Archive for the ‘Headaches’ Category

How Does Chiropractic Help Headaches?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Headaches are one of the most common reasons people seek chiropractic care. Many patients with headaches benefit significantly from adjustments made to the upper cervical region. So, the question is, how does adjusting the neck help headaches? To help answer this question, let’s look at a study that was recently published that examined this exact issue…

It’s been said that if one understands anatomy, determining WHERE the problem is located becomes easy. So, let’s take a look at the anatomy in the upper most part of the neck. In the study previously mentioned (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21278628), the authors found an intimate relationship between the muscles that connect the upper 2 cervical vertebra (C1 and 2) together and their anatomical connection to the dura mater (the covering of the spinal cord). They identified this anatomical connection between the muscles that span between the back aspect of C1/2 and the dural connection as having a significant role in the development of headaches usually referred to as cervicogenic headaches.

There are several reasons why chiropractors adjust or manipulate the upper cervical vertebrae in patients with headaches. The obvious reason is simply because it helps to reduce the intensity, frequency and duration of headaches. The reason it works is this: If one or both of the upper 2 vertebrae (C1 and C2, also referred to as the atlas and axis, respectively) are either blocked or fixed and cannot properly move independently, then there is an abnormal change in the biomechanics in that region. Similarly, if one of the two vertebrae is rotated or shifted in reference to the other, a similar biomechanical “lesion” or problem occurs (often referred to as a “subluxation”). You can take all the ibuprofen, Aleve, Tylenol or other perhaps stronger, prescription medication for the headache, but it is not logical that the biomechanical problem at C1 and/or C2 is going to change by inducing a chemical change (i.e., taking a pill). All you’re doing is masking the symptoms for a while, at best.

Many people find that after a several chiropractic adjustments, their headaches are significantly improved. This is because restoring proper biomechanics to the C1/2 region reduces the abnormal forces on the vertebrae as well as any abnormal pull or traction of the posterior cervical muscles on the dural attachment. It has been reported that the function of this muscle/dura connection is to resist excessive movement of the dura towards the spinal cord when we look upwards and forwards. During neurosurgery, observation of mechanical stress on the dura was found to be associated in patients with headaches. In chronic headache sufferers, adjustments applied to this area results in significant improvement. There is no other treatment approach that matches the ability that adjustments or manipulation have in restoring the C1/2 biomechanical relationship thus, helping the headache sufferer. Another treatment option that has been shown to benefit the headache patient is injections to this same area. However, given the side effects of cortisone, botox, and other injectable chemicals, it’s clear that chiropractic should be utilized first. It’s the safest, most effective, and fastest way to restore function in the C1/2 area, thus relieving headaches.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, 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.

What Are Cervicogenic Headaches?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Headaches are a very common problem that can have multiple causes ranging from stress to trauma.  To make matters worse, there are MANY different types of headaches. One such type is the “cervicogenic headache” (others include migraines, cluster headaches, etc.).

The main distinction between the symptoms associated with cervicogenic headaches and those associated with migraine headaches are a lack of nausea, vomiting, aura (pre-headache warning that a headache is about to strike), light and noise sensitivity, increased tearing with red eyes, one sided head, neck, shoulder and/or arm pain, and dizziness. The items listed above are primarily found in migraine headache sufferers.   The following is a list of clinical characteristics common in those struggling with cervicogenic headaches:

  1. Unilateral (one-sided) head or face pain (rarely is it on both sides).
  2. Pain is localized or stays in one spot, usually the back of the head, frontal, temporal (side) or orbital (eye) regions.
  3. Moderate to severe pain intensity.
  4. Intermittent attacks of pain that last hours to days.
  5. Pain is usually deep, non-throbbing, unless migraines occur at the same time.
  6. Head pain is triggered by neck movement, sustained awkward head postures, applying deep pressure to the base of the skull or upper neck region, and/or taking a deep breath, cough or sneeze can trigger head pain.
  7. Limited neck motion with stiffness.

Infrequently, the cervicogenic headache sufferer can present with migraines at the same time and have both presentations making it more challenging to diagnose.

