoke tend to heal slower, so smoking can actually increase the length of time a person must endure back pain.
  • Exercise increases a person’s strength in muscles and tendons, and a sedentary lifestyle weakens a person’s body, often bringing on back pain, as well as other health issues.

Chiropractic care can assist in lessening a patients back pain, which then hopefully leads to better lifestyle choices.

Feeling better often prompts patients to embark on a fitness routine, eat healthier, and quit smoking. Exercise regimens that include strength training can positively impact a person’s health in a number of ways, including back pain reduction.

Millions of people struggle with back pain on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to treat both the symptoms and the underlying causes. Chiropractic care either by itself or in a combination with other treatments is one of the best choices available today.

This article is copyrighted by Blogging Chiros LLC for its Doctor of Chiropractic members and may not be copied or duplicated in any manner including printed or electronic media, regardless of whether for a fee or gratis without the prior written permission of Blogging Chiros, LLC.

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!

Are We Sitting Ourselves to Death?

Whether we like to admit it or not, the technology in our lives—and the fact that we use much of it while sitting down—is contributing to a growing list of health problems in our society. Those who sit at a desk all day or sit behind the wheel of a car or truck with little or no exercise are at increased risk for a number of chronic health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who have such a sedentary lifestyle are in danger of things like “obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.”

One study showed that those who spend a large amount of time in front of a television or other forms of screen entertainment had a roughly 50% greater risk of death from any source. It’s not really difficult to imagine why this might be the case. Greater body weight combined with lower strength and stamina and reduced balance and flexibility means less agility and durability. This in turn raises the likelihood of more accidents or injuries. The same study showed a 125% greater risk of problems from cardiovascular disease. Care was taken to separate the risk of sitting from that of high blood pressure. Those who had the same high blood pressure, but who sat less, had fewer incidents of health problems.

WebMD has added cancer to the list of ailments for which excessive sitting may be a risk factor. One Australian study of 63,000 older adult men showed that men who sat for more than 4 hours a day were more likely to have a serious, chronic illness than those who sat for less than 4 hours per day. Above 6 hours per day, men were at significantly greater risk of diabetes. Those who regularly sat more than 8 hours a day had the highest level of health risk.

Yet another study showed that back pain strikes 80% of all adults at some time in their life. A significant number of these people suffer because they sit too much. Their core muscles lose conditioning and their waistline becomes a burden that causes the back muscles to do more work to make up for soft abdominals. Weak muscles put the body at risk even during simple tasks. With a more sedentary lifestyle, it becomes easier and easier to overdo the reaching, the lifting or other simple physical work that occurs during any typical day.

There’s another reason that movement is particularly important when it comes to maintaining good spinal health. If the spine is kept motionless, circulation is reduced and it cannot get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy or to heal itself.

If you already have back pain, seeing a chiropractor is a big step in the right direction. A chiropractor can help to realign your vertebrae and, in many cases, an adjustment can provide immediate relief. However, even world-class chiropractic care is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet and lots of exercise. The doctor can’t do all the work for you.

So what can you do? The Mayo Clinic recommends finding more excuses to move around throughout the day, instead of saving it up for a trip to the gym. Waiting until the end of the day to push your body at the gym for 30 minutes is a bit like saving your meals to the end of the month and eating 90 platefuls all at once. You need to spread your movement throughout the day so your body can stay in top condition.