tension headache

How can you stop tension headaches on your own?


How can you stop tension headaches on your own?

by Dr. Sherry McAllister, executive vice president, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced many of us into self-quarantine to avoid getting sick.

During this period, you may feel a little more stressed than usual. You’re likely working and teaching your children in your living space. You may be worried about your job or economic pressures. Or dealing with increased childcare and homeschooling. You may even feel more significant strain on your mental health without the in-person social interactions with friends and family that you’re used to.

This is a challenging time. This added stress and lifestyle changes can lead to tension headaches, which feel like a tight pain around crown around your head. Tension headaches can be triggered by a few things including:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Staring at a computer or phone all-day
  • Poor posture
  • Sleeping on your stomach
  • Poor diet
  • Dehydration
  • Clenching your jaw

A chiropractic adjustment can help to reduce the tension in your shoulders and neck that may be causing the problem. However, if you are homeward bound for the foreseeable future, here are a few ways to manage your headaches on your own:

  • Stretching exercises to help ease your pain
  • Daily exercise
  • Relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing
  • Using a heating pad on sore shoulder and neck muscles
  • Taking screen breaks
  • Practicing good posture
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating healthy and drinking plenty of water
  • Fresh air

Once you’ve started a routine of chiropractic care, a disruption to your treatment plan can be hard on your body. Remember to take care of your physical and mental health in the best way you can. If you have any questions for your doctor of chiropractic, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Why Is Chiropractic Care Becoming So Popular?

Why Is Chiropractic Care Becoming So Popular?

by Dr. Sherry McAllister, executive vice president, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

Are you new to the world of chiropractic care? That’s okay. New patients discover the wonders of chiropractic care every day. In the U.S., doctors of chiropractic treat almost 27 million Americans annually. That’s 1 million chiropractic adjustments performed every business day.

Chiropractic care is increasing in popularity. More people are turning to chiropractic care for everyday aches and pains to maintain their spinal health and for drug-free pain management. In fact, in the fight against opioids, chiropractic care is becoming increasingly important. People with lower back pain or chronic pain are looking for drug-free approaches, and care from a doctor of chiropractic can help manage their pain without the use of prescription drugs and opioids.

Another reason that more people are turning to chiropractic care is the financial benefits. Most health insurance plans offer some form of coverage for care. Research is also showing that chiropractic care can be cheaper than prescription drugs or other medical interventions. A review from The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that a chiropractic adjustment for back pain instead of a visit to a family doctor could save Medicare nearly $83.5 million/year. On average, a session of chiropractic care costs $65, though costs can vary from state to state.

If you are nervous about trying chiropractic care, seek out the advice of a doctor of chiropractic. They receive a minimum of seven years of higher-level education and are the third-largest group of doctorate level professionals in the healthcare industry. Doctors of chiropractic know their industry; they know the benefits of regular care and are passionate about helping their patients feel their best. Once you begin a regime of proper care, you will see the benefits quickly. You’ve got to give it a try!

Veterans Need Chiropractic Care

Veterans Need Chiropractic Care

By Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

This month we mark Veterans Day. It is a special day set apart to remember the sacrifices of our military members who have served for the sake of our freedom. We honor their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families.

Our Veterans and active military personnel deserve our highest respect, yet many struggle to receive the healthcare and treatment that they need. Nearly 50% of the members of the military will experience one or more injuries a year. Most common injuries are to the musculoskeletal system as sprains, strains, fractures, especially in the neck, back and lower legs. The physical exertion of active service for our military members means that they are always putting their health at risk to serve our country.

Chiropractic care has been recognized as a suitable treatment for all eligible VA patients since 2002. However, only a portion of the 152 VA centers offer chiropractic care services, and many Veterans struggle to receive these medical benefits as they are entitled too. Chiropractic care has been studied and found to be a drug-free pain management treatment for back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries. It has been shown to reduce the use of opioid painkillers.

Each November, we honor the men and women who have served our country. They put their lives on hold and sacrifice their health to protect our freedoms. We should do our best to ensure that the access they need for healthcare services like chiropractic care is easy.


When is the right time for an adjustment?

When is the right time for an adjustment?

by Sherry McAllister, DC, Executive Vice President, 

Making time for your chiropractic care can be tough. It’s hard to balance another appointment with your busy life. Luckily most adjustments are pretty quick! If you want to make the most of your chiropractic care, it can’t hurt to be a little strategic about when you book an appointment. Here are five opportune times to get adjusted.

