What Do Insurance Companies Say About Chiropractic?

Houston Chiropractic Comments: If chiropractic care helps patients get better faster and costs the patient and/or insurance company less, shouldn’t EVERY low back pain patient FIRST see a chiropractor before any other type of doctor? That is in fact, what should be done, based on the literature.

Insurance flickr photo by free pictures of money shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

A few years ago a report was delivered on the impact on population, health and total health care spending. It was found the addition of chiropractic care for the treatment of neck and low back pain “…will likely increase value-for-dollar in US employer-sponsored health benefit plans.” Authored by an MD and an MD/PhD, and commissioned by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, the findings are clear; chiropractic care achieves higher satisfaction and superior outcomes for both neck and low back pain in a manner more cost effective than other commonly utilized approaches.

The study reviews the fact that low back and neck pain are extremely common conditions consuming large amounts of health care dollars. In 2002, 26% of surveyed US adults reported having back pain in the prior 3 months, 14% had neck pain and the lifetime prevalence of back pain was estimated at 85%. LBP accounts for 2% of all physician office visits where only routine examinations, hypertension, and diabetes result in more. Annual national spending is estimated at $85 billion in the US with an inflation-adjusted increase of 65% compared to 1997. The numbers have continued to rise thru 2016 as the population ages. Treatment options are diverse ranging from rest to surgery, including many various types of medications. Chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation and mobilization, is reportedly also widely utilized with almost half of all patients with persisting back pain seeking chiropractic treatment.

In review of the scientific literature, it is noted that 1) chiropractic care is at least as effective as other widely used therapies for low back pain; 2) Chiropractic care, when combined with other modalities such as exercise, appears to be more effective than other treatments for patients with neck pain. Other studies reviewed reported patients who had chiropractic coverage included in their insurance benefits found lower costs, reduced imaging studies, less hospitalizations, and surgical procedures compared to those with no chiropractic coverage. They then utilized a method to compare medical physician care, chiropractic physician care, physiotherapy led exercise and, manipulation plus physiotherapy-led exercise for low back pain care. They found adding chiropractic physician care is associated with better outcomes.

When combined with exercise, chiropractic physician care was also found to be very cost-effective when compared to exercise alone. When comparing the cost effectiveness of chiropractic care with or without exercise even at 5 times the cost of the care they utilized in their analysis, it was still found to be “substantially more cost-effective” compared to the other approaches. It will be interesting given these findings if insurance companies and future treatment guidelines start to MANDATE the use of chiropractic FIRST – it would be in everyone’s best interest!

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

Low Back Pain and Excessive Weight

Houston Chiropractor Comments: Two things that are epidemic in the U.S. are low back pain and obesity (being overweight). The two go hand-in-hand and while excessive weight may not be the only cause of your pain, it does makes matters worse by aggravating your pain through increased loading the disks of the low back. In addition, most people with low back pain or who are excessively heavy are also very inactive.

lower back painThe first step is to perform movements that don’t increase pain. For most people, walking can still be done. If your back hurts when you walk or you are so heavy, that walking causes your knees to ache, then you may need to start by walking in a pool. The important thing is to get moving because weight-loss will be helped if you can burn more calories. Walking will also improve the strength of your low back muscles, which may lessen your pain, making exercise more possible.

Over the years, the gradual increase in our waist size just sort of creeps up on us. When our back begins to give way, we then realize what a barrier being overweight has become.

Getting rid of your excessive weight is a simple formula of burning more calories than you consume. But, losing weight is not easy. Your genes will tell you to consume more because eating less than you need in a given day is not life sustaining. If you ate 500 less calories than you need each day, after a year or so, you’d be down to 80 or 90 pounds (depending on where you began) and eventually you would die. This is what you are up against when you’re losing weight. The body tells you “don’t do this” and gives you the craving to eat what you need. Despite this self-preservation mechanism, losing weight is possible and getting down to a proper weight is doable. For some people, psychological issues may be more at play. Do you eat to cover up or distract you from pain or anxiety? Are you really hungry, or has eating become a way to compensate for something more painful or difficult to confront?

