Displaying items by tag: pain management

Thursday, 08 March 2018 07:02

The Benefits Of Acupuncture: A Complete Guide

The idea of needles tends to make people shy away from acupuncture as a form of therapy. Contrary to popular belief, acupuncture is a relatively painless treatment that can be used for a variety of different ailments. Relief from everything from allergies to chronic pain to emotional disorders is among the many benefits of acupuncture.

A Versatile Treatment

Acupuncture can be used in the treatment for a wide variety of ailments, making it one of the most versatile forms of therapy. Physical issues like back and neck pain, knee pain, muscle spasms, headaches, and arthritis can benefit from targeted acupuncture treatment. The benefits of acupuncture can also be felt in the treatment of other immune-related problems, such as allergies and digestive issues. Those with sleep or emotional disorders can also benefit from acupuncture. The ability to treat so many different kinds of problems makes acupuncture a unique form of therapy to be incorporated into any regular care regimen.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is a technique that stimulates specific channels in the body to “balance the flow of energy or life force.” It is believed that a flow called “chi” is the difference between the sick and the healthy and the imbalance of chi is when illness, pain, and other disorders can occur.

There are a variety of techniques that stimulate the benefits of acupuncture. The most common technique uses thin, metal needles that puncture the skin in one of the hundreds of acupoints throughout the body. Depending on the needs of the patient, ten to twenty needles will be inserted across a specific meridian in the body.

This targeted stimulation of specific channels helps balance the chi within the body, which in turn can relieve pain, illness, and other disorders. Learn more about the history and application of acupuncture.

Did You Say Needles...

The idea of needles can make many people squeamish, which is often why acupuncture is not already a part of their regular care routine. The technique uses specialized needles that are small enough to fit inside of a standard needle that may be used for a shot or to draw blood. This means that patients can reap the benefits of acupuncture in a relatively pain-free setting.

What To Expect At An Acupuncture Appointment

When you go to see an acupuncturist, it is much like any other health appointment. The specialist will speak with you to get a sense of any problems you are experiencing and the goals you hope to reach. A physical exam will follow so the acupuncturist can determine if there are any vital organs that are contributing to a chi imbalance. From there, the acupuncturist will place small, single-use needle along specific meridians and continuously examine for energy flow. The needles will remain along the meridians for a short period of time, after which they will be removed and you can go about your day. It is recommended that you drink plenty of water following an acupuncture appointment to assist the detoxifying process.

Experience The Benefits Of Acupuncture In Denver

The research on the benefits of acupuncture is ongoing, but it is an established form of therapy for many ailments from chronic pain to sleep and emotional disorders. Working with an experienced acupuncturist has been shown to provide lasting relief.

If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of acupuncture to relieve your chronic pain or illness, contact Dr. Funk at Ideal Health today for a consultation.

Published in Acupuncture
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 06:53

Is Your Pillow Causing You Back Pain?

There can be many causes for back pain ranging from an automobile accident to a sports injury to genetics. One household item you may not consider could be a major player in keeping your back pain free - your pillow.

You hear all the time that getting 8 hours of sleep is important to your overall health, but what often gets left out is that you need 8 hours of good sleep for it to truly benefit you. Not only does getting enough sleep every night refresh your body, helping you be focused and productive the next day but it also helps support your immune system. Alternatively, not getting enough quality sleep is linked to increased inflammation in the body which can exacerbate existing causes of pain. So, how does your pillow play into this?

When you are sleeping, regardless of the position, the goal is to have your spine in a neutral position. This contributes to deeper, more restful sleep. If your pillow is not the right size or shape, you may find yourself sleeping in a position that is causing you aches and pains, not only during the day but throughout the night, too.

If you experience neck pain or stiffness during the day or are waking up from it during the night, your pillow may be the culprit. The wrong pillow can also cause back and shoulder pain as well.

Finding The Right Pillow

Back Sleepers

When you sleep on your back, it is very easy to have a pillow that is too big, causing your neck to strain forward. On the other hand, it is also easy to select a pillow that is too soft and does not provide enough support, so your neck strains backward.

The ideal pillow for back sleepers is one that has a medium firmness and retains the natural curve of your spine. This allows the muscles in your neck to stay relaxed throughout the night. Additionally, in order to relieve some of the strain in your lower back, a small pillow that slides under your knees at a relaxed, natural bend is a good idea. This alleviates some of the pressure that is put on your lower back when you are lying flat.

