De-Stress At Your Desk

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The phone is ringing nonstop. E-mails are pouring in. The boss just dumped a 50-page report on your desk that needs to be proofed by the end of the day.

 And it’s only Monday.

You can feel your shoulders starting to tighten and your jaw beginning to clench. You need to de-stress fast, but you’ve only got a few minutes because that report – and your boss – won’t wait. What can you do?

imagesYoga to the rescue! According to the Yoga Alliance, nearly 6 million Americans practice yoga and 14 million say a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to improve their health. In May, the National Institutes of Health celebrated its first-ever “Yoga Week” to highlight the science and practice of yoga.

According to the alliance, yoga helps improve circulation and heart health, along with reducing oxidative stress and providing other anti-aging benefits. And if you’re overworked and overstressed, a few minutes of yoga can help loosen those muscles and let you face the rest of your day.

Yoga teacher Denise Dunn suggests frazzled workers try these four poses to take the edge off during a busy day at the office:

Side Stretch Raise both arms and stretch first to one side and then the other, holding the stretch for a few seconds on each side. This increases circulation and gets your spine moving the way it was meant to – much better than spending the entire day hunched over a keyboard.

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  • Rotation Now slowly twist to each side. Be careful not to twist your neck excessively, especially if you’re tense. Keep your chin lined up over your chest.
  • Back Arch Sit at the edge of your chair and put your hands behind you. Slowly arch backward, raising your chin as you do so. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Forward Fold Cross one leg so your ankle rests on the opposite knee, and then lean forward gently. This is a great way to stretch out hip and back muscles, which can tighten after hours of sitting.

Dunn recommends starting each pose by slowly breathing through your nose. Hold each pose for at least three slow breaths, being careful not to overexert yourself. Remember, the goal is to relax and relieve tense muscles. This isn’t a workout; it’s a gentle, peaceful break from your stressful routine.

Article from: http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1103

 

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Immune System vs Medication: Showdown!

Kangen Water - Change your water, change your life!

Your Amazing Immune System

Do you take any of these drugs on a regular basis?Medication

  • Aspirin/Pain medication
  • Cold medicines
  • Allergy medications
  • Antibiotics

Ask yourself why would you take these artificial chemicals into your body? Is it because you lack a strong immune system or because you’ve been told you have to take drugs to stay healthy?

Your body actually has an amazing ability to protect itself from harm through the natural immune system. When your body is healthy, your immune system can defend itself against millions of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins. When you are run down, you may believe that pills are the only answer. This is a socially accepted norm that many people resort to. But it’s not always the best option.

What’s Inside That Medication?

Take some time today to read through the ingredients in your medicine cabinet. You’ll most likely find a long list of complicated words that are difficult to pronounce. Although they may sound very scientific, you will be left with no better understanding of what is actually in the pills you are taking.

The truth is that many medications can actually cause adverse side effects in the human body. Listen to television and radio commercials and you will most likely start hearing advertisements for lawsuits about previously acceptable medications that have caused serious problems.

Healthy Family

Your Body’s Natural Defense – Hydration

Staying hydrated and boosting your immune system naturally is a safe method to staying healthier. Water has no known side effects. Access to clean; pure water is convenient when you have an Enagic® water ionizer. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy.

 

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to boost your immune system, when you:1

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of clean water daily.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Wash your hands frequently and cook meats thoroughly.
  • Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.

How Can Kangen Water® Help?

 Kangen Water® is a better choice for hydrating your immune system. Your immune system can have a fighting chance of working properly when the fluids your body needs are at adequate levels. There are far too many people experiencing health issues due to poor hydration and exposure to harmful chemicals. Doctors at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic recommend drinking 8 to 9 cups of water daily for health. Furthermore, “water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues”.2 There are so many reasons to stay hydrated with clean water, too numerous to list in this newsletter alone!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT KANGEN WATER HERE!
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Take a Deep Breath

By Editorial Staff at www.ToYourHealth.com

Adults take anywhere from 17,000 to 30,000 breaths a day, on average, most of the time without even realizing they’re doing it. Breathing is so natural that we usually take it for granted; that is, until something happens that threatens our ability to breathe.

deep-breathingWhen you’re swimming underwater, you’re focused intently on breathing; namely how long you can hold your breath. Strenuous exercise is another good example; the more fatigued you get, the more you become conscious of your breathing, usually because it becomes heavier and more labored.

