Back Surgery to Dependency?

pills1One year after spine surgery, almost a third of patients were still using narcotic painkillers, reported a recent medical study. The findings were reported in MedPage Today after analyzing data from 172 patients who underwent elective surgery for repair of the cervical spine. Of those who were not using the drugs before surgery, 18 percent were using them a year later. Said Richard Deyo, MD, a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University who has done research on back pain and opioid use, “The worrisome thing is patients often are getting opioids because it is the easiest thing.”

Source: “Opioid Use Common After Spine Surgery,” by John Fauber, Medpagetoday.com, October 9, 2013.

Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?

By JAMES VLAHOS

chair sittingDR. LEVINE’S MAGIC UNDERWEAR resembled bicycle shorts, black and skintight, but with sensors mounted on the thighs and wires running to a fanny pack. The look was part Euro tourist, part cyborg. Twice a second, 24 hours a day, the magic underwear’s accelerometers and inclinometers would assess every movement I made, however small, and whether I was lying, walking, standing or sitting.

James Levine, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has an intense interest in how much people move — and how much they don’t. He is a leader of an emerging field that some call inactivity studies, which has challenged long-held beliefs about human health and obesity. To help me understand some of the key findings, he suggested that I become a mock research trial participant. First my body fat was measured inside a white, futuristic capsule called a Bod Pod. Next, one of Dr. Levine’s colleagues, Shelly McCrady-Spitzer, placed a hooded mask over my head to measure the content of my exhalations and gauge my body’s calorie-burning rate. After that, I donned the magic underwear, then went down the hall to the laboratory’s research kitchen for a breakfast whose calories were measured precisely.

A weakness of traditional activity and obesity research is that it relies on self-reporting — people’s flawed recollections of how much they ate or exercised. But the participants in a series of studies that Dr. Levine did beginning in 2005 were assessed and wired up the way I was; they consumed all of their food in the lab for two months and were told not to exercise. With nary a snack nor workout left to chance, Dr. Levine was able to plumb the mysteries of a closed metabolic universe in which every calorie, consumed as food or expended for energy, could be accounted for.

His initial question — which he first posed in a 1999 study — was simple: Why do some people who consume the same amount of food as others gain more weight? After assessing how much food each of his subjects needed to maintain their current weight, Dr. Levine then began to ply them with an extra 1,000 calories per day. Sure enough, some of his subjects packed on the pounds, while others gained little to no weight.

“We measured everything, thinking we were going to find some magic metabolic factor that would explain why some people didn’t gain weight,” explains Dr. Michael Jensen, a Mayo Clinic researcher who collaborated with Dr. Levine on the studies. But that wasn’t the case. Then six years later, with the help of the motion-tracking underwear, they discovered the answer. “The people who didn’t gain weight were unconsciously moving around more,” Dr. Jensen says. They hadn’t started exercising more — that was prohibited by the study. Their bodies simply responded naturally by making more little movements than they had before the overfeeding began, like taking the stairs, trotting down the hall to the office water cooler, bustling about with chores at home or simply fidgeting. On average, the subjects who gained weight sat two hours more per day than those who hadn’t.

People don’t need the experts to tell them that sitting around too much could give them a sore back or a spare tire. The conventional wisdom, though, is that if you watch your diet and get aerobic exercise at least a few times a week, you’ll effectively offset your sedentary time. A growing body of inactivity research, however, suggests that this advice makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging. “Exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting,” says Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

The posture of sitting itself probably isn’t worse than any other type of daytime physical inactivity, like lying on the couch watching “Wheel of Fortune.” But for most of us, when we’re awake and not moving, we’re sitting. This is your body on chairs: Electrical activity in the muscles drops — “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,” Hamilton says — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides — for “vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,” as Hamilton puts it — plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.

