Pregnancy and Chiropractic: Care and Safety

“A Report on Midwives & Chiropractic”

 

A report on the scientific literature 


By: Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

 

 

Being a chiropractor for 34 years, I have treated hundreds of pregnant patients in my career for a host of “pregnancy related spinal conditions.” The impetus for conservative chiropractic care was in part because the pregnant patient could not utilize drugs as a result of contraindications with pregnancy and also in part because of the positive experiences both patients, midwives and obstetricians have observed through the years. It has been my persona observation that chiropractic is a safe alternative for pregnant patients and should always be the first option for anyone (pregnant or not) before the utilization of drugs, making them needless if a non-drug approach delivers positive outcomes. 

 

According to Mullen, Alcantara, Barton and Dever (2011) “Chiropractors and midwives, with their conservative approach to patient care grounded in a holistic and vitalistic philosophy, share many common ideals in the care of patients. In the age of evidence based practice with an emphasis on an integrative approach to patient care, chiropractors and midwives have a unique opportunity to develop partnerships in this regard.” They found “that 57% of their nurse-midwife responders recommended chiropractic to their pregnant patients to address pregnancy-related neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) complaints, sciatica and fetal malposition. In a survey of both lay-midwives and nurse-midwives on their use of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine)  therapies, found chiropractic was the most popular CAM therapy to address musculoskeletal back pain. There are also indicators that chiropractors advocate for a strong working relationship with midwivesparticularly in addressing fetal malposition during pregnancy.” Pg. 135

 

Mullen Et. Al went on to report that 98.9% of midwives were aware that chiropractors worked with “birthing professionals” and 92.5% were knowledgeable about chiropractic’s role in prenatal care. 88.8% had an experience with chiropractors and 97% was positive. In addition, 94.5% of those had chiropractors treated their children and had a positive experience.  The most revealing statistic is one of safety as 100% of midwives questioned answered that chiropractic was safe for their pregnant patients. 

 

We are now starting to get answers from disparate sects of healthcare that verify what was once considered “miracles” with maladies such as fetal repositioning during pregnancy. These research findings verify that the chiropractic adjustment does not deliver miracles, it only helps the body work better and we now know why. 

 

We also know that chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration.  Whedon, Mackenzie, Phillips, and Lurie (2015) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM [spinal manipulation] induces injury into normal healthy tissues has been identified (Whedon et al., 2015, p. 5) 

 

References:

 

 

  1. Mullin, L., Alcantara J., Barton D., Dever L. (2011) Attitudes and Views on Chiropractic: A Survey of United States Midwives, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 17 (2011) 135-140
  2. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2015). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69 years. Spine, 40(4), 264-270.

 

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Published in Low Back Problems

 

Research Proves Chiropractic Adjustments Affect Multiple Areas, Not Just the Area Treated: THE BRAIN CONNECTION

 

(i.e.) Neck Treatment Reduces Pain in Low Back

 

A report on the scientific literature 


 

By: Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

 

It is a very common scenario historically and in contemporary chiropractic offices where patients come to get treated for one body part and another body part feels better. To be more specific a patient will come in with neck pain as their primary complaint and upon treating that neck problem with chiropractic spinal adjustment their low back feels better. Through the years many patients have considered this a “miracle” and the doctor of chiropractic simply accepted this clinical finding as an everyday experience with no concrete answers. Thanks to contemporary research, there are answers.

 

Coronado et al. (2012) reported that, “Reductions in pain sensitivity, or hypoalgesia, following SMT [spinal manipulative therapy or the chiropractic adjustment] may be indicative of a mechanism related to the modulation of afferent input or central nervous system processing of pain” (p. 752). This indicates that the chiropractic spinal adjustment reduces pain by effecting the thalamus and descending central pain pathways and effects multiple areas of the body, not just the area directly treated.

 

 

One of the main questions asked by Coronado et al. (2012) “…was whether SMT (chiropractic adjustments) elicits a general response on pain sensitivity or whether the response is specific to the area where SMT is applied. For example, changes in pain sensitivity over the cervical facets following a cervical spine SMT would indicate a local and specific effect while changes in pain sensitivity in the lumbar facets following a cervical spine SMT would suggest a general effect. We observed a favorable change for increased PPT [pressure pain threshold] when measured at remote anatomical sites and a similar, but non-significant change at local anatomical sites. These findings lend support to a possible general effect of SMT beyond the effect expected at the local region of SMT application (p. 762).

