Safe, Gentle, and Effective

Will an Aspirin a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

Will an Aspirin a Day Keep the Doctor AwayFor years we have heard about taking a low dose aspirin once a day for prevention of heart attacks. Major aspirin brands have even used this advice to market their medication, but is it really as effective as we’ve been told? If you have already had a heart attack the benefits may outweigh the risks for some people. However, for preventing a first heart attack the FDA now says that daily aspirin is not effective and the risks of serious adverse reaction may be greater than any possible benefit.

Recently the agency issued a statement saying that the evidence now does not appear to support the use of daily aspirin for prevention of heart attacks or strokes, adding, “There are serious risks associated with the use of aspirin including increased risk of bleeding in the stomach and brain.” Bleeding in the brain is called a hemorrhagic stroke, the worst type of stroke, accounting for over 13% of cases. It can also cause intestinal bleeding. Like many drug-treatment related issues in medicine, our understanding of the risks and benefits of daily aspirin evolves over time, but what remains true is that all drugs carry risks, especially with frequent use.

Healthy bodies generally don’t need daily doses of drugs, even over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, especially when the side effects can be dangerous. For relieving the occasional headache or other minor aches and pains, taking an aspirin or two carries minimal risk, but daily or weekly use for any reason can be dangerous even for healthy people. Think about the underlying cause of a problem; is it caused by the lack of aspirin? If not, then daily aspirin is probably not the best solution.

Healthy diet, exercise, and avoiding and reducing stress are all better and safer ways for most people to maintain heart health in addition to gentle drug free treatments like Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Massage Therapy. If you have specific health conditions that you may have already been prescribed aspirin for, talk to you doctor before changing or stopping your aspirin therapy.

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center

Three Tips to Avoid Back Pain on Airplanes

Airplane travel is fast, safe, and relatively affordable, a modern miracle by any standard. It can also be a source of pain and discomfort, and I’m not just talking about the risk of sitting next to crying babies or loud snorers. The cramped spaces and prolonged periods of sitting in one place can cause aches and pains.

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I’ve developed three basic habits to avoid back pain on airplanes and other pains when traveling, and I’d recommend them to anyone. Until the airlines themselves start to include these recommendations along with things like basic safety procedures, it’s up to each of us to take steps to take care of ourselves and stay healthy while flying.

Step 1: Get an Aisle Seat

Few things can compare to staring down at the world from thousands of feet in the air, unless you’re afraid of heights. Blue seas, golden farmlands, snowy mountains, all of these and more greet the eye of the air traveler. That said, you should probably resist the temptation of the window seat, or the middle seat, because once every hour or so it’s important to get up and move around. Cramped muscles and spines can be a source of pain before and after the trip is over, and few of us can afford a seat with ample leg room, even if it isn’t crowded by carry-on items. Sitting too long in a cramped seat can also carry a risk of blood clot formation, which can even be fatal. With an aisle seat, you never have to ask anyone to let you get up.

Step 2: Use Earplugs / Noise Cancelling Headsets

The ambient noise in airplanes can cause ear muscles to tighten, which in turn can lead to tightness of the neck and spine. Earplugs or noise cancelling headsets will block these noises, protecting your ear muscles and all the muscles they connect with. For flight crews, and perhaps frequent fliers, this can even lead to hearing loss.

Step 3: Place a Pillow Behind Your Lower Back

The temptation, for people who use airplane pillows, is to place them behind your neck, but this is poor posture and can lead to aches and pains. Instead, place the pillow behind your lower back for better sitting posture. If your normal posture habits are poor, this may seem uncomfortable at first, but stick with it, on and off the plane, because posture is critical to muscle and back health.

Fly safe and stay healthy!

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center

“Cough CPR” is an Urban Legend

Cough CPRThere is a popular rumor on the internet and social networks, suggesting that if you are alone and having a heart attack, you may be able to save your life by coughing. Like most internet urban legends, there may or may not be a kernel of truth to it, “Cough CPR” is sometimes used in emergency rooms under medical supervision, but that is where the truth seems to end.

