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How to Recover Faster from Low-Back Pain: Stay Active!

Posted on 19 April, 2018 at 0:45 Comments comments (0)

Low back pain patients who remain active are better off than those who are less active.

Researchers evaluated how patients recovered from low back pain in relation to their activity levels. Some patients were advised to “stay active” despite the pain while others were told to adjust their levels of activity based on their pain.Those who remained active ended up recovering more quickly and feeling less depressed. On the other hand, patients who adjusted their activity levels felt more depressed and were less mobile.

Researchers suggest that back pain patients remain active and continue their daily activities when possible. This will likely promote a positive outlook and increase your physical mobility to put you on the path towards recovery. Consult with a doctor in your area to learn more about how you can stay active even with back pain.

Olaya-Contreras, Patricia. Biopsychosocial analyses of acute and chronic pain, especially in the spine: The effect of distress on pain intensity and disability. Institute of Clinical Sciences at the Sahlgrenska Academy University of Gothenburg. 2011.

Opiates Ineffective for Chronic Back or Hip Pain

Posted on 12 April, 2018 at 10:15 Comments comments (0)

A new study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that opioids are not an effective solution for chronic pain.

In this article, researchers from the University of Minnesota studied 240 patients who had chronic back, hip, or knee arthritis pain. Half of the study subjects received opiates; the other half received non-opiate pain medications. Patient progress was evaluated at 3-months, 6-months, 9-months, and one year.

The study found:

There was no difference in pain-related function between the two groups.

At 12 months, the nonopioid patients had less pain than did those who received opiates.

“The opioid group had significantly more medication-related symptoms over 12 months than the nonopioid group”

The study authors write:

“Among patients with chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain, treatment with opioids compared with nonopioid medications did not result in significantly better pain-related function over 12 months. Nonopioid treatment was associated with significantly better pain intensity, but the clinical importance of this finding is unclear.”

Previous research has found that about 20% of patients with musculoskeletal pain are prescribed narcotic pain medications for their symptoms, and another recent study found that 36% of people who overdosed from opiates had their first opioid prescription for back pain.

Another recent study found that chiropractic patients are less likely to use opiates for their pain than are medical patients.

From this research, it seems clear that it’s risky to prescribe opiates for musculoskeletal pain. Chiropractic care is a proven safe and effective approach for both chronic and acute back pain.

Krebs EE, Gravely A, Nugent S, Jensen AC, DeRonne B, Goldsmith ES, Kroenke K, Bair MJ, Noorbaloochi S. Effect of Opioid vs Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients With Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain: The SPACE Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2018 Mar 6;319(9):872-882. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.0899.

Written by: Michael Melton on March 7, 2018

Dark Chocolate: Good for your sweetheart and your heart

Posted on 5 April, 2018 at 14:05 Comments comments (0)

Getting chocolate from a sweetheart could benefit your romance and your heart. A new study suggests that dark chocolate can help prevent heart problems. At an estimated annual cost of $42 a person, dark chocolate could reduce fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events.

Previous research suggested that chocolate can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels but every study has been short-term in scope. To estimate the long-term effects of chocolate consumption, researchers analyzed data from the Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyles study which included 2,013 participants. Using statistical models and risk-prediction algorithms, researchers estimated how daily consumption of dark chocolate would affect patients with metabolic syndrome over 10 years. Under the best case scenario, daily consumption could prevent 70 nonfatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular incidents for every 10,000 people. If patients were only 80% compliant, those numbers dipped to 55 and 10 respectively. Even with these reduced numbers, researchers concluded that eating dark chocolate is a cost-effective preventive measure.

But milk-chocolate lovers be weary: these cardiovascular benefits are only apparent in chocolate containing 60-70% coco or enriched with polyphenols. The coco bean is rich in polyphenols and flavonoids with antihypertensive properties and positive metabolic effects. Flavonoids have also been shown to slow cognitive decline in older adults and prevent stroke.


Zomer E, Own A, Magliano D, et al. The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of dark chocolate consumption as prevention therapy in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease: best case scenario analysis using a Markov model. British Medical Journal 2012; 344:e3657.

Why You Should See a Chiropractor First for Back Pain

Posted on 27 March, 2018 at 9:30 Comments comments (0)

When your lower back hurts, about the only thing you can think of is how to get relief. Depending upon the cause of your pain, sometimes you need a little help speeding up or enhancing the recovery process. Before you go to your primary care physician, physical therapist, or other health professional in search of relief though, you may just want to visit a chiropractor first.

Of course, many people know that chiropractors specialize in treating musculoskeletal issues in an effort to relieve back pain, but one study published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice has found two more compelling reasons to make your first back pain appointment with your chiropractic provider as opposed to another care provider: fewer testing and treatment procedures, as well as lower costs.

This particular piece of research involved 747 patients who were treated for low back pain issues. Each one was assessed based on the first person they sought treatment with, whether it was a primary care physician, a chiropractor, a physiatrist (also known as a rehabilitation physician), or a physical therapist.

What the researchers discovered is that the individuals who first treated with a chiropractor had fewer advanced imaging and surgical visits. Ultimately, this means taking less time out of your already busy day to attend doctor’s visits in an attempt to identify and ease the pain.

It also means lower medical bills as many of these office calls and advanced diagnostic and treatment procedures come with a higher price tag. This leaves more money in your budget to pay your bills and do the things you want to do versus turning all of your hard-earned cash over to insurance companies and medical care providers.

If it’s your back that’s bothering you, go to a chiropractor first. You have a lot to gain when you do.


Fritz JM, Kim J, Dorius J. Importance of the type of provider seen to begin health care for a new episode of low back pain: associations with future utilization and costs. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 2015(Sep 29).

Short Walks Can Reverse Effects of Sitting

Posted on 22 March, 2018 at 11:35 Comments comments (0)

Many of us have jobs that require us to sit at a desk all day, and we’ve all seen the scientific studies that show how dangerous that is for our health. Our bodies evolved to move and stay active, but that’s difficult to do in our modern work environment. How does one balance a sedentary job with maintaining your health?

A new study from researchers at the University of Missouri looked into the effects of sitting and health by studying 11 healthy young men before and after a period of sitting.

The researchers found, not surprisingly, that sitting for long periods reduced the blood flow to the legs. A bit more surprise was the fact that prolonged sitting also reduced blood flow to the arms.

The authors then had the 11 test subjects go for a 10-minute walk, and they found that a short bit of movement was able to reverse the effects of 6 hours of sitting. The exercise didn’t improve the decreased cardiovascular function of the arms, however.

It’s important to remember that the test subjects were young men, so it’s uncertain how well a 10-minute walk would work for older office workers, but the study results are encouraging. The take-away from this study is pretty simple: if you have to work at a desk all day, make sure to take some time throughout the day to get some movement.

Other tips:

More and more manufacturers are selling stand-up desks that have been shown to alleviate the problems associated with sitting for long periods of time.

Make your lunch break an exercise break. Getting some gym time in in the middle of the day can be a fantastic way to energize yourself.

Restaino RM, Holwerda SW, Credeur DP, Fadel PJ, Padilla J. Impact of prolonged sitting on lower and upper limb micro- and macrovascular dilator function. Experimental Physiology 2015;100(7):829-38.

Written by: Michael Melton on September 28, 2015.