 

Reed, Pickar, Sozio, and Long (2014) reported:

 

…forms of manual therapy have been clinically shown to increase mechanical pressure pain thresholds (i.e., decrease sensitivity) in both symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects.Cervical spinal manipulation has been shown to result in unilateral as well as bilateral mechanical hypoalgesia. Compared with no manual therapy, oscillatory spinal manual therapy at T12 and L4 produced significantly higher paraspinal pain thresholds at T6, L1, and L3 in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. The immediate and widespread hypoalgesia associated with manual therapy treatments has been attributed to alterations in peripheral and/or central pain processing including activation of descending pain inhibitory systems. Increasing evidence from animal models suggests that manual therapy activates the central nervous system and, in so doing, affects areas well beyond those being treated. (p. 277)

 

 

We are now starting to get answers and reasons for what was once considered “miracles.” The research has verified that the chiropractic adjustment does not deliver miracles, it only helps the body work better and we now know why.

 

 

We also know that chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration.  Whedon, Mackenzie, Phillips, and Lurie (2015) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM [spinal manipulation] induces injury into normal healthy tissues has been identified (Whedon et al., 2015, p. 5) 

 

References:

  1. Coronado, R. A., Gay, C. W., Bialosky, J. E., Carnaby, G. D., Bishop, M. D., & George, S. Z.
  2. Reed, W. R., Pickar, J. G., Sozio, R. S., & Long, C. R. (2014). Effect of spinal manipulation thrust magnitude on trunk mechanical activation thresholds of lateral thalamic neurons. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 37
  3. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2015). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69 years. Spine, 40(4), 264-270.

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Published in Brain Function

THE BRAIN CONNECTION:

Research Proves Chiropractic Adjustments Affect Emotions, Learning, Memory, Consciousness, Motivation, Homeostasis, Perception, Motor Control, Self-Awareness, Cognitive Function, Voluntary Movement, Decision Making, Touch and Pain

A report on the scientific literature 


By: Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP 

William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

For decades chiropractors and their patients have been experiencing many positive outcomes that have gone well beyond the pain treatment they originally sought. This author has been practicing for 34 years and has witnessed what many thought were miracles, but the seasoned chiropractor simply called it an everyday occurrence, albeit lacking in an explanation that was verified through research and published in a universally accepted forum, the scientific literature. Notwithstanding, we practitioners and our patients have persevered for over 115 years having to rely simply in results. 

 

In 2014, Gay and fellow researchers concluded “…pain-free volunteers processed thermal stimuli applied to the hand before and after thoracic (mid-back) spinal manipulation (chiropractic spinal adjustment)).  What they found was that after thoracic manipulation, several brain regions demonstrated a reduction in peak BOLD [blood-oxygen-leveldependent] activity. Those regions included the cingulate, insular, motor, amygdala and somatosensory cortices, and the PAG [periaqueductal gray regions]” (p. 615). In other words, thoracic chiropractic adjustments produced direct and measureable effects on the central nervous system across multiple regions, which is responsible for the processing of emotion (cingulate cortex, aka limbic cortex) and the insular cortex, which also responsible for regulating emotion as well has homeostasis. The motor cortex is involved in the planning and execution of voluntary movements, the amygdala’s primary function is memory and decision making (also part of the limbic system), the somatosensory cortex is involved in processing the sense of touch (remember the homunculus) and, finally, the periaqueductal gray is responsible for descending pain modulation (the brain regulating the processing of painful stimuli).

 

The following regions of the brain are affected and the following functions are affected:

 

 

Brain Region

Function

Cingulate Cortex

Emotions, learning, motivation, memory

Insular Cortex

Consciousness, homeostasis, perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive function

Motor Cortex

Voluntary movements

Amygdala Cortex

Memory, decision making, emotional reactions

Somatosensory Cortex

Proprio and mechano-reception, touch, temperature, pain of the skin, epithelial, skeletal muscle, bones, joints, internal organs and cardiovascular systems

Periaqueductal Gray

Ascending and descending spinothalamtic tracts carrying pain and temperature fibers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now starting to get answers and reasons for the results that was once considered “miracles.” The research has verified that the chiropractic adjustment does not deliver miracles, it only helps the body work better and we now know why. 

 

We also know that chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration.  Whedon, Mackenzie, Phillips, and Lurie (2015) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM [spinal manipulation] induces injury into normal healthy tissues has been identified (Whedon et al., 2015, p. 5) 

 

Reference:

  1. Gay, C. W., Robinson, M. E., George, S. Z., Perlstein, W. M., & Bishop, M. D. (2014). Immediate changes after manual therapy in resting-state functional connectivity as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging in participants with induced low back pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 37
  2. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2015). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69 years. Spine, 40(4), 264-270.

