Posts By: drneff

Tony Schumacher is a seven-time world champion in the NHRA Top Fuel class of drag racing. During his long career, this race car hero has set all kinds of speed records. In 1999, he was the first driver to break the 330 MPH barrier during competition. However, things took a turn for the worse on October 7, 2000, during a qualifying race in Memphis, Tennessee.

Schumacher said, “I woke up that morning, I was in a great mood. I just felt like a champ. I got in that race car, and I thought to myself, ‘There is no possible way we can lose this world championship.’ I was on probably one of my best runs ever.”Tony Schumacher

With an 8,000 horsepower engine behind him, Schumacher reached over 300 mph in a little over 4 seconds. He explained, “That’s more acceleration than the Space Shuttle astronauts or the fighter pilots off the aircraft carriers.” The rear wing of the dragster provides thousands of pounds of downward force to help keep the car from going airborne. After about 1000 feet, at 320 mph, Tony Schumacher’s car fell apart. The wing came off and then everything went haywire.

As it was designed to do, the car came apart to reduce the shock of impact and the driver’s pod took off on its own. “I remember it being intensely loud,” said Schumacher about the accident. Remarkably, he survived. He had to be cut out of the roll cage and it was only then that everyone knew he was still alive.

Flown 14 miles by helicopter to the Elvis Presley Trauma Center, x-rays revealed serious injuries to his legs, including a fracture at one ankle. That alone could have ended his career, even if he survived the surgery. Thankfully no fractures were found in his neck or spine. After his condition was stabilized, Schumacher’s wife, Cara, had him transferred to OrthoIndy in Indianapolis where a team of specialists treat race car injuries. Tim Weber, Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon, treated Schumacher for his broken ankle, realigning the bone and fixing it in place so that it would heal properly.

Even in severe pain, the only thing Schumacher wanted to do was race again. But as his bones healed, he was still beset with debilitating headaches and dizziness. His doctors had no idea what was causing his pain. He also complained of discomfort in his neck and his middle and lower back. He decided to consult with chiropractor Marshall Dickholtz, DC, a Board Certified NUCCA Physician at HealthSmart in Northbrook, IL.

Dr. Dickholtz said, “What we found with him was that his body was leaning off to the left and one hip was actually four degrees lower on one side.” After a simple chiropractic adjustment, repeated over several visits, Schumacher felt like his old self again. He said, “It was amazing. It’s one of those things where I sat up. Everything was gone. No pain. Color was back in my face, and I thought to myself, ‘It’s like magic’.”

Only one month after his leg cast came off, Schumacher was racing again. He said, “I love what I do.” Within four years, he was once again a champion of his sport.

Chiropractic and Massage Therapy

Chiropractic medicine is based on the idea that your body can help to keep itself healthy if your spine, neck, and head are aligned properly and free from abnormalities that impair the proper flow of energy along your spinal column. Doctors of Chiropractic thus work with spinal structures, using manipulative techniques to correct injuries and abnormalities and to speed healing of health problems—particularly musculoskeletal and neurological ones—that arise from misaligned bones.

 

Chiropractic medicine is based on the idea that your body can help to keep itself healthy if your spine, neck, and head are aligned properly and free from abnormalities that impair the proper flow of energy along your spinal column. Doctors of Chiropractic thus work with spinal structures, using manipulative techniques to correct injuries and abnormalities and to speed healing of health problems—particularly musculoskeletal and neurological ones—that arise from misaligned bones.

At the same time, however, the bones of the spine are surrounded by muscle tissue and connective tissues (such as ligaments and tendons) that enable and control its movements. These soft tissues are affected by the spinal abnormalities, and may either cause or exacerbate structural problems. So massage therapy (which works to relax muscles, increase blood flow and improve mobility of connective tissues) is often a perfect complement to chiropractic manipulation (which works to resolve the structural problems).

Chiropractic and massage are not only compatible, they are complementary.

Massage is often recommended as an integral part of a broader chiropractic treatment plan, either in the form of massage to loosen muscle tightness before an adjustment, or after an adjustment to help the muscles adapt to the newly-repaired spinal structures. Many patients report that the combination of these two therapies works better than either therapy alone.

