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Nurses Suffer High Levels of Back Pain

Nurses are at a high risk of back injury due to the amount of physical labor they do during their jobs every day. Critical care nurses are at an even higher risk of musculoskeletal problems than other nurses or people in other jobs. They frequently lift or handle heavy patients and equipment of awkward sizes for long shifts. These movements cause a lot of strain on the back, shoulder, and neck muscles. Injuries to these areas are common in nurses and can become long-term if not treated or not allowed to heal.

Due to the high volume of these work injuries, many hospitals and health-care employers have put in place equipment to take away some of the physical labor for nurses. This equipment includes lift aids, so that nurses do not have to lift the patients themselves. However, the availability to nurses of these devices in hospitals has been relatively unknown. Also, the actual use of these lifts by nurses has not been clear.

A recent study, conducted in 2013, sought the answers to these unknowns. Researchers sent surveys to critical nurses throughout the United States to get a random sample of participants, and 361 nurses responded. Data was collected about pain in the neck, shoulders, and lower back, as well as the availability of lifts and frequency of use. Other information was also gathered, such as socio-demographics, physical conditions, and psycho-social job factors.

Of the 361 nurse participants in the study, only 46% noted that their hospital or employer actually had lift equipment in the hospital for them to use. For the participants who did have lifts in their place of work, 60% said that the equipment was readily available, while 25% said it was moderately available, and 14% had low availability of the lifts.

The study found that nurses who did not use the lifts, for whatever reason, were two times as likely to have work injuries and work-related pain in their backs, compared to the nurses who frequently used the lift equipment. Shoulder pain was documented in more than three times the nurses who did not use the lifts on a regular basis and neck pain was also reported to be three times higher for nurses who had infrequent use of the lifts.

Having lifts in the hospital is effective in reducing back and neck injuries in nurses. However, this is out of the nurses’ control. For the nurses who do suffer from theses work injuries, a chiropractor, such as Dr. Geary Michels in Salem, OR, can provide treatment,. Exercises to strengthen muscles, learning proper lifting techniques, and chiropractic adjustments are helpful in reducing symptoms and preventing these injuries when lift equipment is not yet available.


Lee SJ, Faucett J, Gillen M, Krause N. Musculoskeletal pain among critical-care nurses by availability and use of patient lifting equipment: An analysis of cross-sectional survey data. International Journal of Nursing Studies May 3 2013. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2013.03.010. [Epub ahead of print].



Neck Pain Relief in Just One Session with Salem Chiropractor

Many of our patients walk into our Salem chiropractic office with significant neck pain but experience immediate relief after a single session with Dr. Geary Michels. This immediate pain reduction isn't just something we have casually noticed at Michels Spinal Rehab + Associates. It is an advantage to chiropractic care that is backed by scientific research.

A 2008 research review determined the immediate pain-relieving benefits of a single session of manual therapy by a chiropractor. Researchers analyzed existing data about how just one spinal adjustment affected patients' neck pain.

The meta-study included nine randomized clinical trials involving spinal manipulation, spinal mobilization, non-manipulative manual therapy, or manual trigger point therapy for the treatment of chronic neck pain.

The authors of the meta-study found evidence that immediate, clinically significant improvements are seen after just one session of spinal adjustments. On average, neck-pain patients experienced a pain score change of -18.9. This result provided the research team with an indication of the magnitude of change that can be expected from a single session of spinal adjustments by a chiropractor.

The other manual therapies used also improved patients' neck pain immediately, although the benefits were less substantial.

These results provide further evidence of the efficacy of chiropractic adjustments for neck pain. Another study demonstrated that a combination of spinal adjustments and exercise therapy may provide the most substantial results for relieving neck pain and showed that this safe combo of chiropractic care worked better than drugs.

At Michels Spinal Rehab + Associates, we treat neck pain with spinal adjustments, exercise therapy, and other natural and proven chiropractic modalities. Whether they're suffering from neck pain after an auto injury or from work-related causes, we've helped hundreds of Salem patients find lasting relief.

