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Back Talk: Learning benefits of acupuncture

By By Dr. Layne Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate on December 10, 2013 at midnight, updated December 10, 2013 at midnight

The other day I was watching the Dr. Oz show and he was promoting acupuncture for weight loss. How does acupuncture help you to lose weight? Do the needles hurt? Where are the needles placed? How many treatments are needed? I found it shocking that a medical doctor would endorse acupuncture for weight loss.


Acupuncture is finally getting under the skin of many dieters. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help heal a host of conditions. Finally, western medicine now embraces acupuncture to help quell acute and chronic pain, postoperative pain, cancer pain, nausea and many conditions like obesity and compulsive eating disorders.


Recent research has shown that acupuncture stimulates the center of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for keeping the body in harmony, or what is called homeostasis. It is the body's dispatch center that regulates hormones and neurochemicals. It is the main control center for metabolism, hunger, thirst, body temperature and cardiac function.

Research has also found that acupuncture increases the production of ghrelin, a hormone that controls hunger along with stimulating the body's production of leptin, a hormone that that regulates fat storage.


Acupuncture will help curb your appetite, quell your craving for sugars and boost your metabolism along with improving your overall digestion. It will also strengthen the body's immunity and help the body heal faster.


There is usually about 12 to 15 needles used for the standard weight loss treatment. Most are on the front of the body and one or two may be placed in the ears. Rarely do the needles hurt.


I have been having chronic headaches for several years. I have been to eight to 10 doctors and/or specialists. They have performed every test known to mankind. All they tell me is that it must be stress related. The pain usually starts at the base of the neck and travels into the temples. Many times my ear hurts and is sensitive to the touch. My dentist says my jaw may be out of place and needs realignment. Can chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture help me?


Headaches are the No. 1 reason people called in sick at work. Studies reveal that millions of dollars of lost work time is because of chronic headaches. It has become a epidemic that effects millions of Americans.

It sounds like the doctors have ruled out gross pathology. ... That's good. All they know to tell you is that it must be stress? A thorough evaluation of your back is needed to determine if your headaches are coming from your neck, jaw and/or your spine.

Your sensitivity of the ear indicates that you may have a serious jaw problem - temporomandibular joint dysfunction - that may need realignment. A chiropractor is the only doctor that is trained to adjust the jaw properly. Many times, a mouth guard is needed at night. Acupuncture may also be very helpful for pain control.


I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year.

Layne Towery is a Victoria chiropractor and acupuncturist and can be reached at towerygl@yahoo.com or 361-570-6284.



Back Talk: Stop smoking with the help of acupuncture


By By Layne Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate November 12, 2013 at midnight, updated November 12, 2013 at midnight

Dr. Oz had a acupuncturist on his show that uses acupuncture for drug addictions and smoking. The doctor also said acupuncture works well on any type of acute or chronic pain ... even cancer pain. How does acupuncture work? How many treatments do I need to help me stop smoking? What is the cost? Help.


Acupuncture is an alternative approach to help you stop smoking. It is becoming more and more popular and has a growing number of converts. In fact, acupuncture is often a court mandated treatment for drug addicts.

Many times, acupuncture helps reduce cravings, and alleviates withdrawal symptoms such as the jitters, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, anxiety and difficulty with concentration.


Studies have shown that acupuncture stimulates the body to release certain neurotransmitters and neurohormones that tell the body certain things or make the body to respond in special ways. It really works well for any type of pain syndrome, including cancer pain.

I recommend six to 10 treatments for smoking cessation. I also suggest you try a special Chinese oil that you smell between treatments to help you with your cravings. Treatments are usually around $50.

Acupuncture is not a panacea or a magic cure for anything, but it is very effective for helping with addiction problems and a variety of pain conditions.


I was lifting some large heavy pot plants and immediately felt severe pain in my neck, upper back and a burning pain that shot down my right arm. My doctor says I pinched a nerve and to take Advil. He refuses to prescribe any pain medication. He says I need to go to pain management for pain pills. Pain management will not see me without a $1,500 MRI. I have no insurance. Can chiropractic or acupuncture help me? What can I do at home for relief?


First of all, when you hear that you have a "pinched nerve," you should immediately think of a chiropractor - that is our specialty. We see your type of problems every day.


You have overloaded your body and have the brachial nerve entrapped (pinched) in the lower neck. If left untreated, it can give you horrible pain. The first thing you need to do is to start icing the base of your neck as frequently as you can for 30 minutes at a time. Aleve gel caps is usually what I recommend for inflammation.


Many doctors refuse to give pain pills out to patients because of liability issues. Because people abuse pain medications, most doctors refuse to give it to the patients that really need them. They refer you to pain management because they deal with pain medications everyday.

