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By |February 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Help Your Child Get Fit

When children are overweight, it’s best to focus on becoming healthy rather than on losing weight. Experts agree that increasing physical activity is the No. 1 way to battle childhood obesity. Don’t expect schools to provide all the necessary physical activity for your child. Help your kids find exercises they enjoy, and encourage them to workout—or, even better, workout with them. Remember, however, that activities that adults may prefer—such as working out on a treadmill for 30 minutes—may not excite a child. Experts say that children engage in physical activity for three reasons: to have fun, make friends and learn something new. They will not run for 30 minutes without stopping. Instead, they play in short bursts of activity, stop, recover and then run again. Use the following tips to help your kids get and stay fit.

1. Find Activities Appropriate for Your Child

Some experts have found that aerobic exercise—running, playing, dancing, skipping or swimming—is a source of frustration, not fun, for overweight and obese children. As a result, they associate exercise with thoughts such as “I don’t like physical activity,” “I am the slowest kid in class,” “People make fun of me on the playground,” concluding that exercise “sucks.” Some experts found strength training programs to be popular, with overweight children. These kids can lift considerably more weight than other children, which makes them feel good about themselves, earns them appreciation from peers and encourages them to continue exercise. Building on this foundation, children can be gradually engaged in aerobic activity by incorporating games into their resistance-training programs.

Be aware, however, that strength training programs require appropriate technique and precautions—so be sure to find appropriate coaching for your children.

Remember that people generally don’t appreciate being told what to do—and your child is not an exception. Help your kids find physical activities that can help them gain self-respect and confidence—and that will be enjoyable. Be sure to engage them in finding the activities they like. Consider programs at the local YMCA or recreation center, signing your child up for classes he or she would like to try. Some have found that computer programs such as Wii Fit can help children increase their physical activity. No matter the program, be sure that your child is engaged in finding it.

2. Involve Your Kids in Preparing Meals

In many families, planning and preparing meals can help children buy into weight management. Involve children in shopping and food preparation. Have the child start thinking, “I am doing this to be strong and healthy; I am accepting responsibility for my own health and growth.” Give your children a choice of several appealing healthy foods.

3. Keep Up a Positive Attitude

Remember that the key to any change is repetition accompanied by positive reinforcement. Experts agree that creative, integrative and non-judgmental approaches, which actively involve children in finding solutions, work because they aim to change behaviors — the strategy that will reap long-term rewards. Praise your children for small steps and help them to stay on track. Do not show frustration if the progress is slow. Set realistic goals, and remind your child that getting fit is a process. The key is to get started and make appropriate modifications as you go along.

Healthy Choices from the Start

Especially with young children, it’s possible to teach them to like healthy, low-calorie foods. Here are a few suggestions:

• Introduce new foods in small amounts, many times. Ask your child to try a small bite. Research shows that it may take up to 10 times for your child to try a new food before he or she gets used to it and starts liking it.

• Recognize your own frustration. When you invest time, money and effort in making the food and the child rejects it, it is frustrating. Do not take it out on the child. Step back, and recognize your frustration. Ask the child to try the food, but don’t insist. Avoid a power struggle.

• Win the war, not the battle. Your main goal is to teach your children to eat a wide variety of healthy foods, not to force them to eat any one particular food.

Preventing Emotional Eating

Our relationship with food starts in childhood. In addition to modeling healthy behaviors, help your children develop healthy eating habits and avoid power struggles over food.

DO:

  • Trust your child to listen to his or her own internal cues about eating
  • Encourage your child to eat when hungry
  • Serve a wide variety of food
  • Allow your child to stop eating when they feel full
  • Teach your child to love his or her body
  • Facilitate physical activity for pleasure
  • Help your child to deal with boredom or negative feelings without using food

DON’T:

  • Use food as a reward
  • Force your child to eat foods he or she doesn’t want
  • Forbid any foods, such as sweets
  • Restrict the amount of food your child needs to satisfy hunger •Criticize your child’s or your own body size
  • Promote dieting

Preventing Text Neck

Americans sent 110 billion text messages in December 2008, according to the Census Bureau. As technology advances, allowing us to do more tasks on smaller equipment, our bodies often pay the price. With a growing potential for injuries from technologies that we rely on, it’s important to minimize the risks.

