December 2010


Improvement in Cystic Fibrosis in a Child Undergoing Chiropractic Care: A Case Study  

A scientific case study was published on November 30, 2010, in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, documenting the case of a child with Cystic Fibrosis who was helped with chiropractic care. This study involved an eight year old boy who was brought to the chiropractor with complaints of recurring infections, an inability to sleep, and the inability to participate in age-appropriate sports.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis foundation, "Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that: clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; obstructs the pancreas, and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food."

In this case the parents of this 8 year old boy brought their son to the chiropractor in the hopes of improving, “the quality of life” of their son. The boy had been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth, which was confirmed a month later by additional testing. The boy was averaging 3 hospitalizations per year due to infections and respiratory distress, totaling between 2-8 weeks of hospitalization per year. The boy was taking an average of 10 medications daily for his variety of problems.

A chiropractic examination showed restricted ranges of motion, changes in surface temperature and multiple areas of spinal sensitivity to touch. The results of the test led to the conclusion of the presence of subluxations in the young boy. Subluxations are when one or more of the bones of the spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.

Care was initiated involving regular specific adjustments for correction of the subluxations. Over the course of the initial portion of care it was reported on several occasions that the boy was able to breathe better and able to fall asleep easier and remain asleep throughout the night.

The boy continued under long term chiropractic care ranging from 1-2 adjustments per week, and after 1.5 years of continuous care, he showed a significant improvement in his physical findings as well as his lifestyle. It was reported that he was significantly able to increase his physical activity, to the point where he was actively seeking to attain a black belt in karate. It was additionally noted that his attendance in school increased and he was able to be free of trips to the hospital for 8 months. Additionally, the boy suffered less colds, an increase in height and weight, a reduction in medications and a surge in energy.


1 in 7 Medicare Patients Harmed During Hospital Stay

The above headline comes from a November 16, 2010 MSNBC story reporting on a November 2010 government study by the Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of this study was, "To estimate the national incidence of adverse events for hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries, assess the preventability of such events, and estimate associated costs to Medicare."

Numerous articles in the general press reported on this study, including a Medscape article published on November 16, 2010 which stated, "An estimated 13.5% of hospitalized Medicare patients experience adverse events ranging from pulmonary embolisms to wrong-body-part surgery, and such events result in the death of 1.5% of all hospitalized Medicare patients." According to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the US Department of Health and Human Services, 44% of these adverse events are preventable. The MSNBC article points out that this rate translates into about 15,000 people per month, who suffered a complication that contributed to their death.

The study was conducted by reviewing a sample of hospital discharges from October 2008. The numbers were then extrapolated into the general population to see just how large the problem was. In terms of expenses, the study reports that hospital care associated with adverse and temporary harm events cost Medicare an estimated $324 million in October 2008 alone. They note that this equates into $4.4 billion having to be spent on additional medical care associated with these adverse events per year.

In response to the study David Arkush, the director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch Division, commented, "The country is in a patient safety crisis. The only workable solution to preventing unnecessary deaths and injuries is to combine much more patient-protective hospital protocols with much better scrutiny by hospitals of physicians and other health care providers, and to appropriately discipline those whose performance results in preventable patient harm."

Lisa McGiffert, the Director of the Consumer Union's Safe Patient Project, commented by posting on the groups website, noting that OIG report "shows that hospital patients are being harmed by medical errors at an alarming rate." She continued, "When mistakes are made in hospitals, the consequences can be serious and too often deadly. Unfortunately, most Americans have no way of knowing whether their hospital is doing a good job preventing medical errors."


Chiropractic More Affordable for Lower Back Pain According to Study

A study published in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), documented that patients who initially saw a chiropractor for common back pain conditions saved a considerable amount of money in total costs than did those who initiated care with an MD.

In this study, researchers performed an actuarial review of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee's general health plans claims between October 1, 2004, and September 30, 2006. They looked at a group of people within the plan who had open access to MDs and DCs without needing referrals, and had no limits on the number of MD/DC visits allowed by the policy and who had no differences in insurance co-pays. The researchers then compared the costs of those who sought chiropractic care first for their episode compared to those who first went to an MD for their care.

The results of the study showed that the cost of care for those who went to a chiropractor first was almost 40 percent less than the cost for those who went to an MD first.

In their conclusion the authors of the study wrote, "This study provides a unique opportunity to evaluate an insured population with open access (including identical co-pays and deductibles) and an unlimited number of visits to providers via self-referral. Our results support a growing body of evidence that chiropractic treatment of low back pain is less expensive than traditional medical care."