If you really need an MRI, you can usually get one done for around $600 cash. Trust me, chiropractic and acupuncture will offer you the best chance at getting better at a fraction of the cost. Please let me know you get this.


Layne Towery is a Victoria chiropractor and acupuncturist and can be reached at towerygl@yahoo.com or 361-570-6284.



Back Talk: What to expect from a chiropractic visit


 By By Dr. Layne Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate October 8, 2013 at midnight, updated October 8, 2013 at midnight

I have chronic lower back and neck pain. My medical doctor refuses to prescribe anymore pain medication. He said I need to see a chiropractor. What should I expect on my first visit? How long before I see relief of my pain? What type of treatments will he administer? How much will it cost?

In a typical chiropractic practice, most patients are treated for back and neck pain along with a variety of joint and muscle conditions. Here is what you should expect on your first visit.

First, you will fill out a comprehensive history about yourself. You will then sit down and consult with the doctor. He or she will review your history and medications and look over any MRIs or testing that you've had.

Next, you will get a thorough physical exam - one like you never had before. Your spine, muscles and joints will be evaluated for restriction, tension and soreness. The doctor may perform a variety of orthopedic tests to help make a proper diagnosis. He or she may recommend X-rays or further testing if indicated.

The doctor will now give you his or her professional opinion on your condition and make treatment recommendations. Treatment options will include spinal and/or joint manipulation (mobilization), physical therapy such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation ultrasound, infrared heat and therapeutic massage. Acupuncture may also be used to help relieve your pain.

You will now be given some instructions on how to use ice or heat to the affected area and will be shown different exercises and stretches to do daily. Before leaving, questions will be addressed about your care and treatment.

Chiropractic treatment is somewhat similar to physical therapy. You will get treatment close together at the beginning - usually two to three times a week for a couple of weeks, then your treatment will taper off as you progress.

Most of the time you get immediate relief of some of your pain. Be patient; it may take several treatments before you get relief. If you do not see results in five to six sessions, then chiropractic care is not the answer. Treatments range between $40-$75, depending on what treatment is performed. Medicare and most major medical plans cover chiropractic care.

I am having problems with all my joints. My muscles stay sore most the time. X-rays of my knees show a lot of arthritis. My doctor prescribed pain pills and an anti-inflammatory, but I do not like the side effects. Can acupuncture help my pain? What supplements do you recommend for joint and muscle pain?

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years for all kinds of pain. It especially works well on knee conditions. Get on the Internet and Google "acupuncture for arthritis" and you can read all the research that has been done to verify this.

In regards to supplements, I use pharmaceutical-grade glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate with MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). Most people do not take enough. I recommend at least 2,000 milligrams daily. You should see results in several weeks.

Layne Towery is a Victoria chiropractor and acupuncturist and can be reached at towerygl@yahoo.com or 361-570-6284.



Back Talk: Look at back for cause of plantar fasciitis


By By Dr. Layne Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate September 10, 2013 at midnight, updated September 10, 2013 at midnight

I have been having a lot of pain in the arch of my right foot. I can hardly walk first thing in the morning. My doctor says X-rays show I have heel spurs in both feet. He gave me a shot in my right foot and gave me some pills for pain. Neither helped. I am still in misery. Why do I have heel spurs? Why doesn't my left arch/foot hurt like my right does? What treatments would you suggest? Should I have surgery to cut these spurs out? Treatment suggestions?

Your description of your condition sounds like plantar fasciitis. This is a painful inflammation of the connective tissue or ligament on the sole (bottom surface) of the foot. Its cause is usually overactivity, excess weight, hyperpronation (flat feet) and, last but not least, your lower back.

Try this to see if your lower back is the culprit. Sit on the edge of a chair. Have someone take their fingers or thumb and push on your lower back firmly around the belt line. Is this area really sore? Does it feel like it is bruised? If so, it is probably your back causing you chronic foot pain.

The nerves in your back control the muscles in your legs. When the nerve gets pinched, it sends abnormal nerve signals to the calf muscle, which makes the muscle tighten up. The calf muscle forms the Achilles tendon, which attaches on the sole of the foot. This chronic tightness of the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel bone and pulls a piece of the bone away, forming the heel spur.

I would first go see a chiropractor and have your back checked out and manipulated. Acupuncture should help with the pain. Start using ice on your back for 25-30 minutes at a time. Take a water bottle and freeze it. Then put it on the floor and roll it with the bottom of the foot. This will massage and ice the foot at the same time.