Hamilton’s most recent work has examined how rapidly inactivity can cause harm. In studies of rats who were forced to be inactive, for example, he discovered that the leg muscles responsible for standing almost immediately lost more than 75 percent of their ability to remove harmful lipo-proteins from the blood. To show that the ill effects of sitting could have a rapid onset in humans too, Hamilton recruited 14 young, fit and thin volunteers and recorded a 40 percent reduction in insulin’s ability to uptake glucose in the subjects — after 24 hours of being sedentary.

Over a lifetime, the unhealthful effects of sitting add up. Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher. Patel estimates that on average, people who sit too much shave a few years off of their lives.

Another study, published last year in the journal Circulation, looked at nearly 9,000 Australians and found that for each additional hour of television a person sat and watched per day, the risk of dying rose by 11 percent. The study author David Dunstan wanted to analyze whether the people who sat watching television had other unhealthful habits that caused them to die sooner. But after crunching the numbers, he reported that “age, sex, education, smoking, hypertension, waist circumference, body-mass index, glucose tolerance status and leisure-time exercise did not significantly modify the associations between television viewing and all-cause . . . mortality.”

Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. “Excessive sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.”

The good news is that inactivity’s peril can be countered. Working late one night at 3 a.m., Dr. Levine coined a name for the concept of reaping major benefits through thousands of minor movements each day: NEAT, which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. In the world of NEAT, even the littlest stuff matters. McCrady-Spitzer showed me a chart that tracked my calorie-burning rate with zigzagging lines, like those of a seismograph. “What’s that?” I asked, pointing to one of the spikes, which indicated that the rate had shot up. “That’s when you bent over to tie your shoes,” she said. “It took your body more energy than just sitting still.”

In a motion-tracking study, Dr. Levine found that obese subjects averaged only 1,500 daily movements and nearly 600 minutes sitting. In my trial with the magic underwear, I came out looking somewhat better — 2,234 individual movements and 367 minutes sitting. But I was still nowhere near the farm workers Dr. Levine has studied in Jamaica, who average 5,000 daily movements and only 300 minutes sitting.

Dr. Levine knows that we can’t all be farmers, so instead he is exploring ways for people to redesign their environments so that they encourage more movement. We visited a chairless first-grade classroom where the students spent part of each day crawling along mats labeled with vocabulary words and jumping between platforms while reciting math problems. We stopped by a human-resources staffing agency where many of the employees worked on the move at treadmill desks — a creation of Dr. Levine’s, later sold by a company called Steelcase.

Dr. Levine was in a philosophical mood as we left the temp agency. For all of the hard science against sitting, he admits that his campaign against what he calls “the chair-based lifestyle” is not limited to simply a quest for better physical health. His is a war against inertia itself, which he believes sickens more than just our body. “Go into cubeland in a tightly controlled corporate environment and you immediately sense that there is a malaise about being tied behind a computer screen seated all day,” he said. “The soul of the nation is sapped, and now it’s time for the soul of the nation to rise.”

James Vlahos (jamesvlahos@gmail.com) writes often for Popular Science and Popular Mechanics.

Sciatica: Spinal Manipulation As Beneficial (And Cheaper) Than Surgery

spinal manipulationSciatica is considered a serious spinal condition that causes pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs. When sciatica patients don’t receive beneficial help and their condition is debilitating, surgery is often encouraged to relieve discomfort. But, surgery is harsh on both the body and finances and often doesn’t alleviate the condition.

A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, concluded that spinal manipulation is just as effective as surgery (microdiskectomy) for sciatica. Researchers studied results of participants who had chronic conditions lasting over six months where traditional medical management had failed them. Sixty percent of patients who received spinal manipulation benefited just as much as those who went through surgery.

Read below to see the astonishing personal and health system cost savings of manipulation versus surgery.