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Published in Brain Function

Acute and Chronic Herniated Discs Have Significantly Favorable Outcomes With Chiropractic Care

 

95% Reported Improvement 

 

A report on the scientific literature 


 

By Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

 

Approximately 70% of the population will have back pain at some point in time in their life according to Lehman ET. Al. (2014). The pain ranges from mild to either moderate or severe and can often be debilitating and associated with or without leg pain if it’s originating from your lower back. Treatment for this common problem is usually broken up into two categories, surgical versus conservative care however, I am going to break it into three categories: surgical, medication and conservative care. This article is going to focus on the continual growing body of evidence of treatment of herniated discs via conservative care and specifically with a chiropractic spinal adjustment.

 

It was reported by McMorland, Suter, Casha,du Plessis, andHurlbertin 2010 that over 250,000 patients a year undergo elective lumbar discectomy (spinal surgery) for the treatment of low back disc issues in the United States. The researchers did a comparative randomized clinical study comparing spinal microdiscectomy (surgery) performed by neurosurgeons to non-operative manipulative treatments (chiropractic adjustments) performed by chiropractors. They compared quality of life and disabilities of the patients in the study. 

 

The study was limited to patients with distinct one-sided lumbar disc herniations as diagnosed via MRI and had associated radicular (nerve root) symptoms. Based upon the authors’ review of available MRI studies, the patients participating in the study were all initially considered surgical candidates. Both the surgical and chiropractic groups reported no new neurological problems and had only minor post-treatment soreness. 60% of the patients who underwent chiropractic care reported a successful outcome while 40% required surgery and of those 40%, all reported successful outcomes. This study concluded that 60% of the potential surgical candidates had positive outcomes utilizing chiropractic as the alternative to surgery.

 

Although the previous report concluded that a chiropractic spinal adjustment is an effective treatment modality for herniated disc a more recent study (Lehman ET. Al. (2014), further clarifies the improvement with chiropractic care. This study considered both herniated discs and radiculopathy or pain radiating down into the leg as a baseline for analysis. The study also considered acute and chronic lumbar herniated disc pain patients.

 

In this study the acute onset patient (the pain just started) reported 80% improvement at 2 weeks, 85% improvement at 1 month, and a 95% improvement at 3 months. The study went on to conclude that the patient stabilized at both the six month and one year mark after the onset of the original complaint. Although one might argue that the patient would have gotten better with no treatment it was reported that after two weeks of no treatment only 36% of the patients felt better and at 12 weeks up to 73% felt better. This study clearly indicates that chiropractic is a far superior solution to doing nothing and at the same time helps the patient return to their normal life without pain, drugs or surgery.

 

             Chiropractic Care and Herniated Discs with Leg Pain

2 Week Improvement

1 Month Improvement

3 Month Improvement

80.6%

84.6%

94.5%

 

 

The caveat is that there are patients who could need drugs or surgery and an accurate diagnosis is paramount and it is incumbent upon the doctor of chiropractic to be fully trained in both the diagnostic and treatment facets of care. It is also important that the chiropractor is well-versed in MRI protocols and interpretation as well as disc pathology to be able to triage the patient accordingly based upon the clinical presentation inclusive of the MRI results.

 

Chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration.  Whedon et al. (2014) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM (spinal manipulation) induces injury into normal healthy tissues has been identified.(Whedon et al.,2014, p. 5) 

 

References:

 

  1. Leeman S., Peterson C., Schmid C., Anklin B., Humphryes B., (2014) Outcomes of Acute and Chronic Patients With Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Confirmed Symptomatic Lumbar Disc Herniations Receiving High-Velocity, Low Amplitude, Spinal Manipulative Therapy: A Prospective Observational Cohort Study With One-Year Follow Up, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 37 (3) 155-163
  2. McMorland, G., Suter, E., Casha, S., du Plessis, S. J., & Hurlbert, R. J. (2010). Manipulation or microdiscectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomized clinical study.Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 33
  3. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2014). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69.Spine, [Epub ahead of print]1-33.

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Published in Low Back Problems

 

Neck Pain (Torticollis), Headaches, Dizziness, Radiating Pain, Nausea, Depression, Confusion, Ringing in the Ears Show Good Outcomes With Chiropractic Care

A report on the scientific literature 


By: Marc D. Weiss, D.C., DAAMLP

Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMPL

Although neck pain is the number one bodily injury or pain complaint from the general population in the west, many studies verify that chiropractic care for common neck pain has been effective.  It has also been generally recognized that chiropractic care has helped a myriad of maladies and we are just starting to see those outcomes or positive results in the scientific literature to verify what both chiropractors and their patients have been reporting for over 100 years. The following study looks at outcomes of chiropractic treatment for neck pain and concurrent complaints throughout the Netherlands.

