Newsletter Archives > ChiroPlanet.com Monthly Health Newsletter: December 2010 Health Newsletter

December 2010 Health Newsletter


Current Articles

» Inflammation: Enemy #1
» Survival Tips for Standing in Line This Holiday Season
» Study: Starting with Chiropractic Saves 40% on Low Back Pain Care
» Low Dose Aspirin Reduces Cancer Risk
» Medical Errors Kill 15,000 Patients Per Month

Inflammation: Enemy #1

 In providing a wide range of therapies for a broad scope of conditions in the last 15 years, one thing has become overwhelmingly clear to me: Inflammation is at the root of all diseases. Many of you will likely find this statement hard to believe, but it is nevertheless a medical fact that is supported by a plethora of medical research.

Inflammation is the process whereby the immune system releases chemicals in a specific area of the body, such as in the case of an injury. Typically this process is a normal and healthy function, necessary for the healing response. However, this inflammatory process is often excessive and counterproductive or even out of place. An example of the latter is in the case of coronary artery disease (yes, heart disease is likewise an inflammatory process). Another disadvantage of inflammation is that it causes the sensitization of nerve endings in tissues that results in pain. Short-term pain can be beneficial because it alerts you to a potential problem and a resulting change in behavior (eg. limping when you sprain your ankle). However, if inflammation is unchecked, chronic pain will result even when the area is already healed. Fibromyalgia is an example of chronic pain-signaling in the absence of injury (yes, fibromyalgia is an inflammatory-based pain process. Google "neurogenic inflammation and fibromyalgia" if you are doubtful).

My point in discussing this: If you diminish your body's ability to generate inflammation, you will decrease your risk of all disease. All disease. This includes Alzheimer's disease, asthma, heart disease, fibromyalgia, diabetes, menstrual pain, osteoporosis (yes, osteoporosis), autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, Multiple Sclerosis--even cancer. The amazing thing is that the type of inflammation involved in all of these seemingly unrelated diseases is exactly the same! And the wonderful thing is that the prevention and treatment is likewise the same!

Our bodies regulate inflammation via "chemical mediators". Chemical mediators, such as cytokines, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes, are made from the types of fats we eat on a daily basis. "Good" fats, such as omega-3, produce chemical mediators that inhibit inflammation. "Bad" fats, such as omega-6 and arachidonic acid, result in the production of mediators that promote inflammation. A healthy diet is one that has a balance of these good and bad fats. In other words, a ratio of 3:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. Additionally, high calorie diets and diets that rely heavily on grains and vegetable oils contribute to inflammation. Another problem with high calorie diets, especially when the calories are from starches and grains (this includes whole grains!) is the deposition of fat around the mid-section.

Body fat that accumulates in the belly, known as visceral fat, does not act like other body fat deposited in the limbs and the hips. Abdominal fat becomes a "secondary endocrine organ" due to the fact that this fat secretes a host of chemicals--just like other endocrine glands such as the thyroid or the adrenal glands. None of these chemicals are beneficial. In fact, these chemicals will cause insulin resistance, a condition that allows blood sugar to elevate thereby damaging all organs, as well as contribute to increased inflammation. Losing abdominal body fat is the single most important thing a person can do to improve health and prevent disease!

What can you do? Have a thorough diet history taken and analyzed to determine if you are eating in a way to prevent the aforementioned conditions and change your diet accordingly. Also, have blood testing conducted to check hsCRP (a blood marker of the amount of inflammation you have), hemoglobin A1c (a 3-month check of blood sugar), and lipids (assist in identifying insulin resistance).

