Recent Posts

Understanding Chiropractic Care: A Car Analogy

Although you may have heard of chiropractors, you may be unaware of what they do. You may be curious about why seeing your Salem, OR chiropractor is a good idea. How can chiropractic help you?

Your Body is Like a Car

Perhaps the simplest way to explain chiropractic care is with the help of a car analogy. Having an automobile requires routine maintenance to ensure that it continues to run smoothly. In addition to regular check-ups, sometimes you may be forced to take it in for repair, like when a part starts to malfunction or after an auto accident.

This is not all that different than your body.The best way to stay healthy is be proactive about your health, but sometimes you have an accident (like a sports injury or an accident) and you should see a doctor to repair the injury.

One major difference between your vehicle and your body is that a broken car can be replaced. With your body, there's no going out to buy a fresh one or trade it in when the damage is too costly. So, keeping your body in pristine shape ought to be a priority if you expect it to look great and work effectively well into old age.

How Your Salem, OR Chiropractic Doctor Can Keep Your "Car" in Top Shape

Because a doctor of chiropractic addresses the spine, getting normal care will help you to obtain and maintain good health. It will reduce your likelihood of developing back and neck pain that can lower your quality of life. Chiropractic also keeps your body running as efficiently as possible.

The spinal column protects your spinal cord which forms a connection between your brain and the rest of your body through the spinal nerves that extend into all areas of the body. So, if you have a spinal misalignment, other areas of your body are affected. Given that a spinal misalignment upsets the central nervous system, other systems — like your digestive, respiratory, or reproductive systems — may be impacted as well.

So make seeing your Salem, OR doctor of chiropractic a top priority. Call (503) 399-7607 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michels today. You'll be taken care of – regardless of whether you’re just in need of maintenance or need a tune-up!


When to See a Chiropractor for Neck Pain

So, your neck has been hurting, but you aren’t quite sure if it is time to see your Salem chiropractor or if you should just self-treat. Here are three questions you can ask yourself to help you determine which path is most appropriate for you:

What is the cause of my neck pain?

If you were involved in an auto injury or personal injury accident that has left you with even minor amounts of neck pain, you should seek medical care. It is possible that a disc or vertebrae are out of place, and waiting is only going to make the problem worse.

However, if you just slept wrong last night and now your neck is sore, you may want to give it a day or two. It is possible that you simply strained your muscles by being in an awkward position so the tenderness may go away on its own.

How bad is the pain?

Neck pain that is minor, like a 0-1 on a scale of zero to ten may not require a visit to your Salem chiropractor. However, anything higher than that or pain that interferes with your everyday activities should be looked at to help determine the cause – and correct it.

Would it make me feel better to get checked out?

Whenever you’re concerned about your neck pain, or any pain for that matter, you can always save yourself a lot of worry by simply making an appointment with Dr. Michels of Michels Spinal Rehab & Associates in Salem, OR so you can find out for sure what is going on. It’s always better to be on the safe side and that is where Dr. Michels intends to keep you!


3 Common Myths About Chiropractors

It’s understandable that there are a lot of misconceptions about the chiropractic field. After all, while many of us are raised on frequent visits to the doctor and the dentist, a chiropractor is a medical specialist that we don’t see much of until we’re adults, and by then, we’ve formulated most of our opinions. However, many of these myths can be damaging, not only to the chiropractors who have to weather them, but also for the patients who spurn chiropractic care because of them. With that in mind, here are three common myths about chiropractors debunked.

