Back Pain: Causes and Alternative and Natural Treatments

What Is the Anatomy of the Human Back?

Muscular System of the Human Back

The human back is made up of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. These parts make up the spinal column. The spinal column consists of 30 bones called the vertebrae. The spinal column helps hold up the upper part of the body. The back is an integral part of the human body (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases [NIAMS], 2013.


Why Do We Experience Back Pain?

back pain personBack pain can affect people of all ages and ethnicities. Back pain can be acute or chronic. Acute back pain usually lasts a couple of days and is generally treated by orthodox practitioners by Ibuprophen or other over-the-counter pain medications or  prescription drugs.  However, people can becoming addicted to pain medications especially with chronic pain. Chronic back pain normally occurs for more than three months. Older people are more susceptible to back pain because as they age, their bone strength decreases and muscles become less elastic and flexible. People who are overweight have more back pain due to the excess amount of weight the back has to support. Children who carry heavy backpacks for hours during the school day may experience back pain. Back pain can also affect people who live sedentary lifestyles, smoke often and have unhealthy diets (NIAMS, 2013).


Spine Disorders

What are the Primary Causes of Back Pain?

back pain- woman

Mayo Clinic (2014) provides a list of possible reasons for the cause or causes of back pain:

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis
  2. Fibromyalgia
  3. Herniated Disk
  4. Kidney Infection
  5. Obesity
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Osteomyelitis
  8. Osteoporosis
  9. Paget’s Disease of Bones
  10. Poor Posture
  11. Pregnancy
  12. Sacroiliitis
  13. Sciatica
  14. Scoliosis
  15. Spinal Fractures
  16. Spinal Stenosis
  17. Sprains and strains

How are Back Problems Diagnosed?

Acute back pain can be traced back to an injury or trauma. Chronic back pain is usually a symptom of an underlying disorder or illness. To receive an accurate diagnosis for the back pain, visiting a family physician may be the wisest decision.

Back Xray
The physician may take a look at your medical history along with your family history to rule out any genetic predispositions to back disorders. A thorough physical exam will be conducted. In addition, a few other tests may be performed. These tests include, but are not limited, to the following (NIAMS, 2013):

  1. Ultrasound imaging
  2. Bone Scans
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  4. Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  5. X-ray


What is the Traditional  Treatment?

Cancer Exercise Treadmill To relieve acute and chronic back pain, traditional methods used by orthodox medical doctors or practitioners usually include:

  1. Hot and cold compresses to decrease swelling and pain.
  2. Medications such as Advil, Ibuprofen and muscle relaxants or prescription drugs to eliminate or reduce pain.
  3. Low impact exercises such as walking, climbing and swimming have been proven to increase muscle tone and decrease tension in the back.

Prescription drugs can be addictive and harmful to the body with long-term use.

Prescription Drugs Dilemma
What are Alternative Treatments?

Other non-traditional ways to ease back pain include the following:

  1. Chiropractic care. Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people see a chiropractor.
  2. Acupuncture. A practitioner of acupuncture inserts sterilized stainless steel needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Some people with low back pain report that acupuncture helps relieve their symptoms.Back Massage
  3. Therapeutic Massage.  If your back is caused by tense or overworked muscles, massage therapy may help. Massage can help stretch tight muscles and circulate the blood, relieving pain
  4. Yoga. There are several types of yoga, a board discipline that involves practicing specific postures or poses, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. Yoga has been found to relieve stress and be effective in eliminating pain.
  5. Naturopathy  The use of natural methods and non-toxic remedies to improve or restore health is known as naturopathy. It includes herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, change in diet, etc.
  6. Physical therapy and exercise are considered alternative and natural treatments. Exercise can be very effective in treating back pain. Research studies confirm that those with osteoarthritis or sciatica back pain are greatly relieved by a daily practice of physical therapy and exercises. Be sure to consult with your trusted health practitioner before starting new exercises.

References

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skins Diseases. (2013). Handout on Health: Back Pain. Back Pain. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Back_Pain/default.asp#3

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Definition. Back Pain: Symptom. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/back-pain/basics/definition/sym-20050878

 

 

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This articleHang Pham, MBHA Health Educator is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:  
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

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Top 30 Yoga Benefits

What are the benefits of yoga? How does the daily discipline of yoga affect the body, mind and spirit?