Next, get a two-by-four and put it on the ground in front of a doorway. Put the balls of your feet on the edge of the board. Hold on to the sides of the door sill and do some slow, easy toe lifts. This will stretch the calf muscles. Remember to do these slowly.

I would highly recommend you be fitted for some custom orthotics(shoe inserts) to help support the arch of your foot.

You can have a heel spur without having heel pain. It all depends on what is going on with your back. Take care of the back and your foot pain should improve. Remember, never let somebody cut on you unless it is the last resort.

I am considering acupuncture for my chronic neck and back pain. What is acupuncture, and what kind of conditions does it help? Do the needles hurt? How many treatments would I need? What is the cost, and does insurance pay?

Acupuncture is an ancient health science, which has been used successfully to treat pain and dysfunction for more than 5,000 years. Its primary application is the utilization of very slender painless needles placed in strategic places on the body.

The World Health Organization lists more than 100 specific pain and dysfunction conditions that respond to acupuncture. There are very few conditions that do not have some degree of success with acupuncture.

The number of treatments varies from patient to patient. It is recommended you try at least five to six treatments before deciding if it is helping. Remember, be patient with the healing process.

Some insurances pay for acupuncture but most do not. The average treatment cost is around $50 per session. The needles are extremely small and rarely does anyone say they hurt.

Layne Towery is a Victoria chiropractor and acupuncturist and can be reached at towerygl@yahoo.com or 361-570-6284.



Back Talk: Rib misalignments can mimic a heart attack


By By Dr. Layne Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate August 13, 2013 at midnight, updated August 13, 2013 at midnight

I am a 35-year-old female in good health. I was doing some yard work and lifted something heavy. I started having sharp pain under my left shoulder blade and in my chest. My left arm ached some. I thought I was having a heart attack. The ER checked me out and said nothing is wrong with my heart. I am still hurting, especially when I cough or sneeze. What could this be? Can chiropractic work help? What can I do at home to get some relief?

Good thing it was not your heart. It would be very unusual for a woman your age to have a heart attack, but it does happen. Given your history, it sounds like you have thrown a couple of ribs out of alignment.

In their most innocuous form, rib head misalignments feel dull, sore and achy. At its worst, these subluxations can feel like a sharp stabbing pain that radiates into the chest. Coughing and sneezing is really painful.

Pain is usually felt up underneath the shoulder blade area. The rib head may feel swollen or inflamed. The area around the rib will be painful to the touch.

Manual chiropractic adjustments is the treatment of choice for any misalignments. Massage and acupuncture can be helpful for the pain. You need to ice the area of swelling several times a day for 30 minutes.

Taking some over-the-counter medication may be helpful. Lifting with your arms away from your body should be avoided.

My doctor wants me to get a home TENS machine for my chronic back pain. How can a TENS help with my pain, and how do I know were to put it and how long can I use it per day?

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. This pocket-sized machine is a non-invasive, drug-free method of controlling pain. TENS sends tiny electrical impulses through the skin to the nerves to modify your pain perception.

You should place the pads either on the area of pain or as the Chinese say, "surround the dragon," which is the area around the pain.

Treatments should be at least 30 minutes. I have left my TENS on my back for hours depending on the situation.

I have cholesterol problems. I have tried multiple statin drugs, but they all made me weak and gave me muscle pain. What do you suggest that is more natural?

Cholesterol is a huge problem here in the United States. Statin drugs are by far the most commonly used prescription medications. The problem with statin drugs is the dangerous and unwanted side effects. Leg pain and general fatigue are the most common.

In my practice, I have had good luck with the Chinese herb Hong Qu extract or red yeast rice. Also, I have my patients take omega 3 and 6, which are purified fish oils.

Regular exercise is helpful along with increasing your fruits and vegetables. Stay away from saturated fats. Stopping smoking is also recommended.

Layne Towery is a Victoria Chiropractor and Acupuncturist and can be reached at towerygl@yahoo.com or 361-570-6284.



Back Talk: Spinal stenosis is abnormal narrowing of spinal canal


By By Dr. Layne Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate July 9, 2013 at midnight, updated July 9, 2013 at 11:45 p.m.


I am 52 years old. I have had low back and right hip pain for five weeks. Bending, stooping and getting up from sitting hurts. Standing/walking feels a little better. Pain pills do not help. An MRI confirmed I have lumbar spinal stenosis. What is that? Do I need surgery? What other treatment options do I have?

Spinal stenosis is a abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that may occur at any level of the spine. This narrowing causes restriction in the spinal canal.

Cervical spinal stenosis is the most dangerous because it involves compression of the spinal cord.

In lumbar spinal stenosis, only the spinal nerve roots can be compressed. Symptoms include low back and leg pain, numbness, tingling and weakness of the legs.