There is even objective evidence of this, in the form of an extensive survey of alternative health care treatments conducted by Consumer Reports magazine. Asking over 34,000 readers to rate both conventional and alternative treatments as to whether they “helped a lot,” “helped some,” or “helped a little,” the researchers found that chiropractic and massage rated higher than any other alternative health care methodologies, and in some cases higher than conventional medical care. Chiropractic, for example, was rated most effective in relieving back pain, while deep tissue massage was rated most effective in treating osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. As researcher Tiffany Field explained, “Moderate pressure to muscles and soft tissues stimulates a cascade of biological effects… We find that moderate pressure is essential for the effects we see from massage, and may be one way that chiropractic works as well, because typically a chiropractor applies moderate pressure.”

How is massage integrated into chiropractic treatment?

Many Doctors of Chiropractic work closely with trained massage therapists to provide the proper combination of therapies. For example, massage is often recommended before spinal adjustment because it relieves muscle tension that may be pulling joints out of alignment, and makes it easier for the chiropractor to move them back into place. Alternatively, many patients who seek pain relief from massage therapists but find that their discomfort persists experience more lasting relief by adding chiropractic care to their health regimen.

Many patients have discovered that they recovery from injuries much more quickly and much more completely with the combination of chiropractic care and massage therapy. This is most noticeable with conditions that cause chronic pain—the chiropractor works to relieve the structural problems and the massage therapist works to resolve the soft tissue problems. Most chiropractors who work hand-in-hand with massage therapists collaborate to find the most effective treatment regimen for each patient—the one that returns them to a feeling of health and well-being as quickly as possible.

So massage therapy can be seen as almost a perfect “partner” for chiropractic care. Both treatment methodologies are holistic and focus on helping patients without the use of drugs or surgery, and both are dedicated to finding and treating the underlying cause of your pain rather than just treating the symptoms.

Chiropractic and the Art of ART

If you’ve already heard good things about Active Release Techniques® (ART), you’re not alone.  Over the past few years, growing numbers of physicians, therapists and trainers have turned to this advanced system of manual therapy to treat soft tissue injuries and improve performance in elite athletes. During this time, practitioners with the proper training and experience have reported success rates over 90%, even in cases involving chronic musculoskeletal problems that haven’t responded to other therapies. It’s not surprising that results like these have encouraged others to introduce ART more broadly outside the world of sports medicine.

But what exactly is ART?

ART is a proprietary approach to mobilizing injured soft tissues that have become “stuck together”, forming adhesions or dense scar tissue that can restrict movement and entrap nerves and blood vessels. Once these adhesions are broken up, layers of adjacent tissues that were once bound together are “released” and can move freely. This, in turn, relieves pain and improves function.

Taken together, Active Release Techniques® are different from other therapeutic massage methods in at least two important ways. First, they are part of a structured, systematic approach that includes over 500 distinct protocols designed to help the practitioner accurately evaluate a patient’s condition and apply the appropriate treatment to achieve a specific result. Second, they involve the patient and practitioner working together in a unique way. During each ART session, the physician or therapist will direct the patient to perform special movements while he or she simultaneously applies highly targeted tension or pressure to the affected area. It’s this combination of coordinated movements by the patient and precise medical massage by the practitioner that releases trapped soft tissues.

What makes ART so useful?

Active Release Techniques® are not only effective, they’re also remarkably flexible.  And it’s this unique combination of effectiveness and flexibility that can make ART a great choice for treating a wide range of soft tissue-related conditions in a variety of situations.  While it’s not necessary for patients to understand all the anatomy and physiology behind ART to benefit from it, there are three things patients should know as they’re considering treatment options:

