Pain Free Living: How You And Your Chiropractor Can Work As A Team

orthopedic chiropractor helping to stretch patientHouston Chiropractor Comments: There are a lot of reasons that people go to see a chiropractor, but getting rid of pain is the most common. As a trained orthopedic chiropractor I have several ways to help make the pain go away, but the key is to do the things that keep the pain away.


The first thing to do is to become aware of is your posture and your positions. Posture will include things like sitting/standing up straight and not slouching. Position will be things like your work station, how you sleep or the number of pillows that you use.


The second thing is doing the appropriate stretches. Most chiropractic problems are associated with muscle tightness. This comes either from improper biomechanics (body movement) or muscle guarding. It is important that the associated muscles be properly stretched in the correct order. For each injured area, there is a correct sequence to get the maximum benefit.


The third thing to do is to break up and prevent future fibrotic adhesions. The 3 main ways that I show patients to do this is via a foam roller, a rolling stick and a small spike ball. The roller is very useful for large muscle groups such as the back and legs. The stick is good for smaller areas such as the IT band, forearms and lower neck. The ball is beneficial for areas around the shoulder and deep buttocks.


The final thing is to do the correct exercises to stabilize the area and balance the opposing muscle. The exercises can be as simple as building up the core strength to challenging specific areas of individual muscles.


As you can see, there are some things for me to do and some things for you to do. As a team we can work to find a way to correct the problem and maintain the correction.


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

You Shouldn’t Have To Suffer To Look Good

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: During this time of the year I have many patients dressing up for proms and graduations. Unfortunately, several of my patients have injured themselves just trying to “look good”. Looking fashionable should not be painful. The next time you have to get dressed up for a prom, banquet or wedding, keep a couple fashion tips in mind.


You do not have wear your grandmother’s orthopedic shoes, but wearing high heels puts an unnatural strain on your lower back. It also increases the likelihood of falls and can lead to hammertoes. A nice low heal or flat will be better on your spine and minimize the chance of falling.


How your clothes fit will also have an effect on how you feel. Tight and restrictive clothes will limit your motion and make it difficult for your body to bend in its normal manner. The restrictive motion will also put additional strain on your joints.


Extra weight is also a problem. I am not talking about your weight, but the weight of large purses, necklaces or earrings. Extra weight puts a strain on your muscles and joints. The necklaces and earrings put an additional strain on your neck muscles and joints. This can lead to neck and upper back pain as well as headaches. The purse should be small and the strap utilized. Attention should be made to switch the side that you are carrying the purse on periodically to prevent a muscle imbalance


These tips may seem trivial, but they have a direct effect on your health and wellbeing.


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


Chiropractic Care For Elderly Lower Back Pain

Elderly Lower Back Pain
168/365 Back pain flickr photo by Travelin’ Librarian shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: Chiropractic treatment of elderly lower back pain (LBP) has been reported to be very safe and highly effective.  In fact, back in 1994, guidelines were published recommending that chiropractic treatment of low back pain should be a first consideration / treatment of choice in front of many other forms of back care health services.  Since that time, more and more studies have been published showing continued advantages of chiropractic care over many other forms of LBP care.

Even though studies have shown that the peak prevalence of LBP occurs in the 5th decade of life, LBP is also a significant public health problem in older adults ranging between 13% and 49% with “…soaring costs in terms of health care expenditures.” So, what about care for the elderly – is chiropractic care equally safe and effective in this older population as it is in younger patients?

A recent study reported two types of spinal manipulation or adjustments verses minimal conservative medical care (MCMC) in patients with subacute or chronic, non-radiating elderly lower back pain over 55 years of age.  This included a total of 240 participants, of which 105 were women and 135 were men with an average age of 63 years.  The two types of manipulation included a high velocity low amplitude type (the classic “cracking” type of manipulation) and a low velocity variable amplitude type (stretch – not associated with a “crack”) treated 12 times over a 6 week time frame.  A 3rd treatment group (MCMC) served as a “control” to compare against the two manipulation approaches.  All three groups received a half hour exercise session at week 3 and outcomes were studied at 3, 6, 12 & 24 weeks.  The results showed equally effective benefits to the two styles of manipulation over the MCMC group, with no serious adverse events associated with any of the treatment groups.

