Parkinson’s Patient Helped to Live a Better Life with Chiropractic
The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on June 1, 2015, documenting a case of a patient with Parkinson's Disease (PD) being helped over the course of a decade to have an improved quality of life. The authors noted the purpose of this study saying, "In this case study we will add to the small but growing body of evidence that reports on the association between chiropractic care and PD."
According to the WebMD website, "Parkinson’s disease affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Parkinson’s disease symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait. After diagnosis, treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure." The authors of this study add that PD affects about one percent of the population over the age of 65.
"PD has a major effect on the quality of life of patients, who gradually lose autonomy and cognitive function. The decline in quality of life proceeds at a rate that is five to seven times faster than the average yearly decline caused by normal aging in individuals without the disease," state the study authors.
In this study, a 63-year-old man went to the chiropractor seeking relief from his lower back pain. He was also suffering with tremors in his right arm for five years and had been diagnosed with Parkinson's two years prior. He was on a daily medication for his Parkinson's. The case history showed that the man's main complaints related to his PD were tremors in the right hand, gait disturbances in the left leg mainly caused by foot drop, and trouble walking with a loss of balance.
A chiropractic examination was performed including spinal range of motion, neurological and orthopedic tests, and spinal x-rays. The results led to the determination that subluxations of the spine were present. Based on these findings a specific series of chiropractic adjustments were begun.
The patient initially was seen 3 times per week for the first month. After the initial 12 visits the frequency of care was reduced to once per week. The man continued his chiropractic care for another 10 years before the writing of this study.
After 10 years, the now 73-year-old man reported that his PD symptoms had not worsened, but had actually improved since he started chiropractic care. He noted that the tremor in his right hand was not present as often and had not spread to any other part of his body. He reported that he was able to return to playing badminton more easily due to improvements in balance and an improved range of motion.
The study authors point out that this study and others they reviewed showed that some patients with PD had a slow down or stopping of the progression of their disease. They point out this is contrary to medical care alone which can treat the symptoms but does not seem to have any effect on the progression of PD.
"The aim of chiropractic care is to enhance nervous system function so the body is better able to heal itself. In contrast, the medical treatment of Parkinson’s relies on external input," note the study authors. "The findings in our case study support previous literature which has examined the symptomatic progression, quality of life and neurological function of PD patients under chiropractic care."
Drug Overdose Now Leading Cause of Injury-Related Deaths
A report published in June 2015, by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation noted that over 44,000 death occur each year in the United States due to drug overdoses. Of this, more than half are due to prescription drugs. The study shows that over the past 4 years, 26 states showed a significant increase in the rate of drug overdose deaths, while only six states showed a small decrease.
The report titled, "The Facts Hurt" A State by State Injury Prevention Policy Report 2015," looked at deaths from all forms of injury and accidents including drug overdose. It showed that on a national level, the number of drug overdose deaths, 44,000, has overtaken the number of automobile accident deaths which has dropped to 33,000 per year.
The report points out, "There are 120 drug overdoses a day and 6,700 emergency department visits for misuse or abuse of drugs. More than 22,000 overdose deaths involve prescription drugs, which have sharply increased in the past 15 years."
One of the more alarming statistics the report brings to light is the number of children affected by this problem, "Children visit emergency departments twice as often for taking medications found in the home –– than for poisonings from household products. More than 70,000 children go to the emergency department due to medication poisoning every year. Most of these visits were because an unsupervised child found and consumed the medication—usually a prescription medication."
In reporting on the scale of the drug issue, the report notes that about 2 million Americans abuse or misuse prescription drugs. Prescription drugs account for more than 22,700 deaths each year, with 16,000 of these being due to prescription painkillers and nearly 7,000 being due to anti-anxiety, sleep and other related medications. The costs related to this are approximately $55.7 billion a year.
The report states, "Around 1.4 million emergency department visits in 2011 were due to prescription drug misuse or abuse, including 420,000 due to prescription painkillers and 501,000 due to anti-anxiety, sleep and other related medications." Some additional startling facts released in this report include:
A June 18, 2015, article in USA Today on this study quoted Amber Williams, executive director of Safe States Alliance, an organization of experts who work on injury and violence prevention nationwide. "Over 10 years, the opioid prescriptions have quadrupled, but there's not a change in the overall pain that Americans had in that same period." She continued, "There's definitely a mismatch between the prescriptions and the health issues because the issues have remained the same."
