How Physical Therapy and MedX are Viable Alternatives to Opioid Use

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A recent study done found that 1 in 2 U.S. adults has a musculoskeletal disorder. According to the the study Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries and conditions to the bones, muscles and joints that result in pain and can affect activity. For far too many years these issues, and associated injuries have been treated mostly by opioids. This in recent years has led to a crisis level of opioid use in the United States. Leading to addiction, and in many cases death. It is important to understand that this epidemic didn’t just happen overnight. But has been caused by years of doctors overprescribing opioids to treat neck and back pain for short term relief, instead of treating the root cause. The fact is anyone who takes opioids for any type of reason is at risk for addiction. Those who take opioids for longer periods such as in cases of chronic pain are at a higher risk. Some risks of opioid use include:

  • Death (respiratory arrest)
  • Addiction
  • Overdose
  • Depression
  • Chronic constipation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Damage to the liver
  • Infertility in women, impotence in men
  • Aggravation of pain
  • Death (respiratory arrest)

According to the Mayo Clinic addiction is a condition in which something that started as pleasurable now feels like something you can’t live without. Doctors define drug addiction as an irresistible craving for a drug, out-of-control and compulsive use of the drug, and continued use of the drug despite repeated, harmful consequences. When opioids seem to be the only thing to cause cessation of pain these consequences from repeated use can seem very little. When in fact you are doing irreparable damage to your body.

What is so dangerous about opioids is that many who start using them for neck or back pain relief do not start with the idea to abuse them, but to find relief.  Even alternatives like acetaminophen while not addictive if taken for too long can cause liver damage, fatal skin reactions, and an increased risk of certain blood cancers.  This is why in recent year’s physical therapy and chiropractic treatment has become more and more recognized as a viable alternative for pain management. Unlike taking a pill, physical therapy promotes long-term relief for eliminating pain and getting you back to feeling normal. At the Center for Total Back Care our focus is getting you back to a happy, and healthy life. By using the latest technologies, and treatments to achieve long term results we achieve this by using technologies like Med-X. 

How MedX Can Be A Viable alternative to Opiods.

The foundation of our rehabilitation is the MedX medical spinal testing and rehabilitation machines. Rehabilitation providers around the world have experienced amazing results using the MedX lumbar and cervical extension machines. Medical evidence shows that 80% of chronic spinal pain is due to muscle weakness, which increases as damage to the spine worsens. Weakness of the spine can lead to many conditions such as herniated discs, facet syndrome, and degenerative joint disease. A strong healthy spine provides a strong foundation which helps prevent spinal compression and allows you to perform your normal daily activities and demands of employment pain free.

The MedX medical machines have undergone significant scientific study and have been compared against a variety of other methods of strength and endurance training. To date there have been over 60 scientific studies conducted using MedX equipment. Time and time again, MedX has been demonstrated to be superior because of its unique ability to isolate the muscles of the spine, determine the source of muscle weakness and injury, and then the capability to customize the exercise, range of motion and resistance to isolate and strengthen this weakness.

MedX combined with physical therapy such as massage and spinal adjustments can provide long term pain relief.  If you have been struggling with back or neck pain as of recent make an appointment today to start getting relief. 

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling By Airplane

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Suit Case

Air travel is tough on the body, especially for those who are already experiencing aching joints and sore muscles. Sitting in a cramped plane for hours or even hoisting a suitcase from baggage claim can cause an injury to flare up and worsen. Here are some recommendations from your physical therapist for steps you can take to prevent air travel injuries: 

1. Go Light on the Packing—Pack just the essentials you’ll need for your trip. Lifting an over-stuffed, heavy suitcase increases the chance of injury to your neck, back and shoulders. If you can’t do without the extra stuff, check an extra bag or ask for assistance if your bag has to go in an overhead bin. 

2. Be in Motion at Least Hourly—Sitting still for hours at a time can result in deep vein throm-bosis-the formation of blood clots in the legs-so it’s important to keep your body moving. Tap your toes, rotate your ankles and lift your legs up and down to increase blood circulation. If your legs begin to feel tight and you’re able to remove your seatbelt, stand up and stretch or take a walk up and down the aisle of the plane. 

3. Stay Hydrated—Airplane altitudes combined with dry cabin air can cause dehydration. Con-suming alcohol will only make it worse. Drinking water before, during and after your flight will help your body to combat muscle cramps and aching. 

4. Stretch Pre-and-Post Flight—A light stretch before and after your flight helps to keep your body agile. Pre-flight movement jumpstarts circulation before your trip, and post-flight stretch-ing keeps your body feeling invigorated for the rest of the day. Contact your physical therapist for some easy stretching exercises to help. 

