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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 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

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

DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes Revisited

Part 2 of 3

Chirorpactic Forward Podcast Subscribe Link

Click to Subscribe!

This week we are in Episode #2 of the 3 episodes where we are systematically debunking the odd myth that chiropractors cause strokes. I’m not having it folks. The chiropractors cause strokes myth is old and tired and in need of retirement. In this episode, we will discuss research papers demonstrating and validating benefits of having cervical manipulation treatments. Or chiropractic adjustments to the neck. We will talk about the benefits, according to research, for neck pain as well as for headaches. And we’ll also talk a little about where this chiropractors cause strokes myth came from and why it perpetuates to this day.

Before we get started, I want to draw your attention to the reviews over at iTunes. If you would be kind enough to leave us a great review we sure would appreciate you! This is a new podcast and we need all the help we can get!

Right now though, it’s time for 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. I can’t think of a more valuable way to spend you time if you’re a chiropractor than to learn how to debunk the chiropractors cause strokes myth and shut people down on it.

Let’s begin this episode by thanking those of you that sent emails to me after this chiropractors cause strokes myth series kicked off last week. You guys are great. The best way you can help is to share these episodes with as many people as you can. We can get this myth debunked and we can put it to rest right here, right now. But, obviously, I can’t do it myself. I need your help to do it.

I also want to remind you that this is part 2 of a three part series on the chiropractors cause strokes myth. Last week was part one of the chiropractors cause strokes myth where we discussed some risky odds, some case specific discussion, some signs and symptoms of vertebral artery dissection, and some research dealing with common treatments within the medical profession.

Be sure to go back and listen to it if you have not. It’s essential.

Then next week we will discuss other risky interventions, papers having to do with the risk, or lack thereof, of chiropractic adjustments to the cervical region specifically, and then a wrap up of the information putting the chiropractors cause strokes myth to bed once and for all.

Don’t miss it folks.

Now, let’s get on with our risk vs. reward discussion with the BENEFITS of cervical manipulation therapy.

I want to start off with the benefits of cervical manipulation for neck pain specifically. Each paper mentioned includes a short description of the conclusion for each paper cited. Also each of these papers is referenced in the show notes and can be very easily reviewed independently. You have to know that I am going to absolutely murder some of these names and I don’t even care. I’m small town South y’all. I’m not fancy at all. All I can is do my best but I assure you I’m not going to do backflips trying to figure out the correct pronunciation of each of these names. Be sure though, the days of Dr. Smith or Dr. Jones doing all of the research are no longer Take this first name as an example.

  1. Korthalis-de Bos IB, et. al. – “Manual therapy (spinal mobilization) is more effective and less costly for treating neck pain than physiotherapy or care by a general practitioner[1].”
  2. Dewitte V, et. al. – “Based on key features in subjective and clinical examination, patients with mechanical nociceptive pain probably arising from articular structures can be categorized into specific articular dysfunction patterns. Pending on these patterns, specific mobilization and manipulation techniques are warranted. The proposed patterns are illustrated in 3 case studies. This clinical algorithm is the corollary of empirical expertise and is complemented by in-depth discussions and knowledge exchange with international colleagues. Consequently, it is intended that a carefully targeted approach contributes to an increase in specificity and safety in the use of cervical mobilizations and manipulation techniques as valuable adjuncts to other manual therapy modalities[2].”
  3. Dunning JR, et. al. – “The combination of upper cervical and upper thoracic HVLA thrust manipulation is appreciably more effective in the short term than nonthrust mobilization in patients with mechanical neck pain[3].”
  4. Brontfort G, et. al. – “For participants with acute and subacute neck pain, SMT was more effective than medication in both the short and long term. However, a few instructional sessions of HEA resulted in similar outcomes at most time points[4].”
  5. Puentedura EJ, et. al. – The objective of the paper was as follows: “Thrust joint manipulation to the cervical spine has been shown to be effective in patients presenting with a primary report of neck pain. It would be useful for clinicians to have a decision-making tool, such as a clinical prediction rule, that could accurately identify which subgroup of patients would respond positively to cervical thrust joint manipulation.” In the results, they showed if 3 or more of the 4 attributes were present,” the probability of experiencing a successful outcome improved from 39% to 90%[5].”
  6. Yu H, et. al. – “Chiropractic management of atlantoaxial osteoarthritis yielded favorable outcomes for these 10 patients[6].”
  7. Puentedura EJ, et. al. – “Patients with neck pain who met 4 of 6 of the CPR criteria for successful treatment of neck pain with a thoracic spine thrust joint manipulation demonstrated a more favorable response when the thrust joint manipulation was directed to the cervical spine rather than the thoracic spine. Patients receiving cervical thrust joint manipulation also demonstrated fewer transient side-effects[7].”
  8. Miller J, et. al. – “Moderate quality evidence supports this treatment combination (cervical manual therapy combined with exercise) for pain reduction and improved quality of life over manual therapy alone for chronic neck pain; and suggests greater short-term pain reduction when compared to traditional care for acute whiplash[8].”
  9. Hurwitz EL, et. al. – “Our best evidence synthesis suggests that therapies involving manual therapy and exercise are more effective than alternative strategies for patients with neck pain[9].”
  10. Muller R, et. al. – “In patients with chronic spinal pain syndromes, spinal manipulation, if not contraindicated, may be the only treatment modality of the assessed regimens that provides broad and significant long-term benefit[10].”
  11. Zhu L, et. al. – “There was moderate level evidence to support the immediate effectiveness of cervical spine manipulation in treating people with cervical radiculopathy[11].”
  12. Giles LG, et. al. – “The consistency of the results provides, despite some discussed shortcomings of this study, evidence that in patients with chronic spinal pain, manipulation, if not contraindicated, results in greater short-term improvement than acupuncture or medication[12].”
  13. Bronfort G, et. al. – “Our data synthesis suggests that recommendations can be made with some confidence regarding the use of spinal manipulative therapy and/or mobilization as a viable option for the treatment of both low back pain and neck pain[13].”

There you have a fairly thick list of research papers demonstrating the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments for uncomplicated neck pain but neck pain is not the only reason to have a chiropractic adjustment delivered to the cervical region. Another very common reason for neck adjustments would be for the treatment of acute and chronic headaches.

In fact, I have an episode of this podcast that dealt with a paper showing the effectiveness of chiropractic for headaches. Episode #6 to be exact.

Here is a listing of papers demonstrating the benefits of cervical manipulation for headaches. Each paper mentioned includes a short description of the conclusion for each paper cited. Also each of these papers is referenced in the show notes and can be very easily reviewed independently

  1. Malo-Urries M, et. al. – “Upper cervical translatoric spinal mobilization intervention increased upper, and exhibited a tendency to improve general, cervical range of motion and induce immediate headache relief in subjects with cervicogenic headache[14].”
  2. Espi-Lopez GV, et. al. – “In short, manual therapy techniques and manipulation applied to the suboccipital region for four weeks or more showed great improvement and in effectiveness for several aspects that measure the quality of life of a patient having suffered from tension type headaches[15].”
  3. Dunning J, et. al. – “Six to eight sessions of upper cervical and upper thoracic manipulation were shown to be more effective than mobilization and exercise in patients with cervicogenic headache, and the effects were maintained at 3 months[3].”
  4. Hurwitz EL, et. al. – “Utilization and expenditures for headache treatment increased from 2000 to 2009 across all provider groups. MD care represented the majority of total allowed charges in this study. MD care and DC care, alone or in combination, were overall the least expensive patterns of headache care. Risk-adjusted charges were significantly less for DC-only care[16].”
  5. Bronfort G, et. al. – “SMT appears to have a better effect than massage for cervicogenic headache. It also appears that SMT has an effect comparable to commonly used first-line prophylactic prescription medications for tension-type headache and migraine headache[17].”
  6. Bronfort G, et. al. – “Chiropractic is effective in acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain, migraines and headaches originating from the neck, for the treatment of some forms of dizziness, extremity and joint issues, as well as mid back and acute and subacute neck pain[18].
  7. Tuchin PJ, et. al. – “The results of this study support previous results showing that some people report significant improvement in migraines after chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. A high percentage (>80%) of participants reported stress as a major factor for their migraines. It appears probable that chiropractic care has an effect on the physical conditions related to stress and that in these people the effects of the migraine are reduced[19].”
  8. McCrory D, et. al. – “Cervical spinal manipulation was associated with improvement in headache outcomes in two trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache. Manipulation appeared to result in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic headache when compared with an attention-placebo control. Furthermore, when compared to soft-tissue therapies (massage), a course of manipulation treatments resulted in sustained improvement in headache frequency and severity[20].”

Many headache patients present to chiropractors after a considerable amount of time spent taking headache and migraine medications. Medications do not come without consequences. Certainly when taking long-term. Not only have they spent a considerable amount of time on medication, they often have had botox injections, steroid injections, and worse before finally going to the chiropractor.

It is a fact that patients should have the GUARANTEED of the best treatment that does the LEAST amount of harm. In that spirit, and considering that chiropractic is safe, effective, and non-pharmacologic, it makes sense that the medical field should actually PROMOTE chiropractic as a viable and valuable treatment for headaches and migraines rather than dismiss it as ineffectual and dangerous.

Having demonstrated study upon study validating the effectiveness and benefit of cervical manipulation for neck pain (acute, subacute, and chronic) and headaches (chronic, acute, subacute, tension-type, cervicogenic, and migraines), we can now focus attention on research papers and abstracts having to do with the risk of stroke instance (lack of risk) as a direct result of cervical chiropractic adjustments. Hopefully, you are getting a more clear picture of the chiropractors cause strokes myth and its absolutely foolishness.

But first, where would you think the idea of chiropractors running around stroking everyone out might come from? I believe there are at least a few root sources.

  • You guessed it: our old friend the American Medical Association and their state association underlings. This group deemed it unethical to refer to chiropractors or accept referrals FROM They tried to run us out of business by conducting conferences about chiropractic and generating literature that was anti-chiropractic. They then dispersed the misinformation down through the channels of the state medical associations all the way out to the medical doctors, nurses, and medical field profession out in the field, and then ultimately to their patient bases. The “Chiropractors Cause Strokes” myth was well within their ability to propagate. When your initiative is to rid the Earth of the chiropractic profession, you take advantage of what you can. The Federal Court decision in Wilk vs. AMA shows the AMA did just that.
  • The other likely culprit for the chiropractors cause strokes myth in my estimation would be patients visiting medical professionals after having been to a chiropractor and having suffering a stroke sometime afterward. I did not say chiropractors “causing” strokes. Research shows us that people are going to chiropractors already suffering arterial tears that are sometimes spontaneous in nature. While chiropractors have a high level of education, there are many out there that are simply untrained at catching red flags and making the proper referral. Other times, patients present with very common symptoms and there are no red flags present whatsoever. The chiropractor treats the patient thinking they are going to help improve a neck complaint or a headache while in reality they may be exacerbating a tear. When the patient reaches the medical professional, the link is easy to make for the uninformed: chiropractor causes stroke.
  • Ignorance – The simple lack of knowledge regarding the body of evidence and research that is available dealing with the chiropractors cause strokes myth perpetuates the myth. It is clear the benefits are present. It is clear the risks are not. End of story. But if one is ignorant of the literature,

This is where we are going to stop for this second episode of the chiropractors cause strokes series. Remember, it is a three part series.

KEY TAKEAWAY:

The benefit is researched and it’s real. There is no denial possible.

Be sure to tune in next week for the third and final part of the three part series. Next week, we will discuss risky interventions, papers having to do with the risk, or lack thereof, of chiropractic adjustments to the cervical region specifically, and then a wrap up of the information.

