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CF 027: WANTED – Safe, Nonpharmacological Means Of Treating Spinal Pain

WANTED – Safe, Nonpharmacological Means Of Treating Spinal Pain

Today we’re going to talk about treating spinal pain, thoracic manipulation, lumbar manipulation, guidelines from Canada, and perceptions of our profession. Did you know that many people actually think that Chiropractic herniate low back discs all of the time? That’s not our idea of treating spinal pain. That’s for sure!

But first, here’s that bumper music

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast and I am honored to have you join me today.  Thank you to those of you that send emails and like and share our content on Facebook and Twitter. You make it fun. If you haven’t already noticed, we have “Tweetable” quotes from our show notes. All you have to do is click the Tweet button and you’re all set. 

Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall. That’s a tall order but that is the goal

You have cavorted your way into Episode #27. Yes, it’s a word. In fact, it’s a synonym of the word dance. Oh how I do love a thesaurus. 

As I’m about to record this episode, it is June 4, 2018 and I am getting ready to head down to the Texas Chiropractic Association’s State Convention. Now, things like that used to make my eyes gloss over but, I wasn’t doing it right or looking at it through the right lens. 

I was a traveling musician for several years and, honestly, chiropractic for me at the time was Plan B while I made a run at music. Well, as usually happens with musicians, it didn’t make me rich. Shock, shock…

During those years, I was a little bit like a guy out on an island all by himself. A lone wolf you might say. I didn’t know anything about research, guidelines, or anything like that. Hell, I was lucky to get to work on time back then. 

Along with being on an island all alone, I thought the idea of being a member of my state association sounded like one to the biggest, best ways to waste my money. Money that I really needed at the time. Well, I was misinformed. Becoming a member of the Texas Chiropractic Association has been one of the best, most rewarding things I have done in my professional life. 

First, I met a ton of people through the TCA. I have a network of colleagues and friends now. If I have a question about ANYTHING, I have an answer! In fact, I was having a hard time with collections for some time and a colleague is the one that came to my rescue. 

Also, the TCA doesn’t just take my money, they take it and use it to help me in my daily life. They have fought some outstanding odds and won several times. They won where, if they had lost, I wouldn’t have the right to diagnose my patients and would be much like a physical therapist depending on referrals from MDs. I’d say that alone is worth my $48 a month wouldn’t you agree?

I went on to serve several years on the Board of Directors for the TCA and am the current chairperson for the Chiropractic Development Initiative fighting to pay for lawsuits, fighting to bolster our profession, and protect it. 

The point here is, I hope you’ll seriously consider joining your state association as well as the American Chiropractic Association. My dues for both combined each month run around $155. It’s just another bill you pay and it goes to securing your job. It’s worth it and I hope you’ll think about doing it. Chiropractic Forward is not just an idea. I walk the walk by being a member and being active. 

Sometimes I end up deviating from research and all that good stuff we do every week but, sometimes, you gotta share what’s on you mind. Thank you for indulging me. 

Let’s get started with the research talk this week with a paper called “Rehabilitative principles in the management of thoracolumbar syndrome: a case report,” by Mathew DiMond who is a DC, DACRB around Bridgeport Connecticut(DiMond M 2017). For those that don’t know what a DACRB is, it stands for Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board. To put that into perspective, there are roughly 5,200 chiropractors in Texas and only 5 DACRBs. 

Why They Did It

Dr. DiMond wanted to describe his management of a case where the patient suffered from thoracolumbar syndrome. 

How They Did It

  • The patient was a 33 year old woman. 
  • She had suffered back pain for 3 weeks
  • Nerve tension tests and local tenderness were present
  • Outcome Assessment tools used were the Oswestry Disability Index which was at 62% at baseline, the STarT low back screen tool (6 points total with 2 point subscale), the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (6/10), and the test-retest exercise audits. 
  • 3 treatments rendered to the patient

What They Found

Her scores were substantially improved. Oswestry improved to 8% , STarT (1 point total), Numeric rating scale 1/10.

Wrap It Up

The author concluded by saying, “The patient responded positively to chiropractic care. After a short course of care, the patient reported reduced pain, alleviated symptoms, and improved physical function.” Now that’s treating spinal pain in a nonpharmacological way.

Now onto the next one. We don’t sit still around here. Bam, bam, bam!

This one is titled “Chiropractic spinal manipulation and the risk for acute lumbar disc herniation: a belief elicitation study” by Cesar Hincapie, et. al. and published in the European Spine Journal(Hincapie C 2017). 

Why They Did it

We know low back pain is the number one reason for disability in the world and that chiropractic is moving into the forefront. The author noted that chiropractic has been reported to increase the risk for lumbar disc herniation without any high quality evidence to support the claim. The author wanted to determine the beliefs on this topic going forward.

I have to say all one needs to do is look toward the American College of Physicians new recommendations and The Lancet low back series recommendations for using chiropractic as a first line treatment for low back pain and that should tell you all you need to know on this but, we will go ahead and explore this simply to expand our learning and knowledge. We are the profession best poised for treating spinal pain!

How They Did It

They used a belief elicitation design

They used 47 clinicians made up of 16 chiropractors, 15 family physicians, and 16 spinal surgeons. 

The clinicians estimated how often a chiropractic adjustment could cause a lumbar disc herniation in a hypothetical group of patients with acute low back pain. 

What They Found

  • As one would expect, chiropractors were the most optimistic that the occurrence was rare. In fact chiropractors held the belief that spinal manipulation actually decreases the chance of disc herniation rather than increases it.
  • Family physicians were mostly neutral
  • Spinal surgeons expressed a slightly more pessimistic belief toward the idea

Wrap It Up

The researchers concluded, “Clinicians’ beliefs about the risk for acute LDH associated with chiropractic SMT varied systematically across professions, in spite of a lack of scientific evidence to inform these beliefs.”

My bias is obvious but, the thought of chiropractors going around herniating discs had to have come from someone that either hates chiropractors like the American Medical Association of the 60;s, 70’s, 80’s, and so on…..or it had to come from ignorance. I believe that paper was published just prior to the new updated recommendations putting chiropractic in the driver’s seat for acute and chronic low back pain but geez…. I do get tired of defending the profession. 

Now let’s wrap up the week here with a paper from our chiropractic brethren for the frozen North otherwise known as Canada. The lead author is Dr. Andre Bussieres and the paper is called “Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Other Conservative Treatments for Low Back Pain: A Guideline From the Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative” and was published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in May of 2018(Bussieres A 2018). 

Why They Did It

The objective of this study was to develop a clinical practice guideline on the management and treating spinal pain of acute and chronic low back pain (LBP) in adults. The aim was to develop a guideline to provide best practice recommendations on the initial assessment and monitoring of people with low back pain and address the use of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) compared with other commonly used conservative treatments.

How They Did It

  • The authors assessed systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials using A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews and Cochrane Back Review Group criteria. 
  • Evidence profiles were used to summarize judgements of the evidence quality. 
  • The Evidence to Decision Framework was used to help the panel to determine the certainty of evidence and strength of the recommendations. 
  • Consensus was achieved through the modified Delphi technique
  • This guideline was peer reviewed by an 8-member multidisciplinary external committee. 

What They Found

  • Acute back pain (0-3 months)

Offer advice on posture and staying active, reassure the patients, education and self-management strategies, chiropractic care, usual medical treatment if deemed beneficial, or a combination of chiropractic care and usual medical treatment. These are effective means of treating spinal pain. 

  • Chronic back pain (3 months and beyond)

When treating spinal pain, offer advice and education chiropractic care or chiropractic care in conjunction with exercise, myofascial, or usual medical care. 

  • Chronic back-related leg pain

Offer advice and education with chiropractic care and home exercise such as positioning and stabilization exercises. Treating spinal pain for chronic patients can be challenging for both the patient and the doctor.

Wrap It Up

The authors concluded by saying, “A multimodal approach including SMT, other commonly used active interventions, self-management advice, and exercise is an effective treatment strategy for acute and chronic back pain, with or without leg pain.” Treating spinal pain is just what we do.

Help us spread the news folks. Go out and get on your roof and start yelling it to the masses. Retweet, like and share and all of the stuff you can help with on your end of it. You can find us on Twitter @chiro_forward and on Facebook. We’re there. We’re just waiting on you to join us so go do that right now

I realize this week was a little here and a little there but the point is that no matter what you’ve heard or been told in the past, those days are over. I believe they’re over for good at this point. We are the #1, non-pharma, safe, conservative, non-invasive, research-backed, evidence-backed, treatment for spinal pain, hands down. And that’s a heck of a place to be coming from wouldn’t you agree?

I want you to know with absolute certainty that When Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple. Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, compared to the traditional medical model, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic. It’s safe, more cost-effective, decreases chances of surgery, and reduces chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically with minimal time requirements and hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! And patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm. THAT’S Chiropractic folks.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and we want to hear from you on a range of topics so bring it on folks!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic evidence-based podcast in the world. 

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 

CF 011: With Dr. Tyce Hergert: It’s Here. New Guides For Low Back Pain That Medical Doctors Are Ignoring

CF 016: Review of The Lancet Article on Low Back Pain (Pt. 1)

CF 013: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 1 of 3)

 

Social Media Links

iTunes

Bibliography

Bussieres A, e. a. (2018). “Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Other Conservative Treatments for Low Back Pain: A Guideline From the Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 41(4): 265-293.

DiMond M (2017). “Rehabilitative Principles in the Management of Thoracolumbar Syndrome: A Case Report.” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 16(4): 331-339.

Hincapie C (2017). “Chiropractic spinal manipulation and the risk for acute lumbar disc herniation: a belief elicitation study.” European Spine Journal.

CF 026: Chiropractic Better Than Physical Therapy and Usual Medical Care For Musculoskeletal Issues

Chiropractic Better Than Physical Therapy and Usual Medical Care For Musculoskeletal Issues. 

Today we’re going to talk about chiropractic better than physical therapy and new info and new articles coming out on how chiropractors fit into an integrated care protocol and we’ll explore chiropractic vs. physical therapy according to research. Which should be the first referral in the medical kingdom and why? We hope you’ll help us by liking, sharing, and retweeting our content.  

But first, here’s that bumper music

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

Before we get started, I want to ask you to go to chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. On another note, we are accepting speaking engagements so shoot us an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com so we can connect. 

I need to thank Dr. Chris Carr out in Pittsburgh, PA with the Health Nuts Podcast for having me as a guest on Tuesday, May 29th. I had a blast. We talked all about stroke risk, or the lack thereof, and all kinds of good stuff. Make sure you check it out at the link in the show notes

Click here to listen to Health Nuts episode 37 with guest Dr. Jeff Williams

 http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/6644712/tdest_id/531106

Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall. That’s a tall order but that is the goal. When you know the research, which is what we talk about every week, then you start to speak to colleagues in a more effective way. With stats, research, and confidence. 

You have scooted into Episode #26

But first, my week has been one of renewal I’d say. Don’t we get into a rut sometimes where we go through our lives in a robotic sense? I’m as guilty of it as the next person. As I’ve said here on the podcast before, I’m a big music fan. I used ot be a traveling musician. I wrote and recorded the bumper music you just heard. i am a sculptor. Check out River Horse Art on Facebook. I build live edge furniture if you’d like to see the stuff at Amarillo Furniture and Live Edge Customs on Facebook. I have lots of interests but…..don’t we fall into ruts regardless of how many hobbies or interests we have?

The trick, I think, is outside influence. The right kind of outside influence. Undoubtedly, many of you are non-Christian and I’m not the kind of Christian to tell anyone they’re right or wrong but, if you’ll hang with me just a sec, maybe I can make sense to the non-christians as well. 

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to a podcast by a preacher named Jenetzen Franklin. Now, I usually listen to murder mysteries, music, news, or silence but, every now and then, I just get a calling of sorts to listen to something faith based. Well, that happened this morning. 

This episode was called Don’t Call This Common. Franklin was talking about how we go through our days in a robotic mentality many times. He was saying how, nothing blessed by God can be called common. From our relationships, family and friends, our interactions, our offices, our patients, our work in general. Nothing we do is common. Our days, our jobs, our profession, and our results are extraordinary indeed. What would out patients do without us in their lives? You don’t have to be a Christian to understand how lucky we are to wake up in the morning. How lucky we are to kiss our spouses and out kids. Or how lucky we are to work in a job that makes us happy and allows us to make such a difference in others’ lives. 

It is truly extraordinary. 

Thank you for indulging me there for a minute and allowing me to share my heart with you for a little bit. It’s one of those days of renewed energy and renewed perspective for me. I hope my thoughts spark something similar in you as well. 

Let’s get to some articles and research to get you thinking and speaking in the right direction. 

Last week, we discussed a new paper by Dr. Goertz which had to do with how integrating chiropractors into treatment for Vets suffering from musculoskeltal issues. Mostly low back pain(Goertz C 2018). 

Here’s an article written by Reuters’ writer Lisa Rapaport on the paper(Rapaport L 2018). 

It’s called “Adding chiropractic to back pain care may reduce disability.” I’d like to say from the top that I’m unhappy with the title. What’s this “May reduce” garbage exactly? If Lisa knew about 1/10th of the research, she’d leave out the questioning tone of the title. That’s like saying that heart surgery MAY save lives. You know, some people die during heart surgery so……it doesn’t ALWAYS work does it? Some people don’t have completely outcomes from low back fusion so….low back surgery MAY work. Follow me? 