  • ART isn’t just for athletes and sports injuries anymore. Many musculoskeletal conditions can be successfully treated using ART, including chronic back, neck and hip pain as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sciatica, shin splints, and recurring sprains and strains. A study performed at Vanderbilt University determined that “the results supporting the efficacy of ART have been significant enough to support the treatment as a viable alternative method for treating soft-tissue injuries and pain.”
  • Active Release Techniques® can also help relieve pressure on nerves and blood vessels that pass through the body’s muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Without appropriate treatment, such nerve or vascular entrapment can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and loss of function as well as edema, varicosity, and poor oxygen saturation.
  • In many cases, ART is even more effective in treating soft tissue injuries when combined with chiropractic care and a structured exercise program. A chiropractic physician who is also trained and experienced in using Active Release Techniques® can work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will help you recover more quickly and more completely.In addition to being a proprietary system of manual therapy, ART is also professionally demanding. This means that practitioners must receive extensive training and be certified by the organization founded by ART developer Dr. P. Michael Leahy in order to earn the necessary credentials to practice Active Release Techniques®. They must also maintain their credentials through a rigorous system of continuing education and recertification.

Additional Resources

The Gold Standard in Soft Tissue Treatment. http://www.activerelease.com/

ART for the Rest of Us. http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/health/art-for-the-rest-of-us-20130327

The Techniques Behind Active Release Therapy. http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324640104578165372104222126

Spinal Screenings

Many schoolchildren around the country are required to undergo spinal screenings at school when they enter certain grades. Some states require a simple manual spinal screening, while others do the screening alongside a mandatory BMI assessment and checks for chronic health conditions. In many states, spinal periodic screenings are offered on a voluntary basis, and local school districts (as well as local health departments) are encouraged to conduct them as a complement to screenings done by chiropractic physicians and other private healthcare providers.

Why exactly do schools provide spinal screenings? The answer is pretty simple. While each of the 50 states has its own standards for when and how screenings are performed, as well as who should perform them, they all share the same basic goal: detecting early signs of scoliosis.

Scoliosis a condition that involves an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine—either to the left or to the right—when viewed from the front or back. The curvature can occur in any part of the back (though some areas are more common than others) and can vary in degree from slight or moderate to severe. Scoliosis is just one of many conditions that can affect the spine, compromising its ability to support the body’s frame correctly and potentially causing reduced strength and range of motion. If left untreated, it can result in deformity and serious damage to major musculoskeletal structures and internal organs.

Before regular screenings were implemented and information on scoliosis and other spinal curvature disorders was widely disseminated, these conditions often went undetected or were already severe when diagnosed. As a result, many children never received treatment at a time in their development when it could have made a significant difference to their health and quality of life.

According to the Standards for Scoliosis in California Public Schools, published by the California Department of Education-Sacramento, signs of scoliosis appear “in about 10% of the population although only about 2% develop a condition which would need medical treatment. Girls necessitate treatment about 8 times more often than boys. A front to back curvature (kyphosis) is not as prevalent as scoliosis, but it affects boys slightly more often than girls. It is most important to detect the condition as early as possible so that treatment can be provided. Without treatment, undetected scoliosis can get worse rapidly during the growth years and result in physical deformity, limitation of physical activity and other more serious complications.”

Common symptoms of spinal curvature include a bump over the shoulder blade, one shoulder or hip higher than the other, unequal distance between the arms and body, and

clothes that don’t seem to fit properly. These signs often go unnoticed—and they are easily confused with poor posture.

The first, subtle signs of curvature frequently start to emerge in early adolescence. However, they regularly go overlooked. In children and teenagers who are otherwise healthy, an abnormal curvature nearly always progresses without discomfort. And since adolescents are very often shy about their bodies, they tend not to see primary care physicians on a regular basis. Thus, a young person (and his or her parents) may have no idea that something is wrong. This is one reason that The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends spinal screening as part of a preventive health visit at 12, 14, and 16 years of age.

It is important to understand that early signs of an abnormal curvature don’t necessarily mean that the curvature will persist or become more severe. Early diagnosis is complicated by the fact that it’s generally impossible to distinguish which slight curves are likely to develop into a serious deformity and which are not. This is why early detection is so important. In many cases, all that is necessary is close observation of the child’s growth and possibly special exercises for flexibility. If the curve does start to develop (most often during the youngster’s time of rapid growth), further progression of the curve can often be halted by wearing a back brace—but only if it is worn before bone growth is complete.

