I Heard A Pop and Now I Can’t Move

At least once a month, a new person will walk through the door of my office either bent over or holding their head with their hands. They have shooting pain down their legs or their arms. And, more often than not, the last thing they remember is that they heard a “pop” in their back or neck and then they were thrown into debilitating pain.

So, what happened?

In previous emails, I’ve described how a lack of motion in the spine and injuries can cause scar tissue to accumulate in your joints. Over the years, if the spine is not regularly adjusted, this scar tissue continues to constrict, harden and tighten around the joints and discs in your spine. Then, one day a quick turn of the head or bend of the back and…


The scar tissue tears; spilling chemicals onto nerve endings, sounding the alarm that a joint very close to your spinal chord is injured! Mayday! Mayday! Your body goes into full “protection mode”.

Blood floods the area causing swelling and edema. The muscles around the joint splint and spasm, locking down the joint from further motion and possible injury. Your brain goes into fight or flight mode. Within a split second, you go from another day of activity, to Quasimodo screaming…

“Sanctuary! Sanctuary!”

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but pretty close. The shooting pain down the arm or leg is due to the inflammation and muscle spasms clamping down on the nerves that  exit the spine. Sometimes the disc can be so injured, it will actually bulge like a flat tire, squishing the nerve or spinal cord. We call that a “disc herniation”. Other times, the amount of scar tissue has caused the bone to grow and push down on the nerve. Most of the time, people are bending over or holding their own head because that’s the only way to relieve the pressure.

This can seem like something that sneaks up on someone. But, typically, there is a history of years of chronic neck or back pain that were either ignored or treated with medications. It’s like taking pain killers for a toothache, but never going to the dentist until the tooth is rotten and needs to be pulled.

One stop chiropractic care can not be completely successful in treating these types of low back and neck pain problems. Only through regular  spinal maintenance adjustments can these types of flare-ups be avoided.

Ask me about what else you can do to keep your spine moving and healthy on your next visit.

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC


Salt of the Earth

Did you know all salts are NOT created equal? It’s true. When we think of “Salt”, we often think of that white granulated stuff on the table, that if we dare reach for it, someone, somewhere, is going to tell you exactly what their cardiologist would say.

In reality “Salts” are just ionic compounds bound together by (+) and (-) charges. That’s to say, there are lots and lots of different types of salt; and each reacts differently with your body.

Table Salt:

Table Salt is sodium-chloride (NaCl) and is typically mixed with other chemicals, like aluminum, to keep it from sticking together in the box. As Americans, we eat entirely too much salt, which has led to a whole host of cardiovascular diseases.

“But I like to taste my food.”

Me too! Those who know me, know I’m a bit of a “foodie”. My wife and I watch the cooking shows and are always looking for new healthy recipes we can cook at home. Luckily, Phoenix is packed with great restaurants, many of which, serve up extremely healthy fare; like True Food. True Food is a collaboration with Fox Restaurants and Dr. Andrew Weil. Dr. Weil (pictured with me above) is a medical doctor out of the University of Arizona and can be regularly seen on Oprah, Larry King, Joy Behar and countless other shows as an expert in health and wellness. I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Weil who began Pita Jungle, It’s a Wrap and Zoe’s Kitchen. My wife and I love visiting these places and going home to recreate our favorite meals.

We, like these restaurants, use Sea Salt instead of regular table salt. Real Salt is a company that makes Sea Salt. I like “Real Salt” because it shows the trace minerals and their amounts on their packages. Rather than just having sodium and chloride, it also has Magnesium, which helps regulate blood pressure and muscle relaxation. It contains Zinc, which is essential for your immune system. It also has Copper, which is necessary for strong tendons and ligaments, and many more essential minerals. One of the easiest ways to make a change towards better health, is replacing your sodium-chloride table salt with Sea Salt.