Dr. Goertz had a couple of interesting quotes included in the article. The first quote is, “Spinal manipulation (often referred to as chiropractic adjustment) may help heal tissues in your body that form as a result of injury, decreasing pain and improving your body’s ability to move correctly.” The other was, “It is also possible that manipulation impacts the way that your body perceives pain through either the brain or the spinal cord and/or decreases pain from muscle strain, inflammation and/or spasm in the muscles next to your spine.”

Great quotes from a great doctor and a researcher that has been a game-changer for our profession. But, wouldn’t you say there are questions in those quotes as to exactly how Chiropractic works in the first place? What is it about chiropractic or spinal manipulation that actually caused the effectiveness and the reduced pain? Like, what it is exactly? 

Take for example the cardiologist: they are effective because they go in and place a stent or there was blockage in one of the arteries feeding the heart so they either cleared it or bypassed it and now it works better. There’s no doubt as to why they were effective. 

I think until we come up with a unified, provable reason as to why we chiropractors get the results we get, we may always be struggling to explain ourselves in a manner that resonates and makes sense to colleagues in the medical field and to the layperson with back pain out in the general population. 

This needs some work and some resolution in my humble opinion. 

We have mentioned this next paper before so we won’t go through the whole thing again but, when you are discussing chiropractic with medical professionals, it’s clear the MDs prefer to send their musculoskeletal patients to the physical therapist first before taking the next steps toward shots and surgery. That’s progress from immediate medication and shots but, it may not be the most effective referral they can make. What can we do to show that chiropractic better than physical therapy?

Let me first say that I love physical therapy and physical therapists. This is not a competition in my opinion. Yes, we cross over into each others’ territory daily but, that is business and that is life. I think physical therapy most definitely has it’s place. Post-operative rehab is the spotlight in my mind for physical therapy. What would surgical patients do without physical therapy following minor and major surgeries? They are game changers. 

Now, if we talk about pain caused by discs or something originating in the spine, my 20 years has shown me they have little effectiveness in this area. We all know Mckenzie and core building exercises are beneficial. We all know this stuff. You don’t need to be a physical therapist to figure that out. But effectively treating discs…..I have not seen that much at all. For discs, in general, chiropractic better than physical therapy.

In fact, I had a patient that was treating with us. She was a young, healthy, fit, athletic girl having a significant, MRI-confirmed disc issue. We worked and worked with her to the point that she was feeling great. Without consulting yours truly, she got the idea in her head that, if she added physical therapy to the regimen, her results would be twice as good as they already were. 

Well, she went to one appointment with the PT and came back in tears, unable to walk or function, and no matter how much we worked with her from that point, we were never able to get her back to where we had her. She ended up having low back surgery. In her 20’s. Again, in this case, chiropractic better than physical therapy.

Of course that’s not the common experience of patients that go to PTs and I’m not discouraging going to PTs. As I said, we all have our function and certain things we are truly effective in treating. A truly integrated approach is the ideal way to work it. 

But let’s be clear, this podcast is called “Chiropractic Forward.” We aren’t here to advocate for physical therapists. They have plenty of folks doing that. We aren’t here to bash them either by the way. Our function is chiropractic advocacy based on research and evidence. 

In this systematic review and meta-analysis by Ian Coulter, et. al., he concludes by saying, “ There is moderate-quality evidence that manipulation and mobilization are likely to reduce pain and improve function for patients with chronic low back pain; manipulation appears to produce a larger effect than mobilization. Both therapies appear safe(Coulter I 2018).” So…..chiropractic better than physical therapy.

Now, when we argue that patients should be seeing a chiropractor prior to, or in conjunction with, a physical therapist, keep in mind this study from 2017 called, “Association Between the Type of First Healthcare Provider and the Duration of Financial Compensation for Occupational Back Pain” by Marc Andre Blanchette et. al. (Blanchett M 2017). 

The study focused on patients in the workers comp system. What practitioner they saw, how long and expensive was treatment, and did they have reoccurrence of the pain?

The authors concluded by saying, “The type of healthcare provider first visited for back pain is a determinant of the duration of financial compensation during the first 5 months. Chiropractic patients experience the shortest duration of compensation, and physiotherapy patients experience the longest. These differences raise concerns regarding the use of physiotherapists as gatekeepers for the worker’s compensation system.” Bam….chiropractic better than physical therapy.

Chiropractors…..can I get a hell yeah? Maybe an Amen?!?

What about this paper from 2014 called “Cost-effectiveness of manual therapy for the management of musculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review and narrative synthesis of evidence from randomized controlled trials,” by Tsertsvadze(Tsertsvadze A 2014)?

When comparing manual therapy with usual medical care and physical therapy, the authors concluded the paper by saying, “Preliminary evidence from this review shows some economic advantage of manual therapy relative to other interventions used for the management of musculoskeletal conditions, indicating that some manual therapy techniques may be more cost-effective than usual GP care, spinal stabilization, GP advice, advice to remain active, or brief pain management for improving low back and shoulder pain/disability.”

And lastly for this topic, there’s this paper from 2003 from Korthals-de Bos, et. al. called “Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner care for neck pain: economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial. Randomized controlled trial” that was published in the British Medical Journal(Korthals-de Bos IB 2003). Shazzam…..chiropractic better than physical therapy.

The authors wanted to evaluate, contrast, and compare effectiveness of manual therapy to physiotherapy/physical therapy and to care by a general medical practitioner in regards to neck pain specifically.

They concluded the paper by saying, “Manual therapy (spinal mobilisation) is more effective and less costly for treating neck pain than physiotherapy or care by a general practitioner.”

So, as you can see, there are several, research-backed arguments to be made to medical colleagues when you are asking them for their referrals rather than physical therapy being their knee-jerk reaction and first choice.

Go forth with confidence and assertiveness knowing that your profession is validated in a thousand different ways. 

Key Takeaways

Chiropractic kicks butt any way you want to look at it when you’re looking at it through a research-based lens and it’s great to see it continually excel and surpass usual medical care and physical therapy in terms of effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and risk vs. reward. 

As I mention at the end of every episode, I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple. Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, compared to the traditional medical model, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic. It’s safe, more cost-effective, decreases chances of surgery, and reduces chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically with minimal time requirements and hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! And patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm. THAT’S Chiropractic folks.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and we want to hear from you on a range of topics so bring it on folks!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic evidence-based podcast in the world. 

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 

Social Media Links

iTunes

Bibliography

Blanchett M (2017). “Association Between the Type of First Healthcare Provider and the Duration of Financial Compensation for Occupational Back Pain.” J Occup Rehabil 27(382).

Coulter I (2018). “Manipulation and mobilization for treating chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Spine 0(0).

Goertz C (2018). “Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain A Comparative Effectiveness Clinical Trial.” JAMA 1(1): E180105.

Korthals-de Bos IB (2003). “Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner care for neck pain: economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial.” British Medical Journal 326(7395): 911.

Rapaport L (2018). “Adding chiropractic to back pain care may reduce disability.” Reuters 0(0).

Tsertsvadze A, e. a. (2014). “Cost-effectiveness of manual therapy for the management of musculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review and narrative synthesis of evidence from randomized controlled trials.” J Manipulative Physiol Ther 37(6): 343-362.

CF 008: With Dr. Craig Benton – Brand New Information Based on Results Chiropractic Proven Effective For Low Back Pain

CF 016: Review of The Lancet Article on Low Back Pain (Pt. 1)

CF 015: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 3 of 3)

CF 007: Awesome Alternatives To High Blood Pressure Treatment

 

CF 025: Vets With Low Back Pain. Usual Care + Chiropractic vs. Usual Care Alone

Vets With Low Back Pain: Usual Care + Chiropractic vs. Usual Care Alone

Today we’re going to talk about our vets with low back pain. We have already shown how chiropractic is backed completely by research for low back pain. For us, that’s not even in question. But, this week, there’s brand new research out in JAMA, yes, THAT JAMA, talking about vets with low back pain and chiropractic.

But first, make way for that bumper music

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

I want to  humbly, with my hat in my hand and puppy dog eyes ask you to go to chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. Make it easy on us to update you when a new episode come out. It’s just the nice thing to do folks. 

On another note, do you need an hour or two for your Continuing Education seminar on low back pain guidelines or on Debunking the myth that chiropractors cause strokes? Do you need a guest for YOUR podcast?

Look no further, you have found your man. Just send me an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and we will get it done. Heck, we’re trying to get the word out about what we’re doing here don’t ya know?

We are honored to have you listening today. Here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall. That’s a tall order but that is the goal

You have grooved nice and easy……. 70’s style right into Episode #25

As you may have heard me say several times before, I’m in practice. Day to day, week to week, month to month. In fact, I’ve been in active daily practice for over 20 years. I’ve answered the phones, booked the appointments, been an associate that basically answered to a receptionist. I’ve also been a busy chiropractor having a hard time keeping up with my own head. 

I tell you this because I think it’s important to know that the information you get from me is not only from research journals but is also from daily experience. Twenty years of it at this point! 

When we start discussing active military and veterans, if you’ve been in practice very long at all, you know these men and women are hurting and, many times, are not getting the help they desperately need. I see them every week. I’m actually in the process of signing up for the Choice Program as we speak so I can see more and more of them. Vets with low back painare a priority.

As a side note, you’d think that veterans are among the most honorable of all American citizens wouldn’t you? And wouldn’t you expect that the most honorable of all Americans would be worthy of healthcare that adequately addresses their needs based on current research and knowledge? 

One would think but, as we see over and over, that just isn’t the case, unfortunately. 

Here’s one example, a friend of mine….her father is in the VA hospital right now with several issues. She went to visit and was looking for his room. When she asked a staffer for directions, they directed her through this plywood board attached to a door that kind of opened up all together and allowed passage into the hallway that led to his room. Can you imagine our veterans being in a place that has plywood boarded up on the doors? One door…..any damn door?

Another would be the father of a friend of mine. He died waiting on a referral to a pulmonologist through the Choice Program. He couldn’t just go and make his own appointment. Not if he wanted it covered anyway. The VA system failed this decorated Vietnam Vet whereas medical professionals made it clear to him that his pulmonary hypertension could be treated after seeing a specialist to determine his specific level of PH. Well, the referral didn’t come and time ran out. Doesn’t seem right does it?

Let’s get to the musculoskeletal part of things. Military services leads to a high rate of chronic pain. That is just the facts. Knowing this fact, it is not surprising that veterans succumb to opioid overdose at twice the rate of the general population. That is just astonishing. It’s understandable but astonishing just the same. Not only were they twice as likely to succumb to opioid overdose, but they were twice as likely to be prescribed opioids in the first place!

One would think with the new recommendations from international low back experts published in The Lancet, new recommendations from the American College of Physicians, and the mountains of randomized controlled trials showing the efficacy of Chiropractic Care of low back pain, you’d expect to have an automatic referral from the VA primary care physicians. But, again, common sense doesn’t alway seem to reign in the medical kingdom. Money, politics, group-think, and false dogmatic believes of yesteryear tend to control the thought process. In my opinion, of course. 

If you are unaware of the body of research, I’m sure this just sounds like belly-aching. I’m telling you as straightforward and as honestly as I can, chiropractic’s effectiveness has been proven through research so many times I can’t begin to count. We have been shown to be as effective or more effect than medication including NSAIDS. On top of that, we recently talked about research showing opioids having less effectiveness than NSAIDS. Veterans need a source of treatment for their musculoskeletal pain that is non-pharmacological, cost-effective, and has a high degree of overall effectiveness. 

Everything and everyone already mentioned in this podcast (The Lancet, ACP, etc…) agrees one of those options is Chiropractic specifically. Especially when it comes to vets with low back pain.

With all of that in mind, let’s get into the paper that recently came out in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It’s titled “Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs. Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain,” and authored by Dr. Christine Goetz, DC, PhD. 

It was published in May of 2018(Goertz C 2018). 

Why They Did It

The authors recognized the need for non-pharmacological low back pain treatments and hoped to determine if chiropractic care being added to traditional medical care resulted in a better outcome than if the chiropractic care was left out completely for vets with low back pain. 

How They Did It

  • For you research nerds, the paper was a 3-site pragmatic comparative effectiveness clinical trial using adaptive allocation
  • It was conducted from September 28, 2012 to February 13, 2016
  • The sites studied included 2 large military medical centers and 1 smaller hospital at a military training site. 
  • Active duty aged 18-50 with low back pain originating in the musculoskeletal system were accepted for the study
  • Outcomes used were low back pain intensity measured through the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) and disability using the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. 
  • Secondary outcomes measured were perceived improvement, satisfaction, and medication use. 

What They Found

  • 250 patients at each site were accepted. 
  • 750 total
  • The mean participant age was 30.9
  • 23% were female
  • 32.4% were non-white
  • Adjusted mean differences in scores at the 6-week mark were statistically significant favoring usual medical care PLUS Chiropractic Care. 
  • There were no serious related adverse effects. 

Wrap It Up

The authors concluded, “Chiropractic care, when added to usual medical care, resulted in moderate short-term improvements in low back pain intensity and disability in active-duty military personnel. This trial provides additional support for the inclusion of chiropractic care as a component of multidisciplinary health care for low back pain, as currently recommended in existing guidelines. However, study limitations illustrate that further research is needed to understand longer-term outcomes as well as how patient heterogeneity and intervention variations affect patient responses to chiropractic care.”