Yoga Benefits

30 Yoga Benefits

What is the History of Yoga?
Yoga is a holistic health and wellness activity that both relaxes and energizes the body. Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “union with God.” The common belief that Yoga derives from Hinduism is a misconception. Yoga actually predates Hinduism by many centuries. Ancient archeological finds discovered the Indus Valley provided unquestionable evidence that Yoga was practiced earlier than 3,000 B.C.E. and the classical techniques of Yoga may date back  to more than 5,000 years. The word Yoga means “to join or yoke together,” and it brings the body and mind together in harmony with one another. The whole system of Yoga is built on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation. One of the earliest texts on Yoga  is believed to have been compiled by a scholar named Patanjali. This book contains Yoga theories and practices and is entitled Yoga Sutras (“Yoga Aphorisms”) and is thought to have been written as early as the 1st or 2nd century B.C. or as late as the 5th century A.D. This system is known as “Ashtanga Yoga.”  This is the eight limbs of Yoga, and referred to today as Classical Yoga. Most all forms of yoga include a variation of Patanjali’s original ancient yoga system.

 

What are the Different Types of Yoga?
There are over a hundred different schools of Yoga. There are many Yoga poses or postures within each of the different schools of Yoga.

Yoga PosesSome of the most well known schools of Yoga are as follows:

  1. Hatha Yoga  Hatha Yoga  is the most widely practiced form of yoga in the United States. It is the branch of yoga which concentrates on physical health and mental well-being using exercises and breathing control.  “Ha” can be translated to mean “sun” and “tha” to mean “moon” meaning to balance the opposite forces.
  2. Raja Yoga – Raja Yoga means the “King” of Yoga, or the royal path. It is a form of Hindu yoga intended to achieve control over the mind and emotions.
  3. Jnana Yoga – Jñāna yoga or “path of knowledge” is one of the types of yoga mentioned in Hindu philosophies. Jñāna is a Sanskrit word translated to mean “knowledge”.
  4. Bhakti Yoga  – Bhakti yoga is a spiritual path described in Hindu philosophy as focused on love of, faith in, and surrender to God. It is a means to awaken to God consciousness. It is a selfless devotion of reaching Brahman (God) in loving service.
  5. Karma Yoga – Karma Yoga is selfless action to reach perfection. “Karma” is a Sanskrit term meaning “action” or deed, either physical or mental. What makes a Karma Yogi is first the experience of union with God, and then selfless action.
  6. Tantra Yoga – Tantra yoga is a type of yoga designed to awaken the kundalini energy in the body and addressing relationships and sexuality. In Hinduism, the word Tantra means: 1) weaving and 2) the sacred scriptures of Hinduism, presented as a dialogue between Shiva and Shakti
  7. Kashmir Shaivism Yoga – Kashmir Shaivism is a transformative non-dual, yogic philosophy that originated in Kashmir in the ninth century. The goal of Kashmir Shaivism is to merge in Shiva or Universal Consciousness, or realize one’s already existing identity with Shiva, by means of wisdom, yoga and grace.

yoga older manWhat Does Research Tell Us About the Effectiveness of Yoga?
Sudarshan Kriya Yoga was concluded to be a potentially effective treatment in reducing or eliminating depression in a study by Janakiramaiah N and others (2000) and a review of clinical studies of the effectiveness of Hatha Yoga on depression by Uebelacker et al  (2010).

The prac­tice of yoga has been shown to be therapeutically useful in bron­chial asthmaNagarathna R, Nagendra HR (1985) concluded that “There was a significantly greater improvement in the group who practised yoga in the weekly number of attacks of asthma, scores for drug treatment, and peak flow rate.”  However, a 2011 systematic review of clinical studies suggests that there is no sound evidence that yoga improves asthma.

back pain personMultiple studies  have found yoga to be a helpful treatment in low back pain such as Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Wellman RD, et al (2011) and Tilbrook HE, Cox H, Hewitt CE, et al. (2011).   Other studies have shown yoga to be potentially helpful treatment for cardiovascular disease, such as Raub (2002), type II diabetes mellitus (Innes and Vincent, 2007),  stress and hypertension (Kiecolt-Glaser JK, and others, 2010) as well as other conditions. The practice of yoga can also play a role in the rehabilitation of those who have physical and mental challenges (Uma, et al, 2008).  Many other benefits are inherit in the practice of yoga as described below.