Many people actually don’t breathe correctly, at least not on a consistent basis. “Correctly” means breathing that maximizes oxygen exchange in the lower lobes of the lungs. More oxygen equals more nourishment for cells.

A structure called the diaphragm separates the heart, lungs and ribs (the thoracic cavity) from the abdominal cavity. As we inhale, the diaphragm contracts, enlarging the thoracic cavity and helping the lungs fill with oxygen. As the diaphragm relaxes, we exhale, forcing carbon dioxide out of the lungs. This is why correct breathing technique is referred to as diaphragmatic breathing.

In more simple terms, ideal breathing is known as “abdominal” or “belly” breathing; it should engage the belly button, rather than the upper chest. Visually, if you’re breathing properly, your lower belly will rise more than your chest.

There are many reasons why healthy people don’t breathe correctly; everything from stress to fear to holding in your stomach to make it look tighter. Doing any of these things consistently will lead to shallow breathing, which will impair oxygen exchange.

So, how are you breathing? Find a quiet place and take a few slow, deep breaths, concentrating on letting your abdomen expand fully with incoming air. Place one hand just below your belly button; it should rise and fall about 1 inch with each breath. If you’re breathing incorrectly, practice doing it the right way; proper breathing can aid in relaxation, reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and of course, help deliver the most oxygen to body tissues.

 

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Sleep Better, Naturally

By James P. Meschino, DC, MS

insomnia_sheepChronic pain, which is reported to affect approximately 110 million Americans, is defined as three consecutive months of a painful condition. The most common conditions associated with chronic pain include arthritis / rheumatism; fibromyalgia; migraine headache; and low back pain.

Evidence suggests that a multidisciplinary approach yields the best results in chronic pain management, whereas the method yielding the worst results for the patient, the health care system and society entails reliance on prescription narcotic drugs.

Over the years medical doctors have prescribed and recommended many analgesic drugs such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory dsleeping_pills_640rugs (NSAIDs), and in more severe cases, narcotic drugs, as primary and sometimes exclusive methods of treatment in the management of chronic and acute muscle, joint and arthritic conditions. In recent years, documented evidence has shown that the frequent use of these medications for pain control has led to many serious unforeseen complications.

Fortunately, in recent years, research has shown the safe, effective pain-killing effects of California poppy (Eschscholzia californica). This herb has been shown to reduce night pain and induce sleep in patients with night pain without producing euphoria, addiction potential, physical dependency or serious side effects of any kind.

Health Complications From Standard Analgesic Drugs

Frequent use of acetaminophen has been shown to be a leading cause of liver failure, and acetaminophen ingestion is the leading cause of drug-induced liver failure, accounting for 50 percent of all acute liver failure cases in the U.S., half of which are unintentional (not suicide driven). Chronic intake of the recommended dosage of acetaminophen (up to 4 grams per day, with no single dose to exceed 1 gm) is responsible for most cases of acetaminophen-induced liver failure. Chronic use of acetaminophen has also been shown to damage the kidneys.

Heavy reliance on NSAIDs for chronic pain control has also yielded devastating health consequences. Recent studies confirm that in addition to gastrointestinal erosion, ulceration and bleeding, chronic NSAID use also increases the risk of kidney damage, liver damage, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and sudden cardiovascular death. Aspirin has long been associated with gastrointestinal damage and associated internal bleeding, but other NSAIDs are largely responsible for increased risk of cardiovascular death. This appears to be related to the promotion insomnia (1)of thrombosis, associated with many NSAIDs from ibuprofen to diclofenac (Voltaren ) to COX-2 inhibitors (e.g., Celebrex, Vioxx)

As such, doctors have been instructed not to recommend any NSAIDs, other than aspirin, for patients at high risk for heart disease. These recommendations also extend to precluding the recommendation of all NSAIDs for patients with any compromised kidney function. Low-dose aspirin, although recommended as a blood thinner for those who have suffered a previous heart attack, is no longer recommended to prevent first heart attack (primary prevention) due to the increasing reports of intestinal bleeds and bleeding into the brain, seen in patients prescribed low-dose aspirin (75-81 mg) for this purpose.