I realize this is a brand new paper. I also realize that Dr. Goertz is among the leaders of the body of research when it comes to chiropractic. This is exactly why I question the need for further research to understand longer-term outcomes. We have had longer-term outcomes research. Plenty of them as a matter of fact. 

If you go to this paper’s website and click on the link you’ll find in the show notes, ( https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2680417 ) you’ll notice that you can click on a “Comments” icon just under the “Download PDF” icon. 

If you navigate to that Comment section and click on it, you’ll notice the following quote from May 21, 2018 from Dr. Frederick Rivara, MD, MPH at the University of Washington in Seattle, “As a sufferer myself of chronic low back pain, I was very interested to see the results of this comparative effectiveness trial. To me, it points out the importance of integrated care for the treatment of chronic conditions. What are the likely barriers to implementing this in medical practices in general? Do we really need more research on the right treatments for low back pain?” Here is Dr. Rivara’s stated conflict of interest at the end of the quote: he’s the Editor in Chief of JAMA Network Open. The Editor in Chief made that statement folks. He gets it. Now it’s time for the rest of the medical kingdom to get it.

Key Takeaways

  1. We don’t need any more research into whether low back pain is effectively treated with chiropractic care. It’s been done a hundred times over. What we need is acceptance and a shift in the groupthink of the medical field. When it comes to treating vets with low back pain, there is no better starting point than chiropractic care. 
  2. We also need to chiropractors to step up and take the golden scepter the medical field had dangled out there. It’s ours for the taking. 
  3. We also need more research into the effectiveness of chiropractic care for headaches and neck pain. The research is there supporting our effectiveness. No doubt about it. But, it needs to be there by the hundreds just like you see in low back pain. There needs to be so much of it that the deniers start to look like flat-Earthers in the healthcare world. 

This week, I want you to go forward with doing some of your own research on vets and opioids, on Chiropractic and low back pain, and on the Choice Program through the VA. We can help our active military and our vets. We can help them better than anyone else for their low back pain and that includes physical therapists. There is research showing that exercise/rehab + chiropractic is more effective than exercise/rehab alone(Korthals-de Bos IB 2003, Coulter I 2018). 

Either way you boil it down, we win. We can help these people so help me figure out how we get that message out there and how we’re supposed to reach out and grab it for our profession. 

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I want you to know with absolute certainty that When Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple. Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, compared to the traditional medical model, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic. It’s safe, more cost-effective, decreases chances of surgery, and reduces chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically with minimal time requirements and hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! And patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm. THAT’S Chiropractic folks.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and we want to hear from you on a range of topics so bring it on folks!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic evidence-based podcast in the world. 

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 

Social Media Links

iTunes

Bibliography

Coulter I (2018). “Manipulation and mobilization for treating chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Spine 0(0).

Goertz C (2018). “Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain A Comparative Effectiveness Clinical Trial.” JAMA 1(1): E180105.

Korthals-de Bos IB (2003). “Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner care for neck pain: economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial.” British Medical Journal 326(7395): 911.

CF 024: They Laughed When I Said I Could Still Help After Back Surgery

They Laughed When I Said I Could Still Help After Back Surgery

Today, we’re going to talk about people coming into our office after having had back surgery wanting us to perform miracles. Well, why didn’t they come to us BEFORE the surgery would be my big question. We’ll toss all that stuff around today on the Chiropractic Forward Podcast. 

But first, here’s that bumper music!

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

Before we get started, I want to ask you to go to chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. On another note, do you need an hour or two for your Continuing Education seminar on low back pain guidelines or on Debunking the myth that chiropractors cause strokes? 

Go no further, you have found your man. Just send me an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and we will get it done.

We are honored to have you listening. Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall. That’s a tall order but that is the goal

You have done the electric slide right into Episode #24 and that’s exciting

Now, as I mentioned previously, how many times do chiropractors have new patients come through the doors but they’ve already had back surgery? They’ve had back surgery they hoped would be a quick fix usually. But it wasn’t. 

Now, they’re sitting in your office, looking at you with a very scared and concerned face, and it’s up to you to lead the way and, hopefully, be able to provide them some sort of relief with your magical abilities. 

I can tell you from 20 plus years of experience that it happens all of the time. At least a time or two per month for a busy practice. That’s what I would guess. 

The truth is, sometimes we can help these back surgery people and sometimes we just can’t. I tell patients that surgery, many times, is permanent and anything we do toward trying to get some relief can be a little bit like pushing a wheelbarrow uphill. Depending on the weight in the wheelbarrow, we may get it to the top and we may not get it to the top but we’re sure as hell going to try while making sure we keep them safe from further damage. 

At first glance, when you’re looking at an x-ray of a post-surgical patient, many times I find myself thinking, “What in the heck can I possibly do with this trainwreck.” I’m sure I’m not the only one to ever feel like that. It’s a little bit of a helpless feeling sometimes. Especially when you see parts missing like you’ll see in a laminectomy. Or when you see parts added like boney fusions or fusions with hardware. I get a sinking feeling in my stomach for patients like that. Back surgery is no joke.

Especially when we know for a researched-fact that these patients most likely did not have to endure those procedures. For any reason. If you aren’t sure about that statement, please review our podcast episodes we did no The Lancet low back series. Episodes #16, #17, and #18 dealt with this very issue. 

Back surgery is gaining in popularity while the outcomes show no change. They are no longer recommending surgery for acute or chronic low back pain. Period. Sure, cauda equina syndrome, foot drop, and severe symptoms like that may indicate surgical intervention but, otherwise, they say no shots, no surgery, no bed rest, and no medications. 

We will be hammering these things consistently until we start seeing some change. I can guarantee it. 

OK, but…..what if nobody listened to the experts and they just did the surgery with no relief? Can we do anything about it? 

Let’s look at a couple of possiblities:

  1. The spine was fused years ago and now, due to the immobilization and increased workload on the segments above and below, the segments above and/or below begin to show signs of wear and tear. 
  2. The spine was not fused but the complaint never improved. This may be the case in people that have the microdiscectomies or epidural spinal injections. 

Of course there are a lot of different, very specific outcomes that don’t fit in those two categories but I’d say these are the ones I commonly see. 

Let’s take the first one: a fusion that caused issues above and below the fused segment. If you go through nonsurgical spinal decompression certification through the Kennedy Decompression Technique, you’ll be taught that a fusion with hardware is a hard contraindication. At least it was 6 years ago. 

Assuming these people develop disc issues above or below the fusion, that would mean you can’t do any decompression on the site. An orthopedic surgeon that is familiar with non-surgical decompression however, may tell you that the segment is more solid after the fusion than it ever was before and decompression won’t cause any issues with the fusion itself. 

OK, so, we’re stuck between two worlds on that and, honestly, if you’re an expert on this and you’re listening, email me at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and tell me your experience and understanding. 

After bouncing the problem off of several highly trusted colleagues, I think a light pull on decompression is tolerated just fine and does in fact provide relief to fusion patients. No, you cannot pull them at 1/3 or 1/2 of their body weight. We’re talking a LIGHT pull. This combined with gentle McKenzie and Core exercises as well as self-management recommendations at home will go toward getting them back on their feet and getting back after it. 

If any of you disagree, I’d love to talk about it. My first question would be, “What would the alternative be?” 

I am by no means the final and ultimate opinion on this. We have to depend on trusted advice and clinical experience, don’t we? That’s just what I do and what I’ve found is that about 80% of patients just get better. There’s about 10% that gets better but not quite what we hoped for. Then there’s that 10% that …”Hey, we tried and it looks like I’m not your homey on this deal.”

Now, what about the second option? Let’s say that they had a discetomy back surgery but it was a failure (surprise surprise) and now it’s up to us to help the patient and attempt to keep them from enduring any more back surgery or shots. What do you do? Maybe I should say, “What do WE do?”

I say adjust them!! After a certain healing time has passed, of course. 

I say we do all the other stuff I mentioned previously for them as well. We may do decmopression. We may do laser. We certainly do McKenzies, Core Building, McGill’s Big Three, no bed rest, and home self-management.

If you have paid much attention to our previous episodes then you know the American College of Physicians and the global panel of experts on low back pain that published the low back pain papers in The Lancet back in March of 2018 say that spinal mobilization is a researched and recommended first-line therapy for acute and chronic low back pain. 

In my opinion, a discetomy doesn’t change these recommendations much. Sometimes, cases are so specific, that they just don’t get researched in depth for that certain instance. 

However, I CAN offer a case study if you’re willing to listen. 

It was titled, “Chiropractic/Rehabilitative Management of Post-Surgical Disc Herniation: A Retrospective Case Report” and was published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine in the Summer edition of 2004(Estadt G 2004).  

Why They Did It

To explore management of lumbar disc herniation following sugery using a regimen of chiropractic manipulation and exercise/rehab. 

How They Did It

  • The patient was a 54 yr old male
  • The patient had a history of acute low back pain with left sciatic pain down the left posterior thigh and lateral calf as well as numbness inthe bottom of the left foot. 
  • The patient previously had steroid anti-inflammatory drugs and lumbar microdiscectomy surgery. 
  • The patient did not recover completely.
  • The patient couldn’t walk without hurting and was unable to return to activities of daily living. 
  • He was antalgic in flexion. 
  • His lumbar range of motion was restricted in flexion as well as in extension. 
  • He had a positive SLR as well as foot drop on the left. 
  • Intervention consisted of patient education on posture, bending, and lifting. 
  • Exercise/Rehab was started in-office progressing to at-home based exercise/rehab. 
  • Active rehab was continued after early improvement (7 visits) in order to return lumbar spinal extensor strength. 
  • The patient was ultimately released to home therapy and supportive chiropractic care and continued to show improvement. 

Wrap It Up

The author concluded, “Management of postsurgical lumbar disc herniation with chiropractic and active rehabilitation is discussed. Spinal deconditioning and weakness of the lumbar spinal extensor muscles appeared to be related to the patient’s symptoms. Patient education on proper posture, proper lifting techniques, core stabilization exercises, active strengthening exercise and chiropractic manipulation appeared effective in this case.”

OK, a case study with one subject. What does that tell us as far as research goes? Very little. What is the impact of the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine? It’s  peer-reviewed and it has an impact factor of 0.74 and has climbed significantly since 0.36 in 2011. 

Although this case study is only one patient’s experience, from my own anecdotal evidence, I would come very close to guaranteeing you and betting the farm that these post back surgery results can be repeated time and time again.

I’ve seen it time and time again. My experience tells me we can help these people. YOU can help these people. Back surgery doesn’t always mean we are helpless to pull out the power of chiropractic. 

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple. Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, compared to the traditional medical model, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic. It’s safe, more cost-effective, decreases chances of surgery, and reduces chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically with minimal time requirements and hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! And patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm. THAT’S Chiropractic folks.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and we want to hear from you on a range of topics so bring it on folks!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic evidence-based podcast in the world. 

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 

Social Media Links

iTunes

Bibliography

Estadt G (2004). “Chiropractic/Rehabilitative Management of Post-Surgical Disc Herniation: A Retrospective Case Report.” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 3(3): 108-115.

CF 020: Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction?

CF 008: With Dr. Craig Benton – Brand New Information Based on Results Chiropractic Proven Effective For Low Back Pain

CF 023: How Can Research Help You Talk To The Medical Profession?

How Can Research Help You Talk To The Medical Profession?

This week we’re going to be discussing Chiropractic integration and how can research help you. Getting closer to the center of healthcare rather than being far out on the outer ring about to be spun into the cold dark void of space. 

First though, bring on that bumper music to get the party started. 

Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast. You have beamed yourself right into Episode #23. 

We are honored to have you listening. Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall. That’s a tall order but that is the goal.

Before we get started, I want to draw your attention our website at chiropracticforward.com. Just below the area where you can listen to the latest episode, you’ll see an area where you can sign up for our newsletter. 

I’d also like to let you know that I am starting to accept bookings for public talks. Do you need an hour or two for your Continuing Education seminar on low back pain guidelines or on Debunking the myth that chiropractors cause strokes? Go no further, you have found your man. Just send me an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and we will get it done. 

Part of my function is to show where we can fit more and more into mainstream health and why we fit. That’s where the research continues to smile on Doctors of Chiropractic. What does research tell us on this journey to expand and integrate?

Let us be honest with one another here when we say that there is a reason our profession is misunderstood. There is a reason that we have been treated unfairly for generations; since our inception. 

I would say the number one reason is that several in our profession over the years have professed chiropractic to be a miracle cure for any and all ills. Let me give you an example to demonstrate my point. I remember sitting in a seminar and the speaker who will remain unnamed was telling us that their patient had cancer and several adjustments caused it to encapsulate and then work out of the body into a large skin tag looking sort of thing before it finally just fell off. Cancer free!! Thanks to chiropractic!!

Young impressionable chiropractors-to-be lapped that speech right up and likely went on to tell scores of colleagues and patients all about this. And, this person is still out giving seminars and speaking to impressionable minds. 

Is it true? Who knows? I hate to denigrate something I truly don’t understand, but, I admit, I doubt it. And, if it were repeatable, this person would be in some hall of fame and would be the most famous person in healthcare because he discovered the cure for cancer. I mean, it gets no bigger than curing cancer does it?

