October 2010


Vertigo, Migraines and Neck Pain Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Study

A research case study published on September 29, 2010 in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, documented the case of a young boy being helped with dizziness, chronic neck pain and migraines. In this case a twelve year old boy with a long history of routine, recurrent dizziness, chronic neck pain and migraines was brought by his mother to the chiropractor for care.

The history showed that this boy's dizziness started when he was 3-years old and had been getting progressively worse in intensity and recurrence. The boys dizziness would occur every 3 months and was predictable to within 1-2 days. His neck pain and headaches began when he was 8 years old and would occur 2 to 3 times per week.

His problems were having a profound effect on his life. Since beginning school at age 5 he had consistently missed between half and two-thirds of his scheduled school days. The study noted that when he was not having these attacks he was a happy, positive boy who enjoyed what little school he did get to attend.

The boy had been previously seen by numerous medical professionals including a general practitioner, an otolaryngologist, a neurologist, a pediatric neurologist, and a senior medical lecturer. He had received a variety of diagnoses mainly consisting of various forms of vertigo and headaches. Finally, he was brought to a chiropractor.

After examination, chiropractic care was initiated consisting of specific adjustments to areas of the spine determined to have vertebral subluxations, causing nerve system interference. After just the first week of chiropractic care, the boy stopped getting headaches and neck pain. His regular cluster of dizziness did not develop and this was the first time in 9 years that he did not get this dizziness at the regularly predictable time.

The effects for this child were profound and long lasting. The study reported that two months after starting chiropractic care he did suffer a mild episode of vertigo for 3 days. He also had another 3-day episode eight months later. However, after two years of regular chiropractic care these two brief episodes were the only symptoms the child had experienced. Additionally, during this time he has not reported any further headaches or neck pain.


US Healthcare to Blame for Poor Life Expectancy Rates

The above is the headline from an October 8, 2010 article in the BBC News. This article, along with many others reported on a study showing that the life expectancy ranking for adults in the US is falling behind most other advanced nations. This decline comes in spite of the fact that US healthcare costs are the highest in the world and have increased at a greater rate than the other nations.

The study published on October 7, 2010 in Health Affairs, was funded by a grant from the Commonwealth Fund and conducted by researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, in New York City. The study looked at life expectancy rates for the United States and compared these findings to that of twelve nations which included, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

In this study researchers looked at the 15 year survival rates for men and women at ages 45 and 65 for the United States and the 12 other nations in this study. Prior to this study, most people believed that the US slippage in ranking was either due to poor health habits such as smoking and obesity, or automobile accident rates. This study was able to show that these factors were either not different in the US than the other nations, or they did not play a significant role in the health rankings. The only factor that was significantly different was the health care delivery system itself.

Peter A. Muennig, the lead author of the study noted,  “It was shocking to see the U.S. falling behind other countries even as costs soared ahead of them. But what really surprised us was that all of the usual suspects - smoking, obesity, traffic accidents, and homicides - are not the culprits.”

According to the study, US healthcare spending increased at nearly twice the rate of the other nations between 1970 and 2002. This increased spending corresponded with worsening survival rates relative to the other nations studied. The researchers were able to show that the 15-year survival rates for 45-year-old men in the U.S. declined, dropping from third place in 1975 to 12th in 2008. The study also noted that in 1950, the US ranked fifth among leading industrialized nations for combined male and female life expectancy at birth, as compared to being ranked 49th in 2008.

In the BBC News article, the authors gave some explanation for the findings by saying, "We speculate that the nature of our health care system - specifically, its reliance on unregulated fee-for-service and specialty care - may explain both the increased spending and the relative deterioration in survival that we observed." They continued, "If so, meaningful reform may not only save money over the long term, it may also save lives."


Bedwetting Helped with Chiropractic Care - A Case Study

A case study published on September 22, 2010 in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, documented the case of a 9 year old boy who was suffering with nocturnal enuresis, better known as bedwetting, and was helped with chiropractic care.

The study reported that nocturnal enuresis (NE), is almost 3 times more prevalent in boys than in girls. The peak ages for this problem are between 4.5 years to 5.5 years of age. Some of the conventional medical approaches for the treatment of NE involve the use of drugs, such as anti-depressants which carry the risk of side effects such as mood changes, nausea, sleep disturbance and even death. Another conventional treatment is the use of a "bedwetting alarm" which is considered the most successful therapeutic approach. However, using a bedwetting alarm can itself be stressful as it wakes the child up when moisture is detected. This method depends on behavior modification and therefore considers NE to be a behavioral issue.

In this case the mother reported that the boy had been a bedwetter his entire childhood and that none of the medical care was effective.  The primary MD for the boy did not prescribe medications but recommended withholding water from the boy for 2 hours prior to going to sleep, and then waking him up every few hours for him to urinate. With these approaches being ineffective, the 9 year old boy was eventually resigned to wearing diapers to bed. This created severe self esteem problems for the boy.

>After a full chiropractic examination and evaluation, care was initiated with a series of specific adjustments to the spine. The child's mother was also asked to keep a dietary log for her son so as to improve his eating habits which previously consisted of a variety of fast foods.

After 6 weeks, the mother reported that her son had gone 6 days without bedwetting at night. A week later he had not had an incident in almost 2 weeks. This two week dry period represented the longest time in his life that he had experienced without wetting his bed. Four months later the boy was still dry and had not had any incidents of bedwetting.


Prescription Drug Use Continues to Increase

A report dated September 2010 and released by the US Centers for Disease Control's (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics carried the title above and documented the increase in prescription drug consumption in the United States. The report states that in the United States, spending for prescription drugs was $234.1 billion in 2008, which was more than double what was spent in 1999.