Narcotic Drugs – Rising Concerns About Addiction

Since the early 1990s governments have allowed doctors to prescribe narcotic drugs (e.g., oxycodone) for patients presenting with a wide variety of musculoskeletal pain conditions. Prior to this, narcotic drugs were only prescribed for patients with intractable pain, primarily due to terminal cancers (e.g., morphine drip). As such, physicians commonly use narcotics to reduce a patient’s post-operative pain or to reduce anxiety and induce anesthesia prior to an operation. These drugs are also commonly prescribed in an attempt to enable individuals with chronic pain to lead productive lives.

The problem is that many people who are prescribed and taking opioids for a period of time develop a physical dependence on the drug which canarticle-new_ehow_images_a00_01_jo_break-sleeping-pill-800x800 lead to abuse of the painkiller. Studies now show that 2.5 million Americans, of the 4.7 million who begin to abuse prescription drugs in any given year, use pain pills. Thus, more than 50 percent of all drug abuse cases involve analgesic drugs, and very often narcotics.

Recognizing the potential for opioid abuse, addiction, diversion and related mortality, many jurisdictions have developed guidelines or implemented programs to promote more judicious use of these drugs. Across the board, medical doctors are being instructed to cut back on their prescription writing for narcotic drugs, and systems are being put in place to track and integrate pharmacy dispensing of these drugs using electronic recording and monitoring systems.

A Safe Herbal Alternative

Recent studies have shown that the medicinal ingredients in the herb Eschscholzia californica(California poppy) block nighttime pain, allowing the patient to sleep through the night without being awakened by musculoskeletal pain. The herb also helps to induce sleep, enabling patients who are in pain to fall asleep and experience a restful sleep through the night. This, in turn, allows more rapid healing and improved response to other treatments.

Sleeping-PillsThe active ingredients in Eschscholzia californica relieve pain without producing euphoria or having addiction potential. Stimulation of opioid receptors blocks pain sensation in the brain and blocks pain conduction in the spinal cord from reaching higher brain centers. Activation of serotonin receptors is also known to block the sensation of pain and induce sleep.

Unlike narcotic drugs (e.g., Percocet, Oxydone) and benzodiazepine drugs (e.g., Valium, Ativan) often used to help patients in pain sleep through the night, supplements containing Eschscholzia californica do not cause addiction or destroy a person’s motivation to return to a productive life. The active constituents in this herb do not cause euphoria or feeling of being “stoned,” which allows individuals to function normally and better comply with treatment recommendations, including exercise.

Precautionary Notes

Patients should not take this herb if they are taking an evening or nighttime dose of a narcotic drug (e.g., Percodan, Oxycontin), anti-anxiety drug and/or a sleep-inducing drug (e.g., Valium, Sonata, Ambien). Patients taking narcotic or benzodiazepine drugs who wish to wean themselves off of these drugs by using Eschscholzia californica as a replacement for chronic pain management, must do so under the supervision and monitoring of their attending physician. Narcotic and benzodiazepine drugs are highly addictive; thus, each case requires individualized evaluation and attention. As always, talk to your doctor for more information.


James Meschino, DC, MS, practices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the author of four nutrition books, including The Meschino Optimal Living Program and Break the Weight Loss Barrier.

 

Resource: To Your Health
March, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 03)

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Another Reason to Avoid Epidural Steroids

By Editorial Staff

While the uproar surrounding tainted steroid injections causing fungal meningitis has left the mainstream news after months on the front pages, hundreds of reported illnesses and far too many deaths, it’s high time for a reminder of why epidural steroids – tainted or not – shouldn’t be so commonly prescribed for back pain.