~Health Freedoms

Spinal Manipulation Proves Equally Beneficial As Surgery In Sciatica Treatment

In a recent study, “Manipulation or Microdisketomy for Sciatica? A Prospective Randomized Clinical Study,” (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, October 2010, Vol. 33 Iss. 8, p: 576-584), researchers concluded that spinal manipulation was just as effective as microdiskectomy for patients struggling with sciatica secondary to lumbar disk herniation (LDH). The patient population studied included people experiencing chronic sciatica (symptoms greater than six months) that had failed traditional, medical management. Overall, 60 percent of patients who received spinal manipulation benefited to the same degree as those who underwent surgery.

“Sciatica is a serious spinal condition that causes pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs. Many times when symptoms become debilitating and without further help, surgery is prescribed to alleviate discomfort. But surgery is not without financial and physical drawbacks.”

“To our knowledge, this is the first, randomized trial that directly compared spinal manipulation, which in this study was delivered by a doctor of chiropractic, and back surgery, two popular treatment choices for this prevalent health condition,” says Dr. Gordon McMorland, who co-authored the paper with neurosurgeons Steve Casha, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Stephan J. du Plessis, MD, and R. John Hubert, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS. “Sciatica is a serious spinal condition that causes pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs. Many times when symptoms become debilitating and without further help, surgery is prescribed to alleviate discomfort. But surgery is not without financial and physical drawbacks.”

According to the study, “Outpatient Lumbar Microdiscectomy: A Prospective Study in 122 Patients”, more than 200,000 microdiskectomies are performed annually in the United States, at a direct cost of $5 billion, or $25,000 per procedure. In this year-long study, consenting participants were chosen randomly to receive either an average of 21 chiropractic sessions over a year or a single microdiskectomy, both with the additional integration of six supervised active rehabilitation sessions and a patient education program. If cost is assumed at $100 per chiropractic visit, there is a direct, total savings of $22,900 per manipulation patient. System-wide, this could save $2.75 billion dollars annually.

“After a year, no significant complications were seen in either treatment group, and the 60 percent patients who benefitted from spinal manipulation improved to the same degree as their surgical counterparts,” says Dr. McMorland, who also points out that, “The 40 percent of patients who were not helped by manipulation did receive subsequent surgical intervention. These patients benefitted to the same degree as those that underwent surgery initially, suggesting there was no detrimental effect caused by delaying their surgical treatment.”

“Our research supports spinal manipulation performed by a doctor of chiropractic is a valuable and safe treatment option for those experiencing symptomatic LDH, failing traditional medical management. These individuals should consider spinal manipulation as a primary treatment, followed by surgery if unsuccessful.”

Source: Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/224957.php

Submitted by Lois Rain

Why a Growing Number of Parents are Choosing Chiropractic

Chiropractors for kids: Could working on a child’s back help more than just aches and pains?

Some D.C. area parents say yes!

31-year-old Marietta Watts is concerned her five-month-old baby, Hugh, is going to develop asthma and allergies. So right after he was born, she took him to the chiropractor.

“His dad does have asthma, did have asthma as a child and I had allergies as a child as well, so. It could be hereditary but if we can prevent it, we will,“ she said.

Watts is part of a growing number of parents taking their children to chiropractors. A recent National Institutes of Health report found that three percent of American children were cared for by a chiropractor, making it the 2nd most common type of alternative medicine for children.

“Parents should bring their kids regardless if there’s something wrong or not,“ said Natasha Smith, who is a chiropractor.

Natasha Smith says manipulating a child’s spine or giving “adjustments” can help with more than just back problems. She believes it can cure chronic ear infections, allergies, colds, even bed wetting and problems with sleep.

“Our main goal, our main function is to remove any nervous interference that affects the body’s ability to heal. So with all of our patients, that is our goal. We are just assessing the spine, feeling for any type of misalignments,“ Natasha Smith said.

She also says when the nerves along the spine become compressed, that can cause problems in other parts of the body, even other organs.

“Once you remove that spinal misalignment that’s putting pressure at the nerve, the nerve is then able to function better, so as a result of the nerve functioning better, you’re able to supply those muscles, organs in the body better and therefore overall, feel a lot better,“ she said.

