Back in Shape Chiropractic Archives - Page 2 of 3 - Back in Shape Chiropractic

Fibromyalgia: Symptoms, Causes, Pain Management

Do You Have Fibromyalgia? Learn About Your Pain Management Options Do you have chronic muscle pain, especially abdominal and back pain? What about overwhelming fatigue? Numbness or tingling in your extremities? Stiffness? Insomnia? Headaches? Anxiety? Do these symptoms constantly shift Read more

7 Negative Effects of Poor Posture

Poor posture is more than just a pain in the neck. Poor posture can affect the body in a number of odd and unexpected ways. Other than the well-known cases of backaches and the serious unnatural spinal curvature, here Read more

What Different Kinds of Back Pain Are There?

Back pain seems like it should be a fairly simple concept—your back hurts, you want it to not hurt, you go to a professional where they fix you up and send you on your way. Except, like with most Read more

Is Chiropractic Care Safer than Opioids for Pain Management?

Dr. Leo Potetti Chronic Pain , , , , , ,

When you think of healthcare, and particularly when you think of pain management, as an American one of the first things that inevitably comes to mind is the image of a bunch of pills. American conceptions of treatment are dominated by pharmacology—medicines like antidepressants, sedatives, and painkillers generate billions every year for pharmaceutical companies, are the primary method of treatment for hundreds upon hundreds of distinct illnesses, and are at the forefront of every U.S. citizen’s imagination when they picture medical care.

And among the pain management options offered to patients with chronic pain conditions, none is pushed so hard and prescribed so widely as the family of drugs called opioids, with sales of prescription opioids nearly quadrupling from 1999 to 2014 despite there being no real change in how much pain Americans report.

On the other hand, chiropractic care has traditionally been regarded with suspicion and skepticism. Is it safe? Is it proven? Is that what my doctor knows is best for me?

Yet despite this all, it’s becoming increasingly common for not only regular Americans but even institutions within the industry to question whether chiropractic might in fact be a far safer alternative to opioids for the treatment of chronic and acute pain. And with America caught in an increasingly alarming epidemic of prescription opioid abuse, we have a duty to openly and honestly examine the existing research around each treatment method and discuss whether a change is necessary.

Doing so could be a matter of life and death for thousands.

America’s Opioid Addiction

Currently, opioids are the primary method of pain management in the U.S. But what are they?Pills for Pain Management

Opioids are defined by how they function, in that they are a family of drugs with morphine-like effects. They include several subgroups. Opiates are the naturally-occurring compounds found within the Asian opium poppy plant’s seed pods. In addition to morphine, they include codeine and thebaine. Semi-synthetic opioids are derived from these opiates and include not only illicit street drugs like heroin but also pharmaceuticals like hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxycodone. Synthetic opioids created without opiates include methadone, fentanyl, and buprenorphine.

Most Americans are more familiar with the listed pharmaceuticals by the brand names they’re sold under—hydrocodone is Vicodin and oxycodone is OxyContin, with each also being sold under other names as well. All of these drugs relieve pain and dull emotion by affecting opioid receptors in the brain, blocking pain signals from the nervous system.

But they also all are extremely addictive, all listed under various “Substance-Control Schedules” in the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Combine this with the fact that they’re prescribed for everything from surgery-related pain to coughs and diarrhea, and it’s easy to see how an addiction epidemic can form.

As sales of prescription opioids has doubled, so has the number of overdoses linked to them, with more than 165,000 lives lost to prescription opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2014. In 2014 alone there were 72 deaths from opioid abuse a day, about three every hour. More than half of these were from prescription opioids, and overdoses on popular painkillers like Vicodin now claim more lives than heroin and cocaine combined.

Not only that, but prescription opioid abuse is a stepping stone to heroin abuse, with almost half of young heroin users reporting that they started abusing opioids first and switched to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to obtain while offering a similar high.

The problem is driven in part by healthcare providers’ overenthusiasm for prescribing these drugs. A National Safety Council (NSC) survey this year found that 99 percent of medical doctors prescribe opioids, often for longer than the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended three-day period; 23 percent reported they prescribe a month’s worth of opioids or more at a time. In addition to all this, over 70 percent of doctors wrongly believe opioids are the most effective treatment for pain and prescribe them for back pain, despite the NSC not considering them an ideal treatment.

But Do Opioids Work?

With how addictive and dangerous they can be, you would hope at the very least that prescription opioids are doing their job. But as the previous statement about the NSC indicates, this isn’t the case, and the research doesn’t quite add up either.

