October 2013


Chiropractic Helps Child with Autism, Acid Reflux, Headache, Seizures, and Vomiting

The scientific periodical the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study on September 12, 2013, documenting the case of a baby suffering from a long list of health issues who was helped by chiropractic. In this case, a 35-month-old girl was suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which included symptoms of headaches, epilepsy, behavioral and developmental delay, acid reflux, sleep disturbances, and vomiting, before being brought to the chiropractor.

The study authors define ASD by stating, "Autism is a condition often characterized by a failure to bond, lack of social interaction, avoidance of eye-to-eye contact, difficulties in language development, and repetitive behaviors known as 'stimming' (self-stimulation)."

The study reports that the young girl was very anxious when entering the office but became more calm after a few minutes. The girl's history revealed that she was born prematurely at 28 weeks, weighing 2 pounds, 5 ounces. Also, she was in the NICU for six weeks and came home on oxygen with apnea sleep monitors. Her primary symptom was headaches which, according to the girl's father, caused her to rub her head often as if in pain. Seven months prior to the chiropractic visit, the girl had been diagnosed with autism with the associated problems of this condition. Two months before the chiropractic care, the girl had also suffered a seizure.

A chiropractic examination was performed that revealed severe tenderness over the spine in the girl's upper back and entire neck region.  Reflexes were normal, but thermal studies confirmed autonomic nerve system disturbances in her upper mid-back and neck. As a result, a diagnosis of subluxations in the neck and upper back was made. Correction of the subluxations was subsequently initiated using specific adjusting procedures.

The authors report that ten days after the young girl's first adjustment, there was a notable decrease in head pain. It was noted that her posture had also improved. Her mother reported that her bowel movements had become much more regular, her daughter's behavior was much more "mellow," and that she had even been eating slightly better.

Twenty-four days after the onset of chiropractic care the girl's parents reported that her results were "incredible," noting that she made eye contact much more frequently and for prolonged periods of time. They also stated that instead of vomiting several times a day due to her acid reflux, she had only vomited a couple times throughout the week.

In a long term follow up at two hundred forty days after her first adjustment, the authors reported that most of her original symptoms were abated, and she had significantly more verbal communication ability.

In their discussion of the case, the authors quoted the girl's mother who stated that her daughter was, "...off all of her medications, she’s making improvements with her occupational therapists, speech therapists, even her pre-school teachers are noticing a big difference. I'm getting my little girl back – look, she’s making eye contact with me, and even starting to say a few words! She'll use her hands to do the motions to the Itsy Bitsy Spider song!"


Drugged Driving Plays Major Role in Traffic Deaths

The title above comes from a September 27, 2013, article on HealthDay.com exposing the large number of accidents caused by drivers under the influence of prescription drugs. The article is based on research to be published in the upcoming November 2013 issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention.

In this study, researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health analized the risk of a fatal crash associated with driver drug use, as well as the combination of drugs and alcohol. They found that drug use is associated with a significant increase in the risk of fatal crash, particularly when combined with alcohol.

The results of the research showed that drivers who tested positive for drugs were three times more likely to be involved in a lethal crash than those who tested negative. Depressant drugs were shown to be the highest category of drugs associated with a fatal accident. When the researchers looked at the statistics for drivers using alcohol and drugs they found that fatalities were more than 13 times higher for those who were alcohol-positive but drug-negative, and 23 times higher for those who tested positive for both alcohol and drugs.

The author, Dr. Li, professor of Anesthesiology at Columbia, notes, "The possible interaction of drugs in combination with alcohol on driving safety has long been a concern. While alcohol-impaired driving remains the greatest threat to traffic safety, these findings about drugged driving are particularly salient in light of the increases in the availability of prescription stimulants and opioids over the past decade."

Chiropractic has long been an alternative to drugs for people with many health concerns. "Chiropractic care offers an evidence-based, non-drug approach to effectively addressing many common conditions, and should be the first option of care," states Gerard W. Clum, D.C., spokesperson, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. "Doctors of chiropractic (D.C.s) have the diagnostic skills and training to evaluate and provide appropriate care and rehabilitation, including counseling on nutrition, ergonomics and lifestyle. Evidence confirms that the care provided by a D.C. is linked with better clinical outcomes, greater patient satisfaction and noteworthy cost savings."