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

Low Back Pain: An Ice Pack or the Hot Tub?

To download a copy of this week’s newsletter, please click here.

Back pain doctor comments: Many patients do some self-care when they first hurt their lower back, hoping this will keep them out of a doctor’s office. Home remedies sometimes make the pain go away and sometimes they don’t. It depends on what you try. When the back is first hurt, it’s often a sprain/strain type of injury with accompanying muscle spasm.  When a nerve in the low back gets pinched or irritated, the body will protect the delicate nerves by keeping you from moving and risking further nerve injury. The easiest way for the body to do this is to cause the back muscles to spasm and splint the injured area.Back Pain Remedy

Is Heat or Cold Better for Lower Back Pain?

Muscle pain can be quite severe and heat can sometimes soothe muscle pain. For this reason, many patients take to the heating pad or the hot tub to try and get some relief. This should be avoided in an acute injury because inflammation is present. With inflammation, there is increased heat and the additional heat you provide is like adding gasoline to a fire. The results are usually not good. You will probably feel good for 20-30 minutes and then the pain will return.

A better choice with an acute injury is to ice the area, but this also needs to be done with some caution. The simplest ice pack is ice cubes placed in a plastic bag. While effective, you can cause a frostbite injury if you leave the pack on for too long. When you first ice the area, you will go through several phases before some pain relief is achieved. At first the pack will feel cold. The next phase is a burning sensation and the ice will almost feel hot. This is followed by an aching or throbbing sensation. Just before the area is numbed, a very sharp pain will be experienced followed by the relief you desire. This can take from five to ten minutes to go through all of the phases. Once numbness is achieved, the pack should be removed. This will be about 20 minutes. You should most definitely not fall asleep while the pack is on.

Treatment for Lower Back Pain in Houston

If this simple procedure does not solve the problem, it’s best to get your spine checked by a doctor of chiropractic.

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

Dr Beecher’s March 11 Weekly Chiropractic Newsletter

To download Dr. Beecher’s Weekly Newsletter, please click here!


Week of Monday, March 11th, 2013

Courtesy of Ward Beecher, D.C.  (281) 286-1300


Mental Attitude: The Elderly and Facebook. Elderly adults who learned to use Facebook on a daily basis scored 25% better on tests measuring their cognitive abilities than their peers who did not. University of Arizona, February 2013


Health Alert: Baby Boomers Vs. Preceding Generation! As each generation grows older, they believe they are healthier than the previous generation. However, the baby boomers are unable to make this claim. Compared to the preceding generation at the same stage of their lives, fewer have “excellent” health (13% vs. 32%), more have high blood pressure (75% vs. 35%), and more are obese (36% vs. 25%). JAMA Internal Medicine, February 2013


Diet: The Southern Diet and Stroke. People from the American South are 20% more likely to have a stroke than those from other parts of the country, and the Southern diet may be to blame. People who eat Southern style food high in fat, sugar, and salt at least 6 times a week were at 41% higher risk for a stoke. People whose diets consisted of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at least 5 times a week were 29% less likely to have a stroke. American Stroke Association, February 2013


Exercise: Tai Chi? Tai Chi may reduce falls among adult stroke survivors. Tai Chi is a martial art dating back to ancient China that includes physical movements, mental concentration, and relaxed breathing. American Stroke Association, February 2013


Chiropractic: Recommended For Back Pain. The Royal College of General Practitoners’ 2009 recommendation for treating non-specific low back pain advises doctors to advocate exercise and manipulation (such as chiropractic care) before pharmacological (drug) therapies and more invasive treatments (like surgery). National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellences, 2009


Wellness/Prevention: Sunshine and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Routine exposure to the sun, especially ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, may decrease the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Those with the most elevated rates of exposure were 21% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than who had less exposure. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, February 2013


Quote: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ Unknown


This Weekly Health News Update is compliments of Dr. Ward Beecher and Beecher Chiropractic Clinic. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at 281-286-1300 or BeecherChiropractic.com .