The cause of cervicogenic headaches can be obvious such as trauma (sports injury, whiplash, slip and fall), or not so obvious, like posture. A forward head posture can increase the relative weight applied to the back of the neck and upper back as much as 2x-4x normal. Last month, we discussed the intimate relationship between the upper 2 cervical vertebra (C1 & C2) and an anatomical connection to the covering of the spinal cord (the dura) as giving rise to cervicogenic headaches. In summary, the upper 3 nerves innervate the head and any pressure on those upper 3 nerves can result in a cervicogenic headache. As chiropractors, we are trained to examine, identify, and treat these types of potentially debilitating headaches.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, 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.

Do Chiropractors Help Patients With Headaches?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

This seems like an easy question to answer, doesn’t it? The answer of course being, YES!!! However, there are many people who suffer with headaches who have never been to a chiropractor or have not even ever considered it as a “good option.”

So, rather than having me “reassure you” that chiropractic works GREAT for headache management, let’s look at the scientific literature to see if “they” (the scientific community) agree or not.

In a 2011 meta-analysis, researchers reviewed journals published through 2009 and found 21 articles that met their inclusion criteria and used the results to develop treatment recommendations. Researchers discovered there is literature support utilizing Chiropractic care for the treatment of migraine headaches of either episodic or chronic migraine. Similarly, support for the Chiropractic treatment of cervicogenic headaches, or headaches arising from the neck region (see last month’s Health Update), was reported. In addition, joint mobilization (the “non-cracking” type of neck treatment such as figure 8 stretching and manual traction) or strengthening of the deep neck flexor muscles may improve symptoms in those suffering from cervicogenic headaches as well. The literature review also found low load craniocervical mobilization may be helpful for longer term management of patients with episodic or chronic tension-type headaches where manipulation was found to be less effective.

Okay, we realize this is all fairly technical, so sorry about that. But, it is important to “hear” this so when people ask you why are going to a chiropractor for your headaches, you can say that not only that it helps a lot, but there are a lot of scientific studies that support it too!

Bottom line is that it DOES REALLY HELP and maybe, most importantly, it helps WITHOUT drugs and their related side effects. Just ask someone who has taken some of the headache medications what their side-effects were and you’ll soon realize a non-drug approach should at least be tried first since it carries few to no side effects.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, 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. Pritsker’s Top Ten Ways To Keep Your Back Pain Free

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Keeping your spine pain free is easier than you think. Here’s my top ten tips that I share with patients to keep them free from back pain:

1. Never bend and lift at the waist when lifting heavy objects. Always bend at the knees, then lift. Remember this: “Lift like an elevator, not like a crane.”

2. Stretch every morning for “5 minutes when you’re out of bed. You may prefer taking a hot shower first but the long-term health of your spine is based on the daily little things and stretching is a “HUGE” little thing.

3. Never sleep on your stomach. If you sleep on your side, put a pillow between your knees.

4. Always wear shoes with backs/heel straps on them. Flip-flop sandals are the worst and should be avoided. Supporting your feet supports your spine.

5. Sitting for two hours straight without stretching is your maximum. Sitting through a long movie is probably okay but stand up and walk around afterwards and arch your back, lean side-to-side, and take your low back through different ranges of motion before you sit down again or drive home.

6. Water intake should be about 8 glasses of water per day. If you drink alcohol, soda, coffee, or are eating salty food, you must drink an additional 12-24 ounces of water that day.

7. If you know you are going to be doing a heavy-duty activity such as moving furniture or even be on your feet for hours at a time then wear a back support belt.

8. Proper nutrition remains important to maintain the health of your discs. I recommend the supplement Glucosamine Sulphate.

9. Exercise is great. Walking 1/2 hour each day with light weights is the best. Leave the weights at home if you prefer but get in some walking every single day! Other great options are yoga, Pilates and step aerobics. But for those of you with type-A personality’s exercise caution with these- DO NOT GO TOO HARD TOO FAST! Also, be sure to walk or run on even surfaces.

