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Steroid Injections Cause 12 Deaths





Steroid injections for back pain have now been linked to 12 deaths in the United States.  The patients were among 137 diagnosed with fungal meningitis caused by the common spinal injection for back pain.  

Steroid (cortisone) injections are quite common.  Their side-effects are typically only seen with long-term use, and can include osteoporosis, avascular necrosis and tendon weakness.  

Of course this occurrence is tragic and unusual, but it also highlights the importance of freeing ourselves from our reliance on pharmaceutical and surgical intervention, when we can.    

We are only human, after all, and when we receive an injection, a pill, or any man-made chemical, we are at the mercy of the human beings who make, prescribe and deliver those substances, and who, being human beings as well, can make mistakes along the way.  

Freeing ourselves isn't easy, it takes hard work: reaching our optimal weight, relieving stress in our lives, exercising, taking your vitamins, and getting adjusted regularly.  



Thomas Edison, Chiropractic Genius

Thomas Edison"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."

-Thomas Edison


I have been doing the "chiropractic genius" articles for some time, quoting everyone from Plato to Arnold Schwarzenegger.  It has taken me a couple of years to get to this quote, which is the one that inspired me to write these articles in the first place.  

The American inventor's description of the "doctor of the future" bears an absolutely uncanny resemblance to the doctor of chiropractic.  It is so accurate that this quote is likely on the wall somewhere in most chiropractic offices in the world.  It is on the backs of their business cards, and has served as a motivation for many chiropractors and many patients. 

Every patient understands that a chiropractor cares for the human frame.  Some of you probably know that we are experts in diet and nutrition, and likely even fewer truly understand how chiropractic can improve your immunity. 

If you already knew all these things, then that makes me very happy!   If you did not know, then you can begin your understanding of chiropractic by simply reading Thomas Edison's quote several times, because he is spot on. 

Types of Stress: Physical

Spinal ColumnOf the three types of stress, physical stress is the most tangible. 

Our daily activities can cause cumulative damage to our bodies.   Repetitive activities such as those we perform while playing sports, doing work, or sitting at our desks can create scar tissue that will eventually become painful problems. 

Even being inactive can create postural problems that can create back pain, shoulder pain and headaches. 

Chiropractic care is unique because we provide wellness care to address these small problems before they are painful.  

And remember, if you get injured you can call us immediately for the best results.  If you are injured in an auto accident, at work, or playing a sport, your injury is best evaluated as soon as possible to prevent scar tissue from developing into an even greater problem. 


Types of Stress: Emotional

Types of emotion

We all know the detrimental effects of emotional stress on our health.   The hormones related to emotional stress can not only cause depression and anxiety, but also headaches and heart disease. 

Emotions, positive or negative, can have a profound effect on our nervous system, and therefore can effect any system in the body.

It should be no surprise that our emotional state can also effect our muscles and joints.  Has someone ever grabbed your shoulders and said "ooh, you are tense!" while you gasped with the sudden realization of your rock hard trapezius muscles?  That's emotional tension manifesting itself physically, and it can happen in any muscle in the body, especially the shoulders, neck, low back, abdomen and glutes. 

On the flip side, positive thinking and regular adjustments can improve our mood, and decrease that stress on our nervous system and give us a chance to fully heal.  

When Will You Make Me Better?

Human SundialOccasionally there will be a patient who has visited me after visiting many other practitioners, disappointed in those results, and asking of me "how long it will take YOU to MAKE ME better?"

As you can see, this on-demand fast-food world has caused some to expect their practitioner to provide an instant cure.

Before a patient has the best chance at recovery, they need to take responsibility for their own healing.   The truth is that no treatment will heal a bone, heal a cut or form scar tissue to heal a ligament or muscle.  Your body must go through its natural healing process on its own.   

More importantly, this healing process is all directed by your nervous system, which can be optimized with chiropractic adjustments to the spine.  In addition, chiropractic adjustments improve movement in the spine, a precursor to proper healing in the spine itself.

Just like a plaster cast can direct a bone to heal properly, chiropractic care can provide support during your healing process, allowing your body to heal itself, whatever your injury may be. 

When to Get Imaging

MRI of knee

Often a patient's initial reaction when they get a "mysterious" pain is to see their GP and lobby to get imaging, such as an X-ray or MRI, or CT. 

These tests are fantastic because they can screen for cancer, tumors, arthritis, muscle tears, fractures, all sorts of nasty stuff.

Ironically, patients often visit me, still in pain, baffled, and (ironically) disappointed, that there were no findings in their MRI or X-Ray. 

The fact is, MRI and x-ray are not able to discern the one thing that causes most back pain.  They are unable to measure motion.  Lack of motion in the spine is the precursor to osteoarthritis, and the cause of most back pain.  Motion is in fact best measured by hand (by a chiropractor). 

In fact there are many examples of how a lower-tech method provides better diagnostic ability.  For instance, an x-ray is better than an MRI for diagnosing certain fractures or tumors of bone.  A CT is still the gold standard for diagnosis of a disc, even though it is not as advanced as an MRI. 

When you visit a chiropractor, you are visiting a professional who has been trained extensively to provide the best hands-on diagnosis and treatment, bar none, and they are able to refer you for imaging when needed.

The Iliotibial Band and Runner's Knee

Muscles of the thighAre you getting pain in the outside of the knee and leg while running?  You may have Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  

The Iliotibial band is a huge tendon that sits on the outside of your thigh muscle (the vastus lateralis, red in the photo), starting at your hip, and ending at the bottom of your knee.  

A repetitive strain injury can occur that creates scar tissue between the ITB and the thigh muscle, creating friction and pain.  Attempts at self-treatment are often futile, and even make the problem worse.  

For instance, stretching the ITB is not indicated, mostly because it is a tendon not something you really want to stretch, but also because it is impossible to stretch it without creating compression on the thigh muscle (the vastus lateralis) and creating more hypoxia and friction. 

For another instance, straps and braces designed to hold the ITB in place may temporarily reduce the movement of the ITB and therefore reduce pain, but it can also increase the pressure between the structures, causing more scar tissue, and decreased circulation.  

Rolling the thighs on a massage roll is another popular method, and although it could possibly make it worse, it is worth a try among those who feel up to the risk, and don't have the resources to seek professional help.  

Active Release Techniques is used in our office to effectively treat ITB syndrome, to separate the structures and restore fluid movement so you can have a pain free run.  If you pronate, we may also prescribe custom foot orthotics, since pronation can contribute to this condition.  About half way through the protocol, we may start using Graston Technique to improve muscle texture in the vastus laterals and tensor fascia latae.  

At home, we recommend only stretching the quadricep muscle, and icing three times a day.  A standard protocol is 6-8 treatments over 4 weeks.  

If you have iliotibial band syndrome, give us a call!