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By Brian Jensen, DC
Sit up straight! Stop slouching! Don't stare at the floor when you walk! These are the classic phrases children hear from their well-intentioned parents regarding posture. As children, we learn early on that posture is important, but generally never fully understand its role in our health, what causes poor posture or how to positively influence it. Let's start with a simple definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which defines posture as "the position or bearing of the body whether characteristic or assumed for a special purpose." Want to know more? Read on...
Let's focus for just a moment on the characteristic aspect of posture, the basic form we take while standing or walking. The human body is designed to stand with the eyes level with the horizontal plane of the Earth. Viewed from the front, the shoulders and hips are level and the spine is vertical. From the side view, the ear is over the shoulder, the shoulder is over the hip and the hip is over the knee, which is over the ankle.
Think of it like the foundation of a house. The foundation can settle, creating structural stress that can crack the plaster on the walls or ceiling. The same is true for our bodies. Unequal support in the foundation of our body, our feet,can create stress in our structure that can show up as poor posture. This poor posture can lead to tight muscles, stiffness and ultimately contribute to joint degeneration in the knees, hips and spine. Basically, small imbalances over time can lead to big problems for our bodies.
Common Postural Problems
The most common signs of postural stress are one ear being higher than the other and unlevel shoulders or hips. You can also detect postural stress from the side if the ear looks as if it has moved forward of the tip of the shoulder or if the hips appear to have moved forward.
The first thing to do is find out where your postural stress is coming from. Certain jobs require you to sit, stand, twist or bend in repeating patterns, which can create postural stress. If you sit at a computer for long periods of time, that can have a tendency to create a forward head positioning, causing stress in the neck and upper back. Bending and twisting motions can cause an overdevelopment of muscles on one side of the body compared to the other side, which can also be a source of postural stress.
The foundation of posture is actually the feet. It is very common for there to be slight differences in the arches of the feet, which create a slight imbalance. This imbalance can cause a chain reaction all the way up the spine, affecting postural balance. One sign of foot imbalances is when one foot flares out more than the other. Both feet should point forward with only the slightest outward flare when you walk.
Flat feet, a condition also known as excessive pronation, can produce slight twisting movements in the knees and hips, causing one hip to be higher than the other. This is usually more pronounced on one side and is not typically painful, but it explains why one knee or hip can develop soreness or stiffness more than the other one.
A Few Things You Can Do
Get checked - If your posture is breaking down as a result of improper foot balance, it is important to have your feet examined to determine if a custom-made, flexible shoe orthotic will be beneficial. Orthotics create a solid foundation for your pelvis and spine by limiting excessive motion in the feet. Having a stable foundation helps to improve your posture. Your doctor can provide you with more information.
Improve flexibility - This is important because postural stress causes some muscles to work harder than others, creating tension and stiffness. Mirror image exercises are stretching and strengthening exercises designed to restore muscle balance by stretching in the direction away from the postural imbalance. If you are looking in a mirror and one shoulder is higher than the other, you will want to stretch and strengthen in the direction that makes the shoulders level. The same concept works for the lower back. (Note: For a list of easy stretching exercises to help keep the entire body flexible, read "You've Got to Be Flexible" in the January issue of TYH.)
Work with your chiropractor - Be sure to work closely with your chiropractor in developing a plan of action, and then check your progress with a postural analysis. It is important to remember that the body works best when it is in balance, so that should be the goal of all of your stretching and strengthening exercises
Good posture does a whole lot more than just allow you to stand and walk tall. It's a full-body improvement that benefits you from head to toe.
Consequences of Poor Posture:
Brian Jensen, DC, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and Palmer College of Chiropractic. He specializes in structural biomechanics and has been in practice for 17 years.
By Richard Drucker, ND
Vitamins have become increasingly popular since William Fletcher concluded in 1905 that "special factors" had a great deal to do with health and disease, and the term vitamine was coined by Polish scientist Casimir Funk in 1912. Although countless research articles have been published and nearly everyone has consumed vitamin products at some point during their lives, there are still quite a few misconceptions regarding vitamins, particularly vitamins in supplemental form. To that end, let's explore some of the common myths and truths about vitamins so you can make more informed decisions when it comes to your health.
Myth: We Get All the Vitamins We Need From Food
Two hundred years ago, it might have been possible to supply the body with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it requires without the need for additional supplementation. However, with the use of chemicals and modern farming practices, getting complete and pure nutrition from foods is becoming more and more difficult.
