I’ve Selected Five Topics for Home-care Recommendations:
I will give you some tips on how to treat your own back pain. Small acts that you can do on a daily basis such as the five I will recommend will pay dividends in reduction you back pain and overall health.
- Sleeping instructions
- Stress reduction
- Dietary methods to reduce pain and inflammation
- How to sit at your desk and have good posture
- Nutritional support for joints
The more of these recommendations you can incorporate into your lifestyle, the quicker you can put your health issue behind you. If you have any questions about any of the recommendations, be sure to ask me during your next visit to the office.
The More You Know, the Healthier You Will Be
Knowledge is power! When I was in post-graduate school, every day was so amazing to me because I was learning so much! I found out why I had neck pain from sitting at my desk in a certain way, why my arm felt numb when I woke up in the morning, why taking a little mini-vacation during the middle of the day is one of the best stress-busters, and all sorts of things like that.
As I see it, you can now be the recipient of all that knowledge—without paying for the expensive education! Everything you learn here is to help make your life easier.
Things Your Parents, Teachers, and Doctor Never Told You!
Every day we learn many new facts and bits of information. For example, when we turn on the radio or television, someone is usually speaking about a current event, past event, new research, or new products that promise amazing results. We even learn information by watching game shows that test our knowledge…and compare it with that of a fifth-grader.
We learn from our friends, coworkers, bosses and other employees, parents and grandparents. We also learn from every professional we hire—dentist, medical doctor, chiropractor, lawyer, accountant, website master, and personal trainer.
As researchers discover more and more knowledge, our knowledge has to be updated. Remember when you were a child, taught to wash your hands with bar soap? Years later, there was a shift to antibacterial soaps. And now, the latest research is that good ol’ regular bar soap is really the best way to get our hands clean and keep bacterial counts low.
Have you noticed there are gaps in knowledge about how to do things “right” or “better”? For example, years ago when you had a fever, your parents tucked you into bed with a dose of aspirin and covered you with a light blanket. You slept on a flat pillow, and a few stuffed animals surrounded you. They believed they were doing everything they could do to help you get better. Now knowledge has progressed to the point where we know it’s possible to burn out a fever by piling up the blankets and administering some anti-infectious herbs. We know the flat pillow might have been OK for you as a young child, but as your body grows, the pillow width should also grow to fit the curve in your neck.
There are time gaps in our knowledge, and some of these gaps might contribute to delayed recovery from whatever ails you. As a doctor, I am well educated as a health-myth buster, ready to fill in any time gaps in knowledge! I keep up-to-date on the latest research findings and love to educate my patients about how to stay healthy. It’s only when you’re healthy that I’m happy!
Be sure to look for our next blog! If you haven’t gotten your free copy of my latest book make sure and download your copy here today or swing by the office at 4549 Catclaw Drive in Abilene,TX and ask for a copy!
Why Do So Many Surgeries Fail?
The…patient should be made to understand that he or she must take charge of his own life. Don’t take your body to the doctor as if he were a repair shop.
—Quentin Regestein, MD
Do you believe that having a surgeon cut away the problem will make it go away? Is that really your best choice? This is like having a toothache and believing you automatically need to pull the tooth. Remember that 80 percent of back pain is mechanical in nature and can be managed without surgery. Surgery should be a last option. Many people do not correctly understand the anatomy of the spine or musculature. Open-back surgeries are highly invasive and often weaken the spine, create scar tissue, increase risk of infection, require time off work, and can set you up for future problems. All of the above can lead to an eventual second or third procedure. The good surgeons understand this and want you to try every form of conservative treatments before they recommend surgery.
Every year, about half a million spine surgeries are performed in the United States, about twice the rate of other countries. Some experts believe that about half of these back surgeries are unnecessary. Some people also come out of spine surgery with persistent symptoms. The spine is a very complex structure—it is not a simple as just cutting out the pain. There is occasionally a time and a place for surgery, usually most successful in acute emergencies, but research tells us that many who have lower back surgery experience only initial short-term relief. A recent study compared conservative lower back therapy (like computerized spinal decompression therapy, muscle balance therapy, electrical muscle stimulation therapy, and lifestyle modifications) with surgery. One group of patients had surgery; the other had conservative treatment. They were then followed for 10 years to determine their progress. After four years, there was no difference between the group that had surgery and the group that did not have surgery. Many studies show that with conservative care and time, disc herniations decrease along with the innate intelligence of your body to heal itself, particularly when various stressors are reduced. This is great news for the patient who suffers with a herniated disc and other ailments.
You can’t afford to not do something! In a recent study, it was projected that chiropractic patients would save more than $21,000 over a five-year period.
Before you decide to have surgery, I would love the opportunity to take a look at your problem and help you to make a more informed decision. 325-695-9355 give our office a call and ask about our new patient special.
Stop by the office at 4549 Catclaw Dr. Abilene,TX and get your copy of my latest book 21st Century Back Pain Solutions or click here download your today!
