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April 2011

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Fibromyalgia Helped with Chiropractic Care - A Long-Term Case Study

A case study published in the scientific periodical, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on April 6, 2011, documents the improvement of a woman under chiropractic care who was suffering from post-traumatic fibromyalgia. According to the author, "Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in muscles, tendons, and ligaments of susceptible individuals".

In this study, a 36-year-old woman went to a chiropractor after an automobile accident. According to the study, the woman was pulling out of a shopping center onto a road and was struck in the driver's door by a car traveling 40 to 50 mph. The woman suffered significant soft tissue injuries involving her neck, upper back, middle back, and lower back. She was transported by ambulance to a hospital emergency room  where x-rays were performed and medical treatment for her injuries was provided.

The medical care provided at the ER included a prescription of 800 mg of Ibuprofen. She was given a cervical collar and a lumbar support.  After seven hours of  observation, she was released from the hospital. She was told by the ER doctor to use ice on the sore areas for two days and to follow-up with a private physician if the pain persisted.

Three days after the accident, the woman went to the chiropractor and reported that she was still in severe pain. She had significant trouble moving her neck and any portion of her back. She reported that the pain was worse at night and caused her to have trouble sleeping.

A chiropractic examination was performed which confirmed the severe restriction of her range of motion and showed numerous other spinal fixations and misalignments. A determination was made that multiple vertebral subluxations were present and a course of chiropractic corrective care was initiated.

Results showed that the woman experienced continual improvement over the initial course of her chiropractic care. After a 12 week period, she reported improvements in her ability to get around, and a return to normal for her neck and back ranges of motion. By this point, she reported that her pain was minimal.

Chiropractic care was discontinued at that point. After several weeks her problems started to return and medical care was initiated. Numerous medical tests were performed resulting in a final medical diagnosis of post-traumatic fibromyalgia. After months of unsuccessful medical care without relief, the woman returned for chiropractic care and remained under maintenance chiropractic care for years where she showed continual improvement. At the writing of this study, the woman was still under maintenance chiropractic care and reported that her symptoms were at pre-accident levels.

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Drug-Related Poisoning Causes Nearly 700,000 Emergency Department Visits a Year

A study released on March 3, 2011, in the The American Journal of Emergency Medicine showed that there were almost 700,000 visits to emergency room departments for drug poisoning in the year 2007. Study authors note that deaths due to drug poisoning have been documented prior to their study but not much was known about the number of visits generated by this problem.

The study noted that children between birth and five years of age are at the highest risk statistically of poisoning from drugs, but that there has been an increased rate of all drug related poisonings.  The study also reported that drug-related poisonings were three times higher in rural areas than in other locations.

A March 14, 2011, article in MD News quoted the authors of the study, "Antidepressants and analgesics were responsible for nearly 44 percent of emergency department visits for drug-related poisoning in the United States. Interventions and future research should target prescription opioids, rural areas, children 0 to 5 years old for unintentional drug-related poisoning, and females ages 12 to 24 years for suicidal drug-related poisoning".

In response to the research, Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians commented in a March 16, 2011, PRNewswire-USNewswire article by adding, "People are abusing prescription drugs and over-the counter drugs, and it's a serious and growing problem. Very young children had the highest rate of unintentional drug poisoning, which is a wake-up call for parents to make sure their medicines are out of reach."

"We all need to work together, take responsibility and use common sense to protect people from drug poisoning," said Dr. Schneider. "We see too many people affected by this in our emergency departments. With all of the information and warnings available to the public, that should not be the case."

The PRNewswire-USNewswire article offered some facts about drug poisoning:

  • An estimated 699,123 US emergency department visits for drug-related poisoning occurred in 2007.
  • Nearly 28,000 unintentional drug-related poisoning deaths in the United States in 2007.
  • Infants to children 5-years-old have the highest rate of unintentional poisoning.
  • Antidepressants and painkillers were responsible for 43 percent of all drug-related poisoning.
  • The estimated emergency department charges for drug-related poisonings were $1.4 billion.

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Infant with Facial Asymmetry Helped with Chiropractic - Case Study

In the March 31, 2011, issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, is a case study showing how chiropractic helped a newborn infant with an asymmetrical face due to birth process trauma. The authors of the study noted that according to recent estimates, 2.6 percent of births are complicated by some type of birth trauma.

In this case, a four-day-old boy was brought to the chiropractor by his parents for what the parents termed as a "twisted" face. According to the infants mother, it was the medical doctor at the hospital that recommended that she seek chiropractic care for this problem. The parents reported that their child also had additional problems including constipation, increased saliva production, and intestinal gas. The case study noted that the mother had problems with previous pregnancies and had been under chiropractic care during portions of this pregnancy and was helped with various pain issues.

Examination of the infant noted that the infant boy was calm, was breathing deeply and had no nasal congestion. His mouth and nose were obviously twisted to the left. The infants head and neck motions were abnormal and certain motions made him irritable. Restrictions were also noted in the hips and the muscles in these areas were unusually tight.

A specific course of chiropractic care was initiated to correct the determined spinal and pelvic abnormalities. After only the first visit, the mother noted that the infant had some improvement in his body movement, and  his bowels had become more regular. By the third visit, the infants face was now symmetrical, and the boy's head posture had improved. By the thirteenth visit, the boy's neck movement was normal. Ten months after birth, the study noted that most of the child's problems had either resolved or were greatly improved.