Farmland is becoming increasingly toxic due to the presence of chemicals used to enhance food growth and production. In turn, the crops grown in these soils absorb these toxic substances, rather than essential nutrients. For example, fruits and grains can absorb lead, while lettuce, corn, and wheat can absorb pesticides and cadmium, putting food supplies at risk.
Additionally, much of our land has become progressively overfarmed. Continuous use of the same soil depletes it of beneficial microbes and minerals that are essential for healthy produce. According to Dr. William A. Albrecht, chairman of the Department of Soils at the University of Missouri, "A declining soil fertility, due to a lack of organic material, major elements, and trace minerals, is responsible for poor crops and in turn for pathological conditions in animals fed deficient foods from such soils, and ... mankind is no exception."
Myth: The More Vitamins You Take, the Healthier You'll Be
We've been convinced, primarily through media-fostered misinformation, that mega-doses of vitamins are necessary for health. However, research has shown just the opposite is true. Since most supplements are colloidal (large molecule), synthetic, and contain inorganic elements, binders and fillers, most of the health benefits are lost or cannot be utilized properly.
Most synthetic vitamins come in several forms: powders, pills and capsules. Binders and fillers, such as dibasic calcium phosphate (DCP) and microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), used in many discounted, mass-volume supplements, cannot be broken down by the body, so they may pass right through along with the beneficial nutrients. They also can be stored in the intra- and extracellular spaces. As a result, the body does not recognize them as beneficial, but rather as foreign invaders, which can lead to auto-toxicity and various health problems.
For example, vitamin A as found in nature is referred to as retinol and carotene. Foods high in carotenoids that become vitamin A in the body do not cause toxicity. However, too much vitamin A from supplements can damage bones and lead to toxicity over the long term.
Myth: If You Take a Multivitamin, You Can Eat Whatever You Want
Many people believe vitamins can replace whole foods, so they take a daily multivitamin and don't worry about eating nutritious foods. This is a big mistake. Vitamins cannot function without the energy generated from complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein. Therefore, it is important to consume a variety of foods that supply energy andvitamins naturally. If deficiencies exist, additional supplements in the right form and combination can compensate for these deficiencies.
Myth: All Vitamins Are Absorbed Equally, Regardless of When They're Taken and in What Combination
The type of vitamin and its source are crucial to how absorbable the vitamin really is. Many pill- and capsule-form vitamins simply are not absorbed properly due to the processed and compressed nutrients. The Physicians' Desk Reference suggests that only 10 percent to 20 percent of the nutrients in solid vitamins are actually absorbed by the body, whereas liquid vitamins are absorbed at nearly 98 percent. Additionally, nutrients are better absorbed when in the correct proportions. For example, it is essential that vitamins and minerals are taken together, as vitamins cannot fulfill their role in cellular metabolism without minerals. Trace minerals serve as catalysts to vitamins within the cell.
Additionally, some nutrients are more effective depending on when they are taken. As a general rule, vitamins are best taken with meals, since most vitamins and minerals are derived from our food, and typically would be digested and absorbed best in the company of real food.
For example, B vitamins are best consumed at mealtime, as they make some people queasy when taken on an empty stomach. On the other hand, particular calcium supplements, such as calcium carbonate, are best taken immediately after a meal, and iron supplements should be taken on an empty stomach. Fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K require fats for proper absorption, and many vitamins require some protein to be properly digested and utilized.
Myth: Any Vitamin Product Is Good, as Long as You're Taking Something
Not all vitamin supplements are created equally. For the past several decades, the health industry has been promoting thousands of various vitamin brands. However, many vitamin supplements contain petroleum derivatives and/or hydrogenated sugars. According to theMerck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs and Biologicals (12th Edition), even though they are often labeled as "natural," most nonfood vitamins are isolated substances and crystalline in structure. Vitamins found naturally in real food are not crystalline and are never isolated.
Myth: As Long as It's "Organic," It's OK to Take
According to Webster's dictionary, one definition of organic is "designating or of any chemical compound containing carbon." Vitamin supplements, therefore, may contain misleading information because by its scientific definition, the term organic can mean nothing more than it is a carbon-containing substance. All petroleum derivatives (hydrocarbons) technically can be classified as organic. The Food and Drug Administration's definition of organic is much different: For products to be classified as truly organic, they must contain ingredients that were "grown or created without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizer, hormones, antibiotics, or artificially-derived chemical additives."
"(A) company might make a product that really is natural, and label it as such, or it could be made of nine synthetic ingredients, with just a little plant extract thrown in." This quote from Daniel Fabricant, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Natural Products Association in Washington, D.C., sheds light on how a product may be called "natural" or "organic" even if most of the contents are neither.
