The link between common pain relievers and fertility

Last summer, the Journal of Human Reproduction Update published an article indicating that total sperm count among men in Western countries, including North America, has plummeted 59% over a nearly 40-year span.

A new study aimed at better understanding this concerning trend of declining reproductive health in men, led the researchers in Denmark and France to study 31 adult males under the age of 35. Some men took 1,200 milligrams of ibuprofen daily, the maximum limit as often directed, over a six-week period, while other men received the placebo. Recently, the findings from the study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and were also recently reported in the USA Today. The study concluded that heavy use of ibuprofen pain medicine “alters human testicular physiology” and results in a disorder called compensated hypogonadism.

Additionally, new research involving young women has shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) inhibit ovulation and reduce progesterone levels, which could seriously undermine fertility.

The good news is that the disorder remains totally reversible when the NSAIDs are taken over a brief window of time, Bernard Jegou, co-author at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, told CNN. What remains unknown, and will require more research, is whether the effects of taking NSAIDs over a longer period of time can be reversed, Jegou told the network.

Here is what we know so far about ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. According to Science Daily, since 2005, more than 30 million people take NSAIDs daily for pain relief, headaches, and arthritis. We know that these medications are responsible for severe and potentially deadly gastrointestinal problems. We know that each year, the side effects of long-term use NSAIDs are responsible for as many as 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths. So over the course of 13 years, since the initial article was published in Science Daily, there have been 214,500 deaths and 1,339,000 hospitalizations from taking over the counter ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medications. The numbers are staggering. People are in pain, and they need help.

We believe there’s a better way of dealing with inflammation than to pop a potentially dangerous pill to ease chronic aches and pains. Inflammation can occur in response to trauma, illness, and stress. However, it can also be caused by unhealthy foods and lifestyle habits. Making sure your joints are aligned through periodic chiropractic checkups, eating anti-inflammatory foods, exercise, good sleep and stress management can help. In some cases, getting additional support from supplements may be useful as well.

  • Listen to your body, it works hard to help you do all the activities you enjoy.
  • Eat an inflammatory free diet by avoiding processed foods, and enjoying a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean proteins.
  • Incorporate anti-inflammatory products like fish oil, alpha-lipoic acid, curcumin, ginger, resveratrol.
  • Remember that NSAIDs only mask the symptoms. The important part is determining the cause of your inflammation, so that you work with your body, instead of against it.
  • At the Woolston Wellness Center, we specialize in determining the location and severity of spinal ligament injuries, which are the #1 cause of pain and disability in the world today.

Neck pain relief do’s and don’ts

Some causes of neck pain are beyond our control, such as injuries suffered in car accidents or while playing sports. But most neck pain comes from preventable causes such as poor posture, stress and anxiety, and sitting in prolonged positions with the neck bent forwards for too long. As a result, many people tend to have imbalances in their neck muscles, and that causes the deeper muscles that attach one vertebra to another to become weak and overstretched, which over time negatively affects spinal alignment.

The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to help prevent chronic neck pain. Here are some dos and don’ts:

  • DO maintain good posture. Keep your neck in a neutral position, which means your head balances directly over your spine and is not leaning forward to one side.
  • DO Perform regular strengthening and stretching neck exercises daily. We would be happy to provide you with some beneficial ones.
  • DO Keep your shoulders down and back in a relaxed position and make sure to frequently check in with yourself. Some people find it helpful to set an alarm every 45 minutes to “fix your posture.” This works well if you have a desk or sedentary job.
  • DO set up your workstation so your computer screen is at eye level and your feet are supported on the floor.
  • DO keep stress levels low. Stress can increase the perception of pain, and it tends to promote poor positioning and tension in muscles such as the upper trapezius muscles, which attach to the base of the head and the shoulders. When these are tight they pull the head forward. Consider deep breathing or progressive relaxation exercises.
  • DO Choose a pillow that supports and maintains your neck’s natural curve. A pillow that is too soft doesn’t give your neck the support it needs, while a pillow that’s too hard can elevate your neck too much. Either can result in pain upon waking up in the morning. We would be happy to talk to you about your sleeping position.
  • DON’T “crack” your neck in an attempt to get relief. Instead, gently stretch your neck from side to side (slowly look left and hold for 10 seconds, then slowly look right and hold for 10 seconds) or up and down (slowly bend neck back and hold for 10 seconds, then slowly put your chin close to your chest and hold for 10 seconds).
  • DON’T hold your head in a bent position for more than 10 minutes, whether you’re reading, watching TV, or looking at a smartphone or computer. Change your position to keep your eyes looking straight ahead. Prop your arms up on pillows or the arms of the chair if you are reading.
  • DON’T talk on the phone while leaning your head to one side or the other. This puts an unnecessary strain on your neck muscles.
  • DON’T Burden your back and neck with a backpack, bag or briefcase that is too heavy. Lighten your load.

Remember, for every 10 degrees forward the head is from a neutral position, the weight of the head on the neck increases about 10 pounds. This can place a great deal of strain on the muscles, ligaments, joints, and intervertebral discs in the neck. Getting your spine checked and adjusted as needed is an effective way of improving function and eliminating neck pain.


Sciatica Sufferers Listen Up: Chiropractic Care Reduces Pain, Promotes Healing

Are you experiencing pain along one side of your body from your lower back down through your hip and the back of your leg? If so, you could be suffering from a condition called sciatica.

According to the Mayo Clinic, sciatica can best be described as “most commonly occurring when a herniated disk or a bone spur on the spine compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.”

