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Archive for August 2016

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Chiropractic Care of Children…Is It Really Safe???

In the late 1990s, an article published on the safety of chiropractic treatment of children also revealed significant benefits for children who received chiropractic treatment.

This article was written in response to safety concerns due to the increased utilization of chiropractic for various pediatric conditions.

One primary topic of discussion included the neurological and vascular complications associated with chiropractic treatment in pediatric patients.

This topic has been reviewed previously in adult patients and much of the same concerns can be associated with the pediatric patient.

The likelihood of a vascular injury in a pediatric case is certainly less than in the adult patient due to the pliability and flexibility of the neurovascular structures.

The incidence in the occurrence of stroke in teenagers (children under 15 years of age) is reportedly at a rate of 2.7 per 100,000 children was reported.

However, based on an extensive search dating back 32 or more years, only two reported cases of neurovascular complications related to pediatric patients who had received chiropractic care were found.

Based on the data derived from multiple sources, a conservative estimate of the number of pediatric visits to chiropractors in the United States over the same time frame amounted to over 500 million treatments.

THE REVIEW CONCLUDED THE CHANCE OF A NEUROVASCULAR COMPLICATION ARISING FROM THE CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT WAS APPROXIMATELY 1 OUT OF 250 MILLION VISITS.

The article concluded the benefits outweigh the risks when applying cervical spine manipulation to any individual, including the pediatric population.

Based on their review, chiropractic care, as it relates to neurovascular complications, presents little risk to the pediatric patient. Even less than the general non-pediatric population which too, is extremely rare.

One other risk cited in its paper was potential damage to the growth plate (epiphysis – the growing ends of bones) of the growing child. However, in the 32+ year review, no reported research documentation could be found supporting this claim.

Another article reported ways in which parents might be able to detect spinal problems in children.

Unless an obvious trauma such as a trip and fall has occurred, it can be challenging in some cases to detect spinal issues, similar to the dentist discovering a non-symptomatic cavity.

More obvious findings parents can detect may include head tilt or leaning to one side, the child turning their whole body rather than their neck to converse or look at someone, sleep interruptions, a child rubbing their own neck, feeding /nursing difficulties on one side and crying/agitated behavior compared to the child’s “usual” behavior.

When children are able to communicate, they may complain of aches that many refer to as “growing pains.”

Less documented / anecdotal evidence that might suggest nervous system dysfunction include persistent earaches, sore throats, colic, headaches, bed-wetting, and others are conditions that parents may bring their children for chiropractic treatment.

From In Good Hands Magazine.

  1. http://www.chiroweb.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=37423 Dynamic Chiropractic – September 7, 1998, Vol. 16, Issue 19 Chiropractic — Is It Safe for Children? By Claudia Anrig, DC; Claudia Anrig, DC Clovis, California
  2. http://www.chiroweb.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=41406 Dynamic Chiropractic – July 29, 1994, Vol. 12, Issue 16
  3. A Parent’s Guide to Chiropractic Care for Children Peter Fysh, DC San Jose, California
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Do Spinal Curves In Your Neck, Mid Back and Lower Back Affect Your Health?

Chiropractic was founded in 1895 after the hearing was restored in a patient following a spinal adjustment to the upper region of the spine.

Since then, our profession has been conducting research to help determine why spinal manipulation or adjustments work so well.

Many conditions have been studied, as well as the physiological responses to the adjustment including blood chemistry changes including hormone levels, blood pressure changes, circulation changes, and many other parameters of health.

Posture, bone alignment and spinal curves have been long been evaluated in patients presenting with muscle and joint complaints by most of the health care professions, including chiropractic.

But the question remains: how important are spinal curves in the overall health picture of the patient? Can alterations in the “normal” curve lead to future trouble or, be the cause of a current condition?

A recent study reported the results after conducting a “systematic critical literature review” where all research published on this subject was reviewed for quality and content.

They gathered 54 studies published between 1942 and 2008, which included over 20,000 patients and reported the association between the sagittal curve (curves when looking at a person from the side) and various health conditions.

There were many different types of studies and methods used to evaluate the sagittal curves of the lumbar (low back) (38 studies), thoracic (mid back) (34 studies) and cervical (neck) (6 studies) spine.

These methods included plain x-ray (25 studies), MRI (1 study), photographs (3 studies) visual analysis or, by the eye (5 studies) and those using a variety of instruments (21 studies).

A strong association was reported in five studies with an increased angle in the midback/thoracic spine (kyphosis – sometimes referred to as “humpback”) with lung disorders causing breathing problems.

Poor physical function and pelvic organ prolapse were also strongly associated with kyphosis.

A moderate association was found when the low back curve (lordosis) was reduced, which was associated with an increase in low back pain.

Similarly, future osteoporotic midback/thoracic compression fractures were moderately associated with kyphosis or “humpback” deformity.

Kyphosis was also moderately associated with heavy household activity, uterine prolapsed and death in three other studies.

No association was found in many studies.

The conclusion of the article reports most of the studies did not fulfill the basic requirements for this type of study or had design flaws.

They encouraged researchers to use new/better approaches to study this association between spinal curves and health and disease.

From In Good Hands Magazine. 

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The Many Functions of Your Nervous System

Every movement, smell, taste, touch, sound, thought, and dream has its origin in the nervous system.

Every function of your body, both voluntarily and involuntarily is controlled, at least in part, by your nervous system.

To better understand how the nervous system works, it is necessary to discuss what makes up the nervous system.