Epsom Salt:

While Epsom Salt can be ingested, as it’s FDA approved as a laxative, Epsom Salts are better used when absorbed through the skin in an Epsom Salts Bath. Epsom Salts are not actually made of “Epsom”. Epsom is simply the area in Great Britain where they originate. The salt is actually made up of Magnesium Sulfate. Despite having been around for many years, there is very little research in the area of whether or not Epsom Salts can alleviate muscular pain. However, in my years of seeing patients many have found relief through a Hot Epsom Salts Bath, an easy and affordable way to achieve pain relief. I usually recommend the following:

  1.  Run a bath with the water as hot as you can stand without injuring yourself. 100 degrees should suffice.
  2. Add 2 cups of salts to the bath. Adding the salt while the water is running helps it dissolve quicker.
  3. Create a relaxing atmosphere. All pain has a mental stress component. Dim the lights or light a candle. Put on some relaxing music. Have a glass of ice water to sip. 
  4. Soak in the tub for about 12 minutes.
  5. Drink lots of water before, during and after.

For an added benefit, I often recommend making a “burrito” of salts by putting salts in a wet washcloth and rolling it up. Place the “salt burrito” where the pain is. DO NOT EAT THE SALT BURRITO!

The theory here is that by absorbing the magnesium through the skin, the magnesium will relax the muscles and the heat will increase circulation. It has been my clinical experience that this can help expedite the healing process. But, after you take your first Hot Epsom Salts Bath, you’ll hardly need low back and neck pain as an excuse to take your next one.

Ask me about Sea Salt and Hot Epsom Salts Baths on your next visit.

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.
Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC

The Battle in Your Body.

Did you know there is a battle going on right now inside your body? There’s a battle which can determine how you age and even what conditions you are going to be prone to get. It’s all out war on your cells! Are you giving them the weapons to fight back?

Each time a cell dies, it must be replaced. Just like when you take a copy of a copy, it’s never quite as good as the original. Over time, these copies of copies of copies become so poor in quality that they no longer function at all. Or, they simply get replaced by fibrotic repair tissue, as in arterial sclerosis (hardening of the arteries). That’s aging. Over time, enough cells stop functioning that it effects how an entire organ works. Sometimes, the turnover of cells is too rapid, and one goes rogue, eating everything in site, including your other cells. We call that “cancer”.


So, it stands to reason that slowing down cell turnover is of the utmost importance when it comes to health. But, who’s on the attack and how can we teach our cells some self defense?

Free Radicals Vs. Antioxidants
Free Radicals:Remember from highschool biology that mitochondria is the “powerhouse” of the cell. It’s ok if you don’t. Us nerds thought that stuff was so cool, we became chiropractors. Well, that “powerhouse” puts off pollution just like power plants do today. The more energy the cell makes, the more pollution is spewed into the cell. This pollution comes in the form of Free Radicals. Nasty chemicals with extra electrons that will destroy anything it comes in contact with. DNA, the cell wall, anything! By the time these things get done with a cell, it looks like the Death Star from Star Wars (nerd, remember?). The more calories you eat, the more energy your mitochondria produce, the more free radicals you get. The bad air you breath, the more free radicals you produce (notice the smoker who looks 10 years older than they should). Here’s the worst one. The more you perform aerobic exercise, the more mitochondria you get, which means more Free Radicals! Elite (Olympic) athletes have a nasty habit of dying about 10 years sooner than the average American’s life expectancy. Some believe this is due to enormous amount of Free Radicals they produce.

Ever play hot potato? Me neither. But, the premise is that you toss a hot potato around until it cools (The amount of boredom this would require in order to appeal to youths must’ve been outstanding). Essentially, this is what Antioxidants do with Free Radicals. They bind to the Free Radicals and “toss” that nasty free electron around until it no longer poses a threat, or “cools off”. Antioxidants protect your cells. Some Antioxidants are made by your body and float in your cells or your blood, patrolling for Free Radical hooligans. Others, you must ingest because your body can’t make them itself. Some vitamins like C and E are Antioxidants. Lions and tigers can make vitamins like “C” from meat. We can’t. The best way to make sure you’re getting all that you need is to take in a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Neglect these two items at your peril. In houses in which plants are NOT involved with every meal, you’ll likely also find heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, early-onset joint arthritis, etc. In fact, for more proof, simply look at regions of the country where diets are primarily meat, bread and cheese. They have higher rates of many of these diseases, and much higher health care costs.