If scoliosis becomes severe, spinal surgery may become necessary. In recent years, school-based spinal screening programs have provided the opportunity for early detection, regular monitoring, and reduction in the need for potentially risky and expensive procedures.

Regular preventive healthcare is important for everyone, but it’s particularly important for children, whose bodies are developing in so many important ways. While periodic spinal screenings should be a part of this preventive care, they are not typically included in checkups or wellness visits. Remember that chiropractic physicians are specially trained to diagnose and treat structural conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, including scoliosis. We encourage parents to take a proactive approach to their children’s spinal health. If you have a teenager at home, please consider making an appointment for a spinal screening. Just call or visit our office to learn more!

Back Surgery

Back pain is incredibly common—in fact, just about every adult in the United States has experienced back pain in some form or another, and it is one of the top complaints heard in doctors’ offices and hospitals around the country. Yet the cause of any one type of back pain is one of the most difficult things to diagnose. There are many treatments for back pain, such as chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, surgery, saline injections, and steroid injections, all with varying degrees of risk. According to experts, you should treat back pain conservatively—that is, you should opt for the least risky, minimally invasive treatment option first before considering treatments such as spinal surgery.

Of course, there is risk with any surgery, but failed back surgeries can be calamitous—so much so that there is a condition called “failed back surgery syndrome,” also commonly referred to as failed back syndrome. According to the University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, “Failed back syndrome is a general term that refers to chronic severe pain experienced after unsuccessful surgery for back pain. Surgery for back pain is conducted when there is an identifiable source of pain—usually to decompress a pinched nerve root or to stabilize a painful joint. However, back pain can have a number of causes and accurate identification of a source of pain is complicated; often symptoms do not correlate well with x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging scans. As a result, diagnosis and patient selection for surgery are essential.”

Failed back syndrome has a large array of causes. For example, the original source of the pain can return or complications may arise during surgery. The nerve root triggering the pain may be ineffectively decompressed, joints or nerves may become irritated during the surgical procedure, or scar tissue may compress or bind nerve roots. Additionally, nerve damage sustained during the surgery can add to already existing pain. In some cases, nerves may rejuvenate to a degree, but even this can result in pain if the regeneration is abnormal.

Numerous factors can add to the onset or advancement of failed back syndrome. Contributing causes include residual or recurrent disc herniation, persistent post-operative pressure on a spinal nerve, altered joint mobility, joint hypermobility with instability, scar tissue (fibrosis), depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and spinal muscular deconditioning. Insufficient or unfinished rehabilitation and physical therapy, particularly in patients whose back muscles are out of shape, can cause chronic pain as well. A patient can also be susceptible to the advancement of failed back syndrome due to systemic conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune disease, and peripheral blood vessels (vascular) disease.

There are other risks of surgery as well—contamination can occur when a surgeon’s gloves have bacteria present on them, passing them to the patient and causing infections that range from mild to very severe.

As an alternative to surgery, there are steroid injections for back pain—but they aren’t always successful. Lumbar epidural steroid injections, as they are called, can help relieve pain, but they carry with them their own hazards. As Spine-Health.com puts it, “In addition to risks from the injection, there are also potential side effects from the steroid medication itself. These tend to be rare and much less prevalent than the side effects from oral steroids. Nonetheless, reported side effects from epidural steroid injections include: Localized increase in pain, non-positional headaches resolving within 24 hours, facial flushing, anxiety, sleeplessness, fever the night of injection, high blood sugar, a transient decrease in immunity because of the suppressive effect of the steroid, stomach ulcers, severe arthritis of the hips, and cataracts.”

To reduce the risk of these side effects of invasive back pain treatments, it is wise to pursue conservative therapies first. When looking at back pain treatment options, always be sure to get a second—and maybe even a third—opinion on how your back pain should be handled. If you’re looking for a drug-free, non-invasive alternative, consider chiropractic care. In addition to treating your back pain directly, your chiropractor can also act as your back-pain quarterback to coordinate care across multiple treatment methods.

