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CF 048: Do Disc Herniations On An MRI Worsen When Sitting Or Standing (PART TWO)?

CF 048: Do Disc Herniations On An MRI Worsen When Sitting Or Standing (Part TWO)?

Today we’re going to continue our talk from last week on whether or not a disc herniations change as you sit up, stand up, or move around. We went over some pretty good research last week. This week, it’s time for the cherry on the top. 

But first, here’s that bumper music

Integrating Chiropractors

 

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

You have scampered into Episode #48. I use scamper this week because, as my son was playing with his aunt and uncle’s dog named Rowdy down in Dallas last weekend, that was the way he described when the dog would take off after the tennis ball every time. Scamper. Great word that I plan on using more from here on out where appropriate. 

Diplomate of Chiropractic Orthopedists

The DACO this weekend down in Dallas. The class was with James Lehman. Dr. Lehman, in case you do not know, is with the University of Bridgeport Connecticut. His official title from their website is Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences, Health Sciences, College of Chiropractic. 

Dr. Lehman is also one of the main drivers of this DACO program. Through Univ. of Bridgeport Connecticut, he has teamed up with CDI out of Australia and their courses in neuromusculoskeletal online education. It is VERY well done. Very professional and very worthwhile. You can find that at https://cdi.edu.au

We talked a lot about some stuff that I want you to hear straight from him so we’ll do an interview with him very soon but the gist of it all is this: get certified in something other than simply having your doctor of chiropractic degree. 

FQHC

I’ve heard a couple of opinions. I’ve heard the Diplomate programs are worthless now and that people are moving away from them. But, I think that’s coming from people that don’t want to take the time or put in the effort. The real story is most likely that our system, for good or bad, is moving away from private practice and TOWARD integrating through the group offices and through the Federally Qualified Health Centers. 

There are chiropractors being reimbursed in the system up to $300 for a Medicaid visit and around $150 on the lower end. 

I have to thank Dr. Craig Benton once again for bringing this to my attention. Did you guys know that, given the right positioning, you could make that much per appointment from freaking Medicaid?

Here’s the deal though: you have to be a specialist. A Diplomate. So, is it really useless? I say it most certainly is not. 

Whiplash Section

Now the course, the course this weekend was on whiplash. I’ve been through Art Croft’s 4 part Advanced Certification on Whiplash Biomechanics and Traumatology so I can say with a lot of honesty that a good portion of the course was a refresher for me. 

But, I absolutely learned a solid amount of new stuff as well. Such as Axillary compression. Axillary compression was not a condition of the shoulder that was on my radar screen prior to this course. 

That is one simple little example but there was a gob of nuggets for the nugget pouch and as always, I really walked away feeling that I will be better at my job on Monday. But it’s always that way. Even after just a 2-hour online course. It’s phenomenal.

Personal

Continuing the ongoing saga of hiring a front desk staff member in the year 2018. Here’s what all I’m going to say about it. Looks like my wife has found a new full-time job. Lol. Get the picture?

It looks like I may have a cool speaking gig coming up in February. Nothing solid but, if I were to come to your state convention or to some sort of event you are at, what topic along the vein of Chiropractic Forward’s typical content would you like to learn more about? 

If you are a regular listener and familiar with what we have been doing here this last year, I’d really appreciate it if you would take just a minute and email me at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and give me a little guidance. What topics would you want to see in a presentation?

I’m glad you’re here and hopefully, I didn’t ramble too much before getting to the meat and taters. Here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall.

On To The Research

Picking up from last week, we want to start in on the changes disc herniations undergo when axial pressure is placed on them. In other words, what happens to disc herniations from the time the MRI is taken laying down to the point where the person sits up. 

I have to preface it all by saying go listen to last week’s episode which is #47, please. It tells you how it is very common in the medical field amongst even radiologists to assume or guess that there is no change in the disc or in the herniation when axial pressure is applied. Research tells us differently. 

This week we want to start with a paper called “Evaluation of intervertebral disc herniation and hypermobile intersegmental instability in symptomatic adult patients undergoing recumbent and upright MRI of the cervical or lumbosacral spines.” It was done by Ferreiro Perez, et. al[1]. and published in the European Journal of Radiology

How they did it

  • 89 Patients studied
  • 45 of them had their low back imaged
  • 44 patients had their necks imaged
  • The images were done in both the lying down position as well as the sitting.

What They Found

  • The overall combined recumbent (lying down) miss rate in cases of pathology was 15%
  • Overall combined recumbent underestimation rate in cases of pathology was 62%
  • Overall combined upright-seated underestimation in cases of pathology was 16%.

Wrap It Up

Upright-seated MRIs were seen to be superior to recumbent MRIs in 52 of the patients studied for conditions of posterior disc herniations and spondylolisthesis. Recumbent MRIs were only superior in 12% of the patients.

Next, this one is titled, “Effect of intervertebral disk degeneration on spinal stenosis during magnetic resonance imaging with axial loading” by Ahn et al[2].

Why They Did It

The authors in this paper were wanting to determine if disc degeneration will increase the severity of spinal stenosis when the spine is loaded with axial pressure. 

How They Did It

They had 51 patients with symptoms of neurogenic intermittent claudication and/or sciatica that had their MRIs loaded as well as non-loaded. 