  • MYTH # 1: "Chiropractors aren't doctors." It’s a common joke in and out of the medical field that dentists aren’t “real” doctors, and the same dismissive myth plagues chiropractors. In actuality, chiropractors go through extensive education to earn the degree "Doctor of Chiropractic", just as a doctor of podiatry, dentistry, osteopathy, or other medical specialist would do. The American Chiropractic Association requires a minimum of 4,200 hours in classroom, laboratory, and clinical study – a rigorous educational workload that absolutely earns the qualification of “doctor.”
  • MYTH # 2: "Chiropractic isn't safe."  Spinal adjustments performed by someone who does not have the knowledge or experience to deliver them safely are dangerous. Chiropractic treatment at the hands of an experienced and licensed chiropractic doctor, however, result in fewer injuries or unintended side effects than virtually any other medical field (and most day-to-day activities).
  • MYTH # 3: "Insurance companies don't cover chiropractic care." The vast majority of insurance companies have determined that covering chiropractic care – often labeled as a preventative type of health care – is more cost-effective than denying chiropractic coverage and paying instead for later, full-blown medical treatments. Spinal adjustments can stop chronic back pain before it becomes severe, reducing or eliminating the need for prescription drugs, surgeries, or other medical treatments that might be used to address or cure the pain. Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans tied to the federal health exchange will be required to cover either physical therapy or occupational therapy, or visits to a chiropractor. If you call our Salem office, we are happy to consult with your insurance company about your benefits.


These and other myths are debunked every day by the many skilled and educated men and women who work in the chiropractic field. If you are interested in learning more or in seeing what chiropractic care can do for you, call Michels Spinal Rehab & Associates and schedule an appointment today in our Salem office.

As a trusted Salem chiropractor, Dr. Geary Michels will take care of you and answer any questions you may have so that you can formulate a deeper understanding of chiropractic medicine and build a preventive care regimen for a happier and healthier lifestyle.




7 Easy Ways to Prevent Back Pain

As the great Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In our Salem, OR chiropractic office, we believe that this couldn’t be truer when it comes to back injuries since dealing with any amount of pain along your spine can make daily living seem like more of a chore than a pleasure.

What are some things you can do to protect your spinal health as much as possible and avoid any painful and potentially costly back injuries? We've previously written about seven common causes of back pain, now we're going to give you seven suggestions to prevent back pain from occurring.


  1. Lift wisely. If you have to pick something heavy up, put most of the pressure on your legs versus your back and ask for help if someone is nearby so you don’t risk disc herniation or any other spinal injury.

  2. Keep proper posture. Lots of backaches and pains are caused by simply having poor posture. Whether you’re walking, standing, or sitting, keep your shoulders back and down, head up, and pelvis tilted slightly back.

  3. Sleep in a back-friendly position. Stomach sleeping can create the most back problems, so you should either sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees or on your back so your neck can lie straight.

  4.  Get regular physical activity. Keep your back in good shape by engaging in regular cardiovascular and strength-training workouts designed to build up the muscles in your back so they are stronger and more capable of protecting your spine.

  5.  Perform daily stretches. A limber back is a healthy back and daily stretches are just what you need to avoid back injuries that could potentially sideline you.

  6. Use common sense. If something seems like it has a high potential to cause a back injury, then avoid it. Trust your instincts to tell you what is potentially harmful to your spinal health.

  7. Engage in regular chiropractic care. Just like you have semi-annual visits with your dentist to thwart cavities and crowns, make regular appointments with your Salem chiropractor instead of waiting until you’re in pain and agony because then you’re facing an uphill battle.


Dr. Geary Michels is committed to helping you protect your spinal health and preventing back pain. Call Michels Spinal Rehab & Associates  in Salem, OR today and enjoy a healthier spine tomorrow!






Chiropractic Mobilization for Back Pain

Are you searching for drug-free relief of back pain in Salem? Dr. Geary Michels offers innovative, efficient treatments for spinal disorders causing back pain.

Chiropractic spinal mobilization can provide immediate clinical improvements for patients with back pain, according to a recent study.

While a number of studies have demonstrated the benefits of spinal manipulation for back pain, less is known about the effects of another common chiropractic technique called spinal mobilization. Both spinal manipulation and mobilization are types of chiropractic adjustments used to correct misalignments or dysfunctions in the spine causing back or neck pain. However, spinal mobilization is a slower, lower-force type of adjustment than spinal manipulation. This has been shown to be helpful for pain relief, but the underlying mechanisms behind the treatment are unclear.

In a recent study, researchers from the UK evaluated the immediate effects of spinal mobilization in patients with lower back pain. They compared 19 patients with back pain to 20 symptom-free, control participants, all of whom received spinal mobilization. Before and after the treatment, the researchers measured the curvature of the spine and active range of motion. Patients also reported any changes in pain.