Unfortunately, this particular rumor is also potentially very dangerous, because its value if any is uncertain, indeed most experts believe it to be unlikely to help at all with the most common types of heart attacks or when used without professional supervision. If the victim of a heart attack should mistakenly try to use this technique, believing it will save his or her life, they may neglect to take actions whose value is more established.

To be clear, in the event of a heart attack, especially when one strikes while you are alone, the best things to do immediately are to call 911 and take an aspirin. Do not hesitate to do these things, which are far more likely to save your life than trying to self-administer “Cough CPR”.

There is no incontrovertible evidence that “Cough CPR” is in fact effective for heart problems, and even if it is, it is certainly not recommended except under the guidance of Healthcare Professionals, and is more likely to benefit cases of abnormal heart rhythm, which is not the cause of most life-threatening heart attacks. In fact neither the American Heart Association nor any other reputable medical body recommends “Cough CPR” as a life-saving procedure, especially without the aid of medical experts.

The misconception dates back to 1999 to a Mended Hearts Newsletter, which was later retracted, and has since spread through website, email, and more recently social networks, always worded so as to give the impression that it is endorsed by professional medical practitioners or researchers.

Heart attacks can be devastating to your health, even fatal, and one should never hesitate to seek emergency care for even a minute when one strikes.

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center

Avocado-Soybean Pill May Treat Osteoarthritis of the Hip

AvocadoA French study sponsored by Laboratoires Expanscience has found evidence that an extract containing Avocado and Soybean may be an effective treatment for Hip Osteoarthritis. After three years, 10% fewer of the participants in the experimental group (as opposed to the placebo group) were considered Osteoarthritis progressors.

20% of the active treatment group experienced a relative risk reduction for Hip OA after three years of treatment, with the apparent benefits increasing significantly with the length of treatment. OA is the most common joint disorder, affecting 10% of people 65 and over, but to date no disease-modifying drugs have been approved for the condition because none has proven itself to be effective for prevention of treatment of the condition. Osteoarthritis can cause deep joint pain and stiffness, limit a person’s range of motion, weaken their muscles, and have other harmful consequences to their health and quality of life.

Further studies will be required to confirm and assess the clinical value of this data, although the study did use careful randomization and other procedures to minimize the risk of error. It may be some time before this becomes an approved treatment for OA, if it ever does.

In the meantime physical therapy, nutrition, exercise, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, and several other non-drug, non-surgery lifestyle changes and treatments are considered beneficial for at least some OA patients. Treatment focuses on increasing the range of motion and reducing pain.

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center

Hypertension Treatment Cutoff Raised by Expert Panel

Hypertension TreatmentA panel of experts chosen for the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) has raised the blood pressure rate cutoff for determining whether patients needs drug therapy for hypertension. The new cutoff for most hypertensive patients over 60 recommends that drug therapy treatment begin when systolic pressure is above 150 mm Hg or higher or when diastolic pressure is 90 mm Hg or higher, while for younger patients or anyone with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, treatment is now recommended when systolic pressure is 140 or higher or diastolic pressure is 90 or higher.

The new cutoff primarily affects the treatment of hypertension in older patients, by recognizing that there is a natural tendency for the average blood pressure to raise with advancing age. Previous guidelines failed to give this distinction enough weight, while the new guidelines allow for more personalization of treatment recommendations. The new guidelines also emphasize lifestyle changes to be implemented before resorting to drug therapy.

“For all persons with hypertension, the potential benefits of a healthy diet, weight control, and regular exercise cannot be overemphasized. These lifestyle treatments have the potential to improve blood pressure control and even reduce medication needs,” wrote the panel.

Hypertension can have a variety of harmful effects including enlarged left heart, coronary artery disease, heart failure, artery damage, scarring and failure of the kidney, kidney artery aneurysm, mild cognitive impairment, brain aneurysm, ministrokes, strokes, and even dementia. Drug treatment for hypertension can also have negative side effects, however, including increased urination, erectile dysfunction, gout symptoms, asthma symptoms, depression, insomnia, chronic coughing, skin rash, dizziness, anemia, and other effects depending on the type of treatment and response of the individual patient.