Contact us today to find out more about how Dr. Geary Michels can get you out of pain and back to your life.


Vernon H, Humphreys BK. Chronic mechanical neck pain in adults treated by manual therapy: a systemic review of change scores in randomized controlled trials of a single session. The Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy 2008; 16(2): E42–E52.

Bronfort, Gert, Roni Evans, Alfred Anderson, Kenneth Svendsen, Yiscah Bracha, and Richard Grimm. Spinal Manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for acute and subacute neck pain: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine  2012; 156 (1): 1-10.


Salem Chiropractor Prevents and Relieves Headache

According to recent research, chiropractic adjustments can reduce the frequency of cervicogenic headaches by half.

Cervicogenic headaches are steady, non-throbbing headaches felt at the back of the head, with pain radiating downwards through the neck and between the shoulder blades. In addition to pain, dizziness is a common symptom. Cervicogenic headaches are caused by, and named for, dysfunction in the cervical spine, which is the upper portion of the spinal column located in the neck.

Previous research demonstrated the effectiveness of chiropractic care at alleviating both pain and disability associated with cervicogenic headache. This study showed that chiropractic can also reduce the number of headaches patients suffer, suggesting spinal adjustment as an option for preventing this type of headache.

The study involved 80 people with chronic cervicogenic headaches. Participants were assigned to either chiropractic adjustments or light massage. The chiropractic treatments included high-velocity, low-amplitude adjustments of the upper back and neck. The massage therapy involved several minutes of gentle neck and shoulder massage.

The chiropractic group experienced significant improvements in headache pain, with far better outcomes than the massage group. Researchers also discovered that spinal adjustments reduced headache frequency by 50%. At the conclusion of the study, participants in the chiropractic group required one-third less pain medication than they had at the start, and they reported a 50% reduction in overall headache symptoms.

Within the cervical-spine-adjustment group, half of the patients received eight chiropractic sessions while the other half received 16 treatments. The only difference the researchers found between the two treatment plans was that the longer duration of therapy resulted in slightly better improvements in neck disability. While more research is needed to determine the ideal number of treatments, the researchers concluded that chiropractic adjustments are an effective method of treating cervicogenic headaches.

Do you suspect you might have cervicogenic headaches? No matter what type of headache you suffer from, Dr. Geary Michels can help you. Call our Salem office at (503)-399-7607 to learn more.


Haas M, Spegman A, Peterson D, Aickin M, Vavrek D. Dose response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic cervicogenic headache: a pilot randomized controlled trial. The Spine Journal 2010; 10: 117-128.


Salem Chiropractor Treats Sciatic Pain

Sciatica causes low-back pain that is often severe and disabling. Studies suggest that compared to other types of back pain, sciatica results in the highest level of disability. Public health records in Norway have revealed that patients with sciatica are disabled for an average of 72 days per year.

If you're among the sufferers of debilitating sciatic pain and work injuries, Dr. Geary Michels can help you. Chiropractic techniques like those we use at Michels Spinal Rehab + Associates have been shown to speed sciatica recovery, allowing patients to return to work faster.

In a recent study, researchers evaluated 44 Norwegian workers who visited a hospital with severe sciatic pain. Most of the workers reported at least three weeks of severe pain before being admitted to the hospital.

While there, a chiropractor evaluated each patient, examining and recording posture, gait, and range of motion of the lumbar spine. The chiropractor then performed spinal adjustments. Participants also received chiropractic adjustments to treat pain in other joints, resulting from the patients' compensating for their low-back pain over time. During their hospital stay, patients were treated with chiropractic care daily, and then three times a week for two weeks after being discharged.

Within 21 days of chiropractic treatment, 91% of participants had returned to work full-time. The remainder of the patients were back to work on a part-time basis. The authors of the study concluded that their findings demonstrated the potential benefit of chiropractic for treating sciatica patients.

