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December 2016 Health Newsletter

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» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» Shop But Don’t Drop This Holiday Season
» Movement and Inactivity: The Role They Play In Blood Glucose Levels
» Studies Prove Daily Consumption of Nuts Reduces Inflammation

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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Shop But Don’t Drop This Holiday Season
Advice from our friends at the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) can keep you from dropping this holiday season. So before you gallop off to fill your sleigh, read through the following checklist as created by the ACA to keep you happy, healthy and out of pain this holiday season:
  • Drink water frequently throughout the day to keep your muscles and body hydrated.
  • Stretch before and after a long day of shopping. When you are under stress, your muscles are less flexible than usual.
  • Wear shoes with plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the impact of walking on hard shopping mall floors.
  • Make sure the clothing you wear is as comfortable as possible. You may be going from a cold environment (outdoors) to a warm environment (indoors), so wear layers.
  • Leave your purse at home. Wear a light fanny pack or a light backpack instead. Pack only those items that are absolutely essential (driver’s license, credit card, etc.).
  • Plan frequent breaks into your shopping day – at least once every 45 minutes for most people. Those with less stamina may need to take a break every 20-30 minutes.
  • When taking breaks, eat light foods. A salad and some fruit is a better option than a burger and fries.
  • Skip the coffee break. Coffee contains caffeine, which dehydrates you and adds even more stress to your body.
  • If possible, obtain a locker – and drop your packages there during your breaks. Don’t carry around more than is absolutely necessary at one time.
  • If your mall or shopping center doesn’t offer lockers, plan frequent trips to your car.
Once You’re Home and Wrapping Your Gifts…
  • Since there is no “ideal” position for wrapping gifts, the most important thing to remember is to take breaks often. Get up and stretch, or go make some hot apple cider.
  • Do not wrap packages while sitting on a hard floor. This can wreak havoc on your posture.
  • Always stretch before and after you wrap gifts. Stretch the opposites; if you are leaning forward when wrapping your gifts, stretch backward when you are done.
If you still find yourself stressed, tight and feeling like you need a recharge, we welcome you to contact us our office for a quick, pain-free evaluation.

Source: American Chiropractic Association. November 10, 2005.
Copyright: 2005

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Movement and Inactivity: The Role They Play In Blood Glucose Levels

It's been said that living a sedentary life can be just as detrimental to one's health as smoking. Watching TV, sitting behind a desk all day, or simply failing to get adequate exercise can increase blood pressure, mortality rates, cholesterol levels, and the likelihood of obesity. Recent reports also prove that inactivity can have a major impact on a person's blood glucose levels. Doctors at the University of Missouri have evaluated how inactivity impacts blood glucose levels. First, they had the volunteers walk an average of 5,000 steps per day for three days. Then, for another three days, volunteers stopped walking and used elevators and escalators more often.  In Phase I, the subjects had consistent glucose levels throughout the day. However, in Phase II, the glucose levels significantly spiked during periods of inactivity.  Inconsistencies and spikes in glucose levels are key contributors to the development of type II diabetes. The American College of Sports Medicine took this study to the next level. They compared the following three activities:

  • Standing: Glucose levels are 5 to 12 percent lower when standing as opposed to sitting.
  • Walking: These levels were reduced even more when a person started walking during the day. They lowered by 24 percent.
  • Cycling: Cycling lowered the glucose levels even more; they were down by 44 percent.
Clearly, staying active throughout the day can reduce one's risk of type II diabetes. Chiropractors are holistic practitioners—they care about the whole person. That is why they offer dietary and lifestyle recommendations to their patients. Their goal is to be a pillar of support to patients who want to live a healthy life.

Source: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, online July 27, 2016.
Copyright: LLC 2016

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Studies Prove Daily Consumption of Nuts Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is a major contributing factor in many diseases, from heart disease and diabetes to chronic body pain and migraines. Reducing the inflammatory process is an important key in achieving optimal health. But how can a person go about doing this? In a 2016 analysis by the American Society for Nutrition, nuts were shown to be an important component in the inflammation-lowering process. An earlier study (2014) proved that nuts specifically reduced the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death, but researchers weren’t exactly sure why. The 2016 study evaluated the correlation between nuts and inflammatory biomarkers. Researchers found that substituting meat, processed foods and dairy products with nuts 3 or more times per week significantly reduced the levels of inflammatory biomarkers. In fact, C-reactive proteins were reduced by 20 percent when participate ate nuts 5 days a week. Another inflammatory marker, interleuin-6, was reduced by over 15 percent. What are some ways people can start adding healthy nuts to their diet? They can add 1 ounce of nuts to their daily diet in the following ways. 

  1. Eat them plain as a snack. They will boost energy and provide a great source of protein.
  2. Add nuts to salads. They offer a delicious crunchy texture and are a tasty compliment to vegetables.
  3. Top yogurt with nuts and fruit. This healthy parfait can be eaten as breakfast, a snack, or even as dessert.
  4. Add a variety of nuts to granola or trail mix. 

Inflammation is a major area of concern for chiropractors. A reduction can result in more effective chiropractic adjustments and overall improvements in health and pain levels for their patients.

Source: Am J Clin Nutr ajcn134205, July 27, 2016.
Copyright: LLC 2016

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