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March, 2011

A Drug Free Approach to Pain Relief: What Your Peers Recommend

To help you enhance your practice and increase your bottom line, Dynamic Chiropractic PracticeINSIGHTS asks practicing doctors of chiropractic, like you, for ideas and solutions that have been tested in real-world environments.

In our April issue, we asked: "What drug-free approach has been the most effective in addressing your patients pain? (not including an adjustment/manipulation)?"

Of all the questions we've asked, this was by far the one that received the most responses we've seen yet. While it was impossible to include all the reponses in our print article, we felt it important that you see all the responses from your colleagues.
(Note: the order seen below is based on the order in which we received the response)

John L. Stump, DC, PhD, EdD, Fairhope, Alabama: I have been teaching and using acupuncture for the past 35 years for pain control with very good success. The only thing that is any better at times is laser therapy in certain cases. Between these two modalities pain relief is only a few weeks away!

Christopher Wolcott, Chicago, Illinois: The dry air of the winter months irritates the lining of the paranasal sinuses causing swelling, which sets the stage for sinus pain, congestion and potential infection. We focus on preventing infection by encouraging all our patients (particularly those prone to sinusitis) to utilize nasal irrigation followed by steam inhalation nightly before bed. From November through February we also encourage 5,000 IU D3, 25,000 IU beta-carotene, and daily probiotics all to bolster the immune system.

Antibiotics for acute sinusitis appear to be relatively ineffective.1 Local and oral decongestants, while effective in the short-term, host several undesirable side effects including excitability, nervousness, insomnia, transient hypertension, heart palpitations, dizziness, nasal dryness, and rebound congestion.2

When a patient presents with sinus congestion, our treatment protocol consists of: hot moist packs over the frontal/maxillary sinuses with eucalyptus aromatherapy, followed by needle acupuncture or acupressure to local sinus points LI 20, ST 2-3, GB 14, and Yintang, followed by manual sinus percussion, and finally spinal manipulation of the upper thoracic and cervical spine. Patients love the results and often present specifically for this treatment.

Guarch Ibanez B, Bunuel Alvarez JC, Lopez Bermejo A, Mayol Canals L. [The role of antibiotics in acute sinusitis: a systematic review and meta analysis.]. An Pediatr (Barc). 2011 Jan 13. [Epub ahead of print] Spanish. PubMed PMID: 21237732.

Ray Pendergraft, Redondo Beach, California: Chiropractic is based on the idea that if the body works as naturally as possible, it will be as healthy and pain free as possible. We restore motion and this changes the master control system in a positive way.

Besides this primary approach, additional help is often found in the dietary and home changes we use. While there are a million of these ideas good and bad, here are the ones I've used for over 30 years.

For acute pain the most consistent help comes from ice 20 minutes per hour on the area of pain.

Turmeric 1800mg (95% curcumin) per day helps noticeably about half the time. This is anecdotal, but it's just food in a capsule.

Omega 3 fish oil 2400mg per day of omega 3s NOT oil! It sounds like a lot, but again it is food in a capsule. I usually give them a two-day supply just to see if it helps before selling it to them.

For more chronic pain including arthritis, regular stretching is essential. Glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate 1800mg per day omega 3s 1200mg per day.

Another anecdotal one is pomegranate juice 4oz per day. Again let's stress that it is food.

Michael Berglund, Kenosha, Wisconsin: We all practice the art of chiropractic so we know what spinal and non-spinal manipulation does for pain. Most of us who do herbal/nutritional therapy know of the power of turmeric, boswelia and even fish oil as anti-inflammatory agents, but I was surprised that high dose quercetin (6-12 grams) was also very powerful in cases of chronic pain.

David Dolinar, Florissant, Missouri: Kinesiology tape

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