Breathing Through The Pain, Need For Rehab, & Forward Head Posture And Shoulder Pain

CF 164: Breathing Through The Pain, Need For Rehab, & Forward Head Posture And Shoulder Pain

Today we’re going to talk about the impact of chiropractic care on opioid use and then we’ll talk about garbage marketing in the chiropractic profession. I go off a bit. I can’t help it. They make me nuts. 

But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music.

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OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are making evidence-based chiropractic fun, profitable, and accessible while we make you and your patients better all the way around.  If this episode has a different type of sound quality when compared to previous episodes, my main computer died. It choked a little and held it’s belly and rolled around in agony for about a month and then…..sadly, it straight up and died. 

So, I have another ordered and in the meantime, I’m figuring out how to do this through my MacBook Pro. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We’ll make it happen.  We’re the fun kind of research. Not the stuffy, high-brow kind of research. We’re research talk over a couple of beers. I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.   If you haven’t yet I have a few things you should do. 

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You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #164 Now if you missed last week’s episode, we talked about opioids and spinal pain and then we talked about vitalists’ scripts. That was about the point that I lost my mind momentarily. Because they make me crazy and all.  Make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

On the personal end of things…..

Wow, what a week I had last week, y’all. And I’m not talking in a good way. Oh hell no. This was one of those kick you in the face and in the backside. And when you’re falling to the ground, putting a boot in your ribs for good measure.  One word, two syllables. Day-um.  For patients that I’m comfortable with, it’s common for them to ask me how my day’s going and my go-to answer is usually something similar to, “Ah you know….pissing excellence. As usual. It becomes a habit after a while.” Yeah, not last week. I wasn’t the windshield. I was the bug. 

First thing’s first, on last Tuesday, my longest tenured employee and office manager turned in her resignation. Over 11 years, down the drain. She’s not just a staff member. She’s become my little buddy. She’s hilarious. She was also our marketing girl. Definitely a boot to the face. Pow.  But there are a lot of positives there as well. Being my longest employed staffer, she was also my highest paid so we will save a good chunk of money. We just need to make some adjustments on the marketing and things of that nature.  Then, on Wednesday, as mentioned previously, we joined the Wealthability program and we had a meeting with our new accountants they matched us with. They’re out in St. Louis. Well, they found that our previous CPA was wrong and now we have to pay a gob in taxes we weren’t expecting to pay. We can spread it out over an amount of time and it’s fixable but day-um…..

Come on man.

When you hire professionals, you expect a professional job that will prevent you from getting into trouble. Don’t you? That was a kick to the nether regions. Smack.  Then, later that afternoon, my main computer that has my entire life on it straight up died. Luckily, it had slowed a bit and I called my computer guy to come in and back it up so it can be replicated on another computer. Still, that computer won’t be here for 2 damn weeks.  Kick to the shin. Thunk. 

Then, two of my girls got the second vaccine shot and both got sicker than dogs. One missed work on Wednesday. Not that big of a deal. Just kind of sucked.  Then I got a visit from a connection that works in my Dad’s nursing home. She came to my house on Thursday night after work to tell me my Dad is being mistreated and is withering away.  Stomp to the noggin while I’m down. Snap.  There were some other little things here and there but you get the picture. Rough week. But we’re on the mend.

We’re heading the right direction this week I think. We have some good ideas and I think we are going to make some changes.  So, as a learning lesson, bad things can be used for an impetus to change course and go in a positive direction. For example, I’ve begun going down the path of fully integrating. I’m saving enough money with the departure of my manager that I can use that money toward integrating and hiring a nurse practitioner. 

This would fit my long term plan of being able to remove myself from my day to day practice. It’s a piece of the puzzle. The final piece of the puzzle would be hiring an associate. At that point, I believe my time begins to get freed up a bit.  Hopefully in five years, I’m mentoring my colleagues and teaching them how to accomplish what I’ve accomplished. I’m sharing wisdom with hungry evidence-based chiros and spreading the good news about evidence-based, patient-centered chiropractic care.  We’re going to get there.  In other news, last week wasn’t a total loss. You may have seen where the Texas Chiropractors, after a ten-year battle, put the smackdown on the Texas Medical Association. People’s elbow, Kabam!!

