Is wellness physical health? Quality of life? Freedom from pain?
Health and wellness is all of these things. Doctors and scientists have studied the lifestyles and genetics of people from different periods in history, from different cultures and environments to help understand health and longevity. This month the Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic blog is focusing on wellness – welcome to part three of this three part series, a focus on freedom from pain.
Freedom from Pain
Pain. No one needs to describe what it feels like – we can all identify with it, whether it’s the intense sensation of a scrape, burn or injury or something much more serious.
Even if you don’t know the cause of your pain, pain tells us that something in our body isn’t right. So do you visit the doctor? The chiropractor? Physiotherapist or massage therapist? Take medication? Vitamins? All or none of the above?
When pain becomes chronic – generally lasting at least three months, it becomes something else entirely. The physical and emotional core is stressed, fatigued and their day-to-day living is affected. Chronic pain can undermines a person’s well-being, productivity and even of the essence of who they are, as the focus of each day is on how to eradicate the pain and trying all of the above remedies, and many others.
Chronic pain is complex in that it can differ tremendously – even between individuals who suffer from the exact same injury or disease. This can be because of a co-existing condition or injury or many other environmental or psychological factors that must be factored into how an individual perceives and experiences pain.
Diagnosing Chronic Pain
There is no way to measure how pain varies between individuals, but first and foremost, health care providers must take the patient’s description and feedback into account. This is probably more important than what the medical books suggest a patient could or should be feeling for any condition.
A full physical examination can provide more insight into the cause of chronic pain. However, more detailed and technical examinations will likely be made and may include x-ray, MRI, EEG, blood tests, etc.
Managing & Treating Chronic Pain
The goal of pain management is to improve the day-to-day function and quality of life for the patient, and as mentioned that varies from person to person.
Whatever treatment regime is it is important to remember that chronic pain is treatable, and may require a combination of many approaches, such as physical activity, relaxation, nutrition and access to health care. Different health care providers will also recommend different approaches or courses of treatment. While it is important for patients who suffer from chronic pain to explore a range of different health care providers, it is always best to be up front with each as to what kinds of treatments, medications etc. have been used in the past. Each patient should document this not only to share with other health care providers, but as a reference for themselves and a tool for making decisions on what is working and what is not.
Though chronic pain is an individual and personal health issue – it is also a major issue for public health, as well as family, friends, employers and health care providers who are affected and need to give ongoing support for those who suffer from the physical as well as the emotional impact of chronic pain.
Chiropractic treatments can be useful in reducing many kinds of pain, and may be most effective with chronic pain, since pain impacts the structure and function of the body – how you move, your posture and the quality of sleep you have. Even organic disease causes reactions in the body’s skeletal and muscular functioning that can increase the level of pain in the body overall.
Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic welcomes feedback and insight for those who have suffered with chronic pain, whether or not chiropractic is a part of your current or ongoing recovery from chronic pain.
If you currently suffer from chronic pain or know someone who does, refer them to Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic for a consultation – our goal is to let the healing begin. 604.507.9929.
Is wellness physical health? Quality of life? Freedom from pain?
Health and wellness is all of these things. Scientists have studied the lifestyles and genetics of people in history, from different cultures and environments to help understand health and longevity. This month the Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic blog is focusing on wellness.
Welcome to part two of this three part series, a focus on quality of life.
“Quality of life” is a term used to evaluate the well-being of individuals and communities. It describes how people feel about the environment in which they live, work and play – and while the definition may differ according to levels of income, social status, health and/or living conditions, these factors don’t necessarily relate to an individual’s level of happiness.
Without trying to sound too much like an infomercial, do you want more peace of mind? Do you long for more in control of your life? Do you want to be excited by the possibilities each day brings when you leap out of bed in the morning? Could you use greater financial security or a better job? Do you wish your life was abundant with healthy, happy relationships and energy enough to be active every day?
Sure! Who wouldn’t? The reality is that life is often stressful. Here are 4 ideas to make small (and BIG) changes in your life that will increase your quality of life:
1) Change what you think. How often do you respond to life’s struggles in a negative way? Think of ways that you have responded to the challenges life presented in the last month or so. Can you re-think “life is hard” and approach each day with a new attitude that “life is an adventure”? Changing what you think will change the way you feel, and eventually the way you act.
