First Line of Defense

There’s an old Chiropractic saying that goes… Adjustments first, drugs second, surgery last. It’s a conservative philosophy of care for those who’d rather give their body a chance to heal naturally first, before calling in the medical cavalry. When it comes to back pain, science is finally in agreement.

prescription to go see the chiropractor atx sciatica musculoskeletal spine low back pain austin tx chiropractic

In 2017, The American College of Physicians developed new guidelines and recommendations for noninvasive care of lower back pain. On the top of that list, before the use of NSAIDs and/or muscle relaxants, are conservative methods like heat, massage or spinal manipulation (we’d rather call it a Chiropractic Adjustment). The study also emphasizes that while pharmacological treatments are easy to prescribe, they all carry varying risks of harm.

Your Chiropractor knows with the right environment (a clear, Subluxation free spine) and TIME, your body can innately recover from just about anything, including simple mechanical back pain. The next time you experience back pain, save yourself an extra step and call the Chiropractor first.  If your MD is up on his or her research, they’ll recommend you do so too.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. Austin chiropractor located in north central Austin, TX.

Source: The American College of Physicians: Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. February 2017: Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA et.al.

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Medical Error – the Third Leading Cause of Death in the US

What is the 3rd leading Cause of Death in the U.S.? Can Medical Errors be Improved?

The title above comes from a May 3, 2016, paper published in the prestigious British Medical Journal. The study was also reported on by a number of news outlets and articles.

Medical Error - the Third Leading Cause of Death in the US - Austin TX Chiropractor Personal Injury Car Truck Accident PainAccording to study author Dr. Martin Makary, surgical director of the Johns Hopkins Multidisciplinary Pancreas Clinic and a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical error has been defined as an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome, the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning), or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient.

The paper notes that many times medical error is not listed as the cause of death because there was no specific code for the event. Additionally, if an error leads to a fatal heart attack, the cause of death will most likely be listed as a heart attack.

In a May 4, 2016, CBS News article on this subject, Dr. Makary explained that there is very little funding for research to decrease medical errors.  One of the big issues that we in the patient safety research field face, that we run up against, is a problem where there’s very little funding for research in making care safer and better. Part of the problem is that our national funding is informed from our national health statistics. But those statistics don’t recognize medical care gone awry as a cause of death.

In a May 3, 2016, Washington Post article, Kenneth Sands, director of health-care quality at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, noted that the problem is not getting better.  The overall numbers haven’t changed, and that’s discouraging and alarming.

In comparing medical care to the airline industry, Sands commented that airlines have a much stricter standardization of procedure compared to medical care.  There has just been a higher degree of tolerance for variability in practice than you would see in other industries.

In his paper, Dr. Makary offered steps on how to combat this problem by stating,  Human error is inevitable. Although we cannot eliminate human error, we can better measure the problem to design safer systems mitigating its frequency, visibility, and consequences. Strategies to reduce death from medical care should include three steps.

The three remedies laid out by Dr. Makary are:

  1. Making errors more visible when they occur so their effects can be intercepted.
  2. Having remedies at hand to rescue patients.
  3. Making errors less frequent by following principles that take human limitations into account.

Using the airline analogy, Dr. Makary said,  When a plane crashes, we don’t say this is confidential proprietary information the airline company owns. We consider this part of public safety. Hospitals should be held to the same standards.

In the conclusion of the CBS News article, Dr. Makary sums up the issue by pointing out, we’ve spent a tremendous effort tracking cancer, by state, by subtype, and we report all that to our national cancer registry. But we don’t do any of that for people who die of medical error gone wrong.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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Over 184,000 Global Deaths Each Year Caused by Sugary Drinks

Are Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Bad? Can Sugar Negatively Affect My Health?

Medical News Today (MNT) published an article on June 30, 2014, with the above headline addressing the issue of the health impact drinks with a high amount of sugar have on the population. The article is based on several studies including a study published on June 29, 2015, in the journal Circulation with the title, “Estimated Global, Regional, and National Disease Burdens Related to Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in 2010.”

Over 184,000 Global Deaths Each Year Caused by Sugary Drinks - Austin Health ClinicThe MNT article begins by reporting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates show that men consume an average of 178 calories from sugary drinks daily, compared to women who consume around 103 calories from these drinks daily. While some may make the point that these types of drinks should not be part of anyone’s diet, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming no more than 450 calories from these drinks in a week. This is equivalent to less than three cans of soda in a week.