  • Sit up straight with your chest out and your shoulders back.
  • Bring your arms up in front of your eyes so that you don’t need to look down to see the screen.
  • Tuck your chin into your chest to look down rather than dropping your head forward.
  • If you must use your mobile device for lengthy typing, invest in an external keyboard.
  • Rest your forearms on a pillow while typing to help minimize neck tension.
  • Avoid using mobile devices while in bright sunlight. Straining to see the screen leads to jutting the chin forward, shifting work from the spine to the muscles that hold up the head.
  • The best way to avoid text neck is to limit the use of your mobile device. If you need to send a longer e-mail, wait until you have access to a computer or consider calling the person rather than texting.

Stretches for Frequent Texters

• Hand stretch. Start with your hands in a fist and stretch your fingers out as wide as they’ll go and then return to a fist. Shoot for about 10 stretches with each hand. For added resistance you can stretch a rubber band around your fingers.

• Squeeze a stress ball. Do this for approximately 30 seconds for each hand.

• Chest stretch. To counteract the hunched posture of texting, stand up straight with your arms down at your sides. Turn your forearms until your thumbs are pointing at the wall behind you.

Some Facts About Distracted Driving…

BEHAVIOR

INCREASED RISK

Texting (illegal in Virginia)

23 times

Reaching for a moving object

9 times

Driving drowsy

4 times

Looking at an external object

3.7 times

Reading

3.4 times

Applying makeup

3 times

Today’s Fashion can be Tomorrow’s Pain

Looking your best might not always be the best thing for you. Today’s society is extremely fashion and style conscious. Unfortunately, clothing designers and stylists aim to please by creating unique looks that might not always be practical or even comfortable.

The look of the season shows runway models in high platform heels and tight skirts or pants. Models have perfected the runway “walk,” but the popular looks and accessories are frequently impractical and could create leg, back, and spine or neck problems. “Sometimes I see a woman walking down the street with high heels and a two-ton bag, and I want to stop her and make her aware of what she is doing to her body,” said ACA president Dr. Richard Brassard.

Women generally wear high heels to complement an outfit, not for comfort, but some might not realize that these shoes can cause serious discomfort in the feet and can also exacerbate back pain. High heels alter the balanced position of a person’s body. When a woman wears high heels, a new dynamic equilibrium occurs. Dr. Brassard compared the musculoskeletal system to a mobile, hanging in dynamic equilibrium, each part balancing the other. If one part becomes ‘fixed,’ the whole system will compensate with a movement or restriction. Essentially, wearing high heels for any length of time increases the normal forward curve

of the back and causes the pelvis to tip forward. This alters the normal configuration of the pelvis and spine necessary for the body to maintain a center of gravity.

“The legs are the foundation of the musculoskeletal system, and a person standing flat-footed or bare-footed would be completely balanced,” said Dr. Brassard. “While standing, the hamstrings are taut and both parts of the pelvis are stabilized so that the support is normal. By bringing the heel up, you encourage the shortness of the

hamstring muscles.”

Women and men alike fall into the fashion trap. However, women, more than men, tend to wear clothes that are too tight. Stylish tight tube skirts and tight pants can be attractive, but are often too restrictive. Clothes that are too tight throw a person off-balance, and simple everyday tasks such as bending, sitting and walking become difficult. “Tight clothes restrict a person from moving comfortably, resulting in poor posture and misalignment of the spine,” said Dr. Brassard.

Another unhealthy fashion statement is the use of heavy purses, backpacks and handbags. Women and men tend to carry too many items in one bag, or briefcase, and are often not aware of the potential health risks associated with toting an excessive amount of “stuff.” Carrying a bag with detectable weight-more than 10 percent of your body weight-can cause improper balance. When hiked over one shoulder, it interferes with the natural movement of the upper and lower body. “The person carrying the bag will hike one shoulder to subconsciously guard against the weight, holding the other shoulder immobile,” said Dr. Brassard. “This results in the unnatural counterbalance movement of one shoulder and little control over the movements of the arms and legs. Even worse, the spine curves toward the shoulder.”

