October 2017 Health Newsletter

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» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» Walking and Cycling Linked to Reduced Risk of Being Hospitalized with Sciatica
» Mindful Coffee Consumption Can Lead to Better Health

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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Walking and Cycling Linked to Reduced Risk of Being Hospitalized with Sciatica  

Perhaps youíre already aware that a number of lifestyle factors increase a personís risk of developing sciatica, including smoking and obesity. However, new research reveals that cycling and walking could have an equally effective opposite effect. A recent study followed a group of over 35,000 people for up to 30 years. It discovered that the risk of being hospitalized for sciatica was increased by 33% if people smoked or were obese, while regularly commuting to work by bicycle or on foot lowered their risk by 33%.

The Risks Involved in Developing Sciatica
The study reported that up to 5% of people suffer from sciatica, an often painful condition. Sciatica normally originates from a compressed nerve root and herniated disc, which causes shooting pains along the sciatic nerve. This extends from the lower back right down the back of a personís legs. Even though it rarely leads to hospitalization or surgery, itís often considered a more severe and long-lasting source of low back pain. Four long-term studies were analyzed by the team in Finland, with a total of 1,259 hospitalizations for sciatica occurring during the follow-up time of 12-30 years. The researchers looked at various risk factors, including occupation, education, sex, age, obesity, body mass index, and smoking, along with the duration, intensity, and frequency of physical activity. Although smokers saw an increased risk of 33%, former smokers didnít share this same risk. Furthermore, the risk of hospitalization was increased by 36% in obese patients Ė with abdominal fat increasing the risk to 41%. However, regardless of any other activity or the body weight of the patient, commuting to work via bicycle or on foot reduced their risk by 33%.

Overcoming Sciatica
Speaking about the study, lead author, Dr. Rahman Shiri, said they were surprised to see that no effect on hospitalization was witnessed by any other form of leisure time physical activities. However, they believe this may be due to the fact that regular, moderate activities like cycling and walking donít add strain to the back as opposed to higher-intensity exercises that will. Although the study was limited by the fact that it only used self-reported data and couldnít verify additional health factors for sciatica hospitalization, it does emphasize the benefits of moving around frequently, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. Furthermore, studies have indicated that sciatica patients noticed a significant improvement when they underwent a number of treatments, including spinal manipulation. This process is carried out by a licensed doctor of chiropractic to reduce the nerve irritability that causes pain, muscle spasm, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with sciatica. If your sciatica is causing you discomfort and pain, contact your local chiropractor today.

Author:ChiroPlanet.com
Source:American Journal of Medicine, online July 24, 2017.
Copyright:ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2017


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Mindful Coffee Consumption Can Lead to Better Health  
Mindfulness is a popular concept these days, and it is often used as a way to help individuals make better life and health choices. And while itís no secret that reducing your sugar consumption can help with weight loss and general improvement in health, both are often easier said than done. A recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota has shown that mindfully consuming your coffee without sugar may help with not only weight loss but also a more focused approach to choices.

Drinking Unsweetened Coffee Can Lead to Mindfulness
Participants in the University of Minnesota study were divided into three groups. One group went cold turkey and immediately began drinking unsweetened coffee. A second group was allowed to gradually reduce the amount of sugar they added to their coffee. A third group was taught how to discern different flavors and tastes in coffee, and was instructed to mindfully drink their sugar-free brew by focusing on the sensations and the different flavors that were present in the beverage. They learned how to be mentally present to the action of drinking coffee, and in some cases to enjoy the beverage more than they had in the past.† After one month, the mindfulness group drinkers were more likely to enjoy their coffee and the drinking experience. They also continued to drink coffee sugar free more often than the other two groups who immediately eliminated or gradually reduced the amount of sweetener they added to their coffee.

Reducing Sugar Intake can Help Promote Food Awareness
Researchers suggest that the combination of reducing sugar intake as a tool to promote health, in conjunction with being mindful about the action, may lead to a longer-term healthier lifestyle. It is believed that making a conscious decision, in this case eliminating sugar in coffee, focuses attention on actions and being a participant in the choice, which can lead to mindfulness in other life choices. In an interview one of the researchers noted that beginning a lifestyle change is relatively easy, but sustaining change is very challenging. Researchers anticipated that most participants would go back to adding sweetener to their coffee, yet the majority of participants in the mindfulness group continued drinking their coffee sugar-free.

Author:ChiroPlanet.com
Source:J Health Psychol 2017.
Copyright:ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2017


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