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June 2014

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Chiropractic Care May Reduce Gym and Fitness-Related Injuries

From New Zealand on May 23, 2014, comes the above headline and story in NZDoctor reporting on research conducted at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic.  The research shows that failure to control or properly activate one's core muscles can lead to injury such as spinal injuries. Chiropractic care can help prevent these issues by removing interference to the nervous system from spinal subluxations.

Dr Heidi Haavik, Director of Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic, explains, "We know that delayed trunk muscle reflex responses increase the risk of low back injuries. Research suggests that this is partly due to a failure of the brain to predict what is going to happen during some movements, affecting what is known as feed-forward activation times of the deep abdominal musculature. There is now accumulating evidence that chiropractic care may play a part in improving the ability of the brain to engage the core muscles appropriately and stabilize the spine."

"It was exactly a hundred years ago that chiropractic arrived in New Zealand and although hundreds of thousands of patients have benefited since then, like many other successful modalities, it has taken time for science to catch up and demonstrate how it actually works," states Dr. Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors' Association. "It now appears that an inability of the brain to activate the core muscles in time may be the cause of many gym and fitness-related injuries. It may be due to poor nervous system coordination which you canít feel until it is too late."

Dr Haavik describes how chiropractic can help with this issue by explaining, "Chiropractic care improves the communication between the brain and body and results in better control of the core muscles during body movements, so that your spine is at less risk of injury. We are also starting to see research developing which suggests that a single session of chiropractic care may improved muscle activation and increase muscle contractions equivalent to findings following three weeks of strength training. This line of research also suggests chiropractic care may possibly reduce muscle fatigue developing during strong contractions."

Many athletes use chiropractic care for performance enhancement, and prior studies have shown that athletes under chiropractic care improve their reactions times. This newest study adds another explanation of how athletic performance and injury prevention are improved under chiropractic care.

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Acetaminophen Use In Pregnancy Linked to ADHD - Chiropractic is a Better Alternative

A NewsUSA article titled "Can Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Help Prevent ADHD in Kids?" appeared in the April 24, 2014, issue of the Seaside Courier from California. The article began with a warning, "Pregnant women might want to think twice before reaching for that pain pill."  The article was in response to a recent study showing that acetaminophen, the generic name for Tylenol, may be linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. They also note that acetaminophen is the most common drug taken by pregnant women.

The original study published in the February 2014 issue of JAMA Pediatrics showed that ADHD was more likely to develop in children whose mothers took acetaminophen during their pregnancy. A USA Today article that ran shortly after the release of the original study listed some of the results showing that children whose mothers used the drug during pregnancy were:

  • 3% more likely to show ADHD-like behaviors, such as hyperactivity and conduct problems.
  • 37% more likely to be diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder, which is the equivalent of "high end" ADHD.
  • 29% more likely to get ADHD medications.

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) issued a response to this study noting that, "One drug-free alternative that continues to gain popularity is chiropractic care. The American Pregnancy Association notes it can help 'maintain a healthier pregnancy' overall while also potentially "controlling symptoms of nausea, reducing the time of labor and delivery, relieving back, neck or joint pain, and preventing potential cesarean delivery."

In the F4CP release, Gerard Clum, DC, former president of Life Chiropractic College West and spokesperson for the F4CP noted, "Doctors of Chiropractic complete a typical undergraduate education along with a four-year postgraduate curriculum to earn their D.C. degree, and are trained to work with pregnant women. Establishing pelvic balance and spinal alignment are focal points of chiropractic care, helping reduce pain symptoms of postural changes and increased lower back curvature."

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Babies Exposed to Allergens and Bacteria May Have Less Allergies as Children

The headline above comes from a June 8, 2014, article in the Science World report. The article is based on research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology titled The Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA). This study released on June 6, 2014, found that children with exposure to various bacteria and allergens in the first year of life have increased protection against allergic diseases and wheezing.

As asthma is more prevalent in the inner city, URECA research sought to find factors responsible for the disease by studying 560 children from birth to three years that lived in the cities of Baltimore, New York, St. Louis, and Boston. Each child had at least one asthmatic parent which places the child at high risk for development of the disease.

Wheezing and sensitivity to common allergens during the early years of a childís life are indicators of developing asthma. The study measured wheezing occurrences and exposure levels to the common allergens of mouse, dust mite, cat, cockroach, and dog.

"Surprisingly, it turns out that exposure to cockroach, mouse and cat during the first year of life was associated with a lower risk of recurrent wheezing by age three. These findings show that early exposure may actually prevent problems later in life," according to Science World Report author Catherine Griffin in her article.

Findings in a smaller study by URECA tested whether bacteria in house dust increased risk for asthma. Again, researchers were surprised that children with no allergen sensitivity or wheezing at age three were more probable to have had a high level of exposure to allergens and a greater variety of bacteria.

Homer Boushey, MD, a professor of medicine and an asthma expert at University of California San Francisco, was part of the URECA study and commented on the findings saying, "Strict avoidance of allergens to lower asthma risk has been unsuccessful. Maybe permitting allergen exposures, with increased exposure to the sources of certain microbes, might be more successful in reducing asthma risk." He continued, "If confirmed by other studies, these findings might even have us think of returning to the patterns of exposure of the 1940ís, when families were larger, food was less processed and sterilized, and children spent a lot of their time outdoors."

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Resolution of Severe Chronic Asthma in an Infant Following Chiropractic Care

On May 26, 2014, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study documenting chiropractic helping a baby with severe and chronic asthma with chiropractic. The author of the study defines asthma as "...a respiratory system dysfunction, essentially an inflammation of the lungs which results in chronic breathing difficulty."

