September 2017

CDC: Drug Overdose Deaths Spiked 21 Percent Last Year, 64K Deaths

The headline above comes from a Sept. 4, 2017, UPI story reporting on new statistics about the growth from drug related overdoses. The article was based upon an August 2017 release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics. The total number of deaths from drug overdose was over 64,000 in 2016, up from approximately 52,000 overdose deaths in 2015..

The article begins with an ominous statistic stating that "Drug overdose deaths in the United States skyrocketed 21 percent in 2016 from the previous year, accounting for the deaths of approximately 64,000 people, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control."  They report that some U.S. states had even higher increases in drug overdose deaths with Delaware leading the way at 71 percent, Maryland had the second highest increase at 67 percent, followed by Florida at a 55 percent increase and Virginia with a 38 percent increase in drug overdose deaths.  In terms of pure numbers, Florida had the highest number of deaths accounting for 5,167 in 2016.

The largest jump in these overdose deaths is due to the drug Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Over the past three years, Fentanyl overdose deaths have risen by 540 percent. Fentanyl deaths alone accounted for over 20,000 of the total number of overdoses.

In July of 2017, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency called Fentanyl a "global crisis." They stated, "The United States is in the midst of a Fentanyl crisis, with law enforcement reporting and public health data indicating higher availability of Fentanyls, increased seizures of Fentanyls, and more known overdose deaths from Fentanyls than at any other time since the drugs were first created in 1959."

The scale of drug overdose deaths at times is lost in the news media as this is an ongoing issue. To put this into better perspective, the number of drug overdose deaths is about 175 people dying every day. Between the years 2000 and 2015 about 500,000 Americans have died of drug overdoses. This is roughly equivalent to the population of Sacramento, California. From a historic perspective, more Americans have died from drug overdoses so far in the 21st century than have died in all the wars the U.S. have fought in both the 20th and 21st century. This includes World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Iraq and the Afghanistan war.

According to a NY Times article in June of 2017, "Over two million Americans are estimated to be dependent on opioids, and an additional 95 million used prescription painkillers in the past year — more than used tobacco."

"One of the major issues with the increase of usage of opioid drugs is the culture that focuses on the treatment of pain rather that the search for the cause," states Dr. Lucas Matlock, president of the Florida Chiropractic Society. "The chiropractic profession has always focused on looking for the cause of body malfunction that may lead to pain or other symptoms." He continued, "Over the 122 year history of chiropractic, not one opioid addict has been created, or one drug overdose death resulted from chiropractic care."


Chronic Constipation Resolved with Chiropractic

Published in the August 17, 2017, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health is a documented case of a young girl suffering from chronic constipation who was helped with chiropractic care. Constipation is a fairly common problem in children, affecting 29.6 percent of the pediatric population.

The study notes that constipation accounts for 3 percent of all visits to pediatricians, resulting in a subsequent 25 to 30 percent of referrals to pediatric gastroenterologists. The Mayo Clinic website described the problem by saying, "Constipation in children is a common problem. A constipated child has infrequent bowel movements or hard, dry stools."

The study reports that there are two classifications of constipation: functional and organic. Organic constipation is where there is a disease or other organic cause for the problem. Functional constipation makes up the majority of the cases and does not have a discernable cause for the problem. According to the study authors, constipation has three clinical features including decreased frequency of stool passing, hard stools, and difficulty passing stools.

In this case, a 5-year-old girl suffering with constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain was brought to the chiropractor. The girl had been reportedly suffering with these problems since the age of 6 months. The mother and the girl both reported that her problems were daily. She saw no relief from the problems by the use of laxatives, oils, and high fiber diets that were prescribed by the girl's medical doctor. She was also prescribed Miralax along with dietary changes such as adding prune juice and whole prunes for daily consumption.

The history noted that, after a difficult, high-risk pregnancy and labor, the child was born via cesarean and was a low birth-weight baby. Although the mother noticed bowel trouble in her daughter at the age of 6 month, the problem seemed to get worse at the age of 5 when the child was spending longer amounts of more painful time in the bathroom.

A chiropractic examination was performed that included visual inspection along with spinal ranges of motion, a postural analysis, and static and motion palpation. The conclusion of the examination was that multiple vertebral subluxations were present in the child's spine. Specific chiropractic adjustments were started at the rate of twice per week for the initial two weeks followed by weekly thereafter. The girl's mother was advised to continue her daughter's dietary recommendations given by her MD.

After the 6th visit, the young girl began experiencing more manageable bowel movements that did not involve pain, straining, or extended time in the bathroom. The study records that by the 10th chiropractic visit, all her constipation issues and associated symptoms had been resolved. The girl's mother also reported that her daughter's stools were now normal. Upon re-examination at the 11th visit, it was noted that the girl's abdomen was no longer tender or distended.

In their conclusion, the authors summed up this case by saying, "The patient discussed above and the patients referenced in the related literature all experienced favorable results after chiropractic treatment of chronic functional constipation."


