A CLOSER LOOK AT SPINAL ADJUSTMENT
What happens during a spinal adjustment? Can professionals other than chiropractors safely do spinal adjustments?
Chiropractors commonly perform spinal adjustments, also known as spinal manipulation. But, osteopathic doctors, physical therapists and medical doctors may provide the service, as well.
Specific techniques may differ among practitioners. In general, during spinal manipulation, the practitioner applies a controlled amount of force to a spinal joint, either manually or using a device. Alternatively, a rhythmic force is applied to improve joint motion in your neck, spine and pelvis. The practitioner may use a special table to better help perform adjustments.
Available evidence indicates that spinal manipulation can help with low back pain, especially if the pain is recent and not due to compression of a nerve root. For some people with low back pain, spinal manipulation may be just as effective as conventional care, such as exercise and pain relief medications. There's also some evidence that spinal manipulation may help common headaches and neck pain.
Spinal manipulation generally is considered to be safe when it's performed by a trained and licensed practitioner. Common side effects are soreness in the treated area, dizziness or tiredness. These problems typically clear up within one or two days. Serious side effects are very rare, but may include pinching of spinal nerves, resulting in leg pain and weakness or worsening of a herniated disc. High-velocity neck manipulation rarely has been associated with stroke.
Spinal manipulation generally isn't recommended if you have severe osteoporosis, cancer in your spine, previous spinal surgery or inflammatory arthritis.
If you're considering spinal manipulation therapy, ask your doctor for a referral. Importantly, let the provider doing the spinal manipulation know about any other conditions you may have and other treatments you may be receiving.
Ralph Gay, M.D., D.C., M.S., Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. (adapted from Mayo Clinic Health Letter)
PEPPERMINT OIL CAN EASE ILLS OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
Can peppermint oil help irritable bowel syndrome?
Peppermint oil does appear to improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, at least in the short term.
People who have IBS are familiar with abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, excessive gas and bothersome bowel movements. Since there's no clear cause, finding relief is often an exercise in trial and error. Treatment generally involves managing stress, avoiding trigger foods, getting enough exercise and rest, and staying hydrated. Some medications may help, but they also may have side effects that are just as troubling as IBS symptoms.
Peppermint oil is a natural antispasmodic, which means it helps relax the smooth muscles of the intestines. It has long been a remedy for nausea, indigestion and other stomach problems.
Recently, investigators analyzed available research on peppermint oil as a treatment for IBS. The investigators concluded that peppermint oil may indeed offer a safe and effective short-term option for some people with IBS. In general, people who took peppermint oil had significantly better symptom relief than did those who took a placebo pill.
However, peppermint oil can worsen heartburn. Manufacturers offer enteric-coated capsules to help prevent this side effect.
Brent Bauer, M.D., General Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. (adapted from Mayo Clinic Health Letter)
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