Notice a theme?

The same nutritional necessities to reduce inflammation, are the same which fight cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and yes, even chronic pain. It’s the essence of the “South Beach Diet” and the “Spectrum Diet” which has been shown to reduce risk for heart attack and stroke. The Spectrum Diet can actually claim to REVERSE CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE! Your body needs good oils, lean meats (as wild as possible) and mostly fruits and vegetables. In fact, the earliest record of human beings suggests they received 60% of their calories from plants and 40% from wild game. More on this later…

Ask me how to increase Antioxidants naturally through your diet on your next visit. Antioxidants are as important to your spine as they are to the rest of your body.

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.
Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC

Fish Burps

We all know we need to take Omega 3 Fish Oil. Dr. Mercola says so. Dr. Oz says so. Countless medical and nutritional journal articles say so. Omega 3 Oil has been purported to prevent and or treat everything from ADHD, to mental disorders , to post-partum depression, to low back pain, to slowing the aging process.            Omega 3 Molecule. You know a supplement is good when drug companies are patenting their own version and selling it as a treatment for high triglycerides. It’s also showing promise in preventing heart disease. It’s not a miracle drug. It’s merely a nutrient we are almost all deficient in. These deficiencies are what lead to disease (more on that later).

Humans should have a ratio of 1:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3.

Instead, most Americans have a ratio of 14:1 respectively. Omega 6 increases inflammation and pain, and Omega 3 reduces it. Some very obvious conclusions as to why we are suffering from primarily inflammatory diseases like heart disease, autoimmune diseases and allergies should begin to make sense.

Many of my patients, having heard the news about fish oil, have tried it…and then hadfish “fish burps”. When your body can’t digest the fish oil, it can often cause indigestion and a disgusting fishy regurgitation of gas. If you knew what I and rest of the scientific community do about Omega 3’s and health, you’d consider “fish burps” an acceptable side-effect. The good news is…

You don’t have to get the “fish burps”.

Most of the time, this side-effect is the result of purchasing vitamins at the same place you purchase flat screen TV’s and tube socks. Cheap fish oil is often of questionable quality, and as a result can be rancid or oxidized. This is what causes the indigestion and the resultant “fish burps”.

Here’s what to look for in a quality fish oil:

Pharmaceutical Grade: You want to know what you are taking and how much. Making sure your supplements are all certified Pharmaceutical Grade, is the best way to know that what’s on the label is EXACTLY what’s in the capsule.

Mercury Free: Due to pollution, fish accumulate mercury; a neuro-toxin. Mercury is where the term “Mad Hatter” came from. Handling mercury made many of them go insane. Only get fish oil that uses small, cold water fish. They have little to no mercury compared to larger fish, which can accumulate more mercury in their bodies over time.

Cold Pressed: The word Omega 3 comes from the shape of the carbon chain that makes up the oil. Boiling the oil to purify it changes the structure, making it…well, something else. The best fish oil is purified under extreme pressure, keeping the Omega 3 structure intact.

Taste Test: That’s right. Taste it. Chew a capsule. If it smells like fish, it’s oxidized and worthless. Fish oil can be oxidized under prolonged exposure to heat and UV light. On your next visit, ask me to chew one of our Innate Choice, Organic, Cold-Pressed, Mercury Free capsules. I don’t mind. More Omega’s for me!

Ask me about how Omega 3 Fish Oil has helped many of my patients suffering from chronic pain, and more importantly, increased their health

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC

The Perfect Shower Temperature!

In previous posts, I discussed “smoking joints“, and how mechanical stress like whiplash, sports and work can cause inflammation and scar tissue to wear out your joints.

The truth is inflammation is really about chemistry. It’s the chemicals released by our bodies that determines the extent of the inflammation we experience. Too much, and we get increased pain and more scar tissue. Too little, and proper healing may not occur. Joint degeneration, heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disease all have one thing in common; inflammation.

What causes inflammation to get out of hand?