Meta-analysis of many studies about opioid effectiveness turn up murky results, with the increases in risks for abuse and other side effects far outweighing any apparent benefits. Other systematic reviews of the evidence conclude that the evidence in favor of opioids’ ability to provide long-term pain management and improvement in function is “weak,” “unclear,” “limited,” or missing.

The problem with long-term opioid treatment is that, as with many drugs, the body soon builds up a tolerance. While the first prescription might provide a patient relief, they almost immediately find that this relief is extremely short-lived and that the same dose won’t keep providing the same amount of it. As the old dosage doesn’t do it anymore, they push the doctors for more and more, and the doctors, pushed into a corner by patient demands and complaints about the pain, oblige, increasing dosage.

But dosage can only be increased so much before entering dangerous levels. At that point, either the patient will be receiving debilitating amounts of the drug, impairing their daily function, or the doctor will cut them off, offering no further increases. If the patient hasn’t yet turned to obtaining more opioids illicitly, they’ll certainly consider it then.

Chiropractic for Pain Management

As the country has woken up to this epidemic, alternatives are beginning to receive the attention they deserve, and chiropractic care is at the forefront of those alternatives.

In March the CDC released groundbreaking new guidelines for healthcare providers on the prescription of opioids, offering very clear and specific guidance on what drugs to prescribe, when, and in what amounts. Above all, they urge doctors to avoid prescribing opioids unless absolutely necessary as a last resort, and to look for non-pharmacological (non-drug) treatment options instead.

In response, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress published a whitepaper applauding these new guidelines and advocating for chiropractic as the drug-free therapy option that the CDC recommends. The American Chiropractic Association has also lauded the new guidelines, and many chiropractors are now offering themselves up as resources to educate and provide nondrug treatment options for pain management.

This could mean a big shift towards chiropractic and medical professionals working more closely together in treating patients with pain, and thus greater availability of chiropractic care.

Chiropractic care, which has high reported patient satisfaction and carries none of the risks of opioids, could be the solution to the opioid epidemic, curbing prescriptions that lead to overuse, abuse, and addiction.

But industry shifts can take a while, and in the meantime you still may have pain. It’s up to you to take charge of your own health. If you have chronic or acute pain in your back or anywhere else and you’d like to discuss non-drug pain management, contact the professionals at Back in Shape Chiropractic in Gurnee by simply calling (847) 249-2225. We’ve been treating conditions just like yours for nearly thirty years, and we have just the expertise you need to get back in shape—with no risk of addiction or overdose included.
Back in Shape Chiropractic
4673 Old Grand Ave
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 249-2225

How Treating Your Stress Can Alleviate Your Chronic Pain

Dr. Leo Potetti Chronic Pain , , , , ,

Your back aches. Your joints ache. Your head aches. Your neck is sore. Your feet hurt. Any combination of these can be present in people who suffer from chronic pain, whether the root cause is fibromyalgia or regional pain caused by a car accident or other injury. But while this may seem like a purely physical issue, an affliction of your body, did you know your mental state can have a profound influence on your chronic pain as well? This isn’t some new-age belief—scientific study after scientific study has shown repeatedly over decades of research that mental stress has a significant direct impact on chronic pain.

So how does stress affect pain? And how can tackling stress factor into your strategy for managing your chronic pain? Read on to learn about this crucial relationship.

How Stress Intensifies Chronic Pain

Studies have shown that there are several ways in which stress worsens the symptoms of chronic pain.

The first affects your body itself. When you experience stress, it triggers a response in your nervous system, releasing hormones that makes your muscles tense up. This occurs most commonly in the back, shoulders, neck, forehead, and jaw. Over time, this can lead to chronic muscle tension, which results in spasms, aching, and heightened pain sensitivity. This, of course, heightens the pain suffered by patients with chronic pain.

Another way that stress increases pain is how it affects the way that the nervous system, in particular the brain, processes pain. Nerves throughout the body receive sensory information, which travels up the spinal cord to the brain, where it is processed to create the experience of pain. Typically, the brain softens these pain signals so that we can still function. But a person who is often stressed puts strain on this system, and the brain becomes increasingly sensitive to pain, requiring less and less stimuli to trigger a pain response.

Recent research suggests that cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” is responsible for this process. A study conducted at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM) and published by the Oxford University Press found that elevated levels of cortisol are associated with stronger stress responses, increased pain sensitivity, and possibly increased risk of developing chronic pain.

