What is Chronic Pain?

While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial mishap — sprained back, serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain — arthritis, cancer, ear infection, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage. Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults. Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself).

A recent market research report indicates that more than 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain and that approximately 3- 4.5% of the global population suffers from neuropathic pain, with incidence rate increasing in complementary to age. (1)

Key Findings from the 2006 Voices of Chronic Pain Survey (9)

A 2006 survey conducted for the American Pain Foundation and sponsored by Endo Pharmaceuticals evaluated the impact that chronic pain had on 303 chronic pain sufferers who sought care from their physician and were currently using an opioid to treat their pain.

Control Over Chronic Pain

More than half of respondents (51%) felt they had little or no control over their pain.
Six out of ten patients (60%) said they experience breakthrough pain one or more times daily, severely impacting their quality of life and overall well-being.

Impact on Quality of Life

Almost two-thirds (59%) reported an impact on their overall enjoyment of life.
More than three quarters of patients (77%) reported feeling depressed.
70% said they have trouble concentrating.
74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain.
86% reported an inability to sleep well.

Source:
http://www.painmed.org/patientcenter/facts_on_pain.aspx#chronic

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Don’t Suffer Through Back Pain Anymore

If you are like the many people suffering from back pain, then this article is for you. Here are a number of suggestions and hints designed to assist you in living a life free from troubling back pain. By incorporating these ideas into your life, you should notice a significant reduction in your pain.

Exercise regularly to increase your core’s strength. Make sure to focus on your abs and back muscles. Incorporate plenty of strength and flexibility exercises into your exercise regimen to help you keep your core strong and flexible, which reduces the risk for back pain to develop in the future.

There are many different types of doctors that can help with back pain. You can see a chiropractor, an orthopedic doctor, or just your regular practitioner. Make sure before making an appointment with a specialist that your insurance will cover your appointment, and always find out if there will be any extra cost that you might be unaware of.

Some people have to work and stand for long hours at a time. If you must do this, then make sure you try and stand tall and straight. Try and allow your legs to rest too from time to time if possible, perhaps on a stool or bench if you are allowed to do that.

To help prevent back pain, have adequate back support when lounging. Furniture isn’t always designed with this in mind, so remember to use good posture and back support when sitting and reclining. For example, give your lower back a little support by placing a rolled up towel in the small of your back.

If you suffer from chronic back pain, you may want to consider a trip to an acupuncturist. Studies show that patients who use this ancient Chinese technique are shown to have significantly less back pain. Acupuncture releases pain-relieving opioids and sends signals to calm the nervous symptom.

Sitting up straight is a good idea. When your posture slips, it can put strain on your spine and back. A firm, supportive desk chair is key to staying comfortable when you have to spend hours at your desk. Sitting on an exercise ball can enhance your posture and strengthen your back.

You can become a victim of chronic back pain, simply by practicing poor posture. To avoid this type of pain, focus on sitting straight at work or school and keep shoulders back while walking. In these days of technology, we rely on computers and end up with poor posture. Surfing the net can be the biggest culprit of all, when it comes to increased back pain!

Back pain is one of the only pains that almost all humans will experience at some point in their life. Biologically speaking this is because humans have only recently began to walk upright and the skeleton isn’t fully equipped to deal with all the added pressures that this adds to the back.

As stated in the article, there are several methods available to treat back pain. Begin today to try the suggestions appropriate to your situation and you will begin to feel relief from your symptoms of back pain. You have the right to lead a life free from back pain and these methods will help you on your way.

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6 Ways to Improve your Posture

Better Posture: 6 Ways to Straighten Up

Slumping your shoulders doesn’t just make you resemble one of our long-extinct ancestors—if you don’t stand up straight, no amount of exercise will give you the hot bod you’re after. Here’s why: Over time, poor posture takes a serious toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees. In fact, it can cause a cascade of structural flaws that lead to back and joint pain, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which limit your ability to burn fat and build strength. But you can head off all these problems by taking the simple self-test to the right, then using the exercises below to fix your form, soothe your pain, and get your curves moving in the right direction.

1 FORWARD HEAD
The problem Stiff muscles in the back of your neck
The fix Moving only your head, drop your chin down and in toward your sternum while stretching the back of your neck. Hold for a count of five; do this 10 times a day.

2 ROUNDED SHOULDERS
The problem Weakness in the middle and lower parts of your trapezius (the large muscle that spans your shoulders and back)
The fix Lie facedown on the floor, with each arm at a 90-degree angle in the high-five position. Without changing your elbow angle, raise both arms by pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds. That’s one rep; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.

3 ANTERIOR PELVIC TILT
The problem Tight hip flexors
The fix Kneel on your left knee, with your right foot on the floor in front of you, knee bent. Press forward until you feel the stretch in your left hip. Tighten your butt muscles on your left side until you feel the front of your hip stretching comfortably. Reach upward with your left arm and stretch to the right side. Hold for a count of 30 seconds. That’s one repetition; do three on each side.

