The Benefit of Guidelines

Benefits of Medical Guidelines

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: I continue to be surprised, and somewhat disappointed with doctors and therapists, when a person comes in saying that the last time that they had their problem, they went to physical therapy for 4-5 months for a problem that should have taken 2 months at most. Sometimes they say that they went to their family physician for a low back strain and were told to have 1 week of bed rest. Some have been told by their surgeon that since their MRI was negative for a disc herniation, that the problem was in their head and not their back.

One of the benefits of medicine now is that the most current research is available online. We can access treatment guidelines and read the supporting research to find out what works best for our patients. This is not to say that doctors should not use their own experience from treating prior patients, but instead to give a resource to find information if treatment is taking too long or if patients are not getting well. 

When I was in school 30+ years ago, if a person strained their back, the advice was a week of bed rest. When the research came out against bed rest and for early movement such as walking, some doctors fought the change. When outcome assessments became common to measure a person’s response to treatment, some doctors didn’t want to use them. When studies show that certain types of therapies get better results, some therapists didn’t want to use the better therapies for a variety of reasons.

The guidelines and their supporting research give us the information to allow us to get our patients well faster and with better long term outcomes. As insurance companies reduce treatment coverage and out of pocket costs to patients rise, it is in everybody’s best interest to use the research and evidence out there to improve our care.

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! 

Working Safely From Home

Clear Lake City Chiropractor Comments: Times are not good or bad, they are different. That phrase was taught to me when I was younger and it is still true today. The world that we live in is constantly changing and we must adapt. While we are coping with the COVID-19 virus, many people are either working from home or not working at all. This leads to poor work habits and a change in our normal routine.

Since the coronavirus has placed large portions of the country on lockdown, we have been staying open to ease the strain of neck and back injuries from the hospitals and urgent care facilities. I have had people injuring their necks and backs from poor home office ergonomics. People are using their coffee tables or beds as desks and spending 8 hours hunched over in awkward positions. Some people are lying on their couches watching the television all day.

Even when working from home, proper ergonomics must be maintained. Working at a proper desk is beneficial. Some people will benefit from an adjustable standing desk like a Varidesk or an Airlift. You can also use a laptop stand that will help elevate your screen to eye level. This is helpful with the increase in home video conferencing.

Make sure to take time to stretch your neck, back and wrists. We have videos of these stretches on our website (www.BeecherChiropractic.com.) and on our YouTube channel under Beecher Chiropractic Clinic. This will help to minimize your neck fatigue, back strain and carpal tunnel symptoms.

Finally take some time to exercise. Try and do some form of exercise for at least 20 consecutive minutes. This not only will help your fitness, but it will help to lessen your stress and allow you burn some of those extra calories that you have been eating. 😉


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!    

Fun Chiropractic Facts

Houston Chiropractor Comments: With all of the recent coverage being about the corona virus, I decided to write about a lighter topic. Here are some interesting facts about chiropractic.

Chiropractic Facts
  1. The term “chiropractic” derives from two Grecian words: cheir which means hand, and praktos which means done. “Done by Hand”. Fitting, right?
  2. Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) go through a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, lab and clinical internships during their 4-year doctoral graduate school program. 
  3. It is estimated that DCs treat over 35 million Americans, this includes adults and children, annually.
  4. There are roughly 100,000 doctors of chiropractic in active practice across the globe, and about 10,000 students are currently enrolled in chiropractic education programs in the United States alone.
  5. All 32 NFL teams have their own chiropractor to boost performance, maintain wellness and treat musculoskeletal strain and injury.
  6. Infants can benefit greatly from chiropractic care. It makes sense—birth can be pretty hard on a little body! The adjustment is adapted to suit their needs and is perfectly safe.
  7. Each day, over one million adjustments take place across the globe. That’s a whole lot of relief!
  8. Chiropractic is recognized and regulated by law in over 49 countries! And in the United States, DCs are licensed in all 50 states!
  9. An injured worker is 28 times less likely to have spinal surgery if the first point of contact is a DC rather than a surgeon.
  10. Treatment for low back pain initiated by a DC costs up to 20 percent less than when started by a medical doctor.

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!

Is Your Pain Radiating Or Referred?

