May 2007


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Literature Review Shows Chiropractic Beneficial for Patients With Neck Pain

A literature review of existing studies shows that chiropractic care is effective for patients suffering from chronic neck pain.  The study, published in the scientific periodical, the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, looked at 16 prior studies and put the data from these studies together to get a larger picture of results.

The results of this literature review were also picked up by several news outlets including the May 6, 2007 Medical-News.net and the May 3, 2007 United Press International. This review was very specific and did not look at cases involving whiplash, headaches, or arm pain.  The reviewers only looked at scientifically sound cases that involved chronic neck pain.

Howard Vernon, DC, PhD, the review's chief author and his colleagues found what they called "high-quality evidence" that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following chiropractic.  They also found that in reviewing all these previous studies none of the groups studied remain unchanged, and all of the groups showed positive results in the first 12 weeks.  Additionally, they noted that no trial reported any serious adverse effects.

The fact that all these different studies found the same results shows the consistency of chiropractic for these problems.  Dr. Vernon commented, "The results of the literature review confirm the common clinical experience of doctors of chiropractic: neck manipulation is beneficial for patients with certain forms of chronic neck pain."

The authors of the review noted that neck pain is a very common problem, second only to low back pain in its frequency in the general population. 



Over-The-Counter Drug Use Concern

The above headline appeared in a May 3, 2007 article from the online BBC News. The article is an article based on a letter in the May 5, 2007 issue of the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ).  The BBC article starts off with an ominous warning, "The dangers of becoming addicted to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are going unrecognized, doctors warn."

This article raises many questions regarding a growing problem and the lack of study done in this area. Dr. Chris Ford, one of the authors of the BMJ paper starts off by noting, "The development of dependency on over the counter (OTC) drugs is often forgotten."  He also notes in his letter the lack of serious research into this growing serious issue. Dr. Ford writes, "A Medline search found no research into addiction to OTC drug dependence in the UK. Numerous websites are, however, documenting cases of addiction and offering support to those people trying to withdraw from these drugs." 

In the BBC article, Dr. Ford restated his concern that this growing problem is going undetected.  He states, "But our anxiety is that it's a problem which is not being picked up by the public or doctors, and that we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg."  Dr. Ford continued, "But we have no idea how big the problem is because there has been no research to quantify it."

Several representatives of the drug companies who supply some of the OTC drugs questioned in the article state that these drugs come with warnings that if followed do not lead to addition.

The authors of the BMJ letter, Drs. Chris Ford and Beth Good are asking for more in-depth studies into this problem.  In their paper they call for large scale research to assess and monitor the extent of the problem.



Chiropractic Helps Health of Underprivileged Population According to Study

A study published in the March 2007 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, showed very positive results in health for chiropractic care rendered to populations living under the poverty line.  The study was based in Canada and looked at patients who presented themselves to one of two community health center–based chiropractic clinics between August 2004 and December 2005.

The purpose of this study was to see if Chiropractic should be included in publicly funded health care in the Canadian system in Ontario.  The study noted that presently chiropractic care is not available in the publicly funded health care system and therefore is mostly not available to those in lower income situations who do not have privately funded healthcare. 

In this study, 324 patients with musculoskeletal conditions were recruited into the study, and 259 (80.0%) of them were followed to the study's conclusion.  Participants underwent chiropractic care and were then evaluated for general health, pain index, and site-specific disability using standardized testing methods.

According to the study, "Clinically important and statistically significant positive changes were observed for all outcomes."  This means that in all areas tested, the patients in this study showed improvement.  Of equal importance is that in this study the results showed that, "No adverse events were reported."

The authors concluded, "Patients of low socioeconomic status face barriers to accessing chiropractic services. This study suggests that chiropractic care reduces pain and disability as well as improves general health status in patients with MSK conditions."



U.S. Hospitals Charge Uninsured More, Study Says

The above is a headline from a May 8, 2007, Reuters UK news story.  The same story also appeared in articles in USA Today and United Press International on the same day.  These articles initiated from a study published in the May/June 2007 issue of the Journal Health Affairs.

This new study shows that those without health insurance pay nearly 3 times more for hospital services than those who have insurance.  As a result, more than 60 class-action lawsuits have been filed against hospitals for charging higher rates to uninsured patients.