The Nervous system is made up of two primary systems – the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

The central nervous system (CNS) is made of the brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is comprised of nerves such as those in our arms, legs, and torso that deliver information back to the CNS for processing.

Many of the functions of the PNS are voluntary – that is, we can control actons like reaching for plate, swinging a golf club, or swimming.

Other actions are involuntary like the beating of the heart, breathing rates during exercise, digesting food, regulating our blood sugar, metabolism, and so on.

Many of the automatic involuntary functions are controlled by a subcategory of the PNS called the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which has two components: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

There is always activity in the sympathetic nervous system operating at a basal level called “sympathetic tone” and its activity increases at times of stress (producing a “fight-or-flight” response).

The parasympathetic nervous system basically does the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system.

When the heart rate increases (sympathetic response), the parasympathetic nervous system slows it down. Just as the “fight-or-flight” response relates to the sympathetic NS, a “rest and digest” function describes the parasympathetic NS.

Hence, the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is made up of nerves that innervate cardiac muscle, smooth muscle, and glandular tissue.

From a functional perspective, think of the nervous system as a highway with information being transmitted to and from different locations.

The roads or pathways bring information to the CNS (brain/spinal cord) and are called sensory nerves (afferent).

Consider what happens when you touch a hot stove…

In this example, your hand is quickly pulled away from the stove. To accomplish this, there are nerve fibers that connect or bridge between the afferent (sensory) and efferent (motor) nerves called interneurons.

To break this down even further, under a microscope, the space or junction between two neurons/nerves is called a synapse, which is a very narrow gap where chemicals called neurotransmitters allow an impulse to pass through the gap so an impulse can travel onto another “road” (nerve) to bring information to and from the CNS. Therefore, each synapse is like a ferry boat (chemicals) carrying a car (the impulse) across the gap to the next road in route to the brain and/or spinal cord. This gets further complicated as there are many different chemicals (“ferry boats”) called neurotransmitters that result in different types of responses. These responses are broadly classified into either those that excite or inhibit and result in an action that is incredibly fast, which is often needed to avoid injury or death. The example of touching the stove clearly describes the quick reaction that results from the combined chemical and electrical signaling that takes place. If these chemicals get out of balance, different reactions can occur and many of the medications used in treating depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychological conditions exert their effects directly on these neurotransmitters (such as serotonin).

So as you can see, the nervous system is very complex and yet, very balanced allowing us to function and perform in an automatic, coordinated way, so most of the time, we don’t have to think about what we are doing to a point of exhaustion.

Many things can negatively affect the functions of the nervous system such as trauma/injury, lack of sleep, stress, chemical abuse (alcohol, cocaine, heroin, etc.), and diet.

Chiropractic focuses much attention on balancing these functions through adjustments of the spine, which has both local and more distant effects through “somatovisceral” and “somatic” responses, thus affecting both voluntary and involuntary functions.

Management of sleep, stress, diet, exercise, and other aspects of life are important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and quality of life.

Much of this information was obtained from In Good Hands Magazine and the following URL (check it out!): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nervous_system#Nervous_system_in_humans. This site includes many pictures of the CNS and PNS as well as a description of all the components that make up the nervous system.

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Can Chiropractic Prevent Some Types of Arthritis?

This question is asked frequently by patients visiting chiropractors.

To answer this question, let’s first talk about, “what is arthritis?”

The word “arthritis” is derived from “arth-” meaning “joint” and “-itis” meaning “inflammation.”

Hence, arthritis is basically swelling in the joint.

Many types of arthritis have been identified – in fact, over 100!

Some types of arthritis are primary (not caused by anything that can be identified), while others are secondary to a disease or other condition.

The 9 most common primary forms of arthritis are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, gout, pseudogout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Still’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.

The most common type that virtually affects everyone sooner or later is osteoarthritis. This is basically the wearing out of the joint, which usually seen in the older person but can be found at any age after trauma or injury occurred or, after an infection in the joint.

The next most common is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease where the person’s antibodies attack the joint (and possibly other tissues as well). This can occur at a young, middle or older age, whenever the body is triggered to produce the joint attacking antibodies. Crystals deposited in joints can injury the cartilage surface of which the most common is gout- often attacking the base joint of the big toe, and pseudogout.

SO NOW THE QUESTION – CAN CHIROPRACTIC PREVENT SOME FORMS OF ARTHRITIS?

The answer is yes…. sometimes. For example, when a spinal joint is fixated, stuck, or subluxated, the normal biomechanics of the spine are altered because of the faulty movement between the vertebrae.

Restoring movement can restore proper function so excess forces are not exerted on the adjacent levels.

A good example of this is when 2 or 3 vertebrae are fused together (surgical or congenital), the levels above and below the fusion have to work harder for the spine to move and function and tend to become osteoarthritic sooner than the other non-fused levels.

From a more broad approach, lifestyle changes including exercise, weight management, the use of a brace or splint, certain medications and dietary supplements can be helpful as well.

Exercise, in particular, can have significant benefits to the joint surface in both pain relief and slowing down or even stopping the degenerative process (osteoarthritis).

Diet emphasizing an anti-inflammatory approach includes the paleodiet or caveman diet where grains/glutens are avoided and lean meats, fruits, and vegetables are emphasized (see http://www.paleodiet.com/ and http://www.deflame.com/).

Here is a list of websites that offer additional information:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthritis
  2. http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=36338
  3. http://www.chiropractic.com.sg/arthritis.html
  4. http://www.chiropractorguide.com/basics/chiropractors-and-arthritis-pain-relief

From In Good Hands Magazine

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