The biggest bully of bullies got slapped the hell around by the Texas Chiropractic Association and the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners at the Texas Supreme Court level.  Just briefly, the TMA had sued the TCA and the TBCE approximately 10 years ago over our right to perform the VONT testing. Also known as vestibulo-ocular nystagmus test. Then that morphed into attacking our rights to diagnose and our rights to treat the Neuromusculoskeletal system rather than just the musculoskeletal system. Seemingly silly little things but, if they had won, technically, we couldn’t treat anything having to do with ‘nerve’ and we couldn’t have diagnosed our own patients so we’d depend on referrals from medical professionals……and how do you think that would have turned out in the long run?

Not good for an chiropractor on the planet because other medical associations would have precedence and would have repeated the process. Those of us in leadership positions for the TCA have been well-aware for the last decade that if we lost this case, we would be the first domino and it would effect every other chiropractor.  We lost, then we lost the appeal, then the Texas Supreme Court gave us the win. And the Texas Medical Association, the most predatory state medical association in the United States, has to cover the court costs. Oh, and on top of that, they can suck it.  We are going to have an entire episode where I’ll be joined by my fellow TCA members. Folks that have been the deepest in the trenches on this case and know every in and out of the entire process.  It’s going to be a good one so keep a lookout for that one.  Alright, let’s get to the good stuff shall we?

Item #1

This first one is called, “Can Slow Deep Breathing Reduce Pain? An Experimental Study Exploring Mechanisms” by Jafari, et. al. (1) and published in the Journal Of Pain in September/October of 2020. It’s not a lot hot but hot enough!

Why They Did It

This study sought to investigate effects of instructed breathing patterns on experimental heat pain and to explore possible mechanisms of action

How They Did It

  • In a within-subject experimental design, 48 healthy volunteers performed 4 breathing patterns: 
      1. Unpaced breathing, 
      2. Paced breathing (PB) at the participant’s spontaneous breathing frequency, 
      3. Slow deep breathing at 6 breaths per minute with a high inspiration/expiration ratio (SDB-H), and 
      4. Slow deep breathing at 6 breaths per minute with a low inspiration/expiration ratio (SDB-L)
  • During presentation of each breathing pattern, participants received painful heat stimuli of 3 different temperatures and rated each stimulus on pain intensity
  • Respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure were recorded.

What They Found

Compared to unpaced breathing, participants reported less intense pain during each of the 3 instructed breathing patterns.

Wrap It Up

Slow deep breathing is more efficacious to attenuate pain when breathing is paced at a slow rhythm with an expiration that is long relative to inspiration, but the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Oh…..elucidated. That’s a $5 word for the research crew there. Congrats on elucidated, folks. 


Item #2

This one is called, “Global estimates of the need for rehabilitation based on the Global Burden of Disease study 2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019” by Cieza, et. al.  (2) and published in The Lancet on December 19, 2020. Smokin’, sizzlin’, steamy pot of chili pie.  I have learned, by the way, that Frito Pies are not an American thing.  It’s just mostly a Texan thing. I have eaten Frito pies my whole damn life and didn’t figure this factoid out until just a few years ago. I play Call Of Duty here and there on xbox.

I know….I’m a nerd but I’m a killing’ nerd on occasion! I can kill real people in a fake way right there with the best of them when I want to. And I have my glasses on. And I haven’t had any more than a few beers. Lol.  Anyway, I play with a dude from Louisville, KY and he’d never heard of Frito pies. Holy cow people. There are some things you need to get tuned into if you’re not from Texas. They are as follows:

    • Frito Pie
    • Fried Okra
    • Fried squash. 

Yes, all are terrible for you so… a priest told me at the bar back when I went to college in Louisiana and was asking him how this whole ‘priest being in a bar’ worked out….he said, “Everything in moderation, Brother.” We should probably get back to the paper, Y’all. 

Why They Did It

Rehabilitation has often been seen as a disability-specific service needed by only few of the population. Despite its individual and societal benefits, rehabilitation has not been prioritized in countries and is under-resourced. We present global, regional, and country data for the number of people who would benefit from rehabilitation at least once during the course of their disabling illness or injury.

How They Did It

To estimate the need for rehabilitation, data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019 were used to calculate the prevalence and years of life lived with disability of 25 diseases, impairments, etc. 

What They Found

  • Globally, in 2019, 2.41 billion individuals had conditions that would benefit from rehabilitation, contributing to 310 million years of life lived with disability
  • This number had increased by 63% from 1990 to 2019
  • The disease area that contributed most to prevalence was musculoskeletal disorders with low back pain being the most prevalent condition in 134 of the 204 countries analyzed.