Fighting Neck and Back Pain with Good Food Choices

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Making sure you are eating a well-balanced diet including eating anti-inflammatory foods can not only help to prevent diseases such as arthritis, but can help with chronic neck pain, and back pain. Studies have shown that foods that increase inflammation can cause extensive back pain, neck pain and damage to your health. 

Spinach and Kale

How can a diet focused on anti-inflammation help with pain?

While no one food can provide instant magical relief, a diet focused on anti-inflammatory foods that are providing good nutrition can have great effect on preventing and managing pain. To understand how inflammation may affect your neck and back. It is important to know a little of the spine. The spine is made up of 33 individual bones called vertebrae, each vertebra is separated by discs which are shock absorbing cushions. The spine is an interconnected system of muscles, tendons, and nerves and is the main support for the body for twisting, bending, and standing. Just a little inflammation can cause pain, and inhibit movement in this delicate part of the body. Which is why a diet focused on nutritious foods can support a healthy neck and back. 

Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Back and Neck Pain Relief

A couple of the most impactful diet changes, can be focusing on eating your fruits, vegetables, and healthy fatty foods with omega 3’s these foods include:

  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and arugula 
  • Nuts such as walnuts and almonds
  • Fish with plenty omega 3’s like salmon, tuna, and sardines
  • Fruits like watermelon, pomegranate, cherries, and blueberries
  • Foods or supplements with calcium and vitamin D are also very important as they reduce inflammation and give your bones the right nutrition 

Foods to Avoid that cause Inflammation

Here are some of the top foods that cause inflammation in the body. These Include but are not limited to sugary drinks like Kool aid or soda (diet sodas count as well). Alcohol, smoking, processed meats, red meat, and lard are also bad for inflammation. 

Over the years it has become more increasingly clear the impact that poor nutrition can have on you. It is never too late to change your diet to help manage your bodies health and pain. Start by making a new resolution today for a healthier life!

Chiropractic Treatment for Epilepsy

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In the United States in 2015, approximately 3 million U.S. adults and 470,000 children had active epilepsy. So what is the link between Chiropractic care and how it can help those with epilepsy?

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by frequent seizures, loss of consciousness and more. Seizures occur due to the spontaneous malfunction of the brain which is manifested by muscle spasms, body convulsions, and loss of awareness. Epilepsy can greatly hinder your quality of life

Current Treatments for Epilepsy 

While medicine currently available can provide control, and help for many sufferers of this disorder. It is estimated of all who take the medicine 20% do not respond to this type of treatment. Some other treatments other than medication can be surgery, change of diet such as for children a ketogenic diet.

Something that can assist both children with epilepsy, and adults is chiropractic treatment. Since this is a neurological disorder chiropractic adjustments, and manipulation can relieve nerve pressure that may be causing issues for the nervous system, and body to communicate. It is a non surgical approach that can greatly improve the lives of this with epilepsy.  Many cases have shown that regular chiropractic treatments may help lessen the amount of seizures that a patient experiences. If you, or someone you may know suffers from epilepsy in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Jolley is board certified in neurology by the American Chiropractic Neurology Board and can help. Come to The Center for Total Back Care for a free consultation by calling (480) 633-8293 or scheduling an appointment online today. 

Low Impact Exercises for a Healthy Life

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Women on Elliptical

It seems like almost everyday we are told to exercise more, fad workouts gain popularity, some even promise you never have to exercise again if you follow a specific tip. But the truth is that exercise can greatly extend your quality of life, length of life, as well as hosting numerous benefits such as decreased inflammation, and lower blood pressure. The most of the exercise we do knowingly, or not is aerobic. Aerobic exercise is exercise that relates to the cardiovascular system like running, playing basketball, or going for a walk. Aerobic exercise helps with weight loss, and regulating blood sugar. Aerobic exercise also can reduce pain, and reduce back pain by improving blood flow to the spinal structures. Not all aerobic exercises are the same however. While running is great for increasing heart rate it sometimes can cause pain in the knees, and back because of its high impact. Low impact exercise is often best for the body, and health. Below are some examples of ow impact exercises that you can incorporate into your life. 

Types of Low-Impact Exercise 


Walking everyday can drastically improve your health, for just 30 minutes a day walking can greatly improve blood flow, and prevent back pain. 


Exercise in water allows low impact of your joints, while the water adds resistance. Making swimming naturally a fantastic exercise. 

