Pain is something that everyone can experience at some point in their life. However, for some people pain can be a chronic, daily occurrence which can be quite distracting and impact our ability to live our lives to the fullest. When this happens, we want to ask the question “Why?”.
Yes, injuries can occur, and other mechanical dysfunctions can arise, but our bodies are designed to heal themselves. When a failure to adequately heal happens, it is important to look deeper and understand what is impacting our ability to heal and live pain free.
Nervous system dysfunction can look like poor sleep, poor digestion, feeling “puffy” or inflamed, hair loss, skin conditions, having a “short fuse”, and so much more!
Nervous system regulation is crucial to our body’s function on a physical, chemical, and emotional level. If we have triggers in any of these factors, our nervous system can be dysregulated, and the dysfunction can present itself in many ways – quite commonly being pain.
The good news that Chiropractic care and spinal manipulation regulate the autonomic nervous system. Studies have shown that spinal manipulation may activate the parasympathetic system to counterbalance the activity of the sympathetic system. This means that chiropractic care can help bring balance back to your body. Adjustments help keep the spinal cord healthy and several studies have suggested that a link exists between spinal manual therapy and spinal cord neuroplasticity (1).
Chiropractic works on the nervous system, stimulating it to release various chemicals and hormones that regulate blood pressure and flow, calm the brain, and reduce inflammation, thus having a direct effect on how we feel physically. (1)
Other studies have shown that in chronic pain states, the autonomic nervous system may be dysregulated. This can present as chronic low back pain, digestion issues, sleep disturbances, and so much more (2). When there is chronic nervous system dysfunction, our body’s ability to heal and thrive is directly affected (2).
Chiropractic treatment combined with exercise, a nutritious diet, restful sleep, and self-care can be the first and easiest steps to regulating your nervous system and managing your pain levels. At Sprouting Health, we want to give YOU the power to help heal yourself.
Have you ever been diagnosed with a ‘pinched nerve’? This diagnosis is often accompanied by sharp, shooting pains into the arms or legs, usually without any injury to the body part involved. A common example of this is ‘sciatica’ where affected individuals will often complain of a sharp shooting pain down the back of their leg, often into the foot. In chiropractic, we refer to this travelling pain as ‘radicular’ pain.
Radicular pain, by definition, is pain that travels away from the source of the problem along the affected spinal nerve root. This is why pain is often felt outside of the region of injury in a seemingly random area. A ‘spinal nerve root’ refers to the part of the nervous system where different nerves start to deviate from the spinal cord and supply different parts of the body. These nerves can play a part in motor function (movement), sensory input, or (when the nerve root is aggravated) it can send pain signals along that nerve to whichever part of the body it supplies. As an example, an issue with the spinal nerve root in the neck may present with radicular pain into the arm, while a similar issue in the lumbar spine may present with radicular pain in the leg.
When a nerve becomes ‘aggravated’ it means that there is some kind of irritating stimulus that is impairing the function of that nerve. Different stimuli may include chemical irritation, such as inflammation, or mechanical irritation, including issues such as spinal cord compression, vertebral degeneration, or a herniated disc. As well as pain radiating from the spinal nerve root, one may also experience neurological symptoms which may present as delayed reflexes, numbness, and/or weakness in the limbs and muscles. These neurological issues are referred to as ‘radiculopathies’.
If you are experiencing radicular pain, or potentially a radiculopathy, your chiropractor will be able to identify this by conducting a thorough history, physical exam, and possibly radiographic imaging. By determining what is causing the issue, your chiropractor can formulate a care plan to help you based on your specific problem. Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments can help to relieve symptoms of nerve root irritation; including both pain and neurological symptoms.
Patel, E. A., & Perloff, M. D. (2018). Radicular Pain Syndromes: Cervical, Lumbar, and Spinal Stenosis. Seminars in neurology, 38(6), 634–639. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1673680
Christensen, K., & Buswell, K. (2008). Chiropractic outcomes managing radiculopathy in a hospital setting: a retrospective review of 162 patients. Journal Of Chiropractic Medicine, 7(3), 115-125. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2008.05.001
Today, we want to talk to you about an extremely common discussion that we have in practice around gut health; calcium vs dairy. We have been taught for years that dairy is an excellent source of calcium, but it is time to challenge the status quo?
Calcium is very important to enhance bone mineral deposition, and low calcium intake in children can contribute to rickets in combination with poor vitamin D and genetics. Currently it is recommended that infants have 300mg/day, children have 500-800mg/day and adults have 800-1000mg/day. (1-6)
We also know that calcium is important in the prevention of osteoporosis. A 12 year Harvard study of 78,000 women who drank 3 glasses of milk a day had a higher risk of hip and forearm fracture than those who dank one or less glasses per week. Another study from Sydney found high dairy consumption was associated with an increased risk of fracture. The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis (US, England, Sweden & Finland) are the ones where people drink the most milk. (1-4)
So, now we come to the dairy challenge. Yes, it is high in calcium, but the bioavailability is actually rather low (30%), especially when compared with other sources such as brussels sprouts (64%), mustard greens (58%), or broccoli (53%). In fact, the animal proteins in dairy increase the excretion of calcium through urine. It has also been suggested that the daily recommended quantities are linked with increases in the risk of cancers, autoimmune diseases, ear infections and allergies in children, heart disease, and diabetes. (1-3)
What can I do to help my bone health if dairy is not the answer? Well, increasing fruit and vegetable intakes will help, limiting animal proteins, regular exercise and getting enough vitamin D.
