Friday, May 4, 2018

Why going to a chiropractor is the best option for your back/neck pain

Why should I go see a chiropractor for my back/neck pain?

First off, there is no way I can condense the reasons why you should go see a chiropractor in one blog post. So instead, I will touch on some reasons why I believe chiropractic care is good for us and where I believe chiropractors fit into our healthcare system compared to other providers. 
Seeing a chiropractor can be very beneficial for diagnosing and treating most of your neuromusculoskeletal problems-because it’s our specialty. Most of my friends don’t know this, but it typically takes 7.5 years total to earn a Chiropractic degree. During those years we get the opportunity to dissect the entire human body in anatomy class, along with taking advanced courses in: neuroanatomy, physiology, biomechanics, biology, chiropractic techniques, etc. etc. (I’m glad I don’t have to go to class anymore.) The reason I’m telling you this is because while other healthcare professionals take similar course loads, each of our courses are tailored to diagnosing, managing, and the conservative treatment of neuromusculoskeletal issues. (This includes a magnified focus on the back and neck). We also have a full year treating patients prior to graduation. It’s kind of like our “chiropractic residency”. So, the first reason you should consider seeing a chiropractor if you have back/neck pain is because we are well-qualified, and well-experienced. 
The second reason you should go see a chiropractor is because the alternative approaches in my opinion are either riskier, more expensive, or less effective. This article posted in Annals of Internal Medicine helps to explain my point on why a chiropractic AKA “manual therapists” office is a great place to start with your neck pain… “In our randomized, controlled trial, we compared the effectiveness of manual therapy, physical therapy, and continued care by a general practitioner in patients with nonspecific neck pain. The success rate at seven weeks was twice as high for the manual therapy group (68.3 percent) as for the continued care group (general practitioner). Manual therapy scored better than physical therapy on all outcome measures. Patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or continued care, and manual therapy and physical therapy each resulted in statistically significant less analgesic use than continued care.” 
I’ll throw a disclaimer out there by saying this above claim can vary based on what the patient presents with and based on the treating chiropractor. I always encourage people to find a chiropractor that is functional/evidence based and has strong manual therapy skills. Also, if you are seeing a physical therapist who is good at manual therapy I place them and chiropractors in the same tier for treating the neck/back. There is quite a bit of overlap in treatment between a physical therapist and a chiropractor now-a-days also. IMO I believe your average chiro is better at adjusting the spine/manual therapy, and your average PT is better at pre/post-surgery rehabilitation. Not to say that there aren’t providers in each profession that can do both well or even better than the other.
I will also make the claim that seeing a chiropractor for back/neck pain is a better first-line option than seeing an orthopedic surgeon or medical doctor in MOST instances. We all know using pain medication regularly can be detrimental to one’s health and may lead to an increase in the ever-growing opioid addiction problem we currently have. I’ve had multiple people text me saying that their back is killing them, and that they were going to go to the hospital because it was so severe. My follow-up question is usually “what do you think they’ll do?” My experience has been they’ll spend 10 mins with you (maybe), prescribe medication, and refer you to someone else. Can pain medication be an essential part of the process of healing, YES. Does everyone that has low back pain need pain medication, NO. 
What if for less money you could have a chiropractor spend close to an hour with you, diagnose your problem, provide treatment to fix the diagnosis, give you rehabilitative exercises, educate you on the things to do/not to do, and provide pain relief naturally? To me that sounds like a no brainer. According to the highly regarded, research journal Spine, "Manual-thrust manipulation provides greater short-term reductions in self-reported disability and pain compared with usual medical care. 94% of the manual-thrust manipulation group achieved greater than 30% reduction in pain compared with 69% of usual medical care." 
Having surgery comes with its own risk and should be considered a last option, not the first one. For instance, I tore my ACL in my knee and needed to have surgery to hope for a full recovery. This was a last-line option, and this is just one injury of many that does indeed require surgery. However, not all injuries require surgery to get better. Although the surgery went well, and my knee is now fully healed, there were several negative effects of having the surgery. It was expensive, I missed time from work, I had to rely on my girlfriend to help me, it created an increase in scar tissue, I lost part of my hamstring muscle (to replace the ACL), and it may even lead to an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. Then there is also the risk of failed surgery… Going through all the negatives and all the risks and then it does little to nothing to change your function or pain! Or worsens! If you can avoid surgery, you should. One way to decrease the need for back surgery is to have a spine that is functioning properly. The best way to maintain a healthy spine can be done through chiropractic care, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. 
The purpose of this blog was not to downplay the importance of other healthcare professionals, but just to help explain why I think chiropractors are a great place to start when you are suffering from back or neck pain. In some cases, I will refer patients out to see an orthopedic surgeon or to their primary for pain relief injections. I believe its important to get my patients to the right doctor at the right time. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from back/neck pain and you have been searching for relief, my office would be a great place to start! Give us a call at 217-525-2035 and ask for Dr. Cody! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What is Dry Needling?