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 for third and final part of the debunking of the chiropractors cause strokes myth. 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 of interest include:

CF Episode #13: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 1 of 3)

Source Material

  1. Korthals-de Bos IB, Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner care for neck pain: economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal, 2003. 326(7395): p. 911.
  2. Dewitte V, Articular dysfunction patterns in patients with mechanical neck pain: a clinical algorithm to guide specific mobilization and manipulation techniques. Man Ther, 2014. 19(2-9).
  3. Dunning J, Upper cervical and upper thoracic manipulation versus mobilization and exercise in patients with cervicogenic headache: a multi-center randomized clinical trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2016. 16(64).
  4. Bronfort G, Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine 2012. Ann Intern Med, 2012. 156(1): p. 1-10.
  5. Puentedura EJ, Development of a clinical prediction rule to identify patients with neck pain likely to benefit from thrust joint manipulation to the cervical spine. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2012. 42(7): p. 577-92.
  6. Yu H, Upper cervical manipulation combined with mobilization for the treatment of atlantoaxial osteoarthritis: a report of 10 cases. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2011. 34(2): p. 131-7.
  7. Puentedura EJ, Thoracic spine thrust manipulation versus cervical spine thrust manipulation in patients with acute neck pain: a randomized clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2011. 41(4): p. 208-20.
  8. Miller J, Manual therapy and exercise for neck pain: a systematic review. Man Ther, 2010. 15(4): p. 334-54.
  9. Hurwitz EL, e.a., Treatment of neck pain: noninvasive interventions: results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Spine, 2008. 33(4 Suppl): p. S123-52.
  10. Muller R, G.L., Long-term follow-up of a randomized clinical trial assessing the efficacy of medication, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation for chronic mechanical spinal pain syndromes. J Manipulative Physiol Ther., 2005. 28(1): p. 3-11.
  11. Zhu L, Does cervical spine manipulation reduce pain in people with degenerative cervical radiculopathy? A systematic review of the evidence, and a meta-analysis. Clin Rehabil, 2015.
  12. Giles LGF, M.R., Chronic spinal pain syndromes: a clinical pilot trial comparing acupuncture, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and spinal manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 1999. 22(6): p. 376-81.
  13. Bronfort G, Efficacy of spinal manipulation and mobilization for low back pain and neck pain: a systematic review and best evidence synthesis. Spine, 2004. May-Jun 4(3): p. 335-56.
  14. Malo-Urries M, Immediate Effects of Upper Cervical Translatoric Mobilization on Cervical Mobility and Pressure Pain Threshold in Patients With Cervicogenic Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2017. 40(9): p. 649-658.
  15. Espi-Lopez G, e.a., Do manual therapy techniques have a positive effect on quality of life in people with tension-type headache? A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med, 2016. 13(1): p. 4-13.
  16. Hurwitz EL, e.a., Variations in Patterns of Utilization and Charges for the Care of Neck Pain in North Carolina, 2000 to 2009: A Statewide Claims’ Data Analysis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2016. May 39(4): p. 240-51.
  17. Bronfort G, Efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic headache: a systematic review. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2001. 24(7): p. 457-466.
  18. Bronfort G, Effectiveness of manual therapies: The UK evidence report. Chiropr Osteopat, 2010. 18(3).
  19. Tuchin PJ, e.a., A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2000. 23(2): p. 91-95.
  20. McCrory D, Behavioral and Physical Treatments for Tension-type and Cervicogenic Headache. Duke University Evidence-based Practice Center, Center for Clinical Health Policy Research.


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

This week, we are talking about acute and non-acute low back pain. What are current healthcare guidelines? Why does it matter to chiropractic patients and non-chiropractic patients and are those in the medical field getting (and implementing) the information?

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, and research and how those things all fit into a comprehensive approach for treating different conditions. Thank you for taking time out of your day to give us a listen. I know your time is valuable and I will always try hard to fill our time with valuable content.

We’re going to have more fun this week than stepping on a nail. Which I have done.

Before we dive in, it was so nice we had to do it twice. What am I talking about? I’m talking about bringing on Tyce. Tyce Hergert that is down in Southlake, TX. Owner and operator of Chiropractic Care Center of Southlake as well as Southlake Physical Medicine where he oversees an integrated practice. Dr. Hergert is also the immediate former President of the Texas Chiropractic Association so now he can say what he really thinks. He was the big cheese, the illustrious potentate of chiropractic in Texas.

Although it’s highly unlikely, should you enjoy what Tyce shares with us here today, go and listen to his other guest spot which can be found in Episode #6. You can find episode #6 at the following link:

CF 006: With Dr. Tyce Hergert: Astounding Expert Information On Immediate Headache Relief

Welcome to the show Tyce. Nice to have you back.

I would say that a chiropractor would be completely oblivious to not understand that Chiropractic is considered to be on the fringe of healthcare by many to most in the medical field. It’s just a fact and chiropractors deal with this daily. We Chiropractors are used to feeling like the black sheep of the healthcare family off in a corner keeping all to ourselves.

In other articles, podcasts, and videos of mine, you’ll notice I have covered the Wilk vs. AMA case. I’ve covered the Doctored film by Jeff Hayes spotlighting mistreatment of chiropractors. I’ve also covered current attacks on Texas Chiropractors by the Texas Medical Association. It is all very well-documented at this point.

Chiropractic is currently undergoing an amazing renaissance. This is due to a couple of key factors. The first being the need to develop non-pharmacological treatment recommendations in the midst of a national opioid addiction crisis. A crisis that has killed thousands and thousands in the last several years. The second reason being the body of high-quality research that is consistently coming to light almost every month showing the effectiveness of Chiropractic and evidence-based chiropractors.

Do you feel this renaissance, Tyce, or is it just me living inside my head?

With all of the new information and new healthcare laws emerging, the questions going forward SHOULD be, “Is the medical field and is the insurance industry listening and implementing?” We shall see. So far, the answer is, “Absolutely not.” In fact, it’s almost defiant.

Is that an accurate statement Tyce? You’re my checks and balance guy on everything.

Let’s begin with the most glaring denial of Federal Law by the insurance companies right now. It has to do with Section 2706 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Also commonly known as “Obamacare.” Section 2706 of the PPACA is entitled the nondiscrimination In Health Care section of the Federal Law and is intended to keep insurance companies and health plans from keeping chiropractors and the services they provide out of the system.

It reads as follows, “A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law. This section shall not require that a group health plan or health insurance issuer contract with any health care provider willing to abide by the terms and conditions for participation established by the plan or issuer. Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a group health plan, a health insurance issuer, or the Secretary from establishing varying reimbursement rates based on quality or performance measures.”

On the American Chiropractic Association’s FAQ site for 2706, they state, “It is important to understand that Section 2706 and its assurance of non-discrimination in terms of participation and coverage requires that doctors of chiropractic not be discriminated against in the provision of any “essential benefit” that is within their scope of practice.”

Here’s the rub on 2706: part of its purpose is to reimburse chiropractors performing the same services under their scope and license at the same level financially as any other profession that provides that service.

For instance, under the PPACA Section 2706 Federal Law, chiropractors are to be paid the exact same for an 99203 exam code as a doctor of medicine or osteopathy is paid.

Would you agree with that assessment Dr. Hergert? Is this your understanding of the law?

Plain and simple. This is not happening. With so many chiropractors now integrating their practices with medical directors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and physical therapists like Dr. Hergert has in Southlake, it’s painfully clear that doctors of chiropractic are being discriminated against when it comes to reimbursements for the same codes performed.

In fact, chiropractors are integrating with these other professions just so that they can finally GET the reimbursements that the other practitioners are allowed! It is madness and clearly violates Section 2706 of PPACA.

Dr. Hergert, you are a great resource here since you’re in the middle of the two professions. What is your experience on this?

Tyce: The carriers will come right out and tell you they don’t think they have to play by this rule.

Also, there is violation of the law if an insurer does something such as applying caps on specific services provided by one healthcare provider whereas the cap does not apply to another type of provider. It is my understanding that United Healthcare has moved to a $65 visit cap on chiropractic care here in Texas.

Am I misinformed here Tyce? Does United Healthcare only put caps on Chiropractors or are they capping services with all providers?
Tyce: That gets very frustrating for those patients with a $50-70 copay.

It is the American Chiropractic Association’s opinion that a violation exists if the insurer or plan denies specific forms of care that is otherwise covered if it is a chiropractor providing the service and it is within their scope and licensing. I would suggest that a medical doctor probably gets services such as non-surgical decompression covered under insurance but chiropractors are routinely denied coverage.

Are there any better examples of this disparity, Tyce, since I don’t know any medical doctors that have their patients perform decompression?

There is a possible violation of Federal Law when Chiropractors are denied inclusion into a plan or group purely based on the profession. For example, it is my understanding that FirstCare won’t cover Chiropractic. Is that a violation of 2706?

Is that a violation? I suppose I could offer an opinion if I were a lawyer. I’m not sure why exactly other providers are allowed coverage while chiropractors are left out in the cold. Here is a great example though that I’m aware of here locally. there is a local insurance network that will remained un-named that charges $200 per year for chiropractors to be included for coverage however, medical professionals pay nothing to be included. Could that be a violation of the nondiscrimination law? I would say it smells a little fishy.

In my opinion, Federal Law is being violated all over the place in regards to Section 2706 of PPACA. I’m not sure how it can be perceived any other way.

What can you add here Tyce that I may have left out?
Tyce: What this means for patients is you can’t use that shiny new insurance policy that is costing you more than a $250k house payment would. You have to fork over the more money to pay for your chiropractic care.

Moving on from Section 2706…..I love talking about the New Recommendations For Acute and Chronic Low Back Pain.
It is becoming more and more aggravating that we chiropractors are not seeing a flood of acute and chronic low back pain patients. If you read my articles, watch my videos, or listen to my podcast with any regularity, you have no doubt been informed several times over of these new recommendations which, at this point aren’t that new anymore. They have been around for about a year now.

It is my opinion that no long-held beliefs or protocols will change if new information isn’t continually pounded and yelled about from the top of the roofs with megaphones. In marketing, experts have said that it takes a target 7 times of being exposed to information before it is finally received and, hopefully, acted upon.

I know that the medical field has NOT been exposed to this information at least 7 times because of two factors:
1. I have spoken to several medical practitioners here locally and not a single one of them has heard of or were aware of these new recommendations.
2. I am not seeing an incredible, overwhelming influx of acute and chronic low back pain new patients coming through my doors as a result of medical referrals.

Tyce, are you seeing an incredible influx of new low back patients from the medical field these days?

Is this willful disregard for the changing recommendations and a “clinging on” to old dogmatic beliefs passed down from the AMA years ago? I think some of it most certainly is.

Is it that a few bad seeds in the Chiropractic profession are giving the rest of us a bad image? I would say some of it most certainly is.

What I think it is mostly based on, however, is the fact that medical professionals are busy, they’re stressed, and many times over-worked and they simply don’t always have the time or opportunity to stay completely up on every new recommendation or updated protocol.

What do you think about it, Tyce?
Tyce: “You’re not down with, what you’re not up on.” Most don’t know. They didn’t get this info in school, and the pharma reps aren’t out spreading the good news.

With that being said, let’s be clear; the issues of low back pain, its economic impact, and the national opioid epidemic crisis in America combine to make these new recommendations that much more important.

Let’s start with the American College of Physicians. Remember, the American College of Physicians was proven in the Wilk vs. AMA case to have played a part in collaborating with the AMA in an attempt to rid the Earth of Chiropractic. I think that’s important to note as we go through the information because the ACP is historically known as a detractor or the chiropractic profession to put it mildly.

In response to the opioid epidemic gripping the nation currently, the American College of Physicians developed new recommendations for treating acute and chronic low back pain.