Stationary Biking

Stationary biking can provide the same aerobic benefits of bike riding, but in a controlled environment. In stationary biking you don’t have to worry about jstling, or uneven ground and unexpected obstacles. This type of workout can also greatly strengthen knees. 

Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical machine stimulates, and mimics the movements off running, and jogging without the strain on your joints. This machines often have a variety of resistance levels to increase heart rate, and cardiovascular health

These are just a few examples of good low impact aerobic exercises. By implementing just one of these exercises in your routine daily for 30 minutes you can greatly improve your health.

Stress Management for Neck Pain Relief

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Stressed Man

At the Center for Total Back Care we take a complete approach to overall wellness of the body. While other clinics may focus on just symptoms we focus on relieving symptoms, by finding the root cause and then by putting in place preventative measures to avoid future pain, or discomfort. Accordingly a main cause of back and neck pain surprisingly can be one the most common things plaguing our society, which is stress. Not only does stress affect your mood, sleep, and overall wellbeing, but it also creates tension and tightening of muscles which causes neck pain. Below are three great tips for managing stress in your everyday life. 


Study after study has shown that getting moderate exercise in can drastically reduce stress levels. Exercise can be used to quickly metabolize the excessive stress hormones in your body and get you back to feeling normal. This doesn’t always have to be a full blown workout if feeling a little under pressure, or stressed just go for a quick brisk walk to get some fresh air.

Relaxation Techniques

There are many different techniques, for dealing with stress some use yoga, while others use breathing techniques. A quick trick to help with stress is to close your eyes, relax your neck, and shoulders and take three deep breaths. This can help refocus your mind, while also releasing tension built up in your neck and shoulders 


Lastly a key stress management tool is rest. Lack of sleep can cause illness, and a host of other issues. Don’t be afraid to relax, rest doesn’t just mean sleep. Watch a favorite movie, take a bath, or just lay down for a bit. Rest is not only good for the body but also the mind. Sleep repairs both your body, and mind. 

The Benefits of Dry Needling

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Dry Needling

Dry Needling Is  Now Offered At The Center for Total Back Care
With Dr. Jolley’s recent certification in Dry Needling The Center for Total Back Care is pleased to offer this additional treatment with our other treatments to further help treat and decrease neck and back pain. 

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a special technique done by specially certified Chiropractors, and Physical Therapists in which a dry needle is inserted to treat a myofascial trigger point.. The needle is inserted to stimulate the tissue, and does not inject medication. But is instead intended to release trigger points, relieving muscle stiffness, and increasing mobility.
Dry Needling is extremely effective at relieving pain, its benefits are due to it being able to reach areas that traditional massage, or an adjustment may not be able to reach. Dry Needling isn’t acupuncture but instead is rooted in modern medical techniques and has many case studies supporting its effectiveness. 
What kind of a needle is used when receiving treatment?
A thin filiform needle is used to penetrate the skin, and stimulate trigger points. Pain is minimal, if not nonexistent when receiving treatment. 
While dry needling is extremely helpful with relieving back, and neck pain. It is but one tool used out of many in a treatment plan. Contact us today, to have Dr Jolley create a custom tailored treatment plan that best will take care of your specific health needs. 

Why Resting Isn’t Always the Answer for Back Pain

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Often times when tweaking your back, or feeling discomfort you may often think ice, and laying down for awhile is what is best. However, while resting for a short period may help, long periods of rest can cause increased weakness in your back, causing further weakness, and pain in your back. According to a special health report from Harvard Medical School. Resting for prolonged periods doesn’t only affect your back negatively, but can also “lead to digestive issues such as constipation, and an increased risk of developing bloods clots in your pelvis, and legs.” Bed rest can also negatively effect your mental state, and put you at a higher risk for depression. So the question comes, when experiencing back pain what should you do instead? 
The first thing is to evaluate what caused your back pain in the first place, was it a specific activity you were doing? Is your mattress not supportive? Or maybe the shoes you have aren’t supportive? Whatever it may be, see if you can make little changes that are causing the pain. 
Another important thing to do is make sure you are stretching, not only does stretching increase flexibility, and blood flow, but it also increases strength. We have many different resources for at home stretches, to relieve back pain. Stretching in turn can condition your muscles for the future, when further strains may be put upon it. 
If none of these help then it may be time to see your local chiropractor. At the Center for Total Back Care, our experts can put together a specialized program, and treatment plan to get you back to feeling yourself. With a preventative approach The Center for Total Back Care not only will get to feeling back to normal, but will also focus on helping strengthen your back to prevent future pain. When trying to find a Chiropractor in Mesa, call us today!