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Hospital Errors Occur 10 Times More Than Reported, Study Finds

Above is an April 7, 2011, headline from the Bloomberg news service.  The article reported on a study published in Health Affairs in April, 2011, which showed that using a more exact measurement of recording medical errors drastically increased the recorded estimation of the  probable medical errors that occur.

Study author David C. Classen, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, notes that most hospitals use a voluntary reporting system for errors and adverse events using criteria set by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Qualityís Patient Safety Indicators. Classen and his researchers believe that this current system misses 90 percent of all errors.

The researchers wrote, "Hospitals that use such methods alone to measure their overall performance on patient safety may be seriously misjudging actual performance. Reliance on such methods could produce misleading conclusions about safety in the U.S. health-care system and could misdirect patient-safety improvement efforts."

In his comments on the study in an April 9, 2011 USA Today article Dr. Classen explained, "The more you look for errors, the more you find." He continued, "There is a large opportunity for improvement, despite all the work that's been done. And we need better measurement systems to assess how we are doing in patient safety."

In the USA Today article, Dr. John Birkmeyer, director of the Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy at the University of Michigan, stated that he was not surprised that the research showed that so many medical errors are being missed.  He said, "Nobody is surprised that systems that rely on voluntary reporting would tend to let a high percentage of cases fall through the cracks. It's not a surprise that a method based on careful chart abstraction by knowledgeable reviewers would do a much better job in tracking adverse events."

The Bloomberg article brought forth some sobering statistics in the light of this study. They noted that according to this study, adverse events occur in one-third of hospital admissions. A 1999 report by the U.S. Institute of Medicine found that medical errors caused as many as 98,000 deaths and more than 1 million injuries each year. This was using the old method of error reporting. The Bloomberg article also noted that a similar study  published in November of 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine, looking at hospital admissions in North Carolina, found that almost one-in-five patients were injured by their care.

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Parkinson's Patient Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Study

The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research on March 14, 2011, published a case study documenting how chiropractic care helped an elderly woman with Parkinson's disease symptoms. The authors of the study noted that, "Parkinsonís disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by resting tremor, bradykinesia (slowness of movement), rigidity, and postural instability. An estimated one million Americans live with Parkinsonís with approximately sixty thousand new cases diagnosed each year."

In this study, a 67-year-old woman came to a chiropractor with complaints of weakness, tremors, scoliosis and rigidity due to Parkinsonís disease. Her problems began five years earlier, and it was at that time that she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The woman's history also notes that she has a history of migraine headaches, nervousness, right shoulder pain, dizziness, constipation, and osteoporosis. Due to her dizziness and balance problems the woman would fall almost daily. The case study reported that due to the severity of her condition, she was missing work and had trouble performing daily activities.

A full chiropractic examination was performed which determined that there was abnormal nerve system function due to an atlas subluxation complex. A subluxation is when one or more of the vertebrae is out of a normal position and affecting nervous system function. In this case, the authors noted that it was the top bone in the spine, the "Atlas", that was the subluxated vertebrae and causing what the authors termed, "aberrant neurological function".

Care was initiated using specific forms of chiropractic adjustments designed to correct the subluxation found in this case. After one month of care, the patient reported a 60 percent improvement in weakness, and a 50 percent improvement in her tremors.  It was not until the third month of care that the patient could report a 30 percent reduction in her rigidity. After 6 months of chiropractic care, the woman reported a 70 percent improvement in mobility and a significant reduction in the number of falls she was having. The study also reported that the woman's quality of her life had improved as the woman noted an improved ability to perform activities of daily living, including her work.

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Medical Bills Leading Cause of Bankruptcy

A March 30, 2011, article in the Murfreesboro Post from Tennessee, carried the headline above. The article's author, Laura Thornquist, was making the point that cuts in healthcare to attempt to balance state's budgets could have the reverse effect by creating more bankruptcies.  

In support of her contention, Ms. Thornquist cites the work of David Himmelstein, professor of public health at City University in New York, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who has researched medical-related bankruptcies for the past decade. His research showed that between the years 2002 and 2007 the number of bankruptcies due to medical bills went up significantly.

According to the Murfreesboro Post article, and two Himmelstein research papers published in The American Journal of Medicine in 2011 and 2009, more than half of all bankruptcies filed in the United States today are due to medical bills. The research states that in 1981 bankruptcies due to medical bills accounted for only 8 percent of those being filed.

Currently the studies estimate that 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were due to medical bills. This figure is even before the most recent recession and is also considering the fact that bankruptcy laws have made it tougher to file for bankruptcy. What may be most surprising is that according to the studies, most of these people who filed for bankruptcy were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Possibly even more frightening is that three quarters of these had health insurance.

Several attempts to help this situation have met with less than successful results. The studies show that in Massachusetts, inadequate coverage was offered to a larger number of people resulting in a large increase in bankruptcy filings, even as more people had insurance. Himmelstein explained this by saying, "What Massachusetts did was to give people really inadequate coverage. It traded uninsurance for underinsurance. That really didn't work. When people were seriously ill, they ended up with such huge medical bills that they really didn't have coverage that could keep them out of the bankruptcy court.".

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