Posts Tagged ‘Pain’

Heat Verses Ice: The Verdict

November 24, 2009

One of the most common misconceptions when dealing with pain, is at figuring out when to use heat verses ice.  Many patients come into the office with a new, very acute pain tell me that they are using heat.  PLEASE DON”T!!! For a new pain or a re-exacerbation (re-injury) of an old pain, ALWAYS USE ICE!

The Mechanism:  Their is an easy explanation for when to use ice and when to use heat.  The reason is simple science.  It how ice and heat affect the body differently affect the human body.  Heat increased blood flow, therefore, increasing the inflammatory response at the location where the heat was applied.  If you are already inflammed (due to an acute injury), you will only increase pain, swelling, and stiffness to the area if you apply heat.

Ice, on the other hand, temporarily decreases blood flow.  Decreased blood flow = Decrease Inflammation = Decreased pressure on pain receptors (nociceptors) = Decreased Pain.  Therefore using ice on an acute injury will reduce pain and inflammation.

Dr. Misty Funk’s Advice:  For the first 3-5 days after a new injury or re-injury of a chronic pain, use ice for 15-20 minutes several times a day to reduce the inflammatory response and pain. After 3-5 days, start experimenting with heat.  If you feel the area is more swollen or more painful after the heat, then continue to use ice for another day or two. Heat is best used on chronic pain or chronic muscle soreness.

Simply put, always think  ICE for acute pain and  HEAT for chronic pain or muscle soreness/tension (pain or tension that is always there).


Does Your Standing Posture Cause You Pain?

November 6, 2008

Good PostureThe body is amazing!  It was designed with a specific shape that evenly distributes weight among your joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  Disrupting the natural balance because of poor posture can cause neck and back pain.

I remember talking to a man at Starbucks one day.  When I mentioned that I was a chiropractor, he said he used to visit a chiropractor.  “I spent a lot of money getting treatment at chiropractor’s office a few years ago.  I felt better for awhile, but the pain returned a few weeks after my treatment had ended.  I continued to suffer with back pain until I saw a photo of myself taken at my family reunion, ” he mused.  “I was shocked to see how horrible my posture was.  I was slouching and putting more weight on one leg than the other.  No wonder I had back pain”, he confessed.

“I remember how unattractive I was, and then it hit me, my chiropractor had commented that my posture needed improvement on my first visit in his office.”  He paused for a minute.  “My doctor had also mentioned that poor posture was  a culprit for neck and back pain, but no only had I not listened, I had no idea how bad my posture was!”

After that experience, he constantly reminded himself to sit and stand using better posture.  “Much to my surprise,” he smiled, “my back pain disappeared in a matter of weeks.  Now it only comes on occasionally.  I could have lived without chronic pain years ago,” he stated matter of factly.  “You need to tell all of your patients how important good posture is,” he grinned, “but then you might be out of a job!”  We chuckled.

Truth be told, poor posture is one of the many causes of neck and back pain.  Think of the perfect design of bridges or buildings.  The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an example of what a poor foundation can do to a building.  Build a building on the wrong surface, and the building will weaken.  If you think of your posture like the foundation of your body, you will realized that poor posture weaken our physical structure, and a weak structure leads to pain.

Utilize the description below to help correct your standing posture to alleviate pain and discomfort.

Good standing posture

When standing, imagine that a string is attached to your chest.  Feel someone pull the string upward and feel your chest rise.  Pull your shoulders down and back. Tuck your chin down toward your chest while you pull your head back and up as if were flattening your neck against a wall.

Put your feet shoulder distance apart and even distribute your body weight on both legs.  Relax your knees, pull in your abdomen, and tuck your tailbone.  Feel weird?  That’s mostly likely because you have had poor posture.

When Is It Time To Visit The Chiropractor?

August 27, 2008

I had a patient come in yesterday that had been experiencing upper back pain and low back pain for months.  As we went through her history, I jotted down notes that would help me determine her diagnosis and the most effective treatment.  As I finished up her history, she stated “I really don’t know if I need to be here.  I mean….I don’t think that I am that bad of.  I could probably could take care of this on my own.” I was stunned…. She had just describing her signs and symptoms, and I could clearly see she needed to be in my office, and I have no doubt that she could benefit from therapeutic massage and chiropractic care.  But she- like so many other patients- was asking the age-old question, “When is it time to visit the chiropractor?”

She definitely made me think….

How do patients decide when they need to make a visit to their chiropractor? Since no one teaches us a class in school called “Go visit the doctor when…”, many people aren’t sure when to seek medical attention.  Here are some tips to know when to visit your chiropractor!

You should visit your chiropractor if you are experiencing…

  1. Back pain or neck pain last more than three days.
  2. Reoccurring headaches that are aggravated by stress and neck or shoulder tension.
  3. Pain that is radiating (or moving) away from the point of pain (IE. Sciatica pain)
  4. You have reduced range of motion of the neck or back, especially when it’s caused by muscle spasms and pain.
  5. Difficulty sleeping at night due to headaches, neck and back pain.

Back pain and headaches are NOT NORMAL, and you shouldn’t just live with the pain. So many of us are programmed to ignore pain.  I have a lot of patients who come to get treatment for one thing, and during the history and examination, I find that they have been living with another pain for years.  They live with it because they have reached a point where they think that it is normal!  It’s not!

Working every day to take a little stress out of your world!

-Dr. Funk