Symptoms of  Multiple Sclerosis Helped with Chiropractic

From the August 7, 2017, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research comes a documented case study showing chiropractic creating the improvement in symptoms and the quality of life of a patient suffering with Multiple Sclerosis, (MS).

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society describes MS on their website by saying, "Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body." The study authors add to the explanation by saying, "Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disorder characterized by varied central nervous system (CNS) deficits, which occur unpredictably with remissions and recurring exacerbations."

The study reports that more than 2.3 million people worldwide have MS, of which 450,000 live in the U.S.. They estimate that one new case of MS is diagnosed each hour. Although most people diagnosed with MS will live a normal length of time, some more severe cases can lead to death. Neurological symptoms can include numbness, tingling, slurred speech, changes in cognition and vision, and in severe cases, paralysis.

In this case, a 26-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with MS went to the chiropractor. She was suffering with MS symptoms which included neck pain, muscle pain, stiffness, and tingling and numbness in the hands and neck. Her history revealed that 5 years earlier she had suffered a blow to the face. She decided to seek chiropractic because she had heard of the positive effects chiropractic could have on the symptoms of MS.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included thermographic heat readings, and both static and motion x-rays of sections of the spine. X-rays of the neck from the side view showed a reversal of the neck curve to an almost complete opposite of the normal forward neck curve. Based upon the findings, specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were given as determined by analysis.

After five weeks of care, a reassessment was performed to gauge the woman's progress. The woman reported marked improvement in a number of her original symptoms including her neck pain and stiffness, migraine headaches, and numbness in the hands and neck.

Follow-up x-rays of her neck showed improvement in the neck curvature with the curve still being reversed, but to a lesser degree. The study also records that the follow-up thermographic studies showed considerable improvement over the initial studies.

In their conclusion, the study authors explain how the chiropractic approach is different by saying, "Chiropractors are distinguished from other healthcare professionals by their proficiency in the detection and removal of vertebral subluxation, and chiropractic patients experience relief in symptomology as well as major shifts in their overall health under chiropractic care." 


Improvement in Alpha Brain Waves, Coordination and Emotional Regulation with Chiropractic

On August 10, 2017, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results from a documented case study showing the improvement in a number of developmental issues of a young girl after receiving chiropractic care for the correction of subluxations. The International Chiropractors Association describes subluxations on their website by saying, "A vertebral subluxation is the result of spinal bones with improper motion or position affecting nerve communications between your brain and your body."

In the introduction of this study, the authors begin by explaining the basic premise of chiropractic care by saying, "Chiropractic is a health care discipline that serves to optimize health through the principle that the body has an innate intelligence by which it sustains and maintains itself. Chiropractors place particular emphasis on the subluxation, which compromises neural integrity and can cause deleterious effects to health."

The study continues the explanation of the positive effects correcting subluxations has on health by noting, "In recent years, the association between the correction of vertebral subluxation and quality of health has been studied in greater detail with objective measures showing what chiropractors have long been reporting anecdotally. Chiropractic care and the correction of vertebral subluxation have been associated with cases relating to improvements in quality of life, structural integrity, attention and development of language, among other aspects of health and wellness."

In this case, a 7-year-old girl was brought by her mother to the chiropractor for care. The girl's mother stated that her daughter had slow physical skill acquisition and difficulty with coordination since birth. Although the girl was 7-years of age, she ate with her hands and avoided the use of utensils. Additionally, her mother reported that for the past two years, her daughter had low self-esteem and would have emotional outbursts sometimes lasting from hours to days.

An examination was performed which included a chiropractic analysis, electroencephalogram (EEG), heart rate variability, heart rate, skin temperature, respiration rate and paraspinal surface electromyography. Based upon the results of the examination, specific chiropractic care was started.

The study results showed that after the first visit, the mother reported that the child spontaneously started using silverware. After eight weeks of care, she continues to be able to use silverware during self-feeding. The girl’s mother reported that her daughter’s emotions were better regulated in responses to changes in plans or when confronted with a situation she did not want. The girl also showed improved coordination, decreased aversions to tasks requiring coordination, and she now is able to play with a soccer ball.

The study authors recorded an improvement in the girl's follow-up testing including the readings for the heart rate variability, heart rate, skin temperature, respiration rate, paraspinal surface electromyography, and electroencephalogram (EEG), which demonstrated an improvement in the girl’s alpha brain waves.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "This case reported the improvement in coordination and spontaneous utilization of silverware while self-feeding as well as improvement in emotional regulation following a 2-month period of subluxation-based chiropractic care…" They continued, "These changes coincide with an increase in alpha activity as measured in EEG, which suggest an increase in cognitive efficiency allowing greater capacity to learn, think, and be consciously relaxed. These changes are temporally associated to chiropractic care and the correction of vertebral subluxations."


