Vancouver, WA — Headache pain medication ads are everywhere – from glossy magazine spreads to flashy TV commercials. The message is simple: Your headache deserves a strong painkiller, which will instantly cure the problem. Pain should not slow you down, since there’s an easy, swift solution. But is there really?

Doctors of chiropractic, such as your doctor at Davis Family Chiropractic, wholeheartedly disagree with advertisers’ quick-fix pill solution. What the ads don’t mention is that the strategy often backfires: The pills can eventually cause more pain that they cure. When this happens, a condition called medication overuse headache (MOH) ensues.

What is MOH?

MOH is a relatively new term for a long-standing “unnamed” and largely unrecognized condition caused by taking painkillers – daily or on a regular basis – for migraines or other headaches. Sadly, this condition is common. Your doctor at Davis Family Chiropractic and massage often cares for individuals with MOH. About one in 50 people develops this problem at some point. It affects five times more women than men.

How Does MOH Happen?

The Dependency Dilemma

Headaches flare up in response to physical or emotional stress. As a “solution,” many people take painkillers frequently. Initially, the first doses may provide relief, which reinforces the idea that painkiller consumption is helpful. On a psychological level, what’s known as “positive conditioning” spurs the sufferer to continue reaching for painkillers for relief.

But what’s going on may have more to do with chemical changes in the brain that psychological conditioning. Your doctor at Davis Family Chiropractic and Massage wants patients to be aware that the side effects of painkillers, such as sedation, mild euphoria and stimulation, may lead to dependency.

Painkillers with caffeine, barbiturates, codeine and other opioids are the most likely to have this effect. For example, caffeine increases alertness, relieves fatigue and improves performance and mood. Caffeine-withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, nervousness, restlessness and headaches, all encourage patients to continue their abuse.

Abused drugs, from painkillers to alcohol, activate a “pleasure pathway” in the brain and reinforce the behavior. The pleasure pathway, which is called the “dopamine reward circuit,” is connected to areas of the brain controlling memory, emotion and motivation.

The pleasure pathway undergoes actual chemical and anatomic changes that create and prolong addiction, affecting a physiological hold on a person’s ability to function. This is why addiction is often referred to as a brain disorder and isn’t as easy to kick as simply mind over matter.

Like drugs such as cocaine or heroine, some painkillers trigger the release of the brain’s natural “feel-good,” pain-fighting chemicals called endogenous opioids or endorphins. As with any addictive drugs, the more often they are used, the less the sensitive the brain becomes to them. These drugs literally alter the brain.

Withdrawal Woes

After a period of regular painkiller doses, the body becomes used to the pain medication. When the sufferer doesn’t take painkiller within a day or so of the last dose, then “rebound” or “withdrawal” headaches develop. What the sufferer thinks is just an especially persistent headache is actually a symptom of medication withdrawal.

Not recognizing that the medication is the culprit, he or she may take another dose. When the effect of each dose wears off, a further withdrawal headache develops. In time, sufferers will develop regular headaches that may appear on a daily basis. Some people resort to taking painkillers “routinely” to try to prevent headaches, which only makes things worse.

Which Painkillers Cause MOH?

If you think that only one prescription medication can cause MOH, you’re wrong. Almost any pain medication that provides rapid headache relief can cause MOH. Culprits include simple pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (such as Advil®, Motrin®, Aleve®, and Midol®).

Mixed analgesics, which include over-the-counter and prescription drugs containing caffeine, aspirin and acetaminophen, are especially known as MOH instigators. Other offenders include migraine-specific medications, such as Ergomar®, Miranal®, Imitrex®, Zomig®, and opiates, such as Tylenol 3®, Vicon®, and Percocet®.

Children and MOH
Although children are smaller in stature, their migraines or headaches can be just as big as adult’s. And, studies show that children and adolescents are as susceptible to MOH as adults.

One inquiry reviewed the histories of 79 children and adolescents who sought care from outpatient clinic of the Department of Neurology of the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. All of the children were younger than 16 years old and headaches 15 days or more each month.