What Are the 30 Benefits of Yoga?

  1. Relieves Stress
  2. Improves Breathing
  3. Eases Pain
  4. Improves Circulation
  5. Increases Strength
  6. Increases Endurance
  7. Lowers Heart Rate
  8. Develops Inner Peace
  9. Lengthens Muscles
  10. Increases Flexibilityyoga mats
  11. Reduces Cortisol Level
  12. Improves Concentration
  13. Increases Range of Motion
  14. Dissolves Ego
  15. Develops Compassion
  16. Enhances Energy
  17. Heals Ailments
  18. Fosters Joy
  19. Lowers Weight
  20. Lubricates Joints
  21. Detoxes the Body
    yoga man
  22. Strengthens Abdomen
  23. Improves Memory
  24. Delays Wrinkles and Aging
  25. Burns Fat
  26. Improves Posture
  27. Improves Metabolism
  28. Builds Immune System
  29. Improves Balance
  30. Brings Harmony

Have you tried yoga? If so, how has it helped YOU?  Best wishes for a yoga-riffic day!!

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References
Bower JE, Woolery A, Sternlieb B, et al. Yoga for cancer patients and survivors. Cancer Control. 2005;12(3):165–171.

Innes, KE, Vincent HK, The Influence of Yoga-Based Programs on Risk Profiles in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., Dec 2007; 4(4): 469–486.
Jain SC, Talukdar B. Bronchial asthma and Yoga. Singapore Med J 1993;34:306-308

Janakiramaiah N. , Gangadhar B.N. , Naga Venkatesha Murthy P.J. , Harish M.G., Subbakrishna, D.K., Vedamurthachar A.  Antidepressant efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in melancholia: a randomized comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and imipramine Volume 57, Issue 1 , Pages 255-259, January 2000

Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Christian L, Preston H, et al. Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2010;72(2):113–121.

Monro R, Power J, Coumar A, Nagarathna R, Dandona P. Original research yoga therapy for NIDDM; A controlled trial. Complem Med J 1992;6:66-68.

Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Yoga for bronchial asthma; A controlled study. Br Med J 1985;291:1077-1079.

Ramesh L. Bijlani, Rama P. Vempati, Raj K. Yadav, Rooma Basu Ray, Vani Gupta, Ratna Sharma, Nalin Mehta, and Sushil C. Mahapatra.  A Brief but Comprehensive Lifestyle Education Program Based on Yoga Reduces Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Mellitus The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. April 2005, 11(2): 267-274. doi:10.1089/acm.2005.11.267.

Raub, JA. Psychophysiologic effects of hatha yoga on musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary function: a literature review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2002;8(6):797–812.

Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Wellman RD, et al. A randomized trial comparing yoga, stretching, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2011;171(22):2019–2026.

Telles S, Naveen K V. Yoga for rehabilitation : An overview, Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, No. 19, K.G. Nagar, Bangalore-560 019., India,  Indian J Med Sci 1997;51:123-7Monro R, Power J, Coumar A, Nagarathna R, Dandona P. Original research yoga therapy for NIDDM; A controlled trial. Complem Med J 1992;6:66-68.

Tilbrook HE, Cox H, Hewitt CE, et al. Yoga for chronic low back pain: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2011;155(9):569–578.

Uebelacker LA, Epstein-Lubow G, Gaudiano BA, et al. Hatha yoga for depression: a critical review of the evidence for efficacy, plausible mechanisms of action, and directions for future research. Journal of Psychiatric Practice. 2010; 16(1):22–33.

Uma K, Nagendra HR, Nagarathna R., Vaidehi S, and Seethalakshmi R., The integrated approach of yoga: a therapeutic tool for mentally retarded children: a one-year controlled study, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Vol 33, Issue 5, 28 JUN 2008, DOI: 10.1111/ j.1365-2788.1989.tb01496


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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer:
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Sciatica Pain – What is It? How Can it be Prevented and Treated?

