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June 2013

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Earaches Resolved and Tubes Avoided - A Case Study

Documentation of the improvement of Otitis Media and the avoidance of recommended ear tubes for a baby boy appears in the May 28, 2013 issue of the scientific periodical, the  Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health. Otitis Media is the scientific name for ear infections and according to medicinenet.com is the most common diagnosis in sick children in the U.S. with 75 percent of children being diagnosed with this condition before they even start school.

The authors of this study note that in the first three years of life, more than two thirds of children are medically diagnosed with one or more episodes of acute otitis media (AOM). Of these, the authors report that one-third have had three or more episodes. Standard medical care is antibiotic treatment. However, the study authors point out that, "The American Academy of Pediatrics/American Academy of Family Practice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend the "wait and see" approach. This approach being based on the belief that 70-80% of AOM cases self-resolve."

In this case a 16 month old baby boy was brought to the chiropractor by his mother with the primary complaint of recurrent ear infections. His mother was trying to avoid having tympanostomy tubes placed in her son's ears. The study notes that this baby had a very difficult birth by cesarean and suffered many problems resulting in his being in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for seventeen days after birth.

A chiropractic examination was performed utilizing a paraspinal thermal exam and static vertebral segmental and motion palpation.  The findings revealed subluxations at the base of the skull and in the upper middle back, causing interference to the baby's nervous system. Specific adjustments were then given to the two detected areas of subluxations.

A week after the baby began chiropractic care, his mother reported that her child had decreased symptomatology associated with the bilateral ear infections.  The study reports that during the fourth week of care, the patient had an appointment with the pediatrician, revealing that he no longer had bilateral ear infections and that both ears were clear of fluid.

The boy continued to be symptom free from the fourth week through the tenth week of the study. In the eleventh week, the boy showed signs of some ear infection the day after receiving his vaccination. Other than that one incident, the boy has been symptom free throughout the writing of this study and has not needed any antibiotics.

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Effectiveness of Back Surgery Questioned

The San Francisco Chronicle published a PRWeb story on May 29, 2013 with the headline of, "Recent Research Questions the Effectiveness of Back Surgery." The article cites two recent studies questioning the effectiveness of surgery for spinal problems. The article starts with the ominous fact that, "An estimated 38 to 50 billion dollars is spent yearly for the surgical treatment of lower back pain in the United States." 

In one of the studies, a research team reviewed workers compensation injuries in the state of Washington to see if they could determine which work injuries would result in back surgeries.  The results of this study were published in the May 15, 2013 issue of the journal Spine with the title, "Early Predictors of Lumbar Spine Surgery After Occupational Back Injury: Results From a Prospective Study of Workers in Washington State."

According to the article, the study showed that of the 1,885 injured workers in this study, 174 (9.2%) had low back surgery within 3 years of their injury. However, the researchers discovered that the rate of surgery depended greatly on what type of doctor these injured workers saw first. If an injured worker was first seen by a surgeon, 42.7% would result in surgery. However, if they were first seen by a chiropractor, only 1.5% would have surgery. The rate of having an expensive surgery was reduced by 96.5%, just by the choice of going to a chiropractor instead of a medical physician first.

The second study conducted in Oslo, Norway, looked at two groups of people with back problems.  One group received surgery while the other group got other conservative treatment (not including chiropractic). The results of this study showed that there was no benefit for the group that received expensive surgery over the group that did not.

In response, Dr. J. G. Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP, a naturopath and chiropractor, asks, "Why would we spend billions of dollars yearly on spinal surgery that has no better results than conservative therapies, while having increased disability rates and higher dissatisfaction with results?"

In response to this study, the Southern California University of Health Sciences issued a statement noting, "This important 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. Back injuries are the most prevalent occupational injury in the U.S., and care is commonly associated with one of the most costly treatments Ė spine surgery. Chiropractic is clearly the most appropriate first treatment option for patients with back pain, and this study confirms the value."

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Is Sitting the New Smoking? Spinal Health Week

Above is a May 18, 2013 headline from the "International News Magazine" in Australia. The article and several others in additional publications, report on "Spinal Health Week" in Australia, and urge people to get moving.

