One Answer to the Growing Opioid Epidemic: Chiropractic Care

I am a fan of John Oliver’s HBO show “Last Week Tonight”. His way of adding humor to current news and issues is very entertaining. Recently he did a piece about increased levels of addiction to prescription pain medications and the related increase in the numbers of people turning to heroin as an alternative when they can no longer get their medication legally.

John Oliver takes on the opioid epidemic on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO.

Image Credit: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

The issue is not new. President Obama has been criticized for not being more aggressive in fighting this growing problem during his time in office. Additionally, our current presidential hopefuls have both commented on the problem in their bid for the White House.

The problem is already huge and growing fast. As stated on Oliver’s show, as of 2015 it’s estimated that 2.6 million people in the US are addicted to these types of drugs and nationwide over 30,000 deaths a year involve prescription opioids or heroin. They also brought up that an estimated 75% of current heroin users started with prescription opioid pain killers (like Oxycodone, Vicodin and Percocet). Because the pharmaceutical companies have been making so much money from the problem, it doesn’t look like it is going to end any time soon.

About a year ago, the CDC recommended that doctors utilize non-opioid medication for chronic pain. Many doctors voiced concern over the recommendation and on Oliver’s show, a pain management specialist was complaining that alternatives to these types of drugs are often not available.

It was at that point that the show became less entertaining than normally. As a practicing chiropractor, I know that chiropractic adjustments are about 80-85% effective for back and neck pain. There are no side effects from adjustments and you can’t become addicted to chiropractic care. Additionally, chiropractic services are available in every area of our country. So, I can’t understand why the medical community is so focused upon pushing these addictive drugs and why they believe that there are no available alternatives.

Chiropractic care is by far the best, most affordable and safest answer to chronic back and neck pain. Maybe it is time for the medical community, the drug companies, the media and even our politicians to pay better attention.


The Back Care Center is located in Dumont, NJ and we see patients from our surrounding towns including Bergenfield, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, Emerson, Englewood, Harrington Park, Haworth, New Milford, Ridgefield Park, Teaneck and Tenafly in Northern New Jersey. Call us at 201-387-7463 to schedule an appointment today.

You Can’t Do That!

A patient from Harrington Park came to see me because he was having lower back pain. The pain had started in his back and was traveling into his leg all the way into his foot. The MRI showed that he had a herniated disc that was pinching a nerve in his lower back. Not only was it causing him pain but also it was making his leg so weak that his toes dragged on the ground when he walked (called a foot drop).

image of neurologist saying no when a chiropractor says yes

Don’t let “Doctor No” force you into unnecessary surgery!

 

 

We started care and he began to improve but his wife had made him an appointment in a neurologist’s office and she insisted that he keep the appointment. The neurologist was alarmed about the foot drop and, even though he was showing improvement, he recommended surgery on the herniated disc.

I called the neurologist and spoke with him about the case. I outlined the progress we had made at The Back Care Center and let him know that we have had great results with similar cases. He told me, “You can’t do that.” He insisted there was no way I could help a patient with a herniated disc and a foot drop.

The patient wasn’t too keen on the idea of surgery and was pleased with the results we had been getting, so he continued to work with me. We used spinal decompression, chiropractic and exercise therapy together and I am happy to say the patient made a full recovery.

I sent the Neurologist a final report when we finished up with the patient’s care. For some reason I never heard back from the neurologist about the case. I hate when someone tells me “You can’t do that” – especially when I can.

Has somebody told you that you can’t get healthy without surgery? Are you looking for a non-surgical path out of pain and back to health? Call us at The Back Care Center and let’s see what we’re able to accomplish together.


The Back Care Center is located in Dumont, NJ and we see patients from our surrounding towns including Bergenfield, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, Emerson, Englewood, Harrington Park, Haworth, New Milford, Ridgefield Park, Teaneck and Tenafly in Northern New Jersey. Call us at 201-387-7463 to schedule an appointment today.

Do Your Discs Hurt?

Our practice is a bit different from some other chiropractic offices since we treat a lot of people with herniated and degenerated discs. We help them with a combination of tools including spinal decompression, instrument chiropractic adjustments, cold laser and exercise therapy. We’re very successful and most patients get better without ever needing to resort to risky surgeries or drugs.

Image of herniated disc which can be treated at The Back Care Center

At the Back Care Center of Dumont, NJ we treat herniated discs (shown) with spinal decompression therapy and other techniques.

Lots of people don’t know that they are having a “disc problem” because when these problems first occur, they don’t immediately cause severe symptoms. Instead, they usually begin as intermittent, small issues, like an ache or a pain, deep in the hips, back or neck. They seem to come and go with no reason or warnings and can be little more than an inconvenience. Things can go on that way for weeks, months or even years and people may never recognize the pains as signs of a growing problem until finally they have a severe episode and have to find help.

