To sleep ….. perchance to dream

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Most of us experience occasional difficulty sleeping. Some of us have extended periods of difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. Sleep is an important aspect of a person’s quality of life. At Lenhart Chiropractic, we track our patients’ ability to sleep as part of our course of care. We have been able o work with our patients to assist them in getting a good night sleep.

Using chiropractic methods, we help reduce the pain and stiffness that keeps people awake at night. Using meridian therapy, we can help reduce the chronic muscle tension that prevents people from getting comfortable at night when they want to go to sleep. And with functional medicine, we adjust the patients’ diet to reduce nutritional deficiencies and avoid food sensitivities.

With this w holistic approach, 90% of out patients report significant improvement in their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. This provides a dramatic improvement in their quality of life.

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money
Back pain is an expensive health problem for both patients and businesses. A 2012 study reported that we spend about $635 billion on pain every year, with a significant amount of that spent on back pain. Over the years, quite a few studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective for back pain than medical care, plus chiropractic patients spend less money on their care than medical patients do.

Because back pain is such a common problem, a group of Canadian researchers recently investigated the role that the type of primary caregiver has on financial compensation.

This was a large study of 5,511 patients who experienced a work-related back injury in Ontario, Canada. The patients saw the following providers for their first visit:

85.3% saw a medical doctor
11.4% saw a chiropractor
3.2% saw a physical therapist
The authors set out to “compare the duration of financial compensation for back pain” among patients from each care group.

The study found that chiropractic patients had the shortest amount of time receiving compensation for their pain and also were less likely to have a recurrence.

In addition, chiropractic patients didn’t need to see other healthcare providers for their pain. 75% of chiropractic patients saw no other provider, while 58.6% of physical therapy patients also saw a medical doctor.

The authors conclude:

“The type of healthcare provider first visited for back pain is a determinant of the duration of financial compensation during the first 5 months. Chiropractic patients experience the shortest duration of compensation, and physiotherapy patients experience the longest.”

Blanchette M, Rivard M, Dionne CE, et al. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2016 Sep 17.

Opioid Epidemic

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Opioid Epidemic:

In the wake of the opioid epidemic, many respected health care organizations now recommend non-drug treatments. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its 2016 guidelines for prescribing opioids, notes that nonpharmacologic therapies are preferred in treating chronic pain. In addition, the National Pain Strategy, an initiative by several federal agencies, recognizes chiropractic’s value as a method of pain management. Finally, a study published this past April, found that as chiropractic health care utilization increases, there is a significant decrease in opioid use.

Why your joints ache with weather changes

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Barometric Pressure and Joint Pain

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), an estimated 52.5 million people in the United States have received a diagnosis for some form of arthritis.1

Of these, 27 million were diagnosed with osteoarthritis, which is the most prevalent form of arthritis. The condition is also more prevalent among women than men. Obesity and activity levels are thought to be contributing factors to greater disfuction.1

Weather may be another contributing factor to worsening of osteoarthritis symptoms. This may not be uncommon story for patients’ family members and friends to hear, “My hip is really aching today. It’s probably going to rain, just you wait!” Interestingly, there may actually be some truth to this. There has been some interesting research regarding the possible association between both general joint and osteoarthritis pain symptoms and weather.2-4

Barometric pressure and joint pain

A drop in barometric pressure (or air pressure) is often the first indicator of bad weather to come.2 This means that there is less pressure against the body, so the tissue surrounding the joints can expand. In the case of osteoarthritis, this can lead to increased pain, soreness, and stiffness.2 It may also prove a good explanation as to why Uncle Charlie’s knees act up, even if there is not a cloud in the sky – the barometric pressure will drop before the clouds roll in.
What does the research Say?