The article begins by reporting, "In a national survey conducted by UMR for Spinal Health Week, 90 percent of Australians said too much time sitting and not enough exercise is the most significant cause of obesity." The report said that 63 percent of Australian adults are overweight or obese.

Andrew McNamara, CEO of the Chiropractors' Association of Australia, notes that sitting can create a whole host of health issues. "Sitting has the potential to be the new smoking because if we donít do something about it the health impacts are profound."  He continued, "At the moment over 2 million Australians suffer the terrible impacts of bad backs and the pain thatís associated with that. Itís having an enormous impact on their personal lives. Itís having an enormous impact on the economy. We have data which suggests that it costs Australia up to $12 billion a year in lost productivity, in welfare payments, and in medical support."

In a May 25, 2013 article in the Queensland Times, Patrick Sim, National Director of the Chiropractors Association of Australia, also warns of the detriment of sitting all day at a desk. He notes, "It is about movement," he says, "and you need to get more of it." In this article, he suggests getting up every hour and moving around for a minute to help break the sitting pattern.

In the International News Magazine article McNamara added, "I believe that sitting may be the new smoking. We know how damaging smoking is. Our lifestyle has changed excessively over the last number of years, we spend way too much time sitting, both at work and at home, and itís something that we need to address to prevent future problems." He continued, "Postural fitness is important because everyone understands the term fitness. Fitness is something you work at and posture is something that we understand as well. And postural fitness, when you put it together, is about working hard, working in a way to improve your overall health and wellbeing." 

In explaining the need for a Spinal Health Week, McNamara states, "Spinal Health Week to us, as a chiropractor, is about educating and inspiring people to have a more active life and being a chiropractor in the city we tend to see people who spend excessive amounts of time sitting. Our recommendation as chiropractors for people who sit too much is to get up and be more active, to see a chiropractor or a health professional who can assist you in improving your posture."

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Doctors Warn New Psychiatric Guide Could Drug People Who Donít Need It

The above headline comes from an article on May 15, 2013 in the The Washington Times. The article, as well as scores of others, are all based on reviews of the new release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM-5.  This book, loosely referred to as the "psychiatric bible" is the standard text used by US psychiatrists in diagnosing and treating patients they determine to have mental disorders.

The new release has met with a lot of criticism as some claim that this new edition allows doctors to diagnose and treat normal healthy people. The Washington Times article begins by reporting, "An estimated 3,000 doctors have signed a petition of protest against the psychiatric industryís latest bible for diagnosis and treatment, the DSM-5, charging its contents could lead patients to be prescribed unnecessary medications."

In part, the petition signed by doctors states, "We, the undersigned, are concerned that the [DSM-5] includes many diagnostic categories with questionable reliability Ö [and] did not receive a much-needed and widely requested external scientific review [and] may compromise patient safety through the implementation of lowered diagnostic thresholds."

The new DSM-5 includes such disorders as "Internet-Use Disorder" which is referred to as an addiction to Internet usage. Also included is "binge-eating disorder" which is described as "eating when not feeling physically hungry."  Also included is "caffeine intoxication" for those who drink too much coffee. Perhaps one of the broadest is "parent-child relational problem" which most would assume was a normal part of parenting in years past. Another diagnosis now included is "disruptive mood dysregulation disorderĒ a condition that used be known as temper tantrums. The DSM-5 even includes a diagnosis for "antidepressant discontinuation syndrome" for those who discontinue their antidepressant drugs, so that now these people can be diagnosed and treated for going off drugs.

Dr. Allen Frances, a psychiatrist who worked on the previous DSM-4, is a critic of the new guides. In a May 17, 2013 NBC News article, he said, "My advice for people is not to buy the DSM-5, not to use it, not to teach it. I do not think it will be useful for those endeavors."

Dr. Frances has even written a book about the problems of the new DSM-5 - Saving Normal: An Insiderís Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life. He comments that such things as grief are now listed as mental disorders. "It staggers the imagination!Ē he said. ďIn two weeks after the loss of a person you love, if you are still feeling these symptoms: loss of interest, reduced appetite, trouble sleeping, less energy, it qualifies as major depressive disorder. Now it becomes a target of a drug company." He continued, "This is the legalized conversion of a sacred ritual and an inherent part of being a mammal Ė mourning -- and turning it into a mental disorder."