Disc injuries happen a little bit at a time, sometimes over a period of years. Small injuries add up until the damage is significant. The pain that brings people in for care is usually not the first one they have had – it just is the one that finally gets their attention. Most people miss the early signs of a developing problem, which is sad because catching the issue earlier makes it much easier to help. If you think that you’re showing signs of a disc injury, don’t wait for severe pain to start looking for solutions. Give us a call today.

The Back Care Center is located in Dumont, NJ and we see patients from our surrounding towns including Bergenfield, Bogota, Closter, Cresskill, Englewood, Harrington Park, New Milford, Ridgefield Park, Teaneck and Tenafly. Call us at 201-387-7463 to schedule an appointment today.

Understanding Sciatica

Sciatica at The Back Care Center of Dumont, NJEvery couple of weeks we make it a point to educate our practice members about a particular symptom. This week we focused on a very painful symptom called “Sciatica”.

The sciatic nerve is formed from the combining of several different lower back nerve roots. It is the largest nerve in the body. When something happens to irritate or pinch that nerve people will experience pain, tingling or even a burning sensation, traveling from the lower back or buttock down to the back of the thigh and sometimes all the way to the foot (Sciatica).

People with sciatica often find sitting or standing extremely painful. Working can become impossible and as the pain becomes worse over time, any movement results in new spasms of pain shooting from the back down the leg.

There are many reasons for sciatica. Two of the most common causes are spinal subluxation (misaligned spinal bones) and nerve pressure from a herniated or bulging disc (the spongy shock-absorber between spinal bones).

As a chiropractor, I have over 25 years of experience taking care of subluxations. Using a variety of different methods, I can gently and safely move spinal bones back into their normal position, un-pinching nerves and relieving pain. Additionally, in our office we do mechanical spinal decompression to fix disc problems without using drugs to cover the pain or dangerous surgeries.

Personally, I have had the problem and know how painful sciatica can be. When I was 16 years old, I was told by an orthopedist that surgery was the only way for me to be rid of my leg and back pain. Eventually, though, it was a chiropractor who helped me, which eventually led to my choice of career. If you know of someone suffering with sciatic pain don’t wait, call them today and send them to our office for help.

 

The Chiropractic Approach to Shoulder Injury Rehab

Going back to school to stay current with the latest medical developments or expand the treatment options we can provide our patients is important for any doctor.

Last week I attended a seminar covering rehabilitation for the shoulder and arm. The topic wasn’t new but I enjoyed reviewing the information and got to touch base with some doctors I have not seen in several years. While the material was familiar, I was struck by how different a chiropractic rehabilitative approach is compared to the typical medical model.

The shoulder can be a difficult area to rehab and long-term injuries are common. Anyone who has suffered with rotator cuff tears or bursitis already knows the standard treatment: medications for the pain, simple exercises and ultrasound. Some patients may get results this way, but I find that more often the “standard” approach doesn’t address the whole problem and often the patient will soon experience another injury to the region.

The shoulder joint is not like the other weight-bearing joints in the body. Gravity doesn’t stabilize the shoulder. Instead, the shoulder hangs from your skeleton, attached by muscles and ligaments. Power is generated in the shoulder by good stabilizing muscles and a full range of motion in all the related areas. When we treat our shoulder patients, we usually look at the entire shoulder but then also evaluate the neck, middle back and even the lower back as well. Good function of the muscles and joints in all of these regions is needed to really fix shoulder injuries.

Those of you who have shoulder problems know how painful they can be. It isn’t uncommon for people to develop drug dependencies because of the unrelenting agony.

If you or anyone you know is suffering with a shoulder injury please give us a call here at the Back Care Center. We would love to help.

Don’t ignore family health problems – even if they’re difficult to talk about

Every doctor knows that the worst type of patient to treat is a family member. I tend to ignore their problems, rather than giving advice that would almost certainly be disregarded. Even when one of them suffers a herniated disc injury, one of the things I treat in my office, I still may not become involved since many of my family are some type of health care providers themselves and we tend to have differing opinions.

This past holiday weekend, I got to see some of my extended family and began noticing how badly they were being affected by untreated back and disc injuries. I saw significant changes in their posture, loss of mobility and even atrophy (wasting away) of their muscles.

Honestly, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Untreated disc injuries may not cause constant pain but frequently will affect health in other ways. Many people have come to my office looking for help with the same types of things I saw in my family members. It was just shocking to see it in the people I have known my whole life.

After seeing the results of my silence, I have committed myself to making certain my patients know how dangerous it is to leave these types of injuries untreated. If you, a friend or family member are suffering with a herniated disc, please make sure to get the necessary care.

My office uses a unique combination of mechanical spinal decompression therapy, soft chiropractic instrument adjustments, cold laser and rehabilitative exercises to get the best possible results without surgery or medications. Call us today at 201-387-7463 for help.

And as always, have a great and healthy day.

Dr. David Schwartz, DC
The Back Care Center of Dumont, NJ

Is Talking About Spinal Decompression Therapy Scaring Patients Off?

