August 2015


Chronic Fibromyalgia Resolved with Chiropractic - A Case Report

On July 13, 2015, a study was published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research (JUCCR) documenting the successful resolution of a case of fibromyalgia with chiropractic care.  According to womenshealth.gov, "Fibromyalgia affects as many as 5 million Americans ages 18 and older. Most people with fibromyalgia are women (about 80 - 90 percent). However, men and children also can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age."

The authors of the JUCCR study begin by noting that fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread, moving, and very frequently debilitating pain and fatigue.  Most sufferers of fibromyalgia are very sensitive to being touched as even a small amount of pressure elicits pain.

In this case, a 32-year-old woman presented herself for chiropractic care after having suffered with fibromyalgia  for two years. Her history indicated that she had suffered a separated shoulder seven years prior which was re-injured just prior to her fibromyalgia problems. Previously, the woman was treated medically with a cortisone injection and then sent to a physical therapist. She stated the pain worsened during those two months of physical therapy treatment.

In the month following her physical therapy, her health and vitality rapidly declined to the point where she was eventually bedridden. She was suffering with extreme fatigue, pain, and depression. She tried a variety of care including acupuncture, elimination diets, supplementation, tai chi, and meditation, which yielded no results.

She was given a variety of medications which caused her to experience side effects such as visual, sound, and tactile hallucinations, fits of rage, suicidal tendencies, and massive seizure-like muscle jerking episodes. She was then admitted to the hospital for observation by a neurologist for three days.

Due to her condition and the large amounts of medications she was given, by the time she had presented herself for chiropractic, she was not only suffering with her fibromyalgia, but with a variety of other health issues. These included rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, migraine headaches, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome, swollen ankles and feet, cold hands and feet, muscle weakness, numbness in the thigh, eczema, dry skin, blurred vision, excessive tearing, pressure over the eyes, indigestion, hemorrhoids, frequent urination and dribbling, painful and irregular menstruation, difficulty sleeping, irritability, fatigue, depression, and a general feeling of being run-down.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation, range of motion, thermography, postural analysis, and spinal x-rays. The results of the test indicated the presence of subluxation at the top of the woman's neck, known as the atlas vertebrae.  Specific chiropractic adjustments were begun to address the subluxation.

After the first adjustment, the patient reported that she felt a 20% reduction in her pain. After three months of care, the woman voluntarily began reducing her medications because of the improvement she was feeling. At nine months into her chiropractic care, the woman had totally discontinued her medication and reported that her pain had improved by 90%.

At the four month mark, the woman reported that she was 100% symptom free and that she felt she had returned to full health and vitality.  The study documented that she was no longer bedridden, and was free of pain, fatigue and depression.  The woman reported that her life had changed to the point where she had started working with a personal trainer twice a week and exercising three to four days a week. She was also able to fully resume her daily activities.


Most Chronic Pain Patients Use Alternative Therapies, But Many Don't Tell Their Doctors

The statement above comes from a PRNewswire release from Kaiser Permanente on July 20, 2015. The release is based on a study published that same day in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) titled "Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care: Utilization and Electronic Medical Record Capture."

The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, reviewed the questionnaires returned from  6,068 patients who were suffering from chronic pain. The responses showed that  47 percent reported using chiropractic care. Additionally, 32 percent said they used acupuncture, and 21 percent used both.

The study showed that one third of those who used acupuncture did not tell their Kaiser medical physician. An even higher percentage, 42%, of those who saw a chiropractor did not tell their MD.  The study also notes that many of those who went for either chiropractic or acupuncture did so regardless of their insurance coverage.

Dr. Charles Elder, lead author of the study commented, "Our study confirms that most of our patients with chronic pain are seeking complementary treatments to supplement the care we provide in the primary care setting. The problem is that too often, doctors don't ask about this treatment, and patients don't volunteer the information."

Dr. Elder went on to state, "We want our patients to get better, so we need to ask them about the alternative and complementary approaches they are using. If we know what's working and what's not working, we can do a better job advising patients, and we may be able to recommend an approach they haven't tried."