Prof. Gitanjali Singh, research assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy of Tufts University in Boston, MA, and his team analyzed sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) consumption data from 1980-2010 from 62 surveys involving 611,971 people in 51 countries. They reviewed the data to see how consuming sugary drinks impacted the death rate from diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The results of the study showed that in 2010, sugar-sweetened beverages were responsible for around 184,450 deaths worldwide, with 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 deaths from cancer. The study also highlighted that younger adults were more negatively impacted by these drinks than were older adults. Prof. Singh commented, “The health impact of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on the young is important because younger adults form a large sector of the workforce in many countries,” he explains, “so the economic impact of sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths and disability in this age group can be significant.”

Prof. Singh continued his concerns by adding, “It also raises concerns about the future. If these young people continue to consume high levels as they age, the effects of high consumption will be compounded by the effects of aging, leading to even higher death and disability rates from heart disease and diabetes than we are seeing now”

In the study conclusion, Prof. Gitanjali Singh and his coauthors wrote, “SSBs, are a single, modifiable component of diet, that can impact preventable death/disability in adults in high, middle, and low-income countries, indicating an urgent need for strong global prevention programs.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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Parkinson’s Patient Helped to Live a Better Life with Chiropractic

Can Chiropractic Care Help Parkinson’s Disease? How Does Chiropractic Care Slow or Stop the Progression of Parkinson’s?

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on June 1, 2015, documenting a case of a patient with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) being helped over the course of a decade to have an improved quality of life. The authors noted the purpose of this study saying, “In this case study we will add to the small but growing body of evidence that reports on the association between chiropractic care and PD.”

Parkinson's Patient Helped to Live a Better Life with Chiropractic - Austin TX ChiropractorAccording to the WebMD website, “Parkinson’s disease affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Parkinson’s disease symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait. After diagnosis, treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure.” The authors of this study add that PD affects about one percent of the population over the age of 65.

“PD has a major effect on the quality of life of patients, who gradually lose autonomy and cognitive function. The decline in quality of life proceeds at a rate that is five to seven times faster than the average yearly decline caused by normal aging in individuals without the disease,” state the study authors.

In this study, a 63-year-old man went to the chiropractor seeking relief from his lower back pain. He was also suffering with tremors in his right arm for five years and had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years prior. He was on a daily medication for his Parkinson’s. The case history showed that the man’s main complaints related to his PD were tremors in the right hand, gait disturbances in the left leg mainly caused by foot drop, and trouble walking with a loss of balance.

A chiropractic examination was performed including spinal range of motion, neurological and orthopedic tests, and spinal x-rays. The results led to the determination that subluxations of the spine were present. Based on these findings a specific series of chiropractic adjustments were begun.

The patient initially was seen 3 times per week for the first month. After the initial 12 visits the frequency of care was reduced to once per week. The man continued his chiropractic care for another 10 years before the writing of this study.

After 10 years, the now 73-year-old man reported that his PD symptoms had not worsened, but had actually improved since he started chiropractic care. He noted that the tremor in his right hand was not present as often and had not spread to any other part of his body. He reported that he was able to return to playing badminton more easily due to improvements in balance and an improved range of motion.

The study authors point out that this study and others they reviewed showed that some patients with PD had a slow down or stopping of the progression of their disease. They point out this is contrary to medical care alone which can treat the symptoms but does not seem to have any effect on the progression of PD.

“The aim of chiropractic care is to enhance nervous system function so the body is better able to heal itself. In contrast, the medical treatment of Parkinson’s relies on external input,” note the study authors. “The findings in our case study support previous literature which has examined the symptomatic progression, quality of life and neurological function of PD patients under chiropractic care.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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Chronic Shoulder Pain Resolved with Chiropractic in Elderly Woman

Do Chiropractors Help Shoulder Pain? Can Chiropractic Help Chronic Pain?

A case study published on February 19, 2015, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research reports on an elderly woman suffering from chronic shoulder pain being helped by chiropractic care. The authors of the study begin by pointing out that chronic pain in the elderly is a very common occurrence, ranking 6th as a health burden.

According to the study, chronic pain affects between 25 and 76 percent of the elderly living in the general community.  Estimates rise to between 83 and 93 percent for those elderly living in residential care.  Common care for pain among the elderly is medication. However, there is increasing concern that the elderly population is being overmedicated. Estimates from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics show that 88.4% of the population over 60 is on a prescription medication.