The foramen involved were all measured for changes in sizes.

Wrap It Up

Here’s what they found, “More accurate diagnosis of stenosis can be achieved using MR imaging with axial loading, especially if grade 2-4 disc degeneration is present.”

AKA:” Seated or loaded MRIs are superior for assessing lumbar stenosis. 

Next, this one is by Willen[3] and it’s called “Dynamic effects on the lumbar spinal canal: axially loaded CT-myelography and MRI in patients with sciatica and/or neurogenic claudication.” It appeared in Spine Journal in 1997. 

They had 50 people with CTs, 34 were imaged with MRI, the imaging was performed laying down as well as axially loaded. 

They closed it up by saying, “Axial loading of the lumbar spine in computed tomographic scanning and magnetic resonance imaging is recommended in patients with sciatica or neurogenic claudication when the dural sac cross-sectional area at any disc location is below 130 mm2 in conventional psoas-relaxed position and when there is a suspected narrowing of the dural sac or the nerve roots, especially in the ventrolateral part of the spinal canal in psoas-relaxed position”

Next Paper

This one is by Kanno, et. al[4]. called “Axial loading during magnetic resonance imaging in patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis: does it reproduce the positional change of the dural sac detected by upright myelography?” It appeared in Spine Journal in 2012. 

44 patients, with imaging in the supine position and then with axial load added. The dural sack was measured 

“The size of the sack was significantly reduced in the axially loaded imaging and the axial loaded MRI detected severe constriction with a higher sensitivity (96.4%) and specificity (98%) than the conventional MRI.”

Next paper

This one is by Danielson et. al. from 2001 called, “Axially loaded magnetic resonance image of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic individuals.” This paper appeared in Spine Journal in 2001 as well. 

MRIs were performed lying down as well as with axial load on the participants. The axial loading was performed lying down, face up with a compression device built for this study specifically. The diameter of the dural sack was measured to check for the differences. 

The authors said, “A significant decrease in dural cross-sectional area from psoas-relaxed position to axial compression in extension was found in 24 individuals (56%), most frequently at L4-L5, and increasingly with age.”

Pretty cool stuff right there people. 

I want you to go forward this week knowing what you get from listening to this podcast every week. You get things you can absolutely use and implement immediately. Some of you may gain confidence now that you know some research that you maybe didn’t know previously. Some of you may now be able to tell a patient that has a 5mm central posterior herniation that 5mm isn’t telling us the whole story. 

It’s telling us part of the puzzle but that discs respond to positioning and various stresses we put on the discs through our activities. 

Use it or lose it

This can give you some extra guidance in your recommendations when you consider disc herniations change and get worse, stenosis gets worse when the patient sits up or bends forward. 

If you aren’t up on directional preference exercises, McKenzie, and CRISP protocols, it’s time to get there folks. It’s time to get there. The anatomy absolutely responds to movement and positioning. 

Integrating Chiropractors

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment instead of chemical treatments.

The literature is clear: research and experience show that, in 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results when compared to usual medical care and it’s safe, less expensive, and decreases chances of surgery and disability.

It’s done conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. If done preventatively going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising overall health! At the end of the day, patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm and THAT’S Chiropractic, folks.

Contact Us!

I want to ask you to go to chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. We love to stay in touch and want to offer you discount specials when we get our educational products up and rolling. 

Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services.

Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Being the #1 Chiropractic podcast in the world would be pretty darn cool. 

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

Website

http://www.chiropracticforward.com

Social Media Links

Chiropractic Forward Podcast Facebook GROUP

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1938461399501889/

iTunes

Player FM Link

Stitcher:

TuneIn

About the author:

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger

CF 047: Do Disc Herniations On An MRI Worsen When Sitting Or Standing (PART ONE)?

CF 035: Chiropractic & Disc Herniations

Bibliography

1. Ferreiro P, e.a., Evaluation of intervertebral disc herniation and hypermobile intersegmental instability in symptomatic adult patients undergoing recumbent and upright MRI of the cervical or lumbosacral spines. Eur J Radiol, 2007. 62(3): p. 444-8.

2. Ahn TJ, e.a., Effect of intervertebral disk degeneration on spinal stenosis during magnetic resonance imaging with axial loading. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo), 2009. 49(6): p. 242-7.

3. Willen J, e.a., Dynamic effects on the lumbar spinal canal: axially loaded CT-myelography and MRI in patients with sciatica and/or neurogenic claudication. Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 1997. 22(24): p. 2968-76.

4. Kanno H, e.a., Axial loading during magnetic resonance imaging in patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis: does it reproduce the positional change of the dural sac detected by upright myelography? Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2012. 37(16): p. E985-92.

CF 047: Do Disc Herniations On An MRI Worsen When Sitting Or Standing (PART ONE)?

CF 047: Do Disc Herniations On An MRI Worsen When Sitting Or Standing (PART ONE)?

Today we’re going to talk about those MRI’s you get back that show 4mm disc herniations in the low back. OK, that doesn’t sound too bad right? But what happens to the number when a patient comes out of the MRI tube and sits up, stands up, or bends over and lifts something? Let’s talk about it. 

