We now offer cupping therapy in addition to adjustments, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, thermal modalities, acupuncture, and massage.
The fee for this service is $10 and up depending on how much time is needed for the treatment.While there aren’t many studies on the benefits of cupping, there is some evidence that it helps with pain and increases blood flow. You may remember that we reported that during the Olympics, Michael Phelps received this therapy. We use a safe and effective no-heat vacuum pump. Some mild bruising is to be expected. Diosenis, or Di as you probably know her, one of our licensed massage therapists, administers the cups. Feel free to speak to Dr. M or Di if you have any questions.
New Research about Lower Back Pain
Quick Take: chiropractic or spinal manipulation can indeed help reduce lower back pain.
A new meta-analysis and review of research literature about spinal manipulative therapy, which includes chiropractic adjustments, was reported in JAMA on April 11 of this year and referenced by NPR on the same day.
Culling together data from 26 randomized clinical trials, Dr. Paul Shekelle and his associates found that spinal manipulative therapy offered “statistically significant benefits in both pain and function.” Minor adverse effects were noted in many of the studies, symptoms like headache and muscle stiffness. Yet, this did not diminish the positive findings of reduced pain and increased function.
In fact, Patti Neighmond, on Health News from NPR, reporting on the same study, writes that the improvement in pain from spinal manipulation is equivalent to the improvement patients report receiving from non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen.
One of the researchers, Dr. Richard Deyo, published an editorial along with the meta-analysis that that discussed the significance of combining these studies to further the understanding of spinal manipulation. The studies included practitioners other than chiropractors who also perform spinal manipulation, so it may not be fair to lump them together. Plus, the researchers did not include studies which included sciatica and chronic back pain. However, even with these factored in, the evidence continues to grow that spinal adjustments are safe and effective for acute low back pain.
In addition to this study about spinal manipulation, other researchers have looked at the effects of acupuncture on lower back pain including chronic lower back pain. A study published in 2015 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reviewed twelve studies. The authors found that acupuncture was clinically effective for pain relief and improved function. Some of the studies looked at acupuncture as an additional therapy, and these results were also positive.
This type of research is important as researchers combine the data from many studies. They carefully look at the factors of each and determine what the data points to when examining large numbers of participants. In this way, we get a much better understanding of the issue. Researchers can only do these meta-analyses or system reviews once the number of studies reaches a critical mass which makes it significant.
It could be effectively argued that spinal manipulative therapy and acupuncture are now mainstream.
Doctor Cure Thyself
A few days ago, while drinking my morning coffee, the news anchor on CNN described a new study that reports a higher risk for heart attack for patients who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s) like ibuprofen. The increased risk was shockingly high, 20-50% increase in risk compared to people who do not take NSAID’s. It didn’t matter how much or how long they took the drugs either.
This is not only disturbing to me as a medical professional, but for my own health as well. It’s rare, but it happens; sometimes I succumb and take an ibuprofen for minor aches and pain. Most of the time I try other things first, like an ice pack or stretching exercises. It’s a sort of laziness to grab a pill, isn’t it?
The researchers caution that this is not a proven causation. It’s an association. There may be many other factors involved. If a person’s risk of heart attack is very low, then an increase like these still might not be very significant. Yet, isn’t this enough of a reason to skip it? If the risk of heart attack is associated with ibuprofen, why take that risk?
All I know is that I will stop and think a bit more before I reach for the pill bottle. You might want to hesitate a bit too, especially considering the earlier mentioned research that demonstrates spinal manipulative therapy gives the same level of pain relief that a dose of an NSAID delivers.
*Doctor’s note: You may have noticed that the office is busier in the last year or so. So many of you have given us positive reviews and referrals, and for that we thank you once again. It’s an exciting time, and we have been working on adapting to our new patient load. We’ve had several staff meetings to discuss ways to manage the busier day. We really appreciate your patience as we improve our efficiency. If you’re in and out faster than you usually are, be assured that you’re getting the same quality treatment that you’ve come to expect from our team. If you’ve found yourself waiting a bit, please know that we are still fine-tuning our system. As always, if you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to speak to me or to one of the staff members. Thanks again.