4 Tips Tips To Use While Working At A Desk

There are dangers in everyday life, from slipping in the shower to getting mowed down by the next door neighbor’s teenage driver. The risk doesn’t end once we are safely behind our desks, because… sitting is killing us!

Seriously, while not really trying to commit murder, our computer, desk, office chair and keyboard are not our friends. We spend hours each day sitting, typing, staring at the computer screen, and this inactivity is wreaking havoc on our health in a variety of ways.

First, most of us sit incorrectly

Goldilocks knew what she was doing when it came to carefully selecting the right chair. Most of us cause excess stress and pressure on our neck, shoulders, and back from the way we sit in our inadequate office chairs.

According to OSHA, a person who spends time at their computer needs to choose an adjustable chair that supports the back, buttocks, legs and arms. Be mindful of your posture throughout the day as well. An ergonomically adjusted chair minimizes the occurrences of awkward, strained positions that frequently cause injury.

Along with the way we sit, our office jobs are killing us because…

We have our desks laid out wrong

Even with a great chair, a desk that is the wrong height can cause a person to repetitively move and bend awkwardly during the day and injure themselves. Anyone who sits behind a desk needs to make certain it is the right height to comfortably reach the computer keyboard and all pertinent supplies are within a comfortable reach. Add a foot rest to decrease the stress on the lower back. Ergonomically positioning a desk offers greater comfort and less stress on a person’s body.

We also type wrong

Using the keyboard incorrectly can cause a ton of painful medical conditions from neck and back issues to carpal tunnel syndrome. The keyboard should sit at elbow height. Reduce the strain on your hands by keeping them in as natural a position as possible, holding your wrists up even with the backs of your hands. Avoid banging the keys by typing softly, which alleviates the stress on your fingers.

A computer mouse should be situated close to the keyboard, and it’s essential to keep the hand in a neutral position when using it. Avoid resting your hand on the mouse for an extended period of time.

Not taking breaks

According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time is linked to a variety of serious medical conditions from obesity to high blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Sitting in the same position for hours can put pressure on and result in back and neck pain.

Break up sitting every 30 minutes by standing and walking around and stretching if possible. Even standing for a couple of minutes at a time lessens the impact of a sedentary job.

In addition to taking the initiative to build an ergonomic office space, choosing to participate in chiropractic care is a great way to help eliminate pain from back, shoulder, and neck strain. Chiropractic treatment involves adjusting the spine, along with other techniques, offering better alignment in particular and a stronger, healthier body in general. A long-term benefit of chiropractic care is a body that enjoys greater mobility and fewer aches and pains.

An ergonomic office setup is critical in maintaining good posture that minimizes strain and repetitive motion injuries. By investing in ergonomically tailored furniture and setting it up to suit your specific needs, you will lessen the harm an office job does to your body.

If you or a co-worker suffer from symptoms related to an improperly positioned workstation, give us a call. Drs. Jeff and Larissa can help get the symptoms under control as well as guide you toward a more healthier spine and working environment.

4 Ways Chiropractic Can Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Sufferers


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a serious, painful nerve injury that affects many people in the United States. CTS occurs when the median nerve, which runs down a person’s forearm to his or her hand, gets compressed in the eight bones in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This injury is frequently caused over time by repetitive motion such as assembly line work, and is the most expensive work-related injury. Symptoms of CTS include pain and numbness of the hand and wrist. While there are a variety of treatment options available to those who are afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome up to and including surgery, chiropractic care has become a popular and effective option.

Here are four ways patients with carpal tunnel syndrome benefit from chiropractic care.

Chiropractic care is documented to work on carpal tunnel syndrome.

While there are no guarantees that any one mode of treatment will work on every person, two studies have shown strong results that back the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment on CTS.

In both cases, the majority of participants showed significant improvement in several measures such as range of motion, finger sensation, and pain reduction. These studies provide evidence to people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Patients can feel confident in improving their symptoms when choosing to pursue a chiropractor’s care.

Chiropractors provide a less invasive treatment option.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly cases that have gone undiagnosed or treated for an extended period of time, that ends up being too painful and advanced to be handled with medicine may face surgery. However, chiropractic care often helps minimize that option as a last resort. Regular visits to a chiropractor can show positive results in the controlling and healing of many of the CTS symptoms.

Chiropractic care offers an alternative to drugs to manage pain

As with surgery, daily doses of medicine may be a less than ideal plan when managing carpal tunnel syndrome. Certain patients may suffer from issues with the medicine, CTS medicines may conflict with other medication, or they may simply not want to take daily medications.

If medicinal treatment is not an attractive option, a chiropractor appointment is the next logical step. Chiropractic care often helps CTS by adjusting the patient’s elbow and spine.

Another common treatment is bracing. This technique limits the hand’s movements with the goal of allowing the wrist and tendons to heal and recover.

A chiropractor who is experienced with carpal tunnel syndrome is able to review each case individually and make solid treatment recommendations that can alleviate the patient’s dependence on managing the pain with drugs.

Allows patients to learn how to manage carpal tunnel syndrome.

Unfortunately, health problems that produce chronic pain can take a toll on the patient not only physically, but psychologically. Dealing with CTS can make a person feel powerless over their own body. Working with a chiropractor to relieve, control, and heal the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome empowers the patient to be able to feel ownership of managing and improving his or her health.

Workers who perform repetitive tasks daily as part of their job need to be especially aware of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Feeling pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in their palms or fingers may be the first symptoms of CTS. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the more effective less-invasive treatment will be.

Of all the carpal tunnel syndrome treatment choices, chiropractic care offers the dual benefits of being a highly effective treatment while still employing tactics that are not as invasive as other options. If you or a loved one are suffering from this condition, give us a call. We’re here to help!