4 ELEVATED SHOULDER
The problem The muscle under your chest (running from your ribs to your shoulder blades) is weak.
The fix Sit upright in a chair with your hands next to your hips, palms down on the seat, arms straight. Without moving your arms, push down on the chair until your hips lift up off the seat and your torso rises. Hold for five seconds. That’s one repetition; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.

5 PIGEON TOES
The problem Weak glutes (butt muscles)
The fix Lie on one side with your knees bent 90 degrees and your heels together. Keeping your hips still, raise your top knee upward, separating your knees like a clamshell. Pause for five seconds, then lower your knee to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform two or three sets of 12 reps on each side daily.

6 DUCK FEET
The problem Your oblique muscles and hip flexors are weak.
The fix Get into a pushup position with your feet resting on a stability ball. Without rounding your lower back, tuck your knees under your torso, using your feet to roll the ball toward your body, then back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do two or three sets of six to 12 reps daily.

Assess your posture
Wear something form-fitting and take two full-body photos—one from the front, one from the side. Relax your muscles and stand as tall as you can, feet hip-width apart. Then refer to the fix-it plan (below left) to diagnose your posture problems.

1 / Look at your ear. If it’s in front of the midpoint of your shoulder, your head is too far forward.

2 / Can you see your shoulder blade? That means your back is too rounded.

3 / If your hips tilt forward and you have a belly pooch (even if you don’t have an ounce of fat on your body) and your lower spine is arched significantly, this means you have an anterior pelvic tilt.

4 / Look at your shoulders. One shouldn’t appear higher than the other.

5 / Check out your kneecaps. Do they point inward, causing your knees to touch when your legs are straightened?

6 / See if you’re duck-footed. Your toes will point outward more than 10 degrees.

 

Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/good-posture

Why is a healthy spine important?

The function of the spine is:

  1. movement
  2. support
  3. protection
  4. coordination, and
  5. control

Movement is one of the primary signs of life and any change in the structure or function of the spine may adversely affect human movement.

Support for the head is paramount because the neck is involved in quick coordinating movements for survival and protection and in general daily activities. The shoulder and pelvic girdles are also attached and supported. All these structures are related to the spine.

Protection of the central nervous system allows it to function optimally via the spinal cord, housed within the spine, which controls the function of every single cell, tissue and organ in the body.

Therefore a healthy spine, coupled with a healthy nervous system, is crucial in terms of maintaining whole body health. Any alteration of spinal structure or function may cause irritation of the central nervous system or the outer spinal nerves that are protected as they travel to organs or muscles. This alteration is known to chiropractors as “vertebral subluxation”.

The cause of vertebral subluxation can be summed up as fatigue. Fatigue occurs when a system or structure undergoes loading or stress that alters its structure and function, and this injury overcomes the body’s ability to heal itself. This causes illness because it affects the nervous system’s ability to function normally.

Fatigue can occur via repeated physical stresses or instantly in a physical accident, but often it is brought on by too much psychological stress or lifestyle factors like inadequate nutrition or exercise.

Eventually effects may be varied – from tight or weak muscle groups, degeneration of spinal discs and general neck and back aches and pains – to common ailments such as headaches, jaw pain, rib (chest) pain, poor concentration, sleep disorders and even knee and foot problems.

 

source: http://www.chiropractorsnsw.asn.au/why-is-a-healthy-spine-important

How many times have you made a doctor’s appointment, arrived at the appropriate time, signed in and then just sat in the waiting room, hoping and maybe praying, that this time, maybe, you will be seen in a reasonable time frame? I would venture to say, EVERY TIME! And why are you kept waiting?

Well, the reasons for your wait will vary with each appointment, but primarily the main reason, is because of overbooking. Most doctors are very busy, seeing, treating and having discussions with patients about their respective issues. But the problem is that while they are doing what they have to do for that patient, many others are waiting; to the point, that sometimes a patient will wait hours.

Again, there are many reasons, but is there an alternative? And for my patients, the answer is definitely YES!! At West U Chiropractic and Functional Medicine of Houston, we do not over-lap patient visits. When you have a 10am appointment, Dr. Stowe will, the vast majority of the time, be waiting for you to arrive. Why? Because he believes that your time is just as valuable as his. Especially for a patient that is in pain, having to wait in a doctor’s office for 30 minutes to more than 1 hour, is not only harmful to your condition, but in Dr. Stowe’s opinion, it is simply rude.

Did you know that the vast majority of visits to a medical doctor’s office are for some type of pain? Low Back Pain (LBP) is the most common complaint, but other conditions like knee, elbow and neck pain are also high on the list of common conditions that a medical doctor sees on any given day. But did you also know that chiropractic treatments have been proven to be more effective and less intrusive than most other treatment alternatives offered by the allopathic profession? Chiropractic treatments are extremely safe, effective and many times, more cost effective than what medical doctors prescribe. But the main reason patient’s should be seen by Dr. Stowe, is because he won’t keep you waiting. He also does not prescribe to the standard 15-30 visit protocol that many of his colleagues endorse. Many of Dr. Stowe’s patient’s conditions are treated successfully within a few visits.

