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More Children Going to Chiropractors

As more people are going to chiropractors studies in well-respected journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as the popular press is beginning to pick up and report on this trend. Several NBC affiliate stations recently ran a segment on the importance of chiropractic adjustments for children in their show, “The Healthline Report”. In the first of the two segments, Heather King, the reporter noted, “More and more kids, some as young as a few days old, are going to the chiropractor.” She concluded that. “Going to a chiropractor isn’t just for grownups anymore.”

Along a similar line was an article in the November 11, 1998 issue of the daily paper Newsday. This article reported that four out of ten Americans are using what they called “alternative therapies.” Most of this care is paid for out of pocket by the public themselves. Newsday reported on a study by Dr. David Eisenberg of Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston. In this study of 2055 adults it was found that more visits were made to alternative care providers than to medical physicians. While all segments of the population used alternatives, it most prevalent in baby boomers ages 35 to 49 with college education and income over $50,000 per year.

This trend is expected to grow and is reflected in a study supported by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. They estimate that 75% of the 68.8 million Americans insured through work had chiropractic benefits in 1993. This trend may be only to give the public what they want, as much of chiropractic care is paid for by the patients themselves. In certain areas in the US, insurance companies have even started advertising that they include chiropractic in their plan.

From a chiropractic standpoint we can only ask one remaining question. With so many people using chiropractic and other “alternatives”, who is really the alternative?

 

The June 6, 2002 issue of the Boston Globe reports on a phenomenon becoming more common, children under chiropractic care. The story states: “Chiropractors’ offices, once filled with middle-aged construction workers, over-the-hill athletes, and migraine headache sufferers, are taking on a younger look these days as more and more parents are bringing their children in for exams. For many children, trips to the chiropractor have become a weekly event, squeezed between sports practices, orthodontist appointments, and piano lessons.”

Not surprisingly, the article also presents an opinion from a medical doctor, Dr. Robert Baratz, who said, “Show me a medical doctor who says, `You’re here for hypertension. Oh, why don’t you bring your kids in, too.'”  In spite of these antiquated opinions, the Globe reported that in 1998, children made 420,000 visits to Boston-area chiropractors.  This according to a study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  Local chiropractors say that figure has steadily grown since that study..

The article justifies the increased usage of chiropractic care by suggesting there is an increased need.  “To understand why, look no further than Little Leaguers’ mud-stained uniforms, laptops flipped open on the edge of beds, and excessively heavy backpacks. Add in high-heel and platform shoes worn by teenage girls, hours in front of Nintendo and, in some cases, too much studying and not enough exercise, and you’ve got a lot of young, aching backs.”  The Boston Globe also suggests, “The bigger reason children are getting treatment, though, appears to be parental experience. Some 27 million adults frequented chiropractors’ offices in 2001, up from 22 million in 1996, according to the American Chiropractic Association. As more adults find relief from their back pains through chiropractic treatment, they’re taking their kids in for checkups, too”.

Probably the most telling part of the article were the patient comments.  One explains ”I started coming to the chiropractor because I had a lot of tension in my back working in front of a computer all day,” said Audet, of Sharon. ”When I first saw kids here, I thought it was kind of weird. But after my husband and I had been coming for four or five years, I thought, `Why not have them try it?'”

The chiropractors interviewed in the article explained that most younger patients have no symptoms, but come in for wellness and preventative care. They further explain that the children come in for correction of subluxations to allow the body to function healthier.

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Scoliosis Helped in Clinical Case Studies

 

Published in the January 12, 2006 issue of the scientific journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy from Australasia, comes a report of a s Published in the January 12, 2006 issue of the scientific journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy from Australasia, comes a eries of case studies documenting chiropractic helping multiple cases of idiopathic scoliosis.  In this report three documented case studies are followed and the results reported after chiropractic care.

 

Idiopathic scoliosis is the most prevalent form of scoliosis and occurs to some degree in approximately one half million adolescents in the US.  Scoliosis is a bending or curvature of the spine.  The term idiopathic means that the origin is unknown.

In this report the three subjects each had uniquely different situations.  The first subject was a 37-yr-old female who came to a private spine clinic with a chief complaint of neck and back pain.  Her history included surgical spinal fusion and implantation of a Harrington rod against her spine.  The second subject was a 30-yr-old male who also went to a private spine clinic with a chief complaint of chronic mid thoracic pain. His history included scoliosis and a previous diagnosis of Scheuermann’s Disease.  The third subject was a 23-year-old female who presented with neck and mid-back and shoulder pain.

The subjects in this study were noted as having curvatures measuring 35°, 22°, and 37° respectively.  These curvatures were measured using the “Cobb angle” which is a standard technique used to measure the severity of a spinal curve – in degrees – from spinal x-rays.

