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March 2002 Issue
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In this issue:

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger; A Chiropractic Champion

Arnold Schwarzenegger was again the featured speaker at the International Chiropractors Association's 10th Annual Symposium on Natural Fitness held February 22-23, 2002 in Columbus, Ohio.  Arnold spoke about his personal experience with chiropractic, crediting the care he received throughout the years for his success in bodybuilding and for his ability to maintain such a rigorous filmmaking schedule. His comments included the following:

"Chiropractic is about health and fitness and there is such a strong relationship between the two. This is why I'm so excited to have the chiropractors here from all over the world each year, because you represent exactly the same thing. Chiropractic is about health and fitness. Chiropractic is about natural, preventive health care.  It can help families be healthier and also spend time together doing something important to all their lives.  What we're trying to do is not just promote the sport of bodybuilding, but fitness and health. Fitness, for us, is everything in a naturally healthy lifestyle. So that's why it is so great for us to work together."

Arnold, as well as many former and present athletes realize that chiropractic can help them increase performance and maintain good health.  The nervous system controls and coordinates all body function.  Chiropractors work by removing interference to the nervous system thus allowing the body to function at its maximum potential.  Athletes understand that even the slightest advantage in ability can make the difference in competition. 

This yearís event, hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, included a multitude of fitness stars including bodybuilding champion and fitness author Mr. Lee Haney. Lee Haney, one of the greatest fitness stars of all times made his second appearance at the ICA Symposium this year. Mr. Haney holds the record of having won the coveted bodybuilding title of Mr. Olympia for eight straight years, besting Arnold himself who won that title for seven. He also serves in the influential and prestigious position of Chairman of the Presidentís Council on Physical Fitness, a position in which he has not hesitated to support the vital role of chiropractic in fitness and health.

 

Health Costs Could Double by 2011

A detailed study reported by Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said health costs are expected to grow at a rate of 7.3 percent annually between now and 2011.  The report was published on March 12th, 2002 in the Journal Health Affairs, and predicts that by 2011,  Americans are expected to spend $9,216 per person on health care.  In the year 2000, health care spending in America averaged $4,637 per person, which is by far the highest in the world.  This number represented 13.2 percent of the United States gross domestic product, again the highest in the world.  According to the report, if the trend continues, the US will be spending 17% of the nation's gross domestic product on health care. 

The amount of money is staggering.  In the year 2000 the total US spending on health care was $1.3 trillion.  The study predicts that that number will balloon up to 2.8 trillion by 2011.  The incredible increase is being attributed to the increased bargaining power of hospitals and health providers for higher insurance payments, and the aging of baby boomers, who increasingly want high-tech tests and treatments, as well as higher-priced drugs they see advertised on television.  

Chiropractic accounts for only a relatively small financial slice of this expensive pie. In this study they also tracked expenditures for what they termed, "Other Professional Services". These included professional services provided by private-duty nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists, and physical, occupational and speech therapists, among others.  Even though previous studies suggest that chiropractors see between 11 and 15% of the US population, the total amount spent in the year 2000 from a possible total of 1.3 trillion was only, 41.2 billion or less than 3.2% of the total amount.  And in addition to chiropractic, this 3.2% includes all the "Other Professional Services" included in the study. With the high numbers of people using chiropractic care, it makes Chiropractic a very affordable component in an otherwise out-of-control health care expense.  

As mentioned, the study showed that in the year 2000 the average health care costs per person were $4,637, and expected to rise to $9,216 by the year 2011.  In comparison, when you then consider the category of "Other Professional Services", which includes chiropractic, the estimated spending for 2000 was $147 per person, and increasing to $295 by 2010.  These figures again put the percent that each person spends on services including chiropractic at a steady 3.2% of total per person expenses for health care per year. 

Although not stated in the study, one of the conclusions that should have been included is that chiropractic care represents one of the most affordable parts of the health care economic picture both today and in the future.

 

Chiropractic Care and TMJ Problems a Case Study

In the January 2002 edition of the peer reviewed scientific journal, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, (JMPT) appeared a case study on a 41-year-old woman who sought chiropractic care with complaints of pain at the TMJ on both sides, ear pain, ringing in the ears, vertigo, decreased hearing ability, and a sensation of pressure or fullness in both ears.  She also reported that movements of her jaw while talking or chewing provoked pain at the TMJ. 

Before seeking chiropractic care she was treated for her TMJ by two medical doctors.  She was also referred to an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist, who diagnosed her with TMJ syndrome. Additionally, she was referred to a dentist for the problem.  Medical recommendations were to apply heat to the area, reduce talking and yelling, and change her diet to a soft diet.  Even with all this medical and dental care her symptoms steadily continued to get worse.

Eventually she sought the care of a chiropractor. After an examination it was determined by the chiropractor that the patient had an Atlas subluxation, (first bone in the neck).  Care was begun by a series of adjustments.  After only a few visits the patient reported significant improvement in her symptoms.  After two and a half months she reported complete relief from the TMJ symptoms.  She also reported a decrease in the frequency and severity of her headaches. Prior to starting  chiropractic care, she was experiencing 1 to 2 migraine headache attacks per month.  The effects of the chiropractic care were long term as shown at her 1-year follow-up where she had not experienced any headache symptoms for a period of 9 months and her TMJ complaints had completely resolved.