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: You may be under the impression that pain is simply pain, but that isn’t the case to your chiropractor. That’s because where you’re feeling pain may not be the location of the cause of it at all! The type and location of pain you’re experiencing helps your chiropractor to diagnose the underlying problem. Here’s how your chiropractor can tell the difference between referred and radiating pain, and the difference it can make for you.

What is Referred Pain?

Referred pain tends to be pain that is less focal and contained to a general area, an area usually close to the source of the pain. The pain does not travel down specific nerve dermatomes. This type of pain is often associated with trigger points, which your chiropractor is trained to look for when they perform an exam to try to understand the source of your pain.

Trigger points are basically small knots in the muscle where the muscle fibers are contracted and irritated. The resulting pain feels dull and aching, often deep and steady. It can happen when you’re at rest or when you move, and the range in the level of pain you experience can be significant. The pain can result in muscle aches and pains, headaches, low back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, or even mimic symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

What is Radiating Pain?

For many patients who seek the help of a chiropractor, they come in complaining of pain that radiates. That means that it starts in one place but travels to another, usually along the path of a nerve. This type of pain is also called radicular pain and is usually caused by nerve irritation. Pay attention to if the pain crosses 2 or more joints, like from your neck across your shoulder and elbow and into your hand.

A great example of radiating pain is sciatica. If your sciatic nerve is irritated, then it can cause pain across your buttock and down your leg to your toes.

How Can We Help You?

Your chiropractor will do a medical history and examination to try to determine if your pain is referred or radiating. Once they have determined the cause of your pain, they can then begin to treat the underlying condition to alleviate the pain with spinal adjustments and physical modalities.

They can also advise you on changes you may need to make to your lifestyle so that the issue doesn’t reoccur. This may include dietary changes, exercise changes, or a more ergonomic setup at your office with frequent breaks for proper stretching.

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! 

Chiropractic Care As We Age

NASA Area Chiropractor Comments: As I get older, my idea of aging changes. I have noticed that there is a difference between being old and acting old. Our bodies change and we have to change what we do to enjoy our bodies to the fullest. One of the best things that a person can do to help slow the effects of aging is to receive regular chiropractic maintenance. Your chiropractor can show you a variety of ways to minimize the effects of getting older. 

The most obvious way is thru chiropractic adjustments. Manipulating the spine allows the joints to go thru their full range of motion. This helps to prevent adhesions in the joints from limiting their motion. The adjustment also helps with the joint receptors which aids in decreasing joint pain and discomfort and helps to minimize the use of pain medications. 

Chiropractic care also increases the range of motion in the spine and extremities. This is why many top professional sporting teams have team chiropractors. Greater motion means that you can bend and move further without injuring yourself. In addition, most chiropractors will show you specific stretches that will help you retain your gains.

Chiropractic has also been shown to increase balance and coordination. Spinal manipulation helps with the mechanoreceptors in the posterior joints of the cervical spine. When spinal defects, due to injury or degeneration, cause a decrease in joint proprioception, the patient begins stand with their legs further apart and walk with an uneven gait. Spinal manipulation and balance techniques will help to correct this. This will help decrease the incidence of falling.

Finally, chiropractic increases your health and well-being. When you have less pain and can move around more, you feel better. You have a better quality of sleep and you can do more of the activities that bring you joy.
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!

Holiday Spinal Havoc

Houston Area Chiropractor Comments: As the song goes, this is the most wonderful time of the year! We get to decorate our house and office. We go to parties and travel to see our family. We go shopping and carry large bags and boxes. Unfortunately, this sometimes causes us to eat too much, not exercise and forget to stretch. 

While taking the time to enjoy your friends and family, make sure to take the time to not overeat or drink to excess, make the effort to continue your exercises and continue to do your daily stretches. By making the effort to continue to do the correct things now it will minimize the chance of having any spinal pain return.

Enjoy the holiday season, but remember to take care of your spine at the same time.

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!