Dr Beecher’s May 2012 Monthly Chiropractic Newsletter

To download Dr. Beecher’s Monthly Newsletter, please click here!

“Simple kindness to one’s self and all that lives is the

most powerful transformational force of all.” ~ Dr. David Hawkins

Also in this issue:

  • S. Regulators Probe Painkiller Trials Suspecting “Joint Failure”
  • When Is A Headache Just A Headache & When Is It A Medical Emergency?
  • TV Doctor Gets “Schooled” About Chiropractors


DEAD MAN SUCCEEDING:  How Sam Cawthorn Became An Overwhelming Success After Being Pronounced Dead And Losing His Arm In A Tragic Car Accident.



ouston – Back pain is very common.  In fact, it has been estimated that up to 80% of people will suffer from back pain in their lifetime.  It is easy to search for that stat on the web but finding a solution for back pain has proven much more difficult.

For a long time, rest was the “treatment” of choice. In many cases, bed rest.  In recent years, experts have prescribed a more active approach.

Physical therapy and specific therapeutic exercises came to the forefront of many back pain treatments.  Now, results from new research are hinting at a different approach, an approach where both (rest and exercise) are right… and wrong.

Here’s what this is all about:  A study published February 29, 2012 in BMC Medicine compared rest vs. active treatment with low back patients with modic changes (MC).  Modic changes have been described as early disk degenerative changes only seen on an MRI.

Results: In total, 100 patients were included in the study. Data was available on 87 patients at 10 weeks and 96 patients at one-year follow-up and used in the intention-to-treat analysis.

Conclusions: No statistically significant differences were found between the two treatment approaches (rest vs. active treatment) in patients with persistent LBP and modic changes.

What does all this mean?  According to the study’s lead author, Rikke K. Jensen, MSc, “The results do not suggest that patients with MCs should not exercise… But I think clinicians should be careful; when patients come back and say this treatment didn’t work, it’s not because they did it the wrong way or they didn’t do it enough. It’s very possible that this treatment is just not very effective for this group of patients.”


It is estimated that 40% of low back pain sufferers have modic changes.  This means exercise may not be the best treatment protocol for 4 out of 10 sufferers.

The cause of modic changes is unknown. Jensen said, “We know that they are part of the degeneration process but we still don’t know what causes them.”

It is theorized they may be caused by mechanical stress. Mechanical stress can cause excessive loading, micro fractures and inflammation of the vertebral endplate and bone marrow.

“When you’re jumping up and down on micro fractures, they tend not to get better,” said Jensen. “It was important for us to test the hypothesis that people don’t improve with exercise if they have these MCs, and there are other treatment options that could prove to be more effective.”

Here’s something interesting:  One Chiropractic theory is that malfunctioning spinal joints cause abnormal mechanical stress.  Over time, this can cause degenerative changes.

So, is it possible that exercising on a spine with malfunctioning joints is doing more harm than good?

Some Chiropractors have theorized that these spinal malfunctions should be corrected BEFORE an exercise program is started.

More research needs to be done but it seems like there is no one answer when it comes to helping back pain sufferers.  Every case is individual and no one way is the ultimate solution.

Is the best way to treat back pain to first correct the mechanical malfunctions of the spine and then use exercise to regain strength and flexibility?

This and other questions still need to be answered.  Up-to-date doctors will see each case of low back pain as individual and devise a unique treatment plan.  They will also know when to adjust the treatment plan if it is not working.

WARNING:  FDA Links Pain

Drug To Joint Failure

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer thought they had a great new painkiller.  As it turns out, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says there is a clear association between the nerve-blocking medication and incidences of joint failure that led the agency to halt studies.

According to USA Today, “Problems with the [drug] began to emerge in the summer of 2010. Beginning in June, Pfizer halted studies of its experimental injection tanezumab in patients with osteoarthritis, low back pain and diabetic nerve pain. The action was requested by the Food and Drug Administration, after researchers reported that osteoarthritis actually worsened in some patients, causing joint failure in some cases.”

TV doctor gets “schooled” about Chiropractors.

