Author Archives: nealclinic

I have a headache

What if it’s a brain tumor? Sometimes it is.  Everybody has heard a story about someone who had a headache, and it was a brain tumor.  It’s always a possibility on the differential diagnosis list that I’m making in my head as I consult with a headache patient.

The problem is – it’s rare.  Really rare.  Less than 1 in 1000 headache patients actually have a tumor, so when it actually does occur, the first two doctors missed it, and instead, gave the patient medication.

back n neck_GuerThe Top 5 List of Reasons For Headaches

  1. Stress and tension – Yes and No.  See my discussion below.
  2. Sinuses – Also Yes and No.
  3. Migraines/ Vascular Headaches – Mixed cause.  See below.
  4. Eye Strain/ Need New Glasses – Also Yes and No.
  5. Didn’t Eat Today or No Coffee Today – Absolutely Yes.

So, what do I mean by “Yes and No” in numbers 1-4 above?

Think of your headache like you would an itch on your arm.  There’s a long list of possible causes that have the same result. For example, using a poison ivy treatment cream is ineffective if you have a mosquito bite.

Headaches have triggers.  If you blame it on the wrong trigger, then your treatment won’t work.  Maybe your sinuses are a little stuffy, or maybe you will see better with new glasses. But those are rarely the reason for a headache.  All of these are often triggered by neck strain and misalignment.  The only headache on the list above that wouldn’t be affected by a neck structural problem would be #5.  But, I know you know how to solve that one.

If you have a structural problem in your neck, get it fixed!  It won’t guarantee that you’ll never get another headache, but remember the straw that broke the camel’s back.  If all those other straws weren’t already there, that one straw wouldn’t be effective.  A solid, strong neck will knock out most of your headache triggers.

Real Story: 70 years of leg pain

Nothing in medicine is an exact science.

I’ll restate that:  You can’t consistently predict the outcome of any treatment for any health problem, there are just too many variables.

I consulted with a woman who told me she had her leg pain for 70 years.  Not the usual patient history…

She told me that she remembers her mother taking her to the doctor when she was age 5 or 6 complaining of right leg pain.  They assured her that it was growing pains and would go away.  Except, it didn’t. Now,  in her mid 70s, she still has a chronic pain in her right leg – living with it all these years.  Then, a friend of hers said I helped him with his leg pain…

Ask me… how confident I was about accepting this case? (Not very)

But, we got an x-ray of her back (where the nerves to the legs begin), and we found that she had some structural misalignment. I offered her a trial of care.  What do we have to lose? She surprised both of us when she got good relief from her leg pain.

Most patients I treat have had a pinched nerve or a disc problem for one or two weeks.  This patient was a good reminder not to rule out helping those really chronic cases, because I often see them improve and get active again.  It’s exciting when it works out well!

Structural problems irritate your joints and your nerves, and they hurt.  And there’s no pill to fix a structural problem…  Ever.  If you have a nerve problem, whether it’s 1 day or 70 years in the making, call us.

If you need to heal, see Dr Neal.

How to avoid a visit to the chiropractor

woman-with-back_pain-at-deskWorking on my patient’s structural problems is only half the job. The other part is finding the PROVOCATEURS – the myriad of little irritations that make your spine suffer each day.

When your spine is strong and healthy, they don’t cause a problem. When it’s weak and irritable, look out!

We always counsel our patients about the obvious stuff…
“Don’t sleep on your stomach!”

It’s the little weird things that are different for each patient. One patient finds that his recliner pushes his head too far forward and aggravates his neck and shoulders. Another discovered that sitting on the couch while working on her laptop computer was killing her low back. It’s different for everybody.

Find the provocateurs in your daily activities. It may save you a visit to the chiro!