According to a study in the research journal Spine, which compared spine patients who received epidural injections to patients who did not receive injections, steroids “were associated with significantly less improvement at 4 years among all patients with spinal stenosis.”

Epidural Steroids

In other words, patients who received the injections were in worse shape after four years than patients who did not receive injections – regardless of whether either type of patient ultimately underwent surgery to “relieve” their pain. Not exactly an endorsement of epidural steroid injections or surgery. What’s more, patients in both groups had similar initial symptoms / pain scores, dispelling the notion that patients who received injections had worse initial pain or a worse condition than non-injected patients.

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the open spaces in the spine. As you might expect, this can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to neck or back pain. It is most commonly caused by wear and tear over time, which puts you at higher risk as you get older (particularly over age 50 or so).

Spinal stenosis and other conditions that cause back pain and related symptoms often don’t require medication, injections or surgery. Your doctor of chiropractic is an ideal health care provider to visit first if you’re suffering from back pain, particularly since research suggests your odds of undergoing spine surgery are much lower if your initial health care provider is a chiropractor versus a spine surgeon.

 

Resource: To Your Health
March, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 03)

 

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Frozen Shoulder – Dr. Keezer offering a new treatment

The Niel-Asher Technique™ (NAT)

The Niel-Asher Technique™ is a ‘natural’ method of treatment that utilizes the body’s own healing mechanisms. No drugs, no surgery.

download_nat_guide_fs_comicThe technique uses a specific and unique sequence of manipulations and pressure points to the shoulder joints and soft-tissues. In essence, these can be thought of as ‘inputs’ into the nervous system.

The technique has been in use since 1998 and has been adopted and approved by Doctors, Physio Therapists, Osteopaths, and Chiropractors in the UK, Europe, and the United States.

NAT works with the body, listening to the body’s wisdom, not by forcing the arm into the restricted ranges but by applying gentle stimulation to muscles whilst they are resting.

Helping the Body to Heal Itself

manNothing in the body happens without a good reason. The body is a beautifully complex system and when it goes wrong it is often because it is trying to protect us.

NAT embraces the body’s own healing processes, as an alternative to forcing the shoulder into painful movements, or using artificial chemicals and drugs to reduce inflammation.

The technique ‘fools’ the body/brain into healing itself by addressing the two main components of the problem – pain and stiffness.

The unique combination of exercises and pressure techniques, stimulates a new pathway in the brain, rapidly relieving injury and spasm and increasing strength and power. This is now known as Cortex-Neuro-Somatic- Programming® (CNSP®).

The initial phases of the technique are designed to significantly reduce the pain, by treating the swelling around various shoulder tendons (especially the long head biceps tendon). Following this, the technique moves on to rapidly defrost and improve the range of shoulder motion by stimulating a unique sequence of reflexes hidden deep within the muscles.

This works on the parts of the brain that co-ordinate the shoulder muscles called the motor cortex. By using a unique choreographed sequence of reflexes one against another the brain is fooled into changing the fixed capsular pattern. We do not force the arm; instead you keep it still whilst your partner applies the pressure.

How Does NAT Differ from other Treatments?

Traditional approaches to the frozen shoulder either address the inflammation (steroid tablets, steroid injections and hydrodilatation) or the stiffness (physical therapy, exercise therapy and surgical manipulation).

Physical therapies attempt to improve the range of motion by forcing the shoulder through the blockage; this in our opinion can make the condition considerably worse.

NAT works differently. We keep the arm still whilst we apply a sequence of pressure points to specific tissues. The treatment can still be painful, especially in the early freezing phase, but it is no worse than the pain of the frozen shoulder (you will know what we mean if you have had one of those nasty spasms).

