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March 2017 Health Newsletter

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» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» Chiropractic Care Is an Effective Alternative to Medicine
» Are Arthritis Sufferers Hesitating to Pursue Relief?
» Are Non-Chemical Methods Better for Treating Cancer Fatigue?

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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Chiropractic Care Is an Effective Alternative to Medicine

When a person suffers from back pain, one of their first instincts may be to treat the issue with medication. While this can help in some cases, it rarely has the type of long-term effect that users would hope for. Add to this the fact that both over-the-counter and prescription medicines can cause bothersome side-effects, and it is easy to see why sufferers of back pain are seeking other options. A study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases looked to measure the effect of drugs on spinal pain. Namely, the research was geared toward determining whether NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) had any substantial impact on spinal pain. Not only were these drugs proven to be less-than-effective, they were found to increase a userís risk of gastrointestinal disorders substantially. Since back pain is a very common type of disability, sufferers around the world have sought alternative ways to treat their condition. Chiropractic services are a non-invasive and non-chemical alternative option which people can use to treat their pain. In fact, millions of people visit chiropractors every year to pursue long-term solutions for their back pain. This can help a person get relief for their pain without subjecting themselves to, in certain cases, devastating side effects.

Source: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Online; Feb. 2, 2017.
Copyright: LLC 2017

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Are Arthritis Sufferers Hesitating to Pursue Relief?

Arthritis is a serious and frustrating condition that affects tens of millions. This type of ailment can make a personís daily routine much more difficult than it should be. Those afflicted with arthritis may have trouble lifting things, and they may even be inhibited from being mobile without facing serious pain. According to the CDC, more than 54 million adults in the US suffer from arthritis. The total number of afflicted individuals has increased by about 20 percent over the past 15 years. Not only is the condition's widespread prevalence concerning to the medical industry, but the lack of attention given to arthritis' status as a serious disability is also alarming.† One of the main reasons that people may be holding off on pursuing solutions for this condition is that the way to handle it can sometimes result in more pain in the short-term. A healthy amount of physical activity has been proven to help reduce arthritis pain. However, since exercise can be painful for someone who is already suffering from arthritis, some people avoid it altogether.† Though movement can be difficult for a person with this type of disability, it can be used to help ease the severity of the issue. The growing number of sufferers indicates that people are holding off on pursuing relief, though doing so could benefit them in the long-term.

Source: CDC, online March 7, 2017.
Copyright: LLC 2017

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Are Non-Chemical Methods Better for Treating Cancer Fatigue?
Cancer patients deal with a number of symptoms as a result of their condition, one of which is fatigue. This type of issue can be debilitating and frustrating, which causes many people to seek out treatments. While medication is one of the first options most people consider, a study by The JAMA Network suggest other methods may be more effective. During a study involving over 11,500 cancer patients, the effects of drugs and exercise/psychotherapy were observed. In some cases, patients were given both. The results showed a 9 percent reduction in fatigue for those who used medication and a 26-30 percent reduction for those who exercised or received psychotherapy.†† While the exact reasons that these methods seem to be more effective than drugs is not completely clear, experts do suggest that sufferers of cancer fatigue try these methods before opting for pharmaceutical solutions. While some types of exhaustion can be treated simply by getting more sleep, cancer fatigue is different. The study seemed to indicate that factors like the type of cancer had little effect on the results. The same can be said of the age and gender of the patients. While it has long been known that exercise and psychotherapy were effective in treating cancer fatigue, this study (which examined data from over 100 previous studies) indicates these methods may indeed be superior than medicinal options.

Source: JAMA Oncology, online March 2, 2017.
Copyright: LLC 2017

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