Chiropractic has been through a lot.  Its founder, Daniel D. Palmer, was put in jail for practicing medicine without a license.  Many other Chiropractors were jailed for the same offense.

Times have changed.  Chiropractic has been licensed in every state for many decades and is accepted by mainstream medicine.  In fact, chiropractors and medical doctors work together every day in clinics around the world.

But, some ignorance still exists, such as this example taken from an ABCNews4 story:

         It’s Wellness Wednesday and that means our very own back expert, Dr. Ellen Rhame of the Southeastern Spine Institute, stopped by to answer today’s viewer question.

         Anita from West Ashley wrote in, “I have chronic back pain. Should I be seen at Southeastern Spine prior to getting regular adjustments from a chiropractor?”

            Dr. Ellen says there is nothing wrong with chiropractors. The only issue is she wants to make sure that people are getting evaluated properly before they look for alternate means of medicine.  At the Institute, they can show you what’s wrong with your back and give you some ideas on what your next steps should be.  Dr. Ellen says that she is just concerned that some people will go without being treated properly and do more harm than good.

Here is a comment posted by a reader on the program’s website: “Dr. Ellen is not well-versed about chiropractic physicians. By law, they are required to be able to differentially diagnose conditions that could mask as back pain. For example, chiropractors must take multiple tests at the state and federal levels to show proficiency in the ability to diagnose neurological, urinary, gynecological, intestinal, hormonal, cardiovascular, pediatric and other non-musculoskeletal conditions. You can be confident your chiropractic physician has the training to send you to the proper medical provider if your back pain is caused from some other condition.”

And don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

Inspirational Story Of The Month –

(Names And Details Have Been Changed To Protect Privacy)


How Sam Cawthorn became an overwhelming success after being pronounced dead and losing his arm in a tragic car accident…


Amazing.  Awesome.  Unbelievable.  We hear these words just about every day. 99.9% of the time, they describe something un-amazing,  un-awesome, un-unbelievable and quite frankly, pretty common.  In the case of Australian native Sam Cawthorn, things are very different.  If you used all these words to describe him, you would be at least accurate and you may even be under-exaggerating him. Sam has a passion for helping people.  He previously worked as a Regional Industry Careers Adviser and assisted local industry to identify skill shortages and provide solutions for youth entering the workforce.

That’s great, but not “Amazing.”  Here’s what’s amazing…

In October 2006, Cawthorn was involved in a head-on collision with a semi-trailer.  It was a horrific accident and Cawthorn was pronounced dead on the scene.  Miraculously, he was resuscitated… but he lost his right arm and has a permanent disability in his right leg.

Sam was hospitalized after the accident for more than 5 months and was told he may not survive and would never walk again.  A year later, he was still breathing and back on his fee.

In 2007, he started “Be Motivated,” a program aimed at providing young people with skills to improve their confidence and self-belief in order to attain personal goals while remaining positive when faced with adversity. To deliver this information, he regularly conducts motivational assemblies at schools in Australia and around the world.  Sam wants everyone he works with to discover their purpose and strive towards well-defined goals.  He believes having a great and positive mental attitude is extremely important and there are no excuses for not achieving whatever you want to achieve in life.

One of his major principles is “bouncing forward” after a setback.  Setbacks are simply challenges that will propel you forward, if you have the right approach and mindset, and if you let them.

Sam was awarded the 2009 Young Australian of the Year Award from Tasmania.  The same year, he also started the Cawthorn Foundation.  The goal of the foundation is to assist disadvantaged youth in developing countries to enjoy basic human rights.

Also in 2009, Cawthorn became Ambassador for CBM Australia’s human rights advocacy movement which creates awareness for people living with disabilities in developing nations. Under a campaign titled ‘Create2Change,’ Cawthorn traveled around India with a film crew to find stories of individuals living with a disability in the most poverty stricken communities.

Cawthorn is also a musician and one of the few people in the world able to play a guitar with an above elbow amputation.

Cawthorn loves working with children and was quoted as saying, “A lot of these young people come over to me and share with me their own journeys, and I guess by talking with me they feel encouraged and realize there is a light at the end of the tunnel because they can see someone who has suffered massive trauma, yet their attitude, positivity and happiness can shine through.”