The first few sessions of the technique initially address the inflammation in the rotator interval, after this the emphasis is on improving the range of motion. Depending how long you have had the problem and which phase you are in, results can be seen in as few as 4 sessions (range 4 -13).
The results can be dramatic and fast and the method is ‘totally natural’. We believe it should be the first line of treatment before injections and or surgery.

How does NAT work?

inside-img1A frozen shoulder seems to result from the way the brain responds to inflammation around the long head of the biceps, in the rotator interval (see anatomy). In some people, and we still don’t know why, the brain over-reacts to this inflammation by switching off groups of muscles and changing their dynamics.

Traditionally, muscles are thought to operate around joints in triangles; one muscle group holds the joint still (fixators), one muscle tenses up and pulls the joint one way (agonist) whilst another opposite muscle (antagonist) relaxes.

In shoulder problems these smooth and seamless operations no longer operate properly and agonists, antagonists and fixators become confused. The brain responds to this by recruiting alternative muscles to do jobs they are not designed for (synergists).

The Niel-Asher Technique™ stimulates groups of receptors embedded in the muscles to fire their messages to the brain. This creates a new and specific neurological profile within the part of the brain called the somato-sensory cortex. By stimulating these reflexes in a specific sequence, it is possible to change the way the brain fires muscles (the motor output).

This situation occurs in most shoulder problems and Niel-Asher has invented specific treatment sequences for a range of conditions such as Rotator cuff problems, biceps tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis and tendinopathy.

Free Symptom Test!

Having issues with Frozen Shoulder, let Dr. Keezer help you with The Niel-Asher Technique™.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE TODAY!

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Resource: http://www.frozenshoulder.com/

Folic Acid For A Successful Pregnancy

More great news for folic acid. Mothers who took folic acid supplements prior to and early on during pregnancy can significantly lower the risk of having a child with autism and improve the brain health of their unborn child, according to a new study.

 

The study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association this week showed mothers who took folic acid supplements prior to and early on during pregnancy had up to a 40 percent lower risk of having a child who developed autism.

The study was conducted in Norway and looked at more than 85,000 children. The findings provide further support for folic acid supplementation for women of childbearing age, who should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. In the U.S., grain millers fortify grains with folic acid specifically to help prevent neural tube defects.

PregnancySince the Food and Drug Administration first required folic acid fortification of enriched grains in 1998, the number of babies born in the U.S. with neural-tube birth defects has declined by approximately one-third. Folic acid is a B vitamin. It helps the body make healthy new cells. Everyone needs folic acid. For women who may get pregnant, it is really important. When a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects of her baby’s brain or spine.

Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals and other grain products also contain folic acid. Make sure to talk to your doctor about the best way to supplement with folic acid if you are pregnant.

 

Article from: http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1730

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Back Surgery: Too Many, Too Costly and Too Ineffective

By J.C. Smith, MA, DC

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.”

broken backA study conducted by Deyo and Cherkin in 1994compared 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:

  • Anterior cervical fusion: $44,000
  • Cervical fusion: $19,850
  • Decompression surgery: $24,000
  • Lumbar laminectomy: $18,000
  • Lumbar spinal fusion: $34,500

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.

Too Ineffective

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.

Surgical Hand with ScalpelThe 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.

Article from: http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1447


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Why You Are Fat: What You Can Do About It

By Marlene Merritt, DOM, LAc, ACN

February, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 02)

You know you’ve done it — seen someone morbidly obese and thought to yourself, “Why couldn’t they just control themselves?” or stood in the supermarket, comparing people’s carts to how they look, or any other myriad of judgments we have when we see someone who is overweight.

Many of us have this overly simplified view that it’s just a matter of exercising more and eating less, that it’s the First Law of Thermodynamics with it’s “calories-in-calories-out” model. I’m here to tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong.

“But it’s the fault of the fast food restaurants!” people cry out. Soda! Larger portions! High fructose corn syrup! Yes, that’s all true. It’s also because we spend more time in front of computers with less exercise, we eat out more, and we eat more processed food, right? There are a lot of reasons, and many of them are reasonably accurate. But there’s a bit more to the picture than you realize.

