Tag Archives: pain

Pain Measures Inability, Function Measures Ability

Pain is a measure of inability, function is a measure of ability.


Our current system is poorly named.  We call it “health care” when in reality it would be better named “sick care.”  We have been taught in this system that you should see your doctor when you have some sort of inability or impediment to your daily routine.  Our system is VERY GOOD at sick care.  It is not focused on health it is focused on eliminating sickness.

If you focus on health you have to start where ever you are at in the spectrum of wellness and aim to improve it.  If you are “within normal limits” that doesn’t mean you are healthy it just means that you aren’t sick enough to require medication.  We can easily see this principle in the people around us.  Some people aren’t sick, but you wouldn’t call them fit or vibrantly healthy either.  Some people you look at and can tell that they take care of their body, and some don’t, but the vast majority of them aren’t “sick.”  Health care should be about getting you as healthy as you can be.

Going to a chiropractor only when you have back pain is like going to a dentist only when you have tooth pain, or only going to the gym when you feel fat.  Chiropractors are about more than just “sick care,” though we do care for people when they are in pain, we also will encourage and recommend health care to help you be as vibrant as possible.  You see pain can measure how unable you are to do something, but we want to measure how able you are to do things.  How fast can you run?  How much can you do?  If you would like to improve your ability see your chiropractor.  Olympic and Professional Athletes do it because even though they are not sick and their ability may be above yours and mine they want to max out their ability.  How able do you want to be?  Your chiropractor can help you achieve that level of health/function/ability.

Utah Spinal Care

USClogo2I’m back in Utah.  I have decided that rather than opening up my own private practice that I would instead work at an already established practice.  I am now the primary treating doctor at Utah Spinal Care.  Utah Spinal Care is a family practice office in Sandy Utah just up the road from Rio Tinto Stadium and the South Towne Expo Center.  We are located at 880 E 9400 S Sandy, UT 84094.  For directions, maps, pricing, etc.  please visit the website or our Facebook page.  Come visit us and pass the word along.  If you or anyone you know is in need of some Spinal Care give us a call to set up an appointment at 801-523-0073.

Cold Laser Therapy and de Quervain’s

People have been asking lately about laser therapy, so I thought I’d explain it a little and sneak in a quick condition at the same time.

De Quervain’s is the name for tenosynovitis of the thumb extender and abductor muscles.  Which is to say the tendons that move your thumb hurt at the wrist because inflammation isn’t allowing them to move properly.  It is more common in women, but anyone doing repetitive motions with their thumb such as typing, cashiering, mechanics, etc. is susceptible.  If you have it you may notice a “squeaky thumb,” pain when moving your thumb and decreased grip strength.  In my experience this condition doesn’t usually go away on it’s own.  Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome it just keeps coming back unless you receive proper care.

Many things are done for treatment of this condition.  Chiropractic manipulation and massage of the area are beneficial as well as reducing use.  You’ll likely need to talk with your employer about decreasing or changing your duties for a time while you heal.  There are also many electrical modalities that are beneficial for de Quervain’s.

That’s where the Cold Laser comes in.  Cold Laser is called many names but it is all the same thing, particular light waves that have been found to increase cellular metabolism.  In essence when exposed to these wavelengths of light your cells heal faster, and hurt less.  That’s a good thing.

LLLTIt’s an odd sort of treatment because you normally don’t feel anything at the time.  Kind of like magic with good research behind it.  We just put this wand with a laser or LEDs on the injured area and hold it there for a few moments with the light on.  The reason I bring Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) up with this condition is the relief time.  Generally speaking my patients are able to notice effects of LLLT within the first day, but I had a patient with de Quervain’s who claimed instantaneous relief with LLLT.  It was amazing to me and worth reporting to you.

So, if you have pain at your wrist from thumb movement visit your chiropractor and ask them about Cold Laser Treatment.

Migraine Help

Julia Freeman

Image by: Julia Freeman

Migraines are different from your average headache.  They usually build up over 1-2 hours; you can feel them coming.  They have a throbbing type pain and are only on one side of the head.  Migraines will last several hours, but won’t usually go beyond a day or two, though late effects of the migraine can be felt for even a week after, this is recovery time.

All migraines are not equal some are thought to be caused by vascular issues thus foods or activities that affect your blood supply are often triggers.  Some are thought to be caused by abnormal brain activity or nervous function.  There is no one treatment that works on all migraines.

Migraines will go away on their own with time or sleep, but you don’t have to just accept them.  Some basic things can drastically help reduce the symptoms of migraines, even without medication. First, know your triggers, and avoid them.  Migraines are usually “brought on” by something.  Triggers are different for everyone, monitor what you do before a migraine to determine yours and avoid those things.  Food can be a trigger (such as chocolate, alcohol, MSG, cheese, sugar, citrus fruit, etc.).  Stress, hormonal changes, allergies, even exercise can be a migraine trigger.

Second, take advantage of early warning signs and intervene.  In my treatment of migraines I’ve found that patients who treat the early signs have less severe symptoms and are sometimes able to avoid the migraine all together.  Two forms of intervention care that have helped my patients are: an ice pack on the back of your neck at the base of your skull, and chiropractic manipulation.  I have seen the reduction of many migraines with these two methods, research puts the effectiveness number somewhere around 70%.  Another method that some of my patients find effective in this early stage is a hot bath.  These methods fit in with the vascular theory of migraines by balancing systems, reducing the blood flow to the head or increasing it to the rest of the body.  These are not the only options.  Find what works for you.

