December 2005


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Chiropractic and Asthma

Three case studies reported in the September 2005 issue of the British scientific journal, Clinical Chiropractic, highlighted the success of chiropractic care on patients with long term asthma.  The study performed  at the University Of Surrey Chiropractic clinic, reported that asthma is the most common chronic disease in the United Kingdom, with nearly 3.5 million people affected, including 1.3 million children.

These studies document three separate cases of individuals who had suffered with asthma for years. The first was a 28-year-old athletic male who had been suffering from asthma since childhood.  The study notes that his symptoms were most prevalent when exercising and at night. He was using an inhaler daily in the morning and at night before going to bed.  The report then notes that he began a program of chiropractic care.  The study reported that a few weeks into his care he felt so good that one night he forgot to use his inhaler. He reported that he suffered no ill-effects and reported he had a “great night's sleep”.  From that point forward he reportedly did not use his inhaler at night, and was extremely pleased with the results achieved from chiropractic care.

The next case was a 56-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with asthma 5 years previously. She reported that her main symptoms were chest tightness and coughing.  After just 2 weeks of chiropractic care, she reported feeling “much better within herself”. She reported that she found it much easier to breathe with less coughing. Additionally she also reported feeling less tired, and had also noticed that her dry skin had apparently also shown dramatic improvement.  “I knew this treatment was having an effect as I could feel the changes happening.”

The third case in this report was of a 26-year-old woman, who had suffered with asthma since childhood.  In her case she played rugby competitively for a ladies’ team and she reported that she was always having to stop during the game to use her inhaler.  She would also awaken each night wheezing and have to use her inhaler. In her case, after starting chiropractic, she reported being able to play a whole game of rugby without needing her inhaler once, and was sleeping through the night uninterrupted.

The report noted that "the mechanism by which chiropractic is thought to affect asthma is based upon the proposition that spinal adjustment can modify autonomic nervous system". 



Exercise Can Add 3 Years to Life Expectancy

The above headline is from a November 15, 2005 InteliHealth article reporting on 2 recent studies that show that on average people who regularly exercise can add up to three years to their lives.  The study, performed at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, noted that something as simple as brisk walking a half-hour a day, can positively affect the heart and can have a profound effect on life expectancy.

Dr. Oscar Franco, co-author of one of the studies noted, "Three years of extra life: It's a very clear message that makes it easy to grasp what might be the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle."  The studies showed that the increase in life expectancy was a direct result of the positive effect on the heart.

In one of the studies researchers grouped 4,121 people into three levels of physical activity: low, medium and high.  The results showed that the life expectancy at age 50 for the medium activity group was 1.5 years longer than for the low activity group. However, the high activity group lived an average of 3.5 years longer.

The second study, conducted at the University of Florida, was conducted on a "real world" basis tracking people in their daily activities and the amount of exercise they performed. The study noted that people usually exercised considerably less than they actually intended, but still received the health benefits from the exercise they did do. Lead investigator Michael Perri commented, "If you aim for exercising every day, you'll probably do four or five days.  If you aim for three or four days, you're likely to get maybe two days done."

Dr. Martha Gulati, a cardiologist and fitness researcher at Northwestern University concluded, "We need to know how to prescribe this and how to implement this. If we don't, we're never going to get to the point where we do prevention. We're always going to be treating chronic disease."



Treat Holiday Shopping as an Athletic Event

A November 10, 2005 PRNewswire release advises shoppers to consider holiday shopping as an event that requires preparation and attention to your health and well being. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) urges people to consider several points to help ward off the stress and strain that often accompanies this season.

They offer a checklist to help, which includes the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 problems do result the article recommends that you seek chiropractic care as a natural approach.



Chiropractic is Cost-Effective in Treating Chronic Back Pain

The above is a direct quote from a headline that appeared in of all places, the November 17, 2005, Medical News Today. The article, also picked up by UPI news and several other sources, was reporting on a new study published in the October 2005 issue of the scientific journal, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT).

