Research Shows Chiropractic is Safe and Effective

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Does your back hurt at the end of the day?  Neck and shoulders stiff?  You’re not alone.  There were more than 132,000,000 doctor visits for musculoskeletal complaints in 2006.  We spend about $850 billion a year on musculoskeletal problems.  By far, most of that money is spent on drugs and surgery.  But there are safer, less expensive, and more effective ways to deal with pain.

A study in 2013 examined people with new workman’s compensation disability claims for back injuries.  It found that people who went to a chiropractor first were less likely to get surgery down the road.  Of workers who went to a surgeon first, 42.7% had surgery, in contrast to only 1.5% of those who saw a chiropractor.

Another 2013 study compared how soldiers did if they got standard medical care vs. standard medical care plus chiropractic therapy for low back pain.  The results showed that pain was less, and ability to function normally was better, with chiropractic care.    Another study followed 894 patients for one year, looking at worker’s compensation claims.  They found that chiropractic care resulted in the lowest rate of recurrent claims.   This means that people who got chiropractic care were half as likely to be disabled as people who got physical therapy, and 60% less likely to be disabled than people who got treated only by a medical doctor.

Other studies:  Low back pain care from a DC saves 40% on health care costs when compared to care from an MD. . . Chiropractic treatments for back and neck pain are significantly more cost-effective than all other approaches.   Compared to traditional medical treatment, chiropractic care results in 43% fewer hospital admissions, 58.4% less days spent in hospitals, 43.2% fewer outpatient surgeries, and 51.8% less in pharmaceutical costs. . .Chiropractic provided more long-term benefit than other modalities. . .

I often think that being a medical doctor or pharmacist would get depressing, since so much time and money is spent on controlling symptoms without fixing the problems.  I love being a chiropractor, because when I reduce and eliminate people’s symptoms, it is because I am correcting the actual cause.  And all the research supports that that is the right approach to back and neck pain.

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Happy, Healthy Brain Foods!

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Blog | 3 comments

We interrupt our regular broadcasting of dire warnings and bad news to bring you some good news.  Please eat the following yummy, healthy foods for better brain health:

* Blueberries:  A study at Tufts University found that blueberries (along with strawberries and spinach) improve short term memory and coordination.

*Pumpkin seeds:  Rich in zinc, pumpkin seeds help reduce toxicity, support immune system health, and help with ADHD.

* Coffee:  Studies show that coffee helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

*Walnuts:  The excellent omega 3 fatty acids in walnuts improve mood and raise IQ.

* Chocolate:  In one study, eating chocolate improved people’s ability to solve math problems in their heads.  Another study showed that chocolate helped improve memory, and helped with healing after a stroke.

And if you want to improve your mood and reduce anxiety, take a good probiotic supplement.  You know all the figures of speech we have about “gut feelings”?  Well, the gut-brain connection is a real thing, and a healthy GI tract directly supports good moods.

You’re welcome.  And we now return to our regular broadcasting.   Don’t smoke!  Sit up straight!  Avoid sugar, avoid hydrogenated fats……

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Its a Disease

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Everyone knows that obesity is a steadily increasing health issue in the United States, which also means it is a cash cow just waiting to be milked.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) helped write legislation (HR 2415) that would make Medicare reimburse their members for weight management counseling.  That sounds great,doesn’t it?  Insurance should be paying for safe, preventative measures like dietary counseling.  What could possibly be wrong with that?

Only that the AND receives funding from Coca Cola, Hershey, Mars, Pepsi Co, and other junk food manufacturers.  So do you really think that their dieticians will be telling people that refined sugar is unhealthy?  Or that diet pop isn’t a great weight management tool?  And their law specifies that only AND dieticians can be reimbursed, no other practitioners.  So people won’t be as likely to seek the help of a holistic practitioner, or any other opinion they have to pay for out-of-pocket, when insurance will pay for an industry spokesperson.  (Incidentally, refined sugar is extremely bad for you, and diet soda does not help you lose weight.)