Posture Correction Programs

As unfortunate as it is, loss of normal spinal curvature and poor posture are extremely common. Given the amount of time we spend staring at various screens—whether sitting at an office desk or walking down the street—it’s not surprising that our bodies are being affected. It’s also not surprising that back and neck pain has become the second most frequent reason for visiting a doctor.

Many people presenting with back and neck pain also suffer from a loss of normal spinal curvature. Luckily, there are a number of treatment options that can be used to restore the normal curve and to help patients relearn good posture. Broadly speaking, loss of the normal curve most commonly involves one of three conditions: lumbar

hyperlordosis, scoliosis, and abnormal kyphosis. Each has a number of curve rehabilitation techniques associated with it.

Lumbar Hyperlordosis

Patients with lumbar hyperlordosis (also known as “swayback” or “saddle back”) have developed an exaggerated arch in the lower back (the lumbar region of the spine) that typically makes the buttocks and belly appear more prominent. The treatment approach will often depend on the severity of the abnormal curve and the amount of mobility that still exists in this area of spine. If the curve is not flexible, then it is more likely that treatment will be necessary.

Since hyperlordosis places unusual stress on the vertebrae and spinal discs, failing to seek treatment increases the risk of accelerated spinal degeneration, disc herniation and other structural problems. These, in turn, can cause pain and limit function. Over time, other areas of the body—including the hips, legs and internal organs—may also be affected.

Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions that affect the back and neck. Depending on the situation, they may use a combination of chiropractic adjustments, spinal molding blocks and foam rolls to restore the normal curve. They will also work closely with patients to make postural adjustments, strengthen core muscles and increase range of motion. When a child has hyperlordosis, treatment may involve a brace, which helps to ensure that the abnormal curve doesn’t worsen as he or she grows.

For the most severe and painful cases of hyperlordosis, surgery may be necessary. The objective of this surgery is to correct the severity of the curve and provide additional support for the body’s frame. Such surgery may involve metal rods, hooks, or screws. Surgeons may also use a bone graft to stimulate new growth and strength.

Scoliosis

The word “scoliosis” is more widely recognized than hyperlordosis among the general public. It refers to an abnormal c- or s-shaped lateral curvature of the spine—one that is apparent while looking at an individual from the front or back. In some cases, a patient’s head may appear off-center or one shoulder or hip may be higher than the other.

In about 80% of cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known.  This is generally referred to as “idiopathic”. Scoliosis may also be “functional” (an abnormal curve develops because of a problem elsewhere in the body), “neuromuscular” (a curve is caused by abnormally formed vertebrae) or “degenerative” (the curve is the result of deterioration, damage or weakness in the spine’s supporting structures—bone or soft tissue—during later years).

Treatment options for scoliosis depend on the severity and location of the curve, its cause and the likelihood of it getting worse as the patient gets older. Treatment typically involves braces for children and adolescents if their spinal curves are between 25 and 40 degrees. However, the brace’s straightening effect only lasts as long as the patient wears it. Those with a curve beyond 40 degrees to 50 degrees are often candidates for scoliosis surgery. As WebMD puts it, “The goal is to make sure the curve does not get worse, but surgery does not perfectly straighten the spine. During the procedure, metallic implants are utilized to correct some of the curvature and hold it in the correct position until a bone graft, placed at the time of surgery, consolidates and creates a rigid fusion in the area of the curve. Scoliosis surgery usually involves joining the vertebrae together permanently—called spinal fusion.”

Abnormal Kyphosis

Abnormal kyphosis is an outward curvature of the thoracic spine (middle back) that results in a “hunched forward” or “hunchbacked” appearance. It is often caused by poor posture. In these cases—referred to as “postural kyphosis—a chiropractor can reduce the hump by prescribing lifestyle changes and strengthening exercises that improve posture. He or she may also use a variety of spinal adjustment techniques to reduce pain and inflammation, calm muscle spasms, restore range of motion and slow the rate of disc degeneration in the middle back.