Honestly though, it doesn’t matter what I think about it. What matters is whether or not boasts like this serve to further progress this profession or serve to make us walk the proverbial professional plank. If chiropractors can do clinical studies on such a thing, then get it done and quit talking about it. Prove what you say. You saw cancer work itself out of the body after your treatment? That is amazing, but in this day and age, it should be documented. You can get with a cancer research center and attempt to repeat your findings and prove what you think to be true. 

I’m being dramatic here but you get my point. I’m not trying to pick fights with this podcast. I’m trying to be honest and make sense. I realize that turns some off and I hate that because I truly feel civil discourse is in short supply in 2018. 

You find some claims in our profession that just lack any backing as far as research goes and I’d like to see our profession either put up or shut up basically. If you say you can do it, prove it and show us all through accepted research protocols and studies. “Because I said so,” no longer works.

Reason #2: I’d say, if you listened to episode #9, referenced and linked in the show notes, then you know that the American Medical Association and the state medical associations have done quite a job over the generations in de-valuing the chiropractic profession. 

Take the idea that chiropractors cause strokes in their patients. We spent three episodes of this podcast methodically dismantlying this crazy myth. I am referring to Episodes #13, #14, and #15 referenced and linked in the show notes along with the associated blog we posted on the matter called, “DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes.”  You can read the blog here: https://www.chiropracticforward.com/blog-post/chiropractic-forward-podcast-introduction-and-welcome/

The myth has no basis in fact and research clearly demonstrates this. Yet, you will still get arguments about how Doctors of Chiropractic cause strokes. The Chiropractic Forward Facebook page is proof enough of this. Fighting against long-held beliefs is a hard thing to do and all of the research in the world will never change some minds. However, that doesn’t mean we stop showing it to everyone! 

I will say with some sense of satisfaction that networking and forming relationships with medical providers has never been easier than it has become within the last several years and that is a stepping stone and absolutely welcome and a blessing. 

One thing I hear from straight chiropractors from time to time is that guys and girls like me are “Medi-Practors.” What does that mean exactly? Well, I would say it implies that we want to be medical doctors. But, they use the term for any chiropractor that even uses therapies like electric stim, ultrasound, or any other modality outside of just an adjustment. 

I would simply say that I personally have no desire to prescribe medications. In fact, when I have a car wreck patient, I’m actually glad I can just say, “I’m sorry, I can’t prescribe you anything since chiropractors treat conservatively and naturally and do not prescribe medications.” It’s liberating. I love that we do not treat that way. 

On the other hand, I certainly recognize the use of medicine and the benefits of some medicine. I’m not necessarily against medication. I’m certainly against long-term medication when lifestyle change could prevent being on medication. I’m absolutely against a mentality that simply treats the symptom with pharmaceuticals rather than addressing the cause or the source. 

As I say in almost every episode, spinal pain is a mechanical pain and it makes sense that mechanical pain responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment. In addition, patients should have the guarantee of the best treatment that causes the least harm and, folks, when it comes to non-complicated spinal pain, that’s exactly what chiropractic is. How can research help you relay this message is powerful.

This podcast, in case you’ve wondered, is a bit cathartic for me. And, I will admit, doesn’t seem to stir as much fussing as I originally expected. In fact, most chiropractors listening are in agreement with me so I certainly feel a sense of validation there and I appreciate the support. 

As you should know by now, I enjoy covering research papers so let’s get to that now that my grumpier side decided to show itself. Back to our regularly scheduled program. 

Here’s one called “Can chiropractors contribute to work disability prevention through sickness absence management for musculoskeletal disorders? – a comparative qualitative case study in the Scandinavian context” by Stochkendahl et. al. published in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies on April 26th of 2018. Brand new stuff. 

Why They Did It

Even thought the guidelines are there for managing non-complicated musculoskeletal pain, there has been little to no decrease in work disability. Right now, Norwegian chiropractors have legislated sickness certification rights but the Danes and the Swedes do not. The authors were looking to describe, compare, and contrast the views and experiences of Scandinavian chiropractors when engaged in the prevention of work disability and sickness absence. 

How They Did It

The study was a two-phased sequential exploratory mixed-methods design. 

In a comparative qualitative case study design, the authors explored the different experiences amongst chiropractors in regards to sickness absence from face-to-face interviews.

What They Found

  • 12 interviews conducted
  • The chiropractors’ ability to manage sickness absence depended on four key factors:
  1. legislation & politics
  2. the rationale for being a sickness absence mangement partner
  3. whether an integrated sickness management pathway existed or could be created
  4. the barriers to service provision for sickness absence management. 

Wrap It Up

The authors concluded, “Allied health providers, in this instance chiropractors, with patient management expertise can fulfill a key role in sickness absence management and by extension work disability prevention when these practices are legislatively supported. In cases where these practices occur informally, however, practitioners face systemic-related issues and professional self-image challenges that tend to hamper them in fulfilling a more integrated role as providers of work disability prevention practices(Stochkendahl M 2018).”

And then this paper by F. Gedin, et. al. called “Patient-reported improvements of pain, disability and health-related quality of life following chiropractic care for back pain – A national observational study in Sweden” published in Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies in February of 2018

Again, pretty recent stuff. 

Why They Did It

The authors were simply trying to get patient reported feedback from those patients in Sweden seeking treatment via chiropractic for their back pain. 

How They Did It

  • The study was a prospective observational study
  • It included those 18 years and older having back pain of any duration 
  • It included 23 chiropractic clinics
  • The patient questionnaire was performed at baseline, and at 4 weeks
  • Questionnaires used were the Numerical Rating Scale, Oswestry Disability Index, health-related quality of life (EQ-5D index)
  • Visual Analog Scale or VAS

What They Found

There were statistical improvements over the 4 weeks for all patient reported outcomes. 

Wrap It Up

The authors’ conclusion was, “Patients with acute and chronic back pain reported statistically significant improvements in PRO four weeks after initiated chiropractic care. Albeit the observational study design limits causal inference, the relatively rapid improvements of PRO scores warrant further clinical investigations(Gedin F 2018).”

I want you to know with absolute certainty that When Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple.

Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, compared to the traditional medical model, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic. It’s safe, more cost-effective, decreases chances of surgery, and reduces chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically with minimal time requirements and hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! And patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm. THAT’S Chiropractic folks.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and we want to hear from you on a range of topics so bring it on folks!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic evidence-based podcast in the world. 

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 

Social Media Links

iTunes

REFERENCES

Episode #9 with Dr. Tom Hollingswortth: The Case Against Chiropractic in Texas

https://www.chiropracticforward.com/2018/02/15/episode-9-dr-tom-hollingsworth-case-chiropractic-texas/

Episode #13: Debunked: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 1)

https://www.chiropracticforward.com/2018/03/15/debunked-the-odd-myth-that-chiropractors-cause-strokes/

Episode #14: Debunked: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 2)

https://www.chiropracticforward.com/2018/03/22/cf-episode-14-debunked-the-odd-myth-that-chiropractors-cause-strokes-part-2-of-3/

Episode #15: Debunked: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 3)

https://www.chiropracticforward.com/2018/03/29/cf-015-debunked-the-odd-myth-that-chiropractors-cause-strokes-part-3-of-3/

“DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes.”  You can read the blog here: https://www.chiropracticforward.com/blog-post/chiropractic-forward-podcast-introduction-and-welcome/Bibliography

  • Gedin F (2018). “Patient-reported improvements of pain, disability and health-related quality of life following chiropractic care for back pain – A national observational study in Sweden.” Jounral of Bodywork & Movement Therapies.
  • Stochkendahl M (2018). “Can chiropractors contribute to work disability prevention through sickness absence management for musculoskeletal disorders? – a comparative qualitative case study in the Scandinavian context.” Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 26(15).

CF 013: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 1 of 3)

CF 022: Cold Laser Research You Should Know About

 

This week, I have some brand new research concerning spinal manipulation with laser therapy added as well as cold laser research looking at laser therapy in general. We concentrate heavily on research having to do with musculoskeletal conditions and I think this week gives us an opportunity to look at spinal manipulation but to also look at a modality many Doctors of Chiropractic implement regularly in their day-to-day lives. 

Before we get started with the cold laser research, I want to draw your attention our website at chiropracticforward.com. Just below the area where you can listen to the latest episode, you’ll see an area where you can sign up for our newsletter. I’d like to encourage you to sign up. It’s just an email about once a week to let you know when the episode is updated and what it’s about.

 

Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast. We are honored to have you listening. Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall. That’s a tall order but that is the goal.

You have boogied right on into Episode #22

But first, my week has been mixed man. Being a small business owner isn’t all peaches and cream is it? I tell you, sometimes you’re up….sometimes you’re down but we keep soldiering on. I’ve been in practice for 20 years and it can still be stressful. I found something that helps me though. Some of you already know this. It’s music. You can have elevator music on in your office if you like but I say NO. 

First, your patients don’t really like that stuff. Just in case you didn’t know that, I’m telling you now. I spent the time last week to make a couple of playlists. One is called Memphis/Motown/Muscle Shoals and one is called Rat Pack. Now, I’m a former traveling musician. In fact, the bumper music you just listened to….I wrote that and recorded all of the parts on it from the guitars, bass, piano, everything. 

My personal preference is Americana/Texas Country style music. If you have iTunes, you can find my old touring band called Copperhead and the album is called Remedy. That was us! 

Anyway, Texas Country is my preference but, for my office, I and my patients are loving the older boogie and soulful stuff like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, The Temptations, Ray Charles, and anything that fits that style whether it’s old or new. Doesn’t matter. In fact, a lot of the newer artists are sounding like the great stuff from the older days. I love it. Then, to mix it up a bit, I throw in the Rat Pack list here and there with Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr, Michael Buble, Dean Martin, and guys like Wayne Newton. It’s great. Classy and cool. Anyway, the days have just started flying by. When you boogie all day, and your patients boogie all day, well…..it makes for an awesome place with an awesome experience. 

If any of you have any interest in the playlists, send me an email or Facebook message and let’s talk about it. I love talking music!!!

Now, what we are REALLY here for. 

Let’s start by saying that Low Level Laser has been around for many years in one for or another at this point in time. But, how many actually know where it came from, how it was discovered, and what research is there showing its effectiveness? 

I would hope that, if you include a modality in your office, you have done some background work to show yourself and to demonstrate to your patients that there is backing research for the modality and they don’t just simply need to take your word for it. And, if you can find little to no evidence of effectiveness for a modality, my suggestion is that it should play no part in your services. Of course, that is my opinion and can be taken or dropped as may opinions commonly are. 

Let’s start with the newest paper that mentions cold laser but does not really do anything to address effectiveness of cold laser. I think you can anticipate the outcome once you learn the basis but, it is new so we are talking about it. 

This paper is called, “Spinal manipulation combined with laser therapy is more beneficial than laser therapy alone in chronic non-specific low back pain. A randomized controlled study,” and it was published in the European Journal of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine on April 24, 2018 and was authored by Subash Chandra Bose, et. al(Subash Chandra Bose GN 2018). 

 

Why They Did It

The authors were looking to compare treatment regimens for exercise/cold laser/spinal manipulation vs. exercise/cold laser alone for patients suffering from chronic non-specific low back pain.

How They Did It

  • Three hundred and thirty patients were included
  • Study was randomized control
  • Outcome measurements used were Visual Analog Scale, Roland and Morris Disability Questionnaire, Physical Health Questionnaire, and Health Related Quality of Life-4.
  • Outcome measurements were taken at the beginning to measure the baseline total, at the 4-week mark, at the 6-week mark, and at the year mark. 
  • A blinded assessor was used to evaluate the Outcome Measures

What They Found

  • 326 patients finished the program
  • 304 patients finished through the 1-year mark
  • ANOVA analyses proved statistically significant improvement in regards to the lessening of pain, in regards to increased range of motion, functional disability, depression, and Quality of Life. 
  • All of these significant improvements were seen in the Spinal Manipulation/Exercise/Laser Therapy group. 

Wrap It Up

The authors conclusion was, “Spinal manipulation combined with laser therapy and conventional exercise is more effective than laser therapy and conventional exercise alone in chronic non-specific low back pain. Spinal manipulation is an adjuvant intervention and it can be applied in every day clinical practice.”

If you have paid attention to research, you probably predicted the outcome on this. Spinal manipulation appears to be the most effective means of treating non-complicated low back pain bar none. It just is. On top of laser plus exercise, on top of exercise, equal to more effective than NSAIDs…..it just is and research backs it time and time again. 

But, this paper does nothing to look at cold laser specifically. It just shows us that spinal manipulation gets better results. 

Let us say up front: low level laser, also known as cold laser, is not covered under insurance plans. As they explain it, the modality is experimental and investigational. I have a ton of experience and anecdotal evidence I could relay to you but, in the end, it’s cold laser research that you need for validation. 

First, let’s go through a brief history on cold laser before we get to the cold laser research. 

In 1967 a few years after the first working laser was invented, Endre Mester in Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary experimented with the effects of lasers on skin cancer. While applying lasers to the backs of shaven mice, he noticed that the shaved hair grew back more quickly on the treated group than the untreated group. It’s use wide array of uses have been explored since then and they had no idea where it would lead them.