Really, it has a lot to do with your diet. The foods you eat can either contribute to the heat of inflammation or cool things down with anti-inflammation. It’s like your shower at home. The perfect balance of hot and cold is necessary to get the temperature just right.

Here are some foods that can either be hot water or cold water to your pain and inflammation. Reducing the temperature may be a matter of adding more cold water or turning down the hot water.

Cold Water:

Omega 3 Fish Oil: Fish and wild game (not corn-fed farm raised animals) contain these essential fats which keep inflammation in check. Fish, Fish Oil and Free Range Animal Meat; keep these on the menu or it will be like turning on the hot water without adding any cold. Ouch!

Eat The Rainbow: No, not like Skittles. Like fruits and vegetables. Fruits like papaya, pineapple and mango contain anti-inflammatory nutrients. Other colorful fruit contain antioxidants (more on antioxidants and free radicals later) and other nutrients which keep inflammation in check. Freeze the fruit and blend with some orange juice (Vit. C and Ca++), Acai juice (antioxidants) or Coconut Milk (Omega 3’s!!!). Or, grill some WILD salmon and make a mango salsa!…Bam!

Oil That Won’t Damage Your Environment:  Not all oils are made equal. Some will increase pain and inflammation, while others reduce it. EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil) should be your cooking oil of choice. Coconut Oil goes great with this French Toast Recipe. For flavor-neutral, try canola oil (expeller-pressed). If these are the Cold Water oils, Cottonseed, Corn, Sunflower and mixed Vegetable oils are the Hot Water. Don’t let your cooking oil become your lake of fire!

Hot Water:

Omega 6 Oils: You are what you eat. Because our beef is primarily fed corn and soy, they no longer contain the Omega 3’s we need. So, beef and most poultry contain mostly Omega 6 Oils; Omega 3’s evil twin. We need Omega 6 oils to survive, but due to the way we farm, the average American has 14X what they need. Way Too Much Hot Water! Turn it down by switching to bison meat, or purchasing free range and grass-fed meats online or at your local farmer’s market.

Insulin: This hormone is like adding napalm to the fire. Insulin is released in your blood as a result of ingesting sugar. High Fructose Corn Syrup and Bread, are most Americans’ primary sources of sugar. Eating these and other foods high on the glycemic index, makes your pancreas squirt insulin into your blood stream like a fire hydrant. Except this fire hydrant sprays gasoline! Become familiar with the glycemic index and which foods are fanning the fire of inflammation. Insulin is also a major player in weight management. If you’re overweight, you’ve got inflammation. Weight + Inflammation = “smoking joints”.

MSG: We often think of MSG (mono-sodium glutamate) as something in Asian food. But the truth is most popular canned soups, chips, crackers, beef-ish products contain MSG. MSG has over 90 pseudonyms including being simply being called “spices” on the ingredients list. Glutamate is the “G” in MSG and is the #1 nerve transmitter for pain and is also included in Nutrasweet/Equal/Aspartame/Most “diet” or “lite” “foods”. Studies have linked glutamate to migraine headache and fibromyalgia sufferers as it’s found in higher concentrations in their spinal fluid. Eating glutamate is like taking a pill that makes pain worse. The best way to avoid this nasty drug is simply to avoid most snacks that come in a box, bag or can. Fresh and Easy and Sunflower Market both have plenty of MSG-FREE alternatives.

Ask me about how to include more Cold Water and less Hot Water in your diet so you can turn down the temperature on pain and inflammation on your next visit.
IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC

What a Pain in the….!


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Pain can really be a pain in the…you know what. It keeps  us from our favorite activities.  It makes us irritable. It’s like an inescapable tiny man torturing us throughout our lives. So where does pain come from?

Joints can be damaged quickly as in a whiplash, or slowly, as in poor posture. Just like when we get a cut or bruise, the damaged cells release chemicals. These chemicals:

  • 1. Cause swelling to rush blood to the area.
  • 2. Signal the immune system to clean up debris.
  • 3. Activate scar tissue cells to “patch-up” the damage.
  • 4. Turn on pain nerve endings to alert the brain.

