Patients Who See Chiropractor First Much Less Likely to Have Spinal Surgery
A study published in the medical journal Spine on December 12, 2012, showed that patients who went to a chiropractor first with a back injury were less like to have surgery then those who went to an orthopedic surgeon. Articles on the study also appeared in the January 22, 2013, issue of the Monthly Prescribing Reference, as well as in a Business Wire release on Jan 08, 2013, by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP).
The study, titled "Early Predictors of Lumbar Spine Surgery after Occupational Back Injury: Results from a Prospective Study of Workers in Washington State," reviewed the records of patients in Washington state who had returned to work after a work-related back injury. Researchers looked at the claims of 1,885 workers for up to three years after the initial claim to see how many resulted in spinal surgery. The results showed that 174 (9.2%) of the people returning to work after a back injury had lumbar spine surgery within 3 years. Using this, the researchers wanted to see what factors affected the rate of these surgeries.
In a January 8, 2013, release by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, spokesperson and chiropractor Dr. Gerard Clum discussed the study results by saying, "In total, 42.7 percent of workers who initially visited a surgeon underwent surgery, in contrast to only 1.5 percent of those who first consulted a chiropractor." He noted that the study was conducted by a collaboration of prestigious institutions including Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, University of Washington School of Public Health, University of Washington School of Medicine, Ohio State University College of Public Health, and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
The researchers also noted the significant difference between patients who first went to the chiropractor by stating in their conclusion, "There was a very strong association between surgery and first provider seen for the injury, even after adjustment for other important variables."
"Back injuries are the most prevalent occupational injury in the U.S., and care is commonly associated with one of the most costly treatments - spine surgery. Chiropractic is clearly the most appropriate first treatment option for patients with back pain, and this study confirms the value," reports Dr. Clum. "As more data continues to surface touting the benefits of chiropractic care -- lower costs, less risks and higher satisfaction rates -- I expect that patients and practitioners will move toward considering chiropractic first, medicine second, and surgery last."
Patient with Muscular Dystrophy and Hypertension
Helped with Chiropractic
A 76-year-old woman suffering from Muscular Dystrophy (MD), headaches, vertigo, and hypertension, was helped by chiropractic. The recovery was documented in a case study that appeared in the January 31, 2013, issue of the Annuls of Vertebral Subluxation Research. The study authors describing MD said, "Muscular Dystrophy refers to a group of genetic diseases characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal or voluntary muscles which control movement."
In this case, a 76-year-old woman came to the chiropractor after having had a household fall. Before her fall, she had been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy and had been suffering from vertigo, hypertension, and headaches. A chiropractic examination was performed which included electronic muscle testing, postural assessment, range of motion, and specific spinal x-rays. Based on these tests, the presence of subluxation was determined.
The authors describe the purpose of chiropractic care in this case by saying, "The rationale for the use of chiropractic care in this case was to correct subluxations. Structural correction of the spine by the correction of subluxations was sought out in this case in accordance with the 'normal spinal model'."
When the patient first came to the chiropractic office, she was antalgic because of her pain and was carried into the office. The patient's overall health status was assessed utilizing an SF-36 form, which is a standard form that measures many areas of a patient's quality of life. Objective improvement measurements were made using surface electromyography , thermography, electronic muscle testing, and postural assessment.
The results documented in the study showed that after one month of care, the patient reported an improvement in overall pain levels, as well as a decrease in vertigo. After 6 weeks, she was able to get off all blood pressure medication. The woman continued to improve as it was reported that after 2 months of care, the patient had increased muscle strength. Ultimately, after 4 months of care, the patient reported a near complete absence of all symptoms.
The authors' conclusion summed
up the case by saying, "The onset of the pain following a
fall at home brought the patient into the office seeking
pain relief. Her care was designed for the reduction of
subluxation, which also manifested in the reduction in pain
symptoms. The patient experienced a complete absence of all
neurological symptoms following 4 months of chiropractic
care. This suggests a link between subluxation, poor
Chiropractic at the Super Bowl
Just prior to Super Bowl XLVII, several news outlets ran stories on chiropractors going to the Super Bowl to help the athletes compete at their highest level. Super Bowl 47 featured the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers. In this game, San Francisco staged a valiant comeback but fell short and the Baltimore Ravens became the champions.
In the February 3, 2013, edition of the Capital Gazette, one such article talked about how their team may have an advantage by saying, "The Baltimore Ravens will be playing with the benefit of a 'performance enhancer' in tonight's Super Bowl." The author, Tina Reed, a staff writer of the article in the Annapolis, Maryland publication continued, "It won’t be picked up in any testing. It hasn’t been banned from the NFL."
Reed was referring to the fact that Dr. Alan K. Sokoloff, a chiropractor, would be on the sidelines adjusting the players. In the article Dr. Sokoloff explained, "A lot of people think chiropractors just ‘crack backs, but a team chiropractor in the NFL can do so much more involving performance enhancement."
The Ravens were not the only team in the Super Bowl to have the benefit of chiropractic. The Hunterdon County Democrat also ran a story on January 29, 2013, reporting on a chiropractor, Dr. Jody Serra, who traveled with the San Francisco 49ers to help their team try to win it all.