Yes, he seems legitimately awesome!


            We love helping our patients and their friends and relatives through their tough times and getting them feeling better!  We are here to help you stay feeling better and looking younger!  Don’t be a stranger.  You really can afford Chiropractic care! Don’t wait until you can no longer move!

Did You Know?…

Fresh Juice For Your Health

Adding fresh juices to your diet may be one of the best everyday things you can do for your health. With juicing, you can take in far more nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables than you ever could just by eating them straight. These nutrients both protect us from disease and boost our health and vitality.  For example, it’s easy to consume the nutrients of a couple of pounds of carrots in a day if you juice them. While carrots are well known to be rich in Vitamin A and help with our night vision, carrot juice is also a great juice to detoxify the liver. This means your liver can process out more of the chemicals that most people are regularly exposed to. Because your liver is also your prime fat burning organ, detoxifying your liver also means it’s easier to lose excess weight.  If you add some beets to your carrot juice, you can also take in hearty doses of betalains, which raises your body’s detoxification enzymes. This helps your body process out even more manmade chemicals that, without detoxification methods, can be hard to remove. Greens of any sort are another favorite for juicing. Greens are powerful because they add lots of chlorophyll to the body, a powerful blood cleanser and blood builder. With juicing, you can add in lots of fabulously healthy vegetables that you might not otherwise include much of in your diet (and these juices are delicious, too).

Tip Of The Month

When Is A Headache “Just A Headache” & When Is It A Medical Emergency?

Have you ever had a headache?  Most people have. Some get them quite frequently.  Well, has this thought ever crossed your mind: “Is this just another headache… or is this something serious?”  That is an important question that could save you or a loved one’s life.  But, before we differentiate headaches, the first thing to understand is that there is no such thing as “just a headache.”  While some are MORE dangerous and even life threatening, all headaches are a sign that something is wrong.  Know this: Pain is not normal.  It is your body’s way of telling you there is a problem.  For example, if you put your hand too close to a fire, it hurts.  The closer you get… the more it hurts.  Too close, and it starts to burn.  If you have a headache, there is a cause.  Your body is sending you warning signals and you should be examined by a health care professional trained to diagnose headaches, their causes and treatment options.  Chiropractors are trained to diagnose many types of headaches and have had success treating one of the most common types of headaches, the cervicogenic headache. A cervicogenic headache is a headache that is characterized by chronic head pain that is referred to the head from either bony structures or soft tissue of the neck.  So, if you get headaches, a Chiropractor is a good option for both diagnosis and treatment.

Now, what you should know about headaches and medical emergencies?  In a recent article in Tribune Newspapers, Joshua Miller, Medical Director at the Cleveland Clinic’s Strongsville Family Health Center, said, “The headaches that worry us are ones that start suddenly, like a thunderclap… especially if it’s accompanied by a stiff neck, nausea, fever, bright lights bothering your eyes… it could be bleeding on the brain, encephalitis, meningitis or some other viral or bacterial infection within the spinal fluid.”

Here are other signs and symptoms of a medical emergency:  Chest pain and squeezing/tightness of the chest, nausea and shortness of breath, and fluttering heart.   If you feel short of breath after doing an everyday task you usually do not get shortness of breath from, you should not ignore it.  Also, abdominal pain should not be ignored.  Fever, abdominal pain, vomiting can mean big trouble.  Kidney stones and gallbladder disease are possibilities.  Bottom line: you should not try to diagnose yourself.  No headaches are “normal” and sometimes, they can be quite serious.


Remember, we’re always here to help your body heal

and maintain the pain free body you deserve.


This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice.  Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history. We cannot be held responsible for actions you may take without a thorough exam or appropriate referral. If you have any further concerns or questions, please let us know.

A Natural Solution To Back Pain

Houston Back Doctor Comments: Getting your health back after a spine injury can be problematic if you do not approach it holistically. What is meant by holism? In general it is caring for the person as a whole vs. individual parts, and using techniques that assist different bodily systems. It can be treating the mind as well as the body. It is well known that depression is an important risk factor for back pain.