When we think of lasers, we think of burning or cutting lasers. Cold laser is actually called low level laser. It’s different. You really don’t feel it during the treatment and It works by stimulating cell function. The second paper below by Cotler et. al. states “LLLT at low doses has been shown to enhance cell proliferation of fibroblasts, keratinocytes, endothelial cells, and lymphocytes. The mechanism of proliferation is thought to result from photo-stimulation of the mitochondria leading to activation of signaling pathways and up regulation of transcription factors eventually giving rise to increases in growth factors.”

Here is a paper from 2014 published in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery called “Does low-level laser therapy decrease swelling and pain resulting from orthognathic surgery?” and authored by G. Gasperini, et. al(Gasperini G 2014). 

Why They Did It

Hoping for alternatives to treating swelling and inflammation following orhognatic surgery, and noticing there was a lack of research for or against cold laser, the authors wanted to further investigate it’s effectiveness in that capacity. 

How They Did It

  • 10 patients having undergone bilateral sagittal split with Le Fort I osteotomy were randomly selected. 
  • The treatment protocol consisted of intraoral and extraoral treatment with the laser on one side of the face following surgery 
  • Fake application was performed on the other of the face. Remember that surgery was done on both sides. 
  • The two sides were compared for pain using the visual analog scale and for swelling.

What They Found

  • Immediately after surgery, there was little to no difference for inflammation and pain in the two sides.
  • On the side treated with cold laser, inflammation and swelling decreased significantly on day three, day seven, day fifteen, and day thirty. 
  • Self-reported pain was reduced on the treatment side at the one-day mark and at the three-day mark. 
  • After seven days, however, no pain was present on either side. 

Wrap It Up

The authors of this paper concluded, “This LLLT protocol can improve the tissue response and reduce the pain and swelling resulting from orthognathic surgery.”

Here’s one from Dr. Roberta Chow, et. al, published in The Lancet in 2009 called “Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo or active-treatment controlled trials.(Chow R 2009)”

You should know the reputation of The Lancet. If not, it is one of the world’s oldest medical journals dating back to 1823. Being published in The Lancet is notable to say the least. 

Why They Did It

The point was to perform a systematic review of the literature proving or disproving the effectiveness of cold laser in the treatment of neck pain. 

How They Did It

The authors did an exhaustive search of the databases holding information comparing efficacy of cold laser implementing any wavelength vs placebo or active control for acute or chronic neck pain. 

What They Found

  • 16 Randomized Controlled Trials were identified
  • 820 patients

Wrap It Up

“We show that LLLT reduces pain immediately after treatment in acute neck pain and up to 22 weeks after completion of treatment in patients with chronic neck pain.”

Powerful in my opinion, folks.

This paper is called “The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy For Musculoskeletal Pain” by Howard Cotler et. al. and was published in 2015 in MedCrave Online Journal of Orthopaedics & Rheumatology(Cotler H 2015).

Why They Did It

With the current treatment options for chronic musculoskeletal pain consisting of NSAIDs, steroid injections, opiates, and surgery, the authors recognized a need to further treat chronic pain in a more effective manner as chronic pain continues to become more and more prevalent globally. Particularly chronic low back pain. 

What They Found

The authors state that over 4000 papers found on pubmed show that cold laser does indeed show effectiveness on acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain. They state that heterogeneity of populations, treatments, and groupings means that not every single study was positive but the majority are positive. They also state that the overall positive studies should provide the practitioner with a certain level of confidence in implementing the modality in their treatment protocols. 

Wrap It Up

The authors concluded the following, “One has to be realistic about the therapeutic use of LLLT. The previous discussion has shown that LLLT is beneficial for pain relief and can accelerate the body’s ability to heal itself. LLLT has a long history and strong basic science evidence, which supports its use in pain management. It has few side effects and is well tolerated by the elderly. A laser or LED does not correct situations involving structural deficits or instabilities whether in bone or in soft tissue. Also, LLLT should only be used as an adjuvant therapy for pain relief in patients with neuropathic pain and neurologic deficits. Successful outcomes, like all medical management, depend on good clinical skills linked with an understanding of the nature of injury, inflammation, repair, pain, and the mechanism of laser and LED effects.”

That’s good stuff I think you’d all agree. 

And then there’s this paper from 2003 we will cover quickly. It’s called “Efficacy of low power laser therapy and exercise on pain and functions in chronic low back pain” and written by A. Gur, et. al.. It was published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine(Gur A 2003).  I do dislike including papers from 15 years ago since lasers and technology change rapidly  these days, however, my thought process is that, hopefully, treatments become even more effective over the course of 15 years rather than less effective. 

Why They Did It

The authors were trying to decided whether cold laser was effective (or was not effective) for treating chronic low back pain. 

How They Did It

  • 75 patients
  • The outcome assessments were done through the visual analogue scale, the Schober test, through flexion and lateral flexion measures, through the Roland Disability Questionnaire, and through the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire. 
  • The measures were taken pre- and post-treatment. 

What They Found

Except for lateral flexion specifically, significant improvement was noted in all groups and in all outcome measures taken. 

Wrap It Up

The conclusion by the authors was, “Low power laser therapy seemed to be an effective method in reducing pain and functional disability in the therapy of chronic LBP.”

Key Takeaways this week:

I don’t care what the insurance companies say about cold laser research and cold laser being experimental and investigational. Cold laser is not a “chiropractic thing” and practitioners of all shapes, sizes, and professions are using it including dentists and surgeons. While there are some papers that aren’t positive, heterogeneity and styles and techniques make it difficult. However, the majority of papers on cold laser are very much positive and show effectiveness including those published in The Lancet. 

Walk forward in your practice knowing that you are getting your patients better with cold laser and you are helping make a difference in their lives. 

Going forward this week, Retweet us, like our page on Facebook, and SHARE us on Facebook so we can get those likes up and increase listenership and involvement. We need every bit of your help to do that. I can’t do it alone. 

I want you to know with absolute certainty that When Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple. Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, compared to the traditional medical model, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic. It’s safe, more cost-effective, decreases chances of surgery, and reduces chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically with minimal time requirements and hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! And patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm. THAT’S Chiropractic folks.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and we want to hear from you on a range of topics so bring it on folks!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic evidence-based podcast in the world. 

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 

Social Media Links

iTunes

CF 016: Review of The Lancet Article on Low Back Pain (Pt. 1)

CF 014: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 2 of 3)

 

Bibliography

  1. Chow R (2009). “Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials.” Lancet 374(9705): 1897-1908.
  2. Cotler H (2015). “The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain.” MOJ Orthop Rheumatol 2(15).
  3. Gasperini G (2014). “Does low-level laser therapy decrease swelling and pain resulting from orthognathic surgery?” Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 43(7): 868-873.
  4. Gur A (2003). “Efficacy of low power laser therapy and exercise on pain and functions in chronic low back pain.” Lasers Surg Med 32(3): 233-238.
  5. Subash Chandra Bose GN (2018). “Spinal manipulation combined with laser therapy is more beneficial than laser therapy alone in chronic non-specific low back pain. A randomized controlled study.” Euro J Phys Rehabil Med.

CF 021: Crazy Update On Run-Away Healthcare Spending in America

Crazy Update On Run-Away Healthcare Spending in America

In today’s podcast, we are going to talk about the crazy, run-away healthcare spending in America and we’re going to use an article straight from the leading authority, the Journal of the American Medical Association, to help us out.

Before we get started, I want to share with you how much have enjoyed getting this podcast up and running. I strongly doubt it’s as popular as the other great chiropractic podcasts that have been up and going for a couple of years now. Heck, Chiropractic Forward has just been going since December so, at this point, one would expect for us to still be trying to gain attention and trying to gain some ears. And…..we are. No doubt.

But I can say that is has been pure joy to look up the downloads for each episode and seeing that, no…..its not just me that finds this stuff fascinating. Lol. You guys and gals are starting to listen and starting to pay attention.

We’re still struggling for those like and retweets on Twitter.

That’s the frustrating part if I’m being honest. To KNOW that you have put together an effective article on how chiropractors do not cause strokes and then to have such a hard time getting the word out. It’s frustrating to be sure but it’s also part of building something new and exciting.

So, I will simply continue to remind you that we need your help if we are to make a difference and I will keep reminding you to like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, sign up for our weekly reminder newsletter through the form on our homepage, and share us with your network.

We would certainly appreciate that help. Some of you may have actually gotten to see me arguing the stroke issue on our Facebook page. My gosh, some people, you could hit them with a research book full of papers in your favor and some would still argue just to try to prevent being wrong.

Not only do I get to argue about stroke or whatever the topic may be, it always strays into generalized ignorant statements like, “Chiropractic is bunk.”

I can use research to absolutely wipe the floor with people like that. And, the irritating thing is that the people, or trolls spouting off like that are usually computer majors, musicians, or something else completely removed from healthcare.

It is enough to make a man insane if you allow it. So I don’t.

Anyway, check us on Twitter and Facebook. Every now and then, you may find an enthusiastic discussion. lol. To say the least.

Since I haven’t yet, I’ll introduce myself, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast. We are honored to have you listening. Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall. That’s a tall order but that is the goal.

You have shaked, shimmied, and rolled into Episode #21

I’d like to start by saying that it is good to see the medical world beginning to examine itself with a clear lens. We have seen them turn blind eyes to many things we notice and research notices. As we have mentioned, there has been little attention given to the updated recommendations in favor of chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture in February of 2017. It is yet to be known what, or if anything, will change following the series of low back pain papers recently published in The Lancet (March21, 2018).

I have been mentioning how I feel that the opioid crisis has opened many many doors recently in regards to the medical field, clinical pathways, and in they way they are starting to look at the costs. Kudos to those in the medical field for beginning to call out their own protocols and questions them for effectiveness vs. risk. Some procedures may be effective here and there but, in general, if the squeeze is not worth the push, then there is little to zero return on investment and it should be abandoned. Obviously, one’s health is different than a business stat sheet but the metaphor is a valid one I believe.

Obamacare was supposed to heal all of our healthcare woes, right? From what I can tell, all it did was squeeze out the middle class. The folks that make too much to be subsidized but do not make enough to not really care about the new jacked health insurance rates.

For example, the premiums here in Texas have doubled or tripled in many cases while the insurance companies cover less and less. The co-payments have gone from $15-$20 all the way up to $50 and even $100. The deductibles have gone from $250 or $1,000 all the way up to $5000 or $10,000. In addition, the insurance companies are now reimbursing healthcare providers less. in many cases, 3/4 less.

Did you know that here in Texas, where a medical radiologist was once reimbursed up to $28+ or so for reading a neck series, they now get paid in the ballpark of $7 for the same series? I promise the doctors are not living less of a life than they were prior to Obamacare. Not at all. But, what is likely happening unconsciously is they are probably reading more x-rays more quickly to attempt to make up for the reduction in their pay.

Would you agree that this may put patients at more risk? I’m not saying doctors make a conscious decision to put patients at risk but, if a professional in ANY industry has a house in town, a house and boat on the lake, 3 cars, time share on a private plane, and things of that nature, when their income is cut by 3/4 in some cases, they will tend to find ways to make that up in ways that make sense to them. Regardless of profession or industry.

Maybe Obamacare just makes them more efficient rather than raising the patient risk. I do not have the answer on this but I do know that radiologists are responsible for everything on a film and their license is at risk on each and every film. When the government cut their pay that dramatically, the government began putting people at more risk. In my opinion of course.

I am firmly on the side of the medical field on this issue. The same type of thing is currently happening with the chiropractic industry as well. We are being reimbursed at smaller and smaller rates. We are seeing our covered patients being turned into cash patients whether we like it or not. The co-pays and deductibles are so high, the could just as easily be cash patients for our purposes. For this very reason, you are seeing more and more chiropractors in America begin to look at changing over to a cash-based practice model and drop insurance contracts all together.

I’m not certain every bit of this discussion is completely on topic but let me tie it up and bring it home through the use of this research paper. This paper appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on March 23, 2018. It was titled “Health Care Spending in the United States and Other High-Income Countries” and was authored by Irene Papanicolas, PhD (Papanicolas I 2018).

Why They Did It
Healthcare spending in America is a long-time hot topic and issue that has never been adequately addressed. Part of the problem is that we Americans spend more than other high-income countries with little information that shows that any efforts to control expenses has done anything to help the problem.

These authors attempted to compare the big ticket items in healthcare in America with the same items in ten other high-income countries in an attempt to learn where improvement might be made here at home.

How They Did It
Information was mostly gained from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 2013-16. The OECD is an international organization comparing underlying differences in structural features, types of health care and social spending, and performance for several high-income countries.