While a 2007 safety review found that injuries were rare, some medical experts worry that one wrong move could seriously injure a child.

“The biggest concern that I have is that some chiropractors, probably all chiropractors are trained to do high velocity movements, but I think that some chiropractors have used them on children and that’s very, very dangerous,“ Dr. Sally Evans, a pediatrician, said.

Dr. Sally Evans from Children’s National Medical Center says since a child’s ligaments are more flexible, some types of sudden, quick movements could cause spinal cord injuries.

But Smith says, she’s very gentle when it comes to working with children. The amount of pressure she applies to the back is similar to how a person would feel a ripe tomato.

“I believe that if there is a way that you can treat a child or treat a person non conventionally, in the sense of using medicine, why not try it?,“ she said.

Doctors say that if you are going to bring your child to the chiropractor, make sure that the person is board certified.

There are some chiropractors who specialize in working with children.

Chiropractic Provides Relief from Major Depression

46-year old man overcame his major depression and increased his quality of life after chiropractic care.

A case study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research credits regular chiropractic care with helping a 46-year old man overcome his major depression and increase his quality of life. The study documents the important role chiropractic care can play in the management of depressions.

More than 15 million American adults are diagnosed with mood disorders every year, which include major depression, Dysthymia and Bipolar Disorder. The disease is usually treated with antidepressants, according to the study, but the quality of life of people who are clinically depressed is subdued by the medications’ many unwanted side effects.

In this particular study, a 46-year old man suffered from major depression and was taking an antidepressant with unwanted side effects, such as decrease in his sex drive, dizziness, muscle weakness and insomnia. A chiropractic evaluation revealed that he had suffered physical trauma in the past, which led to vertebral subluxations. A subluxation is a condition in which the body is unable to function properly because of interferences with the nervous system, and the condition may be corrected with chiropractic adjustments.

The patient had a total of 34 adjustments done on various parts of his spine over a period of 11 months. After the first visit, his dizziness subsided, and he experienced a decrease in lower back and neck pain. After three visits, he felt less anxious and fatigued and reported an increase in muscle strength. Over time, his depression significantly improved, and he was eating healthier.

Previous studies have shown a correlation between injury or trauma to the spine and the onset of social disorders, in addition to biochemical changes in the brain.

A healthy spine is vital to your health, to your overall state of well being and thus to your quality of life.

Chiropractic for Kids: A Safe and Effective Drugless Health Care Solution

A new study details the safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic. A new study reveals high overall satisfaction and near-nonexistent complications and adverse events in children receiving chiropractic care. Phase one of a project undertaken by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) as part of its practice-based research network (PBRN),  the study assessed pediatric chiropractic by surveying chiropractors and parents of pediatric patients (18 years of age and younger).

Survey of chiropractors: Data was derived from 577 pediatric clinical cases, with patients ranging in age from less than 1 day to 18 years (average age: 7.45 years). All patients received chiropractic adjustments at each visit (5,438 total office visits).

According to the study, “wellness care” was the primary reason indicated for care [46 percent of patients, 25 percent of whom reported a specific complaint during their presentation (e.g., colic)]. For condition-based presentations, musculoskeletal conditions were the most common presentations seen (26 percent of patients), and diversified, Gonstead, Thompson and Activator with the most common techniques utilized. Other reasons for care included digestion/elimination problems (7 percent), ear, nose and throat problems (6 percent), neurological problems (6 percent), immune dysfunction (5 percent) and other (4 percent).

In terms of safety, no treatment-associated complications were indicated by chiropractic or parent responders, and chiropractors indicated only three adverse events in 5,438 office visits involving treatment of 577 children: “muscle stiffness,” “spine soreness” and “stiff and sore.” The treating chiropractor’s response to such treatment-related aggravations was to re-examine the child and apply a different technique, modification of the technique originally used, or modification of the spinal segment to which the adjustment was applied.