Why They Did It
• The American College of Physicians developed this guideline in order to provide updated recommendations on treatment of low back pain.
• With these recommendations, the ACP hoped to influence clinicians AND patients to make the correct decision for care in acute, subacute, or chronic low back pain conditions.

How They Did It
• They based their recommendations on a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and other systematic reviews.
• The research they reviewed included those papers available through April of 2015.
• The research included only those on noninvasive pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments.

What They Found
• Recommendation #1: patients with subacute or acute low back pain should seek nonpharmacologic treatments such as Chiropractic, Massage, Acupuncture, and superficial heat BEFORE resorting to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aleve, etc… (Graded as a strong recommendation)
• Recommendation #2: patients with chronic low back pain should seek nonpharmacologic treatments such as Chiropractic, Exercise/Rehabilitation, Acupuncture, & Cold Laser Therapy BEFORE resorting to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aleve, etc… (Graded as a strong recommendation)
• Recommendation #3: In patients with chronic low back pain that have had no relief from nonpharmacological means, the first line of treatment would consist of NSAIDs like Aleve, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.. As a second-line treatment, the clinician may consider tramadol or duloxetine. Opioids would be a last option and only if all other treatments have been exhausted and failed and even then with lengthy discussion with the patient in regards to the risks and benefits of using opioids. (Graded as weak recommendation)

Let’s recap: in February of 2017, the American College of Physicians, historically a Chiropractic profession detractor and attacker, now recommends Chiropractic as a first-line treatment for acute and chronic low back pain.

Dr. Hergert, does that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside because it does me?

Next, let us discuss the American Medical Association. If you thought the American College of Physicians was guilty of Chiropractic-hating, the American Medical Association is, or was, “Pablo Escobar” or the “El Chapo” of the attacks on the Chiropractic profession. The “El Jefe” of the Chiropractic haters, and the group that not only sat in the driver’s seat but also OWNED the entire truck of destruction back before Wilk vs. AMA came along. I believe I have been watching too much Netflix.

As a side note, I have realized that I have a wife, a daughter, and an all female staff at my office and…..I’m not the El Chapo or El Jefe of really anything. My son and I just walk around following orders pretty much. Tyce, you’re married with two daughters right?

On April 11, 2017, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study on their website titled “Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” authored by Neil Page, MD et. al. In the format of this research paper, they refer to chiropractic treatment as spinal manipulative treatment or SMT. But, because spinal manipulative therapy is what we chiropractors do the most and what we are most identified with, I’m replacing the term “SMT” with “chiropractic adjustment.”

Is that fair, Tyce? I think it’s fair.

Why They Did It
Considering that spinal manipulation, or the chiropractic adjustment, is a treatment option for acute low back pain, and that acute low back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctor’s office, the authors wanted to systematically review the studies that have been done in the past dealing with the effectiveness as well as the harms of chiropractic adjustments in the treatment of acute low back pain.

How They Did It
• The researchers used searches of MEDLINE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EMBASE, and Current Nursing and Allied Health Literature.
• The search spanned 6 years from January 2011 through February 2017 for randomized controlled trials of adults with low back pain comparing spinal manipulative therapy with no treatment or with alternative treatments.
• The accepted papers also had to measure pain or functional outcomes for up to 6 weeks.
• The data extraction was done in duplicate.
• The quality of the study was assessed through use of the Cochrane Back and Neck Risk of Bias tool.
• Finally, the evidence was assessed using the GRADE criteria which stands for Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation.
• 26 eligible randomized controlled trials were identified and accepted

What They Found
• 15 of the RCTs, totaling 1699 patients, showed moderate-quality evidence that chiropractic adjustments had a statistically significant association with improvements in PAIN.
• 12 of the RCTs, totaling 1381 patients, showed moderate-quality evidence that chiropractic adjustments have a statistically significant association with improvements in FUNCTION.
• NO RCTs reported any serious harms or adverse event as a result of undergoing chiropractic adjustments.
• There were only minor events reported like some increased pain, muscle stiffness, and headache in roughly 50%-67% of those treated in the large case series. I would be interested to hear more about this statement by the authors. That is not what we commonly see in our practice. Sometimes, if the patient is new and is not accustomed to chiropractic adjustments, they may experience some soreness or stiffness the next day which is to be expected following a change in the body.
• I want to be as thorough as I can here….Tyce, do you see 50%-67% minor harms in your daily practice?

Wrap It Up
In true AMA fashion, instead of just coming out and saying, “Chiropractic adjustments showed moderate quality evidence for effectiveness in pain as well as in function,” the authors instead stated in conclusion, “Among patients with acute low back pain, spinal manipulative therapy was associated with modest improvements in pain and function at up to 6 weeks, with transient minor musculoskeletal harms. However, heterogeneity in study results was large.” Heterogeneity is defined as, “The quality or state of being diverse in character or content.” In my opinion, this is to give themselves and “out” by implying there was not enough focus to the RCTs to truly state their findings as fact.

Nonetheless, when the AMA comes even remotely close to endorsing anything having to do with Chiropractic, I’ll take it. And so should those in the medical field that commonly come in contact with those seeking help for their acute and chronic low back pain.

So…….We Should Be All Set For Success Now Right? Maybe they’re about to open up a chiropractic low back pain wing of the hospital, right?

That is what you’ think but there is new information from the White House that this simply is not the case despite the obvious ramifications. You can find the link in the show notes but on page 57 of The President’s Commission On Combating Drug Addiction and The Opioid Crisis report, the authors say, “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.” This is straight from the White House.

At the bottom of page 57, you will also see that it says, “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.”

What say you Tyce?
Tyce: You mean like a specialist copay for chiro care and a lower copay for primary care? Or covering surgery 100% and NOT covering non-surgical means.

Essentially, the United States Government is admitting there is professional discrimination at the highest levels…..hello Medicare and Health Insurance plans….I’m talking to you….this discrimination creates barriers to doing the smart thing.

The smart thing is seeing a chiropractor for your back pain. The “Big Guys” (AKA: American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association) recommend it and the government says policies are in place to prevent patients from following those recommendations.

In addition, policies that discriminate against chiropractic or chiropractors run in violation of Section 2706 of PPACA. It comes full circle.
I know you have something good to say here Tyce…

Tyce: The beautiful thing we get to see in our office, since we have both medicine and chiropractic working together, is the end of the story…people getting off the mind altering drugs, healing, and getting their lives back. All we do is follow these simple guidelines.

I have a question to pose to the entire Chiropractic profession: How in the heck do we deal with this?

It has to be through either the legislature at the state and federal levels or it has to be through the legal system. A guarantee I feel comfortable making is that the insurance companies won’t begin enforcing it on their own.

Mobilization and unification of the Chiropractic profession is probably where it starts.

Some steps toward that end include:
• Join or get involved with your state association. They’re the only ones effectively fighting for you and your rights on the state level.
• Join or get involved with your national association. They’re the only ones effectively fighting for you and your rights on the national level.
• If possible, build relationships with your state and national legislators.
• Donate to all of the above in the largest amounts you are comfortable with.
• Tell your friends and your colleagues about what is going on and help them get involved if they’re so inclined.
• Follow the news of your industry closely and stay knowledgeable about your profession. Both the good AND the bad.

Tyce, you have served for years and you’re still serving your profession. What you got on this?
Tyce: “Be part of the solution. You don’t have to dedicate 24/7 to the crusade….but you could do a little more. Right?”

A Chiropractic profession that is unified and playing offense instead of defense is powerful and is one of the worst nightmares of some folks I know out there in the world. Personally, as a side note, I like to see people like that squirm just a little don’t you? It just feels good. Makes what’s left of my hair stand up.

So won’t you consider helping if you haven’t before? If you don’t know where to start, email me at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and I will help you get on your way.

Tyce, I want to thank you for taking the time to come on the podcast and share your genius with us. With our history, I’m sure that Chiropractic Forward podcast listeners can count on your being a guest many many times. And, the next time will be the third time and I can say something like, “It was so nice, we had to do it thrice, with Tyce….or something stupid but entertaining like that.” Thanks for joining us today.

When Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio.

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. As this podcast builds, so will the website as we add more content, educational products, and a little further down the road, webinars, seminars, and speaking dates as they get added.

 

In the meantime, here are some of our recent podcasts that may be of interest:

CF 012: Proven Means To Treat Neck Pain

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

CF 010: Surprise Unique Information Shows Chiropractic May Work On The Brain Too

 

 

 

 

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

References and Source Material
1. https://www.amarillochiropractor.com/startling-medical-professional-attacks-chiropractic/
2. https://www.amarillochiropractor.com/healthcare-in-texas-the-battle-against-a-monopoly-a-true-story-about-david-goliath-3/
3. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/The%20Underestimated%20Cost%20of%20the%20Opioid%20Crisis.pdf
4. https://www.acatoday.org/Portals/60/Docs/Advocacy%20and%20Reimbursement/2706/2706-FAQs.pdf?ver=2015-12-23-125425-503
5. https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2603228/noninvasive-treatments-acute-subacute-chronic-low-back-pain-clinical-practice
6. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2616395?widget=personalizedcontent&previousarticle=2616379
7. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/Final_Report_Draft_11-3-2017.pdf

 

CF 009: With Dr. Tom Hollingsworth: The Case Against Chiropractic In Texas

We’ll be talking about any and every past attack on chiropractic in Texas and on our profession by the medical field heavyweights…..what’s at risk and why. In addition, we’ll be sharing some personal opinions, some facts, some research….and we’ll be discussing what you all can do to help if you are an active person that wants to pitch in.

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, and research and how those things all fit into a comprehensive approach for treating different conditions. Thank you for taking time out of your day to give us a listen. I know your time is valuable and I will always try hard to fill our time with valuable content.

Right off the top today, I want to welcome a good friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Tom Hollingsworth originally from Brady, TX and now living in Corpus Christi, TX. Dr. Hollingsworth is a master of linguistics and he’s a master of the material when it comes to what we’ve been through and what we are going through currently. In fact, Tom has helped prepare the court drafts so he has intimate knowledge and it’s a special treat to have Dr. Hollingsworth here to walk us through it all.

Welcome to the Chiropractic Forward podcast Dr. Hollingsworth. We’re so glad to have you with us today…

Have you ever heard the song “Corpus Christi Bay” by Robert Earl Keen and is it indeed hard to stay sober on the Corpus Christi Bay?

Tell me a little about your background and your family.

We have both been highly active in the Texas Chiropractic Association over the years. Everyone fits a certain function for sure. What have been your functions in the past on the Statewide level?

With this being an evidence-based podcast, can you offer some thoughts on whether or not there is room in an evidence-based model for chiropractic philosophy to maintain any sort of footprint in it?

There is so much material here, I want you to know that you have free-reign to interrupt, stop me, correct me, and keep me on track here. I encourage any and all participation from you on this.

When Chiropractors start talking about the attack on chiropractic in texas and other attacks we’ve endured and are enduring, we can go on for hours. We are going to try to convey a very serious and meaningful message about it all right here today but without getting into a three hour conversation.

I can only hope that all chiropractors in practice are well-aware of the trials and tribulations this amazing professions have, not only been through, but overcome and grew as a result. It is profound.

The unfortunate reality is that most do not know and, if they do, they normally lack any important details to truly place their knowledge in the correct context.

I believe that Dr. Hollingsworth will agree with me that, in our experience, lots of folks don’t know what’s going on with their profession….is that correct sir?

As a former board member of the Texas Chiropractic Association myself and a current member of the leadership statewide, we are intimately aware of many of the issues, both current and historically.

And I think, from the top here, it’s important to say that, even though Dr. Hollingsworth and myself are TCA members and leaders, our opinions may or may not represent the opinions of the TCA but we are NOT representing the TCA as we go through this podcast and in this capacity.

