Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

October 25, 2017

“I had no idea chiropractic was covered by insurance.”

That from today’s new patient. If you know anyone suffering from back pain, neck pain, or headaches (or knee pain, or shoulder pain, or… or…), you would be doing them a great service to mention that chiropractic might help them.

A chiropractic patient is qualified as a chiropractic patient because they need chiropractic care, not because of their complaints, or lack of complaints.

We look for a condition that is often no painful – it will likely eventually become painful. It may be painful, it may not. The condition we look for and attempt to prevent, correct, or manage is a progressive condition: it will get worse if it is left uncared for. It will lead to degenerative changes, eventually. And this process will lead to disease labels.

If a patient waits too long, there may be little that chiropractic care can do. But you will not know that without an examination, and usually a trial of care.

And if someone you know, work with or are related to is suffering, does have the condition that chiropractors look for and correct, and does not get chiropractic care, there is a good chance that, symptom relief or not, they will still have that condition afterwards. By this I mean medication, physical therapy, massage, may give symptomatic relief; if may not correct the underlying condition causing the symptoms.

It is an old story. We who have been telling it for decades tend to assume everyone knows it. But like insurance coverage, which has been standard for chiropractic care since the early 70’s, not everyone knows.

You need to tell them.


October 22, 2016

Tai Chi To Ease Neck Pain

Filed under: Be careful who you listen to!, Tai Chi Chuan — Tags: , , , , — doctordilday @ 7:36 pm

[I don’t know where this came from but I received it from a tai chi student of mine: I am familiar with the studies cited, and I thought that this laid it out well. DrD]

Practicing tai chi can be as effective as performing conventional neck exercises to relieve long-standing neck pain. This new finding comes from a randomly controlled trial that compared pain reduction in people who performed tai chi for 12 weeks to a group who did conventional neck exercises and members of a control group receiving no treatment. The researchers recruited 114 people age 18 or older who had chronic neck pain for at least three months. The average age of the participants was 49. The tai chi and neck exercise groups took part in weekly sessions that lasted 75 or 90 minutes. At the end of the 12 weeks 37 percent of the participants who practiced tai chi reported that their pain had lessened by 50 percent compared to 50 percent among 46 percent of those who performed the conventional neck exercises. The research team, lead by Harvard medical professor Peter M. Wayne, Ph.D., concluded that tai chi provides moderate benefit for people with chronic, nonspecific neck pain and can be a suitable alternative to conventional neck exercises. Dr. Wayne is also the founder and director of the Tree of Life Tai Chi Center in Somerville, MA and coauthor of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi.

My take? I’m not surprised by these findings. Tai chi is a reliable and effective form of mental and physical stimulation and is beneficial for overall health. In addition to the new study results showing tai chi can reduce neck pain, a 2010 study published the New England Journal of Medicine suggested it can be helpful for relief of fibromyalgia pain. And a study published in May (2016) showed that tai chi can be as effective as physical therapy for reducing pain and stiffness due to knee arthritis.

October 11, 2016

Why the Variable-Height Work Stations Don’t Always Solve The Problem


(Variable Height!)

I was talking today with a patient about her new variable-height work station and I realized why they don’t always work out that well. Don’t get me wrong, they are a good idea and I support using them.

Here’s the thing, if your posture and the way you relate to (1) the floor, (2) your chair, (3) your keyboard, and (4) your monitor is faulty, and you now stand up but still relate poorly in all but one of those respects, how much better off are you, really?

Up, down, or in between, the work station has to relate to the human’s normal, healthy, correct, posture and alignment or it isn’t doing much good.

I haven’t studied all the newest variable-height work stations but here is what they need to do to accommodate humans: and this applies to both the standing and the sitting postures, they aren’t really that different, except for the chair dynamics.

First, how to stand: the human needs to know how. Someone should teach them. I have offered, and am available (this applies to all that follows and more of course, since it is what I have been Blogging about for the past six years).

(Second: the only thing that changes with sitting is: the human should know how to sit. Someone should teach them…blah, blah, blah.)

As a matter of principle, it makes sense to me that the v-h work station should then match the normally aligned human: if the human bends their elbows to about ninety degrees they should find their keyboard and mouse right under their hands. The humans shoulders, chest, and spinal alignment should not have to change to accommodate the v-h station: if you have to lean forward, hunch, or reach, you loose.

