November 2009


Neck Pain and Torticollis Resolved with Chiropractic, a Case Study

A case study appeared on November 6, 2009 in the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, documenting the case of a young boy suffering with torticollis and neck pain, who was helped with chiropractic. This case study also discussed the increased utilization of chiropractic care by children under 17 years of age.

The author of the study noted that in 1997, research showed that there were approximately 30 million visits to chiropractors by patients under the age of 18. According to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, the author reports that at present, that number is closer to 60 million visits per year. The author also notes that when compared to the adult population of chiropractic patients, a higher percentage of these cases are for non-musculoskeletal conditions.

In the specific case reported in this study, a 10 year old boy was brought to the chiropractor suffering from acute torticollis. Torticollis, sometimes known as wry neck, is a situation where the neck is in spasm and tilted to one side. According to this study, the day before, the young boy awakened with severe neck pain and was unable to move his head and neck. His condition was so severe that he had great difficulty lifting his head off his pillow due to the pain. He was taken to an emergency care facility where according to his mother, was examined and released with prescriptions of Motrin and Valium.

When the boy first came to the chiropractor's office he was in severe pain and was unable to straighten his head. His history revealed no severe trauma and he also suffered from mild asthma only using medication on an as needed basis. The chiropractic examination showed severe muscle spasm and restricted range of motion in the neck.

A determination was made that vertebral subluxations were present and a course of specific chiropractic adjustments was initiated. On the boy's second visit he reported that he had felt significant improvement after his first adjustment. His severe spasm and head tilting had improved and he was experiencing only minimal pain. By his 3rd visit, the patient demonstrated a significant reduction in muscle spasm in the neck and mid back with improved range of motion. At this point the boy reported that he was pain free. By the 13th visit when a re-evaluation was performed, the 10 year old was back to normal and performing normal activity.


Smoking Ban Reduces Heart Attacks in Community

The findings of a new study showed that a community that banned indoor smoking had a marked reduction of heart attacks. An article on November 10, 2009 on the news website NEMS360.com from the paper, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal discussed the results of a three year study after the town of Starkville MS instituted a ban on indoor smoking.

The study, conducted at Mississippi State University (MSU), showed a 27 percent decrease in heart attacks among people living in the town of Starkville, since that city passed a no-smoking ordinance in 2006. The study, conducted by Robert McMillen and Dr. Robert Collins, of MSU, focused on the residents of Starkville in the three-year span after the ban became law, and compared that to the three years prior to the city ordinance.

Robert McMillen, co-researcher and assistant professor in the psychology department and researcher at MSU's nationally recognized Social Science Research Center said, "The emerging scientific consensus clearly demonstrates that communities like Starkville can reduce heart attacks simply by prohibiting smoking in indoor public places. Smoke-free laws are popular with the public and are free to implement."

Dr. Robert Collins, director of MSU Health Services and co-researcher noted that many other factors can have an effect on the rate of heart attack over the long run. However, he notes that, "Only cessation of smoking and smoke exposure has an immediate effect on heart attacks." Dr. Collins has been a supporter on a public ban of smoking, "I plead with the Mississippi Legislature to ban smoking in public places. Our data reflects the findings of every other community that has looked at what happened when smoking is banned in public venues."

Roy Hart, director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health, also supports additional smoking bans. He stated, "Smoking restrictions save lives, reduce health care costs and youth smoking initiation, and encourage smokers to quit."


Pulmonary Function and Neck Curve Improved with Chiropractic Care

A study published on October 12, 2009 in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health looked at 11 different cases to see how specific chiropractic care would affect the curve of the neck (cervical lordosis) and pulmonary function.

The authors of this study note that cardio respiratory activity is heavily influenced by posture and body movements. They point out that abnormal posture of the head and neck significantly influences respiration, oxygenation, and sympathetic nerve system function. They note that, "homeostasis of autonomic function are intimately related with posture such that when postural efficiency is optimized, not only is breathing also optimized, but other visceral and somatic functions are also seen to improve." In layman's terms, good posture leads to good nerve system function and proper breathing and heart function.

In this study 11 cases were reviewed to look for changes in neck curvature on x-rays as well as testing for pulmonary function as tested with a Buhl spirometer. Patient chiropractic care plans ranged from 18 clinic visits to 41 clinic visits within a 3-6 month time period. Patients ranged in age from 19-47 with 8 females and 3 males.

The results showed that after chiropractic care, for each of the patients in this study, there was a statistically significant increase in their respective cervical lordosis. A "lordosis" is the normal forward curve that should be present in a normal healthy neck. These patients also showed an increase in pulmonary function as demonstrated by increased measurements in peak expiratory flow, (full exhale).

The conclusion of the study stated, "The presence of abnormal posture of the head and neck, a commonly associated finding with vertebral subluxation complex, may considerably influence respiration, oxygenation, and sympathetic (nerve) function."