Back Pain WomanWhat are the symptoms of sciatica? Why does a pain in your back affect your leg and foot?

What are sciatica symptoms?
Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Sciatica can sometimes be misdiagnosed.  Sometimes people experience numbness or weakness.  Sometimes it is a tingling sensation. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also travel down to the foot or toes. Some of the symptoms are:

  • one-sided pain
  • weakness or numbness of the thigh and leg
  • tingling sensations
  • pain, tingling or weakness of the foot or toes
  • lower back sharp pain when bending
  • continuous or intermittent pain
  • disabling pain

For some people, the pain or weakness from ssciatic nerveciatica can be continuous, quite severe and disabling. For others, the sciatica pain might be infrequent and irritating, but it is possible that it may get worse over time.  The severity of the symptoms depends on the cause of the sciatica.

What causes sciatica?
Sciatica is often a result of a lumbar disc herniation.   However, any inflammation of the sciatic nerve can result in sciatica pain symptoms, such as radiculopathy.  Causes of sciatica include:

  1. a pinched nerve from a disc
  2. irritation of the nerve from adjacent bones
  3. muscle inflammation
  4. internal bleeding, infections
  5. tumors
  6. injury
  7. and other causes.

 

Sciatica Pain CausesSometimes sciatica  occurs because of compression on the nerve during pregnancy. Sciatica pain can also be caused from long-term carrying of an oversized wallet on one side of the hip. This would cause compression upon the nerve and result in sciatica pain.

 

A herniated disk, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, or other abnormalities of vertebrae can all cause pressure on the sciatic nerve.   Sciatica pain may also result from the piriformis muscle located deep in the buttocks, pinching the sciatic nerve. This is known as piriformis syndrome and usually develops after an injury or overuse. It can be difficult to diagnose.

Sciatica Piriformis SyndromePiriformis syndrome has been estimated to cause 6% of sciatica, but recent studies show that it is most likely more common. This is due to electrodiagnostic and imaging techniques. It has been underdiagnosed and undertreated.

A person with piriformis syndrome typically complains of sciatic pain, tenderness in the buttock, and more difficulty sitting than standing. The pain usually occurs from overuse or muscle strain such as overworking at a health club, athletics, heavy work, running, high-performance athletics such as tennis, fencing, pole-vaulting, or sitting for hours at a time, and physical trauma or accident.


How is sciatica treated?
Sciatica can be treated by the following methods:

  1. physical therapy
  2. ice pack
  3. elevation
  4. surgery for treatment of a herniated disc
  5. acupuncture
  6. massage
  7. yoga
  8. chiropractic adjustments
  9. pain medications

 

Many people choose to use drugs or injections to help manage severe pain.  Others have found that meditation, alternative therapies, and change of lifestyle are effective.  Always check with your trusted doctor or health care practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or exercise program for sciatic. However, the following exercises might be used to treat back pain or sciatica.

Sciatica Back Pain Exercises

Yoga as been more successful than most other alternative therapies in helping those with back pain.  According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, entitled, “Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Trial 313 adults with chronic or recurrent low back pain were studied.  93 (60%) patients offered yoga attended at least 3 of the first 6 sessions and at least 3 other sessions. The yoga group had better back function at 3, 6, and 12 months than the usual care group.  Researchers concluded that “Offering a 12-week yoga program to adults with chronic or recurrent low back pain led to greater improvements in back function than did usual care.”

Yoga Class SitIn a similar study also published by the Annals of Internal Medicine, 101 adults with low back pain were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group attended yoga classes and lessons; the second engaged in aerobics, weight training, and stretching; the third group read a self-help book about back pain.  After 12 weeks, those who took yoga could better perform daily activities requiring the back than those in the other two groups.  After 26 weeks, those who took yoga had less pain and better back function, and used fewer pain relievers than those in the other two groups.

In a study by L.M. Fishman entitled, “Yoga for Osteoporosis – A Pilot Study,” published in the 2009, Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, yoga practitioners working with 19 osteoporosis patients with an average age of 68, gained 0.76 and 0.93 points for spine and hips, respectively, on the T-scale when compared with controls (P =.01). Five patients with osteopenia were reclassified as normal; 2 patients with osteoporosis are now osteopenic. There were no injuries. Fishman concluded that yoga appears to be an effective way to build bone mineral density after menopause and that the study supported the hypothesis that practicing yoga for as little as 8 to 10 minutes daily will raise T-scale ranking in older patients.