In addition to lifestyle changes like better nutrition, exercise, and stress management habits, Chiropractic Adjustment and Professional Massage Therapy can prove beneficial to many patients in preventing or helping to reduce or eliminate hypertension. Hypertension can affect people of every age, and especially those with medical complications such as kidney disease and diabetes. In over thirty years of practice I have treated many patients for hypertension and helped them avoid the dangerous side effects that can sometimes accompany drug therapy, which as these new recommendations reveal is often an unnecessary risk.

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center

New Study Links Anxiety to Stroke

High Anxiety Increases the Risk of Stroke

New Study Links Anxiety to StrokeHigh anxiety levels are independently related with the risk of having a stroke, according to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

The researchers studied a 22-year sample of 6019 people between the ages of 25 and 74 in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), tracking stroke rates through hospital records, nursing home reports, and death certificates. The highest third of people on the anxiety scale, especially those with chronic high stress, showed a one-third higher rate of strokes compared with those lower on the scale.

Previous research was unable to separate anxiety from other factors such as depression, but this new study was able to isolate these factors, showing that even modest increases in anxiety correlated with a higher stroke risk. High anxiety individuals may be more likely to smoke or engage in other unhealthy habits, which may help explain part of the correlation, though physiological factors such as hormone levels and blood pressure may also be directly linked to high psychological anxiety levels. Anxiety is a complex psychological and physiological dimension which can influence and be influenced by unhealthy habits, medical problems, behaviors, and thought patterns.

Chiropractic Adjustment can be beneficial in relieving anxiety, in combination with healthy lifestyle choices including proper diet, exercise, and regular restful sleep. Thousands of people have received help for their anxiety from the beneficial results of Chiropractic Adjustment. I have treated many people over the past thirty-four years suffering from chronic anxiety, who now live healthier lives with less anxiety. In the United States, stroke is the #4 cause of death and the leading cause of disability. No one should have to suffer with high anxiety, which can rob a life of both quality and quantity.

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel SyndromeCarpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the pinched or inflamed median nerve. The nerve starts in the spine, travels around the shoulder, elbo, then down the wrist to the palm. The nerve can be irritated anywhere along the course, neck to palm. Activities that involve repetitive use of the hand can cause a pinching sensation. Injury such as a broken wrist or a dislocated hand bone might have damaged the nerve, or arthritic damaged misaligned vertebral can cause the nerve to stop working well.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome including pain, numbness, a tingling sensation, and loss of grip strength might be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Be aware of the area where the numbness occurs. This will help identify the specific nerve that is damaged. Do you wake to a painfully numb feeling in your hand? Do you feel weakness in your wrist when lifting small items? These can be symptoms of CTS. This is a common nerve problem that your chiropractor can help you with.

“Our approach is two fold, examine the spine for nerve irritations as well as the wrist palm and forearm.”

Chiropractic adjustments and treatments have been shown to be the most effective method of Carpal Tunnel treatment because it directly treats the nerve damage involved. Some physicians will prescribe medications or inject corticosteroids to temporarily relieve pain and swelling, but this does not treat the problem, only the symptoms. Surgery but can scar the ligament, resulting in a weakened ligament that will allow symptoms to reoccur. This surgery has a high failure rate. Chiropractic Adjustment can treat many Carpal Tunnel Syndrome cases without drugs or surgery.

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center


ScoliosisScoliosis or curvature of the spine greater than 10 degrees, can be congenital (hereditary) or acquired from trauma. It is more common in females often beginning in childhood. Early detection and treatment can prevent worsening effects that occur over time. All children should be examined at 10-13 years old, as they begin their growth spurt. Curvature of the spine is related to this degenerative disease creating an “S” or “C” shape. Scoliosis is unlike the normal curvature of the spine where adjusting your posture would help correct the problem.