So stress both creates painful muscle tension, and also increases our experience of pain by making our brain process it with greater sensitivity.

Stress Management for Chronic Pain Reduction

chronic pain meter

Since stress can increase the intensity of your chronic pain, it follows that an effective method for alleviating some of your pain may be to address the stress you’re experiencing in your life.

There are many ways to treat your stress, some more general and some targeting the specific causes of your stress. Of course, the obvious first step is to try to arrange your life to be less stressful. Try changing up your daily routines to create a more balanced schedule with more room for the leisure activities that help you relieve stress.

To combat the stress you do feel, there’s a wide variety of strategies available that can help. Exercise is one such strategy. When you exercise, whether it’s a half hour on the treadmill at home or visiting the gym every other day, your brain releases endorphins. This hormone is not only your body’s natural painkiller, which helps you directly combat chronic pain, but also reduces your stress. If, however, your condition is such that exercise would be too strenuous or might negatively affect your pain, you may want to consult with your healthcare provider and consider alternative ways to get exercise like pool therapy or walking.

There are plenty of other ways of relieving stress as well. You can start with daily breathing exercises like foursquare breathing, in which you inhale to the count of four, hold to the count of four, exhale to the count of four, and so on and so forth for ten repetitions.

Once you’re ready for more involved exercises, you can move onto things like guided imagery. This is where you spend five to ten minutes each day visualizing yourself in a relaxing, tranquil scene incorporating all the senses including sights, sounds, and even feelings and smells.

Going further, you might try meditation. Mindfulness meditation involves spending twenty minutes noticing your breathing but not controlling it, noticing pain or thoughts but letting them pass like a cloud rather than pushing them away.

Beyond that, if your stress stems from a larger issue like relationship issues, insomnia, depression, anxiety, or mental illness of some other sort, it may be wise to address those causes. Getting professional help in the form of relationship counseling, sleep aids, or mental health treatment may be the right move to not only address those problems themselves, but also by extension alleviate your stress and thus your chronic pain.

Stress Management for Making Pain Tolerable

It should be noted though that many of those sources of stress can themselves stem from your chronic pain. It may hinder your ability to be sexually and emotionally intimate with your significant other, or keep you from being able to work full-time or do the things around the house you used to, or keep your from your leisure activities, or keep you awake at night. All of this can result in depression and insomnia which translates to more stress and, in turn, more pain. You can see how this becomes a cycle.

Since chronic pain is incurable, the best we can hope to accomplish is to minimize the symptoms, and one way of doing that is by breaking this cycle. Reducing stress may not remove your chronic pain, but it can soften it and mitigate the consequences so that the pain doesn’t control your life.

If your pain is making you sleep poorly, and your sleep deprivation is stressing you out and making your pain worse, then addressing your sleep issues may not cure you of chronic pain but it can keep it from getting worse and also make your pain more tolerable, because at least it isn’t also making you tired all the time. In short, treating causes of stress can minimize the grip that chronic pain has on your life.

If you have chronic pain and you’re interested in learning more about potential treatments that might be right for you, or about stress management, you should consult with a healthcare professional that’s experienced in dealing with such issues. Back in Shape Chiropractic has been serving northern Illinois for nearly thirty years, and is well-equipped to handle your questions and concerns. Simply give us a call at (847) 249-2225 and we’ll make you an appointment so you can receive the professional attention you need and deserve.
Back in Shape Chiropractic
4673 Old Grand Ave
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 249-2225

How Feet Cause Back Pain and Affect Total Health

Dr. Leo Potetti Spinal Decompression , , , ,

We’ve all been there—you’ve had a long day on your feet, and when you get home and sit down to take your shoes off you find your feet sore beyond belief. But while your feet aching is bad enough, have you considered what other effects stress on your feet has?

You may remember that old song, “foot bone connected to the heel bone, heel bone connected to the ankle bone,” and so on and so forth. While the mechanics of how the foot supports your body are a bit more nuanced than that, there’s a basic truth here that all of your body is connected, and something going wrong with one part will affect the others. And your feet have a particularly strong influence on the rest of your body, especially on the back, potentially causing painful conditions that require spinal decompression therapy to remedy.

Here are the basics of how your feet affect your total body health, and what you can do to prevent health issues they may cause.

How Feet Support the Body

back-pain-caused-in-feetAbout 25% Of All The Bones in your body are in your feet. The feet are a complex network of structures designed chiefly for one thing: for minimizing the impact of every footstep.