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Heart Rate Variability and Symptoms Improved with Chiropractic

In the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, a study was published on May 9, 2013, documenting a positive change in Heart Rate Variability (HRV) as well as a variety of other symptoms in a series of three different patients. HRV is used to measure the variation in beats of the heart.  Since this is controlled by the nervous system, HRV is a good indicator of nerve system function.

The authors of this study relate the measurement of HRV to vertebral subluxation of  the spine.  The authors postulate that since subluxations cause interference to nerve system function, the effects of subluxations should be noted in HRV readings. In addition to the HRV, bilateral heat readings along the spine were used to establish a "pattern" by which to measure change or improvement. 

In this study, three separate patients were documented while under chiropractic care. The first case was of a 35-year-old male truck driver with right shoulder and neck pain that radiated into the right arm and forearm. He also had numbness in his right hand. He had been suffering with these problems for 10 years. A chiropractic examination revealed an upper neck subluxation, and a course of specific correction was initiated.

The second case was of a 67-year-old woman who was diagnosed with hypertension one year earlier. The patient stated that medication was ineffective. Her blood pressure at the time of the examination was 156/100. Her chiropractic examination also revealed subluxation in the upper neck and specific care for correction of her subluxation was initiated.

The third patient was a 42-year-old woman suffering with constant pain from between the shoulders down to her hips. She was also suffering from fatigue, loss of sleep, nervousness, difficult digestion, and constipation.  A chiropractic examination also revealed the presence of subluxations for which specific adjustments were given.

In all three of these cases HRV was used to monitor the effects of the subluxation correction. Bilateral heat readings were also used to establish a heat pattern for each patient.  In all three of these cases the HRV and the heat readings improved along with significant improvement in the symptoms that each of the patients experienced.

In their conclusion the researchers noted, "In these three cases, there appears to be a relationship between the improvements in bilateral skin temperature pattern analysis and heart rate variability following an upper cervical chiropractic technique. It is feasible that upper cervical chiropractic care can have a positive effect on the autonomic nerve system and there may be a connection between pattern reduction and improved heart rate variability."

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Reduction of a Lumbar Scoliosis & Improved Cervical Curve

Published in the June 10, 2013, issue of the scientific journal, Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, is a documented case study of improvement in lumbar scoliosis, and cervical curve under chiropractic care. The authors note that between 2.5 and 15 percent of the adult population has scoliosis.

The study reports that, with the exception of the most severe cases, medical care for most adult scoliosis has no clear protocol. In fact, most care for this condition is based on the presence of pain or other symptoms. It is noted that the incidence of back pain with scoliosis is not significantly different than the general population thus implying that most scoliosis does not cause pain.

In this case, a 75 year old man went to the chiropractor. On his intake form, he listed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and shoulder pain as his top three concerns. In his history, the patient reported a 20 year history of medical management for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He was taking medications for both conditions. He also complained of occasional aching and tingling in his right shoulder and arm for the past couple of years.

A chiropractic examination was performed consisting of observation, physical palpation, heat (thermographic) studies, surface EMG, and specific spinal x-rays. The results of the examination showed that the patient had a forward head posture, a high left shoulder, and a high right hip. Additionally, the heat and sEMG studies showed abnormal readings. X-rays confirmed the curvature in the lumbar spine and showed a loss of curvature in the neck, along with multiple misalignments in the spine.

It was determined that subluxations were present and a series of specific chiropractic adjustments was initiated. This study looked at the results of care of a two year period to see the changes in the patients symptomatic condition, as well as the spinal curvatures noted in the initial examination.

The results showed that, from a symptomatic standpoint, the patient's sense of well-being greatly improved. He noted that his pain was better, and he was able to walk with more balance.  The heat and sEMG scans also showed improvement, thus documenting his overall functional health improvement. The x-rays showed significant changes with the lumbar scoliosis being reduced from an original 10 degree curvature down to only a one degree curvature. His neck also improved going from a nearly straight "military" neck to a near normal curvature.

In their conclusion, the authors noted the positive findings of this case and commented that chiropractic "...may be effective in reorganizational change by addressing structural deformities in the spine and in restoring normal spinal curves."

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