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Whiplash injuries can be serious

By Dr. Layne Towery

Originally published Dec. 9, 2014 at midnight,

 

I recently was hit from behind in a car wreck. I was stopped at a light and the other vehicle was traveling 45 mph. The driver was texting a friend and was not paying attention. I went to the emergency room and got a magnetic resonance imaging.

 

I was diagnosed with severe whiplash and a herniated disc in my neck and lower back. He had no car insurance to pay for my medical expenses. I can not work, and I need treatment but can not afford it. I have full coverage insurance on my vehicle. What should I do? What is whiplash and can chiropractic or acupuncture help my conditions?

 

I am sorry to hear about your accident. Whiplash is a generic term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is violently jolted in one direction and then another. Whiplash is most commonly seen in people involved in car accidents, but it can occur from falls, sports injuries and other incidents.

 

Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain or strain of the neck. Ligaments in the neck that help support and protect the neck are torn, which is called a sprain. Facet joints which are in the back of the spine are covered by ligaments called facet capsules. These capsules are very susceptible to hyperflexion or hyperextension injuries.

 

Symptoms are intense pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back. Headaches, especially at the base of the neck, are also common symptoms seen in more than two-thirds of the patients that have been rear-ended. Dizziness, difficulty swallowing, nausea and even blurred vision can occur.

 

I recommend ice to the neck and shoulders for at least 30 minutes four to five times a day. Patients should not be afraid to move and be active within reason. I also would suggest an over-the counter anti-inflammatory like Aleve gel caps or Inflam-95, which is a natural herb combination. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and ultrasound will also help relieve the pain and stimulate your body to heal faster. Spinal manipulation and acupuncture can also be very beneficial. Performing stretches in a warm pool or hot tub works really well.

 

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

 

 

Back Talk: Conservative care can stop lower back pain

 

By Dr. Layne Towery

Originally published Oct. 7, 2014 at midnight,

 

Several weeks ago, I was shoveling some dirt for about 30-45 minutes and got a sharp pain in my lower back. It did not last long but, it got my attention. I kept on shoveling until I got what I call a bolt of lightning in my lower back. I now have intense lower back pain and pain in buttock area. I saw my medical doctor and he said I pulled a muscle, just put some heat on it and it will heal on its own. It has affected my daily functions like putting my shoes on, getting off the toilet and other personal hygiene. Anyway, it is not getting any better. Do I need magnetic resonance imaging or X-rays? What can I do at home to help the pain? Do I need to see a surgeon? Can chiropractic or acupuncture give me any relief?

 

What it sounds like to me is you have a herniated disc in your lower back. The disc is a shock absorber between two vertebrae in your spine. When you put too much strain on the disc it tears and creates a bulge. This bulge swells and then touches the spinal nerve and causes intense pain. This usually happens in the lower back area around the belt line.

 

Your doctor is right about it usually healing on it's own but it may take months before you feel relief. Here is my suggestions on how to get some relief:

 

First of all, go see a chiropractor. Chiropractors are spinal specialists. That's what they treat all day long, if they provide acupuncture that's even better. Acupuncture uses tiny needles to stimulate the nerves and has been shown to be very effective for herniated discs.

 

I would use ice on the lower back for 30 minutes at a time, several times a day. You either need to lie down or walk - no sitting. Sitting or driving excessively will aggravate the disc. Wearing a lower back brace is extremely helpful. This is not to be worn all the time but mainly when your upright and walking. Taking Aleve gel caps works for most people. An at home transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit may also help.

 

I always recommend conservative care before spending your money on expensive testing like a MRI. If you do not respond to the above treatments in two to three weeks, then yes, a MRI or plain film X-rays may be medically indicated. Most people respond well to conservative treatments.

 

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

Back Talk: Alternative solutions to neuropathy, sleeping problems

 

By Dr. Layne Towery

Originally published September, 2014 at midnight,

I suffer from insomnia. Most nights, I have difficulty falling to sleep or staying asleep. My legs cramp and are very restless. My feet burn, tingle and give me unpleasant, electric-like shocks. Both feet are very sensitive to even light touch. It feels like I have a tight sock on both my feet at times. I did an expensive sleep study, which confirmed sleep apnea. I was taking Lyrica and some type of sleeping pill, but that did not help. My doctor insists that I am depressed and wants me on antidepressants. I am not depressed, I just need some quality sleep and some relief of my leg problems. What alternatives would you suggest? How effective are they? I am miserable.

 

I am sorry to hear about your problems. Since I wrote last month's article, I have been literally inundated with questions about peripheral neuropathy and insomnia. Recent studies have shown that about 25 percent of Americans suffer from neuropathy (nerve damage). A whopping 50 percent of the people reading this article has a sleeping problem of some sort.