But first, here’s that bumper music

 

Integrating Chiropractors

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

Introduction

You have toppled into Episode #47 just like a big huge Jenga game. 

DACO Talk

Let’s talk a bit about the DACO program: this weekend, I will be headed back to Dallas, TX to attend another 10 hours of the DACO program. This class will again be with Dr. James Lehman, the man, the myth, the legend.

After this weekend, I’ll have 40 of the 50 live hours needed and I’ve been chipping away at the online hours in the meantime. I’ve got about 20 done so far so I’ll be sitting at roughly 60 of the 300 hours needed. 

Yes, that sucks when I look at it through one lens but is pretty dang cool when I look at it through another. It’s been an excellent journey so far. 

It’s not just orthopedics. Which I love. There is stuff I don’t love like the different forms of arthritis. I’m not a big fan of neurology-like refreshers on vestibular nuclei, spinothalamic, corticospinal tracts, and all of that stuff.

It’d be nice to separate that and leave it for the Neuro Diplomates but it doesn’t work that way. It’s a lot. And at only 60 hours in, I’m wondering how on Earth I’m going to be able to remember it all enough to pass a big ol’ hairy test on it but, I started it and I’m going to finish it pass or fail. 

Between you and me though, I have an A in the class so far so I plan on passing the thing!

At The Office

Front desk…..well…..it’s still a thing for us. If you’ve been following along, you know what’s up. If you haven’t, then you know that I was thinking we finally had the spot filled. That is until we didn’t. So, starting over. Boo…. What a tough time it is these days. 

I’d rather get a colonoscopy or have a joint drained than keep dealing with this but…. we keep on keepin’ on, don’t we? As if there is any other option outside of closing shop and going on the road as a speaker….. Hey, wait a minute….

Meat n’ Taters

Alright, enough of all that. Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of what we do here. 

You either are a patient or you sent a patient to get an MRI on the low back because you think they are showing signs of having disc herniations pain is running out into the leg, and you want to take a look at it. We have enough here that I need to split this into a two-part podcast. 

We don’t want these dudes getting too long or you’ll look at the length and skip the whole damn thing. We’re busy after all aren’t we? You have to be really good to get me into a 45-minute podcast and I …..may not be that good. Lol. 

The Question

As I mentioned in the intro: what happens the measured herniation when a patient comes out of laying down in the tube for the MRI and then sits up, stands up, or bends over and lifts something?

Some of you probably think the answer is obvious but I’m going to suggest to you that it is not obvious. Here’s how I know for sure. I run in medical circles to some extent.

I’m friends with radiologists, two heart surgeons, a vascular surgeon, a cardiologist, several ER/Urgent care docs, and countless Nurse Pracs and PAs as well as PT’s. 

I haven’t asked them all because there’s no reason to but the radiologists for sure and a couple of the others…..I asked them the same question. What happens to disc herniations when the patient applied weight-bearing to the disc herniations?

I was told universally that, while they didn’t know for sure, they thought the disc was so strong that really nothing would happen. Certainly nothing significant. 

The radiologists felt this was too and I just wasn’t satisfied. I just knew something had to happen. And something important at that. So, what does a research nerd such as myself do when they don’t have solid answers? They start a search for research. 

The key was to find the right keywords. If I recall, they were “axial loaded MRI” or something very similar to that. I believe that was the key to the kingdom. 

Anyway, I want to go through some papers I found on disc herniations and axial loads and we’ll see what we find. 

The Research

Let’s start here, if you know a little anatomy and a little McKenzie stuff, you know the disc can be likened to a stout bag of water. Meaning, if I push one side down, the opposite side will “bulk up.” The gym rats call it “swole” I believe. 

If I push a different side down, the other will push up. It reminds me of why I can’t go camping. First, I require central heat and air and plumbing. Secondly, I’m 6’4” and 280 or so depending on how much fun I’ve been having lately. If my much smaller wife and I try to sleep on an air mattress, I go to the ground while she is sleeping on a mound of air. 

It just doesn’t work for us which works for me. I’m no camper people. 

Anyway, this knowledge, if you didn’t already have it, will come in handy here in a little bit. 

Also, I hope you’ll go to our show notes for the diagram demonstrating the different amounts of pressure on your low back depending on how you are positioned. For this study, I am told the researchers actually placed pressure sensors into the patients’ discs and had them do these moves to find the differenced. 

Can you even imagine doing that or volunteering to do that? Holy smokes. 

Anyway, laying down shows 25 kg of pressure in your low back discs. Standing places 100kg on them while sitting straight up is 140kg. Now, the big ‘no-no’s’….standing and bending forward with something of substance in your hands, 220kg and the daddy of them all, sitting bent forward with weights in the hands. 275 kg. 

No weights, bending forward at the waist and sitting slumped. How would they affect those discs? 

Now,  let’s get to the first paper, it’s paper #1 titled “Upright magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine: Back and Pain Radiculopathy.” It was published in the Journal of Craniovertebral Junction & Spine in 2016[1].

They were testing MRI results lying down as well as when seated. 