In a closely related move, the American Medical Association has classified obesity as a disease.  Why does it matter at all if they call it a disease or not?  Because, as a disease, you can bill for medical treatment.  This opens up a market of over 100,000 people who can be prescribed drugs or surgery now.  Medical doctors receive less than 25 hours of instruction in diet and nutrition.  They receive a great deal of instruction in drug and surgical treatments.  It is very unlikely that they will be giving good dietary advice, when they can write a prescription.  I am sincerely afraid that this will mean worse, not better, health for many Americans, as the diet drugs on the market (Qsymia and Belviq)  are largely ineffective and have dreadful side effects.

Speaking of weight control, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has downgraded the artificial sweetener Splenda (sucralose) from “safe” to “caution”, following a study in which it caused leukemia in mice.  There is also evidence that Splenda reduces beneficial gut bacteria by 50%, damages kidneys, and increases the risk of miscarriage.  Splenda has been on the market for 15 years, and the only long term studies on it were conducted by the company that manufactures it.  Oddly enough, when the manufacturers evaluate their own products, they nearly always find them safe and effective.

America will not become healthy as long as sickness is so incredibly profitable.  Obesity, like cancer, is best prevented, rather than cured.  And the prevention is to eliminate the cause.  In the case of obesity, prevention would look like banning high fructose corn syrup, banning fast food places from giving away toys and advertising to children, supporting organic, local food production and distribution, etc.  For cancer, prevention would look like taking known carcinogenic chemicals off the market, and testing the literally hundreds of thousands of chemicals in use which have not been tested for safety.  These solutions are never recommended by those who profit from treating cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimers.  Which is too bad for all of us.

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Drugs in Search of a Disease

Posted by on Jun 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

In 1952, the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-1) was published by the American Psychiatric Association.  It lists and defines all  mental illnesses.  The fifth edition of DSM will come out soon.  In 1952, 106 disorders were described.  In every edition, the number has increased.  The most recent edition, DSM-4, listed over 300 mental disorders, and DSM-5 promises to list many more than that.

So why have the number of mental illnesses more than doubled in the last half century?   The word you are looking for here is “medicalization”.  Medicalization means taking something and renaming it a medical issue.  Do you have trouble sleeping after drinking coffee?   The problem isn’t your error in judgement when you went to Starbucks at 9 pm.  You have a medical disorder, Caffeine Induced Sleep Disorder (292.89).  If you are fretting about how shy you are while you are tossing and turning in bed, you may have Social Phobia (300.23).   But if instead you find yourself thinking about your place in the cosmos, or why we are here, you’ve got a case of V62.89 – Religious or Spiritual Problem.

So what?  Why does it matter that doctors invent a medical code for every human condition?  It matters because those codes mean that they can prescribe a medication to treat the disorder.   And drugs are not actually always the best way to treat being human.  The medicalization of life does not improve life for patients, it improves life for pharmaceutical companies.

If your child talks back to you – 313.81, Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  And what we once thought of as sibling rivalry is now V61.8, Sibling Relational Problem.  The difference is significant.  Sibling rivalry might be treated with a light scolding, or maybe a time out, or perhaps mom might plan on spending some time with each kid individually to reduce the tension.  Sibling Relational Problem is treated with a psychoactive drug.

Does your child dislike math?  Uh-oh, that sounds like 315.1, Mathamatics disorder.  If your teen in uncertain about her goals and plans, you have a case of 313.82, Identity Problem.  Don’t even ask about the variety of relationship issues that have now become medical issues.  The truth is that if you were trying to make up silly, nonsensical “illnesses” to make fun of DMS-5, you would have a very hard time finding any they missed.

Drugs all have side effects.  While they may be necessary in some instances, there is always a benefit/cost factor.    They should not be the very first thing you turn to to deal with every issue that might arise in life.  But also, by telling people that they are “sick” if they are shy, or confused, or upset over something, is simply untrue.  In the absence of drug treatments, people learn coping skills and strategies for dealing with ups and downs.  If you are lucky, you even use the challenges of life to dig a little deeper into who you are, to learn to know yourself better, to improve yourself.  We normally can begin to learn these skills, which will serve us again and again throughout life, in our teens.  But teens and young adults who have been medicated for every issue as children tend to turn to medications exactly when they would have been learning how to deal with challenges.

DSM-5 is certainly silly and ridiculous.  But it is also bad news for the mental health of the nation.