The monitor needs to be positioned so that with the head in neutral and the eyes tracking down gentle angle, the monitor is right there: no goosenecking allowed; and certainly no nose-in-the-air posture like you see all day on the road (look at the driver’s on your left and right the next time you are stopped at a light and you will know what I mean.)

So, in order for the v-h work station to achieve all of this for you it has to be designed so that each component moves independently up, down, forward and back. Anything other than that and you will be trying to adapt to your v-h work station in the same ways you have been trying to adapt to your dest now. If it aint right it aint right.

May 4, 2016

May Is Posture Month: Awareness

It’s been said on this Blog many times and this is a chance to repeat it: it all starts with awareness. Put another way, if you knew – what would you do?

I mentioned back pain as a cause or effect of poor posture before; think in terms of 7.6 million adults disabled! One out of four adults have suffered with back pain in the past three months. (The implication is that you could be next!)

Here some other numbers (facts that may sway): College students are cellphone addicts – they spend 8-10 hours per day on their phones. This creates neck pain and lost mobility. People who spend 12 hours per day or more sitting are at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, and life threatening falls.

(But, if we just looked at a tiny piece – a huge tiny piece – of sitting: there is the pressure on the pelvis that distorts the scare-iliac joints, which then become locked in a dysfunctional restricted pattern – think of all of the implications of that (back pain, hip, knee, leg and feet pain, for starts). Then there is the slump, with it’s attendant stress on the mid back spinal joints, the compressed chest breathing, and all the compressed internal organ issues that that implies. That slump leads to a third issue: Forward Head Posture – it’s not good, it get worse with time, and it causes all sorts of nasty problems that you don’t want – including degenerative joint disease (sometimes leading to neck surgery, and often leading to arm and hand symptoms). All of this because of a choice to sit in a certain way for a certain amount of time per day; and not do anything to offset that choice.)

Simple choices. Make them conscious choices. Make them informed choices. Make healthy choices.


November 12, 2015

“I haven’t had one since… it’s nice not having those headaches.”


Comments from a patient who had been adjusted a grand total of two times in two days. She went from three weeks of severe headaches (9-10 out of 10 severity) to “No headaches since, neck [pain] is much better, low back still hurts.”

June 1, 2015

Text Neck?


This is a new condition we will be hearing more and more about. All the usual suspects are coming out of the woodwork with their words of wisdom: mostly they will say to change your position, lift the phone, etc. Good luck with that.

Since the average smartphone user is bowing to their device upwards of three hours per day, it is an issue and will be having knock-on effects that the average smartphone user can’t even image. (We’ve talked about Forward Head Posture here before.)

So here is another way of looking at it and a method of doing something about it that could work. First, realize that the smartphone posture problem is similar to all the other issues where we do too much of one thing: sit, heavy/awkward/frequent lifting, repetitive this or that.

The point is that we can address these issues effectively by doing something that will offset the insults to the body and create better balance. In this case the head-flexed-forward-for-extended-periods can be offset by strengthening the muscles of the back of the neck and extending the head backward.

And like most healthy habits it is amazingly simple and easy to do. Just interlock your fingers behind your head, then tilt you head back until you are looking up (or as far as you can comfortably go). Your weight of you arms will provide enough resistance all by themselves, so do not pull with your arms!

Do this a half a dozen times here and there throughout the day (start with 3 times, build to 5 or 6) and the next morning you will know you have exercised your neck (it will amaze most people how little exercise constitutes a neck workout). From there it is easy to progress.

Let me know if you need any help. Don’t over do it!




May 20, 2015

The First Breakthrough Chiropractic Visit

When patients present for chiropractic care they almost always have a problem they want our help with. We talk. We examine. We talk some more.

Then we do what we do. And wait for the result.

During all the earlier talking we, both the patient and I, get a sense of how long it will take to get some or all of the results that the patient wants. My job is to (1) help the patient understand their condition (Here is where we insert the whole conversation about them holding on to pain as their “problem” and us trying to educate them that their real problem is what causes their pain, but that’s not what this Post is about – them getting that is the Second Breakthrough:-), and (2) give them reasonable expectations about results, usually relief from pain.

Sometimes it takes a while for the patient to experience enough relief to believe that they have made the right choice in coming here; sometimes they leave before they get to that point (having the expectation that it would happen before it did). But if they stay. If they do what we recommend. If I can do my job well enough. And if their daily life isn’t too hard on them… they always get the results.