Before you go to the gym. A chiropractic adjustment loosens up your muscles and aligns your neuro-musculoskeletal system. If everything is properly in place, you can avoid injury. An adjustment will also help relieve pain, which will make your workout a little easier.

When you feel a headache starting. We all know the familiar pangs at the start of a headache or migraine. If you can manage to get in for a quick adjustment, you may be able to relieve some of the neck and back tension causing your headache.

After sitting all day. Book an appointment on your commute home and all the stress of sitting at your desk will melt away. An adjustment can address back and neck tension caused by poor posture and inactivity.

When you are in pain. If you wake up sore, have constant pain, or an injury that won’t heal, it’s time to make an appointment. Chiropractic care is a drug-free pain management option that can help you find long-term relief.

When you feel stressed. Stress causes your body to tense up, which can cause muscle fatigue and throw your spine out of alignment. A chiropractic adjustment can loosen up your neuro-musculoskeletal system and release that tension.

There is no wrong time for a chiropractic adjustment. But if you want to get the most out of your care, it can’t hurt to book an appointment at the right time. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about how to maximize the benefits of your visit. They will help figure out a care plan designed for your body and its specific needs. If you stick with your chiropractic care routine, the long-term benefits will be amazing for your body.


5 Ways You Could Be Affected by The Opioid Crisis

September is National Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month. This month-long awareness campaign was created to help fight back against the nationwide opioid crisis. The goal is to raise awareness of nonpharmacological pain management tools like chiropractic care that can help, instead of prescription painkillers.

Since the 1990s, when rates of painkiller prescriptions soared, the opioid crisis has been mounting. Now, it is a significant health crisis that can affect nearly every American. No one is immune to this issue. This crisis may influence you in one of these ways.

1.     You may lose someone you love. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose. Too many people are suffering from the loss of loved ones who suffered from opioid addiction issues.

2.     You may develop an addiction. If you receive a prescription for opioids, the powerfully addictive nature of the drugs may cause you to abuse it. Nearly 21- 29% of patients prescribed an opioid for chronic pain will begin to misuse the drugs. This misuse often leads to more substantial drug use, including heroin, cocaine and other street drugs.

3.     A baby you know may be born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The rates of children born suffering from opioid withdrawal have steadily climbed. Nearly 32,000 children were born with this syndrome in 2004. That’s almost one baby every 15 minutes. This issue costs our nation $563 million in treatment costs, as well as causing significant harm to the most vulnerable members of our society.

4.     Your teen may develop a substance abuse disorder. The opioid crisis increasingly harms injured teen athletes. Many athletes who have been prescribed a painkiller begin to abuse the drug. The University of Michigan found that 11% of high school athletes had used a narcotic pain reliever or opioid for non-medical purposes. That means that nearly 1 in 9 students has abused a prescription to get high.

5.     Your healthcare needs may be restricted. The opioid crisis costs our nation $78.5 billion in healthcare, law enforcement and lost productivity in 2015. As this crisis grows, more money will have to be spent to combat this issue, leaving other vital healthcare services in the lurch. Medical research and training which could be devoted to other health care issues, must be used to study the effects of this crisis.

 There are so many ways we are all affected by the opioid crisis. These are only a few of the most prominent. As a nation, we need to start taking action to fight against this issue and look for healthier ways to deal with pain. That’s why National Drug-Free Pain Awareness Month is so important. This campaign was created to raise awareness of drug-free pain management, like chiropractic care. We have three free toolkits available for download, full of information to share with others about the dangers of opioids and the benefits of chiropractic care. Do your part to fight back against the opioid crisis by advocating for chiropractic care and sharing your positive experiences with it!



5 Ways to Avoid Injury During the Holidays

5 Ways to Avoid Injury During the Holidays

by Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

Be safe while decorating. Lots of Christmas comedies inevitably feature characters injuring themselves while hanging lights decorating their home. It’s funny in the movies, but sadly it’s an all too common occurrence in the real world. If you are hanging lights this year, follow these safety tips. It’s better to go slow and be safe than to risk getting hurt.

Make time for the gym. Who doesn’t love lounging around during the holiday break? Your back and body sure don’t. If you’re feeling sore, or if a persistent pain keeps recurring during your lazy day, it’s time to move your body. Motion is the lotion for your body, and you’ve got to keep it up during the break!