Dr. Braile, a past president of the International Chiropractors Association, commented, "Our society takes too many drugs. Numerous reports speak to the dangers of prescription drugs from side effects and long term health issues. Now, with the added knowledge of drugged driving and accidents, it is prudent that we turn to non-drug approaches to healthcare. Chiropractic is a drugless profession that, in light of this new study, offers additional public safety benefits."


Untreatable: Today’s Drug-Resistant Health Threats

A release issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on September 16, 2013, is based on their report titled, "Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013." The report sounds the alarm about the growing problem of drug resistant bacteria caused by years of overuse of antibiotics.

The CDC states, "Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections."  The report also estimates that, "...in the United States, antibiotic resistance adds $20 billion in excess direct health care costs, with additional costs to society for lost productivity as high as $35 billion a year."

As a result, the CDC has instituted a warning system much like the terrorist threat system in the U.S. However, instead of the system being based upon colors, (green-blue-yellow-orange-red), the system has three levels defined as, "concerning, serious, and urgent."

The CDC release gives an overview explanation of the problem by noting, "The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in human medicine. However, up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary or inappropriate."

The growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria is due to the rampant overuse of antibiotics, not only in humans, but also largely in livestock used for human consumption. In a September 18, 2013, article in Time, Dr. David Wallinga of Healthy Food Action states, "CDC has (quietly) said before that antibiotic overuse in food animals helps worsen the epidemic of infections from antibiotic resistant bacteria. But this important report practically shouts it from the mountain top."

A September 17, 2013, CNN article on this same report cited the Missouri Department of Health who explained the problem by saying, "Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant germs may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are primary causes of the increase in drug-resistant bacteria."


Chiropractic Adjustments Safe According to Scientific Review

A literature review published in the September 2013 issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice and online at www.medscape.com by P. Tuchin examined 18 studies discussing what the researchers termed "spinal manipulative therapy" (SMT) and stroke to determine if SMT was a causative or associative factor.

There has been rumors of stroke following SMT. Reports not based upon any statistical evidence vary from 1 case in every 400,000 to 1 in 5.6 million. The prejudicial tendencies by some in the medical community toward chiropractic have created controversial views of chiropractic SMT having a higher risk of stroke than other types of SMT. This literature review attempted to cut through the hype and, "…assess any misconceptions or distortion of the results of studies on chiropractic and stroke."

This review noted that sixty percent of strokes occur due to an abnormal amount of lipids (cholesterol and/or fat) in the blood. Smoking, hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, types 1 & 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation, migraines, heavy drinking, infections, contraceptives, sleep apnea, illicit drug use, and other factors also put a person at higher risk for stroke.

Chiropractic adjustments or SMTs are not listed in the scientific literature as a major factor in stroke. The researcher Tuchin explained, "The evidence for causality of vertebral artery dissection from chiropractic is weak."

Tuchin examined the studies that suggested that chiropractic SMT caused stroke in patient cases, looking for other factors and explanations that may have been the real causative factor. To test for a causal relationship, nine specific criteria were used. The scientific criteria included: strength of evidence, consistency, specificity, temporality, biological gradient or dose-response relationship, plausibility, other explanations, experimental confirmation, and coherence.

Strength criteria findings showed that the number of cases examined in each study were too small not to question the results. Dose-response relationship criteria showed flaws in the 18 studies of chiropractic SMT and stroke because the studies actually examined cases where SMT was not done by chiropractors but rather by other professions like massage therapists and MDs.  Every criteria examined by Tuchin revealed serious flaws and inconsistencies in the studies and their results.

After examining the 18 studies for the criteria, Tuchin states, "There is lack of compelling evidence that SMT is causally associated with stroke. Physical triggers, including SMT, can serve as plausible final link between the underlying disease and stroke."

Tuchin concludes by stating, "The quality of evidence suggesting causation between chiropractic and VAD is mostly weak. Therefore, causality between chiropractic and vascular accidents has not been determined."