Older Adults Chiropractic Care

Older adults have long relied on chiropractic care to help keep them healthy and active. However, little scientific data has been gathered about the use of chiropractic by seniors, and few studies have been conducted to evaluate the potential benefits. New research published in the March edition of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics has helped to fill this important gap. The investigators’ findings confirmed what chiropractors and their older patients have known for some time. Not only does chiropractic care help relieve older adults’ back pain, it also seems to keep them more active and protect them from limitations in their daily activities.

The study analyzed data on 1,057 Medicare recipients gleaned from nationwide research conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called the survey on Assets and Health Dynamics among the Oldest Old (AHEAD). In the AHEAD survey, a subset of patients who had been identified as suffering from back pain were asked questions about their overall health as well as their ability to complete activities of daily living (ADL) and their lower body function. ADL was defined as normal activities such as walking up stairs, doing household chores, and going shopping for groceries. The researchers then compared the survey information with medical records indicating which of the older adults had received either medical care or chiropractic care during the 11-year period covered by the study.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that the chiropractic patients were much less likely to show declines in ADF and lower body function than patients who received only medical care. This indicates that they were more able to maintain an active lifestyle. The chiropractic patients were also less likely to report significant declines in their health.

The researchers thus concluded that chiropractic care appears to have had a protective effect against age-related frailty and disability. As they said in the study, “These results suggest that when chiropractic care is delivered in practice at care levels comparable to those used in clinical trials and relative to the types of services delivered within an episode of medical care only, chiropractic confers significant and substantial benefits to older adult functional ability and self-rated health.”

The findings were considered particularly significant because Medicare patients have a great deal of flexibility with respect to treatment options. They can consult medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic, physical therapists, internists, neurologists, orthopedists, and interventional pain providers. This means that the results attributed to chiropractic care were achieved in a setting where patients had access to a wide variety of therapies rather than in a clinical study format where subjects typically have only one or two options available to them.

This research also added to the existing body of evidence that chiropractic care is safe for seniors with back and neck pain, and that chiropractic can offer substantial relief for spinal conditions such as arthritis and disk herniation. Because aging causes the degeneration of spinal disks, regular chiropractic care may help to make seniors less prone to painful and debilitating back injuries like bulging disks and pinched spinal nerves.

All of this means that older chiropractic patients may be better able to enjoy their “golden years” freer from pain and disability. And it also means that they may be able to maintain a more active and healthier lifestyle.

NFL Chiropractic Care

Football is very, very hard on players’ bodies. By some estimates, American football players suffer about 500,000 injuries a year—twice as many as in any other sport. NFL injury data indicate that there were over 1,300 on-field injuries during the 2013/2014 season.

A company called Simple Therapy analyzed this data and found that some parts of players’ bodies are actually much more likely to be hurt than others. Knees are most vulnerable (involved in 22.3% of injuries), followed by ankles (15.3%), lower legs (11.5%) and shoulders (8.6%). That said, it’s pretty clear that a player’s entire musculoskeletal system is put at risk every time they suit up.

Given this reality, it’s not surprising that every one of the NFL’s 32 teams has a chiropractic physician on staff to prevent and treat injuries as well as to help players improve performance. Dr. Spencer Baron is the Team Chiropractor for the Miami Dolphins and has served as president of the Professional Football Chiropractic Society. He offers this perspective on the relationship between professional football and chiropractic care:

“The robust need for chiropractic care in the NFL has been deeply driven by the players’ desire for peak physical conditioning and not simply for injuries. From the earliest years of full contact football, their bodies are subject to structural stress that doctors of chiropractic are specially trained to care for. Many DCs who provide their services to professional athletes travel with their respective teams throughout the season, treating players up until game time, during the game and sometimes immediately following.”

But what about NFL players themselves? How do they view chiropractic care? Some of the game’s most-recognized players have spoken publicly over the years about their own experience.

Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs)

“I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and he’s really been helping me out a lot.  Chiropractic’s been a big part of my game.  Chiropractic care works for me.”