Anything you’d like to add to that disclaimer Dr. Hollingsworth?

We have all heard the stories of chiropractors being jailed for practicing. I remember a story from a documentary by Jeff Hayes called Doctored where a chiropractor is recalling how his father, who was also a chiropractor was in a bowling league. There was a medical doctor on the other team that refused to bowl against his father’s team simply because the team had a chiropractor on it.

Now, let’s run through the BIG ATTACK first. Folks, if you don’t know about Wilk vs. AMA, please do yourself, and all other chiropractors, a big favor and go check it out. To put it into a very brief blurb, basically, after 11 years of court proceedings, Dr. Chester Wilk and four other chiropractors, led by attorney George McAndrews, ultimately prevailed in proving the American Medical Association guilty of violating the Sherman anti-trust act. Meaning the AMA and several other medical institutions like the American Hospital Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Physicians, and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals were found guilty of conspiring to eliminate chiropractic from the Earth. According to Chiro.org….”the suit claimed that the defendants had participated for years in an illegal conspiracy to destroy chiropractic. On August 24, 1987, after endless wrangling in the courts, U.S. District Court judge Susan Getzendanner ruled that the AMA and its officials were guilty, as charged, of attempting to eliminate the chiropractic profession. “

Does that about sum it up, Dr. Hollingsworth, and would you like to add to any of that?

Basically the AMA and others were proven guilty of the following acts against Chiropractic:

  • Encourage ethical complaints against doctors of chiropractic
  • Oppose chiropractic inroads into workmen’s comp
  • Oppose chiropractic inroads into health insurance and make it difficult for patients to get covered for chiropractic care
  • Oppose inroads into hospitals
  • Contain or eliminate Chiropractic schools
  • They conducted nationwide conferences on Chiropractic
  • Distributed anti-Chiropractic publications and propaganda
  • Helped other organizations prepare anti-chiropractic literature
  • Deemed it unethical for medical doctors to refer to, or accept referrals from, chiropractors.
  • And, they discouraged colleges, universities, and faculty from cooperating with chiropractic schools.

Can you believe that things have progressed to the point now that two of those organizations came out last year in support of Chiropractic for the treatment of acute and chronic and low back pain?

In referencing a blog of mine from November 11th, 2015 called Healthcare in Texas: The Battle Against a Monopoly. A True Story About David & Goliath,” I reminded myself of some more recent minor attacks. I’ll put the link in the show notes.

  • The Texas Medical Association attempted to remove Doctors of Chiropractic from the high school concussion oversight teams. They wanted to allow simple high school trainers but not chiropractors.
  • The same year, the TMA attempted to remove Chiropractors’ ability to perform physical exams on school bus drivers.
  • Same year, they tried to introduce legislation to remove our ability to perform high school exams on athletes. A function chiropractors have been performing for generations.

Now Dr. Hollingsworth, you’d think this would have put the battle to rest right? Can you go ahead and run through TMA #1 one for us please? The when, why, and what happened…

Before we get any further, how about we define Chiropractic. At least as far as the State of Texas is concerned, Tom.

I’d like to take just a second to direct everyone to an excellent video on YouTube that the Texas Chiropractic Association published about a year and a half ago concerning a lot of this. The link will be in the show notes but you can also find it by going to YouTube and searching the term “The Texas Chiropractic Defense From The Texas Medical Association A Timeline.” This ten minute video sums up what kind of constant attacks our profession is still enduring today.

So, we have Wilk vs. AMA that Chiropractic ultimately won, and we prevailed in the TMA #1 diagnosis case for the diagnosis issue…….now, surely, when the TBCE and the TCA triumphed in that one, that had to have killed any further attacks from the TMA right, Dr. Hollingsworth?

(Discuss VONT, Diagnosis #2, Sublux, and Neuro)

Tom, what is the current status on this case? It’s about to be go time right?

What kind of research is the TCA and TBCE team looking at using to bolster the case and why are we using these particular papers?

1.   MSK includes “associated” nerves

a. Concerning balance is Ex Parte Halsted

b. Careful to avoid claims toward entirety of nervous system (Hogs get slaughtered.)

2.   TMA depended greatly on UT Med School’s Leonard Cleary, PhD.’s deposition

a. Understandably supported TMA position MSK is not neuro

b. Heavily focused on structure considerations only in isolation from function

c. Ivory Tower challenged

i. by TBCE presenting Grays, and

ii. TCA presenting simpler TEA authors defining elements of muscle.

d. PRE-TRIAL appeal allowed for exam outside of MSK if it will lead to opinion of bio-mechanical condition of MSK.  So…

i. Neurotrophic effects on muscle

ii. Neurotrophic effects on bone  (Deposition Ex. 10)

3. Subluxation Complex

a. TBCE presented definitions of WHO, Dorland’s and compared them to TBCE’s. Can you expound on the different definitions for us please?

b. TCA presented Texts by Strang, Leach, King & Janig , and

i. AMA’s CPT definitions, 

ii. Bakris/Dickholtz NUCCA BP study

Now This is a paper we covered in podcast episode #7 but we also cited a couple others by AP Wong and by Yates, et. al. There’s no doubt we’re on solid ground here. 

c. TMA offered no witness qualified to opine on subluxation complex

i. However, a letter from them to TBCE when adding “subluxation” stated they preferred TBCE choosing the WHO definition (that includes “nerve”).

4. Vestibular-Ocular-Nystagmus Testing (VONT)

a. TMA offered a NeurOtologist (ENT subspecialty) and a PT

i. Argued training length (residency, etc.)

ii. Mostly Fair witness

iii. One key was distinguishing Vestib Apparatus from Vestib System

1. Had to get out of ear into processing centers

2. (Vestib Nuc and V-spinal tracts)

3. Attempt to utilize MD cultural authority on basic fact

4. Build on basic facts later.

iv. After hours of testimony from TMA’s vestibular experts, trial judge asked: “When are we going to hear about VONT?” 

Well, I suppose all we can do at this point is to continue to raise money from chiropractors that want to pitch in. We know that an appeals process is expensive. We also know that what happens in a state with over 5,000 chiropractors in it, usually tends to happen in other states down the line so it’s likely in every American chiropractor’s interest to get on board with this issue and contribute to its success.

If you would like to donate to this victory, I would direct you to the TCA since they are leading the way on this. Go to www.chirotexas.org/cdi

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 as we add more content, educational products, and a little further down the road, webinars, seminars, and speaking dates as they get added. Also, find our Facebook page where we’ll be sharing all kinds of good stuff from the shows and from our guests.

Reviews….folks, we need reviews over at the iTunes Chiropractic Forward page. That’s what tells iTunes that people are finding value in what we’re doing. We sure would appreciate it.

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

Show Note resources

  1. Bakris G. (2007). “Special chiropractic adjustment lowers blood pressure among hypertensive patients with misaligned C-1 vertebra.”   Retrieved February 7, 2018, from http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2007/20070314-atlas.html.
  2. Wong AP (2018). “Review: Beyond conventional therapies: Complementary and alternative medicine in the management of hypertension: An evidence-based review.” Pak J Pharm Sci 31(1): 237-244.
  3. Yates RG (1988). “Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial.” Manip Physical Ther 11(6): 484-488.
  4. https://www.chiro.org/Wilk/
  5. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2616395
  6. https://www.amarillochiropractor.com/healthcare-in-texas-the-battle-against-a-monopoly-a-true-story-about-david-goliath-3/
  7. The Texas Chiropractic Defense From The Texas Medical Association A Timeline.
  8. https://youtu.be/XHGfAQwIqNo

 

Bibliography

Bakris G. (2007). “Special chiropractic adjustment lowers blood pressure among hypertensive patients with misaligned C-1 vertebra.”   Retrieved February 7, 2018, from http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2007/20070314-atlas.html.

Wong AP (2018). “Review: Beyond conventional therapies: Complementary and alternative medicine in the management of hypertension: An evidence-based review.” Pak J Pharm Sci 31(1): 237-244.

Yates RG (1988). “Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial.” Manip Physical Ther 11(6): 484-488.

 

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

Today’s episode is all about chronic low back pain and some great, brand new research. By now, as I’ve said in the past, even traditional Chiropractor-hating, torch-wielding, quasi-scholastic chiropractic detractors are admitting that, yes, Chiropractic is indeed helpful for low back pain.

If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. As the podcast builds, so too will the website content, educational products, webinars, seminars, and speaking dates as they get added.

For now though, it’s time for bumper music!

We will dive into the research in a few minutes but first, I have to introduce my guest this week. His name is Dr. Craig Benton. Dr. Benton is the owner/operator of Benton Chiropractic down in Lampassas, Texas but that’s not where the intro stops. Dr. Benton is the chair of Scientific Affairs for the Texas Chiropractic Association. He is where I have found a healthy percentage of the material that I have covered over the years for my blog, my YouTube videos, and now for the Chiropractic Forward podcast. Dr. Benton has been unknowingly instrumental in keeping me in business and making my life easier.

Welcome to the show Dr. Benton, how is life in Lampassas this week? My first question today is, have you been playing any guitar lately?

Dr. Benton and I are both in active practice. In fact, there’s a chance we may both have a patient show up at any time. That’s how actively we are practicing. I think that’s incredibly important to note because, so many times, you hear podcasts and attend seminars where the guys and gals speaking don’t really know a thing about actively practicing for 20 plus years. I’ve always felt that experience matters. Even when I was young and green. I was well-aware that I didn’t know it all and I’m even more aware of that today than ever.

So Dr. Benton, I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions and insight today.

Since the podcast today is about chronic pain, I think we should begin with a definition of what Chronic really is. When we define “chronic” in the context of neuromusculoskeletal complaints, we define it as being a complaint that is greater than 12 weeks in duration. Right at 3 months. Some patients will come into the office having had a condition for 15-20 years. I tell them that they are more than a little stubborn to have put up with something for so long.

It is common sense that a condition that is chronic will be more difficult to treat. Also, most chronic conditions can be traced back to a biomechanical, neuromusculoskeletal origin. One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Lee Green, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan. He said, “Neck pain is a mechanical problem, and it makes sense that mechanical treatment works better than a chemical one.” Although Dr. Green is referring to neck pain in this instance, “low back pain” can easily be substituted. What he says could not make more sense. It’s an easy and very concise way to understand why Chiropractic, manipulation, mobilization is so incredibly effective above and beyond anything else for this sort or issue, including medication.

Do you have a quote or quotes that you love sharing that make sense to you and that help you boil down what it is we chiropractors are doing to help our patients?

I have overhead medical doctors (more than once) talking about having back pain and just injecting themselves with something to try to get over it. If they asked me, I’d tell them that they’re just covering up an underlying trigger or cause and ignoring it is to their detriment.

A good metaphor I came across for using medication for neuromusculoskeletal complaints is that it’s like unplugging a smoke alarm because you don’t like the noise. But, the fire is still slowly growing. What have they done to treat anything in a responsible and effective way? Nothing at all. We tend to live in a society that wants a pill for this and a potion for that so they can get over it and get on with life. But it doesn’t work that way.

Dr. Benton, has this been your experience as well?

Dr. Benton, don’t you treat soldiers through the VA program? Can you tell us all a little bit about that?

Let’s go over some low back pain statistics just we can try to stress the importance of what we’re talking about here. Dr. Benton, please feel free to jump in with anything you’d like to add:

  • 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 fit’s into the 20% that apparently never suffers from any low back pain. Dr. Benton….have you ever met anyone that has never had back pain? Is it just me?
  • 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. It’s good to be a chiropractor I guess. Our patients keep us up and moving most of the day.
  • Dr. Benton, did you know that….now…an equal number of patients seek help with a chiropractor first as seek help with a medical practitioner first for back pain? That’s new information to me that I found interesting.
  • Back pain in general costs $100 billion dollars every year when you factor in lost wages, productivity as well as legal and insurance overheads.