More research is needed to determine whether these alternative therapies are helpful for sciatica pain.  Check with your trusted doctor or health care provider before started a new regimen.

Resources
L.M. Fishman,  “Yoga for Osteoporosis – A Pilot Study,” Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 244–250, 2009

Helen E. Tilbrook, BSc, MSc; Helen Cox, and others, “Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Trial” Annals of Internal Medicine, 1 November 2011, Vol 155, No. 9

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

What is Subluxation? How does it affect the body?

Vertebral Subluxation

Vertebral Subluxation

What Causes Vertebral Subluxation? What are the most effective treatments?

Vertebral subluxation is a condition of the spinal column. Chiropractors and Medical doctors have differing definitions of subluxation. Medical doctors refer to “significant structural displacements” as subluxations, whereas chiropractors suggest that any disfunctional displacement of the spinal column should be referred to as a subluxation, whether or not it is “significant.” 

Spinal NerveSimply stated, vertebral subluxation occurs when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. The nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine are referred to as spinal nerves. The pressure on the nerves can cause the nerves to malfunction and might interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.

The World Health Organization, WHO, definines chiropractic vertebral subluxation as:

“A lesion or dysfunction in a joint or motion segment in which alignment, movement integrity and/or physiological function are altered, although contact between joint surfaces remains intact. It is essentially a functional entity, which may influence biomechanical and neural integrity.”

Spinal or vertebral subluxation has been controversial since 1895 when the phrase was first introduced.  Some chiropractors claim that subluxation affects many other systems of the body (physical, mental, emotional) and has dramatic effects on health and disease. However, others in the chiropractic profession reject this concept and do not use subluxation as a diagnositc tool.  Nonallopathic lesion is a phrase that has been commonly used in the United States and Canada instead of subluxation as a diagnosis.

What Areas of the Body are Affected with Vertebral Subluxation?

Vertebral Subluxation

Chart showing the corresponding body parts and organs effected by vertebral subluxation and possible symptoms (eg, croup, diarrhea, bladder problems, bronchitis, migraines, constipation, etc.)

According to Chiropractors who agree with the dramatic effects of subluxation on the body, multiple symptoms can occur as a result of the pressure placed on the spinal nerves.

For example, some chiropractors profess that subluxation pressure on the nerves in the cervical spine can result in headaches, migraines, allergies, head colds, arm pain, hand and finger numbness, vision problems, stiff neck and others.  For some it is believed that subluxation pressure on the thoracic vertebrae spinal nerves can result in middle back pain, difficulty breathing, asthma, liver conditions, stomach problems, gastritis, and other syndromes. Subluxation of the lumbar vertebrae, is thought by some to result in constipation, diarrhea, gas pain, menstrual problems, and pain or numbness in the legs, for example.

 

Spine Xray

Chiropractors use Xrays and spinal manipulation to correct spinal subluxations

What Do Chiropractors Claim to Do to Help Remedy Subluxation?
Chiropractors try to locate subluxations and reduce or correct them. They generally use X-rays to determine and make a diagnosis. The physical exam typically includes a variety of assessments, such as range of motion tests, palpation, reflex testing, muscle strength comparisons, and neurological and orthopedic tests focused on your complaint or goal.

Cervical Spine AdjustmentTreatment is generally done through a series of chiropractic adjustments specifically designed to correct the vertebral subluxations in your spine.  The chiropractic adjustment is a therapeutic manipulation that uses controlled force, leverage, direction, amplitude, and velocity directed at specific joints. With subluxation, the goal is to free the pressure that is placed upon the spinal nerve by moving the displaced bone, to bring the vertebrae into normal alignment.

 

Are Vertebral Subluxation Charts an Effective Diagnostic and Prescriptive Tool?
Research studies show chiropractic treatment can sometimes be a statistically significant method of treatment for relieving musculoskeletal pain, although more studies are needed. A 2004 Cochrane review by Bronfort and others found evidence that suggests spinal manipulation may be effective for migraine, tension headache and cervicogenic headaches.  Other similar studies found chiropractic care to be helpful in lower back pain and neck and shoulder pain, directly related to spinal or postural misalignment.

chiropractic subluxation

There is a controversy over the accuracy of subluxation theory and the use of charts as a diagnostic tool.