Lead author of the study, Gerard Anderson, who is also director of the center for hospital finance and management at Johns Hopkins University's school of public health, commented, "The mark-up on hospital care for these individuals, especially for those who can afford it least, is unjustifiable." In referring to the impact this new study may have Anderson said, "I hope it can change how hospital boards price for the uninsured and get the American public to see what's going on." He added, "The uninsured get trapped. It puts them into bankruptcy. This is really below the public's radar screen."

The data for this study was collected from information in 2004, the most current information available according to the study author.  Because of this, Carmela Coyle senior vice president for policy for the American Hospital Association (AHA), said the study was out of date and things are different since 2004. ""Unfortunately, the study is really out of date. Hospitals have really made changes."

In spite of the AHA claim, the USA Today article added some interesting facts.  This article noted that approximately 45 million people in America are uninsured.  They also reported that Patients with no insurance and those who pay for their own care  on average were charged 2.5 times more for hospital services in 2004 than what those with health insurance were charged.  The uninsured also paid three times more than Medicare-allowed costs. To put this in perspective, this means that every $100 in Medicare-allowed costs, the average hospital charged a uninsured patients $307.

The results are often devastating for those without insurance.  According to Bankruptcy Reader, nearly 50% of all bankruptcy filings are due to medical expenses.



Chiropractic Helps New Mothers Produce Milk

An article in the March 2007 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, presents three documented case studies of chiropractic care helping new mothers who were unable to produce adequate mother's milk.  A reduction in mothers milk, known as "Hypolactation" can be a serious problem that can create health issues for both the mother and child.

The first case was a women who went to the chiropractor on the referral of her midwife.  She had given birth 10 days earlier to her second child and unlike her first, she was unable to establish a milk supply for her second baby.  The patient had no other medical issues other than difficulty in swallowing a glass of water.

An examination determined that she had a subluxation, and specific chiropractic care was initiated to correct that issue.  After her second visit the patient commented that she found it much easier to swallow. By the third visit she noticed visible changes in her breast and the production of milk.  This improvement resulted in a positive weight gain for the infant who was forced to depend of formula until the mothers milk issues were resolved.

The second patient went to the chiropractor for upper back pain but was also unable to produce sufficient milk to feed her one month old infant.  Her examination showed no medical history for her problems, however, the chiropractic portion of her exam showed subluxations.  She began a series of specific chiropractic adjustments for subluxation correction.  By the forth visit the patient was noticing breast enlargement and the production of milk.  She also became pain free from the upper back pain she was experiencing.

The third case was a women who came into the chiropractor's office with her daughter six days after birth.  She was sent there on the recommendation of the hospital lactation consultant. As in the previous cases, subluxations were found and care was initiated to correct them.  In this case it took only 24 hours for the positive results to show, and for this mother to be able to feed her infant naturally.

Based on their case studies and the volumes of previous research, these researchers concluded that subluxations and the neurological interference they cause play a major role in Hypolactation.  The researchers suggest, "Chiropractic evaluation for subluxations would be a key element in the holistic assessment of the failure to establish milk supply in the post partum patient."



Chiropractic Information Comes to the Philippines

A very informative article on chiropractic appeared in the May 5, 2007 issue of the Manila Bulletin, from the Philippines. What is unusual about this article is the quality of the information being presented to the Philippine population, who for the most part, are unfamiliar with chiropractic care.

The article, written by Leo Ortega Laparan, starts off by explaining the importance of the nervous system and uses a cultural example.  Mr. Laparan states, "It is a scientific fact that one's brain, spinal cord and the rest of the nerves connect to and control every aspect of his or her body, making it a lot like a bustling 'central business district'. Hindering these vital connections can result in ill health, much like stepping on a hose that slows the flow of water to a garden, depriving the latter a chance to flourish."

The article goes on to explain chiropractic to the Philippine people by saying that, "It is a branch of the healing arts that is anchored on the principle that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system, especially the spine as its most vulnerable part."

The article even goes into an explanation of "subluxations" by explaining how these subluxations can cause interference with the nervous system and affect health. A Manila-based, US trained chiropractor, Dr. Motley was also interviewed for the article and he explained to the Philippine people how chiropractic adjustments help correct subluxations by saying, "Using the hands, the spine is re-adjusted or kind of reset, much like changing the main breaker of the switch at home." He continued, "Anybody, from kids to people in their 80s and 90s, can enjoy the benefits of experiencing chiropractic treatment."

The insightful article, presented to a population unfamiliar with chiropractic concludes with a wonderful explanation of the very essence of the chiropractic concept. "Doctors don't heal, and the very best ones remove interference to one's healing ability, the true purpose of chiropractic and chiropractors."



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