What can I do for chronic pain?

Pain Relief Practices (That Can Keep the Drugs at Bay)

Kimberly Hayes reached out to McFadden Chiropractic wanting to write a blog for the site regarding chronic pain and some techniques that could help someone cope with their situation. It is an informative read so check it out below!

Chronic pain is an epidemic that affects one in five people globally. It’s a problem that touches all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Unfortunately, chronic pain often leads to excessive use of pain medications, and sometimes addiction (or worse). While prescription medication is essential in helping to manage some forms of pain, it is not the only option.

Living with pain does not mean you have to resort to potentially-dangerous narcotics. With your doctor’s guidance, there are ways to find relief. 

Pain not welcome here

When you want to eliminate pain naturally, you have to start at home. Pain-Free Living explains that your home design should center around one concept: simple. Keep things as clean and uncluttered as possible, and add a few minor improvements throughout to help you get through your day. This might include dimmable lights if you have migraines, or a soaking tub with safety grab bars and a handheld sprayer if you have arthritis. Re-organize each room so that daily tasks don’t take their toll. For example, use a hanging shoe rack in the closet so you don’t have to bend to retrieve your favorite footwear. This resource list from HomeAdvisor offers dozens of links on how to organize your home, from the garage to the bedroom and everywhere in between.

Therapy for aching muscles and joints

Another way to naturally manage pain is to do activities or participate in relaxation techniques that heal. A warm bath offers proven therapeutic benefits for the musculoskeletal system. It’s effective at reducing lower back pain and easing the symptoms of fibromyalgia and arthritis. Further, being submerged in water takes pressure off the joints and can improve flexibility. A 10-minute dip in the hot tub is a virtually guaranteed soother. Massage is another noninvasive treatment for pain. Before running out and laying yourself on a massage therapist’s table, however, make sure they have experience working on individuals with your types of troubles. Not all pain is the same, and not all massage techniques are right for everyone. Your therapist can answer any questions and address concerns prior to your session.

Nature’s medicine

There is no contesting that the food you eat plays a role in your overall health. Many foods can cause or reduce inflammation, which is a known pain trigger. Olive oil, salmon, and nuts are just a few foods that can reduce internal irritation while providing a robust variety of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Food isn’t the only natural remedy that can ease the pressure. Turmeric and white willow bark have both been used for centuries to relieve everything from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis to the common cold. Before you reach for any supplement, talk to your doctor to make sure they are safe for you.

Say goodbye to stress

Stress might not cause pain, but it certainly doesn’t help it, and in some cases, muscle stiffness triggered by chronic stress can be an exacerbating factor. In a never-ending cycle, this extra pain can cause more stress which, in turn, makes the pain even worse. A visit to FraserHealth.ca, a B.C.-based network of hospitals and healthcare centers, offers guidance on ways to beat stress when you’re dealing with chronic pain. Tips include deep breathing, mindful meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.

When living with pain is your daily reality, you have to learn to adjust your life. This starts at home and encompasses everything you do, from how you eat to how you relax. You don’t have to let pain dictate your life if you’re willing to jump ahead and beat it before it beats you.

Thank you Kimberly for the informative and educational blog!

Remember, if you are struggling with chronic pain, speak with a health care provider that may be able to help!

Low back exercises!

The low back exercises that I do and recommend

The exercises I give to patients really depend on what the individual can or cannot do. If a person comes in with acute low back pain, they may not be able to do much, so the exercises must be tailored to their condition.

There are THREE things that are my GO-TO exercises to help when my low back flares-up.

1. Cat Cow Pose

cat cow.jpg

The instructions I give are: ‘go on your hands and knees, arch your back, stick your butt out and head up. Hold for five seconds. After that, push all the way up and hold for five seconds.’ This exercise is to increase mobility in the low back area. When an injury occurs, the joints and muscles stiffen up to protect the body. It is often this protective mechanism that we need to treat. This exercise is a good way to get more range of motion in to the low back.

2. Gluteal stretch (Butt muscle stretch)


Low back pain can come from the low back, however often the gluteal musculature (the butt muscles) are the cause. These are powerful muscles that attach to your pelvis, so if they are injured, low back pain is often the result. This this stretch holding for one minute, can help release some of the gluteal tightness and help decrease low back pain. My instructions for this one are to put the affected side leg on the other and pull that knee to the opposite chest.

3. Foam rolling

foamroll glutes.jpg

As you can tell, these positions are not necessarily for the patient with acute low back pain. These would be for continued maintenance care or for someone that is moving better compared to that acute phase. Foam rolling can help loosen the muscles that may be tight. This works well in conjunction with the stretch that has been shown.

As previously stated, these exercises are what I do, and what I often recommend for patients to do. But depending on the condition, they may be altered slightly.

If you have any questions, or want to know what stretched I recommend for other areas, let me know!