A 1995 study in the journal Pain looked at the perceived influence of weather on joint pain in four different cities (San Diego, Nashville, Worcester, Mass., and Boston).3 Local weather maps were compared to pain measurement reports from 558 patients in these cities. Although there was no definitive data supporting a link between regionally colder climates and joint pain, the researchers did find that patients were “fine-tuned” to detect changes in weather within their localized area.2,3 In other words, while patients in Boston were not necessarily more sensitive to weather changes than those in San Diego, patients in each city did notice an increase in joint pain related to their local weather changes. The researchers surmised that this might be due to patients becoming acclimatized to small changes in weather patterns in their cities.2,3

A more recent article, also published in Pain, took the research a step further by specifically looking at osteoarthritis of the hip in relation to weather conditions.4 A total of 188 patients filled out questionnaires assessing function and pain every three months for the two year study. These questionnaires were then matched to local weather patterns.4

The researchers found that pain scores worsened by one point for every 10 percent increase in humidity.4 In other words, a 50 percent rise in humidity corresponded to an increase in pain scores by five points. Furthermore, function scores worsened for every 3/10 decrease in barometric pressure.4

Chiropractic Effective for Tension headache

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

With headaches being one of the most common nervous system disorders worldwide, affecting almost 50 percent of the population at least once annually, finding a way to relieve them is important to when it comes to improving quality of life for a large number of people. Certainly there are several different types of headaches–migraines, cluster headaches, and medication-overuse headaches, for instance–and each one requires a unique approach for treatment.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, tension headaches, also commonly referred to as stress headaches, are headaches which affect anywhere from 30 to 80 percent of sufferers and are signified by their mild-to-moderate in pain that spreads across the entire head in a sort of band. This makes them very different than migraines which are usually felt on one side or the other.

Because tension headaches in particular are so prevalent, researchers have conducted various studies to determine which types of remedies work by offering some relief. One such piece of research was published in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine in February of 2016 and it was designed to determine whether there were any head pain benefits offered by chiropractic adjustments.

Sixty-two women between the ages of 18 and 65 were recruited, all of which suffered with tension-type headaches. Upon acceptance, each was assigned to one of four groups, three of which involved a specific treatment (one was spinal manipulation) and one which served as a control.

Upon conclusion of the study, researchers discovered that, when compared to the control, the individuals who engaged in spinal manipulation “showed improvements in their physical role, bodily pain, and social functioning” at one month post-treatment. In other words, receiving chiropractic care helped improve their quality of life in many fashions beyond just the physical results one might expect. If you suffer from tension headaches, chiropractic can be a natural way to get relief.

Osteoarthritis and Chiropractic Care

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic can be an effective treatment for lumbar spinal pain. A new study describes the previously reported benefits of chiropractic:

“Giles and Muller compared the outcomes of acupuncture, medication, and spinal manipulation on spinal pain syndromes. Only spinal manipulation led to significant improvement. One report states that 73% of the patients who sought pain relief treatment from both a rheumatologist and an alternative form of medicine found chiropractic care to be helpful. It may be reasonably concluded that chiropractic care is a successful treatment for lower back pain.”

No previous study, however, has examined the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis. This current report set out to do just that, by comparing chiropractic treatment to moist heat treatment. Previous studies have shown that application of heat to the affected area is an effective self-management tool for arthritis symptoms.

The authors of this study recruited 252 patients with osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine; subjects were excluded if they were currently receiving chiropractic care, physical therapy, or were using anti-inflammatory medications.

The patients were divided into two groups: the treatment group received 20 chiropractic treatments with 15 minutes of moist heat; the control group received only the moist heat treatments. The subjects were evaluated at 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 weeks for pain levels, activities of daily living , and range of motion.

