Pillows… How do I know which one is for me?

As a chiropractor, I am frequently asked about pillows. Obviously, I see a lot of patients with neck pain and sleeping is often a trigger. While sleeping position plays a big part, the quality of the pillow is also a factor to consider if you sleep with neck pain. The truth is, everyone is different, and a pillow that works well for one person may not be so helpful for someone else. 
One key when selecting a pillow is making sure you have a good return policy.  If the pillow isn’t working for you, send it back!  There may be some trial and error involved in this selection. Hopefully your trial period is relatively short and you can find a good one soon. And, of course, you get what you pay for in quality, so don’t go too cheap on what you purchase.  Better materials cost more.  In the link, there’s a short list of some higher quality pillows that could work for you. As another option, our office does carry a couple of designs which we tend to like. And yes, we have a return policy.

Dr Rob

The Benefits of Vitamin D

We are always touting the benefits of Vitamin D, especially since we live in Maine. Being so far north leaves us much more susceptible to vitamin D deficiencies. 

Vitamin D is crucial to a wide variety of processes in our bodies and this recent study just discovered another one. The study in the article below has found a connection between low vitamin D in newborns and increased risk of high blood pressure. It’s important for women who are pregnant to ensure they are getting all of their nutrients in adequate amounts, as fetal development is so important. Vitamin D is no exception! As we are now in January, be sure to stock up for the rest of the cold, dark months!

Dr Rob

Tips For Avoiding Neck And Back Injuries While Shovelling Snow

It’s that time of year again!  With our big snow storm this week, I think it’s important to review a few helpful tips to help avoid shoveling related injuries.  Every season has it’s common injuries and in the winter, our office sees a lot of patients with pain associated with shoveling snow.  It’s always important to consider the amount of snow you have on your shovel when lifting it.  Consider taking less snow with each scoop to prevent too much weight.  It’s also important to be sure that you are keeping your back straight and not repeatedly twisting your back with every scoop.
Below is a link that covers more helpful tips to prevent injuries when shoveling.  If all else fails and you do get hurt, don’t hesitate to give our office a call!
Dr Rob

When Tech Inflicts Pain

In so many cases, patients present with new injuries and state “I don’t know what I did” in reference to how they became injured.  While there are many injuries that result from accidents and sports, the truth is that a majority of injuries are a result of every day, boring activities.  One of the leading causes of repetitive or chronic injury is  technology.  The prolonged use of computers and smart phones has been the culprit of many areas of pain, such as the neck, elbow, wrist, and hands.  The extended use of these devices results in what is called a “repetitive stress injury”.  In short, doing the same movements over and over again or simply holding a position for too long can result in tissue damage.  The activities that trigger the problem can literally feel like “nothing”.  Sitting down, looking at a screen, typing, or looking down are typical examples.  All of these seemingly easy tasks build up over time and can eventually cause injury.  The link below covers a few areas of the body often damaged from technology and simple exercises to do periodically to help prevent injury.
Dr Rob

Tension Headache vs. Migraine

Do you know the difference between a tension headache and a migraine?  Patients with intense headaches often come into the office calling them “migraines”.  The term migraine is often used when someone has a bad headache, though this is not always the case.  Migraines and tension headaches are caused from two very different things and sometimes have overlapping symptoms.  That being said, both types of headaches have the capacity to be intense. 
If you feel that your headache is coming from your upper neck, then your headache is likely a tension headache.  These are often felt around the ears and temple region on both sides of the head.  On the other hand, migraines are often only felt on one side of the head and can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as changes to vision.

When in doubt about what is causing your headache or which type of headache it is, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.  Headaches are one of the more common complaints that we treat and there is a lot that can be done naturally to help reduce their occurrence and intensity.  Check out the article in the link for more information.


Dr Rob

Do I Need An Imaging Test For My Back Pain?

