Newsletter Archives > Monthly Health Newsletter: November 2013 Health Newsletter

November 2013 Health Newsletter

Current Articles

» Research, Common Sense Say Conservative Treatments Before Spinal Fusion Surgery
» "I Get Around."
» Lower Blood Pressure With Flaxseed

» Mid-Life Diets Important For Healthy Aging

Research, Common Sense Say Conservative Treatments Before Spinal Fusion Surgery

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), in response to a recent government report and articles calling into question the rise in spinal fusion surgeries in the United States, strongly encourages patients and health care providers to consider the benefits of a conservative approach to back pain. "Research supports the use of more conservative treatments as a first-line defense against pain. This sensible approach not only reduces health care costs but also may help some patients avoid riskier treatments altogether," said ACA President Keith Overland, DC. Dr. Overland's comments follow the release in October of a report from the HHS Office of the Inspector General showing that hospitals that purchased spinal devices from physician-owned distributors (PODs) had higher rates of spinal surgeries than the rate of hospitals overall. The report noted that many hospitals rely on the surgeons preference when making purchasing decisions, and in some cases those surgeons have a financial stake in the companies selected. OIG findings show that using a POD did not reduce costs and those hospitals that did generally saw an increase in the number of surgeries performedindicating clinical decision may have been affected by the business relationship. A related article published on Oct. 27 in the Washington Post reports that spinal fusion surgery in the United States has risen six-fold in the past 20 years, from 56,000 in 1994 to 465,000 in 2011. The Post analyzed 125,000 patient records in Florida and found that half the rise in spinal surgery cases in that state involved patients whose diagnoses would not normally make them candidates for the procedure. The article added that Medicare estimates more than $200 million was spent improperly on spinal fusions in 2011 because a conservative course of treatment had not been tried first. Medical guidelines for back pain recommend the use of conservative treatments. Likewise, a JAMA article published in April 2013 encourages patients with back pain to first try conservative treatments--exercises, physical therapy, chiropractic or acupunctureand resort to surgery only when less invasive options fail. However, a study published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine confirms that many physicians don't follow guidelines and instead refer back pain patients to surgery or write prescriptions for powerful pain killers.  The latter is part of an epidemic problem of prescription drug abuse in the United States; the number of prescriptions filled for opioid pain killers--some of the most powerful medications available--has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past 10 years to 257 million. Unintentional overdose deaths involving opioids now outnumber cocaine and heroin deaths combined. "It's important today for patients facing spine surgery to do their due diligence and ensure no stone is left unturned. There are effective, more conservative treatments that help many patients each year avoid surgery, lessen reliance on addictive pain killers, and get back to their normal lives and activities," said Dr. Overland.

Author: American Chiropractic Association.
Source: October 31, 2013.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association. 2013

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"I Get Around."

That iconic '60s song resonates deeply with the Beach Boys' Mike Love -- and not just because he co-wrote it. These days, it's also something of an ode to how his life has improved, thanks to chiropractic care. "In more than 50 years of performing over 100 shows a year, I've traveled by car, van, bus, train, plane and occasional boat," he says of the toll all that touring has taken on his body. "Chiropractors have helped me remain mobile and pain-free." That makes Love, who's a big supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, one of the growing number of Americans who've turned to what the journal Chiropractic & Manual Therapies calls "one of the most frequently utilized types of complementary and alternative care by older adults." In fact, an estimated 14 percent of patients cared for by chiropractors are age 65 and over. And while many older adults seek chiropractic care for its high patient-satisfaction scores and relief from musculoskeletal pain, chiefly back and neck pain, that's not all they're consulting such doctors about. The same C&MT article also noted that chiropractors help manage patients' health conditions through lifestyle counseling, including exercise and nutritional support. As for the lead singer of the Beach Boys, whose biggest-selling hit, "Kokomo," reached number one in 1988, he still loves performing in front of audiences worldwide. "With my active lifestyle," he says, "I use regular chiropractic care as a complement to my daily practice of transcendental meditation and hatha yoga." To learn more about developments in senior chiropractic care, visit

Author: NewsUSA.
Source: NewsUSA. November 4, 2013.
Copyright: NewsUSA. 2013

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Lower Blood Pressure With Flaxseed

Looking for a more natural, non-medication based solution to reduce and/or manage your blood pressure? New research suggests flaxseed has comparable results to current blood pressure medications. In a study of 110 participants, half were assigned to a group consuming 30 grams of flaxseed daily for 6 months and the other half to a group that did not consume flaxseed. On average, participants in the flaxseed group who had a systolic blood pressure (the 1st number in the blood pressure reading) of at least 140 mm Hg during initial testing experienced a 15 mm Hg systolic pressure drop. Those same individuals also experienced and a diastolic pressure drop (the 2nd number in the blood pressure reading) of 7 mm Hg. Participants in the non-flaxseed group experienced no blood pressure change whatsoever. Researchers state the studys results are preliminary and more research is needed before they suggest people throw aware their blood pressure medication. However, as previous studies have also shown flaxseed to have beneficial effects on various cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation and even hot flashes, incorporating flaxseed into the diet is becoming a no-brainer.

Source: Hypertension, online October 14, 2013.
Copyright: LLC 2013

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Mid-Life Diets Important For Healthy Aging

Data from the Nurses' Health Study, a report that followed more than ten thousand women from 1976 through 2000, suggests the diets of women in their late 50s and early 60s could be tied to their health later in life. Since many diseases start in midlife, its likely that a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet in midlife can be a factor in developing diseases in later life. Data acquired during this study showed women with the healthiest diets in their late 50s and early 60s were 34 to 46 percent more likely to have no chronic diseases as compared with those women with the poorest diets. Although this study focused on women only, we would expect similar findings in men. Its never too late to follow a healthy lifestyle to feel better and reduce your chances of future disease.

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, online November 5, 2013.
Copyright: LLC 2013

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