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Back pain, back pain, everywhere there's back pain. Back pain is second only to the common cold as the most frequent cause of sick leave, accounting for approximately 40% of all work absences. It's also the most common reason for filing workers' compensation claims (about 25% of all claims filed in the U.S.).
How bad is the situation? A study in the American Journal of Public Health analyzed data from a national health interview survey and found over 30,000 respondents who reported daily back pain of one week or more in the 12 months prior to the survey. From this data, the authors estimated that more than 22 million people suffer from back pain that lasts one week or more; these cases result in an estimated 149 million lost workdays.
These estimates didn't even include workers who reported back pain of less than one week, or who missed work for the entire study period! If you've managed to escape back pain to this point, it's probably just a matter of time until you're caught. So make an appointment with your doctor of chiropractic, the expert on preventing and managing back pain.
Guo HR, Tanaka S, Halperin WE, et al. Back pain prevalence in U.S. industry and estimates of lost workdays. American Journal of Public Health, July 1999: Vol. 89, No. 7, pp1029-1035.
Neck pain can be acute (short term) or chronic (recurring or persisting for months and even years), but regardless, when you're in pain, relief is the first thing on your mind. Just as important as relief, of course, is finding the cause and ensuring you avoid the behavior / action that brought the pain on in the first place. Here are five common causes of neck pain – and why doctors of chiropractic are well-suited to relieve the pain and determine the underlying cause.
1. Poor Posture: Leaning over a desk all day or slouching in your office chair? You're bound to develop neck pain eventually, if you haven't already. Do this quick test: In an upright or seated position, round your shoulders and back (poor posture). Does it impact your neck as well? Exactly!
2. Monitor Madness: Staring at the computer screen for hours at a time? That's not good for your health (or sanity), but from a neck pain perspective, it's madness, particularly if the screen height forces you to crane your neck up (too high) or extend it down (too low).
3. Sleep Issues: Ideally, we spend a third of our day sleeping, so your sleep habits – for better or worse – can have a dramatic effect on your health. With regard to neck pain, anytime you sleep in an uncomfortable position, particularly one that stresses your neck musculature (think about side-sleeping while grabbing your pillow tightly, sleeping on your stomach with your arms out in front of you, or even sleeping on your back, but with a pillow that doesn't adequately support your neck), you risk neck pain.
4. Technology Overload: We may spend a third of our day sleeping, but we increasingly spend the other 16 hours typing, texting, tapping and otherwise interacting with our smartphones, tablets, etc. Bottom line: bad for your neck. One doctor has even coined the phrase, "text neck," to describe the neck pain that can result from this constant technology interaction.
5. The Wrong Movement: Twisting, turning, stretching and stressing your neck is an easy way to cause neck pain. While the muscles in the neck are strong, they can be strained, sprained and even torn, just like any other muscle.
It's important to note that beyond these common causes, various other health issues can also contribute to or directly cause neck pain, including fibromyalgia, cervical arthritis or spondylosis (essentially spinal arthritis), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), infection of the spine, and even cancer. The good news is that a doctor of chiropractic can help identify which of these or the above causes is to blame.
When neck pain strikes, most people turn to a temporary solution first: pain-relieving medication. But that's not a permanent solution, of course, and it doesn't address the cause of the pain at all, which could be something relatively minor – or more serious. What's more, research suggests chiropractic spinal manipulation is actually more effective than over-the-counter and prescription medication for relieving both acute and subacute neck pain.
Suffering from neck pain? Then give your doctor of chiropractic a call. They'll help you relieve your pain and determine the cause so it doesn't return.
If your chiropractor recommends exercise along with spinal adjusting to help prevent back pain, they're on to something: Research continues to assert the benefits of exercise for preventing low back pain. The most recent evidence: a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, which reviewed a large body of eligible research (23 studies representing more than 30,000 participants) and determined exercise alone or combined with education reduced the risk of suffering an episode of LBP.
Too many people turn to the medicine cabinet, their local pharmacy or even worse (because of the potential side effects / complications) their medical doctor for a prescription-strength medication or surgical consult when back pain flares up. As this review study suggests, there's no need to take such drastic steps, at least until conservative measures have been exhausted. Talk to your chiropractor about natural ways to prevent low back pain. You'll be glad you did.
A January 2016 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that even though insurance affects how people purchase healthcare, more people than ever are choosing to pay for their chiropractic care. The report was based upon the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) taken in the years 2002 and 2012.
The study reported on usage for what the researchers termed as “complementary health approaches” which included acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic. They checked the usage of these three services specifically in the years 2002 and 2012. Researchers also looked to see if those surveyed had insurance that covered those services, and if insurance coverage affected the amount of usage of those services.
The results showed that there was increased utilization in all three services from 2002 compared to ten years later in 2012. The rates of utilization in 2002 were: acupuncture – 1.1%, massage – 5.0%, and chiropractic – 7.5%. These figures all increased ten years later to: acupuncture – 1.5%, massage – 6.9%, and chiropractic – 8.3%.
When examining who had insurance coverage, it was noted that the group with insurance coverage did not show an increase in utilization, while those without insurance, who would have to pay for their care, showed a statistically significant increase in utilization. This means that having insurance did not cause more people to seek out these three services. The study stated, “Although increases were observed in the percentage of adults who saw a practitioner for acupuncture, chiropractic, or massage therapy and did not have health insurance coverage for these visits, no changes were observed among those who saw a practitioner and had coverage for these complementary health approaches.”
For chiropractic, the study noted that 18.7% of those who sought those services had full insurance coverage. Partial coverage for chiropractic made up 41.4% of those who went to the chiropractor, while 39.9% had no chiropractic insurance coverage at all. Both acupuncture and massage had considerably less insurance coverage than chiropractic.
In their summary the authors of the CDC study noted, “Increased use of acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy between 2002 and 2012 was previously noted. There was a significant increase in the percentage of adults who saw a practitioner for acupuncture, chiropractic, or massage therapy but did not have health insurance coverage for these approaches. No change in use was observed among those with insurance coverage. These data suggest that consumers are increasingly willing to pay out of pocket for the use of acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage.”
Water is a precious natural resource important to our health, community and the quality of life in the Central Valley.