Now that we all know more about low back pain, let’s go through some things that may put you at greater risk of suffering from the condition. Dr. Benton, with your experience on the research, stop me if you have anything to add to any of these:

  • Age: as the spine and supporting structures begin to age and decline, the rate of low back pain will understandably increase.
  • Fitness Level: physically active people do not suffer low back pain to at the rate inactive people suffer. A healthy exercise and core building protocol can help reduce symptoms or instances of low back pain.
  • Weight Gain: Being overweight or obese and gaining weight quickly places increased strain on the low back.
  • Pregnancy: This one goes without saying. Pelvic changes and weight gain both contribute.
  • Genetics: Some forms of arthritis or other systemic conditions are genetic in nature
  • Work: Jobs that include heavy labor and or twisting or expose people to vibration consistently can be problematic. Jobs that require long periods of sitting in a chair can be equally problematic.
  • Mental health factors: Many people are able to deal with chronic pain but anxiety and depression are conditions that can cause a person to focus on the pain which tends to raise the perceived severity and significance for the person suffering from the condition. Dr. Benton, have you come across any patients that fit this description in your practice?
  • Improper backpack use: Kids suffer back pain needlessly since they are not traditionally in an age range we would consider to be a risk factor. However, backpacks used improperly are a common culprit. A backpack should never be more than 15%-20% of a child’s weight and should be carried on both shoulders with the bottom being at or about waste level.

What does the research say?

As I’m sure Dr. Benton will agree…..the research says a lot, to be honest. In fact, I’d say that there’s more research for the effectiveness of manipulation/mobilization in low back pain than for any other conditions chiropractors commonly treat. Am I out of bounds here Dr. Benton?

The research shows Chiropractic beating general practitioners in effectiveness as well as cost. The research shows Chiropractic beating common medications prescribed for low back pain. The research shows Chiropractic beating physical therapy and exercise alone. The research shows Chiropractic beating epidural spinal injections for low back pain. And the two of us can point you to randomized controlled trials proving it. Basically, the research is clear.

In January of 2018, a brand new research paper dealing with manipulation and mobilization was published in Spine Journal by Ian Coulter, PhD et. al. titled “Manipulation and mobilization for treating chronic low back pain: a systematic review” and funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Now, to be clear, Spine Journal sounds a little bit like it may be a Chiropractic publication for those of you that don’t commonly read research abstracts…… but it is not.

Dr. Benton, can you describe Spine Journal for us?

Here’s why the authors took this project on.

The authors of the paper stated that there remained questions about manipulation and mobilization efficacy, the proper dosing of the techniques, how safe they are, as well as how they compare to other treatment protocols commonly used for chronic low back pain.

I have to say that I had no remaining questions regarding really ANY of those topics but it seems that these authors did.

Dr. Benton, again, please feel free to jump in anywhere you’d like as we go through the hows, why’s and the what’s here.

Here’s How They Did It

  • This paper was a systematic review and meta-analysis.
  • They searched databases for relevant studies from January 2000-March 2017
  • They chose randomized controlled trials that compared manipulation or mobilization to sham treatment, no treatment, other therapies, and multimodal therapeutic approaches.
  • They assessed the risk of bias using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network.
  • Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) was applied to determine the confidence in effect estimates.
  • 51 trials were included

What They Found

  • Within 7 of those trials on manipulation and/or mobilization there was reduction of disability when compared to other forms of therapy.
  • Further analyses showed that manipulation specifically was responsible for significant reduction in pain and disability when put up against therapies such as exercise and physical therapy.
  • Mobilization was also was significantly more effective when compared to exercise regimens for pain reduction but not for disability.

Wrap It Up

In the conclusion of the paper abstract, the authors say, “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.”

As I’ve said many times, “a lot of research in your favor becomes fact.” Chiropractic has A LOT of research in its favor.

Dr. Benton, would you like to add any final thoughts?

I’d like to thank Dr. Benton for taking the time to be with us today. He really is one of the guys out here in the real world trying his best to help change things for Chiropractors in Texas and in the world.

I want to finish off by saying that when Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple.

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY!

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 or 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 and do it 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!

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. Please remember, we need your help to spread the word and grow this podcast. If you would help us out by sharing our podcast information, our website, and social media entities, we would greatly appreciate your help.

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

Research Citation:

Coulter I, et. al. “Manipulation and mobilization for treating chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis” The Spine Journal, Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,

https://www.thespinejournalonline.com/article/S1529-9430(18)30016-0/fulltext

CF 007: Awesome Alternatives To High Blood Pressure Treatment

In today’s podcast, we are going to talk about high blood pressure, what happens, how many people it affects, and what we may be able to do to help it. Today is all about high blood pressure and I’m going to admit to you….in researching for this week’s podcast, even I learned new things about high blood pressure and I’m betting you will too. If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. As this podcast builds, so will the website as we add more content, educational products, and a little further down the road, webinars, seminars, and speaking dates as they get added.

Welcome to the podcast today, Dr. Jeff Williams here with Creek Stone here in Amarillo, TX and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast where we talk about issues related to health, chiropractic, evidence, and research and how those things all fit into a comprehensive approach for treating different conditions. Thank you for taking time out of your day to give us a listen. I know your time is valuable and I will always try hard to fill our time with valuable content.

You have fallen head first into episode #7 this week and I want to welcome you. We are going to have more fun that headbutting an i-beam..which I actually did on accident one time when I was a kid. I was running away from someone while playing tag and was looking over my shoulder wrhen smack…now I have a scare on the side of my noggin 35-40 years later. This is how I am certain we will have more fun with this episode.

Speaking of fun, with this being a brand new podcast, I can’t tell you how much fun it is to check the stats of the show and see people tuning in and finding value in our ideas and in information we have to share with you.

I think it is responsible to start off with a disclaimer: I am not a cardiologist. I am a research-minded, evidence-based Doctor of Chiropractic that has seen a jillion people with high blood pressure throughout a 20-year career. The ideas and discussion to follow will be based on information derived from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from the American Heart Institute, and from information shared through Dr. Stephen Sinatra of New York, who is a cardiologist and founder of the New England Heart Center. Ultimately, your blood pressure and heart health is something your primary practitioner and/or cardiologist should be monitoring consistently. Our intent here is not to “treat” anyone through the internet but to simply raise awareness and encourage you to pay attention and take steps to protect yourself if needed. Do not simply depend on information from the internet or Dr. Google as I call it. If you are suffering from high blood pressure (or think you might be) make an appointment with your primary today.

Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s get going with an easy definition of high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high.

I want to tell you all why, at times, I should have high blood pressure. It’s because I have a teenager. Yes, I have a 15 year old high school kid and he’s why. Lol. Not really, as far as teenagers go, he could be soooo much worse. Other than his need to be right conflicting with my need to be right, he’s a sweetheart.

Other reasons may be a busted pipe in the pool house when we had a major freeze. I know I know…first world problems… I happen to be the owner of a european great dane…..enough said. That girl can tear some stuff up when she gets bored.

I also have a huge Leonberger dog. Look it up. They’re beautiful but the hair…I’m telling you, it’s a job to stay clean. I could make cushions out of the amount of hair that dog generates.

The animals at my house at this point would include two dogs, a cat (not my choice), two guineas, and two turtles..and that doesn’t even include my 10 year old daughter and my teenage son… I probably have some mice too if I’m guessing right.

Not to mention I’m an actively practicing chiropractor running a busy practice and all of the stressors that come with it. Own your own business they said, be your own boss they said….you’ll be able to do whatever you want. Heck, I don’t have time to think twice and I certainly don’t have a lot of time to sit around and generate content. I’m busy humpin it and making a living. I’m not out on the lecture circuit just yet and having dinner and a drink in the hotel bar. Lol. I’m at work all day every day. I have stress people!! That’s all I’m saying.

But seriously, I have actually been very fortunate and have not had to battle with high blood pressure yet. Thank the good Lord. I am just lucky I think.

From personal experience in treating patients, I have seen new patients having blood pressure counts of 200 over 110 before and they had NO IDEA their blood pressure was high. What does a chiropractor do in that instance? You may get different ideas from different chiropractors but I can tell you what THIS chiropractor does in those cases. I send them either directly to their primary practitioner or the urgent care, whichever they prefer. I won’t touch them as far as chiropractic treatment until the blood pressure is under control.

There is research we will discuss in a minute showing chiropractic is effective in controlling high blood pressure but I will not be the one trying to get it down when it is at that level. I’ll be the one trying to help once it’s normalized. That is simply my opinion and the way I choose to go about things in my practice. As I said, other chiropractors likely have other opinions and protocols.

Next, let’s discuss some high blood pressure facts from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention that you may not already know about concerning WHO is commonly affected:

  • Did you know that about 75 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure? That’s about a third of the population. Another way of saying that is that 1 in every 3 people have high blood pressure. 
  • Unfortunately, only about half of the people with high blood pressure have the condition under control.
  • About 11 million adults in America have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.
  • High blood pressure costs America around $46 Billion every year when you account for the cost of health care services, medications, and days out of work.
  • High blood pressure affects women about as much as it affects men overall but under the age of 45, more men are affected. Over the age of 65, more women have the condition.
  • When we look at race, more black people have high blood pressure than do whites and Hispanics, and of the black people having it, more women are affected than men.
  • Women having high blood pressure that then become pregnant are more likely to have complications.
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure during the midlife phase (45-65) seems to be linked to higher risks of dementia later in life.

Here are some of those random facts that you may be able to use in a game of Trivial Pursuit somewhere down the line:

  • Did you know that too little salt can contribute to high blood pressure? We commonly associate an excess of salt with high blood pressure but too little is an issue as well. According to Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a cardiologist from New York, it seems a good mix is keeping more than 1.8 grams of salt a day in your body while keeping sodium below 2.8 mg/day while keeping a close eye on hidden salts that can be found in canned soups, pickles, salted nuts, etc.
  • Potassium plays a part in healthy blood pressure so it’s likely a good idea to foods like eggplant, squash, bananas, coconut water, and baked potatoes.
  • It’s a good idea to have the blood pressure taken in both arms since the numbers are often different from one arm to the other.
  • Cardio is great but weight training can RAISE blood pressure. If you like to lift weights but suffer from high blood pressure, it would probably be a great idea to lift much lighter with higher reps in an attempt to bring down those numbers.

Now let’s talk about some of the causes of high blood pressure in patients:

  • Emotional stress
  • Being overweight
  • Environmental toxins
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Too much salt as well as too little salt
  • More than one or two drinks of alcohol per day.
  • Age
  • Genetics

What risks do you run when leaving your high blood pressure untreated or uncontrolled? As unpleasant as it may be to discuss, it can be as serious as you may have imagined. Here are the potential outcomes of untreated high blood pressure:

  • The CDC states that over 360,000 U.S. citizens died of high blood pressure in 2013 which totals about 1,000 deaths every single day.
  • High blood pressure increases your risk of having a heart attack, of having a stroke, of having long-lasting heart failure, and of having kidney disease.

Here’s brand new and very interesting research paper I wanted to take the time to discuss. It’s by AP Wong and is titled “Review: Beyond conventional therapies: Complementary and alternative medicine in the management of hypertension: An evidence-based review(1).”

Why They Did It

The authors state that high blood pressure is responsible for about 12.8% of all deaths globally. Considering that staggering fact, the World Health Organization has targeted a 25% reduction in high blood pressure by the year 2025 and has encouraged more evidence and research into non-conventional methods of controlling high blood pressure.

