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December 03, 2011

Welcome to another monthly newsletter from Chiropractic Help. This month we look at CHRONIC JOINT PAIN CAUSES AND RELIEF, buying new shoes and my new book, A Family Affair. Read on...


(Keywords: CHRONIC JOINT PAIN CAUSES AND RELIEF, joint pain causes, chronic pain, exercises for low back pain )

Chronic pain has recently been in the medical spotlight with a common painkiller, Propoxyphene, in use for over 50 years in medications such as Darvon, Darvocet, Doloxene, Lentogesic and Synap Forte being described as the "worst drug in history" and finally being banned in most countries.

There have been a huge number of deaths. Says researcher Dr Jonasson: "No single drug has ever caused so many deaths."

Particularly galling is the admission by the president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine that Propoxyphene isn't very effective anyway. Yet this dangerous drug has been prescribed for over fifty years for chronic pain.


All the research points towards the great danger of using more than one painkiller in the treatment of chronic pain. Those serious side-effects go up exponentially when mixed with a second dangerous drug, Tylenol (Acetaminophen) which in its own right causes more ER visits that any other medicine on the market. Together, they make up an extremely dangerous cocktail of drugs.

Likewise with dual anti-inflammatory drugs such as taking both aspirin and ibuprofen.


Let's start by acknowledging that the causes of chronic joint pain are many, and cannot be fully covered in a short newsletter. Let us divide them up into the more common causes:

  2. A very large part of any pain clinic is the management of old injuries that have left their mark. It may be because they were poorly treated at the time, or perhaps just a serious injury that unavoidably would cause chronic pain.

    Having treated whiplash for more than thirty years, I am now of the opinion that most whiplash injuries will leave their mark. And, that's not just my opinion.

    WHIPLASH RESEARCH confirms that 40-50% of the victims of MVAs end up with permanent pain.

    Falls of horses, slipping on ice, contact sports like rugby and football... old trauma is a major factor in joint pain causes.

  4. Leg length inequality and Low Back Pain are well known bedfellows. A short leg makes for an imbalance in the pelvis and spinal scoliosis. Moreover, the incidence of hip and knee arthritis is much higher if you have a short leg.

    What is controversial, is "how short". My experience is that an insert in a the shoe of only a few millimetres can make an enormous contribution to chronic low back pain, but medical opinion seems to be that anything less than 10-15mm is not significant.

    Another structural abnormality is a lumbarisation or sacralization at the first joint above the sacrum. In addition to the rudimentary disc joint, much narrowed, there are often pseudo joints between spatulated, large transverse processes and the sacrum leading to chronic pain.

    Sacralization of L5 CaseFile ...

  6. Much chronic joint pain is caused by too much sitting, particularly in poorly designed chairs. Truck drivers, office workers and couch potatoes in general all have a higher incidence of chronic lower back pain.

    Conversely, there is strong research that an EXERCISE CLASS BENEFITS ARTHRITIS; the body was designed to be in motion.

  8. Physiologists have now proved beyond doubt that fixated joints become arthritic. HYALINE CARTILAGE has no blood supply of its own and is utterly dependent on the fluid that bathes the joint for oxygen, nutrients and the removal of waste products. In fixated joints, this "synovial fluid" is not adequately replenished and refreshed causing arthritis.

  9. DIET
  10. There is heaps of evidence now that a deficiency of omega-3 (found in fish and flaxseed oil) for example in the diet is a major cause of arthritis. Likewise a build up of a waste product in the body called homocysteine has a dramatic effect on the cardiovascular system and joints.

    Last month we wrote about a chronic magnesium deficiency being the cause of chondrocalcinosis, a major cause of the chronic pain of osteoarthritis.

    Chronic rib pain

    Every month I get letters from around the world, not to mention patients in the clinic, with right or left side pain - pain in the ribcage, usually associated with midback pain, and sometimes with breastbone pain. This may be associated with a fall, or a scoliosis, or Scheuermann's disease or the coughing associated with chronic bronchitis or asthma.



    A less common cause of chronic rib pain is a cervical rib. Normally the ribs belong to the midback - the thoracic spine, but very occasionally a large cervical rib may interfere with the brachial plexus and sometimes the subclavian artery.

    The result is chronic arm pain. Read more about cervical ribs and the devastating effect they can have, albeit rarely. Small cervical ribs are common and are not usually clinically noteworthy.


    I don't believe it unfair to say that medicine's approach in many instances is to prescribe painkillers of one sort or another. Month after month, year after year. It's understandable because patients are often resistant to change, and many doctors are still not open to the benefits of chiropractic treatment.

    For many it was a wake-up call when ex-President Bush's wife described the pain from an ulcer acquired from taking anti inflammatory drugs for chronic joint pain as the worst pain she had ever experienced. In fact it nearly cost her her life. More than 10,000 people die every year in the USA alone from a bleeding ulcer caused directly by anti inflammatory drugs.

