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June 2016 Health Newsletter


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» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» June is Scoliosis Awareness Month
» Superbugs and the Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle
» The Cost of Smoking (Even if You Don't Smoke)

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


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June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

With the arrival of summer, June also heralds the start of Scoliosis Awareness Month. The Scoliosis Research Society declared this month a key time to focus on detection and early treatment for this condition, which affects nearly 3% of Americans. Typically detected between the ages of 10 and 15, scoliosis is characterized by an abnormal lateral (sideways) curvature of the spine. Curvature can range from mild to severe, and may cause pain, low self-esteem, and in severe cases, issues with movement or breathing. In children, bones are still growing and developing, which presents an opportunity to prevent further progression of scoliosis with a back brace. For teens and adults, however, the adult bone structure has set, and braces are not common interventions.

Early detection of scoliosis is the very best way to minimize progression of spinal curvature or the need for surgery later on. Methods of detection can include in-school screenings, regular pediatric physical exams, and evaluations by a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic). In fact, DCs can play an important role in both detection and treatment for scoliosis. In a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, adults with moderate-severe scoliosis enrolled in an exercise-based chiropractic treatment program saw significant improvements after six months. Not only did more than 75 percent of participants experience reduced Cobb angles (decreased curvature), but pain and disability scores also improved and maintained this improvement even after a two-year follow-up.

Chiropractic treatment shows promise for non-surgical and non-invasive treatments for scoliosis. June is a key time to raise awareness about the importance of scoliosis detection and treatment, and advances in non-surgical alternatives such as chiropractic treatment are offering individuals with this condition more options than ever to manage scoliosis safely and effectively, and improve their quality of life.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF)
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2016


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Superbugs and the Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

For years, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or "superbugs," have raised growing concerns both inside the medical industry and out. These discussions have lead to increased awareness about unnecessary antibiotics use as a significant contributor to this resistance. Despite this, the widespread use of antibiotics in both humans and agriculture, and inadequate research on new antibiotics, has resulted in more antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Last month, the American Society for Microbiology reported a bacterial infection within the United States that was resistant to even the strongest antibiotics. "The recent discovery of a plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria," wrote the researchers. Such bacteria have also been found in Europe and elsewhere, highlighting the importance of a global-scale focus on research and minimization of antibiotics use. But individuals are also called upon to lead healthy, active lifestyles to do their part. Healthy individuals with strong immune systems are more likely to fight off infections without antibiotics and less likely to spread infections to others. Maintaining individual health can help bolster health at the population level, protecting large groups of people from the effects of resistant strains of bacteria.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Online; May 26, 2016.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2016


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The Cost of Smoking (Even if You Don't Smoke)

In 1964, news that lung cancer was linked to smoking hit the masses. Since then, smoking rates have halved, but it is nevertheless still taking a serious toll. According to research from the University of California San Francisco, states are still spending millions (or even billions) of healthcare dollars on smoking. The researchers compiled their data into an interactive map, which displays how much money states spent or saved on smoking in 2009. California, for example, saved over $15 billion that year alone. Kentucky, on the other hand, has smoking rates higher than the national average and spent approximately $1.7 billion.

While these numbers are yet another important public health reminder about the costs of smoking, the researchers' underlying message can be extrapolated to other areas of healthcare as well. Leading healthy, active lifestyles can cut healthcare costs enormously from many different angles. For example, obesity-related health care in 2005 cost the United States $190 billion. Pursuing good health is not just beneficial for the individual; it drives down overall healthcare costs for an entire population and helps set the stage for a happier, healthier society.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: PLOS Medicine, online May 10, 2016.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2016


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