It’s Time to Have a Talk About Nutrition with Your Chronic Pain Patients

Chronic pain is what brings a majority of patients into a chiropractic office. Low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and the like – they’re all drivers of daily discomfort. And while a chiropractor can help realign the spine and alleviate some of the pain, it’s up to patients to make the lifestyle changes required to sustain them.

One of the most important lifestyle changes patients can and should make is to their diet. Ideal Spine works with chiropractors not only to help them educate patients on good postural and exercise habits, but diet as well. Many chronic pain sufferers don’t realize it, but their pain likely has roots in what they eat.

Salt, sugar, and fat’s effect on the body

The obesity epidemic in America hit its peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But while rates of severely overweight individuals have backed off in the past decade, it’s estimated 34% of adults and as many as 20% of children are still overweight. Sedentary lifestyle plays a role, but the predominant force behind overweight Americans is diet.

Poor diet does more than just pack on the pounds, which stresses the body’s biomechanical structure. It also exacerbates inflammation. The excess salt, sugar, and fats consumed through processed foods, fast food, and unhealthy habits affect the body’s many governing systems – everything from nerve health to the responsiveness of the limbic system. The inflammation and general stress caused by poor diet both incite and exacerbate chronic pain symptoms.

Addiction to poor diet

Telling patients to cut out poor food choices is much easier said than done. Chiropractors have no control over what patients do when they leave the office. In fact, patients have little control over their own actions when it comes to eating. Many suffer addictions to unhealthy food choices, which is a disease in and of itself.

To help patients break their poor eating habits, chiropractors often have to assume the role of nutritionist. This means educating patients on how their eating habits affect spine health and what they can do to break them.

Talk about nutrition

Linking chronic pain to inflammation and inflammation to diet is the quickest, most direct method of affecting change in a patient’s diet. If the answer is conceivably as simple as “eating cheeseburgers makes your back hurt,” patients will be more inclined to avoid the foods they know cause inflammation.

Targeting specific foods is only a start. It’s also important to provide alternatives that keep people eating healthily in the face of temptation. This can occur in stages. Eating one cheeseburger instead of two. Taking the cheese off the burger. Taking the bun away. Switching to a plant-based burger. They’re all options patients can explore to incrementally improve their eating habits.

There’s also the prospect of willpower to address. Many patients are engrained in their eating habits and unable to break them due to willpower. Teaching methods of accountability – keeping a journal, having a friend eat healthy with them, etc. – are modes of boosting willpower to affect dietary changes.

Pain rooted in diet requires change

If a chiropractor is able to show a patient the link between diet, inflammation, and pain, the battle is half won. From there, making changes can take time and learned willpower, but it’s possible – especially with the prospect of pain-free living.

Ideal Spine encourages chiropractors to build incremental dietary changes into a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) recovery plan for patients. As they experience improved quality of life from adjustments, they’ll also be complementing these changes with dietary improvements of their own. Together, it’s a recipe for pain-free living, faster.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Encouraging Patients to Take up Low-Impact Exercise During Adjustment Periods

Chiropractic care extends far beyond the appointment. While adjustments and in-office exercises often leave a patient feeling better than they did when they come in, the moment they leave begins a slow decline until their next appointment. In time this decline will slow and stop, allowing patients to recover their spine health fully. But it’s aided and expedited by what a patient does outside of their schedule appointments.

At Ideal Spine, we encourage chiropractors to teach their patients about the numerous benefits of low-impact exercises as part of their Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) adjustment schedules. Proactive exercise at home can expedite adjustment schedules, improve quality of life, and help patients assume control over their wellbeing.

What types of low-impact exercises matter?

Depending on the patient, their quality of life, and mobility, a broad range of low-impact exercises are possible. Some of the most common and beneficial include:

  • Basic stretching. Teaching patients basic range of motion exercises and stretches is imperative. Not only will these exercises improve range of motion to affected areas, they promote relaxation and passive healing through better blood flow and oxygenation. They require no equipment and a small time investment each day.
  • Elaborating on basic stretching, yoga is a perfect combination of stretching, strengthening, and present-mindedness. 30 minutes of yoga every day over a period of 30 days has been proven to improve mobility, flexibility, mood, and core strength – all things vital to spinal health during an adjustment period.
  • For those who lead an active lifestyle hampered by pain or discomfort, cycling is a great activity. It’s inherently low-impact, yet has the ability to raise heart rate, increasing blood oxygenation and triggering the release of adrenaline and endorphins to combat pain. The calorie burn also benefits overall health.
  • Swimming and water aerobics. Swimming is a zero-impact exercise for the whole body. It matches many of the benefits of cycling, regardless of stroke choice. Swimming laps also strengthens muscles, improving the staying power of chiropractic adjustments. For seniors or those with mobility challenges, water aerobics offers more tempered benefits.

As little as 30 minutes of low-impact exercise each day has proven benefits on the body. Diligent exercise between adjustment appointments, coupled with postural corrections, may greatly expedite the realignment of the spine.

Put the onus on the patient

Chiropractic is a give and take relationship. Practitioners can deliver corrective action and advise patients in how to maximize these benefits to preserve spine health. But to capitalize on these benefits, patients must be willing to observe lifestyle changes. Taking up low-impact exercises at home may be part of this.

At Ideal Spine, we extol the benefits of low-impact exercise as part of a healthy approach to living. We encourage chiropractors to recommend a low-impact exercise regimen to their patients, while explaining the benefits of adhering to it. As patients begin to realize the control they have over their own wellbeing, the more motivated they’ll be to engage in maintaining their adjustments.

For more information about Ideal Spine and Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), contact us today.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Breaking Down the Braces Used to Correct Scoliosis

Scoliosis is easily recognized in children and developing young adults. Caught early enough, modern correction systems offer enough relief to all but erase the condition, leaving behind a well-formed spinal curve. But aside from early identification, the right course of corrective action is crucial.