10. If you have any questions, be sure to ask! I’m here to help you so if you have a question don’t hesitate to ask. Be sure to read our latest blogs at www.BackCareTreatment.com/blog and follow us on facebook at www.facebook.com/SanDiegoChiropractors for the latest news and tips on how to live pain free.

Watching Your Back,

Dr. Michael Pritsker, DC
619-630-9153

Dr. Michael Pritsker, DC is a chiropractor at New Century Spine Centers and The Back Stop.

Word of caution: Be sure to always consult with us or with a medical professional before beginning any exercise program or following any of the content in our newsletters.

San Diego Chiropractic Care Proved to Show Great Results for Back Pain

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Many people have commonly experienced pain in their lower back region at some point in life. It is not surprising that it’s the 5th most common reason people visit doctors in the U.S. Low back pain condition can be treated by Dr. Michael Pritsker in San Diego at New Century Spine Centers.

Low back pain is pain in the lower back region of the spinal column- the last 5 segments of the spine and the intervertebral disks associated with it (to be more precise). Causes of lower back pain vary and can be slightly a ‘pain’ in itself to detect. This ranges from lifting and holding heavy objects to the simple and unexpected ‘carrying a wallet in the back pocket’. Yes, carrying a wallet can cause chronic lower back ache too.

Now, coming to our more characteristic topic of chiropractic doctors, these are a specialized group of medical practitioners who believe in the theory that the human body exhibits variations of pains are caused due to problems emerged from the nervous system and the misalignment of the human vertebral column.

Chiropractors usually adjust the spine or other discrete parts of the body to accurately align the vertebral column and maintain the body’s natural capability to restore itself. Chiropractic treatment not only distinctly treats the pain, but also, is associated with strength and the dynamics that enhances common function and improves the art of living. When you are seeking chiropractic help, it is crucial to reveal and discuss any physical problems or disabilities you have aside from low back pain.

A form of therapy called, spinal adjustment, is the application of controlled force to a joint, shifting it beyond the normal range of motion. This treatment is principally based on the subluxation theory, which says that the several forms of pain arising in the body are principally caused by faulty alignment of the spinal column. It is used by chiropractors to minimize pain, amplify mobility, and revive biomechanical and anatomical relations between spinal segments to advance rapid betterment.

Chiropractic care takes about 3-6 weeks to treat patients with nonspecific and uncomplicated low back pain and up to 10 weeks for those with more severe cases. Treatment for spinal adjustment can prevent the onset of a chronic disorder associated with immobility which results in successful recovery especially if combined with exercise and good body mechanics.

Survey Says Chiropractic Outperforms Other Back Pain Treatment Options

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Visit www.backcaretreatment.comIf you have back pain you are probably old enough to remember Richard Dawson first yelling the “Survey Says” phrase on the popular 70s and 80s game show, The Family Feud. If not then it doesn’t matter. You just learned something interesting about American pop culture and game show history. So what does the survey really say? According to an August 9, 2011 article on chiroeco.com, “In a new survey, chiropractic outperformed all other back pain treatments including prescription and over-the-counter medications, deep-tissue massage, yoga, and Pilates.

According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), this news reinforces the use of conservative care options such as chiropractic care in San Diego as a first line of defense against pain. The survey, released by a leading consumer product rating and survey publisher in late July, found that 65 percent of those surveyed using chiropractic care for back pain said it helped a lot. Only 53 percent of respondents using prescription medications found them as helpful. “Additionally, about half of those surveyed who are using yoga or Pilates said those treatments helped a lot and only 28 percent of respondents using over-the-counter medications reported that they helped a lot.

“Current evidence-based guidelines support the use of conservative care such as chiropractic for conditions such as chronic lower back pain.” One serious eye-opener was that only 28% of respondents said over-the-counter medications helped a lot. It has been known for quite some time that common over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID) have serious side effects. One of these side effects is that an estimated 16,500 people die every year. Natural, conservative options like Chiropractic, deep tissue massage, yoga, and Pilates are most likely better and safer choices when it comes to relieving back pain.