Although the quality, severity and location of the youngsters’ pain varied, the majority (76 percent) used analgesics to solve the pain. Ten patients used more than one type, and 13 used analgesics daily.

Fifty-seven (72 percent) children had chronic daily headaches for more than six months, which for most lasted more than four hours a day. In one-third of patients, the headaches led to frequent school absences and sleeping problems.

The authors conclude that “chronic daily headache in children is a serious disorder. A relatively large number of patients overuse medication and it leads to frequent school absenteeism and sleeping problems.” (Headache 2005;45:678-83.)

MOH and Emotions

Doctors of chiropractic don’t see the body separate from the mind. They realize that the body and the mind have a direct relationship in which both affect each other. That’s why chiropractors avoid treating symptoms and instead focus on encouraging patients to seek both physical and emotional wellness.

As you imagine, doctors of chiropractic weren’t surprised by research, performed in France, that strongly linked MOH to anxiety and depression. The study included 41 MOH sufferers and 41 patients with chronic migraines.

The scientists found that MOH participants were especially apt to have substance abuse problems and endure mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Migraine patients with emotional problems were more likely to develop MOH that emotionally stable migraine sufferers.

According to the researchers, “MOH patients have greater risk of suffering from anxiety and depression, and there disorders may be a risk factor for the evolution of migraine into MOH.” (Cephalalgia 2005;25:519-22.)

MOH May Be a Precursor to Other Disorders

Although research into this area is still preliminary, scientists speculate that MOH may be precursor of more serious conditions. Researches hypothesize that the same brain changes and chain of events that lead to MOH may trigger other disorders, if medication overdose continues. Besides emotional problems, these disorders may include other forms of chronic pain, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chiropractic Lifestyle Solution

For doctors of chiropractic, the solution to headaches isn’t in a pill. In addition to spawning MOH, pain medication does nothing to prevent future pain and is often accompanied by multiple side effects. The solution is the chiropractic lifestyle, which involves stress reduction, chiropractic care, healthy diets and exercise. All of the components of this lifestyle are proven ways to eliminate head pain and are free from side effects.

Dr. Marc Davis and Dr. Christina Alvira adjust patients at Davis Family Chiropractic & Massage, a thriving wellness-oriented office located next to Fred Meyer in Fisher’s Landing. For FREE monthly tips and community events like us on Facebook or become a member of our website To schedule a time to meet with Dr. Davis or Dr Christina, or to get information about having him speak at your club, church group or workplace, call (360) 823-2225. Mention “LacamasMagazine” and “Free Scan” to get your Computerized Back and Neck Scan (regularly $95) for FREE (limited time offer).

Dr. Marc Davis, Dr. Christina Kulesz, Dr. Andrew Wade
2415 SE 165TH Avenue, Suite 105
Vancouver, WA 98683
(360) 823-2225

If you’ve ever been in a fender bender, you were probably more concerned about damage to your car than damage to your body. After all, the airbags didn’t deploy and you felt okay. You might have been a little stiff the next day, but that’s no big deal, right?

Wrong, warns Dr. Marc Davis. Even if you received a medical examination, spinal injuries could still have ensued, which only a doctor of chiropractic may detect. Symptoms might not appear for weeks, months-or even years-later.

A common result of car accidents, whiplash is an umbrella term for injuries caused by sudden flexion followed by extension of the neck. Researchers have found that this chain of events triggers a complex set of distortions throughout the spine (Chin J Traumatol 2009; 12:305-14)

Whiplash also triggers sprains and strains. A sprain occurs when the sudden hyperextension of the neck tears ligaments that support spinal bones (vertebrae). Strains occur when muscles and tendons are hyperextended. Extreme cases of whiplash can herniate disks between vertebrae and damage nerves.

Always Get a Chiropractic Evaluation

If you are in a collision, depending on the severity, you may go to the emergency room or see a medical doctor. While you might receive painkillers to mask the pain, medication does nothing to remedy the underlying problem. This is why it is critical to have a chiropractic evaluation in addition to any medical exams you receive.