What is dry needling?
One treatment option I perform with many of my patients is dry needling. Dry needling uses the same thin steel filament needles that are commonly associated with acupuncture. There is somelayover between acupuncture and dry needling, but the technique and mechanism of action are quite different. Acupuncture has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. In short, acupuncture deals with the insertion of needles at points throughout the body that follow paths “meridians” that help to stimulate the flow of energy throughout the body. Dry needling on the other hand has only been aroundsince the late 1970’s and is designed to get rid of those irritating knots/trigger points throughout the body.  
Why do we get these knots in the first place?
A teacher of mine used to say that these trigger points are a good thing in a poorly functioning system. The reason our body creates trigger points is to stabilize the nearby joints and to avoid further injury. When the deep muscles of the spine aren’t engaged they don’t stabilize the spine properly and our superficial muscles will compensate by recruiting extra stability in the form of knots.
So dry needling will help to clear the knots?
Yes. In my experience the best way to treat and eliminate these painful trigger points Is through dry needling followed by rehabilitative exercise for long term results. Whenever I am inserting a needle my goal is to elicit what is known as a local twitch response. I tell my patients that this is when I know the needle has inserted into the muscle successfully. 
How does dry needling work?
Dry needling has several proposed mechanisms of action. Neurologically, inserting the needle sends new information to the brain to help disrupt the “poor information” it was getting before that likely caused the issue. It also manipulates the fascia and improves the amount of blood flow to the targeted areawhich speeds up tissue healingIn layman’s terms, I tell my patients that when I get a muscle to elicit a twitch response, it’s like the muscle is finally “letting go” due to the manipulation of the needle. 
Does it hurt to get needled?
Not from my experience in getting needled or performing the needling. Once in awhile one of the twitch responses may surprise my patients, but hardly ever do patients complain of dry needling causing them pain. If they do have a slight pain it’s usually described as it “hurts so good.” The needles are composed of such a thin filament that most of the time they have no idea when I’m even inserting the needle. 
Is dry needling for you?
Do you have pain? Do you have knots on the inside of your shoulder blades, low back, neck, etc? Do you suffer from headaches or TMD? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then yes dry needling may be for you. If you are finally ready to get rid of these irritating knots in your body and improve the way you feel and function give us a call today at 217-525-2035 and ask for Dr. Cody to solve this issue once and for all!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Why Do We Pop?

Have you ever wondered why our joints pop? I tell patients that our joints have a certain allowed range of motion and when we take the joint past this barrier (into what is known as the paraphysiological space), often a pop or crack will be heard. What happens when the joint enters this new range of motion is it gaps the adjacent bones for a split-second and a nitrogen gas is released. The release of this gas is producing the audible you hear. Typically, my patients come in and are looking “to get popped”. However, whether or not a joint “pops” does not necessarily indicate that the adjustment “worked.”
When I perform an adjustment, it is always directed into the joint(s) that are restricted in motion. However, one person’s joint restriction may feel totally different than another’s. Said another way, some people’s joints have greater allowed motion than others. As we age, our spines have a greater likelihood to begin to degenerate. Often our intervertebral disc height decreases, ligaments calcify, and bones begin to take on different shapes. These changes are commonly referred to as the “wear and tear” of our body. Wear and tear makes our joints “tighter” thus creating less of a potential gapping or “pop” to occur. Also, after several treatments in the office, and followed at home recommendations, I usually notice less of a popping noise because the adjustment is holding better and longer than it previously was. 
So don’t become a crack addict! 
Did you know cracking your own spine may be creating MORE of a problem for you? “But Doc it always feels good when I pop my own neck!?” Yeah, you may be getting a brief feeling of euphoria, but it is usually accompanied with creating further dysfunction in your spine in the long run. There’s a reason it continues to feel the way it does even after your self-adjustments…When you can crack your own spine, often you are popping joints that are already moving well! This can create further dysfunction in the joints that were previously restricted and may lead to an increased likelihood of pain and injury! For example, usually disc injuries are due to excessive movement and a lack of stability! 