In just a single session of spinal mobilization, the patients showed immediate and clinically important improvements in back pain and stiffness. On average, the patients' pain dropped by 1.69 points on visual analog scale. The curvature of the spine and stiffness levels begin to more closely resemble the symptom-free controls.

The results of this study merely document the immediate effects of chiropractic treatments. Other research is demonstrated that spinal adjustments can lead to long-term relief of back pain as well.

Salem chiropractor Dr. Geary Michels uses chiropractic adjustments in conjunction with exercise and soft-tissue techniques for his patients with back pain. Most patients experience significant reductions in pain through these treatments, without relying on surgery or drugs. If you're searching for effective, lasting relief of lower back pain in Salem, OR, contact Michels Spinal Rehab and Associates today.


Shum GL, et al. The immediate effect of posteroanterior mobilization on reducing back pain and the stiffness of the lumbar spine. Archives Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2013;94(4):673-9. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.11.020.

Piper Lucy. Spine stiffness central to posteroanterior mobilization pain reduction. News Medical. December 18, 2012. Accessed May 21, 2013.



Chiropractic for Chronic Whiplash After Auto Injury

Dr. Michels frequently sees Salem patients complaining of whiplash symptoms several months, or even years, after their initial auto injury. The risk of chronic pain after auto injury is great, with up to 50% of whiplash patients developing persistent symptoms. Research suggests that many patients experience chronic pain for up to a decade after the car accident. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and treat chronic pain after auto injury, through conservative, drug-free interventions like chiropractic care.

Case Study on Chiropractic for Chronic Whiplash

A case study published in Clinical Chiropractic outlined the story of a 22-year old woman suffering from neck pain and headache six months after an auto injury,The patient felt neck pain within 24 hours of the car accident, which remained severe for two weeks while she wore a soft collar. The woman's neck pain continued to get worse, and she developed frontal headaches during this time.

A chiropractor treated the woman with chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapies, post-isometric relaxation techniques, self stretches, and exercise rehabilitation. Proprioceptive exercises were also assigned to address postural and muscle imbalances.

After seven treatments, the woman reported no neck pain and no headaches. Her cervical range of motion also improved greatly. The four month follow-up showed that she continued to be free of headaches, with only mild, intermittent neck pain.

Salem Chiropractor Eases Auto Injuries

These findings highlight the role that chiropractors can play in combating chronic pain after whiplash and auto injuries. Although early treatment is crucial for auto injuries, this treatment demonstrates that even chronic whiplash patients can benefit from chiropractic care, such as what Dr. Michels provides for his Salem patients. Research suggests that chiropractic care can reduce whiplash symptoms in up to 93% of patients.

Dr. Michels is experienced in diagnosing and treating whiplash, as well as a variety of other auto injuries. If you're suffering from auto injuries in Salem, OR, contact Michels Spinal Rehab & Associates today.


Alpass L. Chiropractic management of "intractable" chronic whiplash syndrome. Clinical Chiropractic 2004. 7 (1): 16-23.

Matsumoto M, Okada E, Ichihara D, Chiba K, Toyama Y, Fujiwara H, Momoshima S, Nishiwaki Y, Hashimoto T, Inoue T, Watanabe M, Takahata T. Prospective ten-year follow-up study comparing patients with whiplash-associated disorders and asymptomatic subjects using magnetic resonance imaging. Spine. 2010. 34:18. pp. 1684-1690.

Tyndel S, Bryant B. Long-term outcome of motor vehicle accidentinjury. Psychosom Med 1997;59:578–84.


Chiropractic Effective for Cervicogenic Headaches in Salem

Do you experience persistent headaches and neck pain in Salem, OR? You could be suffering from cervicogenic headache.

An estimated 20-25% of all adults are affected by cervicogenic headaches, which originate in the neck. Most people with chronic headaches depend on medications to relieve their symptoms. However, drug-free treatments such as chiropractic care may actually be more effective, according to recent research.

