Monday, June 29, 2009

July Blog

July Blog Update
by Dr. John H. Riggs
Alternative Chiropractic Solutions, 570-8792
Cervicogenic Headaches (the migraine mimicker)
  • Migraines are generally considered vascular headaches.
  • A headache that can mimic the migraine is a "cervicogenic headache". Cervicogenic headaches are caused by dysfunction (generally locking) of the spinal joints in the upper neck (generally C1-2 but also the occiput C1 and C2-3 joints as well). This headache can be severe, unilateral and cause auras, dizziness, nausea and light sensitivity. It is characterized by pain starting in the base of the skull and sometimes going up the back of the head to the eyes. There is considerble tenderness under the base of the skull. Other conditions need to be ruled out initially. Treatment consists of manipulation (traditional or low force, soft tissue massage, traction, and therapy modalities of electrical stimulation and ice. Several treatments may be necessary to resolve the headache and home therapy and home traction may also be helpful. Although medications may be helpful with the pain and inflammation (see risks last blog), the headache will return until normal joint motion is restored and the muscle spasms resolved.

Rib Pain (costovertebral pain)

The ribs insert at the junction of the costovertebral joint- vertebra and rib junction-and can cause considerable pain. Motor vehicle accidents, improper sleeping, sports, repetitive stress, among others can result in locking of the ribs. The most common problem areas are between the shoulder blades and can cause a stiff neck and also pain on breathing. It can also cause chest pain as well. If a recent cold or flu was present, pleurisy or pleuritis may need to be ruled out. Patients with scoliosis often have a lot of rib pain due to the stress put on the rib cage from the twisting of the spine.

Treatment: the most effective treatment in my experience is to simply restore the rib motion and treat with ice.

Miscellaneous health news

  • craving sweets can be a sign of depression
  • skipping breakfast can cause you to get fat by tricking your brain into craving higher calorie food.
  • Alternatives to flexeril: Skullcap and valarian root are anti-spasmodic herbs. Bromelain taken between meals and eicosapentaenoic acid (fish oil) are good natural anti-inflammatories. Ice and massage are also beneficial in reducing muscle spasm and inflammation.
  • Tai Chi has been found to help ease pain in many arthritis patients.
  • Vinegar appears to turn on the fat burning gene.
  • FDA is concerned about the overuse of acetaminophen (Tylenol) causing liver damage.
  • Artificial sweeteners are linked to a 2 fold increase in diabetes.

News From Medicine

  • Lower blood pressure without medication. These strategies are not new -- they include weight reduction, increase in physical activity, restriction of sodium, following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, tobacco cessation, and reduction of alcohol intake. Stress management, device-guided therapeutic breathing, patient education.