Each footstep creates a shockwave that travels up your feet and disperses throughout your skeleton. The structures of your foot are made to facilitate maximum shock absorption so that less stress is placed on the rest of your body, especially on your spine. But an irregularity in your gait or in the form of your foot can impede this shock absorption.

Excessive shock, poor joint function in the feet and ankles, and collapsed arches can all affect how your spine moves as you walk and how it absorbs shock. These conditions can lead to chronic back pain, while your feet don’t hurt at all. Alternatively, if you do get a pain in your foot you will naturally Alter Your Gait To Minimize The Pain. This shift in the way you walk can also negatively impact the way walking affects your spine. In many cases, you’ll never even suspect that this is the root cause of your back and neck pain.

Spinal Decompression and Other Solutions

If these irregularities persist, they can cause serious problems with your spinal health. Eventually you may need corrective procedures, such as Spinal Decompression. Spinal decompression is a nonsurgical procedure where the vertebrae are gently separated to create negative pressure to realign herniated or bulging discs and relieve pain in the back and neck.

But while spinal decompression is an effective treatment, in the chiropractic profession we prefer to advocate for prevention over reaction. Treating pain is all well and good, but if you continue to allow the issues with your feet to continue, the pain will only return. Instead of treating these conditions that have developed over time by addressing the symptoms, it’s better to treat the root cause.

Getting your feet looked at and potentially treated can help alleviate many issues. If you have an irregularity like a collapsed arch or irregular leg length, a professional can provide you with special inserts to minimize the impact this has on how your feet absorb shock, as well as teach you proper walking posture. Shoes are important as well—shoes with Rigid Heel Counters and good arch support, particularly sneakers, are your best bet, and women should avoid wearing tall heels too often.

If you’re experiencing back and neck pain, maybe your feet are what’s causing you so much hurt. If you suspect this to be the case, or if you’re considering spinal decompression therapy, it’s good to get it checked out by a healthcare provider who can give you the attention you need. Back in Shape Chiropractic has been providing quality care in northern Illinois for 27 years and are capable of finding out what’s really causing your condition. Simply give us a call at (847) 249-2225 and we can schedule an appointment. From your feet to your neck and everything in between, we can get your body Back in Shape.
Back in Shape Chiropractic
4673 Old Grand Ave
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 249-2225

The Truth Behind Three Common Chiropractic Myths

Dr. Leo Potetti Chiropractic Care , ,

There’s a lot to love about being a doctor of chiropractic—the close bonds you form with your regular patients, the knowledge that you’re tangibly helping people by relieving their back pain and improving their overall health, the mental engagement of following developments in a scientific field, and more. But the biggest frustration of being a practicing chiropractic doctor is the amount of misinformation about our profession that has become so widespread today.

And the reason all this misinformation is so frustrating isn’t because of any feeling of personal insult or offense on our part, but rather because the mistrust it breeds keeps potential patients, good people who are really hurting from back pain or other issues and could use our assistance, from making use of our services.

So, to dispel any uncertainty or unease you might have about chiropractic professionals and the work we do, here are some of the most common myths about the chiropractic field, and the facts behind them.

Chiropractors Aren’t “Real” DoctorsChiropractor Back Pain by Back in Shape Chiropractic

This one is certainly one of the most widespread and the most degrading of myths about chiropractic care.

The reality is that doctors of chiropractic go through at least 4,200 hours of study at nationally accredited four-year graduate school programs, combining classroom, laboratory, and clinical internship experience. In many cases, this actually adds up to more hours of study than medical doctors get. After that, they have to pass a series of four national board exams, earn their state license, and go through the same kind of regular monitoring and oversight as any other kind of healthcare provider.

Much of the reason behind the prevalence of this myth lies in the history of the medical establishment’s crusade against chiropractic care carried out in the middle of the last century. In 1987 a federal judge even ruled that the American Medical Association and several other accompanying organizations had been illegally conspiring to discredit the chiropractic profession and forbid medical doctors from associating with chiropractic doctors, all in an effort to restrict competition from alternative care methods.

Today, the AMA no longer keeps medical doctors from working with chiropractic doctors, and the two are often found working side by side in hospitals throughout the country. But reputations and trust take a long time to build, and misinformation can stay in circulation for even longer, so this stigma against chiropractic care lives on despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Chiropractors Only Treat Back Pain

While doctors of chiropractic do have a focus on treating neck and back pain through adjustments to the spine, this is only a simplification of what we do.