Rubenstein ET. Al (2007) used 79 chiropractors who each recruited approximately 10 patients. The patients were between the ages of 18-65 and had not received treatment 3 months prior to beginning this study. Participants who were treated for neck pain in this study all had different levels and frequency of visits with the chiropractor. Chiropractic spinal adjustments were the primary form of treatment. Each patient was asked a series of questions to assess their treatment success during each visit as well as during follow up appointments at 3 months and 12 months. Every symptom, including fatigue, headaches, nausea, and depression, significantly decreased from visit to visit, and significantly increased after the visits ceased.

This study covered a large area of patients with varying degrees and specifics of neck pain, as well as chiropractors with varying methods of treatment. Unlike many studies that gather data on effectiveness of treatments, especially pharmaceutical companies, this study showed statistics of both success in curing neck pain as well as adverse effects that arose during and after treatment. Only 5 of 4891 patients in the study group reported worsening of pain at the end of the study, which was 12 months after treatment. Also, only 2 of 4891 patients reported worsening of pain at the 3 month mark, which is when treatment for neck pain stopped.

The most prevalent improvement of neck pain in patients occurred during their first three visits. Additionally, most symptoms other than neck pain also improved during the first 3 months of treatment. Almost 50% of the patients were fully recovered when interviewed at their fourth visit. Almost 75% of the patients were fully recovered when interviewed at the three and twelve month follow up visits.

The following graph was presented by Rubenstein ET. Al (2007)

 

As you can see from the above graph, by the 2nd visit to a chiropractor, there has been significant improvement that continues to improve by the 4th visit. Although these patients initially sought care for neck pain, this study shows that many complaints respond favorably to chiropractic care and each complaint requires more independent research. The most impressive stastistic was 99.4% of people in the study would visit a chiropractor again at the 2nd visit and 98.7% at the 4th visit. That alone gives more insight than most other variables. If it wasn't successful, those numbers would not be there. 

Chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration.Whedon et al. (2014) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded,“No mechanism by which SM (spinal manipulation) induces injury into normal healthy tissues has been identified.(Whedon et al.,2014, p. 5) 

Reference:  

  1. Rubinstein S., Lebouf-Yde C., Knol D., de Koekkoek T., Pfeifle C., van Tulder M., (2007) The Benefits Outweigh The Risks For Patients Undergoing Chiropractic Care For Neck Pain: A Prospective, Multicenter, Cohort Study, Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 30(6) page 408-418
  2. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2014). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69.Spine,[Epub ahead of print]1-33.

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Published in Neck Problems

The Journal of the American Medical Association Suggest a Link between Pregnant Woman – Back Pain – Tylenol Use & ADHD: Chiropractic Offers a Solution

 

A report on the scientific literature 


 

By Travis McKay DC,

William J Owens Jr DC DAAMLP CPC

Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

 

Liew, Ritz, Rebordosa, Lee and Olsen (2014) reported that pregnant women, at some point during their pregnancies, may experience musculoskeletal pain, particularly in the lower back, pelvis and hips.  Since the symptoms are related to biomechanical changes associated with pregnancy, it is important to be able to offer relief while limiting potentially harmful side effects.   One of the most common ways to treat musculoskeletal pain in general and during pregnancy, in particular, is through over-the-counter (OTC) medications.  Most doctors and family members will recommend acetaminophen, more commonly known and marketed as Tylenol, as a pain reliever and as a safe choice for both mothers and their babies. However, Liew et al. (2014) reported, “Acetaminophen (paracetamol) is the most commonly used medication for pain and fever during pregnancy in many countries. Research data suggest that acetaminophen is a hormone disruptor, and abnormal hormonal exposures in pregnancy may influence fetal brain development” (p. 313).   

According to Liew et al. (2014):

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders worldwide, characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, increased impulsivity, and motivational/emotional dysregulation. Hyperkinetic disorder (HKD; International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision) is a particularly severe form of ADHD (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [Fourth Edition]). The etiology of HKD/ADHD is not well understood but both environmental and genetic factors are believed to contribute. (p. 313) 

The study reported that children whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were at higher risk for a diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder, use of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications, and/or having ADHD like behaviors by age 7.  The study found that these outcomes were seen more in the mothers who used acetaminophen during more than one trimester of their pregnancies and that the more acetaminophen that was taken, the greater the likelihood that one of the previously mentioned conditions would be seen in their children.  The authors reported, “We observed an increased risk for ADHD-like behaviors in children at age 7 years with maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy…as well as use in more than 1 pregnancy trimester, especially in later pregnancy, and a stepwise increase in risks with increasing frequency of use throughout pregnancy” (Liew et al., 2014, p. 318).