Let’s start with some basics, and ones that are irreconcilable truths. The first one is, our systems are designed for times of feasting and times of starvation. There is no getting around that. Remove those periods of starvation, and our systems start to break down with the caloric overload. And once our systems are broken, it can be nearly impossible to get them completely “fixed”. The other fact is that there are a lot of weird “things” in our environment nowadays that our system doesn’t know how to handle, and those molecules are causing changes from the genetic level on up (that’s what the study of epigenetics looks at — the impact of “foreign” molecules on cellular processes). Bring those two pieces together and we have a virtual tidal wave of obesity, and no way to turn it around.

fat personMost people know that, at some point, calories DO count. The problem is (and Weight Watchers has finally realized this) that a calorie is not just a calorie. A carbohydrate calorie, for example, comes with insulin (which, when present in the blood stream, completely prevents you from burning fat). If you eat too much protein, your body will turn it into fat as well. And not all fats are calorie-bombs that make you fat: coconut oil and it’s medium and short-chain fatty acids gets burned in your body as quickly as carbohydrates and won’t turn into fat. So the model of “calories-in-calories-out” isn’t fully accurate because you are not a furnace. Calories count, sort of, but not totally.

Then there’s the low-carb movement, of which I am a proponent. I made a very popular video about blood sugar and how we progress to diabetes on YouTube (www.youtube.com/merrittwellness) but it basically comes down to this: we were given a certain amount of “points” for carbs in our lifetime, and most people have used those “points” up by the time they’re 30 years old. Which means that after that, carb intake starts to cause biochemical breakdowns, insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, and all the problems that are associated with too much insulin and too much glucose in the body. This is a big foundation for our practice, and, without question, can improve a lot of symptoms that people struggle with, as well as reverse blood sugar imbalances. And yet, that’s not the whole problem either. So what else is “broken” that is contributing to our obesity problem?

Sometimes it’s an easy change — the way most people exercise, for example, is often not helping them lose weight. Studies have consistently shown that the 45-60 minute cardio session people are doing simply makes them hungrier, and they end up eating more. Spending 30 minutes walking, for example, is definitely better than nothing, but your body gets accustomed to easy exercise like that. On the flip side, high intensity exercise done over a longer time (think spin classes) can increase inflammation which then contributes to weight gain (or, at least, inhibits weight loss). Exercise, without question, is beneficial in many, many ways, and we are large proponents of varying forms of exercise, but if you think it’s going to help you with weight loss, well… just check out all the overweight people training for marathons. You can’t tell me they need more exercise!

Here’s a crazy one you might not have heard: did you know that if you have the wrong type of gut bacteria, those bacteria can cause weight gain? In studies done with morbidly obese people, it was observed that certain strains of bacteria more efficiently extracted calories and nutrition out of food than others. , It just depends on what combination of gut flora you have — that same handful of crackers you eat may or may not have the same caloric impact on the next person. And how do we have such wildly differing gut bacteria? Well, the average child, by the time they start school, has had 20 different antibiotic prescriptions. How many have you had over your lifetime?

Which brings us to the direct impact of antibiotics on obesity. This research study bluntly said, “…both antibiotics and probiotics, which modify the gut microbiota, can act as growth promoters, increasing the size and weight of animals. The current obesity pandemic may be caused, in part, by antibiotic treatments or colonization by probiotic bacteria.” That’s right — conventionally raised animals are treated with antibiotics AND probiotics so that they gain weight. In fact, these researchers pointed out that conventionally-raised feed-lot animals are treated with antibiotics and probiotics to cause weight gain and they wanted to see if short-term antibiotic treatment to humans, given after endocarditis, caused weight gain (it did). Another reason to buy grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chickens.