The AJMC article begins by reporting that, "Acupuncture and chiropractic care are popular among patients, especially those who suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain. Caring for this population has become an increasingly important and visible challenge for the healthcare system. Pharmaceuticals are commonly used for managing pain, yet the use of such agents on a chronic basis is of questionable efficacy, and can be associated with high costs and significant adverse effects."

"It is interesting to note from this study that almost half of those enrolled in a medical health HMO decided to use chiropractic regardless of their insurance coverage," says Dr. Robert Braile, a chiropractor and chairman of the International Chiropractors Association public relations committee. "The study also showed that 55% of those using acupuncture did so based upon a physician referral, while 9% went to the chiropractor because of this type of referral." Braile concluded, "This statistic demonstrates that medical physicians still harbor some prejudice against chiropractic. The desire to avoid a negative response could account for the high percentage of people who do not mention receiving chiropractic to their medical physician."


Arm Numbness, Leg Swelling, and Low Back Pain Helped with Chiropractic

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on July 15, 2015, with the title, "Resolution of Peripheral Neuropathy, Lower Extremity Edema, and Low Back Pain in a Pregnant Female Undergoing Chiropractic Care."

In this case, a woman presented herself for chiropractic at 33 weeks of her pregnancy. She was experiencing numbness and tingling in the second through fourth fingers of her right hand. This problem was made worse by her employment, as she was a church organist. She also suffered from low back pain and swelling in her right leg.

She had a history of endometriosis and ovarian cysts, and had previously suffered two miscarriages. She was using homeopathic remedies and a change in diet to manage the pain and issues associated with her menstrual cycle and endometriosis.

A chiropractic examination revealed multiple subluxations in various areas of  the woman's spine. Based on the findings, specific adjustments were begun to correct the subluxations. 

By the fourth visit, the woman reported that the swelling in her leg had almost totally gone away. However, the leg swelling did return as her pregnancy progressed. By her 9th visit, the woman reported that the tingling in her hand had been resolved. Shortly after her ninth visit, the woman went into labor and delivered a 5 pound, 10 ounce boy via a water birth. 

The prenatal care and birth process were assisted by a midwife in conjunction with the chiropractic care. The study authors noted in their discussion that this co-professional relationship between midwives and chiropractors is common for the care of pregnant women. "In a survey of nurse-midwives' knowledge and views about chiropractic, found their responders were aware that chiropractors worked with 'birthing professionals' and attended to patients with both musculoskeletal and nonmusculoskeletal disorders."

The authors highlighted the professional relationship midwives utilize with chiropractors by stating, "A vast majority indicated a positive personal and professional clinical experience with chiropractic and that chiropractic was safe for pregnant patients and children. There is great awareness of and positive personal and professional experience with chiropractic on the part of midwives."


Big Pharma Pays Billions To Doctors

Doctors have been paid billions of dollars by drug companies and medical device manufacturers to prescribe drugs and use their products. The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and other news sources reported in early July that doctors received $6.49 billion dollars from drug companies and medical device manufacturers in 2014 to prescribe their drugs and products.

Due to the Affordable Care Act, data is assessable to the public in a provision mandating that all payments from any company to a doctor be public record.

Data shows that 607,000 doctors and 1,121 hospitals received payments in 2014. The payments infer a conflict of interest, and a bias by the doctor to prescribe the drugs and medical devices from the paying companies.

“If we have a financial incentive to believe something or conclude something, we kind of trick ourselves into thinking it’s true. And we are not always aware that we are doing it…….No pharma companies spend this kind of money in a disinterested way,” said Professor Jason Dana of the Yale School of Management.

Though much of the money goes to fund research, other pharmaceutical industry critics agree with Dana. Dr. Marcia Angell implied that medical experts were paid by drug companies to influence and change national health guidelines to use their drugs.

“Kickbacks” to physicians paid by the drug and medical industry has been under investigation after becoming an epidemic in years past. The Department of Justice investigated three major manufacturers of hip replacements in 2007. The device was reported to be defective, and the manufacturers were aware of this. The three companies paid $800 million to consulting doctors over four years. The companies agreed to reveal details about the payments after the investigation.