Whiplash often forces spinal bones (vertebrae) of the neck out of alignment. These misalignments, called verbal subluxations, interfere with the nerves that radiate from the spinal cord. Chiropractors detect and correct vertebral subluxations with precise and gentle chiropractic adjustments. These maneuvers relieve spinal stress and ease the myriad of disorders related to vertebral subluxations.

Chiropractic is a proven therapy for whiplash. In a variety of studies following whiplash patients, up to 93 percent of those receiving chiropractic adjustments showed improvement (J of Ortho Med 1999;21:22-5).

A review of 27 investigations reveals that chiropractic care is particularly effective in alleviating pain and improving range of motion in the neck following whiplash injuries (Work 2010;35:369-94)

Sooner is Better

It is important to get checked by a chiropractor as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident. There are two reasons for this:

First, it is essential to identify all injuries before settling with insurance companies. Since the effects of whiplash are not always evident right away, a prompt chiropractic exam is crucial to avoid paying-out-of-pocket for debilitating symptoms that may emerge later.

Secondly, evidence shows that prompt care is more effective than delayed care for whiplash. In one study, 67 percent of patients experienced improvement in their symptoms if they received care for whiplash within three months of injury. In contrast, only 48 percent of those began therapy more than three months after injury improved (Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 2009;129:973).

Better Late Than Never

Although it is preferable to seek chiropractic care immediately following a motor vehicle accident, it is vital that anybody who has ever been in a motor vehicle collision receive chiropractic evaluation-regardless of how much time has passed.

“Minor” Accidents Can Cause Major Injuries

Just because a collision occurs at a low speed and causes minimal damage to the vehicle doesn’t mean it has not seriously impacted the spines of those involved. In fact, most cases of whiplash occur at vehicle speeds below 14 mph (23kph) (J Bone Joint Surg Br 2009;91:845-50).

What’s more, research shows that motor vehicle crashes at speeds as low as 2.5 mph (4kph) may cause injury, even if vehicular damage is nonexistent (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998;21:629-39).

A study presented at the Stapp Car Crash Conference examined people in simulated rear-impact collisions at 9 mph (14kph). Participants instinctively tensed their muscles to absorb the impact. However, they did not react until their necks (cervical spines) were flexed due to the G-force of their heads.

The average adult head weighs 10 lbs (4.5kg) and can experience forces of 17G at the speed used in this experiment. That means the head exerts 170 lbs (77kg) of force on the neck. And this is when the crash occurs at speeds less than 10 mph!

Delayed Onset of Symptoms

Even if you feel only mild pain after a car accident-or no pain at all-severe effects of whiplash can develop much later.

Studies comparing drivers who were in rear-end collisions found that those who suffered whiplash from the accident more likely to experience headaches, back pain, shoulder and neck pain, fatigue and sleep problems seven years afterward (J Clin Epidemiol 2001;54:851-6).

More Than a Pain in the Neck

The obvious effects of whiplash injury are pain and stiffness in the neck, but a range of other symptoms are also possible. For instance, chronic headaches are common.

A survey of 3,358 patients who suffered whiplash identified symptoms including low-back pain, fatigue, dizziness, numbness and nausea (Ann Rheum Dis 2005;64:1337-42).

Mental and emotional disturbances associated with whiplash include poor concentration, sleep disturbances, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (Emerg Med J 2002;19:499-506).

What Else to Do

In addition to chiropractic care, the doctor may recommend additional interventions to help you recover from whiplash.

For instance, the doctor may suggest that you use an ice pack to ease pain and reduce muscle spasms.

In most case, immobilizing the neck with cervical collar is not necessary and can actually slow recovery. On the other hand, normal activity helps muscles heal with less stiffness.

Stretching or strengthening exercise are also proven effective. Ask the doctor to instruct you on the exercises that are best-suited for your individual situation (Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005;3:CD004250).

Minimize Your Risk

There are ways to reduce your risk of whiplash injury. Car design is constantly evolving to improve safety. Ideal cars combine a strong seat frame with a soft seat to absorb the force of the torso in an accident.

If possible, choose a newer car. One review of nearly 2,000 car accidents showed that the newer the car, the less likely passengers were to suffer spinal injuries (Traffic Inj Prev 2009;10:560-6).