Paroxysmal Tonic Upgaze Syndrome and Congenital Torticollis
Helped with Chiropractic
On June 29, 2015, a study was published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research documenting the case of chiropractic helping a baby boy who was suffering with Paroxysmal Tonic Upgaze (PTU) Syndrome, torticollis, and other neurological problems. These issues seemed to be related to the birth trauma the infant received during delivery.
Paroxysmal Tonic Upgaze (PTU) is when a child usually has his or her eyes fixed in a upward position. The child may even tilt their head downward to gaze forward. This may make the child look angry when they are not. Babies affected by this problem can display jerky side to side moment of their head, and may also have sleep issues, developmental delays, and vertigo.
The study reports that the word "torticollis" means twisted neck in Latin. Generally, congenital muscular torticollis (CMT) involves a deformity of the neck where one side of certain neck muscles are shorter than the other. Many factors are proposed to be the cause of this including trauma during the birth process. This problem is often painful and causes a restricted range of motion.
This case involved a 13-month-old boy who was brought to the chiropractor by his mother for a chiropractic evaluation to see if her son could be helped with PTU, congenital torticollis, and infantile spasm/tremors. The infant had already undergone a number of neurological tests and an MRI which did not give any definitive answers. This frustration led to the boy's parents bringing him to the chiropractor.
The history of the infant birth revealed that the pregnancy and delivery were difficult. The mother was in labor for 2 weeks. During delivery, the baby was laying on his back and presented 'face' first, causing the breaking of his mother’s coccyx during the delivery. At one month of age, the child was vaccinated. Shortly thereafter, the mother noticed the muscle spasms and a tilted head. Three weeks later, the child began to hit the back of his head aggressively.
A chiropractic examination was performed including palpation, range of motion, and postural analysis. Based on the findings of the examination, it was determined that the goal of the care should be to correct the subluxations detected in the infant's spine. Specific chiropractic adjustments were started and continued over a period of four months.
The study reported that during the first re-examination, the mother reported that her son was sleeping better and his neck spasms had reduced. She also reported that his upward gaze had decreased thus showing improvement in his diagnosed PTU condition. As care continued, the boy crawled better and his coordination improved. The boy was under care at the time of the writing of this report and continued to show improvement in all his health issues.
In their discussion, the authors of the study explained the mechanism of how correction of subluxation could help this boy by stating, "When a subluxation is present it blocks communication and sensory input between the brain and the body and can lead to neurological dysfunction. This dysfunction without any correction leads to further damage. When a subluxation is present and left uncorrected it will lead to sensory input dysfunction."
Antipsychotics Too Often Prescribed For Aggression In Children
The headline above comes from a July 1, 2015, news story on the National Public Radio website. The story is based on a study published in JAMA Psychiatry also on July 1st. The NPR article begins with the warning, "Powerful antipsychotic medications are being used to treat children and teenagers with ADHD, aggression and behavior problems, a study finds, even though safer treatments are available and should be used first."
The rate of usage of these types of drugs has significantly increased over the years and there is a concern that many children are being needlessly medicated and subjected to serious side effects. Many antipsychotic drugs, which were created for use with serious mental disorder such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, are being used for things not approved for such as ADHD and aggressive behavior.
Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University who led the JAMA study, commented in the NPR article, "There's been concern that these medications have been overused, particularly in young children. Guidelines and clinical wisdom suggest that you really should be using a high degree of caution and only using them when other treatments have failed, as a last resort."
One of the issues pointed out by Olfson in the study was that many of the prescriptions for these powerful drugs were given by general practitioners with little testing, and without considering other alternatives first. "The results suggest that greater access is needed for child and adolescent psychiatric services as well as psychosocial services for young people who present with disruptive behaviors that appear to be common clinical targets," he said. "A number of effective psychosocial treatments exist for impulsive aggression including interventions that emphasize anger control management and problem solving skills, but few children and their families are receiving them."