“I remember somebody telling me that what I put myself in during the games is like having a car wreck every Sunday. It’s against the norm. You can find yourself in awkward positions. That stuff takes its toll. But if you take advantage of the health care, balance your body back out, put it back where it’s supposed to be, you function better, and you recover faster… You can have a Ferrari body, but your wheels need balancing. I felt if I took care of my body, I could still function when I got older.”

Jerry Rice (San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks)

“Most injuries require chiropractic care. It works better for me than anything else.”

“I believe in chiropractic, and I know that it works. You probably know about my long and successful career in football. I’m flattered by the testimonials to my durability. Football is a very rough and vigorous sport. Chiropractic was the key to keeping me in the game.”

“If I had everything in alignment, I knew I could play my best football.  Dancing with the Stars was every bit as exhausting and challenging.  Though not nearly as brutal as football, it required many hours of practice and I had aches and pains that I’d never had before.  Again, chiropractic made the difference, and kept me dancing and in the competition.”

Tom Brady (New England Patriots)

“Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better. When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I’m about three inches taller and everything’s in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.”

Lance Moore (New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers)

“Not only did my chiropractor get me back on the field,” he said, “but he helped me to stay on the field. My body just feels much better overall because of the care I’ve gotten.”

Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions)

“I look at chiropractic care as important to keeping me healthy and at the top of my game.”

“As a professional athlete, I am highly competitive—only accept the best. When it comes to healthcare, chiropractic is an essential service. It keeps my on-field performance at its highest level and contributes to the success of the entire team.”

Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers)

“In this game you have to take care of your body. Over the course of a game your body just feels wrecked. Every Monday it hurts to get out of bed. I told my chiropractor, I want to feel good in the morning. A lot of my credit goes to him for keeping me healthy.”

Emmitt Smith (Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals)

“Do I need to find a chiropractor? It was time for me to invest in me… I found a specialist that’s really good in balancing out my body to make sure my hips are rotated right, and my body is functioning properly…”

But the players aren’t the only ones in the NFL with physically demanding jobs. While it’s not widely recognized by the public, cheerleading is difficult and dangerous work. Recent studies have indicated that two-thirds of the serious sports injuries reported by women in the United States occur in connection with cheerleading. The number of cheerleading-related emergency room visits increased from around 5,000 in 1980 to over 26,000 by 2007.  The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that there were almost 37,000 emergency room visits for cheerleading injuries among girls aged 6 to 22 in 2011. So—once again—we see some of the NFL’s finest athletes turning to team chiropractors.

Chelsea Causey and Amanda Mitchell (Washington Redskins’ Cheerleaders)

“I’ve experienced multiple injuries during my career as a cheerleader—everything from pulled hamstrings to sprains and even lower back pain—setbacks that chiropractic care has always helped me recover from.”

“Without chiropractic care I would not have made it past my first year. After receiving treatment, I began to notice the pain starting to subside as well as improvement in flexibility during performances.”

Additional Resources

Bumps, Bruises and Breaks. http://online.wsj.com/news/interactive/COUNT0127

Chiropractors in the NFL. http://www.profootballchiros.com/chiropractic-in-the-nfl/

Cheerleading Accounts For More Than Half of ‘Catastrophic’ Injuries to Girl Athletes. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/cheerleading-accounts-for-more-than-half-of-catastrophic-injuries-to-girl-athletes/2013/09/10/52ecdcc8-16e8-11e3-a2ec-b47e45e6f8ef_story.html

Cheerleading and Chiropractic – A Natural Choice! http://www.redskins.com/cheerleaders/article-1/WRC-Official-Chiropractor/1b2b5dbe-485e-4ed3-8fd7-cfbfe2cbeade

Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash is a type of injury that occurs when the neck is forcefully moved back and forth. It is most commonly a result of rear-end auto accidents, and it causes a number of painful symptoms, including headaches as well as discomfort and stiffness in the neck. While whiplash injuries can happen to anyone, some people are more at risk than others.

Who is most at risk for whiplash injuries?

Generally speaking, the better your body is at stabilizing itself, the less likely you are to suffer whiplash. Therefore, you are more at risk for whiplash if your physical condition is

poor, if you are unaware of an incoming impact, if you are over the age of 65, or if you are female.