No matter how old your car is, simply adjusting the head restraints high enough to align with the back of the head protects the neck in case of an accident. The restraint should be close to your head to minimize head and neck motion during a crash (Spine 2002;27:34-42).

Know Your Rights: Talk to the Doctor

Many accident victims mistakenly assume that their insurance company can dictate what type of care they receive or even chose their doctor. This is not the case. If you have been in an accident, schedule an appointment to talk to the doctor about your rights and your care options.

 Optimal Health University™ is a professional service of PreventiCare Publishing®. The information and recommendations are appropriate in most instances. They are not, however, a substitute for consultation with a health-care provider such as Dr. Davis. Copyright, 2017.

Dr. Marc Davis and Dr. Christina Alvira and Dr. Andrew Wade adjust patients at Davis Family Chiropractic & Massage, a thriving wellness-oriented office located next to Fred Meyer in Fisher’s Landing. For FREE monthly tips and community events like us on Facebook or become a member of our website To schedule a time to meet with Dr. Davis or Dr Christina or Dr Wade, or to get information about having them speak at your club, church group or workplace, call (360) 823-2225. Mention “LacamasMagazine” and “Free Scan” to get your Computerized Back and Neck Scan (regularly $95) for FREE (limited time offer).

 Dr. Marc Davis & Dr. Christina Alvira & Dr. Andrew Wade


“For a Lifetime of Standing Tall!”

2415 SE 165TH Avenue, Suite 105

Vancouver, WA 98683

(360) 823-2225



by Dr. Marc Davis, Wellness Expert

As you step out of bed to begin a new day, your breath is suddenly taken away by a dual sensation of sharp pain and tenderness directly beneath your heel.  Does this sound familiar? If so, you aren’t alone.

This annoying and disabling foot condition, which is aggravated by running or walking (especially upon walking), is known as plantar fasciitis: an inflammation in the band of connective tissue along the sole of the foot.

Each year, an estimated two million people develop plantar fasciitis.  The good news is that it’s avoidable and may be alleviated with chiropractic care.

Dr Davis uses a multifaceted strategy to ward off this common foot complaint.  Why more than one approach? Because scientific research indicates that no single technique is effective in all instances (Clin Poditr Med Durg 2001;18:225-31).



Doctors of chiropractic believe in empowering patients with knowledge by teaching them about the anatomy behind their complaints.

Before developing a care plan, Dr Davis explains that the plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band that fans out over the sole of the foot – ending just before the toes.  It works like a rubber band, maintaining the foot’s complex arch system necessary for stability and locomotion.

Plantar fasciitis doesn’t usually result from a single event.  Rather, it develops slowly from repetitive trauma.

Postural Alignment

Dr Davis focuses on holistic healing, which stresses averting health problems rather than masking symptoms with drugs.  Doctors of chiropractic view the body as a whole, connected unit: each part affects the others.

This holistic approach to wellness centers on spinal health, specifically detecting and correcting a common disorder called vertebral subluxation.  Vertebral subluxations are areas in the spine where movement is restricted or vertebrae (bones) are slightly out of alignment.

Even the slightest misalignment can wreak havoc on the entire body.  For example, vertebral subluxations often trigger misalignments in the hip joints, causing one hip to rest slightly higher than the other.  In turn, a disproportionate amount of force is directed on one knee and foot – sparking a plethora of musculoskeletal disorders, including plantar fasciitis.

Asymmetry of bones may also spur impaired postural stability, producing more pain and further misalignment.  In one study, researchers noted that patients with severe low back pain consistently scored lower on stability tests than healthy controls.  They concluded that “impaired postural stability seems to be one factor in multidimensional symptomatology of patients with chronic low back trouble” (Spine 1998;23:2081-9.)

Chiropractors use gentle and safe maneuvers called chiropractic adjustments to correct the misalignments of the bones that induce vertebral subluxations.  A wealth of research supports this all natural approach, which helps restore motion and relieve pain without side effects.  In an investigation of two patients suffering from foot pain, podiatrists observed that “chiropractic manipulation of the lumbar spine resulted in alleviation of the lower extremity symptoms.” (J Am Posiatr Med Assoc 1991;81:150-4.)