2) Change your surroundings. Where you live, where you work, where you play should be mostly comfortable, positive and even inspiring. And that includes the people you interact with. Put your energy and effort into positive people and make sure your environment impacts you in a positive way. That could mean applying for a new job, painting your kitchen or cleaning the closets.
3) Change your level of intensity. Do you live life at a snail’s pace? Or are you always moving at lightning speed? Maybe you need to speed up a little so that you aren’t bogged down with the same old routines… or maybe you need to put the brakes on once in a while and see what you’ve been missing. Either way, you will find that you do more, and enjoy more.
4) Change the way you look. A new haircut or a fitness regime can inspire you to apply for a new job posting at work or make you feel more confident when you look in the mirror.
Finding ways to make small, positive changes can result in big life changes. And that can change everything!
Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic welcomes feedback and insight for those who have improved their quality of life, whether or not you are a chiropractic patient at Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic or another chiropractic clinic.
Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic 604.507.9929.
Is it More Important?
Regular chiropractic care helps all kinds of people, young and old, improve health and mobility and regain control of their lives. Chiropractic care for the “third age” or senior population will help manage and even eliminate acute and chronic pain, increase flexibility, improve mobility and function, restore postural alignment, enhance balance, de-stress and tune the nervous system, improve general health and wellbeing. Even increase the overall quality of life.
Chiropractic care is especially important for maturing and elderly adults because of the dramatic changes that occur in the spine with increasing age. As we age, spinal discs, joints, ligaments, muscles and other spinal tissues become weaker, less hydrated, more fibrous, and less able to withstand normal strain. As a result, back pain from spinal degeneration (arthritis) becomes more prominent, soft tissues increase as the body is more vulnerable to injury. As the time to heal from injury increases as we age, minimizing risk and optimizing overall health and wellness becomes even more important.
Modern chiropractic procedures take into consideration the nature of the aging spine and the many abnormalities present to provide an effective, safe and non-invasive treatment plan. Through the use of 21st century gentle adjusting techniques, physical therapies, and incorporation of stretching and exercise programs spinal pain is reduced, spinal stresses are decreased, flexibility and mobility are improved, and degeneration is minimized.
What are the Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Aging Adults?
Routine chiropractic care has a number of benefits which are especially important as we age:
- Pain relief from neck, spine and joint pain
- Decrease in muscle stiffness, spasms and rigidity
- Increased mobility and range of motion
- Straighter, aligned posture
- Increased balance and coordination
- Increased sense of well-being and overall energy
- Decreased tissue inflammation
- Decreased arthritis and arthritic joint pain
- Minimized spinal stress and tension
- Reduced risk of fall injuries
Are There Studies Showing the Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Aging Adults?
According to one paper chiropractors may be well-positioned to play an important role in health promotion, injury and disease prevention, and on geriatric care teams, due to their practice style and holistic philosophy. Chiropractic services are safe and relatively low-cost, and patient satisfaction with them is very high. Relative to musculoskeletal care in elderly patients, chiropractic adjustments are recommended by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research for the care of acute low back pain, and the American Geriatric Society Panel Guidelines for the Management of Chronic Pain state that non-pharmaceutical interventions such as chiropractic may be appropriate. Various lower-force chiropractic techniques are available as safe alternatives to drugs and surgery for musculoskeletal complaints in the older patient. Due to the prevalence of these conditions in older patients, and the success of chiropractic in caring for these patients, interdisciplinary geriatric health care teams should include the doctor of chiropractic.
(Killinger LZ. Chiropractic and geriatrics: a review of the training, role, and scope of chiropractic in caring for aging patients. Clin Geriatr Med. 2004 May; 20(2):223-35.)
One study evaluated the health status of 414 elderly individuals (average age of 80 years) and compared those individuals under chiropractic care with those not under chiropractic care. The researchers found a number of significant findings which included:
- 87% of those who used chiropractic care rated their health as good or excellent compared with only 68% in the non-chiropractic group
- Only 13% of those who used chiropractic care rated their health as fair or poor compared with 32% in the non-chiropractic group
- 44% of those who used chiropractic care reported having arthritis compared with 66% in the non-chiropractic care group
- Those who used chiropractic care were more likely to still be doing strenuous levels of exercise
- At 3 years follow-up, less than 5% of those who used chiropractic care used a nursing home while a staggering 48% of those who did not use chiropractic care did use a nursing home
- At 3 years follow-up, only 26% of those who used chiropractic care were hospitalized compared with 48% of those in the non-chiropractic group
(Coulter, PhD et al. Chiropractic and Care for the Elderly. Top Clin Chiro 1996; 3(2):46-55.)