What does this mean for pregnant women?  If additional studies confirm the association between acetaminophen and hyperkinetic disorder and ADHD, what options are available for pregnant women who are suffering from spinal pain during pregnancy?  The answer lies in understanding other forms of pain management and non-medication based therapies which are already available to pregnant women.    According to Coronado et al. (2012), “The mechanism of SMT [spinal manipulation therapy] remains elusive, but SMT appears to modulate pain through both central [brain and spinal cord] and peripheral pathways [down the arms and legs]. Studies have investigated the effect of SMT using variable experimental pain modalities including chemical, electrical, mechanical, and thermal stimuli. SMT demonstrated a favorable effect over other interventions on pressure pain thresholds (PPT)” (p. 763).  This means that the chiropractic adjustment has a very specific influence on the body’s perception and management of pain. 

Since the most common reason for pregnancy-related spine and pelvic pain during pregnancy has to do with altered mechanics, a non-drug approach to reducing pain and increasing function should be considered as a first-line alternative to eliminate the possible connection between acetaminophen and ADHD. Chiropractic care offers a neuromuscular and spinal biomechanical approach that focuses on the underlying causes of a patient’s spinal-related pain.   

Chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration, particularly as a first line treatment. Whedon, Mackenzie, Phillips, and Lurie (2015) based a study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM [spinal manipulation] induces injury in normal healthy tissues has been identified” (Whedon et al., 2015, p. 265).

Chiropractic should be considered as a first-line, safe choice for pregnant woman with back pain to avoid any potential side effects from all medications, when clinically indicated.

References:

1. Liew, Z., Ritz, B., Rebordosa, C., Lee, P. C., & Olsen, J. (2014). Acetaminophen use during pregnancy, behavioral problems, and hyperkinetic disorders. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(4), 313-320.

2. Coronado, R. A., Gay, C. W., Bialosky, J. E., Carnaby, G. D., Bishop, M. D., & George, S. Z. (2012). Changes in pain sensitivity following spinal manipulation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology22(5), 752-767.

3. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2015). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69 years. Spine, 40(4), 264-270.

           

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Published in Low Back Problems

Cervical Disc Herniation with Radiculopathy (Arm Pain): Chiropractic Care vs. Injection Therapy

 

85.7% decrease in pain with spinal adjustments

25% decrease in pain with injection therapy

 

A report on the scientific literature 


 By: Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

Mark C. Zientek, DC DAAMLP, CHCQM

William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

 

There is a large portion of the population who are dealing with various pain syndromes which includes neck pain from cervical disc herniations. According to Peterson, Schmid, Leemann, Anklin, and Humphreys (2013), this occurs in 83.2 out of every 100,000 people where symptoms range from mild to severe, but all negatively affect a person’s quality of life. To improve one’s quality of life, it becomes necessary to choose ways to manage and alleviate pain while reducing the side-effects of the actual treatment.  Common methods range from simple masking of symptoms with over-the-counter medications to prescription opiates and invasive surgeries.  Most people look for ways to manage pain and return to daily living activities without risky procedures and their inherent complications.

The use of over-the-counter medications and narcotics such as codeine and/or an oxycodone-acetaminophen combination like Percocet, is a common form of treatment by many primary care physicians and medical specialists alike.  Kuehn (2013) reported:

The FDA is concerned about inappropriate use of [opioid pain medications], which has reached epidemic proportions in the United States,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, during a press briefing in September.

There was a 300% increase in prescribing of opioid pain medications between 1999 and 2010, a period in which the number of painkiller overdose deaths among women increased 5-fold and the number of such overdose deaths among men increased 3.6 times, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013:62[26];537-542). In 2010 alone, more than 15,000 US deaths were attributed to drug overdoses, and of the 10,000 overdose deaths in which a drug was identified, nearly two-thirds involved opioid pain medications…

                The announcement comes after growing calls for the agency to tighten restrictions on the use of these drugs. In July 2012, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), a group that includes prominent specialists in addiction, public health, emergency medicine, and pain medicine, petitioned the FDA to change the labeling for this class of drugs to discourage inappropriate use (Kuehn BM.JAMA. 2012;308[12]:1194-1196). The group argued that the drugs’ indications were overly broad and not consistent with the evidence base and may have been facilitating marketing for broader use than was appropriate. Specifically, the group argued that the agency should drop moderate chronic non-cancer pain as an indication, set a maximum daily dose, and add a maximum duration of use of 90 days. (p. 1547).