Side Sleepers

People who prefer to sleep on their sides will likely have more difficulty retaining alignment throughout the night, so the right pillow is all the more important for preventing back pain. When you sleep on your side in the correct position, it can actually reduce a significant amount of strain on your neck and back.

The ideal pillow for side sleepers will be larger and firm than that for people who sleep on their back. You need something big enough to bridge the gap between your shoulder and ear while on your side to retain a neutral alignment.

Keeping the pressure off your lower back and hips when sleeping on your side is another issue. Pulling your knees up towards your stomach is actually great for relieving pressure on your lower back, but we often find that those who prefer to sleep on their sides tend to slide into unnatural positions in an effort to relieve pressure. Reducing back pain for side sleepers can be as simple as adding an additional pillow between the legs to keep the hips aligned - whether that be a specialty pillow designed specifically for that purpose or a body pillow that keeps a more restless sleeper in place, this is a great option for reducing neck and back pain and getting a great night’s sleep.

Stomach Sleepers

Sleeping on your stomach offers the least amount of support for your lower back. Additionally, a traditional sized pillow is often too large and forces the neck to strain backward when sleeping on your stomach.

The ideal pillow for stomach sleepers is sometimes no pillow at all. If you do prefer a pillow, we recommend a thin pillow that is softer in firmness so that you can minimize the strain that is put on your neck. You may also want to consider an additional thin pillow to place underneath your hips and offer your lower body some support.

No matter which position you prefer to sleep in, it is important to have the right pillow. With these tips, you will find yourself getting a better night’s sleep and experience less back and neck pain. If you're interested in improving your sleep cycle, contact Ideal Health Chiropractic today to learn more.

Published in Back Pain
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 07:51

Pain Management Options Are Expanding

Over the last fifteen years, we have seen a dramatic increase in opioid overdose deaths. In the United States, 91 people die every day of opioid overdose. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control shows that nearly 50 percent of those deaths are caused by the abuse of prescription opioids. For a long time, opioids have been considered as the best pain management option out there. But, those options are expanding.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drug that is used to treat moderate to severe pain and can be prescribed to a patient by a doctor. In recent years, opioid use has become a more commonly accepted way to treat chronic pain that is unrelated to cancer or other diseases. Between 1999 and 2015, a number of opiates dispensed quadrupled. Alarmingly, the reports of pain over the same period of time have stayed relatively constant. This lends itself to what the CDC is calling an epidemic in opioid use for pain management.

One of the many problems with relying on opioids for pain management is that the treatment is highly addictive. One of the key side effects that make them so addictive is a patient can develop a tolerance to the medication, so it requires more of the opioid to get the same pain relief. Additionally, a patient can quickly develop a physical dependence that will cause them to experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not taking the opioid.

The Joint Commission

These side effects and the addictive qualities of opioids make them a less than ideal go-to solution for pain management. As the usage increases and the aftermath become more deadly, the Joint Commission is stepping in and developing updated regulations for pain assessment and management.

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that is responsible for the accreditation and certification of health care organizations and programs. This accreditation and certification are recognized as a symbol of high-quality health care.

New Regulations for Pain Management

In July of this year, the Joint Commission released their official newsletter that included their enhanced requirements for pain assessment and management that accredited hospitals have to adhere to. These new standards will go into effect on January 1st, 2018.

After a full year of research and a standards review panel of experts, the new standards were released for comment in January of 2017 and included the following:

  1. Selection of a leadership team responsible specifically for pain management and safe opioid prescription practices.
  2. Including the patient in the development of their pain management plan.
  3. Setting reasonable and measurable goals for their plan.
  4. Maintaining and promoting safe opioid use through the identification and monitoring of potentially high-risk patients.
  5. Facilitating clinician access to prescription drug monitoring program databases.
  6. Conducting performance improvement activities focused on pain assessment and management for the purposes of increased safety and quality.

The overall goal of these new regulations is to encourage medical professionals and patients to look outside of quick fixes like opioids for pain management.

A New Take On Pain Management

With hospitals now being required to include non-pharmacologic treatments in plans to manage pain, more homeopathic options come to the forefront. Hospitals across the nation will now be partnering with and referring patients to chiropractors to provide their patients with a more complete management plan for their pains.