Other research attempted to define more clearly the exact nature of Chiropractic Maintenance Care. The study population consisted of elderly chiropractic patients who had received health-promotion and prevention services for at least five years at a minimum of four chiropractic visits per year. Patients were selected from 73 chiropractic offices in six geographic locations across the USA. Doctors enrolled the first 10 consenting patients who met the inclusion criteria, and data were gathered on health habits, expenditures of health services, frequency of use, and perceived value of chiropractic prevention and health promotion services. Results included:
- An average of 16.95 visits were made per patient per year for chiropractic MC treatments
- Stretching exercises, aerobic exercises, dietary advice, and other prevention strategies were commonly recommended
- Patients reported making only half the annual number of visits to medical providers compared with the national average for patients 65 and older
- The health habits of patients receiving MC were similar to or better than those of the general population
(Rupert RL, Manello D, Sandefur R. Maintenance care: health promotion services administered to U.S. chiropractic patients aged 65 and older, Part II. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Jan. 2000: 23(1), pp10-19.)
Chiropractic Care Can Reduce the Risk of Falls by:
- Specific chiropractic adjustment techniques to normalize spinal joint receptors which provide the brain with important balance and coordination information
- Stretching and exercise programs to increase strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and coordination
- Diet and nutritional counseling to improve nutritional status, increase energy levels, and increase sense of well-being
Chiropractic increases joint nutrition and relieves spinal joint arthritis: Spinal discs and spinal joints receive their nutrition and eliminate their wastes through joint movement. Without sufficient movement, adhesions and scar tissue will soon develop in the joints.
Chiropractic care involves restoring and optimizing spinal and extra-spinal joint motion which brings vital nutrients into the joint and flushes toxic waste products out. This helps keep the joints healthy and minimizes the degenerative joint changes which lead to arthritis.
Chiropractic decreases joint and tissue degeneration: Similar to an out-of-aligned wheel on an automobile, a misaligned spine with abnormal biomechanics will wear out prematurely. As all moving parts will eventually wear down over time, it’s important to get the maximum “mileage” out of your spine, especially since it’s the only one you’ll ever get.
Chiropractic restores postural alignment: Bad posture has been linked with aches and pains, poor emotional state, increased disability, reduced health and wellbeing, and even premature death. In general people’s posture becomes more rounded, compressed and distorted with age. Maintaining regular chiropractic care can help to reduce the underlying biomechanical and neurological causes of poor posture.
Chiropractic care balances the nervous system: Modern chiropractic techniques are less about bones and muscles, and more about nerves and energy. By analysing and correcting the stored tension that builds up in everyone’s body, chiropractic adjustments can help to tune up the whole body. The older we get, the more accumulated stress and strain we carry, and the more we can benefit from a regular chiropractic adjustment.
Chiropractic care can increase the overall feeling of health and well-being: When you’re free from nagging pain, stiff joints and can do the things you enjoy (golf, gardening, playing with the grandchildren, etc.) life is far more enjoyable. Feeling good, staying healthy and doing the things that make us happy are what keeps us looking forward to each new day.
Regular chiropractic care in those over the age of 40 is aimed at increasing the quality of life, and not just the elimination of pain and correction of soft tissue abnormalities. Don’t cheat yourself from living life to its fullest…
What Else Can Chiropractic Help?
Chiropractic care can useful for so much more than aches and pains: Over the years many case studies, case series and longitudinal research has shown that chiropractic care can be beneficial for many ailments that commonly plague our aging population:
Sciatica, headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo and Meniere’s Disease, as well as back, neck, shoulder, knee, hip and joint problems, be they associated with injury, disease or some of the “normal” degenerative issues associated with aging.
It is important to note that as in all medical treatments, outcomes vary between patients.
For more information, contact the clinic at 604.507.9929.