More and more people carry their credit cards, ATM cards and personal identification in the back pocket of their pants. This might be a convenient way of carrying the necessary items with you each day, but carrying your wallet in the back pocket of your pants can cause discomfort. Dr. Brassard suggested men and women remove their wallets or other items before sitting for long periods of time. “Sitting on your wallet or card holder for the entire day will create a pocket in the muscle lying underneath the wallet, and whether your pants are tight or loose-fitting, this can result in discomfort or pain.”

In today’s society, it might be important to you to look fashionable, but it is more important to choose clothes, shoes and bags that are comfortable and that suit your style.
By following and remembering these simple steps, it is possible to look and feel your best.

  • Choose comfortable shoes. If you must wear high heels, bring a pair of flat shoes along with you to change into should you become uncomfortable. If you walk to work, wear flat shoes and change into your more fashionable shoes when you arrive to alleviate any pain or discomfort.
  • If the shoe is uncomfortable while standing, chances are it will not be any more comfortable while walking. The wrong shoe can affect the body’s center of gravity.
  • Choose supportive shoes. Designer spikes or non- supportive loafers may look nice but do not allow for easy, symmetrical walking.
  • While sitting, whether or not you are wearing heels, it is important to take frequent stretch breaks to alleviate atrophy of the hamstring muscles.
  • Avoid excessive wear of tight pants or clothing. If you prefer tighter clothes, choose styles that allow you to perform daily tasks with ease.
  • Select a briefcase or purse with a wide adjustable strap. Ideally, the strap should be long enough to place over the head. This evenly distributes the bulk of the weight across the body.
  • When carrying a bag, or briefcase, switch sides frequently to avoid placing the burden of the weight on one side of your body.
  • Take the time to empty unnecessary items from your bag.
  • Place all necessary items-such as wallets and cellular phones-in the front pockets of the bag. Stretching around to reach for your wallet can result in a pulled neck or back.
  • If you are driving or sitting for long periods of time, remove your wallet or card holder from the back pocket of your pants.
  • Think about your daily tasks. If your clothes affect your movements, consider outfits that fit your lifestyle.

Designers and stylists tend to be more concerned about the way something looks rather than the way it feels. Listen to your body. One of the most important aspects of being in style and looking your best is to maintain healthy judgement. By following simple suggestions, being fashionable can be comfortable.

Simple Steps For Quitting Soda

Simple Steps For Quitting Soda

1) Determine why you are quitting soda. There can be several reasons, and any one of them can make living a soda-free life an attractive option.

2) Stock up on substitutes. Water is the healthiest and cheapest replacement for soda, but quitting soda cold turkey and making the big switch to water might mean setting yourself up for failure. Some fruit juices have more calories and cost more than soda which may defeat the goals you just set up.

3) Track your soda consumption. Estimate, as accurately as you can, how much soda you’re drinking per week. (This is very important for the next step.) Do you drink soda with lunch at work? In between classes? While you’re unwinding in front of the TV? Calculate how many calories you’re racking up from soda alone.

4) Make a quitting schedule. Whatever the amount of soda you drink per week, cut that amount by 25% for one week, then by 50% the next, and so on.people, this is a powerful observation that might give you the motivation you need to change this habit. Gradually increase your consumption of the substitutes you chose.

5) Be sure that you’re still consuming the same amount of liquid (if not more) or else you may become dehydrated.

6) If you drink a lot of soda from vending machines, don’t carry a lot of extra change with you. If somebody who you live with loves to drink soda, then ask them to hide it so you won’t have to drink any. Purchase less and less soda over time for home use.

7) Prepare for caffeine withdrawal. It is easy to underestimate the addictive power of caffeine. If most of the soda you drink has caffeine, you may experience headaches and other withdrawal symptoms for about a week, especially if you cut your soda consumption dramatically. Likewise, if you depend on both the caffeine and sugar fix that soda pop brings to get you through the day, you’ll probably feel more tired while your body adjusts to not having carbonated “pick-me-ups.