The study found significant improvements in the patients who were given the chiropractic/moist heat treatments, as illustrated by the following graph that shows average extension of the spine measured at each evaluation point:

Chiropractic helpful for osteoarthritis
Here is a summary of the other findings:

Chiropractic was significantly more effective in reducing pain than moist heat alone, even though both treatments reduced pain to some degree.
The study examined right and left lateral flexion, average flexion, and average extension. “Chiropractic care plus moist heat is more effective than moist heat alone for improving ROM, as measured by these particular tests.”
Chiropractic care was also more effective in improving daily activities, while moist heat alone did not improve activities of daily living.
The authors conclude:

“There are no studies in the literature that evaluate the effectiveness of chiropractic care in the treatment of OA. We found that chiropractic care was significantly better than moist heat alone for the treatment of OA. Although moist heat did improve low back pain, there is a more rapid and greater decline in pain under the treatment condition than with moist heat alone. The chiropractic treatment group also showed a more rapid and greater increase in range and flexion scores. With the exception of standing, sleeping, and sexual activity, chiropractic treatment participants reported a statistically significant improvement in their ADL.”

Beyerman KL, Palmerino MB, Zohn LE, Kane GM, Foster KA. Efficacy of treating low back pain and dysfunction secondary to osteoarthritis: chiropractic care compared with moist heat alone. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2006;29:107-114.
Veitiene D, Tamulaitiene M. Comparison of self-management methods for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 2005;(37)1:58-60.

Chiropractic Best Option for Neck Pain

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

A study from the prestigious medical journal The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that chiropractic is more effective for neck pain than medication.

In the study, 272 patients with acute or subacute neck pain were given one of three treatments: medication, exercise with the advice of a health practitioner, or chiropractic care. After 12 weeks of treatment, patients in the chiropractic and exercise groups experienced the most pain reduction. When compared to the medication group, both exercise and chiropractic had more than doubled the likelihood that participants experienced complete relief of their pain. For chiropractic patients, these benefits lasted for at least a year, demonstrating that chiropractic can provide long-term relief.

The strong success of chiropractic and exercise is likely due to the fact that both treatments address the cause of neck pain, rather than just masking the symptoms. Whether your neck pain is a result of an injury or sitting at a desk for long hours, chiropractic care can restore your normal health free of pain, without the adverse effects of drugs.

Bronfort, Gert, Roni Evans, Alfred Anderson, Kenneth Svendsen, Yiscah Bracha, and Richard Grimm. Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012, January; 156 (1): 1-10.

Insomniacs May Be More Sensitive to Pain

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Tolerance dips based on frequency, severity of sleep disorder, researchers say

Insomniacs May Be More Sensitive to Pain
People with insomnia or poor sleep quality may be less tolerant of pain, new research suggests.

The more frequent and severe the insomnia, the greater the sensitivity to pain, the Norwegian study showed. Additionally, the researchers noted that people with insomnia who also suffer from chronic pain have an even lower threshold for physical discomfort.

It’s important to note, however, that while the study found an association between a lack of quality sleep and increased pain sensitivity, it wasn’t designed to show a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study, led by Borge Sivertsen, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Bergen, involved more than 10,000 adults. The study participants all underwent a standard test of pain sensitivity by dunking their hands in a bath of cold water for 106 seconds.

The volunteers were also asked about their sleep quality. Specifically, they were questioned about insomnia, how long they slept and how long it took them to fall asleep. The researchers also took into account other factors that might affect pain tolerance, such as recurring pain, depression and anxiety.

They found that nearly one-third of participants were able to keep their hand in the cold water for the entire test.

Those with insomnia, however, were more likely to remove their hand from the water early. In fact 42 percent of people with insomnia pulled their hand out before the test ended, compared to 31 percent of those without this sleep disorder, the study published in the journal PAIN revealed.

People with more severe cases of insomnia had greater pain sensitivity, suggesting tolerance of pain drops along with sleep quality. For example, rates of reduced pain tolerance were 52 percent higher for subjects with insomnia that occurred more than once a week compared to those who didn’t have insomnia. Meanwhile, rates of reduced pain tolerance were just 24 percent higher for those who had insomnia once a month, according to the study.

People with insomnia and chronic pain were more than twice as likely to have reduced tolerance to pain, the research revealed.