Once the brain gets the message, you feel “pain”. Your brain goes into “fight or flight” mode; a built in mechanism assuming you’re under attack! More on that another time.

Your brain can also spasm the muscles around the joint in order to protect it from further damage while it heals.

In a newer injury, this process of healing can last 72 hours up to one week. Over the next couple of weeks, rigid scar tissue will bind up the injury site like a drywall repair. After the scar is formed, it is unorganized like a bowl of spaghetti. Over the course of about 1 year, how the scar gets re-organized will determine the likelihood of recurrent pain and the longevity of the joint.

Chiropractic techniques succeed by providing natural pain relief by facilitating this process. Restoring joint motion turns down the pain signal, tells the brain to relax the muscles, increases circulation and ensures a quality scar formation that will be more durable and functional.

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.


Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC

Arthritis: “Smoking Joints”

I’ve seen 1,000’s of X-rays showing joints in different stages of their life. Joints can be infected, attacked by an autoimmune disease, but most commonly, wear out due to abuse. I call these “smoking joints”. They don’t look particularly smoldering on X-Ray (unless you use a little clipart magic). But, during my years of chiropractic education I was able to see first hand, in the cadavers I dissected, how years of neglect can cause spinal joints irreparable damage. Their previously rubber-like surfaces  were worn to the point that all that was left were two deformed bones rubbing together. Like brake pads worn to the nub, these joints never got that care they needed to stay healthy. Were some of these “smoking joints” also really old joints? Absolutely! But, the same body would hold 24 spinal joints, all the same age, but at clearly different stages of “smokiness”.

Here’s how joints become “smoking joints”.

A joint can become injured quickly like in football when after a play, the tight-end’s foot is left facing the wrong direction.
Or, a joint can suffer repeated small injuries like at a job where the same motion is repeat over and over again. Regardless, the injury causes a scar, or many tiny scars to accumulate around the joint.
Scars restrict the joint’s movement. Movement is how the joint gets nutrition in and waste out. So, without circulation, the joint’s cells die and get replaced by more scar tissue.
The smooth rubber-like joint surfaces and bungee cord ligaments slowly become sharp jagged rock surfaces grinding together, and tough gristle-like ligaments.

The technical name for this process is “degenerative joint disease”. In the spine, this process is especially dangerous because it can lead to disc herniation and other complications involving the spinal cord and nerves.

Chiropractic keeps joints moving and flexible. Adjustments, exercise and a healthy diet can all aid in putting out the fire on “smoking joints”, so they last longer than you do; not the other way around.

If you are suffering from arthritis, call my office for a free consultation or visit us online.

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand,DC,CCST


“Do I Have To Come In Forever?”


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I make it a point to always ask my patients about their past chiropractic experiences. I want to know what they enjoyed about the office staff. The clinic environment. What was effective? What wasn’t? This information can save a lot of time when trying to figure out the best type of care for each patient. I also try to learn what caused them to seek another chiropractor. Some of the reasons that I hear are that they recently moved and need another chiropractor to continue maintaining their health. Or, their old chiropractor has retired. Due to Arizona’s insurance environment, many are leaving the state to practice elsewhere. But, the most common reason I hear for a patient changing chiropractors is that the doctor recommended more care than someone wanted.

“He wanted me to come in forever, whether or not I had pain.”
In fact, the most common fear I hear, even when I talk socially to others about chiropractic, whether they’ve been under chiropractic care or not, is…

“I heard once you go, you have to go forever.”

I believe all of my patients have the right to care for their body the way they see fit. You and your body are stuck with one another, so if anyone should be making choices about your health, it should be YOU.

Unlike most chiropractic offices, YOU choose your level of care. As your doctor, I promise I will give you as much information as I can to make that choice an educated one.

Call my office for a FREE CONSULTATION. 623.587.7463

What is Sciatica?


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What is Sciatica?

Over the years of treating 100’s of patients with low back pain, many come in complaining of back pain and “sciatica”. But what is “sciatica”, and how is it different from just plain back pain?