8) Remind yourself what your goal is constantly so you will remember more easily. Write yourself a note that says something along the lines of “Drink water,” and stick this note in a place where you are likely to see it. Avoid negative phrases like “Don’t drink soda.”

9) One very effective way to remember that a 20-ounce bottle of soda is the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of straight sugar is to fill empty bottles with that amount of sugar and keep them in places that you normally drink soda (the fridge, at your desk, etc.).

10) Calculate how much sugar is in a particular bottle or can: to do so look on the nutrition label for how many grams of sugar there are per serving. If you have a scale, weigh out that amount of sugar; you can also remember that there are about 4 grams of sugar per level teaspoon. Repeat for every serving that there is in the container (check the label) and you’ll see how much sugar you’re consuming with each bottle or can you’re really trying to avoid.

Soft-Tissue Injuries: Better, Faster Healing

Which parts of the body can develop soft-tissue injuries?

Soft-tissue injuries, such as strains and sprains, often affect the extremities—the legs or arms. A soft-tissue injury can occur anywhere that ligaments, tendons, muscles, or myofascia are found. Ligaments connect two or more bones and help stabilize the joints. Tendons attach muscles to bones. Ligaments, tendons, and muscles provide a natural brace to protect the bony skeleton from injury. A ligament can be injured, for example, by making a movement that would take a joint outside of its normal range.

How do soft tissues become injured?

Athletes who suffer a traumatic injury will often need soft- tissue-specific rehabilitation to get back full-range of pain- free motion. Many soft-tissue injuries, however, result from repetitive motion.

People who may suffer from such injuries include:

  • Assembly-line workers
  • Golfers and other athletes
  • People who spend long hours at a computer without regular stretch breaks
  • Mothers who hold their babies only on one hip
  • Students who overfill backpacks or who hang heavy backpacks over one shoulder
  • Sedentary people who allow their muscles to atrophy.

 How do the injuries heal?

When the body is injured, it works to repair itself through a three-phase “healing cascade” process of inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. In the inflammatory (“acute”) phase, the body releases chemicals that start the healing process. This process continues through the proliferative phase, during which the body migrates materials it needs to create scar tissue at the site of injury. During the maturation phase of healing, scar tissue forms in the soft-tissue injury site. In this phase, the injury becomes chronic. Scar tissue helps the body form a “patch” at the site of an open wound or internal injury. Scar tissue, however, is much less flexible than normal tissue. It restricts movement, leading to pain when, for example, an athlete with a sprained ankle tries to return to running.

Why is a second healing cascade important?

Most patients with soft-tissue injuries come to a doctor of chiropractic after injuries have become chronic (months post-injury). By that point, the body has completed most if not all of the healing tasks of the original healing cascade. A second healing cascade is needed to restart the healing process, bringing to the site, among other things, oxygen and nutrients.

How is a second healing cascade created?

Although healthy soft tissue is laid out all in the same direction and flexible, the body lays out scar tissue in a haphazard fashion. Scar tissue is fairly rigid. Pain results when movement stresses scar tissue. The doctor of chiropractic presses his instruments into damaged tissue to help release restrictions created by scar tissue and get a chemical healing cascade started. The goal is the normalization of the tissue. Normalization refers to the release of restrictions. Treatment, which includes stretching out muscles, helps patients build flexibility and strength in the area.

What side effects can I expect from soft tissue treatment?

Redness of the skin, followed by bruising, is common. These side effects show that your practitioner has been working to get at troublesome areas and help start the healing process. You may also be asked to apply ice as part of your at-home treatment.
Doctors of chiropractic are trained to effectively address your musculoskeletal complaints. If you have further questions about soft-tissue injuries, your doctor can help.

Whiplash

Whiplash is a generic term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is suddenly and/or violently jolted in one direction and then another, creating a whip-like movement. Whiplash is most commonly seen in people involved in motor vehicle accidents, but it can also occur from falls, sports injuries, work injuries, and other incidents.

