November 2010


Practitioners Still Prescribing Medication Even Though They Only Mask the Pain

The above headline comes from an online article on November 2, 2010 on the news website AllVoices.com. The article points out that even though other types of care such as chiropractic are more effective, and medications have been shown to be relatively ineffective for patients with chronic neck pain, many medical doctors still rely on them in their primary treatments of suffering patients.

The AllVoices article references a study published in the November 2010 issue of the American College of Rheumatology's journal, Arthritis Care & Research that documents the overutilization of diagnostic testing and narcotics, and the underutilization of what they termed "effective treatments" in the care of patients with chronic neck pain. The AllVoices article also references research published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine that shows that chiropractic was the number one alternative to medical care for back and neck pain patients.

In this study researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina reviewed data from a phone survey of 5,357 households in North Carolina. From this group the researchers identified 135 people with chronic neck problems. Lead researcher Adam Goode, PT, DPT, from the University of North Carolina commented on the number of people with chronic neck pain and the usage of drugs as treatments by saying, "Our sample population had a high degree of disability, despite using a number of diagnostics and treatments. Based on current evidence, several treatments were over-used, and some effective treatments were under-used."

The articles covering this research noted that chiropractic was the most effective and most frequently used non-medical form of care for patients with neck and back problems. One of the articles in the October 28, 2010 Detroit Examiner, describes how chiropractic helps chronic neck pain by explaining, "Neck adjustments also called cervical manipulation is an exact procedure applied to joints of the neck and usually done by hand. These adjustments improve mobility to the spine and increase range of motion. It also increases movement in adjoining muscles. Patients usually note improved ability to turn neck and tilt head along with decreased pain, soreness and stiffness."


Reading Disabilities, Headaches, Neck Pain, and Asthma with Chiropractic - A Case Study

Published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, is a case study documenting the improvement with chiropractic, of a young boy suffering from headaches, neck pain, asthma, and reading disabilities. In this case the 10-year-old boy was a poor reader and suffered eye strain while reading. He also exhibited poor memory of classroom material, and was unable to move easily from one line of text to another during reading.  The case documented that he was taking 4 medications for the asthma but still suffered problems during exercise.

This elementary school student was brought to the chiropractor with a history of neck pain and headaches for the previous 3 years. Using a numeric pain scale the young boy drew out a pain scale where he rated his pain at 5 out of 10 for both his neck pain and headaches. When asked how many days per week he suffered from headaches, he responded by reporting having headaches 3 or 4 days per week.

The history showed that 3 years ago, just prior to the start of his headaches and neck pain, the boy suffered an accident when he was wrestling with his sister. The patient had tumbled backward from a seated position and landed on his chest causing his neck to be excessively bent forward. In the following 3 weeks the boy suffered from neck spasms, and his mother noted that his headache problem began at this time. Because he was already suffering from other health issues such as asthma, no specific treatment was sought for his neck and headache problems.

Some of the boy's chronic conditions included episodes of severe asthma associated with nasal allergies and sinus problems. He was unable to participate in organized sports because he could not run and play without wheezing requiring medications.

The results this boy experienced with chiropractic care were life changing. At the end of his first treatment, the boy reported that his headaches were gone.  After only 5 visits the boy reported that all of his symptoms were gone and he gave a score of “0 of 10” on his head and neck pain using the numeric pain scale. The author noted that, "the patient showed improvement in his reading ability, head and neck pain, and respiratory distress. His ability to read improved, performing at his own grade level. He has remained symptom free for 2 years."


Older White Americans Sicker than British Peers

The above is the headline from an article that appeared on the USA Today website on November 6, 2010. The article reports on a study released on November 4, 2010 by the Rand Corporation showing that older white Americans are sicker than older white British citizens. The study conducted by Rand specifically looked at White Americans and Britains in the age groups of  55-64 and 70-80 during the years 2002 to 2006.

Co-author James Smith, a senior economist at the Rand Corporation noted why only white populations were studied by saying, "We did so to eliminate the possibility that minorities in both countries could be causing the health differences."

The study finding showed that between the ages of 55 to 64 Americans have higher rates of chronic diseases than their English counterparts and they also died at about the same rate. In the older group of between 70 and 80 years of age, the results showed that disease prevalence and the onset of new diseases were higher among Americans for the illnesses studied, which included diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, chronic lung diseases and cancer. However, in this older group the study did show that even though Americans were less healthy, they were on average outliving their British counterparts in this age group.

In commenting on the findings Smith explained in the USA Today article, "Americans are taking worse care of themselves but getting better care from the health care system. My fear is that unless we are able to improve ourselves in terms of sickness, making up for this with good medical care will be harder and harder to sustain in the future."

In the USA Today article David Rehkopf, an epidemiologist and assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, put things in perspective by commenting, "The better care that Americans get from their health-care system occurs very late in the disease process." He continued, "However, because less focus is put on prevention, we have to live and manage chronic disease and illness for long periods of time. The findings suggest that the main deficiencies in the U.S. health system may be in preventing disease from occurring. This is important to begin to address if people want to also live disease-free, rather than just longer."