How They Did It

  • The authors of the paper had two main objectives

1. Describe the therapeutic modalities commonly used in treating high blood pressure.

2. Review the current level of evidence that has been attained for each.

  • The researchers used a search from 2005-2013 of the databses MEDLINE, The Cochrane Library, PUBMED, and EMBASE.
  • 23 papers were found and accepted.
  • Modalities identified in the 23 papers were fish oil, qigong, yoga, coenzyme Q10, melatonin, meditation, vitamin D, vitamin C, monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary amino-acids, chiropractic, osteopathy, folate, inorganic nitrate, beetroot juice, beetroot bread, magnesium, and L-arginine.

What They Found

The following therapies had weak to no evidence for effectiveness in treating high blood pressure:

  • Fish oil
  • Yoga
  • Vitamin D
  • Monounsaturated fatty acid
  • Dietary amino-acids
  • Osteopathy

The following therapies showed significant reduction in blood pressure:

  • Chiropractic
  • Magnesium
  • Qigong
  • Melatonin
  • Meditation
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Inorganic nitrate
  • Beetroot juice
  • L-arginine

Coenzyme Q10 has differing results. Some studies showed it had weak to no effectiveness while other studies showed it to have significant effect on the reduction of high blood pressure.

Wrap It Up

In a quote from the authors conclusion, they said, “Results from this review suggest that certain non-conventional therapies may be effective in treating hypertension and improving cardiac function and therefore considered as part of an evidence-based approach.”

With all of the information combined from the articles used as source material, including the research paper, the Alternative means of treating high blood pressure may include:

  • CHIROPRACTIC – we will talk more about this in just a moment
  • Coenzyme Q10 – More discussion on Coenzyme Q10 later.
  • Magnesium
  • Ribose
  • L-arginine
  • RestricT carbohydrates
  • Use olive oil – consider adopting the use of the Mediterranean Pan-Asian diet which is a non-inflammatory diet.
  • Cutting sugar out of your diet is crucial for those suffering from high blood pressure.
  • Less alcohol is best but a glass of wine a day has shown benefits.
  • No processed juices from the grocery store. They’re packed full of useless and damaging sugars.
  • Exercise protocols
  • Lose weight – only a five pound reduction can make a difference
  • Stop smoking!
  • Qigong
  • Melatonin
  • Meditation
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Inorganic nitrate
  • Beetroot juice

Besides this study, there are several other suggesting Chiropractic plays an important role in reducing or controlling blood pressure.

In one from 1988 by Yates, et. al. called “Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial,” they showed how anxiety and blood pressure were significantly reduced following chiropractic treatment(2).

In another very interesting study through the University of Chicago Medicine from March 14, 2007, and led by George Bakris, MD (director of the hypertension center at the University of Chicago Medical Center, researchers did the following:

  • They took 50 Chicago-area citizens having high blood pressure.
  • All had misaligned C1 vertebrae measured on x-ray
  • They were randomly divided into a treatment group consisting of a chiropractic adjustment and a sham group where no treatment was actually performed.
  • The participants were assessed at the beginning of treatment, after the chiropractic adjustment, and at the end of eight weeks.

What They Found

The authors stated that the improvement in blood pressure for both systolic and diastolic were similar to that seen when giving patients two different blood pressure medications at the same time. Not only that, but the reduction in the blood pressure continued in the eighth week!

Wow!!!

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.

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY!

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.williams@chiropracticforward.com and let us

know what you think or if you have any suggestions for future episodes. And remember

to help us spread the word by sharing our podcast with your colleagues, your friends,

and your family.

From Creek Stone in Amarillo, TX and the flight deck of the Chiropractic Forward

podcast, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, & forward.

Research Citations

(1) Wong AP, et al. “Review: Beyond conventional therapies: Complementary and alternative medicine in the management of hypertension: An evidence-based review.” Pak J Pharm Sci. 2018 Jan;31(1):237-244.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29348109/

(2) Yates RG, et. al. “Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial.” J Manip Physical Ther. 1988 Dec;11(6):484-8.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3075649

(3) Bakris, G. Journal of Human Hypertension, advance online publication, March 2, 2007. Grassi, G. Journal of Human Hypertension, advance online publication, January 25, 2007.George Bakris, MD, director, hypertension center, University of Chicago. Marshall Dickholtz Sr., DC, Chiropractic Health Center, Chicago.

http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2007/20070314-atlas.html

Other Source Material:

https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/features/highbloodpressure/index.html

https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/GettheFactsAboutHighBloodPressure/The-Facts-About-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002050_Article.jsp#.WmYUYyOZNBw

https://www.drsinatra.com/6-surprising-blood-pressure-facts-everyone-should-know

CF 006: With Dr. Tyce Hergert: Astounding Expert Information On Immediate Headache Relief

This episode is all about headaches, it highlights one service dressed up and parading around as another sort of like it’s Halloween or something, and we’ll tell some personal stories about what we have seen in practice during our years of service to our patients. It should be a good one.

We are excited to welcome Dr. Tyce Hergert to the Chiropractic Forward podcast. Dr. Hergert has the distinct privilege of being the very first guest that we’ve ever had. Dr. Hergert was the Texas Chiropractic Association President, the head honcho, for 2016/2017 and, under his leadership the TCA was able to get 5 Chiropractic friendly bills through the legislation whereas we had failed to get even one through in all the years prior to that as far back as I had paid any attention so that was quite a feat.

Dr. Hergert is the owner/operator of Chiropractic Care Center of Southlake as well as the owner/operator of Southlake Physical Medicine in Southlake, TX

In addition, Dr. Hergert and myself both grew up in Perryton, TX. He was a couple of years younger than myself but we grew up on the same neighborhood, went to chiropractic school at the same time roughly, and have both served in the Texas Chiropractic Association at the same time. You could say that we know each other.

Welcome to the Chiropractic Forward Podcast Dr. Hergert. How do you feel about being the very first guest that we have ever had?

In this episode, I promise that we’re going to have more fun than being on the receiving end of a purple nurple.

This week, I want to discuss headaches and conservative, alternative headache treatment. It’s common for people to look at chiropractors as “spine people” and “back doctors”.

Is that your experience as well, Dr. Hergert?

What people don’t commonly know is that chiropractors can knock it straight out of the park when it comes to treating headaches. Yes, I said, “Knock it out of the park.” That’s an old metaphor comparing baseball players hitting home runs and I’m telling you, chiropractors mostly hit home runs on headache cases.

I have to admit that I was a terrible baseball player. I played college football and I’m Texan born and raised where football is King so I should probably put it in football terms.  In football terms, you might say that we chiropractors have a record of 80-yd touchdown passes when it comes to headaches. We return headache punts for a score almost every time. We pick-six those suckers. That’s probably enough to drive the point home.

Not every single headache of course. I’ve met my match several times over my 20 years in practice. But I don’t think it’s too bold to say that about 80%-90% of headache patients just improve. And not just improve, but DRAMATICALLY improve.

Before we get into the research, let me take a minute to give you just a couple of personal experiences in treating headache patients in my practice here in Amarillo.

Case #1: We will call this patient Andy McFuddlesticks just because I’m feeling a little goofy today. That sounds a little like a Harry Potter character, doesn’t it?

Andy had experienced migraines his whole life and was around 40 years old at the time we crossed paths. He had been to all of the medical doctors. He had endured injections if his suboccipital region. I don’t recall what the injection was exactly because this was about 18 years ago. I don’t believe they did botox for migraines at that point in time. He had gone through nuclear bones scans as well. Andy McFuddlesticks had been through it you might say.

He came to see me only a few times. It was frustrating that he didn’t finish his treatment plan but the reason he didn’t finish is satisfying. Andy only came a handful of times because the headaches were gone. After all of the years and procedures, just a few visits to a very new and green chiropractor made them vanish. How do I know? Well, I was in a civic organization with his brother who confirmed months later that his brother was doing great and had not had a headaches since seeing me. How is Andy 18 years later? I have no idea. I switched towns but I know he did great for a long time and we are putting that one in the “win” column.

Dr. Hergert, would you like to share one of your more memorable headache case stories with us?

Case #2: Sally McGullicutty I believe was her name. Red hair. Irish. Anyway, Sally had migraines for years. I actually knew Sally personally and had been friends for some time. Evidently I was not skilled at getting my message out on how successfully we can deal with headaches because it took Sally way longer than it should have taken her to make an appointment with us.

Sally shared with me that she had migraines, on average, several times a week and once or twice every month would find herself in a dark bathroom floor sitting my the toilet throwing up. How awful of an existence is that? I cannot even imagine being forced to live that way. I say it often but it bears repeating, “Pain can absolutely change a person.” Not only the person but it can change everyone around the person that is consistently in and out of contact with them.

After approximately 2-4 weeks of working with Sally, she just started to not have the migraines anymore! I would say she “magically” recovered but chiropractors know this isn’t accurate. We got the right joints moving, we got the right muscles to relax, and we got out of the way and let the body do the rest. There’s no magic in that. It’s just common sense to chiropractors.

Fast forward a few years and Sally is still a patient and Sally comes here for other reasons and conditions from time to time but she doesn’t visit because of migraines anymore. She just doesn’t have them.

How about one more story Dr. Hergert?

I’m pretty sure we could both absolutely go on and on with examples from personal experience in practice. I have 20 years of dealing with headaches and I can tell you, Chiropractors are modern day headache whisperers.

Let’s dive into a little research just to show you what I’m talking about. There are more we will go over in the future episodes but I want to touch on two this week. One new study and one older.

The first one is the more recent research paper and comes to us from a group in Spain. The lead author was Miguel Malo-Urries, PT, PhD with the University of Zaragoza Aragon Spain and it was published in Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in the November-December 2017 issue, Volume 40, Issue 9, Pages 649-658. The study was titled “Immediate Effects of Upper Cervical Translatoric Mobilization on Cervical Mobility and Pressure Pain Threshold in Patients With Cervicogenic Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” What a name.

Did you catch that word, “Translatoric?” Dr. Hergert, have you run across this term prior to this interview?

I’m going to define that word for everyone. Translatoric is not commonly in the Chiropractic verbiage or vernacular. At least I don’t recall it from my education at Parker University in Dallas but that was eons ago. I have gray sideburns now. It has been a while. The authors of the paper all have PT behind their names so we have physical therapists setting the terms for the research project. Understanding this, then the use of translatoric makes more sense.

I found a site that gives a pretty good definition of Translatoric Spinal Manipulation. The term Translatoric Spinal Manipulation or TSM “consists of a series of high and low-velocity manipulative spinal techniques, which emphasize the use of small amplitude, straight-line (or translatoric) traction and gliding impulses delivered parallel or perpendicular to an individual vertebral joint or movement segment. Furthermore, TSM emphasizes the use of either direct manual stabilization or the use of spinal pre-positioning to restrict the amount of motion occurring at adjacent spinal segments during the translatoric impulse.” The website goes on to say, “Delivering translatoric impulses (in the form of disc traction, disc glides, facet traction and facet gliding) to an individual joint or spinal motion segment while using stabilization provides the manual therapist with a manipulative tool that has a predictable effect in terms of pain reduction and motion restoration with minimal potential risk of patient injury.”

Do you know what that sounds like to me? Dr. Hergert, what does it sound like it’s describing to you?

It sounds like a “Chiropractic Adjustment.” Another term it sounds like is “Spinal Manipulative Treatment/Therapy.” Something we chiropractors have been doing for over 100 years and have been called crazies and quacks for doing. It sounds like the exact thing that the medical world has touted as being responsible for strokes for years and years. Of course, research proves that they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about on the storke issue but translatoric spinal manipulation is nothing more than a Chiropractic Adjustment.

Now that that is clear, let’s get back into the research.

Why They Did It

The good folks in Spain performing Translatoric Spinal Manipulation rather than Chiropractic Adjustments wished to assess the response in terms of range of motion and pain in patients suffering cervicogenic headaches.