Chronic Shoulder Pain Resolved with Chiropractic in Elderly Woman | Austin TX ChiropractorIn this case, a 73-year-old woman came to a teaching chiropractic clinic with a primary complaint of left shoulder pain. She was also suffering with a variety of other health issues and symptoms including high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, a hiatal hernia, acid reflux, and arthritis. Additionally, she had a history of a stroke.

Her problems were progressively getting worse. They affecting her to the point were she was unable to work as an artist, thus forcing her to give up painting figures or making ornaments. She reported that she was taking Tylenol which only gave her minor temporary relief.

An visual examination was performed that showed that the woman carried her head very far forward of the normal upright position. Additionally, she has an excessive roundness in her upper back that is sometimes referred to as a hunchback. Spinal palpation showed multiple areas of increased sensitivity. The woman’s range of spinal motion was also reduced in a number of areas.

From the examination results, it was determined that the woman had “nerve root irritation” (subluxation) in her neck. This finding was later confirmed by an MRI which also showed mild to moderate degenerative changes in her spine. With these findings, chiropractic adjustments were begun.

On the woman’s second visit, a day after having received her first adjustment, the woman stated she felt, “100% improvement since yesterday’s treatment. There is no burning at all in my neck or shoulder.” By the woman’s 7th visit she stated that she only had pain or burning “once in a while.”

The study records that at one time during her chiropractic care, the woman was told by her medical doctor that she should get a shot in her neck and stay away from the chiropractor. To this the woman responded to her MD that she felt his recommendations were a “stupid idea” and she did not want any invasive procedures or drugs.

If you or someone you know is suffering with chronic pain, chiropractic care may be able to help. Call our office at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson today.

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NIH Report Says Spinal Manipulation Unlikely to Cause Stroke

Does Chiropractic Care Cause Strokes? Is Chiropractic Dangerous?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a report stating that chiropractic care is unlikely to cause stroke as some opponents of chiropractic care have asserted. The report was based on a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics on January 14, 2015.

Spinal Manipulation Unlikely to Cause Stroke | Austin TX ChiropractorThe NIH report, first published January 14, and updated on March 3, 2015, starts by stating, “An analysis of Medicare claims data from older Americans who sought care for neck pain from chiropractors suggests that cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke.” This newest study adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that shows that chiropractic care is safe and does not increase the risk of stroke. The NIH report further noted, “This is the first population-based study in the United States to examine the risk of stroke after spinal manipulation and the first such study on older adults.”

The study was conducted by researchers from Dartmouth College and the Southern California University of Health Sciences and was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The authors note that this study research plan was reviewed and approved by the Dartmouth College Committee for Protection of Human Subjects.

Researchers reviewed 1.1 million Medicare claims from 2006 through 2008. Cases included in the data were all Medicare patients ages 66 to 99 who had a diagnosis of neck pain and who had visited either a chiropractor or a medical doctor for that condition.  The researchers then checked the records to see how many of these patients had suffered a stroke within 7 days or within 30 days of their visit to either provider.

The results of this study showed that the rate of vertebrobasilar stroke, the type of stoke some had tried to suggest was associated with chiropractic adjustments, is extremely rare. The researchers noted that when reviewing the data for all types of strokes, there was no statistical risk shown when comparing Medicare patients who went to medical doctors or chiropractors for the complaint of neck pain.

In their conclusion, the researchers noted how small the risk of stroke was for seniors under chiropractic care and summed up the results by saying, “Chiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.”

Dr. Michael McLean, a practicing chiropractor and president of the International Chiropractors Association commented, “For many years, there have been opponents to chiropractic who have tried to falsely claim that chiropractic is dangerous. The facts show that chiropractic is the safest form of healthcare available.” Dr. McLean further noted, “While no procedure in healthcare is 100 percent risk free, this well-done large study should finally put to rest any speculation that chiropractic care creates an increased risk for stroke.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from having your nervous system functioning without interference, please call our office at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.

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Trigeminal Neuralgia Helped with Chiropractic: Case Study

Can Chiropractic Help Trigeminal Neuralgia? What About Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia?

A study in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published on February 23, 2015, documents the case of a boy suffering trigeminal and glossopharyngeal neuralgia being helped with chiropractic care. The Mayo Clinic website defines this condition by writting, “Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain.”

