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June 2015 Health Newsletter

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» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» Boost Performance - Eat Your Breakfast
» Chiropractic Physicians Urge Conservative Approach to Pain Management
» Social Media... Depressing

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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Boost Performance - Eat Your Breakfast

Skipping breakfast can lead to a reduced athletic performance later in the day according to U.K. researchers. In a group of 10 males, researchers compared performance later in the day when eating breakfast as well as when skipping breakfast. In this particular group of individuals, when breakfast was skipped, even though more calories tended to be consumed during lunch (an average of approximately 200 additional calories), their later day performance was still reduced. More studies will need to be performed but if you're an athlete with an athletic performance later it the day, making a decision to skip breakfast may reduce your overall performance, even if more calories are consumed later in the day.

Source: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, online May 12, 2015.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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Chiropractic Physicians Urge Conservative Approach to Pain Management

Painkiller overuse has led to negative outcomes for musculoskeletal conditions, reveals JAAOS study
Arlington, Va.— With new research highlighting more risks associated with the increased use of opioids for pain, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) strongly urges patients and healthcare providers to consider first exhausting conservative forms of pain management. According to a recent report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), the increased usage of opioids has led to unanticipated consequences such as a tolerance among some patients to the drug hydrocodone and negative treatment outcomes for conditions such as work-related musculoskeletal disorders, joint replacements and spine surgery.

"Beyond the risks of overuse and addiction, prescription drugs that numb pain may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is, or that it has healed. That misunderstanding can lead to over-exertion and a delay in the healing process or even to permanent injury," says ACA media spokesperson Robert Hayden, DC, PhD.

JAAOS points out that more than 80 percent of the world’s opioids are consumed in the United States and that orthopedic surgeons are the third-highest prescribers of these medications – behind primary care physicians and internists. Researchers note that orthopedic surgeons must continue to treat pain but also implement strategies to battle the opioid epidemic.  

According to Dr. Hayden, one potential strategy is the use of conservative forms of care for pain before initiating higher-risk options such as opioids. A conservative health care model emphasizes more cost-effective and safer approaches over potentially addictive medications or surgery for pain management and health enhancement. For example, conservative management of back pain may include trying spinal manipulation combined with exercise and stretching prior to moving on to procedures involving higher risk.

Health care quality organizations now recognize the value of a conservative approach. Earlier this year, the Joint Commission, which certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including every major hospital, revised its pain management standard to include chiropractic services and acupuncture. Clinical experts in pain management who provide input to the Commission’s standards affirmed that treatment strategies may consider both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches.

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source:, online May 20, 2015.

Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2015

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Social Media... Depressing

A growing amount of research indicates those suffering from depression, loneliness and other mental health issues can be at risk for addiction to excessive internet usage. A new study shows similar findings with Facebook usage. Facebook addiction or intrusion arises when Facebook usage begins to negatively impacting one’s day-to-day activities and interpersonal relationships. In this recent study, 672 Facebook users were assessed utilizing questionnaires to determine their degree of Facebook addiction and current level of depression, if any. Researchers found those individuals with higher depression scores suffered from higher levels of Facebook addiction. Additionally, their time spent online was also associated with the degree of Facebook addiction - the more time online, the more Facebook addiction. However, time spent online alone was not associated with depression. These findings indicate that Facebook and likely other social media websites have a heightened attraction to those suffering from depression and addictive behaviors. Findings also identified those with the highest risk of becoming addicted to Facebook - young males spending an extensive amount of time online.

Source: European Psychiatry, online May 8, 2015.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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