The problem, as acknowledged by the FDA, is that the AMA and many in medical academia appear to concur with the addictive qualities of the medications. The alternative option is the chiropractic spinal adjustment and it has been concluded in scientific outcomes to be a superior avenue for the relief of pain and reduction of disability with few side effects.

The earlier discussed study by Peterson et al. (2013) has confirmed that spinal adjustments (manipulations) provide significant improvement for patients with neck pain from cervical herniated discs, as well as arm pain (cervical radiculopathy) without the inclusion of opiates or surgery. In addition, this improvement was seen at all times, particularly at 3 months. In addition, in this Swiss study, it was found that the presence of radiating arm pain (radiculopathy) was not a contraindication to chiropractic treatment nor was it a negative forecaster of outcomes.

This study also found that with cervical herniated discs with radiculopathy, 85.7% of the patients experiencing acute pain reported significant improvement by three months with no patients being worse. For the sub-acute patients, 76.2% reported significant improvement by three months with no patients being worse with their disability indexes which were reduced from the onset of chiropractic care. 

Another form of treatment for neck and arm pain commonly used is cervical spinal injections. In the same study compares cervical injection provided a 25% reduction in patients’ symptoms. The results of this current study of spinal adjustment (manipulation) treatments had substantially better results with more than 85% of acute patients and 76% of sub-acute patient improving, with a 65% reduction in arm pain as well as 59% reduction in neck pain at three months.

Chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration, particularly as a first line treatment. Whedon, Mackenzie, Phillips, and Lurie (2015) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM [spinal manipulation] induces injury in normal healthy tissues has been identified” (Whedon et al., 2015, p. 265). One risk factor for chiropractic care is a disc herniation. A properly credentialed chiropractor who has been trained to differentially diagnose and appropriately triage the patient is clinically indicated in this population of patients. The chiropractor can engage in co-management with medical specialists.

To best serve patients, a clear understanding of the outcomes and risks of procedures becomes necessary. Further research into the efficacy of chiropractic manipulation provides a clearly safe and effective treatment to the above-referenced condition. Examination of the research provides insight of avenues for relief of symptoms upon which physicians can undoubtedly rely.

Reference:

1. Peterson, C. K., Schmid, C., Leemann, S., Anklin, B., & Humphreys, B. K. (2013). Outcomes from magnetic resonance imaging–confirmed symptomatic cervical disk herniation patients treated with high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulative therapy: A prospective cohort study with 3-month follow-up. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 36(8), 461-467

2. Kuehn, B. M. (2013). FDA tightens indications for using long-acting and extended-release opioids to treat chronic pain.The Journal of the American Medical Association, 310(15), 1547-1548.

3. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2015). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69 years. Spine, 40(4), 264-270.

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Published in Neck Problems

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Outcomes Improve with Chiropractic Care

A report on the scientific literature 


 

Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

Sangwoo Mah DC, DAAMLP

William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

 

As a family practitioner of chiropractic, I, the first author, have treated many children who were diagnosed with a spectrum of hyperactivity disorders in the 1980’s. Each of these diagnoses revolved around children being uncontrollably hyperactive and their ages ranged from 3 years through 10 years old. In most of the cases, under chiropractic care, I witnessed that most of these children, according to their parents, demonstrated calmer behavior over a short amount of time with chiropractic care and this scenario became a regular pattern in my office. These clinical observations by a single practitioner is by no means a scientific answer, nor one that should garner conclusions to suggest an entire populous migrate towards this specific potential solution. However, over time, these results have been reported in many chiropractic offices by both parents and chiropractors alike and research is now catching up to these observations in a formal setting.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has become a major concern to parents everywhere as of late.  It seems that more and more children are being diagnosed with ADHD as time passes and has the hallmark characteristics of hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity according to Alcantara and Davis (2010).  They go on to report that parents are concerned regarding the causes of ADHD in children and what kinds of treatment are available should they become diagnosed with ADHD.  Although the definitive cause of ADHD is unknown, genetics and the environment seem to have strong effects.   Medical treatment of ADHD involves use of psychiatric medications and behavior therapy. However, there are growing concerns for long-term use of psychotropic drugs for children.  Again, according to Alcantara, 10 years ago it was estimated that 20% of all white males were taking some type of psychotropic drug for behavioral disorders and based upon the potential for serious side effects, conservative alternative medical approaches were sought.  With regards to the practitioner-based alternative therapies for children, chiropractic has become the most popular and highly utilized for ADHD.

In their literature search, Alcantara and Davis (2010) reported that 4 case studies recounted successful treatment of ADHD. There appears to be, in those cases, a strong connection between the neuro-muscular-structural connections. This suggests to the authors of this article that there is a resultant neuro-chemical imbalance as a result.