As promised in my last blog here are a few tips for you to help manage the effects of psychological and emotional pain that creates havoc on your body. If you missed the last blog click here!
Tip 1: Exercise.
When researching for the effects of exercises on mental conditions, it is clear that exercise is one of the most beneficial activities to burn off stress and give your brain an increase in feel-good hormones such as serotonin. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Walk, stretch, perform light jogging—just move, feed your brain.
Tip 2: Meditate.
Go somewhere quiet, close your eyes, be still for 10 to 20 minutes, and let your brain slow down. I have to meditate daily—I like to do it for about 10 minutes in the morning and five minutes at lunch. Purchase a book or DVD with meditation or yoga techniques.
While meditating, put slight pressure on your closed eyelids and a physiological reflex will occur that lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
Tip 3: Condition your mind with positive influences.
Read positive books, watch uplifting television, go see comedy movies. Avoid the fear, doom, and gloom that is in newspapers, film, and downtrodden conversations with people always complaining (some might be our own family members). For your own health, limit your time with people who see everything as negative—or steer the conversation away from depressing talk. Such relationships can be toxic and drain mental energy. Turn toward positivity by choosing to turn off the nightly news and instead read the cartoon section of the newspaper. Watch the movie Dumb and Dumber—dare you not to laugh! Get the old films of The Three Stooges, laugh, smile, surround yourself with positive people, positive images, or pictures of happy times. I hang in my clinic pictures of my kids laughing and playing, as well as pictures of patients who have had great success in our office and become our extended family. They evoke happy thoughts in me and block out negative influences. You must protect your mind.
Tip 4: Track your moods throughout the day.
Keep a journal to write down when your moods are at their best—notice patterns, and try to engage in more of those activities that are joyful. When you notice you’re mood is more blue, fill that time also with positive activities, a funny book, or an upbeat song—not a heartbreak country song. Surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging. Create a space in your living environment or workplace that is comfortable and peaceful. Turn off the phone and relax, even for 10 to 20 minutes.
Tip 5: Get rid of clutter.
Environmental clutter can clutter your mind. Get rid of clutter by donating it to charity if you haven’t used it in over a year. You won’t miss it—trust me. Give it away. You will feel better.
Tip 6: Do something fun.
Go to the park, go fishing, go shopping, walk in the park, work on your hobby. Give yourself a “me” day or even am hour of fun to give yourself a mental break.
For serious emotional or physical traumas that might have happened in the past but have not been resolved, it is best to seek the assistance of a licensed therapist. Emotional traumas can linger in your mind and could very well be the source of chronic pain and continue to be chronic for years to come if not addressed.
Call and schedule your appointment today! Still not sure chiropractic care is for you? We have free consultations! Call and schedule your free consultation! If you are ready to start your journey to better health call today and mention our blog and tell the receptionist you would like to utilize our New Patient Special to receive your discount of over $200!
Psychological Stress and Pain
Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy, and rewarding life.
Have you ever noticed that pain increases during times of stress? Why is that? Emotions are a powerful force. We feel emotions every day. Women tend to be very in touch with their emotions, and those emotions can manifest in a variety of ways. Some can create havoc and a vicious cycle for musculoskeletal dysfunction.
Emotional stress can be contributed to nearly every health ailment known to mankind. Stress can reduce blood supply, create tight muscles, reduce oxygen, and release hormones that trigger inflammation, limit your ability to repair joints, and cause nerves to be overactive. Stress must be kept in check in order to manage chronic back and neck pain. Your body’s response to a short-term stress is known as the “fight-or-flight” mechanism. When you are being chased by a bear, you want your body to move all its blood away from areas of your body, such as your intestines and stomach, to the skeletal muscles so you can run away as fast as you can. That is necessary as long as it is short-lived. When your body perceives stress for long periods of time—weeks, months, years—you create a neurological reflex of tight muscles that can actually change the shape of your spine over time, irritate joints, and pull vertebrae out of alignment. Chronic stress slowly but surely starts to degenerate you nerves and your brain. The physiology of chronic stress is a topic for another book, but underlying stress is the source of many if not most ailments. Not all stresses are easily identified.
A patient named Misty is a 35-year-old mother of four, working 30 hours a week as a telemarketer. She and I were talking about the chronic muscle pain in her shoulders and hips. When I asked about stress in her life, she replied, “Dr. Morgan, I don’t really have stress. Everything is going well. I have a job I like, my family is healthy—I don’t really have any stress in my life.” Well you might not perceive things as stresses, but your body sure does. I asked her to walk me through her day. She begins by getting up two times a night with an infant, starts her morning with three cups of coffee while trying to get the kids up and dressed, often running late she decides to not cook breakfast and picks up doughnuts at the bakery, still late she eats in the car on the way to drop the older kids at school, goes to work, has one more cup of coffee, works for several hours, skips lunch and instead replaces it with a Red Bull or Monster Energy drink, and snack on a bag of chips while working. Hang on—there’s more…. She leaves work, picks up a few kids, hurries home to cook and clean for the kids, eats a TV dinner and drinks a cola, helps with homework, bathes kids, and does some laundry. She doesn’t even have time to sit down and unwind before bed. By about 9:00 p.m., she hits a brick wall, knowing she should go to bed, but decides to have one more cup of coffee or iced tea for a pick-me-up so she can finish some work around the house. In bed by 10:30 p.m., she has difficulty going to sleep because she says she can’t turn her mind off. After lying in bed for about an hour, she decides to take a sleeping pill. Her infant wakes up twice, usually around 1:00 a.m. and again at 4:00 a.m. Her alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m., when she gets up to start all over again.
