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February 2015 Health Newsletter

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» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» Leg Pain Relief From Chiropractic Care
» Back Surgery Even More Risky In The Obese

» ACA Statement on NIH Expert Panel Final Report on Use of Opioids in Chronic Pain

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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Leg Pain Relief From Chiropractic Care

New research indicates chiropractic care coupled with exercise and pain management techniques is more successful at easing back-related leg pain than simply exercise and pain management techniques alone. Researchers at the University of Minnesota recruited 192 patients suffering from back pain with pain radiating into the legs - commonly referred to as sciatica. Patients received either therapeutic exercises and basic pain management advice, or, therapeutic exercises and basic pain management advice along with 12 weeks of chiropractic spinal manipulation. After 12 weeks, twice as many of the patients receiving the added chiropractic spinal manipulation experienced a 75 percent or greater reduction in leg pain as compared with those who did not receive chiropractic spinal manipulation; 37 percent as compared with 19 percent. After one year, patients who received the added chiropractic spinal manipulation still had higher scores for overall improvement and satisfaction.

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, online September 15, 2014.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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Back Surgery Even More Risky In The Obese

Surgery always comes with the risk of serious complications, even including death. Findings from a recent study indicate obese patients who undergo lumbar fusion have an even greater risk of blood loss, longer hospital stay, higher risk of complication and worse functional outcome than do non-obese patients. According to researchers of the study, "These findings suggest that both surgeons and patients should acknowledge the significantly increased morbidity profile of obese patients after lumbar fusion." Whether you're obese or not, chiropractic care offers a safe, natural, non-invasive treatment approach for dealing with back, neck and spinal related pain and discomfort. Chiropractic care not only focuses on providing relief, but it does so by dealing with the cause of the pain and discomfort rather than just masking the symptoms. If you're in pain or discomfort and/or are considering back surgery, call your local doctor of chiropractic today and setup a no-obligation consultation. And remember, back pain can often be reversed - back surgery, cannot.

Source: Spine: 01 January 2015 - Vol. 40 - Issue 1.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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ACA Statement on NIH Expert Panel Final Report on Use of Opioids in Chronic Pain

Arlington, Va. -  American Chiropractic Association (ACA) President Anthony Hamm, DC, issued the following comment today on a new report released by an independent National Institutes of Health (NIH) panel about the need for individualized, patient-centered care to treat and monitor the estimated 100 million Americans living with chronic pain. "ACA commends NIH for recognizing the value of an individual, patient-centered and multi-faceted approach to managing chronic pain. It is also interesting to read the conclusion from the panel that widespread opioid use does not provide an effective single approach for the chronic pain patient. Services provided by chiropractic physicians, including those being delivered in integrated community health centers, have proven effective with respect to patient satisfaction. ACA encourages NIH to study all complementary and integrated approaches to chronic pain management, including chiropractic. These integrated approaches can offer a higher degree of patient safety and reduce the use of medications."

Author: American Chiropractic Association.
Source: - January 16, 2015.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association. 2015

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