Do I Need to Have Surgery For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

By · Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 · Comments Off on Do I Need to Have Surgery For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

“For the last few months, I’ve been waking up at night with numbness and tingling in my hand.  Lately, I’ve been waking up more often, 3-4 times a night and I’m having a hard time falling back to sleep.  When I drive, my hands fall asleep within a few minutes and I have to shake my hand and fingers to wake them up. This has gotten to the point where I have to do something but I really don’t want surgery.  What are my non-surgical options for carpal tunnel syndrome?”


CTS or, carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where a nerve (called the median nerve) that travels down from the neck into the arm and through the wrist becomes pinched and inflamed.  Common symptoms include numbness, tingling, dexterity problems (such as difficulty buttoning shirts), and opening jars due to weakness in grip and pinch strength. Sleep interruptions and loss of many daily activities, including work, occur because of CTS.

There are many non-surgical approaches to the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that should be utilized before surgery is considered, according to the American Academy of Neurology.  In one study, 40% of neurologist polled recommended non-surgical care due to the potential side effects of surgery, some of which being severe, resulting in lengthy work loss post-surgically.  A partial list of non-surgical care options include:

  1. Rest – Giving the inflamed CTS time to heal is therapeutic but not always an option.
  2. Activity/job modifications – Avoiding certain activities or modifying them by taking breaks during the work day, slowing down the pace of the job, altering the position of the job task, such as propping up a part so that the wrists do not have to bend to the extremes,  or when necessary, complete avoidance of the job task.
  3. Wrist Splint – This is a brace that maintains the wrist in a neutral position so it cannot easily bend.  When the wrist flexes or extends, the pressure inside the carpal tunnel (on the palm side of the wrist) increases significantly, placing additional pressure on the already pinched median nerve. Wrist splints are especially useful at night.
  4. Nerve Gliding Exercises – These are exercises that stretch the wrist joint and muscle tendons (as well as the median nerve inside the carpal tunnel), with the objective of breaking adhesions that limit the normal glide or movement of the nerve in the forearm and wrist.
  5. Manual therapy techniques – These include manipulation of the arm including the forearm, wrist, and hand and sometimes the neck and shoulder, when needed.  The objective is to improve the range of motion of the joints and soft tissues that may be participating in the process of median nerve pinching.
  6. Anti-inflammatory medication / nutrients – Medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and similar prescription drugs.  Nutritional options including herbs (such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia), digestive enzymes, and Vitamin B6 may also help.  Ice is also anti-inflammatory and direct, on-the-skin ice massage is quite effective.

Chiropractic is a perfect choice when considering a health care provider for the treatment of CTS as many of the above non-surgical techniques are utilized by our office.  We realize that you have a choice in who you are considering for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend or family member require non-surgical care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, we would be honored to render our services.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at your local Houston chiropractor – Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

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What Can I Do To Help Myself After Whiplash?

By · Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 · Comments Off on What Can I Do To Help Myself After Whiplash?

Houston Chiropractor Comments: Whiplash occurs when the neck is suddenly and forcefully jerked, and is typically associated with car crashes.  The speed at which the neck is forced upon impact is faster than we can contract our muscles in attempt to stop the forceful movement.  This results in muscle, tendon, and/or ligament over-stretching, even tearing.  Symptoms include stiff and painful neck movements, weakness or, the head “feels heavy” making it challenging to “hold up” as well as headache, and sometimes dizziness, ear noises, TMJ or jaw pain, and “mental fog.” What should be done if a whiplash injury occurs?

The amount or degree of damage to the soft tissues – that is, the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and disks of the neck — will be the deciding factors as to how much rest vs. activity should be initially performed.  If there are no fractures, dislocations or other injuries resulting in an unstable cervical spine (neck), studies have shown rest and a soft collar is actually harmful when compared to early return to activity and exercises.  Chiropractic treatment, which essentially exercises the joints of the neck, has been shown to speed recovery when performed sooner rather than later after a whiplash injury.

A handy way to classify the injury includes four categories:

1) Pain with no significant abnormal clinical findings;

2) Pain with mild clinical findings and range of motion loss;

3) Pain with neurological injury (resulting in radiating arm pain);

4) Pain associated with fracture and/or dislocation.