Trigeminal Neuralgia Helped with Chiropractic | Austin TX ChiropractorThe study reports that both  trigeminal and glossopharyngeal neuralgia are characterized by episodes of sharp and sometimes extreme pain in the face. They also note that approximately 4-5 per 100,000 people suffer with this condition per year. That number increases with age, rising to 20 per 100,000 people per year after the age of 60.  Trigeminal neuralgia is the more common of the two conditions and can be triggered by a very slight stimulus. Attacks can be started by such normal activities as swallowing, chewing, coughing, sneezing, speaking, yawning, touching the neck or ear, and certain tastes, as well.

In this case, a 10-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor with a diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia. He had been suffering with spontaneous episodes of extreme facial, ear, neck, and chest pain which began 4 months prior to his chiropractic visit. In addition, the boy was also suffering from headaches, constipation, ear, neck, and chest pain, and a specific learning disability that affected his ability to write. It was reported that things as slight as wind or changes in elevation could trigger his pain. Under medical care, he had been prescribed a number of different medications, all of which did not offer any relief.

A chiropractic examination was conducted which included palpation of the spine, a leg length analysis, postural analysis, surface electromyography, and specific neck spinal x-rays. The results showed postural abnormalities consistent with spinal subluxations. Additionally, tender areas were found in the boy’s neck on palpation, and the x-rays were positive for malpositioning of the upper bones in the neck.

Based on the findings, a specific chiropractic adjustment was given to the boy. A post-adjustment x-ray was performed and confirmed an immediate positive change in the positioning of the upper neck bones. Chiropractic care was continued to address the boy’s subluxations.

The results were dramatic. The study noted that five days after the initial chiropractic adjustment, the boy was pain free and no longer experienced any of his previous symptoms. The boy’s mother was so pleased that she started and published a blog documenting her son’s recovery. Additionally, the objective analytical exam procedures verified the boy’s improvement from correction of his subluxations. The boy remained symptom-free for several years which continued through the writing of this case report.

In their conclusion, the study authors summed up the results by saying, “This was a case where the patient, who was diagnosed with both trigeminal and glossopharyngeal neuralgia, reported initial relief of symptoms associated with the disease, and soon after, complete remission.”

If you or someone you know is suffering with trigeminal and/or glossopharyngeal neuralgia, please call 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.

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Bedwetting Helped with Chiropractic – A Case Report

Can Chiropractic Help With Bedwetting? What Is Nocturnal Enuresis?

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on January 8, 2015, documenting the case of a young girl with chronic bedwetting being helped by chiropractic. Nocturnal enuresis, more commonly known as bedwetting, is diagnosed when a child wets the bed three times or more per week.

Nocturnal enuresis is common in younger children, occurring in about 10% of children up to age seven. Bedwetting affects about 5 to 7 million children in the US, and 200,000 in Canada. Some sources believe that the underlying cause is related to the central nervous system.  Common medical treatment is a drug called Desmopressin, which can carry certain side effects including headache, belly pain, nausea, slight rise in blood pressure, vomiting, hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Bedwetting Helped with Chiropractic | Austin TX ChiropractorIn this case, a 10-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor after recurrent right ankle sprains and primary nocturnal enuresis. The young girl started having the bedwetting issue after a number of urinary tract infections that she had at age four. She had received several rounds of antibiotic treatments at that time. Her mother noted that the bedwetting started immediately after her daughter started taking antibiotics.  At the time of her initial visit to the chiropractor, the young girl was wetting her bed about 5 times per week.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included postural observation, range of motion tests, static palpation, paraspinal surface electromyography (sEMG) and rolling paraspinal thermography scans. Based on the findings, and with the mother’s consent, chiropractic care was begun.

Following the girl’s first adjustment, her mother reported that her daughter only experienced one night of bedwetting. Her mother also reported that her daughter felt the urgent need to urinate on the car ride home from the chiropractor to the point where the mother had to make a quick stop for her daughter to find a restroom.

Following the girl’s second visit, her mother reported that her daughter did not have any more wet nights and no more increased urgency to urinate. The study records that after her second chiropractic adjustment, the girl had all dry nights. Given the success of chiropractic in addressing their daughter’s bedwetting issues, her parents decided to continue their daughter on a wellness chiropractic care program.

Citing the results of this study, the authors make the point in their discussion that chiropractic should be included in cases of bedwetting. “When left unresolved in childhood, adolescents may continue night time bedwetting and can be very difficult to manage,” state the study authors. “Given the effect of compromising the quality of life and risk for psychological and physical abuse in these children, there is a need for an integrative approach [chiropractic] to their care.”

To see if chiropractic care can help with your child’s bedwetting, call 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson today.