    Another shock was when the "miracle drug" Vioxx was withdrawn suddenly from the market because of all the incidents of sudden heart attack associated with the Cox-2 inhibitor drugs.

    Now... PROPOXYPHENE Worst Drug in History

    So, what are you to do?

    ... for your chronic joint pain causes and relief if these painkillers are likely to contribute more pain and sudden death than the disease itself causing your pain?

    Unashamedly, recognising that as a chiropractor I am biased, I would humbly put forward the following suggestions.

    1. Resolve NEVER to take more than one anti inflammatory drug at a time, even aspirin plus another NSAID.

    2. Exercise the joint(s) that are causing you pain on a daily basis with great faithfulness. These lower back exercises for example, done EVERY morning BEFORE getting out of bed, will do wonders for your lower back and leg pain ...

      "Thank you for your newsletter. I have reached that age when many sporting injuries I have managed to ignore over the years, have refused to be run, paddled or peddled away.

      I have started to do something about them, and your newsletter gave me the push. I have followed your advice, starting with the exercises for low back pain, and now realize that I should have started them thirty years ago.

      Not only can I now sport again with increased pleasure; I also have the knowledge of knowing that, through your generosity, I have helped myself."



      That incidentally is what Chiropractic Help is about: encouraging you to help yourself.

      Likewise, at Chiropractic Help you will find frozen shoulder exercises, rotator cuff exercises, chronic neck pain exercises, carpal tunnel exercises, hip exercises, knee exercises, ankle joint exercises... use the Search this Site function at C-H.

    3. Go for a walk every day. And if you can't walk, then cycle or swim. But do something daily for pain relief. It really does help. Also, researchers have found that how fast you can walk 13' (4m) is an excellent predicator of how long you will live.

    4. Go for a weekly massage.
    5. Look long and hard at your diet. If you are on a "Black and White" diet you can expect chronic joint pain, as well as cardiovascular and bowel pain. Five colours a day is considered a minimum. Strawberries, watermelon, apple, carrot, broccoli... I aim for ten! Raisins, hummus, parsley, spinach and zuccini today. Get into the habit of counting how many coloured foods you have eaten each day.
    6. Consider going for a monthly Chiropractic consultation. I treat so many elderly folk with chronic neck pain, lower back pain, hip pain, foot pain, shoulder pain.... none are cured, most are helped (or they would stop coming) and I believe that it is far safer, and more effective than those dangerous medications. Research to prove it? Nope, I'm afraid not.


      To walk, you need a decent pair of walking shoes. Ones that fit nicely and aren't going to give you foot and ankle pain. Walking is about improving your health, after all, not about numerous visits to the chiropractor for foot pain!

      Take your time when buying new shoes. Set aside a whole morning, and be pleased if you can do it in under two hours. Why? Because it's important, and many of the FOOT PAIN patients treated at the chiropractic coalface are simply a matter of getting them out of poorly-fitting shoes.

      Did you know that right and left shoes only became available for the first time about a one hundred years ago? Before that your foot had to fit the shoe, not the shoe fit your foot! But now you have the choice... if you take the time. Otherwise, pain...

      Rule 1: If the shoes aren't immediately comfortable, discard them. Don't believe the rubbish about "they will stretch", "you'll wear them in" ... nonsense. If they aren't immediately comfortable, move on to the next pair, and maybe the next shop. Yes, it will take time to buy a decent, properly fitting pair of shoes that are not going to give you umpteen visits to the chiropractor or podiatrist. Or worst still, the orthopaedic surgeon, the man with the knife.

      Rule 2: You find two shoes that are equally comfortable, or nearly equal, and your're having a hard time choosing. Put Shoe 1 on the right foot, and Shoe 2 on the left foot. Walk about, jump, run... which is more comfortable?

      Now put Shoe 1 on the left foot, and Shoe 2 on the right foot. Again, walk, jump, bounce... which is better? Hopefully your right and left foot agree which pair of shoes are more suited to your feet.

      Rule 3: Still in doubt? Spend the time, be patient, move on to the next store. You can always come back.

      Rule 4: Finally, found the right pair? Wear them for a week, and if you're still convinced, go back to the shop and buy another pair and put them away. Try them on, again, of course. You've just saved yourself 2-5 hours of time, because that's what it will take next year to find another comfortable pair of shoes.


      Have a truly blessed, restful Christmas this year. Christmas, after all, is not in the first instance about gifts and Christmas trees and sumptuous eating. It's about "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son..." so that you and I could be freed from and forgiven for our sins, and look forward to spending eternity with the Lord.

      Love freely, asking for nothing in return this Christmas and then you will discover something more of the meaning of Christmas. It's all about giving.

      Yours in better health,

      Bernard Preston DC

      PS. Feel free to forward this to family and friends.

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