Neck pain is also very common and it can make your life miserable. If you suffer from headaches there is a very good chance you suffer from a common type of headache called “cervicogenic headache.” This type of headache is caused by a problem in your neck. One way to tell you might suffer from cervicogenic headaches is to identify if any neck motions cause the headaches or increase their severity.

Also, take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Does your head tilt to one side? Is your head posture bad? In other words, does your head stick out in front of you instead of sitting back over your torso? You’ll probably need a trained eye (like your Chiropractor’s) to see that one. Chiropractors like the chiropractors at New Century Spine Centers in San Diego are trained to spot problems in the spine.

According to an “evidence report” published by Duke University researchers, “Cervical spinal manipulation was associated with improvement in headaches in two trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache. Manipulation appeared to result in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic (from the neck) headaches when compared with an attention-placebo control. Furthermore, when compared to soft-tissue therapies, a course of manipulation treatments resulted in sustained improvement in headache frequency and severity. However, among patients without a neck pain/dysfunction component to their headache syndrome – that is, patients with episodic or chronic tension-type headaches – the effectiveness of cervical spinal manipulation was less clear.”

Chiropractic For Getting Rid Of Back Pain

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Chiropractic is the practice whereby hands-on adjustments of bones within the body and the spinal column are used to drive away pains from within the bones. This is a common practice utilized to get relief from back aches and stiffness by Dr. Michael Pritsker at New Century Spine Centers in San Diego. This practice operates on the theory known as the “subluxation theory” that the improper alignment of the human vertebrae affects the body’s nervous system and that pains and other disease can originate when this happens. So, its aim is to properly align the vertebrae for better health and relief from these pains.

To receive chiropractic treatment, the patient has to visit a chiropractor who uses manual adjustments or re-alignments to keep the vertebrae back in shape and restore the health condition of the patient. Some studies have shown that this process has been very effective in bringing relief to patients with back pains and some general ailments. These include certain back problems such as sciatica, leg pain, and back pain. For this lack of scientific evidence, some experts in the medical field have completely rejected the notion of chiropractic, though some chiropractors currently work with renowned doctors on part time and full time basis these days in the treatment of back pains and associated ailments.

Generally, if you are constantly plagued by back pain, the chiropractic might be a good option to try out as it has proven reliable in the treatment of back pains, assisted with the restoration of mobility and corrected neuron-musculoskeletal disorders in some patients. Let us go through the process of getting back pain relief through this medium, especially the lower back pain which most office executives and labor workers seem to be affected by today.

Manual re-alignment or adjustments of the vertebrae by the chiropractor are achieved by using the hands to apply pressure enough to cause the vertebrae to get back to its normal space. High velocity thrusts and spinal traction are common methods used in this regard. Also, professional massages and the stretching of back muscles are effected to relax the muscles and make the adjustments easier. Generally, the process might also some therapeutic exercises on specific group of muscles aimed at properly aligning the spinal cord.

The principle of using massages to relax the nerves and muscles is also part of the process employed by chiropractors to provide cures for back pain. The massage therapists at Happy head foot reflexology and massage in San Diego do a great job at helping reduce pain from muscle spasms. Most often, you find professional massage teams working alongside the chiropractors, because it is believed that relaxed muscles can be easily put back in place than the tensed ones. Also, regular exercises and relaxed nerves are a means of keeping the adjustment by the chiropractor in place over time.

The Chiropractors Of New Century Spine Centers in San Diego Announce New Affordable Treatment For Back Pain, Sciatica, Numbness, and Whiplash.