Too Many Meds: Americans Overdoing it with Prescription Drugs

The headline above is from a Sept. 4, 2017, story published by NewsMax Health. The story is based on the September 2017 cover story on the magazine, Consumer Reports. These articles, along with others, highlight the problem of prescription medication usage in the U.S. and bring some startling statistic to light.

The Consumer Reports article begins by reporting that, according to a survey they conducted, more than half of all Americans take an average of four prescription medications per day. They note that Americans take more pills now than at any other time in our history, and more than any other nation. It could be noted that Americans take more pills that any other society in the history of mankind.

Consumer Reports noted that in 1997, Americans took over 2 billion, 416 million prescriptions. By 2016, that number nearly doubled to over 4 billion 468 million prescriptions. In addition to the prescriptions, many people also add over-the-counter medications to this daily cadre of drugs.  

Some the the chilling statistics from this high usage listed by Consumer Reports is that "Almost 1.3 million people went to U.S. emergency rooms due to adverse drug effects in 2014, and about 124,000 died from those events." Those numbers are based upon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration statistics. IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a market research firm estimated that unnecessary and improper use of medication costs 200 billion in additional medical costs each year. 

The various articles discuss the reasons for the large number of prescriptions unique to the U.S. and blame it on the "culture" that believes that every symptom should have a pill to treat it. Vinay Prasad, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, commented, "The question is, where did people get that idea? They didn’t invent it,” he says. “They were spoon-fed that notion by the culture that we’re steeped in."

Direct-to-consumer advertising certainly plays a role in the number of people taking medications. Currently only two nations, the U.S. and New Zealand, allow drug companies to advertise prescription medications directly to the general public. Anyone who watches TV notices the volume of drug advertisements that crowd the airwaves during certain targeted programming. 

Medications all carry side effects. The results increase the cost of healthcare as well as decrease the overall health of the population. The large volume of medications taken by Americans has not resulted in overall better health compared to other nations. According to a study published last year in The Lancet, America ranked 28th in the world for overall health. This is compared with countries like Britain, who take far fewer medications per capita, but ranked fifth overall in the world.

Chiropractic has always represented a drugless approach to health for millions of people. Dr. George Curry, a practicing chiropractor and president of the International Chiropractors Association noted that more people are turning to chiropractic as a way of getting off the medication cycle. "Many of our patients now come to us looking for a way to regain their health and to reduce or stop the need for medications." He continued, "Chiropractic has always offered a natural way for people to achieve good health without medications or the side effects association with that approach." 


Improvement in Health for an Infant with Type 2 Gaucher Disease Undergoing Chiropractic Care

The above is the title of a scientific article in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published on August 24, 2017. Type 2 Gaucher disease is a rare and fatal genetic disorder that occurs in infants. Although the condition is not reversible, this case study speaks to an improvement in the quality of life of an infant afflicted with this condition.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center  "Gaucher disease type 2 is an inherited metabolic disorder in which harmful quantities of a fatty substance called glucocerebroside accumulate in the spleen, liver, lungs, bone marrow, and brain. Liver and spleen enlargement are often apparent by 3 months of age. Patients typically develop extensive and progressive brain damage and many die by 2 years of age."

In this case, a mother brought her 8-month-old son to a chiropractor to see if her baby could be helped. The infant had been diagnosed by a geneticist at the age of 3 months with neuronopathic Gaucher disease. His mother reported that her baby son had been constantly sick and she rated his discomfort level as between 8 and 10 using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) with 10 being inconsolable.

According to his mother, the infant was also suffering with fever, excessive pulmonary secretions, difficulty breathing, vomiting after feedings, diarrhea with creamy green stools, and his head has been in constant extension for at least two months. She had been told by the medical doctor that her son was in a Failure to Thrive (FTT) category.

A chiropractic examination was performed which showed spastic muscles of the neck as well as decreased tone of extremity muscles. The baby could not flex his head forward and his right eye was turned inward. It was determined that multiple areas of subluxations in the baby's spine were present.

In this particular case, the infant was adjusted using an instrument to give a precise adjustment to the vertebrae determined to be subluxated. The child's status was recorded each visit to look for any changes in the variety of issues the baby was suffering from. The goal of the care was to see if subluxation correction could bring about a decrease in the symptoms while increasing in the baby's quality of life.

The study noted in the outcome section that the baby became visibly more active, had more control over his body and his torticollis had substantially reduced. There was also an increase in the range of motion of the baby's neck and he was able to slightly flex his extremities, something he could not do previously.

It was also observed that, as a result of the chiropractic care, the infant's breathing had improved and his right eye had improved in both position and control. The boy showed more facial expressions than before and he showed an increased in tongue movements.

Although the long-term outcome for this child would not be affected, the short term quality of life for this baby was improved. The authors noted in their conclusion, "The development of medical treatments for extremely rare conditions may of necessity lag behind those of the more common. Our findings suggest that chiropractic may provide some relief for the effects of neuronopathic Gaucher disease."