Those suffering with category 1 or 2 injuries should minimize rest, collar use, proceed with life’s activities and not be afraid to do desired activities.  More aggressive exercise and, utilizing chiropractic adjustments as soon as possible is very effective in the first two categories of injury.  Category 4 (fractures and dislocations) injuries require the use of a rigid collar usually for 4-6 weeks as rest/protection is imperative. Category 3 demands careful monitoring by your chiropractor as neurological problems like arm pain and numbness, muscle strength weakness, must be watched during the healing process.  The use of ice is helpful with all four categories of injury and exercise training is important and can be started sooner in the first two categories of injury.

What can you do if you sustain a whiplash injury?  The first order of self-help is the use of ice.  This is a much better choice over the use of heat as ice reduces swelling and pain while heat can increase swelling because it brings in more blood flow into an already swollen area.  The heat may feel good during its use but most patients report the pain either returns shortly thereafter or feels worse.  Ice and heat can be alternated but ice should be emphasized by using ice for 10 minutes, heat 5 minutes, and repeat the ice / heat / ice approach starting and ending with ice. One session usually equals 20 minutes, and several sessions can be repeated each day.  The old adage of “ice for 24 hours followed by heat” does NOT apply here as ice or “contrast therapy” of ice/heat/ice can be performed for as long as there is pain or, for several weeks or longer.  The good news is that you will never hurt yourself by using ice but, you can make it hurt worse by using heat too soon so, when in doubt, use ice!  The next, very important, recommendation is to utilize exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck and upper back region. The “general rule” of exercise is slow repetitions staying within “reasonable” boundaries of pain.  That is, a good, stretch type of pain is encouraged while avoiding sharp pain.  We have discussed several very practical neck stretches and strengthening exercises previously and we will again address this in the future. Posture correction of chin tucks, keeping your head back over your shoulders is very helpful as well. We realize that you have a choice in where you choose for your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, chiropractic care is a logical first choice and we would be honored to offer our services to you.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

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Conservative Care and Back Surgery

By · Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 · Comments Off on Conservative Care and Back Surgery

Conservative Care = Cost Effective

Low back pain care initiated by a medical doctor (MD) is going to cost 20% greater than low back pain care initiated by a doctor of chiropractic (DC).

Likelihood of Surgery For Workers with Back Injuries

First point of contact: Surgeon/MD – 42.7%

First point of contact: Chiropractic physician/DC – 1.5%

If you want to know how to save money and prolong your health through chiropractic, please contact Dr. Beecher at Beecher Chiropractic in Houston!

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The Prescription Painkiller Epidemic

By · Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 · Comments Off on The Prescription Painkiller Epidemic

prescription painkiller epidemic

The Prescription Painkiller Epidemic

Opioid painkiller drugs mask pain. They do not cure it. Prescription drugs that numb pain in some cases may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is, or that it has healed. This misunderstanding can lead to over-extension and a delay in the healing process, or even to permanent injury.

Prescribers of Opioid Painkillers in the United States

Chiropractic physicians are skilled in the most conservative treatment methods to alleviate pain and urge patients and other health care providers, where appropriate, to exhaust these options before resorting to riskier and more invasive treatments such as drugs and surgery.

Primary Care MDs – 28.8%

Internists – 14.6%

Orthopaedic Surgeons – 7.7%

Chiropractic Physicians – 0.0%

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Torticollis Neck Pain! What Is This Neck Pain?!

By · Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 · Comments Off on Torticollis Neck Pain! What Is This Neck Pain?!

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: “When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t move my neck!  Every time I try to move it, I feel sharp pain on the left side of the neck shooting down into the shoulder blade.  It just came out of nowhere!”

Chances are, you are suffering from a common condition called torticollis – which is a typical neck pain which can be treated with chiropractic treatment, which literally means, “twisted neck” after the Latin terms of “torti” (twisted) and “collis” (neck).  The common name for this is “wry neck,” and it’s basically a painful muscle spasm, like a “Charlie-horse” but located in the neck muscles.  Usually, a person wakes up in the morning with this and the cause is often related to sleeping with the window being open or a fan or air conditioner blowing on you.  It can also relate to a “cold settling in the muscle” after a cold or flu virus.  Trauma such as falling or a car accident can also cause torticollis. However, most of the time, patients with torticollis are not sure what caused the abrupt onset of symptoms.