Monday, April 18th, 2011
Spinal decompression therapy and chiropractic care are great options for the treatment of back and leg pain, but the price tag may be too hard for some to afford. Dr. Michael Pritsker is one of the chiropractors at New Century Spine Centers. The chiropractors at the San Diego office are now making it more affordable than ever for those suffering from disc pain and injury to get the treatment they need without breaking the bank. In this struggling economy, finding the right chiropractor at the right cost is very important.
Spinal disc bulges and disc herniations can cause conditions such as sciatica, thoracic outlet syndrome, leg pain, numbness, neuralgia, neuropathy, back pain and more. Some of the most common treatment options for these conditions are chiropractic care, massage therapy and spinal decompression therapy with the DRX900 and similar machines. For some people with disc degeneration, these options have been described by some as a miracle and the treatment that eliminated all their pain and solved their problem. Unfortunately for some, the cost of treatment is more than they can bear and patients are left suffering in pain. With insurance companies covering less treatment options and insurance premiums going up every year, there must be more affordable options.
Dr. Carissa Hang, DC states “many times we have a patient who we know we can help, but sometimes affording the treatment for them can be the most difficult.” With the high technology for the newer back pain treatment equipment, of course comes higher price tags. And with insurance companies paying less and less, the end result is that the patient ends up having to cover the cost.
Dr. Michael Pritsker, DC and the other chiropractors at New Century Spine Centers are teaming up with other health professionals to find ways to help patients suffering from back and leg pain get the treatment they need. There are primarily three effective treatment options for sciatica and arthritis, but many patients may find it difficult to afford regular care. These three treatment options are chiropractic care, spinal decompression therapy, and massage therapy.
Chiropractic care in San Diego by licensed chiropractors is a great treatment option for those suffering from whiplash from a car accident, sciatica from disc injury, arm pain from thoracic outlet syndrome, and back pain from sprains and strains. The chiropractors at San Diego’s New Century Spine Centers try to assist many patients to help make their chiropractic care affordable by being in network on many insurance plans including Blue Shield, Blue Cross, Aetna, United Healthcare, Cigna, American Specialty Health Plans and more. They also offer affordable financing and monthly payment options. New Century Spine Centers also offers an affordable initial exam to find out if you are a candidate for chiropractic care. The first visit can be as low as $17 with a coupon that can be printed off their website.
Spinal decompression therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment option for degenerative disc disease, sciatica, herniated discs, bulging discs, back pain, facet syndrome, whiplash, numbness and tingling. Compared to spinal disc surgery, spinal decompression can be an affordable treatment option costing thousands less than spinal fusion. At www.BackCareTreatment.com, those suffering from back and neck pain can get more information about chiropractic care and spinal decompression therapy.
Massage therapy in San Diego is a great treatment option for muscle spasms, tension, stress, headaches, sprains and strains. Massage is an effective form of therapy, but regular massage therapy can end up being costly. With more and more Chinese reflexology massage centers popping up throughout San Diego, massage is becoming more affordable than ever. However, making sure that you get the right massage for your condition can become difficult. The chiropractors at New Century Spine Centers have searched throughout San Diego for the best and most affordable massage center and they recommend the upcoming Happy Head Foot Reflexology and Massage center in Hillcrest. Their price for a foot reflexology massage is only $29 and they will be working closely with chiropractors and other health professionals to offer the best and right massage. Their website for more massage information in San Diego is http://www.HappyHeadMassage.com. They are scheduled to open in June 2011.
New Century Spine Centers is located in the mission valley area of San Diego. The chiropractors have decades of experience and have collectively treated thousands of patients. They have set up a toll free 24 hour recorded line for those interested in getting a free report detailing some of the latest and advanced therapies to get rid of back, neck and leg pain. The number is 1-888-611-2042. To reach New Century Spine Centers directly, those interested in the treatment of back pain can call 619-630-9153. The chiropractors at New Century Spine Centers are paving the way to help make the treatment of back pain more affordable than ever.