How They Did It

  • It was a randomized controlled trial
  • The paper included 82 patients.
  • The patients ranged in age from about 25-55 or so.
  • All patients suffered from cervicogenic headaches.
  • The patients were randomly split up into two groups. One was a control group and one was a treatment group.
  • The treatment group received Chiropractic Adjustments…..I’m sorry…Translatoric Spinal Manipulation.
  • The control group received no treatment or sham treatment.
  • The researchers tested Cervical range of motion, they tested the pressure pain thresholds over the upper trapezius muscles, the C2-3 zygapophyseal joints and sub occipital muscles were tested, and the current headache intensity were all measured on the Visual Analog Scale prior to the Chiropractic adjustment and right after.
  • The testing was done by two blinded investigators

What They Found

  • Afterward, the Chiropractic Adjustment group had significantly increased range of motion in the neck region overall as well as in the flexion-rotation test.
  • And, while there was no changes in the pain thresholds, patients reported significantly lower intensity in their headaches!

Wrap It Up

The quote from the authors themselves reads as follows, “Upper cervical translatoric spinal mobilization intervention increased upper, and exhibited a tendency to improve general, cervical range of motion and induce immediate headache relief in subjects with cervicogenic headache.”

Dr. Hergert….do the findings in the study surprise you at all?

What are your initial impressions of the study?

I’d say that, if you have issues with chiropractors, now you can just take it straight from physical therapists with PhD’s that are performing chiropractic adjustments but calling it something else.

I want to be honest here: the frustrating part of this for me isn’t necessarily the fact that PTs are doing cervical chiropractic adjustments. Heck, chiropractors have been doing PT for years but the physical therapists claim ownership of the term so the chiropractic industry just call it exercise rehab.

Although, their doing adjustments may be irritating on some level, the most irritating thing is that a certain aspect of the physical therapy community and a larger aspect of the medical community have spent years ridiculing, mocking, and belittling generations of chiropractors. And now, doctors of osteopathy and physical therapists are trying to do the exact same thing without going through any chiropractic training. You would think they would at least release a statement saying, “You know, we have thrown rocks at chiropractors for years but it turns out they were right all along so, since we can’t beat them, we’re going to just join them.”

Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

Can I get an amen on that Dr. Hergert? Do you have any other thoughts on that?

I’m geting all bothered over here so let’s go over the older study before I start getting too ugly about the whole deal.

This one is by GV Espi-Lopez et. al. and is called, “Do manual therapy techniques have a positive effect on quality of life in people with tension-type headache? A randomized controlled trial.” It was published in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine  on February 29th of 2016.

Why They Did It

Although there have been lots of studies that prove the impact of manual therapy and spinal mobilization for frequency and intensity of pain suffered from tension type headaches, there have been no studies in regards to the effectiveness of the same therapies for the quality of life for the people suffering from them.

The authors of this paper wished to focus on patient quality of life.

How They Did It

•The study was again, a randomized, single blinded, controlled clinical trial.

•Comprised of 62 women and 14 men.

•Aged between 65 years old all the way down to 18 years old.

•All subjects suffered from chronic tension type headaches or episodic tension type headaches.

•The subjects were categorized into four separate groups: suboccipital inhibitory pressure, suboccipital spinal manipulation, a combination of the two together, and then a control group.

•An SF–12 questionnaire was used to help assess the subjects’ quality of life at both the beginning of treatment, the ending of the treatment, as well as at the one month follow-up.

What They Found

•The suboccipital inhibition group improved significantly in their quality of life at the one month mark as well as improvements in moderate physical activities.

•Not the control group, but all other treatment groups had an improvement in physical activities, pain, and social functioning at the one month mark.

•After treatment, as well as that the one month mark, the combined treatment category had improved vitality.

•Following treatment and at the one-month mark, both groups that had manipulation to the sub occipital region also showed improved mental health.

Wrap It Up
All three therapy approaches showed significant effectiveness toward improving the quality of life, however the combined treatment therapy had the most dramatic change for the good.
In short, manual therapy techniques and manipulation applied to the sub occipital region for four weeks or more showed great improvement and in effectiveness for several aspects that measure the quality of life of a patient having suffered from tension type headaches.

Dr. Hergert…you like apples? Lol Do these findings reflect what you have seen over the years there in Southlake, TX?

These are just a couple of studies to get us started off on the right foot for headache discussions on the Chiropractic Forward Podcast. There are several more I will be sharing in the future so stay tuned.

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.

I mentioned this in episode #1 but Dr. Hergert and myself spend some time trying to generate a concise, responsible statement regarding chiropractic care in general. A statement that could easily be shared. An elevator speech for the profession if you will. You will find it at the end of every blog, every video, and every chiropractic forward podcast. It is as follows:
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!

Thank you to Dr. Hergert for spending his valuable time with us today. We look forward to many more guest appearances.

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

From Creek Stone in Amarillo, TX and the flight deck of the Chiropractic Forward podcast, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, & forward.

https://www.jmptonline.org/article/S0161-4754(16)30281-0/fulltext?elsca1=etoc&elsca2=email&elsca3=0161-4754_201711_40_9_&elsca4=Physical%20Medicine%20and%20Rehabilitation%7CHealth%20Professions

https://www.optp.com/Translatoric-Spinal-Manipulation-for-Physical-Therapists-Book-and-DVD

https://www.amarillochiropractor.com/get-rid-of-migraines-and-headaches-once-and-for-all/

CF 005: Valuable & Reliable Expert Advice On Clinical Guides For Your Practice

This weeks’s entry is going to be a little long and it’s definitly more geared to chiropractic practitioners rather than patients or potential patients. Unless you are a patient that is just a little bent toward practice protocols and I just don’t know very many of those types of patients. I can see where a patient may be interested in this week’s edition if they feel they have received poor treatment in the past I suppose but most patients likely won’t be interested this week.

Welcome to episode #5. We’re on a roll folks. We’re going to have more fun than walking on hot coals today.

Have you ever been in practice, especially in the early years, wondering if you’re doing things right? I mean, they taught you how to diagnose. The taught you how to evaluate and adjust. But what about all of the gaps in between? Did you get it all and, if you got it, did it stick? Did you retain it? We all have questions about certain issues. If you aren’t always learning and asking yourselves questions, then I would suggest that you do. I believe that’s how we grow.

In this episode we are going to try to help answer some age-old questions that many chiropractors get out of school not necessarily knowing the answers to. We are going to cover recommendations on how often, what, why, and how for your practices. It should be interesting for most of you. That’s my hope anyway. So buckle up.

Many of us in the chiropractic profession tend to wonder around on our own islands for years without any sort of mentorship or guidance. If I’m being honest, and I am, I was that way myself until about 11 or so years ago when I decided to start paying attention. In fact, there are still times I find myself researching the latest standards of practice and guidelines to make sure that I am not an outlier in my profession without even realizing that I’m an outlier. Healthcare tends to change so quickly that it is a scenario I would assume occurs more often than we think.

This sort of information can admittedly be monotonous and can make your eyes bleed if you allow. Some LOVE to dive into long text and technical terms but I’m guessing most do not. That is why I am offering it in different forms.

Different people communicate in different ways. Some prefer email. Some prefer texts. I like videos while others prefer blogs. Podcasts, Reddit, etc… It’s all a part of communicating in the best, most effective way possible. With this in mind, I offer you this information in blog form, on YouTube in a video, and in Podcast form in the hopes that you guys and gals out there can digest it and maybe even RECEIVE it rather than just simply take note of it, before moving on to something else.

The impetus for this week’s information comes from a blog I read that was recently published on the American Chiropractic Association’s blog. You can find this at www.ACAtoday.org/blog. The blog was posted December 28, 2017. It was titled “Research Review: Clinical Practice Guideline: Chiropractic Care for Low Back Pain,” and was submitted by Dr. Shawn Thistle(1). Dr. Thistle is the founder of RRS Education which is a continuing education company providing weekly research reviews. Much like we do right here on my blog, on YouTube, or as part of the Chiropractic Forward Podcast.

I have used Dr. Thistle’s article here as the template and simply “overdubbed” and commented on it as I went through it.

In this article, Dr. Thistle reviews a research paper called “Clinical Practice Guideline: Chiropractic Care for Low Back Pain,” The lead author and researcher for the paper was Dr. Gary Globe who has a Masters in Business, a Doctor of Chiropractic, and a PhD.  The paper was published in the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics in Volume 30, Issue 1, in 2016(2).

Basically, we are doing a review of a review. You may wonder why this is even necessary to do on my part. I feel it’s necessary because I believe my calling is to take more difficult or more boring concepts, terms, and ideas and to then strip them down into a very understandable and more palatable form. A transfer of information, if you will. Hopefully I can get that information distributed to folks that need it. If we just left it at this blog, it is my assumption that the people that really need the information may not get it. In other words the people that read the American Chiropractic Association’s blog probably have already familiarized themselves with much of this information. However, people that do not read their blog likely do not keep up with Chiropractic research either. If they’re not involved, then they’re just not involved usually. They may be outliers in the profession because they have likely never been exposed to this sort of evidence-based information.

I’m hoping that’s where I come into the picture.

First, why would chiropractors be interested in guidelines of any sort? I would share with you that a frustrating part of our profession for me personally is that there seems to be no standardization that is widely followed or respected by chiropractors as a population. Some practitioners in Chiropractic may think that’s a great thing and that that’s what is unique about Chiropractic. I am of the thought that it’s a good thing when you go to a practitioner of any style and you can feel comfortable knowing there are professional standards of care being followed by your caregiver. It’s when practitioners have not educated themselves or have not at least been somewhat in tune to what’s going on in their profession that they may start to be considered outliers and can run the risk of getting themselves into some sort of trouble professionally. Nobody wants that.

Let’s be clear; following guidelines don’t mean that the practitioner has no autonomy or that there is no professional decision-making going on. They are just that: guidelines. General guidelines that not only help your decision-making process, but also give you something to refer to should there be any questions down the road about your treatment plans or protocols. I call that “standing on solid ground.”

When you have so many webinar and seminar folks trying to scare chiropractors into buying their courses and marketing to them by triggering the fear of either being sued or jailed if they don’t buy, well….standing on solid ground is always a bit liberating.

Be honest here, how does it look when one chiropractor tells the patient they need to be seen 55 times this year and this happens just one or two weeks before a doctor with the second opinion says the standards of practice require 18 visits over the next 2 months or so for the same issue? Of course, that reflects poorly on the first chiropractor but wouldn’t you agree that it also reflects poorly on Chiropractic in general?

I am in no way saying that there are not conditions requiring 55 visits so don’t send me any hate email. I’m simply using a generalized example here. I’ve always felt that treatment should have a start, it should have a finish, it should be responsible and smart recommendations, and upon completion should enter the maintenance phase. If we aren’t giving good recommendations, Then we simply are not doing our job. But it’s also my opinion that if you’re not staying on top of research and current standards of practice, then that also means you’re not doing your job.

Now that we talked about standards of practice and guidelines, let’s dive into this research and guideline summary.

Why They Did It

Everyone should know by now that low back pain is the leading cause of disability around the world. Research has continued to show over and over that chiropractors are highly effective when it comes to low back pain. Even traditional chiropractic haters, at this point, mostly concede the fact. The goal of this research project seems to be focused on providing some sort of standardization and guideline protocol for an easier and smoother transition into an integrated setting in the medical world. The project focused on nonspecific low back pain.

How They Did It

The authors underwent a comprehensive search of the literature. They found 270 relevant articles. After screening the 270 articles, only 18 where accepted for the paper. Of those 18, sixteen of the papers were accepted as high-quality.