How They Did It

  • 17 participants
  • 10 were asymptomatic
  • 7 had symptoms of radiculopathy
  • MRIs were done on each in the seated position

What They Found

  • Mid-disc width accounted for 56% of the maximum foramen with in the symptomatic group.
  • Mid-disc width was over 63% of the maximum foramen within asymptomatic volunteers.
  • Disc bulging was 48% larger in the symptomatic group.
  • The measurements of the foramen were smaller in the symptomatic group.

Wrap It Up

The information suggests that MRIs performed in the upright seated position can be useful in the diagnosis process because it is better able to distinguish important differences among the asymptomatic and symptomatic. Especially in regards to the size of the intervertebral foramen.

Then we have this study by Madsen, et. al[2]. called ““The effect of body position and axial load on spinal canal morphology: an MRI study of central spinal stenosis.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18165750/?i=26&from=/9612180/related

In this paper, the authors say that axial loading of the spine does not necessarily cause any significant changes to the disc itself, but that the simple act of having more extension in the spine was a determining factor as to how much space remained in the dural sac surrounding the spinal cord or cauda equina.

I wanted to be fair so I included this study. It suggests the discs play a very small part in the process but, as you will see from approximately 10 other papers we’ll discuss, this sort of finding or thought process is very much in the minority.

See…..I’m fair. I don’t want to cherry-pick. 

Here we have one by Hansson et. al.[3] called “The narrowing of the lumbar spinal canal during loaded MRI: the effects of the disc and ligamentum flavum.” 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19277726/?i=10&from=axial%20loaded%20disc%20MRI

How They Did It

  • There were 24 participants in the study.
  • The lumbar (low back) spines were examined by MRI while lying down supine (face up).
  • Then the study was repeated with roughly half of their weight loaded to the spine axially.
  • The measurements were through the cross-sectional areas of the spinal canal as well as the ligamentum flavum, the thickness of the ligamentum flavum, the posterior bulge of the disc and the intervertebral angle.

What They Found

  • The axial loading did, in fact, decrease the cross-sectional size of the spinal canal.
  • Increased bulge or thickening of the ligamentum flavum was to blame for 50%-85% of the decrease in the spinal canal size.

Wrap It Up

The authors concluded that it appears the ligamentum flavum, not the disc, played a dominant role in reducing the size of the spinal canal on axially loaded spines for those with stenosis.

Next up is Choy et. al. called “Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbosacral spine under compression.” This paper reveals that sitting MRI imagined exists at Harvard and Zurich. Since seated MRI is so limited in regards to availability, the authors were looking to be able to compress the spine in other ways to duplicate the pressures found in someone that is seated. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/9612180/?i=20&from=sitting%20disc%20herniation%20mri

They built a plywood contraption that had the ability to fit into a standard MRI machine and subject the patient to similar compressive forces. Interesting I thought. I’d love to see this contraption. 

What They Found

They were able to reproduce the symptoms in 50% of the patients through the compression machine and they were able to reproduce  “augmentation” or accentuation of the disc herniation when the compressive force was initiated. Meaning, simulated axial compression herniated the disc further. 

Man, we’re scootin now folks, 

This one is by Nowicki, et. al[4]. called “Occult lumbar lateral spinal stenosis in neural foramina subjected to physiologic loading,”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/8896609/?i=20&from=axial%20loaded%20disc%20MRI

These authors wanted to see how different positioning of the trunk affects the relationships of the bones and discs in regards to the neural structures in the same anatomic region. They also wanted to find out how disc degeneration responds to axial loading.

What They Found

The average findings were that extension, flexion, lateral bending, and rotation show contact or compression of the spinal nerve by the ligamentum flavum or disc in 18% of the neural foramina. 

Extension loading produced the most cases of nerve root contact. Disc degeneration significantly increased the prevalence of pain stenosis.

Wrap It Up

The authors concluded, “The study supports the concept of dynamic spinal stenosis; that is, intermittent stenosis of the neural foramina. Flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation significantly changed the anatomic relationships of the ligamentum flavum and intervertebral disc to the spinal nerve roots.”

So, we’re starting to paint a picture here I think and starting to show that positioning and weight-bearing does indeed have an effect on the disc herniations, the ligamentum flavum, and the neural structures present at each level. 

Here’s the last one we’ll cover this week and it’s called “The diagnostic effect from axial loading of the lumbar spine during computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging in patients with degenerative disorders.” It was authored by Willen et. al[5].

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11725243/?i=14&from=axial%20loaded%20disc%20MRI

Why They Did It

The authors stated goal in this paper were to find out if there was any real value in imaging patients that had axial loads (simulated weight-bearing) applied in cases of degenerative spines.

How They Did It

  • A device was used to induce a load on the low back before imaging.
  • 172 patients were examined with compression applied.
  • 50 of those were imaged with CTs.
  • 122 of those subjects were imaged with MRIs.
  • Any changes in the major anatomy of the regions were noted.

What They Found

“Additional valuable information was found” in 50 of the original 172 participants. “A narrowing of the lateral recess causing compression of the nerve root was found at 42 levels in 35 patients at axial loading.”

Wrap It Up

There is certainly and frequently additional information that can be gathered for diagnostic purposes when the imaging is done with weight-bearing loads applied. This included those with neurogenic claudication as a result of stenosis but also sciatica.