San Diego Chiropractic Care Techniques Are Offering Hope For Headache Victims

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011
Dr. Mike Pritsker, a chiropractor at New Century Spine Centers in San Diego is offering new hope for people with terrible headaches and neck pain. Dr. Michael Pritsker uses a new Triton spinal decompression technology that is now available for the treatment of neck spasms, disc injuries, neck disc bulges, and headaches.
A large number Americans suffer from headaches. These can be tension headaches all the way to migraines and cluster headaches. Headaches can affect your physical state in such a way that it affects your activities of daily living and the way you function. Not only can headaches cause the actual pain in your head, but they can also cause other symptoms such as nausea, eye pain, fatigue, and sensitivity to light and sound. Many headaches are often treated with medication, which can only give short-term relief. Unfortunately, after the effect of the drug wears off, then you get to experience the same headache that you had before you took the medication. Sometimes you wonder whether there is a way to completely fix this problem totally, instead of just relying on these short-term drugs that only mask the symptoms.
So how does specialized chiropractic care and cervical spinal decompression help patients with headaches and migraines? Many times headaches can result from a misalignment of the spinal vertebrae in the neck and mid back. Sometimes the headaches can also be caused by damage in the neck to the disc structure. This misalignment can cause the muscles of the upper shoulder and neck to become tight. This combination of misaligned vertebrae and tight muscles can cause compression on nerves, which can then cause a headache.
Chiropractic treatment in San Diego for headaches involves realigning the vertebrae of the neck and upper back. Spinal decompression addresses the disc problem in the neck. By correcting the misalignment with proper chiropractic care, the neck and shoulder muscles can then relax and get rid of the pain. Correcting these issues can then relieve the pressure on the nerves, which can then relieve the headache. Chiropractic treatment can also involve treating the tight muscles with massage therapy or electronic muscle stimulation, which can further facilitate the relief of the headaches.
For those that suffer with long-term headaches or migraines, consistent chiropractic care can decrease the amount of episodes a person may suffer. Spinal decompression may fix the condition permanently. If there are nerves somewhere in the neck area that have been irritated or blocked for a long time, then they receive fewer and fewer stimuli as time goes on. Consistent chiropractic care by a professional specialized chiropractor can relieve the pressure on these nerves so that the migraine sufferer can get less and less attacks as time goes by. Eventually, the body will continue to maintain this corrected state, thus the problem is then fixed for the long-term.
Nothing is worse than having a terrible headache. Bad headaches are one of the most debilitating pains that someone can suffer. So if you are tired of just taking pills that only cause the symptoms to subside for a short time, then trying out new things like chiropractic and spinal decompression can be your best option. Finding a reliable chiropractor can be as quick as asking family or friends who they recommend. New Century Spine Centers is located in San Diego. They can be reached by calling 619-630-9153.headache pain

Researchers Attempt To Crack The Headache Code

Monday, March 7th, 2011
Whether it was said directly to you, or you heard it in a joke, we’ve all heard: “Not now, I have a headache.” Sadly, headaches are common for many people. Not only do they make your life miserable in many instances, they also negatively affect your family and your friends who care about you. That’s why this new information may be very important to you.
New research has revealed the cause of certain headaches and also how to get rid of the pain associated with them. A new study published in the November-December 2010 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) shows “a relationship between cervical movement impairment and the presence and severity of CGH.” “CGH” is a cervicogenic headache. This is a headache caused by a problem in your neck. This is important because the study evaluated 92 subjects by putting them through a simple neck motion test. They found that range of motion (how much your neck moves) was significantly reduced in the presence of a headache. Basically, they found that subjects with headaches originating from the neck also had decreased motion in the neck. And, the more the neck motion was decreased, the worse the headache can become.
This is very important to you because if you suffer with headaches, there may be a simple solution. Proper treatment of the neck, particularly by properly trained chiropractors addresses the motion of your spine. Chiropractors are experts at assessing the range of  motion of your neck, and if there is a problem, treatments are specifically designed to attempt to normalize that range of  motion. In other  words, if you have a cervicogenic headache that is caused by dysfunction and decreased range of motion in your neck, chiropractic care may be able to help you.
The first thing that you need to figure out is if your headache is of the cervicogenic kind. The best way to know is to go to a Chiropractor and have a cervicogenic headache evaluation. Chiropractors are trained to diagnosis different types of headaches and give you the best advice for your type of headache. To learn more about chiropractic care for headaches, those interested can go to www.BackCareTreatment.com and click on the headaches section.
A classic symptom of cervicogenic headache is pain that originates at the base of your head in the back and travels up your head possibly to the front and even to the eyes. This same type of pain may also start at the base of your neck and/or upper shoulders and travel into the head. But, headache diagnosis can be sneaky and some causes are very serious. That’s why they should be evaluated by a trained healthcare provider. With proper diagnosis and the correct treatment, your headaches may be a thing of the past.