This study is important in a number of ways. First, it points out that two distinctive styles of manipulation frequently utilized in chiropractic and likely to be encountered by patients obtaining chiropractic care, are equally effective in a population exceeding 55 years of age for elderly lower back pain.  The type of manipulation ultimately decided upon can therefore be based on: 1) patient preference (as some patients just don’t like being “cracked”) and 2) the chiropractor’s clinical experience.

When visiting our clinic, we take pride in providing accurate, up-to-date information about our patient’s condition and what must be done to obtain long term, satisfying results.  We are most appreciative to have the opportunity to provide care to our patients and strive to make the experience highly satisfying.

If you, a family member or a friend requires care, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services.  We are proud that chiropractic care for elderly lower back pain has consistently scored the highest level of satisfaction when compared to other forms of health care provision and 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 or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Top 5 Chiropractic Myths

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: In the 28 years that I have been a chiropractor, I have been consistently surprised by some of the myths about chiropractic and chiropractors that still persist today. Here are the ones that I hear the most.

  1. Adjustments hurt: When someone is experiencing back pain the last thing they want to experience is worsened pain in the chiropractor’s office. If your chiropractor is performing an adjustment correctly, it should not be painful. Though there might be some brief discomfort, this has to do with your presenting injury and not the adjustment itself. Generally, patients feel relieved and comfortable after an adjustment. Any soreness noted should be similar to what you feel after too much yard work or working out at the gym.
  2. Once you start you have to keep going: Everyone is afraid of making commitments, especially financial ones, and no one wants to hear that once they see a chiropractor they will have to go for the rest of their lives. The chiropractor will develop a specific treatment plan after identifying what is causing your pain. This plan includes the number of sessions the chiropractor believes you will need to complete the care and improve your symptoms. Some patients will see a chiropractor for conservative maintenance, in the same way you would eat healthy foods or exercise, the choice to continue going is up to you.
  3. Chiropractic Care is Dangerous: Chiropractic care is inaccurately believed to be more dangerous than standard medical care. Chiropractic care is less invasive than other medical interventions that increase risk for injury. Surgery and medical side effects are more dangerous than any of the non-invasive methods that chiropractors prescribe, like a neck manipulation or spinal adjustment. The American Chiropractic Association has compiled information about risk of death from spine surgery, neck surgery, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin, all of which have a much higher risk of serious side effects and death.
  4. Chiropractors aren’t REAL doctors: Most people are aware of the delicate nature of necks and spines, and therefore only want to entrust their care to a doctor that is properly accredited. Generally, chiropractors have four years of pre-medical undergraduate education, learning about various scientific fields. Next, they have to complete 10 trimesters or about 4 years of study at an accredited chiropractic college. During these years, students must complete approximately 4,800 hours of study, combining time in the classroom and laboratory and clinical experience.  This breadth of education prepares chiropractors to treat the variety of cases they see.
  5. Cracking your back yourself is the same thing: This falsehood is particularly frustrating considering the above information about the advanced training each chiropractor has to receive to be able to practice. This training enables chiropractors to have an understanding of the sensitive nature of joints and how they function. People also incorrectly assume that it is the same thing when their massage therapist, coach or physical therapist performs it, it isn’t. Just because you hear a noise when you crack your back at home does not mean you have achieved the same results as a carefully orchestrated spinal adjustment in the chiropractor’s office.

    68669_2835 flickr photo by DrDawn1 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

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


Is It Really Neck Pain?

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Houston Area Chiropractor Comments: A 48-year-old male had left sided neck pain with intermittent left arm tingling, numbness, and aching for 2.5 months. The pain was described as a deep nagging ache on the left side of the neck with a more intense pain in the left shoulder blade that occurred without any specific activity.  Also, no particular position of the neck or head changed the symptoms in the neck or left arm.  The patient described having periodic episodes of neck and left arm pain/numbness 4 or 5 times over the last 10 years, and he felt that this episode was similar to the previous episodes.  He had utilized chiropractic treatment previously with good results and was considering calling for an appointment once again.

photo 1.JPG flickr photo by alsocutenfluffy shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Everything “looks and sounds” like a neck condition with an associated pinched nerve causing pain and tingling radiating down the arm – but is it?