Survey of parents/guardians:
Data was derived from 239 children representing a similar number of children (average age: 6.16 years) who made 1,735 total visits to chiropractic offices. In this survey, 47 percent of parents/guardians reported bringing their children in for “wellness care” and musculoskeletal complaints were again the most common condition-based presentation.

Parents indicated two minor adverse events following chiropractic care out of 1,735 total visits: soreness of the child’s knee following care to address a knee complaint, and cervical spine stiffness following spinal manipulative therapy or SMT, (the technical term for chiropractic adjustment), to address the child’s cervical spine dysfunction.

With regard to effectiveness, both chiropractors and parents indicated high rates of improvement following chiropractic care for the children’s presenting complaints, as well as “salutary effects unrelated to the children’s initial clinical presentation.” The most common treatment-associated improvements noted were decreased pain, improved mood and increased immune function. Improvements unrelated to the patients’ initial presentation included immune-system improvements, improved sleep and improved emotional state/mood.

In their conclusion, the authors note: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind addressing the safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic SMT in a practice-based research setting. The results of both our practitioner and patient surveys demonstrate a highly perceived effectiveness for pediatric chiropractic care as well as a high level of safety. We advocate continued research in this area with larger prospective cohorts incorporating the co-variates of safety and effectiveness of pediatric SMT.”


To find out more about this study and the ICPA Children’s PBRN, including plans for phase two, visit www.icpa4kids.com. To order a full-text copy of this study, visit the Explore online site: www.explorejournal.com.

Jonas Brothers Embrace Chiropractic Care to Stay Healthy

Source: The American Chiropractor

In a recent interview with The American Chiropractor magazine, Dr. Albert Wolyniec discussed the chiropractic care he provides to the Jonas Brothers and other stars including Demi Lovoto, star of Disney’s Camp Rock and Sunny With A Chance.

“Our association with the Jonas family started when my son, Nicholas, went to preschool with Nicholas Jonas in 1998”, says Dr. Wolyniec.

“Kevin Jonas Sr. was intrigued with chiropractic care and embraced the idea of using chiropractic care to stay healthy. He subsequently would bring his entire family to our office for wellness care, on a once per week basis, and they did this for many years.”

“To this day chiropractic care is still a very high priority in their lives, despite their extremely demanding schedules. They make sure they get their spines adjusted regularly, even if they have to fly me somewhere in the country just for the day. I have even done a coast to coast house call solely to maintain their spines free of nerve interference. The Jonas Brothers give many concerts nationally, and when they are performing in this area, I go backstage with my portable table and set up an adjusting room. Everyone waits his/her turn and I generally adjust 15¬20 people each time. I adjust not only the Jonas Brothers, but their family, Kiyoko, Maya, their production staff, and the security people, including Big Rob, the bodyguard. I admire Kevin Sr. for the importance that he places on regular chiropractic care, and how he always works it into their schedules. I also frequently adjust them in their hotel when they are in New York City” reports Dr. Wolyniec.

He concludes by saying, “The Jonas Family has encouraged many others to receive chiropractic care, including Demi Lovato, star of the movie Camp Rock. I am frequently asked if the boys have changed with all their fame and fortune. It is absolutely amazing to me that they have not. They are still the same polite, obedient, humble boys who seem to have their attention on others rather than themselves. When I adjust them, they will often ask me how Mrs. Wolyniec and my children are doing, and I can tell they are truly interested in my answers. I believe, if they haven’t changed by now, they never will. They are firmly grounded in their faith and are staying true to their vision.”

Explore this site to find out how you and your family can benefit from chiropractic, the world’s largest drugless health profession. Find out what millions of people, including top stars and athletes, already know about the amazing benefits of regular chiropractic care.