What structures are injured in a whiplash?

Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain-strain of the neck. The ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn, which is called a sprain. The joints in the back of the spine, called the facet joints, are covered by ligaments called facet capsules, which seem to be particularly susceptible to whiplash injury.

In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained—stretched beyond their normal limits. The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. Even though it is very rare, vertebrae can be fractured and/or dislocated in a whiplash injury.

What are the common signs & symptoms of whiplash?

The most common symptoms of whiplash are pain and stiffness in the neck. These symptoms are generally found in the areas that are “whiplashed.” For example, during a whiplash, first the head is lifted up from the upper-cervical spine. This creates a sprain/ strain in the region just below the skull, where symptoms usually occur. Symptoms may also commonly be seen in the front and back of the neck. Turning the head often makes the pain and discomfort worse.

Headache, especially at the base of the skull, is also a common symptom, seen in more than two thirds of patients. These headaches may be one-sided (unilateral) or experienced on both sides (bilateral). In addition, the pain and stiffness may extend down into the shoulders and arms, upper back, and even the upper chest.

In addition to the musculoskeletal symptoms, some patients also experience dizziness, difficulty swallowing, nausea, and even blurred vision after a whiplash injury. While these symptoms are disconcerting, in most cases, they disappear within a relatively short time. If they persist, it is very important to inform your doctor that they are not resolving. Vertigo (the sensation of the room spinning) and ringing in the ears may also be seen. In addition, some patients may feel pain in the jaw. Others will even complain of irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms also resolve quickly in most cases. In rare cases, symptoms can persist for weeks, months, or even years.

Another important and interesting aspect of whiplash is that the signs and symptoms often do not develop until 2 to 48 hours after the injury. This scenario is relatively common but not completely understood. Some speculate that it may be due to delayed muscle soreness, a condition seen in other circumstances.

How is whiplash treated?

Staying active

One of the most important aspects of whiplash management is for the patient to stay active, unless there is some serious injury that requires immobilization. Patients should not be afraid to move and be active, within reason. In addition, your doctor will often prescribe an exercise or stretching program. It is particularly important to follow this program as prescribed, so that you can achieve the best long-term benefits.

Chiropractic manipulation & physical therapy

Ice and/or heat are often used to help control pain and reduce the muscle spasm that results from whiplash injuries. Other physical therapy modalities, such as electrical stimulation and/or ultrasound, may provide some short- term relief. They should not, however, replace an active-care program of exercise and stretching. Spinal manipulation and/or mobilization provided by a chiropractor can also give relief in many cases of neck pain.

Can whiplash be prevented?

Generally speaking, whiplash cannot be “prevented,” but there are some things that you can do while in a motor vehicle that may reduce the chances of a more severe injury. Always wear restraints (lap or shoulder belt), and ensure that the headrest in your vehicle is adjusted to the appropriate height.

Curbing Antibiotic Resistance

With drug-resistant staph infections making headlines, many concerned patients are trying to separate fact from fiction while learning how to best protect themselves and their families from the new “superbugs.” Although methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is probably the most talked-about drug resistant infection, today about 70 percent of bacteria that are associated with infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one common antibiotic. Tuberculosis, gonorrhea, malaria, childhood ear infections, and other bacterial conditions are getting increasingly hard to treat.

Many diseases can become untreatable, returning us to the days before antibiotics were invented. There are steps you can take, however, to help curb antibiotic resistance and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to MRSA and other drug resistant bacteria.

What Causes Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is a natural process in the evolution of bacteria—single-celled organisms found on the inside and outside of the body, except in sterile areas, such as blood and spinal fluid. Most bacteria are harmless and even beneficial. Some bacteria can cause illnesses such as strep throats or ear infections, which are usually treated with antibiotic medications. When antibiotics are taken, they kill the bacteria that are too weak to resist them—but those strong enough to withstand the antibiotic effect can survive, multiply, and dominate the bacteria strain.