Usually, torticollis will gradually improve over a 2 week time frame. However, it only takes a few days to a week (at the most) if you receive chiropractic adjustments.  Most importantly, without treatments, the sharp pain can last a week and can severely limit your activity, often prohibiting work as well as your desired “fun” activities.  Hence, most people prefer having this treated as opposed to “waiting it out.” In some cases, it can last longer than a month and in rare cases even longer, so getting this treated is highly recommended.  Also, try to get in for a treatment immediately before the muscle spasm really sets up.  We find this to be the most effective approach.  Here are a list of symptoms and treatment suggestions for torticollis:

Acute Torticollis Symptoms

Pain Relief Treatments for Acute Torticollis

If you, a family member or a friend require Torticollis care, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our service.  We are proud that chiropractic care has consistently scored the highest level of satisfaction when compared to other forms of health care provision and we look forward in serving you and your family presently and in the future.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

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Low Back Pain: Prescribed Medications vs. Spinal Manipulation

By · Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 · Comments Off on Low Back Pain: Prescribed Medications vs. Spinal Manipulation

Low Back Pain: Prescribed Medications vs. Spinal Manipulation

Patients should be informed of nonpharmacological therapies for low back pain before using riskier, less effective treatments. Manual-thrust manipulation, performed by chiropractic physicians, achieves a greater short-term reduction in pain compared with common medical treatments.

56% of medical care recipients had a 30% reduction in low back pain at week 4.

94% of manual-thrust manipulation recipients had a 30% reduction in low back pain at week 4.

If you would like to no more about manual-thrust chiropractic back manipulation for low back pain, please contact Dr. Beecher at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic in Houston Texas!

Source: Schneider M. et al. Comparison of Spinal Manipulation Methods and Usual Medical Care for Acute and Subacute Low Back Pain, Spine 2015. Vol. 40. No. 4 pp 209-217.

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Backpack Safety Checklist From Your Houston Chiropractor!

By · Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 · Comments Off on Backpack Safety Checklist From Your Houston Chiropractor!

In 2013 alone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission cited 5,415 backpack-related injuries treated at emergency rooms. Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) point to the dangers of heavy backpacks, resulting in injuries ranging from acute and chronic back pain to other painful conditions.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends that parents choose the right backpack (see list below) and then help their children pack them properly, leaving out unnecessary items to insure they weigh no more than 10 percent of a child’s body weight.

Are you concerned for the back health of your child? Houston chiropractor – Dr. Beecher of Beecher Chiropractic Clinic can help you and your child!

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Why Is My Back Always Hurting?

By · Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 · Comments Off on Why Is My Back Always Hurting?

Houston Area Chiropractor Comments: Low back pain is a very common problem affecting 80-90% of all of us at some point in our lifetime.  Why is that you ask?  There are many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that we are 2-legged animals carrying 2/3rds of our weight above our waist.  Studies have shown deterioration or arthritis occurs much sooner in us vs. our 4-legged animal counterparts. A 180 lbs man carries roughly 120 lbs above the waist.  This means, every time he bends over, in order to stand upright, he needs to lift 120 lbs PLUS whatever he is lifting.  Hence, the argument of, “…but I only bent over to lift a pencil and my back went out,” seems on the surface as impossible but in reality, the man in our example is lifting the pencil plus 120 lbs. Now, let’s add to that the point that a 5 pound weight equals 50 pounds when held out in front with the arms stretched out straight.  Now, if that’s not bad enough, now, let’s assume all of this is happening from a bent forward position, with a twist at the waist, with out stretched arms, while lifting a 20 pound object.  Get the idea?  It’s amazing our back doesn’t get injured every day as we lift 2 bags of groceries into the far end of a car trunk, or, when lifting our 30 pound child in and out of a car seat, height chair, or when they are screaming and pushing away from us as we try to lift them!