I Have TMJ! ... TMD!

My Jaw hurts! Please Help!

Lately I have had people come in with jaw pain wondering if there is anything I can do to help. The TMJ (temperomandibular joint) is the joint between your jaw and your skull. The main reason for this joint is to be able to open and close your mouth properly.

TMJ bones

When there is pain in the TMJ, it is often diagnosed as TMD (temperomandibular dysfunction). Similarly to in the spine, there is a disc in this joint which tries to promote smooth movement. However, sometimes there is aberrant movement in this joint which can be caused by a few things. Common signs of possible TMD would include an inability to open your mouth wide, popping, clicking, locking, or muscle and joint tenderness.

A very common reason for TMD is due to the muscles surrounding the joint.

tmj-anatomy muscles.jpg

As you can see from the above picture, there are a lot of muscles involved with the TMJ. The main mastication muscles (chewing muscles) is the lateral and medial pterygoid, temporalis and masseter muscles which are found on both sides. If these muscles are tight on either side it may result in aberrant movement causing dysfunction. This could be a result of clenching or grinding your teeth.

Other reasons for TMD may be internal joint derangement where the disc is affected causing movement that isn’t smooth, or degeneration of that joint.

How to help it?

As previously mentioned, the most common reason for TMD is a muscular issue. So how can we treat that?

Chiropractors are in a very good position to treat TMD

TMJ treatment

Through a few different treatment options, chiropractors are able to treat TMD. These would include spinal manipulation to ensure the nerves and joints of the neck are functioning properly, TMJ mobilization, muscle work extra-orally and intra-orally as access to certain muscles is most effective if performed in the mouth, and acupuncture as well.

Other important things to note is that decreasing your stress level will decrease grinding and clenching of the jaw aggravating those muscles surrounding the joint. So massage therapy can be very effective as well!

If you think you are experiencing TMD, get it checked today!

I have symptoms down my arms or legs... HELP!!!

Whenever someone comes in to my office and has symptoms down either their arms or legs, I need to determine what is the cause. The term ‘Sciatica’ and ‘Pinched Nerve’ are thrown around a lot; often incorrectly but do fit into some reasons that cause symptoms down the extremities. These symptoms are often described as a numbness or tingling and normally mean that the nervous system is involved.

Read More

Treatment while Pregnant

There are a lot of myths regarding the treatment of women when they are pregnant. And unfortunately, it is these myths that cause suffering pregnant women to not get treatment that would make them more comfortable through the whole pregnancy. Some of these myths will be discussed in this blog. At any time, I have around five pregnant women on treatment plans right up until their due date allowing them to get through the pregnancy a little easier.

Read More

Daily Exercises

Many people currently work at sedentary jobs and often develop very similar conditions. It is these types of jobs where people regularly need to get up and move around, or even perform some stretches at their desk. It is these sedentary and repetitive postures that frequently cause dysfunction and pain.

I did a presentation last year to a great staff at the YWCA and we went over different stretches and exercises they can do to help decrease the pains from a sedentary job.

These exercises can be performed a few times a day. They are meant to be slow movements to the full range of motion.

Read More

Most Common Diagnosis

It has been a while since I wrote a blog as the Grand Opening of the clinic and the busy time in December has brought me away from the computer. It is interesting to find things to write about for blogs that would be pertinent to the people reading. So today, I figured I would write about the most common diagnosis that I give in the clinic. If you are a patient at the clinic, this may sound familiar.

Chronic mechanical low back and neck pain with cervicogenic headaches

Read More

Plantar Fasciitis

I have had an influx of patients lately with plantar fasciitis so try to write about what it pertinent to my patient base.

What is it??

Plantar fascia is a connective tissue in the foot, which attaches to the inside of the heel (calcaneus) and extends to the bones of the toes (phalanges). This helps with controlling the arch of the foot and ensuring proper biomechanics of the foot. Whenever you add the ending ‘itis’ to anything it is inflammation of that structure, so plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia.

Read More

What kind of Chiropractor are you?

Being in a plaza with a lot of foot traffic, I do get people coming in and ask questions about services, hours, or myself. The most common lately is ‘what kind of chiropractor are you?’ In the two years I have been working, I have not been asked that before so was surprised initially.

More common questions pertain to your elevator pitch. If in any profession, you need to be able to explain to people what you do in the length of an elevator ride or they will lose interest. So here we go, I am a chiropractor, massage therapist and acupuncture provider that treats the joints, muscles and nerves of the whole body with an emphasis on the spine.

Read More

Types of Headaches

All the headaches mentioned may benefit from acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and massage. The migraines and cervicogenic headaches do normally respond directly to these forms of care. The tension headaches and the cluster headache affects on the body may benefit from these types of modalities. When these headaches occur, muscles often tighten and joints become restricted resulting in dysfunction of those areas.

Read More