Although studies exist to show chiropractic treatment effective in relieving pain, at this time, there is no significant evidence to support the effectiveness of  subluxation theory as a diagnostic tool, and no evidence that using spinal manipulation and vertebral alignment is an effective treatment for other non-musculoskeletal syndromes or illnesses (such as cough, diarrhea, constipation, allergies, etc). Multiple studies show that using subluxation to cure illness or disease is not successful at a statistically significant level. Mirtz, and other researchers (2009) in a study entitled, “An epidemiological examination of the subluxation construct using Hill’s criteria of causation,” concluded:

“There is a significant lack of evidence to fulfill the basic criteria of causation. This lack of crucial supportive epidemiologic evidence prohibits the accurate promulgation of the chiropractic subluxation.”

chiropractic adjustmentAccording to Professor Philip S. Bolton of the School of Biomedical Sciences at University of Newcastle, Australia in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,

“The traditional chiropractic vertebral subluxation hypothesis proposes that vertebral misalignment cause illness, disease, or both. This hypothesis remains controversial…. Animal models suggest that vertebral displacements and putative vertebral subluxations may modulate activity in group I to IV afferent nerves. However, it is not clear whether these afferent nerves are modulated during normal day-to-day activities of living and, if so, what segmental or whole-body reflex effects they may have.”


Keating and others (2005) concluded,

“The dogma of subluxation is perhaps the greatest single barrier to professional development for chiropractors. It skews the practice of the art in directions that bring ridicule from the scientific community and uncertainty among the public. Failure to challenge subluxation dogma perpetuates a marketing tradition that inevitably prompts charges of quackery. Subluxation dogma leads to legal and political strategies that may amount to a house of cards and warp the profession’s sense of self and of mission. Commitment to this dogma undermines the motivation for scientific investigation of subluxation as hypothesis, and so perpetuates the cycle.”

 

Conclusion and Summary
Vertebral subluxation or a nonallopathic lesion is a condition where one or more bones of the spine are out of alignment and are putting pressure on the spinal nerves.  This can be treated by spinal manipulation, physical therapy, or even surgery.  Traditional subluxation theory professes that subluxation can create other illnesses. chiropractic neckAlthough traditional chiropractic vertebral subluxation theory is popular, whether or not vertebral misalignment causes illness, disease, or both, in other areas of the body and whether chiropractic vertebral adjustment can eliminate this disease or condition, still remains uncertain, and not yet statistically significant and proven by scientific data.  It may very well be true, but currently there is no evidence to support traditional chiropractic subluxation theory.  However, a limited number of studies on chiropractic spinal manipulation have proven chiropractic treatment to be a  significant and cost-effective treatment for many cases of lower back pain, neck pain, migraines, tension headache and cervicogenic headaches. These studies were limited, however, and more studies are needed.

References
Bolton P (2000). “Reflex effects of vertebral subluxations: the peripheral nervous system. An update”. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 23 (2): 101–3. 

Bronfort G, Nilsson N, Haas M, et al. (2004). “Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache”. In Brønfort, Gert. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3): CD001878.

Brown R. President, British Chiropractic Association. BCA Statement on Vertebral Subluxation Complex. May 24, 2010. General Chiropractic Council Guidance on Claims Made for the Chiropractic Vertebral Subluxation Complex.

Hart, J, Reduction of Resting Pulse Rate Following Chiropractic Adjustment of Atlas Subluxation,  Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, March 3, 2014, pages 16-21.

Keating JC Jr, Charlton KH, Grod JP, Perle SM, Sikorski D, Winterstein JF (2005). “Subluxation: dogma or science?”. Chiropr Osteopat 13 (1): 17.

Gatterman, M. “The vertebral subluxation syndrome: is a rose by another name less thorny? The Journal of the CCA/Volume 36, No. 2/June, 1992, pages 102-104

Gatterman, M.,  One Step Further: The Vertebral Subluxation Syndrome. Dynamic Chiropractic, March 27, 1992, Volume 10, Issue 07.