Sciatica is pain involving the sciatic nerve, and is experienced when pain travels down the back of the leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body and is actually the coalescence of spinal nerves from the fourth lumbar to the third sacral nerve. It’s kind of like those bundles of wires behind you entertainment center at home when they all get twisted together. And, just like that bundle of wires, sometimes stress placed on them can cause them to short.

This giant sciatic nerve runs under your buttock muscles and down your leg; all the way to the bottom of your foot. It provides skin sensation to your entire leg, except your inner thigh. This is why many people will experience tingling, numbness or heightened sensitivity if this nerve is compressed. Also, since it controls the back muscles of your leg, someone suffering from compression or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, may also experience weakness in ankle movement.

But what could compress this nerve?

Well, just like finding the snag in a hose that’s loosing pressure, you gotta find the spot where it’s getting caught up. Sometimes, a herniated or degenerating spinal joint or disc can put pressure on the nerve as it exits the spine. In about 1 in 5 people, this nerve travels through a muscle in the buttocks called the piriformis. In most others, the nerve just goes underneath it. Regardless, the piriformis can spasm and consequently squeeze the nerve; choking off it’s blood supply. We call this “piriformis syndrome“. Other causes could be traumatic injuries or even tumors compressing the nerve. However, spinal degeneration and piriformis syndrome are by far what I see in my office.

What are the options?

The treatment depends on the cause. Your medical physician will likely prescribe NSAIDS (non-steriodal pain relievers), ice and rest. Should those fail to provide relief, other medical options include spinal and intramuscular injections. There are also surgical options to remove the body part placing pressure on the nerve.

Can Chiropractic Help?

As a Chiropractic Physician, I start by finding the root cause of the sciatic pain. If it’s being caused by one of the two most common perpetrators, I know there’s a high likelihood I can help that patient find relief and prevent future re-occurrences. I do this through a tailored program designed to restore proper function to the area(s) involved. Joint Adjustments, Deep Tissue, Stretching and other techniques can be used to relieve the pressure on the nerve. Home exercises can also prevent a subsequent attack. If the sciatica is caused by something more serious, I always advise my patients to the appropriate medical specialist. Over time, more and more medical doctors are now open to working with chiropractic doctors to make sure the patient gets the most appropriate care. In some cases, a combined effort is needed to begin the patient down the road to relief.

If you have any questions regarding Back Pain or Sciatica, please call my office for a free consultation at, 623-587.7463.

Aaron L. Wiegand, DC, CCST

What kind of headache do I have? Part 2 Migraines


What kind of headache do I have? Part 2 Migraines

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand,DC,CCST


Anyone who suffers from Migraine Headaches will tell you the level of pain they produce can render them unable to function at times. Many find they become more sensitive to light, sounds and smells. The pain is usually isolated to one side of the head. Unlike tension or stress headaches which are caused by muscular spasms in the head and neck, Migraine Headaches are likely a neurological phenomenon. However, almost all Migraine sufferers experience neck muscle soreness before the onset of the headache. About half get signals one is coming, in the form of irritability, food cravings, nausea, diarrhea and even depression, to name a few. About a third of Migraine sufferers see an aura, or a blurry spot in their field of vision just before one comes on. The pain can last a couple hours, to a few days.

Migraines are believed to be caused by the dilation of arteries in the brain. It is not known what causes Migraines, however recent research suggest MSG containing foods like many soups and snack seasonings can be a trigger.

Treatments for Migraine Headaches include various medications, including antidepressants, corticosteroids, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and anti-seizure drugs. Other surgical interventions are also an option.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments have a significant effect on reducing the frequency of Migraines. One study in 2000 showed 1 in 5 patients showed a 90% reduction in symptoms. 75% of the patients felt a reduction in how their Migraine’s affected their life:

“Conclusion: The results of this study support previous results showing that some people report significant improvement in migraines after chiropractic SMT. A high percentage (>80%) of participants reported stress as a major factor for their migraines. It appears probable that chiropractic care has an effect on the physical conditions related to stress and that in these people the effects of the migraine are reduced.”

If you have questions about headaches, neck pain and low back pain, please call my office for a free consultation.