So the next time you are in pain or have some other condition that requires a visit to a doctor’s office, why not consider West U Chiropractic or Functional Medicine of Houston as an alternative to waiting for hours, seeing your provider for 5 minutes and walking out with a prescription that may or may not effective (and with side effects), help your condition. West U Chiropractic can see you today!

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“Quackery”

The American Medical Association (AMA), the Texas Medical Association (TMA) and its Political Action Committees, have a twisted concept of healthcare and if allowed to continue on their present course, will hinder and eliminate the availability of ALL patients, to see their chiropractor whenever they want. Let me explain.

Back in 1963, the AMA formed a Committee on Quackery as a way to try to destroy the profession of Chiropractic. The AMA boldly stated in an “internal memoranda” that its goal was to first contain and then eliminate, the profession of chiropractic. Several years later, in a land mark decision, “Wilk et al v AMA et al”, the AMA was found to have engaged in a “lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott” of members of the chiropractic profession. But apparently they didn’t learn their lesson. Now, the TMA’s PAC has been spreading lies again about a Dr. VanDeWalle, DC, who was running in a run-off election for the TX House. He lost that election, partly, I believe, because of the “quackery ads” that were ran by the TMA PAC just before the run-off took place. But why would the AMA do these things? Simple – MONEY, INFLUENCE and POWER!

Evidence from many trials and many research projects clearly demonstrate the superiority of chiropractic services in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions; going back as far as 1972 to present. Chiropractic care in the past, as well as today, is safe and much more cost effective than traditional medical doctors can provide. But Chiropractors aren’t the only ones being subjected to these tactics. The AMA has ongoing issues with nurse practitioners and physician assistants who would be able to deliver primary care, but like Chiropractors, are considered by the AMA as competitors in healthcare – Competitors for patients and the healthcare dollars they spend with their healthcare providers.

Why do I bring this to your attention? Simply because if the AMA wins in their attempt to label Chiropractors and other providers as “quacks” or in their efforts to control Chiropractors and other professionals, ALL citizens of Texas will lose their right to affordable and safe musculoskeletal care. Cost-effectiveness, patient satisfaction, evidence based and outcomes, are clearly evident and not contested. All citizens HAVE THE RIGHT, to utilize whatever healthcare delivery system they choose. But to continue to have the choice to receive Chiropractic care, might come down to the will of the people to speak up and be heard and tell the AMA that Chiropractic care is what they want and demand.

 

Dr. Bobbie Stowe, DC

Some information provided by George McAndrews, Esq.

Low Level Laser Therapy – Cold Laser

Dr. Stowe has been studying and perfecting his knowledge to utilize and treat patients with Low Level Laser Therapy(LLLT).  Studying under Dr. Jeff Spencer, the chiropractor who treated Lance Armstrong through seven Tour de France competitions, Dr. Stowe is now able to offer a new service that truly finds and treats the cause of many tissue conditions.

Recent research in cell biology has described a continuous microscopic matrix that extends into every part of the organism, including into every cell and into every nucleus, of all cells, throughout the body.This system is called “the living matrix”.The key elements in this system are connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, fascia, cartilage and bone.This entire matrix has semiconductor properties.The 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for the discovery of semiconducting properties, which also exist through the human body as planes called fascia.

Healing is essentially a cellular process and light energy initiates a cascade of reactions from the cell membrane to cytoplasm to nucleus and DNA. Called cellular amplification, this process demonstrated and earned a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1994.

Many biological processes that take place in tissues have been shown to respond to LLLT in the 630-640 nanometer (nm) wavelength range, with 635nm demonstrating the most beneficial wavelength to tissue. Enhanced energy production, decreased inflammation and an increase in endorphins are just a few of the effects.

A “true laser” produces the emission of coherent light, generated at a precise, stable frequency, in a focused direction. Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s) are not true lasers. They produce non-coherent or random light, generating random frequencies. Only coherent light can be used to effectively treat the human body.

At West U Chiropractic, we utilize the best LLLT available on the market today; the Erchonia PL5. Erchonia’s lasers were the first to receive FDA approval for the management of neck and back pain. Improvement of 30-50% reduction in pain is typical with just one treatment (although not guaranteed).

Treatment protocols are numerous but the following are samples of the uses of the PL5 –

  • adhesion
  • trigger points
  • plantar fascitis
  • pain – chronic and acute
  • carpal tunnel
  • low back pain
  • neck pain
  • fibromyalgia
  • golfer’s elbow
  • tennis elbow

 

These are just a few of the conditions for which protocol frequencies exist and that can be programmed into the PL5 for treatments to assist patients in their pursuit of health and wellness.

Please contact our office should you have any questions regarding a specific condition or disease process.