The U.S. government has no absolute definition of natural. Therefore, when a company uses terms such as natural or all-natural, that does not mean its vitamins are not synthetic. It is important to always check the label for proof that the product contains 100 percent natural ingredients.
Myth: Synthetic Vitamins Are Just as Effective as Natural Vitamins
This is a complete myth, and here are two examples. Vitamin C occurs naturally in fruits in two ascorbate forms with bioflavonoids. Non-food, so-called "natural" ascorbic acid, is made by fermenting corn sugar into sorbitol and then hydrogenating it until it turns into sorbose. Acetone (commonly referred to as nail polish remover) is then added to break the molecular bond, creating isolated, crystalline ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid does not contain ascorbate or bioflavonoids; thus, it is too incomplete to be called vitamin C.
Another popular vitamin supplement is vitamin E. Natural vitamin E is found in foods is [d]-alpha tocopherol, whereas chemical synthesis produces dl-alpha-tocopherol, which is synthetic. Natural vitamin E has up to four times the antioxidant capacity of synthetic vitamin E. In addition, synthetic vitamin E has less ability to correct vitamin E deficiencies than vitamin E from food. The body retains natural vitamin E 2.7 times better than synthetic forms.
To put it simply, natural vitamins cannot be invented. The fact that some drugs are similar chemically to vitamin D as found in foods does not make them true vitamins. It is important to read the labels of all supplements to see if the products are truly 100 percent food. If even one USP vitamin synthetic substitute is listed, then the entire product is probably not real food. The best source of vitamins comes from certified organic foods grown in fertile soil and organic, real-food supplements that contain the proper combination of nutrients to make vitamins effective.
Myth: If You Take Vitamins Regularly, You Don't Need to Exercise
There is no substitute for exercise. The body requires proper nutrition and consistent physical activity to optimize function. The benefits of circuit training, a 30-minute walk, or other physical activity cannot be replaced - especially for people who are overweight or have high-blood pressure or a heart condition. Just consider this quote from F. Patrick Robinson, a biobehavioral research fellow at the University of Illinois-Chicago: "There's a decade of research that shows that aerobics and weight lifting can reverse metabolic complications. Some studies have revealed that exercise helps decrease triglyceride levels and may help with the reduction of localized weight gain and improve sensitivity to insulin."
Richard Drucker, ND, is a licensed naturopath who has been performing concentrated research and work in the natural health and nutraceutical fields for more than 20 years. He is the CEO of Drucker Labs (www.druckerlabs.com).
It's all parents can do these days to keep their overstimulated, technology-crazed children from spending all day on their smartphones, laptops, tablets and video game consoles. While technology continues to improve our lives in many ways, not the least of which is our ability to access information – a good thing when raising our children, if...Read More
Here's what we know: Smoking is an undeniable health risk, so much so that quitting smoking almost immediately increases your expected lifespan and reduces your risk of developing everything from cancer to cardiovascular disease. We also know that fruits and vegetables are undeniable health boosters, with increased consumption linked to reduced risks of...Read More
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It's all parents can do these days to keep their overstimulated, technology-crazed children from spending all day on their smartphones, laptops, tablets and video game consoles. While technology continues to improve our lives in many ways, not the least of which is our ability to access information – a good thing when raising our children, if appropriately managed – a major drawback of the same technology is repetitive-stress injuries. Hour after endless hour typing, texting and scrolling can put the arms and wrists in particular at risk for injury; not to mention how poor posture caused by hunching over a keyboard or peering into a tiny screen can impact the back, neck and shoulders.
Case in point: A recent study of teens (12-16 years old) found that "compared with those using the computer less than 3.6 hours / week, computer use of ≥ 14 hours / week was associated with moderate/severe increase in computer-associated musculoskeletal pain at all anatomic sites, and moderate / severe inconvenience to everyday life due to low back and head pain."
You might think that 14 hours a week or more of computer use is a little extreme, but not if you consider that's only two hours a day. Teens in particular likely spend that much, if not much more, on a computer every day, whether doing homework or browsing the Internet.
Solving the problem involves several strategies:
Low back pain is the second leading reason for patient visits to their primary care physician; up to 90% of people suffer from it at least once in their adult lives. A recent review of related studies in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation showed that the highest rate of back surgery in the developed world is in the U.S., with the most common surgical procedure of the lower spine being removal of disc herniation. Despite these statistics, the cause of low back pain remains elusive and there is conflicting evidence over the best form of treatment.