Wrap It Up

The authors wrap up their thoughts with this, “To our knowledge, this is the first study to produce a global estimate of the need for rehabilitation services and to show that at least one in every three people in the world needs rehabilitation at some point in the course of their illness or injury. This number counters the common view of rehabilitation as a service required by only few people. We argue that rehabilitation needs to be brought close to communities as an integral part of primary health care to reach more people in need.”

I will add that the vitalists that think they can only adjust their way out of every damn condition or complaint need to get in the back of the line and just keep quiet. If you are going to be current rather than look like a dumb dumb, then you need to understand that a good, learned chiropractor knows that we do not only mobilize with adjustments, stretching, and things of that nature. But we also much know when to stabilize through strengthening activities.  If you’re just hitting the high spots on all of your patients, you need to be better and raise you game. Mr. Vitalist…..I’m talking to you. 

Item #3

The last one today is called, “Does forward head posture change subacromial space in active or passive arm elevation?” By Dehqan, et. al. (3) and published in the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy on November 30, of 2020 and that’s about the right amount of hot Why They Did It Forward head posture (FHP) is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders that appears to affect the shoulder joint through the shared muscles between the head and neck area and the shoulder girdle. The present study compared the acromiohumeral distance between individuals with normal head and neck alignment and those with moderate and severe FHP in active and passive arm elevation.

How They Did It

  • Based on the craniovertebral angle, 60 volunteers were selected and equally distributed among three groups, including group one with normal head and neck alignment, group two with moderate FHP and group three with severe FHP
  • The space between the humeral head and the acromion was measured in 10°, 45° and 60° of active and passive arm elevation as the acromiohumeral distance.

What They Found

  • The acromiohumeral distance was only different between the three groups at 45° arm elevation angle, and this difference was significant between groups one and three
  • In active and passive arm elevation, increased arm elevation angle reduced the subacromial space significantly
  • Also, in each arm elevation angle, the subacromial space differed significantly between the active and passive arm elevations.

Wrap It Up

They concluded, “The acromiohumeral distance was significantly lower in the severe FHP group than the group with normal head and neck alignment in the 45° active arm elevation angle, which could be due to the changed tension in tissues between active and passive arm elevation and also the maximum muscle activity in the 45° active arm elevation angle.”

Shoulder impingement folks.

I didn’t know anything about it until I went through he DACO program. Which is now the Neuromusculoskeletal Diplomate. It’s a real estate issue and when you have an upper cross type setup, forward head posture, you decrease the real estate.  Increase the real estate, decrease the issue in this sort of a setup.  Alright, that’s it. Y’all be safe. Keep changing our profession from your little corner of the world. Keep taking care of yourselves and everyone around you. Tough times are upon us but, the sun will shine again. Trust it, believe it, count on it. Let’s get to the message. Same as it is every week. 


Remember the evidence-informed brochures and posters at   


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The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment rather than chemical treatments like pills and shots. When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show us patients can get good to excellent results for headaches, neck pain, back pain, and joint pain to name just a few. It’s safe and cost-effective can decrease surgeries & disability and we do it through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal hassle to the patient. And, if the patient treats preventativly after initial recovery, we can usually keep it that way while raising the overall level of health!

Key Point:

At the end of the day, patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment that offers the least harm. When it comes to non-complicated musculoskeletal complaints…. That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show and tell us your suggestions for future episodes.  Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on podcast platforms.  We know how this works by now. If you value something, you have to share it, interact with it, review it, talk about it from time to time, and actively hit a few buttons to support it here and there when asked. It really does make a big difference. 


We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.



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About the Author & Host

Dr. Jeff Williams – Fellow of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger  


  1. Hassan Jafari, Ali Gholamrezaei, Mathijs Franssen, Lukas Van Oudenhove, Qasim Aziz, Omer Van den Bergh, Johan W.S. Vlaeyen, Ilse Van Diest, Can Slow Deep Breathing Reduce Pain? An Experimental Study Exploring Mechanisms, The Journal of Pain, Volume 21, Issues 9–10, 2020, 1018-1030
  2. Cieza A, Causey K, Kamenov K, Hanson SW, Chatterji S, Vox T, Global estimates of the need for rehabilitation based on the Global Burden of Disease study 2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. 396 (10267), P2006-2017, December 19, 2020.
  3. Behdokht Dehqan, Cyrus Taghizadeh Delkhoush, Majid Mirmohammadkhani & Fatemeh Ehsani (2020) Does forward head posture change subacromial space in active or passive arm elevation?, Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/10669817.2020.1854010