 

Chiropractic is Top Choice for Drug-Free Help with Pain

In a report from the Feb. 21, 2002  PRNewswire comes a story of a national telephone survey conducted by Media General Research in December 2001, in which it was revealed that consumers rely most on chiropractic as the number one natural, non-drug choice for most pains and injuries. The survey found for example, that 42 percent of consumers have experienced back pain during the past year. The number one natural choice was chiropractic care. The study also found that of those patients who saw a chiropractor, 91 percent rated their care as "very" or "somewhat" effective.

The study also showed that while sixty percent of consumers said they would go to an MD if they experienced an injury causing pain to their back or neck, about 23 percent said they would go to a chiropractor. This number was more than physical therapists at 7 percent, massage therapists at 4 percent, and acupuncturists at only 1 percent.

While it is a common public belief to associate chiropractic with back and neck pain, the survey also showed another area that is becoming more recognized by the general public when it comes to choosing chiropractic care and that area is the care of headaches. Although using drugs is still the most commonly used treatment for those who had experienced headaches in the past year, the second most popular choice of care for headache sufferers was chiropractic care.

The report also noted that in 1998, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that chiropractic was the most frequently used drug-free treatment. Additionally the report mentioned that Chiropractic has been practiced in the United States for more than 100 years, and more than 3 million people visit one of the 60,000 chiropractors in the country every year.

 

Wellness Programs Help Companies Save on Health Costs

The above title came from the March 11, 2002 issue of the American Medical News. This story reports on several studies and programs where corporate wellness programs are having a positive effect on reducing health care costs on their employees. "There's a growing body of data indicating that corporate wellness programs lower medical costs for employees", said Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, vice president of consulting and applied research for the Medstat Group, a health care research firm in Ann Arbor, Mich.  

A survey done by Medstat, published in the January 2002 issue of the  Journal of Occupational Medicine, concluded that medical claims costs for Johnson & Johnson Inc. employees dropped an average of $225 per year after the company started its wellness program in 1995.  Additionally, Goetzel reported that a literature review of corporate wellness studies published in the May/June 2001 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion concluded that medical costs dropped for employees in the wellness program for 28 out of 32 of the corporate wellness programs reviewed.

The report claims that about 90% of Johnson & Johnson employees participate in the corporate wellness program.  Their program consists of free health risk assessments and physicals.  Additionally employees can then join free weight management, smoking cessation or nutrition classes and can use on-site fitness centers.  John McKeegan, a Johnson & Johnson spokesman stated that the savings in reduced medical claims total about $5 million a year. When you factor in administrative savings from combining various health services into one program, McKeegan estimates the savings come to about $8.5 million a year. 

The Wellness Councils of America, a coalition representing 3,000 corporate wellness programs, estimated that presently 80% to 90% of large U.S. corporations offer some sort of wellness program.

 

Florida MD Found Guilty of Manslaughter for Prescribing Pain Medication

A story reported in the March 11, 2002 issue of the American Medical News is shaking the Medical profession to its core. The story reported that last month, James F. Graves, MD, a Pace, Fla., pain management specialist, became the first doctor found guilty by a jury of manslaughter in connection with  prescribing the pain killer OxyContin.  B. Eliot Cole, MD, continuing medical education director at the American Academy of Pain Management, responded to the case by saying, "Every one of these headlines probably makes 10,000 doctors wish they had gone to law school."  

Florida prosecutors charged that Dr. Graves recklessly wrote prescriptions to anyone willing to pay for an office visit without asking the proper pre-prescribing questions. That, they argued, led to several deaths. Dr. Graves responded that he was  following medical protocols and legitimately prescribed OxyContin and other pain medication to patients he saw in his office.  He claimed that if the patients would have taken the medications as prescribed, they would not have died.

The jury sided with the prosecution's version of the facts and found Dr. Graves guilty of four counts of manslaughter, one count of racketeering and five counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.  Dr. Graves faces up to 30 years in prison. 

Ira Byock, MD, director of Palliative Care Service in Missoula, Montana responded, "It's truly scary," he further added, "The fact that a physician was convicted on a criminal charge of manslaughter is indeed likely to have an effect on how physicians treat patients with chronic pain. Physicians won't know all the details of the case, they will know a physician was at legal risk for criminal charges."

Presently, at least two more cases like Dr. Graves are on court dockets. One such case is in California where a physician faces manslaughter charges for painkiller prescriptions he wrote, including OxyContin.  The other case is in Florida where a physician is facing murder charges, an even more serious charge than manslaughter.

The article concluded with a quote from Aaron Gilson, PhD, assistant director and researcher for policy study at the Pain and Policy Studies Group, University of Wisconsin, Madison, "The pendulum swings, but the ramifications are more profound this time because pain management wasn't as much a part of the national health care forum before the 1990s. ... More patients will be affected."