The authors of this literature review evaluated studies on current surgical and nonsurgical treatments for lumbar (lower back) disc herniations, to determine the short- and long-term results of each. Several different leading surgical approaches were discussed.
No statistical difference was noted in long-term outcomes between surgical and nonsurgical options for low back pain treatment. Only short-term relief of hip pain was shown as more successful through surgical intervention. (Note: Recent studies in the literature have shown comparable results between surgical and nonsurgical approaches to hip pain.) The authors recommend that aggressive rehabilitation combined with pain control may be the best treatment option for low back pain.
Surgery remains a controversial treatment option for low back pain. When you consider the costs and complications associated with surgery, almost any other option may be better. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about nonsurgical approaches to managing low back pain, or visithttp://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/backpain.html.
Memmo PA, Nadler S, Malanga G. Lumbar disc herniations: A review of surgical and non-surgical indications and outcomes. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation 2000: 14(3), pp. 79-88.
Truckers and others who drive for a living report more back problems than those working in any other occupation. Scientists have theorized that constant, long-term "whole-body vibration" caused by driving accelerates degeneration and herniation of the body's 23 spinal discs, leading to lower-back pain and disability.
Researchers compared 45 pairs of identical male twins who had distinctly different driving patterns throughout their lives, in which one twin had spent a lot of time driving occupationally, and the other had not. The amount of spinal disc degeneration each man suffered was determined based on readings from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Twins were studied because in the absence of outside factors that affect spinal degeneration, a set of twins' spines should appear fairly similar at any given point in time.
Driving time did not appear to affect spinal disc degeneration; men who drove multiple hours daily for many years were no more likely to have significant disc degeneration than their twins who did not. No other spinal disorders appeared more common in professional drivers, either, in this study appearing in The Lancet.
This is good news if you drive an 18-wheeler: Your spine may not suffer permanent damage from long hours on the road. Yet the fact remains that back pain is common in drivers. Whether the pain is caused by muscle fatigue or damage, nerve changes at the cellular level or some other factor, your doctor of chiropractic can help prevent it.
Battié MC, Videman T, et al. Occupational driving and lumbar disc degeneration: A case-control study. The Lancet 2002:360(9343), pp. 1369-1374.
There's an 80 percent chance you'll suffer back pain during your lifetime, for which your medical doctor will likely recommend over-the-counter pain medication or prescription medication to relieve the pain temporarily. Depending on your doctor's assessment and how you respond, they may even consider you a candidate for spine surgery at some point, an increasingly likely (and dangerous) option.
Then there's chiropractic, which research and experience show is the safest, most effective option for most cases of back pain. Unfortunately, too many people end up in a medical doctor's office instead of a chiropractor's office, which accounts for the rampant use of medications and surgery for back pain, particularly here in the U.S. Here's why back surgery – and medical management of back pain in general – is too frequent, too costly and too ineffective, and why chiropractic care should be your first option when dealing with back pain.
Too Many, Too Costly
Research suggests that of the 500,000-plus disk surgeries that are performed annually (a significant increase of late), as many as 90 percent are unnecessary and ineffective. Richard Deyo, MD, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University, notes, "It seems implausible that the number of patients with the most complex spinal pathology [has] increased 15-fold in just six years" and mentions one strong motivation includes "financial incentives involving both surgeons and hospitals."
A study conducted by Deyo and Cherkin in 1994 compared international rates of back surgeries and discovered that the rate of American surgery is unusually excessive and directly attributed to the supply of spine surgeons: "The rate of back surgery in the United States was at least 40 percent higher than any other country and was more than five times those in England and Scotland. Back surgery rates increased almost linearly with the per-capita supply of orthopedic and neurosurgeons."
On the Top 10 list of diseases in America, "back pain" stands at number eight, which according to Forbes.com costs over $40 billion annually for treatment costs alone. Other estimates that include disability, work loss and total indirect costs range between $100 and $200 billion per year. Back pain sent over 3 million people to emergency rooms in 2008 at a cost of $9.5 billion, making it the ninth most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals.
What accounts for these staggering costs? We know one thing: Doctors and hospitals are making huge profits off the backs (no pun intended) of unsuspecting patients who are not told there may be better and cheaper ways to solve their back pain with chiropractic care or other non-invasive methods. Back surgeries are among the most expensive, and these costs do not include hospitalization, imaging, drugs or medications. Just take a look at these per-surgery costs for various types of back surgeries:
Dr. Deyo found the mean hospital costs alone for surgical decompression and complex fusions ranged from $23,724 for the former to $80,888 for the latter. When combined with surgical costs, medications, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), rehabilitation and disability, the average spine surgery case approaches $100,000 or more. The direct costs are astronomical and may reach as high as $169,000 for a lumbar fusion and $112,000 for a cervical fusion.