The chiropractic care consisted of a 12 week period of adjustment and home care treatments. These were followed up by post-treatment x-rays and examinations in order to evaluate the progress. The results were measured using the Cobb angle method and the measurements were compared to the Cobb angles recorded at the beginning of care.

The results in these cases all showed improvement. The patient with an initial 35° Cobb angle showed a 13° reduction after the 12 week period.  The patient with the initial 22° Cobb angle showed an 8° improvement, and the patient with the 37° initial Cobb angle, showed a decrease of 16° over the 12 weeks.

The researchers noted that this study was small, and they said that the findings suggest the need for a larger controlled study.  They concluded, ” Given the perceived results of the cases outlined here, it is worthy of future investigations in such cases.”

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Study Shows Chiropractic Technique Effective In Breech Turning

A study published in the July/August 2002 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) shows that a chiropractic technique known as the “Webster Technique” for managing the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint, is effective in cases of pregnancy with women experiencing breech presentation which can lead to a cesarean section birth.

According to the published study, “Intrauterine constraint is defined as any force external to the developing fetus that obstructs the normal movement of the fetus.” Intrauterine constraint can prevent the developing fetus from moving into the normal head-down position needed for a normal vaginal birth. When this happens this is called a “breech presentation”.  This situation plays a critical role in how the mother delivers her baby.  According to the statistics published in the article, in the United States 86% of all infants with breech presentation are delivered by cesarean section.

According to the JMPT article, the Webster Technique is a chiropractic technique designed to relieve the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint. This technique is also known by names such as as Webster’s In-Utero Constraint Technique or Webster’s Breech Turning Technique.  The Webster Technique was developed by Dr. Larry Webster in 1978. Dr. Webster was often referred to in the Chiropractic profession as “The Grandfather of Chiropractic Pediatrics.”  Additionally, the technique is presently taught in many chiropractic colleges and postgraduate chiropractic education seminars.

The study was done by surveying a large number of doctors of chiropractic who use the technique to see the percentage of results they obtain on real patients. The survey required detailed information to verify the accuracy of the responses. The results showed that 82% of the doctors surveyed reported a high rate of success when using the Webster Technique.  The results from the study suggested that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique in the 8th month of pregnancy, if it has been determined that the child is in the breech position.  This timing is important because from the 8th month on, a breech presentation is unlikely to spontaneously convert to the normal head down position.

The study concludes by saying, “when successful, the Webster Technique avoids the costs and risks of cesarean section or vaginal trial of breech. In view of these findings, the Webster Technique deserves serious consideration in the management of expectant mothers exhibiting adverse fetal presentation.”

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Rodeo Cowboys Helped by Chiropractic

From the May 8th, 2006, issue of the Ventura County Star comes an interesting article on rodeo cowboys and chiropractic. The article starts off by reviewing the harsh incidents rodeo cowboys endure. The article describes how they get tossed around on the back of an angry 1,800-pound bull, they leap off a galloping horse, many times into the spiky horns of a charging steer.  Often they get hurt and then pick themselves up, dust themselves off and endure the pain.

The article continues and notes that even the roughest, toughest cowboys need help.  That’s when they mosey over to the Pro-Sport Chiropractic tent to get some TLC and Chiropractic care.  At the the Conejo Valley Days rodeo, the cowboys would slip just beyond the spectators site into a tent where they would get adjusted.

A local chiropractor who cares for the cowboys, Dr. Terry Weyman said, “I’ve seen guys with noses splayed open, and they still talk to you like nothing is wrong. It’s the world’s roughest sport, bull riding. If you can handle these guys, you can handle anybody.”

The article goes onto say that every time ProSport Chiropractic sets up a tent at professional rodeos around the country, the cowboys come to get care.  One rodeo cowboy, bull wrestler Kevin McKinney noted in the article that his pain was a “nine” on a scale of one to ten.  “I’m hurting,” was his comment as he came into the tent for care.

McKinney’s wife, Tammy, who was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Every girl loves a dirty cowboy,” agreed that he must be hurting if he says anything.  She added, “He’ll ride if he’s hurt. That’s how much he loves it.”  After getting evaluated and receiving chiropractic care, McKinney walked away. Then, referring to his aches and pain, he commented, “It’s always worth it.”

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According to Study Vertigo Helped With Chiropractic

A research report from the November 8, 2006 issue of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research shows the benefits of chiropractic care for patients suffering from vertigo. In this study 60 patients who were diagnosed by their medical physicians as having various forms of vertigo, received chiropractic care and the results were documented and published.

Vertigo is a condition characterized by dizziness with a sensation of spinning.  Because of the feeling of movement or rotation, many sufferers also feel nausea and can experience lightheadedness and balance problems.  The diagnosis of vertigo is typically based on the symptoms of the patients as there are not specific lab tests and the patients may have a variety of situations that seem to be related.  In this study, the nervous system was looked to for a causal relationship.