Chiropractic Care For Women Offers Many Benefits

Chiropractic wellness programs are particularly well-suited to the special needs of pregnant women, new mothers, women who are overweight, who are in stressful situations, and others who need to protect and strengthen their bones, nerves, joints, muscles and overall health. Today’s modern woman has become much more knowledgeable in diet, nutrition, weight loss, exercise, sports and physical activity, and methods for maintaining wellness and general fitness – about which chiropractors have considerable expertise that they are eager to share. Chiropractic wellness programs are particularly well-suited to the special needs of pregnant women, new mothers, women who are overweight, who are in stressful situations, and others who need to protect and strengthen their bones, nerves, joints, muscles and overall health.

Millions of women rely on chiropractors because of the caring interaction that develops between patient and doctor and because of chiropractic’s effective combination of expert care, effective spinal adjustments, exercise and nutritional guidance, and lifestyle counseling.

Chiropractic offers demonstrated relief for many of the specific health challenges that affect women based on their female anatomy and the fact that the female body is designed to be able to bear children. Pregnancy and the menstrual cycle are centrally important health matters for women. Being pregnant, preparing for pregnancy, and recovering from childbirth are just some of the uniquely female issues. Pain during the menstrual period (dysmenorrhea), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and chronic pelvic pain are among the distressing conditions which disrupt the otherwise healthy lives of many women.

Older women are much more likely than men to develop Alzheimer’s disease (which burdens the afflicted with near-total memory loss and reduced mental functioning) and osteoporosis (in which the bones become weak, brittle, and porous; the posture stooped with the shoulders rounded). These are just two of the problems of aging that women must be aware of and can take steps to prevent.

Women may get headaches during menstrual periods and pregnancy, as well as under ordinary circumstances. Women are more likely to be bothered enough by headache pain to seek a way to overcome it. When the bones of the spine lose their normal position or motion, the sensitive nerves and blood vessels to the head become compromised. When these delicate tissues are stretched or irritated, they can produce certain types of headaches. While aspirin or other medications may cover up the symptoms, they do not really correct the cause of the headache.

Similarly, women are often victims of osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) and have a 200 to 300 percent greater chance than men of suffering rheumatoid arthritis.

Because the nervous system controls and coordinates all of the different functions of your body, any disruption in nerve communication to your organs and body tissues will result in abnormal function. Chiropractors help restore normal nerve function and communication, thereby allowing your body to work normally and naturally.

The result is often a reduction in pain and inflammation, as well as prevention of further deterioration. Research has also demonstrated that arthritic changes begin in the spinal joints in as few as three days after a joint becomes fixated. Relief from pain and prevention of further deterioration are among the many “side effects” of regular chiropractic care.

Chiropractic Adjustments Improve Brain Function

Approximately 100 volunteers were examined with an electroencephalogram (EEG) before and after chiropractic adjustments. A study presented at the International Research And Philosophy Symposium held at Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic finds that Chiropractic adjustments have a positive effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS), specifically on the four primary frequencies of brain function.

Brain function is measured on four primary frequencies: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. Alpha waves reflect the meditative, relaxing healing mode. Beta waves represent the active, busy brain. Theta waves reflect light sleep, relaxation and conceptual development. Delta waves represent the brain activity during deep sleep, repair mode and energy storage.

The study was conducted over a three year period. Approximately 100 volunteers were examined with an electroencephalogram (EEG) before and after chiropractic adjustments.

The EEG scans were examined to check the right/left balance, the amount of total activity, the primary regions of activity and the effect of the adjustment.

After receiving a chiropractic adjustment, post EEG scans revealed improvement in all areas of the volunteer’s brain function. Particularly, the researchers noticed an increase in the meditative Alpha brainwave patterns that are associated with a greater degree of relaxation, health and healing.

The researchers noted that some of the volunteers already had balanced and active brain scans and the adjustments had little effect on their post scans. They felt this was a good indicator that the adjustments had no negative effects on brain activity.

Commentary: The implications of this study are profound indeed. Over and over research is proving that chiropractic care has the ability to positively affect body function on a far greater level than simple pain relief.