 

The No. 1 alternative recommendation listed by the Mayo Clinic and most other authorities is acupuncture. This ancient treatment has been used for thousands of years for a variety of conditions and works especially well for neuropathy and insomnia.

 

Almost all my patients get their spine adjusted by a chiropractor. I would say about 80 percent of those people also receive some type of acupuncture treatment. The first thing most people tell me after receiving their first couple of treatments is that they sleep better. They also say they wake feeling more rested and rejuvenated.

 

If you want to see if acupuncture can help your sleep, stimulate these following points with the end of a retracable pen.

 

There are three points used for sleeping problems. One is just below the tip of the xyphoid process; that is the pointy bone at the base of your sternum.

 

The next one is at the medial wrist on the side of your little finger.

 

The last one is between the knuckles of the index finger and middle finger.

 

Feel around in those areas and find the sore spot, then use that retractable pen for about 30 seconds to stimulate those points.

 

Do this several times in the evening and see if it helps you sleep better.

 

I also use alpha-lipoic acid, curcumine and evening primrose oil for insomnia and peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Acetyl-L carnitine and omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and improve neuropathy symptoms, especially in people with diabetes.

 

One other supplement that works good for sleep disorders is a product called Mood Ease. It is a product that is not sold over the counter and is only available through a licensed health care professional. It contains 5-HTP and St John's wort extract to support balanced serotonin and dopamine levels involved in the regulation of mood, sleep, memory and nerve function.

 

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

Back Talk: Peripheral neuropathy can be helped

 

By Dr. Layne Towery

Originally published August 12, 2014 at midnight, updated August 12, 2014 at midnight

I'm having pain, numbness and tingling in my lower legs and feet. It started several years ago and has progressively gotten worse. My legs twitch at night, and I have trouble sleeping. I also get severe cramps that get me out of bed. My back always hurts, but I can deal with that. I am told I have neuropathy, and my doctor put me on two medications; one called Neurontin and the other Lyrica. They do not help and make me feel crazy. I am at my wit's end. I need some quality rest. What treatments or remedies do you suggest?

Let me first tell you that you are not alone. There are hundreds of people reading this article who are in the same boat as you are. You have what is called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is damage or disease to the affected nerves. This causes impaired sensation (pain, numbness and tingling). Glands and organs can also be affected. Common causes include diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, medication side effects, spinal injuries and infection.

Most people have chronic neuropathy, which starts slowly and progresses over time. If your medications are not helping, I would go a different direction. Here are my suggestions:

Since you are having chronic back pain, I would suggest getting your back evaluated by a chiropractor. Chiropractors are specialists at spinal biomechanics. I would also get my feet analyzed with a 3-D scanner to see if my feet are a contributing factor. This advanced computerized technology is available at many chiropractic clinics and is truly fascinating.

Next, I would buy a home

 

transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit. This is a portable therapy device you can use 24/7 to give yourself neuropathy treatments at home. They generally cost under $100 and have been used for years to help people with chronic pain and neuropathy.

Acupuncture has also been shown to be very effective for neuropathy. Needles are usually placed in the lower back and feet. Don't worry, you will barely feel the needles. They are smaller than a human pore. Bottom line is you get relief.

Next, I would start taking a high dosage of B-complex vitamins and a specific supplement called Nerv-Cal. It helps with neuropathy symptoms and will almost eliminate those horrible night time cramps. Drinking sports drinks like Gatorade at night may also help with cramps. Remember, never give up trying to get help for your condition.

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

 

 

 

 

Back Talk: Simple solutions for a 'frozen' shoulder

 

By By Dr. Layne Towery
Originally published July 8, 2014 at midnight, updated July 8, 2014 at midnight
 

I hurt my neck and shoulder last year cutting some tree limbs overhead. I thought the pain would just go away on its own - wrong. Over the last six months, the pain has slowly gotten worse and is now in my arm and elbow. I am unable to raise my arm to the side without assistance and forget about putting my arm behind my back. It is affecting my sleep and daily functions. My doctor says it is a "frozen" shoulder and suggested a heating pad, I guess to "thaw it out?" What treatments do you suggest? What can I do at home that will help? Do I need surgery?

 

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that usually occurs in people older than 40 years of age. If you have injured the shoulder or if you suffer from diabetes, heart disease or stroke, then you are more risk prone to contracting adhesive capsulitis.

 

Frozen shoulder problems are caused by inflammation of the joint lining, which causes scar tissue to form around the joint. This scar tissue restricts movement in the shoulder, causing it to freeze, and it can be very painful and at times interrupt your sleeping patterns.