Such a case was four children treated with chiropractic adjustment in a single-doctor’s office.  The parents of these children reported a 50% improvement in behavior of their children after 5 months.  These results were collected via questionnaires. 

Another significant case in the same study was a 5-year-old boy with seriously poor neck posture.  This caused him to go for chiropractic treatment, but after 8 weeks, the boy’s behavior improved so significantly that his pediatrician declared he no longer exhibited symptoms of ADHD.  During this time, his neck posture also improved dramatically, suggesting a link between the neck posture and ADHD. 

Perhaps even more significant, a 9-year-old child who suffered for years from multiple chronic conditions including asthma, headaches, Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD, depression, insomnia, and neck pain also improved dramatically with chiropractic care.  The child was taking multiple strong medications.  This child was also found to have significantly stiff joints in the neck.  After six weeks chiropractic care, the child no longer displayed any symptoms and all medications were discontinued except for a half dose of Wellbutrin.  After 5 months, at the conclusion of the treatment, the child remained symptom free.

Muir (2012) reported:

Parents of a 5-year-old boy with diagnosed ADHD brought him for chiropractic care to address his subjective signs (acting out, ability to follow instructions, and poor home and school performance), which also included waking at night due to asthmatic symptoms and low self-esteem. Palpation revealed hypertonicity and trigger points in the paraspinal muscles at the thoracolumbar region with local pain. A preliminary diagnosis included cervical and thoracolumbar facet joint irritation with concurrent muscle hypertonicity.

Intervention and Outcomes: Treatment including spinal manipulative therapy, soft tissue therapy, and stretching was provided. Treatment began on a thrice-weekly basis and declined to twice weekly over the course of approximately 12 weeks. After 1 year of treatment, subjective improvements were noted in episodes of acting out, ability to follow instructions, and general home and school performance (p. 221).

Although much more research is indicated, these examples, along with our personal observations suggest that chiropractic should be considered to be included in comprehensive treatment of ADHD.  Chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration. Whedon et al. (2014) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM (spinal manipulation) induces injury into normal healthy tissues has been identified. (Whedon et al., 2014, p. 5) 

If your child suffers from symptoms of ADHD, consider having a chiropractor evaluate your child. 

References:

1. Alcantara J., & Davis J. (2010). The chiropractic care of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A retrospective case series. EXPLORE, 6(3), 173-182.

2. Muir, J. M. (2012). Chiropractic management of a patient with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 11(3), 221-224.

3. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2014). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69. Spine, [Epub ahead of print] 1-33.

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Published in Neck Problems

Patient Outcomes Proves More Effective with Chiropractic Combined with Standard Medical Care Than Standard Medical Care Alone in the Military

 

A report on the scientific literature 


BY: D. Scott Ferguson

DC, William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

 Mark Studin DC, FASBE(c), DAAMLP, DAAPM

 

Many people suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives.  Most will seek the advice of a healthcare professional. However, many times this care is fragmented and not based on current evidence and can result in poorer outcomes. When considering outcomes, all doctors must consider creating a diagnosis, prognosis and then conclude a treatment plan. It is that treatment plan, which then determines the outcome after an accurate diagnosis. Many times, low back pain patients seek solely standard medical care and bypass a more effective chiropractic solution. This type of self-referral and physician triage has also been prevalent in the military and asks the question based upon outcome studies, is that in the best interest of both the military and the general public?  

 

In a recent paper by Goertz et al. (2013), the objective was, “To assess changes in pain levels and physical functioning in response to standard medical care (SMC) versus SMC plus chiropractic manipulative therapy (chiropractic adjustments) for the treatment of low back pain  among 18 to 35-year-old active-duty military personnel” (p. 627).  The authors stated, “Lifetime prevalence of low back pain has been estimated to be as high as 84%, with a median cost per quality-adjusted life year of $13,015” (p. 627).  The fact that lower back pain is a major source of disability and abuse of pain medication makes providing the best care possible a priority based upon outcome studies.  In this paper, it was reported that, “The majority of systematic reviews find that chiropractic manipulative therapy (adjustments) seems to reduce pain and disability at least moderately for many patients with low back pain” (p. 627).  Therefore, the questions are, “Should chiropractic care be part of your treatment plan and should it be included with standard medical treatment for lower back pain?” 

