Chiropractic: A Life-Saving Choice

To Your Health
October, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 10)

By Editorial Staff

Despite increasing public and professional awareness, revised pain-management guidelines and other signs of change, the numbing numbers still stand out: an estimated 130 deaths a day due to an opioid overdose.

Could a lasting solution be as simple as visiting a doctor of chiropractic or other conservative care provider first? You probably know the answer, but now research is proving it. Case in point: a new national study comparing first provider choice with early- and long-term opioid use in patients with low back pain.

Published in BMJ Open, this study evaluated short- and long-term opioid use based on initial provider type seen: conservative care practitioner (chiropractor, acupuncturist or physical therapist) or primary care medical physician (PCP). Participants included 215,000-plus U.S. adults diagnosed with new-onset low back pain and “opioid naive.”

The study defined early opioid use as “an opioid fill within 30 days of the index visit” and long-term use as “an initial opioid fill within 60 days of the index date and either 120 or more days’ supply of opioids over 12 months, or 90 days or more supply of opioids and 10 or more opioid prescriptions over 12 months.”

death - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Researchers evaluated inpatient / outpatient claims from patient visits and pharmacy claims to correlate first provider type seen with opioid use, finding that LBP patients whose initial visit was with a DC were a staggering 90 percent less likely to use opioids early compared to patients who saw a PCP first.

Significantly reduced odds for early opioid use were also noted for acupuncture and physical therapy patients. LBP patients who first visited a doctor of chiropractic or other conservative provider were also less likely to use opioids long term compared with patients visiting a PCP.

ER physicians, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and rehab physicians were also included in the analysis. Patients visiting any of the above MD specialists first also had lower odds of early opioid use compared to primary care physicians (although not as significant as visiting a conservative-care provider), with the exception of ER physicians (dramatically higher odds for early use compared with PCPs). However, odds for long-term use were not significantly different compared to primary care providers for all of the above specialist types, with the exception of rehab physicians (still significantly lower odds compared to PCPs).

If that’s not enough proof, a second study, this one published in Pain Medicine, reviewed six previous studies involving more than 60,000 participants with spinal pain, finding that patients who saw a chiropractor were 64 percent less likely to use opioids compared to patients who visited another type of health care provider.

It makes sense that patients who visit chiropractors are less likely to use opioids, since chiropractors provide nondrug, nonsurgical care. But the bottom line is, visit a chiropractor, reduce your risk of using a dangerous opioid! In light of the sobering statistics on opioid deaths, visiting a chiropractor for your pain could be a life-saving decision.

An A+ for Movement

To Your Health
October, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 10)

By Editorial Staff

Desk confinement is pretty much the standard for students once they hit first grade, all the way through college. (By the way, it doesn’t get any better if you take a desk job after completing your education.) Beyond the health issues being illuminated on a near-daily basis regarding the toll constant sitting can exert on the body, research also suggests the mind can suffer from too much sitting.

For example, according to research involving more than 12,000 schoolchildren in grade school or preschool, a little movement can be a very good thing when it comes to academic performance. Analysis of previous studies conducted in the U.S. and nine other countries revealed that “physically active lessons” that include periodic physical activities such as jogging in place or doing squats, results in superior lesson-time and test performance outcomes compared to inactive lessons.

A+ - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Published in the British Journal  of Sports Medicine, the research review suggests these findings should encourage policy changes to help students. As the researchers stated: “In elementary and preschool settings, when physically active lessons were added into the curriculum they had positive impact on both physical activity and educational outcomes. These findings support policy initiatives encouraging the incorporation of physically active lessons into teaching in elementary and preschool settings.”

Beware of Pain Injections

To Your Health
October, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 10)

By Editorial Staff

Unfortunately, corticosteroid injections are a popular choice among medical providers for patients suffering from osteoarthritis, despite the availability and effectiveness of non-drug options.

The problem with injections, according to new research: they may actually escalate the progression of OA and increase the likelihood that the patient will require joint replacement surgery at some point.

Published in Radiology, the new study found a significant rate of complications among osteoarthritis patients who received intra-articular corticosteroid injections to the hips or knees. Complications appeared two to 15 months following the injections.

Findings came courtesy of analysis of two sources: the existing literature database on corticosteroid injections for OA and data on 459 patients at Boston Medical Center who received 1-3 injections for hip or knee OA in 2018.

warning - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

In their introduction, the researchers emphasize that “practitioners should be alert for emerging evidence that clarifies or helps determine the balance between benefits and potential harm. Patient preference should have a substantial influence on the type of treatment selected.” If their very own study isn’t “emerging evidence that helps clarify” the potential harm side of the equation, we don’t know what does. If you’re suffering from osteoarthritis, make sure you’re well-educated on non-drug alternatives for your joint pain.

Protect Against Pancreatic Cancer

To Your Health
October, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 10

By Editorial Staff

Any type of cancer is a major health concern, but pancreatic cancer is one of the most frightening, with a five-year survival rate of less than 10 percent. The disease is rarely detected until it has progressed, and current treatment options often are not enough to ward off the advancing disease.

Let’s take a step back for a moment and, instead of worrying about what happens once you’re suffering from pancreatic cancer, think about what you might be able to do to reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease in the first place. It could be as simple as a few lifestyle changes.

Researchers analyzed data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort, which has tracked more than 500,000 participants from 10 European countries (for 15 years and counting) to investigate how diet, nutritional status, lifestyle and environmental factors, and other variables affect the incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases. Published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, the study on pancreatic cancer risk found that nearly 15 percent of pancreatic cancer cases could have been avoided by making four simple lifestyle changes:

  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Adopting a healthy diet
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

What’s more, almost 20 percent of cases could have been avoided if, in addition to adopting the above habits, participants also refrained from smoking. That’s five simple lifestyle choices to prevent a deadly disease. Sounds worth it, doesn’t it? So, how many of the above habits do you pursue? One, a few, all five … or none? Talk to your doctor about how to make all five the backbone of your health, wellness and yes, disease prevention routine.