Yesterday a new patient – he has been seen only a half dozen times or so – came in. It was that visit where the patient says, “I really am feeling definitely better, and have since my last visit.” It’s a great visit, I wanted to share it with you:-)

At this point I have to reiterate to the patient that they are not really out of the woods: healing has barely begun. Here we enter an entirely new phase of the relationship, if not care. That’s the subject of another Post. This Post is about that Breakthrough visit.

The message to the person considering chiropractic care or those who have tried it and decided it didn’t work for them after a bad experience is: almost always that visit comes within a couple of weeks of care and several visits. It may take that long, it may take longer, but it doesn’t take months (usually). And if you are going to be a big exception to the rule, that should all be obvious to both doctor and patient on day one – and discussed.

November 29, 2014

By Now You May Have Heard That Sitting Is The New Smoking… Here’s Why

A lot of numbers, a simple message – MOVE!

November 25, 2014

Alarming Research? Posture? Texting? Say It Isn’t So…

Old news is new news. If you align yourself poorly with gravity and spent time that way, bad stuff happens.

That graphic is a great one. It conveys – and the research puts the numbers to it – the effect of what we call Forward Head Posture (FHP). FHP is the single most common postural distortion we see in patients with back, neck, headache and shoulder pain complaints (remember Sitting Is The New Smoking?).

Not easy to fix when it been established over decades, and devastating to the biomechanics of movement as well as standing and sitting, this condition is a sign that there is a serious process going on – with or without the pain that will eventually accompany it.

FHP is an obvious outward sign of a complicated (complex) dysfunctional process that involves not just isolated alignment but also compensatory skeletal changes, reflex and other neurological changes, tissues changes (inflammation), and muscular changes (spasm and contracture) that lead to degenerative changes (arthritis), and a myriad of complaints and conditions.

Best to prevent it if possible, correct it early when you can, and address all the aspects of it if it’s well developed if you can’t, won’t or don’t prevent or catch it early. We can help. Call 425.348.5207.

June 25, 2014

Rearend Damage – Be Careful!

Rearend Damage

Rearend Damage

A patient called yesterday to cancel his appointment.

He had gotten off work, was walking out to his car, and fell (His next stop was going to be my office.). He was calling me from Boeing Medical where the best guess was that he had broken his collar bone.

A regular guy (30-something) with two good arms and two good legs… On his most recent visit he was bragging that – after a short series of chiropractic visits – his golf game was the best it’s ever been. Yet he falls walking on a flat even surface and breaks his collar bone (probably).

What does that tell you? He’s clumsy and he doesn’t know how to fall.

Please be careful. Falling is not the small thing it was when you were a kid. If you don’t know how to fall, then come to tai chi class and find out. Pay attention… What are the odds that he was texting, talking, or otherwise distracting from the task at hand – not falling is like not walking into a wall, not walking in front of a moving vehicle, not poking your eye out with a hanging branch, that kind of thing.

All that said, obviously, it could happen to any one of us, right?

March 4, 2014

“My Medical Doctor Won’t Let Me Go”

Door Bell

That’s a quote from a woman who called last week about becoming a new patient.

As we talked the story unfolded with an all-too-familiar pattern. This is how many people are experiencing their health care system these days – as victims.

This woman had just had her third IME (independent medical exam – let’s hope that you don’t know anything about what that means) two weeks earlier. Her first IME hurt her, she said.

It all started with an injury at work where she had a “really bad fall” that left her with altered vision and poor neck mobility, right shoulder and hand symptoms… and ten cracked teeth! This was back in April of 2012. She is still, apparently, seeing a physical therapist weekly.

It turns out that this lady was employed by the State of Washington and was injured while attending a two-day course.

The most recent IME doctor recommended that she seek chiropractic care, but her primary care medical doctor won’t let her, according to her.

What she doesn’t know

First, that medical doctor works for her; she can hire and fire at will. She could find a medical doctor somewhere that would allow her to at least try chiropractic care for a while to see if it might help.

Second, a worker injured in the State of Washington can see any kind of doctor that they choose. (I have mentioned this before… here, and here for example.)

A recent Post was on the subject of “experts”. The point here is that medical doctors are making decisions for people about the appropriateness of chiropractic care. They are not qualified, have little to no understanding, and have a financial interest in NOT referring to a chiropractor. Meanwhile, the suffering public suffers even more, stays in the dark, and functions under the false impression that the health care system is functioning – it’s not: it’s malfunctioning. It is broken and unsustainable, except at your expense.