Wear supportive shoes. Holiday parties are a great time to dress up and look great. But those sky-high heels come at a cost. They can cause foot and back pain or even injury. Choose supportive footwear, or bring an alternative pair to switch into when your feet start to hurt on the dance floor.

Watch out for the kids. Playing with your kids, nieces, or nephews, or even grandchildren is part of the holiday fun. But too much roughhousing or active play can lead to an injury, especially a back injury. Show the kids how to play safely and teach them to avoid using your body as their jungle gym.

Be careful outside. If you live in a colder climate, ice and snow are not your friends during the winter. Make sure to clear your sidewalks of ice and snow, wear proper footwear and go slow. If you live somewhere where it’s warm all year round, the rest of us are jealous.

There’s nothing worse than ruining your holiday with an injury or unexpected pain. If you try to stay safe this holiday season and protect your body, you should be able to enjoy all the holiday fun and traditions. If you do start to experience some pain, book an appointment before your local doctor of chiropractic closes up shop for the holidays!

September is Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month

You might wonder why, with 130 Americans dying every day from opioid overdoses, F4CP even needs to raise awareness about available drug-free pain management. Then, among all the statistics pouring out, comes one pointing out that less than 20 percent of the public consider chronic pain a major health problem.

Chronic pain affects more people than diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined, according to the PAINS Project. While it might be easy to dismiss the overdoses as an urban problem confined to junkies in dark alleys, the truth paints a far different picture. For starters, 80 percent of heroin addicts began with prescription painkillers, reported the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Even more telling, 68 percent of the 70,200 overdose deaths in 2017 involved prescription or illicit opioids. Prince and Tom Petty put a public face to the epidemic, but it reaches much deeper, from those struggling with chronic pain to teens raiding their family’s medicine chest and unborn babies who have no choice in sharing their pregnant mothers’ addictions.

But, as the 2017 Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic annual report discovered, 78 percent of Americans prefer to try other ways of dealing with their chronic pain before filling a prescription. And a growing number of groups, including the American College of Physicians, have called for drug- and surgery-free chiropractic care as a first line defense in fighting back pain.

Statistics, most recently a study involving active-duty military personnel, back up their support. The findings, reported by JAMA in 2018, found that chiropractic care, when added to standard care, brought moderate short-term improvements.

It’s a finding mirrored in other statistics. Ninety-five percent of Americans who sought chiropractic care in the past year said it was effective, according to the 2017 Gallup-Palmer College report, and 97 percent of them said they would see a doctor of chiropractic again if the pain returned.

Then there are public accounts, such as Ret. Army Staff Sgt. Shilo Harris, who was seriously injured in Iraq when his Humvee hit an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Once addicted to his prescription painkillers, he now says his doctor of chiropractic “saved my life.”

How does it relieve the pain? According to Harvard Health, the spinal manipulation relieves the pain and improves the body’s functions, helping it to heal itself. Doctors of chiropractic often include physical activity, nutrition and other lifestyle changes in their treatment plans. And in talking with doctors of chiropractic, we often find that it was their own positive experience in receiving chiropractic care that prompted them to become a DC themselves.

If you see one of our new billboards around the country, you’ll see our simple message that says, “Back pain? See a chiropractor.”

Now you know why.

Protect your back while you exercise

More than 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some time. What can you do to protect yourself from back pain? Exercise! Physical fitness is one of the best ways to protect your back and overall health. Focus on your core and back muscles to keep your spine healthy and active.

Are you afraid to exercise because you might hurt your back? Don’t let this fear hold you back. With the proper precautions, you can stay physically active even with back issues. Try these tips:

  • Talk to your doctor of chiropractic. A doctor of chiropractic earns a minimum of seven years of higher-level education. They are trained to understand your spinal health and help you feel your best. They can recommend stretches and exercises as well as regular adjustments to keep your back healthy.
  • Stretch your hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can cause back pain. If you focus on simple stretches to loosen up these muscles, your back will thank you.
  • Proper posture. Bad posture throws off your entire neuro-musculoskeletal system. Your doctor of chiropractic can help your correct positions that may be affecting your athletic performance or causing injury.
  • Lifting wrong: Straining your back muscles while lifting weights or other objects can cause injury. Your back muscles need to be supported by your leg muscles when lifting weights. Bend at the knee, and lift slow with a straight back to protect yourself. Consult a personal trainer or weightlifting coach if you are worried about your form.
  •  Listen to your body. Your body changes as you age and grow, and that affects your athletic performance. A 40-year-old man can’t do the same things he did as a teenage athlete. Know your limits and be smart while playing sports.