In this study 2780 patients with mechanical low-back pain referred themselves to 60 doctors of chiropractic and 111 medical doctors.  These cases were reviewed for effectiveness of care and for costs. One of the articles noted that back pain care in the United States alone is estimated to reach $48 billion this year, and, at any given time, 80 percent of the U.S. population suffers from back pain.

The results of the study showed several interesting facts.  With regards to the outcomes, the study showed that both the acute and chronic patients showed better outcomes in pain and disability reduction and higher satisfaction with their care after undergoing chiropractic care, as compared to medical care.

The costs of the care for the medical and chiropractic showed different results depending on the usage.  Without adding the costs of any over-the-counter drugs, hospitalization, or surgical costs, when you simply compared the costs of in-office chiropractic to in-office medical care, the chiropractic care was slightly more expensive.  If you then add in the additional costs for any referrals made by the chiropractor or the medical doctor, the chiropractic care costs for chronic patients were then 16 percent lower than medical care costs.

The authors of the study, noting that the satisfaction for the chiropractic care was higher, and the overall total costs were lower, made a concluding statement urging more chiropractic utilization in the health care system.  They stated, "With their mission to increase value and respond to patient preferences, health care organizations and policy makers need to reevaluate the appropriateness of chiropractic as a treatment option for low-back pain."



Athletic Shoes Are Important to Spinal Health

Poorly fitting athletic shoes can hurt your stride and therefore your spine.  This information was reported in a Dec. 6, 2005 release appearing on PRNewswire.  According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), footwear plays an important role in the functional biomechanics of the human body.

The article also reports that improperly-fitting shoes can do more than hurt a runner's stride, they can upset a person's overall biomechanics and lead to pain throughout the body.  Dr. Jeffery Solomon, president of the ACA's Council on Sports Injuries & Physical Fitness noted, "Your feet are the foundation of your body, and if they are not properly supported you can have problems anywhere from the bottom of your feet up through your neck."

The article posted several tips to consider before a runner should purchase their next pair of running shoes.  These are:

  • Be sure to match the right shoe to the right activity.
  • If possible, purchase running shoes from a specialty store or from someone knowledgeable about matching the correct type of running shoes to your foot type and stride pattern.
  • Select shoes with adequate cushioning in the soles, which helps absorb the shock of your feet hitting the ground. Cushioning is especially important when running on hard surfaces, such as pavement or sidewalks.
  • Check for adequate room at the widest part of your foot. The shoe shouldn't be tight, but your foot shouldn't slide around, either.
  • Consider custom made orthotic insoles. Orthotics can address structural abnormalities in the feet and the resultant biomechanical faults.



Antibiotics Still Being Overprescribed for Children

The November 9, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA) published a study that showed that antibiotics are still being overprescribed for children who do not need them, and in many cases when they do the wrong ones are being given.

The study showed that 53% of children with sore throats are being prescribed antibiotics.  In reality the study notes that only between 15 and 33% of children with sore throats actually have strep throat.  They note that  a true strep throat is one caused by infection from streptococci bacteria.

Salynn Boyles, of WebMD reporting on the study in a November 8, 2005 article noted that, "one in four prescriptions involved antibiotics other than those recommended, potentially increasing the risk for treatment failure and future drug resistance."

The study did note that there was a slight drop in the usage of antibiotics for children between 1995 and 2003, but the authors of the study attributed this drop to a decrease in the antibiotic agents recommended for usage in strep throat. Chief study author, Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, noted, "The overall trend is down, but clearly there are still too many antibiotics being prescribed."

The researchers found that a test used to confirm the presence of a real strep throat was used only about half the time.  Even when this test was used, the study showed that the test results had little effect on whether or not antibiotics were prescribed anyway. Dr. Linder warned, "All kids should be given a strep test before they are treated with antibiotics."

According to Linder the bottom line is that most kids with sore throats probably shouldn't be taking antibiotics, and a strep test should always be given before antibiotics are prescribed.



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