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November 2014 Health Newsletter

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» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» Neck Pain Sufferers Most Satisfied With Chiropractic Care
» Colon Cancer On The Rise In Young Adults

» Drink Water, Prevent Kidney Stones

Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure

Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure

March 16, 2007 -- A special chiropractic adjustment can significantly lower high blood pressure, a placebo-controlled study suggests.

"This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination," study leader George Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. "And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems," adds Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center.

Eight weeks after undergoing the procedure, 25 patients with early-stage high blood pressure had significantly lower blood pressure than 25 similar patients who underwent a sham chiropractic adjustment. Because patients can't feel the technique, they were unable to tell which group they were in.

X-rays showed that the procedure realigned the Atlas vertebra -- the doughnut-like bone at the very top of the spine -- with the spine in the treated patients, but not in the sham-treated patients.

Compared to the sham-treated patients, those who got the real procedure saw an average 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure count), and an average 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number).

None of the patients took blood pressure medicine during the eight-week study.

"When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn't believe it. It was way too good to be true," Bakris says. "The statistician said, 'I don't even believe it.' But we checked for everything, and there it was."

Bakris and colleagues report their findings in the advance online issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension.

Atlas Adjustment and Hypertension

The procedure calls for adjustment of the C-1 vertebra. It's called the Atlas vertebra because it holds up the head, just as the titan Atlas holds up the world in Greek mythology.

Marshall Dickholtz Sr., DC, of the Chiropractic Health Center, in Chicago, is the 84-year-old chiropractor who performed all the procedures in the study. He calls the Atlas vertebra "the fuse box to the body."

"At the base of the brain are two centers that control all the muscles of the body. If you pinch the base of the brain -- if the Atlas gets locked in a position as little as a half a millimeter out of line -- it doesn't cause any pain but it upsets these centers," Dickholtz tells WebMD.

The subtle adjustment is practiced by the very small subgroup of chiropractors certified in National Upper Cervical Chiropractic (NUCCA) techniques. The procedure employs precise measurements to determine a patient's Atlas vertebra alignment. If realignment is deemed necessary, the chiropractor uses his or her hands to gently manipulate the vertebra.

"We are not doctors. We are spinal engineers," Dickholtz says. "We use mathematics, geometry, and physics to learn how to slide everything back into place."

What does this have to do with high blood pressure pressure?

Bakris notes that some researchers have suggested that injury to the Atlas vertebra can affect blood flow in the arteries at the base of the skull. Dickholtz thinks the misaligned Atlas triggers release of signals that make the arteries contract. Whether the procedure actually fixes such injuries is unknown, Bakris says.

Bakris began the study after a fellow doctor told him that something strange was happening in his family practice. The doctor had been sending some of his patients to a chiropractor. Some of these patients had high blood pressure. 

Yet after seeing the chiropractor, the patients' blood pressure had normalized -- and a few of them were able to stop taking their blood pressure medications.

So Bakris, then at Rush University, designed the pilot study with 50 patients. He's now organizing a much bigger clinical trial.

"Is it going to be for everybody with high blood pressure? No," Bakris says. "We clearly need to identify those who can benefit. It is pretty clear that some kind of head or neck trauma early in life is related to this. This is really a work in progress. It is certainly in the early stages of research."

Dickholtz has been teaching, practicing, and studying the NUCCA technique for 50 years. He says high blood pressure is far from the only thing an Atlas misalignment causes.

"On the other hand, if people have high blood pressure, there is a tremendous possibility they need an Atlas adjustment," he says.



Author: Health News by Daniel J. DeNoon
Source: Rush University Hypertension Center Chicago IL
Copyright: Journal Of Human Hypertension 3

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Neck Pain Sufferers Most Satisfied With Chiropractic Care

Neck pain sufferers reported increased satisfaction with chiropractic care over medication, according to a recent study. In the study, researchers assessed patient satisfaction scores in those suffering from acute and subacute neck pain. Methods of care included chiropractic care, specifically spinal manipulation, home exercise and advice care, and prescription medication. While both chiropractic care and home exercise and advice care were associated with more satisfaction with the information provided versus medication, individuals receiving chiropractic care were the most satisfied with their general care received compared to the two other groups. If you’re suffering from neck pain and need some satisfaction, call your local doctor of chiropractic today for a no obligation evaluation!

Source: JMPT. Volume 37, Issue 8, Pages 593–601, October 2014.
Copyright: LLC 2014

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Colon Cancer On The Rise In Young Adults

Colon and rectal cancers are increasing among younger adults, according to new research. At the same time, incidents of colon and rectal cancers in those over 50 years of age have been decreasing slightly. Researchers aren’t sure why rates are increasing among young adults, but attribute the decrease in those older adults to the increase in screening and removal of suspicious growths before they’re able to turn malignant. Should things continue on their current path, researchers believe colon and rectal cancer cases in those aged 20 to 34 years could come close to doubling in the next 15 years. For 35 to 49 year olds, those rates could increase by 28 to 46 percent.

JAMA Surgery, online November 5, 2014.
Copyright: LLC 2014

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Drink Water, Prevent Kidney Stones

New guidelines released from the American College of Physicians indicate that preventing kidney stones may be as simple as drinking more water.  Experts suggest drinking enough fluids to generate two liters of urine daily in order to keep kidney stones at bay. Kidney stones are formed from solid crystals in the urine and increasing the consumption of water dilutes the solids and decreases their abilities to form into stones. It should be noted that drinking any fluids does not generate the same benefits of drinking water alone. Certain fluids such as sodas, especially those containing phosphoric acid, can actually increase the formation of kidney stones. Stick with water and consume two to three liters daily with the goal of generating 2 liters of clear urine daily. If the urine is yellow, you're likely not consuming enough fluids.

Source: Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(9):I-24.
Copyright: LLC 2014

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