August 2017 Health Newsletter

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» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» New Study Sheds Further Light on the Risks of Opioid Use
» More Exercises Are Proving Helpful for Optimal Brain Health & Function

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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New Study Sheds Further Light on the Risks of Opioid Use  

As you have probably heard, the country is currently in the grips of a massive opioid epidemic. In 2010, 16,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose. That was four times as many as in 1999. By 2015, that number had nearly tripled to 52,000 deaths. The death toll continues to rise. This problem is formally recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services. This past March, the governor of Maryland even went so far as to declare a State of Emergency because of the problemís severity. While the epidemic is full of complexity, one factor certainly playing a role in its growth is that these powerful medications are prescribed to many patients after only minor operations.†

Factors That May Lead to Opioid Abuse

According to a recent study, patients are equally likely to become chronic opioid users after minor operations as they are following major ones. Among people who are prescribed opioids for reasons unrelated to surgery, only 0.4% will develop a problem. After a major surgery, the rate is 6.5%. However, that is only slightly higher than the rate for patients who have had minor operations, which is 5.9%. A better identifier for who will become a chronic user seems to be the personís history with chronic pain. Those who became addicted to opioids after any type of surgery were 50% more likely to have previously suffered from arthritis or chronic back pain. Smoking also played a role. Smokers were 34% more likely to abuse opioids they were prescribed following surgery. For those who had preexisting substance or alcohol use problems, the odds of becoming addicted were also 34% higher.† These factors have led many experts to call for better screening practices before opioids are prescribed.††

Donít Risk Becoming a Victim of the Opioid Epidemic

No one plans to become addicted to opioids, but when you combine the strength of these drugs and the pain people are often in when they begin taking them, itís not hard to see how we got to a crisis. It also shouldnít come as too much of a surprise that people with chronic back pain are especially susceptible to becoming addicted. The pain can be so severe that patients will accept just about any fate if it means some kind of relief. Fortunately, if you experience pain, your local chiropractor may be able to help. Their noninvasive treatments can be quick, are often highly effective, and importantly donít involve the use of prescription medications. In fact, some patients feel better than they have in years after just one adjustment. Call your local chiropractor today if youíre suffering from pain that wonít seem to go away.

Author:ChiroPlanet.com
Source:JAMA Surgery, online April 12, 2017.
Copyright:ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2017


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More Exercises Are Proving Helpful for Optimal Brain Health & Function  

How can you boost brain power? Itís an important question to ask, especially with the rise of dementia and Alzheimerís diseases. Is there really anything that can be done to achieve optimal brain health in an effort to ward off these debilitating diseases? Indeed there is! Reuters recently reported on a study that found more and more physical exercises are proving useful for brain health. Tai Chi seems to dominate the cognitive function category. But theyíre definitely not alone Ė which is great news for people who like activities that are more energetic. A variety of strength training and aerobic exercises have been shown to slow cognitive decline in adults over the age of 50. Neurons in the brain fire whenever people are engaged in a form of physical activity. Even something like walking regularly can have a profound effect on brain function. The neurons in the brain fire whenever people have to balance and contract their muscles. Not only does the rapid firing help the body to perform these functions even better, they keep the brain active and healthy. The Harvard Health Blog recommends walking at the very least. If people arenít into that, they can try:

  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Tennis
  • Aerobics Classes

 

And even hiring a personal trainer. The goal here is not so much what type of physical activity a person engages in, but the regularity in which they do it. Exercising at least three days a week is a good start for achieving optimal brain health.

Author:ChiroPlanet.com
Source:British Journal of Sports Medicine, online April 24, 2017.
Copyright:ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2017


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