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by musculoskeletal issues in the neck (or cervical spine), resulting in pain above the eyes or at the base of the skull. Some patients also report lightheadedness or dizziness along with the pain. The symptoms are very similar to those of tension-type headaches or migraines, making accurate diagnosis difficult and compounding the difficulty of treating such headaches.

A recent study sought to examine the effectiveness of non-invasive treatments such as chiropractic neck adjustments for cervicogenic headaches. All of the study participants were suffering from cervicogenic headaches. Some underwent chiropractic care by itself, while others receive chiropractic care in combination with exercise therapy. Both groups of patients reported a decrease in pain and disability, as well as an improvement in functioning abilities, following treatment. The most effective treatment was found to be a combination of strengthening exercises and cervical manipulation and mobilization provided by a chiropractor.

This study adds to our understanding of headache treatment options by demonstrating the effectiveness of chiropractic neck manipulations, as well as exercise therapy, for treating cervicogenic headaches. This research demonstrates that non-invasive chiropractic care can be used to safely and effectively treat pain stemming from this form of headaches.

Before reaching for medication, consider visiting a Salem chiropractor for a non-invasive treatment option that does not come with side effects. Dr. Geary Michels can provide an accurate diagnosis of your cervicogenic headache and provide the neck manipulations that have been proven to effectively treat this headache type. Contact Michels Spinal Rehab & Associates in Salem, OR today for help with your headache symptoms.


Jull G, Trott P, Potter H, et al. A randomized controlled trail of exercise and manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache. Spine 2002; 27(17):1835-1843.

Racicki S, et al. Conservative physical therapy management for the treatment of cervicogenic headache: a systemic review. Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy 2013; 21(2): 113-124.



Chiropractic + Exercise: A Winning Solution for Neck Pain

Salem chiropractor Dr. Geary Michels frequently treats patients with neck pain caused by a range of spinal conditions. Pain is a signal from your body that something is amiss, whether that be a cervical disc herniation, spinal misalignment, arthritis, whiplash, or other musculoskeletal disorder.

Neck pain, regardless of its cause, is often a debilitating condition causing lost work time, chronic headaches, and reduced quality of life. This is one of the most common reasons for people to seek chiropractic care in Salem, OR.

At the same time, many people react to the pain by reducing their physical activity level, afraid of causing more damage or exacerbating the pain. However, research shows that exercise, when combined with spinal manipulation by a chiropractor, may be the most effective way to treat neck pain.

A recently published review examined the various treatments for neck pain. According to the authors, patients often experience the greatest pain relief after receiving chiropractic care combined with exercise therapy. The research team reviewed 17 controlled trials, conducted from 1996 to 2009, involving neck pain treatments. The various treatments tested included chiropractic manipulation both with and without exercise, as well as exercise alone and traditional cures such as medication and surgery.

According to the researchers, the most effective treatments were those combining spinal manipulation and mobilization with exercise. Patients receiving such treatment experienced better pain relief than patients receiving either therapy by itself, as well as patients receiving other treatments such as medication.  These patients also reported greater satisfaction with their treatment results and greater quality of life improvements.

The researchers suggest that while chiropractic care has previously been shown to be effective for neck pain relief, greater effectiveness may be achieved by combining this treatment with exercise therapy. More research is needed to determine the specific forms of exercise that are most effective at treating neck pain.

Salem chiropractor Dr. Geary Michels has found that pairing exercise with chiropractic treatments provides significant benefits to his patients with neck pain. To experience the benefits of chiropractic care for neck pain, call Michels Spinal Rehab & Associates in Salem, OR today.


Miller J, Gross A, D'Sylva J, Burnie SJ, Goldsmith CH, Graham N, Haines T, Bronfort G, Hoving JL. Manual therapy and exercise for neck pain: A systematic review. Manual Therapy 15(2010) 334-354.


Chiropractic Care for Sports Injury Prevention

Many patients come to our Salem office seeking relief from sports injuries. Chiropractic adjustments are known to be effective for alleviating neck pain, back pain, and other symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions or sports injuries. Now, research suggests that chiropractic care may also be effective at preventing such injuries from occurring.