Due to the Affordable Care Act’s provision for transparency for payment from drug companies to doctors and hospitals, the public’s trust that products are not being prescribed due to pressure from drug companies can be insured.


Breastfeeding and Latching Difficulty Helped with Chiropractic

On July 30, 2015, a case study and literature review was published in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, documenting a case of a baby having breastfeeding difficulty being helped with chiropractic care. The study reports that the World Health Organization recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with suitable complementary foods for up to 2 years or more.

The authors begin by explaining the importance of breastfeeding by stating, "Human breast milk cannot be duplicated or mimicked. Undoubtedly breastfeeding provides the perfect combination required for growth, development and immunity of a human infant." They continued, "The infant receives precisely the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-allergens needed at their given stage of development."

In this case, a four-week-old infant girl was brought by her mother to the chiropractor. Her infant was unable to effectively latch onto her left breast when held in the traditional cradle position or any other position. A lactation specialist recommended that the mother bring her baby to the chiropractor.

Upon examination, the baby looked healthy overall with no observable face or head asymmetries, or neurological or orthopedic issues. There were some spinal asymmetries and head tilt noted. Chiropractic palpation also revealed some areas of concern in the neck area. Areas of restricted spinal motion and muscle tightness were also found.

Based on the exam findings, it was determined that the infant had multiple areas of vertebral subluxations. Specific spinal adjustments designed for infants were then given. After the first adjustment, it was noted that the infant had increased range of motion and a decrease in head tilting.

Immediately after the infants first chiropractic adjustment, the mother attempted to breastfeed her daughter. She reported that the baby was able to latch perfectly and nursed without interruption for 30 minutes.  The mother returned the following week and reported that her infant daughter's breastfeeding issues had been totally resolved.


Hooked on Pharmaceuticals: Prescription Drug Abuse in America

On July 29, 2015, the publication Drugwatch posted an online exposé article by Chris Elkins with the above title. The article, which cited over 30 resources, was an in-depth look at prescription drug usage in the United States.

The article notes some startling statistics beginning with the fact that prescription drug abuse kills more people in the U.S. than does car accidents each year. The article reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) has classified this issue as an epidemic.

Although other nations are also having a problem, the U.S. leads the way. According to the New York Times, Americans account for 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone (Vicodin) consumption, 80 percent of the world’s oxycodone (Percocet and Oxycontin) consumption, and 65 percent of the world’s hydromorphone (Dilaudid) consumption. 

The author goes on to list a number of chilling statistics.

  • An estimated 52 million Americans use prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetimes – with some using prescription drugs for recreational purposes.
  • Deaths by overdoses involving prescription painkillers quadrupled since 1999.
  • Every day, about 50 Americans die from prescription painkiller overdoses.
  • Every year, prescription painkillers cause more than 16,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits.

In response to this growing problem,  27 U.S. medical groups have joined together to form a coalition to help deal with this issue.

"We have joined together as part of this special task force because we collectively believe that it is our responsibility to work together to provide a clear road map that will help bring an end to this public health epidemic," said Dr. Patrice Harris, AMA Board chair-elect. "We are committed to working long term on a multipronged, comprehensive public health approach to end opioid abuse in America."

The problem has gotten so bad that one group of Cincinnati hospitals has mandated drug testing of new mothers and infants. "Testing is designed to help the family, the mother and the infant," said Scott Wexelblatt, medical director of regional newborn services at Cincinnati Children’s. "It enables us to ensure that the hospital can monitor the infant after birth and provide the appropriate care if the infant begins to show withdrawal symptoms."

Dr. George Curry, president of the International Chiropractors Association offers a different viewpoint to the problem. "The problem is that our society is being trained that drugs are the answer to pain and health issues." Dr. Curry continued, "Treating pain or many other health issues with drugs does not deal with the underlying cause of the problem. Chiropractic has always taken the approach that looking for a cause is a better course of action, than treating an effect.  In chiropractic's 120 year history, we have not created one drug addict."


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