Common Plastic Linked to Sexual Dysfunction in Men

A new study published on November 10, 2009 in the journal Human Reproduction shows a link between exposure to the plastic bisphenol-A, more commonly known as "BPA" and male sexual dysfunction.  This new study shows that there is a link between BPA and male sexual dysfunction problems and raises the question about the many additional products that BPA appears in.

BPA is a building block of several important plastics and plastic additives and has been in use for over 50 years. There has been much controversy over this substance and it has been banned from baby bottles in many areas and has been voluntarily removed from many baby bottle products. However, BPA is still very prevalent in products used every day such as water bottles, and even the lining of soup cans. A test of canned soups in the December 2009 issue of Consumer Reports found levels of the chemical BPA in popular soup brands such as Campbell’s and Progresso were double the limit set by federal guidelines as safe. Consumer Reports' latest tests of canned foods, included soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, and found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods they tested contain some BPA.

Recently there has been a huge increase in the sale of drugs and natural treatments for male sexual dysfunction. However, the question is rarely raised as to why there has been an increase in this problem. This new study suggests that a commonly used plastic additive may be a culprit.

This study looked at Chinese men who were exposed to high levels of BPA in their work environment over a 5 year period. The results showed that these men were between 4 times to 7 times more likely to suffer from various sexual dysfunctional problems than the general population.

Even though the rate of exposure in these men was considerably higher than what most men would come in contact with, even lower exposures could possibly cause the same problems. In a November 11, 2009 Washington Post article, lead researcher Dr. De-kun Li of Kaiser Research Institute in Oakland, states that lower levels do not necessarily mean lower risk. Dr. Li points out that BPA not only acts like estrogen in men, but it also blocks how male hormones are supposed to work. This means that BPA may cause problems even at lower levels.

"This was a highly exposed group, and we see the effect," Li said. "Now, we have to worry about lower-level exposure." He continued, "Critics dismissed all the animal studies, saying, 'Show us the human studies'. Now we have a human study, and this can't just be dismissed."


Improved Behavior in Children with Colic After Chiropractic Care

Something that is not common knowledge is that children who suffer from colic at an early age in many cases will have certain behavioral problems as they grow older that include temper tantrums and night waking.  A recent study published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) looked to see if chiropractic care, rendered early in life for children with colic, had any effect on the additional problems later in these children's lives.

This study looked at two groups of children, all of whom had suffered with colic as infants.  One group received chiropractic care specifically related to their colic while the second group did not receive any chiropractic care. The authors of this study noted that there have been several previous studies showing the positive effect of chiropractic on children with colic. The focus of this study was not the effect of chiropractic care on colic, but rather to see if the chiropractic care rendered to these children early in life when they had colic, continued to have a positive effect in preventing some of the additional problems that show up in most children who previously suffered from colic.

In this study, clinic records from a chiropractic clinic and from a child care center in similar regions of England were compared for the care of infants who had suffered from colic.  A survey of parents was done of 117 post-colicky toddlers who had received chiropractic, and compared to a group of 111 toddlers who did not receive any chiropractic.

The results showed that toddlers who received chiropractic care for colic as an infant were twice as likely to not experience the additional problems commonly seen years after colic. In their conclusion the authors said, "Untreated post-colicky infants demonstrated negative behavioral patterns at 2 to 3 years of age. In this study, parents of infants treated with chiropractic care for excessive crying did not report as many difficult behavioral and sleep patterns of their toddlers. These findings suggest that chiropractic care for infants with colic may have an effect on long-term sequelae (problems associated with colic).


Acetaminophen May Be Linked to Asthma Risk

The above is the headline from a November 5, 2009 article on WebMD. The article, by Kathleen Doheny starts by saying, "The popular pain and fever reliever acetaminophen may be linked with an increased risk of asthma in children and adults, according to a new research review of previously published studies by Canadian researchers."

The research mentioned in the article was performed in Canada and was led by scientists at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. The study was published in the November 1, 2009 issue of the journal Chest. The findings confirmed that use of acetaminophen (generic name for Tylenol) by children and adults is associated with the development of asthma and wheezing.

Researchers reviewed 19 previously performed studies involving 425,000 subjects and they found that the risk of asthma increases by 60 per cent in those children given acetaminophen sometime in the prior year. In adults the risk of developing asthma in the following year of using acetaminophen was 75 per cent higher than those who do not use the popular pain killer.

Although the makers of Tylenol deny any link the authors point out that they found a relationship in dosage so that those who took less Tylenol had less of a chance of developing asthma, while those who took larger amounts were more likely to develop asthma.

In an article on November 9, 2009 in the Vancouver Sun, co-author Dr. Mark FitzGerald, a professor of respiratory medicine at University of British Columbia, noted that starting about 20 years ago doctors started recommending aspirin less and Tylenol more for children. He notes the correlation by saying, "There was a change in practice and in the succeeding 20 years or so the prevalence of asthma has increased also."

Mahyar Etminan, co-author do the study and assistant professor of medicine at UBC and researcher at VCHRI’s Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, added, "Our review strengthens the notion that we really have to look into this question more carefully and more seriously.”


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