Osteoporosis usually occurs in older people when their bones begin to soften. This softening causes the vertebrae to bend and shape in a curve. A person will develop the appearance of having a round back. Proper treatment can help prevent the severe back pain, deformity and difficulty breathing associated with Scoliosis and kyphosis (hunchback). Early care can often reduce the curvature, making torso body bracing and surgery unnecessary.

We can help alleviate these symptoms and others that will arise. Dr. Petrie and Dr. Kellerman both determine treatment by the person’s health and nervous system. Our treatment is specific to the underlying cause. Primarily focusing on manual manipulation or adjustments to parts of the body. Our primary focus is on the spinal column, the spine and its position.

by Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center

Chiropractic for a Herniated Disc

Lower Back PainHerniated discs (HNP) are usually caused by wear and tear of the disc. Other causes are acute trauma, such as lifting, falls or accidents. Herniated Nucleus Pulposus (HNP) is also known as disc degeneration. A liquid jelly material that works it’s way through tears in the cartilage of the disc. This soft cushion of tissue between your spinal vertebrae, is damaged and pushed out abnormally. Our vertebral discs lose some of the fluid that helps them maintain flexibility. This in turn allows pressure to be placed on the nerves of the spinal column itself. As we age the spinal discs become more susceptible to damage during routine movements.

Symptoms of a herniated disc vary greatly on the position of the herniated disc and the size of the herniation. Not pressing on a nerve, you may have an ache in the low back or no symptoms at all. When it’s pressing on a nerve you may have pain, numbness, or weakness in the area of your body to which the nerve travels. If the herniation is in the lower (lumbar) back sciatica may develop. Sciatica is pain that travels through the buttock and down a leg to the ankle or foot caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. Low back pain may accompany the leg pain.

Spine with Highlighted DiscsOur goal is providing patients with treatment to relieve pain or numbness in the lower back (lumbar area) caused by this pressure on a spinal nerve root or the spinal cord. We promote your return to normal activities while preventing further injury to your back. Also reduce the risk of disability from lower back pain. We typically recommend nonsurgical treatments. We may recommend physical therapy with a physical therapist providing treatment with physical or mechanical means. Our chiropractic technique involves manual therapy to manipulate the spine, as well as other joints and soft tissues.

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center

Back Pain Due to Pregnancy

Back Pain Due to PregnancyLow back pain is common during pregnancy. The cause of lower back pain is more than your expanding uterus and hormonal changes. Your center of gravity is shifted changing your posture and putting strain on your back. This could also be pressing on a nerve. Extra weight means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints. The hormonal changes also loosen your joints and the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine. This can cause pain when you walk, stand, or sit for long periods of time.

There are two common areas that are related to pregnancy and back pain. One is the lumbar vertebrae in your lower back. The other posterior pelvic pain can be felt in the back of your pelvis. Some women suffer from both types of low back pain. Mostly felt around your spine but also may radiate to your legs. Normal activities can cause intense discomfort by the end of the day. Posterior pelvic pain is felt lower on your body than lumbar pain. You might notice this pain during activities such as walking, getting up from a low chair or bathtub, climbing stairs, rolling over in bed or twisting and lifting.

“Before pregnancy you may have imbalances in the pelvis or elsewhere in your body that could contribute to pregnancy discomfort or possible neuromusculoskeletal problems after childbirth.”

Pregnancy Without Back PainOur safe manipulation techniques and adjustments provide relief from the increased low-back pain brought on by pregnancy. We provide safe, drug-free, effective treatment options before, during and after pregnancy. After delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy should be treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state. This prevents muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and shoulder problems. We are knowledgeable and confident treating and relieving the discomforts of lower back pain due to pregnancy and are not only benefiting one life, but two.

There is a bonus to our care, shorter birthing time! Research found women under chiropractic care had hours less labor! The body works better when well adjusted!

Dr. Michael Petrie, D.C.
Spine and Joint Center