When dealing with a mechanical spinal problem, the doctor needs to consider the condition of the disks and ligaments, scar tissue, muscle strength, posture, movement, and alignment. A simple prescription, while effective at reducing pain, is not a good solution in the long run. For example, the scar in muscles that is formed after injury when NSAIDs (ibuprofen) are used is much weaker. The patient needs to also consider the side effects of stomach or gastrointestinal bleeding that can come with long-term use. Leaving joints problems to sit for years while masking the pain, will just make future rehabilitation more difficult and less effective.

Pain is a signal for your body to avoid certain movements and can be very protective. While muscle pain is expected during rehabilitation, if there is ligament or joint pain, then you’re pushing it too hard.

Exercise and stretching without attention to joint injuries, will also not work over time. It’s hard to maintain exercise when there is joint pain. Chiropractic care can keep the spine and other joints flexible while you also approach the other aspects of spine function with specific exercises and stretching.

Maintaining a healthy body weight is also part of any holistic approach. If you’re overweight, this adds tremendous stress to your spine. In some cases it may be important to first get your weight down, before commencing an exercise program, or weight training.

In addition to proper weight control you have to also consider sound nutrition in terms of vitamin and mineral consumption. Most patients need to do better at eating green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and other nutritious foods. One has to avoid harmful fats, and chemicals/preservatives that are often present in highly processed foods. Supplements such as manganese and glucosamine chondroitin may help joint health. Although there are few studies on how effective these supplements help, the downside or side effects are quite minimal.

As a doctor of chiropractic, I can advise you on integrating a holistic approach with spinal joint care, strength training, flexibility, and sound nutrition.

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

How to Prevent Low Back Pain

While 80% of us will suffer a severe back pain episode at some point in our lives, most of us at any given time should be more concerned about preventing or aggravating back pain, rather than resolving a set-back. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are two aspects to prevention of back pain: keeping strong and flexible, and avoiding mistakes during movements.

As far as exercise is concerned, nothing is more beneficial to the spine than walking. Remember that your spine is your “core,” and the core is activated with fast-paced walking. Most of us don’t think of how the spine is affected with walking, instead focusing on the legs. Make walking part of your daily routine. Walk a few blocks or across town to run an errand, rather than getting into a car for these short trips. Park a few blocks away when you have to use the car, so that you can get in a few minutes of walking. Some of us spend five minutes circling in a parking lot just to get a space close to the front door or we get frustrated when we can’t find a space close to the gym! In contrast to sitting, which increases pressure on our disks, walking strengthens muscles and dissipates the pressure on our lower disks.

Keep the back flexible through slow stretching in all of the different ranges. Tight muscles at the back of the thighs-the hamstrings are an often neglected area that affects the lower spine tremendously. To stretch these muscles, stand upright and put on foot on the back of a chair or sofa. Slowly bend forward and hold this position for 30-40 seconds. It should cause a tight burning pain at the back of the leg. It should not cause a shooting pain down your leg, or increase pain in the lower spine. If it does, then see a doctor of chiropractic (DC) immediately. When the hamstrings are flexible, this allows the pelvis to rotate forward when you bend over. If the hamstrings are not flexible, then the lower spine will bend too much to accomplish any lifting task.

The second aspect to preventing back pain is avoiding mistakes, such as lifting with your back, instead of your legs. This is especially true if an object is very heavy. Sometimes the object is light, but we lift in an awkward position, standing with most of our weight on one leg, then bending and twisting, such as getting grocery bags from a back seat, or moving and positioning a child safety seat. Especially avoid twisting motions of the lower spine while bending over. Also, use one of your hands to help brace your spine, which will decrease the pressure on your disks.

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

“Ice vs Heat”. Which one is right?

Ice vs Heat Which One Is Right?

Houston Chiropractor Comments: A common question I get in my clinic is “When do I use heat and when do I use ice?” Unfortunately this question is usually asked after they have already done the wrong one. The patient has usually relied on old information that has been passed down from grandma or what they remember their coach saying 20 years ago.