Many social factors contribute to antibiotic resistance, as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic prescriptions rose dramatically from 1985 to the early 1990s—by 7 million for sinusitis and by 8 million for middle-ear infections. At the same time, medical visits for children’s ear infections doubled—a trend some have attributed to the widespread use of day-care facilities. Immunosuppressant medications accompanying chemotherapy and transplants also predispose people to infections.

Another contributor to the problem is inappropriate use of antibiotics. Impressed by the fast-acting relief from antibiotics, patients have gotten into the habit of demanding the powerful drugs for anything that ails them—without distinguishing between bacterial infections, which can be treated by antibiotics, and viral infections, which cannot. Moreover instead of completing the course of treatment, some stop taking, antibiotics when they feel better contributing to bacterial resistance. Feeding antibiotics to animals—which are later consumed by humans as food—for disease prevention and for weight gain has also been a cause for concern, potentially making human illness more difficult to treat.

How Can I Prevent Antibiotic Resistance?

• Boost your immunity by eating a quality diet, exercising, and reducing stress. During the cold and flu season, take vitamin C and zinc.

• Do not demand antibiotics for you or your child to treat viral infections, such as common colds, coughs, and flu. Viruses don’t respond to antibiotics and usually resolve within a week or two. If your symptoms get worse, notify your health care provider to find the best treatment for your condition.

• Mildearinfectionsalsohealbythemselveswithinoneortwo weeks. Some anecdotal evidence shows that chiropractic adjustments may help relieve the pain associated with ear infections by allowing fluid to drain from the Eustachian tube.

• When prescribed antibiotics, stick to the schedule and take the entire dosage, even if you are feeling better. Stopping the antibiotic treatment too soon helps bacteria develop antibiotic resistance.

• Don’t save any antibiotics for the next time you get sick. Discard any leftover medication after completing the course of treatment. • Don’t take an antibiotic prescribed for another person—it may not be appropriate for your condition. Taking the wrong medication may delay recovery and possibly increase subsequent bacteria..

• Antibacterial cleaning products have not been proven to prevent the spread of infection better than non- antibacterial products. In fact, some preliminary studies have shown that antibacterial cleaning products may contribute to antibiotic resistance.

How Can I Protect Myself From Staph and MRSA?

The most effective way to prevent staph infections is to practice hygiene. Here are a few suggestions:
• Wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, or after contact with potentially contaminated items.

• Keep you and your kids’ wounds clean and covered. When wounds don’t heal properly, seek medical attention.

• Avoid sharing and encourage children not to share personal items such as clothes, towels, soap, and razors.

• Promptly change wet and sweaty clothes, for example, after going to the gym, to prevent staph growth.

• When working out in a gym, use your own yoga mat, shower with flip-flops, and sanitize any fitness equipment used.

What Are Staph and MRSA?

The first bacterium that has developed resistance to medications is staphylococcus aureus (staph). A form of staph infection called MRSA (methicillinresistant staphylococcus aureus). MRSA, which does not respond to routine treatment with some common antibiotics, has long been associated with hospitals and other health care facilities, but has recently started appearing outside these settings. Staph can cause both mild and severe illness. Mild infections, which may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage, are usually easily treated. More serious infections may cause bloodstream or surgical infections, or pneumonia, with symptoms such as fever, chills, and shortness of breath. The good news is that serious infections can often be prevented. Approximately 25 percent to 30 percent of healthy people may carry staph and only one percent carry, MRSA. Staph bacteria are often carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people; most of the time, these bacteria are harmless. Staph is contracted through direct contact with skin, blood, or contaminated items, sometimes causing infection.

SIMPLE TIPS ON HANDLING AND STORING MEDICATION

• If you are going to pick up meds or pills at the store, or if you happen to buy even over-the-counter medicine for colds or flu, never leave such items in the car. Always keep them with you until you can put them away at home.

• Chilled medications are particularly at risk and should be transported to a refrigerated environment as quickly as possible.

• Ifyoustoreanykindofdrugsormedicationsinthebathroom, put them in a room that is temperature controlled (neither too cold nor too hot) and where humidity is not an issue.