In any kind of a sane environment such a disaster would be corrected, or at least serious attempts would be made. Not here. Instead, this malignancy is allowed to spread and thrive to the point of absurdity (yesterday’s Post).

Truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to what passes for health care. And it all begins with awareness. Choose health while you still can. And if you have to interact with the medical system, be your own advocate: no one else is!

When you consider the price of a healthy choice next time, what ever it is, remember to ask yourself if you can afford not to make healthy choices. For a growing number of people there is a bell that suddenly goes off in their head and they realize that the value of health choices far exceeds whatever dollars it takes up front: the “opportunity cost” of not making healthy choices is quite high indeed! (You wondered how I was going to weave that picture into the story, didn’t you?:-)

January 20, 2014

Another “They wanted me to keep coming back” story



It’s got to be the most common criticism of the chiropractic profession: a patient starts care, gets the relief they seek, then stereotypes any chiropractor who suggests that they continue care beyond the relief of symptoms as “bad” in whatever terms they prefer. The typical patient discontinues care after their symptoms have subsided enough to allow them to get by. Then they return or go somewhere else when their symptoms return months or years later.

There’s been a string of those new patient stories this past week or two (the new patient has a story about some prior chiropractor whom they have left, and a criticism of that prior chiropractor for recommending that they continue care). So I thought I would weigh in with a few thoughts.

First off, just to get it out of the way, there are offices where the primary objective is sell what they have to sell – more adjustments – and not helping patients so much. If you have had any recent experience with any health care facility of any type, at least in this area, you know that that isn’t unique to chiropractic practice. It’s always up to you to figure out whether your providers fairly balance your interests with their own – not easy for some I know, but still it’s up to you.

It’s a very delicate balance helping people achieve whatever health goal they pursue (pain relief is usually first on the list), having them understand the nature of their condition, and offering a way to prevent the relapse and chronic (painless) dysfunction that will be followed by degeneration and disease (usually accompanied by plenty of pain).

It isn’t our job to decide what your priorities are; sometimes investing in spinal health is trumped by other things once you are out of pain. We doctors need to understand that and I do.

It is our job to try and have you understand your condition completely, to recommend only the care you need once we figure that out, and to try and help you appreciate the true value of a healthy lifestyle.

We have to be Ok with your decision, though, whatever it is. It isn’t a failure on our part when you decide to use chiropractic like an aspirin, necessarily. Given your circumstances at the time, you make the best decision you can.

But please don’t hold it against us because we care about your future health enough to encourage you to take better care of yourself while you are still reasonably young (maybe), reasonably fit and healthy (or not), and still able to do the things that will help you avoid future problems. Those things include getting adjusted, doing exercises, and maybe feeding your body the nutrients it needs to fully recover, heal and stay healed. It may include other things.

If your condition has progressed. If neglect has lead to you needing a lot of care to get a little result. If the need for ongoing care just to keep you comfortable is the best anyone can do, well, then that’s what it is. Many people in chronic pain due to damage that is beyond full repair need ongoing care. They manage as best they can and often do well: they just need to do more to take care of themselves than others.

Of course the issue, beyond means and a few others, is trust. There isn’t much of that around these days. Those who can’t be trusted trade in fear – you don’t need an example from me, look all around at conventional as well as alternative health care. They also trade in the very same communication strategies and tactics that those who can be trusted use – they are often fabulous sales people. So a patient who is hoping for help is vulnerable and often victimized by the very professionals who are supposed to offer solutions, and act like professionals. That’s a shame.

It’s also a shame that once people have been victimized enough by enough professionals, they become skeptical and suspicious. In this case, that process, aided by the propaganda of our adversaries in mainstream medicine, has lead to a general impression among much of the public that, “you will have to keep coming back.” Nonsense. We work for you (so does your medic the the way).

I say it’s a shame because I am familiar with your options, and the current state of affairs in the world of back pain, for example.

Here is a recommendation: communicate.

That’s how you will find out if the doctor you see is a good match for you.

We get along really well with our patients (who get along really well with us) because eventually they figure out that we are going to offer what we thing they need, and what will best serve them. It takes a little time, and not every patient follows our recommendations. We gain trust by first getting patients out of pain as quickly and affordably as possible. Then we do the very best we can to help patients get a full understanding of their condition, and we offer to help them prevent relapse and/or worsening, and find health.

We aren’t here to wear you down until you do it our way. We are hear to help you with what you want when you want it, and offer you options.

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