While you may not realize it, your body has an automatic stabilization system that responds very, very quickly as soon as you become aware that you’re about to experience an impact. The muscles in your neck will quickly contract in order to protect your discs and ligaments from the impact. Drivers who can see a vehicle coming up behind them in the rear view mirror are more likely to be protected by this stabilization process, making passengers who can’t see the approaching vehicle more at risk for neck injuries.

This stabilization process is also more effective if your overall physical condition is high. Having a larger frame, stronger musculature and a well-functioning nervous system helps to ensure your body responds appropriately to an incoming collision. This can help explain why women are naturally more susceptible to whiplash than men. Because they tend to have less muscle mass in their necks, there is less protection, making injuries more likely. The same is true of people over the age of 65.

What can be done to recover from a whiplash injury?

Unfortunately, whiplash injuries are very common among drivers in the United States. More than 1 million drivers are affected by whiplash every year, and most injuries take place at speeds below 12 mph. Even seemingly mild impacts can result in chronic pain that can interfere with your ability to live your life. While in many cases there isn’t much to be done to prevent a whiplash injury, there are many options to address it. Chiropractic care is one such option.

The first priority after an accident should be to address any serious or life-threatening injuries, such as trauma to the head, significant blood loss, damage to internal organs, bone fractures, etc.  If these injuries are not an issue, it is a good idea to get a thorough evaluation from your chiropractor so that he or she can assess the health of your musculoskeletal system. He or she will ask you to describe the accident in detail, perform a complete physical examination, and do any diagnostic imaging necessary to fully understand your condition. Depending on the results, your chiropractor will then work with you to build a treatment plan. This plan might include adjustments to help correct any alignment issues, massage and soft-tissue manipulation, laser pain relief therapy and other treatments designed to relieve pain and restore function. The goal is always to help you heal more completely and more quickly.

Whiplash injuries are common, but there is no need for them to rob you of your ability to live a pain-free life. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help eliminate your neck pain.

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt has been declared the “fastest man in the world.” While this hasn’t always been technically true, he has won so consistently at the 100 meter distance throughout his career that the nickname “lightning bolt” seems like a pretty good fit. He has won 6 Olympic gold medals, never placing for silver or bronze. In other world championships, he has collected 8 first place wins and 2 second place finishes. During his time competing In youth championships, he regularly took first place, rarely second, and never third.

For the tiny island nation of Jamaica, Usain Bolt is a hero. He’s confident. “I told you all I was going to be No. 1, and I did just that.” While he’s a supremely confident competitor,

he’s also humble and cordial. “Manners is the key thing,” said Bolt. “Say, for instance, when you’re growing up, you’re walking down the street, you’ve got to tell everybody good morning. Everybody. You can’t pass one person.”

But his success on the track and his international stardom has not come without challenges. As a young man, Bolt suffered from scoliosis. “When I was younger, the scoliosis wasn’t really a problem. But you grow and it gets worse. My spine was really curved bad. The early part of my career, when we didn’t really know much about it, it really hampered me because I got injured every year.”

Instead of using a brace or enduring dangerous surgery to correct the abnormal curvature of his spine, Usain Bolt used chiropractic treatments. “I’ve worked hard over the years. I’ve been injured and I’ve worked hard through it, and I’ve made it.” Bolt uses chiropractic not only to bounce back more quickly from injuries, but also to enhance his performance while healthy. “As long as I’m in great shape, nobody beats me, for sure.”

Dr. Michael Douglas has worked with Bolt for many years. As founder of three South Florida Douglas Rapid Rehab Centers, he is also the Jamaican Olympic Team’s official chiropractor. He has held that position since 1996 and retains a certificate in Chiropractic Neurology. He combines traditional chiropractic techniques with sports injury rehabilitation to keep the Jamaican team in top condition.

Like all world champions, Usain Bolt realizes that his work is never done. “For me, I’m focused on what I want to do. I know what I need to do to be a champion, so I’m working on it.” For Usain Bolt, chiropractic care has been—and continues to be—an essential part of his overall strategy for remaining healthy and competing successfully.

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