Fortune 500 companies spend over $500 million a year on avoidable back surgeries for their workers and lose as much as $1.5 billion in indirect costs associated with these procedures in the form of missed work and lost productivity, according to a two-year study by Consumer's Medical Resource (CMR). The study, "Back Surgery: A Costly Fortune 500 Burden," found that one out of three workers recommended for back surgery said they avoided an unnecessary procedure after being given independent, high-quality medical research on their diagnosed condition and treatment options. In addition, patients who refused surgery and opted for alternative and less invasive procedures to treat their back pain reported experiencing healthier and more personally satisfying outcomes.
Back surgery "has been accused of leaving more tragic human wreckage in its wake than any other operation in history," according to Gordon Waddell, MD, director of an orthopedic surgical clinic for over 20 years in Glasgow, Scotland. "Low back pain has been a 20th century health care disaster," said Waddell. "Medical care certainly has not solved the everyday symptom of low back pain and even may be reinforcing and exacerbating the problem."
In 2010, researchers reviewed records from 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation database who had diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation or radiculopathy, a nerve condition that causes tingling and weakness of the limbs. Half of the patients had surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae in the hopes of resolving their low back pain. The other half had no surgery, even though they had comparable diagnoses.
After two years, only 26 percent of those who had surgery had returned to work, compared to 67 percent of patients who did not have surgery. Of the lumbar fusion subjects, 36 percent had complications and 27 percent required another operation. Permanent disability rates were 11 percent for patients undergoing surgery, compared to only 2 percent for patients who did not undergo surgery. In what might be the most troubling finding, researchers determined there was a 41 percent increase in the use of painkillers, with 76 percent of surgery patients continuing opioid use after surgery. Seventeen surgical patients died by the end of the study.
The study provides clear evidence that for many patients, fusion surgeries designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs do not work, according to the study's lead author, Dr. Trang Nguyen, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. His study concluded: "Lumbar fusion for the diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation, and/or radiculopathy in a workers' compensation setting is associated with a significant increase in disability, opiate use, prolonged work loss, and poor return-to-work status."
Commenting on the procedure in general, Dr. Nguyen said, "The outcomes of this procedure for degenerative disc disease and disc herniation make it an unfortunate treatment choice."
In 1994, the conducted the most thorough investigation into acute low back pain in adults and came to the following conclusion in its Patient Guide: "Even having a lot of back pain does not by itself mean you need surgery. Surgery has been found to be helpful in only 1 in 100 cases of low back pain problems. In some people, surgery can even cause more problems. This is especially true if your only symptom is back pain."
In his 2009 article, "Overtreating Chronic Back Pain: Time to Back Off?" Dr. Deyo speaks of the shortcomings of medical spine treatments in the U.S.: "Jumps in imaging, opioid prescriptions, injections, and fusion surgery might be justified if there were substantial improvements in patient outcomes. Even in successful trials of these treatments, though, most patients continue to experience some pain and dysfunction. Prescribing yet more imaging, opioids, injections, and operations is not likely to improve outcomes for patients with chronic back pain. We must rethink chronic back pain at fundamental levels."
Dr. Deyo is not alone in his call for reform in spine care. The editors of The Back Letter, a newsletter from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C., agreed with his frustration:
"The world of spinal medicine, unfortunately, is producing patients with failed back surgery syndrome at an alarming rate ... There is growing frustration over the lack of progress in the surgical treatment of degenerative disc disease. Despite a steady stream of technological innovations over the past 15 years – from pedical screws to fusion cages to artificial discs – there is little evidence that patient outcomes have improved ... Many would like to see an entirely new research effort in this area, to see whether degenerative disc disease and/or discogenic pain are actually diagnosable and treatable conditions."
Chiropractic: The First Option for Back Pain
According to Pran Manga, PhD, a health economist, "There is an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low back pain is more cost-effective than medical management." He is not alone in his assessment. Numerous international and American studies have shown that for nonspecific back pain, manipulation is heads above all other treatments. In fact, Anthony Rosner, PhD, testifying before the Institute of Medicine, stated: "Today, we can argue that chiropractic care, at least for back pain, appears to have vaulted from last to first place as a treatment option."