 

 

In the Goertz et al. (2013) study, the patients were allowed to seek standard medical care in an unrestricted fashion which meant they could go to their medical doctors as they normally would for lower back pain.  “Standard care included any or all of the following: a focused history and physical examination, diagnostic imaging as indicated, education about self-management including maintaining activity levels as tolerated, pharmacological (drug) management with the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents, and physical therapy and modalities such as heat/ice and referral to a pain clinic” (p. 628).  On the chiropractic side, the authors stated “Treatments consisted of HVLA [high velocity low amplitude a.k.a. chiropractic adjustment] manipulation as the primary approach in all cases, with ancillary treatments at the doctor’s discretion, including brief massage, the use of ice or heat in the lumbar area, stretching exercises, McKenzie exercises, advice on activities of daily living, postural/ergonomic advice; and mobilization” (p. 628).  This is important since chiropractors view the spine as an entire system and the approach to patients is different as well as the therapeutic intervention.

 

 

In conclusion, the authors reported, “The results of our pragmatic pilot study indicate a statistically and clinically significant benefit to those receiving chiropractic manipulative therapy (adjustments) in addition to standard medical care” (p. 631).  Finally, they report, “The results of this trial suggest that chiropractic, in conjunction with standard medical care, offers a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning compared with only standard medical care, for active-duty men and women between 18 and 35 years of age with acute low back pain when delivered in a pragmatic treatment setting” (p. 633).

 

This study concurs with a previous study by Liliedahl et al. (2010) who studied 85,402 patients and adds to the growing body of evidence in diverse forums that chiropractic for mechanical back pain is more effective and cost-effective than standard medical care. Evidence such as this helps to dispel the partial truths and overcome the prejudices to help the public make informed choices.

 

References:

1. Goertz, C. M., Long, C. R., Hondras, M. A., Petri, R., Delgado, R., Lawrence, D. J.,…Meeker, W. C. (2013). Adding chiropractic manipulative therapy to standard medical care for patients with acute low back pain: Results of a pragmatic randomized comparative effectiveness study. Spine, 38(8), 627-634.

2. Liliedahl, R. L., Finch, M. D., Axene, D. V., & Goertz C. M. (2010). Cost of care for common back pain conditions initiated with chiropractic doctor vs. medical doctor/doctor of osteopathy as first physician: Experience of one Tennessee-based general health insurer. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 33(9), 640-643.

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Published in Low Back Problems

Harvard Report Points to Chiropractic Care for Pain Relief

& The Safety of the Chiropractic Adjustment

By

Noah Herbert, D.C., CCSP®

William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAMLP, DAAPM

A recent article released by Harvard Health Publications at Harvard Medical School points to chiropractic care as a form of pain relief. There are currently many Americans that seek out chiropractors, but many people don’t realize the wide variety of treatments that a chiropractor can provide for pain relief. The article states “while the mainstay of chiropractic is spinal manipulation, chiropractic care now includes a wide variety of other treatments, including manual or manipulative therapies, postural and exercise education, ergonomic training (how to walk, sit, and stand to limit back strain), nutritional consultation, and even ultrasound and laser therapies. In addition, chiropractors today often work in conjunction with primary care doctors, pain experts, and surgeons to treat patients with pain.”

While this is nothing new for the chiropractic community, it may serve to further educate the public as to the many tools a chiropractor possesses to help patients. While the majority of research on chiropractic has focused on spinal manipulation, or adjustment of the spine, for pain relief, there have been studies done on the effectiveness of chiropractic for treating musculoskeletal pain, headaches, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia (Harvard Health Publications). The author goes on to state “a recent review concluded that chiropractic spinal manipulation may be helpful for back pain, migraine, neck pain and whiplash.” It should be pointed out there have been reports of serious complications, including stroke, but this has been shown to be extremely rare and some studies suggest this may not be directly caused by the treatment provided by the chiropractor (Harvard Health Publications).

Spinal manipulation, or adjustment of the spine, is a term used to describe providing a high velocity, low amplitude thrust to the vertebra. Chiropractors use this technique to correct the body’s spinal alignment to relieve pain and improve function and to allow the body to heal itself. Treatment usually takes between 10 to 20 minutes and most patients are scheduled 2-3 times per week initially. Patients generally see improvement of their symptoms in the first two to three weeks (Harvard Health Publications).

Harvard Medical School is now saying what chiropractors have been saying for over 100 years and although their article was based on pain, it does add more evidence to the false rhetoric of chiropractic patients having a greater risk of stroke. In the future, reports from Harvard and other medical academic institutions will embrace the growing body of scientific evidence of the varied maladies that respond to chiropractic care.

 

References:

  1. Harvard Health Publications. (2015). Chiropractic Care for Pain Relief. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/chiropractic-care-for-pain-relief

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Published in Low Back Problems

More Research