The study records that about 7 million people between the ages of 5 and 14 have asthma in North America alone. According to the author, asthma in children is considered severe "...when any combination of chronic symptoms, acute severe exacerbations and persistent airflow limitation are present despite the prescription of multiple therapies."

In this case, a 19-month-old boy was brought to the chiropractor with breathing difficulties even after multiple other types of treatments were used. The baby boy was having constant breathing difficulties with episodes of severe difficulty occurring once or twice a week. He was given a diagnosis of severe asthma about two months before being brought in for chiropractic care.

The boy's history showed that he first developed breathing difficulties at 9 months of age. He was initially diagnosed with upper respiratory infection and middle ear infection, and was given antibiotics which did not help his breathing. By the age of 12 months, his problem was severe enough that he had to be treated at the hospital ER for for acute respiratory distress.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included muscular, postural, and spinal observations for distortions, as well as positioning. Specific x-rays were taken of the upper neck to obtain exact measurements of the top vertebrae in the neck. From the exam process, it was determined that subluxation was present in the upper-most area of the neck. Specific adjustments were performed on the boy's neck to correct the subluxation. The boy was seen 18 times over a seven month period with specific adjustments being administered as needed.

The study results report that positive changes were noticed both by the parents and the doctor on the boy's visits. It was recorded that after 8 days, the boy's breathing difficulties started to improve. After five weeks of chiropractic care, his wheezing episodes were reduced to only once per week.  After 9 weeks of care, the boy's breathing problems seemed to be completely been corrected as no further episodes of wheezing, coughing, or difficult breathing were reported.

In the study conclusion, the author wrote, "In this case, there is evidence to indicate that chiropractic adjusting of the cervical spine is effective for the reduction of the symptoms of severe chronic asthma in a pediatric case."

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Parkinsonís Patient's Quality of Life Improved with Chiropractic - A Case Series

A study published on May 15, 2014, in the Journal Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research documented the improvement under chiropractic care of a series of  patients suffering from Parkinson's Disease. The authors note that Parkinsonís disease, also known as paralysis agitans, is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system, characterized by tremor and impaired co-ordination.

The study begins by showing how common Parkinsonís disease is. "More than 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease (PD), which is more than are afflicted with multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy combined.  It is estimated that there are 100,000 new cases of PD reported annually in the United States."

In this study, three Parkinson's patients presented themselves for chiropractic care. A rating of the severity of the Parkinson's was given to each patient to use as comparison with their conditions after chiropractic care was given. The rating system is known as the Unified Parkinsonís Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). With this system, many factors are considered and scored between 0 and 4.  The numbers are then added so the lower the aggregate score, the better the patient is doing.

In this case series, the three patients were all males between the ages of 63 and 65. Each man had been diagnosed with Parkinson's between 3 and 5 years prior to seeking chiropractic. Each patient had a chiropractic examination which included orthopedic and neurological testing, thermal scans, and spinal x-rays. Subluxations were determined to be present in each of the men and a specific course of adjusting was begun for each case based upon their individual findings.

The results showed that all three men improved in many ways from their chiropractic care. The first patient went from a UPDRS score before care of 25, down to 15 after 2 months of chiropractic adjustments. The second man improved from a UPDRS score of 27, down to 15 after 5 months. and the third patient's UPDRS score went from 39 to 15 after 36 months of chiropractic care. These changes represent significant improvement in many areas resulting in a significant enhancement in their quality of life.

In their conclusion, the authors summed up the positive results by stating, "Upper Cervical Specific chiropractic care utilized on three patients with a diagnosis of PD, rated using the UPDRS test at 2 months, 6 months and 36 months. Results associated with PD included better overall health, improved ambulation, a reduced UPDRS score and a reduction in upper cervical subluxations were all obtained."

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Reflux Disorder in Infant Resolved with Chiropractic - A Case Report

A case study published in the May 23, 2014, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health documents the resolution of gastroesophageal reflux disease through chiropractic care. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine website, "Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms."

The study authors report that a small amount of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is common in infants, occurring in 40 to 60 percent of infant below 12 months. GER generally resolves itself between 6 and 12 months of age and needs no treatment. If GER persists and/or worsens, then it is classified as GERD, in which case, some form of health care is usually sought. 

In this case, the mother of a 10-month-old baby boy brought her son to the chiropractor with a medical diagnosis of GERD.  The mother reported that her baby was suffering with frequently interrupted sleep, difficulty feeding, poor appetite, repeated bouts of diarrhea, frequent stomach distention, excessive intestinal gas, occasional regurgitation, and inadequate weight gain. The baby had been medically treated with a variety of medications that did not help.

A chiropractic examination was performed consisting of reflex testing, spinal ranges of motion, neurological testing, abdominal palpation, and palpation of the spine. As a result of the examination, the infant was diagnosed with cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebral subluxations, in addition to the previously diagnosed infantile GERD. 

Chiropractic adjustments to correct the diagnosed subluxations were initiated. The baby boy received a total of 13 chiropractic adjustments over a seven-week period. The study recorded that following the course of chiropractic care, the 10-month-old patient had complete resolution of gastroesophageal reflux disease. The baby was able to have uninterrupted sleep, along with complete resolution of regurgitation, and a significant reduction in stomach distention.  It was also noted that he had an improved mood, and no longer had diarrhea with return to normal frequency and quality of bowel movements. He also was able to return to a normal weight.

In their conclusion, the authors wrote, "This case report contributes to the body of scientific literature regarding chiropractic care of infants suffering from GERD." They give an overview explanation by saying, "Chiropractic focuses on the analysis and correction of vertebral subluxation to allow for proper neurological and physiological functioning to occur, thereby improving quality of life."

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