The priority of managing pain is being helping a person feel 100% again. Chiropractic serves as a long-term remedy for patients struggling with pain and will support the mission of decreasing opioid dependence and overdose.

Published in Pain Management
Tuesday, 25 July 2017 07:43

Spinal Adjustment: Can It Help Back Pain?

Did you know that at any given time, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain? In fact, low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide according to Global Burden Disease 2010. Furthermore, as asserted by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), back pain is the most common reason for missed work and the second most common reason for doctor office visits. Some estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience some sort of back problem at one point or another in their lives. You may be one of the millions who suffer from back pain, and you may be wondering if a spinal adjustment can help you.

What Causes Back Pain?

The back is an extraordinarily complicated and amazing structure made up of bones and muscles. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of back pain cases are not caused by serious conditions such as infection, fracture or arthritis. Many cases are mechanical in nature. For instance, the simplest of movements, like bending over for a ball at the park, and even poor posture can have painful results. In addition, we have all heard about injuries or accidents resulting in back pain, but conditions such as obesity and even the stress of everyday life can further complicate back pain.

Spinal Adjustment for Back Pain

Spinal adjustment/manipulation or chiropractic adjustment is a safe and effective spine pain treatment. Moreover, this treatment is non-invasive, drugless and in some cases an alternative to surgery. Some benefits of spinal adjustment range from temporary pain relief, to long term wellness and preventative care. As defined by the International Chiropractor’s Association (ICA), spinal adjustment is the specific thrust applied to the spine, or vertebra, using the spine itself and other parts of the body as levers to correct any malposition.

Who practices Spinal Adjustment?

Spinal adjustment is part of the larger health care profession known as chiropractic, which as a whole focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) are trained to deal with not only back pain but also neck pain, joint pain, and headaches. Additionally, DCs are trained to provide and recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercise as well as nutritional and lifestyle counseling. Rest assured, DCs are trained and licensed professionals that go through extensive undergraduate studies and years of graduate-level work and train extensively at accredited chiropractic institutions.

Spinal adjustment is a well-known therapeutic procedure. If you seek to restore your mobility, alleviate your pain and muscle tightness call or book an appointment with Ideal Health Chiropractic today!

Published in Spinal Adjustment

In a world where many of us are constantly slumped over our desks on our computers or on our cell phones, we’re likely not thinking about our posture. But regardless of how much thought we put into it, having good posture is incredibly important for everyday health. You might not feel any immediate negative effects after sitting with poor posture for a couple of hours, but over time, the stress that poor posture puts on your spine can lead to long-lasting consequences for your spine. The constriction of nerves and blood vessels can then lead to back pain, such as muscle, joint, and disc troubles.

Additionally, the wear-and-tear associated with poor posture can lead to pain as your body tries to fight against spinal imbalances while staying as vertical as possible, says Ben Fidler, a personal trainer based in Washington D.C. During an interview with the Washington Post Fidler explained, “Bad posture wears down the body faster than it should.” If your head is forward, Fidler explains, muscles in the back of your neck are elongated while muscles in the front are contracted. This means that muscles, tendons, and other tissues are not working as efficiently as they could be.

One of the major differences between top athletes and the rest of us has to do with the efficiency it takes to move. “Top athletes can generate twice the force with the same body,” Fidler says. “They might use half the energy to stand up straight.” So what are the rest of us to do? Here are some suggestions for better posture.

Tips For Better Posture

  • Roll shoulders back and center your head into alignment with your spine.
  • Use your core to support yourself: engage your transverse abdominals and obliques by drawing air in towards your center.
  • When sitting, keep your back flat against your chair with your shoulders tall and your head balanced above your spine.
  • If you’re sitting at a desk, make sure to keep your arms bent at a 75 to 90-degree angle at your elbows.
  • When walking, make sure to look straight ahead and keep your head centered directly above your spine. Keep your shoulders tall and step with your heel first, rolling gently to push off the front of your foot.

Alleviate Your Pain

Do you suffer from poor posture? Or perhaps you just experience a large amount of spinal-related pain and want to alleviate it? Either way, our expert chiropractic staff can improve your posture from a personalized treatment plan. To learn more about how to have good posture and for help with spinal alignment, contact Ideal Health Chiropractic today.

Published in Pain Management
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