Chiropractic at the World Ice Hockey Championships

The December 2010 issue of the scientific journal Chiropractic & Osteopathy published a study of chiropractic care being delivered at the World Ice Hockey Championships in Moscow. In this report the New Zealand team's chiropractor conducted a study to document the conditions and the treatment performed during the championship.

The study is one of the first to detail the scope of chiropractic in international ice hockey. The New Zealand chiropractor, who was acting as the primary health provider, documented the type, scope, and severity of conditions and the treatment provided for them. Ice hockey injuries most often occur through body contact, and all body parts and tissues can be injured.

The New Zealand Team players were diagnosed with injuries 50 times, with muscle, joint, and tendon injuries being the most frequent. Eighty percent of the injuries received 4 or less sessions of chiropractic care for injury management. Only two of the injuries were severe enough to require the players to stop training or playing during the competition.

Chiropractic care was performed 75 percent of the time at the training site. The time for the chiropractic care was between 11 to 20 minutes. Treatment was most often performed for joint and soft tissue injuries.

Ice hockey is a full-body, rough contact sport. The study documents the injuries and the chiropractic care provided for them at the international level. The care proved consistent with the recommended chiropractic management of athletic injuries. The study held during the 2007 World Ice Hockey Championships aids in determining the role of chiropractors as primary healthcare providers.

It should be noted that the New Zealand team finished first in Division III of the 2007 IIHF World Championship and were promoted to division II for 2008.


Study Shows Chiropractic More Effective Than Medical Care for Acute Low Back Pain

A study published in the October 4, 2010 issue of The Spine Journal, the official journal of the North American Spine Society, showed that chiropractic care for acute mechanical lower back pain was a more effective means of care than what the study termed as "family physician-directed usual care".

This study was carried out in a hospital-based, tertiary-care Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Spine Program at Canada's National Spine Institute, in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada. All the Doctors of Chiropractic involved in this study have full hospital privileges at the facilities. In this study, 92 patients were separated into two groups. One group received care which included chiropractic care, while the second group received care from family physicians that did not include chiropractic care. The group that included chiropractic got 4 weeks of care and was returned to work in 8 weeks.

The results were measured at 8, 16 and 24 weeks using a standardized test known as the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ). According to the researchers, when comparing the RDQ scores for the two groups, the scores were significantly greater in the group that included chiropractic as compared to the group that only got family physician care.

In the authors conclusions, they noted that this study was the, "first reported randomized controlled trial comparing full clinical practice guidelines based treatment, including spinal manipulative therapy administered by chiropractors, to family physician–directed usual care in the treatment of patients with acute mechanical lower back pain."

In response to the study, Dr. John Maltby, Chairman of the Board of the International Chiropractors Association commented, "This study adds to the growing body of evidence showing that chiropractic care should be the first consideration for people suffering from this common condition." Dr. Maltby continued, "When you also consider the outstanding safety record for chiropractic care, and the library of additional studies showing chiropractic's effectiveness for patients with a wide variety of health problems, there should be no doubt that chiropractic should be the care of choice for not only acute lower back problems, but also for people looking to maximize spine and nervous system health."


Chiropractic Care for Children Increasing

The headline above comes from a November 30, 2010 article on the news website AllVoices.com. This article starts off by reporting, "Increasing number of parents are now using chiropractic care as part of their children's health regimen." The author of the article, Debbie Nicholson, also notes that the Centers for Disease Control indicate that in the United States a minimum of 3% of all children regularly receive chiropractic care.

The article explains that chiropractic for children is used mostly for preventative and wellness care. The author notes, "Health of the spine impacts the total nervous system which controls and synchronizes all the systems contained in the body such as respiratory and immune."

In the second section of the article the author discusses Chiropractic care for learning disorders and dyslexia. Nicholson starts this section by reporting that the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research recently published a study showing that chiropractic care offers a broad range of benefits for children with learning disorders and dyslexia.

Nicholson explains how chiropractic helps by stating, "The ongoing stimulation of the brain comes from the spine and the position of muscles constantly change to the force of gravity. If a misalignment in the spine occurs called vertebral subluxation, the brain does not receive proper stimulation which produces problems in other areas of the body." She continues, "Chiropractic adjustments improve the functioning of the spine and vigorously stimulate the nerve pathways of the cerebellum and other brain areas. In children it aides the brain to function properly for learning.

The remainder of the article reports on case studies involving chiropractic helping children with headaches, sports injuries, hyperactivity and colic. In her conclusion to the article, Debbie Nicholson sums up the benefit of chiropractic for children by saying, "Many children even those of school age benefit from chiropractic care. A child's spine needs just as much attention as an adult. Adjustments made for functional problems which develop in a child's spine can be corrected by a chiropractor using adjustments geared to the source of the problem."


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