Best shoes for back pain

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Often when we think of back pain we think about “where” we feel it. The challenge is identifying what might be contributing to it. Our feet are our foundations for our posture. They help maintain proper spinal alignment when standing, provide shock absorption from ground forces, and they provide stability. If you feet hurt or are improperly supported they can increase back pain or make you more susceptible to injury. So what are the best shoes for back pain?

First, let’s consider what footwear is not good for back pain. Sandals can be some of the worst footwear when it comes to back pain. Sandals are the most basic of footwear, and only provide a barrier between your foot and the ground. They are often designed to be “carried” by the foot and require the foot to activate more muscles to help carry them along. Most have little or no arch support and are highly unstable. These types of shoes should be avoided, especially when experiencing back pain.

Women’s high heels are also poor footwear when it comes to back pain. High heels put the foot in an unnatural position, compromising its ability to provide stability. It also requires the wearer to constantly engage their hip and back muscles in order to maintain balance. This constant tension can increase back pain.

Old shoes are also a culprit. Shoes are like tires on a car, when worn out, replace them. Every individual has their own foot strike pattern, which over time wears out the shoe and can lead to decreased stability and support. Replace heavily worn shoes about every 3 months, even if sole wear is not visible. The wear may be inside the shoe where it is not visible.

So what does a proper shoe look like? Well, first the shoe needs to fit the activity you are doing. The key component in buying any shoe is knowing what its intended use is. If you are hiking, does the shoe have good grip on unstable surfaces and proper ankle support? If you are a runner, is it light weight and have proper cushioning and support for your type of foot strike? A runner wouldn’t wear a hiking shoe, and a hiker wouldn’t wear a running shoe. Start here when considering a shoe.

Find the right fit. The design of a good shoe requires a proper fit. Our foot size doesn’t stop changing after our teen years. While our foot might stop growing, the foot anatomy can start to change by flattening. This flattening can increase your shoe size and affect what you thought was a good width. Check your shoe size periodically to see if there are any changes. Even the best shoes won’t work for you if the fit isn’t right. Be aware, sizes between brands can be different to so always try a pair on first and don’t be afraid to return a shoe if it ends up not being the right fit. Check a stores return policies so you don’t get stuck with a pair of ill-fitting shoes.

Get foot orthotics to properly fit your foot. Shoe manufacturers design their shoes to meet a general populations’ needs. The orthotics built into the shoe, don’t always address your specific needs. You can often get orthotics fitted for you by a Podiatrist or Chiropractor/Physical Therapist.

So the best shoes for back pain are shoes that provide proper protection, support, and stability for the activity you are doing. Be prepared to invest into good footwear if you have back pain, it can dramatically improve your quality of life!

How Athletes Recover from Back Pain

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When most people think of back pain and an athlete, they think of Tiger Woods. His recovery is a well documented long dedicated process. In 2018, his return stunned the golf world as many sports writers had written his career as over. He is now back this week starting his 2019 season. So what can we learn from how athletes recover from back pain?

First, Tiger Woods began his process taking the most conservative route to recovery, physical therapy. He understood that once surgery takes place, the success rate and outcomes begins to diminish. Athletes are highly motivated to return to their optimal performance and are willing to put the hard work and consistency of treatment that is required in physical therapy. The challenge with the athlete is listening to their body through the process and not pushing themselves, which can set them back. Tiger Woods experienced this.

The next phase is going through less invasive treatments that help relieve pain temporarily to help in the recovery process. This can include nerve blocks and steroid injections. For an athlete this can help them address the pain and discomfort while they progress in their physical therapy.

Finally comes the surgical options. If the physical therapy and injections do not help the athlete they begin the surgical route. Tiger Woods surgical journey began in 2014. He had choices, do I take the more aggressive surgical route, which would limit his ability to return to golf, or do the more conservative surgeries. He knew the conservative route would mean the potential for multiple surgeries and multiple rehabilitation programs before he could “potentially” return to competitive golf. The same drive and determination that made him the #1 golfer in the world, helped him choose the more difficult path.

Over the next 3 years he dealt with setbacks and disappointments. He had the sports community saying he was done. He even let the possibility of him not ever golfing again to creep into his thoughts. But, when he returned last year, he shocked everyone, even himself and found success at the end of the road by winning the Tour Championship.

The athlete mindset is what we all need when dealing with back pain. There are no quick fixes, no magical surgery, no pill to get you through it. It takes hard work, a tough mentality, willingness to commit to the process.

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