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The News In Brief

Posted by on Mar 16, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

*  Is anger bad for your health?   An article in the American Heart Journal evaluated 785 adults, interviewing them to see how they dealt with anger.  Three categories of anger were rated; “constructive anger” (discussing their anger to resolve the situation), “destructive anger justification” (blaming others for one’s anger) and “destructive anger rumination” (brooding over incidents).  In a 10 year follow-up, people with destructive anger justification were more than 30% more likely to have developed heart disease.

*  In a study at Texas A&M University, researchers found that during an average 17.5 minute office visit, only 58 seconds were spent discussing physical activity and only 83 seconds were spent discussing nutrition.  So even though everyone is agreeing that prevention is better than treatment, no one is going there!  This is largely because there is no medical reimbursement for prevention, as opposed to high cost diagnostics and pharmaceuticals.

*  What not to eat:  Aspartame, also know as Equal, NutraSweet, or Spoonful, is associated with 92 adverse effects, from headaches, dizziness, and wheezing, to memory loss, seizures, and death.  MSG is in almost all processed foods, even when they say “mo MSG added”, because it is formed during the manufacturing processed foods.  It is a neurotoxin and can cause rashes, migraines, depression, and seizures.  Corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed are almost all genetically modified, and their derivatives are in most processed foods.  Since we do not require any labeling of genetically modified foods, there is no way to study health effects, which is very convenient for Monsanto Corp., and maybe not so much for the rest of us.  Artificial colors (or, FD&C colors) are derived from cola tar, a carcinogen.  Much of the rest of the world has banned these additives.  What to eat – actual foods made with actual ingredients.

*  Repetitive stress injuries have increased with the increase in work-place computers.  One in every three dollars of worker’s compensation pays for repetitive stress injuries.  With more than 600 muscles and 200 joints, the human body is not made to sit at a desk and type / mouse all day.  People are designed for movement, and prolonged sitting wreaks havoc.

*  A 2012 warning on the label of statin drugs indicates that they can cause memory loss.  Statins are very widely prescibed for lowering cholesterol, and over 32 million Americans are taking statins daily, forever.   The new label also tells patients that fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach pain, or jaundice can indicate the onset of life-threatening kidney disease as a side-effect.  For most people, exercise and a healthy diet can normalize cholesterol levels with none of the risks of statin drugs.

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Brain Research

Posted by on Feb 16, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve been reading some articles about the brain recently.   And whether you are looking at the possible risk factors associated with living in cyberspace, or intentional courses to enhance happiness, the bottom line is the same.  Brains learn.  They learn whatever it is they spend time doing.  Which should affect your choices of what you do with your brain!

Lets look at the cheerful news first, the studies on happiness.  One of the primary, early jobs of brains was to watch out for danger, to protect us.  And that is why brains seem to be naturally wired to pay more attention to bad things than good things.  Generally speaking, if something negative occurs, your brain considers it much more important than positive occurances.    We have an innate tendency to take the criticism to heart and brush off the praise.   But, brains learn, and they can learn to weigh the positive more.

Every time you use a circuit in your brain, you reinforce it.  Interconnections become more durable and efficient.  Every time.  So, the way to be more cheerful and optimistic is to repeatedly reinforce those circuits.   Studies have been done using the following 3 techniques, and all have improved happiness and reduced depression and stress in clinical tests.

“Three good things”:  At the end of each day, list three good things that happened, and think about them.  That simple.  Repetition is learning.  Focusing on good things teaches the brain to focus on good things.  People who did this for a week still reported improved states of mind a month later.

“Do a good deed”:  There are few things that are as reliable for raising your spirits as doing something kind for someone else.  Making it a practice to do something nice for someone, every day, keeps reinforcing those pleasure circuits, making it easier and easier for your brain to be happy.

“Mind your mind”:  Mindfulness meditation repeatedly proves itself in research as an effective way to become happier, calmer, and more centered.

Of course, repetition is always learning for the brain.  So if you are repeatedly being upset, angry, or sad over things, you are reinforcing those circuits, making it easier to get upset.  Since you don’t need to get super-proficient at being unhappy, when your brain moves to that reaction, try one of the happiness exercises instead.