Author: Nicholas R. LeRoy, DC, MS
Source: www.drnick.net
Copyright: Nicholas R. LeRoy, DC, MS 2009


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Survival Tips for Standing in Line This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here and with it comes lots of reasons for good cheer…but it can also bring added demands and stress for our bodies. Whether you're shopping for presents, waiting to pick up the perfect dessert or checking out a holiday performance, chances are you'll spend a good deal of time standing in line this season.  The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following tips to help you avoid muscle cramps, neck stiffness and back pain while waiting in line.  First, dress the part. If you're planning to spend the day shopping or strolling around town checking out the holiday displays, wear comfortable, supportive shoes—not high heels. It's also a good idea to dress in layers so that you will be comfortable going from outdoors to indoors, and vise-versa. And leave huge shoulder bags at home; bring only those items that are necessary for your day—wallet, keys, cell phone—and consider carrying a fanny pack or a backpack rather than a one-shoulder purse.  Once you're actually in line, there are several stretches that you can do to keep your legs from cramping and your back from aching. Start with your toes and work your way up:

  • Spread your toes out as wide as you can and hold for a few seconds and then bring them back to neutral.
  • Stand on one foot while you rotate the opposite ankle and then switch legs.
  • To stretch your calves, lean forward on your toes keeping your legs straight.
  • Bend your knees a little bit, just 5 to 10 degrees, and then straighten them.     
  • Tighten the muscles in your thighs and bottom and hold for 5 seconds and then release.
  • Tuck your butt underneath while sticking your bellybutton out then switch and stick your butt out. This pelvic tilt can be a very small movement, but it is great for taking the pressure off your lower back.    
  • Roll your shoulders backwards several times and then push your shoulder blades together to stretch out your chest.    
  • Open your hands as wide as you can and then gently close them.    
  • In addition to stretching, shift your weight and alter your stance every 3 to 5 minutes to give your body a postural break.

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: American Chiropractic Association. November 03, 2010.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2010


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Study: Starting with Chiropractic Saves 40% on Low Back Pain Care

A new study finds that low back pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic (DC) saves 40 percent on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor (MD), the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) announced today. The study, featuring data from 85,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield beneficiaries, concludes that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than they would if they removed such restrictions. Low back pain is a significant public health problem. Up to 85 percent of Americans have back pain at some point in their lives. In addition to its negative effects on employee productivity, back pain treatment accounts for about $50 billion annually in health care costs—making it one of the top 10 most costly conditions treated in the United States. The study, “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,” which is available online and will also be published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s intermediate and large group fully insured population over a two-year span. The insured study population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and no differences in co-pays. Results show that paid costs for episodes of care initiated by a DC were almost 40 percent less than care initiated through an MD. After risk-adjusting each patient’s costs, researchers still found significant savings in the chiropractic group. They estimated that allowing DC-initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee. “As doctors of chiropractic, we know firsthand that our care often helps patients avoid or reduce more costly interventions such as drugs and surgery. This study supports what we see in our practices every day,” said ACA President Rick McMichael, DC. “It also demonstrates the value of chiropractic care at a critical time, when our nation is attempting to reform its health care system and contain runaway costs.”

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: American Chiropractic Association. November 16, 2010.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2010


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Low Dose Aspirin Reduces Cancer Risk

British researchers have discovered long-term low dosage aspirin consumption appears to be successful in reducing the risk of many types of cancer. In their study reviewing more than 25,000 individuals from previous trials, cancer deaths during the trials were 21 percent lower and 25 percent lower after 5 years post trial in those taking low dosages of aspirin. The most significant cancer reduction for those taking low dose aspirin was that of gastrointestinal cancer where death rates were 54 percent lower after 5 years. Findings indicated the cancer benefits increased with duration of aspirin consumption. Although aspirin consumption has an associated risk of stomach bleeding, given these new findings researchers suggest healthy people could consume 75 mg of aspirin daily from the age of 40 to 45 through to 70 to 75 years of age. After 70 to 75, the increase risk of bleeding may become too great.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 7 December 2010.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2010


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Medical Errors Kill 15,000 Patients Per Month

The U.S. government has reported an estimated 15,000 elderly U.S. patients die each month in hospitals due to medical errors and unavoidable problems such as hospital infection spreads. In addition, an estimated 13.5 percent of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during their hospital stays. According to the report, “Hospital care associated with adverse and temporary harm events cost Medicare an estimated $324 million in October 2008.” Clearly, mistakes and adverse events are occurring at an alarming rate and are also associated with an extreme financial cost. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for the public to know the degree of medical errors made at different hospitals and which may be safer. Best bet - Do all that you can to become and remain healthy!

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Reuters. November 17, 2010.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2010


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