What They Found
In 2016, America spent 17.8% of its gross domestic product on healthcare while the other 10 nations spent from 9.6%-12.4%.
Surprise, surprise….pharmaceutical costs spending per capita in America was $1443 vs. from $466-$939 in the other 10 countries. American doctors and patients love those pills. That is healthcare spending in America at its best.
90% of Americans are insured while 99%-100% were insured in the other 10 countries.
The U.S. has the highest proportion of private insurance when compared to the other 10 countries, which is 55.3%.
When it comes to smoking, Americans actually have the second lowest rate sitting at 11.4%
When we talk about obesity, the US has the highest proportion at 70.1%. Others range from 23.8%-63.4% for comparison purposes.
The US life expectancy was the lowest at 78.8 years.
US infant mortality was the highest rate of the 11 countries.
There was no real difference in the American physician workforce, nurse workforce, etc., when compared to the other 10 countries.
America has comparable numbers of hospital beds
Americans use MRIs and CTs when compared to the other 10 countries.
The US had similar rates of utilization for acute myocardial infarction, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hip replacements, knee replacements, and coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
Administrative costs of care in American stood at 8% while the same measure in the other 10 countries ranged from 1%-3%.
Salaries of physicians and nurses were higher in the US; for example, generalist physicians salaries were $218?173 in the US compared with a range of $86?607 to $154?126 in the other countries.

Wrap It Up
The authors of the paper concluded that, “The United States spent approximately twice as much as other high-income countries on medical care, yet utilization rates in the United States were largely similar to those in other nations.

Prices of labor and goods, including pharmaceuticals, and administrative costs appeared to be the major drivers of the difference in overall cost between the United States and other high-income countries”

My own wrap up would be that America spends twice as much money on healthcare while we have the highest rate of obesity, double the amount of pharmaceuticals, lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, and higher administrative costs when we are compared to 10 other countries of similar income. Healthcare spending in America is out of hand.

That’s not good, folks. Not good at all. When do the pharmaceutical companies stop controlling the medical profession and the medical profession turn it around to control the pharmaceutical companies? When does that happen exactly?

Did you know that, from 1948 until 1996, there was a TV ban on running liquor ads? You may see beer or wine ads but you would never see Jim Beam running a commercial between Alf and Different Strokes. But, how often do we see pharmaceutical ads on TV these days? It’s a shame to be honest. Shouldn’t the doctor be the one that is informed on medications rather than a 320 million people that are almost completely uneducated on pharmaceuticals? Should patients be going into doctors’ offices ready to pressure them into a certain medication because they saw it on TV?

It is absolutely insane and should have been stopped at the first mention of it. To make it fair or legal or whatever may be the case, they state a long laundry list of all of the things that may happen to you if you take it. But, the information is delivered and people are influenced.

If a patient goes in for something like erectile dysfunction, the doctor tells them what they need. They don’t tell the doctor!! Do you see the problem here? If the patient goes in for potential blood clots, the doctor should be telling them they need a certain type of thinner. That is not the patient’s place in any country on the entire planet.

Not only do the pharma companies control patient mentality in this way but they attempt control of the physicians. Pharma reps are skilled at what they do. They are highly trained and very well-paid to effect influence in their market’s physicians. They take them on dinners, bring the office lunches, pay for trips, etc. You can spot them at any doctor’s office you go to. Just look for the well-dressed person in the waiting room with a clip board and a bag of goodies. That’s them!

I had a general practitioner that I had to finally fire. I had been living a bit unhealthy for several months when I went for a yearly checkup. My blood pressure was high. He immediately tried to put me on life-long meds. I was overweight and drank a 12-pack of Bud Light here and there while traveling in a band playing music. You might say that I used to be a little bit ornery. Again, I was admittedly behaving badly. His diagnosis was that I was depressed and needed an anti-depressant. Really?

Instead of trying some behavior modification, according to him, I needed life-long blood pressure meds and life-long antidepressant meds. Where does this mentality come from? What if we treat the CAUSE rather than the SYMPTOM?

First, I lost weight and started to behave. Guess what? My blood pressure returned to normal. As a result of ceasing traveling in a band, I basically quit drinking beer outside of social events. Boom! I was no longer depressed according to his definition.

This may seem like an extreme example to some but, it is my estimation that this sort of “doctoring” and “pill pushing” is far more common than one may even dream.

I am in no way against the medical field or against surgery or against medicine. I am against simple pill fixes. I’m against long-term meds when not needed. There are some conditions like diabetes or genetic high blood pressure that require long-term meds but, in many cases, they should be avoided. I’m against the medical field performing shots and surgeries and using opioids for musculoskeletal pains when the research is clear when it recommends chiropractic, massage, etc.. for those pains.

Basically, the medical field needs to stop thinking the pills are the be all – end all of healthcare and start looking more to the cause rather than just treating the symptoms. The physicians need to take the reins of their profession away from the pharmaceutical companies and wield the power over pharma that they attempt to wield over chiropractic and other alternative means of healthcare.

Enough about them for this episode. I want you to know with absolute certainty that When Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple. Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.

When you look at the body of literature, it is clear: research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, compared to the traditional medical model, patients get good to excellent results with Chiropractic. It’s safe, more cost-effective, decreases chances of surgery, and reduces chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically with minimal time requirements and hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! And patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm. THAT’S Chiropractic folks.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and we want to hear from you on a range of topics so bring it on folks!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic evidence-based podcast in the world.

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.

CF 013: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 1 of 3)

CF 016: Review of The Lancet Article on Low Back Pain (Pt. 1)

Bibliography
Papanicolas I (2018). “Health Care Spending in the United States and Other High-Income Countries.” JAMA 319(10): 1024-1039.

CF 020: Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction?

Chiropractic Evolution or Extinction?

This week on the Chiropractic Forward Podcast we are talking about Chiropractic Evolution and hopefully NOT extinction. I want to continue with discussions on low back pain (LBP) because that is the topic that is on fire at the moment. Not only that but I will go into some of the inter-professional feuding we find in the chiropractic industry and we will touch on some admittedly uncomfortable topics for some chiropractors.

First, bring on that bumper music!

Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast where we talk about issues related to health, chiropractic, evidence, chiropractic advocacy, and research. Thank you for taking time out of your day I know your time is valuable and I want to fill it with value so here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall.

You have shimmied right into Episode #20. It’s hard to believe all of this craziness started 20 weeks ago. It feels like I’m still trying to get it figured out. That’s for sure.

I just returned from a trip to New Orleans. Did you know that New Orleans is actually good for you?

The momentum low back pain has picked up recently is a once in a lifetime re-booting of an entire thought process, of long-held clinical pathways, and of stubborn practitioner mentality and dogmatic beliefs.

I blame the national emergency we know as the “Opioid Crisis” for starting a more focused attack on low back pain. The statistics on low back pain are some incredible numbers. It’s the number one reason for disability in the world. That is truly impressive. However, low back pain as a global issue did not crop up in only the last several years. Granted, due to an older, aging population, it has increased but low back pain has been a serious concern for many years at this point.

Yet, there were no global papers on low back pain. There were no articles in the journals for the American Medical Association and for the American College of Physicians recommending spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) as an effective, first-line treatment for low back pain. We have simply never seen the attention based on the research that we have seen since the onset of the opioid crisis.

One must give kudos to the medical field in the sense that they recognize they have been partly the cause of the opioid crisis and, in turn, are taking steps to address the problem through new thinking and alternative means. Even if that means going against old dogmatic beliefs and against the common grain.

I applaud the new directions. Although, there is still a very clear gap that will take time to fill in regards to what the practitioner is doing and what they SHOULD be doing.

We recently discussed a series of papers in The Lancet from March 21, 2018 that dealt with low back pain. The Lancet is one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world dating back to 1823 and the series of papers was compiled by an international, interdisciplinary group of experts. It is considered the best current information we have dealing with low back pain, it’s prevention, and going forward. I highly encourage you to read through the papers.

Since it would get a little boring going over the same three papers over and over, I am going to move along with other research and other information concerning low back pain.

I want to start with a paper that echoes the sentiments of The Lancet series in regards to the gap in what the evidence suggests and in what is actually happening in the real world. In all actuality, from here forward, I believe most of what we discuss on the topic of low back pain will somewhat echo the sentiments found in the recent Lancet papers.

Moving on, the papers we will discuss are arranged strategically and tell a story if you follow along.

To start, here is a paper from 2010 titled “Managing low back pain in the primary care setting: the know-do gap.” It was published in Pain Research & Management and authored by NA Scott, et. al. with the Institute of Health Economics in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Why They Did It
The goals for these authors were to identify gaps in knowledge in regards to diagnosis of acute and chronic low back pain in a primary care clinical setting for primary practitioners in Alberta, Canada in order to further determine what barriers lie in the way of the primary practitioners adopting a multidisciplinary approach in the treatment process.

How They Did It
• The authors accepted papers from 1996-2008
• The papers compared clinical pathway patterns found in the primary practices and in the guides and recommendations found through searching literature databases, websites of various health technology assessment agencies, and libraries.
• The data was organized qualitatively.

What They Found
The search for quality papers yielded 14 that were considered relevant.
Knowledge gaps were identified in the primary practices for red flags, imaging use, advice for bed rest and sick leave for low back pain, medications, and recommendations of alternative treatment means such as chiropractic, acupuncture, physiotherapy, etc.)

Wrap It Up

The authors stated that a “know-do” gap certainly exists. Meaning, there is a difference in what the research is telling primary practices to do for low back pain and in what they are actually doing in the real world.

The authors plan to use this information to develop a plan to implement more multidisciplinary protocols for low back pain by educating the primary practitioners on the guides and recommendations[1].

If we are to talk about the “Know-do” gap, what a common result of there being a gap in knowledge of diagnosis and treatment when compared to actual researched guides?

To help shed some light on this, let us look at a paper from March of 2018 by Richard Deyo, et. al. at the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health Science University in Portland, Oregon. This paper is titled “Use of prescription opioids before and after an operation for chronic pain (lumbar fusion surgery)”

Why They Did It
Considering low back fusion surgery is typically performed to treat chronic low back pain, and considering that patients have the expectation of no longer needing opioids after a surgery, the authors were looking to discover three things:
• What amount of patients having long-term preoperative opioid use discontinued or reduced dosage after surgery?
• What amount of patients having had a smaller amount of preoperative opioid use initiated long-term use?
• What predicts whether a patient goes on to use opioids in the long-term after surgery?

How They Did It
• This was a retrospective cohort study
• There were 2491 participants that had undergone lumbar fusion surgery to treat degenerative conditions.
• The researchers used Oregon’s prescription drug monitoring program to determine pre-op and post-op use of opioids by the test subjects.
• Long-term use was defined as more than 4 prescription refills 7 months after hospitalization. At least 3 occurring more than 30 days after hospitalization.

What They Found
• 1045 patients were identified as having long-term opioid use PRE-operatively
• 1094 were determined to have had long-term opioid us POST-operatively.
• From the long-term PRE-op patients, 71% continued long-term in POST-op use and 13.8% experienced episodic opioid use.
• A mere 9.1% of the long-term PRE-op patients had short-term use POST-op.
• In the group of patients that received no preoperative opioids, 12.8% went on to use opioids long-term.

Wrap It Up
This paper suggests that the strongest predictor of whether a patient would use opioids long-term was the cumulative effect of PRE-op opioid doses. The paper also suggests that lumbar fusion surgery commonly had no effect on eliminating long-term opioid use so patients that are unaware of the risks of opioid use run a risk of long-term use[2].

While I’m no orthopedic surgeon, I would ask, “Why are they doing lumbar fusions on stable segments in the first place considering the research showing that it should be a treatment of last resort?”

It should come after spinal manipulation, acupuncture, massage, exercise rehab, physiotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, yoga, etc….. That is A LOT any sort of surgery should typically follow so why? Of course, I’m not making the money those folks make so, that may be the decision maker for some of them at least.

Moving from things going wrong to ways they can go right, there is this paper from the journal Pain from March 27, 2018 titled, “Spinal Manipulation and Exercise for Low Back Pain in Adolescents: A Randomized Trial by R. Evans, et. al. with the University of Minnesota’s Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program. As a side note, Gert Bronfort was also listed as an author in this paper. If you are unfamiliar with Bronfort, he has authored several key papers previously.

Why They Did It
The authors state that there is a “paucity” in high quality research on the matter of exercise vs. spinal manipulative therapy in the treatment of low back pain.

How They Did It
• The research was a multicenter, randomized trial
• 185 adolescent were included
• The participants ranged in age from 12-18 years old
• All had chronic low back pain
• Outcome assessments were measured at 12 weeks, 26 weeks, and at 52 weeks

What They Found
• The inclusion of spinal manipulative therapy (chiropractic adjustments) to exercise therapy had a greater effect on the reduction of low back pain severity over the course of a year.
• At the 26-week mark, the spinal manipulative therapy with exercise group had better effectiveness for disability and improvement over the exercise alone group.

Wrap It Up
The spinal manipulative therapy with exercise group had a significantly greater satisfaction with care at all time points. “There were no serious treatment-related adverse events. For adolescents with chronic LBP, spinal manipulation combined with exercise was more effective than exercise alone over a one-year period, with the largest differences occurring at six months. These findings warrant replication and evaluation of cost-effectiveness[3].”

We chiropractors have to love that paper now, don’t we?

Next, let’s look at a different level of recovery that deals with the way patients think as much as the treatment they undergo. Here is an article that appeared in HealthDay called “Overcoming Fear of Back Pain May Spur Recovery” by Steven Reinberg. The article was based on a recent paper that appeared in JAMA Neurology in April 16, 2018 published by lead researcher Anneleen Malfliet. It is usually wise to at least listen up when it’s in journals such as The Lancet or in the Journal of American Medical Association.