I explained to Misty that even though she might not believe she has any stress—such as a loss of a loved one, difficulty at work, or a child who is disobedient or having issues at school—the amount of caffeine she consumes and poor dietary habits are just as bad. Caffeine is a stimulant and, if not kept in moderation, the body’s chemistry and nervous system perceive the stimulation as a constant fight-or-flight response. She doesn’t sit and eat at a slow or normal rate, she is rushed everywhere she goes, and it’s difficult for her to find the time to be in a rest-and-digest state. She eventually burns out the adrenal glands, responsible for stress hormones, and the body now feels it constantly needs stimulants to function.
High levels of stress hormones make it easy to put on weight around your waist, decrease your lifespan, and accelerate the progression of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and dementia.
So, how should you deal with and ease emotions and stresses that might not be in your control? Check out my next blog on how to deal and tips you can use! Call and schedule your next appointment.
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You may hate gravity, but gravity doesn’t care.
A common query I get is, “Dr. Morgan, I feel better and want to stay this way. What can I do at home to help ease pain? My friend has an inversion table—do they work?” It depends on your condition and the type of inversion table. As a general rule, inversion therapy is useful for those who suffer from pinched nerves or nerve-based pain, bulging or herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. I have patients who incorporate their treatments in our clinic and at-home inversion therapy with great success.
Inversion therapy acts in a similar manner as computerized spinal decompression therapy, which is utilized in our clinic every day. Inversion tables are not quite as effective or sophisticated as computerized spinal decompression therapy, due to the fact that you are not able to control the amount of weight that is being pulled on your spine and can place you back in different positions, to properly position you back depending on the spinal condition that is causing pain. You also need to be in relatively good health, having the ability and mobility to maneuver yourself on the table.
An inversion table inverts the body into an upside-down or partial upside-down position. The idea behind this therapy is to reverse the effects of gravity, which can compress or squish the spinal discs or cushions that are in between the vertebrae.We discussed compressed disc and the impact it can have on your back pain in a earlier blog. The table allows you to stretch your spine out, providing room for discs to reabsorb fluids and move back into their proper positions.
There is only one inversion table I recommend, because it is the best I have found in the market. It is called the Total Back Solution Inversion Table My patients who are interested in inversion therapy take their health seriously and are willing to make a wise investment that pays in good-health dividends. You want a table that is high on quality and will last, and since you will be hanging upside-down, you want to be safe. This is why I will not recommend a lesser quality Inversion table. I only recommend a table that is only available to physicians, as many doctors use this as a therapy in their clinics. This table is the most durable on the market and has scientific studies to back up its effectiveness. I have chosen this particular inversion table because I know it to be durable, safe, and adjustable. The high-quality frame holds up to the weight of most individuals, and it has different settings so you can start self-treatment at different angles, gradually working to an upside-down position. I recommend starting at a 45-degree angle for only 10 minutes a day, since you need to give your body time to adjust to this new treatment. After five days, if you are comfortable with the 45-degree angle, then you may lower the settings to a higher angle and increase treatment time.
I made an oath to do no harm, and I consider my patients part of my extended family. These are the top three things I consider when I recommend this premium inversion table:
- Safety—It must be of high quality. Has it been tested in independent studies?. Will it hold the weight of your body, time and time again? I guarantee that someone will see your inversion table and want to try it. If they are bigger than you, will it hold their body weight? Are there ergonomically molded ankle cushions so you do not develop pain at the ankles? If you decide to get an inversion table on your own, check the weight limit. Make sure the table has tough rubber nonskid floor stabilizers so the table does not slide or wobble.
- Durability—I highly discourage a plastic-framed inversion table. You want a steel frame and high-grade back board that will not stretch or wear out over time.
- Manageability—Are you physically able to handle the table on your own without assistance? You also need to be in relatively good health, having the ability and mobility to maneuver yourself on and off the table.
Inversion therapy is not recommended for uncontrolled blood pressure or hypertensive patients due to the fact that blood pressure increases as you hang upside-down. A better alternative is computerized spinal decompression therapy, as you do not have to lie upside down.
An inversion table is an investment you do not want to go cheap on, as it can save you a lot in future health-care costs. This piece of equipment will last you a lifetime if you make the right purchase. If you feel inversion therapy is right for you, ask me if you and your condition would benefit.
Contact my office today to get more information how we can help treat your pain. When you call tell the receptionist you want to come in for our NEW PATIENT SPECIAL. Download your free copy of my latest book here!