Some of the key findings in this report were:

  • Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44% to 48%.
  • The use of two or more drugs increased from 25% to 31%. The use of five or more drugs increased from 6% to 11%.
  • In 2007–2008, 1 out of every 5 children and 9 out of 10 older Americans reported using at least one prescription drug in the past month.
  • The percentage of persons who used five or more prescription drugs increased from 6% in 1999–2000 to 11% in 2007–2008.
  • Among older Americans (aged 60 and over), more than 76% used two or more prescription drugs and 37% used five or more.

As expected the report noted that those who were without either a regular place for health care, health insurance, or prescription drug benefit had less prescription drug use compared with those who had these benefits. Additionally the report showed that women were more likely to use prescription drugs than men. Ethnicity played a role in prescription drug use as the non-Hispanic white population had the highest prescription drug use and the Mexican-American population had the lowest. The study is available online and can be seen at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db42.pdf

An article on the US News and World Report website posted on October 7, 2010 asked the question in the title, "Overmedication: Are Americans Taking Too Many Drugs?". According to that article, "Today, a full 61 percent of adults use at least one drug to treat a chronic health problem, a nearly 15 percent rise since 2001." 


Why Chiropractic Care Might Be a Better Option for Your Back Pain

The above headline comes from an October 10, 2010 article on the website Health Reform. The article, by Stephen Kelly, starts off by saying, "Research has shown that chiropractic care provides greater improvement and satisfaction to patients with chronic lower back pain. Patients who have been taking medicinal help have reported their back pain to be worse or much worse, whereas chiropractic patients felt more satisfied and their back pain was much better."

The article is a general overview of chiropractic care as it relates to back and musculoskeletal health problems. The author discusses how back pain creates problems in daily life including disruption of sleep. He points out that not only the sleep of the victim is affected, but also that of the whole family. Kelly then offers some comfort by saying, "The good news is you can again sleep peacefully like a baby."

In his lay-person description of chiropractic, Kelly says, "Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care is a safe, effective treatment for acute lower back pain." He also reported that, "Not only does chiropractic care improve your spinal pain, but it can also bring relief to those killing headaches. Spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches."

Dr. Gary Walsemann, president of the International Chiropractors Association noted that many articles use terminology that is not entirely accurate when describing chiropractic. Dr. Walsemann noted, "Chiropractors have maintained that they are correcting the underlying cause of health problems and not directly treating them. In response many authors describe chiropractic in terms that suggest chiropractic is a treatment for certain health issues." Dr. Walsemann continued by clarifying, Chiropractors do not treat conditions directly, we also do not manipulate, we deliver specific chiropractic adjustments to the spine to correct nerve system interference caused by spinal subluxations. As nerve interference is corrected, the body's own innate healing abilities correct the person's health issues and help return that person to good health."

In the conclusion of his article, Kelly noted other reasons "Why Chiropractic Care Might Be a Better Option for Your Back Pain". He concluded, "Furthermore, chiropractic care is a more cost-effective option because it eliminates the pain, and improves the sleep cycle in much lesser time than conventional medicines or other alternative methods. Patients receiving manipulative treatment have shown better sleep patterns and fewer absences from work".


Cancer and Chiropractic

In the October 10, 2010 issue of the online publication AllVoices, is an article about children and cancer. The focus of the story was about helping children with the stress and discomfort of cancer and cancer treatment. In one of the sections of this article they discuss chiropractic care as a method for helping people being treated for cancer.

The AllVoices article, authored by Debbie Nicholson references a research article published in the September/October 2010 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. The research focused on yoga as a method for relieving stress in cancer patients, but Ms. Nicolson's article went further and discussed research on other methods of helping cancer patients. She stated, "Many parents seek out alternative treatments for their children suffering from symptoms of childhood cancer due to the fact they are natural, most effective and have minimal side effects if any."

The chiropractic section of the AllVoices article starts off by noting, "Literature has strongly supported the use of chiropractic care for cancer patients. Musculoskeletal complaints show very favorable response along with symptoms from radiation, chemotherapy or post surgical trauma related to connective tissues and joints. Chiropractic treatments also improve physical and emotional well being of the patient along with quality of life."

The literature that supports chiropractic referenced in the article partially comes from an October 2008 article in the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing titled "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Children With Cancer". That article noted that 59% of children with cancer used some form of what the researchers called, "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) which included chiropractic. More specifically 25.9% of children with cancer who utilized CAM used chiropractic care.

Chiropractic as a part of cancer care has become more widely accepted. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), now include chiropractic care as an option to help cancer treatment patients. On the CTCA website they describe the role of chiropractic by saying, "Being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing procedures or treatments to fight the disease can impose significant stress on your musculoskeletal system, which includes your bones, muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. You may be experiencing aches and pains in your back or neck, headaches, sciatica (pain that radiates from your lower back to the back of your leg), or difficulty moving and walking. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), experienced chiropractors help cancer patients to deal with such debilitating pain and discomfort. The chiropractic care they provide can also reduce stress and increase mobility, flexibility, strength, and function, as well as help improve quality of life and overall well-being."

In further explaining what chiropractic care is, the CTCA website explains, "Chiropractic treatment seeks to reduce subluxation, which is the abnormal motion or position of joints. It occurs when a joint is out of alignment and/or when a joint is restricted from moving and functioning as it should. Subluxation, for example, can occur when one or more of the vertebrae (bones of your spine) moves out of position and creates pressure on your spinal nerves, impairing your nervous system."


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