Lastly, sometimes you can’t stop the migraine if it’s there and unavoidable, sleep.  Sleep is the number one way of getting over a migraine. It allows your body to return to a balanced state and passes time, which is what your body needs to recover.

Chiropractic House Calls

Have you ever calculated the time it takes to actually have a doctor’s appointment?

10-15 min getting ready (more if you have kids)

10-15 min drive time; then double that to get home again

10-15 min of paperwork or waiting in the waiting room

That’s about an hour of your time just to see the doctor for 5-10 minutes.  (At my office you may also be getting massage or physical therapy, which may add an additional 30 minutes.)

I have been toying with the idea for quite some time, and I believe that it is time for me to share my idea with you.  I am going to be doing house calls as a chiropractor.  I will be charging a nominal fee for travel and time, but I will be offering my services at homes, offices and other places conducive to such interaction.  I will set up certain days or times of the day that I will come to you.

There are tools that I will not be able to take with me, but as a chiropractor and a massage therapist all I really need is my hands.  I have my portable table, and I will be working out the details in this coming week.  As soon as I get it all ironed out I will announce my price list, hours and scheduling phone number.

So, if you need a chiropractor or massage therapist, but don’t like the hassle of driving to an office and waiting to be seen give me a call.  Or if you know someone who is housebound due to pain.  I will also be working with hospitals to treat people in urgent care centers and emergency rooms.  I hope to be able to bring chiropractic to those who want it more conveniently or who can’t get to me.

I’ll keep you posted as I am able

Lumbar Facet Syndrome

Lots of people have low back pain.  Have you ever noticed that pain doesn’t always stay put.  Often times and particularly with back pain it’s not as if you can point to it and say the pain is all right there, sometimes it wanders.  At times it’s your whole side, or going down into your buttock, or even down the leg.  Distributed pain like this is usually one of two things referred pain (like when someone has a heart attack and grabs their shoulder because it hurts) or neurological pain.  Neurological pain is pain that follows nerve paths.  A big nerve actually comes from or goes to a different part of the body.  When injured, the signal of pain to the brain may be interpreted as a different part of the body than is actually injured.

It just so happens that our facet joints on the back of our spine sit right by very large nerve bundles called nerve roots.  In our low back (lumbar spine) these nerves go to our low back and legs but they also go to our facets.  So when we injure our facets the injury may register in our mind as low back or leg pain.

These facets may be injured in many ways.  There could be a sprain of the joint or surrounding ligaments, the same as an ankle sprain only smaller.  There could be a portion of the soft tissue entrapped in the joint and being pinched.  It could be degeneration of the joint caused by disease, chronic subluxation or joint dysfunction. The point is it’s not always easy to know the exact cause, but that doesn’t make you feel any better.

People who have facet syndrome will often be leaning forward or trying to stretch the area.  They won’t like bending backwards.  The pain may be very local, They will often point to the facet joint and say it starts right here, even though the pain may go as far as the knee.

The great news about facet syndrome is that it responds very well to chiropractic manipulation.  See your chiropractor if you think you may have facet syndrome.  If you can’t get to your chiropractor right away there are some things that you can do on your own, and you were probably already doing them.  Bending forward will help take pressure of the facet.  Ice will help reduce any inflamation, and taking it easy for a while will help you to avoid agravating it.  Stretching and massage can also help relax the muscles around the joint taking even more pressure off.  When you do see your chiropractor, he will diagnose you and, may use spinal traction, e-stim, or even ultrasound along with an adjustment.  Don’t worry, your chances of recovery from facet syndrome are great.

Success Stories and the Amazing Human Body

As with most jobs chiropractic can be routine sometimes.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, but sometimes you treat the same injuries over and over.  The thing that keeps it fun is the different people.  As amazing as our bodies are, I recognize a weakness when patient after patient comes in with the same problem.  These problems are usually due to lifestyle, like sitting at computers for hours, or not exercising enough.  I start to think perhaps it is more simple that I thought.

Then I get a case that is different, a challenge if you will.  Recently I had one of those.  It wasn’t the typical routine at all.  The patient came in with neck pain that radiated down her arm.  It seemed typical, and after her initial examination it appeared that it was typical.  I treated her initial symptoms as i usually do with a trial treatment to see how she would respond.

Her pain in the neck eased as I had expected, but it migrated out to the muscles in the base of her neck.  I thought that was odd, but further evaluation didn’t point to anything else so, being also a massage therapist I treated those muscles, thinking that her initial pain could have been referred pain from trigger points in these muscles.  We got them to relax enough that on the next visit we found pain yet further out.  This time her pain was under her collar bone.  This still made sense because the symptoms were following the path of the nerves that go down the arm from the spinal cord.

Well it turns out this patient had a repetative overuse sprain at her collar bone.  It came on gradually, and the symptoms throughout her neck and arm were a result of the body compensating and trying to prevent further injury.  Once we found it we were able to treat not only the symptoms, but were also able to help her speed up the healing of the source problem.

She is now doing well, and on the road to recovery. I am constantly in awe of the human body, but every once in a while a case comes along to challenge me and remind me just how amazing these bodies of ours are.