Lower back pain can seriously affect the quality of life, and has become the leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide when compared with other chronic diseases or disorders (1). Do you or a loved one experience low back pain? This is an important article that can make the world of difference for you.
“1 in 6 Australians (16%) have back problems” (2)
Radicular low back pain is a common type of back pain that involves a nerve root lesion, and is considered a type of neuropathic pain, involving radiating symptoms accompanying back pain (3). It commonly results from either disc herniation or spondylosis, with the disc herniation being either due to an acute injury or secondary to chronic degeneration of the spine (4).
Gabapentin is a common pharmaceutical that is used for neuropathic pain, and has been used for treating neuropathic symptoms of radicular low back pain (5). However there is growing evidence of the risks of taking gabapentin including abuse, misuse, dependence and withdrawal (6). Along with potential adverse effects such as somnolence, dizziness, ataxia and fatigue (7). If possible it would be better to manage radicular low back pain more conservatively. Can chiropractic help manage radicular low back pain?
In a recent research literature, 3,270 patient records were looked at retrospectively. They compared 1,635 patients who have received chiropractic care and 1,635 patients who have received usual medical care after a new diagnosis of radicular low back pain. A one year follow up was looked at after the initial diagnosis for both groups. The results from this retrospective cohort study found that the patients receiving chiropractic care for a new diagnosis of radicular low back pain had significantly lower odds of receiving a gabapentin prescription over 1 year follow up compared with those who received usual medical care (3). Though more cases need to be looked at to further substantiate these findings, early findings indicate a positive outcome for radicular low back pain management with chiropractic care, with good odds in helping a patient to lower the likelihood of having to resort to pharmaceuticals for support.
So if you want to find out if chiropractic care may help manage low back pain for you or your loved ones, have a chat with one of our chiropractors to see how they can assist.
“The more conservative approach for health is most commonly the safer approach”
1. James, S.L., Abate, D., Abate, K.H., Abay, S.M., Abbafati, C., Abbasi, N., Abbastabar, H., Abd-Allah, F., Abdela, J., Abdelalim, A. and Abdollahpour, I., 2018. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet, 392(10159), pp.1789-1858.
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics ABS (2019a) Microdata: National Health Survey, 2017–18.
3. Trager, R.J., Cupler, Z.A., Srinivasan, R., Casselberry, R.M., Perez, J.A. and Dusek, J.A., 2023. Association between chiropractic spinal manipulation and gabapentin prescription in adults with radicular low back pain: retrospective cohort study using US data. BMJ open, 13(7), p.e073258.
4. Dydyk, A.M., Khan, M.Z. and Singh, P., 2019. Radicular back pain.
5. Morlion B. Pharmacotherapy of low back pain: targeting nociceptive and neuropathic pain components. Curr Med Res Opin 2011;27:11–33.
6. Evoy KE, Sadrameli S, Contreras J, et al. Abuse and misuse of pregabalin and gabapentin: a systematic review update. Drugs 2021;81:615–7.
7. Quintero GC. Review about gabapentin misuse, interactions, contraindications and side effects. J Exp Pharmacol 2017;9:13–21.
Chiropractic is practiced worldwide and is regulated by law in 40 countries such as the USA, Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, Japan, England, and Denmark. (1) Many (and some very high profile) sporting people are now utilising Chiropractic care to gain a competitive advantage as well as to help alleviate some injuries.
We will now look at the evidence behind the injuries that have been most studied with Chiropractic care and sport. Remember to get this level of data, thousands of dollars need to be spent and many, many hours need to be devoted to these research studies – so we are lucky to have this data. This is also where conducting more comprehensive research on the mentioned data and other sport injuries is always essential.
The high level studies results showed the influence of chiropractic on improvement of neck pain, shoulder and neck trigger points, and sport injuries.
A systematic review (very high level of evidence) evaluating chiropractic effectiveness in prevention and treatment of sport injuries also showed that chiropractic is significantly more effective than conventional treatments in prevention of lower limb muscle strain, hallux adbducto valgus (bunion), and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
At sprouting health we utilise a multimodal approach of looking at the body from a chemical, mental and physical model. If you would like to see if we can help you achieve faster recovery and better performance come in for an evaluation at Sprouting Health. We won’t waste your time and let you know from the first visit if we can help manage your goals.
Blogs by the team at Sprouting Health