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Injury Risk with Chiropractic 76% Lower Compared to Primary Care Physicians – Study Shows

How Safe Is My Primary Care Doctor? How Safe Is Chiropractic?

A study published in the medical journal Spine on Dec. 9, 2014, showed that among Medicare beneficiaries, a visit to the chiropractor was much safer than a visit to the primary care physician.  A second study published by Hindawi Publishing on Dec. 25, 2014, showed that there was no evidence of injury after chiropractic adjustments.

In the study published in Spine, researchers reviewed records for Medicare beneficiaries who had gotten chiropractic care in 2007 looking for reports of injuries. Specifically, they reviewed records for “…older adults with a neuromusculoskeletal complaint, to evaluate risk of injury to the head, neck or trunk following an office visit for chiropractic spinal manipulation, as compared to office visit for evaluation by primary care physician.”

Injury Risk with Chiropractic 76% Lower Compared to Primary Care Physicians | Austin TX ChiropractorThe results of this study clearly showed that a visit to the chiropractor who performed an adjustment was safer than a visit to the medical physician for an evaluation. The study did not take into account the possible increased risk for any form of medical treatment or drugs as the medical comparison was only done on “…those evaluated by a primary care physician.”

The study reviewed the records for up to seven days after either the chiropractic or medical visit.  In calculating the risk of injury for both the medical visit and the chiropractic visits, the researchers reported that “The cumulative probability of injury in the chiropractic cohort was 40 injury incidents per 100,000 subjects, as compared to 153 incidents per 100,000 subjects in the primary care cohort.”  This showed that although no form of healthcare is totally without some small risk, chiropractic care was much safer.

In their conclusions the authors wrote, “Among Medicare beneficiaries aged 66-99 with an office visit risk for a neuromusculoskeletal problem, risk of injury to the head, neck or trunk within 7 days was 76% lower among subjects with a chiropractic office visit as compared to those who saw a primary care physician.”

In the second study published by Hindawi researchers performed a “randomized controlled trial” to look at blood-work after chiropractic adjustments, to see if there were any chemical changes that would normally be present after spinal injury.  They compared these results to a control group that received placebo or fake adjustments.

The results showed no indications of increased levels of any chemicals that would have been present if the subjects were injured. From these results the researchers concluded: “Our data show no changes in any of the studied damage markers. Although this study examined the outcomes in an asymptomatic population, lower cervical and thoracic manipulative techniques seem to be safe manual therapies techniques which cause no harm to the health of the subject. These data may be used as evidence of the safe application of spinal manipulation to healthy subjects.”

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Resolution of Chronic Cervicogenic Headaches with Chiropractic

Can Chiropractic Care Help Children With Chronic Headaches?

In the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health is a study published on December 12, 2014, describing the case of a boy who was suffering with chronic headaches being helped by chiropractic care. The authors begin by clarifying that in order for headaches to be classified as chronic they must occur for a duration of more than 15 days per month, and for 3 months or greater than 180 days in a year. They note that approximately 3 to 4% of the general population suffer from chronic headaches.

Resolution of Chronic Cervicogenic Headaches with Chiropractic | Austin TX ChiropractorIn this case, a 6-year-old boy was brought by his mother to the chiropractor for consultation and possible care for the boy’s chronic headaches.  According to his mother, the boy went to the MD two years prior complaining of headaches that were occurring either daily or every other day. The MD told the boy’s mother to give him ibuprofen for his headaches.  This was ineffective and subsequently the boy was sent to a Children’s Hospital for further medical work-up.

MRIs and computer tomography were performed on the boy but failed to show any medical reason for the child’s chronic headaches.  The boy was also seen by a concussion specialist and a neurologist without any help.  The patient and his mother returned to his pediatrician who made the suggestion of chiropractic care.

A chiropractic examination was performed and revealed areas of spinal irregularity on palpation. X-rays also confirmed malpositioning in the boy’s neck. From the examination, it was determined that the boy had subluxations in his cervical spine. Chiropractic care was begun with the boy being seen two times per week.

On the third visit to the chiropractor, the boy reported that he had not had any headaches since his prior visit. On the fourth visit, he did report having another headache.  However, from the fifth visit forward, the boy did not suffer any additional headaches.

For more information about how chiropractic care can help with headaches, please read this very informative Health Research Reports – Children, Headaches and Chiropractic.

If you know of a child suffering with chronic headaches, call 512-452-2525 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Swanson today.

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