Monthly Archives: April 2012

Modern twist to ancient Chinese treatment: electroacupunture eases whiplash

A new study suggests that acupuncture may substantially relieve pain for whiplash patients. Although there’s been a number of studies on acupuncture for neck pain, there’s been little research into the effects of the treatment for whiplash-associated disorder.
The study included 124 patients who had been injured in the previous month. Half of the patients received real electroacupuncture, a type of acupuncture in which gentle electric frequencies are sent through a needle to certain points of the body. A professional acupuncturist applied needles to patients neck area, wrist, and ankle, and the needles were connected to an electroacupuncture machine. The other half of patients received a simulated electroacupuncture treatment that looked the same but the needles were not delivering electric currents.
At the 3 and 6 month check-up, the patients in the real acupuncture group had significantly lower pain scores than patients in the simulated group. The real acupuncture patients also received lower scores on a test that measured their restriction of daily activities; in other words, they were better able to perform normal movements. Although these changes were statistically significant, they did not reach the threshold for clinical significance.
Additionally these improvements did not transfer to their performance on a disability test. Real acupuncture patients did not experience a greater reduction in disability or a greater improvement in quality of life than the simulated acupuncture group.
Despite these mixed results, the improvements in pain scores did lead researchers to conclude that acupuncture could still form an important treatment method for many whiplash patients. They argued for further research and larger sample sizes to fully understand the efficacy of acupuncture for whiplash treatment.

Photo by Tomas Fano via Creative Commons.

Reference

Cameron, ID, Wang E , Sindhusake D. A Randomized Trial Comparing Acupuncture and Simulated Acupuncture for Subacute and Chronic Whiplash. Spine 2011;36 (26): E1659–E1665.

Rising number of brain injuries in high-school football players

The number of catastrophic brain injuries suffered by high-school football players is on the rise, according to new data released  from National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.  The center, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been publishing annual reports on catastrophic injuries for 48 years. Their reports show that last year 11 high-school football players suffered catastrophic brain injuries. That’s the highest the number has ever been since the center began tracking catastrophic brain injuries in 1984. From 2001 to 2010, there was a 25% jump in football-related disability brain injuries.

The spike in numbers may be partially due to the growing awareness and reporting of brain injuries in recent years. Still the trend is disturbing given that catastrophic brain injuries can cause life-changing mental disabilities.

The reports indicates that since 1977, an estimated 67% of catastrophic brain injuries resulted from tackling. Although head-to-head contact was prohibited starting in 1976, many of the dangerous tackling techniques still occur, pointed out Fred Mueller, the lead author of the report.

The center’s findings highlight the need for the ongoing discussion of how to reduce brain injuries amongst high-school contact-sport athletes. Even if players don’t receive catastrophic brain injuries, recent research suggests they can still have cognitive deficiencies from years of mild concussions. Another study indicated that even athletes who don’t show signs of concussion can suffer neurological impairment.

To find ways to prevent brain injuries from contact sports, contact a health professional who specializes in brain injuries and sports medicine.

References

Football-Related Catastrophic Brain Injuries On the Rise. Science Daily. April 16,2012. Accessed April 23, 2012. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120416130313.htm.

Mueller, F. Annual Survey of Catastrophic Football Injuries. Department of Exercise & Sport Science University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.unc.edu/depts/nccsi/FBCATReport2011.pdf.

Stevens, Time. High school football brain injuries increasing. News & Observer. April 17, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2012. http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/16/2005764/high-school-football-brain-injuries.html.

 

Neck Pain and Auto Injury

Neck pain is the most common symptom after a rear-end collision, affecting 90% of people in a crash. In this video, we describe what happens during a crash and how the spine can be injured.

Chiropractic is a great way to recover from auto injuries. Chiropractic has been proven to improve neck range of motion and early intervention has been shown to reduce the risk of developing chronic symptoms.