We have a painting forming up here folks. I did the underpainting this week and we’ve got it ready for the finishing touches next week so stick around and make sure you’re connected with us. 

We do that through our weekly newsletter to let you know when the next episode goes live. You can get on that at chiropracticforward.com. 

You can also find us on Facebook on our Chiropractic Forward Page but, if you’d like to take it a step further, you can join us at our Chiropractic Forward Group where we post the papers from each episode and maybe even spark up a discussion about them if you like. 

The Message

Before you leave us today, I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment instead of chemical treatments.

The literature is clear: research and experience show that, in 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results when compared to usual medical care and it’s safe, less expensive, and decreases chances of surgery and disability.

It’s done conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. If done preventatively going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising overall health! At the end of the day, patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm and THAT’S Chiropractic, folks.

Contact Us

Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Being the #1 Chiropractic podcast in the world would be pretty darn cool. 

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

Website

http://www.chiropracticforward.com

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1938461399501889/

iTunes

Player FM Link

Stitcher:

TuneIn

About the author:

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & VloggerBibliography

1. Nguyen HS, e.a., Upright magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine: Back pain and radiculopathy. J Craniovertebr Junction Spine, 2016. 7(1): p. 31-7.

2. Madsen R, e.a., The effect of body position and axial load on spinal canal morphology: an MRI study of central spinal stenosis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2008. 33(1): p. 61-7.

3. Hansson T, e.a., The narrowing of the lumbar spinal canal during loaded MRI: the effects of the disc and ligamentum flavum. Eur Spine J, 2009. 18(5): p. 679-86.

4. Nowicki BH, e.a., Occult lumbar lateral spinal stenosis in neural foramina subjected to physiologic loading. AJNR Am J Neuroraiol, 1996. 17(9): p. 1605-14.

5. Willen J, e.a., The diagnostic effect from axial loading of the lumbar spine during computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging in patients with degenerative disorders. Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2001. 26(23): p. 2607-14.

 

CF 045: Harvard Health, Low Back Stenosis, Allergy Autism

CF 045: Harvard Health, Low Back Stenosis, Allergy Autism

As the title this week indicates, I’ve taken some files that have been gathering a little bit of dust in the dark corner and I’m bringing them out into the light.

Today we’ll talk about an article in Harvard Health, we’ll talk about low back stenosis research (something that doesn’t get a lot of attention), we’ll talk about a JAMA article on allergies and autism, and we’ll hit on a paper attempting to explain why some patients respond while others do not. 

Integrating Chiropractors

 

But first, you know what’s up, I wrote and recorded our jingle so you might as well just sit back and enjoy this candy for your ears. When you do create something, it’s going to be in EVERY show don’t ya know!! 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.  

You have collapsed into Episode #45

OK, first thing, we should probably talk about the Texas vs. Oklahoma game that just happened this last weekend. By the time this posts, it’ll be two weeks ago but, still need to brag. What a game that was. I’m a Texas boy but either way would have been fine since most of OU’s players are from Texas anyway. I go for all of the Texas teams. 

I want to thank Kyle Swanson for the shout out on the Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance group a couple weeks ago. He’s a Texas A&M Aggie. Look, like I said, I root for A&M too so we would probably be buddies in the real world if I’m guessing out loud. 

Front Desk Staffing

Let’s get to the ongoing saga of hiring a new front desk staff. If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that hiring a new front desk staff member has been nothing but a soup sandwich. 

Messy. Gloppy, Unreal and confusing. Those are just some words I’m laying on you. I have more words for what we’ve been through on this deal but then my podcast would have an explicit designation and I try to keep it clean around here. 

But, I believe progress has been made. We seem to have a new one that seems to be on top of her game. If she’s a “sticker,” then the search may very well be over. Of course, she’s not young which is probably why she’s a sticker so far. She’s closer to my age than any of the others have been. I’m not saying that young people have no work ethic…..I’m just saying that all of the young people that we interviewed for this job have no work ethic. 

That sounds like I’m against young people, millennials, blah blah blah. I’m not. I have had some VERY intelligent and capable young people come through here as employees over the years. There are very smart, very talented young folks out there. We just didn’t encounter any of them for this round of hiring. That’s all I’m saying. 

Moving on

October has really taken off in terms of listens for the podcast. I can only guess you’re sharing episodes here and there with your network. To that, I say thank you. If I ever see you somewhere and you tell me you have been sharing my stuff, and hold your hands out like, “bring it in big boy,” well then…you’re getting a hug my friend.

I’m a hugger. Which can probably be scary if you don’t know me. I’m 6’4” and like 280 so….big guy coming through! But, those that know me know that I’m a teddy bear. Unless you try to steal my food. Then it’s pretty much on at that point. 

On to the research

Let’s get on with trying to make your practice better. When your practice is better, your life is better. 

Let’s start with the Harvard Article. It was published in November 2017. I have it linked at chiropracticforward.com for you all in the show notes for episode 45. The name of the article is “Where to turn for low back pain relief[1]” and I couldn’t find the name of the author so there ya go. 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/where-to-turn-for-low-back-pain-relief

The subtitle of this Harvard Medical journal….medical journal……is this: in most cases, a primary care doctor or chiropractor can help you resolve the problem. What the hell??? It seriously says that in a Harvard Medical article. I’m trying to catch my breath here. Sorry…..