As a rule of thumb, I tell patients to avoid popping their own necks and low back. The upper/mid back or thoracic spine is usually okay in my opinion to foam roll or create some popping with. If you have been popping your own body for some time and are still in pain, or if you want to avoid a future of dysfunction that leads to pain, feel free to give us a call and schedule your first appointment at               217-525-2035! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Is Sitting Killing Us?!

11 hours. This is the average amount of time a person sits each day. The average American also sleeps 7 hours per night. This means that for nearly 18 hours of our day we live a sedentary lifestyle. This is a far cry from the way our ancestors lived as hunters and gatherers. How have we drastically transitioned into these sedentary beings? Is it due to advancing technology? Job requirements? Our busy lives? Pain? Are we just becoming lazy? This question is up for debate, but what is not up for debate is how unhealthy it is to sit all day. I recently listened to a podcast that discussed some of the effects sitting all day had on our bodies and I thought it would be worth sharing

Do you sit often and have low back pain? If this is true, sitting could be one of the worst things you can do for your low back. When we sit we increase the load/pressure on our intervertebral disc. This increased disc pressure can lead to nerve irritation and symptoms of sciatica. Often times people will round their low back/slouch while sitting, placing ourselves at a greater risk to strain muscles of the low back. While sitting we are constantly activating our hip flexor muscles and not activating our hipextensor muscles. This can lead to an imbalance in our pelvis and symptoms of low back and hip pain. 

Do you sit often and have neck pain? Sitting at a desk can often lead to what is called “anterior head carriage”. This is a fancy word for saying your head is sliding forward in relationship to your neck. For every inch that our head is displaced forward on our neck it adds about 10lbs of weight on the joints and themuscles of the upper back and neck that support our head. This can lead to an array of symptoms including: neck stiffness, neck pain, and headaches. 
Do you sit often and have pain in the shoulder blades/midback? Sitting with bad posture can lead to excessively rounded shoulders and “hyperkyphosis”. Hyperkyphosis is when our thoracic spine/mid-back begins to curve the opposite way. Think of the hunchback of Notre-Dame. Those knots that you get on the inside of your shoulder blade can even be impacted by sitting. While we sit we often activate our pectoral muscles and have a lack of activation in the muscles that help to stabilize the scapula, leading to these knots

Listed above are some of the common effects sitting has on our musculoskeletal system, but the research says that sitting may have far worse consequences

The department of medicine at Columbia University recently did research that looked at the association between sitting and all-cause mortality. Their research headed by Dr. Diaz concluded that “Both the total volume of sedentary time and its accrual in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts are associated with all-cause mortality, suggesting that physical activity guidelines should target reducing and interrupting sedentary time to reduce risk for death.” Another research article done in the Netherlands found an association between sitting and type 2 diabetes. There have also been numerous research articles published on the association between sitting and the following: obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.

So Cody, how do I avoid the consequences of sitting? I’m glad you asked. Here are some action steps!

1. Get up every 25 minutes from your desk! Set a timer, get up, and move around! Doing corrective stretches/exercisescan go a long way to help combat the effects of sitting!(YouTube: cat/camel, prone press-ups, cervical retractions) 
2. Consider getting a standing desk! Getting a desk that has a standing option could be great for you if you spend most of your day sitting!
3. Get a lumbar support roll! This roll will help to support the low back and keep you in a more preferred posture by helping reinforce the natural curve of the low back. These rolls are very cheap; it doesn’t make sense not to have one!
4. Try to get at least 10,000 steps/day! This can be easily tracked with most smart phones and fit-bit type devices. 
5. COME IN AND GET CHIROPRACTIC CARE! If you want to feel better and move better chiropractic care is the best place to start!

Thanks for reading this week’s blog! Feel free to email me any questions you may have at I’m still running a special of just $30 for a new patient consultation, exam, and treatment! Call today to schedule your appointment at 217-525-2035!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Can Chiropractic Care Help My Headaches?

Did you know that roughly 90 percent of people suffer from occasional headaches!? It varies how intense these headaches are and how long they last in duration from person to person, but one thing that doesn’t vary is the fact they can compromise our quality of life and become debilitating. How do you manage your headaches? Do you use an ice pack? Sleep it off? Take a pill? Tough it out? I suggest a better alternative, Chiropractic care.