Many times you will also have pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back along with chronic fatigue and depression. Simple daily tasks become a major chore. Here are some suggestions:

 

First of all, you need to find you a chiropractor who can perform some skilled spinal and/or shoulder joint manipulation. Manipulation helps break up adhesions and scar tissue in the joint to help restore restricted range of motion. Deep tissue massage will also help. Treatments will be taxing and sometimes painful, but you should show continued improvement.

 

Acupuncture to the neck and shoulder has also shown to help with the pain. Inflammation can be controlled with ice, analgesics and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. No heat should be used. Water exercise is by far the best exercise you can do for your condition. I usually give the patient a specific routine to do in the pool.

 

Treatments may take several months, but daily progress should be seen. Frozen shoulder is self-limiting and usually resolves itself without the need for surgery. Most people regain 90 to 100 percent of their shoulder motion over time.

I highly recommend you use a home trans-electrical nerve stimulator every day. A home trans-electrical nerve stimulator will help stimulate the nerves and muscles of the shoulder, which will help speed up the healing process.

 

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

 

 

Back Talk: Knee pain ... it might be your back?

 

By Dr. Layne Towery

Originally published in the Victoria Advocate June 10, 2014 at midnight, updated June 10, 2014 at midnight

 

I am a 66-year-old female with a long history of back and neck problems. I have been in several bad car accidents. I have recently started having a lot of pain in the back of my left knee. Then my calf and back of my leg feels tight and sore. This all started after some gardening. Should I get X-rays or an MRI of my back and knee? Can chiropractic or acupuncture help with the above conditions? Does medicare pay for these treatments? How about using ice or heat?

 

The first thing you need to do is get diagnosed properly. A consultation needs to be done to address your history. The next thing you need is a thorough examination of your back and knee to get to the root of your problem. At that time, the chiropractor will determine whether you need any further diagnostic testing.

 

Your should always start with X-rays first. See what they show and then consider MRIs if needed. If you do not have a specific injury to the knee, more than likely it is your back causing your knee pain. Remember, chiropractors are specialists at musculoskeletal conditions, so you're in good hands.

 

When you have pain you almost always have swelling and inflammation, so ice is the first choice. Medicare and most insurances pay for chiropractic care but not acupuncture. Good luck, and thanks for your question.

 

I frequently get a crick in my neck that lasts for several weeks. I get frequent headaches and get spasms in my upper back. I want to try acupuncture, but I am terrified of needles. How many needles would you use for a typical neck treatment. Do the needles hurt?

Most of the time, for someone with neck and upper back pain I will use eight to 10 needles. The acupuncture needles are extremely small (36 gauge) and most people say they do not even feel them. I also use painless laser on some patients.

 

Several years ago when my son was having serious stomach problems, he asked me to do acupuncture on him. He was 9 years old at the time. He never flinched. After only one treatment, my son rarely ever complained of his stomach bothering him.

 

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

 

 

Back Talk: Cholesterol medication - good or bad?

By By Lane Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate May 13, 2014 at midnight, updated May 13, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.
 

I am a 56-year-old male with a lot of pain in the back of my right knee. I also have a pain in the top of my right foot. My low back stays sore and stiff. It is hard to put my shoes and socks on in the morning. Getting up from a chair is difficult. My doctor said it is arthritis, and I am just getting old. He wants to put me on arthritis medicine and pain pills. I am not comfortable with this. Can chiropractic treatment or acupuncture help old age?

 

First of all, I am 53, so 56 is not "old age." It sounds like you are having some biomechanical problems with your back and pelvis. About three months ago, I had my first bout with low back pain, and it wasn't pretty. I had the exact same symptoms as you. Here is what I did.

 

Get yourself a low back brace and wear it as much as you can until things get better. Ice your back 30 minutes at a time several times a day. Taking Aleve or any other anti-inflammatory medicines may be helpful. Try to get some walking in and do some low back stretches. Chiropractic and acupuncture is what got me straightened out.

 

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

 

Back Talk: Water works wonders as therapy

 

By Dr. Layne Towery

Originally published in the Victoria Advocate April 8, 2014 at midnight, updated April 8, 2014 at midnight

I am 66 years old and have chronic back and hip pain. MRIs shows that I also have a lot of arthritis throughout my body. I weigh about 250 pounds, so I know I need to lose some weight, but I can't exercise because of the intense pain. Arthritis medications and pain pills make me sick. What treatments or exercises can I do to get some relief?
 