If you have sciatica, we can help you get back to work and stay there. Dr. Geary Michels uses spinal adjustment and other chiropractic modalities to relieve debilitating and chronic pain in his Salem patients. Our goal is to help our patients return to their lives, including their jobs. Call Michels Spinal Rehab + Associates for work-injury relief today.


Arana E, Marti-Bonmati L, Vega M, et al. Relationship between low back pain, disability, MR imaging findings and health care provider. Skeletal Radiology 2006;35(9):641-7.

Orlin JR, Didriksen A. Results of chiropractic treatment of lumbopelvic fixation in 44 patients admitted to an orthopedic department. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2007;30:135-139.



Got Whiplash? Salem Chiropractor Can Help You

Whiplash, which occurs as a result of a soft-tissue injury of the cervical spine, encompasses a number of symptoms. Most people know that the most common cause of whiplash is an auto accident, but did you know that studies show that 43% of people with a whiplash injury will suffer long-term symptoms? Once whiplash patients have passed the three-month mark since their injury, if they are still experiencing pain, the likelihood of long-term, chronic pain jumps to 90%.

How can you beat these statistics? Research shows that chiropractic care offers safe and effective relief for early whiplash symptoms as well as for treating chronic whiplash pain.

In one such study, researchers examined the efficacy of chiropractic in treating 28 patients with chronic whiplash. The patients were referred to a chiropractor an average of 15.5 months after their auto collisions. All participants were experiencing long-term symptoms, most of them labeling them as either "intrusive" or "disabling".

After their chiropractic treatment plans, 26 of the 27 patients had improved. To eliminate bias, the patients were interviewed by both a chiropractor and an orthopedic surgeon, and the positive results were maintained. This was a 93% success rate for chiropractic care improving chronic whiplash symptoms.

If you want to experience the same success, call Dr. Geary Michels at Michels Spinal Rehab + Associates today. Whether your car accident was yesterday or a year ago, we are specialists in treating whiplash symptoms and can help you win the battle against pain. We use a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat our Salem patients, and can get you on the road to recovery.


Woodward MN, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Chiropractic treatment of chronic ‘whiplash’ injuries. Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured 1996;27(9):643-645.


Chiropractic Care Beats Drugs for Healing Neck Pain

An estimated 70% of people will experience neck pain at some point in life. There are many treatment options out there for the condition, but there has been little research about the effectiveness of some treatments compared to others. A recent study has sought to change that, with the intent of comparing three common neck pain treatments: chiropractic care, medication, and exercise.

Researchers recruited 272 patients with acute or subacute neck pain. Each participant was randomly chosen to receive either chiropractic treatments, medications, or exercise under the direction of a medical professional. Researchers compared the efficacy of the three treatment options after 12 weeks of treatment. They also measured the patients' pain periodically for one year following the treatment.

Both chiropractic care and exercise therapy were found to be significantly more effective than drugs for reducing pain. In fact, patients treated with either chiropractic or exercise were twice as likely to achieve complete pain relief than those who used medication.

In the regular follow-up examinations, researchers also discovered that most of the chiropractic patients achieved pain relief that lasted a year or more, highlighting the long-term benefits of chiropractic care in treating neck pain.

The study authors concluded that the success of chiropractic is likely because chiropractors are able to address the root causes of neck pain rather than just masking the symptoms. Studies also show that combining chiropractic with exercise can lead to improved outcomes in patients with spinal conditions.

By using a combination of chiropractic adjustments and active rehabilitation, our Salem chiropractic team can provide effective relief of neck pain after a work injury or auto accident. At Michels Spinal Rehab + Associates, we help our Salem patients get rid of their neck pain and get back to their lives. Call Dr. Geary Michels today.


Bronfort, Gert, Roni Evans, Alfred Anderson, Kenneth Svendsen, Yiscah Bracha, and Richard Grimm. Spinal Manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for acute and subacute neck pain: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine  2012; 156 (1): 1-10.