To understand which one to use, you need to understand the basic physiology of what you are trying to do. Cold therapy with ice is the best immediate treatment for acute injuries because it reduces swelling and pain. Ice is a vasoconstrictor (it causes the blood vessels to narrow) and it limits internal bleeding and swelling at the injury site. Apply ice (wrapped in a thin towel for comfort) to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. Allow the skin temperature to return to normal before icing a second or third time (about 40 minutes). You can ice an acute injury every hour. It does not matter if the injury was 24 or 48 or 72 hours before, if there is swelling and pain, use ice.

Cold therapy is also helpful in treating some overuse injuries or chronic pain in athletes. An athlete who has chronic back pain or neck pain that increases after exercising may want to ice the injured area after exercise to reduce or prevent inflammation. It’s not helpful to ice a chronic injury before exercise.

The best way to ice an injury is with a high quality ice pack that conforms to the body part being iced. You can also get good results from a bag of frozen peas, an ice massage with water frozen in a paper cup (peel the cup down as the ice melts) or a bag of ice.

Heat is a vasodilator (it causes the blood vessels to get larger) which increases circulation to the area. Heat is generally used for chronic injuries or injuries that have no inflammation or swelling. Sore, stiff, achy muscle or joint pain is ideal for the use of heat therapy. Athletes with chronic pain or injuries may use heat therapy before exercise to increase the elasticity of joint connective tissues and to stimulate blood flow. Heat can also help relax tight muscles or muscle spasms. Don’t apply heat after exercise. Ice vs Heat, after a workout ice is the better choice on a chronic injury.

Because heat increases circulation and raises skin temperature, you should not apply heat to acute injuries or injuries that show signs of inflammation or redness. Safely apply heat to an injury 20 minutes at a time and use enough layers between your skin and the heating source to prevent burns. Leave the heat off for at least 40 minutes before using it again.

Moist heat is best, so you could try using a hot wet towel. You can also use heat producing lotions. I recommend Biofreeze to my patients. Never leave heating pads on for more than 20 minutes at a time or while sleeping to prevent burning.

Ice vs Heat
Ice vs Heat

Because some injuries can be serious, you should see your chiropractor of Houton TX if your injury does not improve (or gets worse) within 48 hours. If no improvement is made you should seek out Houston rehabilitation.

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

“Conservative” Treatment for Neck and Back Pain- Part 2 – Pain Control

Houston Chiropractor Comments: As a practicing Houston chiropractic orthopedist, I am regularly asked what the difference between me and an orthopedic surgeon is. The simple answer is that I look for a conservative treatment option while the surgeon looks for a surgical treatment option. The term “conservative treatment” is used to describe any treatment option that does not involve surgery. This may be as simple as reassuring you that it is not a serious problem, and recommending that you just watch and wait. However, people with recurring back or neck problems should consider preventive measures. This includes learning how to protect your back and neck and exercising to strengthen your back and neck. Conservative treatment approaches include the use of:

Pain Control

To control pain and symptoms, your DC may recommend the following physical activities/modalities:

  • Rest — resting painful joints and muscles helps calm soreness, giving your spine time to heal. If you are having pain with an activity or movement, it should be a signal that there is still irritation going on. You should try to avoid all movements and activities that increase the pain. In the early stages of your therapy, your chiropractic doctor may have you wear a brace to limit movement.
  • Specific Rest — specific rest allows safe movement of the joints and muscles on either side of a painful area while protecting the sore spot. If a lumbar brace was prescribed, you may be instructed to take it off a few times each day so you can do some gentle and controlled exercises.
  • Positioning — your DC will help you find positions for your spine that are most comfortable while sleeping or resting. He or she may also suggest positions to reduce stress on your spine while you are at work.
  • Ice — ice makes blood vessels constrict or get smaller, which decreases the blood flow. This helps control inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain.
  • Heat — heat makes blood vessels dilate or get larger, which increases the blood flow. This helps flush away chemicals that cause pain, and also helps bring in healing nutrients and oxygen.
  • Ultrasound — ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to reach sore muscles and other tissues that are over two inches below the surface of your skin. As the sound waves pass through your body they vibrate molecules, causing friction and warmth. This heating effect helps flush the sore area and brings in a new supply of blood that is rich in nutrients and oxygen.
  • Electrical Stimulation — electrical stimulation gently stimulates nerves as the current passes through pads applied on the skin. Some people say it feels like a massage on their skin. Electrical stimulation can ease pain by sending impulses to your brain that are felt instead of pain. Once the pain eases, muscles begin to relax, letting you move and exercise with less discomfort.
  • Soft Tissue Massage — DC’s frequently refer patients for different forms of soft tissue massage. Massage has been shown to reduce pain and spasm by helping muscles relax, by bringing in a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, and by flushing the area of chemical irritants that come from inflammation. Soft tissue massage can help tight muscles relax, getting them back to a normal length. This will help you begin to move with less pain and greater ease.
  • Spinal manipulation — your DC will apply specific pressures and movements to your joints to help lubricate joint surfaces and prevent adhesions. This will ease stiffness and help you begin moving with less pain. As your pain decreases, different manipulations may be used to lengthen tissues around the joint in order to restore better movement in your spine.
  • Traction — sore joints and muscles often feel better when traction (pull) is used. DC’s apply traction with their hands or with a traction machine. There are also traction devices that you can use at home. The amount of pull that is needed will depend on your condition. A gentle on/off pressure may be better early on to help control arthritis pain. More vigorous traction can help take away pain if a spinal joint is mildly sore or tight.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001Pineloch,Ste700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

To read the first part of this post, click here

“Conservative” Treatment for Neck and Back Pain – A Chiropractic Perspective. Part 1

Clear Lake City TX Chiropractor Comments: As a practicing chiropractic orthopedist, I am regularly asked what the difference between me and an orthopedic surgeon is. The simple answer is that I look for a conservative treatment option while the surgeon looks for a surgical treatment option. The term “conservative treatment” is used to describe any treatment option that does not involve surgery. This may be as simple as reassuring you that it is not a serious problem, and recommending that you just watch and wait. However, people with recurring back or neck problems should consider preventive measures. This includes learning how to protect your back and neck and exercising to strengthen your back and neck. Conservative treatment approaches include the use of:

Chiropractic Therapy

If chiropractic care is recommended, your Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) will start by asking you questions about your spine condition. You may be asked questions about when your pain started, where you hurt, and how your symptoms affect your daily activities. Your answers will help your DC focus on the source of your problem and what he or she will need to do to help relieve it. Your DC will then do an exam that may include some or all of the following checks.

  • Posture — imbalances in the position of your spine can put pressure on sore joints, nerves, and muscles. Improving your posture can often make a big difference in relieving pain.
  • Range of motion (ROM) — measurements are taken of how far you can move in different directions. Your ROM is recorded to compare how much improvement you are making with each treatment.
  • Nerve Tests — your DC may check your reflexes, sensation, and strength. The results can help determine which area of the spine is causing problems and the types of treatment that will be best for you.
  • Manual Exam — your DC will carefully move your spine in different positions to make sure that the joints are moving smoothly at each level. Muscle and soft tissue flexibility is also tested.
  • Ergonomics — ergonomics involves where and how you do your work or hobby activities. By understanding your ergonomics, your DC can learn whether the way you do your activities may be making your pain worse. Sometimes even simple corrections can make a big difference in easing spine problems.
  • Palpation — your DC will feel the soft tissues around your spine to check for changes in temperature or texture, which may indicate that you have inflammation or nerve irritation. Palpation also checks whether there are tender points or spasms in the muscles near the spine.

Your DC will evaluate your answers and your exam results to decide the best way to help you. He or she will then prepare a plan of care, which lists the treatments to be used and the goals that you and your DC decide on to do your daily activities safely and with the least amount of discomfort. The plan also includes a prognosis, which is your DC’s idea of how well the treatments will work and how long you will need care in order to get the most benefit.

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