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October 2012

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Back Care Awareness Week in United Kingdom

Several news articles and releases report that the second week of October in the United Kingdom is "Back Care Awareness Week". One such article on October 6, 2012, in the Milton Keynes Citizen, starts off by noting that, "...the British Chiropractic Association is urging people to straighten out their approach to back care as new consumer research shows that almost half the UK population is affected by the condition."  .

British Chiropractic AssociationThe article reports that 28 percent of UK citizens have suffered from long term back pain lasting over a year, but that 24 percent have not sought any form of professional care for their problem. Tim Hutchful, spokes person for the British Chiropractic Association states, "Back pain is something which must not be swept aside not just by sufferers but by people of all ages who should think about preventative measures."

A major focus of the BCA program is prevention of back issues by both thoughtful activity and exercises. Hutchful stresses the importance of prevention by noting, "Research shows that 43 per cent of people are limited in their activity by back and joint pain, so we all need to act to ease and prevent future problems to live life to the fullest".

To help bring attention to back problem prevention, the BCA has created a series of instructional videos. These videos are available on the BCA website at www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk and include subjects such as, Buying a bed and sleeping, Computer Posture, Gardening, Driving, and Lifting and Carrying. The BCA has also created a series of printable flyers on a variety of topics including, Golf, Holiday Travel, Active Ageing, Skiing, and  Commuting.

Hutchful of the BCA sums up the importance of this program by saying, "Education on the importance of posture and back care cannot begin early enough, the sooner action is taken the less likely future back pain will be. With recent research by the BCA showing that 42.5 per cent of people do not participate in any physical exercise, we must shape up and straighten up to keep our backs healthy".

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How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us

The above is the headline from the September 21, 2012 issue of the Wall Street Journal, and highlights the enormity of the problem of hospital mistakes. The article reports that according to a previous report by the Institutes of Medicine, 98,000 deaths occur each year due to medial errors in hospitals.

Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital and author of the WSJ article starts off by comparing medical mistakes to aviation accidents. "When there is a plane crash in the U.S., even a minor one, it makes headlines. There is a thorough federal investigation, and the tragedy often yields important lessons for the aviation industry. Pilots and airlines thus learn how to do their jobs more safely."

Dr. Makary then notes that the medical community is not subject to the same scrutiny, "The world of American medicine is far deadlier: Medical mistakes kill enough people each week to fill four jumbo jets. But these mistakes go largely unnoticed by the world at large, and the medical community rarely learns from them. The same preventable mistakes are made over and over again, and patients are left in the dark about which hospitals have significantly better (or worse) safety records than their peers."

One of the other problems that prevents an open discussion of medical errors that Dr. Makary discusses in the WSJ article is the "gag order". He writes, " Increasingly, patients checking in to see doctors are being asked to sign a gag order, promising never to say anything negative about their physician online or elsewhere. In addition, if you are the victim of a medical mistake, hospital lawyers will make never speaking publicly about your injury a condition of any settlement."

In a related article from a Medical News Today article dated August 9, 2012, the headline reads, "In Hospital Deaths from Medical Errors at 195,000 per Year".  The MNT article starts by reporting that according to a new study by HealthGrades of 37 million patient records, an average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each year.

The MNT article cites the HealthGrades study to show that the original 98,000 deaths per year figure by the Institutes of Medicine, was far short  of the actual number of hospital deaths due to error.  "The HealthGrades study shows that the IOM report may have underestimated the number of deaths due to medical errors, and, moreover, that there is little evidence that patient safety has improved in the last five years," said Dr. Samantha Collier, HealthGrades' vice president of medical affairs. She continued, "The equivalent of 390 jumbo jets full of people are dying each year due to likely preventable, in-hospital medical errors, making this one of the leading killers in the U.S.".

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Resolution of Chronic Ear Infections, Difficulty Sleeping, and  Hypersensitivity with Chiropractic

In the September 24, 2012 issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic comes a documented case study of chiropractic helping a a baby girl with chronic otitis media, difficulty sleeping,
irritability, and skin sensitivities to clothes or being held and touched.

Otitis Media is the technical name for what most people refer to as an ear ache. The study notes that it has become the most common infection in children that are sick as well as the number one reason antibiotics being prescribed to children. The study author also reports that roughly 25% of all infants have sleeping difficulties. Skin sensitivities also known as tactile hypersensitivity, is where the child exhibits excessive reaction or irritability to touch or clothing.  

In this case a 2 year old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother with the complaints of chronic ear infections, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and skin sensitivities to either clothes or being held or touched. The history showed that her mother had labor induced a week early, and the birth was traumatic causing the child to be born with a broken collar bone.

The study reported that at the age of 2, the child was taking at least two hours to get to sleep and would not sleep for more than four hours at a time. Additionally, the girl has experienced over 20 ear infections, severe allergies requiring a nebulizer, severe behavior problems including temper tantrums and irritability. The girl had been given multiple rounds of antibiotics by her MD with little or no result. She would also have temper tantrums and exhibit aggressive behavior toward her sister and mother.

A chiropractic examination was performed resulting in the determination that subluxations were present in the girl's upper neck and upper mid back areas. Specific chiropractic adjustments were initiated for the correction of the subluxations as determined by the exam.

The results documented in this study showed an immediate and positive response by the girl to the chiropractic care. After her first adjustment her mother stated that her daughter was a little less aggressive towards her sister. After the third adjustment her mother reported that the girl was able to sleep through the night.