The research paper being cited once again echoes much of the sentiment laid forth in The Lancet low back series. Basically, their recommendations were as follows:
• We need to help patients think differently about their pain.
• We need to encourage patients to move in ways they had been afraid of.
• We need to teach patients with neck and back pain to remain active and/or increase their activity level gradually.
• We should avoid the use of scary or un-reassuring labels or diagnoses.
• We should not use pain levels as a reliable symptom or guideline to limit activity.

In short, research proved that patients following these guidelines showed less disability, a reduced fear of moving, and improvement in mental and physical outlook.

“Pain neuroscience education aims to change patients’ beliefs about pain, to increase their knowledge of pain and to decrease its threat,” Malfliet said[4].

Be sure to read the full article at: https://consumer.healthday.com/bone-and-joint-information-4/backache-news-53/overcoming-fear-of-back-pain-may-spur-recovery-732970.html

Now that we chiropractors are taking the step more and more into the spotlight as the experts in the treatment of biomechanical issues, what can we do on our end to ensure our colleagues can confidently refer to us and see us as peers for these issues?

I can tell you that, being in the ER one night as a result of a viral infection, not only was the virus running crazy through me but my neck was killing me as well. I thought I would ask the ER doc if he had any orthopedic exam up his sleeve that could determine what on Earth was hurting me so bad. Between you, me, and the light post, I already had a good idea but was curious as to what he knew and I thought it may be something that both of us could learn from.

It was. He did a Spurling’s move and that was about it before he gave up and said, “Honestly man, you probably know what’s going on better than I do.” And he was right. I did. But, it showed me that he was honest and that he saw me as an expert in my field and I appreciated it. Of course, he’s more of an expert in his field which is why I was there in the first place. We all have our part to play in the treatment of patients. Don’t we?

Back to my original point: how do we increase our profile as spinal, biomechanical experts. How do we increase interdisciplinary, inter-professional trust in who we are and what we can do for our patients?

I can tell you what NOT to do if that helps anything. I do not see any use chiropractic terminology that our colleagues do not understand. I personally do not use the term subluxation. In the dictionary, it is described as a partial dislocation. What does that mean in the medical mentality? It means a shoulder that was almost dislocated but reduced naturally. It means something along those lines. It does not mean a slight misalignment of a vertebra that causes cancer or whatever other conditions some describe.

I understand chiropractors wanting to stay separate and distinct. I get it. But, there is a difference between being separate and distinct and putting yourself in a category nobody understands, that everyone thinks is out on the fringe, and that nobody knows exactly how to utilize.

If our profession is not careful, it will separate itself into oblivion now that physical therapist, physiotherapists, and the medical world in general have discovered something we have known all along. That is that spinal manipulation and mobilization is one of the best and most effective means of treating neck and back pain.

What has kept us safe from them taking our business all of these years is that they all thought we were crazy! For some, they were right but the basic principle our profession is based on was one that evidence eventually backed up and proved. Now we are in danger of losing it if we do not learn that separate and distinct may not be the most effective means of conducting our business.

The last paper I want to discuss is one called “How frequent are non-evidence-based health care beliefs in chiropractic students and do they vary across the pre-professional educational years” by Stanley Innes, et. al. It was published in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies in March 15, 2018.

Why They Did It
The authors wanted to determine what proportion of chiropractic students in Australia hold non-evidence-based beliefs from the start and what their beliefs are in the treatment of non-musculoskeletal health condition. In addition, the authors wanted to determine if the beliefs changed any over the course of their education.

How They Did It
• The study was performed in 2016
• The information was taken from two chiropractic schools in Australia
• The students answered a questionnaire with the following questions
1. How often would they give advice on five common health conditions in their future practices
2. What was their opinion about if chiropractic spinal adjustments could prevent or help seven health-related conditions.
• There were 444 responses to the questionnaire

What They Found
• Students were highly likely to offer advice on non-musculoskeletal health conditions.
• The chances of a student doing so rose to the highest level in the last year of their education.
• High numbers of students held non-evidence-based ideas of the capabilities of chiropractic spinal adjustments in beginning which then tended to decrease in proportion until the last year. In the last year, the pattern reversed.

Wrap It Up
The authors were quoted as saying, “New strategies are required for chiropractic educators if they are to produce graduates who understand and deliver evidence-based health care and able to be part of the mainstream health care system[5].”

I want you to know that I am a chiropractic advocate. I want chiropractors to practice how they wish. I want the minimal practices to be comfortable and be as stripped down and as effective as they can be. I want the interdisciplinary doctors to do everything they can do to get people well and make a difference in lives. But I want them to do things in a way that is backed by science, that brings us to the center of healthcare rather than the fringes, I want us using terminology and ideas that garner confidence and respect rather than ridicule and scorn, and I want us all to thrive and prosper while we grow our incredible profession.

There will always be an internal feud amongst chiropractors. Likely, some of my close colleagues whom I respect immensely will take offense to what I am saying and to them, I can only say, “I’m sorry but it’s the way I feel about it and it’s the way I see it.” Thank God we are all different. The same would be boring.

A colleague of mine told me he feels that philosophy and science can live hand in hand. I want to believe that too. I hope it is true. But, what I do know for a fact is that, if we do not take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that opioids and low back pain has presented us, and move toward better integrating ourselves with the medical profession, I fully believe we will have our techniques and treatment stolen from us and we will cease to exist in our current form.

One constant you can always count on in life is change. I hope the inner-professional feuding does not keep change from happening quickly and in the right direction.

When Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple. Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.

Did you know that research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic? Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health!

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes.

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. We want to ask you to share us with you network and help us build this podcast into the #1 Chiropractic evidence-based podcast in the world.

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.

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CF 011: With Dr. Tyce Hergert: It’s Here. New Guides For Low Back Pain That Medical Doctors Are Ignoring

CF 013: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 1 of 3)

CF 016: Review of The Lancet Article on Low Back Pain (Pt. 1)

 

 

References

1. Scott NA, Managing low back pain in the primary care setting: the know-do gap. Pain Res Manag, 2010. 15(6): p. 392-400.
2. Deyo R, Use of prescription opioids before and after an operation for chronic pain (lumbar fusion surgery). Pain, 2018.
3. Evans R, Spinal Manipulation and Exercise for Low Back Pain in Adolescents: A Randomized Trial. Pain, 2018.
4. Malfliet A, Effect of Pain Neuroscience Education Combined With Cognition-Targeted Motor Control Training on Chronic Spinal Pain
A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Neurology, 2018.
5. Innes S, How frequent are non-evidence-based health care beliefs in chiropractic students and do they vary across the pre-professional educational years. Chiropr Man Therap, 2018. 26(8).

 

CF 019: Non-Opioid More Effective While Chiropractic Maintenance May Be The Most Effective

Non-Opioid More Effective While Chiropractic Maintenance May Be The Most Effective

This Chiropractic Forward podcast this week is a bit of a mishmash of a couple studies that will ultimately intertwine into a valid discussion including chiropractic maintenance and a discussion about non-opioid vs. opioids.

Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast where we talk about issues related to health, chiropractic, evidence, chiropractic advocacy, and research. Thank you for taking time out of your day I know your time is valuable and I want to fill it with value so here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall.

Before we get started, I want to draw your attention our website at chiropracticforward.com. Just below the area where you can listen to the latest episode, you’ll see an area where you can sign up for our newsletter. I’d like to encourage you to sign up. It’s just an email about once a week to let you know when the episode is updated and what it’s about. Also, if something brand new pops up, we’ll be able to tell you about it quickly and easily.

You have moonwalked into episode #19. I hope you have enjoyed the previous episodes. Particularly the last six which were a part of a series all debunking the “Chiropractors Cause Strokes” myth and then another series of podcasts reviewing the lancet articles on low back pain. The Chiropractic profession NEEDS you to share those 6 episodes in particular

Now, since we have covered the impact of the opioid crisis exhaustively, I will cover it only briefly for reference purposes.

  • Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide.
  • 8 out of every ten people will experience back pain. I will admit that I have never met anyone in 45 years of life on this Earth that fits into the 20% that apparently never suffers from any low back pain.
  • Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office right behind upper-respiratory infections.
  • With such gains and leaps in the medical industry as far as treatment goes, low back pain is stubbornly on the rise.
  • More than half of Americans who experience low back pain spend the majority of the work day sitting. 54% to be exact. Did you know that an equal number of patients first seek help with a chiropractor as seek help with a medical practitioner for back pain?
  • Back pain in general costs $100 billion dollars every year when you factor in lost wages and productivity, as well as legal and insurance overheads.

Should there be any doubting the necessity of non-pharmacologic treatments for low back pain at this point, then a person is simply beyond help. We can only refer you to a report from the Executive Office of the President of the United States’ report titled “The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis” put forth by the Council of Economic Advisers in November of 2017[1].

That reminds me, that paper citation as well as any others we talk about here will be in the show notes so always check out www.chiropracticforward.comfor those show notes.

The report paints a fairly complete picture of this national crisis. The medical field helped create the national crisis. Now, will they help put the fire out? It seems the answer to that question is, “Yes!”

Now that the nation and the medical field understand the danger of opioids, we are certainly starting to see an increase in research having to do with opioids. A brand new paper of particular note was published March 6, 2018 in JAMA, performed by Dr. Erin Krebs, MD, et. al. and is titled “Effect of Opioid vs. Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients With Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain. The SPACE Randomized Clinical Trial [2].”

Why They Did It

How They Did It

  • 240 subjects
  • 12-month trial
  • Randomized with masked outcome assessments
  • Test subjects experienced moderate to severe chronic back, hip, or knee osteoarthritis pain despite analgesic use.
  • Interventions tested were opioids and nonopioids
  • The first step of the opioid group included immediate-release morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone/acetaminophen
  • The nonopioid group’s first step was acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
  • Medication was changed and/or adjusted within each group according to patient response.
  • The main outcome assessment used was Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) scale.

What They Found

  • 240 subjects completed the trial
  • There was little difference between the two groups in terms of function over the course of the 12 months of testing.
  • Pain intensity was actually much more improved (statistically significant) in the NONopioid group.
  • Adverse harms (bad side-effects) were significantly greater in the opioid group.

Wrap It Up

Results do not support initiation of opioid therapy for moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain.”

Again, I don’t wish to belabor a point we have covered several times but, for the purpose of this discussion, we must mention them. The medical field is stepping up to the challenge slowly but, I would argue significantly. The American College of Physiciansupdated their treatment recommendations for chronic and acute low back pain just last year. In the report[3]they recommended spinal manipulation prior to taking ibuprofen or other over-the-counter NSAIDs for low back pain. One month later, in JAMA (the journal for the American Medical Association) there was a paper demonstrating the effectiveness of spinal manipulative therapy[4]. IN JAMA!! The significance of this cannot be overstated.

Next, let us talk a little bit about chiropractic treatment for low back pain, what it looks like, and whether chiropractic maintenance care really makes any sense. that recommend preventative (AKA Wellness Care) to their patient bases.

Let me start by stating my opinion and the opinion of most evidence-based chiropractors I would assume: active, complaint-focused treatment should have a start and it should have an end. Plain and simple, cut and dry. How does chiropractic maintenance fit in there?

If a patient is coming in for a complaint such as neck pain, the practitioner should decide whether the pain is acute, subacute, or chronic and, based on history and exam findings, be able to give some good, responsible recommendations for the treatment of the complaint. Typically, the acute schedule will be shorter in terms of treatments and time vs. a chronic condition. A chronic condition is more difficult to treat and one would reasonably expect the schedule for a chronic condition to be longer and more intense. The CCGPP guides[5]can be useful for this sort of decision-making.

For example, Medicare has broken down how they value diagnosis codes into groups A-D. In their system, the secondary diagnosis codes can be the difference between seeing a patient only 12 times or as much as 30 visits for a specific complaint. A simple low back pain diagnosis or muscle spasm diagnosis garners 12 visits from Medicare while degeneration of lumbar intervertebral disk or lumbar spinal stenosis will indicate up to 30 visits for treatment.

In the personal injury world, according to the Quebec Taskforce on Whiplash Associated Disorders, if a patient is assessed with a Grade III whiplash, assuming complications, they can be treated up to 76 visits over 56 weeks. That’s a lot of treatment but the length of treatment reflects the severity of injury as a Grade III whiplash is associated with ligament tearing and/or neurological findings.

For more information on general guides for practice protocol, please reference a previous blog of ours on the topic at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com/valuable-reliable-expert-advice-clinical-guides-practice/or listen to our podcast at https://www.chiropracticforward.com. The guides can be found in Episode #5 which can be found at this link: https://www.chiropracticforward.com/2018/01/18/cf-episode-5-valuable-reliable-expert-advice-on-clinical-guides-for-your-practice/

What does all of that have to do with chiropractic maintenance care? The point being made is that there are a lot of different chiropractors. Seventy thousand plus in America alone and, although there are guidelines out there, chiropractors do not typically seem to have a general overall desire to implement them. One chiropractor may tell you that they will need to see a chronic neck pain patient 50 visits a year to clear it up while another may see the same condition for 18-20 visits. This is not only frustrating for chiropractors, it’s highly frustrating for patients as well.

Of course, this is not true but, don’t chiropractors commonly recommend preventative or chiropractic maintenance care that may resemble “rest of your life” care? It’s my opinion that once a complaint resolves, patients should see their chiropractor once a month. Minimally, they should be seen once every two months. That is chiropractic maintenance and that is my opinion. I will find more than a handful of chiropractors that will disagree with me on both ends of the spectrum but the key to the idea is “chiropractic maintenance” care in some sort of ongoing fashion.