• When you travel, keep your pills in your carry-on or in your handbag. Never put them into checked baggage.

Chronic Pain & Depression

Pain serves an important function in our lives. When you suffer an acute injury, pain warns you to stop the activity that is causing the injury and tells you to take care of the affected body part.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, persists for weeks, months, or even years. Some people, often older adults, suffer from chronic pain without any definable past injury or signs of body damage. Common chronic pain can be caused by headaches, the low back, and arthritis. Unfortunately, there is scant objective evidence or physical findings to explain such pain.

Until recently, some doctors who could not find a physical cause for a person’s pain simply suggested that it was imaginary—“all in your head.” This is unfortunate because we know that all pain is real and not imagined, except in the most extreme cases of psychosis. Emerging scientific evidence is demonstrating that the nerves in the spinal cord of patients with chronic pain undergo structural changes. Psychological and social issues often amplify the effects of chronic pain. For example, people with chronic pain frequently report a wide range of limitations in family and social roles, such as the inability to perform household or workplace chores, take care of children or engage in leisure activities. In turn, spouses, children, and co-workers often have to take over these responsibilities. Such changes often lead to depression, agitation, resentment, and anger for the pain patient and to stress and strain in family and other social relationships.

How is depression involved with chronic pain?

Depression is the most common emotion associated with chronic pain. It is thought to be 3 to 4 times more common in people with chronic pain than in the general population. In addition, 30 to 80% of people with chronic pain will have some type of depression. The combination of chronic pain and depression is often associated with greater disability than either depression or chronic pain alone. People with chronic pain and depression suffer dramatic changes in their physical, mental, and social well-being—and in their quality of life. Such people often find it difficult to sleep, are easily agitated, cannot perform their normal activities of daily living, cannot concentrate, and are often unable to perform their duties at work. This constellation of disabilities starts a vicious cycle—pain leads to more depression, which leads to more chronic pain. In some cases, the depression occurs before the pain. Until recently, we believed that bed rest after an injury was important for recovery. This has likely resulted in many chronic pain syndromes. Avoiding performing activities that a person believes will cause pain only makes his or her condition worse in many cases.  Depression associated with pain is powerful enough to have a substantial negative impact on the outcome of treatment, including surgery. It is important for your doctor to take into consideration not only biological, but also psychological and social issues that pain brings.

What is the treatment for chronic pain? and depression?

The first step in coping with chronic pain is to determine its cause, if possible. Addressing the problem will help the pain subside. In other cases, especially when the pain is chronic, you should try to keep the chronic pain from being the entire focus of your life.

• Stay active and do not avoid activities that cause pain simply because they cause pain. The amount and type of activity should be directed by your doctor, so that activities that might actually cause more harm are avoided.

• Relaxation training, hypnosis, biofeedback, and guided imagery, can help you cope with chronic pain. Cognitive therapy can also help patients recognize destructive patterns of emotion and behavior and help them modify or replace such behaviors and thoughts with more reasonable or supportive ones.

• Distraction (redirecting your attention away from chronic pain), imagery (going to your “happy place”), and dissociation (detaching yourself from the chronic pain) can be useful.

• Involving your family with your recovery may be quite helpful, according to recent scientific evidence. Feel free to discuss these or other techniques with your doctor of chiropractic. He or she may suggest some simple techniques that may work for you or may refer you to another health care provider for more in depth training in these techniques.

Signs and Symptoms

Some common signs & symptoms of chronic pain include:
• Pain beyond 6 months after an injury
• Allodynia—pain from stimuli which are not normally painful and/or pain that occurs other than in the stimulated area
• Hyperpathia—increased pain from stimuli that are normally painful
• Hypersensation—being overly sensitive to pain. Signs of major clinical depression will occur daily
for 2 weeks or more, and often include many of the following: • A predominant feeling of sadness; feeling blue, hopeless, or irritable, often with crying spells
• Changes in appetite or weight (loss or gain) and/or sleep (too much or too little)
• Poor concentration or memory
• Feeling restless or fatigued
• Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, including sex • Feeling of worthlessness and/or guilt