The study involved 60 semi-elite Australian football athletes. All sixty participants received medical and sports science information. Half also received chiropractic preventive treatments. The chiropractic methods utilized during the study included chiropractic manipulations, mobilization therapy, and soft-tissue therapies on the spine and extremities.

After a series of 24 football matches, the players' lower-limb injury rates were evaluated. While both groups experienced similar rates of hamstring and non-contact knee injuries, other benefits were experienced by athletes receiving chiropractic care. Those undergoing chiropractic treatments were less likely to report lower-limb muscle strains. Their injuries also caused them to miss less playing time, suggesting reduced injury severity or improved recovery.

Chiropractic treatments offer athletes several potential benefits, such as injury prevention and enhanced recovery. Previous research has found chiropractic treatments to be effective at treating many common sports-related injuries, like sports hernias in soccer athletes. Spinal manipulation is also among the best ways to treat athletes' lower back pain, according to a study on conservative treatments for back pain. Previous studies have also suggested that chiropractic adjustments could restore pain-free movement in football and judo athletes, thereby improving their athletic performance.

At Michels Spinal Rehab & Associates, we treat many Salem athletes who are seeking relief from a previous sports injury, hoping to prevent future injuries, or looking to improve their athletic performance. Many athletes can benefit from chiropractic care. Salem chiropractor Dr. Geary Michels offers chiropractic treatments for active individuals, whether you're a seasoned athlete, a pediatric patients, or a weekend warrior. Contact us today to discuss how chiropractic care may improve your athletic outlook.


Hoskins W, Pollard H. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized control trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010;11:64.


Chiropractic Treatments Offer Back Pain Relief in Pregnancy

Many pregnant women – more than half, according to one study – experience lower back pain at some point during their pregnancy. In fact, pregnancy is often the first time women have experienced chronic back pain. Thankfully, chiropractic care has been found to be beneficial and safe for pregnant women with  back pain. Salem chiropractor Dr. Geary Michels uses low-force chiropractic adjustments, exercise rehabilitation, and soft tissue therapy to ease back pain in pregnant patients.

Research supports the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments for pregnant women. A recent study involved 17 pregnant women experiencing lower back pain. Their pain was rated an average of 5.9 on a 10-point scale, and persisted an average of 21.7 days, beginning 20.6 weeks into the pregnancy.

Each study participant underwent chiropractic care designed to treat their individual symptoms. According to the study authors,


  • Half of the women were referred for chiropractic care by their obstetrician, while the other half sought treatment on their own.

  • The women reported clinically-significant pain relief in an average of 4.5 days. Some participants experienced pain relief immediately following the first treatment session; all but one experienced pain relief within 13 days.

  • Clinically significant pain relief was reached in an average of 1.8 treatment sessions.

  • At the start of the study, the participants reported an average pain level of 5.9. This decreased to 1.5 by the end of the study.

  • Over the course of the study, patients received 3 to 15 treatments, averaging 5.6.

  • No participants reported adverse reactions during or following the chiropractic treatment.


During pregnancy, lower back pain can have a significant negative impact on overall health. According to the study authors,  “In most instances, the average pain level is moderate, but severe pain has been reported in 15% of cases. Pain intensity often increases with duration and can result in significant disability. Sleep disturbances have been reported by 49% to 58% of women and impaired daily living by 57% in women with low back pain of pregnancy.”

Despite the significant effects of this pain, many pregnant women do not mention back pain to their doctor. As a result, it goes untreated. A previous study found that less than a third of pregnant women reported lower back pain to their doctor. Of these, just 25% received a treatment plan. According to another study, “among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 80% thought that their providers had not offered treatment for their back pain.”

If you are pregnant and are experiencing back pain, in Salem, OR, know that you don't have to suffer through this. Research has shown chiropractic care to be a safe and effective way of treating back pain during pregnancy. Contact Salem chiropractor Dr. Geary Michels of Michels Spinal Rehab & Associates to seek relief from your back pain and begin enjoying your pregnancy today.


Lisi AJ. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for low back pain of pregnancy: a retrospective case series. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2006;51:e7-e10.