Physical activity is essential for your overall health. Don’t let back pain stop you from doing the activities you enjoy. Be smart and safe while exercising and you’ll enjoy years of fun physical activities.

Ten Reasons You Need To Fix Your Posture

Ten Reasons You Need To Fix Your Posture

By Dr. Sherry McAllister, executive vice president, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

Have you ever watched a toddler sit cross-legged? They sit with their backs straight, and it feels natural to them. Most adults don’t follow the example of young children. We hunch while we walk, slump at our desks and crane our necks forward staring at our phones. This poor posture can hurt our health. These ten reasons are why you need to start fixing your poor posture today:

    1. It can cause tension headaches. Leaning forward with your head down and your neck slumped will strain your back and neck muscles. This tension can cause headaches, especially at the end of the day.
    2. It makes you tired. Slouching puts pressure on your lungs, so you aren’t able to breathe as deeply. The less oxygen you get into your body, the more tired and fatigued you will start to feel.
    3. It can make your gastrointestinal reflux worse. Your stomach and organs are all under pressure when you are leaning forward. This pressure can make your digestive system very unhappy, especially if you are already prone to digestive issues.
    4. It causes back pain. The strain of poor posture puts your spine out of alignment which can cause back and muscle pain. Your doctor of chiropractic can provide regular adjustments to realign your spine. Ask for help on correcting your posture, too.
    5. It increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Poor posture can cause blood vessel constriction leading to blood clots and vein disorders. All of these issues can eventually turn into cardiovascular disease.
    6. It can cause pinched nerves. Have you ever pinched a nerve? It hurts. It can happen in any part of your body, and it can be difficult to relieve the pain. Chiropractic adjustments can help.
    7. It can increase knee pain. The misalignment of the spine that occurs from poor posture puts more pressure on your joints, especially your knees. If you have arthritis of the knee, it will gradually get worse over time. Your doctor of chiropractic can help to fix your alignment and relieve some of the pressure from your knees.
    8. It can make ruin your mood. 2014 Health Psychology report found that people who sat upright reported higher self-esteem, alertness, better mood and felt less fear. Sit up straight, and you’ll feel a little better.
    9. It can wreck your bite. Poor spinal alignment can misalign your jaw joints. This can change the way you bite down. It can cause jaw pain, teeth issues or temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).
    10. It can affect your sexual function. Poor posture, while you are sitting, shortens and tightens your pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles start to get weak, it can affect your sexual performance and enjoyment.

These are just a few of the side effects of poor posture. Instead of dealing with any of these issues, see your doctor of chiropractic instead. He or she can help keep your spine healthy with regular adjustments. As you progress in your treatment, you can correct bad posture and the effects it may have on your overall health. Sit, stand and walk straight to feel healthier!

Becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic

Becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic

by Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

Maybe you’re interested in becoming a doctor of chiropractic (DC). Maybe you’re wondering what kind of training your own DC has been through. We can help with some details.

When you go to your chiropractor for care, you’re seeing a practitioner with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. They receive this degree from a nationally accredited chiropractic school. Many chiropractic programs require an undergraduate degree for entry, but that can vary from school to school. At minimum, 90 hours of college coursework prerequisites are necessary before entering a chiropractic school. Most applicants already possess a B.S. degree.

While enrolled in the program, students will take courses similar to those attending medical school. Anatomy, physiology, pathology, biology, chemistry are part of the curriculum, as well as nutrition, rehabilitation and public health. A large portion of their schooling is spent in clinical training, giving them countless hours of experience with patient care before even graduating. When combined, time in clinical training, classroom settings and lab experiences totals over 4,200 hours.

Once the program is complete, graduates are required to pass an exam governed by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Each state also issues licenses for their practitioners. Maintaining a license is contingent on continued education and training throughout the entire course of a chiropractor’s career.

The training to become a doctor of chiropractic is challenging and stringent. If you’re considering a career in the chiropractic field, you will work hard but be rewarded with a degree that can help people manage their health issues in a drug-free manner. Ask your own chiropractor about their experience!