Of course, there is always the issue of hormones. About 10% of the population has hypothyroidism and that’s always an area to check when working with weight gain. But why is there such an epidemic of hypothyroidism? Is it the lack of iodine in the diet? High stress (the stress hormone cortisol inhibits T3)? High estrogen levels (often from insulin resistance, and estrogen inhibits T3 as well)? Fat cells actually make their own estrogen, so take a look around you and think about how much estrogen might be in someone’s system. Or what about xenoestrogens — chemicals that act like estrogen in the body? They also will contribute to obesity. What about adrenal disorders like Cushing’s? It’s rare, but imagine if all of a sudden you started gaining weight, and yet people told you it’s because you were eating too much. And then it took the doctors years to figure out you had a hormonal problem like Cushing’s. Yes, you’d feel hopeless too. You are probably starting to see that these hormonal issues don’t stand by themselves, but can be interwoven with other hormonal problems or other issues altogether.

What about the metabolic damage that comes with a history of dieting? Yo-yo dieting (which, for most people, happens over years) severely stresses the thyroid. When caloric intake is low, the metabolism slows down, and it ultimately starts to stay low. So if you have patients who have a history like this, they may always struggle with weight, even if they are doing all the right things.

Then there’s stress. Muffin top is a common complaint for many people, but what most people don’t realize is that the stress hormone cortisol is responsible for that central obesity. And stress looks very different than most people think it does.

I will talk to many of my patients about carbs, and they will lose weight around their middle when they change their diet, but that’s because a high-carb diet is stressful for the body. Stress isn’t just your job, or how you react to situations — it’s also how much sleep you get, because not enough sleep is an independent risk factor for obesity. , It’s how much inflammation you have, whether it’s from chronic pain, unknown food intolerances, intestinal permeability, allergies, low-level sinus infections that you know (or don’t know) you have, teeth and mouth problems like gingivitis or untreated periodontal disease, over-exercising… the list goes on and on. This is probably the biggest area that people don’t deal with, because many of them don’t realize the impact or the need to change.

 

Wait! We’re not done yet! Let’s look at the issues with chemicals that are KNOWN to cause health and weight issues — polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB’s), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and Bisphenol A (BPA). While PCB’s and DDT are, thankfully, a bit more limited in society now, the prevalence of BPA and its health risks should shock you. BPA has been directly linked to obesity , , hormone disruptions , and increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer . While it only take about 3 days to clear from the body, the problem lies in our continuous exposure to it, as it’s found in most plastics (like those disposable water bottles, take-out containers, plastic wrap, food storage containers), as well as food and soda cans. When you microwave in plastic, or put hot food in plastic containers, or drink water in containers that were exposed to heat (think about how those cases of water are shipped in trucks) you begin to get a sense of where you ingest it. Even worse, it’s found in credit card receipt paper and other thermal papers. In fact, paper money also carries BPA from rubbing up against it in your wallet. And the most vulnerable victims are children and babies, as their immature livers cannot process this chemical to clear the body as well as adults.

What about prescribed medications? Entire classes of drugs are known to cause weight gain and ironically, one class of them is anti-depressants. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), and monamine oxidase inhibors (MAOI’s) all have been known to increase weight in at least 25% of people taking them. Of course birth control pills are known to cause weight gain, beta blockers, and, of course, steroids, will also increase weight. And, according the CDC, 22% of children are on prescription meds, 30% of teenagers, 88% of people over 60 years old are on at least one medication, and one-third of them are on five or more. If you are 20 to 59 and are on a medication, statistically it’s probably an anti-depressant.

Can you start to see how some of these things tie together? Like antibiotic use damaging the gut biome, causing intestinal permeability, resulting in the body reacting to food proteins that should have stayed in the gut, causing inflammation around the body. Here’s another example: high-carb intake causing insulin resistance, in turn causing high estrogen (which just by itself causes weight gain — why do you think they inject estrogen into cattle?), which then interferes with thyroid function. Or someone is on a prescription med, doesn’t eat ideally, and then has an injury that prevents exercise. And we look at them and think it’s that they’re undisciplined and lazy.