Chiropractic Helps 11 Year Old Boy With Bedwetting - A Case Study

A research article published on October 19, 2010 in the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, documented the case study of an 11-year-old boy with a history of bedwetting and attention problems who was helped with chiropractic care.

The study reports that bedwetting is an extremely common problem in children, affecting between approximately 10 to 20.4% of children up to 7 years old. They note that among that group there is a spontaneous cure rate of 15% per year with about 2.3% of childhood bedwetters becoming adult bedwetters. The authors also point out that statistically there is a clear correlation between nocturnal enuresis and disruptive behavior as well as ADHD.

In this case an 11-year-old boy was brought to a chiropractor by his mother, for both his bedwetting, which occurred seven nights per week, and his attention problems. Both of these problems were present his entire life. The history notes that in his 11 years he had a total of 5-10 courses of antibiotics, and 5-10 total prescription medications.

A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed and it was determined that there were various subluxations present, causing interference to his nervous system. Based upon the findings a course of specific adjustments was initiated to correct the subluxations.

In this case the boy was seen a total of 33 times over the course of his corrective care. During that time the study results showed that his bedwetting dramatically improved from 7 days per week to one time every two-three weeks. Additionally, the boy and his mother both reported that his attention problem also improved.

In the conclusion, the author summed up the boy’s case by stating; “He was diagnosed with vertebral subluxations by his chiropractor. These vertebral subluxations were reduced using a series of chiropractic adjustments and his symptoms started to significantly improve.”


Painkiller Usage During Pregnancy Linked to Male Offspring's Reproductive Disorders

A study published on October 14, 2010 in the Oxford journal, Human Reproduction, shows a link between mothers who took painkillers such as acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen during pregnancy, and an increase in future reproductive problems in their male children. Reuters news in London also published a November 9, 2010 article on this study and stated that women who took a combination of more than one of these drugs during pregnancy had an increased risk of giving birth to sons with undescended testicles.

The study showed that the condition of undescended testicles, known as cryptorchidism, is linked to later creating poor semen quality and a greater risk of testicular cancer in the male's adult life. The article noted that this could explain the sharp increase over the past few decades in male reproductive disorders.

Lead researcher Henrik Leffers of Rigshospitalet, the national hospital of Denmark, commented, "Women may want to try to reduce their analgesic use during pregnancy. However, as biologists this is not something we can advise women about. So we recommend that pregnant women seek advice from their physician." According to Leffers' team, which consisted of researchers from Finland, Denmark and France, more than half of pregnant women in Western countries report taking mild analgesics.

The study was conducted by questioning 834 women in Denmark and 1,463 in Finland about their use of the painkillers during pregnancy. Their male babies were then examined to see if there were any possible reproductive issues related to undescended testicles. Additional study work was done on rats which showed long term effects of the usage of these drugs leading to insufficient supplies of the male hormone testosterone during a critical period of gestation when the male organs are forming.

In the human part of the study, the results showed that women who took more than one of these painkillers simultaneously had a seven-fold increased risk of giving birth to sons with this form of reproductive problem as compared with women who took nothing.

Neal Patel of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society commented in the Reuters article, "This study adds to the body of evidence about the effect of medicines on fetal development. However, due to study limitations, further research is needed to draw firm conclusions about the effect of painkillers on male fertility."

In summing up the impact that these findings could have on the human population, lead researchers Leffers commented to Reuters, "Although we should be cautious, the use of mild analgesics constitutes by far the largest exposure to endocrine disruptors among pregnant women, and use of these compounds is at present the best suggestion for an exposure that can affect a large proportion of the human population."


Resolution of Neurological Tics With Chiropractic - A Case Study

From the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, comes a study published on October 6, 2010 which documents the case of a seven year old boy who was suffering from neurological tics and was subsequently helped by chiropractic care.

In this case, a young boy was brought to the chiropractor by his father. The boy was complaining of a frequent “tickle” in his throat that caused him to repeatedly clear his throat. The boy reported that his throat was not painful or sore and drinking water made it feel better. The “tickle” in his throat seemed to vary in frequency from a couple of times per day up to several times per hour.

His father reported that he only noticed his son having this problem for a few months previous to being brought in for chiropractic care. Both parents added that they had observed symptoms of head jerking, grunting, and eye blinking.

A chiropractic examination was performed and a number of irregular findings were documented. It was noted that the boy had irregular eye movements and sluggish right pupil response. There were also muscular irregularities noted during the exam. Based on the chiropractic and physical exam findings, the boy was diagnosed with cervical and thoracic vertebral subluxation complexes, therefore causing interference to the nervous system.

Chiropractic care was initiated using a set of techniques selected by the chiropractor. The case study does show that the initial chiropractic care given to this patient was not as successful as anticipated so the care was re-evaluated and a different form of chiropractic adjustments were then initiated. Using this new approach the child started to see dramatic improvement.

According to the study author, the improvements included dramatic reduction in frequency and intensity of the neurological tics, which later progressed to complete resolution of the boy’s problems. The boy’s parents remarked that there was noticeable improvement in his symptoms, and they observed that he had reduced head jerking, grunting, and eye blinking.


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