Of the 60 patients in this study, 56 reported having some form of physical trauma prior to the onset of their vertigo. Of these 25 had reported having automobile accidents, 16 had suffered a sports injury including skiing, bicycling, or horseback riding, and 6 slipped and fell on ice.  It was noted that all of these individual’s suffered trauma to either their head or neck area.

Upon initial examinations of the subjects, it was reported that vertebral subluxations were found in all 60 patients. Analysis procedures using paraspinal digital infrared imaging and laser-aligned radiography, were performed in order to have a consistent means of measuring subluxation findings and progress of correction.

Specific chiropractic care for the correction of subluxations was rendered to all 60 subjects in this study. The results showed that all of the patients in this study responded positively to the chiropractic care. The time frame for the responses varied from between one and 6 months.  Of the original 60 patients, 48 were totally symptom free within six months. The remaining 12 patients had also shown good improvement by either decreases in severity or frequency in episodes of vertigo.

In the conclusion, the author of the study noted, “A causal link between trauma-induced upper cervical (neck) injury and the onset of vertigo appears to exist. Correcting the injury to the upper cervical spine through the use of IUCCA protocol (a form of chiropractic care) appears to improve and/or reverse vertigo disorders.”

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Kids, Colic and Chiropractic

From the April 11, 2002 issues of CNN Interactive and Web MD comes a story about children and colic.  The story has an unusual slant in that there are many medical opinions that admit that the medical approach is ineffective.  These same medical opinions also admit that the chiropractic approach did help infants with colic.  But the articles still fall short of endorsing chiropractic care.

The article quotes Dr. Maxine McMullen, a chiropractor in Davenport, Iowa, and president of the International Chiropractic Association’s Pediatric Council. In it she states, “I’ve helped hundreds of babies with colic, every one of them simply needed a spinal adjustment.”

The article does report on a study that appeared in the peer reviewed journal, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. In the study twenty-five randomly selected colicky infants received three to five chiropractic adjustments over two weeks. By the end of that period, diaries kept by parents showed that the babies shortened their daily crying episodes by three hours. In contrast, the crying of 20 infants taking dimethicone decreased by only one hour. In a previous study, published in the journal’s August 1989 issue, researchers tried the same technique on 316 colicky babies and found that their crying soon diminished.

The article seems almost begrudging in their reporting of the chiropractic success with infants with colic.  Several MDs still are skeptical of children receiving chiropractic care. One section of the article tried to explain the results by saying that infants with colic may well be really suffering from back pain, and that the chiropractic care helps the infants by helping the back pain.  Most chiropractors reject this concept and attribute the improvement to a removal of interference in the nervous system known as subluxation.

Despite the negative tone of the medical practitioners interviewed in the article, none could dispute the fact that medical care was generally ineffective while chiropractic helped the infants.

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Maintenance Chiropractic Care Shown to be Beneficial in Study

From the peer-reviewed scientific periodical, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, October 2004 edition, comes a study that shows that receiving maintenance chiropractic care after initial care helps patients continue reduction in their disability.

 The study was performed with 30 volunteers who were suffering from long term non-specific back problems. These volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group received intensive chiropractic care consisting of 12 visits for one month, followed by a reduced schedule of one visit every three weeks for 9 months after the initial intensive care. The second group received nothing for the first 30 days, to establish a baseline, then received one month of initial intensive care.  The second group did not receive any reduced or maintenance care after the initial care. The two groups were then evaluated and compared for pain and disability.

The results showed that both groups had similar reduction of pain and disability after the initial 30 days of chiropractic care.  Additionally, both groups maintained their reduction of pain even though only one group had received maintenance care. However, the big difference was that only those individuals who were in the group that received the 9 months of maintenance care were able to maintain their reduction in disability.  The group that did not receive maintenance care was able to keep their reduction in pain, but they did return to the same levels of general disability that they were experiencing prior to the initial chiropractic care.

Disability was measured using a scientifically designed questionnaire that looked at 10 items addressing different aspects of functional capacities.  This questionnaire, known as the “Oswestry Disability Index” is the accepted method used to measure a person’s function as related to their daily activities.  In this study, only the group that continued to receive chiropractic care every three weeks was able to maintain the functional improvement they received during the initial care.

The authors of the study concluded, “Intensive spinal manipulation is effective for the treatment of chronic low back pain. This experiment suggests that maintenance spinal manipulations after intensive manipulative care may be beneficial to patients to maintain subjective postintensive treatment disability levels.”

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Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy

“Pregnancy Today” magazine describes themselves as “the journal for parents to be”.  On June 13, 2004 they ran a story written by Patti Larson a mother and author, about her experiences while being pregnant and the help she received with Chiropractic care.  She began the story by explaining the emotions she and her husband experienced when she found out for sure she was pregnant.