Dr. Serra was quoted in the article talking about how the players understand the value of chiropractic care. "They realize the benefits of having their bodies balanced before competing." He continued and expressed his enthusiasm for being at the games, "I love to be involved with these guys and I’m always rooting for the teams I treat."
In the case of the 49ers, the article pointed out that most of the team's starting players get adjusted at their hotel the day before a game. The article also noted that chiropractic care for athletes is widespread well beyond just these two teams, or even football players in general. "Professional athletes in many sports use chiropractic care to help them perform at their peak."
Gifts to Doctors by Drug Companies to be Disclosed by Law
The federal government released long-overdue regulations requiring drug and medical device companies to disclose payments to physicians. This report was according to news stories published Feb. 1, 2013, in Fox Business News, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Denis Campbell’s UK Progressive, and other news sources.
The regulations, known as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, require gifts and payments over $10 to be published in a publicly accessible database by September 2014. This includes gifts of cash, goods or services, travel, meals, speaking fees, and payments for research by drug and device manufacturers. Also, doctors' investments in drug and medical device companies must be disclosed.
The regulations insure transparency in the relationships between drug companies and doctors, and protect the public interest. The rules were co-sponsored by former Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) after widespread criticism of corruption in this area of medicine.
"Disclosure brings about accountability, and accountability will strengthen the credibility of medical research, the marketing of ideas and, ultimately, the practice of medicine," Sen. Grassley said. "The lack of transparency regarding payments made by the pharmaceutical and medical device community to physicians has created a culture that this law should begin to change substantially."
It is alleged that gifts by the drug companies to doctors could influence the doctors’ decisions regarding a patient’s medical care.
"You should know when your doctor has a financial relationship with the companies that manufacture or supply the medicines or medical devices you may need," said the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services deputy administrator for Program Integrity, Peter Budetti. "Disclosure of these relationships allows patients to have more informed discussions with their doctors."
Breastfeeding Difficulty Resolved with Chiropractic Care
A case study published in the January 17, 2013, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health documented the resolution of breastfeeding difficulties in an eight-week-old infant. Breastfeeding difficulties are typically characterized by an inability of the infant to exercise the normal innate suckling reflex.
The authors discuss the importance of breastfeeding by noting, "Infants that are breastfed are 50% less likely to experience acute otitis media if breastfed for at least 3-6 months, they are 40% less likely to have asthma even with a familial history and also those exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months were 3 times less likely to suffer severe respiratory tract infections."
In this case, an eight-week-old infant girl was brought to the chiropractor with the inability to suck properly and with difficulty breastfeeding since birth. The infant was also born with hip dysplasia, and was wearing a soft brace which was being adjusted by the orthopedist weekly. The infant's mother was advised by her lactation consultant to see a chiropractor for her daughter's difficulties with breastfeeding.
During a chiropractic examination, it was noted that the infant was in distress due to the hip dysplasia. The examination showed head tilt and other imbalances along with positive indicators for abnormal neurological reflexes. These findings, along with palpation of the spine, led to the conclusion that subluxations were present affecting nerve system function.
Specific chiropractic adjustments were initiated to correct the subluxations. The authors noted that, "The goals for continued treatment were to restore function to allow the patient to latch on and breastfeed without distress." On the third visit, the infant's mother brought her lactation consultant to observe. The authors reported that the infant showed continual improvement to the point where she was able to normally breastfeed by the third chiropractic adjustment.
In their conclusion the authors explain, "The normal newborn is neurologically equipped to breastfeed from his mother and it must be considered that biomechanical disruptions can alter this process. The benefits of breastfeeding are well established. It is an essential physiological process that provides not only nutrition but protects the infant from infection and builds the strength of the newborn's immune system." They sum this case up by saying, "In this case the infant responded favorably to chiropractic care. After the third adjustment was given, successful breastfeeding was established and this continued throughout infancy."
Chiropractic Improves Quality of Life for Pregnant Women
According to Study
Chiropractic care improved the quality of life for pregnant patients in a study published by the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health on Feb. 4, 2013. The authors note that "It has been estimated that approximately 76% of chiropractors practicing in the United States provide chiropractic adjustments to pregnant women to address pregnancy-related complaints, and to some extent 'wellness care'."
Six pregnant women with an average age of 33 years and a mean gestation of 20 weeks, were studied for the improvement of their quality of life and patient satisfaction. The women suffered from a variety of symptoms including neck pain, leg pain, low back pain, and extremity/shoulder pain. Chiropractic for wellness was also reviewed during the study.
The study used the PROMIS-29 research assessment tool for analyzing the collected data from the pregnant patients. PROMIS-29 uses quality of life values like depression, anxiety, physical function, pain interference, fatigue, satisfaction with social roles and activities, and satisfaction in participation in social roles, to assess quality of life, and place a numerical value on the outcome.
The study showed a wide variety of improvements in many areas that the women were previously having problems. Three women improved in the area of fear and anxiety. One woman improved with depression and sadness. Two women improved in the fatigue domain, and one woman expressed more fatigue. Pain interference improved for four of the patients, and satisfaction with social roles improved for three of the pregnant women.
The study reinforces the use of chiropractic care for pregnant women. Chiropractic care improves the quality of life with a reduction in pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety while increasing physical function and satisfaction in social roles.
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