Ideal Spine urges chiropractors to not only understand bracing for scoliosis, but to get familiar with the three main types of braces. Understanding their application, pros and cons, and modality for correcting scoliosis helps inform a higher level of patient care.

Take a look at the three chief types of scoliosis brace: The Boston Brace, the Charleston Bending Brace, and the Milwaukee Brace.

Boston Brace

The Boston Brace is a form of Thoraco-Lumbo-Sacral-Orthosis (TLSO) brace, meaning it has total contact with the torso. The brace is made from a cast of the patient’s trunk to ensure conformity and adjusted over time to restore proper curvature to the spine. It’s designed to hold a 20° to 45° advancing curve. Key correction points are molded into the brace for easy adjustment and braces don’t need to be re-cast as corrections take hold.

This brace lacks the metal support structure of the Milwaukee Brace, which means it can be worn under clothing without drawing much attention. This brace should be worn 16-23 hours per day. This brace is not suited for high thoracic or cervical deformations.

Milwaukee Brace

Now relatively antiquated thanks to advancements in materials and the lower-profile design of the Boston Brace, the Milwaukee Brace is nonetheless an important tool in correcting severe adolescent scoliosis. A Cervico-Thoraco-Lumbo-Sacral-Orthosis (CTLSO) brace, it’s another type of full-contact brace that must be worn up to 23 hours per day.

The Milwaukee Brace is recognized for its metal neck ring for added stabilization of the cervical spine. It’s designed to hold a 25° to 45° advancing curve. And though some custom braces are used to correct scoliosis, the Milwaukee brace is more of a preventive approach to stopping ongoing misalignment. Its heavy-duty nature makes it more applicable in severe cases still developing.

Charleston Bending Brace

Also known as the “nighttime brace,” the Charleston Bending Brace is minimally invasive and only needs to be worn at night. It’s asymmetrical design naturally forces a developing spine back into alignment by offsetting the compensation caused by scoliosis. Due to its lightweight nature, it’s generally only prescribed to correct a 25° to 35° advancing curve.

The Charleston Bending Brace is primarily effective in children who haven’t reached peak developmental maturity yet—usually 12-14 years old.

Stopping scoliosis with the right brace

These three braces serve as the foundational tools for correcting scoliosis in varying degrees of severity. Other braces do exist – the Chêneau-Gensingen Brace, Silicon Valley Brace, and the SpineCor brace, for example – but they simply haven’t had the same degree of proven success as the three mentioned above.

Ideal Spine recommends thoroughly assessing the severity of a patient’s scoliosis, looking at their age and medical history, and mapping a correctional Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach before outfitting a patient with a brace. To learn more about scoliosis bracing or for more information about the CBP approach, contact us today.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Here’s Why Patient History is a Cornerstone of Chiropractic

Many patients visit a chiropractor with a certain expectation of how the visit will go. They’ll lay down on the table while the chiropractor palpates their spine, pushing and pulling specific areas. They’ll hear pops and cracks, and feel their tension go away. And when they stand up, they’ll magically feel better!

Based on this generalization of chiropractic, it’s easy to see why patients can become uncomfortable when things don’t go this way. When the first thing a chiropractor does is ask them about their medical history, many patients can even become evasive.

At Ideal Spine, we believe patient education starts the moment someone walks into a clinic. In many cases, this means dispelling preconceived notions. To do that, patients need to understand why things aren’t going the way they expect.

Explain the nature of holistic medicine

Have you had any recent surgeries? Do you have any history of chronic pain? What medications are you taking? On the surface, to a patient, none of these questions have anything to do with chiropractic. Explain why you’re asking them and what they mean for the eventual delivery of care.

Patients need to understand that their medical histories are important for how treatment will progress. A chiropractor can’t perform the same adjustments on a senior with osteoporosis that they do on a middle-aged athlete. Likewise, someone recovering from a recent surgery may not have the range of motion they otherwise would.

Patient history prevents false starts in the treatment plan. More importantly, it protects patients from uniformed diagnoses and adjustments.

The best way to explain this is by explaining the nature of holistic medicine. An adjustment here could result in X, Y, or Z, depending on the factors at play. Having vital medical history information eliminates the unknowns, so a chiropractor can solve for X, Y, or Z – whatever will provide the best outcome for the patient.

The more you know, the more you help

If a patient complains of neck pain, a doctor’s first instinct isn’t going to be to prescribe surgery. Instead, they’re going to do a full exam, ask questions, and try to qualify the source and intensity of the pain. Visiting a chiropractor is no different, and medical history plays a vital role.

Neck pain, for example, is a broad concern. Getting as much information as possible speeds up a chiropractor’s diagnosis and ensures the right course of action is taken. Patients may not realize it, but that whiplash accident they had last year may only now be manifesting symptoms. Or, the shoulder surgery they had five years ago may have limited their range of motion, affecting the musculature around the cervical spine. The chronic plantar fasciitis they’ve been self-medicating for years may have caused instability in the lumbar spine, finally affecting the cervical spine. The list goes on and on.

Every piece of information is vital in putting together the puzzle of patient pain. The biggest contributor of information is patient history – both formally documented and informally told.

Set the precedent of informed care

In getting new patients to be forthcoming with important information, chiropractors need to break stereotypes and encourage patient education. A visit to the chiropractor is not random adjustments and audible pops – it’s a collaboration between patient and chiropractor that leads to informed care.

When patients understand how their medical history informs their care, they’ll recognize the importance of sharing it.

Ideal Spine advocates informed patient care through a structured Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach. For more information about CBP or for more tips on how to deliver world-class chiropractic care, contact us today.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.