I received a phone call from a marketing firm this past week. It was a typical call, trying to solicit business. The man said that he had “investigated” my practice and I needed to change my approach to speaking with my patients.

He told me patients were scared of chiropractors and spinal decompression therapy, and that if I hoped to be successful in the “New World of Health Care” I needed to stop focusing on those things and start looking at providing other types of services.

I mentioned that statistics repeatedly have shown that the services I provide are:

  • much safer than typical medical care
  • more effective in the long run than surgery
  • less costly that other approaches.

He wouldn’t be deterred and insisted that letting people know what I did was keeping them out of my office.

After thanking him for his advice, I hung up and shook my head. For over 25 years I have been helping people get better without medications or surgery. I know that by telling people about the benefits of chiropractic care and spinal decompression I have helped hundreds of people avoid using dangerous drugs and undergoing risky surgeries.

Maybe some people are scared because I talk to them about chiropractic adjustments and spinal decompression therapy. And maybe I am not going to make it big in the “New World of Health Care” but I will keep doing what I do because I know it is the best way to safely keep people healthy — and that is what matters the most to me!

 

Breathing and Back Pain

I recently attended a workshop on a method of rehabilitation called “Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization” (DNS). We focused on building better movement patterns and stability by going back to the patterns you had as an infant.

Rolling over, crawling, even breathing properly are all patterns which are hardwired into your brain and nervous system. Throughout our lives, those patterns can break down causing weakness and predisposing us to injuries. Spending too much time working behind a desk, walking in poor shoes or spending long hours on your feet are all things which can cause changes to normal motion.

Breathing properly sounds so simple, but when I checked my practice members, I found about 90 percent of my patients failed to use their diaphragm to inhale and needed to be retrained. Breathing properly not only allows us to take in more air but when we use our diaphragm properly it also contributes to stability of the spine.

Herniated discs and spinal misalignments can also cause these changes. Spinal Decompression and chiropractic adjustments are essential to restoring normal motion and preventing future injuries. Combining decompression and adjustments with this new approach to restoring normal patterns of movement opened up a whole new way of helping my patients.

If you want to know more about how your breathing can cause spinal pain, give us a call at The Back Care Center of Dumont, NJ and let us know. We would love to chat with you.

When tears of joy replace tears of pain…

Last time I blogged about how I have been using a combination of chiropractic adjustments and spinal decompression therapy to deal with my own disc injury and get out of pain.

Today I want to tell you about a patient of mine who was suffering with constant neck pain as well. Her pain was in her neck, shoulder and into her arm. It had been going on for a very long time and after going to several doctors, physical therapists and even another chiropractor she came to my office after another patient convinced her to try just one more time.

It took a little while, months in fact, but after some hard work, including spinal decompression therapy, her pain began to go away.

I didn’t realize just how impactful this was for her until she came into the office one day almost in tears. She told me “Doctor, you just don’t understand how much of a relief it is not to be in pain every day!” By the time she left we both had a good cry. I was happy for her, plus I was reminded myself just how badly chronic pain affect your life.

This type of patient is one of the reasons I love what I do. I have seen hundreds of patients get those same results over the years and know that without chiropractic these people would have ended up either on pain medications for life or cut open by a surgeon on an operating room table.

Maybe it was going through a period of incredible pain myself that reminds me just how grateful I am to be part of a profession that allows me able to change so many of my patients’ lives for the better.

I feel your pain.

After more than 25 years of as a chiropractor, I sometimes forget how dramatically pain can change a person’s life. This past winter I was reminded how important getting adjusted can be by my own pain.

The pain in my left hip started in early December. At first it was nothing too severe. Just enough to cause me to ice my back and hip after working out and to go running up to my office in between patients to sit down for a rest. Frequently, I couldn’t sleep through the night, because when I moved the pain would wake me. My wife told me that I often moaned in pain when I did manage to sleep. I tried changing my exercises, doing therapy on my hip, massage, rest – I even tried using some “over the counter” pain medication but the situation continued to get worse.

I really began to get worried when I wasn’t able to lift my left leg without feeling sharp pains. I had to use my hands to physically lift my leg when getting into and out of the car. I have been hurt many times in my life, but this scary. It was the first time my weekly visits to my own chiropractor were not doing the trick. I began to think that I was going to need surgery.

Finally I went to see a different chiropractor. After a full examination found the problem to be in my back, I began getting adjusted and getting spinal decompression therapy 3 times a week. The change has been amazing. My pain began getting better almost immediately.

After a short time, I have gotten so much better that now I am able work with little or no pain and have returned to the gym. Sadly, it is not all “butterflies and rainbows” yet. I have had setbacks and times when I pushed myself a little too hard or too fast. And like so many of my patients, every time I feel the pain I have to fight back the panic and remember that getting better takes time.

I am looking forward to getting back to doing the things I love and know that without chiropractic and spinal decompression therapy, my future would be looking very different.

Have a great and healthy day!
Dr. David Schwartz,
The Back Care Center of Dumont, NJ
For appointments, call 201-387-7463

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