People often assume if they are having low back pain, they will need an x-ray to determine the cause.  The truth is, most patients with back pain that come into our office never have an x-ray because an x-ray really isn’t necessary.  It is important to rule out red flags (signs of a serious underlying problem), but outside of that, an x-ray isn’t going to help all that much.  Recently studies have found that imaging studies and their findings don’t correlate well to the symptoms of the patient.  In addition to this, findings in an x-ray may lead you in the wrong direction.  For example, imagine a person with pain linked to a sprained ligament, but the x-ray shows mild arthritis in the joint.  Arthritis is seen in the image, blamed as the source of pain, and the sprain is missed completely!  It is easy to get fooled by what the imagine shows you.  It’s also important to consider the increased cost of care when getting unnecessary imaging.  

There comes a time in a patient’s treatment when an x-ray or MRI becomes necessary.  If they aren’t seeing improvement or are getting worse with treatment, other issues may be to ruled out.  That being said, beware of any provider that requires an x-ray for every patient regardless of symptoms.  Check out this link for more information.

United Healthcare To Roll Out New Insurance Benefits

The link below is a very encouraging article.  United Healthcare plans to rolls out a new insurance benefits, which provides a plan for chiropractic care with ZERO out of pocket expenses for people with lower back pain.  That means people with this injury who have this plan can attain our care at no cost to them.  This is a huge step forward for a healthcare plan to provide this benefit.  
While in the past Chiropractic care was more criticized, it has come so far since those times.  The positive effects of chiropractic care on lower back pain have been shown again and again.  Our care has become so widely accepted that we regularly receive referrals from local medical doctors.  On top of that, and what United Healthcare has now realized, is that our care is also far cheaper than traditional forms of treatment.  United Healthcare has determined this to be so true that they are willing to offer our care at no charge to the patient.  This is a very exciting moment for our profession as well as people in the community who suffer from lower back pain.

Are Cortisone Injections Doing More Harm Than Good?

As a chiropractor, my philosophy of care is to help people repair from injury and live healthy by using all natural means.  My overall structure of care is joint correction, muscle/fascia correction, exercise, and nutrition.  Once in a while a patient may need something more invasive, such as surgery or injections, but I always stress that these should be back up options to safer and conservative care.  
It’s natural for anyone in pain to want the fastest cure to get rid of the pain.  Pain is not comfortable! Having a cortisone injection may provide a faster relief from pain, but a recent study has confirmed that when looking at the long term, this may be making your problem worse.  A study by the Boston University School of Medicine found that cortisone injections may actually speed up progression of arthritis in the area of complaint.  So, while you may find short term relief, you may also be going down the road to bigger issues.
I always say there is a place for all types of therapies in health care, and this includes cortisone injections.  I myself have referred patients for this very treatment, but it is always in cases where conservative care just isn’t getting the patient better.  I understand the desire to get better quickly and be pain free, but as it turns out, the fastest fix isn’t always the best.  The long term outcome in most cases outweigh the short term benefits and putting in some extra work and patience to truly improve your body is absolutely the way to go.  Check out the link to read more about this recent study.
Dr Rob

National Chiropractic Health Month

It’s National Chiropractic Health Month!  This month we want to highlight our attention on our health and how to be injury free and generally well through natural methods.  By natural, we mean drug and surgery free.  In health care, there is a place for all forms of care, but there is so much we can do naturally as a first step to better health.  Check out this link which focuses on 8 basic ideas to get you feeling healthier and happier in a non-invasive way.
Dr Rob

Chiropractic Care Works for Troops with Lower Back Pain

Before I was a chiropractor, I served 9 years in the Maine Army National Guard as a medic.  I was enlisted in the military simultaneously while in both undergraduate and graduate school.  My experience in the military was excellent and I made many connections with men and women in Maine and across the country.  The military is filled with great people who have dedicated their lives to serving their country and the values of what it stands for.      I came across this article (link below), which discusses a study of the effect of chiropractic care on lower back pain to military personnel.  Not surprising to me, the findings were that chiropractic was very effective in reducing pain.  The unfortunate part of this article discusses how Tricare, the health insurance for active military members, does not cover this service.  While chiropractic care is becoming more widely recognized, it is not yet available to all members of the military.  I would love the opportunity to provide my services to military members and help reduce their pain from injury.  One day, hopefully Tricare can catch up with this study and cover our services.

Dr. Rob