The most common complaint is increased leg pain while standing long periods. Arthritis, spurs and ligament thickening are the most common causes of spinal stenosis.

Given your history and age, it sounds like you have a mechanical back problem, which is pinching a nerve in the low back. Various motions hurt, while standing and walking help. Therefore, your spinal stenosis appears to be a incidental finding, not your real diagnosis.

Acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation will help reduce the pain. Ice your back three to four times a day for 30 minutes to help with the inflammation.

A home transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, TRANS, machine will also help relieve the pain. Find you a good massage therapist. Always try conservative care before back surgery.

I have pain, numbness and tingling in my right hand and all my fingers. My neck and right arm aches. Carpal tunnel syndrome was my diagnosis. What is carpal tunnel syndrome, and how is it treated?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an entrapment of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel in the wrist.

The median nerve controls the thumb, index finger and half of the middle finger. It does not affect the ring finger or little finger.

Since all fingers are involved, you have more than just carpal tunnel syndrome. You may also have a pinched nerve in your neck or what is called a "double crush syndrome."

This is compression of the median nerve in the wrist as well as compression of the sixth and seventh nerves in the neck. It usually involves the arm hurting or aching.

Try using a cock-up splint for your wrist at night. Ice the base of your neck several times a day for 30 minutes. Aleve may also help. Chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture are very effective for alleviating the pain and correcting the pinched nerves. Surgery is rarely needed.

I want to try acupuncture for my chronic back and neck pain. I am terrified of needles. How big are the needles, and do they hurt? How do these needles help pain?

Acupuncture has been used for pain control for more than 5,000 years. It was first introduced in the U.S. in 1972. Acupuncture needles vary in size.

I use 36 gauge stainless steel disposable needles. They are extremely small and are about the size of a pore in your skin. Five will fit inside the hole of a standard hypodermic needle.

Studies have shown that acupuncture stimulates the body to release opioid peptides like endorphins to help with pain.

Patients rarely complain that the needles hurt. They usually say it is very relaxing and many times fall asleep during their treatment.

Layne Towery is a Victoria chiropractor and acupuncturist and can be reached at towerygl@yahoo.com or 361-570-6284.



Back Talk: Back pain is No. 1 cause of disability worldwide


 By By Dr. Layne Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate June 11, 2013 at midnight, updated June 11, 2013 at midnight

I have lived and practiced in the Crossroads area for almost 30 years. I come from a long pedigree of chiropractors and acupuncturists.

We have had a total of eight chiropractors in the immediate family: my dad, my grandpa and grandma along with aunts, uncles and cousins. I graduated from Texas Chiropractic College in 1984 and received my acupuncture certification in 1995.

I am currently board eligible in spinal and appendicular orthopedics with more than 360 hours of clinical training.

Today and in the future, I will be answering your questions and giving you advice on a variety of topics like back and neck pain, weight loss acupuncture along with some nutritional advice. I will educate you on various treatments options that are available and try to make your life more pleasant and comfortable.

There seems to be a lot of people disabled from back pain. Do other countries have as much trouble as we have here in the United States?

A series of studies has emerged from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Project, a massive collaboration between the World Health Organization and many other health entities. They concluded that the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide is low back pain, with neck pain the No. 4 cause.

Overall, musculoskeletal conditions represent the second leading cause of global disability. Low back pain, neck pain and spinal arthritis affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide.

Back problems are a enormous problem here in the United States and need to be given the same priority for policy and resources as other major conditions.

First of all, I am a smoker and cough frequently. The other day I was bent over washing my face when I had to cough and sneeze at the same time. I twisted to my left and coughed and sneezed hard. I heard a loud "pop" and immediately had severe back pain that went into my hip and down my leg. I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with hip bursitis. The visit was more than $2,500. I was given pain pills. Do I need surgery?

The first thing I can tell you is you do not have a hip bursitis. Your mechanism of injury is classic of a herniated disc. The disc is the cushion between two vertebra. You overloaded it when you coughed and sneezed while twisting.

You need to be lying down frequently and applying ice on the lower back for about 30 minutes at a time. You need to take something for inflammation, like Aleve or even aspirin.

A lower back brace should be worn at the beginning until you can walk without pain. Spinal manipulation and acupuncture will help relieve the pain and get the disc back in place so the body can heal itself.

If you do not respond to the above conservative treatments, an MRI may be needed along with a trip to the pain management specialist for some epidural steroid injections. If that does not help, then surgery should be considered.

Dr. Layne Towery is a Victoria Chiropractor and Acupuncturist and can be reached at towerygl@yahoo.com or 361-570-6284.

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