After carefully questioning, it was discovered that no specific date of onset could be tied to a trauma (specific injury), over-use activity, or any other identifiable cause. Similarly, he stated that no specific position of the head/neck or arm changed the intensity or length of time the pain lasted.  This is unusual for a pinched nerve in the neck as the nerves are stretched when the arm hangs down at the side increasing the pain, and less stretched when the arm is raised over the head resulting in less arm symptoms.  Another inconsistent finding was that the whole arm rather than a specific part of the arm was symptomatic.  Usually, a pinched nerve follows a specific course down the arm affecting either the 4th and 5th fingers or the thumb side of the hand, but not the whole arm and hand. The physical examination was fairly typical for neck pain sufferers – limited ranges of motion of the neck, neck pain reduction with manual traction and increased with compression tests.  However, there were no arm symptom changes during the neck ranges of motion tests, compression tests, or elevating the arm.

These history and examination findings should alert the health care provider of a possible “organic” cause for the symptoms rather than the “pinched nerve” diagnosis.  When considering a list of possible “organic” causes, heart disease must be first on the list since it has life threatening potential.  In the case presentation above, the patient was indeed having a heart attack where the blood vessels to part of the heart wall were blocked and the blood carrying oxygen to the heart muscle couldn’t get through, thus was causing the “referred pain” to the left side of the neck, shoulder blade and down the left arm.  It is important to know that this heart related referred pain pattern never involves the right arm – only the left.  Other potential symptoms can include left jaw (TMJ) pain, and the more obvious left sided chest pain, even though these were not present in this case.

We welcome you to contact our office for a thorough evaluation or to answer any questions concerning you, your loved ones, or friends concerning neck pain, with or without arm complaints.  The good news is that it is probably your neck and not your heart that is causing the symptoms.  Most importantly, rest assured that we ALWAYS consider all possibilities.

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

Is Your Back Healing Correctly?

Clear Lake City Chiropractor Comments: It’s a good question. We want to do the things that promote and speed healing, and not do the kinds of things that cause more harm or are destructive. A lot of us know that a little rest when we injure the back is ok, but staying in bed for a week might not be a good idea. Studies have shown that bed rest for more than 2 days causes even more pain. Since our goal is to move, then lying down doesn’t seem like a worthwhile step towards that goal.

Some of us know that when the back flares up, ice is better than heat. Some of us still don’t, and instead throw gasoline on the inflammation fire by having a soak in the hot tub.

These things are obvious on the list of do’s and don’ts for the person with low back pain. But pain pills have a downside that a lot of us are not aware.

It seems like taking a pill for few days to help with pain is reasonable enough. Right? Maybe wrong.

For example, certain NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen) can make the scar formation in a muscle strain less effective. Instead of the scar being formed properly, it is in a more disorganized or scrambled fashion. If you have a poorer scar, the tissue will not be as strong and could lead to re-injury or a delay in your recovery. We don’t think about it but just not taking pain pills early on would help for a lifetime. Ice can be an effective pain killer and doesn’t come with medication-side effects.

Muscle relaxants are also prescribed for people with back pain. They are consumed by 49% of patients. The theory is that the muscle spasm should be relieved so that there can be less muscle pain. A study of patients who took muscle relaxants showed that these sufferers recovered more slowly. Unfortunately, the muscle spasm is there for good reason: to protect a delicate nerve.

Another thing that you have to consider besides poor scar formation and slowed healing is the actual purpose of these medications. You have to also ask yourself why your body wants you to feel this pain. The body wants you to protect the area from movement. If you block the pain with medications, you may move too much, or too soon in the healing process, delaying your recovery.

A study that compared chiropractic adjustments to muscle relaxants in patients with low back pain had interesting results. There was also a sham adjustment group and a placebo medicine group. The authors concluded that chiropractic care had superior results.

At Beecher Chiropractic Clinic, we can help guide you to when you can return to certain work or sports. By gradually integrating exercises into your daily routine as the function of the joints is improved, your injury can heal more naturally.