Then, of course, there are factors like Vitamin D levels contributing to obesity, leptin resistance causing people to never feel full, and how diet sodas increase obesity even more than regular sodas. And naturally, people are quick to say that obesity can be genetic, but you want to think about that: have our genes really changed in the last 25 years? No, they have not, but a lot of other things have. Put all of these factors together in some combination, add in the cultural pulls we have in TV commercials, that we have the cheapest food in the world (literally and nutritionally), a subsidized farming culture, food marketing to children, and a plethora of other factors, and you can see that it’s simply wildly inaccurate (not to mention statistically ineffective) to tell people to count their calories and exercise more.

So what SHOULD people do? Well, no matter what, sugar and insulin cause huge amounts of damage so people should manage their carb intake. People should do short, intense exercise, like intervals. All the different elements that affect stress need to be looked at and addressed, including finding hidden infections, coaching people on lifestyle practices, and supporting adrenal health. Proper thyroid panels need to be run (TSH is not enough), training people to not automatically get antibiotics, learning how to repair gut flora… yes, there are many avenues to work with, but hopefully this has opened your eyes to the complexity of the situation, and you can begin to unravel this tangle for people. Believe me, they will be beyond grateful.

References

  1. Leanne M. Redman, Leonie K. Heilbronn, Corby K. Martin, et al. Effect of Calorie Restriction with or without Exercise on Body Composition and Fat Distribution. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism March 1, 2007 vol. 92 no. 3 865-872
  2. Church TS, Martin CK, Thompson AM, Earnest CP, Mikus CR, et al. (2009) Changes in Weight, Waist Circumference and Compensatory Responses with Different Doses of Exercise among Sedentary, Overweight Postmenopausal Women. PLoS ONE 4(2): e4515.
  3. Sonnenburg JL, Xu J, Leip DD, Chen C-H, Westover BP, Weatherford J, Buhler JD, Gordon JI. Glycan foraging in vivo by an intestine-adapted bacterial symbiont. Science, Mar. 25, 2005.
  4. Matej Bajzer1 & Randy J. Seeley. Physiology: Obesity and gut flora. Nature 444, 1009-1010 (21 December 2006)
  5. D. Raoult. Obesity pandemics and the modification of digestive bacterial flora
  6. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases. August 2008, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 631-634
  7. Thuny F, Richet H, Casalta J-P, Angelakis E, Habib G, et al. (2010) Vancomycin Treatment of Infective Endocarditis Is Linked with Recently Acquired Obesity. PLoS ONE 5(2): e9074.
  8. Gingras, J. Harber, V. et al. Metabolic assessment of female chronic dieters with either normal or low resting energy expenditures Am J Clin Nutr June 2000 vol. 71 no. 6 1413-1420
  9. Miller, Michelle A.; Cappuccio, Francesco P. Inflammation, Sleep, Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease. Volume 5, Number 2, April 2007 , pp. 93-102(10)
  10. Gangwisch JE; Malaspina D; Boden-Albala B et al. Inadequate sleep as a risk factor for obesity: analyses of the NHANES I. SLEEP 2005;28(10): 1289-1296.
  11. Heindel, J.; Vom Saal, F. (May 2009). “Role of nutrition and environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals during the perinatal period on the aetiology of obesity”. Molecular and cellular endocrinology 304 (1–2): 90–96.
  12. Rubin, B. S.; Soto, A. M. (May 2009). “Bisphenol A: Perinatal exposure and body weight”. Molecular and cellular endocrinology 304 (1–2): 55–62.
  13. Gore AC. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: From Basic Research to Clinical Practice. Humana Press; 8 June 2007. (Contemporary Endocrinology).
  14. Brisken C (2008). “Endocrine Disruptors and Breast Cancer”. CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry 62 (5): 406–409.
  15. Soto Am, S. C.; Sonnenschein, C. (2010). “Environmental causes of cancer: endocrine disruptors as carcinogens”. Nature Reviews Endocrinology 6 (7): 363–370.
  16. Fowler, S. Williams, K. et al. Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-term Weight Gain. Obesity (2008) 16, 1894–1900

 

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