Christof Correll, a professor of psychiatry at Hofstra North Shore-Long Island Jewish School of Medicine, who wrote an editorial to accompany the JAMA article stated, "Behavior modification and family treatment is something that should always come first, but less than one quarter of children and teens are getting that." He continued, "Physicians use these medications too fast."
Over 184,000 Global Deaths Each Year Caused by Sugary Drinks
Medical News Today (MNT) published an article on June 30, 2014, with the above headline addressing the issue of the health impact drinks with a high amount of sugar have on the population. The article is based on several studies including a study published on June 29, 2015, in the journal Circulation with the title, "Estimated Global, Regional, and National Disease Burdens Related to Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in 2010."
The MNT article begins by reporting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates show that men consume an average of 178 calories from sugary drinks daily, compared to women who consume around 103 calories from these drinks daily. While some may make the point that these types of drinks should not be part of anyone's diet, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommens consuming no more than 450 calories from these drinks in a week. This is equivalent to less than three cans of soda in a week.
Prof. Gitanjali Singh, research assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy of Tufts University in Boston, MA, and his team analyzed sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) consumption data from 1980-2010 from 62 surveys involving 611,971 people in 51 countries. They reviewed the data to see how consuming sugary drinks impacted the death rate from diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
The results of the study showed that in 2010, sugar-sweetened beverages were responsible for around 184,450 deaths worldwide, with 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 deaths from cancer. The study also highlighted that younger adults were more negatively impacted by these drinks than were older adults. Prof. Singh commented, "The health impact of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on the young is important because younger adults form a large sector of the workforce in many countries," he explains, "so the economic impact of sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths and disability in this age group can be significant."
Prof. Singh continued his concerns by adding, "It also raises concerns about the future. If these young people continue to consume high levels as they age, the effects of high consumption will be compounded by the effects of aging, leading to even higher death and disability rates from heart disease and diabetes than we are seeing now"
In the study conclusion, Prof. Gitanjali Singh and his coauthors wrote, "SSBs, are a single, modifiable component of diet, that can impact preventable death/disability in adults in high, middle, and low-income countries, indicating an urgent need for strong global prevention programs."
Growing Number of Parents are Turning to Chiropractors to Treat
The headline above comes from a June 22, 2015, feature article in the Minnesota Star Tribune. The article looks at several children who have had their lives improved by going to a chiropractor. The article begins by saying, "Concerned about the frequent use of antibiotics, some parents are seeking chiropractic care for everything from stomachaches to runny noses."
The discussion about children needing chiropractic is a polarizing one. Many people believe very strongly that chiropractic care is essential for young spines while others do not. Kimberly is the mother of Tobias, an active one-year-old boy featured in the article who is a new chiropractic patient. "We knew that as our children were growing that we would seek chiropractic care as they had growing pains and accidents," she explains. Noting how active her son is, she added, "And Tobias, he's a mover and a shaker."
Tobias's chiropractor, Dr. Anne, explained that for many babies, the only way they can communicate something is wrong to their parents is by crying. "For an infant, their only way to tell a parent they don't feel good is by crying." She points out that this may not be just the result of being hungry or tired or wet, but may well be the result of a health issue that stems from a spinal misalignment, known as a subluxation.
Dr. Anne also explained the uniqueness of the process of adjusting a baby or small child. "With a 2-year-old, you’ve got about 20 seconds to get it done because they're either yelling at you or want to be done. It's hard to describe to a young kid what they’re going to feel," she said. "So I always have them near Mom and Dad so that they’re not afraid."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that in 2012, about 3.1 percent of children in the U.S. were seen by chiropractors. Dr. Elise Hewitt, president of the pediatrics council for the American Chiropractic Association added, "That’s a total of almost 2 million children in 2012 that received chiropractic and osteopathic care."
In explaining the typical scenario of why a parent brings their child to see a chiropractor, Dr. Anne said, "So parents get frustrated. They've been at the pediatrician for two or three months and their kid has been on three or four antibiotics," she said. "More often than not, it's a structural thing that's causing the ear infections. So they end up here."
To explain her reasons for bringing her kids to the chiropractor, Kimberly stated, "I think we’ve always understood that there's such rapid growth when a child is growing, and the birthing process — I don't ever say traumatic, but it can be dramatic," she said. "So it has always sat right with us to have someone who understands the vertebrae be able to take a look at little guys early on."
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