As a woman in her mid-30s having her first baby, she described her concerns and questions by asking, “When will morning sickness start? How long will I be able to work? Will I make it through delivery with little pain and swearing?”  She also noted that her diet and sleep habits were good, but although she had great intentions, her exercise regime was less than desirable.

She did however, mention the one thing she saw as a big factor in helping her. “What ultimately saved me from suffering undue tiredness, aches and stress from my ballooning body shape and shifting hormones was chiropractic care.” She continued, “I already made regular visits to my chiropractor prior to pregnancy, so it seemed natural to continue. My chiropractor recommended I continue with weekly visits, adding that I should come in more often if I felt I needed it.”

Dr. Jeff Ptak, her chiropractor in Santa Monica, Calif., explained why chiropractic care made such a positive difference, during her pregnancy. “Chiropractic care addresses the functioning nervous system,” he said. “When the nervous system is not unduly stressed from environmental factors – physical, emotional or chemical stress – the body will work according to its unique genetic plan. A stressful birth will stress all parties involved and remain until the nervous system stress is cleared. Chiropractic, by allowing the body to handle stress, helps expecting mothers, new mothers and their newborn children handle life with greater ease.”

Leslie Stewart,  a certified nurse-midwife also agrees. “Chiropractic care can actually help with labor. Some women who run past their due date have used treatment to help start labor, rather than having a hospital induce them.”

The article author, Patti Larson, noted that she not only continued care through her pregnancy, but also after the birth of her daughter Madeline. She concluded the article by saying, “Madeline received regular adjustments her second week after entering the world. She never had colic, ear infections, colds or any symptoms of sickness throughout her first 12 months of life when children are often most susceptible. Some people cringe when I tell them she sees a chiropractor, yet everyone agrees that she is one of the most alert, active babies they have ever seen. Some say I’m lucky, but I tell them it’s really very simple – just stay well adjusted!”

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Backpack Safety is Back-to-School Issue

Concern over children and their backpacks continues to grow.  An article appearing in the September 8, 2003 issue of  The Times Herald features this problem by noting “Trudging their way around the school campus or to the bus stop, hunched-over kids could be dealing themselves a lifetime of back pain, experts warn.”

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 6,512 emergency room visits each year result from injuries related to book bags. CPSC also cites the statistic that backpack-related injuries are up 256 percent since 1996.  The issue has become so widespread, that the California State Assembly passed legislation that forces school districts to develop ways of reducing the weight of students’ backpacks. Other states are also considering similar legislation.

In an online survey conducted last year of more than 200 chiropractors responding from across North America at www.backpacksafe.com, it was learned that:

  • 89 percent of chiropractors surveyed responded that they have seen patients (ages 5-18) reporting back, neck or shoulder pain caused by heavy backpacks.
  • 71 percent of chiropractors presently seeing such patients responded that they are currently seeing one to four patients (ages 5-18) reporting back, neck or shoulder pain caused by heavy backpacks.
  • 20 percent of chiropractors presently seeing such patients responded that they are currently seeing five to nine patients (ages 5-18) reporting back, neck or shoulder pain caused by heavy backpacks.
  • 9 percent of chiropractors presently seeing such patients responded that they are currently seeing 10 or more patients (ages 5-18) due to back, neck or shoulder caused by heavy backpacks.

The American Chiropractic Association has offered the following tips to help prevent backpack problems in school children. Those tips include:

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps, and wide, padded straps are very important.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body.

The over-packing of backpacks was featured in a recent study conducted in Italy.  In this study it was found that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for a 176-pound man, or a 29-pound load for a 132-pound woman.

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Asthma Study Shows Chiropractic Benefits

From the November / December 2000 issue of Todays Chiropractic, comes a study report on Asthma.  The article notes that approximately 14 Americans die each day from asthma. Asthma is only one of three diseases that has shown an increasing death rate in recent years, up 58% since 1979.  Presently estimates say that 17 million Americans suffer from the disease making it the most common and costly illness in the United States today, costing over $13 billion annually. Presently, asthma causes more hospitalizations of children than any other childhood disease.

In the study, 47 patients were observed for a two year period.  These patients had all been medically diagnosed with persistent asthma ranging from mild persistent in 11 cases, moderate persistent in 28 cases, to severe persistent in 8 cases.  The care rendered consisted of specific chiropractic adjustments.  The range of visits was from 14 to 44, with the average being 26 during the study period. Most patients in the study began care at a rate of 3 visits per week with this frequency being reduced after 4 to 8 initial weeks.

The patient results were very good with all 47 of the study patients showing a marked improvement ranging from 87 to 100 percent. Patient observed improvement was measured by both improvement in their symptoms as well as a decrease in  their usage of acute asthma attack medication. Even more impressive was that all of the patients in the study reported maintaining their improvement after a two-year follow up.