Doctors of chiropractic essentially work to address illnesses caused by problems with the nervous system, of which the spine is a major component. Back pain is only one such illness. There’s a wide range of conditions and symptoms that a chiropractic professional can address, including headaches, bowel problems, arthritis, and depression. Any one of these can be a good reason to pay a chiropractor a visit.

Once You Start, You Have to Go Forever

A common misconception is that after your first adjustment, you chiropractor has somehow cursed you to need regular treatment for the rest of your life. But this is just a misleading misrepresentation of the truth.

Once you visit your doctor of chiropractic for the first time, they will set out a long-term regimen for the continued care of your spine, but this isn’t because you’re walking out of their office needing more care than when you walked in. It’s just common sense.

The chiropractic profession, like the dental profession, places great value on preventative care rather than relying merely on reactive care. It makes about as much sense to not go to a chiropractor because you don’t want to have to start regularly caring for your nervous system, as it does to never visit a dentist because you don’t want to start regularly flossing and going in for check-ups the rest of your life.

The long-term care of your spine is totally up to you and you can stop at any time you like, but you shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re somehow avoiding problems down the line by simply never starting care in the first place.

Hopefully, this will have cleared the air of some of the most common myths about the chiropractic profession. Maybe you had previously believed some of them, and are now considering whether chiropractic care might be right for you. Back in Shape Chiropractic has been serving northern Illinois for 27 years, and our professionals are here to answer your questions. If you are struggling with back pain in Gurnee, IL simply give us a call at (847) 249-2225 and we can schedule an appointment. No matter what your illness, we’ll do what we can to get you Back in Shape.

Back in Shape Chiropractic
4673 Old Grand Ave
Gurnee, IL 60031

Text Neck – Infographic

Dr. Leo Potetti Healthy Living , , , ,

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”How to Avoid Text Neck – Advice from a Gurnee Chiropractor “][vc_column_text]Millions of people are suffering from symptoms caused by the repetitive stress injury commonly known as “Text-Neck”. If you are reading this on your smart phone you are probably feeling the effects right now.

Just as the name suggests, this injury is caused by a constant forward head position, not in line with your center of gravity, which causes increased stress in the cervical spine, or neck – a chiropractor’s nightmare! The average weight of a head is about 10-13 pounds. Visualize yourself holding a 10 pound bowling ball close to your chest and then at arm’s length in front of you. The weight of the ball is the same. However, it feels much heavier and eventually you will start to feel the burn from your muscles working.

The use of smart phones and other tech devices is not the issue as much as the strain that it cause on the neck and spine. Our bodies are meant to support the weight of our head when they are in proper position. However, when the head is constantly leaning forward the weight is shifted and thus not properly supported by the neck and spine causing strains, pinched nerves, herniated discs and lots of other pain that could lead to surgery.

Text Neck by Back in Shape Chiropractic

Click for Full-Size PDF

Here are some symptoms that you may be experiencing if you are at risk of text neck:

The average person spends at a minimum of two to four hours per day bent forward attending to their smart phones and these numbers will only increase. With smart phones becoming more and more necessary in today’s business world it seems like there is almost no avoiding this struggle.  Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent text-neck injuries:

      1. Call Instead of Texting– Try calling instead of texting. The conversation will be much more meaningful and limit the risk of text-neck.
      2. Limit Use of Electronics– Try putting away the phone and do something more active.
      3. Take Frequent Breaks at Work– If your job requires the use of electronics it can be impossible to avoid. Get up and walk around the office for a couple of minutes every hour.
      4. Good Posture- It is easy to fall back into a poor posture when you are focused on a computer screen or cell phone. Whenever you notice yourself slipping, just sit up straight and practice good posture. Your neck and back will thank you.
      5. Periodic Stretches– Stretching your neck and back periodically will not only allow your muscles to relax but it will also boost circulation and concentration.
      6. Hold Phone at Eye Level– Give your neck a rest and work those arms. Holding your phone at eye level will help keep your head up and alleviate some of that cervical stress.
      7. Chiropractic Adjusting– A visit to the chiropractor to get adjusted will help re-align your back and restore normal joint function.

To see our Text Neck Infographic on Pinterest, visit us at

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=””]If you are concerned with the condition of your neck or back and would like to talk to a professional please call or visit Back in Shape Chiropractic and speak with a Gurnee chiropractor. We are dedicated to helping people like you get rid of neck and back pain so you may live more comfortably.[/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]