Here’s where we get into the thick of it. They break their points down into the following categories: general considerations, informed consent, severity and duration of conditions, examination procedures for lower back pain, treatment frequency and duration, initial course of care for low back disorders, re-evaluation and re-examination, benefit vs. risk, contraindications and cautions, and chronic pain management for spinal disorders.

Let’s dive into those sections a little further point by point and try to make some sense of it all.

General Considerations. 

  • If a patient gets chiropractic treatment in the acute pain phase, they usually have full recovery of the complaint. Even though they may have full recovery, recurrence of the pain can be common.
  • If not treated properly in the beginning, it could turn chronic with increased disability.
  • Practitioners, at all times, should be mindful of red flags and yellow flags. In case you don’t know, yellow flags are usually associated with chronic pain or disability. Some examples may be negative coping strategies, poor self efficacy beliefs, fear of avoidance behavior, and distress. That’s according to Dynamic Chiropractic, Nov. 30, 2002, Vol. 20, Issue 25 by Craig Liebenson, DC. Patients with high yellow flag scores should not be labeled with an injured back. For example, telling the patient they have a ruptured disc may not be the best idea. Your treatment should reduce dependency on medication and encourage active treatment rather than passive treatment and should include self-treatment protocols(3).
  • The authors of this paper feel that the goal of chiropractic should be improving the patients’ functional capacity as well as educating them to accept responsibility for their own health.

Informed Consent: Chiropractors often get into trouble because they lack a proper informed consent procedure.

  • Basically, informed consent is communication between your office and a patient that results in the patient giving you authorization for treatment.
  • An informed consent should include a clear explanation of the diagnosis, of your examination, and what you propose to do as far as treatment. This should include treatment options and possible risks involved.
  • If the person appears to be of sound mind to perform an informed consent, you have satisfied recommendations, assuming they have no further questions.

Examination Procedures for Low Back Pain:

  • While there is no limit to what the examination includes, there should at minimum be a health history, an examination that includes range of motion, orthopedic tests, and/or neurological testing, and further diagnostics when indicated. These may include lab tests or imaging.
  • This report says that range of motion should not be used to determine a person’s functional status but can be used as part of the exam to assess regional mobility.
  • As part of the exam process, they don’t recommend routine imaging for diagnostic tests in cases of nonspecific low back pain.
  • With that being said, if serious pathology is suspected or if someone is having neurological issues associated with it, then of course further diagnostics would be appropriate.
  • While the authors are not proponents of regular imaging, MRIs are indicated when the low back complaint is associated with symptoms of stenosis or radiculopathy.
  • Another condition in which a practitioner may consider getting imaging would be when the patient has not responded to a reasonable, responsible short-term conservative protocol or if you have reason to suspect something else is going on such as spondylolisthesis.

Severity & Duration of Conditions: this is a really simple section that can cause confusion by those that have just never had the information or have forgotten it.

  • An acute complaint refers to something that has been experienced for less than six weeks (1.5 months).
  • A subacute symptom has lasted between six and 12 week (1.5 months to just under 3 months).
  • A chronic condition is something that has lasted 12 weeks minimum (3 months).
  • A recurrence means the return of the symptom that is suspected to be similar to their original complaint.

Treatment Frequency & Duration:

  • The authors indicate that most patients respond to your care but that the treatment frequency and duration may change depending on the patient themselves. They may have other issues including red and yellow flags that extend, or alter in some way, the duration or the frequency of treatment. Again, the practitioner must always be mindful of the red and yellow flags.
  • The paper suggests that the effectiveness of care should be evaluated both subjectively and objectively during or after each course of care. In our office we use the Functional Rating Index (FRI) every single day upon the patient’s arrival. We also use outcome assessment questionnaires fairly often. We use them for a baseline during the initial treatment, again at each re-examination, and then again upon the conclusion of the treatment schedule. In addition to that, our patients are asked to rate their pain on the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for each complaint at each visit. It takes seconds. Yes, it’s subjective and can have a wide variance from day to day for the same person but, when you are keeping these types of records, you are standing on more solid ground if anything about you or your treatment ever comes into question. Not to mention, it’s just better for the patient to be kept track of in this manner.
  • Here is a quasi-answer to a big question. The question I’m referring to is, “How often should I see someone?” Well, the full answer is not in this paper but there are hints at it. The researchers here suggest that a therapeutic trial of chiropractic is usually between 6 and 12 visits that takes anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to complete. That seems to be about the average. For further insight into generally accepted treatment protocols, you may try looking at the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines & Practice Parameters (CCGPP) guidelines(4).

Initial Course of Care for Low Back Disorders

  • The best evidence of efficacy is in High Velocity/Low Amplitude manipulation and in mobilization. 
  • A good starting point in care is passive physiotherapy like electric stim, cold laser, ultrasound, etc for pain. Additionally a practitioner should attempt to educate the patient about their complaint and set in place recommendations for self-management of the complaint.
  • As the authors state, physiotherapy shouldn’t be used individually or isolated as the lone means of treatment. As I tell my patients, “There is a mountain of evidence for manipulation/mobilization, for certain physiotherapies, and for exercise/rehab but the best evidence show the greatest effectiveness comes from the three being combined and integrated into a treatment protocol that is reasonable and makes sense.” How it is used will come down to practitioner judgement and patient preference.
  • The authors here state that they cannot recommend the use of lumbar supports like bracing, taping, or orthoses because the research just isn’t there to support it at this time.
  • Active care, otherwise known as exercise/rehab, should become a bigger and bigger part of all chiropractic clinical protocols. I often will try to relate this to patients in a way that make sense in the medical world. When appropriate I may say something like, “What happens on the day after someone has a knee replacement, appendectomy, or a C-section? They have them up walking, which may seem counterproductive to do so soon after a surgery. In fact, for low back pain, a common recommendation used to be to go home, get in bed, and wait it out. But, they realized that movement is healing. Part of the healing is getting the joints moving properly through manipulation and joint mobilization but that’s just part of it. Another big aspect of it is exercise/rehab; both here in the office and at home.” Chiropractic practitoners need to stress it.
  • The more you explain why you want them performing exercise/rehab and the more you stress that exercise/rehab is part of the protocol from the very start, the less resistance you tend to run into later down the road.

Re-examination & Re-evaluation

  • After your initial recommendations are fulfilled, then what? You need to determine whether any further treatment is indicated and why it’s indicated. What was the patient’s response to your care?
  • If you threw everything in your office including the kitchen sink at someone for 2-4 weeks for 6-12 visits and saw little to no improvement, do you think any further treatment is likely to bring about positive change? Not very likely. It’s times like these that I swallow my pride and, in the best interest of the patient and my reputation, I find them a referral to a reputable practitioner that may be better-suited to address the complaint. I wouldn’t want a family member of mine treated any differently so I don’t treat patients any differently.
  • On the other hand, if the patient’s complaint is resolved, you should perform a final exam and outcome assessment questionnaire, make sure the patient is adequately educated on your recommendations going forward (exercise, maintenance care, etc.), and then release the patient from the active care protocol.

Benefit vs. Risk

  • The authors state that chiropractic care is remarkably safe and effective. Certainly when compared to our medical counterparts. Even though we all know this already, it never hurts to re-state the obvious. I hope you don’t mind.
  • The paper says that serious adverse reactions to chiropractic care tend to only happen to the tune of 1 in 1 million patient visits when referring to treatment for low back pain.
  • The authors went a little further by saying that, while adverse reactions were very rare, other more mild-moderate events were noticed like muscle soreness or stiffness. We see this in my office here and there as well. If they have never been to a chiropractor and then get sore after the first one or two visits, one could compare that to going to the gym after laying off for an extended time. You are doing something new and something different with the body. It makes sense for people to get a little sore sometimes.

Contraindications & Cautions: have you always been completely aware and knowledgeable on what constitutes a hard contraindication to chiropractic care? The authors try to help us all out here so listen up. This is a biggie. Since I feel the importance of knowing these are paramount to your longevity in practice, I am going to quote these conditions directly from the source(1) for accuracy. Don’t be caught having treated these conditions. 

  • General Conditions: severe osteoporosis, multiple myeloma, osteomyelitis, local primary bone tumors where osseous integrity is questionable, local metastatic bone tumors, Paget’s disease.
  • Neurological Conditions: progressive or sudden neurological deficit (including cauda equina syndrome) or spinal cord tumors demonstrating neurological compromise (care may be appropriate after specialist investigation and clearance)
  • Inflammatory Conditions: rheumatoid arthritis in active systemic stage (or locally in the presence of inflammation or atlantoaxial instability), inflammatory phase of ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis, or Reiter’s syndrome (reactive arthritis).
  • Bleeding Disorders: congenital or acquired, unstable aortic aneurysm, etc.
  • Other: structural instability, inadequate physical exam, or inadequate SMT training/skills

Chronic Pain Management for Spinal Disorders:

These conditions can no longer be referred to as “acute” or “uncomplicated” as they are beyond 3 months in duration at the point of being labeled “chronic” and other factors must be considered in a robust treatment protocol. Some complications may include:

  • Work environment, including ergonomics
  • Work requirements
  • Comorbidities. Some may wonder, “What the heck is that?!?” Well, that is when you have two or more other conditions occurring in addition to the initial diagnosis. Low back pain in addition to arthritis and diabetes is an example. Low back pain in addition to obesity and depression could be another.
  • The history of the condition’s prior treatments
  • Lifestyle factors including bad habits
  • Other psychological factors which may include depression, anxiety, etc….

Whew….that was a lot, right?

With such an amount of information to wade through, I would say, that Dr. Thistle did a great job of reviewing this paper for the American Chiropractic Association’s blog and I hope, in turn, that I have been able to bring even more clarity and maybe even relate it to my personal practice and your practice in a way that really drives home the need for more regulation and practice standards in our profession.

As the internet and the “Age of Information” has brought the world together, I believe the days of being a lone wolf and/or being an outlier may be numbered. When they say that ignorance is not a defense, that especially rings true now that information is at our very fingertips at all times of the day no matter where we may be.

You may agree with me that this is a good thing. You may disagree and think I’m off my rocker for wanting some standards in the profession. Chiropractic practitioners differ from one to the other. That’s OK. Differences in opinions is American to the core. Usually what triumphs is reason and, if you find these guidelines or those of the CCGPP to be reasonable guides, I hope you will consider giving them more thought and maybe even implement them into your regular treatment protocols.

Regardless of how you go about practicing, I’m a firm believer that we chiropractors can absolutely change the world when it comes to the treatment of non-complicated neuromusculoskeletal conditions of the body. Not just low back pain either, but the whole shibang. As I said last week, if we were wrong in what we do as a profession, we would have been wiped off the face of the Earth years ago. Lord knows they tried and keep trying.

We are still here because we are naturally right but, we give our detractors ammunition for the battle when we are not holding ourselves and our profession to certain reasonable and responsible standards.

I hope you will stop by our websites and get involved with what we are doing. chiropracticforward.com is our podcast site. We have years of research-based blogs available right now at amarillochiropractor.com/blog as well. Not to mention our YouTube channel which can be found by searching Creek Stone Integrated Care Jeff Williams in a YouTube search. Find Chiropractic Forward on Facebook as well as Twitter which is @Chiro_Forward. Subscribe, share, and do all the things that help us grow and spread our message.

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.

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY!
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 if you have any suggestions for future episodes.

From Creek Stone in Amarillo, TX and the flight deck of the Chiropractic Forward podcast, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, & forward.

  1. https://www.acatoday.org/News-Publications/ACA-Blogs/ArtMID/6925/ArticleID/315/Research-Review-Clinical-Practice-Guideline-Chiropractic-Care-for-Low-Back-Pain
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26804581
  3. https://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=15493
  4. https://clinicalcompass.org