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

Low Back Pain and Your Emotions

Clear Lake City Doctor Comments: This article discusses how anger and emotional expression may affect your back pain. For years many medical doctors thought back pain was more of an issue in the brain than the spine. Research has shown this to be the case in many who are disabled from work. But mechanical sprain injuries of the spine are also critical to body function and how much pain you may experience. You just cannot separate the brain from the body and expect to tackle a difficult problem like low back pain.

Researchers at Duke University looked at this complex problem by measuring the amount of emotional expression, anger, and back pain in patients. The studies included 61 persons with chronic low back pain. The results were quite interesting. Patients who reported greater conflict with regard to expressing emotions may be experiencing higher pain and anger.

Have you ever considered that how you express your emotions could affect how much the back hurts? Do you hold on to angry thoughts and feelings? Ignoring these issues does not make the problem go away. And covering-up your emotions with a cocktail of medications doesn’t seem like a good long-term solution, especially with the unhealthy side effects that can sometimes occur.

Of course there is a difference between “blowing up” at someone and expressing emotions appropriately. Have you tried opening up to someone? A friend or counselor can help show how your emotions can be dealt with constructively. Some patients have severe emotional conflicts and may require psychological support. Others can become more “in tune” with the emotional side of life through simple awareness. Does your back flare up around emotional periods of your life? We can help with the mechanical stresses of the spine, but to maximize your potential you have to consider emotions and the brain. By integrating a mind-body approach to health, the complexity of back pain is addressed more fully. This may get you more engaged with life, more active, and with a healthy outgoing attitude.

Being in chronic pain is no fun, for us, as well as our friends and family. So if you think your emotions (or lack of emotions) may have something to do with your back pain, consult a competent health care provider who addresses the whole person. When patients can confront these issues in a calm and supportive environment, the need for medications if often reduced.

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

Headaches: A New Perspective on an Old Problem

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: It’s remarkable to consider how many different types of pain relievers there are for headaches. Not just the corner drug stores but also supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations keep an abundant supply. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, is consumed daily in America by the truckloads.

Have you ever thought about how we approach a health problem or symptom? Too often it’s a knee-jerk reaction were we pop a pill for whatever ails us. Rarely do we ask why there is a headache? What is causing this headache?

It is very well established that there are many causes for headaches. Chemical imbalances in the body can of course cause head pain such as in dehydration or intoxication.

But in large part, the pill stock in gas stations isn’t targeted to the occasional hangover, it supplies the masses who suffer with tension headaches, migraines, and headaches due to mechanical neck disorders (e.g. whiplash). So what is the pill actually doing chemically? This varies from pill to pill. The side effects can range from stomach bleeding, to liver and kidney problems. Most people who take these medications have pain for years and decades. It is long-term use that is especially detrimental to the body. Headaches are a chronic disease and it is likely there will be triggers for you for many years to come.

Prescription NSAIDs and pain pills are usually much more powerful unless you’re doubling up on over-the-counter drugs. With prescription patches and pills it is easy to get addicted if taken over the long run.

But there is a different way to see the problem than the chemical approach. Although the mode of action of these different drugs changes, an important fact remains that they do not treat mechanical problems of the neck. If your headache is being caused by a joint injury in the neck, no amount of drug can correct this postural fault.

How would I know if my headache is really a spine problem? It could be that you notice stiffness in the neck or maybe it’s harder to look over one shoulder. If your headaches are accompanied by a lot of shoulder and neck stiffness and tension, this is a sign of a spine cause. In some cases though, the spine symptoms are very mild, so it is easy to see why patients rarely make the connection in their minds.

A thorough examination is needed to determine if your headache is being caused by a spine injury. X-rays are often used to precisely determine the positions of your spinal vertebrae. They also show the condition of the discs, and any degeneration from older spine injuries.

Several clinical trials have shown chiropractic adjustments are effective for patients with tension-type and migraine headaches. After the spinal problem is corrected, we can show you ways to prevent future problems.

By identifying the cause of your headache, you’ve changed your thinking to looking past the pain and asking why? Now take the time to fix your problem.

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