Disability vs Impairment

Clear Lake City Chiropractor Comments: One aspect of my practice is to perform independent medical examinations (IME’s). These examinations can be for workers compensation or for personal injury cases. Usually, as a part of my examination report, I will be asked several questions. One the questions that is frequently asked usually involves determining if the person has an impairment or a disability. For most people these seem like the same thing, but they are different. 

difference between medical and chiropractic doctor

The most commonly used definitions for disability and impairment in Texas come from the AMA’s “Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” 4th Ed. In that guide, impairment is defined as “an alteration of an individual’s health status. The impairment becomes permanent when it has “become static or stabilized during a period of time sufficient to allow optimal tissue repair, and one that is unlikely to change in spite of further medical or surgical therapy”. An impairment will interfere with a person’s activities of daily living (ADL’s). A specific numerical value will be given to show what percent of the person has been permanently impaired.

A disability is defined by the same guide as being “an alteration of an individual’s capacity to meet personal, social, occupational demands or statutory or regulatory requirements, because of an impairment.” The disability is the relationship between a person’s impairment and their life requirements, especially their occupation. In short, a disability is the difference between what a person can do and what they want or need to.

Using these as definitions, a person can be impaired, but not disabled. If a concert pianist loses his hand, he is impaired and disabled since he can no longer play the piano. If a business manager loses her hand, she has an impairment, but she is not disabled since she can still perform her job.
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!

Helping To Stop The Opioid Epidemic

Clear Lake City Chiropractor Comments: When I was in Chiropractic College 30 years ago, I remember my professors stating that for the treatment of back pain it should be; chiropractic first, medication second and surgery last. The intent was to see if a drugless surgery free solution could be found to get the patient out of pain and back to enjoying their life. If chiropractic did not resolve the problem then we would look at co-managing the patient’s problem with their medical doctor with the appropriate medication. Finally, if chiropractic and medication did not help, then we would look for a surgical solution.

Opiods

As people started having less time to fix and maintain their problem with proper exercises and stretches they started looking for the “quick fix” of taking drugs for pain relief. They have surgeries for problems that could have been resolved without surgery. They don’t do the follow-up exercises and stretches after their rehabilitation. Unfortunately this does nothing to fix the cause of the pain and eventually they need more and stronger drugs. 

Opioids are some of the strongest drugs available to reduce pain, but unfortunately they carry serious risks and side effects. Overdoses on these drugs were 5 times higher in 2017 than in 1999, with 70,000 drug overdoses in 2017 of which 68% involved opioids. Currently 130 people die every day in America from an opioid overdose.

Take the time to fix the problem first instead of masking the symptoms with drugs. Remember to do chiropractic first, drugs second and surgery last. If you have to have surgery, remember to continue with your exercises and stretches.
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!   

Does Chiropractic Treatment Require A Referral From My MD?

Does Chiropractic Treatment Require A Referral From My MD?

Houston Chiropractor Comments: This question does not get asked much now as it did 30 years ago when I started my chiropractic career. As chiropractic care has become more mainstream people now know that a doctor of chiropractic does not require a medical referral, unlike going to a physical therapist who needs a referral from a medical or chiropractic doctor to be treated in Texas. We are portal of entry doctors for most musculoskeletal complaints and can be seen by anyone. The only time that a patient requires a referral from their medical doctor to a chiropractor is for certain insurance HMO’s to be reimbursed. 

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!  

 

Why Should I Not Crack My Own Neck?

Neck Cracking

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: This is a fairly frequent question that I get from patients. I will also have parents ask me to tell their kids the danger of “cracking” their own neck, especially after the parents have witnessing them doing it. 

While chiropractic adjusting is a safe procedure when performed by a trained professional, it can have risks when performed by the untrained. Before a chiropractor adjusts a neck, they take a history and perform an examination. During the examination they palpate the spine to see where the joint is subluxated, or partially out of alignment. This tells them what direction the joint needs to be adjusted, or “cracked”. This is different than when you grab your own head and twist it hoping to hear the “cracking” noise. You don’t know which way to properly adjust it and that is why 20 – 30 minutes later you feel the urge to do it again. Usually you are actually manipulating the joint above or below the one that is actually causing the problem. 

Sometimes there can be a vascular problem and the “cracking” can cause some tingling or numbness. The chiropractor can check to see if any underlying vascular issues are present before causing a problem.

The tightness or discomfort might also be due to tight muscles and not a joint problem. In this case, there is no need to adjust your own spine. The problem can be resolved by doing the correct stretches and exercises. 

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!