In addition to adjusting the joints of the spine, chiropractors often adjust the joints of the foot and ankle in patients suffering from plantar fasciitis – as the condition is associated with restricted movement for the foot and ankle.


As proponents of holistic health care, doctors of chiropractic caution patients to use medication and surgery only when absolutely necessary.  Drugs and invasive surgery are accompanied by a host of side effects, which may spur serious health problems.  Instead, in addition to chiropractic adjustments, chiropractors often employ physiotherapy techniques to alleviate the pain of plantar fasciitis.  Physiotherapy remedies may include cross-friction massage, ultrasound, ice and heat.

Stretch & Strengthen

To speed healing, doctors of chiropractic teach patients stretches that increase flexibility in the plantar fascia, Achilles’ tendon and calf muscles.  Stretching several times during the day is most effective – especially before exercise and upon rising from bed.

Activity Restrictions

Your doctor of chiropractic may advise you to rest and refrain from activities that place pressure on the feet.

But your doctor will also emphasize that continuing to exercise is important for a healthy immune system.  Rather that impact sports, switch to swimming or water aerobics to maintain cardiovascular fitness while you recover.  Stationary bicycles and elliptical trainers are also non impact.


Chiropractors also instruct patients about the link between shoes and plantar fasciitis.  In a normal, walking stride, two to three times the body’s weight lands on the heel as it hits the ground.  The more shoes wear, the less shock they absorb – and the more traumas they transfer to the foot.  This lack of cushioning accelerates the onset of plantar fasciitis.

So can improper construction.  A tri-athlete developed plantar fasciitis due, in part, to a defective running show.  Specifically, the right shoes heel as glued at an inward angle, causing it to tilt differently that the left (J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2000;30:21-8).

Shoes, like care shocks, need regular inspections and replacement.  Sneakers that are worn several times a week should be replaced after three to six months – or about 500 miles.  Other factors, such as walking on hard surfaces and obesity, hasten this decline.

Arch Supports

The plantar fascia works to maintain the foot’s three arches, which aid in locomotion and provide support and stability.  While a long plantar fascia creates a long arch, a short one results in a short arch.  That’s why a doctor of chiropractic may recommend arch supports or custom made orthotics to achieve optimum foot health.

Heel Cups

In addition to suggesting arch supports, chiropractors may also prescribe heel cups.  Heel cups are constructed from a hard plastic or rubber material.  They slip into the rear part of the shoe, cradling the heel bone and preventing the protective fat pad at the base of the heel from spreading out during heel strike.

Children also at Risk

Plantar fasciitis isn’t just for grown ups: An increasing number of children are suffering from the condition.  New research reveals that foot and ankle maladies are the second most common musculoskeletal disorder in children younger than 10 years of age.  One study, performed at the Boston Children’s Hospital in the Sports’ Medicine Clinic, cited plantar fasciitis as one of the leading foot complain in youngsters (Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999;31:S470-86).

Proactive Prevention

If you suspect that you have a plantar fasciitis, consult a doctor of chiropractic immediately, it’s essential to rule out other foot problems that could mimic similar pain.

Optimal Health University™ is a professional service of PreventiCare Publishing®. The information and recommendations are appropriate in most instances. They are not, however, a substitute for consultation with a health-care provider such as Dr. Davis. Copyright, 2013.

Dr. Marc Davis adjusts patients at Davis Family Chiropractic, a thriving wellness-oriented office located next to Fred Meyer in Fisher’s Landing. For FREE monthly tips and community events subscribe to Dr. Davis’ blog “Life Naturally” by going to and clicking on “Blog”. To schedule a time to meet with Dr. Davis, or to get information about having him speak at your club, church group or workplace, call (360) 823-2225. Mention “LacamasMagazine” and “Free Scan” to get your Computerized Back and Neck Scan (regularly $210) for FREE (limited time offer).

Dr. Marc Davis

“For a Lifetime of Standing Tall!”
2415 SE 165TH Avenue, Suite 103
Vancouver, WA 98683
(360) 823-2225