Mirtz TA, Morgan L, Wyatt LH, Greene L. An epidemiological examination of the subluxation construct using Hill’s criteria of causation. Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 2009;17:13.

Zielinski E, & Blume N,  An Epidemiological Approach to the Effects Subluxation-Based Chiropractic Care Has on Managing CVD Risk Factors: A Case Study and Review of the Literature,  Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, November 4, 2013, pages 77- 99


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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer:  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

 

Massage Therapy – Healing Hands

Massage Therapy

Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen. ~Shakti Gawain

WHAT IS MASSAGE THERAPY?
What are the different types of massage therapy? How is it beneficial? Massage therapy is a very popular and effective therapeutic treatment. There are probably more than 100 types of massage therapy. Swedish massage is one of the most commonly practiced types of massage in the United States.

Massage therapists use several different techniques including long, smooth strokes, kneading and other movements to stimulate. increase circulation, soothe, or relax superficial layers of muscle. Sometimes massage oil or lotion is used.

Locations for MassageHOW POPULAR IS MASSAGE THERAPY? According to the most recent American Massage Therapy Association survey, roughly 38 million adult Americans (18 percent) had a therapeutic massage at least once a year. More than half of adult Americans (59 percent) would like to see their insurance cover massage therapy.

The average income for a massage therapist living in the United States is about $21,000 per year.  More than 50% of all massage therapists, earn a living doing another job, as well.  An average of 31 percent of adult Americans received a massage in the previous five years.

Massage TherapistWHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY?
So why do people use massage therapy and what are the benefits?  Massage therapy can be beneficial in a number of different ways:

  • soothe achy joints
  • relieve depression
  • remove stress
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce level of stress hormone cortisol
  • boost neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine
  • reduce inflammation
  • improve sleep
  • increase disease-fighting white blood cells
  • reduce PMS symptoms, like bloating and mood swings
  • increase mental alertness
  • increase blood flow to improve complexion and skin
  • encourage lymphatic drainage
  • bring relief to chronic illness sufferers

and more.

WHEN SHOULD YOU NOT USE MASSAGE THERAPY? 

Massage and Medications

Massage therapy is not for everyone. Particular medications can affect the impact of massage therapy manipulations, as outlined above. Massage therapy is not recommended in the following situations

  • If you have an infectious skin disease or rash, massage therapy should not be allowed.
  • If you have an open wound, do not allow massage therapy near the wound.
  • If you have a torn muscle, with swelling and bruising, you should check with your doctor and wait for the area to heal.
  • If you are prone to blood clots, check with your doctor.
  • If you have heart disease you should check with your doctor before having a massage.
  • If you have recently had chemotherapy or radiation, check with your doctor before having a massage.
  • If the area is inflamed, do not allow massage to be done directly on top of the area of inflammation.
  • If you have tumors, you should not have massage done directly on top of the tumors.
  • If you have abdominal hernia, do not massage the hernia.
  • If you have fractures or broken bones, do not masssage directly over the area.
  • If you are pregnant, massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage should be used, after checking with your doctor.
  • It’s best not to eat a full meal just prior to massage therapy.

WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR TYPES OF MASSAGE THERAPY?
There are probably more than one hundred different types of massage therapy available.  Here are a few of the more popular types of massage.

  1. Swedish Massage Therapy
    a. Effleurage
    b. Petrissage
    c. Friction
    d. Vibration
    e. Percussion
    f. Passive and active
  2. Thai Massage
  3. Aromatherapy Massage
  4. Deep Tissue Massage
  5. Shiatsu
  6. Pregnancy or Prenatal Massage
  7. Hot Stone Massage
  8. Reflexology
  9. Sports Massage
  10. Back Massage
  11. Trigger Point Therapy
  12. Cranial Sacral Therapy
  13. Geriatric Massage
  14. Chair Massage
  15. Neuromuscular Therapy Massage
  16. Active Release Technique Massage
  17. Bowen Technique
  18. Acupressure
  19. Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage
  20. Lymphatic Massage
  21. Ayurvedic Massage
  22. Raindrop Therapy Massage
  23. Polarity Therapy Massage
  24. Breast Massage
  25. Rolfing Massage
  26. Feldenkrais Massage
  27. Aquatic Massage

For more information about massage therapy, visit the following websites.