The first thing I would suggest is get your back, neck and joints evaluated by a chiropractor. He/she will examine your spine and determine if conservative chiropractic care or acupuncture can help you.

Next, I suggest you look into joining one of the local gyms with a heated pool and start a water exercise program. I am not telling you to start swimming but to exercise in the water to help your conditions.

 

Water exercise uses water for resistance. It is fantastic exercise for people who have osteoarthritis, back and hip pain, fibromyalgia and a long list of other conditions.

 

Water exercise components:

   Reduces impact forces while exercising.

   "Unweights" the body in a buoyant medium.

    Provides three-dimensional muscle resistance.

    Provides mainly concentric muscular contractions

    Allows joints to move more freely without pain.

    Helps control core body temperature.

    Provide unique resistance in any direction.

   Allows almost pain free range of motion.

   Provides a positive psychological environment and is time efficient.

 

I would also suggest you find you a doctor who specializes in weight loss and let him help you with losing some weight. There are a number of good programs out there; you just need to find one that you are comfortable with.

 

Medicare and most medical insurances will pay for most of the above treatment so what are you waiting for?

I have been having a lot of neck and shoulder pain. My family doctor said I had a pinched nerve and prescribed some muscle relaxers and pain pills, but nothing has helped. My fingers tingle at times and get numb. My doctor says I need to go to pain management, but I cannot afford that (I have no insurance). Suggestions?

 

The first thing you should do is start icing the neck and shoulder for about 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. Take some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Aleve gelcaps and get in a hot shower and stretch and exercise the neck and shoulder. This should help some.

 

If this does not give you some relief, I would suggest you get evaluated by a chiropractor. Chiropractors are specialists at detecting and treating pinched nerves. Most chiropractors are very reasonable cost wise and will work out a payment plan if needed.

 

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

 

 

Back Talk: Chronic back pain may be caused by your feet

 

By By Dr. Layne Towery
Originally published in the Victoria Advocate January 7, 2014 at midnight, updated January 7, 2014 at midnight
 

I have been having chronic back and neck pain for years. My feet also hurt and give me a lot of pain. I have seen multiple medical doctors, podiatrists and specialists. I have had two MRIs and a computed tomography scan of my low back. All testing shows nothing is wrong with my back. Now, they want to send me for a procedure to deaden my nerves in my spine. What do you think about doing that to my body? I have never seen a chiropractor or acupuncturist, and I am really kind of scared. Can chiropractic treatment or acupuncture help me?

 

Everyone experiences fear of the unknown. I suggest you try every conservative option before letting somebody "burn your nerves." Just because you do not have any positive findings on your tests does not mean you do not have a problem. You obviously have problems: it's just nobody you have been to can figure it out.

 

That is where going to a different type of doctor may help. Chiropractors are spine specialists. We deal with patients with spinal problems all day, every day. We also deal with extremity problems like the shoulders, hands, hips, knees and feet. The first thing I would recommend is a thorough chiropractic spinal exam and a computerized scan of your feet to see how you carry your body weight.

 

Remember, the feet are the foundation of the body. While 99 percent of all feet are normal at birth, 8 percent develop troubles by the first year of age, 41 percent at age 5 and 80 percent by age 20. By age 40, nearly everyone has a foot condition of some sort.

 

Many foot conditions eventually contribute to health concerns farther up the kinetic chain, especially "back pain." Therefore, it is in your best interest to look at your feet first for the solution to your problems.

 

I am a 52-year-old female that has recently been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine. All the doctors say that it is just a matter of time before I need major back surgery. I have tried eight to 10 different drugs, but none seem to help. I have been going to physical therapy for more than three months with no lasting relief. Can chiropractic treatment or acupuncture help arthritis? How many treatments would I need? Does insurance pay?

 

Spinal osteoarthritis is nothing more than degeneration of the spine. If you have it in your lower back, you probably have it in all your joints to some degree. It is not a death wish. In general, osteoarthritis of the spine happens as people age.

For people younger than 45 years old, osteoarthritis is more common in men. After age 45, osteoarthritis is more common among females. People who are overweight are more prone to getting osteoarthritis because of the stress the excess weight puts on the joints.

There is no single test to confirm osteoarthritis. X-rays are usually helpful along with MRI and CT scans. As far as treatment for osteoarthritis, you have tried the medical recommendations with little results.

 

I suggest you now try chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture. These treatments will usually give you a lot of relief. The other suggestion would be to try water exercise therapy. Exercising in a non-weight-bearing environment can really helps.

Most insurances and medicare cover chiropractic treatment. It is recommended you receive a minimum of five to six treatments before you decide if this type of conservative care is helping.

 

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

 

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