After two months of care it was noted that the girl who previously did not like to be hugged was coming into the chiropractors office and "hugging everyone". Her mother also reported that there was no longer an issue with clothes with the minor exception of socks. After 4 months of care the girl was no longer suffering from ear infections.

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Immediate Neurological Improvement Following Subluxation Based Chiropractic Care

From the September 17, 2012 issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research comes a study that demonstrated that chiropractic care has an immediate and positive effect on the nervous system. This study differs from other studies in that it does not rely on patient reports to document improvement but rather uses technology to measure nerve system change as a result of chiropractic care.

The author of this case study starts by explaining the purpose of chiropractic care related to the nervous system by saying, "Subluxation based chiropractic is the reduction of vertebral subluxation allowing the brain to effectively communicate with the rest of the body creating improved overall nervous system balance." He goes on to explain that subluxations, (bones in the spine out of position creating nerve system interference), have an effect on paraspinal skin temperatures that can be measured using certain thermal measuring technologies.

In this case a 26 year-old man went to the chiropractor for an evaluation. He was not suffering from any physical problems at that time. The chiropractic examination performed included a thermal scan to measure skin temperature along the spine. The initial scan showed significant variations along the spine in temperature with the biggest changes showing up in the neck. There were also some smaller changes noted in the mid back area of the man's spine.

A second scan was performed within 30 seconds after the patient's first specific chiropractic adjustment was given. A comparison was then made to see if any changes between the scans could be observed. The second scan showed a significant and immediate change toward normal of the thermal scan made on the young man. 

The author noted that the immediate change in the scan could only occur due to a change in body function achieved through the nervous system.  "This study outlines the direct and immediate effect of subluxation based chiropractic on the nervous system in a 26-year-old male exhibiting no pain or symptoms." he concludes. "This study suggests that chiropractic has immediate effects on the nervous system."

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Chiropractic Results Consistent Over 60 Years According to Study

Years ago there was very little scientific data that meets today's standards on the effectiveness of chiropractic care. Today newer studies document the significant improvement that patients receive from chiropractic care, especially  for patients with musculoskeletal problems such as neck and back pain. The question has been raised as to the effectiveness of chiropractic in years past, as compared to the more modern studies documenting positive patient results today.

A study to compare the results obtained years ago with those of today, and to answer the question of chiropractic results over the years was published in the August 9, 2012 issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research. This study specifically reviewed records for patients with headaches, neck pain, lower back pain, and radicular pain.  The study looked at the results of patient care from Sherman Chiropractic College for the years 2010 to 2011, and compared it to the results from a survey done by the International Chiropractors Association for the years 1949 and 1950.

Similar scales were used to measure patient self improvement so that a comparison of results could be made. The recent patient group from Sherman College was referred to as the "SC group", while the 1949-50 group was referred to as the "ICA group". 

Both the SC group and the ICA group showed their highest level of results for patients with neck pain with 96% and 89.1% of the groups respectively showing resolved or much improved status for neck pain. For headaches the results were again relatively equal with the SC group showing 87% resolved compared to 82% for the ICA group. For back pain the results were 83% for the SC group and 83.5% for the ICA group reporting resolved or much improved. And for the patients with nerve pain the SC group showed 80% resolved or much improved compared to the ICA group which showed 85.1% for this same problem.

The results of this study showed that chiropractic has been consistently beneficial to patients with these problems over the decades, even when in the past there were little or no scientifically acceptable studies to document the improvement patients were feeling. In their conclusion, the authors sum up the results by stating, "The present study shows consistency in improvement outcomes when comparing past and present, frequently encountered musculoskeletal complaints."

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Chronic and Acute Neck Pain Both Helped with Chiropractic According to Study

A study published on August 24, 2012 in the journal Chiropractic & Manual Therapies showed that both chronic and acute neck pain respond to chiropractic care. The study, conducted using information from multiple chiropractic practices in Switzerland, was originally designed to see if there was a way to predict the outcomes to chiropractic care for people with either acute or chronic neck pain.

The authors of the study start off by explaining that neck pain is the second most common reason that people go to a chiropractor, behind back pain. They also report that several recent studies confirm the safety of chiropractic care, which the authors referred to in this study as Chiropractic SMT (spinal manipulative treatment).

In this study patients with neck pain of any duration, who had not received any chiropractic care for the previous three months were reviewed. Patients whose neck pain was less than 4 weeks in duration were classified as acute while those whose symptoms were longer than 12 weeks in duration were classified as chronic. A numerical rating scale (NRS) was used to rate neck pain with patients in this study to standardize results. Results were collected from the patients at the intervals of one week, one month and three months after starting care.

Of the 529 patients in this study, 274 were classified as acute, while 255 classified as chronic. At one week after the start of care the study records that  77.8% of the acute patients and 37.6% of the chronic patients reported that they were feeling significantly improved. At one month the study recorded that 86.6% of the acute patients and 62.4% of the chronic patients reported being improved. Finally at the 3 month check 84.3% of the acute patients and 70.1% of the chronic patients now stated that they were improved. Only 4% of the acute patients and 9% of the chronic patients said that they felt worse at the 3 month period.

The authors noted that their results did not show many ways to predict the overall outcomes of care in advance. However, as one would expect, those patients that showed earlier results were more likely to show positive results at the 90 day follow up.  The researchers did report that the addition of either radiating pain or dizziness, in conjunction with neck pain, did not diminish the results that these patients achieved.

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