First, lets discuss the different types of headaches there are out there. We typically divide headaches into 2 main categories: Primary and Secondary. Primary headache types include: Migraine, tension, and cluster. Primary headaches are caused by over-activity of structures in the head. This can include changes in one or more of the following: Chemical activity in the brain, nerve and blood supply, and muscles. Secondary headache types include: Cervicogenic, hypertension, TMJ dysfunction, sinus, post-traumatic, among others. A secondary headache is a headache that is brought on by another condition. (Future posts will discuss each headache more in-depth)

Finding out what triggers your headaches may go a long way in properly diagnosing and managing them. Maybe they’re due to stress, neck stiffness, teeth grinding, lack of sleep, food allergies, and the list goes on and on. After a probable diagnosis is made, the research suggests that spinal adjustments and regular chiropractic care can be highly effective in the treatment of headaches..   

A randomized controlled trial was done by the Journal of manipulative physiological therapeutics (JMPT) that focused on the efficacy of chiropractic adjustments for patients suffering from migraines. The study used 127 participants (age 10-70) that had a diagnosis of migraine. These patients underwent 2 months of chiropractic care, including spinal adjustments. The control group underwent no chiropractic care for comparison. Patients filled out headache diaries consistently throughout the 2-month experiment recording the frequency, intensity, duration, disability, and use of medication for each episode (1).  

The results showed a statistically significant improvement in each category stated above: headache frequency, intensity, duration, disability, and use of medication for the experimental group compared to the control group. In other words, the patients that received chiropractic care better managed their headaches. Also, over 80% of participants reported stress as the key factor for their migraines. The JMPT correlated that chiropractic care has a positive effect on the physical conditions related to stress (1).

In conclusion, If you’re suffering from headaches and are looking for a safe and effective way to manage them, go see a chiropractor! We can provide adjustments to help improve movement and alleviate stress on the nervous system, provide nutritional advice, and provide advice on exercises, posture, ergonomics, and relaxation techniques to help you get better faster! Use me as a tool to help improve your health!

Update: I’m still waiting on my license application to be processed but I am hopeful to begin accepting patients the first week of February! Stay tuned!        


1.     Tuchin, PJ. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics. A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. Feb 2000.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Part II

Last week I released a blog that discussed what a chiropractic adjustment does from a biomechanical stand point. In this weeks post I will attempt to further explain what the adjustment does, but this time from a neurological stand point. The key word in the last sentence is attempt, because neuroanatomy is much more complex than a one-page blog, but I hope to paraphrase what it is we do neurologically. Let’s start by breaking down what our nervous system is…

The nervous system is structurally broken down into 2 components: 1. Central Nervous system (CNS.) 2. Peripheral Nervous system (PNS). The Central Nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and retina. This is where information is evaluated and commands are made, its commonly referred to as our control center. The peripheral nervous system consists of specialized cells and nerves that connect the central nervous system to the rest of our body. Think of the peripheral nervous system as the transmitter of information from the body to the brain (sensory/afferent information) and from the brain to the body (motor/efferent information). The peripheral nervous system also has 3 subsystems including: somatic, autonomic, and the enteric nervous systems respectively.  

All day long our brain (CNS) is processing information from these nerve receptors (PNS) in our joints, muscles, ligaments, discs, etc.

As I stated in last week’s post, it is imperative that our joints move correctly to enable proper functional movement patterns and to avoid pain and injuries. Also, if our joints are not moving correctly, the nerve receptors will desensitize and eventually send a pain signal to the brain known as nociception. However, if our joints are moving correctly, the nerve receptors will sense this and send what is known as proprioceptive input to the brain. Proprioceptive input notifies the brain where that joint is at in space.

Therefore, the adjustment is designed to take place in these desensitized or restricted joints and override the pain signal by stimulating proprioceptive input. Think about the last time you hit your head. I bet the first thing you did was rub the spot you hit, right? If it seemed to make it feel better its because you were overriding the pain signal by stimulating the receptors that give the brain proprioceptive feedback. This scenario helps to explain the neurological reason why the adjustment makes you feel better, but on a larger scale. When our brain is bombarded with new proprioceptive input it takes precedent over the pain signal.

As a mentor of mine put it, the adjustment opens a neurological window when pain is gone and it allows time for proper movement to take place. With each adjustment and each exercise performed, the hope is to create a larger time frame that this “window” is opened. When the window stays open for an extended period of time this is when your condition has been treated successfully. 


Why going to a chiropractor is the best option for your back/neck pain

Why should I go see a chiropractor for my back/neck pain? First off, there is no way I can condense the reasons why you should go see...