Chiropractic care not only has catapulted to the top of the list for back pain care; chiropractic patients are also extremely positive about their treatments. TRICARE, the health program for military personnel and retirees, evaluated patients' response to chiropractic care. The enormously high patient satisfaction rates astounded the TRICARE administrators, with scores that ranged from 94.3 percent in the Army. The Air Force tally was also high, with 12 of 19 bases scoring 100 percent; and the Navy also reported ratings in the 90 percent or higher. Even the TRICARE outpatient satisfaction surveys (TROSS) rated chiropractors at 88.54, which was 10 percent "higher than the overall satisfaction with all [health care] providers."
T.W. Meade, MD, of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, surveyed patients three years after treatment and found that "significantly more of those patients who were treated by chiropractic expressed satisfaction with their outcome at three years than those treated in hospitals – 84.7 percent vs. 65.5 percent."
The Treatment of Choice
The truth is now emerging. There is broad agreement internationally that surgery should not generally be considered until there has been a trial of conservative nonsurgical care. Here are a few of the many examples supporting chiropractic's use as the first-line treatment for back pain:
Dr. Manga conducted two studies in the 1990s and noted, "There should be a shift in policy now to encourage the utilization of chiropractic services for the management of low back pain, given the impressive body of evidence on the effectiveness and comparative cost-effectiveness of these services, and on the high levels of patient satisfaction."
An editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine published jointly by the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine in 1998 noted that "spinal manipulation is the treatment of choice": "The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) recently made history when it concluded that spinal manipulative therapy is the most effective and cost-effective treatment for acute low back pain ... Perhaps most significantly, the guidelines state that unlike nonsurgical interventions, spinal manipulation offers both pain relief and functional improvement. One might conclude that for acute low back pain not caused by fracture, tumor, infection, or the cauda equina syndrome, spinal manipulation is the treatment of choice."
William Lauerman, MD, chief of spine surgery and professor of orthopedic surgery at Georgetown University Hospital, stated: "I'm an orthopedic spine surgeon, so I treat all sorts of back problems, and I'm a big believer in chiropractic."
Dr. Deyo has mentioned chiropractic as a solution: "Chiropractic is the most common choice, and evidence accumulates that spinal manipulation may indeed be an effective short-term pain remedy for patients with recent back problems."
Dr. Waddell also suggests chiropractic care as a solution: "There is now considerable evidence that manipulation can be an effective method of providing symptomatic relief for some patients with acute low back pain."
And Jo Jordan, PhD, has written that spinal manipulation may be the "lone ray of light" for back pain treatment.
Be Safe, Not Sorry
In 2006, doctors performed at least 60 million surgical procedures of all types; one for every five Americans. No other country does nearly as many operations. Not only are surgeries rampant, but many are being shown to be ineffective and dangerous.
According to Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, medical care is now the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., causing 225,000 preventable deaths every year as tools to make them safer go unused.
So, what's the take-home message? Most people experience back pain, and much more often than not, it's caused by something that doesn't require extreme intervention, like a tumor, fracture, infection, etc. When back pain strikes, chiropractic is a great first choice, but too many people end up taking medication – or even worse, they end up in a vicious cycle of medical care that eventually can lead to the operating room – for back pain that could have been managed conservatively in the overwhelming majority of cases. That's something to think about the next time your back hurts
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By Editorial Staff
Back pain is a major health issue, so much so that is was recently confirmed as the number-one cause of disability worldwide. Add to that the shocking statistic that the average person has only about a 20 percent chance of not experiencing back pain at some point during their lifetime, and you can appreciate that low back pain (LBP) has been described as "a common threat to medicine and a reasonable threat to all national health care systems."
The authors of that quote conducted a study recently, results of which suggest a simple, drug-free way to counter that "threat": spinal manipulation, a treatment technique commonly provided by doctors of chiropractic. According to the study, spinal manipulation was more effective than a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and placebo in patients with acute LBP. In fact, patients who received spinal manipulation showed improvement in terms of their disability due to the pain, their subjective estimation of pain and their perceived quality of life compared to patients receiving drug therapy only.
This isn't the first time we've touted the benefits of chiropractic care for back pain, and it won't be the last. That's because a growing body of evidence suggests chiropractic's effectiveness and health-care cost benefits compared to the traditional medical approach, which often involves drugs and may ultimately lead to surgery. Suffering from back pain? Then do something about it; something that doesn't involve popping pills. Give your doctor of chiropractic a call and take control of your back pain. You'll be glad you did.
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