Resources
The American Massage Therapy Association 
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)
The National Association of Massage Therapists
The Massage Therapy Foundation

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
 Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 Disclaimer:The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic CustomersWHAT IS CHIROPRACTIC? According to the General Chiropractic Council, chiropractic is “a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.”

WHAT HAPPENS IN A CHIROPRACTIC SESSION?
Typically the chiropractor will ask about your symptoms, your general health and previous health challenges or symptoms.  He or she will give you an examination and examine your spine and posture.  The chiropractor will try to determine your source of discomfort or pain, and might choose to x-ray your spine.  The initial assessment is typically 45 minutes to 60 minutes.   The chiropractor will most likely describe a plan of treatment for you and may give you a spinal adjustment. If you are asked to undress you should be offered a gown.

Cervical spine adjustmentThe chiropractor uses a variety of manual techniques with the main technique being spinal manipulation. He or she might manipulate, muscles, bones, and joints around the spine. Usually this is not painful but there many be some discomfort around the joint. If you have significant discomfort, tell your doctor immediately.  You may hear loud sounds during manual manipulation. This is a normal part of manual manipulation.

 

WHAT IS THE THEORY AND HISTORY OF CHIROPRACTIC CARE?
Spinal SubluxationChiropractic was founded in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer.  D.D. Palmer was a grocer, a magnetic healer and was interested in phrenology (diagnosing disease based on the bumps of the skull) and spiritualism. It is believed that Palmer discovered the principle of chiropractic when he allegedly cured a janitor of his deafness by manipulating his cervical spine (the neck). However, this may or may not be true since the hearing mechanism is not connected to the nerve passageways in the neck.

The term “chiropractic,” is translated to mean “done by hand” and was created by Palmer.  Palmer created the subluxation theory based on the principle that all disease is caused by subluxated bones, which 95% of the time are spinal bones, and which disrupt the flow of energy to the various areas of the body.  Palmer didn’t not base any of his ideas on research, but rather went directly to treating patients and to creating a school for training chiropractors in his methods.

 

The Benefits of Chiropractic

The benefits of Chiropractic care.

HOW DOES CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT HELP?
Chiropractic treatment has been very helpful to people all around the world for the management and relief of a variety of problems such as:

  • Back and Neck conditions
  • Leg Pain
  • Knee, foot and ankle pain
  • Shoulder and elbow pain
  • Arm and wrist pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep disorders
  • Repetitive Stress Disorders
  • Stress and Tension Disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • and other Chronic Injuries

HOW EFFECTIVE IS CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT
Research studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of  of Chiropractic treatment for migraine headaches, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders and other disorders. Patient satisfaction surveys and research studies have been conducted to determine customer satisfaction on the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment.   Chiropractic care has a high success rate among patient satisfaction, and show that 90% of patients feel that their treatment has been effective. Chiropractic Effectiveness

Have you had success with chiropractic treatment? Are you a chiropractic doctor?  Maybe there is something that is not on the list that you would like to add.  Feel free to share your experiences.

ORGANIZATIONS
American Chiropractic Association
California Chiropractic Association
National Chiropractic Association
International Chiropractors Association

 

REFERENCES
Kaptchuk TJ, Eisenberg DM (November 1998). “Chiropractic: origins, controversies, and contributions”. Arch. Intern. Med. 158 (20): 2215–24.
A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB (April 2011). “Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review”. J Headache Pain 12 (2): 127–33.

Ernst E (2011). “Chiropractic treatment for gastrointestinal problems: A systematic review of clinical trials”. Can J Gastroenterol 25 (1): 39–49.

Schneider M, Vernon H, Ko G, Lawson G, Perera J (2009). “Chiropractic management of fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review of the literature”. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 32 (1): 25–40. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.08.012

Cherkin D (November 1989). “AMA policy on chiropractic”. Am J Public Health 79 (11): 1569–70.

Smith M, Carber LA (2008). “Survey of US Chiropractor Attitudes and Behaviors about Subluxation”. Journal of Chiropractic Humanities 15: 19–26.
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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.