There is research for chiropractic maintenance care. Take this paper from 2011 for example. It is by MK Senna, it’s titled “Does maintained spinal manipulation therapy for chronic nonspecific low back pain result in better long-term outcome?” and was published in the prestigious Spine journal[6]. For the purpose of this study, keep in mind that SMT stands for spinal manipulation therapy. Also of special note is that chiropractors perform over 90% of SMTs in America so I commonly interchange SMT or spinal manipulation therapy with the term “Chiropractic Adjustment.”

Why They Did It

The authors of this paper wanted to check how effective spinal manipulation, also known as chiropractic adjustments, would be for chronic nonspecific low back pain and if chiropractic maintenance adjustments were effective over the long-term in regards to pain levels and disability levels after the initial phase of treatment ended.

How They Did It

  • 60 patients having chronic low back pain of at least six months duration
  • Randomized into three different groups:
  • 12 treatments of fake treatment for one month
  • 12 treatments of chiropractic adjustments for a month only
  • 12 treatments for a month with maintenance adjustments added every 2 weeks for the following 9 months.
  • Outcome assessments measured for pain and disability, generic health status, and back-specific patient satisfaction at the beginning of treatment,

What They Found

  • Patients in groups 2 and 3 had significant reduction in pain and disability scores.
  • ONLY group 3, the group that had chiropractic maintenance adjustments added, had more reduction in pain and disability scores at the ten-month time interval.
  • The groups not having maintenance adjustments, pain and disability scores returned close to the levels experienced prior to treatment.

Wrap It Up

The authors conclusion is quoted as saying, “SMT is effective for the treatment of chronic nonspecific LBP. To obtain long-term benefit, this study suggests maintenance SM after the initial intensive manipulative therapy.”

For my own wrap up this week I would say simply this:

  • Low back pain is a significant issue for Americans
  • It is one of the biggest reasons people get hooked on opioids
  • As shown above, opioids are no more effective than non-opioids so why would anyone use them?
  • Chiropractic has been shown superior to nonopioids (specifically Diclofenac[7])
  • The big boys of the medical field (ACP and AMA) and the White House itself are recommending chiropractic for the treatment of low back pain before using even NSAIDs

So, why is this even in the discussion phase rather than the implementation phase? Why are we not inundated with low back pain patients at this very minute?

We have to go back to a different White House report that came out recently discussing the fact on page 57 of the report that although chiropractic has been proven effective, barriers to chiropractic treatment have been put in place by CMS and health insurance providers[8].

The specific wording is as follows: “A key contributor to the opioid epidemic has been the excess prescribing of opioids for common pain complaints and for postsurgical pain. Although in some conditions, behavioral programs, acupuncture, chiropractic, surgery, as well as FDA-approved multimodal pain strategies have been proven to reduce the use of opioids, while providing effective pain management, current CMS reimbursement policies, as well as health insurance providers and other payers, create barriers to the adoption of these strategies.” “The Commission recommends CMS review and modify rate-setting policies that discourage the use of non-opioid treatments for pain, such as certain bundled payments that make alternative treatment options cost prohibitive for hospitals and doctors, particularly those options for treating immediate post-surgical pain.”

It’s all there. It’s simple. All we can do is continue to tell everyone and beg for your help in telling everyone as well.

It is up to us to spread the good news and all it takes is hitting the Share button on social media. Retweet, help get the word out.

I challenge you to tell your people. It’s so easy but it takes a little initiative on your part. You actually have to do something now. Your profession is poised on the edge of stepping into a role it is uniquely able to fulfill and excel in but NOT unless we reach out and take that role and hold onto it.

Our effectiveness is proven. It’s time. Help us help you. I’m not asking for donations. I don’t want your money. I want your influence. So do us a favor if you will and share this information and, if it didn’t get the response you hoped for, share it again. Print out the parts of this article you find particularly effective and send it to medical practices in your area.

Make a difference.

Did you know that research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic? Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “chiropractic maintenance” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health! And patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm. THAT’S Chiropractic folks.

Please feel free to send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think or what suggestions you may have for us for future episodes.

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. As this podcast builds, so will the website with more content, products, and chances to learn.

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Creek Stone, my office here in Amarillo, TX, home of the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.

Source Material

  1. The Council of Economic Advisers, The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis. 2017: The Executive Office of the President of the United States of America.
  2. Krebs E, Effect of Opioid vs Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients With Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain – The SPACE Randomized Clinical Trial.JAMA, 2018. 319(9): p. 872-882.
  1. Qaseem A, Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians.Ann Intern Med, 2017. 4(166): p. 514-530.
  2. Page N, Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain.Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), 2107. 317(14): p. 1451-1460.
  3. Baker G, Algorithms for the Chiropractic Management of Acute and Chronic Spine-Related Pain.Topics in Integrative Health Care, 2012. 3(4).
  4. Senna MK, Does maintained spinal manipulation therapy for chronic nonspecific low back pain result in better long-term outcome?Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2011. Aug 15; 36(18): p. 1427-37.
  5. Wolfgang J, e.a., Spinal HVLA-Manipulation in Acute Nonspecific LBP: A Double Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial in Comparison With Diclofenac and Placebo.Spine, 2012. 38(7).
  6. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and The Opioid Crisis. 2017.

 

CF 018: Pt. 3 – Review of The Lancet Article: Low back pain a call to action

Review of The Lancet Article: Low back pain a call to action (Part Three)

On the Chiropractic Forward podcast this week, we are going continue a review of a recent paper published on low back pain that we hope will have a powerful impact in the months and years to follow. This week it will be a review of paper #3 from the Lancet series – low back pain a call to action.

Before we get started, I want to draw your attention our website at chiropracticforward.com. Just below the area where you can listen to the latest episode, you’ll see an area where you can sign up for our newsletter. I’d like to encourage you to sign up. It’s just an email about once a week to let you know when the episode is updated and what it’s about. Also, if something brand new pops up, we’ll be able to tell you about it quickly and easily.

Welcome to the podcast today, you have strolled right into episode 17. I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast where we talk about issues related to health, chiropractic, evidence, chiropractic advocacy, and research. Thank you for taking time out of your day I know your time is valuable and I want to fill it with value so here we go. And this week it’s low back pain a call to action.

As I mentioned at the top of the show, this week, I want to continue with the series published in The Lancet on March 21, 2018. For a quick re-cap this week…. The Lancet is one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world. It has been around since 1823. In addition to the credibility of the journal, this series of papers dealing with Low Back Pain was compiled and authored by the leading experts on the matter globally. On top of that, the experts were a group of interdisciplinary practitioners which meant they ranged from medical doctors and PhD’s, to physical therapists and chiropractors.

Essentially, EVERYONE had a seat at the table so, it is the general consensus at this point that this series of papers is as current, as credible, and as accurate as can be had at this point in time and in our understanding of Low Back Pain.

The three papers were broken down as follows:

  1. What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention.
  2. Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions.
  3. Low back pain a call to action.

Last week, we reviewed the first of the three papers which was titled, “What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention.” We went through it note by note and section by section trying to strip away the embellishments to simply boil it down to a leisure read and, hopefully, an enjoyable learning process.

We will do the same this week with the third paper of the series titled, “Low back pain a call to action.”

I want to start this week in the same way we started last week: by discussing how the papers were accomplished.

How They Did It

For this paper, again titled “What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention,” the researchers identified scientific studies through searches of databases:

•MEDLINE (PubMed)

•Scopus

•Google Scholar

•African Index Medicus Database

In order to ensure a high-quality standard, systematic reviews were shown preference for inclusion.

This week, we’re going to review the last of the three papers from a recent series published in The Lancet on March 21, 2018. If you don’t know the impact or why this series is so important, please review the last two episodes of the Chiropractic Forward Podcast at www.chiropracticforward.com or the last two articles of my blog over at amarillochiropractor.com/blog. That will get you up to speed. In short, the series on low back pain was compiled and authored by an international panel of experts on the matter. Essentially, the best of the best.

This last of the three papers is titled “Low Back Pain A Call To Action.”

Summary

We have already covered several times that low back pain is now the leading cause of disability globally and is only growing in significance because the global population is living longer. The issue may be more profound in low to middle-income countries. In addition, most low back pain doesn’t even appear to be directly related to any specific trigger or origin.

In many cases, patients are being restricted from attempting resolution of the back pain via conservative approaches such as self-management support, specialized interventions like spinal manipulations (I added that part) and multidisciplinary rehab.

The panel suggests the following:

  1. Address the political aspect. They recommend calling on the World Health Organization to make low back pain one of its priorities by putting it on the target list in an effort to increase attention and decrease treatment that is not recommended initially. They recommend calling on political, medical, and social leaders to make sure public health initiatives are properly funded and geared toward the prevention of low back pain and treatment.
  2. Public health challenge.
    • Change priorities – Make low back pain a priority. Create and implement ways to prevent it and combine these strategies with other strategies that are chronic and somewhat related. Strategies such as weighing the right amount, being active physically, and maintaining good mental health as well. These tactics treat more than simply low back pain. The panel also recommends strategies that can modify the factors putting the population at risk of developing low back pain.
    • Change systems and change practice – Provide early recommendations for maintaining work load as much as possible and/or return to work as quickly as possible. Attempt to ensure early ID of people that are at risk of developing long-term, chronic disability as a result of low back pain. Address co-morbidities raising a person’s risk of developing low back pain and promote a healthier lifestyle in addition to altering disability benefits and get people back to work as soon as possible. And lastly, address low back pain through multidisciplinary rehabilitation in an effort to return the patient to work quickly.
  3. Healthcare challenge –
  • Change culture – The panel appears to me to be promoting the use of a Public Relations campaign to focus and promote living well with low back pain, self-management, staying healthy, and to change the public perception of low back pain.
  • Change clinician behavior – After developing the best evidence-based systems, there will be a need to get everyone on the same team in regards to the way clinicians refer and treat, the patients, as well as the professional journals.
  • Change systems – There is a need to develop and implement systems allowing a patient to receive the right care at the right time. Clinical pathways will need a re-boot and will need to become consistent across interdisciplinary lines and differing clinical settings.
  • Tackle Vested Interests – The panel discusses the fact that governments and insurance companies need to regulate in a manner consistent with evidence-based treatment for low back pain and eliminate conflicts of interest. Regulation through contracts, and payment schedules for treatments with little to no evidence for effectiveness.

The idea that a healthy weight and regular physical activity will help reduce low back pain must enter the global subconscious through public programs, especially in low to middle-income countries.

An assertion I fully agree with the authors on is that, thus far, healthcare dollars have been wasted on treatments that are ineffective and, many times, downright dangerous. The risk vs. reward ration just doesn’t make sense more times than not currently. No too mention the issue of opioid addiction which we all should know the stats on by now.

Boiling it down, the panel aims to get rid of practices that harm and create waste while, at the same time, opening the door to effective and affordable means of treating low back pain to patients in need. The authors are quoted here as saying,”Protection of the public from unproven or harmful approaches to managing low back pain requires that governments and health-care leaders tackle entrenched and counterproductive reimbursement strategies, vested interests, and financial and professional incentives that maintain the status quo.”

The authors promote the idea of implementing a positive health concept as the umbrella idea aiming for prevention of long-term disability. This includes alternative to treatments and cures and promotes more meaningful lives. This truly is a low back pain a call to action recommendation.

Another great quote from this third paper is as follows, “Improved training and support of primary care doctors and other professionals engaged in activity and lifestyle facilitation, such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, nurses, and community workers, could minimize the use of unnecessary medical care.”

The panel also calls for an active monitoring system in order to assess and keep an eye on the recommendations implementation as well as the outcomes of the changes.

To read more for yourself, follow this link to the third paper:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30488-4/fulltext

If access is unavailable, just simply register at The Lancet. It is completely free of charge.

If you are research minded, if you are a low back pain patient, or if you are a practitioner regularly coming in contact with low back pain patients, it is my opinion that taking the time to read these three papers yourself is of utmost importance.

Please find the links to the papers in the “References” section and get it done. Together, we can make a big, big difference in the lives of our low back pain patients. Without a doubt.

For this week’s next step, go register with The Lancet and get this paper for free! You just have to register. That’s it.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s paper called “Low back pain a call to action.” We’ll go through it bit by bit and hit the highlights for those of you that aren’t into reading research papers and things of that sort. Don’t miss it!

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. As this podcast builds, so will the website with more content, products, and chances to learn.

We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Creek Stone, my office here in Amarillo, TX, home of the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.

 

Other episodes you may enjoy:

CF 003: Great News: Chiropractic Outpaces Muscle Relaxants

CF 008: With Dr. Craig Benton – Brand New Information Based on Results Chiropractic Proven Effective For Low Back Pain

CF 011: With Dr. Tyce Hergert: It’s Here. New Guides For Low Back Pain That Medical Doctors Are Ignoring

CF 016: Review of The Lancet Article on Low Back Pain (Pt. 1)

CF 017: Pt. 2 – Review of The Lancet Article on Treatment of Low Back Pain

 

 

References:

Paper 1 – “What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30480-X/fulltext

Paper 2 “Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions.”: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30489-6/fulltext

Paper 3 – “Low back pain: a call for action”: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30488-4/fulltext