Resolution of Pain and Breech Presentation Following Subluxation Based Chiropractic Care

From the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health on September 30, 2013 comes a case study documenting the correction of a breech pregnancy and the elimination of pain in a pregnant woman undergoing chiropractic care. A pregnancy is considered breech if the fetus is in the head up position in the last several weeks of a woman's pregnancy.

In this case, a 24-year-old woman went to the chiropractor in her 37th week of her pregnancy.  She was seeking a natural childbirth but was suffering from lower back pain, and leg pain.  The woman's obstetrician/gynecologist had diagnosed her as having a breech pregnancy and had scheduled a Caesarean procedure for the birth.

The woman had a history of lower back and leg pain that had started at the 29th week of her pregnancy. She described the pain as constant, burning, sharp, and tingling, with her leg pain being worse than her back. She reported that stretching seemed to help, but that normal activities such as sitting, standing, lifting, sleeping, and walking made the pain worse.

A chiropractic examination was performed, subluxations were determined to be present, and care was begun including the Webster Technique which was developed to help women with breech pregnancies. The Webster Technique was administered once a day for two days.

According to the patient, her fetus shifted from the breech to vertex position following the second visit, and was confirmed by ultrasound imaging. The study also reports that the woman's leg and back pain was reduced by 50% by the 5th visit and continued to reduce up untill her delivery.

In their conclusion, the authors summed up their results coupled with the growing body of evidence showing chiropractic helping pregnant women. They wrote, "We described the successful care of a pregnant patient presenting with pregnancy-related low back pain and leg pain concomitant with a breech presentation. This and other publications reviewed provide some measure of chiropractic effectiveness in the care of pregnant patients."


Cervical Disk Herniation Patients Helped with Chiropractic

A study published on August 14, 2013, in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics shows that chiropractic care helps patients with neck disc herniations.  The study was conducted in Switzerland on German speaking patients and was funded by a joint effort from the Uniscientia Foundation, the European Academy for Chiropractic, and the Balgrist Hospital Foundation.

The authors of the study report that compression of a nerve root from disc herniations in the neck severe enough to cause pain occurs in approximately 83.2 of every 100,000 persons.  Patients with herniated discs in the neck can have severe neck and arm pain along with muscle weakness in the arms and shoulders. The authors also emphasize that disc herniations seen on MRI are common, and many people do not have pain or symptoms of any kind.  They report that, "One study found that 63% of asymptomatic athletic males older than 40 years had protruding disks in the cervical spine." Most of these have no pain.

This study included German speaking patients in a chiropractic practice from January 2010 to April 2013 between the ages of 18 and 65 years.  Each patient had several orthopedic tests showing positive findings, and each had an MRI that confirmed the presence of a cervical disc herniation. Patients were asked to complete a questionnaire rating their pain where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain imaginable for both the neck and the arm pain separately. They were also asked to rate their neck disability and rate their global change as care was rendered.

Care rendered was manual hand chiropractic adjustments which the researchers called Spinal Manipulative Therapy or "SMT."  Chiropractic care was given 3 to 5 times per week for the first 2 to 4 weeks followed by 1 to 3 times per week thereafter until the patient was free of pain.  Patients in this study did not have surgery, and no other therapies were performed.

The results of the study showed that of the 50 patients in the study, 55.3% of all patients reported that they were significantly improved after only 2 weeks of chiropractic care.  None of the participants reported being worse. After one month of care, 68.9% reported being significantly improved with one reporting being slightly worse. By the three month mark, 85.7% reported being significantly better and none were worse.

The researchers noted that the results showed positive changes that were greater than what is normally considered "clinically relevant." In their conclusion they wrote, "A high proportion of acute and most importantly subacute/chronic patients with MRI-confirmed symptomatic CDHs (cervical disk herniations) treated with high-velocity, low-amplitude cervical spine manipulation (manual chiropractic by-hand adjustments) reported clinically relevant improvement at 1 and 3 months after the first treatment. There were no adverse events reported for patients in this study."


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