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October is National Spinal Health Month

A healthy spine is more than the basis of good posture—it is a harbinger of sound emotional and physical health, according to practitioners of holistic chiropractic care. Those seeking relief from back pain and other common spine- related conditions might do well to exchange pain-masking drugs for more lasting relief from professional adjustments.

All chiropractic can be considered alternative medicine, because practi- tioners do not prescribe drugs or surgery. Instead, these doctors rely on manual therapies such as spinal manipulation to improve function and provide pain relief for conditions ranging from simple sprains and strains to herniated discs and sci- atica. Yet, holistic chiropractors go beyond treatment of structural problems, like a misaligned spine, to address root causes. Michael Roth, a Ventura, California, chiropractor who has been practicing holistic methods for nearly 20 years, points out that, “Basic spinal manipulation does not address the mind-body connection. A holistic chiropractor recognizes that symptoms are the body’s way of adapting to some environmental stressor. If the spine is adapting to a stressor, that’s not the cause of the problem, simply the effect.” Holistic chiropractors typically can suggest complementary measures such as massage, yoga, naturopathy or physical therapy for a more integrated and compre- hensive treatment approach. Beyond adjusting the spine, they may also prescribe adjustments to diet, exercise and other lifestyle elements, depending on their understanding of an individual’s optimum path to wellness. Before placing one’s care in someone else’s hands, ask for credentials and seek out reviews from former patients. Good health—and a happy spine—begin with an educated and empowered patient. includes a database of licensed chiropractors, searchable by zip code.


Yoga May Decrease Dowager’s Hump N

ew research suggests that, for those prone to contracting it, dowager’s hump (hyperkyphosis) “is not a fait accompli,” advises Dr. Gail Greendale, a physician who specializes in women’s health with an interest in alternative and com- plementary therapies. Results of a pilot study she led at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that elderly participants who prac- ticed yoga for six months saw their upper spine curvature lowered by about 5 percent, compared to those who did not. Those with greater spinal flexibility at the start showed a 6 percent improvement. More than 100 otherwise healthy individuals with indicators of moderate hyperkyphosis par- ticipated. The study group was 81 percent female, with an average age of 75 years.

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During the six-month study period, the yoga group also showed significant relief from upper back pain, were less likely to report early wakening or insomnia and needed less time to stand up from a chair. Many members of the control group experienced increases in the curva- ture of their spines during the same period.

Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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