“While there is clearly a strong relationship between pain and sleep, such that insomnia increases both the likelihood and severity of clinical pain,” Sivertsen and his co-authors wrote, “it is not clear exactly why this is the case.”

The study also suggests that psychological factors may play a role in the associated between poor sleep and pain. Also, more research is needed to investigate how neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, could affect pain and sleep, the researchers said.

Chiropractic is Effective for Headaches

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Effective Treatment of Headache with Chiropractic
If you suffer from chronic headaches, you may be tired of constantly reaching for medications every time the pain begins. Chiropractic care is a safe, powerful alternative with a proven ability to reduce head pain.Headaches are associated with a broad range of causes. Cervicogenic headaches are headaches caused by disorders in the neck. These headaches may affect up to 20% of patients with head pain. Cervicogenic headaches are frequently the result of injury or trauma and present similar symptoms of migraines and tension headaches. However, cervicogenic headaches can also restrict a patient’s range of motion making it particularly debilitating and harmful for a patient’s quality of life.

One study shows how chiropractic adjustments can substantially help patients suffering from cervicogenic headaches. The study compared the effects of chiropractic treatment in comparison to light massage for 80 patients with cervicogenic headaches. The patients who received chiropractic adjustments improved significantly more than patients who received light massages in a number of ways. The chiropractic group experienced a greater reduction in their number headaches and experienced less pain than the group who received light massage. The chiropractic patients also found headaches interfered less with their daily activities and were less disabled by their headaches than before.

Researchers concluded that chiropractic adjustments have a distinct clinical advantage over light massage in treating headaches in terms of number, severity, and disability. This research demonstrates how chiropractic care can create real, lasting benefits for people with chronic headaches.

Haas M, Schneider M, Vavrek D. Illustrating risk difference and number needed to treat from a randomized controlled trial of spinal manipulation for cervicogenic headache. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010; 18:9.

Chiropractic provides quick relief for Disc Degeneration pain

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Chiropractic Provides Quick Recovery in Spinal Degeneration Patients
Spinal degeneration occurs when your discs start to lose some of their fluids, sometimes causing it to leak out through any cracks that are in their outer layer, possibly creating a bulge or rupture in the disc itself. While this can occur normally with wear and tear as you age, other factors can affect its progression as well; namely, doing hard physical labor and smoking. However, it can also begin as a result of an injury, such as slipping and falling or being involved in an auto accident.

The end result is typically pain, and sometimes osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis. As more and more pressure is put on the spinal column, it can also affect other areas of your body as your nerves can become impinged, making treating this issue a necessity for a higher quality of life. Fortunately, one study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has found that chiropractic provides a quick recovery in patients with spinal degeneration—bringing hope to patients who are afflicted with this particular condition.

A group of researchers looked at 40 male participants in the 30 to 40 year age range that had been previously diagnosed with degenerative lumbar disease. They were divided evenly into two separate groups: one of which was the treatment group and one acting as a control group. The treatment group was then subjected to one spinal manipulation technique, whereas the control group received a placebo treatment.

To determine whether the treatment had any effect, researchers measured the subjects’ heights, perceived level of pain in their lower back, their neural mechanosensitivity, and their level of mobility. Some data was collected via manual tests conducted by researchers and some were collected by self-report of the study participant.

Researchers found that the treatment group noticed immediate improvements in “self-perceived pain, spinal mobility in flexion, hip flexion…and subjects’ full height.” Essentially, benefits were gained in every test area, even after just one treatment session.

Researchers further suggested that studies be conducted on women to determine if the same positive effects will be found. In the meantime, this is hopeful information for people suffering with spinal degeneration as relief may be just one chiropractic appointment away.

Vieira-Pellenz F, Oliva-Pascual-Vaca A, Rodriquez-Blanco C, et al. Short-term effect of spinal manipulation on pain perception, spinal mobility, and full height recovery in male subjects with degenerative disk disease: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2014;95:1613-19.