It was published in November of 2017. The article says that there are many causes of low back pain and some of the most common is an injury to muscles or tendon which we know is called a strain and then injury to back ligaments which we call a sprain. And then there are herniated or bulging discs. 

Going through the DACO program tells me that the prevalence between disc, facet, and SI joint pain stands at 40% for the disc, 30% for the facet, and 22.5% for the SI joint pain. BUT….over the age of 50 years old, it flips a little and the Facet joint gains prevalence over disc or SI pain. Just some nuggets to tuck away in your nugget pouch. 

This article just blows me away when it gets to the “Where to Turn” subtitle. Beneath this subheader, it says, “Since you shouldn’t try to diagnose your own back pain, make your first call to a professional who can assess your problems, such as a primary care physician or a chiropractor.”

Both can serve as the entry point for back pain says Dr. Matthew Kowalski who serves as a chiropractor with the Other Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 

What the hell is happening here? Am I in the Twilight Zone where everything is flipped and the medical world finally gets it?

The article goes on to say “A well-trained chiropractor will sort out whether you should be in their care or the care of a physical therapist or medical doctor.”

And here’s the difference between evidence-based/patient-centered chiropractors and those that are not. 

The more not evidence-based amongst us, the ones that drive a billion people through their doors for everything from allergies to whatever…..they will not typically be turning those patients over to the medical doctor or the PT. 

Moving to the next paper, it’s called “Comprehensive Nonsurgical Treatment Versus Self-directed Care to Improve Walking Ability in Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Randomized Trial” authored by Carlo Ammendolia, et. al. It’s all about low back stenosis. This paper is co-authored by DCs, AND MDs. It was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation on October 27, 2017[2]. 

Why They Did It

They wanted to the effectiveness of a comprehensive nonsurgical training program to a self-directed approach in improving walking ability in low back stenosis.

How They Did It

  • It was a randomized controlled trial
  • It was done in an Academic hospital outpatient clinic
  • Participants suffered neurogenic claudication
  • MRI confirmed lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Subjects were suffering low back stenosis and randomized

What They Found

The conclusion stated, “A comprehensive conservative program demonstrated superior, large, and sustained improvements in walking ability and can be a safe nonsurgical treatment option for patients with neurogenic claudication due to LSS”

Low back stenosis can be helped

Dr. Ammendola has an amazing lumbar spinal stenosis program and training course. I have not personally taken it just yet but, it’s on my list after I finish up the DACO program. It comes HIGHLY recommended and this paper shows us why. 

Trucking on, this one is called “Do participants with low back pain who respond to spinal manipulative therapy differ biomechanically from nonresponders, untreated controls or asymptomatic controls?” It was published in Spine Journal in September of 2015 and authored by Wong, et. al. [3]

Why They Did It

To determine whether patients with low back pain (LBP) who respond to spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) differ biomechanically from nonresponders, untreated. Some, but not all patients with low back pain report improvement after a visit to the chiropractor. Why does that happen?

What They Found

After the first SMT, SMT responders displayed statistically significant decreases in spinal stiffness and increases in multifidus thickness ratio sustained for more than 7 days; these findings were not observed in other groups.

Wrap It Up

Quote, “Those reporting post-SMT improvement in disability demonstrated simultaneous changes between self-reported and objective measures of spinal function. This coherence did not exist for asymptomatic controls or no-treatment controls. These data imply that SMT impacts biomechanical characteristics within SMT responders not present in all patients with LBP.”

And our last one this week comes to us from JAMA, also known as the Journal of the American Medical Association. This one is called, “Association of Food Allergy and Other Allergic Conditions With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children.[4]” It was authored by Guifeng, et. al. and published in 2018. Again, these papers are cited in the show notes at chiropracticforward.com under episode 45 so check them out yourself please. 

The question they attempt to answer here is, “What are the associations of food allergy and other allergic conditions with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children?”

They say in the paper that Common allergic conditions, in particular, food allergy, are associated with autism among US children, but the underlying mechanism for this association needs further study.

The study was a population-based, cross-sectional study used data from the National Health Interview Survey collected between 1997 and 2016

The conclusion was quote, “In a nationally representative sample of US children, a significant and positive association of common allergic conditions, in particular, food allergy, with ASD was found.”

They now need to find out the cause and underlying mechanisms so they can attempt to reverse the upswing of autism here in America. 

So….it appears maybe it’s not all due to vaccines after all. 

Integrating Chiropractors

That wraps it up for us this week. I hope you enjoyed it. Research can be boring but, it can be fascinating too when you allow it to help guide your thought process when you are approaching your daily tasks and deciding on treatment options for your patients. 

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment instead of chemical treatments.

The literature is clear: research and experience show that, in 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results when compared to usual medical care and it’s safe, less expensive, and decreases chances of surgery and disability.

It’s done conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. If done preventatively going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising overall health! At the end of the day, patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm and THAT’S Chiropractic, folks.

Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Being the #1 Chiropractic podcast in the world would be pretty darn cool. 