In order to further appreciate why the low back is so vulnerable to injury, some basic understanding of anatomy is needed.  When we’re born, the back is made up of 33 segments of which 5 fuse by the time we’re about 18 years old to make up the sacrum (bottom of the spine) and 4 fuse to make up the coccyx (tail bone), leaving 5 lumbar (low back), 12 thoracic (mid-back) and 7 cervical (neck) vertebra.  These are stacked up on top of each other like building blocks and are connected to each other by a shock absorbing disk in the front and two smaller facet joints in the back, acting like a tripod.  In the low back, we’re supposed to bear about 80% of our weight in the front and 20% in the back but, if our abdominal muscles are a bit out of shape and the pelvis rotates forwards, the curve in the low back increases and overloads the back of the vertebra (facets) making them vulnerable to injury.  The disk becomes injured when we bend/lift/twist. This can tear the outer tough fibers of the disk, allowing the central more liquid-like material to leak out.  If this happens, the leaking or “herniated” disk can put pressure on the nerve that exits the spine and travels down our leg.  If the pain pattern includes the back of the leg, it’s commonly referred to as “sciatica.”

OK, enough about anatomy.  What can we do to reduce the chances of having periodic low back pain? Obviously, staying in shape is very important. Certain muscles of the body must be tight to keep us upright or standing.  These muscles need to be stretched on a regular basis. For example: the hamstring muscle.  We’ve all had to perform hurdler types of exercises and remember how tight they feel!

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose for your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at your local Houston chiropractor – Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment or call (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

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Back Pain? Consider Chiropractic!

By · Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 · Comments Off on Back Pain? Consider Chiropractic!

Back Pain? Consider Chiropractic!

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), spinal manipulation is associated with statistically significant improvements in pain and function for up to six weeks with serious or adverse side effects.

If you are interested in spinal manipulation in Houston, consider calling your Houston chiropractor – Beecher Chiropractic Clinic.

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Types of Headaches

By · Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 · Comments Off on Types of Headaches

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: Headaches are one of the most common complaints for which patients seek chiropractic care.  Chiropractic is especially helpful in the treatment of headaches because the three nerves that exit the top of the spine (upper neck) are often the cause of or directly related to headaches. These three nerves travel into the head and have to pass through a very thick group of muscles in the upper part of the neck near where these muscles attach to the base of the skull.  This is why when you have headaches and rub the back of the neck, the muscles may feel tight and or tender.  In fact, if enough pressure is applied over one of these three nerves, pain will radiate into the head following the course of the nerve, sometimes all the way into the eyes.  When chiropractic headache treatment is applied in the upper neck region, a reduction of the headache and neck pain occurs because the muscle tension is decreased and joint motion is restored.

The International Headache Society (IHS) has classified headaches into two main categories, primary and secondary.  Primary headaches occur for no known reason and there are four groups of these: 1) migraine, 2) tension-type, 3) cluster, and 4) “other” primary headaches. Secondary headaches are those with a specific cause such as sinus/allergy headaches, those associated with eye strain, a known medical condition or those due to cold or flu.  Both migraine and cluster headaches are “vascular” (related to the blood vessels expanding inside the head) resulting in a unique set of symptoms that includes nausea, vomiting, pounding/throbbing and can be quite debilitating.

The most common type is the tension-type of headache.  A thorough history is necessary because there is no specific diagnostic test (lab or blood test) for tension-type headaches.  Hence, the concept is to make sure the headache is not related to some other condition that is diagnosable by a blood or lab test and if present, having that condition properly managed.  So, assuming all the tests come back “normal” and all other causes have been eliminated or “ruled out,” the most common type of tension-type headache is “episodic” or, occurs off and on, lasting minutes to days.  The pain is usually described as, “…my whole head hurts.”  There is typically tightness or tension (NOT throbbing) described in the neck muscles and the intensity ranges from mild to moderate, not usually severe, where laying down is needed.  Physical activity does not usually make it worse and there is no sickness to the stomach (nausea/vomiting), and no intense reaction to bright lights or noise (like there is with migraine & cluster types of headaches).  There are sub-types of tension headaches that can occur simultaneous with migraines headaches, but the classic “aura” (a before the headache warning associated with migraine headaches) is usually not present.

Chiropractic treatment typically includes manipulation and mobilization of the neck, muscle release techniques, physical therapy modalities like electric stimulation, ultrasound, and others, exercise, stress and diet/nutritional management.

If you, a family member or a friend require care, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our service.  We are proud that chiropractic care has consistently scored the highest level of satisfaction when compared to other forms of health care provision and we look forward in serving you and your family presently and in the future.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

 

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