What are most of our brains doing most of the time nowadays?  Staring at screens.  Teenagers (whose brains are actively growing and forming new pathways and connections) spend seven hours a day on a screen, more time than they spend on anything else, including sleeping.  Teenage girls send over 3,700 texts a month.  Everyone is online, nearly all the time.  And brains always rewire themselves to do whatever it is they spend time doing.

The internet became big around 1995, Google came along in 1998, the iPhone in 2007.  In less than 10 years, our brains have learned to respond to computer dings, tweets, rings, and vibrations with dopamine and adrenaline rushes that look, on an MRI scan, identical to a drug addict’s brain response to drugs.  Studies show that habitual use of the internet reduces cognition, concentration, and psychological health.  The areas of the brain that control speech, memory, motor control, and emotions, shrink in proportion to the amount of time spent online.

So what can you do?  I do not for a moment imagine that any amount of research will, at this point, get anyone to disconnect from the internet.  You are reading this online, after all!  But even considering that you will continue to live in cyberspace, there are things you can do to protect your brain.  Disconnect sometimes.  Go outside without your handheld devices, and walk, paying a lot of attention to your environment.  Allocate some time every week, if not daily, to pleasurable brain food that is not virtual – music, art, physical activities.  Learn something new in the real world – a language, a skill, a sport, but not a video game.

The brave new world of cyberspace is no different from every other innovation humans have come up with.  We do not think about the consequences of our actions.  Whether “progress” means industrialization, factory farming, or computers, we do not stop to consider the costs of pollution, toxic food, sedentary lives, etc.  So if you have learned to filter your water, or take supplements, or buy organic food, to reduce the harm done by the modern world, now add one more thing to the list.  Get off line on purpose often enough to allow your brain to function in a three dimensional, real environment.

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Prescriptions for Health – or Profits?

Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

Perhaps you have heard some reports about the pharmaceutical companies trying to influence doctors to prescribe more drugs, for their benefit rather than the patient’s.  Well, now even the medical journals are looking at the situation.  The Annals of Family Medicine reported a study done by some anthropologists from Michigan State University.  The authors noted that spending on prescription drugs in the United States has risen nearly 6-fold since 1990.  The study focused on how medical doctors managed type two diabetes and hypertension, two of the most common chronic health conditions.

What they found was a significantly lowered diagnostic threshold for these diseases.  Which means, it has gotten easier to be diagnosed with them.  In 1998, the fasting glucose level that meant “diabetic” was lowered from 140 to 126.  This resulted in an additional 10.3 million people being defined as diabetics.  The definition of “pre-diabetes” was changed from 110 to 100.  These changes meant that those millions of people would now be put on prescription drugs.

In 1993, the blood pressure definition for hypertension was lowered from 160/95 to 140/90 (in non-diabetic patients).  In 1998, hypertension for diabetics was set at 130/80.  These changes resulted in about 22 million additional hypertension diagnoses – and prescriptions.

Now, is this a bad thing?  The committees and organizations that set these standards have substantial pharmaceutical industry ties.  Doctors are monitored and evaluated on if they treat by these standards.  The important question is if these lower standards benefit patients or just make profits go up for drug companies.  If medical doctors were treating diabetes and hypertension by encouraging patients to eat healthier diets, exercise more, and take nutritional supplements, it would probably be a good thing.  But they are treating with drugs which have side effects and risks.  Two- thirds of patients report symptoms from their diabetic and hypertension medications.  Furthermore, 89% of these patients are taking multiple drugs, averaging 4 or 5 drugs which they are told to take “permanently”.

The authors of this study found that drug companies setting the standards by which their products are sold is not in the best interest of patients. They urged that organizations with financial conflicts of interest be banned from guideline writing panels.  And they called for physicians to be discouraged from seeing drug representatives.

The worst part of this story is that the biggest money makers for the drug industry do not fix the problem.  They “manage” a chronic condition.  And diabetes and hypertension are both treatable by lifestyle changes!  So by only offering patients a prescription, doctors are actually keeping people sick when they should be working with them to make them well.  You hear a lot in the news about how these problems keep worsening, and about the social and economic costs involved.  But maybe the blame lies with a system in which medicine is run by a multi-billion dollar drug industry.

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