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

Website

http://www.chiropracticforward.com

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1938461399501889/

iTunes

Player FM Link

Stitcher:

TuneIn

About the author:

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger

 

Bibliography

1. School, H.M., Where to turn for low back pain relief. Harvard Health Publishing, 2017.

2. Ammendolia C, Comprehensive Nonsurgical Treatment Versus Self-directed Care to Improve Walking Ability in Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Randomized Trial, in North American Spine Society Meeting. 2017, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabiliation: Orlando, FL.

3. Wong AY, Do participants with low back pain who respond to spinal manipulative therapy differ biomechanically from nonresponders, untreated controls or asymptomatic controls? Spine, 2015. 40(17): p. 1329-37.

4. Guifeng X, Association of Food Allergy and Other Allergic Conditions With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children. JAMA, 2018. 1(2).

 

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

CF 044: w/ Dr. Dale Thompson – Why I Like Being An Evidence-Based Chiropractor

CF 044: w/ Dr. Dale Thompson – Why I Like Being An Evidence-Based Chiropractor

Today we’re going to talk about being an evidence-based chiropractor. What does it mean to be practicing evidence-based chiropractic and we’re going to be talking about with Dr. Dale Thompson from Iowa. USA.

Dale Thompson - Evidence-based Chiropractor

Integrating Chiropractors

But first, here’s that bumper music you’ve come to know and love. 

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

You have mosied Old West style into Episode #44

Now that I have you here, I want to ask you to go to chiropracticforward.com and sign up for our newsletter. It makes it easier to let you know when the newest episode goes live when someone new signs up it makes my heart leap a little, and in the end, it’s just polite and we’re polite in the South.  

We are really starting to pick some steam. Thank you to you all for tuning in. If you can share us with your network and give us some pretty sweet reviews on iTunes, I’ll be forever grateful.

By now, we all know how the interwebs work. You have to share and participate in a page if you are going to see the posts or if the page will be able to grow. 

My Week

How has your week been? Mine has been great. I attended my third DACO class and this one with the man, the myth, the legend, Dr. James Lehman. And he was excellent. Which isn’t surprising but sort of is and here’s why.

Being the head of the DACO program for the University of Bridgeport Connecticut, Jim was just there to audit the class which was originally to be taught by Dr. Miller who I’m not familiar with just yet. 

Well, we had a huge storm come through the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex that screwed everything up including my drive into town all the way from Amarillo. I literally got dumped on by gallons of water per second for about 4 hours to get there. 

Pure misery Y’all, and that’s not exaggerating. In fact, all of the rivers, lakes, and low lying streets were flooded. The word of the day for the newscasters on TV was the word “Swollen.” All of the bodies of water were quote, Swollen. 

Anyway, the storm made it impossible for Dr. Miller to get to Dallas but, good fortune was shining on the DACO program in Dallas and it’s participants. Dr. Lehman was there to audit his first class in over a year and he was able to simply step in and teach instead of Dr. Miller. 

So, I got some good solid learning from the man himself who, as luck would have it, has agreed to be a future guest on the Chiropractic Forward podcast so just hold onto your britches because we’re going to make it happen. 

Introduction

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.

I want to start by introducing this week’s guest. You have likely heard me talk all about the Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance Facebook group as well as the Evidence-based Chiropractic Facebook.

I’m pretty fond of the two groups as well as our own Facebook group I’d invite you to called oddly enough the Chiropractic Forward Facebook group. We have a Chiro Forward page where we update everyone on new episodes but we also have the group where we post the research papers and discuss and connect outside of the podcast. 

Getting back to the first two groups I mentioned, Dr. Thompson is a very active member of those two groups….. 

There are a lot of other terms thrown around that mean nothing to others like TORS and medi-practors and all that fun stuff. But, I thought this would be a great time to just sit and talk about the differences. 

Welcome

Welcome to the show Dr. Thompson. Thank you for joining us today. How’s the Iowa weather this fine Fall Thursday morning?

I already went through your introduction and am wondering, How do you make the leap from embalmer and the mortuary all the way to being an evidence-based chiropractor? Tell me about that. 

Dr. Thompson, can you tell me a bit about your practice? What does it look like?

Have you always been an evidence-based chiropractor?

What initially got you into the research side of things in the profession?

As an evidence-based chiropractor, you post so much research, I’m not sure how you have the opportunity to find it all and go through it all. How in the heck do you do it?

Dr. Thompson, back on September 16th, you posted something for the newer members of the group to read. Your post was called Practicing Chiropractic Wisely: Why I Like Being an Evidence-Based Chiropractor

I thought it would be interesting if we simply spent our time together going through your list together and explaining or expounding where appropriate if you’re OK with that. 

