Newsletter Archives > Monthly Health Newsletter: July 2016 Health Newsletter

July 2016 Health Newsletter

Current Articles

» The Cost of Your Lower Back Pain
» Is Chiropractic Care Safe for Children?
» Chiropractic Care and Falls
» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure

The Cost of Your Lower Back Pain

Chronic lower back pain is incredibly common. In fact, up to 50% of individuals may be affected by low back pain at some point, which has spurred the Global Burden of Disease Study to investigate worldwide impairment from this pain. A common type is known as "uncomplicated low back pain," which does not radiate to other areas of the body, and is not associated with damage to the spine or other structures. This pain can be debilitating and expensive, with the global costs estimated at $20 billion annually. New research suggests there may be therapies to lessen both the costs and discomfort of low back pain. The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics published a study that revealed chiropractic treatments significantly lowered costs for patients with low back pain. The researchers found that patients treated by a both a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic) and an MD spent hundreds of dollars less than back patients treated exclusively by an MD, or even an MD and a physical therapist. These findings show the potential for chiropractic treatment to improve uncomplicated lower back pain in a way that is cost-effective and sustainable.

Source: J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016 May;39(4):252-62.
Copyright: LLC 2016

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Is Chiropractic Care Safe for Children?

Children are different than adults. Their growing bodies have different needs, and children require a different medical approach than their adult counterparts. Pediatric medicine, therefore, specializes in treatment tailored specifically to the needs of children, whether those needs are dental, orthopedic, or emotional. Chiropractic care is no exception, and can be an incredibly beneficial component of a growing child's care. This month, the American Chiropractic Academy (ACA) published a statement that "pediatric chiropractic care, when administered properly, is effective, safe and gentle." This statement came on the heels of a report last month from the Chiropractors' Association of Australia (CAA) about the demonstrated safety of childhood chiropractic care in Australia. Both the ACA and the CAA illustrated the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for children in scientific literature. Large studies from the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics show that serious adverse events in pediatric chiropractic care are extremely rare. Furthermore, chiropractic treatment has been investigated as an effective approach for colic in infants, as well as for suboptimal breastfeeding. A cross-sectional survey of 956 chiropractors in Europe revealed that pediatric chiropractors also treat gastrointestinal, immune-related, and neurologic conditions. There is overwhelming evidence that with proper application, chiropractic care for children can be a safe and effective treatment for many conditions. Most chiropractors have pediatric patients, and extensive specialized training in pediatric chiropractic care ensures the best possible outcomes. Children rely on a robust healthcare team for their best overall health, and chiropractors are a valuable member of that ensemble. Strict regulation, rigorous training, and precise guidelines ensure that children are receiving the best, safest chiropractic care to support their optimal well-being.

Source: June 1, 2016.
Copyright: LLC 2016

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Chiropractic Care and Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three individuals over 65 years old falls each year. Further, 2.5 million of these falls lead to emergency room visits annually. These incidents can have devastating results, from hip fractures, to head injuries, or even death. The CDC reports that the number of deaths from unintentional falls have risen by approximately 25 percent from 2004-2013, and medical expenditures for falls cost upwards of $34 billion annually. An important step in preventing falls is to identify why people fall. There are many reasons individuals can sustain a fall, from strength, to reflexes, to sight, and more. One growing area of research is the effect that chiropractic treatment may have on minimizing risk factors for falls, particularly in the elderly. A study released recently by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics assessed this potential through a program that attempted to improve sensorimotor function, proprioception (the sense of the ankle joint's position), and other outcomes in elderly participants after 12 weeks of chiropractic therapy. Those receiving chiropractic care were compared to participants who received no intervention. After 12 weeks, participants who received chiropractic care saw significant improvements over those who did not. The group who received treatment had improved stepping reaction time, proprioception, and health-related quality of life. While the researchers acknowledged that these improvements do not prove that these individuals are at lower risk for falling, the study does strongly suggest that chiropractic care can minimize potential risk factors for sustaining a fall in the elderly population. The authors concluded with a call for further research on the promising topic of minimizing fall risk through chiropractic care.

Source: J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016 May;39(4):267-78.
Copyright: LLC 2016

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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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