  1. I can go to a conference and know if the speaker is generally telling the truth or is trying to sell a lie. Tell us why this one made your list if you don’t mind.
  2. I know it’s better to say “I don’t know” than to make something up. Do you feel that the philosophical-minded chiros in the crowd tend to make up things on the spot? Or is this more a point that they explain everything with the term subluxation and start pounding down the high spots?
  3. I know the best chiropractic related books were written in the last 10 years… not 100 years ago. I’m guessing this one is aimed at the green books from Palmer as well as the books those spawned over the years?
  4. I can sit down with a layperson or an orthopedic surgeon and explain what I do…and they both get it. It’s possible to tell them what research says about our effectiveness and they’ll get it. For me, I dumb it down. This is imbalanced, weak, or doesn’t move very well. We are going to try to balance, strengthen, and move it. Pretty simple. Maybe too simple. How exactly do you approach it that works best for you?
  5. I can read a research paper and know if it’s good or bad and how it may apply to what I do. What criteria do you use to determine it’s worth? I’m guessing meta-analysis, systematic reviews, and randomized controlled trials are at the top of your list. Sample numbers? Journal impact? What all do you take into account? In this context, I’m assuming you are using it to insinuate that the more philosophical subluxations crowd points to research but you would argue it is not good research. Am I correct in that assumption?
  6. I can take the best evidence and apply it and yet also have the freedom to find novel ways to approach a problem. This reminds me of a previous guest we had on the podcast a few episodes ago. Dr. Brandon Steele. He was making the distinction between evidence-based chiropractor vs. evidence-informed. It sounds like you are describing evidence-informed here. Is that correct?
  7. I have several tools in my tool bag and they will not be exactly the same next year as they are not the same as last year. Can you expand on that for us, Dr. Thompson?
  8. I can take a seemly complex problem and find a simple solution as well as understand the complexity of an apparently simple problem. Explain your intent on this one and the purpose for your including it, please. 
  9. I am more comfortable having questions I can’t answer than having answers I will not let be questioned. Oh, man….if the others weren’t fuel for the subluxation crowd, this one certainly is. Discuss from an evidence-based chiropractor point of view.
  10. I understand my patients want their problems fixed in a cost-effective and within a reasonable time, that they don’t want long-term care. Wouldn’t you agree that you are a terrible chiropractor if you have to see someone 100 times in a year to get them well or keep them well? Evidence-based chiropractors don’t see their patients that often.
  11. I know my clinical strengths and limitations as well as the strengths and limitations of other healthcare professionals. Can you tell me some of the claims you have personally witnessed that leads you to this being on your list? 
  12. I can make a good living without sacrificing patient-centered care to achieve it. “I tell people that I could make a heck of a lot more money but I sleep very well at night. In addition, it’s a point of mine in my practice to never put my staff in a position that, should my ethics or way of practicing ever be called into question for some reason, I’d never want them to feel like they had to, or needed to lie for me.  That’s a bit of a guiding principle for me. As an evidence-based chiropractor, another principle I find myself following daily is that, if I’m giving my patients the same recommendations I would give my mother, brother, father, or sister, then we will always be going in the right direction. Tell me what being patient-centered means to you personally.
  13. I do not have to jump on board the latest health fad but I can, and may, scrutinize it using logic, reasoning and supporting evidence. Fill me in. Where does this one come from? 
  14. I can respect my colleagues desire to practice different than me but I still demand they do so in an evidence-based chiropractor and ethical manner. To play Devil’s Advocate, what if they’re told they ARE actually evidence-based chiropractor? What if they have papers they can point to? What if they have some gurus throwing together research to form a diagram and brain lamp to charge $800 a pop ala Dan Sullivan?  
  15. I can appreciate that sometimes positive and unpredictable changes can occur in other body systems while under my care but I won’t use that to try to lure people in to see me. Examples?
  16. My patients come first, my profession second and I am last. Now THAT is the true definition of a patient-centered practice and I think most would agree that every evidence-based chiropractor. should follow this mantra.  

Continuing

Switching focus a little bit from evidence-based chiropractors vs. subluxation-based chiropractors, what is your opinion of or how do you deal with people like Stephen Barrett or Edzard Ernst or any of the knuckleheads over at that science-based website? 

It’s my hope that, by hearing from evidence-based chiropractor like you, me, the guys from the DACO program, etc…that they will understand. 

Understand that when sitting through those classes or seminars they’re made to sit through….those classes and talks that make them roll their eyes because they’re all about a philosophically based model….those classes. It’s my hope that they’ll understand they don’t have to practice that way and hopefully they understand there is another way to go about it. 

Also, some chiropractors get out of school not knowing what they believe since they’ve been inundated many times with all kinds of information. Some good and some bad. 

Just saying the words, “not knowing what they believe” sounds silly when we have the research out there in piles and piles. I have patients say, “I believe in Choirpracty” all of the time and I’m clear with each of them that we aren’t part of a church and that Chiropractic isn’t something one has to believe in. 

That goes for chiropractors and students as well.  

Dr. Thompson, I want to thank you for coming on the show today and running through it with us.

Integrating Chiropractors

 

Affirmation

It is an absolute certainty that, when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment instead of chemical treatments.

The literature is clear: research and experience show that, in 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, patients get good to excellent results when compared to usual medical care and it’s safe, less expensive, and decreases chances of surgery and disability.

It’s done conservatively and non-surgically with little time requirement or hassle for the patient. If done preventatively going forward, we can likely keep it that way while raising overall health! At the end of the day, patients have the right to the best treatment that does the least harm and THAT’S Chiropractic, folks.

Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Being the #1 Chiropractic podcast in the world would be pretty darn cool. 

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

Website

http://www.chiropracticforward.com

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1938461399501889/

iTunes

Player FM Link

Stitcher:

TuneIn

About the author:

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger